Archive for the ‘Russia’ Category

UDDebatt now on Twitter

7 augusti, 2016

I have been thinking for a long time that maybe I should have a Twitter account to accompany this blog. But I always decided against it.

You all know that I write long, detailed posts that try to explain what really is going on behind the scenes. Which is absolutely necessary. You cannot explain complex international events and developments with thousands of years of history behind it in a soundbite of 7-10 seconds.

That’s the MSM/Old media/politician way. And they very carefully “chose” what they want to report or not.

But I now think it is time to try out Twitter as “soundbite” complement to this blog.

The lead words: Truth, Freedom, Justice, Responsibility and Accountability

As the blog, it is going to be a frank, open and interesting forum. Concentrating on the important “Stuff” that the MSM/Old media “chose” to ignore.

It’s not going to be an instant news type, More highlighting important news that MSM media don’t think you should care about,

You find it here: https://twitter.com/UDDebatt and my username @UDDebatt.

Here is two examples of my tweets:

Syria: https://twitter.com/UDDebatt/status/762068121263960065

https://twitter.com/UDDebatt/status/761667989586468864

Ukraine: https://twitter.com/UDDebatt/status/762039648478699522

Russia: https://twitter.com/UDDebatt/status/762276440545062912

EU: https://twitter.com/UDDebatt/status/762275868932771844

So enjoy and engage!

Sophia

Annonser

The extremely worrying response of Europe in face of aggression

16 februari, 2015

And of course, the same goes for USA.

Where to begin?

I could fill books with this very important stuff. I mean, it’s only about if we are going to survive as a civilized society or not. Nobody of our “dear” international politicians and “leaders” seems to care very much. But I am going to try to be “brief”.

I also recommend that you as a background read my posts on the war in Georgia (8 posts August-September 2008 Russia’s War in Georgia and the background chronology to it) and my series on Syria (19 posts March – July 2012 The first post is here: Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 1 ). You find them under categories Georgia and Syria.

2015-02-15_203851

So back to the whole “system” of rules and law on which the international “peace and order” has been built on since 1945. In reality it goes back even further to the Peace of Westphalia 1648.

Westphalian sovereignty is the principle of international law that each nation-state has sovereignty over its territory and domestic affairs, to the exclusion of all external powers, on the principle of non-interference in another country’s domestic affairs, and that each state (no matter how large or small) is equal in international law.

And ALL these international organizations and laws (UN, EU etc.,) that were supposed to guarantee peace and stability and economic progress, is in complete shambles. Why? Because all the “big ones” in Europe and the USA have done absolutely nothing to defend it besides some rhetoric and symbolic sanctions. That costs nothing for them and has very little effect.

By doing nothing, they have opened up the Pandora’s Box and a free for all to “intervene” anywhere in the world where there are at least one minority person. And that applies to EVER country and territory in the world. If not you just surreptitiously transport one there, (preferably one from your own intelligence agency or military), let him became “spokesperson” for the group. And voila, you have a just cause to “intervene with brutal force and take whatever you want.

In Russia ALONE there are over 185 officially recognized ethnic groups, nearly 20% of the Russian population.

You Reap What You Sow

Now you take this new world model and apply it to every country in the world. And what do you get? Total chaos and slaughter – “Survival of the fittest” military style.

The village of Nikishyne

the village of Nikishyne

On an equally important side not regarding The Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances signed on December 5 1994.

The text of the treaty here:

http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/49/765

http://www.cfr.org/nonproliferation-arms-control-and-disarmament/budapest-memorandums-security-assurances-1994/p32484

After the breakup of the Soviet Union, newly independent Ukraine suddenly found itself in possession of the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal. (About 1,900 strategic nuclear warheads designed to strike the U.S. and 2,500 shorter-range nuclear weapons).

Though the new government originally planned to keep the Soviet nuclear weapons it had inherited on its territory, Ukraine eventually agreed to transfer the weapons to Russia for reprocessing. USA played a big part behind the scene to make them relinquish their nuclear weapons.

Under the memorandum, Ukraine promised to remove all Soviet-era nuclear weapons from its territory, send them to disarmament facilities in Russia, and sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Ukraine kept these promises.

In return, Russia and the Western signatory countries ,(Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, along with Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin, and John Major), essentially consecrated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine as an independent state. They did so by applying the principles of territorial integrity and nonintervention in 1975 Helsinki Final Act — a Cold War-era treaty signed by 35 states including the Soviet Union — to an independent post-Soviet Ukraine.

In the ”Budapest Memorandum,” Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States promised that none of them would ever threaten or use force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine. They also pledged that none of them would ever use economic coercion to subordinate Ukraine to their own interest.

They specifically pledged they would refrain from making each other’s territory the object of military occupation or engage in other uses of force in violation of international law.

France and China also provided Ukraine with assurances similar to the Budapest Memorandum, but with some significant differences.

Crimea - Kopia

After the Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea in February 2014, these legal “guaranties” proved to be completely worthless. Zip, Nada, Niente.

The message to the world is LOUD and CLEAR: Whatever you do NEVER, EVER give up your nuclear weapons.

By doing nothing the signatory parties in an instant made a MOCKERY of the last 60 years effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology. And the treaty of nuclear Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) from 1970.

It also sent out another equally LOUD and CLEAR message to the world: To guarantee your survival GET NUCLEAR WEAPONS!

And this terrifying message gets even clearer when you consider North Korea and Iran. In the latter case these “negotiations” has been going on and off for nearly 20 years

The latest round (the so called Iran and the P5+1) started in February 2014 with a very strange setup pushed by the Obama administration. First you do a lot of unilateral concessions and then you start negotiations. USA gave back frozen money ($4.2 billion + $2.8 billion), eased sanctions ($7 billion + $1.5 billion), ignored the intercontinental Ballistic missile program, that every UN Security Council Resolution has been broken, every broken promise to IAEA, denial of inspections, the vastly expanded enrichment program, the big stockpile of enriched uranium etc. etc.

And to REALY top it off: The Chief US nuclear negotiator with Iran is Wendy Sherman. She is Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, the fourth-ranking official in the U.S. Department of State. The SAME WOMEN how was in charge of US negotiations with North Korea to stop them from getting nuclear weapons.

Yeap, we ALL KNOW how that went.

At the present moment the Obama administration have given the Iranians a lite over 80% of what they want without getting anything in return.

When the time comes when Iran “officially” goes nuclear it will have an instant and immediate effect – the rest of the Middle East will ALSO go OFFICIALY nuclear.

Doesn’t that sounds like a really lovely and peaceful world wouldn’t you say?

Little Green Men

Little Green Men2

Back to Ukraine and just a few tidbits of the last two days:

Yesterday (February 14) the day before the “ceasefire”, there was about 170 attacks on Ukrainian positions.

Just one example (and remember this is ALL happening in the “peaceful” Europe): In the late afternoon yesterday there was a full-scale engagement of tank and mechanized units of Ukrainian troops meeting the Russian armed forces on a stretch of Nyzhnje Lozove – the northern suburbs of Novohryhorivka. The battle did not bring a convincing victory to either side, but the Russians stopped trying to assault Lohvynove, leaving this settlement as “neutral” territory.

Today (February 15), so far, about 10 attacks around Debaltseve and Luhansk. But a lot of active regrouping and reinforcements is going on the Russian side.

A few examples: Russian troops transferred a fresh tactical group (up to 20 tanks, 10 ACVs, and 200 personnel) to the vicinity of Lohvynove.

The Russians continued transferring reinforcements to the Shyrokyne village area, trying to “isolate” the offensive by Ukrainian units along the stretch of Shyrokyne – Sakhanka. The transfer of an infantry formation from the vicinity of Bezimenne has been observed ­– over 100 people, 5 armored vehicles and up to 20 motor vehicles.

Another convoy (about 5 transport units) with wounded soldiers (about 200 people, the majority are Russian mercenaries and soldiers) has arrived to the settlement of Krasnyi Luch. The majority of mercenaries are the recruits of Russian intelligence services –Russian citizens who had no previous experience in the military.

Un update: The Russian’s is most active in shelling in the direction of Debaltseve. In particular, from 12:00 am to 3:00 pm EEST 42 fire strikes have been recorded in this area:

  • 16 – mortar strikes (in the vicinity of Zolote, Chornukhyne, Luhansk, Kamyanka, Debaltseve, Olkhovatka, Hirske);
  • 4 – assaults from small arms and grenade launchers (in the areas of Sanzharivka, Chornukhyne);
  • 11 – strikes from cannon artillery (Popasna, Zolote, Chornukhyne, Sanzharivka, Nyzhnje Lozove, Debaltseve, Mius – artillery shelling lasted for 3 hours and 35 minutes – Luhanske);
  • 5 – tank fire strikes (Chornukhyne, Debaltseve);
  • 6 – MLRS fire strikes (Debaltseve, Chornukhyne, Sanzharivka).

In addition, the Russian’s has carried out four attempts at an offensive during that time in the direction of Debaltseve, attacking the positions of Ukrainian troops near the settlement of Chornukhyne.

In addition, 2 fire strikes at civilian objects by ‘DNR’ insurgents and Russian mercenaries were recorded in Donetsk (8:25 am and 3:10 pm EEST – mortar attacks on city blocks). Also, ‘DNR’ mercenaries attacked civilian targets in Popasna at 12:15 am EEST from MLRS. In all three instances, the fire strikes took place in the areas where there are no [firing] positions of Ukrainian troops.

Yeap, the same old same old “ceasefire”. First the one on September 5 2014 and now the Minsk 2 from February 11.

Little Green Men

Military-personnel-believed-to-be-Russian-servicemen-walk-outside-the-territory-of-a-Ukrainian-military-unit-in-the

42 attacks in three hours just in the Debaltseve area. That’s international diplomacy and peacekeeping for you. Angela Merkel and François Hollande can be REALLY PROUD of their “ACIVMENT”.

This is just a very small sample of what has been going on day in and day out for the last 9 months. Here in Europe. The continent of “peace”.

And most of the western so called “leaders” again and again throughout history with disturbing and catastrophic regularity pretend that nothing is going on. Nothing to see, nothing to do, move on.

Because if you pretend hard enough that the really bad things that are happening here and now, is not happening; then you can pretend that everything is “OK”. And then you don’t need to do anything that “disturbs the peace” and the mind of your population with unpopular and hard decisions. At least long enough so someone else has to take care of the mess.

The problem with that of course, as history has proven so many times, is that the longer you wait to deal with a serious problem, the harder and costlier it is going to be to “solve it”. And if you wait long enough it becomes “unsolvable”.

Syria is an excellent case in point.

That is a formula that here in Europe has led to two world wars, the cold war, internal civil wars, total political oppression, censorship, massive and total surveillance of the population, concentration and GULAG camps, slave labor, organized and state supported mass killings, ethnic cleansing on massive scale, massive deportations, euthanasia programs, the master race, blood purity, the New Soviet man, enemies of the people etc.

And we “exported” these ideologies to the rest of the world.

All this in just the last hundred years.

Yeap, we have a lot of things in Europe to be “proud of”.

To make some more points about recent events I leave it to the “locals” east Europeans to explain. They have survived occupation and deportations by Nazi Germany and they have survived occupation and deportations by Soviet Union. So I think they learned a few things:

ATO

(My bold and underline)

From a Munich in Moscow to a Munich in Minsk — How Europe has Come to Putin’s Aid
http://www.interpretermag.com/from-a-munich-in-moscow-to-a-munich-in-minsk-how-europe-has-come-to-putins-aid/

Paul Goble February 13, 2015

In the 1930s, Hitler pursued a simple policy: he simply said one thing and did another. Putin has innovated: he not only lies but uses forces to do his bidding for which no one holds him responsible and thus has the chance to be accepted by some in the West as a “responsible” statesman while continuing his aggression in Ukraine.

Thus, the most important news from Minsk is not that there has been an agreement between the Kremlin leader, the German chancellor, the French president and the Ukrainian president on most of the aspects of a ceasefire but rather that the leaders of the undeclared “peoples republics” are refusing to go along.

Citing “an informed source,” TASS is reporting today that the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples Republics have refused to sign the document “agreed upon by ‘the Normandy quartet,’” thus in one sentence presenting Putin in a way the West will like and showing that what he has signed will have no impact on what he continues to do.
That is just one of the important conclusions about the Minsk meeting suggested by Andrey Piontkovsky who points out in a commentary today that “the very fact of its having taken place is much more important than the little pieces of paper which [these leaders] will sign or not sign”.

The Minsk meeting which follows on the Moscow meeting between Putin, on the one hand, and Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande, on the other, reflects a significant change in the way the West is dealing with Putin over all issues and is showing up the Kremlin leader’s position at home, the thing he cares most about.

At the time of the Brisbane summit, Western leaders were demonstratively isolating someone who was invading Ukraine and otherwise violating the international rules of the game. According to Piontkovsky, that threatened Putin’s standing with precisely those on whom his survival depends.

“The power of the dictator depends on the unqualified subordination to him of two or three dozen people: senior civilian, police, media and military officials,” he writes. And these people are completely behind Putin as long as he could guarantee them wealth based on stealing from Russians at home, the ability to keep the results of their theft in the West, and “a sweet life there for several generations of their descendants.”

Russians firing at Debaltseve.

Russian offensive at Debaltseve. Posted by an insurgent from Kazan2

After Brisbane, it began to look as if he no longer could provide such guarantees, and they began to question their support. But Putin responded with a clever campaign in which he caused the leaders of Europe to change their approach and thus restore his unchallenged authority at home with precisely those on whom his dictatorship depends.

Putin’s response took the form of suggesting that Moscow was prepared to use nuclear weapons if the West armed Ukraine, a campaign that has its roots in the words of Dmitry Trenin, the former GRU officer who heads the Moscow Carnegie Center, first in 2009 and most recently in an interview to a British newspaper.

That sparked fear in Europe that Putin might in fact use nuclear weapons, split Europe from the United States with regard to Ukraine, and led both Merkel and Hollande to “walkd to Canossa” first in Moscow and now in Minsk, a dramatic shift that convinced those around Putin that the Europeans are so afraid of Russia that they won’t do anything to oppose its actions.

This nuclear “blackmail” has been “at many levels, taken many forms and been creative,” Piontkovsky says. It has made use of the North Koreans, Rogozin, Ivanov, Shoygu and others. And most recently, it has taken the form of a Russian TV spot showing Russian tanks “visiting” the capitals of Europe on Victory Day.

And Putin’s propaganda ploy has worked. The day after US President Barack Obama’s nominee to be defense secretary said the US would increase military assistance Ukraine, including possibly lethal arms, Chancellor Merkel announced that “Germany does not intend to sell arms to Ukraine since it considers that the conflict does not have a military solution and that diplomatic efforts must continue.”

She certainly had read Dmitry Trenin in the Financial Times and heard the warnings of German analyst Alexander Rahr, and she drew exactly the conclusion that Putin hoped for: The Americans are engaged in a reckless policy and Russia might respond with “tactical nuclear weapons,” something that would affect Europe but not the Americans “beyond the ocean.”

Consequently, she and Hollande rushed to Moscow and then to Minsk, allowing Putin to put on the show of being interested in peace even though his agents show that he is not and thus taking exactly the steps that shore up his dictatorship rather than weakening it and leading Moscow to change its dangerous course of aggression.”

Russian tanks destroyed near Debaltseve

 

Russian tanks destroyed near Debaltseve

Minsk ‘Worse than Munich,’ Landsbergis Says

http://ru.delfi.lt/news/politics/landsbergis-eto-huzhe-chem-myunhen.d?id=67161678
English translation here:
http://en.delfi.lt/central-eastern-europe/vytautas-landsbergis-on-minsk-agreement-it-is-worse-than-munich.d?id=67166812
http://www.interpretermag.com/minsk-worse-than-munich-landsbergis-says/

Vytautas Landsbergis, Lithuania’s first post-Soviet leader and honorary chairman of the conservative Homeland Union, says that the Minks agreement for ceasefire between Kiev’s forces and Moscow-supported separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine, which was signed on Thursday, is worse than the Munich agreement of 1938.

The conference in 1938 has come to symbolize Western impotence after Great Britain and France tried to appease Adolf Hitler by giving him Sudetenland, which led to occupation of Czechoslovakia and, eventually, World War Two.

”In that Munich conference, there probably weren’t any Sudeten SS men speaking in the name of the nation and demanding to carve up Czecholsovakia. At least they were not sitting at the table. And these [Ukraine’s separatist fighters] did,” Landsbergis said on Thursday, after presenting his new book in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania.

The politician noted that the Minsk talks on the future of Ukraine gave word not just to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande, Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, but also to self-appointed leaders of the separatist-held regions, Igor Plotnitsky and Alexander Zakharchenko.

Words of defeat

The Minsk agreement demands the withdrawal of heavy military equipment behind a 50-kilometre demilitarized zone. Kiev has pledged to implement a constitutional reform, delegate self-government powers to the separatist regions and resume payments.

As you read through it [the agreement], you are aghast – why do they have to give up everything? Everything. Give territory, recognize these bandits as leaders who get invited to the table and allowed to sign documents. Why give this legitimization to Putin’s mercenaries?” Landsbergis wonders, adding that the same line was agreed on in ceasefire talks on 19 September 2014.

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, asked to comment on the constitutional reform outlined in the agreement, noted that it would involve decentralization, not federalization. Landsbergis thinks, however, that these are words of the defeated party.

The situation on February 15

15-02_eng

These are talks of the defeated. First, the mercenaries should not have been allowed to sit in the talks. If countries negotiate and Russia is dictating the kind of constitutional reform they should have, then one can ask – where is your own constitutional reform, when are you starting to respect your constitution, Mr. Putin? Otherwise, shut up and don’t tell us about the constitution. We are a democratic country with a popularly elected parliament. I am an elected president, Poroshenko could say. Whereas you appointed yourself,” Landsbergis says.

He adds he is disappointed with German Chancellor Merkel, who, he says, believed Putin’s ”puppet theatre”. This is how he sees Merkel’s statements that Putin had exerted pressure on the separatists to sign the agreement.

She accepted the puppet theatre. What they did in the end was a puppet show. Perhaps everything followed stage instructions. Putin allegedly demands something of his groupies and they do not listen. He must put his fist down and they insist they will still be able to refuse. All sane people should realize this was but a silly show, but they take it seriously. Why sink to such a low level?” Landsbergis is indignant.

The Kremlin says boko haram

During Thursday’s event at the Foreign Ministry, where Landsbergis presented his new book on 13 January 1991 events to foreign ambassadors, he insisted that Western powers should arm Ukraine.

I still believe that the Ukrainians could be armed against Russian tanks. Otherwise it means that Ukraine has been sold out. It’s worse than Munich. We should discuss Munich today,” Landsbergis told the audience.

The Lithuanian politician, who led Lithuania’s own liberation from the USSR efforts in the late 1980s and early 1990s, has said that Russia is telling blatant lies, which are nonetheless accepted as something worth discussing. ”This way, everything becomes partly true, partly false, but in fact it is utterly false, because it is a purposefully designed lie aimed at influencing our judgement. It is war on thinking,” he said.

Landsbergis believes that there have been only a few moments when Russian leaders were told the truth. Once, US Secretary of State John Kerry told Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that he couldn’t listen any more of what the latter was saying.

”Only one person, as far as I know from the media, Secretary of State John Kerry told Lavrov: It’s impossible to listen to you, Mr. Lavrov. It was reported, though I wasn’t there and no one recorded it. But it was reported that Kerry couldn’t listen to what the Russians were saying. In normal parlance that means: Go to hell, liar,” according to Landsbergis.

President Barack Obama, too, once said he had nothing to talk about with Putin. However, they [Russians] manage to force Western leaders into talking not just with them, but also with the bandits from Donetsk,” he added.

According to Landsbergis, Russia has declared war on the Western civilization.
”West is the enemy. The Kremlin said so. In Arabic, that translates to boko haram. That’s the Kremlin’s slogan, boko haram.”

Boko Haram is the name of a terrorist Islamist movement based in northeast Nigeria. The name in Arabic means ”Western education is forbidden”.

”However, Western leaders have their excuse: we do not want war. But war is on, lady. Yet she sees nothing wrong in Ukrainians being killed,” Landsbergis said. He insisted that Western Europeans were not unaffected by the conflict, reminding that the Russian-supported separatists downed a passenger plain over eastern Ukraine, killing 298 people, mostly from the Netherlands.

It did not crash, it was shot down, with all the people inside, it fell down 10 kilometres while people were still alive,” Landsbergis said.”

Russian tanks destroyed near Debaltseve

Russian tanks destroyed near Debaltseve 2

Putin’s Incredibly Shrinking Russian World – Why He Insisted on Minsk for Talks

BEMS – and there’s an old woman
http://charter97.org/ru/news/2015/2/13/139451/
http://www.interpretermag.com/putins-incredibly-shrinking-russian-world-why-he-insisted-on-minsk-for-talks/

Staunton, February 14 – Despite his success in intimidating some European governments into inaction or even willingness to come to terms with the results of his aggression, Vladimir Putin in fact is having to cope with an ever-shrinking Russia world as his insistence on Minsk as a venue for talks about Ukraine shows.

Indeed, had European leaders understood that the Kremlin leader could hardly tolerate talks anywhere else, they would have been in a far better position to make more demands not only of Putin concerning Ukraine but also of Alyaksandr Lukashenka, their official “host” in the Minsk talks.

In a comment for the Charter 97 web site, Iryna Khalip, a Belarusian journalist who writes regularly for Moscow’s Novaya Gazeta, says that Putin needed his meeting with the German chancellor and the French president to be in Minsk “and not in any other place in the world” for three reasons.

First of all, she says, Putin chose Belarus because it is one of the few places outside of Russia where he feels himself to be “the master.” That is not the case in Kazakhstan, and the Kremlin leader isn’t inclined to travel beyond the borders of his Eurasian Economic Community whose rulers defer to him most of the time.

Second, Belarus was about the only place where the Donbass separatists “could feel themselves safe” and where they would “not only not be arrested but would be able to sit at one table with the adults.” That gave them the status Putin wanted them to have, and just their being at the same talks was “sufficient” for his purposes.

And third, “by insisting on Minsk as the site of the meeting, Vladimir Putin reduced to nil all the declarations of the leaders of the EU countries made after the mass arrests” in Belarus in December 2010. At that time, they said that any high level contacts between the EU and Belarus were impossible.

Despite those declarations, Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande came to Minsk, where they were hosted by the author of those arrests, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, and said nothing about the freezing of former presidential candidate Mikola Statkevich or anyone else. He remains in prison. Had the Europeans insisted, Putin would have convinced Lukashenka to release him.

Russian tanks destroyed near Debaltseve

Defeat of a Russian-terrorist troop tank group near Debaltseve 5

Khalip then addresses the larger problems of this venue as a summit. Summit meetings, she points out, are not occasions for negotiations but rather “the last stage” in such a process. But Merkel and Hollande acted otherwise and that gave Putin the opportunity to “wrap them around his little finger” and get what he wanted out of the session without yielding anything in return.

“The difference between Merkel and Hollande, on the one hand, and Putin and Lukashenka on the other is that the latter two not once for many years has kept his word,” Khalip writes. The Europeans are accustomed to the idea that promises will be kept, while Putin and Lukashenka assume that promises are made for anything but that.

And the Europeans, or at least Merkel and Hollande, suffer from another problem as well: they can’t afford to take part in a meeting after which they would have to say to their electors at home: “forgive us, we weren’t able” to reach an agreement. That means they need to know going into a meeting what will be agreed to or they will be manipulated.

This need also means that the Europeans do not always understand what the meeting is about or what the other side wants. Putin knew what he wanted at Minsk and it was not about the Donbass. He had much bigger goals in mind, including the end of sanctions, an end to his isolation, and a reaffirmation of his role in Belarus.

Europe in these negotiations thus demonstrated all its weaknesses,” Khalip says, including its “complete inability to defend itself, its lack of a strategy toward the Russia of today, its indifference to the territories of others,” and its willingness to pay off bandits like Putin and Lukashenka in order to continue to live quietly until they make new threats and new demands.”

The village of Nikishyne

Nikishyne, Debaltseve region

Germany and France ‘Sacrificed Ukraine’ for National Economic Interests, European Parliament Vice President Says

http://kontrakty.ua/article/84676
http://www.interpretermag.com/germany-and-france-sacrificed-ukraine-for-national-economic-interests-european-parliament-vice-president-says/
“In what Vladimir Putin may see as an additional benefit and others as collateral damage, the Minsk accords have deepened splits within the European Union, with European Parliament Vice President Ryszard Czarnecki saying that the German and French leaders “sacrificed” Ukraine at Munich for the economic interests of their own countries.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, “without the participation of the EU and promoting the economic interests of their own countries, have sacrificed Ukraine,” Czarnecki says, legitimating Russia’s “achievements” and creating a world more beneficial to Moscow than to Kyiv.

In other comments, the Polish and European politician says that it is unfortunately the case that some European countries “would like to have peace at any price,” something they may have achieved in the short run by their concessions at Minsk but not something that is likely to last for long.

On the one hand, Czarnecki says, the pro-Moscow militants in southeastern Ukraine with continuing Russian backing are likely to try to seize even more territory and undermine Ukrainian statehood. And on the other, Kyiv will have no choice but to try to block them whatever the Minsk accords say.

By insisting on the negotiating arrangements in Minsk, Putin not only excluded the US, legitimated his agents in Ukraine, but has divided Europe still further, an amazing Russian achievement but one that the leaders of Germany and France in large measure facilitated, something that Ukrainians and all people of good will should never forget.”

Donetsk airport from drone

donetsk-airport-from-drone

‘What Can Ukraine Expect from the West Now?’ Former GULAG Inmate Asks Bitterly

This is a statement from Myroslav Marynovich, founder of Amnesty International Ukraine, a founding member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, and President of the Ukrainian PEN Club. He was arrested on April 23 1977 and he was sentenced to seven years’ hard labour and five years in exile. The same year Amnesty International adopted him as a prisoner of conscience. He spent a decade in the Soviet GULAG camps in Kazakhstan, and he has issued the statement below about how Ukrainians feel about what is happening to them now.

http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.ch/2015/02/what-can-ukraine-expect-from-west-now.html

“What can Ukraine expect from the West now?

I write to you as a former prisoner of conscience of the Brezhnev era. All other titles are rapidly losing sense in the light of the bleeding Ukrainian Maidan.

All my life I admired Western civilization as the realm of values. Now I am close to rephrasing Byron’s words: “Frailty, thy name is Europe!” The strength of bitterness here is matched by the strength of our love for Europe.

If it still concerns anybody in decision-making circles, I may answer the question in the title.

First and foremost, stop “expressing deep concern”. All protestors on the Maidan have an allergy to this by now in these circumstances senseless phrase, while all gangsters in the Ukrainian governmental gang enjoy mocking the helplessness of the EU.

Take sanctions. Don’t waste time in searching for their Achilles’ heel: it is the money deposited in your banks. Execute your own laws and stop money laundering. The Europe we want to be part of can never degrade the absolute value of human lives in favor of an absolute importance of money.

Also cancel Western visas for all governmental gangsters and their families. It is a scandal that ordinary Ukrainians living their simple lives have to provide their ancestors’ family trees to obtain a visa while ruling criminals guilty of murder, “disappearances”, and fraud in the eyes of the whole world enjoy virtually free-entry status in Europe.

(Captured Ukrainian soldiers bounded and executed at Donetsk Airport

You can see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWxiF3qS2tY&feature=youtu.be&t=18s)

dead & bound Ukraine soldiers at Donetsk airport

 

Do not listen to Yanukovych’s and Putin’s propagandistic sirens. Just put cotton in your ears. Be able to decode their lie; otherwise they will decode your ability to defend yourself.

Instead, listen to Ukrainian media sacrificing their journalists’ lives to get truthful information.

Do not rely so much upon the information provided by your special correspondents in other countries who come to Ukraine for a day or two. Hire Ukrainians who live in this country to translate the Ukrainian cry of pain. Secure money for that right now instead of waiting for funds from next year’s budget.

Come to Ukrainian hospitals and talk to so-called “extremists” who want to “subvert the legitimately elected government,” those who have “cruelly beaten” policemen and “deliberately” blasted explosives to wound themselves.

Yes, the face of war is cruel. But, arriving at the Maidan, these people repeated almost literally what King George VI said to his people on the 3 September 1939: “We have been forced into a conflict, for we are called… to meet the challenge of a principle which, if it were to prevail, would be fatal to any civilized order in the world.”

Go out of your zone of comfort! Just recall the coddled ancient Romans who refused to do that in time. Cajoling Putin won’t bring you security. Letting him take control over Ukraine could make the world peace even more vulnerable. A Ukraine divided by force won’t bring the world peace, just as a Poland and Germany divided by force didn’t bring peace to the world.

Let us conclude in solidarity with the King and the Ukrainian people: “The task will be hard. There may be dark days ahead, and war can no longer be confined to the battlefield, but we can only do the right as we see the right, and reverently commit our cause to God. If one and all we keep resolutely faithful to it, ready for whatever service or sacrifice it may demand, then with God’s help, we shall prevail.”

Russians firing at Debaltseve.

Russian offensive at Debaltseve. Posted by an insurgent from Kazan

And to sum up the Russian mood: Russian TV says how Russia will capture Europe by May 9

Russian propagandists dream about holding the May 9 parade in Europe.
A story of a Russian TV channel on February 10 was posted on the Internet. It tells that Russian troops can reach Warsaw within 24 hours and then “visit” Berlin, Prague, Vilnius, Tallinn, Riga and, finally, London.

Вата ТВ: O планах броска России в Европу

I think I stop here, for now.

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How the Assad regime with the help of Russia, Iran, China and Hezbollah transformed peaceful protester to fighters

16 augusti, 2012

Our mistake was to ever believe there could be peaceful change in this country,” he said. ”We wasted time and sacrificed many lives trying to be peaceful. We should have just gone straight to an armed uprising.”

By taking such extreme steps against the moderate opposition the regime is pushing all of its opponents to join the armed rebellion; the regime is making it clear there is no place for the peaceful activists,” said a Syrian political analyst.”

”The cases of Mazen Darwish, Kifah Ali Deeb and Rami Hinawi show very plainly the regime is not fighting militant Islamists but is actually at war with any advocates of real reform in this country, even those who insist on peaceful methods.”

There are no more peaceful demonstrations, there’s no point, we’re not able to move a single metre before the security forces and army start shooting at us,” he says.”

“Liberal, secular, often well educated members of the opposition say their influence over the uprising has been undermined, both through widespread use of indiscriminate violence by the authorities and mass arrests of peaceful dissidents, taking them out of circulation and leaving the field open to more radical groups.”

Here in a nutshell is the description how a brutal dictator transformed peaceful protesters, who only wanted some freedom, to fighters.

In ALL of this, the Assad regime was helped by Russia, Iran, China and Hezbollah. With training, advisors and guidance, troops, snipers, material, spare parts, maintenance, weapons, ammunition, intelligence, money, political backing on ALL levels etc.

In ALL of this, the Assad regime was ALSO helped by USA, EU, UN, Turkey, and The Arab League who did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING during 12 months but talked and had meetings. And then they only sent “observers” who dutifully observed the slaughter and massacres taking place, day in day out .

And ALL the TIME the death toll of civilians keep rising, First it was a 1000, then 5000, then 10 000, then 15 000, then 20 000, and now 23 000.

Massacre after Massacre.

Torture, Slaughter, Summarily Executions and Rape.

A systematic assault on human dignity and civilian lives and freedom on a colossal scale.

Day in Day out.

And the TOTAL destruction of block after block, neighbourhood after neighbourhood in countless cities and villages. Using, aside from bombs and howitzers, tanks, rockets etc., the Russian 240mm F-864 high explosive mortar bomb to “fight” against these unarmed civilians.

The world’s largest high explosive mortar bomb designed to “demolish fortifications and fieldworks” according to a Russian arms merchandizing catalogue. It weighs 130 kilograms and contains 31.93 kilograms of TNT as an explosive charge.

This weapon system is notable for its capability to conduct a “plunging attack,” in which the munition is fired at a high angle and comes down nearly perpendicular to penetrate a building or fortification.

This is the same weapon that Russia used to destroy Grozny in 1994-96. And now they have passed on these “skills” to the Syrians.

By the way, the use of such weapons in dense urban environments is a war crime.

Here is just one small example from Friday August 10 of Cities and Towns under shelling and destruction by the Assad regime. And the list is not complete:

Harasta, Arbeen, Moadamiah, Harran Al-Awameed, Deir Al-Asafeer, Ain Terma, Zabadani, Madaya, Eltal, Dmeir, Hameh, Yelda, Rankous, Qarrah (Damascus Suburbs), Sit Zeinab, Al-Qadam, Midan, Tadamon, Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Yarmouk, Kafar Sousseh, Mazzeh, Qaboun, Barzeh, Salhiyeh, Ruknaddine, Dafelshawk (Damascus City), Daraa City, Khirbet Al-Ghazaleh, Tafas, Bostra Al-Sham, Na’eemah, Mseifrah, Jimreen, Hraak , Saida, Tal Shihab (Daraa), Rastan, Talbisseh, Houla, Tal Kalakh, Al-Qusayr, Al-Hosn, Al-Ghanto, Al-Bouaydah, Old Homs (Homs Province), Hreitan, Elbab, Eizaz, Marei, Bayanoun (Aleppo Province), Haffeh, Jabal Al-Akrad (Lattakia), Deir Ezzor City, Mouhassan, Albou Kamal (Deir Ezzor Province), Kafar Zeiteh, Hawash, Shahshabo, Hama City (Hama Province), Jabal Al-Zawiyeh, Ma’rrat Al-Nouman, Saraqib, Maar Shoureen, Ariha, Kafroumah, Al-Rami, Khan Shaikhoon (Idlib).

An other example from yesterday August 15 when the “brave and courageous” pilots of Assads Air Force bombed a residential area in Azaz and obliterated a whole block:

The report here including video:

Syria: Fighter Jet Bombing Kills Over 40 Civilians

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/08/16/syria-fighter-jet-bombing-kills-over-40-civilians

“(Azaz) – A Syrian government fighter jet bombed a residential neighborhood, killing more than 40 civilians and wounding at least 100 others in the town of Azaz, including many women and children, Human Rights Watch said today after visiting the town.  In the attack on August 15, 2012, at least two bombs destroyed an entire block of houses in the al-Hara al-Kablie neighborhood of Azaz, in Syria’s northern Aleppo province.

Human Rights Watch investigated the site of the bombing two hours after the attack and interviewed witnesses, victims, medical personnel, and relatives of those killed.

This horrific attack killed and wounded scores of civilians and destroyed a whole residential block,” said Anna Neistat, acting emergencies director at Human Rights Watch.  “Yet again, Syrian government forces attacked with callous disregard for civilian life.”

What is left of the al-Hara al-Kablie neighborhood of Azaz after the bombing – NOTHING!

An another brave effort by Assads Air Force – They bombed the hospital in Aleppo

Syria: Fighter Planes Strike Aleppo Hospital

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/08/15/syria-fighter-planes-strike-aleppo-hospital

(Aleppo) – Syrian government fighter planes fired rockets that struck the main emergency hospital in an opposition-controlled area of Aleppo on August 14, 2012, wounding two civilians and causing significant damage, Human Rights Watch said today after visiting the damaged hospital.

A rocket attack by government aircraft on the hospital two days earlier, on August 12, apparently killed four civilians and wounded three, Human Rights Watch said.

Fighter jet attacks on a hospital twice in three days indicate that this was no accident,” said Ole Solvang, emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch. “By firing rockets at a clearly marked hospital, the government shows blatant disregard for civilian lives.”

Dar al Shifaa Hospital in Aleppo after the attack

And by the way, these airplanes are provide by Russia, the pilots trained by Russia, the ammunition supplied by Russia, spare parts and maintenance done by Russia, air control and directions done by Russia, intelligence supplied by Russia etc.

Russian ammunition boxes used by the Assad army in Aleppo

They are SOOO HELPFUL these Russians wouldn’t you say?

And ALL of these politicians, governments, international organisations did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING during these 18 months but observed and talked and had meetings.

I say only one thing: You should be REALLY BE PROUD of yourselves and the children of Syria will remember you. Each one of you.

To the children of Syria!

See my previous post Russia’s solution for Syria – More Carpet Bombing and Total Destruction for links to my previous 18 posts on the situation in Syria.

The National hospital in Homs destroyed by Assad forces

Syria‘s youth found peaceful protest ‘became irrelevant’

http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/syrias-youth-found-peaceful-protest-became-irrelevant

Phil Sands

”DAMASCUS // No great soul-searching accompanied his transformation from peaceful demonstrator to rebel with the Free Syrian Army; it is a path many of his friends had already taken.

Arrested for protesting in the Damascus suburb of Dummar, Mohammed, 23, spent two months in an overcrowded military intelligence detention cell, and was released without charge to find demonstrations had been superseded by armed conflict.

”I wasn’t thinking about taking up a weapon and fighting the regime when I left prison,” he says.

”I went straight out to protest and saw the other opposition people in Dummar were now carrying rifles and I realised I had to do the same.”

Since the start of the Syrian uprising, Mohammed had been part of the Local Coordination Committees, a network of activists organising peaceful demonstrations and tracking civilian deaths.

While the LCCs are still operating and peaceful demonstrations do still take place, Mohammed and other rebels in Damascus say circumstances have rendered the unarmed protests irrelevant.

There are no more peaceful demonstrations, there’s no point, we’re not able to move a single metre before the security forces and army start shooting at us,” he says.

(The hospital in Qusier, Homs. destroyed by Assad forces. The sign reads – Smoking is Forbidden in The Patients Room)

Not all of those involved in the grassroots opposition movement agree, but a broad range of activists concede that those advocating peaceful revolt have been squeezed out by the demands of war.

Liberal, secular, often well educated members of the opposition say their influence over the uprising has been undermined, both through widespread use of indiscriminate violence by the authorities and mass arrests of peaceful dissidents, taking them out of circulation and leaving the field open to more radical groups.

On Sunday two prominent grassroots activists, Kifah Ali Deeb and Rami Hinawi, were detained by a Popular Committee – a pro-government armed militia – in their home neighbourhood of Sahnaya, south of Damascus.

Ms Deeb, an artist and author of children’s books, sits on the governing board of the opposition National Coordination Committees, a political bloc that has called for non-violent democratic change in Syria.

The NCC has been at odds with other opposition factions, including the exiled Syrian National Council, which has called for foreign military intervention to aid rebels.

Ms Deeb, 30, is a member of the Alawite sect, which forms the nucleus of Bashar Al Assad’s regime and dominates ultra-loyalist branches of the security forces and military.

Mr Hinawi, 33, who has long campaigned peacefully for democratic reforms alongside Ms Deeb, is a Druze.

Both are believed to be in the hands of air force intelligence, the most feared branch of the Syrian security forces, although, as with other detentions, no information has been released by the authorities in connection with the detentions.

Sectarian politics are complex in Syria but one of the key arguments made by supporters of Mr Al Assad is that his regime is all that protects Christian, Druze, Alawite and other minority groups from annihilation at the hands of the Sunni majority.

That has brought even sharper focus on members of those minorities who stand with the opposition, rather than the authorities.

                           (Ramadan in Aleppo)

Another influential advocate of a peaceful uprising in Syria, Mazen Darwish, also an Alawite, has been held by air force security for six months.

Although a civilian, he is facing prosecution in a military court usually reserved for army officers. There is no chance of appeal and no defence lawyer, proceedings are secret and the military judge can choose to issue a death sentence.

The human rights lawyer Anwar Al Bunni, a regular fixture at the Damascus courts of justice, said Mr Darwish and thousands of others facing special military courts had been thrown into a black hole, outside of Syria’s regular – and highly flawed – legal system.

”They have had all of their basic rights taken from them, we know nothing about their situation, all the files are kept secret. We are not even allowed to know the names of all of those facing military trials,” he said.

It emerged that Mr Darwish is facing a military court only when a judge summoned him to appear as a witness in another case, and air force security said they would not permit him to do so because he was being held for military trial.

Syrian officials do not talk about court cases but the authorities have long insisted they act in accordance with national laws and have dismissed evidence of widespread torture of detainees that has been compiled by the United Nations and rights monitors.

The use of draconian measures against advocates of non-violence has only accelerated the slide into an increasingly brutal conflict, one that rights monitors say has already killed upwards of 20,000 people, a majority of them civilians.

By taking such extreme steps against the moderate opposition the regime is pushing all of its opponents to join the armed rebellion; the regime is making it clear there is no place for the peaceful activists,” said a Syrian political analyst.

”The cases of Mazen Darwish, Kifah Ali Deeb and Rami Hinawi show very plainly the regime is not fighting militant Islamists but is actually at war with any advocates of real reform in this country, even those who insist on peaceful methods.”

In Dummar, Mohammed admits he has little idea of how to wage war as a guerrilla, never having been in the army or taught how to fire a weapon.

A shortage of arms and ammunition among rebels in Damascus means he is used as a runner to convey messages between fighters when they are in action.

Nevertheless, he believes that is a more productive way of trying to overthrow the Syrian regime than stinging street protests.

Our mistake was to ever believe there could be peaceful change in this country,” he said. ”We wasted time and sacrificed many lives trying to be peaceful. We should have just gone straight to an armed uprising.”

Hezbollah Mercenaries fighting for Assad in front of the Citadel in Aleppo

LEAKED VIDEO – Inside a helicopter gunship over Syria used to bomb and kill civilians in cities

(These videos where taken by Assad troops themselves to show how “good” they are at killing civilians, as trophies, to prove their loyalty etc. etc.)

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Russia’s solution for Syria – More Carpet Bombing and Total Destruction

29 juli, 2012

Just a quick comment of the accelerated slaughter going on in Syria. And Russia’s continued role as the main weapons, ammunition, economic, personal, training, intelligence, diplomatic etc provider and support for Assad.

Here is what captain Konstantin Sivkov, a former strategist for the Russian General Staff between 1995 and 2007, now the first vice-president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, Doctor of Military Sciences, concluded after a “visit” in May and talks with the Assad’s gang:

http://world.time.com/2012/07/26/russia-and-syrias-assad-the-end-of-the-affair/

Sivkov was surprised, he says, with how “gentle” Assad has been in crushing the revolution. “Believe me, some of our guys have told Bashar to adopt much harsher methods, carpet bombing, total destruction,” Sivkov told TIME after returning to Moscow. “If that approach was chosen in Syria, there would be no rebels left after one week, and everyone would be happy.”

Yeah, that’s the Russian way – Total destruction and Carpet bombings of civilians. After all, they have a long experience in Afghanistan, Chechnya etc. And they taught their Syrian pupils well.

Here are just some pictures of the according to Russia “to gentle” Assad treatment of civilians in cities.

In this case from Homs, a major industrial center, and with a population of at least 652,609 people according to the 2004 census:

This is the guy who also told Izvestiya on March 22 this year regarding project 949A, were Antei nuclear-powered submarines will be completed and modernized and armed with new cruise missiles with range up to 1,500 km.

http://rusnavy.com/news/navy/index.php?ELEMENT_ID=14659

“In particular, the newspaper cites Capt 1 rank (retired) Konstantin Sivkov, vice president of Geopolitics Academy saying that Antei-class subs would be equipped with Caliber missiles in order to destroy missile defense assets deployed in Europe.”

That is in plain language EU. Who have done everything possible not to “irritate” Russia and have bent over backwards every time Russia raises its eyebrow.

And this is what he said on March 25 2010 “World War III Has Already Begun”

World War III Has Already Begun

http://english.pravda.ru/world/americas/25-03-2010/112718-world_war_three-0/

http://moodle.fhs.cuni.cz/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=4137

“A resource-poor countries and people, but rich in modern technology and weapons will also want their share. From this perspective, Russia has become the primary objective of aggression.”

“The only limiting factor at this moment is Russia’s nuclear arsenal. According to the experts they predicted that the West will attempt to remove the Russian nuclear shield. “

Yeah, these as always helpful and peaceful Russians.

This is the country, and the persons, that the Obama administration had a “reset” with and has given de facto veto power of the US foreign policy.

Here are my previous posts on Syria:

My first series:

Part 1 – Introduction

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 1

Part 2 – Reports

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 2

Part 3 – Russia

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 3

Part 4 – Iran

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 4

Part 5 – China

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 5

Part 6 – Turkey

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 6

Part 7 – Arab League

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 7

Part 8 – EU and NATO

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 8

Part 9 – UN and Kofi Annan

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 9

Part 10 – US and the Obama administartion

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 10

Part 11 – Paul Conroy and the targeting and killing of journalists

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 11

My second series:

It is now nearly one month since I finished my 11 parts series of background on what is going on in Syria (Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs  Part 1-11). So I thought it would be appropriate to give an update of what has happened or not happened since then. And here are some more updates.

The Houla Massacre and the Assad thugs

The Slaughter in Syria and the countries that make it possible – 1

Russia, Iran and China

The Slaughter in Syria and the countries that make it possible – 2

Turkey and EU

The Slaughter in Syria and the countries that make it possible – 3

NATO and UN

The Slaughter in Syria and the countries that make it possible – 4

USA and the Obama Administration

The Slaughter in Syria and the countries that make it possible – 5

What Does the Syrian Opposition Believe, The Shabiha and the armed opposition

The Slaughter in Syria and the countries that make it possible – 6

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The Slaughter in Syria and the countries that make it possible – 1

4 juni, 2012

It is now nearly one month since I finished my 11 parts series of background on what is going on in Syria (Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs  Part 1-11). So I thought it would be appropriate to give an update of what has happened or not happened since then.

And surprise, surprise – NOTHING HAS CHANGED. The same old same old.

The barbaric slaughter of civilians, including children continues unabated. While’s the rest of the world talks, make statements, have meetings etc. 

And yet Assad hangs on, slaughtering his own people, destroying and despoiling whole neighbourhoods, calling the bluff of the Arab League, Turkey, UN, USA and EU/NATO.

Helped to a very large degree by the enormous material support, weapons, training, intelligence, troops, personal etc. from Russia, Iran, China and Hezbollah.

As for the do nothing as usual UN, it “proudly” upholds its tradition of doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING when it really maters, like Rwanda, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Darfur, Bosnia (Srebrenica anyone?) etc.

And this is the UN that wants to be a “world government” and a words power.

So very shortly, here are some observations.

First the Houla Massacre:

Click on the satellite image and it gets bigger

These Assad Thugs are some of the people responsible for the Houla Massacre where 49 children were literally slaughtered one by one:

“Supervisor: Brigadier General Mohammad Anis, serving in the role of Deputy Commander of the 67th Brigade, Commander of Tank Battalion 11.

Implementer: Staff Colonel Ali Khalouf, head of Reconnaissance Brigade #67, Tank Battalion. He also looted homes and stole personal property. He personally raped the wife of a Colonel who was killed by internal security in Taldo.

Colonel Habib Mohammed, Battalion Tank Commander. He carried out the bombing.

Colonel Mohamed Nasr Khaddam, Commander of the Shabiha groups. He stole personal property and set fire to homes. He drives a Toyota Double Cabin pickup truck painted in camouflage colors.

Captain Tamam Rahija, platoon leader and shabih who stole houses and cars.

Lieutenant Shaher Ibrahim, a platoon leader and shabih who stole cars and robbed houses.

Lieutenant Colonel Nidal Salman, Commander of a Tank Company; responsible for the Taldo checkpoint. He robbed houses, stole cars, and raped women.

Lieutenant Colonel Ali Jahani, Company Commander and leader of secret patrols and shabiha. He is from Al-Masoudieh village inHoms.

Lieutenant Colonel Ayham Salameh, head of the Kafar Laha and Tal Dahab checkpoints. He murdered, robbed, tortured, and raped women in his office, which contains a torture chamber.”

”!HOULA MASSACRE –  THE CHILDREN HAD THEIR HANDS TIED BY ASSAD’S FORCES BEFORE THEY WERE SLAUGHTERED.

Bashar Al Assad’s forces first began shelling the town indiscriminately towards the city center. While on the outskirts of the town, where the people had no protection from the FSA, Assad’s forces moved from house to house and butchered men, women and children.”

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/middleeast/article3430302.ece?shareToken=a75e882d8c03e8c5faeb975c6ae3343b

“The children of Houla were not killed by random shelling. The UN yesterday revealed that they were murdered one by one. The militia came in the night armed with knives and guns, and the young victims were executed with a bullet to the head or a knife to the throat.

One photograph shows a cherubic baby girl, no older than 2, with a tiny gold ear-stud. She is wrapped in a white shroud. Half her skull has been hacked or blown away. A saucer of bone juts from a bloody gash in what remains of her head.

Another shows what appears to be a boy of perhaps 6 or 7. The blanket in which he is wrapped has fallen away to expose a bare white shoulder. He looks as if he is sleeping, but the back of his head has been lopped off like the top of a boiled egg. His brain lies on the blanket behind him.

A third shows a pretty young girl staring upwards, her mouth slightly open as if smiling. Above her right eye there is a large, bloody bullet hole surrounded by a mess of flesh and bone.

The pictures go on, some mercifully out of focus, most far too shocking to print in The Times though our failure to do so spares the Assad regime.

There is a baby wearing nothing but a nappy, seemingly untouched except that it lacks an arm. Another young girl wearing a blood-soaked T-shirt with the word “Baby” or “Dolly” written on it has had her jaw shot away. A man carries the body of a child with only half a head remaining.

There are children — brothers, sisters, cousins? — wearing blood-drenched shorts and T-shirts with their eyes gouged out, with their faces slashed by knives or with neat bullet holes in their torsos. One girl has had her nose and cheek sliced off. A couple of the children lying on the floor of a makeshift mortuary appear to have had their hands bound.

These are some of the 49 children killed in the Houla massacre, not by random shelling but knifed to death or shot at close range by President Assad’s Shabiha thugs. They were summarily executed, the United Nations said yesterday.

At least 108 civilians were killed in total, 34 of them women, in a slaughter of infants and innocents with few modern precedents. Only 20 of the deaths could be attributed to artillery or tank fire, Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, said.

“What is very clear is that this was an absolutely abominable event that took place in Houla, and at least a substantial part of it was summary executions of civilians, women and children. At this point it looks like entire families were shot in their houses,” he added.”

You can se the rest of the horrific pictures of the slaughtered children here:

http://storify.com/HamaEcho/houla-massacre

Syria: UN Inquiry Should Investigate Houla Killings

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/05/27/syria-un-inquiry-should-investigate-houla-killings

“An elderly woman from the Abdel Razzak family who survived the attack told Human Rights Watch:

I was in the house with my three grandsons, three granddaughters, sister-in-law, daughter, daughter in-law and cousin. [On May 25] around 6:30 p.m., before sunset, we heard gunshots. I was in a room by myself when I heard the sound of a man. He was shouting and yelling at my family. I hid behind the door. I saw another man standing outside by the entrance door and another one inside the house. They were wearing military clothes. I couldn’t see their faces. I thought they wanted to search the house. They walked in the house; I didn’t hear them break in because we never lock the doors. After three minutes, I heard all my family members screaming and yelling. The children, all aged between 10 and 14, were crying. I went down on the floor and tried to crawl so I could see what was happening. As I approached the door, I heard several gunshots. I was so terrified I couldn’t stand on my legs. I heard the soldiers leaving. I looked outside the room and saw all of my family members shot. They were shot in their bodies and their head. I was terrified to approach to see if they were alive. I kept crawling until I reached the back door. I went outside, and I ran away. I was in shock so I don’t know what happened later.”

A 10-year-old boy from the Abdel Razzak family told Human Rights Watch that he saw men wearing military clothes shoot his 13-year-old friend:

I was at home with my mother, my cousins, and my aunt. Suddenly I heard gunshots. It was the first time I heard so many gunshots. My mother grabbed me and took me to a barn to hide. I heard men screaming and shouting. I heard people crying especially women. I looked outside the window. I was peeking sometimes but I was afraid they would see me. Men wearing [uniforms] like army soldiers, green with other colors [camouflage] and white shoes, entered our house. They went outside after a couple of minutes. Then across the street I saw my friend Shafiq, 13 years old, outside standing alone. An armed man in military uniform grabbed him and put him at the corner of a house. He took his own weapon and shot him in the head. His mother and big sister – I think she was 14 years old – went outside and started shouting and crying. The same man shot at both of them more than once. Then the armed men left and the FSA soldiers came.

The boy’s mother confirmed many of the details to Human Rights Watch:

At around 6:30 – 7:00 p.m., we started hearing the sound of gunshots. They were very close to us. We ran and hid in the barn. After the armed men left, and I heard the sound of their cars driving away, my sister and I went outside. I saw Shafiq [the 13-year-old friend of her son] on the ground dead. I saw three families: three women, two of them with children. All of them were shot. Some were shot in the head and others had multiple shots in the body. One of the children survived. She is 14 years old. She was shot twice in the leg. I also saw my cousin who was shot in the chest. A 13-year-old boy who was paralyzed was shot three times in his chest as well.”

Remember also that the, as always, “helpful” Russians blamed this barbaric massacre on the opposition:

“President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said Friday that he rejected outside military intervention as an answer to the increasingly horrific bloodshed in Syria, and the Kremlin publicly sided with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria in blaming Mr. Assad’s armed rebel opponents for a massacre there last week that incited world outrage. “

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/02/world/middleeast/new-massacre-reported-in-syria.html?_r=1

And

“Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said it was clear the army had used tank shells but not who shot civilians at point blank range.

“We are dealing with a situation where both sides participated in the killings of innocent civilians… this district is controlled by the armed militants and at the same time it’s encircled by the governmental forces and troops,” he said.”

And

Alexei Pushkov, chair of the international affairs committee of the Russian parliament, the Duma, was more explicit: “We have very strong doubts that those people who were shot at point blank [range] and were stabbed, that this was the action of forces loyal to President Assad,” he told the BBC.

“The shelling was probably the responsibility of the troops of Mr Assad, but the stabbing and point blank firing was definitely from the other side.”

These are the people that Obama and his administration are basing their whole policy on that they are going to somehow “change”.

Also remember that this massacre happened under the UN/Kofi Annan and their “observers” watch.

The independent Front Page May 27

Second the Assad thugs are continuing, now with UN “observers” watching, with what they always have been doing and are “good at” – atrocities and massacres:

There are SOOO MANY videos EVERY DAY showing their barbaric behaviour. It’s sickening. Here are just three.

LEAKED VIDEO – ”ASSAD’S FORCES RUN OVER A MAN IN THEIR TANKS – ONE AFTER ANOTHER. (Idleb) – Words can do no justice to the disgust and barbarity that epitomizes Assad, his forces and his supporters as they cheer and encourage such things.

Where on Earth can this happen other than Syria? How sick does one have to be to find joy in running over a human being in a tank?”

Video here:

http://www.youtube.com/verify_age?next_url=/watch%3Ffeature%3Dplayer_embedded%26v%3DOo6gotEOwE8

LEAKED VIDEO – ”HORRIFIC – A TRUE SCENE OF HELL. ASSAD’S FORCES FILM INSIDE THE HOMES OF FAMILIES THEY JUST MURDERED IN BABA AMR & JOBAR. Homs (Baba Amr)Bodies of mutilated, burnt and crushed men and women are strewn about the rubble after Assad’s forces enter the district of Baba Amr after a month long siege where they shelled the area round-the-clock for 30 days and cut off all food and medical supplies.

When they finally entered the neighborhood, the most impoverished in Homs, they went from house to house and executed entire families or anyone that dared to stay. Many of their victims had their throats slit and were burnt.

This is Assad. These are his forces. This is what they do.”

Video here:

http://www.youtube.com/verify_age?next_url=/watch%3Ffeature%3Dplayer_embedded%26v%3Dp44x9WSSfWE

LEAKED VIDEO –  ”ASSAD’S FORCES FILM THEMSELVES SMILING AS THEY STAND ON THE BODIES OF MEN THEY JUST KILLED. Rastan (Date Unknown) – As is the case with many of these videos, Assad’s forces have no problems showing their faces, smiling and laughing over bodies of people they just killed.

They live in Assad’s Syria, where they are free to do as they please.”

Video here:

http://www.youtube.com/verify_age?next_url=/watch%3Ffeature%3Dplayer_embedded%26v%3DJ94tXDcvAaQ

                                         Next part tomorrow

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Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 2

12 april, 2012

April 10 was the latest day that Assad was supposed to stop all attacks and withdraw troops from the cities, according to the “peace” plan. Well, we already know that he did, as usual, the exact opposite. Also “as usual” following his previous pattern of seemingly agreeing to a “plan” or “accord” but with NO intention of ever following it. Instead, he is using these plans to buy time and at the same time crush all opposition.  .

Because he knows, he can get away with it. And the world let him do that as I said before again and again.

Especially the “brilliant minds” behind all these “peace” plans including the latest one, which put NO TIME FRAME OR DEADLINE in which Assad has to comply.

That’s REALLY a brilliant idea wouldn’t you say?

REPORTS

Here are some (and there is many out there), of the more important reports about the human rights situation in Syria:

Press release:

Syria: Extrajudicial Executions

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/04/09/syria-extrajudicial-executions

“In a desperate attempt to crush the uprising, Syrian forces have executed people in cold blood, civilians and opposition fighters alike,” said Ole Solvang, emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch. “They are doing it in broad daylight and in front of witnesses, evidently not concerned about any accountability for their crimes.”

Syrian security forces will stop the executions only if they sense that accountability is inevitable,” Solvang said. “It is up to the Security Council to send this message.”

Report here:

In Cold Blood: Summary Executions by Syrian Security Forces and Pro-Government Militias

http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/syria0412webwcover.pdf

The 25-page report, “In Cold Blood: Summary Executions by Syrian Security Forces and Pro-Government Militias,” documents more than a dozen incidents involving at least 101 victims since late 2011, many of them in March 2012

Press release:

Syria: ‘Shoot to Kill’ Commanders Named

Security Council Should Refer Syria to ICC for Crimes Against Humanity

http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/12/15/syria-shoot-kill-commanders-named

“Former Syrian soldiers identified by name 74 commanders and officials responsible for attacks on unarmed protesters, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The report names commanders and officials from the Syrian military and intelligence agencies who allegedly ordered, authorized, or condoned widespread killings, torture, and unlawful arrests during the 2011 anti-government protests. Human Rights Watch has urged the Security Council to refer the situation inSyriato the International Criminal Court (ICC) and impose sanctions against the officials implicated in abuses.

The defectors’ statements leave no doubt that the Syrian security forces committed widespread and systematic abuses, including killings, arbitrary detention, and torture, as part of a state policy targeting the civilian population, Human Rights Watch said. These abuses constitute crimes against humanity.

About half the defectors Human Rights Watch interviewed said the commanders of their units or other officers also gave them direct orders to open fire at protesters or bystanders, and reassured them that they would not be held accountable. In some cases, officers themselves participated in the killings.”

“Amjad,” who was deployed to Daraa with the 35th Special Forces Regiment, said that he received direct verbal orders from his commander to open fire at the protestors on April 25:”

“Three defectors described to Human Rights Watch incidents of summary executions and deaths from torture, involving 19 victims. Lieutenant-Colonel “Ghassan,” who served in the Presidential Guard, said that around August 7, he witnessed a summary execution of a detainee at a checkpoint in Douma:”

Report here:

By All Means Necessary!”

Individual and Command Responsibility for Crimes against Humanity in Syria

http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/syria1211webwcover_0.pdf

The 88-page report, “‘By All Means Necessary!’: Individual and Command Responsibility for Crimes against Humanity in Syria,” is based on more than 60 interviews with defectors from the Syrian military and intelligence agencies. The defectors provided detailed information about their units’ participation in attacks, abuses against Syrian citizens, and the orders they received from commanders and officials at various levels, who are named in the report.

Press release:

Syria: Crimes Against Humanity in Homs

Arab League Should Suspend Syria

http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/11/11/syria-crimes-against-humanity-homs

“The systematic nature of abuses against civilians in Homs by Syrian government forces, including torture and unlawful killings, indicate that crimes against humanity have been committed, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. Human Rights Watch urged the Arab League, meeting inCairo onNovember 12, 2011, to suspendSyria’s membership in the League and to ask the United Nations Security Council to impose an arms embargo and sanctions against individuals responsible for the violations, and referSyria to the International Criminal Court.

As in much of the rest of Syria, security forces in Homs governorate subjected thousands of people to arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, and systematic torture in detention. While most were released after several weeks in detention, several hundred remain missing. Most detainees were young men in their 20s or 30s, but security forces also detained children, women, and elderly people. Several witnesses reported that their parents or even grandparents – people in their 60s and 70s – had been detained.”

Report here:

“We Live as in War

Crackdown on Protesters in the Governorate of Homs,Syria

http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/syria1111webwcover_0.pdf

The 63-page report, “‘We Live as in War’: Crackdown on Protesters in the Governorate of Homs,” is based on more than 110 interviews with victims and witnesses from Homs, both the city and the surrounding governorate of the same name. The area has emerged as a center of opposition to the government of President Bashar al-Assad. The report focuses on violations by Syrian security forces from mid-April to the end of August, during which time security forces killed at least 587 civilians, the highest number of casualties for any single governorate.

Press release:

Syria: Crimes Against Humanity in Daraa

Killings, Torture in a Locked-Down City Under Siege

http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/06/01/syria-crimes-against-humanity-daraa

“Systematic killings and torture by Syrian security forces in the city ofDaraasince protests began there onMarch 18, 2011, strongly suggest that these qualify as crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

”For more than two months now, Syrian security forces have been killing and torturing their own people with complete impunity,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. ”They need to stop – and if they don’t, it is the Security Council’s responsibility to make sure that the people responsible face justice.”

“Witnesses from Daraa interviewed by Human Rights Watch provided consistent accounts of security forces using lethal force against protesters and bystanders, in most cases without advance warning or any effort to disperse the protesters by nonviolent means. Members of various branches of the mukhabarat (security services) and numerous snipers positioned on rooftops deliberately targeted the protesters, and many of the victims had lethal head, neck, and chest wounds. Human Rights Watch documented a number of cases in which security forces participating in the operations against protesters in Daraa and other cities had received ”shoot-to-kill” orders from their commanders. “

Syrian authorities also routinely denied wounded protesters access to medical assistance by preventing ambulances from reaching the wounded, and on several occasions opening fire on medical personnel or rescuers who tried to carry the wounded away. Security forces took control of most of the hospitals in Daraa and detained the wounded who were brought in. As a result, many wounded people avoided the hospitals and were treated in makeshift hospitals with limited facilities. In at least two cases documented by Human Rights Watch, people died because they were denied needed medical care.”

Syrian authorities also imposed an information blockade on Daraa. They prevented any independent observers from entering the town, and shut down all means of communication. Security forces searched for and confiscated cellphones that contained footage of events in Daraa, and arrested and tortured those whom they suspected of trying to get images or other information out, including some foreign nationals. In some areas, electricity and communications remain cut off. “

Report here:

We’ve Never Seen Such Horror

Crimes against Humanity by Syrian Security Forces

http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/syria0611webwcover.pdf

This 54-page report is based on more than 50 interviews with victims and witnesses to abuses. The report focuses on violations in Daraa governorate, where some of the worst violence took place after protests seeking greater freedoms began in various parts of the country. The specifics went largely unreported due to the information blockade imposed by the Syrian authorities. Victims and witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch described systematic killings, beatings, torture using electroshock devices, and detention of people seeking medical care.

Syria: Local Residents Used as Human Shields

Reports of Residents Forced to March in Front of Soldiers in Idlib

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/25/syria-local-residents-used-human-shields

“Witnesses from the towns of al-Janoudyah, Kafr Nabl, Kafr Rouma, and Ayn Larouz in the Idlib governorate in northern Syria told Human Rights Watch that they saw the army and pro-government armed men, referred to locally as shabeeha, force people to march in front of the advancing army during the March 2012 offensive to retake control of areas that had fallen into the hands of the opposition. From the circumstances of these incidents, it was clear to the witnesses that the purpose of this was to protect the army from attack.”

By using civilians as human shields, the Syrian army is showing blatant disregard for their safety,” said Ole Solvang, emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Syrian army should immediately stop this abhorrent practice.”

“The Syrian army’s use of human shields is yet another reason why the UN Security Council should refer Syria to the International Criminal Court” Solvang said. “Somebody should be made to answer for these violations.”

Syria: Government Uses Homs Tactics on Border Town

Indiscriminate Shelling, Sniper Killings, Attacks on Fleeing Residents

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/22/syria-government-uses-homs-tactics-border-town

Syrian security forces are committing serious abuses in their military campaign on al-Qusayr, a city of approximately 40,000 in Homs governorate near the Lebanese border. Witnesses describe heavy shelling of residential neighborhoods, snipers shooting residents on the streets, and attacks on fleeing residents. Humanitarian conditions are dire, including food and water shortages, communications blackouts, and virtually non-existent medical assistance.”

“Following their bloody siege of Homs, the Assad forces are applying their same brutal methods in al-Qusayr,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle Eastdirector at Human Rights Watch. “Having seen the devastation inflicted on Homs, the Russian government should stop arms sales to the Syrian government or risk becoming further implicated in human rights violations.”

‘Friends of Syria’: Push to End Indiscriminate Shelling

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/02/24/friends-syria-push-end-indiscriminate-shelling

“Local sources have reported that approximately 700 civilians have been killed and thousands wounded in Homs since the Syrian military began its current assault on the city onFebruary 3, 2012.

Video footage from Homsreviewed by Human Rights Watch indicates that the army has used Russian-made 240mm mortar systems against Homs. These systems fire the world’s largest high explosive mortar bomb, designed to “demolish fortifications and fieldworks” according to a Russian arms merchandizing catalogue.

This Russian-made munition shown in the video is the largest mortar bomb known to be in production and use. It weighs 130 kilograms and contains 31.93 kilograms of TNT as an explosive charge.

The indiscriminate attacks on populated areas with heavy-duty weapons in Homs and other cities demonstrate the price of blocking an international consensus to end the horrific human rights violations in Syria,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Russia and China have a particular responsibility to put pressure on Syria, given that they vetoed Security Council consensus, and Syria has so far shown itself impervious to condemnation by most other states of its actions.”

Marie Colvin, one of two Western journalists killed in Baba Amr on February 22 by Syrian army shelling, had reported the previous day that she had witnessed 14 shells fall on the neighborhood in the span of 30 seconds and had watched a baby die of shrapnel wounds for lack of proper medical care. Another Western journalist who was in Baba Amr from February 15 to 17 told Human Rights Watch that “on a good day, a shell hit the neighborhood every 4 to 5 minutes while on a bad day, they heard 55 shells in 15 minutes.”

UNICEF steps up its response to children affected by the crisis in Syria

http://www.unicef.org/media/media_62075.html

“The UN says that at least 500 Syrian children have been killed in the violence thus far, while hundreds more have been injured, put in detention or abused. Schools have closed and health centres have shut down or become too dangerous for families to reach. “

UNICEF denounces killings of children, women in Syrian city of Homs

http://www.unicef.org/media/media_61971.html

“UNICEF today denounced the reported killing of children and women whose bodies were found in the Syrian city ofHomson Sunday.

According to Syrian and international media reports, young children were among the victims discovered in the Homsneighbourhood of Karm el-Zeytoun. Some of the bodies had their throats slit. Others bore marks of torture.

It’s hard to come to terms with savagery on this scale especially when it involves children paying the highest price for events over which they have no control,” said UNICEF Regional Director Maria Calivis. “We urgently call on all sides in this crisis to live up to their responsibility to safeguard children.”

UNICEF statement on children caught in the bloodshed in Syria

http://www.unicef.org/media/media_61584.html

This must stop. Even one child killed in the violence is one child too many,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “We urge the Syrian authorities to allow help to all those who need it desperately.”

Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake in Bangkok on the Human Rights Council Resolution on the human rights situation in Syria

http://www.unicef.org/media/media_60788.html

UNICEF is greatly disturbed by the confirmed reports of violent attacks on children in Syria. We share the deep concerns presented in the recent report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry, and welcome the Human Rights Council’s Special Session that addressed among other things these grave violations of children’s rights.

“The HRC’s resolution reflects global outrage over the more than 300 children killed by state forces in Syria since March 2011 and confirmed reports of abhorrent abuses, including sexual violence against children in places of detention.

“Such blatant disregard for children’s lives must not be ignored. UNICEF urges the government of Syria to abide by its commitments to uphold the rights of children, and in particular to protect them from arbitrary arrest, detention, torture or sexual violence.”

UNICEF alarmed about reported extreme violence against children in Syria

http://www.unicef.org/media/media_58707.html

“Since mid-March, reports of children injured, detained, displaced and at times killed have been increasing.  While UNICEF cannot verify the reported cases and events, we are particularly disturbed by the recent video images of children who were arbitrarily detained and suffered torture or ill-treatment during their detention, leading in some cases to their death.  We call on the government to thoroughly investigate these reports and ensure that perpetrators of such horrific acts are identified and brought to justice. “

Syria: Security Forces Barring Protesters from Medical Care

At Least 28 Killed in Bloody Friday Crackdown in Daraa, Harasta, and Douma

http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/04/12/syria-security-forces-barring-protesters-medical-care

“”Syrian security forces in at least two towns prevented medical personnel and others from reaching wounded protesters on April 8, 2011, and prevented injured protesters from accessing hospitals, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch, which interviewed 20 witnesses from three Syrian towns, urged Syrian authorities to allow injured protesters unimpeded access to medical treatment and to stop using unjustified lethal force against anti-government protesters.

To deprive wounded people of critical and perhaps life-saving medical treatment is both inhumane and illegal,” said Sarah Leah Whitson,Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

Report reveals crimes against humanity in Syrian town

https://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/report-reveals-crimes-against-humanity-syrian-town-2011-07-06

“The brutal methods used in a devastating Syrian security operation in the western town of Tell Kalakhmay constitute crimes against humanity, Amnesty International said today in a new report.

Crackdown inSyria: Terror in Tell Kalakh documents deaths in custody, torture and arbitrary detention that took place in May when Syrian army and security forces mounted a broad security sweep, lasting less than a week, against residents of the town near the Lebanese border.”

Syria: ‘I wanted to die’: Syria’s torture survivors speak out

https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE24/016/2012/en

“A grim catalogue of torture has emerged from former detainees describing their treatment in Syria’s detention centres since the predominantly peaceful protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s government began in March 2011. This report reveals that all the various security forces are routinely torturing and ill-treating detainees held in the context of the protests and unrest, using methods of cruelty mostly used for decades. The torture carried out appears to be part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population as part of Syrian government policy to crush dissent. “

Report here:

https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE24/016/2012/en/708c3f40-538e-46a9-9798-ebae27f56946/mde240162012en.pdf

Syria: Health crisis: Syrian government targets the wounded and health workers

https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE24/059/2011/en/74190b0e-cbc4-4596-91fc-eb89863362d8/mde240592011en.pdf

“The Syrian authorities have been blocking and manipulating access to health care for people wounded during the unrest that has swept across the country since mid-March 2011, putting many lives at risk. They have routinely deemed those wounded by firearms as opponents of the government and treated them as detainees and held them incommunicado. The patterns of abuse recorded in this report show how the authorities are preventing health care professionals from treating those wounded freely and without fear. Such actions flagrantly violateSyria’s obligations under international human rights law.”

Syria: Deadly detention: Deaths in custody amid popular protest in Syria

https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE24/035/2011/en/874dfa1c-2041-4681-a610-dffe1aa1421c/mde240352011en.pdf

“Relentless repression has marked Syriasince March 2011, as the government continues its efforts to stifle increasing numbers of pro-reform protests. Scores of people – believed to have been detained for their actual or suspected involvement in the protests – are reported to have died in custody. Some were children. However, the Syrian authorities have failed to carry out credible investigations into any of the cases or ensure accountability for the perpetrators. Amnesty International is calling on the UN Security Council to refer the situation inSyria immediately to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.”

Syria: The long reach of the Mukhabaraat: Violence and harassment against Syrians abroad and their relatives back home

https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE24/057/2011/en/31e11754-c369-4f17-8956-548b2f7e1766/mde240572011en.pdf

“Many Syrians abroad have been vocally expressing their solidarity with the mass pro-reform protests which have rocked Syriasince March. In this briefing, Amnesty International is documenting the cases of more than 30 Syrian activists living in eight countries in Europeand North and South Americawho say they have faced intimidation from embassy officials and others apparently because of their activities in solidarity with the pro-reform movement in Syria. The long reach of the feared Syrian mukhabaraat, or intelligence services, seems to be in evidence.”

Press Conference by Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria

http://www.un.org/News/briefings/docs/2011/111128_Syria.doc.htm

“The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syriahad concluded that Syria’s army and security forces committed crimes against humanity in their repression of a largely civilian population in the context of peaceful protests, members of the United Nations-backed panel said today. “

The widespread and systematic violations of human rights in Syria could not have happened without the consent of the highest ranking State officials,” he continued, noting that under international law, “the State of Syria is responsible for these violations and bears the duty to ensure that the perpetrators are punished and that the victims received reparations.”

Mr. Pinheiro said excessive force — including by live fire and snipers — was used against peaceful demonstrators.  Further, the State had shown little or no recognition of the rights of children in quelling dissent, and reliable sources had indicated that some 256 children had been killed by State forces as of 9 NovemberTorture, sexual violence and other forms of ill treatment were also inflicted against people sympathetic to the protests, regardless of their gender or age. “

The report here:

Report of the independent international commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic

http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/SY/A.HRC.S-17.2.Add.1_en.pdf

The Human Rights Violations Documenting Center in Syria

Covers the period 15 March -15 October 2011 with details and names of killed

http://www.lccsyria.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/SYR_HR_Violations_Mar15_Oct15_Final-3.pdf

“The oppressive regime inSyriaused all its military and security forces against their unarmed people, waging open war on the crowds of peaceful demonstrators. In some documented cases, the regime used military equipment such as helicopters, armored sea vessels, and military tanks, to bomb residential neighborhoods in many cities. This is in addition to using internationally banned weapons, such as poison gas and expanding bullets, to disperse peaceful demonstrators.

Many public venues, such as cinemas, stadiums, and theaters, were turned into detention centers in which systematic brutal torture occurred, resulting in many death-under-torture cases. In addition, there have been several forced disappearance of citizens who were kidnapped for months, and disappeared completely thereafter.

There are many documented cases of hospitals that were invaded to prevent treating the wounded; in some cases, the wounded were detained or even killed. All of the above happened during seven months of an almost complete international silence, save a few shy statements by the international community that did not reach the point of condemning those documented cases as crimes against humanity.

It is unacceptable for the Arab nations, the Arab League, and the United Nations and their organizations to remain on an undecided weak stance. They have not been able, so far, to adopt one serious and strong move to stop the instruments of this regime from committing more crimes and violations against the peaceful people who are merely demanding their basic rights.

This hesitance and the lack of a conclusive stance is sending very negative signs to the Syrian people, who are starting to consider this indirect participation in the ongoing assault against. This also gives the regime the leeway to continue its nihilistic approach, and provides incentives to similar regimes in the world to commit atrocities against their own people and remain unaccountable.”

More reports from LCC Syria here: http://www.lccsyria.org/category/reports

The number of people killed

The Rising Death Toll inSyria

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/03/21/world/middleeast/death-toll-of-the-syrian-uprising.html?ref=syria#

With graphs, by day, week etc.

”One of the more detailed accounts — from the Violations Documenting Center (V.D.C.) — shows almost 10,000 deaths since the protest began last year on March 15.”

The number of killed (by age, sex, place, crowd map etc.) in the conflict, according to the Syrian opposition website

http://www.syrianshuhada.com/?lang=en&

                             Children killed by age

Women under siege – Reports, crowd map and documentation of rape

https://womenundersiegesyria.crowdmap.com/reports

“The stories are more atrocious than I could have imagined. We have evidence that there’s possible sexual enslavement going on, mutilation — really horrific atrocities,” Wolfe said.

Crowd Map, Reports plus detailed graphs

https://syriatracker.crowdmap.com/

11,813 Individuals killed,March 18, 2011thruMarch 25, 2012

Amnesty’s Syria page

http://www.eyesonsyria.org/

Human Rights Watch’s Syria page

http://www.hrw.org/middle-eastn-africa/syria

The destruction of Homs and Baba Amr

Syria: New Satellite Images Show Homs Shelling

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/02/syria-new-satellite-images-show-homs-shelling

                                     Homs and Baba Amr

Picture

Red Dots are destroyed or damaged buildings, yellow dots are craters in fields or roads (pic taken on 25 Feb 2012, Baba Amr was retaken by Assad`s troops on March 1)

If you click on the picture it gets much larger

Picture2

Another close-up also shows a number of large dust clouds caused by the probable impact of several shells that landed within an estimated 10 to 15 minutes before the satellite image was recorded. It also shows hundreds of smaller impact craters across the adjacent fields next to the buildings, most of which are heavily damaged.

If you click on the picture it gets much larger

“These new satellite photos and witness accounts show the extent of the brutality unleashed on Baba Amr,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Despite the killing, Russia and China continue to block any international action.”

And remember, as I said in my previous post, one of the weapons used by the Syrian regime was the Russian 240mm F-864 high explosive mortar bomb. The world’s largest high explosive mortar bomb designed to “demolish fortifications and fieldworks” according to a Russian arms merchandizing catalogue. It weighs 130 kilograms and contains 31.93 kilograms of TNT as an explosive charge.

This weapon system is notable for its capability to conduct a “plunging attack,” in which the munition is fired at a high angle and comes down nearly perpendicular to penetrate a building or fortification

In this video, you can see the total destruction and some pices of the mortar bomb. The footage was filmed in the old part of Baba Amr, known as al-Hakura

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=iPVcw1Dd_0s#!

According to “The Military Balance 2011,” published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Syria possesses ten 240mm mortar systems.

But of course, any respectable “army” need these kind of weapons to fight very dangerous unarmed civilians. Especially since they are hiding in their own homes.

What a threat!

And by the way, this system has been used in the past to bring devastation to civilian neighbourhoods, by the Russians during the siege of the Chechen capital of Grozny over a decade ago, where thousands of civilians were killed and hundreds of buildings reduced to rubble.  So the Syrians have learned well from their master.

The use of such weapons in dense urban environments is a war crime.

The Syrian army also used 122mm howitzers and 120mm mortars and 81mm and 121mm shells and 107mm ground-to-ground rockets to “fight” against these unarmed civilians.

The secret Assad emails

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/assad-emails

The documents:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/series/assad-emails-the-documents

How the Assad emails came to light

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/14/how-assad-emails-came-light

“In late March last year, Syrian opposition activists say, a young government worker inDamascusnervously handed a scrap of paper to a friend. On it were four handwritten codes that the friend was instructed to pass to a small group of exiled Syrians who would know what to do with them.

The paper contained two email addresses: sam@alshahba.com and ak@alshahba.com. They are thought to have been the personal email usernames and passwords of the president, Bashar al-Assad, and his wife, Asma.

For the next nine months they were to offer a cell of activists an extraordinary window into what appeared to be the private lives ofSyria’s first family and their attempts to turn around the country’s steady descent towards the abyss.”

Very interesting reading to say the least!

As this one on December 24 from Hussein Mortada, an influential Lebanese businessman with strong connections to Iran.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/14/bashar-al-assad-syria12

“It is not in our interest to say that Al-Qaida is behind the operation because such statements clear theUSadministration and the Syrian opposition of any responsibility;Americais fighting Al-Qaida and it will condemn the operation.

Based on what we saw from events on the ground yesterday, we have to acknowledge how well orchestrated it was, and we have to say that the US administration, the opposition and the states which infiltrated weapons are behind the operation so that we can start the attack.

But blaming Al-Qaida alone won’t be in anyone’s interest but Al-Qaida’s, because the organisation has been in existence for decades and this is nothing new. I have even received contacts from Iran and Hezbollah – me being the head of many Iranian and Lebanese media channels – and they directed me not to mention that Al-Qaida was behind the operation cause it would be a blatant media and tactical mistake and futile.”

VIDEOS

There are soooo many videos out there taken by brave civilians, showing the brutal and barbaric killings and executions, And the destruction of whole blocks and neighbourhoods in cities.

So these are just a sample.

I am going to start with a special type of videos – the leaked ones. These videos where taken by Assad troops themselves to show how “good” they are at killing civilians, as trophies, to prove their loyalty etc. etc.

The text and translations are from opposition sites.

LEAKED VIDEO – Assad’s forces show off their latest mass excecution – Homs (Baba Amr): Date Unknown – An Assad lojaist clearly says to his commander “Sir, I shot this one in his eye, and in his eye and in his eye!”

Contains some sequence from the video above

LEAKED VIDEO –  An assadist soldier films the DESTRUCTION he and his FORCES BROUGHT UPON THE NEIGHBORHOOD of BABA AMR. Homs(Baba Amr) – He takes us through the destroyed streets and past the obliterated buildings. He then shows us a glimpse of a half dozen men in a room, all executed (as shown in this video of Assad mercenaries gloating about it).

To think that the world just sat back and watched an entire neighborhood of 12sq/km be erased off the map and it’s people cleansed …

LEAKED VIDEO –  Syrian Government snipers in action from a rooftop in Aleppo’s Atareb

More snipers:

LEAKED VIDEO –  ASSAD’S FORCES HAVE A “GRAND OL’ TIME” LAUGHING, JOKING, MURDERING …. Damascus(Dier Qanoun): This is what the “battle” looks like from the vantage point of Bashar Al Assad’s forces. They have no fears that anything remotely bad may happen to them … they know exactly who they are firing at … unarmed Syrian civilians. Watch as they joke, make small talk, smoke a cigarette in one hand and fire their guns with the other ….

LEAKED VIDEO – ASSAD’S FORCES FIRE RANDOMLY INTO PEOPLE’S HOUSES TO SCARE THEM. Lattakia : (Date unknown) – Watch Bashar Al Assad’s mercenaries fire randomly down streets. Then they take aim at building directly above them and start firing away … laughing and joking until one of them finally says “ok guys, enough …”

Methodical destruction of homes:

LEAKED VIDEO – UNBELIEVABLE FOOTAGE OF ASSAD’S RUSSIAN MADE TANK FIRING RANDOMLY INTO THE HOMES OF SYRIAN CIVILIANS. Homs- As the tank fires randomly into the homes of innocent men, women and children, the cameraman (a fellow Assadist mercenary) cheers on with each explosion, exclaiming “God, Syria & Bashar!”.

LEAKED VIDEO – ASSAD’S FORCES CASUALLY FILM THEMSELVES AND MAKE SMALL TALK AS THEY SHELL AND ATTACK THE TOWN. Homs (Quseir) – No, these men are not preparing to liberate the Golan Heights, they are casually shelling a small town of innocent and unarmed Syrians – their supposed brothers and sisters that Assad has successfully de-humanized in his propaganda campaign fed to his forces.

They are shelling the town of Quseirin preparation to invade. The tank you see firing a machine-gun is actually a Russian made “Shilka” anti-aircraft tank that can fire upto 1,000 rounds per minute. It’s meant to bring down fighter-jets, but in this case it’s used against human-beings. The other tanks are randomly shelling the town in order to “soften” it up for an all out invasion.

Notice how casual Assad’s forces are, laughing and joking and all eagerly filming the “action” as mementos…

LEAKED VIDEO – THIS IS WHAT A DESTROYED AND ANNIHILATED CITY LOOKS LIKE – FROM THE EYES OF THE PERPETRATORS THAT DID IT. Homs (Baba Amr)The footage is unbelievable as it is devastating. Every building on every street is destroyed. The entire neighborhood of Baba Amr has been literally wiped off the map. Its inhabitants either “cleansed” in Assad’s ordered genocide, arrested or expelled from their homes.

Assad’s mercenaries take pride in what they did to this town with their Russian backed weapons and supply lines. Filming themselves and waving to fellow cowards.

Never forget that it took 7,000 of the most elite mercenaries from Assad’s army along with 30 days of shelling by the world’s heaviest shells, complete blockade of all food, water, fuel and medicine in addition to the cut of all electricity and supply lines to the neighborhood in order for Assad’s forces to enter an area of 12 sq/km that was guarded by no more than a few hundred lightly armed and ill-trained Free Syrian Army fighters and thousands of unarmed civilians. Even then the FSA actually withdrew when they ran out of ammunition.

LEAKED VIDEO – A terrible massacre by Al-Assad and his thugs in Doumma-Damascus-Syria and “thugs” are celebrating

LEAKED VIDEO – A genocide by Al-Assad and his thugs in Baba Amr-Homs-Syria

Now to the videos taken by brave civilians.

A BRAVE CITIZEN JOURNALIST CONTINUES TO REPORT DESPITE ROCKETS LITERALLY FALLING ALL AROUND HIM. Homs: Apr 3, 2012- I don’t know his name yet and he’s been featured in a number of similar videos before. Watch as the rockets hit nearby buildings as he reports with his cameraman. They risk everything in order to show the world the miserable hell they live in.

Stark WARNING!these next five videos are VERY STRONG AND GRAPHIC with pictures of executed children, teenagers, women and old people.

If you are sensitive – DO NOT LOOK!

And remember these videos are just a few, there are HUNDREDS LIKE THIS out there!

Which show the shocking scale and barbarism of the Assad regime

There is still no clear idea about the final number of killed civilians in the last ten days, but what we documented is more than thundered person killed. The most brutal one was in al-Adawi, the following videos bring you close to the event:

Adawiyah: pro-Assad death squads break into a house and execute its occupants, all women

Homs, Martyrs of the massacres of Al-Rifai and Karm Al-Zetoon neighborhoods .. Mar 20, 2012

SyriaFreedom Fighters Captured an Assad Hitman

March 25, 2012 – Free Syria Army Captures this Assad Air Force Mukhabarat Secret Police Officer who admits in this video that he and Iranian and Hezbollah Accomplices kidnapped and killed a famous Syrian Freedom Activist- This Guy is a cold blooded killer and was the leader of the group of secret police who kidnapped , tortured and killed Ghrias Mattar, a famous pro Democracy Organizer in Dariya , Damascus.

The Secret Police killed Gaith Mattar and then Mattar’s Wake Was Attended by dignitaries such asUSAmbassador Robert Ford and the French Ambassador and the German Ambassador — It is important to note that immediately after the Ambassadors left the Wake the Assad Forces came and shot at the other people, The Syrians, who were attending the ceremony.

English Translation:

“I am sergent Rabi3 Abdallah Ramadan in the intelligence aviation (under) the branch of special missions

Question:  what was your mission in Daraya ?

A: I’m a driver of a black jeep, a black Mitsubishi.

Question: What were the missions you took part in?

A: We captured and shot the activist Ghiyath Matar..took him to the hospital  and  we  finished him there  (in the hospital) with the help of sergent Bashar Daher (also) known by the name of Abou Haidar

Question: Who was giving orders?

A: The officer Jamil Hassan and officer Ghassan Ismail

Question: Were there foreigners with you? 

A: Yes, the Irananian Revolutionary Guards and members of Hezbollah as well

Question: How (did you) break into Daraya houses?

A: We were getting orders to loot and steal (from) activist houses and burning them

Question: What is your advice to security forces?

Answer: I advice them to defect because this regime will fall for sure”

CNN – Syrians try to clear Russian ANTIPERSONNEL MINES NEAR TURKISH BORDER

CNN’s Ivan Watson reports on evidence Syrian forces mined border areas to stop fleeing civilians

http://cnn.com/video/?/video/world/2012/03/29/watson-syria-land-mines.cnn

He took one out and brushed dirt off its green molded plastic case. It was about the size of a soup bowl and stamped with Cyrillic letters. Hajisa pointed at a raised black cross on the top of the device. “If you put pressure on this trigger,” he said, “It will explode.”

Hajisa’s deadly stash of booby-traps are just a fraction of more than 300 similar devices he claimed he and several other Syrian volunteers dug up from the border between Syria and Turkey over the last two months.

See also:

http://cnn.com/video/?/video/world/2012/03/28/lkl-watson-turkey-syrian-refugees.cnn

And finally some desperate black humour from people inside Syria as they describe their situation:

”In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate … We, the free men of Idlib, announce the formation of the ‘We Hope to Be Armed’ brigade,” the speaker says. ”We do not have any weapons. We ask the National Council and the commander of the Free Army to fulfill their lying promises and to stop serenading the revolutionaries on the ground without sending weapons, because your serenades are killing us.”

And another one where a fighter is begging for bullets.

Brother, Can You Spare A Loaded Arms Clip?” FromHoms

”Just Give Me A Bullet Clip”, says this Syrian Freedom Fighter in Homs City as he mocks the failure of the World to arm the Syria Army Defectors who are struggling to bring Freedom and Democracy to the long suffering nation of Syria. The USA under Obama has sold out the Syrian people the same way that Obama sold out the Iranian Green Revolution a few years ago. After one whole year of Protests and Violent Repression and thousands of Dead Civlians – the US politicians like Hillary Clinton are still on TV even as of today talking Bullshit about ”setting Timetables” for Assad to stop killing his people. This is a sick joke as Assad is never going to stop killing Democracy Activists and he is never going to step down peacefully. The only thing the Assad Baathist Regime understands is Sheer Military Power, which is how they got in power in the first place, and the world must smarten up and must send a flood of arms to the Free Syria Army now , including anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. This is one of those once-in-a-generation moments in time where the USA has the opportunity to get a ”4 for 1” victory for very little investment.

1) If the USarms the Syrian people they will overthrow the Assad Regime and bring Freedom to a nation that has lived under a Dictatorship for 50 years.

2) The US gets to screw the Iranians real good if Assad goes down –no more Iranian dreams of a new Persian Shiite Empire stretching fromTehran toBeirut.

3) the US gets to screw Hezbollah real good if Assad falls – They will be cut off fromIran and the Sunni Syrians will kick them all out ofSyria and they will shrink into a small local militia

4) the US gets to screw the Russians real good -Russia will get kicked out of its only navy port outside ofRussia and will lose air force landing rights inSyria and will lose its military contracts which can then go to the Western Democracies.

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Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 1

10 april, 2012

Introduction

There is so much to be said about the uprising in Syria and the extremely brutal suppression by the Assad regime. And as usual, most of it is not said in the mainstream media.

So I thought I give you some pieces that are to the point and that give you some perspective of this slaughter of civilians. In other words, some insight into the world of real politics. This is a different universe that the normal platitudes and declarations our political elites are so good at excelling at.

I have so much material, all from public and open sources, that it is ridiculously big and unwieldy. Therefore, I have to drastically cut it down. Otherwise, it would become a book. The focus is therefore going to be on some countries and international organisations and what they have done or not done in 11 posts.

Part 1- Introduction. Part 2-Repports/Videos/Photos, Part 3- Russia, Part 4- Iran, Part 5- China, Part 6- Turkey, Part 7- Arab league, Part 8- UN, Part 9- EU/NATO, Part 10- US and the Obama administration and Part 11- Paul Conroy

The explanation for the headline you get at the end of this post.

This Syrian uprising started little over a year ago. The movement began in Syria on March 15th of 2011 with spontaneous demonstrations that demanded that the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad reform Syria to a free and democratic state. Assad responded, as usual, with relentless force and a brutal crackdown. Which led to the people to call for the president to step down, and heed to his people’s will to relinquish his power. And for a peaceful transition to democracy.

All reasonably demands wouldn’t you say?

And from this start the Assad’s regimes force and a brutal crackdown have just intensified and widened. The death toll is around 11 000. Mostly civilians: children, women, families, elderly etc. Many of them executed in the most barbaric way.

On top of that, the deliberate destruction of WHOLE blocks of cities, Block after block, neighbourhood after neighbourhood.

Turning of electricity, water, telecommunications etc for cities and neighbourhoods. Destroying hospitals and preventing medicine and food to reach these areas etc.

I can add systematic rape to that mix of systematic violation of human rights.

Wouldn’t you say that this regime seems utterly barbaric and worthy of world condemnation?

And wouldn’t you have thought that the world would have done something by now?

And the answer to these questions is of course – YES ands as usual NO.

NOTHING have in realty been done except some cheap and empty rhetoric. A lot of grandstanding as usual with these people. And of course a lot of meetings, summits, conferences etc. Usually in very nice places very far from the reality they are supposed to talk about.

EU the other day “strengthened” sanctions, the 13 in a row, banned Assad’s wife from shopping on the Continent. Yea, I bet Syria’s dictator Bashar Hafez al-Assad felt threatened to his core!

Some of these people, for over a year now, have assured us that the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad is about to fall. These assurances from the so-called “experts” are always delivered with great confidence.

And yet Assad, hangs on, slaughtering his own people, destroying and despoiling whole neighbourhoods, calling the bluff of the Arab League, Turkey, UN, USA and EU/NATO.

Helped to a very large degree by the enormous material support, weapons, training, intelligence, troops,  personal etc. from Russia, Iran, China and Hezbollah.

And by a traditional policy of dived and conquer the different ethnic and religious groups in Syria. And of course by terror and fear.

Nonetheless, this is a regime, with an enormous arsenal of heavy weapons, which in a year has not been able to dispatch a divided, badly organized, having hardly any weapons, and disparate opposition. It can be defeated and it will implode  from the inside.  The slaughter would end much faster if the people got some, any support, from abroad.  And the fear is gone.

It is also very interesting to compare how eager the Obama administration, EU and NATO was to go into Libya with their do nothing attitude with Syria.

The dictator Gaddafi had not killed as many civilian people as Assad’s regimes have by a long shot. Or destroyed as many neighbourhoods as Assad. Nor did Gaddafi support so many terrorist groups as Assad. Or had the same strategic value for USA as Syria.

Nor did Gaddafi kill so many Americans as did Assad (Bashar  and Hafez al-Assad – It is A Faimly affair). Etc. Etc.

So in every way and shape or form, in comparison Libya under Gaddafi doesn’t even come close to Syria under Assad.

Samantha Power, a prominent advocate of humanitarian intervention and the principle of ”responsibility to protect”, is considered to be the key figure within the Obama administration in persuading the president to intervene militarily in Libya.

Power, was a senior foreign policy adviser to senator Obama, and now a Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and Senior Director of the National Security Council.

But on Syria? NOT A PEEP!

And some of the “excuses” for not doing anything, like “the arms could end up in the wrong hands”, become ABSOLUTELY mind-boggling hypocritical when you remember that NATO and US special operations troops together with their intelligence operatives in Tripoli, armed and put Al-Hakim Belhadj in control over Tripoli. And gave him “the keys” to Gadhafis armoury.

Those arms were advanced items which British and French special operations forces gave the rebels, according to “a senior” American source.

Who is Al-Hakim Belhadj you may ask. He is a leader and commander of LIFG, the Al Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. Which by the way is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. He is an al Qaeda veteran from Afghanistan, he joined the Talliban etc.

He was first captured in Pakistan 2001 and handed over to US security officials, he was repatriated to Libya two months later. Later CIA captured him in Malaysia in 2004. He was then transferred to Bangkok, where he was then placed in the custody of the CIA.  Later they extradited him to Libya where he was kept in prison for six years by Qaddafi.

According to the Spanish, Al-Hakim Belhadj was suspected of complicity in the 2004 Madrid train bombings etc. etc.

For the first time, therefore, the armies of Western members of NATO took part and helped directly in a bid by extremist Islamic forces to capture an Arab capital and overthrow its ruler.

As for the do nothing as usual UN, it “proudly” upholds its tradition of doing ABSOLUTLY NOTHING when it really maters, like Rwanda, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Darfur, Bosnia (Srebrenica anyone?) etc.

Refusing to arm or help the opposition will not end the conflict or limit it, it will drag on as all the above examples shows.

And by waiting the situation gets worse and much more complex, then “they” used its complexity as an excuse not to intervene while decrying the lost opportunity for intervention. And ALL this time the killing and atrocities committed by Assad’s regime just continues as nothing has happened.

On the contrary, the Assad regime has increased it’s attacks since Bashar al-Assad agreed to implement the “new” peace plan.

From Kafrnabel, Idleb

A snapshot from Idlib province

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-syria-idlib-offensive-20120401,0,6769772.story?page=2

“The feeling here is one of desperation — and steadfast defiance”

”They are planning to retake the region piece by piece,” said Abu Hamdo, a member of the Revolution Command Council in Idlib. ”But there is no going back, because if they catch us we are dead, and if we fight them we are dead.”

It is a scenario that is playing out repeatedly here: The army and security forces sweep into village after village, leaving behind bodies and burned homes, and the routed rebels must regroup.

Mazen Arja, an agricultural engineer “We have to organize anew and figure out who was killed and bring people together to begin the liberation of the northern region,” Arja said. “If we’re not patient and fight, we’re all dead anyway.”

When we first went out in protests, we had hope for foreign support, but that hope was dashed. We had hope for buffer areas; that was dashed. We had hope for support for the Free Syrian Army, and that was dashed,” said the militia’s 25-year-old leader, Bilal Khabeet, who like Free Syrian Army members is a military defector. ”A rifle and 120 bullets, that’s all I have. Once they are finished, I am finished.”

Or as Ammar Abdulhamid  a liberal democracy activist said:

“Of April Fools and Useless Tools!

The irony involved in holding an international conference on Syria on April Fools is all too noticeable, and the fact that just on the day before, an Assad official would claim victory simply adds a certain “je ne sais quoi” to the mix. But the Revolution-cum-Devolution goes on, no amount of irony or wishful thinking will make it go away.”

And

“Whatever the geopolitical calculations of Arab, regional and international leaders may be, ours is still a revolution for freedom, dignity, justice and equality. Is there any power in heaven or earth whose basic interests are commensurate with these aspirations of ours? If so, act now! Or forever be damned.”

Another snapshot from Daraa province:

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=383043

“Sayyed Mahmud, an activist in Daraa reached by Skype, told AFP the situation was extremely tense in Dael.

They burned down 14 houses yesterday. They are arresting people and have sent in troop reinforcements,” he said.

As part of the regime’s campaign to starve the people, troops are raiding homes, destroying food stocks and equipment,” he added. ”For example, if they see a sowing machine, they destroy it.

They go into bakeries and destroy the dough. There are 15-hour power cuts a day.”

You REALLY get “impressed” by these “brave soldiers” who “attacks” and destroy dough and sowing machines. Not to mention killing unarmed civilians.

That is really a “worthy” adversary for a real soldier.

And the endless deception and chicanery, round 27, of the Assad regime continues. Making a mockery of all so called “peace” deals. In addition, the world let him get away with it again and again.  Without doing ANYTHING except generate “new peace” plans.

With all the usual strong and optimistic words and platitudes. Or as one Syrian said:

“As Obama and Erdogan talk, Assad kills”

You can put whatever country and organisation there instead, it doesn’t change anything.

Assad’s Vision for Reform

Here is the latest:

Damascus sees no deadline to withdraw troops

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=383883

“The Syrian regime is not bound by a deadline to withdraw its troops from strife-torn areas, pro-government daily Al-Watan on Thursday quoted a government official as saying.

There is no set date or deadline,” the unnamed official said.

”April 10 is the date set for the beginning, not the end, of the withdrawal of troops and it does not constitute a deadline.”

Before that:

Syria says army will not be first to lay down arms, rejecting appeal by UN chief

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/syrian-official-says-army-will-not-make-1st-move-withdraw-troops-from-flashpoint-areas/2012/03/31/gIQAJhcpmS_story.html

Syria rejected international envoy Kofi Annan’s call for the regime to halt violence first just days after the government agreed to a cease-fire plan. A senior official declared victory over the opposition.

It was the government’s first response to an appeal by Annan, the U.N.-Arab League envoy, to stop military operations first as “the stronger party” in a “gesture of good faith” to the lightly armed opposition. Annan brokered the agreement aimed at stopping the bloodshed and Assad agreed to it on Monday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdessi said the government will not pull tanks and troops from towns and cities engulfed by unrest before life returns to normal there.

“The battle to bring down the state in Syria has already ended and the battle of reinforcing stability has started,” Makdessi said in an apparent reference to a string of recent regime offensives that drove rebels from key strongholds. He spoke on state TV late Friday.”

An to rely prove this point :

“Certain he is safe from Western-Arab intervention, Bashar Assad Sunday unleashed an across-the board air and ground offensive against the last surviving rebel locations. 

Starting Sunday noon, April 8, 30 towns and villages were hit simultaneously. For the first time since the outbreak of revolt thirteen months ago, heavy long-range artillery and air force helicopters pounded the rebel positions remaining in the northern mountains of Idlib near the Turkish border. The scale of the onslaught was such that it is hard to come by casualty figures, but they certainly run into hundreds.

As he lifts all restraints, the Syrian ruler is also certain he is backed to the hilt byTehranandMoscow.”

And today, April 9 Assad’s forces attacked a Syrian refuge camp in Turkey.

Turkey: Three wounded as Syrian forces fire over border

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-three-wounded-as-syrian-forces-fire-over-border.aspx?pageID=238&nID=17975&NewsCatID=341

”A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government rules, saidTurkeyimmediately protested the incident to the Syrian charge d’affaires and asked that the fire be halted, the Associated Press reported.

Two refugees and one Turkish citizen, a translator, were wounded inside the camp near the town of Kilisin the southwestern Gaziantep province, he said.”

Yeap, that’s REALLY showing respect for the “ceasefire” and UN “peace plan”. And the “world” will let Assad get away with again, and again.

Waiting for Syria’s regime to Change

And another snapshot from Kastanaz:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/06/us-turkey-syria-refugees-idUSBRE8341DC20120406

The army is destroying buildings and bombing them till they turn to charcoal,” said Mohammed Khatib, a refugee who said he came from Kastanaz, a Syrian town of 20,000 people.

”The army wants people to move out of their houses. If the residents refuse, they destroy them with the people inside.”

For the past three days there have been bodies lying in the streets. Around 200 have been killed. The town is now abandoned.”

I could go on an on to give one witness after another of atrocities and planed destruction.

Another from Sarmin:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9177910/Syria-eyewitness-dispatch-I-watched-as-Assads-tanks-rolled-in-to-destroy-a-rebel-town.html

“Using information stored on laptops, army intelligence officers detain all manner of people. Bad-mouthing the regime? Arrested. Seen at a protest? Arrested. Got an internet connection? Arrested. The list goes on.

”The shabiha (pro-government militia) came to my house and took my children,” said Fatoum Haj Housin, a resident of the town Sarmin, five miles north-west of Saraqeb, which had been attacked a few days earlier.

They took all three of them. They were young men in the army but they defected in January. The militia shot them in the head and burned their bodies in front of me in our courtyard. In the name of God, bring me a Kalashnikov and I will kill Assad myself!

There was still scorching and ash in front of her house – and much evidence elsewhere in Sarmin of destruction by ground forces. The field hospital had been torched, walls and houses sprayed with AK47 fire and the mosque smashed by three shells.

When the tanks leave the city centres and the ground forces come in, this is what happens – with nobody from the outside to see.

Yet for every person killed the rebels’ resolve seems to grow day by day.

”We can never go back now,” said Feras Mulheen, a student from Saraqeb who had just seen his house destroyed by the tanks. ”There’s nothing to go back to. We either win or we die trying. There’s nothing in between.”

The situation for the FSA (Free Syrian Army):

http://syrianfreedomls.tumblr.com/post/20479724510/free-syrian-army-has-the-worlds-support-but-no

“We are getting money mainly from individuals, from Syrians living abroad. We hear a lot of promises from the international community, but nobody will support us,” said Mohammed.

His unit has 50 men and two satellite phones in a country where mobile telephone networks are down, security forces tap landlines, and the Internet is dysfunctional.

As for the guns, Mohammed said, his unit has just light weapons, not enough to confront the Syrian army.

“The air force attacks us and we do not have artillery to fight back,” said the commander.

He said there are a lot of soldiers in the regular army who are too afraid to defect, but help the FSA from the inside.

Our unit exchanged a carton of cigarettes for 200 bullets; we get gasoline from a soldier who steals it from the tanks in the bases,” he said.

Other local commanders described their constant hustle to-and-fro across the Syrian-Turkish border to secure money for their supplies.

“We have enough men. The defectors’ numbers have increased. But they do not have weapons. If they have a gun, they do not have ammunition,” he said while busily working on his laptop.

Communications technologies are a precious commodity. Asked about internal FSA communications, Abu Muhammed, commander of a unit in the Idlib countryside, replied with sadness and irony, We use pigeons.”

“There’s not a lot of direct communication between the ground and the leadership,” he said, explaining how his men do not take specific daily orders from the officers sitting in the Turkish camps, like Col. Riad al Asaad, nominal head of the FSA.

“With the means we have, this is only self-defense,” he admitted.

See also (excerpts):

Undergunned and Overwhelmed

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/03/30/syria_undergunned_and_overwhelmed

“It’s a view widely shared by defectors, arms dealers, and refugees alike here along the Turkish-Syrian border. For months, Assad’s opponents have been buying black-market weapons from the countries bordering their volatile state — from Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan — as well as from within Syria, primarily from members of the corrupt regime or military sympathizers who remain embedded with loyalists. But it’s getting harder. Money doesn’t seem to be the main problem. Securing supplies is.

Nor have Assad’s staunchest enemies — the Arab Gulf kingdoms — opened their armories to the rebels. In late February, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal raised the FSA’s hopes when he said that arming Assad’s opponents was ”an excellent idea.” Yet, more than a month later, Saudi supplies have not made their way to the front, according to the FSA leadership as well as numerous rebel commanders inside Syria.

Still, the ire and resentment of many activists and fighters on the ground is directed primarily toward the so-called leaders of the opposition, all of whom are in exile. The depth of anger was perhaps best expressed in a short video in which a small group of men in civilian garb stand in two neat rows in front of an olive tree, scarves concealing their identities. The clip is not unlike countless others purporting to show members of the FSA, except that none of the nine men featured in it holds any weapons. Some carry lemons instead of grenades; others hold sticks as if they were rifles. One wields a hammer.

”In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate … We, the free men of Idlib, announce the formation of the ‘We Hope to Be Armed’ brigade,” the speaker says. ”We do not have any weapons. We ask the National Council and the commander of the Free Army to fulfill their lying promises and to stop serenading the revolutionaries on the ground without sending weapons, because your serenades are killing us.”

Col. Ahmad Hijazi, the FSA’s chief of staff, says he can understand the resentment. ”I don’t blame them,” he says. ”The people are angry and they are taking out their frustrations on us. But what can we do? They are asking us for more than what we can do. Governments must support the Free Army.”

In the absence of such aid, Syria‘s military defectors just wait. The camp housing the FSA officers looks just like the others Turkey has established for the thousands of civilians who have fled across its border — rows of white tents are neatly pitched along lanes of uneven loose white gravel. But unlike most of the others, the officers’ camp is isolated from nearby towns and villages. It’s in the middle of a lush agricultural plain in Apaydin, about 12 miles from Antakya, where verdant fields abut plowed, upturned earth, and snow-capped hills rim the horizon.

The FSA may claim to be operating a ”command and control center” for the anti-Assad military effort from the camp, but it’s unclear whether they can control much of anything from a base with regular power cuts. Its critics, like the ”We Hope to Be Armed Brigade,” say it has offered little to the men fighting and dying inside Syria in its name. How do the FSA’s commanders account for their seeming lack of impact on the ground?

Hijazi shifts uncomfortably in his plastic chair inside one of the many identical tents in the officers’ camp. He doesn’t like the question. Nor does his fellow officer, Major Maher Nuami, who is seated on a single bed (the only one) in the tent. ”It’s sensitive,” Hijazi finally says. They won’t say if the FSA has sent emissaries to Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Libya — which recently pledged $100 million to the Syrian opposition — but insist that they have received no help on the ground from these states.

If the international community doesn’t arm them and provide logistical support, ”everything” the world fears from the fall of Assad will come to pass, Nuami argues.

”The people will get weapons, one way or another, so help us,” Nuami continues. ”If you give us weapons, we can control them. We want the fall of the regime, not the fall of the state. If the international community helps us, we’ll help them. If it doesn’t, our people offer no guarantees.”

According to the FSA officers, the claims of foreign fighters in Syria — eagerly touted by the Assad regime — are wildly overblown. A lone Libyan had reportedly volunteered to fight with their FSA unit recently, but left after a few days. ”He said, ‘You guys are crazy, this is suicide, you don’t have weapons’,” Mokbat said. ”He was right. I wish the revolution would go back, it was better before. We used to shoot into the air, we didn’t worry about ammunition. Now we think twice about using each bullet.”

Although Turkey houses the FSA, it ”does not allow any weapon to be transferred to Syria in [an] illegal way,” a Turkish government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said. Anyone caught trying will be arrested and the weapons confiscated, he added.

That’s exactly what many Syrian refugees, defectors and civilian revolutionaries accuse the high-level defectors in the camp of doing — just sitting there. In the absence of an organized military effort, the burden of securing weapons and funding has fallen to lower-level officers like Alaa, as well as ordinary Syrians like Abdel-Salim, a taxi driver turned thuwar who commands the ”Free Syrians,” a ragtag bunch of farmers, taxi drivers and other civilians from a string of villages abutting the Turkish border. Abdel-Salim, a 40-year-old with a bushy salt-and-pepper beard and high cheekbones, had crossed the border into southernTurkey to try and secure supplies for his group: 3,000 bullets, to be precise.

The ”Free Syrians” are under the FSA banner, he explains, and are in regular communication with its leadership via a few defectors in his group. ”We ask the defectors to go to the officers’ camp to ask for help but we haven’t got anything from the Free Army yet,” Abdel-Salim says. ”But to be fair, I don’t think the Free Army has anything itself.” 

Abdel-Salim recalls that he participated in peaceful protests for months, and only picked up a weapon four months ago, when he ”lost hope” in protests. He was shot about a month before that, in his stomach and his right leg, and spent 10 days recuperating in a Turkish hospital. He walks with a limp, but that didn’t deter him from crossing back into Syria to fight Assad’s army. ”I didn’t want to pick up a weapon,” he says, ”but I think Israel is more honorable than the Syrian regime.”

The longer Abdel-Salim speaks, the angrier he gets. ”Where is the money the Syrian opposition got from the Libyans?” he seethes. ”We haven’t seen any of the [Syrian] National Council members down here. … What is Riad al-Assad doing in Turkey anyway? Army commander? He should cross the border, lift people’s morale. What is he scared of — dying?”

             The Assad System – to kill more

Another from defected soldiers:

Defectors: Torture of children, rape by #Syrian army ‘routine’ !

http://syrianfreedomls.tumblr.com/post/20372447508/defectors-torture-of-children-rape-by-syrian-army

In addition to shooting unarmed civilians, Syrian military personnel routinely have raped women and girls, tortured children and encouraged troops to loot the houses they storm, former foot soldiers say.

“What I have seen with my own eyes, it was indescribable,” said Rolat Azad, 21, who said he’d served as a master sergeant in Idlib province in the northeast of Syria. There, he commanded 10 men who’d break into houses seeking to arrest men whose names they’d been given by the country’s intelligence agencies. “They gave us orders: ‘You are free to do what you like,’ ” he recalled.

Starting last July, he said, his unit arrested and tortured five to 10 people daily. “We had a torture room on our base,” he said. “There was physical torture — beatings — and psychological tortures,” said Azad, a Syrian Kurd who deserted and fled in March to the Kurdistan region of Iraq. “They also brought women and girls through. They put them in the closed room and called soldiers to rape them.”

The women often were killed, he said.

Azad — as with other former soldiers here, the name is a pseudonym assumed to protect his family, still in Syria — was interviewed at a camp that Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government set up for Syrian army deserters. He recalled the torture of two young teenage boys. He said they’d been arrested either for shooting videos of the military or showing disrespect for the military and the regime, something that wasn’t uncommon, even among children. “I once asked a small kid why he wasn’t going to school,” Azad said. “He said, ‘We won’t until this regime is gone.’ “

One boy, about 13, was brought into the torture room and given electrical shocks, Azad said. Another, 14, was brought into the room in late February. His screams could be heard in the camp outside the town of Jisr al Shughour. “It was painful for all the soldiers,” he said. Azad said he had no idea of the boy’s fate. “They held him one or two days. Either they killed him or sent him to military security,” he said.

Even worse, he said, was hearing the wailing and screaming of old men being tortured: “When they tortured old men, I couldn’t stand it. I went outside. Others closed their eyes. I could not stay.”

An independent U.N. commission of inquiry has described the Syrian government’s offensive against civilians as possible “crimes against humanity.” The commission, which reports to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, detailed arbitrary arrests, disappearances and torture, including the torture of children, in its latest report, issued in February, but it didn’t detail the practice of rape. Commission officials said they had yet to talk with a rape victim.

He was assigned to a military construction unit but was ordered to the scenes of demonstrations, where troops would shoot at civilians.

“It was an ugly scene. We were at the top of a building and would shoot at civilians: children, women, men, anyone against the regime.” He said the Syrian intelligence agencies stationed personnel to make sure they shot civilians. “They were watching anyone not shooting and taking down names,” he said.

Several soldiers said Kurdish and Sunni Muslim troops tried wherever possible to fire over people’s heads, but Alawites — members of the sect related to Shiite Islam that President Bashar Assad belongs to — boasted about how many demonstrators they’d killed.

“We had an order to shoot and kill,” said Khaled Derecki, 20. “But some of those demonstrating were my friends, and we fired over their heads. “But the Alawites in my unit were very proud. They’d say: ‘Today, we killed seven or eight.’ “

240mm mortar bombs

One of the weapons used by the Assad’s regime in “attacking” and destroying cities and neighbourhoods is the Russian SM-240 (2S4) 240-mm self-propelled mortar known to the West as the M-1975.

This systems fire the world’s largest high explosive mortar bomb (240mm F-864), designed to “demolish fortifications and fieldworks” according to a Russian arms merchandizing catalogue.

It is the largest mortar bomb known to be in production and use. It weighs 130 kilograms and contains 31.93 kilograms of TNT as an explosive charge.

Other munitions used by Assad’s regime on the “attack”  is Russian 122mm howitzers and 120mm mortars and 121-mm and 81-mm shells.

You REALLY get “impressed” by these “brave soldiers” who attacks civilian cities and destroy whole blocks and neighbourhoods by using among other things 240mm mortar bombs. Designed to “demolish fortifications and fieldworks”

That is really a “worthy” adversary for a real soldier – killing unarmed civilians in their homes.

This is a photo of the 240mm mortar bomb. I cut it from a Russian instructional video.

So who are these “brave” men slaughtering unarmed civilians?

The main force is Assad’s loyal shabiha, a militia of an estimated 35,000 Alawites who have pledged loyalty to Assad and are his regime’s key prop.

The Syrian opposition refers to this ragtag band of Assad loyalists as jaysh abu shahhata— or the “army of the sandals,” referring to its shoddy equipment and lack of discipline.

Another one is the infamous Fourth Armored Division, under the control of the president’s brother, Maher. The Syrian 14th Infantry Division and the 40th and 90th mechanized brigades has also taken part.

In addition, they are not very “professional” or good at their work, except of course to destroy cities and kill civilians.

For example when the 4th Armored Division were sent (February 28) to the Baba Amr district of Homs, after Syrian forces failed in their three-week long offensive (including intensive shelling) to enter the city. It wasn’t until the army shut off the  last supply line that it was able to enter Baba Amr—spearheaded by nearly 7000 soldiers from the 4th Armored Division, which is roughly the entire unit.

The resistance there was carried by one of the most professional Syrian rebel group, The Al Farouk Brigades, which kept the Syrian military at bay for nearly a month although they have no ties with the FSA and number no more than 300 to 400 fighters. The rebel movement has some 40 small “brigades”, mixed freelancers who fight at random here and there but demonstrate little operational ability.

And what did this “glorious elite” Armored Division do after the capture?

Well one of the first thing it did was to behead 17 civilians.

A “normal routine” for any professional soldier wouldn’t you say?

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/michaelweiss/100140744/assads-security-forces-have-beheaded-17-civilians-in-baba-amr/

”Assad’s security forces have just beheaded – yes, beheaded – 17 civilians in Baba Amr, according to the human rights group Avaaz. I have been speaking to Will Davies, Avaaz’s media campaigner, who confirmed with me that he is ”100 per cent” sure that this story is true as it’s been corroborated by independent sources. In fact, he provided a list of all the victims:

1. Abdul-Haleem Sabouh 2. Abdul-Naser Sabouh 3. Abdul-Hameed Sabouh
4. Abdul-Rahman Sabouh 5. Abdul-Baset Sabouh 6. Amer son of Omer Sabouh
7. Abdul-Moueen Daboul 8. Abdul-Salam Kujuk 9. Barri al-Akidy
10. Ez al-Deen al-Akidy 11. Ahmad al-Akidy 12. Abdul-Rahman Jneed
13. Abdul-Kafi Juneed 14. Radwan Bitar 15. Mahmoud al-Zoubi
16. Mahmoud al-louz 17. Alaa al-Ali”

But for the most part, most of the army stays out of this. They have “defected in place”

From division level down to battalions and brigades level. Entire units from commander down defy orders from the General Staff in Damascus to fight the rebels without crossing the lines to the opposition. To keep the spreading passive mutiny, Assad keeps the defiant units supplied in their barracks with funds and food.

Another example of this passive mutiny by the Syrian army, was when the five Syrian divisions stationed on Syria’s Golan border with Israel and its frontier with South Lebanon; were told by their commanders in beginning of March to ignore orders from Damascus to join the crackdown on rebels because their mission was “to defend the Syrian homeland from external threats” – another form of “defection in place.”

In other words, we are so “busy” protecting the borders so we don’t want to and don’t have time for this kind of “nonsense”.

For the most part, the Syrian army is a declining, anachronistic force, whose high officers is afraid of the leader, and watch each other’s backs. The problems with corruption, nepotism, poorly organized technical and maintenance support etc. This keeps much of the army paralyzed.

Some Special Forces and armored units are exceptions, but promotion is highly dependent on favoritism and nepotism.

That is why – contrary to what the West believes – Assad is not using his army to crack down on the uprising but the loyal Alawite Shabiha brigades and battalions.

Many artists, writers etc have taken part in the protests and uprising. To name some:

Samar Yazbeck, Ibrahim Qashoush, Rasha Omran, Ali Farzat, Mai Skaf, Khaled Khalifa, Samih Shqair, Fadwa Sulaiman —there’s an impressive list of Syrian writers, musicians and artists who have bravely and unambiguously supported the people’s aspirations for dignity.

As the Alawi actress Fadwa Sulaiman, on November 8, 2011,  leading the crowd in besieged and blood-soaked Homsin chants of “No Muslim Brotherhood, No Salafis, We All Want Freedom.” And “One, One, the Syrian People are One.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZT1PdiQVNI&feature=player_embedded

A video statement she made on November 10, 2011, excerpts :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlQlLxh5rEE&feature=player_embedded

“Districts are being raided since last night, searching for me. People are being beaten to reveal my hiding place. In case I get arrested by the security or army forces, who might force me to appear on Al-Dunia channel to make me to admit that I am part of the conspiracy against Syria the way they did with the honorable Sheik Al-Sayasneh and the brave officier Hussein Harmoush. If they hurt me or any members of my family in any way, then I hold the government and its security apparatus and thugs fully responsible.”

“I urge the great Syrian people to continue their peaceful struggle until they topple the regime and achieve the democratic civic state that all Syrians dream of. And I invite you to unite and stand together to overthrow the regime which lost its legitimacy the moment the constitution was changed to accommodate the appointment of Bashar Al-Assad as president ofSyria, for no reason other than being the son of the late president.

I urge you to come out to the streets and squares today and every day to declare civil disobedience and hunger strike until the withdrawal of the security and military forces from the streets and the release of all the political and opinion prisoners which are currently in the oppressive jails and to spare the blood of all Syrians.

I urge all the Syrians around the world, and all people to support us and stand in front of our embassies around the world declaring hunger strike to express the right of people to express their opinion about their regimes without being killed by these regimes.”

“Baba Amr is living a real humanitarian disaster. Stand by Baba Amr, because no district or road in Syria is exempt from a fate similar to that of Bab Amr, as long as the Arab league is providing the regime with one extension after another so that it continues repressing the Syrian people, and depriving them from their freedom, dignity and life, and peace be upon Syria and its people.”

And journalist, writer and screenwriter Samar Yazbek speaks up on Syria in an Italian magazine, April 24, 2011

http://www.rayaagency.org/2011/04/samar-yazbek-speaks-up-on-syria-in-an-italian-magazine/

“I’m not optimistic, to the contrary. In recent weeks people have finally broken the silence and fear, I myself have participated in the demonstrations”, she says. “We have found the courage to ask for freedom and democracy, an end to emergency laws that oppress us since 1963. We demand real political parties and elections, the right to express ourselves. But the repression is very hard, with many deaths and arrests. As always, the regime makes promises, but does not maintain them. The army and security forces control everything.”

“The regime has indeed destroyed the Alawite religion, a peaceful religion, as it engaged in things foreign to the faith, leading some to become its Alawite thugs. But many of us are opponents, in jail, in exile, or banned from travel. The regime is playing with sectarianism to terrify “its” minority and get support. A game that will end, but first, I fear, there will be clashes between the communities. ”

In Syria, Holding a Camera is a Death Sentence

Most of the documentation, videos, photos etc from the Assad’s regimes slaughter of it’s own people has been documented by very brave civilians who risk their life every time they try to document and record what is happening. Many has paid with their life for this “crime”

Here is an interview with the founder of the of Syria’s Dier Press Network. How a group of doctors became the vanguard of Eastern Syria’s free press.

http://www.guernicamag.com/blog/3584/danny_thiemann_holding_a_camer/#.T2hKD2-TG5U.twitter

“In the town of Dierez-Zour on the road from Syria to Iraq, a doctor, who we’ll call Kareem, put down his medicine bottles. It wasMarch 15, 2011. The media blackout in Syria had just begun. Kareem had no experience as a journalist. But when he turned on the TV and saw the blackout, he picked up the phone. On the other end is his cousin, who we’ll call Ahmed, a young law student in theUK.

When Syria’s crackdown on protests began to intensify, Ahmed and Kareem made a commitment to respond. On March 21, they formed a network of smugglers, cameramen, and tech support that has become known as the Dier Press Network (DPN.), Syria’s first citizen-journalist media company.

One year later, Ahmed and Kareem reflect on the small company that has grown into a satellite TV network, the colleagues they’ve lost, and the future of the Syrian free press. Their names have been changed to protect their families.”

”Guernica: How did you start?

Ahmed: Kareem gave me a call one day. The government started using live ammunition on protesters, beating them up, and if you were caught you risked torture. You could hear the metal clang of tanks outside the classroom windows, the drone of airplanes above the teacher’s voice, the plodding of artillery, like footsteps of a faraway giant. I had already left the country about a year ago. But he was seeing all these things with his own eyes and he wanted to show the world what he saw.

Kareem: Most news was on the Western side ofSyria, but the East was rebelling and no one knew about it. I wanted to do something, but I was really starting from zero. It was a process of trial and error at the beginning.

Guernica: How did you build a citizen-journalist network? How would others do so?

Kareem: First thing was to start a Facebook page. The problem with this, we found out, was that Facebook was heavily monitored by the government. But still, we felt the most prominent way to spread the news during the media blackout was through Facebook.”

“Guernica: What is DPN exactly?

Ahmed: It stands for Dier ez-Zour Press Network. Dier ez-Zour is our province in Syria. DPN. is a non-partisan, non-sectarian news group. We rely on a mix of volunteers within and without the company. It is a sort of crowd-sourced journalism that relies on ordinary citizens.

Guernica: What are the next steps in expanding this kind of media network?

Ahmed: You need a lot of public support. We had it. But after the media blackout worsened, we depended less and less on trusted friends and more and more on anonymous volunteers. Basically, we went from one cameraman and Kareem to hundreds cameramen and hundreds of Kareems [smugglers]. The problem was that when the army entered towns like Dier ez-Zour, filming any citizens getting killed was very dangerous, and yet DPN. was carrying all of these videos. Carrying a camera was a death sentence.”

Some recent headlines from local media:

Al-Arabiya: Saturday’s death toll in Syriareaches 133 people (April 7)

Turkeysays 2,800 fleeSyria in one day (April 5)

More than 1,000 Syrian refugees flee toTurkey in single day (April 4)

Al-Jazeera: Wednesday’s death toll in Syriarises to 92 (April 4)

Al-Arabiya: Sunday’s death toll in Syriarises to 57 people (April 1)

Al-Jazeera: Syrian forces kill 50 people on Saturday, activists say (March 24)

Al-Jazeera: Syria’s Thursday death toll rises to 81, activists say (March 22)

Wednesday’s death toll in Syriarises to 70, Local Coordination Committees say (March 21)

Al-Arabiya: Syrian forces kill 55 people on Tuesday (March 20)

Monday March 19, 2012

Death toll: 52, including 6 inDeraaProvince, and 6 inDeirEzzorProvince. Explosions were heard in Arbeen and Harasta inEastern Ghoutah region ofDamascus, as well as in Qaboun District inDamascusCity itself. The pounding of Old Homs continues, as locals find 6 bodies belonging to local women killed by pro-Assad death squads.

Al-Arabiya: Friday’s death toll in Syriarises to 41 (March 16)

Al-Jazeera: Thursday’s death toll in Syriarises to 72 (March 15)

Syria planting border mines to stop refugee flight,Turkey says (March 15)

One thousand Syrians flee toTurkey in single day, official says (March 15)

More than 9,000 killed inSyria violence, monitors say (March 15)

Syria– one year after the revolution: 10,000 confirmed dead.20,000 missing / 120,000 detained / 230,000 internally displaced / 150,000 refugees(Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Gulf, Europe) / 1,400,000 at risk of famine(according to FAO).

Wednesday March 15, 2012

Tuesday: Forty people were executed by pro-Assad death squads near Bilal Mosque inIdlibCity. But ten loyalist troops were killed in an ambush in the city of Ma’aratAl-Nouman. In Homs City, the pounding of Jub Al-Jandali Neighborhood continued,leading to the death of at least 5 residents. In nearby Talbisseh, poundingleft 14 locals wounded. In the town ofDa’el,DeraaProvince, 12loyalists were killed in an ambush by local FSA units.

Wednesday: 85 people were killed mostly inIdlib City as pro-Assad death squads took controlover the city. The death toll also includes 6 who died under torture in HamaCity (3) and AleppoCity (3), 6 killed inDamascus and suburbs, and 11 who werekilled in a renewed incursion intoDeraaCity.

Thursday: 91 people were killed including at least 23 who were executed by pro-Assad death squadsinIdlib City. Death toll also includes 5 children and 4 defectors.

Al-Jazeera: Syrian security forces kill 76, activists say (March 14)

And by the way, the headline Vladimir Putin ‘The Butcher of Homswas given by the people on the streets in Homs and Babr Amr.  That’s as he so “fondly” known on the streets of Babr Amr.

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Putin’s Useful Idiots – The Environmental Movement

11 oktober, 2008

Här kommer en artikel av William Yeatman som beskriver det Tyska beroendet av den Ryska gasen och de utrikespolitiska följderna det har fått. Och det kan vi ”tacka” den tyska miljörörelsen för som konsekvent har motsatt sig ALLA realistiska alternativ, INKLUSIVE DE EGNA STORA GASTILLGÅNGARNA SOM MAN AV ”MILJÖSKÄL” INTE KAN ANVÄNDA.

Däremot så protesterar INTE miljörörelsen MOT den STORA importen av rysk gas. Och det totala beroende som detta har medfört.

Intressant eller hur.

Se även mina tidigare inlägg

 How the West Fueled Putin’s Sense of Impunity by doing nothing,  A Short collection of news about ”friendly neighborly Russian behavior”Russia’s War in Georgia and the background chronology to it,  Damage assessment: Georgian village Tamarasjeni the most destroyed and damagedAnother Russian Journalist Shoot in the Head – By the Police An Investment Gets Trapped in Kremlin’s Vise – Justice a la Gazprom/Russian style,  Russia’s Disinformation Campaign over South OssetiaCriticism = extremism in RussiaThe Russian system is characterized by intimidation and political passivity on the part of the population.How Putins critics get ”erased” from the TV screen Some more examples of Gazprom/Russian ”friendly” behaviourList of Gazprom’s huge empire of subsidiaries – Part 1,  List of Gazprom’s huge empire of subsidiaries – Part 2Before the Gunfire, Cyberattacks against GeorgiaGazprom and Nord Stream’s strong PR drive to influence local governments,   The Re-Sovietization of the Russian Press and Gazprom’s active part in it. Russia’s Gazprom’s Energy ImperialismScratch Russia Georgia War and You Find Oil and Gas Pipelines och Moscow’s Sinister Brilliance – Who wants to die for Tbilisi or Stockholm?

Artikeln finns här:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4487

Putin’s Useful Idiots

By William Yeatman

Posted October 2008

Wonder why Russia has Europe over a barrel? Ask German environmentalists.

Give nukes a chance? Environmental activists have given Moscow new leverage over Europe.It is said that Vladimir Lenin once called Soviet sympathizers in Western countries ”useful idiots” for unwittingly advancing the cause of revolutionary Russia. Were the Bolshevik leader alive today, he might apply the same label to German environmentalists, whose influence over their country’s energy policy has been an inadvertent, but essential factor in Moscow‘s post-Cold War rise.

Two decades of stringent environmental regulations have made Germany, Europe‘s largest economy, increasingly dependent on natural gas from Russia, the world’s largest exporter. Of course, economic leverage translates seamlessly into political power, and Russia‘s sway over German foreign policy has been conspicuous as the recent imbroglio in Georgia has continued to play out.

In fact, Germany has the means to power its economy without Russian natural gas, so energy dependence is unnecessary. For starters, it is home to the largest reserves of coal in Europe. But thanks to the European Union’s marquee climate-change mitigation policy-the continent-wide Emission Trading Scheme-the economics of power production have shifted decidedly against coal because its combustion releases the most greenhouse gases of any conventional fuel source.

Given that coal is currently taboo, Germany could meet its energy needs by expanding the use of nuclear energy, which emits no carbon dioxide when used to generate electricity. Yet the environmental movement in Germany opposes nuclear energy because its waste is difficult and dangerous to store. In 2000, environmentalists won passage of the Nuclear Exit Law, which commits German utilities to phasing out nuclear power by 2020.

Rather than coal or nuclear, the environmental movement prefers sustainable sources of power such as wind and solar, and it has convinced the German government to grant generous subsidies to the renewable energy industry. But despite these investments, renewables are still too costly to displace conventional energy sources, which is why wind and solar power account for less than 2 percent of Germany‘s primary energy production, according to government figures.

That leaves natural gas, which is cleaner than coal and less expensive than alternative energy. Germany is fortunate to have large deposits of gas-more than 9 trillion cubic feet-most of which is thought to lie beneath the northwestern state of Niedersachsen. Environmental regulations, however, have limited exploration and development in the region.

To meet its demand for energy, Germany turned to Gazprom, a state-owned company that has a legal monopoly on natural gas exports from Russia. Natural gas currently accounts for almost a quarter of all the energy consumed in Germany, including all electricity in homes, gasoline in cars, and coal for industrial boilers. That’s up 40 percent since 1991. And Gazprom now supplies 40 percent of all natural gas consumption in Germany, an increase of 55 percent over the same period.

Currently, almost 40 percent of Germany’s domestic gas consumption comes from Russia. That share is likely to increase with the construction of the Northern Pipeline, a project to be completed in 2010 that would link Russian gas directly to Central European markets.

It’s little wonder, then, that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the first major world leader to pay a visit to new Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Or that at last spring’s NATO summit in Romania, German diplomats orchestrated the opposition to U.S. President George W. Bush’s plan for expanding the trans-Atlantic military alliance to include Georgia and Ukraine. Before the summit, Russian officials had warned that NATO expansion would cause a ”deep crisis,” and provoke a ”response” from Russia.

Then, last week in St. Petersburg, Merkel became the first Western leader to restore close bilateral ties with Russia after the August conflict in Georgia. Not coincidentally, Merkel’s trip to Russia came at the same time that a major gas deal was signed between Gazprom and E.On, the German gas giant.

Merkel has been outspoken as the Kremlin has demonstrated a seeming willingness to use Russia’s energy resources as a cudgel in interstate disputes. As winter approached a year ago, Gazprom threatened to cut gas supplies to Ukraine after the pro-Russia candidate lost a major election. The timing of the warning was widely interpreted as a thinly veiled threat. So was the decision by Transneft, a state-owned pipeline company that has a monopoly on oil exports from Russia, to precipitously cut supplies to the Czech Republic last July after that country signed a deal with the United States to host radar technology as part of a global missile shield-a policy strenuously opposed by Moscow.

But actions speak louder than words, and Medvedev and his mentor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, are no doubt paying more attention to what Germany‘s leader does than what she says.

Domestic opposition to the Northern Pipeline has grown recently, and a debate has started on the future of coal in Germany. For the foreseeable future, however, Germany‘s foreign policy will be beholden to its energy dependence on Russia. And for that, we have the environmental movement to thank.

William Yeatman is an energy policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based think tank.

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How the West Fueled Putin’s Sense of Impunity by doing nothing

4 september, 2008

Här kommer en som vanligt rättfram analys av Garry Kasparov. F.d. World Chess Champion och enastående stormästare och schack spelare som jag har haft nöjet att se spela live en gång. Numera politiker och grundade United Civil Front (Объединённый Гражданский Фронт) och är med i The Other Russia koalitionen (Объединённый Гражданский Фронт).

Och han har spelat en ledande roll i oppositionen mot Putin och utvecklingen i Ryssland under Putins ledarskap.

Det intressanta är ju även hans konstaterande att EU inte kommer att göra något OAVSETT vad som händer i Ryssland efter samtalet med ”den höge representanten” från EU för 3 år sedan.

Det är alltså på detta europeiska s.k. försvars- och säkerhetssamarbete som Sverige bygger sin försvars doktrin. Dvs. LUFT och HÖGTIDLIGA proklamationer när det INTE kostar något. När det bränner FÅR NÅGON ANNAN TA ANSVARET – The European Way.

Det är bara mantrat ”dialog och åter dialog” som gäller även om du blir ihjälslagen under tiden.

Hans officiella hemsida finns här: http://www.kasparov.com/

United Civil Fronts hemsida finns här: http://www.rufront.ru/

The Other Russia’ s hemsida finns här: http://www.theotherrussia.org/

Artikeln finns här:

http://online.wsj.com/public/article_print/SB121876037443642795.html

August 15, 2008

How the West Fueled Putin’s Sense of Impunity

By GARRY KASPAROV

August 15, 2008;

Russia’s invasion of Georgia reminded me of a conversation I had three years ago in Moscow with a high-ranking European Union official. Russia was much freer then, but President Vladimir Putin’s onslaught against democratic rights was already underway.

What would it take,” I asked, ”for Europe to stop treating Putin like a democrat? If all opposition parties are banned? Or what if they started shooting people in the street?” The official shrugged and replied that even in such cases, there would be little the EU could do. He added: ”Staying engaged will always be the best hope for the people of both Europe and Russia.”

The citizens of Georgia would likely disagree. Russia‘s invasion was the direct result of nearly a decade of Western helplessness and delusion. Inexperienced and cautious in the international arena at the start of his reign in 2000, Mr. Putin soon learned he could get away with anything without repercussions from the EU or America.

Russia reverted to a KGB dictatorship while Mr. Putin was treated as an equal at G-8 summits. Italy‘s Silvio Berlusconi and Germany‘s Gerhardt Schroeder became Kremlin business partners. Mr. Putin discovered democratic credentials could be bought and sold just like everything else. The final confirmation was the acceptance of Dmitry Medvedev in the G-8, and on the world stage. The leaders of the Free World welcomed Mr. Putin’s puppet, who had been anointed in blatantly faked elections.

On Tuesday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy sprinted to Moscow to broker a ceasefire agreement. He was allowed to go through the motions, perhaps as a reward for his congratulatory phone call to Mr. Putin after our December parliamentary ”elections.” But just a few months ago Mr. Sarkozy was in Moscow as a supplicant, lobbying for Renault. How much credibility does he really have in Mr. Putin’s eyes?

In reality, Mr. Sarkozy is attempting to remedy a crisis he helped bring about. Last April, France opposed the American push to fast-track Georgia‘s North Atlantic Treaty Organization membership. This was one of many missed opportunities that collectively built up Mr. Putin’s sense of impunity. In this way the G-7 nations aided and abetted the Kremlin’s ambitions.

Georgia blundered into a trap, although its imprudent aggression in South Ossetia was overshadowed by Mr. Putin’s desire to play the strongman. Russia seized the chance to go on the offensive in Georgian territory while playing the victim/hero. Mr. Putin has long been eager to punish Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili for his lack of respect both for Georgia‘s old master Russia, and for Mr. Putin personally. (Popular rumor has it that the Georgian president once mocked his peer as ”Lilli-Putin.”)

Although Mr. Saakashvili could hardly be called a model democrat, his embrace of Europe and the West is considered a very bad example by the Kremlin. The administrations of the Georgian breakaway areas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are stocked, top to bottom, with bureaucrats from the Russian security services.

Throughout the conflict, the Kremlin-choreographed message in the Russian media has been one of hysteria. The news presents Russia as surrounded by enemies on all sides, near and far, and the military intervention in Georgia as essential to protect the lives and interests of Russians. It is also often spoken of as just the first step, with enclaves in Ukraine next on the menu. Attack dogs like Russian nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky are used to test and whip up public opinion. Kremlin-sponsored ultranationalist ideologue Alexander Dugin went on the radio to say Russian forces ”should not stop until they are stopped.” The damage done by such rhetoric is very slow to heal.

The conflict also threatens to poison Russia’s relationship with Europe and America for years to come. Can such a belligerent state be trusted as the guarantor of Europe‘s energy supply? Republican presidential candidate John McCain has been derided for his strong stance against Mr. Putin, including a proposal to kick Russia out of the G-8. Will his critics now admit that the man they called an antiquated cold warrior was right all along?

The conventional wisdom of Russia‘s ”invulnerability” serves as an excuse for inaction. President Bush’s belatedly toughened language is welcome, but actual sanctions must now be considered. The Kremlin’s ruling clique has vital interests — i.e. assets — abroad and those interests are vulnerable.

The blood of those killed in this conflict is on the hands of radical nationalists, thoughtless politicians, opportunistic oligarchs and the leaders of the Free World who value gas and oil more than principles. More lives will be lost unless strong moral lines are drawn to reinforce the shattered lines of the map.

Mr. Kasparov, leader of  , is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal.

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A Short collection of news about ”friendly neighborly Russian behavior”

4 september, 2008

Här kommer ett LITET axblock av notiser om en del ryska förehavanden de senaste två månaderna. Och som sagt enligt våra intälägänta politiker i Sveriges riksdag och regeringen så är den främsta prioriteringen för svenska försvaret (den lilla spillra som finns kvar och numera finns utomlands) att ”bekämpa” Global warming.

Detta var man totalt enig om i försvarsberedningen.

Som sagt det är värdiga representanter vi har i Sveriges riksdag och regeringen. Och det är tur att det är så visa personer som värnar Sveriges väl och ve – även i orostider.

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080904/116544389.html

Russian Navy aircraft test new equipment over the Arctic

04/09/2008 12:59 MURMANSK, September 4 (RIA Novosti)

– Tu-142MK aircraft from Russia’s Northern Fleet conducted on September 2-3 reconnaissance flights over the Barents and Laptev seas and successfully tested new electronic on-board equipment, the fleet’s press service said Thursday. (Russian strategic bombers – Image gallery)

Tu-142 Bear-F is the maritime reconnaissance/strike version of the Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber, designed mainly for anti-submarine warfare.

”The tests of new on-board electronic equipment and weapons-control systems showed their high effectiveness,” the press service said in a statement.

The flights have been conducted strictly in accordance with international agreements and the norms of international law, the statement said.

Russia has recently stepped up regular patrols over the Arctic and said it may soon shift the focus of its military strategy toward the northern latitudes in order to protect its national interests in the Arctic, especially on its continental shelf, which may contain large deposits of oil and natural gas.

_______________________________________

http://en.rian.ru/business/20080825/116255222.html

Russia to boost foreign military trade by 8-10% annually

25/08/2008 13:10 MOSCOW, August 25 (RIA Novosti)

– Russia plans to increase foreign weapon sales by 8-10% annually over the next three to four years, the country’s defense cooperation service said on Monday.

Military-technical cooperation will see a steady increase in arms sales of 8-10% annually over the next three to four years. This is the potential set out in the defense contracts portfolio, and the industry potential,” said Vladimir Paleshchuk, vice director of the service.

Mikhail Dmitriyev, the head of the defense cooperation service, earlier said Russia would export arms worth over $8.5 billion this year.

Paleshchuk also warned problems could emerge after 2012 unless the government took steps to encourage investment in military production as many Russian defense companies either disappeared or converted over to manufacturing alternate goods in the 1990s.

The official commented optimistically on the state-owned Russian Technology Corporation, which he said ”employs not only highly-qualified managers experienced in arms sales, but who have first hand knowledge of weapons production.”

The Russian Technology Corporation was established in November 2007 to consolidate manufacturers of high-tech products for military and civilian purposes.

Russia had doubled annual arms exports since 2000 to $7 billion last year, becoming the world’s second-largest exporter of conventional weapons after the United States.

Russia exports arms to about 80 countries. Among the key buyers of Russian-made weaponry are China, India, Algeria, Venezuela, Iran, Malaysia and Serbia.

The most popular types of weaponry bought from Russia are Sukhoi and MiG fighters, air defense systems, helicopters, battle tanks, armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles.

Russia also maintains traditionally strong positions in the sales of small arms, anti-tank and air-defense missile systems.

________________________________________

http://en.rian.ru/world/20080819/116125744.html

Rice says Russia playing ‘dangerous game’ with bomber flights

19/08/2008 12:34 WASHINGTON, August 19 (RIA Novosti)

– Condoleezza Rice has said the Bush administration is unhappy with flights by Russian strategic bombers near U.S. borders and accused Moscow of playing a ”dangerous game.”

Talking about flights by Tu-95 Bear bombers, the U.S. secretary of state told journalists Monday: ”We’ve had Russian Bear flights along the Norwegian coast…even along the borders with the United States which…is a very dangerous game, and perhaps one the Russians want to reconsider.”

”Nobody needs Russian strategic aviation along America‘s coasts,” she added. 

Rice made the comments as she left for an emergency session of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels, which is due to meet Tuesday to consider relations with Moscow following a cessation in hostilities between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia.

The emergency meeting was called last week by Washington, which accused Russia of a ”disproportionate” response after Georgia launched a military offensive against South Ossetia August 8 to try and regain control over the breakaway region, prompting Russia to send several hundred tanks and thousands of troops into the region.

Rice said the main goal of the meeting of the 26-member alliance was to deny Russia its ”strategic objective” by backing Georgian democracy.

She also accused Russia of trying to assert its influence in the region ”by military means.” She added that Moscow had harmed ”its own reputation” with its response to the Georgian attack.

Russia resumed strategic bomber patrols, often escorted by NATO planes, over the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans last August following an order signed by then-president Vladimir Putin.

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Russia’s War in Georgia and the background chronology to it

3 september, 2008

Som ett komplement till mina tidigare inlägg Russia’s Disinformation Campaign over South Ossetia och Before the Gunfire, Cyberattacks against Georgia kommer här en mycket intressant kronologi over händelseutvecklingen som lede fram till Rysslands invasion av Georgien från Central Asia-Caucasus Institute.

Som jag konstaterat tidigare så visar även denna kronologi på de långtgående ryska förberedelserna långt innan kriget. Och att den ryska planeringen var att ”göra något” i början/mitten av augusti. Vilket ju också skede.

De ryska styrkorna var förbereda och hade satt sig i rörelse före den 7-8 augusti då Georgien gick in i Tschinvali.

Här är en bra karta som visar de olika styrkornas utgångsläge och det inledande förloppet.

http://kommersant.ru/%5CISSUES.PHOTO%5CDAILY%5C2008%5C140%5C_2008140-01-01.jpg

           Klicka på kartan så blir den större/Click on the map

In August 2008, Russia launched an invasion of Georgia that sent shock waves reverberating – first across the post-Soviet space, but then also into the rest of Europe and the world, as the magnitude of the invasion and its implications became clear.

This invasion took the world by surprise. But what should have been surprising about it was perhaps the extent of Russia’s willingness to employ crude military force against a neighboring state, not that it happened. Indeed, Russia had for several years pursued increasingly aggressive and interventionist policies in Georgia, and had employed an array of instruments that included military means, albeit at a smaller scale. In the several months that preceded the invasion, Moscow‘s increasingly blatant provocations against Georgia led to a growing fear in the analytic community that it was seeking a military confrontation. Yet western reactions to this aggressive behavior remained declaratory and cautious in nature, and failed to attach cost to Russia for its behavior.

After invading Georgia on August 8, Russia did score some initial successes in portraying the invasion as a response to a Georgian decision to militarily enter Tskhinvali, the capital of Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia. Yet a growing body of evidence rapidly emerged, implying that Russia’s invasion was premeditated, not reactive – or in the words of a leading Russian military analyst, planned, not spontaneous.

Indeed, as the chronology included in this paper shows, Russia had been meticulously preparing an invasion of Georgia through the substantial massing and preparation of forces in the country’s immediate vicinity. Scholars will debate whether Russian tanks were already advancing inside Georgian territory when Georgian forces launched their attack on Tskhinvali; yet there seems little doubt that they were at least on the move toward the border. And the scope of the Russian attack leave little doubt: it immediately broadened from the conflict zone of South Ossetia, to the opening of a second front in Abkhazia and systematic attacks on military and economic infrastructure across Georgia’s territory. Within days, tens of thousands of Russian troops and hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles roamed Georgian roads.

Russia’s subsequent decisions to ignore the terms of a cease-fire agreement it signed, and to recognize the independence of the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, all complete the picture of long-hatched plan. The purpose was not merely related to South Ossetia or even Abkhazia: it served to punish Georgia and expose the inability of the west to prevent Russia from moving aggressively to restore its primacy over the former Soviet Union’s territory, irrespective of the wishes of the governments and populations of the sovereign countries on that area. It is indeed the predetermined nature of this war that makes its implications so far-reaching. It constituted Moscow’s first military aggression against a neighboring state since the invasion of Afghanistan in 1978; and it took place, this time, against a member state of European institutions such as the OSCE and the Council of Europe, and to that a country on track to integration with NATO.

As such, political leaders and analyst soon understood that it formed the largest crisis to date in Russia’s relationship with the West; some have even come to realize that the Georgian war of 2008 may be the most significant challenge to European Security since the Cold War’s end. It is therefore of particular importance to document, already at this stage, how this war started and draw some preliminary conclusions regarding what it means for Georgia, the post-Soviet space, and Europe and the United States. The following pages propose to do so by providing a chronology of events before, during, and immediately after the war; as well as to propose some initial conclusions that could be drawn from this chronology, as well as regarding its implications.

This chronology has been assembled to the extent possible based on multiple and independent sources, as well as on the personal notes of the authors, including experiences on the ground during the conflict. Given the recent nature of the events, however, it is possible that some information reflected here will need correction as more solid evidence emerges. The authors express their gratitude to David J. Smith and Jonathan Kulick for their comments on the chronology. The authors will be grateful to receive additional suggestions for corrections or additions

                  Russian invasion routes and forces

   Klicka på kartorna så blir den större/Click on the maps

           Russian-claimed security zone, South Ossetia

                 Russian bombing targets in Georgia

Summer 2004

Following an operation launched by the Georgian governments to curtail  rampant smuggling across South Ossetia, clashes between Georgian forces and South Ossetian separatists take place as Georgia sought to restory authority, with numerous deaths on both sides.

Winter 2005

Sergey Bagapsh assumes the de facto presidency of Abkhazia, following an election in which Moscow backed his opponent, Raul Khadzhimba. Bagapsh’s electoral victory led to strong Russian pressure on the de facto leadership, which forced Bagapsh to include Khadzhimba into his government as Vice President and hand him control of security and defense affairs.

Subsequently, serving Russian security and military officials are appointed to leading positions in the de facto governments of the unrecognized republics. Hence Russian general Soltan Soslaniev served as Abkhazia’s defense minister, while Anatoly Zaitsev became the de facto republic’s chief of staff. Likewise, South Ossetia‘s prime minister, Yuri Morozov, and security chief, Anatoly Barankevich, were among several Russian officers in the South Ossetian de facto government.

President Saakashvili presents peace plans to both Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are rejected.

January 2006

Explosions occur on the Russian side of the Georgian-Russian border, damaging a gas pipeline and an electricity transmission line and cutting gas and electricity supplies to Georgia. These explosions occur days after Russia cut energy supplies to Ukraine, and are blamed on unidentified terrorists.

Spring 2006

Russia introduces an import ban on Georgian wine and mineral water, Georgia’s most lucrative export products, citing health and quality concerns.

Spring 2006

Russia builds a military base in the district of Java, north of Tskhinvali in South Ossetia, an area off limits to international observers. The base includes substantial refueling capabilities for tanks and armored vehicles.

July 2006

Under what is officially a law enforcement operation, Georgia takes control of the Kodori Gorge in Abkhazia, previously run by a local (Georgian) warlord. The Georgian Government-in-Exile for Abkhazia is installed in the Gorge. Georgia also intensifies efforts to internationalize the Russian-led peacekeeping formats in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

September-October 2006

Georgia expels six Russian intelligence agents accused of espionage. Russia responds with a full economic embargo of Georgia, including the severance of all transportation and communication links, including rail, road, sea, air, postal, and banking ties. Russian law enforcement raids Georgian businesses in Russia and begins deporting Georgian citizens.

March 11, 2007

Georgian-controlled villages in the Kodori Gorge are attacked by ground-to ground rocket fire, likely from territory controlled by the Abkhaz de facto authorities. The attack is supported by Russian military helicopters, a fact obliquely confirmed by a subsequent report of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG). Western leaders fail to react to the UNOMIG report.

May 2007

After elections held in parallel with elections for the Tskhinvali authorities, Georgia introduces a provisional administration in the parts of South Ossetia it controlled since the cease-fire of 1992, under the leadership of Dmitri Sanakoyev, a former high official in the separatist government.

August 6, 2007

A missile dropped by an aircraft lands undetonated near a Georgian radar in Tsitelubani in close proximity of South Ossetia, recently upgraded to NATO standards. Two teams of European and American experts conclude that the action must have been performed by the Russian Air Force. A Russian team of experts instead argues the incident had been staged by Georgia to create an impression of Russian aggression against the country.

February 17, 2008

Kosovo declares independence. President Putin claims Kosovo’s independence, if recognized by western states, will set a precedent with consequences for Abkhazia and South Ossetia. A few weeks later, in an interview with Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Konstantin Zatulin, Deputy Chairman of the Duma Committee on CIS and Compatriot Affairs, suggests the draft presidential decree may be just the first step toward Russian recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It is important to move now, says Zatulin, while Kosovo is still a fresh issue and well before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. ( For full details and documents, see the October 2007 Silk Road Paper published by the Joint Center, The August 6 Bombing Incident in Georgia: Implications for the Euro-Atlantic Region, by Svante E. Cornell, David J. Smith, and S. Frederick Starr).

March 5, 2008

Tbilisi withdraws from the Joint Control Commission overseeing negotiations over South Ossetia. It instead proposes a format which, apart from Georgia, South Ossetia and Russia, also envisages active roles for the EU, OSCE and the Sanakoyev administration.

March 6, 2008

Russia announces its withdrawal from the 1996 CIS sanctions treaty, which banned trade, economic, financial, transport and other links with Abkhazia.

March 28, 2008

President Mikheil Saakashvili outlines a new peace initiative for Abkhazia, including the establishment of a free economic zone, representation at all levels of the Georgian government, and far-reaching autonomy for Abkhazia.

April 3, 2008

At the NATO summit in Bucharest, Georgia is denied a Membership Action Plan. Georgia and Ukraine are nevertheless assured they will be offered NATO membership at an unspecified point in the future. German chancellor Angel Merkel stresses that a country with unresolved conflicts can nevertheless not join NATO.

April 16, 2008

A Russian presidential decree signed by outgoing President Vladimir Putin instructs the Russian government, as well as Russian regions, to open political, social, and economic relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The decree in many ways establishes relations between Moscow and the two territories that approximate relations between Moscow and its federal subjects. This is interpreted in Tbilisi as a move to legalize a Russian annexation of the two regions.

April 18, 2008

Abkhazia claims Georgia is reinforcing its troops along the cease-fire line and in the Kodori Gorge. UNOMIG nevertheless states that no troop increases have taken place.

April 21, 2008

An unarmed Georgian UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) is downed over Abkhazia. Citing footage from the UAV’s camera capturing its own destruction by a MiG-29 aircraft as well as radar recordings showing an aircraft taking off from the Gudauta airbase in Abkhazia and departing into Russian airspace, Georgia accuses the Russian Air Force of downing the UAV. This triggers a diplomatic row, as Tbilisi claims Russia is engaging in military action in Abkhazia, while Russia denies responsibility, claiming the plane was shot down by the Abkhaz air defenses. A UNOMIG investigation subsequently concludes in May that the aircraft was Russian.

April 24, 2008

At the UN, the U.S., UK, France and Germany, all members of the Group of Friends of the Secretary General for Georgia, express concern over Russia’s policy toward Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and President Saakashvili calls for talks on internationalizing the peacekeeping missions in the two regions.

April 29, 2008

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims Georgia has reinforced its military presence in the Kodori Gorge, preparing for an invasion of Abkhazia. Russia confirms it is reinforcing its peacekeeping contingent in Abkhazia, and setting up several new checkpoints along the Inguri River. UNOMIG subsequently denies any troop buildup in the Kodori Gorge or along the cease-fire line.

May 8, 2008

Russia confirms having increased its peacekeeping contingent in Abkhazia from 1997 to 2542 soldiers.

May 14, 2008

Abkhazia’s leader Sergey Bagapsh requests permanent Russian military presence in Abkhazia. Such plans are later denied by the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. Georgian officials say a war between Georgia and Russia has been avoided due to French mediation.

May 16, 2008

The UN General Assembly passes a resolution tabled by Georgia on the right of return of all IDPs to Abkhazia. The U.S. votes for the resolution, Russia against; most western European states abstain.

May 21, 2008

Georgia holds parliamentary elections. Two buses intended for transporting Georgians in the Gali region to polling stations are blown up in Khurcha, just across the border in Georgia, injuring four. Tbilisi claims the Abkhaz side is responsible. Later reports by UN observers suggest the incident was staged by Georgian officials.

May 31, 2008

The Russian Ministry of Defense sends about 400 troops from the Russian Defense Ministry Railway Forces to rehabilitate Abkhazian railways. Tbilisi accuses Russia of improving the infrastructure in Abkhazia in preparation for a military intervention.

June 16, 2008

One person is killed and four injured in a skirmish between Georgian and South Ossetian forces in the outskirts of Tskhinvali. Georgian forces confiscate heavy equipment including anti-tank missiles from Russian peacekeepers on the Georgian side of the Georgian-Abkhaz administrative border – weaponry that, according to the agreement on peacekeeping, required notification of Georgian authorities.

June 21, 2008

In an interview with the Georgian newspaper Rezonansi, respected Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer stated that a political decision to start a war in Georgia had been taken in Moscow as early as April. He predicted that a war would start in Abkhazia no later than the middle of August.

July 1, 2008

Sukhumi closes Abkhazia’s de facto border with Georgia.

July 3-4, 2008

An explosion in the South Ossetian village of Dmenisi kills a South Ossetian police chief. Later the same day, a mine attack on a convoy carrying Dmitri Sanakoyev injures three Georgian policemen near Tskhinvali. The attack is followed by an exchange of fire between Sanakoyev’s security personnel and unknown gunmen. At least two people die in shellings in Tskhinvali and surrounding villages.

July 5, 2008

The information services of the North Caucasian Islamic resistance publish an article on their website, Kavkaz-Center, stating that Russia will wage a war in Georgia in August, but placing it in Abkhazia.

July 8, 2008

The Georgian MOD reports the intrusion of four Russian aircraft over South Ossetia. Russia confirms its aircraft entered Georgian airspace to ”cool hotheads”, marking the first instance of a violation of airspace not denied by Russia.

July 15, 2008

Russia launches a large-scale military exercise, ”Kavkaz-2008”, in 11 regions in the vicinity of the Georgian border. Approximately 8,000 army servicemen participate in the training, which engages paratroopers, the Pskov Airborne division and the Black Sea Fleet. 700 combat vehicles and 20 aircraft are activated and undergo readiness inspections. The Russian authorities refer to the exercise as a pre-planned counter-terrorism operation, but states also that it aims to prepare the troops for involvement in special peacekeeping operations, due to the latest developments in the region.

July 30, 2008

The Russian Ministry of Defense announces the completion of the repair of the 54-kilometer railway linking the Abkhazian capital of Sukhumi with the region of Ochamchire in the Abkhazian conflict zone.

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Damage assessment: Georgian village Tamarasjeni the most destroyed and damaged

2 september, 2008

Här kommer en mycket intressant sammanställning och satellitbilder över kriget i Georgien. Med mycket detaljerade sammanställningar över vad som har blivit förstört.

Tschinvali skulle ju enligt ryssarna ha blivit totalförstörd men fakta visar att 5,5 % av byggnaderna blev förstörda eller skadade. Däremot den Georgiska byn Tamarasjeni blev 50,7 % av byggnaderna förstörda eller skadade.

Onekligen en viss skillnad.

Det är UNOSAT (UN Operational Satellite Applications Programme) som står bakom satellitbilderna.

Den georgiska byn  Tamarasjeni  Kvemo Achabeti   Tschinvali

Est Buildings destroyed     136              88                  175

Est Bulidings Damaged       47               33                   55

Est Percentage of

Affected Buildings             50,7%         51,9%              5,5%   

 

Klicka på bilderna så blir de större/Click on the photos

Satellite Damage Assessment for Tskhinvali, South Ossetia, Georgia

http://unosat.web.cern.ch/unosat/freeproducts/Georgia/Russia_ConflictAug08/

UNOSAT_GEO_Tskhinvali_Damage_Overview_19aug08_Highres.pdf

Overview of Satellite Damage Assessment for Gori, Georgia

http://unosat.web.cern.ch/unosat/freeproducts/Georgia/Russia_ConflictAug08/

UNOSAT_GEO_Gori_Damage_Overview_19aug08_Highres.pdf

Village Damage Atlas: from Kekhvi to Tskhinvali, South Ossetia, Georgia (Map Sheet: 4-TSK)

http://unosat.web.cern.ch/unosat/freeproducts/Georgia/Russia_ConflictAug08/

Damage_Atlas_TSK/UNOSAT_GEO_Damage_Atlas_Tskhinvali_4TSK_Highres.pdf

Village Damage Atlas: from Kekhvi to Tskhinvali, South Ossetia, Georgia (Map Sheet: 5-TSK)

http://unosat.web.cern.ch/unosat/freeproducts/Georgia/Russia_ConflictAug08/

Damage_Atlas_TSK/UNOSAT_GEO_Damage_Atlas_Tskhinvali_5TSK_Highres.pdf

Village Damage Atlas: from Kekhvi to Tskhinvali, South Ossetia, Georgia (Map Sheet: 3-TSK)

http://unosat.web.cern.ch/unosat/freeproducts/Georgia/Russia_ConflictAug08/

Damage_Atlas_TSK/UNOSAT_GEO_Damage_Atlas_Tskhinvali_3TSK_Highres.pdf

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Another Russian Journalist Shoot in the Head – By the Police

1 september, 2008

Som ett komplement till mina tidigare inlägg  Criticism = extremism in RussiaThe Russian system is characterized by intimidation and political passivity on the part of the population.How Putins critics get ”erased” from the TV screen och The Re-Sovietization of the Russian Press and Gazprom’s active part in it. kommer här mera vad som händer I Putin land.

Om hur journalister och andra som granskar makten trakasseras, förföljs och mördas.

Och nu har ytterligare en journalist i Ryssland fått en kula i huvudet.

”The founder of a website and vocal critic of the Kremlin’s policies in the Caucasus died Sunday from a bullet wound to the head while in police custody, Interfax reported, quoting prosecutors.

Magomed Yevloyev ran the website ingushetiya.ru, a major source of information in the region, and was a prominent opponent of the pro-Kremlin president of Ingushetia, Murat Zyazikov.

Prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation after Yevloyev was shot in a police car in Narzan, the capital of volatile Ingushetia, a mostly Muslim region that borders Chechnya.”

”Russian justice authorities had ordered in June that the site be shut down, saying it was disseminating ”extremist” views.

Moscow had also blocked access to the site late last year after it called for protests against the local administration which the opposition accuses of corruption and mismanagement.”

http://ingushetiya.wordpress.com/2008/08/31/anti-kremlin-website-founder-dies-in-police-custody/

http://ingushetiya.wordpress.com/2008/08/31/owner-of-russian-opposition-website-killed/

http://www.interfax-news.com/3/423765/news.aspx

http://www.france24.com/en/20080831-anti-kremlin-website-founder-dies-police-custody-report

Myndigheterna i Ingusjien har länge försökt få tyst på Magomed Jevlojev och hans regeringskritiska webbplats http://ingushetiya.ru/ och http://ingushetiya.wordpress.com/ både genom att anklaga honom för extremism och genom att hota hans far som bor kvar i Ingusjien.

Jevlojevs värsta synd var att han avslöjade valfusket i Ingusjien i förra årets parlamentval. Trots att vallokalerna gapade tomma var valdeltagandet enligt officiella siffror 98%.

Här kommer en sammanställning av en del av de dödade journalisterna i Ryssland de senaste 15 åren:

http://www.newstatesman.com/russian-journalists

Här finns en mer detaljerad lista och redovisning på ryska och ytterligare personer som har blivit mördade från det ryska Centret för journalistik i extrema situationer :

(Min ugefärliga översättning/my approximate translation)

Journalister dödade i utförandet av eller i samband med utförandet av tjänsteutövningen:

Journalists killed in the performance of or in connection with the performance of professional duties: http://memorium.cjes.ru/?pid=7&cat_id=9

De journalister vars död är inte undersökt eller resultaten av undersökningen väcker tvivel:

The journalists whose deaths are not investigated or results of the investigation raises doubts: http://memorium.cjes.ru/?pid=7&cat_id=10

Journalister dödas i en olycka eller ett tillbud som inte är relaterade till resultatet för tjänsteutövningen:

Journalists killed in an accident or incident, not related to the performance of professional duties: http://memorium.cjes.ru/?pid=7&cat_id=11

Och här en lista över saknade journalister:

Missing journalists:  http://memorium.cjes.ru/?pid=10

Och här en lista med sammanfattande statistik över döda och saknade journalister:

Summary statistics of dead and missing journalists: http://memorium.cjes.ru/stat.php

Informationen i ”Memorium” innehåller Centret för journalistik i extrema situationer tillgängliga uppgifter om döda och saknade journalister inom OSS-länderna sedan 1991.

Russian journalism’s body count

In October 2006 journalist Anna Politkovskaya – a prominent critic of the Kremlin – was shot, just one of many reporters to die in suspicious circumstances since 1993 in the Russian Federation. In solidarity with the dead, and in association with Amnesty International, Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, the Committee to Protect Journalists and Index on Censorship, newstatesman.com publishes pictures of some of those who have perished

Alfer’ev, Vadim

Died: 26.12.1995
Circumstances: attacked and beaten with a scrap-iron bar on the stairwell of his house
Place of work: the newspaper Krasnoiarsk Segodniashniaia Gazeta
Additional information: at the time of his death he had been investigating a crime


Chechugo, Sergei

Died: 27.01.2002
Circumstances: died in a helicopter explosion in the Shelkovski region of Chechnya
Place of work: he was the press officer at the Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation in the Southern federal district and free lance journalist for the newspaper Komsomolskaia Pravda


Belozerov, Igor

Died: 03.10.1993
Circumstances: killed by a sniper who was shooting from the Ostankino TV centre building
Place of work: he was a cameraman for the TV channel Ostankino


Borovik, Artem

Died: 09.03.2000
Circumstances: died in a plane crash at Moscow Airport
Place of work: as well as being a journalist he was president of the publishing company Sovershenno Sekretno
Additional information: the airport security service has not ruled out that the attack on the plane was planned. A criminal investigation has been launched


Chechugo, Sergei

Died: 30.12.1998
Circumstances: killed by a hit and run
Place of work: he was deputy editor-in-chief of the newspaper Konkurent based in Vladivostok


Domnikov, Igor

Died: 16.07.2000
Circumstances: beaten around the head with a hammer, at the entrance to his house. He died in hospital some hours later
Place of work: he was editor of the Novaia Gazeta, Moscow
Additional information: A colleague of Igor’s had reportedly received threats, offers of bribes and been told by members of the Federal Security Service to stop his investigations. It is believed he was the intended target and not Igor

__________________________________________________________________________

Drobyshev, Vladimir

Died: 03.10.1993
Circumstances: died from a heart attack as a result of the shootings at the Ostankino TV centre building
Place of work: the magazine ”Chelovek i Priroda”
Additional information: investigations by journalists reveal that at the time soldiers were shooting at anyone who came close to the building


Gorelova, Marina

Died: 10.11.1996
Circumstances: killed alongside her colleague Yuri Shmakov, in an explosion at the funeral of the chairman of the Foundation for Afghanistan War Veterans
Place of work: she worked for the TV company Otechestvo


Ifanov, Vyacheslav

Died: 05.04.2007
Circumstances: found dead in his car which was parked in his garage
Place of work: he was a cameraman for the TV channel Novoe Televidenie Aleiska


Ivanov, Valery

Died: 29.04.2002
Circumstances: shot while outside his house in Tol’iatti, in the Samara region
Place of work: he was editor-in-chief of the newspaper Tol’iatinskoe Obozrenie
Additional information: Tol’iatti’s Procuracy said that the murder was linked to his professional activities in reporting stories on local criminal groups


Kazikhanov, Tamerlan

Died: 13.10.2005
Circumstances: shot by a Chechen fighter as he approached his workplace in Nalchik
Place of work: he was head of the press service for the anti-terrorist centre at the Ministry of Interior, Southern Federal Region


Khlebnikov, Paul (Pavel)

Died: 09.07.2004
Circumstances: shot in Moscow while leaving his office. He died on the way to hospital. The two suspects fled by car
Place of work:he was a cameraman for Puls TV, Channel 5


Kholodov, Dimitrii

Died: 17.10.1994
Circumstances: fatally wounded in an explosion
Place of work: he was a journalist at the newspaper Moskovskii Komsomolets


Kochetkov, Vagif

Died: 08.01.2006
Circumstances: attacked and beaten at the entrance to his house he died later in hospital in Tula
Place of work: he was a journalist for the newspaper Trud
Additional information: his money and mobile phone were stolen in the incident, so there is a possibility his death was a result of a mugging


Konovalenko, Alexander

Died: 06.06.1995
Circumstances: died in police custody in Volgograd
Place of work: he was a journalist for the newspaper Krest’ianskoe Slovo in Volgograd


Krasil’nikov, Sergey

Died: 03.10.1993
Circumstances: shot by a member of the Russian special forces outside the Ostankino TV centre
Place of work: the TV company Ostankino


Kuznetsov, Leonid

Died: 04.09.2002
Circumstances: although this is unclear, his body was discovered at the edge of Kasimov, in the Riasan region
Place of work: he was editor at Meshcherskaia Nov’ newspaper


Levin-Utkin, Anatoly

Died: 24.08.1998
Circumstances: beaten around the head at the entrance to his house. He died later in hospital
Place of work:he was deputy editor-in-chief for the newspaper Yuridicheski Peterburg Segodnia


List’ev, Vladislav

Died: 01.03.1995
Circumstances: shot dead at the entrance to his house
Place of work: he was director general of TV Channel ORT


Loskutov, Alexander

Died: 17.12.1999
Circumstances: died when a tank, driving on the opposite site on the road, lost control and crashed into his car. At the time he was reporting from Chechnya
Place of work: he was journalist for the magazine Morskoi Sbornik


Makeev, Pavel

Died: 21.05.2005
Circumstances: died on the Azov-Bataisk motorway while reporting on illegal car races which were taking place there
Place of work: he was a cameraman for Puls TV, cannel 5
Additional information: friends and family believe he might have been murdered on the motorway, a criminal investigation was launched under the Russian equivalent of a violation of road traffic laws


Markevich, Eduard

Died: 19.09.2001
Circumstances: found dead in the village of Reftinskii, in the Sverdlovsk region
Place of work: he was editor-in-chief of the newspaper Novii Reft, Reftinskii
Additional information: his colleagues assume he was murdered due to his journalistic investigations


Mikhailkov, Viktor

Died: 11.05.1996
Circumstances: found dead in front of Cafe Topol in Chita
Place of work: he was a journalist for the newspaper Zabaikal’ski rabochi in Chita


Novikov, Sergey

Died: 26.07.2000
Circumstances: shot dead at the entrance to his house
Place of work: he was president of the independent radio station Vesna
Additional infomation: a day prior to his death Novikov had announced that he had evidence of corruption in the regional administration


Peck, Rory

Died: 03.10.1993
Circumstances: died as a result of stray bullets
Place of work: he was cameraman for German TV channel ARD


Piterskii, Alexander

Died: 30.08.2005
Circumstances: found dead in his apartment
Place of work: he worked at the radio station, Baltika in St.Petersburg


Plotnikov-Vyacheslav

Died: 15.09.2006
Circumstances: dead body found in a forest
Place of work: he was a journalist for a TV company called 41st company based in Voronezh


Politkovskaia, Anna

Died: 07.10.2006
Circumstances: shot in the hallway of her apartment building
Place of work: she was a journalist for the Novaia Gazeta, Moscow


Rudnev, Vyacheslav

Died: 17.02.1995
Circumstances: found gravely injured at the entrance to his house. He died later in hospital
Place of work: he was a free lance journalist based in Kaluga


Safronov, Ivan

Died: 02.03.2007
Circumstances: found dead next to a building. The Moscow Procuracy announced that he had fallen from some height, probably out of the window
Place of work: he was a journalist for the newspaper Komersant
Additional information: the editor-in-chief of the Komersant newspaper doubted that it was suicide. Safronov reported on defense issues


Shchekochikhin, Yurii

Died: 03.07.2003
Circumstances: after being admitted to hospital, he died of an acute allergic syndrome. It is suspected that he might have been poisoned
Place of work: he was deputy editor-in-chief of the newspaper Novaia Gazeta


Sidel’nikov, Alexander

Died: 04.10.1993
Circumstances: killed near the Supreme Soviet building
Place of work: he was a director and cameraman for Lennaufilm, St. Petersburg


Sidorov, Aleksei

Died: 09.10.2003
Circumstances: stabbed twice in the back at the entrance to his apartment building
Place of work: he was editor-in-chief of the newspaper Tol’iatinskoe Obozrenie, based in Tol’iatti, in the Samara region


Skopan, Ivan

Died: 03.10.1993
Circumstances: died as a result of stray bullets
Place of work: he was cameraman for French TV channel, TV-1


Smirnov, Alexander

Died: 04.10.1993
Circumstances: killed near the Supreme Soviet building
Place of work: he was a journalist for the newspaper Molodezhnyi Kur’er


Solov’ev, Feliks

Died: 26.02.1996
Circumstances: shot dead in Moscow
Place of work: he was a freelance journalist working in Moscow


Soltys, Yuri

Died: 15.06.1994
Circumstances: found dead on the railway platform at Stroitel, in the Moscow region
Place of work: he was a crime correspondent for the Interfax news agency


Ulanov, Andre

Died: 15.10.1995
Circumstances: shot at the door to his apartment. He died later in hospital
Place of work: he was editor-in-chief of the newspaper Tol’iatti Segodnia, based in the Samara region


Varisov, Magomedzagid

Died: 28.06.2005
Circumstances: shot point-blank in front of his house in Makhachkala,in Dagestan
Place of work: he was Director of the Centre for Strategic Initiatives and Political Technology


Yudina, Larisa

Died: 06.06.1998
Circumstances: found dead in a lake near Elsita, in the Kalmyk Republic
Place of work: she was editor of the newspaper Sovetskaia Kalmykia Segodnia
Additional information: The Russian President at the time called it a political murder. The Kalmyk Republic president’s brother and the chair of the National Bank are suspected of having ordered the murder. Four suspects were arrested but the investigation still continues

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An Investment Gets Trapped in Kremlin’s Vise – Justice a la Gazprom/Russian style

27 augusti, 2008

Här kommer mera om hur Ryssland/Putin gör allt för att få total kontroll over energibolagen och hur de systematiskt genom olika åtgärder och trakasserier (inklusive misshandel) driver bort alla utländska intressen.

Och det spelar ingen roll om du är ett enmansföretag eller jätten BP. Så här går det till i dagens Ryssland om du råkar säga något som misshagar makten eller råkar äga något bolag som Putins gäng vill åt.

Där alla statens (alla) maktmedel används för att nå syftet.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/24/world/europe/24kremlin.html

July 24, 2008

Kremlin Rules

An Investment Gets Trapped in Kremlin’s Vise

By CLIFFORD J. LEVY

MOSCOW – William F. Browder was one of the most prominent foreign investors here, a corporate provocateur who brought the tactics of Wall Street shareholder activists to the free-for-all of post-Soviet capitalism. Until, that is, the Kremlin expelled him in 2005.

Mr. Browder then focused on protecting his billions of dollars of stakes in major Kremlin-controlled companies, like Gazprom, and on fighting to return to a land where he had deep and unusual family ties. So when he ran into Dmitri A. Medvedev, the country’s future president, at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year, he saw his chance.

In a brief conversation at a dinner at the Swiss resort, he pressed Mr. Medvedev for help in regaining his Russian visa. Mr. Medvedev, then a top aide to President Vladimir V. Putin, agreed to pass along his request.

A short time later, Mr. Browder’s office received a phone call from a senior Moscow police official, who said he had learned of Mr. Browder’s new visa application and might be able to help.

”My answer will depend on how you behave, what you provide, and so on,” the official said, according to a recording of the call supplied by Mr. Browder. ”The sooner we meet and you provide what is necessary, the sooner your problems will disappear.”

Mr. Browder’s problems, in fact, were just beginning.

The phone call was one move in a wide-ranging offensive by Russian law enforcement that exposed Mr. Browder to the kind of crippling investigations that Kremlin critics have regularly endured under Mr. Putin. It appeared that the ultimate goal was not only to seize Mr. Browder’s investment empire, but also to make him an example of what happens to those who do not toe the government’s line.

His downfall offers a study in how the Kremlin wields power in the Putin era. The rule of law is subject to its wishes, and those out of favor are easy prey.

Mr. Browder’s case points to the official corruption that afflicts Russia, and the Kremlin’s unwillingness to adopt serious measures to combat it by bolstering the independence of the police and the courts. The Kremlin may be reluctant to do so because it wants Russia‘s wealth to accrue to those loyal to the leadership.

Until his visa was canceled and he moved his operations to London, Mr. Browder cut a colorful figure in Russia, a foreign version of the Russian oligarchs who earned their fortunes in the mass privatization after the fall of the Soviet Union. He courted publicity, and his background made a good story: he is the grandson of Earl Browder, a leader of the American Communist Party in the 1930s. He often said that, not unlike Russia itself, he rebelled by becoming a capitalist.

He arrived in Russia in 1996 after a stint in London as an investment banker, and quickly saw opportunities. Russia’s economy was undergoing colossal changes, and Mr. Browder positioned his company, Hermitage Capital, as a vehicle for Western investors to get a piece of the action.

After Mr. Putin became president in 2000, Mr. Browder became a vocal supporter of the Kremlin, saying that Russia needed an authoritarian leader to establish order and calling Mr. Putin his ”biggest ally” in Hermitage’s effort to reform big business. Mr. Browder thrived, and the funds managed by Hermitage grew to more than $4 billion.

Mr. Browder does not know exactly why the Kremlin turned against him. But the Kremlin was consolidating control over prized companies like Gazprom and appeared to be chafing at criticism from outside shareholders.

Once things went bad, Mr. Browder had no recourse. The police confiscated vital documents from his lawyer’s office in Moscow. He discovered that his holding companies had been stolen from him and re-registered in the name of a convicted murderer in a provincial city.

Whoever was behind the scheme took over much of Mr. Browder’s corporate structure in Russia, but failed to get at his investors’ money. Even so, in recent weeks, Mr. Browder said he had learned that his former holding companies had been used to embezzle $230 million from the Russian treasury.

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(more…)

Russia’s Disinformation Campaign over South Ossetia

25 augusti, 2008

Som ett komplement till mitt inlägg Before the Gunfire, Cyberattacks against Georgia där det visade sig att den ryska sidan först ”övade” och finslipade taktiken mot Georgien med ett ”test” anfall den 20 juli. Två och en halv vecka INNAN kriget bröt ut.

Kommer här en intressant genomgång av Robert M. Cutler i senaste numret av Central Asia-Caucasus Institute Analyst som visar på de långgående ryska förberedelserna innan kriget. Och att ryska stridsvagnar och pansarfordon varit på väg från Vladikavkaz i flera dagar över bergen.

http://www.cacianalyst.org/?q=node/4919/print

RUSSIA’S DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN OVER SOUTH OSSETIA

By Robert M. Cutler (08/20/2008 issue of the CACI Analyst)

With Georgian government websites shut down by cyber-attacks in the days immediately preceding hostilities, the Russian story of its army coming to the defense of South Ossetia in the face of Georgian assault gained currency. This script is still often invoked as a preface to any commentary or reportage on current developments. However, as facts begin to surface, it is increasingly revealed as a propaganda strategy planned in advance and contradicted by evidence on the ground, by the testimony of neutral observers, and by the increasingly transparent cynicism of its purveyors.

BACKGROUND: From the very beginning of military clashes on the night of 7-8 August, there has been a concerted Russian effort to vilify President Mikheil Saakashvili as a war criminal. In the first days of the conflict, Russian media repeatedly cited a figure of 2,000 civilian casualties in Tskhinvali city and up to 40,000 refugees (out of a maximum 70,000 total population in South Ossetia of all ethnicities). It was on this basis that not only Russian media but also the highest Russian leaders repeatedly condemned Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili as a war criminal guilty of ethnic cleansing, and promised prosecution in international courts. These claims have faded in recent days, because they have been shown to be false by systematic investigations by Human Rights Watch as well as by the aggregated testimony of foreign reporters who have entered the region since the Russian occupation. In a twist, Georgia has filed a brief before the International Court of Justice charging Russia with conducting and abetting ethnic cleansing of Georgians from South Ossetia and Abkhazia from 1990 to the present.

There is a general view that Georgia assaulted South Ossetia before Russian troops invaded. A detailed timeline provided by Georgia’s Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze during an international telephone press conference disputes that assertion, however. This view is corroborated in most part by several independent sources, and an independent Washington Post reconstruction of events concludes that the Georgian assault on Tskhinvali and the Russian tank column’s emergence from the Georgian end of the cross-border Roki Tunnel could only have been minutes apart at most. Roughly 150 Russian vehicles including armored personnel carriers got through before Georgian forces were able to mount an only partially successful attack on the crucial bridge at Kurta linking the Roki Tunnel with Tskhinvali.

It seems inescapable that Russian tanks must have been on the road from Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, for some time in order to cross the 100 miles of mountain roads to reach South Ossetia when they did. Novaya gazeta’s respected military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer is only one of several writers who have documented how the Russian invasion is only the culmination of a months-long series of provocations as well as strategic and tactical on-the-ground preparations, for example the construction and equipment of a base near the city of Java, northwest of Tskhinvali, as a refueling depot for Russian armor moving southwards. This should be added to the better-known ”railroad repair” troops sent to Abkhazia in recent weeks, who are reliably reported to have constructed tank-launching facilities. The ceremony completing the railway repair was held as late as July 30.

IMPLICATIONS: Reports of fighting on 8 August, for which Russian media were the chief origin, asserted that Georgian forces entered Tskhinvali city early in the day, were then driven back by Russian troops who were said to retake the city, and finally returned to seize parts of the city’s southern outskirts before being repelled for good. However, according to subsequent reports by civilians in Tskhinvali, the Russians never occupied the city; rather, it was combined artillery and aerial bombing that drove the Georgians out of the city. According to Georgian sources, this bombardment was extremely intense and lasted for all the time Georgian forces were in Tskhinvali from dawn on 8 August until just before noon, and continued even afterwards, intensifying again when Georgian forces attempted to re-enter the city later in the day.

Among the weapons systems used by the Russian forces were Uragan and Grad artillery. The latter is the same system that Georgian military affirmed using against Russian military posts outlying Tskhinvali late on the night of 7 August, after Russian armor entered Georgia through the Roki Tunnel. Both sides as well as local observers agree that there was massive aerial bombardment during the day of the eighth. Moreover, American military training provided to the Georgian army over the last few years appears to have concentrated on counterinsurgency tactics, in view of Tbilisi’s contribution of troops to the Iraq conflict.

Given Russian air superiority in the region, it is difficult to suppose that the heavy aerial bombardment of Tskhinvali city came from the Georgian side. Russian sources blame the destruction exclusively on the Georgian artillery assault on the night of 7-8 August, but surviving city dwellers seem to indicate that the Georgian assault was concentrated on the administrative quarters of the Russian-backed South Ossetian separatists, as well as communications links and the like. By contrast, if observers’ reports are to be believed, the degree of devastation visited upon the city by nightfall on 8 August (after Russian bombardment had driven the Georgians from the city) is paralleled in recent history only by the leveling of Grozny in the Second Chechen War of the 1990s.

The Russian side’s signature of consecutive ceasefire agreements without any visible attempt to implement them may also be charitably described as disinformation. This pattern of behavior was first clearly revealed several days ago when, after the Russian and Georgian presidents had both signed French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s six-point ceasefire document, the Russian military began to withdraw from Gori and then, as soon as international media began to report this, literally reversed gear and moved back. As Western video journalists reported live, Russian troops then continued to attack nonmilitary establishments (the nearest military target is a base eight miles outside Gori) while appearing to coordinate with Ossetian and other North Caucasus irregulars who looted property and even abducted civilians.

CONCLUSIONS: What is remarkable about the Russian information policy on the war against Georgia is its failure to adapt to the twenty-first century information environment. Even Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitalii Churkin has lost the charisma that he radiated twenty years ago when, during the heyday of glasnost and perestroika, he became the first Soviet ambassador to Washington to testify to a Congressional committee. Russia’s political leaders hold no spontaneous interviews even with representatives of Russian media. By contrast, Saakashvili’s presence on CNN and other western stations, and his and the Georgian leadership’s command of foreign languages, have enabled them to get their message across effectively.

Late on the night of 18 August, Tbilisi time, the Georgian Ministry of Defense posted a statement (hosted on blogspot.com because of continuing infrastructure and cyberattacks against official Tbilisi websites), saying simply: ”It is absolutely obvious to the international community that the Russian Federation chose destruction of economy with the use of military force and ethnic cleansing as an instrument for implementing its foreign policy.”  The credibility of the Georgian message is enhanced not only by reports from foreign journalists on the ground but also by an entirely new element in the information environment: the aggregate of amateur eyewitness reports on youtube.com, ireport.com, and other vlog (video-logging) dedicated websites.

AUTHOR’S BIO: Robert M. Cutler is Senior Research Fellow, Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, Carleton University, Canada.

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Criticism = extremism in Russia

24 augusti, 2008

Här kommer mera rapporter och nyheter om den ryska regeringens olika brott mot mänskliga rättigheter. Och hur de ”trakasserar” allt och alla som försöker protestera.

Och om användandet av klusterbomber i Georgien:

http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/08/20/georgi19660.htm

Georgia: Civilians Killed by Russian Cluster Bomb ‘Duds’

More Attacks Confirmed; Unexploded Ordnance Threatens Many

(Tbilisi, August 21, 2008 ) – Georgian and Russian authorities should take urgent measures to protect the civilian population in Georgian villages from unexploded ordnance left by Russian attacks, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch researchers documented additional Russian cluster munitions attacks during the conflict in Georgia, refuting Russia’s earlier denials that it used the weapon.

Human Rights Watch researchers saw and photographed unexploded submunitions from cluster munitions in and around the villages of Shindisi, in the Gori district of Georgia. Residents from Shindisi and the nearby Pkhvenisi village told Human Rights Watch researchers there are hundreds of unexploded submunitions in the area. Submunition ”duds” are highly dangerous and can explode if picked up or otherwise disturbed. 

”Many people have died because of Russia‘s use of cluster munitions in Georgia, even as Moscow denied it had used this barbaric weapon,” said Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch. ”Many more people could be killed or wounded unless Russia allows professional demining organizations to enter at once to clean the affected areas.” 

Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that on August 8, 2008, Russian air strikes on Georgian armored units located near Shindisi and Pkhvenisi were followed by extensive cluster munition strikes that killed at least one civilian and injured another in Shindisi. At least two more civilians were killed and five wounded in the following days when they handled unexploded submunitions, including an incident 10 days after the initial strikes. As of August 20, Shindisi and Pkhvenisi areas remain under Russian control.

Zviad Geladze, 38, points to a cluster munition strike on the path to his farm field.

Human Rights Watch called upon Russia to immediately stop using cluster munitions, weapons so dangerous to civilians that more than 100 nations have agreed to ban their use. Human Rights Watch also called on Russia to provide precise strike data on its cluster attacks in order to facilitate cleanup of areas contaminated by submunitions. Human Rights Watch called on Georgia to undertake an immediate risk education program for its population, including radio and television announcements about the dangers of submunitions.

In Shindisi, Human Rights Watch researchers saw unexploded dual purpose (anti-armor and antipersonnel) submunitions, commonly known as Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munition (DPICM) submunitions.

”Highly dangerous unexploded bomblets now litter farms, roads, and pathways in Shindisi and Pkhvenisi,” said Garlasco. ”People remaining in these areas don’t realize the dangers these submunitions pose and are at serious risk of injury or death if they handle, or even approach, the bomblets.”

Human Rights Watch first reported on Russian use of cluster munitions in Georgia on August 15, after it identified strikes on Gori and Ruisi on August 12 that killed at least 11 civilians and injured dozens more. Russia subsequently denied any use of cluster munitions. Colonel General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy head of the Russian General Staff, stated on August 15, ”We did not use cluster bombs, and what’s more, there was absolutely no necessity to do so.” 

Zura Tatrishvili, 62, showed Human Rights Watch researchers an unexploded submunition that he had picked up without realizing that just touching it could make it explode. ”We were playing with them, as were the Georgian soldiers,” said Tatrishvili. ”It was only when one of the bombs exploded after a soldier threw it that we understood that they were dangerous.” Even now, Tatrishvili continues to keep his livestock in a pen with unexploded submunitions, demonstrating the need for clearance as well as education.

Georgia. These submunition ”duds” are highly dangerous and can explode if picked up or otherwise disturbed

During the attack on August 8 in Shindisi, Vano Gogidze, 45, was killed and his relative, Dato Gogidze, 39, was injured. Also in Shindisi, Ramaz Arabashvili, 40, was killed and four people were wounded when a submunition that they had gathered from a field exploded on August 10. On August 18, in Pkhvenisi, Veliko Bedianashvili, 70, died when a submunition exploded in his hand. ”There are so many of these lying around. The fields are full of them,” said his son, Durmiskhan Bedianashvili.

Zviad Geladze, 38, showed Human Rights Watch researchers fields contaminated with submunitions. He estimated the submunitions covered an area extending at least one kilometer through his farm. The fields are full of produce ready to harvest. Because humanitarian agencies continue to lack access to much of the Gori region, fields like Geladze’s may provide residents of the region with their only food source.

Cluster munitions contain dozens or hundreds of smaller submunitions or bomblets and cause unacceptable humanitarian harm in two ways. First, their broad-area effect kills and injures civilians indiscriminately during strikes. Second, many submunitions do not explode, becoming de facto landmines that cause civilian casualties for months or years to come. 

Under international humanitarian law, indiscriminate attacks including attacks in populated areas with weapons that cannot be targeted solely at military targets are prohibited. Russia has an obligation not only to cease any such attacks, but also to take all necessary measures now to ensure the safety of the civilian population in areas over which it exercises effective control.

Human Rights Watch called on Georgia, which is known to have cluster munitions in its stockpiles, to join the international move to ban the use of cluster munitions and to publicly undertake not to use such weapons in this conflict. Human RIghts Watch has also called on Russia to join the convention. Neither Russia nor Georgia was part of the Oslo Process launched in February 2007 to develop a new international treaty banning cluster munitions. In May 2008, 107 nations adopted the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which comprehensively bans the use, production, trade and stockpiling of the weapon. It will be open for signature in Oslo on December 3.

Och här mera om förföljelsen av oliktänkande – i det här fallet en bloggare:

http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/07/14/russia19346.htm

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The Russian system is characterized by intimidation and political passivity on the part of the population.

24 augusti, 2008

Här kommer flera olika rapporter och nyheter om den ryska regeringens olika brott mot mänskliga rättigheter. Och hur de ”trakasserar” allt och alla som försöker protestera.

Här kommer Freedom House rapport från i år om Ryssland:

http://www.freedomhouse.hu/images/fdh_galleries/NIT2008/NT-Russia-final1.pdf

Executive SUMMARY

National Democratic Governance.

The key issue for 2007 was the presidential succession. Putin made it clear that he would not leave the political stage after the end of his constitutionally-mandated two terms in office. This decision leaves in place the current elite and allows them to continue managing the economic assets they gained control over during the last eight years. The system is characterized by intimidation and political passivity on the part of the population. Russia‘s rating for national democratic governance drops from 6.00 to 6.25. Putin’s decision to remain in power demonstrates that the political system is increasingly authoritarian, with little accountability to the population and few opportunities for substantial public participation in the decision-making process. While the system is stable in the short term, the mid- and long-term prospects are bleak because such a top-heavy government has little ability to understand what is going on in Russian society and react to social change effectively.

Electoral Process.

The State Duma elections were neither free nor fair, setting the stage for similarly controlled presidential elections in 2008. Russia placed such strict constraints on international observers that the OSCE monitors ultimately decided not to observe the elections. The campaign was skewed in favor of United Russia, the party of power, with the authorities making extensive use of state resources to ensure victory. Opposition parties were harassed at every step. The national television networks, under the control of the government, promoted pro-Kremlin parties through their news coverage, thereby creating a playing field that was not level. Russia‘s rating for electoral process drops from 6.50 to 6.75. The 2007 parliamentary elections set a new level of state control over the electoral process in Russia and prepared the ground for equally undemocratic presidential elections in 2008.

Civil Society.

Russia’s NGOs continue to face intense pressure from the Russian state, particularly in complying with the provisions of the 2006 Law on NGOs. The state applies the law more harshly against NGOs it does not favor, and many are having trouble meeting its onerous requirements. Kremlin-sponsored groups like Nashi harass the opposition and Moscow-based diplomats alike. Russia‘s rating for civil society worsens from 5.25 to 5.50 because of the implementation of the Law on NGOs, increasing restrictions on the right to public protest, greater use of psychiatric hospitals against activists, and growing political propaganda in the education system.

Independent Media.

The state continues to exercise extensive control over television, radio, and the print media. Only a few exceptional outlets and the Internet remain open for political discussion. While the Kremlin has not limited the range of free discussion on the Internet, critics accuse it of funding online attacks against opponents, while regional authorities have filed criminal charges against some bloggers who criticize them. Russia‘s rating for independent media remains at 6.25 as the state continues to put binding limits on free expression. Attempts to assert more control over the Internet do not bode well for the future.

Judicial Framework and Independence.

Russia’s courts are subject to political manipulation and can be reliably counted on to return the decisions needed by the authorities. Major problems remain in terms of pre-trial detention, lengthy trials, the failure to implement court decisions, and the poor quality of the defense. The greatest indictment of the Russian court system is the large number of citizens who believe that they cannot get a fair hearing and seek redress at the European Court of Human Rights. Although there are provisions for jury trials, they are rarely used, and the decisions are often overturned by higher courts. Russia‘s rating for judicial framework and independence remains at 5.25 because of the system’s inability to assert greater independence. While some reforms have been implemented, such as increasing the role of judges, it will be a long time before these reforms change the way the system actually operates.

Corruption.

Bribery and other forms of corruption continue to pervade Russian society: Official efforts to address the problem have mostly amounted to politically driven campaigns to discredit opponents. Russia‘s rating for corruption stays the same at 6.00 because in conditions where there is not a free press, energetic civil society, and independent judiciary, there are few prospects for making substantial progress in the battle against bribery and abuse of public office.

Nations in Transit Ratings and Averaged Scores
1999 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Electoral Process 4.00 4.25 4.50 4.75 5.50 6.00 6.25 6.50 6.75
Civil Society 3.75 4.00 4.00 4.25 4.50 4.75 5.00 5.25 5.50
Independent Media 4.75 5.25 5.50 5.50 5.75 6.00 6.00 6.25 6.25
Governance* 4.50 5.00 5.25 5.00 5.25 n/a n/a n/a n/a
National Democratic Governance n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 5.75 6.00 6.00 6.25
Local Democratic Governance n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 5.75 5.75 5.75 5.75
Judicial Framework and Independence 4.25 4.50 4.75 4.50 4.75 5.25 5.25 5.25 5.25
Corruption 6.25 6.25 6.00 5.75 5.75 5.75 6.00 6.00 6.00
Democracy Score 4.58 4.88 5.00 4.96 5.25 5.61 5.75 5.86 5.96

Och här Human Rights Watch senaste rapport (2007) från Rysland:

http://hrw.org/wr2k7/pdfs/russia.pdf

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How Putins critics get “erased” from the TV screen

21 augusti, 2008

Ränderna går tydligen aldrig ur. Det flitiga användandet av manipulation av officiella fotografier under Stalin tiden – där personer ”försvann” från bilder när de hamnade i ”onåd” hos Stalin.

Nå Putin har återupptagit traditionen i en modern tappning.

Old Soviet Style

Before 1940

After: People’s Commissar for the Interior Nikolai Yezhov, the young man strolling with Stalin to his left, was shot in 1940. He was edited out from a photo by Soviet censors.

http://www.newseum.org/berlinwall/commissar_vanishes/vanishes.htm

”New” Putin Style

In a still frame from video, the incomplete digital erasure of a Putin critic named Mikhail G. Delyagin from an episode of the program ”The People Want to Know” can be seen. Mr. Delyagin’s leg and hand remain visible, to the right of the man holding the microphone.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/03/world/europe/03russia.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

June 3, 2008

Kremlin Rules It Isn’t Magic: Putin Opponents Vanish From TV

By CLIFFORD J. LEVY

MOSCOW – On a talk show last fall, a prominent political analyst named Mikhail G. Delyagin had some tart words about Vladimir V. Putin. When the program was later televised, Mr. Delyagin was not.

Not only were his remarks cut – he was also digitally erased from the show, like a disgraced comrade airbrushed from an old Soviet photo. (The technicians may have worked a bit hastily, leaving his disembodied legs in one shot.)

Mr. Delyagin, it turned out, has for some time resided on the so-called stop list, a roster of political opponents and other critics of the government who have been barred from TV news and political talk shows by the Kremlin.

The stop list is, as Mr. Delyagin put it, ”an excellent way to stifle dissent.”

It is also a striking indication of how Mr. Putin has increasingly relied on the Kremlin-controlled TV networks to consolidate power, especially in recent elections.

Opponents who were on TV a year or two ago all but vanished during the campaigns, as Mr. Putin won a parliamentary landslide for his party and then installed his protégé, Dmitri A. Medvedev, as his successor. Mr. Putin is now prime minister, but is still widely considered Russia’s leader.

Onetime Putin allies like Mikhail M. Kasyanov, his former prime minister, and Andrei N. Illarionov, his former chief economic adviser, disappeared from view. Garry K. Kasparov, the former chess champion and leader of the Other Russia opposition coalition, was banned, as were members of liberal parties.

Even the Communist Party, the only remaining opposition party in Parliament, has said that its leaders are kept off TV.

And it is not just politicians. Televizor, a rock group whose name means TV set, had its booking on a St. Petersburg station canceled in April, after its members took part in an Other Russia demonstration.

When some actors cracked a few mild jokes about Mr. Putin and Mr. Medvedev at Russia‘s equivalent of the Academy Awards in March, they were expunged from the telecast.

Indeed, political humor in general has been exiled from TV. One of the nation’s most popular satirists, Viktor A. Shenderovich, once had a show that featured puppet caricatures of Russian leaders, including Mr. Putin. It was canceled in Mr. Putin’s first term, and Mr. Shenderovich has been all but barred from TV.

Senior government officials deny the existence of a stop list, saying that people hostile to the Kremlin do not appear on TV simply because their views are not newsworthy.

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Some more examples of Gazprom/Russian “friendly” behaviour

21 augusti, 2008

Här kommer några fler notiser om hur Gazprom och Ryssland agerar i olika sammanhang för att stärka sitt inflytande. Och hur de straffar de länder som inte följer husbondens röst.

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/business/news/article_1416682.php/

Russia_cuts_Czech_oil_supplies_after_radar_deal_with_US

Russia cuts Czech oil supplies after radar deal with US

Jul 13, 2008, 10:05 GMT

Prague/Moscow – Russia slashed oil supplies to the Czech Republic immediately after last week’s signing of a Czech-US missile defence agreement, Czech officials confirmed Sunday.

But Czech government commissioner Vaclav Bartuska denied the move was in retaliation for Prague allowing Washington to base a radar system on its soil as part of a missile shield programme opposed by Moscow.

Speaking to Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa, Bartuska ruled out a technical problem, citing the uninterrupted flow of Russian oil to neighbouring countries such as Poland.

He also said a retaliatory move was unlikely because his country could easily obtain oil via another pipeline running through Germany.

But he declined to comment on reports from Moscow that the reduction might be linked to an internal Russian conflict over oil export rights in the wake of the handover of power in the Kremlin.

The Czech government has asked Moscow to explain the reason for the reduction, which began on July 4, but increased markedly after US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg signed the radar deal on July 8.

The business magazine Euro said cutback in supplies via the Drushba pipeline could go down from the agreed 500,000 tons in July to 300,000 tons.

Russia has in the past reduced energy supplies to the West for both political and economic reasons. Oil concern Lukoil has cut deliveries to Germany twice in recent months because it was unhappy at the price being paid.

Supplies to the Baltic nation of Lithuania via a northern branch of the Drushba pipeline have been cut for two years, because of what Moscow calls a technical defect. EU and NATO leaders believe political motives are the reason.

In 2006, Russia’s Gazprom cut gas supplies to Ukraine in a pricing dispute and accused the country of siphoning off supplies meant for other countries.

Ukraine and its Western allies saw the move as a political warning to the country’s pro-Western leadership, something which Moscow denied.”

Och här en notis att den ryska militären har återupptagit sin patrullering i Arktis.

http://www.ng.ru/economics/2008-07-15/1_arktika.html?mthree=1

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2008/0714/breaking78.htm

”Monday, July 14, 2008, 20:05

Russia ‘resumes patrols’ in disputed Arctic waters

Russia’s navy said today it had resumed patrols in disputed waters around the Arctic Ocean archipelago of Svalbard, where Russia and Norway have clashed over rich fishing rights.

The navy said it had already sent an anti-submarine ship into the disputed waters around the archipelago, known by Russians as Spitzbergen, and said it would soon send a cruiser.

Russia has been keen to underline its growing clout by expanding the reach of its military and staking claim to the mineral and fishing wealth of the Arctic.

Russian fishermen had asked the navy to protect them after a series of clashes over recent years between Russian trawlers and the Norwegian navy, which accuses them of illegal fishing.

Under a 1920 treaty, Svalbard was placed under Norwegian sovereignty, but other signatories were allowed to exploit some land-based resources.

Russia says it has a right to fish in waters almost up to the coast, but Norway in 1977 unilaterally established a 200-mile fisheries zone around Svalbard that Russia does not recognise.

In 2006 a Norwegian coastguard boat chased a Russian trawler across the Arctic Ocean for six days before it escaped into Russian waters. The Norwegians had accused the Elektron of fishing illegally, an accusation it denied.

Russia is in a race with Canada, Denmark, Norway and the United States to control the giant reserves of oil, gas and precious metals that would become more accessible if global warming shrinks the Arctic ice cap.

Reuters ”

Och här en kort notis om hur man med olika metoder systematiskt försöker driva ut utländska företag från energisektorn:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2008/07/02/cnbp102.xml

”BP chiefs denied visas quit Russia

By Russell Hotten, Industry Editor

Last Updated: 1:10am BST 03/07/2008

BP executives working at its oil joint venture in Russia, TNK-BP, have already begun leaving the country after work permits for dozens of staff were refused.

Despite meetings yesterday between TNK-BP and authorities in Moscow, Robert Dudley, the joint venture’s chief executive, said in an email to employees that the issue was unlikely to be resolved soon. Mr Dudley will have to leave Russia by the end of July if his visa is not renewed.

BP and its Russian partners, who had previously called for Mr Dudley’s dismissal, have been involved in an acrimonious dispute over control of the joint venture. This latest episode could strengthen the Russians’ power significantly, putting them in day-to-day operational control.

More on oil

Internal wrangling led to TNK-BP submitting two rival requests for work permits. The authorities subsequently approved 71 permits, less than half the 150 requested by Mr Dudley. Two BP staff seconded to the joint venture left yesterday, with the others expected to go over the next two weeks unless the authorities agree to fast-track new visa requests.

But in an email to staff, Mr Dudley said: ”We have been given no grounds to believe these issues will be resolved before senior international staff and their families will have to leave Russia. Unfortunately, this now appears very likely.

”We have been working with the Russian authorities and within Russian laws since April to resolve these issues and will continue to do so.”

TNK-BP, Russia’s third- largest crude producer, is 50pc controlled by the billionaires Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, Viktor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik.

BP’s shares closed down 2.4pc at 569½p.”

Och här en kort notis om hur Gazprom ”studerar” hur man skall bygga en gasledning till Abschasien:

http://uk.reuters.com/article/governmentFilingsNews/idUKL2520611520080625

Russia may supply gas to Georgia rebel region

Wed Jun 25, 2008 5:21pm BST

By Dmitry Zhdannikov

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia is looking into building a gas pipeline to Georgia‘s breakaway Abkhazia region, a proposal likely to alarm Western governments who say Moscow‘s support for the separatists risks stirring up tensions.

The idea is also almost certain to anger aspiring NATO member Georgia, which accuses Moscow of trying to annex the Black Sea region and views as illegal any business dealings with the separatist administration.

There is an idea of building a gas pipeline to Abkhazia directly from Russia but no decision has been taken so far. It is just being studied,” an official with Russia‘s state-controlled gas firm Gazprom (GAZP.MM: Quote, Profile, Research) told Reuters.

Abkhazia, a territory on the Black Sea coast, threw off Tbilisi’s control in a separatist war in the early 1990s. It runs its own affairs, with support from Moscow, but no state has recognized its independence from Georgia.

A spokesman for Abkhazia’s separatist leader confirmed that discussions were underway. ”So far this is just a draft plan,” he said.

Speaking on a visit to Berlin on Wednesday, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said Gazprom intended to explore for oil in Abkhazia. He described that as ”an absolutely outrageous violation of any international commercial law”.

But the Gazprom official said: ”As far as oil is concerned, we know nothing about it.”

A spokeswoman for Gazprom’s oil arm, Gazprom Neft (SIBN.MM: Quote, Profile, Research), said Saakashvili must be mistaken. ”We are not working or exploring in Abkhazia for oil and there are absolutely no plans to do that in the foreseeable future,” the spokeswoman said.

Abkhazia is a constant source of friction between Georgia and Russia in a volatile belt of land between the Caspian Sea and Black Sea which is emerging as a vital corridor for pumping oil and gas en route to world markets.

This year, Russia established semi-official ties with the separatists and sent extra troops to Abkhazia to beef up a peacekeeping contingent there.

Georgia’s Western allies urged Moscow to reverse the decision, saying it was not helping to calm tensions.

Western diplomats said the conflict came close to spilling over into a new war earlier this year. The United Nations said in one incident a Russian air force jet shot down an unmanned Georgian spy plane, though Moscow denied involvement.

© Thomson Reuters 2008″

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List of Gazprom’s huge empire of subsidiaries – Part 1

20 augusti, 2008

Som en fortsättning på mina tidigare inlägg Before the Gunfire, Cyberattacks against GeorgiaGazprom and Nord Stream’s strong PR drive to influence local governments,   The Re-Sovietization of the Russian Press and Gazprom’s active part in it.Russia’s Gazprom’s Energy ImperialismScratch Russia Georgia War and You Find Oil and Gas Pipelines och Moscow’s Sinister Brilliance – Who wants to die for Tbilisi or Stockholm? kommer här en lång lista över alla dotterbolag som jätten Gazprom helt eller ”delvis” kontrollerar.  Samt en lista över EN DEL av dessa dotterbolag per land. (Se part 2 av detta inlägg)

Se även mina tidigare inlägg om försvaretVi har en Försvarsmakt i fullständigt fritt fall – 2”Vi har en Försvarsmakt i fullständigt fritt fall”Försvaret – vilken total INKOMPETENS!Vårt dyra lilla kastrerade försvar!, Vårt dyra lilla försvar – 2 och  Vårt dyra lilla försvar

Jätten Gluffs Gluffs någon? Sverige är ju i sammanhanget inte ens en mumsbit för detta ”företag”.

Det är alltså denne jätte som nu ligger bakom Nord Stream projektet och dragningen av gasledningen genom östersjön. Samt byggandet av en ”service” plattform utanför Gotland. Ett projekt som de vill genomdriva till varje pris. Med backning av HELA den ryska staten och militären.

Denna gasledning, liksom andra, har ju av Putin och den ryske försvarsledningen    förklarats som ett ryskt nationellt säkerhetsintresse.

Den ryske marinchefen Admiral Vladimir Masorin beskrev utförligt den ryska marinens deltagande i arbetet kring förberedelserna för dragningen av gasledningen genom östersjön på Gazproms begäran. Hur rysk militär personal deltagit på ”forskningsfartyget” Akademik Golitsyn etc.

Frågan från reportern var: ”Herr amiral, i dag är inte marinens enda uppgift att tillgodose landets säkerhetsbehov, utan också att skydda dess ekonomiska intressen. Var snäll och berätta om hur Östersjöflottan deltar i anläggandet av den nordliga gasledningen.”

Intervjun finns här: http://www.redstar.ru/2007/07/25_07/3_03.html

På detta ”reagerade” svenska kustbevakningen som skall ”övervaka” det hela så här:

”Kustbevakningen är den svenska myndighet som över- vakar den svenska ekonomiska zonen.

Vi har fått reda på att det finns den här typen av kompetens ombord (dvs. personal från ryska försvarsministeriet). Men vi har inte sett några uniformer och utgår från att de följer givna tillstånd. De får inte göra undersökningar med militärt syfte. Om de å andra sidan gör saker som inte är till- låtna är det kanske inget de visar upp, säger avdelningsjurist Sten-Olov Södergård vid kustbevakningen.

Akademik Golitsyn är special- utrustat för att manövrera en undervattensfarkost som sänks ner från akterdäck och tar sig fram på havsbotten med larv- fötter.”

http://www.svd.se/nyheter/inrikes/artikel_254637.svd

Viss är det skönt med sådana ”kompetenta” myndigheter som skall värna vårt land och svenska intressen.

Glöm inte heller Putins uttalade i rysk TV att ”Den ryska Östersjöflottans uppgift är att eventuellt skydda våra ekonomiska intressen i Östersjön. En av våra viktigaste prioriteringar är gasledningen som går genom Östersjön” (26 oktober 2006).

Och så här sa ”president” Medvedev i går:

”If someone thinks they can kill our citizens, kill soldiers and officers fulfilling the role of peacekeepers, we will never allow this,” Mr Medvedev told a group of Second World War veterans in Kursk. ”Anyone who tries to do this will receive a shattering blow.”

He continued: ”Russia has the capabilities – economic, political and military. Nobody has any illusions left about that.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4557369.ece

Och här kommer mera fredsälskande uttalanden från ryska militärer:

”General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of Russia’s general staff, who said that Poland had exposed itself to the threat of nuclear attack from Moscow by agreeing with America to place a missile shield on Polish soil.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading_article/article4547715.ece

”Russia is considering arming its Baltic fleet with nuclear warheads for the first time since the cold war, senior military sources warned last night.

The move, in response to American plans for a missile defence shield in Europe, would heighten tensions raised by the advance of Russian forces to within 20 miles of Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, yesterday.

Under the Russian plans, nuclear warheads could be supplied to submarines, cruisers and fighter bombers of the Baltic fleet based in Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave between the European Union countries of Poland and Lithuania. A senior military source in Moscow said the fleet had suffered from underfunding since the collapse of communism. ”That will change now,” said the source.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4547883.ece

Här en liten notis om den ryska flottans markering, närvaro och övningar vid norska gas plattformar i fjol. Och det här var EFTER att StatoilHydro hade slutit ett avtal med Gazprom om Shtokman fältet mitt i Barents hav.

”Russian aircraft carrier training next to Norwegian oil platform

2007-12-11

The Russian Northern Fleet has started a training operation in the close vicinity of a Norwegian oil platform in the North Sea. The heavy military air activities have made StatoilHydro temporary halt helicopter traffic to and from the ”Troll” platform

Several types of military ships, as well as a tanker and 47 aircrafts, are involved in the training. Also strategic bombers are engaged, VG Nett reports.

Several aircrafts and helicopters are in the air around the aircraft carrier ”Admiral Kuznetsov”, which is located near the ”Troll” platform. The military flying has made StatoilHydro halt helicopter traffic to and from the platform

The Norwegian Defence confirms that the Russian training is taking place. Norwegian Coast Guard vessels have been sent to the area to monitor the situation. ,More than aircraft carrier ”Admiral Kuznetsov” has started

The Russian Northern Fleet vessels are most probably on their way to the Mediterranian where Russia has signalled that it wants to strengthen its presence.

The training near the ”Troll” platform inevitably contributes to increased uncertainty in Norway about Russian ambitions in the North. Both Norway and Russia have the last years expressed their intention to step up their presence in the area following the plans for major Arctic oil and gas projects.

The Russian training operation near the ”Troll” could possibly be seen as a signal from the Russian Armed Forces about their intention to stay put in the High North and to protect Russian economic interests in the area.

For StatoilHydro, which recently signed a deal with Russia’s Gazprom over the Shtokman field, the Russian exercise can be seen as a sign of which challenges the company could encounter in the Barents Sea.”

http://www.barentsobserver.com/index.php?id=4442850&cat=16149&xforceredir=1&noredir=1

Och här en liten notis om att ryska flottan skall bygga 5-6 nya ”carrier groups” kring nya hangarfartyg. Placering? – ”The Northern and Pacific Fleets”.

”Russia to have 5-6 aircraft carriers in Northern, Pacific Fleets

27/07/2008 13:01 ST. PETERSBURG, July 27 (RIA Novosti) Russia will create 5-6 aircraft carrier groups in the Northern and Pacific Fleets, the Navy commander said on Sunday.

Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky said the Navy command had decided to build sea-borne aircraft carrier systems for these fleets instead of simply aircraft carriers.

”Everything must work in a system, including aircraft carriers. We have called them sea-borne aircraft carrier systems, which will be based in the Northern and Pacific Fleets. The construction of such systems will begin after 2012,” Vysotsky said before reviewing a military parade on the occasion of Navy Day in Russia.

Vysotsky said new sea-borne aircraft carrier systems will operate in close contact with Russia‘s orbital group of military satellites, and also with the Air Force and air defense.

At present, Russia has only one operational aircraft carrier, the Nikolai Kuznetsov, which was commissioned in the early 1990s and has recently re-entered service after a prolonged overhaul.

The ship, also known as Project 1143.5 heavy aircraft carrier, is currently deployed with Russia’s Northern Fleet and has recently participated in a two-month tour to the Mediterranean as part of Russia’s plans to resume its continual presence in different regions of the world’s seas.”

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080727/115004797.html

Och var är våra ”käcka” gossar och flickor i uniform? Ja INTE är de på Gotland eller fastlandet. Nej de ”försvarar” våra ”intressen” i Afghanistan och Tchad. Och den främsta prioritering för försvaret är att bekämpa ”klimat hotet” enligt försvarsberedningen..

Se där ytterligare en av dessa eminenta politiska prioriteringar från våra intälägänta företrädare i riksdagen och regeringen (nuvarande och tidigare).

Och vår statsminister sa så här efter utrikesnämnden sammanträde igår:

”Senare i höst kommer regeringens inriktningsproposition för försvaret, och det finns anledning att diskutera vilken påverkan det som hänt i Georgien har på Sverige. Men det behöver inte omedelbart översättas i nya slutsatser, sa Fredrik Reinfeldt.”

http://www.dn.se/DNet/jsp/polopoly.jsp?a=817530

Och vår s.k. försvarsminister sa så här i sin debattartikel i söndags:

”Kriget i Georgien kommer att få varaktiga politiska konsekvenser och starkt påverka bilden av Ryssland. Rysslands agerande har gått långt utöver mandatet för de fredsbevarande styrkor, som landet haft i Sydossetien.

Militärt övervåld har använts och Georgiens territoriella integritet har allvarligt kränkts. Det politiska och militära syftet med insatsen har varit långtgående. Det är oacceptabelt att motivera agerandet med att gripa in för ryska medborgare i andra länder.”

Och efter denna markering så kommer slutsatsen för Sveriges del:

”Under hösten kommer regeringskansliet i arbetet med den nya försvarspolitiska inriktningen att uppdatera och fördjupa den säkerhetspolitiska analysen.”

http://www.svd.se/opinion/brannpunkt/artikel_1573813.svd

Ehh… Han menar alltså att MERA av den eminenta ”analys” som hittills har lett till att Sverige INTE kan värna sina gränser eller territorium skulle vara svaret på Rysslands agerande. Däremot så skall vi som sagt fortsätta att ”bekämpa” ”klimat hotet” för det känns ju mera angeläget eller hur.

Läs även andra bloggares åsikter om <a href=”http://bloggar.se/om/F%F6rsvar” rel=”tag”>Försvar</a>

List of Gazprom’s huge empire of subsidiaries – Part 2

20 augusti, 2008

Som en fortsättning på mitt tidigare inlägg ”List of Gazprom’s huge empire of subsidiaries – Part 1” kommer här den lista över alla dotterbolag som jätten Gazprom helt eller ”delvis” kontrollerar.  Samt en lista över EN DEL av dessa dotterbolag per land.

Armenia

Armrosgazprom (58%)

Austria

ARosgas Holding AG (100%) – Gas marketing[2]

Centrex Europe Energy & Gas AG (100%) – owned through Gazprombank[3]

GHW (50%)- a joint venture with OMV for gas trading

Sibneft Oil Trade GmbH (100%) – an oil trading company owned through Gazprom Neft[2]

ZGG-Zarubezhgazneftechim Trading GmbH (100%) – a gas trading company[2]

ZMB Gasspeicher Holding GmbH (66.67%) – 33.3% owned by Centrex Europe Energy & Gas AG[4]

Belarus

Belgazprombank (50%)

Beltransgaz (25%, will increase to 50% by 2009)

Bulgaria

Topenergo (100%) – gas trading and transport

Overgas Inc. AD (50%) – a joint-venture with Overgas Holding AD for the gas trading

Cayman Islands

ZGG Cayman Holding Ltd. (100%) – investment company[2]

ZGG Cayman Ltd (100%) – investment company[2]

Cyprus

Ecofran Marketing Consulting & Communication Services Company Limited

GASEXCO Gas Exploration Company Ltd.

Greatham Overseas Limited

Private Company Limited by Shares GPBI (Cyprus) Ltd.

Leadville Investments Ltd (100%) – investment company

MF Media Finance (Overseas) Limited

Odex Exploration Ltd. (20%) – 0il exploration[2]

NTV World Ltd. – media company

Siritia Ventures Ltd. – investment company

Czech Republic

Gas-Invest S.A. (37.5%)

Vemex s.r.o. (33%)

Estonia

Eesti Gaas AS (37.02%)

Finland

Gasum Oy (25%)

France

Frangaz (50%) – a joint venture with Gaz de France

Germany

Agrogaz GmbH (100%)

Centrex Beteiligungs GmbH (38%) – gas trading and investment company

Ditgaz (49%)

Verbundnetz Gas (5.3%) – gas transportation and marketing

Gazprom Germania GmbH (100%)

Wingas GmbH (50%) – a joint venture with Wintershall, the subsidiary of BASF, for a gas transportation and storage

Wintershall Erdgas Handelshaus GmbH & Co. KG (50%) – a joint venture with Wintershall for gas trading

ZMB GmbH (100%) – gas trading

ZMB Mobil (100%)- gas-fuelled automobile technology

НТВ Europa GmbH[2]

Gibraltar

Bleakend Holdings Limited

Greece

Prometheus Gas (50%) – a joint company with Copelouzos Group

Hungary

Panrusgas Rt (40%) – a joint venture with MOL for trading and transport[2]

Borsodchem (25%) – petrochemicals

TVK (13.5%)

DKG-EAST Co (38.1%) – oil and gas equipment manufacturing

Gazkomplekt KFT

NTV Hungary Commercial Limited Liability Company[2]

Ireland

GPB Finance Plc. – investment company

Israel

N.T.V. Global Network (Israel) Ltd.

Italy

Volta SpA (49%) – a joint venture with Edison S.p.A.

Promgas (50%) – a joint venture with ENI

Läs även andra bloggares åsikter om <a href=”http://bloggar.se/om/F%F6rsvar” rel=”tag”>Försvar</a>

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Before the Gunfire, Cyberattacks against Georgia

19 augusti, 2008

Här kommer en mycket intressant genomgång av den cyberkrigföring som den Georgiska regeringens drabbades av. Attacken utökades sedan till resten av det georgiska samhället -banker, massmedia, kommunikationsföretag etc.

Det intressanta är ju att man tydligen först ”övade” och finslipade taktiken mot Georgien med ett ”test” anfall den 20 juli. Två och en halv vecka INNAN kriget bröt ut.

För att sedan släppa loss det på allvar i samband med att kriget började den 8 -9 augusti.

Intressant timeing eller hur? Framförallt efter som Ryssland säger att man inte hade EN ANING OM VAD SOM HÄNDE. Och att man inte var förbered på kriget.

Jag redovisar här bara en liten del av det som hände. Materialet är för stort för att redovisas översiktligt i en blogg. Den här attacken var väsentligt mycket större och mer kordinerad jämfört med den som Estland drabbades av 2007.

”On Saturday, the RBN blog, which is run by security researcher Jart Armin, claimed there was a ”full cyber-siege” of Georgia. The RBN blog post claimed that the Russia-based servers AS12389 Rostelecom, AS8342 Rtcomm, and AS8359 Comstar were controlling all traffic to Georgia’s key servers.

According to the blog, German hackers managed to route traffic directly to Georgia through Deutsche Telekom’s AS3320 DTAG server for ”a few hours” on Saturday, but this traffic was intercepted and rerouted through AS8359 Comstar, which is located in Moscow.”

Här är en bild av en liten del av det som hände den 9 augusti. Och hur de Ryska servrarna AS12389 ROSTELECOM, AS8342 RTCOMM, och AS8359 COMSTAR, kontrollerar ALL trafik till de viktiga Georgiska servrarna

               Klicka på bilden så blir den större.

Här är en bild från det St. Petersburgs baserade kriminella nätverket ”the Russian Business Network” (R.B.N.) webbsida som visar hur de attackerar georgiska servrar och webbsidor. Lägg märke till att de även attackerar den Amerikanska Ambassaden i Tiblisi.

”This is ‘stopgeorgia.ru’ which is also utilizing ‘stopgeorgia.info’ as a redirect; the web site itself provides DDos attack tools for download and as the screen grab shows the mostly .ge web sites as priority for attack. Note; also targeted for attack is the US embassy in Tbilisi.”

Klicka på bilden så blir den större. 

Och här en bild på en traceroute som visar hur den Georgiska regeringens hemsida blockeras via TTnet Turkey den 9 augusti.

Klicka på bilden så blir den större.

Läs även andra bloggares åsikter om <a href=”http://bloggar.se/om/F%F6rsvar” rel=”tag”>Försvar</a>

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Gazprom and Nord Stream’s strong PR drive to influence local governments

18 augusti, 2008

Gazprom arbetar MYCKET aktivt på att bearbeta opinionen och regeringar i EU och USA. Och lägger ner stora summor på detta. Man har ”been concerned with improving its image abroad” (väl det är väl det minsta man kan säga).

Gazprom har bl.a. anlitat den amerikanska pr-byrån PBN  tillsammans med Schoen & Berland Associates och Hill & Knowlton and Penn i ett treårskontrakt från 2007. Bara under 2007 så spenderar man 11 miljoner dollar hos PBN för att ”förbättra” bolagets rykte.

Under 2006-2007 använde man sig även av Ketchum (New York), GPlus (Bryssel) och den brittiska firman Gavin Anderson.

Gazprom ägnar sig också åt mera udda saker som att på Gerhard Schröders inrådan gå in som huvudsponsor av tyska bundesliga laget Schalke 04. Där man betalar 25 miljoner euros per år för nöjet. Allt för att man skall bli ”populär”.

På hemmaplan så tog man över FC Zenit Saint Petersburg i december 2005

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/13bcae1e-d87c-11da-9715-0000779e2340.html?nclick_check=1http://www.kommersant.com/p734218/r_529/,

http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/2007-179-15.cfm

Här i Sverige så ägnar man sig åt samma saker. Nord Stream har ägnat stor möda och mycket resurser för att påverka beslutsfattare i Sverige (från lokal nivå – Gotland och uppåt) att godkänna gasledningen genom östersjön och ”service” plattformen utanför Gotland.

Man har bl.a. anlitat två pr-byråer – Hallvarsson & Halvarsson som svensk huvudbyrå, och även Hill & Knowltons internationella nätverk.  Vidare så anställer man folk med goda kontakter i nuvarande regeringskansliet och tidigare regeringar.

Exempelvis så är den svenske representanten för Nord Stream Dan Svanell, en veteran som pressekreterare i olika socialdemokratiska regeringar. Ett annat exempel är Kaj Sandart, ansvarig för kontakterna med Nord Stream på Hallvarsson & Halvarsson. Han har tidigare jobbat på industridepartementet och som utredare på AB Svensk Energiförsörjning. Han är vidare styrelseledamot i programföretaget Vitec, där också Vattenfalls förre koncernchef Carl-Erik Nyqvist sitter i styrelsen. Hmm.. vilket sammanträffande.

Och nu är man alltså ute efter Reinfeldts förre statssekreterare och ”spinndoktor”/ presschef Ulrica Schenström:

”Ett av de mer lukrativa erbjudandena kommer nu från Nord Stream som, enligt uppgifter till Resumé, vill skräddarsy en roll som lobbyist åt henne för den kontroversiella gasledningen från Ryssland – genom Östersjön – till Europa.

Den tidigare statssekreteraren har träffat flera representanter från Nord Stream och flera av bolagets konsulter på deras svenska pr-byrå Hallvarsson & Halvarsson. När Resumé konfronterar Ulrica Schenström med uppgifterna väljer hon att endast svara korthugget:

– Det var intressant. Jag har många erbjudanden.”

Kännetecknande för ALLA dessa personer som Nord Stream har rekryterat eller försöker rekrytera är att de har en STOR kunskap om hur man tar sig fram i maktens korridorer och får saker och ting gjorda officiellt och inofficiellt. De känner viktiga nyckelpersoner och vet vilka personer man skall kontakta OCH har tillträde till dessa personer etc.

Man har även varit MYCKET aktiv i Almedalen under politikerveckan de senaste två åren och satsat stor på olika seminarier och evenemang för att påverka opinionen.

Det kontroversiella gasföretaget Nord Stream storsatsar i Almedalen. Bakom satsningen står Hallvarsson & Halvarsson. Däremot vill pr-byrån inte vara öppna med sina politikerkontakter.

Pr-byrån Hallvarsson & Halvarsson har det prestigefyllda uppdraget att bilda opinion kring Nord Stream kontroversiella gasledning. Byrån har en arbetsgrupp på plats för att lyckas få rätt mediebild på projektet.

Kaj Sandert är kundansvarig på byrån och på plats i Almedalen.

Men Kaj Sandert är förtegen kring hur lukrativt uppdraget är för byrån och vilka kontakter man har med politiker.

–  Jag vill inte kommentera det.

Är du nöjd med resultatet?

– Ja, de vi möter är intresserade och positiva till att vi är här.”

I Almedalen har Nord Stream stor närvaro. Bland annat är den nye medarbetaren Charles Murelius, som tidigare har varit pr-konsult och deltagare i tv-såpan Robinson, här.”

Man har ju även använt sig av Gerhard Schröder som har gjort några besök.

Och nu senast i fredags (15/8 ) så knöt Nord Stream upp Finlands förre statsminister (1995-2003) och socialdemokratiske partiledare (1993-2005) Paavo Lipponen som blir ”konsult”.

http://www.varldenidag.se/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2713&Itemid=98

Som sagt – Raskt Marscherat!

Man förundras bara över den långa rad av före detta socialdemokratiska statsministrar, förbundskansler etc. (Gerhard Schröder, Göran Person, Paavo Lipponen) som så beredvilligt tar tjänst för utländska intressen.

Göran Persson jobbar för lobbyfirman JKL, som driver frågan om energibolaget Eons planer (Eon är en av tre delägare i Nord Stream) på en gasledning i Östersjön.

PÅ den lokala nivån har man varit mycket aktiv. I Gotland kommer man t.ex. att bidra med 100 miljoner kr för att renovera och bygga ut hamnen i Slite (70-90 miljoner kr). Man ger pengar till Högskolan på Gotland (9 miljoner kr) och Länsmuseet (3,2 miljoner kr). Etc.

Allt för att ”köpa” den lokala opinionen. Och på det lokala planet så har man ju lyckats. En stor majoritet (58-13) i kommunstyrelsen på Gotland godkände dessa affärer. Detta TROTTS att man officiellt säger att man är emot byggandet av gasledningen.

” …Vi gillar inte gasledningsprojektet. Men att protestera mot det är inte kommunens sak…”

Några höll inte med:

”Nonsens, tycktes Brittis Benzler (v) mena.

– Det är inte alls ovanligt att kommunfullmäktige uttalar sig i frågor där vi inte har beslutanderätt, att vi uttalar vår åsikt. Jag tycker att vi ska vända oss till både regeringen och EU-parlamentarikerna och be dem göra vad de kan för att stoppa gasledningen. Det är vi i vår fulla rätt att göra, sa hon.

Stefaan De Maecker (mp) hänvisade till andra Östersjökommuners agerande.

– På Naturvårdsverkets hemsida kan man läsa yttranden från en lång rad kommuner som i kraftfulla ordalag protesterar mot gasledningsplanerna. Gotlands kommun borde göra likadant. Gasledningen är farlig för Östersjön och den är farlig för gotlänningarna, jag vill att vi tydligt tar ställning mot den, sa han.”

En privatperson på Gotland reagerade på uppgifterna om att Nord Stream satsar stora pengar på ön för att påverka hela beslutsprocessen. Ärendet anmäldes till riksenheten mot korruption, men någon muta handla det inte om enligt kammaråklagare Malin Palmgren.

Det går inte enligt svensk lagstiftning att åtala någon för att muta EN HEL KOMMUN. Man kan bara åtala om en enskild person gynnas.

Så nu vet vi det – Skall man muta eller köpa någon så skall det vara en kommun, landsting eller ett helt land för det är tydligen helt OK enligt svensk lag. Men om ett företag ger en person en ”gåva” på 300 spänn så åtalas bägge parter. Intressant prioritering eller hur?

Kammaråklagare Malin Palmgren:

”Där blev dock beskedet att någon förundersökning inte kommer att inledas – enligt svensk lagstiftning är det nämligen inte möjligt att muta en hel kommun.

Även om pengarna som bolaget ger är ett sätt att utöva påverkan som måste det enligt svensk lagstiftning finnas en enskild person som kan misstänkas för att ha tagit personlig vinning av pengarna. Och några sådana uppgifter har vi inte i det här fallet, säger kammaråklagare Malin Palmgren, som tog beslutet.

Hon fortsätter:

– Men visst kan det vara svårt för allmänheten att se den här skillnaden i juridiken. Men så är lagstiftningen skriven.”

Läs även andra bloggares åsikter om <a href=”http://bloggar.se/om/F%F6rsvar” rel=”tag”>Försvar</a>, <a href=”http://bloggar.se/om/fri-+och+r%E4ttigheter” rel=”tag”>fri- och rättigheter</a>, <a href=”http://bloggar.se/om/yttrandefrihet” rel=”tag”>yttrandefrihet</a>

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The Re-Sovietization of the Russian Press and Gazprom’s active part in it.

17 augusti, 2008

Här kommer en fortsättning på mina inlägg om den Ryska staten och dess användning av Gazprom som ett redskap för kontroll och expansion. Russia’s Gazprom’s Energy ImperialismScratch Russia Georgia War and You Find Oil and Gas Pipelines och Moscow’s Sinister Brilliance – Who wants to die for Tbilisi or Stockholm?

I det här fallet rör det sig om hur den ryska staten använt Gazprom för att tysta all kritik och ta över alla oberoende massmedia.

För att göra en jämförelse med Sverige – Det vore som om Reinfeldt satte partisekreteraren Per Schlingmann i ledning för Vattenfall. Och där sedan Vattenfall i rask takt tvingar till sig kontrollen över (med hjälp av skattemyndigheterna, åklagarna, polisen och militären) TV4, TV5, hela Stenbecks sfären, SVD, DN, Expressen, Aftonbladet, GP, Syd Svenskan etc., alla rikstäckande radiokanaler plus de viktigare lokala stationerna etc.

Som liten lokal tidning, tv kanal och radiostation etc. så kan du fortsätta att existera om du inte ägnar dig åt att kritisera Reinfeldt och statsledningen och dess politik

I övrigt så måste ALLA följa TV 1: s direktiv och regler för nyhetssändningar och kommentarer.

Journalister som är ”besvärliga” och inte har förstått den nya ordningen och som envisas med att rapportera ”ofördelaktiga” saker om härskaren Reinfeldt och tillståndet i landet trakasseras och förföljs. Om inte det hjälper så misshandlas man eller i vissa fall mördas man.

Så ser det ut idag i Ryssland vad det gäller massmedia. Och där Gazprom har varit det aktiva verktyget i att fullfölja den ryska statens politik.

Ur IPI (International Press Institute) Watch List Report om Ryssland:

”Repression of the independent media continued in the period running up to parliamentary (2 December 2007) and presidential (2 March 2008 ) elections. Charges of criminal defamation continued to be brought against editors and journalists critical of public officials, with disproportionate penalties proving a disincentive to objective reporting. In addition, journalists who covered opposition parties or reported critically on the current administration were often subjected to threats and physical harassment. Some independent periodicals had their premises raided and equipment confiscated on exaggerated charges related to software piracy. Meanwhile, the state media lavished attention on Vladimir Putin, his presidential successor Dmitry Medvedev, and their ”United Russia” political party.

Russia continued to be a dangerous place for journalists, particularly for those reporting in or on the troubled North Caucasus region. Ten journalists were detained by authorities while covering a demonstration in Ingushetia’s capital in January. Eyewitness accounts indicated that one of the journalists, Mustafa Kurskiev, was severely beaten by police officers during the arrests. Kurskiev and a RIA-Novosti colleague, Said-Khussein Tsarnaev, were detained overnight without being given the opportunity to contact a lawyer, and without food or water; Kurskiev was also denied medical assistance despite his sustained injuries. Also in Ingushetia, in late November 2007, three journalists were kidnapped from their hotel and beaten by unknown assailants.

In March, in two unrelated incidents, two journalists were murdered within the space of 24 hours. Both journalists covered the Russian North Caucasus. Gadzhi Abashilov, head of the state radio and television company in Dagestan, was killed in his car by an unidentified gunman in the Dagestani capital. Only hours before, Ilyas Shurpayev, a Dagestan-born journalist and North Caucasus correspondent for Russia’s state television Channel One, was found dead in his Moscow apartment. He had been strangled and stabbed to death, with the perpetrators setting fire to his apartment in an apparent attempt to cover their tracks.”

IPI Watch List Report om Ryssland finns här:

http://www.freemedia.at/cms/ipi/watchlist_detail.html?country=KW0078

Ett annat exempel hur det går till i Putin land:

” 18 May 2007

PRESS RELEASE

The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists, strongly condemns the eviction of the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) from its Moscow offices.

According to IPI’s sources, the RUJ received a notice dated April 18 from the Federal Property Management Agency (Rosimushchestvo) ordering them to vacate their headquarters on Zubovsky Boulevard within one month. The notice was allegedly not delivered until 15 May, leaving the RUJ only three days to vacate their offices.

The RUJ is Russia‘s largest independent association of journalists. Its member groups include the Glasnost Defense Foundation and the Center for Journalists in Extreme Situations, which are located in the same building and must also vacate their offices. The RUJ was given use of the building on Zubovsky Boulevard under a decree issued by President Boris Yeltsin and plans to take legal action against the eviction.

The Federal Property Management Agency provided no explanation for its decision to evict the RUJ, but local press reports said the premises would be given to Russia Today, a state-owned English-language satellite television channel tasked with creating a positive image of Russia abroad. The eviction comes just days before the RUJ is to host the 26th World Congress of Journalists, an international gathering of media workers, which begins on 28 May.

Speaking about the move to evict the RUJ, Johann P. Fritz, Director of IPI, said, ”The decision and its timing appear to be aimed at sabotaging the upcoming journalists’ conference, and silencing the critical voice of the union and its members.

IPI strongly condemns this action and calls on the authorities to reconsider its decision and to allow the RUJ to operate without further obstruction.”

http://www.freemedia.at/cms/ipi/statements_detail.html?ctxid=CH0055&docid=CMS1179498521761&year=2007

Ytterligare ett exempel bland många:

”06 July 2007

H.E. Vladimir Putin

President

Your Excellency,

The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in over 110 countries, is writing to express its growing concern at the behaviour of the Russian authorities in the case of the Educated Media Foundation (EMF); a non-profit journalists’ training organisation formerly known as Internews Russia.

According to information provided to IPI, on 21 January, Manana Aslamazyan, the President of EMF, was stopped by a customs officer at Sheremetyevo airport and found to be carrying an amount of foreign currency exceeding the proscribed limit. The authorities subsequently instituted a criminal enquiry that caused Aslamazyan to leave the country for France. On 19 June, she was charged with smuggling and faces five years in prison.

On 18 April, around 20 investigating officers from the Interior Ministry raided the EMF offices. The officers remained at the premises for 11 hours and took away EMF’s servers, as well as financial and administrative records. In May, the organisation’s bank accounts were frozen.

As a result of the raid and the freezing of assets, EMF was forced to close and suspend its training programmes; many of its 65-member team have been forced to look for alternative employment.

The raid on EMF comes at a time when the Russian government has attacked civil society claiming that many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are financed by foreign governments for the sole purpose of interfering in the country’s internal affairs. Moreover, there are also mounting concerns over press freedom in Russia, particularly concerning impunity for the murder of journalists.

Although IPI makes no comment on Aslamazyan’s case, it is concerned that the authorities are using an individual’s breach of customs law to silence an independent legal entity involved in improving the practices of journalism in Russia. This will have a detrimental impact not only on Russian journalists, but also on a society already facing a lack of independent sources of information.

IPI also believes that the conflation of the case against Aslamazyan and the pursuit of EMF is politically motivated. Indeed, it would appear that by acting in this extreme manner the authorities are sending a signal to other NGO’s operating in Russia that they may face similar treatment.

If true, such actions only hurt those supported by the organisations. IPI would remind Your Excellency that in the past you have consistently expressed a commitment to Russian civil society. Therefore, we would call on you to uphold this commitment and to do everything in your power to ensure that EMF and any other organisation is allowed to continue with its vital work free of state harassment or interference.

We thank you for your attention.

Johann P. Fritz

IPI Director”

http://www.freemedia.at/cms/ipi/statements_detail.html?ctxid=CH0055&docid=CMS1183729431900&year=2007

Artikeln finns här:

http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm?aid=943

Läs även andra bloggares åsikter om http://bloggar.se/om/F%F6rsvar” rel=”tag”>Försvar</a>, <a href=”http://bloggar.se/om/fri-+och+r%E4ttigheter” rel=”tag”>fri- och rättigheter</a>, <a href=”http://bloggar.se/om/yttrandefrihet” rel=”tag”>yttrandefrihet</a>

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Russia’s Gazprom’s Energy Imperialism

15 augusti, 2008

Som en uppföljning av mina tidigare inlägg Scratch Russia Georgia War and You Find Oil and Gas Pipelines och Moscow’s Sinister Brilliance – Who wants to die for Tbilisi or Stockholm? kommer här mera om Gazprom och den Ryska statens strävan efter total kontroll av energitillförseln till Europa och Central Asien.

Lite fakta – Av den totala gas importen i dessa länder så står Ryssland för följande procent:

Slovakien      100 %

Finland          100 %

Makedonien   100 %

Bulgarien        96 %

Serbien och

Montenegro    87 %

Grekland         82 %

Tjekien           79 %

Österrike        72 %

Turkiet           64 %

Slovenien        64 %

Ungern            54 %

Polen              47 %

Kroatien          37 %

Tyskland         37 %

Rumänien        28 %

Italien             25 %

Frankrike         20 %

Det finns en utmärkt bok på ryska Газпром – новое русское оружие. ”Gazprom – det nya ryska vapnet” skriven av journalisterna  Mikhail Zygar (Kommersant)och Valery Panyushkin (Vedomosti).

Som på ett utmärkt sätt beskriver utvecklingen av Gazprom och  innehåller många mycket intressanta intervjuer med tidigare och nuvarande Gazprom höjdare. Och detaljer kring samspelet mellan Kreml och Gazprom och visar med all önskvärd tydlighet att det är Putin som ÄR Gazprom.

Så här står det i förordet till boken:

”De första orden Jeltsins tidigare tf. premiärminister Jegor Gaidar sade till oss, när vi bad honom ge oss en intervju om gas, var följande:

Varför vill ni göra det här? Förstår ni, att de kommer att döda er? Förstår ni, var ni snokar?

Vi förstår inte.”

Läs den om ni vill förstå vad som hänt och händer i Ryssland!

Här finns ett engelskt utdrag ur boken http://otherside.com.ua/news/detail.php?id=39310&lang=3

Här finne en intervju med Panyushkin i Süddeutschen Zeitung:

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/ausland/artikel/943/153550/

Och här en intervju med honom i Berliner Zeitung:

http://www.berlinonline.de/berliner-zeitung/archiv/.bin/dump.fcgi/2008/0117/feuilleton/0005/index.html

Boken finns i tysk översättning ” Gazprom – Das Geschäft mit der Macht”, Droemer Verlag, ISBN: 978-3-426-27452-1

Tidningen Kommersant och  affärstidningen Vedemostin finns här:

http://www.kommersant.com/ och www.vedomosti.ru/

Artikeln finns här:

http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm?aid=960

Här finns en utmärkt sammanställning av den Ryska Gazproms expansion och strävan efter kontroll: http://www.energytribune.com/live_images/russia_map_finaedit_2.pdf

Posted on Aug. 07, 2008

By Michael J. Economides and Nate Evans

Gazprom’s Energy Imperialism

An ogre of a giant looms to the east of Europe – occasionally in the shape of a country, other times in the shape of a company, the two often indistinguishable. Russia and Gazprom, Gazprom and Russia, are poised to devour the whole of Europe and its Asian neighbors.

OAO Gazprom’s influence has been underestimated and astonishingly not discussed enough. By far the largest owner of natural gas reserves, and the largest supplier in the world (six times that of the second biggest player, Royal Dutch/Shell), the company currently provides over a quarter of Europe’s natural gas and is aggressively looking to greatly increase this share. Gazprom has been the flagship of former president Vladimir Putin’s strategy, and the battering ram to break down defenses in what can arguably be called energy imperialism. The Russian state owns 50.01 percent of the company, and almost all of the company’s top executives are devout Kremlin loyalists. President Dmitri Medvedev was Gazprom’s chairman. He replaced Putin, who became prime minister, thereby replacing Victor Zubkov, who became Gazprom’s chairman. You get the story.

Läs även andra bloggares åsikter om <a href=”http://bloggar.se/om/F%F6rsvar” rel=”tag”>Försvar</a>

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Scratch Russia Georgia War and You Find Oil and Gas Pipelines

14 augusti, 2008

Som ett komplement till mitt tidigare inlägg Moscow’s Sinister Brilliance – Who wants to die for Tbilisi or Stockholm? kommer här en utmärkt genomgång hur ryssarna använder sina energitillgångar för att påverka och kontrollera omvärlden.

Där Gazprom används för att successivt skaffa kontroll, med hot och tvång, eller genom ”samgående” (exempelvis med Italienska ENI , South Stream pipeline med Bulgarien och Grekland etc.) eller direkta uppköp, av infrastrukturen för distribution av gas och olja i hela Central och Öst Europa och Central Asien.

Och som sagt, det är dessa herrar som vill till varje pris bygga en gasledning genom Östersjön och placera en ”service plattform” utanför Gotland.

Ett Gotland som idag genom politikernas eminenta planering och beslut inte har något försvar. Liksom resten av Sverige.

Det var ju ingen slump att Putin utsåg Dmitri Medvedev till president och sin ”efterträdare”. Medvedev var Gazprom’s Chairman of board of directors mellan år 2000 och 2008. Och har alltså aktivt deltagit i denna ryska expansion på energiområdet.

Artikeln finns här:

http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm?aid=963

Posted on Aug. 12, 2008

By Michael Economides

Scratch Russia Georgia War and You Find Oil and Gas Pipelines

The war between Russia and Georgia has some nationalist elements, some old grudges but mostly it rubs the wrong way Russia‘s newly found power: energy imperialism.

Georgia has refused to play along like other former Soviet states and, if anything, its independent attitude has been a giant irritant for Russia ever since Vladimir Putin used oil and gas to project hegemony over the region and, by extension, into all Europe. At the same time, Georgia, a tiny, 4 million people country has been trying to ward off the giant on its north by seeking membership in NATO or the European Union. In the postCold War era, the United States and Russiadependent Europe are reduced to just pleading for calm.

A look at the map makes the issue at hand quite transparent.

Oil and gas can come from Russia into Europe by tanker through the Black Sea from its massive terminal in Novorossiysk or by pipelines through Belarus, Ukraine and even plans of under water construction in the Baltic. All of these give Russia a huge leverage, almost monopoly, over both the transit and destination countries. More than 25 European countries depend now for more than 75% of their oil and gas from Russia.

But Georgia was eager to act as a spoiler and European countries were even more eager to comply while trying to avoid incurring the wrath of the hand that feeds them.

First, it was the BakuTbilisiCeyhan Turkey oil pipeline that started in 2002 with a much weaker then Russia. The 1776 km line was to connect the Caspian and south Europe in what was to be an ”Energy Corridor” for European oil and gas supplies. The pipeline was designed to carry 1 million barrels per day from Azerbaijan’s Caspian oil fields to the export terminal Ceyhan via Tbilisi, with Georgia acting as a very important transit country. This did not sit well with Russia, cutting it out from oil exports to that vital part of Europe. The pipeline, funded by western oil companies and banks at the tune of $3.2 billion, was commissioned in 2006.

What gave and still gives Russia fits is what else can happen that could affect its control. For example, how about building underwater pipelines across the Caspian linking Kazakhstan or Turkmenistan?

What really caused the ire of Russia was the talk of a gas pipeline, similar to the oil pipeline, again linking Azerbaijan and Turkey and points beyond BakuTbilisiErzerum through Georgia. This would give Georgia energy independence and create an alternative route to the holy grail of Russian geopolitics: Gazprom’s monopoly.

Back in 2006, Gazprom, flexing its muscles, was manipulating the former Soviet states, by setting new records in gas export prices practically every month. It was clear then that the geopolitical climate in Eastern Europe would be severely damaged. In fact, double and triple increases in gas prices were imposed on Russia‘s neighbors: Ukraine, then Belarus, then Armenia after all of them were threatened with gas supply interruptions, until new contracts with huge price increases were signed. They had no other choice but to surrender on Gazprom’s terms and conditions.

Georgia resisted the Russian might and that conflict predictably ended up with a war.

Things did not deteriorate all of a sudden. The conflict between Russia and Georgia started with the election in 2004 of the westernoriented president, Mikhail Saakashvili, who refused to accommodate Russia’s ambition of control over his country.

Then, Georgians discovered and expelled alleged Russian spies. In return, Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, stirred a crass witch hunt against ordinary Georgians in Russia while Gazprom threatened to cut off gas supplies to Georgia unless it agreed to pay new gas prices from $110 to $230 per thousand cubic meters.

The blackmail from Gazprom was blatant: ”The Georgian side could still maintain lower gas prices. They could compensate for gas price by trading off some assets… For example, Armenia had already paid Gazprom with its transportation network.” What this referred to was that Armenia saw the writing on the wall and kept the same price for gas supplies as before – $110 per thousand cubic meters. But they relinquished control of their gas network in the bargain.

But it was the talk of the construction of the gas pipelines via Georgia that was bound to create an alternative energy supply route to Russian oil and gas, thus threatening Russia’s energy stranglehold on the vast south European markets. This was not something that Russia could tolerate and the war, no matter what the daily pretexts are, is blatant and punishingly brutal.

Läs även andra bloggares åsikter om http://bloggar.se/om/F%F6rsvar” rel=”tag”>Försvar</a>

Moscow’s Sinister Brilliance – Who wants to die for Tbilisi or Stockholm?

13 augusti, 2008

Militärhistorikern Victor Davis Hanson gör i dagens National Review en sedvanlig icke PK intressant analys av Rysslands ”lyckade” krig med Georgien. En analys som aldrig skulle kunna förekomma i svensk massmedia med något enstaka undantag. Vilket tyvärr säger en hel del om vår undermåliga omvärldsbevakning i svenska massmedia.

Så till våra intälägänta politiker i försvarsberedningen:

”-Vad vill egentligen Ryssland? Vi skulle behöva borra djupare i det som händer och följa utvecklingen noga. Det kanske är försvarsberedningens uppgift, men vi får se vad regeringen kommer fram till, säger Else-Marie Lindgren (kd) ledamot i försvarsberedningen som analyserar och bedömer Sveriges säkerhetspolitiska läge.”

”Ordföranden i försvarsberedningen, Karin Enström (m), är förvånad över Rysslands agerande.

– Man visar en väldig aggressivitet, jag hade inte trott att det skulle gå så här långt. Ryssland har inte nått så långt i den demokratiska utvecklingen som vi hade hoppats, säger hon.”

http://www.svd.se/nyheter/inrikes/artikel_1550749.svd

Det var dessa eminenta politiker, som skall vara vårt ”yttersta värn” i orostider, som i en enig försvarsberedning fastslog att klimatförändringarna är det största hotet mot Sverige. Och som är ansvariga för att Sverige inte har något försvar av sitt territorium i dag.

Samtidigt som regeringen beslutat om en TOTAL massavlysning av det svenska folket (FRA lagen) med hänvisning till ett ospecificerat ”yttre hot”. Samma regering (och tidigare) har alltså samtidigt sett till att vi inte kan försvara oss just mot ett REELLT yttre hot.

Det är dessa charlataner som tillåts leka med Sveriges säkerhet och svenska folkets frihet.

Som jag sagt så många gånger tidigare – vi har värdiga representanter i Sveriges riksdag och regering.

Se även mina tidigare inlägg om försvaret:  Vi har en Försvarsmakt i fullständigt fritt fall – 2”Vi har en Försvarsmakt i fullständigt fritt fall”Försvaret – vilken total INKOMPETENS!Vårt dyra lilla kastrerade försvar!, Vårt dyra lilla försvar – 2 och  Vårt dyra lilla försvar

Se även vad Bo Pellnäs har skrivit:  Bo Pellnäs: Svagt Sverige ger inte trygghet.  Frågorna kring försvaret är fler än svaren,  Säkerhetspolitiken alliansens död,  Bildt hukar om säkerheten,  Gotland ska ha ett försvar Sverige gör sig till åtlöje i EU och Tchad,  Förstår Borg säkerhetspolitik?,   ”Vi lever i dårarnas paradis”,  Tänk om, försvarsministern

Analysen finns här:

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MDcwY2I4MjhjMTc0Y2Y4ZmJmMWNmNzJlOTA0Y2MxYjg=&w=MA==

August 12, 2008, 4:00 a.m.

Moscow’s Sinister Brilliance

Who wants to die for Tbilisi?

By Victor Davis Hanson

Lost amid all the controversies surrounding the Georgian tragedy is the sheer diabolic brilliance of the long-planned Russia invasion. Let us count the ways in which it is a win/win situation for Russia.

The Home Front

The long-suffering Russian people resent the loss of global influence and empire, but not necessarily the Soviet Union and its gulags that once ensured such stature. The invasion restores a sense of Russian nationalism and power to its populace without the stink of Stalinism, and is indeed cloaked as a sort of humanitarian intervention on behalf of beleaguered Ossetians.

There will be no Russian demonstrations about an ”illegal war,” much less nonsense about ”blood for oil,” but instead rejoicing at the payback of an uppity former province that felt its Western credentials somehow trumped Russian tanks. How ironic that the Western heartthrob, the old Marxist Mikhail Gorbachev, is now both lamenting Western encouragement of Georgian ”aggression,” while simultaneously gloating over the return of Russian military daring.

Sinister Timing

Russia’s only worry is the United States, which currently has a lame-duck president with low approval ratings, and is exhausted after Afghanistan and Iraq. But more importantly, America’s attention is preoccupied with a presidential race, in which ”world citizen” Barack Obama has mesmerized Europe as the presumptive new president and soon-to-be disciple of European soft power.

Better yet for Russia, instead of speaking with one voice, America is all over the map with three reactions from Bush, McCain, and Obama – all of them mutually contradictory, at least initially. Meanwhile, the world’s televisions are turned toward the Olympics in Beijing. The autocratic Chinese, busy jailing reporters and dissidents, are not about to say an unkind word about Russian intervention. If anything, the pageantry at their grandiose stadiums provides welcome distractions for those embarrassed over the ease with which Russia smothered Georgia.

Comeuppance

Most importantly, Putin and Medvedev have called the West’s bluff. We are sort of stuck in a time-warp of the 1990s, seemingly eons ago in which a once-earnest weak post-Soviet Russia sought Western economic help and political mentoring. But those days are long gone, and diplomacy hasn’t caught up with the new realities. Russia is flush with billions. It serves as a rallying point and arms supplier to thugs the world over that want leverage in their anti-Western agendas. For the last five years, its foreign policy can be reduced to ”Whatever the United States is for, we are against.”

The geopolitical message is clear to both the West and the former Soviet Republics: don’t consider NATO membership (i.e., do the Georgians really think that, should they have been NATO members, any succor would have been forthcoming?).

Together with the dismal NATO performance in Afghanistan, the Georgian incursion reveals the weakness of the Atlantic Alliance. The tragic irony is unmistakable. NATO was given a gift in not having made Georgia a member, since otherwise an empty ritual of evoking Article V’s promise of mutual assistance in time of war would have effectively destroyed the Potemkin alliance.

The new reality is that a nuclear, cash-rich, and energy-blessed Russia doesn’t really worry too much whether its long-term future is bleak, given problems with Muslim minorities, poor life-expectancy rates, and a declining population. Instead, in the here and now, it has a window of opportunity to reclaim prestige and weaken its adversaries. So why hesitate?

Indeed, tired of European lectures, the Russians are now telling the world that soft power is, well, soft. Moscow doesn’t give a damn about the United Nations, the European Union, the World Court at the Hague, or any finger-pointing moralist from Geneva or London. Did anyone in Paris miss any sleep over the rubble of Grozny?

Läs även andra bloggares åsikter om http://bloggar.se/om/F%F6rsvar” rel=”tag”>Försvar</a>, <a href=”http://bloggar.se/om/fri-+och+r%E4ttigheter” rel=”tag”>fri- och rättigheter</a>, <a href=”http://bloggar.se/om/yttrandefrihet” rel=”tag”>yttrandefrihet</a>

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