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Poland:

 

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 21st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Eurovision and Euro elections: the final straw in Polish gender wars.

 

 

 How is the victory of Conchita Wurst being politicized in Poland? What is the connection between Eurovision and the upcoming European Parliamant elections?

 

The Polish political scene was electrified following the Austrian win in the Eurovision song contest. Right-wing parliamentarians and candidates in the upcoming elections to the European Parliament held numerous press conferences in order to complain about  this ‘new’ Europe, which allows the victory of a ‘woman with a beard’.  Also Polish social media exploded with homo- and transphobic comments and memes.

‘Europe takes away our shipyards and sugar factories and gives us bearded weirdoes instead!’ a
right wing political party spokesperson tweeted yesterday. Another tweet by a Polish candidate for the European Parliament epitomizes the general mood yesterday: ‘Europe has lost it! They promote
a bearded weirdo from Austria instead of beautiful and talented girls. This madness needs to be done away with!’

The victory of the Austrian singer Conchita Wurst (drag alias of performer Thomas Neuwirth) politicized Eurovision for Poland (to see how political Eurovision has always been in other parts of Europe, it is enough to follow voting patterns in the Balkans or the Caucasus). Politicians and commentators alike were going out of their way to deride the debauchery they saw. ‘Conchita Wurst is a symbol of the direction, in which Europe is heading (…) a symbol of Europe I don’t want. My Europe is based on Christian values’, said the spokesperson of the main Polish opposition party, Law and Justice (currently polling first for European elections).

‘Very disquieting things are going on in Europe, things that show decadence, downturn and we would like to reverse this trend’ Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Law and Justice, pointed out. ‘Any propaganda aiming to efface differences between men and women is the road to decay (…) we should definitely not celebrate such things, these events do not bode well’ he added.

The Polish Catholic Church lost no time in putting their two cents in as well: ‘This is another form of promoting groups that sneer at human dignity (…) another confirmation that backgrounds priding themselves on sexual licentiousness are protected by the dominant media and “politically correct” authorities’ said priest Marek Drzewiecki. ‘It seems that the victory of Conchita Wurst was a result of the propagation of genderism. And here we should have concerns, because in the long run this destroys the family’, commented the Polish media go-to priest Dariusz Oko.

It has to be said that Polish commentators were outdone only by the Russian nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who stated that this was the end of Europe and that the Soviet army should have never left Austria 50 years ago…

 

Polish gender wars:

Trolling and hate speech are a common blight of internet memes and fora. But the Polish political and social media reaction to this year’s Eurovision winner is part of a larger war which has been waged against the term ‘gender’ in Poland. As outrageous as it sounds, for the past two years or so, mainstream conservative and right wing forces (which dominate the Polish political scene) have constructed and maintained a discursive fight over the meaning and application of the seemingly obscure academic concept of gender. The virulent attacks were mostly aimed at feminist and queer academia, gender equality programs and policies especially in school and kindergarten education.

The ‘war on gender’ discourse originated in the catholic church and quickly spilled over into parliamentary and local politics. By conflating and mixing terms and phenomena this discourse attempts to hammer the message home that ‘gender’ (or ‘gender ideology’ and ‘genderism’ as used by the proponents) destroys traditional Polish family values (through divorce and same-sex relationships), promotes and ‘spreads homosexuality’, causes child sexual abuse (gender equality education is supposed to ‘sexualise children’), and turns everyone into transvestites. There is no knowledge or education on the differences between sexual reassignment, cross-dressing or transgender and queer identities and essentially no awareness on issues of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Hence, the ‘war on gender’ in Poland is intensely trans- and homophobic and plays into the wider anti-feminist and anti-LGBT moods within Eastern Europe. According to the 2013 ‘EU LGBT Survey’ by the Fundamental Rights Agency, 57% of people self-identifying as LGBT felt discriminated against in Poland (EU average – 47%), with only Lithuania and Croatia ranking higher (61% and 60% respectively). The lack of improvement in the social position of sexual minorities paired with attempts to roll back women’s rights (restrictions on abortion law, lack of civil partnerships legislation, problems with the implementation of anti-discrimination clauses) are a wider feature in the region. After the fall of state socialism, Eastern Europe has seen waves of growing religious and nationalistic intolerance. The rhetoric of ‘return to tradition’ (where ‘tradition’ stands for normality and nature, meaning mono-ethnic patriarchy) has become an ever-present image and dominant component of the revived and mythologized national identities in Poland, Russia, the Baltic states, the Balkans, Slovakia and Hungary.

 

‘We are Slavs’ vs. Wurst

According to such narratives ‘women are women and men are men’, because there are undeniable biological differences which give the two sexes specific gender roles, since men and women must have inherently different emotional and psychological qualities. This gender essentialism emerges most strikingly if you compare the Polish Eurovision performance – the song ‘We are Slavic’ and Conchita Wurst’s ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’. Eurovision is a proud feat of kitsch, but the two performances give a perfect illustration of competing gender perspectives. Conchita Wurst embodies everything that conservative Eastern Europe fears from the EU – subversion and transgression in terms of gender roles, gender ambiguity and flexibility in gender expression (translated in Poland into moral decay, rampant trans- and homosexuality, as well as going against nature or god’s law). What about ‘us, Slavs’? The song depicts perfectly the Polish heteronormative natural and traditional vision of gender roles: ‘We Slavic girls know how our charms and beauty work/We like to shake what mom gave us in our genes/ This is Slavic blood!/(…) What’s ours is best, because it’s ours!’ Whether you think the performance was pastiche, soft porn or just good fun, the not-so-subtle message was that Slavic women know ‘how to use what mother nature gave them’ and half-dressed do the laundry and churn butter by hand in sexually inviting ways for their men.

 

War on gender and European Parliament elections

The Polish ‘war on gender’, which had somewhat died down in the past couple of months, reached another apogee this week thanks to the Eurovision song contest. The amount of bile, hate speech and trans- and homophobia that spilled from Polish political elites and social media in response to the event shows how dominant the ‘gender war’ thinking has become as a comfortable rhetoric tool in debates. It also gave conservative Eurosceptics an image to point to before the European Parliament elections later this month. Given the already extremely low interest and weak voter turnout (never exceeding 25% so far) in European elections, the Polish right wing gained an emotive picture to scare people with and to rally against. An image that plays perfectly into the political game they have been playing since mid-2012, when they took on fighting ‘gender’ and trying to curb gender equality, women’s and sexual minority rights even further. Image of a woman with a beard.

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Barbara Gaw?da is a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on gendered political discourses in Eastern Europe.

Related Articles of Open Democracy:
The lead-up to the European elections in Bulgaria: how not to do politicsNikolay Nikolov
We don’t talk about politics in PolandMarzena Sadowska
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And from the ECONOMIST of  May 19, 2014 by T.J. in Eastern approaches – Ex-communist Europe:“The Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church and another senior churchman have used the floods to attack the country’s lesbian and gay community as well as Conchita Wurst, the bearded Austrian drag queen who won the Eurovison song contest on May 10th. They claim that the floods were a punishment from God for their vices.”
But this is not all – similar arguments come in Vienna also from Muslim sources. Personally  – I was lectured today by my good Macedonian Muslim tailor on how from above angels punish us for the ways women behave,  and he gave me full description of the way these angels, under Gabriel, act according to the Koran and tradition.He also reminded me of Lot’s daughters and the upheaval they caused and the hole in the earth that is now the Dead Sea! To show how series this is he gave me to take home some booklets that were given to him.
In short, a poor rational person like myself is pushed to take cover by these Eastern minds – be they from the Eastern Christian Churches or Muslims.    Europe is still far away from enlightenment.
And what about the Christian right or the extreme Jewish Orthodoxy in America? Are they any better?
Too bad that in the 21st Century we still have to hear such arguments while we try to analyze man-induced climate change.
==============================
On the other hand, according to the “Heute” paper of today, the husband of Conchita Wurst (Tom Neuwirth) is Jacques Patriaque – who is a “Boylesque” dancer – that is the men parallel to Burlesque that shows mostly women.

This information became available as Mr. Patriaque will be performing in an upcoming festival – www.boylesque festivalvienna.com – This new angle to Conchita’s story story is bound to be reason for new criticism.
Whatever – we will continue to hold to our idea that people’s preferences do not entitle them to prejudice that impacts human rights of others.

 

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 7th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

 

Europe

 

Kiev Struggles to Break Russia’s Grip on Gas Flow.

 

 

Photo

A natural gas worker in Chaslovtsy, the largest transit point in Ukraine for Gazprom exports to the European Union. Credit Joseph Sywenkyj for The New York Times

 

CHASLOVTSY, Ukraine — As Ukraine tries to contain a pro-Russian insurgency convulsing its eastern region, a perhaps more significant struggle for the country hinges on what happens beneath the ground here in a placid woodland in the far west, on the border with Slovakia.

This is where about $20 billion worth of Russian natural gas flows each year through huge underground pipelines to enter Europe after a nearly 3,000-mile journey from Siberia. It is also, the pro-European government in Kiev believes, where Ukraine has a chance to finally break free from the grip of Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled energy behemoth.

In an effort to do this, Ukraine has for more than a year been pushing hard to start so-called reverse-flow deliveries of gas from Europe via Slovakia to Ukraine, thus blunting repeated Russian threats to turn off the gas tap.

An agreement signed last week between Slovak and Ukrainian pipeline operators opened the way for modest reverse-flow deliveries of gas from Europe, where prices are much lower than those demanded by Gazprom for its direct sales to Ukraine.

But the deal, brokered by the European Union and nudged along by the White House, fell so far short of what Ukraine had been lobbying for that it left a nagging question: Why has it been so difficult to prod tiny Slovakia, a European Union member, to get a technically simple and, for Ukraine and for the credibility of the 28-nation bloc, vitally important venture off the ground?

Some cite legal and technical obstacles, others politics and fear of crossing the Kremlin, but all agree that a major obstacle has been the power and reach of Gazprom, which serves as a potent tool for advancing Russia’s economic and geopolitical interests, and is ultimately beholden to President Vladimir V. Putin.

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Gazprom not only dominates the gas business across the former Soviet Union, but also enjoys considerable clout inside the European Union, which gets roughly a third of its gas imports from Russia and is itself vulnerable to Russian pressure.

Major Gas Lines

Uzhgorod and Chaslovtsy are the most West-Side dots in above map of The UKRAINE.

All the same, a fog of mystery surrounds the reluctance of Slovakia to open up its gas transit corridor — through which Russia pumps a large portion of its gas to Europe — for large reverse-flow deliveries to Ukraine.

Built during the Soviet era to link Siberian gas fields with European markets, Slovak pipelines, according to Ukrainian officials and experts, could move up to 30 billion cubic meters of gas from Europe to Ukraine a year — more than all the gas Ukraine is expected to import from Russia this year.

Instead, the majority state-owned Slovak company that runs the system, Eustream, has offered only a small, long-disused subsidiary pipeline that still needs engineering work before it can carry gas to Ukraine. Once the work is finished in October, Eustream will provide just a tenth of the gas Ukraine has been looking for from Europe. The company says that small amount can be increased sharply later.

Here in Chaslovtsy, in southwestern Ukraine, where technicians from Ukraine’s pipeline company, Ukrtransgaz, and Gazprom monitor the flow of Russian gas into Slovakia, the Ukrainian head of the facility, Vitaly Lukita, said he wondered if gas would ever flow the other way.

“We are all ready here, but I don’t know why the Slovaks are taking so long,” Mr. Lukita said. “Everyone has been talking about this for a very long time, but nothing has happened.”

Andriy Kobolev, the board chairman of Naftogaz, Ukraine’s state gas company, said he was particularly mystified by the recalcitrance of Eustream because in 2011 the company had put forward the idea of using spare capacity in its trunk pipelines for reverse-flow supplies to Ukraine.

He said the Slovaks had rejected this option in recent negotiations, citing secret contracts with Gazprom. He added that he did not know what the problem was exactly, because he had not been allowed to see the contracts.

Eustream executives declined repeated requests for interviews. Vahram Chuguryan, the company’s spokesman, declined to comment on the apparent change of heart or on whether it was related to an ownership shuffle in early 2013, when a group of wealthy Czech and Slovak businesspeople purchased a 49 percent stake in Eustream. At the time, Czech news media speculated that they were acting as a stalking horse for Gazprom.

Daniel Castvaj, a spokesman for Energeticky a Prumyslovy Holding, the company that made the purchase, denied Ukrainian assertions that Eustream has sought to limit reverse-flow deliveries to Ukraine, describing these as “not only untrue but nonsensical” since the pipeline operator, which makes its money off transit fees, has a strong commercial interest in boosting flows regardless of direction.

He said he was unaware of any 2011 offer by Eustream to use the trunk transit system to deliver gas to Ukraine, but added that such an option has always been technically and legally impossible “without the consent of Gazprom,” which has not been given.

European Union officials, frustrated by months of haggling and worried about possible legal problems raised by Gazprom’s contracts with Slovakia, hailed last week’s modest deal as offering at least an end to the logjam. José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, described it as a “breakthrough” but also called it a “first step,” signaling hope that Slovakia may, over time, allow more substantial reverse-flow deliveries to Ukraine.

Ukraine’s dependence on Gazprom to heat homes and power factories — it buys more than half its supplies from Russia — has not only left the country vulnerable to sudden price changes, which fluctuate depending on whether Moscow wants to punish or favor the authorities in Kiev, but has also helped fuel the rampant corruption that has addled successive Ukrainian governments.

When Gazprom raised the price of gas to Ukraine by 80 percent last month and threatened to cut off supplies if Kiev did not pay up, Ukraine’s interim prime minister, Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, blasted Moscow for “aggression against Ukraine.”

“Apart from the Russian Army and guns, they decided to use one of the most efficient tools, which are political and economic pressure,” he said.

   Ukraine Crisis in Maps

By pushing to buy the bulk of its gas from Europe instead of from Gazprom and murky middlemen endorsed by Gazprom, Ukraine hopes to protect what it sees as a dangerously exposed flank from Russian attack.

The best-known of those middlemen, the Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash, was detained in Austria in April and has been fighting extradition to the United States.

“Imagine where you’d be today if you were able to tell Russia: Keep your gas,” Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. told Ukrainian legislators during a visit to Kiev last month. “It would be a very different world you’d be facing today.”

 

Nearly all the gas Washington and Brussels would like to get moving into Ukraine from Europe originally came from Russia, which pumps gas westward across Ukraine, into Slovakia and then on to customers in Germany and elsewhere. Once the gas is sold, however, Gazprom ceases to be its owner and loses its power to set the terms of its sale.

 

Russia is currently demanding $485 per thousand cubic meters for the gas Ukraine buys directly — instead of the price of $268 it offered the Ukrainian government under President Viktor F. Yanukovych before his ouster — while “Russian” gas sold via Europe, which should be more expensive because of additional transit fees, costs at least $100 per unit less.

Russia denies using gas as a political weapon and says all Ukraine needs to do to secure a stable supply at a reasonable price is pay its bills on time and clear its debts, which Gazprom said total $3.5 billion.

Ukraine has already started taking reverse-flow deliveries from Poland and Hungary. But the quantities, around 2 billion cubic meters last year, have been too small to make much of a difference. Only Slovakia has the pipeline capacity to change the balance of forces.

“We have been struggling for a long time to convince them to find a solution,” said Mr. Kobolev, the Ukrainian gas chief. “We have now identified the problem, which was obvious from the beginning — restrictions placed by Gazprom.”

Ukraine’s energy minister, Yuri Prodan, dismissed Gazprom’s legal and technical arguments as a red herring. “I think the problem is political. We don’t see any real objective obstacles to what we have been proposing,” he said.

Opposition politicians in Slovakia, noting that 51 percent of Eustream belongs to the Slovak state, attribute the pipeline company’s stand to the country’s prime minister, Robert Fico, a center-left leader who has sometimes seemed more in sync with Moscow’s views than those of the European Union.

“Fico thinks that it is necessary to be very nice and polite to Mr. Putin,” Mikulas Dzurinda, a former prime minister of Slovakia, said in a telephone interview. “This is the heritage of old communists in a new era: The big guys are still in Moscow,” he said.

At a news conference in April, Mr. Fico insisted that Slovakia was “really ready” to help assist reverse-flow deliveries to Ukraine. But he added, “We naturally protect our own interests” and will not risk punishment by Gazprom for moves that violate Slovakia’s own deals with the Russian energy giant.

Slovakia depends on Gazprom for around 60 percent of its gas supplies and worries that upsetting the Russian company would lead to higher prices for itself or even cuts in supplies.

Alexander Medvedev, the head of Gazprom’s export arm, said he had no problem in principle with reverse-flow supplies to Ukraine but said such arrangements “require the agreement of all parties involved,” including Gazprom.

“Normally, you can’t arrange a physical reverse flow without a new pipeline,” he added, indicating Gazprom’s opposition to the use of existing Slovak pipelines.

Watching over workers in Chaslovtsy as they laid new underground pipes, Ivan Shayuk, a Ukrainian engineer for Ukrtransgaz, shook his head when asked why the scheme was taking so long.

“What is the problem? The problem is simple — Putin,” he said.

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Hana de Goeij contributed reporting from Prague, and Alison Smale from Berlin.

A version of this article appears in print on May 5, 2014, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Kiev Struggles to Break Russia’s Grip on Gas Flow.

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comment from: orbit7er

Here is another piece of the farce being pushed by the plutocratic elite in denial of the realities of Peak Oil and Climate Change. To ship…

And you know – the comment is right – it is those that refuse to let Europe move away from the use of gas that keep watch the umbilical cord to Russia is not broken. This umbilical cord to an unpredictable Russia is the undoing of the EU, and EU member-States that stand up for to hang on this umbilical cord are the un-doers of Europe.
Strange, as it might seem, Austria may be one of these European States that like Slovakia take real interest in conserving the is. Our eyes opened up Sunday May 2nd thanks to two articles in the Austrian news-papers:

(a)  “A Pipeline that Splits Europe” by Veronika Eschbacher, in the venerable and historic Wiener Zeitung, and

(b)  “How Russia wants to Renew its Might via Gas” by Guenther Strobl in the respected Business pages of Der Standard

Both articles give the facts about the Austrian National Oil Company OEMV, that is in the process of planing with the Russian Gazprom to build a new pipeline – “The Southern Stream” – that will shoot directly under the Black Sea, from Russia’s Caucasus near Socchi, to Bulgaria’s port at Varna. Then from there go directly through Serbia and Hungar to Austria – the town of Baumgarten on the border with Slovakia. The achievement here is that this line does not touvh the Ukraine, Moldova, Poland or Rumania which are inclined to be most reluctant to stay under the Russian boot.

So where in this is the Austria of the very active young Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz who is laboring at finding an amicable solution in the conflict between The Ukraine and Russia?

Will an Austrian Government that listens to its own Oil Company be so influenced by it that it works against the better interests in Europe – that try to distance themselves from too close relationship with Russia and understand that Energy Independence in Europe means independence of imports of gas – specially if this gas originates in Russia – pipeline A or Pipeline B – there is no inherent difference in this?

The media has yet to explain this, and the politicians running in Austria for the European Parliament have yet to mention it.   Absolutely – not a single politician in Austria has yet had the courage to say that OEMV is not the source of Foreign policy or the guru of futurology and sustainability for Austria, the EU …  for Europe.

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May 5, 2014, at the Wirtschaftsmuseum (the Economy Museum) at Vogelsanggassee 36, 1050 Vienna, Austria, a panel chaired by Dr. Patrick Horvath, included the Editor of the Wiener Zeitung, Mr. Reinhard Goeweil and titled “EU-Elections 2014 – The Role of the Media” gave me the opportunity to raise the importance of the OEMV in Austrian Government policy and the fact that the media just does not point it out. Dr. Horvath, PhD in Social Studies of Communication, is Head of the Union of Scientists dealing with Economic Policy (WIWIPOL) and the panel included as well Mr. Wolfgang Greif (a last minute addition) – Head of the Europe Section at the Employees and the Employers involved in Company Boards and wrote the book on the subject fighting for the right of the Employees to get information about their Companies; Professor Fritz Hausjell of the Vienna University Faculty of Journalism; and Mr. Wolfgang Mitterlehner – Head of Communication at the Viennese Workers’ Union Central Office.

Professor Hausjell pointed out that the Wienner Zeitung is the best provider of information among the Austrian Media and this is something I argue as well, so it made it easier for me to formulate my question by starting with my own congratulation with the paper’s editor right there on the panel. In effect, founded in 1703 under the name “Vienna Diarium” the WZ is worldwide the oldest newspaper still in print(!) (it appears now 5 times a week with Friday and Sunday excluded and carries the official announcements of use in legal Austria); Mr. Goeweil is editor since 2009 and by background a writer on economics.

As excited as I was by the paper’s expose last weekend of the “Southern Stream” pipeline plans intended to keep the Russian gas flowing to Europe under conditions that exclude the Ukraine, Moldova, and Rumania, while using Russian friendly Serbia, and safeguarding the position of Slavic Slovakia – a multibillion project that might become active by 2017, but can kill all development of Renewable Energy in Europe right now, I realized that further involvement in the subject, even by a paper like WZ, will not come as long as even the good people of that paper take for granted the oil lobby arguments that there is not possible to replace the gas because there is not enough sun, wind, hydro-power etc. If nothing else, the Fossil and Nuclear lobbies have numbed the inquisitiveness of even the good media in the EU States, like they did in the US. Why not bring Jigar Shah over here and have him talk of CLIMATE WEALTH?  Why are not more active businesses that stand to flourish ? Are we the only ones to still say YES WE CAN?

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And Vienna is again the Center of Europe!

May 5-6, 2014 the Council of Europe is meeting in Vienna. 30 Foreign Ministers, including those of Russia and the Ukraine, are meeting here under the chairmanship of Mr. Thorbjorn Jagland, the second most popular politician of Norway and a person that has held all possible political positions in Norway and many in all of Europe who is trying to manage the States of all of Europe with the help of the resourceful Austrian Sebastian Kurz.

Norway is not part of the EU and is an outside gas supplier to the EU. Interesting that Mr. Kurz started his meetings on Sunday with meeting first the current Norwegian Foreign Minister – was this a line-up on gas policy? Is that what the New York Times had in mind when publishing their article? Is it all about lining up interests with Russia and Norway so gas continues to flow in those pipelines and The Ukraine pushed aside, isolated and neutralized?

We shall see and so far as Europe is concerned, we will keep a close eye on these developments because in them we see
a make or break not just for the Ukraine but even more important – for the European Energy Policy that some, like the Prime Ministers of Poland and Slovakia, think of as just a gas policy.

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 20th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Report: Ukraine Synagogue Firebombed Just Days After Distribution of Anti-Semitic Flyers (VIDEO)

April 20, 2014 12:00 pm 21 comments
A vandal firebombing the Noklayev Synagogue, in Ukraine, on April 19, 2014, as recorded by closed-circuit security cameras. Photo: Screenshot / Yisroel Gotlieb.

A vandal firebombing the Nikolayev Synagogue, in Ukraine, on April 19, 2014, as recorded by closed-circuit security cameras. Photo: Screenshot / Yisroel Gotlieb.

The Nikolayev Synagogue in Ukraine was reportedly firebombed by vandals at approximate 2 AM on Saturday morning, according to Chabad blog Shturem and closed-circuit footage of the attack, uploaded to YouTube at the weekend.

The footage was posted by Yisroel Gotlieb, son of the city’s chief rabbi, Sholom Gotlieb.

One firebomb was thrown at the door of the synagogue, which was unoccupied at the time, and another was lobbed at a window, according to the blog.

The junior Gotleib told Shturem that “miraculously a person passing by the shul was equipped with a fire extinguisher, and immediately put out the fire that had erupted, preventing massive damage.”

In February, the Giymat Rosa Synagogue, in Zaporizhia, southeast of Kiev, was also firebombed.

Reports of rising anti-Semitism in the Ukraine after Russia’s recent occupation of Crimea were highlighted last week when fliers, reminiscent of the pogroms of a century ago, were distributed outside of a synagogue on Passover. The origin of the fliers is yet unknown, and debate has focused on whether they were from Russian or Ukrainian groups, from officials or designed to appear so, or if they were intended as some kind of a KGB-style subterfuge created to use anti-Semitism as a lever in the conflict.

The fliers, distributed in Donetsk, were addressed to “Ukraine nationals of Jewish nationality,” alerting Jews to pay a fee to register their names on a list and to show documentation of property ownership, or face deportation.

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From the 21 Comments

  • If one hair from one Jewish head will fall, the IDF will take good care of those anti-semities Bastards!! They really don’t know who are they dealing with?? What happend 70 years ago will NEVER happen again!!

  • What is it about this you don’t understand? Israel must always be there!

  • chaim yosef levi

    This behavior is expected from Ukrainians. The Breslovers must stop patronizing Ukraine by peregrinating there. Better rremove the remains of Rabbi Nachman and bury him in Israel.
    Stop going there to drink their Vodka and to use the Ukrainian hookers. Other jews must leave that G-d forsaken land.p

  • Many of us regrettably have such short memories. We should ask ourselves why so many concentration camp guards and auxiliary troops were Ukrainian and were often more ruthless than their German compatriots. This part of the world has been a hot bed of anti-semitism for centuries past and anti-Jewish animus remains well entrenched in the psyche of the populace. Not one Jew should have taken up residence in the Ukraine after the Second World War.

  • Adele Mischel MSW

    Those of us who went through the Holocaust, know from personal experience, when the ugly demon of anti-Semitism once again rears its head. The Ukraine is no longer a home for a proud people…the Jewish people.
    It is difficult to leave a homeland, but in this situation, the real homeland is Israel..

  • A message from On High to get out of there.

  • A message from On High to get out of therre.

  • I thought the flyer and all the antisemetic stuff from the Ukraine was fake. Ha–I do not want to say that I told you that those Ukranian bastards were bad, but I told you so.

    This is precisely why I have said from the beginning, that I hope the Ukraine-Russia situation becomes the same as the Iran-Iraq War–for 9 years. If you think this Ukranian firebombing of a synagogue is bad for Jews, you should only know what their hero–Bohdan Chmelnitzky did to the Jews in the 1600?s. A whole lot worse than the Nazis and Hitler–yet that mother f***** Chmelnitzky, is on their $5 bill today; and the Ukranians are obviously proud of him.

    The Russians and the Ukranians should all drop dead–and I will celebrate those events!!!

  • REMEMBER: The sad sacks who perpetrated this sick act were nursed by their mothers’…
    Cowardly perversion by a few with lesser brains. Decency…Respect was never their strong suit..

  • Lucille Kaplan

    Even if these events are sinister contrivances of Russian annexationists wanting to make ethnic Ukrainians look bad, the fact that either side, in this conflict, feels free to resort to anti-Semitism, and that both sides know full well that anti-Semitism catches on like wildfire in this region,confirms what others have already said here: That it is folly for Jews to remain in this part of Eastern Europe. The mass exterminations of Jews in the forests of Volhyn (including 2 of my sisters), often at the hands of Ukrainian Nazi collaborators, bespeaks what appears to be nearly a genetically programmed hatred of Jews, in that region. . .I wish it were otherwise. .The time to evacuate is now.

  • It is time to get out of any country were Jews lives are threaten, Israel is the homeland and today there are no excuses for a big tragedy. “Never Again means Never Again.” One more reason for Israel to remain a Jewish State…a Jewish Nation… a Jewish Country.

  • pity we did not have a sniper on place to shoot him down

  • This is precisely why Israel must be the Jewish homeland.

    • Dr. abraham Weizfeld

      Just one fascist and so many frightened chickens? My uncle Meyer Goldsheider did not run away, he fought the Nazi occupation as a partisan.

  • Not a moment too soon for Jews to leave this country that has persecuted Jews for over 100 years. Nothing will change there until the last one is out. Then the Ukrainians will be able to blame us anyway, but can’t hurt anyone. They murdered 100?s of thousands of Jews during WWII, why does anyone think this was a passing fad.

  • NOW IS THE TIME FOR JEWS TO MAKE ALYAH TO ISRAEL BEFORE ITS TO LATE

  • An Easter greeting perhaps?

  • It is time for the Jews to get out of Russia, the Ukraine and any of the countries in the former Soviet Union.

    • You only encourage other mindsets to add to the shame…As you sit smug else wear.  Not helpful in the least.

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 23rd, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Using Copyright to Censor, from Turkey to Svoboda to Ban’s UN & Reuters.

 

By Matthew Russell Lee, The Inner City Press (ICP) at the UN in New York.

 

UNITED NATIONS, March 20 — Turkey has now blocked Twitter citing a prosecutor’s decision, drawing ire in the US from Press Secretary Jay Carney and State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in order to get his leaked phone calls removed from Google’s YouTube has reportedly “copyrighted” his calls.

 

   This use of copyright to try to censor has echoes in the United Nations — and in Ukraine, where the Svoboda Party tried to get videos of its Members of Parliament beating up a news executive taken down as violations of copyright.

 On the Guardian website on March 21, where the video had been was a notice that “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim.”

The New York Times reported that late on March 20, YouTube copies of the video were taken down “for violating the copyright of the Svoboda party spokesman, who seems to be working to erase the evidence from the Internet through legal means.”

 

   This is a growing trend. As set forth below, an anti-Press complaint to the UN’s Stephane Dujarric, now Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson, has been banned from Google’s Search by an invocation of copyright similar to Erdogan’s.

 

  On March 21, Dujarric from Kyiv told Inner City Press neither he nor, he assuumed, Ban had seen the Svoboda beat-down video. This seems noteworthy, given its prominence in Ukraine. Now we can add: perhaps Ban and Dujarric didn’t see it due to the same censorship by copyright that has for now banned an anti Press complaint to them from Google’s Search.

 

  And as to Twitter, Dujarric in his previous post in charge of UN Media Accreditation grilled Inner City Press about a tweet mentioning World War Two – the basis for example of France’s veto power in the Security Council, which it parlayed into essentially permanent ownership of the top post in UN Peacekeeping, now though Herve Ladsous (coverage of whom Dujarric tried to dictate, or advise, Inner City Press about.)

 

   Dujarric’s now bipolar tweeting has intersected with a recently revived anonymous trolling campaign which originated in the UN Correspondents Association, in support of the Sri Lankan government, alleging that any coverage of the abuse of Tamils must be funded by the now defunct Tamil Tigers.

 

  These outright attempts to censor are echoed, more genteelly, even as part of the UN press briefings these days. When Dujarric took eight questions on March 20 on Ban’s essentially failed trip to Moscow, fully half went to representatives of UNCA’s 15 member executive committee, including state media from Turkey, France and the United States. Other questions — by Twitter — were not answered, except those from explicitly pro-UN sources. These are the UN’s circles.

 

   Google has accepted and acted on DMCA complaints about leaked e-mails, for example from Reuters to the United Nations seeking to get the investigative Press thrown out, and has then blocked access to the leaked documents from its search.

  Of this abuse of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry told Inner City Press about the Reuters case:

 

“Unfortunately, it is all too easy for a copyright holder (assuming that the person that sent this notice actually held copyright in the email) to abuse the DMCA to take down content and stifle legitimate speech. As countries outside the US consider adopting DMCA-like procedures, they must make sure they include strong protections for free speech, such as significant penalties for takedown abuse.”

 

  In this case, copyright is being (mis) claimed for an email from Reuters’ Louis Charbonneau to the UN’s chief Media Accreditation official Stephane Dujarric — since March 10 Ban Ki-moon’s new spokesperson — seeking to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN.

 

  Access to the document has been blocked from Google’s search based on a cursory take-down request under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

 

 If this remains precedent, what else could come down?

 

  Why not an email from Iran, for example, to the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency? Why not a sanctions filing by a country? Here is Reuters logic, accepted if only automatically by Google:

 

The copyrighted material is a private email I wrote in April 2012 and for which I never gave permission to be published. It has been published on a blog and appears in on the first page of search results for my name and the firm I work for, Reuters. It can be seen here: www.innercitypress.com/reutersLC3unmalu.pdf

 

  But this is true of ANY leaked document: it can be said that the entity or person exposed “never gave permission [for it] to be published.” Does that mean Google can or should block search access to it?

 

  Can a complaint to a Media Accreditation official against a competitor legitimately be considered “private”? In any event, the DMCA is not about protecting privacy.

 

  Iran or North Korea could say a filing or status report they make with the IAEA is “private” and was not intended to be published. Would Google, receiving a DMCA filing, block access to the information on, say, Reuters.com?

 

  Charbonneau’s bad-faith argument says his complaint to the UN was “published on a blog.” Is THAT what Reuters claims makes it different that publication in some other media?

 

  The logic of Reuters’ and Charbonneau’s August 14, 2013 filing with Google, put online via the ChillingEffects.org project, is profoundly anti free press.

 

  The fact that Google accepts or didn’t check, to remain in the DMCA Safe Harbor, the filing makes it even worse. The request to take-down wasn’t made to InnerCityPress.com or its server — it would have been rejected. But banning a page from Search has the same censoring effect.

 

  The US has a regime to protect freedom of the press, and against prior restraint. But this is a loophole, exploited cynically by Reuters. What if a media conducted a long investigation of a mayor, fueled by a leaked email. When the story was published, could the Mayor make a Reuters-like filing with Google and get it blocked?

 

  Here is the text of Charbonneau’s communication to the UN’s top Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit official Stephane Dujarric and MALU’s manager, to which he claimed “copyright” and for now has banned from Google’s Search:

———————————————————-

Hi Isabelle and Stephane,

I just wanted to pass on for the record that I was just confronted by Matt Lee in the DHL auditorium in very hostile fashion a short while ago (there were several witnesses, including Giampaolo). He’s obviously gotten wind that there’s a movement afoot to expel him from the UNCA executive committee, though he doesn’t know the details yet. But he was going out of his way to be as intimidating and aggressive as possible towards me, told me I “disgust” him, etc.

In all my 20+ years of reporting I’ve never been approached like that by a follow journalist in any press corps, no matter how stressful things got. He’s become someone who’s making it very hard for me and others in the UN press to do our jobs. His harassment of fellow reporters is reaching a new fever pitch.

I just thought you should know this.

Cheers,

Lou
Louis Charbonneau
Bureau Chief. United Nations
Reuters News Thomson Reuters reuters. com

This email was sent to you by Thomson Reuters, the global news and information company.

————————————————-

“UNCA” in the for-now banned e-mail is the United Nations Correspondents Association. The story developed here, as to Sri Lanka; here is a sample pick-up this past weekend in Italian, to which we link and give full credit, translated into English (NOT for now by Google) –

The fool of Reuters to the UN

by Mahesh – 12/27/2013 - calls for the removal of a letter from the head of his bureau at the United Nations, pursuing a copyright infringement on the part of the competition.

Try to make out a small competitor from the UN press room and then, when these publish proof of intrigue, invokes the copyright to release a letter from compromising the network.

MOLESTA-AGENCY  Inner City Press is a small non-profit agency covering the work of the United Nations for years, with an original cut, which become distasteful to many. Unlike other matching its founder master sent never tires of asking account of inconsistencies and contradictions and often refers to unpleasant situations involving colleagues and their reportage, too often twisted to obvious political contingencies.

THE LAST CAVITY – In this case the clutch is born when Matthew Lee, Inner City Press ever since he founded and made famous in the 90 ‘s, challenged the screening of “Lies Agreed Upon” in the auditorium of the United Nations, a filmaccio of propaganda in which the Sri Lankan regime tries to deny the now tested massacres (and destroyed by International Crisis Group). In the piece, in which denounced the incident, Lee also announced that the screening was organized by the President of the United Nations Correspondents (UNCA), Italian Giampaolo Pioli, skipping the normal consultation procedure for this kind of events. Pioli then, was also accused of being in a conflict of interest, given that he rented an apartment in New York an apartment to the Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Sri Lanka, named Palitha Kohona and is suspected of war crimes.

TRY WITH THE COPYRIGHT- So he comes to the letter with which Louis Charbonneau, Reuters bureau chief at the United Nations, wrote to the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit (MALU) calling for the ouster of Lee, which the UN being there for years as his colleagues, but we see that this was not done. Lee, however, comes into possession of the letter and publish it, and then writes to Google millantando Charbonneau the copyright on the letter and asking for removal pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That is a bit like if a company request the removal of a compromising document from a journalistic investigation, in the name of copyright, a claim clearly absurd and disingenuous.

HARASSMENT AND THREATS - In the letter published, Charbonneau complained about the aggressive behavior of Lee and cited among the witnesses to cases where Lee had been “aggressive” towards him even Pioli. Lee with that piece has gained throughout a hail of protests from Sri Lanka and an investigation by the UNCA, along with death threats and other well-known amenities the refugees away from the clutches of the regime, but it is still there. Behold then the brilliant idea of Charbonneau, improperly used copyright law to censor the objectionable publications to a colleague and competitor. Pity that Lee has already resisted successfully in similar cases, in 2008 was the same Google to remove your site from being indexed in the news in its search engines, it is unclear what impetus behind, only to regret it soon after that even Fox News had cried scandal.

=======================================

And further – to the place of UN as restricting flow of information – Matthew Lee has the following:
www.innercitypress.com/ukraine2svobodaunseen032214.html

In Ukraine, List of Parties UN’s UNSG Ban Ki-moon Met With Still UNdisclosed, Visa Ban.

By Matthew Russell Lee

 

UNITED NATIONS, March 22 – With UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Kyiv for a second day, it remained unclear if he met with representatives from the Svoboda Party, whose “freedom of speech” parliamentarian was filmed beating up a news executive and then sought to get the video removed from YouTube.

 

  Inner City Press on March 21 asked Ban’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, video here

 

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about sanctions. I know that in his opening remarks, the Secretary-General talked about provocative actions and counter-reactions and obviously there have been, the US announced sanctions on a slew of individuals and one bank, and another bank, SMP, has been cut off from the Visa and Mastercard system. Russia has its own sanctions. Was this discussed, was this discussed while he was in Moscow? Does the Secretary-General think that sanctions should be done through the UN? And will he meet with representatives of the Svoboda party while he’s there, if they were to request it?

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric: There was a — I will share with you as soon as I get it — the list of party leaders that attended the meeting with the Secretary-General. So we will see who exactly was there and, you know, I’m not going to get into detailed reactions to sanctions and counter-sanctions and so forth. But what I will say is that, you know, everybody needs to kind of focus on finding a peaceful, diplomatic solution and lowering the tensions.

Inner City Press: Has he or you seen the video of the Svoboda party MPs beating up the television executive?

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric: I have not and I doubt that he has.

 

  But more than 24 hours later, the “list of party members” who met with Ban was still not provided or shared, nor was an explanation provided. What should one infer from that?

… … ….

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s race to Russia for relevance didn’t work as he’d hoped. Just after his meetings with Vladimir Putin and Sergey Lavrov, Lavrov went to the Duma for the next step on Crimea.

  Then Ban’s spokesperson did a call-in Q&A to the UN press briefing room in New York where only questions pointing one way were selected and allowed. Thus, there were no questions to Ban’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric about the new unilateral sanctions, or the trade embargo allegations.

   On March 19 after US Ambassador Samantha Power said Russia’s Vitaly Churkin was creative like Tolstoy or Chekhov, Churkin asked for a right of reply or additional statement at the end of the March 19 UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine.

   Churkin said that from these two literary references, Power has stooped to tabloids, and that this should change if the US expected Russian cooperation. The reference, it seemed, was to Syria and Iran, and other UN issues.

   One wanted to explore this at the stakeout, but neither Power nor Churkin spoke there. In fact, no one did: even Ukraine’s Yuriy Sergeyev left, down the long hallways with his leather coat and spokesperson. One wondered why.

   There were many questions to ask. Why did Ivan Simonovic’s UN human rights report not mention the Svoboda Party MPs beating up the head of Ukrainian national television?  Will France, despite its Gerard Araud’s speech, continue selling Mistral warships to Russia? What of France’s role in the earlier referendum splitting Mayotte from the Comoros Islands?

  Araud exchanged a few words with those media he answers to while on the stairs, then left. The UK’s Mark Lyall Grant spoke longer, but still left. Why didn’t Simonovic at least come and answer questions? Perhaps he will, later in the week.

    When Security Council session began at 3 pm on March 19, Russia was listed as the tenth speaker, after other Council members including not only the US but France. (The order, however, would soon change: Argentina and Russia switched spots.)

  Speaking first, Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson recounted dates and events, such as the US and European Union sanctions of Marcy 17. Inner City Press asked UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric if there was any UN comment on or view of such unilateral sanctions. There was no comment.

   UN human rights deputy Ivan Simonovic spoke next, saying that attacks on ethnic Russians have been neither widespread nor systematic. Simonovic did not mention the widely publicized assault on a national TV executive by Svoboda Party MPs.

  Ukraine’s Yuriy Sergeyev mocked the referendum, saying that those who didn’t vote were visited at home.

  France’s Gerard Araud said that if there are fascists in this story, it is not where they’re said to be — but he did not address the Svoboda Party and its attack on the TV executive. Nor has he addressed the analogy to the referendum France pushed to split Mayotte from Comoros, nor France’s ongoing sale of Mistral warships to Russia.

  After Nigeria spoke, Argentina’s listed place was taken by Russia, in what has been confirmed to Inner City Press as an exchange. Russia’s Vitaly Churkin zeroed in on Simonovic not mentioning the Svoboda MPs’ assault, nor evidence that the same snipers should police and protesters in Kyiv.

  US Ambassador Samantha Power called this an assault on Simonovic’s report, and said Churkin had been as imaginative as Tolstoy or Chekhov, echoing an earlier US State Department Top Ten list. So what is the US, one wag mused, John Updike or Thomas Pynchon? It was a session meant for words.


Now that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon races to Russia for relevance, the news was handed out selectively by UN Moscow three hours before Ban’s new spokesperson, after a request, confirmed it.

   It’s worth remembering Moscow’s anger at who called Ban’s tune on Kosovo. What will be different now? After Russia, Ban will head to Kyiv to meet Yatsenyuk and the UN human rights monitors.

  It was at 6:20 am in New York when BBC said that “UN Moscow office confirm that Ban Ki Moon coming to Moscow tomorrow. Will meet Putin and Lavrov.”

  But no announcement by Ban’s Office of the Spokesperson, which has repeatedly refused to confirm Ban trips even when the country visited has already disclosed it.

  And so the Free UN Coalition for Access wrote to Ban’s new spokesperson Stephane Dujarric:

 

“Will you confirm what BBC says UN Moscow told it, that the Secretary General is traveling to Russia tomorrow to meet President Putin and FM Lavrov — and is so, can you explain why and how this UN news was distributed in that way first, and not through your office, to all correspondents at once? The latter part of the question is on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access as well.”

 

   Forty five minutes later, after a mass e-mail, Dujarric replied:

 

“Matthew, The official announcement was just made. The UN office in moscow did not announce anything before we did. I did see some leaked reports this morning from various sources but nothing is official until it’s announced by this office.”

 

  But it wasn’t a “leaked report” — BBC said that UN Moscow had CONFIRMED it. We’ll have more on this. For now it’s worth reviewing Ban Ki-moon’s response to Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008…

 

   The day after the Crimea referendum, the US White House announced new sanctions and Russia said Ukraine should adopt a federal constitution.

 

   Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric for Ban’s or the UN’s comment on either, if Ban thinks sanctions should ideally be imposed through the UN and not unilaterally, and if this might lead to a tit for tat.

 

  Dujarric said Ban’s focus is on encouraging the parties to “not add tensions;” on Russia’s federal constitution proposal he said the UN is “not going to get into judging every step.”  Video here.

 

  With Serry gone from Crimea and Simonovic called unbalanced by Russia, what is the UN’s role? Is it UNrelevant?

 

… … … and there is much more on our link.

 

———————————————————————-

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 19th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

The territory of Eastern Europe on which the present state of Ukraine is located was first mentioned in history in the 9th century as Kievan Rus which is in effect the cultural birthplace of Russia of today – one could say that it parallels to the West Bank of the Palestinians that was the birthplace of the historic Israeli kingdom. I am sure that lots of people will disagree with this. But it is true nevertheless and we say it is of no practical importance today.

After the Partitions of Poland (1772–1795) and conquest of Crimean Khanate, Ukraine was divided between Russia and Austria, thus the largest part of the territory of Ukraine was integrated into the Russian Empire, with the rest, since 1849  under the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

After the Russian Revolution, there was created an internationally recognized independent Ukrainian People’s Republic that emerged from its own civil war. The Ukrainian–Soviet War followed, which resulted in the Soviet Army establishing control in late 1919 – this Soviet victory was in effect the end of a short lived Ukraine. The conquerors created then the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which on 30 December 1922 became one of the founding republics of the Soviet Union.

Then there was a genocide of Ukrainians by Stalin: millions of people starved to death in 1932 and 1933 in the Holodomor. After the 1939 invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany and Soviet Union, the Ukrainian SSR’s territory was enlarged westward. During World War II the Ukrainian Insurgent Army tried to reestablish Ukrainian independence and fought against both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. But in 1941 Ukraine was occupied by Nazi Germany, being liberated in 1944. In 1945, the Ukrainian SSR became one of the the two Soviet Republics (the other being Belarus) to bolster the voting power of the Soviet Union in the founding of the United Nations – the assumption was that their territories were under Nazi occupation.

From above, it can be concluded that real first steps of a modern Ukrainian statehood came when the Ukraine per se got set up around WWII as an enlarged soviet republic by Stalin’s Soviets  -  The Ukr.SSR,  Before that – in 1918 there were attempts at creating several Ukrainian States but they got suppressed swallowed up. To the Ukrainian SSR Stalin added later Hotin and South Bessarabia (AkermanRegion) taken from Bessarabia, the Chernivtsi region that was part of  Bukowina and the whole Eastern Galicia that was annexed from Poland. That Ukrainian SSR became in 1991 the Independent State of Ukraine by brake-up of the USSR in 1991. The UN membership was extended to them naturally
on basis of the latest Soviet geography.

  The Akerman region makes Ukraina a Danube Conference state  denying Moldova outlet to the sea. This area includes the Gagauz people. They proclaimed the Gaugazia State.

tribuna.md/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/img-gagauzia-2.jpg

Moldova was given the Tiraspol area East of the Dniester instead.

This enclave  refused to become Moldova after the breaking up of the Soviet Union.

 After a war  with the the Russian Tank division  stationed there which were victors, they  formed a breakaway  illegal state that named itself Transnistria (Trans-Dniester River) – that  included de facto the twin town of Tiraspol – Bender. Bender is on the west bank – the Moldova side of the Dniester.

Moldova it thus next hub of breakaway States – but now without bordering Russia it stands to reason that they will just freeze this reality.

Crimea was passed by Nikita Krushchev from the larger Soviet Union part that is now the Russian Federation to Ukraina SSR only in 1954. Crimea was now claimed by Russia and it stands to reason that even in honest voting there would have been a pro-Russian majority. The West can claim that in a civilized world one should go about secessions the way Scotland is doing it and it takes years in peace – not days at gun point.

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 18th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Stepan Andriyovych Bandera  (1 January 1909 – 15 October 1959) was a Ukrainian politician and  leader in the Western Ukraine that fought for the Ukrainian independence via a nationalist movement that had no scruples in its allies – the goal overruling any other concerns.

Stepan Bandera was responsible for the proclamation of an Independent Ukrainian State in Lviv on June 30, 1941, eight days after Germany’s attack against the USSR. Members of Bandera’s Ukrainian nationalist movement thought that they had found a new powerful ally in Nazi Germany to aid them in their struggle to free themselves from the Soviet Union.

But NAZI Germany leaders thought differently and arrested his newly formed government, and sent them to concentration camps in Germany. Bandera  himself was imprisoned by the Nazis until September 1944. Eventually he was assassinated in 1959 by the KGB.

On 22 January 2010, President Viktor Yushchenko awarded Bandera the title of Hero of Ukraine (posthumously). The award was condemned by the European Parliament, and Russian, Polish and Jewish organizations, and was declared illegal by the pro-Russian Ukrainian government and court in April 2010. In January 2011, the award was officially annulled. Consequently, Stepan Bandera remains a controversial figure both in Ukraine and internationally – but the new Nationalism of the 2014 Ukraine is again trying to restore him to a pedestal of national Hero – and this ought to be enough for many outsiders that fear a new Neo-Nazi Ukraine. Bandera’s flag was the red and black flag – not the commonly accepted Yellow and Blue flag – and my seeing on TV his flags on the Maidan made us hesitant in accepting the new Ukraine.

Bandera was jailed by the Polish government and released in 1939 when Poland caved in to the advancing Germans. He moved to Krakow – the seat of Germany’s occupational General Government. He caused a split in the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN)
searching support in Germany’s military circles under his OUN(B for Bandera). In November 1939 about 800 Ukrainian nationalists began training in Abwehr‘s military camps. In the first days of December, Bandera, without co-ordination with the leader of the other OUN group led by Melnyk, and referred to as OUN(M), sent a courier to Lviv with directives for preparation of an armed uprising. The courier was intercepted by the NKVD, which had captured some of the OUN(M)’s leaders. Another such attempt was prevented in Autumn 1940.
He also organized “Mobile Groups”  which were small (5-15 members) groups of OUN-B members who would travel from General Government to Western Ukraine, and after German advance to Eastern Ukraine, to encourage support for the OUN-B and establishing the local authorities ruled by OUN-B activists.  These small groups also incited the Ukrainian peasants to kill the Jews that lived in their midst.I happen to have lost a grand-mother and an aunt to the knives of these murderers who crossed the Cheremush river from former Polish held Galizia to former Rumanian held Bukowina in what is now the Chernivtsi Oblast of the Ukraine. My grandmother and aunt were butchered by the “Banderevtses.”

The intermittently close relationship between Bandera, the OUN and Nazi Germany have been described by historians such as David Marples as “ambivalent”, tactical and opportunistic, with both sides trying to exploit the other unsuccessfully.

Prior to Operation Barbarossa, according to the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and other sources, Bandera held meetings with the heads of Germany’s intelligence, regarding the formation of “Nachtigall” and “Roland” Battalions. In spring the OUN received 2.5 million marks for subversive activities inside the USSR.

Gestapo and Abwehr officials protected Bandera followers, as both organizations intended to use them for their own purposes.

On June 30, 1941, with the arrival of Nazi troops in Ukraine, Bandera and the OUN-B declared an independent Ukrainian State. Some of the published proclamations of the formation of this state say that it “will work closely with the National-Socialist Greater Germany, under the leadership of its leader Adolf Hitler which is forming a new order in Europe and the world and is helping the Ukrainian People to free itself from Moscovite occupation.” – as stated in the text of the “Act of Proclamation of Ukrainian Statehood“.

In 1941 relations between Nazi Germany and the OUN-B soured to the point where a Nazi document dated 25 November 1941 stated that “… the Bandera Movement is preparing a revolt in the Reichskommissariat which has as its ultimate aim the establishment of an independent Ukraine. All functionaries of the Bandera Movement must be arrested at once and, after thorough interrogation, are to be liquidated…”.
On July 5, Bandera was arrested and transferred to Berlin. On July 12, the president of the newly formed Ukrainian state, Yaroslav Stetsko, was also arrested and taken to Berlin. Although released from custody on July 14, both were required to stay in Berlin.

In January 1942, Bandera was transferred to Sachsenhausen concentration camp‘s special barrack for high profile political prisoners Zellenbau.

In April 1944 Bandera and his deputy Yaroslav Stetsko were approached by an RSHA official to discuss plans for diversions and sabotage against the Soviet Army.

In September 1944  Bandera was released by [the German authorities] which hoped that he will incite the native populace to fight the advancing Soviet Army. With German consent Bandera set up headquarters in Berlin Germans supplied OUN-B and UIA by air with arms and equipment. Assigned German personnel and agents trained to conduct terrorist and intelligence activities behind Soviet lines, as well as some OUN-B leaders, were also transported by air until early 1945.

Views towards other ethnic groups:

Poles

 

 

In May 1941 at a meeting in Krakow the leadership of Bandera’s OUN faction adopted the program “Struggle and action for OUN during the war” (Ukrainian: “???????? ? ?????????? ??? ??? ??? ?????») which outlined the plans for activities at the onset of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union and the western territories of the Ukrainian SSR.  Section G of that document –”Directives for first days of the organization of the living state” Ukrainian: “???????? ?? ????? ??? ??????????? ?????????? ?????» outline activity of the Bandera followers during summer 1941 In the subsection of “Minority Policy” the OUN-B ordered the removal of hostile Poles, Jews, and Russians via deportation and the destruction of their respective intelligentsias, stating further that the “so-called Polish peasants must be assimilated” and to “destroy their leaders.”

 

In late 1942, Bandera’s organization, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, was involved in a campaign of ethnic cleansing of Volhynia, and in early 1944, these campaigns began to include Eastern Galicia. It is estimated that nearly 70,000 Poles, mostly women and children along with unarmed men, were killed during the spring and summer campaign of 1943 in Volhynia  by the OUN-Bandera which bears primary responsibility for the massacres.

Despite the central role played by Bandera’s followers in the massacre of Poles in western Ukraine, Bandera himself was interned in a German concentration camp when the concrete decision to massacre the Poles was made, and when the Poles were killed. During his internment, from the summer of 1941, he was not completely aware of events in Ukraine and moreover had serious differences of opinion with Mykola Lebed, the OUN-B leader who remained in Ukraine and who was one of the chief architects of the massacres of Poles.

Bandera was thus not directly involved in those massacres, although it cannot be ruled out that they would have occurred had he been present.

Jews

Unlike competing Polish, Russian, Hungarian or Romanian nationalisms in late imperial Austria, imperial Russia, interwar Poland and Romania, Ukrainian nationalism did not include antisemitism as a core aspect of its program and saw Russians as well as Poles as the chief enemy with Jews playing a secondary role.  Nevertheless, Ukrainian nationalism was not immune to the influence of the antisemitic climate in the Eastern and Central Europe,  had already become highly racialized in the late 19th century, and had developed an elaborate anti-Jewish discourse.  However, Ukrainian nationalistic Jews were welcome in the Banderivtsy, provided their adoption of the identity of the Galician Karaites, who were regarded as loyal compatriots.

The predominance of the Soviet central government, rather than the Jewish minority, as the principal perceived enemy of Ukrainian nationalists was highlighted at the OUN-B’s Conference in Krakow in 1941 when it declared that “The Jews in the USSR constitute the most faithful support of the ruling Bolshevik regime, and the vanguard of Muscovite imperialism in Ukraine. The Muscovite-Bolshevik government exploits the anti-Jewish sentiments of the Ukrainian masses to divert their attention from the true cause of their misfortune and to channel them in a time of frustration into pogroms on Jews. The OUN combats the Jews as the prop of the Muscovite-Bolshevik regime and simultaneously it renders the masses conscious of the fact that the principal foe is Moscow.”  In May 1941 at a meeting in Krakow the leadership of Bandera’s OUN faction adopted the program “Struggle and action of OUN during the war” (Ukrainian: “???????? ? ?????????? ??? ??? ??? ?????») which outlined the plans for activities at the onset of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union and the western territories of the Ukrainian SSR.  Section G of that document –”Directives for first days of the organization of the living state” Ukrainian: “???????? ?? ????? ??? ??????????? ?????????? ?????» outline activity of the Bandera followers during summer 1941. In the subsection of “Minority Policy” the OUN-B ordered: Moskali, Poles, Jews are hostile to us must be exterminated in this struggle, especially those who would resist our regime: deport them to their own lands, importantly: destroy their intelligentsia that may be in the positions of power … Jews must be isolated, removed from governmental positions in order to prevent sabotage, those who are deemed necessary may only work with an overseer… Jewish assimilation is not possible.”  Later in June Yaroslav Stetsko sent to Bandera a report in which he indicated – “We are creating a militia which would help to get remove the Jews and protect the population.” Leaflets spread in the name of Bandera in the same year called for the “destruction” of “”Moscow”, Poles, Hungarians and Jewry. In 1941-1942 while Bandera was cooperating with the Germans, OUN members did take part in anti-Jewish actions.

In 1942 German intelligence concluded that Ukrainian nationalists were indifferent to the plight of the Jews and were willing to either kill them or help them, depending on what better served their cause. Several Jews took part in Bandera’s underground movement, including one of Bandera’s close associates Richard Yary who was also married to a Jewish woman. Another notable Jewish UPA member was Leyba-Itzik “Valeriy” Dombrovsky. According to a report to the Chief of the Security Police in Berlin dated March 30, 1942, “…it has been clearly established that the Bandera movement provided forged passports not only for its own members, but also for Jews.”. The false papers were most likely supplied to Jewish doctors or skilled workers who could be useful for the movement.

When Bandera was in conflict with the Germans, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army under his authority sheltered many Jews. and included Jewish fighters and medical personnel. In the official organ of the OUN-B’s leadership, instructions to OUN groups urged those groups to “liquidate the manifestations of harmful foreign influence, particularly the German racist concepts and practices.”  In summary, Bandera’s movement sometimes harmed and sometimes helped Jews depending on particular circumstances and on Bandera’s relationship with Germany.

Bandera’s execution by the Soviets.

On 15 October 1959, Stepan Bandera collapsed outside of Kreittmayrstrasse 7 in Munich and died shortly thereafter. A medical examination established that the cause of his death was poison (cyanide gas).   On October 20, 1959 Stepan Bandera was buried in the Waldfriedhof Cemetery in Munich.

Two years later, on 17 November 1961, the German judicial bodies announced that Bandera’s murderer had been a KGB defector Bohdan Stashynsky who acted on the orders of Soviet KGB head Alexander Shelepin and Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev.  After a detailed investigation against Stashynsky, a trial took place from 8 October to 15 October 1962. The sentence was handed down on 19 October in which Stashynsky was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment. The Federal Court of Justice of Germany confirmed at Karlsruhe that in the Bandera murder, the Soviet secret service was the main guilty party.

===========================================

Above tells us about Bandera – a strong activist against Polish and Soviet domination over Ukrainians – and in the process he also put in motion the killing of Jews by Ukrainians. Exceptions were made for Jews that could help his troops – such Jews as medical personnel.

By the end of WWII many surviving Banderivtsy found their way to British Columbia in Canada  and some of their children turned up in Lviv (Western Ukraine) with Bandera red&black flags and Canadian flags and marched to cellebrate the independence of Ukraine after the fall of the Soviet Union. Now the same flags showed up on the Maidan in order to free Ukraine of Russia’s stooge – Viktor Yanukovych.

What we find unacceptable is that proponents of the Maidan movement see only the nationalism of Bandera but turn a blind eye at his prejudices and crimes against humanity. Yes, we know that Jews are bellweather to racism – that is that Nationalist revolutions do not mind spilling Jewish blood.  Transparency and rejection of such elements are a must for the acceptance of present day Ukrainian Nationalism, and the fact that none of this was part of the presentations made by Ukrainians at a meeting we attended in Vienna where three different aspects of the Maidan spoke, only one speaker mentioned Bandera but without feeling that he had to reject the Xenophobism of the man,
and the potential danger to the present movement. No, we cannot cheer for the Ukrainian side as long as they do not profess strict adherence to Human Rights of the minorities in their midst.

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 14th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Obama, EU to stand together on climate change draft.

Date: 14-Mar-14

by Barbara Lewis, Reuters, Brussels

U.S. President Barack Obama and EU leaders meeting in Brussels this month will throw their combined weight behind tackling climate change, a document seen by Reuters says, in a show of developed world solidarity on the need for a new global deal.

But the guarded, diplomatic language is likely to disappoint environmentalists calling for urgent, ambitious pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“Sustainable economic growth will only be possible if we tackle climate change,” a draft communique ahead of the EU-US summit on March 26 says. The text is subject to further negotiation between the European Union and the United States.

Both the European Union and the United States are preparing new pledges on cutting emissions for the first quarter of 2015, ahead of a U.N. summit in Paris that is meant to agree a new worldwide deal.

Its aim must be to limit any global average temperature increase to less than 2 degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial levels “and should therefore include ambitious mitigation contributions, notably from the world’s major economies and other significant emitters,” the document said.

The European Union has sought to lead efforts to curb global warming with more ambitious carbon-cutting goals than any other bloc, but some of its member states, notably Poland, say there is no point in Europe taking the lead when it is responsible for only just over 10 percent of global emissions.

The United States, the world’s second biggest emitter, together with China, the top emitter, account for about 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Earlier this month, the U.N.’s climate chief, Christiana Figueres, said closer cooperation between China and the United States could boost prospects for a U.N. deal in 2015.

European environmental campaigners say such a partnership could also marginalize Europe in the debate and in the race to keep up with technological advances to decarbonise energy.

PREPARATION:

To prepare its negotiating stance ahead of the 2015 U.N. talks, the Commission, the EU executive, in January outlined 2030 climate and energy policy, including a suggested 40 percent carbon cutting target. That compares with a 2020 goal to cut emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels, which the European Union has almost achieved already.

The United States by contrast has said it will reduce carbon by 17 percent by 2020 compared with 2005, which equates to a fall of 3.5 percent below 1990 levels.

Just before Obama’s visit to Brussels, a summit of EU leaders on March 20-21, will debate 2030 climate and energy policy, but is not expected to reach a firm agreement. Poland, which relies on coal for most of its energy, would block a deal at this point.

But Britain says Europe should not only make an early commitment to a cut of at least 40 percent, it should be willing to increase the aim to 50 percent if the rest of the world signs up to a deal.

A draft document this week said only that the European Union will submit its contribution at the latest by the first quarter of 2015, raising the possibility the European Union does not need to reach a political agreement until late this year.

Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said only that next week’s summit should send a strong signal.

“The sooner we have an overall signal, a political signal of what kind of ambition level we are heading for, the easier it will be to elaborate on the details,” she said on Thursday.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 7th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

A DISCLOSURE:

THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ – IT HELPS ME UNDERSTAND MY OWN FEELINGS AS WELL – SPECIALLY AS I LOST A GRANDMOTHER AND AN AUNT TO THE BUTCHER KNIVES (LITERALLY) OF THE UKRAINIAN BANDERA  NATIONALISTS IN MILLIE – (THE BUKOWINA OF OLD AND NOW IN THE CHERNIVTSI OBLAST OF THE UKRAINE TAKEN BY THE SOVIETS FROM ROMANIA) – THAT WERE INCITED BY A PRIEST THAT CAME FROM KUTTY (UKRAINIANS LIVING THEN UNDER POLAND BEFORE BEING ANNEXED BY THE SOVIETS), ACROSS THE CHEREMUSH RIVER in 1941. THOSE UKRAINIANS THAT SURVIVED THE WAR ENDED UP IN BRITISH COLUMBIA AS RESPECTED WAR REFUGEES LIKE THE SURVIVORS OF MY MOTHER’S FAMILY ENDED UP IN TORONTO. THE CANADIAN UKRAINIANS MARCHED WITH THE RED&BLACK FLAG THEN NEXT TO CANADA FLAG IN LVIV WHEN I WITNESSED THERE THE UKRAINIAN INDEPENDENCE – AND THEY WONDERED WHY I DO NOT MARCH WITH THEM ALSO. I SAW NOW THOSE SAME  RED/BLACK FLAGS ON THE MAIDAN VIA TV.

INTERESTING HOW AVNERY REMINDS US THAT I MIGHT BE A DESCENDENT OF THE UKRAINIAN KHAZARS – PERSONALLY I KNOW THAT FATHER AND ME LOOK LIKE THAT – BUT HE ALSO TELLS US THAT BINATIONALISM DOES NOT WORK, AND THAT NETANYAHU IS BUILDING THE DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL AS A JEWISH STATE – AND THAT HURTS VERY MUCH. YES – ABSOLUTELY A MUST STUDY ARTICLE.

————————

Uri Avnery

March 8, 2014

 

                                                God Bless Putin

 

BINYAMIN NETANYAHU is very good at making speeches, especially to Jews, neocons and such, who jump up and applaud wildly at everything he says, including that tomorrow the sun will rise in the west.

 

The question is: is he good at anything else?

 

 

HIS FATHER, an ultra-ultra-Rightist, once said about him that he is quite unfit to be prime minister, but that he could be a good foreign minister. What he meant was that Binyamin does not have the depth of understanding needed to guide the nation, but that he is good at selling any policy decided upon by a real leader. 

 

(Reminding us of the characterization of Abba Eban by David Ben-Gurion: “He is very good at explaining, but you must tell him what to explain.”)

 

This week Netanyahu was summoned to Washington. He was supposed to approve John Kerry’s new “framework” agreement, which would serve as a basis for restarting the peace negotiations, which so far have come to naught.

 

On the eve of the event, President Barack Obama gave an interview to a Jewish journalist, blaming Netanyahu for the stalling of the “peace process” – as if there had ever been a peace process.

 

Netanyahu arrived with an empty bag – meaning a bag full of empty slogans. The Israeli leadership had striven mightily for peace, but could not progress at all because of the Palestinians. It is Mahmoud Abbas who is to blame, because he refuses to recognize Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People.

 

What…hmm…about the settlements, which have been expanding during the last year at a hectic pace? Why should the Palestinians negotiate endlessly, while at the same time the Israeli government takes more and more of the land which is the substance of the negotiations? (As the classic Palestinian argument goes: “We negotiate about dividing a pizza, and in the meantime Israel is eating the pizza.”)

 

Obama steeled himself to confront Netanyahu, AIPAC and their congressional stooges. He was about to twist the arms of Netanyahu until he cried “uncle” – the uncle being Kerry’s “framework”, which by now has been watered down to look almost like a Zionist manifesto. Kerry is frantic for an achievement, whatever its contents and discontents.

 

Netanyahu, looking for an instrument to rebuff the onslaught, was ready to cry as usual “Iran! Iran! Iran!” – when something unforeseen happened.

 

 

NAPOLEON FAMOUSLY exclaimed: ”Give me generals who are lucky!”  He would have loved General Bibi.

 

Because, on the way to confront a newly invigorated Obama, there was an explosion that shook the world:

 

Ukraine.

 

It was like the shots that rang out in Sarajevo a hundred years ago.

The international tranquility was suddenly shattered. The possibility of a major war was in the air.

 

Netanyahu’s visit disappeared from the news. Obama, occupied with a historic crisis, just wanted to get rid of him as quickly as possible. Instead of the severe admonition of the Israeli leader, he got away with some hollow compliments. All the wonderful speeches Netanyahu had prepared were left unspeeched. Even his usual triumphant speech at AIPAC evoked no interest.

 

All because of the upheaval in Kiev.

 

 

BY NOW, innumerable articles have been written about the crisis. Historical associations abound.

 

Though Ukraine means “borderland”, it was often at the center of European events. One must pity Ukrainian schoolchildren. The changes in the history of their country were constant and extreme. At different times Ukraine was a European power and a poor downtrodden territory, extremely rich (“the breadbasket of Europe”) or abjectly poor, attacked by neighbors who captured their people to sell them as slaves or attacking their neighbors to enlarge their country.

 

The Ukraine’s relationship with Russia is even more complex. In a way, the Ukraine is the heartland of Russian culture, religion and orthography. Kiev was far more important than Moscow, before becoming the centerpiece of Muscovite imperialism.

 

In the Crimean War of the 1850s, Russia fought valiantly against a coalition of Great Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire and Sardinia, and eventually lost. The war broke out over Christian rights in Jerusalem, and included a long siege of Sevastopol. The world remembers the charge of the Light Brigade. A British woman called Florence Nightingale established the first organization to tend the wounded on the battlefield.  

 

In my lifetime, Stalin murdered millions of Ukrainians by deliberate starvation. As a result, most Ukrainians welcomed the German Wehrmacht in 1941 as liberators. It could have been the beginning of a beautiful friendship, but unfortunately Hitler was determined to eradicate the Ukrainian “Untermenschen”, in order to integrate the Ukraine into the German Lebensraum.

 

The Crimea suffered terribly. The Tatar people, who had ruled the peninsula in the past, were deported to Central Asia, then allowed to return decades later. Now they are a small minority, seemingly unsure of where their loyalties lie.

 

 

THE RELATIONSHIP between Ukraine and the Jews is no less complicated.

 

Some Jewish writers, like Arthur Koestler and Shlomo Sand, believe that the Khazar empire that ruled the Crimea and neighboring territory a thousand years ago, converted to Judaism, and that most Ashkenazi Jews are descended from them. This would turn us all into Ukrainians. (Many early Zionist leaders indeed came from Ukraine.)

 

When Ukraine was a part of the extensive Polish empire, many Polish noblemen took hold of large estates there. They employed Jews as their managers. Thus the Ukrainian peasants came to look upon the Jews as the agents of their oppressors, and anti-Semitism became part of the national culture of Ukraine.

 

As we learned in school, at every turn of Ukrainian history, the Jews were slaughtered. The names of most Ukrainian folk-heroes, leaders and rebels who are revered in their homeland are, in Jewish consciousness, connected with awful pogroms.

 

Cossack Hetman (leader) Bohdan Khmelnytsky, who liberated Ukraine from the Polish yoke, and who is considered by Ukrainians as the father of their nation, was one of the worst mass-murderers in Jewish history. Symon Petliura, who led the Ukrainian war against the Bolsheviks after World War I, was assassinated by a Jewish avenger.

 

Some elderly Jewish immigrants in Israel must find it hard to decide whom to hate more, the Ukrainians or the Russians (or the Poles, for that matter.)

 

 

PEOPLE AROUND the world find it also hard to choose sides.

 

The usual Cold-War zealots have it easy – they either hate the Americans or the Russians, out of habit.

 

As for me, the more I try to study the situation, the more unsure I become. This is not a black-or-white situation.

 

The first sympathy goes to the Maidan rebels. (Maidan is an Arab word meaning town square. Curious how it travelled to Kiev. Probably via Istanbul.)

 

They want to join the West, enjoy independence and democracy. What’s wrong with that?

 

Nothing, except that they have dubious bedfellows. Neo-Nazis in their copycat Nazi uniforms, giving the Hitler salute and mouthing anti-Semitic slogans, are not very attractive. The encouragement they receive from Western allies, including the odious neocons, is off-putting.

 

On the other side, Vladimir Putin is also not very prepossessing. It’s the old Russian imperialism all over again.

 

The slogan used by the Russians – the need to protect Russian-speaking people in a neighboring country – sounds eerily familiar. It is an exact copy of Adolf Hitler’s claim in 1938 to protect the Sudeten Germans from the Czech monsters.  

 

But Putin has some logic on his side. Sevastopol – the scene of heroic sieges both in the Crimean War and in World War II, is essential for his naval forces. The association with Ukraine is an important part of Russian world power aspirations.

 

A cold-blooded, calculating operator, of a kind now rare in the world, Putin uses the strong cards he has, but is very careful not to take too many risks. He is managing the crisis astutely, using Russia’s obvious advantages. Europe needs his oil and gas, he needs Europe’s capital and trade. Russia has a leading role in Syria and Iran. The US suddenly looks like a bystander.

 

I assume that in the end there will be a compromise. Russia will retain a footing in the coming Ukrainian leadership. Both sides will proclaim victory, as they should.

 

(By the way, for those here who believe in the “One-State Solution”: Another multicultural state seems to be breaking apart.)

 

 

WHERE WILL this leave Netanyahu?

 

He has gained some months or years without any movement toward peace, and in the meantime can continue with the occupation and build settlements at a frantic pace.

 

That is the traditional Zionist strategy. Time is everything. Every postponement provides opportunities to create more facts on the ground.

 

Netanyahu’s prayers have been answered. God bless Putin.

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 5th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

QUOTATION OF THE DAY

 

“It is not appropriate to invade a country and at the end of a barrel of a gun dictate what you are trying to achieve.”

 

JOHN KERRY, secretary of state, on Russia’s actions in Crimea, a region in Ukraine.

 

QUOTATION OF THE DAY

 

“The only thing we had to do, and we did it, was to enhance the defense of our military facilities because they were constantly receiving threats and we were aware of the armed nationalists moving in.”

 

VLADIMIR V. PUTIN, president of Russia.

No Easy Way Out of Ukraine Crisis.

 

 

WASHINGTON — For all his bluster and bravado, President Vladimir V. Putin’s assurance on Tuesday that Russia does not plan, at least for now, to seize eastern Ukraine suggested a possible path forward in the geopolitical crisis that has captivated the world. Global markets reacted with relief, and the White House with cautious optimism.

But the development presented a tricky conundrum for President Obama and his European allies. Even if Russia does leave eastern Ukraine alone and avoids escalating its military intervention, can it effectively freeze in place its occupation of the Crimean Peninsula? Would the United States and Europe be forced to tacitly accept that or could they find a way to roll it back — and, if so, at what price?

Ever since Russian forces took control of Crimea, Mr. Obama’s aides have privately conceded that reversing the occupation would be difficult, if not impossible, in the short run and focused on drawing a line to prevent Mr. Putin from going further.

 

 

If Crimea in coming weeks remains cordoned off, it will then require a concerted effort to force Russia to pull back troops, an effort that could divide the United States from European allies who may be more willing to live with the new status quo.

For the moment, the White House was focused on preventing the confrontation from escalating. While dismayed if not surprised by Mr. Putin’s bellicosity and justification of his actions, American officials took some solace that he said he saw no need at this point for intervention in Russian-speaking areas of eastern Ukraine. They were also encouraged by his seeming acceptance of elections in May as a way to legitimize a new Ukrainian government and by his decision to cancel a military exercise near the border. And they detected no new influx of troops into Crimea.

While Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kiev on Tuesday to show support for its beleaguered pro-Western government, Mr. Obama consulted with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany by telephone about finding a face-saving way for Mr. Putin to withdraw in favor of international monitors.

Speaking with reporters, Mr. Obama said some had interpreted Mr. Putin’s remarks earlier in the day to mean he “is pausing for a moment and reflecting on what’s happened.”

Others cautioned against reading too much into Mr. Putin’s statements. “It would be a mistake on our part to look at what he’s saying and think this crisis is almost over: ‘O.K., we’ve lost Crimea, but the rest of the country is with us,’ ” said Ivo Daalder, Mr. Obama’s first ambassador to NATO and now president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

He said Crimea would become a precedent: “Crimea is a big deal. It means a country can be invaded, and a big piece of it can be taken away with no price. But two, this isn’t just about Crimea. This is about who is ultimately in control of Ukraine.”

The situation remained tense, as Obama administration officials moved forward with plans for sanctions that could be imposed by the United States and, they hoped, in conjunction with European allies. The administration is developing plans for actions that would escalate over time if Russia continued to leave forces in place in Crimea, an autonomous region of Ukraine.

Mr. Obama has authority to take several steps without new legislation from Congress. For starters, under a law called the Magnitsky Act, the State Department has already drafted a list of Russians tied to human rights abuses. The administration could promptly bar them from traveling to the United States, freeze any assets here and cut off their access to American banks.

The president also has the power under existing Syria sanctions to go after Russian individuals and institutions involved in sending arms to help President Bashar al-Assad crush the rebellion there. The administration had held back on such actions while trying to work with Russia to resolve Syria’s civil war, but if applied they could cut off certain Russian banks from the international financial system.

Mr. Obama could also sign an executive order creating another set of sanctions specifically against Russian officials and organizations blamed for creating instability in Ukraine and violating its sovereignty. In theory, that could include everyone up to Mr. Putin, but officials indicated that they would instead work their way up the chain of command.

Leaders in Europe, a region dependent on Russian natural gas and with far deeper economic ties to Russia, have expressed reluctance to go along with the toughest sanctions.

But an American order declaring a Russian bank in violation would be sent to banks around the world, forcing them to cut ties with that Russian institution or risk being barred from doing business with the American financial sector.

“My view is that Russia can be forced out of Crimea with the combination of financial sanctions plus straightforward hard diplomacy,” said Anders Aslund, a longtime specialist on Russia and Ukraine at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

Still, others are more dubious, noting that Mr. Obama may not be willing to go as far as necessary without the support of allies, particularly given that it would presumably jeopardize Russian cooperation on a range of issues, including Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and Middle East peace.

The precedent may be Abkhazia and South Ossetia, pro-Moscow regions that broke away from the former Soviet republic of Georgia. After Russia’s war with Georgia in 2008, the Kremlin defied the United States and the rest of the world by recognizing their independence and left troops in place to guarantee it. The United States and Europe ultimately resumed doing business as usual with Russia.

Mr. Obama’s aides said that Ukraine was different and that they had a hard time imagining going back to a normal relationship as long as Russian troops occupied Crimea. Their first priority is preventing Russia from annexing the peninsula outright, but even leaving it as an enclave under Moscow’s control would not be acceptable, they said.

White House officials said they saw three possibilities. The first would be a Russian escalation into eastern Ukraine, one they hope Mr. Putin was signaling he would not pursue. The second would be Russia deciding to stay put in Crimea, either through annexation or through de facto rule. The third would be Russia taking what American officials call an offramp, agreeing to let international monitors replace Russian troops in the streets to guard against any attacks on Russian speakers and accepting the Ukrainian government that emerges from the May elections.

Mr. Obama said Tuesday that he recognized that Russia had natural interests in its neighbor. But he said he would not accept what he called a violation of international law.

“I know President Putin seems to have a different set of lawyers making a different set of interpretations,” he said, “but I don’t think that’s fooling anybody.”

Mr. Obama added that Ukrainians should have the right to determine their own fate. “Mr. Putin can throw a lot of words out there, but the facts on the ground indicate that right now he’s not abiding by that principle,” he said. “There is still the opportunity for Russia to do so, working with the international community to help stabilize the situation.”

====================================================================================

The Opinion Pages|Editorial

 

A Rational Response to Ukraine’s Crisis.

 

 

The tensions over Ukraine eased somewhat after President Vladimir Putin of Russia halted military maneuvers on the Ukrainian border and declared at a news conference on Tuesday that there was no immediate need to send troops into eastern Ukraine. The conciliatory talk prompted Russian financial markets to rebound from their plunge on Monday. The markets reward peaceful behavior.

But the crisis is not over: Russia remains in control of Crimea, and Mr. Putin prepared the way for possible annexation of the peninsula to Russia when he said it was up to Crimean citizens, a majority of whom are Russian-speaking, to determine their future. The question remains what the United States and the European Union should or can do.

The Ukrainian crisis has provoked a broad range of reactions in the West, including angry demands for immediate sanctions against Russia and charges in the United States that President Obama is somehow “losing” in the confrontation to Mr. Putin and thus endangering Washington’s credibility and global leadership. Yet leadership and credibility in a crisis mean reacting coolly and rationally, not rattling sabers, or rushing into economic warfare that allies may or may not support, or painting “red lines” that the other side can cross with impunity.

A bully welcomes a slugfest, and Mr. Putin revels in claiming American conspiracies; at his news conference on Tuesday, he even described the battering to Russia’s markets on Monday as a result of American policies. But that battering and the decline of the value of the ruble were no doubt major factors behind Mr. Putin’s conciliatory tone on Tuesday.

The Russian economy is not in great shape, and Russian businessmen understand full well that the $60 billion wiped off the value of their firms on Monday was because of a needless crisis.

Mr. Putin and his countrymen must be reminded, again and again, that seizing Crimea under a blatantly concocted pretext, or taking other measures against the new authorities in Ukraine, will carry a price.

Short of war, there is little the United States can do on its own to punish Russia. It is not among Russia’s major trading partners. Europe, which does far more business with Russia, has more leverage, but also a dependence on Russian gas, and, so far, European leaders have shown little enthusiasm for economic sanctions.

The measures that have been suggested — exclusion from the Group of 8, selective sanctions and travel bans — would not alone cause much pain. But the consequences of isolation take a toll over time. With every new demonstration of Mr. Putin’s authoritarian and expansionary tendencies, whether it was the invasion of Georgia in 2008 or the imprisonment of the Pussy Riot members in 2012, the West has become more wary of doing business with Russia. In a conversation with Mr. Obama, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said she was unsure whether Mr. Putin was in touch with reality. That, from the leader of Europe’s most powerful economy and one of Russia’s biggest trading partners, cannot be heartening for Mr. Putin, and certainly not for Russian businessmen.

These are exactly the buttons Mr. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are pushing — threatening further isolation if Mr. Putin does not back down, and cooperation if he does, while rallying allies and pledging substantial assistance to the new authorities in Ukraine.

 

Closing the door to any further dealings with Mr. Putin, as hard-core cold-warriors want Mr. Obama to do, would not serve any purpose. Russia has already announced that it is ending discounts on the sale of Russian gas to Ukraine, and it could make life even more difficult for its bankrupt neighbor. But at his news conference, Mr. Putin said he felt a sympathy for the longing of the Kiev crowds to throw out a corrupt regime, and he insisted that Russian and Ukrainian soldiers “will be on the same side of the barricades.”

If he meant all that, then he must agree that the optimal conclusion to the crisis would be the election of a balanced Parliament and a universally accepted president in Ukraine, which would also reassure Russians that their ties to Ukraine, including Crimea, won’t be severed.

The United States and its European allies must prepare contingency plans for any escalation of Russian aggression or for the unilateral annexation of Crimea. The Europeans will have to overcome their reluctance on sanctions and form a common front with the United States. But, at the same time, they should reassure Mr. Putin that the West appreciates Russia’s historic ties to Ukraine and has no interest in turning Kiev against Moscow. So far, Mr. Obama is on the right track.

 

================================================================================

The Opinion Pages|Op-Ed Columnist – The New York Times

 

Why Putin Doesn’t Respect Us

 

 

Just as we’ve turned the coverage of politics into sports, we’re doing the same with geopolitics. There is much nonsense being written about how Vladimir Putin showed how he is “tougher” than Barack Obama and how Obama now needs to demonstrate his manhood. This is how great powers get drawn into the politics of small tribes and end up in great wars that end badly for everyone. We vastly exaggerate Putin’s strength — so does he — and we vastly underestimate our own strength, and ability to weaken him through nonmilitary means.

Let’s start with Putin. Any man who actually believes, as Putin has said, that the breakup of the Soviet Union was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century is caught up in a dangerous fantasy that can’t end well for him or his people. The Soviet Union died because Communism could not provide rising standards of living, and its collapse actually unleashed boundless human energy all across Eastern Europe and Russia. A wise Putin would have redesigned Russia so its vast human talent could take advantage of all that energy. He would be fighting today to get Russia into the European Union, not to keep Ukraine out. But that is not who Putin is and never will be. He is guilty of the soft bigotry of low expectations toward his people and prefers to turn Russia into a mafia-run petro-state — all the better to steal from.

So Putin is now fighting human nature among his own young people and his neighbors — who both want more E.U. and less Putinism. To put it in market terms, Putin is long oil and short history. He has made himself steadily richer and Russia steadily more reliant on natural resources rather than its human ones. History will not be kind to him — especially if energy prices ever collapse.

So spare me the Putin-body-slammed-Obama prattle. This isn’t All-Star Wrestling. The fact that Putin has seized Crimea, a Russian-speaking zone of Ukraine, once part of Russia, where many of the citizens prefer to be part of Russia and where Russia has a major naval base, is not like taking Poland. I support economic and diplomatic sanctions to punish Russia for its violation of international norms and making clear that harsher sanctions, even military aid for Kiev, would ensue should Putin try to bite off more of Ukraine. But we need to remember that that little corner of the world is always going to mean more, much more, to Putin than to us, and we should refrain from making threats on which we’re not going to deliver.

What disturbs me about Crimea is the larger trend it fits into, that Putinism used to just be a threat to Russia but is now becoming a threat to global stability. I opposed expanding NATO toward Russia after the Cold War, when Russia was at its most democratic and least threatening. It remains one of the dumbest things we’ve ever done and, of course, laid the groundwork for Putin’s rise.

 

For a long time, Putin has exploited the humiliation and anti-Western attitudes NATO expansion triggered to gain popularity, but this seems to have become so fundamental to his domestic politics that it has locked him into a zero-sum relationship with the West that makes it hard to see how we collaborate with him in more serious trouble spots, like Syria or Iran. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria is engaged in monstrous, genocidal behavior that also threatens the stability of the Middle East. But Putin stands by him. At least half the people of Ukraine long to be part of Europe, but he treated that understandable desire as a NATO plot and quickly resorted to force.

I don’t want to go to war with Putin, but it is time we expose his real weakness and our real strength. That, though, requires a long-term strategy — not just fulminating on “Meet the Press.” It requires going after the twin pillars of his regime: oil and gas. Just as the oil glut of the 1980s, partly engineered by the Saudis, brought down global oil prices to a level that helped collapse Soviet Communism, we could do the same today to Putinism by putting the right long-term policies in place. That is by investing in the facilities to liquefy and export our natural gas bounty (provided it is extracted at the highest environmental standards) and making Europe, which gets 30 percent of its gas from Russia, more dependent on us instead. I’d also raise our gasoline tax, put in place a carbon tax and a national renewable energy portfolio standard — all of which would also help lower the global oil price (and make us stronger, with cleaner air, less oil dependence and more innovation).

You want to frighten Putin? Just announce those steps.

But you know the story, the tough guys in Washington who want to take on Putin would rather ask 1 percent of Americans — the military and their families — to make the ultimate sacrifice than have all of us make a small sacrifice in the form of tiny energy price increases. Those tough guys who thump their chests in Congress but run for the hills if you ask them to vote for a 10-cent increase in the gasoline tax that would actually boost our leverage, they’ll never rise to this challenge. We’ll do anything to expose Putin’s weakness; anything that isn’t hard. And you wonder why Putin holds us in contempt?

 

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 1st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 What we ask is whom do represent the black clad military people that took over Crimea?  Are they representing a new force or their old Russian military. We see a way out if the lack of insignia means that there is a new force being born.

FIRST CLEAR CASUALTY – THE SOCHI G8 MEETING THAT BECOMES IMPOSSIBLE WITH RUSSIA AT WAR.
SO – IT IS NOW CLEAR THAT SOCHI IS NOT THE PUTIN PLANNED  RUSSIAN GOLD MINE.

—————————————–

Ukraine PR Says UN Charter Brutally Violated, Meeting Format Fight.

By Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press Follow Up

 

UNITED NATIONS, March 1 — As the UN Security Council on Saturday afternoon held its second emergency meeting in as many days on Ukraine, that country’s Permanent Representative Yuriy Sergeyev stopped and told the press it is now a Russian “aggression” and that the UN Charter has been “brutally” violated.
Video here.

 

 He said an appeal is being made to the US, France, UK and China, under the rubric of non-proliferation; he said there is still time, before Russian president Vladimir Putin signs the order for military moves in Crimea.

 

  Then the Security Council “suspended” for ten minutes; Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin emerged and said some members of the Council are trying to change the format of the meeting, that Russia agrees with the format proposed by Luxembourg, which took over today as Council president.

 

After UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s envoy Robert Serry spun the contents of a closed door Security Council consultation on Ukraine on which there was no agreed outcome, Ban himself did the same on Saturday.

 


 

   Could Serry go to Crimea?  Hours before Serry through the spokesperson had said no. But the purpose of the UN TV theater is to get this spin “on camera” – that’s the role Falk’s UNCA is playing.

 

   Also Ban said he is going to speak with Putin soon. Will his spokesperson take question, this time with notice, on that?

 

   On February 28, Serry’s impartiality as “UN” envoy on Ukraine was called into question, on camera, in front of the UN Security Council by Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin.

 

   A “Note to Correspondents” was put out Saturday morning by the UN Spokesperson’s Office in which Serry put his spin on the Security Council consultations at which he was not present, and at which not even a Press Statement was agreed:

 

Note to correspondents: Statement by Mr. Robert Serry, Senior Advisor to the Secretary-General, at the end of his mission to Ukraine

 

Kyiv, 1 March 2014

 

Following the consultations in the United Nations Security Council yesterday, the Secretary-General requested me to go to Crimea as part of my fact-finding mission. I have since been in touch with the authorities of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and have come to the conclusion that a visit to Crimea today is not possible. I will therefore proceed to Geneva, where I will tomorrow brief the Secretary-General on my mission and consult with him on next steps.

 

In Crimea, I would have conveyed, also on behalf of the Secretary-General, a message for all to calm the situation down and to refrain from any actions that could further escalate an already-tense environment.

 

It became very clear from yesterday’s Council consultations that the unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine is not to be called into question. This is a time for dialogue and to engage with each other constructively.

Note to correspondents: Statement by Mr. Robert Serry, Senior Advisor to the Secretary-General, at the end of his mission to Ukraine.

 

March 1, updated — After the Ukraine open meeting then consultations of the UN Security Council took place, Council president for March Sylvie Lucas of Luxembourg came out and read a short statement.

  Inner City Press asked her if this was a mere “elements to the press,” not even an agreed Press Statement. This seems to be the case. She politely answered, but not why China and the ten elected members did not speak in the open meeting.

  Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Lyall Grant about the Budapest Memorandum — has it already been violated, including by the Western IMF side, in terms of economic coercion? Is it just a superseded document summoned up for pragmatic reasons now?

  Lyall Grant acknowledged that some time has passed. From the UK Mission transcript:

Inner City Press: The Budapest memorandum. There’s been a lot of talk about it. It requires the UK, Russia and France to seek immediate Security Council action if there’s a threat of force, so is this the end of your duties, or do you have a duty to defend Ukraine? And it also seems to commit the UK and others to refrain from economic coercion, so some people have been saying that on both sides, the economic coercion factor has been played. Has this memorandum been complied with since ‘94, or is it just pulled out at this time as a convenient document?

Amb Lyall Grant: Clearly, this document has become very relevant in the last few days. We believe that the first step should be a meeting of the signatories of the Budapest memorandum, as Ukraine government has suggested should take place. Proposals have been made for a meeting of the three signatories as early as Monday, but so far Russia has not agreed to that meeting.

 

  Lyall Grant also said his prime minister David Cameron spoke with Vladimir Putin and his foreign secretary William Hague will be in Ukraine on Sunday.

 

  Inner City Press asked Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson of Russia’s critique of envoy Robert Serry “getting played,” and of the leaked (US) audio about former US now UN official Jeffrey Feltman “getting” Ban to send Serry to Ukraine.

 

   Eliasson said Serry is an international civil servant, but that the UN is not mediating, he is only a go-between for now. Will that change?

 

  US Samantha Power came out, saying another things that President Obama is suspending participation in the preparation for the G8 in Sochi. She took only two questions; it was not possible to ask her about movement on loan guarantees, or her view of the US’ duties under the Budapest Memorandum. So it goes at the UN.

 

  When the open meeting happened, after two hours of wrangling about format, not all 15 members of the Council — not even all five Permanent members — spoke. (China didn’t).

 

  Instead, UN Deputy Secretary General Eliasson led off, saying that Ban Ki-moon would speak with Vladimir Putin. That had already taken place, but even an hour later, no read-out.

 ===================================================================

  • The Ukrainian note says 12 Mi-24 Russian attack helicopters flew from Anapa to Kacha on Friday (Photo: wikimedia commons)

Ukraine’s EU embassy details ‘Abkhazia scenario’

01.03.14 @ 12:56

  1. By Andrew Rettman

BRUSSELS – Ukraine’s embassy to the EU has detailed Russian military movements in Crimea, saying operations to seize control began one week ago.

The Ukrainian embassy, in a two-page note circulated to EU diplomats on Friday (28 February) – and seen by EUobserver – cited seven “illegal military activities of the Russian Federation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Ukraine.”

Going back to February 21 and 22, it says Russia moved 16 BTR-80 armoured personnel carriers of the 801st Marine Corps brigade from the Russian naval base in Sevastopol, Crimea, which it leases from Ukraine, to the Crimean towns of Kaha, Gvardiiske, and Sevastopol.

It notes that on 23 February three BTR-80s moved from the base to the town of Khersones.

On 26 February, 10 armoured vehicles from the 801st brigade moved “into the depth of the Crimean peninsula towards Simferopol.”

On 28 February, 12 Mi-24 Russian attack helicopters flew from Anapa in Russia to the Kacha airfield in Crimea “despite [the fact] clearance was granted only for 3 helos.”

The same day five Il-76 Russian military transport planes landed at Gvardiiske with no clerance at all, while 400 Russian troops from the Ulyanovsk Airborne Brigade moved to Cape Fiolent, near Sevastopol.

The Ukrainian document says that also on Friday: “Belbek airport (Sevastopol) was blocked by an armed unit of the Russian Fleet (soldiers with no marking but not concealing their affiliation). Simferopol airport occupied by more than 100 soldiers with machine guns wearing camouflage, unmarked but not concealing their affiliation to the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.”

It adds that Captain Oleksandr Tolmachov, a Russian Black Sea Fleet officer, led a group of 30 soldiers who blocked the Sevastopol Marine Security detachment of the State Border Service of Ukraine.

Speaking in Kiev on Friday, Ukraine’s interim president, Oleksandr Turchynov, said: “They are provoking us into an armed conflict. Based on our intelligence, they’re working on scenarios analogous to Abkhazia, in which they provoke conflict, and then they start to annex territory.”

He added: “Ukraine’s military will fulfill its duties, but will not succumb to provocation.”

He also said Russia’s actions violate the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, signed by Russia, the UK, Ukraine, and the US.

Russia in 2008 invaded Georgia saying Georgian forces had fired on its “peacekeeping” troops in Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia. After an eight-day war, Russia retreated from Georgia proper, but entrenched its occupation of South Ossetia and a second breakaway entity, Abkhazia, in what is widely seen as a way of blocking Georgia’s EU and Nato aspirations.

The Budapest document obliges signatories to “respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.” It also says they “will consult in the event a situation arises which raises a question concerning these commitments.”

There is no shortage of consultations.

The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin on Friday phoned the British and German leaders and EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy.

Lithuania, which currently holds the UN Security Council (UNSC) presidency, also called a meeting of UNSC ambassadors in New York.

Statements coming from the Budapest signatories echo the terms of the agreement.

A spokesman for British leader David Cameron said he told Putin “that all countries should respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.” US President Barack Obama said on TV “the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, Sweden, a close US ally, corroborated Ukraine’s accusations. “Obvious that there is Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Likely immediate aim is to set up puppet pro-Russian semi-state in Crimea,” Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt said.

The Polish foreign ministry noted: “Any decisions that will be taken in the coming days, including of military nature, could have irreparable consequences for the international order.”

The UN meeting in New York did little to calm nerves.

Ukraine’s UN ambassador, Yuriy Sergeyev, told press afterward: “We are strong enough to defend ourselves.”

Russia’s UN envoy, Vitaly Churkin, said all Russian military activity in Crimea is “within the framework” of a 1997 Ukraine-Russia treaty governing the use of its Sevastopol base.

Churkin added the EU bears “responsibility” for events because three EU foreign ministers – from France, Germany, and Poland – on 21 February signed a deal between Ukraine’s ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych, and opposition MPs which says he is to stay in power until December.

Yanukovych fled Kiev the next day when Kiev protesters rejected the agreement and threatened to storm his palace.

Churkin accused the EU of fomenting the revolution by criticising Yanukovych for refusing to sign an EU association and free trade treaty and by sending VIPs to Kiev to mingle with demonstrators. “They emphasize sovereignty. But they behave as if Ukraine was a province of the European Union, not even a country, but a province,” he said.

Budapest memorandum

For his part, Andrew Wilson, an analyst at the London-based European Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank, who was in Kiev during the unrest, told EUobserver on Saturday the Budapest accord should not be seen as a Nato-type treaty which obliges signatories to use military force

But he noted that the 1994 memorandum poses Cold War-type questions.

“Are we [the West] going to send a warship through the Bosphorus?” he said, referring to the channel which leads from the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea and Crimea.

“These kind of questions were asked in the Cold War: Would America be willing to lose Detroit [in a Russian nuclear strike] to save Berlin? Later it was about Vilnius [when Lithuania joined Nato in 2004], now it’s about Simferopol. Budapest is not Article 5. But if we are being logical, it does offer security guarantees and it is still in force,” he added, referring to the Nato treaty’s Article 5 on mutual defence.

Crimea is a majority ethnic Russian region which became part of Ukraine in 1954.

Its local parliament this week elected a new leader, pro-Russian politician Sergiy Aksyonov, who called a referendum on independence on 30 March.

The ethnic Russian population made up 49.6 percent of Crimea in 1939. It currently makes up some 58 percent, after Stalin deported its Armenian, Bulgarian, Jewish, German, Greek, and Tatar minorities during World War II. But Russians are in a minority in nine Crimean districts.

 

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 28th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

“Their Mothers, their Fathers” – or maybe even ours -  a movie that tries to promote thinking about the triteness of the reality of an evolution of crime as a worm that eats into what looks like civilized normalcy.

These days in New York we host the Carnegie Hall Festival “Vienna City of Dreams” which is a celebration of culture of the last 100 years which is in effect the time-span since the break out of WWI on June 28, 1914, and as a matter of fact includes also WWII.

To above Festival The Calgary, Alberta, CHUMIR FOUNDATION for Ethics in Leadership contributed a three events Symposium – “Vienna’s History and Legacy of the Past 150 Years” – and this morning coincidentally I received the Uri Avnery mailing about the German Film “THEIR MOTHERS, THEIR FATHERS” that is being shown in Israel. We find it all connects – and we start looking into this by bringing here the Uri Avnery article.

Also, these days the Peace Islands Institute, which is connected to a Turkish Cultural Center, had its own events in New York of which one – linked – without mentioning it – to the previous mentioned events – it was a panel on Intergovernmental Relations among Balkan Nations & The EU with the participation of the Ambassadors to the UN from Bulgaria, Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia, chaired by the President of the Federation of Balkan American Associations, that followed a similar earlier event that included Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Croatia but never looked at Slovenia or Austria. Then the same Peace Islands Institute followed on its studies of the three Abrahamic religions with a first inroad into Muslim – Buddhist understanding after quite successful previous activities into ethics of Muslim -Jewish mutual acceptance. These days such are events happening in  New York.

 

Uri Avnery

March 1, 2014

 

                                    Their Mothers, Their Fathers

 

IT IS the summer of 1941. Five youngsters – three young men and two young women – meet in a bar and spend a happy evening, flirting with each other, getting drunk, dancing forbidden foreign dances. They have grown up together in the same neighborhood of Berlin.

It is a happy time. The war started by Adolf Hitler a year and a half before has progressed incredibly well. In this short time Germany has conquered Poland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium and France. The Wehrmacht is invincible. The Führer is a genius, “the greatest military strategist of all times”.

So starts the film that is running now in our cinemas – a unique historical document. It goes on for five breathless hours, and continues to occupy the thoughts and emotions of its viewers for days and weeks.

 

Basically it is a film made by Germans for Germans. The German title says it all: “Our Mothers, Our Fathers”. The purpose is to answer the questions troubling many of the young Germans of today: Who were our parents and grandparents? What did they do during the terrible war? What did they feel? What was their part in the horrible crimes committed by the Nazis?

 

These questions are not asked in the film explicitly. But every German viewer is compelled to ask them. There are no clear answers. The film does not probe the depths. Rather, it shows a broad panorama of the German people in wartime, the various sections of society, the different types, from the war criminals, through the passive onlookers, to the victims.

 

The Holocaust is not the center of events, but it is there all the time, not as a separate event but woven into the fabric of reality.

 

THE FILM starts in 1941, and therefore cannot answer the question which, to my mind, is the most important one: How could a civilized nation, perhaps the most cultured in the world, elect a government whose program was blatantly criminal?

True, Hitler was never elected by an absolute majority in free elections. But he came very close to it. And he easily found political partners who were ready to help him form a government.

 

 Some said at the time that it was a uniquely German phenomenon, the expression of the particular German mentality, formed during centuries of history. That theory has been discredited by now. But if so, can it happen in any other country? Can it happen in our own country? Can it happen today? What are the circumstances that make it possible?

The film does not answer these question. It leaves the answers to the viewer.

The young heroes of the film do not ask. They were ten years old when the Nazis came to power, and for them the “Thousand-Year Reich” (as the Nazis called it) was the only reality they knew. It was the natural state of things. That’s where the plot starts.

 

 

 TWO OF the youngsters were soldiers. One had already seen war and was wearing a medal for valor. His brother had just been called up. The third young man was a Jew. Like the two girls, they are full of youthful exuberance. Everything was looking fine.

The war? Well, it can’t last much longer, can it? The Führer himself has promised that by Christmas the Final Victory will be won. The five young people promise each other to meet again at Christmas. No one has the slightest premonition of the terrible experiences in store for each of them. 

 

 While viewing the scene, I could not help thinking about my former class. A few weeks after the Nazis’ assumption of power, I became a pupil in the first class of high school in Hanover. My schoolmates were the same age as the heroes of the film. They would have been called up in 1941, and because it was an elitist school, all of them would probably have become officers.

Half way through the first year in high schooI, my family took me to Palestine. I never met any of my schoolmates again, except one (Rudolf Augstein, the founder of the magazine Der Spiegel, whom I met years after the war and who became my friend again.) What happened to all the others? How many survived the war? How many were maimed? How many had become war criminals?

In the summer of 1941 they were probably as happy as the youngsters in the film, hoping to be home by Christmas.

 

 THE TWO brothers were sent to the Russian front, an unimaginable hell. The film succeeds in showing the realities of war, easily recognizable by anyone who has been a soldier in combat. Only that this combat was a hundredfold worse, and the film shows it brilliantly.

The older brother, a lieutenant, tries to shield the younger one. The bloodbath that goes on for four more years, day after day, hour after hour, changes their character. They become brutalized. Death is all around them, they see horrible war crimes, they are commanded to shoot prisoners, they see Jewish children butchered. In the beginning they still dare to protest feebly, then they keep their doubts to themselves, then they take part in the crimes as a matter of course. 

One of the young women volunteers for a frontline military hospital, witnesses the awful agonies of the wounded, denounces a Jewish fellow nurse and immediately feels remorse, and in the end is raped by Soviet soldiers near Berlin, as were almost all German women in the areas conquered by the revenge-thirsty Soviet army. 

 

 Israeli viewers might be more interested in the fate of the Jewish boy, who took part in the happy feast at the beginning. His father is a proud German, who cannot imagine Germans doing the bad things threatened by Hitler. He does not dream of leaving his beloved fatherland. But he warns his son about having sexual relations with his Aryan girlfriend. “It’s against the law!”

When the son tries to flee abroad, “aided” by a treacherous Gestapo officer, he is caught, sent to the death camps, succeeds in escaping on the way, joins the Polish partisans (who hate the Jews more than the Nazis) and in the end survives.

 

 Perhaps the most tragic figure is the second girl, a frivolous, carefree singer who sleeps with a senior SS officer to further her career, is sent with her troupe to entertain the troops at the front, sees what is really happening, speaks out about the war, is sent to prison and executed in the last hours of the war.

 

 BUT THE fate of the heroes is only the skeleton of the film. More important are the little moments, the daily life, the portrayal of the various characters of German society.

 

 For example, when a friend visits the apartment where the Jewish family had been living, the blond Aryan woman who was allotted the place complains about the state of the apartment from which the Jews had been fetched and sent to their death: “They didn’t even clean up before they left! That’s how the Jews are, dirty people!”

Everyone lives in constant fear of being denounced. It is a pervading terror, which nobody can escape. Even at the front, with death staring therm in the face, a hint of doubt about the Final Victory uttered by a soldier is immediately silenced by his comrades. “Are you crazy?”     

Even worse is the deadening atmosphere of universal agreement. From the highest officer to the lowliest maid, everybody is repeating endlessly the propaganda slogans of the regime. Not out of fear, but because they believe every word of the all-pervading propaganda machine. They hear nothing else.

It is immensely important to understand this. In the totalitarian state, fascist or communist or whatever, only the very few free spirits can withstand the endlessly repeated slogans of the government. Everything else sounds unreal, abnormal, crazy. When the Soviet army was already fighting its way through Poland and nearing Berlin, people were unwavering in their belief in the Final Victory. After all, the Führer says so, and the Führer is never wrong. The very idea is preposterous. 

It is this element of the situation that is difficult for many people to grasp. A citizen under a criminal totalitarian regime becomes a child. Propaganda becomes for him reality, the only reality he knows. It is more effective than even the terror.

 
THIS IS the answer to the question we cannot abstain from asking again and again: How was the Holocaust possible? It was planned by a few, but it was implemented by hundreds of thousands of Germans, from the engine driver of the train to the officials who shuffled the papers. How could they do it?

They could, because it was the natural thing to do. After all, the Jews were out to destroy Germany. The communist hordes were threatening the life of every true Aryan. Germany needed more living space. The Führer has said so.

 

 That’s why the film is so important, not only for the Germans, but for every people, including our own.

 

People who carelessly play with ultra-nationalist, fascist, racist, or other anti-democratic ideas don’t realize that they are playing with fire. They cannot even imagine what it means to live in a country that tramples on human rights, that despises democracy, that oppresses another people,  that demonizes minorities. The film shows what it is like: hell.

 

THE FILM does not hide that the Jews were the main victims of the Nazi Reich, and nothing comes near their sufferings. But the second victim was the German people, victims of themselves.

Many people insist that after this trauma, Jews cannot behave like a normal people, and that therefore Israel cannot be judged by the standards of normal states. They are traumatized.

This is true for the German people, too. The very need to produce this unusual film proves that the Nazi specter is still haunting the Germans, that they are still traumatized by their past.

When Angela Merkel came this week to see Binyamin Netanyahu, the whole world laughed at the photo of our Prime Minister’s finger inadvertently painting a moustache on the Kanzlerin’s face.

But the relationship between our two traumatized peoples is far from a joke.

——————————————————————–

THE 90 year young URI AVNERY NEVER ENDED HIGH-SCHOOL BUT HE IS NON-DISPUTABLE ISRAEL’S GREATEST JOURNALIST AND MOST FAMOUS EX-MEMBER OF THE KNESSET (PARLIAMENT). WHO COULD SAY WHAT GERMANY LOST – IF NOT FOR HITLER – HE WOULD HAVE HIMSELF BEEN NOW A SECULAR COMPLETELY ASSIMILATED GERMAN?

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 17th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Surveillance revelations: Angela Merkel proposes European network to beat NSA and GCHQ spying.

 

 

 

 

Tony Paterson of The Independent writes from Berlin, February 16, 2014 – “Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has announced plans to set up a European communications network as part of a broad counter-espionage offensive designed to curb mass surveillance conducted by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and its British counterpart, GCHQ.”

{we add here that expected to be left out of the new European defense will be the other Anglo-Saxon partners in the spying conspiracy – the Australian-New Zealand and Canadian allies for the US spying for business deal. We also predict that Germany would love an independent Scotland replacing the present UK membership in the EU.}

The move is her government’s first tangible response to public and political indignation over NSA and GCHQ spying in Europe, which was exposed last October with revelations that the US had bugged Ms Merkel’s mobile phone and that MI6 operated a listening post from the British Embassy in Berlin.

Announcing the project in her weekly podcast, Ms Merkel said she envisaged setting up a European communications network which would offer protection from NSA surveillance by side-stepping the current arrangement whereby emails and other internet data automatically pass through the United States.

The NSA’s German phone and internet surveillance operation is reported to be one of the biggest in the EU. In co-operation with GCHQ it has direct access to undersea cables carrying transatlantic communications between Europe and the US.

Ms Merkel said she planned to discuss the project with the French President, François Hollande, when she meets him in Paris on Wednesday. “Above all we’ll talk about European providers that offer security to our citizens, so that one shouldn’t have to send emails and other information across the Atlantic,” she said. “Rather one could build up a communications network inside Europe.”

French government officials responded by saying Paris intended to “take up” the German initiative.

Ms Merkel’s proposals appear to be part of a wider German counter-espionage offensive, reported to be under way in several of Germany’s intelligence agencies, against NSA and GCHQ surveillance.

Der Spiegel magazine said on Sunday that it had obtained information about plans by Germany’s main domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, for a “massive” increase in counter-espionage measures.

The magazine said there were plans to subject both the American and British Embassies in Berlin to surveillance. It said the measures would include obtaining exact details about intelligence agents who were accredited as diplomats, and information about the technology being used within the embassies.

Last year information provided by the whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that US intelligence agents were able to bug Ms Merkel’s mobile phone from a listening post on the US Embassy roof. Investigations by The Independent subsequently revealed that GCHQ ran a similar listening post from the roof of the British Embassy in Berlin.

Intelligence experts say it is difficult if not impossible to control spying activities conducted from foreign embassies, not least because their diplomatic status means they are protected from the domestic legislation of the host country.

Der Spiegel said Germany’s military intelligence service, (MAD) was also considering stepping up surveillance of US and British spying activities. It said such a move would mark a significant break with previous counter-espionage practice which had focused on countries such as China, North Korea and Russia.

Germany’s counter-espionage drive comes after months of repeated and abortive attempts by its officials to reach a friendly “no spy” agreement with the US. Phillip Missfelder, a spokesman for Ms Merkel’s government, admitted recently that revelations about NSA spying had brought relations with Washington to their worst level since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Der Spiegel claimed that on a single day last year, January 7, the NSA tapped into some 60 million German phone calls. The magazine said that Canada, Australia, Britain and New Zealand were exempt from NSA surveillance but Germany was regarded as a country open to “spy attacks”.

The move is her government’s first tangible response to public and political indignation over NSA and GCHQ spying in Europe, which was exposed last October with revelations that the US had bugged Ms Merkel’s mobile phone and that MI6 operated a listening post from the British Embassy in Berlin.

Announcing the project in her weekly podcast, Ms Merkel said she envisaged setting up a European communications network which would offer protection from NSA surveillance by side-stepping the current arrangement whereby emails and other internet data automatically pass through the United States.

The NSA’s German phone and internet surveillance operation is reported to be one of the biggest in the EU. In co-operation with GCHQ it has direct access to undersea cables carrying transatlantic communications between Europe and the US.

Ms Merkel said she planned to discuss the project with the French President, François Hollande, when she meets him in Paris on Wednesday. “Above all we’ll talk about European providers that offer security to our citizens, so that one shouldn’t have to send emails and other information across the Atlantic,” she said. “Rather one could build up a communications network inside Europe.”

French government officials responded by saying Paris intended to “take up” the German initiative.

Ms Merkel’s proposals appear to be part of a wider German counter-espionage offensive, reported to be under way in several of Germany’s intelligence agencies, against NSA and GCHQ surveillance.

Der Spiegel magazine said on Sunday that it had obtained information about plans by Germany’s main domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, for a “massive” increase in counter-espionage measures.

The magazine said there were plans to subject both the American and British Embassies in Berlin to surveillance. It said the measures would include obtaining exact details about intelligence agents who were accredited as diplomats, and information about the technology being used within the embassies.

Last year information provided by the whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that US intelligence agents were able to bug Ms Merkel’s mobile phone from a listening post on the US Embassy roof. Investigations by The Independent subsequently revealed that GCHQ ran a similar listening post from the roof of the British Embassy in Berlin.

Intelligence experts say it is difficult if not impossible to control spying activities conducted from foreign embassies, not least because their diplomatic status means they are protected from the domestic legislation of the host country.

Der Spiegel said Germany’s military intelligence service, (MAD) was also considering stepping up surveillance of US and British spying activities. It said such a move would mark a significant break with previous counter-espionage practice which had focused on countries such as China, North Korea and Russia.

Germany’s counter-espionage drive comes after months of repeated and abortive attempts by its officials to reach a friendly “no spy” agreement with the US. Phillip Missfelder, a spokesman for Ms Merkel’s government, admitted recently that revelations about NSA spying had brought relations with Washington to their worst level since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Der Spiegel claimed that on a single day last year, January 7, the NSA tapped into some 60 million German phone calls. The magazine said that Canada, Australia, Britain and New Zealand were exempt from NSA surveillance but Germany was regarded as a country open to “spy attacks”.

 

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 8th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Europe

Without Scotland, Premier Says, Britain Would Be Less ‘Great’

LONDON — Marking the formal beginning of the British government’s campaign to preserve the United Kingdom, Prime Minister David Cameron made an emotional plea to Scots to vote in September to remain in the union, saying on Friday that without Scotland, Britain would be “deeply diminished.”

“We want you to stay,” said Mr. Cameron, an entreaty that signaled a shift from the current pro-union campaign, which has featured dark warnings about financial and legal difficulties for Scotland should the Scots vote for independence. With seven months to go until the vote, he said, the outcome is up in the air.

Mr. Cameron does not want to be the prime minister who lost Scotland and began the breakup of the United Kingdom, even as he has promised Britons a similar referendum during the next Parliament on remaining in the European Union. Without Scotland, Great Britain would be considerably less great, he argued, and would be faced with new problems about borders and income, even about where to base its nuclear submarines.

            The British prime minister, David Cameron, speaking in east London on Friday.
Carl Court/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mr. Cameron chose the velodrome at the Olympic Park in east London for his first major intervention in the Scottish referendum campaign, trying to appeal to the national pride that surrounded the highly successful Summer Olympics here 18 months ago. Then, Scots were prominent in what was known as “Team G.B.,” and one of the local heroes of the Games, the Scottish tennis player Andy Murray, is known to favor remaining in the union.

Excerpts from the speech were provided to British political journalists overnight, ensuring two days of news coverage. “For me, the best thing about the Olympics wasn’t the winning,” Mr. Cameron said. “It was the red, the white, the blue. It was the summer that patriotism came out of the shadows and into the sun, everyone cheering as one for Team G.B.”

Mr. Cameron focused on the importance of the “powerful” United Kingdom brand and how much it mattered in the world, and how it could be damaged. Scottish independence would “rip the rug from under our own reputation,” Mr. Cameron said, arguing that “we matter more in the world together” — the same argument used by Britons who want Britain to remain in the European Union.

Mr. Cameron said that while the decision was up to the Scots, “all 63 million of us” — in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — “are profoundly affected.”

“We would be deeply diminished without Scotland,” he said.

He pulled out all the Scottish stops, citing the Scottish Olympian Chris Hoy, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his own West Highland heritage. He also mentioned Scotch whisky, saying it “adds £135 to the U.K.’s balance of payments every single second,” which in another context might be an incentive for Scots to vote for independence. However, with Britons anxious about making ends meet, Mr. Cameron did not mention Adam Smith, the Scot famous for his theory of the “invisible hand” of the free market.

About four million people over the age of 16 and living in Scotland will be able to take part in the referendum, promised by the governing Scottish National Party, on Sept. 18. Scots living outside Scotland cannot vote.

Early opinion polls have shown a large plurality of Scots intending to vote to remain in the union, but the numbers are soft. In some recent polls, greater numbers have said they intend to vote for independence.

Given the unpopularity of Mr. Cameron and his Conservative Party in Scotland, which is dominated by the Scottish National Party and the opposition Labour Party, Mr. Cameron has been wary of intervening too much in the debate, fearing a counterproductive effect. The pro-union campaign, which is meant to be nonpartisan, is led by Alistair Darling, a Labour member of Parliament from Scotland and former chancellor of the Exchequer, who had a cabinet post during the entire Labour reign from 1997 to 2010.

Mr. Darling and his team have been emphasizing questions about whether an independent Scotland would have to reapply to join the European Union, whether it could continue to use the pound or adopt the euro, whether it would have a truly independent central bank, and even whether oil and gas revenues from declining production in the North Sea would be enough to fund Scotland’s budget.

The immediate response from the Scottish National Party to the excerpts — the “preaction,” as one BBC radio announcer put it — was predictably critical, accusing Mr. Cameron of being afraid to come to Scotland and debate the party leader, Alex Salmond.

Mr. Salmond called Mr. Cameron “a big feartie,” or coward, for refusing a face-to-face debate.

Scotland’s deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said in a statement, “This is a cowardly speech from a prime minister who uses the Olympic Park in London to give highhanded lectures against Scotland’s independence but hasn’t got the guts to come to Scotland or anywhere else to make his case.”

Touching on Mr. Cameron’s image as an elite, Eton-educated southerner, she said, “David Cameron, as the Tory prime minister, is the very embodiment of the democratic case for a ‘yes’ vote for an independent Scotland — and he knows it.”

She argued that using the Olympic Stadium on the day the Winter Olympics formally opened in Sochi, Russia, “seeking to invoke the successes of London 2012 as an argument against Scotland taking its future into its own hands,” only “betrays the extent of the jitters now running through the ‘no’ campaign.”

Watch Now: America’s first Muslim fraternity

=======================

 

Leaked Recordings Lay Bare E.U. and U.S. Divisions in Goals for Ukraine.

Launch media viewer
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany issued a sharp statement denouncing the American diplomat’s remarks on the political crisis in Kiev. John Macdougall/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

BERLIN — “Really Pretty Stupid” was the headline chosen by the august Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Friday to describe an editorial on the latest eruption between the United States and Europe, this time over who should take the lead in trying to calm the crisis in Ukraine, and how to do it.

The headline spoke to the tensions that flared this week over the release of a recording in which a top American diplomat disparaged the European Union’s efforts in Ukraine. On Friday, a second recording surfaced in which European diplomats complained about the Americans.

But it was also a reflection of the disarray that has marked much of the West’s dealings with Ukraine since late November, when President Viktor F. Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union. He then turned to Russia for a $15 billion aid package that the Kremlin has since suspended because of continuing antigovernment protests in Kiev, the capital.

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Ever since Ukraine became independent as the Soviet Union crumbled in 1991, the United States and Europe have had different aims for the country, a large, troubled nation of 45 million whose very name means “on the edge.”

Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European affairs, said her leaked conversation was “pretty impressive tradecraft.” Gleb Garanich/Reuters

With strategic considerations uppermost in American diplomacy, the United States helped, for instance, to rid Ukraine of old Soviet nuclear weapons. Europe, meanwhile, saw opportunities for trade.

As the European Union expanded eastward with the inclusion of Poland and Romania, the perception grew that neighboring Ukraine needed formal ties to regulate commerce and legal systems to facilitate the growing cross-border transactions. In 2012, Poland and Ukraine were even joint hosts of the continent’s premier sports event, the European soccer championship.

Russia, which has centuries of shared history with Ukraine and under Vladimir V. Putin has grown ever more painfully conscious of its loss of Soviet empire, looked on with mounting suspicion, and now seems to be intent on exploiting Western disarray.

The release of the recordings has further roiled the waters. In the first one, posted anonymously on YouTube, Victoria Nuland, the American assistant secretary of state for European affairs, profanely dismissed European efforts in Ukraine as weak and inadequate to the challenge posed by the Kremlin.

On Friday, a second recording was posted that featured a senior German diplomat, Helga Schmid, complaining in her native tongue to the European Union envoy in Kiev about “unfair” American criticism of Europe’s diplomacy.

“We are not in a race to be the strongest,” retorted the envoy, Jan Tombinski, a Pole. “We have good instruments” for dealing with the crisis.

Yes, replied Ms. Schmid, but journalists were telling European officials that the Americans were running around saying the Europeans were weak. So she advised Mr. Tombinski to have a word with the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, the man whom Ms. Nuland was talking to in her recorded conversation.

While the Obama administration accused the Russians of making mischief by recording and then posting the Nuland conversation, neither the European Union nor Germany blamed the Kremlin for the second recording.

Illustrating how testy relations with Washington have become, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, earlier the target of American monitoring of her cellphone, issued an unusually sharp statement saying that Ms. Nuland’s remarks were “completely unacceptable.”

Germany, as befits its status as Europe’s largest economy and a country with centuries of dealings with lands to its East, has been heavily involved in the crisis over Ukraine. In a speech to the German Parliament on Nov. 18, Ms. Merkel, herself raised in Communist East Germany, emphasized that the Cold War should be over for everyone, including countries once allied with Russia but now independent. She made a forceful case for Ukraine to sign the European pact.Julianne Smith, a former national security aide to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. who is now at the Center for a New American Security, said there was a structural tension between the European Union and the United States because the Americans can speak with one voice and grow impatient waiting for decisions from a union with many voices.

“They all have different sovereign issues, different threat perceptions, different priorities,” she said. “As a result, there has always been this longstanding deep frustration on the part of the United States with the inability to get quick answers, quick responses and broker some sort of U.S.-E.U. agreement on whatever the issue of the day might be.”

The back-and-forth this week illustrates how many interests are a part of the mix in Ukraine — a mix that Western diplomats seem unable to keep free of their own differences.

In the editorial with the headline “Really Pretty Stupid,” Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger, the newspaper’s foreign editor, noted how the latest issue had been stoked by months of “bad blood” with Washington. “You can certainly criticize some parts of European policy toward Ukraine, but it is not as if American diplomacy has found the font of all wisdom. In fact, they can’t think of anything more than a few mini-sanctions against the regime in Kiev.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Frankenberger said, Mr. Putin “should certainly be laughing himself stupid.”

“If a top American diplomat could not care less about the Europeans,” he added, “then he will certainly bear more easily their absence from the opening of the Olympic Games in Sochi. And he will see in Ms. Nuland’s remark, which Moscow presumably disseminated, a confirmation of the bad opinion he already has of Europeans.”

The moral of the tale? “No disparaging remarks about partners on the phone.”

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 16th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 
We usually act as an aggregator picking articles published by others and annotating them in order to point out how they fit to the general intent of serving information to readers interested in a more progressive future – a sustainable future.

This following article interested us because it analyses correctly in our opinion the Putin mental make-up, but is incomplete on at least two counts.

(a)  It does not mention that President Obama gave Mr. Putin a new lease on credibility by passing on to him the Syria problem. As we wrote earlier this emboldened Mr. Putin to create the Ukraine problem. He clearly believes that if he is good for the Middle East service, he ought to be recognized also in the European context – so Ukraine is his and the line is along the established EU and ought to be held there.

(b) In the last two paragraphs Mr. Keller reaches the real East-West line in Europe but forgets to note it in his article. The fact that there is a clear difference between that part of Ukraine that belonged to Poland before WWII and the part that was already Sovietized by that time and belonged to the Czars before that.

Every election in the Ukraine since the break-up of the Soviet Union showed that there is an Orthodox Russian East Ukraine that remembers the Czars, and a strongly Catholic, though now also mainly secular, Western Ukraine made up in large part by what was once Poland, still has remnants of Austrian architecture,  and even was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. That part is pulling to the West and see themselves European first. The city of Kiev is where the two halves meet.

All of this comes down to our suggestion that in order to help the Ukraine, an honest suggestion would be – just part amicably with the Russian speaking East joining Putin’s new structure and the Ukrainian speaking West accepted into the EU. This for the betterment of the EU-Russia relations in general resulting from the removal of a non-border line while allowing for a more realistic line.

 

 

Russia vs. Europe

 

 

  • The world needs Nelson Mandelas. Instead, it gets Vladimir Putins. As the South African hero was being sung to his grave last week, the Russian president was bullying neighboring Ukraine into a new customs union that is starting to look a bit like Soviet Union Lite, and consolidating his control of state-run media by creating a new Kremlin news agency under a nationalistic and homophobic hard-liner.

Putin’s moves were not isolated events. They fit into a pattern of behavior over the past couple of years that deliberately distances Russia from the socially and culturally liberal West: laws giving official sanction to the terrorizing of gays and lesbians, the jailing of members of a punk protest group for offenses against the Russian Orthodox Church, the demonizing of Western-backed pro-democracy organizations as “foreign agents,” expansive new laws on treason, limits on foreign adoptions.

What’s going on is more complicated and more dangerous than just Putin flexing his political pecs. He is trying to draw the line against Europe, to deepen division on a continent that has twice in living memory been the birthplace of world wars. It seems clearer than ever that Putin is not just tweaking the West to rouse his base or nipping domestic opposition in the bud. He is also attempting to turn back 25 years of history.

The motivation of Vladimir Putin has long been a subject of journalistic and scholarly speculation, resulting in several overlapping theories: He is the boy tormented in the rough courtyards of postwar Leningrad, who put on a KGB uniform to get even and never took it off.

He is the cynical, calculating master of realpolitik, who sees the world in conspiracies and responds in kind. He is a tortured Russian soul out of Dostoevsky, distressed by godlessness, permissiveness and moral decline. He is Soviet Man, still fighting the Cold War. He is a classic narcissist, best understood by his penchant for being photographed bare-chested on horseback.

Since his current presidential term began in 2012, Putin has felt increasingly that his overtures to the West were not met with due respect, that Russia was treated as a defeated nation, not an equal on the world stage. His humiliation and resentment have soured into an ideological antipathy that is not especially Soviet but is deeply Russian. His beef with the West is no longer just about political influence and economic advantage. It is, in his view, profoundly spiritual.

“Putin wants to make Russia into the traditional values capital of the world,” said Masha Gessen, author of a stinging Putin biography, an activist for gay and lesbian rights and a writer for the Latitudes blog on this paper’s website.

What, you may wonder, does Russia’s retro puritanism have to do with the turmoil in the streets of Kiev, where Ukrainian protesters yearning for a partnership with the European Union confront a president, Viktor Yanukovich, who has seemed intent on joining Putin’s rival “Eurasian” union instead? More than you might think.

Listen to the chairman of the Russian Parliament’s International Affairs Committee, Alexei Pushkov, warning that if Ukraine joins the E.U., European advisers will infiltrate the country and introduce “a broadening of the sphere of gay culture.” Or watch Dmitry Kiselyov, the flamboyantly anti-Western TV host Putin has just installed at the head of a restructured news agency. Kiselyov recently aired excerpts from a Swedish program called “Poop and Pee,” designed to teach children about bodily functions, and declared it was an example of the kind of European depravity awaiting Ukraine if it aligns with Europe. (Kiselyov is also the guy who said that when gay people die their internal organs should be burned and buried so that they cannot be donated.)

Dmitri Trenin, a scholar in the Moscow office of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is convinced this is not just pandering to a devout constituency, but also something more personal. In the past two years Putin has become more ideologically conservative, more inclined to see Europe as decadent and alien to the Orthodox Christian, Eastern Slav world to which both Russia and Ukraine belong.

“It’s tolerance that has no bounds,” Trenin told me. “It’s secularism. He sees Europe as post-Christian. It’s national sovereignty that is superseded by supranational institutions. It’s the diminished role of the church. It’s people’s rights that have outstripped people’s responsibilities to one another and to the state.”

To appreciate the magnitude of what Putin is doing, it helps to recall a bit of history.

In July 1989, the Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev, made a speech in Strasbourg that many took as an important step back from the Cold War. His theme was that Russia now regarded itself as sharing a “common European home” alongside its Western rivals. Mutual respect and trade should replace confrontation and deterrence as the foundations of the relationship. Military blocs would be refashioned into political organizations. What President Reagan dubbed “the evil empire” would be the good neighbor.

“The long winter of world conflict based on the division of Europe seems to be approaching an end,” Jim Hoagland, the chief foreign correspondent of The Washington Post, wrote at the time. It was a common theme.

When the Soviet Union unraveled a few years later, the largest of the 14 republics liberated from Russian dominion was Ukraine. While savoring their independence, many Ukrainians wanted to follow Russia on the path Gorbachev had announced.

“There was this slogan, ‘To Europe with Russia,’ ” said Roman Szporluk, former director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard. “Clearly that idea is now out, and I guess Putin must have decided to restore the empire.”

Nearly 25 years after Gorbachev’s “common European home,” Putin sounds like a common European home wrecker.

It is true that during the recent years of recession and austerity Europe has lost some of its dazzle. But it is still more alluring than Ukraine’s threadbare economy, presided over by an ineffectual and corrupt governing class. Ukrainians have never abandoned their hope to be part of the West. Protesters rallying at Independence Square in Kiev represent a generation that has studied, worked and traveled in Poland since it joined Europe, and that does not want to retreat to some shabby recreation of the Russian empire. They are backed, too, by a significant segment of Ukrainian business, which prefers Western rule of law to the corruption and legal caprice of Russia and Ukraine.

Putin may succeed in capturing Ukraine, but he could come to regret it. While he’s looking to the past, he might linger over the experience of an earlier potentate, Josef Stalin, who annexed western Ukraine from Poland. As Szporluk points out, Stalin thought he was being clever, but he ended up doubling his problems: He brought politically restive Ukrainians into the Soviet tent, and left a stronger, homogenous Poland no longer unsettled by its Ukrainian minority.

Likewise, if Putin dragoons Ukraine into his Russian-dominated alliance, he will need to pacify public opinion by showering the new member with gifts he can’t afford, and ceding it influence that he would rather not share. And even then, resentments of the young Ukrainian Europhiles will fester, and feed the already ample discontent of Russia’s own younger generation. As Trenin points out, “Ukraine will always be looking for the exit.” Putin may learn, as Stalin did, that a captive Ukraine is more trouble than it’s worth.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 13th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 First as posted by us on December 11, 2013, but then we added on December 13th an Uri Avnery unforgiving point of view that explains why neither the Israeli President nor the Prime-Minister accepted the chance to travel to Johannesburg.  We attach this at the end of our own review of the Israeli delegation.

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Israeli Delegation to Mandela Funeral Seated in Parliamentary Gallery

By Gidon Ben-zvi from Johannesburg, December 10, 2013

 

Knesset Speaker ‘Yuli’ Edelstein at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Photo: Facebook.

 

The Israeli Knesset delegation to the funeral of South African President Nelson Mandela was placed in a parliamentary gallery inside of Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium, far removed from where the sitting president of South Africa and such visiting world leaders as President Barack Obama were situated, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported.

 

The delegation, headed by the Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein, landed Tuesday morning at the airport in Johannesburg and were immediately shuttled to the stadium in order to attend the funeral.

The Speaker was invited to sit on the main stage, but elected to stay with the other members of the Israeli delegation, Ma’ariv reported.

 

“It’s very exciting to be here in South Africa. We arrived after a long but pleasant flight and are looking forward to a moving memorial service,”
MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) told a Ma’ariv reporter.

 

MK Lipman, who heads the Israel-South Africa Friendship Association, added that, “…Nelson Mandela served as an inspiration around the world. [He] realized a vision of liberty and freedom and human rights which is a guiding light for everyone.”

 

Knesset Members Penina Tamanu-Shata (Yesh Atid), Hilik Bar (Labor), Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) and Gila Gamliel (Likud) comprised the remainder of the Israeli delegation.

 

 Pnina Tamano-Shata ????? ???? ???.jpg    born in Wuzaba, Tamano-Shata immigrated from Ethiopia to Israel at the age of three.She studied law at Ono Academic College, and became Deputy Chairman of the national Ethiopian Student Association.She worked from 2007-2012 as a reporter for Channel 1. In last elections she was placed on spot 14 on the newly formed Yesh Atid list that won 19 seats in the Knesset.

?? ?????.jpg  M.K. Rabbi Dov Lipman born in Silver Spring, Maryland, Lipman attended the Yeshiva of Greater Washington in his hometown and completed his rabbinical studies at Yeshivas Ner Yisroel in Baltimore while in a concurrent program with the Johns Hopkins University, where he earned a master’s degree in Education. He immigrated to Israel in 2004.

Since moving to Israel, Lipman has been a faculty member at a number of institutions for post-high school Torah learning, such as Yeshivat Yesodei HaTorah, Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalayim, Machon Maayan, and Tiferet.

Lipman lives in Beit Shemesh, and is married with four children. He renounced his United States citizenship as required to serve as a member of the Knesset.

Rabbi Lipman is a member of the mainly secular new Yesh Atid party, and was placed seventeenth on the party’s list for the 2013 Knesset elections.

As a member of Yesh Atid, Lipman strongly advocates basic secular education for all schools in Israel wanting to receive government funding. This is also the position of Israel’s Minister of Education, Rabbi Shai Piron. Since taking these controversial positions, Lipman has been publicly shamed by many within the ultra-Orthodox/Haredi world, including his former Rosh Yeshiva and teacher Rabbi Aharon Feldman. Feldman, dean of Baltimore’s Ner Israel Rabbinical College, called Lipman a “wicked” apostate and said his positions on Jewish education do not represent the values taught by the institution from which he received rabbinic ordination.

We wonder if Rabbi Lipman was part of the Edelstein-Carter airport exchange that stirred our interest in the make-up of the Israeli delegation – a State that somehow was not able to get to Johannesburg one of its two main office-holders – President Peres or Prime-Minister Netanyahu.

 

Hilik Bar Portrait.jpg    Hilik (Yehiel) Bar (born September 4, 1975 n Safed in the Galilee), is a Member of Knesset for the Israel Labor Party,   Secretary General of the Labor Party, and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. Bar previously served as a member of the Jerusalem City Council on behalf of mayor Nir Barkat’s “Yerushalayim Tazliach” (Jerusalem Will Succeed) party, holding the Tourism and Foreign Relations portfolios for the city.

Bar studied at Bezek College at Givat Mordechai in Jerusalem. He served in the Israeli Defense Force as an officer in Adjutant Corps and reached the rank of captain in the reserves, later studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. From 1998 he served as chairman of the student organization (“Ofek”) of the Labor Party at Hebrew University, chairman of the national student organization of the Labor Party, and Chairman of the World Youth of the World Labour Zionist Movement.

 

Bar served as an Advisor to Minister Dalia Itzik in the Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Industry and Trade; an adviser to Acting Mayor of the Jerusalem Municipality, Professor Shimon Sheetrit; Director of Development Economics and Higher Education in the Jerusalem Municipality; Project Manager for the Jerusalem Conference with the Zionist Council for Israel; and adviser to National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer in Ariel Sharon’s second administration and Ehud Olmert’s government. It was during this time that he also served as advisor to Ben-Eliezer while the latter served as Minister of Industry.

 

During his public service he completed his BA in political science and international relations and MA in international relations at the Hebrew University. In 2008 he was accepted to the master’s program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, but passed on the opportunity in order to continue his public service.

 

Since 2002, Bar has been a delegate at the World Zionist Congress and the World Zionist Council. He is actively involved in pro-Israel advocacy and has taken part in advocacy and coexistence missions around the world, in the course of which he met with US President George W. Bush and other senior officials in both the Arab world and the West. In 2003, he was involved in the establishment of the “Young Israeli Forum for Cooperation” (YIFC), an organization whose activity was awarded a special prize by the EU’s Minister of Education. He was six-th on Labor’s list and is making inroads in the party system.

 

Nitzan Horowitz 2012.jpg    Nitzan Horowitz is a former journalist – he was the Foreign Affairs commentator and head of the International desk at News 10, the news division of Channel 10, before being elected to the Knesset on the left-wing Meretz list in 2009.

He is openly gay and ran for becoming Mayor of Tel Aviv. Before that – In 1989 he started his career at Haaretz, as the Foreign Affairs Editor. He served as “Haaretz” correspondent in Paris (1993–1998), covering also the European Union, and as Haaretz correspondent in Washington D.C. (1998–2001). Back in Israel, Horowitz was the chief foreign affairs columnist for Haaretz.

Horowitz served as a board member of ACRI – the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. He was also active in environmental issues and in 2007 he received the “Pratt Prize” for Environmental Journalism.

In December 2008, he resigned from Channel 10 and became a candidate of the Israeli left-wing party, Meretz in the upcoming elections.
He gained the third slot on the joint list of Hatnua Hahadasha (The New Movement) and Meretz. He said “My goal is to continue to do what I have been talking about over the past years, from protecting the seashore to promoting more sophisticated, nonpolluting public transportation”.

 

Meretz won three seats in the 2009 Israeli elections on February 10, 2009, election,making Horowitz the second openly gay Knesset member in Israeli history. The first, Uzi Even, also was a member of Meretz.  On February 16, he announced a plan to bring to the Knesset a bill that would allow marriages or civil unions between two partners regardless of their religion, ethnic background, or gender.

 

Before being sworn into the Knesset he was told to annul his Polish citizenship, which he was able to attain due to his father’s origins and used as a journalist to enter countries Israelis have a hard time entering.

 

In 2009, he announced that he would boycott all the events in Pope Benedict XVI‘s visit to Israel, saying that in his opinion, the pope bears a message of “rigidness, religious extremism and imperviousness. Of all the Pope’s injustices, the worst is his objection to disseminating contraceptives in Third World countries. It’s hard to assess how many miserable men and women in Africa, Asia and South America have contracted AIDS because of this Philistine attitude, but we are talking about many”.[9] He also published a two-part opinion piece on Ynetnews explaining his position.

 

On June 6, 2009, Horowitz addressed a crowd of 1,000 demonstrators in Tel Aviv marking 42 years of the occupation of the West Bank. Horowitz resides in Tel Aviv with his life partner.

 

Gila Gamliel.jpg    Gila Gamliel born in Gedera to an influential and large  family of Yemenite and Libyan Jewish origins, Gamliel studied at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where she was awarded a BA in Middle Eastern history and philosophy and an MA in philosophy. During her time as a student, she was chairwoman of the university’s student union, and also the first woman chair of the National Students’ Association. Later on, she obtained a Bachelor of Laws at the Ono Academic College and a Master of Laws at the Bar-Ilan University.

 

For the 1999 elections she was placed 25th on the Likud list,[1] but missed out on a place in the Knesset when the party won only 19 seats. In 2003 she surprisingly won 11th place on the Likud list for the elections that year, ahead of several cabinet ministers. She became a Knesset member when the party won 38 seats, but police decided to open an investigation into the suspected transfer of student funds into a private company.She was also accused of blackmailing a fellow student council member in order to retain the chairmanship of the students’ association of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev at the time.  Gamliel denied both accusations. In November 2003 the fraud police decided to stop the investigations against her because of lack of  evidence.

 

Mid-2003 she opposed the acceptance of the road map for peace by the government of Prime Minister and fellow Likud member Ariel Sharon.

 

About the same time, in June 2003, she and three other Knesset members of Likud were actually banned from the Likud faction for three months because they had been voting against an encroaching plan of Likud in matters of economy. By implementing severe austerities the Likud government was hoping to recover the declining state of Israel’s economy.[6]

 

During her first term in the Knesset she chaired the committee on the Status of Women, and in March 2005 was appointed Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

 

However, she missed out on a place on the Likud list for the 2006 elections and lost her seat. Prior to the 2009 elections she won nineteenth place on the party’s list, and returned to the Knesset as Likud won 27 seats. On April 1, 2009 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed Gamliel as Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in his new government, with the portfolio of the Advancement of Young People, Students and Women.

 

In November 2010 she was not allowed to enter Dubai to participate in a conference of the World Economic Forum because of the assassination of senior Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in January 2010, of which the Mossad was accused of.

 

In the 2013 elections she was again chosen in the Knesset. On March 18, 2013, she did not return as a (Deputy) Minister in the Third Netanyahu Government.

Yuli Edelstein.jpg   Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, born  August 5, 1958  to a Jewish family in the great city Czernowitz in the former Austrian Bukowina, while it was Chernivtsi, Soviet Union, and now is in the Ukraine. Yuli immigrated to Israel in 1987. His parents, Yuri and Anita Edelstein, had converted to Christianity after Yuli’s birth, and his father is today a well-known Russian Orthodox priest and human rights activist in Russia.

Yuli formed his connection to Jewish culture through his grandparents, and he began studying Hebrew.

During his second year at the Chernivtsi university, Edelstein decided to apply for an exit visa and emigrate to Israel. However, an exit visa required an affidavit from relatives abroad, a problem faced by many Soviet Jews. As a result, he made up a story of his grandfather having an illegitimate son in Israel, and found some Israelis who agreed to pose as his relatives. In 1979, he submitted his application for an exit visa. The application was rejected, and Edelstein was expelled from university.

Throughout this period, Edelstein studied Hebrew, first on his own, then with an underground Hebrew teacher named Lev Ulanovsky. After Ulanovsky received an exit visa to Israel in 1979, Edelstein himself became an underground Hebrew teacher. He encountered various forms of harassment from the KGB and local police. In 1984, he and other Hebrew teachers were arrested on trumped-up charges. Edelstein was charged with possession of drugs, and sentenced to three and a half years. He was then sent to Siberian gulags and did hard labor, first in Buryatia and then in Novosibirsk. After sustaining an injury and undergoing surgery, Edelstein was due to be transferred back to Buryatia, but his wife Tanya threatened to go on hunger strike if he was returned there. As a result, he remained in Novosibirsk, and was released in May 1985, after serving one year and eight months of his sentence.

In 1987, he was finally given permission to emigrate to Israel. After arriving in Israel, he did his national service in the Israel Defense Forces, attaining the rank of Corporal. He then started to participate in political life. Initially a member of the National Religious Party and a vice-president of Zionist Forum, he founded the Yisrael BaAliyah party together with fellow Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky. He was elected to the Knesset in 1996, and was appointed Minister of Immigrant Absorption in Binyamin Netanyahu‘s Likud-led government. He was re-elected in 1999, and was appointed Deputy Immigrant Absorption Minister by Ariel Sharon in 2001.

He retained his seat in the 2003 elections, shortly after which Yisrael BaAliyah merged into Likud. Although Edelstein lost his seat in the 2006 elections, in which Likud was reduced to 12 seats (Edelstein was fourteenth on the party’s list), he re-entered the Knesset as a replacement for Dan Naveh in February 2007. He retained his seat in the 2009 elections after being placed twelfth on the party’s list, and was appointed Minister of Information and Diaspora in the Netanyahu government.

Following the 2013 elections he became Speaker of the Knesset.

The father of two, Edelstein lives in Neve Daniel – an Israeli  communal settlement located in western Gush Etzion in the southern West Bank. Located south of Jerusalem and just west of Bethlehem, it sits atop one of the highest points in the area – close to 1,000 meters above sea level, and has a view of much of the Mediterranean coastal plain, as well as the mountains of Jordan.

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I went to this length of describing the six members of the Israeli Delegation that went to honor the Madiba – there hardly could have been a more RAINBOW type of delegation from Israel and in our opinion – this is a group of people that in their own lives depict how a new Nation , built on secular democratic principles, was built by linking with a common goal people of very different backgrounds. Members of this small group had given up US, Russian, Polish, Ethiopian, Yemenite, Libyan citizenships in order to be able to be part of the secular-jewish Parliament.

We believe they made for a truer representation to the Mandela ethos then had it been that the attention were on a Head-of-State.

 

Uri Avnery

December 14, 2013

 

                                                         Self-Boycott

 

CAN A country boycott itself? That may sound like a silly question. It is not.

 

At the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, the “Giant of History” as Barack Obama called him, Israel was not represented by any of its leaders.

 

The only dignitary who agreed to go was the speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, a nice person, an immigrant from the Soviet Union and a settler, who is so anonymous that most Israelis would not recognize him. (“His own father would have trouble recognizing him in the street,” somebody joked.)

 

Why? The President of the State, Shimon Peres, caught a malady that prevented him from going, but which did not prevent him from making a speech and receiving visitors on the same day. Well, there are all kinds of mysterious microbes.

 

The Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, had an even stranger reason. The journey, he claimed, was too expensive, what with all the accompanying security people and so on.

 

Not so long ago, Netanyahu caused a scandal when it transpired that for his journey to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, a five hour flight, he had a special double bed installed in the El Al plane at great expense. He and his much maligned wife, Sara’le, did not want to provoke another scandal so soon. Who’s Mandela, after all?

 

 

ALTOGETHER IT was an undignified show of personal cowardice by both Peres and Netanyahu.

 

What were they afraid of?

 

Well, they could have been booed. Recently, many details of the Israeli-South African relationship have come to light. Apartheid South Africa, which was boycotted by the entire world, was the main customer of the Israeli military industry. It was a perfect match: Israel had a lot of weapon systems but no money to produce them, South Africa had lots of money but no one who would supply it with weapons.

 

So Israel sold Mandela’s jailers everything it could, from combat aircraft to military electronics, and shared with it its nuclear knowledge. Peres himself was deeply involved.

 

The relationship was not merely commercial. Israeli officers and officials met with their South African counterparts, visits were exchanged, personal friendship fostered. While Israel never endorsed apartheid, our government certainly did not reject it.

 

Still, our leaders should have been there, together with the leaders of the whole world. Mandela was the Great Forgiver, and he forgave Israel, too. When the master of ceremonies in the stadium mistakenly announced that Peres and Netanyahu had arrived, just a few boos were heard. Far less than the boos for the current South African president.

 

In Israel, only one voice was openly raised against Mandela. Shlomo Avineri, a respected professor and former Director General of the Foreign Office, criticized him for having a “blind spot” – for taking the Palestinian side against Israel. He also mentioned that another moral authority, Mahatma Gandhi, had the same “blind spot”.

 

Strange. Two moral giants and the same blind spot? How could that be, one wonders.

 

 

THE BOYCOTT movement against Israel is slowly gaining ground. It takes three main forms (and several in between).

 

The most focused form is the boycott of the products of the settlements, which was started by Gush Shalom 15 years ago. It is active now in many countries.

 

A more stringent form is the boycott of all institutes and corporations that are dealing with the settlements. This is now the official policy of the European Union. Just this week, Holland broke off relations with the monopolistic Israeli Water Corporation, Mekorot, which plays a part in the policy that deprives Palestinians of essential water supplies and transfers them to the settlements.

 

The third form is total: the boycott of everything and everyone Israeli (Including myself). This is also slowly advancing in many countries.

 

The Israeli government has now joined this form. By its voluntary no-representation or under-representation at the Mandela ceremony, it has declared that Israel is a pariah state. Strange.

 

 

LAST WEEK I wrote that if the Americans find a solution to Israel’s security concerns in the West Bank, other concerns would take their place. I did not expect that it would happen so quickly.

 

Binyamin Netanyahu declared this week that stationing Israeli troops in the Jordan Valley, as proposed by John Kerry, is not enough. Not by far.

 

Israel cannot give up the West Bank as long as Iran has nuclear capabilities, he declared. What’s the connection, one might well ask. Well, it’s obvious. A strong Iran will foster terrorism and threaten Israel in many other ways. So Israel must remain strong, and that includes holding on to the West Bank. Stands to reason.

 

So if Iran gives up all its nuclear capabilities, will that be enough? Not by a long shot. Iran must completely change its “genocidal” policies vis-à-vis Israel, it must stop all threats and utterances against us, it must adopt a friendly attitude towards us. However, Netanyahu did stop short of demanding that the Iranian leaders join the World Zionist Organization.

 

Before this happens, Israel cannot possibly make peace with the Palestinians. Sorry, Mister Kerry.

 

 

IN THE last article I also ridiculed the Allon Plan and other pretexts advanced by our rightists for holding on to the rich agricultural land of the Jordan Valley.

 

A friend of mine countered that indeed all the old reasons have become obsolete. The terrible danger of the combined might of Iraq, Syria and Jordan attacking us from the east does not exist anymore. But –

 

But the valley guardians are now advancing a new danger. If Israel gives back the West Bank without holding on to the Jordan Valley and the border crossings on the river, other terrible things will happen.

 

The day after the Palestinians take possession of the river crossing, missiles will be smuggled in. Missiles will rain down on Ben-Gurion international airport, the gateway to Israel, located just a few kilometers from the border. Tel Aviv, 25 km from the border, will be threatened, as will the Dimona nuclear installation.

 

Haven’t we seen this all before? When Israel voluntarily evacuated the whole Gaza Strip, didn’t the rockets start to rain down on the South of Israel?

 

We cannot possibly rely on the Palestinians. They hate us and will continue to fight us. If Mahmoud Abbas tries to stop it, he will be toppled. Hamas or worse, al-Qaeda, will come to power and unleash a terrorist campaign. Life in Israel will turn into hell.

 

Therefore it is evident that Israel must control the border between the Palestinian state and the Arab world, and especially the border crossings. As Netanyahu says over and over again, Israel cannot and will not entrust its security to others. Especially not to the Palestinians.

 

 

WELL, FIRST of all the Gaza Strip analogy does not hold. Ariel Sharon evacuated the Gaza settlements without any agreement or even consultation with the Palestinian Authority, which was still ruling the Strip at that time. Instead of an orderly transfer to the Palestinian security forces, he left behind a power vacuum which was later filled by Hamas.

 

Sharon also upheld the land and sea blockade that turned the Strip practically into a huge open-air prison.

 

In the West Bank there exists now a strong Palestinian government and robust security forces, trained by the Americans. A peace agreement will strengthen them immensely.

 

Abbas does not object to a foreign military presence throughout the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley. On the contrary, he asks for it. He has proposed an international force, under American command. He just objects to the presence of the Israeli army – a situation that would amount to another kind of occupation.

 

 

BUT THE main point is something else, something that goes right to the root of the conflict.

 

Netanyahu’s arguments presuppose that there will be no peace, not now, not ever. The putative peace agreement – which Israelis call the “permanent status agreement” – will just open another phase of the generations-old war.

 

This is the main obstacle. Israelis – almost all Israelis – cannot imagine a situation of peace. Neither they, nor their parents and grandparents, have ever experienced a day of peace in this country. Peace is something like the coming of the Messiah, something that has to be wished for, prayed for, but is never really expected to happen.

 

But peace does not mean, to paraphrase Carl von Clausewitz, the continuation of war by other means. It does not mean a truce or even an armistice.

 

Peace means living side by side. Peace means reconciliation, a genuine willingness to understand the other side, the readiness to get over old grievances, the slow growth of a new relationship, economic, social, personal.

 

To endure, peace must satisfy all parties. It requires a situation which all sides can live with, because it fulfills their basic aspirations.

 

Is this possible? Knowing the other side as well as most, I answer with utmost assurance: Yes, indeed. But it is not an automatic process. One has to work for it, invest in it, wage peace as one wages war.

 

Nelson Mandela did. That’s why the entire world attended his funeral. That’s, perhaps, why our leaders chose to be absent.  

————————-

above posted by Gush Shalom under:

Gush Shalom on Facebook 

www.facebook.com/GushShalom

    • Gush ad 13.12.13

      After much hesitation,
      Israel sent the
      Knesset Speaker
      To the funeral of
      Nelson Mandela.

      Speaker Edelstein
      Lives in a settlement
      In occupied territory,
      Traveling daily
      Over apartheid roads.

       



weekly column by 

  Uri Avnery 

Self-Boycott

zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1386938454

 

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 23rd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

 

 

Re The WALK OUT OF THE WARSAW CLIMATE CONFERENCE BY THOUSANDS OF EARTH PEOPLE AND CITIZENS OF DROWNING SOUTH PACIFIC ISLANDS – AS THE RICH NATIONS REFUSE TO DISCUSS REPARATIONS FOR CLIMATE CRIMES: Oh, how I wish we were there! …singing and preaching with these Earth warriors, who will be remembered in the coming HUNDRED YEAR APOCALYPSE for their final declaration to the rich nations: WE WILL LEAVE YOU NOW, NOT BUY YOUR PRODUCTS, NOT LOVE YOUR CELEBRITIES, AND WE WILL STOP WORSHIPPING THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR. And in leaving this last fundamentalist religion, they walk back into the hot wind and frothing sea, the poisoned shale and tubercular coral reefs.

Leaving the big banks and oil companies at their rigged conference – is to return to the overwhelming power of the Earth, an economy of mystery. Or is it true, as the New York Times suggests, that this walk out was only a negotiating tactic. (Amazing how the Times infantilizes the poor. The Times invented snark.) Some I’m sure will return to talk to the wealthy national representatives – but not Yeb Sano, going hungry as he learns of his relatives’ fate in the path of Haiyan. Not many of them. We sense that there is a real vision of independence from the West. There is a growing demand that the West take responsibility for what they have done to the climate. Actually, even the colonial bankers have trouble when their murders are right there in the room, when weeping people are there before them in suits, trying to go on, trying to be successful professionals in the game of international diplomacy, trying to talk with the perpetrators of climate change as if it is just another policy. Please listen – boycotters of the fossil fuel diplomats – you are our teachers.
———————————————

The following were the words spoken by Reverend Billy  that might yet gethim up to a year in jail time, if we do not act.

He said: We are in the midst of a mass extinction at this time. I ask you to think of your own children. I am the father of a three year old and I’m worried about the kind of world that my daughter will inherit. Please protect life, protect the earth. Take your money out of J.P. Morgan Chase or work inside the bank to change the values system of this bank. It is the largest bank in the United States by assets, but it is also the top bank in the world for financing industrial projects which poison the atmosphere with co2 emissions.

Who caused Hurricane Sandy? Chase bank did, if anybody did.

Rise up against the corporations that are poisoning the atmosphere. It’s up to you and to me, only we can do it.

Somebody give me a “Change-a-lujah”!
Somebody give me a “Life-a-lujah”!
Somebody give me a “Life-a-lujah”!

Right Hallelujah

Are you alright? Is no one angry?

You are angry, in the white shirt, I can tell.

Sign Rev. Billy’s petition, and check him out on stage in NYC – like this Sunday at Joe’s Pub in Manhattan at 2:30 PM while he is still a free man.

Stay tuned to www.revbilly.com/

or write a nice email to the Honorable Cy Vance, Jr. to let him know what an upstanding citizen the Reverend is, and how he lights up culture and society with his presence.

  • Mj KohlerRev Billy is a prophet of climate change.
    • Jonathan SteinerReverend Billy And The Stop Shopping Gospel Choir: A Prophet of Climate change, fighting against the Profit of Climate Change.
      =============================================================
      His Excellency’s -

      About Us

      About Us

      Our church is a radical performance community based in New York City.

      Statement of Belief

      Let’s talk about the Devil. Corporate Commercialism has sped up to a roar, virtually unopposed. Consumerism is normalized in the mind of the average person, sometimes we even refer to ourselves as consumers forgetting that we are also citizens, humans, men, women, animals. We forget that we share many resources, public spaces, libraries, information, history, sidewalks, streets, schools that we created laws and covenants and govenerments to protect us,, to support us, to help us… The subjugation of these resources and these laws to the forces of the market demands a response.

      We are a post religious church. We hold “services” wherever we can, in concert halls, theaters, churches, community centers, forests, fields, parking lots, mall atriums, and perhaps most importantly, inside stores, as close to the cash register as we can get, within spitting distance of the point of purchase.

      We sing, we dance, we preach, sometimes we perform small “interventions”, invisible plays, acts of ritual resistance. We exorcise cash registers and remythologize the retail environment, we illuminate the Devil. We make media and send it out around the world. We get hassled by security guards and sometimes get arrested.

      Above all we try to complexify the moment of purchase, to snap people out their hypnosis and back into the mystery of being human. We remind people that things come from somewhere, that products have a resource past, a labor past. Someone made It, and It is made of something, we trace the route a product took to get on the shelf, the life it might have when we throw it away. We animate the objects that surround us and in so doing we re-animate ourselves. We become citizens again.

      Liberation is a radiant process, it spreads. We think freedom from consumerism is virulent, contagious. Tell your neighbor you stopped shopping and it gives her permission to do the same. One day we can all live in richly varied and hilarious neighborhoods, with people who seem to have invented themselves, and so are endlessly fascinating, something beyond entertainment. Yes there IS a Life After Shopping!

      Remember children… Love is a Gift Economy! —  Rev

      Mission

      The Church of Stop Shopping is a New York City based radical performance community, with 50 performing members and a congregation in the thousands. They are wild anti-consumerist gospel shouters, earth loving urban activists who have worked with communities on 4 continents defending land, life and imagination from reckless development and the extractive imperatives of global capital. They employ multiple tactics and creative strategies, including cash register exorcisms, retail interventions, cell phone operas combined with grass roots organizing and media activism. They are entertainers and artists, performing regularly throughout The US and Europe.

      History

      Since 1999 our project has expanded from a one-man performance artist preaching against consumerism in Times Square to a 40-person choir and 5-person band with dozens of original songs, a critically acclaimed stage show, a major motion picture and multiple media platforms. Our performance community hails from all over the US and the world. We are all ages, races and sexes. Together we have demonstrated commitment to educating people about ever expanding commercialism and the over-consumption it demands. We maintain that consuming less is a critical, immediate step individuals can take toward halting the climate crisis.

      We use theatrical forms to build a surprisingly moving, powerful critique of economic systems and environmental practices and instill a sense of responsibility in our audiences, leading them to simple actions they can take immediately (committing to ride their bike once a week, calling an elected or picking up trash in their local park) and others that require more work and cooperativity (defending a community garden, mobilizing a divestment or a boycott).

      We often partner with large NGO’s and advocacy groups, while they negotiate and lobby for policy change we raise the profile of the effort and involve citizens more directly- creating classic inside/outside campaigns. Our successful campaigns of this kind include an effort to stop Victoria’s Secret from using Virgin Boreal Forest for their ubiquitous underwear catalogs. We pressured both the Starbucks Corp and international trade bodies to endorse the appellation of Sidamo, Yirgajefee and Harar coffees in Ethiopia. The new trade marking agreement allows Ethiopian coffee farmers to demand higher prices for their legendary coffees at market. Most recently we joined a number of groups in pressuring JP Morgan Chase to divest from the surface mining practice known as Mountaintop Removal (MTR) in the Appalachian Mountains of the US. (Other examples of our creative campaigns can be found at our website www.revbilly.com). This work is important not just for the achievement of a worthy goal but because each is a model by which other campaigns can be created. We have performed in venues on 4 continents and on or in literally hundreds of fields, malls, streets, and sidewalks. We have been invited guest artists at more than one hundred institutes of higher learning and 23 primary schools. We have won an Obie Award, a Glickman Award, and the Alpert Award in the Arts. In 2009 Reverend Billy Talen was a candidate for mayor of New York City on the Green Party ticket.

      We are avid media makers, with two full length professionally produced CD’s, 3 documentaries films, including What Would Jesus Buy produced by Morgan Spurlock, which played on 125 screens in the US and European television. An earlier film, Preacher With an Unknown God won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. Bill Talen has published 2 books (What Should I Do If Reverend Billy is In My Store and What Would Jesus Buy) with two others forthcoming in the next 18 months. We produced eight 28-minute television shows, The Last Televangelist, and broadcast them on cable and community access TV stations across the country. Our post-religious church is the subject of a small revolution on the Internet, where anti-consumerist fans have posted more than a thousand homemade Reverend Billy You Tube films of actions and shows.

      We are frequent guests of news media appearing on The Today Show, CBS Evening News, Nightline, Fox News, Al-Jazeera, Glenn Beck, Hannity & Colmes, Democracy Now, NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Marketplace,” Geraldo Rivera, CNN, The Tavis Smiley Show, The BBC World Service, BBC 1 and numerous other local and regional affiliates and International print outlets. Many people across the western world have joined us in resisting Consumerism and it’s enabling twin Militarism.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 23rd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

First about those Fourth floor Dinning Rooms that lost some space in the 2010-2013 reconstruction so there is some more space for offices, and when the buildings got more restricted access, and the procedure for inviting outsiders for lunch is in deschieval – so to avoid overall financial losses – the Delegates will lose that space completely as of December 20th.

This past  Tuesday we decided to bring my wife for a last lunch in the 4-th floor facility. We had to go from one gate to another gate where the officer tried to send us back to the first gate. Surely, I tried to explain to him that he is in contradiction to that other officer, and he finally pointed at a third person near the gate who had a list from the Dining Hall – and as we were on that list – he issued a paper with which we  proceeded to Security. On the other side waited for us an ESCORT who took that paper and brought us to a desk where three officials proceeded to exchange my wife’s driver’s license for a different piece of paper that was a photo containing PURPOSE PASS – to go and eat.  Our escort waited to take us to the Fourth floor where he left us in the safe hands of the Maitre D’ who knows me and laughed. Obviously, on the way back I was recognized by him as the appropriate escort as we had to get back my wife’s driver’s license.   NOW – IS IT CLEAR THAT I DO NOT EXAGGERATE WHEN SAYING THE UN HAS KILLED THE DELEGATES DINING ROOM?  Also, am I wrong saying that half of the personnel that took care of us would have been better used in some god-forsaken place for military purpose?  But then, ask journalist Matthew Lee and he has information that such troops spread Cholera in Haiti or raped women and children in the Congo – so perhaps better have them under scrutiny in New York. The Haiti and Congo stories, or the Sri Lanka stories, are still under – cover in New York. They got to the public only outside the UN gate (that is except for Mr. Lee).
—————————————————————

FAST FORWARD TO WARSAW:

From Alofa Tuvalu alofatuvalu@alofatuvalu.tv via lists.iisd.ca 
Nov 21 (2 days ago)

 On Thursday November 21 2013, Unions and international NGO’s decided to leave the COP19 negotiations.

{this two days after 133 countries of the G77 left the meetings already.}

The objective : to protest, in solidarity with the victims of Climate Change facing the steps backward of gathered countries in Warsaw : (Japan climbing down, Australian crises, firing of the Polish Environment Minister replaced with a pro shale gas)… and to send a strong message : enough is enough !

Alofa Tuvalu, from the SIDS,  as part of the Board of the Climate Action Network France (RAC), is very proud of this strong demonstration of our common deep disappointment,

Warsaw Climate Conference of the Parties : ENOUGH !

The NGO’s joint statement:
Organizations and movements representing people from every corner of the Earth have decided that the best use of our time is to voluntarily withdraw from the Warsaw climate talks. Instead, we are now focusing on mobilizing people to push our governments to take leadership for serious climate action.
We have said we stand in solidarity with the millions impacted by Typhoon Haiyan, and with all climate impacted people. Our solidarity compels us to tell the truth about COP 19 – the Warsaw Climate Conference.

In fact, the actions of many rich countries here in Warsaw are directly undermining the UNFCCC itself, which is an important multilateral process that must succeed if we are to fix the global climate crisis.

The Warsaw Conference started off on the wrong foot, with a “Coal & Climate Summit” being held in conjunction, corporate sponsorship from big polluters plastered all over the venue, and a Presidency that is beholden to the coal and fracking industry. Things only got worse during the first week, when Japan announced that it was following Canada and backtracking on mitigation commitments previously made, and Australia gave multiple signals that it was utterly unwilling to take the UN climate process seriously.
This week saw a “finance ministerial” with almost no actual finance, and loss and damage talks that have stalled because rich countries refuse to engage on substance. Warsaw has not seen any increase in emission reductions or support for adaptation before 2020 – and on many of these things it has actually taken us backward. And a clear pathway to a comprehensive and fair agreement in Paris 2015 is missing.

We as civil society are ready to engage with ministers and delegations who actually come to negotiate in good faith. But at the Warsaw Conference, developed country governments have come with nothing to offer. Developing country governments are also failing to stand up for the needs and rights of their people. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott posted a video to mark the opening of the 44th parliament, saying the ‘adults are back in charge’, as he seeks to abolish the carbon tax.
It is clear that if countries continue acting in this way, the next two days of negotiations will not deliver the climate action the world so desperately needs.
Therefore, organizations and movements representing people from every corner of the Earth have decided that the best use of our time is not to further engage in the Warsaw climate talks. Instead, we are now going back to mobilize people to push our governments to take leadership for serious climate action. We will work to transform our food and energy systems at a national and global level and rebuild a broken economic system to create a sustainable and low-carbon economy with decent jobs and livelihoods for all. And we will put pressure on everyone to do more.

Coming out of the Warsaw Climate Conference, it is clear that without such pressure, our governments cannot be trusted to do what the world needs. We will return with the voice of the people in Lima to hold our governments accountable to the vision of a sustainable and just future.

Much of the blame goes on the shoulders of  the Polish Presidency as it was rather more interested in giving cover to its coal industry then in hosting an environment meeting. We understand that the Polish Environment Minister resigned and we remember that when the COP was held in Montreal – the whole Canadian government was overturned while we were in town. So — it is crystal clear that, in its defense — the UN cannot be better then its member governments.
=============================================
OK – we know that Dining Rooms closing fro delegates does not compare with climate induced lack of food to the poor – so – here this Warsawian:
NGOs walk out at COP19 in Warsaw

Members of NGOs walk out of United Nations Climate Change Conference in Warsaw. Photograph: Jenny Bates

Environment and development groups together with young people, trade unions and social movements walked out of the UN climate talks on Thursday in protest at what they say is the slow speed and lack of ambition of the negotiations in Warsaw.

Wearing T-shirts reading “Volverermos” (We will return), around 800 people from organisations including Greenpeace, WWF, Oxfam, 350.org, Friends of the Earth, the Confederation and ActionAid, handed back their registration badges to the UN and left Poland’s national stadium, where the talks are being held.

“Movements representing people from every corner of the Earth have decided that the best use of our time is to voluntarily withdraw from the Warsaw climate talks. This will be the first time ever that there has been a mass withdrawal from a COP,” said a WWF spokesman.

“Warsaw, which should have been an important step in the just transition to a sustainable future, is on track to deliver virtually nothing. We feel that governments have given up on the process,” he said.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 21st, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Work of Solar Aid and SunnyMoney in Tanzania is transforming school performance, saving lives creating new micro-economies in the process.

But Tanzania isn’t the only country where SunnyMoney’s micro-enterprise model for off-grid solar development is operating. In fact a recent effort to fund solar lamp distribution in the remote region in Chadza, Zambia, has just reached an important milestone:

It has repaid its entire $10,000 crowdfunded loan in just one year.

The success of this project, which was funded through small private loans via the off-grid solar crowdfunding website SunFunder, is not just an important sign that SunnyMoney’s own efforts are commercially viable. As a blog post over at SunFunder argues, this success should also send a signal to major financial institutions that the off-grid solar sector in poor communities is eminently bankable:

Getting big international finance institutions (IFI’s) like the World Bank behind off-grid solar sector is ultimately a winning scenario, because as the International Energy Agency has stated, we need nearly $1 trillion in cumulative investment to achieve universal energy access by 2030. The more we can use crowdfunding and community-backed approaches to prove that the off-grid solar sector is well worth the investment for big IFI’s, the better off the 1.3 billion unelectrified population will be in the coming years.

The SunnyMoney project is not the first success for SunFunder either. Since launching 15 months ago, the site has raised $150,000, fully funding through 1,200 total project investments with an impressive 100% repayment rate.

With big banks beginning to rethink their addiction to coal, and with investors urging action on climate change, crowdfunding efforts like SunFunder don’t just create an immediate impact through the projects they support—they act as a test case for the viability of a much larger expansion of the sector.

And that expansion is desperately needed. Here’s some more on the very simple SunFunder model which, incidentally, is open for investors from anywhere in the world.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 20th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Truthout reports from Warsaw that despite the record-setting super typhoon Haiyan that has devastated the Philippines, negotiators at this year’s UN climate talks remain in political gridlock.

With the start of the so-called High Level part of the talks it sees that business and dirty technologies have the place to themselves.

Some Western nations are rejecting a plan for a green capital fund that would help poor nations adapt to the ongoing effects of the global climate crisis; talks on emissions cuts have been delayed until 2015;  leaked documents have revealed that the United States is pushing an agenda that avoids taking financial responsibility for the “loss and damage” global warming has already caused.

Truthout reports the G77+China group of 133 developing nations have walked out of some key part of the talks – even a member of the UN Secretariat, who already returned to New York, told me in private that nothing will be achieved in Warsaw this year.

 

While the walk-out makes developing countries vulnerable to the accusation of being responsible for holding back the Warsaw negotiations, developing countries and NGOs are pointing out that it was the attitude and behaviour of developed countries that forced them to issue such an ultimatum in the first place.
“We are very disappointed by the slow process on negotiations on loss and damage, the most important measure of success here in Warsaw,” said Philippines negotiator Yeb Sano on Wednesday.
“The walk-out happened because a very strong proposal for a loss and damage mechanism put forward by G77 and China did not receive enough traction,” explained Meena Raman from the NGO Third World Network. “This is a postponing tactic by developed countries in order not to make a decision on loss and damage here in Warsaw.”
Since COP19 began on Nov. 11, developed countries have given few signs of being committed to a meaningful international climate deal.
This week, Japan announced that it would cut a previous commitment of reducing CO2 emissions by 25 percent by 2020 to a three percent cut only. Australia recently announced an intention to scrap an existing carbon tax, while Canada indicated it might not meet a pledge to reduce emissions made at the Copenhagen 2009 COP.
Developing countries have indicated that they are ready to discuss more if developed countries take a more serious stance. As an example, Indian Minister of Environment Jayanthi Natarjan declared Wednesday upon arrival in Warsaw that her country would be open to temporarily using the existing Green Climate Fund for doing immediate disbursements for loss and damage, until a proper international mechanism is set in place.

Seemingly only young climate justice activists are still there standing in solidarity with the Philippines’ lead negotiator Yeb Saño by fasting and demanding urgent action for climate justice. But some of those young people have  been kicked out of the summit for having banners with messages of solidarity for the victims of Haiyan – this while corporations essentially lobbying against effective action on climate change are finding plenty of space to express themselves. THE EVENT IS A SHAM.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 20th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

conomic Scene

 

Unavoidable Answer for the Problem of Climate Change.

 

Tokyo Electric Power, via Reuters

Workers removing fuel rods from one of the reactors at the Daiichi plant in Fukushima, Japan, site of a nuclear accident in 2011.

 

 

 

 

Japan’s announcement last week that it would not meet its promise to sharply reduce its carbon emissions met a chorus of disapproval from around the world.

 

Delegates at the international climate talks in Warsaw, which end Friday, lamented Japan’s move as a blow to worldwide efforts to slow global warming. In the Philippines, which is still collecting the dead from Typhoon Hayan, it served as yet another example of the indifference of the rich world to the plight of the world’s poorest nations on the front lines of climate change.

But Japan’s about-face on its climate promises — which followed the government’s decision to shut down its nuclear power generators after the meltdown at the Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima — is also an opportunity for a reality check in the debate over how to slow the accumulation of greenhouse gases warming the atmosphere.

It brings into sharp focus the most urgent challenge: How will the world replace fossil fuels? Can it be done fast enough, cheaply enough and on a sufficient scale without nuclear energy? For all the optimism about the prospects of wind, sun and tides to power our future, the evidence suggests the answer is no.

Scrambling to find an alternative fuel to generate some 30 percent of its power, Japan had no choice but to turn to coal and gas. A few years ago, it promised that in 2020 it would produce 25 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than in 1990; last week it said it would, instead, produce 3 percent more.

Japan is unlikely to be the only country to miss its targets. In response to the Fukushima disaster, Germany shut down eight nuclear reactors and said it would close the remaining nine by 2022.

Everybody is promising to fill the gap with renewables. So far, however, coal and natural gas have won out. CO2 emissions in Germany actually increased 1 percent last year, even as they declined in the United States and most of Western Europe.

Between 2010 and 2012, worldwide consumption of nuclear energy shrank 7 percent. Over the same period, the consumption of coal, the dirtiest fuel and the worst global warming offender, rose 4.5 percent. Data released on Tuesday by the Global Carbon Project confirmed that coal accounted for over half the growth in fossil fuel emissions in 2012.

With energy consumption expected to grow by more than half over the next 30 years, the odds seem low that the world can avoid catastrophic warming without carbon-free nuclear power.

Opponents of nuclear energy say the case for nuclear power underestimates its costs and unique risks, including the fact that no other energy source can produce the sudden devastation of a nuclear meltdown. And they say that nuclear proponents overstate the challenge that renewable energy faces in replacing fossil fuels.

But while investment in renewable sources is crucially important to meet new energy needs, nuclear power remains the cheapest and most readily scalable of the alternative energy sources. Difficult as it may be to reduce dependence on coal, nuclear power is probably the world’s best shot.

Take the Energy Information Agency’s estimate of the cost of generating power. The agency’s number-crunchers include everything from the initial investment to the cost of fuel and the expense to operate, maintain and decommission old plants. Its latest estimate, published earlier this year, suggests that power generated by a new-generation nuclear plant that entered service in 2018 would be $108.40 per megawatt-hour. (A megawatt-hour is enough to supply an hour’s worth of electricity to about 1,000 American homes.)

This is not cheap. Even if the government were to impose a carbon tax of $15 per metric ton of CO2, a coal-fired plant would generate power at $100.10 to $135.50 per MWh, depending on the technology. Plants using natural gas could produce electricity for as little as $65.60 per MWh, even after paying the carbon tax.

Still, nuclear power is likely to be cheaper than most power made with renewables. Land-based wind farms could generate power at a relatively low cost of $86.60 per MWh, but acceptable locations are growing increasingly scarce. Solar costs $144.30 per MWh, the agency estimates. A megawatt-hour of power fueled by an offshore wind farm costs a whopping $221.50.

Even these comparisons underestimate the challenges faced in developing wind and solar power on a large scale. They might be clean and plentiful sources, but they require expensive transmission lines from where the sun shines and the wind blows to where the power is needed. Moreover, the sun doesn’t shine at least half the time. The wind doesn’t always blow. And we don’t yet know how to store electricity generated on hot summer days to use on cold winter nights.

The sun has provided half of Germany’s power on some days. On others it has provided next to nothing. It’s not easy to build a power network, let alone an economy, on the basis of such an unreliable energy source.

Perhaps the most levelheaded estimate of the relative cost of alternative fuels comes from the British government, which earlier this year published the price it was prepared to guarantee power generators as an incentive to develop renewable sources.

The exercise underscored just how uncompetitive alternative sources of energy are, compared with coal and gas. It also revealed that nuclear power generated at a new plant in Somerset was expected to be significantly cheaper.

The British government offered to guarantee a price of £92.50 per MWh of power generated at the Somerset plant. For offshore wind, the guarantees ranged from £155 per MWh at plants starting next year to £135 per MWh for those starting in 2018.

What about the danger of nuclear power? What about the fish swimming in cesium-laced waters off the coast of Japan or the tens of thousands of evacuees fleeing radioactive fallout?

In 2007 The Lancet medical journal published a study comparing deaths and illnesses associated with different sources of electricity — both from environmental pollution and accidents. Nuclear energy, it found, was about the safest around. Nuclear energy was responsible for 0.003 accidental deaths per terawatt-hour generated. Coal-fired electricity accounted for 15 times as many.

“More than 10 years of operations would be needed before a single occupational death could be attributed to the plant” at a new French reactor, wrote the authors, Anil Markandya from the University of Bath and Paul Wilkinson from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Chernobyl, the worst nuclear accident in history, produced 50 additional deaths from cancer in 20 years, according to a study by 100 scientists from eight United Nations agencies. Of 800,000 people exposed to its radiation, a maximum of 4,000 may eventually die from cancer, according to the World Health Organization.

Any such deaths are tragic, but there are downsides to all energy sources. The strongest evidence that nuclear energy is much safer than the public believes comes, of all places, from Japan.

In 1945, the United States dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Since then, 500 of the 100,000 or so survivors — 0.5 percent — have died prematurely because of radiation exposure. Six decades worth of analysis of this population suggests the risks from radiation are unexpectedly low.

The climate change scientist James Hansen, former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, argues that nuclear energy will save lives. In fact, it has prevented some 1.8 million air pollution-related deaths already.

The good news is that the sun and the wind are not the world’s only alternative to fossil fuels. There are risks associated with nuclear power, but it looks a lot better than the energy we’ve got.

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