Sunday, February 22, 2015

Arms pullback begins in E. Ukraine as OSCE releases footage of devastated Debaltsevo

Members of the Ukrainian armed forces ride a tank near Artemivsk, eastern Ukraine (Reuters / Gleb Garanich)Arms pullback begins in E. Ukraine as OSCE releases footage of devastated Debaltsevo 
Kiev’s military and self-defense forces in eastern Ukraine have announced they will withdraw heavy weapons from the frontline following Saturday’s exchange of 191 prisoners. This comes as OSCE monitors have visited the devastated city of Debaltsevo.  35

Deeply Divided on Ukraine, Russia and US Seek Ways to Fight Common Threats

Andrei AKULOV | 22.02.2015 | 00:00

The crisis in Ukraine has greatly exacerbated the Russia-West relations making pale other threats they face together, the Islamic State (IS) in particular. With all the well-known divisions taking place, there is no alternative to joining efforts against the common enemy. The prospect of Pan-Caliphate exporting the terrorist war onto other countries’ territories is really frightening.
With ISAF leaving Afghanistan, the terrorist threat is becoming a burning issue to steal international security agenda. 
The Summit on Countering Violent Extremism took place at the White House on February 18-19. The event brought together the representatives of over 60 states. 
Alexander Bortnikov, the Director of Russia’s Federal Security Service, an official under the EU sanctions, headed the Russian delegation at the event. The Russian security chief said the results of his visit were positive. Russia, the US and other countries need to interact in the fight against Islamist radicals. 
The conference showed the divisions on Ukraine do not stand in the way of practical cooperation between Russia and America in fighting international terrorism. According to Mr. Bortnikov, this view was shared by US participants. He remembered the experience of joining efforts to counter terrorist threats during the Sochi winter Olympics and the 2013 Boston massacre. The Security Chief emphasized that this kind of cooperation should not be politicized, so it will be continued despite the sanctions war. «We are interested not only in information exchanges, but also in joint work», he said.
The self-declared Islamic State isn't just a Western or Mideast problem, the official noted. It's a Russian problem, too – and in more serious ways.
As many as 1700 Russians are currently fighting in Iraq alongside the extremist group Alexander Bortnikov told journalists after the conference, «and this number almost doubled over the past year». He warned that jihadi veterans might return to spread mayhem in the North Caucasus or Volga regions of Russia. According to Mr. Bortnikov’s estimates, the citizens of 100 states joined the IS extremists as the group’s strength increased from 13 to 20 thousand.
On the eve of the event State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. welcomes Russia's participation in the conference, adding that Washington and Moscow have a shared interest in fighting terrorism no matter how strong their disagreements are on Ukraine.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon today warned leaders against «discarding our moral compass» and giving into fear, as he called for «cool heads and common sense» to deal with what may very well be «the greatest test our human family faces in the 21st century». «Let there be no doubt», Mr. Ban proclaimed to a room full of high-level delegates including US Secretary of State John Kerry, «The emergence of a new generation of transnational terrorist groups including Da’esh [or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] and Boko Haram is a grave threat to international peace and security».
US President Obama emphasized «In the face of this challenge, we must stand united internationally and here at home. We know that military force alone cannot solve this problem. Nor can we simply take out terrorists who kill innocent civilians. We also have to confront the violent extremists — the propagandists, recruiters and enablers — who may not directly engage in terrorist acts themselves, but who radicalize, recruit and incite others to do so».
Mr. Obama knows what he is talking about. In late January Islamic State militants threatened to behead Barack Obama and turn the U.S. into a Muslim province.
Some conference participants expressed doubt about the ability of the Obama administration to counter extremist messages, particularly from the Islamic State, which has a reach and agility in social media that far outstrips that of the American government.
«We’re being outdone both in terms of content, quality and quantity, and in terms of amplification strategies,» said Sasha Havlicek of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a London-based research organization, in a presentation at the meeting.
In his remarks on the conference Russia’s U.N. envoy Vitaly Churkin denounced what he perceived as the latest American slights against Russia. He accused the United States of failing to seek Moscow and other capitals’ views on the event’s agenda, and said it snubbed Russia’s close allies, including Serbia, which was not invited to the conference. Churkin bridled at what he characterized as American moralizing about Russian conduct in the world. It’s very hard, he said, to engage in discussions of moral equivalence with Washington «because [with] the United States, of course, you always have the moral superiority.» Churkin accused the United States of pushing the United Nations to the sidelines, saying the international body should be the one that is leading in countering extremism. America’s insistence on staking out a leadership role in the fight against terrorism would only embolden jihadis to take up the fight, he added. It will «attract the extremists, you know, to fight that American-led coalition,» the official said. Nonetheless, Churkin stressed that the «possibility» of Russia and the United States «working together is out there.» But, he said, «We need to overcome this crisis» in relations and «we need to learn some lesson[s] and we need to start with a new beginning». 
The realization is growing in the West that the attempts to exploit radical Islam against Russia may backlash. The idea of «Russia’s isolation» is doomed. No way can the West tackle acute security problems without Russia’s participation and Russia is ready to take part in the process. Speaking at an annual news conference on Russia's foreign policy issues at the Foreign Ministry headquarters in Moscow, Jan. 21, 2015, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow is continuing to cooperate with the West on fighting terrorism despite tensions over Ukraine.
The Washington conference has once again proven the fact. 
Despite bitter differences over the fate of Syria and Ukraine, the United States and Russia still agree on one thing - the need to confront violent Islamic extremists from North Africa to the Middle East

Aus Annette Klepzig 's Wochenumschau

Kiewer Minister: Ukraine bereitet sich auf „Großkrieg“gegen Russland vor.
Die Ukraine bereitet sich laut dem stellvertretenden Außenminister Wadim Pristajko zu einem „großangelegten Krieg“ gegen Russland vor und benötigt dafür Waffen aus dem Westen.
„Die Einsätze sind sehr hoch. Wir wollen keine Angst machen, aber wir bereiten uns auf einen großangelegten Krieg vor“, sagte Pristajko am Samstag in einem Interview des kanadischen Radiosenders CBC. Die Ausbildungshilfe, die Kanada seit Jahren der ukrainischen Armee erweise, reiche nicht mehr aus,....

Nato-General warnt vor einer "existenziellen Bedrohung" durch Russland.  Thomas Pany 21.02.2015
Ukraine-Konflikt - Der Vize-Kommandeur der Nato für Europa, Bradshaw, heizt Spannungen weiter an: Russische Truppen könnten Gebiete der Natoerobern
An der russischen Bedrohung gibt es für den britischen General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, derzeit Vize-Kommandeur der Nato für Europa, keine Zweifel. Den "threat from Russia" behandelt er in seiner Rede vor dem Think-Tank RUSI, als Fakt. Darum herum ist nach seiner Ansicht alles ein bisschen hybrid, ambivalent, voller Risken, die bei einer Fehleinschätzung - auch wenn dies derzeit noch nicht der Fall sei - eine "existenzielle Bedrohung für die Nato darstellen".?!  -   Die Rede des Nato-Generals zieht heute ihre Kreise. Weil er darin deutlich davor warnt, dass Russland es künftig nicht bei militärischen "Einschüchterungen und Nötigungen" belässt, sondern in Nato-Territorium einmarschieren und es besetzen könnte. "Russische Spannungen könnten zum totalen Krieg eskalieren", fasst der Daily Telegraph zusammen....
Humanitäre Hilfe für Donbass
Am vergangenen Wochenende überbrachten die Linkspartei-Bundestagsabgeordneten Wolfgang Gehrcke und Andrej Hunko Krankenhäusern im Donbass sechs Tonnen Medikamente als Spende. Nach dem Besuch in einem Flüchtlingslager in Russland im November 2014 hatten beide zu einer Geldsammlung für diesen Zweck aufgerufen (jWberichtete). Bis zum 17. Februar gingen mehr als 86.000 Euro ein. Am Mittwoch bzw. Donnerstag veröffentlichten beide Politiker einen Reisebericht auf ihren Internetseiten. Ein Auszug:
In Donezk erwartete uns Alexander Sachartschenko und wollte gern mit uns sprechen. Weder Begegnung noch Gespräch mit dem Führer der »Donezker Volksrepublik« hatte auf der Reiseplanung gestanden. Aber wir (…) hatten uns vorher entschieden, dass wir, wenn es zu einer solchen Situation kommen sollte, ihr auch nicht ausweichen werden. Dies aus mehreren Gründen: Humanitäre Hilfe in einem Gebiet, das von den »Aufständischen« kontrolliert wird, der Transport und die Verteilung von Medikamenten ist ohne Zustimmung der realen Macht überhaupt nicht möglich. Unsere Hilfe für die Krankenhäuser war also angewiesen auf die Bereitschaft, die Hilfe anzunehmen. Das ist der wichtigste Grund. (...)....
Vollständiger Text: und  undSpendenkonto »Hilfe für die Kinder von Donezk«
Der Mob in Odessa. Von Roland Zschächner
Der Dokumentarfilm »Lauffeuer« begibt sich auf Spurensuche nach dem Pogrom in der Schwarzmeerstadt.
Leftvision kann nicht nur Demofilmschnipsel. Am Mittwoch präsentierte das Videokollektiv im Berliner Kino Moviemento erstmals »Lauffeuer«. Der Film von Ulrich Heyden und Marco Benson ist ein bedrückendes Zeugnis über das Pogrom von Odessa am 2. Mai 2014 und der erste deutschsprachige Dokumentarfilm darüber. Damals wurden im und um das Gewerkschaftshaus mindestens 46 Menschen von Faschisten ermordet. Angehörige sprechen von mehr als hundert Opfern; sie starben im Feuer, wurden zu Tode geprügelt, erschossen oder »verschwanden«.   -     Die Überlebenden und die Hinterbliebenen demonstrieren regelmäßig vor dem Gewerkschaftshaus. Sie verlangen eine unabhängige Untersuchung der Geschehnisse und dass die Täter und ihre Hintermänner zur Rechenschaft gezogen werden. »Lauffeuer« nimmt diese Forderungen auf und fragt nach den Organisatoren des Massakers.   -   Der Film, der nur durch Spenden ermöglicht wurde, zeichnet anhand von InternetvideosZeichnungen und Interviews mit Augenzeugen minutiös die Ereignisse am 2. Mai nach: Rechte Hooligans und Anhänger des »Rechten Sektors« kamen damals in die Stadt. Sie suchten die Auseinandersetzung mit Aktivisten des Antimaidan, jenes Bündnisses, das unter anderem in Odessa gegen den rechten Putsch in Kiew protestierte.   -    Die Polizei wurde vom späteren Tatort abgezogen und ließ den Faschisten freie Hand.....
"Laufeuer - Eine Tragödie zerreißt Odessa zu Beginn des Ukrainischen Bürgerkrieges" 
Nach einigen Monaten des rumwerkelns, erscheint nun endlich unsere Doku über die tragischen Ereignisse vom 2. Mai 2014 in Odessa. Falls der Film auch bei euch vor Ort laufen soll - meldet euch bei: lauffeuer2014{at] natürlich wird der Film auch bald Online erscheinen! Falls Ihr am 18. in Berlin seit und noch nichts vorhabt kommt doch einfach ins Moviemeto      Teaser:   /   web:

CIA-Folterbericht unter Verschluss. USA verweigern Herausgabe »aus Gründen der nationalen Sicherheit«. 

Generalbundesanwalt sieht vorerst keinen Handlungsbedarf.

Die USA verweigern Deutschland einem Bericht zufolge die Herausgabe des vollständigen Berichts zu Verhörmethoden des US-amerikanischen Geheimdienstes CIA. Das berichtete die Süddeutsche Zeitung in ihrer Mittwochausgabe unter Berufung auf ein Schreiben des Berliner Justizministeriums an die Vorsitzende des Rechtsausschusses des Bundestags, Renate Künast (Grüne). Demnach fragte Künast bei Generalbundesanwalt Harald Range nach, wie es um dessen Bemühungen um eine vollständige Fassung des CIA-Berichts stehe....
Stop Torture! Accountability: YES – Impunity: NO
Petition initiated by two former UN Assistant Secretaries-General, UN Humanitarian Coordinators for Iraq: Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday.
Petition richtet sich anUS Government,  International Criminal Court,  President of the UN General Assembly,  President of the Human Rights Council,  European Court of Justice.



We, The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, US Section are opposed to the United States government sending military aid to the Ukraine. The situation is changing daily on the ground and poses the danger of a wider war, even of a nuclear war. The threat is higher now than during the Cold War. Sending military aid into such an unstable situation, as suggested by many in the US Government, is untenable.
The intense diplomatic activity, initiated by President Hollande of France and Chancellor Merkel of Germany recognizes the critical nature of the situation. This is widely understood in Europe, less so in the United States. The crisis reveals old Cold War thinking in its opposition to the former Soviet Union aggravated by the expansion of NATO, economic sanctions, and aggressive rhetoric on the part of the US Government.
Fortunately diplomacy resulted in a cease fire agreement, Minsk II, which went into effect at midnight February 14, 2015. Nevertheless, the agreement is universally recognized to be extremely fragile.
The United Nations Security Council on February 17, 2015 unanimously adopted a resolution initiated by Russia in support of the Minsk agreements on the Ukraine crisis settlement.
The situation is more dangerous now than during the Cold War or the Cuban missile crisis because there are no established channels of communication between President Obama and President Putin. The potential for miscalculation is vastly greater than in 1962, when President Kennedy and Soviet Premier Khrushchev established and maintained backchannel communications to enable them to keep their countries from stumbling into a nuclear conflict. President Obama has cultivated no such channel and has ignored overtures from President Putin to reduce the level of strategic tension.
We call upon The United States to undo the damage unleashed when Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State, engineered the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Ukraine last year – after it agreed to hold new elections. In doing so, Nuland aligned the United States with avowed and unabashed followers of WWII Nazi collaborator, Stephan Bandera – the Svoboda and the Pravy Sektor (The Right Sector) party led by Dmitry Yarosh. These elements in the Kiev government are an internal obstacle to a cease fire and durable peace in Ukraine. The militias of the Pravy Sektor constitute a major part of the Kiev government military assault on Ukrainian civilians. The Right Sector militias have vowed not to honor the cease fire.
Civilians are suffering under military attack in eastern Ukraine – as are the young men conscripted by the Kiev government. Both sides are tired of the fighting. Ukraine recruits are refusing to serve. Huge numbers of refugees continue to leave the country. The economy is falling apart.
If the United States truly wishes to be part of the efforts to achieve stability in the region, it must disavow its association with the Svoboda and Pravy Sektor elements in the Ukrainian government. The United States must eschew the idea of using military options to solve diplomatic problems. If we wish to provide aid, let it be humanitarian aid for the civilians. If we wish to be part of the solution, it must be through dialogue. Achieving peace, stability and prosperity in Ukraine, as anywhere, requires multilateral collaboration. As a world leader, the United States must foster cooperation with Russia and other countries. Let us use our influence to lead the world towards cooperation and collaboration, rather than instigating conflict.