Whatever you may believe , at least consider the possibility that Malaysia is lying through their teeth about what they know about the plane's disappearance ....... here is one compelling argument from former Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim on the subject of whether Malaysian Authorities are telling the whole unvarnished truth about what they know .....
Malaysia MH370: Who has means & motive to take a plane full of people?
Published time: April 04, 2014 11:18
Enough in the way of misstatements, contradictions and other evidence has emerged from the developing story of ‘lost’ Malaysian Airlines flight 370 to form a case for its disappearance being orchestrated by the West's Military Industrial Complex.
The initial possibility that the airliner ‘crashed into the sea and disappeared’ is fading away. The'Bermuda Triangle' scenario of bewildering disappearances will not wash in the modern world.
With the benefit of hindsight, that Caribbean 'mystery' popularized in the 1970s now looks to have been rolled out to a credulous press and public as a convenient cover story for skullduggery in CIA and related drug-running operations by sea and air between Florida markets and South American cocaine producers.
Military secrets are not for civilian TV news
The Malaysian government does not have the most sophisticated satellite and radar surveillance systems and it took several days for them to admit that they had indeed tracked MH370 back in a westerly direction across the Malay Peninsula.
From that last point of contact on, the Malaysian authorities have been entirely reliant on 'help' from countries with powerful military radar systems and, more importantly, the top of the technocratic food chain, satellites.
And there we are faced with a dilemma. Does the military alliance that controls these systems see Malaysia as an ally? Are they willing to reveal the peacetime capabilities of their systems to a foreign power? Ultimately do they have the technical capability to 'hack' an airliner's controls and disable avionics, even steer the plane rendering the pilot? If they can do that do they want to release that information to the world?
There seem to be two main theories emerging as to why, and by far the simplest is the demonstrated by hacker Hugo Teso who is also a commercial pilot. At the 'Hack in the Box'conference in April 2013, Teso demonstrated the ability to change speed, altitude and direction of a virtual airplane by sending radio signals to its flight-management system. He has also developed an Android app which demonstrates the vulnerability of modern computer-controlled airliners and business jets called PlaneSploit.
The US has several airbases around the Indian Ocean and South China Sea from which they operate the most advanced electronic warfare gadgetry in the world. Both from specialist warships and electronic warfare pods and installations on a variety of aircraft from the lumbering AWACS battle control planes to fighter jets.
Former scientific adviser to the UK Home Office Dr. Sally Leivesley was quoted by London’s Sunday Express on March 16 as saying, “hackers could change the plane’s speed, altitude and direction by sending radio signals to its flight management system. It could then be landed or made to crash by remote control.” She floated the possibility that this could be the world’s first cyber-hijack.
But Malaysia is a relatively low-tech country and not in a position to know for sure whether this happened or not. Codes of humility in the region also mitigate against the Malaysian authorities being prepared to admit they are out of their depth and lose face.
The second is that MH370’s pilot was simply called by the military on a frequency not being recorded by Air Traffic Control and told something along the lines of, “Vietnamese and other unspecified airspace is suddenly unsafe to fly in due to a military incident so please change frequency and follow instructions to a distant airstrip where we can put you down safely." The was followed by something like, "Please do not inform passengers as this may alarm them.” The pilot would then be likely to simply comply and passengers may never know that anything was wrong. So if one of these is the means, what about the motive?
The geopolitics of Malaysia & China
With a constant stream of invasions and interventions and by constantly ratcheting up the arms race ever since the Second World War the USA has marked itself out, as US writer William Blum puts it, as the ‘Rogue State’ of the modern era. As a once great superpower's economy disintegrates, US behavior in world affairs with illegal 'adventures' into Iraq, Libya etc. is becoming shameless. They believe with a bit of 'soft power' news management to their domestic populations they can get away with anything.
Europe has been almost fully co-opted under US domination over decades by multinational corporations, IMF loans and the NATO military alliance. They appear to be forming a single market under the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) too now, which will weld EU and the Euro Currency to the Dollar in what will effectively be one country.
Both China and Malaysia are independently strong and that rankles in Washington. Malaysia refuses to do what it is told by the IMF and China is staunchly independent of the US 'vision' for the world in a way that has proved impossible for nations like Britain or, most recently, Ukraine to be.
One week after MH370 disappeared, China refused to back a US resolution at the UN Security Council condemning the Russian referendum in Crimea. Post-coup NATO is already signing co-operation deals with Kiev’s junta, the new ‘allies’ of the ‘free’ West, who have placed neo-Nazis in many of the nation’s key security and policing posts.
The deaths of 80 or so police and protesters in Kiev may simply have been an extension of NATO’s 1970s and 1980s ‘Operation Gladio’. In this top secret operation, exposed in a 1992 BBC Timewatch series, NATO armed fascist ‘irregulars’ took the role of terrorists and murdered countless innocent European civilians. The atrocities were blamed on leftist groups and ultimately the Soviet Union and Gladio was exposed by parliamentary enquiries in Italy, Belgium and Switzerland. Like the February 22 coup in Kiev, similar killing of protesters and police/army before the coup attempt happened in Venezuela and, more recently, Syria.
In this context the kidnapping of 239 passengers and crew could be just another example of NATO Intelligence’s disregard for human life, seeing people as pawns in a much more important geopolitical ‘game’.
The NATO countries’ answer to economic disaster, just like in the run-up to World Wars I and II, is aggression and war. As we saw with the leaked phone call in Turkey last week they are even prepared to stage events to justify an attack on an innocent neighbor. The fact that we are now in the nuclear age seems to have passed them by, but one imagines they believe, as US Strategic Air Command General Curtis LeMay said after the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 that, "...at any point the Soviet Union could have been obliterated without more than expectable losses on our side."
Both China and Malaysia have been set against each other to a certain extent in a 'blame game' and severely humiliated over the loss of MH370. Some may see this as ‘payback time’ for making bad decisions at the UNSC, suiting the all-powerful IMF as well as their affiliated, if twisted, and increasingly belligerent NATO military alliance very well.
Psychological warfare – news management
First on Thursday, March 13, came Rolls Royce’s surprise announcement that the Boeing 777’s two Trent engines had been running for five or so hours after the plane was ‘lost’. Then on Tuesday, March 18, came reports from a small Maldives newspaper 'Haveeru' that half a dozen islanders had first heard and then seen a ‘jumbo jet’ flying very low. To quote the paper: “They said that it was a white aircraft, with red stripes across it – which is what the Malaysia Airlines flights typically look like, and it was heading in a southerly direction.”
Both these stories were greeted in the international press by an avalanche of denials from government, military and other ‘expert’ sources, none of whom could possibly have known whether or not the Rolls Royce or the Maldives Islanders were correct or not. This massive and instantaneous reaction is the clear signature of an Information Operations campaign to stop publication and broadcasting of those stories to the world’s public and it largely worked.
In the case of Rolls Royce, a retraction was even extracted from the engine manufacturers which the next day was forgotten, because the evidence Rolls Royce had was so robust and watertight. Far fewer individuals are killed, so the military argue, by the use of lies to win over a population than with guns, bombs and tanks. Quite right they are too.
But what happens when journalists who are better at telling the truth than they are at lying are surreptitiously assassinated, as is widely believed to be the case with Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings? He had told the truth about US Afghan General Stanley McChrystal and got him sacked from the top post.
Hastings was about to expose the new head of the CIA director John Brennan who is an advocate for using US Army Information Operations (I-Ops) Psychological Warfare cells against domestic US journalists and politicians. It’s widely believed, including by former White House cyber-security adviser Richard Clarke said that Michael’s Mercedes was ‘consistent with a car cyber attack’, or hacked. Accelerated to breakneck speed then steered into a tree where it exploded and he died.
With MH370 we have two clear examples of hard evidence where military style 'news management' or information warfare' appears to be the only explanation for cascades of malicious news stories spreading at the speed of light around the worlds news-wires designed to kill what may well be the truth stone dead.
Similarities to the 9/11 attacks and Britain's role
The bizarre zigzag routes followed by MH370 are exactly the sort of flight path demonstrated during the September 11 attacks. On 9/11 we saw the same mysterious switching off, whether remotely or by the pilots, of transponders which should have been reporting the planes’ speed, altitude and position to air traffic control. If anything, the 777 is even more liable to cyber hijacking than the 767s involved in the 9/11 attacks. It was the first production aircraft to have no controls by which the pilot has direct influence over any part of the aircraft. It's all via the flight management system.
Britain’s role too has not been entirely as an honest broker. Private military connected firm Inmarsat have given impressive looking maps instructing rescuers where to search, but consistently failed to reveal the raw data which, they say, led to those conclusions. The UK Air Accident Investigation Branch too has given expert advice without fleshing out the full reasons for its conclusions.
On the other hand, Rolls Royce is the star of the piece, exposing an enormous flaw in the initial‘lost plane’ theory: that MH370 flew on for over five hours. Airliners in trouble simply do not fly on for five hours and then plunge into the sea.
In the land where, as of last week, friends and family are prohibited from sending Bibles to their loved ones in prison, nothing in the way of barbarism from our real leaders across the Atlantic, now entirely contemptuous of the world and citizenry they are supposed to serve, would surprise me.
Placing Flight 370 in context , one must consider events that have directly preceded this event..... Just a few recent highlights follow.....
US Threatens Russia Over Petrodollar-Busting Deal
What About The Dollar: Russia, Iran Announce $20 Billion Oil-For-Goods Deal
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/02/2014 15:56 -0400
Spot what is missing in the just blasted headline from Bloomberg:
- IRAN, RUSSIA SAID TO SEAL $20B OIL-FOR-GOODS DEAL: REUTERS
If you said the complete absence of US Dollars anywhere in the funds flow you are correct. Which is precisely what we have been warning would happen the more the West and/or JPMorgan pushed Russia into a USD-free corner.
Once again, from our yesterday commenton the JPM Russian blockade: "what JPM may have just done is launch a preemptive strike which would have the equivalent culmination of a SWIFT blockade of Russia, the same way Iran was neutralized from the Petrodollar and was promptly forced to begin transacting in Rubles, Yuan and, of course, gold in exchange for goods and services either imported or exported. One wonders: is JPM truly that intent in preserving its "pristine" reputation of not transacting with "evil Russians", that it will gladly light the fuse that takes away Russia's choice whether or not to depart the petrodollar voluntarily, and makes it a compulsory outcome, which incidentally will merely accelerate the formalization of the Eurasian axis of China, Russia and India?"
In other words, Russia seems perfectly happy to telegraph that it is just as willing to use barter (and "heaven forbid" gold) and shortly other "regional" currencies, as it is to use the US Dollar, hardly the intended outcome of the western blocakde, which appears to have just backfired and further impacted the untouchable status of the Petrodollar.
More from Reuters:
Iran and Russia have made progress towards an oil-for-goods deal sources said would be worth up to $20 billion, which would enable Tehran to boost vital energy exports in defiance of Western sanctions, people familiar with the negotiations told Reuters.In January Reuters reported Moscow and Tehran were discussing a barter deal that would see Moscow buy up to 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil in exchange for Russian equipment and goods.The White House has said such a deal would raise "serious concerns" and would be inconsistent with the nuclear talks between world powers and Iran.A Russian source said Moscow had "prepared all documents from its side", adding that completion of a deal was awaiting agreement on what oil price to lock in.The source said the two sides were looking at a barter arrangement that would see Iranian oil being exchanged for industrial goods including metals and food, but said there was no military equipment involved. The source added that the deal was expected to reach $15 to $20 billion in total and would be done in stages with an initial $6 billion to $8 billion tranche.The Iranian and Russian governments declined to comment.Two separate Iranian officials also said the deal was valued at $20 billion. One of the Iranian officials said it would involve exports of around 500,000 barrels a day for two to three years."Iran can swap around 300,000 barrels per day via the Caspian Sea and the rest from the (Middle East) Gulf, possibly Bandar Abbas port," one of the Iranian officials said, referring to one of Iran's top oil terminals."The price (under negotiation) is lower than the international oil price, but not much, and there are few options. But in general, a few dollars lower than the market price."
Surely an "expert assessment" is in order:
"The deal would ease further pressure on Iran's battered energy sector and at least partially restore Iran's access to oil customers with Russian help," said Mark Dubowitz of Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a U.S. think-tank."If Washington can't stop this deal, it could serve as a signal to other countries that the United States won't risk major diplomatic disputes at the expense of the sanctions regime," he added.
You don't say: another epic geopolitical debacle resulting from what was originally intended to be a demonstration of strength and instead is rapidly turning out into a terminal confirmation of weakness.
Also, when did the "Foundation for Defense of Petrodollar" have the last word replaced with "Democracies"?
Petrodollar Alert: Putin Prepares To Announce "Holy Grail" Gas Deal With China
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/21/2014 09:41 -0400
If it was the intent of the West to bring Russia and China together - one a natural resource (if "somewhat" corrupt) superpower and the other a fixed capital / labor output (if "somewhat" capital misallocating and credit bubbleicious) powerhouse - in the process marginalizing the dollar and encouraging Ruble and Renminbi bilateral trade, then things are surely "going according to plan."
For now there have been no major developments as a result of the shift in the geopolitical axis that has seen global US influence, away from the Group of 7 (most insolvent nations) of course, decline precipitously in the aftermath of the bungled Syrian intervention attempt and the bloodless Russian annexation of Crimea, but that will soon change. Because while the west is focused on day to day developments in Ukraine, and how to halt Russian expansion through appeasement (hardly a winning tactic as events in the 1930s demonstrated), Russia is once again thinking 3 steps ahead... and quite a few steps east.
While Europe is furiously scrambling to find alternative sources of energy should Gazprom pull the plug on natgas exports to Germany and Europe (the imminent surge in Ukraine gas prices by 40% is probably the best indication of what the outcome would be), Russia is preparing the announcement of the "Holy Grail" energy deal with none other than China, a move which would send geopolitical shockwaves around the world and bind the two nations in a commodity-backed axis. One which, as some especially on these pages, have suggested would lay the groundwork for a new joint, commodity-backed reserve currency that bypasses the dollar, something which Russia implied moments ago when its finance minister Siluanov said that Russia may refrain from foreign borrowing this year. Translated: bypass western purchases of Russian debt, funded by Chinese purchases of US Treasurys, and go straight to the source.
Here is what will likely happen next, as explained by Reuters:
Igor Sechin gathered media in Tokyo the next day to warn Western governments that more sanctions over Moscow's seizure of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine would be counter-productive.The underlying message from the head of Russia's biggest oil company, Rosneft, was clear: If Europe and the United States isolate Russia, Moscow will look East for new business, energy deals, military contracts and political alliances.The Holy Grail for Moscow is a natural gas supply deal with China that is apparently now close after years of negotiations. If it can be signed when Putin visits China in May, he will be able to hold it up to show that global power has shifted eastwards and he does not need the West.
More details on the revelation of said "Holy Grail":
State-owned Russian gas firm Gazprom hopes to pump 38 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year to China from 2018 via the first pipeline between the world's largest producer of conventional gas to the largest consumer."May is in our plans," a Gazprom spokesman said, when asked about the timing of an agreement. A company source said: "It would be logical to expect the deal during Putin's visit to China."
Summarizing what should be and is painfully obvious to all, but apparently to the White House, which keeps prodding at Russia, is the following:
"The worse Russia's relations are with the West, the closer Russia will want to be to China. If China supports you, no one can say you're isolated," said Vasily Kashin, a China expert at the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST) think thank.
Bingo. And now add bilateral trade denominated in either Rubles or Renminbi (or gold), add Iran, Iraq, India, and soon the Saudis (China's largest foreign source of crude, whose crown prince also happened to meet president Xi Jinping last week to expand trade further) and wave goodbye to the petrodollar.
As reported previously, China has already implicitly backed Putin without risking it relations with the West. "Last Saturday China abstained in a U.N. Security Council vote on a draft resolution declaring invalid the referendum in which Crimea went on to back union with Russia. Although China is nervous about referendums in restive regions of other countries which might serve as a precedent for Tibet and Taiwan,it has refused to criticize Moscow. The support of Beijing is vital for Putin. Not only is China a fellow permanent member of the U.N. Security Council with whom Russia thinks alike, it is also the world's second biggest economy and it opposes the spread of Western-style democracy."
This culminated yesterday, when as wereported last night, Putin thanked China for its "understanding over Ukraine." China hasn't exactly kept its feelings about closer relations with Russia under wraps either:
Chinese President Xi Jinping showed how much he values ties with Moscow, and Putin in particular, by making Russia his first foreign visit as China's leader last year and attending the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi last month.Many Western leaders did not go to the Games after criticism of Russia's record on human rights. By contrast, when Putin and Xi discussed Ukraine by telephone on March 4, the Kremlin said their positions were "close".
The punchline: "A strong alliance would suit both countries as a counterbalance to the United States." An alliance that would merely be an extension of current trends in close bilateral relations, including not only infrastructure investment but also military supplies:
However, China overtook Germany as Russia's biggest buyer of crude oil this year thanks to Rosneft securing deals to boost eastward oil supplies via the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline and another crossing Kazakhstan.If Russia is isolated by a new round of Western sanctions - those so far affect only a few officials' assets abroad and have not been aimed at companies - Russia and China could also step up cooperation in areas apart from energy.CAST's Kashin said the prospects of Russia delivering Sukhoi SU-35 fighter jets to China, which has been under discussion since 2010, would grow.China is very interested in investing in infrastructure, energy and commodities in Russia, and a decline in business with the West could force Moscow to drop some of its reservations about Chinese investment in strategic industries. "With Western sanctions, the atmosphere could change quickly in favor of China," said Brian Zimbler Managing Partner of Morgan Lewis international law firm's Moscow office.Russia-China trade turnover grew by 8.2 percent in 2013 to $8.1 billion but Russia was still only China's seventh largest export partner in 2013, and was not in the top 10 countries for imported goods. The EU is Russia's biggest trade partner, accounting for almost half of all its trade turnover.
And as if pushing Russia into the warm embrace of the world's most populous nation was not enough, there is also the second most populated country in the world, India.
Putin did take time, however, to thank one other country apart from China for its understanding over Ukraine and Crimea - saying India had shown "restraint and objectivity".He also called Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss the crisis on Tuesday, suggesting there is room for Russia's ties with traditionally non-aligned India to flourish.Although India has become the largest export market for U.S. arms, Russia remains a key defense supplier and relations are friendly, even if lacking a strong business and trade dimension, due to a strategic partnership dating to the Soviet era.Putin's moves to assert Russian control over Crimea were seen very favorably in the Indian establishment, N. Ram, publisher of The Hindu newspaper, told Reuters. "Russia has legitimate interests," he added.
To summarize: while the biggest geopolitical tectonic shift since the cold war accelerates with the inevitable firming of the "Asian axis", the west monetizes its debt, revels in the paper wealth created from an all time high manipulated stock market while at the same time trying to explain why 6.5% unemployment is really indicative of a weak economy, blames the weather for every disappointing economic data point, and every single person is transfixed with finding a missing airplane.
China cornering gold market - has the US and USD fallen into a carefully crafted trap by China working in conjunction with Russia ? An argument could be made in 2013 while the world was watching Syria , Iran , Ukraine and other geopolitical flash-points , China quietly stepped in and took control of the world gold market ! Last chart will not your socks off , I guarantee .......
China cornering gold market - has the US and USD fallen into a carefully crafted trap by China working in conjunction with Russia ? An argument could be made in 2013 while the world was watching Syria , Iran , Ukraine and other geopolitical flash-points , China quietly stepped in and took control of the world gold market ! Last chart will not your socks off , I guarantee .......
Consider events in Ukraine and Crimea just before Flight 370.......
Ukraine Orders Full Military Mobilization, Acting PM Says Russian Actions "Declaration Of War"
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/02/2014 10:12 -0400
With less than 6 hours left until FX trading opens, no resolution to the Ukraine crisis is in sight. Instead the situation has devolved even more and overnightUkraine has ordered a full military mobilization in response to Russia's build-up of its forces in Crimea. Prime Minster Arseniy Yatsenyuk said the country was "on the brink of disaster." Several other measures were announced on Sunday by national security officials:
- The armed forces would be put on "full combat readiness".
- Reserves to be mobilised and trained
- Ukraine's foreign minister will seek the help of US and UK leaders in guaranteeing its security
- Emergency headquarters to be set up
- Increased security at key sites, including nuclear plants.
- Airspace closed to all non-civilian aircraft.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Sunday that his country was "on the brink of disaster" and personally blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for bringing the two nations to the verge of war. Speaking to reporters at the Ukrainian parliament, Mr. Yatsenyuk called on the international community to rein in Mr. Putin and pressure him to remove troops from the Crimean peninsula, where a majority of residents are ethnic Russians but have Ukrainian passports."If President Putin wants to be the president who starts the war between two friendly and neighboring countries, he has [almost] reached this target," Mr. Yatsenyuk said. "We are on the brink of disaster. There was no reason for the Russian Federation to invade Ukraine."...Western diplomats doubt that the Ukrainian armed forces would be able to match up to the Russian forces already in control of the critical infrastructure and border points in the Crimea.Ukrainian leaders say that Russia has already sent an additional 6,000 troops to Crimea since tensions arose in the peninsula last week. The two countries have a military agreement that allows Moscow to base forces in the region, but Ukrainian officials accuse Moscow of violating that treaty by not informing Kiev of additional troops, and by moving forces without prior notice. Moscow says that it is in compliance of the accord.Earlier Sunday, Ukraine's interior minister said Russian officials had approached Ukrainian officers remaining in Crimea and offered them immediate Russian citizenship."Across the entire territory of Crimea, Russian emissaries and military officers have invited the remaining Ukrainian interior ministry troops to take Russian citizenship and immediately receive Russian passports," Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook page. "This appeal has been aimed at upper and middle officer corps troops."Mr. Avakov denied that Ukrainian forces had threatened the Russian-speaking population on the largely pro-Russian peninsula, and blamed Russian forces for the sharp militarization of the region."In Crimea, there are no forces from the interior ministry or the regular army threatening citizens of the Russian Federation or the Russian-speaking population," he said. "And also no self-defense units from Maidan have arrived from Kiev. All destabilization in the Crimea has come from and been masterminded in Russia."
The BBC adds that it has seen what appear to be Russian troops digging trenches on the Crimean border. Furthermore, a standoff between Ukrainian troops who have fortified a base in the crimean city of Privolnoye, borth place of the late USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev, and Russians who have surrounded them, may be the match that set it all off. Fox reports that hundreds of unidentified gunmen surrounded a Ukraine's infantry base in Privolnoye in its Crimea region Sunday. The convoy included at least 13 troop vehicles each containing 30 soldiers and four armored vehicles with mounted machine guns. The vehicles -- which have Russian license plates -- have surrounded the base and are blocking Ukrainian soldiers from entering or leaving it.
This is the current state of the standoff:
Crimea Parliament "Accelerates Crisis", Votes To Join Russia
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/06/2014 08:24 -0400
While the world is convinced that Putin's Tuesday press conference was an admission of blinking to the west, the reality is anything but that, and hours ago Crimea's parliament voted to join Russia on Thursday and its Moscow-backed government set a referendum within 10 days on the decision in what Reuters said is a "a dramatic escalation of the crisis over the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula." To be sure, the Crimea - which has an ethnic Russian majority - affiliation to Moscow as opposed to Kiev is well-known, yet still the sudden acceleration of moves to bring Crimea formally under Moscow's rule came as European Union leaders gathered for an emergency summit to seek ways to pressure Russia to back down and accept mediation. And now all Putin has to do is sit back and say the people have spoken and without spilling a drop of blood has effectively split the country in two parts, with the entire east of Ukraine, where pro-Russian sentiment also runs high - sure to follow Crimea. Just as we said from the very beginning.
The Crimean parliament voted unanimously "to enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation". The vice premier of Crimea, home to Russia's Black Sea military base in Sevastopol, said a referendum on the status would take place on March 16. The announcement, which diplomats said could not have been made without Russian President Vladimir Putin's approval, raised the stakes in the most serious east-west confrontation since the end of the Cold War.Far from seeking a diplomatic way out, Putin appears to have chosen to create facts on the ground before the West can agree on more than token action against him.EU leaders had been set to warn but not sanction Russia over its military intervention after Moscow rebuffed Western diplomatic efforts to persuade it to pull forces in Crimea, with a population of about 2 million, back to their bases. It was not immediately clear what impact the Crimean moves would have.European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in a Twitter message: "We stand by a united and inclusive #Ukraine."French President Francois Hollande told reporters on arrival at the summit: "There will be the strongest possible pressure on Russia to begin lowering the tension and in the pressure there is, of course, eventual recourse to sanctions."
To be sure, the new Kiev government - which may or may not have killed its own citizens in order to rise to power while blaming the atrocities on Yanukovich as described yesterday - has responded in kind to how Putin views them, and declared the referendum illegal and opened a criminal investigation against Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Askyonov, who was appointed by the region's parliament last week. The Ukrainian government does not recognise his authority or that of the parliament. Still, it is by now far too late for Kiev to enforce its will in Crimea.
In the meantime, and confirming that Putin has all the cards, EU leaders had been set to warn but not sanction Russia over its military intervention in Ukraine after Moscow rebuffed Western diplomatic efforts to persuade it to pull forces in Crimea back to their bases. According to EU sources the leaders gathered in Brussels delayed the discussion on sanctions to Russia to a new meeting in two weeks. As we stated yesterday, due to stern German industrial lobby objection, Europe will never implement full blown sanctions and at best will stick to some optical wristslap which has no real adverse impact on Russia.
But back to the Crimea, where a parliament official said voters will be asked two questions: should Crimea be part of the Russian Federation and should Crimea return to an earlier constitution (1992) that gave the region more autonomy?
"If there weren't constant threats from the current illegal Ukrainian authorities, maybe we would have taken a different path," deputy parliament speaker Sergei Tsekov told reporters outside the parliament building in Crimea's main city of Simferopol.
"I think there was an annexation of Crimea by Ukraine, if we are going to call things by their name. Because of this mood and feeling we took the decision to join Russia. I think we will feel much more comfortable there."
All the while, Europe is engaged in idiotic meetings and summits, spearheaded by John Kerry, who was quick to point out how constructive the meeting has been. Perhaps it would have been more so if Russia had participated:
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov refused to meet his new Ukrainian counterpart or to launch a "contact group" to seek a solution to the crisis at talks in Paris on Wednesday despite arm-twisting by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and European colleagues. The two men will meet again in Rome on Thursday.Tension was high in Crimea after a senior United Nations envoy was surrounded by a pro-Russian crowd, threatened and forced to get back on his plane and leave the country on Wednesday.The EU summit in Brussels seemed unlikely to adopt more than symbolic measures against Europe's biggest gas supplier, because neither industrial powerhouse Germany nor financial centre Britain is keen to start down that road.The short, informal EU summit will mostly be dedicated to displaying support for Ukraine's new pro-Western government, represented by Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk, who will attend even though Kiev is neither an EU member nor a recognised candidate for membership.After meeting European Parliament President Martin Schulz, Yatseniuk appealed to Russia to respond to mediation efforts.After a day of high-stakes diplomacy in Paris on Wednesday, Lavrov refused to talk to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchitsya, whose new government is not recognised by Moscow.As he left the French Foreign Ministry, Lavrov was asked if he had met his Ukrainian counterpart. "Who is that?" the Russian minister asked.He stuck to Putin's line - ridiculed by the West - that Moscow does not command the troops without national insignia which have taken control of Crimea, besieging Ukrainian forces, and hence cannot order them back to bases.Kerry said afterwards he had never expected to get Lavrov and Deshchitsya into the same room right away, but diplomats said France and Germany had tried to achieve that.Western diplomats said there was still hope that once Lavrov had reported back to Putin, Russia would accept the idea of a "contact group" involving both Moscow and Kiev as well as the United States and European powers to seek a solution.
Keep hoping. In the meantime, with each passing day, Putin consolidates his new territory even as the west dithers, Europe is unable to obtain the bailout loans it has promised Ukraine, and Kerry keeps talking.
Warning Shots Fired At OSCE Mission In Crimea; Russia Warns Of Treaty Force Majeure Over "Unfriendly NATO Threats"
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/08/2014 10:21 -0400
Perhaps it is time to finally admit that anyone who thought Putin's Tuesday press conference, which the market so jubilantly assumed was a case of "blinking" and de-escalating tensions with the west, was wrong. If there is still any confusion, following yesterday's news that Gazprom officially threatened Ukraine with cutting off its gas supplies, as well as the storming of a Ukraine base by Russian troops - luckily with no shots fired so far - then today's developments should any remaining doubts. Moments ago AP reported that as the latest, third in a row, group of OSCE inspectors tried to enter Ukraine, they were not only barred from doing so, but warnings shots were fired to emphasize the point by pro-Russian forces.
An Associated Press reporter says pro-Russian forces refused to let a foreign military mission enter Crimea on Saturday.After the officers had stopped, the armed men fired warning bursts of automatic weapons fire into the air to make other unidentified vehicles halt. No injuries were reported.The multinational group of military officers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was attempting to enter the embattled peninsula from the north. The armed men told them they had no authorization to enter Crimea.The OSCE mission will likely return to the Ukrainian city of Kherson where it had spent the night, the AP reporter said.Russia and Ukraine are locked in a tense standoff over Crimea.
the OSCE tweeted:
Diplomacy Fails In Ukraine: Putin Slams Kerry Plan, Kiev Issues Ultimatum, Crimea Suspends All Non-Moscow Flights
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/11/2014 08:01 -0400
While it may have been pushed back from the front pages to keep confidence high, things in the Crimea, and in Ukraine in general (which may or may not waved goodbye to its gold reserves) are going from bad to worse with every passing day, with the near term catalyst of course being this Sunday Crimean referendum vote, which seems like a done deal, and which will give Russia a carte blanche to annex the territory over the howls of protest from Ukraine's coup government, and the west of course.
Making this outcome one step clower, overnight the parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea adopted an independence declaration from Ukraine which is necessary for holding a March 16 referendum.
“We, the members of the parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the Sevastopol City Council, with regard to the charter of the United Nations and a whole range of other international documents and taking into consideration the confirmation of the status of Kosovo by the United Nations International Court of Justice on July, 22, 2010, which says that unilateral declaration of independence by a part of the country doesn’t violate any international norms, make this decision,”says the text of the declaration, which was published by the Crimean media.
As RT reports, the document was adopted during an extraordinary session of parliament. 78 of 100 members of the parliament voted in favor of the declaration.
The Crimean parliament’s vote to become an independent sovereign state paves the way for the March 16 referendum for the Crimean Autonomous Republic and the city of Sevastopol to join Russia. If the referendum is in favor, the Crimean authorities will request for their country to become a constituent republic of the Russian Federation. The declaration was signed by the speaker of the Supreme Council of Crimea, Vladimir Konstantinov, and the head of the Sevastopol City Council, Yury Doynikov.“We adopted the declaration of independence to make the upcoming referendum legitimate and transparent,” Konstantinov said. “Now we declare ourselves the Republic of Crimea, we don’t add ‘autonomous."After Tuesday’s declaration of independence, Crimea will never rejoin Ukraine, Konstantinov added. He said that Crimea will adopt the Russian ruble as its currency soon after the referendum.
Not unexpectedly, the west, and Ukraine specifically, continue to make loud noises over the referendum, with the latest development is Kiev sending an ultimatum to Crimea. Guardian reports that "Ukraine's parliament has warned the regional assembly in Crimea that it faces dissolution unless it cancels a referendum it has called to join the region to Russia."
A resolution, supported by a parliamentary vote, gave the Crimean parliament until Wednesday to call off the referendum, due to take place on Sunday. The Crimean parliament on Tuesday passed a motion stating that it would become independent in the event of a yes vote and then seek to join the Russian Federation, arguing that "the unilateral declaration of independence of part of a state does not violate any international laws".
There is the minor matter of enforcing this ultimatum in a territory largely controlled by Russian forces:
Also on Tuesday, the acting Ukrainian president, Oleksander Turchinov, announced that a new national guard would be formed in response to Russian attempts to annex Crimea.Turchinov said mismanagement of the armed forces under former president Viktor Yanukovych meant that the Ukrainian military had to be rebuilt "effectively from scratch". The acting defence minister said the country had only 6,000 combat-ready infantry compared with more than 200,000 Russian troops on its eastern borders.
Good luck with that.
But aside from the actual area of physical confrontation, the real conflict continues behind the scenes. It is here that we find Russia president Putin has apparently rejected a U.S. proposal to resolve the dispute over Ukraine that had been put forward by Secretary of State John Kerry over the past week, according to senior Russian and U.S. officials. WSJ reportedthat "Mr. Putin's decision led Mr. Kerry to put off a Russian invitation to meet Mr. Putin in Russia, as early as the beginning of this week in Sochi, to discuss the Ukraine crisis, according to these officials."
Moscow and Washington on Monday each blamed the other for the diplomatic stumble and for failing to defuse the most serious U.S.-Russian standoff since the end of the Cold War.Residents of the Crimean region of Ukraine are scheduled to vote Sunday on whether to secede from their country and join the Russian federation.Despite the setback, U.S. and Russian officials stressed Monday that discussions on the former Soviet state were ongoing. The State Department didn't rule out Mr. Kerry visiting Moscow to meet Mr. Putin."The United States needs to see concrete evidence that Russia is prepared to engage on the diplomatic proposals we have made to facilitate direct dialogue between Ukraine and Russia," State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said.
Send in the Kerry again perhaps? Speaking of political cadavers, ousted Ukraine president Yanukovich, whose political future even Putin said is over, appeared on TV earlier today and reminded everyone he was still the legitimate leader:
Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has said in a televised press conference that he is still the legitimate leader of the country. It was his second statement made from the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don where he fled to when he was removed from power by the Ukrainian Parliament.“I want to remind you that I am not only still the legitimate president of Ukraine but also the supreme commander of the army and I haven’t stopped my duties as president early – I am still alive.”He took no questions from the press after his speech.Yanukovych claimed that he was still the legitimate leader of Ukraine and that he fled Ukraine because of a direct threat to his and his family’s lives.He added he would return to Ukraine soon.He called the upcoming May 25 presidential election “illegal” and said that any government voted in would also be unconstitutionalHe said the US and West should not be backing or funding the new “bandit” government which had carried out an illegal coup d’etat.
And then there is everything else. Reading Reuters:
A pro-Russian force opened fire in seizing a Ukrainian military base in Crimea on Monday and NATO announced reconnaissance flights along its eastern frontiers as confrontation around the Black Sea peninsula showed no sign of easing. Ukrainian activists trying to cross into Crimea to show solidarity with opponents of last week's Russian military takeover there said they were halted by men in uniforms of the now outlawed riot police. One of these fired at close range, hitting a man in the chest, apparently with rubber bullets.With diplomacy at a standstill, Russia said the United States had spurned an invitation to hold new talks on resolving the crisis, the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War - although Washington said later a meeting of foreign ministers was possible this week, if Moscow shows it is ready to "engage".The U.S.-led NATO defense alliance said AWACS early warning aircraft, once designed to counter feared Soviet nuclear missile strikes, would start reconnaissance flights on Tuesday over Poland and Romania to monitor the situation in Ukraine, flying from bases in Germany and Britain.The United States on Tuesday will also begin previously planned military training exercises in the region, the first since the Russian intervention in Crimea. A U.S. Navy destroyer will participate in maneuvers with Romanian and Bulgarian warships in the Black Sea, across from Crimea. In Poland, U.S. fighter jets will take part in joint exercises.* * *On Monday, a Ukrainian defense official said a Russian-led military force of about a dozen men fired in the air as they took control of a Ukrainian naval base near the town of Bakhchisaray, though no one was hurt.The force was accompanied by the base's Ukrainian commander. He persuaded a number of his men to join the Russian forces while allowing others who refused to leave, the Ukrainian official, Vladislav Seleznyov wrote on Facebook. The Russian force later drove off with nine Ukrainian vehicles.Yarik Alexandrov, one of the Ukrainian naval personnel who refused to pledge allegiance to Moscow, told Reuters near the base that he and his comrades at first refused to surrender. "Then they started shooting round our feet and we surrendered," he said. "What could we do? We had no weapons."Similar small confrontations have taken place at other Ukrainian bases around Crimea, although shooting has been rare and there has so far been no bloodshed. Russia denies its troops are involved - a stance ridiculed in Kiev and the West.In a sign of the peninsula's growing isolation from the Ukrainian mainland, armed men prevented a convoy of cars from a Ukrainian activist group crossing into Crimea.The group was part of the Maidan movement behind the protests that forced Yanukovich to flee to Russia. Ukrainian television showed men in the uniform of the Berkut riot police, banned by the new authorities for its role in shooting dozens of demonstrators in Kiev last month, blocking the road south.One was shown firing twice, hitting a man in the chest. His injuries appeared minor, suggesting the use of rubber bullets.In other armed action, Russian forces took over a military hospital and a missile unit. Reuters correspondents also saw a big Russian convoy on the move just outside the port city of Sevastopol near a Ukrainian air defense base.It comprised more than 100 vehicles, including around 20 armored personnel carriers, plus mobile artillery.
In conclusion, just so there is no confusion about who is in charge of Crimea...