Monday, March 31, 2014

A bank "bail-in" is what happens when a big bank fails and the government no longer bails them out. Such "bail-ins" comprise banks (legally in the US and possibly also in the EU!) confiscating the funds of its uninsured depositors (generally individuals and small companies) in order for the bank pay off its bondholders. This is not hypothetical! If you have your retirement nestegg deposited in one of the six largest U.S. banks, you have a strong chance of losing it if you don't find a safer place for it soon...

Banking Union Time Bomb: Eurocrats Authorize Bailouts AND Bail-Ins

Posted on by Ellen Brown
As things stand, the banks are the permanent government of the country, whichever party is in power.

 – Lord Skidelsky, House of Lords, UK Parliament, 31 March 2011)
On March 20, 2014, European Union officials reached an historic agreement to create a single agency to handle failing banks. Media attention has focused on the agreement involving the single resolution mechanism (SRM), a uniform system for closing failed banks. But the real story for taxpayers and depositors is the heightened threat to their pocketbooks of a deal that now authorizes both bailouts and “bail-ins” – the confiscation of depositor funds. The deal involves multiple concessions to different countries and may be illegal under the rules of the EU Parliament; but it is being rushed through to lock taxpayer and depositor liability into place before the dire state of Eurozone banks is exposed.

The bail-in provisions were agreed to last summer. According to Bruno Waterfield, writing in the UK Telegraph in June 2013:
Under the deal, after 2018 bank shareholders will be first in line for assuming the losses of a failed bank before bondholders and certain large depositors. Insured deposits under £85,000 (€100,000) are exempt and, with specific exemptions, uninsured deposits of individuals and small companies are given preferred status in the bail-in pecking order for taking losses . . . Under the deal all unsecured bondholders must be hit for losses before a bank can be eligible to receive capital injections directly from the ESM, with no retrospective use of the fund before 2018.
As noted in my earlier articles, the ESM (European Stability Mechanism) imposes an open-ended debt on EU member governments, putting taxpayers on the hook for whatever the Eurocrats (EU officials) demand. And it’s not just the EU that has bail-in plans for their troubled too-big-to-fail banks. It is also the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other G20 nations. Recall that a depositor is an unsecured creditor of a bank. When you deposit money in a bank, the bank “owns” the money and you have an IOU or promise to pay.

Under the new EU banking union, before the taxpayer-financed single resolution fund can be deployed, shareholders and depositors will be “bailed in” for a significant portion of the losses. The bankers thus win both ways: they can tap up the taxpayers’ money and the depositors’ money.

 The Unsettled Question of Deposit Insurance

 But at least, you may say, it’s only the uninsured deposits that are at risk (those over €100,000—about $137,000). Right?

Not necessarily. According to ABC News, “Thursday’s result is a compromise that differs from the original banking union idea put forward in 2012. The original proposals had a third pillar, Europe-wide deposit insurance. But that idea has stalled.”

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, speaking before the March 20th meeting in the Belgian capital, hailed the compromise plan as “great progress for a better banking union. Two pillars are now in place” – two but not the third. And two are not enough to protect the public.As observed in The Economist in June 2013, without Europe-wide deposit insurance, the banking union is a failure:
[T]he third pillar, sadly ignored, [is] a joint deposit-guarantee scheme in which the costs of making insured depositors whole are shared among euro-zone members. Annual contributions from banks should cover depositors in normal years, but they cannot credibly protect the system in meltdown (America’s prefunded scheme would cover a mere 1.35% of insured deposits). Any deposit-insurance scheme must have recourse to government backing. . . . [T]he banking union—and thus the euro—will make little sense without it.
All deposits could be at risk in a meltdown. But how likely is that?

Pretty likely, it seems . . . .

What the Eurocrats Don’t Want You to Know

Mario Draghi was vice president of Goldman Sachs Europe before he became president of the ECB. He had a major hand in shaping the banking union. And according to Wolf Richter, writing in October 2013, the goal of Draghi and other Eurocrats is to lock taxpayer and depositor liability in place before the panic button is hit over the extreme vulnerability of Eurozone banks:
European banks, like all banks, have long been hermetically sealed black boxes. . . . The only thing known about the holes in the balance sheets of these black boxes, left behind by assets that have quietly decomposed, is that they’re deep. But no one knows how deep. And no one is allowed to know – not until Eurocrats decide who is going to pay for bailing out these banks.
When the ECB becomes the regulator of the 130 largest ECB banks, says Richter, it intends to subject them to more realistic evaluations than the earlier “stress tests” that were nothing but “banking agitprop.”  But these realistic evaluations won’t happen until the banking union is in place. How does Richter know? Draghi himself said so. Draghi said:
 “The effectiveness of this exercise will depend on the availability of necessary arrangements for recapitalizing banks … including through the provision of a public backstop. . . . These arrangements must be in place before we conclude our assessment.”
Richter translates that to mean:
The truth shall not be known until after the Eurocrats decided who would have to pay for the bailouts. And the bank examinations won’t be completed until then, because if any of it seeped out – Draghi forbid – the whole house of cards would collapse, with no taxpayers willing to pick up the tab as its magnificent size would finally be out in the open!
Only after the taxpayers – and the depositors – are stuck with the tab will the curtain be lifted and the crippling insolvency of the banks be revealed. Predictably, panic will then set in, credit will freeze, and the banks will collapse, leaving the unsuspecting public to foot the bill.

 What Happened to Nationalizing Failed Banks?

 Underlying all this frantic wheeling and dealing is the presumption that the “zombie banks” must be kept alive at all costs – alive and in the hands of private bankers, who can then continue to speculate and reap outsized bonuses while the people bear the losses.

But that’s not the only alternative. In the 1990s, the expectation even in the United States was that failed megabanks would be nationalized. That route was pursued quite successfully not only in Sweden and Finland but in the US in the case of Continental Illinois, then the fourth-largest bank in the country and the largest-ever bankruptcy. According to William Engdahl, writing in September 2008:
 [I]n almost every case of recent banking crises in which emergency action was needed to save the financial system, the most economical (to taxpayers) method was to have the Government, as in Sweden or Finland in the early 1990’s, nationalize the troubled banks [and] take over their management and assets … In the Swedish case the end cost to taxpayers was estimated to have been almost nil.
Typically, nationalization involves taking on the insolvent bank’s bad debts, getting the bank back on its feet, and returning it to private owners, who are then free to put depositors’ money at risk again. But better would be to keep the nationalized mega-bank as a public utility, serving the needs of the people because it is owned by the people.

As argued by George Irvin in Social Europe Journal in October 2011:
[T]he financial sector needs more than just regulation; it needs a large measure of public sector control—that’s right, the n-word: nationalisation. Finance is a public good, far too important to be run entirely for private bankers. At the very least, we need a large public investment bank tasked with modernising and greening our infrastructure . . . . [I]nstead of trashing the Eurozone and going back to a dozen minor currencies fluctuating daily, let’s have a Eurozone Ministry of Finance (Treasury) with the necessary fiscal muscle to deliver European public goods like more jobs, better wages and pensions and a sustainable environment.
A Third Alternative – Turn the Government Money Tap Back On

A giant flaw in the current banking scheme is that private banks, not governments, now create virtually the entire money supply; and they do it by creating interest-bearing debt. The debt inevitably grows faster than the money supply, because the interest is not created along with the principal in the original loan.

For a clever explanation of how all this works in graphic cartoon form, see the short French video “Government Debt Explained,” linked here.

The problem is exacerbated in the Eurozone, because no one has the power to create money ex nihilo as needed to balance the system, not even the central bank itself. This flaw could be remedied either by allowing nations individually to issue money debt-free or, as suggested by George Irvin, by giving a joint Eurozone Treasury that power.

The Bank of England just admitted in its Quarterly Bulletin that banks do not actually lend the money of their depositors. What they lend is bank credit created on their books. In the U.S. today, finance charges on this credit-money amount to between 30 and 40% of the economy, depending on whose numbers you believe.  In a monetary system in which money is issued by the government and credit is issued by public banks, this “rentiering” can be avoided. Government money will not come into existence as a debt at interest, and any finance costs incurred by the public banks’ debtors will represent Treasury income that offsets taxation.

New money can be added to the money supply without creating inflation, at least to the extent of the “output gap” – the difference between actual GDP or actual output and potential GDP. In the US, that figure is about $1 trillion annually; and for the EU is roughly €520 billion ($715 billion). A joint Eurozone Treasury could add this sum to the money supply debt-free, creating the euros necessary to create jobs, rebuild infrastructure, protect the environment, and maintain a flourishing economy.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and a candidate for California State Treasurer running on a state bank platform. She is the author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt and her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, which explores successful public banking models historically and globally.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Why is it that I've spent my adult life believing that the purpose of the IMF has been to help indebted countries out of debt? Whereas its true purpose has been to force those countries to privatize their profit-making sectors, allowing them to be bought off by speculators and global corporations, while forcing the government to cut old-age pensions, government services, government employment, and subsidies to the rest of the populace in order to pay back the IMF for the money that they promised but never really deliver, because the Western banks are given the money (something you surely won't learn from the presstitute "mainstream" media).

Western Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun — Paul Craig Roberts

March 29, 2014 | Original Here                                              Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter

Western Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun

Paul Craig Roberts

It is now apparent that the “Maiden protests” in Kiev were in actuality a Washington organized coup against the elected democratic government. The purpose of the coup is to put NATO military bases on Ukraine’s border with Russia and to impose an IMF austerity program that serves as cover for Western financial interests to loot the country. The sincere idealistic protesters who took to the streets without being paid were the gullible dupes of the plot to destroy their country.

Politically Ukraine is an untenable aggregation of Ukrainian and Russian territory, because traditional Russian territories were stuck into the borders of the Ukraine Soviet Republic by Lenin and Khrushchev. The Crimea, stuck into Ukraine by Khrushchev, has already departed and rejoined Russia. Unless some autonomy is granted to them, Russian areas in eastern and southern Ukraine might also depart and return to Russia. If the animosity displayed toward the Russian speaking population by the stooge government in Kiev continues, more defections to Russia are likely.

The Washington-imposed coup faces other possible difficulties from what seems to be a growing conflict between the well-organized Right Sector and the Washington-imposed stooges. If armed conflict between these two groups were to occur, Washington might conclude that it needs to send help to its stooges. The appearance of US/NATO troops in Ukraine would create pressure on Putin to occupy the remaining Russian speaking parts of Ukraine.

Before the political and geographical issues are settled, the Western looting of Ukraine has already begun. The Western media, doesn’t tell any more truth about IMF “rescue packages” than it does about anything else. The media reports, and many Ukrainians believe, that the IMF is going to rescue Ukraine financially by giving the country billions of dollars.

Ukraine will never see one dollar of the IMF money. What the IMF is going to do is to substitute Ukrainian indebtedness to the IMF for Ukrainian indebtedness to Western banks. The IMF will hand over the money to the Western banks, and the Western banks will reduce Ukraine’s indebtedness by the amount of IMF money. Instead of being indebted to the banks, Ukraine will now be indebted to the IMF.

Now the looting can begin. The IMF loan brings new conditions and imposes austerity on the Ukrainian people so that the Ukraine government can gather up the money with which to repay the IMF. The IMF conditions that will be imposed on the struggling Ukraine population will consist of severe reductions in old-age pensions, in government services, in government employment, and in subsidies for basic consumer purchases such as natural gas. Already low living standards will plummet. In addition, Ukrainian public assets and Ukrainian owned private industries will have to be sold off to Western purchasers.

Additionally, Ukraine will have to float its currency. In a futile effort to protect its currency’s value from being driven very low (and consequently import prices very high) by speculators ganging up on the currency and short-selling it, Ukraine will borrow more money with which to support its currency in the foreign exchange market. Of course, the currency speculators will end up with the borrowed money, leaving Ukraine much deeper in debt than currently.

The corruption involved is legendary, so the direct result of the gullible Maiden protesters will be lower Ukrainian living standards, more corruption, loss of sovereignty over the country’s economic policy, and the transfer of Ukrainian public and private property to Western interests.

If Ukraine also falls into NATO’s clutches, Ukraine will also find itself in a military alliance against Russia and find itself targeted by Russian missiles. This will be a tragedy for Ukraine and Russia as Ukrainians have relatives in Russia and Russians have relatives in Ukraine. The two countries have essentially been one for 200 years. To have them torn apart by Western looting and Washington’s drive for world hegemony is a terrible shame and a great crime.

The gullible dupes who participated in the orchestrated Maiden protests will rue it for the rest of their lives.

When the protests began, I described what the consequences would be and said that I
would explain the looting process. It is not necessary for me to do so. Professor Michel Chossudovsky has explained the IMF looting process along with much history here:

One final word. Despite unequivocal evidence of one country after another being looted by the West, governments of indebted countries continue to sign up for IMF programs. Why do governments of countries continue to agree to the foreign looting of their populations? The only answer is that they are paid. The corruption that is descending upon Ukraine will make the former regime look honest.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Take a break from the lying mainstream media and listen to Paul Craig Roberts telling you the truth about what might and might not happen in Ukraine now the Washington neocon idiots have messed up. In the second part he analyzes the options the Fed may try to stave off the day of reckoning as the economy inexorably sinks with no return.

Paul Craig Roberts: US is Completely Busted, Non-Delivery of Gold - Crash the System, War in Ukraine

Greg Hunter

Published on Mar 11, 2014 - Economist Dr. Paul Craig Roberts says, "The physical stock of gold in the West to meet delivery demand is diminishing rapidly. So, one day the Chinese will buy 100 tons of gold, and we won't be able to make delivery. That would crash the system. It would just pop. So, there are things that could crash it suddenly. Regardless . . . the economy is going to gradually sink because there are no jobs, or no good jobs. . . So, there is not a recovery. The U.S. is a busted state. It's completely busted."

On the Federal Reserve money printing to prop up the economy, Dr. Roberts, who has a PhD in economics, contends, "I think they realize all the money printing does undermine the dollar, and if they lose the dollar, the game is over. So, they have to protect the dollar."

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with former Assistant Treasury Secretary Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, author of the new book "How America was Lost."

Friday, March 21, 2014

Everything about the situation in Ukraine and Crimera you should want to know that the mainstream media won't tell you. (In fact, the "mainstream media" is the propaganda arm of the lying neocon-infested U.S. Government that is looking for an excuse to trigger a nuclear World War 3.)

Paul Craig Roberts on Crimea, US Foreign Policy and the Transformation of Mainstream Media
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 13:47  
By Harrison Samphir, Truthout | Interview                                                            Original Here

                      Russian soldiers in Perevalne, Crimea, Ukraine on March 5, 2014. (Image: via Shutterstock)

The Crimean peninsula was controlled by the Russian Empire from the 18th to 20th centuries until it became part of an independent Ukraine following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. Now the country is fractured after months of protests, and Crimea has become the reluctant focal point of a nascent civil war dividing east and west. Fueled by aggressive posturing by the United States and a defensive-minded Russia intent on protecting the interests of Ukraine's ethnically Russian population, the situation has escalated quickly. The future of the European continent hangs in the balance.

Even to the most astute observer, the current crisis in the southeastern region of Ukraine is difficult to interpret. The view can be blurred by geographic distance, muddled by inconsistent reporting and blinded by prejudice. Because of treacherously unremitting digital and social media, an understanding of the complex sociopolitical elements is diluted; independent inquiry loses legitimacy and critical voices enter an anarchic fray. How can one make sense of this dilemma?

"What has happened in Ukraine is the United States organized and financed a coup."

Paul Craig Roberts is a former assistant secretary of the treasury and associate editor of The Wall Street Journal. He has been following the situation in Ukraine closely and spoke to Truthout about the long history of the crisis, the influence of the mainstream media (in which he worked for decades) and the dangerous provocations of Western leaders. The author of more than ten books, his most recent work is called The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism. This interview took place on March 12, 2014.

You have written extensively about the current standoff between Russia and the West over the situation in Crimea. How do you assess the current situation? What power struggle is currently unraveling?

Well, I think it would be a mistake to represent the events in Crimea as a power standoff between Russia and the United States. What has happened in Ukraine is the United States organized and financed a coup. And the coup occurred in Kiev, the capital. Either from intention or carelessness, the coup elements include ultra-right-wing nationalists whose roots go back to organizations that fought for Hitler in the Second World War against the Soviet Union. These elements destroyed Russian war memorials celebrating the liberation of the Ukraine from the Nazis by the Red Army and also celebrating Gen. Kutuzov's defeat of Napoleon's Grande Armée. So this spread a great deal of alarm in southern and eastern Ukraine, which are traditionally Russian provinces. Crimea was added to the Ukraine in 1954 by Khrushchev, the general secretary of the Communist Party. Both of these Russian areas have been part of Russia for longer than the United States has existed. This may have been done to water down the pro-Nazi elements in western Ukraine, because it added a substantial Russian population to Ukraine that tended to balance out the ultra-nationalists in the west. Also, Khrushchev himself was a Ukrainian. It didn't make a difference at the time because it was all part of the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union collapsed as a political entity and the weak authorities there - under [US] pressure – agreed to its breakup, the Ukraine became independent, but it retained the previously Russian provinces. The population in Crimea is predominantly Russian, and so is eastern Ukraine. These people said, "We don't want anything to do with this government in Kiev, which is banning our language and destroying our war monuments and threatening us in many ways." They followed the same legal steps; the same UN procedures, the same international court procedures. So everything that has occurred is strictly legal. And when John Kerry and Obama say the opposite, they're lying through their teeth. It's just blatant, shameful, bald-faced lies. This is not debatable or a question of opinion. It's a matter of law.

"So there is not an independent media. It cannot take positions on any important issue contrary to the government's propaganda."

So the Parliament in Crimea followed these procedures and has now declared Crimea to be independent. The vote that [was] given to the people on [March 16] . ... So there has been no Russian invasion. That's easily provable. The Russian troops in the Ukraine have been there since the 1990s. It has to do with the lease arrangements it has on its Black Sea naval base [Sevastopol], because when Ukraine was granted independence, Russia certainly wasn't giving up its warm-water port. The terms of the separation state that Russia has a lease there until 2042. Sixteen thousand troops were there, and under the agreement with the Ukraine they can have up to 25,000 along with a certain number of planes, tanks and artillery. All this is specified and well-known, but it is subject to lies from Washington - and they are repeated endlessly in the so-called American media. The remaining problem is in eastern Ukraine, because there the people are also in the streets demanding their local governments separate from Kiev. Having realized its incompetence in Crimea, Washington has rushed in and appointed Ukrainian multi-billionaire oligarchs [Igor Kolomoisky and Serhiy Taruta] as governors of these Russian regions [Donetsk and Dnepropetrovs]. Where the issue will be drawn is in eastern Ukraine because Putin has said he will make no military intervention unless violence is used against the Russian population in eastern Ukraine. There isn't much Kerry and Obama can do about this. But if the result is that eastern Ukraine returns to Russia, western Ukraine will be captured, subject to an IMF [International Monetary Fund] austerity plan, looted by the Western banks and stuck in NATO while US anti-ballistic missile bases will be put in western Ukraine. This is intensifying the strategic threat to Russia that Washington has been pursuing since the George H.W. Bush regime when he violated the agreements that Reagan had given not to take NATO into eastern Europe. These same agreements were violated when Washington withdrew from the ABMT [Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty] in 2002 so it could construct an anti-ballistic missile defense. These are extreme provocations, and they are reckless. It's the same kind of behavior that gave us the First World War.

In your latest writings you've discussed the failure of the so called mainstream or American media in reporting about Crimea objectively - that is, without displaying a bias toward one side or the other. Can you discuss the role alternative media has played in relation to the crisis in Ukraine?

A very important part of it has to do with something that happened toward the end of [Bill] Clinton's second term. He permitted five mega companies to consolidate the formerly independent and dispersed US media. What were once independent networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, they all became cogs in a larger media empire. The value of these big media companies is their federal broadcast licenses: They can't go against the government and expect them to be renewed. Another big change is these media companies are no longer run by journalists. They're run by corporate advertising executives and former government officials. And their only interests are protecting the net worth of the company and the flow of advertising revenues. So there is not an independent media. It cannot take positions on any important issue contrary to the government's propaganda. That's part of the problem right there.

Another part of the problem is that during the long Cold War, the Soviet Union, which is Russia in most people's minds, was demonized effectively. This demonization persists. Remember, the initial collapse of the USSR worked very much to the West's advantage. They could easily manipulate [Boris] Yeltsin, and various oligarchs were able to seize and plunder the resources of the country. Much Israeli and American money was part of that. When Putin came along and started stopping this and trying to put the country back in place, he was demonized. Also, just as Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state [for European and Eurasian Affairs], admitted when she spoke at the National Press Club last December, the United States has invested $5 billion aligning Ukraine with its interests since the failed Orange Revolution [2004]. They've probably spent many times that on NGOs inside Russia. There are at least 1,000 non-governmental organizations in the country that are financed by Washington. This has persisted for a long time, and it was only last year when Putin finally said that these organizations that are financed by US money must register as foreign agents. This is, of course, American policy. If you operate here with foreign money - unless you're Israel - you must register as a foreign agent. Yet when Putin applied the same rules, he was demonized. So you have everywhere this exposure across American generations of people to propaganda that diabolizes every aspect of Russia. So if someone tells you the Russians sent the tanks into Crimea, it just fits a pre-existing narrative.

"The Soviet Union and Communist China existed, and these were huge constraints on American power. The US couldn't go waltzing in blowing up countries throughout the Middle East for example."

I am a former editor of The Wall Street Journal and a columnist at all the major publications as well, and I personally witnessed the change in the media and the people in it. So I already know what they're going to say; I can write the scripts before they go on and mouth them. It's been going on for some time. A similar thing happened with the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. It was a lie told over and over. And everyone repeated it. The New York Times didn't even go to the weapons inspector we sent to Iraq, Hans Blix! Instead, Judith Miller repeated a lie endlessly in the pages of the newspaper. It reflects a total lack of integrity. One of the main reasons for this is that many of them know they cannot tell the truth, otherwise they'll be fired. They know it's pointless to take a story that contradicts the president or the secretary of state or the CIA or the NSA to the editor. He or she will look at you and say What are you crazy? Do you want to get us both fired? So they simply don't bother. It's quite a corrupt milieu, and it must be deadening to the soul. But that's what it is to be a mainstream journalist today.

Looking back on your time as assistant secretary of the treasury under Ronald Reagan, how have the global politics of brinkmanship changed? Are foreign conflicts perceived differently now than ever before?

Oh, yes, it's changed tremendously, in two critical ways. One is the Soviet Union and Communist China existed, and these were huge constraints on American power. The US couldn't go waltzing in blowing up countries throughout the Middle East, for example. Those constraints on American power no longer exist. The Cold War is gone, and the alliances that were part of it have disappeared. When I was in the Reagan administration, the neoconservatives had not emerged as the ideological force that they are today; they had not written their position papers calling for American world hegemony. So there was not an agenda in Washington or in the Reagan administration of American hegemony over the world. Reagan's approach toward Gorbachev was not to win the Cold War, he told us repeatedly. The point was to end it. The neoconservatives did emerge first during that time, but they had nowhere near the same power or influence that they did under Clinton, George W. Bush and now Obama. In fact they caused so much trouble for [Reagan], he fired every one of them. They were behind the Contras in Nicaragua. Some of them were actually prosecuted and convicted - such as Elliot Abrams, who was assistant secretary of state. He and others were later pardoned by George H.W. Bush, but the Reagan administration itself took very strong action against neoconservatives. They were fired, thrown out of the government. Richard Perle was even thrown off of the [President's Intelligence Advisory Board]. The neoconservatives emerged with the American attacks on Serbia - what we call the NATO attacks - and the theft of Kosovo from Serbia and its setup as an American protectorate. Their influence then exploded in the first years of George W. Bush. The entire national security apparatus, the entire Pentagon, the entire State Department were all staffed-up by neoconservatives. The agenda was there. It had been set out in papers from the Project for the New American Century, and much of the government was run by its representatives. The Obama administration has many of the same people, but now they're able to go further because they have more resources to fund dissent groups like we've seen in Ukraine.

"There's no evidence that the American people support Washington's meddling in Ukraine. And they should get out and protest it, because it could mean a major war and even the use of nuclear weapons."

This is a reckless thing to do. The Russians cannot accept strategic threats of this sort; it's just too high. I think what Putin is relying on, if you read his March 4 press conference, is the Europeans. Since they don't have an ulterior agenda, they don't want to pay the cost of enabling the United States to start a war, because it will affect them. The Russians know the United States has changed its war doctrine to include nuclear weapons, which shifted in 2010 to permit pre-emptive first strikes. Well the Russians know this is not directed against Afghanistan or Iraq, but against them. When you keep telling a powerful country you are going to set it up in such a way that it must be attacked, that is purely reckless behavior.

What can average people do to voice their concerns about the issues you've raised? How will the crisis evolve from here?

They ought to get out into the streets. There's no evidence that the American people support Washington's meddling in Ukraine. And they should get out and protest it, because it could mean a major war and even the use of nuclear weapons. The US government has violated every norm of international law and almost the entirety of American law. It is tyranny. Another point: according to Obama and Kerry, and the mainstream media, Russia is to be damned for intervening in the Crimea. This we've all heard since the situation began. Well, [March 11] Obama and Kerry demanded that Russia intervene in Crimea and block the self-determination of the Crimean people. They asked Russia to stop the referendum! So now, out of one corner of its mouth, Washington is damning them Russia for an intervention they didn't make, and out of the other corner of its mouth, it's demanding they intervene and deny the people of Crimea the right to self-determination. And if they don't do that, Kerry said, We will make you pay. This is blatant. And there isn't a word about it in the major newspapers.


Harrison Samphir is an editor and writer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He holds a B.A. (Hons.) in history from the University of Manitoba. Email him at or follow him on Twitter @HarrySamphir.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pepe Escobar: "The Obama administration's "strategic" gambit to subcontract the State Department's [plan] to extricate Ukraine from the Russian sphere of influence -- and ultimately annex it to NATO -- by instrumentalizing a coalition of willing neo-nazis and fascists with a central bank veneer (prime minister "Yats"), is in utter shambles."

OpEdNews Op Eds

Russia 1, Regime Changers 0

By (about the author)     Permalink                                                 Headlined to H2 3/17/14

Source: Asia Times

John Kerry: War and Sanctions for Russia over Ukraine
(image by YouTube)

Let's cut to the chase -- short and sweet. 

1. The Obama administration's "strategic" gambit to subcontract the State Department's "Khaganate of Nulands" to extricate Ukraine from the Russian sphere of influence -- and ultimately annex it to NATO -- by instrumentalizing a coalition of willing neo-nazis and fascists with a central bank veneer (prime minister "Yats"), is in utter shambles. 

2. Moscow's counterpunch was to prevent in Crimea -- as intercepted by Russian intelligence -- a planned replay of the putsch in Kiev. The referendum in Crimea -- 85% of turnout, roughly 93% voting for re-joining Russia, according to exit polls -- is a done deal, as much as the oh-so-democratic European Union (EU) keeps threatening to punish people in Crimea for exercising their basic democratic rights. (By the way, when the US got Kosovo to secede from Serbia, Serbians were offered no referendum).  

3. The main rationale for the whole US "strategic" advance -- to have their proxies, the regime changers in Kiev, cancel the agreement for the Russian naval base in Sevastopol -- is up in smoke. Moscow remains present in the Black Sea, and with full access to the Eastern Mediterranean. 

And the rest is blah blah blah. 

All aboard the Finland station

The US State Department has practically agreed to a federal, and in fact, Finlandized Ukraine[1] which, by the way, is the solution being proposed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov right from the start, as this Russian white paper attests. US Secretary of State John Kerry -- as when Moscow saved the "red line" Obama administration from bombing Syria -- will go on overdrive to steal all the credit from the Russians. US corporate media will duly buy it, but not independents such as Moon of Alabama.[2] 

This -- sensible -- road map implies, among other crucial points; strong autonomous regions; Russian reinstated as an official language, alongside Ukrainian; and most of all political/military neutrality, that is, Finlandization. To get there will be the mission of a support group -- once again, proposed by Moscow from the start -- with the US, EU and Russia as members. 

All that finally sanctified by a UN Security Council resolution (true, it could go spectacularly wrong, and most of all sabotaged by the "West.") And all that, as well, without Moscow having to officially recognize the regime changers in Kiev. In a nutshell; Moscow called Washington's bluff -- and won. 

So after all that barrage of ominous threats including everyone from Obama, Kerry and assorted neo-con bomb-firsters down to minions such as Cameron, Hague and Fabius, the meat of the matter is that the Obama administration concluded it would not risk a nuclear war with Russia for the Khaganate of Nulands --  especially after Moscow made it known, discreetly, it would create the conditions for eastern and southern Ukraine to also secede. 

Sweden, for instance, proposed an arms embargo on sales to Moscow. Paris took a quick glance at its industrial-military complex interests and immediately said no. Only the brain dead entertain the notion Paris and Berlin are willing to jeopardize their trade relations with Russia. As well as the notion that Beijing would ever join sanctions against fellow Group of 20, BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization member Russia just because what they perceive as an increasingly irrational -- and dangerous -- Washington said so. 

And yet, Western hysteria of course will persist unabated. In the US, where it matters, the meme of the subsequent days will be, inevitably, who lost Syria and who lost Ukraine. 

Here's the record. Dubya launched two wars. He (miserably) lost both. 

Obama attempted to launch two wars (Syria and Ukraine). He -- lucky for him -- lost both even at the "attempt" stage. Assorted neo-cons and the whole exceptionalist brigade are predictably livid. Expect the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal to go ballistic. And expect US ambassador to the UN Samantha "R2P" Power to wish she were Sinead O'Connor singing Nothing Compares to You

It's a gas, gas, gas, not!

The Kiev regime-changers are already announcing their intentions, as in Right Sector capo and confirmed neo-nazi Dmytro Yarosh saying, "... Russia makes money sending its oil through our pipelines to the West. We will destroy these pipelines and deprive our enemy of its source of income." 

That's a brilliant strategy straight from the Khaganate of Nulands playbook. So homes and the whole industrial base in Ukraine should be out of (cheap, discounted) gas, not to mention great swathes of Germany, so the neo-nazis can claim "victory." With friends like these...

Gazprom's executives are not exactly raising an eyebrow. Russia is already shipping roughly half of its gas to Europe, bypassing Ukraine, and after South Stream is completed in 2015, that percentage will increase (EU "sanctions" against South Stream are just empty rhetoric.) 

The regime changers will be trying to wreak havoc in other fronts as well. The new Ukrainian parliament has voted to assemble a 60,000-strong National Guard crammed with "activists." Guess who will be in charge; the new security chief, Andriy Parubiy, one of the founders of the neo-nazi Social-National Party. And his deputy happens to be none other than Yarosh, the leader of the paramilitary Right Sector. Feel free to add your own custom-made Hitlerian metaphors -- even as the risk persists of Ukraine breaking apart. Which is not necessarily a bad deal. Let the "democratic" EU pay Ukraine's gas bills. 

Notes :
1.  Lavrov, Kerry agree to work on constitutional reform in Ukraine: Russian ministry, Reuters, March 16, 2014.
2.  Ukraine: U.S. Takes Off-Ramp, Agrees To Russian Demands, Moon of Alabama, March 16, 2014. 

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. His regular column, "The Roving Eye," is widely read. He is an analyst for the online news channel Real News, the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.  He argues that the world has become fragmented into "stans" -- we are now living an intestinal war, an undeclared global civil war. He has published three books on geopolitics, including the spectacularly-titled "Globalistan: How the Globalised World Is Dissolving Into Liquid War". His latest book is "Obama Does Globalistan."

Monday, March 17, 2014

Now that you have read so much of my incessant re-posting of his work, I highly recommend that you meet Paul Craig Roberts in person on this timely and nicely hosted interview.

The Road to World War 3: Ukraine, Russia and American Imperialism

Stefan Molyneux

Published on Feb 22, 2014

Stefan Molyneux speaks with Dr. Paul Craig Roberts about the violent protests in Ukraine, evidence that the United States is fueling the conflict with taxpayer dollars and the dangerous game that is being played in the attempt to install military and missile bases on the Russian border.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under Ronald Regan and is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. Dr. Roberts is the author of "How America Was Lost: From 9/11 to the Police/Warfare State" which you can order at:

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

A 1994 interview with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn discusses Russia's and Ukraine's situations in that moment, which seem to have not greatly changed today, i.e., quite different from what the mainstream media have been telling you. A map shows the likely breakup.

The New Russia

March 14, 2014 | Original Here                                              Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter

Dear readers:  I recalled correctly from my Russian studies a half century ago that Soviet leaders had stuck Russian territories into Ukraine, but I mistakenly attributed all of the transfers to Khrushchev.  The first gifts of Russian territory to Ukraine were made by Lenin.

The New Russia

An Interview With Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,” by Paul Klebnikov, in the May 9, 1994, issue of Forbes magazine

With Russia in chaos, it does sound a bit far-fetched to see her as an aggressor.

Russia today is terribly sick. Her people are sick to the point of total exhaustion. But even so, have a conscience and don’t demand that – just to please America – Russia throw away the last vestiges of her concern for her security and her unprecedented collapse. After all, this concern in no way threatens the United States.

Former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski disagrees. He argues that the U.S. must defend the independence of Ukraine.

In 1919, when he imposed his regime on Ukraine, Lenin gave her several Russian provinces to assuage her feelings. These provinces have never historically belonged to Ukraine. I am talking about the eastern and southern territories of today’s Ukraine.

Then, in 1954, Khrushchev, with the arbitrary capriciousness of a satrap, made a “gift” of the Crimea to Ukraine. But even he did not manage to make Ukraine a “gift” of Sevastopol, which remained a separate city under the jurisdiction of the U.S.S.R. central government. This was accomplished by the American State Department, first verbally through Ambassador Popadiuk in Kiev and later in a more official manner.

Why does the State Department decide who should get Sevastopol? If one recalls the tactless declaration of President Bush about supporting Ukrainian sovereignty even before the referendum on that matter, one must conclude that all this stems from a common aim: to use all means possible, no matter what the consequences, to weaken Russia.

Why does independence for Ukraine weaken Russia?

As a result of the sudden and crude fragmentation of the intermingled Slavic peoples, the borders have torn apart millions of ties of family and friendship. Is this acceptable? The recent elections in Ukraine, for instance, clearly show the [Russian] sympathies of the Crimean and Donets populations. And a democracy must respect this.

I myself am nearly half Ukrainian. I grew up with the sounds of Ukrainian speech. I love her culture and genuinely wish all kinds of success for Ukraine–but only within her real ethnic boundaries, without grabbing Russian provinces.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

You would think that after World Wars 1 and 2 that Europe -- and particularly Germany -- would do anything and everything to avoid the horrors of a WW 3. But, no, German chancellor Angela Merkel, apparently a devoted puppet of Washington, seems ready to stop the first bullet (or nuclear blast) for her "lord", the criminally insane American government.


March 13, 2014 | Original Here                                              Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter


Paul Craig Roberts

Washington, enabled by its compliant but stupid NATO puppets, is pushing the Ukrainian situation closer to war.

German Chancellor Merkel has failed her country, Europe, and world piece. Germany is the strength of the EU and NATO. Had Merkel said “No” to sanctions on Russia, that would have been the end of the crisis that Washington is brewing, a crisis unlikely to be ended short of war.

But Merkel has signed away the sovereignty of the German nation and assigned the fate of Germany to a province in the American Empire. Thus has Merkel and the weak German leadership consigned the world to war. Already blamed for World War 1 and World War 2, now Germany will be blamed for World War 3.

Washington’s mismanaged Ukrainian coup has cost Washington Crimea, which Washington wanted most of all in order to deprive Russia of its warm water naval base on the Black Sea. In addition, the mismanaged overthrow of an elected government in Ukraine is threatening to also lose the Russian cities of eastern Ukraine. Like Crimea, eastern Ukraine consists of former Russian areas that Khrushchev stuck into Ukraine in the 1950s.

In what is clearly a fruitless and pointless effort to get Crimea back, Washington is demanding that Russia interfere in Crimea and prevent Crimea from seceding from Ukraine. If the Russian government refuses to follow Washington’s orders, Washington has announced that it will inflict “damaging sanctions” on Russia. Initially, EU countries expressed an unwillingness to go along with Washington, but with bribes and threats, Washington has conquered Merkel and has its European puppets lined up following orders.

Washington understands that economic sanctions are a far less threat to Russia than the loss of its Black Sea naval base. Washington also understands that Putin cannot possibly abandon the millions of Russians in eastern and southern Ukraine to the mercy of the anti-Russian and unelected government imposed by Washington in Kiev. As Washington knows that its threat of sanctions is empty, why did Washington make it?

The answer is in order to drive the crisis to war. Washington’s neoconservative nazis have been agitating for war with Russia for a long time. They want to remover one of the three remaining restraints (Russia, China, Iran) on Washington’s world hegemony. Washington wants to break up the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) before these countries form a separate currency bloc and avoid the use of the US dollar.

Russia will respond in kind to Washington’s sanctions. European peoples and Western banks and corporations will suffer losses. It would be at least two or three years before Washington has in place means of delivering US natural gas achieved by fracking and contamination of US water supplies to Europe to take the place of Russia’s cutoff of energy to Europe.

The Western presstitute media will dramatize the Russian response to sanctions and demonize Russia, while ignoring who started the fight, thereby helping Washington prepare Americans for war. As neither side can afford to lose the war, nuclear weapons will be used. There will be no winners.

All of this is perfectly clear, just as was the obvious conclusion of the march of events leading up to World War 1. Now, like then, the people who see the outcome are powerless to stop it. Delusion rules. Arrogance and hubris overflow. Statements and actions become ever more reckless, and then there is hell to pay.

Americans and Europeans, if they had any awareness at all, would be in the streets violently protesting the coming war toward which the insane criminals in Washington are driving the world.

Instead, the German chancellor, the French president, the British prime minister and the Western presstitute media continue to lie: It was legitimate for the West to steal Kosovo from Serbia and to steal the Ukrainian government, but it is not legitimate for the Russian population of Crimea to exercise self-determination and return to Russia. Washington and its EU puppets even have the audacity to declare falsely, after overthrowing an elected government in Ukraine and installing an unelected one, that Crimean self-determination violates the Ukrainian constitution, which no longer exists because Washington destroyed it.

The criminally insane government in Washington has pushed the Russian bear into a corner. The bear is not going to surrender.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"German Diplomat Blows Whistle on US Coup in Ukraine, Says The Plans Were Made During Clinton Regime" -- Paul Craig Roberts

US Abandoned International Law, Follows The Law Of The Jungle

March 11, 2014 | Original Here                                              Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter

US Abandoned International Law, Follows The Law Of The Jungle

Willy Wimmer

Willy Wimmer was state secretary at the German Defense Ministry and vice president of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). This is what this well-informed member of the European Establishment told RT: The translation is not very good, but the message comes through.

Western powers are following an agenda to partition the map of the European region under which a portion of the Black Sea territory will be under US domination, former vice president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Willy Wimmer, told RT.

The veteran German politician, who served as a Defense Ministry state secretary, reminded that no Western government is talking about the extreme right element of the government in Kiev.

RT: More than a decade ago, you told your country’s leadership of a disturbing connection between NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia and plans for the alliance’s expansion. We have some extracts from the letter you wrote to then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder after a conference organized by the US State Department. You raised concerns over some of the conclusions reached, such as: “It would be good, during NATO’s current enlargement, to restore the territorial situation in the area between the Baltic Sea and Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) such as existed during the Roman Empire…” Do you think these plans still exist? And, if so, could the Ukrainian crisis be playing a role?

Willy Wimmer: I think what I thought of Gerhard Schröder is similar to Angela Merkel in May 2000 – is exactly what is going on in these days. During the conference in Bratislava which was high ranking with state presidents, prime ministers, defense, and foreign ministers, and organized by the top leadership of the US State Department, they made a proposal to draw a line between Riga on the Baltic Sea, Odessa on the Black Sea, and Diyarbakir. All the territories west of this line should be under US domination, and the territories east of this line – they might be the Russian Federation or somebody else. That was the proposal – and when we see developments since then, I think it’s like a schedule which had been presented to the conference participants; everything happens exactly as it was on the timetable in Bratislava.

RT: Let’s take a look at another passage from your letter: “In all processes, peoples’ rights to self-determination should be favored over all other provisions or rules of international law.” That seemed to be agreed upon by high-profile Western diplomats taking part in that conference – why such staunch opposition to Crimea holding a similar referendum on its status now?

WW: Because they didn’t make it. What we saw since the middle of the ‘90s – I think caused all these problems we have here today. Until the mid-90s, all major powers agreed in international law, and in cooperation. But in the middle of the 90s, the US changed habits, changed attitudes. They no longer pursed international law, they proposed the law of the jungle. At the beginning was the war against Yugoslavia, and since then, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, everything is going because of these developments, and they no longer stick to international law and to cooperation. They make use of military might and this creates the trouble and the fear we have in Europe.

RT: Some argue that a referendum cannot be considered legitimate if it’s not recognized by the interim authorities in Kiev. Let me ask you this – is the current government in Ukraine legitimate?

WW: I think it was a putsch, a coup d’état, what happened in Kiev. And what we heard in the news before – OSCE and other international bodies are doing what they can to create a legal framework for a government which is not legal at all.

The problem with this government is that they are not only not legal, they are working together with people who will be forbidden sooner or later by the Supreme Court here in Germany: right wing people, Nazis, fascists. It is interesting and outstanding that no western government is talking about these people who already created – once last century – disaster, terror, and wars in Europe, and now these people come back…

RT: Why is the legality then not being questioned and indeed the nationalist, the extremist element within the Kiev government?

WW: Because these new Nazis are our ‘good Nazis’ now and this is disastrous for all of Europe.

RT: Are they a real threat? Because some people are exaggerating this nationalist element within the Kiev government. Russia is really concerned and indeed those people in Crimea and the east of the country. Do they have fears that are justified?

WW: It’s not only the people in Ukraine or Crimea or in Russia; the fear is in Dusseldorf, Cologne, Paris,and London as well. We did not create this modern Europe to have these people back again.

RT: So what do you think the next step should be in this stalemate? The West is calling on Russia to revoke its support for the referendum in Crimea – do you believe that’s what Moscow should do?

WW: I live here in Germany and next Thursday, the federal Chancellor Dr. Merkel will give a speech to the Bundestag about Ukraine and I expect – I’m not referring to Crimea or to Moscow or to Kiev, I expect here in Berlin – that she will address this Nazi question, that she will address the massacre on Maidan Square. If this happened in China, there would be an uproar in Western countries. Everybody is quiet here. Why doesn’t the Council of Europe take into consideration to make an inquiry as well as the OSCE? I expect Merkel to address these issues. And we had a major party conference of our Bavarian brothers some days ago and the main speaker addressed the audience with an appeal not to forget the friendship with the Russian people.

See also:

Monday, March 10, 2014

"Dear Readers, Several of you have told me that you are tired of reading about the deplorable state of affairs in Ukraine produced the by idiots that comprise 'our' government. In this current posting you can read instead about the deplorable state of jobs in 'your' economy or, rather, the absence of jobs. 'Your' same government that lies to you about foreign affairs also lies to you about the economy." -- Paul Craig Roberts

OpEdNews Op Eds

No Jobs, No Economy, No Prospects For Peace Or Life

By (about the author)     Permalink                                                                                                 Headlined to H2 3/9/14

Source: Paul Craig Roberts

No Jobs, No Recovery, No American Dream
(image by YouTube)
Over the decades various administrations, seeking to improve their economic record, monkeyed with economic statistics to the point that the statistics are no longer meaningful.

According to Friday's (March 7) payroll jobs report, the US economy created 175,000 new jobs in February. If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I'll let you have at a good price.

Even if 175,000 jobs were created in February -- remember now, February was a cold month whose low temperatures are used to explain poor housing and retail sales performance, yet somehow created 40,000 more jobs than needed to keep up with population growth -- that is an insufficient amount to drop the unemployment rate.

To see how screwed up US economic statistics are, consider the reported unemployment rate (U.3) of 6.7 percent in comparison with the fact that there are about 6 million Americans who have been unable to find a job and are no longer counted as unemployed. These millions of unemployed are not included in the reported rate of unemployment.

John Williams ( reports that the true rate of US unemployment is around 23 percent.

Rather than examine the issue, the presstitute financial media trumpets the government's propaganda. In America there is no more of a financial media, except for Pam Martens and Nomi Prins, than a print and TV media.

The Economic Policy Institute reports that there are 1,360,000 unemployed men and women under the age of 25, 2,8000,000 unemployed men and women aged 25-54, and 1,640,000 unemployed men and women 55 and over who are not counted as unemployed, because they have been unable to find a job after searching a long time and have given up looking.

Just as "your" government and "your" prostitute media lie to you about Ukraine, Putin, Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, Palestine, NSA, spying, torture, 9/11, Obamacare, and literally everything under the sun, "your" government lies to you about the economy and hides from you the perilous state of your economic existence. If you are not among the One Percent, you have no future in America.

Let us have a look at the 175,000 claimed jobs. Are these the promised high-paying jobs of the "New Economy" that Washington and its economist pimps guaranteed us would take the place of the offshored manufacturing and tradable professional service jobs?

Afraid not. In the many years that I have been observing the monthly payroll jobs reports and the BLS's future jobs projections, I have never seen even one of the "New Economy" jobs. They simply do not exist. Yet, the economics profession, an extremely deluded collection of morons, still believes in these jobs.

Again -- how many times have I reported this same result -- here are the jobs of the "New Economy":
Of the 175,000 jobs claimed, 13,000 are taxpayer-supported government jobs.
Of the 162,000 private sector jobs claimed, a mere 22,000 or 13.6% are goods-producing jobs, of which 15,000 or 68% are in construction The other 140,000 are service jobs.
Are these service jobs the promised high-pay "New Economy" jobs? No, but judge for yourself -- 14,800 are jobs in wholesale trade. Food and beverage stores accounted for 12,000 new jobs. The Federal Reserve accounted for 7,800 jobs in order to continue rigging every financial market, thus replacing capitalism with Federal Reserve Central Planning. Accounting and bookkeeping services (it is tax time) gave the economy a short-lived 15,700 jobs. There were 24,400 temporary help jobs. The old standby, education and health services, delivered 33,000 jobs. Leisure and hospitality produced 25,000 jobs of which 21,200 are waitresses and bartenders who live on tips.

This has been the jobs profile of the "world's only superpower" for the entirety of the 21st century. Washington, wallowing in its arrogance and hubris, is unconcerned with its economic base. Washington believes its own propaganda about the (non-existent) recovery and America's economic power.

Consequently, the ignorant and stupid American government is now challenging Russia with a strategic intervention in Russia's back yard.

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He is a contributing editor to Gerald Celente's Trends Journal. He has had numerous university appointments. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is available here:

Saturday, March 08, 2014

"According to a report in Kommersant-Ukraine, the finance ministry of Washington’s stooges in Kiev who are pretending to be a government has prepared an economic austerity plan that will cut Ukrainian pensions from $160 to $80 so that Western bankers who lent money to Ukraine can be repaid at the expense of Ukraine’s poor. It is Greece all over again."

The Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun

March 6, 2014 | Original Here                                              Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter

The Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun

Paul Craig Roberts

This supporter of the Ukraine joining the EU has received her reward: a 50% cut in her pension.

According to a report in Kommersant-Ukraine, the finance ministry of Washington’s stooges in Kiev who are pretending to be a government has prepared an economic austerity plan that will cut Ukrainian pensions from $160 to $80 so that Western bankers who lent money to Ukraine can be repaid at the expense of Ukraine’s poor. It is Greece all over again.

Before anything approaching stability and legitimacy has been obtained for the puppet government put in power by the Washington orchestrated coup against the legitimate, elected Ukraine government, the Western looters are already at work. Naive protesters who believed the propaganda that EU membership offered a better life are due to lose half of their pension by April. But this is only the beginning.

The corrupt Western media describes loans as “aid.” However, the 11 billion euros that the EU is offering Kiev is not aid. It is a loan. Moreover, it comes with many strings, including Kiev’s acceptance of an IMF austerity plan.

Remember now, gullible Ukrainians participated in the protests that were used to overthrow their elected government, because they believed the lies told to them by Washington-financed NGOs that once they joined the EU they would have streets paved with gold. Instead they are getting cuts in their pensions and an IMF austerity plan.

The austerity plan will cut social services, funds for education, layoff government workers, devalue the currency, thus raising the prices of imports which include Russian gas, thus electricity, and open Ukrainian assets to takeover by Western corporations.

Ukraine’s agriculture lands will pass into the hands of American agribusiness.

One part of the Washington/EU plan for Ukraine, or that part of Ukraine that doesn’t defect to Russia, has succeeded. What remains of the country will be thoroughly looted by the West.

The other part hasn’t worked as well. Washington’s Ukrainian stooges lost control of the protests to organized and armed ultra-nationalists. These groups, whose roots go back to those who fought for Hitler during World War 2, engaged in words and deeds that sent southern and eastern Ukraine clamoring to be returned to Russia where they resided prior to the 1950s when the Soviet communist party stuck them into Ukraine.

At this time of writing it looks like Crimea has seceded from Ukraine. Washington and its NATO puppets can do nothing but bluster and threaten sanctions. The White House Fool has demonstrated the impotence of the “US sole superpower” by issuing sanctions against unknown persons, whoever they are, responsible for returning Crimea to Russia, where it existed for about 200 years before, according to Solzhenitsyn, a drunk Khrushchev of Ukrainian ethnicity moved southern and eastern Russian provinces into Ukraine. Having observed the events in western Ukraine, those Russian provinces want to go back home where they belong, just as South Ossetia wanted nothing to do with Georgia.

Washington’s stooges in Kiev can do nothing about Crimea except bluster. Under the Russian-Ukraine agreement, Russia is permitted 25,000 troops in Crimea. The US/EU media’s deploring of a “Russian invasion of 16,000 troops” is either total ignorance or complicity in Washington’s lies. Obviously, the US/EU media is corrupt. Only a fool would rely on their reports. Any media that would believe anything Washington says after George W. Bush and Dick Cheney sent Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN to peddle the regime’s lies about “Iraqi weapons of mass destruction,” which the weapons inspectors had told the White House did not exist, is clearly a collection of bought-and-paid for whores.

In the former Russian provinces of eastern Ukraine, Putin’s low-key approach to the strategic threat that Washington has brought to Russia has given Washington a chance to hold on to a major industrial complex that serves the Russian economy and military. The people themselves in eastern Ukraine are in the streets demanding separation from the unelected government that Washington’s coup has imposed in Kiev. Washington, realizing that its incompetence has lost Crimea, had its Kiev stooges appoint Ukrainian oligarchs, against whom the Maiden protests were partly directed, to governing positions in eastern Ukraine cities. These oligarchs have their own private militias in addition to the police and any Ukrainian military units that are still functioning. The leaders of the protesting Russians are being arrested and disappeared. Washington and its EU puppets, who proclaim their support for self-determination, are only for self-determination when it can be orchestrated in their favor. Therefore, Washington is busy at work suppressing self-determination in eastern Ukraine.

This is a dilemma for Putin. His low-key approach has allowed Washington to seize the initiative in eastern Ukraine. The oligarchs Taruta and Kolomoyskiy have been put in power in Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk, and are carrying out arrests of Russians and committing unspeakable crimes, but you will never hear of it from the US presstitutes. Washington’s strategy is to arrest and deep-six the leaders of the secessionists so that there no authorities to request Putin’s intervention.

If Putin has drones, he has the option of taking out Taruta and Kolomoyskiy. If Putin lets Washington retain the Russian provinces of eastern Ukraine, he will have demonstrated a weakness that Washington will exploit. Washington will exploit the weakness to the point that Washington forces Putin to war.

The war will be nuclear.