David Cameron wants to bomb and “reconstruct” Syria with billions to enrich UK contractors

Global Research, December 05, 2015
The Canary 3 December 2015
rubble syria bombing us

David Cameron has announced that at least one billion pounds from UK taxpayers will go to fund the ‘reconstruction’ of Syria after it has been pummeled by British bombs. The lunacy of pledging to rob the public purse to repair the damage Cameron is so hell-bent on creating is breathtaking. That is until you examine who the plan makes sense for: Cameron’s much loved British companies.

On 26 November, Cameron made a statement on his proposals for bombing Syria to the House of Commons. In his statement he addressed the following:

The House is rightly also asking more questions about whether there will be a proper post conflict reconstruction effort to support a new Syrian government when it emerges, and Britain’s answer to that qusetion is absolutely yes. I can tell the House that Britain will be prepared to contribute at least another billion pounds for this task.

This is, of course, a direct insult to the British population, who have been forced to endure a crippling amount of cuts to public services in the name of ‘essential’ austerity. However, it is glaringly obvious by now that the Tory party’s austerity program is nothing more than an ideological instrument to re-order society.

 

Part of this ideology resides in bringing about a British business boom, and Cameron is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that happens. It is why corporation tax has been consistently lowered by his government – leading to companies loving these little isles as they pay next to nothing to trade here.

It’s also why Cameron sees opportunity in the tragedy of Syria. For all his fire and brimstone talk of destroying jihadi “monsters”, he is counting on benefits for the British contractors carrying out the extensive work necessary to rebuild Syria after RAF bombers, and those of numerous other countries, have decimated it.

There is a precedent for this: the Iraq war. Multiple companies profited from the illegal invasion of Iraq, many of them British. An article in Business Pundit details the most vicious of these profiteers, here’s a selection of the UK’s beneficiaries:

Aegis

A security and risk management company who landed a £250 million contract to coordinate all of Iraq’s private security operations, which led to them being rejected for membership of trade organisation International Peace Operations Association.

The bank bought a 70% controlling stake in Dar es Salaam Investment Bank, which had gathered $91 million worth of assets by 2008. Daesh (ISIS) is already known to have seized control of banks in the areas they maintain, which would open up a lucrative opportunity for western banks should they be defeated.

Erinys

A London-based private security company who landed a $90 million contract to secure Iraq’s oil fields. Daesh has huge reserves of oil that power it financially, and which would need protecting once wrestled from its control.

Armor Holdings

Not a UK-based company, but it was acquired by BAE Systems in 2007 – a subsidiary of BAE Systems plc, based in the UK. Armor Holdings provided military and personnel safety equipment for the Iraq war, and saw its profits increase by over 2,000% between 2001 and 2008.

Aside from the businesses set to reap the benefits of a Syria in ashes, there are those who will benefit from creating those ashes – namely defence companies. BAE Systems  is one of the military manufacturers that will see a rise in profits from any decision to continue along the western warpath. In fact, BAE announced this year that its profits were up £500 million in 2013, having gained contracts worth over £10bn from the US and UK governments for three consecutive years, according to the BBC.

That corporate behemoths like BAE Systems benefit from the ‘war on terror’ is no accident, and it’s a result Cameron is banking on. As investigative reporter James Risen lays out so well in his book Pay Any Price, many have recognised the opportunities this never-ending war has created, both in the battles abroad, and the enhanced security measures we find on our own doorsteps:

As trillions of dollars have poured into the nation’s new homeland security-industrial complex, the corporate leaders at its vanguard can rightly be considered the true winners of the war on terror.

The first step in tackling this, is to recognise it. If we face the true motivation of our government’s actions, we are able to challenge it.

Cameron’s claims about why he wants to bomb Syria have already been widely debunked, even by members of his own party. His position on who he is doing it for should also be challenged. It is not the Syrian people. They will undoubtedly suffer from further bombing. It is not UK citizens, who will see the threat of terrorism at home further increase. Is it these giant industries, with their lobbyists and political donations, that Cameron actually holds closest to his heart?

TTIP — Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership — negotiations fall apart following mass protest in EU

Global Research, October 06, 2015
TruePublica 5 October 2015

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron is accusing those who oppose the expansive trade deal with the United States of making up horror stories about the agreement in order to poison the pact.

That agreement is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and critics all along the political spectrum are exposing the enormous dangers of the deal — all without having to invent a single scary story.

Back in January the EU Commission published their response to the consultation on TTIP and it was found that 97% of the 150,000 responses opposed the trade deal. These respondents represented the general public. The biggest petition in the EU’s history was then presented that contained the signatures of 2 million citizens (now nearly 3 million) opposed to TTIP. Both were rejected as were proposals even for a simple hearing of the European Citizens Initiative.

Then in April this year, thousands of protestors took to the streets of cities all over Europe as unelected officials of the EU Commission continue to ignore the concerns of its citizens.

In June, fellow MEPs from many political parties who are also opposed to TTIP joined Ukip in standing, shouting, booing and clapping to show their dissatisfaction with proceedings. MEPs were due to set out their first formal position on TTIP since negotiations started two years ago and the meeting descended into chaos (video). The meeting was then stopped by the commissioners.

Meanwhile David Cameron has persistently attempted to call out those working to derail the deal. Cameron has accused critics of inventing false scare stories whilst urging business chiefs to help make the case to overcome sustained attacks from left-wing opponents and warned Britain would “rue the day if we miss this opportunity” to open up transatlantic markets.

Cameron, who (increasingly) seldom listens to the general public or elected members of parliament representing the electorate will no doubt use all his powers to get this deal though to redeem himself after being called incompetent by his own military generals and by the Obama administration over Syria.

In sharp comparison, both Paris and Berlin want the Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS) of TTIP removed from the transatlantic trade treaty currently being negotiated with Washington. This is a game changer.

Matthias Fekl, the French Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, told EurActiv France that he would “never allow private tribunals in the pay of multinational companies to dictate the policies of sovereign states, particularly in certain domains like health and the environment”.

That was back in January. Nine months later and France has now reinforced that message and gone one big step forward.

In an interview with Sud-Ouest, Matthias Fekl threatened to “call a complete halt” to the TTIP negotiations if things do not change. EurActiv France reports. America has shown no desire to change any of the major issues that have been challenged.

Fekl told the French newspaper that he believes the “total lack of transparency” in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations poses a “democratic problem”.

Fekl, the Minister of State for Foreign Trade called on the United States to show “reciprocity” in the negotiations. “American members of parliament have access to a much higher number of documents than we do in Europe,” he said.

The German people are now taking a stand and now it is being reported in the USA that sentiment is going against the deal – “It is entirely possible that the U.S. could seek to conclude the deal in the next few years only to find that European governments are unwilling to risk the ire of their voters”.

Matthias Fekl, explained that, ever since the negotiations began in 2013, “These negotiations have been and are being conducted in a total lack of transparency,” and that France has, as of yet, received “no serious offer from the Americans.”

The reasons for this stunning public rejection had probably already been accurately listed more than a year ago. Jean Arthuis, a member of the European Parliament, and formerly France’s Minister of Economy and Finance, headlined in Le Figaro, on 10 April 2014, “7 good reasons to oppose the transatlantic treaty”. There is no indication that the situation has changed since then, as regards the basic demands that President Obama is making. Arthuis said at that time, that he was opposed to;

  1. Private arbitration of disputes between States and businesses. Such a procedure is strictly contrary to the idea that I have of the      sovereignty of States. …
  2. Any questioning of the European system of appellations of origin. According to the US proposal, there would be a non-binding register, and only for wines and spirits. Such a reform would kill many European local products, whose value is based on their certified origin.
  3. Signing of an agreement with a power that legalizes widespread and systematic spying on my fellow European citizens and European businesses. As long as the agreement does not protect the personal data of European and US citizens, it cannot be signed.
  4. Allowing the United States proposal of a transatlantic common financial space, who adamantly refuse a common regulation of finance, and they refuse to abolish systematic discrimination by the US financial markets against European financial services.
  5. The questioning of European health protections. We do not want our animals treated with growth hormones nor products derived from GMOs, or chemical decontamination of meat, or of genetically modified seeds or non-therapeutic antibiotics in animal feed.
  6. The signing of an agreement if it does not include the end of the US monetary dumping. Since the abolition of the gold convertibility of the dollar and the transition to the system of floating exchange rates, the dollar is both American national currency and the main unit for exchange reserves in the world. The Federal Reserve then continually practices monetary dumping, by influencing the amount of dollars available to facilitate exports from the United States. As things now stand, America’s monetary weapon has the same effect as customs duties against every other nation. [And he will not sign unless it’s removed.]
  7. Allow the emerging digital services in Europe to be swept up by US giants such as Google, Amazon or Netflix. They’re giant absolute masters in tax optimization, which make Europe a “digital colony.”

France is now considering “all options including an outright termination of negotiations” says France’s Trade Minister.

Concern over the impact of TTIP has united disparate groups from French farmers to German constitutional lawyers and politicians on the left and right.

50,000 demonstrators are expected to gather in front of Berlin’s central train station on October 10th to protest both the TTIP and a similar deal between the EU and Canada, known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). That event is part of the week-long International Days of Action against corporate-friendly trade deals. Two thirds of Germans are now opposed to the deal, hence the expected strong turn-out.

The European public, already heavily opposed to TTIP also oppose America’s bombings of Middle Eastern countries, which have forced hundreds of thousands of refugees into Europe. European leaders are being compelled to question their relationship and alliance with the United States.

David Cameron, already in breach of basic democratic principles back in Britain by sending special forces ground troops and RAF bombing missions in Syria is of course used to supporting the dismantling of democracy, no matter whether at home or abroad.

Universally ignored by almost all media outlets in every western country, including Britain, whose governments has called for Assad to go was a respectable YouGov report that concluded some 55% of Syrians wanted Assad to stay.  Cameron had one third less of the electorate supporting him at the last election than Assad had of his people.

The result of America’s constant pressure and bullying of its european ‘allies’ to get involved in the bombing of countries where millions of refugees are expected in the year ahead, is that the european people are, in greater numbers, questioning the rationality of their elected leaders. This has only added to EU citizens suspicions over secret trade deals such as TTIP with America and is not only empowering them but forcing their own leaders to rethink the order of importance.

America seems to have forgotten Europe’s own pressures. Between the economic crisis that has rumbled on since 2008, the threat of a “Grexit” earlier in the summer, security concerns and the rise of terrorism and now the humanitarian crisis unfolding on Europe’s borders with the arrival of so many refugees, the political unity of Europe is at stake. There is a clear inability by politicians to unite on major challenges that may well pull the EU apart, say politicians – TTIP is no longer an imperative on the agenda.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/transatlantic-trade-and-investment-partnership-ttip-negotiations-fall-apart-following-mass-protest-in-the-eu/5479985

France moves to make “conspiracy theories” illegal by government decree

Posted on Global Research
Originally from 21st Century Wire, March 19, 2015

Political elites and super-bureaucrats are worried. It’s becoming harder to control consensus reality. 

A history stitched together by lies and cover-ups, political assassinations, slight-of-hand false flag deceptions, secret societies, dual loyalties and stolen fortunes – this has been the exclusive privilege of organized crime and the ruling elite for centuries.

Putting aside history’s ‘big ticket’ items though, the real reason for this authoritarian trend is much more fundamental. By knocking out their intellectual competition, political elites and their media moguls hope to minimalize, and thus eliminate any alternative analysis and opinion by applying the completely open-ended and arbitrary label of “extremist” to speech. They want to wind back the clock, where a pre-internet, monolithic corporate media cartel held a monopoly on ideas.

Although France has taken the lead in this inter-governmental effort (see below), the preliminary assault began this past fall with British Prime Minster David Cameron publicly announcing on two separate occasions, that all of these so-called ‘conspiracy theories’ (anything which challenges the official orthodoxy) should be deemed as “extremist” and equivalent to “terrorist” and should be purged from society on the grounds of ‘national security’. The first came with Cameron’s warped speech at the UN, and afterwards, a similar charge was made by the UK leader against anyone who dares press the issue of institutional paedophilia and child abuse.

Watch this UN speech by Cameron where he clearly claims that ‘conspiracy theorists’ are the ‘root cause’ and indeed, an equal threat to national security as ISIS terrorists currently running amok in Syria and Iraq (start 4:26)…

As yet, few are aware of how in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, French Prime Minster, Francois Hollande delivered an official declaration (see full report and text from his speech below). However, Hollande takes it beyond the usual hyperbole and focuses on giving the state an administrative and legal foothold for policing both speech and thought crimes in France. If this can be accomplished in France, then a European roll-out would soon follow.

Ironically, in order to achieve this fascist leap forward, Hollande has equated “conspiracy theories” to Nazism, and is calling for government regulations to prevent any sharing or publishing of any views deemed as ‘dangerous thought’ by the state. Specifically, Hollande is citing “Anti-Semitism” and also anything which could inspire ‘acts terrorism’ – as the chief vehicles for what the state will be designating as ‘dangerous thoughts’. With the thumb of Hebdo still pressing down, this may just sound like politics writ large by the French leader, but in reality it’s full-blown fascism.

Worse yet, with all of the world leaders gathered togther in Paris in January supposedly marching solidarity for ‘free speech’ and proudly chanting “Je Suis Charlie” (image above), that Hollande would use this as political cover to restrict free speech in Europe should shock even.

RINF reports how the new censorship regime has already been implemented this week:

“Earlier this week, the Interior Minister of France — with no court review or adversarial process — ordered five websites to not only be blocked in France, but that anyone who visits any of the sites get redirected to a scary looking government website, saying:

While it could be argued that the four websites initially listed by the government for ‘blocking’ were exclusively for ISIS/ISIL-related activity and thus, should be kept hidden, the government has made no caveat in its reams of policy literature, other than some vague language as to what it defines as ‘extremist’, as to where this growing list will stop, or indeed, if it has any limits at all. Because this process is extrajudicial, then there will be no warning to gov’t targets of this new regime. In fact, as RINF reports, this has already happened:

“In that first batch was a site called “islamic-news.info.” The owner of that site not only notes that he was never first contacted to “remove” whatever material was deemed terrorist supporting (as required by the law), but that nothing in what he had posted was supporting terrorism.”

Will French gov’t censors also block this website – because it is challenging the government’s new public filtering program? Are we entering a new intolerant, Chinese-style policing culture in Europe, and throughout the west? Certainly they have the ability and the legal clearance to do just that right now.

Fear of losing control over manipulative narratives has always been a primary obsession with those in power, and clearly, based on what we’ve seen here – governments are making an aggressive move on free speech now. Skeptics will no doubt argue that this 21WIRE article itself constitutes a conspiracy theory. If that was the case, then why have western governments, particularly those in the US and Britain, already spent millions, if not billions in state funds in order to infiltrate, disrupt, and occupy forum websites, and social networking groups of so-called ‘conspiracy theorist and even creating entirely new groups just to contradict them? Does that not already prove what the government modus operandi is?

As if that wasn’t enough already, now France wants to take it to a whole new authoritarian level. It may sound ridiculous, but this is exactly what is taking place in government as we speak.

History shows that once this new regime is in place, they will not relinquish any new powers of censorship, and so a long, intellectual dark age is certain to follow…

http://21stcenturywire.com/2015/03/19/france-moves-to-make-conspiracy-theories-illegal-by-government-decree/

http://www.globalresearch.ca/france-moves-to-make-conspiracy-theories-illegal-by-government-decree/5438970

US deploying troops this week to train Ukrainian National Guard; UK also sending soldiers

Senator McCain, whose armed forces are in Ukraine?

From Sputnik News, March 3, 2015

US 173rd Airborne Brigade Commander Michael Foster said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC said the US would deploy personnel by the end of this week to train the Ukrainian national guard.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States will deploy personnel by the end of this week to train the Ukrainian national guard, US 173rd Airborne Brigade Commander Colonel Michael Foster said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC on Monday.“Before this week is up, we’ll be deploying a battalion minus… to the Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces for the fight that’s taking place,” Foster stated. “What we’ve got laid out is six United States companies that will be training six Ukrainian companies throughout the summer.”

The training will take place at the level of US and Ukrainian national guard companies, Foster explained, adding that “we have nothing above battalion staff level” engaged in the military training.

The current plan is for US forces to stay six months, he said, and noted there have been discussions about how to increase the duration and the scope of the training mission.The current channels for military training set up between Ukraine and the United States would not be used for transferring defensive lethal aid if the United States decided to provide arms to Ukraine, Foster told Sputnik on Monday.

“It would go through something separate… We would not funnel the lethal aid or arms through that [training] event, we would use a secondary method for that,” Foster said, adding that a completely separate process is preferable.

The United States and NATO have been engaged in military training exercises with Ukraine since the fall of 2014, according to NATO press releases.

United Kingdom’s (UK) Prime Minister David Cameron announced last week that the UK will also be sending military advisors to Ukraine.

http://sputniknews.com/military/20150303/1018973141.html

BBC reports RAF jets scrambled after Russian bombers seen off Cornwall

The map below of just some of the “threatened” countries tells all. Just where is NATO parking its troops, headquarters, and equipment, and conducting exercises? Who is threatening who? Exactly how does President Putin pose a “real and present danger”?

“Ukraine is thus seen as a manifestation of a much broader policy shift on the part of the Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

“Mr Fallon’s belief that there is indeed a potential threat to Nato territory – in particular the Baltic Republics – is widely shared.”

That’s horrifying. Leaders must base their actions on facts, not beliefs, not ancestral prejudices, not what’s good for the ruling class. Unfortunately for the peace of the world, British, American, and European “beliefs” are driving all of us to war against Russia. And not just for the stated reasons of “threats”. Until Western leaders start living in a fact-based world, with a desire to serve the people of their countries, with a belief system reflective of reality and a value system that includes living together in harmony, we face mutual annihilation.

The BBC’s reporting and analysis are deplorable.

From the BBC, February 19, 2015

Mr Cameron says the incident should not be dignified with a response

RAF jets were scrambled on Wednesday after two Russian military aircraft were seen off the Cornwall coast, the Ministry of Defence has said.

The Russian Bear bombers did not enter sovereign airspace, it said.

On the same day, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon warned that Russia’s President Putin posed a “real and present danger” to three Baltic states.

Map, BBC

Prime Minister David Cameron said the Russian action should not be dignified with “too much of a response”.

He added: “I think what this episode demonstrates is that we do have the fast jets, the pilots, the systems in place to protect the UK.

“I suspect the Russians were trying to make some sort of a point.”

BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins said the appearance of Russian aircraft near the UK coast was a show of strength from the Russians, and such incidents were carried out with political intent because they would be reported on.

Our correspondent said it was part of a trend which had seen Russian aircraft flying close to UK airspace and there had also been concern about similar incidents in Europe.

Russian bomber, BBC

The two Russian Bear bombers were “escorted” by RAF jets, the MoD says (file photo)

It comes amid increased concerns over Russian involvement in the conflict in Ukraine and suggestions of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s potential future interference in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

A ceasefire deal between government and pro-Russian rebel separatists in Ukraine was reached a week ago.

But battles around the strategic town of Debaltseve have seen the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops, while there was shelling in several places in eastern Ukraine, including the region’s biggest city, Donetsk, on Thursday.

‘New’ Cold War

Russia has denied helping the separatists, but it has been accused repeatedly of sending weapons and troops and using propaganda to inflame tensions.

And Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin has labelled Ukraine’s call for the deployment of UN peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine as a destructive move.

Mr Cameron has said rebels in eastern Ukraine are using Russian military hardware, and that Mr Putin must understand there would be “economic and financial consequences for many years to come” if he did not change his behaviour.

Speaking to journalists from the Times and Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, Mr Fallon said the increase in Russian defence spending was “clearly worrying” and that he was also “worried about Putin”.

“They are modernising their conventional forces, they are modernising their nuclear forces and they are testing Nato, so we need to respond.”

Mr Fallon also said the prospect of a new Cold War was “warming up”.

“You have tanks and armour rolling across the Ukrainian border and you have an Estonian border guard who has been captured and not yet still returned.”

Vladimir Chizhov, the Russian Ambassador to the EU: ”I entirely reject accusations that Russia is responsible for the destabilisation of Ukraine”

Previous incidents

He also said Russia was likely to use covert tactics such as those he said it had used to annex Crimea and during the current Ukraine conflict.

Mr Putin had also flown two other bombers “down the English Channel two weeks ago”, Mr Fallon added.

“We had to scramble jets very quickly to see them off.

“It’s the first time since the height of the Cold War, it’s the first time that’s happened.”

A French Air Force Mirage filmed from a Russian bomber during a recent encroachment on western European airspace. Pictures from Russian TV Zvedza

Analysis

Jonathan Marcus, BBC defence and diplomatic correspondent

The comments from Defence Secretary Michael Fallon are an indication of a fundamental shift in the Nato perception of the crisis in Ukraine.

Nato governments clearly believe that what began as a localised Ukraine problem that strained ties with Moscow has now become a Russia problem, and a Russia problem that is likely to persist for some time.

Ukraine is thus seen as a manifestation of a much broader policy shift on the part of the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Fallon’s belief that there is indeed a potential threat to Nato territory – in particular the Baltic Republics – is widely shared; hence Nato’s desire to underline in the most emphatic terms that its security guarantees to its members will be honoured in full.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Mr Fallon’s comments went “beyond diplomatic ethics” and used “unacceptable terminology”.

He also said Russia would “find a way to respond”.

According to the Department for Transport, there was no record of disruption to civil aviation as a result of the bombers’ presence on Wednesday.

The MoD said: “RAF Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighter aircraft were launched [on Wednesday] after Russian aircraft were identified flying close to UK airspace.

“The Russian planes were escorted by the RAF until they were out of the UK area of interest. At no time did the Russian military aircraft cross into UK sovereign airspace.”

A similar incident occurred in January, when the UK Foreign Office said two Russian Tu-95 Bear H bombers flying near UK airspace had caused “disruption to civil aviation” and were also escorted by RAF jets while near UK airspace.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the latest incident “shows that we are of course living in a time of heightened tension with Russia… and we should remain vigilant at all times”.

 

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-31530840

Washington wastes no time to sabotage Minsk

By Finian Cunningham
Posted on Strategic Culture Foundation, February 14, 2015

With their noses out of joint and egos bruised, the United States and its European lieutenants immediately got to work to undermine the Minsk ceasefire deal by twisting the terms of the accord and seeking to frame Russia for its imminent failure.

A Washington Post headline set the pace with this headline hours after the Minsk negotiations wrapped up in the Belarus capital. ‘Putin announces ceasefire with Ukraine,’ declared the Post, mendaciously implicating Russia as a protagonist in the year-old conflict, which, it is inferred, is now suing for a peace settlement.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, along with trusty British and Polish allies, warned Russia of more sanctions if the Minsk truce was not «fully implemented».

«The United States is prepared to consider rolling back sanctions on Russia when the Minsk agreements of September 2014, and now this agreement, are fully implemented,» Kerry said in a statement.

In other words, Washington is still peddling the hoary narrative that Moscow is an aggressor and is to blame for the conflict. Rolling back sanctions «when» Minsk is «fully implemented» is the US giving itself a licence to covertly sabotage the ceasefire at every turn and to maintain its unwarranted sanctions on Russia, as well as following up on promised supply of weapons to the Kiev regime.

There seems little doubt that the Americans are reeling from the diplomatic coup that Russian President Vladimir Putin pulled off in Minsk this week, along with German and French leaders, Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande.

Amid threats from the US last week that it was going to flood Ukraine with more heavy weapons, Putin and his European counterparts managed to broker a ceasefire to the conflict after marathon 17-hour negotiations. The truce is to be implemented this weekend and, it has to be said, constitutes only a slim prospect of bringing the civil war in Ukraine to a halt. It is fraught with many thorny issues, such as withdrawal of fighting units on both sides and the accepted definition of a demarcation line. The autonomous status of the separatist Donbas region is also far from clear, or whether Kiev is prepared to follow up with mutual negotiations with the breakaway ethnic Russian population.

Nevertheless, the mere agreement, in principle, by the Kiev regime and the pro-separatist rebels of the eastern Ukrainian region is a welcome chance for a cessation in violence that has cost nearly 5,500 lives and more than one million refugees. That Putin, along with Merkel and Hollande, managed to achieve this tentative breakthrough is something of a feat in diplomatic skills and commitment. The development also tends to negate the official Western narrative that purports to paint Russia as an aggressor and threat to European peace.

The Minsk deal properly frames the conflict as a civil war between the Kiev regime and the Donbas separatists, which Russia is trying to dampen by acting as a facilitator of negotiations between the warring sides.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was on the mark when he said after the Minsk talks that Russia is a guarantor of the peace deal, not a party obliged to fulfil its implementation. He reiterated that Moscow is not a participant in the conflict, as Western media have, and continue, to assert.

«Russia is the country that was called by the parties of the conflict,» said Peskov. «This is the country that called on the parties of the conflict to sign a complex of measures to fulfil the Minsk agreements. But Russia is not one of the parties to fulfil these measures. This is the country that is acting as the guarantor, that comes forward with a call, but, obviously, it’s not a party that needs to take any actions for [the fulfilment]. We simply can’t do this physically because Russia is not a participant in the conflict,» added the Kremlin spokesman.

It was left to the British premier David Cameron and the ex-Polish president Donald Tusk to undermine the latest Minsk chance for peace by casting aspersions on Russia and re-framing the conflict as one of external aggression on Ukraine.

Cameron talked, with typical British haughtiness, of Putin needing to change his behaviour, while Tusk added to the narrative of demonising the Russian leader by insinuating that he is not trustworthy.

Cameron, speaking at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, said: «If this is a genuine ceasefire, then of course that would be welcome. But what matters most of all is actually actions on the ground rather than just words on a piece of paper. I think we should be very clear that Putin needs to know that unless his behaviour changes, the sanctions we have in place won’t be altered.»

Tusk, who is now the European Council President, said: «If [the Minsk agreement] does not happen we will not hesitate to take the necessary steps. Our trust in the goodwill of President Putin is limited. This is why we have to maintain our decision on sanctions.»

Given that the Western-backed Kiev regime has serially violated past ceasefires, which led to the latest escalation of violence, it would be naive to expect that the latest peace bid will be honoured. The Kiev junta has been emboldened to prosecute its criminal war against the Donbas population because of the unswerving political, financial and military support that Washington has indulged. Massive, systematic war crimes by Kiev have been whitewashed and absolved by Washington with spurious, unfounded claims of «Russian aggression».

This is because the US-backed regime-change operation in Ukraine that brought the Kiev junta to power last February is fundamentally predicated on Washington’s long-term objective of destabilising Russia. That is why the prospects of a ceasefire being implemented are something of an oxymoron. A peace settlement in Ukraine would only be an impediment to Washington’s geopolitical objective of undermining Russia.

The criminal regime in Kiev has become something of a specialist in committing false flag terrorist atrocities, which it and its Western sponsors then duly attribute to «Russian-backed rebels». The massacre in Donetsk on January 21, in Mariupol on January 24, and this week in Kramatorsk, in which up to 17 people were killed from Smerch rockets, have all the hallmarks of false-flag operations perpetrated by the US-backed, trained and equipped Kiev regime forces.

In the Kramatorsk incident, on the eve of the Minsk summit, the Kiev regime claimed that the Smerch rockets were fired from separatist-held Gorlovka, which is 80 kilometres away, and the outer limit of the munition’s range. The separatists denied the attack, saying that they do not target civilian areas. Hours after the massacre, Kiev President Petro Poroshenko arrived in Kramatorsk for photo-opportunities with victims lying on hospital beds. That Poroshenko would hurry to a town that is under fire is doubtful if the rebel threat was real. Also speaking as if from a script, he said: «It is savages who use cluster bombs against civilians. It is a crime against humanity when civilians are killed by Russian weapons in their homes.»

The next day, the «outraged» Poroshenko was in Minsk warmly shaking hands with Putin. So much for Russia war crimes.

To say that the latest ceasefire will be easily sabotaged is an understatement, given the past conduct of the Kiev regime. All it has to do is to keep fighting and committing crimes and that will be «evidence» of Russia not implementing Minsk. That will then allow Washington and its dutiful British and Polish allies, along with the obliging Western news media propagandists, to blame Russia for the failure in «fully implementing» the ceasefire. More American weapons can then be funnelled into Ukraine and more sanctions ratcheted up.

Russian President Vladimir Putin deserves huge credit for showing statesmanlike leadership over the Ukraine crisis. The trouble is that the Americans are playing a very different and dirty game in which there are no rules to abide by.

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2015/02/14/washington-wastes-no-time-to-sabotage-minsk.html

 

U.S. torture report exposes European powers’ involvement in CIA crimes

From World Socialist Web Site, December 12, 2014
By Alex Lantier
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/12/12/euto-d12.html

The publication of the US Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture has exposed the European powers’ complicity in ghastly crimes of US intelligence. Even though European states’ complicity in CIA torture and rendition operations has been documented for nearly a decade, no European officials have been held accountable.

In 2005, the Council of Europe tasked former Swiss prosecutor Dick Marty with preparing a report on secret CIA prisons in Europe. He released two reports, in 2006 and 2007, documenting the complicity of dozens of European states in setting up facilities for illegal CIA rendition and torture. The states involved included Britain, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Austria, the Czech Republic, Croatia and Albania.

The existence of approximately 1,000 CIA flights and of secret prisons in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Bucharest (Romania), Antavilas (Lithuania), and Stare Kiejkuty (Poland) has since been confirmed.

Nonetheless, after the US Senate recognized CIA use of the grisliest forms of torture—including murder, sexual assault, sleep deprivation and forcing inmates to stand on broken limbs—officials across Europe reacted by insisting that they should enjoy immunity.

Top officials of the Polish government, which is appealing a July ruling against it over its role in CIA torture by the European Court on Human Rights, denounced the report. “Certain secrets should stay that way,” said Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak.

Polish prosecutors have been investigating the case for six years, including a two-year investigation of former Polish intelligence chief Zbigniew Siemiatkowski, without bringing any charges. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks, was waterboarded as soon as he arrived at Stare Kiejkuty. One medical officer there noted: “We are basically doing a series of near-drownings.”

Other detainees at Stare Kiejkuty, which housed Saudi, Algerian and Yemeni detainees, were subjected to mock executions with a power drill while standing hooded and naked.

Former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski lamely claimed that CIA officials did not explain how they planned to use their secret prisons in Poland. “It was a question as we saw it only of creating secret sites,” he said, adding that he closed down the facility in 2003 because “the Americans’ secret activities began to worry” Polish authorities.

Lithuanian officials confirmed that the black site named “detention center Violet” by the US Senate report appears to be the Lithuanian detention center near the capital, Vilnius, identified in a 2009-2010 parliamentary investigation. Lawmaker Arvydas Anusauskas told Reuters, “The US Senate report, to me, makes a convincing case that prisoners were indeed held at the Lithuanian site.”

Abu Zubaydah, a Saudi detainee now kept at Guantanamo Bay, has stated that he was kept and tortured at the site. Washington paid the Lithuanian government $1 million to “show appreciation” for operating the prison, according to the US Senate report, though the funds were reportedly paid out through “complex mechanisms.”

Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius has asked Washington to confirm whether or not the CIA tortured prisoners at its secret prisons in Lithuania.

British Prime Minister David Cameron dismissed the issue of torture and Britain’s role in rendition flights to countries including Libya, saying that it had been “dealt with from a British perspective.” He told the public to trust British intelligence to police itself, as official investigations had “produced a series of questions that the intelligence and security community will look at … I’m satisfied that our system is dealing with all of these issues.”

In fact, the CIA torture report has revealed the advanced state of collapse of democratic forms of rule not only in the United States, but also in Europe. What has emerged across Europe since the September 11 attacks is the framework of a police state far more technically powerful than even the most ruthless dictatorships of twentieth-century Europe. The methods deployed as part of the “war on terror” will also be used against opposition in the working class to unpopular policies of austerity and war.

European governments participate in the digital spying on telecommunications and Internet activities of the European population, carried out by the US National Security Agency and its local counterparts, as revealed by Edward Snowden. They also are planning joint repression of social protests, based on talks between German federal police, France’s Gendarmerie, and other security forces with the European Commission.

“During my investigation, people called me a traitor and said I was making things up,” Marty told the Tribune de Genève. “The Europeans disappointed me. Germany, the United Kingdom, and many others blocked the establishment of the truth. In fact, most European countries actively participated in a system that legitimated large-scale state crimes.”

“I think we must recall, and it is very important, that this operation, this anti-terrorist policy, was decided and carried out under the aegis of NATO,” Marty told Swiss television channel RTS.

“The United States invoked Article 5 of the NATO Charter, which says that if one member of the alliance is attacked militarily [e.g., as Washington claimed, on September 11], all NATO members are required to come to its aid,” Marty said. Once this was accepted, he added, “there were a whole series of secret accords between the United States and European powers. And all the European countries pledged to grant total immunity to CIA agents, which is manifestly illegal.”

The European powers’ participation in the CIA torture program underscores the utter hypocrisy of the humanitarian pretensions used to justify operations ranging from NATO wars in Syria and Libya to this February’s NATO-backed, fascist-led putsch in Ukraine.

The ferocious opposition of the European ruling elites to attempts to bring this criminality to light is the clearest indication that the democratic rights of the population cannot be secured by appeals to any section of the state. The defense of the population’s democratic and social rights is a question of the revolutionary mobilization of the working class in an international struggle against European capitalism.

Re-posted at

http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-torture-report-exposes-european-powers-involvement-in-cia-crimes/5419480