Category Archives: News & Views

Ukraine adopts military reservist law amid Russia tensions

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has signed a law allowing to call up reservists for military service without announcing a mobilization, his office said Wednesday.

The move comes amid a massive Russian troop buildup near Ukrainian borders and a flareup of cease-fire violations in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian forces have been fighting Russia-backed separatists since 2014.

The new law, passed by Ukraine’s parliament in late March, will allow the country to “quickly equip the military units of all state defense forces with reservists, thereby significantly increasing their combat effectiveness during military aggression,” Zelenskyy’s office said in a statement.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Tuesday that the Russian buildup across the border is continuing and is “expected to reach a combined force of over 120,000 troops” in about a week and urged the West to beef up sanctions against Moscow by targeting entire sectors of the Russian economy.

Moscow has rejected Ukrainian and Western concerns about the buildup, arguing that it’s free to deploy its forces and stressing that they don’t threaten anyone. At the same time, the Kremlin has warned Ukrainian authorities against trying to use force to retake control of the rebel east, saying that Russia could be forced to intervene to protect civilians in the region.

https://news.yahoo.com/ukraine-adopts-military-reservist-law-160654696.html

EXPLAINER: Were Russian spies behind Czech arms depot explosions in 2014?

On April 17, the Czech Republic expelled 18 Russian diplomats it identified as spies with Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and General Directorate of the Armed Forces (GRU).

The Czech foreign affairs and interior ministries said they found evidence that Russian operatives were behind a 2014 explosion at an ammunition depot in the town of Vrbetice, which killed two people.

https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/explainer-were-russian-spies-behind-czech-arms-depot-explosions-in-2014.html

Russia deploys 50 fighter jets to annexed Crimea

Russia has moved more than 50 fighter jets from Stavropol to the annexed Crimea, TASS reports with reference to the press service of the Southern Military District of the Russian Federation.

The crews of the Su-25SM3 aviation unit of the 4th Air Force and Air Defense Army of the Southern Military District, stationed in Stavropol, are relocated to the military airfields in Crimea.

At the same time, the Su-25SM3 Squadron stationed in Crimea was relocated to the Ashuluk test site in the Astrakhan region of the Russian Federation.

“During flight tactical exercises, crews of Su-27SM, Su-30SM and Su-24M, Su-25SM3 and Su-34 bombers will carry out missile launches and bombings of naval targets,” the statement reads.

http://uawire.org/russia-deploys-50-fighter-jets-to-annexed-crimea

Russia closes Kerch Strait to Ukraine

Russia has announced the that it is closing the Kerch Strait for warships of Ukraine and other countries during its military exercises, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

According to Kyiv, the decision comes into force from next week and will be in effect until October. It extends to parts of the Black Sea adjacent to the Kerch Strait.

“Such actions of the Russian Federation are yet another violation of the norms and principles of international law. They are intended to usurp the sovereign rights of Ukraine as a coastal state. It is Ukraine that has the right to regulate navigation in these areas of the Black Sea,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Kyiv believes that in this way Russia provokes not only on land, but also at sea. Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called on the international community to increase pressure on the Kremlin.

A day earlier, an incident between Ukrainian and Russian border guards occured near the Kerch Strait.

According to the press center of the Ukrainian Navy, Russian FSB boats tried to block way for several Ukrainian boats on combat duty.

http://uawire.org/russia-closes-kerch-strait-to-ukraine

The Communist Roots of the Sackler Dynasty

The Sackler Family’s Dynasty of Guilt

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, by Patrick Radden Keefe (Doubleday: 2021), 560 pages.

It hasn’t been easy to get to the bottom of the Sackler story. From the beginning, the family hid its business dealings in a tangle of subsidiaries. When reporter Barry Meier blew open the story of OxyContin in 2003 with his book Pain Killer: A Wonder Drug’s Trail of Addiction and Death, the Sacklers convinced his employers at the New York Times to ban him from writing about opioids over a contrived conflict of interest. Depositions have been sealed, whistleblowers intimidated, critics bought off, publications threatened with lawsuits.

Patrick Radden Keefe got the full Sackler treatment when he published his blockbuster article “The Family That Built an Empire of Pain” in the New Yorker in 2017, which launched the trend of taking the Sackler name off various endowed buildings, galleries, and professorships. Their lawyer fired off dozens of letters to Keefe’s editors alleging factual errors and threatening to sue Keefe if he proceeded with this book project. Some unknown party even sent a mysterious man in an SUV to stake out Keefe’s house. These attempts at intimidation failed, and we now have the book, Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty.

. . . .

His advertising firm came to the attention of the FBI during the McCarthy era. Sackler had a habit of hiring refugees, immigrants, and blacklisted journalists who had been fired from other jobs for their political connections. The result, Keefe says, was a radical atmosphere around the office. “On one occasion, a Swedish designer, who was a communist, made a scene by starting a small fire in the office and burning some of the firm’s own advertisements, to indicate his distaste for such ‘capitalist trash.’” According to one coworker, “We all thought it was hilarious.”

The FBI might have been onto something. It was not until the FBI files were FOIA’d by Keefe and other researchers that it became publicly known that at least one Sackler brother, and possibly all three, were Communist Party members. Raymond and his wife Beverly Feldman cared enough to transfer their membership to the Boston chapter when they moved there in 1944 and then back again to New York when they relocated. Arthur was close friends with millionaire Soviet spies Alfred Stern and Martha Dodd. One veteran Daily Worker journalist who worked for Arthur told a researcher in 1991 that, as he understood it, “all three Sacklers had been party members early on.”

My alma mater, Stanford University, published study about effectiveness of masks

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7680614/

Conclusion

The existing scientific evidences challenge the safety and efficacy of wearing facemask as preventive intervention for COVID-19. The data suggest that both medical and non-medical facemasks are ineffective to block human-to-human transmission of viral and infectious disease such SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, supporting against the usage of facemasks. Wearing facemasks has been demonstrated to have substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects. These include hypoxia, hypercapnia, shortness of breath, increased acidity and toxicity, activation of fear and stress response, rise in stress hormones, immunosuppression, fatigue, headaches, decline in cognitive performance, predisposition for viral and infectious illnesses, chronic stress, anxiety and depression. Long-term consequences of wearing facemask can cause health deterioration, developing and progression of chronic diseases and premature death. Governments, policy makers and health organizations should utilize prosper and scientific evidence-based approach with respect to wearing facemasks, when the latter is considered as preventive intervention for public health.

U.S. General Hodges: deployment of Russian troops to Donbas is only a distraction, the Kremlin is preparing a different attack

He drew attention to the fact that the transfer of Russian military equipment and soldiers is accompanied by a stream of disinformation from the Kremlin.

“The speaker of the Russian Foreign Ministry, who we call among ourselves “Moscow Masha”, says that the escalation was caused by the buildup of NATO and Ukrainian Armed Forces in the region. In reality, the opposite is true. And that’s the problem,” the general said.

Hodges believes that there is not threat of Russian invasion of the Donbas. According to him, Moscow has other goals, which are not less bloody.

“The Russians do not need a decisive attack on the Donbas now. The Donbas is needed to continue destabilization in the region and to inhibit Ukraine’s integration with the West. The goal of the Russian Federation is to keep the situation in the region in a state of chaos,” Hodges said.

In his opinion, the South of Ukraine is a higher priority for Russia. Moscow, according to the general, plans to cut off Ukraine from the Black Sea.

“The Kremlin is interested in establishing full control over the Black Sea coast, including Mariupol, Odessa and Berdyansk. All this movement of Russian forces is most likely a diversionary maneuver to strike and capture the water canal connecting Crimea to the Dnieper River. And then, it will become a springboard for further capture of the Black Sea coast,” the U.S. general said.

He specified that Moscow may use the Georgian scenario for the new aggression. The Kremlin will resort to a provocation that will allow it to accuse Ukraine of aggression and give it a pretext for the attack.

https://www.uawire.org/u-s-general-hodges-deployment-of-russian-troops-to-donbas-is-only-a-distraction-the-kremlin-is-preparing-a-different-attack

Why is Putin Escalating? (various perspectives)

The Kremlin claims its military escalation is owing to a March 24 presidential decree by Zelensky that outlines a military strategy to retake Crimea.

I think that is merely a smokescreen and a false pretext. Putin knows that Ukraine is incapable of anything like this.

I think there are two real reasons:

(1) In February, the Ukrainian government imposed sanctions against Viktor Medvedchuk, Putin’s righthand man in Ukraine, and his three television news networks. These news networks were very effective in convincing Zelensky’s supporters to abandon his party to support the pro-Putin political party. And I was predicting at Concorde Capital (I left in January) that Medvedchuk and his party were on the path to retaking the parliament or the cabinet with enough time (because Medvedchuk was so effective in peeling off Zelensky’s supporters, most of whom voted for him to end the war in Donbas).

Without these three television networks, Medvedchuk and his party are severely crippled in retaking power. And the Kremlin understood this and was rather irate with Zelensky, who is a 100% puppet of the IMF (now that he has been cut off from his pimp Kolomoisky). And with the February sanctions, the Kremlin understands that it can never retake Ukraine through democratic means with its mass media outlets being censored. And the only means of taking Ukraine is by military warfare.

Of course, the Russians could be bluffing yet again in order to frighten the West. Putin knows occupying all of Ukraine is too expensive. But he can occupy certain strategic locations (Kherson water reservoirs, eastern military bases, eastern natural gas pipelines) and bomb others further west.

(2) The second reason is the increasing possibility of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline being derailed. Completion of the pipeline is of utmost concern to Putin, and the project’s derailment would be as great a defeat as losing Donbas and Crimea. By expanding his occupation of Ukraine, Putin would put a certain end to natural gas transit through Ukraine and force the Europeans to accept the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, with no other alternative.

Zenon Zawada, political analyst for Concorde Capital investment company in Kyiv between 2012 and 2020.

***

The Russian government is escalating its confrontations with the West in order to test the Biden administration’s resolve.

Contrary to some assertions, however, we are not witnessing a second Cold War. The Cold War was essentially a stalemate until the Soviet empire imploded. Instead, President Vladimir Putin is engaged in an intimidating international offensive to regain world stature, reconstruct a Muscovite empire, and divide the West.

Russia is reinforcing its military deployments along Ukraine’s borders and raising the prospect of another invasion. It has increased its maritime presence in the Arctic and persistently provokes its Western adversaries through overflights of U.S. and NATO ships in the Baltic and Black seas and close to Alaskan airspace. Such actions have three main objectives: to demonstrate that Russia is a global power, to probe for soft spots in Western defenses, and to distract attention from growing internal turmoil in the Russian Federation. The danger is that Putin’s strategists and generals will miscalculate and precipitate an armed conflict that will rebound against Russia.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/a-less-cold-war-with-russia

White House Press Sec. Psaki Brushes Off Reporter Asking Why Hunter Biden Received $3.5 Million From the Mayor of Moscow’s Wife

Psaki brushed off the reporter’s question as if it was total nonsense with no documents to back up the claims.

“I am not familiar with that claim. It does not sound like it is backed up with a lot of evidence,” she said.

Last September the Senate Finance and Homeland Security Committees released a devastating report on the Biden crime family and backed up their claims with documents from the Treasury Department.

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/03/psaki-brushes-off-reporter-asking-hunter-biden-received-3-5-million-mayor-moscows-wife-video/

Polish Proposal to Fine Big Tech Companies $13.5 Million For Banning Users Over Ideological Reasons

Poland is pushing legislation that would fine social media platforms $13.5 million for censoring users over ideological differences.

Deputy Polish Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta – the man behind the law – says tech companies have targeted conservatives, Christianity and traditional values for “too long.”

“Freedom of speech is not something that anonymous moderators working for private companies should decide,” said Kaleta to Fox News Wednesday. “Instead, that is for the national body; duly elected officials and all industries, car, phones, finance — were unregulated till they grew too large — the same should happen with Big Tech.”

“We see that when Big Tech decides to remove content for political purposes, it’s mostly content which praises traditional values or praises conservatism,” Kaleta continued. “And it is deleted under their ‘hate speech policy’ when it has no legal right to do so.”

The new legislation hits any platform with a $13.5 million fine if a user is banned over content that is legal under Polish law.

Twitter’s recent banning of former President Trump set a dangerous precedent, Kaleta warned.

“It’s very disturbing because if Big Tech sees themselves as an organization empowered enough to ban a sitting president of the U.S., it sends a message to the world –that we can ban anyone, whenever we want,” said Kaleta.

https://www.newswars.com/poland-to-fine-big-tech-companies-13-5-million-for-banning-users-over-ideological-reasons/

Lawyers are asking to transfer Sternenko to Kyiv: there are threats to life in the Odessa pre-trial detention center

Ukrainian activist Serhiy Sternenko was attacked by representatives of law enforcement agencies in Odessa. That is why Serhiy’s stay in the Odessa pre-trial detention center, where he was taken after the verdict was announced, poses a real threat to his life and health.”

Details : Sternenko’s lawyer Masi Nayem filed a statement addressed to the head of the Odessa pre-trial detention center Serhiy Chyshkala with a request to transfer Sternenko to Kyiv.

The law takes 3 days to consider the application. The defense hopes for an objective decision from the head of the Odessa pre-trial detention center as soon as possible.

What preceded : On February 23, the Odessa court for the abduction and torture of a man sentenced Serhiy Sternenko, an ex-leader of the Odessa Right Sector, and his colleague Ruslan Demchuk to 7 years and 3 months in prison with confiscation of half of their property.

The purpose of the attack, according to the prosecution, was to seize the property of the victim Serhiy Shcherbych – his bank card and telephone. The court found it an aggravating circumstance that the crime was allegedly committed “in connection with the victim’s performance of official duties” – Shcherbych was a deputy of the district council. The court also drew attention to the fact that Sternenko spoke about his negative attitude to the political views of the victim.

Both defendants completely denied their involvement in Shcherbych’s abduction. Even before the verdict was announced, Sternenko stated that he considered the court’s decision to be politically motivated. He assured that he would appeal the verdict.

Background :

In 2018, three attempts were made on Sternenko , during the third, on May 24, the attacker was killed . Police are investigating the attacker’s death as premeditated murder. Sternenko claims that he defended himself.

https://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2021/02/23/7284460/

Nine Arrested in violent Paris attack which left 15-year-old Ukrainian in a coma

French authorities are investigating the violent assault of a 15-year-old Ukrainian schoolboy in Paris.

The victim, identified only as Yuriy, was left in a coma after the attack in the wealthy 15th arrondissement of the capital city on January 15.

A widely-shared video of the beating showed a dozen young people in hooded jackets kicking and beating the teenager to the ground, before abandoning him.

https://www.euronews.com/2021/01/25/yuriy-france-probes-violent-paris-attack-that-left-ukrainian-15-in-a-coma

The attack in a busy and well-heeled neighbourhood of Paris shocked residents, though police have noted violent disputes between rival bands of youths in the area.

The detained suspects — eight minors and one young adult — were being investigated for attempted murder, gang violence and theft, prosecutors said.

Nataliya Kruchenyk, mother of the 15-year-old victim named only as Yuriy, said this week he had emerged from a coma induced by doctors following the January 15 attack near a shopping centre in the 15th district.

Kruchenyk said her son had left school with friends when he was accosted by around a dozen people, a scene captured by a surveillance camera.

https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20210128-french-police-arrest-nine-over-15-year-old-boy-s-brutal-gang-beating-in-paris

Jerusalem Post: Far-right protesters in Ukraine demand Israel apologize for communism

After Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine condemned the honoring of Nazi collaborators in the former Soviet republic, dozens of people rallied outside the Israeli Embassy in Kyiv demanding that Jews apologize for Soviet oppression.

The far-right activists called on Israel and the Jews to assume responsibility specifically for Holodomor, a famine that killed millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s and is widely believed to have been caused by the government of Joseph Stalin, then the leader of the Soviet Union.

https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/antisemitism/far-right-protesters-in-ukraine-demand-israel-apologize-for-communism-654711

Poland Just Stopped Big Tech Censorship in Its Tracks With Single Shot

From https://redstate.com/:

As reported by PolandIN.com, while the Big Tech battle continues to rage in the U.S., the conservative government in Poland has enacted a new law to hold companies accountable for what now will be illegal censorship or suppression of legal content.

If there is no violation of Polish law, social media companies cannot remove content or block accounts, according to the draft of the “Act for the Freedom to Express One’s Views and Obtain and Disseminate Information on the Internet.”

Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro of Poland “announced the legal initiative earlier this month aimed at enabling internet users to file complaints against the removal of online posts as well as the creation of a special court for freedom of speech,” according to Poland In.

“Under its provisions, social media services will not be allowed to remove content or block accounts if the content on them does not break Polish law.

“In the event of removal or blockage, a complaint can be sent to the platform, which will have 24 hours to consider it.

“Within 48 hours of the decision, the user will be able to file a petition to the court for the return of access. The court will consider complaints within seven days of receipt and the entire process is to be electronic.”

Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sundar Pichai were unavailable for comments. [sarc]

Sebastian Kaleta, secretary of state in the Ministry of Justice, noted that the new legislation is “supposed to protect against excessive interference of the moderators of this content.”

“The draft law that we have prepared meets various disturbing signals, and on the other hand, guarantees the possibility of expressing your opinions, as long as they do not violate the law.

“A balance must be found between the exercise of freedom and the abuse thereof. Today in Europe, censorship solutions are sought rather than to protect freedom of speech.”

And Ziobor nailed it.

“Often, the victims of tendencies for ideological censorship are also representatives of various groups operating in Poland, whose content is removed or blocked, just because they express views and refer to values that are unacceptable from the point of view of communities… with an ever-stronger influence on the functioning of social media.”

I Grew Up in Communist China, Here’s My Warning to America

Recently, many Americans haven’t cared so much about elections, thinking there ultimately wasn’t much difference between Republicans and Democrats, or between specific candidates.

However, with the approach of the 2020 election, many people became alarmed. They realized how far our country had strayed from its foundations. If we don’t take ownership now, they thought, it will be beyond repair.

The whole world is watching this election closely. Some Chinese have commented: “We thought China was going to become America. Instead, America is becoming China!”

It is so true. At this point, there are a lot of things we cannot say in America. Political correctness is not a matter of choice; it is a survival skill. If you say one word wrong, you can lose your job. If you don’t follow the mainstream narrative, you will get attacked by the mainstream media. It has reached such an extent that we should ask, do we still have freedom of speech?

This reminds me of China. Fifty years ago in communist China, if you made casual comments about the communists, you would end up in jail or a labor camp.

Someone who was at home and made one comment not in line with the CCP would be punished. A son would report on his father, a daughter on her mother, and a husband and wife on each other. Fear of the Communist Party, and indoctrination by it, had become a second human nature, pushing out natural feelings.

I immigrated to America more than 30 years ago. I always tell people, “America is the least discriminatory country in the whole world.” Yet we hear “discrimination” and “racism” daily in news reports. “Discrimination” and “racism” have become political weapons. They are no longer a matter of moral principle.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/the-2020-election-a-test-for-our-freedom_3592552.html