Category Archives: News & Views

Russia Routed Millions to Influence Clinton in Uranium Deal, Informant Tells Congress

Told you so.

Moscow routed millions of dollars to the U.S. expecting the funds would benefit ex-President Bill Clinton’s charitable initiative while his wife, Hillary Clinton, worked to reset relations with Russia, an FBI informant in an Obama administration-era uranium deal stated.

In a written statement to three congressional committees, informant Douglas Campbell said Russian nuclear executives told him that Moscow hired American lobbying firm APCO Worldwide to influence Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, among others in the Obama administration, The Hill reported on Wednesday.

Campbell said Russian nuclear officials expected APCO to apply its $3 million annual lobbying fee from Moscow toward the Clintons’ Global Initiative. The contract detailed four $750,000 payments over a year’s time.

http://www.newsweek.com/russia-routed-millions-influence-clinton-uranium-deal-informant-tells-congress-801686

UKRAINIAN GIRLS AGAINST EXTREME FEMINISM

a banner head banner from Kyiv’s action by extreme-left

“Working off the investments of foreign cultural marxistgrant funds, activists of Ukraine’s extreme-liberal, LGBT organisations had plotted to held a series of events in Ukrainian cities on March 8. As was expected, under the pretext of the Women’s Day, the leftist marginals arranged another promotion action for extreme feminism and LGBT, which had clear anti-patriotic features and even mocked the national coat of arms. In parallel, the female activists of patriotic organisations arranged a counter action to the cultural-marxist provocation. Holding posters with messages “feminism is hate/women must back to the tradition/more children-more happiness/feminism supress women/off feminism” they came to the Mikhailivska squere of Kyiv right against the cultur-marxist gathering, accompanied by theyr comrades from patriotic environment, since the supporters of extreme-left ideologies are prone to manifestation of aggression to the opponents. In Lviv, local young female traditionalist-minded patriots had made analogical counter-action. Few conflicts did took place on that day. In final result, the nationalists had accelerated the end of the actions of fighters with mythological “sexism manifestations and female discrimination in Ukraine.”

https://ukrainiancrusade.blogspot.com/2018/03/ukrainian-girls-came-against-extreme.html

“The European Union Must Stand Up to Polish Nationalism”

They hate heritage, culture, identity, and will do anything to destroy it.

Since coming to power in Poland in 2015, the nationalist Law and Justice party has enacted one outrageous measure after another, placing the nation’s courts under political control, trying to do the same with the news media, purging the civil service and, most recently, criminalizing any suggestion of Polish complicity in the Holocaust. Behind these moves runs a concerted and dangerous rewriting of history to create a narrative of heroic Polish victimhood — under the Nazis and Communists, of course, but also as a maligned defender of traditional values against a degenerate and controlling European Union.

. . . .

In fact, what the Polish government is doing is eroding democracy, and Europe must do what it can to defend its founding principles of “democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.” The union has already taken the unprecedented step of warning Warsaw that it could lose its voting rights in the organization if it carries on.

It may not be easy for the European Union to follow through on that threat, since Hungary, for one, has vowed to veto any such sanction. But it cannot back down. If Hungary does cast a veto, the bloc could divert some of the aid that flows to Poland, and diplomats from other members could minimize contacts with Warsaw. Mr. Kaczynski will no doubt scream “diktat,” but it will come with a price.

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/02/28/opinion/eu-polish-nationalism.html

Slovakian journalism’s darkest day

Even during the turbulent and lawless decade that followed the end of communism in 1989, no reporter was ever killed in Slovakia. Beaten and threatened, yes — on multiple occasions. But never executed with a single bullet to the heart or head, as befell Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírova in their home late last week.

https://www.politico.eu/article/jan-kuciak-gorilla-slovakia-journalist-dead-darkest-day/

CIA’s Brennan admits voting for Communist Party in 1976

The deep state hates Trump, and they hate America.

“This was back in 1980, and I thought back to a previous election where I voted, and I voted for the Communist Party candidate,” Brennan said. “I froze, because I was getting so close to coming into CIA and said, ‘OK, here’s the choice, John. You can deny that, and the machine is probably going to go, you know, wacko, or I can acknowledge it and see what happens.’”

http://www.wnd.com/2016/09/cias-brennan-admits-voting-for-communist-party-in-1976

In case you missed it: Russia launched another gas-war against Ukraine and was quickly defeated

Russia launched a gas war against Ukraine and the rest of Europe on Friday. The opening salvoes looked like Russia’s use of gas supply blackmail in the past, with “let them freeze in the dark” threats looming over Ukrainian gas consumers and westward, down-the-pipeline victims of Putin’s so-called gas weapon. But four years since the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine and four years of fighting Russia’s invasion of Crimea and Donbas have forged Ukraine into a formidable adversary for Muscovy’s imperialist aggression. By the end of the day on March 2, Russia had backed down and failed in its blitzkrieg attack against Europe’s energy security.

On February 28, Russia suffered a major defeat in a tribunal of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. The Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal decided in favour of Ukraine’s Naftogaz and against Russia’s Gazprom in a dispute about transit of Russian gas through pipelines across Ukraine. Gazprom was ordered to pay Naftogaz $2.56 billion, and faces half a million dollars in fines for every day that it doesn’t pay the arbitration award.

Russia never abides by international agreements and is at war with Ukraine. On March 1, Ukraine’s Naftogaz detected that Russia’s Gazprom was failing to supply the contractually obligated pressure to the pipeline transiting Ukraine. Naftogaz and the Ukrainian government sprang into action. First, they called out Gazprom on its breach of contract. Then the Ukrainians took steps to maintain pressure to down-the-pipeline customers in the European Union. The Ukrainian government and Naftogaz decided that even though Russia and Gazprom was in breach of contract to supply gas to Ukraine, Ukraine was not going to be in breach of contract to supply gas to the European Union. On March 2, it was announced that all kindergartens, schools, colleges, universities in Ukraine will be closed until March 6 to prevent an energy crisis. Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko, appealed publicly for all Ukrainians to turn down their thermostats and to reduce demand for natural gas.

On March 2, around noon, Gazprom declared war and announced that it would intentionally fail to meet its obligations under all its contracts with Naftogaz. It is clear that Putin thought Naftogaz would then pass on the effect this breach of contract to its down-the-pipeline customers in central and western Europe and cut their supply – rather than have Ukrainians “freeze in the dark” during a wintry cold spell that is affecting Ukraine and much of Europe besides. Instead, the Ukrainian government announced an intensification of conservation efforts and maintained pressure in the transit pipelines. Right in the afternoon, Naftogaz announced a new contract, with Poland’s PGNiG, for “reverse flow” supply of gas to Ukraine for Ukrainian domestic consumers. A bit later, Ukraine’s Ukrtransgaz warned its partners in the European Union about potential problems with gas transit because of unreliable sourcing from Russia, while reassuring them of the steps Ukraine was taking to meet its obligations for delivery of natural gas.

Having badly underestimated the resilience, business acumen, and moral integrity of the Ukrainians, by the evening on March 2 Gazprom admitted defeat in this phase of Russia’s gas war against Europe, and announced the resumption of its contracts with Ukraine’s Naftogaz.

http://radiolemberg.com/ua-articles/ua-allarticles/russia-launches-a-gas-war-against-europe-and-is-soundly-defeated-by-ukraine

In Ukraine, Corruption Is Now Undermining the Military

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry proudly announced last month that it had improved its previously meager medical services for its wounded troops with the purchase and delivery of 100 new military ambulances.

Not mentioned, however, was that many of the ambulances had already broken down. Or that they had been sold to the military under a no-bid contract by an auto company owned by a senior official in charge of procurement for Ukraine’s armed forces. Or that the official, Oleg Gladkovskyi, is an old friend and business partner of Ukraine’s president, Petro O. Poroshenko.

Ukraine’s spending on defense and security has soared since the conflict in the east started in 2014, rising from around 2.5 percent of its gross domestic product in 2013 to more than 5 percent this year, when it will total around $6 billion.

This bonanza, which will push procurement spending in 2018 to more than $700 million, has enabled Ukraine to rebuild its dilapidated military and fight to a standstill pro-Russian rebels and their heavily armed Russian backers.

But by pumping so much money through the hands of Ukrainian officials and businessmen — often the same people — the surge in military spending has also held back efforts to defeat the corruption and self-dealing that many see as Ukraine’s most dangerous enemy. . . .

He recounted how a small screwlike piece of metal purchased by Ukroboronprom for an aircraft repair factory in Lviv had skyrocketed from $50 in early 2014 to nearly $4,000 a year later, after Ukroboronprom mysteriously shifted its business to an outside supplier.

Mr. Maksimov said he had raised this and other inexplicably high prices with his superiors, but was told to drop the matter and was later fired, a dismissal he is challenging in court. . . .

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/19/world/europe/ukraine-corruption-military.html

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn on the need for guns

“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

Tech Workers fleeing the Bay Area over political echo chamber

Like when you try to grasp sand, utopia is always slipping through the fingers of communists. Maybe they’ll put up a wall to keep delusional counter-revolutionaries from fleeing their paradise?

***

Like Peter Thiel, Tech Workers Feel Alienated by Silicon Valley ‘Echo Chamber’

Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel has said he plans to leave Silicon Valley in part because of its perceived cultural uniformity. He isn’t the only one.

Several tech workers and entrepreneurs also have said they left or plan to leave the San Francisco Bay Area because they feel people there are resistant to different social values and political ideologies. Groupthink and homogeneity are making it a worse place to live and work, these workers said.

“I think the politics of San Francisco have gotten a little bit crazy,” said Tom McInerney, an angel investor who moved a decade ago to Los Angeles from the Bay Area.

“The Trump election was super polarizing and it definitely illustrated—and Peter [Thiel] said this—how out of touch Silicon Valley was,” said Mr. McInerney, who describes himself as fiscally conservative, but socially liberal.

Tim Ferriss, the tech investor and best-selling author of the “4 Hour Workweek,” moved to Austin, Texas, in December, after living in the Bay Area for 17 years, partly because he felt people there penalized anyone who didn’t conform to a hyper liberal credo.

People in Silicon Valley “openly lie to one another out of fear of losing their jobs or being publicly crucified,” said Mr. Ferriss in a recent discussion on Reddit.

Russian toll in Syria battle was 300 killed and wounded: sources

A Russian military doctor said around 100 had been killed, and a source who knows several of the fighters said the death toll was in excess of 80 men.

The timing of the casualties coincided with a battle on Feb. 7 near the Syrian city of Deir al-Zor where, according to U.S. officials and associates of the fighters involved, U.S.-led coalition forces attacked forces aligned with Moscow’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russian officials said five citizens may have been killed but they had no relation to Russia’s armed forces.

The clashes show Moscow is more deeply involved in Syria militarily than it has said, and risks being drawn into direct confrontation with the United States in Syria.

The casualties are the highest that Russia has suffered in a single battle since fierce clashes in Ukraine in 2014 claimed more than 100 fighters’ lives. Moscow denies sending soldiers and volunteers to Ukraine and has never confirmed that figure.

The wounded, who have been medically evacuated from Syria in the past few days, have been sent to four Russian military hospitals, according to five sources familiar with the matter.

The military doctor, who works in a Moscow military hospital and was directly involved in the treatment of wounded men evacuated from Syria, said that as of Saturday evening there were more than 50 such patients in his hospital, of which around 30 percent were seriously wounded.

The doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to disclose information about casualties, said at least three planeloads of injured fighters were flown to Moscow between last Friday and Monday morning.

He said they were flown back on specially equipped military cargo planes which can each accommodate two or three intensive care cases and several dozen less severely wounded patients.

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, said initial information was that five Russian citizens in the area of the battle may have been killed, but they were not Russian troops. She said reports of tens or hundreds of Russian casualties were disinformation inspired by Russia’s opponents.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-russia-casualtie/russian-toll-in-syria-battle-was-300-killed-and-wounded-sources-idUSKCN1FZ2DZ

Can Ukraine Survive Without the IMF?

Tension is rising between Ukraine’s administration and the IMF over Ukraine’s anti-corruption failure.

Here’s an argument in the UBJ against the perception by some that Ukraine doesn’t need the IMF.

https://www.theubj.com/news/view/can-ukraine-survive-without-the-imf

Me? I’m torn. Ukraine definitely needs help fighting corruption, but I’m deeply suspicious of organizations like the IMF. There’s an argument to be made that international help stabilizes Ukraine’s existing regime that the corruption rackets they run.

US strike in Syria kills Russian fighters in first such clash

On 10 February, a US drone destroyed an advancing Russian-made T-72 tank from the “same hostile force,” the US military said on Tuesday.

While reports have varied widely, claiming anywhere from a handful to more than a hundred Russians were killed and describing them alternately as military troops or private contractors, the 7 February clash nonetheless appears to have been the deadliest between US and Russian citizens since the Cold War.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/13/us-strike-syria-kills-russian-fighters-first-clash/

Privatbank fraud cost Ukrain $5.5 B

The investigation was part of Ukraine’s commitment to the IMF “to perform a forensic audit of Privatbank’s operations to identify whether wrongdoing or bad banking practices took place prior to the bank’s nationalization,“ the NBU reported. Recall, Privatbank was declared insolvent and nationalized in December 2016, with total funds spent for its bailout having reached UAH 185 bln (over USD 6.8 bln), including a UAH 155 bln (USD 4.2 bln) contribution from the state and the rest from the bank’s bailed-in creditors.

The results of the Kroll investigation have already been sent to Ukrainian law enforcement bodies and Ukraine’s international partners, Deputy NBU Head Kateryna Rozhkova said during the report’s Jan. 16 presentation. “We are sure that the investigation’s conclusions will help bring the Privatbank case to an end,” she said. In response, former shareholder Ihor Kolomoyskyi called the report “a rant that makes no sense in commenting on.” In his comments to the lb.ua news site, he stressed that the alleged “fraud” has yet to be proven, calling the presentation just part of the NBU’s attempts to distract public attention from other scandals.

Alexander Paraschiy: According to the NBU, Privatbank was using a scheme to collect deposits to finance the businesses of the bank’s shareholders. This “business model,” in our view, was typical for some other failed banks, including Oleg Bakhmatyuk’s VAB Bank and Finansova Initsiatyva; Kostiantyn Zhevago’s Finance & Credit Bank; and even Platinum Bank, which was headed by Rozhkova herself. In its activities, Privatbank was much bigger and possibly much more creative than the mentioned banks. Therefore, it generated much bigger losses for the state and it will be much harder to prove the bank did something unlawful.

http://concorde.ua/rs/daily/item_72598/

Kolomoiski needs to go to jail. Ukraine can’t let this slide.

Yet More Evidence of high level Russian Military coordination in Donbas

SBU releases intercepted comms between PMC Wagner chief, Russian army General on Donbas incursion

The Security Service of Ukraine, the SBU, has uploaded on its YouTube channel audio files of intercepted communications between Dmitry Utkin, head of the private military company (PMC) Wagner, the Kremlin’s major tool in hybrid warfare worldwide, and General of the Russian Armed Forces, Yevgeny Nikiforov (call sign “Tambov”).

https://www.unian.info/war/2360147-sbu-releases-intercepted-communications-between-russian-pmc-wagner-chief-russian-army-general-on-donbas-incursion.html

Ukrainian authorities collect soldiers’ photos of Russian dead and sell them to Russia

I had beers today with a few Ukrainian warriors.

The conversation turned to propaganda, and how effectively Russia advertised photos and videos of Ukrainian casualties.

One of them told me a story of a Russian column of military vehicles getting obliterated by Ukrainian artillery. He said it was a massacre. Easily a hundred dead, and dozens of vehicles. Guys took pictures.

He told me that later the SBU (Ukraine’s FBI) came to the unit to collect all electronic personal devices. He is certain that someone in the SBU made a lot of money by “selling” the pictures to Russia and guaranteeing their censorship.

He says this was a common practice.

***

The story rings true — both the self-serving corruption on the Ukrainian side, and Russia’s willing to hide at any cost signs of their own weakness. In my essays about Russian propaganda, I’ve repeatedly pointed out that Russia absolutely cannot countenance sign of their own weakness. It’s a recurring theme in history. Russian journalists reporting casualties and investigating rapidly expanding cemeteries have been violently assaulted, or vanished (here, here). There have been stories about mobile crematoriums burning Russia’s dead.