• Questions Remain About U.S. Intel and Airline Warnings Before MH17 Downing

    In the weeks before Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, U.S. intelligence agencies were tracking a steady buildup of heavy weapons in the region, including tanks and rocket launchers flowing across the border from Russia and into the hands of Moscow-backed separatists. But U.S. analysts didn’t confirm that a surface-to-air missile capable of striking a commercial airplane had made its way into the fighters’ hands until after the jet was destroyed on July 17, according to senior U.S. intelligence officials, who briefed reporters earlier this week.
    That assessment was at odds, though, with public statements by the rebels themselves, who claimed in late June that they’d obtained a weapon that might bring down a commercial jet. In addition, Ukrainian officials said that they had spotted an SA-11 missile launcher, known as a Buk, in rebel hands at least three days before the downing of MH17.
    The question of what U.S. and Ukrainian authorities knew about separatists’ weapons, and when, has taken on new urgency following the downing of MH17 and the death of all 298 people aboard.
    Neither Ukrainian security officials nor the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration had warned airlines prior to the shoot-down not to fly over eastern Ukraine, despite high-level discussions in both governments about the buildup of Russian heavy weaponry. Following the plane crash, the FAA banned all U.S. carriers from flying over the region. But questions remain about why authorities didn’t issue a warning sooner.
    An FAA spokesperson didn’t respond to multiple emails and phone messages asking whether U.S. intelligence agencies had provided any warning about a threat against airliners prior to the strike. A White House spokesperson referred queries on the matter to the FAA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). And a spokesperson at the ODNI deferred to the White House on the question of what intelligence was shared about aviation threats.
    The lack of clarity on whether airlines were warned to stay clear of eastern Ukraine is prompting scrutiny of the FAA and the intelligence community on Capitol Hill. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, wrote to President Barack Obama on Monday asking what U.S. intelligence agencies knew about SA-11 missiles in eastern Ukraine and why the FAA didn’t alert U.S. carriers in the area.
    It’s only right to assume that our intelligence collectors were fully aware of SA-11 missiles in eastern Ukraine, from day one,” Joe Kasper, Hunter’s spokesman, told Foreign Policy on Thursday. “So at some point, that information should have been shared, specifically with the FAA in this case,” Kasper said. He noted that after Russian forces invaded and occupied Crimea in February, the FAA issued a notice barring U.S. carriers from flying over the area. “But there’s no evidence whatsoever that the FAA was alerted of SA-11s in the area so the [notice] could be updated,” Kasper said, adding: “Either there’s no process in place for notifying the FAA or someone dropped the ball.

  • Sanctions, bientôt les affaires sérieuses : Coupe du monde de Football 2018 et Grand prix de Formule 1 de Sotchi en octobre.

    MH17: World Cup 2018 shouldn’t be held in Russia, says Nick Clegg | Western Daily Press

    The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said that allowing the Football World Cup 2018 to go ahead in Russia was “unthinkable” - and Russia’s first F1 Grand Prix which is due to take place in Sochi in October should also be cancelled.

    He said it was “unthinkable” at present that the tournament could go ahead in the country blamed by the West for supplying arms to the separatist rebels accused of causing the deaths of all 298 on board.

    Without a change of course by president Vladimir Putin, Mr Clegg said it would make the world look “so weak and so insincere” in its condemnation of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and support for the rebels.

    Football’s world governing body Fifa this week ruled out calls from some German politicians for Russia to be boycotted, insisting the tournament could be “a force for good”.

  • House Armed Services Chair Blames Putin for MH17 Tragedy

    Speaking with VOA’s Carol Castiel on Press Conference USA, Rep. Buck McKeon, a Republican from California [,head of the House Armed Services Committee] said the evidence points to Russia.
    You have to go to the top, and in that case, it’s Putin,” he said. “I’m not saying he was the one who launched the missile or gave the order, but he put that in place.

    D’ailleurs, il a une idée pour calmer la Russie…

    McKeon said that because the incident is still so recent, there hasn’t been any discussion about what to do, but he did offer what he said was a solution to Russia’s aggression.
    What I’d like to see us do is become energy independent and help Europe become energy independent so they’re not beholden to Russia,” McKeon said.

    Ah oui, pousser l’Europe à dépendre des États-Unis pour son énergie.

  • Estonia, Baltic states stand to suffer most from Russia sanctions | EurActiv

    With demand levels remaining relatively low amongst its major trading partners in Europe, it appears as if Estonia’s subdued growth may be due to cyclical factors. Much will, however, also depend on how the situation in Eastern Ukraine evolves. Should the international community follow the recent example of the US and tighten economic sanctions against Russia, which also happens to be Estonia’s largest export destination, the Baltic country might feel a more profound impact on its economy.

    The country’s newly elected prime minister, Taavi Roivas, seems to be taking the long view on this. Quoted recently by Reuters, Roivas suggested that the economic discomfort might be worth bearing to secure a favourable political outcome.

    As the situation in the Eastern Ukraine continued to escalate this week in the wake of the Malaysian Airlines disaster, Talinn and its Baltic partners may be wondering how long they will still be able to take the pain.

  • Russia opens corridor for evacuation of wounded, dead Ukrainian servicemen across border

    Rostov-on-Don - 12 injured Ukrainian servicemen who underwent medical treatment in Russia and the bodies of two dead ones have been delivered to the Gukovo and Novoshakhtinsk checkpoints at the Russian-Ukrainian border, Vasily Malayev, a spokesman for the Federal Security Service (FSB) border department for the Rostov region, told Interfax on Saturday, July 26.

  • Key blue-chip companies owned by Ukraine still not up for sale

    The Ukrainian government on July 17 finally approved a list of 164 companies that it hopes to privatize this year and earn $1.25 billion for state coffers.

     The biggest ones include a power generator and regional power distribution companies, and nitrogen fertilizer producer Odesa Portside Plant, which controls the sea port and ammonia pipeline from Russia across Ukraine. 

    But the most interesting companies are missing, including the biggest oil company, Ukrnafta, controlled by Ihor Kolomoisky’s so-called Privat Group. Turboatom, the exclusive Ukrainian turbine equipment producer in which Konstantin Grigorishin is a minority shareholder is also not up for sale. Two titanium mining and processing assets – Sumykhimprom and Zaporizhzhya Titanium-Magnesium Plant – are also off the list. The former is managed by Dmytro Firtash’s former top executive, Igor Lazakovich. The latter is part of Firtash’s titanium business. As the only producer of titanium sponge in Europe, ZTMP on July 21 announced that it started producing value-added products such as, ingots, slabs, and alloys, following the introduction of advanced technologies at the plant.

    Despite the State Property Fund’s expectation of making $1.25 billion on privatization, Dragon Capital senior analyst Desnnis Sakva thinks the government’s forecasts are too optimistic. “It is hardly realistic for the government to sell such a wide range of assets within a half year, not only due to the ongoing military operation in the East and its impact on the domestic investment climate but also due to the sheer volume of underlying paperwork,” it said in a note to investors.

    But Vasyl Yurchyshyn, director of economic programs for the Razumkov Center, said that privatization could be successful in Ukraine because assets are cheap. “If the competition will be open and rules are clear, then we can talk about significant revenue,” he said.

    The privatization list is long because the nation urgently needs money. But sales amid the instabilities of war could prove problematic.

  • What Happened To The Malaysian Airliner? By Paul Craig Roberts

    Indeed the entire Western media spoke as one: Russia did it. And the presstitutes are still speaking the same way.

    Possibly, this uniform opinion merely reflects the pavlovian training of the Western media to automatically line up with Washington. No media source wants to be subject to criticism for being unamerican or to find itself isolated by majority opinion, which carries the day, and earn black marks for being wrong. As a former journalist for, and contributor to, America’s most important news publications, I know how this works.

    On the other hand, if we discount the pavlovian conditioning, the only conclusion is that the entire news cycle pertaining to the downing of the Malaysian airliner is orchestrated in order to lay the blame on Putin.

    Romesh Ratnesar, deputy editor of Bloomberg Businessweek, provides convincing evidence for orchestration in his own remarks of July 17. Ratnesar’s opinion title is: “The Malaysia Airlines Shootdown Spells Disaster for Putin.
    Ratnesar does not mean that Putin is being framed-up. He means that prior to Putin having the Malaysian airliner shot down, “to the vast majority of Americans, Russia’s meddling in Ukraine has largely seemed of peripheral importance to U.S. interests. That calculus has changed. . . . It may take months, even years, but Putin’s recklessness is bound to catch up to him. When it does, the downing of MH 17 may be seen as the beginning of his undoing.

    As a former Wall Street Journal editor, anyone who handed me a piece of shit like Ratnesar published would have been fired. Look at the insinuations when there is no evidence to support them. Look at the lie that Washington’s coup is “Russia’s meddling in Ukraine.” What we are witnessing is the total corruption of Western journalism by Washington’s imperial agenda. Journalists have to get on board with the lies or get run over.

    Look around for still honest journalists. Who are they? Glenn Greenwald, who is under constant attack by his fellow journalists, all of whom are whores. Who else can you think of? Julian Assange, locked away in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London on Washington’s orders. The British puppet government won’t permit free transit to Assange to take up his asylum in Ecuador. The last country that did this was the Soviet Union, which required its Hungarian puppet to keep Cardinal Mindszenty interred in the US Embassy in Budapest for 15 years from 1956 until 1971. Mindszenty was granted political asylum by the United States, but Hungary, on Soviet orders, would not honor his asylum, just as Washington’s British puppet, on Washington’s orders, will not honor Assange’s asylum.

    If we are honest and have the strength to face reality, we will realize that the Soviet Union did not collapse. It simply moved, along with Mao and Pol Pot, to Washington and London.

    The flaw in Putin’s diplomacy is that Putin’s diplomacy relies on good will and on truth prevailing. However, the West has no good will, and Washington is not interested in truth prevailing but in Washington prevailing. What Putin confronts is not reasonable “partners,” but a propaganda ministry aimed at him.

  • MH17 and Gaza: Two different elite reactions — RT Op-Edge

    It is important to understand that being anti-Russian, but also pro-Israel, and pro-US are “required” positions for anyone wanting to hold high office in the West. The Russia test, the Israel test, and the US test can be seen as “three hoops” which any ambitious politician needs to jump through in order to make it to the top. British Labour leader Ed Miliband knows this and has been hard at work.

    After Prince Charles had reportedly compared President Putin to Hitler, Miliband said the Prince “has got a point”. He has declared himself a Zionist, and at time of writing he is jumping through the last of the hoops – he is in the US meeting President Obama.

    Miliband knows that if he takes the “right” positions on Russia, Israel and the US he will be “allowed” by the establishment to become British Prime Minister next year. The system is set up to make sure that no one who doesn’t hold the “right” views on foreign policy is able to hold power regardless of what the public thinks.
    The start of this current wave of Russophobia can be traced back to last summer, when Russia helped block US plans to bomb Syria. The Western elites wanted and still want President Assad toppled because of Syria’s alliance with Hezbollah and Iran and they were determined to pay Russia back for thwarting their plans. A “regime change” in Ukraine was the way that would be achieved.
    The gap between the Russophobic obsessions of the elite, and the real concerns of ordinary people is however huge, and was starkly demonstrated again by last weekend’s massive anti-war marches. Media Lens, the media monitoring organization, captured this “disconnect”’ perfectly in a single tweet:
    The British Government’s response to Israel killing children, bombing a hospital and a center for the disabled, is to push the EU to impose more sanctions on… Russia. You really couldn’t make it up, could you? Two tragedies, but two very different reactions. Reactions which tell us everything.

  • Moscow blasts Kiev’s false accusations and lack of cooperation with air crash investigators — RT Russian politics

    Every day and every hour representatives of the Kiev regime consider it necessary to make absurd and completely unfounded accusations against Russia instead of helping the full and unbiased international probe into the reasons for the disaster. According to recent reports, instead of helping Ukraine’s security services are holding some covert interactions with data carriers and employees of the Ukrainian air traffic controllers,” Lukashevich said in the statement.

    All this is obviously against the objective and unbiased investigation, the Russian diplomat added.

    Lukashevich also said that this was not the first case of such behavior on the part of the Ukrainian authorities.

    Where is the promised investigation of the Maidan shooting? Who are the people that shot the police and the protesters from the building controlled by the Maidan committee? Their faces are well known, but I recall that many respectful news agencies and TV channels from Europe and the US have failed to provide the public with this information,” the spokesman stated.

    Where is the probe into the terrible tragedy in Odessa where dozens of people were burnt alive, purposefully and in cold blood, and state officials participated in this? There people who jumped out of windows of the burning building were bludgeoned to death. I think that these things also were not shown to people in Europe and the USA,” Lukashevich said.

    The Russian official claimed the Western mass media had imposed “an information blackout” on many events that had happened, and that are still happening in the south-east of Ukraine.

    Kiev authorities used weapons of mass destruction in villages, towns and densely populated cities in reply to the initially peaceful protest of the people who wanted to protect their rights. Missiles are exploding now in residential districts of Donetsk and Lugansk. Many hundreds of people have died. Those who consider this normal should stop using the stilted phrases about Human Rights,” the senior Russian diplomat stated.

    Contre-attaque russe sur la propagande occidentale. Probable reprise dans les médias : zéro…

    • accusation (gravissime) de pressions et manipulation des données des centres de contrôle aérien ukrainiens
    • où en est l’enquête sur les événements de Maïdan du 21 février ?
    • où en est l’enquête sur le massacre d’Odessa du 2 mai ?
    • pourquoi ne voit-on rien des bombardements sur l’Ukraine orientale ? (sauf quand ils sont attribués aux « séparatistes »)

  • Ukraine crisis puts Britain’s Cameron on spot over Russian donations - Yahoo News

    British Prime Minister David Cameron came under pressure over the Ukraine crisis on Wednesday after he was forced to defend a party political donation from the wife of a former minister in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government.

    Lyubov Chernukhina, the wife of Vladimir Chernukhin, a former deputy finance minister in Putin’s government, agreed to pay 160,000 pounds ($272,500) to Cameron’s Conservative Party at a fund-raising gala this month in exchange for a game of tennis with Cameron and Boris Johnson, the mayor of London.

    But that and other donations to Cameron’s party to fund its campaign for re-election in 2015 have come under scrutiny after the British leader called for sanctions on Putin’s “cronies and oligarchs” following the downing of a Malaysian plane in eastern Ukraine last week.

    The opposition Labour Party has questioned Cameron’s credibility to talk tough on the issue at the same time as his party is taking donations from people with links to the Russian government, which it said were worth 910,000 pounds.

    And abroad, French politicians have accused Cameron of hypocrisy for criticizing France’s sale of two Mistral warships to Russia, while doing nothing that would affect Russian interests in Britain, home to many wealthy Russians.

    Cameron, who lawmakers queried on Wednesday on why Britain had granted licenses to sell arms to Russia, said criticism of his party’s funding was misplaced and that it would not be handing back Chernukhina’s donation.

    Of course I wouldn’t accept money from someone who is a Putin crony but my understanding is that this person certainly isn’t that and has lived in Britain for many years and is now actually a British citizen so I don’t think that would be the right approach,” Cameron told British TV.

    A source close to Cameron’s party said Chernukhina’s husband had been sacked by Putin and could not be credibly described as having any links with the Russia’s government.

    Documents from Britain’s electoral watchdog show that Chernukhina had made three previous cash donations to the Conservative Party totaling 5,500 pounds since August 2012. Another donation of 10,000 pounds, in April 2012, was rejected because she was not eligible to vote at the time.

    Labour called on Cameron to be honest about Russia-linked party donations.

    People will be surprised at the extent of Russian wealth bankrolling David Cameron’s re-election fund,” Sheila Gilmore, a Labour member of parliament, said in a statement.

    There can be no impression of conflicts of interest or hypocrisy at such an important time.

    Johnson told Sky News that he would not play tennis with any crony of Putin’s.

  • The Group of Bloggers Unearthing MH17 Intel Quicker Than U.S. Spies

    Higgins, with the help of some of his Twitter followers, was able to pinpoint the location of a Buk launcher while it was being transported through Snizhne, a pro-Russian rebel-held town in Ukraine near the Russian border, based on a video circulating on YouTube.
    The next day, Aric Toler, a longtime follower of Higgins, identified the exact location of a photograph of the Buk launcher in Torez, another town in Eastern Ukraine, using only open source information like the name of a store shown in the picture, and other unrelated YouTube videos filmed in the area.

    Toler and Higgins were able to establish that the photograph was shot around 11:40 a.m. local time, using an online tool called Suncalc, which lets you calculate the position of the sun based of the time of day and location. That would prove that the launcher was in the area before the MH17 crash. (Higgins told Mashable that he checked the tool’s accuracy by taking pictures of his garden at different times of the day to see if the shadows matched the ones on the site.)

    Another crowdsourced analysis that Higgins assembled on Tuesday offers strong proof that a video published by the Ukrainian government shows the Buk launcher being moved from Ukraine to Russia through rebel-held towns. In the video, the launcher seems to be missing a missile.

    The Russian government rebuffed the video, claiming it had actually been filmed in the town of Krasnoarmeisk, which under the control of the Ukrainian military. However, thanks to other open source intelligence analysis, it turns out the town is not actually Krasnoarmeisk but the rebel-held Luhansk, just 30 miles from the Russian border.

    “The Russians lied,” Higgins wrote in his post on Bellingcat, his new website to promote the work of other investigative citizen journalists and to teach others about the tools they use. The site is currently raising money on Kickstarter.

    These findings certainly don’t prove that Russia was responsible for the downing of MH17, as Higgins himself admits, but rather provide strong evidence that pro-Russian rebels possess (or possessed, until very recently) a Buk missile launcher, and that it was close to the crash site before and after the plane was shot down.
    For Higgins, this work is simple intelligence-gathering, which can help those on the ground investigate further. After he and Toler established the location and time of the picture of the Buk in Torez, journalists traveled to the spot and found witnesses that confirmed the analysis, Higgins said.

    That would suggest Higgins and the dozen or so people who have helped him over the past few days know just as much as professional American spies.

    “[The Americans] clearly only rely on open source information, or mostly on open source, yet they are not releasing what they’re relying on," Higgins said. “It’s like they’re ashamed.”

  • U.S. Officials : Russia Not Directly Involved in Downing MH17

    Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Russia is responsible for “creating the conditions” that led to the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but there’s no evidence that the Russian government was directly involved in the shooting.

    The unnamed intelligence officials said Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine likely shot down the plane with an SA-11 surface-to-air missile. While they confirmed that Russia has been arming the separatists for months, the officials didn’t provide proof that the missile used to shoot down the Boeing 777 actually came from Russia.

    The most likely explanation, according to a senior official, is that the plane was shot down by mistake. The most likely explanation, according to a senior official, is that the plane was shot down by mistake.

    According to the Associated Press, the officials briefed reporters on Tuesday with the stipulation that their names not be used in discussing intelligence related to MH17. They said they didn’t know if any Russians were present at the missile launch, and they wouldn’t say that the missile crew was trained in Russia.

    The Obama administration, however, has been pointing the finger at Russia for backing the separatists, who have been fighting with Ukrainian forces for months. On Monday, President Obama said Russia had gone beyond just arming the separatists — it had trained them to use the heavy-duty artillery.

    Russia has extraordinary influence over these separatists. No one denies that. Russia has urged them on. Russia has trained them,” Obama said. “We know that Russia has armed them with military equipment and weapons, including anti-aircraft weapons. Key separatist leaders are Russian citizens.

    The intelligence officials who spoke with reporters on Monday were tight-lipped in terms of who fired the missile.

    We don’t know a name, we don’t know a rank and we’re not even 100% sure of a nationality,” one official said, adding at another point, “There is not going to be a Perry Mason moment here.

    Ce qui n’empêche pas les politiques de reprendre la position ukrainienne…

    Meanwhile, Russia presented its own evidence on Monday, reiterating that it wasn’t involved in the shooting down of MH17 and focused on reasons why the world should be looking into the Ukrainian government instead. Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko called the accusation an irresponsible and false statement.

    The White House on Monday said Russia’s counter-narrative was an attempt to thwart attention away from the nation’s involvement.

    What’s clear is that there is a picture that’s coming into focus,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. “Russian claims to the contrary are getting both more desperate and much harder to believe.

    … puisqu’on vous dit que c’est pas vrai !

  • MH17 And The Russian Media : Why The Kremlin’s Propaganda Machine Is So Effective

    The picture of the catastrophe that the Russian people are seeing on their television screens is very different from that on screens in much of the rest of the world.

    Ça, c’est sûr !

    Maintenant, ce que dit le « reste du monde » : l’article commence par ceci…

    One of the more outrageous conspiracy theories about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 surfaced in the days following the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 last week. The theory, which originated in Russia, holds that MH17 and MH370 are actually the same plane, and the U.S. military arranged for the second flight, filled with corpses, to be blown up over eastern Ukraine.

    … pour introduire l’idée tout aussi abracadabrantesque que…

    While the sensational theory does not appear to be circulating among the more legitimate news outlets in Russia, Russian television stations have reportedly been promoting a narrative that Ukraine and, to a lesser extent, the United States — but definitely not Russia — are responsible for the air disaster.


  • Russian military: Russian air monitoring services registered Ukrainian Su-25 sweeping towards Malaysian Boeing on July 17

    Russian air monitoring services registered a Ukrainian plane, tentatively a Sukhoi Su-25, sweeping up towards the Malaysian Boeing on July 17, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

    • Encore Reuters

      Russia challenges accusations that Ukraine rebels shot down airliner | Reuters

      Russia’s Defence Ministry on Monday challenged U.S. and Ukrainian accusations that pro-Russian separatists were responsible for shooting down a Malaysian airliner and said Ukrainian warplanes had flown close to the aircraft.

      The ministry also rejected accusations by the United States and Kiev that Russia had supplied the separatist rebels in east Ukraine with SA-11 Buk anti-aircraft missile systems, known as “Gadfly” in NATO, “or any other weapons.

      Russian air space control systems detected a Ukrainian Air Force plane, presumably an SU-25 (fighter jet), scrambling in the direction of the Malaysian Boeing,” Lieutenant-General Igor Makushev of Russia’s Air Forces told a news briefing. “The distance of the SU-25 plane from the Boeing was from 3 to 5 kilometres (2 to 3 miles),” he said.

      Another officer, Lieutenant-General Andrei Kartopolov, also challenged the United States should produce any satellite images it may have to support its assertions that there had been a missile launch by the rebels.

      He told the briefing “nobody (in the international community) has seen these images”.

  • BRICS: Progressive Rhetoric, Neoliberal Practice

    So let’s assume that this is not—this BRICS development, the new bank, it’s not anti-capitalist, it’s not anti-neoliberal, it goes along with the current form of global finance capitalism. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to make some room between themselves and U.S. domination. It doesn’t mean that Russia and China, you know, which are very big economies, especially—as you said, China is number two now, and I guess it’s not going to be that long before it’s the largest economy in the world—don’t want to get pushed around anymore within that system. And this was a bit of what Michael Hudson’s point was. I think it was—we may go back with those two guys again so we can get a chance to develop it further. But, I mean, World War II, the countries that fought World War II were all part of global capitalism. It didn’t stop them from going to war with each other.

  • Is the New BRICS Bank a Challenge to US Global Financial Power? | TRNN 2014-07-18

    Michael Hudson and Leo Panitch discuss and debate the significance of the new international development bank created by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa

    La trace écrite chez


    JAY: Okay. So, Michael, if I understand, your main argument is—in some ways it’s not that different, in some respects, from what Leo was saying. You’re not saying they’re getting off the whole capitalist bandwagon. What you’re saying they’re doing is buying themselves a little more room in terms of their foreign policy.

    HUDSON: There is a very broad range over what they can do. And if you look at what is the most likely of common denominator, it’s exactly what Leo said. The common denominator is it’s their capitalists against the U.S. capitalists, it’s their saying, what can we do to be free of the U.S. banks and Wall Street and the City of London and the financial extractive loans. At least the neoliberal plans today have gone beyond trying to finance infrastructure development. The financial system in the West is almost entirely extractive now, not productive. The capitalist class in the countries that Leo’s mentioned want at least some bank to do some productive loans that they can benefit from, rather than having the U.S. come in and grab everything for itself like a privatization on behalf of the U.S. You see this kind of fight going on in Greece right now, where the eurozone said, Greece as to privatize its natural resources to pay the debt. Half the privatization last year was to be the sale of its gas rights.


    PANITCH: So, I’m sorry, I don’t see the world in terms of competition amongst the capitalist classes of the world in the sense you’re speaking of. I think there is a very deep integration on the part of the leading capitalists in these countries, including the domestic ones, into globalization. I think that’s true of Vale in Brazil.

    JAY: That’s the world’s largest iron ore company.

    PANITCH: That’s the world’s largest iron ore company, which, sure, is competing with other iron ore companies. But it doesn’t see itself as aligned against the American bourgeoisie or the American capitalist class. This is not right.
    And moreover, I think that these capitalist classes very much want access to the deep financial markets of London and New York. They don’t want to leave them; they want to be part of them. They want access to them. Indeed, they’ve been floating bond us in those markets—dangerously, in terms of volatility. So I think—and it has to be said the reason they do so is that their financial markets, their bond markets, even the European bond market relative to the London/New York access, remain extremely weak, extremely vulnerable. So it’s also a matter of where the deep institutional strength of capitalism is.
    I would make one other point. I don’t think that finance, even Wall Street and London—the City of London finance is merely parasitic. I think it facilitates, it underwrites, it’s very important in terms of hedging for all of the integrated production that goes on between China and the United States, between South Africa and Europe. This plays a functional role for all these value chains. Of course there’s loads of speculation in this, but it means that industry is linked up with this speculation. These aren’t separated compartments. And you can’t unscramble them.

    HUDSON: I see that I’m emphasizing the geopolitical much more than you of nobody’s talking about Brazil and other countries not interacting with the London and New York money markets. What they don’t want to do is to have the U.S. government and U.S. banks act as a threat, a threat against their countries. And of course they’re trying to keep their—have other options apart from being tied into the U.S. as a system of control. They want to break free of U.S. control, basically, and European control is a satellite of the United States.

    PANITCH: Yeah. But since politics and economics aren’t so easily separated, their continuing interest and increased interest in being linked economically and financially means that the American state, given its superintending role of Wall Street and the City of London, will continue to have power vis-à-vis them. They would like to, as we’ve agreed, they’d like to have more room for maneuver in the face of that enormous power of the American Empire, but they are not interested in breaking from it.


    BRICS: Progressive Rhetoric, Neoliberal Practice | TRNN 2014-07-14
    Patrick Bond: All the governments behind the New Development Bank practice intense neoliberalism

    La trace écrite chez


    JAY: Okay. So let’s say that they are as neoliberal as they come. But at the geopolitical level—like, for example, let’s take the leadup to the war in Iraq. Now, France is not part of BRICS, but France, for its own reasons, its own interests, stood up to the United States at the UN Security Council in quite an interesting way. So did some of the other countries. I mean, China, I think, actually could’ve been, certainly, bolder than they were, but they couldn’t get—the Americans couldn’t get the votes they wanted to give a clear-cut authorization of the Iraq War. It didn’t stop them from doing it illegally anyway, but it was an important moment. And with an institution like this new bank, and perhaps even building on that—for example, right now there’s the sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine. There’s a story in The New York Times today that it’s not going to have that much effect. One of the major Russian oil companies was targeted for sanctions, and one of the sanctions was going to make it more difficult for it to get capital in the Western capital markets. And now, apparently, they’re just going to borrow the money from the Chinese, and so the sanction’s not going to affect it as much. So I guess my question is is that within this context of global and neoliberal capitalism, getting to a more multipolar world, getting to a point where some of these other bigger powers can push back against the United States, which clearly is the biggest military operation on the planet and is the one that keeps starting major war after major war, is this—whatever room they can create for themselves, isn’t this a good thing?

    BOND: Well, it could be if the modus operandi operates in a way that reduces U.S. power systematically. But as we’ve seen, when there are inter-imperial rivalries, that can often lead to a much more dangerous outcome. For example, the way to handle the kinds of pressures that the U.S. puts on other countries—the coalition of the willing, certainly, in the UN Security Council in 2003, the U.S. was unable to get authorization, because the Chinese and Russians and French wouldn’t support—they would veto the approval. But, you know, in May they then approved that the U.S. could run Iraq, having invaded it.
    What was interesting this week on that front was that the UN Security Council reforms that are being proposed for many years to widen up the permanent members with a veto to move from five to ten by adding three BRICS—South Africa, Brazil, and India, as well as Germany and Japan—those ideas, which you’d have thought perhaps China and Russia would have supported to get more of their allies on board in the Security Council, they didn’t. It was quite a revealing memorandum that was released at the end of the BRICS summit in which the BRICS only said that it would be an increased role for the these other three smaller countries, as opposed to China and Russia.

    JAY: So this inter-imperialist rivalry is even amongst the BRICS countries. And we even saw this with a big fight between China and India about where the bank was going to be—this new bank was going to be based.

    BOND: Well, indeed. There was a lot of face-saving. And I can just imagine these finance ministers, reserve bank governors, and all of their bureaucrats fighting over the fine details. They eloquently and geometrically resolved that by setting up all kinds of mechanisms to appear that each of the five countries got a little piece. For example, in South Africa, Johannesburg will have a branch plant of the BRICS bank, and that will allow South Africa to help control the funding flows in and out of Africa, which is South Africa’s so-called gateway role that they’ve desired, and that would be very much an example of South imperialism insofar as the hinterlands of the BRICS countries are under the thumb of the regional hegemons, South Africa in Africa probably wanting now to have a more regularized extraction system of the valuable member minerals and petroleum from this continent.
    However, I think you’re right that we will probably see the kind of tensions in a logic of expansionism, territorial ambitions of a Russia and China. Well, Russia now, of course, moving to the West to try to capture some of the ground lost when the USSR fell apart, China moving aggressively even into Vietnamese territorial waters to grab islands, of course the conflict with Taiwan and Japan, these are moments where I think there’s a fair bit of danger, and not just in the symbolic sense of territorial expansionism, but actually in potential alliances, that the BRICS will become an inter-imperial force with a more aggressive approach to capital accumulation. And that’s where these two logics come together.



    #Russie #Russland
    #Indes #India
    #Brésil #Brasil
    #Afrique_du_Sud #South_Africa #Südafrika

    #capitalisme #Kapitalismus

    #USA #États-unis

    #Worldbank #Banque_mondiale #Weltbank

  • Les grands pays émergents se dotent d’un outil financier à côté de la Banque mondiale et du FMI

    BRICS for a new bank - The Hindu

    What might have been dismissed as an impossibility just five years ago is now a reality. Defying sceptics and critics, five countries that between them account for 40 per cent of the world’s population and 20 per cent of its GDP have signed an agreement to create a development bank to provide financial assistance to developing countries and emerging market economies, mainly for infrastructure projects. As its name implies, the agreement for the New Development Bank, signed by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa at their sixth BRICS summit in Brazil, signals the start of a new global financial order that aims to be more inclusive than the Western-focussed International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The $100 billion bank will have an initial subscribed capital of $50 billion. The five members managed to iron out their differences to agree on an equal share for each in the bank, so no one member dominates the institution. India and South Africa both wanted to host the headquarters. The eventual decision to locate it in Shanghai was an acknowledgement that China’s is the biggest economy in the grouping. The Bank will also have an African Regional Centre in South Africa and India will assume the first presidency of the bank. First mooted at the fourth BRICS summit in New Delhi in 2012, the Bank will certainly have an impact on the existing arrangements put in place by the Bretton Woods institutions, and will give more say to smaller countries. But BRICS also appears to recognise that the NDB cannot replace the IMF, the World Bank or the regional development banks. Thus, the Fortaleza Declaration describes the NDB as a “supplement to the efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global development.”

    A second financial instrument, the Contingency Reserve Arrangement of $100 billion, has been set up to help developing economies tide over “short-term liquidity pressures, promote further BRICS cooperation, strengthen the global financial safety net and complement existing international arrangements.” In its sixth year, BRICS has a new confidence, and it was more than apparent at the summit. The only world grouping that is not region, security or trade-based, its members have come together with the determination to create a more multilateral global order. China and Russia have backed the other three BRICS members on the issue of UN reform and Security Council expansion. But the grouping needs to find a stronger political voice. The Declaration came in the midst of the bombardment, even if under grave provocation, of Gaza by Israel, but it is silent on this while calling for Israel and Palestine to resume negotiations towards a two-state solution.

  • EU’s Anti-Open Source Approach to Procurement

    In recent posts, I’ve looked at the increasing use of open source software by governments in countries as diverse as China, Russia, India and Germany. Here I want to contrast those moves with the continuing failure of the European Commission to embrace free software - with huge costs for European citizens as a result, to say nothing of lost sovereignty.


  • Autre projet de #mur:
    #Kolomojsky: “I can build fence along #Ukraine-Russia border

    Tycoon and Governor of the Dnipropetrovsk oblast Ihor Kolomojsky proposes to Pres Poroshenko to start the construction of a 1,900-km fence along Ukraine eastern border with Russia, reports June 12.
    #Russie #barrière_frontalière #frontière

  • Le parlement ukrainien ouvre la voie à la privatisation des gazoducs, à hauteur de 49%.
    Qui va investir dans un ensemble dépendant à 100% d’un client unique, Gazprom ?

    U.S., EU Unlikely to Invest in Ukraine’s Gas System, Analysts Say | Business | The Moscow Times

    Ukraine’s move Friday toward attempting to sell nearly 50 percent in its gas pipeline system to EU and U.S. investors does not mean that Western buyers will rush to take up the offer, as the system’s value depends on a steady supply of Russian gas, energy analysts told The Moscow Times.

    Amid the current standoff with Russia over unpaid bills for gas imports, Ukraine’s parliament passed a bill in its first reading Friday that envisages the creation of a Ukrainian gas transportation operator of which European and U.S. investors could own up to 49 percent.
    The bill excludes Russia from ownership in the system by only accepting as shareholders companies owned and controlled by residents of the EU, U.S. or European Energy Community, of which Ukraine is a member but Russia is not. The company must also belong to the European Network of Transmission System Operators of Gas. The same conditions apply for operators of Ukraine’s subterranean natural gas storage facilities.
    But Europe and the U.S. are unlikely to invest in the proposed transport system, according to Sergei Pikin, director of the Moscow-based energy consultancy and engineering firm Energy Development Fund.

    “So far we have not seen any companies express an interest in this arrangement. Who will be interested in an asset that is dependent on gas from a third party — Russia?” he said.

  • Russian Gas : How Much Is That ?

    A study of publicly available data shows that West European countries pay less to Gazprom, the Russian state-run gas giant, than do poorer Central and East European countries.
    Prices European countries paid for gas from Russia in 2013

    Seuls les prix sont comparés, sans considération sur les natures des contrats (long terme, engagement de quantité, clause take or pay…)

    • Le prix du gaz de l’accord avec la Chine vient de fuiter.

      Gazprom Gas Price in China Deal Said to Be Near German Level - Businessweek

      OAO Gazprom (OGZD), the world largest natural-gas producer, will supply fuel to China at a price close to Germany’s, according to Russian officials.

      Keeping parity between Germany and China, which will be Gazprom’s two largest customers after shipments to the Asian country start, may reassure investors that Russia didn’t offer excessive discounts to win a deal that had been sought for more than a decade.

      The base price for China National Petroleum Corp. is about $360 per 1,000 cubic meters, two government officials in Moscow said, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential. That’s near the average $366 that Gazprom charged Germany last year, which pays one of the lowest prices in Europe, one of the officials said.

  • Vladimir Putin would welcome Scottish independence, claims Michael Gove | Mail Online

    Vladimir Putin would welcome Scottish independence because it would weaken Britain, the outspoken Education Secretary Michael Gove has claimed.

    Mr Gove said a break up of the United Kingdom would put Russia in a ’stronger position’ to dictate to the world.

    He claimed Britain was the ’second principal beacon of liberty’ in the world and its break up would weaken the West.

    Votez NON à l’indépendance de l’Écosse pour embêter Poutine et ne pas affaiblir le camp de la liberté.
    Ça, c’est une vraie argumentation… de guerre froide.

  • Russia demands investigation into claims chemical weapons were used in Ukraine amid frantic efforts to secure fresh ceasefire | Mail Online

    Pro-separatist rebels have claimed that people showing symptoms of chlorine poisoning had been admitted to hospital following an alleged attack carried out by Ukrainian Special Forces near Slavyansk.

    The accusations, which follow claims of ’phosphorous fire bombs’ being dropped on villages in southeastern Ukraine this month, led to Russian diplomats urging an investigation.

    Une vidéo du 15 juin montrerait un bombardement au phosphore blanc

  • This is where Russia will build its Arctic vessels | Barentsobserver

    Billions are invested in the Zvezda yard outside Vladivostok to make it capable of meeting Russia’s growing demand for ice-protected ships and platforms.

    By Atle Staalesen
    June 19, 2014

    Going Arctic, Rosneft eyes acquisition of Murmansk shipyard
    Rosneft moving into Northern Fleet territory

    It is the Far East which is the country’s top priority oil and gas region. This is where the quickest growing markeds are and where the raw material prices are the best. New fields, processing plants and pipelines are under planning and both Rosneft and Gazprom have signed major cooperation deals with China and several other Asian powers.

    #transport_maritime #russie #arctique

  • Norway and Russia to study sunken nuclear sub | Barentsobserver

    Norway and Russia launches a joint expedition to determine the condition of a sunken nuclear submarine and containers of radioactive waste dumped in the Barents Sea.

    –— ---

    Norway cashes out for securing old nuclear hulk | Barentsobserver

    The 40 years old “Serebryanka” is a re-built tanker transporting spent nuclear fuel from Russia’s scrapped nuclear powered submarines along the coast of the Kola Peninsula to Rosatomflot’s service base in Murmansk.

    In Norway, the vessel got famous in the early 90ties for her dumping of liquid radioactive waste in the Barents Sea.

    #arctique #nucléaire #norvège #russie #mourmansk #kola