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Friday, February 28, 2014

Video - Euromaidan top-leader Poroshenko being chased by pro-Russia crowd through Crimea capital.



Ukrainian lawmaker and businessman Petro Poroshenko is being chased by an angry crowd in Simferopol, Crimea.

Unconfirmed report - Russian Ultimatum & Russian Gvozdikas (self-propelled artillery) arriving in the Crimea.


Unconfirmed report - Russian Gvozdikas (self-propelled artillery) in Crimea.HT: UkrainianUpdates.

Russian ultimatum: Ukrainian troops in Crimea must leave bases by 2am local time (2:37 now) - via HromadskeTV MT.




  Meanwhile in The US: 






Video - UKIP leader Nigel Farage says he feels awkward when he doesn't hear English on the train.

Advance Praise for Andrew Bostom New Book: “Iran’s Final Solution For Israel”


Advance Praise for Andrew Bostom New Book: “Iran’s Final Solution For Israel” HT :AndrewBoston.

A brilliant, compendious and exceptionally well-written piece of work, Iran’s Final Solution for Israel is Andrew Bostom’s most recent and probing analysis of Islamic Jew-hatred, as practiced by the so-called Islamic Republic of Iran.

Bostom scrupulously examines the evidence for the pervasive duplicity underlying and facilitating Iran’s nuclear program, along with American and Western delusional naivety in complying with Iranian diplomacy.

He is very clear on “the chronic plight of Iranian Jewry” and “Iran’s relentless effort to obtain nuclear weapons for the stated purpose of destroying Israel.” Bostom’s exegesis and warning should be heeded if we wish to avert a future few of us would like to contemplate.”
—David Solway, author of Hear, O Israel!

“Working from history, Islamic sacred and juridical writings, and the statements and actions of the current Iranian regime, Andrew Bostom lays out a compelling case that the current Iranian “moderation” so widely touted in the mainstream media — and upon which Barack Obama is betting nothing less than the future of the free world — is a not-so-thinly-disguised exercise in divinely-sanctioned Islamic deception designed to co-opt and victimize a complacent and willfully ignorant West. If our Senators and Representatives absorbed and acted upon the lessons of this monograph, we would not be in the fix we’re in.”
—Robert Spencer, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad

A must read warning about the Iranian Shi’ite theocracy, and its trustworthiness as a negotiating partner. The extensive research and analysis presented in this monograph should provide the West with an understanding of the Iranian threat, and its ideological motivations: jihadisim, annihilationist Islamic antisemitism, and general hatred of non-Muslims. There is no excuse for being entrapped into useless agreements with Iran.”
—Nonie Darwish, author of The Devil We Don’t Know: The Dark Side of Revolutions in the Middle East

Dr. Andrew Bostom is undoubtedly the leading academic authority on all pertinent matters of Jihadist doctrine. He is a rare scholar, one who has been willing to undertake meticulous and exhaustive examination of what lies at the very core of consciousness of Israel’s recalcitrant enemies, including, most prominently, the contemporary Shiite theocracy of Iran.”
Read more at Andy Bostom’s

Russian Lawmakers Push to Simplify Annexing New Territories......Like the Crimea for example?


Russian Lawmakers Push to Simplify Annexing New Territories......Like the Crimea for example?(RN).

Lawmakers in Russia introduced a bill in parliament on Friday to simplify the absorption of new territories into the country in what will be widely interpreted as a signal that Moscow may be planning to gain control over Ukraine’s mainly ethnic Russian-populated region of Crimea.

The legislation comes as Russian troops reportedly blockaded an airport in the Crimean city of Sevastopol in what Ukraine’s acting interior minister, Arsen Avakov, has described as an armed invasion.

Under the bill, authored by the Kremlin-loyal opposition party A Just Russia, the decision on the accession of a part of a foreign state to Russia should be taken through a referendum.

There have been cases in international practice when a part of a state joined another state without an international treaty being signed. Moreover, international law does not require the conclusion of such a treaty with a foreign state,” the lawmakers said. Its authors said the legislation, which comes amid political turmoil in Ukraine, stems from Russia’s obligations under a friendship agreement signed in 1997.

Under the deal, Russia and Ukraine agreed to take measures aimed at preventing actions inciting violence against groups of citizens over national, ethnic or religious intolerance.

Video - Yanukovich denies ouster, says 'ashamed & guilty' for not preventing chaos



Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich pledges to fight for Ukraine. He addressed a press conference in southern Russia, appearing in public for the first time since he fled Kiev amid bloody riots.

“No one has ousted me,” Yanukovich told reporters. “I had to leave Ukraine because of a direct threat to my life and the lives of my family.”

According to Yanukovich, “nationalist fascist-like fellows representing the absolute minority of Ukrainians” took over power in Ukraine.

He described the situation in Ukraine as “complete lawlessness,” “terror” and "chaos", saying that the politicians, including MPs, have been threatened and are working under threats.

It has nothing to do with the unity government that was negotiated with the opposition, he said.

The violence and deaths in Ukraine are the “result of the irresponsible politics of the West, which has encouraged Maidan,” Yanukovich stressed.

US and other Western countries’ representatives “must take full responsibility” for the fact that the agreement between Yanukovich and the opposition leaders was not held, the ousted president stressed. Western powers’ “patronage” of Maidan makes them directly responsible for the situation in Ukraine, he claimed.

The current Ukrainian parliament is “not legitimate,” and the people in power are spreading the propaganda of violence, Yanukovich asserted.

When asked if he feels ashamed of his actions, Yanukovich replied that he feels ashamed and sorry for “not having been able to stabilize the situations and stop the mayhem” in Ukraine.

“I want to apologize to the Ukrainian people for what has happened in Ukraine and that I lacked strength to maintain stability.”

Yanukovich also apologized to the Ukrainian riot police, Berkut, for having to “suffer” while doing their duty of maintaining peace and order. Police officers had to stand their ground while rioters set them on fire with petrol bombs, he reminded.

Yanukovich stressed he had not given any order for police to shoot live fire until the rioters started using firearms, putting the officers’ lives under threat.

According to Yanukovich, the early Ukrainian elections announced for May 25 are “illegitimate” and he will not take part in them.

However, he said that he will “remain in politics.”


Video - Live feed of the Yanukovych press conference.

’Israel’: Hezbollah Acquired, Deployed Yakhont Cruise Missile, with 300 Km Range.


’Israel’: Hezbollah Acquired, Deployed Yakhont Cruise Missile, with 300 Km Range.(AlManar).

Israeli navy officers said Hezbollah has already deployed the Russian cruise missile, Yakhont, with a range of 300 kilometers and capable of striking Israel’s entire Mediterranean coast, World Tribune reported.

We assume that advanced Yakhont missiles have also reached the hands of Hezbollah, and we are preparing for that,” Rear Adm. Eli Sharvit, commander of the naval base in Haifa, said.

The Israeli officers said Hezbollah deployed Yakhont in 2013 about a year after the Syrian Navy received the P-800. They said repeated Israeli efforts to block the delivery of the weapon from Syria to Lebanon were partially successful.

Hezbollah is a highly functional organization, active in its sector,” Sharvit told a briefing on Feb. 25. “It continues to arm itself with strategic weapons, and has not stopped trying to get its hands on weapons that will influence [future warfare].

The officers said the navy was being trained and equipped to foil the Hezbollah or Syrian missile threat against Israel. They said Hezbollah could use Yakhont to attack Israel’s new natural gas facilities in the eastern Mediterranean.Hmmmm.....'Wishful thinking'.

International female delegation to visit Gaza.

The International Solidarity Movement - a group whose goal is to support the Palestinians through non-violent protest

International female delegation to visit Gaza.(PresTv).

A delegation of more than 100 women is planning to visit the Israeli blockaded Gaza Strip to meet Palestinian women in the coastal enclave on International Women's Day.

The members of the delegation come from countries such as France, Belgium, the United States and Ireland.

The participants are part of an international campaign called "Women Against the Blockade of Gaza." The group aims to discuss and address the difficulties faced by Palestinian women in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Non-governmental organization Code Pink: Women for Peace has said it is forming a US delegation of 15 women, who will join the international coalition.

The purpose of the delegation, it has said, is to show solidarity with the women of Gaza, to bring attention to the unbearable suffering caused by the Israeli blockade, to educate people back in their home countries, to push for opening the Gaza borders, and to bring solar lamps to help with the electricity shortage.

Gaza has been blockaded since June 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.

The humanitarian crisis facing Gaza has escalated as the only power plant in the Palestinian territory has stopped working since November 1 last year due to severe fuel shortage.Hmmmm......no word if they return as future mothers?

Meanwhile....in 'moderate' Iran: President Rouhani tours Iran Navy and IRGC Navy bases.





Meanwhile....in 'moderate' Iran: President Rouhani tours Iran Navy and IRGC Navy bases. HT and more pictures here at Uskowi On Iran.




Video - Video clip of "DOZENS OF MIL MI-24 COMBAT HELICOPTERS OVER BELBEK, NORTH OF SEVASTOPOL"



Update: More than 80 Mil Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters of Russian Western Military District head to emergency airfields during drills

Ukraine parliament appeals for UN Security Council to discuss crisis.


Ukraine parliament appeals for UN Security Council to discuss crisis.Live updates from here from BBC.

Update: Ukraine says Russian forces block airport


Good Crimea analysis and recs from Carnegie.
  … "What was once seen as impossible has now become all too conceivable."







MT  Seems to be new Russian Army uniform: http://en.ria.ru/photolents/20121225/178388360_4.html … Any other suggestions?




Putin seeks Ukraine financial aid consultations with IMF and G8; will consider Crimean authorities' request of humanitarian aid


Putin seeks Ukraine financial aid consultations with IMF and G8; will consider Crimean authorities' request of humanitarian aid.(RBTH).

Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed the government to continue to work together with its Ukrainian partners in order to further promote trade and business ties between the two countries, hold consultations with Russia's international partners, including the International Monetary Fund, concerning the issue of financial assistance for Ukraine, as well as consider the possibility of sending humanitarian supplies to Ukraine's Autonomous Republic of Crimea in response to an appropriate request from it, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.

"President of Russian Vladimir Putin instructed the government of Russia to continue contacts with its partners in Kyiv on matters surrounding the development of trade and business ties between the Russian Federation and Ukraine," Peskov said.

The president also ordered that consultations be held with Russia's foreign partners, among them the IMF and G8 member countries, concerning the issue of financial aid for Ukraine, he said.

"Apart from that, bearing in mind the Crimean authorities' request of humanitarian aid, the president of Russia instructed the Russian government to consider this issue, including on the part of regions of the Russian Federation," he said.Read the full story here.

Turkey ‘aims to wrap up missile talks by April’, still 'Turkish bazaar bargaining' on A400 military transport.


Turkey ‘aims to wrap up missile talks by April’, still 'Turkish bazaar bargaining' on A400 military transport.(Taz).
Turkey is aiming to achieve results in April on its talks with China over the purchase of long-range missile defense systems, a move highly criticized by Turkey's NATO allies, Turkey's undersecretary for state-run defense industries Murad Bayar said Feb. 27 Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Turkey announced in September it had chosen China's FD-2000 missile-defense system over rival offers from Franco-Italian Eurosam SAMP/T and U.S.-listed Raytheon Co. It said China offered the most competitive terms and would allow co-production in Turkey.

U.S. and NATO officials have raised concerns with Turkish officials about the decision to buy the system from CPMIEC, a company hit by U.S. sanctions for sales of items to either Iran, Syria or North Korea that are banned under U.S. laws to curb the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

"Our talks with China are ongoing. We have extended the bidding until the end of April. We are aiming to get results in early April on this," Bayar said.

Separately, Bayar said Turkey is likely to start ordering F-35 fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp from 2015 onwards and it will start with two orders initially.

"We will start F-35 orders either this year or the next. Right now, it is likely to be next year," Bayar told reporters. "We will initially order two. The delivery time will be, depending on the orders, probably in 2017-2018."

Bayar also said Turkey will seek compensation over the late delivery of the A400 military transport plan after Airbus failed to meet some of its obligations in its contract.

"My message to Airbus is that it should first focus on fulfilling the terms of the contract. There is no additional bargaining here. The contract, even with the amended version, requires the fulfillment of certain technical qualities and we have had to hold these talks because these requirements were not completely fulfilled," Bayar said.

On Feb. 26, Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said 'bargaining' was behind the delay and that it was 'unbearable' that the company was still negotiating with Turkey over the plane.
"The aircraft is ready to go. It is instantly, operationally fit for flight. I find the situation increasingly unacceptable," Enders told reporters.
Meanwhile, Bayar said Japan had told Turkey that it will not allow the export of a Japanese tank engine to third parties without its permission.
His comments came after Japanese media reported that a deal between Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe was struck in May, during Abe's visit to Turkey, on the supply of engines, but that Turkey's desire to export to third parties was likely to block the deal.
Bayar said that the potential purchase of the engine for Turkey's Altay tank was dropped for now.Hmmmm......Turkish 'Vorsprung durch technik'....Tanks with no engines, drones without engines.

Ukraine Accuses Russian Soldiers in Crimea of armed 'Invasion' and 'occupation'.


Update:


Ukraine Accuses Russian Soldiers in Crimea of armed 'Invasion' and 'occupation'.(RN).
The interior minister of Ukraine accused Russian troops Friday of blockading an airport in the Crimean city of Sevastopol in what he has described as an armed invasion.
While stressing that no direct violent confrontations had taken place, Arsen Avakov said the matter should be dealt with on a diplomatic level before armed clashes broke out.

Avakov said on his Facebook account that troops from the Black Sea Fleet, which is stationed in the city, could be seen outside Belbek airport, although the inside of the terminal was controlled by Ukrainian troops.

“The airport is not operating. At the external perimeter there are Ukrainian Interior Ministry checkpoints. There have been not been armed clashes,” Avakov said.

The alleged presence of Black Sea Fleet troops at the airport, if confirmed, would be in direct defiance of a demand by Ukrainian interim authorities Thursday for Russian troops to refrain from leaving their quarters. That appeal apparently echoed international concern that Moscow may choose to throw its weight behind pro-Russian groups in Crimea seeking to defy interim authorities in Kiev.

Any movement, particularly with weapons, outside official residences regulated by our agreement will be interpreted by us as military aggression,” interim President Oleksandr Turchynov said.

Russia, which has a substantial military presence at its leased naval base in Sevastopol, has insisted it will not interfere in its neighbor’s affairs, while at the same time voicing worries about possible discrimination against ethnic Russians in the country.

About half of Crimea’s population identifies as ethnic Russian. Ousted President Viktor Yanukovych drew much of his support from Ukraine’s Russian population, which has reacted with alarm at what it perceives as an aggressively nationalistic rule now installed in Kiev.

In his statement Friday, Avakov said that 100 men that he said identified themselves as Cossacks attempted overnight Thursday to occupy the airport in Simferopol, which is 80 kilometers northeast of Sevastopol, but were repelled. “The territory of the airport was vacated by the ‘Cossacks’ at one o’clock – they boarded covered Kamaz trucks and left,” he said. He said that 119 armed soldiers in camouflage apparently belonging to the Russian armed forces arrived at the airport building at 1:30 a.m. and settled in an airport restaurant.

The soldiers refused to respond to queries from Interior Ministry officers about whether they were soldiers and if they had permission to be in the airport.

I assess what is happening as an armed invasion and occupation. It is in violation of all international treaties and norms. This is a direct provocation to armed bloodshed on the territory of a sovereign state,” Avakov said.


Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi appointed as Egypt’s top military leader.


Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi appointed as Egypt’s top military leader.(Taz).
Egyptian interim President Adly Mansour on Thursday issued a decree reshuffling the country's top military council and installing for the first time the military chief as its leader Al Arabiya reported.
Mansour's decree puts Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi in charge of the military council.

The move is considered the first in Egypt's history that the military council will not be headed by the president, who is, according to Egypt's constitution, the chief commander of the armed forces.
The move also rearranges and increases the number of members of the country's Supreme Council for Armed Forces.

Thursday's decree is seen part of a series of decelerations related to rearranging the country's sprawling security establishment nearly two months before presidential elections.

Sisi, who ran the military backed ouster of President Mohammad Mursi last July, is widely expected run for president.

A newspaper report suggested on Thursday that Sisi will soon be resigning from his post as a defense minister to run for presidency.

State-owned Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram quoted former Arab League chief Amr Moussa on Thursday saying that Sisi will make the announcement within the coming 10 days.

Anyone surprised? Central banker appointed as Prime Minister of Ukraine.


Anyone surprised? Central banker appointed as Prime Minister of Ukraine.HT: Blacklistednews.
A reshuffled Ukrainian Parliament installed following a coup last week has voted to appoint Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the new prime minister of the country
Yats, as Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. State Department, called him, is a natural choice. He is a millionaire former banker who served as economy minister, foreign minister and parliamentary speaker before Yanukovych took office in 2010. He is a member of Yulie Tymoshenko’s Fatherland Party. 

Prior to the revolution Tymoshenko was incarcerated for embezzlement and other crimes against the people of Ukraine. Now she will be part of the installed government, same as she was after the last orchestrated 'CHANGE', the Orange Revolution.

Yats will deliver Ukraine to the international bankers. “Ukraine is on the brink of bankruptcy and needs to be saved from collapse — Yatsenyuk has a strong economic background,” Ariel Cohen, senior fellow at the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, told Bloomberg on Wednesday. “Ukraine faces difficult reforms but without them there won’t be a successful future.”Hmmm.....You think he knows Goldman sachs?



Thursday, February 27, 2014

"Israel's Staunchest Ally" pres Obama to meet Palestinian leader Abbas on March 17.


"Israel's Staunchest Ally" pres Obama to meet Palestinian leader Abbas on March 17.(Dunyanews).
President Barack Obama will meet Mahmud Abbas on March 17, stepping up Washington's efforts to convince the Palestinian leader to embrace the US vision of a peace deal with Israel.
The meeting will come two weeks after Obama's planned encounter with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, which will also take place at the White House.

"The President looks forward to reviewing with President Abbas the progress in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.

"They will also discuss our continuing effort to work cooperatively to strengthen the institutions that can support the establishment of a Palestinian state."

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been mounting an exhaustive diplomatic push, said Wednesday that his quest to seal a full Middle East peace deal will slip beyond an April deadline.
Kerry first hopes to convince both sides to agree a framework to guide the talks.

"Then we get into the final negotiations. I don't think anybody would worry if there's another nine months, or whatever it's going to be... But that's not defined yet," Kerry said in a roundtable discussion with a small group of news organizations, including AFP.

Kerry coaxed the two sides back to the negotiating table in late July, after Obama's initial drive to secure a peace deal foundered in his first term.

Despite Kerry's intense attention, the talks have shown little sign of progress, with each side blaming the other for the stalemate.

But Kerry insisted that both parties were still "in the middle" of the talks. "I laugh at people who say it's not going anywhere. They don't know because we're not talking about where it's at. They have no clue where our negotiations are and whether they could go anywhere."

A Palestinian official told AFP however last week that Kerry's ideas could not be the basis of any framework.

Judicial Watch Reveals Obama’s 2013 Vacations Cost Taxpayers $7,396,531.


Judicial Watch Reveals Obama’s 2013 Vacations Cost Taxpayers $7,396,531.HT: Judicialwatch.
Documents Obtained by Judicial Watch Reveal Obama 2013 Vacations, Leno Show Appearance, Cost Taxpayers $7,396,531 for Flight Expenses

Obama’s eight-day 2012 – 2013 Hawaii Christmas vacation cost taxpayers $4,086, 355.20 for flights alone

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained flight expense records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that President Obama incurred $7,396,531.20 in flight expenses alone for his 2013 vacations to Hawaii and Martha’s Vineyard and his trip to California to appear on the Jay Leno Show. The records came in response to Freedom of Information lawsuit filed after the stonewalling of requests filed in August 2013.
                      The outbound flight to Honolulu for the Obama 2012 – 2013 Christmas vacation cost taxpayers $2, 214, 393.60. The return flight to Washington was $1,871,961.60. The total price for flight expenditures alone came to $4,086, 355.20.
                      The outbound flight to California in August, 2013 for Obama to dine with high-dollar fundraiser Jeffrey Katzenberg and appear on the “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” cost taxpayers $1,209,926.40.The return flight to Washington was $935,980.80. The total price for flight expenditures alone came to $2,145,907.20.
                      The outbound flight to Martha’s Vineyard for the Obama family August vacation cost taxpayers $890,323.20. The return flight to Washington was $273,945.60. The total price for flight expenditures alone came to $1,164,268.80.

From December, 21, 2012, to January, 5, 2013, the Obama family spent their Christmas vacation in Honolulu, Hawaii, with the president briefly flying back to Washington to work on a budget deal before returning to finish out his vacation.

In early August, 2013, Obama flew to California to dine privately with high-dollar fundraiser DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg in the presidential suite at the Hilton Woodland Hills Hotel and to appear for the sixth time on the Jay Leno “Tonight Show.” 

Also, in August 2013, the Obama family spent eight days vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, at the $7.6 million home of David Schulte, founder of the private equity firm Chilmark Partners.


The Obamas are abusing the public trust and the taxpayers with unnecessary luxurious vacations and travel,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These staggering costs show why these documents were covered up and we had to sue in federal court to get them.  Another transparency fail for the Obama gang.”

Armed soldiers surround Crimea's main airports in Sevastopol and Simferopol.


Armed soldiers surround Crimea's main airports in Sevastopol and Simferopol.(Ukrainianpolicy).

UNIAN is reporting that approximately 6 military trucks full of armed soldiers are currently surrounding the Sevastapol International Airport, which doubles as an Ukrainian Air Force facility.

The source notes that “unknown armed people in uniform” also surrounded a guest residence normally reserved for senior officials. NBNews claims the soldiers to be Russian Black Sea Fleet personnel. Those on the scene were not able to identify the purpose of the soldiers, as they will not answer questions to the press.
Gazeta quotes Ukrainian political scientist Pavel Nuss, citing his own sources, who identified the troops as Russian military and said the convoy rammed the , and speculates that the purpose may be to secure airlift of troops in.

Local news is reporting that in fact both Sevastopol and Simferopol airports are surrounded, the latter by militants at 1am local time. Interfax and Ukrainska Pravda confirmed these reports, and that approximately 150 armed unmarked soldiers are in the area, dropped off via 3 unmarked Kamaz transport trucks. The airport is still operational. They report that 25 supporters have a Russian naval flag. The soldiers speak with heavy Russian accents.

The head of the security at the airport stated the gunmen “politely” asked security officers to leave, and while refuting an outright takeover, they “arrived at the airport to search for Ukrainian airborne troops. However, after finding out that there was no military present on the tarmac, they apologized and left the territory.”

Russian MP Vladimir Garnachuk, who is now in Simferopol, elaborated that the aim of the operation was to stop the interim Ukrainian president Oleksandr Turchynov from landing in Crimea.

This news comes directly after armed insurgents occupied the Crimean parliament buildings in Simferopol under the Russian flag.Hmmm........What counts is to be the first with the most.

More troubling news from Crimea:

New head of Crimean regional govt says Yanukovych still president, will take instructions from him. http://t.co/zKpI3Zxxq4

— Roland Oliphant (@RolandOliphant) February 27, 2014

More and more of these “mutinous berkut guard the entrance to the crimea” stories coming in. http://t.co/lTUYUpLcHn

— Roland Oliphant (@RolandOliphant) February 27, 2014

Tomorrow, we expect to be following the story of Crimean self-defense forces, and the return of the now-disbanded Berkut, because these could now be the front-line soldiers of a counterrevolution — or not, but tensions look like they are increasing at the moment, not decreasing.

Arak Heavy Water Reactor 85 percent completed, Iranian MP says.


Arak Heavy Water Reactor 85 percent completed, Iranian MP says.(Taz).
Iran's Arak Heavy Water Reactor is now 85 percent complete, Vice-Speaker of the Parliament Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi Fard said, Iranian Donya-e-eqtesad newspaper reported on Feb. 27.
The MP went on to say that in the past the western powers wanted Iran's nuclear sites to be closed. Meanwhile today they have accepted their loss negotiating with Iran on the issue.
"Some 19,000 Iranian centrifuges are spinning and the Arak heavy water reactor is 85 percent complete,' he remarked.

Iran's heavy water production plant and reactor which remains under construction is located near the city of Arak.

The U.S. and the EU are concerned that the facility could be used to produce plutonium which can be used to fuel a nuclear weapon as an alternative to highly enriched uranium. Iran says its atomic programme is peaceful and the Arak reactor is intended to produce isotopes for cancer patients.
Iran has agreed to suspend the installation activity at the reactor based on the Geneva nuclear deal.
Iran and the P5+1 reached a nuclear agreement on November 24, 2013. Iran has agreed to curb some of its nuclear activities for six months in return for sanctions relief. Iran and the P5+1 group have agreed to implement the agreement starting from Jan. 20.

Under the agreement, six major powers agreed to give Iran access to $4.2 billion in revenue blocked overseas if it carries out the deal which offers sanctions relief in exchange for steps to curb the Iranian nuclear programme.

The incomplete Arak heavy water nuclear reactor was a stumbling block that almost derailed nuclear talks between Iran and other nations last November, when France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius insisted that Iran should agree to halt work there before world powers would consider signing the nuclear deal.
The reactor if operating optimally would produce about nine kilogrammes of plutonium annually or enough for two nuclear weapons each year.
On January 16, the White House released details of implementing the nuclear deal signed by Iran and the world's six major powers. According to the statement Iran is committed to not fuelling the Arak reactor or install the remaining components.

On Feb. 6, Iranian media outlets quoted head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi as saying Iran can make some design changes to the Arak Heavy Water Reactor in order to produce less plutonium and in this way allay the concerns.

Salehi also went on to say that the plutonium which will be produced in the reactor is not weapons grade plutonium.Hmmmm.........A Turkish Bazaar deal.


Obama's BFF Erdogan's Praetorian Guard or the new Turkish surveillance state.


Obama's BFF Erdogan's Praetorian Guard or the new Turkish surveillance state.(RT).
Turkey's current political leadership has been going through a severe crisis ever since corruption allegations emerged on Dec. 17. Bribery charges and shoeboxes filled with money provided catchy sound bites that are still being reiterated today. 

In conjunction with these embarrassing "facts" coming to light, Turkey's involvement in neighboring Syria's bloody war has also been in the spotlight of late – particularly, the scandal involving trucks carrying either "humanitarian aid" or "weapons and ammunition" into Syria, as part of Turkey's National Intelligence Organization’s (MIT) secret mission.

Founded in 1965, the MIT is tasked to collect intelligence to do with threats to the country and the nation's integrity and security. It reports to the prime minister, the president and the chief of the General Staff.

On Feb. 26, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan approved a new law that gives "broader powers for [Erdogan's] intelligence agency, including more scope for eavesdropping and legal immunity for its top agent," Reuters correspondent Orhan Coskun reported, after it was approved by Turkey's parliament Sunday.

This public scrutiny of a body directly attached to the figure of the prime minister by means of laws #644 (1965) and #2,937 (1984) has prompted the present incumbent, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, well-known for his tendency to micro-manage Turkey's business and other affairs, to undertake a far-reaching revision by means of a law proposal.

This legal adjustment, tabled by the MPs İdris Sahin and Alpaslan Kavaklıoglu late Wednesday, Feb. 19, proposed changes among other things would allow Turkey's intelligence officers (MIT) to perform operations abroad and listen to international telephone conversations. In addition to somewhat copying actions carried out by the now more than infamous NSA, Sahin and Kavaklıoglu's proposals would also stipulate jail terms of up to 12 years for the publication of leaked documents.

In this way, Turkey would not just be replicating the exploits of America's National Security Agency, but even actively participate in President Obama's war on whistleblowers.

The bill would thus also force official institutions as well as private companies to surrender consumer data and technical equipment. In fact, at the beginning of December 2013, the prime minister expressed his feelings on the topic, explaining that "[e]xposing state secrets is not freedom but absolutely treason to the country and homeland." 

The new MIT measures are meant to bring Turkey's intelligence agency "in line with the requirements of the [current] age, grant it the capabilities of other intelligence agencies, and increase its methods and capacity for individual and technical intelligence [gathering]," the bill says.

Sahin and Kavaklioglu's proposals would thus create a direct link between the Turkish and US governments.

Fortuitously, the US President called Tayyip Erdogan on the same day as the bill was being presented.
The White House released a statement indicating that "President Obama spoke by phone with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey on a range of bilateral and regional issues. The President affirmed the value he places on a strong, mutually respectful bilateral relationship with the Republic of Turkey and expressed his view that Turkey can demonstrate leadership in the world through positive engagement." The US thus appears to be at pains to placate its Muslim ally to act swiftly with regard to the ongoing corruption allegations so as not to undermine the healthy business relations enjoyed by Turkey over the past decade.

In this way, Barack Obama seems to be expressing his approval of what I have termed “Turkey's pseudo-Ottoman policy” with regard to the erstwhile Ottoman hinterland and beyond. On a related note, the two leaders also discussed the war in Syria, underlining support for "continuing efforts to advance a political solution to the Syria conflict."

But the two men also spoke at length about the energy relationship between Ankara, Erbil, and Baghdad – an indication that Turkey's pseudo-Ottoman ambitions to acquire a significant stake in a regional part of Pipelineistan are also being followed closely by Washington.

 The new internet bill in tandem with the new MIT law would undoubtedly transform Turkey into an "intelligence" and "surveillance state," somewhat rivaling the US.

Ever since the days of Prime Minister (and later President) Turgut Özal (1927-93), the Republic of Turkey has been trying hard to transform itself into a "little America" in its own right. Özal's free market and Islam-friendly policies in many ways stand at the root of the current AKP-led government's success and prosperity. In his day, Özal was a close friend and ally of George H.W Bush and Tayyip Erdogan appears to be emulating his predecessor in this respect as well, cozying up to Obama and trying to turn Turkey into a Muslim nanny state with access to the latest state-of-the-art surveillance infrastructure and technology.

Against the backdrop of these clear moves to turn Turkey into a tightly-controlled, quasi-Orwellian "little America," recordings incriminating the prime minister and his son Bilal have emerged. As a result, Turkey's media and the Turkish population are at present trying to come to grips with a political class trying to extend its hold on power, while being embroiled in an ever-widening corruption scandal, which, in turn, appears to be but a pretext for a power struggle behind the scenes.

The upcoming local elections and the scheduled presidential poll later this year will reveal the direction Turkey will take in the coming years. Will it be steady as she goes or instead a course that would see a return of Turkey's self-proclaimed secularist political class?Hmmm......'By their fruits you will know them'. Read the full story here.

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What are the odds of the Crimea breaking away from Ukraine?


What are the odds of the Crimea breaking away from Ukraine?(RBTH).

There are two important factors to consider: the ethno-cultural, and the economic.

Crimea is the most Russian part of Ukraine. Its population is 58 percent ethnic Russian, 24 percent Ukrainian, and 12-per-cent Tatar. Russian is the mother tongue for three quarters of Crimeans. Only 10 per cent say their mother tongue is Ukrainian. According to the Kiev International Institute of Sociology, 97 per cent of Crimeans speak Russian.

Crimea does not have an economic elite oriented towards Europe. Its economy was devastated over the years of Ukrainian independence. In the late 1990s Ukrainian oligarchs grabbed many of the most lucrative Crimean resorts, and even began to invest some money into them - but it was other people's money. That is why the Crimean elite does not have the kind of interests that make the Donetsk or Dnipropetrovsk-based elites so pliable when the EU or the USA put their pressure to bear.
For these two reasons, Crimea could not remain indifferent to what is going on in Kiev. The first reaction was anger, the second – demands to restore order.

Three possible scenarios.
The first scenario is that things will somehow settle down of their own accord. However, the only person that seems to believe this is President Yanukovych. The chances of that scenario coming to pass are slim.
The second scenario is that Crimea will receive even broader autonomy. This scenario will come to pass only if some degree of stability is restored - and that will only be possible if the parties agree to the federalization of Ukraine. But supporters of Ukrainian independence are afraid of federalization.
The third scenario is Crimea breaking off from Ukraine and becoming another “unrecognized state” under Russian protection. Kiev does not have the strength to prevent that, even if a functioning government is restored in the Ukrainian capital.
Ukraine does not have especially effective armed forces, and due to the crisis, it has next to no economic leverage remaining either. But such a scenario could trigger a conflict in Crimea itself - a conflict between the Crimean Tatars and ethnic Russians who inhabit the peninsula.Based on materials from Vzglyad.Read the full story here.

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Ukraine will appeal to NATO, if it turns out that in the Crimea Russian spetsnaz active.


Ukraine will appeal to NATO, if it turns out that in the Crimea Russian spetsnaz.(Cencornet).

Ukraine will appeal to NATO, if it turns out that in the Crimea Russian Spetznaz  acting for  the Russian Federation.

This was announced today on the sidelines of the parliament said the candidate for the position of First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Vitaly Yarema * , reports RBC-Ukraine reports Tsenzor.NET .

Read also "Tsenzor.NET": Russia's actions in the Crimea can provoke jihad on the peninsula ,

- The New York Times "I have no advice for all occasions. I hope that this is not the Russian special forces. 'Cause if Russian special forces, it is aggression of a foreign state, it will have recourse to NATO. This is enter the relevant international agreement ... and how we will continue to act, let this not yet think "- said Yarema.

He expressed hope that in the Crimea still no Russian special forces. "I hope this is just some of the gang, with which we quickly understand, "- said Yarema.

Amphibious warships Kaliningrad and Minsk of Russian Baltic fleet just entered in Black sea.

KALININGRAD

Amphibious warships Kaliningrad and Minsk of Russian Baltic fleet just entered in Black sea.(Cencornet).

Large landing ships of the Baltic Fleet sailed through the Bosporus Strait and entered the Black Sea.

On it informs edition imperialcommiss , transmits Tsenzor.NET citing BlackSeaNews . February 26, 2014 at 07:20 (Moscow time) large landing ship (BDK) Baltic Fleet pr.775 "Kaliningrad" Hull number 102, which belongs to 71 th Brigade BF amphibious ships of the Russian Navy, passed the Bosphorus towards the Black Sea. Source: http://censor.net.ua/p273134 Источник: http://censor.net.ua/p273134

MINSK

followed him with an interval of 20 minutes, at 07:40, the Bosphorus in the same direction was the second BF large landing ship of the Russian Navy, etc. 775 "Minsk", b / n 127. This ship also belongs to the 71 th Brigade BF landing ships of the Russian Navy, reports imperialcommiss. Information received from the Turkish security cameras located along the coastline of the Bosphorus Strait. Источник: http://censor.net.ua/p273134

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Video - ATR Live from Crimea / Ukraine protests



BREAKING: Crimea parliament announces referendum on autonomous region’s future http://on.rt.com/fjrquo

 Video - ATR Live from Crimea / Ukraine.

From Euromaidan :

Ukrainian MFA handed note to Russian Chargé d'affaires calling for immediate consultations. Following the recent developments in Crimea, Ukrainian foreign ministry handed note to Russian Chargé d'affaires calling for immediate consultations under the Article 7 of Ukraine-Russia Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership of 31 May 1997.

A separate note called Russia to refrain from redeploying its troops outside zones settled by respective international agreements on Russian Black Sea fleet stationing in Crimea. Ukrainian foreign ministry, moreover, reiterated Russian obligations to guarantee Ukrainian territorial integrity under the Budapest memorandum of 1994.



 Latest Updates via Twitter: @YanniKouts and here at Storify



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Ari Fleischer: Obama’s Pen Can’t ‘Doodle on Our Constitution’


Ari Fleischer: Obama’s Pen Can’t ‘Doodle on Our Constitution’ HT: Newsmax.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s message to state attorneys general that they aren’t always obligated to defend laws banning same-gender marriage is a dangerous “overreach” that chips away at “one of the hallmarks of America,” Ari Fleischer warned Tuesday.

In an exclusive interview with “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV, Fleischer, a former White House spokesman for President George W. Bush, charged that the Obama administration is flouting the Constitution with such selective enforcement.
Just because the president has the pen, it doesn’t give him the right to doodle on our Constitution,” Fleisher said.
Holder on Tuesday cited his own experience in refusing to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act, as well as similar stances taken more recently by state attorneys general, in saying laws raising questions of equal protection deserve a higher level of scrutiny, The Associated Press reported.

Fleischer said Holder is climbing a slippery slope with that logic.
If this attorney general, because he feels so passionately, strongly, about an issue, can decide he will not enforce the existing laws of the land, what stops the next attorney general from coming along and saying, ‘Well, I won’t enforce these other rules of the land?’” Fleischer asked.
One of the hallmarks of America that makes us a beacon of liberty and freedom and strength is that we’re a nation of laws, not men,” he added.

When the laws are written, regardless of whether you liked them or didn’t like them . . . we have an obligation no matter what our party is to accept them and enforce them . . . There’s a way to undo laws if you don’t like them, and it’s called change the law.”

Fleischer said Obama is trying to “undo everything that was done before.”Read more at NEWSMAX.

"Run Silent - Run Deep" - IDF Sees Steep Rise in Submarine Operations.


"Run Silent - Run Deep" - IDF Sees Steep Rise in Submarine Operations.HT: Matzav.
The IDF’s submarine fleet has seen a sharp increase in the number and duration of its at-sea operations, with a special focus on Lebanon, according to a senior Israel Navy officer.
Some of the deployments lasted several weeks and took the submarines thousands of kilometers from Israel.
Israel has bought its top-of-the-line Dolphin submarines from Germany, with two new subs to be delivered in the second half of 2014, the INS Tanin and INS Rahav.

The new submarines have engines that don’t require surfacing to acquire new air supplies.
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