Thursday, April 24, 2014

Lavrov: Americans are not ready to admit they cannot run the show (FULL ...

This interview is worth watching in full to try to figure out what the Russians actually want or want us to do. Basically he repeats that America has to yield to the geopolitical fight he asserts we have lost. Is that what Lavrov and Putin wants? Us to cry uncle?

Video: Ukrainian troops APCs, choppers amid burning checkpoint in Slavyansk

Russia Shows Off World-Leading Security Bots for Missile Bases

MOSCOW, April 22 (RIA Novosti) – The new Russian mobile security robot Taifun-M, designed to provide security at strategic missile facilities, has been shown on the Russian Vesti news program.
The combat robots, which have no foreign analogue, will be used to secure Yars and Topol-M missile sites and can be operated remotely by a secure wireless connection and in the future with an autonomous artificial intelligence system, the program reported Monday.
A spokesman for the Defense Ministry said last month several of the robots, which feature laser-targeting and a cannon, will be deployed at five sites by the end of the year, part of an upgrade of existing automated security systems.
The official said the robots will carry out reconnaissance and patrol missions, detect and destroy stationary or moving targets and provide fire support for security personnel at the guarded facilities.
Mobile robotic platforms play an increasingly important role in military and security applications, helping personnel to meet challenges posed by the growing threat of terrorist attacks or armed militants engaging in guerrilla warfare, while minimizing the risk of casualties.

 Russia Shows Off World-Leading Security Bots for Missile Bases

Militares rusos aprenden a gobernar el vehículo antisabotaje Taifun M

Modi: Hindutva Will Be An Asset in Foreign Affairs - The Diplomat

.... On Wednesday, in an interview with The Indian Express, Modi shared a few more thoughts on international affairs and how he would guide India’s foreign policy should he emerge as the next prime minster:
I believe in Hindutva which is based on the age-old concept of “Vasudeva Kutumba.” I believe mutual respect for one another and cooperation should be the basis for relationships with foreign nations. And I am confident my Hindutva face will be an asset when dealing with foreign affairs with other nations.
I will follow the (foreign) policies of the Vajpayee-led NDA government… And that also applies to relationship with the United States. I don’t think a decision taken by any individual or one event should impact the overall policy.
What jumps out to me on first glance is Modi’s willingness to answer a question about foreign policy with reference to Hindutva. He hasn’t explicitly mentioned his belief in Hindutva and Hindu nationalism when discussing international affairs in the past — even with reference to Pakistan and China. Modi’s most detailed thoughts on India’s relations with the rest of the world have largely been related to economics and in that domain he has mostly emphasized his interest in paradiplomacy (allowing Indian cities and states to pursue international linkages independent of the central government)....

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (Sanskrit: वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् vasudhaiva kuṭumbakam. From "vasudhā", the earth; "ēva" = indeed is; and "kutumbakam", family;) is a Sanskrit phrase[1] that means that the whole world is one single family. Everyone has their own worldview which is quite often different from person to person. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam means respecting this difference.[2] Contrary to single worldview, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam says animals, birds, plants, trees and other organisms in the ecosystem have atma they are part of our family.[3]

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Germany has no alternative to Russian gas - DW

This linked article from DW is well worth reading in full to understand how totally screwed Germany is on the energy front and how they can't Russia's choke hold on Germany.

A couple of key points:
  • Russia supplies Germany with about 1/4 of its gas, oil and coal combined.
  • Germany has decided to stop mining coal in 2018.
  • Fracking isn't going to work in Germany.  Why?  Well first off Germany has refused to allow it on environmental grounds.  Second, there are two Germany companies capable of providing fracking technology and capacity for Germany; one just got sold to Gazprom by BASF and the other is in serious debt and it just borrowed 5.1 billion Euros from a Luxemburg company owned by a Russian oligarch with Putin ties.
  • Gazprom has acquired control with German government consent of Germany's natural gas storage capacity.
  • The company that could provide limited natural gas capacity from Germany to the Ukraine is heavily in debt to Russians.
So its not just the gas supplies, its the business relationships and environmental policies the Germans have allowed to develop which means it has no bargaining power whatever on energy.

On April 17th, Putin was quoted as saying “We will choke them all. What are you afraid of?” while answering a question to the expansion of NATO.

The Soldiers sing 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother' (with images/footage)

Kidnapping of journalists by pro-Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine including American journalist Ostrovsky

Kiev Post is reporting that over the last week 16 people have been kidnapped or murdered and tortured by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.  Most of these people are journalists, prosecutors or politicians.  A link to the original article can be found here .

According to the Kiev article one of the kidnapped journalists is an American reporter named Simon Ostrovsky.  Also, Moscow Times, his former employer, reports that "... Also Wednesday, the self-proclaimed mayor of the Ukrainian city of Slovyansk said he would not free Ostrovsky.

"We need prisoners," Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, the "people's mayor" of Slovyansk, told on Wednesday. "We need bargaining chips. Many of our comrades are behind bars. They [the Ukrainian security forces] take them to Kiev and torture them. Now we are doing the same. Taking prisoners, that is."

Stella Khoroshego, a spokeswoman for the self-appointed authorities of Slovyansk, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Ostrovsky was "fine" and that he had been detained on suspicion of "bad activities," without elaborating on their nature...." The original source for the Moscow Times article, which has much more detail is linked here.

John Kerry's Winter Soldier Hearings 1971

"In our opinion, and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam, nothing which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy, and it is that kind of hypocrisy which we feel has torn this country apart...."

--a young John Kerry, Winter Soldier Hearings (1971) 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Photos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia - NYT

KIEV, Ukraine — For two weeks, the mysteriously well-armed, professional gunmen known as “green men” have seized Ukrainian government sites in town after town, igniting a brush fire of separatist unrest across eastern Ukraine. Strenuous denials from the Kremlin have closely followed each accusation by Ukrainian officials that the world was witnessing a stealthy invasion by Russian forces.
Now, photographs and descriptions from eastern Ukraine endorsed by the Obama administration on Sunday suggest that many of the green men are indeed Russian military and intelligence forces — equipped in the same fashion as Russian special operations troops involved in annexing the Crimea region in February. Some of the men photographed in Ukraine have been identified in other photos clearly taken among Russian troops in other settings..... 

-bth: presumably the NYT was provided the photos attached to the article by the US or Ukrainian government.  In any event it simply confirms what all suspected - that many of the masked men were Russian intel and military personnel.