Voices from Russia

Saturday, 31 July 2010

WikiLeaks Killed the “Official Reality”

Filed under: Barack Obama,diplomacy,military,NATO,politics,Russian,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

US forces “secure” the area…

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Even the closest allies of the USA realise that the current war in Afghanistan is unwinnable…

British Prime Minister David Cameron concluded that the current war in Afghanistan is unwinnable. The influential British weekly magazine The Spectator wrote that Mr Cameron is looking for a way to get London out of the Afghan operation without losing face. However, he doesn’t know what the consequences of an “abject surrender“ would be for the international positions of Britain and the West. As noted by The Spectator, Mr Cameron decided to withdraw before 90,000 secret documents on Afghanistan were leaked onto the Internet. However, that’s not surprising, everybody knew the score, the British PM already knew the facts from related publications, in fact, all the “allies” have assessed the situation in the Afghan operation. This week, thanks to the Australian website WikiLeaks, which specialises in the publication of confidential data, ordinary people learnt about the actual situation. An “information campaign” on the operations of the allied coalition in Afghanistan connected major media outlets such as the New York Times, the Guardian, and Der Spiegel, and the published papers cover the period from January 2004 to December 2009. I cannot say that all the facts revealed were a revelation for journalists. Some things attracted attention, firstly, that some of those in Pakistani intelligence agencies are in cahoots with the Taliban. Secondly, it was clear that casualty figures amongst Afghani civilians are significantly higher than what official statistics would lead one to believe. Thirdly, it turns out that the Pentagon has a secret unit of well-trained commandos, whose task is to capture or, preferably, immediately eliminate hostile warlords.

However, military experts argued that although the publication of the secret documents didn’t generate any sensational revelations, it exposed the dangers of “open government”. Indeed, after the “WikiLeaks affair”, many asked the question, “What is the distinction between openness and freedom of expression on the one hand, and national security interests on the other?” Where is the boundary line between the two? There are no special sensations in the Afghan War Diary, as the published documents have been dubbed, but as Aleksandr Konovalov, the President of the Russian Institute of Strategic Assessments and Analysis, said to us, “Still, journalists should think twice before publicising such material. The publication of these staff documents doesn’t represent an action in the public interest. It’s better to learn such things from staff officers, it’s longer and more tedious, but it’s more professional. The danger is that not only interested parties are studying these reports, but also those against whom these operations were directed. That’s why the American government accused the site of irresponsibility, it could jeopardise the lives of American soldiers. In general, worldwide, there’s a lack of public discussion and openness in the military sphere. Still, in every country, it’s our money, the taxpayers’ money. As a result, taxpayers have very little influence on what policies are adopted, and how they’re selected”. The fact that the publication of certain documents can be fatal for persons appearing in them is confirmed by recent data. The Taliban leadership has already issued a statement in which it promised to “punish” those NATO stoolies whose names appear in WikiLeaks documents.

Everyone knows that the USA prides itself as being an “open society”. Yet, despite the legendary First Amendment to the US Constitution, journalists have never had freedom of access to military secrets. Therefore, probably, this case isn’t so much about freedom of speech, as it is about the negligence of those responsible for keeping these secrets. On the other hand, in China or Turkey, where the press doesn’t have access to military information, you can’t even imagine such a leakage even happening. In Russia, taxpayers receive detailed information about planned or current arms contracts, but, of course, the details of military operations are classified. “It’s absolutely clear that the publication of these documents would help us to understand what actually happened in Afghanistan over the past six years. It’s clear that the vector of this war must be changed“, said Julian Assange, a former hacker and founder of the website WikiLeaks. On several occasions, Moscow has urged the NATO partners to change the vector of their operations. Therefore, the other day, Security Council Secretary Vladimir Nazarov, on a visit to Washington, reminded us, “Conventional armed forces are ill-suited to conduct counter-terrorism missions. Actions in Afghanistan should be carried out in a precise and professional way, using special operations forces carrying out focused actions. Such an approach would avoid unnecessary civilian casualties in Afghanistan, which to date have been unacceptably high”. Secret documents discovered recently by WikiLeaks, according to Nazarov, reiterated Moscow’s concerns. It’s possible that the publication of the Afghan War Diary “opened a new stage of the use of informational weapons”. After all, what previously required many years of intelligence work is now simply “emerges” in the press. It’s no wonder that the publicised secret reports were called “weapons of mass destruction of the official reality”.

31 July 2010

Nadezhda Podolskaya

Voice of Russia World Service

http://rus.ruvr.ru/2010/07/31/14038729.html

Here’s the Military-Industrial Complex, brought to you by that dribbling Radical Liberal… General Dwight D Eisenhower!

Editor’s Note:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defence with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.

President Dwight D Eisenhower

The Afghan War was one of the major projects of the neocons… in all of its phases. This war has lasted in one form or another since 1979… there has been no peace in Afghanistan for over thirty years. One of the main reasons for that is that the USA stuck its oar into a conflict 7,000 miles away, in a time zone 9½ hours ahead of Washington. The neocons and teabaggers accuse the Pakistani ISI of being the “godfathers” of the Taliban. Well, excuse me! The ISI got involved because the CIA used them as an intermediary (it was cheaper and more expedient… so blame the Foggy Bottom crowd for that, not the sorts in Islamabad). If the Afghan War is shown to be a crock, it’s only a matter of time before people start wising up and looking at the neocons and teabaggers with a gimlet eye.

This war is hellishly expensive in terms of logistics; it’s even more expensive than Iraq. The only theoretically available overland routes run through Pakistan and Russia (or Russian client states in Central Asia)… since the Taliban interdicts much of this route in Afghanistan, much supply has to come in via airlift, which is the most expensive option. The neocon/teabagger wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have bankrupted the country… these foolish and strategically unnecessary conflicts triggered the Depression of ’07 (remember how the Bushies lied about it in ’08 in an attempt to pump up McCain/Palin?). As Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz pointed up, there’s money to be saved in the US budget… by ending these boondoggle wars. For instance, we’re spending billions on undisciplined “rent-a-cop” mercenaries who can’t even protect convoys (they’re hired by a subsidiary of Halliburton… get the picture?).

We’ve seen the apogee of the neocon/teabagger movement, I believe. The “tea party” was an attempt by the neocons and “conservatives” to rebrand their failing policies. Of course, it worked, at first. They spread false rumours about government health care… which people fell for, initially. The other issue that these cynical bastards exploit is abortion. Note well that they offer NOTHING as an alternative. I know “pro-choice” people who are not “pro-abortion”, ergo, I submit that many “anti-abortion” people are not “pro-life”. The teabaggers cannot advance any further… they are tied to the neocons and they are fettered to the failures of the US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In short, although there is a long slog ahead of us, the worst of it is over. Shall the teabaggers crash when the Taliban win? I don’t know… but it SHALL shake the faith of many. Don’t forget… the USA created the Taliban… they armed it… they sustained it… they helped them to win over the DRA in ’92. Ergo… the teabaggers and neocons are the proven enemies of real democracy and real freedom. Ask any Afghan woman… ‘nuff said.

Dwight D Eisenhower, wherefore art thou?

BMD

Obama, the Afghan War, and a “Conversation with Revelations”

Filed under: Barack Obama,diplomacy,history,military,NATO,politics,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

A 12-year-old Afghan girl in Farah General Hospital, wounded in an American air strike. When you support the teabaggers… you support THIS. LOOK AT IT! This could be YOUR child. This is why I hate the teabag movement and fight it with all of my being… BASTARDS!!

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Everything in politics eventually finds its intended niche. This week, the Afghan War took centre stage, especially, the “Internet bomb” with its revelatory material about the war and its origins, with the likely consequences of the “information explosion”. Mr Obama’s popularity ratings aren’t going to rise… “his” war in Afghanistan is less popular than it was even under George W Bush. Barack Obama has received, however, what he has requested over the last six months from Congress, an additional 37 billion dollars to “pump up the “new” Afghan strategy. On 27 July, the House of Representatives approved the bill after the Senate did. This additional injection of cash (the money goes beyond the 130 billion already allocated to the Afghan and Iraq wars this year) should jumpstart the US war effort. If it doesn’t destroy the Taliban (which nobody believes), then, at least, it should “break their backs” by the summer of 2011, which is the scheduled beginning of the coalition withdrawal from Afghanistan.

All this happened two days after the website WikiLeaks released to three publications (The Guardian, New York Times, and Der Spiegel) a large number of previously secret documents from the Pentagon on Afghan war. These were reports and appreciations of middle-ranking officers on operations, containing details of civilian deaths caused by military “mistakes”, and information about Pakistani ISI links with the Taliban. Speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House to mark the passage of the Supplemental Appropriations Bill, Mr Obama said that although he is concerned about the leaks, they, in fact, contain nothing that was not previously raised in the press; everything in them has been the subject of public discussion. That’s the plain and honest truth. Therefore, what is at stake in the “Afghan Diaries” (about 91,000 documents, mainly operational reports) is actually more or less already well known. We know that the occupation forces weren’t trained to distinguish between civilian Afghans from the Taliban and the terrorists, that the killing of civilians is much greater than reported, that the operations of the Taliban are more serious and “critical” than what is reported, that the Afghans look at their own police force as “bandits”, that they consider the government (including local) is malignant. They show the general attitude to the army of occupation and the puppet ruling clique. What’s so new about all of that? The fact that the ISI supported the Taliban is known to everyone but the wilfully blind and deaf. Accusations of this kind from Washington against their chief ally in the Afghan war, in general, are an ugly affair. The CIA and the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate created the Taliban in Pakistan back when the Soviet Union was involved in its Afghan campaign (1979-89). Indeed, the Pakistanis simply found it much harder than the Americans to abandon their former allies, partners, and Muslim co-religionists, who have long been their neighbours. Therefore, nothing that was publicised was a new revelation. Everything was known for a quite some time, it just added a few details. It sharpened the picture, but it didn’t change the plot.

What is striking is the amount and scale of what happened… it’s a kompromat windfall. Still, 91,000 official Pentagon papers, it doesn’t matter if they only have three lines or two pages, it’s nothing to sneeze at. Journalists at the Guardian admit that were assessing papers for three weeks together with experts, they put aside those things that could harm the military or civilians on the ground, and they found much that was completely insignificant. They say that WikiLeaks still has 15,000 unpublished documents. It’s a ticking time bomb. The Pentagon and US intelligence services have already begun to investigate the sources of the leaks. In all such leaks, the revelations are often important not for what they describe as much as the time when they are released. In the American “political economy”, such fruit, especially in such abundance, didn’t grow up by itself, mature, and suddenly fall to the ground. Even in agriculture, such “natural anarchy” is a harmful thing; in politics, it’s downright destructive. The action was clearly timed to coincide with the vote in Congress on the supplemental funding bill for the Afghan war on 27 July. Remember, the materials were made public two days before that. The bill was approved by 308 votes to 102. All of the 102 who voted against the bill were Democrats. Mr Obama received more Republican votes for “his” war (almost all of the 178 GOP members of the House) than Democratic ones; of 253 Dems, 102 said “no” to the war. The majority party (Democrats have 253 seats against 178 for the Republicans) split almost evenly on the issue. Those Democrats who don’t support Mr Obama’s strategy aren’t unpatriotic; some aren’t even against the operation in Afghanistan itself. They fail to understand his purpose for his almost maniacal support of the corrupt government of Hamid Karzai. It’s unclear how to withdraw from Afghanistan (Obama called for the withdrawal to begin in July 2011) without seeing him fall… why did we need nine years of war, with over one trillion dollars squandered on its prosecution? No one believes that Afghanistan has become a democracy.

In general, we must admit that all attempts to equip Afghanistan with alien machinery and expect that it shall lead that country to progress have failed; no one has yet managed to pull it off. The USSR tried to install socialism in Afghanistan in the late 70s to the late 80s, and received tens of thousands killed and maimed in return, it led to a severe crisis that many consider the forerunner of the later tectonic upheaval in Russia itself. Americans have been trying to do it since 2001. In any case, most would say that “democracy” and “capitalism” are methods and means that are no less alien to Afghan realities, traditions, and customs than the previous “socialism”. The British have been much smarter about the country than anyone else has been. They fought three wars in Afghanistan since the late 19th century, they won, and at the very beginning of the early 20th century, they left, realising that even a “colonial vaccination”, in the manner of India, failed here. The most striking detail of all of this is that politicians, generals, and senior officers of the United States in Afghanistan, acknowledged that “accidental” bombing of civilian villages and the killing of innocent Afghans give the Taliban more new recruits than any coercion by the militants or monetary inducements. However, nothing seems to stop such attacks. As recently as a week ago, in the southern province of Helmand, Americans killed more than 50 people in a rocket strike. Incidentally, if soldiers “in the field” carried out such a massacre of civilians, it would be considered a war crime against the civilian population. But it’s only a mistake in judgement… it only wiped out several dozen “savages”.

28 July 2010

Andrei Fedyashin

RIA-Novosti

http://rian.ru/analytics/20100728/259260812.html

Here is what the neocons spawned… if it were not for them…

Editor’s Note:

We have two people to thank for the Taliban… Zbginiew Brzeziński and Boris Nikolaevich Yeltsin. Brzeziński, of course, masterminded the founding, arming, and deployment of the Taliban, using the Pakistani ISI as intermediaries. Brzeziński was motivated by a sick hatred of anything Russian… don’t forget that his father was a diplomat for the Polish fascist junta of the colonels (it’s why he sat out World War II in safety in Canada). Of course, he was the “godfather” of all the neocons and teabaggers (it’s why I find it odd that Russian Orthodox people would support the teabaggers… they are opposed to us on a very fundamental level). His role in the genesis and sustenance of the Taliban is fairly well known, though… it’s well known enough that Zbig has tried to deny it on several occasions.

The role of Boris Nikolaevich is murkier. In 1992, the DRA was hanging on against the mujahideen (and actually starting to win). First, Yeltsin cut off all supplies to the DRA. Then, in March 1992, that led to the defection of Abdul Rashid Dostum, one of the leading government generals, to the mujahideen, along with his troops. Kabul fell soon after, in late April 1992. Dostum is an interesting character… he is one of the “bastards” of history, always an interesting lot, no? He started out in the pro-Soviet DRA Army and fought against the mujahideen alongside the Sovs. He stayed loyal to the government in the ensuing Civil War (1989-92) until Yeltsin embargoed Russian aid. Then, Dostum and his men jumped to the mujahideen, allowing the Muslim fanatics to take Kabul. After this, in 1996, he became one of the leading lights of the Northern Alliance. When the US occupation forces invaded in 2001, Dostum flipped yet again, and joined them. Today, Dostum is 56, and a senior general protected by Hamid Karzai. Given his history… yes, he could turn on the Americans, could he not?

Why did Yeltsin cut off supplies? We don’t know. I think it was American pressure. Therefore, the Americans are guilty on two levels. Firstly, Brzeziński “opened the box” by arming and supplying the Taliban, amongst other groups. Secondly, Yeltsin bowed to American pressure to release Russia from all “Soviet “commitments”… this ensured the defeat of the DRA. In short, the present war is the result of American meddling in a situation they should have kept out of. In 1992, had Russian supplies not been embargoed, it’s clear that the DRA would have held on to most of Afghanistan. Trust me, of all the governments that Afghanistan had over the past 30 years, the DRA was the best one, and the one most attuned to the modern world. The USA spat on the DRA and guaranteed the rise of the fanatical Isalmofascist state we see today (the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, propped up by the USA and its unwilling allies).

Reflect on this… those who armed the Taliban and strangled the DRA were the founders of the neocon movement, which led to the present scourge of the teabaggers. They did not show any vision or intelligence in the past… they are repeating it today (for instance, the teabaggers are fighting a government programme for small business that has the hearty support of the small business community and opposed aid to the 9/11 heroes… go figure). Any Russian Orthodox Christian who would support such a group is ignorant of what it stands for… despite outward religious trappings, it is nothing but Godless Western Secularist Nihilism… as is shown by its support for the Iraq and Afghan Wars. We face a VERY hard choice… on the one side, there are people who claim to be “religious”, but are not; on the other, we have out-and-out secularists. I say that the latter are less dangerous… they are not a threat to our Orthodoxy. The former have already contaminated the Church and it shall take us some time to rid ourselves of malign “Evangelical” influence. After all, if you look at people like Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev, Bishop Pitirim Volochkov, Fr Vsevolod Chaplin, and Deacon Andrei Kuraev, you see people who are opposed both to unbridled entrepreneurial capitalism and to Radical Protestantism root-and-branch. We should be following our own people… not Proddie heretics.

I would rather have those who are not godly at all in preference to those who are godly only in name. The former, at least, are honest…

BMD

Ukrainian MVD Offers Reward for Information Regarding Zaporozhe Church Bombing

Filed under: legal,politics,Russian,the Ukraine — 01varvara @ 00.00

The Ukrainian MVD has offered a 200,000 grivnya (766,680 Roubles 25,283 USD 19,367 Euros 16,113 UK Pounds) reward for information concerning the criminals who bombed Holy Protection church in Zaporozhe. “The GU MVD of Zaporozhe oblast is ready to pay a reward of 200,000 grivnya for information on the criminal bombing at Holy Protection church of the UOC MP leading to the solution of this crime”, said Vladimir Serbu, the head of Zaporozhe GU MVD. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich demanded that security agencies respond vigorously and expeditiously to the challenge posed to society by these thugs, at a meeting with leading law enforcement figures. “We must immediately solve this crime. It’s very important. Society is waiting for us to answer their questions… ‘What was the motivation for this crime’ and, ‘what did the bandits want to say through this action?’” ITAR-TASS quoted Mr Yanukovich as saying. On 28 July, a bomb blast at Holy Protection church [in Zaporozhe] injured eight people and killed a 74-year-old nun, who died in hospital from multiple traumas and severe burns. Police experts believe that the device was equivalent to 500 grammes (1.1 pound) of TNT.

31 July 2010

Voice of Russia World Service

http://rus.ruvr.ru/2010/07/31/14010303.html

Friday, 30 July 2010

Rosstat: Pensions Increased 150% Compared to June 2009

Filed under: economy,politics,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

The average Russian pension increased 150 percent in June 2010 in comparison with June 2009. “In June 2010, the average pension, according to preliminary data, amounted to 7,584 roubles (250 USD 192 Euros 160 UK Pounds) [per month], an increase of 150 percent compared to June 2009”, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) stated. In June 2010, the average size of a pension amounted to 35.1 percent of the average gross wage in Russia, and in the first half of 2010, 36.6 percent. In May 2009, the figure was 26.8 percent, and in the first half of 2009, 27.2 percent, RIA-Novosti reported.

30 July 2010

Voice of Russia World Service

http://rus.ruvr.ru/2010/07/30/13918144.html

Editor’s Note:

Russia is not squeezing it’s retirees the way the teabaggers propose that we squeeze American retirees… Russian pensions are increasing (the Russian COL is much lower than in the USA, so the figures are misleading). The teabaggers are bought and paid for by well-heeled interest groups (the HMOs are simply the most obvious), their only object is to keep taxes low for the rich, and ensure that all the risks and blowbacks of our economy fall upon the working class… with no consequence for teabagger rentiers. “Outsourcing” and “downsizing” are unknown in Russia… the government sees to that, at least. Let’s see… the teabaggers defend outsourcing, downsizing, deregulation, shredding the social safety net, and keeping the country in a permanent state of war (shades of Orwell’s 1984!). If you earn a salary, you are a fool if you support them.

BMD

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