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AFFLICTED WITH WESTERNISM: Ukraine continues to drink the Kool-Aid that is destroying the country

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Department of External Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) reported that on April 19, 2018, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, by Resolution No. 8284, supported the appeal of the President of Ukraine P. O. Poroshenko to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I regarding the “granting of a Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine”.

This means that the government of a nation asked for a religious authority to recognize a State Church.

In the Protestant and somewhat libertine or agnostic West, this may not seem like anything important as news. Since most constitutional governments make use of the notion of separation between Church and State (inaccurately attributing this separation to that of the United States’ Constitution), it seems crazy from our point of view to see a State government petition a Church hierarch for recognition of a “State Church.”

Thankfully, the Russian government and the Russian Orthodox Church’s Ukrainian Exarchate recognize this fact even more clearly than the West does.

In accordance with Article 35 of the Constitution of Ukraine, the Church is separate from the state, and therefore the Church decides on issues of Church life independently. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has canonical relations with Ecumenical Orthodoxy, did not appeal to Patriarch Bartholomew I to grant autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine nor did it authorise the President or deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to do so. In connection to the above-mentioned initiatives, the government is overstepping its constitutional boundaries and interfering in Church affairs.

Such actions by the Ukrainian state in the religious sphere could be justified only if the Church in Ukraine had a legally established state status, as it was in the history of many states and still remains in certain states of the world. However, since the Church in Ukraine today does not have government status and is separate from the state, then the state authorities have absolutely no grounds whatsoever to meddle in Church affairs.

The Ukrainian government is playing a gamble with the Ecumenical Patriarch through using what the Western, and non-Orthodox countries in the world, may not know.

The Eastern Orthodox Church is the oldest body of Christendom in the world (yes, 1000 years older than the Roman Catholic Church, when viewed in terms of unchanging doctrine – Rome made changes that were not part of the Early Church’s dogma.)

And following the ancient model of the Church, there are presently fourteen or fifteen national jurisdictions of the Orthodox Church in the world, with each one being a national church for the nation in which it resides.

But Ukraine has THREE groups calling themselves Orthodox Churches, and two of them are considered “non-canonical”, that is, they are not recognized by the rest of the Orthodox world. The reasons for these two bodies’ lack of canonicity vary, but it is also noteworthy that the two noncanonical groups are also not even in communion with one another.

The comments above, then, come from the one universally recognized Orthodox Christian Church in Ukraine, and it just so happens that this body is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. This is a nice long name, but what it means is simply that this Church is a branch, or exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, and as such it is aligned with and in obedience to, Kirill I, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.

And for a Ukrainian who is inculcated to believe that all things Russia are evil, this is a distasteful situation.

The issue here, then is that the government of Ukraine, under the authority of its president, Petro Poroshenko, made an appeal to Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, to certify the Ukrainian  Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate (referred to as the “UOC-KP” in documents), as the sole “canonical” Orthodox jurisdiction in Ukraine. Patriarch Bartholomew is considered the “highest in honor” among the Orthodox Patriarchs, a position that used to be held by Rome before the Roman Catholic Church went its own way in 1054. While Patriarch Bartholomew has no authority over any other bishop, he THINKS he does sometimes, and the Poroshenko government is trying to make use of that to force this certification to happen.

Further, the civil government of Ukraine has no legal authority to petition Patriarch Bartholomew in this way. This is because the constitution of Ukraine does NOT have accomodation for an official State Church. Their constitution in fact specifically separates the Church from matters of State control, so the request is null and void right from the start.

Here, the Moscow Patriarchate is being extremely methodical about the application of both civil and Church laws as they apply in this situation.

The Moscow Church goes on to state the reality of the situation:

The issue of granting of Church autocephaly (falls within the competence of canon law, and not to the competence of state laws. Autocephaly is granted to the Church, and not to the state, and therefore the Church, and not the state, should initiate or ask for this status.

At the same time, it is a matter of concern that the granting of autocephaly (defined as complete self-rule, in communion with all canonical Orthodox Christian jurisdictions but under hierarchical obedience to none of them) to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine is viewed as an issue not only of religion, but also of geopolitics. We believe that the sphere of religious life should not become the subject of political manipulation. We should not confuse Church and politics, and even more so geopolitical issues. In this regard, we consider it unacceptable that autocephaly should be viewed from a geopolitical point of view. For the Church, autocephaly is not a political issue, but an ecclesiological one, that is, with regards to the life and nature of the Church as the Body of Christ (cf. Eph. 1: 22-23)

In other words, what President Poroshenko and the Verkhovna Rada have done here is illegal and just utterly invalid. By rights, Patriarch Bartholomew should be bound to disregard this request completely.

Further, the Moscow-based Church notes that this issue is not one of real importance to anything religious, but is really about geopolitics. Western Ukraine has many people in it who want a national Church that is totally independent of Moscow simply because they don’t like Moscow, Putin, or Russia in general. This is not a legitimate reason to petition for autocephaly!

The main concern expressed by the Moscow Patriarchate, that autocephaly is an ecclesiological issue, having to do with the life and nature of the Church as the Body of Christ, is extremely important.

The leader of the UOC-KP is a self-styled “Patriarch” named Filaret. He used to be a high-ranking bishop under the Moscow Patriarchate, but he somehow acceded to the notion of Ukrainian nationalism “no matter what” and now works to try to create this body of believers that essentially is a religious adornment to the civil government. In this effort he is supported broadly by American senators such as John McCain (R-AZ) (sound familiar?) and others who do not know a thing about Orthodox Christianity or the Church, but who DO know that they want Ukraine in the fold of the West so as to harass Russia and continue to fence her off from the rest of the world.

In the rush to embrace the West, Filaret has given tacit approval by virtue of his presence at some very unsavory and unChristian activites, such as “blessing” the Eurovision contest in exchange for evicting the other non-canonical group, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) from some buildings at St Michael’s Monastery. That blessing involved giving tacit approval to Conchita Wurst, a transvestite and perverted individual, as host of the contest and concert event.

A group claiming the title of Church should never bless something that is so absolutely antithetical to Christianity.

This is true no matter what one’s personal opinion of Christianity is. This is not a bigoted statement. It is simply the fact that Christianity has very specific things to say about sexual perversion of various types, and to go against this is to go against the faith. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate sold its soul for a few rooms in a monastery, and threw Christ, it’s supposed Master, completely under the heels of Conchita Wurst’s perversion.

This is not the action of a body of believers that wishes to serve its Lord. It is something else.

And the tragedy is compounded by the fact that the United States has taken this side of the issue, rather than one that supports religious groups who stay true to their God.

A Church should never submit itself to worldly political whims. It ought to be the conscience that guides those who would do damaging things to not do them. And here, there is none of that.

May God help bring these people to their senses. But don’t expect any help from the West, because they want this insanity so as to isolate Russia, which is increasingly becoming visible as the last bastion of Christianity in the world.

It seems that in the West, the way to manage insanity is to press for it as strongly as possible, in hopes that trying really hard to do something that is wrong will somehow make it right. This is extremely true with Ukraine, the mother country of Russia itself.

And, yes, this is a strong statement and it will probably be taken as an offense by many dedicated Western Ukrainians and those who support them.

The only problem is that the plight of Ukraine now exists BECAUSE the people and leadership of this country have been fooled by the American and European dazzle, and they continue to believe it even as their economy crumbles under their feet. And along with the economy, and more importantly, the souls of a great people are being cast into the darkness.

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‘End of free speech’: Maffick CEO, host slam Facebook’s unprovoked ‘censorship’ after CNN report

This is because of the political content that challenges the US wars. It is absolutely an act of censorship.

RT

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Via RT…


Facebook blocking several pages operated by Maffick Media is nothing short of outright censorship, the company’s CEO Anissa Naouai said, after a US-funded think tank pointed them out to CNN for a ‘hit-piece’.

The actions of the social media giant, which suspended the accounts of In the Now, Soapbox, Back Then and Waste-Ed last Friday without providing any explanation or even contacting the company that ran the pages, is nothing but a simple attempt to get rid of dissenting voices critical of Washington’s policies, Naouai told RT.

It is blatant censorship. What else can you call it?

Unexplained ban

The ban came literally out of the blue even though Maffick did not violate any existing Facebook regulations. “There is no rule that you have to post anything about your funding or personal funding. No one does it, not any of the US-sponsored outlets,” Naouai said. However, that was apparently the stated reason for the blocking as a Facebook spokesperson said the social media giant wanted the pages to become more transparent by disclosing their funding and “Russian affiliations.”

Facebook never contacted Maffick Media directly, though. In fact, it did not even answer the company’s emails and stayed conspicuously silent about the ways that would allow the accounts to be reinstated. “We have not heard a word from Facebook and it has been over three days now,” Naouai said.

The whole situation makes one think that the suspension is in fact connected to the pages’ popularity as well as their critical stance towards US policies, the Maffick CEO said. “We have hosts that talk about things that are not allowed to talk about on other networks like CNN,” she explained.

“If a video that says that gets hundreds of thousands of views on a page that has millions of views, people [in Washington] start to notice that and they get upset. I believe that is why we were targeted: because of our success and because of, as CNN said, high quality of our videos,” Naouai added.

The Maffick CEO also assumed that a recent piece on the US-sponsored coup attempt in Venezuela might have become a trigger for this drastic measure taken by Facebook. “There is a very … divisive and obnoxious policy taking place right now against Venezuela,” she said, “we do not know if this was the segment that triggered [the suspension] but the timing is convenient.”

“When someone calls out what is happening in Venezuela as a blatant coup it ruffles the feathers of think tanks that spent millions if not billions of dollars to persuade [the audience otherwise] and lobby their interests.”

‘Interrogation’ by CNN

Some details of this whole case may indeed seem odd. Just about an hour after the pages were blocked, CNN published a report on the issue as if they broke the news. “CNN knew that we were going to be blocked before we did,” Naouai said, explaining that, when she found out her company’s pages were suspended, CNN had already published its piece.

Weeks before the blocking, CNN sought to interview some freelancers working with Maffick in an apparent attempt to “dig up some dirt,” Rania Khalek, the American host of Soapbox – one of the video shows Maffick ran on Facebook – recalled.

When the company’s leadership “got wind of it” and offered CNN an interview, it all ended up with a 45-minute “interrogation” loaded with “unethical” questions that “almost any other media organization would even think to answer.”

It felt like a police interrogation: very invasive questions about Maffick and our editorial policies. It was clear that they were doing a hit-piece.

“A CNN journalist repeatedly asked me about my political viewpoints. He was in complete disbelief that I have editorial control over my scripts. He could not understand how it was possible,” Khalek, who was one of those, who gave the interview to CNN, said.

Maffick Media assumed that CNN might in fact pressure Facebook into blocking the accounts. “It is a very competitive market existing in a very political atmosphere that is toxic right now in the US,” Naouai said.

Loophole for state censorship?

CNN itself admits in its piece that it did not just stumble upon the Facebook pages in question independently. Instead, this issue was brought to its attention by the Alliance for Securing Democracy – a part of the German Marshall Fund. This fund is a think tank, which is financed by the US and German governments and has such people as Michael Morell, the former CIA deputy head, and Jacob Sullivan, former Vice President Joe Biden’s top security aide, on its advisory board.

Now, CNN, which stepped on a slippery slope by scrutinizing other media outlets’ funding, had to go to some extraordinary lengths to persuade its audience that the Alliance for Securing Democracy “does not receive any funding” from the German Marshall Fund, while still being a part of it at the same time. However, all these facts just added a new layer to the story.

“You have this US-funded think tank prompting CNN to pressure Facebook to ban our pages. That is an act of censorship,”Khalek said. She thinks the whole scheme was used to circumvent the First Amendment banning the US authorities from directly censoring free speech. “So, they use a middleman to pressure private companies to censor us,” she added, calling it a “legal loophole.”

‘Beginning of an end’

Regardless of who is really behind the ploy, Facebook banning some media pages without any explanation sets a tremendously dangerous precedent, Maffick Media believes. “We had a verified page, which had billions of views, just disappear from online without any kind of comment, any kind of requirement, without breaking any rules. That is unprecedented,” Naouai said.

You have Facebook dictating what people can and cannot see and judging what is good content and bad content. And it is all based on the accusations and criticism coming from a government-funded outlet. If Facebook does it to us, it can do it to anyone,” Khalek warned.

This is because of the political content that challenges the US wars. It is absolutely an act of censorship.

The US establishment apparently seeks to suppress the outlets that “offer a platform to alternative voices that can speak out against US wars and the corporate control over our government in a way that you just do not hear in our corporate media,” the Soapbox host believes.

However, if the social media giant and the likes of it will just continue to randomly block media resources while having “no grounds” to do so, it could create very serious problems for society, Naouai believes.

That would be the beginning of an end of free speech.

 

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Warsaw And Munich: Whistling Past NATO’s Graveyard

Sanctions cut both ways.

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


If the Anti-Iran conference in Warsaw was the opening act, the annual Munich Security Conference was the main event. Both produced a lot of speeches, grandstanding and virtue-signaling, as well as a lot of shuffling of feet and looking at the ground.

The message from the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia was clear, “We are still committed to the destruction of Syria as a functional state to end the growing influence of Iran.”

Europe, for the most part, doesn’t buy that argument anymore. Germany certainly doesn’t. France is only interested in how they can curry favor with the U.S. to wrest control of the EU from Germany. The U.K. is a hopeless has-been, living on Deep State inertia and money laundered through City of London.

The Poles just want to stick it to the Russians.

Everyone else has a bad case of, “been there, done that, ain’t doin’ it again.”

They know supporting the fiction that the War in Syria was a war against the evil President Bashar al-Assad is counter-productive.

The geopolitical landscape is changing quickly. And these countries, like Hungary, Italy, and the Czech Republic, know that the current policy trajectory of the Trump administration vis a vis Russia, Iran and China is a suicide pact for them.

So they show up when called, receive our ‘diplomats’ and then pretty much ignore everything they said. This is what happened, ultimately, in Munich.

Even the EU leadership has no illusions about the goals of the U.S./Israeli/Saudi policy on Syria. And that’s why they refused to shut Russia and Iran out of the Munich Security Conference despite the hyperventilating of Pompeo’s amateur-hour State Dept.

The Syria Hangover

These countries are struggling with the after-effects of eight years of war displacing millions who Angela Merkel invited into Europe for her own political purposes.

The resultant chaos now threatens every major political power center in Europe, which could culminate in a Euroskeptic win at the European Parliamentary elections in May.

Continuing on this road will only lead to Russia, Iran, Turkey and China forming a bloc with India to challenge the economic and political might of the West over the next two decades.

So it was no surprise to see Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu glad-handing looking for support to beam back home for his re-election campaign.

It was also no surprise to see NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg grovel at the feet of the U.S. over the shared mission because he knows that’s where the gravy flows from.

But there was no statement of purpose coming out of Munich after two days of talks. Warsaw already set the stage for that. Vice-President Mike Pence fell completely flat as the substitute Trump. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looked sad and confused as to why no one applauded him for his cheap and empty rhetoric about how evil Iran is.

The Syria operation was put together by the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar with the expressed purpose of creating a failed state of ungoverned fiefdoms. Syria was to be carved up piecemeal with a great land grab for all major partners getting a piece.

Israel gets a buffer zone east of the Golan Heights, Turkey gets Idlib, Afrin and Aleppo. The Kurds get everything east of the Euphrates. And Europe gets pipelines from the Arabian peninsula.

Meanwhile Iran loses Syria and Lebanon, Russia gets pushed out of the European gas market (along with the putsch in Ukraine) and the center of the country is a hot mess of terrorism which can be exported all around the region and further directed against Russia and Iran.

It all looked so good on paper.

But, as I’ve described multiple times, it was an operation built on perception and the false premise that no one would stand up to it.

In came Russia in October 2015 and the rest, unfortunately for the neocons, is just a chase scene.

Sanctions Cut Both Ways

Because for Europe, once it became clear what the costs would be to continue this project, there was little to no incentive to do so. That’s why they sued for peace with Iran by negotiating the JCPOA.

For every MAGApede and Fox News neocon who excoriates Obama for giving Iran $150 billion dollars (of their own money back which we stole) I remind you that it was Obama in 2012 that signed the sanctions which froze that money in the first place.

The JCPOA was signed because in 2014 the Syria operation looked like it was on auto-pilot to success. Iran could have their money back because it wouldn’t matter. They would be vassals and the money wouldn’t buy them anything of substance.

It was Russia and China’s making the move into Syria that changed that calculus.

That’s why the only ones who keep pushing for this balkanization strategy are the ones who still stand to gain from it. The U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel. It was clear in Munich that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was the man everyone wanted to talk to.

Everyone has cut bait. Even the Saudis are hedging their best cozying up to Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. still needs to project power globally to support the dollar and its obscene fiscal debauchery. Israel is staring at a future in which its myriad enemies have won and the Saudis need to rule the Sunni Arab world by leading them in a war against Iran.

The Warsaw Summit was a triumph only insofar as the U.S. can still call its allies to attention and they’ll do so. But that’s about it. But it was clear at Munich that Europe isn’t buying what the U.S. is selling about its relationship anymore.

It’s an not only an abusive one with Trump applying maximal economic pressure but also a wholly unrealistic one. Foreign policy midgets like Pompeo and Pence were literally pleading with everyone to not undermine their latest plan to make the world safe for Israel and Trump’s moronic Energy Dominance plan.

Whistling in Munich

In the end, the whole Munich affair looked like a bunch of people gathering to whistle past the graveyard of the fraying post-WWII institutional order. Trump wants Europe to pay for NATO so we don’t but Europe doesn’t want NATO on Trump’s terms which put them in the cross-hairs of his power play with Russia and China over the INF treaty.

Putin has built a version of fortress Russia that is for all practical purposes impregnable, short-of an all-out nuclear conflict which no one except maybe the most ideologically possessed in D.C. and Tel Aviv wants.

The naysayers have had their day but the weapons unveiled by Putin at last March’s State of the Union address changed the board state in a way that requires different tactics. I said so last March and it identified a shift narrative for all of us as to what Putin’s long-game was.

These new weapons represent a state change in weapons technology but, at the same time, are cheap deterrents to further escalation.  They fit within Russia’s budget, again limited by demographic and, as I pointed out in a recent article, domestic realities

…[They highlight] we’re not winning in technology.  So, all we can do is employ meat-grinder policies and force Russia and her allies to spend money countering the money we spend.

It’s a game that hollows everyone out.  And it’s easier for Putin to sell the defensive nature of his position to Russians than it is to sell our backing Al-Qaeda and ISIS to defeat them.  Because that reality has broken through the barrier to it.

And that’s why Europe is so unwilling to go along with Trump on the INF Treaty, Iranian regime change and even his Arab NATO plan. They are the ones being asked to be on the front lines, pay for and fight a war against their best interests.

And that’s why no one was willing to join the latest ‘coalition of the willing’ in Munich to perpetuate the conflict in Asia. They’ll go along with Trump’s plans in Venezuela, it doesn’t cost them anything strategically.

But even Merkel knows that in light of the events of the past three and a half years, the right move for Europe is to cut a deal with Russia and Iran while keeping their head down as the U.S. loses its mind.


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Venezuela Under Washington’s Gun

It is discouraging to see Trump participate in the attempt to chase Maduro out of office.

Paul Craig Roberts

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Via Paul Craig Roberts…


A full court press is taking place in Florida today (Presidents Day) with Republicans, Democrats, expatriates from Cuba and Venezuela and the fascist warmonger ministry of propaganda that constitutes the US media all denouncing Maduro and blaming him for the hardships imposed on Venezuelans by Washington’s sanctions and attacks on Venezuela’s currency . Even “liberal” NPR is reading off the same fascist warmonger script. NPR managed to report on Venezuela without mentioning the sanctions, without mentioning the theft of Venezuela’s gold foolishly entrusted to the US and British central banks, or the orchestrated protests funded by US-financed NGOs that are small in comparison with the crowds that support Maduro that are never mentioned in the US media. In other words, NPR is just another part of the whorehouse brigade.

What Americans forget, or never knew, is that the Cuban expatriates are the descendents of the corrupt Batista crowd that had looted Cuba for years and were thrown out of Cuba by Castro. The Venezuelan expatriates are from the rich elite that couldn’t adjust to Chavez running the country for the people instead of for them, and some of these expatriates were involved in the failed CIA coup against Chavez. All of these expatriates are nothing but shills for Washington’s takeover so that they can get back in on the take.

It is discouraging to see Trump, who the Democrats, the media, and the military/security complex are attempting to chase out of office participate in the attempt to chase Maduro out of office.

It is discouraging to see Washington’s vassals in Europe and in the Organization of American States throw all truth to the wind and line up with Washington’s lies.

It is discouraging that within Western civilization lies dominate all aspects of domestic and international policy. Truth has been stamped out.

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