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Comparing the Dutch/Turkish row to the 2014 Ukrainian coup is insulting and wrong

A minor, childish spat cannot be compared to an illegal coup which has resulted in an ongoing bloody war

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Some have attempted to compare the background to the current Turkish-Dutch diplomatic row to the US, Poland, Sweden and others, funding, orchestrating and encouraging the illegal coup in Kiev in 2014.

The parallels are superficial to the point of a total distortion of recent events.

Here’s why.

1. A foreign rally for a foreign cause 

The planned rally in The Netherlands was designed to engage Turkish citizens about a Turkish vote. The vote is Erdogan’s constitutional referendum that will solidify his position as a dictator in all but name. The vote, if won, will essentially mean that Erdogan has no meaningful parliamentary or judicial oversight of any kind. It will represent the final nail in the coffin of Kemalism and sad day for those who admire Ataturk.

It is worrying, but only for Turkish citizens. Erdogan for all of his countless faults, is not trying to overthrow the government of The Netherlands, nor is he trying to influence the Dutch election.

As it happens, I am sympathetic with the reality that legally, the Dutch are perfectly in order when asking Turkish authorities to postpone the rally until after the upcoming Dutch elections. But even if this alone was cause for an argument, it is still no excuse to kick out and bar the entry of government ministers with diplomatic immunity.

What could have been handled in a grown up and dignified way has become an unnecessary row between two countries who are looking increasingly undignified.

I don’t think anyone on any side of the current dispute could imagine for example, President Putin acting like the Dutch or Turkish sides. He’s head and shoulders above both in terms of being a statesman.

Russia’s pragmatic and respectful approach to diplomatic relations would not have allowed the situation to publicly spiral out of control. The Dutch attitude towards this has allowed an uncomfortable situation to become a shameful one.

Furthermore, if Russia who as recently as 2015 had their fighter plane shot from the sky by Turkey, can engage in healthy diplomatic relations with Erdogan, so too can the Dutch who have had no military engagements with Turkey let alone any profound geo-political disagreements, as Moscow and Ankara do in terms of Syrian policy.

The Dutch overreaction can further be gauged by the fact that a similar rally occurred in France without incident.

2. Maidan Was Regime Change 

The actual parallels with the 2014 Ukrainian coup are the Iraq war and Libyan war. These were wars where western powers, led a war with the overt purpose of toppling the legal governments of sovereign states. The events in Kiev in 2014 were similar.

The only difference is that the regime change was accomplished by financing a violent coup which led the legitimately elected President, Viktor Yanukovych to flee for his life. In this sense, the methodology the US and its allies employed was more similar to the 1953 coup in Iran against the democratically elected Mohammad Mosaddegh or the 1973 coup in Chile against the democratically elected Salvador Allende.

But in terms of the aggregate result, Ukraine’s situation is more like Iraq and Libya. Although Iran and Chile lost their democracies as a result of the CIA orchestrated coups, the states remained stable and even wealthy in the aftermath of the coups.

By contrast, Ukraine has become a failed state where a sectarian war is being waged by fascist extremists (both in and out of government), many of whom call for open genocide against ethno-linguistic Russians.

As this war is being waged, the economy has crumbled, public services have collapsed, infrastructure has crumbled and those who were previously ambivalent about the post-coup government now see it as catastrophic.

This description of a post-regime change state will be familiar to those who have observed Iraq after 2003 and Libya after 2011.

3. Strengthening Democratic Legitimacy 

The 2014 coup in Ukraine saw the outlawing of legal political parties who disagreed with the fascist tone set by the new illegal regime. This including the former President’s Party of Regions as well as the Ukrainian Communist Party.

By contrast no party political changes will occur in The Netherlands or Turkey as a result of the current dispute.

When it comes to Turkey, it was almost a certainty Erdogan would win his referendum by hook or by crook. Such methods would include mobilising his militant base, voter intimidation and in some regions, outright rigging.

Now though, by painting himself as a kind of political martyr to a Europe all ready unpopular among many Turks, Erdogan may not even need to rig votes or intimidate voters. He can simply present himself as a national hero of the Turks. In this sense, The Dutch gave Erdogan a big electoral gift and played directly into his hands. The man likes shouting and the Dutch gave him plenty to shout about.

Likewise, Geert Wilders and his Dutch Freedom Party who had all ready been surging in the polls, have been given a gift by Erdogan. By encouraging the shouting of Turkish slogans and the waving of foreign flags in Dutch streets, Erdogan has given Wilders a gift.

Now Wilders can use a recent example of how foreigners are changing the character of Dutch society. Just as the undiplomatic reaction of the Dutch gives Erdogan his anti-European talking points, so too does Erdogan’s ultra-nationalistic reaction give Wilders his anti-Islam and anti-foreigner talking points.

Both men will have achieved a greater threshold of legitimate democratic approval as a result.

4. No meaningful change 

Most importantly, whether one is an ethnic Russian living in Donetsk or a neo-Nazi living in Lviv, no one can argue that the Ukraine of 2014 is the same as it was before. Not only will it never go-back, the entire historically dubious borders of such a state will almost certainly continue to change beyond the point of recognition.

By contrast, nothing will change for Turkey or The Netherlands. Erdogan isn’t going anywhere, nor is Dutch society.

Once the dust settles from the current spat and relations between the two countries becomes normalised, people will understand how comparisons with 2014 Ukraine are not only facile but downright insulting to those who have died and continue to die in Donbass as a direct result of the coup.

 

 

 

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Is this man the puppet master of Ukraine’s new president or an overhyped bogeyman?

Smiling to himself, Kolomoisky would be within his rights to think that he has never had it so good.

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Via RT…


It doesn’t actually matter if Ukrainian-Israeli billionaire Igor Kolomoisky is the real power behind Volodymyr Zelensky – the president elect has to get rid of the oligarch if he is to make a break with the country’s corrupt past.

The plots, deceits and conflicts of interest in Ukrainian politics are so transparent and hyperbolic, that to say that novice politician Zelensky was a protégé of his long-time employer was not something that required months of local investigative journalism – it was just out there.

Zelensky’s comedy troupe has been on Kolomoisky’s top-rated channel for the past eight years, and his media asset spent every possible resource promoting the contender against incumbent Petro Poroshenko, a personal enemy of the tycoon, who hasn’t even risked entering Ukraine in the past months.

Similarly, the millions and the nous needed to run a presidential campaign in a country of nearly 50 million people had to come from somewhere, and Kolomoisky’s lieutenants were said to be in all key posts. The two issued half-hearted denials that one was a frontman for the other, insisting that they were business partners with a cordial working relationship, but voters had to take their word for it.

Now that the supposed scheme has paid off with Zelensky’s spectacular victory in Sunday’s run-off, Ukrainian voters are asking: what does Kolomoisky want now, and will he be allowed to run the show?

‘One-of-a-kind chancer’

Born in 1963, in a family of two Jewish engineers, Kolomoisky is the type of businessman that was once the staple of the post-Soviet public sphere, but represents a dying breed.

That is, he is not an entrepreneur in the established Western sense at all – he did not go from a Soviet bloc apartment to Lake Geneva villas by inventing a new product, or even setting up an efficient business structure in an existing field.

Rather he is an opportunist who got wealthy by skilfully reading trends as the Soviet economy opened up – selling Western-made computers in the late 1980s – and later when independent Ukraine transitioned to a market economy and Kolomoisky managed to get his hands on a large amount of privatisation vouchers that put many of the juiciest local metals and energy concerns into his hands, which he then modernised.

What he possesses is a chutzpah and unscrupulousness that is rare even among his peers. Vladimir Putin once called him a “one-of-a-kind chancer” who managed to “swindle [Chelsea owner] Roman Abramovich himself.” In the perma-chaos of Ukrainian law and politics, where all moves are always on the table, his tactical acumen has got him ahead.

Kolomoisky’s lifeblood is connections and power rather than any pure profit on the balance sheet, though no one actually knows how that would read, as the Privat Group he part-owns is reported to own over 100 businesses in dozens of Ukrainian spheres through a complex network of offshore companies and obscure intermediaries (“There is no Privat Group, it is a media confection,” the oligarch himself says, straight-faced.)

Unsurprisingly, he has been dabbling in politics for decades, particularly following the first Orange Revolution in 2004. Though the vehicles for his support have not been noted for a particular ideological consistency – in reportedly backing Viktor Yushchenko, then Yulia Tymoshenko, he was merely putting his millions on what he thought would be a winning horse.

Grasp exceeds reach

But at some point in the post-Maidan euphoria, Kolomoisky’s narcissism got the better of him, and he accepted a post as the governor of his home region of Dnepropetrovsk, in 2014.

The qualities that might have made him a tolerable rogue on TV, began to grate in a more official role. From his penchant for using the political arena to settle his business disputes, to creating his own paramilitary force by sponsoring anti-Russian battalions out of his own pocket, to his somewhat charmless habit of grilling and threatening to put in prison those less powerful than him in fits of pique (“You wait for me out here like a wife for a cheating husband,” begins a viral expletive-strewn rant against an overwhelmed Radio Free Europe reporter).

There is a temptation here for a comparison with a Donald Trump given a developing country to play with, but for all of the shenanigans, his ideological views have always been relatively straightforward. Despite his Russia-loathing patriotism, not even his fans know what Kolomoisky stands for.

The oligarch fell out with fellow billionaire Poroshenko in early 2015, following a battle over the control of a large oil transport company between the state and the governor. The following year, his Privat Bank, which at one point handled one in four financial transactions in the country was nationalized, though the government said that Kolomoisky had turned it into a mere shell by giving $5 billion of its savings to Privat Group companies.

Other significant assets were seized, the government took to London to launch a case against his international companies, and though never banished, Kolomoisky himself decided it would be safer if he spent as long as necessary jetting between his adopted homes in Switzerland and Tel Aviv, with the occasional trip to London for the foreseeable future.

But the adventurer falls – and rises again. The London case has been dropped due to lack of jurisdiction, and only last week a ruling came shockingly overturning the three-year-old nationalization of Privat Bank.

Smiling to himself, Kolomoisky would be within his rights to think that he has never had it so good.

Own man

Zelensky must disabuse him of that notion.

It doesn’t matter that they are friends. Or what handshake agreements they made beforehand. Or that he travelled to Geneva and Tel-Aviv 13 times in the past two years. Or what kompromat Kolomoisky may or may not have on him. It doesn’t matter that his head of security is the man who, for years, guarded the oligarch, and that he may quite genuinely fear for his own safety (it’s not like nothing bad has ever happened to Ukrainian presidents).

Volodymyr Zelensky is now the leader of a large country, with the backing of 13.5 million voters. It is to them that he promised a break with past bribery, graft and cronyism. Even by tolerating one man – and one who makes Poroshenko look wholesome – next to him, he discredits all of that. He will have the support of the people if he pits himself against the puppet master – no one would have elected Kolomoisky in his stead.

Whether the oligarch is told to stay away, whether Ukraine enables the financial fraud investigation into him that has been opened by the FBI, or if he is just treated to the letter of the law, all will be good enough. This is the first and main test, and millions who were prepared to accept the legal fiction of the independent candidate two months ago, will now want to see reality to match. Zelensky’s TV president protagonist in Servant of the People – also broadcast by Kolomoisky’s channel, obviously, would never have compromised like that.

What hinges on this is not just the fate of Zelensky’s presidency, but the chance for Ukraine to restore battered faith in its democracy shaken by a succession of compromised failures at the helm.

Igor Ogorodnev

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Roger Waters – The People’s Champion for Freedom

In February 2019, Waters showed his support for the Venezuelan Maduro government and continues to be totally against US regime change plans there.

Richard Galustian

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Submitted by Richard Galustian 

Roger Waters is one of Britain’s most successful and talented musicians and composers but more importantly is an outstanding champion for freedom in the world, beyond compare to any other artist turned political activist.

By way of background, he co-founded the rock band Pink Floyd in 1965.

A landmark turning point of his political activism occurred in 1990, when Waters staged probably the largest rock concert in history, ‘The Wall – Live in Berlin’, with an attendance of nearly half a million people.

In more recent years Waters famously narrated the 2016 documentary ‘The Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States’ about the insidious influence of Zionist Israel to shape American public opinion.

Waters has been an outspoken critic of America’s Neocons and particularly Donald Trump and his policies.

In 2017, Waters condemned Trump’s plan to build a wall separating the United States and Mexico, saying that his band’s iconic famous song, ‘The Wall’ is as he put it “very relevant now with Mr. Trump and all of this talk of building walls and creating as much enmity as possible between races and religions.”

In February 2019, Waters showed his support for the Venezuelan Maduro government and continues to be totally against US regime change plans there, or any place else for that matter.

Here below is a must see recent Roger Waters interview, via satellite from New York, where he speaks brilliantly, succinctly and honestly, unlike no other celebrity, about FREEDOM and the related issues of the day.

The only other artist turned activist, but purely for human rights reasons, as she is apolitical, is the incredible Carla Ortiz.

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ISIS Says Behind Sri Lanka Bombings; Was ‘Retaliation’ For New Zealand Mosque Massacre

ISIS’s claim couldn’t be confirmed and the group has been  known to make “opportunistic” claims in the past, according to WaPo. 

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Via Zerohedge…


Shortly after the death toll from Sunday’s Easter bombings in Sri Lanka climbed above the 300 mark, ISIS validated the Sri Lankan government’s suspicions that a domestic jihadi organization had help from an international terror network while planning the bombings were validated when ISIS took credit for the attacks.

The claim was made via a report from ISIS’s Amaq news agency. Though the group has lost almost all of the territory that was once part of its transnational caliphate, ISIS now boasts cells across the Muslim world, including in North Africa and elsewhere. Before ISIS took credit for the attack, a Sri Lankan official revealed that Sunday’s attacks were intended as retaliation for the killing of 50 Muslims during last month’s mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand.

However, the Sri Lankan government didn’t offer any evidence for that claim, or the claim that Sunday’s attacks were planned by two Islamic groups (though that now appears to have been substantiated by ISIS’s claim of responsibility). The group is believed to have worked with the National Tawheed Jamaath, according to the NYT.

“The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch,” State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene told the Parliament.

Meanwhile, the number of suspects arrested in connection with the attacks had increased to 40 from 24 as of Tuesday. The government had declared a national emergency that allowed it sweeping powers to interrogate and detain suspects.

On Monday, the FBI pledged to send agents to Sri Lanka and provide laboratory support for the investigation.

As the death toll in Sri Lanka climbs, the attack is cementing its position as the deadliest terror attack in the region.

  • 321 (as of now): Sri Lanka bombings, 2019
  • 257 Mumbai attacks, 1993
  • 189 Mumbai train blasts, 2006 166 Mumbai attacks, 2008
  • 151 APS/Peshawar school attack, 2014
  • 149 Mastung/Balochistan election rally attack, 2018

Meanwhile, funeral services for some of the bombing victims began on Tuesday.

Even before ISIS took credit for the attack, analysts told the Washington Post that its unprecedented violence suggested that a well-financed international organization was likely involved.

The bombings on Sunday, however, came with little precedent. Sri Lanka may have endured a ghastly civil war and suicide bombings in the past – some credit the Tamil Tigers with pioneering the tactic – but nothing of this scale. Analysts were stunned by the apparent level of coordination behind the strikes, which occurred around the same time on both sides of the country, and suggested the attacks carried the hallmarks of a more international plot.

“Sri Lanka has never seen this sort of attack – coordinated, multiple, high-casualty – ever before, even with the Tamil Tigers during the course of a brutal civil war,” Alan Keenan, a Sri Lanka expert at the International Crisis Group, told the Financial Times. “I’m not really convinced this is a Sri Lankan thing. I think the dynamics are global, not driven by some indigenous debate. It seems to me to be a different kind of ballgame.”

Hinting at possible ISIS involvement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a Monday press conference that “radical Islamic terror” remained a threat even after ISIS’s defeats in Syria.

Of course, ISIS’s claim couldn’t be confirmed and the group has been  known to make “opportunistic” claims in the past, according to WaPo. The extremist group said the attacks were targeting Christians and “coalition countries” and were carried out by fighters from its organization.

Speculation that the government had advanced warning of the attacks, but failed to act amid a power struggle between the country’s president and prime minister, unnerved citizens and contributed to a brewing backlash. Following the bombings, schools and mass had been canceled until at least Monday, with masses called off “until further notice.”

 

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