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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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Clinton-Yeltsin docs shine a light on why Deep State hates Putin (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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Bill Clinton and America ruled over Russia and Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. Yeltsin showed little love for Russia and more interest in keeping power, and pleasing the oligarchs around him.

Then came Vladimir Putin, and everything changed.

Nearly 600 pages of memos and transcripts, documenting personal exchanges and telephone conversations between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin, were made public by the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dating from January 1993 to December 1999, the documents provide a historical account of a time when US relations with Russia were at their best, as Russia was at its weakest.

On September 8, 1999, weeks after promoting the head of the Russia’s top intelligence agency to the post of prime minister, Russian President Boris Yeltsin took a phone call from U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The new prime minister was unknown, rising to the top of the Federal Security Service only a year earlier.

Yeltsin wanted to reassure Clinton that Vladimir Putin was a “solid man.”

Yeltsin told Clinton….

“I would like to tell you about him so you will know what kind of man he is.”

“I found out he is a solid man who is kept well abreast of various subjects under his purview. At the same time, he is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the nearly 600 pages of transcripts documenting the calls and personal conversations between then U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, released last month. A strong Clinton and a very weak Yeltsin underscore a warm and friendly relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

Then Vladimir Putin came along and decided to lift Russia out of the abyss, and things changed.

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Here are five must-read Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges from with the 600 pages released by the Clinton Library.

Via RT

Clinton sends ‘his people’ to get Yeltsin elected

Amid unceasing allegations of nefarious Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, the Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges reveal how the US government threw its full weight behind Boris – in Russian parliamentary elections as well as for the 1996 reelection campaign, which he approached with 1-digit ratings.

For example, a transcript from 1993 details how Clinton offered to help Yeltsin in upcoming parliamentary elections by selectively using US foreign aid to shore up support for the Russian leader’s political allies.

“What is the prevailing attitude among the regional leaders? Can we do something through our aid package to send support out to the regions?” a concerned Clinton asked.

Yeltsin liked the idea, replying that “this kind of regional support would be very useful.” Clinton then promised to have “his people” follow up on the plan.

In another exchange, Yeltsin asks his US counterpart for a bit of financial help ahead of the 1996 presidential election: “Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion,” he said. Yeltsin added that he needed the money in order to pay pensions and government wages – obligations which, if left unfulfilled, would have likely led to his political ruin. Yeltsin also asks Clinton if he could “use his influence” to increase the size of an IMF loan to assist him during his re-election campaign.

Yeltsin questions NATO expansion

The future of NATO was still an open question in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and conversations between Clinton and Yeltsin provide an illuminating backdrop to the current state of the curiously offensive ‘defensive alliance’ (spoiler alert: it expanded right up to Russia’s border).

In 1995, Yeltsin told Clinton that NATO expansion would lead to “humiliation” for Russia, noting that many Russians were fearful of the possibility that the alliance could encircle their country.

“It’s a new form of encirclement if the one surviving Cold War bloc expands right up to the borders of Russia. Many Russians have a sense of fear. What do you want to achieve with this if Russia is your partner? They ask. I ask it too: Why do you want to do this?” Yeltsin asked Clinton.

As the documents show, Yeltsin insisted that Russia had “no claims on other countries,” adding that it was “unacceptable” that the US was conducting naval drills near Crimea.

“It is as if we were training people in Cuba. How would you feel?” Yeltsin asked. The Russian leader then proposed a “gentleman’s agreement” that no former Soviet republics would join NATO.

Clinton refused the offer, saying: “I can’t make the specific commitment you are asking for. It would violate the whole spirit of NATO. I’ve always tried to build you up and never undermine you.”

NATO bombing of Yugoslavia turns Russia against the West

Although Clinton and Yeltsin enjoyed friendly relations, NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia tempered Moscow’s enthusiastic partnership with the West.

“Our people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO,” the Russian president told Clinton in March 1999. “I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that.”

Yeltsin urged Clinton to renounce the strikes, for the sake of “our relationship” and “peace in Europe.”

“It is not known who will come after us and it is not known what will be the road of future developments in strategic nuclear weapons,” Yeltsin reminded his US counterpart.

But Clinton wouldn’t cede ground.

“Milosevic is still a communist dictator and he would like to destroy the alliance that Russia has built up with the US and Europe and essentially destroy the whole movement of your region toward democracy and go back to ethnic alliances. We cannot allow him to dictate our future,” Clinton told Yeltsin.

Yeltsin asks US to ‘give Europe to Russia’

One exchange that has been making the rounds on Twitter appears to show Yeltsin requesting that Europe be “given” to Russia during a meeting in Istanbul in 1999. However, it’s not quite what it seems.

“I ask you one thing,” Yeltsin says, addressing Clinton. “Just give Europe to Russia. The US is not in Europe. Europe should be in the business of Europeans.”

However, the request is slightly less sinister than it sounds when put into context: The two leaders were discussing missile defense, and Yeltsin was arguing that Russia – not the US – would be a more suitable guarantor of Europe’s security.

“We have the power in Russia to protect all of Europe, including those with missiles,” Yeltsin told Clinton.

Clinton on Putin: ‘He’s very smart’

Perhaps one of the most interesting exchanges takes place when Yeltsin announces to Clinton his successor, Vladimir Putin.

In a conversation with Clinton from September 1999, Yeltsin describes Putin as “a solid man,” adding: “I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

A month later, Clinton asks Yeltsin who will win the Russian presidential election.

“Putin, of course. He will be the successor to Boris Yeltsin. He’s a democrat, and he knows the West.”

“He’s very smart,” Clinton remarks.

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New Satellite Images Reveal Aftermath Of Israeli Strikes On Syria; Putin Accepts Offer to Probe Downed Jet

The images reveal the extent of destruction in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport.

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Via Zerohedge


An Israeli satellite imaging company has released satellite photographs that reveal the extent of Monday night’s attack on multiple locations inside Syria.

ImageSat International released them as part of an intelligence report on a series of Israeli air strikes which lasted for over an hour and resulted in Syrian missile defense accidentally downing a Russian surveillance plane that had 15 personnel on board.

The images reveal the extent of destruction on one location struck early in attack in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport. On Tuesday Israel owned up to carrying out the attack in a rare admission.

Syrian official SANA news agency reported ten people injured in the attacks carried out of military targets near three major cities in Syria’s north.

The Times of Israel, which first reported the release of the new satellite images, underscores the rarity of Israeli strikes happening that far north and along the coast, dangerously near Russian positions:

The attack near Latakia was especially unusual because the port city is located near a Russian military base, the Khmeimim Air Force base. The base is home to Russian jet planes and an S-400 aerial defense system. According to Arab media reports, Israel has rarely struck that area since the Russians arrived there.

The Russian S-400 system was reportedly active during the attack, but it’s difficult to confirm or assess the extent to which Russian missiles responded during the strikes.

Three of the released satellite images show what’s described as an “ammunition warehouse” that appears to have been completely destroyed.

The IDF has stated their airstrikes targeted a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” This statement came after the IDF expressed “sorrow” for the deaths of Russian airmen, but also said responsibility lies with the “Assad regime.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express regret over the incident while offering to send his air force chief to Russia with a detailed report — something which Putin agreed to.

According to Russia’s RT News, “Major-General Amikam Norkin will arrive in Moscow on Thursday, and will present the situation report on the incident, including the findings of the IDF inquiry regarding the event and the pre-mission information the Israeli military was so reluctant to share in advance.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry condemned the “provocative actions by Israel as hostile” and said Russia reserves “the right to an adequate response” while Putin has described the downing of the Il-20 recon plane as likely the result of a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances” and downplayed the idea of a deliberate provocation, in contradiction of the initial statement issued by his own defense ministry.

Pro-government Syrians have reportedly expressed frustration this week that Russia hasn’t done more to respond militarily to Israeli aggression; however, it appears Putin may be sidestepping yet another trap as it’s looking increasingly likely that Israel’s aims are precisely geared toward provoking a response in order to allow its western allies to join a broader attack on Damascus that could result in regime change.

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“Transphobic” Swedish Professor May Lose Job After Noting Biological Differences Between Sexes

A university professor in Sweden is under investigation after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded”

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Via Zerohedge


A university professor in Sweden is under investigation for “anti-feminism” and “transphobia” after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded” and that genders cannot be regarded as “social constructs alone,” reports Academic Rights Watch.

For his transgression, Germund Hesslow – a professor of neuroscience at Lund University – who holds dual PhDs in philosophy and neurophysiology, may lose his job – telling RT that a “full investigation” has been ordered, and that there “have been discussions about trying to stop the lecture or get rid of me, or have someone else give the lecture or not give the lecture at all.”

“If you answer such a question you are under severe time pressure, you have to be extremely brief — and I used wording which I think was completely innocuous, and that apparently the student didn’t,” Hesslow said.

Hesslow was ordered to attend a meeting by Christer Larsson, chairman of the program board for medical education, after a female student complained that Hesslow had a “personal anti-feminist agenda.” He was asked to distance himself from two specific comments; that gay women have a “male sexual orientation” and that the sexual orientation of transsexuals is “a matter of definition.”

The student’s complaint reads in part (translated):

I have also heard from senior lecturers that Germund Hesslow at the last lecture expressed himself transfobically. In response to a question of transexuallism, he said something like “sex change is a fly”. Secondly, it is outrageous because there may be students during the lecture who are themselves exposed to transfobin, but also because it may affect how later students in their professional lives meet transgender people. Transpersonals already have a high level of overrepresentation in suicide statistics and there are already major shortcomings in the treatment of transgender in care, should not it be countered? How does this kind of statement coincide with the university’s equal treatment plan? What has this statement given for consequences? What has been done for this to not be repeated? –Academic Rights Watch

After being admonished, Hesslow refused to distance himself from his comments, saying that he had “done enough” already and didn’t have to explain and defend his choice of words.

At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether,” Hesslow said in a written reply to Larsson.

He also rejected the accusation that he had a political agenda – stating that his only agenda was to let scientific factnot new social conventions, dictate how he teaches his courses.

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