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G7 Boldly Displays Its Lies Regarding Anti-Russia Sanctions

The G7 Group of Western industrialised countries lies its way to more sanctions against Russia.

Eric Zuesse

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This article is an edited version of an article originally written by Eric Zuesse at The Saker, which has been republished by The Duran at the author’s request and with his kind permission.

The official statement of the G7 group of leading Western industrialised countries (the US, Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Italy and Japan) publicly confirms the G7 group’s support for the continuation of Barack Obama’s anti-Russia sanctions policy. 

More to the point the statement is based on obvious and blatant lies.

I shall parse this statement and provide links to show how:

“We stand united in our conviction that the conflict in Ukraine can only be solved by diplomatic means and in full respect for international law, especially the legal obligation to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence [even though they don’t deny the rights of Catalonians to separate from Spain, or of Scots to separate from the UK, if that’s what the Catalan and Scottish people want].

We reiterate our condemnation of the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia [as the previous link shows, the illegality was actually Obama’s coup in Kiev, not what the Crimeans or the Russians did] and reaffirm our policy of its non-recognition and sanctions against those involved [those being sanctions solely against Russia, for having accepted the request of 97% of Crimeans to become Russian citizens, and for protecting Crimeans from being invaded by the Ukrainian army and air force].

We are concerned by continued violence along the line of contact in violation of the ceasefire [in the far-eastern Donbass portion of Ukraine]; we urge all sides to take concrete steps that will lead to the complete ceasefire required under the Minsk agreements. We also urge all sides to fulfil their commitments without delay with a view to holding local elections in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions [the two regions that together make up Donbass, the part of Ukraine that had voted 90% for the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, whom Obama overthrew in February 2014] as soon as possible in accordance with the Minsk agreements.

We emphasise our strongest support for full implementation of the Minsk agreements and the work of the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group. We expect Russia [but note not the coup-imposed Ukrainian government] to live up to its commitments and use its influence over the separatists to meet their commitments in full. [This passage acknowledges that Russia has only ‘influence’ over the separatists and does not control them; yet only Russia is being asked to live up to its alleged ‘commitments’.  If Russia only has ‘influence’ and only over one side – the ‘separatists’ but not the Ukrainian government? – how can it be held responsible for the non-fulfilment of the Minsk agreements?].

We stress the OSCE’s key role in helping to de escalate the crisis, and we call upon all sides, particularly the separatists [why ‘particularly’ the separatists — is this supposed to be an unbiased neutral statement? if so it clearly is not.], to provide the organisation’s monitors full and unfettered access throughout the conflict zone.

We recall that the duration of sanctions is clearly linked to Russia’s complete implementation of the Minsk agreements [yet again, the G7’s statement is clearly and singularly hostile against Russia, and supportive of the coup-imposed Ukrainian government] and respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty [but what about the right of self-determination of peoples, which even the West recognises in Scotland and Catalonia but NOT it seems in Donbass and Crimea, despite the fact that people in the Donbass voted 90% for Yanukovych and people in Crimea voted 75% for him, and despite the fact that the post-coup Ukrainian regime which overthrew Yanukovych is rabidly hostile to the people of the Donbass and Crimea and calls them ‘terrorists’ for rejecting Ukraine’s coup-government?].

Sanctions can be rolled back when Russia meets these commitments [what ‘commitments’? – note only one side of the dispute is required to fulfil any ‘commitments’ and that side is one which is not even properly speaking a party to the conflict since it is neither the Ukrainian government nor the people the G7 calls the separatists]. However, we also stand ready to take further restrictive measures [here the warmongering G7 are actually threatening to increase sanctions against Russia, though their case for having even the existing sanctions is based entirely upon lies] in order to increase cost on Russia should its actions so require [according to what standard and judged by whom? — themselves presumably].

We recognise the importance of maintaining dialogue with Russia [would their entire statement be so incredibly one-sided and false if this were really true?] in order to ensure it abides by the commitments it [yet again referring only to Russia] has made as well as international law and to reach a comprehensive, sustainable and peaceful solution to the crisis.

We commend and support the steps Ukraine is taking [can anyone but a full-fledged idiot fail to recognise how biased in favour of the Ukrainian government and against the Russian government — how totally one-sided in fact — this statement is?] to implement comprehensive structural, governance and economic reforms and encourage Ukraine to continue and accelerate the process. We urge Ukraine to maintain and enhance the momentum in its fight against corruption and its judicial reform, including the Prosecutor General’s office. We are fully committed to providing long-term support to this end [does that mean anything more than providing yet more taxpayer-backed loans to get the bankrupt Ukrainian government even deeper into debt and austerity than it is already in and to sell off in insider-rigged ‘auctions’ virtually the entire Ukrainian economy?]. We also commend the work of the Ukraine support group of G7 Ambassadors in Kyiv.”

The three underlying suppositions of the statement are:

1: All of the violations of the Minsk agreements are by Russia.

2: Russia controls what the independence forces in the separatist Donbass region of the former Ukraine do, and is therefore responsible for everything that those forces do, including any Minsk-violation they might commit.

3 (a corollary of 1&2): The Ukrainian government never violates the Minsk agreements, or else must suffer no sanctions for having done so: only Russia can be blamed for any failure to comply with the Minsk agreements.

All three of these suppositions are false.

1: If the question is violations of the ceasefire, many of the violations of the Minsk agreements were made by the Ukrainian government, and most if not all the rest were the result of the Donbass separatist forces firing back at forces attacking them from the Ukrainian government side. Self-defence against attacks from the other side does not violate any agreement, and it certainly is not a violation of the Minsk agreements. (The residents of Luhansk and Donetsk never agreed to be sitting ducks for Ukrainian soldiers and airmen intent upon killing them.)

2: Russia does not control what the separatist forces do, but does provide essential assistance to those forces.  There is a big difference between providing assistance, and having control over these forces.

3: Here are some direct and indisputable violations of the Minsk agreements (signed on 12th February 2015, by the Ukrainian government (totally ignored by the G7’s statement, just cited here):

Measure 4 of the agreement states that,

“Without delay, but no later than 30 days from the date of signing of this document [i.e., by no later than 13 March 2015], a resolution has to be approved by the Verkhovna Rada [parliament] of Ukraine, indicating the territory which falls under the special regime in accordance with the law ‘On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts,’ based in the line set up by the Minsk Memorandum as of 19 September 2014.”

This is not only an action Ukraine committed itself to take, but it also an action it was required to take by no later than a specific date.  It has not done so.

Did Ukraine suffer any Western penalties in consequence?  Hardly!  Instead, on 12 March 2015, Radio Free Europe article headlined “A Bipartisan Cause In Washington: Arming Ukraine Against Russia” reported that “consensus appears to be snowballing among Democratic and Republican lawmakers in the U.S. capitol on at least one issue: arming Ukraine. One exception, however, is the figure who matters most: President Barack Obama.”  No reason was given for his hesitation, but by this time it was clear Ukraine would – on the following day – be in stark violation of the Minsk II accord — this barely month after its President signed it.

The U.S. Congress can ignore international legalities and remain unconcerned about the effect this has abroad.  After all the US doesn’t really care about international legalities. However the US President has to maintain at least the appearance of a legalistic front so as not to embarrass too much the leaders of America’s client-states such as Germany and France (which had after all initiated the Minsk agreements).   Obama’s own agent who orchestrated the coup had said at the time, “F–k the EU!“; however there is a limit to how much public humiliation even the most cooperative of the White House’s stooges can reasonably be expected to tolerate.

In any event, the crucial March 13th 2015 deadline came and went without being so much as mentioned in the Western ‘news’ media. (And please note here that while the 27 May 2016 G7 statement says “We also urge all sides to fulfil their commitments without delay,” it simply ignores the fact that Ukraine has not only “delayed”  but in fact entirely refuses to comply by its commitments).

Then, just four days later, at the Fort Russ website on March 17th 2015, there appeared an article under the headline “Back to war? Ukrainian parliament rejects the Minsk agreement”, which reported that, “A month after the Minsk agreement the masks are off. New weapons are coming, American instructors are in Ukraine, the IMF credit is approved. Time to get back to killing the kids of Donbass. Where are the sanctions on Kiev?”  That information was of course unpublishable in the West’s ‘news’ media — their ‘journalistic’ standards of course exclude such ‘Russian propaganda’ as this. Truth doesn’t set these standards – power does – and the G7 (and their ‘news’ media) have that power.

The Minsk II agreement set up a 13-stage process.  Each stage beyond stage three, every stage from  beyond stage 4 on through to stage 13, is in abeyance because the Ukrainian government refuses to implement any of them. 

The result of Ukraine’s refusal to implement its side of the Minsk II agreement is that the G7 group threatens intensification of the sanctions against Russia, blaming Russia for all the violations of the Minsk accords.  Blaming Russia is the official ‘truth’, and the ‘news’ media comply with it.

This is similar to what happened in 2002 and 2003, when the ‘news’ media – in order to assist the U.S. government eliminate another Russian-allied leader – Saddam Hussein of Iraq – complied with the official ‘truth’ about ‘Saddam’s WMD’ — that his nuclear-weapons equipments and materials still existed, and that they threatened the West, even though the IAEA had actually said that they had destroyed all of Saddam’s nuclear-weapons-related capabilities and materials in 1998!  The media on that occasion simply hid this crucial information from the public, allowing George W. Bush to say without challenge that the IAEA were saying that the Iraqis were six months away from developing a weapon – a claim that was completely fabricated and which had no truth to it.

Geoffrey Perret wrote (p. 349): “After inspections resumed in November 2002, the IAEA concluded that there were no nuclear weapons and no program to build them. That was why the Niger yellowcake story had to be cooked up.” So: Iraq was invaded on 19 March 2003 on entirely fabricated ‘evidence’ – which an honest press would have exposed – but which the media simply chose to ‘report’ stenographically instead.   Now, in a conflict were the stakes are much higher, we are drifting into World War III in exactly the same way.

Another item in Minsk II that has a deadline is measure 11: “Constitutional reform in Ukraine, with a new constitution to come into effect by the end of 2015, the key element of which is decentralisation (taking into account peculiarities of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, agreed with representatives of these districts).”

That deadline too came and went with nothing happening and with the fact again being ignored by the G7 and ‘the West’.  The reason it wasn’t complied with was again that Ukraine refused to comply with it, which is of course the reason why the West’s ‘news’ media chooses to ignore the fact.

The extension or even intensification of sanctions, and the NATO buildup on Russia’s borders, are steps along the road to World War III, but the Western ‘news’ media have been so effective in their function – propaganda – that Western publics are unconcerned about the resulting risks of nuclear annihilation or about the growing danger of an event that might spark a global nuclear war.  The hard truth is that these publics don’t even know the most important things that are happening in their own supposedly ‘democratic’ countries.

Here for example is a video which appeared on Fort Russ on 1 June 2016, showing “Texas visits frontline DPR positions”.

Such evidence is however irrelevant to the G7 leaders (Obama, Merkel, Hollande, Abe, Cameron, Renzi, Trudeau). They have an entire world to destroy, and they’re too busy doing it, to care about evidence that shows them all to be liars. Not a single one of them said, when presented with the G7’s proposed statement: NO — I will not sign this!

Is the path to nuclear annihilation being created by an elite of hypocritical liars and a mass of their deceived suckers? Can anything block this path, and so block these liars from destroying the world? Will any major news medium in the West finally separate itself from the chorus of liars and start to report the terrifying truth of these matters — while there is still time left to avert global calamity?

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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It’s Back to the Iran-Contra Days Under Trump

Abrams and his cronies will not stop with Venezuela.

Strategic Culture Foundation

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Authored by Wayne Madsen, via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Showing that he is adopting the neoconservative playbook every day he remains in office, Donald Trump handed the neocons a major win when he appointed Iran-contra scandal felon Elliott Abrams as his special envoy on Venezuela. Abrams pleaded guilty in 1991 to two counts of withholding information on the secret sale of US weapons for cash to help illegally supply weapons to the Nicaraguan right-wing contras, who were battling against the government of President Daniel Ortega. Abrams would have headed to a federal prison, but President George H. W. Bush, an unindicted co-conspirator in the scandal, issued pardons to Abrams and his five fellow conspirators – former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, and former Central Intelligence Agency officials Alan Fiers, Duane “Dewey” Clarridge, and Clair George – on Christmas Eve 1991, during the final weeks of Bush’s lame duck administration.

Abrams escaped being charged with more serious crimes by Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh because he cut a last-minute deal with federal prosecutors. Trump, who has made no secret of his disdain for cooperating federal witnesses, would have normally called Abrams a “rat,” a gangster term meaning informant. The man who helped engineer the pardons for Abrams and his five convicted friends was none other than Bush’s Attorney General, William Barr, who has just been sworn in as Trump’s Attorney General. Trump, who is always decrying the presence of the “deep state” that thwarts his very move, has become the chief guardian of that entity.

During a recent hearing of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, newly-minted congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, reminded her colleagues and the world about the sordid background of Abrams.

Omar zeroed in on Abrams’s criminal history:

“Mr. Abrams, in 1991 you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding the Iran-Contra affair, for which you were later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush. I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony you give today to be truthful.”

Abrams, as is the nature of neocons, refused to respond to Omar and cited her comments as “personal attacks.”

Abrams’s and his fellow criminals’ use of mercenaries and “death squads” to conduct secret wars in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala during the Ronald Reagan administration in the 1980s has made a re-entrance under Trump. Abrams was brought on board by neocons like National Security Adviser John Bolton, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to oversee a US military build-up in Colombia, said to be 5000 US troops, to support Venezuelan paramilitary and military efforts to topple President Nicolas Maduro. Abrams and Bolton are also believed to have retained the services of another unindicted conspirator in the Iran-contra affair, Michael Ledeen, a colleague of the disgraced and convicted former Trump National Security Adviser, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn. Ledeen and Flynn co-authored a book titled, “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and its Allies.” The book contains nothing more than the standard neocon tripe one might expect from the likes of Ledeen.

An official investigation of the Iran-contra scandal by the late Republican Senator John Tower of Texas concluded that Abrams’s and Ledeen’s friend, Iranian-Jewish middleman Manucher Ghorbanifar, a long-time Mossad asset and well-known prevaricator, was extremely instrumental in establishing the back-channel arms deals with Iran. Ghorbanifar has long been on the CIA “burn list” as an untrustworthy charlatan, along with others in the Middle East of similar sketchy credentials, including the Iraq’s Ahmad Chalabi, Syria’s Farid “Frank” Ghadry, and Lebanon’s Samir “Sami” Geagea. These individuals, however, were warmly embraced by neocons like Abrams and his associates.

Abrams, whose links with Israeli intelligence has always been a point of consternation with US counter-intelligence officials, is part of an old cabal of right-wing anti-Soviet Democrats who coalesced around Senator Henry Jackson in the 1970s. Along with Abrams, this group of war hawks included Richard Perle, Frank Gaffney, William Kristol, Douglas Feith, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Abram Shulsky, and Paul Wolfowitz. Later, this group would have its fingerprints on major US foreign policy debacles, ranging from Nicaragua and Grenada to Lebanon, Iraq, and Libya. Later, in December 2000, these neocons managed to convince president-elect George W. Bush of the need to “democratize” the Middle East. That policy would later bring not democracy but disaster to the Arab Middle East and North Africa.

Abrams and his cronies will not stop with Venezuela. They have old scores to settle with Nicaraguan President Ortega. The initiation of “regime change” operations in Nicaragua, supported by the CIA and the US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) in Miami, have been ongoing for more than a year.

The Trump administration has already achieved a regime change victory of sorts in El Salvador. Nayib Bukele, the former mayor of San Salvador, who was expelled from the formerly-ruling left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation (FMLN) party and joined the right-wing GANA party, was recently elected president of El Salvador. Bukele has quickly re-aligned his country’s policies with those of the Trump administration. Bukele has referred to President Maduro of Venezuela as a “dictator.” He has also criticized the former FMLN government’s recognition of China and severance of diplomatic ties with Taiwan. It will be interesting to see how a sycophant like Bukele will politically survive as Trump continues to call hapless asylum-seeking migrants from his country, who seek residency in the United States, “rapists, gang monsters, murderers, and drug smugglers.”

Another country heading for a US-installed “banana republic” dictator is Haiti. President Jovenal Moise has seen rioting in the streets of Port-au-Prince as the US State Department removed all “non-essential” personnel from the country. Moise, whose country has received $2 billion in oil relief from Venezuela, to help offset rising fuel prices, has continued to support the Maduro government. However, at the US-run and neo-colonial artifice, the Organization of American States (OAS), Moise’s envoys have been under tremendous pressure to cut ties with Venezuela and recognize the US puppet Juan Guaido as Venezuelan president. Moise’s refusal to do so resulted in armed gangs hitting the streets of Port-au-Prince demanding Moise’s resignation. It is the same neocon “regime change” playbook being used in Venezuela and Nicaragua.

There will be similar attempts to replace pro-Maduro governments in his remaining allies in the region. These include Suriname, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Abrams was also brought in as an adviser on Middle East policy in the George W. Bush administration. The carnage of Iraq is a stark testament to his record. In 2005, it was reported that two key Bush White House officials – Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliot Abrams – gave a “wink and a nod” for the assassinations by Israeli-paid operatives of three key Lebanese political figures seeking a rapprochement with Syria and Lebanese Hezbollah – Member of Parliament Elie Hobeika, former Lebanese Communist Party chief George Hawi, and former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

In 2008, a United Nations panel headed by former Canadian prosecutor Daniel Bellemare later concluded Hariri was assassinated by a “criminal network” and not by either Syrian and Lebanese intelligence or Lebanese Hezbollah as proffered by Abrams and his friends in Washington.

Representative Omar was spot on in questioning why Abrams, whose name is as disgraced as his two fellow conspirators – Oliver North and John Poindexter – whose criminal convictions were overturned on appeal, is working for the Trump administration on Venezuela. The answer is that the neocons, who can sense, like raptors, Trump’s political weakness, have filled the vacuum left by top-level vacancies in the administration.

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Putin: If mid-range missiles deployed in Europe, Russia will station arms to strike decision centers

Putin: If US deploys mid-range missiles in Europe, Russia will be forced to respond.

RT

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Via RT…


If the US deploys intermediate-range missiles in Europe, Moscow will respond by stationing weapons aimed not only against missiles themselves, but also at command and control centers, from which a launch order would come.

The warning came from President Vladimir Putin, who announced Russia’s planned actions after the US withdraws from the INF Treaty – a Cold War-era agreement between Washington and Moscow which banned both sides form having ground-based cruise and ballistic missiles and developing relevant technology.

The US is set to unilaterally withdraw from the treaty in six months, which opens the possibility of once again deploying these missiles in Europe. Russia would see that as a major threat and respond with its own deployments, Putin said.

Intermediate-range missiles were banned and removed from Europe because they would leave a very short window of opportunity for the other side to decide whether to fire in retaliation after detecting a launch – mere minutes. This poses the threat of an accidental nuclear exchange triggered by a false launch warning, with the officer in charge having no time to double check.

“Russia will be forced to create and deploy weapon systems, which can be used not only against the territories from which this direct threat would be projected, but also against those territories where decision centers are located, from which an order to use those weapons against us may come.” The Russian president, who was delivering a keynote address to the Russian parliament on Wednesday, did not elaborate on whether any counter-deployment would only target US command-and-control sites in Europe or would also include targets on American soil.

He did say the Russian weapon system in terms of flight times and other specifications would “correspond” to those targeting Russia.

“We know how to do it and we will implement those plans without a delay once the relevant threats against us materialize,”he said.

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Labour MP split is a cheap and final ploy to derail BREXIT (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 179.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss a small group of UK Labour MPs decision to quit the party and sit as Independent MPs in the house of commons.

Their excuse for leaving Labour was directed at leader Jeremy Corbyn for presiding over an “institutionally anti-Semitic” party. The real reason they are leaving Labour is because they are staunch remain MPs and are hoping to derail Brexit.

The seven Labour MPs quitting the party to become ‘The Independent Group’, are Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey.

RT reports that Luciana Berger, the MP for Liverpool Wavertree took to the stage first, to claim that she could not stay in the party any more because it had become “institutionally anti-Semitic.”

Chuka Umunna, MP for Streatham, a prominent ‘People’s Vote’ advocate appealed to all MPs, not just Labour, to join their group, as the current parties are part of the problem, not the solution.

He argued that “It is time we dumped this country’s old fashioned politics.” Umunna claimed the UK needed a political party “fit for the hear and now” and the “first step in leaving the tribal politics behind.”

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Via RT

Twitter has been rocked by the sudden departure of seven Labour MPs to form their own Independent Group, with party supporters feverishly debating whether the move is better for the party, or a wake-up call to Jeremy Corbyn.

Former shadow cabinet minister Chuka Umunna along with MPs Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey have all jumped ship in the biggest Labour Party split since 1981, when the so-called “gang of four” left to form the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

In a press conference, Umunna stated that the established parties “cannot be the change because they have become the problem” arguing that it is “time we dumped this country’s old-fashioned politics.”

Jewish MP Luciana Berger said she was “embarrassed and ashamed” at what the Labour Party had become and criticized her former party for becoming “sickeningly institutionally racist.”

“I am leaving behind a culture of bullying, bigotry and intimidation. I look forward to a future serving with colleagues who respect each other,” she added.

Reaction to the news online has been a mixture of shock and dismay, to outright derision. Some Labour supporters were quick to delight in the departures, suggesting the party will be stronger without detractors undermining it from within.

Others though said it was time for Jeremy Corbyn to take the criticism seriously.

Meanwhile, some Twitter users commented on Young Labour’s somewhat barbed response to the situation.

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