Jeffrey Feltman Is Coming To Ukraine–the Man Who Starts and Manages the Bush/Obama Civil Wars

feltman

United Nations, Dec 13, 2014:
Jeffrey Feltman, the UN under-secretary-general for political affairs, is scheduled to visit Ukraine early next week in a bid to support UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s efforts to seek a peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, a UN spokesman said here Friday.”Feltman, in an effort to support the secretary-general’s good offices to assist in finding a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Ukraine, will travel to Kiev Dec 16 and 17 for consultations with senior officials,” Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing.

The visit of the UN political chief comes just a few days after the trip of the UN assistant secretary-general for human rights, Ivan Simonovic, who is currently in Ukraine to assess the human rights situation in the country.

During his visit, Simonovic is scheduled to meet a number of Ukrainian government officials as well as civil society actors, the official said, adding that he is also scheduled to visit the eastern region of the country.

The visits by the two senior UN officials take place one week after Ukrainian forces suspended hostilities against independence-seeking insurgents in the country’s eastern region.

The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, which began in mid-April, has claimed at least 4,350 lives and wounded more than 10,000 others, according to the latest UN estimates.

- IANS

Official Russian Statement On Ukraine Freedom Support Provocation

Russian Embassy

Comment by the Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich on the approval of the anti-Russian bill “The Ukraine Freedom Support Act” by the U.S. Congress

The bill “The Ukraine Freedom Support Act” that was approved by the both houses of the U.S. Congress with no debate and proper voting cannot but produce deep regret by its overly confrontational contents. Once again Washington is presenting unfounded, sweeping accusations and is threatening us with new sanctions. At the same time one puts in the same bag the Ukrainian and Syrian crises, in the fomenting of which the U.S. had a hand, and even the INF Treaty while the adherence to the document of Washington raises questions – saying the least of it. Herewith one promises to provide the Kiev government with weapons to continue the military operation in the Donbass region and straightforwardly announce the intention to use non-governmental organizations to influence internal political processes in our country.
It would seem that the serious challenges for the international security demand the joint efforts of Russia and the U.S. Meanwhile the American lawmakers following the administration of Barack Obama work hard to destroy the backbone of cooperation. The powerful mine similar to the notorious Jackson-Vanick amendment that was adopted in 1974 and was hindering the cooperation for several decades is laid under the bilateral relations. We are beginning to think that Washington cannot refuse to abandon outdated phobias and wants to turn back time.
It is time for the members of the Congress to abandon their illusions on the efficacy of sanctions in their heated campaign against Russia. We will not submit to blackmail. We will not cede our national interests. And we will not tolerate interference in our internal affairs.

 

Comment by the Information and Press Department on the continuing U.S. accusations of the violation of the INF Treaty by Russia

We paid attention to the remarks made by the U.S. high-ranking officials during the Congress hearing on December 10, 2014 regarding the U.S. plans to apply measures of economic and military pressure to Russia over alleged violations of the INF Treaty by the Russian side.
It is regretful that Washington continues to follow the logic of confrontation. Our attitude to the U.S. practice of sanctions is well-known: we consider such unilateral restrictions to be illegitimate and we are not going to obey the U.S. diktat. As for the possible military steps, that the U.S. representatives hinted on, they would only add tensions to the already complicated situation. It is unlikely to strengthen the security of the U.S. and their allies that was discussed at the hearings.
It is worth noting that while announcing such threats the U.S. cannot distinctly formulate what claims do they have and stubbornly decline to definitive their accusations. At the same time the U.S. do not provide satisfactory answers to our justified and substantive counterclaims. This applies to ballistic missile targets which are similar to short and medium-ranged rockets, to the American unmanned combat aircraft that obviously fall within the definition of the ground-launched cruise missile and to the intention to deploy ground mode of the sea-launched cruise missile «MK-41» in Poland and Romania which is able to launch medium-ranged cruise missile.
We are still convinced that threats are not the best means to deal with the problems that may arise in the context of adhering to the Treaty. We are going to act on this basis. We call on the U.S. side to do the same.

House Passed Anti-Russian Ukraine Support Act In March

[SEE: ‘‘Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014’’–S.R.2828]

H.R.4278 – Ukraine Support Act 113th Congress (2013-2014)

Bill

Sponsor: Rep. Royce, Edward R. [R-CA-39] (Introduced 03/21/2014)
Committees: House – Foreign Affairs; Judiciary | Senate – Foreign Relations
Latest Action: 04/02/2014 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.
Major Recorded Votes: 03/27/2014 : Passed House

MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HOUSE AND SENATE VERSIONS:

1 (I) manufactures or sells defense
2 articles transferred into Syria or into
3 the territory of a specified country
4 without the consent of the inter5
nationally recognized government of
6 that country;

‘‘specified country’’ means—
3 (i) Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova;
4 and
5 (ii) any other country designated by
6 the President as a country of significant
7 concern for purposes of this subsection,
8 such as Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Esto9
nia, and the Central Asia republics.

If the President determines that
19 Gazprom is withholding significant natural gas sup20
plies from member countries of the North Atlantic
21 Treaty Organization, or further withholds significant
22 natural gas supplies from countries such as Ukraine,
23 Georgia, or Moldova,

3 SEC. 7. MAJOR NON-NATO ALLY STATUS FOR UKRAINE,
4 GEORGIA, AND MOLDOVA.

22 (a) IN GENERAL.—The President is authorized to
23 provide defense articles, defense services, and training to
24 the Government of Ukraine for the purpose of countering
25 offensive weapons and reestablishing the sovereignty and
22
MRW14623 S.L.C.
1 territorial integrity of Ukraine, including anti-tank and
2 anti-armor weapons, crew weapons and ammunition,
3 counter-artillery radars to identify and target artillery bat4
teries, fire control, range finder, and optical and guidance
5 and control equipment, tactical troop-operated surveillance
6 drones, and secure command and communications equip7
ment,

24 (1) IN GENERAL.—There are authorized to be
25 appropriated to the Secretary of State $350,000,000
23
MRW14623 S.L.C.
1 for fiscal year 2015 to carry out activities under this
2 section.

7 (ii) evacuation assistance available to
8 persons seeking to flee armed conflict
9 areas.

There are authorized to be appro5
priated $50,000,000

15 There are authorized to be appropriated to the Sec16
retary of State $20,000,000

18 SEC. 10. EXPANDED BROADCASTING IN COUNTRIES OF THE
19 FORMER SOVIET UNION.

24 (1) IN GENERAL.—There are authorized to be
25 appropriated $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years
35
MRW14623 S.L.C.
1 2015 through 2017

 

United Nations, Dec 13, 2014: Jeffrey Feltman, the UN under-secretary-general for political affairs, is scheduled to visit Ukraine early next week in a bid to support UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s efforts to seek a peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, a UN spokesman said here Friday.

“Feltman, in an effort to support the secretary-general’s good offices to assist in finding a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Ukraine, will travel to Kiev Dec 16 and 17 for consultations with senior officials,” Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing.

The visit of the UN political chief comes just a few days after the trip of the UN assistant secretary-general for human rights, Ivan Simonovic, who is currently in Ukraine to assess the human rights situation in the country.

During his visit, Simonovic is scheduled to meet a number of Ukrainian government officials as well as civil society actors, the official said, adding that he is also scheduled to visit the eastern region of the country.

The visits by the two senior UN officials take place one week after Ukrainian forces suspended hostilities against independence-seeking insurgents in the country’s eastern region.

The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, which began in mid-April, has claimed at least 4,350 lives and wounded more than 10,000 others, according to the latest UN estimates.

- IANS

 

 

Americans Don’t Have the Balls To Torture the Truth

CIA boosters weigh in: Man up, America

sf gate

Report On CIA Interrogations To Be Released By Senate Intelligence Chair Sen. Dianne FeinsteinThe Senate torture report has inspired reams of reporting, most of it supportive or at least non-critical. An tide of editorials here, here and here have matched the tone of our own. Sen Dianne Feinstein is the hero of the hour to long time observers.
But now on Day Two the defenders have emerged to criticize the report and explain the past on their preferred terms. Three past CIA directors who presided over the torture years explained their actions in the friendly opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal, which added its own hardline editorial. The basic answer: torture –wait, make that enhanced interrogation techniques — worked, thousands of livers were saved, and the temperature at the time demanded tough stuff. Democrats back then wanted bold action, and who are they to complain now?

Present CIA director John Brennan — once Obama’s national security adviser — added his own toned down criticism. His take: mistakes were made, but we no longer do this stuff.
Then there’s the minority report from Republicans on the Democrat-dominated Intelligence Committee that produced the door-stopper 6,000 page still-secret report and the publicly released versions that’s created all the news. The GOP members picked at perceived flaws and noted that no interviews with CIA employees past or present were included to flesh out the claims built on e-mails, memos and printed communications.
Other voices are now surfacing. Former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey, a liberal Democrat who spent eight years on the Senate intelligence panel, doesn’t think it does any good to release the report without a unified forward action, which won’t happen now. Bush-era legal beagle John Yoo, a former Justice Department lawyer who helped write justifications for water boarding and the like, weighed in critically.
John McCain, the only member of Congress actually tortured after capture in North Vietnam, offered his thoughts too. He’s a longtime critic of torture, believing it has little value and taints the country’s image. He was the only Republican to speak out in favor of the Senate report’s dismal findings.

It’s hard to know what impact the graphic and gruesome Senate report will have on public opinion. Polls have repeatedly showed a majority of Americans support torture in the terrorism fight. Maybe this time that perception will change.

The Implosion of Shale-Oil Fracking Boom

That low rumble you hear to the west is the sound of the Bakken Shale Oil Bust. Bomb Trains and all.  First shale gas went from fracking boom to fracking bust. Now it’s shale oil’s turn to get fracked. Below about $75 a barrel, most US shale oil becomes unprofitable on a fully burdened basis. And oil is now at $70 bbl. That dog no hunt.

Look on the sunny side – the frackers will have to shut in those shale oil wells - and stop lighting the heavens with gas flares. And fewer neighborhoods will get torched by Shale Oil Terror Trains. As shale oil production is shut in, gas supplies from those fields will drop, which should boost natural gas prices a bit near the oil fields.

Take that Frackers !

Note, this recent drop is being billed in the popular press as a conspiracy by OPEC or the Russians, (or Green Billionaires ?) when the simple fact is that oil prices “revert to the mean” cost of production, which is a function of the world average cost of production. And the world average cost is about $40 Bbl. So the market is always at risk of playing the limbo down to that floor price – which is about half the cost of production of most US shale oil fields. No new conspiracy theory needed.

The shale oil bust was not only predictable, but was in fact predicted, by Art Berman, Deborah Lawrence, and others. 

The lowest cost oil or gas producers in the world will not give up market share to higher cost North American shale oil or gas. That is what is already happening on the international gas market – where US LNG exports cannot compete against Russian or Mideast gas pipelines - over which real wars are being fought. Not just commodity price wars.

Oil prices continued to crash yesterday after OPEC decided to not cut production.

Oil prices have fallen below $70 for the first time since 2010.

shale oil bust

Bakken Decline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bakken shale oil fields of North Dakota, the largest in the United States, is no longer economic and has already peaked. 

$80 oil is bad for the fracking companies, but $70 is a fracking disaster for most shale oil fields.

It isn’t just Bakken.

Few North American shale oil fields make money below $75 on a full cycle basis (lease cost, taxes, overhead, transport,P&A)

None are economic below $70 

Most fracking becomes a losing venture below the current oil price, and that’s a big deal. What we are probably looking at is a crash similar to when oil prices crashed in 1986.

Lower oil prices are good for consumers and industry, but it could be disastrous for the oil producing regions – which frack shill politicians – like Mississippi’s governor, bemoan.

There is another problem that also needs to be considered: fracking companies are generally been financed by issuing junk bonds. A lot of junk bonds.

The falling oil price will place stress on the global junk bond market, experts say, with US energy companies at increasing risk of default.
The plunge in the price is “the most significant risk that could potentially deliver a volatility shock large enough to trigger the next wave of defaults” in junk bonds, Deutsche Bank said. According to the bank, energy companies now account for about 15 per cent of outstanding issuance in the non-investment-grade high-yield – or “junk” – bond market.

Most likely this will trigger defaults throughout the high-yield bond market like the housing bust did, but on a smaller scale.

The current articles are saying that the collapse won’t come until prices fall to $60, but just a few months ago they said the collapse would happen at $70. So they really don’t know.

Most likely the timing of the collapse will come when creditors cut off the fracking companies and they run out of funny money, and not a moment before.

 At the moment, some U.S. producers are surviving because they managed to hedge the prices they get for their oil at about $90 a barrel, Fedun said. When those arrangements expire, life will become much more difficult, he said.

Without a bounce in oil prices, the fracking boom is in countdown mode right now, with several producers already poised to choke on junk bond debt service.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/11/28/1348011/-U-S-Shale-industry-about-to-crash

Fracking Mess

Pleading With the Conscience Of A Nation With No Soul

Washington Post Op-ed: CIA report shows need for national conscience

Our belief in the national image is astonishingly resilient. Over more than two centuries, our conviction that we are a benign people, with only the best of intentions, has absorbed the blows of darker truths, and returned unassailable. We have assimilated the facts of slavery and ethnic cleansing of Native Americans, and we are still a good people; we became an empire, but an entirely benevolent one; we bombed Southeast Asia on a scale without precedent, but it had to be done, because we are a good people.

Even the atrocities of Abu Ghraib have been neutralized in our conscience by the overwhelming conviction that the national image transcends the particulars of a few exceptional cases. And now the Senate torture report has made the unimaginable entirely too imaginable, documenting murder, torture, physical and sexual abuse, and lies, none of them isolated crimes, but systematic policy, endorsed at the highest levels, and still defended by many who approved and committed them.

Again, it has become a conversation about the national image, this phoenix of self-deception that magically transforms conversations about what we have done into debates about what we look like. The report, claimed headlines, “painted a picture of an agency out of control,” and “portrays a broken CIA devoted to a failed approach.” The blow to the U.S. reputation abroad was seen as equally newsworthy as the details themselves, and the appalling possibility that there will never be any accountability for having broken our own laws, international law and the fundamental laws of human decency.

The national image is essentially a metaphor, and that metaphor operates differently in the United States than outside. Today, when we speak of how we are perceived in the wider world, we don’t seem to mean a coherent set of ideals about what America represents, or even an image at all, but rather something like a stock ticker that registers upticks and downdrafts in the value of our international brand. What people envision when they think about America isn’t really knowable, and in any case, it’s far easier to simply poll for the favorable and unfavorables. In April, a Gallup poll gave us the latest news from the market: up in Asia, recovering (after the spying scandals) in Europe, flat in South America, falling off peak in Africa. Expect a bear market in coming months.

The idea of a national image as essentially like a marketplace is an appealing one, especially in a country so in love with the market, so convinced they always rise, always recover, always recalibrate. America is always right, and markets are always right, so any deviation from a high-value assessment of the American brand is necessarily temporary. This conviction helps us keep at bay the thought that in many parts of the world, the national image includes scenes of waterboarding, of Americans smashing heads, forcing men to stand on broken limbs, killing by hypothermia and “rectal feeding,” which is rape.

At home, our sense of ourself is more psychologically constructed, like an amalgam of individual pictures. We bring to it the deep love of the lives we lead, so it becomes a composite, made of innumerable images of family and friends, of grandfathers who fought in the war, Thanksgiving dinners and the nice people from church who tend to the soup kitchen. It is a mostly stable image that comprises sepia-toned data points and the sentimental soft colors of Polaroid snapshots of picnics, beaches and candles on the birthday cake. This is who we are.

But that is not at all who we are. As long as the crimes done in our name remain unpunished, they remain our crimes. The lives we love — as many apologists for torture now openly claim — are purchased at the cost of extreme violence and brutality perpetrated on other people, many of them innocent, none of them deserving of torture.

We have come to a critical moment in the debate about torture. It’s no longer possible, as it was when the images of Abu Ghraib emerged in 2004, to pretend that these events were rare, exceptional or the work of a few rogue agents. Nor will it be easy to assimilate them into that beloved average image of our national goodness. We are confronted with our own barbarity, as we have been confronted with the barbarity of the Islamic State. We torture, they behead. We beat men senseless, slam their heads into walls, strip them naked and leave them to die, while they march men into a field and put bullets in their heads. We might still cling to the idea that our crimes are not quite so bad as theirs. But to quibble over the degree of cruelty we tolerate is to acknowledge that cruelty is now standard practice. Unless we punish the guilty, we can have no more illusions that there is anything fundamental about who we are, how we are governed or what religion we practice, that distinguishes us from the worst in the world.

How does the national image survive this? The usual forces will struggle to resist the new information. Some will wear blinders; others will see things selectively. But what do the rest of us do, everyone one of us who woke up, yesterday, to a powerful feeling of helplessness and shame? If the report leads to no further investigation, no indictments or prosecution, does it then just lay there, on the side of history, as something that can’t be assimilated, while the national image slowly comes back to its usual, gauzy, soft focus on our own unquestionable goodness?

If no one in public life is capable of punishing the guilty, if nothing comes of this but more denials and obfuscations, if the CIA is indeed more powerful than the president, the Congress and the Constitution, what is left of our beloved and benign national image?

Moral revolution begins at home, with a revolution in one’s own values. If you are horrified by what has happened, then you must remake your own mental picture of America, in yourself, in your own mind, ruthlessly and mercilessly, until it conforms to the truth of who we are. The first duty is not to look away.

But the crimes are so horrible, the injustice so vast, that it must go further than that. We should take our cues from a species of painting made throughout the Renaissance, vanitas images, which were a type of still life laden with reminders of death: skulls and hourglasses, guttering candles and fruit going bad. Vanitas elements, which also occurred in other kinds of paintings, reminded the living of the inexorable fact of death and Christians of the inevitable day of judgment. They compelled the faithful to see the skull always under the skin.

We are all, to some degree, narcissists, in love with our lives. But we must re-envision those lives with the hard truth of vanitas paintings. We must have the discipline to see the extent of our national depravity. We must bring it home to the very texture of the lives we lead. When you look at your children, remember dead children, torn to shreds by our smart bombs. When you sit by a warm fire, remember the windowless dungeons we made to break our enemies — and not infrequently innocent men accidentally caught up in our wars. When you fall asleep in your bed, remember the sleep deprivation “for up to 180 hours, usually standing or in stress positions, at times with their hands shackled above their heads.”

If you can, if only for a day, or an hour, let every comforting thought be infected with the truth of what we have done.

And will that right the national image? Will it correct its contours, average in a little ugliness? Perhaps not. But we must atone. And we must learn that the national image is a hollow conceit. What we desperately need is a national conscience.

AMERICAN HOLOCAUST–We Inspired Hitler and S. Africa

The powerful and hard-hitting documentary, American Holocaust, is quite possibly the only film that reveals the link between the Nazi holocaust, which claimed at least 6 million Jews, and the American Holocaust which claimed, according to conservative estimates, 19 million Indigenous People.

It is seldom noted anywhere in fact, be it in textbooks or on the internet, that Hitler studied America’s “Indian policy”, and used it as a model for what he termed “the final solution.”

He wasn’t the only one either. It’s not explicitly mentioned in the film, but it’s well known that members of the National Party government in South Africa studied “the American approach” before they introduced the system of racial apartheid, which lasted from 1948 to 1994. Other fascist regimes, for instance, in South and Central America, studied the same policy.

Noted even less frequently, Canada’s “Aboriginal policy” was also closely examined for its psychological properties. America always took the more ‘wide-open’ approach, for example, by decimating the Buffalo to get rid of a primary food source, by introducing pox blankets, and by giving $1 rewards to settlers in return for scalps of Indigenous Men, women, and children, among many, many other horrendous acts. Canada, on the other hand, was more bureaucratic about it. They used what I like to call “the gentleman’s touch”, because instead of extinguishment, Canada sought to “remove the Indian from the Man” and the Women and the Child, through a long-term, and very specific program of internal breakdown and replacement – call it “assimilation“. America had it’s own assimilation program, but Canada was far more technical about it.

Perhaps these points would have been more closely examined in American Holocaust if the film had been completed. The film’s director, Joanelle Romero, says she’s been turned down from all sources of funding since she began putting it together in 1995.

Perhaps it’s just not “good business” to invest in something that tells so much truth? In any event, Romero produced a shortened, 29-minute version of the film in 2001, with the hope of encouraging new funders so she could complete American Holocaust. Eight years on, Romero is still looking for funds.

American Holocaust may never become the 90-minute documentary Romero hoped to create, to help expose the most substantial act of genocide that the world has ever seen… one that continues even as you read these words.