Brit Military Crapping Their Pants Over Russians Near RAF Base Akrotiri

Russia warming causes worries

Cyprus mail

Russia warming causes worries
President Anastasiades is greeted by Vice-Governor of St Petersburg, Alexander Govorunov

By Jean Christou

PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades on Friday said Cyprus and Russia would continue to cooperate without paying any heed to international reaction to the agreements struck with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

One of the agreements, formalising the use of Cypriot ports by Russian navy ships for anti-terrorism and humanitarian reasons, has caused particular consternation abroad, especially in Britain, which maintains two military bases on the island.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) had strong words for Cyprus on Friday, according to a report from the Cyprus News Agency. It cited FCO sources in London as saying that although the agreement was a matter for Cyprus, when set in the context of the West’s stance on Russia over Ukraine, the move was a cause for concern.

The FCO source said London believed the European Union position on Russia’s actions in Ukraine were clear. “We acknowledge the unity which Cyprus has demonstrated with the EU on this,” said the official.

“In light of the current problems it is not the time to extend a hand of friendship to Russia until it shows willingness to fulfill the Minsk agreement,” he added, referring to the agreement signed in the Belarus capital aimed at a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.

The official reiterated that the British government insisted on Russia demonstrating its commitment to the deal “before we start normalising relations.”

An FCO spokesman said later on Friday that EU unity in the face of Russian aggression was important.

“We have been clear that as long as Russia continues to illegally destabilise a neighbour, it cannot be business as usual. That is why the UK has pushed for tough sanctions and they are working. Now is not the time to ease the pressure on Moscow. We and our EU partners have been clear that there needs to be actions not just words”.

But Anastasiades, who has felt let down by the West’s failure to come out strongly enough against Turkey’s violation of the island’s exclusive economic zone, on Thursday said “many of the friends” showing intense concern for other countries, had remained silent on Turkey’s violations, adopting a policy of double standards.

He said although he recognised the concerns of some countries over his Russia visit, Putin had not asked “for the slightest thing that would put us in a difficult position with our partners, or our partners across the Atlantic”.

On Friday, the last day of his visit, and following a meeting with the Vice-Governor of St Petersburg, Alexander Govorunov, Anastasiades repeated that the agreements signed with Russia on Wednesday were “not directed against anybody”.

“On the contrary, we seek through the strengthening of relations, through the deepening, and even the expansion of our historic and long-standing relations, to create conditions that will allow many areas to have peace and stability,” he said.

However, he added: “We [Russia and Cyprus] will cooperate without paying attention to who is reacting or who may have concerns”. Anastasiades is due back in Cyprus today Saturday.

International media also hyped up the concerns. A least two foreign publications used terms such as ‘Russian military foothold’ and ‘Russian beachhead’ to describe the deal, while some British MPs said they were disappointed.

Tory MP Richard Ottaway, chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee told the Daily Mail the agreement with Cyprus “is going to make renewing sanctions against Russia … much more unlikely.

“Putin is trying to drive a wedge between countries in the EU,” he said.

The paper, which described Russia as having ‘gained a military foothold in Europe’, also quoted a senior British Army officer. “This will be watched closely by London. We know Russia has long coveted a naval base in Cyprus.

This is another sign we are creeping back into a new Cold War,” he was quoted as saying.

Newsweek online said: “European governments are facing the prospect of a Russian beachhead in the Mediterranean” after the Cyprus-Russia deal.

It quoted General Chuck Wald, deputy former-US Air Force commander and deputy commander of United States European Command, as saying the new agreement “may seem innocuous… but for Putin it is another piece of the puzzle”.

“It is like what he does in Ukraine. He dictates his own foreign policy and he does these things in a non-splashy way. It is part of his wider scheme that seems innocuous and piecemeal, but he has a lot of patience and nobody is stopping him. “It is all part of the bigger picture of regaining the old spheres of influence,” Wald said.

He said that statements by both Cypriot and Russian leaders that the agreement was designed only for cooperation on anti-terrorism and on humanitarian activities did not stand up to scrutiny as Putin had used the same “explanation” for interfering in the Ukrainian conflict.

“Putin keeps pounding on the word ‘humanitarian’ and that ‘it is all right, because it is humanitarian’ until it becomes subliminal.” The deal with Cyprus, he said, “allows Putin to regain access to a Mediterranean port and it also gives him an intelligence presence too because they can observe what the Brits are doing,” he added, referring to the RAF base at Akrotiri.

Newsweek also quoted a former British army officer, major general Jonathan Shaw, as saying he was alarmed and found the agreement “deeply worrying”.

“Yes, this rang alarm bells with me too,” Shaw says. “You can see that the Russians are trying to divide and rule in the EU, to weaken the EU’s resolve over sanctions and opposition to Russia’s Ukraine adventures.”

“Intelligence might be our biggest vulnerability,” he added. “The mafia are all over the island anyway, so Russian ships and buildings on the island would make this worse.”

CNBC Standard Bank emerging markets analyst Timothy Ash warned that Cyprus’ “renewed cosy relationship with Russia” could be a “dangerous” and “irritating” card to play with Europe and the US.

“I think the message to Washington DC and Berlin from Putin is clear, we have allies in the heart of the EU, and that we can use these relationships at will to counter any actions you may like to take with respect to Ukraine,” Ash said. He said Russia was using its close ties with Cyprus as a bargaining chip with the international community. “The message will be ‘try more sanctions iterations at your peril, as you might see European unity torn apart as we will play the Hungarian, Cypriot and Greek cards at our pleasure’,” he said.

“For Cyprus, this might prove to be a dangerous card to play. This will irritate the US no end, and might see a less supportive US approach over the future of northern Cyprus,” Ash added.

Spain/Portugal Block Their Own Free-Thinkers, By Blocking Greece

In his speech at the central committee of his party on Saturday, the Greek PM, Alexis Tsipras, revealed the plan of the European conservatives together with Samaras administration, to impose tremendous barriers to the new government in order to force it to retreat from its red lines, or, to throw it from power as soon as possible.
The most aggressive conservative forces in Europe had set a trap to the new government, in cooperation with Samaras administration, to destabilize it, “throw the new government to the rocks”, as he said.
The goal was to “drown” financially the new government. This would lead to the short-life of the Leftist government, the Leftist “parenthesis” as they call it.
Tsipras said that his government went to negotiate with very narrow timelines, empty funds and banks close to the margin. The papers and the emails were rigged by the commitments of the previous government and its protectors. The knife of the financial suffocation was upon the new government and the country.
He also said that the opponents have failed to predict that SYRIZA would gain a percentage close to form an autonomous government, that the Leftist party would form a government in such a short time without their favorite political formations, and, that the new government would have an unprecedented support by the Greek people after the elections. These factors helped SYRIZA to avoid the trap that has been set.
Finally, Tsipras “explained that one of the government’s most strong cards was the concern over the general destabilisation that would bring a non-agreement […] A concern that led countries as France, US, China and other to hold a more positive and responsible stance in comparison with the European axis of austerity. This gave us the opportunity to move between differentiated interests and strategies to the Greek positions’ benefit. On the other hand we were found before an axis of powers with drivers the Spanish and the Portuguese who, for obvious political reasons, wanted to conduct the whole negotiation on the edge of the cliff in order to avoid the internal political risk.*” (http://www.newsbomb.gr/en/story/561816/tsipras-plan-to-overthrow-the-government-set-by-europe-s-conservative-powers-samaras)
* They’ve already mobilized their puppet Rajoy as they see that Podemos are coming in Spain. They will use anything to prevent a wide Leftist coalition in Europe. Their mainstream media do the propaganda every day, but they know how to use even more dirty tricks in case that things go “out of control”.

Al-Sisi, Erdogan and Salman Share A “Non-Meeting” In Riyadh

[The Egyptian President claims that “Synchronisation with Erdogan’s visit to Saudi is coincidence: Al-Sisi“]

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The Egyptian and Turkish presidents are scheduled to visit the Saudi capital this week in what appears to be an attempt to establish a new Sunni front in the ever-shifting political scene of the Middle East.

The newly selected king of Saudi Arabia, King Salman Abdul-Aziz, will play host to the two presidents in an effort to restore ties and stabilize regional Sunni factions.

With growing political influence backed by its economic might, Saudi Arabia has become a major player among Arab nations. Egypt, once in a leading position in the Arab world, has been challenged after waves of domestic turmoil.

Saudi Arabia entered a different period when King Salman took power. Shortly after becoming the 6th Saudi monarch, King Salman began reshuffling decision makers in Riyadh and was widely expected to change foreign policy routes.

Riyadh has been a vocal opponent of the Syrian government of Bashir al-Assad and has helped fund Sunni rebels against the country’s Shiite minority rulers.

The fall of Assad dynasty would inevitably weaken the increasing power of Shiite Iran, which has historically challenged Saudi influence in the Gulf region.

This week, Turkish President Receb Teyyip Erdogan and his Egyptian counterpart, Abdifatah Al-Sisi, will separately meet with the Saudi King in Riyadh.

The reconciliation of the two presidents seems to be a challenging task for the Saudi King as Erdogan publically slammed the Egyptian president for overthrowing the Muslim Brotherhood leader Muhammad Morsi last year, as Egypt’s elected president. Relations between Ankara and Cairo have sunk even lower since then.

But new challenges in the Middle East may overcome the differences between the two Sunni leaders.

King Salman has been taking a tougher position against Iran and Syria. The fall of the Assad regime and the disintegration of the Islamic State (ISIS) is something Erdogan and the new King seem to be hoping for.

The rise of ISIS and its barbaric campaign in Syria helped Assad cling to power longer than expected. But with the new King in place, Turkey and Qatar who have been aiding the Syrian rebels will now find a powerful partner in Riyadh.

The challenge for the King is to unite the Sunni leaders of Qatar, Egypt and Turkey in the same vanguard. Iran has been showing its political weight in major Arab capitals including Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad and Bahrain.

One decisive way for the Saudi King to restore the balance of power with Iran seems to be the inescapable removal of Assad.

The Arab world would need the support of Israel, an archenemy of the Syrian regime, to push America behind the efforts to move Assad from power.

Turkey could influence Israel but only after restoring ties as the two countries diplomatic relations have been at historic low since the Gaza flotilla raid in 2010.

Erdogan hopes to mend fences after Israeli elections later this month.

If King Salman can unite Erdogan and Sisi, and if relations between Turkey and Israel are normalized, a Sunni front that has economic means and political influence will be inevitable. If such camp emerges, America will have good reasons to support it.

For the time being, the arrival of the Turkish and Egyptian presidents in Riyadh later this week, regardless of the result, is hardly good news for the embattled Syrian president and Iran.

The Battle of Wills between the West and Russia: Which Side Will Win?

The Battle of Wills between the West and Russia:  Which Side Will Win?

center-for-syncretic-studies

Flag_of_Donetsk_Federative_Republic By: Joshua Tartakovsky

From the very beginning or emergence of the Ukraine crisis, as details of the coup emerged and Crimea was, in the eyes of the west – annexed by Russia – it became clear that we are heading to a prolonged battle.  This is one that is not just a physical war which entails much destruction but a war of wills in a conflict over the question of which side has the moral upper hand. From the very beginning, the West and Russia were speaking in opposite languages and had opposing mindsets. While the West, led by the US, accused Russia of aggression in Ukraine and pointed a finger at it for violating international law, Russia was speaking about fascists in Kiev and about an illegal coup. It became clear from the very beginning that the issue was not merely one of disagreement or division, but of a cultural war with the West attempting to prove its superiority, vis-à-vis Russia.

While US support for the coup in Kiev could be analyzed from the perspective of traditional imperialism with the US seeking to impose its will and ensure that its will overrides others, even that of regional powers, the way it has managed to convince many in the West of the righteousness of its cause and in its support of the Kiev post-coup government, was due to an appeal to the Western sense of justice and law with Russia being presented as an aggressor and violator. Furthermore, Russia was presented as practicing the “laws of the jungle” as Angela Merkel put it, and therefore as a barbarian.

 

If one wishes to understand the crisis and its nature, it is necessary to analyze the respective mentalities of each side (while of course realizing that among individuals there are greater differences).This kind of analysis is especially needed due to the fact that the current conflict is showing all the signs of developing into a major war, with an all-out nuclear war appearing as a realistic possibility which should not be ruled out.

The Western mentality based on capitalism, the Puritan work ethic (prevalent to the largest degree in the US), Martin Luther’s doctrine of the individual being saved by faith, Calvinism, liberalism as a  product of the Enlightenment and the rule of law, sees the creation of an autonomous, independent individual as its highest achievement.   The rule of law is held sacred as it is the mechanism by which the market operates, even when the law serves to strengthen the control of corporations over the lives of ordinary people. Within this framework, the creation of an independent, rational actor, who must live for his or her own sake and seek to express his worth via his external accomplishments, is the hallmark of the Western civilization. This individual, for obvious reasons, therefore faces immense pressures by his surrounding environment.  He has to constantly prove his worth to earn the approval of others by being successful, and yet does not have the support of a larger community to a degree more common in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Asia (with Singapore and Japan perhaps serving as an exception yet both have attempted to imitate the West).

The individual in the West is judged solely on his accomplishments and not on his internal value as a human being. For this reason, he is constantly insecure and seeks to prove himself. However, faced with obstacles for which he cannot easily ask for assistance as it would display a lack of ability, the surrounding pressures are immense and a relief must be provided.  The easiest way one can feel secure about himself, therefore, is by seeing how he is better than others, and ways in which he is superior. After all, if people are atoms, and judged by their accomplishments alone, while not enjoying support of a community or even that of a close family due to the demands of the Capitalist work ethic, then one sees others as a competitive threat on the way to the prize. Therefore, by pointing at how he is better than others, more moral than them, more professional and so on, he feels better about himself and is secure, if only momentarily.

What is true for the individual is true in a greater scale in the neoliberal Western order.

 

If one looks at Western history, especially of the UK, US, Germany, and so on, it is replete with aggressive expansion, imperialism, bloodshed, colonialism, exploitation and slavery.  Imperial wars  conducted by the US and UK have continued and intensified in recent decades. The Western mentality, however, still holds that the West is better than all other ‘oppressive’ countries, despite the fact that the latter did not engage in bombing campaigns of ‘backward’ countries. While overlooking a legacy of colonialism in the case of the UK and of supporting oppressive regimes in Latin America in the case of the US, the Anglo-Saxon Western world views itself as superior and as an upholder of liberal values. Therefore, it is all too convenient for it to point a finger at Russia for violating international law by its annexation of the Crimea. By blaming Russia, the West feels better about itself.

 

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McCain assures fascist Svoboda head Tyahnybok and PM Yatsenyuk of western support

 

 

In Russia, despite having a market economy and Oligarch-run capitalism (while in the West, the rule of corporations has been prevalent for several decades and their control of the media and government remains unexamined), society is still to a significant degree influenced by the tradition of socialism and Orthodox communitarian values. Although strong ties in the community have weakened in Russia in the past two decades, the individual is still not viewed wholly as an atom who lives for his own fulfillment, but as one who belongs to a community and a nation, and must live for a moral purpose. While this notion has weakened in recent years, it is still stronger than in the West. Even if many people do not follow this mode of living, the understanding that they are failing by doing so. Indeed, Russians tend to be very critical of themselves in how well they live up to certain standards and are not too comfortable with themselves in the way Westerners tend to be.

In Russia, despite the image of immense corruption that is common in how Westerners view it, friendship usually comes before career. People will go out of their way to help a friend in most cases, even at their expense of their professional development.  While in Western culture it is more common for people to mock, belittle or insult those whom they dislike or who serves as a competition, in the Russian mentality, basic decency is to be generally respected and people are not to be humiliated or mocked without mercy unless in exceptional cases as a response to an aggressive action.

 

What is true for the individual is also true for the society at large.

Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia did not engage in regime-changes or imperial wars abroad. While the US attacked Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya with Syria possibly serving as the next target, Russia has minded its own business. The war between Russia and Georgia in 2008, for example, was not initiated by Russia but followed theunprovoked shelling of Tskhinvali by President Mikheil Saakashvili.

The issue of Crimea’s annexation by Russia and how to interpret it highlights the different modes both cultures have in seeing reality and why they will inevitably come into conflict over this.

In the Russian view, US overt recognition and support for Ukrainian neo-Nazis (as exemplified by John McCain meeting with Svoboda’s leader Oleh Tyahnybok), its support of an unconstitutional coup in Kiev, and its defense of it later, is not only an insult but also a betrayal. The fact that the United States, formerly an ally of the USSR during the common battle against Nazi Germany, placed Nazis in power in Ukraine and did so illegally by a violent coup, was seen not only as an act of breaking all norms and laws and in posing a direct danger for Russia and ethnic Russians in Ukraine, but also as a betrayal of the worse kind in which the other side has shown clearly that it holds nothing sacred. Neither Ukrainian law, nor international law and certainly not the legacy of World War II were given any value. In other words, the West has engaged in the greatest insult possible, while claiming that the rule of law is on its side. In so doing, it has revealed that it cannot possibly be trusted. It betrayed not only the common sacrifice made by millions of soldiers serving for the anti-Fascist Allies during World War II, but also the promise made by Baker to Gorbachev against NATO expansion to the East.

Therefore, the West, in Russian eyes, revealed itself as entirely unreliable, a treacherous partner, from whom no basic decency is to be expected.  This notion is only reinforced by the fact that the West appears to be more preoccupied about the bloodless annexation of the Crimea than about the Kiev government’s bombardment of its own citizens.

 

The Russian response to the West overlooking the fact that a third party of external snipers were hired to fire at protesters on Maidan, that Right Sector fascists fired at the police, and that national socialists were placed in the immediate government, was to regain some dignity as quickly as possible and secure Crimea before Sevastopol fell into the hands of NATO. To this end, a rushed referendum was conducted, which did genuinely reflect, the will of the people there, as recent polls revealed, and Crimea joined Russia. Following the coup in Kiev, people in Lugansk and Donetsk took arms in East Ukraine and demanded a federation in which their rights will be respected. This was done after the establishment of an ultra-nationalist West-Ukrainian government. Yet while the West supported a violent coup in Kiev led by fascists who fired at the police, it denounced as “violent” and “illegal” the fact that people in the Donbass did not see themselves as represented by the post-coup government in Kiev, supported by the West.

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Due to Ukrainian shelling, some families live in basements (photo: Olga Solnishko)

 

 

In the eyes of the West, the annexation of Crimea is wholly unacceptable. This is due to the fact that the referendum was not carried out in due process, following a lengthy and organized legal proceeding. It was seen as a barbaric action, conducted by the barbaric Russia. As mentioned earlier, in the Capitalist West, that operates by laws serving the market, the law is held as the most sacred thing (at least when violated by other countries). In the eyes of Russia, however, and in Eastern thinking in general, a more holistic thinking is practiced in which the spirit of the law is more important than the letter of the law, and decisions need to be made based on flexible thinking and not due to rigid compliance.

For the West, the annexation of Crimea is the proof that Russia is insane, irrational and dangerous. It went on to depict Russia as irrational, dangerous and, of course, aggressive.

It was not only that the West portrayed Russia as barbaric, but also within Ukraine, divisions made themselves manifest. West Ukraine has depicted residents of East Ukraine as “barbarians”, “subhumans” and “easterners”, repeating the terms and ways of seeing that Nazi Germany viewed Russians in the East. Furthermore, while people in the East tend to live in more collective lifestyles and to support wider communities, people in the West, due to the influenced of the Austrian rule, have inherited individualism (as well as Ukrainian fascism as practiced by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army).

For the West, pointing a finger at Russia as a violator of international law, has served several important purposes. First, it placed itself in the camp of “enlightenment”, “modernity”, “liberalism” and “democracy”, while looking down at “barbaric” Russia which does not recognize present day borders and lives in a different era. Secondly, the West gains pleasure by accusing of “breaking the law” while ignoring its own violations of international law in its many wars of aggression and bloody history of colonialism. Thirdly, it gains self-esteem by seeing itself as superior to a dangerous and irrational Russia. Indeed, while in the West, democracy prevails and a rule of law is the norm, Russia is portrayed as a corrupt, dictatorial, oppressive regime. Russia is the evil Other whose demonic forces constantly manage to make their way into Ukraine and fight the European Ukraine, the sons of light.  Russia is the aggressor. It is an aggressor not due to an action it took but by its nature, therefore every move it makes must be viewed with great suspicion.

For the West, especially the US and UK, supporting the Ukrainian government that does not represent a significant part of the country, is absolutely necessary since Russia must be “taught a lesson,” “civilized” and ” disciplined” to behave by Western law. While colonialism in Africa and Latin America was justified as a method of bringing Christianity to the masses, even as these were massacred, in present times “democracy” and “human rights” are the values sought to be imposed on the “barbarians” by the West, whether they reside in the Middle East or in “backward” China and Russia who must be “enlightened”.

Needless to say, Russia does not view things this way. For Russia, before any accusations are made, decency in human behavior comes first. Once the US supported fascists in Ukraine, it cannot expect Russia not to act whimsically. Once basic trust has been violated and a betrayal has taken place, all bets are off. It is now a war.

In the ensuing war, therefore, waged in the media sphere, by economic means and on the ground militarily, two ways of looking at the world are battling each other.

 

For Russia, the West is now a hypocrite by nature. It provoked the current debacle by its Kiev coup, and therefore its eternal preaching will inevitably fall on deft ears. Russia does not care what the West thinks about it, or whether a law was bended here or there, because the US broke the most sacred law, which is not to place fascists in power, especially considering the great sacrifice made by Russians during World War II. The massive bombardment of ethnic Russians is seen as a genocidal act, in the spirit of World War II fascists who waged a war against ethnic Russians.

Which side will win?

For the West, the war against Russia is a war in which it sees itself as superior and seeks to discipline the barbarian. It now does not need to deal with its own shortcomings, failures and neuroses, but has the role of the enlightened educator who will teach Russia to obey the law.

For Russia, this is a war to restore its basic dignity, and a war of survival, as its very heart was attacked due to the close proximity to its borders, and the symbolic role Kievan Rus plays in Russian memory. It will therefore stop at nothing in what it sees as self-defense.

Both sides will inflict heavy damage on each other, and to an intensifying degree each time.

However, in the long run, Russia will be the one who wins.

That is not only because historically, in every war where Russia fought for its survival (from Genghis Khan, to Napoleon, to Hitler), Russia won, but also since the pristine need to survive is more deeply rooted than the need to belittle and mock others in order to feel superior about oneself.

The West can find another target to attack after Russia proves that it is an undefeatable enemy.  Or it can raise its hands in despair and mumble something about Russia being a barbarian who cannot be controlled and it therefore gives up (France and Germany have recently come to this conclusion, for the US and UK it may take longer).

But for Russia, basic decency is a value worth dying for, and some norms of human behavior must never be crossed in any circumstances. Therefore it will fight until the end and will do anything in its power to win.

For the West this is not a war on its survival. It is a war to teach Russia a lesson and to point to its own superiority.

For Russia, this is a war about protecting basic dignity and decency, a war on basic decency which must not be touched, since if one compromises on one’s honor, one has no right to continue to live.

Therefore Russia must win, and, if to judge by history, will win. But the price can be high.

 

 Joshua Tartakovsky is an independent researcher and a graduate of Brown University and LSE. He is currently in Athens

 Follow him on twitter – @J_Tartakovsky

 

Did the US Murder Boris Nemtsov?—The Imminent Threat

Headlines around the world have carried some variation of the story: the murder of Boris Nemtsov.  Each of these includes some retelling of the pertinent facts: what, who, where, how … but the real question is ‘why’.  The answer to this question, or rather, what the west insists is the answer, will tell us a lot about the US’s plans to escalate the tensions in Russia over Ukraine, and beyond.
It would be foolish to set aside any hypothesis about this being motivated by people close to him, in the realm of business, politics, or romance.   In anything related to business dealings, we might recall that any number of people probably want him dead after his criminality and corruption while serving as director of the now liquidated Neftyanoi Bank, and as chairman of its parent company Neftyanoi Concern.
Much controversy surrounded this back in 2006.  Of course in the realm of romantic problems, we have significantly those surrounding the woman he was last seen with.  This woman, Anna Duritskaya, was also present during the shooting. Rumors are floating around that this could do with her recent abortion and surrounding points of melodrama.
An obvious link in general with this case is to the ongoing turmoil in Ukraine, but in one variation, this killing may have been motivated by an internal dispute between those pro-US factions there: Nemtsov was connected with the US backed Orange Revolution and Victor Yuschenko, was appointed as an economic advisor then, but left under suspicious circumstances and more enemies than friends.
Among any of these could very well be the motive of the killer or those behind him, but the timing of this shooting and other pertinent facts should lead us to consider that this was politically motivated.
These plots can actually be somewhat complex, it is often the case that two birds are killed with one stone.  A personal rival can be given a green light settle a score, and also accomplish something of larger geostrategic significance such as this.
But to the point, here we are looking at whether this was carried out on the orders of one of the major involved players in the present world turmoil.  Concretely, the question is whether this was carried about the Russians and its friends, or by the US and its friends.
Whether the actual shooting was done by contract or not, is also not very important except when looking at forensics of the crime scene, and the immediate circumstances themselves.  These might tell us certain things, except that in cases such as this we must always be mindful that looking like an unprofessional job – such as in this case – would be something a professional would do to throw the scent.
For example, we are likely to hear from friends of Russia that this killing does not have the telltale signs of a professional type of hit, the sort a government would carry out.  They will point out, of course, that Boris Nemtsov would have died in a car crash, or from a heart attack.  It is considered far too sloppy for anyone in the Kremlin to think of shooting him in public, with witnesses.
This is not too compelling, because such clean methods would actually seem to implicate the Russian state, whereas the rather sloppy way Nemtsov was actually killed even compels us to rule this out.  If a hit were to be carried out of this sort, then it would make perfect sense of the state to use an amateur method.  Because anything is possible, it is not entirely useful to follow this line of reasoning with one exception: if the US was behind this, that it was a murder would have to be obvious, with no doubts.
This is because if the Russians wanted him dead, the value of killing him would be in his absence.  If the Americans killed him, the value is in the spectacle of the killing itself.  This killing is loaded with spectacle.
While one can argue that Russia could have employed someone to use sloppy methods in order to throw the scent, it is more likely that given the method, that the US is behind it.  This could have been arranged through Ukrainian assets, and would not involve actual US agents on the ground in Moscow.
This was very obviously a murder which was wanted to be known as a murder.  This does not fit into either a Russian motive or modus operandi.
What complicates things, however, is when we ask the real questions.
The first question to ask is ‘cui bono’, in this case we know that Russia, in particular Putin, has nothing to gain.  The killing of Nemtsov under any of the circumstances does not make any sense from the view of Russian interest.   Politically he did not pose a real threat, alive.  With less than 5%, his ticket and the Republican Party failed to garner enough support to be sat in the Duma.  With approval ratings above 85%, Putin is not in the position to need to resort to these kinds of tactics.
Russia is also at a different juncture politically, where such methods are not likely to be necessary even if there was an opposition figure to be concerned about.  Every other form of virtual-media assassination is possible, that actual ones are not necessary.  There are also other methods to delegitimize  these characters which invariably revolve around their business dealings, underage girls, and so forth.
These other methods are much cleaner, as assassinations make a government look more desperate, create an unnecessary martyr out of a marginal character, and give fuel to other opposition at home and abroad.
While he held an important position in the 1990’s under Yeltsin as First Deputy Prime Minister for about a year until 1998, his political career since the early 00’s has been of little significance and has not inspired mass support.
It is the US that has the most to gain from this.  Western press has painted him for years as the likely person to replace Putin in a serious change of political stability in Russia.  This follows a western narrative, where western liberal values are superimposed as natural and universal values around the world.
 While Nemtsov was one of the US’s favorites, he is not a favorite with the Russian people.  The actual ‘runner up’ party in Russia, which is projected to surpass Putin’s ruling party in the event of a serious change, is the Communist Party of Zyuganov.  But this narrative cuts against western interests, and is at odds with the west’s narratives about the Cold War and its results.
That western press and the leadership of the US and Ukraine are exploiting this is another clue that they had a hand in it.
We can see already statements made by Obama and Poroshenko,  Canadian Foreign Minister and also deputy general secretary of NATO happened very quickly, uniformly, and seem to be following a procedure.
These statements from NATO and foreign governments are outrageous, but not surprising, because they imply that the Russian government is behind them.  Why would the murder be ‘condemned’?  Besides that all murders are condemned, generally, by the societies in which they occur (hence there are laws against them), why would this particular murder be ‘condemned’ politically without knowing if there was a political motive at all?
As we know, on March 1st, tomorrow, there will be another attempt by the pro-US forces and their liberal allies to launch a Russian “Spring”, also called the ‘Anti-Crisis March’.  With this fresh murder just 36 hours before the March, we might expect to see the martyrdom of Nemtsov highlighted.
Just ten days ago, Alexei Navalny another western backed figure, was arrested for trying to organize for the march, which backers hope will attract as many as 100,000 against Putin.
When Putin was last elected, the same group organized a similar march.  The loyal opposition Communists joined this march, and drowned the liberal banners with communist ones.
This was an excellent test run and message sent to US handlers, that Russia is ready with its own loyal opposition to frustrate and redirect the aims of any 5th column efforts on the part of the US.
Likewise, on the propaganda front, the patriotic scene has co-opted the term ‘Russian Spring’ to mean the opposite of what the US has branded it in places like Egypt, Libya, and Syria.  Now it means a movement to push back the US’s hegemonic schemes, including its use of the Color/Spring tactic.
The biggest concern now for this Sunday’s march is not the turnout, or how it will be spun in the west.  The problem on the propaganda side of this action so far is that it is quite useless and incomplete.
Russia’s present political stability and the popularity of Putin is not in the hands of western media.  This represents a monumental change from the last days of old media during the collapse of the USSR, when BBC and CNN presented the spectacle of objective and neutral reporting.
For Russian audiences, and Russian media, this investigation will follow the form of a standard murder investigation.  Given the status of the victim and the political implications, it will be given significant coverage.  Eventually investigators will make an arrest, and some story will be told.  The story may or may not be true, but by and large it will be accepted.
Russians are not losing sleep over this murder, and the outcome of the investigation is not related in any way to their general support for the present government and its policies.  Russians have other things to do, places to go, work to get done, and lives to live.  Most didn’t like him, and only see it as a tragedy, perhaps even a US plot. Those who like him will blame the state, as they hold the state and Putin responsible for much of everything else.  All of this is true also of Sunday’s planned march.
For western audiences, Russia is already now a totalitarian regime in which opposition is silenced, and its leaders imprisoned and killed in cold blood.  This is already the narrative which requires no further reiteration.  Putin is Hitler.  Appeasement will not work. This is already the line.
All of this means that we haven’t heard the end of this yet.  It is difficult to see how increased sanctions can be pulled out of this murder, but if there are, that should be no surprise.  Past sanctions were based on less. Still, Europe has grown wary of sanctions and any further sanctions are likely to be symbolic, as were the last round.
The biggest concern now is if there are more killings planned for Sunday.  The US seems to be going ahead with all of its plans even if the necessary successes at each step before are not met.  We have seen this in Syria and Ukraine.
In such an event, it is obvious how the US will spin this, and the call will begin openly for Putin to step down.  While this last part may be an eventuality at any rate, the events tomorrow will tell us whether we should expect a serious escalation in this process.
***
Joaquin Flores is an American expat living in Belgrade. He is a full-time analyst at the Center for Syncretic Studies, a public geostrategic think-tank. His expertise encompasses Eastern Europe and Eurasia

ATF .223 M855 “Green Tip” Ammunition Proposal

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ATF FRAMEWORK FOR DETERMINING WHETHER CERTAIN PROJECTILES ARE “PRIMARILY INTENDED FOR SPORTING PURPOSES”

(ATF DOWNLOAD LINK)

FATF ISIL Report, On the Islamic State House of Cards

[The following report by “international-governmental body” highlights the financial fragility of the so-called ISIL operation.  Concentrate on cutting the parasite loose from the oil-production facilities in Iraq and Syria and they will face a rebellion within their own organization, by pissed-off, unpaid, drug-less zealous addicts with big guns.  There is no reason in this world for delaying the making-up with Bashar Assad over our monumentally bad ideas, in order to gain coordination in the fight to cut-out the Islamist cancer from Syria, where it was transplanted, NOT homegrown.]

Financing-of-the-terrorist-organisation-ISIL

FATF

[DOWNLOAD LINK from Financial Action Task Force (FATF)]