The Real News Network – The Downing Street memo Pt.1

8 August, 2009

McGovern: “It’s there in black and white – The intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy”

Ray McGovern talks with Paul Jay about the paper trail on the Iraq war, as revealed in the British “Downing Street memo”.

Part Two Here

Ray McGovern is a retired CIA officer. McGovern was employed under seven US presidents for over 27 years, presenting the morning intelligence briefings at the White House under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. McGovern was born and raised in the Bronx, graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University, received an M.A. in Russian Studies from Fordham, a certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University, and graduated from Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

Yana AMELINA: Georgia: Russia Should Finish the Job

7 August, 2009 — Strategic Culture Foundation

The anniversary of the Georgian aggression against South Ossetia is the time to assess how the situation in Eurasia has changed since Russia and Georgia passed the point of no return on August 8, 2008.

Clearly, the relations between the two countries will never revert to their previous state. Currently Russia and Georgia are locked in a conflict tantamount to an unannounced war, and even a regime change in Tbilisi would not do for a recovery. The current political landscape has been created by serious mistakes made both by Tbilisi and by Russia, but the share of responsibility of the former is much greater than that of the latter.

Contrary to the mounting empirical evidence, the Russian leadership used to believe that the politics of appeasement in dealing with the chronically aggressive Georgia would eventually help to stabilize the situation around the then-unrecognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Moscow carelessly betrayed Ajaria when Georgia regained control over it by force. Furthermore, Russia, largely under the influence of the untamed Georgian lobby in Moscow, did not react last September when the Tbilisi regime routed the opposition including its more or less pro-Russian fractions. As a result, the part of the political spectrum in Georgia oriented towards Moscow was totally erased and currently Russia is left without potential political partners in the country.

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Andrei ARESHEV: First Anniversary of 'Five Day War' in South Ossetia

7 August, 2009 — Strategic Culture Foundation

Tensions were running high in the regions bordering Georgia’s breakaway republic of South Ossetia ahead of the first anniversary of the last year’s ‘five day war’. Soon after the checkpoints near the capital of Tskhinval were caught under fire, Russia’s Defence Ministry promised to take adequate measures to protect the citizens of the de facto republic of South Ossetia. According to Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, ‘the Georgian authorities plotted various provocations ahead of the first anniversary of the war conflict in the Caucasus’. And those could be not just armed attacks on checkpoints but also ‘peaceful marches on the occupied territories’ (like it was in the beginning of the first war with South Ossetia under Gamsakhurdia).

The way Georgia reacted to the announcements made by the Russian Defence Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs proves that Tbilisi aims to continue its active cooperation with the US and the EU on the issues of its domestic policy, although this approach led to hundreds of victims and large-scale destructions in Tskhinval last year. That bloody conflict also had a negative impact on what is called ‘Georgia’s territorial integrity’ (within the borders of the former Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic). Members of the EU mission confirmed that the truth was on the Georgian side, adding that the tone of statements made by the Russian side reminded them of the atmosphere just a few days before the last year’s war. In such a way the mission, headed by Ambassador Hansjoerg Haber, demonstrated its solidarity with Georgia…

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Aleksander B. KRYLOV: Five-day war: the lessons that Russia again fails to learn

7 August, 2009 — Strategic Culture Foundation

Following the break-up of the USSR and the armed conflicts of the early 1990s the situation in the South Caucasus followed the path that proved unfavourable to Russia. The United States and its allies started gaining a footing in the region and pursued a policy of gradually ousting Russia from the South and, in the future, also from the North Caucasus. Moscow pursued a laissez-faire policy, one that bore the imprint of defeatism and unjustified illusions about prospects for future cooperation with the West. The scale of the Russian Federation’s political, military and economic presence in the South Caucasus was steadily shrinking as a result.

The situation began changing in the first decade of the 21st century. The recent years seemed to suggest a radical revaluation of Russia’s policy on the Caucasus, as well as a quality-new character of that policy. Evidence of that was the Five-day war in August 2008, followed by a refusal to recognize as legitimate Georgia’s post-Soviet borders (that is the former Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic), by the official recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on the 26th of August 2008, by concluding treaties of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance, on setting up two permanent Russian military bases in the two republics, on the joint protection of their borders etc.

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Sabah al-Baghdadi – Iraq: Disastrous and Shocking Official Statistics

30 July, 2009 — Translated and adapted from Arabic by Khalil Nakhleh

iraq-blood.jpgThe following official governmental statistics, up to December 2008, show the disastrous conditions prevalent in Iraq since the American invasion and occupation of that country.

1. One million widowed Iraqi women (according to Iraqi Ministry of Women Affairs).

2. Four million orphaned Iraqi children (according to estimates by the Iraqi Ministry of Planning).

3. Two and a half million (2,500,000) Iraqis killed (according to the Iraqi Ministry of Health and Forensic Medicine).

4. 800,000 Iraqis have disappeared in secret holding places connected with the different ruling parties (according to registered complaints at the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior).

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Soviet Hegemony of Form: Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More By ALEXEI YURCHAK

Until the mid-1980s, it never even occurred to anyone that in our country anything could change. Neither to children nor to adults. There was a complete impression that everything was forever (songwriter Andrei Makarevich).

late socialism

This paper was prompted by a personal question that has puzzled many former Soviet people, myself included, since the late 1980s: How to make sense of the sudden evaporation of the colossal and seemingly monolithic Soviet system and way of life, in which we grew up and lived? What was it about the Soviet system that made its “collapse” appear completely unimaginable and surprisingly fast not only to most Western Sovietologists but also to most Soviet people? The experience of the unexpectedness and abruptness of the collapse is reflected in diverse materials I have collected in Russia in the past ten years. This question is not about the “causes” for the collapse but about its “conditions of possibility”: what conditions made the collapse possible while keeping that possibility invisible? To begin addressing this question, we must analyze how the particular “culture” of Soviet socialism invisibly created the conditions for the collapse and at the same time rendered it unexpected. The period when these conditions emerged, the approximately thirty years preceding the beginning of perestroika (the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s), I shall call Soviet “Late Socialism.”

Download the PDF — Soviet Hegemony of Form: Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More

Yuriy RUBTSOV: The Moscow talks in 1939: a missed chance

6 May, 2009 — Strategic Culture Foundation

The European Parliament, where they are baking all those democratic values, called for proclaiming August 23, the anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, as a Europe-wide Remembrance Day for the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. In March, 2009, the Parliament of Estonia approved the idea. Some members of the European Parliament, who represented Hungary, Slovakia, Lithuania, Estonia and the Czech Republic suggested a ban on both Soviet and Nazi symbols.

The Balts have long disowned their armies’ participation in the WW II as part of the Waffen-SS units. For many years they have been demanding that Russia repents for the Soviet policy. They also insist that the USSR and Germany shared ‘equal responsibility’ for unleashing the WW II as they had signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and thus divided Europe.

Some people believe that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and not the infamous Munich agreement (September 1938) which started the countdown to September 1, 1939. But I have to remind them of something. Seventy years ago the Soviet Union launched the talks with England and France in Moscow but in August 1939 it was clear that the negotiations had failed and thus the Soviet Union faced a choice-whether to take risks and begin a war with the united Europe or sign a pact with Germany and thus leave them no chances to create a united front against the Soviet Union.

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Olga CHETVERIKOVA: Secret Run-Up to World War II: the Responsibility of the West

24 July, 2009 — Strategic Culture Foundation

Diverting intellectual energies to wasteful discussions in which Russians have to adopt a defensive stance and disprove groundless allegations is the technique traditionally employed by the West in its information war against Russia. The purpose of the resolution passed recently by the OCSE Parliamentary Assembly, which equated the roles of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany in unleashing World War II, was not limited to an attempt to sponge money off Russia to keep a few bankrupt economies afloat. The key objective is to demonize Russia as the historic successor to the USSR and to create a legal framework for delegitimizing its opposition to the overhaul of the global arrangement which resulted from World War II (not surprisingly, the Japanese parliament’s claim to the South Kuril Islands was synchronized with the above resolution). On the eve of the anniversary of the beginning of the war the West launched a broad campaign aimed at formulating “a common concept of the European history”, the agenda behind it being to legally hold the communist regime responsible for crimes against humanity on pars with the Nazi one.

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Pyotr ISKENDEROV: International brigandage under the guise of “humanitarian intervention”

4 August, 2009 — Strategic Culture Foundation

Last week the western centres of power under the United States used their docile UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for their first attempt to officially legalize the so-called “humanitarian interventions”. The wily formula masks armed interventions in the internal affairs of independent states on the pretext of countering mass-scale human rights violations and war crimes, a formula that was first tested against Yugoslavia in 1999. That year NATO aircraft bombed the sovereign country for 78 days, killing several thousand people, mostly civilians. Even peaceful Albanians whom NATO was –by word of mouth – lavishing solicitude on, failed to appreciate Brussels’s manifestation of humanism. Some 1 million Kosovans had to flee to the neighbouring Albania and Macedonia to escape from the NATO bombs and missiles. The only ones who rejoiced at the international brigandage were the Albanian fighters who launched a spate of anti-Serbian “ethnic cleansings” under NATO’s military cover in Kosovo.

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Afghanistan and NATO: a war that never can be won By Rafe MAIR

7 August, 2009 — Strategic Culture Foundation

When I suggested to my esteemed editor a column on Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan I was reminded of the axiom be careful what you ask for. I quickly learned that one could easily do a fair sized book on the subject!

As a boy brought up in a British style home I read English stuff like G.A. Henty s “With Cliva in India”. Afghanistan was a murky place full of fierce Pathans, now called Pushtins which the courageous British had to tame. (It s amazing how many peoples the British seemed to have the need to tame back in those days). It was reading “Caravans” by James A. Mitchener that piqued my curiosity as he described real people, different nations within the nation, with a distinct culture, or perhaps I should say cultures of their own. I also learned that for some strange reason they didn’t t appreciate the cultural offerings of the British, or anyone else for that matter, going back to and including Alexander the Great! You might conquer Afghanistan but it never stayed conquered.

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