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by 1389 on April 24, 2014

in 1389 (blog admin), 1389 Blog Mailbox

Relationships, by Max Lucado

 

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Daily Mail (UK) has the story:

Benghazi attack could have been prevented if US hadn’t ‘switched sides in the War on Terror’ and allowed $500 MILLION of weapons to reach al-Qaeda militants, reveals damning report

  • Citizens Committee on Benghazi claims the US government allowed arms to flow to al-Qaeda-linked militants who opposed Muammar Gaddafi
  • Their rise to power, the group says, led to the Benghazi attack in 2012
  • The group claims the strongman Gaddafi offered to abdicate his presidency, but the US refused to broker his peaceful exit
  • The commission, part of the center-right Accuracy In Media group, concluded that the Benghazi attack was a failed kidnapping plot
  • US Ambassador Chris Stevens was to be captured and traded for ‘blind sheikh’ Omar Abdel-Rahman, who hatched the 1993 WTC bombing plot

By DAVID MARTOSKO, U.S. POLITICAL EDITOR

The Citizens Commission on Benghazi, a self-selected group of former top military officers, CIA insiders and think-tankers, declared Tuesday in Washington that a seven-month review of the deadly 2012 terrorist attack has determined that it could have been prevented – if the U.S. hadn’t been helping to arm al-Qaeda militias throughout Libya a year earlier.

‘The United States switched sides in the war on terror with what we did in Libya, knowingly facilitating the provision of weapons to known al-Qaeda militias and figures,’ Clare Lopez, a member of the commission and a former CIA officer, told MailOnline.

She blamed the Obama administration for failing to stop half of a $1 billion United Arab Emirates arms shipment from reaching al-Qaeda-linked militants.

‘Remember, these weapons that came into Benghazi were permitted to enter by our armed forces who were blockading the approaches from air and sea,’ Lopez claimed. ‘They were permitted to come in. … [They] knew these weapons were coming in, and that was allowed..

‘The intelligence community was part of that, the Department of State was part of that, and certainly that means that the top leadership of the United States, our national security leadership, and potentially Congress – if they were briefed on this – also knew about this.’

The weapons were intended for Gaddafi but allowed by the U.S. to flow to his Islamist opposition.

‘The White House and senior Congressional members,’ the group wrote in an interim report released Tuesday, ‘deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler [Muammar Gaddafi] who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress al-Qaeda.’

‘Some look at it as treason,’ said Wayne Simmons, a former CIA officer who participated in the commission’s research.

Retired Rear Admiral Chuck Kubic, another commission member, told reporters Tuesday that those weapons are now ‘all in Syria.’

‘Gaddafi wasn’t a good guy, but he was being marginalized,’ Kubic recalled. ‘Gaddafi actually offered to abdicate’ shortly after the beginning of a 2011 rebellion.

‘But the U.S. ignored his calls for a truce,’ the commission wrote, ultimately backing the horse that would later help kill a U.S. ambassador.

Kubic said that the effort at truce talks fell apart when the White House declined to let the Pentagon pursue it seriously.

‘We had a leader who had won the Nobel Peace Prize,’ Kubic said, ‘but who was unwilling to give peace a chance for 72 hours.’

In March 2011, Kubic said, U.S. Army Africa Commander General Carter told NBC News that the U.S. military was not actively targeting Muammar Gaddafi. That, Kubic revealed, was a signal to the Libyan dictator that there was a chance for a deal.

Gaddafi responded by ‘verifiably … pull[ing] his forces back from key rebel-held cities such as Benghazi and Misrata.’

Gaddafi wanted only two conditions to step down: permission to keeo fighting al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and the lifting of sactions against him, his family, and those loyal to him.

The Obama administration’s unwillingness to help broker a peaceful exit for the Libyan strongman, ‘led to extensive loss of life (including four Americans)’ when al-Qaeda-linked militants attacked U.S. diplomatic facilities in the city of Benghazi,’ the commission told reporters.

The White House and the National Security Staff did not immediately respond to questions about the group’s findings.

‘We don’t claim to have all the answers here,’ said Roger Aronoff, whose center-right group Accuracy in Media sponsored the group and its work.

‘We hope you will, please, pursue this,’ he told reporters. ‘Check it out. Challenge us.’

Much more here.

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This is tantamount to rigging the election process to keep the incumbent parties in power.

And You Call These “Democratic Elections”?

Happy Saint George’s Day!

On 18 April this self-explanatory open letter was sent to the Electoral Commission. How can democratic elections be held if parties are not even allowed to say in any explicit form in official documents what they stand for?

Dear Electoral Commissioners:

I represent the political party Liberty GB, which is standing candidates in the South East of England in the forthcoming European Parliament election.

As part of our preparation for the election, I recently attempted to register a number of new party descriptions with the Electoral Commission. It was our intention to choose the best of these for printing on the ballot papers.

In total, thirteen descriptions were submitted, of which all but three were rejected. Among the rejected descriptions were the following:

End multiculturalism, support Western civilisation.
No to Islamisation. Yes to Britain!
Immigration, no. Islamisation, no. Britain, yes!
Stop Britain becoming Islamic.
No to hate preachers, jihad, terrorism.
Safeguarding Britain’s future, no to sharia.

The rejection letter (attached) received yesterday from the Electoral Commission sought to justify their decision on the basis that the descriptions are “likely to be … ‘offensive’”. No definition of “offensive” was offered, neither did the Commission give any indication as to who might in future be offended by these descriptions, nor indeed the basis for the prediction.

We find it difficult to imagine how any decent, law-abiding voter could be offended by a statement opposing “hate preachers, jihad, terrorism”. Regarding opposition to sharia and to the Islamisation of Britain, these represent large, growing and evidence-based strands of public opinion – legitimate opinion that cannot be properly represented politically if its designating terms are censored out of electoral communications. Regarding multiculturalism, you may be aware that several European heads of state, including our very own Prime Minister, have publicly criticised it far more strongly than our first description above does. Is the Electoral Commission saying that it is legitimate for established politicians to express opposition to multiculturalism, but not those seeking elected office?

The Commission argues that within the rejected descriptions is an “implication that some [unspecified] groups in society were to be excluded, rejected, disparaged or disliked”. In response, we would point out that even within the groups the Commission studiously avoids naming (we make an educated guess as to who they might be), there are significant strands of opposition to jihad, sharia, hate preachers, and indeed the Islamisation of Britain.

You surely do not need us to tell you that free elections depend upon the capacity of political parties and candidates to communicate clearly to the electorate what they stand for so that voters can make an informed choice at the ballot box.

Should not the broad strands of public opinion that Liberty GB represents be allowed expression in a free election? And is it not more than a little hypocritical of the Electoral Commission to be citing “freedom of expression” and “freedom of thought [and] belief” in the context of this censorial ruling?

The writer George Orwell said: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” By prohibiting Liberty GB from expressing widely-held positions (that some unspecified group might or might not want to hear), the Electoral Commission strikes another small blow against freedom of speech in Britain – the central freedom that earlier generations of British people risked or gave their lives defending.

Consider this a formal complaint.

Yours sincerely

Dr George Whale

Nominating Officer, Liberty Great Britain

Website: www.libertygb.org.uk
Email: election@libertygb.org.uk
Mobile: 0776 291 6034
Tel: 020 7286 7125

More information:

  • Liberty GB was founded in March 2013 by Paul Weston and George Whale.
  • Liberty GB’s main policies concern immigration, economy, multiculturalism, freedom and democracy.
  • Liberty GB will be contesting the 2014 Euro elections in the South-East UK constituency.
  • Liberty GB’s candidates in the 2014 Euro elections will be its Chairman Paul Weston, Enza Ferreri, Jack Buckby.

Liberty GB: EURO ELECTION CANDIDATES 2014: SOUTH EAST

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The Glazov Gang-Gavin Boby’s Fight Against Muslim Rape Gangs

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Published on Apr 11, 2014 by The Glazov Gang
The Glazov Gang-Gavin Boby’s Fight Against Muslim Rape Gangs
Gavin Boby (Law and Freedom Foundation)

The Glazov Gang-’Easy Meat’ — Inside the World of Muslim Rape Gangs

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Published on Apr 19, 2014 by The Glazov Gang
The Glazov Gang-’Easy Meat’ — Inside the World of Muslim Rape Gangs, Part II.
Gavin Boby (Law and Freedom Foundation)

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On YouTube:

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Published on Apr 22, 2014 by SciShow
SciShow explains a) why Swiss cheese has holes, b) what Swiss cheese is called in Switzerland and c) what vested interest the U.S. government has in said cheese holes. Seriously, people.
Help support us by subscribing to our page on Subbable: https://subbable.com/scishow
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Sources:
http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELDEV3004468
http://culturecheesemag.com/category/cheese-bites
http://www.livescience.com/33690-swiss-cheese-holes.html
http://mentalfloss.com/article/19045/why-does-swiss-cheese-have-holes
http://www.wisegeek.com/why-does-swiss-cheese-have-holes.htm

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If the Louvre is unwilling to display all of its Orthodox Christian treasures to the public, then it should return each item to its country of origin. I wonder how many of them were looted from churches to begin with.

“The scholar explained that the Louvre has decided to use the vacant exhibition halls previously dedicated to Islamic art, as welcome areas for school group visits to the museum.”

What a low-priority use of valuable museum space!

GalliaWatch has the story:

[h/t: Blazing Cat Fur]

Having spent a fortune building a prestigious and highly-acclaimed Islamic wing to the Louvre museum, the French ministry of Culture has now cancelled plans to build a much-needed wing dedicated to Eastern Christianity, in particular the Byzantine Empire.

This story has not received the full media coverage it deserves. I found this report by Giorgio Bernardelli in English at Vatican Insider:

The Louvre will be dedicating a new section to the Artistic heritage of Eastern Christians, the Byzantine Empire and the slaves,” Nicholas Sarkozy announced back in January 2010. Just a few months later, the former president of the prestigious Parisian museum – Henri Loyerette – set out a plan and time frame for the initiative: “It will occupy a 1000 m² space of exhibition rooms previously allocated to the Islamic art section (which in 2012 was moved to another part of the Louvre, Ed.) and visitors will have access to it as of 2014,” he explained.

Now 2014 is here and not only has the project not gone ahead, it was completely scrapped by the museum’s new management, with the approval of François Hollande’s culture ministry. Professor Marie-Hélène Rutschowscaya – former head of the Louvre’s Coptic section and one of the world’s top scholars specialising in the treasures of Eastern Christianity – denounced the move in an open letter to French Catholic newspaper La Croix. The scholar explained that the Louvre has decided to use the vacant exhibition halls previously dedicated to Islamic art, as welcome areas for school group visits to the museum. This meant shelving the idea of putting on show the precious treasures of Eastern Christianity which the museum possesses. These are currently spread across different sections and some are even sitting in boxes in the museum’s warehouses.

Professor Rutschowscaya is frank in saying that the Louvre’s decision constitutes a secularist cultural prejudice by the Hollande government. Shouldn’t we condemn the fact that France has decided to adopt such a cold cultural policy towards countries whose culture has been deeply marked by Byzantine and post-Byzantine era Christianity leaving our Medieval West with such a rich legacy? The dramatic events we are currently seeing in the Middle East and Eastern Europe should instead spur us to do more to promote lasting cultural ties,” the professor wrote in her letter.

In an interview with La Croix, the current president of the Louvre, Jean-Luc Martinez, justified the decision by claiming that the creation of a new section on Eastern Christianity would have involved a lengthy rethinking of the use of the current spaces (though this did not prevent the Louvre from launching the Islamic art section back in 2003). Martinez said he was generally in favour of the idea of grouping Byzantine art into one single section of the museum but he added that the priority today is to sort out the public’s access to the spaces in the pyramid. Work on these will begin in July and last two years, so the Byzantine art will have to wait, at least until 2017.

Besides the cultural war, this whole affair seems set to dig the knife deeper into the wounded relations between France and Eastern Christians. Since 1500, the Sultans of the East gave entrusted the kings of Paris with the task of protecting the rights of Christian communities in The Middle East. This is partly why François Hollande’s support to the Syrian opposition forces fighting the Bashar al Assad regime, was seen by most Eastern Christians as a nod to Islamist militias. When Hervé Magro took up his new post as French consul general in Jerusalem he hastened to underline how important the role of protector of Middle Eastern Christians really was to France and that the memory of this lives on. But for now, the museum that represents the highest temple of French culture seems to have put this memory on hold. Despite the ordeal Eastern Christians are currently experiencing first hand.

In a French article at La Croix, Isabelle de Gaulmynstates:

“While in Turkey they are razing Armenian and Syriac cemeteries, and in Syria the entire Christian heritage is being bombed, destroyed or pillaged amidst general indifference, the inglorious burial of this project that aimed to restore its true value to the civilization of Eastern Christianity leaves a bitter taste.”

She goes on to regret the cancellation of the wing on grounds that it would have provided an opportunity for discussions on religion in a museum and not in a religious context. She praises the Islamic wing:

“It allows the young people of the immigrant population to reappropriate a part of their history and others to admire its richness.”

Note: In other words, the Islamic wing of the Louvre is teaching us how great Islam is.

Another article at La Croix by Sabine Gignoux states that some of the Louvre’s curators feared a grouping of works according to religious criteria. Then-president of the Louvre Henri Loyrette attempted to allay their fears:

“It is a civilizational approach founded on an empire and “Christian kingdoms that were political entities, from Holy Russia to Cyprus, as well as Armenia.” 

The scientific plans for this now-scrapped wing stated:

“The Byzantine collections of the Louvre constitute one of the premier collections on an international scale. They rival in importance those of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, the Bode Museum in Berlin and even the Byzantine museums of Athens and Thessalonika, and they surpass those of the British Museum or the Metropolitan Museum of New York…” 

Continue reading…

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Mr. Boby offers successful techniques to freeze the construction of new mosques and to shut down undercover mosques. In addition, he knows how to get local authorities on board with stopping Muslim rape gangs that prey upon underage non-Muslim girls.

Gavin Boby at the 1st Intl Symposium on Liberty and Islam in Australia

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Published on Apr 18, 2014 by Q Society of Australia Inc
Gavin Boby – UK planning attorney and director of The British Law and Freedom Centre, an organisation assisting community groups (pro bono) faced with inappropriate planning applications for mosques in their neighbourhood. Gavin has spoken in the EU, parliament, Canada and Australia in 2012. His written monograph is titled “Life without Politicians.”

This presentation was part of the Sunday main event of the 1st International Symposium on Liberty and Islam in Australia. The symposium was organised by Q Society of Australia and held in Melbourne on the weekend 7 – 10 March 2014.

How to stop mosques: Q Society of Australia Inc presents Gavin Boby

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Published on Aug 18, 2013 by Q Society of Australia Inc
Understand why a mosque is not just an Islamic church, synagogue or temple. Hear why an inappropriate mosque should be stopped; how you can do it; and what will most likely happen to your neighborhood if you don’t stop it. Gavin shares his experience as a legal professional and town planner, who has been assisting UK community groups pro bono for years. More on this website: http://lawandfreedomfoundation.org/2012/12/26/australia-talk-q-society-melbourne/

This is recording is from a presentation by Q Society of Australia Inc in Melbourne.

on 12 September 2012. Q Society invited Gavin Boby of the UK Law and Freedom Foundation to tour Australia. Gavin gave similar presentations at Q Society meetings in Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane.

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ANZAC Day in Australia

On the 25th of April Australians commemorate ANZAC Day.

I suppose it is a bit like Veteran’s Day in the USA.

It was the Anzacs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) who landed at Gallipoli during WWI to fend off the Ottoman Empire, as it was not called Turkey back then.

These men where all volunteers for the Australian Imperial Force, AIF, as it was then called. There were no conscripts.

There were still strong ties to Great Britain in 1914, the ‘Mother Country’ as it was perceived back then by many Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, Indians, Ceylonese and South Africans and other members of the British Empire, now known as the British Commonwealth.Their was no racial or colour divide either.Even local Australian Germans joined up to fight for Australia!

Every year there are dawn services all over Australia, and also in Gallipoli, and every town, as far as I know, has a memorial statue or monument commemorating the fallen. There are marches to the memorials all over the country and every Australian veteran from every war Australia has been involved in, including WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan is able to participate in the services and marches, as indeed are the general public, and of course the descendants of the military.

The words, “Lest We Forget” are emblazoned on the monuments.

Certain songs are sung from “O God, Our Help In Ages Past”, Lest We Forget to ”Waltzing Matildas”. And the “Last Post” is played.

Needless to say there are none of the WW1 war veterans left. Alec Campbell was the last to leave us.

However, many towns and suburbs have a Returned Services League (RSL) club. These are also open to the public as well as to all returned military.

They are places were memories can be exchanged, as well as providing meals and drinks and entertainment. I have often been to the one closet to our home which has an excellent collection of military memorabilia. This helps enforce just what some of the horrors have been endured by our veterans. At 6 PM the “Last Post” is played each day.

The Gallipoli landing was a mistake on the part of the British command. They were supposed to have landed elsewhere. The casualties were enormous and even when the ANZACs went on to other battle fields like Ypres and the Somme this continued until finally the Australian forces were permitted their own commander – John Monash.

Andrew Bolt offers a brief retrospective: The new tribalists attack even our ANZAC tradition

Monash left a lasting legacy. He was an engineer by profession. We have a university named after him, a statue in a city park and much more. See: Lessons in Leadership: The Life of Sir John Monash GCMG, KCB, VD.

Many books have been written about the ANZAC campaign, including “A Fortunate Life” by A.B. Facey. Many movies and miniseries have been filmed, including the A. B. Facey book, Gallipoli with Mel Gibson, and Anzacs with Paul Hogan, just to mention a few.

This is a very little-known song. I hadn’t heard of it until a few months ago:

Jon English – A Fortunate Life

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Published on Feb 11, 2014 by 1621Rosie
From the soundtrack of the mini-series “A Fortunate Life” based upon the autobiography of World War 1 veteran, A. B. Facey.

Music by Mario Millo. Vocals by Jon English.

Books have been written about Sir John Monash too, for example Monash: The Outsider Who Won A War, by Roland Perry.

And Keith Murdoch, father of Rupert, also played a somewhat significant role as a war journalist.

Further reading from Daniel Hannan, MEP. Over 400,000 Allied and German soldiers lost their lives at one battle alone: See: We talk of the ‘sacrifice’ of the First World War, but we have lost our sense of what that word means.

The Australian offers this story, unfortunately behind a paywall: British poll finds knowledge of World War I fading:

…FEWER than half the Britons questioned in a poll had any idea that US and Canadian troops fought in the First World War. Barely more than a third knew that Australia and New Zealand were involved.
[...]
Only 38 per cent of British respondents knew that North America was involved in the war, despite the fact that Canada – as a dominion – declared war on Germany in August 1914, and the US joined the war in April 1917. About 67,000 Canadian troops and 114,000 from the US were killed.

Even though the involvement of Australian and New Zealand troops in the Gallipoli campaign is ingrained on their national consciousness, only 35 per cent of British people were aware that they took part. More than 61,000 Australians were killed in the war and 18,000 New Zealanders.(156,000 Australians were wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner.)…

It is a disgrace that Anzac Day is now being trivialised! But then we know the left likes to re-write history and geography. Look what happened to the US veterans recently. It’s no accident.

These ceremonies don’t glorify war: they shows us how ghastly war can be, and it gives us a chance to honour our brave and fallen young men.

We must educate our children and not let this revisionism happen!

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Gatestone has the story:

by Soeren Kern
April 14, 2014 at 5:00 am

The Czech government has approved a new project aimed at promoting Islam in public elementary and secondary schools across the country.

The project—Muslims in the Eyes of Czech Schoolchildren—is being spearheaded by a Muslim advocacy group and is being financed by American taxpayers through a grant from the US Embassy in Prague. (The US State Department is also promoting Islam in other European countries.)

The group says the Czech Ministry of Education has authorized it to organize lectures and seminars aimed at “teaching Czech schoolchildren about Islamic beliefs and practices” and at “fighting stereotypes and prejudices about Muslims.”

But critics—there are many—say the project’s underlying objective is to convert non-Muslim children to Islam by bringing proselytizing messages into public schools under the guise of promoting multiculturalism and fighting “Islamophobia.”

The group’s website says the first phase of the project involves “analyzing the accuracy of the information about Islam in Czech textbooks on history, geography and social sciences, and mapping the level of teaching about Islam in Czech grammar schools and other secondary schools.”

The second phase of the project involves the implementation of a three-level program that will “acquaint both pupils and teachers with Islam and Muslims” and help them to develop better “critical reception skills” when analyzing supposedly Islamophobic information.

According to the group’s website:

“The first level acquaints the reader with the history of Islam, the basic religious concepts of tradition and contemporary issues such as family [Sharia] law, the veiling of women and Islamophobia.”

“The second level offers a deeper look at the issues and puts more emphasis on the involvement of the pupils.… Pupils will be divided into three groups within which they will study any of the following topics: the veiling of women, media coverage of Islam and Muslims in the Czech Republic. Each group will be led by an experienced tutor, who will acquaint students with the problems by means of prepared materials and subsequent debate.”

“The third level provides schools with artistically oriented projects or discussions with Muslims and professionals dealing with Islam. Artistic activities would involve making a film or taking photographs focused on a day in the life of a Muslim or art workshops and competitions focused on the possibility of integrating Muslims into Czech society.”

The group also organizes thematic lectures, workshops and debates for schools or groups of students, many of which are held at the Municipal Library in Prague—and which are more openly geared toward converting Czech youth to Islam.

One such lecture entitled “Paths of Young Czech Women to Islam” answers questions such as: What makes a young Czech woman want to become a Muslim? It is the main motive always falling in love with a Muslim man or are there other reasons? How does one convert to Islam? How can new Muslims cope with non-Muslim relatives?

Another lecture entitled “Koran, Sunna and the Internet: Where to Do Muslims Get Their Information?” answers questions such as: Where can one get information about the Muslim faith? Is the Koran the only source of information about Islam or are there other sources? Where can one find information that is not mentioned directly in the Koran? The lecture is supplemented by providing students with hands-on opportunities to work with various Islamic texts, including the Koran and the Hadiths [sayings of the Prophet Mohammed].

Students wanting to participate in the lectures but lacking previous knowledge of Islam are advised to attend a 15-minute introductory course that “represents the characteristics of Islam and advocates it in the context of Christianity and Judaism.” The lectures are “suitable for children from about the age of 15, although it is possible to customize the program for younger pupils.”

statement on the group’s website justifies the project this way:

“The Muslim community in the Czech Republic is small, but it raises strong emotions. Issues relating to Muslims or Islam appear almost daily in television news, newspapers and Internet debates. But the topic is discussed only marginally in regular school lessons. This condition leads to acceptance and subsequent consolidation of prejudices and stereotypes that are supported by latent Islamophobia. We would like this project to contribute to improving the situation. We provide information about Islam that is factually accurate. Students will also have the opportunity to meet with Muslims and get to know them before forming an opinion of them.”

One of the co-founders of the project, a Czech-Palestinian named Sadi Shanaah, was quoted by the Prague Post as saying, “School lessons do not pay sufficient attention to Islam. Pupils want to learn more about it.”

But the group recently ran an advertisement promising to pay 250 Czech korunas ($13 dollars) to any student aged 15 to 18 years who would agree to attend a two-hour presentation about Islam.

The ad—which indicates that the American embassy in Prague was financing the April 2 event—states: “Event will take place at a school in New Butovice (7 minutes’ walk from the metro station). You get a brief introduction to Islam through which you can learn more about the veiling of Muslim women, media coverage and Muslims in the Czech Republic. Then you will have the opportunity to meet with Amirah, a Malaysian Muslim who is studying medicine in Prague, and to ask her everything you want about Islam or Muslim life in the Czech Republic.”

The Czech Republic is home to a small but rapidly growing Muslim population. Although reliable figures do not exist, it is estimated that the number of Muslims in the country now exceeds 10,000 (some say the figure is closer to 5,000, while others say it exceeds 15,000), up from 3,699 in the 2001 census, and 495 in the 1991 census.

Using 10,000 as the baseline figure, the Muslim population currently comprises around 0.1% of the total Czech population of 10.4 million. This percentage is far lower than most European countries, but the rate of increase is nearly 2,000% since 1991, and 170% since 2001.

Most Muslims in the Czech Republic are immigrants from Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria and Turkey. But a study produced for the Czech Interior Ministry in 2007 (it estimated there were a total of 11,235 Muslims in the country in 2005) found that there were also a large number of Czech converts to Islam.

It is estimated that at least 2,000 Czechs have converted to Islam since the end of Communist rule in 1989. Many are women who have married Muslims, but just as many are young males who are “looking to Islam in their search for spirituality,” according to Radio Free Europe.

The Interior Ministry report says the majority of Muslims in the Czech Republic are well educated and economically successful. “Muslims who belong to the core of the community are often university-educated people. Among them are doctors, architects, teachers, economists, businessmen and others,” the report says.

On the other hand, as the Muslim population grows, so do tensions with the population at large.

In November 2013, two Muslim women threatened to file an anti-discrimination lawsuit against a nursing school in Prague after they were asked to remove their hijab head covering in class.

“The principal summoned me and told me: ‘If you want to be in the school, you must not wear the scarf.’ I said this was against my religion as I am a Muslim,” Nasra, one of the women, told Czech Television.

The school defended itself, saying that although Czech law does not regulate the wearing of headgear, the school’s dress code bans the practice. The school also said the women, one from Somalia aged 23, and another from Afghanistan aged 25, disagreed with the compulsory physical education and the conditions of compulsory practice.

Continue reading…

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Gatestone has the story:

by Christine Williams
April 22, 2014 at 4:30 am

Under the guise of promoting peace and human rights, resolutions to join Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] drives are being foisted on Canadian university campuses to push the agenda of the Muslim terrorist group, Hamas, to destroy Israel.

It is Hamas—an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood—that has fueled and directed the BDS and Israel Apartheid Week campaigns on university campuses across North America through chapters of the Muslim Student Association and the Palestine Solidarity Network.

Despite drawing a negligible fraction of the student population, the votes are gaining traction. According to the website of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, BDS is a global campaign designed to pressure Israel to end its so-called “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands.” Hidden is the real BDS agenda: to delegitimize and ultimately obliterate Israel by destroying its economy.

Also concealed in these drives are Israel’s reason for so-called “occupation,” and the fact that Palestinians are treated better in Israel than by their own vicious leadership who sometimes even use their own people as human shields.

Toronto’s Ryerson University students reportedly became the 11th student union to vote in support of the anti-Israel BDS campaign, giving “student politicians” the mandate to pressure the university administration to cut ties with all companies that support what the BDS campaign asserts is “Israeli apartheid.” Not only do they invariably fail to provide any evidence to support that allegation, they fail to mention the very real apartheid that still exists against Palestinians in Lebanon and Kuwait, where they are forbidden to hold a whole array of jobs and privileges enjoyed by other residents. They also fail to mention the very real apartheid against non-Muslims that exists in countries such as Saudi Arabia — where there are roads they may not travel on, cities they may not enter and books they may not bring in; or Pakistan, where non-Muslims effectively receive no protection from the law-enforcement agencies.

Muslim students at Ryerson jeer at Jews
Anti-Israel students at Ryerson University in Toronto jeer Jewish students
who spoke out against a student council motion to support BDS.

In addition to York University students voting for BDS a year ago, the McMaster University student union in Hamilton voted in favor of a BDS resolution this past March.

After the vote, Raphael Szajnfarber, McMaster Hillel’s Director of Jewish Student Life, commented, “I can tell you it was a toxic environment in the room tonight. … “I know that some students did indeed feel targeted.”

Students at the University of Windsor have also supported BDS by a narrow vote. Apparent “discrepancies”, however, prompted an investigation by the university administration, and may yet see the vote thrown out.

The Ontario Public Interest Research Group [OPIRG], through its website “The ShakeUp,” accused Windsor University president Alan Wildeman of being undemocratic by threatening to have the referendum “quashed.” Before the referendum, Wildeman expressed in a letter the “well documented and detailed complaints” about the student referendum, and stated that “the University cannot allow student organizations to compromise the University’s commitment to provide a welcoming learning and living environment for each and every student on our campus.”

The ShakeUp report, however, blamed Wildeman for “a heavy-handed attack leveled directly at the Palestinian Solidarity Group,” and also launched a tirade not only against Wildeman, but also “the ignorant colonial mentality that tore apart First Nations in what is now Canada.”

All the while, however, the “The ShakeUp” report concealed the real goals of the Muslim Student Association and Palestinian Solidarity Group.

After the Windsor referendum, Member of Parliament Jeff Watson called the BDS movement “hateful and deceitful” and denounced “this new anti-Semitism poisoning our Canadian campuses.”

Howard English, the Toronto-area President of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs [CIJA], stated that such campus resolutions and boycotts are not really intended to promote peace and human rights but are “ultimately opposed to Israel’s existence as a state.”

Meanwhile, a Muslim woman, Mais Ali-Saleh, who grew up in an Arab village outside of Nazareth, Israel, was lauded in, “Guess Who’s Valedictorian at Israel’s Top Medical School?” On trips to Europe, Ali-Selah said that people are surprised to learn that in Israel, Israeli Arabs can study medicine and engineering. Ali-Saleh opposes BDS and the notion of Israel as an “apartheid state.” She said that movements such as BDS deny a fundamental truth: “Arabs,” she said, “and in particular Arab women, have more freedom, liberties and academic opportunities in Israel than in any Arab country.”

One well-known company targeted by BDS is SodaStream, where Israelis and Palestinians have been working together, embodying real “peace and human rights” for decades. It is also where, as referenced in the not particularly pro-Israel publication, Haaretz, “truth be told, the SodaStream workers and local Palestinians were downright peeved when asked about the efforts of solidarity activists and their own government to boycott SodaStream.”

The propaganda and lies of the BDS movement on our campuses, combined with Western naivety, is a potent brew that needs to be challenged by university administrations and at every level of society. Far too many are unaware that the Muslim Student Association’s pledge of allegiance is: “Allah is my Lord. Islam is my life. The Koran is my guide. The Sunna is my practice. Jihad is my Spirit. Righteousness is my character and paradise is my goal. I enjoin what is right. I forbid what is wrong. I will fight against oppression and I will die to establish Islam.” The MSA pledge of allegiance is virtually one and the same as the Muslim Brotherhood’s motto, which states: “Allah is our objective. The prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

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Deconstructing the Qur’an

by 1389 on April 22, 2014

in 1389 (blog admin), Qur'an

From the Atlantic Monthly, of all places, January 1999.

Here ya go…

Bet they’ll never publish a follow-up on that.

 

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01.24.14. Living Tradition in the City. Talk by Sister Dr. Vassa Larin

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Published on Jan 26, 2014 by Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Washington DC
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Living Tradition in the City
Talk by Sister Dr. Vassa Larin of University of Vienna in Austria
Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Washington, DC
January 24, 2014

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Note the following eyewitness account:

From the 1389 Blog mailbox

From: Sharon Tennison
To: 1389 Blog Mailbox
Subject: RUSSIA REPORT: PUTIN
Date: Sunday, April 20, 2014, 7:10 PM

Friends and colleagues,

As the Ukraine situation has worsened, unconscionable misinformation and hype is being poured on Russia and Vladimir Putin.

Journalists and pundits must scour Internet and thesauruses to come up with fiendish new epithets to describe both.

Wherever I make presentations across America, the first ominous question during Q&A is always, “What about Putin?”

It’s time to share my thoughts which follow:

Putin obviously has his faults and makes mistakes. Based on my earlier experience with him, and the experiences of trusted people, including U.S. officials who have worked closely with him over a period of years, Putin most likely is a straight, reliable and exceptionally inventive man––a leader who quietly labors under mounds of accusations and myths that have been steadily leveled at and about him since he became Russia’s second president.

I’ve stood by silently watching the demonization of Putin grow since it began in the early 2000s –– I pondered on computer my thoughts and concerns, hoping eventually to include them in a book (which was published in 2011). The book explains my observations more thoroughly than this article. Like others who have had direct experience with this formerly unknown man, I’ve tried to avoid being labeled as a “Putin apologist”––but to no avail. If one is even neutral about this Russian leader, they are considered “soft on Putin” by pundits, news hounds and average citizens who get their news from CNN, Fox and MSNBC.

I don’t pretend to be an expert, just a program developer in the USSR and Russia for the past 30 years. But during this time, I’ve have had far more direct, on ground contact with Russians of all stripes across 11 time zones than any of the Western reporters or for that matter any of Washington’s officials. I’ve been in country long enough to ponder Russian history and culture deeply, to study their psychology and conditioning, and to understand the marked differences between American and Russian mentalities which so complicate our political relations with their leaders. As with personalities in a family or a civic club or in a city hall, it takes understanding and compromise to be able to create workable relationships when basic conditionings are different. Washington has been notoriously disinterested in understanding these differences and attempting to meet Russia halfway.

In addition to my personal experience with Putin, I’ve had discussions with numerous American officials and U.S. businessmen who have had years of experience working with him––I believe it is safe to say that none would describe him as “brutal” or “thuggish”, or the other slanderous adjectives and nouns that are repeatedly used in western media.

I met Putin years before he ever dreamed of being president of Russia, as did many of us working in St.Petersburg during the 1990s. Since all of the slander started, I’ve become nearly obsessed with understanding his character. I think I’ve read every major speech he has given (including the full texts of his annual hours-long telephone “talk-ins” with Russian citizens). I’ve been trying to ascertain whether he has changed for the worse since being elevated to the presidency, or whether he is a straight character cast into a role he never anticipated––and is using sheer wits to try to do the best he can to deal with Washington under extremely difficult circumstances. If the latter is the case, and I think it is, he should get high marks for his performance over the past 14 years. Putin is obviously a long-term thinker and planner and has proven to be an excellent analyst and strategist. It’s not by accident that Forbes declared him the most Powerful Leader of 2013, replacing Obama who was given the title for 2012. The following is my one personal experience with Putin.

The year was 1992: It was two years after the implosion of communism; the place was St.Petersburg. For years I had been creating programs to open up relations between the two countries and hopefully to help Soviet people to get beyond their entrenched top-down mentalities. A new program possibility emerged in my head. Since I expected it might require a signature from the Marienskii City Hall, an appointment was made. My friend Volodya Shestakov and I showed up at a side door entrance to the Marienskii building. We found ourselves in a small, dull brown office, facing a rather trim nondescript man in a brown suit. He inquired my reason for coming in. After scanning the proposal I provided he began asking intelligent questions. After each of my answers, he asked the next relevant question. I became aware that this interviewer was different from other Soviet bureaucrats who always seemed to fall into chummy conversations with foreigners in hopes of obtaining bribes in exchange for their requests. CCI stood on the principle that we would never, never give bribes. This bureaucrat was open, inquiring, and impersonal in demeanor. After more than an hour of careful questions and answers, he quietly explained that he had tried hard to determine if the proposal was legal, then said that unfortunately at the time it was not. A few good words about the proposal were uttered. That was all. He simply and kindly showed us to the door. Out on the sidewalk, I said to my colleague, “Volodya, this is the first time we have ever dealt with a Soviet bureaucrat who didn’t ask us for a trip to the US or something valuable!” I remember looking at his business card in the sunlight––it read Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

1994: U.S. Consul General Jack Gosnell put in an SOS call to me in St.Petersburg. He had 14 Congress members and the new American Ambassador to Russia, Thomas Pickering, coming to St.Petersburg in the next three days. He needed immediate help. I scurried over to the Consulate and learned that Jack intended me to brief this auspicious delegation and the incoming ambassador. I was stunned but he persisted. They were coming from Moscow and were furious about how U.S. funding was being wasted there. Jack wanted them to hear the”good news” about CCI’s programs that were showing fine results. In the next 24 hours Jack and I also set up “home” meetings in a dozen Russian entrepreneurs’ homes for the arriving dignitaries (the St.Petersburg State Department people were aghast, since it had never been done before––but Jack overruled). Only later in 2000, did I learn of Jack’s former three-year experience with Vladimir Putin in the 1990s while the latter was running the city for Mayor Sobchak. More on this further down.

December 31, 1999:
With no warning, at the turn of the year, President Boris Yeltsin made the announcement to the world that from the next day forward he was vacating his office and leaving Russia in the hands of an unknown Vladimir Putin. On hearing the news, I thought surely not the Putin I remembered––he could never lead Russia. The next day a NYT article included a photo. Yes, it was the same Putin I’d met years ago! I was shocked and dismayed, telling friends, “This is a disaster for Russia, I’ve spent time with this guy, he is too introverted and too intelligent––he will never be able to relate to Russia’s masses.” Further, I lamented: “For Russia to get up off of its knees, two things must happen: 1) The young oligarchs have to be removed by force from the Kremlin, and 2) A way must be found to remove the regional bosses (governors) from their fiefdoms across Russia’s 89 regions”. It was clear to me that the small man in the brown suit would never have the instincts or guts to tackle Russia’s overriding twin challenges.

February 2000: Almost immediately Putin began putting Russia’s oligarchs on edge. In February a question about the oligarchs came up; he clarified with a question and his answer: “What should be the relationship with the so-called oligarchs? The same as anyone else. The same as the owner of a small bakery or a shoe repair shop.” This was the first signal that the tycoons would no longer be able to flaunt government regulations or count on special access in the Kremlin. It also made the West’s capitalists nervous. After all, these oligarchs were wealthy untouchable businessmen––good capitalists, never mind that they got their enterprises illegally and were putting their profits in offshore banks.

Putin called a meeting with the oligarchs four months later and gave them his deal: They could keep their illegally-gained wealth-producing Soviet enterprises and they wouldn’t be nationalized …. as long as they paid taxes on their revenues and stayed out of politics. This was the first of Putin’s “elegant solutions” to the near impossible impossible challenges facing the new Russia. But the deal also put Putin in crosshairs with US media and officials who then began to champion the oligarchs, particularly Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The latter became highly political, didn’t pay taxes, and prior to being apprehended and jailed was in the process of selling a major portion of Russia’s largest private oil company, Yukos Oil, to Exxon Mobil. Unfortunately, Khodorkovsky became a martyr (and remains so up to today) with U.S. media and governing structures.

March 2000: I arrived in St.Petersburg. A Russian friend (a psychologist) since 1983 came for our usual visit. My first question was, “Lena what do you think about your new president?” She laughed and retorted, “Volodya! I went to school with him!” She began to describe Putin as a quiet youngster, poor, fond of martial arts, who stood up for kids being bullied on the playgrounds. She remembered him as a patriotic youth who applied for the KGB prematurely after graduating secondary school (they sent him away and told him to get an education). He went to law school, later reapplied and was accepted. I must have grimaced at this, because Lena said, “Sharon in those days we all admired the KGB and believed that those who worked there were patriots and were keeping the country safe. We thought it was natural for Volodya to choose this career. My next question was, “What do you think he will do with Yeltsin’s criminals in the Kremlin?” Putting on her psychologist hat, she pondered and replied, “If left to his normal behaviors, he will watch them for a while to be sure what is going on, then he will throw up some flares to let them know that he is watching. If they don’t respond, he will address them personally, then if the behaviors don’t change–– some will be in prison in a couple of years.” I congratulated her via email when her predictions began to show up in real time.

Throughout the 2000′s: St.Petersburg’s many CCI alumni were being interviewed to determine how the PEP business training program was working and how we could make the U.S. experience more valuable for their new small businesses. Most believed that the program had been enormously important, even life changing. Last, each was asked, “So what do you think of your new president?” None responded negatively, even though at that time entrepreneurs hated Russia’s bureaucrats. Most answered similarly, “Putin registered my business a few years ago”. Next question, “So, how much did it cost you?” To a person they replied, “Putin didn’t charge anything”. One said, “We went to Putin’s desk because the others providing registrations at the Marienskii were ‘getting rich on their seats.’”

Late 2000: Into Putin’s first year as Russia’s president, US officials appeared to be suspect that he would be antithetical to America’s interests––his every move was called into question in American media. I couldn’t understand why and was chronicling these happenings in my computer and newsletters.

Year 2001: Jack Gosnell (former USCG mentioned earlier) explained his relationship with Putin when the latter was deputy mayor of St.Petersburg. The two of them worked closely to create joint ventures and other ways to promote relations between the two countries. Jack related that Putin was always straight up, courteous and helpful. When Putin’s wife, Ludmilla, was in a severe auto accident, Jack took the liberty (before informing Putin) to arrange hospitalization and airline travel for her to get medical care in Finland. When Jack told Putin, he reported that the latter was overcome by his offer, but ended saying that he couldn’t accept this favor, that Ludmilla would have to recover in a Russian hospital. She did––although medical care in Russia was abominably bad in the 1990s.

A senior CSIS officer I was friends with in the 2000s worked closely with Putin on a number of joint ventures during the 1990s. He reported that he never had any dealings with Putin that were questionable, that he respected him and believed he was getting an undeserved bad reputation from US media. Matter of fact, he closed the door at CSIS when we started talking about Putin. I guessed his comments wouldn’t be acceptable if others were listening.

Another former U.S. official who will go unidentified, also reported working closely with Putin, saying there was never any hint of bribery, pressuring, nothing but respectable behaviors and helpfulness.

I had two encounters in 2013 with State Department officials regarding Putin:
At the first one, I felt free to ask the question I had previously yearned to get answered: “When did Putin become unacceptable to Washington officials and why? Without hesitating the answer came back: “‘The knives were drawn’ when it was announced that Putin would be the next president.” I questioned WHY? The answer: “I could never find out why––maybe because he was KGB.” I offered that Bush #I, was head of the CIA. The reply was, “That would have made no difference, he was our guy.”

The second was a former State Department official with whom I recently shared a radio interview on Russia. Afterward when we were chatting, I said, “You might be interested to know that I’ve collected experiences of Putin from numerous people, some over a period of years, and they all say that they have had no negative experiences with Putin and no evidence of bribing with him”. He firmly replied, “No one has ever been able to come up with a bribery charge against Putin.”

From 2001 up to today, I’ve watched the negative U.S. media mounting against Putin …. even assassinations, poisonings, and comparing him to Hitler. No one has come up with any concrete evidence for these accusations. During this time, I’ve traveled throughout Russia every year, and have watched the country slowly change under Putin’s watch. Taxes were lowered, inflation lessened, and laws slowly put in place. Schools and hospitals began improving. Small businesses were growing, agriculture was showing improvement, and stores were becoming stocked with food. Alcohol challenges were less obvious, smoking was banned from buildings, and life expectancy began increasing. Highways were being laid across the country, new rails and modern trains appeared even in far out places, and the banking industry was becoming dependable. Russia was beginning to look like a decent country –– certainly not where Russians hoped it to be long term, but improving incrementally for the first time in their memories.

My 2013/14 Trips to Russia: In addition to St.Petersburg and Moscow, in September I traveled out to the Ural Mountains, spent time in Ekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk and Perm. We traveled between cities via autos and rail––the fields and forests look healthy, small towns sport new paint and construction. Today’s Russians look like Americans (we get the same clothing from China). Old concrete Khrushchev block houses are giving way to new multi-story private residential complexes which are lovely. High-rise business centers, fine hotels and great restaurants are now common place––and ordinary Russians frequent these places. Two and three story private homes rim Russian cities. We visited new museums, municipal buildings and huge super markets. Streets are in good repair, highways are new and well marked now, service stations looks like those dotting American highways. In January I went to Novosibirsk out in Siberia where similar new architecture was noted. Streets were kept navigable with constant snowplowing, modern lighting kept the city bright all night, lots of new traffic lights (with seconds counting down to light change) have appeared. It is astounding to me how much progress Russia has made in the past 14 years since an unknown man with no experience walked into Russia’s presidency and took over a country that was flat on its belly.

So why do our leaders and media demean and demonize Putin and Russia??? Like Lady MacBeth, do they protest too much? Psychologists tell us that people (and countries?) project off on others what they don’t want to face in themselves. Others carry our “shadow”when we refuse to see it. We confer on others the very traits that we are horrified to acknowledge in ourselves.

Could this be why we constantly find fault with Putin and Russia?

Could it be that we project on to Putin the sins of ourselves and our leaders?

Could it be that we condemn Russia’s corruption, acting like the corruption within our corporate world doesn’t exist?

Could it be that we condemn Russia’s human rights and LGBT issues, not facing the fact that we haven’t resolved our own?

Could it be that we accuse Russia of “reconstituting the USSR”––because of what we do to remain the world’s “hegemon”?

Could it be that we project nationalist behaviors on Russia, because that is what we have become and we don’t want to face it?

Could it be that we project warmongering off on Russia, because of what we have done over the past several administrations?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Some of you on this e-list were around Putin in the earlier years. Please share your opinions, pro and con …. confidentiality will be assured. It’s important to develop a composite picture of this demonized leader. I’m quite sure that 99% of those who excoriate him in mainstream media have had no personal contact with him at all. They write articles on hearsay, rumors and fabrication, or they read scripts others have written on tele-prompters. This is how our nation gets its “news”, such as it is.

There is a well known code of ethics among us: Is it the Truth, Is it Fair, Does it build Friendship and Goodwill, and Will it be Beneficial for All Concerned?

It seems to me that if our nation’s leaders would commit to using these four principles in international relations, the world would operate in a completely different manner, and human beings across this planet would live in better conditions than they do today.

As always your comments will be appreciated.

Sharon Tennison
President and Founder
Center for Citizen Initiatives
820 N. Delaware St.
San Mateo, CA 94401
650-458-8115
sharon@ccisf.org
Author: The Power of Impossible Ideas
www.ccisf.org (under revision)
www.russiaotherpointsofview.com
Rotary Club of Palo Alto, CA

And yes, Vladimir Putin most certainly is a Christian.

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On YouTube:

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Published on Apr 20, 2014 by Coffee with Sr. Vassa
Subtitles will be available soon. Please SUBSCRIBE to this channel on Youtube. Also available in iTunes for iPhone and iPad. Theology with a bit of humor. A brief, weekly program discussing the Church calendar and liturgy. Hosted by Dr. Sr. Vassa Larin of the University of Vienna in Austria.

Coffee with Sr. Vassa Ep.26 (Holy Week/Palm Sunday)

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Published on Apr 14, 2014 by Coffee with Sr. Vassa
Subtitles: ENGLISH, РУССКИЙ, GERMAN/Deutsch, ARABIC, SERBIAN, GREEK, ROMANIAN, BULGARIAN. Please SUBSCRIBE to this channel on Youtube. Also available in iTunes for iPhone and iPad. Theology with a bit of humor. A brief, weekly program discussing the Church calendar and liturgy. Hosted by Dr. Sr. Vassa Larin of the University of Vienna in Austria.

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Vineyard of the Saker has the story:

Ok, first the necessary caveats:

1) Kerry and Lavrov already had a deal on Syria, also made in Geneva, but then the USA reneged.
2) The EU also had a deal on the Ukraine with Yanukovich, who was overthrown literally the next day.
3) The USA, NATO and the EU have lied, cheated, mis-represented, twisted and simply betrayed pretty much every promise which they made to Russia ever since Russia freed itself from the yoke of Communism in 1991.
4) The USA probably has as much control over the Ukrainian crazies a la Right Sector as it does over al-Qaeda, tenuous at best.
5) Putin does have a lot of “street cred” in the eastern Ukraine, but it is far from being infinite.
6) The USA does have full control over the Ukrainian oligarchs, but they, in turn, are clearly in a struggle with the nationalist crazies who probably have more firepower and crowd muscle than these oligarchs.

To these caveats, I also want to add a few basic reminders because from the comments I have seen on my previous initial post, a lot of you are over-reacting to this latest developments.  So, just for context, please keep in mind that

1) The Kiev regime has proven that it does not have the means to crush the rebellion in the East.
2) For reasons I have already mentioned many times, NATO and the US do not have a military option in the Ukraine.
3)  Western sanctions are not significantly hurting Russia and they are very significantly help Putin’s personal popularity and reforms program.
4) Time is not on the side of the regime in Kiev as the West cannot rescue the Ukraine; Russia can, but will not do so as long as the regime in power remains both illegitimate and crazy.
5) Popular militia can which materialize overnight can also disappear overnight.
6) Until now Kiev has rejected any negotiations with the East.
7) Kiev hold tens or even hundreds of anti-Fascist activists in its jails.
8) The population which would suffer from open warfare is in the East.

Ok, now that we have set the context, let us look at what happened today:

1) Kiev has agreed to negotiate with the East.
2) All illegal armed groups will have to disarm (that was already agreed between Yanukovich and the EU).
3) OSCE monitors will be dispatched to the East to monitor the situation.
4) Kiev has committed to legal reforms for greater autonomy.
5) The Crimea has not even been discussed.
6) The EU has accepted Putin’s proposal to discuss gas deliveries.
7) Nobody will face prosecution except for major crimes.

Now, in my opinion, very little has in fact been agreed to, and all that has been agreed to is vague, ambiguous and lacks any verifiable landmarks to achieve within a clear timetable.

So I very much disagree with those who see that as a sell-out by Russia or, even more so, who call a truly top-notch diplomat with fantastic diplomatic skills all sorts of bad names.

Furthermore, and that is the only big news, the USA, the EU and Kiev have agreed to negotiate with Russia, something they had categorically refused to do in the past (except for the EU agreement with Yanukovich which lasted less than a day and which the US never committed to).  As for Crimea, it is simply not part of any negotiations and will just remain a great opportunity for western politicians to spew some more hot air when they feel the need to.

The illegal formations and their weapons?  I suppose that if things go well they will very gradually vacate some buildings which are only needed for symbolic reasons, as for their weapons, they will hide them (and use extra time to get more!).  None of the activists will be detained, at least not legally and, frankly, I see no other option at this point for the Kiev authorities then to release the anti-Nazi activists they are holding.  So far, the Russian speakers, far from vacating any building, have seized one more.

The sanctions?  Those in place will stay, the West will make lots of empty threats about more sanctions if these evil Russkies don’t behave, Putin will assume not only that no sanctions will be lifted, but also that many more will be introduced (that serves his economic reform agenda).

Crimea?  It will see a huge economic boom starting this summer with a wave of “patriotic tourism” and *massive* investments from the Russian business community which will now get a chance to bid and invest in all the neglected infrastructure the Ukies left after them and all the numerous millionaire mansions the Ukrainian oligarchs have built.  Crimea will become the “jewel of the Black Sea” and the economic powerhouse of southern Russia.  Military contracts, huge ones, will begin pouring in (the Russian Navy already ordered 5 ships today).

The Ukraine?  It will get poorer, more unstable, totally dependent on western emergency aid which will barely let the regime stay in power unless the revolutionaries come to their senses or tell Uncle Sam to buzz off.  Either way, as long as the rump-Ukraine remains anti-Russia (nevermind a Nazi Banderastan) it will remain a bankrupt failed state.

Russia?  It will continue exactly on the same course and adapt its policies depending on the exact ratio of sanity/delusion it will detect in its “western partners”.

So today agreement is really neither good, nor bad, in fact – it’s no big deal at all.  Either it will be as short-lived as the agreement between the EU and Yanukovich, or it will be slowly implemented with lots of zig-zags on the way.  Regardless of which option proves true, it will not affect the deep dynamics which have been set in motion which have now acquired a momentum so powerful that probably nobody can stop it.

The attempt to put down the eastern Ukraine appears to have petered out and the chance to turn the Donbass into a “East Banderastan” lead by a clique of neo-Nazi freaks are as small as ever.  In other words, chances are the at least the current phase of the Ukrainian civil war is over.

All in all, that is pretty good news, I think.

The Saker

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