Thursday, 17 April 2014

Ukraine - the western view

From the dreadful Luke Harding

Kiev's grip on eastern 

Ukraine weakens as pro-

Russians seize army vehicles

What was meant to be a show of strength by Ukraine's army has instead shown how the country is unravelling

16 April, 2014

For Kiev's beleaguered army it was meant to be a display of strength. Early on Wednesday a column of six armoured personnel carriers trundled through the town of Kramatorsk, in eastern Ukraine. Some 24 hours earlier Ukrainian soldiers had recaptured a small disused aerodrome. Their next target appeared to be Slavyansk, the neighbouring town, occupied by a shadowy Russian militia. Was victory close?

The column didn't get far. At Kramatorsk's railway junction, next to an open-air market and a shop selling building materials, an angry crowd caught up with it. Next armed separatists dressed in military fatigues turned up too. Within minutes the Ukrainian soldiers gave up. Without a shot being fired they abandoned their vehicles. The pro-Russian gunmen grabbed them. They raised a Russian tricolour. They sat on top and went for a victory spin.

In theory this was happening in Ukraine, under the control of a pro-western government in Kiev, and several hundred kilometres from the Russian border. In reality large chunks of the east of the country are now in open revolt. Ukraine is rapidly vanishing as a sovereign state. Its army is falling apart. What happens next is unclear. But the Kremlin can either annexe the east, as it did Crimea, again shrugging off western outrage. Or it can pull the strings of a new post-Kiev puppet entity.

The militia who captured the armoured vehicles on Wednesday looked like professionals. They had Kalashnikovs, flak jackets, ammunition. One even carried a tube-shaped green grenade-launcher. Some hid their faces under black balaclavas. Others waved and smiled. All wore an orange and black ribbon – originally a symbol of the Soviet victory over fascism, and now the colours of the east's snowballing anti-Kiev movement. There was a flag of Donbass, the Russian-speaking eastern region with its main city of Donetsk.

After posing for photos, this new anti-Kiev army set off. The armoured personnel carriers (APCs) rattled past Kramatorsk's train station and turned right over a steep dusty bridge. There was a cloud of diesel smoke. Amazed locals jogged alongside then piled into battered mini-buses to keep up. White tread tracks on the tarmac pointed the way. The column covered about six miles (10km) before turning left at the entrance to Slavyansk. It then drove serenely into town and parked round the back of the city hall. Soldiers got off and stretched their legs next to the White Nights cafe.

Slavyansk residents who had been fearing an imminent attack from Ukrainian forces had a moment of cognitive dissonance. Armed pro-Russian gunmen seized control of the city administration on Saturday. Ever since, Ukrainian helicopters and planes had buzzed ominously overhead.

Armed men wearing military fatigues gather by APCs as they stand guard in Slavyansk, Ukraine.Militia gather by seized APCs as they stand guard in Slavyansk, Ukraine. Photograph: Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images

"I heard the sound of tanks approaching. I thought that Ukrainian troops had arrived," Vladimir Ivanovich admitted, gazing at the APCs now stationed opposite a small park and children's playground. "I was wrong." So who exactly were the soldiers in masks? "I don't know," he said.

He added: "I'm not a radical or a separatist. I'm actually more on the left. I didn't much like Viktor Yanukovych. I'm for peaceful coexistence. The problem is that when the nationalists seized power in Kiev they didn't think about the consequences. I have my own prognosis about what will happen next. It's not comforting."

The armed men, meanwhile, made little secret of the fact they took orders from Moscow. Many of them appeared to be Russian troops from Crimea. Asked where he had come from, one told the Guardian: "Simferopol." How were things in Crimea? "Zamechatelna," he said in Russian – splendid. He added: "The old ladies are happy. Because ofRussia their pensions have doubled." Had he served in the Ukrainian army and perhaps swapped sides? "No, I'm Russian," he replied.

Within minutes, the captured APCs had become the town's newest, most extraordinary tourist attraction. Teenage girls posed coquettishly with the men in balaclavas. Small children lined up too. Someone put a cuddly toy next to a gun barrel. "We were very afraid. Now we are reassured. The tanks are here to protect us," Olga Yuriyevna said. She added: "I'm Russian-speaking. We have relatives in Russia. My husband fought in the Afghan war."

Some people, though, were lacking in enthusiasm. Outside the town hall one pensioner, Alexander Ivanovich, said: "I'm Ukrainian. This should be Ukrainian territory." Gesturing at the faceless gunmen outside the entrance, he said: "I'm suspicious of them." The soldiers had piled sandbags in front of windows, and created sniper positions on the roof. They had also, apparently, ripped down the building's blue-and-yellow trident, a symbol of Ukrainian statehood. A Russian and Donetsk republic flag flew from the roof. The impression was one of calm and vertical order.

On Wednesday afternoon Ukrainian soldiers were led out of the building and packed on to buses. The Ukrainians had surrendered when crowds surrounded their tanks. They were missing their weapons, now confiscated. The 40 or so demoralised troops headed out of town in a westerly direction.

At first the authorities in Kiev refused to believe they had lost the army vehicles. The defence ministry initially dismissed news reports as fake. Later it admitted the disaster was true. As well as APCs, Ukraine has lost control of another crucial weapon in its losing battle with the Russian Federation: television. On Tuesday the Donetsk prosecutor turned Russian state TV back on again, weeks after Kiev pulled the broadcasts on the grounds they sowed lies and Kremlin propaganda. Since President Viktor Yanukovych fled in February Russian channels have consistently called Kiev's new rulers "fascists".

Outside Kramatorsk's aerodrome, meanwhile, at the end of a rustic rutted alley lined with sycamores and apricots, protesters had set up a new camp. It boasted a parasol, a table decked out with sandwiches, and a clump of empty beer bottles. On Tuesday Ukrainian forces had opened fire, lightly wounding two anti-government demonstrators who surged at them across a field. On Wednesday Ukrainian troops were holed up inside. They showed little enthusiasm for venturing out. A felled tree blocked their route.

"We're Russians. We live on Russian soil. So how can we be separatists?" Sergei Sevenko, a 52-year-old car mechanic, wanted to know. A handful of female volunteers stood with him; they had kept vigil until 1am. Sevenko added: "I've lived all my life in Kramatorsk. The economic situation here is horrible. We're just defending our town and our property from fascists." Waiting to interview him was a young female journalist from Moscow. She was holding a microphone decorated with the logo of, the Kremlin's favourite website.

By late afternoon another stand-off was developing between a second Ukrainian armoured column in Pcholkino, near Kramatorsk, and an excitable, hostile crowd. Helicopters dipped low over shabby Khrushchev-era blocks of flats to see what was going on, then scouted along the line of the railway. Close to where the column was stuck, locals were building a checkpoint. "The helicopters keep us awake at night. We can't sleep," one complained. A van pulled up. It disgorged black tyres. A man wearing shorts and sunglasses, possibly drunk, began erratically directing traffic.

This febrile anti-Kiev mood has acquired a momentum that increasingly seems unstoppable. A vocal section of the population appears to support the protesters' key demand for a referendum on Ukraine's federalisation. A "people's governor" has been appointed – though it is not clear by whom. Many local politicians, the security services in key eastern towns and the police appear to have gone over to the anti-government side. Kiev's powerlessness in this fast-moving drama seems absolute.

On Wednesday another gang of armed youths seized control of the city hall in Donetsk. Other pro-Russian activists have occupied Donetsk's regional administration building since 6 April. (They have fortified it with a thicket of tyres. 

On one wall someone had scrawled in Cyrillic script: "Fuck America".) Youths lounged in the entrance lobby and ground floor of the city building. They wore white-and-red armbands bearing the name of a murky sporting organisation and fight-club, Oplot. In Kharkiv, Ukraine's other major eastern city, Oplot has been closely linked with pro-Kremlin groups. And with organised crime.

One Oplot member, Alexander, showed off his weapon. It was a US-made Remington 870 Express Magnum. "It's a hunting gun," he said. "It's my own. I've got a licence for it." Alexander said he had purchased his uniform himself: a light-coloured khaki top and trousers, a flat jacket, and a matching hat. He added: "I'm against America. But I have to say they make good guns."

Towards Civil War in Ukraine

"The situation in Ukraine is evolving so quickly that if you look away for a day or two it becomes difficult to assemble an accurate picture of what is going on" Amen

Ukraine Sliding Towards Civil War as Kiev Desperately Clings to Power
As the Ukrainian military forces begin to defect, and several cities dig in after brushing off the first attempted crackdown, civil war is becoming a very real threat

16 April, 2014

The coup appointed government in Kiev is not in control of the Ukraine. At first it was just civilian uprisings in the East of the country, which officials in Ukraine vowed to quickly crush under anti-terrorism laws, but government forces have floundered in their attempts to bring the situation under control.

BBC's David Stern in Donetsk reported on Wednesday that "Ukraine's 'anti-terrorist' operation is looking more and more a non-event - or worse, an outright fiasco. Kiev officials have admitted they have no time to lose to extinguish the growing insurrection in the country's east."

Now as Ukrainian military forces begin to defect, and several cities dig in after brushing off the first attempted crackdown, civil war is becoming a very real threat.

The video below gives a glimpse of the situation on the ground, but the commentary should be taken with a grain of salt since Kiev has since confirmed that the column was indeed Ukrainian. However they have done their best to spin the story by saying that the column was seized. The BBC ran with the "seized" narrative without blinking in spite of the statements made by the soldiers themselves

In what can only be interpreted as an act of desperation, the provisional government recently announced the formation of a "people's volunteer corps", which are groups of untrained civilians which will be given fully automatic weapons and will patrol alongside Ukrainian police and military.

Yulia Timoshenko claimed that this was necessary because: "Law enforcement structures and the army are failing to cope with their tasks because they have been plundered".

It's worth noting that using untrained civilians as foot soldiers was Hitler's last tactic right before Berlin fell to the allies.

The situation in Ukraine is evolving so quickly that if you look away for a day or two it becomes difficult to assemble an accurate picture of what is going on. It doesn't help that corporate media is intentionally distorting the narrative. Every effort is being made to convince the public that this entire crisis is the result of Russia actively attempting to destabilize the region, and that those questioning the coup appointed government's claims to power have no legitimate grievances. To support this narrative they are being forced to stretch and massage the facts into elaborate shapes that border on the absurd.

This so called provisional government in Kiev, has no legitimate claim to authority. They took power using violence and coercion and the leaders were hand picked by American diplomats. The fact that they were willing to deploy military units to crush uprisings in Eastern Ukraine, shows their true colors. The fact that the military has refused to follow through with their orders demonstrates how fragile their rule really is.

According to the BBC, one Ukrainian officer said he had not "come to fight" and would never obey orders to shoot his "own people". Apparently this is a bad thing when the government in question is a NATO puppet.

Washington may still have a few more tricks up its sleeve though. According to Reuters the official White House spokesman confirmed that the director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, had been in Kiev over the weekend though he decried what he called "false claims" leveled at the CIA by Russian authorities. This response came after a Russian news outlet broke the story that Brennan had secretly visited Kiev using a false name.

"U.S. and Russian intelligence officials have met over the years. To imply that U.S. officials meeting with their counterparts (in Kiev) is anything other than in the same spirit is absurd,"

You know what's even more absurd? The idea that anyone would take anything the U.S. government says seriously at this point

Ukraine civil war - update - 04/16/2014

There is so much to catch up with. I leave you with this summary so far.

Ukraine SITREP April 15, 18:30 EST update 1 (Ukrainian civil war day 1)

The first day of what will become the Ukrainian Civil war has finished and since by tomorrow morning a lot can happen, I have decided to provide this intermediate SITREP update tonight rather than to wait for tomorrow.

The short summary of the day is: absolute chaos and local violence.

A couple of things stand out:
  • The same source who reported that the CIA Director John Brennan visited Kiev on Sunday or Monday also say that the US plan is to use the Ukrainian military to blockade the rebel cities and to use special units (national guard, SBU SWAT, a newly created unit called "Shtorm" and Right Sector gangs) to actually do the repression.
  • In a rather bizarre incident, some Ukrainian officers were told that 30 armed terrorists had seized an airport near Kramatorsk.  They landed there supported by APCs and helicopters only to find out that only civilians were present.  Rumors say that "several" to "eleven" civilians were killed in that operation.  The amazing thing is that the officers really seemed to believe that they would be fighting some kind of military force.  When they realize that this was not the case, most of the forces were evacuated and only a smaller force was left at the airport.  It is currently surrounded by civilians who are blocking all exists.
  • Same thing happened to the recon battalion of the 24th Airborne Division which was sent in to locate "terrorists".  When the saw that only civilians were present they refused to continue their mission, turned around and left.
  • A convoy of Right Sector militants disguised as pro-Russian forces (they were wearing Saint George ribbons) were stop and searched by civilians.  Soon, after some brutal interrogations the truth became obvious, the trucks full of weapons confiscated and the drivers beat up.
  • In Kiev the Right Sector has given the so-called President and his regime 24 hours to take action.  If not, they promised to overthrow him.  In other words, the small, disorganized and demoralized leftover of the Ukrainian police now might be told to put down both the Russian-speakers in the East and the Galician freaks in Kiev.
  • As for the always amazing White House, its press secretary has declared that the USA "praises" the neo-Fascist regime for its "restraint".
Okay, so what is really going on here?

The Ukrainian military is told that it has to stop "terrorists". Regardless of whether they believe it or not, the Ukrainian commanding officers are more or less willing to execute that order.  What they seem to be unwilling to do is kill many civilians or, even less so, take a city by force.  So they stop in the outskirts and conduct very tense and unpleasant dialog with very hostile and suspicious civilians.

The Ukrainian security services are probably more willing to shoot civilians, but they seem to be really weary of entering the rebel cities, and I can't blame them.  Unlike most of the barricades around the cities which are manned with civilians (including women and senior folks), some barricades and buildings inside the city are defended by armed men, some definitely with military experience, and supported by many civilian demonstrators.  Any SBU force seen shooting civilians risks being killed by a lynch mob.

The Right Sector thugs would love to kill as many of the accursed Moskals as possible, but they have neither the training nor the numbers to seize a town.  And should they be caught they have no hope whatsoever to make it out alive.  They will be literally torn into pieces by the locals.

So, to sum it up so far:

1) The Ukrainian military only pretends to participate in the so-called anti-terrorist operation.  While some units from Galicia might try it, most units are probably unwilling to shoot many civilians.

2) The cops, SWAT teams and SBU special forces probably would not mind shooting into a crowd, but they would be fearful to enter inside the urban environment of a city and storm buildings while having a furious mob all around them.
3) As for the neo-Nazi thugs and common criminals hired by the oligarchs, they have neither the training nor the means to put down a city.

Thus, the first day of that civil war is one of total chaos and confusion with only localized violence.  Even if 11 civilians were killed, this is nothing compared with what would happen in the Ukrainian military decided to attack a city with Multiple Rocket Launchers like the Georgian did with Tskhinval in 08.08.08.

A few words about the Russian speaking opposition now.

I have watched as much video footage today as I could and here is what I see:

1) Lots of real civilians, unarmed, including women and seniors.  They seem both frightened and very angry.  Their plan is to form a human shield to stop the Fascist assault.

2) Lots of determined and solid looking men, many of the coal-mine workers.  They are armed with metal rods, sticks and a few Molotov cocktails.  Any trained force armed with real assault rifles could easily kill them, but they would probably make minced meat our of Right Sector thugs.  These are simple but *very* tough men, and boy do they look mad....
3) An assortment of self-organized armed groups, mostly equipped with handguns and assault rifles, they have some real firepower, but are poorly trained and poorly commanded.  They could not stop a determined assault either, but they could provide enough firepower locally to scare off the cops.
4) A few small groups (3-5 men) here and there who look like they know what they are doing.  Some are former paratroopers, others have served in other well-trained units.  They seem to be trying hard to get a more or less organized resistance going and they probably could mount an intelligent attack on an enemy column (as happened over the week-end in one case).  I don't think that these groups are very numerous, but they could show up anywhere and they are therefore a real threat to any attacking force.

Taken separately, none of these defenders amount to much of a force to protect even a small city.  However, the 
combination of these very different type of defenders might present a real problem for the Ukrainian command, especially considering the morale problems on the Ukrainian side and what appears to be a fierce determination triggered by rage and fear by the Russian-speakers.

urban assault operations are always and inherently very difficult and very dangerous.  During such operations the most typical scenario is one where the initial attack appears easy and victorious and then all hell breaks lose and what appeared to be a success turns into a nightmare.  It takes not only a lot of firepower to prevail in an urban environment, but also a very strong determination and the willingness to kill a lot of civilians.  In the eastern Ukraine almost every civilian runs around with a cellphone or camera so there are "eyes" everywhere and every event is filmed, some are even streamed live on the Internet.  Not good for the attackers either.

One more thing: I think that a red line has been crossed today and that now that the 
entire population in the eastern Ukraine has been assimilated to "terrorists" while thetwo main candidates to the Presidential elections have been assaulted (and one, Tsarev, charged with, I kid you not, hooliganism and sedition!) there are no more hopes for a federalized unitary Ukrainian state.  When civilians were shot today in an official and authorized army attack, which was ordered by the so-called "interim President" and which was praised by the USA for its "restraint" a qualitative change in the struggle occurred.  Short of a miracle, my personal conclusion is that Ukrainian experiment has crashed and burned.  It's over for "the Ukraine".

For several days I have spoken of an "escape velocity" and I think that today it was reached.  To paraphrase a well-known English nursery rhyme:
The Independent Ukraine sat on a wall,
The Independent Ukraine had a great fall.
All the West's money and all the West's men
Couldn't put that Ukraine back together again

The only question now is what human price will the West and its neo-Nazi puppets in Kiev extract from the Ukrainian people before accepting the inevitable?

Stay tuned.

The Saker

Ukraine SITREP April 16, 10:50 EST (Ukrainian civil war day 2)

It is still a little early to call this day over, especially considering the time it takes for the information to seep out of the eastern Ukraine and make it to the Internet. Furthermore, we have to be extremely cautious with the news not only because truth is the first casualty of war or because all the information sources have a vested interest in getting out the "right" information "correctly" presented, but because today, just as yesterday, the main characteristic of the situation in the Ukraine is complete, total, chaos.

With these caveats in mind, we can still say the following with a strong degree of certitude:

Something really amazing happened today in Kramatorsk. It appears that a column of Ukrainian paratroopers entered the city unopposed, some of them put Russian flags on their Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV), others Saint George ribbons. When they made it to the city center they were greeted by the civilians who brought them flowers and food. Then, some of them apparently left, possibly on their IFV though that is still unclear to me. It appears certain that 6 IFV of the BMD-2 types (Airborne IFV) were given to the local self-defense forces. It is unclear to me what happened to the crews. Some reports say that they purchased civilians clothes and returned to their base, but that makes absolutely no sense. Strictly speaking, handing over their IFV to "terrorists" in a "battle situation" could get them summarily executed on the spot. At the very least this should land them in front of a court martial. So my guess is that the crews either deserted completely, or stayed around and join the locals. What is certain is that the local defense forces now have 6 armored vehicles armed with the formidable 30mm 2A42 multi-purpose auto-cannon which can tear into pretty much anything short of a main battle tank. The BMD-2 is also *ideal* for urban combat: relatively compact, well armored, highly mobile and with that formidable gun (which can shoot armor piercing rounds), it is just about the best kind of vehicle to use inside a city (it also has a machine gun and a guided anti-tank weapon).

By the way, these units came from the same 24th Airborne Brigade I mentioned yesterday, probably one of the few more or less well trained units in the entire Ukrainian military.

Another less noticed event was an attempt by unidentified paramilitaries to attack or break through one of the checkpoints near the city. The attack failed, the number of casualties is still undetermined. The locals blame the Right Sector thugs for this one.

All the other info coming out of the eastern Ukraine are just rumors and it makes no sense to repeat it here, much less so use it as a basis for making conclusions.

What appears to be pretty certain is that nothing major happened today, most definitely no big combat operations. If yesterday was chaos with local violence, today seems to be only chaos, which is not a bad sign I suppose.

Finally, this "just in" from RT. Unverified, by consistent with what we know:
Reports from Slavyansk say that the army troops sent to the eastern Ukrainian city for an “anti-terrorist operation” are leaving en masse. Some troops are openly voicing support for the eastern Ukrainians, while others are speaking out against a war. According to Interfax, citing local self-defense activists, some 300 Ukrainian troops agreed to lay down their weapons and “go home” following negotiations in Slavyansk.

If that is so, this might be the beginning of the end for the "anti-terrorist" operation. Why? Because enough of the military switches sides, or at least lays down arms or refuses to obey, no other force can challenge it. The Paratroopers can easily make minced meat out of any police, SWAT, SBU or even regular military unit. They could even hold their ground against an armored attack (holding ground is what these paratroopers are trained for). If the 24th Airborne Brigade switches sides (which has not happened yet!!), then that is the end of the entire "anti-terrorist" operation. But this is a big "if" and we should not assume something about the entire brigade just on the basis of what one single company did.

Stay tuned, I will try to keep you posted,

The Saker

CrossTalk: Russophobia

What does Russophobia mean? Where does it come from? What are the West's russophobic stereotypes? And why is Russophobia dangerous. CrossTalking with George Szamuely, Alexander Nekrassov and Dmitry Babich.

Farewell to a friend

I have written the following words to make sense of my feelings - they are unedited and un- self- censored

Mike Ruppert
An appreciation

At this stage it is a struggle to put anything into words to express what Mike Ruppert meant for me - what he meant for all of us.

I first encountered Mike while travelling the internet and came across a trailer for the film Collapse.

For some reason the words Bernie Madoff is not a ponzi scheme; the whole economy is a ponzi scheme! come to mind.

That little segment had an electric effect on me.

By chance the film was included in the Film Festival here in Wellington, so I ordered tickets but in the meantime I consumed everything I could, including his talk to the Vermont secessionist movement.

His words, which came not too long after the 2008 financial meltdown just resonated with me.

It felt as if I had found my voice - someone who could clearly enunciate what I felt was the case but couldn't express clearly.

The rest is history - the setting up of CollapseNet, the move from Los Angeles to Sevastopoi Ca.; the shock move to Colorado and then his final, and recent return to his home.

The amazing thing is that I never met Mike personally, or even spoke to him - and yet I feel I came to know him well.

There was never anything half-hearted about Mike. Wherever he was, whatever was happening, Mike looks reality straight in the eye - without compromise - and expressed the truth as he saw it to those who were willing to listen.

I remember those days at CollapseNet. He had many detractors - people who claim he had got it wrong - some date was wrong, he was exaggerating etc. Many people have come and gone.

I have come to realise, as I have encountered such people countless times yet - that this was a form of denial.

They thought they were encountering some weakness or other in Mike - but really what they couldn't abide was looking the reality in the face.

Of course Mike was wrong about many things - the timing, the details.  We all got it wrong - we overlooked the ability of TPTW (Mike's term which we know so well) to mine, frack and drill - to cook the planet - all in order to keep the ponzi scheme going for a little while longer.

But he caught more clearly than most the underlying reality of the human predicament.

You can't have infinite growth on a finite planet

In the short time I have known Mike he has always evolved. He never stood still.

He moved out of a frustrated and angry phase (anyone remember "Say my f...g name!"?) towards the end of his time in Sebastopol, to finding himself in Colorado, becoming fully immersed in native American spirituality.

I really have the sense that Mike, in the last year or so has come into contact with a reality that transcends the mundane, and totally insane dream that we are living.

He understood that to the core of his being.

He was tired and felt that he had completed his work which he followed through tirelessly for near 40 years, dealing with the hatred and insanity of the world as well as with his own demons.

He felt, I am sure, a deep desire to return to Source.

He wanted to come home.

People who know him talk about depression.  Yes, I suppose, from a conventional point-of-view that would be the diagnosis.

But as we know, Mike was not a conventional man.

Anyone who was deeply depressed (in a conventional sense) could not have produced such a wonderful farewell radio program.

No.  Mike knew what he was doing. 

He obviously felt tremendous distress from his experiences of being caught in the matrix in Seattle recently -  the mad and insane world that he had not had to encounter for all of his time in Colorado.

I can fully understand how such an experience could overwhelm a sensitive (and sensitised) nervous system and drive him to an act which he had long contemplated.

Mike has left us a huge legacy and the best way in which we can honour him is to take everything he communicated and make it our own.

Stand on our own feet and find our own salvation.

Evolve or perish
Grow up or die

Mike, I love you for your penetrating intellect and wisdom, but also for your emotional honesty and humanity.

You have been an inspiration for me and for so many.

Go well in your final journey,

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Resistance Radio

Derrick Jensen interviews Guy McPherson

More than ten years into a career in the academic ivory tower, McPherson turned his efforts on social criticism. These efforts continue, with climate change a primary focus of his current work.


Apocalypse, Man
World`s End According To Michael C. Ruppert

The best possible tribute to Mike Ruppert.....

... is to continue the work

** In memory of Michael C. Ruppert **

Cut, baby, cut! -- RF
Capitalism simply isn't working and here are the reasons why
Economist Thomas Piketty's message is bleak: the gap between rich and poor threatens to destroy us

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Tigerair Mandala Continues to Shrink and Cancel Routes
Tigerair Mandala Airline continues to strip-off more routes and flights from its domestic network in a measure to stem mounting financial losses. Meanwhile, the Indonesian Civil Aviation Authorities are undertaking an audit of the airline's finances to determine whether the airlines is financially able to continue to operate.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Pro-Russian militias fill the vacuum as Kiev's control in eastern Ukraine slips
The Future of Countries (secession and unification)

## Energy/resources ##
Crimea: the Oil, Gas Story
The recent annexation of the Crimea region could land Russia with substantial Black Sea gas and oil resources off the peninsula's southwest and east coasts.
BP Head Says Russian Business Unaffected by Sanctions

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Copper thieves target Board of Water Supply (Hawaii)
After two copper theft incidents targeting the Board of Water Supply left customers without water and damaged its operating system, the company said it plans to increase security around its reservoirs.
## Got food? ##
The final word on food banks?
Every week, in Britain and across the world, new food banks are opening their doors. Ballooning numbers of people in the US, one of the wealthiest nations on earth, inhabit tent cities and the OECD tells us that income disparity in industrialised nations has reached a thirty-year high.
Shrimp Is Big. Now It's Sick. And Really Expensive
Prices for shrimp have jumped to a 14-year high in recent months, spurred by a disease that’s ravaging the crustacean’s population.
Europe searches for nuclear waste storage sites
A new law is being drafted in Germany to regulate investigations aimed at finding suitable sites for permanent nuclear waste storage. The search can take many years - and Germany's neighbors are facing similar obstacles.
That's going to cost a lot of money, and consume a lot of energy. -- RF
As the need for preservation of the Earth's natural resources has grown, says the group, the rate of violence against those fighting to protect the planet has faced a "sharp" increase in recent years. In the last four years the death rate of activists has risen to an average of two people a week, according to the report, with 2012 marking the most deadly year with 147 killings. That's nearly three times more than in 2002.

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Guardian and Washington Post win Pulitzer prize for NSA revelations

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
America’s Homegrown Terror
Plagued by poor infrastructure, climate denialism, and a patchwork of unregulated fracking wells and nuclear waste sites, the U.S. is poised to topple itself with self-inflicted wounds.
After Deaths, Renewed Focus On Leaky Gas Pipelines

## Japan ##
Is China already the world's largest 'owner' as opposed to 'holder' of gold? If so, China, with a mature financial center in Hong Kong, already is further along the path than most have predicted towards challenging the vital reserve currency status and international credibility of the U.S. dollar.
China Tightens Oversight of Trusts as Default Risk Increases

## US ##
How To Get a Job Despite the Economy (or, how much is a college degree really worth?)
About That “Strong” March Retail Sales “Bounce”: Good Thing Summer’s Coming!
What would we do without the Wall Street Journal? Do people actually pay for this lame-brained noise?
U.S. Crude Reserves Hit Highest Levels in nearly 40 Years
'The government doesn't listen to average citizens, just the rich and their lobbyists,' is probably the oldest criticism of any government, anywhere. But a new study has pretty much proven that this is precisely what's happening in Congress. According to the research, the meek voice of the public barely registers beneath the booming baritone of the wealthy—so much so that 'democracy' isn't a great descriptor of how we Americans are governing ourselves. The study's authors suggest “Economic Elite Domination” instead. And it's only going to get worse.
How the CEO of HFT Firm Virtu Financial is Demanding a Taxpayer Bailout in Florida
What the financial crisis, subsequent taxpayer bailouts, zero prosecutions of financial industry participants and further consolidation of the economy by oligarchs has taught us more than anything else is that the super rich and politically connected are not allowed to fail.
Prisons are booming, colleges are failing. -- RF
The Rich Are Paying More Taxes: The Horror! The Horror! (another look at the data)