Friday, 15 December 2017

E-Coli found in Glenorch (Queenstown) water

Welcome to the "new normal" in pristine New Zealand.

E.Coli found in Glenorchy water supply

15 December, 2017

People in Glenorchy are being advised to boil water after E. Coli was detected in the township's water supply.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council today issued a precautionary boil water notice to residents and businesses, saying about 180 households were affected.

The notice was issued this morning after routine testing detected the positive presence of E. Coli in the water supply. Advice from Public Health South is that all residents and businesses should boil water as a precaution,” QLDC Chief Engineer Ulrich Glasner said.

The scheduled implementation of chlorination will be in place next week, and testing will continue until we are satisfied there is no risk to the local community. We will undertake daily testing but the boil water notice would stay in place until further notice.”

The notice is issued three days after QLDC announced it would begin temporary chlorination of the water supply in Arthurs Point, Luggate and Glenorchy to ensure a safe drinking water supply over the busy summer period.

QLDC Chief Executive Mike Theelen said it was unfortunate timing coming the day after a council meeting at which a number of Glenorchy residents opposed the disinfection of the local water supply.

However, this reaffirms Council’s decision to begin chlorination next week and should act as a reminder that bacterial infections such as this can occur at any time in untreated water supplies,” said Mr Theelen.

Council engineers will be investigating the source of the contamination.

Heatwave in Sydney

Summer madness arrives in Australia as temperatures hit the mid 40's C (113 deg F) in Sydney

14 December, 2017

Demand for ambulances has risen by 40 per cent across the Sydney metro area today, with temperatures in the western suburbs hitting 40 degrees Celsius.
By 2:30pm Penrith had reached 43.4C, while several suburbs in Sydney's west had reached 40C, including Badgerys Creek, Bankstown, Camden and Horsley Park.

Areas in the east were spared thanks to some sea breezes.

Temperatures at Observatory Hill were just shy of 30C.

NSW Ambulance chief inspector Brian Parsell said they expected demand for ambulances to continue to rise throughout the afternoon, and said children and the elderly were most at risk in the hot weather.

He encouraged people to stay indoors and to avoid sports and physical activities.
"Turn on the air conditioning or turn on a fan, make sure you increase your oral fluid intake so that you remain hydrated," Inspector Parsell said.

Ben Scalley from NSW Health said dehydration and heat stroke were common health problems during heatwaves, but there were also increased incidents of other illnesses.

A total fire ban has been declared for the Greater Sydney and Illawarra-Shoalhaven regions.

Simon Louis from the Bureau of Meteorology said there would be a little relief from the heat overnight, but it would be short lived.

"The temperatures will bounce back quite quickly, we are expecting fairly hot conditions over the weekend and into the early part of next week," he said.

Mr Louis said Tuesday would be very hot, especially in the west of the state.
"If you think it feels hot in western Sydney, spare a thought for those out in places like Bourke or Dubbo.

As always that is a very hot part of the state but they're going to start to see temperatures up in the mid 40s," he said.

European leaders take ‘historic’ step toward joint EU army

Bad day for our enemies’: European leaders take ‘historic’ step toward joint EU army

14 December, 2017

Leaders of 25 European Union states have signed the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) pact that will see them undertake more joint projects and increase their defense budgets with the idea to likely create a permanent EU army.

Arriving at a summit in Brussels, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini hailed a “historic decision that turns the European Union into a credible security provider, globally,” saying that the EU is already contemplating “the possibility of deploying one of our battlegroups in one of the crisis theaters.”

Today dream becomes reality.  is a practical expression of our will to build European defence.

Good news for EU and for our allies. Bad news for our enemies.

"For many years the strongest argument against PESCO had been the fear that it would lead to the weakening of NATO. But it is quite the opposite - strong European defense naturally strengthens NATO," said EU President Donald Tusk.

"This is why PESCO is not only good news for us, but it is also good news for our allies and bad news for our enemies," he added, before heading to the leaders’ group photo call and signing ceremony.

While European officials have refrained from referring to the future force as an EU army, mentioning only a series of 17 projects – such as a Cyber Rapid Response Team and a European Medical Command – EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker did not conceal that the EU is aiming to create an independent military structure of its own.

25  Member States have woken up the Sleeping Beauty of the Lisbon Treaty - today we take a giant leap towards the real Defence Union I have long called for.

25 EU member states have woken up the sleeping beauty of the Lisbon Treaty – today we take a giant leap toward the real Defence Union I have long called for,” he tweeted, referring to the ten-year old EU agreement that included a provision for a potential permanent force.

View image on Twitter
 is an exciting new phase of  cooperation. EDA is committed to supporting Member States in the identification of  projects, their implementation and assessment. -  ChiefExec 
The three EU states that have not joined the initiative are Denmark, Malta and the UK, which is leaving the bloc.

Britain was an ardent opponent of an EU army, which Eurosceptics often cited as an example of EU overreach as it moved from an economic alliance to a “super state,” but Brexit has provided a clear opening for the more committed member states to go ahead with the single force plan, which was first touted in the 1950s.

European leaders have also been pushed closer together by a shared antagonism toward US President Donald Trump. Washington is the traditional leader of NATO, which includes most PESCO members, but Trump’s erratic nationalist foreign policy and his excoriation of European states for not contributing their share of defense spending provided impetus to the new pact.

To Trump’s possible bemusement, the new agreement stipulates "regularly increasing defence budgets in real terms in order to reach agreed objectives." With the UK out of the European Union, 80 percent of NATO’s budget will come from non-EU states, and NATO leaders are concerned about both duplication and a lack of cooperation.

"We cannot risk ending up with conflicting requirements from EU and from NATO to the same nations," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned on his arrival in Brussels, despite insisting that he “welcomed” the new pact.

While EU leaders studiously avoided namechecking Russia, a strong focus on cyber security in the announced projects ties in with continental concerns about alleged Kremlin-backed hacking, and in the run-up to the negotiations several officials cited Brussels’ impotence during the 2014 crisis in Ukraine as a decisive point in the project to ramp up capacity.

Moscow has said that it is watching developments closely, but last month a senior Russian official noted that so far PESCO is “just words.”

Colin Powell Mk 2 - Nikki Haley shows 'evidence' of Iran's Yemeni missile

US rep to UN shows ‘evidence’ of Iran’s missile in Yemen, promises coalition against Tehran

14 December, 2017

US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has described Iran as a “global threat” in a news conference outlining evidence of the nation’s “destabilizing behavior” in the Middle East.

Under the current administration the US attitude towards Iran has hardened. Earlier this year, President Donald Trump claimed that a 2015 financial deal intended to limit Iran’s nuclear program has helped the nation fund terrorism.

Speaking about the new strategy on Iran, ambassador Nikki Haley indicated US agencies and their international partners are currently scrutinizing Iran’s ballistic missiles program, arms exports and “its support for terrorists, proxy fighters and dictators.”

Under the 2015 UN resolution on Iran’s nuclear program, the supply, sale or transfer of ballistic missiles from the country must be approved by the UN security council on a case-by-case basis.

Standing in front of a partially incinerated missile shell purported to have been fired into Saudi Arabia from Yemen, Haley told reporters at a Washington military base that illegal Iranian weapons are spreading throughout the Middle East.

Our new strategy was prompted by the undeniable fact that the Iranian regime’s behavior is growing worse. The nuclear deal has done nothing to moderate the regime’s conduct in other areas.”

Haley said the US will attempt to build a international coalition to “push back” against Iran.

She said missiles from Iran have been found in war zones across the Middle East.

It’s hard to find a conflict or a terrorist group in the Middle East that does not have Iran’s fingerprints all over it.”

The Iran government has stated that the country’s weapons program is for defense purposes. The US envoy presented remains of a missile found in Saudi Arabia as proof of Iranian enabled attacks against US allies in the Middle East. Haley said the missile’s intended target was a civilian airport in Riyadh.

Weapon parts from a “kamikaze drone” and a boat fitted with a warhead were also mentioned as evidence of Iran backed aggression in the region. A date or location for when this weaponry was found was not announced by Haley.

The Government of Islamic Republic of Iran has since released a statement describing the evidence as “fabricated,” report Reuters.

Saudi Arabia has welcomed the US stance and called for "immediate measures" to ensure the 2015 UN resolution is adhered to.

Claims that Iran has misused its weaponry comes as a new study reveals arms manufactured in Europe, China, and Russia inadvertently fueled Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) arsenals between 2014-2017.

According to the Conflict Armament Research report, the US and Saudi Arabia were the biggest culprits in transferring such arms to regions where they subsequently fell into the hands of ISIS-linked groups.

The United States and Saudi Arabia supplied most of this material without authorisation, apparently to Syrian opposition forces,” the report states.

Haley’s Missile Stunt ‘Incredible Distraction’ From US, Saudi Horrors in Yemen
On Thursday, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced that the Trump administration had proof that Iran violated UN resolutions by exporting military-grade weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen.

14 December, 2017

"The weapons might as well have ‘Made in Iran' stickers on them," Haley said at a press conference at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. "Its ballistic missiles and advanced weapons are turning up in war zones across the region."

The missile at the heart of the announcement was one fired in November, allegedly by Houthi rebels in Yemen, toward Riyadh airport. Saudi Arabia has been at war with the Houthis in Yemen since 2015.
According to Haley, Iran was the supplier of the missile; Not everyone, however, is onboard.
Speaking to Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear, Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK, called the move by Haley "disgusting."

"The US is selling weapons to Saudi Arabia that it [in turn] uses everyday to bomb civilians and kill so many people [in Yemen]," Benjamin said. "And then she has the gall to take this this one fragment of the missile and talk as if this is something totally out of the blue? Of course the Yemenis are going to be trying to get back at the Saudis."
"It's absolutely absurd that she's taking this one incident and trying to act like this is an act of war… there has been a war going on since March 2015 with Saudi Arabia being the active participant in the intervention of a country it has no business in," Benjamin added.
Rather than standing next to a missile, fellow guest Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, suggested Haley should instead "go and stand in front of one of the four [combat littoral ships] that the US sold to the Saudis that's blockading the ports and preventing desperately needed food and medicine from getting into [Yemen]."
Yemenis receive food rations provided by a local charity, in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, April, 13, 2017.

"People in Yemen are a step away from starvation… a population of 8 million people could starve to death if the humanitarian supplies don't come in," she dded.

As health officials struggle to help thousands of affected Yemenis stricken by the diseases that so often accompany conflict, among them a massive growing cholera epidemic and widespread diphtheria, Benjamin says the move by Haley, and by extension the Trump administration, is simply a distraction.
"It is an incredible distraction," says Benjamin. "To try to turn this around with one missile attack that did not hit anybody, didn't hurt anybody, and to pretend that this is now a new phase in this war, is a total distraction."
For Benjamin and Kelly, the world is likely to see the starvation of millions of Yemenis as the Trump administration tries to create anti-Iran sentiment among Tehran's neighbors and within the US. The US' ultimate goal, adds Benjamin, is regime change in Iran, though she thinks that's likely not an option.

Chinese Navy live-fire drills near North Korea

Chinese Navy begins live-fire drills near N. Korea as S. Korea & US escalate activity

15 December, 2017

China’s navy has begun four-day live-fire drills off the coast of North Korea as Pyongyang warned that Washington’s actions are pushing the region toward nuclear war.

The drills began Thursday off the coast of Lushun in China’s northeast province of Liaoning. Ahead of the exercise, an area of some 276 square kilometers was declared off limits, Chinese media reported, citing the country’s Maritime Security Agency.

Lushun is home to an important naval base for the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) North Sea Fleet, responsible for safeguarding China’s waters off the Korean Peninsula. The scale of the drills as well as the exact number of ships participating remained unclear.

The four-day naval exercise kicked off amid a flurry of military activity in the region. The United States, South Korea and Japan held joint military exercises this week aimed at pressuring North Korea to abandon its missile testing.

Last week, more than 40 warships from the Chinese Navy took part in a major exercise in the East China Sea, just days after the country’s Air Force had carried out similar high-level drills.

On Thursday, Pyongyang said that a Trump administration plan to impose a naval blockade on North Korea, if implemented, would be “extremely dangerous” and “big step” toward nuclear war.

Moscow and Beijing have repeatedly advocated a “double freeze” solution to the crisis, in which North Korea would halt missile and nuclear programs in exchange for Washington dialing down its military drills in the region. Earlier this month, Moscow said it was ready to help facilitate talks between Washington and Pyongyang, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stating that “North Korea wants to talk to the US about its own security assurances.”

Washington has ridiculed international calls for dialogue, opting instead for incendiary tweets and military drills, in hopes that Pyongyang will acquiesce. In a rare glimmer of diplomatic protocol, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that the United States was “ready to talk anytime” with North Korea “without preconditions.” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert walked back his statement the next day, however, saying that North Korea would have to suspend its weapons tests before such talks could take place.

Federal Communications Commission repeals 'Net Neutrality' rule

FCC repeals 'Net Neutrality' rule despite widespread protests

FCC repeals 'Net Neutrality' rule despite widespread protests

14 December, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission has voted to repeal the rules classifying internet providers as public utilities. Critics say this will lead to pay-for-play behavior by providers, while FCC chair argues it will benefit consumers.

The Republican-majority commission voted along party lines on Thursday to repeal the 2015 rules adopted under the Obama administration, which classified ISPs as public utilities under a 1934 law intended to regulate telephone service. FCC chairman Ajit Pai has argued that these “heavy-handed” regulations throttled investment and innovation and harmed poor and rural consumers.

This is not Thunderdome. The FCC is not killing the internet,” Commissioner Brendan Carr said at the hearing on Thursday. “We are not relying on market forces alone. We are not giving ISPs free reign to dictate your online experience.”

I dissent from the contempt this agency has shown our citizens in pursuing this path today,” said Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, adding the repeal puts the FCC “on the wrong side of history.”

As Pai was laying out his case for repeal, he was handed a note and abruptly declared a recess. It was reported that the interruption was due to a bomb threat. The commission reconvened about 20 minutes later, after the room was declared safe.

We need to empower all Americans with digital opportunity, not deny them the benefits of greater access and competition,” said Pai.

Dozens of protesters held a vigil overnight before the FCC headquarters in Washington, DC, accusing Pai of favoring his old employer – telecom and ISP giant Verizon – and wanting to end net neutrality altogether.

Web companies such as Etsy, GitHub, Imgur, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Reddit, Patreon, Pornhub, Pinterest and Tumblr have endorsed the protests, cautioning that their products and services may be throttled by ISPs if net neutrality was repealed.

Net neutrality – also called the open internet – is the concept that internet service providers (ISPs) must treat all online content equally and not give preference to any one digital content provider.

Proponents of the 2015 rules argued that they were necessary to preemptively block ISPs from instituting “pay for play” plans and “fast lanes” for favored content, while throttling other lawful content.

The FCC chair disagreed, saying that the internet “wasn’t broken” in 2015, and that the rules have harmed consumers by throttling innovation and investment, as well as discouraging competition.

Heavy regulation always benefits the entrenched incumbents much more than the upstarts,” Pai told the conservative Heritage Foundation in November.

A trade association representing many ISPs says that its members are committed to net neutrality, but oppose the restrictive regulations.

The broadband industry has embraced and fostered the development of an open Internet where companies do not block, throttle or otherwise interfere with the customer’s desire to go wherever they want on the internet. Consumers demand it and, more importantly, it makes good business sense,” the the National Cable and Television Association (NCTA) said in a statement.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is not convinced the ISPs will behave without rules, however. Absent the regulations, “nothing will require ISPs to give the same quality of service even to apps that pay the same amount, let alone those that can’t afford it,” the EFF argued in its opposition to FCC's plans. “Content from an ISP’s business affiliates or favored partners will be able to get a fast lane no matter how much another website or app is willing to pay.”

The NCTA called on Congress to conclusively settle the debate on net neutrality and adopt “bipartisan legislation that will end the decades-old legal controversy and permanently enshrine enforceable open internet principles in statute.”

Net neutrality activists, however, call this a “solution in search of a problem.” According to Evan Greer, campaign director at Fight for the Future, “Title II enjoys immense bipartisan support amongst the public and the courts agree it provides a solid legal foundation to prevent anti-competitive abuse from ISPs.”

Moments after the vote, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) announced he will lead a multi-state lawsuit against the decision.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Chaos rules in Ukraine

Arsenyi ‘Maidan’ Yatsenyuk Confirms He Staged a Coup in Kiev and Was Ready to Flood Crimea in Blood

Ukraine goes on spiralling down

As political conflict continues and corruption remains as before even Ukraine’s most fervid Western friends are now in despair

Alexander Mercouris

13 December, 2017

As news of the bizarre antics in Kiev involving former Georgian President Mikheil Saakachvili – now released again this time by a court after having been arrested for a second time – continues, I recently read an article about Ukraine which gives just about as bleak a picture of the state of the country as it gets

.the news out of Ukraine over the past few weeks has been dire. The country’s prosecutor general has disrupted investigations by its National Anti-Corruption Bureau with the apparent consent of Mr. Poroshenko. The interior minister has intervened to protect his son from similar scrutiny. Officers in the security service, the SBU, have tried to arrest Mikheil Saakachvili, the former Georgian President turned Ukrainian corruption fighter, only to be driven back by protesters. Prosecutors are targeting anti-corruption activists; the army, interior ministry troops and private militias work at cross-purposes, answering to different politicians or oligarchs. Mr. Poroshenko’s government has been seriously weakened.

This is in fact an accurate description of the sort of things that happen in Ukrainian politics in any given week. The only thing that makes these events at all unusual is that they are being written about in this way by a journal which up to now has been one of the most fervid supporters of Ukraine’s Maidan “revolution” (aka “the Revolution of Dignity”).

That journal – from whose latest article on Ukraine the above extract is taken – is The Economist.

The Economist is not the only pro-Maidan anti-Russian journal to write recently about Ukraine in this way. An article in the website of the rigidly Atlanticist Atlantic Council makes the same points.

Hand-wringing about continued corruption in Ukraine following the Maidan “revolution” is nothing new. Former US Vice-President Joe Biden said many of the same things about corruption in Ukraine and the need for ‘reform’ there during a visit to Ukraine in September last year.

The latest flurry of Western complaints about the state of Ukraine come alongside publication of data about the disastrous decline of Ukraine’s economy. Here is how an article from RT sums it up

The latest research shows the people of Ukraine have the worst living standards among all of Europe.

An average Ukrainian earns just €190 per month, or just a little over $220, according to the study by The highest average net salary, according to the analysts, is in Switzerland. An average Swiss earns no less than $5,000 per month after taxes.

In November, Ukrainian Economy Minister Stepan Kubiv admitted the economy lost $15 billion annually after Russia closed its borders to consumer goods from Ukraine, almost a fifth of the country’s GDP.

The current gross domestic product of Ukraine is $93 billion. Before the Maidan revolution at the end of 2013, Ukraine’s GDP was $183 billion.

The RT article overstates the extent of the contraction of Ukraine’s GDP. The figures given are based on calculations of Ukraine’s GDP based on the exchange rate of Ukraine’s currency relative to the US dollar. This is an artificial measure of GDP vulnerable to changes in the exchange rate.

If the more accurate purchasing power parity measure of GDP is used then Ukraine’s GDP increases to $368 billion, which however is still less than a tenth of Russia’s.

This is a precipitous decline for what was once one of the most economically developed regions of the USSR, and which because of its Soviet legacy of strong industries, rich farmlands, large population, abundant natural resources and access to the sea ought to be a rich country.

Suffice to say that whilst living standards in Russia are now significantly higher than they were before the Soviet collapse, Ukrainian living standards – which have never recovered to their Soviet levels – have since 2014 fallen back still further.

Ukraine’s tragedy is that there appears to be no route out of this crisis.

As it happens every so often one comes across claims that the situation in Ukraine is ‘stabilising’. Then something happens – such as the bizarre antics involving Mikheil Saakashvili – which shows the opposite.

On the question of the economy, I remember having identical discussions in the mid 1990s with various people about the ‘economic stabilisation’ which was supposed to be happening in Russia.

When an economy has contracted as severely as Russia’s did in the early 1990s and as Ukraine’s did in the period 2014 to 2015 even minimal amounts of economic activity – such as always happen even in the most collapsed economies – can distort the statistics to make the situation look better than it really is.

The mere fact for example that Ukraine this year has received $4 billion from abroad – $3 billion which it borrowed itself at very high interest, $1 billion which it was given by the IMF – which is a very considerable amount of money for a country like Ukraine (4.3% of GDP calculated on a nominal basis, 1% of GDP calculated on a purchasing power parity basis) will have made the GDP statistics about the economy look better than actual economic conditions in the country really are.

This is of course always assuming that the statistics are being collected and collated properly, which in countries such as Russia was in the 1990s and such as Ukraine is now they never are.

That Ukraine’s statistics are not reliable has in fact been confirmed by studies of its population statistics, which show massive distortions intended to conceal how bad the country’s demographic situation has become. There is no reason to suppose that the same distortions do not affect the economic data.

Again the example of 1990s Russia is useful. It is now generally acknowledged that Russia’s real economy continued to contract every year throughout the period from 1994 to 1998 when Boris Yeltsin’s government and the IMF were claiming to see in the statistics evidence of a ‘stabilisation’. The truth became clear in 1998 when the whole House of Cards, which was what the Russian economy had by then become, simply collapsed.

The event which precipitated the Russian economic collapse in 1998 was a collapse in oil prices. The event which averted a total collapse of Ukraine’s economy in the period 2014 to 2015 was also a collapse in oil prices.

The benefits of that oil price collapse have however been squandered.

The Maidan regime used the space the collapse in oil prices gave it to increase spending on the military and to reduce further Ukraine’s economic ties to Russia.

This is the exact opposite of what a Ukrainian government really concerned about the economy would have done. If Ukraine’s government had really been concerned about stabilising the economy it would have sought a rapprochement with Russia – Ukraine’s obvious energy supplier and the traditional market of its goods – and sought Russia’s help to bring the war in eastern Ukraine to an end.

None of that can however happen whilst the present Maidan regime remains in power since it would represent a repudiation of the Maidan movement’s entire programme, which is to distance Ukraine as far from Russia politically, culturally and economically as possible.

Which brings me back to the cause of Ukraine’s crisis.

Notwithstanding protestations to the contrary made by various people – including by the way President Putin – the issue behind the political conflict which in February 2014 brought the Maidan movement to power was not corruption; it was Ukraine’s relations with Russia.

In 2014 Ukraine’s oligarchs overwhelmingly backed the Maidan movement and bankrolled its protests since they were adamantly opposed to closer relations with Russia but wanted instead closer relations with the West.

This was because – diametrically opposite to what Western commentators say – they were alarmed by the way Putin’s government after 2000 managed to rein in Russia’s oligarchs, and were alarmed that if Russian influence in Ukraine grew so that Ukraine became fully integrated in the Eurasian institutions the same thing would be done to them.

The Western powers backed Ukraine’s oligarchs in 2014 because their entire policy since the USSR broke up in 1991 has been to detach Ukraine from Russia. This was what the benighted association agreement between the EU and Ukraine – the nominal issue behind the 2014 Maidan protests – was ultimately all about.

It was this mutual opposition to closer ties between Ukraine and Russia which created the commonality of interest between Ukraine’s oligarchs and the Western powers, both in 2014 and earlier, which set the scene for the 2014 Maidan ‘revolution’.

That ‘revolution’ of course needed its foot-soldiers who were to be found in Ukraine’s various ultra-rightist and neo-Nazi groups. However as The Economist slips out in the article which I have quoted from above, these “private militias….answer to different politicians or oligarchs” ie. they are ultimately controlled by the oligarchs as well.

Needless to say the great majority of Ukraine’s people were not involved in the 2014 events, and based on what I am hearing from people who know about the situation in Ukraine today, they have now become utterly cynical and disillusioned.

To imagine that such a system created as a result of what it is not altogether wrong to call a criminal conspiracy (after all it did result in the violent overthrow of Ukraine’s constitutional and democratically elected government) is capable of carrying out ‘reform’ or ending corruption in Ukraine is beyond fanciful, and it is testament to the seemingly unlimited detachment from reality of some people in the West that they still appear to expect it.

The trouble is that though the people of Ukraine are utterly cynical and disillusioned, the extraordinary violence the Maidan regime can be counted on to use against people who it is able to define as ‘pro-Russian’ makes it all but impossible to see how a change of course can be brought about.

This opens the way for chancers and adventurers like Mikheil Saakashvili to make their pitch, which is what we are seeing in Ukraine now.

Needless to say if Ukraine had a properly functioning political system someone like Saakashvili would be making no impact there at all. The fact that he is making an impact despite the minimal level of his public support (no more than 2% according to some polls) shows how dysfunctional Ukraine’s political system actually is.

I would add that given how corrupt and politicised the Ukrainian judiciary has become, the fact that a court has now ordered Saakashvili’s release is a sure sign he is getting support from elements within the Ukrainian power system (Tymoshenko? Kolomoisky?) who are hostile to Poroshenko, and who are using Saakashvili as a weapon against Poroshenko.

The victims in all this are of course the people of Ukraine, who are trapped in a nightmare created for them by Western policy in exactly the same way and to the same extent that the people of Libya say are.

No wonder that with their living standards having collapsed and with all hope of things getting better having gone they are now voting with their feet, leaving Ukraine in growing numbers, causing Ukraine’s population to collapse, just as its economy has.

Georgian snipers reveal who sent them to the Maidan

December 13, 2017 - FRN - 
KP - translated by Inessa Sinchougova 

Russ Fort,
13 December, 2017

The shooting of people on the Maidan in Kiev in February 2014 was organized by snipers, who were specially brought to Ukraine . There were 50 of them. And they were divided into groups of 10 fighters, each of which acted on its own command. They were promised $ 5,000 each for such work. 

This was said on the air of the TV channel "112" by a Ukrainian lawyer of the former employees of the unit "Berkut" "Alexander Goroshinsky. The Ukrainian authorities, who received their posts after the victory of the Maidan, have so far been accused of shooting at the protesters. However,  Goroshinsky claims that he managed to obtain testimonies from two Georgian citizens, Alexander Revazishvili and Koba Negradadze, who confessed that they were among the mercenaries. Goroshinsky met with them in Tbilisi and they agreed to give evidence on December 12 at the trial of the Berkut case.

- Groups of mercenaries were brought to Kiev, who began to operate on February 20. They were given weapons and ammunition and distributed 10 people at different points. They, at the command of their commanders, were supposed to open fire indiscriminately at everyone - protesters and security officials, in order to raise panic," Goroshinsky told of the details of the testimonies. These mercenaries were promised $ 5,000 each. But now they are ready to name the names and executors of the crime, and the organizers.

As evidence, the lawyer showed a video in which former mercenaries named their names and signed the testimony. They expect by disclosing the crime, since they claim that two of their group, who were also at the Maidan, have already mysteriously disappeared.

Earlier, Italian "Channel 5" aired a documentary in which the same Koba Nergadze, Alexander Revazishvili and another mercenary - stated that they were mercenaries in 2014 and were sent to Kiev by ex-President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili . Among the snipers were also the Balts and  American instructor.