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Friday, 29 August 2014

Does Obama have a foreign policy? It's just one disaster on top of another

obama failed policy

Obama is again considering a bombing campaign in Syria.

The newest crisis in the Middle East has pulled the U.S. into yet another insoluble military problem. Obama is again considering a bombing campaign in Syria after infamously not bombing the country last year. This time, however, he's not targeting his enemy Bashar al-Assad, but his enemy's enemy - ISIL - now referred to as the Islamic State.

By attacking the Islamic State in Syria, Obama will become a de facto ally of the Syrian government, just as Obama and ISIL were de facto allies when they were both targeting Bashar al-Assad. Most Americans are likely fed up with Obama's zig-zagging foreign policy, and with each new U-turn support drops for the next war.

But the U.S. has no plans to leave the Middle East to its own devices, and "fixing" the current problems will mean that Obama will need to tear up the patchwork of alliances previously pieced together amid past U.S. wars. The next U.S.-led "solution" will only compound the catastrophe, and continue the senseless logic of permanent war.

The situation has become so absurd that the U.S. is now spending millions of dollars bombing U.S.-made military equipment in Iraq - itself worth millions, previously gifted to the Iraqi government and then taken by ISIL.

Obama's constant Middle East flip-flops have made it difficult to keep allies. After having built a coalition of nations to wage a proxy war against Bashar al-Assad, Obama backed out of his promised air strikes last year, in effect abandoning his anti-Syrian partners, many of whom still bear a grudge.

As a result, Obama faces a "credibility gap," as does anyone who doesn't do what they say they're going to do. Obama also said he supported a two-state solution in Palestine, but then backed Israel 100 percent in its ongoing slaughter against the Palestinians and its continued building of settlements.

Obama also promised to wage a "war on terror," but allowed the growth of jihadi movements in his fight against the Libyan and Syrian governments, since they were de facto allies against the targeted governments. This is one of the reasons given by Middle East journalist Patrick Cockburn on why the "war on terror" failed.

But there are other reasons Obama has few allies to fight ISIL. The unbreakable bond between the U.S. and the Saudi dictatorship can never be too public, since the overwhelming majority of Saudis hate the United States government, as do the vast majority of people across the Middle East, according to a recent poll.

Why do they hate the U.S. government? Unlike the American media perception of U.S. foreign policy goofily stumbling from one good-intentioned mishap to the next, the average person in the Middle East views the American military as a sociopathic power hell-bent on annihilation.

Obama also has to keep Israel at arms length as he searches for war allies in the Middle East, since Israel is the only country hated more than the United States in the region, for the exact same reasons. Thus, teaming up with Israel would worsen Obama's horrible image in the Middle East.

Comment: Obama keeping Israel at arms-length? Are they joking? When has the US administration ever tried to keep Israel at bay?

Many mainstream media publications have recognized Obama's crisis of allies and are pushing Obama to make new friends, fast. An increasingly popular plan among the mainstream media is to have the U.S. make yet another U-turn and officially ally with the Syrian government, after many of these same publications had been previously urging Obama to attack it.

Interestingly, the Syrian government recently said that it would welcome U.S. airstrikes, but only if Syria were notified first. Without officially allying or "cooperating" with Assad, Obama's air strikes in Syria will be a breach of national sovereignty, and

Assad likely knows that when a tiger gets its paw in the front door it's not long until it dominates the house.

Obama, however, continues to shun President Assad, recently adding that "Assad is part of the problem."

Instead, the most "popular" idea seems to be the same one that has failed for the past three years in Syria: create a "moderate" opposition to the Syrian government that would also fight the Islamic extremists. The Guardian explains:

"The favored option, according to two [Obama] administration officials, is to press forward with a training mission, led by elite special operations forces, aimed at making non-jihadist Syrians an effective proxy force. But the rebels are outgunned and outnumbered by ISIL and the administration still has not received $500m from Congress for its rebel training plans."

To continue to advocate for this "plan" after three years of failures is to grasp at already-combusted straws.

The Syrian opposition is completely dominated by Islamic extremists, a fact which nobody seriously contests. But Obama would like to create a whole new "moderate" fighting force out of his armpit, powerful enough to tackle both the Syrian government and the Islamic State. Fantasy quickly reaches its limits in war.

Middle East journalist Patrick Cockburn explains:

"There is a pretense in Washington and elsewhere that there exists a 'moderate' Syrian opposition being helped by the U.S., Qatar, Turkey, and the Saudis. It is, however, weak and getting more so by the day."


"Jihadi groups ideologically close to al-Qaeda have been relabeled as moderate if their actions are deemed supportive of U.S. policy aims."

This "relabeled" type of moderate is what Obama would like to grow in Syria. For example, the U.S.-backed "moderate" group, the Islamic Front, is dominated by the extremist group Ahrar al-Sham.

A more realistic - though equally reckless - solution that Obama is suddenly pursuing is arming the Kurds to the teeth, which creates an entirely new set of regional problems. The Kurds have large populations in several Middle East countries, though most notably Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Iran.

The Kurds have long wanted their own nation, which they likely believe that the U.S. will help them get, since giving a population tons of guns - Obama's plan - is the first step toward carving out a chunk of land. And although the Kurds have been a long-oppressed minority group that deserves its own country, carving a country out of land already claimed by other nations isn't done without war, and lots of it.

Here's how the Guardian explained Obama's brand-new Kurdish alliance:

"Obama needs the Kurds, and he knows it. They are largely secular and pro-Western, but also maintain dynamic ties to both Iran and Turkey. They offer a potential base from which the US can stage counterterrorism operations against [ISIL]... It [Kurdistan] offers a stable, economically prosperous buffer zone right at the intersection of several regional conflicts."

Although the mainstream media has suddenly discovered the 'Kurdistan' strategy,

many analysts have long speculated/assumed it as being the "grand plan" for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East: the main purpose would be to create a new nation and regional power - Kurdistan - that would be loyal to the U.S

. and thus serve as a countervailing force to the anti-U.S. "Shiite crescent" countries of Iran, Syria, Iraq (under al-Maliki) and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

A key part of creating the new Kurdistan would require the partition of Iraq into three separate nations, which has been advocated by Vice President Joseph Biden.

This idea - having long been considered a "conspiracy theory" - appears to be manifesting before our very eyes, especially when vice president's official plan of a "soft partition" is gaining popularity in D.C.


The main reason for creating Kurdistan is primarily to divide Iraq, to further Israel's Yinon Plan for a 'greater Israel'. The plan also calls for a divided Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria. The partitioning of Iran, Turkey, Somalia, and Pakistan also all fall into line with these views. The Yinon Plan also calls for dissolution in North Africa and forecasts it as starting from Egypt and then spilling over into Sudan, Libya, and the rest of the region.

USrael's EU handmaiden backs Iraq partition plan by arming Kurds "Greater Israel": the plan is on track

The above cluster of irrational events is based on one fundamentally incorrect assumption: that the U.S. can create and maintain steadfast allies through military interventions, which inevitably attract the hatred of every Middle Eastern person.

This false assumption is why Obama's foreign policy has mirrored Bush, Jr.'s: creating disaster on top of disaster, leaving a strong stench of death in its wake.

And with each new military intervention in the "war on terror" the jihadist movement grows exponentially, born amid the rubble of U.S.-destroyed Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and groomed to maturity by U.S. allies Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and other [Persian] Gulf States.

Such an irrational, never-ending cycle of war cannot last forever. It is already collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions.

Even more strange animal behavior: deer crashes into restaurant in Iowa

Deer breaks window

A deer crashed into the windows of Rebos on Wednesday afternoon, shattering one of the two panes.

There is no significant damage to the restaurant and nobody was injured.

The deer was still breathing when ABC9 crews arrived at the scene.

Customers and staff say they were pretty shaken up about the whole ordeal.

"It was about the noon hour and it sounded like, I don't know what it was. All we heard was a big giant crash, a very loud band and everything in the restaurant stopped," said Ryan Brun, Rebos bartender.

"Well at first I thought, in my mind, that somebody threw a rock or shot the window out cause we saw this broken glass and a loud boom and ran over to the window to see that this deer, this poor deer had slammed into the window and shattered it," said customer Mark Hanna.

The buck was taken away by animal rescue and will have to be put down.

If you do have plans to eat there tonight, no worries. Managers say they're still up and running.

College students from West Africa may be screened for Ebola

© Michael Conroy/AP

College students from West Africa may be subject to extra health checks when they arrive to study in the United States as administrators try to insulate campuses from the worst Ebola outbreak in history.

With the virus continuing to kill in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, the expected arrival of thousands of students from those countries has U.S. authorities on alert but cautioning against alarm.

"I can see why there would be concern; there's no vaccine for it," said Fatima Nor, an 18-year-old freshman at the University at Buffalo, where about 25 students from Nigeria are enrolled for fall. But she said knowing that the virus is transmitted strictly through direct contact with bodily fluids of sick people, and not by sitting next to someone in class, should be enough to calm nerves.

"As long as everyone keeps their personal space, it should be OK," said Nor, of Buffalo.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued no specific recommendations for colleges, some state health departments, including in South Carolina and North Dakota, have spelled out for administrators what symptoms to look for and how to react.

Elsewhere, universities are drafting their own precautionary plans against the often-fatal hemorrhagic fever, which causes weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, internal bleeding and sometimes bleeding from the nose and ears.

The American College Health Association recommends its members update emergency plans, find out where patients have traveled and use isolation exam rooms when available. Several colleges are checking the temperatures of students arriving from affected countries and continuing to monitor for fever until any risk of contagion has passed.

"I don't see this as a huge threat on college campuses," said Dr. Susan Even, student health director at the University of Missouri-Columbia and a member of the ACHA, "but it makes sense when you're communicating with students ... to ask a question or two."

U.S. universities count 9,728 active students from Nigeria, 204 from Liberia, 169 from Sierra Leone and 95 students from Guinea, according to the federal government.

The odds they could bring Ebola to campus seemed too small to worry Laura Washburn, a senior at Tufts University outside Boston.

"It's not like I'm not going to class because someone has been to Africa," she said. "I mean, it's hard to say how paranoid we should be about it, but I feel pretty safe at Tufts."

The roughly 30 Nigerian students expected at the University of Illinois will be pulled aside for a temperature check and private Ebola discussion when they arrive at the health center for mandatory immunization paperwork and tuberculosis screening, said Dr. Robert Palinkas, the center's director.

The plans have been reassuring to the handful of parents who have called wondering whether their child's placement with a West African roommate should give them reason to worry, he said.

"Parents are comforted to know that there is a screening process, that we are alert for it, that we are prepared for it," Palinkas said, "and that we're doing everything we can without infringing on the rights of anybody to make sure their son or daughter is going to have the lowest risk possible."

Similar screenings are planned at the University at Buffalo, Mercer University in Georgia, Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and the University of Akron in Ohio, the campuses said.

Moses Ogunseye arrived from Lagos, Nigeria, a little over two weeks ago to study at Akron. The 31-year-old graduate student said

he spent a few minutes filling out a questionnaire and was given a disposable thermometer to monitor himself for fever for a couple of weeks

, something he doesn't mind doing even though he is certain he hasn't been exposed to Ebola.

"I would expect that. It's a very logical thing to do," he said of the screening, which, though voluntary, is encouraged.

Alma Olson, director of Student Health Services at the university, said students are being asked to keep tabs on their temperature for up to 21 days, the length of time it can take for symptoms of Ebola to appear following exposure.

"At the end of the 21-day period they'll come back and we'll check them and send them on their way," Olson said. The CDC requires that any potential Ebola patient be isolated and public health professionals notified.

"There's such a low level of worry" because Ebola doesn't spread easily, she said, "but we really have to be on top of any communicable disease."

Universities in the United Kingdom also are on alert with the expected arrival of thousands of Nigerian students there. Universities UK, which represents universities, has circulated guidance from Public Health England advising administrators on how to recognize and react to possible cases.

Associated Press writer Philip Marcelo in Boston contributed to this report. Source: The Associated Press

SOTT FOCUS: Ukraine on verge of collapse as Kiev forces capitulate: U.S. 'catapults the propaganda' with another desperate 'Russian invasion' ploy

A new country is born: Novorossiya has won its war of independence from Ukraine

Remember when August was considered a 'slow-news month'? Neither do we! Hot on the heels of

last week's failed attempt to smear the Russian humanitarian aid convoy

as a 'Russian invasion of Ukraine', US-led hysteria reached fever-pitch yesterday when blanket media coverage once again shrieked 'Russian invasion of Ukraine!' Citing 'US intel' about Russian troop movements and Porky-shenko's alleged claim that Russian military had crossed into Ukraine, the US government called - via puppet state Lithuania - an emergency UN Security Council meeting to discuss the "thousands of Russian troops crossing into Ukraine". "10,000" Russian troops in a full-scale ground invasion became "1,000" Russian troops, which became

grainy satellite images of dubious quality

, which became USA's UN lobbyist for perpetual war, Samantha Power, posting tweets from the UNSC meeting that amounted to 'Russia is a poopy-head'.

The timing reflects the extent to which Kiev has lost military control of the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, now called Novorossiya, to say nothing of political influence over the people living there. As a result of this consolidating of the 'reality on the ground', the peace talks between Russia, the EU and other Eurasian partners in Minsk this week, and the upcoming EU Summit in Brussels and

NATO's Summit in Cardiff next week

, this latest volley of propaganda fired at Russia by the US empire-builders is a sign of their desperation to prevent the inevitable:

rapprochement and back-room deals between the EU and Russia


Aleksandr Zakharchenko

On August 7, Aleksandr Zakharchenko was made Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Donetsk People's Republic, replacing Alexander Borodai (now deputy PM). The man who assumed leadership of the Donbass Militia in April, unifying the rag-tag groups of fighters into a single fighting force, Igor Strelkov, has been replaced by Vladimir Kononov. The leadership in Lugansk has experienced a

similar shuffling

of personnel. Considering Strelkov's reputation in the region, this came as a shock to many, with rumors of his being

seriously wounded

in battle. (These rumors have been denied

by Novorossiyan sources

). But if recent events are any judge, the new leadership has signaled a turning point in the war of independence being fought in the Donbass.

As Zakharchenko and Kononov revealed at their

press conference

earlier this week (we recommend watching the whole thing, or at least reading the transcript), Donetsk have consolidated their militia into the official armed forces of the DPR, with two tank battalions, two full artillery brigades, two Grad divisions, one mechanized infantry battalion, three infantry brigades and a special purpose assault airborne brigade, including an upgraded communication system, two field hospitals and a maintenance brigade.

On Sunday 24th, they put these forces to use in Amvrosiyevka and Starobeshevo, capturing from Kiev's forces four armored carriers, three infantry fighting vehicles, three anti-tank guns, a self-propelled artillery gun, trucks and an ammunition depot.

According to the Donetsk army


During the counteroffensive, militias inflicted heavy losses on the Ukrainian troops. A total of 750 Ukrainian punitive troops were either killed or wounded. Over 150 Ukrainian troops have voluntarily surrendered to militias overnight.

The reinvigorated assault on Ukrainian troops prompted oligarch president Poro-stinko to

cancel his planned trip

to Turkey and call for an emergency national security council meeting in Kiev. Poroshenko knows that his government and their 'Anti-Terrorist Operation' (ATO) is hanging by a thread, as is his position as chief warlord in Ukraine. Just ask the people of Donbass what they'd like to tell "the Butcher":

This humiliating defeat comes on the heels of countless similar defeats. The anonymous hacker group CyberBerkut released data on August 16th, apparently from the Ukrainian army, showing that

Donetsk and Lugansk captured

"79 T-64 tanks, 94 infantry fighting vehicles, 57 armored personnel carriers and 24 Grad multiple launch rockets from June 20 to August 23 during the Ukrainian military's punitive operation." THIS is where the independence forces have acquired their weaponry: from Ukraine. Rather than admit their army is totally inept at fighting the people of Donetsk and Lugansk (preferring to fire Grad missiles from the outskirts of cities or to shell residential areas from military jets), Kiev has been spinning one line of bullshit after another. "It's the Russians!" they shriek. Nope, the Russians aren't shipping tanks and missiles across the border; Kiev is just getting its ass handed to them by the superior tactics of a determined and supremely motivated foe, despite Kiev's greater numbers and weapons. To repeat: there is absolutely

no evidence

that Russia is shipping arms across the border. Not even a blurry cell-phone photo.

© REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

The flag of Novorossiya (New Russia) on display in Lenin Square, Donetsk, July 13, 2014. The flag was chosen among many designs put to vote by citizens in Donetsk and Lugansk. Despite its remarkable similarity with the Southern U.S. Confederate States flag, its creators say it is based on St. Andrew's Cross and a historic Russian naval ensign.

Despite repeated denials by

OSCE border monitors

, President

Putrid-shenko's lies

play into the Western narrative, with NATO goon-in-chief

Anders Fogh Rasmussen

'confirming' Kiev's complete misrepresentation of facts on the ground, citing, "a major escalation in Russian military involvement in Eastern Ukraine since mid-August, including the use of Russian forces" (no evidence provided), Russian artillery support was used against the Ukrainian armed forces (no evidence provided), and "transfers of large quantities of advanced weapons, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, and artillery to separatist groups in Eastern Ukraine" (no evidence provided). The point needs to be stressed: Fogghy is asking the world to simply take his word for it.

The hubris and sheer audacity of Fogh (and other Foghers like him) is astounding. Just look at what they all said about the humanitarian aid convoy that Russia successfully delivered to residents in Lugansk, people without water electricity, and with very little food. (See Harrison Koehli's previous SOTT Focus:

Western propaganda exposed as Russian convoy 'invades' Ukraine with humanitarian aid


These guys are pathologically persistent, to say the least: they do not give up, no matter how many times their claims are shown to be complete and utter fabrications spun out of whole cloth, pulled out of the air with absolutely no regard for truth or decency. They literally have no shame. It makes our blood boil, but we shouldn't be surprised: psychopaths are pathological liars. They'll stick with the most bald-faced lies, even coming up with new ones when called out on old ones, no matter how many times their bullshit is exposed with facts and proofs to the contrary.

In a vivid illustration of the mendacity of empire, US Amb to the UN Samantha Power, while sitting in on yesterday's UNSC meeting, tweeted the image on top with the comment:

"A guide for Russian soldiers who keep getting lost & 'accidentally' entering Ukraine."

SOTT.net responded to her tweet with the image below, along with the following comment:

"A guide for the US military that keeps 'accidentally' launching illegal wars, invading, occupying and destroying sovereign countries"

All the while NATO continues

building up its forces

along the Russian border, planning for new bases and infrastructure in the Baltic and Eastern Europe, as well as the "pre-positioning" of supplies and equipment, ostensibly to "counter"


aggression. What's really going is this:

NATO is using the lie that Russia poses a threat to Europe in order to justify their own build-up of forces along Russia's border -- they're threatening Russia and claiming to be threatened themselves. NATO is violating the Cold War Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with drones and missiles, while accusing Russia of doing the same (again, with no evidence provided).

That said, on the topic of Russians in Novorossiya, as Zakharchenko said in his recent press conference:

If you think that Russia is sending its regular units here, then let me tell you something. If Russia was sending its regular troops, we wouldn't be talking about the battle of Elenovka here. We'd be talking about a battle of Kiev or a possible capture of Lvov.

Now there is a war on our soil for our territory. We have an influx of volunteers from all over the world. Of course, the Russian help would be very desirable, but from a political point of view it is impossible and unrealistic.

As he freely admits, yes, there are Russian


fighting alongside the DPR and LPR. That is no surprise, given the extent of historical, cultural, ethnic, religious, political and economic integration between Russia and Ukraine, but it's worlds apart from the Russian government actually sending troops and hardware across the border. Every conflict of this sort has its foreign advisers and volunteers, as Ukrainian army Colonel-General Vladimir Ruban

reminded Ukrainskaya Pravda

when confirming that there are no regular Russian forces in Ukraine.

The International Brigades and the rising fascist tide
They came to stand beside the Spanish people

To try and stem the rising fascist tide

Franco's allies were the powerful and wealthy

Frank Ryan's men came from the other side

~ Viva La Quinta Brigada , Christy Moore

People from all over Europe are volunteering to defend Novorossiya from Kiev's genocidal operation: from








, Italy, Canada, and Poland. They obviously are not being sent by their governments, and their governments cannot be held accountable for their choices. Here's what one of the French volunteers, a former paratrooper and veteran of NATO's war of occupation in Afghanistan had to say:

We support the geopolitical idea of European unity. We are both revolutionaries and traditionalists. We came to Donbass, where civilians are being killed by agents from Kiev. Those who are conducting this terrorist operation in Donbass are the henchmen of the international mafia oligarchs.

You should clearly understand it is the third world war going on. It started in Libya then moved to Syria and now to Donbass. We can see that Russia is one of a small number of countries that challenged and is almost single-handedly fighting international globalism. It is some kind of a Reconquista. We are here to help Russia in this fight.

Do you get paid?

No, we are not here to make money; no one pays us. Moreover, we paid quite a lot to get here.

Coal miners protesting in Donetsk on May 28, 2014 against Kiev's 'anti-terrorist operation'. Their support for - and recruitment in - the Donbass militias generated a huge swing in public support towards full independence from Ukraine.

The similarity to the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War against Franco is striking. Individuals of conscience traveled the globe to fight fascism in Spain just as they are fighting the neo-Nazis from Kiev today in Novorossiya. On the other side of the equation, sadistic mercenaries who have caught a whiff of the pathocratic stench emanating from Kiev are making their way to Ukraine to get a piece of the action, to play 'the most dangerous game',

hunting humans

for the sick pleasure it brings them. As Dr. Andrew Lobaczewski describes in his must-read book

Political Ponerology

, when psychopaths achieve power and create a pathocracy, it inevitably turns against its own people, and it creates stark polarities: the true psychopaths flock to zones of conflict, take off their masks, and engage in acts of animal brutality and sadism. By unleashing this psychopathic beast on the civilian population of Novorossiya, Kiev has crossed the line,

obliterating any chance it may have had

of compromising with the People's Republics.

Another feature of a pathocracy is this: the deliberate use of its troops as cannon fodder, not only to kill the regime's manufactured enemy (in this case, the "terrorists" of Donbass), but also to 'keep busy' and kill off potential rivals who might turn on the regime and remove them from power. There have been countless reports coming out of Ukraine and Novorossiya showing this to be the case: from the use of untrained recruits, minors and seniors, to the murder (by Kiev-aligned forces) of wounded troops, all of which add up to massive casualties, deliberately downplayed by Kiev and not officially reported. (See






.) Despite the high number of civilian casualties in Novorossiya, the number of dead Ukrainian troops is even higher. Kiev simply tells family members their son is "missing in action". The relatives of those men sent off to die for no good reason are starting to stand up, as you can see in the following video, with protests breaking out at military bases and in major cities like Ivano-Frankovsk, Nikolaev, Lvov and Zhitomir. Just watch the woman confronting the military commander in the street to get a feeling for the outrage stirring in what's left of Ukraine:

Kiev defeated, Novorossiyan independence in sight

This weekend

62 Ukrainian troops

crossed the border in Russia's Rostov region to escape the fighting. Over the last few months, over 500 Kiev troops have made this journey, seeking food, refuge and medical assistance. Kiev officially acknowledges at least

1,000 defections

from the army. Donetsk officials claim over 200 Kiev troops have surrendered in just the last two days. And Ukrainian soldiers say that 70 soldiers may die in a single day, yet officials report only three to four. This matches

a leaked document

("An Accounting of the Losses among the Ukrainian Military, the Militants and the Civilians in the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions for the period from July 9-15, 2014") signed by Arsen Avakov (Kiev Interior Minister) and V. Gritsak (Head of the ATO), from the head of the Ukrainian Security Service, V.O. Nalyvaichenko, to President Poroshenko. Officially, some 720 troops are said to have been killed in the operation so far, yet this document reports

1,600 dead in just one week of fighting


Ukraine document


  1. Killed in Action: 1600

  2. Wounded in Action: 4723

  3. Tanks: 35

  4. Armoured Battle Vehicles: 96

  5. Artillery: 38

  6. Aircraft: 7

  7. Helicopters: 2

  8. Automobiles: 104


  1. Killed in Action: 48

  2. Wounded in Action: 64

  3. Tanks: 2

  4. Armoured Battle Vehicles: 0

  5. Artillery: 5

  6. Automobiles: 8


  1. Killed: 496

  2. Wounded: 762

Putin has responded to the US-led clamor for Russia to "stop invading Ukraine" by

appealing to DNR and LNR forces

to create a "humanitarian corridor" for surrounded Kiev forces to travel safely to Russia:

"It is clear the militia has achieved a major success in intercepting Kiev's military operation, which represents a grave danger to the population of Donbass and which has already led to the loss of many lives among peaceful residents," the Russian leader said in a statement.

As a result of the militias' counter-offense, large numbers of Ukrainian troops - many of whom were taking part in Kiev's so-called anti-terrorist operation "against their will" and "just following orders" - have been surrounded, the President added.

"I call on the militia groups to open a humanitarian corridor for Ukrainian service members who have been surrounded, so as to avoid any needless loss of life, giving them the opportunity to leave the combat area unimpeded and reunite with their families, to return them to their mothers, wives and children, and to quickly provide medical assistance to those who were injured in the course of the military operation," Putin said.

In this one brief statement, Putin at once demonstrates that he - unlike his Western counterparts - is sane, merciful, human... and that the Donetsk and Lugansk forces have effectively won their war for independence, fair and square.

Kiev POWs are paraded through downtown Donetsk by the DNR as angry crowds let them know what they think of their deeds. The Western liberal establishment cried 'war crime!' in unison at this 'un-humanitarian' sight, while conveniently forgetting that NATO forces don't even bother with POWs... they just incinerate everyone from the air.

Goodbye Ukraine, Hello Novorossiya

Kiev is heading for a fall -- with

not enough gas

to heat the country this winter,

no economy

to speak of, losing the war in the east, dissent among the troops and their relatives at home. Today and yesterday saw the reanimation of

protest in the Maidan

, only this time people are demanding the resignation of President Poroshenko and his Junta. Don't expect to see any violence surrounding this particular Maidan protest though, there will be no masked men with molotov cocktails, no mysterious snipers shooting at both protestors and police, no ousting of Poroshenko, that only happens

when the US State Dept. is directing the drama


Forget federalization; 'Ukraine', as such, is collapsing. Russia suggested federalization way back in March, when the DNR and LNR held referenda on seceding from Ukraine. The time for that has come and gone. Kiev "crossed the red line" when it launched its ATO to bring about submission by force. A new country has been born in the fires of Western imperialism, only this time it is a result opposite to what was intended! In attacking Russia, Washington's intense efforts to project Western imperial cohesion is weakening - while Russia and Russian allies strengthen - by the day. If we invert what Samantha Power and the Washington Crazies are projecting onto Russia, we see that she is correct: the "mask is coming off"; the empire's mask is coming off to reveal - for ever larger numbers of people - the pathocratic nature of The Beast.

Papua New Guinea Mount Tavurvur volcano erupts

Mt Tavurvur eruption

© Emma Edwards

The ash cloud is spreading at heights of 60,000 feet.

Residents near an erupting volcano in Papua New Guinea are waiting to see if they need to evacuate, and a giant ash cloud is affecting some flights to and from Australia.

Mt Tavurvur, in East New Britain province, began erupting overnight. The volcano destroyed nearby Rabaul township in 1994, and residents fear a repeat,

PNGLoop reported


Authorities were still considering the situation.

The eruption, which began between around 3.30am local time,

caused explosions strong enough to rattle residents' windows.

Ash covered Rabaul and shops were closed, but otherwise life was continuing as normal, PNGLoop reported.

Satellite imagery showed the plume had reached a height of about 18 kilometres, indicating a significant eruption.

Commercial flights typically cruise at altitudes of between nine and 12 kilometres and the Bureau of Meteorology has issued an advisory to airlines indicating where the cloud is likely to spread.

Mt Tavurvur eruption 2

© Oliver Bluett

Tavurvur sends an ash cloud high into the sky.

"The initial low-level ash is moving northwards, but as it gets a bit higher it's likely to spread out both to the north and south along the western side of the volcano," said Craig Earl-Spurr, meteorologist at the bureau's Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre. The bureau will continue to monitor the plume as it dissipates.

Qantas will reroute some flights around the ash cloud.

"As a result of the volcanic ash cloud, QF21, QF22 and QF130 will reroute their flight path to fly around it," a spokeswoman said.

Flights QF21 and QF22 operate between Sydney and Tokyo, while QF130 is a flight from Shanghai to Sydney.

Virgin Australia had no flights scheduled to operate near the ash cloud, but the company will closely monitor the situation as it develops, a spokesman said.

The Rabaul caldera at the north-east end of New Britain, PNG, has a history of regular low-level eruptions. The Tavurvur volcano experienced eruptive activity in early March that generated ash plumes up to one kilometre high.

Volcanic ash can cause trouble for aircraft. In 1982, all four engines on a British Airways 747 bound for Australia flamed out when it flew through ash from an Indonesian volcano. Pilots descended to 12,000 feet and were able to restart the engines.

Kto Kogo?* "Who will triumph (over whom)?"

Comment: A prescient article by Ms. Williamson, with a good analysis of the conditions leading up to the Ukraine crisis.

Russia EU Ukraine cartoon

© David Granlund

The NATO Syndrome, the EU's Eastern Partnership Program, and the EAU

In 2009, Poland and Sweden, ever attentive to the US's geostrategic goals of isolating Russia and gaining control of China thereafter, initiated the Eastern Partnership program, which its sponsors said was intended to tighten ties with former Soviet Republics, such as Moldova, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Ukraine. A trade pact is a part of the Partnership's Association Agreement (AA) deal.

What the Russians saw in the EU initiative was a repeat of the "NATO Syndrome," in that what was promised would soon be betrayed, i.e. no NATO expansion in exchange for a Soviet agreement to the reunification of Germany.

To Russian eyes, NATO's 1999 expansion throughout Eastern Europe and the subsequent celebratory bombing campaign against Serbia, inaugurated just one month later, and the still later Albanian annexation of Serbia's heartland province of Kosovo, were altogether the Clinton Administration's triple-combo opening salvos in an American campaign to recreate the Versailles Treaty's cordon sanitaire. A

nd the 2009 Association Agreement is but a Trojan horse whose only practical purpose is to advance US and EU interests at the expense of the former Soviet republics' naïve hopes and Russian security.

Dangling the Association Agreement's implied - but not certain - right of eventual EU membership before the economically struggling former Soviet republics was but a means to beguile them into the EU orbit and thus US control with a future as NATO base hosts and IMF lab rats.


the terms of the AA

are examined, Russian skepticism is understandable. The 350 laws alone that Ukraine would be required to institute over a ten-year period at a cost of twice the nation's projected GNP in the same time period would overwhelm the struggling country, few of whose industrial and manufacturing products are either wanted or needed in the EU.

But whether or not Ukraine ever managed to fulfill EU conditions for membership would be of no importance to the U.S.

Once bound tight with IMF conditions and saddled with World Bank loans and perpetual debt, thereafter the west could leave the AA's signatories to rot in limbo for years while their territory, cheap labor and resources were put to other, alien purposes.

The Russians saw as well that both the countries of the former Soviet Union and Russia, sandwiched as they are between large geopolitical units (China and the EU,) are disadvantaged when negotiating trade treaties and other matters. Thus was born the idea of a new structure, the Eurasian Union (EAU), which began with the establishment of a Customs Union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in 2010. The Russian plan was to inaugurate the Eurasian Union in 2015 with the inclusion of Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine.

It is the Russian EAU initiative which is said to be Putin's ham-fisted attempt to re-establish the Soviet empire, and not the plan of a man who accepts the world's current political configuration and is attempting to place his country within that configuration as advantageously as possible. It's been a hard sell.

Without Ukraine, a Eurasian Union is at risk of never coalescing usefully, leaving the former republics and Russia vulnerable to neocon and globalist raids and incursions, possibly under cover of staged terrorist events. In effect, the consequences might not be dissimilar from the days when Russian princes were run ragged repelling Tartar incursions from the south or the east, only having to turn and race westerly to beat back Lithuanian or Polish brigands.

By the week of the EU's Eastern Partnership's signing debut at the end of November 2013, Vladimir Putin had told Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich that he could continue flirting with the EU, if he wished. But if Ukraine wanted a trade agreement with Russia, with whom the lion's share of Ukraine's trade

actually occurs,

$15 billion in the coming year, cut-rate gas prices, industrial co-operation projects, and possible further credits, the country would agree to the EAU. Compared to the $200 million the EU offered out of a total of $799 million for all eight targeted Association Agreement signers and a certain decade in EU cold storage while the country underwent an IMF-directed mauling, Yanukovich made the prudent choice.

When the Ukrainian president informed the EU that Ukraine's participation in the AA would require further discussion, a reasonable position considering the AA as drafted, and that the country had agreed to the join the EAU, thousands of misguided and confused protestors appeared in the Maidan. Once the terms of the Russian offer were made public, the protests began petering out.

But in both the Russians' EAU game plan and that of the US's effort to sabotage the EAU, Ukraine is key. Protest crowds on the Maidan began to grow again amid reports that many in the crowd were working for a daily wage. Whether paid or unpaid, bussed in from Moldova or fresh off the Kiev city tram, it's certain Ukrainians were not demonstrating for the establishment of NATO bases or IMF agreements, a number of which have already floundered and failed.

Recent events are not the first time the US has used Ukraine in an attempt to displace Russia as a significant power by piercing its sphere of influence.

In 2004, Putin and then Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich had begun to tackle the politicized supply structure Stalin created to make permanent the Soviet Union. By changing national borders and spreading key industrial components over two or more republics, Stalin bound the Soviet empire together. When the 15 constituent republics that made up the Soviet Union became independent nations in 1992, this cross-border supply structure created havoc.

Mighty Soviet aluminum smelters were located in Siberia, but supplies of bauxite were to be had only in Ukraine. A component an electronics manufacturer in Kharkiv needed could only be obtained from a manufacturer in Vilnius. Multiplying the complications for obtaining key inputs throughout the industrial and manufacturing sectors of 15 nascent and bankrupt governments gives a fuller understanding of why the former republics have failed to successfully restructure their national economies.

Putin's and Yanukovich's initial efforts were beneficial, particularly to eastern Ukraine, in which the republic's industrial sector is concentrated. In 2004, Ukraine experienced a 12% increase in GNP, and the national currency, the hryvnia, enjoyed a modest appreciation.

The US-sponsored 2004 Orange Revolution put paid to the Putin-Yanukovich initiatives, and the Ukrainian cycle of state officials' theft and oligarchical favoritism began anew under US-presidential pick Viktor Yushchenko, a recent tradition of sorts which Yanukovich was eager to honor, as well.

Fast forward to 21 February 2014, the day of the Yanukovich government's violent ouster. Earlier that day, Germany, France and Poland had brokered a compromise agreement between the elected Ukrainian government and the protestors' spokesmen. Having already agreed and executed much of the protestors' agenda, the pre-2004 Ukrainian constitution was to be restored and Yanukovich, in turn, would stay in the diminished office of the presidency until new elections could be organized.

Within 12 hours of the agreement's signing, dozens of corpses of demonstrators and police killed by sniper fire were reported in the Maidan. On Saturday, in an un-constitutional procedure the Ukrainian parliament impeached Yanukovich, who then fled to Russia in fear of his life.

Comment: And here we saw the hand of the Imperial West, sending another CIA-directed 'people's revolution' task-force to stir things up on the Maiden.

The Russian Foreign Ministry

Russian Foreign Ministry observed

that the Friday agreement was used "with the tacit consent of its external sponsors" as a "cover to promote the script of a forced change of power in Ukraine." In other words, the Russians smelled a high-stakes trick.

Now that the

Ashton-Paet tape

has leaked, and despite its being obediently ignored by the mainstream media, one wonders what other actions the west may have known about, but left unremarked on that Friday. Did the EU negotiators know that the opposition they were then championing in accordance with US preferences had possibly directed snipers into the Maidan to murder demonstrators and policemen alike?

Russian warnings to the US and the EU about the rough crowd in Kiev they'd taken up with were ignored. An arrogant Washington, in accord with a famous Leninism regarding the expediency of temporary alliances, sees no problem. Once Ukrainian hotheads and thugs have been bled of all possible utility, they will be eliminated. Think Egypt.

In response to the coup, Moscow swiftly drew a red line so bright it might as well have been flashing in neon: within a day of Yanukovich's shambolic impeachment 150,000 Russian soldiers were engaged in military exercises not so very far from Russia's border with eastern Ukraine, almost overnight Crimea was under Russian military control, a bottled-up Ukrainian navy was registering little alarm at their predicament, and further payments on the remaining $12 billion of the $15 billion cash infusion and cut-rate prices for Russian gas Putin had earlier agreed with the overturned Yanukovich government were shelved.

What the US and the EU immediately claimed was a Russian invasion of Ukraine was a long term leaseholder's defense of its property right. Even with 16,000 troops in Ukraine,

Russia is not in violation of the terms of its lease on the Sevastopol naval base.

The lease, a treaty in fact, permits the stationing and multiple movements on Crimean territory of as many as 25,000 Russian troops.

The west's claim of a Russian invasion of Crimea is intended to support Ukrainian control of the Kerch Strait, a waterway at the northern end of the Black Sea which separates Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula from the coast of Southern Russia and is one of Ukraine's three potentially oil-producing provinces. Gas reserves lie offshore of the peninsula.

The US believes Ukraine's long term needs for energy and income can be satisfied by cutting deals with Big Oil to drill for oil and gas, which can then be shipped through Ukrainian pipelines to the EU, and Europe's dependence on Russian gas a forgotten inconvenience.

Complicating western media scripts, the Crimean parliament voted on 6 March to rejoin the Russian Federation. A public referendum on Sunday, 16 March, confirmed the parliament's earlier vote and the 96.7% of the electorate that voted its approval tallies with a 93.2% approval when the same question was put to the electorate in a 1991 referendum. In the run-up to the recent public vote, 1000s-strong pro-Russian demonstrations erupted in the eastern Ukrainian cities of Donetsk and Lugansk at which possibly western mercenaries hired by wealthy Ukrainian oligarchs played the role of spoilers.

Without foreign largesse, the new Ukrainian coup government can't even pay the nation's light bill much less a single Ukrainian soldier's combat pay.

In fact, the cost of tidying up a Ukraine that has been criminally misgoverned for over two decades in order to accommodate EU standards and procedures is in the neighborhood of a $200 billion, years-long taxpayer liability.

To date, the US has pledged $1 billion and the EU is planning a $1.5 billion emergency transfer to tide the coup government over prior to an IMF agreement and all before the 25 May elections. Within a week of their elevation-by-mob, interim government leaders embarked on a palms-out Grande Tour of sorts. A combined sum of $35 billion in promised IMF loans is now the west's opening bid.

US policy achievements on behalf of American taxpayers for their $5 billion investment to date: State Department-approved Ukrainian coup government officials have asked for money to finance an "independent Ukraine," the US and the EU have offered up a promise of $35 billion to insure an "independent Ukraine," and an "independent Ukraine" has agreed to take the money.

Where are the

Pravy Sektor

defaulters when you need them? Hmm?

Over the horizon lies a propaganda campaign devoted to browbeating at least some of the Ukrainians' requested billions from Russia's earlier deal with the Yanukovich government on what will be said to be a "humanitarian" basis. Rather like the ancient practice of the condemned paying the executioner's fee, it will be an effort to maneuver Russia into paying the initial costs of Ukraine's first steps towards EU membership.

When the Ukrainian people understand that the price for daydreams of strolling the Champs d'Elysées with a pocketful of euros is an IMF restructuring that entails the devaluation of the hryvnia, cuts in pensions, benefits and salaries to state employees, raising of the retirement age, the removal of subsidies to coal and other underperforming industries, the growth of natural gas prices, and other toxic rules and conditions that will translate into a life harder and colder than it now is, more turmoil is guaranteed.

Turmoil is the very aim of contemporary US statecraft.

In the "divide and rule" political schemata of empire, US blunders are but new opportunities to tighten the screws on what the US policymakers regard not as nations, but as subject territories.

What is extraordinary is that EU officials are persisting in the attempt to squeeze agreement with the IMF and to the Eastern Partnership from Ukraine's coup government prior to the 25 May elections, and thereby secure their agents' permanent presence in the country as a thing done. The EU rush speaks to the insincerity and weakness of any substantial EU commitment to aid Ukraine or her people.

The Russians' refusal to recognize the coup government is correct; doing so would only work to support the inevitable US effort to trade a Ukrainian agreement to the AA to Russia in return for Ukraine's acceptance of the loss of Crimea.

In the wake of the Crimean referendum, a hysterical western and specifically US-aligned media has been shouting warnings of a sudden Russian grab for eastern Ukraine. Stalin could have written the script - for the Americans, who without any foreign influence whatsoever long ago established their own history of

provoking attacks.

Confused overnight media reports

of the death of a Ukrainian soldier

in Crimea, which imply that Russian troops are responsible, but which locals say was a tragic consequence of a dust-up with Crimean self-defense forces and an unknown sniper, are indicative of the Russians' concern that the west will create the evidence that compels Putin to make good his promises of protection of Russians in western Ukraine.

Comment: Putin has shown himself to be a wily strategist. In the months since this was written, he has refused to be baited into any sort of lethal confrontation. Instead he has shown himself to be a true humanitarian, sending tons of aid to besieged areas of Ukraine and pleading with the local militias for safe passage for Ukrainian soldiers who want to return to Kiev. He has also offered asylum to fighters wishing to stay in Russia, if they lay down arms. It's a sure bet there are many takers.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russian support

for an OSCE observer mission

in Ukraine is based on the need "of preventing provocations by ultranationalist and radical forces against Russian speakers and our compatriots in southeastern Ukraine and other regions."

Contrary to western media's repeated provocations, Russia has no interest in a divided Ukraine. A divided country would only open Russia to endless enmity from western Ukrainians, and ongoing cross-border violence. A division would be a tragedy for western Ukraine, which would bring increased economic misery and leave the country subject to a possible Polish annexation.

In truth, US scheming and bellicosity in Ukraine have only worked to drag the world back to the tired rhetoric of

the cold war

and to that era's nuclear dangers and destructive tit-for-tat policies of economic sanctions, asset freezes, and boycotts. The only bit of "new" is the threat of kicking Russia out of the irrelevant G-8's treehouse.

The experience is rather like watching dinosaurs crashing about in a Steven Spielberg film.

The world is de-centralizing, and neither the rapidly changing times nor the world's finances favor out-of-date multinational organizations, run-a-muck central banks, or rolling superpower seditions and military aggressions.

If so, then what explains Germany's support of the US lead? Since Russia supplies a third of the gas for Germany's economy, risking Russia's alienation seems unwise.


cat western media

doesn't let out of the bag is the fact that Germany has a full tank of gas, and there's plenty more from where that came from.

Gazprom's Baltic Sea 'Nord Stream' project is complete and is now transporting Russian gas to Germany through a pipeline that transverses the bottom of the Baltic Sea, and the pipe's capacity is double the amount of gas Germany purchased from Russia in 2012. Since 2005, the chairman of the supervisory board of the management company of Nord Stream is Gerhard Shröder, the former German chancellor.

Gazprom in conjunction with Italy, France and Germany is building a second pipe, South Stream. The former SPD mayor of Hamburg, Henning Voscherau, plays the same supervisory role at South Stream Transport AG as Shröder does at Nord Stream.

Interestingly, the

Financial Times

reported that

the City's

skittishness in the wake of John Kerry's idiotic ultimatum to Putin to renounce in advance the results of the referendum in Crimea put 'half a dozen live deals to fund some of Russia's biggest companies" in limbo." But

the FT article

highlighted one deal that was not put in limbo: "South Stream announced that it had signed a contract worth about EUR2 billion with Saipem of Italy to build the offshore stretch of the route under the Black Sea from Russia to Bulgaria. Construction is scheduled to start in June."

Gazprom CEO

Alexei Miller has been quoted

as saying that the two projects in combination with the already-existing Belorussian "Beltansgaz" pipe would turn Ukraine's network of gas pipelines and biggest strategic asset into "scrap."

In other words, Germany's verbal support for the west's initiatives costs Germany exactly nothing. Any actions beyond the symbolic would cost Germany. Therefore, there will be no EU sanctions of consequence. Even were Germany on side for a US-decreed suicide mission, twenty-eight nations' governments are not going to agree to economic policies that will take the cost out of their own hides. In other words, no State Department neo-con princess is going to

''F**k the EU."

Wrong here. Washington was able to bully Merkel and other EU members into imposing sanctions that are

costing them dearly

due to Russia's


. Wishful thinking will get you every time.

With the Nord and South stream projects in hand, Germany, which has prospered mightily from the euro, but whose taxpayers are weary of bankrolling the sinking Mediterranean countries' loans made by the prosperous north's banks, has positioned itself remarkably well; in an EU financial pile-up, exiting the EU wouldn't amount to much more than a fender bender.

Now that west has adopted Bolshevik political tools, the Russians ought to keep turning the tables and counter with what the west advocates only with words, i.e. freedom and economic competition.

Comment: Which Putin has done brilliantly.

An EAU based on free trade in which there are no tariffs, no quotas, and no favoritism by or for any member and which allowed for associate members would put the Soviet boogieman back in the closet. A free trade pact would allow Russia and the former republics to reap the benefits of the

spontaneous order

that the world's people are building daily on the internet without any state's direction or even much of an awareness of what they are doing.

There would be costs to Russia for such an arrangement, and a subsidized energy program for certain former republics would have to be included initially, (and would be difficult to retire when no longer needed.) But those initial costs would be less than the long term ones of state-managed trade agreements at which literally thousands of government lawyers and bureaucrats labor continually in order to first design and then police the treaties, which protect and favor individual nation's corporate

political funders

at consumers' expense.

An unhindered market-driven trade block would quickly rationalize the last vestiges of Stalin's cross-border supply system at no cost to the Kremlin. Endemic corruption would diminish since no bribes need be paid for permissions no longer required. Overall, commerce and enterprise would be favored throughout the EAU.

A trade apparatus in which competing private entities provide reliable and efficient transport, short and intermediate term trade finance, goods insurance, and rapid dispute resolution in private courts would work to swell EAU membership rolls. An EAU supportive of co-operative and unfettered trade would draw foreign investment, and new applicants for membership both within and outside of the


(Commonwealth of Independent States).

Would Russia ever initiate such a system?

The Russian love of everything big rather than the small and the quick argues against. An unfortunate predilection towards monopoly, a modern manifestation of the legacy of the


structure of property rights established in the ancient Kievian state of 'Rus, also posits a no. Ditto the exhaustively detailed agreements covering every right and every duty between contracting parties. These elements all boil down to, for instance, Gazprom's cultural and business preference for signing a single, complex, multi-year contract with Germany's Ruhrgas, and not many agreements with a plethora of independent suppliers.

Still, the west would be wrong to write off the possibility of having to compete with a lean and mean EAU trade block. Russia has demonstrated a capability for surprise.

After all, who would have thought in 2001 that the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, would liberate the greatest number of people on the planet?

"Say what!?" you ask.

If any reader knows of another leader of a major power, who instituted a flat tax of

13% or less


and thereby liberated his people from the necessity of burdensome record keeping and government tracking, while eliminating from households' budgets the grievous costs of accountants, tax lawyers, offshore scams, and sparing everyday life the social costs inherent in a society riven by the divisiveness that comes of progressive taxation

, then, dear reader, please do email me that name.


*Kto kogo? was one of Vladimir Lenin's favorite expressions. Literally, the phrase means "Who of whom," and is perhaps best translated as "Who will triumph (over whom)?" The 'g' in kogo is pronounced as a 'v'.

Aggressive dolphin tried to push swimmer underwater off the coast of Ireland

Smiling assassin? A bottlenose dolphin is said to have deliberately pushed a man under water who was swimming in the sea in County Cork, Ireland. A local group said: 'Do not confuse the shape of their jawline with a smile. They can cause serious injury to humans and have killed in the past.' A stock image is pictured

With their friendly faces and playful natures, it may seem that wild dolphins are always friendly.

But a bottlenose dolphin has been reported to have deliberately pushed a man underwater while he was swimming in the sea off County Cork, in the Republic of Ireland. The animal is said to have 'lashed out' at the swimmer twice with its tail

, prompting experts to warn swimmers to keep out of the water near the large predators.

The incident occurred on July 26 off Sherkin Ireland, according to a report made to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) which stated that the animal acted 'aggressively'.

Known as Clet, the adult bottlenose dolphin is thought to have come to the area from France, after spending time off the coasts of South Devon, Cornwall and Wales.

The IWDG said that Clet is a non-social solitary dolphin who does not seek out and engage with swimmers.

The group's log book reads: 'We are aware of a report of an adult swimmer nearby in wetsuit and mask, from a yacht at anchor,

being aggressively pushed underwater by the dolphin.

They got a bit of a shock as a result.'

The IWDG has now warned swimmers to exercise 'extreme caution' when attempting to interact with the powerful creatures and to respect the space of 'this very large, apex predator'.

'IWDG's advice is not to get into the water with it, and to enjoy the animal from the safety of the shore or from one of the local whale watch boats or licenced ferries.'

'Bottlenose dolphins are not cute and cuddly, they are not our "friends" and nor do they benefit in any meaningful or long term way from interacting with humans.'

Clet has been observed swimming close to boats in the area, but experts claim that he is solitary and does not enjoy contact with humans.

The incident happened on July 26 off Sherkin Ireland (pictured on the map), according to a report made to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, which stated that the animal acted 'aggressively'

The group told swimmers: 'Do not confuse the shape of their jawline with a smile. They can and do cause serious injury to humans and have killed in the past.'

It is not known exactly why dolphins attack humans or large animals like porpoises as, unlike sharks, they do not eat their victim.

An expert from the IWDG told


News that it is impossible to known if the dolphin was deliberately attacking the man, or if it was trying to play with him.

Dolphins often engage in rough play, holding each other down and giving chase, so it is possible that the dolphin was playing, but some dolphin experts claim that the creatures sometimes attack humans when they are feeling amorous.

Bottlenose dolphins can display violent mating practices where they act in groups to chase and mate with a female of their own species over weeks, whether she is interested or not.

Male dolphins are also known to fight and kill rivals and offspring, suggesting they could also turn on humans mistakenly.

Trevor Spradlin, a U.S. Federal dolphin expert told

The New York Times

that dozens of bites to humans have been reported and people have been pulled under the water by bottlenose dolphins, which can measure 12ft (3.7 metres) long and have sharp teeth to tear fish and squid.

Clet the dolphin (not pictured) is said to have 'lashed out' at the swimmer twice with its tail, prompting experts to warn swimmers to keep out of the water. Experts say it is impossible to tell if the animal was playing or deliberately attacking someone

He said: 'A woman who fed a pair of dolphins and then jumped into the water to swim with them was bitten. ''I literally ripped my left leg out of its mouth,'' she said during her one-week stay in the hospital'.

Just last summer, two women were taken to hospitals with injuries after they were attacked by a female dolphin known as Dusty, off the coast of County Clare and there have been frequent reports of the animals attacking porpoises in harbours.

'Such interactions between bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoises are invariably aggressive and routinely result in the death of the porpoise, by blunt traumas from ramming, which can result in serious internal injuries,' the IWDG said.

'They [the interactions] are likely to be a common occurrence in all Irish inshore waters, where the ranges of these two coastal species overlap.'

Clet has been spotted ramming a porpoise and the group said it is 'another good reason why 'people should not swim with him or any "solitary" bottlenose dolphin....they are wild animals that should be respected as such'.

A dramatic rise in killer attacks by dolphins on porpoises (shown) is baffling scientists in one of Britain's main breeding seas. The calm waters of Cardigan Bay have been turned red in recent weeks by bottlenose dolphins killing smaller porpoises during deadly clashes


A dramatic rise in killer attacks by dolphins on porpoises is baffling scientists in one of Britain's main breeding seas.

The calm waters of Cardigan Bay in Wales turned red in July as bottlenose dolphins killed smaller porpoises.

Marine scientists are struggling to understand why the attacks have been on the rise - with three out of the four attacks proving fatal.

Researchers at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre (CBMWC) said they have always known dolphins attack porpoises, but that the frequency of recent attacks is alarming.

Experts have reported stranded porpoises, and floating bodies with punctured lungs and other internal injuries, inflicted by dolphins.

People have witnessed bottlenose dolphins repeatedly forcing porpoises under water, bashing them and throwing them in the air.

Cardigan Bay is home to Europe's largest resident population of dolphins - who share the sheltered waters with smaller harbour porpoises.

Scientist Sarah Perry said she had been left baffled by the recent spate of deadly attacks.

'One possibility is that they see the porpoises as competitors for food, especially if there's a shortage of prey in the area,' she said.

'Although porpoises normally go for smaller prey, dolphins will eat anything. However there's been no other indication recently of any shortage.'

Another theory is that a low number of females is prompting the attacks by males.

Male dolphins have been known to kill young dolphins in order to mate with the calf's mother. Porpoises are similar in size to a dolphin calf.

'After' Great Recession - Americans are unhappy, worried, pessimistic

from phys.org

Unemployed workers signing up for benefits.

The protracted and uneven recovery from the Great Recession has led most Americans to conclude that the U.S. economy has undergone a permanent change for the worse, according to a new national study at Rutgers.

Seven in 10 now say the recession's impact is permanent

, up from half in 2009 when the recession officially ended, according to the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. Among key findings in "Unhappy, Worried and Pessimistic: Americans in the Aftermath of the Great Recession," the center's latest Work Trends report, are:

  • Despite sustained job growth and lower levels of employment, most Americans do not think the economy has improved in the last year or that it will in the next.

  • Just one in six Americans believe that job opportunities for the next generation will be better than for theirs; five years ago, four in 10 held that view.

  • Roughly four in five Americans have little or no confidence that the federal government will make progress on the nation's most important problems over the next year.

Much of the pessimism is rooted in direct experience, according to Heldrich Center Director and Professor Carl Van Horn, co-author of the report.


Fully one-quarter of the public says there has been a major decline in their quality of life owing to the recession, and 42 percent say they have less in salary and savings than when the recession began

," Van Horn said. "Despite five years of recovery, sustained job growth and reductions in the number of unemployed workers,

Americans are not convinced the economy is improving

. He added that only one in three thinks the U.S. economy has gotten better in the last year, one-quarter thinks it will improve next year and just one in six believe that

job opportunities

will be better for the next generation of American workers, down from four in 10 five years ago. The Heldrich Center conducted its survey between July 24 and Aug. 3 with a nationally representative sample of 1,153 Americans. The Work Trends analysis summarizes the effects of the Great Recession by classifying Americans into one of five categories based on how much impact the recession had on their quality of life and whether the change was temporary or permanent. It reveals that:

  • 16 percent of the public, or 38 million people, were "devastated" because they experienced a "major, permanent" change in the quality of their life

  • 19 percent, or 46 million, were "downsized" due to "permanent but minor" changes in standards of living

  • 10 percent, or 24 million were "set back," experiencing "major, but temporary" changes in their quality of life

  • 22 percent, or 53 million, were "troubled" by the recession and endured only a "minor and temporary" change

  • Only one in three of the nation's 240 million adults reported that they were completely "unscathed" by the recession.

Professor Cliff Zukin, co-director of the Work Trends surveys with Van Horn, said, "Looking at the aftermath of the recession, it is clear that the American landscape has been significantly rearranged. With the passage of time, the public has become convinced that they are at a new normal of a lower, poorer quality of life. The human cost is truly staggering."

Characteristics of the American worker

The public paints an extremely negative picture of the American worker as unhappy, underpaid, highly stressed, and insecure about their jobs. Asked to describe the typical American worker, using a list of a dozen words or phrases, just 14 percent checked off happy at work and only 18 percent believe they are well paid. Two-thirds say that American workers are "not secure in their jobs" and "highly stressed." Just one in five say the average American worker is well educated or innovative; just one in three checked off ambitious or highly skilled. And perhaps the most surprising, just one in three checked off that the average American worker is "better than workers in other countries."

Financial and long-term effects

One of the reasons the public does not see the economy as having gotten better is that many remain under tremendous financial stress. Six in 10 Americans describe their financial condition negatively as only fair (40 percent) or poor (19 percent). One-third report being in good shape; just 7 percent describe themselves as being in excellent financial health. Many report significant losses in the Great Recession. Just 30 percent say they have more in salary and savings than they did before the recession started, less than a third have the same, leaving 42 percent who report having less today than five years ago.

Americans view the


as causing fundamental and lasting changes in a number of areas of economic and social life. Three in five believe the ability of young people to afford college will not return to prerecession levels, which is significant given the role that education has historically played as a key to upward mobility. Other fundamental areas where a large segment of the public sees permanent changes are: job security (53 percent), the elderly having to find part-time work after retiring (51 percent) and workers having to take jobs below their skill level (44 percent).

Pessimistic about the Future

Americans are also pessimistic about the future. Only a quarter think economic conditions in the United States will get better in the next year, and just 40 percent believe their family's finances will get better over the next year. Consequently, most do not see themselves getting back to where they were any time soon.

"Despite nearly five years of job growth and declining unemployment levels, Americans remain skeptical that the economy has improved and doubt that it will improve any time soon," said Van Horn. "The slow, uneven, and painful recovery left Americans deeply pessimistic about the economy, their personal finances, and prospects for the next generation."

The report found the public sharply critical of Washington policymakers

. More disapprove than approve of the job President Obama is doing by a margin of 46 percent to 54 percent. Even fewer approve of the job Congress is doing - 14 percent. A plurality of 43 percent say they trust neither the president nor Congress to handle the economy. Finally, should Republicans win control of Congress in November, only 26 percent say this will help lower the unemployment rate. Thirty percent say this would make unemployment worse while 44 percent say it would make no difference.

Transition to EU trade standards will cost Ukraine €165bn

© RIA Novosti / Alexey Druzhinin

Russia's President Vladimir Putin

Switching over to EU trade standards and nixing duty-free trade with Russia will cost Ukraine €165 billion over the next 10 years, President Putin warned at a meeting with President Petro Poroshenko in Minsk on Tuesday.

Russia will be forced to cancel all preferential trade agreements for Ukraine's imports and switch to a standard regime when it ratifies its EU trade association agreement in September

, the President said.

"In full accordance with the terms of agreement with the CIS free trade zone and WTO standards,


e will be forced to cancel preferential imports from Ukraine," Putin said.

Russia will cancel its duty-free relationship with Ukraine, which will lead to import tariffs of up to 8 percent affecting 98 percent of commodities.

Russia insists it needs to protect domestic markets from the flood of European goods on the Ukrainian market, which will in turn make Ukrainian goods less competitive. If the trade corridor of Ukraine is left wide open, Russian, Belarusian, and Kazakh products are at risk.

In response, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that he would like to establish a monitoring group to assess the actual damage of Ukraine's association with the EU.

"Today we can agree to set up a monitoring group that will assess real and not hypothetical potential damage," said Poroshenko. "After this damage is calculated we can put in protection mechanisms."

Moscow has warned Kiev that signing the Association Agreement (AA) with the EU would be economic suicide , and Moscow is also poised to suffer a €2 billion blow

, according to Putin.


Entire sectors of industry and agriculture business will be hugely impacted, and there will be negative implications on the pace of economic growth and employment

," the Russian President said.

Losses will not only be absorbed by Russia, but also by Customs Union members Belarus and Kazakhstan, he added.

The Minsk talks are the first meeting between Putin and Poroshenko since early June when the two informally


on the sidelines of the World War II commemoration ceremony in Normandy.

© RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin

Rally by supporters of Ukraine's European integration on Independence Square in Kiev

Controversy over Association Agreement

The AA sits at the heart of the Ukrainian conflict, as people first began protesting in Maidan Square in Kiev after the then - President Viktor Yanukovich decided against signing the deal.

However, in June the new Kiev government


the economic part of the Association Agreement, about a month after Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan


their Eurasian Economic Union on May 29 in Minsk. President Poroshenko said the EU association document will be ratified in September.

Ukraine has strong economic ties with both the EU and Russia, which is why it wants to forge trade relations with both the European Union and the Russian-led Eurasian Union. It is Europe's second largest country by landmass, has a $176 billion economy, and a population of 45 million.

The perceived threat is that EU goods will illegally make their way to Russia via Ukraine. Russia has an agreement with Belarus to deter such smuggling, but not with Ukraine.


Even within the Customs Union, EU goods banned from entering the Russian Federation are now being delivered to us, in this case, unfortunately through Belarus

," Putin said.


We are looking at the country of origin - Belarus. A sticker torn away saying Poland.


Russia-Ukraine economic standoff



alcohol imports from Ukraine shortly after it


the import ban on agricultural products from the EU, US, Canada, Norway, and Australia.

Ukraine's Parliament has also moved closer towards sanctions,


a law that would allow sanctions against Russia, and most importantly, halt Russian energy imports through Ukraine.

Energy is a large wedge between Moscow-Kiev relations. In June, Gazprom Russia's national gas company


it was stopping deliveries to Ukraine after chronic late payment and an unpaid bill of

over $5 billion


Ukraine imports nearly 50 percent of its gas from Russia, which in 2013 amounted to 27.7 billion cubic meters. If Ukraine cut off Russian gas transit, it would hit Europe, which sources 15 percent of its energy from Russia.

Big surprise: Americans' strongly negative views of Obama significantly outweigh the strongly positive


© REUTERS Kevin Lamarque

Americans are more than twice as likely to say they "strongly disapprove" (39%) of President Barack Obama's job performance as they are to say they "strongly approve"

(17%). The percentage of Americans who strongly disapprove of Obama has increased over time, while the percentage who strongly approve has dropped by almost half.

In the first year of Obama's presidency, the percentages of Americans who had strong views about the job he was doing were essentially tied, but

the strongly negative responses now significantly outweigh the strongly positive one

s. The largest segment of Americans today, 39%, strongly disapprove of Obama's job performance, while 14% moderately disapprove. Another 27% moderately approve, while 17% strongly approve.

Strong disapproval of the president's job performance has been within 30% to 39% the four times Gallup has asked the question -- in 2009, 2010, 2011, and now this year -- but has risen by five percentage points since 2011, and by nine points since the first month Obama was in office. At the same time,

strong approval has fallen by nine points in the last three years, and by 15 points since January 2009.
obama approval rating

The overall changes reflect larger shifts in opinion within the president's own Democratic base, as well as among Republicans, whose already widespread strong disapproval of Obama has expanded.

Three in Four Republicans Strongly Disapprove of Obama's Job Performance

Since 2009, a majority of Republicans have strongly disapproved of Obama's performance, ranging between 58% and 75%. Gallup has not asked this intensity question frequently, but in its recent Aug. 7-10 poll, this percentage jumped 13 points from the January 2011 measure, suggesting that extreme dissatisfaction among the president's opposing party is higher than it has ever been.

Notably, Republicans are even more likely to say they strongly disapprove of Obama now than in 2010, a year when a tide of anti-Obama sentiments led to major Democratic losses in the House and Senate in that year's midterm election. Part of that increase may be attributable to the passage of time, in that Republicans are simply more solid in their views of Obama six years into his presidency than two years in. But those strong negative views of Obama could boost Republican turnout this fall when the Democratic majority in the Senate is in peril.

Though Republicans who moderately or strongly approve of Obama have always been in the minority, a sizable one in five (21%) approved of the president in 2009. Today, however, this percentage is less than half of what it was then, with only 9% of Republicans saying they approve -- moderately or strongly -- of Obama's performance.

obama approval republicans

Enthusiastic Support for Obama Among Democrats Wanes Democrats are also less likely to approve of Obama now than during his honeymoon period in 2009

(78% vs. 88%, respectively). Additionally, whereas Democrats were nearly three times as likely to strongly approve as moderately approve of Obama in 2009, the ratio is now about 1-to-1.

Margin Widens Between Independents' Strong Approval, Disapproval

Compared with Democrats and Republicans, independents have been more consistent in the intensity of their views of Obama, particularly among independents who disapprove of the president. Currently, 39% of independents say they strongly disapprove of Obama's performance -- a slight increase from the 2009 through 2011 polls, when one in three (33% to 34%) said the same.

In previous years, one in five or more independents (19% to 23%) strongly approved of the president's performance. In 2014, however, the percentage of independents who strongly approve has shrunken to 11%.

independents obama rating

Bottom Line

It remains to be seen whether strong disapproval of Obama's performance will continue to grow during his final two years in office, or if it will ease once the heightened partisanship that midterms can bring ends, and the 2016 election season begins.

Clearly, the trajectory in his overall ratings will determine much of that. But if Americans' overall opinion of him grows more positive, his strong disapproval numbers may fall. More generally, the intensity of opinions about the president could affect both the forthcoming midterm election and the presidential election of 2016.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Aug. 7-10, 2014, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 1,032 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, and cellphone mostly). Demographic weighting targets are based on the most recent Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the most recent National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the most recent U.S. census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit