Washington and Moscow pulling strings to hold Ukraine combatants back from brink of civil war

The US and Russia, while trading the blame for pushing Ukraine to the brink of civil war, are nonetheless tugging at the leashes of the two players in the field, each jockeying for advantage in the quadrilateral meeting of senior US, Russian, European, Ukrainian and UN officials scheduled to take place in Geneva Thursday, April 17, debkafile’s military and intelligence sources report.

Expectations of fruitful results from the meeting are low. But the fact that all the parties are talking offers Ukraine its last hope of escaping a bloody civil war. To this end, too, late-night phone calls are being exchanged among Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel. Continue reading

Official Government Vocative

BERLIN/KIEV (Own report) – A prominent German jurist has sharply criticized the German government’s anti-Russian declarations concerning the Crimea Crisis. As Reinhard Merkel, a law professor at the University of Hamburg, explains, the allegation of Russia having “annexed” the Crimea or having made a “land grab” must be unambiguously refuted. These allegations are not only false, from the standpoint of international law; they are also extremely dangerous, because annexation usually engenders war as a response. Merkel explicitly advocates being very skeptical of “official government vocatives insisted on from Berlin to Washington” concerning the Crimea Crisis. Simultaneously, the situation in Ukraine has further escalated. The government that illegally seized power has begun a “lustration” (“purge”), with the objective of removing all supporters of the party of the overthrown President Yanukovych from public office. This is said to affect “thousands.” At the same time, Ukrainian oligarchs, against whose methods of reign the earlier Maidan demonstrations had been protesting, are being given new posts. The ex-boxer Vitaly Klitschko’s, “Made in Germany,” UDAR party has chosen a billionaire as its presidential candidate, rather than its hopeless leader. Fascist forces are positioning themselves to move against the increasingly marginalized pro-Russian segments of the population. The Berlin-supported Maidan opposition had effectively used the fascists’ potential for violence to overthrow Yanukovych. Continue reading

U.S. ‘Monitoring’ Development Of European Communication Network Proposals

In February, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she’s going to talk to the President of France, Francois Hollande, about building a separate communications network for Europe so as to stop data from passing through the U.S. The U.S. has criticized such proposals and has said that they may breach international trade laws. Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said that obstructions to cross-border data flows are a serious and growing concern. Continue reading

Energy as a Weapon

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – The German Chancellor is suggesting that the EU should take a “new look at its energy policy” as a whole. As Angela Merkel confirmed last week, several EU countries are at least partially “very highly dependent” on “the supply of raw materials from Russia.” Spurred on by the Ukrainian crisis, Berlin and Brussels could, however, in the long run, seek to liberate themselves. Merkel made her remarks following talks with Canada’s Prime Minister, who is considering the diversification of his country’s energy exports and does not exclude exporting natural gas to Europe. This, along with gas, which is extracted in the USA by the controversial “fracking” technique and should be exportable soon, could shake Russia’s strong position on the European gas market. Massive price cuts could result, forcing Moscow to drastically cut its budget, according to US experts. Whether Putin could politically survive such measures is unknown. In Berlin the debate continues over the new perspective of transatlantic energy. Representatives from US-oriented sectors are in favor and those from energy companies doing business with Russia and from the SPD, are opposed. Continue reading

Bundesbank, PBOC in Pact to Turn Frankfurt Into Renminbi Hub

The central banks signed a memorandum of understanding in Berlin today, when Chinese President Xi Jinping met German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Frankfurt-based Bundesbank said in an e-mailed statement.

Germany’s financial capital prevailed over Paris and Luxembourg in a euro-area race to win trade in renminbi, which overtook the euro to become the second-most used currency in global trade finance in October, according to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. The U.K. Treasury said on March 26 that the Bank of England would sign an initial agreement with the PBOC on March 31 to clear and settle yuan transactions in London.

“Frankfurt is one of Europe’s foremost financial centers and home to two central banks, making it a particularly suitable location,” said Joachim Nagel, a member of the Bundesbank’s executive board. “Renminbi clearing will strengthen the close economic and financial ties between Germany and the People’s Republic of China.” Continue reading

Putin a rival who is not welcome back to G7, says Harper as Russia looks to replace Visa with its own credit cards

The BRICs nations are forming an alternative internet with a new undersea cable. Asian nations are talking about militarily banding together to face China because the US is becoming more and more unreliable as a protectorate. China has also in the last three years threatened to use the ‘nuclear option’ on the Dollar as well. Middle East nations talk about replacing the Dollar to break America’s global hegemony. Add this to Russia saying it could reduce itself to zero dependency on America just a couple weeks ago, and now an alternative credit payment system. However, Visa and MasterCard replacement is no longer just talk and is actually underway (like the BRICs cable), which will have a sizeable effect.

Fact is, in the bigger scheme of things, the world is getting fed up with America’s now-corrupt leadership which is abusive and drunken off its own power, is looking to isolate it and send it back into the stone age. The sanctions were not very well thought out as there doesn’t seem to be an exit strategy, as some would argue with Bush’s wars in the Middle East. America is shooting itself in the foot as it playing checkers with Putin — on a Russian rubicon game board. It could’ve also very well been Russia’s long-range strategic plan since the 60′s and earlier to, over the years, integrate itself with the U.S. so much that it could gain economic leverage and destroy the economy overnight if it wished. Much like the CCP in China, the ruling Russian oligarchy doesn’t care about its citizens anyways, which makes it more plausible.

BERLIN — Prime Minister Stephen Harper and German Chancellor Angela Merkel say they are united in their view that Russia has grossly violated Ukrainian sovereignty by annexing the Crimean peninsula.

Following a meeting Thursday between the two G7 leaders, Harper also opined that chances are slim that Russian President Vladimir Putin could ever be welcomed back to the G8.

The G7 nations — the U.S., Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Japan — effectively booted Russia from the G8 earlier this week over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula following a pro-Western uprising. Continue reading

Merkel miffed at Barack Obama and David Cameron ‘nuclear war game’

Hopefully this is not a hint of what’s to come in the future, but the threat is real. Many people don’t know that even JFK warned about the Soviets and their nuclear bomb in Washington D.C..

Consider the following, which was told by JFK to Time Magazine:

In late July 1961, President Kennedy, just back from the grim Vienna summit with Khrushchev, asked me to dinner in Palm Beach. After daiquiris and Frank Sinatra records on the patio, his three guests and I gathered around the table for fish-in-a-bag, a White House recipe. Between lusty bites, Kennedy told the story of Khrushchev’s anger over West Berlin, the island of freedom in the Soviet empire’s East Germany. “We have a bustling communist enclave just four blocks from the White House,” I noted, meaning the Soviet embassy. Kennedy paused, fork between plate and mouth, and said, “You know, they have an atom bomb on the third floor of the embassy.” Aware of JFK’s love of spy stories, I said something like, “Sure, why not?”

No, Kennedy continued, it was his understanding that the Soviets had brought the components of an atomic device into the building in inspection-free diplomatic pouches and assembled it in the upstairs attic. “If things get too bad and war is inevitable,” he said, “they will set it off and that’s the end of the White House and the rest of the city.” I laughed. Still suspending his bite of fish, Kennedy said, “That’s what I’m told. Do you know something that I don’t?” No sign of mirth. The conversation moved on.

Five years ago I was lecturing in Staunton, Va., and retold the story. In the question session, a man in the audience rose and said, “You may not believe that story about the bomb in the attic, but I do. I worked for 25 years at the Defense Intelligence Agency, and that was our understanding.” And now I can hear Kennedy asking again, “Do you know something I don’t?”

Source: Were the Russians Hiding a Nuke in D.C.? (Time)

 

World leaders played an interactive nuclear war game designed to test their responses to a terrorist atomic “dirty bomb” attack that threatened the lives of hundreds of thousands of people

David Cameron joined Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and Xi Jinping and other world leaders to play a “nukes on the loose” war game to see how they would cope with a terrorist nuclear attack.

The German chancellor grumbled at being asked to play games and take tests with the Prime Minister, US and Chinese presidents around a table with dozens of heads of state at a nuclear summit in The Hague.

Continue reading

EU, U.S. to commit to remove all duties on transatlantic trade

Open question: Was giving up an internet under American control done as a ‘measure of good faith’ in order to push the trans-Atlantic deal through?

(Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama and European Union leaders will promise to remove all tariffs on bilateral trade at a summit on March 26, an ambitious step towards the world’s largest free-trade deal, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters.

The joint declaration, if delivered as laid out in the draft, seeks to overcome tensions following Washington’s offer to cut its duties by less than the Europeans had hoped for and after Brussels pledged to remove almost all of its own tariffs. Continue reading

Russian Troops Mass at Border With Ukraine

MOSCOW — With a referendum on secession looming in Crimea, Russia massed troops and armored vehicles in at least three regions along Ukraine’s eastern border on Thursday, alarming the interim Ukraine government about a possible invasion and significantly escalating tensions in the crisis between the Kremlin and the West.

The announcement of the troop buildup by Russia’s Defense Ministry was met with an unusually sharp rebuke from Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, who warned that the Russian government must abandon what she called the politics of the 19th and 20th centuries or face diplomatic and economic retaliation from a united Europe.

“Ladies and gentlemen, if Russia continues on its course of the past weeks, it will not only be a catastrophe for Ukraine,” she said in a speech to the German Parliament. “We, also as neighbors of Russia, would not only see it as a threat. And it would not only change the European Union’s relationship with Russia. No, this would also cause massive damage to Russia, economically and politically.” Continue reading

Angela Merkel: Russia ‘will not get away’ with annexation of Crimea

The German Chancellor’s tough message underlines how America and the EU have agreed a joint response to Ukraine crisis

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has promised that Russia will not “get away” with “annexing” Crimea as world powers agreed to impose targeted sanctions on senior figures close to the Kremlin.

Mrs Merkel told a meeting of her parliamentary party that Russia’s intervention in Ukraine violated the principles of post-war order in Europe.

Her stark message came as America and the European Union agreed a joint response to Russia’s de facto seizure of Crimea, backed by other countries including Canada and Japan. Continue reading

Ukraine crisis: Russia’s referendum on Crimea secession illegal, Germany says

Germany’s Angela Merkel delivered a rebuke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, telling him that a planned Moscow-backed referendum on whether Crimea should join Russia was illegal and violated Ukraine’s constitution.

Putin defended breakaway moves by pro-Russian leaders in Crimea, where Russian forces tightened their grip on the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula by seizing another border post and a military airfield. Continue reading