Monthly Archives: May 2016

A new Swiss humanitarian convoy for the city of Donetsk

On 22 May 2016, two humanitarian convoys Confederation carrying chemicals for treating water and medical supplies left for Ukraine in the conflict zone.

Part of the convoy with medical equipment and medicine was awarded to the Kurakhove hospital this morning.

The products have been transported by road but also, for the first time by rail .

Sunday morning, a train ferrying chemicals for water treatment left Switzerland to Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine.

The cargo is for waterworks of Donbass, which supply the population with drinking water on both sides of the line of contact.

Other goods, including medical supplies, including spare parts for X-ray machine, are transported by road to Donetsk on trucks.

A second convoy of fourteen trucks, is designed to transport some 245 tons of chemicals to the waterworks of Donbass, in the city of Krasnoarmiynsk placed under government control.

A load of medical equipment and medicines by truck was delivered this morning at the hospital Kurakhove.

Convoys benefit from the guidance and support of seven members of the Humanitarian Aid of the Confederation, which is part of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) and as collaborators of the embassy and the Kiev cooperation Office.

This convoy is the fourth Swiss humanitarian convoy for this area of ​​conflict since the spring of 2015.

The SDC is so far the only state actor to organize humanitarian convoys crossing the contact line in eastern Ukraine. Continue reading

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The New USA -v- Russia Cold War. Seeing the Wood Through the Trees.

I’m not sure why anyone falls for the dishonest media spin from either side.

The current “cold war” situation owes more to an engineered conflict that is agreeable to both sides (EU/US and Russia) to distract the peasants from the domestic economic turmoil.

Creating political theatre and ‘threats’ allows governments to run loose economic policy and pour money into defence without taking a beating on the markets.

The ISIS/AQ threat is better persecuted by special forces. To be able to dump billions into new defence projects and soak up blue collared workers into a standing military you need a credible threat.

China doesn’t work so re-igniting the cold-war provides a convenient dog and pony show to distract everyone from our politicians inability to extract us from the economic quagmire they put us in.

There isn’t a single military expert who believes any conflict between NATO/Russia can ever be won by either side, regardless of the military technology employed, since as soon as either side crosses a certain line, then it would escalate to tactical nuclear options, followed by wholesale destruction from the ICBM arsenal.

Putin knows exactly how much rope he has to play with, NATO isn’t going to risk anything over places like Georgia or Ukraine, it is fairly doubtful they would do much over the Baltics. Putin would have to launch an invasion of Finland or Poland before you’d see any kind of response.

Really this is the stuff of Tom Clancy. Any war between major superpowers would plunge the entire global financial system into a collapse, global trade is too interwoven for anything over than skirmishes over non-relevant world economic players.

It’s well known that the UK could no longer even repeat the task force needed to defend the Falklands, but Argentina doesn’t gain anything from trying to take them by force again.

Putin is never going to invade Ukraine, he has the capability and stated he could be in Kiev in 2 days if he wanted (which he could). But occupying a sovereign country would bankrupt Russia and likely lead to his own regime falling.

He is a smart guy and knows real wars are now fought with the media. Market manipulation and information warfare not armour and foot mobiles.

The military talk up a threat to get bigger budgets and new kit, the media toe the line because fear sells more print than Kim Kardashian’s arse, and Putin gets to hold his political control by playing the archetype Russian bear.

Behind the scenes they all discuss what their plans are and laugh at us little people.

Whatever is said publicly the west want to keep Putin in power. He is predictable and capable of holding the country together in a manageable state. They would rather have Putin than some irrational unknown hardliners trying to be a Putin without the smarts of knowing where the line is drawn.

The west don’t care about Russian domestic policy. What they care about is stability of regimes not spooking the markets and causing economic collapse.

No doubt Putin told the US exactly what he was doing in Crimea – he’s not so stupid as to antagonise a nuclear superpower. And no doubt the American administration agreed that the strategic importance of Sevastopol was sufficient grounds for them to protect their interests without interference knowing the potential instability Ukraine was facing.

Anyone who thinks what politicians say and do, or what the media report is in any way representative of what goes on behind closed doors at this level of geopolitics has clearly fallen for the body of lies entirely woven for their benefit.

Remember. War is good business. Most of our enemies like Bin Laden and Saddam were created to serve economic purposes. Suddenly Putin is the bogeyman and Iran is our new best mate. When they want to give China an economic haircut, they’ll be next.

Don’t fall for the rhetoric from either side. Continue reading

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BBC pressure leads Paxman to bin article criticising EU

BBC pressure leads Paxman to bin article criticising EU

It is not easy to muzzle a journalistic pitbull, but Jeremy Paxman has withdrawn an article critical of the European Union from a forthcoming issue of Radio Times after coming under pressure from the BBC.

The article was commissioned by the magazine to coincide with Paxman in Brussels, a BBC1 documentary about the EU presented by Paxman and due for transmission on May 19.

Typically pugnacious, Paxman expressed doubts about the EU, its bureaucracy and, in particular, the loss of Britain’s sovereignty. While he stopped short of advocating Brexit, Paxman’s strongly expressed views raised concern that the impartiality of his documentary could be compromised.

In publicity material for Paxman in Brussels, the BBC states that “Jeremy Paxman takes an impartial look at the fundamentals of what actually goes on between the UK and the EU”.

It is understood that Paxman had to deal with a senior BBC executive over the article and was unhappy with proposed changes so decided to pull the piece. Radio Times, which was sold by the BBC in 2011, has a weekly circulation of around 800,000 as well as a substantial online audience.

This weekend, the magazine said it was “disappointed” not to be able to publish the article. Paxman’s documentary, during which he meets EU officials and politicians, is one of four about Europe from senior broadcasters. The other presenters are Nick Robinson, whose programme has already aired, Laura Kuenssberg and Mishal Husain.

Paxman’s has been made by Brook Lapping, a TV production company whose documentaries include Inside Obama’s White House on BBC2, and Putin, Russia and the West.

There have also been minor disagreements over what can be said in the programme. The script is yet to be finalised before the voiceover is recorded.

Paxman presented BBC2’s Newsnight for 25 years until his departure in 2014. He still hosts University Challenge. The 65-year-old has described himself as a “One Nation Tory”.

He was recently quoted as saying that he expects Britons to vote to remain in Europe. “Yet Britain’s standing in the world is now much reduced from what it was,” he added. “The problem with the EU is that it makes that abundantly clear.”

In a speech in March, Paxman said: “For the past 40 years, power has been taken from politicians and parliaments, and given to international organisations … Norman Tebbit [the Conservative politician] said people do not like being ruled by those who don’t speak their language. It sounds small-minded, but I think there is something in it.”

Paxman declined to comment. Continue reading

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The Reality About Estonia

I have been visiting Estonia for many years. Since the late 90’s. I have a house there and (now) a Russian-speaking wife. I think I have a unique perspective that locals  don’t have. A bloke recently asked me: What did … Continue reading

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So, What’s The Story Behind Donald Trump’s ‘Surprise’?

So, What’s The Story Behind Trump’s ‘Surprise’?

I have been thinking about this Trump thing and how it has been that some folks have simply not been able to understand what was going on in front of their faces.

I don’t just mean the ordinary voters, but pundits, analysts and other politicians.

Here, I will make an aside and not that it is quite likely that many, perhaps most of these groups were fully aware of what was happening but their assigned task was to convince the main in the street that Trump was not as significant as he has been and will be.

I was looking at the process by which a person gets to be president of The Free World.

Setting aside the truth that it probably does not make much difference to the man in the street who becomes the president, it is certainly true that various power blocs DO have a keen interest in who gets to be THEIR representative.

To that end it is necessary to convince a significant minority (not necessarily a majority) of the population that the representative of a chosen bloc should gain the needed votes.

What Are The Primaries All About?

It seems to me that the strategic purpose of the charade that is the primary elections is to give the various candidates an opportunity to build a brand among the electorate. After all, almost all the runners and riders for president are unknown to most Americans at the start of the contest.

The primaries give each prospective candidate an opportunity to build a connection with the public, to get their faces known and to transmit a chosen and groomed persona that is hoped will resonate with the relatively uneducated and unsophisticated proles who are expected to make a choice.

We have had many people telling us that Trump was going to fail, that he’d get nowhere and, in terms of the actions taken to dislodge Trump’s progress he had a reasonably expected point. If I were to look at the machinations against him by the Republican party and by the representatives of the various power blocs, to which Trump does not (at this time) seem to belong then I’d say, ‘Yes, Trump has no chance’.

However, what many, probably most people forgot, or disregarded was what the primaries are all about – building the brand.

Trump came into the contest with a HUGE advantage: like him or loathe him there’s 300,000,000 Americans who knew his name, knew what he looked like and were familiar with his chosen and carefully developed public persona.

No other candidate came close apart from Hillary Clinton! Truth be told, her public profile is almost certainly why she is the preferred candidate in the Democratic party.

Which Other Candidate Could Equal Trump’s Visibility?

More than that his personal brand is one of the strongest in the United States, and even globally.

If he wants to move some steaks – all he need do is put his name and a photo on the box and a few commercials.

If he wants to get cars for free – all he need do is talk to a nice man at General Motors.

It does not matter that not every project does as well as its promoters hope because every new project build the brand incrementally.

The nearest we have had to Trump is Reagan, a man who similarly was blessed with a public persona and the skill to mobilize his name and visage toward his chosen goals, but Trump is way, way more powerful and accomplished.

Some folks have wondered why it is that he can say stuff that appears crass or ill-informed without suffering any loss in momentum. Well, that’s his brand working for him. All he’s done is behaved as people expected him to do. But, here’s the thing, Trump is a very, very sharp operator and he works with very, very sharp people. His public persona is a mask, it is not the man – although I am sure that the man wears the mask more comfortably than many others do their own.

He is excused for what critics see as shortcomings because to 300,000,000 Americans he is a human and, oddly enough, one they trust and respect – even many who do not like his persona. That’s because he has been consistent for 30 odd years. He has grown up with the electorate, they have seen his wives and envied him for his ‘catches’ I am sure that many women would give their eye teeth for the chance to have him divorce them!

The Battle Of The Brands

So, what we have right now is a battle of the brands. Clinton understand this and it is why she is now turning toward Trump rather than concentrating upon Sanders (although that may come back to haunt her as an error of judgement) Sanders has done an extremely good job of branding himself and his message resonate with probably 70% of the electorate, even if most will not vote for him.

As we move forward, and assuming that Clinton gets the nod as Democratic candidate we are going to see brands battle it out. It will not be about politics but about how we perceive the candidates. Trump is already doing well here. He has already removed the ‘Hilary as woman’ card from the game. Henceforth it will not be a winning move for Clinton to mention gender in respect of her candidacy. Trump was EXACTLY right when he said that without her gender she had nothing and so removing her ability to use it was a masterstroke.

Now that Trump has forced the Republican party to fall in behind him he needs to pay attention to a stab in the back, but he is no fool and, I am sure has that under control.

My guess is that Trump will go to town with Hillary, he will remind us of her dishonesty, her lack of skill, her poor health and he will, I expect, win the general election. Continue reading

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