March 2014 News Reports
President Barack Obama discusses Ukraine during a meeting with members of his National Security Staff in the Oval Office, Feb. 28, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
By William Booth and Kathy Lally
E.U. proposes $15 billion in aid to Ukraine, , March 5, 2014. Secretary of State John Kerry was to meet with his Russian counterpart in Paris but Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov did not attend.
Editor's Choice: Scroll below for our monthly roundup of March 2014 news
Washington Post, Feinstein accuses CIA of illegally spying on Senate panel probing agency, Greg Miller, Ed O’Keefe and Adam Goldman, March 11, 2014. The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee sharply criticized the CIA, saying the agency had improperly interfered with one of the panel’s most sensitive investigations. The comments by Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), shown in a file photo, marked an extraordinary — and extraordinarily public — turn in a long-simmering dispute between lawmakers and the intelligence agency. See also in the Washington Post, Senators rally around Feinstein, demand answers from CIA, Wesley Lowery and Ed O'Keefe, March 11, 2014 and Why the feud is public, Adam Goldman, March 11, 2014.
WhyWhatWhy, Boston Bomber Carjacking Unravels (Part I of II), Russ Baker, March 11, 2014. The only witness to the Boston Marathon bombing confession has provided dramatically inconsistent accounts, an exclusive WhoWhatWhy investigation reveals. The clashing stories, coming from a man whose identity remains shrouded, form the basis for the publicly accepted narrative of the bombing and its aftermath. The discrepancies involve the nature and length of the carjacking episode, and raise serious questions as to whether the anonymous witness was ever a captive of the alleged bombers. This in turn touches on the credibility of his claim to have received a confession from Tamerlan Tsarnaev. In fact, the problems with this witness’s story cast doubts on almost everything we have been told about what has been described as the largest terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11.
Washington Post, Prosecutors: D.C mayor knew of ‘shadow’ effort, Ann E. Marimow, Matt Zapotosky and Paul Schwartzman, March 10, 2014. A judge accepts businessman Jeffrey Thompson’s guilty plea as he admits to funneling money to Vincent Gray’s campaign coffers in 2010.
Wall Street Journal, Federal Prosecutors Seek Records on Port Authority Chairman, Ted Mann, March 10, 2014. Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed records from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey related to the business interests of its chairman, David Samson, people familiar with the matter said Monday. The demand for records came last week as scrutiny of Samson—a close ally of Republican Gov. Chris Christie—has increased since allegations emerged that the Port Authority closed George Washington Bridge access lanes for political purposes. Samson's law firm, Wolff & Samson PC, is one of the most prominent in New Jersey and has clients involved in a range of matters important to the Port Authority and the state's elected officials.
Washington Post, Russia cites ‘chaos’ in eastern Ukraine; gunmen storm bases in Crimea, Carol Morello and Kathy Lally, March 10, 2014. Russia and its sympathizers seized control of more Ukrainian military bases and facilities in Crimea on Monday while Moscow issued threatening statements about eastern Ukraine that signaled Russia’s intention to play a significant role in the country’s future. At least four Ukrainian military bases, including one stocked with missiles, were overrun by armed men in uniforms who say they are members of local self-defense units, which are typically under the command of Russian military officers. The headquarters of the Ukrainian naval fleet had its electricity cut, and the director of a military hospital was ousted and a replacement installed by the pro-Russian militia that took over.
Al.com via USA Today, Thousands march in remembrance of 'Bloody Sunday,' Alvin Benn, Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, March 9, 2014. Thousands of activists walked across the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge on Sunday to retrace the steps of peaceful protesters who were beaten, gassed and run over by horses by Alabama authorities in 1965. The annual commemoration drew what could have been the largest attendance since the event began two decades ago. Local law enforcement officials are already planning for the 50th anniversary next March — something expected to be much larger. "We're already working on security issues and other factors for next year," said Selma Police Chief William Riley who stood at the apex of the historic bridge and watched as the huge crowd slowly moved toward him. U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., once again led a "Faith and Politics" group from Washington in commemorating "Bloody Sunday" — an event that nearly cost him his life 49 years ago. Lewis suffered a concussion as a first wave of club-waving troopers in gas masks ran over him on March 7, 1965. As he lay stunned on the bridge, another trooper slammed a night stick against his head.March 5
Washington Post, How the Ukraine crisis ends, Henry A. Kissinger, March 5, 2014. Henry A. Kissinger, shown in a file photo from early in his career, was secretary of state from 1973 to 1977. Public discussion on Ukraine is all about confrontation. But do we know where we are going? In my life, I have seen four wars begun with great enthusiasm and public support, all of which we did not know how to end and from three of which we withdrew unilaterally. The test of policy is how it ends, not how it begins. Far too often the Ukrainian issue is posed as a showdown: whether Ukraine joins the East or the West. But if Ukraine is to survive and thrive, it must not be either side’s outpost against the other — it should function as a bridge between them. Russia must accept that to try to force Ukraine into a satellite status, and thereby move Russia’s borders again, would doom Moscow to repeat its history of self-fulfilling cycles of reciprocal pressures with Europe and the United States. The West must understand that, to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country. Russian history began in what was called Kievan-Rus. The Russian religion spread from there. Ukraine has been part of Russia for centuries, and their histories were intertwined before then. Some of the most important battles for Russian freedom, starting with the Battle of Poltava in 1709 , were fought on Ukrainian soil. The Black Sea Fleet — Russia’s means of projecting power in the Mediterranean — is based by long-term lease in Sevastopol, in Crimea. The European Union must recognize that its bureaucratic dilatoriness and subordination of the strategic element to domestic politics in negotiating Ukraine’s relationship to Europe contributed to turning a negotiation into a crisis. Foreign policy is the art of establishing priorities.
FireDogLake, Given Alleged CIA Spying on Senators, When Will Senate Intelligence Committee Release Torture Report? Kevin Gosztola, March 5, 2014. Reported and alleged Central Intelligence Agency spying on Senate Select Committee on Intelligence members should only increase the effort by senators to have a report on the agency’s rendition, detention and interrogation program released. McClatchy reports that the CIA Inspector General’s Office has requested that the Justice Department investigate “malfeasance” by the agency stemming from conduct related to the Senate report, which comprehensively details the CIA’s role in the torture of terrorism suspects. The “malfeasance” is suspected to be alleged “monitoring” of computers that committee staff were using when working on the report in a “secure room at CIA headquarters.” The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has pushed for the release of the 6,300-page report and filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the CIA, appropriately reacted, “If it turns out that the CIA was spying on the Senate committee that oversees the agency, it would be an outrageous violation of separation of powers.”
Zero Hedge, "Behind The Kiev Snipers It Was Somebody From The New Coalition" -- A Stunning New Leak Released, Tyler Durden, March 5, 2014. When it comes to "dirty tricks" what is about to be presented, blows the top off anything Russia may or has done to date. Earlier today an even more shocking recording has been "leaked" this time one between the always concerned about human rights EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet, in which it is revealed on tape that all those photos of horrifying deaths of Ukrainians by snipers during the last days of the Median stand off, were in fact caused not by snipers controlled by Yanukovich, but that the snipers shot at both protesters and police in Kiev were allegedly hired by Maidan leaders! Here is the key exchange, just after 8 minutes into the conversation:
Paet: "All the evidence shows that people who were killed by snipers from both sides, policemen and people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides.... Some photos that showed it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it is really disturbing that now the new coalition they don't want to investigate what exactly happened. So there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition."
Ashton: "I think we do want to investigate. I mean, I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh."
Paet: "It already discreditates (sic) this new coalition."
So first US orchestrates the Kiev overthrow, and now the new "leaders" of Ukraine are allegedly found to have fired against their own people -- the same provocation they subsequently used to run Yanukovich out of the country and install a pro-Western puppet government.
Of course, said pro-Western coalition has not been discredited because Ms. Ashton has sternly refused to investigate, knowing quite well how horribly this would reflect on the new Ukraine "leadership" -- a government which shot its own people to fabricate the pretext under which it rose to power. Is it any wonder then that Russia has responded the way it has?
Op-Ed News, Propaganda Rules The News, Paul Craig Roberts, March 5, 2014. What has happened in Ukraine is that Washington plotted against and overthrew an elected legitimate government and then lost control to neo-nazis who are threatening the large Russian population in southern and eastern Ukraine, provinces that formerly were part of Russia. These threatened Russians have appealed for Russia's help, and just like the Russians in South Ossetia, they will receive Russia's help.
OpEd News, Live In Or Visit Alabama? Be Afraid, Very Afraid, Kathryn Bauman Rubenstein, March 5, 2014. This is a warning if you live in or plan to visit the state of Alabama. There is the possibility that you may be arrested, beaten and thrown in jail without cause. Normal Civil Rights and respect for the United States Constitution do not apply. Roger Shuler, an Alabama based blogger, was arrested in October 2013 and to date remains in jail after being beaten and arrested by Shelby County sheriff deputies. The judge on the case was hand-selected by the Rileys to ensure their brand of justice prevails. I have had my own experience with unlawful judicial proceedings in Alabama after uncovering and substantiating forgery of my father's Will and Trust. Four years ago I left the state abruptly, concerned my own fate would mirror that of Roger Shuler's or worse. Mr. Shuler was arrested without a warrant. In Alabama's lawless society, it could happen to any of us.
Politico, RT Anchor Resigns On-Air: I Can't Be Part of Network 'That Whitewashes the Actions of Putin,' Dylan Byers, March 5, 2014. American 'RT' anchor quits in protest of network's Putin coverage. A Washington-based anchor for the Kremlin-backed RT news channel announced her resignation on-air Wednesday, saying she "could not be part of a network funded by the Russian government that whitewashed the actions of Putin." "I'm proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth," Liz Wahl, shown in a screen shot, an anchor in RT's D.C. bureau, told viewers, after explaining how her parents had fled Soviet persecution during the Hungarian revolution. "That is why after this newscast, I'm resigning." Wahl's public resignation came two days after another anchor Abby Martin, condemned the military intervention during her own broadcast. "What Russia did is wrong," Martin said on Monday. "Military intervention is never the answer, and I will not sit here and apologize or defend military aggression." In the wake of Martin's remarks, RT (formerly Russia Today) released a statement saying that all RT journalists are "free to express their own opinions, not just in private but on the air" and that "there will be absolutely no reprimands made against Ms. Martin."
Washington Post, Putin: Will protect Russians in Ukraine, Kathy Lally and William Booth, March 4, 2014. He asserts that the pro-Russian former regime in Kiev was illegally overthrown and that the man he regards as Ukraine’s president asked him for military help.
Washington Post, Cold War looms over NATO’s talks on Ukraine, Anthony Faiola, March 4, 2014. NATO members pledge “solidarity” at emergency meeting, but there are signs of division in Europe over how to respond to Russia’s intervention in Crimea. U.S. prepares sanctions on Russians.
Cryptome, Ukraine's Leaders Seek National Socialism, John Stanton, March 4, 2014. The American press is fond of patting itself on the back for upholding the first amendment to the US Constitution, that being, among other things, freedom of the press. But that does not mean the freedom to obfuscate, ignore facts and curry favor with the US national security apparatus in whatever covert or overt form it takes. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post have engaged, once again, in a classic information operations effort. This time it is to shape a national anti-Russian consensus around the legitimate concerns of the Russian government. As these three big corporate institutions are the semi-official organs of the United States' government, they have shown the weakness of President Obama's national security advisers and, by proxy, heavyweight financiers like George Soros (who runs the Open Society NGO).
Washington Post, Why did Michelle Obama give a Ukrainian pop star the Women of Courage award? Mamuma Ahuja, March 4, 2014. On Tuesday morning, first lady Michelle Obama and Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom presented 10 women from around the world the Secretary of State’s Women of Courage award. So how does a pop star from Ukraine make the list? "I think of myself as a volunteer ... showing people that we need to be here because there is no other way,” Ruslana said to Reuters in December. "Russia is our past, Europe must be our future," she explained. Even though Ruslana continues to be best known for her music, this isn't the pop star’s first foray into politics. Hercareer in activism and humanitarian work began long before the protests started in 2013. She was an active participant in the 2004 Orange Revolution, became the first ever UNICEF National Ambassador in Ukraine in 2005, was speaking out for renewable energy in 2008 and now acts as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Washington Post, Russian forces expand control of Crimea, Will Englund, William Booth and Kathy Lally, March 3, 2014. Russian forces expanded their control of Ukraine’s Crimea region Monday, as the Ukrainian prime minister called for Western political and economic support and the Russian and Ukrainian currencies fell in tandem. The Russian forces, already in control of much of Crimea, took possession of a ferry terminal in Kerch, in the eastern part of the peninsula just across a strait from Russian territory, according to reports from the area.
Huffington Post, Washington Post 'News Article' Slams President Obama for Not Bombing Russia, Robert Naiman, March 3, 2014. People make fun of Senator John McCain, saying that he never met a war he didn't like. But if the Washington Post were a Senator, Senator W. Post's extremist warmongering concerning the potential use of military force would make Senator McCain look like a prudent moderate by comparison. This isn't just true of its "opinion" pages, but of how the Washington Post "reports the news." In the wake of the Russian military intervention in Crimea, the Post -- in a purported "news article" -- is claiming that the crisis illustrates that President Obama is too reluctant to use military force.
Washington Post, What is to be done? Putin’s aggression in Ukraine needs a response, Zbigniew Brzezinski, March 3, 2014. Zbigniew Brzezinski was national security adviser from 1977 to 1981, and co-founded the Trilateral Commission with David Rockefeller in 1974. Regarding the Russian aggression against Ukraine, much depends on what Vladimir Putin does next. Putin’s thuggish tactics in seizing Crimea offer some hints regarding his planning. He knew in advance that his thinly camouflaged invasion would meet with popular support from the Russian majority in Crimea. He was not sure how the thin and light Ukrainian military units stationed there would react, so he went in masked like a Mafia gangster. In the event of serious Ukrainian resistance, he could disown the initiative and pull back.
Bloomberg, Russia Gas Threat Shows Putin Using Pipes to Press Ukraine, Elena Mazneva and Stephen Bierman, March 3, 2014. Gazprom’s threat to end natural gas discounts for Ukraine adds to the financial burden on the near-bankrupt government in Kiev and makes Europe’s energy supply part of the escalating crisis. Russia’s gas-export monopoly said on March 1 it may end last year’s agreement to supply Ukraine at a cheaper rate unless it’s paid $1.55 billion owed for fuel. Vladimir Putin, shown in a file photo, has permission from Russian lawmakers to deploy troops to Ukraine and has repeatedly used gas to strong-arm his western neighbor.
National Press Club, Ukrainian protest leader to speak at Press Club Newsmaker March 5, Herb Perone, March 3, 2014. One of Ukraine’s most internationally recognizable and politically active citizens will discuss the situation there at a Newsmakers conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The pop music star and former Ukrainian Parliament member Ruslana Lyzhychko – known simply as Ruslana – comes one day after she receives the U.S. Secretary of State’s international Women of Courage Award.
Of Two Minds, Who Gets Thrown Under the Bus in the Next Financial Crisis? Charles Hugh Smith, March 3, 2014. The collapse of the U.S. dollar would destroy the foundation of both the Deep State and the U.S. nation-state, hence my conclusion that the Deep State will not enable that collapse. As for all the financial claims on real wealth that will have to go to zero value, let's identify the operative vector of dependency with a question: which scenario most threatens the Deep State: 50 million hungry Americans taking to the streets shouting, "We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it any more!" or 10,000 financiers losing a couple trillion dollars in phantom wealth? In other words, the phantom financier claims of Wall Street now pose a strategic threat to the integrity of the U.S. and its Deep State. It's certainly not lost on the Deep State that a palpable hatred of bankers, financiers and the Federal Reserve is taking root across the land.
Legal Schnauzer, Publisher Roger Shuler Will Appear at Jefferson County Hearing on Wednesday, March 5, Roger Shuler, March 3, 2014. Legal Schnauzer publisher Roger Shuler will appear at a hearing at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, March 5 at the Jefferson County Courthouse. The hearing, before Judge Don Blankenship, is in a lawsuit filed by Republican political figure Jessica Medeiros Garrison. The hearing reportedly will involve an attempted default judgment that Garrison is seeking. Shuler is incarcerated in the Shelby County Jail because of a lawsuit filed by Rob Riley, one of Garrison's Republican political allies. Garrison is the former campaign manager for Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. Editor's Note: Shuler has been held without bond on a contempt of court charge for failure to spike his stories pre-trial after being sued in a separate libel case. He has no lawyer.
Washington Post, Interview: Karzai says 12-year Afghanistan war has left him angry at U.S. government, Kevin Sieff, March 2, 2014. Hamid Karzai was in the midst of negotiating a security agreement with the United States when he met a 4-year-old girl who had lost half her face in an American airstrike. Sitting behind his desk Saturday night, the man who has projected a defiant image toward the West suddenly looked frail. In an unusually emotional interview, the departing Afghan president sought to explain why he has been such a harsh critic of the 12-year-old U.S. war effort here. He said he’s deeply troubled by all the casualties he has seen, including those in U.S. military operations. He feels betrayed by what he calls an insufficient U.S. focus on targeting Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan.
Hamid Karzai became Afghanistan's president in 2001 after being wounded in the overthrow of the Taliban. He is descended from a family prominent in Afghanistan for many decades. The former graduate student at Stanford and Oxford universities was a CIA contractor during the war against the Soviet invasion, and broke with the Taliban in the 1990s. In photos via Wikimedia Commons, he is shown at a security conference in Munich in 2009 and also with Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert addressing Congress in 2004.
Washington Post, House GOP will push welfare reform, Robert Costa, March 2, 2014. The upcoming House Republican budget will recommend a sweeping overhaul of social programs.
New York Times, Pressure Rising as Obama Works to Rein In Russia, Peter Baker, March 2, 2014. As Russia dispatched more forces and tightened its grip on the Crimean Peninsula on Sunday, President Obama embarked on a strategy intended to isolate Moscow and prevent it from seizing more Ukrainian territory even as he was pressured at home to respond more forcefully. Working the telephone from the Oval Office, Mr. Obama rallied allies, agreed to send Secretary of State John Kerry to Kiev and approved a series of diplomatic and economic moves intended to “make it hurt,” as one administration official put it. But the president found himself besieged by advice to take more assertive action. The Russian occupation of Crimea has challenged Mr. Obama as has no other international crisis, and at its heart, the advice seemed to pose the same question: Is Mr. Obama tough enough to take on the former K.G.B. colonel in the Kremlin?
Washington Post, Obama speaks with Putin by phone, calls on Russia to pull forces back to Crimea bases, Karen DeYoung, March 1, 2014. President Obama spoke for 90 minutes with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday in what appeared to have been a testy exchange reflecting an escalating battle of wills and growing international tension over Ukraine. Obama expressed “deep concern” over Russia’s “violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity . . . [and] breach of international law,” the White House said. He called on Putin to pull Russian forces, now reportedly spread across Crimea, back to their bases in the autonomous Ukrainian region, according to a White House statement, and made clear that Russian refusal would lead to suspension of U.S. participation in planning for the upcoming Group of Eight summit in Sochi, Russia, scheduled for June, and “greater political and economic isolation.”
Washington Post, Russia sets stage for showdown, Troops take control across Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, Kathy Lally, William Booth and Will Englund, March 1, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin wins authorization to send in more forces; thousands of pro-Russia Ukrainians welcome his move, but nationalist groups in the nation’s west vow to mobilize.
Washington Post, Spell out the consequences for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Editorial Board, March 1, 2014. It took Vladimir Putin less than a day to trample on President Obama’s warning against a Russian military intervention in Ukraine. The United States now faces a naked act of armed aggression in the center of Europe by a Russian regime that is signaling its intent to steamroller this U.S. president and his allies. Mr. Obama must demonstrate that can’t be done.
Washington Post, U.S. foreign policy comes home to roost with Russia’s action in Ukraine, David J. Kramer, March 1, 2014. David J. Kramer is president of Freedom House and a former deputy assistant secretary of state for Russia and Ukraine in the George W. Bush administration. President Obama faces the gravest challenge of his presidency in figuring out how to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. There are things Obama needs to do immediately, some in collaboration with our European and NATO allies, others on our own. They include: Imposing sanctions against Russian state-owned banks and financial
Professors Blogg (Sweden), Was the reopening of the Sweden case, part of the US request to prosecute Assange by any means? Dr. Marcello de Ferrada de Noli, March 1, 2014. After nearly four years of the Professors Blogg on the case of Julian Assange, my 250 analyses and articles, one book, and nearly 1,000 comments, I have to admit that the international debate on the Swedish case against Assange is still futilely devoted to “the legal aspects.” My position is instead: there is no legal ground for a prosecution in Sweden on the base of the alleged behaviors. Arguments from the part of the Swedish prosecutors in vague insinuations of “undisclosed” reasons for pursuing an interrogation with Assange (at the same time they neglect carrying out such interrogation in London) emerges as a pure and simple bluff. And this bluff shall be certainly “called” if an interrogation ever is performed. Ergo, the case is postponed indefinitely. So, what is necessary is international criticism changing focus to the actual political plot and denouncing its main actors. It emerges now that the “Assange prosecution-case” was a request from the US government.
Washington Post, How Republicans lost their minds, Democrats lost their souls and Washington lost its appeal, Robert G. Kaiser, March 1, 2014. "Do you miss Washington yet?” A friend asked me this on the phone the other day, and — like a longtime Washingtonian — I avoided a full and frank reply. “Not yet,” I said. It’s an odd sensation, leaving the town I’d lived in for most of my 70 years, ending my 50-year career at the Washington Post, turning my back on the political circus that enthralled me for so long. But a more honest answer would have been this: I don’t miss Washington.
RT, Andrew Kreig exclusive interview with RT International, March 1, 2014.