About 95% of Crimeans in referendum voted to join Russia
March 16, 2014
Around 95 percent of voters in the Crimean referendum have answered ‘yes’ to the autonomous republic joining Russia and less than 5 percent of the vote participants want the region to remain part of Ukraine, according to preliminary results.
With around 50 percent of the votes already counted, preliminary result show that 95.5 percent of voters said ‘yes’ to the reunion of the republic with Russia as a constituent unit of the Russian Federation. In Sevastopol, the number of those who voted ‘yes’ stands at 93 percent, according to the head of the Sevastopol commission, Valery Medvedev.
The preliminary results of the popular vote were announced during a meeting in the center of Sevastopol, the city that hosts Russia’s Black Sea fleet.
The overall voter turnout in the referendum on the status of Crimea is 81,37%, according to the head of the Crimean parliament’s commission on the referendum, Mikhail Malyshev.
Over a half of the Tatars living in the port city took part in the referendum, with the majority of them voting in favor of joining Russia, reports Itar-Tass citing a representative of the Tatar community Lenur Usmanov.
About 40% of Crimean Tatars went to polling stations on Sunday, the republic’s prime minister Sergey Aksyonov said.
In Simferopol, the capital of the republic, at least 15,000 have gathered to celebrate the referendum in central Lenin square and people reportedly keep arriving. Demonstrators, waving Russian and Crimean flags, were watching a live concert while waiting for the announcement of preliminary results of the voting.
International observers are planning to present their final declaration on the Crimean referendum on March 17, the head of the monitors’ commission, Polish MP Mateush Piskorski told journalists. He added that the voting was held in line with international norms and standards.
Next week, Crimea will officially introduce the ruble as a second official currency along with Ukrainian hryvna, Aksyonov told Interfax. In his words, the dual currency will be in place for about six months.
Overall, the republic’s integration into Russia will take up to a year, the Prime Minister said, adding that it could be done faster. However, they want to maintain relations with “economic entities, including Ukraine,” rather than burn bridges.
Moscow is closely monitoring the vote count in Crimea, said Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Karasin.
“The results of the referendum will be considered once they are drawn up,” he told Itar-Tass.
The decision to hold a referendum was made after the bloody uprising in Kiev which ousted President Vladimir Yanukovich from power. Crimea – which is home to an ethnic Russian majority population – refused to recognize the coup-appointed government as legitimate. Crimeans feared that the new leadership would not represent their interests and respect rights. Crimeans were particularly unhappy over parliament’s decision to revoke the law allowing using minority languages – including Russian – as official along with the Ukrainian tongue. Crimeans staged mass anti-Maidan protests and asked Russia to protect them. Source
The people have spoken.
No will the US/EU/Israel Leave the people alone?
Under International Law the people have every right, to self determination. Everyone should respect and accept the outcome of the referendum.
If anything does happen in Crimea, we should all, be looking at outside interference. Something that happens in a lot of countries.
Good luck to the people of Crimea. Now maybe some of the over 600,000 that went to Russia, may be able to return.
Seems there are others who wish to a referendum as well. Not only do they want out of the country, they want out of the EU and NATO.
I wonder what the US will have to say about it all.
They too have every legal right, under International Law to self determination as well.
‘Serene’ referendum: Italian region votes on restoration of Venetian Republic
As Crimeans make their way to the polls this Sunday, another region further in the heart of Europe is also deciding its fate in a referendum: the Italian region of Veneto, which is voting on whether to break with Rome.
The independence movement insists the industrial northern region’s wealth is being drained by Rome’s mismanagement of the financial crisis.
Following in the footsteps of Scotland and Catalonia, Venice – the capital of the Italian region of Veneto – will be holding a referendum to form an independent republic. About 3.8 million people in the region are eligible to vote in the referendum, which runs through Friday.
Leaders of the independence movement say they are not going to wait for Rome’s approval, and if the population votes in favor they will begin the separation process. The latest polls carried out by the independence movement show that over 60 percent of the population is in favor of becoming independent.
“If there is a majority yes vote, we have scholars drawing up a declaration of independence and there are businesses in the region who say they will begin paying taxes to local authorities instead of to Rome,” Lodovico Pizzati, the spokesman for the independence movement, told the Telegraph newspaper.
The president of Veneto, Luca Zaia, who supports the independence movement, said the region is tired of the lack of respect from Rome. With the onset of the financial crisis the movement has been gathering momentum, with many people in the area perceiving Rome’s treatment of the situation as irresponsible.
“Veneto pays its taxes and would like answers from Rome. Rome has not respected the Venetians,” Zaia told Italian publication Liberoquotidiano. “The push for independence comes from the people, it is a democratic request that has come about because of Rome’s indifference.”
He went on to say that Italy was currently experiencing “a kind of ailing democracy” and had become bogged down in bureaucracy.
Gianluca Busato, a prominent Venetian businessman an advocate for independence from Rome, told RT that the Venice region is one of the biggest payers of taxes into Rome’s coffers, but gets nothing like what it shells out in return and as such Rome opposes the vote.
“I think they [the Italian government] are not so happy because Veneto is a rich region. Italy steals 20 billion of taxes that are not returned to us, and so I think the Italian government is not so happy about our will of independence,” he said.
Furthermore, advocates for the independence of the region argue that Rome is draining the northern region of its wealth through taxes in order to support the poorer South of Italy. The independence movement website claims that the region pays €20 billion more in taxes to Rome than it receives in investment and services.
Venice may also sever ties with the European Union and NATO if it gains its independence.
“Venetians not only want out of Italy, but we also want out of the euro, the EU and NATO,” Raffaele Serafini, another pro-independence activist, told the Telegraph.
Members of the movement say they have been inspired by Scotland and Catalonia, who have also planned referendums for this year. Scotland will vote for its independence in September, despite statements from the British government that they will not be allowed the pound if they separate. Spain’s government has decried Catalonia’s planned referendum as illegal and in defiance of Spanish sovereignty.
Giovanni Dalla Valle, head of the Veneto independence movement, told RT that there is nothing Italy can do to stop the region from becoming independent.
“We have to fight for it [independence]. We will do it in a peaceful, diplomatic way. We do strongly believe that when the majority wants to be independent there is nothing they [the Italian government] can do,” he said to RT.
He went on to say that the established world order favors centralized governments and that is why many referendums are condemned as illegal.
Prior to joining Italy in 1866, the region of Veneto was known as “La Serenissima” – the Most Serene Republic of Venice. The Republic lost its independence when Napoleon conquered Venice in 1797. Source
March 12, 2014
The European and American public are being systematically lied to about the Ukraine crisis.
Mainstream US Media Is Lost in Ukraine
The U.S. mainstream news media is reaching a new professional low point as it covers the Ukraine crisis by brazenly touting Official Washington’s propaganda themes, blatantly ignoring contrary facts and leading the American public into another geopolitical blind alley
By Robert Parry
March 17, 2014
As the Ukraine crisis continues to deepen, the mainstream U.S. news media is sinking to new lows of propaganda and incompetence. Somehow, a violent neo-Nazi-spearheaded putsch overthrowing a democratically elected president was refashioned into a “legitimate” regime, then the “interim” government and now simply “Ukraine.”
The Washington Post’s screaming headline on Sunday is “Ukraine decries Russian ‘invasion,’” treating the coup regime in Kiev as if it speaks for the entire country when it clearly speaks for only a subset of the population, mostly from western Ukraine. The regime’s “legitimacy” comes not from a democratic election but from a coup that was quickly embraced by the U.S. government and the European Union.
Objective U.S. journalists would insist on a truthful narrative that conveys these nuances to the American people, not simply behave as clumsy propagandists determined to glue “white hats” on the side favored by the State Department and “black hats” on everyone that the U.S. government disdains. But virtually the entire mainstream press corps has opted for the propaganda role, much as it has in the past. Think Iraq 2002-03.
You also might remember the mainstream media’s rush to judgment over the Sarin attack in Syria on Aug. 21, 2013. The State Department rashly blamed the incident on the Syrian government despite serious doubts inside the U.S. intelligence community.
To conceal those dissents, the State Department and the White House issued a four-page “Government Assessment,” rather than a National Intelligence Estimate from the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies. That would have had to include footnotes revealing disagreements over the evidence among the analysts.
When the “Government Assessment” was posted online at the White House Web site on Aug. 30, it contained not a single piece of evidence that could be independently checked. That same day, Secretary of State John Kerry gave a nearly hysterical speech that sounded like a declaration of war. He insisted that the U.S. government had conclusive proof of the Syrian government’s guilt but he just couldn’t reveal any.
The U.S. press corps showed virtually no skepticism about the U.S. government’s case. Only a few Web sites, including Consortiumnews.com, noted the lack of verifiable proof and the absence of U.S. intelligence officials during the presentations, including none sitting behind Kerry when he made the rounds of congressional hearings.
The evidence regarding the Syrian government guilt apparently was so flimsy that no U.S. intelligence official wanted to play the role of CIA Director George Tenet who popped up behind Secretary of State Colin Powell during his deceptive speech on Feb. 5, 2003, asserting a definitive case that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction.
But the dog-not-barking in the missing intelligence officials on Syria was ignored by the big media. Instead, the New York Times, the Washington Post and other major news outlets reprised their Iraq War roles.
The Vector Analysis
In September, the Times even fronted a story – by C.J. Chivers and Rick Gladstone – asserting that it had established Syrian government guilt for the Sarin attack, much as a 2002 Times story reported that Iraq’s purchase of aluminum tubes was proof of a secret nuclear program. That Times story became the basis for President George W. Bush and his top aides scaring the American people with warnings about “mushroom clouds.”
The Chivers-Gladstone story cited the azimuths (or the reverse flight paths) of two Sarin-laden rockets intersecting at a Syrian military base northwest of Damascus, the “slam-dunk” proof of Syrian guilt, making those of us who raised questions about lack of evidence look stupid.
But both Times stories – the one in 2002 and the one in 2013 – collapsed under scrutiny. The Iraqi aluminum tubes, it turned out, were unfit for nuclear centrifuges (and the U.S. invasion force later determined that Iraq had no active nuclear program), and the intersecting azimuths proved false because only one of the two rockets contained Sarin and its maximum range was around 2.5 kilometers, according to scientific analyses, not the necessary 9.5 kilometers for the two azimuths to cross.
So, in December 2013, three months after the Times ran its front-page “vector analysis,” Chivers got the assignment to write a grudging retraction, though the admission of his error was mumbled in the 18th paragraph of a story stuck deep inside the newspaper. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “NYT Backs Off Its Syria-Sarin Analysis.”]
Because the retraction was “buried,” however, much of Official Washington still thinks the earlier story, supposedly proving the Syrian government’s guilt, is operational. That’s why you see politicians, like Sen. John McCain, accusing President Barack Obama of cowardice for failing to bomb Syria after it crossed his “red line” against using chemical weapons.
You’ve had a similar rush to judgment in connection with the violence that broke out in Kiev last month. The U.S. government and news media blamed lethal sniper fire on the government of President Viktor Yanukovych and – after he was driven from office by a neo-Nazi-led putsch on Feb. 22 – the U.S. media made much of how the new rump regime in Kiev had accused Yanukovych of mass murder.
However, according to an intercepted phone conversation between Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, Paet reported on a conversation that he had with a doctor in Kiev who said the sniper fire that killed protesters was the same that killed police officers.
As reported by the UK Guardian, “During the conversation, Paet quoted a woman named Olga – who the Russian media identified her as Olga Bogomolets, a doctor – blaming snipers from the opposition shooting the protesters.”
Paet said, “What was quite disturbing, this same Olga told that, well, all the evidence shows that people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides.
“So she also showed me some photos, she said that as medical doctor, she can say it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened. … So there is a stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers it was not Yanukovych, it was somebody from the new coalition.”
Ashton replied: “I think we do want to investigate. I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh.”
This important evidence regarding who was responsible for the crucial sniper fire, which sparked the violent coup, has been virtually blacked out of the mainstream U.S. news media, along with the sudden disinterest on the part of the coup regime to investigate who committed those murders. Yet, instead of repairing the rotting foundation of Official Washington’s false narrative, the major news organizations just keep building upon it.
Whiting Out the Brown Shirts
The next step is to white-out the brown shirts of the neo-Nazi storm troopers who led the final violent overthrow of Yanukovych. Then, you clean up the unsavory coup regime by having its U.S.-chosen leader, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, receive a formal welcome at the White House. Next, you pretend that the concerns of the ethnic Russians in Ukraine’s east and south are simply the result of Moscow’s propaganda and intimidation.
That’s what we’re seeing now. The New York Times even dispatched correspondent C.J. Chivers, the same guy who falsely fingered the Syrian government with that “vector analysis” last September, to co-author a dispatch entitled “Pressure and Intimidation Grip Crimea,” with the subtitle, “Russia Moves Swiftly to Stifle Dissent Ahead of Secession Vote.”
Chivers and co-author Patrick Reevel wrote: “With a mix of targeted intimidation, an expansive military occupation by unmistakably elite Russian units and many of the trappings of the election-season carnivals that have long accompanied rigged ballots across the old Soviet world, Crimea has been swept almost instantaneously into the Kremlin’s fold.
“This has happened well ahead of the referendum set for Sunday, after which, barring an extraordinary surprise, the peninsula’s interim authorities, led by a previously unsuccessful politician nicknamed the Goblin, will announce that its citizens have voted to leave Ukraine and seek a place in President Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia.”
You get the picture? While the New York Times accepted the rump parliament’s actions in Kiev last month as “legitimate” – voting in lock step under the watchful of eye of neo-Nazi militias to depose Yanukovych and strip away rights of ethnic Russians – a different standard will apply to Crimea’s referendum on bailing out of the failed Ukrainian state.
That vote, if it favors secession, must be seen as rigged and resulting only from Russian coercion, all the better to continue the false narrative that now dominates the U.S. political/media process.
Yet, the danger of false narratives – as the American people saw in Iraq and almost revisited in Syria – is that policies, including warfare, can be driven by myth, not by fact. The real story of Ukraine is far more complex than the black-and-white caricature that the New York Times, the Washington Post and others are presenting. It is in the truthful grays that responsible policies are shaped and bloody miscalculations are avoided. Source
The Forgotten Coup – How the Godfather Rules from Canberra to Kiev
By John Pilger
Washington’s role in the fascist putsch against an elected government in Ukraine will surprise only those who watch the news and ignore the historical record. Since 1945, dozens of governments, many of them democracies, have met a similar fate, usually with bloodshed.
Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries on earth with fewer people than Wales, yet under the reformist Sandinistas in the 1980s it was regarded in Washington as a “strategic threat”. The logic was simple; if the weakest slipped the leash, setting an example, who else would try their luck?
The great game of dominance offers no immunity for even the most loyal US “ally”. This is demonstrated by perhaps the least known of Washington’s coups – in Australia. The story of this forgotten coup is a salutary lesson for those governments that believe a “Ukraine” or a “Chile” could never happen to them.
Australia’s deference to the United States makes Britain, by comparison, seem a renegade. During the American invasion of Vietnam – which Australia had pleaded to join – an official in Canberra voiced a rare complaint to Washington that the British knew more about US objectives in that war than its antipodean comrade-in-arms. The response was swift: “We have to keep the Brits informed to keep them happy. You are with us come what may.”
This dictum was rudely set aside in 1972 with the election of the reformist Labor government of Gough Whitlam. Although not regarded as of the left, Whitlam – now in his 98th year – was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride, propriety and extraordinary political imagination. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country’s resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies. He proposed to “buy back the farm” and speak as a voice independent of London and Washington.
On the day after his election, Whitlam ordered that his staff should not be “vetted or harassed” by the Australian security organisation, ASIO – then, as now, beholden to Anglo-American intelligence. When his ministers publicly condemned the Nixon/Kissinger administration as “corrupt and barbaric”, Frank Snepp, a CIA officer stationed in Saigon at the time, said later: “We were told the Australians might as well be regarded as North Vietnamese collaborators.”
Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, ostensibly a joint Australian/US “facility”. Pine Gap is a giant vacuum cleaner which, as the whistleblower Edward Snowden recently revealed, allows the US to spy on everyone. In the 1970s, most Australians had no idea that this secretive foreign enclave placed their country on the front line of a potential nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Whitlam clearly knew the personal risk he was taking – as the minutes of a meeting with the US ambassador demonstrate. “Try to screw us or bounce us,” he warned, “[and Pine Gap] will become a matter of contention”.
Victor Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, later told me, “This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House. Consequences were inevitable… a kind of Chile was set in motion.”
The CIA had just helped General Pinochet to crush the democratic government of another reformer, Salvador Allende, in Chile.
In 1974, the White House sent the Marshall Green to Canberra as ambassador. Green was an imperious, very senior and sinister figure in the State Department who worked in the shadows of America’s “deep state”. Known as the “coupmaster”, he had played a played a central role in the 1965 coup against President Sukarno in Indonesia – which cost up to a million lives. One of his first speeches in Australia was to the Australian Institute of Directors – described by an alarmed member of the audience as “an incitement to the country’s business leaders to rise against the government”.
Pine Gap’s top-secret messages were de-coded in California by a CIA contractor, TRW. One of the de-coders was a young Christopher Boyce, an idealist who, troubled by the “deception and betrayal of an ally”, became a whistleblower. Boyce revealed that the CIA had infiltrated the Australian political and trade union elite and referred to the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, as “our man Kerr”.
In his black top hat and medal-laden mourning suit, Kerr was the embodiment of imperium. He was the Queen of England’s Australian viceroy in a country that still recognised her as head of state. His duties were ceremonial; yet Whitlam – who appointed him – was unaware of or chose to ignore Kerr’s long-standing ties to Anglo-American intelligence.
The Governor-General was an enthusiastic member of the Australian Association for Cultural Freedom, described by the Jonathan Kwitny of the Wall Street Journal in his book, ‘The Crimes of Patriots’, as, “an elite, invitation-only group… exposed in Congress as being founded, funded and generally run by the CIA”. The CIA “paid for Kerr’s travel, built his prestige… Kerr continued to go to the CIA for money”.
In 1975, Whitlam discovered that Britain’s MI6 had long been operating against his government. “The Brits were actually de-coding secret messages coming into my foreign affairs office,” he said later. One of his ministers, Clyde Cameron, told me, “We knew MI6 was bugging Cabinet meetings for the Americans.” In interviews in the 1980s with the American investigative journalist Joseph Trento, executive officers of the CIA disclosed that the “Whitlam problem” had been discussed “with urgency” by the CIA’s director, William Colby, and the head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield, and that “arrangements” were made. A deputy director of the CIA told Trento: “Kerr did what he was told to do.”
In 1975, Whitlam learned of a secret list of CIA personnel in Australia held by the Permanent Head of the Australian Defence Department, Sir Arthur Tange – a deeply conservative mandarin with unprecedented territorial power in Canberra. Whitlam demanded to see the list. On it was the name, Richard Stallings who, under cover, had set up Pine Gap as a provocative CIA installation. Whitlam now had the proof he was looking for.
On 10 November, 1975, he was shown a top secret telex message sent by ASIO in Washington. This was later sourced to Theodore Shackley, head of the CIA’s East Asia Division and one of the most notorious figures spawned by the Agency. Shackley had been head of the CIA’s Miami-based operation to assassinate Fidel Castro and Station Chief in Laos and Vietnam. He had recently worked on the “Allende problem”.
Shackley’s message was read to Whitlam. Incredibly, it said that the prime minister of Australia was a security risk in his own country.
The day before, Kerr had visited the headquarters of the Defence Signals Directorate, Australia’s NSA whose ties to Washington were, and reman binding. He was briefed on the “security crisis”. He had then asked for a secure line and spent 20 minutes in hushed conversation.
On 11 November – the day Whitlam was to inform Parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia – he was summoned by Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal “reserve powers”, Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister. The problem was solved. Source