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drive-by planet: In-depth interview with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov [video - English]: ‘If we’re attacked, we’ll certainly respond’

Given the American MSM angle on Ukraine that paints more or less the same picture with minor variations, I thought it would be interesting to get the Russian perspective courtesy of foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in this recent interview on RT’s Sophie and Co. 

Lavrov comes across as a no-nonsense straight shooter. He is candid and to-the-point in his assessment of the situation in Ukraine. He speaks of the extensive US influence with Kiev, the limits of American empire building, the Geneva agreement, the ways in which the Kiev regime has failed to deliver.

When asked by the host (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Ukraine: One possible Russian-driven solution

Bill Clinton: Ukraine Saviour?

Ukraine is in turmoil, with positions apparently hardening on all sides, since the Geneva Agreement outlining a method of resolution was agreed upon a short while ago. The level of support for the anti-Kiev position in eastern Ukraine is unclear at the moment: Armed men have seized public buildings in a string of towns in the Donbas region. It is unclear how much support they have. Polls suggest that two-thirds of people in the south and east want to stay part of Ukraine and not be annexed by Russia, as Crimea was in March. Even (Read more…)

drive-by planet: John Kerry steps up

drive-by planet: ‘Revolt of the rich’ – the privileged face of US-backed Venezuelan opposition: Bolivarian achievements

When reading corporate media coverage of the wave of protests that have roiled Venezuela you could be excused for thinking  a massively popular revolution is sweeping that nation. This version of events is more about political spin than reality. The protests have in fact been limited in scope and mostly specific to affluent areas… for example the Altimira district in Caracas. They are in part political theater, staged by right-wing forces that are cynically using the language and tactics of revolution in an attempt to destabilize the democratically elected government of President Nicolás Maduro.

To get a more accurate accounting (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Double standards, threats and false claims in run-up to March 16 referendum in Crimea

The referendum in Crimea scheduled for March 16 has been declared invalid by US secretary of state John Kerry who also issued warnings of serious consequences if Russia “annexes” Crimea.  He promised that sanctions against Russia would “get ugly fast.” This was echoed by Germany’s Angela Merkel who has made dark references to “massive political and economic harm” to Russia. British PM Cameron got in on the act with warnings of “consequences.”

A UN resolution declaring the upcoming referendum in Crimea invalid has been vetoed by Russia. Vitaly Churkin, Russian envoy at the UN, said: “The philosophy (Read more…)

drive-by planet: The Syrian nightmare Washington is helping to create

Many progressives and leftists find themselves in a conflicted position over the war in Syria. They don’t support western interventionism but by the same token are unwilling to give support to the Assad regime.

A third way approach is support for the Syrian people and their legitimate demands – as opposed to the “solutions” coming from non-Syrian parties and political actors who claim to speak for the Syrian people. The third way though has been complicated by the murky war of attrition in which positions and loyalties have been blurred and by the truth that many Syrians continue to stand (Read more…)

drive-by planet: MIT report contests US intelligence on sarin attack: Lloyd – "The Syrian rebels most definitely have the ability to make these weapons"

Top: Fighters from the Free Syrian Army’s Saif al-Umayyad brigade  prepare to launch a rocket towards regime forces in Ghouta, east of Damascus January 1, 2014.  Bottom: Spent rockets from August 21 sarin attack

A recently published MIT report titled Possible Implications of Faulty U.S. Technical Intelligence calls into question the accuracy of U.S. claims about the August 21 sarin attack outside Damascus… claims used by the Obama administration in making the case for military action against Syria. While the report does not make a judgment with respect to who might have carried out the Ghouta attack, (Read more…)

LeDaro: John Kerry: After concluding a deal with Russia over Syria, he headed for Israel

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hands with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after speaking to the media at the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem, Israel, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013. Kerry on Sunday sent a strong warning to Syria, saying ‘the threat of force is real’ if it does not carry out an internationally brokered agreement to hand over its chemical weapons.  (AP Photo/Larry Downing, Pool)

It looks the deal between the U.S and Russia regarding Syrian chemical weapons needs Israeli blessings. John Kerry, Secretary of State, headed straight for Israel on Sept 15, 2013 to meet (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Al Qaeda linked rebels in Syria: Putin accuses Kerry of lying: Syrian rebel atrocities – NYT video footage

Islamist fighters in Syria: Beneath – al-Nusra Front fighters execute Syrian soldiers

Given the military excesses the Assad regime has directed against its own people, genuine representatives of the Syrian people would seem like the force to back in the increasingly vicious civil conflict. But maybe not. A rebel force fighting for a future inclusive of the Syrian mosaic and free of the taint of sectarian extremism is challenging to identify in this increasingly murky conflict – one in which hardline Islamist groups are making serious inroads.

So-called “moderates” do not have a sure grip on the future direction of (Read more…)

LeDaro: For John McCain and John Kerry Syrian conflict is a laughing matter

Senator John McCain and Secretary of State John Kerry were having fun during Senate hearings on Syrian conflict and U.S. intervention. Also John McCain was caught on camera playing poker on his cell phone during the hearings. So much for the concern about the use of nerve gas in Syria and death of many civilians. For John McCain and John Kerry it was fun and games.

John McCain play poker on his cellphone. Washington Post

Read the story here.

drive-by planet: John Kerry’s speech: U.S. hypocrisy in preparing conditions for an illegal attack on Syria

In the course of his speech to prep public opinion for the likely US-NATO attack on Syria, U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, said: “President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.”

The killing of civilians in the course of conflicts anywhere in the world is tragic. The Obama administration should know all about that. Predator drone strikes have killed hundreds of the “world’s most vulnerable” in the process of targeting alleged militants.

Punitive U.S. action against Syria will do nothing to (Read more…)

drive-by planet: OK when we do it: U.S. hypocrisy on ‘heinous weapons’

Song of the Watermelon: An Open Letter to Barack Obama and John Kerry

Dear President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry:

As a concerned Canadian, I am writing to urge you to reject TransCanada’s application to build the Keystone XL pipeline for purposes of transporting dirty oil from Alberta’s tar sands to refineries in the United States.

I assure you that not all Canadians are quite as eager to export climate-busting bitumen as our federal government seems to be. Many of us recognize that the high energy demands required to exploit this unconventional resource give it a dangerously large carbon footprint. For this reason, we consistently oppose similar projects, such as (Read more…)

Earthgauge Radio: Will John Kerry reject Keystone XL?

A very interesting post today by Joe Romm at ThinkProgress.org. Based on the recent comments of the new U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, Romm is speculating that Kerry “shows no sign whatsoever of backing down from the moral urgency that has made him a true climate champion.” Click the video link above to see Kerry’s first big foreign policy speech in which he says the following:

We as a nation must have the foresight and courage to make the investments necessary to safeguard the most sacred trust we keep for our children and grandchildren: an environment

. . . → Read More: Earthgauge Radio: Will John Kerry reject Keystone XL?

Impolitical: Missing Hillary already

A little too jokey for my taste. When Hillary met with these Conservatives, you always had a sense that she knew exactly where they were coming from and treated them accordingly. There seems to be a bit of a shift with the new guy.

Come back…

The Canadian Progressive: 60 Groups urge Kerry to continue strong leadership on climate change

New Secretary of State positioned to advance American climate leadership, should deny the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline By 350.org | Feb. 6, 2013: WASHINGTON – Sixty leading environmental, conservation, development, faith-based, and social justice organizations are congratulating Secretary of State John Kerry for his commitment to fight climate change and urging him to “spur bold READ MORE

Eclectic Lip: Wynne-win for Canada! And, is America ready for another white male President?

I welcomed Kathleen Wynne‘s victory in the leadership race for the ruling Ontario Liberal Party this past Saturday, even though I live in faraway British Columbia. And I do mean far away — seriously, the International Space Station is ten times closer to the surface of the earth, than Vancouver is to Toronto. (Though that probably says more about how not-so-far-away the International Space Station is to us.)

Wynne is of course lesbian, and her ascent to the Premiership of Ontario — Canada’s most populous province — is a matter of minor national pride, whatever her

. . . → Read More: Eclectic Lip: Wynne-win for Canada! And, is America ready for another white male President?

Trashy's World: Friday miscellany…

… colder than Vic Toews at a homeless shelter edition. Robbie’s Follies… Will he stay or will he go? We’ll know this morning. ================================================================================== As I am apt to do once in a while, I lamented the absence of a party leader, outside the GPO, with the balls to start the process of abolishing Ontario’s [...]

DeSmogBlog: Senator John Kerry Speaks the Scary, Ugly Truth on Climate Change

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There are precious few voices in the U.S. capital these days that are speaking the truth about climate change. Which is what makes Senator John Kerry's speech on the Senate floor today so powerful, and so necessary. 

In his speech, which clocked in at nearly 55 minutes, Senator Kerry attacked a "calculated campaign of disinformation" that, he says, "has steadily beaten back the consensus momentum for action on climate change and replaced it with timidity by proponents in the face of millions of dollars of phony, contrived ‘talking points,’ illogical

. . . → Read More: DeSmogBlog: Senator John Kerry Speaks the Scary, Ugly Truth on Climate Change