Stephen Cohen: On Ukraine, It’s Time For Leaders To Step Up.

Posted March 18, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

Thom Hartmann interviews Professor Emeritus Stephen Cohen from March 10.

Since this interview, the United States introduced a United Nations Resolution in the Security Council that would have declared Crimea’s referendum to join Russia invalid. That resolution received 13 votes for and one against – Russia effectively vetoed by voting against. On Sunday March 17 the referendum in Crimea passed with 97% voting to join Russia. The ruble was declared Crimea’s currency and the peninsula is now on Russia time.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared there will be no attacks on Ukraine’s mainland. He also said he does not have any intent to further divide Ukraine. Russia has suggested resuming the Ukrainian government at the point where ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, members of the Ukraine political opposition, and European Union representatives signed an agreement for an early December 2014 national election, amnesty for jailed protesters, and power sharing in the government – February 21.

In this interview Stephen Cohen points out that, if the mass murders of Ukrainian citizens and police officers by unidentified snipers had not taken place on February 22, the crisis in Ukraine would not have come into existence – Russia would not have taken the actions it has in Crimea. Mr. Cohen’s interaction with Thom Hartmann delves into the important need of investigating to determine who the shooters were, and who was behind them.

Stephen Cohen notes that he isn’t one to subscribe to conspiracies, but, after publication of a now-viral phone call between the EU’s Catherine Ashton and Estonia’s Urmas Paet, he shares an opinion of many (including nations) that it is urgent an investigation into the mass murders in Kiev begin as soon as possible. A multi-nation law enforcement effort, combining the expertise of law veterans from around the world, would offer the best chance of identifying the murderers, wherever those murderers reside on the political spectrum.  The uncertainty surrounding who is responsible and accountable for killing in Kiev has to get resolved – honestly, it is extremely puzzling that there are people and nations in the world asking for an investigation, the effort should have begun on the same day as the shooting, because it simply is the right thing to do.

Thom Hartmann mentions the Kiev sniper killings could be looked upon in the future as 2014’s version of the Archduke Ferdinand event that led to World War I – suggesting the possibility that Viktor Yanukovych was framed for the killings in a “false flag” type scenario. History records that “false flag” operations have occurred and led to escalation of violence and war, as well as coups/overthrows of governments. Mr. Hartmann gives the example of Chile, where democratically elected President Allende, overthrown in a coup leading to Dictator Pinochet, was the victim of such a “false flag”. A plot to murder Chileans resulting in deceptively created public perceptions of Allende’s guilt was financed by a corporation having interest in Chile’s copper and other natural resources.

The possibility that Kiev sniper mass murders were a “false flag” operation makes an already powerful case for a highly professional investigation even more urgent.

Professor Cohen describes the relations between leaders of Ukraine, Russia, The European Union, and the Untied States as “the deaf talking to the deaf”. Each stakeholder in the region, as well as every concerned citizen on Earth, should come up with their series of steps/actions – and specific, in-depth reasons for any and all of those steps/actions –  which represent in their strong belief the most peaceful, justice-meeting path forward for Ukraine. These various concepts can then be seriously considered, discussed, modified, then agreed upon by all parties.

The unfortunate situation in Ukraine, including events in Crimea and the entire region, will get resolved when leadership from around the world “steps up”, as Professor Stephen Cohen says here. Leaders are those who come forward with the best solutions in times like these – solutions which are then implemented because they are moral, ethical, and offer the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

The solution in Ukraine is doing the right thing.

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(Thank you thomhartmann at YouTube)

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Urmas Paet At Reykjavik Congress On Human Rights.

Posted March 17, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

“There is one thing and one thing only, which defies all mutation: that which existed before the world, and will survive the fabric of the world itself – I mean justice.”

– Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

After listening more than once to the now-gone-viral, very disturbing, intercepted phone call between European Union high-ranking politician Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet, people around the world have waited in anticipation for their reactions. In the phone conversation Mr. Paet spoke to Ms. Ashton about the possibility that snipers in Kiev were shooting and killing both civilian protesters and members of the Ukrainian police force – backed by entities of the new coalition government – and not ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.

A scenario where Ms. Ashton and Mr. Paet give a press conference to answer questions about the phone call has yet to manifest. Since the provocative phone call became public on March 5, neither Mr. Paet or Ms. Ashton have had a meeting with reporters to share views with people around the world who have become disturbed because of what was in the call.

It is not known if Catherine Ashton and Urmas Paet have decided to avoid any contact with members of the world’s media, in hopes of downplaying as much as possible the profound implications of over 100 Ukrainians and police officers shot dead by snipers in Kiev. Given the grave nature of statements made by Mr. Paet in the leaked call, in the very near future he and Ms. Ashton will be unable to avoid making public comments to reporters – and detectives and investigators working to find the shooters, if and when the investigation begins.

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Urmas Paet delivered a 15-minute lecture in Reykvajik, Iceland last year at a human rights conference. It is safe to say that the name Urmas Paet has become widely known around the world now, so it was surprising that the following video has been seen only 158 times. For the benefit of people who have an interest in learning more about the man whose name will be in history books because of his phone discussion with Catherine Ashton in 2014, he gives a short lecture on the International Criminal Court (ICC) as it relates to the United Nations’ “Right to Protect” (R2P) doctrine.

Mr. Paet’s emphasis in the talk is about the potential of ICC to effectively deter international crimes such as genocide, wars of aggression, war crimes, and ending international criminals’ ability to commit major crimes with impunity. He points out that recently the UN Security Council (UNSC) held its first-ever debate on the topic of peace and justice with a focus on the ICC. Since that debate the UNSC has referred possible war crime investigations that occurred in Sudan and Libya to the ICC, and Mr. Paet suggests the importance of UNSC follow-up on those cases.

Urmas Paet asks “Can it (ICC deterrence) succeed?”

He notes the first judgment of the ICC in its newest form was against an African warlord who used children for military combat, which sent a powerful message to those who would consider war crimes and crimes against humanity – on the African continent – on every continent.

He notes that the ICC is handling cases involving major crimes alleged against officials in Afghanistan, Georgia, Columbia, Honduras, North Korea, and Nigeria. He suggests that war crimes committed in Syria need to get to the ICC for adjudication. He speaks on the often overlooked, but very harming, issue of sexual violence in wars and during periods of apparent peace in nations. Finally Mr. Paet notes that it is important that “we never lose sight of the fact that victims are real individuals”.

“We are witnessing the development of a new culture in international criminal law”.

Dr. Urmas Paet of Estonia makes a reasonable, sensible argument for expansion of the ICC for finally deterring war crimes and crimes against humanity, removing the last vestiges of committing such major crimes with virtual impunity.

One can only wonder if Estonia’s Urmas Paet has already taken actions to find and arrest those snipers he referred to in his now world-famous phone call – with the prosecutions and convictions taking place in the International Criminal Court.

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(Thank you to Institute for Cultural Democracy at YouTube)

Is Anyone Investigating Mass Murder In Kiev, Ukraine?

Posted March 16, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

“For the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are.”

– Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)

whitekeys4Weeks have passed since nearly 100 men, women, and police officers were tragically gunned down and killed in Kiev, Ukraine. Have the killers been apprehended? Has an investigation even started yet?

Asking if an investigation into the murder of 100 people in Kiev has begun places one in the world of the unreal, especially when one compares the standard actions taken by small,  medium, and large cities’ law enforcement agencies anywhere in the world after murders are carried out.

For men and women residing in a town of 5,000 population, if a murder occurs local law enforcement will begin an investigation immediately. For those who live in cities of 30,000 people, when a mass killing of four people happens, the city police department will join with nearby cities’ law enforcement agencies and probably the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – then immediately begin the intensive hunt for the killer(s).

If ten people get murdered by snipers in a city of 250,000 residents, such an event will get reported as the lead story in every newsroom in America – and probably around the Earth. A scenario where 100 men, women, and police officers get shot to death by snipers in the capital of the United States – Washington, D.C. – would begin an immediate investigation the likes of which no human has ever seen before.

In every single small to large imagined scenario just described, law enforcement agencies, detectives, street patrol officers, and all staff would share one absolutely common response. In each case immediate, concerted actions to find the murderers would occur.

The intercepted phone conversation between the European Union’s Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet, where Mr. Paet suggested that snipers in Kiev, Ukraine were shooting both civilian Ukrainian protesters and police officers – backed by members of the transition government and not ousted President Viktor Yanukovych – became public on March 5. The civilian and police deaths occurred weeks ago.

A full-scale investigation, similar to the imagined scenario example of Washington, D.C. mentioned above, has yet to begin in Ukraine. Have there been calls for a combined multinational law enforcement effort to find the mass murderers in Ukraine? Where does finding those who did the killing rank on the list of urgent issues needing immediate action/address by leaders from the new government in Ukraine, leaders in the European Union, United States, and Russia?

How is it that the killers of 100 men, women, and police officers are not yet behind bars – and, the question which is even more baffling – how is it that an investigation to find the killers has not yet begun?

The situation in Kiev, Ukraine is absolutely unreal.

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(Thank you to InnerCity Press at YouTube)