Russia, Belarus Hold Joint War Games

Twenty other activists and two journalists were ordered jailed for two months during a marathon court session on Thursday that stretched late into night, but the court ruled to hold the remaining eight only until new hearings could be held on Sunday. + reset Twenty other activists and two journalists were ordered jailed for two months during a marathon court session on Thursday that stretched late into night, but the court ruled to hold the remaining eight only until new hearings could be held on Sunday. No charges have been brought against any of the activists, who are citizens of 18 countries, including Russia. Russian prosecutors are considering whether to charge them with piracy, among other offenses, and the activists are being held pending the investigation. The Russian Coast Guard disrupted an attempt on Sept. 18 by two of the activists to scale a platform owned by Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom to call attention to the environmental risks of drilling in Arctic waters. The next day, the Coast Guard seized Greenpeace’s ship, the Arctic Sunrise, and towed it to Murmansk with the crew and activists aboard. Greenpeace Russia campaign director Ivan Blokov has described the seizure of the ship as “the most aggressive and hostile act” against the environmental organization since French government agents bombed the Rainbow Warrior ship in 1985, killing one man. Peter Wilcox, an American who captained the Rainbow Warrior, also is the captain of the Arctic Sunrise. He was ordered held in custody during Thursday’s court session. Those ordered jailed on Sunday include Dima Litvinov, Greenpeace International spokesman, who has dual U.S. and Swedish citizenship; Finnish activist Sini Saarela, who was one of the two who tried to scale the platform; a British activist; two Dutch citizens and a Ukrainian cook. The platform, which belongs to Gazprom’s oil subsidiary, is the first offshore rig in the Arctic.

Russia jails 6 Greenpeace activists

He is reported to have offered (or threatened) “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us”. On Sept. 22, the Global Post reported that the Russian embassy in Damascus was hit by rocket fire from the rebels , indicating intimidation on the part of the Western backed forces and demonstrating the US fear that the Syrians would comply with the proposed agreements, harming the legitimacy of armed conflict in Syria. The National also reported (not noticing the irony) that “peace prospects could intensify fighting in Syria”. Inside the story the author quotes a former Saudi embassy official who claims, “The Saudis will use all tools available to oust Assadand intensify its efforts to arm the rebels and to use its media outlets and diplomatic clout to rally support for a military strike.” These claims are corroborated in the story by high-ranking Saudi officials making the same argument. Lastly, although the chemical weapons controversy in Syria has been covered extensively, it seems clear that the motive and opportunity for a false-flag attack was present. It was reported that the Syrian rebels did have access to chemical weapons, most prominently by UN inspector Carla del Ponte . Also, Turkey charged members of the Al-Nusra front with trafficking chemical weapons in late May. A group of independent technical analysts has discovered notable inconsistencies in both the UN Report and the evidence of regime responsibility for the chemical attacks presented by US government officials. Aside from this technical critique, however, the Syrian government has not behaved like a guilty state, but rather has been very willing to permit UN investigators into their country. Many experts claimed that the Syrian air forces bombings in Ghouta after the chemical weapons attack prove the Syrian governments attempts to hide evidence. Yet, as the New York Times reported , chemical weapons attacks with chemicals such as those used in Ghouta leave traces behind for years and are nearly impossible to cover-up.

Russia pressures former Soviet republics to join his economic union.

Sent! A link has been sent to your friend’s email address. Join the Nation’s Conversation To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs Russia, Belarus hold joint war games AP 1:21 p.m. EDT September 26, 2013 Story Highlights Massive joint military exercise involved more than 22,000 troops Russia and Belarus are allies and have close ties Thursday’s joint exercise was their biggest so far SHARE 1 CONNECT 17 TWEET COMMENTEMAILMORE MINSK, Belarus (AP) Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart have watched a massive joint military exercise of the two ex-Soviet neighbors that involved more than 22,000 troops. The West 2013 exercise conducted Thursday near the city of Grodno in western Belarus and in Russia’s westernmost Kaliningrad region also involved more than 500 armored vehicles and about 90 aircraft along with ships of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Russia and Belarus are allies and have close economic, political and military ties. Russia has several military facilities in Belarus, and the two nations operate a joint air defense system. The two armies have regularly conducted joint maneuvers, Thursday’s exercise being the biggest so far. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attended the exercise along with his nine-year old son, who donned full combat fatigues. Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Demonizing Russia and Hiding US Duplicity

Youd think that Russia might welcome the escape of its near neighbor from failed-state status. Instead, a furious Vladimir Putin is doing his best to sabotage the E.U.-Moldovan accord. Earlier this month Russia abruptly banned the import of Moldovan wine one of its main export products on a bureacratic pretext. It is threatening to cut off supplies of gas, for which it is Moldovas exclusive supplier. Moldovan guest workers in Russia are being rounded up and deported. Mr. Putins bullying is not limited to Moldova. Georgia, Armenia and Ukraine also have been the target of a mix of punitive measures and bribes in the last several months. The Kremlins zero-sum aim is to block those countries from completing association agreements with the European Union and compel them to join a Moscow-led customs union that would be an E.U. rival and a means of realizing Mr. Putins dream of recreating something like the Soviet Union. Mr.