*VIDEO* Bill Whittle: Disarming The Warriors


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Game-Changer: U.S. Navy Turning Seawater Into Fuel (Video)

Could You Soon Be Filling Up With Seawater? US Navy Reveals ‘Game Changing’ Fuel Created From Water – Daily Mail

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The US Navy has developed a radical new fuel made from seawater.

They say it could change the way we produce fuel – and allow warships to stay at sea for years at a time.

Navy scientists have spent several years developing the process to take seawater and use it as fuel, and have now used the ‘game changing’ fuel to power a radio controlled plane in the first test.

The development of a liquid hydrocarbon fuel is being hailed as ‘a game-changer’ because it would allow warships to remain at sea for far longer.

The US has a fleet of 15 military oil tankers, and only aircraft carriers and some submarines are equipped with nuclear propulsion.

All other vessels must frequently abandon their mission for a few hours to navigate in parallel with the tanker, a delicate operation, especially in bad weather.

The ultimate goal is to eventually get away from the dependence on oil altogether, which would also mean the navy is no longer hostage to potential shortages of oil or fluctuations in its cost.

The predicted cost of jet fuel using these technologies is in the range of $3-$6 per gallon, and with sufficient funding and partnerships, this approach could be commercially viable within the next seven to ten years.

Pursuing remote land-based options would be the first step towards a future sea-based solution, the Navy says.

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Vice Admiral Philip Cullom declared: ‘It’s a huge milestone for us.

‘We are in very challenging times where we really do have to think in pretty innovative ways to look at how we create energy, how we value energy and how we consume it.

‘We need to challenge the results of the assumptions that are the result of the last six decades of constant access to cheap, unlimited amounts of fuel,’ added Cullom.

‘Basically, we’ve treated energy like air, something that’s always there and that we don’t worry about too much.

‘But the reality is that we do have to worry about it.’

They hope the fuel will not only be able to power ships, but also planes.

The predicted cost of jet fuel using the technology is in the range of three to six dollars per gallon, say experts at the US Naval Research Laboratory, who have already flown a model airplane with fuel produced from seawater.

Dr Heather Willauer, an research chemist who has spent nearly a decade on the project, said:

‘For the first time we’ve been able to develop a technology to get CO2 and hydrogen from seawater simultaneously, that’s a big breakthrough,’ she said, adding that the fuel ‘doesn’t look or smell very different.’

Now that they have demonstrated it can work, the next step is to produce it in industrial quantities.

But before that, in partnership with several universities, the experts want to improve the amount of CO2 and hydrogen they can capture.

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‘We’ve demonstrated the feasibility, we want to improve the process efficiency,’ explained Willauer.

Collum is just as excited.

‘For us in the military, in the Navy, we have some pretty unusual and different kinds of challenges,’ he said.

‘We don’t necessarily go to a gas station to get our fuel, our gas station comes to us in terms of an oiler, a replenishment ship.

‘Developing a game-changing technology like this, seawater to fuel, really is something that reinvents a lot of the way we can do business when you think about logistics, readiness.’

A crucial benefit, says Collum, is that the fuel can be used in the same engines already fitted in ships and aircraft.

‘If you don’t want to reeengineer every ship, every type of engine, every aircraft, that’s why we need what we call drop-in replacement fuels that look, smell and essentially are the same as any kind of petroleum-based fuels.’

Drawbacks? Only one, it seems: researchers warn it will be at least a decade before US ships are able to produce their own fuel on board.

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Mexican Soldiers Cross Into U.S. And Hold Border Patrol Agents At Gunpoint; Obama Ignores Incident

Mexican Soldiers Draw Guns On U.S. Agents – WorldNetDaily

The U.S. government is taking no action on an “unbelievable foray” in which two Mexican soldiers came across the border near Sasabe, Ariz., and held U.S. Border Patrol agents at gunpoint for half an hour, according to a government watchdog organization.

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Judicial Watch said that after the 35-minute “tense confrontation,” Jan. 26, the Mexican soldiers retreated south across the border “as if nothing ever happened, and the Obama administration just let it slide.”

Judicial Watch, which keeps an eye on government behavior, such as the mega-million dollar vacations for the Obamas, said that incident was , which obtained government documents with details of the incident.

According to a Border Patrol foreign military incursion report and a letter from Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, the Mexican soldiers retreated when the U.S. agents drew their weapons and summoned assistance.

The report said the Mexicans “misidentified themselves to border agents, claiming to be pursuing drug smugglers.”

Judicial Watch said, however, the Mexican soldiers aren’t chasing drug smugglers but instead are protecting cartels as they transport their cargo into the U.S. through the desert.

The incident, said Judicial Watch, is just the latest in a long string of incursions by the Mexican military into the U.S.

Records from the Department of Homeland Security show Mexican military incursions occur often and go unpunished by the U.S., Judicial Watch said.

The problem has only gotten worse over the years.

DHS documents reveal 226 incursions by Mexican government personnel into the U.S. occurred between 1996 and 2005. In 2007 alone, there were 25 incursions.

The fact that guns were drawn makes the January incident one of the most serious incursions in recent years, the Times said.

The report said Mexican embassy officials denied soldiers were involved. But they changed their story later to say the camouflage-wearing personnel were “part of a counter-narcotics operation.”

Mexican officials told the newspaper soldiers from both countries occasionally cross the border, and “both countries understand that this is something that happens as part of normal activities.”

U.S. officials in the Mexico City embassy said the incursions by the military are “unintentional,” and Kerlikowske announced no action was needed.

But Judicial Watch previously has documented Mexican police officers who had been warned not to enter the U.S. crossed the border and “arrested” two subjects.

During that incident, the officers also “threw rocks at a group of people.”

Judicial Watch described another previous incident in which a resident of Arivaca, Ariz., saw five men land a helicopter and get out, dressed in black and wearing masks and body armor.

“They had the word ‘Mexico’ on their sleeves and on the back of their shirts was some lettering starting with the letter ‘A.’ Three of the men had automatic fire rifles and the other two were armed with pistols.”

They eventually left.

Judicial Watch also cited another case: “A few years ago police in Phoenix, Ariz., reported that three members of Mexico’s army conducted a violent home invasion and assassination operation that killed one person and littered a neighborhood with gunfire. The Mexican military officers were hired by one of that country’s renowned drug cartels to carry out the deadly operation, according to Phoenix police officials, who confirmed the soldiers were armed with AR-15 assault rifles and dressed in military tactical gear.”

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Here they go again

Senator Weasel Dick AKA Harry Reid is pimping the Ft. Hood shootings to push for, wait for it…. background checks

Via Roll Call:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the Wednesday shooting at Fort Hood made him wish that Congress would pass expanded background checks for gun purchases.

“As I was told today, this young man bought this gun a day or two before he killed these people,” Reid said. “Couldn’t we at least have background checks so that people who are ill mentally or felons shouldn’t be able to buy a gun? Even [National Rifle Association] members, the majority of them, support that.”

Of course, we already HAVE background checks, we have for twenty plus years now, and Reid knows this. Any new law he proposes would be assured of doing two things. First, it would do nothing to stop mass shootings. Two, it would be a tool to implement more gun control on the law abiding. If Reid actually wanted to do something that would help prevent another shooting on a military base, he would call for lifting the ban soldiers having guns on bases. Ed has more on that

Sign The White House Petition To Overturn “Gun Free Zone” Directive On Military Bases

Let Our Military Personnel Be Able To Defend Themselves: Petition Underway To Overturn “Gun Free Zone” Rule On Military Bases – Weasel Zippers

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Obama gave a short speech after the Fort Hood shooting yesterday, speaking about the military at Fort Hood. ‘They serve with valor, they serve with distinction and when they’re at their home base, they need to feel safe,’ Obama said.

Yet, it is the very rules that he enforces that leave the military unsafe. Due to military directive, military bases are “gun free zones” where regular military are not allowed to carry firearms. This leaves them open to attack and unable to defend themselves. In recent years, we have seen attacks and attempted attacks on military bases: the first Fort Hood shooting on November 5, 2009, by terrorist Nidal Hassan, the shooting at the Navy Yard in September 2013, and this latest shooting at Fort Hood. In May of 2007 the FBI arrested six radicalized Islamist men who were plotting to attack Fort Dix. Because bases are gun free zones, terrorists or those meaning to do harm, know they have at least several minutes to kill people before police can arrive to stop them.

There are actually multiple petitions that people have started, but this is the one that seems to have the most signatures so far.

Our hearts are saddened to learn of yet another shooting on a military installation in the United States. Yet again, service members who train regularly to responsibly handle firearms were murdered on base and were unable to defend themselves.

Concealed carry policies provide not only an appropriate means for self defense against violence, but also a proven deterrent. Our military installations have become “soft” targets for those who would harm our military members. Lawful, concealed carry by responsible service members could have prevented or lessened the severity of these incidents.

The DoD should set forth CCW regulations permitting service members in good standing who have received firearms training to carry concealed firearms on DoD installations.

A petition last year asked the White House to make itself “gun free” since it seems to believe that is the best way to protect people. The White House rejected that petition, exposing their fundamental hypocrisy. Apparently, the White House believes its occupants are entitled to protection that children and our military are not.

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Related articles/video:

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End ‘Victimization Zones’ On Military Bases – Master Sgt. C.J. Grisham

When I started Open Carry Texas last year, my focus was on educating the public about the benefits of an armed society. I hear all the time from proponents of gun control that “in this day and age” it’s so important to restrict access to firearms to prevent people from using them to commit evil atrocities. The problem with this philosophy is that gun control laws only victimize law abiding citizens by making them defenseless.

By definition, criminals don’t obey laws, no matter how altruistic and holistic those laws may be.

For years on my personal blog, A Soldier’s Perspective, I spoke out against so-called gun-free zones. My first awareness about the pitfalls of these victimization zones, as I call them, came in 1991. Originally hailing from Temple, Texas, the Luby’s shooting hit home for me. I was only in high school at the time, but recognizing that a member of my family could have been in that restaurant on Oct. 16, 1991, I was acutely aware of the impact that shooting had on my stance on gun control.

Then, in 1993, Army Regulation 190-14 (Carrying of Firearms and Use of Force for Law Enforcement and Security Duties) was updated with new rules on what, when and how soldiers could carry firearms on military installations. The policy banned all manner of carry except for “DA personnel regularly engaged in law enforcement or security duties.”

It became the Army’s policy that “the authorization to carry firearms will be issued only to qualified personnel when there is a reasonable expectation that life or Department of the Army assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried.” Naturally, this policy was implemented prior to Sept. 11, 2001.

Since that Army policy went into effect and other services followed suit there have been nearly two dozen shootings at military installations. I vividly remember shortly after arriving to my new unit at Fort Stewart, Ga., when Private First Class Craig Jones walked into the orderly room of his unit and shot Sergeant Michael Santiago in the chest and arm, killing him. This was in March 2002.

In September 2008, a soldier at Fort Hood shot and killed his lieutenant before committing suicide. Specialist Armano Baca shot Sgt. Ryan Schlack in July 2009 on the same base. Since guns were banned on military installations, there have been shootings on Fort Drum, Fort Carson, Fort Bragg, Fort Knox and many other military installations!

In November 2009, I was out-processing Redstone Arsenal, Ala., en route to my new assignment on Fort Hood, Texas. At the same time, Army Maj. Nidal Hassan walked into a deployment center on Fort Hood and opened fire on his fellow soldiers, killing 13 and injuring 30 others.

And all of these shootings happened in gun-free zones. Every single one of these shootings happened at a place where the very people trained to deal with armed attackers were defenseless against an armed attacker.

No one can say for certain these incidents would disappear were soldiers allowed to carry personal firearms. However, it can be said with a certainty that any future tragedy will be executed unopposed as long as soldiers are not at least given the opportunity to defend themselves. There’s a saying that it’s better to have a gun and not need it, than not have a gun and need it.

After every one of these tragedies, we as a nation wring our collective hands trying to figure out what went wrong and how to prevent the next shooting. And each time, the simple idea of allowing troops to carry concealed firearms never seems to cross our minds. Why not?

I believe that one reason we are hesitant to allow troops to carry in uniform is because we think arming soldiers will lead to more such shootings. Many people said the same thing about Texas when we were debating the concealed handgun law. Critics said there would be blood in the streets. But, this isn’t backed up by logic, fact, or even experience.

Right this second, virtually every soldier in Afghanistan is carrying a loaded weapon, whether it be a pistol or a rifle. At the very least, they are carrying an unloaded weapon with ammunition readily available and at their disposal. No one can honestly say that being deployed is less stressful than being back home in a garrison environment. Yet, in spite of the prevalence of firearms in the hands of nearly every single troop in a stressful combat environment, the existence of fratricide is practically non-existent.

It would be the height of hypocrisy to suggest that soldiers are more or less capable of managing their emotions with a firearm in one environment over another. The fact remains that in spite of the 1993 regulation and policy, service members are carrying guns onto military installations and killing unarmed victims; victims that may have had a chance to live if they were permitted an opportunity to defend themselves. Even when not carrying guns on military installations, many service members are carrying them off base without feeling the urge to shoot the first person that looks at them cross-eyed.

How many more of my brothers and sisters must die before we, as a nation, wake up and put an end to these ironically titled “gun-free zones”? How many more examples of innocent, unarmed citizens being slaughtered by men with evil intent must we endure? Why do we disarm the very people who are the most well-trained in the use of firearms in defensive and offensive situations?

I am not arguing that the military simply abolish its policy altogether and just allow everyone and their mother to carry a firearm onto a military installation – though I don’t see why not. After all, there is a constitutional amendment that recognizes that right. But, I’ve never been one to identify a problem without a solution.

The military should initiate a policy that, at a minimum, allows soldiers with concealed handgun licenses to carry their firearms on them. The Department of Defense could even institute its own concealed handgun licensing requirement so at the very least it knows which soldiers are armed and whether they are qualified. To combat the constant stream of motorcycle deaths, the Army instituted a program that requires soldiers to be trained and certified prior to riding a motorcycle onto a military installation.

Why not train and certify soldiers in order to permit them to carry a concealed handgun on post? Those who are trained and certified would be required to renew their certifications annually or whenever they move to another military installation. Guns brought onto military installations are already registered, so make that another aspect of the licensing requirement. If a soldier wants to carry a different handgun, he/she must be re-certified with the new handgun they wish to carry.

Whatever we do, it’s obvious that what we are currently doing doesn’t work. It’s not working in gun-free shopping centers; it’s not working in gun-free schools; it’s not working in gun-free cities; and it doesn’t work in gun-free military installations.

In December 2012, NRA Executive Director Wayne Lapierre, eloquently stated: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Would you rather have your 911 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away or a minute away?”

The fact is that the overwhelming majority of gun owners are law abiding citizens. Gun owners who jump through the hoops to become licensed gun owners are even less likely to commit crimes. In Texas, only .18 percent of gun owners have committed ANY crime at all. Hardly any of those crimes were committed with a gun. The time to end gun free zones is now, no matter where they exist.

C.J. Grisham is president and founder of Open Carry Texas, a Texas-based organization dedicated to the safe and legal carry of firearms and has over 19 years of active military service. He has been writing about gun rights on his blog, A Soldier’s Perspective, since 2005. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Defense, the Department of the Army or any branch of the government.

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Petition To Allow Military Personnel To Carry Concealed Weapons – Liberty Federation

Petition To: All Members of Congress & President Obama

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Military service members must be allowed to carry concealed firearms on all Federal and State installations. Had concealed carry been permitted, service members could have potentially stopped the shooters at Fort Hood and the Washington Naval Yard. We must stop denying our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines the right and ability to defend themselves when targeted in mass shooting events.

We demand that you immediately pass legislation that allows for military service members the right to carry concealed weapons on all Federal and State facilities where they are either based or currently assigned.

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Connecticut Community College Punishes Student Veteran For Questioning Governor About Leftist Gun Laws (Video)

Asnuntuck C.C. Punishes Student Speech, Ignores This Exculpatory Video – F.I.R.E.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has called on Asnuntuck Community College (ACC) to drop its disciplinary action against a student following a conversation on campus with Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy. Making matters worse, ACC deprived the student of crucial due process protections, even refusing to review exculpatory video evidence.

On October 23, 2013, student Nicholas Saucier recorded on video a conversation with Governor Malloy, who was speaking at ACC that day. Saucier asked Malloy questions about recent gun legislation, and the conversation was halted abruptly when Malloy got into his car and left. A second recording shows ACC President James Lombella and a campus security officer leading Saucier off campus.

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Based on this conversation, ACC suspended Saucier and charged him with violations of its Policy on Student Conduct, including harassment, threats, and failure to “[d]emonstrate good citizenship by not engaging in conduct prohibited by federal, state, or other laws.” Saucier chose to defend himself in a formal hearing rather than agree to an informal resolution requiring him to plead guilty to all charges, withdraw, and submit to a mandatory professional evaluation for readmission.

At his November 18 hearing, ACC gave itself discretion to “decide what information is appropriate” for consideration, then refused to review Saucier’s videos showing his speech to be protected by the First Amendment. It also prohibited any recording of the hearing, depriving Saucier of a fundamental safeguard colleges routinely afford students. These unwritten abridgements to ACC’s written procedures severely impaired Saucier’s ability to defend himself.

ACC found Saucier guilty of all charges. It lifted Saucier’s suspension but placed him on probation with the condition that any future conduct violations “will likely result in Suspension or Expulsion from the College.” In a letter sent January 13, FIRE called on ACC to reverse its severe violations of Saucier’s free speech and due process rights. The college has failed to respond.

“This case stands as a startling example of what can happen when disrespect for student First Amendment rights is combined with disregard for student due process rights,” said Peter Bonilla, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program. “ACC’s myriad violations of Nicholas Saucier’s rights, effective rewriting of its conduct procedures, and failure to rectify its errors should give all Americans great concern.”

FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals from across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual rights, freedom of expression, academic freedom, due process, and rights of conscience at our nation’s colleges and universities. FIRE’s efforts to preserve liberty on campuses across America can be viewed at thefire.org.

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Obama Regime Covertly Providing Russia With Free High Tech Military Equipment (Video)

Obama Administration Caught Giving Free High Tech Military Equipment To Russia – Gateway Pundit

This is not 21st century behavior.

The Obama administration has been secretly giving Russia free Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES), a tactical force-on-force trainer, which uses a system of lasers and dummy ammunition to simulate ground combat for soldiers.

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While slapping Russia publicly on the wrist, the Obama Administration has been giving Russia FREE high tech military equipment.

Judicial Watch reported:

Behind closed doors the U.S. government is giving Russia free military equipment – also used to train American troops – even after President Obama announced punitive sanctions against Moscow and, more importantly, a suspension in military engagement over the invasion and occupation of Ukraine.

The secret operation was exposed this week by members of Congress that discovered it in the process of reviewing the Fiscal Year 2014 budget and the proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget request. It turns out that the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has been providing the Russian Federation with the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES), the federal legislators say. The U.S. military uses MILES for tactical force-on-force training because it has a system of lasers and dummy ammunition to simulate ground combat.

It’s a crucial, military-grade technology that’s similar to a “laser tag” available in some commercial markets, according to one of the outraged lawmakers (Oklahoma Republican Jim Bridenstine) that helped uncover the scandal. Bridenstine, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has joined forces with Ohio Republican Mike Turner, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, to demand an end to the program. Along with about a dozen other House colleagues they penned a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who oversees the agency carrying out the “irresponsible military equipment transfers” to Russia.

The Obama administration’s planned supply to the Russian Federation is a grave mistake given the recent invasion of Ukraine launched by Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, the legislators point out. “It is difficult to imagine a worse time to provide military-grade technology employed by the U.S. Marine Corps, Army, and Special Operations Forces to Russia than when it has illegally invaded Ukraine and is violating the intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty,” the letter to Moniz says. “To make matters worse, it is our understanding from the budget documents that the Department has been, and continues to propose, providing this technology to Russia free-of-charge.”

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President Asshat Trying To Kill Tomahawk, Hellfire Missile Programs

Obama To Kill Tomahawk, Hellfire Missile Programs – Washington Free Beacon

President Barack Obama is seeking to abolish two highly successful missile programs that experts say has helped the U.S. Navy maintain military superiority for the past several decades.

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The Tomahawk missile program – known as “the world’s most advanced cruise missile” – is set to be cut by $128 million under Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal and completely eliminated by fiscal year 2016, according to budget documents released by the Navy.

In addition to the monetary cuts to the program, the number of actual Tomahawk missiles acquired by the United States would drop significantly – from 196 last year to just 100 in 2015. The number will then drop to zero in 2016.

The Navy will also be forced to cancel its acquisition of the well-regarded and highly effective Hellfire missiles in 2015, according to Obama’s proposal.

The proposed elimination of these missile programs came as a shock to lawmakers and military experts, who warned ending cutting these missiles would significantly erode America’s ability to deter enemy forces.

“The administration’s proposed budget dramatically under-resources our investments in munitions and leaves the Defense Department with dangerous gaps in key areas, like Tomahawk and Hellfire missiles,” said Rep. Randy Forbes (R., Va.), a member of House Armed Services Committee.

“Increasing our investment in munitions and retaining our technological edge in research and development should be a key component of any serious defense strategy,” he said.

The U.S. Navy relied heavily on them during the 2011 military incursion into Libya, where some 220 Tomahawks were used during the fight.

Nearly 100 of these missiles are used each year on average, meaning that the sharp cuts will cause the Tomahawk stock to be completely depleted by around 2018. This is particularly concerning to defense experts because the Pentagon does not have a replacement missile ready to take the Tomahawk’s place.

“It doesn’t make sense,” said Seth Cropsey, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for American Seapower. “This really moves the U.S. away from a position of influence and military dominance.”

Cropsey said that if someone were trying to “reduce the U.S. ability to shape events” in the world, “they couldn’t find a better way than depriving the U.S. fleet of Tomahawks. It’s breathtaking.”

The Navy has used various incarnations of the Tomahawk with great success over the past 30 years, employing them during Desert Storm and its battle zones from Iraq and Afghanistan to the Balkans.

While the military as a whole is seeing its budgets reduced and equipment scaled back, the Tomahawk cuts do not appear to be due to a lack of funds.

The administration seems to be taking the millions typically spent on the Tomahawk program and investing it in an experimental missile program that experts say will not be battle ready for at least 10 years.

“It is definitely short-sighted given the value of the Tomahawk as a workhorse,” said Mackenzie Eaglen, a former Pentagon staffer who analyzes military readiness. “The opening days of the U.S. lead-from-behind, ‘no-fly zone’ operation over Libya showcased how important this inventory of weapons is still today.”

Overall, the Navy has essentially cut in half its weapons procurement plan, impacting a wide range of tactical weapons and missiles.

Navy experts and retired officials fear that the elimination of the Tomahawk and Hellfire systems – and the lack of a battle-ready replacement – will jeopardize the U.S. Navy’s supremacy as it faces increasingly advanced militaries from North Korea to the Middle East.

The cuts are “like running a white flag up on a very tall flag pole and saying, ‘We are ready to be walked on,’” Cropsey said.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Steve Russell called the cuts to the Tomahawk program devastating for multiple reasons.

“We run a huge risk because so much of our national policy for immediate response is contingent on our national security team threatening with Tomahawk missiles,” said Russell, who is currently running for Congress.

“The very instrument we will often use and cite, we’re now cutting the program,” Russell said. “There was a finite number [of Tomahawk’s] made and they’re not being replenished.”

“If our national policy is contingent on an immediate response with these missile and we’re not replacing them, then what are we going do?” Russell asked.

North Korea, for instance, has successfully tested multi-stage rockets and other ballistic missiles in recent months. Experts say this is a sign that the Navy’s defensive capabilities will become all the more important in the Pacific in the years to come.

Meanwhile, the experimental anti-ship cruise missile meant to replace the Tomahawk program will not be battle ready for at least 10 years, according to some experts.

The Long Range Anti Ship Missile has suffered from extremely expensive development costs and has underperformed when tested.

“You have to ask yourself: An anti-ship missile is not going to be something we can drive into a cave in Tora Bora,” Russell said. “To replace it with something not needed as badly, and invest in something not even capable of passing basic tests, that causes real concern.”

The Pentagon did not return requests for comment.

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Putin Signs Treaty Annexing Crimea (Video)

Russia’s Putin Signs Treaty To Annex Crimea – Wall Street Journal

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday moved to annex the breakaway Ukrainian region of Crimea but sought to reassure Ukrainians by saying Moscow has no further designs on its southern neighbor’s territories.

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In an otherwise defiant speech to both houses of parliament and top officials, Mr. Putin dismissed sanctions and threats of other consequences from Europe and the U.S., saying the West had “crossed the line” by fomenting what he called a putsch in Kiev earlier this year.

Mr. Putin signed treaties formally annexing Crimea and the port city of Sevastopol, which has long had a separate administrative status. Even if he stops there, Mr. Putin’s annexation of the Black Sea peninsula would be the first such move in Europe since the end of World War II, upending long-held assumptions about security on the continent and potentially condemning Russia to a period of prolonged isolation.

Western leaders immediately denounced the move and threatened new sanctions. U.S. President Barack Obama called for a meeting next week of the leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrial nations in Europe to discuss the crisis, pointedly excluding Russia from what had been known as the G-8.

Legislators were expected to complete the ratification process this week and the regions would become Russian territory within days. The process has moved swiftly since voters in Crimea on Sunday overwhelmingly passed a referendum to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.

Reaching back centuries into czarist history and relying heavily on widely felt nostalgia for the superpower status of the Soviet Union, Mr. Putin said Russia will stand up for the millions of ethnic Russians and Russian-speakers in what he called “historic Russian lands” now outside its borders.

“In the hearts and consciousness of people, Crimea always was and will be an inalienable part of Russia,” he said, arguing that the 1954 Soviet decision to assign the region to Ukraine was a “blatant historical injustice” conducted in violation of laws then in effect.

“Crimea is our common property and a very important factor in the stability of the region,” he said. “This strategic territory should be under a strong, sovereign state and that in fact can only be Russia.” Leaving Crimea in Ukrainian hands, he warned, could lead Sevastopol, home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, to become a harbor for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Mr. Putin was interrupted repeatedly by applause and some wiped tears from their eyes. Dignitaries chanted “Glory to Putin” during the ovations.

He signaled that Moscow isn’t planning to send its troops – which occupied Crimea over the last two weeks – further into Ukraine. But he reiterated his harsh denunciations of the Western-backed government in Kiev as illegitimate and dominated by nationalists.

Appealing to the people of Ukraine, Mr. Putin said, “don’t believe those who are using Russia to scare you, who say that other regions will follow Crimea. We don’t want a partition of Ukraine. We don’t need this.”

“Millions of Russian people, Russian-speakers, now live and will continue to live in Ukraine, and Russia will always defend their interests through political, diplomatic and legal means,” he said.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry didn’t appear persuaded by Putin’s signal that Moscow wasn’t planning to send troops, and said it wouldn’t recognize the annexation.

“The signing of the so-called agreement on the inclusion of Crimea in Russia and the president’s speech has nothing to do either with the law, or with democracy or common sense,” a spokesman said. “Putin’s speech demonstrated how dangerous Russia is for the civilized world and global security.”

Elsewhere in the speech, Mr. Putin seemed to cast doubt on Ukraine’s historical claims to the eastern and southern regions where ethnic Russians make up a large share of the population. Mr. Putin said those territories – which he called “the historical south of Russia” – were given to Ukraine by Bolshevik leaders in the early 1900s without the approval of residents.

Western capitals have called the annexation a violation of international law. On a visit to Warsaw, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said the world sees through Mr. Putin’s “flawed logic” and that the U.S. was ready to impose further sanctions on Russia.

The U.S. joins “Poland and the international community in condemning the continuing assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and the blatant violation of international law by Mr. Putin,” he said.

Mr. Putin scoffed at such criticisms in his speech, accusing the U.S. and its allies of ignoring international law when it suited their interests and “cynically” relying on “the law of the strong.”

“We’ve been deceived time after time” by Western assurances that Russia’s interests would be taken into account, he said. “We have every reason to believe that the well-known policy of containing Russia from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries is being continued today.”

After years of weakness in the 1990s where Russia couldn’t defend its interests, Mr. Putin said Russia now is able to stand up for itself. “If you compress a spring to the limit, it will ultimately rebound strongly,” he said.

He dismissed threats of western sanctions. “We of course will confront external pressure, but we have to decide for ourselves whether we are ready to consistently defense our national interests or endlessly betray them, retreating who knows where,” he said.

Russia’s currency and stock markets have dropped since the crisis began and capital flight has accelerated, leading many economists to warn that the economy faces stagnation this year.

But investors welcomed the tone of Mr. Putin’s speech, interpreting it as more conciliatory than expected.

European shares, which had fallen as investors awaited the speech, rallied sharply. The Stoxx Europe 600 index was up 0.8% midafternoon. Russia’s RTS index climbed 2.5%, while the Russian ruble bounced back from steep losses earlier in the day.

Officials blacklisted by the U.S. and EU on Monday laughed off the initial wave of sanctions, with many saying they have no overseas assets that could be targeted. Many said they viewed being named as an honor.

All of the 353 deputies of the lower house of parliament, the state Duma, present Tuesday voted to join in on the sanctions, state news channel Rossiya 24 reported.

In his speech, Mr. Putin cited strong public support for the annexation, noting that polls show over 90% of Russians back the move. The Kremlin organized a celebratory rally on Red Square on Tuesday afternoon, where Putin also spoke.

A poll released this week found that about as many Russians – 48% – said they wanted to live in a “great power that other countries respect and fear” as said they wanted to live in a country with a high standard of living that wasn’t one of the most powerful in the world.

Fueling fears the hardening of foreign policy is bringing a crackdown on opponents at home, Mr. Putin also warned that any efforts by outsiders to undermine Russia’s resolve through what he called “a fifth column or various national traitors” would provoke a firm response.

In recent weeks, the Kremlin has tightened pressure on independent media and political opponents.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Ed’s 2016 Executive Branch Dream Team (Videos)


PRESIDENT – TED CRUZ
U.S. Senator/Former Texas Solicitor General/Former Director Of The Office Of Policy Planning For The Federal Trade Commission/Former Associate Deputy Attorney General For The U.S. Department Of Justice/Former Domestic Policy Advisor To U.S. President George W. Bush For The 2000 Bush-Cheney Campaign/Former Adjunct Professor Of Law At The University Of Texas School Of Law, Austin/Attorney

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VICE PRESIDENT – SCOTT WALKER
Wisconsin Governor/Former Wisconsin State Assemblyman/Former Milwaukee County Executive/Former Marketer And Fundraiser For The American Red Cross

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CHIEF OF STAFF – MARK LEVIN
President Of The Landmark Legal Foundation/Former Associate Director Of Presidential Personnel For The Reagan Administration/Former Deputy Assistant Secretary For Elementary And Secondary Education At The U.S. Department Of Education/Former Deputy Solicitor At The U.S. Department Of The Interior/Former Chief Of Staff To Attorney General Edwin Meese/Talk Raido Host/Historian/Author/Attorney

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ATTORNEY GENERAL – TREY GOWDY
U.S. Congressman/Former District Attorney For South Carolina’s Seventh Judicial Circuit/Former Federal Prosecutor With The U.S. Attorney For The District Of South Carolina/Former Law Clerk For John P. Gardner On The South Carolina Court Of Appeals And United States District Court Judge Ross Anderson/Attorney

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SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY – FRANK GAFFNEY
Founder And President Of The Center For Security Policy/Founder Of The Set America Free Coalition/Former Deputy Assistant Secretary Of Defense For Nuclear Forces And Arms Control Policy/Former Assistant Secretary Of Defense For International Security Policy/Former Senate Armed Services Committee Staff Member/Talk Radio Host/Producer/Columnist/Author

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SECRETARY OF DEFENSE – STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL
Retired United States Army Four-Star General/Former Commander Of International Security Assistance Force/Former Commander Of U.S. Forces Afghanistan/Former Director Of Joint Staff/ Former Commander Of Joint Special Operations Command

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DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE – KEITH ALEXANDER
United States Army Four-Star General/Director Of The National Security Agency/Chief Of The Central Security Service/Commander Of The United States Cyber Command/Former Deputy Chief Of Staff, G-2, U.S. Army

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SECRETARY OF STATE – JOHN BOLTON
Former Ambassador To The United Nations/Former Assistant Secretary For International Organization Affairs At The Department Of State/Former Assistant Attorney General At The Department Of Justice/Former Assistant Administrator For Program And Policy Coordination At The U.S. Agency For International Development/Former General Counsel At The U.S. Agency For International Development/Attorney

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CHAIRMAN OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE – MARK THORNTON
Senior Fellow At The Ludwig Von Mises Institute/Book Review Editor Of The Quarterly Journal Of Austrian Economics/Former Editor Of The Austrian Economics Newsletter/Editorial Board Member Of The Journal Of Libertarian Studies/Former Economics Professor At Auburn University At Montgomery And Trinity University In Texas/Former Assistant Superintendent Of Banking And Economic Adviser To Alabama Governor Fob James/Author

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SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY – THOMAS SOWELL
Senior Fellow At The Hoover Institution At Stanford University/Former Professor Of Economics At Howard University, Rutgers University, Cornell University, Brandeis University, Amherst College And UCLA/Former Fellow At The Center For Advanced Study In The Behavioral Sciences At Stanford University/Former Project Director At The Urban Institute/Columnist/Author

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DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET – NEWT GINGRICH
Former Speaker Of The U.S. House Of Representatives/Architect Of The ‘Contract With America’/Former House Minority Whip/Former Time Magazine ‘Man Of The Year’/Former Assistant Professor Of History And Geography At West Georgia College/Founder And Chairman Of American Solutions For Winning The Future And The Center For Health Transformation/Founder Of The Conservative Opportunity Society/Distinguished Visiting Scholar And Professor At The United States Air Force’s Air University And The National Defense University/Member Of The Council On Foreign Relations/Guiding Coalition Member Of The Project On National Security Reform/Founder And Chairman Of Gingrich Productions/Political Consultant/Historian/Lecturer/Author

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SECRETARY OF ENERGY – REX TILLERSON
Chairman, President And CEO Of Exxon Mobil Corporation/Engineer/Trustee For The Center For Strategic And International Studies And The American Petroleum Institute/Former President Of Exxon Yemen Inc And Esso Exploration And Production Khorat Incorporated/Former Vice President Of Exxon Ventures/Former President Of Exxon Neftegas Limited/Former Executive Vice President Of ExxonMobil Development Company

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SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR – SARAH PALIN
Former Alaska Governor/Former Wasilla Mayor/Former Wasilla City Councilwoman/Former Chairwoman Of The Alaska Oil And Gas Conservation Commission/Former Head Of The Fellowship Of Christian Athletes/Former Sportscaster For KTUU-TV And KTVA-TV/Former Sports Reporter For The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman/Former Miss Wasilla/Political Commentator/Author

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SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS – ALLEN WEST
Former U.S. Congressman/Retired United States Army Lieutenant Colonel/Former Military Professional Resources Incorporated Adviser To The Afghan National Army/Former U.S. History Teacher And Track And Field Coach At Deerfield Beach High School, Deerfield Beach, Florida/Founder Of The Allen West Guardian Fund And The Allen West Foundation/Political Commentator/Columnist/Author

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UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE – TERRY MILLER
Director Of The Center For International Trade And Economics/Kolokotrones Fellow In Economic Freedom At The Heritage Foundation/Editor Of The Annual Index Of Economic Freedom/Former Ambassador To The United Nations Economic And Social Council/Former Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State For Economic And Global Issues/Former Director Of The Office Of Agricultural And Textile Trade/Former Director Of The Office Of Human Rights, Social And Refugee Affairs/Former Director Of Economic And Development Affairs At The Bureau Of International Organisations/Former Head Of The U.S. Observer Mission To The U.N. Educational, Scientific And Cultural Organization/Former Head Of The U.S. Delegation To The U.N. Conference On Trade And Development/Former Lead Negotiator For The Monterrey Consensus On Financing For Development/Columnist

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DIRECTOR OF IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT – JOE ARPAIO
Sheriff Of Maricopa County, Arizona/Former Military Policeman In The U.S Army/Former Police Officer In Las Vegas, Nevada/Former Special Agent With The Federal Bureau Of Narcotics (Later DEA)/Former Head Of The DEA’s Arizona Branch/Author

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SURGEON GENERAL – BEN CARSON
Former Director Of Pediatric Neurosurgery And Professor Of Neurosurgery, Oncology, Plastic Surgery And Pediatrics At Johns Hopkins Hospital/Former Co-Director Of The Johns Hopkins Craniofacial Center/Recipient Of The Presidential Medal Of Freedom/Member Of The American Academy Of Achievement And The Horatio Alger Association Of Distinguished Americans/Recipient Of The Jefferson Award For Greatest Public Service Benefiting The Disadvantaged/Member Of The National Academy Of Sciences Institute Of Medicine/Holder Of 38 Honorary Doctorate Degrees/Columnist/Political Commentator/Author

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SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION – TED HOUGHTON
Chairman Of The Texas Transportation Commission/Former Member Of The El Paso School Land Board/Former Member Of The El Paso Water Utilities Public Service Board/Former Member Of The El Paso Rapid Transit Board/Former Vice President And Chairman Of The El Paso Public Relations And Communications Committee/Former Treasurer Of The El Paso Political Action Committee/Former Member Of The El Paso Electric Company Board Of Directors/Former President Of The Sun Bowl Association/Former Member Of The 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Committee

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SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES – PAMELA PAULK
Senior Vice President For Human Resources For The Johns Hopkins Health System And Johns Hopkins Medicine/Co-Founder And President Of The Baltimore Alliance For Careers In Healthcare/President Of The Baltimore Community Mediation Board Of Directors/Member Of The Baltimore Employee Health Plan Board Of Directors/Member Of The Baltimore Leadership Class Of 2000/Member Of The Baltimore Workforce Investment Board/Former Director Of Operations Integration For The Johns Hopkins Health System/Former Interim Director For Johns Hopkins Home Care Group/Former Vice President Of Johns Hopkins International Global Services/Former National Consultant And Senior Vice President Of Operations For A Private Psychiatric Practice

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PRESS SECRETARY – BILL WHITTLE
Co-founder Of Declaration Entertainment/Director/Screenwriter/Editor/Narrator/Political Commentator/Columnist/Pilot/Video Blogger/Author

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NEW OFFICES/AGENCIES

SECRETARY OF FREE MARKET CAPITALISM – ARTHUR BROOKS
President Of The American Enterprise Institute/Curry Scholar In Free Enterprise At The American Enterprise Institute/Former Professor Of Business, Economics, Social Entrepreneurship And Government At Syracuse University/Former Professor Of Public Administration At Syracuse University/Former Associate Professor At Syracuse University Maxwell School Of Citizenship And Public Affairs/Former Associate Professor At Syracuse University Whitman School Of Management/Former Assistant Professor Of Public Administration And Economics At Georgia State University/Former Doctoral Fellow And Consultant At The RAND Corporation/Former Professor Of French Horn At Lynn University Harid Conservatory Of Music/Former Classical French Hornist/Economist/Columnist/Author

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DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT DOWNSIZING – THOMAS SCHATZ
President Of Citizens Against Government Waste And Its Lobbying Affiliate The Council For Citizens Against Government Waste/Former Legislative Director For Congressman Hamilton Fish Jr./Spokesman/Attorney/Columnist

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DISCONTINUED OFFICES/AGENCIES

SECRETARY OF COMMERCE
SECRETARY OF LABOR
SECRETARY OF EDUCATION
SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE
SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS

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President Asshat Wants To Cut Airborne Warning And Control Fleet By 25 Percent

Obama Wants To Cut AWAC Fleet By 25 Percent – Sweetness & Light

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From the Washington Free Beacon:

Obama to Cut Key Reconnaissance Fleet By 25 Percent

Planes being used to monitor Ukraine crisis

By Adam Kredo | March 10, 2014

A key fleet of U.S. reconnaissance planes used to detect enemy aircraft in hostile settings will to be cut by 25 percent under President Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget, according to multiple sources familiar with the budget proposal.

A fleet of 31 AWACs, or Airborne Warning and Control System planes, will be reduced to 24 by 2015 under Obama’s budget proposal.

The situation has prompted concern in defense circles and elsewhere, where sources have pointed out that AWACS are currently deployed in Poland and Romania in order to help monitor the standoff in Ukraine.

Hell, as we noted last week, Obama’s budget also does away the A-10 anti-tank helicopters. From the New York Times: “Under Mr. Hagel’s proposals, the entire fleet of Air Force A-10 attack aircraft would be eliminated. The aircraft was designed to destroy Soviet tanks in case of an invasion of Western Europe, and the capabilities are deemed less relevant today.”

Nope. No way we’ll ever need ground support from those A-10 ‘Thunderbolts’ again. (Even though they have been recently used in Iraq, Afghanistan and even Libya.)

AWACS are a highly advanced type of reconnaissance craft able to monitor enemy movements in the sky and ground from great distances. Each AWAC unit costs $270 million, according to the Air Force.

Which is how many EBT cards?

NATO dispatched several of its own AWACs on Monday to monitor Russian movement in Ukraine’s Crimea region, where a tense standoff is still taking place. “All AWACs reconnaissance flights will take place solely over alliance territory,” a NATO spokesman was quoted as saying by the BBC.

And they will be quickly grounded as soon as Putin says ‘boo.’

The seven U.S. AWAC planes cut in Obama’s budget would be completely scrapped if the proposal is adopted…

Lawmakers could pressure the Air Force to fight the cuts.

The Air Force, like every branch of the military, has seen its budgets significantly constrained in recent years. The Pentagon is faced with massive spending cuts under the budget and is considering cutting some 420,000 Army soldiers due to the financial constraints.

No, this is all due to Barack Hussein Obama. He is cutting our military to the bone, and then cutting the bone.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Obama Regime Shut Down WW II Memorial Knowing Veterans Were Coming

Emails Reveal Obama Admin Shut Down WW II Memorial Knowing Vets Were Coming – Big Government

Newly released public records show that the Department of the Interior knew in advance that two groups of aging veterans would be visiting the World War II Memorial on October 1, 2013, but they decided to barricade the premises anyway.

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According to emails obtained by National Review Online, the U.S. National Park Service employees were also constantly monitoring the news for any negative media attention. Moreover, the emails show that government shutdown exceptions were granted to National Park Service employees.

The Obama administration tried to make political hay out of the government shutdown by closing the National Mall and denying access to monuments, but the decision backfired when the veterans defied the signs and fences and entered the WWII Memorial. The vets were taking part in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight, established in 2011 to help fly the state’s WWII veterans to Washington, D.C. and to provide tours to monuments dedicated in their honor.

Obama told the American people that it was necessary to shut down the Mall and blamed Republicans for creating the hardships. However, the emails reveal that the Department of the Interior and National Park Service did not have to shut down the monuments but did so to make a point.

On September 30, Tom Buttry, a legislative correspondent in Senator Tom Harkin’s (D-Iowa) office, stated that it would actually be easier and less costly to keep the mall open than to shut it down:

While I understand that these memorials have remained accessible to the public during past shutdowns (I’d imagine with the mall being so open, it’d probably [be] more manpower intensive to try to completely close them), I wanted to do my due diligence and make 100 percent sure that people could visit the outdoor memorials on the National Mall in the event of a shutdown.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Flashback: Obama Pushed Bill That Helped Destroy Tons Of Ukrainian Ammunition, Small Arms And Anti-Aircraft Missiles

Flashback: Senator Obama Pushed Bill That Helped Destroy More Than 15,000 Tons Of Ammunition, 400,000 Small Arms And 1,000 Anti-Aircraft Missiles In Ukraine – Daily Mail

As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama won $48 million in federal funding to help Ukraine destroy thousands of tons of guns and ammunition – weapons which are now unavailable to the Ukrainian army as it faces down Russian President Vladimir Putin during his invasion of Crimea.

In August 2005, just seven months after his swearing-in, Obama traveled to Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine with then-Indiana Republican Senator Dick Lugar, touring a conventional weapons site.

The two met in Kiev with President Victor Yushchenko, making the case that an existing Cooperative Threat Reduction Program covering the destruction of nuclear weapons should be expanded to include artillery, small arms, anti-aircraft weapons, and conventional ammunition of all kinds.

After a stopover in London, the senators returned to Washington and declared that the U.S. should devote funds to speed up the destruction of more than 400,000 small arms, 1,000 anti-aircraft missiles, and more than 15,000 tons of ammunition.

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Photographs from the trip show Obama inspecting a plant where Soviet-era artillery shells and shoulder-fired missiles were collecting dust, leftovers dumped in Ukraine after the USSR withdrew from Eastern bloc nations after the once-mighty communist nation fell apart.

The United Nations had already identified some 7 million small arms and light weapons, and 2 million tons of conventional ammunition, warehoused in more than 80 weapons depots spread across the country.

Many of the artillery shells shown in photographs from Donetsk, multiple weapons experts told MailOnline, would be the same types of ammunition required to repel advancing Russian divisions as they advanced to the west, had they not been destroyed.

Two experts said the ammunition, particularly small-arms rounds, would have been useful to train Ukraine’s armed forces and million-strong reserves.

‘Vast stocks of conventional munitions and military supplies have accumulated in Ukraine,’ Obama said in am August 30, 2005 statement from Donetsk. ‘Some of this stockpile dates from World War I and II, yet most dates from Cold War buildup and the stocks left behind by Soviet withdrawals from East Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungry and Poland.’

‘We need to eliminate these stockpiles for the safety of the Ukrainian people and people around world, by keeping them out of conflicts around the world.’

More than a year later, President George W. Bush signed into law a proposal authored by Obama and Lugar.

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Obama said then that the existing Cooperative Threat Reduction Program ‘has effectively disposed of thousands of weapons of mass destruction, but we must do far more to keep deadly conventional weapons like anti-aircraft missiles out of the hands of terrorists.’

Much of the Ukrainian small-arms supply was ultimately exported, not scrapped, by a Yushchenko regime that chose revenue from arms dealing over the cost of melting down metal.

In 2008 the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reported that between 2004 and 2007, the Ukrainian Export Control Service told the UN that it sent 721,777 small arms and light weapons to 27 different countries.

The United States was the top recipient, with more than 260,000 of those weapons, followed by the UK and Libya, which each imported more than 101,000.

That flood of weapons exports has continued, with annual export records showing hundreds of thousands of new exports each year, covering everything from pistols and carbine rifles to heavy machine guns and anti-tank weapons.

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But while today’s 130,000-strong standing Ukrainian military isn’t short on AK-47s, Russian troops have met little to no large-scale resistance from armored divisions or heavy artillery as they steamrolled their way into Crimea.

Some of that was Ukraine’s own doing – it sold 320 tanks to Pakistan in the 1990s, for instance – but Obama and Lugar accelerated the pace of the country’s arms liquidation.

While the Ukrainian army seems to have been careful to avoid provoking an even larger conflict, it’s impossible to know whether Putin would have behaved differently in the face of columns of heavy weapons that once belonged to the Soviet Union in whose KGB he held a high-ranking position.

Sky News video broadcast on Tuesday showed Russian troops firing automatic weapons over the heads of apparently unarmed Ukrainian Air Force personnel near a contested airfield in Crimea.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Your Daley Gator Ukrainian Revolution Update (Pictures / Videos)

Putin Mocks The West And Threatens To Turn Off Gas Supplies – The Telegraph

Vladimir Putin has mocked diplomatic efforts to end the Ukraine crisis as Russia threatened to disrupt European gas supplies by cutting off sales to Kiev over its unpaid debts.

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The Russian president said through his official spokesman that, despite deep disagreements with the West, he did not want a confrontation over Ukraine to spiral into a “new cold war”.

Nevertheless Dmitry Peskov ridiculed Western demands for direct talks between the Kremlin and the new Kiev government, claiming that the loss of credibility involved “puts a smile on our face”.

The remarks were broadcast during the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, where the Ukrainian athlete carrying his national flag was given a loud cheer.

Earlier, Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy giant, said it would start to reduce deliveries to Kiev, a move that would disrupt supplies to Europe. Gazprom said Ukraine had failed to make payments on its £1.2 billion debts.

Ukraine is one of the main transit routes for the continent’s gas and the suspension of Gazprom exports in freezing temperatures in 2006 and in 2009 endangered national grids and caused sharp rises in prices. “We can’t supply gas for free,” Alexey Miller, the head of Gazprom, said. “Either Ukraine settles its debt and pays for current deliveries or the risk arises of a return to the situation we saw at the start of 2009.”

Energy experts said Russia had the power to cause problems in markets across Europe, even though peak winter demand was past. “Europe still relies heavily – in some cases 100 per cent – on Russian gas. And if that was interrupted very suddenly, there would be difficulties all round,” said Lord Howell, the former energy secretary.

But the White House brushed off the Russian announcement as less of a blow for EU economies than in previous years. Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, said reduced Russian exports would not have an immediate effect since stocks in Europe were above normal levels because of a mild winter. Structural changes in the industry also mean that less of Europe’s gas went through Ukraine.

Russian foreign ministry officials issued the tit-for-tat warnings a day after an EU summit suspended talks on visa-free access for Russians to Europe and threatened sanctions if Moscow did not change course. “Russia will not accept the language of sanctions and threats,” a foreign ministry statement said.

Two potential Ukrainian presidential contenders demanded a single, tough Western stance against Russia. Vitali Klitschko, the former boxer, and Petro Poroshenko, a businessman, both of whom are seen as likely candidates in presidential elections in May, used a visit to Paris to shore up European resolve.

Moscow displayed no signs of pulling back in the flashpoint region of Crimea despite the summit outcome and a subsequent telephone conversation between Mr Putin and President Barack Obama.

Russia’s parliament made preparations to endorse next week’s referendum in Crimea on joining the Russian Federation as a group of Crimean MPs were accorded a hero’s welcome in Moscow.

Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, said the outcome would be accepted “unquestionably”. Officials in Kiev retorted that no country in the “civilised world” would recognise a vote for merging with Russia.

Checkpoints manned by Russian soldiers and Crimea militias blocked efforts by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to enter the peninsula.

The OSCE convoy, led by a police car and followed by two buses carrying the observers, returned to the southern city of Kherson to decide if the unarmed monitoring mission can go ahead at all.

Russia said the mission was blocked because it had begun without seeking the traditional consensus support from all the organisation’s members.

Russia also scuttled a third ship in the Crimean harbour of Donuzlav to tighten its blockade on the doggedly loyal Ukrainian navy vessels trapped behind Russian lines.

The only bright point of the day came when Ukraine’s Paralympic team announced it would participate in the Winter Games in Sochi.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Ukraine prime minister, said his government was still pressing for direct talks with Russia to resolve the crisis. He demanded that Russia pull back its forces and stop supporting “separatist” activities inside Ukraine.

“We are ready to build relations with Russia,” he said. “But Ukraine will never be a subordinate or branch of Russia.”

Mr Yasenyuk also revealed the Kiev and the EU would soon sign an agreement on the political aspects of a strategic accord that fell through late last year.

The collapse of the EU association agreement provoked the mass pro-Western demonstration movement that led to the collapse of the former government of President Viktor Yanukovych.

“It is the matter of weeks now,” Mr Yatsenyuk said. “This is the most important decision that the whole country has been waiting for. This is what people were going to the streets for.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Tension In Ukraine Builds As Convoy Of 60 Unmarked Military Trucks Carrying Hundreds Of Soldiers Heads For Crimea As Pro-Russian Troops Fire Warning Shots At Peace Monitors – Daily Mail

A convoy of 60 unmarked military trucks carrying hundreds of soldiers was today spotted snaking its way from eastern Ukraine into Crimea, with the country appearing more divided than ever.

Warning shots were also fired inside Crimea as a foreign military mission was barred from entering the Ukrainian province by pro-Russian troops.

The mission, made up of soldiers of different nationalities from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, had automatic weapons fired over their heads.

The soldiers were told they had no authorisation to enter the peninsula. No injuries were reported.

Earlier this morning Russian foreign secretary Sergei Lavrov said that the crisis had been ‘artificially created’ for ‘geopolitical reasons’, though stopped short of accusing the West of creating tensions.

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He confirmed that Russia was open to further talks with the West as long as they remained ‘honest and partner-like’, and said he was in contact with the Ukrainian interim government, though he accused them of being right-wing extremists.

In a telephone call he also warned US secretary of state John Kerry that any sanctions would have a ‘boomerang effect’ on America.

Meanwhile pro and anti-Putin protesters have taken to the streets of Ukraine today as the country appears more divided than ever.

In the Crimean city of Simferopol hundreds of demonstrators waving Ukrainian flags marched to a military base surrounded by Russian troops while chanting ‘Russian Soldiers Out Of Crimea’.

Many of the activists waved Crimean Tartar flags. The Tartars were persecuted by Russian during the world wars and driven to Crimea, and so are strongly opposed to closer ties with the Kremlin.

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In another city, Bakhisaray, more Tartars gathered urging Ukraine to stay united after the regional government said Crimea was officially part of Russia and announced a public referendum on March 16 to confirm it.

Meanwhile in the city of Donetsk, former stronghold of ousted president Viktor Yanokovych, thousands gathered to wave banners reading ‘I Love Putin’.

Today is not the first time shots have been fired in the region, but it is the first time bullets have been directed at international troops.

Last week a Russian soldier fired above the head of Ukrainian air force troops as they marched unarmed to their base which had been occupied by Putin’s troops.

Late last night pro-Russia soldiers tried to take over a Ukrainian base in a tense stand-off that lasted for several hours.

Lt. Col. Vitaly Onishchenko, deputy commander of the base, said three dozen men wearing unmarked camouflage uniforms arrived late Friday.

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While one group climbed over a wall on one side of the base, another crashed a heavy military truck through the gates, Mr Onishchenko said.

He said that they turned off power, cut telephone lines and demanded that about 100 Ukrainian troops, who barricaded themselves into one of the base buildings, surrender their weapons and swear allegiance to Russia. The invaders left at about midnight.

No shots were fired in the stand-off, and no injuries were reported, but the incident reflected tensions running high on the Black Sea peninsula.

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In the week since Russia seized control of Crimea, Russian troops have been neutralising and disarming Ukrainian military bases there.

Some Ukrainian units, however, have refused to give up.

Crimea’s new leader has said pro-Russian forces numbering more than 11,000 now control all access to the region and have blockaded all military bases that have not yet surrendered.

Russian energy giant Gazprom has also confirmed that Ukraine owes $1.89billion and has threatened to turn off the gas supply, which could affect the rest of Europe as several important pipelines run through the country.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Cyber Snake Plagues Ukraine Networks – Financial Times

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights.

An aggressive cyber weapon called Snake has infected dozens of Ukrainian computer networks including government systems in one of the most sophisticated attacks of recent years.

Also known as Ouroboros, after the serpent of Greek mythology that swallowed its own tail, experts say it is comparable in its complexity with Stuxnet, the malware that was found to have disrupted Iran’s uranium enrichment programme in 2010.

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The cyber weapon has been deployed most aggressively since the start of last year ahead of protests that climaxed two weeks ago with the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovich’s government.

Ouroboros gives its operators unfettered access to networks for surveillance purposes. But it can also act as a highly advanced “digital beachhead” that could destroy computer networks with wide-ranging repercussions for the public.

Cyber warfare experts have long warned that digital weapons could shut off civilian power or water supplies, cripple banks or even blow up industrial sites that depend on computer-controlled safety programmes.

The origins of Ouroboros remain unclear, but its programmers appear to have developed it in a GMT+4 timezone – which encompasses Moscow – according to clues left in the code, parts of which also contain fragments of Russian text. It is believed to be an upgrade of the Agent.BTZ attack that penetrated US military systems in 2008.

The malware has infected networks run by the Kiev government and systemically important organisations. Lithuanian systems have also been disproportionately hit by it.

Ouroboros has been in development for nearly a decade and is too sophisticated to have been programmed by an individual or a non-state organisation, according to the applied intelligence unit at BAE Systems, which was the first to identify and analyse the malware.

The Financial Times has corroborated the existence of Snake with security and military analysts.

BAE has identified 56 apparent infections by Snake globally since 2010, almost all in the past 14 months. Ukraine is the primary target, with 32 recorded instances, 22 of which have occurred since January 2013.

“Ukraine is top of the list [of infections] and increasing,” said Dave Garfield, managing director for cyber security at BAE, who added that the instances were almost certainly “the tip of the iceberg”.

“Whoever made it really is a very professional outfit,” Mr Garfield added. “It has a very high level of sophistication. It is a complex architecture with 50 sub-modules designed to give it extreme flexibility and the ability to evolve. It has neat and novel technical features.”

“You never get beyond reasonable doubt levels of proof in this area but if you look at it in probabilistic terms – who benefits and who has the resources – then the list of suspects boils down to one,” said Nigel Inkster, until 2006 director of operations and intelligence for MI6 and now director of transnational threats at the think tank IISS.

“Until recently the Russians have kept a low profile, but there’s no doubt in my mind that they can do the full scope of cyber attacks, from denial of service to the very, very sophisticated.”

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Journalists Beaten During Russian Storming Of Ukrainian Military Base, Then Live TV Crew Harassed When They Report On It – Weasel Zippers

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Another view:

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Mellunmäki
@mrzff

Это Костас, его пиздят второй раз уже. pic.twitter.com/09RbLJT6nE

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Patrick Jackson
@patrickgjackson

Journalists beaten up in #Crimea: photo by @mrzff pic.twitter.com/Y9cpbHDOiv
6:05 PM – 7 Mar 2014

38 Retweets 9 favorites
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Via KPHG:

Ukrainian journalists are reported to have been brutally beaten during the seizure by Russian soldiers of a Ukrainian military unit on Friday evening, while in Simferopol STB journalists were attacked during a live news broadcast.

Budzhurova, head of the Crimean Association of Free Journalists stated on the Savik Shuster talk show on Friday that she had received two calls from Olena Myekhanik, a journalist from TV Inter. Myekhanik first told her that the Ukrainian military unit was under attack, that a KAMAZ truck had rammed the gates and 12 individuals had crossed onto the unit’s land. She asked for a journalist team from TV ATR to be sent. Later she rang in distress saying that the Ukrainian journalists present, including women, had been assaulted, and their video recorders smashed. The journalists were all at Unit 2355 where there is an air force command point in charge of overseeing air safety. The journalists also included a TV STB firlm crew and a Georgian national.

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Triple Amputee Air Force Veteran Brian Kolfage Eviscerates Obama In Epic Open Letter

Wounded Warrior Blasts Obama For Lack Of Leadership In Fiercely Worded Open Letter – Independent Journal Review

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Senior Airman Ret. Brian Kolfage vented his feelings to President Obama in a strongly worded letter that doesn’t mince words:

Dear President Obama,

My name is Brian Kolfage, I’m a triple amputee and retired Air Force veteran who was severely wounded on September 11, 2004 in Iraq.

I nearly died in a war that most of your colleagues supported overwhelmingly, including the two presidents who came before you. Many citizens may not agree with waging war in Iraq to free the oppressed Iraqi citizens, but it’s something that warriors like myself have no control over. I joined to serve my country and to better my life. I’ve seen things that you could never imagine, and they have made me the person I am today.

Mr. Obama, even though we have extreme opposite views, we have one thing in common, we both attended school in Hawaii. However, that’s where the similarities end. You see, as you attended your exclusive, private school, I would ride my bike to Kaimuki High School in one of the roughest areas in Hawaii. Every morning I would ride past Punahou, the exclusive private school you attended and I would notice all of the Bentleys, Maseratis, and fancy foreign cars that all the kids were dropped off in; wow it must have been extremely rough in Hawaii living that life, right? I could only imagine what it was like to have that kind of money. Fortunately for you, not many people are aware of the school that you and the upper class citizens of Hawaii attended. The tuition to attend your exclusive, private school was more than it cost me to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Arizona. You talk a big game when it comes to financial inequality, yet I’m quite sure you have no idea what it’s truly like to have to sacrifice. You were one of the elitist children in Hawaii.

After High School, we each chose very different paths. You were able to attend America’s finest Ivy League schools, while I pursued a career in the military, in hopes of earning a degree. What we have in life as children usually helps to set the tone for how we acheive success later in life. I worked to get where I am today, while it was HANDED TO YOU… Mr. Inequality.

I volunteered to go to Iraq on both of my deployments, and the second time I begged to go even after I wasn’t selected. During that second deployment, I was ultimately placed on the team where I would lose both legs and my dominant arm. Even though many Americans were against the war in Iraq, I’ve never asked myself if it was worth it after losing 3 of my limbs.

I am frequently reminded of the many young Iraqi children who would beg me for water, food, and toys while I was stationed in Iraq. Children, who in all aspects made the poorest of poor American children look rich. You have no idea what it really means to be poor. It’s laughable that you, who would have no idea what it means to be poor would so frequently play the inequality card.

While I was in Iraq, our mission was to liberate the Iraqi citizens from a tyrant and that’s what we did. Never forget, it was your people who sent us there, like the Clintons, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi & Carl Levin. However, since the day you busted onto the scene you’ve been talking about ending the war and pulling the troops out, not understanding the blood sweat and tears that so many Americans and Iraqi’s invested. And with complete disregard for every life sacrificed, every limb lost, and every broken family, you bailed on our mission to pursue an agenda that was completely centered on your re-election in 2012. If you didn’t bail on Iraq you were worried that you may not get re-elected and that’s a fact. Just before elections on Oct 11, 2012 you said “Al Qaeda is on the run and Osama bin Laden is dead.” Look at Iraq now, they are in shambles and the Al Qaeda flag is flying freely. Clearly, you’re unfit for duty as a Commander in Chief. You put your own agenda ahead of America’s agenda, and now you have single handedly ruined and destroyed nearly everything we gained in Iraq. It clearly means nothing to you, because the only thing that you’ve personally invested in that country was a promise to bail on them. However, people like me gave limbs, friends have died, and we’ve watched families destroyed by war’s aftermath.

I’m not placing blame on you for the war, I’m placing blame on you for destroying what we’ve worked so hard to build. You’re not a leader, you’re a community organizer. A leader would have stood up regardless of the situation and put America’s agenda first and that is ensuring a secure Iraq even after 10 years of war. But, you placed Barack first, just as Robert Gates confirmed in his new book. I can’t help but think of those poor kids who I gave water and toys to 11 years ago. They’re probably 15 or 16 years old now, and I can only imagine what it’s like for them to have their nation being torn apart yet again; all because of your poor leadership qualities. Regardless of why we went to Iraq, its water under the bridge. We went there, we waged war, and we not only owed it to our KIA’s but we owed it to the citizens of Iraq. We invaded their country and turned it upside down, and you bailed on them. You bailed on our soldiers and you’ve wasted every death and every limb, it’s all for nothing. And to make matters worse you blame others for your failures.

You’re just another elitist rich thug who’s pretended to live the rough life growing up in the inner-city. You’re only worried about your own agenda and furthering your party instead of taking care of Americans. Your inability to be a leader at some of the most critical points has caused both of our wars to fail. You’ve been a joke to most of our veteran community and we have no faith in your ability to lead.

Senior Airman Ret Brian Kolfage USAF

“The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it.” – Lou Holtz

Senior Airman Ret. Brian Kolfage truly sacrificed for this country because it has championed the ideals of freedom and equality; and like many other citizens, he now perceives Obama to be a threat to the American way of life.

Certainly, we wish the best for wounded vets like Senior Airman Ret. Kolfage, and godspeed.

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Another Leftist-Free Story That’s Sure To Warm Your Heart (Video)

The ‘Incredible’ Thing An 8-Year-Old Boy Did For A Soldier Will Be Remembered For A ‘Lifetime’ – The Blaze

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Like most 8-year-olds, Myles Eckert was already dreaming up ways he could spend a $20 bill he had just discovered laying in a Cracker Barrel parking lot earlier this month.

“I kind of wanted to get a video game, but then I decided not to,” the child recounted to CBS News.

That’s because Eckert saw Lt. Col. Frank Dailey enter the restaurant. The man in uniform changed his mind.

Why?

“Because he was a soldier, and soldiers remind me of my dad,” Eckert explained to CBS.

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So, instead of purchasing something for himself, Eckert did something very different on Feb. 7. Something Dailey says he will remember for “a lifetime.”

The 8-year-old boy wrapped the $20 bill in a note he had authored to the solider.

“Dear Soldier – my dad was a soldier. He’s in heaven now,” the note said. “I found this 20 dollars in the parking lot when we got here. We like to pay it forward in my family. It’s your lucky day! Thank you for your service. Myles Eckert, a gold star kid.”

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Eckert’s father, Army Sgt. Andy Eckert, had been killed in Iraq when he was only a few weeks old. The 8-year-old can only think of what he was like.

“I imagine him as a really nice person and somebody that would be really fun,” he told CBS News.

That February day, Eckert even asked his mother to go visit his father.

“He wanted to go see his dad,” said his mother Tiffany. “And he wanted to go by himself that day.”

She took a photograph of her son visiting his father’s grave.

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Dailey, touched by the Eckert’s gesture, said he looks at the note he received each day.

“It’s incredible being recognized in such a manner,” he said, adding that the child’s simple gift has provided him “a lifetime of direction.”

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Your Daley Gator Ukrainian Revolution Update (Pictures / Videos)

Russia Refers To Crimea As ‘Autonomous Region’; Sets Up Puppet State – Gateway Pundit

Russia declared Crimea an “autonomous” region on Monday. Five top pro-Russian military and security commanders took an oath to Crimea.

Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov appealed to Russia for assistance.

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Breitbart reported:

It appears that Russia has taken control of Crimea without firing a shot and is referring to it as the “Autonomous Republic of Crimea,” presumably with the intention of making it a puppet state of Moscow.

Ukraine’s government in Kiev is only a few days old and seems to be in disarray. So far, it’s avoiding any strong military overreaction that would provide Russia with an excuse for a further military invasion, perhaps into eastern Ukraine beyond Crimea. However, the government warned Sunday it was on the brink of disaster and called up military reservists to counter Russia’s threat to Ukraine.

Russia has appointed Sergey Aksyonov to prime minister of Crimea, and on Sunday he announced:

I believe that this day will go down in history of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea as the day that all law enforcement agencies were established in the autonomy. We will prove that the Crimeans are capable of protecting themselves and ensure the safety and freedom of our citizens.

Today the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is formed as an independent, integral public authority. I am sure that all of us will prove that we did not just come into power and that we can give Crimeans what they expect from us.

We will never see ‘Maidan’ with their black smoke and burned tires here. I responsibly promise that Crimea by May will be calm, quiet, friendly. People of all nationalities will live here happily.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the decision to send in troops was only to protect human rights.

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Related article:

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Ukraine: Russia Delivers ‘Assault Storm’ Deadline – Sky News

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Russia has reportedly given Ukrainian forces in Crimea a deadline of 3am on Tuesday to surrender or face military action after troops seized key strategic sites in the peninsula.

The ultimatum came from Alexander Vitko, commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which has a base in Crimea where Russian forces are now in control.

According to Russia’s Interfax agency, it reads: “If they do not surrender before 5am (3am UK time) tomorrow, a real assault will be started against units and divisions of the armed forces across Crimea.”

But in a conflicting report, Interfax quoted an official representative for the Russian Ministry of Defence as saying the ultimatum was “total nonsense”.

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The US said any threat by Russia to Ukraine forces would represent a “dangerous escalation” in the crisis, and Moscow would be responsible.

It came as Russian President Vladimir Putin watched tanks and armoured vehicles taking part in military exercises at a training ground in north-west Russia.

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Mr Putin attended the final day of war games he ordered on February 26 to test the combat-readiness of his armed forces in western and central parts of Russia, regions adjacent to Ukraine, a spokesman said.

The Russian foreign ministry said Nato’s criticism of its actions in Crimea “will not help stabilise” the situation in Ukraine.

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British Prime Minister David Cameron said Russia will face “diplomatic, political, economic and other pressures” to send a “clear message” about its actions in the Ukraine.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev discussed the escalating crisis in Ukraine with US Vice President Joe Biden by telephone on Monday.

Mr Medvedev “declared that it is necessary to protect the interests of all Ukrainian citizens, including residents of Crimea, and citizens of Russia who are located in Ukraine,” according to Interfax.

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He added that Russia would press ahead with plans to build a bridge linking Russia directly with the Crimea region – providing a vital transport link to the Black Sea peninsula.

Mr Medvedev told deputies the two countries had signed “documents related to a project for construction of a transport corridor across the Kerch Strait” in December, when now-ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych was still in power.

Hundreds of Russian soldiers have surrounded a military base in Crimea, preventing Ukrainian soldiers from going in or out.

The convoy blockading the site, near the Crimean capital Simferopol, includes at least 17 military vehicles.

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Russian troops have also reportedly taken control of a ferry terminal in the city of Kerch, on the eastern tip of Crimea, which has a majority Russian-speaking population.

Ukraine’s defence ministry said two Russian fighter jets violated the country’s air space in the Black Sea on Sunday night and that it had scrambled an interceptor aircraft to prevent the “provocative actions”.

Elsewhere, pro-Russian protesters have taken over a floor of the regional government building in Donetsk, say reports. The 11-storey building has been flying the Russian flag for the last three days.

The crisis has had a huge effect on global stock markets, with Moscow’s stock exchange plunging more than 10% on Monday.

Russia’s central bank raised its rate to 7% from 5.5% as the ruble hit an historic low against the dollar and the euro.

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‘Weak’ Obama Is Blasted For His ‘Laughable’ Response To Putin As Both Parties Say President Is Letting Russia Push Him Around – Daily Mail

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Senior US politicians from both parties criticized President Barack Obama’s threats to Russian President Vladimir Putin and called for immediate sanctions if troops are not immediately withdrawn from Ukraine

Republican Senators John McCain (AZ), Marco Rubio (FL) and Bob Corker (TN) and others, as well as some Democrats, reached across the aisle to call for immediate sanctions against Russia and aid to Ukraine before Putin becomes even more emboldened.

McCain was quick to criticize the president’s threats in an interview with the Daily Beast, calling them ‘laughable’ and partly blaming former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for thinking she and Obama could ‘reset’ relations with Russia back in 2009.

‘She believed that somehow there would be a reset with a guy who was a KGB colonel who always had ambitions to restore the Russian empire,’ said McCain. ‘That’s what this is all about.’

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The Senator called for the Obama administration to more liberally enforce the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law and Accountability Act, which has allowed the US government to sanction Russian officials for human rights violations since being signed into law in 2009.

On Sunday morning, Secretary of State John Kerry called Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine ‘an incredible act of aggression’ and said President Vladimir Putin has made ‘a stunning, willful’ choice to invade another country.

Kerry says Russia should respect the democratic process through which the Ukrainian people ousted their pro-Russian president and assembled a new government.

Kerry is raising the possibility of boycotting the June meeting of the Group of Eight leading industrialized countries in Sochi, Russia.

He’s also discussing visa bans, asset freezes, and trade and investment penalties.

Kerry said he spoke with foreign ministers for G-8 and other nations on Saturday, and says everyone is prepared ‘to go to the hilt’ to isolate Russia.

Any Russian officials, Putin included, involved in sending troops to Ukraine should be sanctioned, McCain argued – such action would result in asset freezing, visa bans and a wagging of the collective international finger, Daily Beast noted.

‘We must consider legislation to respond to this,’ McCain continued. ‘The Magnitsky bill can be expanded for holding people responsible for these acts of aggression.’

The longtime Senator also called for economic sanctions and other actions against Russia.

Corker also hammered away at the situation, calling Russia ‘a nation still smarting from the breakup of the Soviet Union with a leader who is nothing but an autocrat’ and called for immediate sanctions during a CNN interview.

‘We need to do everything we can to isolate them,’ Corker continued. ‘We’ve got to work with [Europe] to do the necessary things… to mitigate conduct.’

He later said in a statement ‘Vladimir Putin is seizing a neighboring territory – again – so President Obama must lead a meaningful, unified response.’

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Rubio called for Obama to deploy Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to the Ukrainian capital, according to USA Today.

He also called for a prohibition of Russian officials traveling to the US, and to convene an emergency meeting of NATO to allow Georgia into the fold.

Kerry, in a statement, said the ‘United States condemns the Russian Federation’s invasion and occupation of Ukrainian territory… we call for Russia to withdraw its forces back to bases [and] refrain from interference elsewhere in Ukraine.’

Unless immediate and concrete steps are taken by Russia to deescalate tensions, the effect on U.S.-Russian relations and on Russia’s international standing will be profound,’ Kerry threatened.

The president also informed Putin that the US has pulled out of preparatory meetings for an upcoming G-8 summit in Sochi, as the UN mulled over possible sanctions and Ukraine warned that it’s troops are ‘at the ready,’ a government official told CNN.

‘The United States condemns Russia’s military intervention into Ukrainian territory,’ a White House statement said.

New York Democratic Rep Eliot Engel called for a ‘robust international economic assistance package’ including loan guarantees for Ukraine in a statement released Saturday.

Arkansas Republican Rep Tom Cotton demanded the president recall the US Ambassador to Russia from Moscow and revoke visas and freeze the assets of Putin’s cronies, provide military assistance to Ukraine and sack Russia from the G-8 group of nations, according to USA Today.

Russia has military bases in Crimea, but those personnel are in violation of international law by entering Ukraine despite Russia’s Duma willfully granting Putin permission to deploy troops into Ukraine as the country grows further divided.

It appears further liberties were already being taken by Russian troops early Sunday morning, they took weapons from a Ukraine radar facility near Crimea and urged people there to side with ‘legitimate leaders,’ iTV reported, citing Interfax.

Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra told Newsmax only hours earlier that ‘there’s not a whole lot the United States can do’ to bring Putin and Russia in line.

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Putin expressed his concern for the Russian citizens in Russia and said that the deployment of troops into the country was to protect them, according to a Kremlin statement.

‘Vladimir Putin stressed that in case of any further spread of violence to Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, Russia retains the right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking population of those areas,’ the statement said.

Obama strongly urged Putin to immediately de-escalate and to use peaceful means to address concerns including through talks with the new Ukrainian government or through the US of international observers sent under the UN umbrella, the White House countered.

The president also offered to broker talks between Russian and the Ukraine to prevent the countries from war as the former Soviet bloc country’s new government warned it is being ‘provoked’ by Russia’s actions.

A Ukraine government spokesperson told CNN there are an estimated 15,000 troops in Crimea, a small country separating mainland Ukraine from Sevastopol.

‘The troops are already there, and their number is increasing every hour,’ the spokesperson explained.

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Russia has also maintained a naval base in Sevastopol per a 1997 treaty signed shortly after Ukraine gained independence.

The Ukrainian city sits on a small peninsula that is not connected to the rest country, making it particularly vulnerable to the kind of military action undertaken by Russia.

Putin further blamed ultra-nationalists in the Ukraine for Russia’s further encroachment into Ukrainian sovereign territory, according to the Kremlin.

Eastern Ukraine leans more heavily towards Russia than the western part of the country, whee the capital Kiev is located. Many international observers fear the country will plunge into a civil war that might break it up into two or more countries if conditions further deteriorate.

The dramatic eleventh-hour call came as the United Nations Security Council met in an emergency session less than a week after the Sochi Olympics to mull over possible economic sanctions to enact against the rogue permanet Security Council member.

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After meeting behind closed doors, the council agreed to hold the open, televised meeting despite objections from permanent member Russia. Ukraine has accused Russia of ‘a military invasion and occupation’ of strategic points in the Crimean peninsula.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin scoffed at the notion, saying the US and other European nations are overreacting and that his country cannot agree to end all military actions.

Some reports have suggested Russia may even recall its ambassador to the US in protest of western involvement in the crisis.

Ukraine has asked the other four permanent council members – the U.S., Britain, France and China – for help in stopping Russia’s ‘aggression.’

Ukrainian Ambassador to the UN Yuriy Sergeyev said Russia has rejected Ukraine’s proposal to hold immediate bilateral consultations, and vowed his country would not be drawn into military conflict.

‘Ukraine will not be provoked, we will not use force, we demand that the government of the Russian Federation immediately withdraw its troops and return to their home bases,’ he said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said earlier Saturday that he is ‘gravely concerned about the deterioration of the situation’ in Ukraine. He spoke later by telephone with Putin.

‘I am gravely concerned by some of the recent events in particular those that could in any way compromise the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the [Ukraine],’ Ban said in a statement about the call.

‘It is crucial to restore calm and proceed to an immediate de-escalation of the situation,’ Ban continued. ‘Cool heads must prevail and dialogue must be the only tool in ending this crisis.’

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A Ban spokesman delivered the statement Saturday afternoon as members of the Security Council met in an emergency closed-door session for the second straight day on the rapidly developing events in Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Obama later spoke with President Francois Hollande and Australian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the White House announced.

All three ‘leaders agreed that Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected, and expressed their grave concern over Russia’s intervention in Ukraine,’ said a separate White House statement.

‘The leaders affirmed the importance of unity within the international community in support of international law, and the future of Ukraine and its democracy.’

The Security Council decided to hold the open meeting after struggling behind closed doors to reach agreement on how to meet. Some members wanted open, or public consultations, on Ukraine, which Russia initially opposed.

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Ban’s statement called for ‘full respect for and preservation of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine’ and demanded the ‘immediate restoration of calm and direct dialogue between all concerned.’

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said the meeting is to determine ‘what justification Russia claims to have’ for its de facto military takeover of the strategic Crimea region.

As a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia has veto power and can block the U.N.’s most powerful body from adopting any resolution criticizing or sanctioning Moscow.

Outside the council chamber, Ukraine’s U.N. ambassador called on countries to do everything possible to stop Russia’s “aggression.”

‘The Russian Federation brutally violated the basic principles of the Charter of the United Nations,’ Sergeyev told reporters..

During a break, an exasperated Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters, ‘We are ready for serious discussions.’

Ban was flying to Geneva on Saturday where he planned to meet the following day with his special envoy Robert Serry, the Netherlands’ first ambassador to Ukraine.

After Friday’s closed-door Security Council consultations, Ban asked Serry to go to Crimea as part of a fact-finding mission. However, after consulting with authorities in the autonomous region, Serry decided that a visit to Crimea was not possible and headed to Geneva.

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Kerry: ‘I Don’t Know What You Mean By The Reset’ – Washington Free Beacon

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NBC’s David Gregory pressed Secretary of State John Kerry on the status of the U.S.-Russia “reset” during an interview Sunday on Meet the Press.

“Well, I don’t know what you mean by the reset,” Kerry oddly responded.

The question was asked as Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) among others have argued U.S.-Russia relations are deteriorating and have asked the administration to publicly acknowledge this.

“The Obama administration must publicly acknowledge that its “reset” with Russia is dead. The president must now accept that the only way to deal with tyrants like Vladimir Putin is with a clear understanding that they can’t be trusted and that only decisive action will deter their provocative moves,” Rubio wrote in Politico Magazine.

When pressed further by Gregory, Kerry weakly responded, “We’ve entered into a different phase with Russia. I don’t think this is a moment to be proclaiming one thing or the other.”

The full exchange is available below:

DAVID GREGORY: Before I get to my final question on Israel with a big meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, coming to meet with President Obama, Marco Rubio is on this program in just a few minutes saying it’s time for the administration to publicly acknowledge that the reset with Russia is dead. Do you acknowledge that?

JOHN KERRY: Well, I don’t know what you mean by the reset.

GREGORY: The reset in relations that this administration called for.

KERRY: I know, but long ago, we’ve entered into a different phase with Russia. I don’t think this is a moment to be proclaiming one thing or the other. We’ve had difficulties with Russia with respect to certain issues, and even as we have, we’ve managed to do the Start treaty. They’ve cooperated on Afghanistan, they’ve cooperated on Iran. So, it’s not a zero-sum, dead-alive. It’s a question of differences, very profound differences on certain issues and certain approaches, and we’ve made those very clear over the course of the last months.

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Ukraine Illustrates The Danger Of Entrusting Foreign Policy To Top Men – The Federalist

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The past two days have revealed the dangerous ramifications of the narrow-minded foreign policy elite in Washington, and a media establishment that has for so much of President Obama’s tenure accepted the statements of the administration as gospel. Just as we learned the dangers of the lack of a questioning element – a healthy, serious, skeptical voice in the room – within the administration of George W. Bush, so too we see the consequences of a narrow viewpoint on global affairs which now exists within the Obama administration.

As Eli Lake outlines, the decision of Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine came as a sudden shock to a Washington that less than a day earlier had dismissed such possibilities:

On Thursday night, the best assessment from the U.S. intelligence community – and for that matter most experts observing events in Ukraine – was that Vladimir Putin’s military would not invade Ukraine. Less than 24 hours later, however, there are reports from the ground of Russian troops pushing into the Ukrainian province of Crimea; the newly-installed Crimean prime minister has appealed to Putin to help him secure the country; Putin, in turn, is officially asking for parliament’s permission to send Russian forces into Ukraine. It’s not a full-blown invasion – at least, not yet. But it’s not the picture U.S. analysts were painting just a day before, either… U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence on the fast moving situation in Ukraine tell The Daily Beast that analytic products from the intelligence community this week did not discount the prospect of Russian provocations and even light incursions in the Russian majority province of Crimea, the home of Russia’s fleet in the Black Sea. Nonetheless, until Friday, no one anticipated a Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory.

These officials were not alone. At Foreign Affairs, the headline was “Why Russia Won’t Invade Ukraine”; at The New York Times, “Why Russia Won’t Interfere”; and at Time, “No, Russia Will Not Intervene in Ukraine”. Joshua Tucker at The Washington Post has already had to change the now-ludicrous title of his post, explaining:

Those who have already read this post (including the first 15 commentators below) will know that I originally posted with the title “5 reasons for everyone to calm down about Crimea”. Developments in the ensuing hours have shown how poor a title that turned out to be.

It’s no surprise that, given the echo chamber of the media, the administration itself gives all the signs of being caught flat-footed, unable to adjust to the situation that runs against their preconceived notions and those of the chattering class:

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke with Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu on March 1, telling him that there was ‘no change’ in the U.S.’s military posture toward Ukraine in the hours after Russia’s parliament approved a Russian military presence in Ukraine.

If this is the sort of foreign policy anticipation that the establishment delivers, it’s little surprise that no one trusts America’s self-styled policy elites any more. They are too used to judging the world according to the patterns toward which they are already biased, as opposed to seeing it as it is.

As for the situation in Crimea itself: while the 1994 Budapest Memorandum does not require that the United States enter into this current conflict, as it is not a formal treaty, it does make the situation for the Obama administration a great deal more complicated than, say, the 2008 situation in Georgia. The Ukrainian situation has a nuclear subtext which matters in the broader context: because Ukraine had to surrender its nuclear arsenal as part of the 1994 agreement, U.S. inaction now sends a signal that nations ought to maintain their nuclear arsenal as opposed to trusting the Americans to defend their legitimacy. The mix of Polish, Turkish, and Russian interests here make for an all the more dangerous situation given the spillover potential of a major crisis.

What ought to be a first priority in this context is the administration’s opportunity to position itself as ready to use the leverage of international economic policy and energy policy to dissuade the Russians from their current trajectory or, at least, loosen Putin’s stranglehold on European energy markets. U.S. law currently prevents American energy producers from freely exporting natural gas or crude oil to anywhere even remotely near Europe. To remedy this glaring economic and geopolitical mistake, the president (who has shown no qualms about using sweeping definitions of executive power in other areas) could issue blanket executive orders declaring all US natural gas exports to be in the “public interest” and all crude oil exports to be in the “national interest”, the applicable legal standards for both commodities.

While immediate gas exports directly to Europe would be limited by a lack of U.S. export facilities (thanks, again, to glacial government policy), crude exports could begin instantly and US gas could be exported thru Canada and Mexico. At the very least, these moves would serve as a significant signal to global energy markets and to the Russians that the United States fully intends to use its newfound energy abundance to stabilize global markets and counterbalance Russian influence across the Atlantic. At best, they might actually help to weaken Russian energy oligarchs and, by extension, Putin himself.

Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, who have both recently expressed support for US energy export liberalization (Cruz especially), should take up this message at once. It represents an opportunity to use expanded trade freedom and American economic might to prevent further loss of life and signal the United States’ seriousness on the matter, without firing a single American bullet. And, unlike the United Nations or the World Trade Organization, it is a step that can be done unilaterally with, quite literally, the stroke of the President’s pen.

In the meantime, at least the president himself is taking it seriously.

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Zeke Miller
@ZekeJMiller

Obama did not attend the meeting, but WH official says he has been briefed by Susan Rice and his national security team.
3:34 PM – 1 Mar 2014

221 Retweets – 31 favorites
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Smart power, indeed.

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Russian Stocks Crash As Central Bank Scrambles, Hikes Rates Most Since 1998 Default – Zero Hedge

Following a 150bps rate hike by the central bank – the largest since the 1998 default -desperate to halt capital outflows and a collapsing currency, Russian stocks have crashed 11% led by some of the country’s largest banks. USDRUB rose to just shy of 37 – the weakest RUB rate on record – but rallied back a little on the rate hike but the MICEX stock index tumbled 11% to almost 2-year lows with Sberbank (Russia’s largest bank) down 17% and VTB (2nd largest bank) down 20%. Between the threat of economic sanctions from the West and simple risk-aversion-based capital flight, as one analyst noted, “uncertainty risks a further escalation in domestic capital outflow.”

MICEX is down 11% today alone…

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Ruble at record lows against the USD…

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It was the biggest increase in a Russian benchmark rate since June 1998, less than two months before Russia defaulted on domestic sovereign bonds and devalued the currency. The refinancing rate used to be the central bank’s main reference.

The Banks have been battered…

* Sberbank, Russia’s biggest bank, drops 17%, loses most since 2008
* VTB, Russia’s second-bigest lender, tumbles 20%
* Bank St. Petersburg falls 16%
* Bank Vozrozhdenie declines 10%
* Nomos Bank slides 12%

European and U.S. leaders have threatened sanctions against Russia, creating risks that economic growth will stall, demand for the country’s assets will dry up and a selloff in the currency will deepen. “There is a risk of international backlash against Russia at a time when the economy faces an increasing need for foreign capital inflows… This uncertainty risks a further escalation in domestic capital outflow.”

Around the world, stock markets are tumbling with Europe down around 2% – almost its largest drop in 7 months; and Japan down 600 from Friday’s highs.

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Perhaps They Should Have Held On To Them: Hundreds Of Rusting Tanks Abandoned In Secret Ukrainian Depot Unveiled As Russia’s Armoured Vehicles Line Its Streets – Daily Mail

These incredible photographs show a huge tank graveyard in the Ukraine – home to hundreds of the abandoned vehicles which the country may desperately need it tensions with Russia continue to escalate.

Filled with rows upon rows of slowly rusting relics, the once deadly war machines now lie dormant in a secret depot in the town of Kharkov in the Slobozhanshchyna region of eastern Ukraine – just 20 miles from the border with Russia.

After hearing about the strange Soviet-era tank cemetery from a friend, photographer Patvel Itkin, 18, spent months trying find its whereabouts.

Despite the disused area being heavily monitored by guards, Mr Itkin managed to sneak in and spend several hours taking dozens of photographs.

Once a thriving tank repair plant, the depot has since become redundant, meaning all the vehicles are now abandoned.

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Your Daley Gator Ukrainian Revolution Update (Pictures / Videos)

Russia Moves To Deploy Troops In Ukraine – Wall Street Journal

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The American and Russian presidents spoke on the phone for 90 minutes on Saturday after Russia’s parliament voted unanimously to deploy troops in Ukraine, defying warnings from Western leaders not to intervene.

In his conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Barack Obama expressed “his deep concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Mr. Obama urged Russia to de-escalate tensions by withdrawing its forces back to bases in Crimea and to refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine.

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Saturday’s developments come as Russian troops and their local allies have already largely taken control of Crimea, a restive province of Ukraine that belonged to Russia until 1954 and remains predominantly pro-Russian.

In a statement after the call between Mr. Putin and Mr. Obama, the White House said the U.S. “condemns Russia’s military intervention into Ukrainian territory.”

Mr. Putin told Mr. Obama that Russia reserved the right to intervene in Ukraine to protect its interests and those of the Russian-speaking population there, according to a statement from the Kremlin.

Mr. Putin also spoke of “provocations, crimes by ultranationalist elements, essentially supported by the current authorities in Kiev.” It wasn’t clear what incidents Mr. Putin was referring to.

In Moscow, Russian lawmakers also asked Mr. Putin to recall the country’s ambassador to the U.S. On Friday, Mr. Obama had publicly warned Russia that there would be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.

Western officials expressed alarm and cautioned Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

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French President François Hollande also spoke with Mr. Putin Saturday and urged him to avoid any use of force in Ukraine. The French leader held a round of phone calls with Mr. Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel that aimed to forge a common position between the allies.

“I deplore today’s decision by Russia on the use of armed forces in Ukraine. This is an unwarranted escalation of tensions,” said European Union foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is “gravely concerned about the deterioration of the situation” in Ukraine.

In an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Saturday that the regional Crimean government had formally requested Russian military assistance to restore stability to the peninsula. U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power denounced the Russian decision to intervene as “dangerous as it is destabilizing” and said it was taken without legal basis. “The Russian military must stand down,” Ms. Power said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke to his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu. U.S. defense officials wouldn’t immediately provide any details of the call and didn’t say whether Mr. Hagel delivered any warning or caution.

In Brussels, ambassadors to the main political decision-making body of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are set to meet Sunday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine. Afterward, the ambassadors will meet with the Ukrainian ambassador to NATO in a format called the NATO-Ukraine Council.

Meanwhile, skirmishes broke out in other regions of Ukraine, raising concern about broader unrest.

The new government in Kiev called an urgent session of its security council Saturday evening and set a special parliamentary meeting for Sunday to discuss the Russian move.

Vitali Klitschko, the former boxing champion who is one of the protest movement’s most prominent leaders, called on parliament to call a “general mobilization” to respond to the threat, apparently referring to Ukraine’s military.

Heavily armed troops, many from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which is based in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, surrounded key facilities across the region in the past day. The newly installed pro-Russian leader of Crimea Saturday formally asked Russia to deploy its troops to help secure the region.

Mr. Putin’s request didn’t specify how many troops might be sent. It said they would be deployed “until the normalization of the social-political situation in the country.”

The request cited the “threat to the lives of Russian citizens” living in Crimea, as well as the personnel of the Black Sea Fleet.

The approval of Mr. Putin’s request doesn’t necessarily mean troops will be dispatched immediately, an official said.

“Having the right (to deploy forces) doesn’t mean immediately, momentarily exercising that. So we will hope that the situation will go according to a better scenario and won’t continue to be exacerbated as it is now,” presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a radio interview.

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Mr. Peskov said in the interview that no decision had been made yet on deploying forces to Ukraine or on recall of the ambassador.

Sergei Aksyonov, who was appointed prime minister of Crimea after armed men took over the regional parliament this week, said troops from the Black Sea Fleet are guarding vital facilities in the region and helping with patrols to ensure public order. Mr. Aksyonov, who is pro-Russian, said he was taking command of the peninsula’s police and army.

In the economically important eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, hundreds of pro-Russian protesters massed Saturday in the main square and took over a main government administration building, and raised the Russian flag, according to local residents and news outlets. It was unclear whether the protesters were local residents. The number of protesters was also unclear; Russian and Ukrainian media had wildly different estimates of crowd strength.

The Donetsk city council issued a statement demanding a referendum over whether the mining region with strong ties to Russia should remain part of Ukraine.

By nightfall, the area around the Donetsk main square was quiet. A reporter from Ukrainian national television said that the protesters remained inside the building, drinking tea and planning new pro-Russia protests for Monday.

In Kharkiv, protests erupted Saturday between crowds of mostly young men who have been camped out at different sides of the city’s main square – Europe’s largest city square – for weeks now.

The groups, one which is pro-Kiev and the other which is pro-Moscow, are mostly local youth, some of which are supporters of the local football team, who appear to have more personal grievances with each other rather than deeply held political agendas, according to local residents who know several of the people at the demonstration.

Interfax reported that about 100 people were injured in the disorder Saturday, though that figure couldn’t immediately be confirmed.

Ukraine military bases were quickly surrounded and sealed off Saturday by Russian forces in Crimea as the Kremlin made preparations for a larger-scale landing of troops.

Russian troops were posted near the gates and around the perimeters of several bases near Sevastopol. When asked why they were there, officers replied that they were providing security to the bases, to stop any pro-Russian citizens who might try to take them.

The troops posted around the base had no markings on their uniforms. Their commander, when asked if he could reveal their nationality, said “of course not.” Others admitted they were Russian. Ukrainian officials at the base said the Russians were allowing food and provisions to be brought in.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused the government in Kiev of trying to destabilize the region and directing gunmen to capture Crimea’s ministry of internal affairs building overnight. It said the attack, which couldn’t be verified, was averted with “decisive action.”

Five people who live in the buildings next to the ministry building in Simferopol said everything was peaceful Friday night and they heard nothing. There were no signs of struggle at the building complex.

Vladimir Krashevsky, a top official at the Simferopol-based division of the local berkut, or riot police, said there was no attack by Kiev-allied gunmen on the building, where he gave an impromptu news conference Saturday.

“There was no attack here and there won’t be one,” he said.

The resolution authorizing the use of force in Ukraine cited the threat to Russian citizens there, but officials in Moscow repeatedly suggested that the Kremlin was coming to the defense of ethnic Russians in Ukraine, even if they hold Ukrainian citizenship.

“There is a threat today to the lives and safety of our fellow citizens, of Russian speakers, of ethnic Russians,” Valentina Matvienko, speaker of the upper house of parliament, told reporters after the vote. “We can’t remain indifferent.”

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Asked about possible western counter-intervention, she said there was no ground for it. “With all due respect to the United States, where is the U.S. located and where is Russia? This is happening on Russia’s border.”

Alexander Chekalin, a senator, spoke before the vote, saying, “we are one people, speaking one language, following one faith and sharing one history.” The eastern and southern parts of Ukraine have a large number of Russian-speakers who are members of the Orthodox church.

On Friday, armed men surrounded Crimea’s two main airports, took command of its state television network and set up checkpoints along the key roads connecting the peninsula to the rest of Ukraine. On Saturday, professional military men in unmarked green camouflage uniforms appeared outside the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol.

Ukrainian officials said the well-equipped men – many of whom carried sophisticated automatic weapons – were Russian soldiers.

The leader of the Crimean Tatars, the ethnic minority that accounts for 12% of Crimea and supports the new government in Kiev, sought to dispel the notion that the seizure of government buildings in Crimea had grown out of a citizen uprising.

“These buildings were seized by specially trained people acting on military orders,” said Refat Chubarov, the Tatar leader and deputy in the parliament, at a news conference Saturday.

Ukraine’s new prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, called the continuing militarization in Crimea a provocation intended to draw in Ukraine militarily. He demanded Russian forces return to their base in Sevastopol.

“The presence of Russian troops is nothing more than a violation of the agreement for the Black Sea Fleet to be in Ukraine,” Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted him as saying. “We urge the Russian government to withdraw their troops and return them to their base.”

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Ukraine Calls Up Reserves, Readies For Potential Combat With Russia – Jerusalem Post

Ukraine mobilized on Sunday for war and called up its reserves, after Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to invade in the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.

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Ukraine’s security council ordered the general staff to immediately put all armed forces on highest alert, the council’s secretary Andriy Parubiy announced. The Defense Ministry was ordered to conduct the call-up, potentially of all men up to 40 in a country that still has universal male conscription.

Russian forces who have already bloodlessly seized Crimea – an isolated Black Sea peninsula where most of the population are ethnic Russian and Moscow has a naval base – tried to disarm the small Ukrainian contingents there on Sunday. Some Ukrainian commanders refused to give up weapons and bases were surrounded.

Of potentially even greater concern are eastern swathes of the country, where most of the ethnic Ukrainians speak Russian as a native language. Those areas saw violent protests on Saturday, with pro-Moscow demonstrators hoisting flags at government buildings and calling for Russia to defend them.

Putin’s declaration that he has the right to invade his neighbor – for which he quickly received the unanimous approval of his parliament – brought the prospect of war to a country of 46 million people on the ramparts of central Europe.

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Unreal: Obama Skips National Security Meeting On Russia Situation – Capitalism Institute

As the situation between Russia and Ukraine develops, you’d expect our president to be keeping up-to-date on every single detail coming out. But remember, this is Obama. He didn’t attend national security briefings while our ambassador was in danger in Benghazi.

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According to tweets from White House press correspondents, Obama skipped a key national security meeting on the Ukraine situation earlier today. Absolutely unreal.

Where was he? Golfing?

The Weekly Standard writes:

A White House official emailed some reporters to say that President Obama’s team met today to discuss the ongoing situation on Ukraine. It appears President Obama did not attend.

“The President’s national security team met today to receive an update on the situation in Ukraine and discuss potential policy options. We will provide further updates later this afternoon,” reads the full statement.

According to Time magazine’s Zeke Miller, Obama skipped the meeting. “Obama did not attend the meeting, but WH official says he has been briefed by Susan Rice and his national security team,” says Miller.

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Instead of attending a meeting with his national security team, Susan Rice, the Obama advisor who repeatedly said that Benghazi had everything to do with a YouTube video, is briefing the president on crucial national security matters. What could possibly go wrong?

Did JFK skip national security meetings during the Cuban Missile Crisis? No. Even Jimmy Carter was intimately involved in every aspect of the negotiations and operations during the Iran Hostage Crisis. Barack Obama is a new low for the office of the president. Unbelievable.

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Ted Cruz: ‘Vague Threats’ Not Enough; Suspend Russian G8 Membership Now – Big Peace

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On February 28th, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) reacted to President Obama’s “hastily arranged” speech against Russian military intervention in the Ukraine by saying the U.S. needs to suspend “Russian membership in the Group of Eight (G8),” and we need to do so “immediately.”

He made it clear that mere words and “the President’s vague threats” are not enough because mere “appeals to international norms” hold no sway over Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Moreoever, Cruz said international norms mean even less than usual to Putin “when they run counter to his goal of re-establishing Soviet-style regional hegemony over unfortunate states like Georgia and Ukraine who have the temerity to want a more free, prosperous future for their people.”

Cruz said the U.S. must suspend Russian membership in the G8. If that doesn’t give Putin pause, he added, suspensions from “the World Trade Organization and even the United Nations Security Council” should be pursued.

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Ukraine’s Acting President Demands Russia Stop ‘Provocations’ In Crimea – Euronews

Ukraine’s acting president Oleksandr Turchynov has urged Russia to stop “provocations” in Crimea and to pull back military forces.

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“They are provoking us into a military conflict. According to our intelligence, they are trying to implement the scenario that is very similar to Abkhazia,” he said, referring to Russia’s intervention in Georgia over breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which have large ethnic Russian populations.

“I’m personally addressing President Putin and demanding that he stops provocations immediately and calls back the troops from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and works only according to the signed treaties,” added Turchynov in televised comments.

Euronews saw several Russian armoured personnel carriers (APCs) parked in an area where pro-Russian self defence groups set up a roadblock.

We tried to speak to some of the men in military uniform, but they were reluctant to talk to us in detail. They were friendly and they told us that that was a drill.

Euronews correspondent Sergio Cantone said: “Finally here are the Russian APCs with number plates and identification signs. They are on the road from Sevastopol to Simfereopol. But it is not clear where are they heading.”

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Ukraine Crisis Tests Obama’s Foreign Policy Focus On Diplomacy Over Military Force – Washington Post

For much of his time in office, President Obama has been accused by a mix of conservative hawks and liberal interventionists of overseeing a dangerous retreat from the world at a time when American influence is needed most.

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The once-hopeful Arab Spring has staggered into civil war and military coup. China is stepping up territorial claims in the waters off East Asia. Longtime allies in Europe and in the Persian Gulf are worried by the inconsistency of a president who came to office promising the end of the United States’ post-Sept. 11 wars.

Now Ukraine has emerged as a test of Obama’s argument that, far from weakening American power, he has enhanced it through smarter diplomacy, stronger alliances and a realism untainted by the ideology that guided his predecessor.

It will be a hard argument for him to make, analysts say.

A president who has made clear to the American public that the “tide of war is receding” has also made clear to foreign leaders, including opportunists in Russia, that he has no appetite for a new one. What is left is a vacuum once filled, at least in part, by the possibility of American force.

“If you are effectively taking the stick option off the table, then what are you left with?” said Andrew C. Kuchins, who heads the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “I don’t think that Obama and his people really understand how others in the world are viewing his policies.”

Rarely has a threat from a U.S. president been dismissed as quickly – and comprehensively – as Obama’s warning Friday night to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin. The former community organizer and the former Cold Warrior share the barest of common interests, and their relationship has been defined far more by the vastly different ways they see everything from gay rights to history’s legacy.

Obama called Putin on Saturday and expressed “deep concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is a breach of international law,” the White House said.

From a White House podium late Friday, Obama told the Russian government that “there will be costs” for any military foray into Ukraine, including the semiautonomous region of Crimea, a strategically important peninsula on the Black Sea.

Within hours, Putin asked the Russian parliament for approval to send forces into Ukraine. The vote endorsing his request was unanimous, Obama’s warning drowned out by lawmakers’ rousing rendition of Russia’s national anthem at the end of the session. Russian troops now control the Crimean Peninsula.

President’s quandary

There are rarely good – or obvious – options in such a crisis. But the position Obama is in, confronting a brazenly defiant Russia and with few ways to meaningfully enforce his threat, has been years in the making. It is the product of his record in office and of the way he understands the period in which he is governing, at home and abroad.

At the core of his quandary is the question that has arisen in White House debates over the Afghan withdrawal, the intervention in Libya and the conflict in Syria – how to end more than a dozen years of American war and maintain a credible military threat to protect U.S. interests.

The signal Obama has sent – popular among his domestic political base, unsettling at times to U.S. allies – has been one of deep reluctance to use the heavily burdened American military, even when doing so would meet the criteria he has laid out. He did so most notably in the aftermath of the U.S.-led intervention in Libya nearly three years ago.

But Obama’s rejection of U.S. military involvement in Syria’s civil war, in which 140,000 people have died since he first called on President Bashar al-Assad to step down, is the leading example of his second term. So, too, is the Pentagon budget proposal outlined this past week that would cut the size of the army to pre-2001 levels.

Inside the West Wing, there are two certainties that color any debate over intervention: that the country is exhausted by war and that the end of the longest of its post-Sept. 11 conflicts is less than a year away. Together they present a high bar for the use of military force.

Ukraine has challenged administration officials – and Obama’s assessment of the world – again.

At a North American summit meeting in Mexico last month, Obama said, “Our approach as the United States is not to see these as some Cold War chessboard in which we’re in competition with Russia.”

But Putin’s quick move to a war footing suggests a different view – one in which, particularly in Russia’s back yard, the Cold War rivalry Putin was raised on is thriving.

The Russian president has made restoring his country’s international prestige the overarching goal of his foreign policy, and he has embraced military force as the means to do so.

As Russia’s prime minister in the late summer of 2008, he was considered the chief proponent of Russia’s military advance into Georgia, another former Soviet republic with a segment of the population nostalgic for Russian rule.

Obama, by contrast, made clear that a new emphasis on American values, after what were perceived as the excesses of the George W. Bush administration, would be his approach to rehabilitating U.S. stature overseas.

Those two outlooks have clashed repeatedly – in big and small ways – over the years.

Obama took office with a different Russian as president, Dmitry Medvedev, Putin’s choice to succeed him in 2008.

Medvedev, like Obama, was a lawyer by training, and also like Obama he did not believe the Cold War rivalry between the two countries should define today’s relationship.

The Obama administration began the “reset” with Russia – a policy that, in essence, sought to emphasize areas such as nuclear nonproliferation, counterterrorism, trade and Iran’s nuclear program as shared interests worth cooperation.

But despite some successes, including a new arms-control treaty, the reset never quite reduced the rivalry. When Putin returned to office in 2012, so, too, did an outlook fundamentally at odds with Obama’s.

‘Reset’ roadblocks

Just months after his election, Putin declined to attend the Group of Eight meeting at Camp David, serving an early public warning to Obama that partnership was not a top priority.

At a G-8 meeting the following year in Northern Ireland, Obama and Putin met and made no headway toward resolving differences over Assad’s leadership of Syria. The two exchanged an awkward back-and-forth over Putin’s passion for martial arts before the Russian leader summed up the meeting: “Our opinions do not coincide,” he said.

A few months later, Putin granted asylum to Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor whose disclosure of the country’s vast eavesdropping program severely complicated U.S. diplomacy. Obama had asked for Snowden’s return.

In response, Obama canceled a scheduled meeting in Moscow with Putin after the Group of 20 meeting in St. Petersburg last summer. The two met instead on the summit’s sidelines, again failing to resolve differences over Syria.

It was Obama’s threat of a military strike, after the Syrian government’s second chemical attack crossed what Obama had called a “red line,” that prompted Putin to pressure Assad into concessions. The result was an agreement to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, a process that is proceeding haltingly.

Since then, though, the relationship has again foundered on issues that expose the vastly different ways the two leaders see the world and their own political interests.

After Russia’s legislature passed anti-gay legislation, Obama included openly gay former athletes in the U.S. delegation to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

New barbarities in Syria’s civil war – and the near-collapse of a nascent peace process – have drawn sharper criticism from U.S. officials of Putin, who is continuing to arm Assad’s forces.

How Obama intends to prevent a Putin military push into Ukraine is complicated by the fact that, whatever action he takes, he does not want to jeopardize Russian cooperation on rolling back Iran’s nuclear program or completing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal.

Economic sanctions are a possibility. But that decision is largely in the hands of the European Union, given that its economic ties to Russia, particularly as a source of energy, are far greater than those of the United States.

The most immediate threat that has surfaced: Obama could skip the G-8 meeting scheduled for June in Sochi, a day’s drive from Crimea.

“If you want to take a symbolic step and deploy U.S. Navy ships closer to Crimea, that would, I think, make a difference in Russia’s calculations,” Kuchins said. “The problem with that is, are we really credible? Would we really risk a military conflict with Russia over Crimea-Ukraine? That’s the fundamental question in Washington and in Brussels we need to be asking ourselves.”

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Your Daley Gator Ukrainian Revolution Update (Pictures / Videos)

Putin Seeks Military Action In Ukraine; 6,000 Russian Troops Already Sent To Crimea – Gateway Pundit

Russian President Vladamir Putin asked parliament for permission to send troops to Ukraine on Saturday. The Kremlin already has 6,000 troops in the Crimea region of Ukraine.

Security cameras captured the moment Russian soldiers seized the Crimea parliament building yesterday.

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The AP reported:

Russian President Vladimir Putin asked parliament Saturday for permission to use the country’s military in Ukraine, moving to formalize what Ukrainian officials described as an ongoing deployment of Russian troops in the strategic region of Crimea.

Putin’s motion loosely refers to the “territory of Ukraine” rather than specifically to Crimea, raising the possibility that Moscow could use military force in other Russian-speaking provinces in eastern and southern Ukraine where many oppose the new authorities in Kiev.

President Barack Obama warned Moscow on Friday “there will be costs” if Russia intervenes militarily.

“I’m submitting a request for using the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine pending the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country,” Putin said in a statement released by the Kremlin.

He said the move is needed to protect ethnic Russians and the personnel of a Russian military base in Ukraine’s strategic region of Crimea. Putin sent the request to the Russian legislature’s upper house, which has to approve the motion, according to the constitution. The rubber-stamp parliament is certain to approve it in a vote expected Saturday.

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Russian Parliament Cheers After Voting 87-0 To Invade Ukraine – Gateway Pundit

87 votes in favor – 0 votes against

Unanimous response to send Russian troops to Ukraine.

The Russian lawmakers cheered after the vote passed.

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Pro-Russian mob stormed the city administration building in Kharkiv, Ukraine today. Kharkiv is the second largest city in Ukraine located in the pro-Russian northeast region.

The thugs beat the opposition and forced them to kneel.

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Krauthammer’s Take: Obama Tells The World We Aren’t Going To Do Anything About Invasion Of Ukraine – National Review

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As reports are coming in that Russia has placed 2,000 troops in Crimea, within the borders of Ukraine, President Obama said that “the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”

Charles Krauthammer responded on Special Report tonight saying, “The Ukrainians, and I think everybody, is shocked by the weakness of Obama’s statement. I find it rather staggering.”

Krauthammer thinks Obama’s statement is about “three levels removed” from actual action. He explained: Obama said “we will stand with the international community – meaning we are going to negotiate with a dozen other countries who will water down the statement – in affirming that there will be costs – meaning in making a statement not even imposing a cost, but in making a statement about imposing a cost – for any military intervention.”

“What he’s saying is we’re not really going to do anything and we’re telling the world,” Krauthammer said.

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“Stupid” “Insipid” Sarah Palin Predicted Russian Invasion Of Ukraine – Gateway Pundit

Back in 2008, Republican candidate Sarah Palin predicted Barack Obama’s weak response to a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“After the Russian army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence – the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.”

She nailed it.

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This was after Barack Obama failed to react to Russia’s invasion of American ally Georgia.

Today Sarah Palin wrote on Facebook – “I Told You So.”

Yes, I could see this one from Alaska. I’m usually not one to Told-Ya-So, but I did, despite my accurate prediction being derided as “an extremely far-fetched scenario” by the “high-brow” Foreign Policy magazine. Here’s what this “stupid” “insipid woman” predicted back in 2008: “After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.”

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Flashback: Mitt Romney Was Right About Russia And Putin, And Barack Obama Was Wrong – Freedom’s Lighthouse

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Remember this from the third Presidential Debate during the 2012 Election?

Barack Obama had mocked Mitt Romney for calling Russia and Vladimir Putin a U.S. Foreign Policy threat. Mitt Romney responded that it is indeed a threat, and told Obama “I have clear eyes on this, and I’m certainly not going to wear rose-colored glasses about Russia or Mr. Putin.”

Once again, Mitt Romney was right, and Barack Obama is proven to be terribly wrong.

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Stranger Than Fiction: Russian Bikers Among Those Blocking Some Of The Roads In Crimea… Update: Bikers Special Buddies Of Putin – Weasel Zippers

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Alan Cullison
@AlanCullison

Russian bikers take lead at block posts in Crimea. Pic here of commander of post blocking east-west highway. #ukraine
10:29 AM – 28 Feb 2014 from Ukraine, Ukraine

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Some kind of war. Biker dudes and military without insignia.

Update:

Here’s more on the bikers.

Via ABC:

While a group of camouflaged, armed militiamen patrolled Crimea’s main airport today, there was a second gang of tough-looking men who showed up to join the pro-Russia side to take control of this mostly Russian enclave of southern Ukraine.

The tattooed and bejewelled crew was decked out in leather, black jeans and heavy boots, with patches of a wolf and flame stitched onto their vests. They were the Russian biker gang, the “Night Wolves.” They’ve modeled themselves on the Hell’s Angels, and President Putin has been known to don a leather jacket and ride with them.

Its president, Hirurg, had just landed from Moscow and the local Simferopol chapter was there to pick him up (alas, in a car, not on Harleys). Burly and broad-shouldered, Hirurg sported a goatee, sideburns and a friendly – if intimidating – demeanour. “Hirurg” means surgeon in Russian and he said he was an actual surgeon (having watched every season of “Sons of Anarchy,” I was disappointed the name wasn’t for something more dramatic).

Keep reading

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Alexander Marquardt
@MarquardtA

President of biker gang “Night Wolves” arrived at Simferopol airport from Moscow, says here to ask what locals need.
7:50 AM – 28 Feb 2014

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Update:

Just any old biker group, their aim is to “spread Russian influence around the world”.

Let’s look at pictures from the past few years, with leader receiving medal from Putin for restoring a Soviet monument, and Putin riding with them:

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Boston College Wide Receiver Alex Amidon Gives Up Chance To Play In The NFL To Become A Navy SEAL

Boston College Football Player Gives Up Chance To Play In The NFL To Become A Navy SEAL – Weasel Zippers

Very cool.

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Via NFL.com:

Boston College wide receiver Alex Amidon, who finished his career in 2013 as the school’s leading career receiver, has decided to bypass a potential NFL future and instead try to become a Navy SEAL.

BC Interruption reported the news on Thursday.

Amidon (6-foot, 182 pounds) was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine but still had the potential to be a third-day pick. Amidon finished his career with a school-record 191 receptions for a school-record 2,792 yards and 15 TDs. He had 78 receptions in 2012 and 77 in 2013; those are the two best single-season marks in school history.

Amidon, from Greenfield, Mass., was a first-team All-ACC pick in 2012 and a third-team selection in 2013.

While not considered a burner, Amidon had been clocked as fast as 4.42 seconds in the 40; he was effective both as a deep threat – information from cfbstats.com shows that he had five catches of 50-plus yards in 2013 and 18 of 30-plus yards in 2012 and ’13 combined – and over the middle for BC.

Amidon roomed with tailback Andre Williams, who led the nation in rushing in 2013 and was a Heisman finalist. The two were co-winners of the Thomas Scanlan Award, considered BC’s highest football honor. It goes to the senior who is most outstanding in scholarship, athletic ability and leadership.

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