Salute to the Alexandrov Ensemble

The devastating loss of 64 choristers, orchestra members and dancers from the Alexandrov Ensemble as well as 9 journalists in a tragic plane crash over the Black Sea reverberates its shock back to my early years. The first time I heard the Internationale, it was sung by the Red Army Choir, the precursor of the Alexandrov Ensemble, on a record of my dad’s. Being a bass singer and chorister himself, my father found the rich timbre and brilliance of the Red Army Choir irresistible.

As a confirmed voter for the Australian Labor Party whom Lenin had described accurately and disparagingly in 1913 as “a liberal-bourgeois party”, my father would not have appreciated perhaps the sentiments expressed in the USSR official anthem, though he loved the passionate Slavic feel of the music. Few things would bring a tear to his stolid Scottish eye, yet this rendition was one.

Somewhere packed away, this record still survives, along with those he brought back from South Africa during the apartheid years, like “Wait a Minim!

Here’s the Red Army Choir in 1993 with the Leningrad Cowboys in Helsinki performing Rolling Stones and many other covers.

And more recently, the Alexandrov Ensemble performed a “heppy” version of “Happy”!

Predictably, bloodthirsty apologists for AQ/Nusra/JFS and affiliates (who in concert with depraved patriarchal oppression of women regard music as “wicked and immoral“) and other obfuscators of US/GCC/NATO contras’ belligerence gloat at the deaths of Russia’s iconic musos.

The enemies of music are enemies of their own humanity.

Litvinenko Redux – Exhume Arafat

Could Litvinenko have a connection with Arafat’s death? Radioactive polonium has been found in Arafat’s clothing.

Arafat’s symptoms in his decline were similar to those of Litvinenko’s.

The death was reminiscent of that of Yasser Arafat, who became ill with nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea after eating dinner in his compound in the West Bank town of Ramallah on Oct. 12, 2004. The symptoms continued for more than two weeks before he was evacuated to France where he died on Nov. 11.

Doctors were unable explain his rapid decline and supporters accused Israel of having poisoned Arafat. Israel denied the allegation and no evidence of poison was ever found.

Litvinenko worked for the KGB and its successor, the FSB. In 1998, he publicly accused his superiors of ordering him to kill tycoon Boris Berezovsky and spent nine months in jail from 1999 on charges of abuse of office. He was later acquitted and in 2000 sought asylum in Britain, where Berezovsky also lives in exile.

In 2005 according to this article, Litvinenko named Arafat as a KGB agent.

The bloodiest terrorists of the world were or are agents of the KGB-FSB. These are and well-known Carlos Ilyich Ramiros, the nickname “Jackal” (he is condemned for terrorism in France), deceased Yassir Arafat, Saddam Hussein, Adjalan (he is condemned in Turkey), Vadi Haddad, the head of the service of external operations of the Popular front of releasing of Palestine, Hauyi, the head of the communist party of Lebanon, mister Papaionnu from the Cyprus, Sean Garland from Ireland and many others. All of them were trained in the KGB, received money from there, weapon and explosive, counterfeit documents and a communication facility necessary for carrying out of acts of terrorism practically worldwide.

Russian tycoon, Boris Berezovosky aka Platon Elenin, in whose house in London Litvinenko lived, said in 2003:

“If Israel, a tiny country with the most superb security in the world, can’t protect its people from suicide bombers and other terrorist acts, how is Russia, a vast country with an incompetent and impoverished security apparatus, going to do so?”

Will the fingerprint impurities in the polonium found on Arafat’s belongings turn out to reveal the same origin as that in Litvinenko, which the British authorities suppressed?

In 2007, Fatah accused Mohammed Dahlan of poisoning Arafat.

Top officials of Abbas’ Fatah Party issued a report Sunday contending that former Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan sent poison disguised as medicine to Arafat while he was in a Paris hospital.

They offered no evidence to back up their claim, other than to say Dahlan ordered Arafat guards to burn the vials in which the alleged poison was stored.

“We must kill him softly and throw him out from the PA Presidential palace, we must find an alternative leadership. I’m sure Mohamed Dahlan is qualified for this mission”. Moshe Ya’alon, ITF Chief of Staff

Arafat’s body might be exhumed, questions pondered about it, but the two state solution is beyond resurrection.

Related Links

Palestinians and Arabs have alleged Israeli agents poisoned Arafat. Some Palestinian Authority leaders have suggested former Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan assisted Israel in the alleged poisoning.
Arafat poisoned? Danny Rubinstein told us so

Litvinenko Revisited
Who dun it? Litvinenko
Meanwhile, Cheney goes to Saudia
Spies in the Sushi Bar
Luguvoy and the Timeline Change

After losing 15 citizens to suicide bombings in September 2003, Israel’s security cabinet decided to “remove” Arafat, without elaborating publicly on the precise action it planned to take. An Israeli newspaper quoted Dichter as saying at the time that it would be better to kill Arafat than exile him.

After polonium revelation, Israel’s PR hacks revive lies that Arafat was gay and died of AIDS

UK’s Litvinenko inquest suffers setback

Judge leading probe into death of ex-Russian spy in London upholds government request to withhold crucial evidence.

Wrong, Reut

In its latest plan released in summary form, the Reut Institute demonstrates the validity of Umberto Eco’s analysis of Ur Fascism : ‘Fascist governments are condemned to lose wars because they are constitutionally incapable of objectively evaluating the force of the enemy.’

By unceasing land grabs and burgeoning illegal settlements, demolitions, evictions, detainments, incarceration of Palestinian children, attacks on non-violent protestors, roughshod riding over court decisions, official condoning of racist laws, passing new racist laws, denial of rights to Palestinians, an overweaning, well-identified system of apartheid and decades of cruel Occupation, the Israeli entity delegitimises itself.

This week, Human Rights Watch released a 166 page report, “Separate and Unequal: Israel’s Discriminatory Treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories”, which ‘identifies discriminatory practices that have no legitimate security or other justification and calls on Israel, in addition to abiding by its international legal obligation to withdraw the settlements, to end these violations of Palestinians’ rights.’

Human Rights Watch reiterated its recommendation that the United States, which provides US$2.75 billion in aid to Israel annually, should suspend financing to Israel in an amount equivalent to the costs of Israel’s spending in support of settlements, which a 2003 study estimated at $1.4 billion. Similarly, based on numerous reports that US tax-exempt organizations provide substantial contributions to support settlements, the report urges the US to verify that such tax-exemptions are consistent with US obligations to ensure respect for international law, including prohibitions against discrimination.

Human Rights Watch called on the EU, a primary export market for settlement products, to ensure that it does not provide incentives for settlement exports through preferential tariff treatment, and to identify cases where discrimination against Palestinians has contributed to the production of goods. For example, the report documents how crops exported from settlements using water from Israeli-drilled wells have dried up nearby Palestinian wells, limiting Palestinians’ ability to cultivate their own lands and even their access to drinking water.

The report also describes cases in which businesses have contributed to or benefited directly from discrimination against Palestinians, for example through commercial activities on lands that were unlawfully confiscated from Palestinians without compensation for the benefit of settlers. These businesses also benefit from Israeli governmental subsidies, tax abatements, and discriminatory access to infrastructure, permits, and export channels. Human Rights Watch called on businesses to investigate, prevent and mitigate such violations, including ending any operations that cannot be separated from discriminatory Israeli practices.

Blundering blindfolded by bigotry at windmills of concocted ‘Red-Green’ alliances is likely to be counter-productive when the root of the problem lies with Israel’s own atrocious behaviour.

Nor does the Reut tilt at its bete noir, the worldwide Palestinian BDS movement, seem cogent, considering basic aims of BDS which are thoroughly supported in international law – for equal rights, an end to Israeli apartheid and occupation, and recognition of the right of Palestinian people to return to their lands. Since the US has abandoned its pretence of being able to stop Israeli land grabs and oppression, boycotts, divestments and sanctions remain a primary means chosen by Palestinians to attain their rights.

The Reut Institute perceives these reasonable goals as an existential threat – somehow if Palestinian people were not discriminated against, disenfranchised and ethnically cleansed, Israel would cease to exist. Yet what legitimacy does an entity have which relies for its continuance on tormenting those whom it has dispossessed and continues to dispossess of rights and land? Reut seeks to:

‘Prioritize delegitimizing the BDS Movement, which is among the most sophisticated tools in the attempt to undermine Israel’s legitimacy, and can be considered a mega-catalyst due to its influence in a number of arenas. As mentioned, the BDS Movement claims to promote human rights, international justice, and peace, while in practice, its organizers explicitly or implicitly reject Israel’s right to exist.’

Whereas the BDS network is a grassroots, decentralised global effort sustained from solidarity of its members from myriad cultures including jewish culture in principled demands for justice and rights for those who have neither, the obtuse Reut hasbaroids intend targeting London as a ‘delegitimisation hub’, aiming ‘to out, name and shame activists’ in a scurrilous witchhunt. That Reut considers human rights activists have something to be ashamed of is symptomatic of the above-mentioned malaise – and again political zionism is revealed as a radical, fascistic ideology, whose adherents obliviously project onto their quarries their own attributes – ‘anti-peace, anti-Semitic’ and ‘dishonest purveyors of double standards’. Political zionism is limited and eroded by its internal contradictions of addictive expansionism and consequent insecurity, syncretised mythologies of entitlement, victimhood and hubris.

Below is a video of the brutal realities which Israel inflicts upon Palestinians within the Green Line which Reut, I feel sure, would rather have us ignore as much as it would like us to forget Israel’s violations in the Occupied Territories. The story of how 67 members of the extended Abu Eid family were evicted summarily and their homes bulldozed last week is horrendous.

It is a scene being repeated across Israel with increasing frequency. Some 42,000 Arab homes built without required permits are threatened with demolition: 13,000 could be carried out at any time and 30,000 are at some stage in local courts, said Ameer Makhoul, director of Ittijah, a Palestinian civil society organization.

Palestine / Israel Links

Do Israelis “hate Obama’s guts”?
Shalit activists protest against Palestinian prisoners’ rights
VOTE! ‘Israeli War Crimes’ signs to go on Metro buses
Refugees’ flat torched in Ashdod
Racial discrimination – a tool of occupation

Belarus Links

Buzek on Belarussian presidential candidate being beaten up
Presidential Pseudo-Elections in Belarus 2010
Lukashenka Declared Belarus Victor After Clashes, Detentions
Crackdown mars Belarus elections
Belarus journalist beaten by police


WikiLeaks and OpenLeaks
2010-12-19 New Whistleblowing Sites
2010-12-16 FAIR: Media paint flattering picture of U.S. diplomacy
Brad Manning Has Rights!
Julian Assange to Launch Social Network for Diplomats, Twofacebook&tm;
China pays Nepal police to catch Tibet refugees: WikiLeaks
South Africa: Bloggers’ take on Wikileaks
Cover-ups, Coups, and Drones – A Holiday Sampler of What Wikileaks Reveals about the US
Spawn of WikiLeaks
Rap News 6 – Wikileaks’ Cablegate: the truth is out there
Secrecy, National Security and the Internet
Essential: voters support WikiLeaks and Assange, attack Gillard’s stance

Other Links

The tragedy of Algeria’s ‘disappeared’

Litvinenko Revisited

This wikileaks cable ‘LITVINENKO ASSASSINATION: REACTION IN MOSCOW’ (1 Dec 06) reflects the views of the US ambassador, Ambassador William J. Burns, on the long-running Litvinenko Whodunnit, which I annotated several years ago.

The November 23 death by radiation poisoning of former FSB agent Aleksandr Litvinenko in London has spawned a welter of conspiracy theories in Russia. The media have variously traced Litvinenko’s demise to XXXXXXXXXXXX, suicide, Putin’s Kremlin, Putin himself, those determined to undermine Putin, FSB agents unhappy with Litvinenko’s alleged betrayal of their organization, those unhappy with Litvinenko’s cooperation with Israel-based businessman Nevzlin on the Yukos affair, and the United States or “other” countries. This message recounts a representative sample of speculation, much of it self-serving.

Another wikileaks cable, HAMBURG POLICE TRACK POLONIUM TRAIL (19 Dec 06) is also relevant, describing Kovtun’s movements.

Schindler explained German officials retraced Kovtun’s steps to and from his ex-wife’s home in Hamburg. Schindler said Kovtun left polonium traces on everything he touched – vehicles, objects, clothes, and furniture. German investigators concluded Kovtun did not have polonium traces on his skin or clothes; Schindler said the polonium was coming out of his body, for example through his pores. German authorities had tested the German Wings airplane that had taken Kovtun from Hamburg to London; no traces of polonium were found. Germany had wanted to test the Aeroflot plane that flew Kovtun to Germany, and had prepared to ground it upon its next arrival in Germany. Schindler said RUSSIAN authorities must have found out about German plans because “at the last minute” Aeroflot swapped planes; Schindler said he did not expect Aeroflot to fly the other plane to Germany any time soon.

UPDATE 13/12/2010

WikiLeaks cables: Russia ‘was tracking killers of Alexander Litvinenko but UK warned it off’

The memo contains an observation from US embassy officials that Safonov’s comments suggested Russia “was not involved in the killing, although Safonov did not offer any further explanation”.

Later the memo records that Safonov claimed that “Russian authorities in London had known about and followed individuals moving radioactive substances into the city but were told by the British that they were under control before the poisoning took place”.

The claim will be rejected in many quarters as a clumsy attempt by Moscow to deflect accusations that its agents were involved in the assassination.

Russia says it had nothing to do with the murder, but espionage experts claim the killing would not have been possible without Kremlin backing. Shortly before he died, Litvinenko said he had met two former KGB agents, Dmitry Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi, on the day he fell ill. Both men deny wrongdoing, but Britain has made a formal request for Lugovoi’s extradition following a recommendation by the director of public prosecutions.

For afficionados, here’s a list of our Litvinenko pieces, which may shed light on the redaction in the cable.

Who dun it? Litvinenko
Meanwhile, Cheney goes to Saudia
Spies in the Sushi Bar
Luguvoy and the Timeline Change

United Stupids vs Russia 1

With North Korea showing signs of being sorted by the 5 nation tag team, surely Russia isn’t being auditioned as its replacement on the Axis of Evul? Ongoing wars like those vociferously sought by Lon Cheney do require ongoing enemies.

Once again, the United Stupids are aggressing the Russkies despite protestations to the contrary. Do the Stupids really think North Korea would fire ICBMs over Europe when the quick route is in the opposite direction? Why would Iran, which doesn’t even have nuclear arms, fire at the Stupids over northern Europe? The Russkies have read the provocation correctly, and the Stupids must have known they would.

The new line of defence consists of a network of underground rocket silos in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic.

Moscow has also accused Washington of breaking its promise, made after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, not to deploy missiles in Russia’s former satellite states.

Here’s that not-so-subtle pressure from the US we forecast a few posts ago. Russia met this week with China and India.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Jiang Yu, emphasized in a statement that the three-party talks among Russia, India, and China were not directed against any fourth country (Interfax, Xinhua, February 15).

Russian officials sounded even more specific, saying they did not intend to alienate the West. Cooperation among Russia, China, and India is not directed against any other country, and it is definitely not anti-American, said Andrei Kokoshin, head of the CIS affairs committee of the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament. It also does not amount to an attempt to create a grouping of three major Asian powers, because all three countries advocate the democratization of global politics and the world economy, he said.

However, Moscow made it clear it would not accept the role of energy supplier to the booming economies of China and India. Trilateral economic cooperation should not involve only hydrocarbon supplies from Russia to China and India; it should also involve nuclear power, Kokoshin argued.

The nations also discussed Iran, all three agreeing that:

… the deadlock between the P5+ Germany and Iran can be resolved through dialogue within the ambit of the International Atomic Energy Agency …

“We have a convergence of approach on the Iranian issue.”

Following these talks, and possibly feeling its oats after the affirmation of multi-polarism and reassurance that any attempt by the US to create a war against Iran via the UN Security Council would be resisted by China too, Russia threatened to quit the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty unless the US reneged on its Polish/Czech missile shield plans.

Putin has said he does not trust US claims that the deployment of missile defense components in Europe was intended to counter missile threats from Iran, warning that Russia would take retaliatory actions.

Ivanov has rejected US arguments for deploying an anti-missile defence system in eastern Europe and insisted Russia would not be drawn into a Cold War-style arms race.

He also said Russia would upgrade its own defence systems to make sure its strategic arsenal was not rendered ineffective.”

Hmmm … sounds like some sort of arms race to us.

Nato has its own view.

… what Moscow really wanted was to be included in a European-wide anti-missile system.

“We are already talking to the Russians about co-operating on tactical missile defence for armies in the field,” said a senior Nato diplomat.”

Meanwhile, the Italians are attempting to prosecute the 26 CIA kidnappers of “Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, who disappeared near his mosque in Milan on Feb. 17, 2003, says he was kidnapped. The cleric, known as Abu Omar, was freed this week from jail in Egypt, where he says he was taken and then tortured.”

Fat chance of extraditing them from Doodoo’s clutches. Yet the Italian proceedings will help highlight the prevalence throughout Europe of governments secretly colluding with the US in extraordinary renditions:

European parliamentary committee issued a detailed report into what it said were “at least” 1,245 secret C.I.A. flights in Europe, some of them involving extraordinary renditions. The report, which awaits approval by the Parliament, is particularly sensitive because it suggested forcibly that a number of governments knew of the flights.”