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Endless austerity in UK budget tailored to big business and wealthy

Julie Hyland  RINF Alternative News UK Chancellor George Osborne’s budget Wednesday was full of the usual sound bites about helping “hard working families”, “savers” and “do-ers.” Described...

UK Budget Damages The Poor, Protects The Rich

Simon Basketter  RINF Alternative News Tory chancellor George Osborne declared today, Wednesday, “The message from this budget is this: You've earned it, you've saved it. This government is...

UK Budget Protects Corrupt Energy Corps

Surprise surprise, as the mainstream media subserviently celebrates the announcement that a pint of beer will now be 1p cheaper, what is seemingly an act of misdirection, George Osborne has gotten away with it again.

UK Budget 2008: What it Means to You

High-polluting vehicles will be hit harder, but incentives for green cars will be introduced and fuel duty rises shelved, announced Chancellor Alistair Darling in...

Want £10,000 for free? Here’s how, and it’ll only cost you the UK’s welfare...

Would you like £10,000 for doing absolutely nothing? Well, you may be in luck, provided...

Theresa May’s police budget cuts blamed for NYE stabbings — RT UK News

Published time: 2 Jan, 2018 11:48 Edited time: 3 Jan, 2018 08:27 “Institutional racism” and...

Big Ben repairs & beefed up security to blame for £600mn House of Commons...

Published time: 3 Jan, 2018 17:34 The House of Commons budget is set to skyrocket...

US will eat up 25% of Britain’s defense budget, warns union boss — RT...

Published time: 29 Nov, 2017 13:47 Edited time: 30 Nov, 2017 09:18 One of Britain’s...

Hammond delivers biggest budget in a generation — RT UK News

As Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered one of the most anticipated budgets in recent memory, he...

Child poverty, inequality and environment missing from Tory budget, renowned economist tells RT —...

The UK government has dodged dealing with the serious issues of child poverty, rising inequality...

Chancellor Hammond uses ‘economicky’ budget to kick bungling Tory colleagues — RT UK News

Philip Hammond used his budget speech today to fire what looked like a warning shot...

May and Hammond at each other’s throats as ‘impossible’ 2017 budget looms — RT...

Published time: 22 Nov, 2017 10:21 Edited time: 22 Nov, 2017 10:33 Theresa May and...

Yoga in India, juggling in Africa… How else is the EU spending Britain’s foreign...

British taxpayer contributions to the European Union’s collective foreign-aid budget were up by £177 million...

UK’s soldiers and spies face penetrating review amid budget fears

Published time: 21 Jul, 2017 09:59 British military and intelligence agencies will be subjected to...

UKIP says Britain should slash its foreign aid budget

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) is calling for an 80 percent cut to the foreign...

Former colony India’s defense spending to overtake UK war budget

India looks set to outstrip its shrinking ex-colonizer Britain in terms of defense spending within...

Budgeting for Trident nukes robs the vulnerable of welfare – CND

Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system directs money away from those who need it most, Campaign...
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Video: ‘More money, more fighter jets’: Cameron to increase UK military budget to counter...

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxJ8fdSdmpM&w=580&h=385] UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the country's military budget will be increased to fight Islamic State. The UK may also unite...

UK Kinship carers at risk of poverty, debt due to budget cuts

A new report says that tens of thousands of kinship carers risk sever poverty, debt and losing their homes as a result of government’s...

UK Conservative budget heralds ever deeper austerity

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. By Julie Hyland Conservative Chancellor George Osborne unveiled his second budget in four...

US budget row can harm UK pension funds

The US government budget row can seriously damage pensions savings for British elderly, a former head of the Saga Group, which provides insurance and...

UK PM claim on military budget rapped

British Prime Minister David Cameron™s claim that the UK has the world™s fourth largest defence budget is œno more than a shallow sound-bite”, a...

UK Treasury hints Scottish budget cuts

Britainâ„¢s Treasury signals Scottish budget cuts.Britainâ„¢s Treasury has signaled major cuts to the Scottish budget for the 2015-16 financial year, after six government departments...

UK ministers warned over budget cuts

British Chancellor Osborne warns cabinet ministers over budget cuts.British Chancellor George Osborne has warned cabinet ministers over spending settlements with the Treasury. Osborne said ministers,...

Slash welfare budget, pour money into security – UK

The UK has proposed slashing welfare funding to divert it to the police and armed forces in the wake of the Woolwich attacks, despite...

UK 2013 budget can’t save poor children

British Chancellor George Osborne’s policies on personal tax allowance will do almost nothing for poor children in the country who are going to be hit by the government’s squeeze on tax credits and benefits, a charity warns.

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) warned that the 2013 budget, delivered by Osborne yesterday, has failed to change the fact that 600,000 more children will be dragged into poverty during the coalition’s time in office.

“The chancellor described it as a budget for families, with children, looking to work hard and aspiring to get on," said Alison Garnham, chief executive of the charity group.

"But most low-income families have very few reasons to be cheerful and plenty to be fearful."

She also argued that the Chancellor’s plans for raising personal tax allowance, from £8,105 to £9,440 next month and to £10,000 from April 2014 will do almost nothing for the parents on the lowest incomes.

"Some don't pay tax anyway, while others keep just 15 percent in every extra £1 because their in-work benefits like housing benefit get withdrawn," she said.

Earlier in March, Britain’s largest unions body the Trades Unions Congress (TUC) announced that over half a million more British children will be pushed “below the breadline” in the next two years as a result of the government’s welfare cuts, tax rises and wage freezes.

MOS/HE

UK civil servants stage mass strike on budget day (PHOTOS)

Published time: March 21, 2013 06:47
Striking members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) picket the Houses of Parliament on budget day, in central London, March 20, 2013 (Reuters / Toby Melville)

A quarter of a million UK civil servants staged a mass walk-out in protest of sweeping budget cuts. Union members claim the government has refused to negotiate on their contested budget and have launched a three-month campaign to push their demands.

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) has warned that the budget day strikes are just the tip of the iceberg and “the start of a rolling program of walkouts and disruptive action to put pressure on a government."

Striking civil servants marched on number 10 Downing Street voicing their outrage at government cuts to pensions and wage packets, while the PCS held a rally in Westminster during Chancellor George Osborne’s speech.

"Civil and public servants are working harder than ever to provide the services we all rely on but, instead of rewarding them, the government is imposing cuts to their pay, raiding their pensions and trying to rip up their basic working conditions,” said General Secretary of the PCS  Mark Serwotka.

Screenshot taken from Ruptly footage.

The British government criticized the civil servant strike as counterproductive. Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude decried the walk-out as

“futile” and described its impact as

“minimal.” "The public will have been inconvenienced to a very small extent by the strike today," he said to press.

He claimed that only 95,000 staff members took part in the mass walk-out, while the PCS disputes this, putting the total figure at around 250,000.

PCS members who work in customs offices, immigration and job centers are demanding a 5 per cent pay rise.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne unveiled the UK’s 2013 budget on Wednesday, prompting the nation’s growth forecast to be downgraded by more than half over the next year.

Screenshot taken from Ruptly footage.

Screenshot taken from Ruptly footage.

Screenshot taken from Ruptly footage.

MoD faces £6 billion funding gap for Trident nuclear submarines — RT UK News

The British government is on course to dip further into a £10 billion ($13.5 billion)...

MoD decisions as funding gap row grows — RT UK News

The head of Lockheed Martin’s UK operations remains confident the UK will commit to buying...

Forget the NHS, spend on defense – US ambassador tells UK — RT UK...

Woody Johnson, the US ambassador to the UK, has said that Britain should spend more...

Private police force will hit streets of Britain to fill void created by austerity...

‘My local bobby’ – a private police force organization – is to roll out its...

Tories dismiss record numbers of food-bank users revealed by charity — RT UK News

The Tory government has rejected data suggesting its austerity policies have forced an unprecedented number...

Government’s plan to stem violent crime fails to mention Tory police cuts — RT...

The impact of police cuts was not included anywhere in the government’s plan to stem...

Farage brands London crime epidemic Sadiq Khan’s ‘mess’ as Mayor widely criticised — RT...

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage has hit out at London Mayor Sadiq Khan saying London's...

UK opens Gulf naval base as Western relationships hit the rocks — RT UK...

Britain is attempting to shore up ties in the east before leaving the European Union,...

Labour MP David Lammy rants on live TV about ‘vanishing’ police… as cop stands...

Labour MP David Lammy is being ridiculed on Twitter after he claimed in an on-air...

Lab behind Skripal poison probe has dark history of human testing — RT UK...

The Porton Down lab at the center of the Skripal poisoning case has a dark...

Lab behind Skripal poison probe has dark history of human testing — RT UK...

The Porton Down lab at the center of the Skripal poisoning case has a dark...

London murder rate higher than New York’s amid surge in knife crime & police...

London’s murder rate has surpassed New York’s for the first time in modern history as...

US to allocate $250mn to ‘tackle Russian influence’ amid soaring military spending & budget...

The US is allocating $250 million to counter Russian influence, according to a government spending bill,...

US Congress passes colossal $1.3 trillion budget — RT US News

The US House of Representatives and Senate has approved, at the 11th hour, a $1.3 trillion...

Theresa May accused of repeating ‘lies’ over police spending in parliament — RT UK...

Theresa May has repeated her claim in the Commons that the government is providing an...

UK to pull out of EU defense force despite ‘unequivocal’ solidarity over Skripal —...

The UK has announced that it will pull out of the EU defense force after...

UK to build £48mn chemical weapon center to protect from ‘hostile’ activity — RT...

The UK is to build a £48 million chemical weapons defense center to tackle what...

UK TV regulator writes to RT, says it may consider whether channel’s license is...

Britain's media regulator Ofcom says it will "consider the implications for RT’s broadcast licenses" if...

Flyer, beware! Brexit no-flight warning planned on Ryanair tickets — RT UK News

Ryanair has announced it will start issuing a Brexit caveat on flight tickets to passengers....

US ‘outgunned & outmatched’ by Russia in Europe, admits top general seeking budget increase...

US troops in the Baltic countries would be “outranged, outgunned and outmatched” by Russians in case...

Secretive UK army base analyzing nerve agent used on ex-Russian spy mired in controversy...

A secretive UK army base analyzing the nerve agent thought to be used on ex-Russian...

Hammond ridiculed for reported homeless remarks — RT UK News

Philip Hammond is in hot water for comparing the summer night he slept on a...

Pentagon wants more money to develop its own hypersonic nukes, just like Russia’s —...

The Pentagon may not be surprised by the new Russian hypersonic missiles – but why not...

‘At what cost?’ – George Osborne torn apart by Twitter after hailing austerity’s success...

A celebratory tweet from ex-Tory chancellor George Osborne was attacked on Twitter. The now-Evening Standard...

US ‘not surprised’ by Russia’s new nukes, boasts about own ‘unmatched’ arsenal — RT...

The US White House and Pentagon have dismissed Russia’s new nuclear arsenal as “no surprise.” American...

Fate of the homeless under Conservative rule looks ever more desperate — RT UK...

Homeless alerts have hit a record high over the past 24 hours as the ‘Beast...

Can you spot it? Warning over Russian warships carries propaganda plug for UK Royal...

Military resources are being ploughed into an operation to track Russian boats through the English...

US cold war-era nukes in Europe almost useless, pose ‘catastrophic terrorism’ risk

The US plans to spend $10 billion upgrading 150 Cold War-era nuclear bombs stationed in Europe,...

Major embarrassment for May regime as top terrorism cop admonishes Prevent — RT UK...

Counter-terrorism projects run by the Government must be reviewed immediately, according to the most senior...

What’s going on & why it’s crucial to Brexit negotiations — RT UK News

Talks to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland collapsed Wednesday, bringing the possibility of London rule...

Slave owner compensation was still being paid off by British taxpayers in 2015 —...

Bristol taxpayers in 2015 were still paying off debt borrowed by the government to “compensate”...

‘US govt faction sees nukes as tool for increasing pressure on Russia, China’ –...

There is a very powerful faction in the US government that thinks nuclear weapons are an...

While Exploding Military Spending, Trump Budget Eviscerates Funding for Education, Healthcare, and More

Nearly two dozen federal programs and agencies are in danger of losing funding under President Donald Trump's 2019 budget proposal, released Monday. The proposed...

BBC and RT working together, suggests Times newspaper in latest mundane attack — RT...

The Times of London has made another play for a Pulitzer prize, this time running...

Theresa May slammed by Sadiq Khan for ‘misleading information’ — RT UK News

Theresa May has ruffled some mayoral feathers, inciting anger from both city halls in London...

Tony Blair warned of ‘deep state’ conspiracy in UK civil service – ex-Cameron aide...

David Cameron’s former director of strategy has revealed that Tony Blair warned him of a...

Tories put infighting on hold to woo donors at Black & White Ball —...

Tories and their super-rich donors will gather at the secretive Black and White Ball fundraising...

Is Trump taking cues from Farage in his NHS criticism? — RT UK News

US President Donald Trump attacked Britain’s “broke” National Health Service (NHS) in a tweet that...

‘People will lose faith in BBC’s impartiality,’ organization behind ‘Brexit bias’ report tells RT...

The BBC is failing in its duty as a public broadcaster with its “skewed” Brexit...

Huge Military Budgets Make Us Broke, Not Safe

We’re all tense. Hearing about our fellow citizens in Hawaii scrambling around, looking for a place to hide from a nuclear bomb, will do...

The successes the mainstream media aren’t crowing about — RT UK News

A picture of Brexit doom and gloom has been painted – an artwork constructed by...

Defence Secretary scaremongers ahead of military review — RT UK News

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson warned that Russia could kill “thousands and thousands” of Brits, “creating...

Boris Johnson battered by ministers amid claims he’ll step down — RT UK News

Boris Johnson is yet again causing Conservative party waves as rumors spread he will launch...

Trump wants more nukes than US can handle – outgoing nuclear warhead chief —...

As President Donald Trump plans to modernize and expand the US nuclear program, Frank Klotz, the...

Kremlin cash cow? The Guardian’s argument against Russia collapses as columnist reveals money plot...

The Guardian’s readers could be forgiven for being absolutely baffled over the “threat posed by...

Britain’s top Army general begs for more cash so he can fight… guess who...

The UK Army chief is deploying one of Britain’s most well-tested military tactics – begging...

Top Tories expected to keep cabinet jobs despite a year of gaffes — RT...

Theresa May is expected to sack or move a quarter of her cabinet on Monday...

Brexit is going ahead and it’ll cost other EU countries billions – Jean-Claude Juncker...

Jean-Claude Juncker poured cold water on the hopes of remainers, dismissing the idea of a...

‘Horrifying’ defence cuts could see British Army smaller than before Napoleonic wars — RT...

The British Army is reportedly facing cuts that would see it reduced to numbers last...
video

Video: Lethal Aid: US to send weapons to Ukraine

The Ukrainian president is looking forward to getting hold of new lethal weapons from the United States. Petro Poroshenko tweeted that Ukraine's military budget...

Plan was floated to wipe Soviet debt in exchange for nuclear disarmament, files show...

Published time: 29 Dec, 2017 10:22 Britain was urged to write off billions of dollars...

News stories from 2017 that British MPs would rather you forgot (VIDEO) — RT...

As the year of sex dossiers, Theresa May’s election flop and failed high fives comes...

Will Theresa May make it to Christmas 2018? 5 things that could sink her...

If Theresa May needed to rest anything over the festive period, it was those perfectly-manicured...

British military will remain neutral in future conflicts… gender neutral — RT UK News

Published time: 27 Dec, 2017 12:39 British soldiers have been ordered to use gender-neutral terms...

UK troops in Afghanistan get £1 each to celebrate Christmas — RT UK News

Published time: 24 Dec, 2017 11:14 As PM May praised the military for keeping the...

UK Is on Course for the Longest Fall in Living Standards Since Records Began

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‘Distressed’ defense experts reveal British warships are all at home… because the Navy is...

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If the MoD can’t afford Trident nuclear subs, where will the money come from?...

Anti-nuclear campaigners have hit back after the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said its brand new...

UK may fail to pay for new warships, fighter jets: MPs

A UK parliamentary committee has warned about the defense department’s ability to find the money it needs to buy new military equipment. Read more

MPs get yet another pay rise… while public sector pay cap stubbornly remains —...

Published time: 13 Dec, 2017 14:40 Edited time: 14 Dec, 2017 08:00 MPs will soon...

Cash-strapped UK Defense Chief deploys Russian deep-sea cable scare story — RT UK News

Russia’s Navy could cut the underwater cables that keep the world connected, says the head...

Stephen Hawking joins lawsuit against Tories to defend NHS from ‘privatization’ — RT UK...

Published time: 10 Dec, 2017 19:35 World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has reignited his war of...

British aid for Syria being funneled to extremists… again — RT UK News

The UK government has suspended a foreign aid project in Syria amid allegations that funds...

Thousands of children, pensioners plunged into poverty as Tory austerity bites — RT UK...

Published time: 4 Dec, 2017 09:53 Edited time: 5 Dec, 2017 07:48 Hundreds of thousands...

Downing Street says London will pay Brussels up to £39bn — RT UK News

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Almost half of subsidized Right to Buy homes now RENTED out to make money...

Tens of thousands of council-provided homes bought by working-class families in Britain are now being...

Boris Johnson wants Britain back in the Middle East to fight terrorism — RT...

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Published time: 27 Nov, 2017 12:24 Edited time: 27 Nov, 2017 19:53 It’s bad news...

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Published time: 27 Nov, 2017 11:06 Edited time: 27 Nov, 2017 11:43 A new report...

May could be banned from all her local pubs — RT UK News

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Britain faces ‘longest fall in living standards since the 1950s’ — RT UK News

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US firm supplied Ukraine with lethal weapons for 1 year — RT US News

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Europe alarmed at UK’s ‘chaos & confusion’ & ‘low quality politicians’ — RT UK...

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Shame, spin and no substance – visibly angry Corbyn fumes over Tory budget (VIDEO)

A furious Jeremy Corbyn looked as though he wanted to leap across the Commons and bash Philip Hammond over the head with...

Broke Britain could cancel over half the F-35 fighter order – while the world’s...

Published time: 22 Nov, 2017 20:21 Edited time: 22 Nov, 2017 21:29 Britain’s order of...

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Published time: 22 Nov, 2017 17:17 Chancellor Philip Hammond announced on Wednesday that first-time buyers...
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Video: Austerity Mode: Protesters dump foodbank donations outside UK PM residence

Human-rights associations and NGOs have come out against tomorrow's UK budget that could plunge over 400000 vulnerable citizens into poverty. They have ... Via Youtube

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Theresa May could well have just signed her own political death warrant. Putting her signature...

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Published time: 19 Nov, 2017 15:19 As the Tory party struggles to put out the...

New kind of politics, huh? Theresa May’s husband linked to Paradise Papers — RT...

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Published time: 16 Nov, 2017 12:55 Tory austerity policies may actually be killing people, according...

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Published time: 15 Nov, 2017 17:22 Edited time: 15 Nov, 2017 17:31 Security concerns raised...

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UK Minister Forced to Resign Over Secret Israel Meetings as Questions Continue to Swirl

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Is this justice? Here’s a list of those who HAVE and HAVE NOT been...

Cuts to the UK legal aid system have prompted a Great British backlash after it...

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Universal Credit is the government’s flagship welfare program - yet there is copious evidence that...

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Published time: 9 Nov, 2017 12:09 Palestine’s ambassador to the UK condemned the “severe deterioration...

US general warns cuts will leave Britain defenseless, veterans say worse to come —...

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British arms sales to Saudi Arabia jump 500% as coalition seals off Yemen borders...

The sale of UK-made bombs and missiles to Saudi Arabia has leapt by almost 500...

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Published time: 1 Nov, 2017 08:30 Edited time: 2 Nov, 2017 08:20 The Royal Navy...

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Published time: 3 Nov, 2017 10:53 Edited time: 4 Nov, 2017 09:11 Tory MP Priti...

Military, media & MPs lash out at Williamson’s MoD promotion — RT UK News

Theresa May is facing a backlash from the military, the media and even her own...

Cash over kids? Cuts mean London police will close stations in face of soaring...

Hundreds of teenagers have been stabbed in Britain’s capital – 74 people killed in 2017...

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With the White House asking Congress for a renewed and unrestricted Authorization for Use of Military...

London mayor accuses govt of ‘dragging its feet’ on counter-terrorism — RT UK News

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has hit out at the government for failing to play...

Is austerity leaving Britain wide open to attack? Tories keep dodging the question —...

Published time: 24 Oct, 2017 18:52 The UK government plans to scrap naval ships and...

Boots on the ground? UK anti-ISIS mission stepped up as troops deploy beyond Iraqi...

Published time: 24 Oct, 2017 14:22 UK soldiers will patrol outside their base in Iraq...

RT reports from Moria — RT UK

British aid money is propping up a European migrant camp routinely likened to a prison....

The Balanced Budget

<!-- This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or...

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Published time: 19 Oct, 2017 13:08 Managers at budget airline Ryanair are pleading with pilots...

Declassified files finally expose failures that allowed Argentine missile to sink British warship —...

Published time: 16 Oct, 2017 12:43 Documents detailing a long list of failings have been...

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Published time: 12 Oct, 2017 09:24 Edited time: 13 Oct, 2017 08:31 Prison staff were...

UK school funding crisis worsens

  ...

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Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse for Theresa May, they just did. ...

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UK territories devastated by Irma ‘too wealthy’ for foreign aid

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His speech was 6,000 words long – but just five of them made the news...

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$700bn Pentagon bill funds US presence in E. Europe & weapons for Ukraine

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#TheresaMayGIFs: UK PM’s Q&A performance sends Twitter into sarcasm spree

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US to switch from free military grants to loans for Ukraine & others

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will go on the offensive on Friday, connecting terrorist attacks at...

UK workers face ‘living standards crisis’ as real wages fall & prices rise

British workers have seen their real-terms pay fall for the first time in three years...

What is in the UK Labour Party’s manifesto?

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The US Way of War Is a Budget-Breaker: Never Has a Society Spent More...

US Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Matrine, a crew chief with the 159th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, cleans the canopy on an F-15C Eagle aircraft...

Merkel to UK: Forget ‘illusion’ you’ll keep EU benefits post-Brexit

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Trump’s budget cuts could ‘eviscerate’ USAID

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Theresa May confirms Britain’s foreign aid budget will remain

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The victory of Conservatives in UK general elections has sparked hot debates among experts about the democratic nature of its political system and economic prospect.

One of the main points which is repeated in most debates is that the austerity measures would continue in the next five years.

“Obviously we had a 5 year coalition government where at least some of the extreme right-wing policies of the conservative party was controlled and managed by the Lib Dems. What we are likely to see is that the austerity measures now are taking a full speed,” London-based commentator Shabbir Razvi told Press TV.

He blamed the Conservatives politicians for not briefing the nations over the budgets allocated for various fields saying:” What we have is that austerity measures will continue unabated and really what this reflects is that Britain is very much a democracy, or a form of democracy, which can be bought by money.”

According to Razvi, at the end of last year, the electoral commission found that Tories received the largest amount of donations at 8 billion, the bulk of which came from financial associates in banks, different industries and business.

The analyst said the Tories are now going to follow the agenda of big corporations, big businesses saying what big corporations want is to create a sort of jargon and euphemistically it is called to create a competitive environment.

“What the multinational corporations want is that vast majority of the people in the UK to be working at a very minimum wage so that the corporations make bigger and bigger profits and at the same time cuts and the privatization of the national health service, cuts and the privatization of the police service, the fire service, and so on,” he noted.

 He then referred to the relatively low turnout in the general elections saying out of the 45 million people who were eligible for vote, only 30 million voted.

“That means the largest party that didn’t participate in the elections was the non-voters and the conservative party only got 35 percent of the popular vote, he said.

Razvi slammed the form of democracy in the UK saying that it appears that the form of democracy that is being practiced in the UK, the mother of all democracies, is not really quite democratic as it is run by big businesses, big media tycoons, and the rich and the wealthy.

MTM/MH

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Ukraine’s New President

Ukraine's New President

by Stephen Lendman

He's like his predecessor. Coup-appointed. In his case anointed. By electoral rubber-stamping. 

He's anti-democratic. Fascist. Mega-crook. Neoliberal. Confrontational. Militant. Belligerent. Bellicose. Criminal.

Opposite what Ukrainians deserve. Straightaway he OK'd full-scale war without mercy. More on this below.

Russia wants Eastern Ukrainian military aggression halted. Obama wants it continued. He congratulated Ukrainians.

"(F)or making their voices heard," he said. For "the efforts of the Ukrainian government to conduct these elections in the face (of) provocations and violence," he claimed.

"This election is another important step forward in the efforts of the Ukrainian government to unify the country and reach out to all of its citizens to ensure their concerns are addressed and aspirations met," he said.

He ludicrously called Ukraine's fascist regime "democra(tic)." One fascist regime praised another's sham process. 

John Kerry did the same way. He called Ukraine's illegitimate election "historic."

"The successful conduct of these elections reaffirms Ukraine's commitment to the democratic process," he said. 

"The United States will continue to work with the people of Ukraine and the newly elected president to build on this victory for democracy."

At the same time, he condemned what he called "Russia's occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea."

He finds new ways to shame the office he holds. He's headed toward becoming America's worst ever Secretary of State. Obama exceeds the worst of his predecessors. 

Poroshenko is Washington's man in Kiev. He's billionaire oligarch. He made his money the old-fashioned way. He stole it.

He cut deals. He greased palms. He entered politics. For good reasons. For power. 

For better connections. For friends in high places. For business opportunities. To avoid prosecution. 

Ukrainian pols have immunity. As long as they're part of the system.

In 1998, Poroshenko entered politics. He won a Verkhovna Rada (parliament) seat. Initially he was a United Social Democratic Party of Ukraine member .

In 2000, he created a so-called independent Solidarity party. In 2001, he helped create the Party of Regions.

In 2001, he joined Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine Bloc opposition faction. In 2002 parliamentary elections, it won the largest popular vote share.

Poroshenko won a seat. He headed parliament's budget committee. He was accused of "misplacing" around 47 million hrynias (nearly $9 million).

In 2004, he broke ranks with other Party of Regions members. He help bankroll Orange Revolution plotters. 

Viktor Yanukovyh was illegitimately ousted. Viktor Yushchenko replaced him. Washington backed him.

Poroshenko was appointed National Security and Defense Council Secretary. In 2005, he was accused of corruption. It stemmed from state enterprise privatizations.

Friends in high places got all charges dropped. In March 2006, he retained his Verkhovna Rada seat. He chaired its Finance and Banking Committee.

In 2009, he was reappointed National Security and Defense Council Secretary.

From 2009 - 2010, he was Foreign Affairs Minister. In 2012, he was Trade and Economic Development Minister. 

From 2007 - 2012, he headed Ukraine's National Bank Council. In 2012, he returned to parliament. He did so as an independent member.

From November 2013  through February's coup, he helped bankroll Kiev putschists.

On March 29, 2014, he announced he'd run for president. On May 25, he was elected with about a 54.4% majority.

He supports joining NATO. Not now. He favors later. "(S)o as not to ruin the country," he said.

His business interests include food, automotive, shipping, and media. Bodgan Corporation is a leading Ukrainian car and bus manufacturer.

Roshen Confectionery Corporation earned Poroshenko the "Chocolate King" nickname. 

It's the world's 18th largest confectionery producer. Its products include chocolate and jelly sweets, caramel, chocolate, biscuits, waffles and cakes.

It's most famous for its Kiev Vechirniy chocolate candy and cakes. Overall, it produces about 200 confectionery products. Its output is around 410,000 tons annually.

English language 5 Kanal television channel features news and other programming. It broadcasts to Ukraine, Europe and Canada.

Leninska Kuznya shipyard produces river ships, industrial ones, small fishing vessels, self-propelled barges, related products and various military equipment.

Ukraine's changing of the guard changed nothing. Fascism defeated democracy. Full-scale war without mercy continues.

Scores of Donetsk area deaths were reported. According to its People's Republic Prime Minister Aleksandr Boroday:

"We’ve lost more than 50 self-defense fighters. Many of the casualties are a result of two Kamaz trucks having been shelled by the Ukrainian army." 

"The trucks were driving the wounded from the battlefield near the airport. Around 15 people died there."

"Two of our Kamaz trucks were fired at from the air and from an ambush on the ground."

They displayed medical assistance service flags. It didn't matter. 

"Shooting the wounded runs contrary to all international conventions." It's a war crime. So is aggressive war without mercy.

Self-defense fighters "were wounded. The car was driving them from a battlefield. First snipers shot the driver." 

"Then they fired point-blank at the rest from a shoulder-launcher." 

"The survivors were then gunned down by Right Sector militants. No one in the truck survived."

Ukrainian National Guard forces attacked an ambulance. It was transporting wounded self-defense fighters from Donetsk airport.

According to Donetsk People's Governor Pavel Gurarev, Ukrainian forces crossed the line.

"The junta has finally and irrevocably taken the path of crimes against humanity," he said. 

"Battle continues at the Putilov Bridge. The Right Sector fire mortar shells at anything that moves. Massive civilian casualties" followed.

Fighting continued Monday night into Tuesday morning. Helicopter gunships and warplanes are involved.

Ukrainian troops suffered losses. According to Boroday:

"They were on the offensive. That's why their losses have not been that big." 

"We intercept their conversations. They are demoralized, and are counting on breaking through from the airport."

Two Ukrainian military helicopters were shot down.

Fighting raged elsewhere in Donetsk. Residential areas were attacked. At least three civilians were killed. Others were wounded.

Donetsk People's Republic's (DNR) press service reported about 200 May 26 and 27 deaths. 

They include freedom fighters and civilians. One regime sniper shot a woman. 

She was at a railway terminal. Two other civilians there were killed. A child was wounded.

The terminal was set ablaze. Apparently from shell fire. Everyone inside was evacuated.

DNR's press service issued a report, stating: "Attention! We urgently need doctors, volunteers, donors."

Fighting rages in Mariupol. People's Republic of Donetsk headquarters there was targeted.

Attackers were either Right Sector thugs or foreign mercenaries. They wore unmarked black uniforms. No casualty count information was announced.

Sergey Lavrov issued a statement. He denounced ongoing hostilities. He wants them halted.

"Immediately stopping the use of the army against the population and ending any violence by all sides is the top priority task and 'endurance test' for the Kiev authorities," he said.

"We will firmly insist on it, and we will insist on the implementation of all other principles of the adopted Geneva statement."

"(I)t is absolutely necessary to immediately implement the agreements reached in the Geneva statement of April 17 and stop any violence."

Poroshenko wants to visit Russia by around mid-June. As long as hostilities continue, he's persona non grata.

"A Russian trip of Poroshenko is not being considered or discussed by diplomatic or any other channels," said Lavrov.

"As to the recent events, let me remind you that Poroshenko made a promise to unite the country in his election campaign." 

"He said yesterday his first trip would be made to Donbas but they have a real war there so far."

"He said that the so-called counterterrorist operation should be rapidly brought to an end, but suggested that should be done through intensification."

"If there are plans to suppress resistance in the southeast by the army powered with heavy armaments, the National Guard, Right Sector and their ilk before (his) inauguration…so that he comes to Donbas as a victor, I do not think that will create a good environment for the cordial welcome to the Donetsk region."

"The military operations must be stopped immediately," Lavrov stressed.

"We hope he will act in the interests of the Ukrainian people as a whole. If this is the case, he will find a serious and reliable partner in Russia."

At the same time, Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov said it's "too early" to invite Poroshenko to Moscow.

It's unclear whether Putin intends to congratulate him. If hostilities continue, most likely he'll condemn him.

On May 27, a Kremlin press office statement said:

"Putin has emphasized the necessity of immediately stopping the tactical punitive operation in southeastern regions and introducing peaceful dialogue between Kiev and representatives of the regions."

Fighting continues. It rages. More intensively than earlier. Until "self-defense units are neutralized," according to Kiev putschists.

It doesn't surprise. Fascist regimes operate this way. Ukraine is Europe's worst. 

Its most dangerous. Its most lawless. Its most ruthless. Poroshenko's election changed nothing.

It bears repeating. On Sunday, fascism won. Democracy lost. So did Ukrainians. What follows remains to be seen.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Media Scoundrels on Sham Ukrainian Elections

Media Scoundrels on Sham Ukrainian Elections

by Stephen Lendman

Their comments didn't surprise. They supported sham Ukrainian elections. Throughout the run-up, voting and aftermath.

They endorse sham US ones. They pretend fantasy democracy is real. They do it every time. Unapologetically. With a straight face. 

The New York Times headlined "Election of President Seen as Beginning to Repairing Ukraine," saying:

Some Ukrainians called Sunday's election "the triumphant culmination of six months of protests and at times violent upheaval."

The Times claimed many people believe Ukraine is different than earlier. With "systemic government reforms." With "more on the way."

Citing unnamed "analysts" claiming unidentified "civic activists, combined with pressure from… International Monetary Fund demand(s) in exchange for…emergency financing…set Ukraine on a course…past…post-Soviet…corruption and mismanagement."

Unnamed "experts" were cited. "(I)mportant changes" were made, they claimed. Raising gas prices, The Times noted. It called it a step "experts" urged for years. 

Fact: Most Ukrainians are impoverished. 

Fact: Many deeply. 

Fact: Millions more heading for destitution.

Fact: IMF loan sharks demand bankers get paid first.

Fact: Then other major investors.

Fact: Debt service matters most.

Fact: Force-fed austerity is mandated.

Fact: When Ukrainians need help most of all.

Fact: Residual amounts pay depleted bureaucrat ranks. 

Fact: Those not sacked get poverty or sub-poverty wages.

Fact: Without benefits, hugely reduced ones, or too few to matter.

Fact: With virtually nothing for ordinary Ukrainians longterm.

Fact: Kiev putschists increased gas prices 50% starting May 1.

Fact: Ukraine's national oil and gas company Naftogaz hiked them 40% more beginning July 1. 

Fact: It promised further stiff increases ahead.

Fact: At the same time, Ukraine's central bank began limiting currency interventions. 

Fact: Since January 1, Ukraine's hryvnia currency lost over one-fourth of its dollar value. 

Fact: It may end up worthless.

Fact: Expect more deterioration ahead.

Fact: Pensioner income was halved.

Fact: It went from $160 to $80 dollars monthly.

Fact: Other social benefit cuts were made.

Fact: Across-the-board.

Fact: More coming.

Fact: Ordinary Ukrainians are hit hardest.

Fact: Kommersant-Ukraine (K-U) obtained an internal document.

Fact: "The Finance Ministry has prepared a plan for optimizing budget expenditures, which implies budget sequestration is to be in force before the end of March," said K-U. 

Fact: "For this purpose, in particular, it has been proposed to reduce capital costs, eliminate tax schemes and preferences and to cut social benefits, for example, 50 percent of pensions to working pensioners."

Fact: At the same time, plans are to plunder Ukraine.

Fact: Hollow out its economy.

Fact: Sell its state enterprises at fire sale prices.

Fact: Sack growing thousands of its workers.

Fact: Eliminate its trade unions altogether.

Fact: Crack down hard on nonbelievers.

Fact: A race to the bottom defines official policy.

Fact: Hunger and homelessness are increasing.

Fact: So is human misery.

Fact: Popular needs don't matter.

Fact: Fascist regimes operate this way.

Fact: Don't expect Times correspondents, contributors or editors to explain.

Fact: Editorial policy defends the indefensible.

Washington Post editors bash Putin irresponsibly. "Will the West move the goalposts again for" him they asked?

Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel "warned that disruption of Ukraine's election by Russia would trigger a tough new round of sanctions by the West."

They expanded "what (they) meant by 'disruption…' " They said it's "not just whether "Moscow's agents tried to stop voting, but whether the government of Vladimir Putin tried to prevent such interference."

Voting included "substantial disruption(s)." In "two (Eastern) provinces…"

"(W)here Moscow's agents tried to stop voting," they claimed.

Where Vladimir Putin did nothing "to prevent such interference," they said.

"(N)o voting (was) possible" in most Donetsk and Lugansk districts.

"Ukrainian security forces (were) ambushed." Kiev "election commissions (were) abducted and threatened."

"There's little question among Ukrainian government officials and Western diplomats in Kiev that Russia is backing the separatists and has done nothing to stop their interference."

"Yet US and German officials…again (moved) the goalposts." They "justif(ied) retreat by (saying voting) will proceed smoothly in the rest of the country."

Noting Putin "hinted he would accept the results. The bottom line is that Mr. Putin could come out of the election having kept alive the separatist movement…"

"(W)ithout suffering economic consequences." Giving "Moscow de facto suzerainty over the eastern provinces…"

"(A) power to block any move by Ukraine toward the West."

WaPo called it "lapse of Western resolve."

Fact: It bears repeating.

Fact: Ukraine's sham electoral process was farcical.

Fact: It had no legitimacy whatever.

Fact: So-called Eastern Ukrainian "substantial disruption(s)" reflect freedom fighting in action.

Fact: For fundamental human and civil rights everyone deserves.

Fact: For what warrants universal support.

Fact: So-called "Moscow agents" don't exist.

Fact: Ukrainian freedom fighters acted on their own volition.

Fact: No evidence suggested otherwise.

Fact: None whatever.

Fact: They're not separatists.

Fact: They're not militants.

Fact: They're ordinary people wanting to live free.

Fact: Most Donetsk and Lugansk residents reject Kiev putschists.

Fact: They refused to vote.

Fact: Ballot choices excluded democratic ones.

Fact: Fascists or sympathizers alone competed.

Fact: Putin "hinted" nothing.

Fact: He was clear and unequivocal.

Fact: "We understand that the people of Ukraine want their country to emerge from this crisis," he said.

Fact: "We will treat their choice with respect."

Fact: "We are today working with those people who control the government, and after the election we will of course work with the newly elected authorities."

Fact: He urged peaceful conflict resolution.

Fact: He stressed "constructive dialogue." 

Fact: He made no demands or ultimatums.

Fact: He urged mutual respect.

Fact: He supports unity.

Fact: He opposes separatism.

Fact: He has no Ukrainian territorial ambitions.

Fact: Or anywhere else.

Fact: Claims about him wanting Russia's empire restored don't wash.

Fact: He called making them "a tool in the (anti-Russian) information war."

Fact: "People are trying to label us as such, that we're trying to restore the empire, the Soviet Union, to bring everybody under our influence. But this is totally inaccurate," he said.

Fact: Ukrainian security forces wage war without mercy.

Fact: On ordinary Donestsk and Lugansk civilians.

Fact: Notions of heavily armed troops being "ambushed" are sheer nonsense.

Fact: Or claims about "threaten(ing)" and "abduct(ing)" them.

Fact: Or saying Putin backs separatists and does nothing to stop them.

Fact: Or suggesting he's in any way involved.

Fact: So-called goalpost retreat claims reflect WaPo editors neocon credentials.

Fact: They're militantly hardline.

Fact: They support war.

Fact: They deplore peace.

Fact: They reject diplomatic conflict resolutions.

Fact: They prefer belligerent ones.

The Wall Street Journal headlined "Ukraine Seeks to Regain Stability as Voters Head to the Polls."

"In Donetsk, hundreds of heavily armed pro-Russia rebels paraded in front of a crowd of about 2,000 to underscore the power they hold there," it said.

"The rebel insurgency has left dozens of people dead and transformed much of the country's southeast into a conflict zone."

Fact: Journal comments were milder than their usual militancy.

Fact: Perhaps a Monday editorial follow-up will talk tough. Perhaps it'll make up for what its election day report lacked.

Fact: So-called "heavily armed pro-Russia rebels" use hand-held light ones.

Fact: They're no match against Ukrainian tanks, APCs, artillery, mortars, attack helicopters and fixed wing warplanes.

Fact: They reject fascist rule.

Fact: Most prefer Ukrainian unity.

Fact: They want local autonomy.

Fact: They want Ukraine federalized.

Fact: They want the right to elect their own officials.

Fact: They reject having them appointed.

Fact: Doing so denies their democratic rights.

Fact: Washington bears full responsibility.

Fact: It turned their regions into conflict zones.

Fact: It elevated illegitimate fascist putschists to power.

Fact: They launched war without mercy.

Fact: They did so against freedom-fighting Ukrainians.

Fact: They acted at Obama's behest.

Fact: Don't expect Journal correspondents, contributors or editors to explain.

Fact: They in lockstep with longstanding US policy.

Fact: Imperial lawlessness reflects it.

Fact: Ukraine is in the eye of the storm.

Fact: It's Obama's latest imperial trophy.

Fact: Holding it is another matter entirely.

Fact: Ukrainian freedom fighters may have final say.

Fact: Perhaps if they stay the course.

Fact: If their will to win remains indomitable.

Fact: If growing thousands more Ukrainians join them.

Fact: If freedom fighting protests spread nationwide.

Fact: If they're sustained.

Fact: Organized people can beat organized money.

Fact: Perhaps Ukrainian freedom fighters will become role models.

Fact: Perhaps for activists everywhere.

Fact: Perhaps they'll inspire resistance too strong to beat.

Fact: Perhaps real change is possible.

It bears repeating. The fullness of time will tell.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

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Ukrainians Denied Democracy

Ukrainians Denied Democracy

by Stephen Lendman

Claiming otherwise doesn't wash. Moscow called Kiev events "an illegitimate fascist coup and a military seizure of power." Western-supported putschists seized it.

At the same time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urges deescalating crisis conditions. It's completely possible, he said.

It requires replacing putschists with democratic governance. It involved instituting responsible policies. Ones that protect fundamental legal rights and freedoms of all Ukrainians. Ones that guarantee them.

Russia is on the right side of history. It promised help. It set four conditions. It wants legitimate Crimean independence recognized.

It wants Ukrainian democratic constitutional reform. It wants Eastern Ukraine's crisis conditions resolved responsibly. It wants Russian speakers' rights guaranteed.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said:

"If Ukraine fulfills these four conditions, then Russia will be able to propose further steps on additional help both on financial and gas issues."

He urged deescalating Eastern Ukrainian crisis conditions peacefully. He said doing so "without discrimination against Russian-speaking population, without victims and bloodshed" is fundamental.

He stressed holding legitimate May presidential elections. Early indications suggest they'll be polar opposite.

Moscow rejects Kiev putschists. It wants legitimate governance "with which one may negotiate," said Siluanov. Vladimir Putin addressed 18 EU leaders. He did so by letter. He did it responsibly.

He called for urgent cooperation. He said Ukraine's gas debt reached a "critical" level. It's been unpaid for three months. He wants addressing it prioritized. 

At issue is cutting off supplies. Gazprom wants advance payments going forward. Putin's letter was forthright. Ukraine's economy is "plummeting," he said.

Its industrial and construction sectors "declin(ed) sharply." Conditions head from bad to worse.

"Its budget deficit is mounting," said Putin. "The condition of its currency system is becoming more and more deplorable." 

"The negative trade balance is accompanied by the flight of capital from the country. Ukraine's economy is steadfastly heading towards a default, a halt in production and skyrocketing unemployment."

Russia and EU nations are major Ukraine trading partners. They agreed to consult on ways to develop its economy.

"(A)ll attempts on Russia's part to begin real consultations failed to produce any results," said Putin.

Plundering Ukraine for profit takes precedence. Western nations plan unrestrained looting. Corporate interests matter most. Human needs don't count.

Washington wants Russia shut out entirely. Western partners share blame. They want unfettered freedom to control Ukraine their way.

They want their interests alone served. Putin said they "want to unilaterally blame Russia for the consequences of Ukraine's economic crisis."

"Right from day one of Ukraine's existence as an independent state, Russia has supported the stability of the Ukrainian economy by supplying it with natural gas at cut-rate prices."

(U)ninterrupted transit through" its territory was guaranteed. Russia fulfilled its contractual obligations. It did so "to the letter and spirit" of what was agreed on.

It "granted Ukraine a whole string of unprecedented privileges and discounts on the price of natural gas," Putin added.

From 2009 to today, they total $17 billion. Plus "another 18.4 billion US dollars incurred by the Ukrainian side as a minimal take-or-pay fine."

Russia subsidized Ukraine's economy. It provided $34.4 billion since 2009. It helped preserve "stability and credibility." It saved jobs.

"No other country provided such support except Russia," said Putin. "What about European partners?"

They deny support. They "talk about a declaration of intent." Actions don't follow promises. EU nations take full advantage.

They want Ukrainian resources. They want its "raw foodstuffs, metal(s) and mineral(s)." They want free market access on their own terms. They want it for their own products and services.

They want unlimited profits. They want them at Ukraine's expense. They created a huge trade imbalance. It exceeds $10 billion. It's two-thirds of Ukraine's 2013 deficit.

It negatively affects Ukraine's ability to fulfill "its contractual obligations to pay for deliveries of natural gas supplied by Russia," said Putin.

Moscow won't "unilaterally bear the burden of supporting Ukraine's economy by way of providing discounts and forgiving debts…"

Ukraine's unpaid gas Gazprom debt grows monthly. In November/December 2013, it was $1.451.1 billion.

"(I)n February 2014, it increased by a further 260.3 million and in March by another 526.1 million US dollars."

Gazprom deserves payment. It intends "switch(ing) over to advance payment for gas delivery, and in the event of further violation of the conditions of payment, will completely or partially cease gas deliveries," said Putin.

"In other words, only the volume of natural gas will be delivered to Ukraine as was paid for one month in advance of delivery."

It's "an extreme measure." It's coming. Businesses don't provide products or services free. For sure, not Western ones.

"In order to guarantee uninterrupted transit, it will be necessary, in the nearest future, to supply 11.5 billion cubic meters of gas that will be pumped into Ukraine's underground storage facilities, and this will require a payment of about 5 billion US dollars," said Putin.

EU nations "unilaterally withdr(ew) from the concerted efforts to resolve" Ukraine's crisis responsibly. They shut out Russia entirely. It leaves "no alternative," Putin stressed.

Resolving things requires "consultations…without delay," he said. He urged them "at the level of ministers of economics, finances and energy…"

At issue is stabilizing Ukraine's economy. It's ensuring uninterrupted Russian natural gas deliveries.

Doing so requires fulfilling contractual obligation terms to the letter. Putin emphasized Russia's considerable "investments, contributions and expenditures…"

It "shouldered" the burden "alone" long enough. It's time for Western nations to step up to the plate and help.

"(O)nly such an approach can lead to success," Putin stressed. He did so forthrightly. He showed responsible leadership.

He shames his Western counterparts. Major ones lack legitimacy altogether. Especially Obama. Hegemonic US ambitions trample on fundamental freedoms.

White House press secretary Jay Carney's comment didn't surprise." He outrageously said "(w)e've made clear in the past that it is wholly inappropriate to use energy exports to achieve diplomatic or geopolitical objectives."

Maybe he wants Russian gas supplied free. Maybe he supports what he'd denounce if US corporations were affected.

Angela Merkel got Putin's message. She responded differently, saying:

"(T)here there are many reasons to seriously take into account this message…and for Europe to deliver a joint European response" straightaway.

She and other EU foreign ministers plan meeting on Monday. Other talks will involve Russia, Washington, and Ukraine.

"When we take all these steps, we can be sure that we have reached a joined response for the countries that encounter this problem because they get natural gas from Gazprom," she said.

"We want to be good clients, but it means that we can base ourselves on the supplies, and Ukraine knows this and should understand it," she added.

It remains to be seen what follows. Putin showed extraordinary patience. He deserves praise, not irresponsible treatment.

Instead endures unconscionable bashing. He's vilified for doing the right thing.

Sohrab Ahmari is a Wall Street Journal Europe editorial page writer. He substitutes lies for truth. On April 11, he headlined "Waking Up to the Russian Threat."

None whatever exists. He lied claiming otherwise. He called NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen "one of Europe's most serious thinkers on defense matters."

He's a convenient US stooge. He supports Pentagon policy. He's an unindicted war criminal. He spoke to Ahmari. His comments didn't surprise.

He lied saying Putin wants "to restore Russian greatness by re-establishing a sphere of influence in the former Soviet space."

His strategy, said Ahmari, involves "(d)estabilizing Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus."

According to Rasmussen, "(i)ts in Russia's interest to see frozen, protracted conflicts in the region, such as in South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia, Transnistria in Moldova, and Crimea."

He's alarmed, he said. "(W)e have seen an incredible development of (Russia's military) to act determinedly and rapidly."

He ignored US-NATO's aggression against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. He was silent about its killing machine. 

He said nothing about its responsibility for millions of deaths. Their corpses bear testimony to lawless US-led NATO policy. Ahmari didn't challenge Rasmussen responsibly.

He lied claiming 40,000 Russian troops are massed on Ukraine's border. Calling them an imminent threat rings hollow. 

Rasmussen's claims are polar opposite truth. He expressed concern about increased Russian military spending. It's a tiny fraction of NATO member expenditures. 

Moscow isn't belligerent. It poses no threat. Putin prioritizes peace and stability. US-led NATO threatens humanity.

Not according to Rasmussen. He bashed Putin irresponsibly. He considers NATO a threat. "He can't seriously" think so, Rasmussen said. 

"We have never had an intention to attack Russia," he claimed. He left unexplained why NATO wants all former Russian republics and Warsaw Pact countries incorporated into its alliance.

Why it's deploying hostile forces close to Russia's borders. Why it irresponsibly lies about its threat. Why it's poised perhaps to strike belligerently if it chooses.

Rasmussen lied claiming NATO members and others on Europe's periphery share basic people-friendly values.

They include "individual liberty, democracy, the rule of law and on top of that economic opportunities, because our community of nations also represents economic freedom," he said.

He turned truth on its head saying so. He's militantly anti-Russian. He lied claiming otherwise. 

Ahmari let him comment without challenge. Doing so showed complicity with NATO lawlessness. 

It showed support for war. It showed disdain for peace. It showed contempt for growing thousands across Eastern Ukraine.

They're protesting for fundamental rights too important to sacrifice. They continue in Kharkov (Ukraine's second largest city), Donetsk (its largest industrial city), Dnepropetrovsk, Lugansk, Odessa and Nikolayev.

They spread to Slavyansk and elsewhere. Government and police headquarters buildings were seized.

Activists reject Kiev putschists. They urged local authorities join them. What's ongoing is spreading. 

Maybe Western Ukrainians will rally the same way. Obama's new imperial trophy looks insecure. It may slip-slide away. 

His entire tenure reflects failure. It reflects lawlessness writ large. 

Mass protests reflect people power. Ordinary Ukrainians want better. They deserve it. They're putting their bodies on the line responsibly. 

They're role models for freedom fighters everywhere. Resisting tyranny is a universal right. It's a moral obligation. 

Ukrainian protesters take their role seriously. Perhaps others may follow. Defeating hegemonic ruthlessness depends on it. Hopefully activism will grow when most needed.

A Final Comment

On Saturday, Chicago activists held a Ukraine teach-in. Speakers included Stop NATO's Rick Rozoff, Anti-War Committee member Holly Kent-Payne, and International Action Center's Sara Flounders, among others.

Advance information expressed outrage over US hegemonic ambitions. Anti-Russian sentiment exceeds the worst of Cold War days. Putin is public enemy number one.

Obama ousted Ukraine's democratic government. He elevated illegitimate putschist fascists to power.

He sanctioned Moscow for rejecting them. He did so for embracing lawful Crimean reunification. 

He deployed US military forces close to Russia's borders. He did it belligerently. He risks a potential East/West confrontation. 

He threatens global conflict. Stopping him is top priority. Ordinary people have power to do it.

Protests work when sustained. The more disruptive the better. Jefferson's opposition to John Adams' repressive 1978 Alien and Sedition Acts is relevant. He commented saying:

"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles." 

Ordinary people have power when they use it. Collective defiance works when sustained. It's essential for real democracy.

Eastern Ukrainians can teach Americans a thing or two. They deserve worldwide support. Humanity stands to benefit. It needs all the help it can get.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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Yatsenyuk Comes to Washington

Yatsenyuk Comes to Washington

by Stephen Lendman

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland calls him Yats. He's coming to Washington.

He'll arrive on Wednesday. He'll meet his new boss. He'll do so at the White House. He'll get marching orders. He'll learn more about Obama's plans for Ukraine. More on his visit below.

He's Ukraine's illegitimate prime minister. He serves its xenophobic, ultranationalist, neo-Nazi, hate-mongering, anti-Semitic, coup d'etat regime. A rogue's gallery of societal misfits runs it.

He's a natural. He's super-rich. He's a former central banker/economy/foreign minister and parliament (Verkhovna Rada) speaker. 

He betrayed his people. He sold out for greater wealth and power. He's a Batkivshchya/All-Ukrainian Union (Fatherland) leader.

Billionaire mega-thief Yulia Tymoshenko heads it. She was imprisoned for embezzlement and serious "abuse of public office."

Charges included illegally diverting $425 million meant for environmental projects into pension funds. A second case involved stealing around $130 million for personal use. 

Putschists freed her. They did so lawlessly. She was an illegimate Orange Revolution prime minister. 

She has presidential aspirations. She may head Ukraine's illegitimate government after sham May elections.

Yatsenyuk's job is serving Western bankers. Paying them comes first. Ukrainians bear the burden. 

Force-fed austerity is planned. IMF larceny features it. Harder than ever hard times loom. 

Ukraine heads toward becoming another Greece. One zombie country will replicate another. Economic crisis conditions already exist. Plans call for tougher times on the backs of ordinary people.

Inflation alone harms them. Since January, Ukraine's currency (the hryvnia) declined 20%. Everything imported costs more.

Capital flight hammered Ukraine's foreign exchange. It's down to about $12 billion or less. It's dwindling at the rate of about $4 billion a week. It won't last the month without aid.

It's needed. It comes with onerous strings. It includes longterm debt entrapment. 

Getting it demands mass layoffs, huge social benefit cuts, privatizing state enterprises at fire sale prices, and letting Western corporations plunder Ukrainian resources freely.

Economist Jack Rasmus believes Ukraine's currency collapse is virtually certain. At least $20 billion in aid may be needed "well before May 1," he said.

Ukraine's current debt is about $80 billion. By summer, it'll top $100 billion, says Rasmus. 

Deepening black hole indebtedness entraps Ukraine. No end to its financial crisis looms. 

It bears repeating. Ordinary people will bear the burden. Disaster awaits them. Greater than ever basket case conditions are certain.

According to Rasmus, Ukrainian aid won't come in amounts needed. Nothing beyond "superficial promises and token" short-run injections ahead of May elections.

Longer-term watch out. Ukraine's economy will be much worse off than now. It's currency will be near-worthless. Rampant inflation will destroy it.

Lost social benefits will create enormous pain and suffering. Western bankers and other corporate predators "will have a field day," says Rasmus.

They'll buy up everything in sight on the cheap. They'll rape and pillage Ukraine freely. They'll steal its resources. They'll exploit its people.

They'll operate freely for bottom line interests. They'll turn Ukraine into a dystopian wasteland.

Ukrainians have a rude awakening coming. They don't know what's planned. Wait until they lose pensions, other social benefits, and vital subsidies needed to offset high oil, gas and food prices.

Wait until they'll left high and dry on their own. Ukraine is one of Europe's poorest countries. Western diktats assure harder than ever hard times.

On Sunday, Yatsenyuk announced plans to visit Washington. "I am going to the United states to hold top-level meetings on resolving the situation unfolding in our bilateral and multilateral relations," he said.

He announced it a day after vowing never to give up "a centimeter" of Ukraine to Russia.

"This is our land," he said. "Our fathers and grandfathers have spilled their blood for this land." 

"And we won't budge a single centimeter from (it). Let Russia and its president know this."

On March 9, a "Statement by the (White House) Press Secretary on the Visit of Prime Minister Yaysenyuk of Ukraine" said:

"President Obama will welcome Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk of Ukraine to the White House on March 12."  

"The visit will highlight the strong support of the United States for the people of Ukraine, who have demonstrated inspiring courage and resilience through recent times of crisis."  

"The President and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk will discuss how to find a peaceful resolution to Russia's ongoing military intervention in Crimea that would respect Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity."  

"They will also discuss support the international community can provide to help Ukraine confront its economic challenges, and the importance of uniting Ukraine and working to fulfill the aspirations of the Ukrainian people as they prepare for May presidential elections."

Deputy national security advisor Tony Blinken added:

"What we've seen is (Obama) mobilizing the international community in support of Ukraine to isolate Russia for its actions in Ukraine, and to reassure our allies and partners."

Fact check

Washington plans call for: 

  • destroying Ukrainian sovereignty; 

  • controlling its regime; 

  • plundering its resources; 

  • exploiting its people;

  • incorporating it into NATO;

  • establishing new US bases; and 

  • installing long-range nuclear-armed missiles along its 1,400 km border with Russia targeting its heartland.

Obama bears full responsibility for installing Ukrainian putschists in power. EU partners share it. Regime change plans were hatched in Washington and Brussels.

Russia didn't invade Crimea. Claims otherwise don't wash. No military intervention occurred. 

Washington spurns Ukrainian sovereignty and integrity. Russia respects what Western countries disdain.

US officials and Yatsenyuk will discuss plans to rape and pillage Ukraine. Aspirations of its people don't matter. Exploiting them to pay bankers looms. 

They'll have no say in upcoming elections. Power brokers will decide things. America works the same way.

Monied interests alone matter. They have big plans for Ukraine. Carving it up for profit looms.

Yatsenyuk lied claiming Russia invaded Ukraine. He called it "a declaration of war." Ukraine is on the verge of "disaster," he added. Policies he has in mind assure it.

On Monday, Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov said preparations to join Russia are well under way.

On March 16, Crimeans will decide by referendum. Public sentiment strongly favors it.

Aksyonov said Russian law will be instituted within about two months. Its ruble will replace Ukraine's hryvnia.

Russian will be the official language. Tartar community members were promised senior positions in a new Crimean government.

Crimea's Supreme Council chairman Vladimir Konstantinov said polls show "over 80%" of Crimeans favor "accession to Russia."

Weeks earlier it was 75%, he added. He attributed sentiment increase to actions by Kiev putschists.

Itar Tass said Sevastapol made Russian its official language. Over 70% of its residents speak it. Administration chief Dmitry Belik signed a resolution stating:

"In line with norms of international law, taking into account that the Russian language is native for the overwhelming majority of the city’s population, the Sevastopol city state administration rules to use it as the official language in all state document circulation."

Pro-Russian sentiment is strong throughout much of eastern and southern Ukraine. Public demonstrations express it. 

Kiev putschists target them. Russia's Foreign Ministry expressed outrage. It issued a statement denouncing "actions of militants of the so-called Right Sector amid utter connivance of the new authorities as they call themselves."

"Things have come to such a point that on March 8, well-equipped people in masks and with firearms opened fire at peaceful protestors in Kharkiv," he added. 

"People have been injured. The Dnipropetrovsk police have detained seven Russian reporters and attributed it to the fact that they were interested solely in 'certain provocative subjects.' "

Press freedom is targeted. It's comprised. It's denied. Kiev fascists won't tolerate it. They want their message alone getting out.

They "do not allow Russian citizens into Ukraine in violation of all existing bilateral agreements, virtually having blocked border cooperation." 

"The shy silence of our Western partners, human rights organizations and foreign mass media outlets is surprising." 

"A question emerges - where is the notorious objectivity and commitment to democracy?" 

High-minded Western hypocrites are nowhere in sight. Russia rejects illegitimate Kiev putschists. Putin respects the right of Crimeans to decide their own future.

On Sunday, he discussed ongoing Ukrainian events with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

A Kremlin press service statement said:

Putin "underlined in particular that the steps taken by Crimea's legitimate authorities are based on international law and aimed at guaranteeing the legitimate interests of the peninsula's population."

He expressed concern about illegitimate Kiev putschists. They escalated pressure on Crimea.

They blocked its treasury's electronic system. They froze its accounts. They increased security forces on its borders.

Crimean Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliyev reacted saying actions taken won't affect planned policies.

Russian accounts are being opened. Frozen ones won't be used.

On Saturday, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in charge of defense expressed alarm over US/NATO "overt threats."

On Facebook, he said:

"A hope that after the overt threats by the US and NATO, nobody will doubt the necessity of rearming our army and fleet and of reviving our defense industry and military science."

His comment followed Washington threatening sanctions, suspending military exchanges, deploying additional warplanes to the region, and showing the flag in the Black Sea.

Neocons infesting Washington threaten world peace. Russia knows forewarned is forearmed to act defensively.

A Final Comment

Media scoundrel Russia bashing continues relentlessly. Jim Thomas is Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments vice president and director of studies.

It's a hard-right think tank. It specializes in US defense policy. Neocon former CIA head James Woolsey is a board member. So are likeminded ideologues.

Wall Street Journal editors gave Thomas featured op-ed space. He took full advantage headlining "How to Put Military Pressure on Russia."

He lied claiming Russia seized Crimea. He called it "a wake-up call for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization."

He said the "absence of serious thinking about (its) territorial defense mission...prov(ed) catnip for Vladimir Putin."

It bears repeating what previous articles stressed. NATO is a killing machine. Its mission is offense, not defense. Don't expect right-wing ideologues like Thomas to explain.

He urges hardball tactics. "Sanctions, skipping the G-8 summit in Sochi, hitting Russian oligarchs in their pocketbooks, isolating Russia in international forums - all these options are legitimate responses to Mr. Putin's land grab in the sovereign state of Ukraine.

Washington and complicit EU partners alone bear full responsibility for land-grabbing. Doing so created the greatest geopolitical crisis since WW II. Their recklessness threatens global war.

Toughness Thomas urges perhaps makes it more possible. He recommended more lunatic fringe ideas.

Abandon NATO's 1997 NATO-Russia so-called Three Nos, he said. They were "shorthand" for NATO declaring "no intentions, no plans, and no reason" to station nuclear forces in new member states.

Thomas urges doing it. He wants nuclear missiles on Russia's borders. He wants them targeting it heartland. 

He wants what no responsible official would contemplate. He may get what he wants.

He wants Polish warplanes "capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear weapons so they could participate in NATO's nuclear mission."

He wants nuclear weapons positioned in locations close to Russia's borders. He wants greater NATO "conventional force" regional deployments.

"The time has come for the US and other NATO allies to consider permanently stationing forces in Poland and Romania as well as the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to back up their words of strategic solidarity," he said.

He wants NATO providing Ukraine with military aid - "especially if Russia escalates the crisis in Crimea or deploys its forces into other eastern Ukrainian provinces."

He wants stepped up action to oust Syria's Assad. He wants heavy-handed US/EU reprisals against Russia overall.

He wants Moscow treated as a strategic enemy. It's time to act aggressively, he urges. 

Imagine giving feature op-ed space to this type lunacy. Don't ask Journal editors to explain.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

US Private Military Contractors in Ukraine?

US Private Military Contractors in Ukraine?

by Stephen Lendman

Reports suggest their presence in Eastern Ukraine. Perhaps Washington deployed Academi (formerly Xe Services/Blackwater USA) forces.

Jeremy Scahill's book titled "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army" described the organization.

He called it a "shadowy mercenary company (employing) some of the most feared professional killers in the world accustomed to operating without worry of legal consequences (and) largely off the congressional radar."

It has "remarkable power and protection (within) the US war apparatus." It's well funded. It operates extrajudicially. 

It's unaccountable. It's licensed to kill, terrorize, destroy and destabilize. It takes full advantage wherever its forces are deployed.

Other private military contractors operate the same way. They're mercenaries. They're well-paid. They're well-trained. They're guns for hire. More on them below.

Washington bears full responsibility for ousting Ukraine's democratically elected government. EU partners share it. 

Neo-Nazi putschists were installed. They have no legitimacy whatever. So-called May 25 elections are scheduled. They'll be sham ones when held. 

The battle for Ukraine's soul continues. Expect hard times to get much harder. More on this below.

Most Crimeans reject Kiev putschists. They do so for good reason. On March 16, they'll choose their future. Popular sentiment suggests they'll join Russia.

Maybe by mid-April. According to Crimea's Supreme Council Speaker Vladmir Konstantinov:

"The transition from one jurisdiction to the other is a complicated process, but I think in the case of a favorable outcome of the referendum, the Crimeans will be able to feel as citizens of another country within a month."

They'll benefit in ways Ukraine denies them. Grigory Ioffe is Crimea's parliament first deputy chair. He called the March 16 referendum "historic."

It'll be "very democratic and open," he said. It'll fully comply with Ukraine's constitution and international law. Independent observers and foreign media are welcome.

Over 2.2 million ballots will be printed. About 1,250 voting stations will be ready. Russians comprise about 60% of Crimea's population, Ukrainians around 25% and Tatars 12%.

Sevastopol hosts most of Russia's Black Sea Fleet. It holds special status. It's not officially part of Crimea. 

Its residents will vote in the March 16 referendum. They'll decide if they want to become part of Russia.

On March 8, Itar Tass headlined "Sevastopol to join Russia after referendum - city administration head" Dmitry Belik.

"We will hold one referendum with the rest of Crimea," he said. Constitutional changes will be made separately, he added.

Two referendum questions will be asked:

(1) "Do you support reunification of Sevastopol with Russia as its constituent member?"

(2) "Do you support the restoration of the Constitution of 1992 and Sevastopol's to Ukraine?"

On March 8, Belik addressed an International Women's Day rally.

"The salaries of public sector employees, medical and social workers will be preserved at their current level as a minimum or maybe even increased," he said. 

"We are now working in close contact with Russian officials over a new social system for the city."

He thanked Putin and Russia's parliament for their support.

On March 8, Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov swore in the first group of self-defense forces. He called doing so a "historic event."

On March 16, they'll be deployed to assure things go peacefully. "The Armed Forces of the Republic of Crimea have been created for defense, not for offense," Aksyonov stressed.

They want all Crimeans protected. Many eastern Ukrainians reject Kiev putschists. Mass rallies were held in Donetsk and Lugansk. 

Residents want their own referendum. They want the right to declare independence or join Russia. 

Donetsk residents oppose Kiev appointing billionaire oligarch Sergey Taruta governor. They appointed their own "people's governor," Pavel Gubarev. He supports unification with Russia.

On March 6, he was arrested. On Saturday, hundreds of city residents rallied for his release. Tensions remain high.

Last week, Donetsk's administration headquarters changed hands several times. Videos began circulating. They're disturbing. 

They showed several hundred unidentified well-armed men in military-style uniforms without insignia. 

Russia's Rossiya 1 television believes they're Washington-enlisted Academi mercenaries. 

Similar reports are circulating. London's Daily Mail headlined "Has Blackwater been deployed to Ukraine? Notorious US mercenaries 'seen on the streets of flashpoint city' as Russia claims 300 hired guns have arrived in the country."

Videos circulated. Donetsk residents were heard shouting "Blackwater! Blackwater!" Armed mercenaries were visible.

Interfax cited a Russian diplomat in Kiev, saying:

"These are soldiers of fortune proficient in combat operations. Most of them had operated under private contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan and other states. Most (came) from the United States."

Days earlier, Russian media said 300 "strong" men arrived at Kiev's Boryspil airport. They carried military-style bags.

On March 4, Voltairenet headlined "US mercenaries deployed in Southern Ukraine."

Russian political scientist Alexander Dugin was cited. He said Academi Greystone Limited mercenaries were sent to Ukraine.

They arrived "in groups." They wore civilian attire. They carried "bulky packs." From Kiev, "apparently" they went to "Odessa." It's in southern Ukraine.

On March 2, Before Its News.com (BIT) headlined 300 Blackwater Mercs Land in Ukraine?"

"According to our Ukrainian friends…charter flights began arriving...(S)trong young men in ordinary civilian clothes" disembarked.

BIT called them Greystone Limited mercenaries. "The only question is...who pays" them? "Who do you think?"

"Certainly not" Kiev putschists. Washington's dirty hands are involved.

Kiev-controlled Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) forces joined them. They conducted hit-and-run operations. 

They arrested Gubarev. City authorities lawlessly charged him with attempting to seize power. Other activists were arrested.

Late Saturday, Donetsk residents attempted to storm local SSU headquarters. They demanded Gubarev's release.

They toppled a truck carrying arrested activists. Donetsk security forces arrived. Resident shouted "Do you remember those you're protecting? Those who mistreated you in Kiev?"

Lugansk is another hotbed of pro-Russian sentiment. Thousands rallied. They waved Russian flags. They chanted "Russia! Ukraine! Belarus! Together!"

They chose their own people's governor, Aleksandr Kharitonov. They confronted pro-Kiev elements earlier. They don't trust city police. They have their own self-defense forces.

Kharkov is Ukraine's second largest city. It's in eastern Ukraine. So are Donetsk and Lugansk. They're near Russia's border.

Kharkov residents held their own anti-Kiev rallies. Lots more in eastern Ukraine are likely. It bears repeating. The battle for Ukraine's soul continues.

Washington employs thousands private military contractors (PMCs). They're mercenaries. They're hired guns.

Peter Dale Scott once said they're "authorized to commit violence in the the name of their employers." They're "predatory bandits."

They're "uncontrollable subordinates…representing...public power (in) remote places."

They operate extrajudicially. They're unrestricted by US, international, or local governments' laws. They're free from civil or criminal accountability.

Under Article 47 of the 1977 Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions:

"A mercenary is any person who:

(a) is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;

(b) does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities:

(c) is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of the Party;

(d) is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;

(e) is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and

(f) has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces."

Washington substitutes them for Pentagon forces. At multiples more in cost. Using them gives US authorities cover for whatever crimes they commit. Doing so avoids accountability.

They're an integral part of America's imperial agenda. Apparently they're operating in Ukraine. Perhaps hundreds will increase to thousands. 

Maybe in other Ukrainian cities. Maybe covertly in Crimea. If not now, maybe later. Expect East/West tensions to escalate. Expect the risk for open conflict to increase.

A Final Comment

US-backed putschists usurping power in Kiev was phase one. Next comes forced-fed austerity. IMF and other Western loans demand it.

Neo-Nazis in charge presented what they have in mind. Looting Ukraine began. Pensioner income was halved. It went from $160 to $80 dollars monthly.

Expect other social benefits slashed. Expect it across-the-board. Ordinary people will be hardest hit. Kommersant-Ukraine (K-U) obtained an internal document.

"The Finance Ministry has prepared a plan for optimizing budget expenditures, which implies budget sequestration is to be in force before the end of March," said K-U. 

"For this purpose, in particular, it has been proposed to reduce capital costs, eliminate tax schemes and preferences and to cut social benefits, for example, 50 percent of pensions to working pensioners."

Putschists intend depriving ordinary Ukrainians to pay bankers. They're doing it straightaway.

Expect much greater pain and suffering. Expect mass layoffs. Expect deepening poverty. Expect predatory Western corporations taking full advantage.

Expect higher energy and food prices. In February, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported the highest increase in a basket of food commodities since mid-2012. A statement said:

"The figures were released amid news reports of spikes in wheat and corn prices in response to recent developments in Ukraine, though the February increase in the Index cannot be entirely attributed to those events."

Ordinary anti-Yanukovych Ukrainians may yearn for his return. They supported criminal elements. They did it unwittingly. How they'll react going forward remains to be seen.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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UK NHS: pitfalls and gross misconduct

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UK Tory MPs warn govt. over army cuts

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UK secy. under fire over poor people insult

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GMB set to cut funding to UK’s Labour

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Dr. Hansen, We Need You at Fukushima and Diablo Canyon

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Redundancies leave UK forces ‘detached’

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Kids milk half healthy as cow’s in UK

The UK government has been criticized over the lack of nutrition information for toddlerâ„¢s milk as new research shows the milk has less than...

UK fracking protests cost police £750k

The cost of policing anti-fracking protests at a test drilling site in West Sussex has reached £750,000, the police say. Sussex Police said policing the...

‘UK patients could face long waits’

British family doctors warn that patients could face longer waiting times.The majority of British General Practioners (GPs) have predicted that there would be longer...

NSA funds UK’s spying operations

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UK Labour: gov’t ruined wages

British opposition Labour party says only one month of Prime Minister David Cameronâ„¢s premiership has seen a rise in real wages that is a...

UK out of NATO naval tasks over costs

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UK Chancellor unveils new tough cuts

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‘More UK defence jobs to be axed’

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As Sovereignty Dies, EU Hauls UK to Court Over Immigrant Welfare

As national sovereignty increasingly becomes a thing of the past for most Europeans, the controversial European Union is taking the British government to court...

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UK departments agree to 10pct. cuts

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UK parl. faces action day in fortnight

UK parl. faces action day in fortnight

British campaigners will demonstrate outside the parliament building in London on April 15 to call on the government to cut military budget on the Global Day of Action on Military Spending.

Britain’s annual military budget is a massive £39 billion, which is the fourth largest in the world and the country is planning to replace its Trident nuclear weapons system at a cost the Stop the War Coalition estimates to reach £100 billion.

The government is also providing subsidies to 55,000 arms trade jobs that amount to a dizzying £700 million a year while the NHS is facing 56,000 job cuts due to austerity measures.

This is while the government is cutting vital public services including the National Health Service “efficiency savings” by £20 billion in three years, social housing by £4 billion, sickness benefits by £2 billion and Mental health services and youth services by £150 million and £200 million, respectively.

“Demilitarize” campaigners now want convey the message to the parliament that the billions of pounds spent on the military can be better used on education, development and health services.

Their action is part of a global initiative calling for a shift of the international military spending, which stood at £1.15 trillion in 2011, to fund human needs.

The Global Day of Action on Military Spending is set in April to coincide with the release of the Stockholm international Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) annual figures on world military expenditures.

AMR/HE

UK police and armed forces to face cuts of ‘more than £1.6 billion’

Published time: March 23, 2013 09:34
AFP Photo/Justin Tallis

The UK Ministry of Defence and Home Office will face further budgetary cuts, according to UK’s Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander. He declares any public outrage will be ignored. The move foreshadows additional defense layoffs.

The slashes to the departments’ finances are due in 2015-16, and follow three years of existing cuts. The news emerged in the fallout from Wednesday’s budget statement, which planned 11.5 billion pounds (US$17.5 billion) of further broad-scale cuts for 2015-16; on Saturday, Alexander told the Telegraph that the MoD and HO would share the weight.

An independent auditor warned that the MoD could lose more than 1.6 billion pounds ($2.4 billion) from its 32-billion-pound ($48.7 billion) budget for 2015-16, according to the newspaper. These reductions would almost certainly lead to an accompanying fresh round of lay-offs.

Alexander, a Liberal Democrat MP also warned that no amount of public outrage at the further cuts would influence the measures.

“It has no effect on the decisions I will make, or the view that I will take on the right balance. The idea that having a great public campaign will influence the outcome, that’s just wrong,”
he said.

Earlier this month, UK Defense Secretary Phillip Hammond cautioned that “any further reduction in the defense budget would fall on the level of activity that we were able to carry out.”

 British Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander (AFP Photo/Carl Court)

Tensions have flared as Conservative politicians, who currently head the ruling coalition with the Liberal Democrat party, have voiced their support for continuing to slash Britain’s welfare budget, citing small falls in unemployment, instead of continuing to target the defense budget.

The group has come to be known as the ‘National Union of Ministers’, and is led by Home Secretary Theresa May. They demand that ‘ring-fenced’ spending be ended, which immunizes some departments from further cuts. These protected departments include the NHS and Department for International Development (DFID).

Alexander reiterated that the NHS, schools and international development would be ring-fenced when asked whether the Home Office and Ministry of Defence would be protected from further cuts, adding:  


“We will work through the details, but every department, including the ones you mention, will have to make savings.”
On the same day, it was announced that a supposed ‘cost-cutting’ NHS scheme to remotely monitor housebound patients will cost three times as much as expected.  

An anonymous Conservative source told the newspaper in February that there was

“a real concern that the Lib Dems want to protect the benefits culture at the expense of our troops.” This January, British PM David Cameron was forced to admit that military spending would not rise until after 2016, despite previous assertions that no more cuts would be made to MoD.

AFP Photo/Leon Neal

In February, Cameron announced that he would be “very open” to the idea of diverting billions of pounds from the foreign aid budget (Department for International Development) to the military.

A decision to increase the DFID budget to 12 billion pounds by the next election stirred uproar amongst opponents of cuts to other departments’ services. However, this diversion of funding has induced criticism, with head of policy at major UK-based charity Oxfam, Mark Lawson, saying Britain's aid money should go to

“schools, not soldiers.” Following Wednesday’s budget, Fitch global ratings agency said that the UK faced the

“heightened probability of a downgrade” towards the close of April. Moody’s downgraded the UK around a month ago, making it the first of the three major agencies to do so, in the process stripping the country of its AAA rating.

UK tax rises likely after 2015 election

Tax rises of up to £9 billion could be imposed on British households and businesses after the next general election in 2015, a leading economic forecaster has warned.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), British Chancellor George Osborne’s fourth budget, presented this week, had paved the way for bigger tax increases after 2015 general election.

"That is after an election and it is much more possible that a future government will prefer to increase taxes instead,” said Rowena Crawford of the IFS.

This comes as he estimated tax rises, equal to 2 percent in the basic rate of income tax, could drag more British people into poverty.

In his speech at the House of Commons on Budget Day, Osborne said Britain’s economy will grow less this year and the next as the country is bracing itself for drastic austerity cuts.

The Chancellor warned the country’s growth would halve this year to 0.6 percent from the 1.2 percent.

Earlier in February, credit ratings agency Moody’s downgraded the British government’s bond rating from the top AAA to AA1 due to Britain’s rising debt and slowing growth.

There are speculations that Britain could face its second credit downgrade as a result of the country’s sluggish recovery.

MOS/HE

Budget 2013: George Osborne Accused Of Fiddling The Books To Save Face

George Osborne has been sharply criticised by the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) for shifting spending into next year in order to avoid political embarrassment.

Paul Johnson said the chancellor wasted civil servants' time by asking them to find a way to allow him to say he will be able to bring borrowing in this year below last year's total - down from £121 billion to £120.9 billion.

"There is every indication that the numbers have been carefully managed with a close eye on the headline borrowing figures for this year. It is unlikely that this has led either to an economically optimal allocation of spending across years or to a good use of time by officials and ministers," Johnson said.

Speaking at a post-Budget briefing in central London on Thursday, Johnson said: "The truth is that borrowing is the same this year as it was last year and it will be the same next year as this year. Because of that, this year's precedent suggests that there must be a risk that effort will be expended again next year to shift spending into 2014-15."

Johnson said the borrowing figures were "desperately disappointing" for Osborne, who would now have to borrow £70bn more in 2013-15 than he had originally hoped.

The IFS also warned that Wednesday's Budget could lead to "severe" public spending cuts and possible tax rises after the next election in 2015.

The economic forecaster said that given healthcare, schools and international development were protected from spending cuts the outlook for other departments was "grim".

"While the overall spending envelope has not been increased since the eye wateringly tight one implied by the Autumn Statement, nearly £5bn of additional spending on capital, childcare and social care has been committed to. That leaves even less for everything else," Johnson said.

The economic forecaster said the chancellor's decision to cancel the rise in fuel duty and increase the income tax allowance threshold and cut corporation tax meant he would be spending a "remarkable" £24bn a year on those changes by 2016-17.

"That would be a big investment at any time. In the current fiscal climate this is a striking investment in an arrow range of priority areas," he said.

Osborne was defended by former Tory chancellor Norman Lamont, who told HuffPost UK he did not believe there had been a "fiddling of the accounts" as Treasury officials "don’t let you get away with" such "tricks".

Related on HuffPost:

WATCH: The Hidden Message In George Osborne’s Budget Speech

George Osborne delivered his Budget to the House of Commons on Wednesday - but close analysis of his speech reveals some shocking new policies. Just take a look, above. (Created for HuffPost UK Comedy by David Schneider, Robin Flavell and Handface.) ...

At A Glance Guide To The Budget

Follow George Osborne's Budget 2013 live here with our 'At A Glance' guide to all the big decisions on the economy.

George Osborne started by saying:

"Today, I’m going to level with people about the difficult economic circumstances we still face and the hard decisions required to deal with them.

"It is taking longer than anyone hoped, but we must hold to the right track. And by setting free the aspirations of the nation, we will get there.

"This is a Budget for those who aspire to own their own home; who aspire to get their first job; or start their own business; A Budget for those who want to save for their retirement and provide for their children.

"It is a Budget for our Aspiration Nation."

On the ECONOMY Osborne says:

  • Compared to this time last year, the OBR now expect 600,000 more jobs in 2013 – and there will be 60,000 fewer people claiming unemployment benefit.
  • We’ve seen more people in work than ever before – including a record number of women.
  • A quarter of a million fewer workless households than two years ago.
    • The employment rate has been growing faster than in the US and three times as fast as in Germany.
    • And the unemployment rate is lower than when we came to office.
      • Deficit has fallen from 11.2 per cent of GDP in 2009-10, to a forecast of 7.4 per cent this year.
        • Public sector net debt is forecast to be 75.9 per cent of GDP this year.

        Osborne adds:

        "Ask the British people and they’ll tell you: our problem as a country is not that we’re taxed too little but that the government spends too much.

        "I agree with them. So the tax cuts in this Budget aren’t borrowed; they are paid for. That’s our way – and it’s the only responsible way to lower taxes."

        He added: "When money is short, we make no excuses for the rigorous financial management we have run across Whitehall."

        TAX
        From 2014, there will be no income tax at all on the first £10,000 of your salary.

        HOUSING

        • Help to Buy. Equity loan worth up to 20 per cent of the value of a new build home – to anyone looking to move up the housing ladder.
        • You put down a five per cent deposit from your savings, and the government will loan you a further 20 per cent.
        • The loan is interest free for the first five years. It is repaid when the home is sold.
        • Only constraint will be that the home can’t be worth more than £600,000 – but this covers well over 90 per cent of all homes.
        • Help families who want a mortgage for any home they’re buying, old or new, but who cannot begin to afford the kind of deposits.
        • A new Mortgage Guarantee. This will be available to lenders to help them provide more mortgages to people who can’t afford a big deposit.
        • Offering guarantees sufficient to support £130 billion of mortgages.
        • It will be available from start of 2014 – and run for three years.

        BUSINESS

        • Employment Allowance will work by taking the first two thousand pounds off the employer National Insurance bill of every company.
        • 450,000 small businesses – one third of all employers in the country - will pay no jobs tax at all.
        • Increase by fivefold the value of government procurement budgets spent through the Small Business Research Initiative.
        • Introducing capital gains tax relief for sales of businesses to their employees.
        • Double to £10,000 the size of the loans that employers can offer tax free to pay for items such as season tickets for commuters.
        • Increasing the rate of the above the line R & D credit to 10 per cent.
        • Abolish the schedule 19 tax which is only payable by UK domiciled funds.
        • Abolishing altogether stamp duty on shares traded on growth markets such as AIM.
        • Reduce the main rate of corporation tax by another 1 per cent.
        • Increasing the Bank Levy rate next year to 0.142 per cent.

        HEALTH

        • Budgets will remain protected – "because our promise to our NHS is a promise we will keep."

        EDUCATION

        • Budgets will remain protected

        LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND POLICE

        • Local government and police allocations for 2013-14 have already been set out and will not be affected

        ARMED FORCES

        • Exempt our military from changes to progression pay
        • Further awards from the LIBOR banking fines have gone to good military causes

        TRANSPORT

        • Boost our infrastructure plans by £3 billion a year from 2015-16

        ENERGY

        • I am introducing a generous new tax regime, including a shale gas field allowance, to promote early investment.

        TAX AVOIDANCE

        • New rules to stop the abuse of partnership rules, corporate tax losses and offshore employment intermediaries.
        • First ever General Anti-Abuse Rule.
        • Name and shame the promoters of tax avoidance scheme.

        PENSIONS

        • Flat rate pension accessible to everyone and worth £144 a week.
        • Bringing forward the introduction of the new Single Tier Pension to 2016.
        • Ex-gratia payments of £5,000 to those Equitable Life policyholders; and we’ll make an extra £5,000 available to those on the lowest incomes who are on pension credit.
        • Protect savings above £72,000, and we’ll raise the threshold for the means test on residential care from just over £23,000 to £118,000.

        DUTY

        • Cancelling this September’s fuel duty increase altogether.
        • Scrap the beer duty escalator altogether. And instead of the 3p rise in beer duty tax planned for this year I am cancelling it altogether.
        • Cut beer duty by 1p. "We’re taking a penny off a pint."

        A croaky Osborne finishes:

        "We understand that the way to restore our economic prosperity is to energise the aspirations of the British people.

        "If you want to own your own home;
        "If you want help with your childcare bills;
        "If you want to start your own business;
        "Or give someone a job;
        "If you want to save for your retirement;
        "And leave your home to your children;
        "If you want to work hard and get on;
        we are on your side.

        "This is a Budget that doesn’t duck our nation’s problems.

        "It confronts them head on.

        "It is a Budget for an aspiration nation.

        "It is a Budget for a Britain that wants to be prosperous, solvent and free.

        "And I commend it to the House."

Budget: Childcare Boost For Working Families

Working families could be paid up to £1,200 per child under a new Government childcare support scheme.

More than two million families could eventually benefit from the tax-free plans set out ahead of the Budget.

Up to £1,200 would be paid for each child annually - to a maximum of 20% of total childcare costs.

But the scheme, which will replace the existing employer supported childcare programme (ESC) will not come into effect until late 2015, after the next general election.

To qualify, both parents, or one parent in the case of lone parent families, will have to be in work and each must be earning less than £150,000 a year.

Initially the measures will cover children up to five years old, but the level of support will build up "over time" to include children under 12.

Ministers say to start with, 1.3 million families will benefit, compared to 450,000 under ESC, eventually rising to around 2.5 million.

The Government is set to invest £1.4bn in the plans - half-funded by abolishing the current childcare vouchers scheme and with the rest of the cash diverted from other departments.

Under the current scheme, parents get vouchers worth up to £55 a week, deducted from their salary before tax is paid.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced in their January mid-term review that they would act to help working families with childcare costs.

Ministers have already announced plans to let childminders look after more children, which they hope will reduce costs and make more nursery places available.

Britain has some of the most expensive childcare costs in the world - with fees rising at more than twice the rate of inflation, according to the Daycare Trust .

A report by the trust recently found that a place at the UK's most expensive nursery cost £42,000 - some 25% more than a place at a top public school such as Charterhouse, which charges £30,574 a year.

UK among worst for wage drops across EU

Published time: March 04, 2013 12:31

British one pound coins (AFP Photo/Ben Stansall)

Britain has suffered one of its the biggest drops in median pay over the last two years, recent figures have revealed. Out of the EU's 27 member-states, only the Netherlands, Cyprus and Greece performed worse than the UK.

So-called 'real wages,' taking into account inflation, plunged 3.2 percent between fall 2010 and 2012. The latest analysis, commissioned by Labour Party, puts Britain as seeing the fourth-worst decline in median pay across the eurozone – ranking 24th out of the EU's 27 nations.

According to Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls MP, the UK figures demonstrate “just how far Britain is falling behind the rest of Europe under this Government.”

"Urgent action is needed in the Budget to kick-start our stagnant economy and help people on middle and low incomes struggling with the rising cost of living," Huffington Post quoted MP Balls as saying.

The recession makes yet a stronger impact when compared to Bulgaria and Romania which proved to be Europe’s champions, with Bulgarians and Romanians celebrating 12 and 6 percent rises in wages, respectively.

According to Eurostat data, real wages in France have gone up by 0.2 percent, and Germany saw a healthy 2.4 percent increase. Sweden and the Czech Republic both boasted gains of 3.4 and 3.3 percent, respectively.

Across the EU, an average pay decline of 0.7percent was reported: Italy suffered a 2.2 percent drop, Spain a 1.1 percent plunge and Ireland a modest 0.2 percent fall.

Ukip MEP Defects To Tories

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John Major Tells Tory EU ‘Rebels’ To Be Quiet, Warns Against UK Exit

John Major has warned eurosceptic Tory MPs to keep quiet, arguing they are damaging David Cameron's negotiating position in Brussels as he tries to repatriate powers ahead of a 2017 referendum.

The former prime minister, whose time as leader of the Conservative Party was characterised by deep splits over Europe, said the in/out ballot promised by Cameron was a necessary "gamble" for both the country and the party.

"The relationship with Europe has poisoned British politics for too long, distracted parliament from other issues, and come close to destroying the Conservative Party. It is time to resolve the matter," he said.

"I favour this referendum because I simply don't believe we can go on on as we are, year after year, prime minister after prime minster going to Europe being pushed by people to negotiate a victory equivalent to Waterloo," he said.

In a strongly pro-EU speech given at the Chatham House foreign policy think-tank in central London on Thursday afternoon, Sir John said that while the EU was far from perfect, to leave would be to "jump into a void".

But the former prime minister, who negotiated Britain's opt out from the single currency during the Maastricht negotiations in 1991, warned the "aggressive" stance taken towards the EU by some Conservative MPs was damaging and should be ignored by Cameron.

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"Rebellion is addictive, and some members may be getting a taste for it," he said. "I learned twenty years ago that the parliamentary party includes irreconcilables who are prepared to bring down any government or any prime minister in support of their opposition to the EU.

"Members with Conservative heads and Ukip hearts cannot be placated. Whatever is offered to them will be insufficient. They will demand more. They will only be satisfied by withdrawal. It is, therefore, essential for the prime minister to rally the persuadable majority of the parliamentary party."

Sir John said that if other EU leaders believe Cameron has been forced to the negotiation table by anti-EU MPs he would be seen to be "acting under political duress, rather than principle and conviction" – and his hand will be weakened. He added: "The truly well-meaning will give him advice in private."

His intervention can be seen as a rebuke to many backbench Tory MPs who believe their decision to rebel against the prime minister in a Commons vote in which they demanded Cameron seek a cut in the EU budget actually strengthened the UK's negotiating position.

Sir John also rejected calls for a deal to be done with Ukip in advance of the 2015 general election. "I don't think we can or should do a deal with Ukip," he said. "The leadership of Ukip have a policy which is against the UK national interest, they want us to leave the European Union ... we can not make common cause with Ukip."

Sir John said he did not have a "shred of doubt" that he British interest in the short and long term was better served by being inside the EU.

He said: "Being inside the EU can often be frustrating; but outside, we would be at a serious competitive disadvantage. The tens of thousands of UK companies who trade with the European Union should think long and hard about the consequences of exit. So should their employees, numbered in millions. To leave, would be a jump into a void.

Sir John also said Cameron should overrule Nick Clegg and appoint appoint a "lead negotiator" within cabinet to be his "personal emissary" to European capitals as he tries to renegotiate Britain's membership of the the EU. He said it was vital the appointee be personally close to the prime minister, but shied away from suggesting a name.

Related on HuffPost:

How Congress Could Fix Its Budget Woes, Permanently

As Congress struggles through one budget crisis after another, it is becoming increasingly evident that austerity doesn't work. We cannot possibly pay off a $16 trillion debt by tightening our belts, slashing public services, and raising taxes. Historically, when the deficit has been reduced, the money supply has been reduced along with it, throwing the economy into recession. After a thorough analysis of statistics from dozens of countries forced to apply austerity plans by the World Bank and IMF, former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz called austerity plans a “suicide pact.” 

Congress already has in its hands the power to solve the nation’s budget challenges – today and permanently. But it has been artificially constrained from using that power by misguided economic dogma, dogma generated by the interests it serves.  We have bought into the idea that there is not enough money to feed and house our population, rebuild our roads and bridges, or fund our most important programs -- that there is no alternative but to slash budgets and deficits if we are to survive. We have a mountain of critical work to do, improving our schools, rebuilding our infrastructure, pursuing our research goals, and so forth. And with millions of unemployed and underemployed, the people are there to do it. What we don’t have, we are told, is just the money to bring workers and resources together.

But we do have it.  Or we could.

Money today is simply a legal agreement between parties. Nothing backs it but “the full faith and credit of the United States.” The United States could issue its credit directly to fund its own budget, just as our forebears did in the American colonies and as Abraham Lincoln did in the Civil War.

Any serious discussion of this alternative has long been taboo among economists and politicians. But in a landmark speech on February 6, 2013, Adair Turner, chairman of Britain’s Financial Services Authority, broke the taboo with a historic speech recommending that approach. According to a February 7th article in Reuters, Turner is one of the most influential financial policy makers in the world.  His recommendation was supported by a 75-page paper explaining why handing out newly-created money to citizens and governments could solve economic woes globally and would not lead to hyperinflation.

Our Money Exists Only at the Will and Pleasure of Banks

Government-issued money would work because it addresses the problem at its source. Today, we have no permanent money supply. People and governments are drowning in debt because our money comes into existence only as a debt to banks at interest. As Robert Hemphill of the Atlanta Federal Reserve observed in the 1930s:

We are completely dependent on the commercial banks. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash or credit.  If the banks create ample synthetic money, we are prosperous; if not, we starve.

In the U.S. monetary system, the only money that is not borrowed from banks is the “base money” or “monetary base” created by the Treasury and the Federal Reserve (the Fed). The Treasury creates only the tiny portion consisting of coins. All of the rest is created by the Fed.

Despite its name, the Fed is at best only quasi-federal; and most of the money it creates is electronic rather than paper. We the people have no access to this money, which is not tur ned over to the government or the people but goes directly into the reserve accounts of private banks at the Fed.

It goes there and it stays there. Except for the small amount of “vault cash” available for withdrawal from commercial banks, bank reserves do not leave the doors of the central bank. According to Peter Stella, former head of the Central Banking and Monetary and Foreign Exchange Operations Divisions at the International Monetary Fund:

[I]n a modern monetary system – fiat money, floating exchange rate world – there is absolutely no correlation between bank reserves and lending. . . . [B]anks do not lend “reserves”. . . .

Whether commercial banks let the reserves they have acquired through QE sit “idle” or lend them out in the internet bank market 10,000 times in one day among themselves, the aggregate reserves at the central bank at the end of that day will be the same.

Banks do not lend their reserves to us, but they do lend them to each other. The reserves are what they need to clear checks between banks. Reserves move from one reserve account to another; but the total money in bank reserve accounts remains unchanged, unless the Fed itself issues new money or extinguishes it.

The base money to which we have no access includes that created on a computer screen through “quantitative easing” (QE), which now exceeds $3 trillion. That explains why QE has not driven the economy into hyperinflation, as the deficit hawks have long predicted; and why it has not created jobs, as was its purported mission. The Fed’s QE money simply does not get into the circulating money supply at all.

What we the people have in our bank accounts is a mere reflection of the base money that is the exclusive domain of the bankers’ club. Banks borrow from the Fed and each other at near-zero rates, then lend this money to us at 4% or 8% or 30%, depending on what the market will bear.  Like in a house of mirrors, the Fed’s “base money” gets multiplied over and over whenever “bank credit” is deposited and relent; and that illusory house of mirrors is what we call our money supply.

We Need “Quantitative Easing” for the People

The quantitative easing engaged in by central banks today is not what UK Professor Richard Werner intended when he invented the term. Werner advised the Japanese in the 1990s, when they were caught in a spiral of “debt deflation” like the one we are struggling with now. What he had in mind was credit creation by the central bank for productive purposes in the real, physical economy. But like central banks now, the Bank of Japan simply directed its QE firehose at the banks. Werner complains:

[A]ll QE is doing is to help banks increase the liquidity of their portfolios by getting rid of longer-dated and slightly less liquid assets and raising cash. . . . Reserve expansion is a standard monetarist policy and required no new label.

The QE he recommended was more along the lines of the money-printing engaged in by the American settlers in colonial times and by Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. The colonists’ paper scrip and Lincoln’s “greenbacks” consisted, not of bank loans, but of paper receipts from the government acknowledging goods and services delivered to the government. The receipts circulated as money in the economy, and in the colonies they were accepted in the payment of taxes. 

The best of these models was in Benjamin Franklin’s colony of Pennsylvania, where government-issued money got into the economy by way of loans issued by a publicly-owned bank. Except for an excise tax on liquor, the government was funded entirely without taxes; there was no government debt; and price inflation did not result. In 1938, Dr. Richard A. Lester, an economist at Princeton University, wrote, “The price level during the 52 years prior to the American Revolution and while Pennsylvania was on a paper standard was more stable than the American price level has been during any succeeding fifty-year period.” 

The Inflation Conundrum

The threat of price inflation is the excuse invariably used for discouraging this sort of “irresponsible” monetary policy today, based on the Milton Friedman dictum that “inflation is everywhere and always a monetary phenomenon.” When the quantity of money goes up, says the theory, more money will be chasing fewer goods, driving prices up. 

What it overlooks is the supply side of the equation. As long as workers are sitting idle and materials are available, increased “demand” will put workers to work creating more “supply.” Supply will rise along with demand, and prices will remain stable. 

True, today these additional workers might be in China or they might be robots. But the principle still holds: if we want the increased supply necessary to satisfy the needs of the people and the economy, more money must first be injected into the economy.  Demand drives supply.  People must have money in their pockets before they can shop, stimulating increased production.  Production doesn’t need as many human workers as it once did. To get enough money in the economy to drive the needed supply, it might be time to issue a national dividend divided equally among the people.

Increased demand will drive up prices only when the economy hits full productive capacitys. It is at that point, and not before, that taxes may need to be levied—not to fund the federal budget, but to prevent “overheating” and keep prices stable. Overheating in the current economy could be a long time coming, however, since according to the Fed’s figures, $4 trillion needs to be added into the money supply just to get it back to where it was in 2008.

Taxes might be avoided altogether, if excess funds were pulled out with fees charged for various government services. A good place to start might be with banking services rendered by publicly-owned banks that returned their profits to the public.

The Road to Prosperity

The Federal Reserve has lavished over $13 trillion in computer-generated bail-out money on the banks, and still the economy is flagging and the debt ceiling refuses to go away. If this money had been pumped into the real economy instead of into the black hole of the private banking system, we might have a thriving economy today.

We are waking up from the long night of our delusion. We do not need to follow the prevailing economic orthodoxies, which have consistently failed and are not corroborated by empirical data.  We need a permanent money supply, and the money must come from somewhere. It is the right and duty of government to provide a money supply that is adequate and sustainable.

It is also the duty of government to provide the public services necessary for a secure and prosperous life for its people. As Thomas Edison observed in the 1920s, if the government can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. Both are backed by “the full faith and credit of the United States.” The government can pay for all the services its people need and eliminate budget crises permanently, simply by issuing the dollars to pay for them, debt-free and interest-free.

Ellen Brown

Ellen Brown developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest of eleven books, she turns those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and “the money trust.” She shows how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. She is president of the Public Banking Institute, http://PublicBankingInstitute. org , and has websites at http://WebofDebt.com and http://EllenBrown.com

How Congress Could Fix Its Budget Woes, Permanently

As Congress struggles through one budget crisis after another, it is becoming increasingly evident that austerity doesn't work. We cannot possibly pay off a $16 trillion debt by tightening our belts, slashing public services, and raising taxes. Historically, when the deficit has been reduced, the money supply has been reduced along with it, throwing the economy into recession. After a thorough analysis of statistics from dozens of countries forced to apply austerity plans by the World Bank and IMF, former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz called austerity plans a “suicide pact.” 

Congress already has in its hands the power to solve the nation’s budget challenges – today and permanently. But it has been artificially constrained from using that power by misguided economic dogma, dogma generated by the interests it serves.  We have bought into the idea that there is not enough money to feed and house our population, rebuild our roads and bridges, or fund our most important programs -- that there is no alternative but to slash budgets and deficits if we are to survive. We have a mountain of critical work to do, improving our schools, rebuilding our infrastructure, pursuing our research goals, and so forth. And with millions of unemployed and underemployed, the people are there to do it. What we don’t have, we are told, is just the money to bring workers and resources together.

But we do have it.  Or we could.

Money today is simply a legal agreement between parties. Nothing backs it but “the full faith and credit of the United States.” The United States could issue its credit directly to fund its own budget, just as our forebears did in the American colonies and as Abraham Lincoln did in the Civil War.

Any serious discussion of this alternative has long been taboo among economists and politicians. But in a landmark speech on February 6, 2013, Adair Turner, chairman of Britain’s Financial Services Authority, broke the taboo with a historic speech recommending that approach. According to a February 7th article in Reuters, Turner is one of the most influential financial policy makers in the world.  His recommendation was supported by a 75-page paper explaining why handing out newly-created money to citizens and governments could solve economic woes globally and would not lead to hyperinflation.

Our Money Exists Only at the Will and Pleasure of Banks

Government-issued money would work because it addresses the problem at its source. Today, we have no permanent money supply. People and governments are drowning in debt because our money comes into existence only as a debt to banks at interest. As Robert Hemphill of the Atlanta Federal Reserve observed in the 1930s:

We are completely dependent on the commercial banks. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash or credit.  If the banks create ample synthetic money, we are prosperous; if not, we starve.

In the U.S. monetary system, the only money that is not borrowed from banks is the “base money” or “monetary base” created by the Treasury and the Federal Reserve (the Fed). The Treasury creates only the tiny portion consisting of coins. All of the rest is created by the Fed.

Despite its name, the Fed is at best only quasi-federal; and most of the money it creates is electronic rather than paper. We the people have no access to this money, which is not tur ned over to the government or the people but goes directly into the reserve accounts of private banks at the Fed.

It goes there and it stays there. Except for the small amount of “vault cash” available for withdrawal from commercial banks, bank reserves do not leave the doors of the central bank. According to Peter Stella, former head of the Central Banking and Monetary and Foreign Exchange Operations Divisions at the International Monetary Fund:

[I]n a modern monetary system – fiat money, floating exchange rate world – there is absolutely no correlation between bank reserves and lending. . . . [B]anks do not lend “reserves”. . . .

Whether commercial banks let the reserves they have acquired through QE sit “idle” or lend them out in the internet bank market 10,000 times in one day among themselves, the aggregate reserves at the central bank at the end of that day will be the same.

Banks do not lend their reserves to us, but they do lend them to each other. The reserves are what they need to clear checks between banks. Reserves move from one reserve account to another; but the total money in bank reserve accounts remains unchanged, unless the Fed itself issues new money or extinguishes it.

The base money to which we have no access includes that created on a computer screen through “quantitative easing” (QE), which now exceeds $3 trillion. That explains why QE has not driven the economy into hyperinflation, as the deficit hawks have long predicted; and why it has not created jobs, as was its purported mission. The Fed’s QE money simply does not get into the circulating money supply at all.

What we the people have in our bank accounts is a mere reflection of the base money that is the exclusive domain of the bankers’ club. Banks borrow from the Fed and each other at near-zero rates, then lend this money to us at 4% or 8% or 30%, depending on what the market will bear.  Like in a house of mirrors, the Fed’s “base money” gets multiplied over and over whenever “bank credit” is deposited and relent; and that illusory house of mirrors is what we call our money supply.

We Need “Quantitative Easing” for the People

The quantitative easing engaged in by central banks today is not what UK Professor Richard Werner intended when he invented the term. Werner advised the Japanese in the 1990s, when they were caught in a spiral of “debt deflation” like the one we are struggling with now. What he had in mind was credit creation by the central bank for productive purposes in the real, physical economy. But like central banks now, the Bank of Japan simply directed its QE firehose at the banks. Werner complains:

[A]ll QE is doing is to help banks increase the liquidity of their portfolios by getting rid of longer-dated and slightly less liquid assets and raising cash. . . . Reserve expansion is a standard monetarist policy and required no new label.

The QE he recommended was more along the lines of the money-printing engaged in by the American settlers in colonial times and by Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. The colonists’ paper scrip and Lincoln’s “greenbacks” consisted, not of bank loans, but of paper receipts from the government acknowledging goods and services delivered to the government. The receipts circulated as money in the economy, and in the colonies they were accepted in the payment of taxes. 

The best of these models was in Benjamin Franklin’s colony of Pennsylvania, where government-issued money got into the economy by way of loans issued by a publicly-owned bank. Except for an excise tax on liquor, the government was funded entirely without taxes; there was no government debt; and price inflation did not result. In 1938, Dr. Richard A. Lester, an economist at Princeton University, wrote, “The price level during the 52 years prior to the American Revolution and while Pennsylvania was on a paper standard was more stable than the American price level has been during any succeeding fifty-year period.” 

The Inflation Conundrum

The threat of price inflation is the excuse invariably used for discouraging this sort of “irresponsible” monetary policy today, based on the Milton Friedman dictum that “inflation is everywhere and always a monetary phenomenon.” When the quantity of money goes up, says the theory, more money will be chasing fewer goods, driving prices up. 

What it overlooks is the supply side of the equation. As long as workers are sitting idle and materials are available, increased “demand” will put workers to work creating more “supply.” Supply will rise along with demand, and prices will remain stable. 

True, today these additional workers might be in China or they might be robots. But the principle still holds: if we want the increased supply necessary to satisfy the needs of the people and the economy, more money must first be injected into the economy.  Demand drives supply.  People must have money in their pockets before they can shop, stimulating increased production.  Production doesn’t need as many human workers as it once did. To get enough money in the economy to drive the needed supply, it might be time to issue a national dividend divided equally among the people.

Increased demand will drive up prices only when the economy hits full productive capacitys. It is at that point, and not before, that taxes may need to be levied—not to fund the federal budget, but to prevent “overheating” and keep prices stable. Overheating in the current economy could be a long time coming, however, since according to the Fed’s figures, $4 trillion needs to be added into the money supply just to get it back to where it was in 2008.

Taxes might be avoided altogether, if excess funds were pulled out with fees charged for various government services. A good place to start might be with banking services rendered by publicly-owned banks that returned their profits to the public.

The Road to Prosperity

The Federal Reserve has lavished over $13 trillion in computer-generated bail-out money on the banks, and still the economy is flagging and the debt ceiling refuses to go away. If this money had been pumped into the real economy instead of into the black hole of the private banking system, we might have a thriving economy today.

We are waking up from the long night of our delusion. We do not need to follow the prevailing economic orthodoxies, which have consistently failed and are not corroborated by empirical data.  We need a permanent money supply, and the money must come from somewhere. It is the right and duty of government to provide a money supply that is adequate and sustainable.

It is also the duty of government to provide the public services necessary for a secure and prosperous life for its people. As Thomas Edison observed in the 1920s, if the government can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. Both are backed by “the full faith and credit of the United States.” The government can pay for all the services its people need and eliminate budget crises permanently, simply by issuing the dollars to pay for them, debt-free and interest-free.

Ellen Brown

Ellen Brown developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest of eleven books, she turns those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and “the money trust.” She shows how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. She is president of the Public Banking Institute, http://PublicBankingInstitute. org , and has websites at http://WebofDebt.com and http://EllenBrown.com

Cameron Condemns MEPs For ‘Secret’ EU Budget Vote

David Cameron has challenged Ed Miliband over whether Labour MEPs will vote against a cut in the EU Budget, amid fears the European Parliament may veto the deal. Last week European leaders agreed to cut the EU's budget for the next seven years to 908b...

Liam Fox Calls For Further Cuts To Welfare Budget

Chancellor George Osborne should announce further cuts to the welfare budget and the civil service, former Cabinet minister Liam Fox said as he indicated he would like to return to frontline politics.

Dr Fox, a standard-bearer for the Tory right, called for deeper reductions in public spending and tax cuts for businesses as he identified economic growth as the key factor if the Tories are to win the next election.

"We need to get a firmer grip on spending. One of the biggest rises in our budget is the interest we are paying on our debt. That has risen from just over £40 billion, it will rise to almost £60 billion by the next general election," he told Sky News' Murnaghan programme

"That means that we are paying more in debt interest than we are spending on defence and overseas aid and the foreign office all combined."

liam fox

Liam Fox called for tax cuts to boost businesses

He said Mr Osborne should target the welfare budget and the size of Whitehall as areas for spending cuts.But he also called for a package of tax cuts to boost business.

"Cutting taxes on business I think is key to get more people into work, I personally would like to see capital gains tax taken down to get more activity into the economy. We need to be creative: if we are creative we get growth, if we get growth we get re-election.

Fox acknowledged there had been "muttering" about David Cameron's leadership but insisted the Prime Minister had silenced his critics over Europe.

He praised Mr Cameron's announcement that a Tory government would offer an in/out referendum on membership of the European Union, which he claimed had blunted the threat to the Tories posed by the UK Independence Party (Ukip).

"What would be the point in a general election of voting for a party like Ukip ... when the Conservatives will promise and deliver a referendum if we are elected, and voting for a party like Ukip can only increase the chance of Labour being re-elected and they will deny the voters a choice," he said.

Asked if he would take a post in the government if Mr Cameron offered it, Dr Fox said anyone offered the chance to serve their country "ought to say yes".

Questions about Mr Cameron's leadership have been asked in recent weeks after reports that backbencher Adam Afriyie was being touted as a potential successor.

Asked on Sky News' Murnaghan programme if Mr Afriyie was a "stalking horse" acting as cover for his own leadership challenge, the former Cabinet minister said: "I've been in Parliament for nearly 21 years and I can never remember a time in all 21 years when there wasn't muttering going on about whoever was the party leader at the time or prime minister at the time.

"Party leaders have to get over that and go ahead and do what they believe to be correct. The Prime Minister got a great victory for the UK at the EU summit this week, which of course all those defeatists said would not be possible.

"He went in, negotiated hard, showed considerable diplomatic skill and got a great outcome for the United Kingdom."

Dr Fox quit the government over his controversial relationship with self-styled adviser Adam Werritty but indicated he would accept an offer of a return to the ministerial ranks from Mr Cameron.

"That's not a question for me, that's a question for the Prime Minister and I'm sure he will have his view on that.

"If anyone was asked by a prime minister if you are willing to serve your country I think they ought to say yes."

The End of Squatting in the UK?

Calls from within government to fully criminalise squatting gather momentum. It could have serious implications for political occupations, and will it backfire on the government's plans to reduce its welfare budget?

TRANSCRIPT:

Hassan Ghani

As Britain's economists speculate over the prospects of a triple-dip recession, the future looks bleak for those already struggling to make ends meet.

Across England, the cost of renting is going up, house repossessions are on the rise, and particularly here in London more and more people are finding themselves homeless. One path out of that is squatting, but that is now under serious threat.

Tens of thousands of people have been squatting in empty buildings across the UK for many many years. But last year the government criminalised squatting in residential buildings, and now it's considering doing the same for commercial buildings. Mike Wetherly is a Member of Parliament whose been campaigning to make this happen.

Mike Weatherly, Member of Parliament, Conservative Party

"I'm no fan of empty buildings either, and I think we ought to do various things to encourage empty buildings to be put back into use. What I don't want to see is vulnerable people, and these are often very vulnerable people, drug addicts and alcohol and so on, going into these vulnerable properties, commercial ones which have been abandoned, are unsafe, they don't have sanitation, they don't have electricity. The local authorities should be looking after homeless people.

Now, some squatters have got nothing to do with homelessness, they are basically anarchists who just want to have rent-free accommodation, they're well educated and web savvy. I don't mind people having alternative views on life, and they can live the way they want to, but what they can't do is just take what doesn't belong to them and rob people of their own property."

Hassan Ghani

It's true that many in Britain do see squatters as a scourge on society, that threaten to steal their property and land. It's an image perpetuated by much of the media. So we decided to visit some squats in London and find out what they're like for ourselves.

Leon, Squatter at Rochester Square

"Welcome to One Rochester Square"

Hassan Ghani

Rochester Square is nestled in a residential neighbourhood of North London. The rare green space lay unused for years until the squatters arrived six months ago.

Leon, Squatter at Rochester Square

"We've got six rooms in the main area, and one room at the back of the kitchen. The kitchen is built in a way that all our water that we use for cleaning our clothes and cleaning our dishes is recycled back round to the toilet and used also as water to flush the toilet, saving about 70 litres a day. We have a bike workshop, where two people who are amateur bike mechanics work on fixing people's bikes, and building up new ones from spare parts.

When we arrived, there were alcohol bottles, there were hypodermic needles, there was pornography, so when we came we did a lot of cleaning up. We've tried to contact the owner, tried to show him what we've done. Unfortunately he only wanted to deal with us through his solicitor and hasn't come down to his site, to have a look at what we've done here, which is a bit unfortunate.

If you look up you can see that most of the wood is rotting, and this is what happens if you don't take care of a place."

Pete, Squatter at Rochester Square

"We have to be very careful to separate media scare stories, because there is a campaign of right wing media vilification against squatters, from the fact."

Hassan Ghani

Pete is a masters student and a part time teacher. He says that all the squatters he knows think carefully before choosing to occupy a space.

Pete, Squatter at Rochester Square

"Squatters tend to go for places which have been left empty for a very long time anyway. And if they find that this place has just been sold, or if its to become somebody's home, they're not going to squat it. A) because the legislation which existed even before the new law meant that they would be evicted very rapidly anyway as a consequence, and B) because squatters are not in the business of taking people's homes, they're in the process of putting a temporary shelter over their heads.

I wonder if many landlords didn't just talk to the squatters, as rational individuals, and they'd be able to see that actually they're not just druggies who're going to tear the place apart, but can actually improve the place."

Hassan Ghani

And he says squatters, like wider society, are composed of a diverse range of people.

Pete, Squatter at Rochester Square

"I used to believe that squatters were a subculture of people who were anarchists, and didn't work, and all had mohicans. And then I learned, actually, that they're just people. And that many of the people who were serving me food in a restaraunt, or many people in healthcare, are squatters. People who are providing essential services are squatters. They are a very diverse range of poeple. They're just people on low incomes, and they're just finding a solution to the fact that this is an incredibly expensive city to live in, and property ownership is getting more and more concentrated into fewer and fewer hands."

Hassan Ghani

London is among the most expensive places to live in the world. Ana previously rented a room in private accommodation, but even that cost her half her earnings each month. She now lives in the garden squat.

Ana, Squatter at Rochester Square

"If I'm working and I need to pay the rent, I will use more than 50% of that money to pay the rent, plus feeding, plus transportation, and basically that will mean that I will be living to pay my housing, and I don't believe that that's fair. Housing, food and health are a human right. So many people without houses, so many houses without people - why?"

Ha