The Saker blog now also in Russian!

ДОРОГИЕ РУССКОЯЗЫЧНЫЕ ДРУЗЬЯ!
Читайте блог Балобана по-русски щелкнув на эту ссылку:


http://www.vineyardsaker.ru/

The Saker Blog now also in French!

AMIS FRANCOPHONES!
Vous pouvez maintenant lire le blog du Saker en Français en cliquant sur ce lien:


http://www.vineyardsaker.fr/

The Saker Blog now also in German!

ALLE UNSERE DEUTSCHEN FREUNDE!
koennen jetzt den blog des Sakers auf Deutsch lesen - bitte hier anklicken:


http://www.vineyardsaker.de/

The Saker Blog now in Oceania

TO ALL THE SAKER FRIENDS IN OCEANIA!
you can now also visit the Oceania Vineyardsaker Blog by clicking on this link:


http://www.vineyardsaker.co.nz/

The Saker Blog now in Serbian

TO ALL THE SAKER FRIENDS IN SERBIA!
you can now also visit the Serbian Vineyardsaker Blog by clicking on this link:


http://www.thesakersrpski.rs/

Thursday, October 30, 2014

This is why the Russians want to tightly regulate foreign NGOs

How is that for a "watch" of human right?



The fact is that western human rights organizations are below contempt. Some are political tools in the hands of the Empire (Human Rights Watch), some are full of western intelligence agents (Medecins Sans Frontieres, OSCE monitors), some are lead by cynical bureaucrats who use idealistic young delegates as cannon fodder (ICRC), some are used by big business as a tool (Greenpeace) while others are quasi-official CIA tools (NED, Freedom House, Open Society Foundation, etc.).

The funny thing in this case is that the photo is not taken in Russia, but in the Ukraine, and the riot cops shown here have Ukrainian unit badges.  But then, who cares anyway?  It's not like "truth" is a topic that matters to HRW...

The Saker

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Latest Putin-bashing invention: Putin about to be sacrificed

I am getting a flood of emails asking me about the article Putin's Head - Who will remove the head of Russian President Putin and offer it on a platter to the U.S.? (also here) I normally don't comment any of the nonsense which circulates on the Internet, but this one seems to have a lot of people worried.

Friends, the key to the entire article is right at the beginning: "It seems that Russian authorities have found a way towards accommodation with the West. Liberals have become more powerful and are leading the talks".  Every word in these two sentences is utterly false.  For one thing, Putin is "the Russian authorities".  His power stems from three sources:


1) He was elected by the Russian people
2) He is solidly backed by the "power ministries" (Internal, Security, Military, Police, Intelligence, Emergencies)
3) His current popularity is somewhere in the high 80%

In other words, removing him would be legally impossible, physically impossible and politically impossible.

Second, if anybody seriously believes that Putin is seeking an accommodation with the West then he/she simply needs to listen to his latest speech at the Valdai club to come to realize that far from seeking any accommodation, Putin is fully ready for a long confrontation with the AngloZionist Empire.

Finally, because of their failure to overthrow Putin during the Presidential elections and, even more so, because of the civil war in the Ukraine, the Russian liberals have never been weaker then before: they are associated with the nightmarish 1990s and they are seen as allies of any and all Russia-hating forces be it Wahabi Chechens or Ukrainian Nazis and as tool of the US/EU/NATO.

Finally, when the authors write "Russian “patriots” dream stubbornly of convincing today’s President to imitate Stalin or Ivan The Terrible" they are completely misrepresenting the ideology and wordview of the Russian patriotic movement.


This worthless article is a typical example of the kind of anti-Putin propaganda organized by the US: if they cannot demonize him, they at least show him as weak and about to be sacrificed.  There will be much more of that nonsense in the future and I urge you all to simply ignore it.

The Saker

Something very, very interesting has happened in Novorussia

Something fantastically interesting has happened in Novorussia: two senior Novorussian commanders, Igor Bezler and Alexei Mozgovoi have attempted to communicate with those Ukrainians who are on the other side.

Though I am not sure about the exact dates of the events (all I have is the dates of the posting on YouTube), this apparently began when Igor Bezler agreed to be interviewed by three TV crews at the same time: a Russian one, a Novorussian one, and a Ukrainian one.  The big news here was, of course, that a Ukrainian journalist was given access to the city of Gorlovka, currently surrounded by Ukrainian forces, and that she got to speak with the local people, including combatants and then that she was given access to Bezler himself.   Since all the journalists were more or less openly accusing each other of "filtering the truth" all parties agreed that the full recording, unedited, would be made available on YouTube.  Now please keep in mind that in Banderastan, Russian journalists are blacklisted, Russian TV stations banned, and that the people in the junta controlled Ukraine are told that the other side are terrorists and Russian soldiers.  Oh, and the Ukrainian media is the most disgusting, sold out, subservient, propagandistic you can imagine.  And then suddenly, at least one Ukrainian TV crew agrees to show the face of one of the most feared Novorussian commanders and he get's to speak his mind.

But the next event was even more amazing.  Alexei Mozgovoi agreed to a videoconference with not only Ukrainian journalists, but with actual field commanders of the Ukrainian military.  To see Mozgovoi and the Ukrainians speak directly to each other was absolutely amazing.  And here I have to apologize.  I will not ask our translators to translate and subtitle the full thing.  First, there were not one, but two such videoconferences.  Then, we are talking about three long videos, see for yourself:

Bezler interview: Published on Oct 21, 2014
http://youtu.be/uVN2wkuL88w (length: 2 hours 17 min)

First videoconference of Mozgovoi: Published on Oct 22, 2014
http://youtu.be/WYy5Y9MQozA (length: 1 hour 20 mins)

Second videoconference of Mozgovoi: Published Oct 28, 2014
http://youtu.be/tC7YGe0SmqQ (length:1 hour 51 mins)

I do hope that somebody somewhere will translate it all, but this is way too big a load for me to ask any of our volunteers.

Also, these are very complex videos.  There are discussions, some short moments of yelling and interrupting, there is cross-talk and there are even two songs.  This is complex, very emotional stuff, very hard to convey in a translated text.  Besides, who will have the time to sit through it all?

No, what I propose is to share with you the elements which struck me so much.

But first I need to clarify an important point: while the original idea apparently had been to have combatants talking to combatants, the Ukrainian side only had a few commanders and a few activists.  The Novorussian side was composed of actual soldiers.  Apparently, the Ukrainian side did not feel comfortable putting their foot-soldiers on the spot.

First and foremost, it was amazing to see how much both sides fully agreed upon.  Both sides agreed that this war was useless and only benefited the enemies of the Ukraine.  Both sides expressed contempt, disgust and even hatred for the politicians in power and the oligarchs who rule over Banderastan today.   Both sides also agree that Yanukovich was a scumbag and that the Maidan protests were absolutely legitimate but that the original protests had been hijacked by enemies of the Ukraine.  Both sides also agreed that this war had to be stopped.  Now, please keep in mind that Ukrainian Nazis were, of course, not invited.  These were mainly regular Ukrainian military speaking to Novorussian military and Ukrainian activists speaking to Mozgovoi.   There were also some real disagreements.

The Ukrainian position was this (paraphrase - not real quote): "the Maidan was legitimate and correct but you - the Novorussians - took up arms and you thereby created a crisis which the illegitimate junta used and which prevented us from defending our political goals.  We don't want our country to further break up and what you are doing is exactly that.  Also, we know that the Russian "Polite Armed Men in Green" are fighting on your side and many of you are not representing true Ukrainian interests, but Russian interests.  Stop fighting and join the political process to clean our country from the crazies".

To which Mozgovoi replied (paraphrase - not real quote): "we did not choose to fight, you came to our land and you are killing our people.  If you really want to clean Kiev from the Nazi scum, then don't stand between us and Kiev and let us pass - we will take care of them no problem.  You are taking orders from Nazis and oligarchs and you are doing nothing to stop them from killing our people.  If we were to lay down our arms, we would all be massacred.

One interesting thing was that when the Ukrainians accused the Novorussians of doing Russia's bidding, Mozgovoi replied that the Ukrainians were pawns of the CIA and, amazingly, the Ukrainians pretty much agreed that the CIA was running the show.  As for Mozgovoi, he did not deny that Russia was helping.

Both sides were expressing frustration that they could not unite their forces and jointly get rid of the oligarchs and Nazis.

During the Bezler interview, there was one amazing moment was when the Ukrainian crew asked Bezler if he spoke Ukrainian, to which he replied that 'yes'.  Unconvinced, the Ukrainian crew asked him if he could recite a poem by the famous poet Taras Shevchenko.  Then, to everybody's surprise, Bezler recited the poem "to the Poles" in which Sevchenko describes how happy the Cossaks were,

Until in the name of Christ
The
ксьондзи (Latin Priests) came and set afire
To our quiet paradise. And spilled 

A huge sea of tears and blood,
And killed and crucified orphans 

In the Name of Christ
The heads of Cossacks then dropped
Like trampled grass,
The Ukraine cried, and moaned!
And the head after head
Fell to the ground. As if enraged,
A priest furious tongue
Screamed: «Te Deum! Hallelujah! .. "
And this is how my Polish friend and brother!
Evil priests and rich men
Separated us from each other
When we could have lived together happy


[nb: this is my own translation, I could not find this poem in English anywhere; as any Russian, I mostly understand Ukrainian, but I can easily misunderstand a word or expression so, caveat emptor, and don't take this translation to the bank!  The Saker]

It was quite amazing to see how well Bezler spoke Ukrainian and how he used this opportunity to remind his Ukrainian counterparts how already in the past they were used and manipulated by Russia and Orthodoxy -hating westerners, and he did so using verses of their own national hero!

In another rather surreal moment, a Novorussian solider took out a guitar and sang a song about the war.  The Ukrainians were clearly moved, although they were also disturbed by the fact that the song repeatedly said that these were "Russians fighting Russians".  This issue came up several again later in the conversation.  From the Novorussian point of view, the Ukrainians were also part of the "Russian cultural realm" (as opposed to state or nationality) albeit with a different accent and a different history.  The Ukrainians insisted that they were a different nationality, albeit one with strong ties to the "Russian cultural realm".

During both the Bezler and Mozgovoi interviews the issue of prisoners was raised.  Both sides reported that their men were mistreated and even tortured while in captivity.  Interestingly, during the Bezler interview there were two Ukrainian officials present, one human right activist and another who was representing the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense for the topic of POWs.  They both readily admitted that Bezler treated the Ukrainian prisoners not as prisoners at all, but as guests: they were free to walk around, they ate and slept with Bezler's men, they were treated with kindness and hospitality. In once instance he even fed them red caviar!  But the very same Bezler openly admitted that "we take no prisoners from the Nazi death squads" confirming  what I have said many times: the Russian kindness and generosity towards Ukrainian POWs only extends to regular army units - captured death squad members are immediately executed.

There are hundred of small moments and exchanges which I wish I could convey to you, but that would take too much space and time.  What I will say is that it was quite amazing to see enemies talking to each other in a very friendly manner.  I was also amazed at how readily the Ukrainians agreed that the Ukraine must rid herself from the Nazis and the oligarchs.  In various occasions people on both sides said "let's do that together!".  Others were more dubious.  Frankly, I am extremely impressed by the courage and decency of many of the Ukrainians in these interviews who, while standing their ground on the issue of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine, quite openly said how much they hated the Nazis and the oligarchs.  I sure hope that God will protect these men for their courage.

Both Bezler and Mozgovoi looked very, very good.  The latter especially surprised me by explicitly stating that his goal was regime change in Kiev and not just the separation of Novorussia which he clearly sees as a only temporary solution and as a necessary self-defense measure.  Clearly, both Bezler and Mozgovoi are first and foremost anti-Nazis and both of them see that there is not "Novorussian solution".  Mozgovoi explicitly stated that he think that both sides could live together if the Ukrainians got rid of their Nazis and oligarchs.

While I have always said that the only possible stable solution of the crisis is a de-nazification of the Ukraine and a conversion of the current Banderastan into a "mentally sane" Ukraine, I am not naive and I also see that this might take a decade or more.  However, seeing how Mozgovoi and his Ukrainian counterparts agreed on the need to de-nazify and de-oligarchise (is that English?) I see that there is hope because the bottom line is this: both sides have much more in common than what separates them!

Again, these were regular Ukrainians, not crazed Nazi death-squad members, I understand that.  And the two sides do disagree on fundamental issues.  I see that too.  But I also see that there is a basis, a minimum in common, to negotiate.  This does not have to be a war of extermination.

The Ukraine as we knew her is dead.  Now we have Crimea and Novorussia which are gone forever, and a rump-Ukraine I call "Banderastan" which is occupied by the US CIA, Ukie Nazis and oligarchs.  My hope is that the just as the Ukrainian civil war turned into a war for the self-determination and liberation of Novorussia, so will the war for self-determination and liberation of Novorussia turn into a war for the liberation of Banderastan from its US/Nazi/oligarchic occupiers.  If that happens and if a new Ukraine eventually emerges, then I have no doubt that the people of the Ukraine will agree that each region should have the right of self-determination ranging from cultural right to full separation.  Only then will we really find out which regions want to stay and which ones want to leave forever.

In the meantime, I am very positively impressed by the Novorussian field commanders.  Bezler and Mozgovoi of course, but also Givi, Motorola, Zakharchenko, Kononov  and the others are all strong figures capable of both fighting and talking.  Strelkov, alas, is still more or less in political no man's land and I am very concerned about his proximity with the blogger el-Murid who is clearly a "gateway" to the "hurray-patriots" and "Putin bashers" which are being used by the Empire to try to discredit Putin. Still, the political infighting amongst Novorussian leaders continues and there is still no clear leader.  Hopefully, the upcoming elections will help to solve this issue.

The Saker

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

News about Auslander

Dear friends,

I just wanted to let you know that 'Auslander' is doing well.  I know - I saw him face to face :-)

Really, he managed to organize a visit to the USA and we met and spent a full day together.  I could not write about this before as I wanted him to leave the territory of the USA before posting this.  He is doing well and he told me plenty of interesting things about the situation in Crimea.  The bottom line is this: he and I agree that Crimea is 100% safe.  Alas, we also agree that a Ukie attack is most likely.

Anyway - he sends his regards to everybody and he will be back on this blog as soon as he sleeps of is jet lag.

Kind regards,

The Saker

Podcast project - let's give it a first try, okay?

Dear friends,

Since several of you have expressed interest for this, let's give it a try.

I invite you post your questions in the comments section below (on any topic) and I will try to record a podcast with my replies.  Please do not send me questions by email (I have way too many emails to answer already!).  Also - and just to make clear - I don't promise to necessarily reply to all questions, but only those that will inspire me to reply.  Any topic seems legit to me - feel free to ask any question you want.  Also, if you have suggestions, comments or criticisms about the blog, our community, or anything I wrote or did - please feel free to post them here.  I will try to answer the best I can.

Let's see if you guys enjoy this.  I think I might :-)

Cheers and kind regards,

The Saker

“Ebola is a Big Lie”

Note: I am submitting the following article to your attention "for your information".  While I personally do not have the knowledge to have an opinion about this topic, I think that leaving the MSM a monopoly of information on Ebloa is dangerous.  As always, your comments are invited.

The Saker
-------

 “Ebola is a Big Lie” --- “Nana Kwame” from Ghana speaks out – and a new False Flag of horror dimensions in the making

by Peter Koenig

"Ebola is a big lie" - according to a man called “Nana Kwame” – most likely a pseudonym – living in Ghana, Ebola was brought to West Africa, to 4 countries for 4 specific reasons by - no one less than The Red Cross. This article is rocketing the internet for the last couple of days, for example in “Spirit Science and Metaphysics” http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/ebo-lie-man-living-in-ghana-confirms-ebola-is-a-hoax/ - and was translated into Spanish and published by the Peruvian newspaper LaPrimera, a paper that regularly seeks to dissect the truth from the flood of lies emitted by the Peruvian MSM.

The very credible story was already at least partially corroborated by other web articles including the one by Timothy Alexandre Guzman, GR http://www.globalresearch.ca/a-liberian-scientist-claims-the-u-s-is-responsible-for-the-ebola-outbreak-in-west-africa/5408459 - recounting the story by Dr. Cyril Broderick, a Liberian University Professor. According to Dr. Broderick, the US Department of Defense (DoD) has contracted a Canadian pharmaceutical company, Tekmira, to conduct Ebola research on humans in Guinea and Sierra Leone, just shortly before the outbreak in Guinea and Sierra Leone. The West Africa epidemic was declared in March 2014. In addition, Broderick states “It is most disturbing that the U. S. Government has been operating a viral hemorrhagic fever bioterrorism research laboratory in Sierra Leone”. He asks the obvious – “Are there others?

Just by coincidence, a few days ago, Canada announced that it will deliver to the World Health Organization (WHO) 800 units of Ebola vaccines. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/18/us-health-ebola-canada-idUSKCN0I70H820141018 . WHO will consult with the countries most affected on how to use the vaccine. Reuters says human trials will be carried out by Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in the United States.

Why Ebola vaccines now, donated by Canada, when the Ebola virus is ‘owned’ by the US through CDC, since November 2007, Accession No. 200706291, Patent No. CA 2741523 A1, publication date April 2010 http://www.google.com/patents/CA2741523A1?cl=en ?

Ebola was first identified in what is today South Sudan in 1976 and later the same year in a small village in northern Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire). The outbreak disappeared after 26 days, for reasons not quite clear.

Now again Ebola – why? In West Africa, thousands of kilometers away from the first outbreak? – The answers may be contained in Mr. “Nana Kwame’s” report.

Mr. Kwame states “People in the Western World need to know what’s happening here in West Africa. They are lying! “Ebola” as a virus does NOT Exist and is NOT “spread”. The Red Cross has brought a disease to 4 specific countries for 4 specific reasons and it is only contracted by those who receive treatments and injections from the Red Cross. That is why Liberians and Nigerians have begun kicking the Red Cross out of their countries and reporting in the news the truth.”

He goes on listing four key He goes on listing four reasons for the so called ‘outbreak’ – better called ‘controlled outbreak’. He says, most people may jump to the conclusion of ‘depopulation’ which the West is always keen on when it comes to Africa.

Remember, Africa holds still about 60% of the world’s natural resources, coveted by the west to maintain their predatory greed economy. With fewer African’s, they – the resources – may be easier accessible – and with a reduced world population, a small western elite may live longer enjoying these (unrenewable) resources before they are exhausted. – I have heard people say – Wars are horrible. The only good thing about them is that they reduce the world population.

The real reasons, Mr. Kwame argues, are No. one – that the west, especially the United States of America, can justify getting troops on the ground in Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone. This has already happened. A few weeks ago Obama sent 3,000 troops to Liberia, none of them doctors or health specialist, none of them experts in prevention of pandemics. Cynics asked – does he believe the virus can be shot?

The second reason, according to Mr. Kwame, is the diamonds of Sierra Leone, the world’s largest – and most unhuman – diamond producer. Mine workers have been on strike for the four months, due to horrible, slave-like work conditions. Military ‘assistance’ will help. The strikers may all be killed and replaced by others, but the profitable flow of diamonds into the western greed markets will continue to flow. Reminds of the docu-drama movie “Blood Diamonds”.

The third reason, Mr. Kwame argues, is troops on the ground may force-feed Ebola ‘vaccinations’ (poison – or rather the disease itself) on wary, unwilling citizens. Troops will force these vaccinations upon the people to ensure the visible appearance of an Ebola pandemic. In addition to this they will protect the Red Cross from the Liberians and Nigerians who have been rightfully ejecting them from their countries.

The fourth reason, Mr. Kwame describes is the scare factor. We all see the Ebola psychosis of the western MSM, because of about 4,000 deaths – depending who counts – in West Africa. Mind you, this is an important figure, especially if the virus has been planted, but it is a derisory number, when compared to the millions dying every year from paludism (malaria), affecting also the Northern Hemisphere, and no vaccine is in sight. The people who die from malaria are in any case too poor to pay for a vaccine – small business perspective for pharma greed.

Let’s not forget, there are other ‘benefits’. Neoliberal everything-goes capitalism, seldom settles for just one greed element. The Win-Win Situation, invented by the Washington Consensus and spread by the World Bank, IMF and the likes has become the slogan of success.

What most westerners do not realize is that neoliberalism is infinitely deadlier than Ebola, Aids and all epidemics of the last century combined. Wars and conflicts inspired, provoked and instigated by our neoliberal greed economy and led by Washington’s war machine and NATO, have killed since 2001 alone an estimated 12 to 15 million people around the globe.

Imagine the bonanza for the pharma industry when the population will be force-vaccinated as was almost the case with H1N1 – when governments bought hundreds of millions of vaccines, before the WHO scandal flew open. Hundreds of millions of vaccine units for force-vaccination if necessary, on tax-payers backs. A strategy that didn’t work that time, despite the media hype.

The Ebola hype has all the colors of another Washington-made false flag operation.

Ebola is man-made, ‘controllable’ and spreadable - if hyped up. A scared and ignorant population including in our western cities can easily be manipulated into accepting a vaccine, no matter how effective it is in stopping the disease, or alternatively, how effective it is in spreading it. The idea is subduing, then clamping-down on the population, putting people into quarantines (prisons), to make sure no upheavals occur. Western elite, led by Washington and duly followed by its European puppets and vassals throughout the world – may then quietly go about their business in the final stage to take over the world – the One World Order – Full Spectrum Dominance, the fulfillment of the PNAC – Plan for a New American Century – which is being implemented as these lines are written, but hardly anybody notices.

People beware! We are about at the same point as with H1N1 – media hype to the point of psychosis, people’s short-lived memories, panicking and a total clamp-down is easy – no large military expenditures, since the few protestors can easily be subdued. – And I don’t dare thinking what else can be done with them.

Thanks god for Russia and China. They may not be able to prevent the western Ebola scare, but they are sure our last hope to prevent a Full Spectrum Dominance by the Washington gang and its criminal followers.

Peter Koenig is an economist and former World Bank staff. He worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, the Voice of Russia, now Ria Novosti, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Transcarpathia, Transnistria and Gagauzia SitRep 20 Oct - 26 Oct

by "Y"

Transcarpathia

ATO

Volunteers from the Tachyiv district have shipped ~ 2.5 tons of supplies to the front. These supplies intended for Aidar, the 128th Brigade and the 24th Brigade are described as 'humanitarian aid', and consist mainly of winter clothing along with a few specialist items such as night vision imaging devices. Some have raised concerns over these latter items as they appear to have been bought at 100,000 UAH, whereas the typical price is about 55,000 UAH. A group of supporters in the Vynograd area collected 68,000 UAH on behalf of Transcarpathian troops.. A group of Ukrainians in Austria, 'UKROP Austria' donated a van, which was repaired locally in Transcarpathia and used to transport supplies as far as Kiev. There it was supposed to be upgraded to a first aid vehicle with the provision of medical equipment.

Aidar have established a training base in the mountain village of Dymka in the Volovets district. This was originally a demonstrator base formed by Aidar members on their return from front. The new 4 hectare base is currently funded by donations. It has provided 3-4 weeks training for about 50 recruits who then go on to the front.

A small number of individuals have been reported wounded, one from Aidar, one from the 95th Brigade and several others. The action took place in the town of Shchastya 18 km north of Lugansk. An unspecified number of individuals from the 128th Mountain Infantry Brigade based in Transcarpathia were wounded when the unit came under fire in action at Debaltsevo. The Ukraine regime states that 2500 people are officially missing or held prisoner in the east. They state that 822 have been released so far in prisoner exchanges.

Rotation of the police units continues. On 20 October, 56 members of the 'Green Berets' border guard detachment returned from the front. There are still 170 at the front due for rotation. One Transcarpathian border police detachment is based around Artemovsk, manning block posts on the roads around and especially leading to Debaltsevo. This is an area of conflict ~ 40 km south east of Artemovsk. Small numbers of volunteers still move to and from the front. A group of four members of the Carpathian Sich (a founder group of the Pravy Sektor block) went to the front, whilst five ethnic Hungarians returned to their villages in Transcarpathia.

The Ukrainian internal committee investigating the Ilovaisk disaster have absolved the troops of the Prykarpattya battalion of all responsibility, laying the blame totally on the actions of Geletey and Murzenko.

Economy

Recently released figures indicate that the average monthly salary in Transcarpathia is 2731 UAH (~ 210$). The unemployment rate is said to be an incredibly low 1.3%.

The Hryvnia exchange rate is still stable at about 12.95 UAH to the USD. However, economic experts suggest the exchange rate is being held at this level until after the election when it may drop 20-30% to 17-18 or even 20 UAH/USD.

Energy
Weather reports predict the first snows of the winter will fall this week in the higher parts of Transcarpathia.

As ever, the gas problem is central. The Ukraine regime is looking at various methods of reducing gas demand, and is considering incentive plans to reduce consumption, to promote biodiesel as an alternative, to encourage energy conservation and tariff changes to force consumers to reduce the amount of gas used.

Ukraine has been importing gas via the reverse flow network in Transcarpathia, pumping the gas into underground storage in anticipation of high winter demand. The gas comes largely from Slovakia, with some from Poland. There are suggestions that the Ukrainian and Slovakian gas transport companies, Naftogas and Eustream may seek to work closely together or even merge. The head of Naftogas has called on Slovakia to end its contract with Gazprom, and renegotiate to allow for reverse flow, which is currently not allowed according to Gazprom. The Slovakian gas company plans to reduce the amount of gas it buys from Gazprom by 10-15%, and expects to pay a lower price. This is presumably some kind of wishful starting point for any new contract with Gazprom. In a statement that is unbelievably detached from reality, Marecek, the head of Slovakia's Eustream states that the European Union must oppose the construction of South Stream otherwise that would mean it does not recognise Ukraine as a reliable supplier of gas. The more obvious threat that it poses to Eustream's profits is not mentioned.

More realistically, the Prime Minister of Slovakia notes that Ukraine wants to pass the costs of its gas delivery and debts on to EU. He quite reasonably states that the world does not work that way. Even the President of Romania, who is trying to put the squeeze Moldova and the PMR, notes the problem. He states that "Romania is not against assisting Ukraine in payment of debts, but Ukraine should understand that it is a big country that itself needs to find solutions for survival, not asking all the time for money." Meanwhile in La-la land, Yatsenyuk claims that the Ukraine gas problem can only be solved once the reverse gas flow issue has been clarified. He presumably sees that Russia is no longer prepared to be a sucker, and is hoping to pass the buk over to the EU instead. In response, Barosso has stated that the EU can provide a maximum $1 billion bridge loan to cover part of the costs. The Ukraine gas disaster has clearly become the parcel in a game of 'pass the parcel', with no one wanting to be caught with it once the music stops.

Following the self-inflicted wound caused by destruction of coal mines in the east, Ukraine has resorted to importing coal from South Africa. I have seen no details of costings so far but I do hope everyone involved in the supply chain gets cash up front.

Politics
The big news politically is the election to be held on 26 October. This arose after parliament was dissolved following a failure to agree on the austerity measures necessary for the IMF loans and in preparation for EU association. The opposing parties have been neutralised by various means, primarily lustration.

One major event in Uzhgorod was the appearance of Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of Pravy Sektor at an extended Q&A session (links to videos are given in Resources). He caused a stir by appearing with an armed guard, who stationed themselves at doorways. He claimed this was in response to comments from the SBU that there would be actions against him. Of course, nothing untoward happened, so this becomes part of the normalisation process by which he appears in public surrounded by his praetorian guard. The Q&A was extended, ~30 minutes, but there was one particularly interesting comment. He stated that Crimea will return to Ukraine at some stage. He claims Putin has not taken the Crimean Tartars into account. Yarosh states that they can become a driving force of revolution. This is exactly what happened to Pravy Sektor. Members were trained in Poland and led the violence at the Maidan. To me, this suggests he is, and perhaps always has been, closely connected to those behind the Ukraine regime change. He is certainly a more marketable front for Pravy Sektor than the odious Sashko Bily (alias of Oleksandr Muzychko) who died in mysterious circumstances earlier in the year.

Legislation allowing troops at the front to vote failed to pass. However, they were allowed to vote via a loophole in which they were treated as immigrants. A rumour that males voting would be conscripted turned out to be just a rumour.

As hinted in a previous report, Orban's perceived rapprochement with Russia has not pleased the US. Sanctions have been imposed against six Hungarian officials, described as members of the Orban government or civil servants. These individuals are denied entry to the US, supposedly because of personal corruption. Retaliation for the rapprochement with Russia, or investigation of US companies tax affairs are more likely explanations.

Political experts predicted voter turnout in Transcarpathia would be less than 60%, typically around 50% for this kind of election. Polling stations nominally opened at 9 am and by 4 pm, the turnout in the five Transcarpathian districts varied from about 25% to nearly 48%, with an average of about 34%. Throughout the country, the turnout was greater in the west than in the east. The average for the eight oblasts forming west Ukraine was around 46% whilst it was only around 33% in the five eastern oblasts including Donetsk and Lugansk. Over all 196 electoral districts the turnout was highest in Kiev and lowest in Donetsk at about 26%. People in the areas of Donetsk and Lugansk east of the demarcation line were not taking part in the vote. Exit polls gave 24% of the vote to 'Bloc Poroshenko', 21% to the 'Popular Front' (Yatsenyuk), 'Self Help' (deputy leader Semen Semnchenko) with 13%, 'Opposition Bloc' (Boyko) with 8%, 'Radical Party' (Lyashko) with 7%, 'Svoboda' (Tyagnybok) with 6% and 'Batkivshchyna' (Tymoshenko) with 6%. Pravy Sektor gained about 2.4% of votes at exit polls. Of these seven crossing the 6% threshold, six are pro-Europe/America and one (Opposition Bloc) is possibly 'pro-Russian'. These are results obviously subject to revision with the actual and final count of votes. The ultimate power structure will be governed by the allegiance of the large number of 'self identified' candidates who probably align with Pravy Sektor or Svoboda, as half the seats come from party blocs and half from individuals.

An unknown number of those voting chose to invalidate their votes, voting for Putin, Novorossia, DNR and LNR for example. Their exit poll statements are not noted.

The last word on the election lies with the inimitable Ukrainian journalist, Anatoly Sharii and his response to a program describbing voter turnout on Kolomoisky's TV channel .... 99.90%!

Propaganda
The linked map claiming to show activity in the east represents the propaganda the average Ukrainian is exposed to. It is mainly propaganda by omission. The map shows no weapons west of the demarcation line, only to the east and in Russia. Hence the claim that all killing and damage is the result of RUssia and the pro-Russian forces.

The election day propaganda was not unexpected. Firstly, the SBU detained two men in Transcarpathia, one described as Russian, the other as 'from Crimea'. They were described as a 'sabotage group' in the press. They were actually tourists visiting local residents. The SBU released them without charge and with little fanfare.

Secondly, Poroshenko paid a flying visit to Kramatorsk, purportedly to verify the voting process in person and to 'protect the rights of troops to vote'. It didn't seem to do him much good at the end of the day.

Separatism
Separatism in Transcarpathia appears to have been heavily clamped down by the SBU and possibly local Pravy Sektor members. However, in Lviv, the European Galician Assembly has intensified its activities. It skirts away from explicit separatism, but states that it would be happy to get into the EU without Ukraine. Its immediate aims are to unite at least three areas of Lviv, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk. The stated goal of the organisation is to return Galicia to Europe. It is another matter as to whether Europe would be really happy to have a hard-core Galician state as a member.

Resources
Yarosh Q&A video links:

Yarosh in Uzhgorod 1
Yarosh in Uzhgorod 2
Yarosh in Uzhgorod 3
Yarosh in Uzhgorod 4
Yarosh in Uzhgorod 5
Yarosh in Uzhgorod 6
Yarosh in Uzhgorod 7
Yarosh in Uzhgorod 8
Yarosh in Uzhgorod 9

Transnistria (aka PMR) and Gagauzia

Economy

The electrical machinery plant Electromash has been accredited by Gazprom as a source of replacement pump motors needed for the renovation of the Gazprom pipeline network.

The PMR is hoping to transform its current tax system into a classical tax system, with taxation of income, the property of legal entities and the imposition of a value-added tax. The reform is seen as part of the solution to the problem of the budget deficit which exceeds 40%. This arises partly from the economic blockade imposed by Moldova and Ukraine with consequent loss of sales.

Energy
The gas contract involving Moldova and Gazprom is to be renegotiated early next year. In spite on Moldova's actions against PMR, it expects a price cut for gas supply next year. The repayment of historic gas debts totally $23 million is also part of the negotiation.

Politics
The attempts to coerce PMR away from Russia into Moldova continue. The possibility of Moldova uniting with Romania or joining NATO has led Lavrov to remind everyone about the context for the status negotiations. He notes that 'all agreed that if Moldova loses its sovereignty and gets annexed by another country, or if Moldova changes its military-political non-bloc status, the people of Transnistria have the right to decide their future independently' This is a warning that Russia may recognise Transnistria should either of these events occur. He also stated the he hoped Moldova would not interfere with the economic affairs of PMR. The Memorandum of 1997 established the right to freedom of economic activity, which means unimpeded trade and investment ties with Russia and Europe. Lavrov also claims the US has usurped the position of head of OSCE mission, the mediation role in the '5+2' talks. He states that 'one American goes, another American comes in'.

Ukraine has joined the EU in placing visa restrictions for several former leaders of PMR. Lavrov and the PMR government consider this an act of intimidation and a restriction on free travel. Ukraine is part of '5+2' group trying to resolve the status issue. Its role is supposed to be that of guarantor, along with Russia, the OSCE is supposed to be a mediator, whilst the EU and the US are supposedly mere observers.

Recently. the Moldovan constitutional court has declared as unconstitutional any party whose goal is not European integration. Lavrov has rightly described this as outrageous and undemocratic. This outcome in the Moldovan court is not surprising given that six of the seven judges in the constitutional court are citizens of Romania.

In recent negotiations with PMR about the free trade zone, Luke Devine, the EU negotiator issued an ultimatum that "We must bear in mind that in late 2015, when the Transnistrian authorities decide not to apply the DCFTA (deep and comprehensive free trade agreement), Transnistria will lose preferences with largest trading partner. So Tiraspol need to decide whether to follow its policies on the economic interests of the population and business, or to stand in the ideological position". Gagauzia is in a similar position. The EU Free Trade Zones are subject to variation when convenient. Moldova currently has quota allowing it to export 80,000 tons of apples into EU free of duty. The European FTA is clearly a means of making weaker smaller countries chose between the EU and the Customs Union. This in turn is a means of reducing the potential for free trade with Russia. European integration has clearly been co-opted by US-UK interests into a mechanism for reducing the influence of Russia.

In the forthcoming Moldovan elections, workers abroad have the right to vote. Moldova is reducing the number of voting stations in Russia. There are about 500,000 Moldovans working in Russia with 15 polling stations in contrast to Italy where 250,000 Moldovan migrants have access to 25 stations. The Moldovan government plans to reduce the number of stations in Russia from 15 to 5, with 2 in St. Petersburg and 3 in Moscow. This will make it difficult for Moldovans in Russia, possibly perceived to be pro-Russia, from voting.

Propaganda
Poroshenko has banned the use of the term 'TMR' (Transnistrian Moldovan Republic). He claims there is only the Transnistrian section of the Ukraine / Moldova border. This really does not fit in with Ukraine's supposed role as guarantor in the '5+2' negotiations over the status of PMR.

Romania has stated it needs to increase its presence in Gagauzia, as the prolonged exposure to Russian TV and media gives a false impression of Europe. Such control, of course, has nothing to do with maintaining and extending Romanian ownership and control of the media.

Sanctions
Russia has included meats products from Moldova in its list of sanctions. The claim is that they do not meet Russian safety standards and often include inaccurate veterinary certificates. The free trade agreement with Moldova was terminated earlier in the year, so the zero rate of duty on imports of agricultural products was abolished. Moldova regards these actions as political rather than legitimate economic responses.

Separatism
Gagauzia is considering establishing a private broadcasting council to allow it to control media relay irrespective of Chisinau. The Moldovan government wants to reduce the transmission of Russian media as part of the program of mandating European integration.

Blog news update - decisions, decisions...

Dear friends,

Wow!  Really.  Wow!  Your response to my Community Brainstorming: I am swimming against a Tsunami post was nothing short of massive, huge.  I got more donations then ever before, I got long and very moving letters of support, and I got a lot of very good advice and suggestions.  Frankly, I had never expected such an outpouring of support and I am immensely grateful to you all for it.  

Truly, it is hard to put in words.  I will try though, in the near future.  I will call the post "submarines in the desert".  I will explain what I mean by that at that time.  All I can say is that I am immensely touched and absolutely amazed by your support.  As I said - I will discuss this important topic in a future post (now is not the time).

I also had the time to think, consider all the suggestions you sent and ask for advice.  To keep a long story short, here are my conclusions (organized in the usual time and money categories):

Time:

First, as soon as I move to the new blog I will have at least three co-moderators to help me with this extremely time consuming task.

Second, the Saker community is working on the creation of a "pool of webmasters" which would  be able to support all the various Saker websites.  We have already received applications from some highly skilled volunteers and we hope that once this system is in place the turnaround time to fix any problems or to implement a needed change will be much shorter.  If you are interested and if you have time, availability and strong WordPress skills, please email me.

Third, I will keep this (old, blogger) blog indefinitely open as a mirror of the main (new) one although I will eventually close the comments section here.  Should anything happen to the main blog, I will always be able to open up comments here.  In other words, the blog will have triple-redundancy: new blog, a main (and so far hidden) backup, and the old blog as mirror.

Fourth - the new blog should be back online soon.  Again, before that happens I will keep you posted.

Money:

First, the site will, of course, remain 100% free.

Second, if anything at all, I have come to the obvious conclusion that the sudden drop in donation was not due to any lack of desire of anybody to donate, but to a lack of reminders to do so.  I do not want to put up ads, I do not want to place a constant reminder, I do not want to have fund-drives, I do not want to place big signs or do any other of the many techniques I have seen used which I personally find obnoxious.  However, what I am thinking of doing is post short and unobtrusive reminders about donations about once a month in the form of a post.

Third, I have decided to try out a monthly podcast which I would also make available for free, but which I would also use as a reminder about donations.  My idea is for anybody interested to send in questions about any topic and I would read these questions out and reply to them in a recording which I would then make available for download/streaming.  In this way, I could communicate with you in an informal way, simply by speaking directly to you (in English) rather than by always writing.

Fourth, I have agreed to write a book based on some topics touched upon in this blog, but organized in a logical way and edited by a professional and a team of volunteers.  The book would be available for download along some kind of donations scheme still to be worked out.  I will keep you posted.

Other miscellaneous issues

The logo.  Again, wow!  I did not expect such a massive response :-)  Frankly, my main "problem" is that I like almost all of these logos and you seem to like them all.  So I am wondering whether there is a way to use them all too.  Maybe an animated GIF (though I don't like this format) or some HTML5 equivalent?  Maybe a moving banner?  Or maybe I will ask one of my webmasters to write a PHP script rotating the logos every week.  The main arguments to have various logos is that seems only appropriate for a very diverse community like ours. 

Latin American Saker Blog.  It's happening, I promise.  It's just that this a very big enterprise (possibly the biggest Saker blog) and that the main people organizing it are very busy in *meatspace*.  I had hoped to officially launch last Friday, but that was not doable.  So I hope for an official launch in the not too distant future, but I cannot say when.

What about an Italian Saker blog?  I have a good friend who has a big archive of Saker articles already translated into Italian, and making one more clone of the Saker blog model websites would not be too hard.  All I need is a few Italian volunteers to create a small Italian Saker blog team.  Is anybody interested?  If yes, please email me.

That's it for now.

Your turn now - what do you think about these ideas?

Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Please let me know.

Kindest regards and tons of thanks,

The Saker

Bizarre participation figures in Ukie elections

According to Vzgliad quoting TASS, these are some of the figures of participation:  On average over 30%.  The lowest was in the Zakarpatia Oblast: 12.20%; the highest in the Zaporozhie Oblast 36.75%.

Then, somehow, the Ukies managed to get 14.65% Donetsk and 13.07% in Lugansk. 

And then this figure: in Odessa 13.22%.

Uh?!  Does that mean that there were fewer people voting in Odessa then in Donetsk or Lugansk regions?!  If that is true - what does this tell us about what is happening in Odessa?

Can somebody confirm these participation figures from other sources?

The Saker

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Oligarchs beat Nazis in Ukraine elections

According to exit polls, here are the (provisional) results of the elections in Banderastan:

Poroshenko: 23%
Iatseniuk: 21%
Self-Help: 13%
Opposition Block: 7%
Liashko: 6%
Tiagnibok: 5%
Timoshenko: 5%


Assuming this is more or less correct, this means that the various oligarch controlled parties (in blue above) have won a strong victory against the various Nazi parties (in red): 44% vs 16%.  Even if we add the Self-Help party to the Nazis, we still get 44% vs 29%.

I think we will have to wait for Wednesday for official and final results.

Kind regards, have a great week.

The Saker

What could the next Junta offensive against Novorussia look like?

Dear friends,

On July 1st of this year - just before an imminent Ukie attack - I made a short post entitled Novorussia - Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and settle for anything in the middle in which I was trying to prepare my readers for the possible consequences of a massive Ukrainian assault.

Разбор полетов - "after action report"

Looking back, I would say that what actually took place was neither the best, nor the worst, option, but an "in the middle" kind of outcome: initially, the Ukies almost severed Donetsk from Luganks, but they never had the capability to really enter these cities and execute urban offensive operations.  The junta forces did penetrated deeply in Novorussian territory, but they were soon surrounded and the famous "cauldrons" began to form.  The biggest loss for the Novorussians was the loss of Slaviansk and Kramotorsk which Strelkov attempted to hold as long as possible apparently in the hope of a Russian military intervention, even though he always knew that Slaviansk was indefensible.  When it became clear that the Russians would not come, Strelkov did the right thing and pulled his forces out of Slaviansk and into Donetsk.

All in all, the Novorussian Armed Forces (NAF) proved to be a force far superior to the Junta Repression Forces (JRF) which suffered from the following problems:
  • Criminally incompetent top commanders in Kiev and at the operational headquarters.
  • Terrible logistics
  • Poor morale
  • Poor training
  • Poor coordination
  • A hostile local population
The strong points of the JRF were:
  • An overwhelming advantage in firepower
  • An overwhelming advantage in armor
  • An overwhelming advantage in numbers
  • A monopoly on heavy weapons
  • A total control of the skies
  • The individual courage and resilience of the soldiers of the regular and, especially, special army units
The Novorussians negated these advantages by never presenting a lucrative target, by their high mobility and by their extremely successful air-defenses.

The weak points of the NAF were:
  • A acute lack of firepower
  • A acute lack of armor
  • A acute lack of men (especially specialists)
  • The total absence of heavy weapons
  • The absence of a true central command
The strong points of the NAF were:
  • The extremely high morale of the all the fighting men and woman
  • Very competent commanders and experienced officers
  • Very strong tactical skills
  • An excellent knowledge and use of the terrain
  • Excellent intelligence (no doubt with Russian GRU help)
  • Extremely effective air-defenses (which imposed a no-fly zone on the Ukies)
  • Strong support from the local population
  • A remarkable network of highly skilled technicians capable of repairing, cannibalizing and even rebuilding weapons with old, damaged and abandoned Ukie hardware
All in all the Novorussians did a superb job negating all the advantages of the Ukies while maximizing on their own strong points.  There were ups and down, but I would say that the bottom line of the July-September offensive was a crushing and humiliating defeat for the Ukies and a superb victory for the Novorussians.

What if the Junta attacks again?

Bu now - Sunday morning - there is a quasi-consensus that the Junta is about to launch yet another massive offensive.  Assuming that this is true - and I personally think this is very likely - what are we likely to see?  Furthermore, since the same causes tend to produce the same effects, the key question is this: what have the Ukies learned from their defeat this summer and what could they do differently this time around?

Alas, I don't have access to any first hand information about how the Junta has been preparing itself for the new assault.  Here is what I have found out through the Russian and Ukrainian media:

Junta-controlled military factories have been working night and day to produce a large number of tanks, APCs, IFVs and artillery pieces.  The Ukrainians have been training their SU-25 and Mi-24 pilots.  New volunteer units have been created and regular army units have been re-organized.  The Ukies have built defensive lines along key sectors of the front (such apparently "defensive" preparations are actually crucial for any offensive plans since a highly prepared defensive sector can be held by a numerically smaller forces while preventing an counter-attack or envelopment from the other side).  We have to assume that more men have been mobilized and trained and that the next Ukie assault will again pit a very large Ukrainian force against a much smaller Novorussian one.  But will that be enough for the Ukies to prevail?

I don't think so.

What the Ukies are preparing is rather obvious.  They will pick several key axes of attack along which they will unleash a massive artillery attack.  This fire preparation will serve to prepare for a push by Ukrainian armored units (this time around we can expect the Ukrainian infantry to properly defend their tanks and not the other way around).  The Ukrainians will not push deep into Donetsk or Lugansk, but rather they will try to, again, cut-off and surround Donetsk in a pincer attack and then negotiate some kind of quasi-surrender by the Novorussians.  At most, they will try to enter a few important suburbs.  I don't expect much action around Luganks - Donetsk is far more exposed.

Now, if I am correct and this is what happens, then please understand and remember this: the correct Novorussian response to this plan is to begin by retreating.  It makes no sense whatsoever for the Novorussians to sit and fight from positions which are densely covered by Ukrainian artillery strikes.  During the first Ukrainian attack I was dismayed to see how many people clearly did not understand the importance retreats in warfare.  The "hurray-patriots" in particular were adamant that the initial Novorussian retreat was a clear sign that, as always, "Putin had betrayed Novorussia" (when the NAF went on a long and brilliant counter-offensive, these "hurray-patriots" fell silent for a while until the moment when Moscow stopped the NAF from seizing Mariupol, at which point they resumed chanting their mantra).  The fact is that retreating against a superior forces is the logical thing to do, especially if you have had the time to prepare for a two, possibly, three echelon defense.  While I do not know that for a fact, this is what I expect the Novorussians have been doing during all the length of the ceasefire: preparing a well-concealed and layered defense.

My hope and expectation is that once the JRF attacks the NAF will, again, carefully retreat, pull the JFR in, and then being to gradually degrade the attacking force. I particular hope that the Russians have finally send some much needed guided anti-tank weapons through the voentorg.

Second, the lack of political unity in Novorussia is not as big a military problem as it is a political one.  Most Novorussian commanders are clearly very gifted and at least as competent as Strelkov.  Folks like Bezler, Kononov, Zakharchenko, Mozgovoi, Khodakovskii, Motorola, Givi and many others do not need to be told what to do to do the right thing in their area of responsibility.  The weaker Cossack units have now apparently been reassigned to the Russian-Novorussian border and only combat proven units are facing the Ukie side.

I don't think that the Ukie air force will be of much use, if anything the Novorussian air defense probably got even better.  Mostly, I fear their long range artillery and their sheer numbers.  But even if we look at the worst case scenario (successful Ukie attack cutting off Donetsk) I don't think that the the JRF will prevail.  There is still no doubt in my mind whatsoever that if Novorussia is really threatened then Russia will intervene, overtly if needed.  From what all sources are reporting, the voentorg is working at full capacity and weapons are flowing in in very large numbers including sophisticated ones.  I think that Putin's plan is to try to keep the Nazis out of Novorussia only by means of voentorg.  But should that not be enough, I am confident that Russia will overtly move in.  There is no way that Russia can accept the fall of Novorussia to the Nazis.

The good news is that the Ukies most definitely don't have what it takes for a long, sustained effort.  They will risk it all on one powerful push.  If that push fails, we will see a flurry of US/EU/OSCE "diplomacy" to save the Ukies and come right back to the negotiating table.  At that point the conflict with be "frozen" again (on the Ukie side literally) and the focus will be on keeping the regime in power or replacing it with something else.  After that, the next attack can only come in the Spring on 2015.

Finally, there is also a more optimistic possibility: the real reason behind the chorus of warnings about a Ukie attack might be the Russian way of telling them "we know what you are up to and we are ready".  In theory that should deter a Ukie attack.  Alas, we need to remember that a) there is no real power in Kiev - all the decisions are taking by the USA and b) the goal of the next attack might not be to win, but to draw Russia into an overt intervention.   I personally believe that this was the plan all along and I have been saying that for months: the real goal of the AngloZionists is to force a Russian military intervention in Novorussia while the real goal of the Kremlin is to stay out and keep Novorussia alive by means of voentorg on one hand, and chaos in Banderastan on the other.  So far the Kremlin has prevailed.  We will probably soon find out if that strategy will work again.

The Saker

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Which logo do you prefer? (UPDATED!)


Dear friends, 


I need to decide which logo to use on the new blog.  Which one do you prefer?

Thanks,

The Saker 

UPDATE: it just 'hit me' that we are a community, right? Okay - if you want to submit a logo of your own, please do.  I make no promises to use it, but if I like it I will add it to the list of logos submitted for comments in this survey of opinions.  Deal?


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