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Posts tagged ‘Nikita Khrushchev’

Russian Newsman: Moscow Could Turn US to ‘Radioactive Ash’.

MOSCOW — A Kremlin-backed journalist issued a stark warning to the United States about Moscow’s nuclear capabilities on Sunday as the White House threatened sanctions over Crimea’s referendum on union with Russia.

“Russia is the only country in the world that is realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash,” television presenter Dmitry Kiselyov said on his weekly current affairs show.

Behind him was a backdrop of a mushroom cloud following a nuclear blast.

Kiselyov was named by President Vladimir Putin in December as the head of a new state news agency whose task will be to portray Russia in the best possible light.

His remarks took a propaganda war over events in Ukraine to a new level as tensions rise in the East-West standoff over Crimea, a southern Ukrainian region which is now in Russian forces’ hands and voted on Sunday on union with Russia.

Russian television showed images of ethnic Russians in Crimea dancing, singing and celebrating the referendum but followed them with accusations that Kiev’s new authorities and the West have allowed ultra-nationalists to attack Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine.

Kiev and the West blame the violence in eastern Ukraine on pro-Russian groups and say the Crimea referendum is illegitimate. The United States has warned of imminent sanctions against Moscow.


Kiselyov is an outspoken defender of Putin and once caused outrage by saying the organs of homosexuals should not be used in transplants.

His show portrayed the Ukrainian authorities as unable to maintain law and order. Putin made a similar charge in a telephone conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday.

Such remarks have caused concern in Kiev that Moscow might send troops to eastern Ukraine, acting on a vote in Russian parliament allowing him to use the armed forces if compatriots are deemed in need of protection in Ukraine.

As the crisis escalated, the news in Russia has taken on shades of Soviet-era propaganda, with reporters peppering reports with references to what they say was the cooperation of some Ukrainians with the Nazis in World War Two.

There is also now growing menace in some of the reports, as well as echoes of the Cold War.

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gifted Crimea to Ukraine in 1954, when Ukraine and Russia were both parts of the Soviet Union.

Many people in Crimea hope union with Russia will bring better living conditions and make them citizens of a country capable of asserting itself on the world stage.

Others see the referendum as a land grab by the Kremlin as Ukraine’s new rulers try to move the country towards the European Union and away from Russia’s sway.


© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


Analysts: Putin Might Not Be All Wrong About Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin believes Russia’s troop movements in Ukraine’s Crimea region are sanctioned by a 1997 treaty that Moscow signed with Kiev, CIA director John Brennan told a senior lawmaker Monday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The newspaper cited U.S. officials it didn’t name as the source of the information. The officials declined to identify the lawmaker, the Times said.

The treaty — which expires in 2042— requires that Russia coordinate military movements with Ukraine. Russia announced that Ukraine’s ousted — illegally in its view— President Viktor Yanukovych requested Moscow to send troops across the border, the BBC reported.

The Russian connection to the Crimea peninsula dates to the 1700s when Russia captured the territories from the Muslim Ottoman Empire. When Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, Russia ceded the peninsula to the Ukrainian Soviet republic, according to the BBC. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was half Ukrainian.

The ethnic majority in the region is now Russian. Toward the end of World War II, Stalin deported hundreds of thousands of Sunni Muslim Tatars from Crimea claiming they had collaborated with the Nazis.

Now, Russia points to a far-right element in the Ukrainian protest movement as having hijacked the campaign against Yanukovych. These forces have four posts in the new temporary government according to the BBC.

“The far right in Ukraine has now achieved the level of representation and influence that is unparalleled in Europe,” said University of Ottawa political scientist Ivan Katchanovski, according to The Daily Beast.

Meanwhile, veteran Russia watcher Stephen F. Cohen of Princeton and New York Universities writes in The Nation that while Moscow pursues many “repugnant” policies, coverage by the U.S. mainstream media basically denies Russia any legitimate interests “at home or abroad – even on its own borders, as in Ukraine.”

According to Cohen, the claim repeatedly made in the U.S. media that most Ukrainians long for integration into Europe is inaccurate. In fact, he wrote, the country is divided.

“There is not one Ukraine or one ‘Ukrainian people’ but at least two, generally situated in its Western and Eastern regions.”

Cohen said the media was also mistaken to discount Putin’s December 2013 offer to work with the West to save Ukraine’s economy.

Appearing on CNN on March 2, Cohen said Putin was not a thug, not out to recreate the Soviet Union, and “not even anti-American.”

Putin is behaving to protect what he sees as Russia’s vital interests, Cohen said.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Elliot Jager

CIA Keeping Secret Report on Bay of Pigs.

Image: CIA Keeping Secret Report on Bay of Pigs

People burn tables and roulette wheels outside the Plaza Hotel Casino in Old Havana, Cuba, shortly after Fidel Castro gained power in Jan. 1959. (AP)

By George Will

At 4 a.m. on Jan. 1, 1959, an hour when there never were commercial flights from Havana, David Atlee Phillips was lounging in a lawn chair there, sipping champagne after a New Year’s Eve party, when a commercial aircraft flew low over his house.

He surmised that dictator Fulgencio Batista was fleeing because Fidel Castro was arriving. He was right. Soon he, and many others, would be spectacularly wrong about Cuba.

According to Jim Rasenberger’s history of the Bay of Pigs invasion, “The Brilliant Disaster,” Phillips was “a handsome 37-year-old former stage actor” who “had been something of a dilettante before joining the CIA.”

There, however, he was an expert. And in April 1960, he assured Richard Bissell, the CIA’s invasion mastermind, that within six months radio propaganda would produce “the proper psychological climate” for the invasion to trigger a mass Cuban uprising against Castro.

The invasion brigade had only about 1,400 members but began its members’ serial numbers at 2,500 to trick Castro into thinking it was larger. Castro’s 32,000-man army was supplemented by 200,000 to 300,000 militia members. U.S. intelligence was ignorant of everything from Castro’s capabilities to Cuba’s geography to Cubans’ psychology.

Fifty-two years and many misadventures later, the invasion still fascinates as, in historian Theodore Draper‘s description, “one of those rare events in history — a perfect failure.” It had a perverse fecundity.

It led to President John Kennedy‘s decision to demonstrate toughness by deepening U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Rasenberger writes that three weeks after the April 1961 invasion, Kennedy sent Vice President Lyndon Johnson to Saigon:

“Johnson’s assignment was to deliver a message to [South Vietnam’s President Ngo Dinh] Diem that the United States intended to fully support the South Vietnamese effort to beat the Communists.” (Thirty months later, the United States was complicit in the military coup — regime change — in which Diem was murdered.) The Bay of Pigs led to Nikita Khrushchev‘s disdainful treatment of Kennedy at the June summit in Vienna, and to Khrushchev being emboldened to put missiles in Cuba.

In 1972, the Bay of Pigs made a cameo appearance in the Watergate shambles, which involved some Cubans and Americans active in the invasion. On the June 23 “smoking gun” Oval Office tape, Richard Nixon directs his aide H.R. Haldeman to urge the CIA to tell the FBI to back off from investigating the burglary by saying, “Look, the problem is that this will open the whole Bay of Pigs thing.”

Surely this “thing” should be studied as deeply as possible. Unfortunately, the CIA, which you might think had made every mistake possible regarding the invasion, is now making another. It is resisting attempts to force the release of the fifth and final volume of its official history of it.

This autumn, a federal appeals court is expected to hear arguments about disclosing the document written in 1981 by CIA historian Jack Pfeiffer, who retired in 1984 and died in 1997. The National Security Archive, a private research institution and library, is arguing that no important government interest is served by the continuing suppression of a 32-year-old report about a 52-year-old event.

The CIA admits that the volume contains only a small amount of still-classified information. It argues, however, that it should be covered by the “deliberative process privilege” that makes it exempt from release under the Freedom of Information Act.

The argument is that, for some unclear reason, release of this volume, unlike the release of the first four volumes, would threaten the process by which the CIA’s histories are written. Supposedly candid histories will not be written if the writers know that, decades later, their work will become public.

This unpersuasive worry — an excuse for the selective censorship of perhaps embarrassing scholarship — is surely more flimsy than the public’s solid interest in information. And the government’s interest.

In his 1998 book “Secrecy: The American Experience,” Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan argued that secrecy makes government stupid by keeping secrets from itself. Information is property and government agencies hoard it.

For example, in the 1940s, U.S. military code breakers read 2,900 communications between Moscow and its agents in America. So, while the nation was torn by bitter disagreements about whether Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs committed espionage, the military knew they had. But it kept the proof from other parts of the government,including President Harry Truman.

America needs all the caution its history of misadventures — a record recently enriched by Syria — should encourage. Since the Bay of Pigs, caution has been scarcer than information justifying it.

George F. Will is one of today’s most recognized writers, with more than 450 newspapers, a Newsweek column, and his appearances as a political commentator on ABC. Read more reports from George Will — Click Here Now.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

The debate that changed the world of politics.

September 26, 1960 is the day that changed part of the modern political landscape, when a vice president and a senator took part in the first televised presidential debate.

800px-Kennedy_Nixon_Debat_(1960)The vice president was Richard M. Nixon and the U.S. senator was John F. Kennedy. Their first televised debate shifted how presidential campaigns were conducted, as the power of television took elections into American’s living rooms.

The debate was watched live by 70 million Americans and it made politics an electronic spectator sport. It also gave many potential voters their first chance to see actualpresidential candidates in a live environment, as potential leaders.

The importance of the event can’t be underestimated.

Before 1960, there were candidates who debated (Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas were 19thcentury examples) and there were candidates who appeared on television.

And there were candidates who went out on the trail and “stumped” for votes, appearing in public at pre-arranged events or at whistle-stop tours on trains.

But most voters never had a chance to see candidates in a close, personal way, giving them the opportunity to form an opinion about the next president based on their looks, their voice and their opinions.

Going into the debate, Nixon was the favorite to win the election. He had been President Dwight Eisenhower’s vice president for eight years.

Nixon had shown his mastery of television in his 1952 “Checkers” speech, where he used a televised address to debunk slush-fund allegations, and secure his vice presidential slot by talking about his pet dog, Checkers.

Nixon had also bested Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in the famous Kitchen Debate.

Kennedy was the photogenic and energetic young senator from Massachusetts who ran a calculated primary campaign to best his chief rival, Senator Lyndon Johnson.

But Kennedy had debate experience in the primaries and said, “Nixon may have debated Khrushchev, but I had to debate Hubert Humphrey in the primaries.”

The debate took place in Chicago and CBS assigned a 38-year-old producer named Don Hewitt to manage the event. Hewitt went on to create “60 Minutes” for CBS.

The highly promoted event would pre-empt “The Andy Griffith Show” and run for an hour.

Hewitt had invited both candidates to a pre-production meeting, but only Kennedy took up the offer.

When Nixon arrived for the debate, he looked ill, having been recently hospitalized because of a knee injury. The vice president then re-injured his knee as he entered the TV station, and refused to call off the debate.

Nixon also refused to wear stage make up, when Hewitt offered it. Kennedy had turned down the makeup offer first-he had spent weeks tanning on the campaign trail—but had his own team do his makeup just before the cameras went live.

The result was that Kennedy looked and sounded good on television, while Nixon looked pale and tired, with a five o’clock shadow beard.

The next day, polls showed Kennedy had become the slight favorite in the general election, and he defeated the vice president by one of the narrowest margins in history that November.

Before the debate, Nixon led by six percentage points in the national polls.

There were three other debates between Nixon and Kennedy that fall, and a healthier Nixon was judged to have won two of them, with the final debate a draw.

However, the last three debates were watched by 20 million fewer people than the September 26thevent.

In the aftermath of the first debate, Nixon’s running mate, Henry Cabot Lodge, had a few choice words for the GOP presidential candidate.

“That son-of-a-bitch just lost us the election,” Lodge reportedly said. Johnson, who was Kennedy’s running mate, thought his running mate had lost the debate.

Lodge saw the debate on TV, while Johnson listened to the debate on the radio.

The event’s aura of being a game changer was so strong that in the following three campaigns, the sitting president refused to debate any challenger.

It was Gerald Ford in 1976 who established the current tradition of televised presidential debates in every general election.

Ford became the first sitting president to take part in a televised debate. During his second debate with Jimmy Carter in San Francisco, President Ford said, “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.”

The gaffe was seen as a key factor in Carter’s win over Ford.

Presidential debates became a fixture in 1980, after the GOP challenger, Ronald Reagan, used a strong debate performance just a week before the election to win by a comfortable margin over Carter.


By NCC Staff | National Constitution Center

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