on: Mar 11, 2014, 05:58 AM
|Started by Steve - Last post by Rad|
Pakistan to pay parents in new polio vaccination drive
Parents in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to get 1,000 rupees for each child who completes vaccinations after Peshawar declared largest reservoir of endemic polio
Jon Boone in Peshawar
theguardian.com, Monday 10 March 2014 12.45 GMT
Parents in one of Pakistan's most troubled provinces are to be paid to vaccinate their children against polio, the crippling disease the world is tantalisingly close to eradicating.
It is hoped some 2 million children from some of the most disadvantaged areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the north-western province wracked by Taliban violence, will benefit from the scheme.
Parents will be entitled to claim 1,000 rupees (almost £6) for each newborn child who completes a 15-month programme of vaccinations that will protect them against a number of diseases including measles, hepatitis and polio.
It is the first time the country has resorted to monetary incentives, which are rarely used around the world.
Public health officials battling childhood diseases face immense challenges in KP, where militant attacks are a daily routine, poverty is entrenched and many people are deeply suspicious of programmes enthusiastically backed by western powers.
"It has to be a good amount of money to be attractive, even in the very poorest districts of the province," said Janbaz Afridi, deputy director of the province's expanded programme on immunisation. "If it is a success we will extend it to every child in the province."
KP's government, backed by UN agencies, is currently on a war footing against polio in particular because Peshawar, the province's teeming capital, has become a global health problem.
The historic frontier city is one of the last remaining redoubts of polio, the virus that cripples and kills children and which has been eradicated in every country except Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
Cases from around the world, including China and Syria, have been genetically matched to the Peshawar strain.
Last month the World Health Organisation declared the city the "largest reservoir of endemic poliovirus in the world", a problem caused in part by the city's open sewage channels and broken water pipes. Polio is spread through contact with human faeces.
Within the neighbouring tribal areas, Peshawar acts as a central exchange and an "amplifier" for a disease carried in and out of the city by the tens of thousands of people who pass through every day, including a huge population of refugees who fled Afghanistan in the 1980s.
"The problem with Peshawar is that we always have cases there," said Bilal Ahmed, a senior Unicef official in the city. "In other districts the virus comes and goes, but it never leaves Peshawar, which tells us it's the source."
The WHO says more than 90% of cases around the country and in neighbouring Afghanistan are genetically linked to the city.
Of the world's three polio-endemic countries, Pakistan is the only one where the situation is getting worse and cases are increasing.
India, which this year gained its hard-earned status as polio-free, now turns away travellers from Pakistan unless they have a certificate proving they have been vaccinated. Other countries could follow suit.
The latest push in Peshawar is an attempt to give polio vaccine drops to almost every child under the age of five every weekend for three months.
It requires 8,000 health workers to hit the streets with the aim of vaccinating nearly 800,000 children in a single day.
Four thousand police officers will escort them to protect them against the gunmen who have killed scores of polio vaccinators around the country in recent years.
During vaccination sessions, entire neighbourhoods are put into lockdown, with motorbikes banned from the streets.
One threat is from the Taliban, who have used the global campaign to eradicate polio as a chip in their fight against the US.
In 2012 insurgent commanders in the restive tribal areas of North and South Waziristan banned polio teams from their territories in what they said was retaliation for US drone strikes. Some religious clerics argue the drops are part of a foreign plot against the Islamic world to make Muslim children infertile – a perception arguably made worse by international interest in the issue.
It's a major problem for a campaign officials say needs to reach 97% of children to stand a chance of eradicating the disease in the city.
Polio teams carry booklets of "fatwas", or religious decrees, by famous scholars who argue there is nothing wrong with the drops.
The government has also called on high-profile clerics to support the programme.
"In public the mullahs are all on the same page now," said one health official. "Many still don't like it but they don't preach openly against vaccination anymore."
Some vaccinators say that while fewer parents are refusing the drops for their children, many hide them indoors on vaccination days.
Public antipathy is still easy to find. Amir Zaada, a father visiting the city with his three children from a distant part of the province, said the vaccination programme was "just a game".
"There are other fatal diseases, so why is the government only talking about this," he asked, also raising the case of Shakil Afridi, a doctor who ran a hepatitis vaccination campaign in the town of Abbottabad.
The programme's motivation was not public health but an elaborate scheme by the CIA to discover whether Osama bin Laden was hiding in the town. His unmasking confirmed the worst suspicions of those inclined to see vaccinators as a western conspiracy.
Zaada said he had no regrets not vaccinating his children.
He said: "Look at them. They are fine and in good health. Only God keeps them safe and healthy."
on: Mar 11, 2014, 05:53 AM
|Started by Steve - Last post by Rad|
Erdogan Rival Gulen Urges New Turkey Charter
by Naharnet Newsdesk
11 March 2014, 12:47
The exiled Turkish cleric at the heart of a bitter feud with embattled Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for a new constitution and accused the government of holding the country to ransom.
Fethullah Gulen said in a comment piece published in the Financial Times on Tuesday that a new democratic constitution, drafted by civilians, was needed to restore trust at home and abroad.
Erdogan has accused supporters of Gulen -- once a key ally of his ruling party -- in the judiciary and police of launching a corruption probe to undermine his government ahead of local polls on March 30.
The Islamic-leaning government has retaliated by launching a purge of the police and prosecutors and moving to tighten controls over the judiciary and the Internet.
"A small group within the government's executive branch is holding to ransom the entire country's progress. The support of a broad segment of the Turkish public is now being squandered, along with the opportunity to join the EU," Gulen wrote.
Erdogan, who has been in office since 2003, is accused by critics of becoming increasingly authoritarian.
Followers of the Islamic cleric's Hizmet movement are said to number in the millions, owning a variety of businesses, media outlets, cultural centers and a school network both in Turkey and abroad.
In the latest development in the feud, Turkey's parliament earlier this month passed a bill to close down thousands of private Gulenist schools.
Gulen, 73, has lived in the United States since 1999 to escape charges in Turkey of "anti-secular" activities.
The Turkish parliament has hit deadlock in trying to draw up a constitution to replace a military-drafted post-coup charter in 1980.
on: Mar 11, 2014, 05:52 AM
|Started by Steve - Last post by Rad|
Germany: Baltic States Can Count on NATO and EU
by Naharnet Newsdesk
11 March 2014, 11:02
The three ex-Soviet Baltic states Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia can count on the security provided by their membership of NATO and the EU, Germany said Tuesday amid East-West tensions over the crisis in Ukraine.
"I am here to say that the Baltic states will not be left alone. This is a joint problem for NATO and the EU," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in Tallinn, Estonia, ahead of talks in neighbouring Latvia and Lithuania.
Russia's moves to absorb Ukraine's Crimean peninsula have rattled nerves in all three Baltic states that joined NATO and the EU to guarantee their security a decade ago after breaking free from the crumbling Soviet Union in 1991.
In an official translation from German to English, Steinmeier added: "If there is no change in Russian tactics until the weekend, the EU foreign ministers will decide about further measures at a meeting in Brussels on Monday."
The top German diplomat did not elaborate but France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Tuesday that sanctions against Moscow could come as early as this week if Moscow does not respond to Western proposals to solve the crisis in Ukraine.
Fabius said the sanctions would involve "freezing personal assets of Russians or Ukrainians and sanctions on travel, regarding visas."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that the West's proposals on Ukraine "do not suit us very much", adding Moscow would unveil its own solution to the crisis.
Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite warned last week that Russia could also target Moldova, Poland and the Baltic states, and compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
"This is about rewriting of the borders," Grybauskaite told an EU summit focused on the Ukraine crisis, describing Russia as "dangerous" and "unpredictable".
NATO has already ramped up security measures in its ex-communist countries bordering Ukraine and Russia.
The United States last week sent six additional F-15 fighter jets to step up NATO's air patrols over the Baltic states bordering Russia.
NATO also said Monday it will deploy AWACS reconnaissance aircraft to overfly Poland and Romania as part of its efforts to monitor the crisis in neighbouring Ukraine.
Washington is also sending a dozen F-16 fighter jets and 300 service personnel to Poland as part of a training exercise
on: Mar 11, 2014, 05:43 AM
|Started by Steve - Last post by Rad|
03/10/2014 07:02 PM
Beyond Ukraine: Russia's Imperial Mess
By SPIEGEL Staff
Russia's occupation of Crimea has violated international law and created a new crisis among world leaders. Now the EU and the US are fighting over the best means to address Russia's reawakened expansionary ambitions.
Everything in Simferopol, the capital of the Ukrainian Autonomous Republic of Crimea, has suddenly changed. Shortly after noon on Thursday of last week, Cossacks from Russia sealed off the Crimean parliament building. The Russians, who had identified themselves as tourists a short time earlier, claimed that they were there to "check identification papers." Now Russia's white, blue and red flag flies above the building.
Two men accompany us as we walk up the steps to meet with the new premier of Crimea, who has taken over the office in a Moscow-backed coup. Under his leadership and with instructions from Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Crimean lawmakers have just voted to join the Russian Federation. Their decision is to be sealed with a referendum scheduled for Sunday, March 16.
Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov, 41, a former businessman with a highly dubious reputation, tries to make a serious impression, but so far, he has been unsuccessful in his attempts to shed his reputation as an underworld figure nicknamed "Goblin." Despite the Russian flag on display in the reception room, Aksyonov insists that rumors that he was installed by the Kremlin are nothing but lies. "The people here asked me to do it," he says. But he knows that neither Kiev nor the West will accept the annexation of Crimea. "No one dictates anything to us," he insists.
The new premier speaks rapidly, as if to drown out any skepticism. "We want no violence or casualties," he says, adding that everything should proceed peacefully. "However, we are not letting the Ukrainians out of their barracks, so that they can no longer act on any criminal orders from Kiev." He says that his people are in control of all of Crimea, but NATO experts claim that at least 2,000 Russian soldiers have been brought to the peninsula by air, for a total of 20,000 troops in Crimea. Another 20,000 are supposedly standing ready nearby.
"Nonsense," says Aksyonov, still insisting that Moscow has not sent in any soldiers at all. This, despite the fact that the men in ski masks and uniforms -- which have been stripped of Russian insignia -- are grinning under their disguises. If the situation weren't so serious, it would almost be comical.
At this point, no one is laughing. Russian soldiers have repeatedly prevented military observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) from entering Crimea. Pro-Russian "civil defense squads" have threatened United Nations special envoy Robert Serry in Simferopol. "Militarily speaking, Crimea is already lost," says a NATO general. "The Ukrainian army is fighting a lost cause." According to a German military internal situation report, the events in Crimea could be repeated in eastern Ukraine.
So far, Moscow's provocations in Crimea haven't resulted in any deaths. Nevertheless, all it takes is one murder or one gun battle to ignite the powder keg of tensions in the region. It begs the question: Almost 100 years after the beginning of World War I, and almost 25 years after the end of the Cold War and the realignment of Europe, could there possibly be a new military conflict between the major powers in Europe?
'Most Serious Crisis' Since Cold War
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called it the "most serious crisis since the fall of the Berlin Wall" -- seemingly ignoring the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. US President Barack Obama characterized Moscow's intervention as a "violation of international law," while former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton compared Putin's alleged concerns over "ethnic" Russians in eastern Ukraine to Adolf Hitler's actions in Sudetenland in 1938.
Officials at NATO and the European Union have been meeting almost around the clock. Late last week, Obama spent more than an hour on the phone with Putin, who has shown no sign of backing down. The Western leaders now face the challenge of exerting pressure on Russia while simultaneously keeping the channels of communication open.
They are also being confronted with a different series of questions: What kinds of sanctions could even persuade Russia's aggressive leader to withdraw? What does Vladimir Putin want? Does he want to annex Crimea or even eastern Ukraine, or perhaps seize control of even more territory along Russia's borders? And are these merely the actions of a cornered fighter or does he truly believe he can create a modern reincarnation of the Soviet Union?
The United States and the EU approved initial sanctions against Moscow late last week, Washington sent military reinforcements to Poland and the Baltic countries and the German federal police promptly suspended half a dozen cooperative programs with Russia. On Sunday, the Polish Defense Minister announced that the US was sending 12 fighter jets to Poland.
But aside from these measures, the situation has thus far been characterized by a horrifying sense of helplessness. On the one hand, Russia is part of the globalized community of nations, tightly interconnected through regular political consultations, the economy and tourism. Russia's commodities exports to Europe make up close to half of the central government budget, and its connections to the rest of the world are obvious. But then, on the other hand, there is the Russian president, who is apparently trying to break ranks with this interdependent, civilized world.
Ignorance and Incomprehension
The events of the last few weeks have underscored a lack of understanding between East and West, as well as the West's crass ignorance and incomprehension of Putin's motives. As much as the leaders on both sides feel that they know each other, vast differences remain.
"Putin is living in another world!" German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly exclaimed in a phone call with Obama last week. Putin, for his part, voiced almost identical opinions about the West in a press conference with handpicked journalists, saying, "They sit there across the pond as if they're in a lab running all kinds of experiments on rats, without understanding consequences of what they're doing." By "rats" he apparently meant the new Ukrainian leadership, which Putin believes is being controlled by Washington.
But the Kremlin leader has succeeded in one respect: He has divided the West. This process began months before his foray into Crimea, when he granted temporary asylum to US whistleblower Edward Snowden. Snowden had leaked documents on the massive surveillance activities of the NSA, heightening the distrust among the Western allies to levels unseen since World War II. And the fact that Washington has made no effort to conclude a no-spying agreement with Berlin has only worsened the sense of alienation between the two countries.
Searching for the Right Measure
Germany is playing a central role in resolving the current Ukraine crisis. Both the United States and Russia see Merkel as the politician who is best equipped to defuse the explosive situation in Ukraine. She addresses Putin with the informal "du" in German, and has met with him dozens of times. Despite their many differences, their close partnership has created a bond between Berlin and Moscow. And with its aspiration to embark on a new, more active foreign policy, the German government has placed itself under more pressure to succeed.
But Europe's impotence and trepidation are not as clear-cut as they appear. Even though a reversal of the Russian takeover of Crimea may seem hopeless at this point, joint EU actions against Moscow could be promising in the long term. Putin is not as strong as he makes himself out to be, and Russia is vulnerable, particularly on the economic front.
It is merely a question of finding the most effective way to make an impression on Putin and curb his expansion plans -- and of whether the West has the will to follow a course of action that will be painful for everyone involved. Either way, the decisions now being made in Crimea, Kiev, Moscow, Brussels and Washington will shape policy in the coming years and possibly even decades.
In Kiev: Pride and Powerlessness
While Russians and Ukrainians continue to face off in Crimea -- with US President Obama threatening to skip the G-8 summit in Sochi in June and the Russian parliament, the Duma, considering the seizure of Western company assets in response to sanctions -- the new government is meeting in Kiev. Less than two weeks after entering office, it is desperately trying to regain control over the situation in Ukraine.
The seat of the government, located in a massive Stalin-era building on Kiev's Grushevsky Street, seems caught in the past. The hallway floors are covered with sound-absorbing green carpeting from the Yanukovych era, the names of the country's new leaders have already been engraved onto brass signs on the doorways.
Room 460, on the fifth floor, is the office of the new economics minister, Pavlo Sheremeta. The office hasn't been completely furnished yet, and there are only two pictures on the wall -- a portrait of national poet Taras Shevchenko and a photo, titled "Heavenly One Hundred," depicting the photos of the 67 people who died on Maidan Square. The view from the window is of a barricade on Grushevsky Street, now covered with flowers, where many of former President Viktor Yanukovych's opponents died.
"We owe a great deal to the dead," says Sheremeta. It angers him that Moscow is calling the change in government in Kiev a "coup" and the protesters "fascists." Radical right-wing agitators, he says, were clearly in the minority among the protesters on Independence Square.
Sheremeta is not a member of any party. He is part of the contingent of ministers selected by the Maidan protesters and his position is now probably one of the most important in Kiev. The 42-year-old economist teaches business strategy in Eastern Europe and Asia and, most recently, was president of the Kiev School of Economics. When he received the call asking him to join the new government, he was skiing in the Alps with his wife and two daughters.
He never saw his predecessor, who held his last meeting at 11 a.m. on Feb. 27 and then left the building. Sheremata was appointed at 2 p.m. that day. Since then, he and other members of the new government have been working around the clock.
A staff member walks into the room. He has brought along Ukraine's daily economic figures, which look like the fever chart of a deathly ill patient. Industrial production declined by another half a percent in January, while inflation is sharply on the rise, tax revenues are down 20 percent and the national currency, the hryvnia, continues to lose value.
"We are going to review government contracts, where corruption is taking a heavy toll," says Sheremeta. But first he has to meet with experts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who have been in Kiev since Tuesday to discuss a $15 billion (€10.8 billion) loan the country urgently needs. But natural gas prices will also be a topic of discussion. It is clear that, effective April 1, the Russians will reverse the substantial reduction in prices they had promised Yanukovich. It is also clear that Naftogaz, Ukraine's national oil and gas company, is unable to pay the current bill for gas deliveries, which has grown to $2.1 billion.
This means Ukrainians will now -- in accordance with the IMF's conditions -- have to pay up to three times as much for heat and hot water, a change which will hurt the new government's popularity and thus play into Putin's hands. "We have to explain this to the people. If we are not willing to pay more for the gas, then we truly belong in the East. But then what did those 67 men die for?" asks Sheremeta.
Chaos in Kiev
Three levels above Sheremeta's office, a cabinet meeting is beginning. The attendees include the governors of Ukraine's nine provinces, including the two oligarchs -- banker Igor Kolomoisky and steel magnate Sergey Taruta -- who will now be running the provinces of Dnipropetrovsk and Donetsk. Many were surprised by the choice of the two men. They have experience and their wealth makes them seemingly unsusceptible to bribes, but, Sheremeta says: "I'm not happy with these choices. How are these people supposed to separate business and politics?"
The cabinet meets for three hours. It cancels 82 government projects, for a total cost of 48 billion hryvnia (€3.8 billion), and decides to auction off 1,500 official cars owned by ministries and other agencies. With funds in such short supply, government officials will now be expected to take the metro.
Then Sheremeta is called back to Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's office to attend a meeting with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. When he arrives on the seventh floor, he learns that the prime minister has just left in a hurry for Brussels. This leaves Sheremeta to negotiate alone with Bildt over a planned association agreement with the European Union. Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's Fatherland Party is demanding that the agreement, from which Yanukovich withdrew in November, be signed as quickly as possible. But now Brussels is stepping on the brakes, unwilling to rush into anything.
Sheremeta is no politician. This can work in his favor, but it can also be a drawback. He isn't caught up in the political games being played in the cabinet, between Tymoshenko's Fatherland Party and the nationalist Svoboda party.
'A Candid Investigation' is Needed
But he is working together with cabinet members about whom many have reservations. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, a former governor of the eastern city of Kharkiv, was suspected of abuse of office and spent more than two years in exile in Italy. Agriculture Minister Igor Shvaika is an ardent right-wing nationalist. Energy Minister Yuri Prodan and Minister of Social Policy Lyudmyla Denisova have both served in other governments in the past. And finally, there is Dmytro Bulatov, one of the leaders of the Maidan protesters, who disappeared for a period of time and was apparently tortured, and who is now the new minister of youth and sports.
Reporters from a Ukrainian television station come to see Sheremeta. Later, the new economics minister is smiling and seemingly in high spirits during a live interview with CNN. Only once does he become pensive, after hearing a rumor that the Estonian foreign minister had told EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton. The minister had claimed that it wasn't Yanukovych's men who had fired the shots during the bloody clashes on Maidan Square on Feb. 20, but members of the opposition.
On Wednesday, the new Ukrainian intelligence chief stated that the shots were fired by "snipers from foreign countries," but declined to elaborate. Sheremeta says that many questions remain unanswered. He believes the coalition government is not overly eager to investigate the bloody clashes. "Our government will fall under a shadow unless it conducts a candid investigation."
USA: Marbles and Chess
The American president is visiting Powell Elementary School in Washington, where he has come to talk about the importance of education. The children greet the president in a half-circle, and when he steps into a classroom, they chant in unison: "Good morning, Mr. President." Obama, with one of the little boys sitting on his lap, begins to talk about opportunities for the socially disadvantaged. But even here, the crisis in Ukraine is on everyone's mind.
When a reporter asks Obama for his assessment of the situation in Crimea, Obama's response reveals a great deal about his worldview: "The course of history is for people to want to be free to make their own decisions about their own futures. And the international community I think is unified in believing that it is not the role of an outside force ... to intervene in people trying to determine their own destiny."
This statement, directed at Russia, could double as the US government's maxim on the current crisis. Washington is currently grappling with the sustainability of Obama's approach to US military troop reduction. It is also wondering whether it is right for the most powerful man in the world to be taking such a cautious approach to this sort of conflict.
Major Test for Obama
The Crimean crisis is, more than any other event, testing Obama's policy of reconciliation with the rest of the world. Former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas R. Burns calls it the "most important, most difficult foreign-policy test of his presidency," noting that there is "no one in Europe who can approach him in power. He's going to have to lead."
Political scientist Ian Bremmer, president of the renowned New York-based Eurasia Group, a global political risk consulting firm, fears that the events in Ukraine could reflect a "broader geopolitical shift." Russia, Bremmer writes, will use the crisis as an opportunity to strengthen its ties with China. "We are in a world with a distinct and dangerous lack of global, coordinated leadership." Meanwhile, the Republicans are critical of the president for engaging in a foreign policy in which "nobody believes in America's strength anymore," as Senator John McCain bitterly notes.
Obama himself says that the impulse to expand, in terms of geography, economy and ideology, is a central part of the American identity. There is a nostalgia in Washington for the country's former strength, a desire for a more self-confident approach. "Putin is playing chess and I think we're playing marbles," says Republican Congressman Mike Rogers.
Obama perceives this is an outdated Cold War ritual, dating from a time when the world seemed divided into good and evil. Before he became president, he described his view of foreign policy by quoting from former President George Washington's farewell address: "Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?"
Words as Weapons
At Powell Elementary School, Obama responded to suggestions that Putin had been clever strategically by saying: "I actually think that this has not been a sign of strength. It will push many countries further away from Russia."
On Thursday, to ensure that no one misinterprets his mild words, Obama imposed the first sanctions on individuals held responsible for the crisis. They will be denied entry into the United States, and the assets of former President Yanukovych are being frozen. Obama also sent his Secretary of State, John Kerry, to visit Kiev.
Kerry was driven directly from the airport to Independence Square, where he engaged in a conversation with a woman about how the wealthy live in luxury, hiding their assets, while the majority of the population lives in poverty. These kinds of encounters feed into the American desire to be perceived as ambassadors of freedom. But Kerry has a problem: He only has weak weapons to use against the Russians. Those weapons are his words. "It is diplomacy and respect for sovereignty, not unilateral force, that can best solve disputes like this in the 21st century," Kerry said in Kiev.
But what if Putin continues to escalate the crisis? "Then," says Kerry, "our partners will have absolutely no choice but to join us to continue to expand upon steps we have taken in recent days in order to isolate Russia politically, diplomatically and economically."
Reason and Roulette in Moscow
Is it possible to take a trip inside Putin's head? The CIA has experts who can provide the US president with psychological profiles of foreign leaders, which he can use as tools in making his decisions. They place Putin on a virtual therapist's couch and try to explain what makes him tick and what is truly important to him. It helps to look at the world through Putin's eyes, through the lens of his experiences and priorities.
Conversations with Putin's associates and his own remarks suggest the factors that shaped the wannabe czar: his childhood in a small, shabby apartment in a Leningrad working-class neighborhood, his father's stories about the Great Patriotic War against the Germans, his role as an outsider in school -- and his desire to be accepted into the KGB community.
Putin was 15 when then Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, in response to a "plea for help" from Communist Party leaders, sent tanks to mow down the reform movement in Prague. He was 37 and a major in the KGB when he was forced to defend himself against angry demonstrators in Dresden, following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Wearing civilian clothing, he went to the gate of the KGB villa and appeased the crowd by saying: "This is a property of the Soviet military, and I am the interpreter." In reality, as Putin would later relate, he had been burning secret documents inside the villa "until the furnace almost broke."
The Soviet withdrawal from East Germany was a humiliating moment for Putin. Beginning in 1989, the superpower he had served and in which he had believed was disintegrating everywhere. Soviet republics from the Baltic Sea to Central Asia were declaring independence. For Putin, it was especially painful to see Ukraine -- whose "Kievan Rus" had become the historic cradle of the later Russian Empire after the 9th century -- separating itself from Moscow.
He called the collapse of the Soviet Union the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century." Since then, he has made it his mission to save -- or recapture -- whatever he can. To add insult to injury, in Putin's eyes, the West has flouted its commitment not to send NATO troops up to Russia's borders. Putin refuses to give up the dream of making Russia a superpower once again and the aspiration to make it an empire.
He has experimented with cooperation with the West. After Sept. 11, 2001, Putin hoped that by supplying arms for the campaign against the Taliban, he would secure a modicum of control over the former Soviet republics, expanding Russia's sphere of influence from the Kirghiz steps to Crimea. But the West had no intention of granting him his wish, especially now that countries like Georgia and Ukraine were demanding more autonomy and turning to the West.
At the 2007 Munich Security Conference, Putin struck back, accusing the United States of having "overstepped" borders, partly through the "expansion of force." In 2008, the Russian army intervened in Georgia when Georgian troops, provoked by Moscow, launched a regional war of aggression on the breakaway republic of South Ossetia.
After five days, Putin had President Dmitry Medvedev declare the two breakaway republics, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as protectorates. Although only a handful of countries besides Russia recognize them as independent nations, the West accepts Moscow's control. Are they a potential model for Crimea?
Heir to the Russian Empire
When addressing the global public, Putin likes to portray himself as a champion of international law and the territorial integrity of countries. Again and again, most recently in the Syrian conflict, Moscow has used its veto to obstruct outside intervention in cases involving human rights violations. Putin does not accept the United Nations view of its "responsibility to protect" a threatened civilian population -- unless Russians are involved and he can determine whether they are being threatened, as he now claims is the case in Ukraine, allowing him to personally "rescue" them.
Russia's strong man only offers insights into what truly worries him when speaking to small groups. In October 2012, for example, activists with the pro-Kremlin People's Front for Russia met with Putin at his Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow. Referring to the appearance of an employee of the state-owned television station known for his strident polemics, he said: "I like this superpower way of thinking." This shows that Putin sees himself as the heir of the Russian Empire.
In 2013, Forbes named him the most powerful man in the world, ahead of the presidents of the United States and China. And it must have stroked his ego when everyone in the West claimed that without him, there could be no solution in the Syrian civil war and in the negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.
In reality, his influence in these countries is limited. China outstripped Russia long ago in Central Asia and Africa. No one would hit upon the idea of referring to a "Russian model" worth imitating. And even Putinists often resignedly quote Russian national poet Fyodor Dostoevsky, who said: "In Europe we are mere Tatars." By Tatars, he meant provincial.
Russia's population has stopped growing. With its 143 million people, the world's largest country ranks ninth in population, behind Nigeria and Bangladesh. And the economy grew by a paltry 1.4 percent last year, despite the world's largest natural gas reserves, massive oil production and many natural resources, from nickel to gold.
Russia has little to offer other than its mineral resources, so Putin needs markets in the West. The oft-proclaimed diversification of Russian industry has never happened. In addition, Russia is ranked 127th in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, only 17 spots ahead of Ukraine, which Putin has just accused of being plagued with "unimaginable corruption."
Uncertain Future for Gas
There is also no guarantee that Russia's oil and gas revenues will remain strong. Given the recent emergence of fracking and oil shales, global market prices for these commodities will likely decline significantly in the future. If that happens, it has the potential to open up an enormous hole in the Russian treasury. If events unfold as many observers believe they will, then Putin will soon no longer be able to afford the kind of inflated and inefficient military he has today. He will be forced to freeze pensions and will no longer be able to offer the new middle class a better standard of living.
It's no surprise that Putin is seeking a breakthrough in foreign policy that would lead to a prestigious alliance of nations under his leadership. Ukraine was intended to be a key, perhaps even the most important, member of his planned Eurasian Customs Union.
But ever since Kiev began orienting itself toward Western Europe, Putin has seen his expansion plans in jeopardy. With only Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and possibly Moldova on board, Putin won't be creating much of an empire.
It is hard to explain why the leading politicians in the West failed to recognize, or perhaps were unwilling to see, the fact that the Russian president would not simply allow Ukraine to turn to the West.
An Imperial Twitch from a Shrunken Russia
Putin's decline began at the moment of his greatest triumph. The Russian president, who invested billions in Sochi, could no longer enjoy the magnificent Winter Olympics. And the next prestigious event in the city, the G-8 summit of the world's leading industrialized nations, is on the verge of being cancelled because of Russia's forceful actions in Crimea. Western sanctions would further decimate Putin's range of options, possibly even threatening his power. Travel bans imposed on a previously pro-Putin elite accustomed to Western luxury could trigger considerable resentment.
From his standpoint, the president has only one good card to play: He needs a successful operation in Crimea.
It is a high-stakes gamble, but perhaps the odds are better than in a game of Russian roulette. And in taking his current approach, Putin enjoys broad support among a largely nationalist public, with even liberal intellectuals celebrating the annexation. Hardly anyone is troubled by the highly dubious attempt to justify Russian intervention as "brotherly aid," and few believe that Putin also intends to march into eastern Ukraine for the same reason.
Still, merely the threat that the Russians could possibly come to the "aid" of ethnic Russians in Kharkiv and Donetsk is probably enough to prevent any Ukrainian government from becoming too cozy with the EU and NATO.
Putin's aggressive approach in Crimea and his actions, clearly in violation of international law, may remind Hillary Clinton of the Nazis' "Anschluss" of the Sudetenland. But Putin is no gambler, nor is he looking for excuses to raze cities to the ground.
And even though he is playing a high-stakes game of poker, he also isn't putting everything on the line. Instead, it seems highly likely that Putin will stop when he faces the threat of a major war. In this respect, he has not lost touch with reality in the way the German chancellor believes. Instead, he is ruthlessly exploiting all his options, taking things to a limit which he knows very well.
He is not doing so out of strength but out of weakness. In fact, this Crimean campaign could be the last imperial twitch of a Russia that has shrunk to the point of being a medium-sized power.
Germany Takes a Key Role to Little Effect
Germany is playing a key role in the Ukraine crisis. The chancellor has spoken with the Russian president by phone three times in the last few days, and the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has met three times with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in addition to almost daily telephone conversations. Last Monday, Steinmeier even made a trip to Geneva to speak with Lavrov in person and to keep the conversation going.
This is in keeping with the new, more active German foreign policy Steinmeier announced in January. At the same time, the German government is also clearly feeling the limits of this policy. "I don't know if we are prepared for this type of foreign policy," says a senior official in Berlin. He is referring to the mixture of the geostrategic Great Game of the 19th century and the intelligence methods of the 21st century, with which Putin is trying to protect his interests, and which stands in contrast with the Germans' more gentle diplomacy.
Merkel spoke with Putin by phone on the Friday before last, after pro-Russian militias had taken over government buildings in Crimea. Putin denied that Moscow was involved, and he would do so more frequently in the coming days. The German government's position was clear early on: An international contact group was needed as a forum for talks with the Russians.
A Familiar Relationship
In her phone conversations with Putin, Merkel repeatedly pointed out that if Russia hoped to avoid sanctions, it would have to agree to a contact group. But Putin proved to be unwieldy. He said he was not opposed to a contact group, but that the current Ukrainian government could not be represented, because it consists of fascists and is not democratically elected. Merkel replied that the government was elected by the Ukrainian parliament, and that Prime Minister Yatsenyuk had even appointed two members of the Jewish faith to his government.
The tone in Merkel's and Putin's conversation has been calm but clear. Officials in Berlin are convinced that Putin does not speak as openly with any other Western leader as he does with Merkel. He usually speaks German, only switching to Russian when important details are at issue. His words are then translated, even though Merkel understands Russian.
After years of interaction, the chancellor knows Putin well enough that she can readily draw a picture of his character and his motives. It is an image of a highly intelligent man interested in the world, but also a man with complexes and self-doubts. According to Merkel, Putin knows very well that he cannot modernize his country without Western investment. He also knows that under purely economic criteria, Russia would have no business being part of the group of the eight most important industrialized nations.
A Mood of Resignation in Berlin
In their telephone conversations, the chancellor and Putin have been unable to agree on any of the central issues, from events in Crimea to the legitimacy of the Ukrainian government. Putin is also offering no concrete commitments. During a conversation last Wednesday, however, he did indicate that he could perhaps agree to a contact group that would include the Ukrainian government.
So far, though, German efforts have not been truly helpful, leading to a mood of resignation in Berlin. Even cabinet ministers are saying "Crimea is gone," and that the West should now focus on preventing the Russian president from creating more precedents in eastern Ukraine. They warn that if Putin were to stir up separatist sentiments there, too, it would be a "game changer." Keeping eastern and western Ukraine together is currently Merkel's most important goal.
The planned G-8 summit in Sochi could be an opportunity to teach Putin a lesson. If there is indeed an independence referendum in Crimea next Sunday, Merkel will have no choice but to cancel her attendance. That, at least, is the current assessment of the situation within Merkel's cabinet and at the Chancellery.
Putin Prefers Risk of Sanctions
When German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel met with Putin in Moscow last week, he told the Kremlin leader that Russian would suffer considerably under sanctions. He also tried appealing to the Russian president on a personal level, saying it was now up to him, Putin, to prevent Europe from sliding into a new Cold War. But the Russian leader remained impassive.
On the previous day, the foreign ministers had met for several hours, but emerged from the meeting without having agreed on the format, the principles or the goals of a contact group. During the meeting, Lavrov left the negotiating table several times to speak with Putin by phone. In the end, it was clear that Putin would rather accept the risk of sanctions than make any concessions. This is why the German government believes Washington's push for a quick, tough reaction against Russia is the wrong approach.
When the EU leaders consult each other about sanctions against Russia, the association agreement with Ukraine, which triggered the crisis in the first place, is also back on the table. The interim government in Kiev is eager to sign the agreement as soon as possible.
The history of the agreement is a lesson in what happens when modern economic policy and classic power politics clash. Officials in Berlin already had their doubts when negotiations on the agreement began in 2009. Some argued that Ukraine was too fragile to be forced to choose between Russia and the West. But that concern never reached the department in Brussels in charge of European enlargement and neighborhood policy, whose officials negotiated the treaty. No one even hit upon the idea that Moscow might assert its influence in Ukraine as aggressively as it did, and yet there were warning signs.
At the very latest, officials in Brussels ought to have been paying closer attention after February of last year, when EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle visited the White House in Moscow, the seat of the Russian government. Füle raved about the progress being made in Ukraine. At that point, the EU's association agreement with the government in Kiev was practically in the bag. The official signing was to take place at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Lithuania in November. Füle spoke with great enthusiasm about Ukraine's efforts.
His audience in Moscow, the assembled Russian government, headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, was not nearly as enthusiastic. What effects, it asked pointedly, would such an agreement have on the planned Eurasian economic union, which Moscow was assembling with countries like Kazakhstan and Belarus, and possibly Ukraine?
"Looking back," says a senior official at the European Commission, "we could have sensed at that moment what was threatening to happen. But that would be against our nature. We EU representatives are always a little naïve and believe that our mission is bound to succeed, because we are fighting for the right values. We never plan for the worst case."
A Changed Man
After Füle's meeting in Moscow, Alexey Miller, the head of Russian energy giant Gazprom, suddenly noticed that Ukraine was behind in paying for its gas deliveries, and that the government in Kiev still owed the company $882 million. As a result, Miller said, Gazprom had to insist that Ukraine pay its debts on time. Then Russia's consumer protection agency suddenly claimed that the products of Ukraine's largest confectionary company contained carcinogenic substances, and its trucks were ordered to turn around at the border.
On Nov. 19, 10 days before the official signing of the agreement, Füle traveled to Kiev once again. He had already met with then President Yanukovych three times that year. The Europeans always had the feeling that the president, who was fond of telling stories from his childhood, was being completely open with them.
But on that day Füle felt that he was facing a changed man, someone who seemed to be acting on instructions. Indeed, Yanukovich had met with Putin in Sochi for hours before meeting Füle. When the EU negotiators met with Yanukovich in Kiev, the foreign minister, a glaring apparatchik, was sitting next to him, and they knew that this meeting would have a different outcome.
Suddenly Yanukovich was talking about "problems" and "costs." He said that a Russian expert had explained to him how high the price would be for turning toward Europe, noting that Ukraine would be losing $15 or $16 billion a year. Füle was speechless and switched from English to Russian, hoping to reach Yanukovich. But he merely held onto a piece of paper from which he was stubbornly rattling off figures indicating how far trade with Russia had already declined.
The meeting was over after an hour. The EU commissioner planned to make another trip to Kiev on Nov. 21, but the visit never took place. Füle was about to board his flight in Brussels when the Ukrainian government announced that it was unfortunately unable to sign the planned association agreement.
"They didn't even call us first," says Füle. When he met with Yanukovich again in late January, the meeting lasted only 30 minutes. The Ukrainian president spent 29 of those minutes speaking.
Heroes and Scoundrels in Crimea
The armed Russian and Ukrainian "brothers" will continue to face off until at least next Sunday, the day of the planned Crimea referendum. This is especially true in the Severnaya, or northern bay of Sevastopol, where the Black Sea fleet was divided up between the two newly created countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and where the Russian and Ukrainian navies have been docked, practically ship's side to ship's side, ever since.
From a forward observation post above the harbor, Oleg, a Russian elite soldier, has the officers of the Slavutych, a Ukrainian warship, within the range of his Kalashnikov. He can see that they have hung mattresses over the side of the ship to protect themselves against grappling hooks, and that they are using ropes to inconspicuously pull food on board. This is how the Ukrainians intend to hold out, as they have refused to submit to Russian demands to surrender.
Oleg calmly watches the spectacle below. Only his brown eyes are visible underneath a ski mask pulled down over his nose, and he speaks Russian. The soldier says he's from the area near Rostov-on-Don, but he refuses to provide any information about his unit. He has the muscular body of one of the elite fighters who were reportedly transferred directly to Crimea after the Olympics in Sochi.
Oleg and a dozen of his fellow soldiers are manning their posts to "help Crimea," as he calls it. "We will stay here at least until the referendum," he says. In early February, only 40 percent of Crimeans were in favor of joining Russia, even though ethnic Russians make up the majority on the peninsula. In the current mood, however, the vote is likely to shift much more clearly in Putin's favor.
When asked what will happen to the Ukrainians down below -- the ones he has in his sights -- he says, "If they want to get out of here, then no problem. But they'll have to leave their ships behind."
REPORTED BY NIKOLAUS BLOME, ERICH FOLLATH, MATTHIAS GEBAUER, CHRISTIANE HOFFMANN, UWE KLUSSMANN, WALTER MAYR, CHRISTIAN NEEF, RALF NEUKIRCH, MATTHIAS SCHEPP, FIDELIUS SCHMID, GREGOR PETER SCHMITZ, HOLGER STARK
Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan
on: Mar 11, 2014, 05:39 AM
|Started by Steve - Last post by Rad|
Ukraine crisis: Russia drafting counter-offer to US demands
Kremlin says Washington’s stance on negotiations unacceptable because it accepts ouster of
Yanukovych as fait accompli
Associated Press in Kiev
theguardian.com, Tuesday 11 March 2014 09.45 GMT
Russia has said it is drafting counterproposals to a US plan for a negotiated solution to the Ukraine crisis. The Kremlin denounced the new western-backed government as an unacceptable “fait accompli” and claimed Russian-leaning parts of the country had been plunged into lawlessness.
The Kremlin moves came as Russian forces strengthened their control over Crimea, less than a week before the strategic region is to hold a contentious referendum on whether to split off and become part of Russia.
In a televised briefing with President Vladimir Putin, the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said proposals made by John Kerry, the US secretary of state, were “not suitable” because they took the situation created by the coup as a starting point, referring to the ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin president, Viktor Yanukovych.
Referring to a document he received from Kerry explaining the US view of the situation in Ukraine, Lavrov said: “To be frank it raises many questions on our side … Everything was stated in terms of allegedly having a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and in terms of accepting the fait accompli.”
Lavrov said Kerry had delayed a visit to Moscow to discuss the situation and Russia had decided to prepare new proposals of its own, though he did not say what they were. “We suggested that he come today … and we were prepared to receive him. He gave his preliminary consent. He then called me on Saturday and said he would like to postpone it for a while,” the minister said.
But in Washington state department officials said it was Russia’s refusal to discuss the American proposals that was hurting prospects for a negotiated solution, in particular the idea of direct talks between Russian officials and those of the new Ukrainian government.
“We are still awaiting a Russian response to the concrete questions that Secretary Kerry sent Foreign Minister Lavrov on Saturday in this regard,” Jen Psaki, a state department spokeswoman, said in a statement.
“Secretary Kerry made clear to Foreign Minister Lavrov that he would welcome further discussions focused on how to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine if and when we see concrete evidence that Russia is prepared to engage on these proposals.”
The US statement said Kerry, in weekend discussions with Lavrov, reiterated Washington’s demand that Moscow pull back its troops from Ukraine and end attempts to annex the Crimean peninsula. Kerry also called on Russia to cease what the statement described as “provocative steps” so that diplomatic talks could continue.
US officials described a series of diplomatic manoeuvres between Washington and Moscow over the weekend that initially led to an invitation for Kerry to meet with Putin on Monday. The offer expired, however, after the two sides could not quickly agree to a page-and-a-half outline for potential negotiations that, above all, demanded Ukraine’s borders remain intact, according to the officials who were not authorised to be quoted by name.
The US outline did call for ways to address any Russian concerns about the government turnover in Kiev that Moscow is calling a coup, and it introduced the potential for investigations into acts of violence by any party to the conflict, the officials said. Left unsaid, however, was precisely how those concerns might be assuaged or what government would be tasked with leading such an investigation.
The US outline also called on Russia to pull back from Crimea, both in military force and in influence, to halt the local government there from holding a 16 March vote on whether it should separate from Ukraine, the officials said. It further sought to gain Russian support for placing international monitors in Crimea, allowing the International Monetary Fund to work with Ukraine and backing a 25 May national election called by Kiev.
Ukraine’s foreign minister said on Monday that his country was practically in a state of war with Russia, whose forces have effectively taken control over the Crimean Peninsula in what has become Europe’s greatest geopolitical crisis since the end of the cold war. “We have to admit that our life now is almost like … a war,” the Ukrainian foreign minister, Andrii Deshchytsya, said before meeting his counterparts from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. “We have to cope with an aggression that we do not understand.”
Ukraine’s prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, is to meet with President Barack Obama in Washington on Wednesday.
On Monday the Russian foreign ministry denounced the lawlessness it said “now rules in eastern regions of Ukraine as a result of the actions of fighters of the so-called Right Sector, with the full connivance” of Ukraine’s new authorities. Right Sector is a grouping of far-right and nationalist factions whose activists were among the most radical and confrontational during the three months of demonstrations in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, that eventually led to Yanukovych fleeing the country.
Pro-Russia sentiment is high in Ukraine’s east and there are fears Russia could seek to incorporate that area as well.
Russia’s Grip Tightens With Shows of Force at Ukrainian Bases
By C. J. CHIVERS and NOAH SNEIDER
MARCH 10, 2014
CHORNOMORSKOYE, Ukraine — Russian forces raided a Ukrainian naval missile base here in the darkness of early Monday, scaling its outer walls and outmatching the surprised sailors inside without firing a shot, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and people familiar with the raid.
The seizure was one of a series of swift but thus far bloodless escalations as Russia tightened its grip on Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that the Kremlin is leading toward secession from Ukraine by a combination of military and political moves.
Russian forces also infiltrated an air base at Novofedorivka and took up position along a runway; took over a military hospital in the regional capital, Simferopol; and moved onto a Ukrainian base used by a motorized battalion in Bakhchysaray.
Russian soldiers penetrated the last base after firing in the air, said Vladislav Seleznev, a Ukrainian military spokesman in Crimea. No one was reported hurt.
These emboldened actions played out while diplomacy stalled, with Russia asserting that it cannot accept the “fait accompli” of the new Western-backed government in Ukraine and that Western proposals to defuse the crisis used a “situation created by the coup as a starting point.”
Continue reading the main story
A visual survey of the ongoing dispute, including satellite images of Russian naval positions and maps showing political, cultural and economic factors in the crisis.
That position came in a televised clip showing Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov briefing President Vladimir V. Putin about how Russia was preparing diplomatic counterproposals to serve “the interests of all Ukrainians.”
The United States and its allies have joined the Ukrainian government in declaring the Russian occupation of Crimea illegal and a Kremlin-backed referendum on whether Crimea should secede and seek to join Russia, set for Sunday, unconstitutional and nonbinding.
The military advances suggested how little influence the Western stance has had on the ground, and on the speed and tactical confidence with which Russia is consolidating its military position.
Here in Chornomorskoye, people familiar with the raid said that 200 to 250 Russian soldiers arrived outside the naval base’s walls early Monday morning and quickly scaled the fences and dropped inside.
The soldiers, variously described as members of Russian special forces or perhaps a paratrooper unit, rushed the base’s headquarters and seized the checkpoint at its entrance. They carried machine guns, automatic rifles, grenade launchers and sniper rifles, including new sniper rifles often carried by elite Russian units.
The Ukrainian naval contingent, perhaps 40 or 50 sailors and officers, belonged to a technical service that manages naval missiles and had only light weapons — mostly pistols and automatic rifles.
Outgunned and surprised, they did not resist, people familiar with the raid said. The Russian commander, described as a colonel, announced that “we are soldiers from the Russian Federation” who had come to protect the base and its equipment.
There were no further threats and no violence, people familiar with the raid said.
By daylight Monday, the Ukrainian sailors had placed their weapons in their armory and had been escorted off their base, leaving behind two officers, including the commander, a navy captain, to continue to negotiate with the occupying force.
Russian soldiers, some masked and others showing their faces, had complete control of the base. They could be seen guarding a main entrance beside a Russian military truck and roaming in knots among the buildings visible behind the gate.
A fire truck was also placed immediately behind the gate, ready to blast water at any protesting crowds. None appeared.
At one point, a lone Ukrainian sailor approached in civilian clothes, pressed his face against the fence and tried to draw the soldiers into an argument. “I serve here,” he said.
He made a brief effort to push his way back to his post, but two pro-Russian civilians grabbed him by the back of his collar and shoved him away. The soldiers watched, a few paces away, and chuckled. The apparent noncommissioned officer, who led the soldiers on guard duty, refused to answer questions from two journalists.
“No comment,” he said.
He added, “We will answer your questions after the referendum.”
Russian military forces also surrounded the Southern Naval Base, a Ukrainian installation on Donuzlav Bay, cutting off the troops inside and blocking the Konstantin Olshansky, an amphibious tank landing ship docked there.
(Last week, the Russians scuttled the Ochakov, a decommissioned ship, in the narrow entrance to the bay, effectively preventing the Konstantin Olshansky from leaving.)
The Russian soldiers at the base were supported with a backhoe, which they had used to settle in, digging fighting positions and piling a dirt wall around a large canvas tent.
Roughly 15 of the soldiers, armed and wearing masks, refused to answer questions and pushed journalists back toward the main road, walking behind them with weapons ready. “Go away,” their leader said.
In Chornomorskoye, the situation was tenser. A mix of about 20 local pro-Russian police officials and unidentified men in camouflage and ski masks abruptly intervened in an interview between two reporters and a local man.
The men demanded to know if the reporters were pro-Russian, then confiscated their notebooks and tore out any pages with writing on them. “We will translate these,” one of them said, pocketing the pages and handing back the now-blank notebooks.
They also examined the photographs in digital cards in a photographer’s cameras.
They clustered menacingly around the local man and said, “You keep giving interviews and you will end up in prison in Sevastopol,” the city on the peninsula’s southern shore that part of Russia’s Black Sea fleet uses as a home port.
They refused to allow the journalists to leave for about 15 minutes before ordering them to depart the city.
The Russian presence has been felt more heavily throughout Crimea as the referendum approaches, with at least five activists and journalists disappearing in the past two days.
Kateryna Butko a member of the Kiev-based opposition group AutoMaidan, as well as two journalists, Oleksandra Ryazantseva, an independent blogger, and Olena Maksymenko, a reporter with The Ukrainian Week, were stopped at a checkpoint on the Crimean border.
According to witnesses, the women were detained by masked men with guns and made to kneel at the side of the road, before being driven away to an unknown location. On Monday, AutoMaidan activists were searching Simferopol and Sevastopol fruitlessly for the women, who they believe are being held by local security services.
Andrei Shchekun and Antatoly Kovalsky, a trustee at a Ukrainian school in Simferopol, also disappeared on Sunday, hours before they were expected to speak at an antisecessionist rally. Mr. Kovalsky’s son said the men were abducted from the city’s train station by members of Russian Unity, the party headed by Crimea’s new separatist leader, Sergei Aksyonov.
“He’s been taken by these brigands that call themselves the authorities,” the son, Sergey Kovalsky, said.
Other Russian troops could be seen throughout the day and into Monday night, moving methodically down roads in convoys that included BTR armored personnel carriers, mobile electronic warfare vehicles and transport trucks with beds packed with troops in helmets. Their destinations were not clear.
In Yevpatoriya, on the peninsula’s west coast, a Ukrainian air defense base was presented an ultimatum in writing from the Russian-backed Crimean authorities, demanding that they set aside their weapons and cede the base by 10 p.m.
The deadline passed without incident.
Ukraine crisis: Russia sanctions could start this week, says France
Western officials meet in London to discuss asset freezes and travel bans to persuade Moscow to withdraw from Crimea
theguardian.com, Tuesday 11 March 2014 08.55 GMT
The French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, has said that sanctions against Russia could begin as early as this week if Moscow does not respond to western proposals to solve the crisis in Ukraine.
"If they respond positively, [the US secretary of state] John Kerry will go to Moscow and then sanctions will not be immediate. If they do not respond or if they respond negatively, there will be a series of sanctions that could be taken as early as this week," he said on France Inter radio.
Western officials will meet in London on Tuesday to identify Russians who will be subject to asset freezes and travel bans that officials hope will persuade Moscow to withdraw from Crimea.
The British prime minister, David Cameron, has indicated that sanctions could be imposed within days, as tensions escalated in the Crimean peninsula where unidentified men reportedly fired warning shots as they moved into a Ukrainian naval base on Monday.
Kerry has sent Russia a series of proposals to try to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine, which plans to hold a referendum on Sunday over switching the region's allegiance from Kiev to Moscow.
But the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said in a televised meeting on Monday that the proposals "do not suit us very much", adding that Moscow would propose its own solution to the crisis.
Fabius said sanctions would involve "freezing personal assets of Russians or Ukrainians and sanctions on travel, regarding visas". He added that Sunday's referendum in Crimea was illegal.
The Kremlin, however, has denounced the new western-backed government in Kiev as an unacceptable "fait accompli" and claimed Russian-leaning parts of the country had been plunged into lawlessness.
Russia has said it is drafting counterproposals to a US plan for a negotiated solution to the crisis as Russian forces strengthened their control over Crimea.
In a televised briefing with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, Lavrov said proposals made by Kerry were unsuitable because they took the situation created by the coup as a starting point, referring to the ousting of Ukraine's pro-Kremlin president, Viktor Yanukovych.
Referring to a document he received from Kerry explaining the US view of the situation in Ukraine, Lavrov said: "To be frank, it raises many questions on our side … Everything was stated in terms of allegedly having a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and in terms of accepting the fait accompli."
Lavrov said Kerry had delayed a visit to Moscow to discuss the situation and Russia had decided to prepare new proposals of its own, though he did not say what they were. "We suggested that he come today … and we were prepared to receive him. He gave his preliminary consent. He then called me on Saturday and said he would like to postpone it for a while," the minister said.
In Washington, state department officials said it was Russia's refusal to discuss the US proposals that was damaging prospects for a negotiated solution, in particular the idea of direct talks between Russian officials and the new Ukrainian government.
"We are still awaiting a Russian response to the concrete questions that Secretary Kerry sent Foreign Minister Lavrov on Saturday in this regard," Jen Psaki, a state department spokeswoman, said in a statement.
"Secretary Kerry made clear to Foreign Minister Lavrov that he would welcome further discussions focused on how to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine if and when we see concrete evidence that Russia is prepared to engage on these proposals."
The US statement said Kerry, in weekend discussions with Lavrov, reiterated Washington's demand that Moscow pull back its troops from Ukraine and end attempts to annex the Crimean peninsula. Kerry also called on Russia to cease what the statement described as "provocative steps" so that diplomatic talks could continue.
US officials described a series of diplomatic manoeuvres between Washington and Moscow over the weekend that initially led to an invitation for Kerry to meet Putin on Monday. The offer expired, however, after the two sides could not quickly agree to a page-and-a-half outline for potential negotiations that, above all, demanded Ukraine's borders remain intact, according to the officials who were not authorised to be quoted by name.
The US outline did call for ways to address any Russian concerns about the government turnover in Kiev that Moscow is calling a coup, and it introduced the potential for investigations into acts of violence by any party to the conflict, the officials said. Left unsaid, however, was precisely how those concerns might be assuaged or what government would be tasked with leading such an investigation.
The US outline also called on Russia to pull back from Crimea, both in military force and in influence, to halt the local government there from holding a 16 March vote on whether it should separate from Ukraine, the officials said. It further sought to gain Russian support for placing international monitors in Crimea, allowing the International Monetary Fund to work with Ukraine and backing a 25 May national election called by Kiev.
Ukraine's foreign minister said on Monday that his country was practically in a state of war with Russia, whose forces have effectively taken control over the Crimean peninsula in what has become Europe's greatest geopolitical crisis since the end of the cold war. "We have to admit that our life now is almost like … a war," the Ukrainian foreign minister, Andrii Deshchytsya, said before meeting his counterparts from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. "We have to cope with an aggression that we do not understand."
Ukraine's prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, was due to meet the US president, Barack Obama, in Washington on Wednesday.
On Monday, the Russian foreign ministry denounced the lawlessness it said "now rules in eastern regions of Ukraine as a result of the actions of fighters of the so-called Right Sector, with the full connivance" of Ukraine's new authorities.
Right Sector is a grouping of far-right and nationalist factions whose activists were among the most radical and confrontational during the three months of demonstrations in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, that eventually led to Yanukovych fleeing the country.
Pro-Russian sentiment is high in Ukraine's east and there are fears Russia could seek to incorporate that area as well.
03/10/2014 03:19 PM
Polish Foreign Minister Sikorski: 'Moscow Needs Our Money'
In a SPIEGEL interview, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, 51, argues Moscow is more vulnerable than many think, and that the EU should take a firmer stand against Russia in the Ukraine conflict.
SPIEGEL: You are viewed as being a proponent of taking a harder line against Russia. What are you calling for?
Sikorski: I have always supported working together with Russia when it is possible and when it serves the interests of both sides. But what we are dealing with right now is an attempt to change borders with the use of force. A course of action like that demands a clear response.
SPIEGEL: The European Union imposed very mild sanctions against Russia on Thursday. Isn't it true that Putin, with his gas exports, has far more effective means for countering that pressure?
Sikorski: Only about 30 percent of the natural gas in the EU originates from Russia. Norway is a larger supplier. I do not believe Russia can use it to put us under pressure. Moscow needs our money.
SPIEGEL: Do you feel that Europe is making a weak impression in this crisis? While EU leaders continued to discuss the issue in Brussels, Washington was already imposing stronger sanctions.
Sikorski: The Americans have done even more -- by relocating F-15 and F-16 jets to Eastern Europe, for example. In contrast to Europe, the US has a centralized government. We should learn from the current crisis that European integration must also continue when it comes to security policy.
SPIEGEL: Are you disappointed in the European Union?
Sikorski: The same thing applies to the Union as to the Vatican: God's mills grind slowly but surely. We have made mistakes. For example, when the negotiations over an association agreement between Ukraine and the EU were completed in December 2010, the lawyers and translators in Brussels took an entire year to work out the text. If both sides had signed faster at the time, Ukraine would be more closely connected with Europe for a long time now. Nor did we foresee at all what an irresponsible man President Yanukovych would prove to be - and that an even worse massacre could have potentially taken place on the Maidan (Independence Square). It was only our joint mediation initiative between Germany, France and Poland that prevented that from happening.
SPIEGEL: Has Ukraine already lost the Crimean peninsula?
Sikorski: The fact that the pseudo parliament there has already declared the peninsula to be a part of Russia is a clear violation of the constitution of Ukraine, a sovereign state. There are still Ukrainian military units and institutions there. In addition, the Russian majority there is not overwhelming. Almost 40 percent of Crimea's population is comprised of Ukrainians or Tatars. There are also Russian-speaking minorities in the European Union--- in the Baltic states, for example. It would be a disaster if Putin were to deploy the principles of his Ukrainian policies there.
SPIEGEL: In recent years, Poland has assumed the role of spokesman for Eastern Europe. Does the EU have too little interest in the East?
Sikorski: Every country brings its own perspective to the table. The Spaniards and Italians are more interested in the Mediterranean region, the British in the English-language world. But whether they are in the East, Ukraine or in Belarus, we cannot forget that there are people who live in these places who feel like Europeans and aspire to be a part of the EU. That is not, however, the case in the South - in North Africa, for example.
SPIEGEL: Why are the Poles so highly engaged in this conflict?
Sikorski: The Ukrainians are our neighbors. They are fighting for the same things we did back in 1989 - for a country that is more democratic, less corrupt and is European.
Titans in Russia Fear New Front in Ukraine Crisis
By ELLEN BARRY
MARCH 10, 2014
MOSCOW — When Vladimir V. Putin returned to the Russian presidency in 2012, one of the first messages he sent to his political elite, many of them heads of banks and large corporations, was that the times had changed: Owning assets outside Russia makes you too vulnerable to moves by foreign governments, he told them. It is time to bring your wealth home.
Nearly two years later, those words seem almost prophetic. After a week of escalating tensions between Russia and the United States, it has become clear that the conflict over Ukraine will move to the battlefield of finance. Those same business titans are now contemplating the damage that the crisis could inflict on Russia’s economy.
Twenty years into the project of integrating Russia into Western institutions, they now face the prospect that the process could slow, or even reverse.
Financial sanctions, which the United States and the European Union have suggested they will impose if the conflict escalates, are intended to test the cohesion of the political system. Mr. Putin demands complete loyalty from those who are allowed to lead Russia’s business empires, and he has made it clear that he will punish those who undermine him. His tough stance in Crimea, meanwhile, has been enthusiastically welcomed by the general public, including, insiders say, many of those in business. No one is breaking ranks.
Still, the prospect of losing access to Western finance is a frightening thought for Russian business leaders, whose voice in foreign policy decision-making is muted compared with the tight circle of Mr. Putin’s former K.G.B. colleagues, for whom economic factors may be secondary.
Anxiety over possible economic fallout has begun to radiate from business circles, and some wondered whether Mr. Putin had been warned clearly about the magnitude of the possible damage to the economy. One analyst described their mind-set as one of “cognitive dissonance.”
“I’ve seen 10 people from the Forbes list in the recent few days. They’re pale; they don’t understand,” said Aleksandr Y. Lebedev, a prominent banker who sold most of his Russian assets after public disputes with Mr. Putin. But the oligarchs realize, he said, that their interests carry no weight in this situation, especially if they, like Mr. Lebedev himself, own property outside Russia.
“It’s those who are here who will take the burden,” said Mr. Lebedev, speaking from Moscow. “They all keep their mouths shut.”
Last week, days after Russia took control of Crimea, the United States announced a modest first round of sanctions, and the European Union indicated it would follow suit, with both making it clear that there may be further rounds. Officials have suggested that a range of measures is being considered, leaving open, by implication, the most extreme one: barring Russian companies and banks from access to the Western financial system, similar to sanctions adopted against Iran.
President Obama has broad executive powers to declare sanctions without approval from Congress, and he would most likely consider the next steps after Crimea votes in a referendum on separating from Ukraine, scheduled for Sunday, said Michael A. McFaul, until recently the American ambassador to Moscow. “It needs to be spelled out as explicitly as possible, either directly to Putin or to the two or three people who could talk to him about this,” he said.
Russia may be betting, as many analysts do, that the United States and its allies will not follow through with draconian sanctions, and has made it clear that it would respond harshly and asymmetrically. On Friday, Gazprom hinted that it might cut off gas exports to Ukraine over unpaid bills, as it did in 2009, and an unnamed Defense Ministry official told Russian news agencies that it would consider stopping international inspections of its nuclear weapons.
Russia’s tycoons have been silent since the crisis began, apart from approving messages on social media. Many inside Russia’s large corporations are no doubt supportive of Mr. Putin’s moves in Crimea, which are widely seen here as correcting a historical error made by the Soviet leader Nikita S. Khrushchev, when he transferred Crimea to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Mr. Putin’s approval ratings are at their highest point since he returned to the presidency in 2012. If corporate leaders are complaining, they are doing it quietly.
“Of course they’re upset, but it doesn’t mean they are prepared to challenge Russia’s foreign policy,” said Mikhail E. Dmitriyev, an economist whose research group, the Center for Strategic Research, was originally founded to shape Mr. Putin’s economic platform. “This is a new reality. Even if somebody has reservations with regard to the policy’s effectiveness, I strongly doubt they would express it. This is a policy which, for the moment, is backed by the vast majority of the public. It’s not an exaggeration.”
In private conversations, though, several people described high anxiety within corporations, especially about the prospect of any sanctions’ affecting banks. Large Russian corporations have significantly increased foreign borrowing in recent years, and 10 were negotiating loans when the crisis boiled over, said Ben Aris, the editor and publisher of Business New Europe. Financial sanctions could set off a chain reaction of blocked transactions, frozen accounts and bank closings. “Those oligarchs who are already having trouble would be completely cut off,” he said.
Sberbank, the state retail bank, and the state investment bank VTB have actively expanded into Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, and own assets in Western Europe and the United States. Rosneft, the state oil company, has a deal with Exxon Mobil to drill in the Russian Arctic, the flagship project of Igor I. Sechin, a deputy prime minister and one of Mr. Putin’s closest aides.
Some pointed to a more long-term danger that the conflict over Ukraine, if it escalated, could culminate in a turn toward isolation for the Russian economy.
“It may be that we look back on the events of last weekend and remember it as an inflection point when Russia’s growing integration with the planet, which has been remorseless — Russia has integrated into the global architecture, and people feel they are part of the world — maybe we look back on this weekend as a time when there were a big set of steps back,” said Bernard Sucher, the former head of Merrill Lynch in Russia.
It is unclear how heavily Mr. Putin weighed the economic consequences when he decided to take control of Crimea. During his first years as president, Mr. Putin was known as an economic liberalizer, and one of his most trusted advisers was Aleksei L. Kudrin, the liberal-leaning former finance minister who gave him his first job in the Kremlin administration.
But Mr. Putin, whose return to the presidency was opposed by many urban liberals, now makes his most important decisions in an inner circle of men who emerged from Soviet security services. Among the first new projects in his new presidency was a push to “nationalize the elite,” requiring officials to sell off investments and properties outside Russia that could, in his view, undermine their loyalty in the event of a confrontation with the West.
Indeed, among the small group of people present when Mr. Putin made the final decision on Crimea, according to officials and analysts, were five or six former K.G.B. colleagues believed to have minimal assets outside Russia, and who were therefore not vulnerable to sanctions. Some of those now closest to Mr. Putin, like the head of the Russian Railways, Vladimir I. Yakunin, have long argued for Russia to turn away from Western economic models and toward Chinese-style state capitalism.
In a column in the Russian newspaper Vedomosti on Friday, the economist Yevgeny S. Gontmakher described a number of painful steps that might allow Mr. Putin to manage an economic contraction: increasing taxes on the rich and the middle class; reducing spending on education, health and social services; decreasing unemployment payments and subsidies to struggling factories; and reallocating the budget to support constituencies crucial to social stability, like pensioners and state employees. All of them, he pointed out, would require tightening social controls.
Mr. Dmitriyev, who has remained in touch with the economic officials who advise the Kremlin, said he believed Mr. Putin had a clear understanding of the potential for damage to the economy when he made the decision on Crimea.
“Economic risks are an important factor in the whole policy agenda, but of course this is not the only factor, and the Ukrainian events cannot be wound back,” Mr. Dmitriyev said. “This is a ratchet mechanism which unwinds in only one direction. This is one reason there is a lot of wishful thinking in the West.”
03/11/2014 11:34 AM
Help from Germany: Firms Could Soon Provide Gas to Ukraine
By Frank Dohmen
Ukraine's dependence on gas from Russia has often been used as a political weapon by Moscow in conflicts with its neighbor. German companies are now considering how Western European gas could be rerouted to Kiev if the Kremlin decides to cut supplies.
In geopolitical disputes between Moscow and Kiev, natural gas is a frequent tool used by the Russians to bring Ukraine back into political line. With frigid winter temperatures, Ukraine is heavily reliant on Russian gas to provide heating, and in recent years, the Russians have twice cut off gas supplies to the country.
That eventuality could play a role in the current crisis. Now Germany's major energy utility companies are developing strategies to help Ukraine fill the shortfall if Moscow decides to cut gas supplies. Companies including RWE and E.on are working on plans to supply Ukraine with weeks' worth of gas.
Currently, Ukraine taps around half of it gas needs from Russia. But last Friday, Russian Gas monopolist Gazprom threatened to suspend deliveries to Ukraine if the country doesn't pay its outstanding February bill of €1.7 billion ($2.35 billion).
In an emergency, the flow through Europe's pipelines could simply be reversed, with gas getting pumped from German reservoirs through the Czech Republic and Slovakia directly to Ukraine. Following this year's especially mild winter, Germany's reservoirs are much fuller than usual. Even long-term deliveries would be conceivable at the moment.
Ukraine already signed a framework agreement in 2012 with RWE to make the gas deliveries possible. Under the contract, the company has committed itself to delivering up to 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year to Ukraine, which the country was going to use this summer to fill its reservoirs for the coming winter. But RWE executives say they could provide deliveries much sooner.
RWE currently draws its gas from Norway or the Netherlands, both major suppliers in Western Europe. It would also be possible to redirect Russian gas from the Nord Stream Baltic Sea pipeline -- which connects Russia and Germany -- through pipelines in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to Ukraine. The Russians have included provisions in their supply contracts with Germany prohibiting such redirection, but a high-ranking energy utility executive told SPIEGEL these clauses are easily circumvented. "Once gas has been delivered to a storage facility, it is impossible to determine where it came from," the source said.
Around 35 percent of natural gas supplies in Germany originate from Russia, but that energy dependence could soon wane as a result of controversial fracking technologies in the United States. The country is currently extracting so much natural gas that it may soon begin exporting it in large volumes.
NATO to deploy recon flights over Eastern Europe as Ukraine crisis deepens
By Agence France-Presse
Monday, March 10, 2014 14:25 EDT
NATO said Monday it will deploy AWACS reconnaissance aircraft to overfly Poland and Romania as part of alliance efforts to monitor the crisis in Ukraine.
The flights “will enhance the Alliance’s situational awareness,” a NATO official said, adding: “All AWACS reconnaissance flights will take place solely over Alliance territory.”
“This decision is an appropriate and responsible action in line with NATO’s decision to intensify our ongoing assessment of the implications of this crisis for Alliance security,” the official said.
The NATO announcement comes as Washington and Moscow traded barbs over rival proposals to ease the crisis, with each challenging the other to show they were really interested in a peaceful outcome.
The AWACS — Airborne Warning and Control System — will fly missions from their home airbase in Geilenkirchen, Germany, and from Waddington in Britain.
The AWACS aircraft are one of the most sophisticated command and control vehicles in the NATO armoury, capable of monitoring huge swathes of airspace.
As the Ukraine crisis has deepened with Russian intervention in the Crimea, former Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe have become increasingly nervous at President Vladimir Putin’s apparent willingness to up the ante.
The situation risks becoming more difficult if Crimea, now controlled by pro-Russian leaders, votes in a March 16 referendum to break all links with Kiev and become part of Russia.
Poland and the Baltic states in particular have taken a hard line as events have unfolded and last week, Warsaw called for urgent consultations with its NATO allies on the situation.
In response to Putin’s move into Crimea, home to a large Russian-speaking population and the Black Sea fleet, the US is sending a dozen F-16 fighter jets and 300 service personnel to Poland as part of a training exercise.
Last week, Washington also sent six additional F-15 fighter jets to step up NATO air patrols over the Baltic states.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said at the time of last week’s deployment that it was a sign that “NATO is responding promptly and fast”.
Since January, four US F-15 fighter jets have been assigned for air patrols over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Crimea Assembly Votes for Independence from Ukraine
by Naharnet Newsdesk
11 March 2014, 12:43
Pro-Moscow lawmakers in Crimea voted for independence from Ukraine on Tuesday in a precursor to a referendum this weekend for the region to become part of Russia.
The local assembly approved a "declaration on the independence of the autonomous republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol" with 78 out of 81 lawmakers present voting in favor.
The move by the parliament, which has been declared illegal by the new government in Kiev, appeared to be aimed at creating a legal framework for joining Russia as a sovereign state.
The parliament's press service said in a statement that independence would come into force after the referendum if the result is in favor of Crimea becoming part of the Russian Federation.
The declaration referred to Kosovo's separation from Serbia, adding that "the unilateral declaration of independence of part of a state does not violate any international laws."
If the referendum is in favor of Russia, "the republic of Crimea as an independent and sovereign state will apply to the Russian Federation to join it".
Ukraine crisis: US will not recognise Crimea referendum, says ambassador
Washington threatens further action against Russia if Vladimir Putin uses poll to legitimise military occupation, says Kiev envoy
Luke Harding in Kiev and agencies
theguardian.com, Monday 10 March 2014 12.41 GMT
America's ambassador in Kiev said the US would refuse to recognise next Sunday's "so-called referendum" in Crimea, and said Washington would take further steps against Russia if it used the poll to legitimise its occupation.
Geoffrey Pyatt said Barack Obama and the US secretary of state, John Kerry, had spent the weekend talking to European leaders. Obama also spoke to Russia's president, Vladimir Putin. The ambassador said the US and EU were in complete agreement that stronger sanctions could follow after next weekend's referendum, adding: "There is no daylight between us."
The ambassador said the White House was unbending in its view that Crimea was part of Ukraine. He said that in the runup to Sunday's referendum "gangs of pro-Russian thugs" were roaming the peninsula, beating up activists and creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. Without mentioning Moscow by name, Pyatt said there was also an "active campaign right now" to stir up dissension and division across the country.
Ukraine's interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, is due to travel to Washington on Wednesday for talks with Obama. The trip would be an opportunity to reaffirm the US's strongest support for the "new democratic Ukraine'", its integrity and the Ukrainian people, Pyatt said. They would also discuss Russia's invasion of Crimea.
His comments came after David Cameron and Angela Merkel agreed that any Russian attempt to legitimise Sunday's referendum in Crimea would result in further consequences, implying stronger sanctions.
The UK prime minister and the German chancellor agreed a statement after a working dinner in Hanover on Sunday night.
On Sunday, during separate telephone calls with Obama and Merkel, the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, urged a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine and for all parties to exercise calm and restraint.
"The situation in Ukraine is extremely complex, and what is most urgent is for all sides to remain calm and exercise restraint to avoid an escalation in tensions," China's foreign ministry on Monday cited Xi as telling Obama.
"Political and diplomatic routes must be used to resolve the crisis," Xi added. China had an "open attitude" towards any suggestions or proposals that could ameliorate the situation and was willing to remain in touch with all parties including the US, he said.
Xi told Merkel the Ukraine situation was "highly sensitive" and needed to be weighed carefully, according to a separate Chinese statement.
FBI Helping Probe Ukraine 'Kleptocracy'
by Naharnet Newsdesk
10 March 2014, 19:17
U.S. officials including FBI agents are in Kiev helping a Ukrainian-led investigation into corruption under ousted president Viktor Yanukovych, the U.S. ambassador to Kiev said on Monday.
"We are doing what we can to unpack the enormous kleptocracy which surrounded the Yanukovych government," Geoffrey Pyatt said at a press conference in Kiev.
"We have already on the ground here in Ukraine experts from the FBI, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury," the ambassador told reporters.
Pyatt also said there were "a variety of other international governments" assisting in the Ukrainian investigation "to uncover the financial crimes that were committed by the previous regime and to see what can be done to recuperate some of those assets."
The European Union last week froze the assets of Yanukovych, ex-premier Mykola Azarov and 16 former ministers, businessmen and security chiefs -- all on grounds of fraud.
Swiss authorities have also ordered a freeze on the assets of both Yanukovych and his multi-millionaire son Oleksandr, as well as 18 other former ministers and officials.
Ukraine ranks 144th out of 177 countries on Transparency International's corruption perceptions index.
Yanukovych Says still President, Expects Return to Kiev
by Naharnet Newsdesk
11 March 2014, 12:06
Ousted Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych on Tuesday said that he was still the country's legitimate president and commander-in-chief, predicting he would be able to return to Kiev soon.
"I remain not just the sole legitimate president of Ukraine but also commander-in-chief," he said in his first public appearance in over a week, in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.
"As soon as the circumstances allow -- and I am sure there is not long to wait -- I will without doubt return to Kiev," he added, speaking Russian.
In contrast to his lengthy press conference on February 28 when he re-emerged in Russia, Yanukovych gave only a seven minute statement in a conference hall in Rostov-on-Don, standing in front of several Ukrainian flags.
He then left the stage alone without taking questions.
He reaffirmed his belief that power in Kiev had been taken by a "band of ultra-nationalists and neo-fascists" who he said wanted to start a "civil war".
He said that presidential elections planned in May would be "absolutely illegitimate and illegal" and he would not recognize the results.
It is not clear what influence, if any, Yanukovych has on Russian policy on Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin said last week he was in theory still Ukrainian president but recognized he had no political future.
Yanukovych told the new pro-West authorities in Ukraine who took over after he fled to Russia last month that "sooner or later, most likely sooner" they would be held responsible for their actions.
"You will be made responsible for the suffering of the people. Ukraine is now going through a difficult time," he said.
He blamed them for the fact that Ukraine appears about to lose control of Crimea, which is set to be claimed by Russia after a referendum on March 16.
"Your actions have led to the fact that Crimea is separating and the people of the south and east are demanding respect, even in the face of machine guns," he said.
"We will get through this trouble, the people who have been deceived by you will see this and the country will rise up and unify," said Yanukovych.
However contrary to expectations, Yanukovych made no other reference to the crisis over Crimea in his statement.
There had been repeated rumors in the Russian press over the last week that Yanukovych had suffered a heart attack but he appeared to be in reasonable health, if looking strained and tired.
"I want to say that I am alive," said Yanukovych in a comment that provoked immediate ridicule on social networks.
"But I cannot say that I feel good as I cannot look at what is going on now in Ukraine without deep and terrible alarm."
He accused the West of ignoring the "fascist" tendencies of the new authorities in Ukraine.
"Have you gone blind? Have you lost your memory? Have you forgotten what fascism is?"
He said that the presidential elections would be illegitimate as they would proceed under the "total control of extremist forces".
on: Mar 11, 2014, 05:04 AM
|Started by cat777 - Last post by Skywalker|
S.Node of Neptune in Aquarius in the Fifth house, ruler Uranus in Sagittarius in the Third house, natal Neptune in the Fourth house in Capricorn, North Node of Neptune in Leo in the Eleventh house and ruler Sun in the Ninth house in Taurus
Pluto in Scorpio in the Second house.
All rulerships return back to the Second and Eighth houses as are most of the planets themselves, someone with so much money and emphasis on big business will usually have these houses highly emphasized, as is the case.
Pluto rules every planet but the Sun and Venus which are in the Eighth house.
He is the world´s youngest billionaire ever.
Chart is attached below.
A couple of quotes by Mark Zuckerberg.
“At Facebook, we’re inspired by technologies that have revolutionized how people spread and consume information. We often talk about inventions like the printing press and the television — by simply making communication more efficient, they led to a complete transformation of many important parts of society. They gave more people a voice. They encouraged progress. They changed the way society was organized. They brought us closer together.”
“Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I´m most proud of in my life.”
Aquarius on the Sixth House cusp with Uranus in the third, correlating to his desire to serve and “perfect” the world by the use of technology to link people and grant them access to information and education or other technological services he might have in mind or others of like mind might have shared with him.
He seems to be a great example of someone connected to the collective conscious/unconscious as he developed a computer program that was able to connect 1.3 billion people. This control over the flow of information gives him the ability to have an effect on the collective in not so subtle ways. The flow of information has rapidly increased, people are always connected and life is speeding up. People find their old classmates, meet people online as easily as in real life, create businesses and speak their minds to whoever they want. They connect to like minded people and have faster access to new information and ideas that they wouldn´t normally see. On the other hand there is also the downside of the loss of privacy, people stalking one another and living each time more in the digital domain.
The beginning of an empire
January 2004 Transiting Uranus in the Sixth house made it´s last trine to Pluto in the Second house which was in effect from the beginning of 2003. Pluto rules the Third house, correlating to the use of technology to gain access to information about his colleagues and to connect with them and connect them with one another. It also shows the creative aspect of this transit in which he was able to create something that would be of value with the programming skills he developed as Uranus transited the Sixth house.
Transiting Neptune was also conjunct the South Node of Neptune at the founding of Facebook, indicating a new beginning relative to some of his past life dynamics, seemingly connected to information, communication and technology as seen by natal Uranus in the Third house. For that he had to resume those past dynamics by creating the site which would have an effect on the collective. The transiting Sun was also in Aquarius at that time, correlating to his focus on his creation and to the timing of his “invention”. The transiting North Node of the Moon was conjunct Venus in the Eighth house at the time of Facebook´s launch, little did he know how much money Facebook would generate, or did he have those intentions all along? With Pluto in the Second with it´s aspects, I would say at least subconsciously the intentions were there to build something of value and profit from it. With these Astrological symbols he will not be the frivolous type and be interested in the long run.
Business as usual
Jupiter, which rules his Uranus is in Capricorn in the 4th house, trine Venus in Taurus in the 8th shows his self righteousness in profitting off of peoples privacy and lives which, by accumlating and managing information/data of massive proportions makes a lot of revenue.
He was accused of stealing the idea and code from other Harvard colleagues, Divya Narendra and twin brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss which, had invited him to work on a project that was of a similar nature but he ended up working on his own project, with the financial help of his best friend at the time Eduardo Saverin, who´s position in the company was later downplayed by Mark Zuckerberg himself. This was all seen as a betrayal by Eduardo and filed a lawsuit against Mark which settled out of court for shares of facebook which ended up making him over 2 billion USD. The initial colleagues of Mark Zuckerberg also sued him and settled for around 65 Million USD. All of this is to show that not all dealings were clear cut and there are symbols of potential cut throat betrayals in this chart. Betrayals of this nature are very common in the world of big business and multinational corporations, where psychopaths are found in abundance. It´s all just business folks! With all that Scorpio, Second and Eighth house energy configured the way it is, there seems to be a history in his Soul´s evolution of this type of phenomenon either as victim or perpetrator of intense betrayals that possibly led to entrapment or, to the loss of resources and life itself. The square to the Nodal axis of Neptune from the Scorpio stellium indicates the loss of his friend due to the “business as usual.”
Privacy, ya whatever
The inconjunct between the Scorpio Saturn, Moon and Mars, to the MC in Gemini, also correlates to the dynamics of needing to commit to the value of keeping his word to the general public. Gemini and Scorpio have trust issues on an archetypal core level as Gemini doesn´t commit too seriously and Scorpio is all about trust and in order for there to be trust, Scorpio needs to know what it can count on and Gemini, being the sign of duplicity, many times cannot be counted on to commit to one thing and stick with its word. That way Scorpio can understand Gemini, is to count on the fact that one can not count on them to have a word, in this way the Scorpio archetype wont experience the rug being pulled from under its feet. In this sense, people naturally may not trust Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg to stick to his responsibilities relative to privacy and, we can expect a certain degree of duplicity relative to his social or professional integrity as it relates to his values, through the inconjunct to the planets in the Second house.
Soul, Pluto bottom line
Relative to the Pluto bottom line desire for self sufficiency and survival which, in his social context and reality translated into making money. Pluto and Saturn together can translate into a huge drive for social success, as the Soul has potentially experienced intense traumas relative to the loss of resources, personal power/authority, social prestige or that which it valued most or even it´s own life. It can also reflect a Soul who has had a past of powerless-ness in society due to extreme poverty, slavery or similar dynamics of not having enough or losing what he did have. A potential reason for loss could of been his lack of values in achieving these resources, whether in great quantities or simply enough to survive, which if gained through underhanded, greedy means, would lead to the Evolutionary need to experience the loss of those very resources. There is also the possibility of having been in the power seat where this authority was somehow lost or abused due to a limited sense of personal values which lead to situations of stagnation that needed to be metamorphosed, in order for evolution to proceed.
Full steam ahead
The new phase conjunction shows a new cycle of development is underway between these planets and related psychological dynamics which, seems to indicate, this life will be a continuation of a cycle he just began prior to the current life, in the sense that there will be the desire to move and push forward with his plans at all costs as the desires emanate strongly from within his own Soul. Within his Soul there is an intense driving energy for forward motion and growth (Pluto/Mars not in true conjunction but in new phase stage of development) which will be felt at the core of his being and, chanelled all the way through how he integrates his Soul´s desires into his Egocentric structure (Moon) which in turn, is also highly connected to his social and profession (Saturn) and life purpose as the Moon opposes the Sun. The Scorpio stellium in the Second house reveals these inner Soul dynamics he has experienced in his past lives which, he is bringing forth in his current life as Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook and other technological corporations such as Internet.org, Instagram and What´s App. With the S.Node of the Moon in the Third house in Sagittarius, conjunct Uranus in a new phase aspect, indicates that he is re-living dynamics relative to knowledge and information and will be reliving these dynamics in new ways.
Knowledge is power
I´m impressed at how graphic and accurate this chart is at reflecting his life and, am constantly amazed (as are many others) at how accurate Evolutionary Astrology is at representing symbolically what the reality of a Soul is and has been, at least from archetypal/energetic/emotional points of view which, when complemented with actual facts from the person´s life and, the archetypes then adjusted to the evolutionary level of the Soul, gives such an accurate representation to those that are able to interpret the symbols. Anyway it´s obvious that being the owner of Facebook and the other tech companies he owns, that he now has unprecendented access to information and knowledge that is worth a lot of money to a lot of people. These interested parties can range from simple investors to advertisers to governments or anyone in between. The amount of raw data that flows through the sites he owns and presides over are simply massive and, with the Scorpio stellium located in the Second house there can be and obviously is, a voracious appetite for this type of power, an appetite which he has carried over from past lives.
“Our goal was to type in a persons name and find out a bunch of information on them.” Mark Zuckerberg
With the South Node of the Moon conjunct Uranus in the Third house, this Soul has been interested in the free flow of information/knowledge of all sorts of things or about people themselves, also about freedom of speech and in the right and ability to travel and to be connected to others, potentially relative to the bottom line of survival and sustainability that Pluto and the Scorpio stellium represent in his Soul´s history. Within the Uranus in Sagittarius in the Third house, ruled by Jupiter in the Fourth house in Capricorn, we have potential symbols of someone who in the past desired to spread their beliefs of a philosophical or religious nature to others in such a way as to conquer the lands of others and expand his own territory.
Uranus for all of us is the ruler of the South Node of Neptune, which in Mark´s chart is located in the Fifth house in Aquarius. Relative to the collective conscious/unconscious, it reflects a past desire to be extremely creative, special, part of an elite group of powerful rulers and similar dynamics which would get feedback and a sense of specialness from the collective itself. He would desire to be regarded as a leader that was innovative and ahead of his time (Aquarius). He would have within his own Soul, memories of these or similar dynamics that would give him a sense of being special due to some unique gift, creative or intellectual talent or elite group which he was born into. It would also correlate to disillusionment due to the over estimation of his own abilities and ultimately to humbling experiences, as Neptune, which correlates to the Source of all creation, is not really supportive of people acting in Godlike ways. With these symbols it´s very possible he had, in his karmic past, various types of superiority complexes which possibly lead to developing God complexes too.
With the South Node of Neptune in the Fifth house in Aquarius and Uranus in the Third in Sagittarius, remembering his evolutionary stage being in the middle of the individuated state of consciousness, means that he is at an evolutionary point in his Soul´s journey in which he has already rebelled against all other thought forms, belief systems, dogmas, religions etc, that did not reflect his inherent individuality and therefore has already learnt to integrate into the mainstream in a way that was 1, a true representation of his identity/personality and 2, in ways that could help some aspect of the collective itself evolve due to his objective ability to look at things in new ways thus, having the ability to think “out of the box” in ways that could contribute to a body of knowledge or field of activity.
With the South Node of Neptune in the Fifth house, relative to his evolutionary station, we can see that his desire has been to totally express himself in ways that would be a true representation of who he was and in ways that could effect/direct/inspire the collective in whatever ways/directions he desired. These desires would be emanating primarily through Pluto´s natal position and in this case we have the Scorpio stellium in the Second house, opposite Venus in the Eighth in Taurus, in a square aspect to the South Node of Neptune in Aquarius in the Fifth house. Amongst other things it can correlate in the past, to his lack of resources to complete a creative project, to support his children which then resulted in mental (Aquarius) and deep emotional (Scorpio) trauma or, to the desire to rule over others, in the case of him being in positions of great power and authority in the past, which then led to betrayals and potential losses of resources and even life itself. This is most probably one reason for him acquiring so much wealth in this life, the traumas he experienced in the past.
It´s actually my own personal insight or illusive projection that this Soul has been in positions of great power and influence in the past. I meditated on him and focused on what I felt as I concentrated on him. In doing so I started to feel pain in various parts of my body and in my Navel chakra as it triggered an image or memory of actually suffering at the hands of this Soul and, being in positions of powerlessness due to his policies or the way he ruled. I´m not sure if this was a true memory or a projection of my own mind but it seemed to me that he was possibly a Roman emperor, maybe even Julius Caesar. Even before that experience, I had the impression that in his Soul´s history there were Greek and/or Roman chapters and he even looks Roman or Greek, to me at least. I don´t have any reason to like or dislike him or even have any sort of opinion about him. I tend to trust my inner radar though and do believe that he was in a position of authority and power in which he possibly had influence over many others and, in this life is re-living certain dynamics and re-creating his empire but, in different ways. These new ways will obviously be different from the medium to distant past as mankind has evolved so much from a technological point of view in these past 150 years, which also had an immense impact on the collective conscious/unconscious.
Who he was doesn´t really matter, what does matter are the dynamics that he is experiencing, why he is to experience them, what is is connected to his Soul´s evolutionary past and, how to evolve beyond his limitations in his present circumstancial reality. This is the gift of EA, to show the energetic imprint the Soul is born with, thus revealing the emotional/psychological dynamics of the past that lead up to the current life. In the end, the why is more important than who the Soul was on an egocentric level. The why is directly connected to the Soul´s intentions and the determinant of the who that the Soul creates in each life. Being able to understand the Astrological archetypes in their deepest possible expression and meaning will give a picture of the energetic or emotional imprints the Soul is here to experience. We are all energy configured in various unique ways although we share many similarities. We all have our unique consciousness which nature is shown by Neptune and further by Saturn with how this consciousness is defined and experienced/materialized in the physical world and, to the other planets which all have their unique functions in awareness/consciousness.
Power, power and more power.
One thing that leads me to believe he was in such positions of power is the fact that prior to his first Saturn return, he had already become so influential and financially rich with Facebook. As JWG taught us so brilliantly, the first Saturn return is a period in which we will mostly be gravitating back to and recreating many dynamics of our karmic past. We are a composite of our past, present and potential future, the Saturn return is a re-building of past life structures in order to relive and setup the conditions for our evolutionary progress to occur. I can personally attest to the feeling I had at my Saturn return when I finished a cycle relative to the work I was doing at the time in the music industry, it felt like it had all been done before and shortly after I moved on to other things such as Astrology which, since my North Node of the Moon has Mars, Jupiter and Urania conjunct, reflects the fact that I had already worked on this area prior to this life, at least to a certain extent and would continue in this life. It´s interesting that after the Saturn return, was exactly when I felt the time with the music industry was something that was culminating and started to look in other directions. All this to say that it seems to me that Mark Zuckerberg, by generating such influence and riches, was simply recreating his past structural reality (Saturn) in order to continue his evolutionary journey. This journey is very interesting Astrologically as his chart is quite paradoxal due to Pluto being in Scorpio in the Second house with Venus in Taurus in the Eighth house. This to me seems like a closed loop as both Venus and Pluto are in their own signs thus havng no rulers and their expression being purer and limited to those houses and signs in which they are placed. So much of his life will be experienced within these two opposing archetypes and associated real life dynamics. These dynamics of course are related to power, survival, resources, issues pertaining to trust, merging with others in all sorts of ways, corporations, big business, and of course secrets which are related to personal privacy, which is a paramount concern in his life with Facebook and his other ventures.
“I´m here to build something for the long term, everything else is a distraction.” Mark Zuckerberg
With Neptune in Capricorn in the Fourth house, relative to the South Node of Neptune in Aquarius in the Fifth house and, in the third individuated EA state, he is evolving from an awareness of the creative integration of his own unique self in idealistic ways, that can hopefully unite humanity in ways that can lead to the creation of a system that can be of greater security to all people. His consciousness is essentially connected to the material world, he is most probably a materialist in the sense that he believes in that which is tangible, provable, reliable etc. He is an Atheist in his own words, not yet understanding the role of the prime creator or Source of all things in the creation of existence. He stated in an interview that he considers himself a builder and his desire is to build things that stand the test of time, essentially reflecting his creative streak carried over from the past as seen by the South Node of Neptune in the Fifth house with natal Neptune now in the Fourth in Capricorn. The architect but, not of a physical home where people can live but, the architect of a mental structure (Uranus Third) where all people can be connected and share information and ideas, ideas that he can “capture” relative to his bottom line Pluto in Scorpio with all that emphasis in Scorpio in the Second and Eighth houses which, translate to the desire to accumulate wealth as power and information is a means to have this power.
The power of the mind
With the Nodal axis of Neptune in the Fifth and Eleventh houses and the Scorpio stellium square this axis, there is also the dynamic tension between his goals for the future of his creations (Facebook and other technological inventions) and the values he is here to metamorphose due to the huge amount of Scorpio energy in the Second house. There will be tension and potential crisis of what is important for him, his creations and empires, his wealth and status (as symbols for the potential to build and create), between these dynamics and his friends or those of like mind or the power elite which he has become a part of, willingly or not and, what he would essentially like to implement in the world, that can have an effect on the collective conscious/unconscious and on the quality of life of people world wide. He is essentially here to develop his internal security and value system to the maximum with these symbols and find out what is true for himself with the Nodal axis of the Moon in the Third and Ninth houses, with Uranus on the South Node in the Third house. He will be evolving from an awareness of what is his special gift to the world and how to implement these gifts, to an awareness of how to let them go and simply go with the flow. He is also here to learn about emotional expression and to learn how to dissolve barriers preventing emotional expression with Neptune in the Fourth house, to learn how to feel and be secure from within himself as being a part of the vastness of life.
With the North Node of Neptune in the Eleventh house in Leo and the Sun in Taurus opposite the Moon and Mars, he will be highly dedicated to his goals and be single minded about how to implement them, he will be essentially fixed in his mode of expression, focused and have the desire to expand as much as possible. Within these symbols he will desire to do things for humanity that are a reflection of his own values and creative ideas. Relative to the Scorpio/Taurus Eighth and Second house emphasis, he will be intensely fixated on his desires, whatever they may be, to the point of obsession. He will also believe in economics and the economy. With the North Node of Neptune in the Eleventh in Leo he will need to learn to be more objective in order to implement his creative ideas and genius in the mainstream of the collective and in order to do this he will need to learn about total honesty, that which is a reflection of his true core values and what is essentially right for him, from his point of view. Further with the S.Node of the Moon in Gemini in the Third house, with Uranus conjunct, he will have liberated from the opinions of others in the past and in this life is initiating a new cycle relative to his beliefs and what he takes in from others in the form of opinions and ideas etc. He seems to be in a state of fruition relative to the build up of past lives of attempting to understand what is what, what is right and what is true, he must of accumulated a lot of information and is now liberating from an excessive left brain approach. Within these symbols and his fruition state we also have the fact that he is a free thinker and doesn´t condition himself by what others think or say, he potentially feels that on a mental level he is in a league of his own and has special gifts or talents he is here to share with the world at large. He is also in a fruition state relative to his intelligence and ability to stand back and see what others need in order to be more efficient. This is indicated by the reality that when he was just a child of twelve years of age, he developed a computer program that was for the purpose of helping his father communicate and connect with his secretary who sent him messages when clients arrived. His father was very supportive of his technological abilities and progression and hired a private tutor to give Mark programming lessons, further indicating his fruition state relative to information technology and the creative use of his mind potential (Uranus in the third conjunct S.Node of the Moon relative to the South Node of Neptune in the Fifth).
Mercury is also significant as it rules the North Node of the Moon, his MC in Gemnini and his Virgo Ascendent.
Mercury in the Eighth house at the very end of Aries is conjunct asteroid Lucifer, trine Neptune and opposite Pluto. The opposition to Pluto correlates to his immense ability to focus single handedly on an idea and to his drive to implement them to their completion, to make them reality as he desires to make his dreams reality thru the trine to Neptune and has the creative capacity plus intelligence to do so. The conjunction to Lucifer can indicate that thru the information he acquires he can be pulled into the forces of evil by associating with people that are in some way also associated or influenced by dark forces. Lucifer/Mercury in Aries in the Eighth house can be totally un-interested with the effects he has on others with how he uses information, how this information is achieved can be through dishonest trickster ways, he himself can be used by others who desire to use him as a means to benefit by the information he himself has access to, therefore making him a “victim” of the powers that use him for their own personal agendas. This symbol shows that there is potentially lot more than meets the eye relative to the use of the information he has access to and the means he uses and has used in his Soul history to gain information which, was quite probably with the intention of domineering others in various ways in his past.
Duplicity can backfire
Ruling the MC, Mercury, which in itself is a symbol for potential duplicity, means that he will use the Mercury funcion relative to information, communication and connections to others, in order to progress in the mainstream world he lives in and to use this information as a means to generate power for himself thru making money. Ruling the Ascendant, the money he makes can equal freedom to act in any ways he feels or desires. Mercury here can also equate to the Souls desire to dig deep within the psyche in order to understand what makes him tick so to speak and figure out who he really is. In the Eighth in Aries he will have the tendency to merge with others who can open doors for him and possibly invest in his ventures, specially with the opposition to Pluto which reflects the evolutionary intention of metamorphosing the way he uses his Mercury function itself. Pluto/Mercury shows a desire within his Soul to eliminate outmoded ways of thinking, concepts or ideas he has that are no longer serving an evolutionary purpose for his Souls growth. This can indicate that at key periods in his life, that he will experience intense confrontations with others in order to force him to let go of these outmoded and obsolete ways of using his logical mind, he may have the tendency to confront those that oppose him and will desire to dominate and pioneer in whatever field he chooses to operate in. Relative to the Second house Scorpio stellium, it will be obvious that these confrontations will be about that which he values and, in his life he has chosen to be in the area of big business as his Soul has identified what is of value to the collective conscious with the trine from Mercury to Neptune in Capricorn in the Fourth house, money which equals power and security or the potential to act freely. The ability to act freely is very important and highly valued for this Soul as is shown by the amount of new phase conjunctions in the Second house and the ruler of his Ascendent, Mercury in Aries. Also it´s quite possible that in the current life he may feel somewhat entrapped by the very nature of the reality he has created, entrapped by those which he must merge with, by the magnitude of his own business and technological ventures and by the commitments these require.
Others with whom he has had to unite with, in order to fulfill the Eighth house desire to ground and own his power, may have ulterior motives of their own and therefore he may find himself serving the needs and desires of others that are more powerful than he is. Also within his own Soul there can be intense memories of the loss of life due to similar dynamics in which others turned on him because he was not interested in being a team player and desired to go his own way when he wasn´t as powerful as he thought or believed. With that Scorpio stellium in the Second house there are many potential scenarios of power struggles with others and when we add Mercury in opposition in the Eighth, conjunct Lucifer and trine Neptune, there can be many dynamics or experiences relative to deception, in order to gain power and influence, where he is either victim or perpetrator in alternate roles throughout his Soul´s journey.
Better be honest
The yod from Pluto/Neptune to his Chiron in the Ninth house, which is also conjunct his North Node in Gemini and in an applying conjunction to his Sun in Taurus, seems to reflect the need for truth and honesty at all costs relative to how he uses information and communicates. This is to be brought into conscious awareness as the Sun rules the current life purpose. Whenever he acts in ways that reflect duplicity and dishonesty, he will find himself in crisis situations just as he did at various times when he treaked the Facebook program to reveal more information about people´s privacy. He was pushing the limits of what information he could access and retreive from others, which led to crisis of others revolting against his actions and forcing him to acknowledge these abuses of power and to apologize publicly for them, which he did at various occasions. Chiron´s conjunction to the Sun shows that utter honesty is something he will need to painstakingly integrate into the current life as something important and of value to his life´s purpose. It won´t be enough to have power and money just for power´s sake. Within his own Soul is the desire to heal from past abuses relative to information, honesty, duplicity, communication etc, that led to wounding himself and others and, with the Sun in Taurus in the Ninth house, it can be achieved thru the development of values based on truth and honesty and the value/preservation of Nature and life in general.
Creativity and intelligence
South.Node of Neptune in the Fifth house, the Soul has desired to express it´s creativity in new and unique ways as viewed from the collective conscious/unconscious, ways that refleced it´s core individuality. Within this dynamic he would desire to be acknowledged as special for his accomplishments or creations, thus having a need for feedback to serve this purpose. He would also desire to be in charge of his own destiny, possibly above external authority of any kind and even be in charge of the destiny of others in society. With the ruler of Neptune´s South Node, Uranus in Sagittarius in the Third house, there was the desire to gain knowledge and information in order to actualize the desire for creative self actualization. This knowledge would allow him to develop his intelligence to a high level, to develop his rational mind and his intuitive mind at the same time, thus developing a certain degree of balance between both hemispheres in his brain. The type of knowledge he would be interested in would be that of technology, religion, travel, communication, all forms of education that could enhance his ability to impact on the collective via his new revolutionary ideas (Aquarius plus Uranus in the Third in Sagittarius). Further, he would be liberating from any ideas that didn´t fit his own personal evolution and perspective or reflect his core values as seen in the Pluto Second house bottom line and desire to integrate in the collective his own unique and creative or individualized ideas and opinions.
Unity for all
With Neptune in Capricorn in the Fourth house, he would come into this life idealistically desiring to dissolve any barriers that separate people from one another. He would desire for himself and others to feel at home in the world and connected to their environment, for this he would believe (Jupiter in Capricorn) in the system as a social structure that was able to satisfy the security needs of the collective. The new phase conjunction between Jupiter Neptune shows there can be potential innocence in these beliefs as he pursues and acts upon them instinctively. This energy, to me, reflects his need for a personality with total integrity. Also potentially to wanting to be-friend the whole world as one big human family that is interconnected electronically, via his creative venture and invention or even “baby”, Facebook. Fifth house South Node of Neptune with natal Neptune in the Fourth house in Capricorn.
Neptune in the 4th house relative to the S.Node of Neptune in the Fifth in Aquarius, his desire to connect the world thru his social/economic/political influence and authority. Neptune in the 4th, self image based on his own status and worldy influence, ability to build. Self image intertwined directly with his social self role and ambitions. Dreams of being the leader. Desire and dreams of ultimate security based on a perfect social system. Influence over the intimate personal lives of others coming from his past of having great power and authority. Possibly a creative genius in past lives due to S.node of Neptune in 5th in Aquarius which led to him desiring to help others in relation to living their lives more equally etc which then lead to the desire to give access to knowledge and education, religious education or the right to be free to choose their own religion or cosmological beliefs, or freedom to travel (Uranus in the third in Sagittarius). In the current life with Neptune in Capricorn, relative to these past dynamics and evolutionary level of awareness, the Soul would desire to unify all countries and people under one socio/political/economic system, Capricorn, relative to the Scorpio stellium in the Second house.
With the Ruler of the North Node of Neptune in the Eleventh house in Leo, Mark Zuckerberg will develop/evolve his consciousness by learning to be objective about his own creative endeavours and ultimately desire to develop a life purpose that could serve the collective in order to help it transform and evolve. His spiritual evolution seems to be linked with the collective´s need to learn how to develop the principle of living a life with purpose and creativity. The Sun, which rules the North Node of Neptune being in Taurus in the Ninth house shows that he will need to develop an honest relationship to himself and the cosmos in order to relate to others in a positive, constructive way that can promote the spiritual evolution he and the collective desire and need. This placement, relative to the North Node of Neptune shows that in order to help humanity evolve, he will need to value himself as a being that is connected to something larger than what his senses can perceive, that he will need to develop a deeper value system and connection to the world or universe, that he will ultimately find meaning in helping others in all sorts of socio/economic circustances. It´s possible that in a distorted sense and expression, he may find himself amongst the power elite. This elite, if motivated by greed and self interest, as many elite power groups are, will have the effect of shocking him and disillusioning him in order to set him back on the right track as deep within his Soul is the desire for real values, for values of the deepest kind possible with the Scorpio/Taurus axis so highly emphasized relative to his EA station. In this evolutionary stage the Soul is attempting to express it´s truest sense of individuality and will not bow down to the values of others, the Soul will progressively lose interest in all sorts of egocentric senses of grandeur as it approaches the first stage spiritual and on the way will begin to be extremely objective of it´s own egocentric needs that are not truly necessary anymore. The “I” in the equation will be rebelled against as the Soul is so objective and desires to improve, specially with a Virgo Ascendent. There will be a natural tendency to be self conscious to the point of not liking the “I am” “I need” “I this and I that”. Therefore he will be developong humility in this stage of his evolution.
Information at the touch of all fingertips but at what price?
Another dynamic relative to the collective conscious/unconscious is the fact that he has the desire to evolve it by giving internet access to as much of the worlds population, even those who are very poor, for a very affordable price. This reflects the desire for a world system all interconnected as we have seen by his Neptune and Uranus placements plus the Sun in the Ninth house in Taurus, plus it´s good business for him and his Second/Eighth house bottom line subconscious and not so subconscious compulsion to generate income. It seems he is actually contributing to the speeding up the flow of information that is shared between people thus, effecting the evolution of the collective conscious/unconscious by vastly augmenting the flow of digital information and accelerating it at an exponential rate. This is seen by his Uranus in the Third house relative to the South Node of Neptune in the Fifth house via his creation Facebook and other sites such as Internet.org, by the North node of Neptune in the Eleventh house and the Sun which is it´s ruler in the Ninth house of expansion and foreign lands which, relative to Neptune in the Fourth house in Capricorn is a way to implement his dreams of the system that connects people. Of course the flip side of all this is the vast amount of power that he and others in similar situations such as Google or other corporations and Governments can have over people with highly efficient technologies at controling the worlds population for their own benefit. Here is a quote from Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder on Facebook, he also mentions yahoo and Google as acting in similar ways.
"Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented," Assange said in the interview, which was videotaped and published on the site. "Here we have the world's most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations and the communications with each other, their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible to U.S. intelligence."
"Everyone should understand that when they add their friends to Facebook, they are doing free work for United States intelligence agencies in building this database for them," Assange said, according to the RT interview.
What about the future?
Relative to the collective conscious/unconscious and the evolution of consciousness itself for mankind in the present and near future, when people like Zuckerberg push for a technological advancement of these proportions, what will happen is that we will truly all be connected with one another and have information about everyone´s personal lives and their Aunt but, this connection is via the internet, in contrast to the potential we all have to be connected with one another through our own inner nets. We humans have immense inner potential that is dumbed down due to the disconnected and distorted lifestyles we share. We are disconnected from our own truth in essence, from Nature, from God and from one another. We are relying each time more on technology and the internet to communicate with one another as we can see with the huge rise in smart phones and the near future will begin to merge man and machine, turning mankind into cyborgs. Cyborgs under the control of corporations such as Facebook or Google or Coca Cola. As man and the machine merge at an increasing rate, there will be on the one hand in the collective conscious/unconscious the desire to surrender to whatever is being implemented in society (Neptune in Pisces) as so many people simply feel overwhelmed by the reality on Earth at the present as experienced by the corporate takeover of the planet with Pluto in Capricorn. The merging with the machine will accelerate to unimaginable proportions as Pluto enters Aquarius unless, the collective starts to wake up to what is happening via objective awareness and and we desire to evolve in more naturally oriented and united ways. By the time Uranus enters Gemini, the digital and technological advancementes will be so great that children will possibly already have some sort of nano chips directly implemented into their brains in order to be connected to the internet from birth or even while still in the womb. I know it may sound like a stretch but mankind truly is merging with technology at a fast rate, just calculate how many hours on average we spend on a computer, tablet or smartphone as opposed to how disconnected we lived from all these technologies some twenty or thirty years ago. Facebook and other technologies that are in the hands of the corporations and other power elites around the globe, have the power to effect the collective in ways that have not been heard of before and are accelerating at an astonishing rate. This also gives the collective the longing (Neptune) to return to simple ways of life, to return to that which is true and real from an ultimate point of view, as people get disillusioned with the emptyness of digital media and the ipod, iphone, ipad ilifestyles, where the “I”, is really a form of getting people to identify their ego´s with their “digital media and identities” in order for people to consume and therefore feed these corporations. One can not smell a digital flower or make digital food and people will hopefully understand the trade off of being sucked into this type of lifestyle when Nature and real life are the real deal and so much better for us. The North Node of Neptune in the Eeventh house in Leo in this chart example is ultimately about humanity and giving to humanity what it needs without any or minimal self interest on his part. To spiritualize through liberating from delusions of grandeur and needs to be acknowledged as special as it moves away from the Fifth house and to use his creative potential for the benefit and evolution of Mankind as an integral part of Nature, respecting Natural law since the ruler, the Sun is in Taurus in the Ninth house.
Relative to his Pluto polarity point in Taurus in the Eighth house, his Souls intended evolutionary path is that of continuing to evolve his value system by penetrating to the core of his own Soul´s attachments. Scorpio is all about evolution itself through metamorphosing it´s limitations based on subconscious security needs has, it´s attachments, which need to be confronted as they limit the Soul´s evolution. With this intense configuration the Soul may have within itself a paradox. The paradox of desiring to move forward and grow, and the desire to stay fixed in it´s ways to the bitter end as it can be subconsciously insecure of change itself. In his case it would seem to imply that for evolution to proceed, that he would have to learn to give up on all he had, all the riches and all the power or at least willing to let go of all these things that were so important to him by finding out why he devloped the desire to acquire so much, which cqn be out of fear in the first place. To analyze how the attachment to these things cause extreme pain and insecurity, the insecurity of loss.
Still got some reviewing and rebelling to do
All outer planets plus Mars are Rx. All Rx planets are either in the Second or Fourth houses, indicating that in this life he will be reviewing dynamics relative to his personal security as an emotional and vulnerable individual in the material world. It correlates to his ultimate search for security from within and how this search will effect his core values. It correlates to how he will need to figure these things out for himself and will not allow himself to be too influenced by others in order to understand these dynamics.
Light and darkness
With Lucifer on the Pluto Polarity Point, relative to the North Node of Neptune in Leo in the Eleventh house and the Pluto axis being square the Nodal axis of Neptune, it seems possible that he could channel the Source´s light to the world by choosing, Pluto and all that Scorpio, to have the deepest values possible that promote LIFE as seen by the Sun which rules the North Node of Neptune, in Taurus in the Ninth house. He could, in a flash of the Sources light, have an insight that would allow him to understand the bondage and karmic implications of making the wrong choices and adhering to greed and similar dynamics relative to power and, choose to put others before him with the polarity point of Lucifer in the First house in Libra, in order to serve humanity to the best of his creative and potential abilities (Leo/Eleventh), while at the same time dissolving so much of the emotional repression that is in his emotional body as seen by Saturn on the Moon in Scorpio, Jupiter and Neptune in Capricorn in the Fourth house and the South Nodes of Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto in the Fourth house in Capricorn. These symbols reveal the potential for huge insecurities and an emotional nature that is potentially highly repressed and traumatized, that is in need of healing the wounds that the Patriarchal takeover of the planet has caused to his Soul. Further we can see the trauma signature in recent past lives with Uranus on the South Node of the Moon and with the current life Moon square the Nodal axis of Neptune in Aquarius. With Sagittarius on the cusp of the Fourth house and Neptune/Jupiter in the Fourth, it seems to reflect a desire to really open up emotionally in this life and free himself from feelings of guilt, insecurities or a negative self image, in order to heal and simply be who he truly is.
To close, I´d like to say that this Soul seems to be in a powerful position to do great things in order to push the collective in the direction of the light or, to betray billions of people and have a spiritual downfall in which he succumbs to dark forces. Choose wisely and you will be rewarded with love Mark Zuckerberg, loads of it!
on: Mar 10, 2014, 10:17 PM
|Started by cat777 - Last post by cat777|
Wow! You make me wish that I didn't get rid of the tv :-) What a good choice as she is having a huge impact on the current state of the collective consciousness. Love her or hate her, a lot of people watch her show and her voice is being heard and, like you said, is a voice of change.
Ok, I'm going to go back and read it again :-)
on: Mar 10, 2014, 08:37 PM
|Started by cat777 - Last post by Kristin|
The collective unconscious impacts on the individual's Soul consciousness in such a way as to stimulate and ignite the desire to individuate from it, and, in turn, the Soul will impact on the current state of the collective consciousness.
We are all individual creations from God, each one of us uniquely designed to express our individuality in the world. Similar to waves separating from the sea, we are Souls emerging and traveling in a separating motion with full intentions to actualize the desires born out of our being, but as we enter a superstructure in a society that separates and excludes versus invites and includes, so many Soul’s unique design becomes diffused and repressed.
Countless combinations of realities will have a way of coloring and conditioning the naturalness and the original intention set forth by the Soul as we all have the South Nodes of Pluto, Saturn and Jupiter in Capricorn. It takes great courage to walk in the shoes that were designed to fit us as we have all been subjected to patriarchal influences, very few Souls have been able to maintain the purity of their natural design, rebelling at all costs. However even underneath the armor of protection, the many skins that Souls have collected over time, the individual make up exists and is a piece to the cosmic puzzle. Each one of us influenced by the totality of the whole and as a result ignited with the desire to actively express our individual selves in order for the puzzle pieces in the collective to fit.
The chart I chose is one of a Soul who has done her fair share of rebelling, persecuted harshly as a result of expressing her own unique individuality, ridiculed and raped by the system, locked up, maimed, tortured, killed ‘for her words’, you name it, simply for trying to be who she is, which led to lifetimes of hiding behind this natural design. South Node in Cancer in the 12th, ruler Moon in Pisces 9th with Mercury 8th, squaring South Node of Uranus Rx in Sagittarius opposing Saturn in Gemini in the 11th, this squares her Moon, chart ruler, in Pisces, as well as Mercury. However, in this life, she is back on her horse, Neptune in Sagittarius in the 5th trining a 9th house Sun, the ruler of her North Node of Neptune in the 1st, testing the very edges of those waters, as a daily spot light serves to help restore her sense of self, providing sound for that instrument called her voice, as she gives others the courage to "come out come out wherever and whoever you are".
Journalist Rachel Maddow (3rd Stage Individuated) is the first openly gay anchor to host a major prime-time news program in the United States. She has a degree in public policy from Stanford and holds a doctorate in politics from Oxford University. For Rachel, it would have been essential, especially being not only a woman in a man’s world, but a gay woman, to earn the social stripes necessary in the form of degrees from schools of this rank and caliber in order to be given even the slightest consideration to be taken seriously and viewed capable and credible to do what she came here to do, to deliver news, words of truth, to the nation and the world.
All it would take to ignite her desire to influence public policy and to use her voice for change is to experience the lies and the injustices that pervade the world of politics, fueling her desire and natural need to help restore a greater balance for a democratic nation versus a country being driven by the top few percent, who also happen to be primarily men. She has been rebelling against mainstream doctrine as long as she has been on this plane of existence, her intention is to challenge backward thinkers, mainstream herd state mentality. Maddow was destined for the world stage and her greatest attributes include not only her supreme intelligence, rumored IQ of 135, but the sheer speed at which her mind works, which is always driven by her search for the hard, cold truth. Neptune in Sagittarius in the 5th sextiling South Node of Neptune in Aquarius in the 7th conjunct Mars/Jupiter in Aquarius, ruler Uranus Rx in Libra in the 4th trine Saturn Rx in Gemini in the 11th. Natal Neptune in Sagittarius forms a Grand Trine to her North Node of Neptune in Leo in the 1st and her Sun/Venus balsalmic conjunction in Aries in the 9th, the Sun being the ruler of her North Node of Neptune.
Nothing means more to her than the truth, no matter what it looks like. The pain and trauma of the collective unconscious as a result of countries colliding and subgroups within cultures finding themselves polarized due to opposing beliefs, political, religious and otherwise has driven her to search and uncover, to speak up and do what she can to promote more awareness about the root cause for the unrest. Nothing drives her more than being able to expose the facts, Pallas Rx in Scorpio in the 4th trine her Mercury/Moon in Pisces in the 8th/9th and trine South Node in Cancer in the 12th, for justice sake, for fairness for all. South Node of Neptune in Aquarius in the 7th is conjunct Jupiter and Mars in Aquarius. Mars rules her 9th house Sun and Venus. Uranus, the ruler of her South Node of Neptune in Aquarius is in Libra in the 4th and is retrograde. Uranus forms an inconjunct to her 9th house Pisces Moon. Rachel’s natal Neptune is also in Sagittarius, truth again, in her 5th house, and is trining her 9th house Sun and Venus forming a balsalmic conjunction. What is felt beneath her keen awareness and unparalleled ability to cut to the chase and carve out the facts is a palpable compassion for those who suffer at the hands of the heavy hitters. Her Moon in Pisces in the 9th is conjunct Mercury in Pisces in the 8th and they both square Saturn in Gemini in the 11th reflecting the trauma from the judgments and rigid mind sets of the mainstream world, a world she has never fit into. She has never fit in, in any form, nor was she meant to, so she could represent those Souls seeded on the outskirts. Her South Node of Neptune is in Aquarius in the 7th conjunct Jupiter and Mars in Aquarius, the ruler is Uranus retrograde in the 4th in Libra opposing her Sun, MC and Chiron in the 10th in Aries.
For lifetimes she has been in born into families and tribes that were more on the fringes of society, except for perhaps lifetimes as of late due to her Soul hiding behind and within families that allowed her to appear 'normal, giving her a foundation of sorts to prepare for a life where she can launch herself into the world on a fair playing ground, where she could fairly earn her way to the top. In this life, she was in full compensation mode in hi school sporting blonde hi lights and pearls, photo attached, Maddow has stated that her family is "very, very Catholic", and she grew up in a very conservative community, Saturn in Gemini in the 11th opposing Neptune Rx in Sagittarius the 5th and square Moon in Pisces in the 9th. Also her South Node in Cancer is conjunct North Nodes of Pluto and Saturn in Capricorn in the 12th and square her Uranus Rx in the 4th in Libra, the ruler of her South Node of Neptune in Aquarius in the 7th. When hiding is in place, often times Souls will be born into families that reflect the extremity of their nature in order to force them out of hiding, and so it did. Rachel could only hold that cover for so long as in her freshman year at Stanford, at the age of 17, she was outed by the college newspaper when an interview with her was published before she could tell her parents. An unconscious or perhaps conscious rebellion towards authority figures. Surprisingly enough, there was only one other female student at the entire university, which happens to be in the so called alternative San Francisco area, who was openly gay, so Rachel decided to announce her sexual orientation, written in her own words on the inside of all the bathroom stalls at the school. As a result, the school newspaper wanted to do an interview. She asked that they not release the story until she told her parents over the weekend but someone anonymously sent her parents the article before she arrived. Her parents greatest concern was due to their conservative faith they believed that being a lesbian was a ‘sin’ and their concern that she would ‘go to hell’. Uranus, the ruler of her South Node of Neptune is Rx in Libra in her 4th. This reflects being a role model for being different, having the courage to lead the way when no one else will, coming out of her own closet and creating shocks if necessary. It also connects to her actions to support others like her, serving as what Jeffrey used to called plucking piano wires, like a radio signal being sent out to others of similar desires and design, creating a resonance that carries a vibration to reach all of the other Souls like her, lesbians, androgynous types and the like, to strengthen their resolve. The life changing event took place when transiting Uranus, ruler of her South Node of Neptune in Aquarius in the 7th was in Capricorn, conjunct her North Node and squaring her Venus/Sun, ruler of her North Node of Neptune, in Aries in the 9th. Transiting Saturn was in Capricorn and squaring her natal Uranus Rx in Libra in the 4th.
THAT WAS THEN
THIS IS NOW
A Note on Retrogrades
Rachel’s Uranus is Rx, which is the ruler of her South Node of Neptune in Aquarius in the 7th. All retrograde planets reflect an individuation process, as they mimic the energy of Uranus, with Uranus itself Rx , this exaggerates this theme and accentuates the focus with an acceleration along the lines of returning back to her alternative self. For Rachel is was similar to the analogy of pushing a beach ball under water, the further you push it down, and repress the natural expression, emotion, the harder it is to hold. That ball is going to dart up out of the water in some unexpected direction and with great speed. This is an example of what happened when Rachel ‘outed’ herself’, in an extreme and unexpected way. Detachment occurs in varying degrees with this signature and the clear visible DETACHMENT that she appears to have is because it removes her Soul from the emotional dynamics that have kept her bound to conditioning.
Her natural brilliance had her thinking way ahead of the game. Her mother has been quoted saying that she remembers Rachel at the age of 4 on the kitchen floor with the newspaper sprawled out in front of her. She has a mind for change and innovation and for bringing people together from all walks of life. She is queen diplomat, communicator, arbitrator, negotiator extraordinaire and her voice documents her findings with a proof that prevents the nay sayers to question her position coupled with an objectivity that allows her to work hard to listen to what others are saying as well in order to give them a fair shot to speak their peace.
Maddow is a natural messenger, a storyteller and a speaker for the people, with a powerful handle of the language capable of delivering the news “with agenda and without hysteria”, Pluto Rx in the 3rd trine South Node of Neptune in Aquarius, Jupiter and Mars in the 7th. Also Pluto rules Palls Rx in Scorpio in the 4th which trines Mercury/Moon(chart ruler) in Pisces. As an Aries, she has learned the art of being responsive versus reactive which allows her guests to remain at ease and open for productive exchanges and with Venus balsalmic to her Sun in Aries trining Neptune in Sag along with a South Node of Neptune in the 7th in Aquarius conjunct Jupiter, the ruler of her natal Neptune and conjunct Mars, the ruler of her natal Sun and Venus, she is able to see both sides to the story in any given situation but always finds a solid place to land once she has sussed out all things to consider. Her intuition is well honed and her instinct is fierce. She has been recognized and rewarded well for her ability to interrogate and investigate utilizing strategic questioning. She leans with stories that stun and shock in order to induce greater awareness and to promote action in others. She represents everyone who is considered to be from a different walk of life. Not only is she a woman fighting to make it in a man’s world, she is a lesbian, looking neither male or female but equally both in the same image, a truly androgynous Soul, seen with her South Node of Neptune in Aquarius conjunct Jupiter and Mars in Aquarius in the 7th trine a retrograde Pluto in Libra in the 3rd house.
Maddow takes on the biggest stories of the day with lively debates with people from all sides and covers stories that a times no other show will cover, scouring every resource within reach to bring you the most extensive findings. She naturally, candidly exposes the truth, at times with an angle of humor, often the gallows kind, but she knows how to get her point across without mincing words, Scorpio style, with her Mercury in Pisces in the 8th. Maddow was destined for greatness in her field, natal Neptune in the 5th forming a Grand Trine with the North Node of Neptune in Leo in the 1st and her Sun/Venus in Aries in the 9th. She was given her own daily time slot on national news channel MSNBC in August 2008, she was only 35 years old. Jupiter, the ruler of her natal Neptune in Sagittarius, was retrograde in Capricorn and exactly conjunct her North Node in the 6th. The ruler, Saturn, was on Virgo and perfectly trining her North Node in Capricorn. In addition, the transiting North Node was in Aquarius conjunct transiting Neptune in her 7th house, the ruler Uranus was retrograde in Pisces conjunct her Moon in the 9th. Her role to document stories around the world will only grow as her North Node of Neptune is in Leo in the 1st and forms a Grand Trine with her Sun/Venus balsalmic conjunction in Aries in the 9th and her natal Neptune in the 5th in Sagittarius. A natural born leader to courageously take the lead, spear heading truth out talking journalism that turns heads and stops people in their tracks. She easily makes enemies from the middle to the far right but she knows that if she doesn’t say something, then who will? She is often one step from crossing the line and she hovers there. As savvy as she may be, she also is limited by her speech to go for the juggler as the conservative corporations own her network, and these forced limitations hem her in, her survival and that microphone is on the line. These limits can be seen with Neptune in Sag in the 5th, ruler of her Mercury/Moon in Pisces in the 8/9 square Saturn in Gemini in the 11th.
Any solid journalist consistently puts them self at risk when the truth exposed threatens the safety, livelihood or reputation of their target by tackling delicate stories that will inevitably set them off. She was designed with the mind of an informational/intuitive genius, where she see the bigger picture while synthesizing countless facts, coming up with the bottom line - like a Sherlock Holmes, a political investigator. Her mind works with ripping speed which also helps her respond to her guests during heated exchanges, she can pull from the inner annals of her memory bank which appears to happen as fast as pushing keys on a computer with her South Node of Neptune in Aquarius conjunct her Jupiter and Mars trine her 3rd house Pluto. As bright and ‘mindfull’ as she is, she has heart, full on. Neptune in the 5th trining a Pisces Moon in the 9th. She cares most about helping people understand what is actually happening in the world, the truth being told especially if she can save a victim who has been unfairly singled out or persecuted. Why? because she has been there, over and over, she has been there. Also because that is how she was designed. To find the missing piece, to uncover the hidden truth.
Maddow has dealt with cyclical depression since puberty. In a 2012 interview, she stated, "It doesn't take away from my joy or my work or my energy, but coping with depression is something that is part of the everyday way that I live and have lived for as long as I can remember." Most of her Soul energy is in her head, which can be the tendency for people with Pluto in the 3rd house. Also, her Mercury conjuncts Moon in Pisces and this squares Saturn retrograde in Gemini in the 11th. The depression would be a result of all she has battled for and lost, the weight of all the wrong doings of the world and all the innocents who have suffered. Her Pisces Moon and Mercury in Pisces would equal a very sensitive filter, open to the collective pain of the world, but its square to Saturn in Gemini in the 11th, does not allow her to emotionally integrate the magnitude of what she is feeling including the totality of her own trauma from other times, not to mention the challenges brought on in this life simply from being a gay woman in a patriarchal society. She will reach the roof of her own intellectual understanding in this life and there is a limit to what the mind can access, Mercury/Moon square Saturn in Gemini, and for her to evolve, the emotional gates must open, which will ultimately allow her to expand her reach and deepen her impact. However, to be a journalist, it requires an emotional distance to be in the trenches, in order to deliver the hard stories without attachment so a balance will inevitably need to be struck.
To put herself in the limelight is to subject herself to further attack, criticism, harsh judgments by the right wing and to be an open target for those who vehemently oppose her views. But for her, the verbal thorns appear not to touch her, she has heard it all before and has endured far more than what her attackers are dishing out. Just recently famous actor Alec Baldwin was fired from MSNBC for his homophobic rant, specifically negative comments toward Rachel. Baldwin was fired and his show canceled, proof that her influence is rubbing off on people who have the power to deliver appropriate justice. The attacks will continue, but she will continue to put herself out there, because she must. She does it for others, for the collective, South Node of Neptune in the 7th in Aquarius ruler Uranus Rx in Libra in the 4th, she does it for those who can’t and and she does it because at the end of the day, nothing is worth more to her than being exactly who she is and exposing lies and revealing the hidden truth. The people have a right to know.
Thanks Rad and group,
on: Mar 10, 2014, 10:40 AM
|Started by ari moshe - Last post by ari moshe|
Hi Katherine, of course!
Everyone, we are now going to move on to examine Pluto in depth. The first thing we'll do is review the core EA teachings on Pluto: what it symbolizes and the 4 ways the soul affects its evolutionary intentions as symbolized by natal Pluto. You can review this in the Pluto book as well as through Deva's article here: http://schoolofevolutionaryastrology.com/school/articles/4-ways
I'll post more on this tomorrow as well.
on: Mar 10, 2014, 08:28 AM
|Started by cat777 - Last post by Skywalker|
Thank you, that truly is a remarkable story and so are the connections you showed to Yukestwar and Yogananda. Also remarkable are the symbols in JWG´s chart relative to EA itself with Uranus in the 8th house new phase conjunction to the North Node of the Moon and trine Neptune. Basically a new form of Astrology that was channelled thru superconscious dreams, that would teach others about the Soul and evolution and, even help Astrology itself evolve through this new paradigm called EA. Then relative to his own natal Pluto in the 9th house which correlates to his Soul´s desire for the deepest truth and understanding, which is essentially what EA is all about, reflecting truth. Simply remarkable!
When looking at JWG´s chart I see his Jupiter/Venus/Mercury conjunct my Uranus/Mercury conjunction, actually his Mercury is exactly on my Uranus and 2 degrees away from my own Mercury. His South Nodes of Venus and Mercury are also conjunct my S.Node of Venus in Sagittarius and square my Nodal axis of the Moon in Virgo. All this to me seems to indicate, amongst other things, that he could of been a teacher of some kind in past lives, a teacher of mine and probably also the rest of the group on here too. The conjunction from his Mercury to my Uranus seems to indicate in this actual context, the awakening of memories within my own Soul and to teach, speak, communicate etc about reincarnation since Uranus is in Scorpio! So interesting!
Thank you so much
All the best