When one thinks of a political warrior for justice, Pamela Anderson might not be the first name that comes to mind.
However, her recent vocal defence of Julian Assange and her personal commitment to comforting him during his confinement in The Ecuadorian Embassy in London, makes her stand head and shoulders above the EU leaders who have tossed the greatest journalist of the modern age to the political dogs.
Like many, Anderson realises that Sweden’s rape laws have gone from sensible to untenable and downright peculiar. One is tempted to use the American term ‘cruel and unusual’.
Speaking with RT, she talked enthusiastically of taking up a new cause of protecting men from political persecution, a cause inspired by the unjust plight of Julian Assange.
“Sweden has these very progressive laws against sexual crimes. It’s almost too progressive, it’s almost paralyzing. I’m going to actually start campaigning for men who have been victims of being accused of rape when they haven’t actually done anything”.
“We all of course gravitate towards vulnerable people and we consider that to be women and children first and foremost, which is important of course, but there’s also a lot of men who are in a vulnerable situation and politically bullied”.
Assange is a victim of political bullying, geo-political bullying in fact. With Donald Trump’s hands full and presumptive future Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno saying that Assange must not ‘meddle’ in US politics whilst at the Embassy (he never did), Assange is not having the easiest of times to say the least.
Anderson understands that the allegations in Sweden stem from a political motive to have Assange extradited to the US where many, including Hillary Clinton have professed a desire to see Assange killed.
Anderson correctly stated,
“When you read the actual case, and you read everything about it, there’s no crime that’s been committed”.
Pamela Anderson has matured into a woman of deep conscience and her fight to raise awareness of Julian Assange’s ill treatment is thoroughly commendable.
The most tragic element of the conflict in Syria is that it is not a civil war but instead a series of proxy wars between militant groups representing regional and global powers, all being fought over the bones of Syrian civilians.
Now though, the proxy war is taking an ever darker twist.
Technically Turkey is a US ally, although Turkey and America are increasingly finding themselves on opposite sides in Syria.
US-Turkey relations remain frosty since the failed Turkish coup of 2016. Erdogan continues to blame the US for orchestrating the coup and instead of fiercely denying the charge, America’s statements have been quiet denial rather than outrage in the face of such a serious allegation.
Furthermore, under Obama and seemingly under Trump, the US continues to refuse to extradite former Erdogan ally Fethullah Gülen to Turkey. He is currently wanted in Turkey on charges of terrorism. Incidentally, Erdogan also blames Gülen for helping to plan the 2016 coup attempt.
Now though, the US and Turkey appear to be fighting on opposite sides in Syria. The US has been steadily increasing support for Kurdish YPG/SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) militants in their fight against Islamist groups, primarily ISIS.
Turkey has always seen the war in Syria as a double-opportunity to both impose illegal regime change in Damascus and scale back the strength of Kurdish fighters near the Turkish border.
Villages around Manbij in northern Syria, which had been controlled by Kurdish forces, have been taken over by the Turkish baked jihadist group Free Syrian Army (FSA) as well as uniformed Turkish soldiers. This comes on the tails of Turkey illegally occupying Al-Bab after Turkish and FSA proxy forces allowed ISIS to retreat from Al-Bab.
Adding to confusion, from a political standpoint whilst Turkey’s aims in Syria are clear (fight the Syrian Arab Army and simultaneously fight Kurdish forces), the US’s political aims under Trump remain ambiguous. Rex Tillerson is fast becoming the invisible man of Washington and his team isn’t fully in place over a month after Trump took office.
However, the Pentagon seem to be shifting their backing from both the Kurds and various Islamist fighters, almost exclusively to the Kurds. Recent reports that the CIA has stopped sending weapons to Jihadi terrorists in Syria is one of many indications that America’s new proxy de jure is the YPG, and the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces which are essentially a pseudo-coalition of anti-ISIS and anti-Syrian Arab Army forces that are in reality almost all Kurdish.
As Erdogan is more eager to fight the Kurds than anyone else in Syria, Ankara is increasingly infuriated by such moves from the US.
Ever since the 2016 coup there have been suggestions that Turkey may kick the US out of the Incirlik Airbase in Turkey.
If that were to happen – and it is now an increasingly real possibility – it would mean an open schism between the two largest armies in NATO. What’s more if the open secret of Turkish ambitions to annex parts of Syria continues, it will lead Turkey into a conflict with Russia and Syria as well as the US backed Kurds.
Even the crazed anti-Assad US Senator John McCain, who in the recent past has been photographed smiling with Jihadi fighters, allegedly met only with Kurdish forces during his recent illegal visit to Syria.
All of this has happened against the even more peculiar backdrop of Kurdish forces peacefully surrendering a substantial amount of territory near Manbij to the Syrian Arab Army in what appears to be a kind of truce in order to better contain a common enemy; Turkish occupying forces.
Thus, one is faced with reality that US backed Kurds may align with the Syrian Arab Army in order for both to more ably fight the jihadist proxies of a Turkey as well as Turkish occupying forces.
The ever looming Kurdish question which has been a bane for Syria, Iraq and moreover for Turkey, may drive an irreconcilable wedge between Turkey and the United States. This is especially true as under the Trump administration, it appears that Kurdish forces are the only faction in the conflict the US will actively back. There is trouble in paradise for NATO, to say the least.
This issue will likely come up during Erdogan’s visit to Moscow, scheduled for next week.
Tragically though, it is ordinary Syrians who will suffer once more as they are the pawns on the chessboard in a war between Great Powers that they want nothing to do with.
I agree with the main thrust of Alexander Mercouris’ analysis of the counterproductive nature of Kiev’s blockade of the Donbass.
The blockade severs lingering economic links with Ukraine while raising the impetus to accelerate integration with Russia, puts at risk the recent strong Ukrainian economic recovery, and as Mercouris emphasizes, and top off all the zradas, it doesn’t even attract the Western attention that it once did in the pre-Trump era
However, whatever else he might be, Poroshenko is not stupid, and it would be surprising that he would set out on this course of his own free will.
The reality is that the far right militants carrying out the coal blockade are not in any real sense controlled by Kiev, and they often act in ways directly contrary to its interests – for instance, their absolute opposition to the Minsk Accords, to which official Kiev at least pays lip service. What is even more interesting, though, is that the rumor mill is near unanimous that they are controlled by the Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoysky.
Kolomoysky has always had big political ambitions – too big, at any rate, for his own real but ultimately limited level of power and influence. The privatization of Privatbank last December was viewed as a knockout blow against him. However, he does have a surfeit of armed men on his payroll – even in the West, his name has become tightly associated with mercenary battalions – and ample reasons to strike back against Poroshenko.
First, there is just the understandable personal yearning for revenge. Kolomoysky has a very big ego, and it must absolutely grate on him to have been so thoroughly cut down to size by Poroshenko.
Second, his actions – and especially the reactions to them – come at the expense of Rinat Akhmetov, who is a Poroshenko ally but retains the bulk of his assets in the Donbass (there are persistent rumors that the decision not to take an undefended Mariupol in 2014-15 was informed by the need to maintain an internationally recognized port through which his enterprises could continue exporting). Now the great bulk of Akhmetov’s enterprises are getting nationalized by the LDNR, severing one of the last great chains that bound it to Ukraine.
Third, it appears that Kolomoysky has crafted an alliance with fellow Dnepropetrovsk native Yulia Tymoshenko, who has returned from the political dead to become Ukraine’s highest polling politician – not exactly a high bar, of course, but a major threat to the Poroshenko government, and especially his weak PM, Vladimir Groysman, should this crisis trigger new Rada elections.
In short, an impressive array of different interests and political forces – Kolomoysky’s, Tymoshenko, and armed Ukrainian nationalism – have converged on a “solution” that satisfies their common interests. I believe it also happens to be very bad for Poroshenko and the Maidan regime in general, and consequently, very good for the LDNR, the Novorossiya idea, and ultimately, Russia.
The Kremlin’s vascillating and ambiguous policies towards the Donbass has been a constant source of anxiety and depression both to its long-suffering people, forced to endure three years and counting of fighting and shelling, and to the supporters of Novorossiya in Ukraine, Russia, and abroad.
However, the anarchic realities of Ukrainian clan politics and the uncompromising maximalism of its armed nationalists have yet again come to the rescue, preventing Poroshenko from making even cosmetic moves towards federalization that would give the Kremlin the justification to move ahead with “shoving back” the LDNR into Ukraine.
Long may the liberum veto of the Ukrainian oligarchs continue!