How ironic it is that in this year not only Russian Orthodox Easter but also Western Christianity Easter and even Jewish Passover fall on the same day! One might add that since the Muslims too revere these Christian and Jewish holydays, April 16 should be the day of solidarity of the three Abrahamic religions.
Yet, as the holidays approach, we find the world split apart, strangely, according to the old religious rivalries.
People forget than just a generation ago, Soviet Jews could not study Hebrew or freely immigrate to Israel. Soviet Muslims could not go on a pilgrimage to Mecca. Neither Russian Orthodox Christians nor Catholics could visit the Holy Land. Soviet soldiers were not permitted to wear a crucifix or any other religious symbols.
About 25 years ago, in 1992, giving up my professorship in California, I moved to Washington DC to be near to my native Russia where all the action then was. I was then able to visit Russia and the FSU republics at will. Hundreds of Russians were arriving to the States to see for what it was. After 73 years of totalitarian rule, the country and its people were able to interact with the outside world freely, without the Party or KGB control.
It became apparent that not just the usual language barriers, but cultural differences between the visitors and Westerners were enormous. Therefore, I decided to set up a private business in helping the Americans and FSU countries to communicate. I name it Russia & America Good Will Association to indicate its non-political inter-cultural mediation role. With the collapse of the USSR at the end of 1991, the huge network of official Soviet friendship association collapsed too. After all, their "friendship" required the acceptance of Soviet ideology. RAGA moved into this vacuum. Our basic position was simple: it was in USA’s and Russia’s national interests to cultivate mutual understanding and friendship. We were not in the business of "spreading democracy" or turning former socialist economies to neoliberal free market. We left it to Russians to choose whatever form of government or economy they wanted.
It soon transpired that the US wanted to transform the FSU countries into its clones. Hence the expansion of NATO, meddling in Russian privatization reforms, and bombardment of Yugoslavia. The Peace Dividend everybody hoped for after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact was used by the USA to spur its drive for world dominance.
RAGA could not remain silent. We wrote an Open Letter to Bill Clinton demanding secession of meddling in Russian reform. We placed a paid advertisement in The Washington Post to welcome Prime-Minister Yevgeny Primakov in March 1999 when he interrupted his flight to Washington upon hearing that the US started bombing of Yugoslavia. Thus Russia’s sovereignty from US tutelage was proclaimed.
For over ten years, I worked then as a contract interpreter for US State Department in a program to introduce our visitors to various topics, from fighting AIDS and running a farm to municipal government and electoral procedures. I also participated in a number of Anti-Terrorist Assistant (ATA) courses offered for security officers from Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kirghizia. At the time of terrorist attack in Beslan, I wrote an email letter to George W Bush asking to invite Russia to our ATA programs.
After several US attempts at "color revolutions", including the February 2014 coup against the elected government in Ukraine, I started a series of Antidote Newsletters to highlight the need to expose relentless anti-Russian propaganda with the facts and opinions that I found among most dependable America sources. We are now into Antidote 33.
Last Fall, at the end of Obama’s presidency, I engaged him in a letter exchange.
In my rebuttal to Obama’s reply to my first Open Letter, I spelled out the essential reforms that need to be enacted.
1. First, no POTUS can act wisely unless there is access to reliable information…Make sure that the next administration is not spoon-fed by the Neo-Cons and the corporate media.
2. Start the legislative process for breaking up the corporate media conglomerates and, at least, make the current anti-monopoly laws stick in pursuit of the violators. http://www.raga.org/news/to-mr-barack-obama-potus
What President Trump is doing about the media abuse? A friend of mine just let me know that the President proposes eliminating public media funding. Please join me and sign the petition to keep our local public radio and television stations on the air. http://protectmypublicmedia.org
It is strange that Trump seems to go into opposite direction from the one suggested by the bitter experience of his own campaign when only 2% of the one thousand major media outlets supported his electoral campaign.
In my letter to Obama I also spelled out that (5) The Middle East cannot be healed until a peace agreement is reached between Israel and Palestine (both on the West Bank and in Gaza). Both the the Quartet (the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations) and the Arab Peace Initiative should be revived ASAP and put to work. http://www.raga.org/news/to-mr-barack-obama-potus
Strangely enough, Trump seems to be even more lenient about Israeli settlements than Obama was.
In my Letter to Obama, I quoted Chas Freeman, an outstanding US diplomat and intelligence specialist who thus described the major reason for the failure of US policy in the Middle East.
“Israel’s lack of concern about the consequences of its occupation and settlement of the West Bank and its siege of Gaza has facilitated its progressive abandonment of the universalist Jewish values that inspired Zionism and its consequent separation from the Jewish communities outside its elastic borders. U.S. subsidies underwrite blatant tyranny by Jewish settlers over the Muslim and Christian Arabs they have dispossessed. This is a formula for the moral and political self-delegitimization of the State of Israel…The United States needs to wean Israel off its welfare dependency and end the unconditional commitments that enable self-destructive behavior on the part of the Jewish state.
Most recently, on March 28, Larry Derfner argued in The New York Times that “Israel — not Hezbollah in Lebanon, nor Hamas in Gaza, nor the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria — is provoking the next war. Counterintuitive though it may be to Israeli and most Western minds, Israel, not its militant Islamist or brutal Syrian enemies, is the aggressor in these border wars”. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/28/opinion/israels-next-war-is-always-inevitable.html?_r=0
The New York Times deserves praise for publishing another outstanding article. Angels and Demons in the Cold War and Today. By Stephen Boykewich, MARCH 13, 2017
“This triumphalist mindset led to American policies on Russia in the 1990s that paved the way for an authoritarian backlash: the economic “shock therapy” that impoverished tens of millions of Russians, support for monstrously corrupt privatization schemes and the expansion of NATO into the former Soviet bloc. George F. Kennan, the 20th century diplomat and foreign policy “wise man,” was one of many to warn that NATO expansion was “a tragic mistake” that was bound to provoke “a new Cold War.”
Concludes Boykewich: “Americans should also remember that the heat of our Russia talk has always reflected anxieties about the health of our own democracy. The deepest challenges Americans face at home do not come from the Kremlin. They come from homegrown authoritarianism, entrenched inequality, the corporate capture of our politics and the collapse of the 20th-century social contract. The way we address these problems will determine more about the future of the American experiment — and America’s role abroad — than all the anti-Russia epithets in the world.”
Below is my selection of the best opinion on current issues that crossed my desk, in no particular order, but all remarkable from the first to last.
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)*
SUBJECT: Syria: Was It Really “A Chemical Weapons Attack”?
1 – We write to give you an unambiguous warning of the threat of armed hostilities with Russia – with the risk of escalation to nuclear war. The threat has grown after the cruise missile attack on Syria in retaliation for what you claimed was a “chemical weapons attack” on April 4 on Syrian civilians in southern Idlib Province.
2 – Our U.S. Army contacts in the area have told us this is not what happened. There was no Syrian “chemical weapons attack.” Instead, a Syrian aircraft bombed an al-Qaeda-in-Syria ammunition depot that turned out to be full of noxious chemicals and a strong wind blew the chemical-laden cloud over a nearby village where many consequently died.
AIPAC Is Back In Town! Hava Nagila, y'all
PHILIP GIRALDI • MARCH 28, 2017 • 258 COMMENTS!
the AIPAC people are not a joke. They are a deadly serious threat to our own democracy and way of life as they have figured out how to use money and the power that money buys to leverage and corrupt the system in such a way as to produce wars and turmoil that have blown back on the United States and made every American citizen both less safe and poorer.
Lyndon and Helga LaRouche
Lyndon and Helga LaRouche condemned (the Syria bombing) in the strongest terms possible. President Trump received a fraudulent briefing on the event itself—asserting that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for a chemical weapons attack on his own population https://larouchepac.com/20170407/lpac-statement-syria-bombing-fraud-against-president-fraud-against-nation?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20170408
Stephen Cohen takes a long view
VIDEO: Stephen Cohen: This is Most Dangerous Moment in U.S.-Russian Relations Since Cuban Missile Crisis. Apr 14, 2017
Donald Trump twitted to reassure that, in spite of the failure of Rex Tillerson and Vladimir Putin to lessen the tensions, “Things will work out fine between the U.S.A. and Russia. At the right time everyone will come to their senses & there will be lasting peace!”
Professor Richard Falk: “Despite making a gesture in the direction of international law by reference to the Chemical Weapons Convention and Security Council directives, the strike against al-Shayrat Airfield was a non-defensive use of force by the USA that violates the core UN Charter prohibition unless carried out on the basis of an explicit Security Council authorization”.
Another RAGA associate Don Hank cites an independent Arab news agency (in the UAE) that “terror groups, particularly ISIS and Jabhet al-Nusra, already own chemical weapons, and have the ability to obtain, transport, store and use such chemical agents with the help of some regional countries…those terror groups are coordinating…to accuse the Syrian Arab Army of using chemical weapons.”
Donald J. Swamp: How the Man Who Promised to Drain the Swamp Got Drained by the Swamp. Trump is now under neocon control and is the prisoner of whatever they want him to do. Rob Slane, April 8, 2017
“People have elected a loose cannon, and although I will hold my breath and give him a chance, nothing about his character, his temperament, not to mention some of the more stupid statements he has made, gives me much confidence that America in four years will be a whole lot better than the America of 2016.”
Brother Nathanael is even less charitable
Trump Joins The War Party
By Brother Nathanael Kapner April 9, 2017
It wasn’t long ago that Trump told Reuters, “We should focus on ISIS, not Syria. You’re going to end up in World War Three over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton.”
The sound of US bombs bursting in air over Syria’s Shayrat airfield gave proof through the night that our flag’s over there, not here, in the abandoned land of America First. “Intervene and you’re not fighting Syria any more, you’re fighting Syria, Russia and Iran,” Trump reminded Reuters.
Welcome to the war party, Mr Trump! The Israel-Firsters at CNN, Capitol Hill, and AIPAC are proud of you.
JAMES GEORGE JATRAS | 14.04.2017 | Tillerson in Moscow: Is World War III Back on Track?
If anyone is worried whether the prospect of a major war, which many of us considered almost inevitable if Hillary Clinton had attained the White House, is back on track, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Moscow was cold comfort. From his remarks together with his counterpart Sergey Lavrov, there is now little reason to expect any improvement in US-Russia ties anytime soon, if ever, and much reason to expect them to get worse – a lot worse.
James George Jatras and Ed Lozansky
Everything changed on April 4 with media reports of a chemical weapons attack in an al Qaeda-controlled town in Syria’s Idlib governorate. None of the reports came from independent media or international experts’ examination of the site but were based entirely on cellphone footage and social media from sources hostile to the Syrian government.
By Edward Lozansky and Jim Jatras - - Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Dan Kovalik send me his new book
The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to vilify Putin" in which he asks Americans not to look for a speck in somebody else’s eye, but "to focus on the sizeable plank in our own eye"
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson
Adversarial Relationship With Russia Result of Decades of US Provocation
Wilkerson says that from the expansion of NATO to the Western-led plundering of the former USSR, the US has given Russia enough reason to feel threatened. He is a retired US Army soldier and former chief of staff to US Secretary of State Colin Powell. He is also an adjunct professor at the College of William & Mary where he teaches courses on US national security and leads a seminar at the George Washington University on "National Security Decision Making."
LET'S MAKE RUSSIA OUR SISTER COUNTRY! Writes the conservative writer Ann Coulter on March 15, 2017, by
<<Back when Russia was actually threatening America with nuclear annihilation, Jimmy Carter warned Americans about their "inordinate fear of communism"…now liberals are hopping mad with Putin. They could never forgive Russia for giving up communism.
To add insult to injury, Putin embraced the Russian Orthodox Church! This was deeply offensive to fiercely Christophobic liberals. >>
I must add that Ann is just one of several American conservatives who, like Patrick Buchanan, suggest that, in some cultural habits, “Putin is one of us”.
The UN’s Nuclear Weapon Talks May Be The Most Important Thing Nobody’s Paying Attention To
By Alexander Zaitchik, 03/29/2017.
Russia currently has no satellite early warning system, relying on short-notice ground radars to provide notice of a surprise attack. The U.S. knows this, yet continues to pursue policies that only stoke Russian fears of just such an attack. That the nuclear controls are now in the hands of a man whose mental health is routinely questioned in public, and whose hot temper is taken for granted, can only heighten the paranoia of adversaries.
Of course, we take the recent US explosion of the Mother of All Bombs in Afghanistan as a hurtful offence to Mother Earth.
News: John Andrew Morrow (Imam Ilyas Abd Al-Alim Islam) reports about a new book
The translation of SIX COVENANTS OF THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD WITH THE CHRISTIANS will be published in13 languages, including my Russian translation, and Azeri translation as well.
Greetings to Dubrovnik Forum
Professor Rudolf Siebert whose Open Letter to President Trump we posted (http://www.raga.org/news/open-letter-to-president-trump) is the organizer of the 41st Forum of Inter-Religious Solidarity which will take place at the end of April in Dubrovnik. We wish them much success!
Professor Rudolf J. Siebert,
Department of Comparative Religion,
Western Michigan University, Michigan, USA
Greetings to Russian Peacemakers
Dr. Leo Semashko
Fed up by the Marxist notion of class struggle, Dr. Semashko, a philosopher living in Sankt-Petersburg, invented Peace Science based on social harmony. 12 years ago, he founded the Global Harmony Association, which has adherents in several countries, from India and Israel to Croatia and Kazakhstan. RAGA is honored with the invitation to become its associate member. http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=752
Thanks to Dr. Semashko I am happy to greet Professor Yury Dubenok and his associates in Irkutsk, Siberia for holding
17th All-Russian Scholarly Conference aimed at the creation of a better harmonious society. On April 14-15, just before Easter it took place at the Baykal State University of Economics and Law in the city of Irkutsk, Siberia.
Семнадцатой Всероссийской научной конференции «СОЗИДАНИЕ ЧЕЛОВЕЧНОГО ОБЩЕСТВА»
под девизом: «ум без смелости бесплоден, смелость без ума бессмысленна,
а ум и смелость без любви к людям, без цели служить человечеству—опасны»
Иркутская часть состоится в Байкальском государственном университете экономики и права (БГУЭиП) 14 апреля 17.00 – 21.00, 15 апреля 11.00 – 14.00.
As Russian has been gradually and painfully re-emerging as a Christian civilization, with secular Constitution, with freedom of conscience for all citizens, I am happy to proclaim from the beautiful city of San Francisco:
Happy Easter, Shalom and Salam to all RAGA readers!
As usually, I let Professor William Brumfield demonstrate great visuals of the uniqueness of Russian civilization: Juxtaposition of early 20th-century color photographs from the Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky Collection (Library of Congress) with photos of same monuments from the William C. Brumfield Collection (National Gallery of Art, Dept. of Image Collections).
3. Smolensk Dormition Cathedral interior with Our Lady of Smolensk: http://rbth.com/special_projects/discovering_russia_1/2017/03/03/inside-the-smolensk-dormition-cathedral-the-mystery-of-the-vanished-icon_713223
167-th article in "Discovering Russia" series for RBTH
General link: http://rbth.com/special/discovering_russia
интерьер Успенского собора в Смоленске: фото начала 20-ого века и 100 лет спустя
Текст: Уильям Брумфилд для сайта RBTH
Фотографии: Сергей Прокудин-Горский и У. Брумфилд
W George Krasnow (Vladislav Krasnov)
Malice to None. Good Will to All.
Peace and Justice to the World.
миру мир и благоволение в сердцах
"We are an association of Americans who believe it is in the U.S. national interests to foster friendship with Russia on the basis of mutual Good Will and non-interference in each other's affairs. RAGA is a gathering of people who share common interests in Russia's history, culture, religion, economy, politics and the way of life. We feel that Russian people have made outstanding contributions to humankind and are capable of greater achievements. We envision Russia as a strong, independent, proud and free nation and as a partner in achieving peace in the world."
All statements in this report are an opinion of the author. Act at your own risk. Russia & America Goodwill Association (RAGA) is not responsible for the content of the article. Any views or opinions presented in this report are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RAGA. Any liability in respect to this communication remain with the author.