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Thought We Were Just “Helping” Ukraine? Their New President Has Been On U.S. Payroll Since 2006

Petro Poroshenko is Ukraine’s new president, elected after a popular uprising that overthrew the former president Viktor Yanukovych and his regime.

The uprising was a reaction to Yanukovych’s decision to turn down offers to join the EU in favor of closer economic ties with Russia. The United States, close allies with the EU, enthusiastically supported the overthrow of Yanukovych and the election of Poroshenko, a pro-EU candidate.

Ousted former President Viktor Yanukovych at a news conference in Russia (Photo: AP)

But the more time goes on, the more it seems that the U.S. government may have played a bigger role in the Ukrainian uprising and aftermath than they would have us think.

Classified cables posted to the website wikileaks.org reveal that Poroshenko was on the payroll of the U.S. State Department as early as April of 2006. Poroshenko was one of the leaders of Our Ukraine or OU, a major political party in the country- the wikileaks cables refer to him as the U.S.’s “Our Ukraine insider”.

Another cable, from May 2006, reveals that the U.S. government knew Poroshenko to be corrupt:

“Poroshenko was tainted by credible corruption allegations, but wielded significant influence within OU; Poroshenko’s price had to be paid.”

Some of the most interesting communications between the U.S. and Poroshenko came in 2009, when Poroshenko told then Secretary of State Hilary Clinton that he was very in favor of,

“the opening of a U.S. diplomatic presence in Crimea… He emphasized the importance of Crimea, and said that having U.S. representation there would be useful for Ukraine.”

New Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at a press confernce with Hillary Clinton last month (Photo: Reuters)

Crimea, as you know, is the disputed peninsula in the Black Sea which Russia occupied early on during the Ukrainian revolution.

These revelations, though not damning, are certainly suspicious at the very least. It’s very hard to imagine that Poroshenko won the Ukrainian presidency without any help from the U.S. after seeing that he has been providing the U.S. with insider information on Ukraine since 2006.

Some argue that Poroshenko’s work for the U.S. was an act of treason, since it’s extremely likely that some of the information provided by him was used to help oust Yanukovych back in February.

Combine these revelations with that the fact that Hunter Biden, Vice President Joe Biden’s son, was selected to the board of Burisma Holdings (Ukraine’s largest private gas producer) in May, just a month before Poroshenko was inaugurated into office, and things start to get really fishy.

Joe Biden and his son Hunter

Ukraine has Europe’s third-largest natural gas reserves at 42 trillion cubic feet, and the country’s pipelines are a major gas route between eastern and western Europe. It makes sense that the U.S. and the EU would do everything they could to hold onto it.

Click to enlarge

Read the original story from SGC News here.

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Our Resources Are Running Out. How Much Is Left For the New Generation? (Infographic)

Our modern society here on Earth depends heavily on just a handful of resources. These resources include fossil fuels like oil and coal, as well as raw minerals like copper, lead and zinc. With the rapid advancement of technology and industry worldwide in the last half century or so, our demand for these raw goods has skyrocketed.

This cool infographic lists some of our most widely-used resources, showing how much of each was left in 2010 and where the remaining resources are located.

For the top graph, the longer portion in the middle of each bar predicts the number of years until the resource runs out if it keeps being used at current rates.

However, most resources are being used more each year than the year before, so the shorter outer portion of each bar predicts the number of years left if our demand and production continues to increase. Click the image to see the full size version.

BP Doubles Its Initial Estimate On How Much Oil Spilled Into Lake Michigan Monday

Around 4:30 p.m. Monday afternoon, refinery workers at a BP refinery on Lake Michigan reported an oily sheen on the surface of the lake.

After reporting yesterday that only 18 barrels had spilled, BP today changed the number to 39, more than doubling the initial estimate. If you’re wondering, 39 barrels is the equal to 1,638 gallons of oil (42 gallons/barrel).

In July of 2013, the refinery underwent a $4 billion overhaul to increase the amount of heavy Canadian tar sands it processes.

Although the lake provides drinking water for 7 million residents in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, BP insists the spill will have no significant impact on water quality.

The EPA is conducting an investigation into whether or not BP violated the federal Clean Water Act but declined to comment on BP’s raised estimates.

Read more from the Chicago Tribune here.

Russia Annexes Crimea and Gets Kicked Out of G8; Ukraine Preparing for War

Here’s a quick timeline of the most recent events in the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.

On Sunday (March 16), residents of Crimea voted on a referendum of whether to leave Ukraine and join Russia- the measure passed by upwards of 90%. It is important to note, however, that all signs point to a pretty illegitimate vote.

For one, the ballot didn’t even include an option to stay with Ukraine- the two options were to leave Ukraine and join Russia, or leave Ukraine and become independent.

Secondly, it’s obvious that there was plenty of intimidation involved- Russian soldiers and armed “unmarked militia” (that pretty much everyone agrees are pro-Russian forces) patrol the streets of Crimea. This blog from Jon Lee Anderson at The New Yorker describes some of the intimidation tactics he saw employed by the “thugs” in the streets of Crimea.

Armed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, march outside an Ukrainian military base in the village of Perevalnoye

Lastly, some of the actual results are simply ridiculous. For example, 123% of the major Crimean city of Sevastapool cast votes on the referendum. Mykhaylo Malyshev, chair of the committee overseeing the vote, announced on the evening of the 16th that 1,250,426 people had voted, but said that figure did include Sevastopol’s electorate. Including that city, he said, 1,724,563 total people voted.

The difference between these numbers (474,137) should be the number of votes cast in Sevastapool, right? Well, last year’s census put the voting-age population of Sevastapool at 385,462…very suspicious to say the least.

The next day (March 17), Defense Minister Ihor Tenyukh responded to the results of the referendum by saying,

“Crimea was, is, and will be our territory.”

Ihor Tenyuhk (Photo: Ukrainian Ministry of Defense)
Ihor Tenyuhk (Photo: Ukrainian Ministry of Defense)

When asked if Ukrainian troops would fight to defend Crimea, he replied carefully, saying,

“The armed forces will execute their tasks… Ukrainian forces will stay [in Crimea] until all their tasks have been completed.”

While Tenyukh said that Ukraine would “do everything possible to prevent war”, he noted,

“the threat of war is real…We are strengthening our defense capacity. Ukraine is ready to defend its territory.”

Then earlier today (March 18), Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a treaty which effectively annexed Crimea, making it a part of Russia.

Putin speaking in front of Russian parliament earlier today (Photo: BBC)
Putin speaking in front of Russian parliament earlier today (Photo: BBC)

Putin said the moves corrected a “historical injustice”, as well as saying that Crimea has “always been a part of Russia”.

Naturally, the Ukrainian foreign ministry responded, saying,

 “We do not recognise and never will recognise the so-called independence or the so-called agreement on Crimea joining the Russian Federation.”

A few hours later, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced in an interview with Europe-1 radio that the other members of the G8 (a forum for the 8 leading industrialized countries) had decided to suspend Russia’s membership.

Fabius did, however, say,

“We are continuing dialogue with the Russians, despite the fact that we do not agree with them.”

BONUS: After the US announced (relatively inconsequential) sanctions against some Russian officials including the freezing of their American visas, Putin’s top aide said:

“The only things that interest me in the US are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollock. I don’t need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing.”

Props for being a Tupac fan at least!

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Ukraine Latest: Crimea Votes to Join Russia, Russia Sinks Their Own Ship

Earlier today (3/6/2014), the parliament of Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula in the Black Sea at the center of the current situation with Russia, voted to secede from Ukraine to become part of Russia.

The issue will be put to a referendum in 10 days, when the citizens of Crimea will decide whether or not to approve their parliament’s decision.

Ukraine’s interim Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, immediately denounced the move as having no legal basis in Ukrainian law, saying,

“Crimea was, is and will be an integral part of Ukraine.”

Arseniy Yatsenyuk (Photo: Sergei Chuzavkov- AP)

While European Union leaders echoed this sentiment, calling the move unconstitutional, there doesn’t seem to be anything they can do about it without provoking violence, as Crimea is currently occupied by the Russian military.

On Wednesday, Russian sailors pulled an old anti-submarine vessel out of a junkyard and sank it in the strait that connects the Black Sea to the Donuzlav Lake, preventing Ukrainian ships docked nearby from being able to go to sea.

Russia’s scuttled vessel (Photo: AP)

While the European Union has presented plenty of tough rhetoric, they are hesitant to actually do anything.

Why? Well, because Russia is one of their biggest trading partners, and also provides a substantial portion of the EU’s gas and oil- putting economic sanctions on them would hurt the EU indirectly.

So despite that President Barack Obama called Russia’s intervention a “violation of international law,” and said that,

“the resolve of the United States and our allies and the international community will remain firm,”

it seems that he might actually be on his own with this one.

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Acoustic Scientists Just SMASHED the World-Record for the Longest Echo

In a long-abandoned oil storage complex dug deep into the sides of the Scottish hills, scientists just made by far the longest echo ever recorded.

The Inchindown complex was excavated out of solid rock between 1939 and 1941, amid fears about the quickly advancing German military and their long-range bombers.

Trevor Cox, a professor of acoustic engineering at the University of Salford in the UK, had to enter the complex through an oil pipe that was just 18” in diameter, as there were no doors to enter.

View from just outside the pipe
View from just outside the pipe (click to enlarge)

Once inside, Cox fired a blank round from a pistol; the sound reverberated for a full 112 seconds. Even his voice (which is at a much lower frequency) echoed for 30 seconds.

The Guinness Records Committee uses the “broadband reverberation time” as their standard. This is basically the amount of echo time if every single frequency is heard at once.

The broadband reverb time for the Inchindown complex was 75 seconds.

Read the full story from The Independent here.

View from inside the pipe (click to enlarge)
View from inside the pipe (click to enlarge)

 

Saudis Offer Secret Oil Deal to Russia in Exchange for Dropping Syria

Recently, Russian president Vladimir Putin had a closed-door meeting with Prince Bandar, the head of Saudi intelligence. Leaked transcript’s reveal that Bandar offered Putin a Russia-OPEC alliance if Putin drops his backing of Syria.

OPEC (Organization of the Oil Exporting Countries) is an economic alliance between a number of the biggest oil producing countries in the Middle East, Africa and South America.

Saudi Arabia is by far the biggest player in OPEC, producing 8.8 million barrels per day, more than any other country in the world.

OPEC Members (from wikipedia). Click to enlarge.
OPEC Members (from wikipedia). Click to enlarge.

If the oil deal between Russia and OPEC were to succeed, the two entities would control 45% of global oil production. Prince Bandar also told Putin that Saudi Arabia would ensure the safety of Russia’s Syrian ports after the fall of Assad.

But maybe the most interesting part of this story is that Bandar claimed the Chechen terrorist groups responsible for two recent suicide attacks in Volgograd are under Saudi control:

I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us.”

Putin turned the offer down, however, saying,

Our stance on Assad will never change. We believe that the Syrian regime is the best speaker on behalf of the Syrian people, and not those liver eaters,”

referring to a video showing a Jihadist rebel eating the heart and liver of a fallen Syrian soldier. In response, Prince Bandar warned Putin that there would be, “no escape from the military option” if the alliance was refused.

Read the full story here.