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Global Research Editor’s Note

We bring to the attention of our readers the following text of Osama bin Laden’s interview with Ummat, a Pakistani daily, published in Karachi on September 28, 2001. It was translated into English by the BBC World Monitoring Service and made public on September 29, 2001.

The authenticity of this interview remains to be confirmed. It is available in recognized electronic news archives including the BBC. Its authenticity has not been questioned.  

The interview tends to demystify the Osama bin Laden persona.

Osama bin Laden categorically denies his involvement in the 9/11 attacks.  Bin Laden’s statements in this interview are markedly different from those made in the alleged Osama video tapes.

In this interview, Osama bin Laden exhibits an understanding of US foreign policy. He expresses his views regarding the loss of life on 9/11. He focusses on CIA support to the narcotics trade.

He also makes statements as to who, in his opinion, might be the likely perpetrator of  the September 11 attacks.

This is an important text which has not been brought to the attention of Western public opinion.

We have highlighted key sections of this interview.

It is our hope that the text of this interview, published on 28 September 2001 barely a week before the onset of the war on Afghanistan, will contribute to a better understanding of the history of Al Qaeda, the role of Osama bin Laden and the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

This interview is published for informational purposes only. GR does not in any way endorse the statements in this interview.

Michel  Chossudovsky, September 9, 2014

Full text of September 2001 Pakistani paper’s “exclusive” interview with Usamah Bin-Ladin

Ummat (in Urdu)

translated from Urdu

Karachi, 28 September 2001, pp. 1 and 7.

Ummat’s introduction

Kabul: Prominent Arab mojahed holy warrior Usamah Bin-Ladin has said that he or his al-Qa’idah group has nothing to do with the 11 September suicidal attacks in Washington and New York. He said the US government should find the attackers within the country. In an exclusive interview with daily “Ummat”, he said these attacks could be the act of those who are part of the American system and are rebelling against it and working for some other system. Or, Usamah said, this could be the act of those who want to make the current century a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity. Or, the American Jews, who are opposed to President Bush ever since the Florida elections, might be the masterminds of this act. There is also a great possibility of the involvement of US intelligence agencies, which need billions of dollars worth of funds every year. He said there is a government within the government in the United States.

The secret agencies, he said, should be asked as to who are behind the attacks. Usamah said support for attack on Afghanistan was a matter of need for some Muslim countries and compulsion for others. However, he said, he was thankful to the courageous people of Pakistan who erected a bulwark before the wrong forces. He added that the Islamic world was attaching great expectations with Pakistan and, in time of need, “we will protect this bulwark by sacrificing of lives”.

Following is the interview in full detail:

Ummat: You have been accused of involvement in the attacks in New York and Washington. What do you want to say about this? If you are not involved, who might be?

Usamah [Osama bin Laden]: In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful. Praise be to Allah, Who is the creator of the whole universe and Who made the earth as an abode for peace, for the whole mankind. Allah is the Sustainer, who sent Prophet Muhammad for our guidance. I am thankful to the Ummat Group of Publications, which gave me the opportunity to convey my viewpoint to the people, particularly the valiant and Momin true Muslim people of Pakistan who refused to believe in lie of the demon.

I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children, and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children, and other people.

Such a practice is forbidden ever in the course of a battle. It is the United States, which is perpetrating every maltreatment on women, children, and common people of other faiths, particularly the followers of Islam. All that is going on in Palestine for the last 11 months is sufficient to call the wrath of God upon the United States and Israel.

There is also a warning for those Muslim countries, which witnessed all these as a silent spectator. What had earlier been done to the innocent people of Iraq, Chechnya, and Bosnia?

Only one conclusion could be derived from the indifference of the United States and the West to these acts of terror and the patronage of the tyrants by these powers that America is an anti-Islamic power and it is patronizing the anti-Islamic forces. Its friendship with the Muslim countries is just a show, rather deceit. By enticing or intimidating these countries, the United States is forcing them to play a role of its choice. Put a glance all around and you will see that the slaves of the United States are either rulers or enemies of Muslims .

The US has no friends, nor does it want to keep any because the prerequisite of friendship is to come to the level of the friend or consider him at par with you. America does not want to see anyone equal to it. It expects slavery from others. Therefore, other countries are either its slaves or subordinates.

However, our case is different. We have pledged slavery to God Almighty alone and after this pledge there is no possibility to become the slave of someone else. If we do that, it will be disregardful to both our Sustainer and his fellow beings. Most of the world nations upholding their freedom are the religious ones, which are the enemies of United States, or the latter itself considers them as its enemies. Or the countries, which do not agree to become its slaves, such as China, Iran, Libya, Cuba, Syria, and the former Russia as received .

Whoever committed the act of 11 September are not the friends of the American people. I have already said that we are against the American system, not against its people, whereas in these attacks, the common American people have been killed.

According to my information, the death toll is much higher than what the US government has stated. But the Bush administration does not want the panic to spread. The United States should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; the people who are a part of the US system, but are dissenting against it. Or those who are working for some other system; persons who want to make the present century as a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity so that their own civilization, nation, country, or ideology could survive. They can be any one, from Russia to Israel and from India to Serbia. In the US itself, there are dozens of well-organized and well-equipped groups, which are capable of causing a large-scale destruction. Then you cannot forget the American Jews, who are annoyed with President Bush ever since the elections in Florida and want to avenge him.

Then there are intelligence agencies in the US, which require billions of dollars worth of funds from the Congress and the government every year. This funding issue was not a big problem till the existence of the former Soviet Union but after that the budget of these agencies has been in danger.

They needed an enemy. So, they first started propaganda against Usamah and Taleban and then this incident happened. You see, the Bush administration approved a budget of 40bn dollars. Where will this huge amount go? It will be provided to the same agencies, which need huge funds and want to exert their importance.

Now they will spend the money for their expansion and for increasing their importance. I will give you an example. Drug smugglers from all over the world are in contact with the US secret agencies. These agencies do not want to eradicate narcotics cultivation and trafficking because their importance will be diminished. The people in the US Drug Enforcement Department are encouraging drug trade so that they could show performance and get millions of dollars worth of budget. General Noriega was made a drug baron by the CIA and, in need, he was made a scapegoat. In the same way, whether it is President Bush or any other US president, they cannot bring Israel to justice for its human rights abuses or to hold it accountable for such crimes. What is this? Is it not that there exists a government within the government in the United Sates? That secret government must be asked as to who made the attacks.

Ummat: A number of world countries have joined the call of the United States for launching an attack on Afghanistan. These also include a number of Muslim countries. Will Al-Qa’idah declare a jihad against these countries as well?

Usamah: I must say that my duty is just to awaken the Muslims; to tell them as to what is good for them and what is not. What does Islam says and what the enemies of Islam want?

Al-Qa’idah was set up to wage a jihad against infidelity, particularly to encounter the onslaught of the infidel countries against the Islamic states. Jihad is the sixth undeclared element of Islam. The first five being the basic holy words of Islam, prayers, fast, pilgrimage to Mecca, and giving alms Every anti-Islamic person is afraid of it. Al-Qa’idah wants to keep this element alive and active and make it part of the daily life of the Muslims. It wants to give it the status of worship. We are not against any Islamic country nor we consider a war against an Islamic country as jihad.

We are in favour of armed jihad only against those infidel countries, which are killing innocent Muslim men, women, and children just because they are Muslims. Supporting the US act is the need of some Muslim countries and the compulsion of others. However, they should think as to what will remain of their religious and moral position if they support the attack of the Christians and the Jews on a Muslim country like Afghanistan. The orders of Islamic shari’ah jurisprudence for such individuals, organizations, and countries are clear and all the scholars of the Muslim brotherhood are unanimous on them. We will do the same, which is being ordered by the Amir ol-Momenin the commander of the faithful Mola Omar and the Islamic scholars. The hearts of the people of Muslim countries are beating with the call of jihad. We are grateful to them.

Ummat: The losses caused in the attacks in New York and Washington have proved that giving an economic blow to the US is not too difficult. US experts admit that a few more such attacks can bring down the American economy. Why is al-Qa’idah not targeting their economic pillars?

Usamah: I have already said that we are not hostile to the United States. We are against the system, which makes other nations slaves of the United States, or forces them to mortgage their political and economic freedom. This system is totally in control of the American Jews, whose first priority is Israel, not the United States. It is simply that the American people are themselves the slaves of the Jews and are forced to live according to the principles and laws laid by them. So, the punishment should reach Israel. In fact, it is Israel, which is giving a blood bath to innocent Muslims and the US is not uttering a single word.

Ummat: Why is harm not caused to the enemies of Islam through other means, apart from the armed struggle? For instance, inciting the Muslims to boycott Western products, banks, shipping lines, and TV channels.

Usamah: The first thing is that Western products could only be boycotted when the Muslim fraternity is fully awakened and organized. Secondly, the Muslim companies should become self-sufficient in producing goods equal to the products of Western companies. Economic boycott of the West is not possible unless economic self-sufficiency is attained and substitute products are brought out. You see that wealth is scattered all across the Muslim world but not a single TV channel has been acquired which can preach Islamic injunctions according to modern requirements and attain an international influence. Muslim traders and philanthropists should make it a point that if the weapon of public opinion is to be used, it is to be kept in the hand. Today’s world is of public opinion and the fates of nations are determined through its pressure. Once the tools for building public opinion are obtained, everything that you asked for can be done.

Ummat: The entire propaganda about your struggle has so far been made by the Western media. But no information is being received from your sources about the network of Al-Qa’idah and its jihadi successes. Would you comment?

Usamah: In fact, the Western media is left with nothing else. It has no other theme to survive for a long time. Then we have many other things to do. The struggle for jihad and the successes are for the sake of Allah and not to annoy His bondsmen. Our silence is our real propaganda. Rejections, explanations, or corrigendum only waste your time and through them, the enemy wants you to engage in things which are not of use to you. These things are pulling you away from your cause.

The Western media is unleashing such a baseless propaganda, which make us surprise but it reflects on what is in their hearts and gradually they themselves become captive of this propaganda. They become afraid of it and begin to cause harm to themselves. Terror is the most dreaded weapon in modern age and the Western media is mercilessly using it against its own people. It can add fear and helplessness in the psyche of the people of Europe and the United States. It means that what the enemies of the United States cannot do, its media is doing that. You can understand as to what will be the performance of the nation in a war, which suffers from fear and helplessness.

Ummat: What will the impact of the freeze of al-Qa’idah accounts by the US?

Usamah: God opens up ways for those who work for Him. Freezing of accounts will not make any difference for Al-Qa’idah or other jihad groups. With the grace of Allah, al-Qa’idah has more than three such alternative financial systems, which are all separate and totally independent from each other. This system is operating under the patronage of those who love jihad. What to say of the United States, even the combined world cannot budge these people from their path.

These people are not in hundreds but in thousands and millions. Al-Qa’idah comprises of such modern educated youths who are aware of the cracks inside the Western financial system as they are aware of the lines in their hands. These are the very flaws of the Western fiscal system, which are becoming a noose for it and this system could not recuperate in spite of the passage of so many days.

Ummat: Are there other safe areas other than Afghanistan, where you can continue jihad?

Usamah: There are areas in all parts of the world where strong jihadi forces are present, from Indonesia to Algeria, from Kabul to Chechnya, from Bosnia to Sudan, and from Burma to Kashmir. Then it is not the problem of my person. I am helpless fellowman of God, constantly in the fear of my accountability before God. It is not the question of Usamah but of Islam and, in Islam too, of jihad. Thanks to God, those waging a jihad can walk today with their heads raised. Jihad was still present when there was no Usamah and it will remain as such even when Usamah is no longer there. Allah opens up ways and creates loves in the hearts of people for those who walk on the path of Allah with their lives, property, and children. Believe it, through jihad, a man gets everything he desires. And the biggest desire of a Muslim is the after life. Martyrdom is the shortest way of attaining an eternal life.

Ummat: What do you say about the Pakistan government policy on Afghanistan attack?

Usamah: We are thankful to the Momin and valiant people of Pakistan who erected a blockade in front of the wrong forces and stood in the first file of battle. Pakistan is a great hope for the Islamic brotherhood. Its people are awakened, organized, and rich in the spirit of faith. They backed Afghanistan in its war against the Soviet Union and extended every help to the mojahedin and the Afghan people. Then these are the same Pakistanis who are standing shoulder by shoulder with the Taleban. If such people emerge in just two countries, the domination of the West will diminish in a matter of days. Our hearts beat with Pakistan and, God forbid, if a difficult time comes we will protect it with our blood. Pakistan is sacred for us like a place of worship. We are the people of jihad and fighting for the defence of Pakistan is the best of all jihads to us. It does not matter for us as to who rules Pakistan. The important thing is that the spirit of jihad is alive and stronger in the hearts of the Pakistani people.

Copyright Ummat in Urdu, BBC translation in English, 2001

Read about Osama Bin Laden in Michel Chossudovsky’s international best-seller

According to Chossudovsky, the  “war on terrorism” is a complete fabrication based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden, outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalisation is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.

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America’s “War on Terrorism”

by Michel

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November 22nd, 2013 by Global Research News

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October 15th, 2013 by Global Research News

A deluge of articles have been quickly put into circulation defending France’s military intervention in the African nation of Mali. TIME’s article, “The Crisis in Mali: Will French Intervention Stop the Islamist Advance?” decides that old tricks are the best tricks, and elects the tiresome “War on Terror” narrative.TIME claims the intervention seeks to stop “Islamist” terrorists from overrunning both Africa and all of Europe. Specifically, the article states:

“…there is a (probably well-founded) fear in France that a radical Islamist Mali threatens France most of all, since most of the Islamists are French speakers and many have relatives in France. (Intelligence sources in Paris have told TIME that they’ve identified aspiring jihadis leaving France for northern Mali to train and fight.) Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), one of the three groups that make up the Malian Islamist alliance and which provides much of the leadership, has also designated France — the representative of Western power in the region — as a prime target for attack.”

What TIME elects not to tell readers is that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is closely allied to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG whom France intervened on behalf of during NATO’s 2011 proxy-invasion of Libya – providing weapons, training, special forces and even aircraft to support them in the overthrow of Libya’s government.

As far back as August of 2011, Bruce Riedel out of the corporate-financier funded think-tank, the Brookings Institution, wrote “Algeria will be next to fall,” where he gleefully predicted success in Libya would embolden radical elements in Algeria, in particular AQIM. Between extremist violence and the prospect of French airstrikes, Riedel hoped to see the fall of the Algerian government. Ironically Riedel noted:

Algeria has expressed particular concern that the unrest in Libya could lead to the development of a major safe haven and sanctuary for al-Qaeda and other extremist jihadis.

And thanks to NATO, that is exactly what Libya has become – a Western sponsored sanctuary for Al-Qaeda. AQIM’s headway in northern Mali and now French involvement will see the conflict inevitably spill over into Algeria. It should be noted that Riedel is a co-author of “Which Path to Persia?” which openly conspires to arm yet another US State Department-listed terrorist organization (list as #28), the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) to wreak havoc across Iran and help collapse the government there – illustrating a pattern of using clearly terroristic organizations, even those listed as so by the US State Department, to carry out US foreign policy.Geopolitical analyst Pepe Escobar noted a more direct connection between LIFG and AQIM in an Asia Times piece titled, “How al-Qaeda got to rule in Tripoli:”

“Crucially, still in 2007, then al-Qaeda’s number two, Zawahiri, officially announced the merger between the LIFG and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM). So, for all practical purposes, since then, LIFG/AQIM have been one and the same – and Belhaj was/is its emir. “

“Belhaj,” referring to Hakim Abdul Belhaj, leader of LIFG in Libya, led with NATO support, arms, funding, and diplomatic recognition, the overthrowing of Muammar Qaddafi and has now plunged the nation into unending racist and tribal, genocidal infighting. This intervention has also seen the rebellion’s epicenter of Benghazi peeling off from Tripoli as a semi-autonomous “Terror-Emirate.” Belhaj’s latest campaign has shifted to Syria where he was admittedly on the Turkish-Syrian border pledging weapons, money, and fighters to the so-called “Free Syrian Army,” again, under the auspices of NATO support.

Image: NATO’s intervention in Libya has resurrected listed-terrorist organization and Al Qaeda affiliate, LIFG. It had previously fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now has fighters, cash and weapons, all courtesy of NATO, spreading as far west as Mali, and as far east as Syria. The feared “global Caliphate” Neo-Cons have been scaring Western children with for a decade is now taking shape via US-Saudi, Israeli, and Qatari machinations, not “Islam.” In fact, real Muslims have paid the highest price in fighting this real “war against Western-funded terrorism.”


LIFG, which with French arms, cash, and diplomatic support, is now invading northern Syria on behalf of NATO’s attempted regime change there, officially merged with Al Qaeda in 2007 according to the US Army’s West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC). According to the CTC, AQIM and LIFG share not only ideological goals, but strategic and even tactical objectives. The weapons LIFG received most certainly made their way into the hands of AQIM on their way through the porous borders of the Sahara Desert and into northern Mali.

In fact, ABC News reported in their article, “Al Qaeda Terror Group: We ‘Benefit From’ Libyan Weapons,” that:

A leading member of an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group indicated the organization may have acquired some of the thousands of powerful weapons that went missing in the chaos of the Libyan uprising, stoking long-held fears of Western officials.”We have been one of the main beneficiaries of the revolutions in the Arab world,” Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a leader of the north Africa-based al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM], told the Mauritanian news agency ANI Wednesday. “As for our benefiting from the [Libyan] weapons, this is a natural thing in these kinds of circumstances.”

It is no coincidence that as the Libyan conflict was drawing to a conclusion, conflict erupted in northern Mali. It is part of a premeditated geopolitical reordering that began with toppling Libya, and since then, using it as a springboard for invading other targeted nations, including Mali, Algeria, and Syria with heavily armed, NATO-funded and aided terrorists.

French involvement may drive AQIM and its affiliates out of northern Mali, but they are almost sure to end up in Algeria, most likely by design.

Algeria was able to balk subversion during the early phases of the US-engineered “Arab Spring” in 2011, but it surely has not escaped the attention of the West who is in the midst of transforming a region stretching from Africa to Beijing and Moscow’s doorsteps – and in a fit of geopolitical schizophrenia – using terrorists both as a casus belli to invade and as an inexhaustible mercenary force to do it.

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Salafism and the CIA: Destabilizing the Russian Federation?

September 14th, 2012 by F. William Engdahl

Part I: Syria comes to the Russian Caucasus

On August 28 Sheikh Said Afandi, acknowledged spiritual leader of the Autonomous Russian Republic of Dagestan, was assassinated. A jihadist female suicide bomber managed to enter his house and detonate an explosive device.

The murder target had been carefully selected. Sheikh Afandi, a seventy-five-year old Sufi Muslim leader, had played the critical role in attempting to bring about reconciliation in Dagestan between jihadist Salafi Sunni Muslims and other factions, many of whom in Dagestan see themselves as followers of Sufi. With no replacement of his moral stature and respect visible, authorities fear possible outbreak of religious war in the tiny Russian autonomous republic.[1]

The police reported that the assassin was an ethnic Russian woman who had converted to Islam and was linked to an Islamic fundamentalist or Salafist insurgency against Russia and regional governments loyal to Moscow in the autonomous republics and across the volatile Muslim-populated North Caucasus region.

Ethnic Muslim populations in this region of Russia and of the former Soviet Union, including Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan and into China’s Xinjiang Province, have been the target of various US and NATO intelligence operations since the Cold War era ended in 1990. Washington sees manipulation of Muslim groups as the vehicle to bring uncontrollable chaos to Russia and Central Asia. It’s being carried out by some of the same organizations engaged in creating chaos and destruction inside Syria against the government of Bashar Al-Assad. In a real sense, as Russian security services clearly understand, if they don’t succeed in stopping the Jihadists insurgency in Syria, it will come home to them via the Caucasus.

The latest Salafist murders of Sufi and other moderate Muslim leaders in the Caucasus are apparently part of what is becoming ever clearer as perhaps the most dangerous US intelligence operation ever—playing globally with Muslim fundamentalism.

Previously US and allied intelligence services had played fast and loose with religious organizations or beliefs in one or another country. What makes the present situation particularly dangerous—notably since the decision in Washington to unleash the misnamed Arab Spring upheavals that began in Tunisia late 2010, spreading like a brushfire across the entire Islamic world from Afghanistan across Central Asia to Morocco—is the incalculable wave upon wave of killing, hatreds, destruction of entire cultures that Washington has unleashed in the name of that elusive dream named “democracy.” They do this using alleged Al-Qaeda groups, Saudi Salafists or Wahhabites, or using disciples of Turkey’s Fethullah Gülen Movement to ignite fires of religious hatred within Islam and against other faiths that could take decades to extinguish. It could easily spill over into a new World War.

Fundamentalism comes to Caucasus

Following the dissolution of the USSR, radical Afghanistani Mujahadeen, Islamists from Saudi Arabia, from Turkey, Pakistan and other Islamic countries flooded into the Muslim regions of the former USSR. One of the best-organized of these was the Gülen Movement of Fethullah Gülen, leader of a global network of Islamic schools and reported to be the major policy influence on Turkey’s Erdogan AKP party.

Gülen was quick to establish The International Dagestani-Turkish College in Dagestan. During the chaotic days after the Soviet collapse, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation officially registered and permitted unfettered activity for a variety of Islamic foundations and organizations. These included the League of the Islamic World, the World Muslim Youth Assembly, the reportedly Al-Qaeda friendly Saudi foundation ‘Ibrahim ben Abd al-Aziz al-Ibrahim.’ The blacklist also included Al-Haramein a Saudi foundation reported tied to Al-Qaeda, and IHH, [2] a Turkish organization banned in Germany, that allegedly raised funds for jihadi fighters in Bosnia, Chechnya, and Afghanistan, and was charged by French intelligence of ties to Al Qaeda.[3] Many of these charities were covers for fundamentalist Salafists with their own special agenda.

As many of the foreign Islamists in Chechnya and Dagestan were found involved in fomenting the regional unrest and civil war, Russian authorities withdrew permission of most to run schools and institutions. Throughout the North Caucasus at the time of the Chechyn war in the late 1990’s, there were more than two dozen Islamic institutes, some 200 madrassas and numerous maktabas (Koranic study schools) present at almost all mosques.

The International Dagestani-Turkish College was one that was forced to close its doors in Dagestan. The College was run by the Fethullah Gülen organization.[4]

At the point of the Russian crackdown on the spread of Salafist teaching inside Russia at the end of the 1990’s, there was an exodus of hundreds of young Dagestani and Chechyn Muslim students to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other places in The Middle east, reportedly to receive training with the Gülen movement and various Saudi-financed organizations, including Salafists. [5] It is believed in Russia that the students trained by Gülen supporters or Saudi and other Salafist fundamentalist centers then were sent back to Dagestan and the North Caucasus to spread their radical strain of Islam.

By 2005 the situation in the Caucasus was so influenced by this Salafist intervention that the Chechen Salafist, Doku Umarov, cited by the UN Security Council for links to Al-Qaeda,[6] unilaterally declared creation of what he called the Caucasus Emirate, announcing he planned to establish an Islamic state under Sharia law encompassing the entire North Caucasus region including Dagestan. He modestly proclaimed himself Emir of the Caucasus Emirate. [7]

*  *  *

WWIII Scenario

*  *  *


Part II: Salafism at war with Sufi tradition

Salafism, known in Saudi Arabia as Wahhabism, is a fundamentalist strain of Islam which drew world attention and became notorious in March 2001 just weeks before the attacks of September 11. That was when the Salafist Taliban government in Afghanistan willfully dynamited and destroyed the historic gigantic Buddhas of Bamiyan on the ancient Silk Road, religious statues dating from the 6th Century. The Taliban Salafist leaders also banned as “un-islamic” all forms of imagery, music and sports, including television, in accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.

Afghani sources reported that the order to destroy the Buddhas was made by Saudi-born jihadist Wahhabite, Osama bin Laden, who ultimately convinced Mullah Omar, Taliban supreme leader at the time to execute the act.[8]

Before and…After Salafist Taliban …

While Sufis incorporate the worship of saints and theatrical ceremonial prayers into their practice, Salafis condemn as idolatry any non-traditional forms of worship. They also call for the establishment of Islamic political rule and strict Sharia law. Sufism is home to the great spiritual and musical heritage of Islam, said by Islamic scholars to be the inner, mystical, or psycho-spiritual dimension of Islam, going back centuries.

As one Sufi scholar described the core of Sufism, “While all Muslims believe that they are on the pathway to God and will become close to God in Paradise–after death and the ‘Final Judgment’– Sufis believe as well that it is possible to become close to God and to experience this closeness–while one is alive. Furthermore, the attainment of the knowledge that comes with such intimacy with God, Sufis assert, is the very purpose of the creation. Here they mention the hadith qudsi in which God states, ‘I was a hidden treasure and I loved that I be known, so I created the creation in order to be known.’ Hence for the Sufis there is already a momentum, a continuous attraction on their hearts exerted by God, pulling them, in love, towards God.” [9]

The mystical Islamic current of Sufism and its striving to become close to or one with God is in stark contrast to the Jihadist Salafi or Wahhabi current that is armed with deadly weapons, preaches a false doctrine of jihad, and a perverse sense of martyrdom, committing countless acts of violence. Little wonder that the victims of Salafist Jihads are mostly other pacific forms of Islam including most especially Sufis.

The respected seventy-five year old Afandi had publicly denounced Salafist Islamic fundamentalism. His murder followed a July 19 coordinated attack on two high-ranking muftis in the Russian Volga Republic of Tatarstan. Both victims were state-approved religious leaders who had attacked radical Islam. This latest round of murders opens a new front in the Salafist war against Russia, namely attacks on moderate Sufi Muslim leaders.

Whether or not Dagestan now descends into internal religious civil war that then spreads across the geopolitically sensitive Russian Caucasus is not yet certain. What is almost certain is that the same circles who have been feeding violence and terror inside Syria against the regime of Alawite President Bashar al-Assad are behind the killing of Sheikh Afandi as well as sparking related acts of terror or unrest across Russia’s Muslim-populated Caucasus. In a very real sense it represents Russia’s nightmare scenario of “Syria coming to Russia.” It demonstrates dramatically why Putin has made such a determined effort to stop a descent into a murderous hell in Syria.

Salafism and the CIA

The existence of the so-called jihadist Salafi brand of Islam in Dagestan is quite recent. It has also been deliberately imported. Salafism is sometimes also called the name of the older Saudi-centered Wahhabism. Wahhabism is a minority originally-Bedouin form of the faith originating within Islam, dominant in Saudi Arabia since the 1700’s.

Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz of the Centre for Islamic Pluralism give the following description of Saudi conditions under the rigid Wahhabi brand of Islam:

Women living under Saudi rule must wear the abaya, or total body cloak, and niqab, the face veil; they have limited opportunities for schooling and careers; they are prohibited from driving vehicles; are banned from social contact with men not relatives, and all personal activity must be supervised including opening bank accounts, by a male family member or “guardian.” These Wahhabi rules are enforced by a mutawiyin, or morals militia, also known as “the religious police,” officially designated the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) who patrol Saudi cities, armed with leather-covered sticks which they freely used against those they considered wayward. They raid homes looking for alcohol and drugs, and harassed non-Wahhabi Muslims as well as believers in other faiths.” [10]

It’s widely reported that the obscenely opulent and morally-perhaps-not-entirely-of- the-highest-standards Saudi Royal Family made a Faustian deal with Wahhabite leaders. The deal supposedly, was that the Wahhabists are free to export their fanatical brand of Islam around to the Islamic populations of the world in return for agreeing to leave the Saudi Royals alone.[11] There are, however, other dark and dirty spoons stirring the Wahhabite-Salafist Saudi stew.

Little known is the fact that the present form of aggressive Saudi Wahhabism, in reality a kind of fusion between imported jihadi Salafists from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and the fundamentalist Saudi Wahhabites. Leading Salafist members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood were introduced into the Saudi Kingdom in the 1950’s by the CIA in a complex series of events, when Nasser cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood following an assassination attempt. By the 1960’s an influx of Egyptian members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia fleeing Nasserite repression, had filled many of the leading teaching posts in Saudi religious schools. One student there was a young well-to-do Saudi, Osama bin Laden.  [12]

During the Third Reich, Hitler Germany had supported the Muslim Brotherhood as a weapon against the British in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East. Marc Erikson describes the Nazi roots of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood thus:

…as Italian and German fascism sought greater stakes in the Middle East in the 1930s and ’40s to counter British and French controlling power, close collaboration between fascist agents and Islamist leaders ensued. During the 1936-39 Arab Revolt, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of German military intelligence, sent agents and money to support the Palestine uprising against the British, as did Muslim Brotherhood founder and “supreme guide” Hassan al-Banna. A key individual in the fascist-Islamist nexus and go-between for the Nazis and al-Banna became the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini.[13]

After the defeat of Germany, British Intelligence moved in to take over control of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ultimately, for financial and other reasons, the British decided to hand their assets within the Muslim Brotherhood over to their CIA colleagues in the 1950s. [14]

According to former US Justice Department Nazi researcher John Loftus,  “during the 1950s, the CIA evacuated the Nazis of the Muslim Brotherhood to Saudi Arabia. Now, when they arrived in Saudi Arabia, some of the leading lights of the Muslim Brotherhood, like Dr Abdullah Azzam, became the teachers in the madrassas, the religious schools. And there they combined the doctrines of Nazism with this weird Islamic cult, Wahhabism.” [15]

“Everyone thinks that Islam is this fanatical religion, but it is not,” Loftus continues. “They think that Islam–the Saudi version of Islam–is typical, but it’s not. The Wahhabi cult has been condemned as a heresy more than 60 times by the Muslim nations. But when the Saudis got wealthy, they bought a lot of silence. This is a very harsh cult. Wahhabism was only practised by the Taliban and in Saudi Arabia–that’s how extreme it is. It really has nothing to do with Islam. Islam is a very peaceful and tolerant religion. It always had good relationships with the Jews for the first thousand years of its existence.” [16]

Loftus identified the significance of what today is emerging from the shadows to take over Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi, and the so-called Syrian National Council, dominated in reality by the Muslim Brotherhood and publicly led by the more “politically correct” or presentable likes of Bassma Kodmani. Kodmani, foreign affairs spokesman for the SNC was twice an invited guest at the Bilderberg elite gathering, latest in Chantilly, Virginia earlier this year.[17]

The most bizarre and alarming feature of the US-financed  regime changes set into motion in 2010, which have led to the destruction of the secular Arab regime of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Muhammar Qaddafi in Libya, and the secular regime of President Ben Ali in Tunisia, and which have wreaked savage destruction across the Middle East, especially in the past eighteen months in Syria, is the pattern of emerging power grabs by representatives of the murky Salafist Muslim Brotherhood.

By informed accounts, a Saudi-financed Sunni Islamic Muslim Brotherhood dominates the members of the exile Syrian National Council that is backed by the US State Department’s Secretary Clinton and by Hollande’s France. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is tied, not surprisingly to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood of President Mohammed Morsi who recently in a meeting of the Non-Aligned in Iran called openly for the removal of Syria’s Assad, a logical step if his Muslim Brothers in the present Syrian National Council are to take the reins of power. The Saudis are also rumored to have financed the ascent to power in Tunisia of the governing Islamist Ennahda Party,[18] and are documented to be financing the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Syrian National Council against President Bashar al-Assad. [19]

Part III: Morsi’s Reign of Salafi Terror

Indicative of the true agenda of this Muslim Brotherhood and related jihadists today is the fact that once they have power, they drop the veil of moderation and reconciliation and reveal their violently intolerant roots. This is visible in Egypt today under Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi.

Unreported in mainstream Western media to date are alarming direct reports from Christian missionary organizations in Egypt that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood has already begun to drop the veil of “moderation and conciliation” and show its brutal totalitarian Salafist colors, much as Khomeini’s radical Sharia forces did in Iran after taking control in 1979-81.

In a letter distributed by the Christian Aid Mission (CAM), a Christian Egyptian missionary wrote that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood “announced they would destroy the country if Morsi didn’t win, but they also said they will take revenge from all those who voted for [his opponent Ahmed] Shafiq, especially the Christians as they are sure we did vote for Shafiq. Yesterday they began by killing two believers in el Sharqiya because of this,” the missionary added, speaking on condition of anonymity.[20]

This report came only weeks after Egyptian State TV (under Morsi’s control) showed ghastly video footage of a convert from Islam to Christianity being murdered by Muslims. The footage showed a young man being held down by masked men with a knife to his throat. As one man was heard chanting Muslim prayers in Arabic, mostly condemning Christianity, another man holding the knife to the Christian convert’s throat began to cut, slowly severing the head amid cries of “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is great”), according to transcripts. In the letter, the Egyptian missionary leader added that, “soon after Morsi won, Christians in upper Egypt were forcibly prevented from going to churches.” Many Muslims, the letter claimed, “also began to speak to women in the streets that they had to wear Islamic clothing including the head covering. They act as if they got the country for their own, it’s theirs now.” [21]

Already in 2011 Morsi’s Salafist followers began attacking and destroying Sufi mosques across Egypt. According to the authoritative newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm (Today’s Egyptian), 16 historic mosques in Alexandria belonging to Sufi orders have been marked for destruction by so-called ‘Salafis’. Alexandria has 40 mosques associated with Sufis, and is the headquarters for 36 Sufi groups. Half a million Sufis live in the city, out of a municipal total of four million people. Aggression against the Sufis in Egypt has included a raid on Alexandria’s most distinguished mosque, named for, and housing, the tomb of the 13th century Sufi Al-Mursi Abu’l Abbas.[22]

Notably, the so-called “democratically elected” regime in Libya following the toppling of Mohamar Qaddafi by NATO bombs in 2011, has also been zealous in destroying Sufi mosques and places of worhip. In August this year, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova expressed “grave concern” at the destruction by Islamic Jihadists of Sufi sites in Zliten, Misrata and Tripoli and urged perpetrators to “cease the destruction immediately.” [23] Under behind-the-scenes machinations the Libyan government is dominated by Jihadists and by followers of the Muslim Brotherhood, as in Tunisia and Egypt. [24]

The explosive cocktail of violence inherent in allowing the rise to power of Salafist Islamists across the Middle East was clear to see, symbolically enough on the night of September 11,th when a mob of angry supporters of the fanatical Salafist group, Ansar Al-Sharia, murdered the US Ambassador to Libya and three US diplomats, burning the US Consulate in Bengazi to the ground in protest over a YouTube release of a film by an American filmmaker showing the Prophet Mohammed indulging in multiple sex affairs and casting doubt on his role as God’s messenger. Ironically that US Ambassador had played a key role in toppling Qaddafi and opening the door to the Salafist takeover in Libya. At the same time angry mobs of thousands of Salafists surrounded the US Embassy in Cairo in protest to the US film. [25]

Ansar Al-Sharia (“Partisans of Islamic law” in Arabic) reportedly is a spinoff of Al-Qaeda and claims organizations across the Middle East from Yemen to Tunisia to Iraq, Egypt and Libya. Ansar al-Sharia says it is reproducing the model of Sharia or strict Islamic law espoused by the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamic State of Iraq, a militant umbrella group that includes al-Qaeda in Iraq. The core of the group are jihadists who came out of an “Islamic state”, either in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s, or among jihadists in Iraq after the US-led invasion in 2003.[26]

The deliberate detonation now of a new round of Salafist fundamentalist Jihad terror inside Muslim regions of the Russian Caucasus is exquisitely timed politically to put maximum pressure at home on the government of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Putin and the Russian Government are the strongest and most essential backer of the current Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, and for Russia as well the maintenance of Russia’s only Mediterranean naval base at Syria’s Tartus port is vital strategically. At the same time, Obama’s sly message to Medvedev to wait until Obama’s re-election to evaluate US intent towards Russia and Putin’s cryptic recent comment that a compromise with a re-elected President Obama might be possible, but not with a President Romney, [27] indicate that the Washington “stick-and-carrot” or hard cop-soft cop tactics with Moscow might tempt Russia to sacrifice major geopolitical alliances, perhaps even that special close and recent geopolitical alliance with China.[28] Were that to happen, the World might witness a “reset” in US-Russian relations with catastrophic consequences for world peace.

F. William Engdahl*  is the author of Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order


[1] Dan Peleschuk, Sheikh Murdered Over Religious Split Say Analysts, RIA Novosti, August 30, 2012, accessed in

[2] Mairbek  Vatchagaev, The Kremlin’s War on Islamic Education in the North Caucasus, North Caucasus Analysis Volume: 7 Issue: 34, accessed in[tt_news]=3334

[3] Iason Athanasiadis, Targeted by Israeli raid: Who is the IHH?, The Christian Science Monitor, June 1, 2010, accessed in

[4] Ibid.

[5] Mairbek Vatchagaev, op. cit.

[6] UN Security Council, QI.U.290.11. DOKU KHAMATOVICH UMAROV, 10 March 2011, accessed in The UN statement reads: “Doku Khamatovich Umarov was listed on 10 March 2011 pursuant to paragraph 2 of resolution 1904 (2009) as being associated with Al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden or the Taliban for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of”, “recruiting for”, “supplying, selling or transferring arms and related materiel to” and “otherwise supporting acts or activities of” the Islamic Jihad Group (QE.I.119.05), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (QE.I.10.01), Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs (RSRSBCM) (QE.R.100.03) and Emarat Kavkaz (QE.E.131.11).”

[7] Tom Jones, Czech NGO rejects Russian reports of link to alleged Islamist terrorists al-Qaeda, May 10, 2011, accessed in

[8] The Times of India, Laden ordered Bamyan Buddha destruction, The Times of India, March 28, 2006.

[9] Dr. Alan Godlas, Sufism — Sufis — Sufi Orders:

[10] Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz, Wahhabi Internal Contradictions as Saudi Arabia Seeks Wider Gulf Leadership, Center for Islamic Pluralism, May 21, 2012, accessed in

[11] Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz, Wahhabi Internal Contradictions as Saudi Arabia Seeks Wider Gulf Leadership, May 21, 2012, accessed in

[12] Robert Duncan, Islamic Terrorisms Links to Nazi Fascism, AINA, July 5, 2007, accessed in

[13] Marc Erikson, Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 2), AsiaTimes.Online, November 8, 2002, accessed in

[14] Ibid.

[15] John Loftus, The Muslim Brotherhood, Nazis and Al-Qaeda,  Jewish Community News, October 11, 2006, accessed in

[16] Ibid.

[17] Charlie Skelton, The Syrian opposition: who’s doing the talking?: The media have been too passive when it comes to Syrian opposition sources, without scrutinising their backgrounds and their political connections. Time for a closer look …, London Guardian, 12 July 2012, accessed in

[18] Aidan Lewis, Profile: Tunisia’s Ennahda Party, BBC News, 25 October 2011, accessed in

[19] Hassan Hassan, Syrians are torn between a despotic regime and a stagnant opposition: The Muslim Brotherhood’s perceived monopoly over the Syrian National Council has created an opposition stalemate, The Guardian, UK, 23 August, 2012, accessed in

[20] Stefan J. Bos, Egypt Christians Killed After Election of Morsi, Bosnewslife, June 30, 2012, accessed in

[21] Ibid.

[22] Irfan Al-Alawi, Egyptian Muslim Fundamentalists Attack Sufis, Guardian Online [London],

April 11, 2011, accessed in

[23] Yafiah Katherine Randall, UNESCO urges Libya to stop destruction of Sufi sites, August 31, 2012, Sufi News and Sufism World Report, accessed in

[24] Jamie Dettmer, Libya elections: Muslim Brotherhood set to lead government, 5 July, 2012, The Telegraph, London, accessed in

[25] Luke Harding, Chris Stephen, Chris Stevens, US ambassador to Libya, killed in Benghazi attack: Ambassador and three other American embassy staff killed after Islamist militants fired rockets at their car, say Libyan officials, London Guardian, 12 September 2012, accessed in

[26] Murad Batal al-Shishani, Profile: Ansar al-Sharia in Yemen, 8 March 2012, accessed in

[27] David M. Herszenhorn, Putin Says Missile Deal Is More Likely With Obama, The New York Times, September 6, 2012, accessed in According to an interview Putin gave on Moscow’s state-owned RT TV, Herszenhorn reports, “Mr. Putin said he believed that if Mr. Obama is re-elected in November, a compromise could be reached on the contentious issue of American plans for a missile defense system in Europe, which Russia has strongly opposed. On the other hand, Mr. Putin said, if Mr. Romney becomes president, Moscow’s fears about the missile system — that it is, despite American assurances, actually directed against Russia — would almost certainly prove true.

“Is it possible to find a solution to the problem, if current President Obama is re-elected for a second term? Theoretically, yes,” Mr. Putin said, according to the official transcript posted on the Kremlin’s Web site. “But this isn’t just about President Obama. “For all I know, his desire to work out a solution is quite sincere,” Mr. Putin continued. “I met him recently on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, where we had a chance to talk. And though we talked mostly about Syria, I could still take stock of my counterpart. My feeling is that he is a very honest man, and that he sincerely wants to make many good changes. But can he do it? Will they let him do it?”

[28] M.K. Bhadrakumar, Calling the China-Russia split isn’t heresy, Asia Times,  September 5, 2012, accessed in


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Welcome to the newly redesigned Global Research website!

September 8th, 2012 by Global Research

Dear Readers,

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In a law school dictionary the definition of a Philadelphia Lawyer is, “A very sly, crafty, shrewd lawyer who is an expert in the exploitation of legal technicalities”. No where more evident can this be seen than in Northern British Columbia where the integrity of Mother Earth’s Native Peoples is once again being threatened by the suspect legalese of an oil pipeline contract between Coastal Gas and the Wet’suwet’en people.

CBC Radio’s Early Edition programme aired on August 10th the latest of many disputes that have erupted in recent times between the Wet’suwet’en people and Coastal Gas over the extension of oil pipelines through their traditional territories. This latest dispute is over the provisions of an economic development agreement contained within a signed legal benefits contract between the Na’kazdli Whut’en First Nation Tribal Council and TC Energy’s Coastal Gas Pipeline project (“Benefits Agreement asks First Nations to discourage members from hindering B.C. Pipeline Project”, Chantelle Bellrichard, CBC news, Aug 9th, 2019). This legal contract, crafted, as some critics say, by slick ‘Philadephia Lawyer’ types, calls into question the very integrity of the human race’s rights to continue to abuse as it does not only the indigenous peoples of the earth but to abuse the inherent rights of Mother Earth herself.

The wording of this contract’s provisions apparently are designed to dissuade or muzzle the Na’kazdli people themselves from speaking out against the project as vociferously has been done in the past. The legal stipulations in that contract at a glance sound like a clear violation of the basic tenets of Freedom of Speech, as contained within Canada’s Charter of Rights & Freedoms as well as Canada’s Supreme Court Rights & Aboriginal Title Decision,which, in the case of the Wet’suwet’en people, the validity of both will require a decision by Canada’s Supreme Court.

In the meantime, to allow such questionable oil pipeline projects to continue to be consummated between corporate energy entities and First Nation peoples not only flies in the face of PM Justin Trudeau and Canada’s promise to all Canadians to lower the country’s greenhouse emissions but adds further fuel to the fire of the world’s climate crisis that is currently on the front burner of almost every nation in the world, and especially in countries like Canada, the U.S., U.K. and Australia that currently are, or recently have, held their national elections and debates over what direction future energy projects should take.

In another article (“Water Not Oil Battle Cry of the Blue Planet) produced by this writer, since posted on the sites of a number of alternative international news sources, Guujaaw, an Hereditary Chief Gidansta of the Haida Nation, and advisor to B.C.’s Coastal First Nations, is quoted, from an earlier National Observer article (“The Juggernaut of corporate oil must be stopped” June 18th 2019), as objecting to the concept of a proposed Aboriginal “Reconciliation Pipeline” as part of PM Justin Trudeau’s decision to approve the extension of the controversial Trans Mountain Pipeline from the Tar Sands of Alberta to the coastal waters of British Columbia and beyond.

Guujaaw raises several key points that must be repeated here within the context of this latest dispute between the Wet’suwet’en and Coastal Gas. Canada’s Supreme Court, historically, has called for “reconciliation” to honour the sacrifices many Aboriginal champions have made to defend and protect their lands ever since the birth of Canada as a nation of immigrants. Yet whenever Corporate Oil attempts to simply buy its way in, as apparantly once again has been done in the case of the Nakazdli people, while abrogating and over-riding the will of its people, Guujaaw makes the key point that, A pipeline and all that comes with it crosses the “inherent limit” and does not carry any Aboriginal Rights when it disregards the same rights of whatever the neighbour downstream. “There is none amongst us”, contends Gujaaw, “of any colour or creed that can claim a right to disregard the neighbour downstream, or who can claim a right to neglect life. An Indian pipeline would be a business venture as any other and is not “reconciliation”; rather, an infringement and a threat.”

Guujaaw’s statement brings into serious question the whole concept of what Reconciliation actually means, not only in terms of the rights of aboriginal and indigenous peoples in the world but to the responsibilities of the human race to Mother Earth herself and all who depend upon her for their daily sustenance and survival.

The principals involved in the Wet’suwet’en-TC Energy Coastal Gas pipeline Project, all British Columbians, and indeed all the peoples of the earth, are called upon to read Guujaaw’s full commentary in Part Three of the article “Water Not Oil Battle of the Blue Planet” (“Guujaaw’s Retort to Politicians, Indian Leaders, Petroleum CEO’s & Voters”). The simplicity and profundity of the integrity embodied within the ancient indigenous philosophy of never doing anything that will adversely affect the same rights of whatever neighbour downstream, if applied as a basic principle to similar disputes and controversies between indigenous and non-indidgenous peoples alike, world-wide, should be considered, in this writer’s humble opinion, as a “Pan First Nation, Pan Indigenous World, Pan Climate Crisis Awareness” document upon which the future survival of the entire world now depends.



Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Jerome Irwin is a Canadian-American writer who, for decades, has sought to call attention to problems of sustainability caused by excessive mega-developments and a host of related environmental-ecological-spiritual issues and concerns that exist between the conflicting philosophies of indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. In 2016, Irwin produced a series of articles on the Lakota & Dakota peoples Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance Movement.

Featured image is from Darren Makowichuk/Post Media

Russia and China Divided over Kashmir Crisis

August 18th, 2019 by Andrew Korybko

Kashmir issue has been internationalized and Pakistan sought the meeting of UNSC and with China’s backing, UNSC is convening after 50 years on Kashmir issue. Russia seems to be backing Indian claims while China went all out in Pakistan’s favor.


Contrary to the false claims regularly propagated within the Alt-Media Community, Russia and China don’t always coordinate every aspect of their foreign policies, with the case of their clashing views over India’s unilateral actions in Kashmir last week being the perfect case in point and heralding a new era of “narrative competition” between the two.

Debunking The Dogma

One of the most “sacred” dogmas of the Alt-Media Community is that Russia and China always coordinate every aspect of their foreign policies and are therefore on the same side concerning every international issue of significance, but that narrative was just debunked after both Great Powers took opposite sides over India’s unilateral actions in Kashmir last week.

China came out in full support of Pakistan, which was to be expected after India’s moves threatened its administration of Aksai Chin and Home Minister Amit Shah even said that people might die over his country’s claims to that disputed territory as well, while Russia took India’s side and said that its decades-long partner acted within its constitutional framework when annexing Kashmir. That too was to be expected even though Kashmir is Pakistan’s Crimea because the Russian budget is disproportionately dependent on arms exports to India and the South Asian state has many “agents of influence” embedded in the Eurasian Great Power’s “deep state”.

Panic In the Alt-Media Community

Nevertheless, Moscow’s financially self-interested move risks jeopardizing its carefully crafted regional “balancing” act after the country’s recent “Return to South Asia”, and it interestingly puts it at odds with Beijing on a serious international issue for the first time since the end of the Old Cold War. The Alt-Media Community is now in panic because it’s impossible for their perception managers to concoct a credible narrative explaining this unprecedented strategic divergence between Russia and China, and the regular refrain of “5D chess” is no longer believable for most after it became the butt of countless jokes following its over-use in covering up for the undisputed existence of “Putinyahu’s Rusrael”.

Russia took India’s side and said that its decades-long partner acted within its constitutional framework when annexing Kashmir

If Russia’s leading publicly funded international media outlet RT is anything to go by, however, then Alt-Media has already entered a new era since this narrative giant is indirectly bashing China and even spreading wrong about the country’s position towards Kashmir through the specific guests that its producers chose to speak on the topic.

Questionable Contributors

In the article titled “China ‘can’t just stay out’ of Kashmir dispute, will play peacemaker“, RT recruited Andrew Leung (not to be confused with the current head of the Hong Kong legislature of the same name), Brahma Chellaney, and Iftikhar Lodhi to inform their global audience about this pressing issue. Leung is introduced to readers simply as a “China strategist” while Chellaney is just described as a “geostrategist” and Lodhi is referred to as a “public policy expert” at Nazarbayev University, but the first two titles are extremely misleading because they don’t reveal the full extent of each “expert’s” professional history that would certainly be of interest to RT’s audience.

Leung’s official website reveals that he worked with the British authorities in extremely high positions during Hong Kong’s occupation and “was twice sponsored by the U.S. Government for month-long visits across the US, including a month-long visit in 1990 to brief Chairmen and CEOs of Fortune 50 multinationals on China beyond Tienanmen Square”, while Chellaney turns out to be a regular contributor to “Project Syndicate”, an online information outlet partially sponsored by George Soros’ “Open Society Foundations”. Having gotten this easy exercise of investigative journalism out of the way, it’s now time to turn attention to what exactly these hand-picked “experts” said that might subtle reveal RT’s new unofficial editorial stance towards the issue.

A Controversial “Information Product”

Leung started off objective enough by talking about China’s interests in the Kashmir Conflict but then eventually parroted a common Mainstream Media infowar narrative about how Beijing might abandon part of the Belt & Road Initiative’s (BRI) flagship China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in response to a deteriorating security situation in the region. Given his professional background of working real closely with the British authorities in occupied Hong Kong and being a US government-paid advisor (curiously in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square incident), it makes sense that he’d use some of his time on RT to fearmonger about the future of CPEC.

As for Chellaney, he somewhat surprisingly isn’t quoted as saying anything controversial even though one would ordinarily expect someone connected with Soros to do so, yet it’s still curious that RT chose to bring someone associated with the global network onto its platform after banning the Color Revolution financier’s “Open Society Foundations” back in 2015 on the basis that they constitute national security threats. As it turns out, it was Lodhi who ended up being the one that spread wrong about China’s position despite him initially seeming like the least likely to do so. RT quoted him as saying that China won’t “actively get involved in putting a resolution to the UN”, which didn’t turn out to be true after Beijing actually said that it would defend Islamabad’s “legitimate rights and interests” following a meeting between both countries’ Foreign Ministers.

Analyzing The Article

When the article is taken as a whole, it can be seen that Russia’s leading publicly funded international media outlet made the voluntary decision to recruit a US government-sponsored “advisor” from Hong Kong who collaborated for decades with the occupying British authorities there and a Soros-connected Indian to speak on China’s stance towards Kashmir, which is a curious production choice to make. The first-mentioned took the opportunity to fearmonger about CPEC and parrot Western positions about the project’s supposedly uncertain future, and while the second guest isn’t quoted as saying anything controversial, his appearance on the publicly-funded platform raises questions about how seriously the Russian government is taking its banning of the “Open Society Foundations” if someone who’s openly associated with one of its many partially funded projects was invited to speak on RT.

Contrary to conventional knowledge, it also ended up being the case that Kazakhstan-based academic was the one who was proven flat-out wrong about what he said.

The key takeaway is that Alt-Media can no longer pretend that Russia and China don’t have any serious divergences of vision over key international issues

RT, of course, isn’t responsible for what its guests say on air, and it’s well known that their views don’t necessarily reflect the official position of the outlet or its Russian government financier, but producers working in any media company generally have an idea in advance of what most contributors’ positions are on the issue that they’re asked to speak about after doing some quick research into their professional histories before inviting them onto a show.

RT’s Unmistakable Signal To The Alt-Media Community 

As such, it’s very likely that RT was sending an unmistakable signal (possibly on the “plausibly deniable” behalf of the state) to the Alt-Media Community through its recruiting of Leung and Chellaney to talk about China’s position on Kashmir, having a hunch ahead of time that they’d both say something controversial even though only the former ended up proving them right, as did the seemingly uncontroversial (by virtue of his professional history) Lodhi.

None of this means that Russia is “anti-Chinese” or that one can expect a full-fledged infowar between these two BRICS and SCO strategic partners, but just that Alt-Media has definitely entered a new era whereby it’s apparently become acceptable for RT (which is one of the narrative leaders in this sphere) to rely on US government-financed “advisors” that collaborated with the occupying British authorities in Hong Kong and an Indian writer openly connected to Soros’ “Open Society Foundations” to supposedly explain China’s stance towards Kashmir to their international audience.

The not-too-subtle message is that it’s alright to use shady characters to do this, and that they won’t be contradicted for parroting Mainstream Media infowar narratives about BRI’s flagship project either despite none other than President Putin himself vowing to integrate the Russian-led Eurasian Union with this global initiative during his keynote speech earlier this year at the BRI Forum.

Concluding Thoughts

The key takeaway is that Alt-Media can no longer pretend that Russia and China don’t have any serious divergences of vision over key international issues after each Great Power took opposite sides following India’s unilateral moves in Kashmir and RT released a controversial “information product” about Beijing’s stance towards this conflict. RT also sent the unmistakable signal that it’s acceptable for the outlets and perception managers under its influence to rely on shady characters to explain China’s position towards controversial issues, even if they resort to repeating Mainstream Media infowar narratives about the country or its key interests.

Nevertheless, it would be an exaggeration to expect that the two will enter into a full-fledged infowar against one another, but just that the Alt-Media Community is finally becoming multipolar by allowing a diversity of discourse to flourish within this narrative space. Even so, however, the unofficially affiliated forces that take their cues from Russia (as in those other than publicly financed platforms like RT) will probably double down on their aggressive gatekeeping to suppress any criticism of Moscow’s decision to back New Delhi and might even attack Beijing’s support of Islamabad. It’ll be very interesting to see how the Alt-Media Community adapts to this new era of “narrative competition” that it was finally forced into by necessity, but many might actually welcome this development as long overdue and much needed.


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This article was originally published on Global Village Space.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from Cafe Dissensus Everyday blog

How Washington Is Meddling in the Affairs of Hong Kong

August 18th, 2019 by A Political Junkie

While there has been growing coverage of the unrest in Hong Kong, there has been minimal coverage of what may lie behind the pro-democracy protests.  Even Donald Trump has entered the fray with this tweet which clearly condemns China’s actions against protestors in Hong Kong:


As you will see in this posting, it is entirely possible that a Washington-based and Congressionally funded institution is responsible, at least in part, for the lack of calmness in Hong Kong.

A few weeks ago, I wrote this posting on the National Endowment for Democracy or NED, America’s instrument of democratic promotion around the world, that is, democracy American style.  NED was founded in 1983 during the Reagan Administration with the following Statement of Principles and Objectives:

Democracy involves the right of the people freely to determine their own destiny.

The exercise of this right requires a system that guarantees freedom of expression, belief and association, free and competitive elections, respect for the inalienable rights of individuals and minorities, free communications media, and the rule of law.

While NED touts itself as a “private” foundation, in other words, it is independent of government. That could not be further from the truth.  Here’s what NED has to say about itself that belies its true character:

NED is a unique institution. The Endowment’s nongovernmental character gives it a flexibility that makes it possible to work in some of the world’s most difficult circumstances, and to respond quickly when there is an opportunity for political change. NED is dedicated to fostering the growth of a wide range of democratic institutions abroad, including political parties, trade unions, free markets and business organizations, as well as the many elements of a vibrant civil society that ensure human rights, an independent media, and the rule of law.

This well-rounded approach responds to the diverse aspects of democracy and has proved both practical and effective throughout NED’s history. Funded largely by the U.S. Congress, the support NED gives to groups abroad sends an important message of solidarity to many democrats who are working for freedom and human rights, often in obscurity and isolation….

From its beginning, NED has remained steadfastly bipartisan. Created jointly by Republicans and Democrats, NED is governed by a board balanced between both parties and enjoys Congressional support across the political spectrum. NED operates with a high degree of transparency and accountability reflecting our founders’ belief that democracy promotion overseas should be conducted openly.” (my bolds)

Despite its proclamation that it has a “nongovernmental character”, NED receives its funding through an annual appropriation from Congress through the Department of State making it little more than another mouthpiece for Washington’s agenda.  NED promotes Washington’s global agenda through direct grants to more than 1600 non-governmental groups that are working for “democracy” in more than 90 nations around the world.

Let’s look at NED’s activities in Hong Kong for 2018 according to its website.  Here are the projects that were funded over the period from 2015 to 2018:

Notice that the 2018 funding to the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs was granted to “facilitate engagement on Hong Kong’s growing threats to guaranteed rights”.  That certainly sounds like promoting democracy to me. NED spent a total of $1,357,974 on grants to organizations that were promoting freedom, democracy and human rights in Hong Kong over the period from 2015 to 2018.  Unfortunately, we don’t know what NED spent on promotingg democracy in Hong Kong in the timeframe prior to 2015.  While, in the grand scheme of what Washington spends this is not a great deal of money, it is the principle of what Washington is attempting to create in Hong Kong that is of concern.  This is a very clear example of meddling in the internal affairs of China and Hong Kong, actions that will only serve to anger China who is the also the recipient of a great deal of NED’s attention.  It is also key to remember that there are likely other taxpayer-funded programs through which Washington is attempting to influence what happens in Hong Kong.

In my opinion, this tweet by the conservative-leaning Washington Examiner is a dead giveaway to the source of the unrest:

While the ideals of democracy are admirable and desirable, Washington’s version of democracy is tainted by big money and has developed into a system where politicians are for sale to the highest bidder.  This is not the democracy that most of the world wants.  Long-term Congressional meddling in other nations internal affairs through its funding of the National Endowment for Democracy is little better than the nation reengineering exercises undertaken by the Central Intelligence Agency since the end of the Second World War.


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President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency was accused of being a pesticide “cheerleader” last week after the agency said it would not approval labels that say that glyphosate—the active ingredient in Roundup and other weedkillers—is known to cause cancer.

In a statement released Thursday announcing the move, the EPA dug in on its assertion that glyphosate does not cause cancer, though critics have said that is “an industry-friendly conclusion that’s simply not based on the best available science.”

The new guidance takes aim at California’s 2017 move, in adherence with its Proposition 65, to add glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer and require warning labels. The state cited the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer 2015 assessment that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

The EPA, however, said those labels provided consumers with false information.

“We will not allow California’s flawed program to dictate federal policy,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in the statement.

The EPA also sent a letter to manufactures on Aug. 7 saying that “pesticide products bearing the Proposition 65 warning statement due to the presence of glyphosate are misbranded” under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

The letter, signed by Michael Goodis, head of EPA’s registration division in its Office of Pesticide Programs, said EPA would not approve labeling with that warning, and that “EPA requests the submission of draft amended labeling that removes such language within ninety days of the date of this letter.”

Brett Hartl, government affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity, suggested the EPA wasn’t living up to its own name.

“It’s a little bit sad the EPA is the biggest cheerleader and defender of glyphosate,” Hartl told The Associated Press. “It’s the Environmental Protection Agency, not the pesticide protection agency.”

California and the IARC weren’t alone in seeing a link between glyphosate and cancer.

Three U.S. juries have found Roundup responsible for plaintiffs’ cancers, ordering Monsanto, which was acquired by the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer last year, to pay out tens of millions of dollars to victims.

Legal battles continue for the company. It’s appealing the verdicts, but thousands of other people are suing the company for similar damages.

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.


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If that headline sounds really bad to you, that is because the situation that we are facing is really bad.  Over the past few months, I have written article after article about the unprecedented crisis that U.S. farmers are facing this year.  In those articles, I have always said that “millions” of acres of farmland did not get planted this year, because I knew that we did not have a final number yet.  Well, now we do, and it is extremely troubling.  Of course there are some people out there that do not even believe that we are facing a crisis, and a few have even accused me of overstating the severity of the problems that U.S. farmers are currently dealing with.  Sadly, things are not as bad as I thought – the truth is that they are even worse.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, crops were not planted on 19.4 million acres of U.S. farmland this year.  The following comes directly from the official website of the USDA

Agricultural producers reported they were not able to plant crops on more than 19.4 million acres in 2019, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This marks the most prevented plant acres reported since USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) began releasing the report in 2007 and 17.49 million acres more than reported at this time last year.

So this is the largest number that the USDA has ever reported for a single year, and it is nearly 17.5 million acres greater than last year’s final tally of less than 2 million acres.

If you have been following my articles on a regular basis, then you know exactly why this has happened.  The middle of the nation was absolutely pummeled by endless rain and unprecedented flooding throughout the first half of 2019, and this new USDA report shows that the vast majority of the acres that were not planted come from that area of the country

Of those prevented plant acres, more than 73 percent were in 12 Midwestern states, where heavy rainfall and flooding this year has prevented many producers from planting mostly corn, soybeans and wheat.

“Agricultural producers across the country are facing significant challenges and tough decisions on their farms and ranches,” USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey said. “We know these are challenging times for farmers, and we have worked to improve flexibility of our programs to assist producers prevented from planting.”

Of course the 19.4 million acres that were not planted are only part of the story.

Most farmers were able to get seeds in the ground despite the challenging conditions, but in much of the country the crops are not in good shape.

In fact, according to the latest crop progress report only 57 percent of the corn is considered to be in “good” or “excellent” shape.

Unfortunately, the nation’s soybean crop is in even worse shape.  At this point, only 54 percent of the soybeans are in “good” or “excellent” shape.

In addition, only 8 percent of the U.S. spring wheat crop has been harvested so far.  That is “sharply below the 30% five-year average”.

So what does all of this mean?

Well, it means that we have a real crisis on our hands.  A lot less crops are being grown, and a substantial percentage of the crops that are being grown are not in good shape.  Yields are going to be way down across the board, and that means that U.S. agricultural production is going to be way, way below initial expectations.

In other words, we are going to grow a lot less food than usual.

One bad year is not going to be the end of the world, but what if things don’t bounce back next year?  As I keep telling my readers, our planet is becoming increasingly unstable in a whole bunch of different ways, and global weather patterns have been shifting dramatically.  Many experts are issuing very ominous warnings about what is ahead as weather patterns continue to shift, and some believe that what we have witnessed so far is just the very beginning of this crisis.

Almost every day, there are new headlines about extreme weather and records being broken.  For example, one community in Colorado just got pummeled by hail the size of softballs

Monster hail fell from the sky and hammered areas of the central United States on Tuesday, shattering a state record. Earlier on Tuesday before the storms developed, AccuWeather Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer warned that Colorado’s state hail record could be in jeopardy given the intensity of the storms that he saw developing.

His prediction came to fruition on Tuesday afternoon when a hailstone with a maximum diameter of 4.83″ fell in Bethune, Colorado, on Tuesday afternoon. The record was confirmed on Wednesday evening by the Colorado Climate Center and the National Weather Service office in Goodland, Kansas.

For some of my readers, this freakish incident is going to set off major alarm bells.

We are regularly seeing things happen that we have never seen before.  In other words, the seemingly impossible is happening so frequently that it has become mundane.

Despite all of our advanced technology, we are still completely and utterly dependent on the weather.  If the weather does not cooperate, farmers cannot grow our food, and we will not eat.

Hopefully harvest season will go smoothly, but even if that happens, food supplies will be a lot tighter in the months ahead and that means that prices will continue to rise steadily.

This is a crisis that is going to affect all of us.  I wish that I could get everyone to understand this, but unfortunately there are still a lot of people out there that are not taking this seriously.


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Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News.

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The Southern Transitional Council’s liberation of the former South Yemeni capital of Aden from the Saudi-backed Islah Islamists has restored the independence of the Old Cold War-era country.

STC vs. Islah

It was bound to happen sooner than later, but the Southern Transitional Council (STC) once again liberated the former South Yemeni capital of Aden from the Saudi-backed Islah Islamists and Hadi’s forces for the second time since January 2018, though this time they’re not willing to return to the status quo ante bellum but are  bargaining hard for the coalition’s recognition of their functional independence. The group’s UK-based spokesman Saleh Alnoud told Reuters that “giving up control of Aden is not on the table at the moment” and that it “would be a very good start if Islah was removed from the whole of the south and allow southerners to govern themselves.” The UAE-backed STC blame the Saudi-backed Islah Islamists for complicity in the Ansar Allah’s recent missile strike in Aden that further fractured the already divided coalition and provoked the separatists to forcefully evict their “frenemies” from the seaside city.

Secularism vs. Islamism

It should be noted that the STC is a secular organization that has an entirely different worldview than Islah, which explains the never-ending tension between them since the GCC-organized coalition unnaturally brought these ideologically contradictory groups together in the shared short-term interest of stopping the Ansar Allah’s rapid advance southward and pushing them as far back north as possible. The war has since crawled to a stalemate and become the world’s worst humanitarian crisis as the majority of the country’s population risks starvation and disease in the mostly blockaded northern part of the state under the control of the Ansar Allah, which explains why these “uneasy allies” began scheming and ultimately turning their guns on one another. The UAE’s large-scale military drawdown last month created fears of a power vacuum that in turn triggered a security dilemma between the STC and Islah, after which the latter allegedly conspired with the Ansar Allah during this month’s missile strike in Aden and thus caused the STC to react as they did out of self-defense.

Iranian Intrigue

Being once again in control of Aden but with the STC this time unwilling to cede power except potentially to the allied Security Belt Forces (SBF) or Aden Police (according to Alnoud in the previously cited interview), the tipping point might have finally been passed whereby the coalition is forced by necessity to recognize South Yemen’s functional independence if it hopes to continue the war. The UAE has already begun its “face-saving” withdrawal from the conflict, but Saudi Arabia is left in a situation that’s increasingly gone from bad to worse seemingly without any real exit strategy in mind, so it might at the very least seriously consider the STC’s suggestion that Islah be removed from all of South Yemen. The STC doesn’t just oppose Islah’s worldview, but is extremely suspicious of their connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, which some observers believe that it’s actually an offshoot of. Furthermore, it should be pointed out that Iran interestingly was opposed to the US’ designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization despite many of its affiliates fighting against the Islamic Republic’s forces in Syria over nearly the past decade of that proxy conflict.

Time To Act

With the Ansar Allah being politically supported by Iran and Islah being suspected of indirect connections to it, the STC might have felt like a conspiracy was brewing that could end its separatist plans one way or another in the future, hence the pressing need to remove this threat from the territory of their formerly independent state as soon as possible before the situation got out of control. Coalition leader Saudi Arabia evidently doesn’t see things that way since it’s sponsoring the Islah Islamists, but those two parties might one day split from one another if either of them comes to think that the strategic utility of their partnership has eventually expired, which wouldn’t be all too surprising in a dirty war that’s already seen so many dramatic twists and turns since it first began. Sensing that its narrow window of opportunity might soon be shut, the STC made their move after being backstabbed by Islah, though they’re thus far resisting the pressure of so-called “hardliners” within their ranks to immediately declare independence in order to proverbially “go by the book” and try to get as much international support as possible first.

The Six Steps Towards Independence

In practical terms, this means being recognized by the UN as a legitimate party to the conflict and thus being assured a role in the ongoing negotiations to end it, after which they can then proceed according to the phased plan that the author suggested in his December 2017 policy proposal about how “South Yemen Will Regain Independence If It Follows These Six Steps“, beginning with an unofficial independence referendum and ending with becoming a crucial node along the New Silk Road. A “federal” transitional period of an undetermined length might be required beforehand, however, whereby the formerly independent countries of North and South Yemen consolidate their state institutions with assistance from the international community as they prepare for the formal restoration of their former sovereignty. The main problem, however, is that the Ansar Allah — despite previously favoring a “federal” solution as recently as last December — might not go along with it since they were advised by the Ayatollah earlier this week to “strongly resist” what he called the “plot” to divide Yemen and should instead endorse “a unified, coherent Yemen with sovereign integrity”.

Concluding Thoughts

Saudi Arabia, the Ansar Allah, and Iran all share one goal in common and that’s to prevent the restoration of South Yemen’s statehood, but none of them are in a position to stop the seemingly inevitable and can only realistically slow it down if anything after all that just recently transpired. If all armed parties and their supporters abroad (both military and political) truly want to end the war, then the only pragmatic solution available is to recognize the STC as a legitimate party to the conflict and begin the process of “federalizing” the country into its two former constituent parts prior to officially “re-partitioning” it following referenda in each region. The strategic dynamics are such that South Yemen’s impending independence appears to be inevitable, especially if the UN incorporates them into the fledgling peace talks as an equal member. That still has yet to happen, however, and might not occur right away, so expectations should be tempered when talking about how long this entire process might take. Even so, the STC remains committed to using the interim period to consolidate its state institutions and prepare for the day when it finally declares outright independence.


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This article was originally published on OneWorld Global Think Tank.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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The UK acknowledged its first defeat by Iran when it released the Iranian super tanker “Grace 1” captured by 30 Royal Navy commandos in the first week of July in response to a US request, as the Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell revealed. In response, Iran will release the British-flagged tanker “Stena Impero”, captured by the “Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps” (IRGC) Special Forces before Saturday mid-day. This tit-for-tat response by Iran showed its determined deterrence policy towards the west:  Iran is ready to accept any consequences, including a possible war if necessary.

Moreover, Iran is prepared for another partial withdrawal from the nuclear deal three weeks from today as a counter reaction to the insufficient response of western signatory countries and their failure to effectively oppose the illegal actions of US President Donald Trump. The US unilaterally decided to revoke the deal, persuaded by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu– even though its Chief of Staff acknowledged the nuclear deal was working. The bras-de-fer between Iran and the west is transforming the Middle East into a powder keg, ready to blow-up after the next challenging decision.

What is reducing the possibilities of war in the Persian Gulf are the 2020 US presidential elections. Indeed, Trump seems no longer willing to challenge Iran directly nor does he aim to push the conflict to a dangerous level. He is avoiding putting the US in the first line of confrontation against Iran for another year until he sees bailout results in his favour (at the end of the year 2020). In the meantime, the US administration is increasing sanctions on Iran and is trying to gather naval forces to police the Persian Gulf, contributing to an increase in the tension. Israel came forward overtly, challenging its sworn enemy Iran, by offering its direct participation in the US-proposed naval mission in the Persian Gulf. Now already Israel is involved in the US plans in the Gulf. Sources knowledgeable of the dynamic in the Gulf-Iran tension have said “Israel has drones in the area, and is involved by being present in many countries around Iran, providing military and logistic support”.

The Israeli “offer” is regarded as a clear provocation to Iran. It is sending a challenging message to the “Axis of the resistance” that has been threatening to attack Israel in case of all-out war on Iran. It shows the readiness of Israel to wage war on Iran whenever the US or a US led coalition decides, quite possiblyafterthe US election next year. Israel in any war-like decision balances the benefits and the consequences. It looks like this time the Israeli leadership should explain to their citizens why a war with Iran is worth major destruction to its infrastructure and domestic casualties. Hezbollah vows to attack Israel in case of war and the head of its Parliamentary delegation said the quasi-state actor believes that a war is under preparation against Lebanon. A Middle Eastern war is certainly not to the advantage of the nearby European continent. Unfortunately itis doing very little to influence or to cool down the levels of tension Trump is creating in the Midle East.

Among European countries, only the UK has agreed to join the US in patrolling and protecting oil tankers navigating in the Gulf. The UK is shifting away from the European stand towards Iran and seems willing to take the role of a US shield to keep earning US favour, as shown by its capture of “Grace 1”. The Trump administration is showing greater wisdom than the UK by keeping its jet carrier the USS Abraham Lincoln and other warships in Bahrein, away from the Persian Gulf.

Iran is showing further determination to protect its interests by rejecting harsh US sanctions and disrupting the exports if its own oil cannot be sold on the world market. On the other hand, Europe is aware of the danger and the possibility of a military confrontation, which means only losers. The UK insistence to have the first row position against Iran by sending a third warship to the Gulf is apparently not taking into account that the IRGC considers the western ships gathering in the area as proximate targets and floating coffins in case of war. Iran has cruise missiles, anti-ship precision missiles and armed drones enough to damage and destroy any naval ship, even one hiding behind an island, Bahrein, in the Persian Gulf.

Iraq played an important role in de-escalating the tension between Iran and the UK and for the release of the two tankers “Grace 1” and “Stena Impero”. The US administration is trying to look for ways to increase its maximum pressure on Iran in the hope of bringing Iranian officials to their knees, a goal far from realization. Baghdad will not be side-lined in case of war, and Iran’s allies in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen will not stand idle. They are preparing for the worst-case scenario. The war of tankers is far from ending, it is just  beginning.


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In 2019, the now 187-member International Labour Organization celebrated its 100th anniversary. As one of the oldest agencies of the United Nations, the ILO used the occasion to renew calls for improved opportunities and working conditions, social protections and collective bargaining rights. The ILO’s Global Commission on the Future of Work (2019, 2) proposed a “human-centred agenda for the future of work that strengthens the social contract by placing people and the work they do at the centre of economic and social policy and business practice.”

Because the world of work begins at home, this included calls for new investments that more evenly distribute unpaid care work, from parental leave to public care services, thereby genuinely increasing opportunities in the workplace; universal entitlements to lifelong learning via active labour market policies that provide opportunities for re/upskilling; proactive universal social protections that support people’s needs over the life cycle; new investments in the institutions of work, from regulations and employment contracts to collective bargaining and labour inspection systems; expanded “time sovereignty,” that is, the right to disconnect from work and greater autonomy over working time; and harnessing technology – artificial intelligence, automation and robotics – in a manner that prioritizes human well-being, regulates data use and algorithmic accountability in the world of work.

Universal Labour Guarantee

The Commission (2019, 3) also called for establishing a Universal Labour Guarantee:

“All workers, regardless of their contractual arrangement or employment status, should enjoy fundamental workers’ rights, an ‘adequate living wage’ (ILO Constitution, 1919), maximum limits on working hours and protection of safety and health at work.”

They stress urgent action is needed to develop national strategies on the future of work and transformative investments that meet the challenges of climate change.

There is a vast gap between this call for living wages and fundamental rights, and the reality most workers face in the workplace. For decades, employers have been attempting to increase profit margins by re-organizing work. This includes subcontracting, offshoring, converting full-time jobs to part-time and temporary, and reclassifying direct employees as independent contractors. This is what economist David Weil (2014) calls the “fissured workplace.” They have introduced new technologies to cut jobs and adopted “just-in-time” scheduling practices to more precisely adjust work hours. In some fields, like healthcare, workers are forced to work long hours and double-shifts. In others, such as retail, employees often do not have enough hours of work and may even have to compete with other employees to get assigned shifts (Clawson and Gerstel 2014, Lambert, Haley-Lock, and Henly 2012).

Employers have been able to pursue some of these strategies due to neoliberal reforms which deregulate industries and labour laws. Indeed, ‘labour flexibility’ is a key plank of a neoliberal platform. Employers and policymakers have worked hand-in-hand to rewrite laws and regulations; the result is greater rights for employers and investors, and fewer rights for workers (Luce 2014). Finally, employers and their associations have in many countries actively worked to weaken labour unions. The ‘union-avoidance’ industry began to flourish in the United States in the 1970s and eventually grew into a multi-billion dollar international industry (Logan 2006). The result has been declining union density in most industrialized countries.

A recent ILO Brief (Xhafa 2018) finds that Canada failed to crack the top twenty countries when it comes to the rate of collective bargaining coverage as a proportion of total employment. At 27 per cent, Canada finds itself in a category of medium-to-low levels of collective bargaining coverage with Japan, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Collective agreements extend the rule of law to the workplace (Doorey 2017). They afford workers certain rights and place limits on the arbitrary power of employers, like grievance-arbitration mechanisms that give workers rights like due process and fair treatment, not available to other workers except via the courts. And because unions raise wage and benefit floors these gains are undoubtedly one of the main reasons why unions have historically been opposed, and continue to be opposed, by employers and governments. Unions also create a presence in local labour markets or sectors – “spillover effects” – that can create pressure to raise wages in surrounding non-unionized workplaces. This often compels employers to adjust wages to remain competitive in labour markets, often to stave-off unionization efforts.

Aside from the socio-economic advantages to being unionized – higher wages, pensions and benefits, job security, training, transparency and due process – organized labour has a long history of shaping social policy in the interests of working class communities and strengthening the social wage – public services or benefits that people receive in supplement of their wages earned from work and paid for by redistributing wealth through the tax system (Himelfarb and Himelfarb 2013). Compensation in unionized workplaces tends to be more equitable overall, with relatively higher wages for lower paid workers and less of a wage gap for women, younger workers and racialized groups. Unionized workers are also more likely to be full-time, permanent and to work longer for their employers. Finally, unionized environments tend to be safer, with lower rates of critical injuries, mobility impairments, lost-time due to injury claims and broader support services.

Unions are also able to exert political pressure outside the workplace, such as raising a series of demands for pay equity and equal pay for work of equal value, the undervaluation and occupational segregation of women and other groups, struggles for changes to human rights legislation, and same-sex spousal benefits. As Susan Hayter and Jelle Visser (2018: 4) have argued:

“It was considered desirable that the norms and rules negotiated between organized employers and the union(s) be made generally applicable.”

In neoliberalism’s wake, that is no longer the case, if it ever was.

In Canada, there has been major structural shifts to the composition of union membership by sex, age and industry over the last three decades. Since the 1980s, the proportion of unionized members in the public sector has eclipsed private sector trade union density. Whereas public sector union density has stayed relatively consistent from the mid-1980s to early-2000s, hovering around 72 per cent, total Canadian private sector density fell from 26 per cent to just over 18 per cent. Since 2011 private sector union density has fallen to around 16 per cent, while public sector density remained generally stable (Statistics Canada 2019). In other words, while public sector unionization rates have remained fairly consistent over the past thirty years – buoying total union density (around 30 per cent) – private sector unionization has been nearly halved.

In the United States, the patterns are similar. Today, 14.7 million workers belong to unions. Union density peaked in 1955 at 35 per cent and has been on the decline since, though that hides certain interesting patterns. Public sector density was at 33.9 per cent in 2018, compared to just 6.9 per cent in the private sector. And like Canada, public sector members outnumber that of the private sector. National density figures mask tremendous variation between states. In fact, over half of all union members live in just seven states: California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington (US Department of Labor 2019).

Role of Organized Workers

Union density figures may reveal the extent of potential union organization, but it is also illustrative of the ways in which organized workers have been able to effectively reduce inequality, improve working conditions and widen income distribution through wider bargaining coverage and coordination. Advancements for workers via collective bargaining are illustrative of capitalist class concessions fought for and won over the course of intergenerational class struggles, not privileges bestowed by employers or the benevolence of the state. The growing spread of low-waged work has occurred in tandem with stagnant union growth, aggressive anti-labour legislation and drastic expenditure reductions in general government spending and public services – that is to say, austerity without end (Evans and Fanelli 2018; Albo and Fanelli, 2014;).

As Kris Warner (2013: 111) has argued:

“While the loss of heavily unionized manufacturing jobs has been a contributing factor in the declining private-sector unionization rate in [the US and Canada], it would be a mistake to place too much emphasis on this in and of itself because it cannot explain the inability of workers to realize their desires for unionizing the new jobs they have moved into. Instead, in both countries, the increased ability of employers to effectively oppose unionization offers a more compelling explanation. In the United States this has been a long-standing issue, while in Canada it is a relatively newer phenomenon, related in large part to a change in the way unions can be formed.”

Though variegated in form and function, the state has often been the chief architect of neoliberalism’s anti-labour reforms: at times imposing austerity from above or leading the charge from below, and at other times created the conditions for capital to lead in an assault against working class institutions. The results have been a continued decline in real wages and the erosion of the total labour share of wages. In contrast to the postwar class compromise, the ability of organized labour to help secure increases in social spending, impart political pressure for more progressive taxation and improved equality for all workers is at an impasse. Should the trendline continue, this could have significant implications for labour in an era of authoritarian neoliberalism and amid the resurgence of radical right-wing populists (Thomas and Tufts, 2016; Greenhouse 2019; Albo et al., 2019).

The mutual relationship between higher rates of unionization and increased democratic participation has received consistent empirical support (Sojourner 2013). As Alex Bryson and colleagues (2014) have recently argued, union members have historically been more likely to participate in general elections than non-members, cultivating a broader civic culture and participation in democratic politics. Union members are also more likely to vote and engage in a range of pro-social civic behaviours, including the signing of petitions, attending public meetings and/or volunteering for political parties. Consistent with previous research, Bryson et al., have noted that the wider decline in civic engagement is also coincident with the decline of trade union density and larger collective disengagement from formal political participation. In other words, democratic governance at work in the form of higher rates of unionization tends to contribute to a life-long attachment to democratic politics outside of it. With union density stagnant or shrinking across much of North America and Europe, the democratic implications of rising low-waged work and political polarization has emerged as a significant political concern.

While challenging the ‘common sense’ of neoliberalism is important and necessary, so too is confronting the wider capitalist context that leaves workers dependent on the imperatives of capital. In this regard, unions are paradoxical institutions, simultaneously advancing workers’ interests but rarely challenging the prevailing power relations at work (Fanelli and Noonan, 2017). As James Rinehart (2006, 203-4) has noted, while unions might nibble away at the margins of power, they do not alter the subordination of labour that lies at the root of capitalist class power. Of course, unions remain one of the few mechanisms through which workers can affect change inside and outside of their workplaces. But if trade unions are to deepen and extend their political influence and organizational capacities, it is incumbent on a wider revitalization of working-class politics, like movements for living wages embody (Evans et al., n.d.; Luce 2017).

The welfare states of the postwar era were only possible because millions of people demanded change. If labour is going to break from its political paralysis it is dependent upon a wider renewal of a politics left of social democracy – a spent force increasingly an impediment to, rather than an instrument of, progressive politics – and rooted in an intersectional class politics that prioritizes building new institutions, engaging in direct action, running for office, organizing in our workplaces and communities. In other words, a politics that confronts both the authoritarian/anti-democratic politics of the right and transcends the debilitating “post-politics” of radical centrism (Mouffe 1998). Liberal democratic capitalism is losing legitimacy. But what comes next may be a form of right-wing populism, supported by nationalist politicians and movements looking to close borders and blame immigrants and trade for economic insecurity. Will unions look to protectionism or internationalism? Will working class movements be able to unite across borders to radically shift the balance of class power relations?


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Carlo Fanelli is Assistant Professor of Work and Labour Studies at York University. He is the co-editor (with Mark Thomas, Leah Vosko and Olena Lyubchencko) of Change and Continuity: Canadian Political Economy in the New Millennium, and (with Bryan Evans) The Public Sector in an Age of Austerity: Perspectives from Canada’s Provinces and Territories. He is the editor of Alternate Routes: A Journal of Critical Social Research and maintains a blog at

Stephanie Luce is Professor of Labor Studies at the School of Labor and Urban Studies, and Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is the author of Fighting for a Living Wage, and Labor Movements: Global Perspectives.


Albo, G. and C. Fanelli (2014). Austerity Against Democracy: An Authoritarian Phase of Neoliberalism?Teoria Politica: An International Journal of Theory and Politics, 2014, 65-88.

Bryson, A., R. Gomez, T. Kretschmer and P. Willman (2014). What Accounts for the Union Member Advantage in Voter Turnout? Evidence from the European Union, 2002-2008. Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, 69(4), 732-765.

Clawson, D. and N. Gerstel (2014). Unequal Time: Gender, Class, and Family in Employment Schedules. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Doorey, D. (2017). The Law of Work. Toronto: Elgar Publishing.

Evans, B. and C. Fanelli, eds. The Public Sector in an Age of Austerity: Perspectives from Canada’s Provinces and Territories. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Evans, B., C. Fanelli and T. McDowell, eds., (forthcoming). Living Wage Movements in Canada: Comparative Perspectives on Resistance and Alternatives to Low-Waged Work. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

Fanelli, C. and J. Noonan (2017). Capital and Labour. In Schmidt, I. and C. Fanelli, eds. Reading Capital Today: Marx After 150 Years. London: Pluto Press.

Greenhouse, S. (2019). Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Hayter, S. and J. Visser, eds. (2018). Collective Agreements: Extending Labour Protection. Geneva: ILO.

Himelfarb, A. and J. Himelfarb, eds. (2013). Tax is Not a Four Letter Word: A Different Take on Taxes in Canada. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier Press.

International Labour Organization (2019). Global Commission on the Future of Work.

Lambert, S, A. Haley-Lock, and J. R. Henly (2012). Labour Flexibility and Precarious Employment in Hourly Retail Jobs in the U.S: How Frontline Managers Matter. In C. Warhurst et al., eds., Are Bad Jobs Inevitable? Trends, Determinants and Responses to Job Quality in the Twenty-First Century. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Luce, S. (2014). Labor Movements: Global Perspectives. Wiley.

Luce, S. (2017). “Raising Wages.” Alternate Routes: A Journal of Critical Social Research, 27, 12-20.

Mouffe, C. (1998). The Radical Centre: A Politics Without Adversary. Soundings, 9, 11-23.

Rinehart, J. (2006). The Tyranny of Work: Alienation and the Labour Process. Toronto: Nelson.

Sojourner, A. (2013). Do Unions Promote Electoral Office-Holding? Evidence from Correlates of State Legislatures’ Occupational Shares. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 66(2), 467-486.

Statistics Canada (2019). Table 14-10-0132-01, Union status by industry.

Thomas, M.P. and S. Tufts (2016). Austerity, Right Populism, and the Crisis of Labour in Canada. Antipode, 48(1), 212-230.

US Department of Labor (2019). Union Members Summary.

Warner, K. (2013). “The Decline of Unionization in the United States: Some Lessons from Canada.” Labor Studies Journal, 38(2) 110–138.

Weil, D. (2017). The Fissured Workplace: Why Work Became So Bad for So Many and What Can Be Done to Improve It. Boston: Harvard University Press.

Xhafa, E. (2018). ILO Brief No. 3 – Collective bargaining and non-standard forms of employment: Practices that reduce vulnerability and ensure work is decent. Geneva: ILO.

A new study published by McKinsey & Co on Tuesday found that one of the contributing factors to the U.S. racial wealth gap is the lack of banks in predominantly African American communities. Lack of access to mainstream financial services makes it difficult for African American’s to accumulate savings. 

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities the wealth gap is wider than the income gap but because incomes are easier to tax the income gap gets more traction in political discussions.

Let’s first differentiate between the terms income gap and wealth gap. Income gap refers to the gap in earnings between two groups such as the rich and the poor. The wealth gap however is about assets and net worth rather than just income. There’s also the racial income gap and the gender income gap but the bottom line is that the income gap has grown in the United States since the 1970’s.

The Mckinsey study mentioned above also states that expensive financial services such as check cashing counters are more prevalent in the absence of banks in minority neighborhoods. The report found that increasing access to basic banking services like checking and savings accounts could save black Americans up to $40,000 over their lifetime.

Jason Wright the co-author of the Mckinsey study told Newsweek,

“”The key thing to remember is there is a knock-on effect as spending power leads to greater demand and new development, which creates a virtuous cycle. In this way, closing the wealth gap for Black Americans, positively impacts the wider U.S. economy too,”. He added “The $1.5 trillion investment represents the increased economic activity that we estimate will be manifested in housing, capital market investment and consumption.”

The topic of institutionalized racism, which is a form of racism structured into political and social institutions, comes up often in these discussions. Some claim that the growing racial wealth gap is strongly influenced by discrimination in institutions against minorities whether deliberate or unintentional and that in turn, limits the rights of minorities.

Others cite events such as the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950’s and 60’s, and laws such as the 14th Amendment, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and Equal Credit Opportunities Act of 1974 along with legal cases such as Brown v. Board of Education as proof that racial inequality and institutional racism no longer exists in America.

In a 2017 article written by Nicki Lisa Cole, Ph.D., titled The Racial Wealth Gap, Cole stated

“Today’s racial wealth gap can be traced all the way back to the enslavement of Africans and their descendants; the genocide of Native Americans and theft of their land and resources; and the enslavement of Indigenous Central and South Americans, and theft of their land and resources throughout the colonial and post-colonial periods. It was and is fueled by workplace discrimination and racial pay gaps and unequal access to education, among many other factors. So, throughout history, white people in the U.S. have been unjustly enriched by systemic racism while people of color have been unjustly impoverished by it. This unequal and unjust pattern continues today, and per the data, seems only destined to worsen unless race-consciousness policies intervene to make change.”

I reached out to Margaret Kimberley, Editor and Senior Columnist, Black Agenda Report for a comment and she stated

“Lack of financial services is just one indicator of racism and of the neo-liberal effort to make life as insecure as possible for as many people as possible. In fact, the ultimate goal is to displace black communities. There is no need for banks if black people are dispersed from the cities altogether.”

Under the cover of anonymity, S.H. a banker in New Jersey shared an entirely different perspective. S.H. stated,

“It’s not true that African American communities have less access to mainstream banks. One of the large banking establishments that I worked for had a few offices in primarily black communities. I served in two of their locations and saw firsthand that the main issues were financial habits that were influenced by education and culture. I never witnessed institutional racism or racial discrimination from bank management towards clients. I had African American clients with diverse socioeconomic status, and I noticed that the ones below the poverty line often didn’t want a paper trail, they would cash their social security or disability checks and take the money home rather than keep it in a checking or savings account.” S.H. re-emphasized, “Accessibility to banks is not a big driving factor for the racial wealth gap, other factors play a bigger role, but Democrats like to use this talking point to further their political agendas.”

Catherine Ruetschlin, senior policy analyst for Demos and co-author of a report titled The Racial Wage Gap Why Policy Matters has stated that

“increasing inequality is a source of increasing volatility, and wealth inequality means, when the economy hits a volatile patch, people don’t have the resources to withstand those shocks.” “That, in turn, makes the economy more volatile”, she added.

As the popular saying goes “when white folks catch a cold, black folks get pneumonia” in other words, when times are tough, the people with the lowest financial reserves suffer the most. Most Americans would agree that a racial wealth gap does exist, however, there’s some disagreement surrounding the main contributing factors and what can be done to decrease the disparity. Expect to hear more and more about this topic from politicians as we get closer to the next presidential election.


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This article was originally published on InfoBrics.

Sarah Abed is an independent journalist and political commentator. For media inquiries please email [email protected]

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A bipartisan US bill currently being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee puts at stake the ability of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to engage diplomatic and legal channels to support Palestinian national aspirations and to seek accountability through international mechanisms, as well as the future of the US-Palestinian bilateral relationship. 

The Promoting Security and Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act of 2019, Senate Bill 2132, revises the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) so that the PLO and the Palestinian Authority (PA) may be made to pay over $655 million in damage claims to American victims of political violence in Israel that had previously been dismissed by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in 2016. The bill goes well beyond an attempt to obtain compensation for victims’ families. If the bill is successful, the US would revert to treating the PLO as a mere terrorist organization without national representative character.

What is ATCA and Why Did it Need to be “Fixed”?

ATCA, which became law in October 2018, enables American citizens to sue foreign entities for acts of terrorism occurring before the effective date of the Act if those entities accept US assistance. ATCA was a response to the failed attempt by the Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center to hold the PA and PLO liable in US courts for the deaths of American citizens killed between 2002 and 2004 during the Second Intifada. A lower court had awarded over $655 million to 11 US families; however, the 2nd Circuit Court ordered the claims dismissed on the grounds that the attacks took place entirely outside US territory without evidence that Americans were specifically targeted. The Supreme Court denied Shurat HaDin’s request for review of the appellate decision.

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley fast-tracked ATCA without debate by using a process known as “hotlining.” Under normal circumstances, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee would have had time to analyze the legislation and foresee how it would force the PA to reject all US aid, including funds for Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation. Grassley’s procedural stratagem of pushing ATCA through the Judiciary Committee, at a time when members were preoccupied with the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, precluded careful consideration of the ramifications. The need to “fix” ATCA became clear to Congress when the Palestinian prime minister sent a letter to the US secretary of state refusing to accept any future US assistance.

How the ATCA “Fix” is a Game Changer 

The Promoting Security and Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act of 2019 amends ATCA by allowing the PA to accept security assistance without triggering jurisdiction for terrorism-related claims. However, it introduces new avenues for the PLO and PA to be held liable: If the PLO continues to hold state status in UN agencies and bodies or at the International Criminal Court (ICC), or if PLO or PA officials enter the US on official business or maintain offices on US territory, then the previously dismissed damage claims will become due and future claims may be heard in US courts. The operation of Palestine’s mission to the UN in New York is excepted to the extent official UN business is being carried out; no other advocacy on behalf of Palestine or Palestinians may be conducted in the US.

A more limited bill passed in the House of Representatives in July 2019 that also seeks to amend ATCA to ensure victims’ compensation for terrorism claims: The United States-Israel Cooperation Enhancement and Regional Security Act. This bill links jurisdiction to whether the PLO advances an application for membership in the UN or reopens an office on US territory. The different House and Senate amendments to ATCA will have to be reconciled.

If the Senate version of the ATCA fix becomes law, the PLO and PA will have to make a choice:

  • Maintain their status at the UN and be held liable for previously dismissed terrorism claims, or
  • Downgrade their status at the UN, forgo pursuit of war crimes claims against Israelis by withdrawing from the Rome Statute, the treaty establishing the ICC, and resume receiving US security assistance.

In the former case, the PA will bankrupt itself and the US will treat the PLO as nothing more than a terrorist organization. In the latter case, the PLO will have relinquished any pretense that it can effectively represent the rights and interests of the Palestinian people. Either case means the end of a Palestinian negotiating partner for any future peace talks.

Upholding Palestinian Rights to Representation 

While many Republicans may have just this outcome in mind, Democrats, who still claim to support the two-state solution, may not understand the implications of the ATCA fix, just as they failed to understand the impact of ATCA in the first place.

Moreover, with all the focus on the anti- and pro-boycott resolutions in the House, many Palestinians and those in the solidarity community may not fully appreciate how the international delegitimization or bankrupting of the PLO – the body still recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people – could impact their human rights advocacy in the US and globally. Whatever one’s views about the PLO or PA, no longer having an address for the national aspirations of the Palestinian people will make international and US advocacy much more difficult.

Palestinians and those interested in a just peace should alert members of Congress to the impact of the Senate bill on the future of US-Palestinian bilateral relations and the possibility of finding a diplomatic resolution to the Palestine-Israel conflict. The Palestinian quest for self-determination and accountability for victims of war crimes should not be undermined to score short-term domestic political points that will have far-reaching implications for Mideast peace.


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Al-Shabaka Policy Member Zaha Hassan is a human rights lawyer and visiting fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Her research focuses on Palestine-Israel peace, the use of international legal mechanisms by political movements, and U.S. foreign policy in the region.

Featured image is from Al-Shabaka

Statehood Questioned at Hawaii’s 60th Anniversary

August 16th, 2019 by Kioni Dudley

August 16, 2019, marks the 60th Anniversary of Statehood for Hawai’i.  It will go little noticed.   This article offers new information on illegalities and fraudulence regarding the statehood vote, and why it should not have been accepted by the United Nations. 

In 1945, the United States, as a founding member of the United Nations, accepted all U.N. Charter obligations.  As a nation with Territories, under Article 73 of the Charter, it took on, “as a sacred trust, the obligation to. . . develop self-government” for the descendants of the nations it had occupied.  The U.S. did this for some territories.  But in Hawaii, it did just the opposite.  Our people achieving “the full measure of self-governance” was never mentioned.   The statehood vote offered only movement from a U.S. Territory to a U.S. state.  Total absorption rather than required liberation. 

The ballot wording was bogus.  U.N. Resolution 742 (VIII), adopted in 1953, required that plebiscites offer “freedom of choosing between several possibilities, including independence.”  The wording of the statehood ballot question was: “Shall Hawaii immediately be admitted into the Union as a State?”  The only possible answers were “Yes” and “No.”  No option for independence was provided.  The vote did not comply with the Charter or Resolution 742.

The UN Charter expects only the citizens of the occupied nation—in our case the descendants of Hawaiian Kingdom subjects–will make decisions regarding their self-governance.   During the 61 years that Hawaii was a Territory, however, there was a huge in-migration of American settlers, as well as transient U.S. military personnel and their dependents.  The 1900 census shows 2,900 Caucasians living in the islands.  In 1959, it had ballooned to 202,230.   Any American citizen 20 years or older who had lived in Hawaii for at least a year was allowed to vote, even U.S. military.  And they did.  Thus, the wrong people voted.   

During the Territory era, the United States made tremendous efforts to inculcate belief in a virtuous America.  During those six decades, schools assiduously avoided any mention of the U.S. invasion, overthrow, and takeover of the Hawaiian Kingdom…or the skirting of the Constitution to achieve Annexation.   A valid referendum requires that voters give informed consent.  But decades of US hiding the facts made informed consent impossible.   Had statehood voters known the truth. . . .

The official report states that 94% of voters supported statehood, but the facts are quite different.   The 94% only counts the Yes and No votes cast.  When blank ballots are included, only 77% of those who voted actually voted for statehood.  But even more shocking is the fact that, in the most important election ever held in Hawai’i, only 35% of those of eligible age actually registered and turned up at the polls.  Sixty-five percent “voted with their feet” against statehood by staying home.  When the blank votes and “votes with their feet” are factored in, only 27% of eligible voters cast a ‘Yes’ vote at the polls, far below the 50% required to win.

America knew that the UN would soon pass its “Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonized Countries and Peoples.”  Great pressure would mount to liberate Hawai’i.  The statehood vote was a sham to quickly secure United Nations approval for US permanent retention of Hawaii–just twelve months and two days before the Declaration was passed.

We three authors recently wrote “A Call for Review of the Historical Facts Surrounding UNGA Resolution 1469 (xiv) of 1959 Which Recognized Attainment of Self-Government for Hawaii.”  It amplifies the facts above and is currently being disseminated at the United Nations and to the public.  Please read it and add your name in endorsement at  Also find information there about the Hawaii National Transitional Authority, and a Resolution for the State of Hawaii to recognize Hawaiian Nationals as a people living in the Hawaiian Islands with all the lawful rights of a free people.  

It’s time to show support.


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This article was originally published on Star-Advertiser.

Kioni Dudley, Ph.D., educator,  Hawaiian scholar, co-author A Call for Hawaiian Sovereignty, activist.

Leon Kaulahao Siu has served as the U.N. Hawaiian Kingdom Minister of Foreign Affairs for the past 20 years

Poka Laenui, Attorney, Chair – Native Hawaiian Convention, Spokesperson to UN (1983 to 1990), Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee (1982 – 1986)

Outdated rolling-stock, primitive or no air-conditioning, poor service, unreliable timetables and sky-high fares make Britain’s railways the bad joke of Europe.

As millions of commuters are forced to use a rail system near to collapse, it serves a stark warning of the dangers of privatising vital utility services in a bid by Conservative governments to further enrich a handful of businessmen and political funders at the expense of millions of rail travellers.

Throughout Europe, national rail systems are invariably state-owned and run.

The Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (SNCF), is the national state-owned railway company of France. Founded in 1938, it operates the country’s national rail traffic along with Monaco, including the TGV, France’s high-speed rail network. Its functions include operation of railway services for passengers and freight, and maintenance and signalling of rail infrastructure. The railway network consists of about 32,000 km (20,000 mi) of route, of which 1,800 km (1,100 mi) are high-speed lines and 14,500 km (9,000 mi) electrified. About 14,000 trains are operated daily.

Today, the SNCF operates 1,850 km (1,150 mi) of designated high-speed track that accommodate more than 800 high-speed services per day. SNCF’s TGV trains carry more than 100 million passengers a year and TGV lines and technology are now spread across several European countries.

In Germany, Deutsche Bahn AG is owned 100% by the Federal Republic of Germany. DB is the largest railway operator and infrastructure owner in Europe. It carries about two billion passengers each year and employs over 300,000 people.

The DB group is divided into a large number of companies, including DB Fernverkehr (long-distance passenger), DB Regio (local passenger services) and DB Cargo (rail freight). The Group subsidiary DB Netz also operates large parts of the German railway infrastructure and thus the largest rail network in Europe.

Only in the United Kingdom, are millions of commuters forced to pay inflated fares for a rail service stuck in the 1950s with dilapidated trains managed by grossly inefficient private operators.  It is a national disgrace that is now under the control of an inappropriate Transport Minister, a former web and print marketeer with no knowledge whatsoever of transport systems who was obliged to stand down from a previous ministerial position due to allegations of bullying.

The future for rail travellers in Britain looks bleak indeed until this government is replaced and Britain’s railways are brought back into 100% public ownership, modernised, financed and run efficiently by professionals, as elsewhere throughout Europe.

The reality is that many rail investors have become richer as rail transport services in Britain have become measurably more and more inefficient. And that is completely unacceptable in the world’s fifth largest economy with a population of 67 million.


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Hans Stehling (pen name) is an analyst based in the UK. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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I thought I knew what it meant, but I looked up the definition of insanity anyway:  mentally deranged, not of sound mind; irrational [Concise Oxford Dictionary].  That is a rather broad spectrum and on more reflection includes not only Trump and his minions, but everyone else of us at least one time or another – including myself.


How often in an argument do you hear the rhetorical question,”Are you insane?”, referring to any number of topics within human endeavors.  If “irrational” is the means by which most of us are to be judged sane or insane, then yes, we are insane due to irrational behaviour probably on a daily basis.

The reasoning is complicated by our own self definition as being homo sapiens (“wise man”), an anthropomorphic self aggrandizing, ego centered definition.  Going deeper into complications, our genetic heritage often times rewards actions that to a ‘civilized’ and ‘cultured’ homo sapien is intellectually offensive but carries great genetic weight.  Gene survival does not care much about philosophies of this or that, the gene is selfish and simply wants to be reproduced.

Given our ability to “rationalize” our own positions on different actions and ideas, anything else can be considered irrational while our own ideas assume (presume) the proper explanation, the supposedly logical explanation, as rational.  But we are fully capable of ignoring ideas – indeed reality – in order to allow our internal rationalizations to fit into  – mostly –  whatever our current lifestyle values are.

Examples species wide

A lot of what homo sapiens do is irrational but is so much ingrained into our upbringing, our culture that it is almost not evident to many, it is just normal, and that normal is used to then define or place parameters around what is irrational or rational, sane or insane.  Our daily lives are filled with ‘normal’,  but strictly speaking, irrational actions.

Living in debt is one example.  Yes, in our society debt is normal and is indeed promoted and we all use credit cards or carry loans of one kind or another.  The result is to make the rich richer and the rest of us paying their bills (in basic terms).  But as a society as a whole we (the western world specifically, but also including China as our main economic Asian partner) are many trillions of dollars in debt – with possible quadrillions according to some – in strange derivative financialized devices that simply breed more money and power to the banksters and money changers.

On a more personal level, U.S. student debt is somewhere around 1.2 trillion dollars, about the same as the known military budget, itself the largest by far in the world.  Auto debt matches that while overall personal debt (these loans plus credit cards plus mortgages) comes in over 13 trillion (2017, Investopedia).  On top of this again is government debt of over 22 trillion which can only be paid off with hyperinflation or destroyed in a major recession/depression.

Violence – rational or irrational

Homo sapiens have always used violence in order to maintain the species, it is pretty much a built in biological imperative.  However, if we are supposedly truly sapient, and our rational brains are truly rational and not used just for ‘rationalizing’ a preset disposition or belief, then certainly we should be able to overcome these tendencies.  Given also that we are overpopulating the planet and overconsuming it the biological imperative for more of us, for more people, more growth, lessens considerably – we need to recognize our limits and realize that our own biology is working against us.

Perhaps that would not be so bad if we were not so technologically capable (again by our own definition) having created an array of weapons that enable mass killings from what we have recently witnessed in the U.S. – or done by the U.S. elsewhere – to the potential of simply eliminating the whole species and most of the rest of the living world as a result of a nuclear war.

Rational?  Some in the U.S. believe so – Trump seems to think starting a nuclear war is okay; his infamous sidekick Bolton is all for nuking other countries that do not fall into line with U.S. policy demands, Iran in particular; Pompeo and his born again evangelical peers would be quite happy to have a nuclear war as a sign of the end times and his personal rapture, his ‘twinkling’, to be in heaven.    By their definitions, much of this is rational.  For the rest of humanity, it is simply a death sentence.

While we have for the last 70 years existed on the edge of this abyss, humans have continued in many different ways to destroy both themselves and the only environment we have that is capable of supporting them.

Societal psychosis

The U.S. is a country born of violence, racial hatred, mysogeny, slavery, bigotry, greed, and corruption.  It has a rather savage history covered over with many rationalizations, self serving platitudes, and a media system that inculcates the idea of an indispensable nation beholden to none, better than all, and necessary for global ‘peace’.  It is evident that peace in those terms is a concept which when examined logically reduces down to a large military force,  large subversive service forces, and a global financial/corporate setup – the “Washington consensus” – that allows no deviance from supporting the U.S. petrodollar.

In a reality check, the U.S. essentially suffers from a mass psychosis.

It worships its military,  its warriors – although not enough to keep the veterans healthy and alive.  The military personnel are honoured at football games, in schools, on American Idol and the Voice.  It venerates the idea of “rugged individualism” as exemplified in the writings of Ayn Rand, many Hollywood movies, and many political and business figures.  But the rugged individual rides on the backs of others without caring about others and their fortunes or misfortunes.  The veneration is a lie.

Mass murders are commonplace, creating a momentary weeping and wailing and moaning and gnashing of teeth before it becomes business as usual in a week or two as the media moves on to more current newsworthy events.  But the psychosis, the paranoia, the fear runs deep and continues on.  When a motorcycle backfires in New York’s Times Square, people run in fearful panic.  A shelf falls over in a department store and the customers panic thinking they heard gunshots.  School backpacks with bullet protection are selling for school kids (but don’t look up “bulletproof” on Amazon, all you will get is product line of supposed health products as the other pages have been removed).

Life is lived as a consumer.  It is lived as an automobile.  It is lived in vapid entertainments and diversions supporting ignorance of others and the environment.  Life is lived for the short term, for the daily, weekly or quarterly gain, while the months and years after will somehow take care of themselves.

From its history, from its cultural development, U.S. society – and indeed much of western society – is based on violence of one form or another.  It is no surprise as economic and environmental conditions worsen, as the military is spread globally to use its violence on other peoples of the world, that violence will become the norm domestically.

Voices in the wilderness

Donald Trump is the real life personification of all the irrational violence of U.S. and western culture.  He exposes in his crudeness, megalomania, and outright narcissism the ugly truth about U.S. power both domestically and internationally.  Others have worked with it, softened its image, but none have ever simply left it all open for display as Trump is doing.

In a sense, our society is still very much a wilderness, even wilder and more deadly in some respects than when our ancestors had to survive in a more natural environment without all our modern technology.  There is both hope and despair in this wilderness.

The despair is obvious, but there are many doing their best to counter the hatred and violence even while immersed in the range of what is ‘normal’ for this society.  Very few of them have much if any real power, unless they can convince masses of people to some form of revolutionary action to change the way society works. Up against state violence, state tolerated violence, violent representations of national and international norms, up against the ignorance built into the system, up against a rising reactionary right wing fascism, the challenge for change is very large.

One way or another change will come.  I give my strongest regard to those challenging the system, those in the front lines against the system, people like Julian Assange, Chris Hedges, Chelsea Manning, John Pilger, Pepe Escobar, Andre Vltchek, Max Blumenthal, Ramzy Baroud, Ilan Pappe, Yves Engler, Abby Martin, Robert Fisk  and many many others who work consistently towards the goal of removing the layers of ignorance imposed by corporations, governments, and mainstream media.  More power to their writings and actions, hoping that society will wake up to its ills before it succumbs to them.


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Jim Miles is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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Supported by both hawkish wings of its war party, the US is waging hot wars, cold wars, economic wars, financial wars, trade wars, anti-social justice wars, anti-human rights wars, anti-democracy wars, propaganda wars, sanctions wars, tariffs wars, protest wars, homeland wars, and environmental wars on multiple fronts worldwide — ordinary people everywhere the losers.

During decades of Cold War years, the US got along with Soviet Russia, even if uneasily at times. Nixon went to China. Relations today with both countries and many others are more dismal and dangerous than any previous time in the post-WW II period.

New wars could erupt without warning. The threat of possible nuclear war is ominously real by accident or design.

The land of opportunity I remember as a youth is now consumed by its hubris, arrogance, rage to colonize planet earth, control its resources and exploit it people.

New Deal, Fair Deal, Great Society years I grew up in were replaced by neoliberal harshness, endless wars on humanity at home and abroad, a growing wealth disparity exceeding the robber baron years, along with mass unemployment and underemployment, growing homelessness, hunger, and poverty, as well as a ruling class dismissive of the public welfare.

Current US leadership is militantly hawkish and anti-populist, led by a racist geopolitical/economic know-nothing/reality TV president.

Dark forces run things, headquartered on Wall Street and in corporate boardrooms, the rule of law replaced by police state governance, a free and open society by mass surveillance and growing totalitarianism.

Challenging authority disruptively with collective activism when vitally needed is absent.

The US reached peak power, prominence, influence, and leadership on the world stage following WW II, the only major nation left unscathed by its ravages.

Its preemptive war of aggression on nonbelligerent North Korea, a nation threatening no one, started its downward trajectory.

Today it’s a nation in decline while China, Russia and other countries are rising. It spends countless trillions of dollars for militarism and warmaking against invented enemies. No real ones exist.

Its preeminence as a military super-power was overtaken by Russia, China heading toward becoming the world’s leading economic power one day, multi-world polarity replacing unipolarity the US favors to dominate other nations.

Its rage for maintaining a global empire of bases as platforms for endless wars of aggression came at the expense of eroding social justice on the chopping block for elimination altogether.

The myth of American exceptionalism, the indispensable state, an illusory moral superiority, and military supremacy persist despite hard evidence debunking these notions.

Democracy in America is fiction, not fact, a system of governance its ruling class abhors, tolerating it nowhere, nations like Venezuela targeted to replace it with fascist rule.

The US is plagued by the same dynamic that doomed all other empires in history.

It’s an increasingly repressive/secretive/intrusive warrior state, spreading death, destruction and human misery worldwide.

It exploits ordinary people to serve privileged interests — a pariah state/declining power because of its unwillingness to change.

Its war machine never rests. Its criminal class is bipartisan. Its governance meets the definition of fascism — wrapped in the American flag.

It’s a corporate/political partnership over the rights and welfare of ordinary people, exploiting them for power and profits — at home and abroad.

It’s way too late for scattered reforms. The American way is too debauched to fix.

Nothing short of revolutionary change can work. Yet there’s not a hint of it in prospect because of a know-nothing populace distracted and controlled by bread, circuses, and the power of state-approved/media disseminated propaganda.

A decade ago, the late Doug Dowd said “(t)he world now stands on a cliff’s edge.”

He envisioned “four related groups of horrors: existing and likely wars, a fragile world economy, pervasive and deepening corruption, and the earth dangerously near the ‘tipping point’ of environmental disaster.”

It’s not a pretty picture, things worse now than years earlier.

A permanent state of war exists with no prospect for peace in our time — while freedom in the US and West erode toward disappearing altogether the way things are heading.


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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at

Sanctions are economic warfare, pure and simple. As an alternative to a direct military attack on a country that is deemed to be misbehaving they are certainly preferable, but no one should be under any illusions regarding what they actually represent. They are war by other means and they are also illegal unless authorized by a supra-national authority like the United Nations Security Council, which was set up after World War II to create a framework that inter alia would enable putting pressure on a rogue regime without going to war. At least that was the idea, but the sanctions regimes recently put in place unilaterally and without any international authority by the United States have had a remarkable tendency to escalate several conflicts rather than providing the type of pressure that would lead to some kind of agreement.

The most dangerous bit of theater involving sanctions initiated by the Trump administration continues to focus on Iran. Last week, the White House elevated its extreme pressure on the Iranians by engaging in a completely irrational sanctioning of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The sanctions will have no effect whatsoever and they completely contradict Donald Trump’s repeated assertion that he is seeking diplomacy to resolving the conflict with Iran. One doesn’t accomplish that by sanctioning the opposition’s Foreign Minister. Also, the Iranians have received the message loud and clear that the threats coming from Washington have nothing to do with nuclear programs. The White House began its sanctions regime over a year ago when it withdrew from the JCPOA and they have been steadily increasing since that time even though Iran has continued to be fully compliant with the agreement. Recently, the US took the unprecedented step of sanctioning the entire Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is part of the nation’s military.

American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made clear that the sanctions on Iran are intended to cause real pain, which, in fact, they have succeeded in doing. Pompeo and his accomplice in crime National Security Advisor John Bolton believe that enough pressure will motivate the starving people to rise up in the streets and overthrow the government, an unlikely prospect as the American hostility has in fact increased popular support for the regime.

To be sure, ordinary people in Iran have found that they cannot obtain medicine and some types of food are in short supply but they are not about to rebel. The sanctioning in May of Iranian oil exports has only been partially effective but it has made the economy shrink, with workers losing jobs. The sanctions have also led to tit-for-tat seizures of oil and gas tankers, starting with the British interception of a ship carrying Iranian oil to Syria in early July.

Another bizarre escalation in sanctions that has taken place lately relates to the Skripal case in Britain. On August 2nd, Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing a package of new sanctions against Moscow over the alleged poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England in March 2018. The order “prohibit[s] any United States bank from making any loan or providing any credit… except for loans or credits for the purpose of purchasing food or other agricultural commodities or products.” The ban also includes “the extension of any loan or financial or technical assistance… by international financial institutions,” meaning that international lenders will also be punished if they fail to follow Washington’s lead.

The sanctions were imposed under the authority provided by the US Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act adopted in 1991, which imposes penalties for use of chemical weapons. Novichok, which was reportedly used on the Skripals, is a chemical weapon developed in the labs of the Soviet Union, though a number of states are believed to currently have supplies of the agent in their arsenals. Russia can appeal the sanctions with 90 days by providing “reliable assurance” that it will not again use chemical weapons.

Russia has strenuously denied any role in the attack on the Skripals and the evidence that has so far been produced to substantiate the Kremlin’s involvement has been less than convincing. An initial package of US-imposed sanctions against Russia that includes the export of sensitive technologies and some financial services was implemented in August 2018.

Venezuela is also under the sanctions gun and is a perfect example how sanctions can escalate into something more punitive, leading incrementally to an actual state of war. Last week Washington expanded its sanctions regime, which is already causing starvation in parts of Venezuela, to include what amounts to a complete economic embargo directed against the Maduro regime that is being enforced by a naval blockade.

The Venezuelan government announced last Wednesday that the United States Navy had seized a cargo ship bound for Venezuela while it was transiting the Panama Canal. According to a government spokesman, the ship’s cargo was soy cakes intended for the production of food. As one of Washington’s raisons d’etre for imposing sanctions on Caracas was that government incompetence was starving the Venezuelan people, the move to aggravate that starvation would appear to be somewhat capricious and revealing of the fact that the White House could care less about what happens to the Venezuelan civilians who are caught up in the conflict.

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez condemned the move as “serious aggression,” and accused the Trump Administration of trying to impede Venezuela’s basic right to import food to feed its people.

One of the most pernicious aspects of the sanctions regimes that the United States is imposing is that they are global. When Washington puts someone on its sanctions list, other countries that do not comply with the demands being made are also subject to punishment, referred to as secondary sanctions. The sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, for example, are being globally enforced with some few exceptions, and any country that buys Iranian oil will be punished by being denied access to the US financial and banking system. That is a serious penalty as most international trade and business transactions go through the dollar denominated SWIFT banking network.

Finally, nothing illustrates the absurdity of the sanctions mania as a recent report that President Trump had sent his official hostage negotiator Robert O’Brien to Stockholm to obtain freedom for an American rap musician ASAP Rocky who was in jail after having gotten into a fight with some local boys. The Trumpster did not actually know the lad, but he was vouched for by the likes of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, both of whom have had nice things to say about the president. The negotiator was instructed to tell Sweden that if they did not release Rocky there would be “negative consequences.” Who can doubt that the consequences would undoubtedly have included sanctions?

It has reached the point where the only country that likes the United States is Israel, which is locked into a similar cycle of incessant aggression. To be sure Donald Trump’s rhetoric is part of the problem, but the indiscriminate, illegal and immoral use of sanctions, which punish whole nations for the presumed sins of those nations’ leaders, is a major contributing factor. And the real irony is that even though sanctions cause pain, they are ineffective. Cuba has been under sanctions, technically and embargo, since 1960 and its ruling regime has not collapsed, and there is no chance that Venezuela, Iran or Russia’s government will go away at any time soon either. In fact, real change would be more likely if Washington were to sit down at a negotiating table with countries that it considers enemies and work to find solutions to common concerns. But that is not likely to happen with the current White House line-up, and equally distant with a Democratic Party obsessed with the “Russian threat” and other fables employed to explain its own failings.


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Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Russia and China, two of the most important Great Powers that are jointly working to accelerate the emergence of the Multipolar World Order, are on totally opposite sides when it comes to Kashmir, with their differing stances being explained by the existential stakes that they each see in supporting their South Asian partner of choice.

Two Sides To Every Coin

It’s official — Russia and China are on totally opposite sides when it comes to Kashmir. There was some serious confusion last weekend about Russia’s stance towards the issue when Indian media misreported the context in which Moscow’s statement on the disputed territory was made, making many wonder whether the news was fake and represented India’s third infowar against Russia. It’s since been confirmed by, one of Russia’s most reliable media outlets, that the statement in question was indeed issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Press and Information Department, and Foreign Minister Lavrov left no ambiguity about his country’s position when he told his Pakistani counterpart earlier this week that “there is no alternative to ironing out the differences between Pakistan and India on a bilateral basis by political and diplomatic means.” China, on the other hand, strongly supports its “iron brothers” in Pakistan, even going as far as planning to take the problem up at the UNSC this Friday in a closed door session, proving that the two most important Great Powers that are jointly working to accelerate the emergence of the Multipolar World Order are sharply divided over this issue.

India’s “Geopolitical Blackmail” On Russia

Their contradictory approaches are explained by the existential stakes that they each see in supporting their South Asian partner of choice. The Russian budget hasn’t diversified as quickly as the general economy has and is still significantly dependent on arms and resource (energy and mineral) exports, of which military-technical cooperation with India is still a huge part. Russia’s military exports to India fell by 42% in the last decade after its partner decisively “diversified” with “Israeli”, American, and French imports instead, and the raft of multibilliondollar deals that were recently clinched this year could potentially be lost if Moscow goes against New Delhi since its “partner” could blackmail it by threatening to replace them with its competitors’ wares instead. Right now Russia is in the midst of a systemic economic transition through the “Great Society”/“National Development Projects” that are expected to be completed by the end of President Putin’s final term of office in 2024, so it’s very dependent on that income to help finance these initiatives, thus making it vulnerable to such “geopolitical blackmail” during this sensitive period.

Pakistan’s Pivotal Importance To China

As for China, the flagship project of its global Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which transits through northern Pakistani territory that India claims as its own per its maximalist approach to the Kashmir Conflict. CPEC has enabled Pakistan to become the global pivot state because of its irreplaceable role in safeguarding China’s strategic security by serving as Beijing’s only reliable non-Malacca access route to the Afro-Asian (“Indian”) Ocean, which in turn neutralizes the “containment” efforts of the US Navy in Southeast Asia and the South China Sea. Speaking of “containment”, the US tacitly regards India as the only mainland Asian power capable of carrying out this task on its “Lead From Behind” behalf, which therefore puts Indian Home Minister Amit Shah’s recent threatening remark in an entirely new light. The official thundered that “Kashmir is an integral part of India, there is no doubt over it. When I talk about Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin are included in it and can die for it”, which signaled the most hostile of intentions towards the People’s Republic that administers Aksai Chin.

 Domestic Economics vs. Global Geopolitics

When comparing the reasons for Russia and China’s differing stances towards Kashmir, it can therefore be clearly seen that Moscow’s are motivated by domestic economic considerations that surprisingly trump the “balancing” vision behind its recent “Return to South Asia” whereas Beijing’s are driven by geopolitical ones related to the New Silk Road and its territorial integrity. Unlike what the Alt-Media Community might wishfully think, these strategically partnered Great Powers are incapable of finding common ground on this issue, let alone in compelling their partner of choice to “moderate” their respective positions towards a speculative “compromise”, which neither of the South Asian parties is willing to do (nor do Moscow and Beijing have the leverage to force them to either even if those two wanted). Having said that, and in spite of the enormous stakes involved, Russian-Chinese relations will still remain strategic and won’t be damaged by this disagreement, though the working efficacy of the multilateral platforms that they participate in (BRICS and the SCO) might suffer if this incident results in a loss of trust by either side.

Not-So-Secret Discussions Behind Closed Doors

It’s precisely because of how extremely sensitive this is that China requested a closed door session at the UNSC. Beijing knows that the optics of it and Moscow strongly disagreeing with one another are a political fantasy come true for the West, so it wants to keep the Mainstream Media out of the discussion in order to prevent them from misportraying their potentially heated interactions in a provocative light. That said, it’s inevitable that the Western members of the UNSC will leak details about this event and likely exaggerate them as well, with Indian media gleefully picking up on what’s reported and spreading it around like wildfire in order to make it seem like these two multipolar partners are on the verge of another Sino-Russo split. Nothing of the sort is even remotely in the cards, but the infowar narrative thereof could have a powerful purpose in provoking reactionary members of the Alt-Media Community into turning against one another as they bifurcate into two separate camps. That scenario, however, will only toxify social media but won’t have any tangible effect on the course of International Relations, though the future emergence of more serious disputes between them might.


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This article was originally published on Eurasia Future.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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Media coverage of Canadian foreign policy is uniquely one-sided and biased. It’s so bad that few readers, listeners or viewers will have ever seen or heard an honest analysis of this country’s past, let alone current role around the world.

A recent Maclean’s story titled “The long history of ‘go back to where you came from’ in Canada” illustrates how uniquely bad foreign policy coverage is.

The story demonstrates that it is permissible to detail the history of racist immigration policy, but can one imagine Maclean’s publishing a story headlined “the long history of Canada advancing Empire”? No major media outlet — or the National Observer, Tyee or Press Progress, for that matter — would highlight how every prime minister since Confederation has advanced violent, antidemocratic and pro-corporate international policies.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a brief summary:

  • John A McDonald helped recruit nearly four hundred Canadians to beat back anti-colonial resistance in the Sudan in 1884-85 and during his decades in power Canadians were trained to be officers in Britain’s conquest across Africa.
  • Wilfrid Laurier’s government oversaw the deployment of seven thousand Canadians to defend British imperial interests in what’s now South Africa.
  • Robert Borden dispatched 600,000 men to fight a war with no clear and compelling purpose other than rivalry between up-and-coming Germany and the lead imperial powers of the day, Britain and France. After World War I Borden sought to be compensated with Britain’s Caribbean colonies and publicly encouraged Canadian businessmen to buy up southern Mexico.
  • R. B. Bennett deployed two destroyers to assist a month-old military coup government’s brutal suppression of a peasant and Indigenous rebellion in El Salvador, which London thought might be a “danger to British banks, railways and other British lives and property” as well as a Canadian-owned utility. Bolstered by the Royal Canadian Navy’s presence, the military regime would commit “one of the worst massacres of civilians in the history of the Americas.”
  • William Lyon Mackenzie King was sympathetic to European fascism. His government criminalized Canadians who fought against Franco’s fascists in Spain while arming Japanese fascists. In September 1936 King wrote that Adolf Hitler “might come to be thought of as one of the saviours of the world.” After atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Mackenzie King declared, “it gives me pleasure to announce that Canadian scientists played an important role, having been intimately connected, in an efficient manner, to this great scientific development.”
  • Louis St. Laurent’s government endorsed the Washington sponsored overthrow of popularly elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh and Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz. St. Laurent dispatched eight Canadian warships and 27,000 troops to fight in Korea. The US-led force massively expanded what was essentially a civil war, which ultimately left as many as four million dead.
  • John Diefenbaker blamed Fidel Castro for the CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion. His government also sent troops to undermine Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba who he labelled a “major threat to Western interests”.
  • Lester Pearson’s government played a part in the downfall of leading pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah and sent a vessel to support the US invasion of the Dominican Republic to stop a left-wing government from taking office. He staunchly defended the US war in Vietnam, which greatly benefited Canadian arms sellers. Pearson had Canadian International Control Commission officials deliver US bombing threats to the North Vietnamese leadership.
  • Pierre Trudeau was hostile to Salvador Allende’s elected government and did business with Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile. He embraced Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor and sympathized with South Africa’s apartheid regime not the black liberation movement or nascent Canadian solidarity groups.
  • Brian Mulroney “justified” the US invasion of Panama, which left 4,000 dead. He also backed US airstrikes on Libya that left 37 people dead and 93 wounded in a failed bid to kill Mohammed Gaddafi. His government deployed three naval vessels, 26 aircraft and 4,000 personnel to the Middle East in a war that killed 20,000 Iraqi troops and between 20,000 and 200,000 civilians.
  • Jean Chrétien deployed 18 fighter jets to NATO’s illegal 78-day bombing of Serbia, which left hundreds dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. He began Canada’s pointless war in Afghanistan and his government held a meeting to plan the overthrow of Haitian democracy.
  • Paul Martin ramped up the war in Afghanistan. He dispatched troops to overthrow president Jean Bertrand Aristide in Haiti and provided various forms of support to the post-coup regime responsible for thousands of deaths.
  • Stephen Harper supported Israel’s war on Lebanon and repeated onslaughts on Gaza. He had Canada head NATO’s bombing of Libya, which has led to eight years of civil war and greater instability in Africa’s Sahel region.
  • Justin Trudeau has armed Saudi Arabia, backed brutal mining companies, expanded NATO deployments, opposed Palestinian rights, refused to support nuclear weapons controls, deepened ties to repressive Middle East monarchies, supported Africa’s most ruthless dictator, propped up a corrupt, repressive and illegitimate Haitian president, tried to topple the Venezuelan government, etc.

Of course, the dominant media is skewed towards the outlook of their wealthy owners, corporate advertisers and power more generally on all matters. How the bias plays out depends on the issue and time. In recent years, for instance, there has been a marked increase of space devoted to discussing Canada’s genocidal dispossession of First Nations. But, even as Canada’s most fundamental injustice begins to receive dominant media attention it is still largely forbidden to present an overarching critique of foreign policy history. It’s acceptable to write about “The long history of ‘go back to where you came from’ in Canada” but not that “foreign policy has long advanced corporate interests and empire.”


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Britain does not have a special relationship with the USA. It is, and has been since the end of the World War, a subservient inferior ‘partner’ doing what it is told. Britain stands next to the schoolyard thug and tries not to be a victim of it. Likewise, Britain acquiesces to Israel – as it is backed to the hilt by America.  This so-called special relationship with Israel is not challenged in the mainstream media because they all too well aware of the trouble they would cause for themselves. The antisemitism firestorm that engulfed Labour under Jeremy Corbyn is proof of that.

Reminding the public what Israel does to Palestine and its inhabitants can get a news outlet, be it mainstream or independent, into all sorts of trouble. Typically, this post will not be allowed to spread on social media, especially FB. Then there’s the social media response, which can be distressing, ‘blacklisting’ of the entire website and a never-ending stream of hacking attempts.

So here are some home truths in case you’ve forgotten some of the details.

Between March 30 and November 19 this year, security forces killed 189 Palestinian demonstrators, including 31 children and 3 medical workers, and wounded more than 5,800 with live fire. This live fire was through the use of military snipers – none of whom were facing any potential harm. In the same time period, one Israeli was killed by the Palestinian reaction.

The Independent Commission for Human Rights in Palestine (ICHR), a statutory commission charged with monitoring human rights compliance by the Palestinian authorities, received 180 complaints of arbitrary arrest, 173 complaints of torture and ill-treatment, and 209 complaints of administrative detention in 2018.

Since 1967, over 50,000 Palestinian children have been imprisoned by the Israeli authorities. To put even more context to this – On 11 December 2012, the office of the then Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad stated that since 1967, 800,000 Palestinians, or roughly 20% of the total population and 40% of the male population, had been imprisoned by Israel at one point in time.

On April 4th this year on Palestinian Child’s Day; 250 children were imprisoned by Israel and 11 were killed by army gunfire. Further evidence shows that since 2015, Israel has locked up 6,000 Palestinian children, many reported being tortured. Israeli snipers were given the go-ahead to kill children by sniper-fire in 2019.

Image on the right is from Trocaire

Over 1.5 million Palestinians, displaced due to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, 1967 Six-Day War and Israeli occupation, live in Palestine refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank – and over half of the individuals in Gaza and 45.4 per cent of individuals in refugee camps live in subsistence poverty. Additionally, 33.8 per cent of Gazans and 29.3 per cent of those in Palestinian refugee camps live below the deep poverty line.

Since the year 2000, at least 117,184 Palestinians have been recorded injured by Israeli soldiers – that is well over 500 a month.

Israel is viewed as an apartheid state by its neighbours and genocidal by others.

And yet the British government continues with it’s slavish relationship to Israel given its appalling human rights record.

To help explain this special relationship, Mark Curtis, a British historian and journalist is a former Research Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and has been an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Strathclyde. His research and analysis of Britain’s involvement in the Middle East is second to none. Here is his take on what the special relationship between Britain and Israel is all about. It was written two months ago and is quite up to date all bar the arrival of the Johnson government.

“Two reasons are clear in explaining the current British policy. One is commercial: arms exports and trade are increasingly profitable to British corporations. The other is that UK policy towards Israel is to a large degree determined in Washington and by London wanting to curry favour with the US and not challenge its closest ally.”

Diplomatic support

Theresa May says that Israel is “one of the world’s great success stories” and a “beacon of tolerance“. To Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, Israel is a “light unto the nations” whose relationship with the UK “is underpinned by a shared sense of values: justice, compassion, tolerance”.

These gushing words translate into consistent British support for Israel internationally, helping to shield it from ostracism. Britain abstained on the recent UN vote to authorise an investigation into the Gaza killings because it would not also investigate Hamas; instead, the UK supports Israel carrying out its own inquiry.

Last year, the Foreign Office refused to sign a joint statement at the Paris peace conference on Palestine, accusing it of “taking place against the wishes of the Israelis”.

Arms supplies

Britain has approved arms sales to Israel worth $445m since the 2014 Gaza war and there is little doubt that some of this equipment has been used against people in the occupied territories. UK drone components are exported while Israel uses drones for surveillance and armed attacks.

The UK exports components for combat aircraft while Israel’s air force conducts air strikes in Gaza, causing civilian deaths and destruction of infrastructure. The government admits it has not assessed the impact of its arms exports to Israel on Palestinians.

This policy follows the knowledge that Israel promotes an “increasing pattern” of deliberately shooting Palestinian children and that Palestinians generally are “increasingly killed… with impunity” by Israel, as a 2015 Home Office report noted. Since 2000 Israel has killed nearly 5,000 Palestinians not taking part in hostilities, around one-third of whom are under 18.


In May 2018, Israel became the first country to mount an air attack using the new generation F-35 stealth warplane, hitting targets in Syria. While F-35 production is led by US arms company Lockheed Martin, British industry is building 15 per cent of each F-35, involving companies such as BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce.

Nothing is allowed to interrupt the “very close defence cooperation” between Britain and Israel. British military pilots are even being trained by a company owned by Israel arms firm Elbit Systems.

Nuclear arms

Israel is believed to possess 80 to 100 nuclear warheads, some of which are deployed on its submarines. The UK is effectively aiding this nuclear deployment by supplying submarine components to Israel. According to the commander of Haifa naval base, General David Salamah, Israel’s submarines regularly operate “deep within enemy territory”.

Britain has a long history of helping Israel to develop nuclear weapons. In the 1950s and 1960s Conservative and Labour governments made hundreds of sales of nuclear materials to Israel, including plutonium and uranium.

The contrast with British policy towards Iran is striking. Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson stated that the UK is “adamant that a nuclear-armed Iran would never be acceptable” and thus maintains sanctions against Iran. At the same time, Britain refuses to adopt any sanctions against Israel, an actual nuclear state.

In 1995, the UK and other states agreed to a UN resolution to establish a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East. It is not known whether Britain has ever seriously pressed Israel on this.


This week (June 5th) British and Spanish warships, part of NATO’s forces, docked in Israel’s Haifa port to conduct a joint NATO-Israel naval exercise. This follows naval exercises between Britain and Israel in December 2017 and November 2016. Through its blockade, the Israeli navy restricts Palestinians’ fishing rights, even firing on local fishermen.

The blockade of Gaza is widely regarded as illegal, including by senior UN officials, a UN independent panel of experts and Amnesty International, partly since it inflicts “collective punishment” on an entire population. Britain is failing to uphold its obligation “to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law”.


Little is known of the intelligence relationship between the UK and Israel. There have been differences such as in 1986 when prime minister Margaret Thatcher ordered a freeze in relations with Mossad after a female Israeli agent lured Mordechai Vanunu, who was trying to reveal Israel’s nuclear secrets, to Rome where he was kidnapped.

Former MI6 director Sir Richard Dearlove recently said that British intelligence did not always share information with Israel “because we could never guarantee how the intelligence might or would be used”. But the Telegraph reports that the relationship between MI6 and Mossad has become closer in recent years with both concerned about nuclear proliferation in Iran.

The director of the British spy centre GCHQ says the latter has a “strong partnership with our Israeli counterparts in signals intelligence” and that “we are building on an excellent cyber relationship with a range of Israeli bodies”.

Documents from 2009 leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden show that GCHQ spied on the Israeli military, defence firms and diplomatic missions. But they also revealed that GCHQ monitored Palestinian communications, including the phone calls of President Mahmoud Abbas and his two sons. The interceptions took place just three weeks before Israel’s offensive on Gaza in January 2009, suggesting that they may have helped Israel gear up for the offensive.


The UK is deepening trade with Israel “as we leave the EU” and has established a joint trade working group. Britain completely opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and rejects imposing even the most basic sanctions on Israel, such as travel bans on those involved in expanding illegal settlements.

Indeed, the government appears to be helping Israel counter the BDS movement. In September 2017, then communities minister Sajid Javid met Gilad Erdan, Israel’s “strategic affairs” minister in charge of combating the BDS movement, to discuss “steps to counter anti-Israel delegitimisation and BDS”.

Rather, the UK wants trade relations to go from “strength to strength“, bolstering the UK’s position as the primary Israeli investment location in Europe.

Illegal settlements

The UK is aware that there are more than 570,000 Israeli settlers in the occupied territories and its formal position regards the settlements as illegal. Yet this is meaningless in light of actual British policy, which is never known to press Israel strongly to end settlement building or the occupation.

The UK simply calls on Israel to “ease” restrictions on Gaza, and rather than demand an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Golan Heights, Britain only calls on Israel to “uphold its obligations under international law”.

Trade from illegal settlements

Israel’s policy in the occupied territories has been described by human rights body B’Tselem as an “unbridled theft”. Hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of goods produced in these settlements are exported internationally each year, including oranges, dates and spring water.

Yet Britain permits this trade and does not even keep a record of imports into the UK from the settlements. Indeed, Boris Johnson has explicitly said that it is the “policy of the UK” to trade with the illegal settlements and that this will continue. This policy violates UN Security Council resolutions which require all states to “distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967”.

What explains British policy?

Britain has a long history of supporting Israeli aggression. As the mandatory power in Palestine from 1920 to 1948, Britain enabled the gradual takeover of Palestine by the Zionist movement. When the Arab revolt against Britain and its Zionist proteges broke out in the late 1930s, the British army brutally crushed it. The UK supported Israel’s brutal takeover of Palestine in 1948 and also aided Israel’s 1967 war, having furnished Israel with hundreds of British tanks.

But British policy goes beyond this. Gavin Williamson has said that the UK-Israel relationship is the “cornerstone of so much of what we do in the Middle East” while former international development secretary, the neocon Priti Patel, noted that “Israel is an important strategic partner for the UK”.

Patel was forced to resign last year after it was revealed that she held secret meetings in Israel with key officials, including Netanyahu. Most significantly, she visited Israeli military hospitals in the Golan Heights where Israel treats anti-government fighters involved in the Syrian war, including members of the al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra, which Israel is seen as effectively supporting. Patel even wanted to give British aid to the Israeli army.

Britain effectively backs Israeli military policy in the Middle East while it has carried out more than 100 clandestine airstrikes inside Syria against government, Iranian and Hezbollah targets. Israel is seen as an ally against Syria and Iran – Britain’s two main enemies in the region.

London increasingly regards Israel as a strategic asset, especially now that the old Arab-Israeli conflict has largely disappeared, meaning that Britain can more easily back both Israel and its Arab allies at the same time. The Palestinians are the expendable unpeople in this deepening special relationship.


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Featured image is from Kobi Gideon/GPO

In 2010 when I first started writing about hydraulic fracturing — the process of blasting a cocktail of water and chemicals into shale to release trapped hydrocarbons — there were more questions than answers about environmental and public-health threats. That same year Josh Fox’s documentary Gasland, which featured tap water bursting into flames, grabbed the public’s attention. Suddenly the term fracking — little known outside the oil and gas industry — became common parlance.

In the following years I visited with people in frontline communities — those living in the gas patches and oilfields, along pipeline paths and beside compressor stations. Many were already woozy from the fumes or worried their drinking water was making them sick. When people asked me if they should leave their homes, it was hard to know what to say; there weren’t many peer-reviewed studies to understand how fracking was affecting public health.

Those days are over.

In June the nonprofits Physicians for Social Responsibility and Concerned Health Professionals of New York released the sixth edition of a compendium that summarizes more than 1,700 scientific reports, peer-reviewed studies and investigative journalism reports about the threats to the climate and public health from fracking.

The research has been piling up for years, and the verdict is clear, the authors conclude: Fracking isn’t safe, and heaps of regulations won’t help (not that they’re coming, anyway).

“Across a wide range of parameters, from air and water pollution to radioactivity to social disruption to greenhouse gas emissions, the data continue to reveal a plethora of recurring problems and harms that cannot be sufficiently averted through regulatory frameworks,” write the eight public health professionals, mostly doctors and scientists, who compiled the compendium. “There is no evidence that fracking can operate without threatening public health directly and without imperiling climate stability upon which public health depends.”

The research collected and summarized is wide-ranging and includes the harms not just from drilling and fracking, but the long tail of the process, including compressor stations and pipelines, silica sand mining, natural-gas storage, natural-gas power plants, and the manufacturing and transport of liquefied natural gas.

Dr. Sandra Steingraber, a biologist, author and distinguished scholar in residence at Ithaca College, is one of the compendium’s co-authors. She helped lead an independent investigation into the scientific research on the health risks from fracking that was a precursor to the current compendium. Those efforts drove public engagement on the issue and eventually led to a ban on fracking in her home state of New York in 2014.

She says this latest collection of research reveals some significant and noteworthy trends.

“There’s really definitive evidence now that methane leaks at every stage of the fracking process” from drilling to storage, she says. And that’s contributing to a surge in methane, a potent greenhouse gas, in the atmosphere.

But methane isn’t just a climate danger. It’s also a contributor to smog, otherwise known as ground-level ozone, which is linked to strokes, heart attacks, asthma and preterm births.

“Methane is a source of air pollution that’s deadly — and that’s become clearer and clearer,” says Steingraber.


Gas being flared at a drilling site in Powder River Basin, Wyo. (Photo by Tara Lohan)

Another area where the science is settled is the earthquakes caused by the injection of fracking wastewater underground, she says.

“We know without a doubt that fracking is linked to earthquakes that occur over longer periods of time and wider geographic area than previously thought,” she says. “That’s because these slippery chemicals that they’ve added to fracking fluid decrease friction while fracking, and they don’t lose that property when re-injected down into the earth with wastewater.”

The compendium also includes a section on two new topics not covered in previous editions — environmental justice and wildlife.

First, studies have shown that fracking infrastructure is disproportionately sited in nonwhite, indigenous or low-income communities.

“Whether it’s practiced in urban areas like Los Angeles where fracking infrastructure clearly targets poor nonwhite communities or in rural areas of Ohio and Pennsylvania where it’s targeted at poor whites — those patterns hold up over and over again,” she says.

There’s also mounting evidence about harms to wildlife from various elements of the process, including toxic water, habitat destruction, light and noise pollution. For example, infrastructure like compressor stations caused populations of grassland songbirds in Canada to decline. Water fleas, a key part of the aquatic food web, are imperiled by small amounts of fracking fluid in waterways.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg: At more than 350 pages with 1,400 footnotes linking to pertinent research, there’s a lot to uncover in the compendium. Here are a few of the findings:

  • Oil and gas operations in the arid Permian Basin used eight times more water for fracking in 2018 as they did in 2011, threatening groundwater supplies;
  • A 2018 analysis of methane leaks from the U.S. oil and gas supply chain as a whole found leakage rates were 60 percent higher than reported by the EPA, and a 2019 study in southwestern Pennsylvania found shale gas emissions that were underreported by a factor of five when compared to EPA estimates;
  • Researchers working in Texas found 19 different fracking-related contaminants — including cancer-causing benzene — in hundreds of drinking water samples collected from the aquifer overlying the heavily drilled Barnett Shale, thereby documenting widespread water contamination;
  • More than 200 airborne chemical contaminants have been detected near drilling and fracking sites. Of these 61 are classified as hazardous air pollutants, including carcinogens, and 26 are endocrine-disrupting compounds that have been linked to reproductive, developmental and neurological damage;
  • Studies of mothers living near oil and gas extraction operations consistently find impairments to infant health, including elevated risks for low birth weight and preterm birth;
  • In 2017, the most recent year for which data are available, 81 oil and gas extraction workers died on the job, accounting for 72 percent of the fatal work injuries in the mining sector, which overall has a fatality rate nearly four times the national average;
  • Significant pipeline accidents happen roughly 300 times each year in the United States and, between 1998 and 2017, killed 299 people and injured 1,190 others, according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

Over the years the compendium has become a critical resource in the fight against fracking and helped to shed some light on an industry that, thanks to regulatory loopholes, has been allowed to operate in secrecy.

Steingraber says there are more than enough scientific findings to conclude that fracking isn’t safe — indeed, that’s what officials in New York determined five years ago. But the industry has significant political clout that science alone can’t counter.

Anti-fracking yard signs

Residents of Dimock, Penn. in the Marcellus Shale took a stand against fracking. (Photo by Tara Lohan)

“It seems to be required now that science be carried by a powerful social movement,” she says. But she’s seen firsthand how strong those movements can be. When fracking came to her doorstep in New York, she and other health professionals translated the science into plain English and brought it to frontline communities so people would know what they were facing.

“When people are informed by science, and then empowered to have an opinion, they’re moved to take part in the public process,” she says. A surge of tens of thousands of public comments helped move New York to ban fracking, and requests for information about health impacts from fracking from all over the world has led Steingraber and her colleagues to keep updating the compendium year after year.

“This is a completely unfunded project — we’re just doing this in the middle of the night and on weekends,” she says. “But I believe there is value in having a group of independent scientists doing this work.”


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The tribunal de grande instance (TGI or the civil court) of Tours considered the case of 121 “anti-Linky” complainants, and threw out 108 of the claims. The remaining 13 were accepted, with the court conceding a possible link between their medical complaints and their Linky smart meters.

One included a seven-year-old child living in Tours, who was – the court said – in “a state of chronic fatigue” and having “difficulty sleeping”, as proven in a medical note, “which could be linked to the Linky meter”.

The court demanded that in the case of these 13 individuals, the Linky meter be removed, and the households be delivered electricity without the device.

Lawyer for the complainants, Arnaud Durand, said that he would push for compensation for “the people who will not be able to live at home”.

In June 2017, medical safety agency L’Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire (Anses) concluded that the meters could be linked to some “health doubts” – including the possible consequences of exposure to electromagnetic fields.

These have not yet been resolved, according to Me Durand.

He is now hoping to bring more cases against the installation of the Linky meter throughout France.

The country has already seen 22 cases brought to court, including in Rennes, Toulouse, and Bordeaux. Most claims were thrown out, except for a few complainants who cited “electro-sensitivity” to the meters.

The Linky was first rolled out by electricity distribution network company Enedis in 2015. The meters enable electricity use to be measured remotely, so users are charged without a need for a manual reading by the homeowner or an engineer.

Homeowners are also expected to save up to €50 per year on their bills.

But the meters have been controversial since the beginning, with critics stating concerns over the alleged health risks, fire risks, and the transmission of individuals’ data to a private company. Some have also said that the design and manufacturing process breaks competition and monopoly laws.

More than 700 communes have come out against the Linky so far.

In February this year, a court ruled that a village had the right to say no to them, and residents of the town of Blagnac (Occitanie) were given legal permission to refuse for Enedis to collect any information from their Linky, or for an engineer to enter their property.

Yet, there are set to be 34 million Linky meters across France by 2021. They are legally required to have replaced 80% of the previous mechanical meter stock by 2020 – in line with a European Commission directive stating that all member states must change to at least 80% smart meters by this date.


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Trump Regime Gutting the Endangered Species Act

August 15th, 2019 by Stephen Lendman

Richard Nixon was a friend of the earth, Donald Trump its mortal enemy.

Following the 1969 offshore Santa Barbara, CA February oil spill, the largest in US waters to that time, (now third-ranked after the 1989 Exxon Valdez and 2010 Deepwater Horizon spills), still the largest in offshore California waters, newly inaugurated Richard Nixon visited the affected area.

He overflew the polluted waters in a low-flying helicopter, then walked along the oil-soiled sand with his entourage and press, saying the following:

“What is involved is something much bigger than Santa Barbara. What is involved is the use of our resources of the sea and the land in a more effective way, and with more concern for preserving the beauty and the natural resources that are so important to any kind of society that we want for the future.”

“I don’t think we have paid enough attention to this…We are going to do a better job than we have done in the past.”

Skeptical environmentalists became believers. He established the Environmental Environmental Policy Act, the EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Clean Air Act, Earth Week, the Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act (ESA).

There’s plenty about Nixon to criticize. Overlooked were his eco-friendly policies — unmatched by today’s Republicans and undemocratic Dems.

What Nixon established, Trump is going all-out to eliminate, most recently steps to roll back ESA protections.

Established in 1973, it was enacted “to provide for the conservation of endangered and threatened species of fish, wildlife, and plants (from the) consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation.”

It requires federal agencies to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service &/or National Marine Fisheries Service administering the law — to ensure public actions don’t jeopardize the existence of any species or their habitats.

On Monday, the Center for Biological Diversity said the following:

“In a massive attack on imperiled wildlife, the Trump (regime)  finalized rollbacks to regulations implementing key provisions of the Endangered Species Act,” adding:

“The changes, which could lead to extinction for hundreds of animals and plants, are illegal and will be challenged in court.”

Changes finalized on Monday by Trump’s Interior Department secretary David Bernhardt, a former fossil fuel lobbyist, “crash(ed) a bulldozer through (ESA’s) lifesaving protections for America’s most vulnerable wildlife.”

“For animals like wolverines and monarch butterflies, this could be the beginning of the end.”

“We’ll fight the Trump (regime) in court to block this rewrite, which only serves the oil industry and other polluters who see endangered species as pesky inconveniences.”

Trump’s ecocidal agenda aims “to undercut protections for the nation’s air, land, wildlife and water.”

On the same day, Earth Justice said the Nixon era’s ESA “did in 1973 what no country had done before, establishing a commitment to protect and restore the species that are most at risk of extinction.”

ESA “is one of the most popular and effective environmental laws ever enacted.”

After becoming law 46 year ago, “99% of species (it) protected…have not perished.”

The six most endangered species from Trump’s action are gray wolves, bald eagles, grizzly bears, killer whales, Florida manatees, and whooping cranes, said Earth Justice.

Also on Monday, the National Resources Defense Council (NDRC) said Trump’s drastic rollback action came “months after the United Nations released a dire report, warning that one million species could go extinct if business continues as usual.”

“We’re facing an extinction crisis, and the (Trump regime) is placing industry needs above the needs of our natural heritage,” NRDC’s Nature Program legal director Rebecca Riley stressed.

The UN report explained that the pace of species loss worldwide today is hundreds of times greater than any time in the past 10 million years — repeat: 10 million years.

Critical forests, oceans, other waterways, wetlands, and overall nature are being devastated by climate change and over-development in areas vital to preserve for the species of the earth that need them to stay alive.

Friends of the Earth (FOA) said “Trump wants to sell off our lands and waters to Big Oil” and other corporate polluters.

In June, FOE notified Trump regime officials that it intends to sue NOAA “under the Endangered Species Act Regarding Sea Grant’s Funding of Offshore Aquaculture Projects.”

Time and again, Trump proved he’s an enemy of the earth and all its life forms — serving exploitive monied interests at the expense of peace, equity and justice for all.


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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at

Video: Syrian Army Reached Khan Shaykhun

August 15th, 2019 by South Front

Government forces are developing their advance in the southern part of the Idlib de-escalation zone.

The Syrian military has deployed a new batch of reinforcements, including battle tanks from the 4th Armoured Division, to the frontline. According to pro-government sources, these reinforcements will take part in the ongoing Syrian Army offensive in northwestern Hama and southern Idlib.

On August 13, a firefights took place east of Sukayk, but no notable changes on the frontline took place. Syrian Army units made an attempt to capture Tel Tari, but the attack was repelled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. In a separate development, government troops liberated Kafr Ayn.

An increased usage of anti-tank guided missiles was also reported.

On August 12, a Turkish military convoy accompanied by militants visited Tell Tuqan, Surman and Morek. According to local sources, Ankara is now actively working behind the scenes to rescue militants besieged in northern Hama.

The Syrian Army and its allies are preparing to capture Kafr Zita and Khan Shaykhun and cut off the rest of supply lines to the key militant stronghold of Lataminah.

The Syrian Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Forces continued their bombing campaign against militants’ infrastructure in the area. According to data released by the Russian Defense Ministry, the priority targets of the bombing campaign is underground hideouts, gatherings of military equipment and convoys of the terrorists.

10 villages in the Syrian province of Raqqah have signed a reconciliation agreement with the Damascus government, the Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria said on August 12. According to the released report, the total population of the villages is around 20,000 people. The Russian Defense Ministry provided no further details regarding the development. The Syrian Democratic Forces and the US-led coalition have not commented on the situation yet.

Such developments are a notable blow to the US-led efforts to isolate the US-occupied, northwestern part of Syria from the rest of the country.


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Fake News About Venezuela and the Power of Propaganda

August 15th, 2019 by Stephen Lendman

Public ignorance and indifference about major issues let US authorities get away with mass murder and much more.

In a June 1950 commencement address, Boston University President Daniel Marsh said:

“If the (television) craze continues…we are destined to have a nation of morons.”

Long before the television age, political commentator Walter Lippmann called the US public a “bewildered herd…their function (to be) spectators (not) participants” in affairs of state.

Industrialist Henry Ford believed if ordinary Americans “underst(ood) our banking and monetary system (there’d) be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”

Governance in the US, other Western societies, and most other nations, is all about serving privileged interests exclusively, exploiting most others to benefit the rich and powerful.

Know-nothing Americans indeed let both extremist right wings of the nation’s war party wage hot war and by other means on humanity — at home and abroad.

Jefferson called an educated citizenry “a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”

Madison warned that “(a) popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or, perhaps both.”

Jack Kennedy said “(t)he ignorance of one (US) voter impairs the security of all.”

The power of media propaganda keeps most Americans uninformed in the dark about vital issues affecting their rights, welfare, lives and futures.

Iran and Venezuela are in the eye of the US storm, “maximum pressure” Trump regime war on both countries by other means raging, most Americans ignorant about what’s going on.

Establishment media support what demands denunciation, manipulating the public mind for powerful interests, filling it with rubbish, suppressing vital hard truths.

Days earlier, worldwide solidarity with Venezuela rallies were held in the country and other nations — supporting the Bolivarian Republic, denouncing the Trump regime’s war by other means on its people, notably its economic blockade.

Millions of Venezuelans are signing a petition against it as part of a #No More Trump global mobilization.

Communication Minister Jorge Rodriguez said in the next 30 days through September 10,

“people will sign a letter of rejection of the genocidal, racist, xenophobe” Trump.

Results will be sent to UN Secretary General Guterres, a symbolic gesture to a figure installed by the US to serve its interests.

US establishment media ignored mass pro-Bolivarian rallies and the petition drive — supporting the Trump regime’s war on Venezuela by other means.

Last May, media watchdog Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) reported that

“international corporate media have long displayed a peculiar creativity with the facts in their Venezuela reporting, to the point that coverage of the nation’s crisis has become perhaps the world’s most lucrative fictional genre.”

Anti-Bolivarian social democracy propaganda war rages. Last week, establishment media falsely called Venezuela the “cocaine capital of the world.”

Earlier I wrote about the myth of a Venezuelan cocaine super-highway to the US, falsely accusing high-level Bolivarian officials of involvement in what they’re combatting.

Minister of Industries and National Production Tareck El Aissami explained that when he “headed the public security corps of my country, in 2008 — 2012, our fight against drug cartels achieved the greatest progress in our history and in the western hemisphere, both in terms of the transnational drug trafficking business and their logistics structures,” adding:

“During those years, the Venezuelan anti-drug enforcement authorities under my leadership captured, arrested and brought 102 heads of criminal drug trafficking organizations not only to the Venezuelan justice but also to the justice of other countries where they were wanted.”

Venezuela is the leading Latin American nation in combatting the spread of illicit drugs. Falsely claiming its officials are trafficking in them by the Trump regime and major media is part of propaganda war on the country.

Support by Venezuela’s military for Bolivarian governance foiled attempts by Bush/Cheney, Obama and Trump to replace its authorities with US-controlled puppet rule.

Since establishment of the Bolivarian Republic, the NYT has waged propaganda war on its governance, supporting the US plot to return the country to client state status.

Its latest propaganda piece falsely claimed “Maduro (is) crack(ing) down on his own military…to retain power” — a Big Lie.

Further disinformation followed, falsely claiming “a majority of Venezuelans (are) left without sufficient food…”

Maduro’s Local Provision and Production Committees (CLAPs) program distributes subsidized food to around six million Venezuelan families in need, around two-thirds of the population, part of the nation’s participatory social democracy — an inconvenient fact the Times ignored.

It also falsely claimed Venezuelan “security forces (staged) at least five attempts to overthrow or assassinate the president.”

Indeed numerous attempts were made to kill Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. Obama succeeded in eliminating Chavez. Maduro survived so far.

The plots originated in Washington by three regimes, CIA dirty hands likely all over them — assassinations of foreign leaders and other key officials a longtime agency practice, another inconvenient fact the Times ignored.

Chavez and now Maduro were and continue to be bombarded with false accusations by hardline US officials, the Times, and other establishment media — while ignoring US high crimes of war and against humanity worldwide.

Without major media support for their imperial rage, hostile policies of US regimes wouldn’t get out of the starting gate.

Venezuela, Iran, China, Russia, Syria, and other nations are targeted by the US for their sovereign independence — part of its aim to rule the world and control its resources.

What’s most important to explain to the US public, the Times and other establishment media suppress — substituting disinformation, Big Lies, and fake news instead.


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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at

Featured image: A protest outside the United States Consulate in Sydney on January 23 2019 to demand no US intervention in Venezuela. Photo: Peter Boyle

The hybrid war, being conducted against China by the United States and its gaggle of puppet states from the UK to Canada to Australia, has entered a new phase.

The first stage involved the massive shift of US air and naval forces to the Pacific and constant provocations against China in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait.

The second stage was the creation of disinformation about China’s treatment of minority groups, especially in Tibet and west China.

That this propaganda campaign has been carried out by nations such as the US, Canada and Australia who have the worst human rights records in the world with respect to their indigenous peoples, subjected to centuries of cultural and physical genocide by those governments, and who refuse to protect their minority peoples from physical attacks and discrimination despite their human rights laws, shocks the conscience of any objective observer.

But not content with that, the propaganda was extended to China’s economic development, its international trade, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, its Silk and Belt Road Initiative, its development bank, and other facilities and trade initiatives, through which China is accused of trying to control the world; an accusation made by the very nation that threatens economic embargo or worse, nuclear annihilation, to anyone, friend or foe, who resists its attempt to control the world.

The fourth phase is the US attempt to degrade the Chinese economy with punitive “tariffs,” essentially an embargo on Chinese goods. That the objective is not better trade deals but to bring China to its knees is the fact that the negative effect of these tariffs on American consumers, farmers and manufacturers is considered secondary to the principal objective.

Last year it moved to a fifth phase, the kidnapping and illegal detention of Meng Wanzhou, the Chief Financial Officer of China’s leading technology company Huawei, in synchronicity with a massive campaign by the USA to force its puppets to drop any dealings with that company. Meng Wanzhou is still held against her will in Canada on US orders. Chinese have been harassed in the US, Australia and Canada.

The latest phase in this hybrid warfare is the insurrection being provoked by the US, UK, Canada and the rest in Hong Kong, using tactics designed to provoke China into suppressing the rioters with force to amplify the anti-Chinese propaganda, or pushing the “protestors” into declaring Hong Kong independent of China and then using force to support them.

Mitch McConnell, an important US senator implicitly threatened just such a scenario in a statement on August 12th stating that the US is warning China not to block the protests and that if they are suppressed trouble will follow. In other words the US is claiming that it will protect the thugs in black shirts, the shirts of fascists. This new phase is very dangerous, as the Chinese government has time and again stated, and has to be handled with intelligence and the strength of the Chinese people.

There is now abundant evidence that the UK and US are the black hand behind the events in Hong Kong. When the Hong Kong Bar association joined in the protests the west claimed that even the lawyers were supporting the protests in an attempt to bring justice to the people. But the leaders of that association are all either UK lawyers or members of law firms based in London, such as Jimmy Chan, head of the so-called Human Civil Rights Front, formed in 2002 with the objective of breaking Honk Kong away from China, such as Kevin Lam, a partner in another London based law firm, and Steve Kwok and Alvin Yeung, members of the anti-China Civic Party who are going to meet with US officials next week.

Kwok has called for the independence of Hong Kong in other visits, some sponsored by the US National Security Council and has called for the US to invoke its Hong Kong Policy Act, which, among other things mandates the US president to issue an order suspending its treatment of Hong Kong as a separate territory in trade matters. The effect of this would be to damage China’s overall trade since a lot of its revenue comes through Hong Kong. The president can invoke the Act if it decides that Hong Kong “is not sufficiently autonomous to justify it being treated separately from China.”

In tandem with Kwok’s call for the use of that Act, US Senator Ted Cruz has filed a Bill titled the Hong Kong Revaluation Act requiring the president to report on “how China exploits Hong Kong to circumvent the laws of the United States.”

But it seems the anti-Chinese propaganda campaign is not having the effect they hoped. The New York Times ran a piece on August 13 stating, “China is waging a disinformation war against the protestors.” Embarrassed by US consular officials being caught red-handed meeting with protest leaders in a hotel in Hong Kong last week and blatant statements of support for the protestors from the US, Canada and UK as well attempts to treat Hong Kong as an independent state, the US intelligence services have now been forced to try to counter China’s accounts of the facts by declaring anything China says as disinformation.

The US and UK objectives are revealed in this statement from the article,

“Hong Kong, which Britain returned to Chinese rule in 1997, remains outside China’s firewall, and thus is sitting along one of the world’s most profound online divides. Preserving the city’s freedom to live without the mainland’s controls has become one of the causes now motivating the protests.”

This statement flies in the face of the Basic Law, expressing the agreement between the UK and China when the UK finally agreed to leave Hong Kong. We need to be aware of what the Basic Law says. Promulgated in April 4 1990 but put into effect on July 1, 1997, the date of the hand over of the territory to China, the Preamble states:

“Hong Kong has been part of the territory of China since ancient times; it was occupied by Britain after the Opium War in 1840. On 19 December 1984, the Chinese and British Governments signed the Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong, affirming that the Government of the People’s Republic of China will resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong with effect from 1 July 1997, thus fulfilling the long-cherished common aspiration of the Chinese people for the recovery of Hong Kong.

Upholding national unity and territorial integrity, maintaining the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, and taking account of its history and realities, the People’s Republic of China has decided that upon China’s resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will be established in accordance with the provisions of Article 31 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, and that under the principle of “one country, two systems”, the socialist system and policies will not be practised in Hong Kong. The basic policies of the People’s Republic of China regarding Hong Kong have been elaborated by the Chinese Government in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

In accordance with the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, the National People’s Congress hereby enacts the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, prescribing the systems to be practised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, in order to ensure the implementation of the basic policies of the People’s Republic of China regarding Hong Kong.”

Hong Kong is a part of China. That is the essential fact set out in the Basic Law agreed to by the UK as well as China. It is an administrative region of China. It is not an independent state and never was when Britain seized it through force and occupied it.

So the claim that the protestors are trying to preserve something that never existed, freedom from China’s control, since Hong Kong is subject to China’s control, is bogus. The fact that China permitted Hong Kong to retain its capitalist system confirms this. The fact that China can impose socialism 50 years after or sooner if certain conditions are met, also confirms this.

The pretexts for the riots, the first being a proposed extradition law between the mainland and Hong Kong which is similar to those that exist between provinces in Canada and states in the USA, the second being the claim that China’s insistence on its sovereignty over the territory somehow overrides the limited autonomy granted Hong Kong and threatens that autonomy, are without any foundation.

One could easily split Canada into pieces based on such bogus arguments or again split up the USA, or even the UK as London sees its rule of Ireland, Wales and Scotland being challenged by nationalist groups. And we know very well what violent protests will bring in swift suppression of such forces if the central governments feel threatened, especially by the violence we see used by the black shirts in Hong Kong. We saw what happened in Spain when the Catalans attempted to split from Spain. The leaders of the movement are now in exile. We saw what the US is capable of against demonstrators when it shot them down at Kent State when students were demonstrating peacefully. These things are not forgotten. We know how the British will react to renewed attempts for a united Ireland.

China is facing attacks on several fronts at once and it will require wisdom, endurance and the strength of the Chinese people to defend their revolution and rid themselves of colonial and imperialist domination, once and for all. Those who carry British and American flags in the protests in Hong Kong, reveal who they are. They are not the future of China. They are the living embodiment of a dead history and dead ideas, zombies of the past.


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Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel “Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.” He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from NEO

Members of the Sudanese Professional Association (SPA), a leading organization within the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), announced on August 9 that they would have no representatives in the soon to be created transitional government.

This report comes in the midst of a whirlwind of political developments inside the oil-producing African state which has experienced social unrest, a military coup and ongoing negotiations aimed at establishing an effective interim process.

Former President Omer Hassan al-Bashir of the National Congress Party (NCP) was ousted in a putsch on April 11, just five days after the commencement of a sit-in outside the defense headquarters in the capital of Khartoum. The occupation remained until it was violently dispersed nearly two months later at the aegis of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), an important component of the security apparatus in the country.

Demonstrations began in Sudan during mid-December as a rise in bread prices triggered thousands of people to move into the streets in protest. Soon enough the demands shifted from economic grievances to the call for the resignation of President al-Bashir.

A Political Declaration agreed to by the FFC and the Transitional Military Council (TMC) which has ruled the nation since April 11, laid a framework for a Sovereign Council where representatives from both the TMC and FFC will share power for 39 months leading up to multi-party elections. The terms of the implementation of the Constitutional component of the three-pronged transitional framework will remain uncertain particularly with the absence of a pathway towards peace which is contingent upon its adoption by the armed opposition groupings, the Left and other disaffected tendencies.

However, the armed Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) and the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) have already expressed their displeasure with the terms of the Political Declaration leaving the possibility of continuing demonstrations and other forms of resistance. This same position has carried over as it relates to the Constitutional Declaration agreement as well. The third component of the transitional arrangement, the Legislative Council, is yet to be determined by the principal negotiators of the FFC and the TMC.

Sudanese celebrate the signing of the Constitutional Declaration on August 9, 2019 (Photo by EWN)

Other groups which have significant followings, the National Umma Party and the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP) have also revealed they will not be a part of the transitional government based in Khartoum. An apparent restless populace which has been the target of highly repressive measures by the security forces may not be willing to remain optimistic in light of a myriad of unanswered questions related to the country’s future.

SRF affiliates have been engaged in military operations against the central government for many years. Two of the principal members of the alliance are fighting against SAF and RSF units in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and the Darfur region.

Consequently, when the SPA said it would not participate in the transitional government, additional questions came to the fore. Moreover, how long will the negotiations continue on outstanding issues related to the Political Declaration and the Constitutional Declaration? A Legislative Council is also under discussion which would theoretically seal a pathway towards a new dispensation.

In an article published by Sudan Tribune on August 9, it says that:

“The Sudanese Professionals’ Association and the opposition Unionist Gathering have announced that they will not participate in the transitional government due to be formed in late August. The two groups were the spearhead of the protest movement that lasted for months before to topple the regime of Omer al-Bashir in April 2019.”

This same above-mentioned dispatch goes on to note:

“Babikir Faisal the Chairman of the Unionist Gathering’s Executive Committee told reporters on Wednesday (Aug. 7) that they would not take part in the upcoming government. ’The Gathering will not participate in the transitional government,’ Babikir told a news conference on Wednesday. He stressed that there are no quotas in the transitional government and that what is circulating through the media are ‘mere rumors.’”

Therefore, despite the extensive discussions between the FFC and TMC in both Khartoum and in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the mediation of the African Union (AU), existing contentious issues are unresolved. There can be no effective transition to even a bourgeois democratic government without securing sustainable peace treaties mandating the laying down of arms and the creation of an inclusive administration.

Attempted Military Coups and Regional Intrigue

Another key element of the Sudanese political crises is the numerous accounts of attempted counter-coups within the SAF itself. Several high-ranking military officials have been arrested where they join former President al-Bashir in detention.

In addition, there were rumors of ongoing “purges of Islamists” military personnel from the SAF. Defining what the term “Islamists” actually means within the context of contemporary Sudan is undoubtedly complex. The previous government of the NCP under al-Bashir was categorized by some as “Islamist.”

At the same time there are other political tendencies such as the Umma Party and the Popular Congress Party (PCP), long in opposition to the NCP, as also fitting into this characterization. These factors raise the question as to the nature of the political disagreements obviously plaguing the military apparatus.

For example, the crackdown on the mass demonstrations which occurred in the capital of Khartoum on June 3 has been attributed to the RSF. In a sense the SAF has attempted to distance itself from some of the harsher forms of repression which have resulted in the deaths of more than 300 people.

On the international level, there are reports that the RSF militias are supplying weapons to opposition forces in the Central African Republic (CAR). The Seleka Coalition, an alliance of several organizations dominated by the CAR’s minority Muslim population, has recently signed a peace deal with the government in the capital of Bangui.

Seleka Coalition affiliates are said to be concerned about a possible offensive to disarm their forces. This comes amid the increasing presence of advisors from the Russian Federation who were requested to assist the military of the CAR by its current President Faustin-Archange Touadera. The appeal was made directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in 2017.

Moreover, SAF units are still cooperating with Saudi Arabia and other regional states in the now more than four-year old war being wage in Yemen. This is a United States engineered bombing and ground campaign designed to weaken the Ansurallah (Houthis) Movement. The U.S., Britain and their allies contend that the Ansurrallah are backed by the Islamic Republic of Iran and therefore viewed as a threat to the strategic balance of forces in the Middle East.

The Aims of Imperialism in Sudan

Washington’s foreign policy towards Sudan has been geared towards regime-change and a total capturing of the state for the purpose ensuring compliance with its political and economic objectives in North and Central Africa. The fact that the previous government of President al-Bashir had exercised a degree of independence from successive U.S. administrations, both Democratic and Republican, resulted in hostile actions towards the NCP over a number of years.

The al-Bashir government had made firm economic agreements with the People’s Republic of China in regard to its drilling and export of oil. Ousted President al-Bahir also defied the warrants issued against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC), saying that they would not recognize this imperialist construct as having any authority over the country and its leaders.

Nevertheless, this modicum of independent domestic and international policy would shift after 2014 with the decline in petroleum prices and the worsening economic outlook for the Republic of Sudan in the aftermath of the partitioning of the South. The Republic of South Sudan came into being in 2011 largely as a result of the contradictions which developed during the period of British colonialism in the late 19th and early-to-mid 20th centuries until the country became liberated in 1956.

Britain ruled Sudan as two separate entities involving the North and the South. These divisions fomented two civil wars, from 1955-1972, and later from 1983 through 2003. The transition to partition reduced the economic and territorial status of the Republic of Sudan, which prior to the independence of Juba, was the largest geographic nation-state in Africa.

The U.S., Britain and the State of Israel supported the creation of the Republic of South Sudan. As events have developed since 2013, the Republic of South Sudan has not proven to be a viable state and has been inflicted with civil war due to a split within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). Both Juba and Khartoum are suffering from internal conflict and economic malaise. Consequently, the imperialist legacy of domination has effectively impeded the genuine development of the now two separate states.

Of course this contemporary history has profound significance for other regional states and Africa as a whole. The necessity for the resolution of internal conflict and the maintenance of sovereignty is the major question facing the AU. The degree to which the Republic of Sudan can resolve its present situation will prove instructive to other African and developing nations.


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Abayomi Azikiwe is the editor of Pan-African News Wire. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research. 

Featured image: Sudan Constitutional Declaration signed by Transitional Military Council and Force for Freedom and Change Photo by Al Jazeera

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The Fading Home of Homo ‘Sapiens’. Extreme Weather Events

August 15th, 2019 by Dr. Andrew Glikson

In front of our eyes green forests are blackened by fire, draughts turn grassy planes to brown semi-deserts, fertile fields are flooded by muddy water, white snow and ice  melt to pale blue water and clear blue skies turn grey with aerosols.


The inhabitants of planet Earth are in the process of destroying the habitability of their world through the perpetration of the largest mass extinction of species since 66 million years ago when a large asteroid impacted Earth and 55 million years since the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) reaching +5 to +8°C. The late Holocene-Anthropocene climate change represents an unprecedented event, triggering a fast shift in climate zones and a series of extreme weather events, with consequences for much of nature and civilization. The changes are manifest where green forests are blackened by fire, draughts are turning grassy planes to brown semi-deserts, brilliant white snow and ice caps are melting into pale blue water and clear blue skies turn grey due to aerosols and jet contrails, most particularly in the northern hemisphere. Unless effective efforts are undertaken at CO2down-draw, the consequence would include demise of much of nature and a collapse of human civilization.

1. The scorched Earth

The transfer of hundreds of billions of tonnes of carbon from the Earth crust, the residues of ancient biospheres, to the atmosphere and oceans, condemning the bulk of life through the most extreme shift in the composition of the atmosphere and ocean Earth has experienced since 55 million years ago, with changes taking place in front of our eyes. Since the industrial revolution, about 375 billion tonnes of carbon (or 1,374 billion tonnes CO2) have been emitted by humans into the atmosphere. The consequences are everywhere, from mega-droughts, to heat waves, fires, storms and floods. With atmospheric CO2-equivalent rising above 500 ppm and mean temperatures by more than 1.5oC (Figure 1) look no further than the shift in climate zones, displayed for example on maps of the expanding wet tropical zones, drying sub-tropical latitudes and polar-ward migration of temperate climate zone. The ice sheets and sea ice are melting, huge fires overtake Siberia, the Sahara is shifting northward, large parts of southern Europe are suffering from draughts, heat waves and fires, the Kalahari Desert dunes are shifting and much of southern Australia is affected by warming and draughts. This is hardly compensated by a minor increase in precipitation and greening such as at the southern fringes of the Sahara Desert and parts of northern Australia.

Induced by anthropogenic carbon emissions reaching 37.1 billion tonnes CO2in 2018 and their amplifying feedbacks from land and oceans, ranging from where the US produces 16.5 tonnes CO2per capita per year, to 35.5 tonnes CO2 per capita per year from Saudi Arabia’s and 44 tons export per capita per year from Australia. The inexorable link between these emissions and the unfolding disaster is hardly mentioned by mainstream political classes and the media.

Figure 1(A) Growth of CO2-equivalent level and the annual greenhouse gas Index (AGGI[1]). Measurements of CO2to the 1950s are from (Keeling et al., 1958) and air trapped in ice and snow above glaciers. Pre-1978 changes are based on ongoing measurements of all greenhouse gases. Equivalent CO2amounts (in ppm) are derived from the relationship between CO2concentrations and radiative forcing from all long lived gases; (B)showing how much warmer each month of the GISTEMP data is than the annual global mean. For July (2019) temperatures rose by about +1.5oC.

2. Migrating climate zones

As the globe warms, to date by a mean of near ~1.5oCor ~2.0oC when the masking effects of sulphur dioxide and other aerosols are considered, and by a mean of ~2.3oC in the polar regions, the expansion of warm tropical latitudes and the pole-ward migration of subtropical and temperate climate zones (Figure 2) ensue in large scale draughts such as parts of inland Australia and southern Africa. A similar trend is taking place in the northern hemisphere where the Sahara desert is expanding northward, with consequent heat waves across the Mediterranean and Europe.

In southern Africa “Widespread shifts in climate regimes are projected, of which the southern and eastern expansion of the hot desert and hot steppe zones is most prominentFrom occupying 33.1 and 19.4 % of southern Africa under present-day climate, respectively, these regions are projected to occupy between 47.3 and 59.7 % (hot desert zone) and 24.9 and 29.9 % (hot steppe zone) of the region in a future world where the mean global temperature has increased by ~3°C.

Closely linked to the migration of climate zones is the southward drift of Antarctic- sourced cold moist fronts which sustain seasonal rain in south-west and southern Australia. A feedback loop has developed where deforestation and decline in vegetation in southern parts of the continent result in the rise of thermal plumes of dry air masses that deflect the western moist fronts further to the southeast.

Figure 2. Köppen-Geiger global Climate zones classification map

Since 1979 the planet’s tropics have been expanding pole-ward by 56 km to 111 km per decade in both hemispheres, leading one commentator to call this Earth’s bulging waistline. Future climate projections suggest this expansion is likely to continue, driven largely by human activities – most notably emissions of greenhouse gases and black carbon, as well as warming in the lower atmosphere and the oceans.”

An analysis of the origin of Australian draughts suggests, according to both observations and climate models, that at least part of this decline is associated with changes in large-scale atmospheric circulation, including shrinking polar ice and  a pole-ward movement of polar-originated westerly wind spirals, as well as increasing atmospheric surface pressure and droughts over parts of southern Australia (Figure 3). Simulations of future climate with this model suggest amplified winter drying over most parts of southern Australia in the coming decades in response to changes in radiative forcing. The drying is most pronounced over southwest Australia, with total reductions in austral autumn and winter precipitation of approximately 40% by the late twenty-first century. Thus rainfall in southwestern Australia has declined sharply from about 1965 onward, concomitant with the sharp rise of global temperatures.

Figure 3(A) Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) draught map, showing rainfall levels for the southern wet season from April 1 to July 31 in 2019; (B) NASA satellite image displaying a southward deflection of Antarctic-sourced moist cold fronts from southern Australia, a result of (1) southward migration of climate zones; (2) increasing aridity of southern and southwestern Australia due to deforestation; (3) rising hot plumes from warming arid land..

3. Extreme weather events

The consequences of the migration of climate zones are compounded by changes in flow patterns of major river systems around the world, for example in southern an southeastern Asia, including the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra and Mekong river basins, the home and bread basket for more than a billion people. With warming, as snow cover declines in the mountainous source regions of rivers, river flows are enhanced, with ensuing floods, in particular during the Monsoon. For example, in 2010 approximately one-fifth of Pakistan’s total land area was affected by floods (Figure 4A), directly affecting about 20 million people, with a death toll close to 2,000. And about 700 people in cyclone Isai in Mozambique (Figure 4B, C). Such changes in climate and geography are enhanced once sea level rise increases from the scale of tens of centimeters, as at present, to meters, as predicted to take place later this and next century.

An increasing frequency and intensity of cyclones constitute an inevitable consequence of rising temperatures over warm low pressure cell tracks in tropical oceans, already affecting large populations in the Caribbean and west Pacific island chains, encroaching into continental coastal zones, China, southeast USA, southeast Africa, India, northern Australia, the Pacific islands. According to Sobel et al. (2016)

We thus expect tropical cyclone intensities to increase with warming, both on average and at the high end of the scale, so that the strongest future storms will exceed the strength of any in the past”.

Likewise increasing temperatures, heat waves and droughts, compounded by deforestation over continents, constitute an inevitable consequence of heat waves and droughts. A prime example is the Siberian forest fires (Figure 5B), covering an area larger than Denmark and contributing significantly to climate change. Since the beginning of the year a total of 13.1 million hectares has burned. Total losses from natural catastrophes on 2018 stated as US$160 billion.

Figure 4(A) Pakinstan flooding showing the 2010 Indus River spanning well over 10 kilometers, completely filling the river valley and spilling over onto nearby land. Floodwaters have created a lake almost as wide as the swollen Indus that inundates Jhatpat; (B) Before-and-after satellite imagery of Mozambique showing massive flood described as an “inland ocean” up to 30 miles wide following the landfall of Tropical Cyclone Idai, 2019.

Figure 5(A) Global fire zones, NASA. The Earth data fire map accumulates the locations of fires detected by moderate-resolution imaging radiometer (MODIS) on board the Terra and Aqua satellites over a 10-day period. Each colored dot indicates a location where MODIS detected at least one fire during the compositing period. Color ranges from red where the fire count is low to yellow where number of fires is large;(B)An ecological catastrophe in Russia: wildfires have created over 4 million square km smoke lid over central northern Asia. Big Siberian cities are covered with toxic haze that had already reached Urals.

4. Shrinking Polar ice sheets

Last but not least, major changes in the Polar Regions are driving climate events in the rest of the globe. According to NOAA Arctic surface air temperatures continued to warm at twice the rate of the rest of the globe, leading to major thaw at the fringes of the Arctic (Figure 6A) and a loss of 95 percent of its oldest ice over the past three decades. Arctic air temperatures during 2014-18 since 1900 have exceeded all previous records and are driving broad changes in the environmental system both within the Arctic as well as through the weakening of the jet stream which separates the Arctic from warmer climate zones. The recent freezing storms in North America represent penetration of cold air masses through an increasingly undulating jet stream barrier, as well as allowing warm air masses to move northward, further warming the Arctic and driving further ice melting (Figure 6B).

According to Rignot et al. (2011) in 2006 the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets experienced a combined mass loss of 475 ± 158 billion tons of ice per year. IPCC models of future climate change contain a number of departures from the paleoclimate evidence, including the major role of feedbacks from land and water, estimates of future ice melt, sea level rise rates, methane release rates, the role of fires in enhancing atmospheric CO2, and the already observed onset of transient freeze events consequent on the flow of ice melt water into the oceans. Ice mass loss would raise sea level on the scale of meters and eventually tens of meters (Hansen et al. 2016). The development of large cold water pools south and east of Greenland (Rahmstorf et al. 2015) and at the fringe of West Antarctica, signify early stages in the development of a North Atlantic freeze, consistent with the decline in the Atlantic Meridional Ocean Circulation (AMOC). As the Earth warms the increase in temperature contrasts across the globe, in particular between warming continental regions and cooling ocean regions, leads to storminess and extreme weather events, which need to be taken into account when planning adaptation measures, including preparation of coastal defenses, construction of channel and pipelines from heavy precipitation zones to draught zones.

Figure 6(A) Thawing at the fringes of Siberia and Canada. Scientists say 2019 could be another annus horribilisfor the Arctic with record temperatures already registered in Greenland—a giant melting ice sheet that threatens to submerge the world’s coastal areas one day; (B) Weakening and increasing undulation of the polar vortex, allowing penetration of cold fronts southward and of warm air masses northward.

Figure 7 (A) Surface air temperature (◦C) change in 2055–2060 relative to 1880–1920 according to. A1B model + modified forcings and ice melt to 1 meter sea level rise; (B)  Surface-air temperature change in 2096 relative to 1880–1920 according to IPCC model AIB adding Ice melt with 10-year doubling of ice melt leading to +5 meters sea level rise; (C)Surface air temperature (◦C) relative to 1880–1920 for several scenarios taking added ice melt water into account (Hansen et al. 2016)


None of the evidence and projections summarized above appears to form a priority consideration on the part of those in power—in parliaments, in corporations or among the wealthy elites and vested interests. Having to all intents and purposes given up on the habitability of large parts of the Earth and on the survival of numerous species and future generations—their actions and inactions constitute the ultimate crime against life on Earth.


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Dr Andrew Glikson, Earth and Paleo-climate science, Australia National University (ANU) School of Anthropology and Archaeology, ANU Planetary Science Institute, ANU Climate Change Institute, Honorary Associate Professor, Geothermal Energy Centre of Excellence, University of Queensland. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.


[1] The AGGI index uses 1990 as a baseline year with a value of 1.  The index increased every year since 1979. 

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Ethics can be a slippery matter and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken, rather decidedly, the option of adding more grease.  His understanding over the ethics, for instance, of interfering in the decision-making process involving an Attorney-General has led to a little bit of history: Trudeau finds himself the first Canadian prime minister to be in breach of federal ethics rules.

In recent months, Trudeau’s crown has lost much of its lustre.  The SNC-Lavalin affair has been a primary contributor, a millstone gathering weight around his now very bruised neck.  The company had found itself in a spot of deep bother over bribing Libyan officials, a point it claimed in February 2015 was the result of “alleged reprehensible deeds by former employees who left the company a long time ago.”  Then came a 2018 law offering mild relief: the prospect of a fine rather than a conviction.  Business could go on as usual.

The question on the lips of the political fraternity was to what extent Trudeau’s office, and he personally, attempted to pressure the ex-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould that taking SNC-Lavalin to trial would be costly in terms of jobs and votes in Quebec.  A bribery and fraud conviction against the company would have barred it from bidding on federal contracts for 10 years, with current contracts cancelled by the federal authorities.

In early February 2016, it became clear that the company was putting the word out to Trudeau and various government bodies that a remediation agreement was desirable.  The prime minister seemed convinced the company was keen to reform, a point used to avert the disruptive prospect of having cancellations of contracts covering, amongst others, the Gordie Howe International Bridge project and Montreal’s light rail project.

Wilson-Raybould found herself cornered and badgered, taking issue with Trudeau’s evident bias towards SNC-Lavalin.  Her refusal to overrule the decision of the prosecutors to refuse pursuing the remediation option led to her demotion in January’s cabinet reshuffle.  This, in turn, precipitated a lusty round of bloodletting: the removal of Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott of the Treasury Board from the Liberal caucus, the resignation of Trudeau’s top personal aide Gerry Butts, and the early retirement of the head of the federal bureaucracy, Michael Wernick.

The entire affair also prompted an examination request to the Ethics Commissioner by Charlie Angus, MP for Timmins-James Bay, and Nathan Cullen, MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley.  Their concern: that the Prime Minister and his office had pressured Wilson-Raybould to instruct the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to seek a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin.  This suggested, argued Angus and Cullen, preferential treatment by an office holder towards a particular person or entity, something prohibited by section 7 of the Conflict of Interest Act.

While Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion was not convinced that section 7 held the necessary water, section 9 prohibiting a public officer holder from using their position to seek to influence a decision of another person to further their own private interests or those of a relative or friend, or to improperly further another person’s private interests, was quite a different matter.

Dion showed little sympathy for the Trudeau line of interference.  “The Prime Minister, directly and through his senior officials, used various means to exert influence over Ms Wilson-Raybould.”  SNC-Lavalin “overwhelmingly stood to benefit from Ms Wilson-Raybould’s intervention”.  The prime minister’s actions were therefore “improper since the actions were contrary to the constitutional principles of prosecutorial independence and the rule of law”.

The findings by Dion also serve a historical diet on the independence – aspirational or otherwise – of certain office holders, with the Attorney General being a singular creature in the scheme of government.  Such an office holder had a “unique perspective” in being a Cabinet member but also one who had to be “independent of Cabinet when exercising their prosecutorial discretion.”  It was a role, and a distinction inherent in it, that had clearly been “misunderstood” by Trudeau.

Dion was also wise enough to make a salient reference to Lord Hartley Shawcross’ views on the matter.  As Attorney General of England and Wales, Lord Shawcross explained to the UK House of Commons in 1951 that the Attorney General was “not obliged to, consult with any of his colleagues in the government” in making decisions pertinent to a prosecution.  The AG might well be informed and assisted by colleagues on matters assisting in reaching a decision, but never “in telling him what that decision ought to be.”

Trudeau’s statement of response is the mildest of efforts at contrition (“I can’t apologise for standing up for Canadian jobs”), a backhanded thank you to the Ethics Commissioner, a grudging acceptance that Parliamentary officers be independent, and an ultimate sense that his conduct had been, in the final analysis, proper in most respects, even if he did “take full responsibility”.

“The Commissioner took the strong view that all contact with the Attorney General on this issue was improper. I disagree with that conclusion, especially when so many peoples’ jobs were at stake.”

Such apologetics are padded by a good dose of self-congratulation.

“Our government has made tremendous progress over the last few years, for seniors, students, workers, families, and newcomers.”

The issue of jobs is the re-iterated barb.

“We have always fought to create and protect jobs, to invest in Canadians, and to strengthen the middle class at the heart of our country’s success.”

The consequences for such findings for Trudeau might prove the telling blow come the October elections.  Conservative leader Andrew Scheer smells blood and is demanding a police investigation.  The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has expressed interest.  Other commentators will simply remember that Trudeau has form on this.  In December 2017, he was found in breach of conflict of interest rules in accepting a vacation to be on the Aga Khan’s private island.  At least then, he thought apologising a wise move.  Trudeau the cynic has been outed.


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Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research and Asia-Pacific Research. Email: [email protected]

US Meddling Continues in Cambodia, but with Setbacks

August 15th, 2019 by Joseph Thomas

Two Cambodian employees of US government-funded “Radio Free Asia” (RFA) face espionage charges for continuing to work for the foreign information operation even after the Cambodian government ordered it closed.

Qatari state media, Al Jazeera, in their article, “Espionage trial of two former RFA journalists starts in Cambodia,” would report:

Former Radio Free Asia (RFA) reporters Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin were arrested in November 2017 after a late-night police raid on an apartment rented by the former. They were accused of supplying a foreign state with information, a charge that carries a prison sentence of between seven and 15 years. 

RFA, which is funded by the government of the United States, had closed its operations in Cambodia shortly before the arrests. The outlet was known for its critical coverage of the Cambodian government, including frequent reports on corruption and illegal logging.

Al Jazeera also admitted:

Both Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin admitted at Friday’s hearing that they had continued sending videos and information to RFA after it had shut down, but they denied that this constituted espionage.

Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) deputy Asia director Phil Robertson would make a statement published on the organisation’s site claiming:

Chhin and Sothearin should never have had to face these bogus espionage charges, and all judicial restrictions on them should be lifted.

HRW’s Robertson made these comments unironically after celebrating and making excuses for Facebook and Twitter’s censorship of accounts and individuals critical of Western impropriety (including the dubious, often hypocritical work of HRW itself) worldwide.

Cambodian courts vowed to ignore the demands of foreign organisations like HRW, insisting instead they would use evidence and Cambodian law to reach a verdict, RFA’s own article on the story reported.

US Meddling in Cambodia Was Extensive 

Amid continued hysteria and accusations of “Russian interference” levelled by the United States and its various functionaries against any and all opponents worldwide, the US itself has been involved in meddling in Cambodia’s internal political affairs extensively.

Far from merely funding information operations like RFA, Voice of America and Cambodia Daily Cambodia has since shut down or co-opted, the US literally ran an entire political party with members operating out of Washington DC itself. It protected these proxies  from well-earned accusations and charges of sedition with fronts posing as “human rights” organisations also funded by the US government.

Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) leader Kem Sokha openly admitted to Washington’s role in propping up his party and its bid to seize power in Cambodia not through elections, but through the same sort of destructive colour revolutions that have swept through Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

The Phnom Penh Post in its article, “Kem Sokha video producer closes Phnom Penh office in fear,” would go over the many admissions made by Kem Sokha:

“…the USA that has assisted me, they asked me to take the model from Yugoslavia, Serbia, where they can changed the dictator Slobodan Milosevic,” he continues, referring to the former Serbian and Yugoslavian leader who resigned amid popular protests following disputed elections, and died while on trial for war crimes.

“You know Milosevic had a huge numbers of tanks. But they changed things by using this strategy, and they take this experience for me to implement in Cambodia. But no one knew about this.”

“However, since we are now reaching at this stage, today I must tell you about this strategy. We will have more to continue and we will succeed.”

Kem Sokha would elaborate further, claiming:

“I do not do anything at my own will. Their experts, professors at universities in Washington, DC, Montreal, Canada, hired by the Americans in order to advise me on the strategy to change the dictator leader in Cambodia.”

Fronts posing as “human rights” organisations operating in Cambodia and running defence for CNRP and its supporters include  Licadho funded by USAID and the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) funded by US National Endowment for Democracy-subsidiary the International Republican Institute, Open Society, the British and Australian embassies as well as Canada Fund.

Were Russia doing any of this in the United States, Washington’s reaction would undoubtedly be swift and severe, and backed with full support from supposed “rights advocates” like Phil Robertson and Human Rights Watch. There would shuttered organisations, arrests, charges, trials and lengthy sentences handed out. Yet the United States openly subjects other nations to abuse it would not tolerate itself.

The US reaction to the trial for former RFA employees and its overall attempts to condemn and reverse Cambodia’s widening crackdown on foreign interference in its own internal political affairs is an exercise in both hypocrisy and “might makes right.” Unfortunately for Washington, the potency of that reaction is diminishing in direct proportion to its diminishing “might” across Asia-Pacific.

Washington’s involvement in Cambodia in the first place is aimed not only at co-opting the Cambodian people, their territory and resources, but also at surrounding China with either US client states or failed states unable to aid Beijing in its continued and steady rise upon the global stage.

Washington’s recent setbacks are demonstrative of how this policy of encirclement and containment is failing. While compromised “rights advocates” like Robertson attempt to portray Cambodia’s recent trial as a miscarriage of justice, it in truth is indicative of a wider trend reversing injustice imposed upon nation’s and their sovereignty by Washington and its proxies who have, until recently, operated largely with impunity.


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Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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‘Overpopulation’: A Cover Story for the Money Cancer System

August 15th, 2019 by Prof. John McMurtry

It is not “the rising tide of human numbers” simpliciter that loots, pollutes and destroys the life carrying capacities of the planet. It is what all over-populationists conveniently ignore:

(1) the much still exponentially self-multiplying tides of private money demand on the earth’s resources that drives every degenerate trend in the planet’s life carrying capacities, and

(2) its ultimate driver of limitlessly self-maximizing private profit to the top which now puts more demand on the earth’s resources by a few plutocrats than by 90% of the population .

Over-population ideology is a pre-conscious cover story for this real causal mechanism of the planetary omnicide.

This cover story cannot tell the difference between the majority number of human beings with less than three dollars a day of demand on the earth’s resources and the US family with $100 million dollars a day multiplying its ‘investment’ demand every minute on every level of life support depredation.

The solution is not many more deaths, as over-populationists seem to enjoy, but economic reason – rationing demand to human life needs.


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Prof. John McMurtry is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada whose works are translated across the world. He is the author and editor of the multi-volume Philosophy and World Problems(Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, UNESCO) and The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure. Prof McMurtry is a frequent contributor to Global Research (2009-  )

You may not have heard of Ellen Brown but she is without a doubt the world’s most persistent advocate for public banking.

So what, you may ask! What she is fighting for is a change in our banking system so that it serves the people and not the bankers. If we were to do so we could have a society with no public debt, no need for austerity policies, average people would live better lives, education would be free.

The difference between public banking and private banking is simple. When the banks are privately owned, a few senior bankers and the shareholders reap the benefits. With public banking everyone shares the benefits.

One of her blogs is entitled How Banks Secretly Create Money and she quotes Sir Josiah Stamp who was President of the Bank of England and the second richest man in Britain in the 1920s. He addressed the University of Texas in 1927:

“The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight of hand that was ever invented….. if you want to continue to be the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let bankers continue to create money and control credit.”

Nothing has changed since Stamp made his speech. This is what he was talking about; if you get approved for a loan, the bank will put money into your account with a few keystrokes. A credit in your account, a debit in the banks. No money changes hands, instead money is created. The bank then gets interest on the loan but has invested nothing …. ‘the most astounding sleight of hand ever invented.’

This is done in plain sight and is reported in news of the money supply. M1 is money as we understand it, M2 is the money created out of thin air. As of June 2019, the M1 in the U.S. was 3,831.7 billion dollars and the M2 was 14,744.1 billion over three times more ‘thin air’ money than real. It would be accurate to say the banks create debt and not wealth since every dollar of M2 is debt.

Today, Brown uses the Bank of North Dakota to show how public banking is better. It’s a state-owned institution, the only one in the United States. It was founded in 1919 to promote state interests in competition to the commercial banks. Ellen Brown quotes the Wall Street Journal article in November 2014.

”the public banking model is simply more profitable and efficient than the private model. Profits, rather than being siphoned into offshore tax havens, are recycled back into the bank, the state and the community.”

Ellen Hodgson Brown is a Californian attorney who got her law degree from UCLA in 1977. She was a civil litigation attorney in LA for ten years. In 2011 she founded the Public Banking Institute. She ran for California State Treasurer in 2014 and got a record number of votes for a Green Party candidate.

In 2007 she published The Web of Debt which explains myths about money, how it is created out of thin air and managed by the privately-owned Federal Reserve in the United States, its one a dozen books she has written. In 2011 she formed the public Banking Institute and earlier this year published her latest book Banking on the People; Democratizing Money in the Digital Age.

Public banking is a simple concept. North Dakota like every other state, collects money for many things; fees, licenses, business and personal income taxes. Unlike the other states which puts these dollars into the private banks, North Dakota puts the money into its own state-owned bank and with that, they get interest on the money and can lend the money for profit. All the other states put their money into private banks giving up the option to lend it and giving up the profit! It’s that simple!

Does it work?

It sure does as the Nov. 16, 2014 issue of the Wall Street Journal’s Chester Dawson reported:

BISMARCK, N.D.—It is more profitable than Goldman Sachs Group Inc., has a better credit rating than J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and hasn’t seen profit growth drop since 2003. Meet the Bank of North Dakota, the U.S.’s lone state-owned bank.

Ellen Brown’s writing is easy to read and understandable. If you are not into books, she has written over 200 articles that are on her blog, and you can subscribe to them or read them on Global Research.

Her most recent blog entitled Neoliberalism Has Met its Match in China (of three days ago) is about the emerging situation where the US and the Federal Reserve (a private bank) are up against the 80% state owned banks in China. She reports that ‘the Chinese have proven the effectiveness of their public banking system in supporting their industries and their workers. Rather than seeing it as an existential threat, we could thank them for test-driving the model and take a spin in it ourselves.’

She runs the Web of Debt web site and her blog articles are there.

To access Ellen Brown’s articles on Global Research (2007-  ) click here


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America’s Enemies, Who’s On the List?

August 15th, 2019 by Prof. James Petras

This article was originally published by GR in November 2017.

For almost 2 decades, the US pursued a list of ‘enemy countries’ to confront, attack, weaken and overthrow. 

This imperial quest to overthrow ‘enemy countries’ operated at various levels of intensity, depending on two considerations:  the level of priority and the degree of vulnerability for a ‘regime change’ operation.

The criteria for determining an ‘enemy country’ and its place on the list of priority targets in the US quest for greater global dominance, as well as its vulnerability to a ‘successfully’ regime change will be the focus of this essay.

We will conclude by discussing the realistic perspectives of future imperial options.

Prioritizing US Adversaries

Imperial strategists consider military, economic and political criteria in identifying high priority adversaries.

The following are high on the US ‘enemy list’:

1) Russia, because of its military power, is a nuclear counterweight to US global domination.  It has a huge, well-equipped armed force with a European, Asian and Middle East presence.  Its global oil and gas resources shield it from US economic blackmail and its growing geo-political alliances limit US expansion.

2) China, because of its global economic power and the growing scope of its trade, investment and technological networks.  China’s growing defensive military capability, particularly with regard to protecting its interests in the South China Sea serve to counter US domination in Asia.

3) North Korea, because of its nuclear and ballistic missile capability, its fierce independent foreign policies and its strategic geo-political location, is seen as a threat to the US military bases in Asia and Washington’s regional allies and proxies.

4) Venezuela, because of its oil resources and socio-political policies, challenge the US centered neo-liberal model in Latin America.

5) Iran, because of its oil resources, political independence and geo-political alliances in the Middle East, challenge US, Israeli and Saudi Arabia domination of the region and present an independent alternative.

6) Syria, because of its strategic position in the Middle East, its secular nationalist ruling party and its alliances with Iran, Palestine, Iraq and Russia, is a counterweight to US-Israeli plans to balkanize the Middle East into warring ethno-tribal states.

US  Middle-level Adversaries :

1)  Cuba, because of its independent foreign policies and its alternative socio-economic system stands in contrast to the US-centered neo-liberal regimes in the Caribbean, Central and South America.

2) Lebanon, because of its strategic location on the Mediterranean and the coalition government’s power sharing arrangement with the political party, Hezbollah, which is increasingly influential in Lebanese civil society in part because of its militia’s proven capacity to protect Lebanese national sovereignty by expelling the invading Israeli army and helping to defeat the ISIS/al Queda mercenaries in neighboring Syria.

3) Yemen, because of its independent, nationalist Houthi-led movement opposed to the Saudi-imposed puppet government as well as its relations with Iran.

Low Level Adversaries

1) Bolivia, because of its independent foreign policy, support for the Chavista government in Venezuela and advocacy of a mixed economy;  mining wealth and  defense of indigenous people’s territorial claims.

2) Nicaragua, because of its independent foreign policy and criticism of US aggression toward Cuba and Venezuela.

US hostility to high priority adversaries is expressed through economic sanctions military encirclement, provocations and intense propaganda wars toward North Korea, Russia, Venezuela, Iran and Syria.

Because of China’s powerful global market linkages, the US has applied few sanctions.  Instead, the US relies on military encirclement, separatist provocations and intense hostile propaganda when dealing with China.

Priority Adversaries, Low Vulnerability and Unreal Expectations

With the exception of Venezuela, Washington’s ‘high priority targets’ have limited strategic vulnerabilities. Venezuela is the most vulnerable because of its high dependence on oil revenues with its major refineries located in the US, and its high levels of indebtedness, verging on default.   In addition, there are the domestic opposition groups, all acting as US clients and Caracas’ growing isolation within Latin America due to orchestrated hostility by important US clients, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.

Iran is far less vulnerable: It is a strong strategic regional military power linked to neighboring countries and similar religious-nationalist movements.  Despite its dependence on oil exports, Iran has developed alternative markets, like China, free from US blackmail and is relatively safe from US or EU initiated creditor attacks.

North Korea, despite the crippling economic sanctions imposed on its regime and civilian population, has ‘the bomb’ as a deterrent to a US military attack and has shown no reluctance to defend itself.  Unlike Venezuela, neither Iran nor North Korea face significant internal attacks from US-funded or armed domestic opposition.

Russia has full military capacity – nuclear weapons, ICBM and a huge, well-trained armed force – to deter any direct US military threat.  Moscow is politically vulnerable to US-backed propaganda, opposition political parties and Western-funded NGO’s.  Russian oligarch-billionaires, linked to London and Wall Street, exercise some pressure against independent economic initiatives.

To a limited degree, US sanctions exploited Russia’s earlier dependence on Western markets, but since the imposition of draconian sanctions by the Obama regime, Moscow has effectively counteredWashington’s offensive by diversifying its markets to Asia and strengthening domestic self-reliance in its agriculture, industry and high technology.

China has a world-class economy and is on course to become the world’s economic leader.  Feeble threats to ‘sanction’ China have merely exposed Washington’s weakness rather intimidating Beijing.  China has countered US military provocations and threats by expanding its economic market power, increasing its strategic military capacity and shedding dependence on the dollar.

Washington’s high priority targets are not vulnerable to frontal attack: They retain or are increasing their domestic cohesion and economic networks, while upgrading their military capacity to impose completely unacceptable costs on the US for any direct assault.

As a result, the US leaders are forced to rely on incremental, peripheral and proxy attacks with limited results against its high priority adversaries.

Washington will tighten sanctions on North Korea and Venezuela, with dubious prospects of success in the former and a possible pyrrhic victory in the case of Caracas. Iran and Russia can easily overcome proxy interventions.  US allies, like Saudi Arabia and Israel, can badger, propagandize and rail the Persians, but their fears that an out-and-out war against Iran, could quickly destroy Riyadh and Tel Aviv forces them to work in tandem to induce the corrupt US political establishment to push for war over the objections of a war-weary US military and population. Saudi and Israelis can bomb and starve the populations of Yemen and Gaza, which lack any capacity to reply in kind, but Teheran is another matter.

The politicians and propagandists in Washington can blather about Russia’s interference in the US’s corrupt electoral theater and scuttle moves to improve diplomatic ties, but they cannot counter Russia’s growing influence in the Middle East and its expanding trade with Asia, especially China.

In summary, at the global level, the US ‘priority’ targets are unattainable and invulnerable.  In the midst of the on-going inter-elite dogfight within the US, it may be too much to hope for the emergence of any rational policymakers in Washington who could rethink strategic priorities and calibrate policies of mutual accommodation to fit in with global realities.

Medium and Low Priorities, Vulnerabilities and Expectations

Washington can intervene and perhaps inflict severe damage on middle and low priority countries.  However, there are several drawbacks to a full-scale attack.

Yemen, Cuba, Lebanon, Bolivia and Syria are not nations capable of shaping global political and economic alignments.  The most the US can secure in these vulnerable countries are destructive regime changes with massive loss of life, infrastructure and millions of desperate refugees . . . but at great political cost, with prolonged instability and with severe economic losses.


The US can push for a total Saudi Royal victory over the starving, cholera-stricken people of Yemen.  But who benefits?  Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a palace upheaval and has no ability to exercise hegemony, despite hundreds of billions of  dollars of US/NATO arms, trainers and bases.  Colonial occupations are costly and yield few, if any, economic benefits, especially from a poor, geographically isolated devastated nation like Yemen.


Cuba has a powerful highly professional military backed by a million-member militia.  They are capable of prolonged resistance and can count on international support.  A US invasion of Cuba would require a prolonged occupation and heavy losses.  Decades of economic sanctions haven’t worked and their re-imposition by Trump have not affected the key tourist growth sectors.

President Trump’s ‘symbolic hostility’ does not cut any ice with the major US agro-business groups, which saw Cuba as a market. Over half of the so-called ‘overseas Cubans’ now oppose direct US intervention.

US-funded NGOs can provide some marginal propaganda points but they cannot reverse popular support for Cuba’s mixed ‘socialized’ economy, its excellent public education and health care and its independent foreign policy.


A joint US-Saudi economic blockade and Israeli bombs can destabilize Lebanon.  However, a full-scale prolonged Israeli invasion will cost Jewish lives and foment domestic unrest.  Hezbollah has missiles to counter Israeli bombs.  The Saudi economic blockade will radicalize Lebanese nationalists, especially among the Shia and the Christian populations.  The Washington’s ‘invasion’ of Libya, which did not lose a single US soldier, demonstrates that destructive invasions result in long-term, continent-wide chaos.

A US-Israeli-Saudi war would totally destroy Lebanon but it will destabilize the region and exacerbate conflicts in neighboring countries – Syria, Iran and possibly Iraq.  And Europe will be flooded with millions more desperate refugees.


The US-Saudi proxy war in Syria suffered serious defeats and the loss of political assets.  Russia gained influence, bases and allies.  Syria retained its sovereignty and forged a battle-hardened national armed force.  Washington can sanction Syria, grab some bases in a few phony ‘Kurdish enclaves’ but it will not advance beyond a stalemate and will be widely viewed as an occupying invader.

Syria is vulnerable and continues to be a middle-range target on the US enemy list but it offers few prospects of advancing US imperial power, beyond some limited ties with an unstable Kurd enclave, susceptible to internecine warfare, and risking major Turkish retaliation.

Bolivia and Nicaragua

Bolivia and Nicaragua are minor irritants on the US enemy list. US regional policymakers recognize that neither country exercises global or even regional power.  Moreover, both regimes rejected radical politics in practice and co-exist with powerful and influential local oligarchs and international MNC’s linked to the US.

Their foreign policy critiques, which are mostly for domestic consumption, are neutralized by the near total US influence in the OAS and the major neo-liberal regimes in Latin America.  It appears that the US will accommodate these marginalized rhetorical adversaries rather than risk provoking any revival of radical nationalist or socialist mass movements erupting in La Paz or Managua.


A brief examination of Washington’s ‘list of enemies’ reveals that the limited chances of success even among vulnerable targets.  Clearly, in this evolving world power configuration, US money and markets will not alter the power equation.

US allies, like Saudi Arabia, spend enormous amounts of money attacking a devastated nation, but they destroy markets while losing wars.  Powerful adversaries, like China, Russia and Iran, are not vulnerable and offer the Pentagon few prospects of military conquest in the foreseeable future.

Sanctions, or economic wars have failed to subdue adversaries in North Korea, Russia, Cuba and Iran.  The ‘enemy list’ has cost the US prestige, money and markets – a very peculiar imperialist balance sheet.  Russia now exceeds the US in wheat production and exports.  Gone are the days when US agro-exports dominated world trade including trade with Moscow.

Enemy lists are easy to compose, but effective policies are difficult to implement against rivals with dynamic economies and powerful military preparedness.

The US would regain some of its credibility if it operated within the contexts of global realities and pursued a win-win agenda instead of remaining a consistent loser in a zero-sum game.

Rational leaders could negotiate reciprocal trade agreements with China, which would develop high tech, finance and agro-commercial ties with manufacturers and services.  Rational leaders could develop joint Middle East economic and peace agreements, recognizing the reality of a Russian-Iranian-Lebanese Hezbollah and Syrian alliance.

As it stands, Washington’s ‘enemy list’ continues to be composed and imposed by its own irrational leaders, pro-Israel maniacs and Russophobes in the Democratic Party – with no acknowledgement of current realities.

For Americans, the list of domestic enemies is long and well known, what we lack is a civilian political leadership to replace these serial mis-leaders.

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There were many public protests with the arrival of Donald Trump to the shores of Britain and contrary to his own beliefs, Trump is not well-liked at all by ordinary British citizens. What was strange though was the fact that there were no protests at all in Britain for the arrival of one of the world’s most destructive individuals  – John Bolton – and he came to ensure Britain does what it is told over Huawei, Iran and China before any trade deal can be signed.

His arrival is a dark day for Britain. It signifies what the Trump administration expects of its latest geopolitical scalp.

Sam Lowe from the Centre for European Reform said –

Remember that Bolton is not a trade expert. All he cares about is getting leverage to get the U.K. to follow the U.S. on Huawei, Iran and China.”

John Bolton’s proposal for the sectoral U.S.-U.K. post-Brexit trade deal has caused rather childish excitement in London, with many trade experts not in the slightest impressed.

When the U.S. asks Britain to sign on the dotted trade deal line, it will be Congress, organisations representing the likes of U.S. farmers, and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer who dictate the conditions, not the musings Trump’s international chief enforcer.

What Bolton is proposing is not realistic,” said Lowe – “Why would Congress sign off on anything that doesn’t have agriculture included?”

Lowe forgot to mention that access to the NHS and pharmaceutical business is dependent on this US trade deal.

Any trade deal with the U.S. needs to be ratified by Congress — where Democrats have a majority in the House of Representatives, and interest groups such as farmers, frackers, the chemicals industry work to make sure any trade deal is in their favour. If it isn’t in there, there’s no deal.

All Congress cares about is dismantling the EU’s regulatory approach to food and chemicals,” Lowe argued. “Any deal that falls short of that would not be ratified, regardless of Bolton’s assurances.

Politico publishes a case in point: Congress has been holding up Trump’s new USMCA deal with Canada and Mexico for months over dairy exports, lumber tariffs, and weak labour rights protections. It has made clear the U.S. won’t even consider negotiating a trade agreement with the EU that doesn’t include market openings for U.S. beef and chicken.

Bolton did not mention this inconvenience during his visit in London, because he had other goals in mind.

For Bolton, the promise of a trade deal is a carrot to get U.K. cooperation on security issues,” Lowe said.

The need for Boris Johnson’s administration to show that Brexit will be a success has not gone unnoticed in Washington. Promising trade deals gets Bolton friends in Downing Street without costing anything.

David Henig, director of the U.K. Trade Policy Project, pointed out another flaw in Bolton’s proposal:

“Partial trade deals that reduce tariffs in one sector are not legal under WTO rules.”

While “Trump and Bolton have shown before that they care little for WTO rules, the U.K., on the other hand, needs a well-functioning WTO,” Henig added.

It’s what London will have to rely on to trade with the EU and other countries if it leaves the bloc without a deal. Let’s not forget that Britain’s application to the WTO was rejected last August by other member states, specifically the USA as the UK’s application was not to their taste.

A Department for International Trade spokesperson said:

We have already laid the groundwork for an ambitious, creative trade deal with the U.S. and are working hard to take advantage of the golden opportunity to increase trade between our countries as we leave the EU. We will set out our approach to negotiations in due course.”

We should also not forget that a full trade deal with the United States offers very little to Britain – in fact, it has been calculated that in real terms, Britain’s GDP will rise by just 0.2 per cent with a US/UK trade deal. On the other hand, America gets to fully exploit the fifth largest economy in the world.

A trade deal as outlined by John Bolton will not see the light of day –  as Lowe put it:

The U.S. didn’t get to where they are in the world by being unnecessarily nice to countries that are slightly desperate.


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Selected Articles: Brexit Conundrum

August 14th, 2019 by Global Research News

A future without independent media leaves us with an upside down reality where according to the corporate media “NATO deserves a Nobel Peace Prize”, and where “nuclear weapons and wars make us safer”



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How English Nationalist Boris Johnson Is Turning the UK into a “US Colony”

By Henry McLeish, August 14, 2019

Boris Johnson and the right-wing Tories in Cabinet are English nationalists who hope to turn UK into a US ‘colony’, a country where EU regulations are replaced by limited welfare, minimum standards, low taxes and low pay, writes Henry McLeish.

Irish Newspaper Calls for Union between Ireland, Wales and Scotland

By Nation.Cymru, August 14, 2019

Writing for the newspaper, Jason O’Toole suggests that a pact of the four nations – Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – would be similar to the Scandinavians with their Nordic Council.

UK Government Is Pushing Ahead with Extreme US Trade Deal

By True Publica, August 14, 2019

Currently, Britain has a Prime Minister who was elected not by the public, but by around 90,000 Conservative party members. With a majority in the House of Commons of just one seat, without any real political mandate, Britain is being pushed towards a hard Brexit.

Britain after Brexit: Welcome to the Vulture Restaurant

By Adam Ramsay, August 11, 2019

“Britain has no leverage, Britain is desperate … it needs an agreement very soon. When you have a desperate partner, that’s when you strike the hardest bargain.” So warned former US treasury secretary Larry Summers on Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme this morning, as new foreign secretary Dominic Raab jets off on a tour of North America to investigate potential trade deals.

Ireland can Stop a no-deal Brexit. Here’s How

By Fintan O’Toole, August 10, 2019

Ireland, North and South, is facing a political and economic crisis. But the key to preventing it lies in Irish hands. One Irish political party has the power to change the balance of power at Westminster and to alter the dynamics of British politics, prevent a no-deal Brexit, avoid a hard UK-Ireland border and save the economy of Northern Ireland from catastrophe.

U.K. Breakup? New Poll Sets the Scene for Scottish Independence Referendum

By Johanna Ross, August 07, 2019

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has hailed as ‘phenomenal’ a new poll which shows majority support for Scottish Independence. The survey, which was carried out by Lord Ashcroft in the wake of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit to Scotland a week ago, puts those in favour of independence at 46% with 43% against.

Leaked: UK’s New Trade Secretary Met with US Pressure Groups to Discuss Weakening Regulations

By True Publica, August 06, 2019

In ‘off the record’ meetings last September, Liz Truss sought lessons from Donald Trump’s radical program of deregulation and tax cuts. The new international trade secretary, Liz Truss, met with hard-right pressure groups in Washington DC last year to learn about the benefits of Donald Trump’s deregulatory agenda, according to official documents obtained by Unearthed.


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The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster and Its Tragic Aftermath

August 14th, 2019 by Rossen Vassilev Jr.

The three meltdowns and at least four big core explosions at the Fukushima nuclear-power plant’s six American-designed Daiichi reactors in March 2011 still constitute the world’s worst nuclear nightmare so far, surpassing even the Chernobyl #4 reactor’s explosion and meltdown of April 1986. While Chernobyl’s disaster was very quickly contained albeit at the cost of at least 30 human lives (according to Soviet sources)—by first having the stricken reactor completely buried in sand from the air and then immediately sealing it inside a sarcophagus of reinforced concrete, Fukushima’s tragedy has remained an open, festering wound to this day. A U.N. report issued in 2012 stated that at least six Fukushima workers had died since the meltdowns and the tsunami (according to a later report by the Japanese government, only one of these workers had died from radiation exposure).

The Japanese seem to have been reluctant to risk the lives of their more than 6,000 rescue workers pouring daily hundreds of tons of sea water over the fully destroyed reactors as well as the several partly damaged ones. Yet, as of 27 February 2017, the Fukushima prefecture government counted 2,129 “disaster-related deaths” in that prefecture alone. At least 1,368 among those deaths have been listed as directly “related to the nuclear power plant.” Predicted future cancer deaths due to accumulated radiation exposures in the population living near Fukushima are expected to run in the many hundreds, if not the thousands.

Obviously, the Japanese government’s wishful thinking is that the nuclear disaster would just go away if as few people as possible—both at home and especially abroad—knew about its true extent and actual severity. According to Harvey Wasserman (“14,000 Hiroshimas Still Swing in Fukushima’s Air,” The Free Press, October 9, 2013), the situation on the ground was still rather catastrophic more than two years after the disaster, because

“Massive quantities of heavily contaminated water are pouring into the Pacific Ocean, dousing workers along the way. Hundreds of huge, flimsy tanks are leaking untold tons of highly radioactive fluids. At Unit #4, more than 1300 fuel rods, with more than 400 tons of extremely radioactive material, containing potential cesium fallout comparable to 14,000 Hiroshima bombs, are stranded 100 feet in the air.”

Have we been witnessing a major local catastrophe with some perilous global repercussions that are still being concealed from the general public and the world under a veil of total government secrecy—“apparently to avoid causing ‘needless’ social panic,” in the words of Japanese research scientist Haruko Satoh (“Fukushima and the Future of Nuclear Energy in Japan: The Need for a Robust Social Contract,” ARI, June 29, 2011)? While the Russians had the excuse of having just one prior warning—namely that of the Three Mile Island’s much smaller nuclear mishap in the U.S. on March 28, 1979—the Japanese appear to have completely ignored Chernobyl’s tragic lessons while operating their Fukushima nuclear-power plant built in a highly vulnerable seismic zone in close proximity to the Pacific Ocean which is prone to massive earthquakes and tsunamis. Pointing out that

“…a vast area of land has been contaminated by radiation,” Haruko Satoh further writes that “…the nature of the on-going nuclear crisis is better understood as a man-made disaster resulting from the systemic failure of Japan’s nuclear energy regime for safety than an inevitable consequence of unforeseen forces of nature.”

In his considered opinion, Japan “has also failed to act speedily to remove and treat the accumulating contaminated soil and water” (ibid.).

As a result, according to The Guardian (“Plummeting Morale at Fukushima Daiichi as Nuclear Cleanup Takes Its Toll,” October 15, 2013), “the world’s most dangerous industrial cleanup” has been threatening not only Japan (long dubbed “America’s unsinkable aircraft carrier” in the western Pacific) but the rest of the planet as well. Will the international community finally wake up to this still on-going lethal danger that will persist for many years to come—at least until the afflicted nuclear reactors are finally cooled down? But it is not going to be an easy job since by Tokyo’s own estimates the full decommissioning of the wrecked nuclear site could take up to 40 years.

Could the 2020 Tokyo Olympics be canceled?

The Fukushima catastrophe released in the air many radioactive pollutants such as cesium-134, cesium-137, strontium-90, iodine-131, plutonium-238 and other so-called radionuclides that emit ionized (alpha and beta) particles. With lifespan exceeding hundreds of years, these radioactive pollutants will continue to pose a radiation threat for many decades to come. One eyewitness testifies about the failure of Japan’s decontamination measures (Maxime Polleri, “The Truth About Radiation in Fukushima: Despite Government Claims, Radiation From the 2011 Nuclear Disaster Is Not Gone,” The Diplomat, March 14, 2019):

“…mountains of black plastic bags, filled with contaminated soil or debris, can be seen in many parts of Fukushima…. As such, decontamination does not imply that radiation has vanished; it has simply been moved elsewhere. Yet in rural regions, where many of the bags are currently being disposed, far away from the eyes of urban dwellers, residents are still forced to live near the storage sites. Many rural residents have criticized the actual efficacy of the decontamination projects. For instance, vinyl bags are now starting to break down due to the build-up of gas released by rotten soil. Plants and flowers have also started to grow inside the bags, in the process tearing them apart. With weather factors, residual radioactivity inside the bags will eventually be scattered back into the environment.”

But with the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it is doubtful that the secretive Japanese government will ever acknowledge this threatening reality. For example, the Japanese have been silent about the current extent of radiological contamination of the seas surrounding Japan—obviously for fear that the Tokyo Olympics scheduled to be held next year may be canceled.

The Official Cover-up

In the past, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), the crippled nuclear-power plant’s sole owner and operator,

“has all but admitted (that) Fukushima’s radiation leaks are spiraling out of control. In addition to the leaking water storage units that are unleashing hundred of tons of radioactive water each day, Tepco now says (that) 50% of its contaminated filtration capability has been taken offline due to corrosion. The result is that radiation leaks are escalating out of control and attempted remediation efforts are faltering” (“Fukushima in Free Fall,”, August 27, 2013).

The traditionally close-mouthed Japanese bureaucrats have been far less truthful and much more evasive about the gravity of the Fukushima nuclear crisis than the Russians ever were about their Chernobyl disaster. Only in June 2011—three whole months after the Fukushima nuclear accident—did Tokyo announce that meltdowns had actually occurred in three of the six reactors. “From day one,” the article continues,

“the Fukushima fiasco has been all about denial: Deny the leaks, shut off the radiation sensors, black out the news and fudge the science. Yet more than two years later, the denials are colliding with the laws of physics, and Tepco’s cover stories are increasingly being blown wide open.” (ibid.)

Buried under a virtual tsunami of compensation-seeking lawsuits, Tepco, “once a behemoth that virtually controlled Japan’s energy policy“ (Haruko Satoh, “Fukushima and the Future of Nuclear Energy in Japan: The Need for a Robust Social Contract,” ARI, June 29, 2011), has survived to this day as Japan’s biggest energy giant only thanks to the LDP government which seems to be more than willing and eager to bail it out. Despite the attempted cover-up by pro-nuclear Japanese cabinets and the Japanese news media alike, Japan’s own nuclear-safety watchdog—the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA)—gave Fukushima’s nuclear catastrophe the worst possible rating for radiological danger, Level 7 (“major accident”)—the same rating as the Chernobyl disaster—in accordance with the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) standards established by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1990.

Showing how more than two years after the disaster the waters of the Pacific Ocean were actually “boiling” off the coast of Fukushima in what it called “a viral photo of the day,” Before It’s News (“’Boiling Sea’ Off Fukushima Viral Photo of the Day,” August 30, 2013) asked rhetorically, “…if this radiation keeps leaking, and there is no way to stop it, will boiling seas spread all the way across the Pacific Ocean to the West Coast of the United States? If so, what happens then?”

How was the critically important oceanic animal and plant life affected by the radioactive contamination? Tokyo has denied that due to higher radiation levels it is dangerous to eat any fish caught by Japanese fishermen, but the government has reinstated its earlier fishing ban. Could it be that all of Japan has been poisoned? Moreover, is the whole planet going to be eventually contaminated by Fukushima’s many tons of radioactive material released into the air and sea? Again according to Harvey Wasserman,

“A worst-case cloud would eventually make Japan an uninhabitable waste-land. What it could do to the Pacific Ocean and the rest of us downwind approaches the unthinkable” (“14,000 Hiroshimas Still Swing in Fukushima’s Air,” The Free Press, October 9, 2013).

The Fukushima nuclear accident and its tragic consequences have taken place at the worse possible time for Japan, given its huge national debt (which is more than twice the size of its annual GDP) and protracted economic slump lasting now for almost three decades. Japan’s economic downturn started with the bursting of Tokyo’s stock-market and real-estate “bubbles” in the 1990s and was gravely exacerbated by the global Great Recession of 2008-2009 sparked by America’s own banking and real-estate crises. The international community should have by now pressed the U.N. Security Council to consider and adopt a binding resolution to close down Japan’s hazardous nuclear-energy industry, given the major economic, public health and public safety risks involved.

Is Japan’s nuclear industry doomed?

But Japan’s nuclear power may already be doomed, with its nuclear units being gradually taken “offline” in the wake of the Fukushima fiasco (“After Fukushima, Does Nuclear Power Have a Future?” The New York Times, October 10, 2011). In September 2013, the new Liberal Democratic Party Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the shutdown—supposedly for routine maintenance and safety checks—of its last nuclear reactor at Oi that was still working after all the other 53 operating reactors had been closed down for one reason or another. Facing pressure from the Japanese public which has turned decisively against nuclear energy, the previous Prime Minister, Yoshihiko Noda of the Democratic Party of Japan, had announced in September 2012 a major change in Japan’s energy policy, pledging to shut down all nuclear power for good by the 2030s, thus angering the all-powerful Japanese captains of industry.

In power since December 2012, Shinzo Abe’s LDP cabinet has been warning about the steep economic costs of pulling the plug on Japan’s nuclear energy, mainly in the form of escalating and very expensive energy imports, especially for a country which lacks fossil fuel reserves. Under tremendous pressure from the “iron triangle” community of electricity utilities, heavy industry, ministry bureaucrats and academic experts, known as the “nuclear village,” Prime Minister Shinzo has been trying to restart as many nuclear reactors as the still hostile domestic public opinion would permit him.

Following the Fukushima accident, as each Japanese nuclear reactor entered its scheduled maintenance and refueling outage, it was not returned to operation. Between September 2013 and August 2015, Japan’s entire reactor fleet was suspended from operation, leaving the country with no nuclear generation. But in 2018 Prime Minister Shinzo’s cabinet restarted five nuclear power reactors (U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Japan Has Restarted Five Nuclear Power Reactors in 2018,” November 28, 2018). He is facing a new and unexpected obstacle—the renewed and strengthened Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), which had been reformed and given more regulatory powers and administrative independence after Fukushima, especially since this now independent agency has to declare any nuclear plants safe before they could restart. There is also the implacable opposition of many prefectures, towns and villages which, under the law, have a say over the reopening of any local or nearby nuclear plants (“Electricity in Japan: Power Struggle,” The Economist, September 21, 2013). In spite of the determination of the ruling LDP to keep Japan’s ailing nuclear industry alive, its days may already be numbered (Sumiko Takeuchi, “Is There a Future For Nuclear Power in Japan?” Japan Times, July 16, 2019).


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Rossen Vassilev Jr. is a journalism senior at the Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

Trump Finalizes Disastrous Weakening of Endangered Species Act

August 14th, 2019 by Center For Biological Diversity

In a massive attack on imperiled wildlife, the Trump administration today finalized rollbacks to regulations implementing key provisions of the Endangered Species Act. The changes, which could lead to extinction for hundreds of animals and plants, are illegal and will be challenged in court.

The three rules finalized today were developed under the supervision of David Bernhardt, the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior and a former fossil fuel industry lobbyist. They severely weaken protections for threatened and endangered species across the country.

“These changes crash a bulldozer through the Endangered Species Act’s lifesaving protections for America’s most vulnerable wildlife,” said Noah Greenwald, the Center for Biological Diversity’s endangered species director. “For animals like wolverines and monarch butterflies, this could be the beginning of the end. We’ll fight the Trump administration in court to block this rewrite, which only serves the oil industry and other polluters who see endangered species as pesky inconveniences.”

One set of regulatory changes weaken the consultation process designed to prevent harm to endangered animals and their habitats from federal agency activities. A second set curtails the designation of critical habitat and weakens the listing process for imperiled species. A third regulation would eliminate all protections for wildlife newly designated as “threatened” under the Act.

The changes are part of a broader effort by the Trump administration to undercut protections for the nation’s air, land, wildlife and water.

“These regulations are totally out of touch with the American public, which broadly supports endangered species protections,” Greenwald said. “We’ll do everything in our power to get these dangerous regulations rescinded, including going to court.”

Under a change relating to federal consultations, impacts to critical habitat will be ignored unless they impact the entirety of an animal’s habitat. This disregards the cumulative “death-by-a-thousand-cuts” process that is the most common way wildlife declines toward extinction.

The new rules will also prohibit designation of critical habitat for species threatened by climate change, even though, in many cases, these species are also threatened by habitat destruction and other factors. The rollbacks will also preclude designation of critical habitat for areas where species need to move to avoid climate impacts.

The new rules will sharply limit wildlife agencies’ ability to designate critical habitat in unoccupied areas needed for recovery. That ignores the fact that many threatened and endangered species have lost substantial range and need their historic habitats preserved to provide living space for recovering populations.


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Russia’s Defense Ministry has published dramatic video Tuesday showing another close encounter between its military planes and NATO jets over the Baltic Sea, but this time it involved a dangerous intercept as the NATO aircraft came just off the wing of a large passenger plane carrying Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

A TASS news agency correspondent aboard Defense Minister Shoigu’s plane captured the moment when a pair of Russian Su-27 escorts drove off the NATO F-18 aircraft in what is the most serious incident in the neutral skies over the Baltic to date.

TASS describes the incident as follows (based on rush translation):

The plane carrying Shoigu was accompanied by an escort of two fighter aircraft of the Baltic Fleet Su-27 as it went from Kaliningrad to Moscow.

Above the neutral waters of the Baltic, the NATO F-18 aircraft tried to approach the defense minister’s plane, but the Russian pilots pushed the fighter out, not allowing it to come close to the liner.

One of the Russian Su-27’s can be seen banking hard into the NATO F-18, after which the F-18 continues its path away from the defense minister’s plane.


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Why Gold Prices Are About to Skyrocket Even Higher

August 14th, 2019 by Charles Kennedy

The gold bears have finally caved under the deafening barrage of fiscal and geopolitical catalysts, from Fed hints to intensely brewing conflict with Iran. But there is one key trend that stands to push gold up beyond $1,700–regardless of the day’s news.

Of course, it’s difficult for the bears to ignore a nearly $50/ounce gain for gold, which is now trading well above its 5-year high.

Not only has the U.S.-Iran conflict reached a boiling point, with Trump readying to deploy an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East, but the European Central Bank has issued a defiant, dovish tone, saying it won’t hesitate to provide further stimulus: That means rate cuts.

The icing on the gold cake is the US Fed, which has now clearly indicated that it hasn’t abandoned the idea of rate cuts for 2019.

But in this perfect storm for gold prices, EuroSun Mining (TSE:ESM, OTCMKTS:CPNFF) CEO Scott Moore says we’re overlooking a significant trend that will outlast the current geopolitical meltdown and even the Fed’s policies: It’s a global push for de-dollarization.

“Government’s around the world are becoming increasingly wary of the dollar’s hegemony in international trade,” says Moore. “And they’re doing their best to distance themselves from it by using their gold reserves to buy more gold instead.”

This process is already underway mainly in nations with strong anti-U.S. sentiment including Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, Syria, Turkey, Qatar, India, Pakistan, Libya, Egypt and the Philippines among others.

Naturally, these countries are turning to gold since the yellow metal is not under lock-and-key like the greenback and other electronic payment methods.

This trend is abundantly clear when you look at central banks’ buying activity.

According to the World Gold Council, central banks purchased nearly 70 percent more gold during the first quarter of the year than they did during the previous year’s corresponding period.

That’s the most they bought since the first quarter of 2013.

For EuroSun’s Rovina Valley project in Romania–the largest in-development gold mine in Europe–the de-dollarization drive will been a boon for the 10 million ounces of gold equivalent they’re hoping to get out of the ground in the simple geography of Romania’s prolific Tethyan Gold Belt.

There are plenty of billionaire fund managers who think today’s ‘crazy’ gold prices are just getting started.

Not least among them is Paul Tudor Jones, who says that gold “has everything going for it”, and sees it pushing to $1,700 an ounce “rather quickly”, as he noted in an interview with Bloomberg.

And this is all just thanks to near-term trends wrapped up in the Fed and wild geopolitics.

We’re interested instead in the long-term trend that is says gold will be a major winner of the global de-dollarization trend.

There’s nothing like a sanctions frenzy to create a major uptick in momentum here.

Most notably, Russia and China have pledged to accelerate their de-dollarization strategies because of Trump’s sanctions push. And they’ve reached a deal to use national currencies for bilateral trade. No more U.S. dollar, then.

So, we’re carefully watching what the central banks are doing.

The latest countries to jump on the de-dollarization bandwagon are Serbia and the Philippines. Serbia is boosting its national gold reserves, increasing them from 20 to 30 tons by the end of this year.  It’s shooting for 50 tons by the end of 2020.

Tudor is watching these developments closely, and to him, it suggests an unprecedented shift:

“Remember we’ve had 75 years of expanding globalization and trade, and we built the machine around the belief that’s the way the world’s going to be. Now all of a sudden it’s stopped, and we are reversing that,” he told Bloomberg.

“When you break something like that, the consequences won’t be seen at first, it might be seen one year, two years, three years later. That would make one think that it’s possible that we go into a recession. That would make one think that rates in the US go back toward the zero bound and in the course of that situation, gold is going to scream. “

EuroSun’s (TSE:ESM, OTCMKTS:CPNFF) Moore agrees:

“What’s happening with Iran right now will only further the de-dollarization push. The dollar isn’t necessarily king anymore, and gold is more than ready to resume its rightful place on the safe haven throne.”

Five gold companies to watch as more countries push for de-dollarization:

Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY) (TSE:YRI)

Yamana, has recently completed its Cerro Moro project in Argentina, giving its investors something major to look out for. The company plans to ramp up its gold production by 20% through 2019 and its silver production by a whopping 200%. Investors can expect a serious increase in free cash flow if precious metal prices remain stable.

Recently, Yamana signed an agreement with Glencore and Goldcorp to develop and operate another Argentinian project, the Agua Rica.  Initial analysis suggests the potential for a mine life in excess of 25 years at average annual production of approximately 236,000 tonnes (520 million pounds) of copper-equivalent metal, including the contributions of gold, molybdenum, and silver, for the first 10 years of operation.

The agreement is a major step forward for the Agua Rica region, and all of the miners working on it.

Eldorado Gold Corp. (NYSE:EGO) (TSE:ELD)

This Canadian mid-cap miner has assets in Europe and Brazil and has managed to cut cost per ounce significantly in recent years. Though its share price isn’t as high as it once was, Eldorado is well positioned to make significant advancements in the near-term.

In 2018, Eldorado produced over 349,000 ounces of gold, well above its previous expectations, and is set to boost production even further in 2019. Additionally, Eldorado is planning increased cash flow and revenue growth this year.

Eldorado’s President and CEO, George Burns, stated:

“As a result of the team’s hard work in 2018, we are well positioned to grow annual gold production to over 500,000 ounces in 2020.  We expect this will allow us to generate significant free cash flow and provide us with the opportunity to consider debt retirement later this year. “

Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE:GOLD) (TSE:ABX) and Goldcorp Inc. (NYSE:GG)

All eyes are on the billion-dollar partnership these two giants are forming in Chile’s gold belt. Goldcorp is putting up $1 billion to get in on this deal as miners scramble for new sources of growth. This joint venture will see the two giant miners operate three properties in Chile’s Maricunga region, and these will be major catalysts for both.

Newmont Mining Corp (NYSE:NEM) Founded over 100 years ago, Newmont Mining Corporation (NYSE:NEM) is one of the leading mining companies in the world. The company holds assets in Peru, Australia, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, and around the United States. Primarily focusing on gold and copper, Newmont has steadily carved out a name for itself among those in the industry. In Q1 2017 alone, the company secured over 1.2M ounces of gold. Definitely noteworthy for investors.

Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. (NYSE:WPM) (TSE:WPM)

Wheaton is a company with its hands in operations all around the world. As one of the largest ‘streaming’ companies on the planet, Wheaton has agreements with 19 operating mines and 9 projects still in development. Its unique business model allows it to leverage price increases in the precious metals sector, as well as provide a quality dividend yield for its investors.

Recently, Wheaton sealed a deal with Hudbay Minerals Inc. relating to its Rosemont project. For an initial payment of $230 million, Wheaton is entited to 100 percent of payable gold and silver at a price of $450 per ounce and $3.90 per ounce respectively.

Randy Smallwood, Wheaton’s President and Chief Executive Officer explained,

“With their most recent successful construction of the Constancia mine in Peru, the Hudbay team has proven themselves to be strong and responsible mine developers, and we are excited about the same team moving this project into production. Rosemont is an ideal fit for Wheaton’s portfolio of high-quality assets, and when it is in production, should add well over fifty thousand gold equivalent ounces to our already growing production profile.”

Centerra Gold Inc. (OTCMKTS: CAGDF) (TSE:CG)

Centerra Gold is a Canada-based gold miner with flagship assets, the Mount Milligan Mine and the Kumtor Mine which are located in Canada and the Kyrgyz Republic respectively. It also owns the Öksüt Gold Mine in Turkey, making it the single-largest North American gold company operating in Asia, with over 22 years of experience in the region.

Centerra’s biggest selling points, however, are its strong balance sheets. For 2018, the company reported over $100 million in net earnings, generating over $217 million from cash operations, exceeding many analyst’s expectations.

Scott Perry, President and Chief Executive Officer of Centerra stated,

“As a result of the strong fourth quarter operating performance at both operations, the Company exceeded its overall 2018 production and cost guidance producing 729,556 ounces of gold at an all-in sustaining cost on a by-product basis of $754 per ounce sold, beating the low-end of our all-in-sustaining cost guidance for the year.


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In political terms the government of Venezuela had a good month of July while managing very critical economic circumstances. Reps of 120 Non Aligned Movement (NAM) countries attended their ministerial meeting in Caracas, and more than 700 delegates from dozens of leftist parties and social movements from about 32 countries were in attendance for the 25th encounter of the Sao Paulo Forum (SPF) also in Caracas a few days later. Even the quick recovery from what appeared to be another sabotage to the electric power grid that occurred in the days between the two meetings was seen as a sign of an efficient and responsive government fully in control.

However, the month of August had a more challenging beginning for Venezuela. But we think that the Maduro government still retains full command of the political situation.

On August 5, the day before the meeting of the so-called Lima Group in Lima, Peru, United States President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order on “Blocking Property of the Government of Venezuela”. This may well be the most severe unilateral coercive measure (sanctions) against Venezuela to this date. It also meets the criteria of a total blockade on the country, despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s denial that “this is not an embargo”.

The more serious and controversial issue of the Trump’s executive order is that it implies the possibility of its extraterritorial application. US National Security Adviser John Bolton left no doubt about that intention saying that the order “also authorizes sanctions on foreign persons who provide support or goods or services to any designated person, including the government of Venezuela.”

The EU immediately opposed Washington’s threat and other countries may follow. But we know that Trump is not shying away from his version of “if you’re not with us, you are against us”. He has recently implemented, for the first time since 1996, Title III of the Helms-Burton Act (blockade) on Cuba, which allows US persons, whose property was taken over by the Cuban Government after 1959, to sue in US courts companies and individuals who “traffic” in those properties. This has serious implications for many foreign companies in Europe and Canada currently operating in Cuba.

The US blockade of Venezuela is intended to “make the Venezuelan economy cry”; nevertheless, the blockade does not guarantee the collapse of the economy. After almost 60 years of persistent and harsh US blockade, Cuba’s economy has done fairly well in maintaining its socialist project, initially with the support of the former Soviet Union, and since the early 1990s with the development of a thriving tourist sector that has brought substantial foreign investment to the chagrin of the US government.

Therefore, in geopolitical terms, the extraterritorial element of the blockade on Venezuela is the US second line of attack – unlikely directed at the EU or Canada that have recognized self appointed “interim president” Juan Guaidó – rather directed at Russia and China that have sided in words and deeds with the elected president Nicolás Maduro.

Russia has not only sold military equipment to Venezuela and trained its military, but last July 10 the two countries have signed a protocol on facilitating Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft’s activities at two gas fields on the continental shelf of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

China has also developed important economic cooperation with Venezuela. A joint venture of over $1.8 billion between Venezuelan Petroleum Corp (CVP) and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) was just reported.

Enter John Bolton with a threatening message in Lima:

“to both Russia and China, we say that your support to the Maduro regime is intolerable, particularly to the democratic regime that will replace Maduro.”

Both in tone and actions Washington is sounding increasingly desperate and frustrated at the lack of tangible results in its effort at regime change in Venezuela. The US has usually been absent at meetings of the “Lima Group”; it is not even a member of it. Canada has normally taken on the “leadership” role with other dozen or so nations.

The Lima meeting was clearly driven by a combative US government with the high profile presence of NSA John Bolton and Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross. If Bolton struck Washington’s stick, Ross offered its carrot as a vague recovery plan for Venezuela after Maduro. Of the 100 governments invited, only about 60 reps were present, mostly observers. Many declined including Russia and China.

If Washington’s intention was to bring on board more international allies, the strategy didn’t work. The UN Assembly would have been a larger and captive audience. Why was that venue not chosen?

The answer lies in the balance of support for the Maduro government. While reportedly about 50 governments do not, 120 NAM governments showed their support with their presence and joint declaration in Caracas in July. That is almost one third of the UN state members.

The Maduro government seems to show a better understanding of the world order, the role of the UN and the mustering of public support. This spells failure of the US blockade as it did in the case of Cuba at least politically. Caracas is still in control. It has not only denounced the White House executive order calling it “economic and political terrorism” illegal according the UN Charter, but it is also making a direct appeal to the UN. As we write, a campaign to collect signatures for a “Letter from Venezuelans to the Secretary General of the United Nations” is underway. All world supporters are invited to sign as well.


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This article was originally published on OneWorld.

Nino Pagliccia is an activist and freelance writer based in Vancouver. He is a retired researcher from the University of British Columbia, Canada. He is a Venezuelan-Canadian who follows and writes about international relations with a focus on the Americas. He is the editor of the book “Cuba Solidarity in Canada – Five Decades of People-to-People Foreign Relations” (2014). He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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Paul Findley: A Man of Courage

August 14th, 2019 by Dr. Chandra Muzaffar

Paul Findley one of the most remarkable Congressmen that the US House of Representatives had produced since the Second World War passed away on the 9th of August 2019. He was 98 years old. He was first elected to Congress in 1960 from a district in Illinois once represented by Abraham Lincoln, his immortal hero.  Findley was elected 11 times from that constituency until his defeat in 1982.

As a Congressman, he played a significant role in the formulation of the War Powers Act which required the US president to notify Congress of foreign military engagements. He was also critical of wasteful pentagon spending. He was one of a handful of early legislators who opposed the Vietnam War.

But Findley’s “notoriety” is associated with something else. He was a consistent critic of the influence of the Israel Lobby over Congress. He could see how the Lobby shaped US policies especially in West Asia. He was very much aware of the tactics the Lobby employed to silence anyone who questioned even mildly the biasness of the US position in the Israel-Palestine/ Arab conflict.

Findley himself was a victim of the Lobby’s vicious targeting. Because of his concern over the conflict he had visited the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, who was then regarded by the US government as a “terrorist.” That visit became cannon-fodder for the Israel Lobby to mount a massive campaign against Findley which was one of the main reasons for his defeat in the 1982 Congressional election.

Following his defeat, he wrote a couple of books about the power of the Lobby in US public life and how institutions and individuals were confronting the Lobby. They Dare to Speak Out had a bigger impact outside the US than within. His next book, Deliberate Deceptions, revealed the nexus between US and Israel forged through money, corporate links and personal relationships. Findley was now perceived by the US Establishment as a staunch opponent of Israeli power over the US.

His explorations into Israeli and Zionist power in the US invariably compelled him to look into how that power determined public perceptions of Islam and Muslims in general. His tentative perspective on the issue received a boost when he was invited to participate in a workshop in Penang, Malaysia on perceptions of Islam and Muslims in the Western media organised by JUST in October 1995. That workshop, as Findley had observed many times since changed his outlook on not only Islam but also the West’s relationship with a civilization which often invoked negative sentiments especially among the ‘educated.’ He began to realise that the roots of the antagonism towards the religion and its followers were deeply embedded in the West’s history and entangled with the crusades and colonialism  and post-colonial structures of global power and dominance.

On his return he produced a Friendly Note on his Muslim Neighbour which was widely circulated and later authored a book entitled Silent No More that sought to demolish America’s false images of Islam and Muslims. The book sold 60,000 copies.

As Findley’s mission to combat ignorance about, and prejudice against, another civilisation was beginning to make some progress, it suffered a severe setback through two major events at the start of the new century. Both the destruction of the twin towers in New York on the 11th of September 2001 — the infamous 9-11 incident — which was the rationale for the US helmed ‘War on Terror’ and the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in March 2003 made bridge-building between Christians and Muslims a monumental challenge. Nonetheless, Findley persevered. He continued to lend support to the work of the Council on American—Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other such causes.

His last correspondence with me was in January 2016. He had written an article for the JUST Commentary January 20, 2016 entitled, “Truth Seeking About Islam.”  He lamented that his eye-sight was failing — though his spirit was still high.

Findley was a man of extraordinary courage. The positions he adopted on Israeli power or on Palestinian rights or on justice for Muslims in the US incurred the wrath of many. He was often isolated and marginalised. But he never abandoned his principles.

The tenacity with which he adhered to them was what made him a man of integrity and dignity. He knew the price would be heavy.  But it was a price he was prepared to pay.

It is this — his moral conduct in the face of adversity — that will be his lasting legacy.


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Dr. Chandra Muzaffar is the President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), Malaysia. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Who Wanted Jeffrey Epstein Dead?

August 14th, 2019 by Patrick Martin

Let’s begin by stating the obvious: Jeffrey Epstein’s violent death in a Manhattan jail cell prevents a trial or a plea deal that threatened to expose business associates and political enablers who made use of the services provided by his alleged sex-trafficking activities, or who profited from this and other sordid operations of the multimillionaire money manager.

Given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding his death, the efforts of the media—and the New York Times in particular—to dismiss out of hand any suggestion that Epstein’s death was the result of anything but a suicide reek of a high-level cover-up. Whether he was strangled in a jail cell by a hired killer or allowed to hang himself is almost beside the point.

Epstein’s life came to a violent end while in the custody of the US government. This is an undeniable fact. Even if he committed suicide, the act could not have succeeded without the direct complicity of those who were responsible for his safety.

And while Epstein was accused of deplorable crimes, it should hardly be necessary to point out that he—yes, even Epstein—had the right to a vigorous defense in a trial. That his untimely death preempts and prevents the trial from taking place is a matter of staggering seriousness.

The suspicion of homicide is clearly justified. That Epstein was murdered—whether by an assailant or by the calculated enabling of his jail cell suicide—is far more plausible than the official account of what took place at the Metropolitan Correctional Center over the past three weeks. According to prison officials, Epstein was found hanged in his cell Saturday morning. His guards had neglected to perform their every-half-hour inspection during the night and only belatedly took a look at their prisoner at 6:30 a.m.

This occurred even though Epstein was arguably the most notorious prisoner currently in federal custody, with his arrest on sex-trafficking charges given saturation coverage in the New York and national media. Moreover, he had been placed on suicide watch from July 23, when he was reportedly found unconscious in his cell with marks on his neck, until July 31, when the special provisions, including 24/7 surveillance, were lifted without explanation.

Epstein’s attorneys and other visitors said they saw no signs that the multimillionaire was in low spirits or likely to take his own life, and he had been participating in preparations for his legal defense in an upcoming trial for as much as 12 hours a day.

Investigations have now begun by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Attorney General William Barr and the Justice Department inspector general, all of whom have ample reason to rig the result and cover up what really happened. So far, the most elementary facts have been withheld from the public. It has not been reported how and with what material Epstein was hanged, or whether there is a video recording of his cell that would show the alleged “suicide” or otherwise shed light on the physical circumstances of his death.

The legal and political circumstances of Epstein’s death are a different matter; they strongly suggest that Epstein had become a danger to an entire section of the Wall Street and political elite, who had a powerful motive to silence him.

The media has quickly moved to denounce anyone who points to the obviously concocted character of the official story as the promoter of a “conspiracy theory.”

The New York Times is aggressively promoting the official claims of suicide. The newspaper’s editorial Sunday begins,

“By apparently committing suicide in his Manhattan jail cell on Saturday morning, Jeffrey Epstein spared himself a lengthy trial that could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life on federal sex-trafficking charges.”

The use of the word “apparently” is entirely out of place. In the absence of any details relating to this death, nothing is “apparent.” The Times is simply conditioning the public to accept the suicide narrative without an urgently required criminal investigation into Epstein’s death, which must be considered suspicious.

Furthermore, why does the Times state that Epstein was “spared” a trial? Do the editors have information that supports their assumption that Epstein did not want to have a trial? What about the possibility that his death “spares” other powerful and influential people from having their connections to Epstein’s proven and alleged criminal activities, either sexual or financial, brought into the public eye by a lengthy legal proceeding.

The editorial continues:

“Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department’s inspector general would open an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death in federal custody. While Mr. Epstein will never face a legal reckoning, the investigations into his crimes, and those of others connected to him, must continue. His premature death shouldn’t stop law enforcement authorities from finishing the job that they finally took up seriously years after they should have.”

This is cynical claptrap: The Times knows full well that Epstein’s death, without a trial or conviction (technically, Epstein dies an innocent man, at least on the most recent charges), will effectively end the investigation. There is no longer the danger of a plea deal, which Epstein’s lawyers would certainly have attempted to negotiate in return for his testimony in trials of others whom he might have implicated in the alleged sex-trafficking ring.

The Times does not raise these obvious issues, let alone demand a criminal investigation and public hearings into the circumstances of Epstein’s highly suspicious death.

Any elementary review of the facts makes clear that Epstein’s death must be treated as a criminal investigation. Only 24 hours before his death, more than 2,000 pages of documents were released by a Florida court in a civil suit brought by one of the women who has charged Epstein with enslaving her as a teenager as part of his systematic abuse of young girls. The woman filed a defamation suit against Epstein’s partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, who allegedly had acted as a procuress, recruiting teenage girls to service him.

Maxwell is herself a product of the super-rich milieu that vomited up Epstein. She is the daughter of the late British billionaire publisher Robert Maxwell, also the target of numerous allegations of fraud and other financial crimes.

In a grisly similarity, Robert Maxwell died under mysterious circumstances in 1991, when he allegedly fell off his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine (named after the daughter), and his naked body was found floating in the Atlantic Ocean several days later. The death was ruled accidental, although both suicide and homicide were widely suggested at the time.

The documents released Thursday named a number of prominent political and society figures as patrons of Epstein’s sex ring, including two top Democrats, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and former governor and Clinton cabinet member Bill Richardson, a one-time presidential candidate, as well as Prince Andrew, second son of the Queen of England.

Whatever the truth of the allegations against these individuals, there is no question that Epstein was for many years an integral part of the financial and political elite in the United States, hobnobbing with former presidents like Bill Clinton and future presidents—and equally corrupt billionaires—like Donald Trump.

Epstein was a Palm Beach neighbor of Trump, and some of the girls he abused were recruited at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. That circumstance may account for Trump’s extraordinary response to the news of Epstein’s death, as he retweeted a right-wing supporter’s suggestion that Epstein was murdered at the orders of Bill Clinton.

The death of Epstein so obviously invites the assumption that this is a case of removing an inconvenient personality, one who could have implicated dozens if not hundreds of powerful people if he were finally brought to trial, that the official claim of suicide made possible by neglect on the part of low-ranking prison guards has been greeted with disbelief. Epstein’s death evokes recollections of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather.

The Epstein case, in all its criminal depravity, sheds light on the state of American capitalist society. The super-rich prey upon the poor and the vulnerable, using them as they wish. They make use of their connections to cover up their crimes, or, depending on the circumstances, arrange for the elimination of those former friends and associates whose activities have become an inconvenience or a danger.


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Boris Johnson and the right-wing Tories in Cabinet are English nationalists who hope to turn UK into a US ‘colony’, a country where EU regulations are replaced by limited welfare, minimum standards, low taxes and low pay, writes Henry McLeish.


Rarely has a new Prime Minister been less deserving of a period of grace. Boris Johnson’s in his coveted new job and has unleashed a powerful range of divisive and potentially destructive ideas. Left unchecked, this approach, could weaken the Tory Party, destroy the Union, set the UK’s relationship with the EU back 50 years, engineer a catastrophic no-deal Brexit, embolden the most right-wing group of ideologues ever contained within a Tory Cabinet and, potentially the most damaging of all, embark on an uncritical embrace of the USA and President Donald Trump.

But Britain was promised something different! Less than a month ago, Boris was supposed to unite the Conservative Party, bring the country together, deliver Brexit, strengthen the ties that bind the Union and offer leadership “as only he could”. Instead his Cabinet and Government seem more like a new Leave campaign team, with the zealots and cheap patriots of the European Research Group occupying prominent roles.

Britain, it is claimed, is on a war-time footing, with tax-payer funded, pro-Brexit propaganda and billions of pounds being spent on preparations for a “no deal” Brexit. In doing so, Johnson is mocking the memory and achievements of a great war leader. Sir Winston Churchill was fighting fascism, the destruction of civilisation and the possible invasion of Britain. In sharp contrast, Johnson, a narcissist and opportunist, is only trying to cope with the most monumental act of self-harm this country has ever inflicted upon itself.

Telling lies, exploiting emotion, sentiment, and nostalgia, sprinkling billions on services his party has starved of resources and serving it up with a large dose of delusion and theatrics, are all designed to rally the great British public around the flag. But which flag and which public? Johnson’s populism and English nationalism go hand-in-hand. His brief visits to Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland were embarrassingly contrived, and confirmed for many, that Johnson’s Union is draped in the cross of St George.

Read the Complete Article on the Scotesman

Featured image is from TruePublica

Wales, Ireland and Scotland should form a ‘Celtic pact’ and leave England behind to sort out Brexit for itself, according to the Irish Mirror.

Writing for the newspaper, Jason O’Toole suggests that a pact of the four nations – Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – would be similar to the Scandinavians with their Nordic Council.

He says Wales and the rest could mimic the inter-parliamentary co-operation between Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Greenland and other smaller islands.

“There would no doubt be countless benefits if we replicated their model, such as with trade agreements and unrestricted borders, which would solve the Irish backstop,” Jason O’Toole.

“And it would collectively make us a much stronger power within the EU too.

“I know there might be a knee-jerk reaction to the idea, but it makes sense for the Celtic nations to swim off together into the sunset – while Boris Johnson sinks England with Brexit.”

A poll conducted between 30 July and 2 August by Lord Ashcroft projected that the ‘Yes’ vote in a Scottish Independence poll had a 3% lead.

There is no suggestion yet of majority support for a united Ireland, however. An Irish Times/Ipsos Mori poll in March had yes on 32%, no on 45%, with 23% on don’t know.

The most recent ‘yes/no’ poll on Welsh independence, conducted by Sky News Data in December 2018, had 17% yes, 67% no, and 16% don’t know.


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Featured image is from the National Assembly (CC BY 2.0)

Japan was the first, the last and the only nation to be attacked with nuclear weapons. If it continues along the path set by Prime Minister Abe and the national security bureaucrats of his Liberal Democrat Party (LDP), it may also be the next.

The laws and norms restraining the development and deployment of nuclear weapons are dissolving in the same corrosive nationalism that led to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One by one laboriously negotiated constraints are disappearing. The latest to go was the INF Treaty. Mr. Abe’s government did nothing to preserve it, and may have intentionally hastened its demise. For more than a decade LDP bureaucrats have been lobbying the US government to redeploy US nuclear weapons in Asia. Some Japanese officials, including Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Akiba, have discussed putting US nuclear weapons back in Japan, training the Japanese Self-Defense Force to deliver them and obtaining US permission to decide when to use them.

Fear of China

Government and military officials in Japan and the United States are in the grips of increasing anxiety about China. The steady growth of a national economy containing nearly one-fifth of humanity is the cause of their worries and the animus guiding some of President Trump’s trade warriors. China’s gross domestic product (GDP) eclipsed Japan’s in 2010 and will soon surpass the GDP of the United States. China has held military spending to consistent 2% of GDP since 1979, but combined with the rapid pace of Chinese economic growth Chinese military expenditures have created the impression of an equally rapid military buildup US and Japanese security experts assume must be aimed at something other than self-defense.

Japanese security experts fear China will act the same way Japan did in the 1930s. US security experts worry China will behave the same way the United States does now. Neither feels comfortable living with those thoughts.

Both sets of officials imagine new nuclear weapons will relieve their anxiety. The Trump administration wants to offset China’s increasing conventional military capabilities with new “low-yield” or “non-strategic” nuclear weapons the United States can use to avoid defeat in a future war with China. The nuclear thinking within Abe’s LDP is similar but less clear cut. In a lengthy discussion about China in Washington in 2009, Mr. Akiba told me he believed that if Chinese leaders knew Japan had access to US nuclear weapons, a military trained to deliver them and a government with the authority to use them then China would be less assertive on everything from territorial disputes to trade negotiations.

Estimate of casualties from a single Chinese nuclear warhead targeting Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan by NUKEMAP.

Resurgent Nationalism

The elevation of national ambitions, priorities and interests over international agreements that subordinate all three to shared peace and prosperity is rapidly overturning decades of halting but inspiringly successful efforts to not only avoid another world war but to create a more sustainable and equitable global economy. The collapse of international nuclear arms control is accelerating in a context where all international organizations are under assault, and many of the international laws and norms that created them are being disparaged or ignored.

Abe’s LDP was one of the first to subvert the post World War II consensus on the dangers of nationalism.  The prime minister and the leaders of his party bristled at the continuation of ritual expressions of remorse for the consequences of Japanese militarism and chose instead to ostentatiously honor the perpetrators. They sought to restore Japan’s national stature by overturning the “peace constitution” instituted in the wake of the atomic bombings and Japan’s defeat. Steve Bannon admiringly told the LDP that Abe was Trump before Trump. The only difference between Abe and his American idol is that the prime minister still values international trade agreements seen as essential to Japan’s economic survival.

It is unlikely President Trump is self-consciously leading an organized effort to redirect US foreign, economic and military policy. His only clear interest–the focus of all his presidential activity–appears to be simple self-aggrandizement. But the aberrant character of his campaign and his government repelled traditional US  foreign policy elites and attracted a cabal of sycophants, opportunists and ideologues, like Bannon, who mobilized longstanding popular resentments against post-war US internationalism that Trump shared and articulated. Public support for Trump’s “America-first” orientation enabled his underlings to institutionalize a rapid US withdrawal from many of its international obligations.

China, on the other hand, embraced the idea of global community and emerged as one of internationalism’s most vocal defenders. This difference may provide a new ideological foundation for anti-Chinese policies similar to those that organized US-China relations during the Cold War.

Precarious Planning

The war all three nations imagine might come would be fast and vast. US plans include preemptive long range missile strikes deep into central China. US leaders refuse to rule out the possibility that some of those missiles would be armed with nuclear warheads.

Chinese plans include large-scale missile launches at every imaginable US military target on its periphery, including US military bases in Japan. Some of China’s missiles are capable of carrying either nuclear or conventional warheads. Chinese leaders have repeatedly stated they will never, under any circumstances, be the first to use nuclear weapons but US and Japanese officials don’t believe them.

Within minutes of the beginning of a war between China and the United States–a war Abe’s new interpretation of the Japanese constitution obliges Japan to join even if it is a not party to the dispute that starts it–there will be hundreds of missiles headed for scores of targets spread over an incredibly large area of East Asia. The first things to be destroyed will be the antennas, radars and computer networks commanders on all sides rely upon to assess what’s happening and communicate with their troops. None of them can be certain some of the missiles headed in their direction are not armed with nuclear warheads.

In the midst of this fast-moving high-stakes chaos it is not inconceivable that a nuclear weapon could be used by either side, perhaps without authorization or by mistake, igniting a much broader nuclear war that could obliterate Japanese urban populations near US military bases and major metropolitan areas in the continental United States.

Delusional Thinking

Even more frightening is the belief of Japanese and US defense officials that they can use use low yield nuclear weapons first to control the escalation of the war. They imagine if they use these nuclear weapons China will give up the fight without retaliating.  The idea is an old one stretching all the way back to the beginning of the nuclear age.

The Chinese communist leadership faced this type of US nuclear threat before during the Taiwan Straits Crisis of the 1950s. They did not have nuclear weapons then but were allied with a nuclear-armed Soviet Union. Declassified Chinese and Soviet archives show China’s leaders were prepared to take the blow and continue to fight. They did not expect Soviet retaliation on their behalf so long as the scale of the US nuclear attack was limited. Soviet leaders, however, insisted they must retaliate in order to preserve their own credibility.

It is impossible to know how a nuclear-armed China would respond today. I suspect even China’s leaders do not know what they would do. There is, however, a reasonable chance it would not be what US military planners expect. The United States foreign policy and defense establishment does not have a very good track record when it comes to understanding Chinese thinking or predicting Chinese behavior.

China does not have low yield nuclear weapons so if it did retaliate, even in a very limited way, it would be with missiles carrying nuclear warheads with an explosive force 30-40 times larger than the weapons the US dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One classified Chinese text on the operations of its nuclear forces suggests they would choose a relatively isolated but important military target in the theater of war, like Okinawa or Guam.  A single Chinese nuclear warhead targeting Kadena Air Base in Okinawa would kill approximately 90,000 people and injure 200,000 more, most of whom would be innocent Okinawans and the families of the 18,000 American and 4,000 Japanese personnel who work there. It’s hard to believe either side would be able exercise “escalation control” at that point in an already devastatingly massive conflict.

Lessons Worth Remembering

We’ve managed to avoid sliding into another “great power” conflict for 74 years because up until very recently our governments understood the dangers of nationalism and the necessity to subordinate national interests to international law and organization. Japan’s peace constitution embodies this better than any other legal document of the post-war era.

“Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.

In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”

The constitution may have been imposed by the United States at the end of WW II but the Japanese people came to cherish it and transformed those commitments into a pillar of Japan’s post-war national identity.

I find it sadly ironic that US officials have been pressing their Japanese counterparts to abandon that language for decades to no avail until Abe’s LDP pledged to restore Japan’s national honor and autonomy by finally capitulating to this foreign demand.

Japan’s new nationalists and their US counterparts justify their challenge to the post-war international consensus by pointing to the rise of China. The implication is that China, not the United States and Japan, is to blame for the disintegration of the international order. Rhetorically, at least, nothing could be farther from the truth. The key component of the Chinese Communist Party’s foreign policy is the concept of a “community of common human destiny.” The five aims of the policy are to “build enduring peace, universal security, shared prosperity, openness and tolerance and a clean and beautiful world.”

Not exactly Mein Kampf, is it.

Despite its many horrible faults, the Chinese government is not championing nationalism or disparaging internationalism. It has a number of seemingly intractable sovereign disputes with some of its neighbors, including Japan, but those disputes do not necessarily foretell the emergence of another Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany or Soviet Union.

I’ve spent most of the last thirty-five years living, studying and working in China. The one constant in the breathtaking transformation of that country during this period is the consistently enormous gap between US perceptions of what is happening in China and the reality I experience when I am there. It’s possible US and Japanese fears may be exaggerated or misplaced.

Attempting to address those fears by exerting pressure, waging trade wars and flooding East Asia with new nuclear weapons will put all three nations on the path to a war none of them can win. The only way out of our present difficulties is to negotiate mutually acceptable compromises in the interest of the common good.


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Gregory Kulacki researches the cross-cultural aspects of nuclear arms control negotiations between the United States, China and Japan.

Australia has always nursed a contradictory, repressive relationship with its Pacific neighbours.  Being a satrap of great powers, it has performed the role of gate keeper and monitor of regional instability, a condescending, often paternalistic agent. At stages, it has also entertained more direct colonial interests.  For almost seven decades, Australia controlled Papua New Guinea, assuming power over the former British colony of Papua in 1906.

The conclusion of the First World War saw Australia draw in more former colonial territories once under German control, including German New Guinea.  In Papua, stiff British tradition prevailed under the guidance of Hubert Murray.  As Murray’s entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography goes,

“Although aware that in some British colonies attempts were being made to rule through customary laws and to use influential villagers on local courts, Murray maintained the English-Australian legal system.”

In New Guinea, the emphasis was on the enthusiastic and fairly ruthless exploitation of the indigenous population for economic gain.

The initial defeat of Australian forces in the Pacific by Japan brought a brief halt to its colonising hubris.  After the Second World War, the colonising drive reasserted itself, this time in the guise of modernisation.  Paternalism was enforced; theories of development were implemented.

Little wonder, then, that Australia has a relationship of bleak contradiction with its neighbours, hovering between that of subsidising supporter and interfering father.  But Australia now finds itself as the state seemingly out of step with the modern age.  Climate change remains at the forefront of Pacific nations, a terrifying, existential threat that promises a liquid, submerged future.  The government of Scott Morrison, by way of contrast, remains irritated by such notions of a warming earth and the growing number of doomed species.  There is mining to be done, coal reserves to be extracted.  The plunderer, in short, remains enthroned in Canberra.

What Morrison has instead done is to offer a package of $500 million, announced ahead of a meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders Meeting, to take place at Tuvalu on Wednesday.  According to Alex Hawke, Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific, this constituted the “most amount of money Australia has ever spent on climate in the Pacific”.

The amount did little to inspire the popping of champagne corks through the region: the package was an accounting readjustment on existing spending arrangements and aid programs, despite Hawke’s suggestion that the aid budget had remained unaltered.  Amidst such voodoo budgeting, Prime Minister Morrison insisted that the commitment highlighted “our commitment to not just meeting our emissions reductions obligations at home but supporting our neighbours and friends”.

In a sparse media statement on August 13, Morrison confirmed that he would “continue to work with our partners to build a Pacific region that is secure strategically, stable economically and sovereign politically.”  Lip service was paid to the Blue Pacific narrative – the acknowledgment of shared ocean resources, geography and identity – and the Boe Declaration.  Morrison gave the latter the most cursory of mentions, a conscious understating of the declaration’s acknowledgement that “climate change remains the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific and our commitment to progress and implementation of the Paris Agreement”.

Pacific Island leaders, however, are keen to remind their Australian counterpart that the sum of money dressed up as improving resilience in the face of climate change should not be taken to be an indulgence of polluting dispensation.  As Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga explained,

“No matter how much money you put on the table, it doesn’t give you the excuse not to do the right thing.”

That right thing would be to reduce emissions, “including not opening your coal mines”.

Tuesday’s meeting of the Pacific small island states yielded a declaration less than musical to Morrison and his cabinet, a direct scorning of Australia’s environmental policy in calling for “an immediate global ban on the construction of new coal-fired power plants and coal mines” and the urging of all countries “to rapidly phase out their use of coal in the power sector”.

Morrison prefers to focus on the influence of that other C word, China, and the increasingly unhinging need to curb its influence.   Pacific governments already owe Beijing some $US1.3 billion, a debt arrangement causing beads of sweat to form on the brows of Australian diplomats.  But the Pacific family remains divided in their interests.  The Solomon Islands, for instance, is warming to reconsidering its recognition of Taiwan as a separate, independent state, a point of some concern to Morrison, who wishes Taiwanese recognition to be a continuing policy.

In June, Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister Manasseh Sogovare went so far as to conduct a fact-finding tour of various neighbours with close China ties.  In the words of a government law maker, John Moffat Fuqui, the taskforce would assess “the kind of development relations they have, the kind of assistance they get, the conditionalities or lack of conditionalities they might have, the kind of governance”.  Nauru’s President Baron Waqa will not have a bar of it.

“Taiwan is a very, very strong partner with those of us in the Pacific.”

Where the Morrison government hopes to be most mischievous in tampering with the PIF agenda remains climate change.  In the realm of foreign policy, the Australian prime minister is hoping to have it both ways: placate, even bribe regional leaders into thinking that some climate change policy is chugging away, while maintaining the emissions schedule back home.  To do so, Australian delegates have taken liberties in an annotated draft of the Pacific Islands Forum declaration.  The August 7 comments ruthlessly excise references to climate change, carbon neutrality, the 1.5C limit in temperature rise, phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and a ban on new coal power plants.

The findings of the International Panel on Climate Change’s report on 1.5C are also given the heave-ho, with suggestions that Australia might “recognis[e] the information” without endorsing assessments that a fall of global emissions by 45 percent by 2030, with the attainting of carbon neutrality by 2050, had to take place for the limit of 1.5C to achieved.  In the opinion of a regretful Hilda Heine, president of the Marshall Islands, “We would be lying to say we’re not disappointed, extremely disappointed.”


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Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research and Asia-Pacific Research. Email: [email protected]

As part of Remarks by President Trump on Mass Shootings in Texas and Ohio on August 5th, President Donald Trump announced that:

Today, I am also directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty, and that this capital punishment be delivered quickly, decisively, and without years of needless delay.

Normally it might have been expected that the mainstream media would run with Trump’s support of the death-penalty-for-hate-crimes as proof positive that the man is off his rocker.  Instead, the statement garnered barely a flicker of public notice.  Did anyone in authority bother to confirm that the shootings were indeed motivated by ‘hate?’

As the mainstream media consistently rush to judgment, speculation too often becomes fact before all the evidence is considered (ie Russiagate) as the MSM is relied on to provide factual and critical background information.  And yet since 65% of the American public believe that the MSM is peddling fake news begs the question of why should detailed reporting on these tragic events be left to a discredited media establishment or that their information on these recent shootings be considered truthful?  Why should the American public trust the MSM for what may have already been determined to be a ‘hate’ crime without providing evidence of the hate – as the Divide and Rule Game continues undeterred sowing division and conflict among the American people.

It remains unclear exactly why either tragedy is being specifically labeled a “hate” crime instead of felony murder as if there is a larger agenda to establish ‘hate’ as a bona fide.  Obviously, such barbaric mass killings are not normal behavior as the rationale for such conduct must stem from some deep emotional depravity just as the epidemic of suicides of young white males who have lost hope in American society makes no more sense.

There is an endemic crisis throughout the country and the political class are responsible. Decades after federal government elimination of grants for community mental health programs, ‘hate’ is the favorite determinant factor as the world’s most violent nation creates a generation of emotionally or mentally unstable young men, many of whom may be on mind-numbing psychiatric drugs.  Since the MSM has failed to inform the American public of advanced mind control practices; perhaps the MSM itself and the young shooters are part of widespread experiment using MK Ultra or other state-of-the-art brain manipulation techniques.  How would the American public ever know which might be true?

The 21 year old El Paso shooter was immediately identified  as a right wing Trumper acting on behalf of the President’s “hate” rhetoric and that he had posted an anti-immigration racist tract entitled  “An Inconvenient Truth’ – all of which turned out to be something less than the truth.  Decrying mass immigration as an environmental plea for population control sounds more like something John Muir might have written rather than a hate-filled racist diatribe justifying the slaughter.   Perusing the alleged politically charged manifesto  included such statements:  “Our lifestyle is destroying the environment of our country   If we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can become more sustainable.”  There is, however, a problematic psychiatrist father of uncertain character in the background as the shooter drove 650 miles from his home to El Paso before committing the crime and surrendering to authorities.

On the other hand, the Dayton shooter also defies the usual partisan identity and has been acknowledged as a 24-year old member of the Democratic Socialist Party, a Bernie and Elizabeth Warren supporter and was dressed and masked as an Antifa member at the time of the shooting.  His weapons and ammo magazines appear to have been legally acquired, he had a high school history as a bully who kept a hit list and made violent threats.

Meanwhile,  the Democrats who consider themselves the responsible party on gun control,  failed to restore the assault gun ban when they had the votes in 2010 as they prefer fanning the flames of more ‘hate’ by blaming Trump’s loose lips even though the once-revered ACLU does not oppose the Second Amendment.

One wonders that if the El Paso shooter can be tagged with being influenced by Trump rhetoric, did the Dayton shooter receive his inspiration from Antifa or perhaps Elizabeth Warren?   It is too much to expect any rational media voice to inquire – all of which brings us back to the President’s Remarks endorsing the death penalty.

How exactly did this ‘hate’ language make its way into Trump’s remarks as “hate” has become a preoccupation of American society and the Administration as its Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism’s very life purpose is to root out hate – not hate of all kinds but only that of the Jewish variety.

Historically, the American criminal justice system, flawed as it is, requires any jury in a criminal case to consider the Defendant’s level of conscious intent to commit a criminal act as well as the illegality of the act without specificity to the psychological issues of that intent.

Originally, hate crime laws were expected to offer special protection based on an individuals’ sexual orientation, gender, religion, disability or racial identity as perceived by the perpetrator.   In a manner that does not occur in normal criminal proceedings, defining the “hate” component of a crime requires a distinct determination that the defendant’s actions were solely motivated by thoughts of ‘hate.’

In a worse case scenario, is Trump suggesting that the death penalty may be applied to what is determined to be a hate crime even if that crime has not resulted in a death? The reality is that hate crimes may be difficult to distinguish from a run-of-the-mill felony murder, thereby increasing the hate crime penalty makes little sense since first degree murder is already subject to the death penalty.  Therefore, it appears that a redundant death penalty for a crime that would already call for the death penalty is little more than…overkill.

In other words, hate crime prosecution necessarily relies on criminalizing thoughts as the NSA claims it has already developed remote neural monitoring revealing one’s most hidden private thoughts or an iphone may be bugged with implants to reduce impulse control.

Many legal scholars would respond that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and the Due Process Clause in the Fifth Amendment already provides all American citizens with the guaranteed right to equal protection under the law (ie Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade) and therefore such hate laws are unnecessary and may be unconstitutional.

Since the Constitution already protects the rights of aggrieved parties, why would Congress initiate an entirely new category of duplicative Hate Crime laws unless they needed the extra legislative accomplishment to justify their existence or to satisfy prominent politically-connected constituencies or to create a nefarious political agenda.


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Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist with Friends of the Earth and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31. She is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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Vaccines and the Liberal Mind

August 14th, 2019 by Robert F. Kennedy Jr

This article was originally published in June 2018.

Instead of demanding blue-ribbon safety science and encouraging honest, open and responsible debate on the science, too many online outlets are silencing critics and shutting down discussion on this key public health and civil rights issue.


Late last year, Slate published an investigative report detailing how pharmaceutical giant, Merck, used “flawed” and “unreliable” pre-licensing safety studies to push through approval of its multi-billion-dollar bonanza, the HPV vaccine. For veteran safe vaccine advocates, like myself, the most shocking aspect of the expose was that Slate published it at all. Slate and other liberal online publications including Salon, Huffington Post and The Daily Beast customarily block articles that critique vaccine safety in order, they argue, to encourage vaccination and protect public health.

Motivated by this noble purpose, the liberal media—the supposed antidote to corporate and government power—has helped insulate from scrutiny the burgeoning vaccine industry and its two regulators, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Both agencies have pervasive and potentially corrupting financial entanglements with the vaccine manufacturers, according to extensive congressional investigations.

Ironically, liberals routinely lambaste Pharma, and its FDA enablers for putting profits over people. Recent examples include Vioxx (100,000 injured—Merck paid more than $5 billion in fines and settlements), Abilify (Bristol Meyers Squibb paid $515 million for marketing the drug to nursing homes, knowing it can be fatal to seniors), Celebrex and Bextra (Pfizer paid $894 million for bribing public officials and false advertising about safety and effectiveness) and, of course, the opioid crisis, which in 2016 killed more Americans than the 20-year Vietnam War.  What then, makes liberals think that these same companies are immune from similar temptations when it comes to vaccines? There is plenty of evidence that they are not. Merck, the world’s largest vaccine maker, is currently fighting multiple lawsuits, brought by its own scientists, claiming that the company forced them to falsify efficacy data for its MMR vaccine.

The Slate article nowhere discloses that FDA licenses virtually all vaccines using the same mawing safety science deficiencies that brought us Gardasil. FDA claims that “vaccines undergo rigorous safety testing to determine their safety.” But that’s not true. FDA’s choice to classify vaccine makers as “biologics” rather than “drugs” opened a regulatory loophole that allows vaccines to evade any meaningful safety testing. Instead of the multi-year double-blind inert placebo studies—the gold standard of safety science—that the FDA requires prior to licensing other medications, most vaccines now on the CDC’s recommended childhood vaccine schedule were safety tested for only a few days or weeks. For example, the manufacturer’s package insert discloses that Merck’s Hep B vaccine (almost every American infant receives a Hep B shot on the day of birth) underwent, not five years, but a mere five days of safety testing. If the babies in these studies had a seizure—or died—on day six, Merck was under no obligation to disclose those facts.

Furthermore, many vaccines contain dangerous amounts of known neurotoxins like mercury and aluminum and carcinogens like formaldehyde, that are associated with neurodevelopmental disorders, autoimmune problems, food allergies and cancers that might not be diagnosed for many years. A five-day study has no way of spotting such associations. Equally shocking, FDA does not require vaccine manufacturers to measure proposed vaccines against true inert placebos, further obscuring researchers’ capacity to see adverse health effects and virtually guaranteeing that more subtle injuries, such as impaired immune response, loss of IQ or depression, will never be detected—no matter how widespread. Furthermore, the CDC has never studied the impacts on children’s health of combining 50 plus vaccines.

These lax testing requirements can save vaccine manufacturers tens of millions of dollars. That’s one of the reasons for the “gold rush” that has multiplied vaccines from three, when I was a boy, to the 50 plus vaccines that children typically receive today.

There are other compelling reasons why vaccines have become Pharma’s irresistible new profit and growth vehicle. For example, manufacturers of the 50 plus vaccines on CDC’s childhood schedule enjoy what has become a trapped audience of 74 million child consumers who are effectively compelled to purchase an expensive product, sparing vaccine makers additional millions in advertising and marketing costs.

But the biggest economic boon to vaccine makers has been the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA). In 1986, Congress awash in pharmaceutical dollars—Big Pharma is, by far, the top Capitol Hill lobbying group—passed NCVIA giving pharmaceutical companies what amounts to blanket immunity from liability for any injury caused by vaccines. No matter how toxic the ingredients, how negligent the manufacturer or how grievous the harm, vaccine-injured children cannot sue a vaccine company. That extraordinary law eliminated a principal cost associated with making other drugs and left the industry with little economic incentive to make vaccines safe. It also removed lawyers, judges and courts from their traditional roles as guardians of vaccine safety. Since the law’s passage, industry revenues have sky-rocketed from $1 billion to $44 billion.

The absence of critical attention to this exploding industry by liberal online sites is particularly troubling since pharma, using strategic investments, has effectively sidelined, not just Congress, lawyers and courts, but virtually all of our democracy’s usual public health sentinels. Pervasive financial entanglements with vaccine makers and the other alchemies of agency capture have transformed the FDA and CDC into industry sock puppets.

Strong economic drivers—pharmaceutical companies are the biggest network advertisers—discourage mainstream media outlets from criticizing vaccine manufacturers. A network president once told me he would fire any of his news show hosts who allowed me to talk about vaccine safety on air. “Our news division,” he explained, “gets up to 70% of ad revenues from pharma in non-election years.” Furthermore, liberal activists including environmental, human rights, public health and children’s advocates also steer clear of vaccine safety discussions. On other core issues like toxics, guns and cigarettes, the CDC has a long record of friendly collaboration with these advocates who have thereby acquired a knee-jerk impulse to protect the agency from outside criticism.

In this vacuum, online liberal news sites are the last remaining barrier to protect children from corporate greed, yet they have become self-appointed arbiters against exposing the public to negative information about vaccine manufacturers and regulators. Liberal voices are not just sidelined, they are subsumed in the orthodoxy that all vaccines are always good for all people—and the more the better. Working with Pharma reps and their tame politicians, liberal news reporters and columnists across America are laboring in nearly every state to make the CDC vaccine schedule compulsory for children and to eliminate religious, philosophical and even medical exemptions.

As a result, the government/Big Pharma combination has gained unprecedented power to override parental consent and force otherwise healthy children, and other unwilling consumers, to undergo compulsory vaccinations, a shocking advance along the road to a corporate totalitarianism which seeks absolute control, even of our bodies. Keep in mind that there is no authentic dispute that vaccination is a risky medical intervention. It was the wave of lawsuits arising from injuries suffered from the Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis (DTP) vaccine in the 1980s, that caused Congress to pass the NCVIA bestowing immunity on the pharmaceutical industry, which threatened, otherwise, to stop making vaccines. In upholding that law, the Supreme Court declared NCVIA justified because “vaccines are unavoidably unsafe.” Since then, the Federal Vaccine Court, created by NCVIA, has paid out $3.8 billion to vaccine-injured individuals. That number dramatically understates the true gravity of the harm. A Department of Health and Human Services funded report acknowledges that “fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported.”

Supporting a law that forces Americans to relinquish control of their bodies to a corporate/state behemoth is an odd posture for liberals, who once championed the precept of “informed consent,” as the mainstay of the Nuremberg Code and the declarations of Helsinki and Geneva which protect individuals against all coerced medical interventions.

Science suggests that we might have made a big mistake by not aggressively safety testing our mandatory vaccines. Chronic diseases like ADHD, asthma, autoimmune diseases and allergies now affect 54 percent of our children, up from 12.6 percent in 1988, the year NCVIA took effect. And those data measure only the injuries characterized in digital medical records. Health advocates warn that we may be missing subtler injuries like widespread losses in reading and IQ and in executive and behavioral functions.

The suspicion that the neurotoxins in vaccines may be negatively affecting a generation is not wild speculation. Numerous studies point to the once ubiquitous use of leaded gasoline as the cause of widespread IQ loss and violence that bedeviled the generations from the 1960s-1980s.  Is it not possible that dramatically increased infant exposures to aluminum and ethyl mercury—a far more potent neurotoxin than lead—might be significantly debilitating the post NCVIA generation?

The CDC claims that the cause of the sudden explosion in neurodevelopmental disorders, autoimmune illnesses and food allergies that began in the late 1980s, is a mystery. However, vaccine court awards, manufacturers’ package inserts and reams of peer-reviewed science all recognize that many of the chronic diseases that suddenly became epidemic in our children following the passage of NCVIA can be caused by vaccines or their ingredients.

The Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine), the ultimate arbiter of federal vaccine safety science, has listed 155 diseases potentially associated with vaccination and scolded the CDC for failing to study 134 of them. School nurses who have spent decades in their jobs say they are seeing the sickest generation in history. The epidemic has not proven a problem for the vaccine industry. On the back end of the chronic disease explosion, vaccine companies like Merck are making a killing on the EpiPens, antidepressants, stimulants, asthma inhalers and anti-seizure drugs.

Instead of demanding blue-ribbon safety science and encouraging honest, open and responsible debate on the science, liberal blogs shut down discussion on this key public health and civil rights issue, and silence critics, treating faith in vaccines as a religion; the heresy of questioning dogma meets with anathema and excommunication.

The core of liberalism is a healthy skepticism toward government and business. So why do vaccines get a mulligan?


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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a longtime environmental campaigner and author of American Values: Lessons I Learned From My Family (HarperCollins) and Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy. Follow him on Twitter: @RobertKennedyJr

Currently, Britain has a Prime Minister who was elected not by the public, but by around 90,000 Conservative party members. With a majority in the House of Commons of just one seat, without any real political mandate, Britain is being pushed towards a hard Brexit. In little more than 80 days – it is predicted British business will need a bail-out fund to help them survive, the economy will fall straight into recession (described by the BoE as an ‘economic shock‘), jobs will be lost and a constitutional and political crisis will see the beginnings of the eventual end of the union.

Liz Truss addressed an extreme free-market think tank in Washington DC last Friday. which saw campaign group Global Justice Now accusing Boris Johnson’s government of pushing ahead with an extreme US trade deal without a mandate from the public or parliament.

Last week both Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Trade Secretary Liz Truss were in Washington DC to talk trade with US officials. Both ministers are well-known opponents of the sort of regulations and protections that would be threatened by a US trade deal. Liz Truss spoke at a meeting of the extreme free-market Heritage Foundation and has previously held meetings with several free-market think tanks to discuss US-style deregulation.

Last year, the Heritage Foundation co-developed a ‘model-free trade deal’ which would if implemented, completely restructure the British economy. Proposals include:

  • Zero restrictions on cross-border data flow, threatening to hand huge powers to the likes of Amazon, Google and Facebook.
  • Zero restrictions on foreign direct investment in the economy making it harder for post-Brexit Britain to control or tax the activities of big business.
  • Strict prohibitions against the use of ‘nontariff barriers’, which would set off a ‘race to the bottom’ in standards and consumer protections, preventing post-Brexit Britain from being able to stop the import of industrially farmed food like chlorine chicken.
  • Lock-in liberalisation of all services ensuring the continued liberalisation of our NHS.

Nick Dearden, Director of Global Justice Now, said:

“As the government snubs European leaders, so they fall over themselves to get to Washington DC to talk trade with Trump’s officials. That’s because these ministers are committed to an extreme big business agenda which would see Britain cut rights and protections after Brexit, and they know a trade deal with the US can help push those plans forward. Today Trade Secretary Liz Truss is speaking to her friends at the hard-right Heritage Foundation. This is one of the groups that dreamt up a ‘model US-UK trade deal’ which would lay waste to huge swathes of our economy, including farming, and would undermine our public services.

“Even more worrying, this extreme trade agenda is being carried out by a government which has no mandate from parliament or the public. MPs still don’t have the ability to stop or properly scrutinise the government’s negotiations. The public are not allowed to see any details of these talks – even though we are told there are over 100 officials sometimes in the room. This is frighteningly undemocratic, and no wonder, because whenever the public are asked for their opinion about the detail of these trade deals, they are deeply hostile to them.”

The Heritage Foundation (HF) is widely considered one of the world’s most influential public policy research institutes. The Foundation wields considerable influence in Washington DC and is a member of the State Policy Network, a web of right-wing “think tanks” that operates in every state across America. It has strong ties to the tobacco industry, is a proponent of climate science denial, has pushed hard to deny the Affordable Care Act to millions in the USA, was the originator of a policy of an individual mandate to buy health insurance and pushed for the last government shut-down for political gain. They have campaigned to stop immigrant amnesties, stoked anti-immigrant sentiment and is a political organisation feeding off the extreme right-wing Tea Party movement.

The Heritage Foundation also maintains strong ties with the London Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).

This is where part of the underbelly of the extreme Brexit loop lives. The IEA faced two official investigations after it emerged that the thinktank offered potential US donors access to UK government ministers as it raised cash for research to promote free-trade deals demanded by hardline Brexiters. The IEA was caught red-handed when it was filmed in an undercover investigation that confirmed it had arranged for US donors who donated £35,000 to have a private meeting with Steve Baker MP, when he was Brexit minister. This is not just a conflict of interest – it is what most would consider to be corruption.

The IEA also got caught when the casino industry donated £8,000 to the IEA after it published a report calling for more casinos in Britain. IEA was also under investigation by the Charity Commission which raised questions about its charitable status which means it enjoys tax breaks on its £2.3m annual expenditure, when in fact, it is really clearly a hard-right political lobbyist. The Charity Commission then issued a formal warning demanding written assurances from the think tank that it will not engage in further political campaigning. And that was the extent of their punishment.

The plot thickens with the IEA. It has very strong ties with the so-called Legatum Institute – also accused of breaching charity rules. Former Legatum trade chief Shanker Singham, described by a former Labour minister as a ‘hard Brexit Svengali’, was advising PR and lobbying agency Grayling on Brexit and trade. Singham, who has been said to enjoy “unparalleled access” to government ministers also happened to be an advisor to Liam Fox. Legatum got into another scandal when it gave Tory MP Sir Oliver Letwin a £30,000-a-year job, prompting questions over whether it meets rules that say charities must not be party political, which of course, it cannot lay claim to be under such circumstances. Again, most moral observers would consider this to be a corruption of government.

This is nothing short of a cash-for-access, cash-for-questions, cash-for-influence scandal all rolled into one with massive infiltration from a foreign state. The difference is that this time all these scandals are being drowned out by the biggest in Britain’s post-war history – that of Brexit itself. And we should not make any mistake how this has indeed come about – American corporations, its think tanks along with evangelical conservative extremists with direct access to the Trump administration has pumped millions into a project to asset strip, plunder and pillage Britain.


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Jeff Carter is Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

In a statement released today, he said:

“During the second 2020 presidential debate, Senator Elizabeth Warren reiterated her support for a ‘No First Use’ policy on nuclear weapons, stating, ‘It makes the world safer. The United States is not going to use nuclear weapons preemptively, and we need to say so to the entire world.’ Warren is the original sponsor of No First Use legislation in the Senate (S. 272). Physicians for Social Responsibility welcomes discussion of a nuclear ‘No First Use’during a presidential debate. This is a matter of public health and safety, and it’s also a matter of the United States’ moral and political position on the global stage. This is not a partisan issue, and it affects all of us. . . .

“Establishing an official U.S. policy of No First Use of nuclear weapons would provide critical stability and serve as an essential step to preventing potential nuclear conflict. Right now, the United States has withdrawn from almost every multilateral nuclear arms treaty that effectively provided critical verification of arms reduction and helped prevent a new nuclear arms race. Meanwhile, the risk of nuclear war is greater than it’s been since the height of the Cold War. Nuclear weapons make us less safe, not more. Establishing a policy of No First Use puts us back on track and pulls us back from the brink of nuclear war.

“Most Americans don’t want our nation to start a nuclear war; in fact, most Americans think we already have an official policy that we will never start a nuclear war. It’s time to make No First Use a reality. Doing so will signal the seriousness of our commitment to nuclear nonproliferation, and our seriousness of our intent to prevent a nuclear war from ever occurring. It will send a strong signal to other nuclear-armed countries and to those with the potential to develop nuclear arsenals.  When the United States adopts a No First Use policy, this may motivate other nuclear-armed nations to follow suit. People in other nations justify their nuclear buildups by pointing to U.S. policies to ‘keep all options on the table.’ A U.S. declared No First Use policy would remove that justification.”


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As many as 13 million people are expected to sign a petition opposing the US economic blockade of Venezuela and the “genocidal, racist, xenophobe” Donald Trump, according to the Bolivarian government.

Tables have been organised in public squares in cities across Venezuela gathering names for the petition, which will be sent to United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his wife Cilia Flores were the first to sign the petition at the No More Trump rally in Caracas on Saturday.

He said:

“This is a fight for peace against the sanctions imposed by the United States, and the power of the dollar … For 20 years Venezuela has had a popular government. Today, we Venezuelans have dignity and are spiritually united.”

The national drive was launched yesterday and will last until September 10.

Millions signed a similar petition in February when a US-backed coup attempt was launched by president of the illegitimate national assembly Juan Guaido.

He declared himself interim president of Venezuela. But his attempts at launching armed insurrection have failed, with the army and the people of Venezuela remaining loyal to Mr Maduro.

The failure to garner internal support is believed to be behind the executive order signed by US President Donald Trump on August 5 freezing Venezuelan state assets in the US.

The latest measures amount to a near-total blockade and were branded a “criminal act” by Mr Maduro at the Caracas rally.

Government supporters gather for a rally to protest against economic sanctions imposed by the administration of US President Donald Trump, in Caracas, Venezuela, on Saturday (Source: Morning Star)

Sanctions are estimated to have caused 40,000 deaths between 2017 and 2018, according to the Washington-based Centre for Economic & Political Research.

Its report published in April found that Venezuelans were deprived of “lifesaving medicines, medical equipment, food and other essential imports” due to the US embargo.

The non-aligned movement (Nam) has discussed measures to counter the impact of US global sanctions, with 21 countries now included on Washington’s sanctions list.

A gathering of 120 Nam countries met in Caracas last month, issuing a statement that affirmed that only Venezuela can decide its fate. It warned that US sanctions were in breach of the United Nations charter.

The meeting agreed to develop an international financial system independent of US control. President of the general assembly Maria Fernanda Espinosa told those gathered that the Nam was an important strategic partner for the UN, making up two thirds of its total membership — and 55 percent of the world’s population.

“Multilateralism and international law are the only effective formula to achieve a sustainable and lasting peace,” she said.


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Argentina & the Next Global Financial Crisis

August 14th, 2019 by Dr. Jack Rasmus

On August 12, 2019, financial markets in Argentina crashed. The stock market contracted 38% in just one day. The currency, the Peso, fell 20% after falling as low as 30% and recovered to 20% only when Argentina’s central bank raised its interest rate to 75%. Watch next for bond prices, both government and corporate, and especially dollarized bonds which Argentina has loaded up on in recent years, to freefall as well.

What’s going on in Argentina? What’s likely to happen next? And what do the events in Argentina have to do with falling financial asset prices—i.e. stocks, currencies, derivatives, commodity futures, real estate prices, etc.—now underway globally as well?

The precipitating cause of yesterday’s crash in Argentina stocks, peso, bond rates, etc. was the primary presidential election results over the weekend. The election was a preview for the general election that will happen this October. Macri, the current president, a businessman whose election in 2015 was assisted by US interests, lost heavily to his challenger, Alberto Fernandez. Fernandez got 48% of the vote; Macri only 32%. A gap that is likely insurmountable for Macri. It’s almost certain now that Macri will now lose in October. That prospect has global bankers and investors quite worried. For Fernandez is associated with the Kirchner government that held office prior to Macri from 2002 to 2015, and that government refused to pay US hedge funds and other investors the exorbitant rates on Argentina bonds they demanded ever since the last crisis in 2001-02.

The US media and business press today expressed deep confusion over the weekend’s political results. They just can’t understand how Macri could have done so poorly in the primary. As the talking heads put it, ‘Macri’s been putting the economy in order’, why did he lose so badly to Fernandez?

But all the perplexed ‘talking heads’ in the US media needed to do was to look at the facts: Inflation has been running at 56% per year, one of the highest in the world. The pundits say Macri has done well, bringing inflation down from 70% in 2018. But annual inflation rates, whether 56% or 70%, have been devastating real incomes of workers and small businesses. The currency has also been collapsing for two years now, having fallen from an exchange rate of roughly 16 to the US$ in 2017 to 52 to the dollar, after hitting a 60 to the dollar low yesterday. That falling will almost certainly continue in coming weeks. And with the 20% collapse of the peso this past weekend, inflation will now accelerate even faster once again.

Add to that the Argentine real economy has been in recession, contracting the past four quarters on average by more than -5%, with unemployment officially at double digit levels and likely much higher. Industrial production has fallen nearly -10% over the past 12 months, with manufacturing double that, at around -20%.

In other words, living standards have been falling sharply due to both accelerating inflation and chronic double digit job loss for the vast majority of workers and small businesses ever since Macri took office in 2015 and instituted his austerity reforms demanded by the IMF. That austerity has included cutting pensions, slashing government jobs, raising utility costs, eliminating past household subsidies. A third of all Argentina households now officially live in poverty. Is it any wonder then that Argentinians expressed their discontent in the primaries this past weekend? US business media and pundits of course don’t choose to look at this human cost of US neoliberal policies and its corollary of Argentina austerity. For them, it’s just about whether Argentina continues to service its debt to global bankers and whether the stock market in Argentina, the Merval, continues to produce capital gains profits for investors.

But wait. Didn’t Argentina recently receive a record $56 billion loan from the IMF? Isn’t that boosting the economy? No, it isn’t. Because the $56 billion is not going into the real economy. So where is the $56B IMF loan going? It’s going to pay the debt that Argentina owes to global bankers and investors, including the ‘vulture capitalist’ hedge funds, who Macri welcomed back in 2015 after he took office.

The IMF never gives money to a country to spend on stimulating its real economy. Quite the opposite. It extends loans with the condition that the country introduces austerity measures that reduce government spending or raise taxes. So what if that does the opposite—i.e. slows and contracts the real economy. That’s not its objective.

The IMF officially says it lends money to help stabilize a country’s currency. Translated, however, that means lending with the understanding the country first pays off foreign investors to whom it owes money. In fact, IMF loans never even get routed directly to the country. The IMF loan goes directly to paying of principal and interest to the investment banks, hedge funds, and billionaire ‘vulture capitalists’ who get the country indebted in the first place. The IMF actually pays them off and then send the ‘bill’ to the country for repayment—i.e. payment of the principal and interest on the debt it owes the IMF now instead of the private investors. And the debt payments are made with the money extracted from austerity programs levied on workers and the real economy. The IMF is thus the bill collector for big finance capital, and transfers the debt owed from their private investor and banker balance sheets onto its own IMF balance sheet.

The IMF recently loaned Argentina the largest amount it has ever loaned a country, the $56 billion. But it wasn’t the first time it did so. In 2001, caught in a recession that originated in the USA, Argentina couldn’t repay interest on the $100 billion debt it had incurred with private investors in the late 1990s. The IMF stepped in and did its duty. It loaned Argentina money to bail out the private investors. But some of them—led by hedge fund US billionaire Paul Singer—didn’t think the IMF loan terms didn’t pay them enough. Singer and his consortium of vulture capitalist hedge funds kept demanding Argentina pay more. The dispute went on until 2015, when the pre-Macri government was replaced by Macri, an election engineered with the assistance, financial and otherwise, of the Obama government on behalf of Singer and his buddies.

The first thing Macri did when he took office was to pay off Singer and friends the full amount they were demanding since 2001. Where did he get the money for that? From the IMF of course, which loaned Argentina the $56 billion. The payoff also opened the door for Macri & his business friends to get more private loans from US investors. They immediately trotted off to New York, met with the US bankers, and came back with a bag full of private loans. In other words, they loaded up on more private investor debt after ‘borrowing’ from the IMF to pay off the old private investor hedge fund debt.

So how is it that Macri—with big loans from not only the IMF but from New York bankers as well—couldn’t get the Argentina real economy back on its feet the past four years? The IMF money went directly to the hedge funds and vultures. But where did the new private money go? It certainly didn’t go into the real economy—i.e. investment, jobs, household income for consumption, and thus GDP. Likely it’s been skimmed off the top by Macri and his friends in part. The rest diverted to financial markets in Argentina, in the USA, or Europe.

Despite the nearly $100 billion in capital provided by the IMF and New York investors, the Argentina economy has performed poorly ever since Macri took office. In 2016 the Argentina economy contracted. It recovered briefly and slightly from recession in 2017. But in 2018-19 it has fallen into recession once again, this time more deeply as its currency has collapsed, from 16 to the dollar to more than 50 to the $US—with more collapse to come. The loans it arranged since 2015 from New York investors, moreover, have been heavily denominated in US dollars. Argentina has one of the worst run-ups in dollarized private bond debt in the world. That means as the US dollar rises the cost of making payments on that debt also rises.

Not only is the prospect of default on the IMF $56 billion debt in the near future now rising, but the parallel default on corporate debt is also rising. The value of a US dollar denominated bond dropped since last week to 58 cents on the dollar, from 77 cents. Defaults are on the horizon, both government and private, in other words.

The peso’s precipitous collapse also has further ‘knock on’ negative effects that are now intensifying the crisis in the country. Here’s how: As currencies fall in relation to the dollar, what happens is capital flight accelerates from the country. That reduces investment further in the country, in turn exacerbating the recession and layoffs even more. To slow the capital flight from the country, its central bank then typically raises interest rates dramatically. Argentina’s central bank benchmark rate is now an amazing 75%. Rising domestic interest rates further slow the real economy. In turn, the slowing real economy results in domestic stock and bond markets collapsing further—thus feeding back into the financial sector and making it even more unstable and driving financial asset price deflation even more.

What results, in other words, is a negative feedback effect between all financial markets in the country, an effect that dries up the availability of credit in general forcing more layoffs and a deeper recession. That’s what is going on now in Argentina.

But Argentina is just the leading edge of a similar general process of global financial asset price deflation. Argentina is just an intense example of financial asset markets declining everywhere globally. And in that sense its current financial and economic collapse may be the harbinger of things soon to come.

USA and other emerging market economies’ stock markets are now contracting sharply since the beginning of August. The 20%-30% decline of US stock markets last November-December 2018 has resumed. We are beginning to see November-December 2018 events déjà vu all over again. The 2018 stock market contraction was halted temporarily by the US central bank, the Fed, capitulating in late December to Trump and financial interests demanding the bank stop raising interest rates. The Fed halted raising interest rates in January 2019 and both US and emerging market economies’ financial markets regained their losses in the first quarter 2019. Aiding the halt of rate hikes by the Fed was the appearance of an imminent agreement between the US-China on trade, as negotiations resumed between February to May 2019, which also helped to restore stock market losses of 2018.

But two events happened in late July-early August 2019 that have resulted in stock and other financial markets resuming their trajectory of decline of last November-December 2018: the US Federal Reserve cut rates on July 28 by only a token 0.25% when financial markets expected more aggressive action by the Fed; and Trump a day later scuttled the prospect of a trade deal with China by raising more tariffs on $300 billion of China imports. Add to these two events the rise of Boris Johnson as the new UK prime minister and the almost now certain ‘hard Brexit’ coming after October 2019; evidence of German and Italian banks increasingly in trouble; and central banks around the world in a ‘race to the bottom’ to cut their domestic interest rates to lower their currencies exchange value to boost exports as global trade stagnates—now growing at only 0.5% annually and is about to contract for the first time since the 1930s.

Together, all these current events have translated into investors worldwide selling their stocks and other financial assets, and diverting the money into ‘safe havens’—like US Treasuries, the Japanese Yen, and gold. Argentina’s economic mismanagement by Macri has occurred in the context of a global financial asset deflation that only exacerbates Argentina’s crisis—and makes it increasingly difficult to deal with by Argentina alone, notwithstanding the record $56 billion IMF loan.

Look around. The global economy is on the precipice of a potential financial asset market price deflation not seen since 2008. It’s not quite there yet. But the momentum is now clearly in that direction.

Not only have stock prices globally contracted sharply worldwide in just a few weeks, but so too have other financial market prices:

Government bond interest rates are falling rapidly everywhere in the advanced economies. More than $15 trillion in bonds globally are now yielding negative rates. Trillions of Euro bonds are now in negative territory, up more than a $trillion in just the past year, including in Germany, and are continuing to fall further. Currencies are also contracting everywhere (driving up the value of the US dollar). Property prices are leveling off, and have begun to drop. Global oil futures, a financial asset, have fallen 20% again, from $75 a barrel to the low $50s and may soon to fall below $50. The same for many other commodities.

Financial asset prices are deflating across the board and investors are dumping them and converting to cash—i.e. a sure sign of pending global recession. What’s rising in price are the ‘safe havens’ into which the cash is flowing: gold, the Yen, US Treasuries, high end residential properties in select markets in the advanced economies, art works, and even cryptocurrencies. Also rising sharply is the cost of insuring bonds with credit default swap derivatives. In Argentina the CDS cost has accelerated to $38 for every $100 of Argentina debt, and that’s in addition to regular debt principal and interest payments.

But Argentina is just the ‘worst case’ scenario of this global financial asset deflation underway. Its financial asset prices are deflating faster and deeper than others at the moment. It is just the worst case of a more general scenario emerging globally. Global trade volumes have already collapsed, and a recession in the global economy will necessarily follow. Global manufacturing is already in recession. And a global recession tomorrow will only exacerbate Argentina’s current recession today.

Argentina today is therefore likely a harbinger of things to come, i.e. the canary in the global economy coal mine, and the victim of a ‘made in the USA’ global slowdown driven by Trump trade and US monetary policies. Of course, Argentina’s economic crisis can’t be explained alone by US government policies. Macri’s austerity and loading up again on private foreign investor debt and IMF loans since 2015 is also responsible. And Macri’s recent austerity policies to pay for that debt by cutting more pensions, social subsidies, raising utility costs and taxes on households has contributed heavily to Argentina’s current crisis. But that debt and austerity too can be traced back to US vulture capitalists and their friends in the IMF and among New York bankers.


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This article was originally published on the author’s blog site, Jack Rasmus.

Dr. Jack Rasmus is author of the forthcoming book, ‘The Scourge of Neoliberalism: US Economic Policy from Reagan to Trump’, Clarity press, October 1, 2019. He blogs at and his website is He tweets at @drjackrasmus and hosts the Alternative Visions radio show weekly on the Progressive Radio network.

This background text was prepared in the context of the Kuala Lumpur MH17 Conference entitled MH17: The Quest for Justice, organized by JUST, the PGPF and the CRG. 

The underlying objective is to examine the evidence, reveal the truth and uphold the rule of law. 

Today, August 17th 2019, our thoughts are with the families of the victims of the Malaysian Airlines MH17 tragedy. The Conference is dedicated to the memory of the victims. 

It is also a national tragedy for the people of Malaysia. The downing of MH17 with 283 passengers and 15 crew on board, took place barely a few months following the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 after departing on March 8, 2014 from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing, with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board.

It is worth recalling that immediately after the MH17 plane crash on July 17 2014, prior to the conduct of a preliminary investigation, Secretary of State John Kerry and US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power pointed their finger at Moscow without a shred of evidence. In turn,  the allegations directed against Russia were used to justify the imposition of sweeping economic sanctions  against the Russian Federation.

Time: 7:30am-6:00pm
Venue: Main Auditorium, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Kuala Lumpur

According to the official narrative, Malaysian Airlines MH 17 was downed by a BUK anti-aircraft missile by “pro-Russian separatists” with the support of Moscow.

The MH17 Inquiry has been conducted in an insidious fashion, largely responding to political interests.  

Important pieces of evidence including eye witness reports, audio and video material  transmitted through Ukraine Intelligence (SBU) have either been manipulated or excluded from the Dutch inquiry, which largely endorses Washington’s accusations directed against Moscow.

According to Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad  in a statement at the Prime Minister’s office in May 2019:

“They never allowed us to be involved from the very beginning.  This is unfair and unusual. So we can see they are not really looking at the causes of the crash and who was responsible. But already they have decided it must be Russia. So we cannot accept that kind of attitude. We are interested in the rule of law, in justice for everyone irrespective of who is involved.

“They [the West] are accusing Russia but where is the evidence?  


Screenshot Travel Weekly, July 18,2019


The Dutch investigation

Moscow was accused without evidence of being behind the downing of MH17 from the very outset. Both Kiev and Washington concluded prior to the conduct of an investigation that:

“MH17 had likely been brought down by a ground-to-air missile fired from separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine.”

There are three distinct reports:

The first official report on behalf of the Ukrainian government was released by Ukraine’s SBU secret service on August 7 2014, barely three weeks after the MH 17 tragedy (July 17, 2014).

The SBU report (which is discussed later in more detail) accuses pro-Russian rebels of having downed the plane with Moscow’s support.

The Dutch Safety Board Report released in September 2015 largely endorses the BUK missile narrative.

And, a year later in September 2016,  The Dutch Joint investigation Team (JIT)  as part of a criminal investigation “confirmed” that the Malaysian airlines plane was “hit by a Russian-made BUK surface-to-air missile that was brought into Ukraine from Russia before the shootdown and subsequently taken back across the border.”

The assumption prior to the conduct of the DSB investigation was that a BUK missile had brought down MH17, and Russia was behind it.

Concrete evidence supporting other interpretations (including  on site testimonies and the presence of a second aircraft) was casually dismissed by the DSB:

Dutch Safety Board, September 2015 report  (p 9)

The inquiry became increasingly politicized.

President Barack Obama had called up Malaysia’s (former) Prime Minister Najib Razak. At a press conference (July 18, 2014),  “Najib told the press that he had spoken to the Dutch prime minister and the Ukrainian president; In subsequent developments, Prime Minister Najib Razak tacitly accepted the consensus imposed by Washington prior to the conduct of an investigation.

 ‘Obama and I agreed that the investigation will not be hidden and the international teams have to be given access to the crash scene.’

In August 2016, Ukraine president Poroshenko visited Malaysia for discussions with Prime Minister Razak Najib:

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Malaysia will work with Ukraine to bring the perpetrators to justice. “We will do whatever we can to find the truth for the sake of families who lost their loved ones in this tragic incident. “We are waiting for the criminal investigation report, which is expected to be tabled by the year-end, followed by a meeting to decide on the next course of action,” said Najib. (New Straits Times, August 4, 2016)

Washington’s agenda in liaison with the Kiev regime was to blame Russia. This agenda was never questioned by the Najib government.

Erasing the Initial Evidence

Much of the initial evidence and testimony including eyewitness reports (from various independent sources), recorded in July-August 2014 (in the immediate wake of the event) contradicts the official version. This body of evidence has been dismissed and in some cases destroyed.

In September 2015, in its final report, the Dutch Safety Board presented its findings regarding the Buk TELAR surface-to-air missile system which allegedly shot down MH-17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014.

Flash forward to 2018

On 24 May 2018 the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) published an update of its findings pointing (without firm evidence) to the role of the 53 Anti-Missile Brigade of the Russian Army. In May 2018, they launched an appeal for people in Donesk to come forward to corroborate their “findings” re. the deployment of the BUK missile system:

On the following day, the governments of Australia and the Netherlands officially declared that “they hold Russia responsible for the incident”. (see Polygraph Info, May 25, 2018)

Moscow remains the “main suspect” in this politically twisted investigation, which has now led to a legal procedure in the Netherlands directed against the alleged perpetrators.

On June 19, 2019, the International Joint Investigation Team (JIT) announced (video) that international arrest warrants have been issued against four “separatist commanders” of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR). These warrants concern Ukrainian citizen Leonid Kharchenko, and Russian citizens Sergei Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov, and Igor Girkin.

Moreover, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced in mid-July 2019 that “the UK will provide financial support to the specialist criminal court in the Hague” which is slated to host the trial of the four suspects.

In this report we will first focus on the Timeline as well as selected evidence which has been suppressed including the presence of a second aircraft.

We will then review the official report of the Kiev government prepared by Ukraine’s intelligence service (SBU) as well as the role of the SBU in feeding “evidence” to the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT)

Analysis of the Evidence


July 15, 2014. Two Days Before the Tragic Event

A division of Buk missile systems of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was, according to Pravda, deployed to the Donetsk Oblast on July 15, two days before the downing of the Malaysian airlines MH17 flight. The Buk missile system has the capabilities of downing an aircraft flying at 35,000 feet.

Russian Defense sources confirmed the presence of several Ukraine missile batteries in the Donesk oblast operated by the Ukraine armed forces:

‘The Ukrainian military has several batteries of Buk surface-to-air missile systems with at least 27 launchers, capable of bringing down high-flying jets, in the Donetsk region where the Malaysian passenger plane crashed, Russian Defense Ministry said”(RT, July 17, 2014)

The Prosecutor General of Ukraine Vitaliy Yarema confirmed that the Donesk rebels did not have [Ukrainian] Buk or S 300 ground to air missiles which could have downed the plane, which suggests that the missiles of the Ukraine armed forces had been deployed but they were not in the possession of the rebels, a premise which remains central to the US-Kiev official version that the rebels, supported by Moscow, were responsible for attacking Malaysian Airlines MH17.

According to the Kiev Post report: “Ukrainian prosecutor general says militants did not seize Ukrainian air defense launchers”:

“Members of illegal armed units have not seized air defense launchers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Donetsk, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Vitaliy Yarema said.” (Kiev Post, July 19, 2014)

According to Russia’s Itar-Tass report (July 2014)

“After the passenger airliner was downed, the military reported to the president that terrorists do not have our air defense missile systems Buk and S-300,” the general prosecutor [of Ukraine] said. “These weapons were not seized,” he added.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko said on July 17 that the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 airliner had been downed by an air defense missile system Buk.

From both Russian and Ukrainian sources there was evidence of Ukrainian BUK missiles deployed in Eastern Ukraine and official statements that the Donesk rebel forces had no access to the Ukraine Buk air missiles. The Kiev Post report did not (in this July 19 report) mention the presence of Russia BUK missiles in Donetsk oblast.

July 17, 2014. Day of the MH17 Tragedy 

The Boeing-777 of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur “disappeared from the radars and crashed on Thursday evening July 17 near Grabovo in Ukraine’s Donetsk oblast.

The Flight Path of MH17 Was Changed?  July 17 Plane Route was over the Ukraine War-zone

The maps below clearly indicate a change in flight path for Malaysian airlines MH17 on July 17. They also indicate on the map the two regions of Ukraine which are part of the warzone, namely Donetsk and Lugansk.

The first dynamic map compares the two flight paths:

It indicates the regular flight path on July 16th which takes the plane in a Southeasterly direction across the Sea of Azov.

The second flight path which is that of July 17th takes the plane over the Donesk oblast warzone, bordering onto Lugansk oblast.

The four static images  indicate screen shots of the Flight Paths of MH17 for July 14-17, 2014

The information conveyed in these maps suggests that the flight path on July 17 was changed.

MH17 was diverted from the normal South Easterly route over the sea of Azov to a path over the Donetsk oblast.

Who was behind the change of  the flight path? And why was the flight path changed?


Changing MH17 Route From July 14, 2014 to July 17, 2014


Screenshots of Flight Paths of MH17 for July 14-17, 2014

14th July Route15th July Route  16th July Route17th July Route

 The Presence of a Second Aircraft

The presence of another aircraft is corroborated by the Russian Ministry of Defense which pointed to the presence of a Ukrainian Su-25 jet in the flight corridor of the MH17, within proximity of the plane.

While Russian official sources may be considered unreliable and politically inclined, the presence of a second aircraft was also confirmed by numerous witnesses in Donesk oblast as well as by a BBC  report conducted at the crash site on July 23.

“eyewitnesses in the Donetsk region saw Ukrainian warplanes near the passenger jet. They say they heard sounds of powerful blasts and saw a Ukraine warplane shortly before the crash. (ITAR Tass)

The presence of a second aircraft was also confirmed by air traffic controller Luis Lopez reporting in real time (on his twitter) from the Borisopol airport. This source is controversial and cannot be corroborated.  His twitter account was closed down. He was reported to have left Ukraine. He gave a couple of interviews and then disappeared. Was his life threatened?

Suppressed BBC Report

All the eyewitnesses  interviewed by the BBC confirmed the presence of a Ukrainian military aircraft flying within proximity of Malaysian Airlines MH17 at the time that it was shot down:

Eyewitness #1: There were two explosions in the air. And this is how it broke apart. And [the fragments] blew apart like this, to the sides. And when …

Eyewitness #2: … And there was another aircraft, a military one, beside it. Everybody saw it.

Eyewitness #1: Yes, yes. It [second aircraft] was flying under it, because it could be seen. It was proceeding underneath, below the civilian one.

Eyewitness #3: There were sounds of an explosion. But they were in the sky. They came from the sky. Then this plane [second plane] made a sharp turn-around like this. It changed its trajectory and headed in that direction [indicating the direction with her hands].

BBC Report below (removed by BBC) scroll down for alternative youtube version

The original BBC Video Report published by BBC Russian Service on July 23, 2014 was removed by the BBC.

In a bitter irony, The BBC is suppressing its own news productions.

This is the BBC Report which is still available on Youtube  


It had been blocked [March 8, 2016] once more by the BBC. The BBC censors its own reports.

Several other reports and eyewitness testimonies confirm the presence of a second aircraft. Of significance is a December 2014 report by Komsomolskaya Pravda which conducted an interview with a Ukrainian serviceman.

While the substance of the interview (translated from Russian) is contradictory it nonetheless suggests the presence of a second aircraft as confirmed by the suppressed BBC report.

The BBC Refutes and Confirms its Own Lies

It is worth noting that subsequent BBC reports tend to refute the substance of their first onsite investigation in Donesk Oblast with the exception of  a May 2016 BBC documentary which puts forth “several theories”. The documentary puts forth evidence which initially refutes the official story while also intimating and concluding that Russia might have been behind the MH17 tragedy.

The official investigation report into MH17 flight argues that only a powerful ground-to-air missile could be responsible. Yet, there are eyewitness accounts of other aircrafts seen flying next to MH17 close to impact. To further fuel the conspiracies, Russia and Ukraine blame each other but both countries are unable to provide all the critical radar data from that day.  ( See BBC notice here),

According to Australia News in a review of the May 2016 BBC documentary, the Kiev regime is identified as the culprit:

A CONTROVERSIAL new documentary will investigate claims that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a Ukraine fighter jet, instead of a Russian missile.In a new BBC documentary titled ‘The Conspiracy Files: Who Shot Down MH17?’, eyewitnesses will share their accounts of how they saw the aircraft being downed by a nearby fighter jet.

“There are eyewitness accounts of other aircraft seen flying next to MH17 close to impact,” a statement from the BBC said.

Link to the May 2016 BBC Documentary 

Bullet Sized Holes

According to the report of German pilot and airlines expert Peter Haisenko, the MH17 Boeing 777 was not brought down by a missile.

What he observed from the available photos were perforations of the cockpit:

 The facts speak clear and loud and are beyond the realm of speculation: The cockpit shows traces of shelling! You can see the entry and exit holes. The edge of a portion of the holes is bent inwards. These are the smaller holes, round and clean, showing the entry points most likely that of a 30 millimeter caliber projectile. (Revelations of German Pilot: Shocking Analysis of the “Shooting Down” of Malaysian MH17. “Aircraft Was Not Hit by a Missile”Global Research, July 30, 2014)

[click image right to enlarge]

Based on detailed analysis Peter Haisenko reached  the conclusion that the MH17 was not downed by a missile attack:

This aircraft was not hit by a missile in the central portion. The destruction is limited to the cockpit area. Now you have to factor in that this part is constructed of specially reinforced material

Peter Haisenko’s study is consistent with the BBC  report conducted at the crash site on July 23. (which was subsequently suppressed by the BBC).

The OSCE Mission

It is worth noting that the initial statements by OSCE observers (July 31) broadly confirm the findings of Peter Haisenko:

Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe reported that shrapnel-like holes were found in two separate pieces of the fuselage of the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines aircraft that was believed to have been downed by a missile in eastern Ukraine.

Michael Bociurkiw of the OSCE group of monitors at his daily briefing described part of the plane’s fuselage dotted with “shrapnel-like, almost machine gun-like holes.” He said the damage was inspected by Malaysian aviation-security officials .(Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2014)

The monitoring OSCE team has not found evidence of a missile fired from the ground as conveyed by official White House statements. As we recall, the US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power stated –pointing a finger at Russia– that the Malaysian MH17 plane was “likely downed by a surface-to-air missile operated from a separatist-held location”:

The team of international investigators with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are uncertain if the missile used was fired from the ground as US military experts have previously suggested, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported. (Malay Mail online, emphasis added)

The initial OSCE findings dispelled the claim that a BUK missile system brought down the plane.

Evidently, inasmuch as the perforations are attributable to shelling, a shelling operation conducted from the ground could not have brought down an aircraft traveling above 30,000 feet.

No firm evidence that a BUK missile had actually been fired on July 17th 2014

Expert analysis confirms that the firing of a BUK missile would have left a visible white vapor trail in the sky for about ten minutes after firing (see below).

According to witnesses in Donesk oblast, no vapor trail was seen in the sky on that day. What they saw was a second plane.

There were various images of smoke trails presented and analyzed. (see the BBC documentary). These pictures however do not correspond to a clearcut white paper trail associated with the launching of a BUK missile.

There were no satellite images or photographic evidence of a vapor trail.

The following images (from BUK missile tests) indicate the nature of the vapor trail.

   Screenshots of RT documentary, October 22, 2019 

Report of the Russian Union of Engineers (RUE)

A detailed and comprehensive report by the Russian Union of Engineers (English translation) largely corroborates the presence of a Second Aircraft (confirmed by eye witnesses).

“… Russian air traffic control recorded the ascent of a Ukrainian Air Force aircraft, presumably an Su-25, in the direction of the Malaysian Boeing 777. The distance between the SU-25 aircraft from the Boeing 777 was between 3 and 5 km.”

The RUE report also corroborates the bullet hole analysis as well as the statements of the OSCE and Peter Haisenko (mentioned above):

A detailed analysis of its fragments can provide a more complete picture of the causes of the crash. … you can see the different forms of damage to its shell or skin – tears and factures, holes with folds on the outer and the inner sides of the fuselage, tell- tale signs of a powerful external impact on the plane.

Of particular note are the holes folded inward in the fuselage. They are round- bored, and usually grouped. Such holes can only be formed by metal objects with a circular cross-section, possibly rods or shells from an aircraft gun. The question arises: who could deliver such projectiles to the aircraft, by what means, and what might they look like?

The report also focusses on the absence of photographic evidence of a visible vapor trail of a BUK missile.
In this case there has been no evidence of a trail of white condensation which would be by-product of the consumption of rocket fuel which would appear and persist for some minutes after the launch and be visible to those standing in a radius of within 10 km from the missile launch-site. (RUE report, p. 7)
It concludes after careful investigation that the MH17 Boeing 777 was not “brought down by the means of anti-aircraft missile fire from a BUK-M1 installation.”

According to the Russian Union of Engineers: the MH17 Boeing 777  “flying a horizontal course at 10000 metres could quite feasibly find itself within range of the Rocket / Cannon armament of a fighter, either a MIG-29 or an SU-25.” 

Thus, according to the analysts from the Russian Union of Engineers, we have the complete destruction of the Boeing 777 as [a result of] missile systems using “air-to-air” close-combat missiles as well as a 30-mm aircraft cannon or an SPPU-22 container with GSh-23L 23-mm dual-barrel guns. At the same time, when firing on a target, a laser range finder can be used, or a laser sight, that allows for significantly improved accuracy. This is indicated by the pattern of damage and the dispersal of the fragments: there are round holes, which are typically produced as a result of gun shots, and discontinuous holes characteristic of flechette rockets. (RUE report, page 12)

Media Spin: Shrapnel, Bullet Holes, “High Energy Objects” 

 The media has reported that a BUK surface to air missile was indeed fired and exploded before reaching its target.

According to the official explanation (DSB), it was not the missile that brought down the plane, it was the shrapnel resulting from the missile explosion (prior to reaching the plane) which punctured the plane and then led to a loss of pressure.

This is largely the position of the Dutch Safety Board which explains the holes as a result of the explosion of the missile. This is analysis is tenuous. A shelling operation from a jet fighter was simply not considered by the DSB.

The holes according to the DSB report were the result of so-called “high energy objects coming from the warhead [Buk missile]” (i.e shrapnel from the missile). This assessment was used to dispel the evidence concerning the second aircraft.

According to a BBC report (September 9, 2014) “Cockpit window contained numerous small puncture holes suggesting small objects entered from above level of cockpit floor. Damage to forward section indicates plane penetrated by large number of high energy objects from outside”. 

The holes from outside were presented as the result of the explosion of the missile, according to the DSB (13 October 2015)

At 13.20 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) a 9N314M warhead, launched by a Buk surface-to-air missile system from a 320-square-kilometre area in the eastern part of Ukraine, detonated to the left and above the cockpit. The forward section of the aircraft was penetrated by hundreds of high-energy objects coming from the warhead.  

The statement of the OSCE observer Michael Bociurkiw is not acknowledged by the Dutch Safety Board and JIT reports.

According to Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko 

“… international investigators believed data from the flight recorders show “the reason for the destruction and crash of the plane was massive explosive decompression arising from multiple shrapnel perforations from a rocket explosion”.

Surface-to-air missiles such as the Buk system widely believed to have shot the passenger jet down can explode near their targets, blasting a cloud of shrapnel into them.”

In a report, the BBC quoting the official Ukraine statement  says that:

” The downed Malaysia Airlines jet in eastern Ukraine suffered an explosive loss of pressure after it was punctured by shrapnel from a missile…. They say the information came from the plane’s flight data recorders, which are being analysed by British experts.”

“Machine Gun Like Holes” Caused by a Second Aircraft or a BUK Missile?

The shrapnel marks should be distinguished from the small entry and exit holes “most likely that of a 30 millimeter caliber projectile” fired from a military aircraft.  According to the findings of Peter Haisenko:

If we now consider the armament of a typical SU 25 we learn this: It is equipped with a double-barreled 30-mm gun, type GSh-302 / AO-17A, equipped with: a 250 round magazine of anti-tank incendiary shells and splinter-explosive shells (dum-dum), arranged in alternating order. The cockpit of the MH 017 has evidently been fired at from both sides: the entry and exit holes are found on the same fragment of it’s cockpit segment

Our review of the evidence points to

  1. the presence of a second aircraft,
  2. “bullet like holes” pointing to the possibility of an attack by a second aircraft
  3. No firm evidence of a BUK missile attack directed against MH17.
  4. Absence of photographic evidence of a vapor trail from a BUK style missile on July 17, 2014

The Official Kiev Government Report Prepared by Ukraine Intelligence (SBU) 

Of significance, Ukraine’s Secret Service (SBU) was given the mandate by the Ukraine authorities of coordinating and gathering the evidence in Eastern Ukraine as well as transmitting it to the Dutch Safety Board and the JIT.

According to the official SBU report entitled Terrorists and Militants planned cynical terrorist attack at Aeroflot civil aircraft  published on August 7, 2014, the SBU accused Russia of having ordered a false flag attack involving the shooting down of its own Aeroflot plane leading to the death of its own citizens, and then blaming it on Kiev, with Russia using the tragedy as a casus belli pretext to invade Ukraine. According to the report: The Donetsk militia were aiming at a Russian Aeroflot passenger plane and shot down the Malaysian MH17 airliner by mistake.

That’s the official Ukraine government story which was acknowledged by the Ukrainian as well as several Western media. See below.

Kiev Post August 7, 2014

According to Britain’s foremost news tabloid, The Mail on Sunday, quoting the head of Ukraine intelligence, the insidious design of the pro-Russian rebels (allegedly supported by Moscow) was to shoot down a Russian commercial airline plane with tourists en route to Cyprus, with a view to blaming the Ukrainian government. The objective of this alleged “false flag” covert op was to create a justifiable and credible pretext for Vladimir Putin to declare war on Ukraine.

In an utterly twisted logic, according to Ukraine’s head of intelligence:

“the [Donesk] rebels were meant to down [the] Aeroflot plane… to justify the invasion [of Ukraine by Russia]”,

Valentyn Nalyvaichenko (right), head of Ukraine intelligence (24 February 2014 – 18 June 2015)  that the pro-Russian rebels were “aiming at a Russian passenger plane “so Putin had reason to invade”.

“the crime was planned as a ground for bringing of Russian troops into Ukraine, that is – CASUS BELLI for the Russian military invasion.” (Official statement of Ukraine Security Service, in annex below)

In a bitter irony, according to the report, the alleged “false flag” covert op got muddled. The Donesk rebels got it all wrong and hit the MH17 plane by mistake.

That’s the “official line” which was made public by the Kiev government on August 7, 2014, 3 weeks after the MH17 tragedy.

The former head of Ukraine’s secret service has claimed rebels intended to down a Russian airliner to give Vladimir Putin a pretext for invasion – but blasted Flight MH17 out of the sky by mistake.

Why on earth would pro-Russian rebels who are at war with the Kiev regime shoot down a Russian passenger plane AFL-2074 allegedly with a view to harnessing Russia’s support? It does not make sense.

What’s more, according to SBU Chief Valentyn Nalyvaichenko’s  statement, Moscow was helping the pro-Russian rebels in their alleged false flag op to shoot down Russia’s Aeroflot plane by providing them with a Buk missile system, which allegedly had been discretely smuggled across the border to the Donesk region of Eastern Ukraine. The Aeroflot plane was slated to be “shot down over territory controlled by Ukrainian government troops” with the support of Russia:

Valentyn Nalyvaichenko said that Russian-backed fighters were supposed to take their BUK rocket launcher – which had been transported across the Russian border – to a village called Pervomaiskoe in Ukrainian-held territory west of Donetsk.

But they “screwed up”. The Buk rocket launcher was apparently positioned in the wrong rural location and because of that it targeted the MH17 by mistake:

Instead, they mistakenly positioned it in a rebel-controlled village of the same name to the east of the city.

Got it wrong? Valentyn Nalyvaichenko claims pro-Russian rebels targeted the wrong civilian airliner

If they had gone where they had been ordered, he said, they would have hit an Aeroflot flight carrying civilians travelling from Moscow to Larnaca in Cyprus.

Crucially, the crash site would have been in Ukrainian-held territory. (Mail on Sunday, August 9, 2014)

The August 2014 “intelligence” report released by SBU Chief Nalyvaichenko bordered on ridicule and incompetence to say to the least.

(Since its release in August 2014, the link to the original SBU report is no longer available. The full text of the SBU report is published in annex to this article.)

Who is Valentyn Nalyvaichenko. His role in the MH17 investigation

Valentyn Nalyvaichenko commissioned the SBU report on behalf of the Kiev government in July 2014 in coordination with The National Security and National Defense Committee (RNBOU) of which the Secretary General was Andriy Parubiy (February 27, 2014 — August 7, 2014), followed by the appointment of Oleksandr Turchynov (December 16, 2014 — 19 May 2019)

The RNBOU oversees National Security and Intelligence (SBU), the Ministry of Defense, the Armed Forces, Law Enforcement.

Parubiy who is currently president (chair) of the Ukrainian Parliament was the co-founder of the Neo-Nazi  Social-National Party of Ukraine (subsequently renamed Svoboda). He is routinely received with red carpet treatment in Canada, the US and the European Union.

Both  Nalyvaichenko and Parubiy are followers of Ukrainian Nazi leader Stepan Bandera, who collaborated in the mass murderer of Jews, Russians and Poles during World War II. (For more details on Parubiy click here)

Can we trust the SBU? 

Following the MH17 tragedy, the head of Ukraine’s SBU was entrusted with the gathering and feeding of evidence to the Dutch inquiries. In fact most of the information and analysis (including recordings of telephone conversations, video, audio material) transmitted to the JIT emanated from the SBU.

Is the information and evidence transmitted by the SBU reliable?

An indepth forensic analysis conducted by  OG IT Forensic Service led by Akash Rosen points to the manipulation of telephone conversations, video and audio material by the SBU. The OG IT report confirms unequivocally that the “evidence” submitted by Ukraine’s SBU to the JIT has been manipulated.

Akash Rosen was interviewed in the MH17 documentary entitled MH17 Call for Justice, directed by Yana Yerloshova, which sheds light on the deceptive role of Ukraine’s Secret Service.

Fraud and Corruption within the SBU. The Neo-Nazi connection

While the media has remained silent on the matter, the insidious role of the SBU has nonetheless been acknowledged. A December 2015 report in the Irish Times suggests that:

The Dutch government has been warned that the criminal case against those who shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 could be undermined because the Ukrainian security service, the SBU, which has provided key evidence, is widely regarded as institutionally corrupt.

Both justice minister Ard van der Steur and the Dutch public prosecutor’s office are coming under increasing pressure to make statements about the integrity of the evidence gathered by the SBU following a string of scandals, including the sacking of its boss, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko.

The SBU has played a crucial role in two elements of the MH17 investigation. It has handed over phone conversations between pro-Russian rebels intercepted shortly before the jet, …  It was also responsible for securing the main elements of the Boeing 777’s shattered fuselage in the hours after it crashed in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, spreading debris over 50 sq km.

“Institutionally corrupt” is an understatement. The former head of the SBU is an avowed Nazi. Ukraine’s intelligence service not to mention the National Guard and elements within the military in 2014-2015 were largely under the control of two neo-Nazi parties: Svoboda and Right Sector.

The SBU was also in permanent liaison with Western intelligence including the CIA and MI6.

The head of Ukraine intelligence Valentyn Nalyvaichenko appointed by the Kiev regime worked in tandem with the Neo-Nazi Right Sector leader Dmitro Yarosh who in turn played a key role in setting up the Azov Battalion (see image right), a National Guard entity integrated by Neo-Nazis, operating in Eastern Ukraine in so-called “anti-terrorist” operations. Dmitro Yaroch, who became member of parliament was appointed advisor to the Chief of general staff of the Ukrainian army.

Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, “made the accusation on Facebook against Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, head of the Security Service of Ukraine (see the news website reportafter Nalyvaichenko said his organization [the SBU] needed to base its work on the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, or UPA, which murdered thousands of Jews in the ’40s. The UPA under the leadership of Stepan Bandera collaborated with the Third Reich during World War II”( quoted in The Times of Israel 15 April 2015)

In an [April 2015] interview with the local media … Nalyvaichenko said the Security Service “does not need to invent anything new, it is important to build on the traditions of the [Nazi] Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and UPA in the 1930-1950 years.”

The popularity of UPA, which for a time collaborated with the Nazi occupation to further UPA’s ambitions of sovereignty from Russia, has soared in Ukraine since a 2013 revolution that led to armed conflict with pro-Russian militias in Ukraine’s east.

Earlier this month [April 2015], the Ukrainian Parliament passed a bill that opened the door to state recognition of UPA, previously a taboo because of the widespread war crimes committed by its troops. The Times of Israel (15 April 2015)

Those war crimes have not ceased. The Atlantic Council, (June 18, 2015) a Washington Think Tank with close links to both the Pentagon and the US State Department acknowledged that the Right Sector had permeated Ukraine’s military intelligence apparatus:

Poroshenko Bloc MP Serhiy Leshchenko released a document confirming old rumors that Right Sector’s Dmitro Yarosh [Neo-Nazi leader] worked for Nalyvaichenko when he was a member of parliament from 2012 to 2014. While the connection between the two raises some questions about the events of Euromaidan and the origins of Right Sector, this attack alone wasn’t enough to discredit Nalyvychenko. Yarosh is now a member of parliament and an advisor to the chief of general staff of the Ukrainian army. In other words, Yarosh has been legitimized by the political establishment. . . .

Details of the SBU Report

While the SBU report focussing on an alleged false flag was casually acknowledged by the Western media, Washington remained silent on the matter. Nobody in the US intelligence community acknowledged or corroborated the statement of their Ukrainian counterparts.

Moreover, while the SBU was feeding “evidence” to the Dutch inquiries, the SBU report (August 7, 2014) was not acknowledged or mentioned in the reports of the Dutch Safety Board and the JIT.

As we recall, immediately after the MH17 plane crash on July 17 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry and US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power pointed their finger at Moscow without a shred of evidence. In the wake of this official and “authoritative” SBU August 7 2014 announcement by the Kiev regime, Obama, Kerry, Samantha Power et al, chose to remain mum.  The Ukraine Secret Service’s official statement concerning the crash of Malaysian airlines MH17 was so outlandish. It simply did not fit the usual mold of media disinformation.

In a new and rather unusual twist, however,  according to the Kiev regime, the Donetsk militia did not intend to shoot down Malaysian airlines MH17.

What the “pro-Russian rebels” (according to the SBU report) were aiming at was a Russian Aeroflot passenger plane. The MH17 was shot down “by mistake” according to an official statement by the head of Ukraine’s Secret Service, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko (Ukraine News Service, August 7, 2014).

According to SBU Chief Nalyvaichenko:

“Ukraine’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies have established during the investigation into a terrorist attack on the Boeing… that on that day, July 17, and at that time military mercenaries and terrorists from the Russian Federation planned to carry out a terrorist attack against a passenger aircraft of Aeroflot en route from Moscow to Larnaca… as a pretext for the further invasion by Russia,”

“This cynical terrorist attack was planned for the day when the [Malaysia Airlines] plane happened to fly by, planned by war criminals as a pretext for the further military invasion by the Russian Federation, that is, there would be a casus belli,” he added.

Thus, according Nalyvaichenko, the terrorists downed the Malaysian airliner by mistake.” (Ukraine Interfax News, August 8, 2014)

According to the Daily Mail (August 9, 2014):

The head of Ukraine’s secret service has claimed rebels intended to down a Russian airliner to give Vladimir Putin a pretext for invasion – but blasted Flight MH17 out of the sky by mistake.

Nalyvaichenko said that the Kiev government reached this conclusion “in the course of its own investigation into the downing of MH17”.

“Had the terrorists succeeded in downing the Aeroflot jet, it would have created the needed casus belli for Russia to invade Ukraine from its East to its West” according to Nalyvaichenko (see Tweet above, see also Transcript of August 7, 2014 SBU document in Annex)

While Nalyvaichenko was dismissed by Poroshenko from the SBU in June 2015, much of the “evidence” of MH!7 had been gathered and processed during his mandate.  There was no visible shift in direction of the SBU following his dismissal. Nalyvaichenko’s Deputy Vasyl Hrytsak was appointed head of SBU (July 2015- May 2019)

The so-called “pro-Russian rebels” had allegedly planned an Operation Northwoods type “false flag” with utmost proficiency. The covert op allegedly consisted in downing a Russian passenger plane with Moscow’s support. The alleged objective was for Moscow to place the blame on the government of Ukraine for having ordered the downing of the Aeroflot plane (resulting in the deaths of Russian tourists), thereby creating a “useful wave of indignation” across the Russian Federation.

The  alleged “false flag” slated to be implemented by the Donetsk “terrorists and mercenaries” would then, according to the scenario depicted by Ukraine’s Chief Spy, spearhead public support for a Russian invasion of Ukraine, with patriotic Russian troops coming to the rescue of the “pro-Russian separatists”:

The mass killing of Russian tourists could then have been blamed on the Ukrainian army, giving Moscow a justification for invasion, said Mr Nalyvaichenko, head of the Ukrainian intelligence service, the SBU. (Daily Mail, August 9, 2014)

The official SBU report states that the:

“The Russian side would need a compelling argument for such a step, for example accusation of the Ukrainian government in mass murder of the Russian citizens [on the plane]” (See complete SBU statement in Annex below).

According to the head of Ukraine’s Secret Service: “It is incredibly cynical that the act of terrorism was planned [by the rebels] against peaceful innocent Russian citizens who were on the way to their holidays with children”:

‘This cynical terrorist act was intended to justify an immediate military invasion by the Russian Federation,’ he said.

Aeroflot flight AFL2074 was close to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 when it was blown out of the sky on July 17, killing all 298 on board, he said.

… He claimed this was a significant conclusion of Kiev’s probe into MH17’s downing. (Daily Mail, August 8, 2019)

A Russian invasion plan had allegedly been scheduled –according to the official SBU report– to commence on July 18, on the day following the planned downing of Aeroflot flight 2074. But when the MH17 flight was downed by mistake, the Russian invasion plan scheduled for July 18, according to the Kiev scenario, was cancelled.

This whole scenario was fabricated. There were no indications or evidence that Russia was preparing to invade Ukraine on July 18th, 2014.

Mainstream Media Response to Kiev Regime’s Accusations

Normally, the Western media would provide ample coverage and commentary to an official Kiev statement pertaining to MH17 accusing Russia. It’s part of the MSM routine of “Russia bashing” and demonizing president Vladimir Putin.

With the exception of Ukraine News Service and London’s Daily Mail, however, the official statement of the head of Ukraine’s Secret Service went largely unnoticed. Normally, a declaration of this nature would be picked up by the wire services with syndicated reports flooding the front page of the Western news chain.

 Screenshot Daily Mail on Sunday, August 09, 2014

Was the mainstream media instructed to temporarily “put a hold” on reporting the “revelations” of  Ukraine’s Secret Service.

The Kiev regime’s allegations are far-fetched to say the least: the Donesk rebels –largely involved in combat operations– had neither the capabilities nor the desire to undertake a complex intelligence operation of this nature. What purpose would it serve? Cui Bono?

Does Russia require a fake humanitarian pretext to intervene when several thousand civilians in the Donbass region had been killed by the Azov Battalion (image right, flag with Nazi SS symbol) and Ukrainian Armed Forces, not to mention the Odessa massacre perpetrated by the Kiev regime’s Neo-Nazi national guard.

Ironically, barely four days after being accused by Kiev of planning to invade Ukraine, Russia’s President Putin agreed with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso that Moscow would not only collaborate with the Red Cross on channeling humanitarian aid to Eastern Ukraine through Russian territory, but that the agreement reached with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), had the support of the Kiev government.

It is worth noting that neither the Russian government nor the Russian media have commented extensively on (or responded to) the accusations directed against Moscow contained in Ukraine’s dodgy Secret Service’s MH17 report.

Dodgy Ukraine MH17 Intelligence Report: Kiev’s Western “Allies”

Was Washington consulted before the release of the dodgy SBU False Flag report?

Did Washington give them the “Green Light” to release the SBU report as a means of “Framing Russia”? Or did the White House or the State Department decide that the SBU’s “fake intelligence” was visibly flawed and could not effectively be used for propaganda purposes against Russia?

Were the CIA and MI6 consulted? Britain’s Secret Service MI6 subsequently had access to the plane’s black box, which was handed over by a Malaysian official to the Dutch task force which in turn was entrusted to an unnamed partner entity in the UK.

Concluding Remarks

The Day After

According to the SBU in its August 7, 2014 official report on behalf of the Ukraine government, the Kremlin’s planned “false flag” to bring down a commercial Aeroflot flight en route to Cyprus and blame the tragedy on the Kiev regime, was to be used to justify the launching of a major war against Ukraine.

the crime was planned as a ground for bringing of Russian troops into Ukraine, that is – CASUS BELLI for the Russian military invasion.  …

“the [Donesk] rebels were meant to down [the] Aeroflot plane… to justify the invasion [of Ukraine by Russia]” (see complete text in Annex)

These statements border on ridicule. They reveal the corrupt and criminal nature of  the SBU.

If a Russian military invasion of Ukraine had been planned to commence on July 18th, 2014 there would have been ample evidence of deployment and movement of Russian forces in proximity of the border in the days prior to the July 17th tragedy. Sloppy intelligence? No such evidence was forthcoming indicating the movement of Russian forces.

It is worth noting that the only movement of military hardware documented by both Ukrainian and Russian sources was the deployment of a BUK missile system belonging to the Ukrainian armed forces, reported on July 15, 2014.

According to Ukrainian sources, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Vitaliy Yarema confirmed that “the Donesk rebels did not have [Ukrainian] Buk or S 300 ground to air missiles which could have downed the plane”, which suggests that the missiles of the Ukraine armed forces had been deployed but they were not in the possession of the rebels, a premise which remains central to the US-Kiev official version that the rebels, supported by Moscow, were responsible for attacking Malaysian Airlines MH17.

A final note:

The alleged Russian Invasion Plan was slated to start on the 18th according to SBU Chief Nalyvaichenko.

Intelligence data proved that on July 18 the militants have already waited for the introduction of Russian Armed forces into the territory of Ukraine. (See official report of Ukraine Security Service (SBU, in annex below)

This account  seems to be at odds with both the SBU and JIT statements that the alleged Russian BUK Missile  had been brought in secretly on the 16th of July into Donesk, and was planned to be discreetly moved back across the border into Russia on the 17th or 18th.

If Russia had been planning an invasion to commence on July 18th, why on earth would they need to discretely move their military hardware back across the border to Russia.



Official Statement of Ukraine’s Security Service (August 7, 2014)…/article;jsessionid=73352780A12C97E27DD0BF852482D3C0.app1

Terrorists and Militants planned cynical terrorist attack at Aeroflot civil aircraft

retrieved at Way Back Machine Archive

Screenshot of original report


[emphasis added]

During the investigation of Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 downing the law enforcement and intelligence bodies established that terrorists and militants have cynically planned the terrorist attack at Aeroflot civil aircraft, AFL-2074 Moscow-Larnaca, which was flying over the territory of Ukraine at that moment. Hereof informed the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine Mr. Valentyn Nalyvaichenko during the briefing today.

He underlined – the crime was planned as a ground for bringing of Russian troops into Ukraine, that is – CASUS BELLI for the Russian military invasion.

According to the official Ukrainian data, June 17, 2014, at the mentioned time two regular international flights were operating over the territory of Ukraine following the filed requests for aircraft clearance – MAS17 plane of the Malaysia Airlines and AFL-2074 one of Aeroflot.

The routes of the mentioned international flights were approaching the sky over Donetsk. At 16:09 in the area of Novomykolaivka town the routes of the mentioned flights crossed. It is worth noting that the flight specifications of the aircrafts were almost identical – the Malaysian aircraft flew at a height of 10,100 m at a speed 909 km/h, while the Russian one – at a height of 10,600 m at a speed 768 km/h.

At 16:20 from the area of ‘Pervomaiske’ village, north-east from Donetsk, near the town of Torez, terrorists shot down the Malaysian jet, which then crashed near Grabove, Donetsk region.

According to the intercepted and published data about the ‘Buk” missile system, the terrorists had received an order to place the system near ‘Pervomaiskoe’ village, V. Nalyvaichenko mentioned. The namesake village is located about 20 km to the north-east from Donetsk.

The terrorists (most of them are not locals, but the Russian mercenaries) misrecognized the namesake villages and moved the other way, the SSU Head said. The odd route of the ‘Buk’ missile system on the territory of Ukraine proves that fact. The system crossed the Russia-Ukraine border in Luhansk region, then was deployed westward to Donetsk and moved back to the border between Donetsk and Luhansk regions afterwards.

By setting up the ‘Buk’ missile system in ‘Pervomaiske’ village located to the west from Donetsk and taking into consideration the military specifications of the weapon, the terrorists could have shot down the Russian civilian jetliner with its further crashing on the Ukrainian territory controlled by the ATO [Ukraine] forces.

In that case Russia would receive an opportunity to accuse the Ukrainian authorities of downing the Russian plane, assaulting the Russian citizens and would use this irresistible proof for its invasion into Ukraine.

Russian side would need a compelling argument for such a step, for example accusation of the Ukrainian government in mass murder of the Russian citizens.

“A peculiar cynicism appears in the fact that the terrorist act was planned just against the peaceful, innocent Russian citizens, who were flying with their children on vacation”, – V. Nalyvaichenko, stressed.

Intelligence data proved that on July 18 the militants have already waited for the introduction of Russian Armed forces into the territory of Ukraine. The Russian side had been giving grounding for such developments for the several previous days. The Russian Mass Media had massively published information about the alleged shelling of the RF territory from the Ukrainian side.

For further details see  [link no longer available];jsessionid=73352780A12C97E27DD0BF852482D3C0.app1?art_id=129860&cat_id=35317

can be retrieved at the WayBack archive

screenshot of original report

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Killing Julian Assange Slowly

August 14th, 2019 by Stephen Lendman

Since April 11 when unlawfully dragged from Ecuador’s London embassy to captivity, Assange has languished under draconian conditions in a UK dungeon at the behest of the Trump regime, wanting him tried in the US for the “crime” of truth-telling journalism. More on this below.


Dark forces in the US, other Western states, Israel, and most everywhere else greatly fear widespread public knowledge of their wrongdoing against ordinary people to benefit privileged ones.

They want it kept out of the mainstream, notably not on television and in print publications with widespread readership.

If the fourth estate gave news consumers a daily diet of what’s vital to know about domestic and geopolitical issues, another world would be possible — plowshares replacing swords, social justice over neoliberal harshness, equity and justice for all, nations fit and safe to live in for all their citizens and residents.

Notably in hegemonic America, if ordinary people understood the bipartisan plot against their rights and welfare in service to monied interests, a national convulsion could follow, a possible revolutionary uprising, maybe yellow vest-type protests involving millions demanding justice.

That’s why dark forces in America want whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and investigative journalists like Julian Assange silenced and punished.

Digital democracy is the last frontier of free and open expression, the only reliable independent space for real news, information and analysis – enabling anyone to freely express views on any topics.

Government censorship is an ominous possibility. In America and other Western societies, democracies in name only, the real thing prohibited, censorship increasingly is the new normal.

What’s going on is the hallmark of totalitarian rule – controlling the message, eliminating what conflicts with it, notably on major geopolitical issues.

Losing the right of free expression endangers all others. When truth-telling and dissent are considered threats to national security, free and open societies no longer exist – the slippery slope America and other Western societies are heading on.

On August 11, Activist reported that

“leaked documents show (the) White House is planning (an) executive order to censor the Internet.”

If indeed planned, the Trump regime plot involves having the corporate-controlled FCC and FTC decide what’s permitted and banned online, a frightening prospect.

In America, Big Brother watches everyone. Will the same dark force henceforth end digital democracy as now exists by executive order — to become the law of the land if not judicially overruled.

Are things heading toward criminalizing truth-telling independent journalists, risking a fate similar to Assange.

John Pilger tweeted the following:

“Do not forget Julian #Assange. Or you will lose him. I saw him in Belmarsh prison and his health has deteriorated.”

“Treated worse than a murderer, he is isolated, medicated and denied the tools to fight the bogus charges of a US extradition. I now fear for him. Do not forget him.”

His mother Christine tweeted the following:

“My son Julian Assange is being slowly, cruelly & unlawfully assassinated by the US/UK Govts for multi-award winning journalism revealing war crimes & corruption! I’m tweeting/retweeting #FreeAssangeNOW.”

In May, UN special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer said the following:

“My most urgent concern is that, in the United States, Mr. Assange would be exposed to a real risk of serious violations of his human rights, including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial and the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” adding:

“In the course of the past nine years, Mr. Assange has been exposed to persistent, progressively severe abuse ranging from systematic judicial persecution and arbitrary confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy, to his oppressive isolation, harassment and surveillance inside the embassy, and from deliberate collective ridicule, insults and humiliation, to open instigation of violence and even repeated calls for his assassination.”

On May 9, Melzer visited him at London’s high-security Belmarsh prison, accompanied by two medical experts on the effects of torture and other forms of abuse, explaining the following:

“It was obvious that Mr Assange’s health has been seriously affected by the extremely hostile and arbitrary environment he has been exposed to for many years” — compounded by imprisonment at Belmarsh on orders by the Trump regime.

Besides poor physical health needing treatment not adequately gotten, Assange showed “all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma.”

Three months later, he likely deteriorated further, last spring too weak and ill to communicate normally.

Britain in cahoots with the Trump regime may want him dead from prolonged imprisonment and neglect.

They may not want him extradited following a federal district court dismissal of a DNC suit against Russia, WikiLeaks, and the Trump campaign.

Judge John Koeltl said

“(t)he DNC cannot hold these defendants liable for aiding and abetting publication when they would have been entitled to publish the stolen documents themselves without liability,” he stressed, adding:

Its lawsuit was “entirely divorced” from the facts…(riddled with) substantive legal defect(s).”

“The Court has considered all of the arguments raised by the parties. (They’re) either moot or without merit.”

Absolving WikiLeaks of wrongdoing applies to Assange, its founder and editor-in-chief when active — meaning US federal courts at the district, appeals, and highest level could absolve him at trial, citing First Amendment free expression rights, defeating the Trump regime’s aim to imprison him longterm.

With this in mind, they may want him languishing behind bars in London, wanting him killed by neglect to avoid an embarrassing judicial defeat if US courts support First Amendment speech and media freedoms — what earlier Supreme Court rulings upheld.

WikiLeaks is an investigative journalism operation. Media freedom is a constitutional right — no matter how unacceptable or offensive views expressed may be to certain parties.

Abolishing the right jeopardizes all others. Injustice to Chelsea Manning and Assange threatens the right of everyone to express views freely.

It’s the most fundamental of all rights. Without it, anyone expressing views publicly that challenge the official narrative on vital issues is vulnerable to prosecution for the “crime” of speech or media freedom.


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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at

Featured image is from 21st Century Wire

It’s certainly peculiar that the international activist community cares more for the Rohingyas than the Kashmiris despite both of these people being Muslim minorities that are facing a similar threat of ethnic cleansing, which suggests that there must be more behind their double standards than initially meets the eye.


The international activist community rallied in solidarity with the Rohingyas after a sweeping anti-terrorist operation by Myanmar’s security services saw the displacement of hundreds of thousands of this Muslim minority group a few years ago, yet these same activists have done little if anything to support the Kashmiris who are facing an imminent threat of something similar befalling them after India’s “Israeli”-like unilateral move against them last week. There’s nothing on the surface to explain these self-evident double standards in applying different approaches towards both Muslim minorities, meaning that other factors must be at play. It’s impossible to know with absolute certainty what they are since each person is accountable for their own actions or lack thereof, but Islamophobia can safely be ruled out since it wouldn’t make sense for someone who believes in this hateful ideology to support the Rohingyas to begin with.

The explanation therefore might be more political than social, meaning that the international reputations of Myanmar and India respectively could have something to do with it. The first-mentioned was internationally condemned by many for previously being run by a military junta that still commands decisive influence over the state to this day, while the latter is wrongly regarded as the “world’s largest democracy” as a result of its successful soft power policies over the decades. It might thus be difficult for someone to accept that the “world’s largest democracy” is run by radical extremists espousing a Hitler-like view of Hindu supremacy and poised to commit ethnic cleansing like Pakistani Prime Minister Khan warned the world about over the weekend while it’s much easier to imagine that a so-called “military dictatorship” would be interested in doing this instead. In other words, the perception that each person has towards these two countries and the way that they’ve been conditioned over the years to view them probably has a lot to do with their double standards.

Should this be the case, then the solution is rather obvious, and it’s that the international activist community needs to be educated about the reality of what India’s turned into today (or one can argue, has always been). It’s with this in mind that Prime Minister Khan’s tweets over the weekend can be seen in a new light since they’re intended to shock readers with the truth so that they take the initiative to learn more about what he wrote. It’s important to note that his warning comes ahead of Pakistan taking the latest Kashmir Crisis to the UNSC, during which time the rest of the world will have the opportunity to learn more about this issue. As such, the Prime Minister’s tweets and his diplomats’ efforts represent a concerted attempt to educate the international community about the danger that India’s recent moves pose to the Kashmiris, thus revealing that the global pivot state is finally beginning to take its perception management responsibilities seriously in response to the imminent threat of ethnic cleansing that might result in a Rohingya-like flood of refugees.


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This article was originally published on Eurasia Future.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

The ‘Idiot Box’ – Now More than Ever!

August 13th, 2019 by Philip A Farruggio

For decades many critics of broadcast television labeled it ‘The idiot box’. As Ed Norton said in a Honeymooners episode “Maybe the phrase fits.'” Well, today, perhaps more than ever before, we all must be idiots to continue viewing it.

Let’s first examine the news and news talk shows that seem to almost go 24/7 along with their cousin, the sports and sports talk shows. You stroll down the dial and you get mostly millionaire and wannabe millionaire pundits labeled as journalists, political analysts, Democratic or Republican strategists (how I just love that term), or contributors to their channel of servitude – usually CNN, Fox or MSNBC.

Amazing how every single one of these people gladly and regularly serve the Military Industrial Empire! The only delineating factor is if they are with the Republicans or Democrats… period! What in God’s name could any of these wealthy people understand how we working stiffs, or worse than that, unemployed or homeless Amerikans are going through? Really! They sit there and pontificate on the subject of a Medicare for All ideal, always finding some fault in it, whether they be from either of the two corrupt and hypocritical parties. If anyone reading this is a millionaire, or goodness, a mega millionaire, paying out $ 15- $ 20k a year for what they call a Cadillac Health Plan would be a drop in the bucket (of course we taxpayers subsidize the plan our elected officials get gratis). So, how can they ever comprehend the stress that NOT having such a plan means? Ditto for paying rent to an Absentee Landlord when that figure eats up too large a portion of one’s wages. Need I go down the list of the costs of raising a child or children on the wages most of us have to survive on? The faces we see on that idiot box do not, in most cases, have even a clue!

You turn on the sports talk shows, as I used to do too much of the time, and the dribble that comes out of the mouths of those sports journalistsis overwhelming! This economic system is so skewed that any working stiff should now realize the futility of it all. All of these sports talk shows readily accept the fact that the pro sports like football, basketball and baseball pay these players mega millions of dollars. Imagine the debates that these sports talk shills have on about some  above average player demanding a salary of $ 300 million dollars over 10 years. They don’t argue that the whole enchilada is ridiculous, when guys are earning that much to throw or catch a ball or make a basket while we suckers pay through the nose to watch.

No, to these whores of the sports media the more these guys get paid, the more they can get paid as water carriers. Of course, to them and to the players this all is fine and dandy, because the owners  of both the teams and the media channels are raking in billions! Going to a game in person, with a couple of kids, will cost, just for middle of the road seats, at least hundreds of dollars! For one game! As a baby boomer, I can recall taking my two sons to a Met game in the 1970s and paying out maybe $ 75 for everything: parking , tickets, food and drinks and programs.

How about the people you vote to represent we working stiffs? This is from the 2018 Roll Call listing: 

In 2018, to rank among the top 50 wealthiest members of Congress required a net worth of at least $7.5 million.

Source: Roll Call (2018)[1]

When you tune into that idiot box just remember that you are viewing a club of super rich people. It does not matter if it is news, politics, sports or any type of entertainment… these folks do NOT have a clue as to what you and your family and friends are up against each and every day. They all are NOT representative of anything worth appreciating. So, who are the real idiots here?


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Philip A Farruggio is a contributing editor for The Greanville Post. He is also frequently posted on Global Research, Nation of Change, World News Trust and Off Guardian sites. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen and a graduate of Brooklyn College, class of 1974. Since the 2000 election debacle Philip has written over 300 columns on the Military Industrial Empire and other facets of life in an upside down America. He is also host of the ‘It’s the Empire… Stupid‘ radio show, co produced by Chuck Gregory. Philip can be reached at [email protected].

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The Epstein Mystery

August 13th, 2019 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

I appreciate my readers’ confidence in me.  However, I cannot clear up the Epstein matter for you.  Perhaps I can help you to think about it in a careful way.

First of all, many jail “suicides” are murders.  In 1995 Jesse Trentadue’s brother, Kenneth,  was mistakenly identified as the possible “missing man” who was thought to be involved in the Oklahoma City bombing and beaten to death in a federal prison by federal agents. 

The prison claimed Kenneth hung himself in his cell.  The state coroner refused to confirm the suicide verdict and only much later after much pressure ceased his resistance to the coverup.  The prison wanted to cremate the body rather than return the body to family for burial.  But Jesse, a Salt Lake City attorney was suspicious.  When the body was returned, it was covered in heavy makeup.  Investigation revealed head lacerations, bruises and burns all over and other contusions that obviously were not self-inflicted and could not possibly have occurred from hanging. Apparently, Kenneth was tortured and beaten to death in an effort to get a confession. Jesse has been trying to get to get justice for the family for 24 years, but has been stonewalled by the US Department of Justice (sic). 

It is not possible to commit suicide when a person is on suicide watch.  Former inmates and prison guards and correctional personnel have stated with certainty that Epstein did not commit suicide by hanging himself.

The only questions before us are:  Was Epstein murdered in order to protect members of the elite? Was Epstein switched out by the Deep State and a dead person of similar appearance left in his place?

Last week those who said that Epstein would not make it to trial because so many prominent people would be implicated were dismissed as “conspiracy theorists.”  This week we know the “conspiracy theorists” were right. Epstein did not make it to trial.

But we don’t know that he is dead.  This report on Intellihub might be a fabrication posted to attract readers. 

Or it might be a false report put out by the deep state to distract attention from a suspicious suicide. James Jesus Angleton, head of CIA counter-intelligence, once told me that when the CIA pulls off something, it muddies the waters by placing different and conflicting stories in the media.  The result, he said, is that there is too much to investigate, and people end up arguing with one another over which story is correct, and the facts of the event are never investigated. Today with the Internet all sorts of stories can be put into play in order to cover an event in confusion.

When you hear someone trying to discredit a view by calling it a “conspiracy theory,” be suspicious.  The CIA invented “conspiracy theory” in order to control the explanation of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination by discrediting skeptics of the official explanation. 

We won’t know that Epstein is not alive and enjoying life with underage females in a CIA safe house until people who knew him well and are not endangered by investigation of his pedophile activities identify the body, and non-official, non-governmental experts identify the body via DNA. Even with these steps, we cannot know that investigators were not bribed or threatened.

Much will be done to add to the confusion and doubt.  Already we have a delayed autopsy report, and  involvement of a pathologist who supported the unbelievable single bullet explanation of President Kennedy’s murder.  

Contradictory information grows by the day. Now there are reports, allegedly from official sources, that Epstein was taken off suicide watch shortly before his “suicide.”  This report is necessary to support the verdict of suicide as suicide is not possible in a suicide-proof cell.  

The odds are heavy against us ever being given a clear and convincing explanation.  The only way you can know is to study the situation very carefully, consider the ever-changing story, and make up your own mind.  Official explanations, such as President Kennedy’s assassination, Robert Kennedy’s assassination, Martin Luther King’s assassination, the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, and 9/11, are never correct.  

Epstein’s trial would have discredited the American elite and simply was not permitted to happen.  For the same reason, we will never know what really happened to Epstein.


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Dr. Paul Craig Roberts writes on his blog, Paul Craig Roberts Institute for Political Economy, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from Wikimedia Commons

By 1920, America had become by far the world’s richest country, whose strength held sway over much of the Western hemisphere, and was stretching further eastwards. As her influence expanded, the United States was posing a serious problem for the Empire of Japan, a major power with its own territorial ambitions.

Unlike Japan, the US had access to some of the earth’s most resource-rich areas while enjoying unequalled security and scope. To justify US claims, pertaining to the Americas, Washington’s statesmen occasionally invoked long-held principles of the 1823 Monroe Doctrine.

US president Calvin Coolidge (in office 1923-1929) said, in a White House statement of January 1927, that the Monroe Doctrine has a “distinct place” in US foreign policy – allowing American governments to act as they see fit in countries such as Nicaragua, in Central America. President Coolidge informed Congress on 10 January 1927 that,

“The US cannot, therefore, fail to view with deep concern any serious threat to stability and constitutional government in Nicaragua tending towards anarchy and jeopardizing American interests”.

The US marines once more entered Nicaragua to remove any “outside influence”, in a nation whose capital city Managua is almost 2,000 miles from Washington.

The Monroe Doctrine prevailed with little dispute. Yet in the east Asian and Pacific regions, very different attitudes were at large. An “Open Door Policy” existed for decades with regard to China, the world’s fourth largest country, which allowed elite Western power far from home to encroach upon Japanese regional designs. After all, eastern China is situated just a few hundred miles west of Japan. By the late 1920s, there was also more than 5,000 US marines stationed on Chinese soil.

Resource-laden Manchuria, located in the north-east of China, constituted a land area that became an obsession for the Japanese. By 1931 Manchuria was under threat not only from Chinese nationalists, but from the mighty USSR looming on northern horizons.

Come the early 1930s, Manchuria was home to thousands of Japanese, many of whom were making a livelihood by tilling its rich, fertile soil. Manchuria was pivotal to Tokyo’s aspirations. Without control over Manchuria, a territory more than twice the size of France, Japan would be relegated to an inconsequential state, burdened by a steadily growing populace.

As the American author Noam Chomsky explained in one of his earliest books,

“Manchuria remained independent of the Kuomintang, but Chinese nationalist pressures for unification were increasing. At the same time, the Soviet Union had significantly expanded its military power on the Manchurian border, a fact that could not fail to concern the Japanese military. Japan had a substantial investment in the South Manchurian Railway and, rightly or wrongly, regarded Manchuria as an extremely important potential source of desperately needed raw materials”.

Scanning their eyes seaward, the Japanese were surrounded by great foes: Soviet Russia to the north-west, China to the west and south-west, the US to the south. In the late 1890s, America was embarking upon its conquest of the Philippines, an island country lying less than 1,000 miles southward of Japan. America’s capture of the Philippines was an early example of her saltwater imperialist ventures, and it clearly infringed on Japan’s sphere of interest.

Yasaka Takagi, an expert on US history, outlined that,

“the peace machinery of the world is in itself primarily the creation of the dominant races of the earth, of those who are the greatest beneficiaries from the maintenance of the status quo”.

In the early 1940s America, Britain and “free” France held dominion over approximately 70% of the world’s resources, that is 30 million square miles of territory. The Axis powers of Germany, Italy, Japan and Hungary – who were supposedly winning the war while rampaging across the earth – held dominion over 15% of the planet’s mineral riches, and a mere one million square miles of land.

The US political activist, A. J. Muste, envisaged in 1941 “a new American empire” and that the US “shall be the next nation to seek world domination – in other words, to do what we condemn Hitler for trying to do”.

For many years, America had been well positioned for planetary supremacy. Among the flies in the ointment was Japan, a nation comprising an obstacle to US hegemony over the lucrative Pacific and Asian zones.

Agreements hammered out, like the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, were formulated mostly to reduce Japanese power in her own waters, while leaving entirely unharmed American and British capacities. The terms reached here, in the US capital, rendered Japan a second rate imperial power, as intended. However, Tokyo would strictly adhere to the Washington accords through the 1920s.

It was reinforced with the London Naval Treaty of 1930, signed in the English capital, which again compromised Japanese naval freedom in the seas encompassing her shores. With the Great Depression having struck in late 1929, the contingencies of the London treaty were bitterly resented by opposition in Japan; which resulted in Japanese militarists gaining greater control over the country’s civilian hierarchy, which was felt to be endangering national security with its weak-willed strategies.

The capitulation of Tokyo’s political entities in London during 1930 furthermore “was a great stimulus to the fascist movement” in Japan, as the historian Masao Maruyama wrote. Rising fascistic elements within the army, was a pronounced underlying factor behind appalling war crimes later committed by Japanese soldiers.

Image on the right: Osachi Hamaguchi (Source:

Image result for Osachi Hamaguchi

Shortly after the 1930 London treaty, moderate politicians in Japan were assassinated, including the prime ministers Osachi Hamaguchi and Inukai Tsuyoshi; the former killed by a far-right terrorist and the latter shot to death by young navy personnel. These grisly acts deliberately undermined the nation’s civilian infrastructure, and represented another boost for Japan’s diehard military men.

The rise of Japanese militarists, along with its extremist factions, was as an indirect consequence of increased Western pressures.
Analyzing the developments, Chomsky noted,

“it seems clear that the refusal of the United States to grant Japan hegemony in its waters (while of course insisting on maintaining its own hegemony in the Western Atlantic and Eastern Pacific) was a significant contributory cause to the crisis that was soon to erupt”.

On 24 February 1933, Japan caught the world by surprise in withdrawing from the League of Nations, an organization founded in 1920 whose stated primary goal was maintenance of global peace. The League of Nations roundly condemned Japan’s occupation of Manchuria, and later recommended that Tokyo withdraw her troops and “restore the country to Chinese sovereignty”. Not mentioned were Western policies that treated China as a semi-colonial state.

There were no international conferences organized so as to scrutinize US or British claims in the Eastern hemisphere, let alone in the Western half of the planet. Japan’s desire in the early 1930s to absorb Manchuria, and subsequently north-east China, is at least comparable to the US government annexation of about 50% of Mexico’s territory during the mid-1840s.

Tokyo’s foreign actions were often reported in the West as examples of “Japanese aggression”; much as it is recently “Russian aggression” when moves are undertaken by Moscow along her borders which cross US red lines.

Japanese imperialists looked on with growing displeasure as American corporate influence embedded itself within China. In 1931, Japan was overtaken by America as the major exporter of goods to China. Japanese exports destined for America also declined sharply, partly because of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of mid-1930 – signed into law in the US, which ensured protectionist trade initiatives that further stymied Tokyo.

As Japan was an advanced industrial state, hampered by lack of access to natural materials, the decline in world trade was a catastrophe for Tokyo, compounded by the aforementioned Great Depression.

Image below: Yosuke Matsuoka (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Image result for Yosuke Matsuoka

Japan’s future foreign affairs minister, Yosuke Matsuoka (who later met Hitler and Stalin for separate discussions) complained in January 1931 that,

“we feel suffocated as we observe internal and external situations. What we are seeking is that which is minimal for living beings. In other words, we are seeking to live. We are seeking room that will let us breathe”.

On 18 September 1931, the Japanese invaded Manchuria with Tokyo foreseeing the intervention as crucial to her nation’s survival. Manchuria is indeed flowing in riches; from coal, iron ore and steel, to copper, gold, lead, tungsten, etc. Manchuria comprised a windpipe that would allow Japan to breathe somewhat easier.

Matsuoka asked,

“Is it for the United States, which rules over the Western hemisphere and is expanding over the Atlantic and Pacific, to say that these ideals, these ambitions of Japan are wrong?”

In addition, the Japanese viewed Manchuria as a most willing market for her manufactured goods, which by 1931 were largely excluded from Western countries by Depression-era tariffs. As a rapidly growing commercial state, Japan had an insatiable thirst for fossil fuels and other mineral deposits.

Tokyo’s use of “indiscriminate air power” in the early 1930s, such as during the Shanghai Incident of 1932, generated feelings of shock and revulsion in the US and Britain. Just over a decade later, there was little indignation expressed when American and British aircraft were razing dozens of Japanese and German cities to the ground.

In April 1934, Tokyo was expounding on a “Japanese Monroe Doctrine” which “argued for a Japanese mission in East Asia to achieve peace and stability in cooperation with China, and criticized the other powers’ intervention in China”. Japan’s version of the Monroe Doctrine was modest in scope by comparison to its US rival. Still, Tokyo’s aspirations caused a commotion in Washington and London, whose elites felt that their far-reaching aims were threatened.

As late as 1939 Joseph Grew, long-time US Ambassador to Japan, said that Tokyo’s imperial concepts were “depriving Americans of their long-established rights in China” and foisting “a system of closed economy” on the US. Ambassador Grew did not highlight China’s close proximity to Japan and the latter’s understandable concerns, nor did he raise the issue of Chinese independence.

During the autumn of 1939, US Secretary of State Cordell Hull resisted negotiating a new commercial treaty with Tokyo “unless Japan completely changed her attitude and practice towards our rights and interests in China”.

Japanese diplomats were not so bold as to outline Tokyo’s potential “rights and interests” in the Western hemisphere.

On 26 July 1939, Washington gave formal notification to Tokyo that they would terminate the Japanese-American commercial treaty of 1911. This came into effect in January 1940, forcing the Japanese to shift their gaze, such as towards French Indochina and in “gaining independence” for the Philippines.

In July 1940 the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration hit Japan with an embargo on aviation fuel, which the Empire could acquire from no other source – and on 27 September 1940, Washington placed a complete ban on scrap iron against Japan, as Tokyo invaded Northern French Indochina in a bid to bolster her still insufficient resources. Japan’s foreign policy acts were in advance all known in Washington, with the Americans having cracked Tokyo’s diplomatic codes.

On 19 December 1940, Roosevelt sanctioned $25 million in aid to Japan’s neighbour, China, worth over $400 million today; while on 11 March 1941, America’s president introduced the Lend-Lease Act, a program furnishing extensive war materiel to China; and likewise to other states with unfriendly dispositions towards Japan such as the USSR, Britain and the Netherlands.
Even more seriously, on 26 July 1941 Roosevelt froze Japanese assets across America, in response to Tokyo’s move in occupying the southern half of French Indochina.

Roosevelt’s policy amounted to a declaration of economic war on Japan, with Tokyo stripped of a massive nine-tenths of its oil imports, along with three quarters of her foreign trade. Due to American pressures, Japan would run out of oil by January 1943, unless she implemented further invasions of resource-rich states. Washington was in effect stoking the fires of war with Japan, and Tokyo would not need much persuading with her fervent militarists holding key positions of power, such as General Hideki “Razor” Tojo, prime minister for much of World War II.

Chomsky elaborated that,

“The immediate cause of the attack on Pearl Harbor was the recognition, by the Japanese military, that it was ‘now or never’. The Western powers controlled the raw materials on which their existence depended, and these supplies were being choked off in retaliation for expansion on the mainland and association with Germany and Italy in the Tripartite Pact”.

As the 1930s gave way to the early 1940s, there was a widening propaganda campaign to denigrate Japan, stirred up by US government sources and media. Unsurprisingly, there was ongoing public antipathy towards Japan in the West. Paul W. Schroeder, the American historian, noted that the motive for this in part was “selling the anticipated war with Japan to the American people”.

US strategists had long been planning a large-scale conflict with the Japanese. In January 1932 General Billy Mitchell, the “father of the US Air Force”, wrote that

“Japan offers an ideal target for air operations” and that her towns “built largely of wood and paper, form the greatest aerial targets the world has ever seen”.

In November 1940 these opinions were supported by America’s renowned pre-war planner, General Claire Chennault, who revealed how US B-17 Flying Fortresses would destroy “the teeming bamboo ant heaps of Honshu and Kyushu”.

Three weeks before Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, US General George Marshall informed journalists in an “off-the-record briefing” that the “Flying Fortresses will be dispatched immediately to set the paper cities of Japan on fire. There won’t be any hesitation about bombing civilians. It will be all-out”.

Even had Hitler refrained from initiating a European war in 1939, it is likely that a deadly conflict would have erupted before long with America and Japan, possibly sparking a world war regardless. As seen, tensions between Washington and Tokyo were building for years prior to Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland. The breaking point would surely have been reached.


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Shane Quinn obtained an honors journalism degree. He is interested in writing primarily on foreign affairs, having been inspired by authors like Noam Chomsky. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Epstein’s “Suicide” and a Bridge in Brooklyn

August 13th, 2019 by Kurt Nimmo

Is it even remotely possible pedo trafficker for the elite, Jeffrey Epstein, killed himself in a suicide-watch, ligature-resistant Manhattan jail cell? 




Epstein didn’t kill himself. He was killed so there wouldn’t be a trial and the perverse crimes of a psychopathic elite wouldn’t be revealed to the commoners. I predicted this on the day he was arrested. Jeffrey Epstein’s days are numbered. 

If the state and its corporate media want me to believe Epstein is in fact truly dead, they will have to show the body and allow a neutral party to take a DNA sample. We will have to see the CCTV footage of what happened in that cell. I no longer believe what the state, its institutions, its “correctional facilities,” and a propaganda media tell us. Everything must be independently verified. 

Listen to the first minute of this video:

No trial now that Epstein is dead. There will be civil lawsuits, and possible criminal charges brought against Madam Ghislaine Maxwell , but I’ll bet the farm we’ll never find out—beyond an ex-president, a prince, and a rogue’s gallery of celebrities—the names of the elite participants in Epstein’s rape, trauma, sex slave trafficking, and blackmail operation. 

Meanwhile, the seat warmers in Congress are demanding an investigation. No doubt this will stop short of actually finding anything out. 

JUST IN: Dem lawmaker calls for congressional investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s death

— The Hill (@thehill) August 10, 2019

Now that Epstein is supposedly dead, this story will move from the front page, making room for more false flag news, possibly another mass shooting by a cartoon white supremacist, or maybe a confrontation in the Gulf or closer to home where Bolton and crew are starving the Venezuelan people to death. 


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Kurt Nimmo writes on his blog, Another Day in the Empire, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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How Tehran Fits into Russia-China Strategy

August 13th, 2019 by Pepe Escobar

Complex doesn’t even begin to describe the positioning of Iran-Russia in the geopolitical chessboard. What’s clear in our current, volatile moment is that they’re partners, as I previously reported. Although not strategic partners, as in the Russia-China tie-up, Russia-China-Iran remain the crucial triad in the ongoing, multi-layered, long-term Eurasia integration process.

A few days after our Asia Times report, an article – based on “senior sources close to the Iranian regime” and crammed with fear-mongering, baseless accusations of corruption and outright ignorance about key military issues – claimed that Russia would turn the Iranian ports of Bandar Abbas and Chabahar into forward military bases complete with submarines, Spetsnaz special forces and Su-57 fighter jets, thus applying a “stranglehold” to the Persian Gulf.

For starters, “senior sources close to the Iranian regime” would never reveal such sensitive national-security details, much less to Anglo-American foreign media. In my own case, even though I have made several visits to Iran while consistently reporting on Iran for Asia Times, and even though authorities at myriad levels know where I’m coming from, I have not managed to get answers from Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps generals to 16 detailed questions I sent nearly a month ago. According to my interlocutors, these are deemed “too sensitive” and, yes, a matter of national security.

Predictably, the report was fully debunked. One of my top Tehran sources, asked about its veracity, was blunt: “Absolutely not.” After all, Iran’s constitution decisively forbids foreign troops stationed on national soil. The Majlis – Iranian parliament – would never approve such a move barring an extreme case, as in the follow-up to a US military attack.

As for Russia-Iran military cooperation, the upcoming joint military exercises in the “northern part of the Indian Ocean,” including the Strait of Hormuz, are a first-ever such occasion, made possible only by a special agreement.

Analyst Gennady Nechaev is closer to reality when he notes that in the event of growing Russia-Iran cooperation, the possibility would be open for “permanent basing of the Russian Navy in one of the Iranian ports with the provision of an airfield nearby – the same type of arrangement as Tartus and Hmeimim on the Mediterranean coast of Syria.”  To get there, though, would be a long and winding road.

And that brings us to Chabahar, which poses an interesting question. Chabahar is a deep sea port, on the Gulf of Oman and the key plank in India’s mini-Silk Road vision. India invested a lot in Chabahar, to have it connected by highway to Afghanistan and Central Asia and in the future by rail to the Caucasus. All that so India may bypass Pakistan as far as trade routes are concerned.

Chabahar, though, may also become an important node of the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative. India and China – as well as Russia – are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Iran, sooner or later, will also become a full SCO member. Only then the possibility “might” – and the emphasis is on “might” – open for the Russian or Chinese navy occasionally to dock at Chabahar, but still not to use it as a forward military base.

Got oil, will travel

On Iran, the Russia-China strategic partnership is working in parallel. China’s priority is energy supplies – and Beijing works the chessboard accordingly. The Chinese ambassador to the United Arab Emirates just issued a trial balloon, mentioning that Beijing might consider escorting oil tankers across the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. That could happen independently or – the dangling carrot – as part of Washington’s Operation Sentinel, which for the moment has managed to find only one “coalition of the willing” member: the UK.

What’s actually happening right now in the Persian Gulf is way more entertaining. As I confirmed with energy traders in Doha late last month, demand for oil right now is higher than in 2018. And in consequence Iran continues to sell most of its oil.

A tanker leaves Iran with transponder off; the oil is transferred to another tanker on the high seas; and then it is relabeled. According to a trader, “If you take two to three million barrels a day off the market by sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, plus the OPEC cutbacks, you would have to see a higher price.”

There is no higher price. Brent crude remains near a seven-month low, around US$60 a barrel. This means that Iran continues to sell, mostly to China. That trial balloon floated in the UAE might well be China camouflaging its continued purchase of Iranian oil.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has been proving again and again his diplomatic mastery, running rings around the Donald Trump administration. But all major decisions in Iran come from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. That also applies to Tehran’s position in relation to multi-level forms of support from the Russia-China strategic partnership.

What the past few months have made crystal clear is how Russia-China’s magnetic pull is attracting key Eurasia players Iran, Turkey and Pakistan. And make no mistake: As much as Tehran may be extremely proud of its political independence, it is reassuring to know that Iran is, and will continue to be, a definitive red line for Russia-China.


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This article was originally published on Asia Times.

Pepe Escobar is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

As the saying goes, if it walks, talks, and quacks like a duck, chances are it is one.

What’s been going on for months in Hong Kong has all the earmarks of a US orchestrated color revolution, aimed at destabilizing China by targeting its soft Hong Kong underbelly. 

In calling for reunification of China in the early 1980s, then-leader Deng Xiaoping said Hong Kong and Macau could retain their own economic, financial and governmental systems, Taiwan as well under a “one country, two systems” arrangement.

The above would be something like what the US 10th Amendment stipulates, stating:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Each of the 50 US states has its own electoral system, governing procedures, and laws that may differ from federal ones.

China’s soft underbelly in Western-oriented Hong Kong left it vulnerable to what’s going on. US dirty hands likely orchestrated and manipulated pro-Western 5th column elements behind months of anti-Beijing protests.

Dubbed Occupy Central, China’s leadership is well aware of what’s going on and the high stakes. Beijing is faced with a dilemma.

Cracking down forcefully to end disruptive Hong Kong protests could discourage foreign investments. Letting them continue endlessly can destabilize the nation.

US war on China by other means aims to marginalize, weaken, contain, and isolate the country — because of its sovereign independence, unwillingness to bend to US interests, and its growing political, economic, financial, and military development.

China’s emergence as a world power threatens Washington’s aim to control other countries, their resources and populations worldwide.

Its successful economic model, producing sustained growth, embarrasses the US-led unfair, exploitive Western “free market”  system.

The US eliminated the Japanese economic threat in the 1980s, a similar one from the Asian Tiger economies in the 1990s, and now it’s China’s turn to be taken down.

Its leadership understands what’s going on and is countering it in its own way. China is a more formidable and resourceful US adversary than earlier ones.

Its strategy includes taking a longterm approach toward achieving its objectives with plenty of economic and financial ability to counter US tactics.

It may become the first post-WW II nation to defeat Washington’s imperial game, making the new millennium China’s century in the decades ahead.

US strategies to control other nations include preemptive wars of aggression, old-fashioned coups, and color revolutions — what appears to be going on in Hong Kong.

This form of covert war first played out in Belgrade, Serbia in 2000. What appeared to be a spontaneous political uprising was developed by RAND Corporation strategist in the 1990s — the concept of swarming.

It replicates “communication patterns and movement of” bees and other insects used against nations to destabilize and topple their governments.

The CIA, (anti-democratic) National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Republican Institute (IRI), National (undemocratic) Democratic Institute, and USAID are involved.

Their mission is disruptively subverting democracy and instigating regime change through labor strikes, mass street protests, major media agitprop, and whatever else it takes short of military conflict.

Belgrade in 2000 was the prototype test drive for this strategy. When subsequently used, it experienced successes and failures, the former notably in Ukraine twice — in late 2004/early 2005, again in late 2013/early 2014.

US color revolution attempts have a common thread, aiming to achieve what the Pentagon calls “full spectrum dominance” — notably by neutralizing and controlling Russia and China, Washington’s main rival powers, adversaries because of their sovereign independence.

Controlling resource-rich Eurasia, that includes the Middle East, along with Venezuelan world’s largest oil reserves, is a key US imperial aim.

Swarming tactics are being used in Hong Kong. According to RAND strategists John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, it’s war by other means.

It exploits the information revolution and social media to take full advantage of “network-based organizations linked via email and mobile phones to enhance the potential of swarming.”

In 1993, Arquilla and Ronfeldt explained that “warfare is no longer primarily a function of who puts the most capital, labor and technology on the battlefield, but of who has the best information” and uses it advantageously.

State-of-the art IT techniques use “advanced computerized information and communications technologies and related innovations in organization and management theory,” they explained.

Information technologies “communicate, consult, coordinate, and operate together across greater distances.”

Cyberwar today is what blitzkrieg was to 20th century warfare, involving “irregular modes of conflict, including terror, crime, and militant social activism.”

Both strategists believed swarming could “emerge as a definitive doctrine (to) encompass and enliven both cyberwar and netwar.”

They called swarming a way to strike from all directions in an overwhelming fashion, believing what works in combat theaters can be effective in waging war by other means in cities.

The strategy appears to be in play against China by targeting Hong Kong.

On August 12, Beijing’s official People’s Daily broadsheet said the city “is not and shall not be the frontline of US and China,” adding:

“Hong Kong has been rocked by chaos and violence for weeks, and the violence is getting more and more intense.”

“What is going on in Hong Kong? There is already evidence of interference by foreign forces.”

“As Chinese officials have pointed out, the situation in Hong Kong bears the features of a (US-orchestrated) color revolution.”

“US politicians have openly supported the unrest, and anti-China forces are working behind the scenes.”

“(T)he US government often uses democracy promotion to attack other countries, and China has always been a major target.”

“Some US politicians dream of making China look and act more like the United States. One reason we are seeing increased pressure on China is because those who have tried to change China over the years via other methods have failed and there is growing fear that China is getting too powerful, so the Uncle Sam will never miss any opportunity to undermine China.”

“…Hong Kong is Chinese territory. This means that the city is not and shall not be a playground for anti-China forces.”

“China is no longer a poor and weak country that cannot stand up to foreign interference.”

“The country has enough methods and strength to quickly quell the unrest and smash foreign plots when such actions are deemed necessary to protect national sovereignty and the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.”

Beijing will deal with what’s going on in Hong Kong in ways it believes are most effective.

US destabilization and other hostile tactics make resolving major bilateral differences all the harder.

If Trump regime anti-China hardball tactics accelerate already weakening global economic conditions, including in the US, DJT could end up a one-term president.

Strengthened Sino/Russian unity is better able to counter hostile US actions — a vital anti-imperial alliance US strategists fear.


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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at

Featured image is from New Eastern Outlook