Vease Nuestros Articulos en Español

August 27th, 2018 by Global Research News

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Vease Nuestros Articulos en Español

Pour Accéder à la Version Mobile de Mondialisation.ca

August 14th, 2017 by Global Research News

Nous faisons face présentement à une problème technique.

Pour accéder à la version mobile de mondialisation.ca, cliquez sur le Menu principal de Globalresearch.ca (version mobile), (en haut à gauche) et ensuite cliquez sur Mondialisation.ca.

 

A partir de la semaine prochaine le problème technique devrait être résolu.

Amitiés à tous nos lecteurs

 

  • Posted in Desktop Only, English
  • Comments Off on Pour Accéder à la Version Mobile de Mondialisation.ca

Today’s Most Popular Stories on Global Research

August 22nd, 2015 by Global Research News

  • Posted in Desktop Only, English
  • Comments Off on Today’s Most Popular Stories on Global Research

GR’s Ukraine Report: 800+ articles

August 22nd, 2015 by Global Research News

Fighting Lies and Searching for Truths

July 19th, 2015 by Global Research

The world is globalizing and information has become more accessible to more people than ever before. We are, indeed, in unprecedented times, and we face unprecedented challenges.

The aims of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and Global Research are to battle the tidal waves of misinformation and propaganda washing our minds on a daily basis. We have separated ourselves from the corporate controlled mainstream news, whose only objective is to serve their corporate masters. We take no assistance from the major foundations such as Rockefeller, Ford, and MacArthur, who act as patrons (and thus pacifiers) of the alternative and critical voices challenging the forces of globalization.

We do this in order to remain an independent voice, challenging all that needs to be challenged and exposing all that remains in the dark. Bringing light to a dimly lit world is no easy task, and though the aim and method is “independence,” we are, in fact, entirely dependent upon YOU, our readers. Without your support, we cannot continue our operations nor expand our horizons and opportunities. Global Research is indebted to our readers, and we are here for you and because of you. If you would like Global Research to continue and to grow, we need your support now more than ever.

By making a donation  to Global Research, you  assist journalists, researchers and contributors who have either lost their jobs with the mainstream media or who have been excluded from employment opportunities as professional journalists for their pledge to the truth. We send our thanks to all who have contributed so far by donating or becoming a member!

The mainstream media is owned by bankers and corporate kingpins. Not only that, but it has been historically and presently infiltrated by covert government agencies, seeking to deceive and propagandize their agendas. The CIA has long had associations with major mainstream news publications. By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with the New York Times, CBS and Time Inc. The CIA even ran a training program “to teach its agents to be journalists,” who were “then placed in major news organizations with help from management.”

At Global Research, we seek to not only expose and criticize the larger picture, but to point the finger at the media, itself, and examine who is lying, why they lie, and how they get away with it.

To continue in our endeavours, we need our readers to continue in their support.

One important and helpful thing that all of our readers can do is to help spread our name and information by “sharing and  “liking” our Facebook page here. We post articles daily that will appear in your news feed so that you don’t have to come to us, we can bring our information straight to you. “Like” our page and recommend us to your friends. Every bit helps! You can also subscribe to our RSS feed

You can also support us by continuing to send us your much needed donations which allow us to continue our day-to-day operations and help us expand our scope and content.

Supporting Global Research is supporting the cause of truth and the fight against media disinformation.

Thank you.

The Global Research Team

FOR ONLINE DONATIONS

For online donations, please click below:

VISIT THE DONATION PAGE

FOR DONATIONS BY MAIL

To send your donation by mail, kindly send your cheque or international money order, made out to CRG, to our postal address:

Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

PO Box 55019
11, Notre-Dame Ouest,

Montreal, QC, H2Y 4A7
CANADA

FOR DONATIONS BY FAX
For payment by fax, please print the credit card fax authorization form and fax your order and credit card details to Global Research at 514 656 5294

You can also support us by purchasing books from our store! Click to browse our titles.

Global Research Articles on the Environment

December 22nd, 2014 by Global Research News

Analysis on Climate Change and Global Warming. 100+ GR Articles

December 9th, 2014 by Global Research News

  • Posted in Desktop Only, English
  • Comments Off on Analysis on Climate Change and Global Warming. 100+ GR Articles

Global Research’s Ukraine Report

November 21st, 2014 by Global Research News

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.

Order Directly from Global Research

original

America’s “War on Terrorism”

by Michel
Chossudovsky

Click to Get the Latest Global Research Articles

December 23rd, 2013 by Global Research News

  • Posted in Desktop Only, English
  • Comments Off on Click to Get the Latest Global Research Articles

Click for Latest Global Research News

November 22nd, 2013 by Global Research News

Today’s Most Popular Stories

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.

  • Posted in Desktop Only, English
  • Comments Off on The Geopolitical Reordering of Africa: US Covert Support to Al Qaeda in Northern Mali, France “Comes to the Rescue”

Latest Global Research Articles. Subscribe to GR’s RSS Feed

December 30th, 2012 by Global Research News

  • Posted in Desktop Only, English
  • Comments Off on Latest Global Research Articles. Subscribe to GR’s RSS Feed

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

Notes:

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

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20120830/175517955.html.

[2] Mairbek  Vatchagaev, The Kremlin’s War on Islamic Education in the North Caucasus, North Caucasus Analysis Volume: 7 Issue: 34, accessed in http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=3334

[3] Iason Athanasiadis, Targeted by Israeli raid: Who is the IHH?, The Christian Science Monitor, June 1, 2010, accessed in http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/0601/Targeted-by-Israeli-raid-Who-is-the-IHH.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Mairbek Vatchagaev, op. cit.

[6] UN Security Council, QI.U.290.11. DOKU KHAMATOVICH UMAROV, 10 March 2011, accessed in http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQI29011E.shtml. 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 http://www.ceskapozice.cz/en/news/society/czech-ngo-rejects-russian-reports-link-alleged-islamist-terrorists-al-qaeda?utm_source=tw&utm_medium=enprofil&utm_campaign=twennews.

[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 http://www.islamicpluralism.org/2040/wahhabi-internal-contradictions-as-saudi-arabia

[11] Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz, Wahhabi Internal Contradictions as Saudi Arabia Seeks Wider Gulf Leadership, May 21, 2012, accessed in http://www.islamicpluralism.org/2040/wahhabi-internal-contradictions-as-saudi-arabia.

[12] Robert Duncan, Islamic Terrorisms Links to Nazi Fascism, AINA, July 5, 2007, accessed in http://www.aina.org/news/2007070595517.htm.

[13] Marc Erikson, Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 2), AsiaTimes.Online, November 8, 2002, accessed in http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DK08Ak03.html.

[14] Ibid.

[15] John Loftus, The Muslim Brotherhood, Nazis and Al-Qaeda,  Jewish Community News, October 11, 2006, accessed in http://www.canadafreepress.com/2006/loftus101106.htm

[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 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/12/syrian-opposition-doing-the-talking.

[18] Aidan Lewis, Profile: Tunisia’s Ennahda Party, BBC News, 25 October 2011, accessed in http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15442859.

[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 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/23/syrians-torn-despotic-regime-stagnant-opposition.

[20] Stefan J. Bos, Egypt Christians Killed After Election of Morsi, Bosnewslife, June 30, 2012, accessed in http://www.bosnewslife.com/22304-egypt-christians-killed-after-election-morsi.

[21] Ibid.

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

April 11, 2011, accessed in http://www.islamicpluralism.org/1770/egyptian-Muslim-fundamentalists-attack-sufis

[23] Yafiah Katherine Randall, UNESCO urges Libya to stop destruction of Sufi sites, August 31, 2012, Sufi News and Sufism World Report, accessed in http://sufinews.blogspot.de/.

[24] Jamie Dettmer, Libya elections: Muslim Brotherhood set to lead government, 5 July, 2012, The Telegraph, London, accessed in http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/9379022/Libya-elections-Muslim-Brotherhood-set-to-lead-government.html.

[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 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/12/chris-stevens-us-ambassador-libya-killed.

[26] Murad Batal al-Shishani, Profile: Ansar al-Sharia in Yemen, 8 March 2012, accessed in  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17402856.

[27] David M. Herszenhorn, Putin Says Missile Deal Is More Likely With Obama, The New York Times, September 6, 2012, accessed in http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/world/europe/putin-calls-missile-deal-more-likely-if-obama-wins.html. 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 http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/NI05Ad01.html.

 

  • Posted in Desktop Only, English
  • Comments Off on Salafism and the CIA: Destabilizing the Russian Federation?

Welcome to the newly redesigned Global Research website!

September 8th, 2012 by Global Research

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the newly redesigned Global Research website!

We are very proud to launch an updated version of our website, featuring the same timely and analytical content as before, in a display that will be easier for our readers to navigate so that you can get the information you need as quickly and easily as possible.

On this website, you will be able to access an archive of more than 30,000 articles published by Global Research.

We thank all of our readers for the feedback you have sent us over the years and hope you will enjoy your browsing experience.

These changes would not be possible without your support, and for that we extend our sincere appreciation.

To help us cover the costs of important projects and necessary upgrades like this, we kindly ask that you consider making a donation to Global Research.

We also take this opportunity to invite you to become a Member of Global Research

If we stand together, we can fight media lies and expose the truth. There is too much at stake to choose ignorance.

Be aware, stay informed, spread the message of peace far and wide.

Feedback and suggestions regarding our new website are most welcome. To post a comment, kindly visit us on the Global Research facebook page

Sincerely,

 

The Global Research Team

Breakthrough in Yemen Peace Talks? Hold the Cheers

December 15th, 2018 by Stephen Lendman

Peace talks between Houthis and US-installed Yemeni regime representatives began on December 6 in Sweden.

Reports of a major breakthrough after a week of talks are way overblown. Rhetorical agreements aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

Things entirely depend on the intentions of warring parties. The Saudis, UAE, Britain, France, and Israel are junior US partners in endless war begun by the Bush/Cheney regime in October 2001. Believing it can be resolved in days or weeks, even months, is pure fantasy.

Despite ongoing talks in Sweden, endless conflict in Yemen rages. Warring parties rhetorically agreed to cease fighting in and around the port city of Hodeidah.

What happens on the ground is another matter entirely. Fighting won’t stop most everywhere in Yemen until guns fall silent and cessation of hostilities is sustained – an objective nowhere near achieving.

Warring sides are working on a similar ceasefire for Saana, Yemen’s capital. According to AMN News, warring parties agreed to reopen its international airport – for how long remains to be seen.

Because of international furor over Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, majority bipartisan Senate members at odds with Trump regime hardliners over Yemen in response to what happened, and the body poised to adopt a nonbinding resolution to end US military support for the Saudis in the country, Rihadh perhaps wants to create the impression of willingness to compromise with Houthi fighters.

Maybe the Trump regime has the same or a similar aim until the furor over Khashoggi’s murder fades – all the while intending no change in US/Saudi relations.

The Senate vote to end US support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen is largely a diversionary tactic, a meaningless head fake.

Throughout the post-WW II era and earlier, Congress and the White House supported dirty business as usual with the kingdom. What’s going on now won’t change things.

If Republicans and Dems were serious about ending US military support for the Saudis, they’d approve veto-proof House and Senate legislation straightaway – any not just for what’s going on in Yemen. It would be for all regional wars where the kingdom is involved, notably in Syria.

Washington’s 17-year war in Yemen isn’t about to end over the killing of a journalist or anyone else. Yemen is US war.

NATO, Britain, France, the Saudis, UAE and Israel partner in Washington’s wars – responsible for millions of casualties post-9/11 alone. US regimes call the shots on all major ongoing wars and their chaotic aftermaths.

While talks continue in Sweden, AMN News reported that

“(f)or  the second time this week, the Saudi coalition has launched a big assault along the Yemeni-Saudi border,” adding:

“Backed by heavy airstrikes, the Saudi coalition troops launched a powerful attack on the Houthi defenses at the strategic Qais Mountain, which overlooks much of the Yemeni border.”

Saudi warplanes continued terror-bombing Houthi positions while talks were ongoing in Sweden – belying the seriousness of conflict resolution efforts.

On Tuesday, AMN News said Saudi-led warplanes “launched over 50 airstrikes in the last two days…a significant increase” this month – including terror-bombing of Hodeidah, along with a “heavy ground assault” on the city and surrounding areas.

AMN News believes Riyadh aims to capture the port city before agreeing to a ceasefire – what it failed to do after months of fighting.

War in Yemen rages while talks went on in Sweden, concluding after seven days – at least for now.

Conflict resolution is nowhere in sight. Things agreed to verbally and in writing are meaningless as long as Washington wants endless war continued.

A Final Comment

Spokesman for Yemeni armed forces allied with Houthi fighters, General Yahya Sari, said the Saudis and UAE escalated terror-bombing and ground operations on the last day of peace talks in Sweden, adding:

“The aggressor’s mercenaries continued to send reinforcements to Nihm, Razah, Baqam and the west coast, which confirms that they are planning to escalate, and that they are not serious about achieving peace for the Yemeni people.”

No conflict resolution breakthrough was achieved in Sweden. Reports suggesting otherwise ignore reality on the ground, along with longstanding US aims for Yemen, why endless war rages with no end of it in prospect.

*

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

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.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Breakthrough in Yemen Peace Talks? Hold the Cheers
  • Tags:

Scientists have decided to publically attempt a geoengineering experiment. The researchers from Harvard University are going to attempt to us particles to block out the sun in an attempt to save humanity from global warming, and cool the planet.

According to Popular Mechanics, this incredibly bad-sounding idea seems like it stemmed from an actual event.  In 1991, the volcano Mount Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines, sending millions of tons of ash and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. This layer of particulates actually lowered global temperatures by almost a full degree Fahrenheit for the following two years.

Researchers speculated that by filling the atmosphere with a similar level of particulates that were shot into the sky during the 1991 eruption, while skipping the lava and explosions, they might be able to reduce global temperatures enough to halt or delay some of the more severe consequences of “climate change.” But even the most left-leaning of human beings are not on board with attempting to alter the global climate artificially. After all, isn’t that what the tyrants and political elitists the peons continue to vote for keep telling us was the problem in the first place?  Any small mistake could radically and permanently destroy the delicate ecosystems and global climates for centuries.

In particular, one study published last year found that spraying particulates into the atmosphere around the Gulf of Mexico could trigger droughts in sub-Saharan Africa. But scientists are attempting to assure everyone that their test won’t have any major effect on the climate.

The test allegedly consists of a high-altitude balloon that will fly several miles into the atmosphere and release less than a pound of calcium carbonate (a less harmful alternative to the sulfur dioxide produced by volcanoes) and then spend about a day flying through the resulting cloud to measure its effects. The purpose of this test is to figure out exactly how the substance behaves in our air so scientists can build more accurate simulations.

Of course, others have gathered a wealth of evidence suggesting that climate manipulation is already occurring right under our noses. Dane Wigington has an entire website titled GeoengineeringWatch.org in which he publishes all of the evidence he’s collected proving that governments have been manipulated the weather for a long time.  In fact, they might be responsible for the very “climate change” they blame on the general public and make us all pay for.

The assault on the Earth has already been taking place, according to Wigington.  But just how much evidence do people need that this could be the most pressing issue of our time? Climate change alarmists fear mongers could be on the verge of destroying the Earth as we know it.

*

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

Featured image is from SHTFplan.com

The Clinton Foundation operated as a foreign agent ‘early in its life’ and ‘throughout it’s existence’ and did not operate as a 501c3 charitable foundation as required by its and is not entitled to its status as a nonprofit, alleged two highly qualified forensic investigators, accompanied by three other investigators, said in explosive testimony Thursday to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

John Moynihan and Lawerence W. Doyle, both graduates of the Catholic Jesuit College of the Holy Cross and former expert forensic government investigators, gave their shocking testimony before congress based on a nearly two-year investigation into the foundation’s work both nationally and internationally. They were assisted by three other highly trained experts in taxation law and financial forensic investigations. The forensic investigators stressed that they obtained all the documentation on the foundation legally and through Freedom of Information Request Acts from the IRS and other agencies.

The investigation clearly demonstrates that the foundation was not a charitable organization per se, but in point of fact was a closely held family partnership

Former Utah U.S. Attorney General John Huber, who resigned when he was appointed by former Department of Justice Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the Clinton Foundation and the issues surrounding the approval to sell 20 percent of U.S. Uranium assets to Russia, declined to attend the hearing. Chairman Mark Meadows, R-NC, who oversaw the hearing stated that it was disappointing that Huber declined, leaving Congress in the dark regarding the DOJ’s investigation.

Investigations into the Clinton Foundation have always been plagued by politics but Moynihan wanted to make clear in his opening statement that this investigation was one of many his firm has conducted on nonprofits and had nothing to do with politics. 

Doyle and Moynihan have amassed 6,000 documents in their nearly two-year investigation through their private firm MDA Analytics LLC. The documents were turned over more than a year and a half ago to the IRS, according to John Solomon, who first published the report last week in The Hill.  

“The investigation clearly demonstrates that the foundation was not a charitable organization per se, but in point of fact was a closely held family partnership,” said Doyle, who formerly worked on Wall Street and has been involved with finance for the last ten years conducting investigations. “As such, it was governed in a fashion in which it sought in large measure to advance the personal interests of its principles as detailed within the financial analysis of this submission and further confirmed within the supporting documentation and evidence section.”

At the onset of the hearing, Moynihan wanted to make perfectly clear that the intention to look into the Clinton Foundation was not political but based on their work with the firm.

“At this point, I’d like to answer two questions, who are we? We are apolitical,” Moynihan told the committee. “We have no party affiliation to this whatsoever, No one has financed us… we are forensic investigators that approached this effort in a nonpartisan profession, objective, and independent way…we follow facts, that’s all.” 

“We have never been partisan,” he added, speaking on behalf of all five members of his group testifying to Congress. “We come from law enforcement and wall street where each of us has dedicated our entire lives and praised the rule of law doing the right thing pursuing facts. we follow facts. that’s all.”

“None of this is our opinion,” he went on state: “I emphasize none of this is our opinion. These are not our facts. They are not your facts. They are the facts of the Clinton Foundation.”

He disclosed the reason his firm decided to take on the Clinton Foundation and the fact that they paid for the investigation out of their “own pockets.”

“Are you doing this for money,” said Moynihan to the committee. “Yes, this is how we make a living.”

Moynihan and Doyle swapped back and forth between there testimony and opening statement, making it clear they were working as a team. But the most shocking statements came from Moynihan’s statement as he read the laundry list of violations by the Clinton Foundation.

Moynihan stated “Foreign agent,” as he began to read from a long list of violations discovered during the course of their investigation.

Who’s minding the store, looking out for the donors and minding the rule of law?

The Clinton Foundation “began acting as an agent of foreign governments ‘early in its life’ and throughout its existence. As such, the foundation should’ve registered under FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act),” he said. “Ultimately, the Foundation and its auditors conceded in formal submissions that it did operate as a (foreign) agent, therefore the foundation is not entitled to its 501c3 tax-exempt privileges as outlined in IRS 170 (c)2.”

Doyle, who was also outlining a litany of violations by the foundation, noted that currently there are approximately 1.75 million nonprofits in the United States that annually generate nearly 2 trillion dollars, which is 9 percent of the U.S. GDP.

“Who’s minding the store, looking out for the donors and minding the rule of law,” said Doyle.

“On that note, we followed the money so we made extensive spreadsheets of their revenues and expenses, we analyzed their income statements and we did a macro-review of all the donors, which is a very (jumbled) sort of foundation,” said Doyle. “Less than 1/10th of one percent of the donors gave 80 percent of the money. So we follow the money.”

Moynihan added that the foundation “did pursue programs and activities for which it had neither sought nor achieved permission to undertake.”

Particularly, he noted the case of the Clinton Presidential Library in 2004. He noted that the foundation’s role before and after the library was built was a misrepresentation to donors “of the approval organizational tax status to raise funds for the presidential library programs therein. In these pursuits, the foundation failed the organizational and operational task 501c3 internal revenue code 7.25.3.”

Additionally, Doyle stated that the foundation’s intentional “misuse of donated public funds.” He stated that the foundation “falsely attested that it received funds and used them for charitable purposes which were in fact not the case. Rather the foundation pursued in an array of activities both domestically and abroad.” 

“Some may be deemed philanthropic, albeit unimproved, while other much larger in scope are properly characterized as profit-oriented and taxable undertakings of private enterprise again failing the operational tests philanthropy referenced above,” Doyle said.

Philip Hackney, a tax law professor at Louisiana State University, who is a former Exempt Organizations lawyer at the IRS, and Tom Fitton, president of the conservative government watchdog group Judicial Watch also testified at the hearing. Judicial Watch has been at the forefront of fighting the Clinton Foundation in court to access documents requested by FOIA. Hackney and Fitton testified during the first panel of the hearing.

*

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

Sara A. Carter is a national and international award winning investigative reporter whose stories have ranged from national security, terrorism, immigration and front line coverage of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Featured image is from Sara Carter

National Security Advisor John Bolton recently announced the Trump Administration’s new “Prosper Africa” strategy, which is basically a tacit admission of defeat acknowledging that the US’ objectives there haven’t been achieved since the end of the Old Cold War, but it’s also a wily trap for encouraging China and Russia to overextend themselves in this resource-rich but high-risk continent as the Great Power competition between the unipolar and multipolar blocs heats up all across the “Global South”.

Acknowledging Defeat

The Trump Administration officially promulgated its “Prosper Africa” strategy on Thursday after National Security Advisor John Bolton presented it to an exclusive audience at the neoconservative Heritage Foundation think tank, and it basically boils down to a continental application of the “Trump Doctrine’s” America First policy in Africa’s contemporary geopolitical and economic conditions. Bolton emphasized that the US’ new approach will focus on trade and commercial relations, anti-terrorist cooperation, and the effective and efficient disbursement of aid (including to various peacekeeping missions), all of which will openly promote America’s agenda in Africa. As much as he probably hated to admit it, Bolton was forced to acknowledge that the US has failed to achieve its objectives in this part of the world since the end of the Old Cold War and that this has therefore created opportunities for his country’s Chinese and Russian Great Power competitors to become powerful forces in Africa.

The Sore Loser

Bolton spends a lot of time lamenting how China’s economic influence has extended all across the continent, attacking the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) with the typical infowar accusations that it’s ensnared partner countries into so-called “debt traps” and confirming the author’s April 2018 forecast that the US will obsessively focus on how this has supposedly affected the geostrategic landlocked state of Zambia. In addition, the National Security Advisor draws a line in the sand by starkly saying that “the balance of power in the Horn of Africa—astride major arteries of maritime trade between Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia—would shift in favor of China” if Djibouti transfers control of a port terminal to the People’s Republic. As for Russia, Bolton accuses it of “corrupt economic dealings”, “selling arms and energy in exchange for votes at the United Nations”, and “continuing to extract natural resources from the region for its own benefit.”

Fake News Frenzy

In other words, the US’ repeated failures in the two and a half decades since the end of the Old Cold War enabled China to emerge as Africa’s leading economic partner while Russia is making inroads in becoming a reliable provider of security in exchange for extraction contracts, with both Great Powers complementing one another’s multipolar activities to collectively break the unipolar monopoly that had previously controlled the continent. Bolton believes that Chinese and Russian activities “stunt economic growth in Africa; threaten the financial independence of African nations; inhibit opportunities for U.S. investment; interfere with U.S. military operations; and pose a significant threat to U.S. national security interests”, but only the last-mentioned is true. African economic growth is exploding; countries have diversified their financial partnerships; US monopolies finally face competition; and the US is voluntarily scaling back its military activities in Africa in order to focus on more directly “containing” China and Russia in their home regions.

The Sino-Russo Threat To American Hegemony

The only reason why any of this could be interpreted as “a significant threat” is because the US can no longer interfere in African affairs as much as it would currently like to do in order to offset the Chinese-African Strategic Partnership that lies at the core of China’s future success. The 21st-century geopolitics of the emerging Multipolar World Order are such that China needs African markets, labor, and resources in order to secure its continued growth, stability, and ultimate rise as a global superpower, hence the win-win relationship between the two whereby China helps develop Africa in exchange for obtaining reliable access to its natural and human resources. Regarding Russia, its Afro-Eurasian “balancing” act has a considerable chance of succeeding if Moscow combines its recent security gains with its plans to connect the continent via its involvement in the West-East and North-South Trans-African Railways and then diplomatically balances the two emerging “blocs” in the modern-day “Scramble for Africa”.

“Prosper Africa”

In response to its self-evident failures over the decades, the US is now putting forth the so-called “Prosper Africa” strategy as its intended solution, though Bolton was very vague about what exactly it entails and the instruments that will be employed for executing it. Representing a businessman-turned-president, he clearly understands the need for his country to support American investments in Africa and make competitive bids for countering Chinese infrastructure projects. Concurrent with this, Bolton spoke about “strengthening the rule of law”, and it’s here where he may have hinted at the real methods that his country will utilize in pursuit of its interests. Recalling the rampant corruption in all levels of most African governments and the way in which the US exposed this in Brazil to facilitate a “constitutional-electoral coup” through the NSA-backed “Operation Car Wash”, America might resort to using its national infowar strategy for catalyzing similar Hybrid War outcomes all across Africa.

The Wily Trap

In the New Cold War context, this simply means that Chinese- and Russian-friendly governments could be undermined “from below” after NGO-affiliated “grassroots activists” collaborate (whether knowingly or not) with US intelligence services to spread supposed proof of corrupt practices and other “politically compromising” material across society in an effort to encourage a Color Revolution, “constitutional-electoral coup”, and/or an Unconventional War that would increase the security costs and overall strategic risks of multipolar investments in these targeted states. By taking a step back and somewhat “withdrawing” under the pretext of saving the American taxpayers more money, including by pulling out support for certain UN peacekeeping missions, the US ipso facto forces China and Russia to take on more multidimensional responsibilities in Africa before they’re ready, which could bait them into “mission creep” and its quagmire consequences if they aren’t careful. At the same time, however, this wily trap could also backfire if China and Russia succeed in replacing the US.

Concluding Thoughts

The “Prosper Africa” strategy that was just unveiled by the US is a lot wilier than it first appears because it initially seems to be nothing more than a long-overdue acknowledgement that America’s previous approach to the continent has failed and that the country is therefore going to scale back its military involvement there in exchange for reprioritizing more cost-effective economic engagement. While that’s veritably true, observers nevertheless shouldn’t be deceived into thinking that the US is surrendering its previous hegemonic position, let alone without a fight. What America’s actually doing is preparing a trap for its Chinese and Russian competitors by baiting them into “mission creep” through a combination of security vacuums (after possibly pulling out support for some peacekeeping missions) and forthcoming US-backed infowar-driven “anti-corruption” Color Revolution unrest in some of their partnered states. The outcome of this gambit is still far from certain, but what’s clear is that the New Cold War has now officially spread to Africa.

*

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

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 Kosovo Blunder: Moves Towards a Standing Army

December 15th, 2018 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

There never is a time not to worry in the Balkans.   The next conflict always seems to be peering around the corner with a malicious enthusiasm, eager to spring at points of demagogic advantage and personal suffering.  The centrepieces of future disaster in the region tend to be Kosovo and Bosnia.  The former is now intent on formalising military arrangements, thereby fashioning a spear that will be able to be driven deep through the heart of Serbian pride.

On Friday, the Assembly of Kosovo passed three draft laws with overwhelming numbers that it would form an army.  (Serbian lawmakers boycotted the session.)  The current Kosovo Security Force of 3,000 lightly armed personnel is to become somewhat more formidable: 5,000 active troops backed by 3,000 reservists in the next decade.  This move was brazenly chest beating in nature, an assertion that security, as provided by the 4,000 NATO troops forming KFOR (the Kosovo Force), was inadequate and, more to the point, to be bypassed altogether.

It also came as a calculated assault, timed to bruise Serbians in Kosovo – numbering some 120,000 – and politicians in Belgrade, suggesting a marked change from negotiations some three months prior. Then, it seemed that a land swap offer was in the making, one that would have reflected the relevant though tense ethnic composition in the region: the Preševo Valley in southern Serbia, predominantly Albanian, would join Kosovo; Serbia would re-establish dominion over the majority ethnic-Serb area of Kosovo to the north of the River Ibar.

Things subsequently soured.  Kosovo had already agreed to raise a 100 percent tariff on imports from Serbia, a move that is economically insensible but parochially clear.  Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj justified the action by blaming Belgrade’s efforts to foil his bid in admitting Kosovo to Interpol.  Aggression from Belgrade was cited on all fronts: from the seething Deputy Prime Minister Enver Hoxhaj; from the foreign ministry (“abusive” lobbying by Serbia was cited); and from the prime minister himself.

To have such an army will be another feather in the cap of Kosovo’s aims to consolidate its sovereign credentials and sever the umbilical cord with Belgrade.  The danger here, as ever, is how the ethnic Serbs, backed by their indignant patrons, will respond.  Haradinaj’s caper here is to claim that the forces will be “multi-ethnic, in service of its own citizens, in function of peace, alongside other regional armies, including the Serbian Army, in having partnership for peace.”  His officials also insist on a modest role for the new army, one dedicated to “search and rescue operations, explosive ordnance disposal, fire fighting and hazardous material disposal.”  Nothing, in short, to have kittens over.

The region is already suffering a form of legal schizophrenia, one designed by the legal and security arrangements more befitting an asylum than a functioning state.  Countries in Europe facing their own separatist dilemmas have been steadfast in not recognising Kosovo. Unsurprisingly, Spain is foremost amongst them.  In January, the Spanish foreign ministry expressed the view that Kosovo be kept out of any plans for Western Balkans enlargement.  “The concept of ‘WB6’ does not fit the enlargement dynamic. Kosovo is not part of the enlargement process and has its own differentiated framework.”

In reality, the Kosovar Albanians know they can count on much support within European ranks: the appetite for protecting Serbian interests was long lost during the Balkan Wars of the 1990s.  Lauded defenders became demonised butchers.  Kosovo assumed the form of a pet project, one to be nurtured by Western European and US interests under the fictional tent of humanitarianism.  Invariably, Serbia sought support from Russia and China, both of whom steadfastly rejected the 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia.

For Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić, speaking in Trstenik on Thursday,

“Kosovo and Metohija is to us great torment, especially because of Pristina’s move and the announcement of the formation of an army, which is neither based on law nor on Resolution 1244.”

Serbia’s foreign minister, Ivica Daičić deemed the formation of any such army “the most direct threat to peace and stability in the region.”

Such instances are open invitations to violence. The Kosovo authorities are keen to wave the red flag; Serbian authorities risk running at it with frothing intensity. There is also a fear that this move has received conventional prodding, this time from the United States.

“Everything Pristina is doing,” according to Vučić, “it is obviously doing with the support of the United States. They have no right under international legal document to form armed formations; to us, that’s illegal, and we will inform the public about further steps.”

The assertion is not without foundation.  United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) is clear that the guarantor of security in the region be KFOR.

“Hence,” goes a statement from a spokesman for the UN Secretary General, “any restriction to the discharge by KFOR of its security responsibilities would be inconsistent with that resolution.”

But the bad behaviour of small entities such as Kosovo often takes place at the behest of greater powers, and US ambassador to Kosovo Philip Kosnett has openly stated that it was “only natural for Kosovo as a sovereign, independent country to have a self-defence capability.”

Lieutenant Colonel Sylejman Cakaj, who had cut his milk teeth on fighting Serbia as a commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in 1999, seemed to have drunk a juice heavy with political overtones.

“We are all seeing a geo-strategic changes in the world, towards the creation of a somewhat new world order.  I believe it is necessary that following the consolidation of its statehood, Kosovo has its army too… the one that we are entitled to as representatives of the people, to be in control of our country.”

The shudder amongst ethnic Serbs at such remarks is palpable, and the fear here is whether Belgrade will catch a terrible cold.

The response from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was more one of remorse than decisive anger.

“I regret that the decision to initiate a change of the Kosovo Security Force mandate was made despite concerns expressed by NATO.”

The “level of NATO’s engagement with the Kosovo Security Force” would have to be re-examined.

While patriotic foolishness should never be discounted in any factor in the region, the Kosovo Albanians have been emboldened. The wait-and-see game about whether Serbian forces are deployed to protect Kosovar Serbs is afoot. As former Serbian military commander Nebojša Jović warned with thick ominousness,

“What they [the Kosovo Albanians] should know from our history is that there was never a ‘small war’ in these territories. Every time there was a conflict in Serbia, Kosovo and Metohija, it turned into a war on a bigger scale and none of us here want this.”

*

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

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]

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The Kosovo Blunder: Moves Towards a Standing Army

Since the Second World War’s conclusion, Europe’s major powers have pandered politely to their master across the Atlantic, America. While the United States has waged war and ousted governments in regions around the world, European states like Britain, France and Germany have either bloodied their hands with them, provided aid, or nodded silent approval.

As populations across the West rebel against neoliberal globalization, cracks have been emerging. The strain has been exacerbated by the election of US president Donald Trump, whose severe sanctions on Russia have affected old allies like Europe’s powerhouse, Germany. Heaven forbid that Germany, whose institutions have for years strangled the Greek economy, should suffer indirect consequences of sanctions against Russia.

Last year, then German Minister for Economics and Energy, Brigitte Zypries, denounced the US sanctions bill as “being against international law, plain and simple”. Weighing in, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel lambasted the “unacceptable” measures which demand “a much higher price” from Germany.

Yet it was not “against international law” when Angela Merkel, then opposition leader, vociferously backed the illegal 2003 US invasion of Iraq – ignoring protests from within her own party. Merkel said, “War had become unavoidable. Not acting would have caused more damage.”

Merkel urged her country to “stand by America’s side” in the illegitimate attack on a sovereign nation that would kill hundreds of thousands, while destroying Iraqi civil society. As German Chancellor Merkel assured the public, in 2007, that America is “a force that has brought freedom to the peoples of the world”. The US has undeniably been “a force” but those who have suffered under American dominion may find the word “freedom” a contentious one.

Merkel’s wisdom in supporting the Iraq invasion has almost been forgotten. Moreover, her ministers were not heard complaining that it was “unacceptable” when the European Union – with German backing – imposed a variety of measures on Russia relating to the Western-initiated Ukraine conflict. Sanctions are only “against international law, plain and simple” when it affects German business interests one can assume.

Merkel remained noticeably quiet as the US performed a key role in the unlawful overthrowing of Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, in February 2014. She chose to “stand by America’s side” once more, offering no opposition that might have affected her “friendship” with then US President Barack Obama. Still, the Chancellor spoke up later as Russia reintegrated Crimea to its territory, overwhelmingly backed by the Crimean people. Merkel insisted that Russia “must not be allowed to get away with it”.

The Ukrainian coup has resulted in that country’s descent into chaos, but such a reality has never seemed of immediate concern to the German leader. America was “allowed to get away with” financing the putsch, or “brokering a deal” as Obama admitted on CNN in early 2015 – and also more forceful interventions elsewhere. All of this has not prevented Merkel from sanctimoniously addressing the rights of minority groups.

In May last year during a conference in the Russian city of Sochi, she said,

“I asked President [Vladimir] Putin to use his influence to protect these minority rights [homosexuals in Chechnya]. I have… indicated how important the right to demonstrate is in a civil society.”

The liberties of minority groups, it appears, are more important to Merkel than the rights of millions of Iraqi or Ukrainian citizens. Lecturing the Russian president on how to behave “in a civil society” served its purpose in public relations.

Meanwhile, in neighbouring France, its president Emmanuel Macron said,

“Tonight I wish to tell the United States, France believes in you, the world believes in you. I know that you are a great nation. I know your history – our common history.”

Perhaps by his description of “the world” Macron was referring to parts of Europe, Australia or Israel. It is doubtful whether many of those in Latin America, the Middle East or Africa “believes” in the United States at this late date.

Shortly after being elected, Macron further felt the need to rebuke RT and Sputnik for being “organs of influence, of propaganda, of lying propaganda”. Macron neglected to condemn other networks like Sky News, the BBC or CNN, who have been known to criticize Putin on occasion, while being far more supportive of the French leader.

One could be forgiven for attributing Macron’s comments to former British prime minister Tony Blair, partner-in-crime with George W. Bush in the invasion of Iraq. Blair has been attempting to rehabilitate his reputation in recent years with comments like “democracy is not on its own sufficient” and “you need effective government taking effective decisions”. The former Labour leader indeed made “effective decisions” by joining the US in waging a war that’s consequences continue to present. Blair’s viewpoints have been aired by a variety of establishment media.

*

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

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.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Western Leaders Have A History of Pandering to Washington’s Whims

The December 1 arrest by Canadian authorities in Vancouver of Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, based on a US extradition warrant, represents a draconian extraterritorial application of a dubious US law and claim of Huawei’s sanctions violations regarding Iran. Meng was arrested at Vancouver International Airport, while a transit passenger changing planes.

Meng stands accused by the Trump administration of having used Skycom, a Huawei subsidiary based in Hong Kong, to evade American sanctions against Iran between 2009 and 2014. A British Columbia judge granted Meng bail, set at $7.4 million. She was required to surrender her passports to Canadian authorities.

Although Meng stands accused by the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan of violating US trade sanctions on Iran and lying to HSBC Bank in furtherance of the alleged sanctions busting, Donald Trump told Reuters that he may use the arrest of Meng as a bargaining chip with China over current trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing. Essentially, Trump believes Meng to be a US hostage, available to trade off with Beijing in the current Sino-US trade war.

Trump’s comments, which suggested Meng is a political pawn, through into question the US legal case against Meng and drew sharp criticism from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said that Canada would abide by the rule of law and not “what goes on in other countries.”

In June of this year, Trump dropped the threat of US sanctions on the Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE for allegedly selling its products to Iran and North Korea. US firms that supply components to ZTE would have faced possible job layoffs and bankruptcy had ZTE been sanctioned. The ZTE affair, again, showed that the extraterritorial application of US law against companies and individuals with commercial links to Iran is not in the national or economic security interests of the United States, but of Israel and, to a lesser extent, Saudi Arabia.

America’s extraterritorial application of its Iran sanctions laws, which are largely driven by the powerful Israel Lobby in Washington, in addition to Canada’s acting as Washington’s brigand in seizing Meng, is not playing well in China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry called in American ambassador Terry Branstad and Canadian ambassador Canadian Ambassador John McCallum and warned them that Meng’s arrest was “lawless, reasonless and ruthless.”

China also arrested Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat who had been posted to China and Hong Kong, in a move seen as a response to Meng’s arrest. Kovrig was in China under the auspices of the International Crisis Group, a non-governmental organization with longstanding links to the US Central Intelligence Agency. Michael Spavor, a Canadian businessman, was also detained in China in a growing feud between Beijing and Ottawa brought about by Meng’s arrest. Spavor owns the Paektu Cultural Exchange, a company that arranges trips by Westerners to North Korea, a nation also subject to stringent US sanctions. Spavor is also close to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The Chinese vice foreign minister, Le Yucheng, warned Branstad about “the vile way” in which, Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada. The Chinese foreign ministry also told Canadian ambassador McCallum to relay to Ottawa its demand for the immediate release of Meng, who was, until 2009, a permanent resident of Canada.

The arrest of Meng represents an unusual extraterritorial application of US law to Meng, a foreign national, in a third country, Canada. The extradition of Meng to stand trial in the United States for a Chinese firm’s commercial links with Iran is highly dubious under international law. The arrest of Meng has sent a chill through foreign firms that continue to maintain commercial ties to Iran after the Trump administration’s unilateral withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement between Iran and China, Russia, and the European Union.

The arrest of Meng also shreds the post-G20 trade war truce recently agreed to by Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires. Making matters worse, Trump was dining with Xi in Buenos Aires at the very same time that Meng was arrested in Canada.

the average Chinese men and women on the street are so outraged by the US-directed arrest of Meng, they unabashedly speak to foreigners about going to war with the United States. Trump warned countries still adhering to the terms of the JCPOA that his administration would criminally sanction them and their companies if they continued financial links with Iran after the US unilaterally imposed drastic new sanctions against Iran on November 4. The Trump administration’s re-imposed sanctions were pressed by US national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, both of whom take their direction from the government of Israel and its powerful interlocutors in Washington’s lobbying and political donor sectors, as well as Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Another nation that could feel the wrath of Washington is Algeria. Its state-owned oil company, Sonatrach, awarded the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) a $420 million contract to renovate its refinery in Algiers. Part of the contract, awarded on November 6, two days after increased US “secondary” sanctions were imposed on third parties with trade links with Iran, was for Huawei to provide telecommunications services. Neither Algeria, which maintains friendly relations with Iran, nor CNPC will take kindly to their citizens involved in the deal being arrested and extradited by third parties on flimsy US arrest warrants executed by officials in Washington taking their orders from pro-Israeli influence wielders.

Israel and the Trump administration are also exerting pressure on Ethiopia. They are warning EthioTelecom not to award a lucrative cellular network expansion project to Huawei. Another nation worried about the Trump administration’s intentions is the West African nation of Benin. Huawei is installing a fiber-optics network in Benin, which is guaranteed by a $80 million financial assistance package from the Chinese Eximbank. Trump administration officials have also warned South Korea away from a prospective contract for Huawei to install a broadband wireless network in the country.

The arrest of Meng over an issue dealing with Chinese-Iranian economic ties is similar to the 2010 arrest in Liberia of Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko. Extradited by Liberia to New York, Yaroshenko was charged with smuggling cocaine throughout South America, Africa, and Europe. The drugs, however, never crossed American shores. The statements of the Russian Foreign Ministry in 2010 were similar to those from the Chinese Foreign Ministry now. The Foreign Ministry in Moscow stated: “We’re talking about a kidnapping of a Russian national from a third country. The actions of US special services in the forcible and secret relocation of our national from Monrovia to New York could only [be] seen as open lawlessness.”

In 2015, Dino Bouterse, the son of Surinam’s president, Desi Bouterse, was sentenced by a US judge in New York to 16-1/4 years in prison for his dealings with the Lebanese Shi’a group, Hezbollah. Dino Bouterse was charged with aiding a “terrorist” group. However, Hezbollah is a legal political party in Lebanon and has supported various coalition governments in that country. The case was only brought because, once again, Israel’s antagonism against Iran influenced the US legal system in extraterritorially extending US law to Suriname’s relationship with Lebanon.

In 1909, the famed US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes opined in a case that US laws cannot be applied to other countries. This principle, known as “presumption against extraterritoriality,” has been whittled away by recent US administrations. This erosion of the presumption against extraterritoriality has been particularly seen in US enforcement against third parties of its sanctions on Iran and embargo on Cuba.

The United States has not only been acting as the world’s policeman but as judge, jury, and, in many cases, executioner. The US Department of Justice should read the opinion of Oliver Wendell Holmes before it acts to extend US law – and Israeli interests – beyond America’s borders.

*

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

Wayne Madsen is an investigative journalist, author and syndicated columnist. A member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the National Press Club.

Featured image is from SCF

A particularly scurrilous op-ed appeared in the pages of the Washington Post accusing the Syrian government of detaining, torturing, then executing an American citizen, Layla Shweikani.  

Considering US attempts to establish various pretexts to justify its ongoing military occupation of Syria and its attacks on Syrian forces – such an accusation could dangerously escalate the conflict if not checked and exposed.

The Accusation

The op-ed titled, “Assad’s regime killed an American — and no one seems to care,” written by Jason Rezaian – arrested, tried, and convicted of espionage in Iran – begins by claiming (emphasis added):

Last month the U.S. government confirmed that an American citizen had died in Syrian captivity. Sources concluded that Layla Shweikani, a U.S. citizen with Syrian roots, had been tortured and then executed.

The article claims that the Syrian government’s civil registry recorded her death in late 2016. Claims that she died in Syrian government custody come from James Jeffery, the US special envoy for Syria Engagement, but the factual basis of this claim was not provided in the article, nor during recent testimony (video) provided by Jeffery to the US House Foreign Affairs Committee. US Representative Adam Kinzinger – who during the hearing suggested the US military “target Assad” – would be quoted in the Washington Post’s op-ed, claiming:

I understand there are some classified details, but it is disappointing that Ambassador Jeffrey was unable to say more on behalf of the administration about what happened to Layla and what the repercussions will be when he testified before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee. … I’m still waiting on an answer.

The op-ed would end by claiming:

Unless we begin to demand answers for the detention and death of Americans around the world, I don’t see any incentive for Assad or other thugs to stop targeting our citizens.

It is clear that Jason Rezaian among the pages of the Washington Post is accusing the Syrian government of detaining, torturing, and executing Layla Shweikani – and demanding accountability.

Completely absent from Rezaian’s Washington Post op-ed – however – was any actual evidence the Syrian government did “torture then executed” Layla Shweikani.

Washington Post Columnist Admits There’s No Evidence

Josh Rogin – a Washington Post columnist and political analyst for CNN – would eagerly promote Rezaian’s op-ed on social media. When pressed for evidence that the Syrian government “tortured then executed” Shweikani, Rogin attempted to first divert the debate away from the lack of evidence, before finally admitting:

…we don’t know the specifics of Layla’s death. I’d like to know much more. We should not jump to conclusions. Thank you for that caution.

But Rogin would then add:

But the regime is responsible for her death, in their custody.

Rogin would slink away from debate when pressed for an explanation as to how two experienced journalists like Rogin and Rezaian could “jump to conclusions” accidentally and how this was not just another example of the Washington Post’s larger, well known, and long-running war propaganda efforts.

Part of Rogin’s diversions included references to the 2013 “Caesar photographs,” which Rogin would claim were “verified” by the FBI. US Representative Kinzinger is also fond of invoking the photographs which were allegedly smuggled out of Syria and reportedly depict Syrians “tortured then executed” by the Syrian government.

What Rogin failed to mention was that the photographs were “verified” only as undoctored by the FBI who never once stepped foot in Syria to investigate or verify the identities of or circumstances surrounding those depicted in the photographs.

The 2013 “Caesar photographs” also have nothing to do with evidence substantiating Rezaian and Rogin’s claims that the Syrian government “tortured then executed” Shweikani in 2016.

Rogin also failed to mention that the FBI studied the photographs at the request of the US State Department – a US government department openly committed to the overthrow of the Syrian government. 

Surely a journalist of Rogin’s experience and stature understands basic concepts like “evidence,” “burden of proof,” and even “conflict of interest.” Yet it appeared that Rogin was systematically running through a list of unethical behavior to escape scrutiny for the Washington Post’s latest smear against the Syrian government and yet another attempt to establish justification for expanded US military intervention against Syria.

The True Basis of WaPo’s Latest Claims? “Activists Say…”  

Other Western media publications – such as the Independent in their article, “An American woman died in a Syrian regime prison. Could the US have done more to help her?” – admit deep within the bodies of their articles that all information regarding Shweikani comes from dubious activists relying on second and even third-hand accounts.

The Independent would admit:

What happened next was discovered by Idlbi through testimony of other inmates at Adra prison, where she was held, and contact with Syrian officials after the fact.

Idlbi would claim:

Through an official, we found out that a judge sentenced her to execution for terrorism. The trial lasted 30 seconds.

The Independent would then claim:

According to Idlbi, Shweikani was then transferred to the infamous Saydnaya prison, just outside of the capital. “Since then our assumption is that she was definitely killed. Because usually you are executed within 48 hours [of a verdict],” he says.

That account matches the one given by the Syrian Network for Human Rights, which documents deaths in Syrian government custody. The monitoring group said it believes she was executed on 28 December 2016.

Of course, the Syrian Network for Human Rights is a Western-funded (.pdf) opposition group and echo chamber of Western war propaganda, posing as an independent nongovernmental organization. This is not mentioned by the Independent who presents SNHR as a credible human rights advocacy group.

The Independent also conveniently omits that Qutaiba Idlbi lives in the United States after receiving a scholarship to study at Columbia University.

Idlbi fled Syria after being detained for his role in the opposition. Idlbi’s support for the opposition casts serious doubts on his objectivity – especially considering Idlbi has no actual evidence to support any of his claims. This information on Idlbi’s background was reported in an AP article titled, “Columbia offers scholarships to Syrians, despite visa ban.”

The Western media knows the average reader is not going to research who Qutaiba Idlbi is and learn that he is a member of the opposition – or that SNHR is an opposition organization funded by the very nations trying to overthrow the Syrian government.

The Power of Scrutiny  

The Washington Post’s behavior illustrates several important points.

First, it indicates that the US is still searching for pretexts to maintain – even expand – its illegal military intervention in Syria.

Second, it indicates that tired accusations of human rights abuses, which gave way to exhausted accusations of chemical weapon use, have come full circle again. It is no longer Syrians being killed. Or Syrians being gassed. Now it is “Americans” being “tortured then executed.”

It also illustrates that Western propaganda cannot stand up to even the slightest scrutiny.

This was not a problem when newspapers and television channels controlled the flow of information.

But with the rise of alternative media and growing skepticism and scrutiny across social media, this is no longer an advantage the permanent state’s media can count on. This explains the feverish attempts to control social media, manipulate search results, and even delete accounts.

Rogin and Rezaian’s botched war propaganda campaign helps explain why the Western media and the special interests underwriting them have invested so much in eliminating competition and regaining the monopoly they once enjoyed during the era of print and broadcast media.

Whether these investments will eventually pay off is another matter entirely.

*

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

This article was originally published on Land Destroyer Report.

Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on US Media Claims that American Citizen was “Tortured Then Executed” by Syrian Government – Admits No Evidence
  • Tags: ,

How the New Silk Roads Are Merging into Greater Eurasia

December 15th, 2018 by Pepe Escobar

The concept of Greater Eurasia has been discussed at the highest levels of Russian academia and policy-making for some time. This week the policy was presented at the Council of Ministers and looks set to be enshrined, without fanfare, as the main guideline of Russian foreign policy for the foreseeable future.

President Putin is unconditionally engaged to make it a success. Already at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in 2016, Putin referred to an emerging “Eurasian partnership”.

I was privileged over the past week to engage in excellent discussions in Moscow with some of the top Russian analysts and policymakers involved in advancing Greater Eurasia.

Three particularly stand out: Yaroslav Lissovolik, program director of the Valdai Discussion Club and an expert on the politics and economics of the Global South; Glenn Diesen, author of the seminal Russia’s Geoeconomic Strategy for a Greater Eurasia; and the legendary Professor Sergey Karaganov, dean of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs at the National Research University Higher School of Economics and honorary chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, who received me in his office for an off-the-record conversation.

The framework for Great Eurasia has been dissected in detail by the indispensable Valdai Discussion Club, particularly on Rediscovering the Identity, the sixth part of a series called Toward the Great Ocean, published last September, and authored by an academic who’s who on the Russian Far East, led by Leonid Blyakher of the Pacific National University in Khabarovsk and coordinated by Karaganov, director of the project.

The conceptual heart of Greater Eurasia is Russia’s Turn to the East, or pivot to Asia, home of the economic and technological markets of the future. This implies Greater Eurasia proceeding in symbiosis with China’s New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). And yet this advanced stage of the Russia-China strategic partnership does not mean Moscow will neglect its myriad close ties to Europe.

Russian Far East experts are very much aware of the “Eurocentrism of a considerable portion of Russian elites.” They know how almost the entire economic, demographic and ideological environment in Russia has been closely intertwined with Europe for three centuries. They recognize that Russia has borrowed Europe’s high culture and its system of military organization. But now, they argue, it’s time, as a great Eurasian power, to profit from “an original and self-sustained fusion of many civilizations”; Russia not just as a trade or connectivity point, but as a “civilizational bridge”.

Legacy of Genghis Khan 

What my conversations, especially with Lissovolik, Diesen and Karaganov, have revealed is something absolutely groundbreaking – and virtually ignored across the West; Russia is aiming to establish a new paradigm not only in geopolitics and geoeconomics, but also on a cultural and ideological level.

Conditions are certainly ripe for it. Northeast Asia is immersed in a power vacuum. The Trump administration’s priority – as well as the US National Security Strategy’s – is containment of China. Both Japan and South Korea, slowly but surely, are getting closer to Russia.

Culturally, retracing Russia’s past, Greater Eurasia analysts may puzzle misinformed Western eyes. ‘Towards the Great Ocean’, the Valdai report supervised by Karaganov, notes the influence of Byzantium, which “preserved classical culture and made it embrace the best of the Orient culture at a time when Europe was sinking into the Dark Ages.” Byzantium inspired Russia to adopt Orthodox Christianity.

It also stresses the role of the Mongols over Russia’s political system. “The political traditions of most Asian countries are based on the legacy of the Mongols. Arguably, both Russia and China are rooted in Genghis Khan’s empire,” it says.

If the current Russian political system may be deemed authoritarian – or, as claimed in Paris and Berlin, an exponent of “illiberalism” – top Russian academics argue that a market economy protected by lean, mean military power performs way more efficiently than crisis-ridden Western liberal democracy.

As China heads West in myriad forms, Greater Eurasia and the Belt and Road Initiative are bound to merge. Eurasia is crisscrossed by mighty mountain ranges such as the Pamirs and deserts like the Taklamakan and the Karakum. The best ground route runs via Russia or via Kazakhstan to Russia. In crucial soft power terms, Russian remains the lingua franca in Mongolia, Central Asia and the Caucasus.

And that leads us to the utmost importance of an upgraded Trans-Siberian railway – Eurasia’s current connectivity core. In parallel, the transportation systems of the Central Asian “stans” are closely integrated with the Russian network of roads; all that is bound to be enhanced in the near future by Chinese-built high-speed rail.

Iran and Turkey are conducting their own versions of a pivot to Asia. A free-trade agreement between Iran and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) was approved in early December. Iran and India are also bound to strike a free-trade agreement. Iran is a big player in the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), which is essential in driving closer economic integration between Russia and India.

The Caspian Sea, after a recent deal between its five littoral states, is re-emerging as a major trading post in Central Eurasia. Russia and Iran are involved in a joint project to build a gas pipeline to India.

Kazakhstan shows how Greater Eurasia and BRI are complementary; Astana is both a member of BRI and the EAEU. The same applies to gateway Vladivostok, Eurasia’s entry point for both South Korea and Japan, as well as Russia’s entry point to Northeast Asia.

Ultimately, Russia’s regional aim is to connect China’s northern provinces with Eurasia via the Trans-Siberian and the Chinese Eastern Railway – with Chita in China and Khabarovsk in Russia totally inter-connected.

And all across the spectrum, Moscow aims at maximizing return on the crown jewels of the Russian Far East; agriculture, water resources, minerals, lumber, oil and gas. Construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants in Yamal vastly benefits China, Japan and South Korea.

Community spirit

Eurasianism, as initially conceptualized in the early 20th century by the geographer PN Savitsky, the geopolitician GV Vernadsky and the cultural historian VN Ilyn, among others, regarded Russian culture as a unique, complex combination of East and West, and the Russian people as belonging to “a fully original Eurasian community”.

That certainly still applies. But as Valdai Club analysts argue, the upgraded concept of Greater Eurasia “is not targeted against Europe or the West”; it aims to include at least a significant part of the EU.

The Chinese leadership describes BRI not only as connectivity corridors, but also as a “community”. Russians use a similar term applied to Greater Eurasia; sobornost (“community spirit”).

As Alexander Lukin of the Higher School of Economics and an expert on the SCO has constantly stressed, including in his book China and Russia: The New Rapprochement, this is all about the interconnection of Greater Eurasia, BRI, EAEU, SCO, INSTC, BRICS, BRICS Plus and ASEAN.

The cream of the crop of Russian intellectuals – at the Valdai Club and the Higher School of Economics – as well as top Chinese analysts, are in sync. Karaganov himself constantly reiterates that the concept of Greater Eurasia was arrived at, “jointly and officially”, by the Russia-China partnership; “a common space for economic, logistic and information cooperation, peace and security from Shanghai to Lisbon and New Delhi to Murmansk”.

The concept of Greater Eurasia is, of course, a work in progress. What my conversations in Moscow revealed is its extraordinary ambition; positioning Russia as a key geoeconomic and geopolitical crossroads linking the economic systems of North Eurasia, Central and Southwest Asia.

As Diesen notes, Russia and China have become inevitable allies because of their “shared objective of restructuring global value-chains and developing a multipolar world”. It’s no wonder Beijing’s drive to develop state-of-the-art national technological platforms is provoking so much anger in Washington. And in terms of the big picture, it makes perfect sense for BRI to be harmonized with Russia’s economic connectivity drive for Greater Eurasia.

That’s irreversible. The dogs of demonization, containment, sanctions and even war may bark all they want, but the Eurasia integration caravan keeps moving along.

*

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

Make no mistake. Washington is at war with Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and other sovereign independent states – waging cold war at risk of turning hot against any or all of them. US war on Russia rages politically, economically, financially and through illegal sanctions.

The latest body blow came on December 11. US House members unanimously adopted a resolution, calling for the Trump regime to severely penalize EU nations and enterprises participating in Russia’s Nord Stream II gas pipeline project – wanting stiff sanctions imposed under the so-called Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) – targeting Russia, Iran and North Korea.

When completed, Nord Stream II will be the world’s longest underwater pipeline, a major engineering achievement.

It’ll be able to deliver 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas from beneath the Baltic Sea, its capacity to be doubled by an additional line, the project scheduled for completion by late 2019 or early 2020.

Russia’s world’s largest natural gas reserves and proximity to other European countries makes it the most logical supplier of their needs.

Nord Stream II will run from Russia’s border, below the Baltic Sea to Germany, crossing Russian and German waters, along with economic zones of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.

 

Five European companies are involved in construction – including France’s Engie, Austria’s OMV AG, Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, along with Royal Dutch Shell. Brussels, including economic powerhouse Germany, strongly supports the project.

The Trump regime lied claiming it’ll undermine European energy security and stability. Polar opposite is true. It’ll be an economic and energy boon for countries benefitting from the project.

Trump regime Russophobes want America replacing Moscow as Europe’s main natural gas supplier, despite an ocean separating both continents, making it advantageous for EU countries to rely heavily on Russia for their LNG needs – impractical and expensive to ship it from the US.

Trump regime hardliners are going all-out to undermine Nord Stream II, intending to impose sanctions on European nations and companies involved in its construction.

Germany is key. Days earlier, its Foreign Minister Heiko Maas defended the project, stressing it makes no sense to abandon it. As long as Berlin maintains support, the Trump regime’s aim to undermine construction most likely will fail.

Austria’s OMV energy group CEO Rayner Zele said his company intends to continue financing the pipeline next year. It’s already invested over $600 million in the project.

Overwhelming US bipartisan hostility toward Russia is all about wanting it undermined politically, economically, financially and militarily – ahead of aiming to deliver a knockout blow by military or other means to transform the country into a US vassal state.

The same strategy is in play against China, the only nation able to challenge the US economically, industrially, and technologically.

That’s what trade war with Beijing is all about. It’s about trying to undermine Beijing’s “Made in China 2025” strategy.

It’s about wanting to sabotage its aim to advance 10 economic sectors to world-class status, including information technology, high-end machinery and robotics, aerospace, marine equipment and ships, advanced rail transport, new-energy vehicles, electric power, agricultural machinery, new materials and biomedical products.

It’s about wanting China prevented  from becoming an economic powerhouse, especially in sophisticated technological areas, able to challenge and perhaps surpass America’s dominance.

The trade deficit is largely a distraction, concealing US aims to co-opt, colonize, and control China, an objective risking possible nuclear war if US hardliners push things too far.

Saudi Arabia is the latest US target. Furor over Jamal Khashoggi’s murder is all about wanting control over the kingdom sustained.

It’s got nothing to do with his elimination or horrendous Saudi human rights abuses internally and abroad – the latter a non-issue for nearly a century in Riyadh’s relations with the West.

Legal/political analyst Darius Shahtahmasebi explained the key reason behind the furor over Khashoggi’s murder, why the CIA wants him replaced as crown prince, why Congress opposes him.

Ruling authorities in Washington don’t give a hoot about Saudi despotism, its junior partnership with US war in Yemen or its other unlawful actions.

The same goes for all other countries. Republicans and Dems support the world’s most ruthless tinpot despots – in the Middle East and elsewhere.

They turn a blind eye to intolerable Israeli apartheid, its state terror, and other high crimes.

The only US issue with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is he’s “too ‘independent’ for the United States’ liking,” Shahtahmasebi explained, notably its energy and other dealings with Russia.

Kremlin/Riyadh talks about buying Russia’s sophisticated S-400 air defense systems, weapons, munitions, and perhaps other purchases infuriates the Washington.

The US also fears that the Saudis will abandon the petrodollar by selling oil to China in yuan, what Beijing apparently demands.

If Riyadh goes along, other Gulf states will likely follow to accommodate China, the world’s largest oil consumer.

Things most often aren’t as they seem. US furor over Khashoggi’s murder is largely about wanting control over the Saudis sustained.

MBS is considered unreliable and untrustworthy, why the CIA wants him replaced with a crown prince the US controls.

*

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

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.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on “War by Other Means” against Russia and China: Washington Pressures EU Nations to Boycott Russia’s Nord Stream II Gas Pipeline

Hungarian scholar George Szamuely tells Ann Garrison that he sees a 70 percent chance of combat between NATO and Russia following the incident in the Kerch Strait and that it is being fueled by Russia-gate.

***

George Szamuely is a Hungarian-born scholar and Senior Research Fellow at London’s Global Policy Institute. He lives in New York City. I spoke to him about escalating hostilities on Russia’s Ukrainian and Black Sea borders and about Exercise Trident Juncture, NATO’s massive military exercise on Russian borders which ended just as the latest hostilities began.

Ann Garrison: George, the hostilities between Ukraine, NATO, and Russia continue to escalate in the Sea of Azov, the Kerch Strait, and the Black Sea. What do you think the latest odds of a shooting war between NATO and Russia are, if one hasn’t started by the time this is published?

George Szamuely: Several weeks ago, when we first talked about this, I said 60 percent. Now I’d say, maybe 70 percent. The problem is that Trump seems determined to be the anti-Obama. Obama, in Trump’s telling, “allowed” Russia to take Crimea and to “invade” Ukraine. Therefore, it will be up to Trump to reverse this. Just as he, Trump, reversed Obama’s policy on Iran by walking away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal. So expect ever-increasing US involvement in Ukraine.

AG: NATO’s Supreme Commander US General Curtis M. Scaparrotti is reported to have been on the phone with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko “offering his full support.” Thoughts on that?

GS: There has been a proxy war within Ukraine since 2014, with NATO backing Poroshenko’s Ukrainian government and Russia backing the dissidents and armed separatists who speak Russian and identify as Russian in Ukraine’s southeastern Donbass region. But in the Kerch Strait the hostilities are between Russia and Ukraine, with NATO behind Ukraine.

A shooting war will begin if it escalates to where NATO soldiers shoot and kill Russian soldiers or vice versa. Whoever shoots first, the other side will feel compelled to respond, and then there’ll be a war between Russia and NATO or Russia and a NATO nation.

We don’t know whether NATO would feel compelled to respond as one if Russians fired on soldiers of individual NATO nations—most likely UK soldiers since the UK is sending more of its Special Forces and already has the largest NATO military presence in Ukraine. Russia could defeat the UK, but if the US gets involved, all bets are off.

AG: It’s hard to imagine that the US would allow Russia to defeat the UK.

GS: It is, but on the other hand, the US is the US and the UK is the UK. The United States might well be ready to fight to the last Brit, much as the United States is definitely ready to fight to the last Ukrainian. There are already 300 US paratroopers in Ukraine training Ukrainians, but the British would be well advised that words of encouragement from Washington don’t necessarily translate into US willingness to go to war.

AG: The US Congress passed a law that US troops can’t serve under any foreign command, so that would require US command.

GS: Yes, and without that, any British military defeat could be blamed on traditional British military incompetence rather than US weakness or foolish braggadocio.

AG: This latest dustup between the Russian and Ukrainian navies took place in the Kerch Strait. I had to study several maps to understand this, but basically neither Russian nor Ukrainian vessels, military or commercial, can get to or from the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea without passing through the Kerch Strait. That doesn’t mean that neither could get to the Black Sea, because both have Black Sea borders, but they couldn’t get from ports in the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea and back.

And neither Ukraine nor Russia can get from the Black Sea to Western European waters without passing through the Bosporous and Dardanelles Straits in Turkey to the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, and then further to the Atlantic Ocean through the Strait of Gibraltar, which is bordered on one side by Spain and the British territory of Gibraltar, and on the other by Morocco and the Spanish territory Ceuta. So there are many geo-strategic choke points where Russian ships, naval or commercial, could be stopped by NATO nations or their allies, and Ukraine has already asked Turkey to stop them from passing through the Bosporus Strait. Thoughts on that?

GS: Well, of course Ukraine can ask for anything it likes. There’s no way in the world Turkey would try to stop Russian ships going through the Bosporus Strait. That would be a violation of the 1936 Montreux Convention and an act of war on the part of Turkey. It isn’t going to happen. As for the Kerch Strait, it is Russian territorial water. Ukraine is free to use it and has been doing so without incident since 2014. The only thing the Russians insist on is that any ship going through the strait use a Russian pilot. During the recent incident, the Ukrainian tug refused to use a Russian pilot. The Russians became suspicious, fearing that the Ukrainians were engaged in a sabotage mission to blow up the newly constructed bridge across the strait. You’ll remember that an American columnist not so long ago urged the Ukrainian authorities to blow up the bridge. That’s why the Russians accuse Kiev of staging a provocation.

AG: There’s a longstanding back channel between the White House and the Kremlin, as satirized in Dr. Strangelove. Anti-Trump fanatics keep claiming this is new and traitorous, but it’s long established. Obama and Putin used it to keep Russian and US soldiers from firing on one another instead of the jihadists both claimed to be fighting in Syria. Kennedy and Khrushchev used it to keep the Bay of Pigs crisis from escalating into a nuclear war. Shouldn’t Trump and Putin be talking on that back channel now, no matter how much it upsets CNN and MSNBC?

GS: Well, of course, they should. The danger is that in this atmosphere of anti-Russian hysteria such channels for dialogue may not be kept open. As a result, crises could escalate beyond the point at which either side could back down without losing face. What’s terrifying is that so many US politicians and press now describe any kind of negotiation, dialogue, or threat-management as treasonous collusion by Donald Trump.

Remember Trump’s first bombing in Syria in April 2017. Before he launched that attack, Trump administration officials gave advance warning to the Russians to enable them to get any Russian aircraft out of harm’s way. This perfectly sensible action on the part of the administration—leave aside the illegality and stupidity of the attack—was greeted by Hillary Clinton and the MSNBC crowd as evidence that the whole operation was cooked up by Trump and Putin to take attention off Russia-gate. It’s nuts.

AG: Most of us have heard Russia and NATO’s conflicting accounts of why the Russian Navy seized several Ukrainian vessels in the Sea of Azov. What’s your interpretation of what happened?

GS: As I said, I think the Russians had every right to be suspicious of the intent of the Ukrainian vessels. The Ukrainians know that these are Russian territorial waters. They know that the only way to go through the Kerch Strait is by making use of a Russian pilot. They refused to allow the Russians to pilot the ships through the strait. Whatever the Ukrainians’ ultimate intent was—whether it was to carry out an act of sabotage, to provoke the Russians into overreaction and then to demand help from NATO, or simply to go through the strait without a Russian pilot in order to enable President Poroshenko to proclaim the strait as non-Russian—whatever Kiev’s intent was, the Russians were entitled to respond. The force the Russians used was hardly excessive. In similar circumstances, the US would have destroyed all of the ships and killed everyone on board. Recall, incidentally, Israel has seized Gaza flotilla boats and arrested everyone on board. In 2010, the Israeli Navy shot nine activists dead during a flotilla boat seizure, and wounded one who died after four years in a coma.

AG: Don’t the US, Ukraine, and the UN Security Council refuse to recognize the Kerch Strait as Russian territory, and insist that Russia’s claim to it violates various maritime treaties? I know the UNSC refuses to recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, not that that does Syria any good.

GS: According to the 2003 agreement, Russia and Ukraine agreed to consider the strait as well as the Sea of Azov as shared territorial waters. From 2014 on, Russia considered the strait as Russian waters, though it’s made no attempt to hamper Ukrainian shipping. The Azov Sea is still shared by Russia and Ukraine. During the recent incident, the Ukrainian Navy acted provocatively, deliberately challenging the Russians. As for what the UNSC accepts, how would NATO respond if Serbia entered Kosovo on some pretext or other?

AG: OK, now let’s go back to NATO’s Exercise Trident Juncture, a massive military exercise on Russia’s Scandinavian and Arctic borders that concluded on November 24, one day before the Kerch Strait incident. The first phase was deployment, from August to October. The second phase was war games from October 25th to November 7th. The war games were based on the premise that Russia had invaded Scandinavia by ground, air, and sea. They included 50,000 participants from 31 NATO and partner countries, 250 aircraft, 65 naval vessels, and up to 10,000 tanks and other ground vehicles, and I hate to think about how much fossil fuel they burned.

The final phase was a command post exercise to make sure that, should NATO forces ever face a real Russian invasion of Scandinavia, their response could be safely coordinated in Norway and in Italy, far from the war zone.

So George, do Scandinavians have reason to worry that Russia might invade any of their respective nations?

GS: Not at all. This is ridiculous. It was the largest military exercise since the end of the Cold War, and why? Why did they do this? Russia isn’t threatening Scandinavia, but it’s more likely that it will if NATO continues conducting war games on its borders. Right now tension between East and West is escalating so fast that a single event could be like a match that triggers an explosion, and then there’ll be a war.

AG: There was a recent Russian exercise, or joint Russian and Chinese exercise, based on the premise that the US had invaded Korea, right?

GS: Right. But it wasn’t anywhere near Europe, so it wasn’t threatening the Europeans. It took place in eastern Siberia, so it shouldn’t have caused panic in NATO countries. It shouldn’t have caused panic in the US either, because the Pacific Ocean separates the US and the Korean Peninsula.

What’s striking about Trident Juncture is that it involved Sweden and Finland, both of whom are traditionally neutral. They were neutral during the Cold War, not joining any alliances. Finlandization came to mean a foreign policy that in no way challenged or antagonized the USSR. So now here’s Finland rolling back that policy and joining NATO in this massive military exercise to stop nonexistent Russian aggression.

AG: Has Russia ever attempted to seize territory outside its own borders since the end of the Cold War?

GS: No. Russia never attempted to seize territory outside its own borders. The case cited by the West is Crimea, but that was really an outstanding issue that should have been addressed during the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Boris Yeltsin, the drunken, incompetent stooge that the US installed, just neglected it.

The Russian-speaking and Russian-identified people of Crimea were unhappy about Ukraine claiming sovereignty over them. They had been an autonomous republic within the USSR, and after its dissolution, they still retained their constitutional autonomy. That’s what gave them the right to hold a referendum to join the Russia Federation in 2014.

If the West is involved in an uprising, as in Ukraine, it recognizes the “independence” of the government it puts in power. It won’t recognize the constitutional autonomy of Crimea, which predated the 2014 Ukrainian revolution or illegal armed coup, whichever you call it, because it wasn’t part of their plan.

AG: The NATO nations and their allies say that Russia invaded and occupied Crimea, violating Ukrainian sovereignty according to international law. Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman referred to the “illegal annexation” of Crimea at least three times after the Kerch Strait incident. How do you explain the presence of Russian soldiers in Crimea prior to the referendum?

GS: They didn’t invade and occupy Crimea. Their forces were there legally, according to a 25-year lease agreement between Russia and Ukraine.

Crimea had been a part of Russia for more than 200 years. For most of the time, during the USSR era, it was an autonomous republic within the Russian Federation. In 1954, Khrushchev transferred some degree of sovereignty over the Crimean Republic to Ukraine. I’m not entirely sure why he did that, but the issue wasn’t that important then because Ukraine, Russia and Crimea were all part of the USSR.

Khrushchev didn’t envisage an independent Ukraine walking off with such a prize piece of real estate. Crimea is not only a huge tourist destination, it is also the site of Russia’s primary naval base on the Black Sea in Sevastopol. Yeltsin failed to address the problem in 1991. Since then, every time Crimeans talked about holding a referendum on their future, Kiev threatened to use force to stop them. Kiev would have used force again in 2014 if the Russians in the Port of Sevastopol had not left their Crimean base and made their presence known.

AG: The US, aka NATO, has an empire of military bases all over the world, and troops right up against Russia’s borders as in Exercise Trident Juncture. Does Russia have anything remotely like it?

NATO practices war with Russia. Exercise Trident Juncture. (Master-Corporal Jonathan Barrette, Canadian Forces Combat Camera)

GS: No. Russia does not have military bases outside its borders, which are now more or less as they were in 1939, when the USSR was surrounded by hostile states that were more than happy to join Hitler. So it’s ridiculous to tell Russia, “Don’t worry about our troops and war games all over your borders because we don’t really mean any harm.” Washington is calling Russia an existential enemy, and the UK is promising to stand shoulder to shoulder with its NATO allies and partners against “Russian aggression,” which is really Russian defense. So now we have an explosive situation on the Ukrainian and Russian borders that could easily turn into a shooting war.

AG: I read some US/NATO complaints that Russia was conducting exercises on its own side of the border. And last week NATO accused the Russian military of jamming its signals during its rehearsal for a war on Russia’s borders.

GS: Yes, that’s what the US considers Russian aggression, even though its troops and bases are all over the world and all over Russia’s borders.

AG: Competition between US and Russian energy corporations is one of the main undercurrents to all this. The US State Department even said that Europe should abandon the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline project with Russia because of the Kerch Strait incident, but that received a cool response, particularly from Angela Merkel. What are your thoughts about that?

GS: Well, obviously, the Trump administration is determined to push the Europeans to give up on natural gas from Russia and to opt, instead, for US liquefied natural gas (LNG). The problem is that LNG shipped across the Atlantic is much more expensive than natural gas piped to Europe from Russia. So it’s clearly not in the interests of the Europeans to have a bigger energy bill. Look what’s happening in France. Ordinary people are not making so much money that they can afford to shell out more for energy, particularly when there is no need to do so. Some countries such as Poland are so imbued with hostility toward Russia that they’re willing to pay more for gas just to hurt Russia, but Germany won’t go down this path.

AG: Anything else you’d like to say for now?

GS: Yes, I think it’s amazing that this many years after the Cold War we’ve reached a point where there’s almost no public criticism of a policy that has led to the US abandoning a major arms control agreement, namely the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed in 1987.

There’s almost no public criticism of the US getting involved in an armed confrontation on Russia’s doorstep, in Ukraine, Syria, Iran, or conceivably even Scandinavia. There’s almost no public criticism of roping formerly neutral European powers like Sweden and Finland into NATO military exercises.

Given the fact that the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that went into effect in 2011 will expire in 2021, and given that there’s nothing on the horizon to take its place, this is an extraordinarily perilous point in time.

And much of this has to be blamed on the liberals. The liberals have embraced an anti-Russian agenda. The kind of liberal view that prevailed during the Cold War was that we should at least pursue arms control agreements. We might not like the Communists, but we need treaties to prevent a nuclear war. Now there’s no such caution. Any belligerence towards Russia is now good and justified. There’s next to no pushback against getting into a war with Russia, even though it could go nuclear.

*

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

Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes Region. She can be reached at [email protected] She is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

All images in this article are from Consortiumnews

How We’re Getting Net Neutrality Back

December 15th, 2018 by Timothy Karr

A year ago today, the Federal Communications Commission under Chairman Ajit Pai made one of the worst, most abnormal decisions in the agency’s history.

It ignored public consensus and voted to strip away the Commission’s authority to protect internet users from companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon that want to block, throttle or de-prioritize the online content people want to see.

The Pai FCC justified that decision with the bogus claim that the strong open-internet rules adopted in 2015 were hurting broadband investment and speeds. Powered solely by these lies, Pai ripped up not just the nondiscrimination rights embodied in the Net Neutrality rules, but the entire legal foundation for the FCC to promote broadband deployment, affordability and privacy.

At the time, then-Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said in her dissent that “the public can plainly see that a soon-to-be-toothless FCC is handing the keys to the internet — the internet, one of the most remarkable, empowering, enabling inventions of our lifetime — over to a handful of multibillion-dollar corporations.”

And that public, alongside several advocacy groups like Free Press that support an open internet, has not been silent in the year since. We’re looking forward with optimism. Alongside a new crop of pro-Net Neutrality lawmakers everywhere from Capitol Hill to city halls, we’re confident that this year without Net Neutrality is an aberration — and that the days of Chairman Pai’s assault on the open internet are numbered.

Here’s why:

New champions in Congress

In 2018, Net Neutrality advocates mobilized a record number of elected officials to our side. Nowhere was this more evident than on Capitol Hill, where a bipartisan majority in the Senate passed a resolution in May to restore the open-internet rules.

That resolution is still gathering support in the House, where 181 members have already pledged to sign a discharge petition to bring it to a full floor vote in the last few days of the congressional session ending this month. That’s short of the 218 required to move the petition forward, but we’ve never had this many members of Congress signal such strong support for Net Neutrality. We wouldn’t have seen so many new champions were it not for the millions of people Free Press Action and other groups mobilized to speak out.

Add to that existing support a remarkable class of representatives who will enter the House in 2019, and there’s every reason for optimism. Among the new members are several outspoken supporters of open-internet protections who campaigned on the issue and won.

New champions in city halls

In response to the outcry against Pai’s repeal, more than 125 U.S. mayors signed on to a pledge requiring all internet providers that do business with participating cities to adhere to strong Net Neutrality principles. Signers include the mayors of Austin, Baltimore, Birmingham, Boise, Columbus, Kansas City, Minneapolis, New York, Newark, both Portlands, St. Louis, San Antonio and San Francisco. Together these cities have a population of more than 30 million people.

New champions in state legislatures

Right away it became clear that the only people who support Pai’s action are industry lobbyists in Washington, D.C., and the politicians who are beholden to them.

But the people of Washington State were living a reality rooted in the facts. Washington was among the first of 37 states to put forth legislation or resolutions rejecting the FCC decision and reinstating the Net Neutrality rules at the state level. Protections were soon signed into law by California, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

Meanwhile, the governors of six states signed executive orders requiring companies wishing to contract with the states to confirm that they would adhere to the 2015 Net Neutrality standards.

The court case continues

The Pai FCC will also have to defend its repeal and abdication of authority in court. Free Press and our allies are challenging the agency’s reversal on the proper definition of broadband, its flawed justifications for tossing out the rules and the many procedural fouls that plagued the FCC’s action last year.

The lawsuit is in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, with oral arguments scheduled for February 1. Pai and his Republican colleagues will have to defend their phony rationale for destroying the open-internet protections and putting nothing in their place.

The FCC is under investigation

The FCC chairman is stonewalling an ongoing investigation to identify just who was behind the millions of fake comments that plagued the agency’s Net Neutrality proceeding. Pai has gone the extra yard to impede inquiries by reporters, researchers and state attorneys general.

His level of obstruction raises the obvious question (as posed by Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel): “What is the FCC hiding?” As the FBI has also taken up the investigation, it will be increasingly difficult for Pai to help shield the culprits or excuse his agency’s negligence and possible complicity in the plot.

Bipartisan support everywhere

When you discount the millions of fake comments, the public record at the FCC shows overwhelming public opposition to Pai’s decision to repeal the Net Neutrality protections. This is reflected in public polling that shows strong bipartisan support for these safeguards.

According to a 2018 University of Maryland poll, 82 percent of Republicans, 90 percent of Democrats and 85 percent of independents opposed Pai’s decision to take away our right to choose where we go, what we do and whom we connect with online. This near-consensus is reflected in other polls as well, removing any doubt that people will support any politician, regardless of party, who sides with them in support of Net Neutrality.

That’s because people understand what’s at stake. Without Net Neutrality, large phone and cable companies will take control of the stories we tell, deciding who gets a voice and who doesn’t.

It’s why we’re confident that open-internet supporters will win in the end. And that victory will come sooner rather than later.

*

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

Featured image is from Maria Merkulova via Free Press

Global Research Editor’s note

The recently released IPCC study on global warming has triggered public alarmism. The complexities of climate change are not fully addressed.

It is important in debating the climatic impacts of CO2 emissions to address the broader issue of climate manipulation.

As Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT pointed out more than ten years ago in a 2007 article: “Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided.”

Below is the text of Professor Lindzen. 

Global Research’s editorial stance is to publish several differing points of view with regard to climate change as a means to fostering analysis, discussion and scientific dialogue.

In this regard, we have also published articles on on the issue of climatic warfare, namely the use of environmental modification techniques (climate manipulation) as an instrument of modern warfare, as acknowledged by the US Air Force. 

The IPCC report heralds CO2 emissions as the single and most important threat to the future of humanity. No mention of the word “war” –i.e. the US-NATO led war and its devastating environmental consequences.   

“No mention of “weather warfare” or “environmental modification techniques” (ENMOD) and climatic warfare.

No mention in the debate on climate change of the US Air Force 2025 project entitled “Owning the Weather” for military use. (See FAS, AF2025 v3c15-1 | Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning… | (Ch 1) [link no longer active,see also SPACE.com — U.S. Military Wants to Own the Weather)

This article by Prof Lindzen was originally published by Global Research in April 2007

Michel Chossudovsky, December 15, 2018


There have been repeated claims that this past year’s hurricane activity [2005-2006] was another sign of human-induced climate change. Everything from the heat wave in Paris to heavy snows in Buffalo has been blamed on people burning gasoline to fuel their cars, and coal and natural gas to heat, cool and electrify their homes. Yet how can a barely discernible, one-degree increase in the recorded global mean temperature since the late 19th century possibly gain public acceptance as the source of recent weather catastrophes? And how can it translate into unlikely claims about future catastrophes?

The answer has much to do with misunderstanding the science of climate, plus a willingness to debase climate science into a triangle of alarmism. Ambiguous scientific statements about climate are hyped by those with a vested interest in alarm, thus raising the political stakes for policy makers who provide funds for more science research to feed more alarm to increase the political stakes. After all, who puts money into science–whether for AIDS, or space, or climate–where there is nothing really alarming? Indeed, the success of climate alarmism can be counted in the increased federal spending on climate research from a few hundred million dollars pre-1990 to $1.7 billion today [2007]. It can also be seen in heightened spending on solar, wind, hydrogen, ethanol and clean coal technologies, as well as on other energy-investment decisions.

But there is a more sinister side to this feeding frenzy. Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis.

To understand the misconceptions perpetuated about climate science and the climate of intimidation, one needs to grasp some of the complex underlying scientific issues. First, let’s start where there is agreement. The public, press and policy makers have been repeatedly told that three claims have widespread scientific support: Global temperature has risen about a degree since the late 19th century; levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased by about 30% over the same period; and CO2 should contribute to future warming. These claims are true. However, what the public fails to grasp is that the claims neither constitute support for alarm nor establish man’s responsibility for the small amount of warming that has occurred. In fact, those who make the most outlandish claims of alarm are actually demonstrating skepticism of the very science they say supports them. It isn’t just that the alarmists are trumpeting model results that we know must be wrong. It is that they are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn’t happen even if the models were right as justifying costly policies to try to prevent global warming.

If the models are correct, global warming reduces the temperature differences between the poles and the equator. When you have less difference in temperature, you have less excitation of extratropical storms, not more. And, in fact, model runs support this conclusion. Alarmists have drawn some support for increased claims of tropical storminess from a casual claim by Sir John Houghton of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that a warmer world would have more evaporation, with latent heat providing more energy for disturbances. The problem with this is that the ability of evaporation to drive tropical storms relies not only on temperature but humidity as well, and calls for drier, less humid air. Claims for starkly higher temperatures are based upon there being more humidity, not less–hardly a case for more storminess with global warming.

So how is it that we don’t have more scientists speaking up about this junk science? It’s my belief that many scientists have been cowed not merely by money but by fear. An example: Earlier this year, Texas Rep. Joe Barton issued letters to paleoclimatologist Michael Mann and some of his co-authors seeking the details behind a taxpayer-funded analysis that claimed the 1990s were likely the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year in the last millennium. Mr. Barton’s concern was based on the fact that the IPCC had singled out Mr. Mann’s work as a means to encourage policy makers to take action. And they did so before his work could be replicated and tested–a task made difficult because Mr. Mann, a key IPCC author, had refused to release the details for analysis. The scientific community’s defense of Mr. Mann was, nonetheless, immediate and harsh. The president of the National Academy of Sciences–as well as the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union–formally protested, saying that Rep. Barton’s singling out of a scientist’s work smacked of intimidation.

All of which starkly contrasts to the silence of the scientific community when anti-alarmists were in the crosshairs of then-Sen. Al Gore. In 1992, he ran two congressional hearings during which he tried to bully dissenting scientists, including myself, into changing our views and supporting his climate alarmism. Nor did the scientific community complain when Mr. Gore, as vice president, tried to enlist Ted Koppel in a witch hunt to discredit anti-alarmist scientists–a request that Mr. Koppel deemed publicly inappropriate. And they were mum when subsequent articles and books by Ross Gelbspan libelously labeled scientists who differed with Mr. Gore as stooges of the fossil-fuel industry.

Sadly, this is only the tip of a non-melting iceberg. In Europe, Henk Tennekes was dismissed as research director of the Royal Dutch Meteorological Society after questioning the scientific underpinnings of global warming. Aksel Winn-Nielsen, former director of the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization, was tarred by Bert Bolin, first head of the IPCC, as a tool of the coal industry for questioning climate alarmism. Respected Italian professors Alfonso Sutera and Antonio Speranza disappeared from the debate in 1991, apparently losing climate-research funding for raising questions.

And then there are the peculiar standards in place in scientific journals for articles submitted by those who raise questions about accepted climate wisdom. At Science and Nature, such papers are commonly refused without review as being without interest. However, even when such papers are published, standards shift. When I, with some colleagues at NASA, attempted to determine how clouds behave under varying temperatures, we discovered what we called an “Iris Effect,” wherein upper-level cirrus clouds contracted with increased temperature, providing a very strong negative climate feedback sufficient to greatly reduce the response to increasing CO2. Normally, criticism of papers appears in the form of letters to the journal to which the original authors can respond immediately. However, in this case (and others) a flurry of hastily prepared papers appeared, claiming errors in our study, with our responses delayed months and longer. The delay permitted our paper to be commonly referred to as “discredited.” Indeed, there is a strange reluctance to actually find out how climate really behaves. In 2003, when the draft of the U.S. National Climate Plan urged a high priority for improving our knowledge of climate sensitivity, the National Research Council instead urged support to look at the impacts of the warming–not whether it would actually happen.

Alarm rather than genuine scientific curiosity, it appears, is essential to maintaining funding. And only the most senior scientists today can stand up against this alarmist gale, and defy the iron triangle of climate scientists, advocates and policymakers.

Richard Lindzen is Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT.

Of relevance to current developments, this article was first published by Truthout and posted on Global Research in March 2016

Humans generate more than 300 million tons of plastic annually — an amount equal to the combined body weight of the entire global adult human population — and nearly half of the plastic is only used one time before it is tossed away to eventually find its way to the oceans. So it should come as little surprise that by 2050, it is a virtual certainty that every seabird on the planet will have plastic in its stomach.

Recent estimates indicate that upwards of 8 million tons of plastic are added to the planet’s oceans every year, the equivalent of a dump truck full of plastic every minute. That is enough plastic to have led one scientist to estimate that people who consume average amounts of seafood are ingesting approximately 11,000 particles of plastic every year.

The earth’s oceans will have more plastic than fish by 2050, according to a January report published by the World Economic Forum.

Experts with whom Truthout spoke on the topic confirmed that these trends are likely to continue. Biological oceanographer Dr. Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez, with the National Oceanography Centre at Britain’s University of Southampton, is very concerned about public indifference to the urgency of the situation.

“Marine pollution is a big issue,” Iglesias-Rodriguez told Truthout.

“There is this idea that oceans have unlimited inertia, but nanoparticles of plastic getting into marine animals and the food chain are affecting fish fertility rates, and this affects food security and coastal populations. Pollution is having a huge impact on the oceans and is urgent and needs to be dealt with.”

Photo: Plastic Bag via Shutterstock; Edited: LW / TO

“Unexpected Results”

In the North Pacific Ocean, there exists what has become known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” a phenomenon scientists know as the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre.

Miriam Goldstein, a researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, warned Truthout that by adding massive amounts of plastic into the oceans, humans are causing large-scale change to the oceans’ entire ecological system.

Goldstein is the lead author of a study that revealed just how deeply into the oceanic ecosystem plastic has already embedded itself.

“We found eggs on the pieces of plastic, and these were sea skater [insect] eggs,” Goldstein said. “Sea skaters naturally occur in the gyre and are known to lay their eggs on floating objects. So we found that the amount of eggs being laid had increased with the amount of plastic.”

The North Pacific Subtropical Gyre’s eastern section, located between Hawai’i and California, is estimated to be about twice the size of Texas. According to Goldstein, this vast “garbage patch” contains an “alarming amount” of plastic garbage, the majority of which is comprised of very small-size pieces.

Goldstein’s study shows how the immense amount of plastic is creating consequences for animals across the marine food web.

Another Scripps study shows that nearly 10 percent of the fish collected during a trip to the gyre had plastic waste in their stomachs.

Published in Marine Ecology Progress Series, the aforementioned study (authored by Peter Davison and Rebecca Asch) estimates that fish at intermediate ocean depths in the North Pacific Ocean could be ingesting plastic at the staggering rate of 12,000 to 24,000 tons per year.

Yet plastic will not likely be going away anytime soon. The use of plastic bags around the world has increased by 20 times in the last 50 years. One-third of all plastic packaging then escapes collection systems, and a large percentage of that plastic eventually ends up in the oceans, according to the World Economic Forum report.

Only 5 percent of plastics are effectively recycled, and the production of plastics is expected to increase by at least 1.12 billion tons by 2050.

“Our work shows there could be potential effects to the ocean ecosystem that we can’t expect or predict,” Goldstein said.

“There are five subtropical gyres, one in each ocean basin, and they are natural currents. They are vast areas of the oceans; together they comprise the majority of the area of the oceans. So altering them on a large scale could have unexpected results on all kinds of things.”

Ocean 3.0?

The amount of plastic floating in the Pacific Gyre has increased 100-fold in the past four decades. Meanwhile, phytoplankton counts are dropping, overfishing is causing dramatic decreases in fish populations, decreasing ocean salinity is intensifying weather extremes, and warming oceans are speeding up melting in Greenland, the Arctic and in Antarctica.

One warning of humanity’s increasingly deleterious impact on the oceans comes from prominent marine biologist Jeremy Jackson of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In an article published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jackson emphasizes that, without profound and prompt changes in human behavior, we will cause a “mass extinction in the oceans with unknown ecological and evolutionary consequences.”

The statement might sound extreme, until one considers the extent to which we impact the oceans, whether we realize it or not. As science journalist Alanna Mitchell has written about the oceans:

“Every tear you cry … ends up back in the ocean system. Every third molecule of carbon dioxide you exhale is absorbed into the ocean. Every second breath you take comes from the oxygen produced by plankton.”

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences, told Truthout he finds plastic on every beach he visits across the globe, and added, “Probably every sea turtle on the planet interacts with plastic at some point in its life.”

Not only is Nichols intimately familiar with the pollution crisis plastic poses to the oceans, but also he is well acquainted with the oceanic destruction already underway due to anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD).

He describes sea turtles as a “poster species” for the impacts of ACD: He said their eggs

“are literally cooking on beaches now because the temperatures have moved out of the tolerable range.”

“You often see the polar bear used as the poster species for climate change, but I think sea turtles are just as good of a poster species because they are everywhere and they are already being impacted as the ocean warms,”

Nichols added.

In addition to ACD and plastic, he notes that we are introducing too much pollution into the oceans, and taking too much out of them by way of overfishing.

“We’re putting too much in, in all forms of pollution; we’re taking too much out by fishing, overfishing and bycatch; and we’re destroying the edge of the ocean, the places where there is the most biodiversity, reefs, mangroves, seagrass etc.,” he said. “Those are the three big buckets…. Almost every threat to the ocean falls into one of those. We need to put less in, take less out and protect the edges by making some of them off limits to human activity.”

Nichols is deeply concerned by the pace at which negative changes are occurring across the oceans. He said that every time scientists have attempted to predict future scenarios, the pace seems to only quicken.

According to Nichols, despite scientists’ ongoing attempts to adjust their models to keep up with the quickening of feedback loops and other issues, we are still unable to keep pace with the dramatic changes.

He believes “the clock in many ways has already run out,” due to the fact that we are still increasing our use of fossil fuels, while continuing to generate so much plastic and pollution. Nichols says he is frustrated by the fact that despite there being more conversation about these issues now than ever before, that dialogue is still not translating into societal change or evolution.

Truthout asked Nichols if he sees the future becoming worse for the oceans.

“We’re living in it now, from a climate change/fisheries/pollution/habitat destruction point of view, our nightmare is here; it’s the world we live in,” he said. “You see it everywhere now, the collapsing fisheries, the changes in the Arctic and the hardships communities that live there are having to face, the frequency and intensity of storms — everything we imagined 40 years ago when the environmental movement was born, we’re dealing with those now.”

Nichols concluded by describing three possible oceans. Ocean 1.0 is the pristine natural ocean, while Ocean 2.0 is the ocean we have now, which is a result of having, as he described it, lived under “the petroleum product regime.”

“Ocean 3.0 is the future ocean, and it can either be a dead ocean, or we can really come up with some very innovative solutions that right now people aren’t even talking about,” he said.

To Nichols, a positive vision of Ocean 3.0 would entail new ways of getting food from the ocean that don’t involve long lines and bottom trawling, both extremely destructive ways to fish commercially.

It would involve a whole new way of thinking about our packaging and a zero-waste approach to consumer goods, which, he believes, is all possible — if we can muster the political and personal motivation.

“We could have a healthy ocean in 50 years if we make some bold moves,” he said. Those moves would need to include “a cleaner, more responsible set of actions for how we get energy from the ocean and how we use them as a source of food.”

Without those actions happening en masse, Nichols fears we are headed for the “dead ocean” version of our future.

“The dire predictions — they are already here in many, many ways,” he said.

Corrections: Miriam Goldstein was originally attributed the statement of her study having “dire” consequences, which was inaccurately attributed, and hence corrected. Goldstein’s quotes were in close proximity of the sentence, “Not only is it leading to early deaths of animals that ingest it, but also humans then ingesting fish with plastic in their systems are at increased risk of cancer and other health issues.” Please note that this information is not in any way intended to be attributed to Goldstein’s research.

Copyright, Truthout. Reprinted with permission.

Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq, (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last ten years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.

His third book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with William Rivers Pitt, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in Washington State.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Not a Fish Tale: Humans Are Ingesting Plastic Thanks to Ocean Pollution

Russian forces have established several military positions near the US-controlled zone of at-Tanf, pro-government media activists reported on December 12.

A source familiar with the situation, told SouthFront that several air-defense systems and other military equipment were deployed at the Russian positions. More weapons, including heavy rocket launchers, are reportedly expected to arrive there in the upcoming few days.

“US Controlled Zone” (Military Base) in At-Tanf, Southeastern Syria close to the border with Jordan

The Saudi London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat even claimed that Russia is going to deploy an S-300 system to the province of Deir Ezzor. However, this type of rumors is common for the Saudi outlet, which has been actively working to fuel tensions between the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance and the US-Israeli-led bloc as well as between Russia and Iran.

In early December, forces of the US-led coalition employed its M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System to fire several rockets at positions of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the area of al-Ghurab Mount. The shelling caused no casualties but contributed to further growth of tensions in this part of Syria.

Late on December 13, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces made a fresh effort to capture the town of Hajin from ISIS. According to pro-SDF sources, the group is now in control of the town center and clashing with the terrorists in its southern part. Some sources even already speculated that Hajin is under full SDF control. However, this is yet to be happen.

 

A spokesman for the coalition of pro-Turkish militant groups branded as the Syrian National Army, Major Youssef Hamoud, told Reuters that up to 15,000 Turkish-backed militants will participate in the upcoming Turkish operation against the Kurdish militias – YPG/YPJ in northern Syria.

The statement came as the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) deployed a few dozens of armoured vehicles in its provinces bordering the Syrian province of Aleppo.

Meanwhile, a Turkish soldier was killed in an attack of the YPG near the town of Tell Rifaat in northern Aleppo. The TAF responded to the attack by launching a series of powerful artillery strikes on YPG and SAA positions near the town.

It should be noted that earlier in 2018 a notable number of YPG members had fled from the Turkish advance on Afrin to the areas protected by the SAA near the city of Aleppo. Local sources say that YPG members may attempt to use SAA positions as a shield for their attacks on the TAF. In case of the success, this approach may cause open hostilities between the SAA and the TAF in the area.

*

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

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Video: Russian Forces Start Siege of “US Controlled Zone” (Military Base) in At-Tanf, Southeastern Syria. Unconfirmed Report

Campaigners have condemned the decision of the European Parliament to support a €13 billion budget for the ‘European Defence Fund’ for 2021-2027.

The proposal was included in a report called ‘Establishing the European Defence Fund’ which was compiled by the Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). This committee is formed by politicians from across the parliament.

The Commission proposed €13 billion for the fund for the period 2021-2027 (in current prices), of which €4.1 billion are to be allocated to research actions and €8.9 billion to development actions.

The concept of the fund was announced by President Juncker in 2016 and backed by the European Council later that year. Between 2017-2020, a total of €590 million will be channeled to the military industry through this fund in initial pilot projects. This spending will be totally eclipsed by the proposed increase.

The advisory group/ Group of Personalities that initially developed the policy was dominated by arms companies. This Group was made up of 16 members, 9 of which were from arms companies or private research groups. Six of the companies that have already benefited from pilot phase had members on the group.

Member States refused to exclude funding for the development of fully autonomous weapons in the 2019-2020 pilot phase of the Defence Fund, and the draft Regulation for 2021-2027 specifically mentions “disruptive technologies” as a focus, meaning weapons or technologies which “can radically change the concepts and conduct of” war, such as artificial intelligence.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said:

“This sets a very negative precedent and will see billions of pounds more of public money being used to subsidise arms companies.

The European Union was envisaged as a peaceful project, it should be investing in jobs and research projects that promote sustainable industries and contribute to the prevention of conflicts.

Whatever your views on Brexit and the UK’s role in Europe, it should not be using public money to fund research for companies that profit from war.”

This represents a major precedent for the EU – which had its roots in plans to bring peace to Europe. It has not funded these kinds of projects in the past. Last month, 42 campaign groups from across Europe issued a joint statement to oppose the fund. You can see it here.

*

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

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on European Parliament Votes to Give €13 Billion Subsidy to Arms Companies Via European Defence Fund

Crimes Against the Earth

December 14th, 2018 by Dr. Andrew Glikson

“Dear Caesar 
Keep Burning, raping, killing
But please, please
Spare us your obscene poetry
And ugly music “

(From Seneca’s last letter to Nero)

The excavation of more than 600 billion tons of toxic carbon and hydrocarbon geological remains of previous biospheres and their transfer to the atmosphere as carbon gases constitutes nothing less than insanity leading to global suicide.

With estimated profitable carbon reserves in excess of 20,000 GtC (Assessing “Dangerous Climate Change”, see this), including oil shale, tar sand, coal seam gas, further emissions would take the atmosphere, oceans and biosphere back to early Eocene (~55-40 million years ago) and Mesozoic-like (pre-65 million years ago) greenhouse atmosphere and acid oceans conditions, during which large parts of the continents were inundated by the oceans. Most likely to survive the extreme transition over a few centuries would be grasses, some insects and perhaps some birds, descendants of the fated dinosaurs. A new evolutionary cycle would commence. Survivors of Homo sapiens may endure in the Arctic.

Figure 1. Global warming by January 2018 relative to 1951-1980

Since about 542 million years ago, acting as the lungs of the biosphere, the Earth’s atmosphere developed an oxygen-rich composition over hundreds of millions of years, allowing emergence of breathing animals.

A critical parameter in Drake’s Equation, which seeks to estimate the number of planets that host civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy, is L – the longevity of technological civilizations. Estimates of L range between a minimum of 70 years and 10,000 years, but even for the more optimistic scenarios, only a tiny fraction of such planets would exist in the galaxy at the present time. It is another question whether an intelligent species exists in this, or any other galaxy, which has brought about a mass extinction of species on the scale initiated by Homo sapiens since the mid-18th century and in particular since 1945..

The history of Earth includes six major mass extinctions defining the end of several periods, including the End-Ediacaran, Ordovician, Devonian, Permian, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Each of these events has been triggered either by extra-terrestrial impacts (End-Ediacaran and K-T) , massive volcanic eruptions, or methane release and related greenhouse events. Yet, with the exception of the proposed role of methanogenic bacteria for methane eruptions, the current Seventh mass extinction of species constitutes a novelty. For the first time in its history, the biosphere is in crisis through biological forcing by an advanced form of life, i.e. of a technological carbon-emitting species.

The distinct glacial-interglacial cycles of the Pleistocene (2.6 million years ago to 10,000 years ago), with rapid mean global temperature changes of up to 5 degrees Celsius rises over a few thousand years, and, in some instances shorter periods, forced an extreme adaptability of the Genus Homo. Of all the life forms on Earth, only this genus mastered fire, proceeding to manipulate the electromagnetic spectrum, split the atom and travel to other planets, a cultural change overtaking biological change.

Possessed by a conscious fear of death, craving a god-like immortality and omniscience, Homo developed the absurd faculty to simultaneously create and destroy, culminating with the demise of the atmospheric conditions that allowed its flourishing in the first place. The biological root factors which underlie the transformation of tribal warriors into button-pushing automatons capable of triggering global warming or a nuclear winter remain inexplicable.

Inherent in the enigma are little-understood top-to-base mechanisms, explored among others by George Ellis, who states: “although the laws of physics explain much of the world around us, we still do not have a realistic description of causality in truly complex hierarchical structures.” (“Physics, complexity and causality”, Nature, 435: 743, June 2005):

66 million years ago, huge asteroids hit the Earth, extinguishing the dinosaurs and vacating habitats, succeeded by the flourishing of mammals. At 56 million years ago, in the wake of a rise of atmospheric CO2 to levels near-800 parts per million, the monkeys made appearance. About 34 million years ago, weathering of the rising Himalayan and Alps sequestered CO2.  Earth was cooling, the Antarctic ice sheet formed and conditions on land became suitable for large, warm blooded mammals.

About 5.2 to 2.6 million years ago, in the Pliocene, with temperatures 2 – 3oC and sea levels 25+/-12 meters higher than during the 15th to 18th centuries, the accentuation of climate oscillations saw the appearance of the genus Paranthropus and the genus Homo. At least about one million years ago the mastering of fire by Homo Erectus, about a quarter of a millennium ago the appearance of Homo sapiens,and about 8,000 years ago the stabilization of the interglacial Holocene, saw the Neolithic and urban civilization.

Since the industrial age about 1750 and in particular from 1950, a period denoted as the Anthropocoene (cf. Steffen, Crutzen and McNeill, Ambio, 36, 614-621, 2007), deforestation and climate change led to the demise of an estimated 10,000 species per year due to destruction of habitats, ever increasing carbon pollution, acidification of the hydrosphere.

Planetcide stems back to deep recesses of the human mind, primeval fear of death leading to yearning for god-like immortality. Once excess food was produced, fear and its counterpart, violence, grew out of control, generating murderous orgies called “war“, designed to conquer death to appease the Gods.

From the Romans to the Third Reich, the barbarism of empires surpasses that of small marauding tribes. In the name of freedomthey never cease to bomb peasant populations in their small fields. Only among the wretched of the Earth is true charity common, where empathy is learnt through suffering.

War is a synonym for ritual sacrifice of the young. From infanticide by rival warlord baboons, to the butchering of young children on Aztec altars, to the generational sacrifice such as in WWI, youths follow leaders blindly to the death. Hijacking the image of Christ, a messenger of justice and peace, fundamentalists promote a self-fulfilling Armageddon, while other see their future on space ships and barren planets. Nowadays a cabal of multibillionaires, executives and their political and media mouthpieces are leading the human race and much of nature to ultimate demise, with little resistance from the majority of people, either unaware or too afraid to resist the slide over the cliff.

Humans live in a realm of perceptions, dreams, myths and legends, in denial of critical existential factors (Janus: A summing up, Arthur Koestler, 1978) in a world as cruel as it is beautiful. Existentialist philosophy allows a perspective into, and a way of coping with, all that defies rational contemplation. Ethical and cultural assumptions of free willrarely govern the behavior of societies or nations, let alone an entire species.

And although the planet may not shed a tear for the demise of technological civilization, hope on the individual scale for the moment is possible. Going through the black night of the soul, members of the species may be rewarded by the emergence of a conscious dignity devoid of illusions, grateful for the glimpse at the universe for which humans are privileged for the fleeting moment:

Having pushed a boulder up the mountain all day, turning toward the setting sun, we must consider Sisyphus happy.” (Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus, 1942)

*

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

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.

Featured image is from Creative Commons

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Crimes Against the Earth

Author’s Note 

First published in August 2016, this article documents US war plans directed against China, Russia and North Korea. In relation to ongoing threats against North Korea, it should be understood that from a strategic point of view, North Korea is a stepping stone towards  China and Russia.

From a geopolitical and geographic standpoint, North Korea is a buffer state, with Russia and China on its Northern borders. 

Highlights;

The Contemporary Context involves a scenario of a nuclear attack on Russia. “Kill the Russians”: The New Cold War is no longer Cold

A former CIA Official is calling for “Killing of Russians”.  The US media and the State Department applaud. (scroll down for more details). 

And below is the RAND Corporation scenario of a future war against China. The study (published in 2016) entitled War with China: Thinking the Unthinkable was commissioned by the US Army. 

For an updated analysis of US war scenarios against Russia and China, see Manlio Dinucci‘s incisive analysis of the US National Defense Strategy Commission report entitled “Providing for the Common Defense”

At first glance, it reads like the script for a Hollywood catastrophe movie. And yet it’s one of the scenarios that is actually being considered in the official 2018 report by the Commission, tasked by the United States Congress with studying the national defense strategy: 

“In 2019, on the basis of fake news announcing atrocities committed against Russian citizens in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, Russia invades these countries. While US and NATO forces prepare to respond, Russia declares that an attack against its forces in these countries would be viewed as an attack on Russia itself,…  

The bipartisan Committee, composed of six Republicans and six Democrats, are looking at a similar scenario in Asia – in 2024, China stages a surprise attack and occupies Taiwan, and the United States are unable to intervene in a cost-effective manner, because Chinese military capacities have continued to grow, while those of the USA have stagnated due to insufficient military spending.

(Manlio Dinucci: America Is Preparing for Confrontation with Russia and China, Global Research, December 14, 2018) 

While America threatens the World with nuclear war, the political narrative is that the US and its NATO allies are under attack: “the security and wellbeing of the United States are at greater risk than at any time in decades.”

“Western civilization is under siege”. US-NATO “humanitarian warfare” is casually upheld as a peace-making endeavor.

Michel Chossudovsky,  Global Research, December 14, 2018 

***

Introduction

It is important to focus on Southeast Asia and East Asia in a broader geopolitical context. China, North Korea as well as Russia are potential targets under Obama’s “Pivot to Asia”, involving the combined threat of missile deployments, naval power and pre-emptive nuclear war.

We are not dealing with piecemeal military endeavors. The regional Asia-Pacific military agenda under the auspices of US Pacific Command (USPACOM) is part of a global process of US-NATO military planning.

US military actions are carefully coordinated. Major military and covert intelligence operations are being undertaken simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Asia Pacific region. In turn, the planning of military operations is coordinated with non-conventional forms of warfare including regime change, financial warfare and economic sanctions.

To  order Michel Chossudovsky’s book from Global Research click image 

The current situation is all the more critical inasmuch as a US-NATO war on Russia, China, North Korea and Iran is part of the US presidential election debate. War is presented as a political and military option to Western public opinion.

The US-NATO military agenda combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states. America’s hegemonic project is to destabilize and destroy countries through acts of war, support of terrorist organizations, regime change and economic warfare.

While, a World War Three Scenario has been on the drawing board of the Pentagon for more than ten years, military action against Russia and China is now contemplated at an “operational level”. U.S. and NATO forces have been deployed in essentially three major regions of the World:

  1. The Middle East and North Africa. Theater wars and US-NATO sponsored insurgencies directed against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen  under the banner of the “Global War on Terrorism”
  2. Eastern Europe including Poland and Ukraine, with military maneuvers, war games and the deployment of military hardware at Russia’s doorstep which could potentially lead to confrontation with the Russian Federation.
  3. The U.S. and its allies are also threatening China under President Obama’s “Pivot to Asia”.
  4. Russia is also confronted on its North Eastern frontier,  through the deployment of NORAD-Northcom
  5. In other regions of the World including Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, US intervention is geared towards regime change and economic warfare directed against a number of non-compliant countries: Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Cuba, Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua.

In sub-Saharan Africa, the thrust has largely used the pretext of “Islamic terrorism” to wage counterterrorism ops under the auspices of the US Africa Command (USAFRICOM).

In South Asia, Washington’s intent is to build an alliance with India with a view to confronting China.

Pivot to Asia and the Threat of Nuclear War 

Within the Asia Pacific region, China, North Korea and Russia are the target of a preemptive nuclear attack by the US. It is important to review the history of nuclear war and nuclear threats as well US nuclear doctrine as first formulated in 1945 under the Truman administration.

HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI

“We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark…. This weapon is to be used against Japan … [We] will use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children. Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop that terrible bomb on the old capital or the new. …  The target will be a purely military one… It seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, but it can be made the most useful.” (President Harry S. Truman, Diary, July 25, 1945)

“The World will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians..” (President Harry S. Truman in a radio speech to the Nation, August 9, 1945).

[Note: the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945; the Second on Nagasaki, on August 9, on the same day as Truman’s radio speech to the Nation]

(Listen to Excerpt of his speech, Hiroshima audio video)

Hiroshima after the bomb

Is Truman’s notion of “collateral damage” in the case of nuclear war still relevant? Publicly available military documents confirm that nuclear war is still on the drawing board  of the Pentagon.

Compared to the 1950s, however, today’s nuclear weapons are far more advanced. The delivery system is more precise. In addition to China and Russia, Iran and North Korea are targets for a first strike pre-emptive nuclear attack.

US military documents claim that the new generation of tactical nuclear weapons are harmless to civilians. B61 mini-nuke depending on the model has a variable explosive capacity (one third to almost 12 times a Hiroshima bomb).

NUCLEAR DOCTRINE AND POLITICAL INSANITY

Let us be under no illusions, the Pentagon’s plan to “blow up the planet” using advanced nuclear weapons is still on the books.

The tactical nuclear weapons were specifically developed for use in post Cold War “conventional conflicts with third world nations”.  In October 2001, in the immediate wake of 9/11, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld envisaged the use of the B61-11 tactical nuclear bomb in Afghanistan. The targets were Al Qaeda cave bunkers in the Tora Bora mountains.

Rumsfeld stated at the time that while the “conventional” bunker buster bombs “‘are going to be able to do the job’, … he did not rule out the eventual use of nuclear weapons.” (Quoted in the Houston Chronicle, 20 October 2001, emphasis added.)

The use of the B61-11 was also contemplated during the 2003 bombing and invasion of Iraq as well as in the 2011 NATO bombings of Libya.

In this regard, the B61-11 was described as “a precise, earth-penetrating low-yield nuclear weapon against high-value underground targets”, which included Saddam Hussein’s underground bunkers:

 ”If Saddam was arguably the highest value target in Iraq, then a good case could be made for using a nuclear weapon like the B61-11 to assure killing him and decapitating the regime” (Defense News, December 8, 2003).

Picture: B61-11 tactical nuclear bomb. In 1996 under the Clinton administration, the B61-11 tactical nuclear weapon was slated to be used by the US in an attack against Libya.

B61-11 tactical nuclear bomb. In 1996 under the Clinton administration, the B61-11 tactical nuclear weapon was slated to be used by the US in an attack against Libya.

All the safeguards of the Cold War era, which categorized the nuclear bomb as “a weapon of last resort”, have been scrapped. “Offensive” military actions using nuclear warheads are now described as acts of “self-defense”. During the Cold War, the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) prevailed, namely that the use of nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union would result in “the destruction of both the attacker and the defender”.

In the post Cold war era, US nuclear doctrine was redefined. There is no sanity in what is euphemistically called US foreign policy.

At no point since the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945, has humanity been closer to the unthinkable…

Nuclear War is Good for Business

Spearheaded by the “defense contractors” (Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, British Aerospace  et al), the Obama administration has proposed a one trillion dollar plan over a 30 year period to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons, bombers, submarines, and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) largely directed at Russia and China.

War with Russia: From the Cold War to the New Cold War

Blowing up Russia, targeting Russian cities is still on the Pentagon’s drawing board.  It is also supported by enabling legislation in the US Congress.

The US House of Representatives H.Res. 758 Resolution

On 18 November 2014,  a major resolution H. Res. 758 was introduced in the House of Representatives. Its main thrust consists in portraying Russia as an “Aggressor Nation”, which has invaded Ukraine and calling for military action directed against Russia.

In the words of Hillary Clinton, the nuclear option is on the table.  Preemptive nuclear war is part of her election campaign.

Source: National Security Archive

According to 1956 Plan, H-Bombs were to be Used Against Priority “Air Power” Targets in the Soviet Union, China, and Eastern Europe.

Major Cities in Soviet Bloc, Including East Berlin, Were High Priorities in “Systematic Destruction” for Atomic Bombings.  (William Burr, U.S. Cold War Nuclear Attack Target List of 1200 Soviet Bloc Cities “From East Germany to China”, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 538, December 2015

Excerpt of list of 1200 cities targeted for nuclear attack in alphabetical order. National Security Archive

The above declassified document provides an understanding of the magnitude of a first strike nuclear attack with more than 1000 Russian cities targeted.

The Contemporary Context involves a scenario of a nuclear attack on Russia. 

“Kill the Russians”: The New Cold War is no longer Cold

A former CIA Official is calling for the “Killing of Russians”.  The US media and the the State Department applaud:

 

Pivot to Asia: China is threatened by the US military in the South China Sea and the East China Sea

WAR WITH CHINA IS CURRENTLY ON THE DRAWING BOARD OF THE PENTAGON AS OUTLINED IN A RAND REPORT COMMISSIONED BY THE US ARMY

 

 

According to the Rand report:

Whereas a clear U.S. victory once seemed probable, it is increasingly likely that a conflict could involve inconclusive fighting with steep losses on both sides. The United States cannot expect to control a conflict it cannot dominate militarily.

http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR1100/RR1140/RAND_RR1140.pdf

Attack China Preemptively (“In Self Defense”)

The report is notoriously ambiguous. It focusses on how a war can be avoided while analyzing the circumstances under which a preemptive war against China is a win for the US:

The need to think through war with China is made all the more important by developments in military capabilities. Sensors, weapon guidance, digital networking, and other information technologies used to target opposing forces have advanced to the point where both U.S. and Chinese military forces seriously threaten each other. This creates the means as well as the incentive to strike enemy forces before they strike one’s own. In turn, this creates a bias toward sharp, reciprocal strikes from the outset of a war, yet with neither side able to gain con- trol and both having ample capacity to keep fighting, even as military losses and economic costs mount.

The presumption of this report is that China is threatening us, which justifies pre-emptive warfare. There is no evidence of  a Chinese military threat.  Within the realm of trade and investment, China’s constitutes a potential competitor to US economic hegemony.  According to James Petras: 

To counter China’s economic advance, the Obama regime has implemented a policy of building economic walls at home, trade restrictions abroad and military confrontation in the South China Seas – China’s strategic trade routes.

The purpose of the RAND report is that Chinese policymakers will read it. What we are dealing with is a process of military intimidation including veiled threats:

While the primary audience for this study is the U.S. policy community, we hope that Chinese policymakers will also think through possible courses and consequences of war with the United States, includ ing potential damage to China’s economic development and threats to China’s equilibrium and cohesion. We find little in the public domain to indicate that the Chinese political leadership has given this matter the attention it deserves.

The Report outlines “Four Analytic Scenarios” on how a war with China could be carried out:

The path of war might be defined mainly by two variables: intensity (from mild to severe) and duration (from a few days to a year or more). Thus, we analyze four cases: brief and severe, long and severe, brief and mild, and long and mild. The main determinant of intensity is whether, at the outset, U.S. and Chinese political leaders grant or deny their respective militaries permission to execute their plans to attack opposing forces unhesitatingly.

The concluding comments of the report underscore the potential weakness of China in relation to US-allied forces “…they do not point to Chinese dominance or victory.”

The report creates an ideological war narrative. It is flawed in terms of its understanding of modern warfare and weapons systems. It is largely a propaganda ploy directed against the Chinese leadership. It totally ignores Chinese history and China’s military perceptions which are largely based on defending the Nation’s historical national borders.

Much of the analysis focusses on a protracted conventional war over several years. The use of nuclear weapons is not envisaged by the RAND report despite the fact that they are currently deployed on a pre-emptive basis against China. The following assertions are at odds with US nuclear doctrine as defined in the 2002 nuclear posture review, which allows the use of tactical nuclear weapons in the conventional war theater:

It is unlikely that nuclear weapons would be used: Even in an intensely violent conventional conflict, neither side would regard its losses as so serious, its prospects so dire, or the stakes so vital that it would run the risk of devastating nuclear retaliation by using nuclear weapons first. We also assume that China would not attack the U.S. homeland, except via cyberspace.

While the US, according to the report, does not contemplate the use nuclear weapons, the report examines the circumstances under which China might use nukes against the US to avoid defeat. The analysis is diabolical:

Thus, it cannot be entirely excluded that the Chinese leadership would decide that only the use of nuclear weapons would prevent total defeat and the state’s destruction. However, even under such desperate conditions, the resort to nuclear weapons would not be China’s only option: It could instead accept defeat. Indeed, because U.S. nuclear retaliation would make the destruction of the state and collapse of the country all the more certain, accepting defeat would be a better option (depending on the severity of U.S. terms) than nuclear escalation. This logic, along with China’s ingrained no-first-use policy, suggests that Chinese first use is most improbable. (p. 30)

In other words, China has the option of being totally destroyed or surrendering to the US. The report concludes as follows:

In a nutshell, despite military trends that favor it, China could not win, and might lose, a severe war with the United States in 2025, especially if prolonged. Moreover, the economic costs and political dangers of such a war could imperil China’s stability, end its development, and undermine the legitimacy of the state. (p 68)

Southeast Asia

Washington’s objective is to draw South East Asia and the Far East into a protracted military conflict by creating divisions between China and ASEAN countries, most of which are the victims of Western colonialism and military aggression: Extensive crimes against humanity have been committed against Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia. In a bitter irony, these countries are now military allies of the United States. Below are selected clips confirming extensive US war crimes and crimes against humanity:


US WAR CRIMES AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

Indonesia 

Up to one million killed in Indonesia, the CIA acknowledges 105,000, The lists of Communist sympathizers (and their family members) were established by the CIA 

Korea

Vietnam

THE LIST OF US CRIMES IS EXTENSIVE: 37 “VICTIM NATIONS” SINCE WORLD WAR II

China and ASEAN 

Bilateral economic relations with China are slated to be destabilized. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a US hegemonic project which seeks to control trade, investment, intellectual property, etc in the Asia Pacific region.

The RAND report states in so many words that maritime territorial disputes in the South China Sea and East China Sea would have a devastating impact on Asian countries, extending from India to Japan:

 The possibility of a Sino-U.S. war drawing in other powers and many states cannot be excluded: In addition to Japan, perhaps India, Vietnam, and NATO would be on the U.S. side; Russia and North Korea would be on China’s side. Fighting could spread beyond the region. War aims could expand, and as they did, so would the costs of losing. Even if nuclear weapons were not used, China might find other ways to attack the United States proper.  (p. 65)

US Deployments in the Asia-Pacific. China is encircled with US Military bases

Source Antiwar.com

THAAD MISSILE DEPLOYMENT IN SOUTH KOREA DIRECTED AGAINST CHINA

THAAD missiles are deployed in South Korea, against China, Russia and North Korea.  Washington states that THAAD is solely intended as a Missile Shield against North Korea.

THAAD System

THE JEJU ISLAND  MILITARY BASE DIRECTED AGAINST CHINA 

Less than 500km from Shanghai

THE REMILITARIZATION OF JAPAN UNDER PRIME MINISTER ABE’S GOVERNMENT
Japan is firmly aligned behind the US. It is a partner in the Jeju Island military base. Recent reports confirm Japan’s deployment of surface to ship missiles in the East China sea.
Japan is planning to deploy a new type of missile to the East China Sea, where Tokyo is engaged in a tense territorial dispute with Beijing. The decision marks a significant milestone in the drive by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to remilitarize Japan. The planned missile system will be designed locally, by the country’s expanding defence industry, rather than being supplied by the United States or another ally.

The Japanese media has intimated that “the missile will have a built-in capacity to strike at land targets”.

The US had military cooperation agreements with South-Korea, Philippines, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia. More recently Malaysia has become a treaty ally of the US. under Washington’s pivot to Asia. According to South Front:

“This is seen as a major shift in Malaysia’s foreign policy which maintained a limited relationship during the tenure of former premier Mahathir Mohamad who openly opposed attempts of the West to create a unipolar world.

US PROPOSED MILITARY BASE IN SABAH, EASTERN MALAYSIA? 

At stake from Washington’s standpoint is the control of strategic waterways.

The Malaysian government has entered into a close relationship with the US characterized by purchase of US military equipment, the conduct of US-Malaysia war games in 2014.

According to unconfirmed reports, a US military base is contemplated by the Kuala Lumpur government. The purpose of these initiatives is ultimately to destabilize bilateral relations between Malaysia and China.

America’s War on Terrorism  in South and Southeast Asia

The counterterrorism strategy applied in the Middle East and Africa is also contemplated in Southeast Asia. It is used as a pretext to justify military deployments including the construction of military bases.

The potential target countries are: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines.  Also of significance in discussing  America’s Pivot to Asia, US intelligence also supports Islamist insurgencies in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region.

The Global War on Terrorism is a Big Lie. Al Qaeda is a Creation of US Intelligence

From the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979 to the present, various Islamic fundamentalist paramilitary organizations became de facto instruments of US intelligence and more generally of the US-NATO-Israel military alliance.

The US has actively supported Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist organizations since the onslaught of the Soviet Afghan War.  Washington has engineered the installation of Islamist regimes in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It has destroyed the fabric of secular societies.

Confirmed by Israeli intelligence media,  the Al Qaeda opposition fighters in Syria are recruited by US-NATO and the Turkish high command.

They are the foot-soldiers of the Western military alliance, with special forces in their midst. The Al Qaeda affiliated “moderate” terrorist organizations in Syria are supported by Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

The counter-terrorism agenda is bogus. It’s a criminal undertaking. What is being bombed is the civilian infrastructure of a sovereign country.

For further details see Global Research’s War on Terrorism Dossier

The above text is a point by point thematic summary of Prof. Michel Chossudovsky‘s presentation at the the University of the Philippines Cebu Conference on ASEAN and the World.  UP Cebu, Cebu, 24-25 August 2016


Order Directly from Global Research Publishers

Michel Chossudovsky

original

The US has embarked on a military adventure, “a long war”, which threatens the future of humanity. US-NATO weapons of mass destruction are portrayed as instruments of peace. Mini-nukes are said to be “harmless to the surrounding civilian population”. Pre-emptive nuclear war is portrayed as a “humanitarian undertaking”.

While one can conceptualize the loss of life and destruction resulting from present-day wars including Iraq and Afghanistan, it is impossible to fully comprehend the devastation which might result from a Third World War, using “new technologies” and advanced weapons, until it occurs and becomes a reality. The international community has endorsed nuclear war in the name of world peace. “Making the world safer” is the justification for launching a military operation which could potentially result in a nuclear holocaust.

original

America’s hegemonic project in the post 9/11 era is the “Globalization of War” whereby the U.S.-NATO military machine —coupled with covert intelligence operations, economic sanctions and the thrust of “regime change”— is deployed in all major regions of the world. The threat of pre-emptive nuclear war is also used to black-mail countries into submission.

This “Long War against Humanity” is carried out at the height of the most serious economic crisis in modern history.

It is intimately related to a process of global financial restructuring, which has resulted in the collapse of national economies and the impoverishment of large sectors of the World population.

The ultimate objective is World conquest under the cloak of “human rights” and “Western democracy”.

  • Posted in Archives, English
  • Comments Off on The Strategies of Global Warfare: War with China and Russia? Washington’s Military Design in the Asia-Pacific

The media spectacle that’s being made over President Putin’s supposed partnership with the East German Stasi is a form of Hybrid War being waged by the West against Nord Stream, incidentally using the exact same tactics that Russia is commonly accused of employing in seeking to sow chaos, discord, and confusion in German society over Moscow’s geopolitical motives for this pipeline.

The Western Mainstream Media has found a new object of fixation earlier this week after reports surfaced of a German document that was “discovered” in the country’s archives alleging to prove that President Putin used to work for the East German Stasi. The Kremlin commentated on this spectacle by claiming that it’s indeed possible that the Russian leader had at one time received Stasi papers as part of a cooperation agreement with the KGB whereby the two allied security services swapped documents in order to facilitate their counterparts’ work, but the story nevertheless doesn’t seem to be going away since some forces evidently have an interest in keeping it on people’s minds.

This might seem a bit strange at first because this so-called “revelation” is too little too late to make any difference in shaping how most of the world perceives of President Putin and his country, with most people having already made up their minds long ago. In general, the global audience is desensitized to anti-Putin defamation campaigns after being incessantly exposed to them for nearly the past five years since the success of “EuroMaidan” and the subsequent reunification of Crimea with Russia. The German public naturally falls within this category, but it’s here where the relevance of the Mainstream Media’s obsession with President Putin’s alleged Stasi past comes into strategic play.

The Stasi is a very sensitive topic in German society, and introducing the narrative that President Putin might have actually worked for this structure at one time is meant to sow distrust about his geopolitical motives for constructing Nord Stream II, one of the most politicized infrastructure projects in European history after the US decided to wage an all-out infowar against it for fear of gradually losing its hegemonic dominance in the continent if it were to be completed. It’s because of this heated context that the timing of the document’s public revealing is extremely suspicious because it appears intended to sow chaos, discord, and confusion in German society at this sensitive moment.

Incidentally, this outcome is exactly what the West accuses Russia of seeking to do all across the world through Hybrid Warfare, and doing the exact same thing that one accuses their rivals of doing is the essence of what MI6’s spymaster recently described as “fourth generation espionage”. It could very well be that this latest infowar campaign against Nord Stream II – aided and abetted by the “discovery” of President Putin’s supposed Stasi credentials at this specific time – is meant to prove that strategic effectiveness of this concept if it succeeds in getting Germans to doubt the apolitical nature of Nord Stream II after being distracted by spectacle.

*

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

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 only language Washington understands is toughness. The US bullies and bludgeons other nations with impunity because most governments fail to challenge US hegemony. 

Appeasement is counterproductive and self-defeating. Refusing to tolerate hostile US actions is the only effective response.

The US treats Russia, China, and all other sovereign independent countries as enemies or adversaries, not partners.

Russia believing a partnership with Washington exists is pure fantasy. Republicans and Dems want the country transformed into a US vassal state by whatever it takes to achieve their aim, including possible nuclear war.

Beijing response contrasts with that of Moscow

In response to the lawless arrest, detention, and mistreatment of Huawei Technologies’ chief financial officer Sabrina Meng Wanzhou by Canadian authorities in Vancouver on December 1, acting as a Trump regime proxy, Beijing demanded her immediate release, warning of “grave consequences” otherwise.

Granting her bail under unacceptable conditions after 10 days of harsh detention, placing her under virtual house arrest until the Trump regime’s unlawful extradition demand is resolved one way or the other, preventing her from doing her job, constitute illegal affronts to her fundamental rights.

When Russian nationals are unlawfully arrested and held as political prisoners in America, notably Maria Butina most recently, Russia does little more than protest, an ineffective weak-kneed response achieving nothing.

China responded to Meng’s unlawful arrest and detention with toughness. Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig was arrested and detained – reportedly for not properly registering as an NGO in the country, according to AP News.

Declining to confirm his arrest and detention, China’s Foreign Ministry said his activities in the country are illegal.

According to Xinhua, he’s suspected of engaging in activities detrimental to China’s national security – his arrest and detention likely in response to Canada’s targeting of Meng, a tit-for-tat action, the only way to get Ottawa’s attention.

On Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau turned truth on its head, claiming his country “always (observes) the rule of law.”

Canada is a US imperial, political, economic, and financial junior partner – notably involved in its wars of aggression.

In deference to Washington, Ottawa is hostile to sovereign independent states the US targets for regime change. Its authorities acted as a US proxy in the lawless arrest and detention of Meng.

China arrested and detained a second Canadian national, entrepreneur Michael Spavor. He’s held on suspicion of endangering the nation’s national security – as convenient a reason as any other in response to Meng’s mistreatment.

Canadian authorities were notified of the arrests and detention of both individuals. What’s going on appears to be Beijing’s response to Meng’s illegal arrest and detention.

Perhaps both Canadian nationals will be held until she’s unconditionally released, free from extradition to America, able to resume her normal activities unobstructed.

Responding to unacceptable made-in-the-USA toughness with similar actions is the only effective way to counter it.

Arresting one or more US nationals, holding them until Meng is unconditionally released, would notify Washington more emphatically that China won’t tolerate unlawful actions against its citizens by the US, Canada, or any other countries.

On Wednesday, Chinese nationals involved in hi-tech work were warned to avoid travel to America.

They were told to remove sensitive work-related information from cell phones and laptops when traveling to the West, notably if have to go to the US. It’s hazardous to their rights and welfare based on what happened to Meng.

In November, the Trump regime’s Beijing embassy revoked 10-year multiple-entry visas issued to certain Chinese researchers specializing in Sino/US relations.

Some of them had their cell phones and computers intrusively checked by US customs officers. Washington wants China marginalized, contained, and isolated.

It wants its aim to become an economic, industrial, and technological powerhouse undermined. Its repeated South China Sea provocations risk military confrontation between both countries.

China’s tough responses to unacceptable US provocations near its territory, along with the arrest and detention of two Canadian nationals, likely in response to what happened to Meng, is the only language these countries understand.

Russia’s failure to respond to unacceptable US toughness the same way shows weakness, not strength.

The only way to get its attention is by responding to its unacceptable actions in kind. Diplomatic outreach and patience with the US are counterproductive and self-defeating.

Following China’s playbook in dealings with Washington is Russia’s only effective strategy. It’s long overdue.

A Final Comment

China’s Global Times said Beijing “will take revenge if Canada does not restore Meng Wanzhou’s freedom.”

Based on its actions so far, it means what it says, and it has lots more tough options to use in dealing with the US and Canada if necessary.

*

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

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.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image is from The Straits Times

The BBC published an article in October titled, “How chemical weapons have helped bring Assad close to victory” in which it claims chemical weapons have been “crucial” to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s “war-winning strategy.“

Superficially – the article appears impressive – loaded from top to bottom with colorful charts, graphs, and photographs of supposed victims in gas masks, expended munitions, and craters.

However, never once does the BBC provide an actual explanation as to how chemical weapons brought Damascus closer to victory. Even at face value, the article’s entire premise is challenged in each paragraph by the statistics and events the article itself presents.

Alleged Chemical Weapon Casualties are a Drop in the Ocean 

The article begins by claiming (emphasis added):

After seven devastating years of civil war in Syria, which have left more than 350,000 people dead, President Bashar al-Assad appears close to victory against the forces trying to overthrow him.

Yet further down in the article under a graph titled, “Estimated number of casualties in the 106 attacks by location 2014-18,” the BBC admits that only 55 of the supposed 106 attacks the BBC accuses Syria’s government of carrying out even resulted in any casualties at all, and admits that “it was not possible to verify that the casualties reported were the result of exposure to chemicals.”

The BBC would also admit that:

Although chemical weapons are deadly, UN human rights experts have noted that most incidents in which civilians are killed and maimed have involved the unlawful use of conventional weapons, such as cluster munitions and explosive weapons in civilian populated areas.

Thus, the BBC itself is undermining the entire premise of its own article – admitting that conventional weapons – not chemical weapons – are by far more effective and that its investigation makes it impossible to even determine if chemical weapons claimed any casualties at all.

But does the BBC try to convince readers chemical weapons still somehow played a role in Damascus’ victory?

“Cheap and Convenient” Chemical Weapons? 

The BBC cites Dr. Lina Khatib, head of the Middle East and North Africa program at corporate-financier-funded think tank – Chatham House.

Dr. Khatib would claim:

Sometimes the regime uses chemical weapons when it doesn’t have the military capacity to take an area back using conventional weapons.

She would also claim:

Chemical weapons are used whenever the regime wants to send a strong message to a local population that their presence is not desirable. 

In addition to chemical weapons being the ultimate punishment, instilling fear in people, they are also cheap and convenient for the regime at a time when its military capacity has decreased because of the conflict.

There’s nothing that scares people more than chemical weapons, and whenever chemical weapons have been used, residents have fled those areas and, more often than not, not come back.

However, after citing Dr. Khatib, the BBC mentions the alleged attack on Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib where Western-backed militants – to this day – still occupy its territory. It claims it was the “deadliest” of the 106 attacks investigated by the BBC – yet the supposed attack failed utterly to drive civilians away or dislodge armed militants occupying the territory – a direct contradiction of Dr. Khatib and the BBC’s claims.  The closest the BBC comes to correlating alleged attacks to any sort of victory materializing on the battlefield was regarding Eastern Ghouta where the BBC claims:

Douma, the biggest town in the Eastern Ghouta, was the target of four reported chemical attacks over four months, as pro-government forces intensified their aerial bombardment before launching a ground offensive. 

The last – and deadliest, according to medics and rescue workers – incident took place on 7 April, when a yellow industrial gas cylinder was reportedly dropped onto the balcony of a block of flats. The opposition’s surrender came a day later.

Here the BBC dubiously links the April 2018 alleged attack the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) itself has not yet concluded involved chemicals, to the “opposition’s surrender” the following day.

Yet the BBC admits the Syrian government was carrying out an extensive offensive. It claims there were “four reported chemical attacks over four months” with the largest allegedly killing 30 people. Would that be enough to “break” the opposition when between February and April of 2018 alone some 3,000 would perish in the fighting for Eastern Ghouta?

Even if one were to believe the Syrian government used chemical weapons four times killing several dozen people – it pales in comparison to the toll taken and gains admittedly made using conventional weapons – begging the question as to why the Syrian government would bother resorting to far less effective and much more politically dangerous chemical munitions.

The fact that the final of the four alleged attacks happened the day before militants surrendered in Eastern Ghouta seems to suggest a much more likely scenario – that attacks were being staged by the militants themselves to slow down, impede, or even altogether stop the effective government offensive that was clearly – according to even the BBC itself – advancing via the use of conventional weaponry.

Chemical Weapons Weren’t Crucial to Victory, Russian Military Aviation Was

Would using chemical weapons 106 times between 2014-2018 – risking and suffering multiple US-led military strikes in the wake of chemical weapon accusations – be worth it? The BBC’s own article itself exposes the minuscule number of unverified casualties these alleged attacks have produced compared to the 350,000 the article claims have perished altogether in the fighting since 2011.

The BBC article even includes examples of where the Syrian government was accused of using chemical weapons on territory still to this day held by foreign-sponsored militants casting further doubts on claims chemical weapons have “helped bring Assad close to victory.” 
Dr. Khatib of Chatham House insisted that the Syrian government resorted to chemical weapons because they were “cheap and convenient for the regime at a time when its military capacity has decreased because of the conflict,” yet the BBC’s own article admits to the scale of the conflict and its own numbers prove that even if all 106 alleged chemical attacks were actually carried out by the Syrian government, they still would not reflect a “decreased military capacity” being amply compensated for by “cheap and convenient” chemical weapons.

To put Dr. Khatib and the BBC’s claims into perspective – consider Russian military aviation’s role in the conflict which – according to the Russian Ministry of Defense – carried out some 28,000 combat sorties and conducted about 90,000 strikes by 2017.

Even according to the Western media, at various points of the conflict, Russian military aviation carried out on average of over 70 sorties a day.

The Daily Beast – a decidedly anti-Moscow publication – would describe the tempo of Russian air operations in Syria in its 2016 article titled, “Russia Is Launching Twice as Many Airstrikes as the U.S. in Syria,” claiming (emphasis added):

Five months after the first Russian warplanes slipped into Syria to reinforce the embattled regime of President Bashar al-Assad, the Kremlin’s air wing near Latakia—on Syria’s Mediterranean coast in the heart of regime territory—has found its rhythm, launching roughly one air strike every 20 minutes targeting Islamic State militants, U.S.-backed rebels and civilians in rebel-controlled areas. 

“From Feb. 10 to 16, aircraft of the Russian aviation group in the Syrian Arab Republic have performed 444 combat sorties engaging 1,593 terrorist objects in the provinces of Deir Ez Zor, Daraa, Homs, Hama, Latakia and Aleppo,” the Russian defense ministry claimed in a statement.

By comparison, not only do 106 alleged chemical attacks in which only 55 produced any casualties at all seem absolutely insignificant – there is no conceivable explanation as to how such a minuscule number of operations producing so few casualties “have been crucial” to Damascus’ “war-winning strategy.” Neither does it demonstrate a decreased military capacity in need of resorting to “cheap and convenient” chemical weapons.

It is clear that Russian military aviation – more than anything else – has been crucial to Syria’s victory. It allowed the supply lines of Al Qaeda and the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” to be targeted and neutralized. This led directly to militant-held areas being isolated and subsequently falling to Syrian forces.

Russian military aviation also lent Damascus the capability to carry out precision strikes against well-fortified positions Syria’s armor, infantry, and artillery could not effectively target. Russian military aviation – not chemical weapons – is what Damascus has been turning to when it “doesn’t have the military capacity to take an area back using [its own] conventional weapons.” 

There is virtually no scenario in which chemical weapons used in the small quantities they have been allegedly used in would provide some sort of benefit to Damascus and its allies that conventional military aviation isn’t already demonstrably doing. And if there was – the BBC’s article categorically failed to mention it.

Fabricated and Staged Chemical Attacks Make More Sense 

Conversely, chemical weapons used in such small amounts – just enough to produce headline-grabbing casualties and serve as a pretext for Western military intervention serves the strategy of Western-backed militants and their foreign sponsors fighting Damascus and its allies in Syria.

Already, the US has used the pretext of “chemical weapons” to invade and occupy Iraq. Accusations of human rights abuses also paved the way for a US-led NATO military intervention in Libya. Many of the fighters the US and its allies armed, backed, and provided air support to were literally transported to Syria to fight Washington’s proxy war there.

It stands to reason that accusations of chemical weapon attacks in Syria are simply the latest attempt to reuse the pretext for Western military intervention there. Staging the attacks seems to have been born of necessity – with allegations alone no longer being effective specifically because of Washington’s track record of fabricating claims to lead America and its allies to war.

The BBC once again exposes itself as not only war propaganda – but war propaganda produced by those particularly unskilled at their craft. An article titled, “How chemical weapons have helped bring Assad close to victory,” that fails to logically explain how, indicates an unraveling narrative with the propagandists themselves unable to flesh out their repeated lies.

Instead it was hoped that colorful charts, graphs, and supposed photographs of victims coupled with a public the BBC assumes are lazy and ignorant was enough to prop up the article’s entire premise. The West’s failing fortunes in Syria and beyond seem to indicate it was not enough leaving one to wonder what – after fabricating chemical weapon accusations and staging chemical weapon attacks – comes next?

*

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

Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published.

Featured image is from NEO

Averting World Conflict with China

December 14th, 2018 by Ron Unz

As most readers know, I’m not a casual political blogger and I prefer producing lengthy research articles rather than chasing the headlines of current events. But there are exceptions to every rule, and the looming danger of a direct worldwide clash with China is one of them.

Consider the arrest last week of Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Huawei, the world’s largest telecom equipment manufacturer. While flying from Hong Kong to Mexico, Ms. Meng was changing planes in the Vancouver International Airport airport when she was suddenly detained by the Canadian government on an August US warrant. Although now released on $10 million bail, she still faces extradition to a New York City courtroom, where she could receive up to thirty years in federal prison for allegedly having conspired in 2010 to violate America’s unilateral economic trade sanctions against Iran.

Although our mainstream media outlets have certainly covered this important story, including front page articles in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, I doubt most American readers fully recognize the extraordinary gravity of this international incident and its potential for altering the course of world history. As one scholar noted, no event since America’s deliberate 1999 bombing of China’s embassy in Belgrade, which killed several Chinese diplomats, has so outraged both the Chinese government and its population. Columbia’s Jeffrey Sachs correctly described it as “almost a US declaration of war on China’s business community.”

Such a reaction is hardly surprising. With annual revenue of $100 billion, Huawei ranks as the world’s largest and most advanced telecommunications equipment manufacturer as well as China’s most internationally successful and prestigious company. Ms. Meng is not only a longtime top executive there, but also the daughter of the company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, whose enormous entrepreneurial success has established him as a Chinese national hero.

Her seizure on obscure American sanction violation charges while changing planes in a Canadian airport almost amounts to a kidnapping. One journalist asked how Americans would react if China had seized Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook for violating Chinese law…especially if Sandberg were also the daughter of Steve Jobs.

Indeed, the closest analogy that comes to my mind is when Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia kidnapped the Prime Minister of Lebanon earlier this year and held him hostage. Later he more successfully did the same with hundreds of his wealthiest Saudi subjects, extorting something like $100 billion in ransom from their families before finally releasing them. Then he may have finally over-reached himself when Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident, was killed and dismembered by a bone-saw at the Saudi embassy in Turkey.

We should actually be a bit grateful to Prince Mohammed since without him America would clearly have the most insane government anywhere in the world. As it stands, we’re merely tied for first.

Since the end of the Cold War, the American government has become increasingly delusional, regarding itself as the Supreme World Hegemon. As a result, local American courts have begun enforcing gigantic financial penalties against foreign countries and their leading corporations, and I suspect that the rest of the world is tiring of this misbehavior. Perhaps such actions can still be taken against the subservient vassal states of Europe, but by most objective measures, the size of China’s real economy surpassed that of the US several years ago and is now substantially larger, while also still having a far higher rate of growth. Our totally dishonest mainstream media regularly obscures this reality, but it remains true nonetheless.

Provoking a disastrous worldwide confrontation with mighty China by seizing and imprisoning one of its leading technology executives reminds me of a comment I made several years ago about America’s behavior under the rule of its current political elites:

Or to apply a far harsher biological metaphor, consider a poor canine infected with the rabies virus. The virus may have no brain and its body-weight is probably less than one-millionth that of the host, but once it has seized control of the central nervous system, the animal, big brain and all, becomes a helpless puppet.

Once friendly Fido runs around foaming at the mouth, barking at the sky, and trying to bite all the other animals it can reach. Its friends and relatives are saddened by its plight but stay well clear, hoping to avoid infection before the inevitable happens, and poor Fido finally collapses dead in a heap.

Normal countries like China naturally assume that other countries like the US will also behave in normal ways, and their dumbfounded shock at Ms. Meng’s seizure has surely delayed their effective response. In 1959, Vice President Richard Nixon visited Moscow and famously engaged in a heated “kitchen debate” with Premier Nikita Khrushchev over the relative merits of Communism and Capitalism. What would have been the American reaction if Nixon had been immediately arrested and given a ten year Gulag sentence for “anti-Soviet agitation”?

Since a natural reaction to international hostage-taking is retaliatory international hostage-taking, the newspapers have reported that top American executives have decided to forego visits to China until the crisis is resolved. These days, General Motors sells more cars in China than in the US, and China is also the manufacturing source of nearly all our iPhones, but Tim Cook, Mary Barra, and their higher-ranking subordinates are unlikely to visit that country in the immediate future, nor would the top executives of Google, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, and the leading Hollywood studios be willing to risk indefinite imprisonment.

Canada had arrested Ms. Meng on American orders, and this morning’s newspapers reported that a former Canadian diplomat had suddenly been detained in China, presumably as a small bargaining-chip to encourage Ms. Meng’s release. But I very much doubt such measures will have much effect. Once we forgo traditional international practices and adopt the Law of the Jungle, it becomes very important to recognize the true lines of power and control, and Canada is merely acting as an American political puppet in this matter. Would threatening the puppet rather than the puppet-master be likely to have much effect?

Similarly, nearly all of America’s leading technology executives are already quite hostile to the Trump Administration, and even if it were possible, seizing one of them would hardly be likely to sway our political leadership. To a lesser extent, the same thing is true about the overwhelming majority of America’s top corporate leaders. They are not the individuals who call the shots in the current White House.

Indeed, is President Trump himself anything more than a higher-level puppet in this very dangerous affair? World peace and American national security interests are being sacrificed in order to harshly enforce the Israel Lobby’s international sanctions campaign against Iran, and we should hardly be surprised that the National Security Adviser John Bolton, one of America’s most extreme pro-Israel zealots, had personally given the green light to the arrest. Meanwhile, there are credible reports that Trump himself remained entirely unaware of these plans, and Ms. Meng was seized on the same day that he was personally meeting on trade issues with Chinese President Xi. Some have even suggested that the incident was a deliberate slap in Trump’s face.

But Bolton’s apparent involvement underscores the central role of his longtime patron, multi-billionaire casino-magnate Sheldon Adelson, whose enormous financial influence within Republican political circles has been overwhelmingly focused on pro-Israel policy and hostility towards Iran, Israel’s regional rival.

Although it is far from clear whether the very elderly Adelson played any direct personal role in Ms. Meng’s arrest, he surely must be viewed as the central figure in fostering the political climate that produced the current situation. Perhaps he should not be described as the ultimate puppet-master behind our current clash with China, but any such political puppet-masters who do exist are certainly operating at his immediate beck and call. In very literal terms, I suspect that if Adelson placed a single phone call to the White House, the Trump Administration would order Canada to release Ms. Meng that same day.

Adelson’s fortune of $33 billion ranks him as the 15th wealthiest man in America, and the bulk of his fortune is based on his ownership of extremely lucrative gambling casinos in Macau, China. In effect, the Chinese government currently has its hands around the financial windpipe of the man ultimately responsible for Ms. Meng’s arrest and whose pro-Israel minions largely control American foreign policy. I very much doubt that they are fully aware of this enormous, untapped source of political leverage.

Over the years, Adelson’s Chinese Macau casinos have been involved in all sorts of political bribery scandals, and I suspect it would be very easy for the Chinese government to find reasonable grounds for immediately shutting them down, at least on a temporary basis, with such an action having almost no negative repercussions to Chinese society or the bulk of the Chinese population. How could the international community possibly complain about the Chinese government shutting down some of their own local gambling casinos with a long public record of official bribery and other criminal activity? At worst, other gambling casino magnates would become reluctant to invest future sums in establishing additional Chinese casinos, hardly a desperate threat to President Xi’s anti-corruption government.

I don’t have a background in finance and I haven’t bothered trying to guess the precise impact of a temporary shutdown of Adelson’s Chinese casinos, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the resulting drop in the stock price of Las Vegas Sands Corp would reduce Adelson’s personal net worth were by $5-10 billion within 24 hours, surely enough to get his immediate personal attention. Meanwhile, threats of a permanent shutdown, perhaps extending to Chinese-influenced Singapore, might lead to the near-total destruction of Adelson’s personal fortune, and similar measures could also be applied as well to the casinos of all the other fanatically pro-Israel American billionaires, who dominate the remainder of gambling in Chinese Macau.

The chain of political puppets responsible for Ms. Meng’s sudden detention is certainly a complex and murky one. But the Chinese government already possesses the absolute power of financial life-or-death over Sheldon Adelson, the man located at the very top of that chain. If the Chinese leadership recognizes that power and takes effective steps, Ms. Meng will immediately be put on a plane back home, carrying the deepest sort of international political apology. And future attacks against Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese technology companies would not be repeated.

China actually holds a Royal Flush in this international political poker game. The only question is whether they will recognize the value of their hand. I hope they do for the sake of America and the entire world.

*

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

This article was originally published on The Unz Review.

Featured image is from TUR

“Freedom of the press in the world will cease to exist if a judge in one country is allowed to bar publication of information anywhere in the world.” — Martin Baron, Executive Editor, The Washington Post, Dec 13, 2018

It had been shrouded in secrecy akin to the deepest conspiracy, but the trial of Cardinal George Pell, while not letting much in the way of publicity in Australia, was always going to interest beyond the walls of the Victorian County Court.  This was the legal system of a country, and more accurately a state of that country, glancing into the workings of the world’s first global corporation and its unsavoury practices.  The Catholic Church, in other words, had been subjected to a stringent analysis, notably regarding the past behaviour of one of its anointed sons.

Cardinal Pell, a high-ranking official of the Catholic Church and financial grand wizard of the Vatican, was found guilty on December 11 of historical child sexual abuses pertaining to two choir boys from the 1990s.  But details remain sketchy. We know, for instance, that the number of charges was five, and that the trial has been designated “the cathedral trial”.  We also know that a first trial failed to reach a verdict.

Scrutiny from the Australian press gallery and those who had been victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests over the years, was limited for reasons peculiar to this country’s ambivalence to open discourse.  They were told that would be so.

The Pell case is a classic instance of suppression laws in action and, more particularly, their appeal in the Victorian jurisdiction that was not dimmed with the passage of the Open Courts Act 2013 (Vic).  Section 4 of the Act noting “a presumption in favour of disclosure of information to which a court or tribunal must have regard in determining whether to make a suppression order” has proven a fairly weak exercise.

Victorian judges, such as former Victorian Supreme Court Justice Betty King, have gone so far as to boast about the frequency they have handed down such orders.  Former Victorian Chief Justice Marilyn Warren, writing in October 2015, illustrated the classic struggle between the media which “has its own interests” and the judicial system. “Crime,” she reminds us prosaically, “sells.”

Little wonder then that Judge Peter Kidd relented to the prosecutor’s request in the Pell case that a gag order be imposed ahead of the trial “to prevent a real and substantial risk of prejudice to the proper administration of justice.”

The suppression order issued by the Victorian County Court is still in force, covering “all Australian states and territories” and “any website or other electronic or broadcast format accessible within Australia”.  The reason lies in a connected trial, known as the swimmers’ trial, in which Pell is also being tried for allegedly abusing two other boys at a Ballarat swimming pool in Victoria during the 1970s, proceedings of which will take place in late February or early March.

Australian newspapers have engaged in what can only be regarded as an absurd song and dance that demonstrates the hollow, ceremonial nature of such restrictions.  Melbourne’s The Age noted how “we are unable to report their identity due to a suppression order.”  (Tantalising!)  The paper did, however, note that,

“Google searches for the person’s name surged on Wednesday, particularly in Victoria.  Two of the top three search results on the suppressed name showed websites that were reporting the charges, the verdict and the identity of the person in full.”

Y axis represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. A score of 0 means that there was not enough data for this term. (Source: Google)

The Daily Telegraph huffed with “the nation’s biggest story” in its front-page headline. “A high profile Australian with a worldwide reputation has been convicted of an awful crime.”  In evident terror, the paper has done its best to delete any links on the web to that initial story.  Likewise the Herald Sun of Melbourne, despite its agitated bold headline “Censored.”

Other Australian outlets have also been cowed.  Josh Butler of 10 Daily sounded anguished.

“We’d like to tell you what happened, instead of speaking in riddles, but our legal system – specifically, the legal system of one Australian state – forbids us from telling you.”

In the words of feminist and voluble website Mamamia,

“we too cannot report on the person’s identity or the crime they have been found guilty of.”

Spot the Australian in question, but in heaven’s name do not mention him in Australia proper.  The pathology of suppression proves irresistible.

It was left to foreign press services to run with the story, or not, as it were, leaving an absurd spectacle of neurotic meanderings in its wake. Some agencies, like Reuters and Associated Press, played the cautious card and resisted temptation.  Reuters’ spokeswoman, Heather Carpenter, insisted that Reuters was “subject to the laws of the countries in which we operate”.

In the United States, the reaction was particularly determined, though the enthusiasm did not spread to The New York Times, despite that paper having given extensive coverage to the allegations themselves. The paper’s deputy general counsel, David McCraw, claimed that the paper was abiding by the court’s order “because of the presence of our bureau there.  It is deeply disappointing that we are unable to present this important story to our readers in Australia and elsewhere.”  Press coverage of judicial proceedings, he insisted, was “a fundamental safeguard of justice and fairness.”

The Washington Post, National Review, Daily Beast and National Public Radio were all busy in their efforts to run stories on Pell.  The Daily Beast has, however, geoblocked reports to Australian readers.  In the words of the outlet’s editor, Noah Shachtman, “We understood there could be legal, and even criminal, consequences if we ran this story.”

In a global, relentless information environment, one accessible at the search on a phone, suppression orders retain an anachronistic insensibility.  When it comes to matters concerning an individual of such standing and influence as Cardinal Pell, including the clandestine institution he has represented for decades, the courts risk looking all too cosy with creatures of power.

While barristers rightly seek to defend their clients and hope, often elusively, for that fair trial to be extracted from a prejudiced milieu, such court directives smack of theatrical illusion rather than impact. Imposing suppression orders can be a case less of assisting the accused have a fair trial than preventing discussing what is already available.  To make them function in any effectual manner would be to select jurors hermetic and immune to the Internet or an interest in foreign news sources – a nigh impossible task.  Victoria’s judges, like King Canute, are attempting to control the tide in vain.

*

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

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

Evidence has come to light that US operations against the Chinese telecommunications giant HuaWei (华为) and the arrest and detention of one of its top executives, Meng Wanzhou, to face criminal charges of fraud brought by the US Justice Department are the outcome of a coordinated campaign by the intelligence agencies of the so-called “Five Eyes” network.

According to a major report published in the Australian Financial Review (AFR) yesterday, the annual meeting of top intelligence officials from countries in the network—the US, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada—held last July decided to “co-ordinate banning” Huawei from 5G mobile phone networks.

The two-day meeting, held in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, decided that the intelligence chiefs should spend time publicly explaining “their concerns” about China.

In the months that followed “an unprecedented campaign” has been waged by the five members of the network “to block the tech giant Huawei from supplying equipment for their next-generation wireless networks” which has now led to the arrest of Meng in Canada.

On August 23, in one of his last acts as Australian prime minister before being deposed in an inner-party leadership coup, Malcolm Turnbull rang US President Trump to tell him that Huawei and another Chinese firm, ZTE, had been banned from the country’s 5G rollout. The basis of the decision was to exclude “vendors who are likely to be subject of extrajudicial directions from a foreign government.”

This was followed on October 29 by a speech by the director-general of the Australian Signals Directorate, Mike Burgess, in which, while not directly naming Huawei, he said the “stakes with 5G” could not be higher. It was the first public speech by the head of the organisation in its 70-year history.

The speech was followed seven days later by a decision of the New Zealand Labour government to ban Huawei from supplying 5G equipment to the phone company Spark.

The article then noted that on December 6, the head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), David Vigneault, who had hosted the Five Eyes meeting, delivered his first public speech warning of a security threat.

“CSIS has seen a trend of state-sponsored espionage in fields that are crucial to Canada’s ability to build and sustain a prosperous, knowledge-based economy,” he said, referencing artificial intelligence, quantum technology and 5G. China was not mentioned specifically but there was no doubt it was the target and Canada is expected to shortly announce a ban on Huawei and ZTE.

The day after the speech by his Canadian counterpart, the head of Britain’s MI6 addressed a meeting at St Andrews University in Scotland in which he warned that “much of the evolving state threat is about our opponents’ innovative exploitation of modern technology.”

The British situation is more complex than that of the other Five Eyes members because of the agreement reached by British Telecom (BT) to partner with Huawei in the 3G and 4G networks 15 years ago. But that is changing as BT has said it will strip out Huawei equipment from its networks and will not use its technology in 5G.

The key attendee at the meeting was CIA director Gina Haspel. The US has been leading the push against China, has already banned Huawei and has been waging an international campaign to have its equipment banned by other strategic allies beyond the Five Eyes group.

The AFR article noted that the sharp focus of Washington on Beijing “plays into Trump’s obsession with trade war but it would be wrong to think it’s solely driven by the president. Over the last two years Republicans and Democrats in Congress and the departments of Defence, State and the security agencies have come to the conclusion China is a strategic threat.”

Other evidence of the way in which the US intelligence and military apparatus is driving the attack on Huawei and Chinese technology companies more broadly has been revealed in an article published in the Financial Timesyesterday.

It cited a leaked memo, “apparently written by a senior National Security Council official” warning about the implications of the rise of Huawei to become the world’s biggest supplier of telecommunications equipment and that it was leading the field in the development of 5G.

“We are losing it,” the memo said. “Whoever leads in technology and market share for 5G deployment will have a tremendous advantage towards … commanding the heights of the information domain.”

The memo said 5G was “by no means simply a ‘faster 4G’” but was “a change more like the invention of the Gutenberg press” as it would bring faster speeds, lower lead times between the network and the device and had a much larger capacity to transfer data.

These developments, the article said, will underpin self-driving cars, artificial intelligence and machine-to-machine communications, and will “transform the way everything from hospitals to factories operate.”

China was far ahead in preparing for 5G which requires more base stations than existing networks and had almost 2 million cell sites in early 2018, ten times the number in the US. According to the Deloitte consultancy there are 5.3 sites for every 10 square miles in China compared to 0.4 in the US.

These figures make clear the reason for the ferocity of the US economic war against China. It fears that its economic and military supremacy is under direct threat and is determined to take all measures considered necessary to counter China’s rise.

The objective logic of this development was underlined in an article, also published in the AFR yesterday, by Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs.

The arrest of Meng Wanzhou, he wrote, “is a dangerous move by US President Donald Trump’s administration in its intensifying conflict with China. If, as Mark Twain reputedly said, history often rhymes, our era increasingly recalls the period preceding 1914. As with Europe’s great powers back then, the United States, led by an administration intent on asserting America’s dominance over China, is pushing the world towards disaster.”

Sachs drew attention to the hypocrisy surrounding the detention of Meng on charges of committing fraud in breach of US-imposed bans on dealing with Iran. He noted that in 2011 JP Morgan Chase paid $88.3 million in fines for violating US sanctions against Cuba, Iran and Sudan. “Yet [CEO] Jamie Dimon wasn’t grabbed off a plane and whisked into custody.”

None of the heads of banks or their financial officers was “held accountable for the pervasive law-breaking in the lead-up to or aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis” for which the banks paid $243 billion in fines.

The US actions against Huawei were part of an “economic war on China, and a reckless one.”

He noted that when global trade rules obstruct the “gangster tactics” of the Trump administration then it deems the rules have to go, citing a comment by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brussels last week in which he admitted as much.

“Our administration,” Pompeo said, “is lawfully exiting or renegotiating outdated or harmful treaties, trade agreements and other international arrangements that don’t serve our sovereign interests, or the interests of our allies.”

Pointing to the unilateral decision of the US to reject the decision of the UN Security Council to lift all bans on Iran as part of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, Sachs concluded:

“The Trump administration, not Huawei or China is the greatest threat to the international rule of law, and therefore to global peace.”

*

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

Yes, there is rubble, in fact total destruction, in some of the neighborhoods of Homs, Aleppo, in the outskirts of Damascus, and elsewhere.

Yes, there are terrorists and ‘foreign forces’ in Idlib and in several smaller pockets in some parts of the country.

Yes, hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives and millions are either in exile, or internally displaced.

But the country of Syria is standing tall.

It did not crumble like Libya or Iraq did. It never surrendered. It never even considered surrender as an option. It went through total agony, through fire and unimaginable pain, but in the end, it won. It almost won. And the victory will, most likely, be final in 2019.

Despite its relatively small size, it did not win like a ‘small nation’, fighting guerilla warfare. It is winning like a big, strong state: it fought proudly, frontally, openly, against all odds. It confronted the invaders with tremendous courage and strength, in the name of justice and freedom.

Syria is winning, because the only alternative would be slavery and subservience, and that is not in the lexicon of the people here. The Syrian people won because they had to win, or face the inevitable demise of their country and collapse of their dream of a Pan-Arab homeland.

Homs

Syria is winning, and hopefully, nothing here, in the Middle East, will be the same again. The long decades of humiliation of the Arabs are over. Now everyone ‘in the neighborhood’ is watching. Now everybody knows: The West and its allies can be fought and stopped; they are not invincible. Tremendously brutal and ruthless they are, yes, but not invincible. The most vicious, fundamentalist religious implants can be smashed, too. I said it before, and I repeat it here again: Aleppo has been the Stalingrad of the Middle East. Aleppo and Homs, and other great courageous Syrian cities. Here, fascism was confronted, fought with all might and with great sacrifice, and finally deterred.

*

I sit in the office of a Syrian General, Akhtan Ahmad. We speak Russian. I ask him about the security situation in Damascus, although I already know. For several evenings and nights, I have been walking through the narrow winding roads of the old city; one of the cradles of human race. Women, even young girls, were walking as well. The city is safe.

Syrian General, Akhtan Ahmad

“It is safe,” smiles General Akhtan Ahmad, proudly. “You know it is safe, don’t you?”

I nod. He is a top Syrian intelligence commander. I should have asked more, much more. Details, details. But I don’t want to know details; not right now. I want to hear again and again that Damascus is safe, from him, from my friends, from the passers-by.

“Situation is now very good. Go out at night…”

I tell him that I have. That I have been doing it since I arrived.

“No one is afraid, anymore”, he continues. “Even in the places where terrorist groups used to operate, life is returning to normal… The Syrian government is now providing water, electricity. People are returning to the liberated areas. East Ghouta was liberated only 5 months ago, and now you can see shops opening there, one after another.”

I get several permits signed. I take the General’s photo. I get photographed with him. He has nothing to hide. He is not afraid.

I tell him that at the end of January of 2019, or in February at the latest, I want to travel to Idlib, or at least to the suburbs of that city. That’s fine; I just have to let them know a few days in advance. Palmyra, fine. Aleppo, no problem.

We shake hands. They trust me. I trust them. That’s the only way forward – this is still a war. A terrible, brutal war. Despite the fact that Damascus is now free and safe.

*

After I leave General’s office, we drive to Jobar, on the outskirts of Damascus. Then to Ein-Tarma.

Ein-Tarma

There, it is total madness.

Jobar used to be a predominantly industrial area, Ein-Tarma a residential neighborhood. Both places had been reduced almost entirely to rubble. In Jobar I am allowed to film inside the tunnels, which used to be used by the terrorists; by the Rahman Brigades and by the other groups with direct connection to Al-Nusrah Front.

The scene is eerie. Formerly these factories offered tens of thousands of jobs to the people of the capital city. Now, nothing moves here. Dead silence, just dust and wreckage.

Lieutenant Ali accompanies me, as I climb over debris. I asked him what took place here.  He replies, through my interpreter:

“This place was only liberated in April 2018. It was one of the last places that was taken from the terrorists. For 6 years, one part was controlled by the ‘rebels’, while another by the army. The enemies dug tunnels, and it was very difficult to defeat them. They used every structure they could get their hands on, including schools. From here, most of the civilians managed to escape.”

I asked him about the destruction, although I knew the answer, as my Syrian friends used to live in this area, and told me their detailed stories. Lieutenant Ali confirmed:

“The West was feeding the world with propaganda, saying that this was destruction caused by the army. In fact, the Syrian army was engaging the rebels only when they were attacking Damascus. Eventually, the rebels retreated from here, after the Russian-sponsored talks with the government.”

*

A Few kilometers further east, in Ein-Tarma, things are very different. Before the war, this used to be a residential neighborhood. People used to live here, mostly in the multi-story buildings. Here, the terrorists hit hard at the civilians. For months or even years, families had to live in terrible fear and deprivation.

We stopped at the humble shop selling vegetables. Here, I approached an elderly lady, and after she agreed to it, I began filming.

She spoke, and then she shouted, straight into the camera, waving her hands:

“We lived here like cattle. The terrorists treated us like animals. We were scared, hungry, humiliated. Women: terrorists would take 4-5 wives, forcing young girls and mature women into so-called marriages. We had nothing; nothing left!”

“And now?” I asked.

“Now? Look! We live again. We have a future. Thank you; thank you, Bashir!”

She calls her president by his first name. She points palms at her heart, and after kissing them, she waves her hands again.

There is nothing to ask, really. I just film. She says it all, in two minutes.

As we are leaving, I realize that she is most likely not old; not old at all. But what has happened here broke her in half. Now she is living; she is living and hoping again.

I ask my driver to move slowly, and I begin filming the road, broken and dusty, but full of traffic: people walking, bicycles and cars passing by, negotiating potholes. In the side streets, people are hard at work, rebuilding, cleaning rubble, cutting fallen beams. Electricity is getting restored. Glass panels fitted into the scratched wooden frames. Life. Victory; all this is bittersweet, because so many people died; because so much has been destroyed. But life it is, despite everything; life again. And hope; so much hope.

*

I sit with my friends, Yamen and Fida, in a classic, old Damascus café, called Havana. It is a real institution; a place where Ba’ath Party members used to meet, during the old and turbulent days. Photographs of President Bashar al-Assad are displayed, prominently.

New hotel constructed in Damascus

Yamen, an educator, recalls how he had to move from one apartment to another, on several occasions during the recent years:

“My family used to live right next to Jobar. Everything around there was getting destroyed. We had to move. Then, at a new location, I was walking with my little son, and a mortar had landed near us. Once I saw building in flames. My son was crying in horror. A woman next to us was howling, trying to throw herself into flames: ‘My son is inside, I need my son, give me my son!’ In the past, we couldn’t predict from where the danger would arrive, and when. I lost several relatives; family members. We all did.” 

Fida, Yamen’s colleague, is taking care of her ageing mother, every day, when she gets back from work. Life is still tough, but my friends are true patriots, and this helps them to cope with the daily challenges.

Over a cup of strong Arabic coffee, Fida explains:

“You see us laughing and joking, but deep inside, almost all of us are suffering from deep psychological trauma. What took place here was tough; we all saw terrible things, and we lost our loved ones. All this will stay with us, for many years to come. Syria does not have enough professional psychologists and psychiatrists to cope with the situation. So many lives have been damaged. I am still scared. Every day. Many people have been terribly shaken.”

“I feel sorry for my brother’s children. They were born into this crisis. My tiny nephew… Once we were under a mortar attack. He was so scared. Children are really badly affected! Personally, I am not afraid of getting killed. I am frightened of losing my arm, or leg, or not being able to take my mom to the hospital, if she was to be feeling sick. At least my ancestral city, Safita, has always been safe, even during the worst days of the conflict.” 

“Not my Salamiyah,” laments Yamen:

“Salamiyah used to be just terrible. Many villages had to be evacuated… Many people died there. To the East of the city were the positions of Al-Nusrah, while the west was held by the ISIS”.

Yes, hundreds of thousands of the Syrian people were killed. Millions forced to leave the country, escaping both the terrorists and the conflict as well as poverty that rode on the tail of the fighting. Millions have been internally displaced; the entire nation in motion.

The previous day, after leaving Ein-Tarma, we drove near Zamalka and Harasta. Entire huge neighborhoods were either flattened, or at least terribly damaged.

When you see the Eastern suburbs of Damascus, when you see the ghost buildings without walls and windows, with bullet holes dotting the pillars, you think that you have seen it all. The destruction is so huge; it looks like an entire big city was just blown up to pieces. They say this eerie landscape doesn’t change for at least 15 kilometers. The nightmare goes on and on, without any interruption.

Night in the old city of Damascus

So yes, you tend to think that you have seen it all, but actually you haven’t. It is because you have not visited Aleppo, nor visited Homs, yet.

*

For several years, I have been fighting for Syria. I was doing it from the peripheries.

I managed to enter the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and to file reports about the brutality and cynicism of the occupation.

For years, I covered life in the refugee camps, and ‘around them’. Some camps were real, but others were actually used as training fortresses for the terrorist, who were later injected into Syrian territory, by NATO. Once I almost disappeared while filming Apayadin, one of such ‘institutions’, erected not far from the Turkish city of Hattay (Atakya).

I ‘almost’ disappeared, but others actually did die. Covering what the West and its allies have been doing to Syria is as dangerous as covering the war inside Syria itself.

I worked in Jordan, writing about the refugees, but also about the cynicism of the Jordanian collaboration with the West. I worked in Iraq where, in a camp near Erbil, the Syrian people were forced by both the NGO and the UN staff, to denounce President Assad, if they wanted to receive at least some basic services. And of course, I worked in Lebanon, where more than one million Syrian people have been staying; often facing unimaginably terrible conditions as well as discrimination (many are now going back).

And now that I was finally inside, it all felt somehow surreal, but it felt right.

Syria appeared to be as I expected it to be: heroic, brave, determined, and unmistakably socialist.

*

Homs. Before I went there, I thought that nothing could surprise me, anymore. I have worked all over Afghanistan, in Iraq, Sri Lanka, East Timor. But soon I realized that I had seen nothing, before I visited Homs.

Families visiting their destroyed streets in Homs

The destruction of several parts of the city is so severe that it resembles the surface of another planet, or a fragment from some apocalyptic horror film.

People climbing through the ruins, an elderly couple visiting what once used to be their apartment, a girl’s shoe that I find in the middle of the road, covered by dust. A chair standing in the middle of an intersection, from which all four roads lead towards the horrid ruins.

Homs is where the conflict began.

My friend Yamen explained to me, as we were driving towards the center:

“Here, the media ignited hatred; mostly the Western mass media. But also, there were the channels from the Gulf: Al-Jazeera, as well as television and radio stations from Saudi Arabia. Sheik Adnan Mohammed al-Aroor was appearing, twice a week, on a television program which was telling people to hit the streets, banging on pots and pans; to fight against the government.”

Homs is where the anti-government rebellion began, in 2011. The anti-Assad propaganda from abroad soon reached a crescendo. The opposition was ideologically supported by the West and by its allies. Rapidly, the support became tangible, and included weapons, ammunition, as well as thousands of jihadi fighters.

A once tolerant and modern city (in a secular country), Homs began changing, getting divided between the religious groups. Division was followed by radicalization.

In Homs, life goes on

My good friend, a Syrian who now lives in both Syria and Lebanon, told me his story:

“I was very young when the uprising began. Some of us had certain legitimate grievances, and we began protesting, hoping that things could change for better. But many of us soon realized that our protests were literally kidnapped from abroad. We wanted a set of positive changes, while some leaders outside Syria wanted to overthrow our government. Consequently, I left the movement.”

He then shared with me his most painful secret:

“In the past, Homs was an extremely tolerant city. I am a moderate Muslim, and my fiancé was a moderate Christian. We were very close. But the situation in the city was changing rapidly, after 2011. Radicalism was on the raise. I repeatedly asked her to cover her hair when she was passing through the Muslim neighborhoods. It was out of concern, because I was beginning to clearly see what was happening around us. She refused. One day, she was shot, in the middle of the street. They killed her. Life was never the same again.”

In the West, they often say that the Syrian government was at least partially responsible for destruction of the city. But the logic of such accusations is absolutely perverse. Imagine Stalingrad. Imagine foreign invasion; an invasion supported by several hostile fascist powers. The city fights back, the government tries to stop the advancement of the troops of the enemy. The fight, terrible, an epic fight for the survival of the nation goes on. Who is to blame? The invaders or the government forces who are defending their own fatherland? Can anyone accuse the Soviet troops for fighting in the streets of their own cities that were attacked by the German Nazis?

Perhaps the Western propaganda is capable of such ‘analyses’, but definitely no rational human being.

The same logic as to Stalingrad, should also apply to Homs, to Aleppo, and to several other Syrian cities. Covering literally dozens of conflicts ignited by the West all over the world (and described in detail in my 840-page long book Exposing Lies Of The Empire”), I have no doubts: the full responsibility for the destruction lies on the shoulders of the invaders.

*

I face Mrs. Hayat Awad in an ancient restaurant called Julia Palace. This used to be the stronghold of the terrorists. They occupied this beautiful place, located in the heart of the old city of Homs. Now, things are slowly coming back to life here, at least in several areas of the city. The old market is functioning, the university is open, and so are several government buildings and hotels. But Mrs. Hayat lives in both past and the future.

Mrs. Hayat lost her son, Mahmood, during the war. His portrait is always with her, engraved into a pentel she is wearing on her chest.

“He was only 21 years old, still a student, when he decided to join the Syrian army. He told me that Syria is like his mother. He loves her, as he loves me. He was fighting against the Al-Nusrah Front, and the battle was very tough. At the end of the day he called me, just to say that the situation was not good. In his last call he just asked me to forgive him. He said: ‘Maybe I am not going to come back. Please forgive me. I love you!’”

Are there many mothers like her, here in Homs, those who lost their sons?

“Yes, I know many women who lost their sons; and not just one, sometimes two or three. I know a lady who lost her two only sons. This war took everything from us. Not only our children. I blame the countries which supported the extreme ideologies injected into Syria; countries like the United States and those in Europe.” 

After I am done filming, she thanks Russia for their support. She thanks all the countries that have stood by Syria, during those difficult years.

Not far from Julia Palace, reconstruction work is in full swing. And just a few steps away, a renovated mosque is re-opening. People are dancing, celebrating. It is Prophet Mohammed’s birthday. The Governor of Homs marches towards the festivities, with the members of his government. There is almost no security around them.

If the West does not unleash yet another wave of terror against its people, Homs should be just fine. Not right away, perhaps not soon, but it will be, with the resolute help of the Russians, Chinese, Iranian and other comrades. Syria itself is strong and determined. Its allies are mighty.

I want to believe that the most terrible years are over. I want to believe that Syria has already won.

But I know that there is still Idlib, there are also pockets occupied by Turkish and Western forces. It is not over, yet. The terrorists have not been fully defeated. The West will be shooting its missiles. Israel will be sending its air force to brutalize the country. And the mass media outlets from the West and the Gulf, will continue fighting the media war, agitating and confusing certain segments of the Syrian people.

Still, as I leave Homs, I see shops and even boutiques opening in the midst of the rubble. Some people are dressing up, elegantly again, in order to show their strength; their determination to put the past behind them and to live, once again, their normal lives.

*

Returning to Damascus, the motorway is in perfect condition and the industrial area in Hassia is getting rebuilt and amplified, too. There is a huge power plant, supported by the Iranians, I am told. Despite the war, Syria is still supplying neighboring Lebanon with electricity.

Yamen drives at 120 km/h and we joke that once we get scared of possible speed traps, instead of snipers, we know that the situation in the country is dramatically improving.

A Russian military convoy is parked at a rest area. Soldiers are drinking coffee. There is no fear. Syrians treat them as if they were their own people.

I see the most spectacular sunset, over the desert.

Then, once again, we pass through Harasta. This time at night.

I want to curse. I don’t; cursing is too easy. I need to get to my computer, soon. I have to write; to work. A lot, the best I can.

*

It is easy to feel at home in Syria. Maybe because Russian is my mother-tongue or perhaps because people here know that I have always stood by their country.

Some bureaucratic hindrances got resolved, quickly.

Image below: Working with Syrian Minister of Education

I met the outgoing Minister of Education, Dr. Hazwan Al-Waz, who is a fellow novelist. We spoke about his writing, about his latest book “Love and War.” He confirmed what I always knew, as a revolutionary novelist:

“During the war, everything is political, even love.”

And then something that I will never forget:

“My Ministry of Education has been, in fact, the Ministry of Defense”.

Last night in Damascus I walked all over the old city, till early morning. At one point, I arrived near the spectacular Umayyad Mosque, finding, right behind it, the mausoleum of Sultan Saladin.

I could not enter. At this late-night hour it was locked. But I could easily see it through the metal bars of the gate.

This brave commander and leader fought against the huge armies of the Western invaders – the Crusaders – winning almost every single battle, finding his peace and final resting place here, in Damascus.

I paid tribute to this ancient fellow internationalist, and I wondered, over a strong coffee in a nearby stall, in the middle of the night: “Did Saladin participate in this latest epic battle fought by the Syrian nation against the hordes of the foreign barbarians?”

Perhaps his spirit did. Or, more likely, some battles were fought and won with his name on lips.

‘I will be back,’ I uttered, walking back towards my hotel, few minutes after midnight. Two massive furry cats accompanide me, following my steps until the first corner. ‘I will be back very soon’.

Syria is standing. That’s what really matters. It never fell on its knees. And it never will. We will not allow it to fall.

And damned be imperialism!

*

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

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism, a revolutionary novel “Aurora” and a bestselling work of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire”. View his other books here. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo and his film/dialogue with Noam Chomsky “On Western Terrorism”. Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

All images in this article are from the author


Order Mark Taliano’s Book “Voices from Syria” directly from Global Research.

Mark Taliano combines years of research with on-the-ground observations to present an informed and well-documented analysis that refutes  the mainstream media narratives on Syria. 

Voices from Syria 

ISBN: 978-0-9879389-1-6

Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 1 new chapter)

List Price: $17.95

Special Price: $9.95 

Click to order

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The Entire Nation Mobilized, Syria has Won the War against US-Sponsored Terrorism
  • Tags:

You might be aware of the so-called “gold-plated” visa scheme in Britain. It allows foreign ‘investors’ a fast-track to settling in Britain. Despite calls for its closure, especially as many corrupt officials from China, Russia, Africa and the Mid-East use it to buy homes and get passports, it remains open, the Home Office has finally clarified.

Ministers had announced access to Tier 1 visas, would be stopped on December 7th this year but then U-turned, presumably in some sort of desperate attempt to attract foreign cash in a post-Brexit world. The scheme is open purely to entice rich people from outside the EU to invest £2m or more in the UK.

The big problem with this scheme is that it plays straight into the hands of The City of London – the world’s money launderer. And the bankers have decided that neither public opinion nor government policy should get in their way. So, to placate citizen concerns the Home Office has said an audit process would be introduced in response to concerns the scheme was being used to launder money.

As money laundering is already illegal, there are already processes in place – it’s just that, no-one uses them in the first place.

“We remain committed to reforming the route,” a spokesman said. “A further announcement will be made in due course.” Meaning – officials will continue to look the other way.

More than 1,000 Tier 1 visas were granted in the year to September to people from a variety of nationalities. In previous years, the highest numbers have gone to Chinese and Russian ‘investors’.

Introduced in 2008, the scheme allowed foreign nationals to secure visas in return for a £2m investment and apply to settle in the UK indefinitely after five years. That also means that once granted, their families are granted visas as well. And as long as you don’t upset ‘the establishment’ then the entire family can stay indefinitely. For £10 million the wait is reduced to 2 years.

When originally announcing the scheme’s suspension Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes had said the government would not tolerate people who “seek to abuse the system,” even though it was successive governments over decades that had allowed exactly that to happen.

The Home Office has now said that, from next year, independent, “regulated auditors will assess applicants’ financial and business interests and check they have had control of the funds for at least two years.”

As if that is likely to mean anything.

Let’s not forget, that in 2016, the Home Affairs Select Committee concluded that the London property market was the primary avenue for the laundering of £100bn of illicit money a year. And that is just London property.

Here is a really interesting article about some the history, mechanics and cash flows of The City of London. It gives an insight into just how much is at stake.

*

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

Featured image is from TP

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Corrupt Oligarch? Britain Welcomes You as “Visa Scheme for Rich” Not Suspended
  • Tags: ,

Federal Judge Orders Mueller to Turn over Flynn Material

December 14th, 2018 by Jonathan Turley

In a surprising move, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered Mueller late Wednesday to turn over all of the government’s documents and “memoranda” related to Flynn’s questioning. This follows a Flynn filing that described an effective trap set by agents who encouraged him not to bring a lawyer and left inconsistencies unaddressed in what has been described by critics as a “perjury trap.”  I have practiced in front of Judge Sullivan for years and he is a respected judge who has a keen eye for prosecutorial and investigative abuse.  That does not mean that he will find such abuse here and could ultimately make a finding that nothing improper occurred.  Yet, despite a recommendation of no jail time, Sullivan wants to review the entire record before deciding on the issue.

Sullivan’s order gives Mueller a 3:00 p.m. EST Friday deadline for the special counsel’s office to produce the FBI documents.  Those include 302 field reports that have been widely discussed in the media, including one which reportedly shows then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe pushing Flynn not to have an attorney present during the questioning.  McCabe of course was later fired from the Justice Department and is viewed by critics as someone who had an anti-Trump agenda.  Many however have defended his actions and denounced efforts, including President Trump, to make him a villain without any clear evidence of political bias.  The scene however is made all the more suspicious for Trump supporters with the involvement of Peter Strzok, who was also later fired.

Some have also noted that McCabe never warned Flynn that false statements to investigators are crimes or that this was not some routine sit-down during the very busy opening days of the Administration.  The fact is however that Flynn was not in custody and thus was not guaranteed a Miranda warning.

On the other hand, the false statement that Flynn allegedly made was not reportedly viewed by the agents as an intentional lie.  His meeting with the Russians was not illegal or even unprecedented as the incoming National Security Adviser.  He did not deny the meeting but a memory of sanctions being discussed.  Robert Mueller however decided to reexamine the statement and charge it as a violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001.

In reality, it was doubtful that Flynn would ever get jail time for such an alleged false statement. His range as a first offender started at 0 and that is likely where it would remain even without the recommendation of Mueller.

There is no question that this was an aggressive approach to an interview at a time when the subject was in the middle of establishing a new office for a new Administration in the midst of serious national security pressures. Moreover, Flynn “clearly saw the FBI agents as allies,” according to the 302 prepared by Strzok and another agent.  They made the conscious decision that  “If Flynn still would not confirm what he said, … they would not confront him or talk him through it.”  Again they have no duty to reveal the discrepancy but it is unclear why they would adopt such a seemingly hostile or aggressive stance toward Flynn.

Flynn is set to be sentenced next Tuesday.

*

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

Featured image is from The Unz Review

The Costs of the War on the People of Yemen

December 14th, 2018 by Daniel Larison

The Guardian published three accounts from Yemeni aid workers working with the Norwegian Refugee Council about their experience of the war and the humanitarian crisis. This comes from Marwan Al-Sabri, a 32-year old water and sanitation officer from Taiz:

We already know that the shelling kills people, but I am seeing what a broken economy does too. People have been left so desperately poor that they kill themselves before the hunger does.

The economic war being waged against the civilian population is often overlooked in coverage of Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, but it is one of the major reasons why almost 16 million people are food insecure even with humanitarian food aid and more than 20 million are food insecure without it. Of those, there are 1.7 million people in the Taiz region that are at crisis, emergency, or catastrophe levels of food insecurity, and that’s with humanitarian food aid. Approximately the same number of people in the Hodeidah governorate are enduring the same deprivation. More than two-thirds of the population of Hajjah governorate in the northwest are suffering the same hardship. More than half of the country’s entire population is in the same position, and conditions are going to keep deteriorating unless the war is brought to a halt and the economy is stabilized.

The experience of the relentless bombing campaign has put people into a state of near-constant anxiety. Ali Al-Makhaathi is 27 and a food security assistant in Amran:

Later that night we heard the jets, a sound that has become strangely routine. Adults barely react to their haunting humming sound now, but it terrifies our children, who run from their beds, petrified.

When they were smaller, we could tell our children that every explosion was the last; comfort them in the short term and hope they would forget by the time of the next bombardment. But they are older now – the bombs have been falling for three and a half years and our children can’t remember a life without fear.

Hadil Al-Senwi, 27, is an education officer in Sanaa. Here she describes how the stress and hardship created by the war have affected an entire generation of Yemeni children:

The idea of childhood that I knew has disappeared and children now carry the burden of stress and labour like adults. An Italian friend said to me that Yemeni children have facial features of people far older.

I feel desperately sorry that our children have tasted nothing but the bitterness of war.

Yemenis will be living with the costs and burdens of conflict for years and decades after the war that has been waged on them finally ends. It is an enduring mark of shame that our government has helped the Saudi coalition do this to them. It is imperative that our participation in perpetuating this disaster be brought to an end.

*

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

Featured image is from Creative Commons/Felton Davis

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The Costs of the War on the People of Yemen
  • Tags:

What Brexit Means to Kensington People

December 14th, 2018 by Emma Dent Coad

Soon after the referendum in the summer of 2016, an elderly French woman came into my councillors’ surgery. She was distraught. She’d lived in London for nearly 50 years, worked here, paid her tax and was retired. She was convinced that she could be sent home, where she had no surviving family, and wanted my reassurance.

I couldn’t give it.

In the past few months there have been hours of rhetoric, bombast, backstops, locks on backstops and occasionally some good sense spoken in the House of Commons. I’ve played my part but still have no reassurance to give in relation to how Brexit could affect the good people of Kensington — those who live, work or study in the extraordinary constituency I represent.

White British-born people like me comprise a minority of Kensington’s population, just under 48 per cent. The majority of 52 per cent are made up of people from all corners of the earth, all races, religions and cultures, some born here, some settled for decades, some more recently arrived, and some here temporarily, for work or study.

Kensington has 16 per cent of EU nationals, an incredible 19,000. The majority are French (ca6,500), then Italians (ca4,500), Germans and Spanish people around 2,500 each and Portuguese (ca1,500.) The remainder are a glorious mix of “others.”

That’s 19,000 people I feel responsible for but still have no good answers for, particularly in the case of a “no deal” Brexit.

A lot of Eastern Europeans work but don’t live in the constituency, but I worry about them too. Every day thousands of EU nationals come into Kensington to work in our hospitals, care homes and clinics, hotels, bars, pubs, restaurants, offices and shops. They are the engine room and front desk of the busy and vibrant machine of Kensington’s business. We need them.

Across the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in 2015, we had 26,000 wholesale and retail workers, 19,000 working in accommodation and food service, 16,000 in health and social care. No stats are available on precise figures from the EU, but anecdotally a lot certainly are.

So it is a huge concern that many of our EU nationals, faced with a very uncertain future, have begun to make the difficult decision to return to their home country or move elsewhere.

The French Lycee in South Kensington tells me it has lost valuable teaching staff. Cafes have said they are getting short of staff, many of whom are EU students. Some of our construction sites are struggling, having lost highly skilled Eastern European workers. And the council has said it is short of 1,100 home care workers.

Why have they gone?

It wasn’t until a year after the ill-fated referendum in June 2016 that the government announced arrangements for EU nationals.

The process is far from perfect. The statement was a long-awaited assurance that EU nationals living legally in the UK will not have to return when we leave the EU in March 2019, but those who have already slogged through an 85-page application form and paid a fee will have to do so again. There are tight restrictions on family members wishing to join. If you have lived in the UK for five years, you will be entitled to claim settled status, as long as you haven’t committed a crime. There are cut-off dates, thresholds and fees to negotiate, besides a less than perfectly functioning Home Office facing an onslaught of three million visa applications.

There are a lot of loose ends in relation to UK students travelling abroad for study or research and EU students studying or undertaking research here. I can’t speak for the rest of the country but in London all these uncertainties have frightened off many foreign students and universities are battling each other for an ever-diminishing contingent of precious, full-fee-paying foreign students.

There are additional fears as to what may happen in the case of a “no deal” Brexit, which at first seemed far-fetched but may yet be a possibility. Not only colleges and universities but any organisation reliant on EU staff, customers or students is suffering a time of huge anxiety and this loss of confidence has sadly meant that businesses are struggling while we await the result of negotiations.

Leave or stay, under a good or poor deal, this is a time of massive anxiety for a constituency whose backbone is the mutual respect, tolerance and diversity of a population of which we are so rightly proud.

And politicians have let them down.

*

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

Emma Dent Coad is MP for Kensington.

Featured image is from Morning Star

It is clear the US is pushing the battle line to our door … We can completely regard the US arrest of Meng Wanzhou as a declaration of war against China.”

So read an editorial in the Global Times of China days after Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the Chinese company Huawei, was taken hostage by the Canadian and American governments on December 1 when she was arbitrarily arrested and detained by Canadian police in Vancouver in transit between planes on the basis of a US extradition request.

The arrest has shocked and angered China, Canadians, the world community, and caused reverberations in world stock markets. China has threatened severe consequences to Canada if Ms. Meng is not released.  Already, there are reports of the arrest in China of Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat, working for the CIA front, International Crisis Group, and Michael Spavor, a man who has managed to insert himself into the inner circle of the government of the DPRK by arranging trips to the DPRK, often a cover for western espionage, both accused of endangering Chinese national security.  No direct connection has been made to Meng’s arrest, but the timing is significant.

Image result for Michael Kovrig

Kovrig served as a Canadian diplomat in Beijing and Hong Kong until 2016, but is on a leave of absence from the Canadian Foreign Service and seconded to The International Crisis Group, which underlines the close connections that organization has to western governments and intelligence agencies.

The Chinese news agencies report that Kovrig was questioned by agents of the Beijing National Security Bureau on Tuesday and that he was suspected of engaging in activities that endanger China’s national security, in other words gathering intelligence, which would make sense since even the International Crisis Group said that, Kovrig was “regularly interviewing Chinese officials to accurately reflect their views in our work.” In other words he was fishing for information. So he and the ICG are an interesting choice of target-he Canadian, his employer connected to the US intelligence services.

Public opinion in China regarding Canada, which was generally favourable until this incident, has turned rapidly and boycotts of Canadian products have begun to develop hitting the share price of Canadian companies, such as the one that makes the Canada Goose jackets.  The Chinese government has issued a travel advisory to Chinese nationals warning that their safety cannot be assured when travelling to Canada. A trade mission of the government of British Columbia to Beijing has been cancelled and we can expect all such missions and will be suspended and Chinese investment in Canada at risk so long as Ms. Meng remains a hostage.

The background to the arrest is simple.  Huawei has become a global competitor in the global phone market and their 5G phones are cutting edge technology, and apparently can not be hacked into by the western intelligence and security services and so not welcomed by them and by competing phone companies in US, Japan, south Korea, France, and Sweden, who are so afraid of the competition that they and their governments have spread stories that the phones are loaded with spyware and are “a danger to national security.”  The company has even been threatened by the US and allied governments with criminal charges in America’s increasingly hostile economic war against China alongside its increasing military pressure, provocations and insults.  It’s one way to control the market.

But this arrest is also a message to other nations, companies and business people doing business with Iran. The Americans are attempting to destroy the Iranian economy as a collective punishment of the Iranian people thereby hoping to cause unrest and overthrow of the Iranian government.  Meng Wanzhou’s arrest is a clear message. We can arrest her. We can arrest you. European companies are now warned.

The Americans, in their overwhelming arrogance and contempt for the rest of the world, claim that everyone in the world is subject to their laws, as if the United States government is a world government, which of course is how far their imperialism has progressed into world tyranny.  But American laws, like any other nation’s laws can only apply to it citizens for crimes committed within its borders.

But what laws is Ms. Meng accused of violating? None in reality since the US edicts to the world, dressed up as “laws” that trading with Iran is an offence are invalid as they are violations of the UN Charter, of international law and have no force and effect. Only the Security Council can impose sanctions on a nation.  Trade embargoes imposed by a nation unilaterally are prohibited and no nation is obliged to recognize them.

The Canadian prime minister claims he had no hand in this arrest yet admits he knew about it days before hand.  The police that arrested her and the prosecutors handling the file are federal officials and so he must have been involved. John Bolton in the US also admitted that he knew that this was going to happen several days in advance so there must have been communication between the Canadian authorities and the American authorities at a high level to set this up. In fact to add insult to injury the arrest took place as President Trump was sitting with President Xi who was trying to seek an accommodation with the Americans to ease the economic war being waged against China by the Americans. So as Trump sat with Xi,  smiling like a lizard in the sun, he knew that Meng Wanzhou was being arrested, and continued to act like the lizard he is, while Xi acted in good faith unaware of what was happening further north in Canada.

Trudeau’s statement that this arbitrary arrest was not politically motivated and that he was not involved in giving orders for Canadian police to detain her once she landed in Vancouver is preposterous since the Extradition Treaty between Canada and the United States requires that the United States inform the Canadian foreign ministry of its request and send them the documents supporting the request.

Further President Trump stated in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday that he would intervene in U.S. efforts to extradite Meng if it helped him win a trade deal with China. In other words, he confirmed her status as a hostage to pressure China on trade negotiations, and proved the absurdity of the claims of some American commentators that Trump had been sabotaged and knew nothing about it.

Trump’s statement seriously damaged the credibility of the Canadian government whose foreign minister was forced to admit on Wednesday, at a press conference that,

“It will be up to Ms. Meng’s lawyers whether they choose to raise comments in the U.S. as part of their defense of Ms. Meng, and it will then be up to the Canadian judicial process, to Canadian judges, how to weigh the significance.”

But Ms. Freeland is playing loose with the law and her government’s obligations.

Article 2 of the Extradition Treaty requires that Canada can only act on an extradition request if, and only if, the offence alleged is also an offence by the laws of both contracting parties. But the unilaterally imposed and illegal sanctions placed against Iran by the USA, are not punishable acts in Canada and even in the USA the “sanctions” are illegal as they are in violation of the UN Charter. They are attempting to disguise this fact by charging her with fraud, but the essence of the charge is the politically motivated one of not obeying American edicts or “sanctions” against Iran.

Importantly, Article 4 (1) of the Treaty states:

“Extradition shall not be granted in any of the following circumstances:

(iii) When the offense in respect of which extradition is requested is of a political character, or the person whose extradition is requested proves that the extradition request has been made for the purpose of trying to punish him (or her) for an offense of the above-mentioned character. If any question arises as to whether a case comes within the provisions of this subparagraph, the authorities of the Government on which the requisition is made shall decide.”

So, neither Ms. Freeland, nor Prime Minister Trudeau can evade responsibility for this hostage taking, this arbitrary arrest and detention since the Canadian government had to consider the US request and consider whether it was politically motivated. Therefore the matter had to be considered at the highest level by him. Since he has clearly ignored all the circumstances including the fact, firstly that the offence alleged is not an offence in Canada, and cannot exist under international law and secondly, that the US request is clearly politically motivated and has the objective of damaging both Iran and China, he made a political decision to order his security forces to arrest and detain her. It was a political arrest. The rule of law in Canada has been suspended, at least in her case, and so can be in any case. Their repeated statement that the matter is now before the courts is simply an evasion of their responsibilities. In fact, their responsibility was to China. Canada should have warned the Chinese government that the US had sent the request and were pressuring them to arrest one of their citizens on false charges.  Instead they acted as thugs ordered around by the head gangster of the world.

The gangsterism continues as Ms. Meng was finally granted bail in Vancouver but on very harsh terms for someone who faces no valid charges, who has no criminal record and is by President Trump’s own admission being held as a hostage.

Seizure of her passport would have been sufficient to keep her in the country pending the extradition hearing as there is no way she could leave the country without one unless they are suggesting she would be picked up off the coast by a Chinese submarine. But the viciousness of the Canadian state knows no bounds and they insisted that she be confined to virtual house arrest, flanked by security men she is required to pay for, and forced to accept the humiliation of wearing an electronic ankle monitor on top of millions of dollars in security that friends had to put up. I can’t think of a murder case where bail is an option and the conditions have been so harsh.

But can we be surprised that the rule of law has ceased to exist in Canada when we remember that in 1999 Canada took part in the aggression against Yugoslavia, when it took part in the aggression against Iraq, when in 2004 its special forces assisted US marines to put a gun to the head of President Aristide of Haiti, kidnap him and exile him to Africa, when it took part in the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, of Libya, of Syria, when this year it took in white helmet elements of the terrorist proxy forces attacking Syria, when it has been involved in plots to overthrow the Venezuelan government, and the Ukrainian government where it supports the fascists who have taken power in Kiev, when it supports the illegal “sanctions” that is, economic warfare against Russia and supplies arms and armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia for its war in Yemen?

Image result for Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau

Canadians should be angry about their nation being led by people whose loyalty is to Washington instead of the Canadian people, whose interest they seem to care nothing about. They should be angry about slapping the face of the great Chinese people for whom Norman Bethune, the celebrated Canadian physician and communist died while helping the Peoples Liberation Army during the Long March and resistance to Japanese aggression in the 1930’s. Trudeau’s father, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (image on the left), who was one of the first western leaders to open up dialogue with China, long before Nixon went there, must be rolling over in his grave at the actions of his son.

Canadians should be angry that these traitors are isolating Canada from China, from Russia, from Iran and their great cultures, and condemning Canada to be nothing more than an outpost of the American empire. For traitors they are as they betray the Canadian people by serving the interests of the Americans and their war machine.

Free Meng Wanzhou, for so long as she is held hostage, we all are.

*

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

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 Asia Times

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that an agreement between the DUP and Labour was reportedly now in place. As far as we are aware, this is not yet the case.

***

The DUP have reportedly held ‘high level’ talks with the Labour Party regarding supporting a motion of no confidence against Theresa May’s Tory government, significantly increasing the likelihood of an imminent General Election.

A Senior Labour source has reportedly told the Huff Post that, following Theresa May surviving her internal confidence vote last night, talks have now been held at a senior level between Labour and the DUP to find “common ground” on their respective positions.

Although it is being officially denied by the DUP, the Senior Labour source reportedly indicated that should Theresa May fail to bring back assurances from the EU that satisfy the DUP, Labour is now preparing to push for a no confidence motion on Monday after Theresa May has updated MPs on her latest round of EU ‘renegotiations’.

Whilst the DUP Chief Whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson reportedly said that he was not aware of any such meetings, a Senior Labour source reportedly told the Huff Post:

Discussions have taken place between Labour and the DUP to see if there is any common ground there.

Adding that a “considerable number of Tory MPs” may also be willing to back the motion, stating:

“We have seen the hostility focused on May over the last two or three weeks in particular and we believe that, when she returns from Brussels, unless she has agreed major changes to the withdrawal package, that hostility will only increase,”

The Labour source also hinted that the party may have now garnered enough support to bring down the government, adding that:

“We might just have this coalition that will vote against her and we want to maximise the vote against her as much as we can. Just a handful of MPs can make a huge difference for us.”

*

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

Google CEO Sundar Pichai denied allegations that the company was engaged in political censorship Monday at a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.

Throughout the hearing, Republicans repeatedly claimed that the company was censoring search results to the detriment of right-wing viewpoints, while Democrats either denied the company’s censorship or justified it.

The fundamental reality—completely ignored at the hearing—is that the real targets of censorship by Silicon Valley, working with the US intelligence agencies and with the consent of both political parties, are left-wing, anti-war and socialist political organizations.

In April 2017, Google announced that it would implement changes to its search algorithm to promote “authoritative” news sources to the detriment of what it called “alternative” viewpoints. This action led to a massive decline in search rankings and traffic to left-wing, anti-war and progressive websites.

The campaign to implement this censorship regime was spearheaded by the Democratic Party, which, based on claims of Russian “meddling” in the 2016 election, sought to pressure the technology giants to block and suppress left-wing opposition, which it branded as “extremist viewpoints.”

Image on the right: Sundar Pichai

Image result for google pichai

The narrative of both parties is strikingly at odds with reality. Compared to April 2017, the far-right Breitbart.com had its search traffic increase by 25 percent. By contrast, search results for the World Socialist Web Site are down by 76 percent over the same period, and other left-wing sites remain down by 50 percent or more.

At the hearing, Pichai made one of Google’s most explicit denials to date that it was carrying out political censorship.

“I lead this company without political bias and work to ensure that our products continue to operate that way,” Pichai declared. “To do otherwise would go against our core principles and our business interests. We are a company that provides platforms for diverse perspectives and opinions,” he said.

He added,

“It’s not possible for any employee or groups of employees to manipulate our search results.”

In fact, the changes implemented in 2017 by the company were intended to empower “search evaluators” to impact Google search results. These individuals, whose input was added to Google’s more impartial PageRank algorithm, were told to respond negatively to pages displaying “alternative” viewpoints unless users explicitly specified they were looking for such views.

While some political organizations aligned with the Democratic Party were affected by Google’s actions, they either ignored or supported the censorship regime. The far right, meanwhile, made opposition to censorship a rallying cry.

US President Donald Trump, setting the tone for substantial sections of the Republican Party, has prominently accused Google of censoring search results. Republican members of Congress repeatedly held hearings accusing the company of suppressing right-wing and conservative political views.

“Google has long faced criticism for manipulating search results to censor conservatives,” Representative Lamar Smith declared at Monday’s hearing.

The Democrats, for their part, used Pichai’s testimony to alternately deny and justify the company’s censorship. In his remarks, ranking Democrat Jerrold Nadler, who will become chairman in January, declared that “no credible evidence supports this right-wing conspiracy theory.” In effect, Nadler and the other Democrats used the Republicans’ accusations about Google’s ‘liberal’ bias as a straw man, arguing, by extension, that all claims that Google is manipulating search results are a “conspiracy theory.”

Nadler then proceeded to justify Google’s censorship, which he had just denied.

“Even if Google were deliberately discriminating against conservative viewpoints, just as Fox News and Sinclair broadcasting and conservative talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh discriminate against liberal points of view, that would be its right as a private company to do so, and not to be questioned by government.”

This, too, is a straw man. In carrying out their censorship of left-wing views, Google and the other technology giants are acting at the instigation of the US intelligence agencies and leading political figures, serving as the state’s accomplice in violating the Constitution.

Responding to the Republicans’ claims, the Washington Post wrote in an editorial,

“Members of the conservative majority on the House Judiciary Committee spent much of their time hammering Mr. Pichai with baseless accusations that Google rigs its search results to censor conservative content. Black-box algorithms will inevitably prioritize some content over other content, and to the extent companies can be transparent about how their systems work, they should be. But a single-minded and mindless focus on a nonexistent left-wing conspiracy within Google has had the paradoxical effect of discouraging companies from properly policing their platforms, as they hesitate to remove content that should be removed for fear of unfounded criticism.”

In other words, the Post is concerned that the Republican’s grandstanding about what they allege to be a bias against right-wing viewpoints might undermine the plans by the US intelligence agencies to intensify their censorship of left-wing opposition.

As working class-opposition throughout Europe and around the world continues to mount, the American political establishment is ramping up demands for censorship. Responding to the Yellow Vest demonstrations against social inequality in France, the New York Times wrote an editorial warning that “the power of social media to quickly mobilize mass anger, without any mechanism for dialogue or restraint, is a danger to which a liberal democracy cannot succumb.”

The clear implication is that a growing international upsurge of the working class will be met with even further repression and censorship.

*

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

At first glance, it reads like the script for a Hollywood catastrophe movie. And yet it’s one of the scenarios that is actually being considered in the official 2018 report by the Commission, tasked by the United States Congress with studying the national defense strategy

“In 2019, on the basis of fake news announcing atrocities committed against Russian citizens in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, Russia invades these countries. While US and NATO forces prepare to respond, Russia declares that an attack against its forces in these countries would be viewed as an attack on Russia itself, and considers a nuclear riposte. Russian submarines attack transatlantic optical fibre cables, and Russian hackers cut the electrical networks in the USA, while Russian military forces destroy US military and commercial satellites. The major cities of the United States are paralysed, since the Internet and cell-phones are rendered inoperative”.

The bipartisan Committee, composed of six Republicans and six Democrats, are looking at a similar scenario in Asia – in 2024, China stages a surprise attack and occupies Taiwan, and the United States are unable to intervene in a cost-effective manner, because Chinese military capacities have continued to grow, while those of the USA have stagnated due to insufficient military spending.

“These scenarios – explains the Commission – exemplify the fact that the security and the well-being of the United States are in greater danger than they have been for the last few decades”. Since the Second World War, “the United States have guided the construction of a world of unusual prosperity, freedom and security. This development, from which it has benefited enormously, has been made possible by the unequalled military might of the United States”.

For the moment, however, their military power – “the backbone of world influence and the national security of the USA” – has eroded to a dangerous level. This is due to the fact that “concurrent authoritarian forces – especially China and Russia – are in the process of seeking regional hegemony and the means with which to project their power on an international scale”.

This would be a tragedy of unimaginable dimensions, but perhaps terrible – warns the Commission – if the United States should allow their own national interests to be compromised by a lack of the will to make “hard choices and the necessary investments”. They therefore propose an ulterior increase of US military spending (which today is already equivalent to a quarter of the federal budget) of between 3 and 5 % annually – particularly to increase the deployment of US forces (submarines, strategic bombers, long-range missiles) in the Indo-Pacific region, where “four or five of our adversaries are active – China, North Korea, Russia and terrorist groups, (the fifth being Iran)”.

The strategic vision which emerges from the Congressional report – even more worrying when we note that the Commission is composed of equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats – leaves no room for doubt. The United States – which, since 1945, has provoked wars causing between 20 and 30 million deaths (plus the hundreds of millions caused by the indirect effects of these wars) to “guide the construction of a world of unusual prosperity, freedom and security, from which it has benefitted enormously” is now preparing to do anything necessary to maintain its “unequalled military power” upon which their empire is founded, but which is now beginning to crumble with the emergence of a multipolar world.

For this purpose, the Congressional Commission is examining scenarios of aggression against the United States, which are no more than the mirror image of their own aggressive strategy, which runs the risk of dragging the world into catastrophe.

Source: PandoraTV

*

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

This article was originally published in Italian on Il Manifesto.

Translated by Pete Kimberley

Manlio Dinucci is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

The Political Revolution Goes to Work

December 14th, 2018 by Jane Slaughter

The term “political revolution” is an odd one. Bernie Sanders never said that voting for him or building his campaign would overthrow capitalism (the traditional meaning of “revolution” in the socialist movement). The idea was radical but vague. It was rightly inspirational while what was actually asked of us was within the sphere of voting and elections, and in the Democratic Party at that.

Let’s define “political revolution” very broadly as left electoral campaigns that raise transitional demands and seek to enfranchise the disenfranchised. Bernie’s campaign, as well as those of followers such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, called for radical reforms that the U.S. system could grant – Medicare for All, free public college – but which it is profoundly unwilling to. Raising the demands raises the question “why not?” and lays the blame squarely on Bernie’s “billionaire class.”

My argument here is a simple one: If we want a powerful movement, workers have to fight their employers not just at the ballot box but at the workplace, too. These two kinds of struggle can complement each other; union fights, in particular, pose clear class battles that raise consciousness. In addition to this year’s electrifying teacher strikes, we can learn from three other large-scale union victories that took place in the year before Donald Trump was elected. Those victories happened where we might least expect them: in the old, blue-collar economy, where unions are down to 6.5 percent of the workforce and workers are said to be on their way out. Yet at Chrysler, Verizon, and a huge Teamster pension fund, thousands of union members organized to put a stick in management’s eye. 

Few believed such victories possible as neoliberalism advanced steadily under Democratic and Republican administrations alike. These were not pocket-sized shop-floor wins but confrontations with big-time capital, from which hundreds of thousands of workers and their families have benefited. Together with this year’s teacher rebellions, they show what unions must do if they are to rebuild in the post-Janus era, and in one case they show how electoral politics and a working class battle can fortify each other.

Refresher

Any left political project fares better in an atmosphere of general resistance. Elections come only so often. We need agitation throughout civil society, in workplaces, neighborhoods, churches, at ICE offices, on the National Mall in Washington. Compare what happens in a strike or even a contract campaign with what happens in an election. Even the best electoral campaigns, and we have seen some good ones recently, bend toward the lowest common denominator of political agreement. It’s all about the candidate, who is supposed to perform superhuman feats once in office. The campaign asks almost no involvement from the vast majority of people it tries to reach, nothing more than lever-pulling on Election Day. Campaign volunteers are generally given scripts, not a chance to self-start; in fact, they’re told to “stay on message.” Their tactics are largely limited to phone banking, door-knocking, and social media.

Fights with the boss, in contrast, can allow workers maximum opportunity to use their smarts and creativity. They are forced to get outside their normal sphere of silent resentment and take risks. They defy normal authority. They invent slogans, they strategize to find the boss’s weak points, and they plot escalating campaigns. They may confront scabs, they may break laws. They learn about power – what’s arrayed against them and their own.

Workplaces and the unions that organize them are two of the very few institutions that are socially integrated, where people of different races and backgrounds are forced to work together to get the job done. As such they are prime arenas for getting past the racism that is the worst weakness of the U.S. working class. In our three cases, workers could win only by putting interracial solidarity into practice. Regardless of how or whether they voted on Election Day, when it came to stopping givebacks workers stood together for a common goal.

Finally, fighting the boss can open workers up to left political ideas. Challenging authority sharpens the sense of class antagonism, and forging practical solidarity encourages love and friendship among one’s fellow fighters.

These results aren’t guaranteed, of course. Exit polls in 2016 showed 43 percent of union household voters voting for Trump. Given the demographics of the teachers, Teamsters, telecommunications workers, and auto workers who won the fights described here, it’s likely that many did in fact choose Trump – just as many likely backed Bernie in the Democratic primaries.

Socialists’ Say

This is where socialists come in. When socialists are inside workers’ fights, we can raise bigger ideas and counter bad ones. This is what happened in the historic wildcat strike of West Virginia teachers and school support workers last February. Sanders had swept all 55 counties in the 2016 Democratic Party primary, which put class politics in the air and prompted the growth of a DSA chapter in the state capital. When school workers walked out to save their health insurance, socialist teachers raised the idea that the money should come from a severance tax on the fossil fuel companies that had long exploited the state’s natural wealth. Rallies at the Capitol featured homemade signs demanding “Tax our gas!” and “Make a choice: Tax cuts for big business or healthcare for WV workers.” The legislature did not enact the tax, but the agitation made it impossible for politicians to drive a wedge between school workers and poor West Virginians by cutting services to pay for the raises they won. Rank-and-filers went on to compel the leaders of all three teachers unions to support the severance tax and oppose regressive taxes.

Another example of how political and class revolt can reinforce each other came during the 2016 primary season in New York, when a massive strike at Verizon coincided with the Sanders campaign. Communications Workers of America (CWA), the main union in the strike and one of the few to endorse Bernie, turned 150 strikers out for a Sanders rally on the strike’s first day. Sanders walked picket lines and blasted Verizon for destroying good jobs. When CEO Lowell McAdam called him “contemptible,” Sanders shot back: “I don’t want the support of McAdam, [GE CEO Jeffrey] Immelt and their friends in the billionaire class. I welcome their contempt.” Verizon was demanding big increases in health insurance premiums, so Bernie’s combative rhetoric and his call for Medicare for All found a receptive audience among the strikers.

Media attention buoyed strikers, garnered public support for both Sanders and CWA, and framed the strike as an expression of political resistance to the billionaire class. Sanders’ stump speeches on corporate greed resonated because workers were directly confronting a major corporation on the streets. The strike showed how political agitation combined with workplace action can channel workers’ anti-establishment anger toward the left instead of toward right-wing demagoguery. This is, in fact, what happened throughout Bernie’s primary campaign. Trump said, “You’re getting screwed? Punch down.” Bernie said, “You’re getting screwed? Join hands and together take on the billionaires like Trump.” His anti-corporate and pro-union campaign was strengthened when workers put his slogans into practice outside the electoral arena. It’s safe to assume that most of those strikers voted for Bernie.

Socialists Inside

The growth of DSA is good news at this juncture for the labor movement. While most DSA members (like most U.S. workers) aren’t in unions, chapters and regional gatherings are holding classes to bring them up to speed.

Some members are reinvigorating a socialist plan of action for union work that was called the “Rank and File Strategy” in previous decades. The first step is getting a job in a union workplace. New York City DSA’s local convention recently resolved to help interested members find union jobs (preferably in groups), connect them with experienced activists, and work on strategies for their unions. A new pamphlet from Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) and the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission (DSLC) provides guidance for young members looking to become teachers, which would put DSAers in the heart of class struggles that are bound to erupt again.

Not Dead Yet

Like other public sector workers, teachers will be hurt by the Supreme Court’s Janus decision, which will wreak serious damage on institutional labor. Janus makes the entire public sector right-to-work, with employees no longer required either to join the union that represents them or to pay a fee for that representation. As members quit, solidarity and finances will suffer.

But as the school worker rebellions showed us, workers need not be constrained by bad laws. The states where teachers went on strike in the first half of this year – West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, and Oklahoma – were already right-to-work, with no one obliged to join the union or pay fees. Public sector strikes in all four states were illegal. In the first three, districts aren’t even required to bargain collectively with teachers. And yet these workers defied state laws to use labor’s oldest weapon, and they won overwhelming public backing and impressive raises. As Joe Burns, historian of the public employees’ strike wave of the 1960s and 1970s, writes: “Legality has a way of drifting into the background when workers organize en masse.”

Labor Notes published a special issue in July that showcases public and private sector unions that have maintained high membership rates in right-to-work states all along. They’ve done so by inculcating the idea that “the union” is a living and breathing presence at work every day, not just the headquarters and its staff. It’s “me and my co-workers keeping supervisors in line, enforcing our right to take breaks, making sure the new hires are welcomed and schooled.” An organization whose members know what it feels like to exercise power is an organization that workers will join, open shop or not.

Of course, such small-scale shop floor fights aren’t enough to defend workers as a class. They are the precondition for workers wanting to belong to unions and for gaining confidence that they can take on their employers. Then those unions can lead much bigger battles. At their best, these are waged on behalf of a larger constituency, as when nurses fight for smaller nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals, or transit workers defend bus service, or when UPS Teamsters – a majority of them part-timers – sought public support for their strike for full-time jobs. Campaigns in the private sector can be an essential part of the political revolution when they raise consciousness and seek solidarity around issues that affect our whole class. That’s the difference between a purely bread-and-butter campaign where workers go it alone and one that shows how we’re all in it together against a common class enemy.

Road Map to Resistance

The Chrysler, Teamster, and Verizon blue-collar upsurges all succeeded because of bottom-up initiatives. They also all had roots in union reform movements. The Verizon workers explicitly connected themselves to Sanders’ electoral campaign, to the benefit of each. The other two fights were missing the explicitly political link, but it’s easy to imagine how their unions could have opened their battles to supporters and asked for solidarity based on common interests, as I’ll suggest below.

No to Two-Tier at Chrysler: Since 2007 new workers in Big Three auto plants had hired on at half pay and worked alongside veteran workers on the same jobs, destined never to match “legacy” wages. Though United Auto Workers (UAW) leaders had told the Tier 2 workers in writing that their next contract, in 2015, would bring a section of them up to Tier 1 wages immediately, they reached an agreement with management that would continue the two-tier system indefinitely. The 40,000 Chrysler workers voted “no” nearly two-to-one. They forced union bargainers back to the table to negotiate a path to standard wages for all Tier 2 members.

No to Teamster Pension Cuts: Trustees of the mammoth Central States Pension Fund proposed to slash benefits for already retired workers by 50 to 60 percent. In May 2016, 410,000 Teamsters, retirees, and their spouses in 25 states saw the fruits of two years of rank-and-file protests when a federal appointee bowed to their pressure and rejected the cuts. Two years on, retirees are still getting their full benefits.

No to Harassment and Outsourcing at Verizon: In 2016, 39,000 Verizon workers from Massachusetts to Virginia struck against the outsourcing of call center jobs, forced transfers to other states, and harassment and micromanagement of technicians. They ended their 45-day strike when management backed down from those practices, raised wages and pensions, added 1,300 union jobs, and granted first contracts at seven Verizon retail stores.

What Went Right?

The movements that produced these three victories shared one characteristic: grassroots action by tens of thousands of rank-and-file members. Not clever PR campaigns, not lobbying, not photo ops, but union members defying corporate power in big numbers. At Chrysler and the Teamsters pension fund, members were forced to organize against their own union officials as well. This was not an advantage, but it did ensure that workers weren’t hemmed in by excessive concern for courtesy or company profits.

Each time, the victories were partial. The improved Chrysler contract includes more use of temporary workers. The Teamster pension fund’s red ink still flows, and it still needs Congress to authorize a loan (Sanders has introduced a bill to do so). Verizon workers made concessions on health care costs.

Still, these workers can be proud of what they blocked and what they won. How did they beat the odds?

Power in Numbers

Workers in all three fights turned out big numbers for whatever they did.

At Chrysler, fired-up rank and filers generated tactics, confidence, and excitement through a plethora of Facebook groups where they posted contract details, pictures of their “no” ballots, and local vote results.

Members showed up en masse at union meetings and badgered the officials sent to sell the deal. They made “No More Tiers” T-shirts and wore them into the plants. A few dozen Detroit workers held a Vote No rally at UAW headquarters.

Teamster retirees formed local “Committees to Protect Pensions” in 20 cities, along with 60 Facebook pages. Retirees held letter-writing drives, visited congresspeople, and even picketed a newspaper to get a reporter’s attention.

Mass meetings of 300, 500, 800, 1200 were held from Milwaukee to Kansas City. At some, a government official got an earful about what the cuts would mean. Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) and the Pension Rights Center helped to organize the work, and 2,000 retirees from 20 states rallied in Washington in April 2016.

Verizon workers, too, turned out in big numbers: 500 and 800 greeted the CFO and CEO, respectively, when they appeared at corporate conferences. The “Good Morning America” show hosted 250 strikers in their red T-shirts, and a rally in midtown Manhattan brought out 8,000 red shirts.

Hurt Profits

But the Verizon strikers also did the traditional thing a strike is supposed to do – stop work from getting done and disrupt profits.

Many strikes these days are “publicity strikes” involving one day on the picket line. The Verizon workers, in contrast, put up roving pickets every day. They harassed scabs and managers to make it difficult or impossible for them to install and repair phone lines. Verizon had to tell new fiber optic customers they would wait three or four months for service.

CWA didn’t hesitate to use rowdy tactics. When the company boarded scabs at hotels, strikers organized “wake-up calls” outside their windows in the wee hours of the morning. Locals recruited other unions and community groups (some as far away as California) to adopt Verizon retail stores to picket. Strikers recruited New York health care unions for a day of action to protest Verizon’s cutting off health benefits.

Verizon workers earn far above the blue-collar norm. Strikers who’d been worried about public resentment reported honks of support and picket-line deliveries of pizza and coffee instead. Meanwhile, CWA members had a strike fund behind them, with benefits of $200-$300 a week and a promise to pay medical bills. As the strike wore on, analysts predicted hundreds of millions of dollars in lost profits.

Verizon caved, and the strikers won.

How to Make a Fight Political

The Chrysler workers, whose rank-and-file fight against two-tier was spontaneous, simply didn’t have the resources to take it public as the Verizon workers did. We have another model, though, for what such a campaign – in the private sector, on behalf of particular workers – could have looked like. In 1997 the reform leadership of the Teamsters took on UPS with a two-week strike for full-time jobs, under the slogan “Part-Time America Won’t Work!” Members not only stopped UPS’s profit machine, they also were organized to speak to the press and to go out and talk with their regular customers. A Gallup poll showed the public supporting the strikers by a two-to-one margin.

If the UAW had wanted public support against Chrysler, how about a slogan like “Two-Tier America Won’t Work”? The union could have appealed to other workers’ basic sense of fairness – and to their experiences with two-tier wage systems in their own workplaces – to bring political and consumer pressure to bear on Chrysler. GM and Chrysler worked hard to convince the public that they deserved the massive 2009 federal auto bailout. The union could have taken its case against two-tier to the public, too, but it didn’t do so.

This is the kind of outward-facing campaign with class-wide demands that DSAers should support as part of the political revolution we’re fighting for.

Size Matters

After Janus it’s not surprising to hear the view, from labor’s friends and foes alike, that existing union members are dinosaurs, concessions are inevitable, and the labor movement is on its way out. Some have argued that labor’s best hope is to focus on the most vulnerable workers (i.e., fast-food workers, Uber drivers), though it’s not clear why they should want to hop on a sinking ship. “Alt-labor” theorists have spilled much ink about the advantages of worker centers, a much looser form of organization that generally recruits immigrants in low-paid jobs.

But these three battles show that the raw material is still there for big fights led by private sector unions, those with the power to stop production in the heart of the economy.

Democracy Matters

These fights also showcase the fruits of union democracy movements.

In the UAW, where modern concessions began in 1979, each new round of union-agreed givebacks has been met by a wave of worker resistance, reaching a high point in the 1980s in the New Directions Movement. Victor Reuther, a UAW founder, even came out of retirement to help lead the fight against company-union collaboration. These earlier protesters won members the right to an informed vote, so that the entire 2015 contract was available online.

Today there is not much organization in the UAW between contracts, but the legacy of resistance survives in rank-and-filers’ belief that they have a right to say “No.” TDU, founded in 1976, is now the only substantial national union reform movement. Tactical, logistical, and networking assistance from TDU was critical to the retirees’ organizing. The opposition movement is going strong: In the November 2016 election for top officers, dissidents won a slim majority among U.S. members, falling behind to 48.5 percent only because of voters in Canada. Teamster President James Hoffa was soundly outvoted in the 25 states that belong to the Central States Pension Fund.

And in the CWA, the flagship Verizon local in New York was led by reformers who pushed national officers to call the open-ended strike, after a failed two-week strike in 2011. It helped that CWA activists from all over had built prior connections at the day-long meetings they hold at the national conference of Labor Notes, the magazine founded to give voice to union reform movements.

Power of a Good Example

Fights like these inspire others to want unions of their own. Even former AFL-CIO President John Sweeney saw the recruitment power of workers acting on their own behalf. When the Teamsters beat UPS in 1997, Sweeney said, “You could make a million house calls and run a thousand television commercials and stage a hundred [farmworker] strawberry rallies, and still not come close to doing what the UPS strike did for organizing.”

Such a stance was unusual for Sweeney and for most top union leaders today, who typically prefer to make concessions to powerful employers rather than mobilize members for a fight. But in today’s open-shop America, using union power is the best way to inspire existing members to stay in and to inspire more workers to join.

Much of the post-Janus discussion has centered on the harm that will be done to unions’ political operations as members quit and treasuries are depleted. Anti-union forces have crowed that they can convince five to 20 percent of union members to leave, their goal being to hamstring unions’ ability to get out the vote for Democrats.

Unions are preparing scripts for staffers, arming them to convince members to opt in by comparing the cost of dues to that of a cup of latte. At this year’s Labor Notes conference, Massachusetts Teachers Association President Barbara Madeloni reminded us that if union leaders rely only on arguments about what the union “provides” to members, they’ll lose. But if they enable members to experience the power of a union, Madeloni said, appeals to quit won’t hold water, because you can’t argue away the feeling that comes from using power.

Workers who are uniting to confront power on their own behalf become open to left politics, if those politics are on the table. It’s our job to make sure both are happening.

*

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

Jane Slaughter is a former editor of Labor Notes, a co-author of Secrets of a Successful Organizer, and a member of the Detroit DSA chapter.

Featured image is from Socialist Forum

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The Political Revolution Goes to Work

Auf den ersten Blick liest es sich wie das Drehbuch zu einem Hollywood-Katastrophenfilm. Und doch ist es eines der Szenarien, die im offiziellen Bericht der Kommission aus dem Jahr 2018 erwogen werden, der vom Kongress der Vereinigten Staaten in Auftrag gegeben  wurde, um die nationale Verteidigungsstrategie zu studieren –

„2019 dringt Russland aufgrund gefälschter Nachrichten, die Gräueltaten an russischen Bürgern in Lettland, Litauen und Estland melden, in diese Länder ein. Während sich die Streitkräfte der USA und der NATO auf eine Reaktion vorbereiten, erklärt Russland, dass ein Angriff auf seine Streitkräfte in diesen Ländern als Angriff auf Russland selbst angesehen würde, und erwägt einen nuklearen Gegenschlag. Russische U-Boote greifen transatlantische Glasfaserkabel an und russische Hacker unterbrechen die Stromnetze in den USA, während russische Streitkräfte militärische und kommerzielle Satelliten der USA zerstören. Die großen Städte der Vereinigten Staaten sind gelähmt, da das Internet und die Mobiltelefone außer Betrieb gesetzt werden”.

Der parteiübergreifende Ausschuss, der sich aus sechs Republikanern und sechs Demokraten zusammensetzt, befasst sich mit einem ähnlichen Szenario in Asien – 2024 führt China einen Überraschungsangriff durch und besetzt Taiwan, und die Vereinigten Staaten sind nicht in der Lage, kosteneffizient zu intervenieren, da die chinesischen militärischen Kapazitäten weiter gewachsen sind, während die der USA aufgrund unzureichender Militärausgaben stagnierten.

„Diese Szenarien“ – erklärt die Kommission – „veranschaulichen, dass die Sicherheit und das Wohlergehen der Vereinigten Staaten stärker gefährdet sind als in den letzten Jahrzehnten“. Seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg „haben die Vereinigten Staaten den Aufbau einer Welt von ungewöhnlichem Wohlstand, Freiheit und Sicherheit angeführt. Diese Entwicklung, von der sie enorm profitiert haben, wurde durch die unvergleichliche militärische Stärke der Vereinigten Staaten ermöglicht“.

Im Moment ist ihre militärische Macht – „das Rückgrat des Welteinflusses und der nationalen Sicherheit der USA“ – jedoch auf ein gefährliches Niveau gesunken. Dies ist darauf zurückzuführen, dass „gleichzeitige autoritäre Kräfte – insbesondere China und Russland – dabei sind, nach regionaler Vorherrschaft und den Mitteln zu suchen, mit denen sie ihre Macht auf internationaler Ebene planen können“. Dies wäre eine Tragödie von unvorstellbarem Ausmaß, allerdings wohl entsetzlich – warnt die Kommission – wenn die Vereinigten Staaten zulassen sollten, dass ihre eigenen nationalen Interessen durch den fehlenden Willen, „schwierige Entscheidungen und die notwendigen Investitionen“ zu treffen, beeinträchtigt werden. Sie schlagen daher vor, die Militärausgaben der USA (die heute bereits einem Viertel des Bundeshaushalts entsprechen) um jährlich 3 bis 5 % zu erhöhen – insbesondere um den Einsatz von US-Truppen (U-Boote, strategische Bomber, Langstreckenraketen) im indisch-pazifischen Raum zu erhöhen, wo „vier oder fünf unserer Gegner aktiv sind – China, Nordkorea, Russland und terroristische Gruppen (die fünfte ist Iran)“.

Die strategische Vision, die sich aus dem Bericht des Kongresses ergibt – sogar noch beunruhigender, wenn wir hervorheben, dass die Kommission zu gleichen Teilen aus Republikanern und Demokraten besteht – lässt keinen Raum für Zweifel. Die Vereinigten Staaten – die seit 1945 Kriege provoziert haben, die zwischen 20 und 30 Millionen Menschenleben forderten (plus die Hunderte von Millionen, die durch die indirekten Auswirkungen dieser Kriege verursacht wurden), um „den Aufbau einer Welt von ungewöhnlichem Wohlstand, Freiheit und Sicherheit anzuführen, von der sie enorm profitiert haben“ – bereiten sich jetzt darauf vor, alles Notwendige zu tun, um ihre „unübertroffene militärische Macht“ aufrechtzuerhalten, auf der ihr Imperium beruht, die aber nun mit dem Entstehen einer multipolaren Welt zu zerfallen beginnt.

Zu diesem Zweck untersucht die Kongresskommission Aggressionsszenarien gegen die Vereinigten Staaten, die nicht mehr sind als das Spiegelbild ihrer eigenen aggressiven Strategie, die Gefahr läuft, die Welt in die Katastrophe zu zerren.

Manlio Dinucci

il manifesto, 11. Dezember 2018

Gli Usa si preparano allo scontro con Russia e Cina

Übersetzung: K.R.

 

VIDEO (PandoraTV) :

  • Posted in Deutsch
  • Comments Off on Die USA bereiten sich auf eine Konfrontation mit Russland und China vor

À primeira vista, parece o roteiro de um filme catastrófico de Hollywood.  Pelo contrário, é um dos cenários apresentados no relatório oficial de 2018 da Comissão encarregado pelo Congresso dos Estados Unidos de examinar a Estratégia de Defesa Nacional:

“Em 2019, basedos em notícias falsas sobre atrocidades contra as populações russas na Letónia, na Lituânia e na Estónia, a Rússia invade esses países. Enquanto as forças USA/NATO se preparam para responder, a Rússia declara que um ataque às suas forças nesses países será considerado um ataque à própria Rússia, prevendo uma resposta nuclear. Submarinos russos atacam os cabos de fibra óptica transatlânticos e os piratas informáticos russos interrompem as redes elétricas nos USA, enquanto as forças militares russas destroem satélites militares e comerciais USA. As principais cidades dos EUA ficam paralisadas, desactivando a Internet e os telefones celulares”.

A comissão bipartidária, composta por seis republicanos e seis democratas, prevê um cenário semelhante na Ásia: em 2024, a China efectua um ataque surpresa a Taiwan, ocupando-a, e os Estados Unidos não podem intervir com um esforço aceitável porque a capacidade militar chinesa continuou a crescer, enquanto a dos EUA está estagnada devido à despesa militar insuficiente. Estes cenários – esclarece a Comissão – exemplificam o facto de que “a segurança e o bem-estar dos Estados Unidos estão em risco, mais do que estavam nas últimas décadas”.

Desde a Segunda Guerra Mundial, os “Estados Unidos lideraram a construção de um mundo de prosperidade, liberdade e segurança invulgares. Essa concretização, da qual beneficiaram enormemente, foi possibilitada pelo inigualável poderio militar USA”. Mas agora o seu poder militar – “espinha dorsal da influência global e da segurança nacional USA – diminuiu para um nível perigoso. Este cenário é devido ao facto de que “competidores autoritários – especialmente a China e a Rússia – estão a procurar a hegemonia regional e o meios para projectar o poder à escala global”. Será uma tragédia de dimensão imprevisível, mas talvez de dimensão tremenda – adverte a Comissão – se os Estados Unidos permitirem que os seus interesses nacionais sejam comprometidos, devido à falta de vontade de fazer “escolhas difíceis e investimentos necessários”. Portanto, propõe um aumento adicional da despesa militar dos EUA  (hoje já equivale a um quarto do orçamento federal) na medida líquida de 3-5% ao ano, especialmente para aumentar a mobilização das forças dos EUA (submarinos, bombardeiros estratégicos, mísseis de longo alcance), na região do Indíco e do Pacífico, onde estão activos quatro dos nossos cinco adversários (o quinto é o Irão): China, Coreia do Norte, Rússia e grupos terroristas”.

A visão estratégica que emerge do relatório do Congresso – ainda mais preocupante se pensarmos que a Comissão é formada igualmente por republicanos e democratas – não deixa dúvidas. Os Estados Unidos – que desde 1945 provocaram com as suas guerras 20 a 30 milhões de mortes (mais centenas de milhões causadas pelos efeitos indirectos das guerras) para “construir um mundo de prosperidade, liberdade e segurança invulgares, do qual eles beneficiaram enormemente”- estão dispostos a tudo para conservar a “potência militar incomparável”sobre a qual se baseia o seu império, que está a desmoronar com o aparecimento de um mundo multipolar.

Para esse fim, a Comissão do Congresso apresenta cenários de agressão aos Estados Unidos, os quais não são mais do que a imagem reflexa da  sua própria estratégia agressiva, que corre o risco de conduzir o mundo à catástrofe.

Manlio Dinucci

 il manifesto, 11 de Dezembro de 2018

Artigo em italiano :

Gli Usa si preparano allo scontro con Russia e Cina

Tradução : Luisa Vasconcelos

Video (Pandora TV) :

  • Posted in Português
  • Comments Off on Os USA estão a preparar-se para o confronto com a Rússia e com a China

O Iraque, que nos anos de Saddam Hussein (1979-2003) viveu grande período de prosperidade e estabilidade social, então reconhecido pela ONU como um dos países árabes que mais respeitavam a diversidade religiosa, tem sido atualmente uma das nações mais devastadas do mundo desde a Guerra do Golfo de 1991, seguida do criminoso embargo econômico imposto pelos Estados Unidos que perdurou por todos os anos de 1990, assassinando mais de 200 mil criancas entre outras catástrofes, e da segunda invasão e ocupação estadunidense em 2003 – além de baseada em comprovadas mentiras, deu-se sem mandato da ONU, contra todas as leis internacionais e contra a própria Constituição norte-americana, enquanto guerra de agressão.

Se não bastasse isso tudo, o Iraque passou a enfrentar, justamente apos a segunda invasão dos que lhe prometiam liberdade e segurança, ataques de grupos terroristas que jamais haviam atacado antes: Al-Qaeda e, com poder ainda mais destrutivo, Estado Islamita por quase quatro anos, de 2014 a 2017. Ambas as organizações, formadas e financiadas exatamente pelo regime de Washington para, em busca de interesses estratégicos e econômicos, desestabilizar e dividir o Oriente Médio, região mais rica em petróleo do planeta.

Tom Peyre-Costa, assessor de imprensa e ativista do Conselho Norueguês de Refugiados (Norwegian Refuegee Council, NRC), detalha na entrevista a seguir o trabalho de sua organização especificamente no Iraque, e comenta os desafios do país árabe para sair de um atoleiro que parece sem fim – o que, historicamente, o regime estadunidense melhor sabe fazer em terras alheias. Apenas de 2003 para cá, mais de um milhão de iraquianos foram mortos por causas relacionadas a terrorismo e pela guerra dos Estados Unidos.

“Os iraquianos sofreram as atrocidades mais terríveis do EI, e agora sofrem com a falta de apoio internacional”, lamenta Peyre quem reconhece o esforço do governo iraquiano, ao mesmo tempo que pontua deficiências e descaso de Bagdá em determindos aspectos, nesta fase de tentativa de reconstrução iraquiana.

O NRC faz-se presente hoje em 31 países: Camarões, República Centro-Africana, Djibuti, Repúbica Democrática do Congo, Eritréia, Etiópia, Quênia, Mali e Burkina Faso, Nigéria, Somália, Sudão do Sul, Tanzânia, Uganda, Iêmen, Colômbia, Honduras, Afeganistão, Irã, Myanmar, Grécia, Ucrânia, Iraque, Jordânia, Líbano, Palestina, Síria, Turquia, Noruega, Suíça, EUA, Reino Unido.

ONG sem fins lucrativos, o NRC é financiado por doadores voluntários – os principais: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign AffairsEuropean CommissionUN Refugee Agency, UKAID, e Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Abaixo, a íntegra da entrevista.

Edu Montesanti: Especifique como, exatamente, os 900 especialistas do NRC espalhados em 200 missões ao redor do mundo, trabalham.

Tom Peyre-Costa: Nossos especialistas atuam nas várias competências essenciais do NRC: administração de acampamento, assistência alimentar, água potável, abrigo, assistência jurídica e educação.

O NRC enfrenta situações perigosas nos países onde atua?

Dada a atual agitação em estados afetados por conflitos como a República Centro-Africana, o Sudão do Sul e a Síria, algum nível de exposição a riscos é inevitável e pode até ser necessário para que o trabalho seja feito.

Mas o imperativo que conduz os agentes humanitários é ajudar as pessoas necessitadas.

O Iraque é um caso bstante particular, país destroçado que, até dezembro do ano passado, sofria com os ataques do Estado Islamita (EI) por todo o territó rio nacional, além de ainda trazer as gravíssimas consequências da invasão e ocupação dos Estados Unidos, em 2003, apresentando também risco consideravel ao NRC, correto?

No Iraque, a guerra contra o EI pode ter acabado, mas ainda há numerosos ataques do grupo no país que ainda crescem na província de Kirkuk, por exemplo.

No NRC, temos pessoal profissional dedicado à segurança para mitigar os riscos, tanto quanto possível, mas nunca será reduzido a zero.

Sobre riscos, você tem alguma história pessoal para contar?

Tenho a sorte de nunca ter passado por uma situação difícil.

Pelo que me lembro, a situação mais recente foi a gravação de vídeos em Sinjar quando havia tiroteios esporádicos na área. Mas isso é comum no Iraque e pode ser por vários motivos: celebrações, intimidações, protestos etc.

Sinjar parece um caso singular no Iraque, Tom, de acordo com sua experiência no país. “Ao contrário de outras partes do Iraque, a reconstrução nunca foi iniciada”, você escreveu em novembro, refernido-se exatamente a Sinjar.

Explique o cenário nesta província iraquiana.

Sinjar é singular por sua recente história, e pelo genocídio perpetrado contra os yazidis. E como eu disse, a reconstrução nem sequer começou três anos depois [do início dos ataques do EI]. Mais de 200 mil pessoas, a maioria yazidis, permanecem deslocadas no norte do Iraque e no exterior, sem casa para onde possam retornar.

Aqueles que decidiram voltar, não têm as coisas mais básicas para viver, como água. A maioria dos moradores de Sinjar ainda está deslocada em acampamentos, e não pode voltar por causa dessa situação.

Quanto a corrupção política exerce influência sobre esta situação envolvendo os yazidis, e quais os grandes desafos do governo iraquiano para superar esta situação?

Não posso especular sobre corrupção e influências políticas, o que posso dizer é que é essencial que o governo local e a comunidade internacional entendam a extensão das necessidades e façam mais para responder a elas.

O governo iraquiano deve superar as divisões religiosas, sectárias, muitas das quais se ampliaram durante o recente conflito [com o EI], especialmente quando se trata de fornecer ajuda à sua própria população.

Comente a atuação do NRC entre os yazidis, em Sinjar.

O que o NRC faz nos campos de Sinjar e Yazidi, é o seguinte:

1. Estamos presentes tanto no territorio de Sinjar, quanto nos acampamentos;

2. Apoiamos as crianças yazidis nos campos a fim de que lidem com seus traumas e sofrimentos psicológicos, por meio de atividades educacionais e recreativas;

3. Nos campos de desalojamento e desde recentemente em Sinjar, apoiamos as famílias na recuperação de documentos essenciais tais como Carteira de identidade e títulos de propriedade, essenciais para que possam reconstruir suas casas. Também apoiamos os jovens com formação profissional;

4. Através do nosso centro comunitário em Sinjar, facilitamos e coordenamos uma resposta humanitária abrangente entre as organizações de parceiros humanitários e as comunidades, a fim de garantir que as necessidades urgentes sejam atendidas.

Enquanto oito milhões de pessoas no Iraque ainda carecem de ajuda humanitária, segundo estimativas do NRC, quanto os governos locais e estrangeiros, especialmente a coalizão liderada pelos EUA que, ilegalmente contra a ONU e todas as leis internacionais, invadiu e ocupou o país em 2003, devem ser responsabilizados e por que exatamente?

A comunidade internacional deve investir tanto na reconstrução do Iraque quanto nas operações militares contra o grupo do EI. Os iraquianos deslocados sentem-se abandonados um ano após a anunciada derrota do EI.

Há, ainda, uma necessidade imediata de limpar e reconstruir casas, escolas e hospitais para permitir que pessoas voltem para casa. A reconstrução está além da capacidade do que o governo iraquiano possa, sozinho, fazer. As necessidades são imensas.

Nós falamos sobre cidades inteiras e aldeias destruídas. 88 bilhões de dólares são necessários apenas para a reconstrução da infraestrutura básica. O conflito envolveu muitos atores da comunidade internacional, então o apoio é uma responsabilidade coletiva. Esta é a chave para um futuro sustentável.

O governo iraquiano fez muito para facilitar a prestação de assistência aos iraquianos necessitados. No entanto, muito mais precisa ser feito. É imperativo que o governo iraquiano garanta a assistência necessária para recuperar os documentos essenciais, com retorno para casa com segurança, enfim, reconstruir a vida das pessoas. Isso significa que eles precisam facilitar e agilizar o processo para que eles façam isso.

Quais as principais necessidades da população?

Até o momento, 3,9 milhões de pessoas voltaram para casa e cerca de 1,9 milhão permanecem deslocadas em 1,4 milhão de acampamentos, principalmente nas províncias de Ninewa e Anbar. Em 2018, espera-se que mais de oito milhões de pessoas no Iraque precisem de ajuda humanitária, de acordo com o mais recente Plano de Resposta Humanitária (Humanitarian Response Plan).

Enquanto a luta em Mosul e outras áreas, anteriormente nas mãos do Estado islamita, praticamente cessou em 2017, as necessidades humanitárias são imensas. Pessoas deslocadas, particularmente em acampamentos, precisam de serviços de água e de saneamento, além de assistência médica.

3,2 crianças perderam vários anos de escola devido ao conflito. Elas precisam de aulas e apoio psicossocial para poder lidar com os traumas pessoais. Centenas de escolas em todo o país precisam ser reconstruídas, precisam de livros, carteiras, artigos de papelaria e, acima de tudo, professores.

Qual tem sido a resposta oficial a essas pessoas, e como esses oficiais do governo podem ou devem melhor agir em cima dos pontos especificados acima?

Há uma necessidade urgente de se apoiar os esforços de reconstrução e reconciliação no país, que devem ser prioridade para todos. Os iraquianos que tiveram casas ou propriedades destruídas pelos combates, devem ser compensados pelas perdas. Este é um passo concreto que o governo iraquiano pode dar para ajudar as famílias se reconstruir.

Esforços de reconciliação nacional e local, apoiados pela comunidade internacional, também são necessários para ajudar a enfrentar as tensões comunitárias e tribais, ampliadas pelo conflito com o EI.

Finalmente, precisamos ver o fim da punição coletiva de famílias associadas ao EI. Um grande número destas, são chefiados por mulheres e crianças que não cometeram crimes, mas são tratados como culpados por associação e, portanto, impedidos de regressar a suas casas, incapazes de deixar os campos ou de se deslocar pelo país.

Essa discriminação contra familaires de terroristas ou ex-terroristas mortos, é generalizada no Iraque?

Nao, essa situação não é generalizada, mas há muitos casos relatados neste sentido. Precisamos ver o governo se concentrar em acusações criminais individuais, em vez de punir famílias inteiras, crianças e viúvas, por crime que muitas vezes não cometeram.

Confiamos que o governo, em conjunto com as autoridades locais, apoiará os esforços de reconciliação em todos os níveis para evitar a punição coletiva, e encontre soluções duradouras para as famílias que não puderem retornar ao enfrentarem vingança ou exclusão da comunidade.

Como está o estado de espírito dos deslocados iraquianos? 

Apesar da considerável diminuição da violência, os movimentos de retorno estão diminuindo. A maioria dos iraquianos deslocados remanescentes não está disposta ou não pode voltar para casa no próximo ano, já que não tem para onde voltar ou não podem sair do acampamento.

Os iraquianos deslocados sentem-se abandonados pelo governo e pela comunidade internacional. A maioria deles perdeu a esperança.

Alguns temem que o EI possa ressurgir no país, enquanto os terroristas permanecem no norte do Iraque e na fronteira com a Síria. Você tem receio disso, também?

Esperamos que isso nunca aconteça. Os iraquianos sofreram as atrocidades mais terríveis do EI, e agora sofrem com a falta de apoio internacional. Precisamos ter certeza de que a comunidade internacional não os esquecerá.

Mais apoio permitirá que as pessoas deslocadas retornem. Mais apoio garantirá sustentabilidade e inclusão. Esta é a melhor maneira de se evitar que tal catástrofe aconteça novamente.

Você alegou, ao longo desta entrevista, que os iraquianos sofrem diante da falta de apoio internacional. Não será porque invasões e guerras sejam bem mais lucrativas que a reconstrucao de uma nação?

Não é rentável para os 1,8 milhões de iraquianos ainda deslocados e para os retornados que ainda vivem em situação difícil. Muitos doadores estão afastando a cabeça do Iraque, mas as necessidades ainda estão lá.

As necessidades de reconstruir, estabilizar e conciliar a sociedade. Não é hora de abandonar os iraquianos.

  • Posted in Português
  • Comments Off on Reconstrução do Iraque Há Um Ano da Vitória sobre Estado Islamita, 16 Anos da Sangrenta Ocupação dos EUA

Iraq, which in the years of Saddam Hussein (1979-2003) lived a long period of prosperity and social stability, then recognized by the UN as one of the Arab countries that most respected religious diversity, has now become one of the most devastated nations in the world since the 1991 Gulf War, followed by the criminal US-imposed economic embargo which among many other catastrophes resulted in the death of more 200,000 children.

The second US invasion and occupation in 2003 was illegal, based on proven lies, undertaken without a UN mandate and in violation  of international law and the UN Charter, not to mention the US Constitution. 

If all this were not enough for Iraq, after the second invasion by those who promised the Arab nation freedom and security, Iraq was subjected to the  attacks of US sponsored terrorist groups including Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) for almost four years, from 2014 to 2017, not to mention Obama’s bombing raids against civilian infrastructure, implemented as part of a fake counterterrorism mandate. The unspoken objective was to destroy.  

Since 2003, more than one million Iraqis have been killed.  Both Al Qaeda and ISIS-Daesh are supported covertly by the US, funded by Saudi Arabia.

The underlying objective was to destroy Iraq, destabilize and divide the Middle East, which encompasses more than 60 percent of the World’s reserves of crude oil. 

Tom Peyre-Costa, a spokesperson and activist at the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), details in the following interview the work of his organization especially in Iraq, and discusses the challenges of the Arab country to get out of a quagmire that seems endless – which the American regime historically best does in foreign lands.

“Displaced Iraqis feel abandoned one year after the announced defeat of IS,” Peyre regrets acknowledging the Iraqi government’s effort, while pointing out weaknesses and neglect of Baghdad to some degree, at this stage of Iraqi reconstruction. “Displaced Iraqis feel abandoned one year after the announced defeat of IS.”

The NRC is present today in 31 countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali and Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen, Colombia, Honduras, Afghanistan, Iran, Myanmar, Greece, Ukraine, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Norway, Switzerland, USA, United Kingdom.

As a non-profit NGO, the NRC is funded by voluntary donors – the main ones are Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union Humanitarian Aid, UN Refugee Agency, UKAID, and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Below, the full interview with the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Tom Peyre-Costa.

***

Edu Montesanti: How do the 900 NRC specialists, scattered on 200 missions around the world, work?

Tom Peyre-Costa: Our experts work for NRC’s various core competencies: camp management, food assistance, clean water, shelter, legal aid, and education.

Edu Montesanti: Does the NRC face dangerous situations in the countries where the organization works?

Tom Peyre-Costa: Given the current unrest in conflict-affected states like the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Syria, some level of exposure to risks is inevitable, and may even be necessary to get the job done.

But the imperative that drives aid workers is to help people in need.

Edu Montesanti: Iraq is a particular case, a shattered country that suffered as a result of the attacks of the Islamic State throughout the national territory as of December of last year, as well as is still suffering the grave consequences of the US invasion and occupation in 2003, also posing a considerable risk to the NRC, right?

Tom Peyre-Costa: In Iraq, the war against the Islamic State (IS) group may be over but there are still numerous attacks in the country. They are even rising in Kirkuk governorate for example.

We, NRC, have a professional staff dedicated to security to mitigate the risks as much as possible, but it will never be reduced to zero.

Edu Montesanti: About running a risk, do you have any personal experience to share?

Tom Peyre-Costa: I am lucky enough to never have been put in a difficult situation. As I recall, the most recent situation was recording videos in Sinjar when there was sporadic shooting in the area.

But this is common in Iraq and can be for various reasons: celebrations, intimidation, protests etc…

Edu Montesanti: Sinjar seems a singular case in Iraq, Tom, according to your experience in the country. “Unlike elsewhere in Iraq, reconstruction never even started,” you wrote in November, referring specifically to Sinjar.

Explain the scenario in this Iraqi province.

Tom Peyre-Costa: Sinjar is singular by its recent history and the Genocide perpetrated against Yazidis. And as said indeed, reconstruction has not even started 3 years on. More than 200,000 people, mostly Yazidis, remain displaced in northern Iraq and abroad, with no homes to return to.

Those who decided to return lack the most basic things to live such as water. Most of the residents from Sinjar are still displaced in camps and cannot come back because of this situation.

Edu Montesanti: How much political corruption influences this situation involving the Yazidis, and what are the Iraqi government’s great challenges to overcome this situation?

Tom Peyre-Costa: I can’t speculate on corruption and political influences, what I can tell you is that it is essential that the government and the international community understand the extent of the needs and do more to respond to them.

The Iraqi government must overcome religious/sectarian divisions, many of which have widened during the recent conflict, especially when it comes to providing aid to its own population.

Edu Montesanti: Comment on the NRC work among the Yazidis, in Sinjar.

Tom Peyre-Costa: What NRC does in Sinjar and in Yazidi camps:

  1. We are present both on the ground in Sinjar and in the camps;
  1. We support Yazidi children in the camps to deal with their trauma and psychological distress through educational and recreational activities;
  1. In the displacement camps and since recently in Sinjar, we support families in retrieving essential documentation such as IDs and property deeds, essential to be able to rebuild their houses. We also support the youth with vocational training;
  1. Through our community centre in Sinjar we facilitate and coordinate a comprehensive humanitarian response between humanitarian partner organizations and communities, to ensure urgent needs are met.

Edu Montesanti: While eight million people in Iraq still lack humanitarian aid, NRC estimates, local and foreign governments especially the US-led-coalition which illegally invaded and occupied the country in 2003, should be held accountable for the Iraqi situation today?

Tom Peyre-Costa: The international community must invest as much in the reconstruction of Iraq as they did in the military operations against IS group. Displaced Iraqis feel abandoned one year after the announced defeat of IS.

There is still an immediate need to clear and rebuild houses, schools, and hospitals to allow them to return home. Reconstruction is beyond the capacity of the Iraqi government alone. The needs are immense.

We talk about entire cities and villages destroyed. $88 billion are needed just for the reconstruction of basic infrastructure. The conflict involved many actors from the international community so the support is a collective responsibility. This is the key to a sustainable future.

The Iraqi government has done a lot to facilitate the delivery of assistance to Iraqis in need; however much more needs to be done. It’s imperative that the Iraqi government ensures receive the assistance they need to retrieve their essential document, return home safely and therefore rebuild their life.

This means they need to ease and expedite the process for them to do so.

Edu Montesanti: What are Iraqis’ main needs?

Tom Peyre-Costa: As of today 3.9 million people have returned home and about 1.9 million remain displaced, 1.4 million out of camps, mainly in Ninewa and Anbar governorates. In 2018, more than eight million people in Iraq are still expected to need humanitarian aid according to the most recent Humanitarian Response Plan.

While fighting in Mosul and other areas formerly in the hands of the Islamic state virtually ceased in 2017, the humanitarian needs are immense. Displaced people, particularly in camps, are in need of water and sanitation services as well as medical assistance.

3.2 million children have missed several years of school due to the conflict. They need to catch up classes and psychosocial support to be able to deal with their traumas. Hundreds of schools across the country need to be rebuilt, they need books, desks, stationaries and most of all teachers.

Edu Montesanti: How have government officials responded to these people, and how can these officials better act on this situation?

Tom Peyre-Costa: There is an urgent need to support reconstruction and reconciliation efforts in the country, that should be everyone’s priority. Iraqis who have had homes or property destroyed by the fighting should be compensated for their losses. This is a concrete step the Iraqi government can take to help families rebuild.

National and local reconciliation efforts, supported by the international community, are also needed to help address community and tribal tensions that have been widened by the conflict with IS.

Finally, we need to see an end to collective punishment of families with a perceived association to IS group. A large number of these are female-headed households and children who have not committed crimes but are treated as guilty by association—blocked from returning home, unable to leave camps, or move around the country.

Edu Montesanti: Is discrimination against relatives of terrorists or dead ex-terrorists generalized in Iraq?

Tom Peyre-Costa: No, the situation is not generalized, but there are many reported cases. We need to see the government focusing on individual criminal charges rather than punishing entire families, children, and widows, for a crime they often did not commit.

We trust that the government together with local authorities will support reconciliation efforts at every level, to avoid collective punishment and find durable solutions for the families who are unable to return as they face revenge or community exclusion.

Edu Montesanti: How is the state of mind of displaced Iraqis?

Tom Peyre-Costa: Despite the considerable decrease in violence, return movements are slowing down. The majority of the remaining displaced Iraqis are unwilling or unable to go home within the next year as they have no home to return to, or are not allowed to leave their camp.

Displaced Iraqis feel abandoned by their government and the international community. Most of them have lost hope.

Edu Montesanti: Some fear that ISIS can resurge in the country as terrorists remain in northern Iraq, and in the Syrian border. Do you fear that, too?

Tom Peyre-Costa: We hope it’s never going to happen. Iraqis have endured the most terrible atrocities under IS and are now suffering from the lack of international support. We need to make sure the international community does not forget them.

More support will allow displaced people to return. More support will ensure sustainability and inclusivity. This is the best way to prevent such a catastrophe to happen again.

Edu Montesanti: You have argued throughout this interview that Iraqis suffer from the lack of international support. Is it not because invasions and wars are far more profitable than the rebuilding of a nation?

Tom Peyre-Costa: It is not profitable for the 1.8 million Iraqis still displaced, and the returnees that still live in a dire situation. Many donors are turning away their heads from Iraq, but the needs are still there. The needs to rebuild, stabilize and reconcile society.

It’s not time to abandon Iraqis.

*

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

Edu Montesanti is an independent journalist. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from Oxfam International

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Iraq, The Rebuilding of a Nation In the Wake of Sixteen Years of US Sponsored Terrorism and Destruction
  • Tags:

The once unimaginable – the end of GM Oshawa – seems on the verge of becoming the new reality. If there is any lesson to be learned here it is that overturning this imposed reality can’t be achieved by traditional protest and traditional alternatives. Continuing our dependence on unaccountable corporations, offering subsidies and concessions without means to enforce job guarantees, making competitiveness the only test of worthwhile activity, looking to ‘better’ free trade agreements and so on, are dead ends. All they offer is more of the same: death by a thousand cuts.

Imagining a radically different and more democratic approach based on community and national planning – opening the door to the formerly unthinkable – may, as overwhelmingly ambitious as that may seem, be the only option with any chance of success.

On November 26, 2018, General Motors (GM) announced that the Oshawa Assembly plant, once the largest auto complex in North America, will no longer exist. In the 1970s, the site included three massive assembly plants that turned out 3,000 vehicles daily. Other GM plants in the city made batteries, radios, radiators and axles. A host of independent component plants with their own special capacities, spread across the city and nearby localities. At the end of the 1970s, GM had some 23,000 plant and office workers in Oshawa. At the time of GM’s latest death notice, over 85% of those jobs had already vanished, leaving 3,000 workers desperate to hang on to the one remaining GM operation in the city.

Workers as ‘Collateral Damage’

Given that history, there were few periods in recent years when there weren’t rumors of an imminent closure. In the months before the axe came down on the last plant, those rumors had taken on a new, darker, urgency. The news came confirming those fears may not have been a complete surprise, but that didn’t make it any less devastating. One question predominated: if GM’s profits were restored, and if GM Oshawa had for years ranked first or second in quality and productivity among all the assembly plants on the continent, why would Oshawa be given up on as a site of vehicle assemblies?

The experience of the past few decades suggests the general dilemma of working class life under capitalism: no matter what workers do, how good their work, how restrained their demands, and how much they accept in terms of work pressures, they will always remain vulnerable in a system geared to profits, competition and the priorities of stockholders and senior executives. There will always be someplace cheaper to run to, and as corporations restructure to address technological and market changes, workers are treated as little more than ‘collateral damage’.

In the case of the industry today, GM – like Ford and Chrysler (Fiat) – had concluded that assembling cars in the USA or Canada provides too small a profit margin and so such work will be moved elsewhere. Though truck production is environmentally harmful and will eventually be checked by the reality of the ecological crisis, the companies see the present as a time to make as much money as they can before that change is imposed. And though electric cars will come, they are still a way off; and when they do come, the companies are set on building them, like regular cars, wherever it is most profitable to do so. (China, it’s worth noting, has been accelerating its commitment to electric cars and, though still a small fraction of Chinese car sales overall, the Chinese market for electric cars is currently some three times that of the U.S. and Canada put together and growing much faster.)

Under the above scenario the Oshawa plant, which assembles a mix of both cars and trucks, was doomed. With car assembly being phased out in Canada and the USA, there would be no new car assembly work, leaving a good part of the plant idle. And since the truck production was overflow production – work that Oshawa only did when sister U.S. plants were operating at maximum – that work could be consolidated in U.S. plants as the market flattened out (which it is now in fact doing). From GM’s perspective, Oshawa was redundant.

There’s another factor that can’t be ignored. With car production being phased out in the two countries and the slowdown in truck sales expected to continue, GM had excess capacity. If five or more plants were to be permanently closed, U.S. politics dictated that not all the closures could be in the USA. This would likely have been the case even before Donald Trump became President, but it was especially so in the context of Trump’s bravado election promises of bringing jobs back to the USA. With closures in Mexico excluded because that is where car production will be concentrated, Canada could not escape having at least one major plant closed. Oshawa was the chosen victim.

GM waited until the new trade agreement was signed before making its announcement. Though the industry’s longer term strategy for current car plants and the electric car were well known at the time of the trade negotiations of the new United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) to replace NAFTA, nothing in the eventual agreement prevented GM from moving to close factories in the U.S. (or Canada) while Mexican plants stayed open. Before the ink was dry on the new trade agreement, President Trump’s declaration that this was ‘a great deal’ that would lead to ‘manufacturing many more cars’ in the U.S., was exposed for the sham it was. So, too, was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s hollow prediction that the trade agreement would bring ‘stability’ for Canadian autoworkers, their families and their communities.

Lame Politicians

It might have been assumed that the Federal and Ontario governments would, even for narrow political reasons, aggressively insist that GM owes Canada a new model. After all, in addition to GM reaping especially high profits in Canada over the years, Canada had significantly contributed to bailing GM out during the financial crisis of a decade ago. Some $3-billion of that aid was never recovered and simply written off. But publicly chastising corporate behavior isn’t how our elected leaders (or capitalist states, for that matter) generally relate to corporations and especially to American business.

The response of the Trudeau Liberals was a feeble expression of ‘disappointment’ in GM’s blow to Canadian manufacturing, and a limp offer of more training for comparable jobs that don’t exist (something formerly laid-off GM workers know too well). If there were expectations of a more forceful response from the new Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, who came to office promising to speak for ‘the little guy’, this too was quickly put to rest.

The Premier seemed too preoccupied with putting up giant billboards declaring that ‘Ontario is Open for Business’ to notice that one of the key manufacturing facilities in the province was going the other way. Ford offered not the slightest criticism of GM, but rather rushed to pronounce that nothing could be done: the “ship has sailed.” Like the federal government, the Ontario government’s prime concern was to make the controversy over Oshawa’s closing disappear as soon as possible so no one would ask embarrassing questions about what our political leaders were doing to protect us.

Ford’s response has been all the more hypocritical and revealing because of the contrast with his instant and determined commitment to reduce, as soon as he took office, regulations on business that impacted on worker safety and on product quality, as well as to undo legislation that provided a further increase in the minimum wage and erase labour legislation that modestly supported the right of workers to form a union and receive more paid sick days. And even though Toronto was well into a municipal election, Ford arbitrarily interrupted the ‘sailing’ of this ship and changed the terms of the election, cutting the number of councilors in half, damaging effective democracy in the city, and stunningly calling on the rarely-used “notwithstanding clause” in the Canadian constitution to block opposition. For the Premier of Ontario, some things are apparently reversible and worth dramatic action, others are not.

In the U.S., Trump did at least direct some anger at GM. But as with his Canadian counterparts he has so far not offered much more, distracted by the conflict with China. The criticisms of China, it’s worth noting, had evolved into a concern with removing Chinese demands that U.S. companies share their technology as the price of entry into the Chinese market and barring China from certain sensitive new technologies – neither of which spoke to the manufacturing jobs in the Mid-West that Trump had once ranted about. His current anger, it’s fair to guess, is less about the impact of GM’s closures on workers than the egg on his face brought on by the GM closures and his fading credibility in reversing the decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs.

The Union

The Unifor leadership has its own actions to answer for. It had sold the last agreement on the basis of a firm ‘guarantee’ of a new model, a model that it now is asking for again. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Canadian union had criticized its American parent, the UAW, for such trade-offs, arguing that concessions would not save current or future jobs. That position proved all too true. Between 1979 and the present, the UAW settled every agreement with an alleged guarantee of job security while the number of UAW members at GM went from 450,000 to a level of only 50,000 today.

To have ignored this experience was not only a fateful mistake but the particular concessions made – the institutionalization of two-tier wages and pensions within the workplace – critically divided the workers and weakened the union. In addition, Unifor’s leadership celebrated the new trade agreement as an imperfect, but very positive, advance for Canada’s auto industry. That celebration now seems rather ill-timed when it was followed, as noted earlier, by GM demonstrating that the agreement posed no effective limits on what auto companies could do within its rules.

Nevertheless, the union is expressing the anger and frustrations of the workers. It has been working to mobilize opposition, and has proposed possible solutions. If there is any hope for Oshawa, it rests on what the union – and especially the workers – will do.

Searching for Alternatives

The goal of the union is get the new model in Oshawa that it was promised in bargaining. The pressure for doing so lies in mobilizing public opinion and possibly pressuring GM through boycotts and calling on the Federal government to place high tariffs on the import of GM cars from Mexico. While there is good reason to support the union’s orientation and be sympathetic toward anything that makes GM pay a penalty, the strategy of the union as it now stands has significant limits.

Consumer boycotts look to gain support from individual, unorganized consumers rather than the actions of organized workers. Their impact is generally marginal and not sustained. They have only worked in very narrow circumstances: boycotting a local business, or in support of a mass movement for social justice, like the opposition to South African apartheid. And even in the latter case, the impact of the boycott was primarily by way of large institutions such as union or university pension funds, not the actions of individual consumers.

As important as the Oshawa closure is for the workers directly affected, closures are too common a part of the landscape for any one closure to be treated as exceptional. Mineworkers, steelworkers, and even autoworkers have seen hundreds of major workplaces closed without boycotts being called. In auto, for example, there was no boycott called when Quebec lost its only assembly plant, or when the London area lost its sole assembly plant, or when Oshawa’s own truck plant was closed in 2009. Moreover, with even GM workers in Ingersol and St. Catharines likely divided on a boycott because of concerns with their own security, it would make it all the harder to spread support elsewhere.

As for tariffs on Mexican cars, this seems a strange demand coming on the heels of the just-signed free trade agreement which the Unifor leadership enthusiastically supported. In any case, Canada could not introduce such tariffs without leaving the new trade agreement. There may be a case for ending the new trade agreement, but exiting it because of auto alone is a non-starter – it would depend on a much larger consensus across the country about challenging Canada’s relationship to not just Mexico but especially the USA. And even if Canada did impose tariffs on Mexican cars, it is not at all obvious that GM would respond by moving a model out of Mexico. And if it did, that it would come to Oshawa rather than to a U.S. plant (and then shipped to Canada from there).

The point is that the chances of giving Oshawa another model are slim and there is no effective mechanism to force GM to do so, especially while it is closing U.S. plants. Workers could do what other workers have done in the face of a closure and occupy the plant. Such occupations serve to keep the closure in the limelight and that is important, but this doesn’t answer the question of what to do with an assembly plant that GM doesn’t want. Without some plan, an occupation doesn’t get beyond being a protest; in itself it does not lead to an alternative.

What about of a direct government partnership with GM to build an electric car? This has the advantage of looking ahead, but the context is that the Ford government in Ontario has abandoned any policy to support the growth of electric vehicles and for its part, GM has made it clear that at this point in time it is not interested. And even if it were, it would still leave us vulnerable to GM pulling out, as it has repeatedly done (even after it blackmailed governments into subsidizing it). Attracting another private investor to build an electric car is also not a solution. As Unifor’s president, Jerry Dias, has noted, there is not yet a mass market for electric cars and even if the new owner was competitive, the potential workers employed would only occupy a fraction of the Oshawa plant.

Gord Wilson, the former Director of Education for the union (in the old CAW) and also former President of the Ontario Federation of Labour has gone further and argued for the revival of a notion hotly debated among autoworkers in the 1960s: a publicly-owned Canadian-built car. Nationalizing the Oshawa facility to assemble such a facility has the merit of moving away from dependence on companies like GM. It also opens the possibility of gradually shifting to an electric car as the market for the latter expands.

Yet it also raises the constraints involved if this is to occur on the terrain of open international competition. Starting from scratch (the Oshawa plant offers only an assembly capacity), such a car could not be expected to compete with the other companies already in the industry and this could not be overcome by appeals to ‘buy Canadian’. On the other hand, closing our market to other companies so the Canadian car could survive would come up against fears of U.S. retaliation from other workers – including other auto workers at Ford, Chrysler and component plants.

Plan B

All this points to a stark choice. Either we hang on to the simplest solution and stubbornly insist that GM give Oshawa a new model or we need a plan that requires us to think beyond GM, beyond the auto industry and beyond Oshawa. If it turns out that getting a new model is simply not on, then the only fallback, a Plan B, is a far more ambitious project that includes the Oshawa plant, but also speaks to broader sectors and regions of the economy and to far broader needs.

That is, we need a project that breaks from the current road to nowhere and which can capture the imagination of working class communities across the country. Such a project could include private businesses but would stand outside of a future based on the destructive criteria of competition and profit maximization and would address new and existing needs in a planned way. Ironically, the bind we are in makes such larger, more radical aspirations the only practical way out.

The starting point lies in combatting the risk of this fight for jobs fading away, as has happened with other similar struggles. GM will likely offer one-time pension top-ups and buy-outs that will be seductive, especially for those near retirement. As time takes its toll, others may find this enticing. This will be a crucial test for the union. Giving in to a trade-off the GM jobs for money will leave the city with a dramatic loss of high-skill, unionized jobs and leave many union members in the related parts sector in the lurch. And it will reinforce the confidence of other companies (in all sectors) to close workplaces at will.

Addressing this means a constant dialogue with the workers in the plant: setting up subcommittees to engage workers in on-going discussions of alternatives and tactics and to mobilize among other plants and in the community, developing a regular newsletter to keep the workers updated and to neutralize company and business propaganda against a fightback. It may also demand periodic industrial actions (interruptions in production) that are undertaken, not simply to let off steam, but to remind the public and politicians – and the workers themselves – of what is at stake and to demonstrate their readiness to fight for a different and better future.

Second, given GM’s disinterest in sustaining the Oshawa plant, the facility and its equipment should be placed under public ownership with no further compensation – the plant and its equipment have already been paid for by the sweat of workers and the $3-billion in unpaid subsidies from taxpayers. Expropriating GM will require mobilizing public support, and committees should be set up to organize and mobilize the community. Might, for example, workers declare days of action during which when workers don’t go to work – aided perhaps by retiree picket lines or ones organized by local supporters – and instead go door to door to explain their case for challenging what happens to the Oshawa facility?

Since the government is unlikely to step in until the workers have forced their hand, placing the plant under public ownership will especially mean standing ready to block GM from taking its equipment out – by occupying the plant if necessary and reinforcing that occupation with supporters outside the plant gates. The autoworkers union was born out of the sit-down strikes in the desperate days of the Great Depression and a similar action in today’s desperate times might now have a role in reviving the union.

Third, there must be a plan of what to do with the plant. During the Second World War, GM stopped making cars and was converted to producing military vehicles and airplanes. When the war was over, the plants were reconverted again over a period of 18 months. Is there an equivalent to thinking in such grand conversion terms today? (See The New Lucas Plan.) If the environmental crisis is identified as the major social challenge of the rest of the century, and this implies that everything about how we produce and live will have to be changed, then that suggests the ‘peaceful war’ we might now wage.

This would involve: (a) cataloguing all the potential equipment and goods needed to support the environmental makeover of society; (b) cataloguing the rich knowledge, skills and tools we currently have or would need to manufacture the goods and equipment for the environmental reconstruction; and (c) establishing a structure that could monitor, with the help of workplace committees, whether plants are getting the investment they need or threatened with closure – and then stand ready to ensure Canada doesn’t lose valuable productive capacities.

Among the environmental changes that will demand manufacturing and other jobs are rebuilding neglected infrastructures and supplying the related equipment; expanding telecommunication networks; transforming how we get our energy (such as the expansion of solar panels and wind turbines); addressing the range of transit systems (from electric cars to electric delivery vehicles to mass transit); revamping household appliances; refurbishing of homes and offices to limit energy waste; reconfiguring motors and machinery used in factories. Moreover, as we list these potentials, we can also ask what potentials there are in responding to the expanding needs of an aging population (e.g. hospital equipment, diabetic monitoring equipment, wheel chairs), and also raise whether some of what we currently import could be made locally.

The lists of expertise we currently have and could adapt would include investigating what our aerospace sector, with its special work on engines and propulsion systems, has to offer; the varieties of steel products steelmakers could provide; the tool and die capacities in the economy; the flexibility of current component shops to meet new demands; the design and engineering capacities in the private sector and universities; the research being done in government scientific labs; and what training, retraining or entirely new capacities needed to be developed (in this case for actual jobs).

If, after the financial crisis, when hundreds of plants were shuttered we actually had some kind of plan in place and were ready to save some of those plants and capacities, we would today have a structure for also thinking more concretely where the Oshawa plant and its suppliers might fit in.

Conclusion: Is This Really Feasible?

We can’t say if this is feasible. The direction outlined above has to be considered a long shot. But thinking small means that in every crisis we look around and conclude there are no options and so need to accept what is on offer. Experimenting with something that might work and is oriented to our needs and using and further developing our skills and knowledge brings a measure of dignity to what we are doing and opens the door to doing something constructive now that can expand our options in the future.

All this is of course not so much a technical question as a political one. Unless we can inspire some broad support, none of our plans matter. An organizing mantra is that if you want to get people on side, don’t come to them just with your own problem; raise a joint dilemma that you can work on together. Thinking bigger can inspire hope in others and build a collective project within which particular interests, like that of the Oshawa plant can fit.

Finally, all those who sell their labour – and a good many beyond that – have suffered from the declining strength and social relevance of the labour movement over the past few decades. This won’t be easily corrected. But thinking outside the box, engaging in larger struggles and actively involving our members in the discussions and strategizing over what to do and how to do it, carries the promise – or at least the potential – to revive our movement. There is no other way to overcome the demoralization of so many of our members, move to set aside the destructive divisions between unions that are such a barrier, and play the kind of social role that can excite a new generation of leaders and activists.

*

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

Sam Gindin was research director of the Canadian Auto Workers from 1974–2000 and is now an adjunct professor at York University in Toronto. He is author (with Leo Panitch) of the Making of Global Capitalism (Verso). He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

All images in this article are from The Bullet

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Canada: Workers Rights and the Phasing out of General Motors’ Oshawa. Searching for Alternatives, Plan B.
  • Tags: ,

History: Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia

December 13th, 2018 by Dr. Jacques R. Pauwels

All over Europe, the First World War had brought about a potentially revolutionary situation as early as 1917. In countries where the authorities continued to represent the traditional elite, exactly as had been the case in 1914, they aimed to prevent the realization of this potential by means of repression, concessions, or both. But in the case of Russia, the revolution not only broke out but succeeded, and the Bolsheviks began work on the construction of the world’s very first socialist society. It was an experiment for which the elites of the other countries felt no sympathy whatsoever; to the contrary, they fervently hoped that this project would soon end in a dismal fiasco. (It was also a revolutionary experiment that would disappoint numerous sympathizers because the socialist Utopia failed to spring whole, Athena-like, from the brow of the Russian revolutionary Zeus.)

In elitist circles in London, Paris, and elsewhere, they were convinced of the ineluctability of the failure of the Bolsheviks’ bold experiment but, just to be sure, it was decided to send troops to Russia to support the “white” counterrevolutionaries against the Bolshevik “reds” in a conflict that was to morph into a great, long, and bloody civil war. A first wave of allied troops arrived in Russia in April 1918, when British and Japanese soldiers disembarked in Vladivostok. They established contact with the “whites,” who were already involved in a full-blown war against the Bolsheviks. In total, the British alone would send 40,000 men to Russia.

In that same spring of 1918, Churchill, then minister of war, also sent an expeditionary corps to Murmansk, in the north of Russia, in order to support the troops of the “white” General Kolchak, in the hope that this might help to replace the Bolshevik rulers with a government friendly to Britain. Other countries sent smaller contingents of soldiers, including France, the United States (15,000 men), Japan, Italy, Romania, Serbia, and Greece. In some cases, the allied troops became involved in fighting against the Germans and Ottomans on Russia’s frontiers, but it was clear that they had not come for that purpose, but rather to overthrow the Bolshevik regime and to “strangle the Bolshevik baby in its crib,” as Churchill so delicately put it. The British, in particular, also hoped that their presence might make it possible to pocket some attractive bits and pieces of territory of a Russian state that seemed to be falling apart, much like the Ottoman Empire. This explains why a British unit marched from Mesopotamia to the shores of the Caspian Sea, namely to the oil-rich regions around Baku, capital of modern Azerbaijan. Like the Great War itself, the allied intervention in Russia aimed both to fight the revolution and to achieve imperialist objectives.

In Russia, the war had spawned not only conditions favourable to a social revolution, but also — at least in some parts of this gigantic country — to national revolutions among a number of ethnic minorities. Such national movements had already reared their heads during the war, and they generally belonged to the right-wing, conservative, racist, and anti-Semitic variety of nationalism. Germany’s political and military elite recognized close ideological relatives in these movements and potential allies in the war against Russia. (Lenin and the Bolsheviks, on the other hand, were considered useful in the war against Russia, but ideologically these revolutionary Russians were antipodes of Germany’s reactionary regime.) The Germans did not support the Finnish, Baltic, Ukrainian, and other nationalists out of ideological sympathy, but because they could be used to weaken Russia; they also did it because they hoped to stamp German satellite states out of the ground in Eastern and Northern Europe, preferably monarchies with as “sovereign” some scion of a German noble family. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk proved to be an opportunity to create a number of states of this type. From July 11 to November 2, 1918, a German aristocrat named Wilhelm (II) Karl Florestan Gero Crescentius, Duke of Urach and Count of Württemberg, could thus enjoy being King of Lithuania under the name of Mindaugas II.

With the armistice of November 11, 1918, Germany was doomed to disappear from the scene in Eastern and Northern Europe and that put an end to the dream of German hegemony over there. However, Article 12 of the armistice authorized German troops to remain in Russia, the Baltic lands, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe as long as the Allies deemed it necessary; in other words, as long as they remained useful for the purpose of fighting the Bolsheviks, which is precisely what the Germans did. In fact, British and French leaders such as Lloyd George and Foch henceforth considered revolutionary Russia as a more dangerous enemy than Germany. The national movements of Balts, Finns, Poles, etc., were now totally embroiled in the Russian Civil War, and the Allies replaced the Germans as their supporters, also militarily speaking, as long as they fought the “reds,” rather than the “whites,” as they also often did, since much Eastern European real estate, formerly part of the Czarist Empire, was claimed simultaneously by the Russian “whites” and by Polish, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, and other nationalists.

In all the countries emerging from the clouds of dust rising after the collapse of the czarist empire, there were basically two kinds of people. First, workers and peasants and other members of the lower classes, who favoured a social revolution, supported the Bolsheviks, and were willing to settle for some sort of autonomy for their own ethnic-linguistic minority within the new multi-ethnic and multi-lingual state — inevitably dominated by its Russian component — that was taking the place of the former czarist empire and would be known as the Soviet Union. Second, the majority, though certainly not all, of the members of the old aristocratic and bourgeois elites and of the petty bourgeoisie, who were against a social revolution and therefore detested and fought the Bolsheviks and wanted nothing less than total independence vis-à-vis the new state being created by the latter. Their nationalism was a typical nineteenth-century nationalism, right-wing and conservative, closely associated with an ethnic group, a language, a religion, and a supposedly glorious past, mostly mythical, that was expected to be reborn thanks to a national revolution. Civil wars also erupted between “whites” and “reds” in Finland, Estonia, Ukraine, and elsewhere.

If in many cases the “whites” emerged victorious and were able to establish resolutely anti-Bolshevik and anti-Russian states, it was not only because the Bolsheviks would long fight with their backs against the wall in the Russian heartland itself and were therefore rarely able to provide much support for their “red” comrades in the Baltic and elsewhere in the periphery of the former czarist empire, but also because first the Germans and then the Allies — particularly the British — intervened manu militarito aid the “whites.” At the end of November 1918, for example, a squadron of the Royal Navy, commanded by Admiral Edwyn Alexander-Sinclair (and later by Admiral Walter Cowan) showed up in the Baltic Sea in order to supply the Estonian and Latvian “whites” with weapons and help them to fight their “red” countrymen as well as Bolshevik Russian troops. The British sank a number of ships of the Russian fleet and blockaded the rest of it in its base, Kronstadt. As for Finland, in the spring of 1918 already, German troops had helped the local “whites” to achieve victory and enabled them to proclaim the independence of their country.

It was clearly the intention of the patrician decision-makers in London, Paris, Washington, etc., to also insure victory for the “whites” at the expense of the “reds” in the civil war in Russia itself and thus to abort the Bolshevik enterprise, a large-scale experiment for which too many British, French, American, and other plebeians displayed interest and enthusiasm and which therefore displeased their “betters.” In a note addressed to Clemenceau in the spring of 1919, Lloyd George expressed his concern that “the whole of Europe is filled with the spirit of revolution,” and he continued by saying that “there is a deep sense not only of discontent, but of anger and revolt, amongst the workmen against the war conditions . . . the whole existing order in its political, social and economic aspects is questioned by the masses of the population from one end of Europe to the other.”

The Allies’ intervention in Russia was counterproductive, however, because foreign support discredited the “white,” counterrevolutionary forces in the eyes of countless Russians, who increasingly considered the Bolsheviks as true Russian patriots and therefore supported them. In many ways, the Bolsheviks’ social revolution was simultaneously a national Russian revolution, a struggle for the survival, independence, and dignity of Mother Russia, first against the Germans then against the allied troops who invaded the country from all sides and conducted themselves “as if they were in Central Africa.” (Seen from this perspective, the Bolsheviks look very much like the Jacobins of the French Revolution, who had simultaneously fought for the revolution and for France.) It was for this reason that the Bolsheviks could benefit from the support of a large number of bourgeois and even aristocratic nationalists, support that was probably a major determinant of their victory in the civil war against the combination of the “whites” and the Allies. Even the famous general Brussilov, a nobleman, supported the “reds.” “The awareness of my duty toward the [Russian] nation,” he explained, “caused me to refuse to obey my natural social instincts.” In any event, the “whites” were nothing more than “a microcosm of the ruling and governing classes of [Russia’s] ancien régime — military officers, landowners, churchmen — with minimal popular support,” according to Arno Mayer. They were also corrupt, and a large part of the money the Allies sent them disappeared into their pockets.

If the allied intervention in Russia, sometimes promoted as a “crusade against Bolshevism,” was doomed to failure, it was also because it was strongly opposed by countless soldiers and civilians in Britain, France, and elsewhere in the “West.” Their slogan was “Hands Off Russia!” The British soldiers who had not been demobilised after the armistice of November 1918 and who were supposed to be shipped off to Russia protested and organized mutinies; for example, in January 1919 in Dover, Calais, and other Channel ports. In that same month, Glasgow was hit by a series of strikes whose objectives included forcing the government to abandon its interventionist policy with respect to Russia. In March 1919, Canadian troops rioted in a camp in Ryl, in Wales, causing five men to be killed and twenty-three wounded; later in 1919, similar riots occurred in other army camps. These troubles certainly reflected the soldiers’ impatience to be discharged and return home, but they also revealed that all too many of the troops could not be relied on for a tour of duty of indefinite duration in distant Russia. In France, meanwhile, strikers in Paris loudly demanded an end to armed intervention in Russia, and troops that were already in Russia made it clear that they did not want to fight the Bolsheviks, but wanted to return home. In February, March, and April 1919, mutinies and desertions ravaged French troops stationed in the port of Odessa and British forces in the northern district of Murmansk, and some of the British even changed sides and joined the ranks of the Bolsheviks. “Soldiers who had survived Verdun and the Battle of the Marne did not want to go fight in the plains of Russia,” was the sour remark made by a French officer. In the US contingent, numerous men resorted to self-mutilation in order to seek repatriation. The Allied soldiers sympathized increasingly with the Russian revolutionaries; they were becoming more and more “contaminated” by the Bolshevism they were supposed to be fighting. And so it happened that in the spring of 1919 the French, British, Canadians, Americans, Italians, and other foreign troops had to be ingloriously withdrawn from Russia.

The Western elites turned out to be unable to overcome the Bolsheviks via an armed intervention. They therefore changed course and provided generous political and military support to the new states that emerged from the western territories of the former czarist empire, such as Poland and the Baltic countries. These new states were without exception the products of national revolutions, inspired by reactionary varieties of nationalism, all too often tainted by anti-Semitism; and they were dominated by the survivors of the old elites, including large landowners and generals of aristocratic background, the “national” Christian churches, and the industrialists. With rare exceptions such as Czechoslovakia, they were not democracies at all, but were ruled by authoritarian regimes, usually headed by a high-ranking military man of noble origin, for example Horthy in Hungary, Mannerheim in Finland, and Pilsudski in Poland. The outspoken anti-Bolshevism of these new states was matched only by their anti-Russian sentiment. However, the Bolsheviks managed to recuperate some territories on the periphery of the former czarist empire, for example Ukraine.

The outcome of this confusing medley of conflicts was a kind of tie: the Bolsheviks triumphed in Russia and as far west as Ukraine, but anti-Bolshevik, anti-Russian nationalists with great and mutually conflicting territorial ambitions prevailed in areas further west and north, specifically Poland, the Baltic States, and Finland. It was an arrangement that satisfied nobody, but was ultimately accepted by everybody — though clearly only “for the duration.” A cordon sanitaire consisting of a string of hostile states was thus erected around revolutionary Russia with the assistance of the Western powers in the hope that it would “isolate Bolshevism within Russia,” as Margaret MacMillan has written. For the time being, that was all the West was able to do, but the ambition of putting an end to the revolutionary experiment in Russia sooner or later remained very much alive in London, Paris, and Washington. For a long time, the Western leaders kept hoping that Russia’s revolution would collapse by itself, but that failed to happen. Later, during the 1930s, they would hope that Nazi Germany would take on the task of destroying the revolution in its lair, the Soviet Union; this is why they would allow Hitler to remilitarize Germany and, via the infamous “appeasement policy,” encourage him to do so.

*

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

Jacques R. Pauwels is the author of The Great Class War: 1914-1918. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

Featured image is from CC BY 2.0

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on History: Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
  • Tags:

Sudan’s proposal to have Russian companies help construct the East-West and North-South Trans-African Railways could reshape African geopolitics if Moscow succeeds in leveraging its possibly newfound strategic position in this sphere to “balance” between the two emerging blocs in the modern-day “Scramble for Africa”.  

Sudan just proposed during an intergovernmental commission with Russia to have Moscow help construct the East-West and North-South Trans-African Railways that will partially run through its territory, seeing as how the two states are very close strategic partners and Sudan is also the mainland-maritime nexus connecting both of these ambitious megaprojects. The author previously mapped out the first-mentioned of these trans-continental initiatives in a piece that he wrote back in February 2017 about what he described as the “Sahelian-Saharan Silk Road”, which is envisaged as bringing together a variety of East-West connectivity corridors stretching from the Senegalese capital of Dakar on the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Red Sea coastal city of Port Sudan and is described more in detail in the aforementioned hyperlinked analysis:

Map Key

Red: CCS (Cameroon-Chad-Sudan) Silk Road

Gold: Trans-African Highway 5

Lavender: Ethiopia-Nigeria Silk Road (the most direct projected route through resource-rich territory)

Pink: West African Rail Loop

Blue: Lagos-Calabar Silk Road

Green: Lagos-Kano Silk Road

Yellow: Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Silk Road

As for the proposed North-South Trans-African Railway, it can be reasonably speculated that it would run from Sudan to Ethiopia and then down through the East African Community (Kenya & Tanzania specifically) to Mozambique and/or Zambia-Zimbabwe and ultimately the South African city of Cape Town, the latter of which is specifically mentioned as the terminal point of this megaproject in the Russia-Sudan intergovernmental commission’s minutes. There currently aren’t any North-South connectivity initiatives seriously being pursued at the moment, which is why it’s difficult to tell exactly where it would traverse, but the important takeaway is that Khartoum sees Port Sudan as being the northern terminal point and that this vector of the Trans-African Railway will cut through the several countries between them in one way or another.

Russia’s possible involvement in constructing the trans-Sudanese parts of these projects would cement its influence in the mainland-maritime nexus connecting these two megaprojects, which could in turn be leveraged to advance Moscow’s envisioned 21st-century grand strategy of becoming the supreme “balancing” force in Afro-Eurasia. For that to happen, however, Russia would need to deftly manage the two emerging “blocs” of countries that are participating in the modern-day “Scramble for Africa” through a combination of its diplomatic finesse, “mercenary” security services, state-building activities (the concept of which is currently being tested in the Central African Republic), and its crucial expertise in constructing railway corridors across challenging terrain, which would altogether allow it to play a mutually beneficial role for all continental and extra-regional players in this competition.

From its strategic base in Sudan, Russia would be able to indirectly exert influence along the East-West and North-South Trans-African Railways. The first one would cut through “Israel’s” new military ally in Chad and France’s military “sphere of influence” stretching from that country to Senegal across the so-called G5 Sahel states, while the second would extend through the GCC’s new “sphere of influence” in the Horn of Africa via Ethiopia and then southwards across the East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) “battlegrounds” of the Chinese-Indian New Cold War. As such, Sudan is shaping up to be indispensable not only to China, but also to 21st-century African geopolitics as a whole following the fast-moving paradigm shifts of the emerging Multipolar World Order that’s Russia’s actively facilitating there.

*

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

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.

Australia: Principles of Academic Freedom in Jeopardy

December 13th, 2018 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

It has been an ordinary year for universities in Australia. While the National Tertiary Education Union pats itself on the back for supposedly advancing the rights and pay of academics, several face removal and castigation at the hands of university management.  Consumerism and pay are the sort of quotidian matters that interest the NTEU.  Less interesting is the realm of academic ideas and how they clash with the bureaucratic prisons that have been built into universities.

At James Cook University, Peter Ridd was sacked on “code of conduct” grounds applied with a delightful elasticity.  He claimed that it was for holding views on climate change out of step with his colleagues, and attacking the credibility of the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.  (The pettiness of such institutions knows no bounds: Ridd’s knuckles were wrapped, for instance, for satirising, trivialising or parodying the university.)

At the University of Sydney, Tim Anderson, a full time critic of Western interventions in the Middle East and acquitted for ordering the 1978 Sydney Hilton Hotel bombing, has been suspended pending what would seem to be imminent sacking.  Causing “offense” was what mattered.

A cardinal rule applies in this case: Be suspicious of those who use good behaviour as a criteria of policing, notably in an environment where bad behaviour and dangerous ideas should hold sway over meek bumbling and submissiveness.  Be wary of the demands to be vanilla and beige – behind them lies administrative venality and the dictates of compliance.

Such rubbery provisions as being “civil” or not causing offense shield the weak, spineless and fraudulent and, most dangerously, create the very same intolerable workplace that managers are supposedly opposed to.  Very importantly, such code of conduct regulations are designed to immunise management from questions about their behaviour and often daft directives, letting institutions grow flabby with corruption.  Inoculated, that class thrives in its toxicity.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor of JCU, Iain Gordon, has drawn upon the usual stock nonsense defending the decision regarding Ridd.

“The issue has never been about Peter’s right to make statements – it’s about how he has continually broken a code of conduct that we would expect all our staff to stick to, to create a safe, respectful professional workplace.”

The thrust of this is simple: Never cause offense; be compliantly decent; be cripplingly dull and go back to your homes in your suburbs living a life unexamined. As an academic, you are merely delivering a service mandated by individuals several steps removed from the education process, not performing an ancient duty to educate mankind.

The code of conduct, the product of a corporatized imbecility, assumes the mantle of dogma in such disputes.

“All staff members must comply with the Code of Conduct,” goes Gordon’s official statement in May, with its distinct politburo flavour of placing things beyond debate. “This is non-negotiable.  It is a fundamental duty and obligation that forms part of their employment.”  Ridd, explains Gordon, “sensationalised his comments to attract attention, has criticised and denigrated published work, and has demonstrated a lack of respect for his colleague and institutions in doing so.  Academic rebuttal of his scientific views on the reef has been separately published.”

Anderson, having found himself at stages in the University of Sydney’s bad books, has also run the gauntlet of offensiveness.  The specific conduct resulting in his suspension featured lecture materials shown to students suggesting the imposition of a swastika upon Israel’s flag.  This was deemed “disrespectful and offensive, and contrary to the university’s behavioural expectations”.  Tut, tut, Anderson.

The Sydney University provost and acting vice-chancellor Stephen Garton followed the line taken at JCU towards Ridd with zombie-like predictability.

“The university has, since its inception, supported and encouraged its staff to engage in public debate and it has always accepted that those views might be controversial.”

But debate – and here, behavioural fetters were again to be imposed – had to be undertaken “in a civil manner.”  Contrarianism should be expressed with a good measure of decency.

The letter of suspension from Garton to Anderson is one-dimensionally authoritarian.  Principles of academic freedom were supported by the university, but only in “accordance with the highest ethical, professional and legal standards”.  But the all supreme, and trumping document, remained the Code of Conduct, capitalised by the bureaucrats as Mosaic Law. “The inclusion of the altered image of the Israeli flag in your Twitter Posts, Facebook Posts and teaching materials is disrespectful and offensive, and contrary to the University’s behavioural expectations and requirements for all staff.”

Some heart can be taken from the protest last Friday on the part of 30 academics who signed an open letter objecting to the treatment meted out to Anderson, stating that academic freedom was “meaningless if it is suspended when its exercise is deemed offensive.”  His suspension pending termination of his employment was “an unacceptable act of censorship and a body-blow to academic freedom at the University of Sydney”.  Reaction to Ridd has been somewhat cooler.

The point with Anderson is that his views are deemed bad for university business, which tolerates no room for the offensive.  This, in a place where the most varied, and, at points, tasteless views, should be expressed.  But as universities have become shabby entrepreneurial endeavours which see students as obesely delicious milch cows for their existence, the idea is less important than the process.

As is so often the case of free speech, advocates of it always assume it doesn’t apply to others. It is only to be extolled as a mark on paper and university policy.  But never, for instance, challenge inane university policy or the hacks who implement it.  Never ridicule ideas that deserve it.  Never mock the obscene nature of managerialism’s central principle: massaged incompetence and assured decline.  University managers and the colourless suits aided by their ill-tutored human resources goon squads tend to hold sway over opinions, taking against anybody who questions certain aspects of their (non)performance.

The Ridd and Anderson cases, coming from separate parts of the academic spectrum, demonstrate the prevalence of toadyism on the part of those who wish to avoid questioning the rationale of a university’s management process.  They also suggest an immemorial tendency of authority to savagely oppress those who ignore it; to manifest its existence through punishment.  In truth, it is precisely in ignoring those officials long barnacled upon the research and teaching endeavours of the University and drawing revenue best spent on students and scholars that a grave sin is committed.  Such officialdom should be ignored, treated as the bureaucratic irrelevance that it is. Time for sit-ins, occupations, boycotts and a retaking of the University.

*

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

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]

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Australia: Principles of Academic Freedom in Jeopardy

Julian Assange: No Surrender

December 13th, 2018 by Ann Garrison

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange appears to be one step closer to forcible removal from Ecuador’s London Embassy, most likely to be extradited to the US to face charges in the Eastern District Court of Virginia, which is commonly known as “the espionage court.” If UK police have to go in and remove him by force that will of course demonstrate the brutality of the state in the Gandhian tradition.

The US and UK governments may nevertheless be in a hurry to get hold of him however they can, with Theresa May’s Tory government so close to collapse and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labor Party so close to power. Given all that Corbyn has said about protecting journalists who take risks to reveal the truth about power, it’s hard to imagine him extraditing Assange in response to US demands, even though refusal would no doubt damage the longstanding Anglo-American alliance.

Ecuador Envivo” reports that Ecuador’s new ambassador to the UK has “very clear instructions” regarding Assange, who has been an asylee in the embassy for the past six years. And that the government said Assange’s asylum has been detrimental to its relationship with the UK and could further damage trade relations between the two countries.

Supporters of Assange met last Friday evening on an international online video conference about his worsening situation. Consortium News Editor Joe Lauria said that he does not expect Assange to leave the embassy of his own volition. Stefania Maurizi, Italian “La Republica” journalist and longtime Wikileaks publishing partner, told Lauria that she was able to see Assange about 10 days ago, and that he’s not planning to come out on his own, no matter what they do to him.

Black Agenda Report columnist Margaret Kimberley and Joe Lauria both said that the elite list of those determined to arrest and silence Assange prove that he deserves the support of the people:

Margaret Kimberley: If you look at his enemies, and you look at who wants to lock him up forever, it’s clear that he’s important and it’s clear that we have to defend him.

Joe Lauria: They want to lock him up because he’s directly threatening their interests. I’m talking about individuals inside the CIA, the NSA, the Pentagon, MI6, and big business. If you oppose Julian Assange, you’re on the side of the state against the people.

Chris Hedges said that defending Assange is equivalent to defending the possibility of investigative journalism despite mass surveillance:Chris Hedges: I really can’t reiterate enough times that this is the last chance we have not only to defend Julian Assange, but also to protect publishers ability to disseminate material on the inner workings of corporations and corporate states.

I worked as an investigative journalist for the New York Times and I still have colleagues there, and they are quite blunt about the fact that investigative journalism into the inner workings of power has been frozen completely because of wholesale surveillance. Government officials, because they know they’re monitored, and journalists, because they know they’re monitored, can no longer shine a light into the inner workings of power. Leaks are the only mechanisms left by which we can understand power and particularly the crimes that are being committed by power, by the elites.

The three-hour video conferences regarding developments and possible responses to the UK and US governments pursuit of Julian Assange can be viewed every Friday evening beginning at 8 pm Eastern Time on the website Unity4J.com. Viewers can ask questions, make suggestions, and share details of upcoming Assange solidarity events in the YouTube chat window.

*

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

Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes region. She can be reached at [email protected] She is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

A World of Multiple Detonators of Global Wars. Wars by Proxy

December 13th, 2018 by Prof. James Petras

We face a world of multiple wars some leading to direct global power conflagrations and others that begin as regional conflicts but quickly spread to big power confrontations.

We will proceed to identify ‘great power’ confrontations and then proceed to discuss the stages of ‘proxy’ wars with world war consequences.

In our times the US is the principal power in search of world domination through force and violence. Washington has targeted top level targets, namely China, Russia, and Iran; secondary objectives include Afghanistan, North and Central Africa, Caucuses and Latin America.

China is the prime enemy of the US for several economic, political and military reasons: China is the second largest economy in the world; its technology has challenged US supremacy; it has built global economic networks reaching across three continents. China has replaced the US in overseas markets, investments and infrastructures. China has built an alternative socio-economic model which links state banks and planning to private sector priorities. On all these counts the US has fallen behind and its future prospects are declining.

In response the US has resorted to a closed protectionist economy at home and an aggressive military led imperial economy abroad. President Trump has declared a tariff war on China; and multiple , separatist and propaganda war; and an aerial and maritime war of encirclement.

The first line of attack is exorbitant tariffs on China’s exports to the US and its vassals. Secondly, is the expansion of overseas bases in Asia. Thirdly, is the promotion of separatist clients in Hong Kong, Tibet and among the Uighurs. Fourthly, is the use of sanctions to bludgeon EU and Asian allies into joining the economic war against China. China has responded by increasing its military security, expanding its economic networks and raising economic tariffs on US exports.

The US economic war has moved to a higher level by arresting and seizing a top executive of China’s foremost technological company, Huawei.

The White House has moved up the ladder of aggression from sanctions to provocation, it is one step from military retaliation. The nuclear fuse has been lit.

Russia faces similar threats to its domestic economy and its overseas allies, especially China and Iran .Moreover the US has broken its compliance with the intermediate nuclear missiles. agreement

Iran faces oil sanctions, military encirclement and attacks on proxy allies namely Yemen, Syria and the Gulf region Washington relies on Saudi Arabia, Israel and their paramilitary groups to apply military and economic pressure to undermine Iran’s economy and impose a ‘regime change’.

Each of the three strategic targets of the US are central to its drive for global dominance; dominating China would lead to the takeover of Asia, weakening Russia isolates Europe ; the overthrow of Iran enhances US power over the oil market and the Islamic world. As the US escalates its aggression and provocations we face the threat of a global nuclear war or, at the best, a world economic breakdown.

Wars by Proxy

The US has targeted a second tier of enemies, in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

In Latin America the US has waged economic warfare against Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. More recently it has applied political and economic pressure on Bolivia. Washington has relied on its vassal allies, including Brazil, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina and Paraguay and domestic right-wing elites.

As in numerous other cases, Washington relies on military coups and corrupt legislaters and judges to rule against incumbent progressive regimes Against President Morales, Washington relies on US foundation funded NGO’s; dissident indigenous leaders and retired military officials. The US relies on local armed proxies to further US imperial goals in order to give the appearance of a ‘civil war’ rather than gross US intervention.

In fact, once the so-called ‘dissidents’ or ‘rebels’ establish a beachhead they ‘invite’ US military advisers, secure military aid and serve as propaganda weapons against Russia, China and Iran – ‘first tier’ adversaries.

In recent years US proxy conflicts have been a weapon of choice in the Kosovo separatist war against Serbia; the Ukraine coup of 2014 and war against Eastern Ukraine; the Kurd take over of Northern Iraq and Syria; the US backed separatist Uighurs attack in the Chinese province of Xinjiang.

The US has established 32 military bases in Africa, to coordinate activities with local warlords and plutocrats. Their proxy wars are described as local conflicts between ‘legitimate’ regimes and Islamic terrorists, tribalists and tyrants.

The objectives of proxy wars are threefold. They serve as ‘feeders’ into larger territorial wars encircling China, Russia and Iran.

Secondly, proxy wars are ‘testing grounds’ to measure the vulnerability and responsive capacity of the targeted strategic adversary, i.e. Russia, China and Iran.

Thirdly, the proxy wars are ‘low cost’ and ‘low risk’ attacks on strategic enemies. The lead up to a major confrontation by stealth.

Equally important ‘proxy wars’ serve as propaganda tools, accusing strategic adversaries as ‘expansionist authoritarian’ enemies of ‘western values’.

Conclusion

US empire builders engage in multiple types of aggression directed at imposing a unipolar world. At the center are trade wars against China; regional military conflicts with Russia and economic sanctions against Iran.

These large scale, long-term strategic weapons are complemented by proxy wars, involving regional vassal states which are designed to erode the economic bases of allies of anti-imperialist powers.

Hence, the US attacks on China via tariff wars aims to sabotage its global “Belt and Road’ infrastructure projects linking China with 82 counties.

Likewise, the US attempts to isolate Russian via a proxy war in Syria as it did with Iraq, Libya and the Ukraine.

Isolating strategic anti-imperial power via regional wars, sets the stage for the ‘final assault’ – regime change by coup or nuclear war.

However, the US drive for world domination has so far failed to isolate or weaken its strategic adversaries.

China moves forward with its global infrastructure program;and the trade war has had little impact in isolating Bejing from its principal markets. Moreover, the US policy has increased China’s role as a leading advocate of ‘open trade’ against President Trump’s protectionism.

Likewise, the tactics of encircling and sanctioning Russia has deepened ties between Moscow and Beijing. The US has increased its nominal ‘proxies’ in Latin America and Africa but they all depend on trade and investments from China. This is especially true of agro-mineral exports to China.

Notwithstanding the limits of US power and its failure to topple regimes, Washington has taken moves to compensate for its failures by escalating the threats of a global war. It kidnaps Chinese economic leaders; it moves war ships off China’s coast; it allies with neo-fascist elites in the Ukraine. It threatens to bomb Iran. In other words the US political leaders have embarked on adventurous policies always on the verge of igniting one, two, many nuclear fuses.

It is easy to imagine how a failed trade war can lead to a nuclear war; a regional conflict can entail a greater war.

Can we prevent World War 3? I believe it can happen. The US economy is built on fragile foundations; its elites are deeply divided. Its main allies in France and the UK are in deep crises. The war mongers and war makers lack popular support. There are reasons to hope!

*

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

Award winning author Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Featured image is from Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on A World of Multiple Detonators of Global Wars. Wars by Proxy

ANC Prepares for Upcoming Elections in South Africa

December 13th, 2018 by Abayomi Azikiwe

In a matter of a few months the ruling African National Congress of South Africa (ANC) will test its political support through national elections.

It has been a quarter-century since the national liberation movement turned political party won a substantial majority in the first non-racial democratic poll during April 1994 which overturned the apartheid system setting the stage for the implementation of an inclusive constitutional dispensation that recognized the rights of the majority African population.

Over the course of the last twenty five years, the ANC has been able to stave off challenges from the now-defunct National Party and the contemporary leading opposition grouping, the Democratic Alliance (DA). The emergent Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have secured a small fraction of the National Assembly and can only serve as an irritant to the ruling party’s platforms and policies.

Earlier in 2018, former President Jacob Zuma was forced to step down as the head-of-state due to a lack of confidence in his leadership of the government on the part of the-then recently-elected ANC party officials. Current President Cyril Ramaphosa has inherited a politically volatile situation largely prompted by the continuing economic crisis which is manifested through a recession declared several months ago.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Foreign Minister Lindiwe Sisulu at AfCFTA in Kigali, Rwanda, March 20-21, 2018

Widespread unemployment and poverty remain as vestiges of the racist apartheid system which enriched the white minority settler-class at the expense of the African majority, mixed-race communities and the Asian population. The gap between the ruling class and the working poor is one of the largest in the world therefore compelling the ANC government to put forward corrective policy initiatives in an effort to convince the electorate that the party is still representative of the interests of the people.

One such legislative approach is the passage of a National Minimum Wage Act which was signed into law on November 26 by President Ramaphosa. This law sets the hourly minimum wage at 20 rand ($1.45) resulting in a 3,500 rand per month salary.

The law was scheduled to go into effect at a future date determined by the president. Although many have praised the National Minimum Wage Act as a measure which will enhance the standard of living of the poor, others claim the law can serve as a disincentive for business owners to remain open, saying they cannot afford to pay the increased salaries.

These arguments against the raising of wages are prevalent within the capitalist world including the United States where a national movement has sprung up over the last few years among organized labor and employees advocacy organizations calling for a $15 per hour minimum wage along with union representation. In South Africa, where joblessness has been rising, such arguments against minimum wage hikes have appeal to the conservative DA opposition which is supported by the capitalist class.

Official unemployment is South Africa stands at over 27%. President Ramaphosa recognizing the ongoing crisis of job losses held a two-day summit in early October designed to stimulate employment growth.

A numerical goal of 275,000 new jobs annually was discussed while much of the focus of the gathering dealt with the need to tackle corruption and to wage a campaign for increasing consumer demand for South African produced commodities. Ramaphosa said at the conclusion of the summit that: “We, as a country and as a government and as social partners united in this effort, have been putting the building blocks in place for the recovery of our economy and we have been coming up with a number of enabling measures. This jobs summit is one of those enabling measures that [are] definitely going to contribute to the recovery of our economy.”

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), a close ally of the ANC, welcomed the Jobs Summit. However, General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali addressed the summit on October 5 saying:

“We wanted a summit to engage on the problems we are facing-in a manner constituencies appreciated the problems faced by workers and the unemployed and provided solutions. [We] wanted a moratorium on retrenchments across all sectors of our economy, and the filling of critical vacancies in the public sector.” (see this)

The Land Question and Electoral Politics

Another major lingering issue is the imperative of radical land redistribution in South Africa where the European agricultural sector and mining interests continue to dominate. Under the ANC there have been several efforts to encourage land reform including the “willing seller, willing buyer” project. In addition, the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) program has been in existence for well over a decade yet the results leave much to be desired. (see this)

A resolution to develop a comprehensive program for land reform was passed by the National Assembly in April with the combined votes of both the ANC and the EFF. Later in December, the legislative body endorsed a report stating that land seizure without compensation is one of the avenues which can be utilized to address the disparate ownership rates in South Africa.

The support for the policy by the National Assembly was mirrored in similar actions taken by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) where only the DA-dominated Western Cape expressed objections to land reform, threatening court action. An article published by Brookings on August 27 by Witney Schneidman and Larry Signe noted:

“Today in South Africa, 72 percent of farms and agricultural holdings are owned by whites, who make up 8.2 percent of the population. Black South Africans, who comprise 80.2 percent of the population, own 4 percent of the land.” (see this)

Land redistribution is not only a major concern in the rural areas. Seizures and occupations of land are taking place in urban locations at an increasing rate. South African Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, articulated the policy of the ANC Government emphasizing:

“An effective response to land grabs therefore requires collaboration with local government, organized agriculture, traditional leadership, and law enforcement agencies.  The department of rural development and land reform has already commenced with bilateral discussions with each of the above-mentioned sectors with a view to develop prevention mechanisms, as well as develop a monitoring system for land grabs, land invasions and land-related criminal acts.” (see this)

South Africa, the African Continent and World Imperialism

Nonetheless, irrespective of the methodology adopted by the ANC Government, the U.S. administration under President Donald Trump has already expressed its displeasure with the existing debate by distorting the actual situation inside South Africa. Trump tweeted in August that European farmers were being systematically killed in an organized movement to take land from them.

Such a view completely ignores the historical legacy of settler-colonialism and imperialism in Southern Africa. Through force of arms and later minority legislation passed in 1913 and 1936, the European rulers in South Africa took control of indigenous land in an effort to facilitate the racist state dominance of the African majority.

The ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party in 1980 passed legislation mandating land redistribution to the original owners. In response, the U.S., the former colonial power of Britain and the European Union (EU) enacted draconian sanctions which remain in place nearly two decades later. This same posture could also be leveled at South Africa and neighboring Namibia, where a similar debate is taking place.

Consequently, the ANC and other progressive forces in South Africa must be prepared to defend the interests of the majority up to the point of anticipating a military intervention by the imperialist states. At stake in this situation are the political and economic futures of African people in South Africa and other regions of the continent.

*

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

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

All images in this article are from the author

On  April 10, 2018 the Lawyers Committee for 9/11 Inquiry submitted a legal petition to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York for a Grand Jury to examine the evidence for the destruction of the World Trade Center buildings on 9/11.

The 52-page petition, accompanied by 57 exhibits of evidence, states

“The Lawyers’ Committee has reviewed the relevant available evidence . . . and has reached a consensus that there is not just substantial or persuasive evidence of yet-to-be-prosecuted crimes related to the use of pre-planted explosives and/or incendiaries to destroy WTC1, WTC2 and WTC7 in New York City on 9/11, but there is actually conclusive evidence that such federal crimes were committed… The Lawyers’ Committee states unequivocally that the evidence permits no other conclusion – as a matter of science, as a matter of  logic, and as a matter of law.”

Grand Jury Investigation of Collapse of WTC Twin Towers and Building Seven’, Global Research, April 2018

Grand Jury Petition – Executive Summary and Full Document, Lawyers Committee for 9/11 Inquiry

https://www.ae911truth.org/grandjury

What transpired last month is without question the greatest step forward the 9/11 Truth Movement has ever taken toward bringing about a real investigation into the events of September 11, 2001.

In a letter dated November 7, 2018, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York notified the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry that he would comply with the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 3332 requiring him to present to a special grand jury the Lawyers’ Committee’s reports filed earlier this year of unprosecuted federal crimes at the World Trade Center.

This means a 23-member grand jury, vested with subpoena power and the authority to take sworn testimony, will hear the voluminous evidence of the World Trade Center’s demolition and will have the ability to conduct a thorough investigation that results in indictments against suspected individuals — in other words, what the 9/11 Truth Movement has been working toward for 17 years.

Rather than simply crossing our fingers and hoping for the best, this real and time-sensitive opportunity to achieve our ultimate goal demands that we do everything in our power to ensure a thorough and successful grand jury investigation.

Because the U.S. Attorney is legally required to share all evidentiary filings made by the Lawyers’ Committee — including any future submissions — there are several measures the Lawyers’ Committee and AE911Truth can and must take to bolster the evidence, increase the likelihood that key experts and eyewitnesses will be asked to testify, and further assist the jurors’ investigation.

From now through December 31, we humbly ask for your support so we can do everything possible in the months ahead to make this grand jury proceeding a real investigation. Please visit AE911Truth.org/GrandJury to learn more and make a generous year-end donation today. Together we can force the first real 9/11 investigation.

*

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

This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: Paul Craig Roberts Institute for Political Economy.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on 9/11: The Evidence. “Conclusive Evidence that Federal Crimes were Committed”. Grand Jury Breakthrough vested with Subpoena Power
  • Tags: ,

Of all the anniversaries that punctuate Palestine’s tragic modern history, the one on 11 December may be the most important. 

On that day 70 years ago, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 194 by a majority of 35 out of 58 members. It has since been reaffirmed more than 135 times, remaining the bedrock of the Palestinian cause and the earliest legal underpinning of the right of return.

Resolution 194 called on the newly formed Israeli state to allow “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours … to do so at the earliest practicable date”, and to compensate them for their losses. It arose from an international consensus that people forcibly displaced from their homes had a right to return in customary and humanitarian law.

The real war

As Count Folke Bernadotte, the UN mediator and supporter of Palestinian refugees, said in 1948:

“It would be an offence against the principles of elemental justice if these innocent victims of the conflict were denied the right to return to their homes while Jewish immigrants flow into Palestine.”

A three-state Conciliation Commission was set up to oversee the repatriation of the returnees, and a year later, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was created to care for them until their repatriation. But it never happened, and from that moment on, the real war between Israel and the Palestinians began, with the former fighting to keep Palestinians from returning, and the latter steadfast in their determination to return.

Israel’s opening move was the assassination of Bernadotte by members of the Zionist Lehi organisation three months before Resolution 194 was passed. He was poignantly commemorated for his peacemaking efforts in the resolution’s Article 1. Israel went on to reject UN demands, even though the terms of its subsequent admission to UN membership in 1949 required adherence to UN resolutions, including 194.

Israeli lawyers instead set about picking it apart, arguing that the wording of the resolution implied that the refugees’ return was not an immediate right. They alleged that the phrase “wishing to live in peace” gave Israel the choice of deciding which refugees conformed to that requirement.

Because of this ambiguity, the General Assembly in 1974 affirmed “the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes”.  Israel’s objections never had any legal validity, but helped it maintain its opposition to the right of return.

Increasing marginalisation

The history of Resolution 194 has been one of increasing marginalisation. It was never implemented, and with time, its standing has been diminished by an international community unwilling to enforce it.

The language about the right of return has also been watered down. UN Resolution 242, passed in 1967, spoke ambiguously of “a just settlement” for refugees. The 1993 Oslo Accords demoted the refugee issue to final status negotiations, which never happened. The Clinton peace plan of 2000 laid out various options for resolving the refugee issue, including repatriation to the (non-existent) Palestinian state, settlement in host countries or emigration to third countries, such as Canada or Australia. Only a token return to Israel was offered, even then conditional on its approval.

In 2002, the Arab Peace Initiative spoke of a “just solution” for refugees, “in accordance with” Resolution 194, without further clarification; and the 2004 roadmap – supposedly still being overseen by the US, EU, UN and Russia – included a clause about an “agreed and realistic” solution to the refugee problem.

Israel’s obdurate opposition to the right of return has grown in tandem. In the last 70 years, it has succeeded in frustrating every attempt to repatriate any of the 750,000 refugees of 1948 and their descendants, or the additional 350,000 refugees of 1967. Apart from one Israeli offer to take back 100,000 refugees in 1949, quickly withdrawn, it has neither apologised nor accepted responsibility for the human catastrophe it created.

The Arab states that should have been in the vanguard of those defending Palestinian refugees have made their discourse on the right of return vague and ambiguous, in line with Israeli preferences. And, as if to hammer the last nail into the coffin of the right of return, US President  Donald Trump ended US funding for UNRWA, and is trying to whittle down Palestinian refugee numbers by redefining who they are.

Western support

The war over Palestinian return was bound to be unequal, and so far has been won by Israel, given its massive Western support. When Israel was founded in 1948, many Western states saw it as a way to compensate Jews for the horrors Germany had inflicted on them. A faraway country, Palestine – in a “backward” region, mostly under Western control and without the capacity to resist – must have seemed an ideal refuge for European Jews.

In settling the post-war Jewish refugees and solving the centuries-old “Jewish question”, the West ignored the costs to the native population of Palestine. But it was inevitable that, given the determination of Israel’s founders to create a state for Jews in a land that was not Jewish, Palestine’s demography would have to be reversed, converting the existing Arab majority into a Jewish one. That led inexorably to the Nakba and the right of return.

In this anniversary year, it is high time to implement Resolution 194 and end the war in the only way possible: by affirming the Palestinian right to return to the land of their ancestors, and by calling on Israelis and Palestinians to share the land between the river and the sea in a secular, democratic state, where the equal rights of all its citizens are enshrined in law.

The West, which created Israel to solve its Jewish question, will not welcome this. But everyone else who has suffered the consequences of that act will.

*

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

Ghada Karmi is a Palestinian doctor, academic and author.

Efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation are one of the few issues on which the great powers agree, intending to continue to limit the spread of nuclear weapons and to prevent new entrants into the exclusive nuclear club.

The former Ukrainian envoy to NATO, Major General Petro Garashchuk, recently stated in an interview with Obozrevatel TV:

“I’ll say it once more. We have the ability to develop and produce our own nuclear weapons, currently available in the world, such as the one that was built in the former USSR and which is now in independent Ukraine, located in the city of Dnipro (former Dnipropetrovsk) that can produce these kinds of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Neither the United States, nor Russia, nor China have produced a missile named Satan … At the same time, Ukraine does not have to worry about international sanctions when creating these nuclear weapons.”

The issue of nuclear weapons has always united the great powers, especially following the signing of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The decision to reduce the number of nuclear weapons towards the end of the Cold War went hand in hand with the need to prevent the spread of such weapons of mass destruction to other countries in the best interests of humanity. During the final stages of the Cold War, the scientific community expended great effort on impressing upon the American and Soviet leadership how a limited nuclear exchange would wipe out humanity. Moscow and Washington thus began START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) negotiations to reduce the risk of a nuclear winter. Following the dissolution of the USSR, the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances persuaded Ukraine to relinquish its nuclear weapons and accede to the NPT in exchange for security assurances from its signatories.

Ukraine has in recent years begun entertaining the possibility of returning to the nuclear fold, especially in light of North Korea’s recent actions. Kim Jong-un’s lesson seems to be that a nuclear deterrent remains the only way of guaranteeing complete protection against a regional hegemon.

The situation in Ukraine, however, differs from that of North Korea, including in terms of alliances and power relations. Kiev’s government came into power as a result of a coup d’etat carried out by extremist nationalist elements who seek their inspiration from Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera. The long arm of NATO has always been deeply involved in the dark machinations that led to Poroshenko’s ascendency to the Ukrainian presidency. From a geopolitical point of view, NATO’s operation in Ukraine (instigating a civil war in the wake of a coup) follows in the footsteps of what happened in Georgia. NATO tends to organize countries with existing anti-Russia sentiments to channel their Russophobia into concrete actions that aim to undermine Moscow. The war in the Donbass is a prime example.

However, Ukraine has been unable to subdue the rebels in the Donbass region, the conflict freezing into a stalemate and the popularity of the Kiev government falling as the population’s quality of life experiences a precipitous decline. The United States and the European Union have not kept their promises, leaving Poroshenko desperate and tempted to resort to provocations like the recent Kerch strait incident or such as those that are apparently already in the works, as recently reported by the DPR authorities.

The idea of Ukraine resuming its production of nuclear weapons is currently being floated by minor figures, but it could take hold in the coming months, especially if the conflict continues in its frozen state and Kiev becomes frustrated and desperate. The neoconservative wing of the American ruling elite, absolutely committed to the destruction of the Russian Federation, could encourage Kiev along this path, in spite of the incalculable risks involved. The EU, on the other hand, would likely be terrified at the prospect, which would also place it between a rock and a hard place. Kiev, on one side, would be able to extract from the EU much needed economic assistance in exchange for not going nuclear, while on the other side the neocons would be irresponsibly egging the Ukrainians on.

Moscow, if faced with such a possibility, would not just stand there. In spite of Russia having good relations with North Korea, it did not seem too excited at the prospect of having a nuclear-armed neighbor. With Ukraine, the response would be much more severe. A nuclear-armed Ukraine would be a red line for Moscow, just as Crimea and Sevastopol were. It is worth remembering the Russian president’s words when referring to the possibility of a NATO invasion of Crimea during the 2014 coup:

“We were ready to do it [putting Russia’s nuclear arsenal on alert]. Russian people live there, they are in danger, we cannot leave them. It was not us who committed to coup, it was the nationalists and people with extreme beliefs. I do not think this is actually anyone’s wish – to turn it into a global conflict.”

As Kiev stands on the precipice, it will be good for the neocons, the neoliberals and their European lackeys to consider the consequences of advising Kiev to jump or not. Giving the nuclear go-ahead to a Ukrainian leadership so unstable and detached from reality may just be the spark that sets off Armageddon.

*

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

Federico Pieraccini is an independent freelance writer specialized in international affairs, conflicts, politics and strategies. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from SCF

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Ukraine Has the Capabilities to Develop Nuclear Weapons: How will Russia React?
  • Tags: ,

Palestine: Religion as a Tool of Colonial Domination

December 13th, 2018 by Hanief Haider

As leaders from all around the world gathered to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of a war meant to end all wars, the aftermath of the bloody conflict nevertheless continue to resonate in many parts of the globe today.

Author and researcher Hanief Haider traces some of the trends and maneuvers from the pre-World War I era, such as Great Britain’s use of religious fervor to influence affairs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), which persist today.

In all of this, the Palestinian issue has been slowly marginalized from mainstream discourse by Western media while it pursued its neoliberal agenda in the MENA region.

There is a belief among some that the United States was using religious fundamentalism in partnership with Saudi Arabia only from the late 1970’s to achieve its geopolitical objectives in the MENA region.

But this manipulation of the Abrahamic religions goes further back in history when the Irish revolution broke out in 1916.

Northern Ireland was predominantly Protestant but they were linked to English capital by acquiring dominance in vital industries like cotton, linen and shipbuilding towards the end of the 19th century.

Unwilling to lose this lucrative base of capital investment, the English Tories were prepared to condone and assist the open rebellion of Ulster Loyalists in order to prevent Irish independence.

Mainstream media even up till now portrays the 1919-1921 War of Independence as an anti-Protestant sectarian war, which was not the case. Protestants who found themselves in predominantly Catholic districts were not specifically targeted.

Even Protestants among the working class were in favor of independence.

In their 2013 book Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War, historians Gerry and James McGregor say that age-old religious animosities were deliberately stirred in order to coerce the Protestant majority in the north into a state of potential conflict with the predominantly Catholic South.

Both were armed by the London elite with weapons purchased in Germany.

If civil war had broken out then Germany would have been blamed using the English press as the elite’s bullhorn for propaganda.

Author and philosopher Raoul Martinez also sheds light on how the British government repealed press taxes in the latter half of the 19th century thus making the newspapers dependent on corporate advertisers.

Corporate advertisers favored papers that supported their interests as well as the foreign policy objectives of the government of the day.

It was none other than the Manchester Guardian (now Guardian) paper that opened the road for Zionist leaders like Chaim Weizmann to have access to high-ranking politicians in Britain.

These connections at the top of the British political and media hierarchy paved the way for the divisive Balfour Declaration of 1917.

Not only was the famed editor of the Guardian Charles Prestwich Scott and his staff motivated by the strategic importance of the Suez Canal but also impressed by Weizmann’s anti-Russia tirade which opposed the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, says historian Norman Rose in his 1986 biography of the Jewish nationalist leader.

Another paper that was as equally committed to the Balfour Declaration as the Guardian was the London Times. Both their editors were opposed to the 1939 White paper that addressed Arab concern over immigration and landlessness among Palestinians, adds Rose.

Colonialism at war

On the eve of World War I, dominant colonial power in the Middle East Great Britain found itself under pressure from her colonies for self-rule, as was the case with the de facto Irish colony.

To stave off German influence and military power in the region, the Arabs were lulled into believing, in exchange for military assistance against Germany, independence would be granted.

Instead of independence Britain and France came up with the Sykes-Picot agreement seen by many as the spoils of the war.

As the geo-political writer FW Engdahl puts it:

“Sykes Picot placed the most educated and most developed areas of the Arab world which were hungry for independence into the grips of the European colonial powers thus sowing a mistrust and hate towards the West that lasted until the 21st century”.

Great Britain was given Palestine (declared a homeland for foreign Jews); Iraq (oil); Kuwait (oil); Western Iran (oil); Sudan (oil); and Egypt (Suez Canal). France in turn got Lebanon and Syria.

Rule over the Arabian Peninsula before discovery of oil was given to the Arab family of Bin Saud which followed a strict puritanical form of Islam called Wahhabism that dates back to the mid-18th century, which spread forcibly in Shia regions of Oman, into Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, and much later Yemen.

Arm of influence

To ensure continued control over lucrative trade channels like the Suez Canal and valuable natural resources like crude oil, the British directly chose and installed in power corrupt and ruthless despots dependent on British financial and military backing.

They were handpicked despots who used the most reactionary form of the Islamic religion as their legitimacy to suppress any and all dissent coming from secular, national forces and international communism.

In Palestine, the British installed the corrupt Hajj Amin al-Hussaini – an anti-Semite – to the post of Grand Mufti of Jerusalem despite his lack of knowledge on Islam.

It was rather for his role in the anti-Jewish riots that followed after the Balfour declaration of 1917, argues Robert Dreyfuss in Devil’s Game – How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam.

These riots were investigated by numerous British-led commissions and they concluded the reaction by the indigenous population was due to economic and political grievances against the British mandate coupled with unchecked Jewish immigration and land purchases.

Parallel to the rise of al-Hussaini was the nurturing of David Ben Gurion by the British. Although Ben Gurion rose through the ranks of Labor Zionism his ideological outlook was not far from the revisionist Zionists.

The Zionism that leaders such as Theodore Herzl and Chaim Weizmann espoused was relatively liberal where the Jewish state would be secular and democratic and the Jews would not have special privileges.

In The Fate of the Jews – A People Torn Between Israeli Power and Jewish Ethics, historian Roberta Strauss Feuerlicht says that to the right of Herzl and Weizmann were the more conservative Revisionists that celebrated the wars and conquest of ancient Israel as well as the barbarities and inequities that went with it led by the Russian journalist Zev Jabotinsky.

The Revisionists wanted the entire ancient Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates.

End of Britain’s Mandate

The distinction between Ben Gurion and the Revisionists was not that he was a territorial minimalist while Revisionists were territorial maximalists but rather that he pursued a gradualist strategy while they adhered to an all or nothing approach, says Israeli historian Avi Shlaim.

The ‘liberal’ faction of Zionism waned slowly after World War Two. Their disappearance was hastened by Britain’s decision to reverse its decision to partition Palestine as part of the Peel Commission’s 1937 recommendations.

The 1939 White Paper also curtailed Jewish immigration which were viewed as appeasing the Arab states and Muslim world, seen as vital allies in the conflict with the Axis powers of Germany and Italy at the time.

These developments were catastrophic for both the indigenous Arabs and the British Mandate. It was catastrophic as it strengthened the Revisionists’ hand and some became radicalized to the point of attacking British institutions in Palestine.

Among these Jewish fighters, labeled terrorists by the British, were two members that would eventually lead their country – namely Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir – in later years underscoring the drift of the Zionist political movement to the extreme right which exacerbate the struggle for Palestinian nationhood in later years.

Dreyfuss argues that this ‘betrayal’ by Britain – reneging on promises made to various Zionist leaders – did not stop it and France from using the new state of Israel as a stalking horse to topple the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1956 over his move to nationalize the Suez Canal Company after the USA and Britain withdrew financial aid for the Aswan High Dam power project.

Not only did Britain and France find an ally in a right-wing Israeli government to protect its interests but in the background the Muslim Brotherhood was nurtured. The Muslim Brotherhood was founded by an Egyptian Hassan al-Banna in 1928 with a grant from the same Suez Canal Company Nasser nationalized later.

The message of the Muslim Brotherhood soon spread to other countries where the secular nationalist forces together with international communism became a threat to British interests and the pliant authoritarian leaders and monarchs it installed.

The Muslim Brotherhood

Nasser’s actions against British and French interests made him a hero in the eyes of oppressed people everywhere in the Middle East. It split the nascent Palestinian movement between the Islamists based in Gaza, who Nasser tried to crush in Cairo, and the nationalists who allied with Nasser’s vision of Arab nationalism.

Support for the Muslim Brotherhood started declining as the secular, nationalist and communist forces started gaining strength in numbers.

But the Muslim Brotherhood received a massive boost when Israel captured both the West Bank and Gaza in the Six Day War of 1967.

Hamas founder Sheikh Yassin was imprisoned by Nasser but later freed by the Israelis. Under Israel’s watchful eyes, the Muslim Brotherhood begun to lay down their infrastructure with mosques and charity organizations in the occupied territories.

Israel’s formal support for the Islamists occurred after 1977 when the far-right parties came to power in Israel. Menachem Begin who revolted violently against the British over the 1939 White paper became Israel’s prime minister.

Israel’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood extended to other countries like Syria. Animosities intensified after 1973 when President Hafez al-Assad proclaimed a secular constitution for Syria that described the country as democratic, popular and socialist.

Violent Islamist demonstrations soon followed.

When Lebanon’s civil war erupted in 1975- due to Israel’s maneuvers against the ethnically plural state – it drew in Syria which sent troops into Lebanon to protect Christians against predominantly Muslim Palestinians which were better armed and trained, says Patrick Seale in his 1990 book Assad: The Struggle for the Middle East.

This did not go well with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood which carried out assassinations, bomb attacks and other violent actions across Syria until it was violently put down in Hama in February 1982.

The Brotherhood implodes

It is often debated that for a movement to carry out such sophisticated operations against a state known for its security apparatus, the Muslim Brotherhood must depended on support from both Jordan and Israel.

But beginning in 1981, the Muslim Brotherhood began to self-destruct. It attacked countries which were once its sponsors or sympathizers by first assassinating President Anwar Sadat of Egypt – a one-time supporter.

According to Stratfor Worldview Assessment, it threatened the Saudi monarchy from within demanding popular elections and accountability after the fallout of the 1991 Gulf War.

It is worthy to mention that it was the Saudi Kingdom which used the Ikhwan as a bulwark against Nasserist pan-Arab socialist ideas decades earlier.

Lastly, the Muslim Brotherhood turned against Israel when the first Intifada broke out in 1987 through its armed wing Hamas attacking civilian targets like buses and markets with suicide bombers.

*

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

Hanief Haider is a commentator on social and economic issues based in Cape Town, South Africa. He can be contacted on Twitter @haniefhaider

Featured image is from YourNewsWire

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Palestine: Religion as a Tool of Colonial Domination

The mainstream press is tipping its glasses in exultation over the latest regulatory conviction in the anti-Trump, anti-Russia brouhaha. This one comes in form of a upcoming guilty plea by a 28-year-old Russian woman named Marina Boutina. Her crime? Failing to register as a foreign agent of the Russian government.

The press is reporting how Butina has infiltrated the conservative movement by dating a GOP operative, making contacts with the Heritage Foundation, the NRA, the National Prayer Breakfast, CPAC, the Trump administration, and others conservative organizations and people.

This is obviously very scary stuff. I mean, just think about it: The entire conservative movement facing the danger of going Red, or at least pro-Russia. Then it’s just a matter of time before the U.S. government falls to the commies, or least the Russkies under former KGB officer Vladimir Putin.

Pardon the Red slip but all this anti-Russia brouhaha really does remind me of the Cold War, when the U.S. national-security establishment was warning Americans of the danger of communist infiltration within our nation. The main danger, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA maintained, was that posed by the Soviet Union, of which the principal member was Russia. Yes, that Russia, the same country that Butina is alleged to be a secret, unregistered agent for! America, people were told, was faced with a worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the federal government and the rest of the world, a conspiracy that was supposedly based in Moscow. Yes, that Moscow! The capital of Russia!

In his famous Peace Speech at American University, President Kennedy announced an end to the Cold War racket and his intent to befriend the Russians. Of course, we all know what happened to him as a consequence. (See FFF’s ebook JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne and my current ongoing series on the JFK assassination.)

One of the interesting aspects of all this is how Russia’s strategy to supposedly take over America has shifted since the Cold War. Back then, the strategy was supposedly to conquer us by force by causing the dominoes to falling places like Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba. The final big domino was going to be the United States.

Today, on the other hand, the Russian strategy is obviously to try to make friends with the United States, just as Kennedy was trying to do with Russia when he was assassinated. In dating a GOP operative, making contacts with conservatives, and attending conservative conferences, Butina was clearly part of this nefarious plan on the part of Russia to befriend the United States.

But here’s my question: Why is dating a Republican, attending conservative conferences, and making contacts with conservatives and members of the Trump administration a criminal offense here in the United States. Aren’t such activities protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?

After all, we are clearly talking about actions that involve freedom of speech and freedom of association. Before anyone says that Butina is a Russian and, therefore, isn’t entitled to exercise such rights here in the United States, let’s remind ourselves of what our Declaration of independence states: that all people, not just Americans, are endowed with fundamental, God-given rights with which no government can legitimately interfere, not even the U.S. government.

Okay, you might say, but Butina isn’t being convicted of doing those things. Why, she’s not even being convicted of spying, which is what the mainstream press continues to allege about her nefarious dating, contacts, and conference activities. She’s being convicted of failing to register as a Russian foreign agent.

Now, this might shock you and maybe even scare you, but under U.S. law it’s not illegal for Butina or anyone else to be an agent of the Russian government. It’s only illegal to fail to sign an official U.S. government registry disclosing that a person is acting as an agent for the Russia government (or any other foreign government).

Is that not sort of weird? In other words, it’s legal for a Russian to befriend the United States, including lobbying the president and the members of Congress. But the person doing the befriending is simply required to sign an official U.S. registry indicating that he or she is acting on behalf of the Russian government.

But given that everyone, including Butina and every other Russian, has the fundamental, natural, God-given rights to engage in freedom of speech and freedom of association, then why in the world must she register in order to exercise such rights? Doesn’t a registration requirement convert these rights into privileges rather than rights?

It turns out that this foreign-registration law, not surprisingly, was enacted in 1938 by the Franklin Roosevelt administration, no doubt as part of FDR’s welfare-warfare state revolution that he was implementing in the United States. At that time, federal officials were inculcating a fear of Nazi Germany into the American people and, ironically, a mindset of friendship toward Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union into the American people, who were strongly opposed to entry into World War II. Ironically, after FDR succeeded in pulling the U.S. into the war, his successor President Truman succeeded in making Hitler’s wartime enemy and America’s wartime partner, the Soviet Union, into America’s postwar official Cold War enemy.

Thus, that was what the Cold War was all about — keeping Americans afraid, very afraid, that the Russians were coming to get them. That deep fear lasted until 1989, when the Soviet Union unilaterally and surprisingly ended the Cold War, thereby depriving U.S. officials of their longtime scary bugaboo. After that, the official enemy became Saddam Hussein, and then terrorists, and then Muslims, and, to a certain extent, illegal immigrants.

But now we have come full circle, with Russia once again an official enemy of the United States. No, there has been no law enacted to that effect. And no, there has been no official declaration of war against Russia. But the Pentagon and the CIA have made it clear, especially through the mainstream press, that Russia is to be considered, once again, an official enemy of the United States. Maria Butina’s conviction for befriending the United States without having first registered her name with U.S. officials confirms that.

*

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

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas.

Vietnam claims that “Israel’s” SPYDER surface-to-air missiles malfunction in tropical environments such as its own and importantly aren’t compatible with its majority-Russian-provided military wares, auguring quite negatively for the self-proclaimed “Jewish State’s” ambitions to expand its influence across the wider “Global South” by means of “military diplomacy” and possibly leading to it eventually falling from its position as the world’s tenth-largest weapons exporter if India soon gets cold feet about its own purchases too.

An unnamed Vietnamese military source told the well-regarded Russian international media outlet TASS that his country was considering abandoning its plans to purchase more of “Israel’s” SPYDER surface-to-air missiles after they reportedly malfunctioned in the country’s tropical environment, which comes just days after India voiced similar concerns about its newfound military-strategic partner’s anti-tank Spike missiles for the exact same reason. In the course of half a decade, “Israel” rose to become the world’s tenth-largest weapons exporter during the five-year period between 2012-2016 according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which noted that 41% of the self-proclaimed “Jewish State’s” sales were to India.

In the event that the US-allied South Asian aspiring hegemon gets cold feet and decides to curtail its purchases of “Israeli” military equipment following Vietnam’s lead, then this could deal a powerful blow to Tel Aviv’s ambitions to expand its influence across the wider (largely tropical) “Global South” by means of “military diplomacy”. The possible consequences of this is that “Israel” would have to prioritize its agricultural and hydrological expertise instead of its military exports if it wants to continue making more inroads in Africa, where it’s trying to become an observer in the African Union as part of its policy of diversifying its previously Western-dependent international relationships.

As for India, it might compensate for the fewer arms purchases that it could make from its previously third-largest military supplier by looking towards its first- and second-largest ones of Russia and the US, respectively, instead. This could see it trying to play each of these rivals off against the other to its ultimate benefit, something that Vietnam is ill-equipped to do because SIPRI notes in the same aforementioned report that it depends on Russia for a whopping 88% of its weapons imports. Hanoi could, however, still look towards the US, but both it and New Delhi would nevertheless have the same issue of American wares not being compatible with their existing Russian ones.

Therein lays the larger problem at play, and it’s that military diversification is a lot more difficult to pull off in practice than it is to promulgate as a political policy, seeing as how such a gradual shift carries with it inherent challenges related to a lack of interoperability and the consequent strategic vulnerabilities that this creates in the prolonged transitional period. For as much as India wants to replace Russian military equipment with the West’s, as it’s proven to be doing and which earned it a CAATSA sanctions waiver from the US for its purchase of the S-400s, it just simply can’t afford to do this at a rapid pace, nor can Vietnam.

India might have been impressed by “Israeli” military equipment and also thought that purchasing more of it could solidify the strategic partnership between the two that was on full public display during Prime Minister Modi’s trip to the so-called “Jewish State” in summer 2017, but just like Vietnam’s quickly realizing, New Delhi might also be experiencing buyer’s remorse after finding out that some of it isn’t so impressive in a tropical environment and obviously isn’t compatible with its Armed Forces mostly-Russian-supplied equipment. This unexpected realization makes one wonder whether “Israel” knew about its products’ faults all along and was misleading its customers or if its military is really so incompetent that they hadn’t the slightest clue until now.

*

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

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.

A high-profile report trumpeted by arch-Brexiteers including David Davis, Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg as their alternative to Theresa May’s Chequers plan has been withdrawn, after a Charity Commission investigation.

The ‘Plan A+’ report was published by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in September. Johnson, the former foreign secretary, hailed it on Twitter as a “fine piece of work”, while Davis, Rees-Mogg and former Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers appeared at the report’s launch.

‘Plan A+’’s lead writer was Shanker Singham, the IEA’s trade policy chief who has been described as the “Brexiteers’ brain”, and whose “unparalleled” contact with influential Brexit-backing politicians has attracted scrutiny.

The report called for the UK to drop EU-style regulation, including the bloc’s strict food production and environmental standards, in order to strike trade deals with other countries around the world.

The IEA is registered as an educational charity. It has been under investigation by the Charity Commission since July, when an undercover investigation by Unearthed, published in the Guardian, raised concerns that the IEA’s work on Brexit may have broken charity rules by campaigning for a specific policy outcome – hard Brexit and a US-UK free trade deal.

On Friday the IEA removed ‘Plan A+’ from its website and deleted its tweets promoting the report. The IEA’s chair of trustees announced in a statement that this followed an investigation by the Charity Commission, the sector’s regulator.

A Charity Commission spokesman confirmed that Friday’s announcement stemmed from a regulatory compliance case it opened after the publication of Unearthed’s investigation.

The Charity Commission’s deputy chief executive, David Holdsworth, said in a statement:

“We made clear to the IEA that the report in question overstepped the line of what is permissible charitable activity and requested that it was removed. We are pleased that the IEA has responded by doing so.”

He added:

“The report was not sufficiently balanced and neutral as required of an educational charity under charity law. We also found that the charity had been undertaking political activity not in line with the charity’s purposes.”

Labour’s shadow Cabinet minister Jon Trickett told Unearthed:

 “I welcome the fact that the Charity Commission has now confirmed what to many of us has been worryingly clear from the start: that the IEA was using the cover of charity law to pursue its extreme free market agenda. Yet we are still none the wiser as to who funds the IEA and many think tanks like it.”

As an educational charity, the IEA is able to accept tax-free donations but must abide by Charity Commission requirements to be politically impartial, balanced and neutral in how it presents information and stick to its charitable object of education.

The IEA’s director-general Mark Littlewood told an undercover reporter, posing as a representative of investors in hormone-reared beef:

“Our principal campaign is on trade arrangements and free trade. We’ll either win or lose in 12 months,” he added.

In a separate meeting during the undercover investigation, Littlewood explained the think tank’s work on post-Brexit agriculture pursued a specific policy goal:

“The key point underlying all of this is that we’ve got to get away from the precautionary principle”, he said, referring to the cautious approach to risk that underpins European environmental regulation.

The comments were made in meetings several months before the September publication of the ‘Plan A+’ report.

Holdsworth said:

“Charitable think tanks are first and foremost charities and need to behave as such. The law is quite clear that charitable think tanks and education charities must retain balance and neutrality in any research work and publications… It is disappointing that the trustees of some charitable think tanks appear not to fully understand their duties.”

He added:

“We will therefore be writing to all charitable think tanks next week with formal regulatory advice to remind them of their duties.”

The IEA now plans to set up a non-charitable arm to ensure it can continue to put forward “firm policy proposals”, the charity’s chair of trustees, Neil Record announced on Friday.

He added:

“We believe it is increasingly unclear what charitable think tank activity is acceptable, and what is not. A worrying precedent is in the process of being set: research papers – and their launches – which put forward firm policy proposals may now fall outside the parameters of what the Charity Commission considers acceptable activity.”

Last year the commission ordered the IEA to withdraw a pre-election press release on Labour’s manifesto and a report it published jointly with the Taxpayers’ Alliance, ‘Policy Proposals for a Conservative Manifesto’, over concerns about partisan bias.

In June a report written by Singham in his previous role at the Legatum Institute, ‘Brexit Inflection Point: The Pathway to Prosperity’, was also withdrawn after a Charity Commission investigation. The watchdog found it “crossed a clear line” by promoting a particular policy outcome and was “not consistent” with the charity’s aims.

The Charity Commission’s investigation into the IEA is ongoing.

*

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

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Plan A+: Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Withdraws Rival Brexit Plan after Charity Watchdog’s Investigation
  • Tags: ,

Turkey has threatened a new plan to launch a military operation against US-backed Kurdish groups in northern Syria.

During the Turkish Defense Industry Summit on December 12, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) “will launch an operation east of the Euphrates in a few days to save it from a separatist terrorist organization”. He slammed the plan of the US-led coalition to establish observation posts along the Syrian-Turkish border, but noted that the TAF will not attack US forces.

“It is clear that the purpose of U.S. observation points [in Syria] is not to protect our country from terrorists but to protect terrorists from Turkey,” Erdogan said.

The towns of Ayn Arab (also known as Kobani) and Tell Abyad are named among the most likely targets of such an operation. For example, Haitham Afisi, the leader of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) told the news outlet Enab Baladi that the advance will target Tell Abyad and several villages around it.

In response, the so-called Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA), an administrative body controlled by the Kurdish militias YPG/YPJ as well as their political wing PYD declared a “total mobilization” in response to Turkish threats. Furthermore, it called on the international community and NATO countries to take a stand against “Erdogan’s aggressive plans”.

The DAA even called on the Damascus government, which YPG and SDF-affiliated entities have repeatedly slammed as an oppressive regime and even as a supporter of ISIS, to take a stand against the possible Turkish advance.

In its first response to the situation, the Pentagon said that any military action into northeastern Syria would be “unacceptable” and a source of concern. Commander Sean Robertson stressed that “dialogue is the only way to secure the border area in a sustainable manner” and that “uncoordinated military operations will undermine that shared interest”.

Meanwhile, US-backed forces have still not been able to deliver a final blow to ISIS terrorists in the Hajin area in the Euphrates Valley. The terrorist group has recently employed at least 6 suicide car bombs to target SDF positions there and at least one of them did reach its target.

*

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

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Video: Turkey Threatens US-backed Kurdish Forces in Northern Syria with New Operation

Suspicious Strasbourg Shootings

December 13th, 2018 by Stephen Lendman

On Tuesday, the day after French President Macron’s national address in response to weeks of Yellow Vest protests for social justice he opposes, offering woefully inadequate concessions, suspicious shootings occurred in Strasbourg, France.

The Macron regime alone benefits from what happened, its timing suspicious. Reportedly, four people were killed, another dozen injured, some seriously, the incident occurring near the city’s Christmas market, a few km from the European Parliament.

Part of the city is on lockdown over what happened. France’s interior minister Christophe Castaner said the nation’s security level was raised to the highest level – a state of emergency not so far declared.

Image result for Cherif Chekatt

Hundreds of French police and military forces are conducting a widespread search for a suspect identified as 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt. Why him and not others is unclear. No motive was suggested for the shootings.

Police claim he was seen leaving the area after the shootings by taxi. Is he responsible for what happened or a convenient patsy – the case when similar incidents occurred in France, elsewhere in Europe and America.

Was the Strasbourg incident the action of a homicidal killer, a terrorist act, or something more sinister?

Was it staged to heighten fear and shift attention from Yellow Vest protests? Was it a state-sponsored false flag like numerous similar incidents in recent years?

According to French police, Cherkatt is a Moroccan-born Muslim with a criminal record, involving various petty offenses, including robbery, not murder or other violent crimes.

A native of Strasbourg, his local residence was searched several hours before the shootings. He wasn’t home at the time – no explanation given as to why the search occurred.

Authorities claimed they found a rifle and ammunition, four knives, and a fragmentation grenade. Virtually all homes and apartments have various sorts of knives.

Many people own handguns and rifles. Fragmentation grenades aren’t readily available to anyone other than police, security, and military forces. Did Chertoff have one, or was it planted in his residence by authorities?

According to interior ministry official Laurent Nunez, he’s being investigated for possible involvement “in murder and acts of terrorism in relation to a criminal enterprise.”

His record of petty offenses is world’s apart from murder, terrorism, and other forms of violence. Petty thieves aren’t likely to commit mass shootings when never before having been involved in violent acts.

Whoever was responsible for the shootings remains at large. The gunman or gunmen reportedly entered the area through Pont du Corbeau.

Gunfire reportedly came from three locations. Were multiple gunmen involved? Police said the individual they believe is responsible for the shootings left the crime scene by taxi, wounded by gunfire, his whereabouts unknown.

It’s unclear if the official account of the Tuesday incident is accurate or if Chekatt is being used as a convenient patsy for a state-sponsored false flag – aiming to divert attention from Yellow Vest protests and help end them.

Unless proved otherwise with credible evidence, the latter explanation seems most likely.

*

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

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.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on India’s Agricultural Crisis: The Kisan Mukti March by Impoverished Farmers Embodies the Concept of “Revolutionary Suicide”

Stand with Okinawa

December 13th, 2018 by Moé Yonamine

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Stand with Okinawa

Conflict in Yemen Must End Now

December 13th, 2018 by Michael Jansen

The war in Yemen has to end now. There is no time to lose. With every month, tens of thousands of Yemenis join the millions who do not have enough food to survive. In recent weeks, the figure has risen from 13 million to 20 million of Yemen’s 28 million people. The UN estimates that 85,000 children have already died of starvation and disease.

UN agencies are calling for $5 billion to provide food and medical aid for starving Yemenis. With each passing year, cost of humanitarian aid rises by $1 billion.

On the humanitarian front, there has been no breakthrough to reverse the trend of increasing Yemeni dependence on external aid. Instead, conditions for Yemeni civilians continue to deteriorate. The World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organisation are set to release a report on December 13, detailing the worsening humanitarian conditions endured by Yemeni civilians, particularly those living in eight towns controlled by Houthi rebels, where about 2 million children under the age of five years are severely malnourished. At least 60,000 Yemenis have died due to fighting and bombing.

UN-mediated talks in Sweden taking place over the past week seem to hold some hope for military de-escalation, if not yet for a political settlement. Last weekend, the Saudi-sponsored government and Houthi rebels achieved two breakthroughs in their first encounter since 2016.

The first breakthrough involved face-to-face negotiations after three days of indirect talks with UN envoy Martin Griffiths shuttling between the sides. The second breakthrough was an agreement on a prisoner exchange. All captives, estimated to number 15,000, held since the beginning of the three-and-a-half-year war are meant to be released in stages over coming months. Those freed will include high ranking figures held by the Houthis, including a former minister of defence and relatives of UN-recognised President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

This round, convened in the rural village of Rimbo in Sweden, had originally been scheduled for the end of this month, but was brought forward by the looming crisis in Yemen. Civilians face both warfare and a lack of water, food, fuel and medical supplies.

On two key issues, meant to be confidence-building measures like prisoner releases, the sides have had major differences, making it difficult to reach accommodations. The first is reopening the international airport at Sanaa, the Yemeni capital held by the Houthis. The airport remains under blockade by the Saudi air force, preventing direct UN and other humanitarian flights from reaching the city. Consequently, Sanaa and other major cities under Houthi control are dependent for imported food and medical supplies on the Red Sea port of Hodeida, partially blockaded by the Saudis. The majority of Yemenis live in the north and west of the country under the Houthis. This is the second issue.

They reject the government’s demand that Sanaa airport, once the principal gateway for international arrivals of people and cargo, should be used solely for domestic flights and international traffic should be routed through Aden. Flights destined for Sanaa arriving from abroad would be subjected to inspections at Aden.

UN facilitator Griffiths has proposed a ceasefire deal for Hodeida Port. Under this arrangement, both sides would withdraw their forces and establish a joint committee with the government to manage the port with UN supervision. The Houthis are ready to declare the port a “neutral zone” and for the UN to take control, presumably after the withdrawal of their fighters, if the Saudis halt air strikes across the country.

For the Houthis, the smooth and apolitical operation of Hodeida is existential, as 80 per cent of Yemen’s imports and 70 per cent of humanitarian goods flow through Hodeida.

The government rejects neutralising the port and insists it should be placed under the control of the interior ministry’s police as a means of restoring the country’s sovereignty to this area. The government is ready to accept a UN role, even peacekeepers, in Hodeida but not a long-term UN presence.

The delegations have also raised easing fighting around Taiz, 200 kilometres south of Sanaa, where 200,000 civilians are trapped and caught in cross-fire between Al Qaeda, other terrorist factions and local warlords.

US congressional and European governmental pressure to end the war has increased in recent months.  However, US President Donald Trump’s administration continues to provide full support for the Saudi-led coalition, encouraging the government to continue its military campaign to capture Hodeida, in the belief this would force the Houthis to surrender, the objective of the Aden-Riyadh alliance.

Yemen Peace Project Director Will Picard told Al Jazeera that the Trump administration is claiming Iranian support for the Houthis to justify US backing for the war.

The administration “has not blindly bought into Riyadh’s narrative about an Iranian threat in Yemen, rather, it helped to create this narrative”, he stated. “There is a powerful faction within the US establishment that is dead set on starting a war with Iran, and [its members] understand that continuing to back the coalition in Yemen is one way to make that happen.”

Among Trump’s appointees who belong to the anti-Iran clique are Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton and Iran envoy Brian Hook. Soon after taking office, former CIA chief Pompeo convinced Donald Trump to carry out his pledge to his voters to pull out from the 2015 deal, which provides for dismantling Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for easing sanctions. Pompeo also laid down a dozen conditions, most being unacceptable to Iran, to provoke withdrawal. This policy has angered other signatories to the deal: The European Union, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

Bolton has been in government since Ronald Reagan was president (1981-1989) and was involved in the Iran-Contra Affair, a scandal involving the sale of arms to Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, despite of US support for Iraq, in order to transfer the proceeds to the leftist Nicaraguan Contras, who were fighting against their country’s pro-US dictator. Bolton was a signatory of the Project for the New American Century letter to President Bill Clinton calling for regime change in Iraq.  He lobbied for George W. Bush’s disastrous war on Iraq.

Since his recent elevation, Brian Hook has adopted a tough line on Iran, and has been exerting pressure on European and Asian powers to end the purchase of oil from Iran and cut business deals with Iran. Hook had been a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the research arm of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, the official Israeli lobby, and had worked on Iran sanctions with Bolton during the George W. Bush administration.

*

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

First published in October 2018

Britain will be “unequivocally pro-business” after it leaves the European Union, Theresa May has promised American investors. To neoliberal politicians, this was always the endgame.

The prime minister told the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York that the UK will be the low tax, high-skilled place to invest after Brexit.

Speaking days after EU leaders rejected her plans for future trading relations, Ms May will insist she is “confident” a deal can be reached. One wonders from where does this confidence emanate?

Do you get the feeling that Theresa May is setting up the UK/EU trade deal to fail, having primed American corporations and solicited its President in advance – or that she is using the US as a threat to bludgeon EU negotiators into capitulating to her troubled Chequers plan?

My suspicion is that one way or the other a trade deal will be agreed at the expense of the other. Either way, Theresa May will appear to have won something no matter what. But there’s a problem. Any US/UK trade deal will take years to formally agree and its net effect will be to align almost all standards and regulations to theirs.

Even more alarming is that Theresa May has said that the UK has a plan to create an economy which is appealing to investors across the world, with corporation tax the lowest among leading industrialised nations.

In 1978 corporation tax in the UK was 42%. By 1988 it was 25%, in 2008 it was 21%, is currently 19% and targeted to reach 17% by 2020 – with further reductions strongly hinted at. The current rate in Britain is the lowest in the G20 group of industrialised nations.

The two other leading economies of the EU alongside Britain do not compete on corporation tax.  In France, corporation tax is charged at 33.3% and Germany it is 32.9%. Other struggling member states like Italy charge 27.9% and Spain 25%. Only countries like Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia and Lithuania within the EU charge less. That is of course excepting tax havens such as Ireland that can only survive by charging 12.5% on corporate profits through PO Box addresses – that employs no-one.

Most economic experts agree that tax havens and very low tax countries cause unjust laws, political turmoil, increased inequality and discrimination. The reason tax havens are rich countries is simply because very little money is distributed to the rest of the economy – or in neoliberal speak – nothing ‘trickles down.’ In addition, low tax regimes also attract the wrong type of investment and have demonstrably shown historically to be little more than a race to the bottom.

Ms May said:

My message today is that a post-Brexit Britain will be an unequivocally pro-business Britain” stating that Britain will do the “most dynamic and ambitious free trade agreements with old friends and new allies alike.” 

“Crucially we also have a plan to deliver an economy that is knowledge-rich, highly innovative, highly skilled and high quality but with low tax and smart regulation. So let me say this bit very clearly. Whatever your business, investing in a post-Brexit Britain will give you the lowest rate of corporation tax in the G20.”

“You will access service industries and a financial centre in London that are the envy of the world, the best universities, strong institutions, a sound approach to public finance and a consistent and dependable approach to high standards but intelligent regulation.”

This is the language of a Prime Minister that is selling out on Britain as a country. Britain is up for sale to the highest bidder. These are either desperate measures or deliberate actions to prepare corporate America for the deregulation festival that will be on offer come April 2019.

Ms May was dealt a humiliating blow at a summit of EU leaders in Salzburg last week when they rejected her Chequers blueprint for post-Brexit relations. Was this plan designed to fail or was it designed to threaten?

Craig Murray, ex British ambassador commented:

The humiliation of Salzburg occurred because there was never a chance of any sympathy from EU member states for an attempt to dishonour the agreement (backstop” on North/South Ireland relations) of nine months ago. There is no way out of that conundrum. The government has belatedly remembered the existence of the FCO as a potential tool in international relations, and ambassadors in our Embassies in EU countries are currently staring in bafflement at dense and complex instructions urging them to convince their hosts that black is white.”

Ms May went further:

“Our relationship with the EU will change with Brexit. This is why I am confident we can reach a deal about our future relationship that is built in this spirit.”

Ms May attended the United Nations General Assembly, where she met with Donald Trump on Wednesday evening to push for a post-Brexit trade deal. Put on the table was a desire for a “big and ambitious” post-EU trade deal with America.

The Independent reports that

“such a trade deal is considered an important way for Ms May to help offset the economic impact of leaving the EU in March next year. It was high on the agenda when the prime minister ensured she was the first foreign leader to visit Mr Trump in Washington following his inauguration last year. Support from the US president could boost Ms May’s struggle to win over her critics, who have argued her exit plan is unworkable.”

*

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

Featured image is from the author.

Theresa May’s No-Brexit/Brexit Deal

December 13th, 2018 by Stephen Lendman

First published on November 15, 2018

On June 23, 2016, majority UK voters supported leaving the EU – what Western Europe countries never should have agreed to in the first place – subordinating their sovereignty to America.

The European Union was a CIA creation. Harry Truman’s secretary of state Dean Acheson originated the idea, a way for the US to colonize Western Europe post-WW II.

It was all about Washington wanting control over EU member countries as vassal states, largely doing America’s bidding – even when harming their own interests.

France’s Charles de Gaulle was the only Western European leader against surrendering his country’s sovereignty to the US.

Truman threatened to cut off Marshall Plan aid if France refused to bend to Washington’s will.

Nearly two-and-a-half years after Brits voted for British exit from the European Union (Brexit), Theresa May failed to deliver what she promised.

Her earlier words proved hollow, saying “Brexit means Brexit. Britain won’t remain “half-in (and) half-out” of the EU.

“We do not seek to hold on to bits of membership as we leave. The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. My job is to get the right deal for Britain as we do.”

All along, her support for Brexit was more rhetorical than real. A May 2016 leaked audio recording  caught her as home secretary saying:

“I think the economic arguments are clear. I think being part of a 500-million trading bloc is significant for us.”

“I think, as I was saying to you a little earlier, that one of the issues is that a lot of people will invest here in the UK because it is the UK in Europe.”

“If we were not in Europe, I think there would be firms and companies who would be looking to say, do they need to develop a mainland Europe presence rather than a UK presence? So I think there are definite benefits for us in economic terms.”

“There are definitely things we can do as members of the European Union that I think keep us more safe.”

Her view on Brexit as home secretary contrasts markedly with her remarks as prime minister, indicating opposition to leaving the EU, not supporting it.

It’s up to Britain’s parliament to decide. Many MPs oppose the deal she cooked up with Brussels. Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn called it “half-baked (following over) two years of bungled negotiations,” adding:

It gives MPs a false choice “between a half-baked deal or no deal…a failure in its own terms. It doesn’t deliver a Brexit to the whole country.”

“It breaches the prime minister’s own red lines. It doesn’t deliver a strong economic deal that supports jobs and industry. And we know they haven’t prepared seriously for no deal.”

“Even (Tories) say the the prime minister is offering a choice between the worst of all worlds and a catastrophic series of consequences.”

Former Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage slammed May’s deal, calling it “the worst (one) in history,” urging true Brexit supporters in her cabinet to “resign or never be trusted again.”

May and her cabinet members agreed on a deal critics call shameful capitulation to Brussels, likely what the prime minister had in mind all along – supporting Brexit rhetorically while undermining what it’s supposed to be.

Economic powerhouse Germany is the dominant EU member state. Its Foreign Minister Heiko Mass welcomed what May agreed to, saying:

“I am very happy that the participants of the EU-UK talks have reached preliminary agreements in their Brexit talks,” adding:

“After months of uncertainty, we have finally received a clear signal from the United Kingdom about how the orderly (British) withdrawal can proceed” – rhetorically leaving the union while remaining in fact by acceding to key Brussels’ demands.

The deal involves Britain remaining more in than withdrawn from the EU before end of March 2019 – betraying the majority will of UK voters.

Leaked information about the deal shows Britain will remain in the EU customs union, Brussels “retain(ing) all the controls.” No duties are levied on trade between member countries. A common tariff is imposed on goods entering them.

Brussels is in charge of negotiating trade deals with other countries, not individual member states.

Northern Ireland effectively remains in the EU. Minister of State for Northern Ireland Shailesh Vara resigned over the deal, a major blow to May, saying the following:

“The EU referendum offered a simple choice – to either stay in or leave the EU. The result was decisive with the UK public voting to leave, and that is what we as their elected representatives, must deliver.”

“The agreement put forward however, does not do that as it leaves the UK in a half-way house with no time limit on when we will finally become a sovereign nation.”

“We are a proud nation and it is a say day when we are reduced to obeying rules made by other countries who have shown that they do not have our best interests at heart.”

“We can and must do better than this. The people of the UK deserve better.”

Tory UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab also resigned over May’s capitulation to Brussels, saying:

“I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.”

May’s Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Esther McVey also resigned over opposition to the Brexit deal, saying she had no other choice, telling the PM her agreement with Brussels doesn’t honor the June 2016 referendum result – “fail(ing) to secure the right outcome for the future of our country.”

It’s unclear if May has majority parliament support to approve her deal. Labor MPs and at least some Tories and UKIP parliamentarians oppose it.

Clearly, she failed to deliver what majority Brits voted for – agreeing to subordinate UK interests to Brussels, surrendering British sovereignty to a higher power.

MPs have final say. It won’t be easy getting majority support. Strong opposition may reject the deal – opposed to Brussels retaining control over key UK policymaking.

*

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

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.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

This article was first published by Evolve Politics, posted on GR in April 2018.

It is common knowledge that Theresa May’s husband Philip essentially acts as the unofficial advisor to the Prime Minister – a fact proven by the former Conservative MP for Chichester, Andrew Tyrie, who said during a Newsnight profile of the PM’s husband that “Philip is clearly acting as, informally, an advisor to Theresa. Probably much like Denis did to Margaret Thatcher.”

Whilst it is pretty obvious that almost all married couples act as informal advisors to each other in come capacity, Tyrie’s admission that the Prime Minister’s husband has such a great influence over his wife’s decisions is made all the more worrying by the fact that Mr May – who is a Senior Executive at a £1.4Tn investment firm – stands to benefit financially from the decisions his wife, the Prime Minister, makes.

The fact that Philip May is both a Senior Executive of a hugely powerful investment firm, and privy to reams of insider information from the Prime Minister – knowledge which, when it becomes public, hugely affects the share prices of the companies his firm invests in – makes Mr May’s official employment a staggering conflict of interest for the husband of a sitting Prime Minister.

However, aside from the ease at which he is able to glean insider information from his wife about potential decisions which could go on to make huge profits for his firm, there is a far darker conflict of interest that has so far gone undiscussed.

Philip May is a Senior Executive of Capital Group, an Investment Firm who buy shares in all sorts of companies across the globe – including thousands of shares in the world’s biggest Defence Firm, Lockheed Martin.

According to Investopedia, Philip May’s Capital Group owned around 7.09% of Lockheed Martin in March 2018 – a stake said to be worth more than £7Bn at this time. Whilst other sources say Capital Group’s shareholding of Lockheed Martin may actually be closer to 10%.

On the 14th April 2018, the Prime Minister Theresa May sanctioned British military action on Syria in response to an apparent chemical attack on the city of Douma – air strikes that saw the debut of a new type of Cruise Missile, the JASSM, produced exclusively by the Lockheed Martin Corporation.

The debut of this new – and incredibly expensive – weapon was exactly what US President Donald Trump was referring to when he tweeted that the weapons being fired on Syria would be “nice and new and ‘smart!’”

Every single JASSM used in the recent bombing of Syria costs more than $1,000,000, and as a result of their widespread use during the recent bombing of Syria by Western forces, the share price of Lockheed Martin soared.

Consequently, with the air strikes on Syria having hugely boosted Lockheed Martin’s share price when markets reopened on Monday, Philip May’s firm subsequently made a fortune from their investment in the Defence giant.

Lockheed Martin Share Price Before and After Syria Bombing April 14th 2018 It is obvious that weapons manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin stand to benefit financially from the sales and subsequent use of their weapons in war – and the dramatic surge in the share prices of defence contractors since the so-called ‘War on Terror’ began in 2001 are a testament to this grotesque fact.

The added fact that Investment Firms such as Capital Group are also profiting from these bloodbaths is also disgusting in itself.

But for the husband of a sitting British Prime Minister to be benefitting financially from the very decisions his wife, the Prime Minister, makes on whether or not to send British troops into combat, should make every single person in the entire country, and especially anybody who is still insistent on voting for the Conservatives, feel physically sick.

The Prime Minister took the decision to bomb Syria – without even so much as consulting Parliament – under the full knowledge that her husband’s investment firm would make a financial killing from the resultant bloodbath.

If this isn’t enough to make you sit up and take notice of just how disgustingly corrupt, and morally bankrupt the British Establishment truly is, then surely nothing will.

Get Involved

The only way we will see such disgusting conflicts of interest finally stamped out for good is by taking direct action.

You can follow this link to write to your local MP to ask them to raise the issue of Philip May’s disgusting conflict of interest in Parliament.

  • Posted in Archives, English, Mobile
  • Comments Off on Disgusting Conflict of Interest: Theresa May’s Husband’s Investment Firm Made a “Financial Killing” from the Bombing of Syria