North Korea in the Great Nuclear Game

September 6th, 2017 by Manlio Dinucci

The political-media spotlights are directed at North Korea’s nuclear missile tests. Yet the general context in which these test are taking place is completely obscured. What is this context? An arms race that is gathering pace, that while it maintains a nuclear arsenal capable of wiping out the human race from the face of the Earth, points its heads and high tech carriers that are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

In 2017, the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) considers that North Korea has “fissile material with the potential to produce 10-20 nuclear heads, but there is no evidence available that it has made operational nuclear heads that can be transported by ballistic missiles”. Still going by what the FAS reports, the U.S. has 6,800 nuclear heads of which 1,650 are strategic and 150 are non-strategic, poised for immediate launch. Including the French and British heads (300 and 215 respectively),

Nato nuclear forces have 7,315 nuclear heads, of which 2,200 are ready for launch, compared with 7,000 Russian nuclear heads of which 1,950 are ready for launch. Still, going by what the FAS thinks, around 550 US, French and British heads ready for launch, are stationed in Europe in the closest proximity to Russian territory. The analogy would be if Russia had lined up in Mexico a hundred nuclear heads pointed at the U.S. Taking account of the Chinese bombs (270), Pakistani bombs (120-130), Indian bombs (110-120) and Israeli bombs (80), the total number of nuclear heads is estimated at about 15,000. Of course these are approximate figures, almost certainly default. And the race to nuclear weapons continues while the nuclear heads and nuclear carriers are constantly being updated.

Leading the pack is the United States which is constantly running tests on Minuteman III, its intercontinental ballistic missiles and is prepared to replace them with new missiles (the cost of which is estimated at 85 billion dollars). In 2015, Congress approved a plan (the cost of which is estimated at around 1,000 billion) to fortify its nuclear forces with another 12 submarines for attack (each 7 billion), each armed with 200 nuclear heads, and other strategic bombers (550 million each), each armed with 20 nuclear heads. This is the backdrop for replacing the US nuclear bombs B61, stationed in Italy and other European countries, with the new B61-12, weapons for a first strike. The nuclear forces have also been strengthened by the “anti-missile shield” to neutralize enemy reprisal, such as those lined up by the US in Europe against Russia and in South Korea, not against North Korea but in actual fact, against China.

Russia and China are speeding up the modernization of their nuclear forces so that they do not fall behind. 2018 will see Russia lining up a new intercontinental ballistic missile, the Sarmat, with an 18,000 km range, capable of transporting 10-15 nuclear heads that, entering the atmosphere at a hypersonic speed (more than 10 times the speed of sound), manoeuvre so as to dodge the interceptive missiles piercing the “shield”.

In such a situation, where a closed circle of states maintains an oligopoly over nuclear weapons, where the state that possesses them threatens the state that does not have them, it is increasingly probable that other states will seek to obtain them for themselves … mission accomplished. In addition to the nine states that already have nuclear weapons, there are around another 35 states with the capability to build them.

And yet the newspapers and the news pay no heed to this; they set off the alarm on North Korea, condemned as the exclusive source for the nuclear threat. Also left out of consideration is the lesson that in Pyongyang they say they have learnt: Gaddafi – they recall – had totally renounced every kind of nuclear programme, allowing CIA inspection on Libyan territory. However, this did not save him when the USA and Nato decided to destroy the Libyan State. And so they reason in Pyongyang that if this state had had nuclear weapons, no one would have had the courage to attack it. Such a conclusion can also be extracted from other examples: in the present global climate, it is better to have nuclear weapons than not to have them.

Meanwhile on the basis of this dangerous logic, the probability of nuclear proliferation increases. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted by the vast majority of the United Nations last July, is ignored by all nuclear powers, by Nato members (Italy included) and by their principal partners (Ukraine, Japan and Australia). Fundamentally, there is a large mobilization for insisting that our country is also a party to the Treaty on the Prohibition on Nuclear Weapons and therefore must remove from its territory the U.S. bombs lined up there. The presence of these bombs also violates the Non-Proliferation Treaty which Italy has already ratified. If you lack a political conscience, then at the very least, your basic survival instinct should be triggered.

Article in Italian :

La Corea del Nord nel grande gioco nucleare

ilmanifesto.it

Translation Anoosha Boralessa for Voltairenet

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on North Korea in the Great Nuclear Game

The latest Tom Cruise movie, American Made, manages the incredible — to sympathize with an amoral drug smuggler and government informer whose lies sparked a deadly, early example of fake news. The target of the disinformation was Nicaragua, the authors were the President and his men, and the Big Lie was that Sandinista leaders had struck a deal with the Medellin cartel to smuggle drugs into America. 

While director Doug Limon‘s thrill ride version of Barry Seal‘s story does acknowledge his questionable role in the Contra war, the film is really about an exuberant flyboy — Maverick is back as an anti-hero — who stumbles into high adventures and government conspiracies. The twist (spoiler) is that this time Cruise dies. 

Think Air America meets Mission Impossible and The Parallax View. We’ve seen this movie before, only this time it’s a whitewash of some relevant history.

Bay of Pigs veterans Rene Corvo and Felipe Vidal were “lieutenants”  for John Hull and provided a link between Contras and Cuban exiles. From Iran-Contra Scandal Trading Cards by Salim Yaqub.

Let’s begin with a televised speech by President Ronald Reagan on March 16, 1986. During this appearance Reagan displayed a photograph taken in Nicaragua, reportedly proving that top Nicaraguan officials were involved in cocaine trafficking. As it turned out, this was a lie. There was no real evidence, and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was later forced to issue a low-key “clarification.” 

Still, the smear proved effective as a narrative changer. Like a series of Trump tweets, it distracted attention from an ongoing investigation of Contra involvement in the drug trade. And Barry Seal, apparently the only person who knew the truth about the grainy picture of men loading a plane near Managua, was already dead.

A DEA informant and pilot, Seal was murdered in Baton Rouge on February 19, 1986 — a month before Reagan’s fake news address — reportedly on orders from the Columbian cocaine boss who had arranged the shipments in association with the Contra network. Although the assassins were captured and convicted, some believe that the CIA was also complicit in Seal’s death. 

His activities, and their Contra-cocaine connections, were the subject of several in-depth investigations at the time. But Cruise sought the role because of his interest in Seal as a character.

“I don’t agree with what he was doing, but you can’t help but be utterly fascinated by it,” he told People Magazine. “One of my favorite authors is Mark Twain, and Seal reminds me of one of his characters. It’s not every day you get to play a character who is a devoted husband and father and a drug runner, a CIA operative working for the DEA.”

That’s one way to see it. Another appeared in a report by the International Center for Development Policy, which was directed by former UN Ambassador to El Salvador Robert White. For them, Seal was a dangerous pawn who knew too much. For example, he knew that Columbia’s Medellin cartel was using a ranch owned by John Hull as a shipping point. Hull was a US citizen with CIA and National Security Council connections, and his ranch was also a Contra base for weapons shipments and recruits.

John Hull owned the ranch used by Contras and drug smugglers.

More to the point, Seal knew that the famous photo shown on TV by Reagan was actually taken on US government orders. He had flown into a Nicaraguan airstrip with CIA cameras installed on his plane, snapping pictures that purportedly showed Pablo Escobar and other members of the Medellin cartel loading kilos of cocaine onto a plane. Seal claimed they were being assisted Sandinista soldiers. He even alleged that one of those present was a close associate of Tomas Borge, Nicaragua’s Minister of the Interior. In short, he was circulating disinformation. 

Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Kwitny effectively debunked the accusations, establishing that there was no evidence tying any Nicaraguan officials to the drug shipment. But someone in the White House wasn’t satisfied, and leaked a story about Sandinista links with the Medellin cartel, along with the photo, to The Washington Times. Among other revelations, Edmond Jacoby‘s report discussed Seal’s role and appeared to out him as a government agent. As a result, noted Ambassador White, the Columbian cartel put a $2 million price on his head.

After Seal’s death, Louisiana attorney general William Guste protested the government’s failure to protect their “extremely valuable witness and informant in the country’s fight against illegal drugs.” For him, Seal’s murder warranted a serious inquiry, one that explained why “an important witness was not given protection whether he wanted it or not?”

American Made, which is slated for US release in late September, doesn’t settle this question. But there is an obvious answer: Seal was a loose end and his shipments were just a small part of a much larger, ongoing operation to transport cocaine in exchange for funds to purchase arms. Hull and anti-Castro Cubans had begun to work together in 1983, providing refueling and packaging services on his Costa Rican ranch in exchange for up to $25,000 per shipment from the Columbians.

According to Dan Sheehan, whose interfaith law and policy center dug deeply into the private network that fueled the Contras, the same team continued to smuggle a ton of cocaine into the US each week for several more years. Its street value was $25 million per shipment. Sheehan also claimed that some of the profits were deposited in Miami and Central American banks, then later withdrawn to purchase weapons.

Similar charges were leveled in a civil complaint filed by journalists Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey. They charged that the network was responsible for a bombing in Costa Rica in which Contra leader Eden Pastora and several others were injured or killed. 

Honey and Avirgan discovered that a deal was struck between Hull, the Cuban-Americans and Contra leaders to get rid of Pastora, who had refused to merge his operations with other anti-Sandinista forces. From their Costa Rica base on Hull’s ranch drugs flowed to several distribution points in the US. The profits paid for weapons from Florida, Israel and South Korea, according to the White report. When Pastora declined to cooperate, the network hired a professional assassin to eliminate him. Avirgan was one of those injured in the attack.

Now that would make a great political action thriller, one in which the heroes are independent journalists on the trail of an international conspiracy rather than a smuggler/snitch who facilitated it and got himself killed.

On January 20, 1987, the New York Times revealed that the DEA had known for months that US flight crews transporting arms to the Contras were also smuggling cocaine on their return trips to the US. When told about the investigation, however, one crew member reportedly warned a reporter that he was under the protection of a White House official, Let. Col. Oliver North.

Predictably, the State Department denied all knowledge of Contra involvement in cocaine deals. And the US Customs Service claimed to know nothing about any arms shipments leaving Florida without official clearance. Nevertheless, both the weapons and drugs reached their destinations, and the same network — in which Barry Seal was one cog — conducted both operations.

Oliver North defended the “enterprise” in Congressional Testimony.

Over time, various elements of this covert network, which became known as the Secret Team, were exposed. For example, we learned — and subsequently overlooked — that as Vice President George H.W. Bush and his national security advisers had close ties with the covert air supply operation. Elliott Abrams, then in the State Department and still a foreign policy player, was directly involved in coordinating Contra activities, bringing together State, the NSC and CIA. The Department of Defense organized air drops over Nicaragua and helped to build the Contra infrastructure. The entire inter-agency program was initially under the control of CIA Director William Casey.

The private network that emerged from all these connections used the money obtained from Iran arms sales and other sources to buy weapons and ship them to Central America, South Africa, and Angola. They also worked with operations in both El Salvador and Costa Rica, moving drugs and guns back and forth. But this bigger picture doesn’t feature in Limon’s Catch Me If You Can take on covert war in Central America. 

After elements of the Contra-cocaine conspiracy were exposed, Seal was not the only key witness to die under mysterious circumstances. Still others were threatened, while groups attempting to bring those responsible to justice were burglarized and harassed. It sounded like high-pitched rhetoric at the time, but Christic Institute lawyer Dan Sheehan charged that ultra-right elements were responsible for a pattern of intimidation. In its Central American embassies, he claimed, the US had embedded “a series of fascist and Hitlerite cells.” It’s not as hard to believe thirty years later.

Of course, not everything can be tracked back to the White House, or even to the Intelligence community. But covert operations like those chronicled in American Made did become almost standard operation procedure during the 1980s. And although they were sometimes clearly illegal, they were also widely rationalized as acceptable “initiatives” in defense of democracy.

One powerful excuse, made by President Reagan himself, was that any laws restricting military intervention did not apply to him or his national security staff. It was a bold assertion of unilateral executive power. He and his aides even claimed that, by extension, any attempts to “protect the initiative” — and that included covering it up — are part of the authority flowing from the sovereign president. We may soon hear the same argument again, as more damaging details emerge about Russia, Trump and today’s Secret Team.

Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of “Dons of Time,” “Uneasy Empire,” “Spirits of Desire,” Big Lies, and “The People’s Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution.” His latest book is “Green Mountain Politics: Restless Spirits, Popular Movements.”

This article was originally published by Greg Guma / For Preservation & Change.

All images, except for the featured image, in this article are from the author.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Hollywood Whitewashes History and Covert Ops into “Action Adventure”

Nothing much is surprising anymore.

The Syrian Arab Army recently liberated Deir Ezzor from its ISIS occupation amidst the joy and jubilation of its captive population.

Syrian resident Lilly Martin explains that people have been dying of hunger and illness for years now but that now they are FREE.

Trucks carrying food and supplies are rolling in to feed those who have been starving for years, reports Martin.

She explains that

(s)everal Russian soldiers were killed fighting ISIS in the last few days there, not to mention others who gave their lives and limbs to FREE Syria from the occupation and tyranny of ISIS and other Radical Islamic terrorists. Thank GOD from whom all blessings flow. Syria will now begin celebrating a huge VICTORY.[1]

Celebrations as SAA breaks 4 year long Daesh siege. (Source: Mark Taliano)

Pictures and videos are emerging which show the jubilation of Syrians finally freed from their NATO terrorist captors, and their relief is palpable.

None of this is surprising. We’ve known who the terrorists are and the atrocities that they have been committing for some time now.  Any population freed from the torture, the executions, the starvation, the Sharia law, the coercion, the fear, and the hatred would be relieved.

The reaction from Washington and its allies isn’t surprising either.

Washington is aiding its ISIS field commanders and evacuating its agents for use in other areas. We’ve seen all of this before.

Sophie Mangal reports that

(o)n August 26, the United States Air Force helicopters evacuated two European ISIS commanders along with their families from the settlement of Al-Treif, which is located to the north-west of Deir Ezzor.

In addition, on August 28, the international coalition aviation relocated more than 20 ISIS commanders from AlbuLeil village to a military airbase in northern Syria.[2]

 

The Washington-led coalition and its allies, drenched in high crimes and remorseless, may one day say that “it was a mistake”, but they will never apologize for the holocaust that they have created.

Their pathetic overtures in defeat are testimony this.

Notes

[1] Facebook message shared with friends,  September 5, 2017.

[2] Sophie Mangal,“U.S. Rescues ISIS Field Commanders in Syria. “The Terrorists R Us.’ “ Global Research, September 5, 2017. (http://www.globalresearch.ca/u-s-rescues-isis-field-commanders-in-syria-the-terrorists-r-us/5607626) Accessed September 5, 2017.


Global Research announces the forthcoming release of  the print edition of Mark Taliano’s Book, “Voices from Syria”  which includes two additional chapters. 

Taliano talks and listens to the people of Syria. He reveals the courage and resilience of a Nation and its people in their day to day lives, after more than six years of US-NATO sponsored terrorism and three years of US “peacemaking” airstrikes.

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. 

Special Pre-Publication Offer

**Pre-Order Special Offer: Voices from Syria (Ships mid-September)

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 Liberation of Deir Ezzor. Remorseless in Defeat. The West Evacuate ISIS Commanders

It’s been over three months since the U.S.-led Coalition along with Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have launched concluding phase of the Raqqa campaign.

Despite all promises of the Combined Joint Task Force concerning the end of the operation, the situation on the ground is completely wrong.

Furthermore, it is complicated by a huge number of civilian casualties resulting from indiscriminate US-led air strikes.

According to Reuters, Nowruz Ahmed, a top-ranking Kurdish commander, admitted that nobody could determine the time period in which the battle of Raqqa will end. However,

“the battle to oust Islamic State from its stronghold in the Syrian city of Raqqa should end at least within two months,” she said.

According to many Syrian experts, protracted nature of the Raqqa campaign is due to Washington and its allies aren’t interested in complete elimination of ISIS terrorists. The U.S. most likely intends to push terrorists back from the city to Deir Ezzor. This will prevent the government forces from establishing control over the oil-rich territory.

Such a position is shared by the Iranian government. Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani accused the U.S. of supporting and equipping terrorists in Syria.

“Instead of fighting terrorist elements, Western countries and the U.S. take suspicious measures in line with strengthening terrorism and worsening insecurity in the region,” Shamkhani said.

It also should be mentioned that several months ago mass media reported about the U.S.-backed forces made deal with ISIS terrorists, allowing them to leave Raqqa for Palmyra. By the way, the government troops were actively fighting ISIS to liberate the ancient city at that time. The huge increase in the number of extremists had significantly prevented the SAA from moving forward.

Besides, there’s another reason for a prolonged nature of the military operation in Raqqa. The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) continues to ignore success of the SAA and its allies. In its turn, the government counter-terrorist operation creates enabling conditions for the Coalition’s military progress in Raqqa.

We can assume that the Raqqa campaign will be significantly prolonged. Washington continues to use terrorists as one of the main forces confronting the SAA. Apparently, the White House seeks only for formal gaining in Raqqa and becoming a winner of the battle. However, the total elimination of terrorists is certainly not integrated in the U.S. current administration’s plans.

Anna Jaunger is a freelance journalist at Inside Syria Media Center where this article was originally published.


Global Research announces the forthcoming release of  the print edition of Mark Taliano’s Book, “Voices from Syria”  which includes two additional chapters. 

Taliano talks and listens to the people of Syria. He reveals the courage and resilience of a Nation and its people in their day to day lives, after more than six years of US-NATO sponsored terrorism and three years of US “peacemaking” airstrikes.

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. 

Special Pre-Publication Offer

**Pre-Order Special Offer: Voices from Syria (Ships mid-September)

ISBN: 978-0-9879389-1-6

Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 2 new chapters)

List Price: $17.95

Special Price: $9.95 

Click to order

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on When Will Raqqa be Totally Liberated From ISIS? Washington Is Not Interested in Eliminating the ISIS-Daesh Terrorists

Fake News: Typical Deception by the Mainstream Media

September 6th, 2017 by Eric Zuesse

Here’s a common example of authentically fake-news journalism, the type that’s pervasive in the U.S. — not something like “Saddam’s WMD,” which changed history, but the ordinary everyday type of lies by the American press, being mixed-in with truths so as not to be 100% fictitious, but just enough truths so as to gild the lily of lies that all of the ‘news’media, right and left, glorify, in a bipartisan way, as ‘Truth’, which is the most normal type of American ‘news’-reporting of all — bipartisan, while still being extremely partisan against truth, which is carefully (and assiduously) hidden:

On Wednesday, August 30th, the New York Times headlined “U.N. Peacekeepers in Lebanon Get Stronger Inspection Powers for Hezbollah Arms”, and opened by saying:

The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday voted to renew the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon for another year after addressing American and Israeli complaints that the force was ignoring a Hezbollah arms buildup near Israel’s border.

It went on to say:

The United States had insisted that Unifil must be more muscular in policing [Iran-allied] Hezbollah weaponry, and had suggested that it would not agree to renewing the mandate without significant changes. …

Under compromise language in a Security Council resolution reauthorizing the mandate, Unifil’s soldiers will play a greater role in assisting Lebanon’s military in keeping the border area secure. The resolution requests that Secretary General António Guterres examine ways to “increase Unifil’s visible presence, including through patrols and inspections.”

Both Israel and the United States have grown increasingly strident in recent days over what they have described as a blatant buildup of Iranian weaponry by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon including hidden rockets. They have accused Unifil of turning a blind eye to it. … 

“The status quo for Unifil was not acceptable, and we did not accept it,” [America’s U.N. Ambassador] Ms. Haley said in remarks after the vote.

“This resolution demands that Unifil step up its efforts at a moment when Hezbollah is stepping up theirs,” she said. “Our action today will help ensure that this peacekeeping mission has the power and the will to do its job.”

Israel’s ambassador, Danny Danon, called the renewed mandate “a significant diplomatic achievement that could change the situation in southern Lebanon and expose the terror infrastructure that Hezbollah set up on the border with Israel.”

There was actually no change in anything. And, when U.S. Ambassador Haley said “The status quo for Unifil was not acceptable, and we did not accept it,” she said this immediately after she did accept, and had actually voted for, the status quo — as will be documented here. But the NYT’s ‘journalist’ didn’t challenge her on that — nor on anything.

This ‘news’-report (as the documentation here will prove) wasn’t news, but merely PR for the governments of the U.S. and of Israel (and, though silently, of the Sauds, who, though not even mentioned in this article, also hate Iran and do everything they can to get the U.S. to invade Iran). It’s PR for those governments, which is paid for by the subscribers of, and advertisers in, the New York Times. People buy ‘the news’, and get PR and advertisements. And, the U.S. Ambassador’s allegation, of “Iranian weaponry” and “hidden rockets,” which was stenographically reported here to Americans by the NYT, was just another U.S. government lie, and it was rejected even by allies of the U.S. Instead of reporting the baselessness of her charge, the NYT reported Ambassador Haley’s condemnation of the UNIFIL Commander, for his having said that without documentation being provided for her charge against Iran and against Hezbollah, he wouldn’t believe it. As the Irish Independent newspaper reported (but the New York Times did not), UNIFIL’s Commander “said his troops had not come across any major weapons cache in the UNIFIL-controlled area. He said if there was hard evidence of a cache of weapons, his force would assist the Lebanese armed forces (LAF) in removing them.” Haley was demanding that he accept her statements without the U.S. providing any evidence at all. He refused to do that (perhaps having in mind America’s lies about Saddam Hussein, which had been the basis for America’s unwarranted invasion of Iraq in 2003).

Each year at this time, the one-year mandate for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (abbreviated to “UNIFIL” but incompetently misrepresented by the NYT as being a word, “Unifil,” instead of as being an acronym — which it is, and by which acronym the U.N. calls it), comes up for renewal, as it has been ever since UNIFIL’s creation in 2006.

If one compares the renewal-resolution this year, with the renewal-resolution last year, there is no substantial change, at all. That’s “status quo.” For example, this year’s says:

“12.  Urges the Government of Israel to expedite the withdrawal of its army from northern Ghajar without further delay in coordination with UNIFIL, which has actively engaged Israel and Lebanon to facilitate such a withdrawal

Last year’s version was:

“10.  Urges the Government of Israel to expedite the withdrawal of its army from northern Ghajar without further delay in coordination with UNIFIL, which has actively engaged Israel and Lebanon to facilitate such a withdrawal 

Northern Ghajar is in Lebanon, not in Israel, but Israel freely invades it. The Resolution last year that “urges” Israel to discontinue invading it, has been ignored, as it is every year. (The southern third of Ghajar is actually Syrian, but was conquered by Israel in 1967, and the conquest is internationally considered to be illegitimate, though Israel and its vassal the U.S. consider it to be Israeli territory, and the U.N. tolerates the unjustifiable claim.)

Location of Ghajar

Location of Ghajar (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Israel and the U.S. won nothing from the U.N. on that northern Ghajar matter — they failed to weaken that key clause, at all. They won nothing, actually, on anything.

And, for another central example, this year’s version says that the Security Council:

“15.  Requests the Secretary-General to look at ways to enhance UNIFIL’s efforts as regards paragraph 12 of resolution 1701 (2006) and paragraph 14 of this resolution, including ways to increase UNIFIL’s visible presence, including through patrols and inspections, within its existing mandate and capabilities 

whereas the prior version had made a different “Request” upon that official:

“4.   Requests the Secretary-General, in accordance with global peacekeeping best practices, to conduct by February 2017 a strategic review of UNIFIL, examining the structure of its uniformed and civilian components and related resources, further requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the results of this review

Here was the follow-up on that 4th paragraph, as issued in a news-report from the U.N., headlined, “UN Delegation Visiting UNIFIL to Conduct Strategic Review”, on 16 January 2017:

A UN delegation is currently visiting Lebanon to conduct a Strategic Review of UNIFIL. This is pursuant to a request made by the UN Security Council in its resolution 2305 of August 2016 in order to ensure that the Mission is configured most appropriately to fulfill its mandated tasks.

In line with peacekeeping good practice, it is imperative to keep all peacekeeping operations under close review in order to ensure a rigorous, strategic approach to peacekeeping deployments. UNIFIL and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) have been engaged in preparatory work, including taking stock of progress achieved since the last Strategic Review of 2012.  

The Strategic Review of UNIFIL is aimed at improving the mission’s effectiveness and efficiency, and to ensure that UNIFIL is best configured and resourced to deliver on its mandate. The Security Council confirmed its “strong continuing commitment to UNIFIL’s existing mandate.”

In Lebanon, the UN delegation led by Mr. El Ghassim Wane, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, will be meeting with UNIFIL and Lebanese officials as well as with diplomatic representatives in Beirut.

This delegation led to a “Letter dated 8 March 2017 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council”. That letter stated the extent of compliance and non-compliance with the U.N. measure that had established UNIFIL in 2006. Nothing specific was stated there alleging non-compliance on the part of the Government of Lebanon, but this was stated regarding Israel’s non-compliance:

Intrusions into Lebanese airspace by Israel continue unabated, in violation of Lebanese sovereignty and resolution 1701 (2006). These almost daily overflights run counter to the efforts of UNIFIL to reduce tensions and have a negative impact on the credibility of the Lebanese Armed Forces and UNIFIL. The continued occupation by the Israel Defense Forces of the northern part of the village of Ghajar and an adjacent area north of the Blue Line also constitutes a continuing violation of resolution 1701 (2006). Israel must cease those violations. 

In other words: The U.N. Secretary-General told Israel to stop its brazen non-compliance. Other than that, there was this:

In the review, it was determined that the strategic priorities identified in the strategic review of 2012 remained largely valid but needed to be adapted to take into account the evolving regional dynamics and internal context in Lebanon. It was recognized that failure to meet the political objectives of resolution 1701 (2006), namely a permanent ceasefire and long-term solution to the conflict, increasingly puts at risk the relative calm achieved in southern Lebanon and along the Blue Line. Importantly, there is a need for continued United Nations advocacy efforts and engagement with political and military interlocutors in Lebanon and Israel 

In short: Israel’s continuing blatant violating of the 2006 U.N. resolution “increasingly puts at risk the relative calm achieved in southern Lebanon and along the Blue Line.”

This letter said “The strategic review has identified the following three strategic priorities in the implementation of the mandate of UNIFIL:” and each one of the three was to “Support the efforts of the Government of Lebanon” to, essentially (though not specified there as being addressed to), deal with Israel’s continuing violations — invasions, by Israel, of Lebanon, in violation of the 2006 Resolution.

To understand the deeper context here:

On August 28th, Britain’s Guardian bannered “White House ‘pressuring’ intelligence officials to find Iran in violation of nuclear deal”, and reported that, “US intelligence officials are under pressure from the White House to produce a justification to declare Iran in violation of a 2015 nuclear agreement, in an echo of the politicisation of intelligence that led up to the Iraq invasion, according to former officials and analysts.” Furthermore:

Donald Trump has said he expects to declare Iran non-compliant by mid-October, the next time he is required by Congress to sign a three-monthly certification of the nuclear deal (known as the Joint Comprehensive Programme of Action, or JCPOA). And the administration is pursuing another avenue that could trigger the collapse of the deal.

David Cohen, a former deputy director of the CIA, said it was “disconcerting” that Trump appeared to have come to a conclusion about Iran before finding the intelligence to back it up.

“It stands the intelligence process on its head,” Cohen told CNN. “If our intelligence is degraded because it is politicised in the way that it looks like the president wants to do here, that undermines the utility of that intelligence all across the board.”

In another move reminiscent of the Iraq debacle, the US administration is putting pressure on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to be more aggressive in its demands to investigate military sites in Iran, just as George W Bush’s team pushed for ever more intrusive inspections of Saddam Hussein’s military bases and palaces.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, visited IAEA headquarters in Vienna to press the agency to demand visits to Iran’s military sites. …

“If it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal on 25 July. He hinted it was his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, who had persuaded him to certify the agreement.

It has been widely reported that President Tump requested Tillerson to resign but that Tillerson told him the only way he’ll leave is if Trump fires him. Other reports allege that U.N. Ambassador Haley would be his replacement, and that Dina Powell, another hard-line neoconservative, would replace her at the U.N.

The American CNN ‘news’-network had allowed David S. Cohen to condemn the current President, the Republican Trump on the Iran-issue, because it is a Democratic Party ‘news’-medium; so, they invited him on because he had been appointed to the CIA by the Democratic President Obama, whose Administration had negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran — the very same deal that the Republican Trump has apparently decided isn’t sufficiently neoconservative, and so should be thrown out. Of course, CNN hid that partisanship-information from their audience, because their partisanship on this matter was the same as that of their guest, which is probably a major reason why they had selected Cohen to be a guest to discuss this matter. Though President Obama is a neoconservative, he isn’t quite as much of one as Trump might yet turn out to be, or as Obama’s own Secretary of State (and Trump’s electoral opponent), Hillary Clinton, definitely was. Consequently, not all of the U.S. elite are obsessed against Iran. Unlike the U.S. elite’s virtually unanimous obsession against Russia, Iran-policy is a partisan dispute within the U.S. Establishment. In this regard, it’s like the global-warming issue. So, if Trump decides to invade Iran, he’ll probably have only Republicans on his side.

While the world tries to deal with the aggressions by the oligarchs who control the Governments of Saudi Arabia and of Israel, which are allied together (and both of which hate Iran), and with the aggressions by their shared vassal-government in Washington (which famously also carries out many invasions and coups of its own, especially to eliminate the leaders of nations who are on friendly terms with Russia), the U.S. press does its best to cover-up the international reality, and to portray (such as the New York Times did in this instance) the U.S. as being an admired policeman to the world, seeking to promote peace, when, in fact, all the world (except the U.S. and some of its allies) knows America to be “the greatest threat to peace in the world”

U.S. ‘news’media are highly effective at their PR, to keep the U.S. public — both Republicans and Democrats — in line, to support the Government by America’s aristocracy or ‘oligarchy’. When Americans subscribe to ‘news’media, they are paying to be manipulated. Perhaps this is the way it is in every country, but it certainly is the case in the United States.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

This article was originally published by Strategic Culture Foundation.


150115 Long War Cover hi-res finalv2 copy3.jpg

The Globalization of War: America’s “Long War” against Humanity

by Michel Chossudovsky

The Globalization of War includes chapters on North Korea, Ukraine, Palestine, Libya, Iran, Yugoslavia, Haiti, Syria and Iraq as well as several chapters on the dangers of Nuclear War including Michel Chossudovsky’s Conversations with Fidel Castro entitled “Nuclear War and the Future of Humanity”.

According to Fidel: “in the case of a nuclear war, the ‘collateral damage’ would be the life of all humanity”.

The book concludes with two chapters focussing on “Reversing the Tide of War”.

“The Globalization of War” is diplomatic dynamite – and the fuse is burning rapidly.”

ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-6-0

Pages: 240 Pages

List Price: $22.95 

Order directly from Global Research

Special Price: $15.00

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.

Conversations on the Dangers of Nuclear War: Fidel Castro and Michel Chossudovsky, Havana, October 2010

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”.

Order directly from Global Research

REVIEWS:

“Professor Michel Chossudovsky is the most realistic of all foreign policy commentators. He is a model of integrity in analysis, his book provides an honest appraisal of the extreme danger that U.S. hegemonic neoconservatism poses to life on earth.”

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury

““The Globalization of War” comprises war on two fronts: those countries that can either be “bought” or destabilized. In other cases, insurrection, riots and wars are used to solicit U.S. military intervention. Michel Chossudovsky’s book is a must read for anyone who prefers peace and hope to perpetual war, death, dislocation and despair.”

Hon. Paul Hellyer, former Canadian Minister of National Defence

“Michel Chossudovsky describes globalization as a hegemonic weapon that empowers the financial elites and enslaves 99 percent of the world’s population.

“The Globalization of War” is diplomatic dynamite – and the fuse is burning rapidly.”

Michael Carmichael, President, the Planetary Movement

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Fake News: Typical Deception by the Mainstream Media

Ghostly Voices Dancing in the Rain

September 6th, 2017 by Edward Curtin

“In the other room Rateau was looking at the canvas, completely blank, in the center of which Jonas had merely written in very small letters a word that could be made out, but without any certainty as to whether it should be read solitary or solidary.” – Albert Camus, “The Artist at Work”

A solitary, early Sunday morning walk in the rain. As I like it, my only walking companion was the soothing sound of rain in the trees and on the lake. From the shallow water at the lake’s swampy edge, a blue heron, perched on one leg, froze my gaze as I stopped and stared. As I turned to walk on, it rose with blue beating wings and soared up through the raindrops, alighting high above out on a limb. The road was flooding as I walked, water streaming down the hill, creating eddies as it met the water backing up from the over-filled lake. The eddies formed whirling patterns, artistic visions running counter to the main current.

My mind swirled with thoughts as I walked and talked to all my ghosts, dead and living, who accompany me everywhere, but whose presence is so palpable in the rain. Their voices seemed to descend with the drops, bouncing off the water and echoing in my mind.

I heard my mother say to me, “Eddy, you were always a contrarian. I worry about you.” Yes, I answered, I am, but you named me, and Eddy is the correct spelling. I’m an eddy, a whirlpool, a contrarian, one who runs counter to the mainstream. But, dear mother, the mainstream is flowing fast toward destruction, carrying everyone and everything with it. We have to reverse course and resist. Please, mother, worry only if I wasn’t walking against the wind.

Through the weeping trees I heard Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk, whisper,

“I told you that someday they will sell us the rain. Everyone and everything is for sale. ‘They’ are the people who don’t understand that rain is a free and useless festival, and because it is gift they wish to control it. The weather modifiers and geo-engineers are working overtime now. Together with the nuclear madmen, they will rain poisonous death upon us all unless we stop them. Remember: to be a contemplative is to be an outlaw. Don’t divorce resistance from contemplation; they are married for life.  Joy and suffering are their children.”

I didn’t reply, just kept walking, sloshing and slamming through the puddles. Merton has an eerie way of insinuating himself into odd private moments, and I didn’t want an extended conversation. I just wanted to enjoy the rain.

The sloshing brought voices from my children’s young years, the exultation as we romped streaming-wet through the wild beating storm, singing at the top of our voices, “If all the raindrops were lemon drops and gum drops/Oh what a rain it would be/I would stand outside with my mouth open wide/ Ah ah ah ah…” I opened my mouth wide, tongue out, and tilted my head back. Ah, the sweet taste of love and joy. I heard my children scream ecstatically, “Yippee!” and whirl and twirl with mouths agape.

On I walked, listening and watching. The rain fell harder, so hard it was difficult to see and all other sounds were completely obliterated. Bubbling up from somewhere came the rhythm of Jacques Prévert’s poem, “Barbara”:

Remember Barbara

It rained all day on Brest that day

And you walked smiling

Flushed enraptured streaming wet

In the rain

That good and happy rain

On your happy face

On that happy town

Oh Barbara

What shitstupidity the war

Now what’s become of you

Under this iron rain

Of fire and steel and blood

And he who held you in his arms

Amorously

Is he dead or gone or still so much alive

Oh Barbara

It’s rained all day on Brest today

Of which there’s nothing left

And here I was walking and wondering in the rain about Barbara and her lover and all the dead and lost in Brest in the “Good War” and whether we will have a sequel or has it already started. I called out to Barbara, but only the wild rain hammered its reply: resist resist resist the warmakers.

The soaking I was getting refreshed me, but now the beating of the rain and the ghostly voices seemed to ping-pong my mind between joy and sorrow, solitude and solidarity, resistance and contemplation, enjoyment and commitment. Did I have the right to enjoy the rain when thousands were dead in South Asian flooding and Houston was under water?

Then my old lugubrious friend Fred surprised  me with something he said to me years ago:

We do not belong to those who have ideas only among books, when stimulated by books. It is our habit to think outdoors – walking, leaping, climbing, dancing, preferably on lonely mountains or near the sea where even the trails become thoughtful. Our first questions about the value of a book, of a human being, or a musical composition are: Can they walk?  Even more, can they dance?

Surprised me because Nietzsche wasn’t exactly a barrel of laughs and I couldn’t imagine him moon-walking with Michael Jackson. Anyway, I was walking, and why was he bothering me about books? I was alone in the rain, trying to enjoy myself.

Then Willie Yeats popped out of the lapping lake, book in hand, and blocked my path. Standing ghostlike in the mist, the crazy Irishman read these words from a poem I had tried to remember to forget:

Seventy years have I lived

No ragged beggar-man

Seventy years have I lived,

Seventy years man and boy,

And never have I danced for joy.

My ghosts were getting on my nerves and Yeats depressed me, so I pushed through him and moved on. Just then, in this melancholy pensive mood, I was startled,not by a voice but by the sight of a mother raccoon, bedraggled by the heavy rain, scurrying past me with a sidelong glance, her baby hanging from her mouth, as she took her kit to a higher, drier home up the hill. My heart quivered. I remembered having read in a book that raccoons take their young out in their mouths for what are called “adventures,” and perhaps this mother had been doing that when the rains came down. It was a beautiful sight, and my mother’s voice came back to me: “Beauty is as Beauty does.” Action, not words. And yet…Weren’t words actions? Or were they useless. Wasn’t Ionesco right?

“If one does not understand the usefulness of the useless and the uselessness of the useful, one cannot understand art. And a country where art is not understood is a country of slaves and robots.”

So I too turned and headed home, my ghostly voices melding into a chorus of song that I can’t fully explain, nor do I want to. Like that blue heron, they were balancing on one leg out on a limb, and I was happy. The rain was still beautiful, and I rejoiced in its baptism, but I knew with Bob Dylan that “a hard rain’sa-gonna fall,” and that there are children to be saved from those intent on raining destruction on their heads. But on my way back, I was still going to kick up the puddles and join Gene Kelly in singing in the rain. And no Puritan cop, haunted by the fear that someone somewhere was happily enjoying himself, however briefly, was going to stop me, even if one stopped Kelly.

Camus was right: the solitary artist works in solidarity with everyone, when he tells the truth.

And to think I thought I walked alone. How funny.

Edward Curtin is a writer whose work has appeared widely.  He teaches sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. His website is http://edwardcurtin.com/

Featured image is from American Friends Service Committee.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Ghostly Voices Dancing in the Rain

The incredible growth of China’s cattle, sheep and dairy production is a visible phenomenon of the past twenty years, but its foundations were laid decades earlier. Seeking to industrialize its hinterland, and exploit its vast wealth of grazing livestock, China created slaughtering and processing facilities across its northern grasslands during the 1950s.

Since the 1980s, much of this infrastructure has been privatized by companies which, like their predecessors, seek efficiency through economies of scale. Brutal competition over price and constant arrival of new domestic and foreign players have encouraged the integration of processing chains, but also sidelined small operators, and created gaps in safety best epitomized by the 2008 tainted milk scandal. Despite steps taken to “green” the production chain, it remains to be seen if such gaps have been adequately filled.

China is among the world’s largest producers and consumers of beef, mutton and dairy. It is by far the world’s largest producer of sheep meat, with a 2013 output that was more than twenty times that of traditional exporters like Australia. China is also the second largest producer of beef, outperforming traditional producers like Argentina. From the 24th largest producer of milk in 1990, China has recently grown to the fourth largest, following only the EU, the US and India.1

The seeds of China’s cattle, sheep and dairy industries were planted over decades, but the visible results are fairly recent. As figure 1 shows, meat production of all sorts has expanded significantly since the 1980s. While pork has remained the quintessential meat, and its production has more than quadrupled, other meats have expanded at an even greater rate, increasing their share of China’s rapidly growing appetite for meat. Encouraged by development policy that prioritized the growth of ruminant meat production (summed up as “stable for swine, active for poultry and fast for cattle and sheep,”) as well as a seemingly insatiable domestic demand, beef, sheep and dairy industries all appear poised for significant further growth.2

Figure 1: Breakdown of Chinese meat production by four major types, 1980 and 20143

The significance of China’s cattle and sheep industries can be understood at least in part from their sheer size. China’s beef, mutton and dairy industries are massive—and they are growing. More than one billion RMB (147 million USD) worth of new beef and mutton contracts were signed at the 2014 industry trade fair in Baotou, and industry observers expect China to overtake the United States as the world’s largest consumer of dairy.4

Video introduction to the 2017 Baotou beef and mutton producers trade and industry fair. From fair website.

But beyond absolute market size, a new generation of Chinese enterprises is also changing and developing the industry as it integrates with global partners, and seeks efficiencies in mass production. Much of the industry today is inhabited by two different worlds, one of an abundance of small peasant household production and another of large concentrated modern farms. Although small household farms that raise less than 10 cows or 30 sheep have the largest proportion of farm ownership, their share of production is declining as intensification rapidly increases (see Tables 1 and 2).

Table 1: Number of Chinese Beef and Dairy Farms at Different Herd Sizes (2011/2014)5

Table 2: Number of Chinese Sheep Farms at Different Herd Sizes (2011/2014)6

The northern provinces of Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang have been at the front line of these changes. While beef production has shifted to agricultural provinces like Shandong and Henan, Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia remain dominant in dairy, and Inner Mongolia alone accounts for 22 percent of sheep production. Leading the way in the intensification of the industry (see Figure 2), new ventures in these northern provinces are being built on an eye-popping scale. Massive sheep farms in western Inner Mongolia aim to capture the Chinese market and envision replacing Australia as Asia’s export supplier of high-quality mutton. A Chinese-Russian joint venture being built near Mudanjiang will house 100,000 head of dairy cattle, more than three times the number at the largest dairy in the United States (and fifty times the 2000-head farms that some in Britain refer to as a “mega-dairy”).7

Figure 2: Percentage change between 2010 and 2014 for the number of Chinese beef farms with an annual inventory of over 1000 head8

The rise of large-scale sheep and cattle industries in China follows a worldwide trend in the growth of factory farming, and in China is both policy- and market-led. The party-state has sought to hasten industry development through a particular bias towards consolidation to large-scale farms as a means of promoting both quality (food safety) and quantity (food security) of meat and dairy production, and of addressing environmental concerns. Yet even as the number of household farms is decreasing, small farms (those with under 50 head) still produce the majority of livestock, and the increasing integration of production chains over long distances has in many cases created new roles for small farmers as specialist contractors. At the same time, consumer and regulatory responses to recent safety scandals have aimed to hold the large producers to greater accountability for quality, and for the overall “greening” of the industry. This complex and ongoing transformation of both production and consumption has commercial, ecological and dietary implications.

Timeline of government policies and industry growth

Trade in grazing animals has a long history in China. Centuries-old distance trade routes connected the grasslands of what is now Inner Mongolia to consumers within the Chinese provinces. Well into the twentieth century, there were lucrative annual drives of sheep into the northern cities, and a brisk trade in Chinese cattle to buyers in Hong Kong, Vladivostok, Osaka and beyond. But the origins of the present-day industry date back most tangibly to the 1950s, when projects associated with China’s first Five Year Plan (1953-1958) aimed to expand and develop animal industries across a strip of provinces from Xinjiang to Heilongjiang. A brief process of pastoral reform (muqu gaige), followed by willing or unwilling organization of newly sedentarized pastoralists into herding communes (muqu gongshe) gradually brought sheep and cattle into the command economy. Under the slogan of “building grassland industry,” iconic projects such as the Gannan Dairy in Lanzhou, and the country’s largest slaughterhouse in Hailar (completed in 1956 and 1957, respectively) supplemented the region’s existing wealth of herded animals with new industrial processing capacity. Although much of this product was destined for overseas markets, especially the Soviet Union and the Arab world, local consumption of meat and dairy in cities adjacent to herding regions remained high, even during periods of great privation such as the Great Leap Forward. At a national level, however, per capita consumption of both meat and dairy remained very low throughout the first three decades.9

The policies of the Deng Xiaoping era prioritized pastoral production for domestic consumption. The 1978 Household Responsibility System, best known for distributing collectively-held agrarian resources to farmers, also incentivized pastoral production by allocating animals and grazing access to herding households. The following year, the Ministry of Agriculture released the “Report on Accelerating the Development of Animal Husbandry Industry,” which aimed to industrialize meat production, and emphasized developing ruminant production.10 This new emphasis was voiced in 1980 when a visiting delegation of agrarian experts was told that China aimed to double per capita consumption of red meat and that most of this increase was expected to come from ruminant grassland animals, which consume less grain than pigs.11 This idea would later be enshrined in the 1992 Straw for Beef production subsidy, later re-named Straw for Ruminants.

While the reemergence of household pastoralism incentivized small producers, it also fragmented production. Increasingly during the 1980s and 90s, new policies emerged to promote consolidation and large-scale production. Subsidies, tax incentives and preferential land rental fees encouraged the transition to factory farms. In 1998, the “Decisions by the Central Committee of the CCP on Several Key Issues in Rural and Agricultural Work” designated companies that reached certain criteria of agricultural development—particularly through scale and vertical integration—as Dragon Head Enterprises (longtou qiye).12 Dairy received special attention, as a cheaper and more sustainable source of protein than meat. Dairy was heavily encouraged in the press (readers of the People’s Daily were repeatedly reminded that producing a kilogram of milk required one tenth the feed as an equal amount of pork) and in policies that established Dragon Head dairy enterprises in the Inner Mongolian cities of Hohhot and Zhalantun.13

By the beginning of the new century, meat and dairy production were poised for takeoff. In 2001, the State Council issued the “Opinion of Accelerating Livestock Development,” which advised for the stable development of pork and egg production, quickening the production of beef, mutton and poultry and emphasizing the development of dairy and fine wool production.14 New industrial capacity in meat packing allowed many producers to begin relocating further from urban markets, making production chains longer but more efficient. The shift was especially pronounced in dairy. Aided by the lower cost and increased capacity of milk powder processing, as well as the 1997 arrival of ultra-high temperature (UHT) processing technology, dairy producers began to concentrate production in new and ever larger facilities in Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang. Industry growth was further precipitated by the 2005 Animal Husbandry Law which emphasized the importance of industrial modernization through the promotion of large-scale farms.

During this time, the increasing availability of feed changed the way that animals were raised, allowing much of the industry to depend less on pastures (including state grass farms) and more on farmed crops. China’s 2001 accession to the WTO introduced a flood of cheap Brazilian soybeans, which were pressed for oil, leaving the residue of pressed husks for animal feed. At the same time, the Heilongjiang corn belt was coming online as the nation’s supplier of feed grain. A 1988 article asking “when will China’s corn belt become its milk belt?” predicted this shift—the definitive answer came roughly a decade later when the southward flow of northern grain eclipsed in calorie terms the northward flow of rice for the first time in roughly a thousand years. Much of this new caloric wealth was Heilongjiang corn moving south for use as animal feed.15 More recently, cattle producers have begun importing high-quality alfalfa hay, largely from the United States. In January of this year, the Ministry of Agriculture issued the “National Alfalfa Industry Development Plan” (2016-2020), which aims to increase domestic alfalfa production, and build integrated hay and dairy farms. The use of more efficient feed, like grain crops or alfalfa hay, is one of the drivers of intensification for meat and dairy production in China.

Figure 3: Locations mentioned in text

Figure 4: Predominant land use classes

Figure 5: Population density

Figure 3 by authors, Figures 4 and 5 from here

The global nature of livestock production, exemplified by the feedstuff trade, expanded in the early 1990s as foreign enterprises were allowed greater involvement in domestic production. In 1990, Nestlé established a joint venture partnership in Shuangcheng (near Harbin) with Shuangcheng Dairy and Food Industry. It accompanied a generational change in the Chinese industry, as iconic state ventures were one by one either shuttered or sold to new owners. The Hailar and Gannan dairies went to Chinese buyers, and the Hailar meat processing plant was purchased by investors from Singapore.16 These processes of internationalization, greater reliance on efficient feedstuff and policy support for vertical integration have spurred the intensification of the beef, sheep and dairy industries in China.

The intensification of sheep, beef and dairy production in the northern provinces was in part a recognition of the region’s natural advantages. With proximity to both grain and grassland, places like Hailar and Qiqihar had long been centers of animal trade, and towns like Anda in Heilongjiang had been producing and exporting milk products (often as butter) for well over a century. The intensification of production during the early decades of the PRC was centered on these provinces, but the limited ability to ship processed dairy (most often as milk powder) meant that most production remained near cities.17 As the market boomed in the 1990s, local governments in places like Baotou and Hohhot began courting these industries as a way of shoring up income as their worst polluting heavy industries were mothballed. Nationally, policy-makers continue to bias intensification with the “National Herbivores Animal Husbandry Development Plan (2016-2020)” through the explicit promotion of large-scale farms and the consolidation of the feed system in order to improve food safety standardization and to meet consumer demand.

Yet government support alone cannot explain everything. The government of Wuyuan County in Bayannuur offered financial incentives to its first generation of industrial sheep farmers, who nevertheless remained unable to produce at a profit. Unwilling to relinquish their subsidies, these ventures eventually resorted to renting sheep from local farmers in order to fool visiting government officials. In contrast, while many newer, successful ventures also enjoy good relations with government, and often preferential land and tax policies, they emphasize that the real attraction of a place lies in its productive advantages, which include the iconic value that certain locations have for consumers, who associate beef, mutton and milk with the romantic image of the grasslands. As one manager described it, “Inner Mongolia is its own brand.”

New business models

The most visible change to the industry has been in quantity—the number of producers, and emergence of super-sized enterprises like the sheep producer Green Grassland (Qingqing caoyuan), or the dairy giants Mengniu and Yili—but just as important is the increasing integration of supply chains at every stage of the production process. Eased by cheap transportation costs, longer production chains have also grown more complex. Seen from any one vantage point, this change might be mistaken for a single shift from one “model” to another, for example abandoning pure pastoralism in favor of higher density stock breeding. But like agriculture, animal industries are grounded in local realities, and their business factors change from year to year. A practice or relationship that has been discovered to work in one place may not work in another, and one that is economical at one time might not be so the next year. The result is that even the largest enterprises do not have a single production chain, so much as a production network, with each node presenting choices and opportunities to change practices, mix and match new suppliers, and outsource or insource individual stages of production.

Consider the pastoral production of the mid-twentieth century. In places like Inner Mongolia or Qinghai, where herded animals were abundant, the value of the live animals was relatively low. Rather, the value was in the processed product—wool, hides or meat—and specifically, the ability to get that product to market.18 The cost of construction of industrial animal processing, such as slaughtering, chilling and shipping facilities was often the difference between development and stagnation. It is largely what separated the quick regional development of Hulunbuir, which was crossed in 1903 by a railway and subsequently enjoyed a succession of Russian, Japanese and Chinese infrastructural investment, and the lagging development of neighboring Xilingol, which did not.19

Large processing complexes such as the sprawling Hailar slaughterhouse became the economic center of entire pastoral regions, and the bottleneck in a linear production chain: until the 1980s, herds of cattle and sheep were driven by nine-man teams into Hailar from as far away as 150km, a process that was both exhausting, and expensive because the animals lost significant weight along the journey. While the reforms of the 1980s have shifted the task of conveyance to professional middlemen, who purchase and deliver livestock by truck, the basic mechanism remained the same because choices for slaughtering, and thus for sale, were highly limited.

Changes since the 1990s have introduced an increasing number of choices at all stages of production. One of these choices is in how the animals are raised, meaning that a great deal of primary production now falls somewhere in between pastoralism and farming. The overall lower cost and increasing availability of grass (either imported from abroad or trucked in from grass farms in places like Jilin) and of different commercial feeds allows farmers to mix different feed styles, for example following one season of grazing with another of farm feeding, or supplementing a grass diet with feed during periods of heavy milking, or before slaughter. Again, many of these decisions will change year to year, depending on the constantly shifting mix in price factors.20

Mega-farms like Green Grassland are the most visible manifestation of this new value chain. Founded in 2014, Green Grassland has 100,000 sheep at its main facility in Wuyuan, and smaller numbers at production sites in Henan and Xinjiang. It also maintains its own facilities for feed production, slaughtering, processing and distribution. People at Green Grassland were universal in their conviction that pure pastoralism has no future in China. While pastoral production is in some ways less expensive, it is also unpredictable, subject to season and weather, and produces a non-standard product that the market no longer wants. By integrating the entire production chain, Green Grassland aims to out-compete pastoral production on quality assurance. With the efficiencies of large scale operations, they now expect to outcompete on price as well.

Green Grass proprietary feed

Feed plant under construction

But even this integrated chain is not an island. Green Grassland does not breed its own lambs: for that it depends on outside breeders in places like Tongliao, 1,400 km to the northeast, where it keeps an on-site facility and buying agent. Last year Green Grassland bought over 100,000 lambs from these small producers, who have grass and feed in abundance, but no market for their adult animals. Besides outsourcing breeding, Green Grassland also commissions local factories to produce some of its feed (a second feed factory is expected to come online in 2018), and rents out use of its slaughtering and packing facilities to other producers. Even a very highly integrated production chain like Green Grassland depends on the outside for services and supplementary income.

Lambs recently arrived from Tongliao to Green Grass farm

A different transformation is taking place within dairy. Like the trade in meat animals, an earlier model of production connected dairy farmers in a linear hierarchy to milking or collection centers (shougoudian) in the village or county. Villages that were designated as milk “bases” were encouraged to specialize in milk production, and perhaps more frequently checked for sanitary conditions, but otherwise remained left largely to their own devices, and like the rest of the industry, constrained by the artificially low price paid for milk.21 Throughout the explosive growth of the 1990s, this segmented model remained the standard—even mega-producers like Mengniu and Yili bought most of their milk from privately operated milking stations. The milk itself came from millions of small producers, each with only a few dairy cows, and often run by former farmers who were new to the industry. After the Fuyang milk crisis of 2003, in which nutrient-stripped milk powder was sold by illegal operators, government action further prompted consolidation of production around a few key players who, it was hoped would have sufficient incentive to police quality control.

The 2008 melamine crisis revealed in spectacular fashion the weakness of this policy. Later investigations implicated every stage—production, collection and purchasing—of milk production to have been susceptible to quality tampering. The subsequent move to scale, outlined in the State Council document 122 “Outline of Program to Consolidate and Develop Dairy Industries” was implemented precisely in order to tighten the integration of production chains.22 Higher-end producers either rely on dedicated suppliers or increasingly produce their own milk on site. The Nestlé complex in Erguna buys exclusively from a number of dedicated suppliers in a 150km radius. The former “dairy base” township of Hake near Hailar is now home to one of these suppliers, which is not only routinely inspected for the health of its animals and sanitation of its facilities but is also required to use milking machinery and feed supplied directly by Nestlé. The result is a higher cost of operations, but also a much higher sale price for their product. The company was very proud of their arrangement with Nestlé and very keen to preserve it. Other companies have variations on this theme: Qingdao-based United Dairy operates industrial dairy plants in Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia, but leases milk cows from local farmers, thus maintaining quality control while avoiding large upfront costs.23

Conversely, the diversity of production systems does leave options, albeit more limited ones, for those who operate outside of these more demanding chains. Cattle and sheep producers in Hulunbuir still sell to the larger and smaller slaughterhouses in Hailar, but many of these are lower tech operations that cater primarily to local restaurants and wet markets: cattle and sheep are delivered and slaughtered before sunrise, and the meat is shipped and sold within a day, all without any further processing. Like the sheep farmers in Tongliao, many large and small cattle farmers in Hulunbuir sell their newly weaned calves to professional buyers, keeping only a portion of the breeding adults.

 Milk and yoghurt vendor in Xining

Scenes from wet market slaughterhouse in Hailar

The difference between these tracks of production is more stark in dairy. In the early 1990s, there were dozens of dairy brands, most of which distributed on a provincial or smaller scale. By 2010, the three largest producers together controlled about 40% of the national market (Mengniu and Yili each enjoy about 16%, Guangming another 8%), with the remainder divided among another 700 smaller producers. By 2012, the share of the top three had reached 60%.24 Most cities have some dairy production nearby, often smaller enterprises with one or two thousand head of dairy cattle. Many of these smaller farms have in reality been wholly or partially bought out by the large producers, who hope to use the name recognition of numerous brand streams. But others remain more independent and survive by focusing on a niche product such as milk powder or dried yoghurt. Others such as such as Great Wall Dairy near Zhangjiakou, or Clear River, Green Pasture Dairy near Hailar operate exclusively in the less technologically demanding end of the local market, producing chilled fresh milk and yoghurt, but not intending to move into more distant markets.

The smallest farmers are often the most adversely affected by these consolidation processes. Those who sell to milking stations generally have no bargaining power on price, while the direct market is fast disappearing—the sight of individual farmers selling milk or yoghurt on street corners is becoming rare even in small towns. Those who do go this route often receive very little for their product, and can only continue to operate because their own production costs are extremely low, but even these may soon be undercut by the national distribution of UHT packed dairy from the major processors.

Ecology

The ecological impact of animal production can manifest in different ways, over the short and longer term. The expansion of primary production in the 1950s, exemplified by significant herd growth in places like Hulunbuir, was made possible in part by the digging of wells, which provided watering stations, but also lowered the water table, thus creating significant problems that were felt years down the road.25 The larger herds also became a problem, not just because of their size, but also because command purchasing encouraged communes to abandon cows in favor of sheep, which breed more quickly, but are more damaging to grass cover (see Figure 3. The early 1980s recovery of cattle herds was in significant part due to the new boom in dairy production.)

Figure 3: Cows as proportion of herd size in Hulunbuir, 1949-1989.26

Under the Household Responsibility System, herders were again allowed to own individual animals, but grazing land remained public, and thus subject to the tragedy of the commons. The more recent policy of allocating blocks of pastureland to individual families was intended to encourage users to take the lead in preserving pastoral resources, but in many cases has done the opposite by clustering animals around fixed facilities like pens and feeding stations, and by preventing the earlier practice of alternating summer and winter grazing grounds.27

Policy concern for rangeland conservation can be traced back to the reform period due to the obvious effects pastoral activity has had on grassland ecology (many estimates claims that “more than 90 percent [of remaining natural grasslands] are degraded”).28 The 1985 Chinese Rangeland Law combined goals of ecological improvement and economic development in the pastoral region, with the advancement of a modern animal husbandry industry. Specifically, this law advocates the establishment of large-scale, intensive farms in the interest of advancing pastoral conservation. Intensive farms are seen as a way to efficiently meet growing consumer demand by shifting from forage to feed and external hay production. Aware of intense degradation of grassland, the Ministry of Agriculture issued the 1988 “Implementation Measures for Carrying out the State Council Decision on the Key Points of Current Economic Policies” in order to shift cattle and sheep production to agricultural provinces like Henan and Shandong.29 Additional policies such as the 2000 “Returning Grazing to Grasslands,” the 2003 Grazing Ban Program and the 2011 “Rangeland Ecological Compensation Program” were all designed to restrict overgrazing, and incentivize grassland restoration. The Chinese government reported 7,569,900 hectares of newly increased grasslands in the year 2014 alone.30

In the same way, the move from grazing to feed farming is not a single ecological phenomenon—it represents both threats and opportunities. One important benefit is that the production of feed crops generally takes place in areas that are more ecologically stable compared to grassland, much of which is dangerously prone to desertification if overgrazed. Besides corn, which is grown on rich but sparsely populated regions of the far north, much of the feed is derived from secondary products, such as the husks leftover from oil-pressed soybeans, or chu, a mixture of green matter (generally corn stalks) that has been crushed into mash and fermented. Investment in processed feed production, and the increasing availability of imported feed like alfalfa hay, have largely eased the price crises of the mid-2000s.31 That does not mean that they are without cost. The extensive use of land and water resources for producing feedstuffs strains China’s already limited resources for human food production, and imports merely shift the environmental consequences of meat and dairy production onto others, most notably the expansion of Brazilian soybean production on reclaimed land from the Amazonian rainforest, an essential part of our Earth’s lungs.

Erosion-prone landscapes in Chifeng and Tongliao. These areas are closed to grazing, and neighboring ones have been newly planted in trees.

The question of waste is similarly complex. Collected animal waste becomes a problem when it is unable to break down naturally and is instead allowed to run into groundwater and streams. Facilities such as the massive dairy near Mudanjiang (and a slightly smaller one near Heihe) have been accused of negligent disposal, allowing waste from tens of thousands of cows to run into the Amur River, and from there out to the open sea. But at least some new enterprises are building such concerns into their production chain. Green Grassland plans to manufacture its sheep droppings into a fertilizer that is specially formulated to the region’s salty soils. Industry action is reflected in new policy documents specifically targeting the utilization of waste, as seen in the 2014 “Regulation on the Prevention and Control of Pollution from Large-scale Breeding of Livestock and Poultry.”

Policies limiting grassland use also feed directly into China’s afforestation plans, an ambitious and strenuously pursued campaign that began in 1978 and eventually aims to plant 90 million acres over the coming decades. From this perspective, feed farming frees up pasture for natural recovery, and in some cases for tree planting. Although these greening efforts are not without controversy, the large meat and dairy concerns have embraced them as willing partners and good corporate citizens. According to an Yili press release, timed for the same day as an important central government statement on environmental protection, the company spent 150 million RMB (24 billion USD) on various conservation projects in 2016 alone.32

Food safety and the Chinese diet

Rising consumption of animal protein—of which beef, mutton and dairy are (from a national perspective) a small but growing proportion—has transformed the Chinese diet. Increasing consumption of dairy, in particular, has been a longstanding priority of generations of nutritionists, agrarian specialists, and the Chinese party-state as a whole. Contrary to popular belief, the custom of consuming dairy was by no means a Western import—as far back as the late Qing, parts of the Northeast were producing, consuming and exporting dairy products, while other regions processed different varieties of fermented or dried cow and water buffalo milk into products that became known local specialties (processing preserves fresh milk, and also denatures the proteins that cause digestive difficulty).33

Figure 4: Breakdown of Chinese meat consumption by four major types, 1991 and 201534 

Milk had a special place in the cultural life of the early People’s Republic. During the 1950s, milk became a symbol of the socialist good life, and amity with the Soviet Union. Decades before the current increase in production made milk products a feature of daily life, state publications like People’s Daily were promoting the health benefits of dairy consumption, especially for children and the elderly. The “milk crisis” of the early 1980s, a shortage of dairy that had Beijing consumers lining up at three in the morning, was one of the first tests of urban confidence in the decade’s reforms.35 Since the 1980s, dairy companies have been publicly promoted as examples of well-run enterprises, and as responsible corporate citizens. Yili was a sponsor and the official dairy supplier of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and following earthquakes in Wenchuan and Ya’an, Mengniu and Yili each donated thousands of cases of milk and milk powder to the disaster victims.36 In 2000, seven central government departments collaborated on a nationwide campaign to encourage students to drink milk for better nutrition. In 2006 Premier Wen Jiabao famously added as hispersonal dream the wish that each child in China would be able to drink one jin (half a liter) of milk per day.37

There has been less focused national support for cattle and sheep production, nor the same kind of visible promotion of meat industries. Where such support exists, it is often from provincial or local level governments who seek the revenue derived from a large producer setting up operations. Even without promotion, domestic demand has grown so quickly that almost none of China’s vastly expanded production of beef and mutton goes to export—at best Chinese production slows the tide of imports from Brazil, Australia and, as of July of this year, the United States.

From the consumer perspective, beef, mutton and dairy products are all highly, and increasingly desirable. Some of this new market represents generational change: while older consumers might once have balked at the strong taste of mutton, or considered beef too troublesome to prepare at home, the arrival of higher quality and pre-prepared meat (such as processed meals or beef jerky) and fast foods such as beef noodles, and of course McDonald’s and its imitators, have made these meats familiar items of daily consumption. In urban supermarkets, pallets of UHT packaged yoghurt milk are a common sight. Yoghurt and various other dairy products—fresh milk, milk powder, milk tea and milk candy—will frequently take up 15% or more of floor and shelf space.

Yoghurt and milk candy on store shelves

The rapid growth of meat and dairy consumption takes place in the context of very high public concerns over food safety, epitomized by frequent stories of meat of questionable provenance (including horrific reports of buns stuffed with dirty cardboard, or rat meat disguised as lamb) making its way into meat filling or the roasted meat sold in street markets. Dairy is especially prone to problems. Chinese state newspapers were reporting on milk adulteration as early as 1980. In 1987, People’s Daily reported that virtually all milk produced in Heilongjiang was adulterated with water, much of which was itself unsafe for drinking.38

The iconic case, and perhaps the tipping point in the industry was the 2008 melamine poisoning scandal. The addition of this toxic industrial chemical to milk artificially boosts protein readings, and its widespread use throughout the industry was responsible for sickening nearly three hundred thousand consumers, of whom at least six infants died of renal failure. The scandal was immediately laid at the feet of Hebei-based Sanlu dairy, but the problem was, in fact, endemic throughout an industry that had become obsessed with cutting costs at every turn. The two largest producers were accused of routinely buying substandard-quality milk from collection stations, which in turn drove down prices paid to small producers, at the very moment that feed had jumped in price.39 Even if sales of the most affected products have since recovered, and now continue more or less unabated, production scandals have left an indelible mark on consumers—witness the daily sight of Chinese tourists in Hong Kong MTR stations filling up suitcases with cans of “safe” milk powder to sell in Shenzhen.

More than anything that came before it, the 2008 scandal was felt across the entire food industry. Executives from Sanlu were harshly sentenced (including some being given the death penalty), and perhaps more to the point, the collapse of market confidence and costs of recalling more than ten thousand tons of tainted milk powder drove the company to bankruptcy. In December of 2008, its assets were sold off at 40% of their original value, while New Zealand’s Fonterra, which had bought a 152 million USD stake in the company, lost its investment entirely. Companies that were not as directly implicated in the scandal fared only slightly better. Mengniu and Yili each lost 80% of their sales in the first ten days, and together suffered direct losses estimated at half a billion dollars. Combined with a second melamine scandal in manufactured pet food, the image of Chinese food safety took a pummeling. Entirely unrelated food exports (such as shellfish) out of Qingdao and Guangzhou all suffered visible losses.40

One clear effect of the crisis has been strong push to consolidation around megafarms. This is particularly clear in dairy, which was already consolidating around large processors before 2008, and has since called for scale in primary production as well. The “Outline of Program to Consolidate and Develop Dairy Industries,” released in the aftermath calls for increased state support for large scale enterprises, and set growth targets for the number of farms with more than one hundred dairy cows.41 Other government policies since the scandal have continued to push this aim of concentrating and consolidating production in the meat and dairy industry.

Other effects remain difficult to assess. Driven on by the wave of consumer outrage, the Chinese government acted quickly to enact the 2009 Food Safety Law, as well as a series of reforms aimed at assisting small farmers who had been squeezed in the price war between the largest producers. Although new safety standards now demand inspection of all food producing facilities, it remains to be seen how the maze of responsible government departments could possibly police a sprawling production base of “millions of small dairy farmers, tens of thousands of milk collection stations and hundreds of milk processors, large and small,” especially since, as one study suggests, economies of scale remain financially incentivized to aim for quantity over quality.42 Clearly, the corporate world is betting on the recovery of the large producers. The pace of acquisitions and cross investment quickly recovered in the years following the scandal, with major names like the French multinational Danone significantly increasing their stake in China’s major players.43

In any case, meat and milk producers now sell safety as their key advertising line. Pastoral and farm-based meat producers each market a different angle: grassland beef and mutton advertise their product as organic and natural, while farm producers such as Green Grassland sell as its primary asset the safety of its internally integrated production chain. At the Baotou beef and mutton industry conference, such concern with food safety was on constant display, with nearly every vendor touting a green production line. The ability to market freshness and safety is especially compelling for milk producers, for whom reputation is integral to brand success. Beyond the obvious step of marketing images of happy cows in green fields, dairy producers have begun encouraging public visits to their facilities. Clear River, Green Pasture Dairy in Hailar, which promotes the safety and freshness of its product, recently had one such event. The websites of large producers such as Yili even promote tours for school children.

A selection of “green meat” ads.

Conclusions

It feels premature to present conclusions for a process that is unfolding and indeed accelerating before our eyes. Yet a few points deserve to be brought to prominence. The first is that by many measures, China’s cattle and sheep industries do appear to be laid on a firm foundation, and poised for significant further growth. Consumer demand continues to grow, even in the face of safety scandals, and the integration of foreign chains introduces a wide variety of opportunities for Chinese producers, from the direct export of Chinese food to the processing of foreign products in Chinese facilities. Ecological considerations are complex and beyond easy characterization. At best, they are a series of tradeoffs: attempts to reverse grassland degradation come at the cost of exporting these problems to other producers, while the efficiencies of large scale production create their own problems of waste disposal, animal welfare and accountability.

Secondly, although the shift to large scale farming is clearly a government priority, the effect of scaled-up production, and influence of foreign and Chinese corporate players is far from clear. The food adulteration scandals of the 1980s and 1990s derived in part from the inability to police, or even trace the thousands of new small producers that had emerged in the early Reform Era. Many had assumed, or at least hoped that increasing foreign investment and the winnowing of the field to a few key players would produce a competition for quality, or at least concentrate accountability for breaches in food safety. The 2008 melamine scandal, which was disproportionately concentrated among the country’s largest dairy producers, proved the opposite—that no holds barred competition for price can just as well produce a race to cut corners. Although the market for milk products has improved, it is still early to predict the long-term effect of the scandal, or of the new food safety laws on production practices, or the appetite of investors or consumers for Chinese products.

Note: In addition to cited sources, this article draws on interviews conducted by DuBois in 2016 and 2017, in and around most of the locations discussed in this article. Unless noted, images are from this fieldwork. Further examination of the historical content is currently under review for separate publication.

Notes

Production statistics from FAO.

“稳定发展生猪和禽蛋生产,加快发展肉牛、肉羊和肉禽生产,突出发展奶牛和优质细毛羊生产” Guanghong Zhou, Wangang Zhang and Xinglian Xu.“China’s Meat Industry Revolution: Challenges and Opportunities for the Future.” Meat Science (2012) 92: 188-196, 189.

FAO.

Baotou; counting both contracts and agreements, Baotou news cites a figure five times as high here. See here.

China Animal Husbandry Industry Yearbook. Beijing: China Agriculture Press (2012). China Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Yearbook. Beijing: China Agriculture Press (2015).

China Animal Husbandry Industry Yearbook. Beijing: China Agriculture Press (2012). China Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Yearbook. Beijing: China Agriculture Press (2015).

See hereherehere and here.

China Animal Husbandry Industry Yearbook. Beijing: China Agriculture Press (2011). China Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Yearbook. Beijing: China Agriculture Press (2015).

See hereRenmin ribao (RMRB) 56/7/4, 57/9/26

10 Peter J. Li. “Exponential Growth, Animal Welfare, Environmental and Food Safety Impact: The Case of China’s Livestock Production.” Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics (2009) 22:217-240. 230.

11 Jacob A. Hoefer and Patricia Jones Tsuchitani, Animal Agriculture in China: A Report of the Visit of the CSCPRC Animal Sciences Delegation. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press (1980), 69

12 Qian Forrest Zhang and John Andrew Donaldson. “The Rise of Agrarian Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics: Agricultural Modernization, Agribusiness and Collective Land Rights.” The China Journal(2008) 60: 25-47. 29.

13 RMRB, 88/7/12, 95/2/10, 99/5/29

14 China Animal Husbandry Industry Yearbook. Beijing: China Agriculture Press (2002):87. This document was first drafted by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1999.

15 RMRB, 88/9/8; Zheng Yougui, et al., “The South-to-North and North-to-South Flows of Grains and Cereals—Changes to Directions and Quantities of Flows of Grains and Cereals between North and South in Contemporary China,” in Thomas DuBois and Huaiyin Li, eds. Agricultural Reform and Rural Transformation in China since 1949 (Brill 2016): 267-286.

16 RMRB 97/2/14

17 RMRB 54/1/29

18 Something similar was seen in early twentieth century Argentina, leading to fairly brutal competition between British and American firms over the processing bottleneck in Buenos Aires.

19 Early twentieth century buyers for the Harbin slaughterhouses concentrated on Hulunbuir, and would only venture to Xilingol when unusually high sale prices warranted the extra cost of transportation to Hailar. After 1980, these costs were often passed onto the seller. China Eastern Railway (CER), North Manchuria and the Chinese Eastern Railway, Harbin, China: CER Printing Office, 1924, 135-150. Xilingol transporation costs are mentioned in Wang Xiaoqiang and Bai Nanfeng, The poverty of plenty. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Macmillan, 1991.

20 Surveys of small dairies in 1930s shows a similar mix of feed strategies.

21 Zhongguo naiye 50 nian (Beijing: Haiyang chubanshe, 2000) 3; China, the livestock sector. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 1987 (unpaginated).

22 Changbai Xiu, K.K. Klein, “Melamine in milk products in China: Examining the factors that led to deliberate use of the contaminant? Food Policy 35 (2010) 463–470. Li Chengguo, et al. eds., Zhongguo naiye shi [History of Chinese dairy] (Beijing: Zhongguo nongye, 2013) 314-321.

23 Jingjing Wang, Mei Chen, Peter G. Klein. “China’s Dairy United: A New Model for Milk Production” American Journal of Agricultural Economics (2015) 97 (2): 618-627.

24 Zhongguo naiye shi, 282. Changbai Xiu, K.K. Klein, “Melamine in milk products in China: Examining the factors that led to deliberate use of the contaminant? Food Policy 35 (2010) 463–470. Shefali Sharma and Zhang Rou. “China’s dairy dilemma: the evolution and future trends of China’s dairy industry.” Washington: Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). (2014): 9.

25 See here.

26 Hulunbeier meng zhi, 810-811

27 James R. Simpson and Ou Li. “Feasibility Analysis for Development of Northern China’s Beef Industry and Grazing Lands.” Journal of Range Management (1996) 49(6): 560-564. The wide diversity of pastoral systems, and the relative ecological impact of different sorts of production are outlined in detail in Caroline Humphrey, and David Sneath. 1999. The end of nomadism? society, state, and the environment in Inner Asia. Durham: Duke University Press.

28 Scott Waldron, Colin Brown and John Longworth. “Grassland Degradation and Livelihoods in China’s Western Pastoral Region: A Framework for Understanding and Refining China’s Recent Policy Responses” China Agricultural Economic Review 2(3). 2010. 298-320. It should be noted that this statistic has been criticized as being over generalized and based on meager evidence. See Emily T. Yeh. “Green Governmentality and Pastoralism in Western China: ‘Converting Pastures to Grasslands.’” Nomadic Peoples (2005) 9 (1-2): 9-30. Over-grazing was one of the top official reasons given for grassland degradation by the Ministry of Agriculture. Limin Hua and Victor R. Squires. “Managing China’s Pastoral Lands: Current Problems and Future Prospects.” (2015) 43: 129-137.

29 Li 2009, 232.

30 National Bureau of Statistics. China Statistical Yearbook, Beijing: China Statistics Publishing House (2016).

31 People’s Daily article called for the industrial production of fermented green fertilizer as early as 1960: RMRB 60/3/5. Zhongguo naiye shi [History of Chinese dairy] (Beijing: Zhongguo nongye, 2013) 294. More recent programs to expand feed production are discussed here and here.

32 See here.

33 Mak Sau Wa. 2012. Milk and Modernity: Health and Culinary Heritage in South China, PhD thesis, Anthropology, Chinese University of Hong Kong.

34 OECD-FAO Agricultural Data.

35 RMRB 81/8/24.

36 See here, RMRB 13/4/22.

37 See here.

38 RMRB 80/3/28, 83/7/11, 84/2/17, 87/7/17.

39 Changbai Xiu, K.K. Klein, “Melamine in milk products in China: Examining the factors that led to deliberate use of the contaminant? Food Policy 35 (2010) 463–470

40 Ruijia Yang, Wei Huang, Lishi Zhang, Miles Thomas & Xiaofang Pei, “Milk adulteration with melamine in China: crisis and response” Quality Assurance and Safety of Crops & Foods, 1, 2 (2009): 111-116. Changbai Xiu, K.K. Klein, “Melamine in milk products in China: Examining the factors that led to deliberate use of the contaminant? Food Policy 35 (2010) 463–470.

41 Zhongguo naiye shi [History of Chinese dairy] (Beijing: Zhongguo nongye, 2013) 290-291.

42 Zhen Zhong, Shufen Chen, Xiangzhi Kong, Megan Tracy, Why improving agrifood quality is difficult in China: Evidence from dairy industry, China Economic Review 31 (2014) 74–83. Changbai Xiu, K.K. Klein, “Melamine in milk products in China: Examining the factors that led to deliberate use of the contaminant? Food Policy 35 (2010) 463–470.

43 See here.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Big Meat: Mega-farming in China’s Beef, Sheep and Dairy Industries

Putin Talks Peace with South Korean President

September 6th, 2017 by Adam Garrie

Russian President Vladimir Putin has met his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in during the course of the Eastern Economic Forum in the Russian city of Vladivostok. North Koran delegates are also present at the Forum.

After the meeting, Putin continued to emphasise the importance of the joint Sino-Russian Double Freeze initiative calling for a cessation of missile tests on both sides of the 38th Parallel as well as a request for the US to cease delivering its controversial THAAD missile systems to South Korea.

Russia and China further call for a cease in military drills between the US, South Korea and Japan while proposing direct talks between Pyongyang and Washington at the soonest possible date.

Putin restated the importance of the double-freeze from the Russian perspective, after conducting private talks with Moon.

The Russian President said,

“It is clear that it is impossible to solve the problems of the Korean peninsula by sanctions alone and pressure. One shouldn’t give in to emotions and drive North Korea into a corner. Without political and diplomatic tools, it is very difficult to shift the situation”.

Putin continued, saying that it was “impossible” to shift the situation in the absence of a careful diplomatic process.

While North Korean delegates are present at the Eastern Economic Forum, it does not appear that they have spoken with their South Korean counterparts although the possibility still remains.

According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov,

“If the parliamentarians of the two neighbouring countries want to hold a meeting on the territory of the Russian Federation, I think we will not have any objections.

Of course, we will be happy to give this opportunity, although it seems to me that such a meeting can happen both on the territory of North Korea and South Korea. The two Koreas have the experience of dialogue, cooperation, and if we can be helpful in establishing an intra-Korean dialogue, we will, of course, always respond to any such proposals with pleasure if they follow on the part of the two Koreas”.

The Eastern Economic Forum continues through the 7th of September.

Featured image is from the author.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Putin Talks Peace with South Korean President

Trump Continues Failed Military Policy in South Central Asia

September 6th, 2017 by Abayomi Azikiwe

Badly damaged from the political fallout surrounding President Donald Trump’s posture towards white nationalists and neo-fascists, the forty-fifth head-of-state has now shifted his focus toward war policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

With the 16th anniversary of the United States and NATO occupation of Afghanistan coming up in October, Trump has sought to justify the escalation of the war in the aftermath of decades of Washington’s failure dating back to the destabilization of the Socialist government of the 1970s and 1980s. It was during this period that the U.S.-backed Islamist groups opposed the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which oversaw social advances inside Afghanistan involving land reform, the rights of women and the maintenance of a secular state.

During Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign he suggested that the war in Afghanistan had been a total failure and would not be a priority of his administration if elected. However, on August 21, the president said that the U.S. troops stationed there would not be withdrawn. Moreover, Trump announced the deployment of 4,000 more soldiers and an escalation in the bombing which has been carried out since 2001.

Trump said that the focus of his policy on Afghanistan would not be nation building. He went on to say that all he wanted to do was kill “terrorists.” Despite the speech delivered before a military audience, this is not a departure from what has already been done over the last 16 years.

Former President Barack Obama often boasted about how many Muslim “terrorists” he had killed in targeted assassinations. Drone attacks escalated under the Obama administration while tens of thousands of additional troops were sent to Afghanistan during his two terms of office.

Consequently, the Trump administration is not making any fundamental changes in Pentagon policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan. Trump is attempting to scapegoat the Pakistan government saying they have received billions in U.S. dollars and have not been considerate of Washington’s wishes for the region. Under Obama the airstrikes inside Pakistan accelerated. The speech on August 21 signals the potential for ongoing bombing operations inside of Pakistan.

The Consolidation of Power Among the Generals

What is never said by the Trump administration and the corporate media which criticizes the presidency around the clock is that thousands of Pentagon and NATO troops have been killed and wounded in Afghanistan since 2001. There have been untold numbers of Afghans and Pakistanis who have lost their lives. Estimates are that several million people have been displaced both within and outside of the borders of the two nations.

In light of the rapid turnover of White House functionaries close to the president, the rise of even more high-ranking military personnel has caught the attention of even the Washington Post. General John F. Kelley was recently shuffled from the director for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to White House Chief of Staff. The departure of chief strategist Steve Bannon on August 18 connotes the further elevation of Pentagon interests in managing the day-to-day affairs of the oval office.

The Washington Post noted in an article written by Robert Costa and Philip Rucker that:

“Inside the White House, meanwhile, generals manage Trump’s hour-by-hour interactions and whisper in his ear — and those whispers, as with the decision this week to expand U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, often become policy. At the core of Trump’s circle is a seasoned trio of generals with experience as battlefield commanders: White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and national security adviser H.R. McMaster. The three men have carefully cultivated personal relationships with the president and gained his trust.” (Aug. 22)

Claiming the military influence on Trump serves as a “moderating” factor illustrates the blurring of lines between the apparent Democratic Party allied corporate media and the hawkish elements among the Republicans. Interestingly enough it has not been the questions of foreign policy and the waging of wars which never seem to end that have divided the two wings of the U.S. ruling class. Antagonizing relations with the Russian Federation, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Cuba and the People’s Republic of China seem to have bipartisan support. The disagreements derive from tactical and procedural issues on how to best implement the imperialist project of Washington and Wall Street.

This same Washington Post article goes on to say:

“Kelly, Mattis and McMaster are not the only military figures serving at high levels in the Trump administration. CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke each served in various branches of the military, and Trump recently tapped former Army general Mark S. Inch to lead the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Together with other allies in the administration, Kelly, Mattis and McMaster see their roles not merely as executing Trump’s directives but also as guiding him away from moves that they fear could have catastrophic consequences, according to officials familiar with the dynamic.”

White Nationalism, Neo-Fascism and Militarism

A campaign speech delivered by Trump in Phoenix, Arizona on August 22 reinforced the ultra-right wing character of the administration. The president praised the role of the police, military forces and the DHS.

Although Trump read a previous press statement ostensibly condemning the racists and neo-fascists, these sentiments were very much in evidence in Phoenix. His labeling of immigrants as criminals and terrorists provides a rationale for the further implementation of repressive measures impacting the majority of people in the U.S. and internationally.

The rally was yet another attempt to mobilize a mass base for his neo-fascist agenda. Belittling his critics within the corporate media as well as the thousands of people who had gathered outside to protest his policies, Trump emboldened his followers who applauded and screamed at every outrageous assertion uttered by the commander-in-chief.

So much so that in the aftermath of the Trump speech police fired teargas canisters, pepper spray and concussion grenades to disperse peaceful demonstrators surrounding the venue to protest the rally. During his gathering Trump praised Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio who was convicted of contempt of federal court and is waiting to be sentenced. The president hinted that Arpaio will be pardoned. Trump said that the pardon would not be announced in Phoenix since it would cause too much controversy. Arpaio enacted law-enforcement measures which many people felt racially profiled and humiliated immigrants.

Capitalism Cannot End Poverty and Low-wage Labor

Despite Trump’s bragging about the 4.3 percent unemployment rate in the U.S., the growth in the second quarter of 2.3, the additional points added to the stock market and the purported creation of over a million new jobs, contrastingly the labor participation rate of approximately 62 percent and the decline in real wages paints a more accurate portrait of the actual social situation prevailing in the country. The promises of massive mining, manufacturing and infrastructural projects remain an illusion waved before the susceptible largely white political base to maintain their allegiance.

Under modern-day capitalism the desire for maximum profitability guides economic policy. The profitability is closely intertwined with the export of capital seeking low wages and minimal resistance from the workers. Therefore the disbanding of the administration’s manufacturing and business councils represents the evisceration of the illusionary promises of better conditions for the distressed population inside the U.S.

Reverting back to the methodology of warmongering and race-baiting as a diversionary tactic is nothing out of the ordinary. Successive administrations have used these ploys in an attempt to confuse the masses. The dissolution of the war machine and the ascendancy of a planned economy operating in the interests of working people and the nationally oppressed are required at this conjuncture.

Republicans and the Democrats have proved incapable of satisfying the needs of the people. It will obviously take a new political dispensation to correct the contradictions that are rising rapidly within the U.S. during this time period.

Featured image is from the author.

  • Posted in Uncategorized
  • Comments Off on Trump Continues Failed Military Policy in South Central Asia

Is Trump Really Going to Terminate NAFTA?

September 6th, 2017 by Andrew Korybko

Unloading his frustrations at the pace of the NAFTA renegotiation talks with Canada and Mexico, Trump tweeted a week and a half ago that “We are in the NAFTA (worst trade deal ever made) renegotiation process with Mexico & Canada. Both being very difficult, may have to terminate?”, thereby implying that he was considering the US’ withdrawal from one of the largest free trade agreements in history. Trump embraced a populist approach on the campaign trail towards NAFTA and this surely isn’t the first time that he’s threatened to pull out of it, but after having already left the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the first day of his Presidency, there’s a certain edge of credibility to what he’s saying. That being said, it’s far from certain that he’ll actually do this, let alone anytime soon, and his words could have just been a tactic to put pressure on his counterparts.

Furthermore, there are a couple arguments as to why Trump isn’t serious in carrying through with this threat.

The first one is that most of the US’ trade is conducted with Canada and Mexico, so abruptly pulling out of NAFTA or initiating a phased withdrawal from it similar to the UK’s Brexit process with the EU could lead to many unintended economic consequences for Americans, whether producers, consumers, or workers. Even though the country could obviously weather any of these consequences, it also needs to be factored in that some segments of American big business would be inordinately affected, and that their globalist lobbyists in the Trump Administration will do whatever they can to prevent their interests from being damaged. This is even more powerful of a force to keep in mind nowadays following the Kelly-McMaster-Pence “deep state” coup in successfully ousting nationalist figures such as Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, and others from the White House.

On the other hand, there are a few reasons why Trump might actually do what he’s implying.

There’s a chance that he’s dead-set on executing one of his main campaign promises, and that he’ll terminate NAFTA if he doesn’t get a better renegotiated deal like he wanted. Relatedly, this would have grand strategic ramifications by fundamentally shaking up the global economy and radically rewiring it. The resultant aftershocks would affect the whole world and could even be paired with tougher economic measures against China, which Trump is also supposedly considering right now. The intent behind this move could then be reinterpreted as a dramatic power play for reshaping International Relations and triggering a domino effect of “economic nationalism” all across the world, which could give the US the edge by being ahead of the pack in this regard while setting into motion large-scale system-changing processes designed to counteract China’s New Silk Road globalization model.

The post presented is the partial transcript of the CONTEXT COUNTDOWN radio program on Sputnik News, aired on Friday Sep 1, 2017:

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 global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare.

Featured image is from the author.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Is Trump Really Going to Terminate NAFTA?

The president of South Korea Moon Jae-in is currently in Vladivostok for the East Asian Economic Summit (EEF), chaired by Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. September 6-7.

A high level North Korean delegation has also been sent to Vladivostok.  

President Moon Jae-in was slated to meet Vladimir Putin shortly after his arrival on September 5 (local time).

The holding of the Moon-Putin talks had been requested by Moscow following a prior meeting at the Blue House in Seoul between president Moon Jae-un and Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation (SCRF). .

The Republic of Korea’s presidential office confirmed that Patrushev also held talks with his counterpart Chung Eui-yong, director of the Blue House (Cheongwadae) National Security Office for President Moon Jae-in. 

While the Moon-Putin Vladivostok talks have been officially confirmed, in all likelihood, the two delegations (North and South Korea) will also meet behind closed doors, with president Vladimir Putin potentially playing a historic role in promoting a bilateral DPRK-ROK understanding, with a view to averting a US led war.  


UPDATE, September 7, 2017

There are no official reports of a meeting between the North and South Korea delegations and no firm evidence as to whether a meeting took place.

The head of the DPRK delegation to the EEF Minister of External Economic Relations Kim Yong-jae, said that the North Korea “will introduce strong countermeasures against the United States’ attempts to exert pressure through strong sanctions.”

President Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation with Donald Trump on September 6, urging the need for a peaceful solution through talks. (See Shanghai Daily, September 7, 2017)

At the meeting between ROK President Moon and Russia’s President Putin, the Russian head of State expressed his opposition to sanctions and an oil embargo, which had been put forth by Moon. Putin nonetheless pointed to an economic cooperation with both North and South Korea: “the two leaders devoted considerable time to bilateral economic relations and joint projects, noting that North Korea could be involved in the transit of energy resources from Russia to South Korea.” ( Russia Rossiya 1 TV “Vesti” news 1700 gmt 6 Sep 17)


It is important to note that president Putin had previously warned the Trump administration that “continuing hostility between the US and North Korea was close to deteriorating into a “large-scale conflict” and said the only way to de-escalate tensions was through talks”. (Daily Express, September 5, 2017) 

Also of significance, Japan’s Prime Minister Abe and President Putin will also be meeting in Vladivostok on September 6, on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum.

 *   *   *

Towards a Bilateral North-South Peace Treaty 

What should be envisaged is the eventual signing of a bilateral Entente between the DPRK and the ROK, with a view to establishing Peace on the Korean Peninsula. In other words, the “state of war” between the US and the DPRK (which prevails under the armistice agreement) should in a sense be “side-tracked” and annulled by the signing of a comprehensive bilateral North-South peace agreement, coupled with cooperation, trade and interchange.

In this regard, what underlies the 1953 Armistice Agreement is that one of the warring parties, namely the US has consistently threatened to wage war on the DPRK for the last 64 years.

The US has on countless occasions violated the Armistice Agreement. It has remained on a war footing. Casually ignored by the Western media and the international community, the US has actively deployed nuclear weapons targeted at North Korea for more than half a century in violation of article 13b) of the Armistice agreement. More recently it has deployed the so-called THAAD missiles, which are also directed against China and Russia.

The US is still at war with North Korea. The armistice agreement signed in July 1953 –which legally constitutes a “temporary ceasefire” between the warring parties (US, North Korea and China’s Volunteer Army)– must be rescinded through the signing of a long-lasting peace agreement.

The US has not only violated the armistice agreement, it has consistently refused to enter into peace negotiations with Pyongyang, with a view to maintaining its military presence in South Korea as well as shunting a process of normalization and cooperation between the ROK and the DPRK.

The fundamental question to be addressed is the following: How can the 1953 Armistice agreement be replaced by a Long-lasting Peace Agreement given Washington’s persistent refusal to enter into negotiations?

If  one of the signatories of the Armistice refuses to sign a Peace Agreement, what should be contemplated is the formulation  of a comprehensive Bilateral North-South Peace Agreement, which would de facto lead to rescinding the 1953 armistice.

This proposed far-reaching agreement between Seoul and Pyongyang would assert peace on the Korean peninsula –failing the signing of a peace agreement between the signatories of the 1953 Armistice agreement.

The legal formulation of this bilateral entente is crucial. The bilateral arrangement would in effect bypass Washington’s refusal. It would establish the basis of peace on the Korean peninsula, without foreign intervention, namely without Washington dictating its conditions. It would require the concurrent withdrawal of US troops from the ROK and the repeal of the OPCON agreement.

Sunshine 2.0. and the Candlelight Movement. The Demilitarization of the Korean Peninsula

Supported by the Candle Light movement, Moon Jae-in’s presidency potentially constitutes a watershed, a political as well as geopolitical landmark.

President Moon Jae-in had worked closely with president Roh Moo-hyun (who pursued the Sunshine Policy). Moon was his chef de cabinet.

President Moon has confirmed his unbending commitment in favor of dialogue and cooperation with Pyongyang, under what is being dubbed Sunshine 2.0 Policy, while also maintaining the ROK’s relationship with the US.

President Moon’s commitment to cooperation with North Korea coupled with demilitarization, will require redefining the ROK-US relationship in military affairs. This is the crucial issue.

Moreover, there are signs of internal disagreement (and conflict) within the ROK government with South Korea’s Defence Minister, Song Young-moo, openly blaming president Moon of leaning in “a direction that strengthens the military standoff,  rather than … dialogue.”

In the present context, Washington controls the ROK Ministry of Defense and has de facto control over ROK foreign policy as well as North South Korea relations. Under the OPCON (“Operational Control”) agreement, the Pentagon controls the command structure of the ROK armed forces.

Ultimately this is what has to be addressed with a view to establishing a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula and the broader East Asian region.

The Repeal of “Operational Control” (OPCON) and the ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC)

In 2014, the government of  President Park Geun-hye postponed the repeal of the OPCON (Operations Command) agreement “until the mid-2020s”. What this signified is that “in the event of conflict” all ROK forces are under the command of a US General appointed by the Pentagon, rather than under that of the ROK President and Commander in Chief.

It goes without saying that national sovereignty cannot reasonably be achieved without the annulment of the OPCON agreement as well as the ROK – US Combined Forces Command (CFC) structure.


As we recall, in 1978 a binational Republic of Korea – United States Combined Forces Command (CFC), was created under the presidency of General Park (military dictator and father of impeached president Park Guen-hye). In substance, this was a change in labels in relation to the so-called UN Command.

“Ever since the Korean War, the allies have agreed that the American four-star would be in “Operational Control” (OPCON) of both ROK and US military forces in wartime …. Before 1978, this was accomplished through the United Nations Command. Since then it has been the CFC [US Combined Forces Command (CFC) structure]. (Brookings Institute)

Moreover, the Command of the US General under the renegotiated OPCON (2014) remains fully operational inasmuch as the 1953 Armistice (which legally constitutes a temporary ceasefire) is not replaced by a peace treaty.

Concluding Remarks

It should be understood that a US led war as formulated by Defense Secretary Mad Dog James Mattis against North Korea would engulf the entire Korean nation.

Given the geography of the Korean peninsula, the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea would inevitably also engulf South Korea. This fact is known and understood by US military planners.

The US sponsored state of war de facto is directed against both North and South Korea. It is characterised by persistent military threats (including the use of nuclear weapons) against the DPRK. It also threatens the ROK which has been under US military occupation since September 1945.

Currently there are 28,500 US troops in South Korea. Yet under the US-ROK OPCON (joint defense agreement) discussed earlier, all ROK forces are  under US command.

What has to be emphasized in relation to Sunshine 2.0 Policy is that the US and the ROK cannot be “Allies” inasmuch as the US threatens to wage war on North Korea as well as South Korea.

The “real alliance” is that which unifies and reunites North and South Korea through dialogue against foreign intrusion and aggression.

The US is in a state of war against the entire Korean Nation.

And what this requires is the holding of bilateral talks between the ROK and the DPRK with a view to signing an agreement which nullifies the Armistice and sets the term of a bilateral “Peace Treaty”.

In turn this agreement would set the stage for the exclusion of US military presence and the withdrawal of the 28,500 US forces.

Moreover, pursuant to bilateral Peace negotiations, the ROK-US OPCON agreement which places ROK forces under US command should be rescinded.  All ROK troops would thereafter be brought under national ROK command.

Bilateral consultations should also be undertaken with a view to further developing economic, technological, cultural and educational cooperation between the ROK and the DPRK.

Without the US in the background pulling the strings under OPCON, the threat of war would be replaced by dialogue. The first priority, therefore would be to rescind OPCON.

What is presented above is a summary of a  longer text prepared in the context of  Prof. Michel Chossudovsky’s presentation at the Korea International Peace Forum’s June 10th commemoration conference, marking  the 30th anniversary of the 1987 June Democratic Uprising (6월 민주항쟁), ROK National Assembly, Seoul, June 10, 2017.

  • Posted in Uncategorized
  • Comments Off on Proposal for a Lasting Korea Peace Agreement: Signing of a Bilateral North-South Korea Peace Treaty

The president of South Korea Moon Jae-in is currently in Vladivostok for the East Asian Economic Summit (EEF), chaired by Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. September 6-7.

A high level North Korean delegation has also been sent to Vladivostok.  

President Moon Jae-in was slated to meet Vladimir Putin shortly after his arrival on September 5 (local time).

The holding of the Moon-Putin talks had been requested by Moscow following a prior meeting at the Blue House in Seoul between president Moon Jae-un and Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation (SCRF). .

The Republic of Korea’s presidential office confirmed that Patrushev also held talks with his counterpart Chung Eui-yong, director of the Blue House (Cheongwadae) National Security Office for President Moon Jae-in. 

While the Moon-Putin Vladivostok talks have been officially confirmed, in all likelihood, the two delegations (North and South Korea) will also meet behind closed doors, with president Vladimir Putin potentially playing a historic role in promoting a bilateral DPRK-ROK understanding, with a view to averting a US led war.  


UPDATE, September 7, 2017

There are no official reports of a meeting between the North and South Korea delegations and no firm evidence as to whether a meeting took place.

The head of the DPRK delegation to the EEF Minister of External Economic Relations Kim Yong-jae, said that the North Korea “will introduce strong countermeasures against the United States’ attempts to exert pressure through strong sanctions.”

President Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation with Donald Trump on September 6, urging the need for a peaceful solution through talks. (See Shanghai Daily, September 7, 2017)

At the meeting between ROK President Moon and Russia’s President Putin, the Russian head of State expressed his opposition to sanctions and an oil embargo, which had been put forth by Moon. Putin nonetheless pointed to an economic cooperation with both North and South Korea: “the two leaders devoted considerable time to bilateral economic relations and joint projects, noting that North Korea could be involved in the transit of energy resources from Russia to South Korea.” ( Russia Rossiya 1 TV “Vesti” news 1700 gmt 6 Sep 17)


It is important to note that president Putin had previously warned the Trump administration that “continuing hostility between the US and North Korea was close to deteriorating into a “large-scale conflict” and said the only way to de-escalate tensions was through talks”. (Daily Express, September 5, 2017) 

Also of significance, Japan’s Prime Minister Abe and President Putin will also be meeting in Vladivostok on September 6, on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum.

 *   *   *

Towards a Bilateral North-South Peace Treaty 

What should be envisaged is the eventual signing of a bilateral Entente between the DPRK and the ROK, with a view to establishing Peace on the Korean Peninsula. In other words, the “state of war” between the US and the DPRK (which prevails under the armistice agreement) should in a sense be “side-tracked” and annulled by the signing of a comprehensive bilateral North-South peace agreement, coupled with cooperation, trade and interchange.

In this regard, what underlies the 1953 Armistice Agreement is that one of the warring parties, namely the US has consistently threatened to wage war on the DPRK for the last 64 years.

The US has on countless occasions violated the Armistice Agreement. It has remained on a war footing. Casually ignored by the Western media and the international community, the US has actively deployed nuclear weapons targeted at North Korea for more than half a century in violation of article 13b) of the Armistice agreement. More recently it has deployed the so-called THAAD missiles, which are also directed against China and Russia.

The US is still at war with North Korea. The armistice agreement signed in July 1953 –which legally constitutes a “temporary ceasefire” between the warring parties (US, North Korea and China’s Volunteer Army)– must be rescinded through the signing of a long-lasting peace agreement.

The US has not only violated the armistice agreement, it has consistently refused to enter into peace negotiations with Pyongyang, with a view to maintaining its military presence in South Korea as well as shunting a process of normalization and cooperation between the ROK and the DPRK.

The fundamental question to be addressed is the following: How can the 1953 Armistice agreement be replaced by a Long-lasting Peace Agreement given Washington’s persistent refusal to enter into negotiations?

If  one of the signatories of the Armistice refuses to sign a Peace Agreement, what should be contemplated is the formulation  of a comprehensive Bilateral North-South Peace Agreement, which would de facto lead to rescinding the 1953 armistice.

This proposed far-reaching agreement between Seoul and Pyongyang would assert peace on the Korean peninsula –failing the signing of a peace agreement between the signatories of the 1953 Armistice agreement.

The legal formulation of this bilateral entente is crucial. The bilateral arrangement would in effect bypass Washington’s refusal. It would establish the basis of peace on the Korean peninsula, without foreign intervention, namely without Washington dictating its conditions. It would require the concurrent withdrawal of US troops from the ROK and the repeal of the OPCON agreement.

Sunshine 2.0. and the Candlelight Movement. The Demilitarization of the Korean Peninsula

Supported by the Candle Light movement, Moon Jae-in’s presidency potentially constitutes a watershed, a political as well as geopolitical landmark.

President Moon Jae-in had worked closely with president Roh Moo-hyun (who pursued the Sunshine Policy). Moon was his chef de cabinet.

President Moon has confirmed his unbending commitment in favor of dialogue and cooperation with Pyongyang, under what is being dubbed Sunshine 2.0 Policy, while also maintaining the ROK’s relationship with the US.

President Moon’s commitment to cooperation with North Korea coupled with demilitarization, will require redefining the ROK-US relationship in military affairs. This is the crucial issue.

Moreover, there are signs of internal disagreement (and conflict) within the ROK government with South Korea’s Defence Minister, Song Young-moo, openly blaming president Moon of leaning in “a direction that strengthens the military standoff,  rather than … dialogue.”

In the present context, Washington controls the ROK Ministry of Defense and has de facto control over ROK foreign policy as well as North South Korea relations. Under the OPCON (“Operational Control”) agreement, the Pentagon controls the command structure of the ROK armed forces.

Ultimately this is what has to be addressed with a view to establishing a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula and the broader East Asian region.

The Repeal of “Operational Control” (OPCON) and the ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC)

In 2014, the government of  President Park Geun-hye postponed the repeal of the OPCON (Operations Command) agreement “until the mid-2020s”. What this signified is that “in the event of conflict” all ROK forces are under the command of a US General appointed by the Pentagon, rather than under that of the ROK President and Commander in Chief.

It goes without saying that national sovereignty cannot reasonably be achieved without the annulment of the OPCON agreement as well as the ROK – US Combined Forces Command (CFC) structure.


As we recall, in 1978 a binational Republic of Korea – United States Combined Forces Command (CFC), was created under the presidency of General Park (military dictator and father of impeached president Park Guen-hye). In substance, this was a change in labels in relation to the so-called UN Command.

“Ever since the Korean War, the allies have agreed that the American four-star would be in “Operational Control” (OPCON) of both ROK and US military forces in wartime …. Before 1978, this was accomplished through the United Nations Command. Since then it has been the CFC [US Combined Forces Command (CFC) structure]. (Brookings Institute)

Moreover, the Command of the US General under the renegotiated OPCON (2014) remains fully operational inasmuch as the 1953 Armistice (which legally constitutes a temporary ceasefire) is not replaced by a peace treaty.

Concluding Remarks

It should be understood that a US led war as formulated by Defense Secretary Mad Dog James Mattis against North Korea would engulf the entire Korean nation.

Given the geography of the Korean peninsula, the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea would inevitably also engulf South Korea. This fact is known and understood by US military planners.

The US sponsored state of war de facto is directed against both North and South Korea. It is characterised by persistent military threats (including the use of nuclear weapons) against the DPRK. It also threatens the ROK which has been under US military occupation since September 1945.

Currently there are 28,500 US troops in South Korea. Yet under the US-ROK OPCON (joint defense agreement) discussed earlier, all ROK forces are  under US command.

What has to be emphasized in relation to Sunshine 2.0 Policy is that the US and the ROK cannot be “Allies” inasmuch as the US threatens to wage war on North Korea as well as South Korea.

The “real alliance” is that which unifies and reunites North and South Korea through dialogue against foreign intrusion and aggression.

The US is in a state of war against the entire Korean Nation.

And what this requires is the holding of bilateral talks between the ROK and the DPRK with a view to signing an agreement which nullifies the Armistice and sets the term of a bilateral “Peace Treaty”.

In turn this agreement would set the stage for the exclusion of US military presence and the withdrawal of the 28,500 US forces.

Moreover, pursuant to bilateral Peace negotiations, the ROK-US OPCON agreement which places ROK forces under US command should be rescinded.  All ROK troops would thereafter be brought under national ROK command.

Bilateral consultations should also be undertaken with a view to further developing economic, technological, cultural and educational cooperation between the ROK and the DPRK.

Without the US in the background pulling the strings under OPCON, the threat of war would be replaced by dialogue. The first priority, therefore would be to rescind OPCON.

What is presented above is a summary of a  longer text prepared in the context of  Prof. Michel Chossudovsky’s presentation at the Korea International Peace Forum’s June 10th commemoration conference, marking  the 30th anniversary of the 1987 June Democratic Uprising (6월 민주항쟁), ROK National Assembly, Seoul, June 10, 2017.

  • Posted in English, Mobile
  • Comments Off on Proposal for a Lasting Korea Peace Agreement: Signing of a Bilateral North-South Korea Peace Treaty

L’Hub Nato che spia il Sud

September 5th, 2017 by Manlio Dinucci

Taglio del nastro il 5 settembre a Lago Patria (Napoli), dove ha sede il Comando della forza congiunta Nato (Jfc Naples): nel suo quartier generale (85000 metri quadri, con un personale di 2500 militari e civili in aumento) viene inaugurato l’«Hub di direzione strategica Nato per il Sud» (Nsd-S Hub). Fortemenre caldeggiato dalla ministra Pinotti, esso ha il compito di «raccogliere informazioni e analizzare una varietà di questioni relative a destabilizzazione, terrorismo, radicalizzazione e migrazione». È in altre parole un centro di intelligence, ossia di spionaggio, la cui attività «si concentra sulle regioni meridionali, comprendenti Medioriente, Nordafrica e Sahel, Africa subsahariana ed aree adiacenti».

Il Comando della forza congiunta Nato, di cui entra a far parte il nuovo centro di intelligence, è agli ordini di un ammiraglio statunitense nominato dal Pentagono – attualmente Michelle Howard della U.S. Navy – che comanda allo stesso tempo le Forze navali Usa in Europa (con quartier generale a Napoli-Capodichino e la Sesta Flotta di stanza a Gaeta) e le Forze navali Usa per l’Africa. Compito del JFC Naples è «pianificare e condurre operazioni militari nell’area di responsabilità del Comandante supremo alleato in Europa e al di là di tale area». Il Comandante supremo alleato in Europa – attualmente Curtis Scaparrotti – è sempre un generale Usa nominato dal presidente degli Stati uniti. Lo stesso generale è allo stesso tempo a capo del Comando europeo degli Stati uniti», la cui area operativa comprende l’intera regione europea e tutta la Russia (inclusa la parte asiatica), più alcuni paesi dell’Asia occidentale e centrale: Turchia, Israele, Georgia, Armenia e Azerbaigian.

Poiché il nuovo «Hub di direzione strategica Nato per il Sud» è sotto il comando dell’ammiraglia Howard e questa, a sua volta, è sotto il comando del generale Scaparrotti, esso è di fatto inserito nella catena di comando del Pentagono ed è funzionale prioritariamente alla strategia statunitense. In base alle informazioni raccolte (o fabbricate) dal Nsd-S Hub la Nato deciderà i suoi interventi militari in Medioriente, Africa e aree adiacenti.

Il centro di intelligence Nato si avvale della collaborazione, oltre che di università e think tank (come l’University College London e l’Overseas Development Institute), di organizzazioni delle Nazioni Unite (tra cui l’Unicef e l’Organizzazione internazionale per le migrazioni) e di organizzazioni non-governative (tra cui Oxfam e Save the Children). Tali organizzazioni, oltre ad essere strumentalizzate quale volto «umanitario» del Nsd-S Hub, rischiano di essere coinvolte, attraverso agenti infiltrati, in azioni di spionaggio e altre operazioni segrete condotte dal centro di intelligence Nato in paesi mediorientali e africani.

Le questioni di cui si occuperà il nuovo centro di intelligence – destabilizzazione, terrorismo, radicalizzazione, migrazione – sono ben note al quartier generale di Lago Patria. È stata infatti la Nato a destabilizzare la Libia alimentando al suo interno terrorismo e radicalizzazione, per poi demolire lo Stato libico con la guerra provocando una migrazione forzata dalle conseguenze disastrose. In questa e nella guerra coperta condotta in Siria, ha svolto e svolge un ruolo primario il Comando Nato di Napoli. Quello che nel 2011 ha diretto l’attacco aereo-navale che ha martellato la Libia con oltre 40 mila bombe e missili, e che ora viene definito dalla Pinotti «Hub per il Sud» con la missione di «ricostruire Stati falliti».

Manlio Dinucci

  • Posted in Italiano
  • Comments Off on L’Hub Nato che spia il Sud

Media attention is directed to some minor ethnic violence in Myanmar, the former Burma. The story in the “western” press is of Muslim Rohingya unfairly vilified, chased out and killed by  Buddhist mobs and the army in the state of Rakhine near the border to Bangladesh. The “liberal human interventionists” like Human Rights Watch are united with Islamists like Turkey’s President Erdogan in loudly lamenting the plight of the Rohingya.

That curious alliance also occurred during the wars on Libya and Syria. It is by now a warning sign. Could there be more behind this than some local conflict in Myanmar? Is someone stocking a fire?

Indeed.

While the ethnic conflict in Rankine state is very old, it has over the last years morphed into an Jihadist guerilla war financed and led from Saudi Arabia. The area is of geo-strategic interest:

Rakhine plays an important part in [the Chinese One Belt One Road Initiative] OBOR, as it is an exit to Indian Ocean and the location of planned billion-dollar Chinese projects—a planned economic zone on Ramree Island, and the Kyaukphyu deep-sea port, which has oil and natural gas pipelines linked with Yunnan Province’s Kunming.

Pipelines from the western coast of Myanmar eastwards to China allow hydrocarbon imports from the Persian Gulf to China while avoiding the bottleneck of the Strait of Malacca and disputed parts of the South China Sea.

It is in “Western interest” to hinder China’s projects in Myanmar. Inciting Jihad in Rakhine could help to achieve that. There is historic precedence for such a proxy war in Burma. During World War II British imperial forces incited the Rohingya Muslim in Rakhine to fight Burmese nationalist Buddhists allied with Japanese imperialists.

The Rohingya immigrated to the northern parts of Arakan, today’s Rakhine state of Myanmar, since the 16th century. A large wave came under British imperial occupation some hundred years ago. Illegal immigration from Bangladesh continued over the last decades. In total about 1.1 million of Muslim Rohingya live in Myanmar. The birthrate of the Rohingya is said to be higher than that of the local Arakanese Buddhists. These feel under pressure in their own land.

While these populations are mixed in some towns there are many hamlets that belong 100% to either one. There is generally little integration of Rohingya within Myanmar. Most are officially not accepted as citizens. Over the centuries and the last decades there have been several violent episodes between the immigrants and the local people. The last Muslim-Buddhist conflict raged in 2012.

Since then a clearly Islamist insurgency was build up in the area. It acts under the name Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and is led by Ataullah abu Ammar Junjuni, a Jihadist from Pakistan. (ARSA earlier operated under the name Harakah al-Yakin, or Faith Movement.) Ataullah was born into the large Rohingya community of Karachi, Pakistan. He grew up and was educated in Saudi Arabia. He received military training in Pakistan and worked as Wahhabi Imam in Saudi Arabia before he came to Myanmar. He has since brainwashed, hired and trained a local guerrilla army of some 1,000 Takfiris.

According to a 2015 report in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn there are more than 500,000 Rohingya in Karachi. They came from Bangladesh during the 1970s and 1980s on the behest on General Ziaul Haq’s military regime and the CIA to fight the Soviets and the government of Afghanistan:

Rohingya community [in Karachi] is more inclined towards religion and they send their children to madressahs. It is a major reason that many religious parties, especially the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, the JI and the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, have their organisational set-up in Burmese neighborhoods.

“A number of Rohingya members living in Arakan Abad have lost their relatives in recent attacks by Buddhist mobs in June 2012 in Myanmar,” said Mohammad Fazil, a local JI activist.Rohingyas in Karachi regularly collect donations, Zakat and hides of sacrificial animals and send these to Myanmar and Bangladesh to support the displaced families.

Reuters noted in late 2016 that the Jihadist group is trained, led and financed through Pakistan and Saudi Arabia:

A group of Rohingya Muslims that attacked Myanmar border guards in October is headed by people with links to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the International Crisis Group (ICG) said on Thursday, citing members of the group.

“Though not confirmed, there are indications [Ataullah] went to Pakistan and possibly elsewhere, and that he received practical training in modern guerrilla warfare,” the group said. It noted that Ata Ullah was one of 20 Rohingya from Saudi Arabia leading the group’s operations in Rakhine State.Separately, a committee of 20 senior Rohingya emigres oversees the group, which has headquarters in Mecca, the ICG said.

The ARSA Jihadists claim to only attack government forces but civilian Arakanese Buddhists have also been ambushed and massacred. Bugghist hamlets were also burned down.

The government of Myanmar alleges that Ataullah and his group want to declare an independent Islamic State. In October 2016 his group started to attack police and other government forces in the area. On August 25 this year his group attacked 30 police stations and military outposts and killed some 12 policemen. The army and police responded, as is usual in this conflict, by burning down Rohingya townships suspected of hiding guerrilla forces.

To escape the growing violence many local Arakanese Buddhist flee their towns towards the capitol of Rankine. Local Rohingya Muslim flee across the border to Bangladesh. Only the later refugees seem to get international attention.

The Myanmar army has ruled the country for decades. Under economic pressure it nominally opened up to the “west” and instituted “democracy”. The darling of the “west” in Myanmar is Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Her party won the elections and she has a dominant role in the government. But Aung San Suu Kyi is foremost a nationalist and the real power is still held by the generals.

Aung San in Burma National Army uniform (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

While Aung San Suu Kyi was propped up as democratic icon she has little personal merit except being the daughter of Thakin Aung San, a famous leader of the Burma Independence Army (BIA) and the “father of the nation”. In the 1940s Thakin Aung San was recruited by the Imperial Japanese Army to wage a guerrilla war against the colonial British army and the British supply line to anti-Japanese forces in China:

The young Aung San learned to wear Japanese traditional clothing, speak the language, and even took a Japanese name. In historian Thant Myint-U’s “The River of Lost Footsteps,” he describes him as “apparently getting swept away in all the fascist euphoria surrounding him,” but notes that his commitment remained to independence for Myanmar.

The ethnic strife in Rakhine also played a role in the British-Japanese conflict over Burma:

In April 1942, Japanese troops advanced into Rakhine State and reached Maungdaw Township, near the border with what was then British India, and is now Bangladesh. As the British retreated to India, Rakhine became a front line.Local Arakanese Buddhists collaborated with the BIA and Japanese forces but the British recruited area Muslims to counter the Japanese.

“Both armies, British and Japanese, exploited the frictions and animosity in the local population to further their own military aims,” wrote scholar Moshe Yegar

When the British won against the Japanese Thakin Aung San change sides and negotiated the end of British imperial rule over Burma. He was assassinated in 1947 with the help of British officers. Since then Burma, later renamed to Myanmar, was ruled by ever competing factions of the military.

Thakin Aung San’s daughter Aung San Suu Kyi received a British education and was build up for a role in Myanmar. In the 1980s and 90s she quarreled with the military government. She was given a Nobel Peace Prize and was promoted as progressive defender of human rights by the “western” literati. But she, and the National League for Democracy (NLD). she leads, were always the opposite – ultra-right fascists in Buddhist Saffron robes. The hypocrites are now disappointed that she does not speak out in favor of the Rohingya. But doing so would put her on the opposite side her father had famously fought for. It would also put her in opposition to most of the people in Myanmar who have little sympathy for the Rohingya and their Jihadi fight.

Moreover – the Chinese OBOR projects are a huge bon for Myanmar and will help with its economic development. The Saudis and Pakistani send guerilla commanders and money to incite the Rohingya to Jihad in Myanmar.  This is a historic repeat of the CIA operation against Soviet influence in Afghanistan. But unlike in Afghanistan the people of Myanmar are not Muslim they will surely fight against, not join, any Jihad in their country. The Rohingya are now pawns in the great game and will suffer from it.

  • Posted in Uncategorized
  • Comments Off on The Rohingya of Myanmar – Pawns in an Anglo-Chinese Proxy War Fought by Saudi Jihadists

Media attention is directed to some minor ethnic violence in Myanmar, the former Burma. The story in the “western” press is of Muslim Rohingya unfairly vilified, chased out and killed by  Buddhist mobs and the army in the state of Rakhine near the border to Bangladesh. The “liberal human interventionists” like Human Rights Watch are united with Islamists like Turkey’s President Erdogan in loudly lamenting the plight of the Rohingya.

That curious alliance also occurred during the wars on Libya and Syria. It is by now a warning sign. Could there be more behind this than some local conflict in Myanmar? Is someone stocking a fire?

Indeed.

While the ethnic conflict in Rankine state is very old, it has over the last years morphed into an Jihadist guerilla war financed and led from Saudi Arabia. The area is of geo-strategic interest:

Rakhine plays an important part in [the Chinese One Belt One Road Initiative] OBOR, as it is an exit to Indian Ocean and the location of planned billion-dollar Chinese projects—a planned economic zone on Ramree Island, and the Kyaukphyu deep-sea port, which has oil and natural gas pipelines linked with Yunnan Province’s Kunming.

Pipelines from the western coast of Myanmar eastwards to China allow hydrocarbon imports from the Persian Gulf to China while avoiding the bottleneck of the Strait of Malacca and disputed parts of the South China Sea.

It is in “Western interest” to hinder China’s projects in Myanmar. Inciting Jihad in Rakhine could help to achieve that. There is historic precedence for such a proxy war in Burma. During World War II British imperial forces incited the Rohingya Muslim in Rakhine to fight Burmese nationalist Buddhists allied with Japanese imperialists.

The Rohingya immigrated to the northern parts of Arakan, today’s Rakhine state of Myanmar, since the 16th century. A large wave came under British imperial occupation some hundred years ago. Illegal immigration from Bangladesh continued over the last decades. In total about 1.1 million of Muslim Rohingya live in Myanmar. The birthrate of the Rohingya is said to be higher than that of the local Arakanese Buddhists. These feel under pressure in their own land.

While these populations are mixed in some towns there are many hamlets that belong 100% to either one. There is generally little integration of Rohingya within Myanmar. Most are officially not accepted as citizens. Over the centuries and the last decades there have been several violent episodes between the immigrants and the local people. The last Muslim-Buddhist conflict raged in 2012.

Since then a clearly Islamist insurgency was build up in the area. It acts under the name Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and is led by Ataullah abu Ammar Junjuni, a Jihadist from Pakistan. (ARSA earlier operated under the name Harakah al-Yakin, or Faith Movement.) Ataullah was born into the large Rohingya community of Karachi, Pakistan. He grew up and was educated in Saudi Arabia. He received military training in Pakistan and worked as Wahhabi Imam in Saudi Arabia before he came to Myanmar. He has since brainwashed, hired and trained a local guerrilla army of some 1,000 Takfiris.

According to a 2015 report in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn there are more than 500,000 Rohingya in Karachi. They came from Bangladesh during the 1970s and 1980s on the behest on General Ziaul Haq’s military regime and the CIA to fight the Soviets and the government of Afghanistan:

Rohingya community [in Karachi] is more inclined towards religion and they send their children to madressahs. It is a major reason that many religious parties, especially the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, the JI and the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, have their organisational set-up in Burmese neighborhoods.

“A number of Rohingya members living in Arakan Abad have lost their relatives in recent attacks by Buddhist mobs in June 2012 in Myanmar,” said Mohammad Fazil, a local JI activist.Rohingyas in Karachi regularly collect donations, Zakat and hides of sacrificial animals and send these to Myanmar and Bangladesh to support the displaced families.

Reuters noted in late 2016 that the Jihadist group is trained, led and financed through Pakistan and Saudi Arabia:

A group of Rohingya Muslims that attacked Myanmar border guards in October is headed by people with links to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the International Crisis Group (ICG) said on Thursday, citing members of the group.

“Though not confirmed, there are indications [Ataullah] went to Pakistan and possibly elsewhere, and that he received practical training in modern guerrilla warfare,” the group said. It noted that Ata Ullah was one of 20 Rohingya from Saudi Arabia leading the group’s operations in Rakhine State.Separately, a committee of 20 senior Rohingya emigres oversees the group, which has headquarters in Mecca, the ICG said.

The ARSA Jihadists claim to only attack government forces but civilian Arakanese Buddhists have also been ambushed and massacred. Bugghist hamlets were also burned down.

The government of Myanmar alleges that Ataullah and his group want to declare an independent Islamic State. In October 2016 his group started to attack police and other government forces in the area. On August 25 this year his group attacked 30 police stations and military outposts and killed some 12 policemen. The army and police responded, as is usual in this conflict, by burning down Rohingya townships suspected of hiding guerrilla forces.

To escape the growing violence many local Arakanese Buddhist flee their towns towards the capitol of Rankine. Local Rohingya Muslim flee across the border to Bangladesh. Only the later refugees seem to get international attention.

The Myanmar army has ruled the country for decades. Under economic pressure it nominally opened up to the “west” and instituted “democracy”. The darling of the “west” in Myanmar is Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Her party won the elections and she has a dominant role in the government. But Aung San Suu Kyi is foremost a nationalist and the real power is still held by the generals.

Aung San in Burma National Army uniform (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

While Aung San Suu Kyi was propped up as democratic icon she has little personal merit except being the daughter of Thakin Aung San, a famous leader of the Burma Independence Army (BIA) and the “father of the nation”. In the 1940s Thakin Aung San was recruited by the Imperial Japanese Army to wage a guerrilla war against the colonial British army and the British supply line to anti-Japanese forces in China:

The young Aung San learned to wear Japanese traditional clothing, speak the language, and even took a Japanese name. In historian Thant Myint-U’s “The River of Lost Footsteps,” he describes him as “apparently getting swept away in all the fascist euphoria surrounding him,” but notes that his commitment remained to independence for Myanmar.

The ethnic strife in Rakhine also played a role in the British-Japanese conflict over Burma:

In April 1942, Japanese troops advanced into Rakhine State and reached Maungdaw Township, near the border with what was then British India, and is now Bangladesh. As the British retreated to India, Rakhine became a front line.Local Arakanese Buddhists collaborated with the BIA and Japanese forces but the British recruited area Muslims to counter the Japanese.

“Both armies, British and Japanese, exploited the frictions and animosity in the local population to further their own military aims,” wrote scholar Moshe Yegar

When the British won against the Japanese Thakin Aung San change sides and negotiated the end of British imperial rule over Burma. He was assassinated in 1947 with the help of British officers. Since then Burma, later renamed to Myanmar, was ruled by ever competing factions of the military.

Thakin Aung San’s daughter Aung San Suu Kyi received a British education and was build up for a role in Myanmar. In the 1980s and 90s she quarreled with the military government. She was given a Nobel Peace Prize and was promoted as progressive defender of human rights by the “western” literati. But she, and the National League for Democracy (NLD). she leads, were always the opposite – ultra-right fascists in Buddhist Saffron robes. The hypocrites are now disappointed that she does not speak out in favor of the Rohingya. But doing so would put her on the opposite side her father had famously fought for. It would also put her in opposition to most of the people in Myanmar who have little sympathy for the Rohingya and their Jihadi fight.

Moreover – the Chinese OBOR projects are a huge bon for Myanmar and will help with its economic development. The Saudis and Pakistani send guerilla commanders and money to incite the Rohingya to Jihad in Myanmar.  This is a historic repeat of the CIA operation against Soviet influence in Afghanistan. But unlike in Afghanistan the people of Myanmar are not Muslim they will surely fight against, not join, any Jihad in their country. The Rohingya are now pawns in the great game and will suffer from it.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The Rohingya of Myanmar – Pawns in an Anglo-Chinese Proxy War Fought by Saudi Jihadists

The harsh rhetoric from Washington and Pyongyang during recent months has exacerbated an already confrontational relationship between our countries, and has probably eliminated any chance of good faith peace talks between the United States and North Korea. In addition to restraining the warlike rhetoric, our leaders need to encourage talks between North Korea and other countries, especially China and Russia.

The recent UN Security Council unanimous vote for new sanctions suggests that these countries could help.  In all cases, a nuclear exchange must be avoided. All parties must assure North Koreans they we will forego any military action against them if North Korea remains peaceful.

I have visited North Korea three times, and have spent more than 20 hours in discussions with their political leaders regarding important issues that affect U.S.-DPRK relations.

In June 1994, I met with Kim Il Sung in a time of crisis, when he agreed to put all their nuclear programs under strict supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency and to seek mutual agreement with the United States on a permanent peace treaty, to have summit talks with the president of South Korea, to expedite the recovery of the remains of American service personnel buried in his country, and to take other steps to ease tension on the peninsula. Kim Il Sung died shortly after my visit, and his successor, Kim Jong Il, notified me and leaders in Washington that he would honor the promises made by his father. These obligations were later confirmed officially in negotiations in Geneva by Robert Gallucci and other representatives of the Clinton administration.

I returned to Pyongyang in August 2010, at the invitation of North Korean leaders, to bring home Aijalon Gomes, an American who had been detained there. My last visit to North Korea was in May 2011 when I led a delegation of Elders (former presidents of Ireland and Finland and former prime minister of Norway) to assure the delivery of donated food directly to needy people.

During all these visits, the North Koreans emphasized that they wanted peaceful relations with the United States and their neighbors, but were convinced that we planned a preemptive military strike against their country. They wanted a peace treaty (especially with America) to replace the ceasefire agreement that had existed since the end of the Korean War in 1953, and to end the economic sanctions that had been very damaging to them during that long interim period. They have made it clear to me and others that their first priority is to assure that their military capability is capable of destroying a large part of Seoul and of responding strongly in other ways to any American attack. The influence of China in Pyongyang seems to be greatly reduced since Kim Jong Un became the North Korean leader in December 2011.

A commitment to peace by the United States and North Korea is crucial.

When this confrontational crisis is ended, the United States should be prepared to consummate a permanent treaty to replace the ceasefire of 1953. The United States should make this clear, to North Koreans and to our allies.

  • Posted in Uncategorized
  • Comments Off on The Need for US-North Korea Peace Talks: Jimmy Carter. “They Want a Peace Treaty to Replace the [1953] Ceasefire”

The harsh rhetoric from Washington and Pyongyang during recent months has exacerbated an already confrontational relationship between our countries, and has probably eliminated any chance of good faith peace talks between the United States and North Korea. In addition to restraining the warlike rhetoric, our leaders need to encourage talks between North Korea and other countries, especially China and Russia.

The recent UN Security Council unanimous vote for new sanctions suggests that these countries could help.  In all cases, a nuclear exchange must be avoided. All parties must assure North Koreans they we will forego any military action against them if North Korea remains peaceful.

I have visited North Korea three times, and have spent more than 20 hours in discussions with their political leaders regarding important issues that affect U.S.-DPRK relations.

In June 1994, I met with Kim Il Sung in a time of crisis, when he agreed to put all their nuclear programs under strict supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency and to seek mutual agreement with the United States on a permanent peace treaty, to have summit talks with the president of South Korea, to expedite the recovery of the remains of American service personnel buried in his country, and to take other steps to ease tension on the peninsula. Kim Il Sung died shortly after my visit, and his successor, Kim Jong Il, notified me and leaders in Washington that he would honor the promises made by his father. These obligations were later confirmed officially in negotiations in Geneva by Robert Gallucci and other representatives of the Clinton administration.

I returned to Pyongyang in August 2010, at the invitation of North Korean leaders, to bring home Aijalon Gomes, an American who had been detained there. My last visit to North Korea was in May 2011 when I led a delegation of Elders (former presidents of Ireland and Finland and former prime minister of Norway) to assure the delivery of donated food directly to needy people.

During all these visits, the North Koreans emphasized that they wanted peaceful relations with the United States and their neighbors, but were convinced that we planned a preemptive military strike against their country. They wanted a peace treaty (especially with America) to replace the ceasefire agreement that had existed since the end of the Korean War in 1953, and to end the economic sanctions that had been very damaging to them during that long interim period. They have made it clear to me and others that their first priority is to assure that their military capability is capable of destroying a large part of Seoul and of responding strongly in other ways to any American attack. The influence of China in Pyongyang seems to be greatly reduced since Kim Jong Un became the North Korean leader in December 2011.

A commitment to peace by the United States and North Korea is crucial.

When this confrontational crisis is ended, the United States should be prepared to consummate a permanent treaty to replace the ceasefire of 1953. The United States should make this clear, to North Koreans and to our allies.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The Need for US-North Korea Peace Talks: Jimmy Carter. “They Want a Peace Treaty to Replace the [1953] Ceasefire”

Selected Articles: The Truth About North Korea

September 5th, 2017 by Global Research News

The mainstream media has vilified North Korea, without acknowledging that the US has threatened to attack the DPRK with nuclear weapons for more than half a century.

Who is a threat to global security, Kim Jong-un or Donald Trump?  

Read our selected articles below.

*     *     *

Russia and China Versus the West on North Korea

By Stephen Lendman, September 05, 2017

Russia and China urge diplomacy to resolve a deepening crisis. They want tensions defused.

They oppose counterproductive tougher sanctions, threats and saber rattling, encouraging enhanced development of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

 The Need for US-North Korea Peace Talks: Jimmy Carter. “They Want a Peace Treaty to Replace the [1953] Ceasefire”

By Jimmy Carter, September 05, 2017

During all these visits, the North Koreans emphasized that they wanted peaceful relations with the United States and their neighbors, but were convinced that we planned a preemptive military strike against their country. They wanted a peace treaty (especially with America) to replace the ceasefire agreement that had existed since the end of the Korean War in 1953, and to end the economic sanctions that had been very damaging to them during that long interim period.

The Beggars for War: The US, North Korea and Bankruptcy

By Dr. Binoy Kampmark, September 05, 2017

The method of forcibly starving a country of its oil and other necessaries has a good precedent for encouraging, rather than discouraging war. The United States was very much in the position of provoking conflict when it came to dealing with Japan in 1941. The rhyme of history is a strong one.

The People of North Korea. Vilified Nation, What is the Truth

By Eva Bartlett, September 05, 2017

Pyongyang, and much of North Korea, was leveled in the 50s by US bombings, with reportedly just one or two low-level buildings standing. After destroying and murdering in DPRK, America slapped sanctions on the country. How the people have continued, and made huge advances, is worthy of respect.

Trump Springs the Neocon Trap Again: North Korea’s ‘Test’ Is No Act of War

By Patrick Henningsen, September 05, 2017

This wouldn’t be the first time North Korea exaggerated its WMD credentials. Last January they exaggerated claims of a successful ‘H-bomb’ test. Despite their dodgy record, the western media, and politicians who are fed by defense contracts – are lapping up Pyongyang’s latest pig’s breakfast.

What the Media Isn’t Telling You About North Korea’s Missile Tests. The DPRK has No Plans to Nuke the West

By Mike Whitney, September 05, 2017

What the media failed to mention was that,  for the last three weeks, Japan, South Korea and the US have been engaged in large-scale joint-military drills on Hokkaido Island and in South Korea. These needlessly provocative war games are designed to simulate an invasion of North Korea and a “decapitation” operation to remove (Re: Kill)  the regime.

North Korea: “Annihilation”, “Massive Military Response” or Economic Warfare?

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, September 04, 2017 

Annihilation was the objective of the Korean war (1950-53). and “Mad Dog” James Mattis was responsible for the annihilation of Fallujah (Iraq)  in 2004. 

“Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD): Deterrence Believers Should Cheer the North Korean Bomb

By Craig Murray, September 05, 2017

How did we get here? In the 1950s the USA dropped 635,000 tonnes of bombs on North Korea including 35,000 tonnes of napalm. The US killed an estimated 20% of the North Korean population. For comparison, approximately 2% of the UK population was killed during World War II.

*     *     *

Global Research is a small team that believes in the power of information and analysis to bring about far-reaching societal change including a world without war.

Consider Making a Donation to Global Research

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Selected Articles: The Truth About North Korea

Endless Regional Chaos: American Presence in Afghanistan

September 5th, 2017 by Federico Pieraccini

The geographic location of Afghanistan has always occupied a central role in many geopolitical studies. Donald Trump’s reasons for reinforcing US troops in the region are driven by the continuing US need to prevent a complete Eurasian integration among regional powers.

The April peace talks between Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Russia and China seemed to have put an end to the persistent and dominant American presence in the country. In Washington, following fifteen years of war and a series of failures, many had come to the conclusion that the time had come for the United States to return home.

Trump had throughout his electoral campaign criticized the foreign policy of his predecessors, giving the indication that he would be looking to leave Afghanistan once he assumed the presidency.

The road plan for Afghanistan laid out by the April peace talks seemed to offer the prospect of national reconciliation between the Taliban and the central authority in Kabul, assisted by parties with great interest in the country like India and Pakistan, given their geographic proximity, as well as Russia, China and Turkey.

The first talks in April 2017 capitalized on America’s absence at the conference as well as on the will of the protagonists to reach an agreement after fifteen years of war and terror. Afghanistan is a key crossroad in the eastward expansion strategy that illustrates the special partnership between Russia and China, as seen with the steady progress of the Silk Road 2.0 initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union. Given Afghanistan’s geographic position, sharing boundaries with Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, it is useful to emphasize the role the country could play as a commercial and energy hub in the not too distant future.

Due to incompetence or perhaps due to facing insurmountable pressures, Donald Trump is undergoing a gradual and inexorable diminution with the elimination of all the most representative members of his administration. At the same time, the appointment of military personnel to civilian roles has pushed the administration into unexplored directions not foreshadowed in the electoral campaign. Trump spoke of less US military presence in the internal affairs of other nations. But as we shall see, nothing could be further from the truth.

The appointment of Generals McMaster, Kelly and Mattis (Mattis perhaps being the most powerful US defense secretary since the end of World War II) is Trump’s attempt to withstand and bargain with the most significant elements of America’s deep state. A strong military component in the White House helps ensure continuity in US foreign policy. Contrary to what was professed during the elections, Donald Trump immediately traded American foreign policy in exchange for explicit GOP backing for key legislation that will help secure a 2020 re-election. Without bills on health, tax and immigration reform being passed, there will be no arguments in favor of the GOP and Trump during the midterm and presidential elections in 2018 and 2020 respectively.

The deep state in Washington has slowly but inexorably taken over Trump’s presidency, a task made all the simpler by Trump’s character, which dismisses his lack of experience with an overweening self-confidence. The military component of the deep state, in concert with GOP leaders, took less than six months to quash Trump’s electoral promises and turn the president’s foreign policy into a dangerous reprise of the Obama and Bush years.

More and more frequently, American intervention in foreign lands lead to situations of uncontrollable chaos, with no real central authority able to govern and obey Washington’s orders. The current state of the Middle East is reflective of this. In Afghanistan, Washington, especially Mattis, is cognizant of the country’s rebirth under Sino-Russian leadership after fifteen years of America’s presence. This is a scenario that the US deep state is not willing to tolerate.

Leaving aside Afghanistan’s huge amounts of natural resources (about one trillion in precious metals), as well as its strategic location linking east and west, a peaceful Afghanistan led by a single central authority would hardly cohere with US objectives in the country. The US loves to consider itself the indispensable nation for peace in Afghanistan, when actually it is the main obstacle to peace.

For American foreign policy continuity, Afghanistan needs to remain in a chaotic situation. Above all, the US military industrial complex is not willing to surrender its political and military power in the country, only to be substituted by Moscow or Beijing. With these unofficial motives, General Mattis announced a surge of several thousand American troops to the country. It is immediately clear that numerically and tactically, four or five thousand soldiers will make no difference. The intent is purely demonstrative, as seen in Syria with a few missiles lobbed at an empty airbase. The purpose is to send a clear and unambiguous message to Russia, China, Pakistan and even India, to the effect that without American consensus, no strategic reorganization is permissible in Afghanistan.

General Mattis and all those who for decades have been constantly thinking of MacKinder’s geopolitical theory (Heartland Theory) are aware of the strategic importance of keeping Afghanistan hostile towards regional powers like China and Russia. The USSR’s war in defense of the country, and the socialist superpower’s subsequent collapse, offers a historical warning.

In April, Moscow and Beijing, with the tacit approval of New Delhi and Islamabad, launched a peace process in Kabul that should have facilitated talks between the central authority and the Taliban to bring about a truce that would bring to an end the violence and destruction that had over fifteen years left the country bleeding in endless poverty and suffering.

The American surge will not advance American interests in the country. It will not change the delicate balance negotiated between the parties back in April. It will not affect the efforts of Moscow and Beijing to stabilize the country. It will only buy Washington more time by bombing and killing civilians, always viewed by American generals as an acceptable and privileged option available to them.

Like in other parts of the world, the presence of American troops does not fully explain the long-term goals of military planners. Afghanistan in some respects resembles a similar situation to Southeast Asia. In South Korea, the American presence has persisted since 1950, and with it the destabilization of the Korean peninsula. As in Asia, the central purpose of the American presence in Afghanistan is to occupy geo-strategic zones in order to prevent Eurasian integration between powers like India, China and Russia. Secondly, it is the constant presence of troops and military bases in locations close to or around the two major powers of China and Russia that aims to overburden and thereby diminish the defensive capabilities of these two strategic threats. In 1962, when the USSR did something similar in response to the US deployment of patriot missiles in Turkey, it started building up its offensive capability in the Western Hemisphere using Cuba as a military base. The US was willing to go to war to halt this domestic threat and for weeks the world was on the verge of a nuclear conflict. Only dialogue between American and Soviet leaders averted this threat to human existence.

Conclusions

Washington cares for nothing other than its own interests. But twenty-five years after the end of the Cold War, the world is changing, and more and more fruitful efforts to replace the chaos wrought by US policies can be seen with peaceful, mutually beneficial cooperation increasingly being the order of the day. The road to economic prosperity and a re-established unity among the Afghan people is still a work in progress, but once the country manages to establish its independence, Washington will have a hard time dictating conditions. Countries like Russia, China and India have every intention of using diplomacy and peacekeeping to prevent a dangerous escalation in Afghanistan.

India and China have some divergence over the future of the region, but by the start of the 2017 BRICS conference, they had already resolved a border dispute that lasted over two months. The ability to create diverse organizations like BRICS, AIIB and SCO provides the opportunity to begin any kind of negotiation with a legal and economic foundation. This represents a commendable example of overcoming differences through diplomacy and economic benefits.

While the United States exhales the last breaths as a declining global power, no longer able to impose its will, it lashes out in pointless acts like lobbing 60 cruise missiles at Syria or sending 4000 troops to Afghanistan. Such acts do not change anything on the ground or modify the balance of forces in Washington’s favor. They do, however, have a strong impact on further reducing whatever confidence remains in the US, closing the door to opportunities for dialogue and cooperation that may otherwise have offered themselves.

Trump promised isolationism. His generals, behind the scenes, have managed to make this electoral promise come true, leaving Washington alone in the international arena in the near term.

Federico Pieraccini is an independent freelance writer specialized in international affairs, conflicts, politics and strategies.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Endless Regional Chaos: American Presence in Afghanistan

Featured image: A makeshift school in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp which is home to 80,000 Syrian refugees (Source: Save the Children)

An Israeli-US organisation has set up a school in the northern Syria governorate of Idlib, which is under the control of armed groups [terrorists], Russia Today reported on Monday. The Israeli syllabus is being taught in the school, with textbooks intended to provide Syrian pupils with a different perspective about Israel.

An Israeli news website reported that the school has 90 Syrian pupils and 15 teachers. It is an addition to two similar schools which have been established in areas controlled by the armed groups near the borders of the occupied Golan Heights.

Businessman Moti Kahana, a former Israeli air force soldier who holds dual Israeli-US citizenships, is the head of the organisation behind the schools. He hopes that the syllabus will entrench a different perspective about Israel and that pupils will go on to study in Israeli universities.

“In this way,” Kahana explained, “we hope to change the popular Syrian position towards Israel.”

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Israeli-syllabus School Set Up in Syrian Area Controlled by Terrorist Armed Groups

Over the weekend, Judicial Watch announced that it had filed a lawsuit against the DOJ on behalf of retired special agent Jeffrey Danik seeking records related to roughly $700,000 in political contributions made by groups tied to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a long-time Clinton confidant, to the wife of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe…the same Andrew McCabe who was conveniently overseeing multiple Hillary Clinton investigations at the time and even oversaw components of her email investigation. Here’s more from Judicial Watch:

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia in support of Danik’s October 25, 2016, and February 28, 2017, FOIA requests for records about McCabe’s “conflicts of interest” regarding his wife’s (Dr. Jill McCabe’s) political campaign, and McCabe’s reporting to the FBI of any job interviews or offers.  Specifically, the two FOIA requests seek:

Text messages and emails of McCabe containing “Dr. Jill McCabe,” “Jill,” “Common Good VA,” “Terry McAuliffe,” “Clinton,” “Virginia Democratic Party,” “Democrat,” “Conflict,” “Senate,” “Virginia Senate,” “Until I return,” “Paris,” “France,” “Campaign,” “Run,” “Political,” “Wife,” “Donation,” “OGC,” Email,” or “New York Times.”

In 2015, a political action committee run by McAuliffe, a close friend and political supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, donated nearly $500,000 to Jill McCabe, wife of McCabe, who was then running for the Virginia State Senate. Also, the Virginia Democratic Party, over which McAuliffe had significant influence, donated an additional $207,788 to the Jill McCabe campaign. In July 2015, Andrew McCabe was in charge of the FBI’s Washington, DC, field office, which provided personnel resources to the Clinton email probe.

The Judicial Watch lawsuit comes after Danik’s two previous FOIA requests went unanswered. Meanwhile, Danik says he’s pursuing records on McCabe’s conflicts because he knows he’s “not the only retired (or serving) FBI special agent who is concerned about Mr. McCabe’s conflicts of interest on the Clinton email matter.”

 “I am saddened by how the FBI’s reputation has been tarnished by the poor judgement and ethics of its leadership,” stated Mr. Danik. “I know I’m not the only retired (or serving) FBI special agent who is concerned about Mr. McCabe’s conflicts of interest on the Clinton email matter.  The agency seems to be illegally hiding records about this scandal, which is why I’m heading to court with Judicial Watch.”

“We’re honored to help Mr. Danik hold accountable the FBI—the agency he served for decades,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We believe Mr. McCabe’s text messages and emails will be particularly enlightening to the public seeking answers about the Clinton email debacle.”

Of course, for those who haven’t followed Andrew McCabe so closely, this is the same former Acting FBI Director who is also being investigated for sexual harassment and violations of the Hatch Act (see:  “FBI Director McCabe Subject Of Three Separate Federal Inquiries Into Alleged Misconduct: Report“).

A couple of days ago we noted that, according to a report from Circa, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe may have made a serious error by refusing to recuse himself from the Michael Flynn investigation.  As it turns out, per court documents reviewed by Circa, McCabe may have harbored a personal vendetta against Flynn after he intervening on behalf of an FBI Special Agent, Robyn Gritz, who had accused McCabe and other top FBI officials of sexual discrimination.  Apparently the lack of inter-agency camaraderie didn’t sit well with McCabe as other FBI agents subsequently confirmed that his complete disdain for Fylnn was readily apparent.

But, according to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), McCabe’s apparent conflict of interest in the Flynn investigation may not be his only issue these days as he’s also the subject of an ongoing investigation for an alleged violation of the Hatch Act for illegally campaigning in his wife’s Virginia Senate race.  Per Circa:

Gritz also filed a complaint against McCabe with the main federal whistleblower agency in April, alleging social media photos she found show he campaigned for his wife’s Virginia state senate race in violation of the Hatch Act.

FBI employees are held to a higher standard than other federal workers under the Hatch Act and may not “endorse or oppose a candidate for partisan political office or a candidate for political party office in a political advertisement, broadcast, campaign literature, or similar material if such endorsement or opposition is done in concert with a candidate, political party, or partisan political group.”

The OSC told Circa  that complaint is still being actively investigated.

For those who aren’t familiar, this is the same Senate race in which McCabe’s wife, Jill McCabe, took nearly $500,000 from Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to fund her campaign.  Of course, Terry McAuliffe is a long-time confidant of the Clinton family and was rumored as a potential running mate for Hillary.  All of which was apparently overlooked when former FBI Director James Comey allowed McCabe to participate in the investigation of Hillary’s email scandal.

And just when you thought McCabe’s issues couldn’t get much worse, Circa notes that the Justice Department Inspector General is also investigating allegations from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley that McCabe may not have properly disclosed campaign payments to his wife on his ethics report.

You may be good but you’re no Clinton, Mr. McCabe.

Featured image is from the author.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Retired FBI Agent Sues DOJ for Records on Contributions Made by a Clinton Ally to McCabe’s Wife

Unwinding the Iran Nuclear Deal

September 5th, 2017 by Jonathan Power

The big mistake, apparently about to be made by President Trump, in undoing the nuclear agreement made by President Barack Obama with Iran is not just that he intends to go backwards, it is that he doesn’t intend to go forwards. (To be fair, neither did Obama.)

What the Iranians negotiated about was not so much the “bomb” – to be or not to be – but about their pride and their position in the world and their right to become a thriving economic and political power inured from sanctions or military threats. (Sanctions were imposed before the nuclear issue came to the fore.)

The nuclear program was first and foremost about creating leverage so that Iran could regain the sort of respect that the offspring of the Persian Empire once was given. Second, it was about making sure that Iran is not found short when its oil reserves start to shrink. (Iran also has heavily invested in solar energy.)

For Iran, negotiations were a suggestive game of hide and seek, played in front of all-angled, reflecting mirrors. They were not about actually building a bomb or, as we used to say in Pakistan’s pre-bomb days, of being “a screwdriver away from completing a bomb”.

I don’t actually believe that Iran ever had the intention of building a nuclear bomb. But it was not unhappy that the West thought it was. It did want to frighten the West. It did want to forestall what it believes is the Americans’ true ambition – to bring about “regime change”.

Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, has spoken a number of times about how nuclear weapons go against the principles of Islam. Islam is a language of love and brotherhood, not of a nuclear holocaust. I believe him, not out of naivety, but because I know Iran is a deeply religious society and that the ayatollahs take Islamic teaching earnestly. Children are brought up to take values seriously, to love not hate, and to take care of the poor and widowed. War is a last resort. Reading the Koran, nuclear weapons could never be justified.

Iran doesn’t go easily to war. Saddam Hussein inflicted war on Iran for no good reason, other than to demonstrate the muscle of a dictator. Iran had never tried to build up a deterrent against Iraq. (The US and the UK supported Saddam and provided him with weapons.)

Akbar Ganji, an Iranian journalist and dissident, wrote in Foreign Affairs that Khamenei

“is not a crazy, irrational or reckless zealot searching for an opportunity for aggression. Khamenei considers science and progress to be “Western civilization’s truth”.

He is a great reader of Western novels and considers Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables” “to be the best novel that has been written in history”.

He is an intellectual who enjoys the company of other intellectuals including secular opposition ones. Unfortunately, he was attracted as a young man to the writings of the Egyptian, Sayyid Qutb, whose severe Islamic thinking inspired Osama bin Laden. He has since moderated his opinions.

Nevertheless, he wants, as does most of Iran’s elite, for the most populated country in the Middle East, after Egypt, be treated as a force to be reckoned with in Middle East politics. He does not like Iran being ignored when it comes to how to deal with Syria, Afghanistan or Israel.

Obama didn’t want to be seen to “cosy up” to Iran’s government, so the nuclear deal was as far as he was prepared to go. This was an opportunity forgone.

So what happens? Iran is seen as a “spoiler” who gets in the way of rational Western policies and supports the Syrian government, deploys Hizbullah and like-minded armed groups and supports Hamas in Palestine to counter Western, Israeli and Saudi Arabian interests.

I doubt if it has ever crossed Trump’s mind that by cutting Iran in he could achieve quite a lot. No, cut it out and squeeze it even more than it ever has been.

He has the tool at hand – reneging on the Obama deal. All he has to do is to persuade the intelligence agencies to manufacture some sort of a case that Iran is not doing its part to honour the deal. Hence the enormous pressure he has put on them.

If Trump succeeds in his aim will other countries party to the solemn agreement ratified unanimously by the UN Security Council go along with him?

China won’t for a start – it purchases 30% of Iran’s oil. Is Trump going to punish China just when it needs Beijing’s help over the real bombs in North Korea?

The EU will think on not dissimilar lines. Airbus needs that big new market – 173 new planes so far have been ordered.

Again, the world has to find a way to stop Trump in his tracks.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Unwinding the Iran Nuclear Deal

A government-funded scheme providing free fruit and vegetables to all four to six-year olds in the country sounds like a health win. However, research by campaigners at Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK) has revealed that the produce supplied may not be as healthy as it seems.

The research analysed the government’s own data from regular testing of fruit and vegetables by the Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food (PRiF). In two thirds of the samples tested, residues of more than one pesticide were detected, with some individual samples containing as many as thirteen different chemicals.

PAN UK is particularly concerned about this, as it says there has been little research on the combined effect of ingesting multiple pesticides on humans, particularly children, and almost no understanding of the long-term effects on health. Levels of residues are restricted by government, but this only covers pesticides used individually, the organisation said.

Multiple pesticide residues

Children are one of the groups most vulnerable to the impacts of pesticides as their bodies are still forming and pesticide exposure can interfere with the development of particular organs, PAN UK said. In addition, the capacity of children’s bodies to break down toxins is far less developed than that of adults.

Imazalil, a ‘probable carcinogen’ and developmental toxin, was the most frequently detected pesticide. Second most frequent, and present in a fifth of all samples, was chlorpyrifos, which has been found to have negative impacts on children’s cognitive development. The substance is approved only for extremely limited use in the UK, and from 2018 will be totally banned from 2018.

The fruit and vegetables given to children through the scheme were found to have higher levels of residues than those available to the public in supermarkets, PAN UK found. Multiple pesticide residues were found in ninety per cent of applies given out in schools, compared with 60 per cent in mainstream apples.

Protecting children from pesticides

PAN UK wants the government to change its approach, and give schoolchildren organic produce. It estimates that this would cost 1p extra per child per day, totalling £5.6 million on top of the £40 million the scheme currently costs.

New agricultural policy being drawn up for when the UK leaves the EU could provide an opportunity to move away from pesticides and promote British organic produce, PAN UK said.

The group says it is very supportive of the principle of giving free fruit and vegetables to children, and does not want parents to stop their children eating it. However, it wants to raise awareness of the information, which is “currently buried in technical reports” on the PRiF’s website, and is encouraging parents and schools to lobby the Department of Health to do more to protect children from pesticides.

“This scheme is for four to six year-olds, we should be giving them the very best,” said Nick Mole, policy officer at PAN UK. “It just shows a lack of concern to do things properly.”

PAN UK says it has tried to get the issue of pesticides on the department’s radar for many years, but it has refused to engage.

Lord O’Shaughnessy, parliamentary under secretary of state for health, told PAN UK that pesticides “did not fall under the department’s policy area”, when the organisation requested a meeting to discuss their health impacts in July.

In a statement, the Department of Health said:

“The PAN report notes the presence of pesticide residues, but just because a residue is present does not mean that it is harmful to health.”

Legal restrictions on pesticide residue levels are set significantly below a level that could represent a risk to health, and the most sensitive people are taken into consideration when setting them, the department added.

Catherine Early is a freelance environmental journalist and the former deputy editor of the environmentalist. She can be found tweeting at @Cat_Early76.

Featured image is from the author.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Cocktail of Pesticide Residues in Fruit and Vegetables Given to Schoolchildren

Over the past week, the anarchist affiliation Antifa (“Anti-fascist”) has received widespread and favorable coverage in the establishment media.

On August 18, the New York Times, the main newspaper voice for the Democratic Party, published a major front-page feature article, “Antifa Grows as Left-Wing Faction Set to, Literally, Fight the Far Right.” The piece, written by Thomas Fuller, Alan Feuer, and Serge F. Kovaleski, showcased the views of the movement with interviews of its members.

The article presents Antifa as a serious force for fighting fascism, all but inviting readers to sign up.

“Unlike most of the counterdemonstrators in Charlottesville and elsewhere,” the Times reports, “members of Antifa have shown no qualms about using their fists, sticks or canisters of pepper spray to meet an array of right-wing antagonists whom they call a fascist threat to American democracy.”

The newspaper interviewed several members of the affiliation, who, the Timesstates, believe “the ascendant new right in the country requires a physical response.” The quotes are all presented favorably, including one from a self-identified member of Antifa, who argues that “physical confrontation” with Nazi groups is necessary, “because Nazis and white supremacists are not around to talk.”

The Times article is not the only example. On August 20, NBC’s “Meet the Press” carried a segment featuring Mark Bray, author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook and Lecturer at Dartmouth.

Bray was also invited to write an op-ed in the Washington Post, owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. The column, “Who are the antifa?,” published on August 17, was in effect a free advertisement, encouraging readers to support or join the movement. One photo caption read,

“Antifascists may seem like a novelty, but they’ve been around for a very long time. Maybe we should start listening to them.”

The prominent and sympathetic coverage for Antifa from the Times, the Post and NBC is politically sinister. The Times has a policy of excluding any genuinely left-wing opinion, while “Meet the Press,” the most widely-watched Sunday news program, never interviews or features in its panel discussions anyone outside what is considered acceptable by the political establishment.

At the same time as it is giving favorable coverage to Antifa, the TimesPost and other media outlets have collaborated with Google in the effort to suppress genuine left-wing opposition, including the World Socialist Web Site and other sites.

The promotion of Antifa serves several interrelated functions. First, the physical violence of a handful of protesters in any large demonstration is regularly used as a pretext for police provocation. This is true not only in the US, but in Europe and around the world. Police give the “anti-fascist” and anarchist groups a free hand to carry out provocations, which are then exploited to carry out a violent crackdown.

The groups themselves are easily infiltrated by police provocateurs, who encourage violent acts for the desired end.

The politics of the various groups that comprise Antifa are, moreover, entirely compatible with those of the Democratic Party, and serve a purpose for that section of the political establishment.

Since before Trump was elected, the Democratic Party has sought to channel widespread popular opposition to Trump behind the military and intelligence apparatus. Indeed, the conflicts within the ruling class since the Nazi rampage in Charlottesville have culminated in the strengthening of the grip of the military and financial elite over the Trump administration. The first product of this restructuring was Trump’s announcement of a major escalation of the war in Afghanistan.

The Democrats and affiliated media, particularly the Times, have sought to bury the basic class issues—the fight against social inequality, war, and authoritarianism—through the promotion of a series of diversionary issues.

The Times has relentlessly promoted the anti-Russia campaign, seeking to channel mass opposition to Trump behind the demand for more aggressive measures against the government of Vladimir Putin. It has encouraged the conception that the United States is divided by immense racial divisions, promoting both the identity politics of the Democratic Party and providing respectful and even admiring coverage of what it calls “white nationalists.” It has also prominently featured the Jacobin magazine, affiliated with the Democratic Socialists of America, which supports the Democratic Party.

The promotion of Antifa conforms to this agenda. Indeed, many of the groups involved in Antifa are essentially factions of the Democratic Party. By Any Means Necessary, BAMN, which is mentioned by name with a link to its website in the Times article, is among the most fervent advocates of the racialist politics of the Democrats. It received national attention in 2014 for its campaign for Affirmative Action, which was waged in alliance with the Democrats and sections of the corporate elite and military.

Adherents of Antifa claim they are fighting the fascist threat by physically preventing neo-Nazis from getting a hearing, denying them access to schools and cities where they may reach followers. Ignored, however, is the role of the Democrats and the social and political conditions that create fascism.

The neo-Nazi groups are themselves at present a minuscule social force, unable to organize more than a few hundred people for their major rallies, including the demonstration in Charlottesville. Trump and his fascistic advisers (including the now-departed Stephen Bannon), however, are seeking to exploit political confusion and alienation to develop an extra-parliamentary far-right nationalist movement.

To the extent that a fascist movement will develop, it is because they receive the backing of a section of the ruling elite under conditions in which the policies of the ruling class go unchallenged. That is, it is the subordination of the working class to the Democratic Party and its various affiliates, to which Antifa contributes, that creates the ability for fascistic groups to grow.

In terms of its social basis, Antifa attracts disoriented layers particularly among the middle class on the basis of a program compatible with the aims of the Democratic Party and the ruling elite, and which is indifferent and even openly hostile to the mobilization of the working class. It is for this reason that they are being promoted in the media.

A principled struggle against the threat of fascism and the Trump administration’s attacks on immigrants, democratic rights, health care, and living standards requires a fight against the entire political establishment and the capitalist system upon which it is based. It is not punch-ups with Nazis, but the independent political organization and mobilization of the working class, on a socialist program, that is the urgent task.

Featured image is from The Unz Review.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Why Is the Media Promoting Antifa? Self-proclaimed “Anti-Fascists” Promoting Violent Protest

Iran, Israel and the Big Mess in Washington

September 5th, 2017 by Giulietto Chiesa

In the big mess of the current American foreign policy, which is an effect of the internal political mess, Iran represents the biggest issue.

It is unclear whether Donald Trump is acting in this way in order to cancel everything made by his predecessor or because he is controlled by the Israel Lobby (which dominates both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party). At any rate, he seems to operate in order to undermine at any cost the JCPOA agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) signed by Iran and its western counterparties and indeed led by Barack Obama.

In order to understand what is going on, it may be useful to remember that the goal of the Joint Plan of Action – signed on July 14th, 2015 – was almost the complete annihilation (98%) of Teheran’s low-enriched uranium stock and the reduction of two-thirds of the Gas Centrifuge Enrichment Plants during the following thirteen years, besides the commitment by Iran to give up building a new plant for the production of heavy water. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been in charge of monitoring the progress of the agreement and, in order to do so, it has nearly unlimited access to Iranian nuclear facilities. These few facts are enough to understand that Rohani’s Iran has accepted a virtually unconditional surrender, canceling any even remote possibility to build an atomic bomb in the next fifteen-year period.

In order to push the agreement with Teheran through the suspicious Congress, Barack Obama agreed on a quarterly monitoring. According to that, the US President must notify Congress every 90 days of Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (bear in mind that the Senate had praised unanimously the furious statement of Netanyahu, who had come to Washington to communicate the total Israel’s disapproval towards the agreement). Now, it’s Donald Trump’s turn to make this review.

The first two reports passed without any objection, but with difficulty. According to the New York Times’ account of the second report – that occurred a few days ago – the presidential team (which in turn had received the report from IAEA, according to which Teheran was fulfilling the agreement) had a hard time convincing Trump not to raise further difficulties. However, the third review will arrive in three months and everything suggests that Donald Trump will cling to any pretext in order to blame Teheran and undermine the agreement. Moreover, the United States, following a President’s decision, have already augmented the sanctions against Iran (because of the Syrian war), without waiting for the JCPOA review.  Trump took the opportunity of the G-20 meeting to dissuade other countries from getting back to “business as usual” with Iran.

Rohani has just won the elections for the second time, notwithstanding the opposition’s protests – thus demonstrating that he had acted according to the will of the people – and he is now facing the challenge of “keeping calm”. Actually, after agreeing on everything, he has remained with nothing in his hands. Iranian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, explicitly said:

“Iran’s patience has limits”.

If this line is crossed, the first to rejoice would be Tel Aviv, followed closely by the bipartisan majority of the Senate. And the consequences would be unforeseeable. Also because the “five plus one” countries who signed the agreement are the members of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany, and the exit of the United States from the agreement would surely cause enormous repercussions on the whole North Atlantic Alliance. Not to mention that Turkey, a member of the Alliance, is moving constantly towards the new “Silk Road” of Xi Jinping.

As it is clear that Russia and China sympathize with Teheran – and indeed have both been among the guarantors of the agreement – for the western community a possibility remains open, that is Europe might consider valid the JCPOA agreement also in case of a unilateral exit of the United States from the agreement. That would cause further tension both with Washington (that would lose many potential economic deals) and with Israel, which keeps considering the dismissing of Hezbollah and Bashar al Assad as a primary goal (and damaging Iran by doing so), regardless the state of implementation of the nuclear agreement.

In three months – in October – Donald Trump will have to make up a way to refuse the third certification of Iranian compliance (assuming that Teheran won’t lose patience). For example by instigating a series of accusations against Iran. But, in order to set up this new show, Trump needs the media, which are not his friends. The media will have to decide whether it is more important to support Israel, which controls them – but is allied with Donald Trump on this subject – or if it will be more urgent to criticize Trump.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Iran, Israel and the Big Mess in Washington

The new evidence regarding the U.S.-led international coalition interested in pursuing political interests in Syria instead of fighting ISIS continue to be reported. There are a lot of facts proving the assistance of the U.S. special services to high-ranking ISIS field commanders.

Against the background of the successful steps of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) towards Deir Ezzor and the defeat of ISIS, Washington has started to evacuate its agents for further use in other areas.

On August 26, the United States Air Force helicopters evacuated two European ISIS commanders along with their families from the settlement of Al-Treif, which is located to the north-west of Deir Ezzor.

In addition, on August 28, the international coalition aviation relocated more than 20 ISIS commanders from Albu Leil village to a military airbase in northern Syria.

It’s not the first when the U.S. intelligence agencies ‘rescue’ field commanders in Syria. In May 2017, the U.S. helicopters picked up dozens of ISIS leaders and foreign mercenaries from the settlement of Al-Kasrah. Let us remind you, that the similar operations were carried out near Raqqa in June/July 2017.

Sophie Mangal is a special investigative correspondent and co-editor at Inside Syria Media Center where this article was originally published.


Global Research announces the forthcoming release of  the print edition of Mark Taliano’s Book, “Voices from Syria”  which includes two additional chapters. 

Taliano talks and listens to the people of Syria. He reveals the courage and resilience of a Nation and its people in their day to day lives, after more than six years of US-NATO sponsored terrorism and three years of US “peacemaking” airstrikes.

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. 

Special Pre-Publication Offer

**Pre-Order Special Offer: Voices from Syria (Ships mid-September)

ISBN: 978-0-9879389-1-6

Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 2 new chapters)

List Price: $17.95

Special Price: $9.95 

Click to order

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on U.S. Rescues ISIS Field Commanders in Syria. “The Terrorists R Us”

Large-scale Manoeuvres Encircling Venezuela

September 5th, 2017 by Manlio Dinucci

On 11 August 2017, the U.S. President, Donald Trump put on the table the option of taking military action against Venezuela. As Manlio Dinucci substantiates in this article, President Trump was not plucking words out of the air. The Mobility Guardian drill has just taken place in the United States, with the armies of 25 states participating and another 12 states observing. This was a repeat exercise for a prompt transport of forces of an enlarged Nato to the conflict zone.

The political media reflectors shine their spotlight on what is happening within Venezuela yet leave a shadow cast over what is happening around Venezuela. As the Pentagon has plotted out the world, Venezuela falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Southern Command (Southcom). This is one of U.S.A.’s six “unified fighter commands”. The US has sliced the world up into six and given a slice to each of these commands, as their domain of responsibility.

So Southcom’s slice means that it is responsible for the 31 countries and 16 territories that form Latin America and the Caribbean. To police this area, SouthCom has land, naval and air forces as well as a marine corps. It also has special forces and the following three specific task forces:

  • The Joint Task Force Bravo: stationed in the air base of Soto Cano, Honduras, it is organizing multilateral drills and other operations;
  • The Joint Task Force Guantanamo: stationed at the naval base bearing the same name in Cuba, this carries out “operations of detention and interrogation in the context of the war against terrorism”; and
  • The Joint Interagency Task Force South: stationed at Key West, Florida, the official task of which is to coordinate “anti-drug operations” across the whole region.

The ratcheting of SouthCom’s activity makes it clear to us that when President Trump declared on 11 August that “We have many options for Venezuela, including possibly a military option” – this was is no idle threat.

Last June, a special force of marines equipped with military helicopters was stationed in Honduras for regional operations meant to last for six months. Still under the remit of Southcom, the Tradewinds drill was carried out with forces from 20 countries of the Americas and the Caribbean participating. In July, a Unitas naval operation took place in Peru, with 18 countries participating; while Paraguay was the locus for the competition – a drill of special forces from 20 countries. From 25 July to 4 August, hundreds of officials from 20 countries have taken part in Panamax, a drill officially designed to “defend the Panama Canal”.

From 31 July to 12 August, at Joint Base Lewis–McChord (Washington), Mobility Guardian took place. This was the “biggest and most realistic drill for air mobility”. In it participated 3,000 men and 25 international partners, notably the Colombian and Brazilian air forces which were trained in day time and night time missions together with US, French and British air forces.

The “realistic scenario” involves a large-scale air operation to swiftly transport forces and arms to the zone of intervention. This is therefore proof of the military intervention in Venezuela, threatened by Trump.

The main base for this operation would be Venezuela’s neighbour, Colombia. The latter was hooked up to Nato in 2013 through a partnership agreement. “The Colombian military personnel – reports Nato – has taken part in a number of courses at the Nato academy in Oberammergau (Germany) and at the Nato Defense College at Rome, as well as participating in many high level military conferences”.

That a plan for military intervention in Venezuela in in place is confirmed by the Admiral Kurt Tidd, the Southcom Commander: at a Senate Hearing on 6 April 2017, he declared that the “escalating humanitarian crisis in Venezuela could require a regional response”.

To make good on the “military option” threatened by Trump, the same strategy actioned in Libya and Syria could be adopted, although the context would be somewhat different. What is envisaged is the infiltration of special forces and mercenaries who, with petrol, inflame Venezuela’s raw nerves, where social tensions have accumulated: an exercise to provoke armed confrontations. Then the government could be charged with massacring its own people which would open the door for “humanitarian intervention” by a coalition, with the U.S.A., the leader of the pack.

Translated from Italian to English by Anoosha Boralessa

Featured image is from Land Destroyer Report.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Large-scale Manoeuvres Encircling Venezuela

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) Tiger Forces have repelled an ISIS counter-attack at the Sukhna-Deir Ezzor highway and established full control over the Sohlah area following intense fighting with terrorists.

Government troops entered the Sholah and Kobajjep areas last weekend.  However, the SAA gained full control over these sites only on Monday after all ISIS counter-attacks had been repelled.

At the same time, intense fighting continued between Kharratah fields and the 137th Brigade Base where the Tiger Forces established a link to the part of Deir Ezzor controlled by the Republican Guard.

The Russian Aerospace Forces have increased airstrikes against ISIS terrorists in and near Deir Ezzor city.

On Monday, Russian warplanes conducted over 80 combat sorties, destroyed 2 battle tanks, 3 infantry fighting vehicles, 10 weapon equipped vehicles, and killed over 70 ISIS members.

Two Russian military servicemen were killed as a result of ISIS mortar shelling in the Syrian province of Deir Ezzor, the ministry also said on Monday.

The ministry added that the servicemen were escorting the motor convoy of the Russian center for reconciliation.  No information of when the incident took place was provided.

Local sources from Deir Ezzor province report about increased Russian military involvement in the ongoing anti-ISIS operation on the ground.  Russian Special Operations Forces troops actively participate in battles against ISIS as forward air controllers, ATGM operators, and military advisers.

Some experts link the major SAA gains against ISIS in central Syria with the increased Russian involvement.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) killed 1,244 ISIS members and destroyed 28 car bombs in clashes in the city of Raqqah in August, the Kurdish People’s Defence Units (YPG) claimed in a statement describing recent achievements.

The YPG added that the SDF also destroyed “a workshop for improvised mines, a factory for the preparation of bomb-laden vehicles, 3 military vehicles, downed a drone, and discovered 3 underground tunnels. Only 101 Kurdish fighters were allegedly killed during the clashes.  However, this number is likely an overestimate ISIS casualties and an underestimate of SDF casualties.

Last weekend, the SDF re-captured Moroor district from ISIS in the southern part of Raqqah.  Now, it is able to focus on battling ISIS in the city center.

Voiceover by Harold Hoover

If you’re able, and if you like our content and approach, please support the project. Our work wouldn’t be possible without your help: PayPal: [email protected] or via: http://southfront.org/donate/ or via: https://www.patreon.com/southfront


Global Research announces the forthcoming release of  the print edition of Mark Taliano’s Book, “Voices from Syria”  which includes two additional chapters. 

Taliano talks and listens to the people of Syria. He reveals the courage and resilience of a Nation and its people in their day to day lives, after more than six years of US-NATO sponsored terrorism and three years of US “peacemaking” airstrikes.

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. 

Special Pre-Publication Offer

**Pre-Order Special Offer: Voices from Syria (Ships mid-September)

ISBN: 978-0-9879389-1-6

Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 2 new chapters)

List Price: $17.95

Special Price: $9.95 

Click to order

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Breaking: Syrian Army “Officially” Breaks the ISIS-Daesh Siege on Deir Ezzor with Support of Russian Air Force

Hours after the 9th annual BRICS summit wrapped up in Xiaman, China, delegates from East and South East Asia have begun arriving in the Russian city of Vladivostok for the Eastern Economic Forum. 

The Forum is an event designed to enhance economic partnerships and cooperation between multiple Asian nations including Russia, China, Japan, Vietnam and the Korean states.

This year’s summit occurs days after North Korea tested what is thought to be a hydrogen-weapon. Russia and China have both condemned the move and support UN sanctions against Pyongyang, but are equally opposed to further crippling unilateral sanctions from Washington.

With many suspecting that North Korea would boycott the event, Russian officials have confirmed otherwise, stating that the North Korean delegation is already in Vladivostok.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is to arrive shortly along with the South Korean delegation. While the Korean crisis is set to dominate discussions that would otherwise have been reserved for discussing trade and economic matters, it is not yet clear if the North and South Korean delegations will interact at any level.

Many suspect that Russian President Vladimir Putin who hosts the event will attempt to conduct dialogue with the representatives of both Korean states in order to try and de-escalate regional tensions.

The Eastern Economic Forum officially begins on the 6th of September and runs through the 7th.

Featured image is from the author.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on “Trump has been Trumped” by Putin: North Korean Delegation Arrives in Russia, Joined by South Korean President

Russia and China Versus the West on North Korea

September 5th, 2017 by Stephen Lendman

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

Their positions are world’s apart – evident in Monday’s Security Council meeting on North Korea.

Russia and China urge diplomacy to resolve a deepening crisis. They want tensions defused.

They oppose counterproductive tougher sanctions, threats and saber rattling, encouraging enhanced development of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Above all, they want war on the Korean peninsula avoided. They sensibly proposed a double-freeze.

In return for Washington, South Korea and Japan halting their provocative military exercises Pyongyang believes are rehearsals for war, Russia and China call for suspension of the DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Russia’s UN envoy Vasily Nebenzya warned that possible confrontation on the Korean peninsula is “high as never before,” peace experiencing a “serious test.”

He urged the international community to act “calmly and in a balanced way” – not “succumb to emotion.”

He criticized North Korea for undermining regional non-proliferation, posing a major threat to world peace – with possible “dire consequences” for its own country.

He urged diplomacy involving all relevant parties to defuse tensions and resolve the deepening crisis.

China’s UN envoy Liu Jieyi said his government won’t allow war and chaos on the Korean peninsula. He called for a dual-track, double-freeze explained above.

“(W)e we strongly urge (North Korea)…stop taking actions that are wrong, deteriorating the situation and not in line with its own interests either and truly return to the track of resolving the issue through dialogue,” he stressed.

Washington, Britain, France and Japan called for tougher sanctions in lieu of responsible diplomacy. After Monday’s meeting, US UN envoy Nikki Haley said she’s preparing a draft resolution, calling for tough new sanctions to be voted on in days.

Separately, Vladimir Putin and South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke by phone. Russia’s leader urged diplomacy over further escalating tensions.

In Washington, Trump approved the sale of billions of dollars of weapons and munitions to South Korea. Moon agreed to permit four more THAAD missile system installations in Seongju – where two others are already deployed.

China and Russia demand removal of existing ones from South Korean territory, calling them a serious threat to their security.

Moscow and Beijing are united for regional peace – adamant about wanting the threat of war eliminated.

Washington remains hardline, rejecting the only ways to reduce tensions on the peninsula and avoid possible war by accident or design.

Dangerously heightened tensions show no signs of easing. Unbending US hostility toward Pyongyang bears responsibility – the way it’s been throughout the DPRK’s history.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Russia and China Versus the West on North Korea

The Beggars for War: The US, North Korea and Bankruptcy

September 5th, 2017 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

The statement before members of the United Nations Security Council was both brash and high strung. The US ambassador had clearly decided that firm words were needed to understand the continuing military advances of North Korea. To do so, Nikki Haley, far from the sharpest tool in the US diplomatic toolbox, hit upon what Kim Jong-un was doing: “begging for war.”[1]

“Enough is enough,” she warned those gathered in the emergency session. “War is never something the United States wants. We don’t want it now. But our country’s patience is not unlimited.”

Troubling then, that the United States should be encouraging the circumstances for that war to take place.

Haley’s points suggest the exhaustion of options. They also cast a light on continuing failings.

“Despite our efforts the North Korea nuclear program is more advanced and more dangerous than ever.”

Suggesting, in fact, that US foreign policy has failed to reassure and counter; to contain and hem in.

But to hem in, to contain, to asphyxiate – the conditions, in short that will make Kim beg for conflict – is exactly what is being proposed. The upstart’s wings will be clipped, goes this attitude, and Kim will be potted.

To aid this, the Trump administration is renewing its efforts to enlist China to do its dirty work: bankrupt Pyongyang. A form of forced economic encirclement is proposed. The South Korean President Moon Jae-in has also suggested cutting off North Korea’s access to crude oil and foreign currency sources.

Beijing is hardly thrilled to shrink trade with a state that actually grew last year.

“A temporary or partial ban is possible,” suggested Shi Yinhong, an adviser to the Chinese cabinet, “but the Chinese government will definitely refuse to cut off oil exports completely or permanently to North Korea.”[2]

The method of forcibly starving a country of its oil and other necessaries has a good precedent for encouraging, rather than discouraging war. The United States was very much in the position of provoking conflict when it came to dealing with Japan in 1941. The rhyme of history is a strong one.

In the summer of 1941, prior to his departure for Placentia Bay, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave an executive order to freeze all Japanese assets in the United States. This was another measure to add to various embargoes on such items as scrap metals that were already implemented in 1940. Imperial Japan, went the reasoning behind these orders, might duly compose itself, desisting from aggressive measures in China, Indochina and Southeast Asia.

This approach did have its panic-inducing effect suggesting, to such historians as Charles Beard and Charles C. Tansill, the necessary opening of a back door to war. Given Japan’s hunger for US crude and refined petroleum products, the need to seek and obtain licenses to export and pay for each shipment of goods from the United States seemed steep. But supply would still flow.

What Roosevelt had not anticipated was the mischievous ferret under the cocktail cabinet. The agency responsible for granting such licenses fell that summer to Assistant Secretary of State Dean Acheson.

The disruptive Acheson, against state department advice, withheld approval for licenses to Japan to pay for goods in dollars. This was made more onerous by the fact that the US dollar was Japan’s only medium of international exchange after the German invasion of the Soviet Union. The supply effectively dried up, targeting key Japanese vulnerabilities outlined by various studies done by the Economic Control Administration.

A cocksure, hardline Acheson was certain that his actions would not provoke in quite the way it did.

“No rational Japanese,” he confidently surmised, “could believe that an attack on us could result in anything but disaster.”[3]

This amounted to, in the words of financial historian Edward S. Miller, a conscious and dangerous strategy to bankrupt Japan, a change from an initial “patchwork of export restrictions to full-blooded financial warfare”.[4] It was the sort of economic belligerence that had its ultimate realisation in the attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7 that year.

There are natural differences between the context of 1941, which saw Japan snaking relentlessly through Asia, and 2017, which sees a contained nuclear armed midget facing a bellicose superpower. What remain are the ingredients of desperation, and the assumption that reason shall prevail between the players.

Historical analogies do offer useful illustrations, even if superficial. The one that stands out here is not only that threats of war can loose their edge of pantomime. (Will you really fire the first shot?) To forcibly cut off a state from its lifelines, to render it an economic invalid, can also be tantamount to a declaration of conflict, a form of begging, in fact, for war.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]

Notes

[4] https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1591145201


150115 Long War Cover hi-res finalv2 copy3.jpg

The Globalization of War: America’s “Long War” against Humanity

by Michel Chossudovsky

The Globalization of War includes chapters on North Korea, Ukraine, Palestine, Libya, Iran, Yugoslavia, Haiti, Syria and Iraq as well as several chapters on the dangers of Nuclear War including Michel Chossudovsky’s Conversations with Fidel Castro entitled “Nuclear War and the Future of Humanity”.

According to Fidel: “in the case of a nuclear war, the ‘collateral damage’ would be the life of all humanity”.

The book concludes with two chapters focussing on “Reversing the Tide of War”.

“The Globalization of War” is diplomatic dynamite – and the fuse is burning rapidly.”

ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-6-0

Pages: 240 Pages

List Price: $22.95 

Order directly from Global Research

Special Price: $15.00

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.

Conversations on the Dangers of Nuclear War: Fidel Castro and Michel Chossudovsky, Havana, October 2010

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”.

Order directly from Global Research

REVIEWS:

“Professor Michel Chossudovsky is the most realistic of all foreign policy commentators. He is a model of integrity in analysis, his book provides an honest appraisal of the extreme danger that U.S. hegemonic neoconservatism poses to life on earth.”

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury

““The Globalization of War” comprises war on two fronts: those countries that can either be “bought” or destabilized. In other cases, insurrection, riots and wars are used to solicit U.S. military intervention. Michel Chossudovsky’s book is a must read for anyone who prefers peace and hope to perpetual war, death, dislocation and despair.”

Hon. Paul Hellyer, former Canadian Minister of National Defence

“Michel Chossudovsky describes globalization as a hegemonic weapon that empowers the financial elites and enslaves 99 percent of the world’s population.

“The Globalization of War” is diplomatic dynamite – and the fuse is burning rapidly.”

Michael Carmichael, President, the Planetary Movement

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The Beggars for War: The US, North Korea and Bankruptcy

Lacking Transparency: Israeli Drones and Australian Defence

September 5th, 2017 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Featured image: Marise Payne (Source: Financial Review)

“Give us the chance to compete, to see our capabilities, to compare, to see the benefit we can bring with our [drone] system.” – Shaul Shahar, Israel Aerospace Industries Vice-President, March 2, 2017

A certain part of you should go on vacation when a drone company, certainly one dedicated to killing, gets less custom to do what it does best. The only problem in this case is that the winning party will also be a manufacturer of killer drones. Where there is unscrupulous demand, a willing if soiled supplier is always happy to step in.

The Australian Defence For was already making its intentions clear earlier this year when the murderous Reaper drone made a visit to Australian soil. This spine tingling presence of a weapon responsible for the deaths of thousands caused a minor titter in local circles.

In recent years, the ADF has pondered whether to get into the grim business of robotic killing, despite its abysmal failings on the legal front. Defence Minister Marise Payne is fairly indifferent to such concerns:

“There will always be, in a remotely piloted aircraft, a human involved and that is the threshold for this capability for us.”[1]

Precisely the problem: behind the machine is a human; and behind that human is a vulnerable commander executing government policy.

The ADF, in other words, is falling for that old canard that such technologies are good, clean and strictly sanitised through a line of command. Malcolm Davis of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute throws the book of “strict rules of engagement” back at the critics. As long as the nod is given to protocols of use, there is nothing to sweat over. “We’ve worked with the US and other countries using drones, we understand about command and control.”[2]

Davis also laments Australia’s limp into a brave new world of lethal technologies.

“I’m amazed to be honest, that we haven’t got drones or more correctly, unmanned aerial vehicles by now. I mean, Australia has fallen well behind in this regard.”[3]

Whare are the options in an emerging smorgasbord of killing? General Atomics from the US offers its prize MQ-9 Reaper, and Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) boasts the Heron TP. The vigorous rumour whirling in the wings of drone central is not the whether the Heron discharges its job well, but whether the Reaper has an inter-operable dimension with the weapons systems of allies. To that end the usual plaudits are cast the way of the Israeli model, while the eye on the prize is already set.

The fuming Israeli representative, Shaul Shahar, was beside himself. His ultimate fear: that the decision is already cooked for the American rivals. In protest, he explained to the ABC that prospective Australian drone pilots had been training on the Heron-1 system, a “successful” one at that. Furthermore, Shahar claims that Australians were already using it in Afghanistan – for 3 years, no less. (Such a nugget of information, implicating Australian pilots in incidents where whole families become the bloody collateral of a target mission.)

Shahar smells discrimination and foul play, that awful sense of being strung along.

“With all the risk analysis, all competitive analysis, they need to do here and they didn’t done [sic] it because no one has approached us, no one has offered to put our data of the system on the table.”[4]

Minister Payne complied with cabinet protocol: avoid the grievance, keep the options open and claim that nothing was off the boardroom table. A similar option is done in appointing academic staff to faculties: you know who you want, but you want to keep up appearances by getting appropriate external candidates. To that end, the playbook of deflection ensures that no one option is ignored in favour of another, even if a decision has been made months in advance.

“Defence,” goes such weasel speak from a statement from the minister, “is considering a range of options for the future of the future Australian Defence Force armed remotely piloted aircraft system.”

Naturally, Payne makes the mandatory addition, the qualifier that suggests keen objectivity, gentle and deft consideration:

“As the evaluation process is ongoing it is not appropriate to comment.” Woe to the Israeli contractor.

The notable disdain for transparency shown by the ADF is far from unusual in the Australian defence industry. The ADF, for one, can hardly be accused of being overly patriotic when it comes to local industries, showing a drug-addicted preference for US products.

This was made clear in 2015 when Australian drone manufacturers – this time in the surveillance context – found it impossible to net contracts from the ministry of defence. The Australian forces showed greater and ultimately definitive interest in dealing with the American company AeroVironment.

This time, the pattern is set to repeat itself. Few are better in the business of drone-directed killings than the Israelis, but the Reaper has clout, a grotesque resume to back it, and the brutish swagger of made in the USA.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]

Notes

  • Posted in Uncategorized
  • Comments Off on Lacking Transparency: Israeli Drones and Australian Defence

Lacking Transparency: Israeli Drones and Australian Defence

September 5th, 2017 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Featured image: Marise Payne (Source: Financial Review)

“Give us the chance to compete, to see our capabilities, to compare, to see the benefit we can bring with our [drone] system.” – Shaul Shahar, Israel Aerospace Industries Vice-President, March 2, 2017

A certain part of you should go on vacation when a drone company, certainly one dedicated to killing, gets less custom to do what it does best. The only problem in this case is that the winning party will also be a manufacturer of killer drones. Where there is unscrupulous demand, a willing if soiled supplier is always happy to step in.

The Australian Defence For was already making its intentions clear earlier this year when the murderous Reaper drone made a visit to Australian soil. This spine tingling presence of a weapon responsible for the deaths of thousands caused a minor titter in local circles.

In recent years, the ADF has pondered whether to get into the grim business of robotic killing, despite its abysmal failings on the legal front. Defence Minister Marise Payne is fairly indifferent to such concerns:

“There will always be, in a remotely piloted aircraft, a human involved and that is the threshold for this capability for us.”[1]

Precisely the problem: behind the machine is a human; and behind that human is a vulnerable commander executing government policy.

The ADF, in other words, is falling for that old canard that such technologies are good, clean and strictly sanitised through a line of command. Malcolm Davis of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute throws the book of “strict rules of engagement” back at the critics. As long as the nod is given to protocols of use, there is nothing to sweat over. “We’ve worked with the US and other countries using drones, we understand about command and control.”[2]

Davis also laments Australia’s limp into a brave new world of lethal technologies.

“I’m amazed to be honest, that we haven’t got drones or more correctly, unmanned aerial vehicles by now. I mean, Australia has fallen well behind in this regard.”[3]

Whare are the options in an emerging smorgasbord of killing? General Atomics from the US offers its prize MQ-9 Reaper, and Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) boasts the Heron TP. The vigorous rumour whirling in the wings of drone central is not the whether the Heron discharges its job well, but whether the Reaper has an inter-operable dimension with the weapons systems of allies. To that end the usual plaudits are cast the way of the Israeli model, while the eye on the prize is already set.

The fuming Israeli representative, Shaul Shahar, was beside himself. His ultimate fear: that the decision is already cooked for the American rivals. In protest, he explained to the ABC that prospective Australian drone pilots had been training on the Heron-1 system, a “successful” one at that. Furthermore, Shahar claims that Australians were already using it in Afghanistan – for 3 years, no less. (Such a nugget of information, implicating Australian pilots in incidents where whole families become the bloody collateral of a target mission.)

Shahar smells discrimination and foul play, that awful sense of being strung along.

“With all the risk analysis, all competitive analysis, they need to do here and they didn’t done [sic] it because no one has approached us, no one has offered to put our data of the system on the table.”[4]

Minister Payne complied with cabinet protocol: avoid the grievance, keep the options open and claim that nothing was off the boardroom table. A similar option is done in appointing academic staff to faculties: you know who you want, but you want to keep up appearances by getting appropriate external candidates. To that end, the playbook of deflection ensures that no one option is ignored in favour of another, even if a decision has been made months in advance.

“Defence,” goes such weasel speak from a statement from the minister, “is considering a range of options for the future of the future Australian Defence Force armed remotely piloted aircraft system.”

Naturally, Payne makes the mandatory addition, the qualifier that suggests keen objectivity, gentle and deft consideration:

“As the evaluation process is ongoing it is not appropriate to comment.” Woe to the Israeli contractor.

The notable disdain for transparency shown by the ADF is far from unusual in the Australian defence industry. The ADF, for one, can hardly be accused of being overly patriotic when it comes to local industries, showing a drug-addicted preference for US products.

This was made clear in 2015 when Australian drone manufacturers – this time in the surveillance context – found it impossible to net contracts from the ministry of defence. The Australian forces showed greater and ultimately definitive interest in dealing with the American company AeroVironment.

This time, the pattern is set to repeat itself. Few are better in the business of drone-directed killings than the Israelis, but the Reaper has clout, a grotesque resume to back it, and the brutish swagger of made in the USA.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]

Notes

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Lacking Transparency: Israeli Drones and Australian Defence

Featured image: Children in Pyongyang Orphanage before performing drumming. August 29, 2017.

From August 24-31, I visited the DPRK (North Korea) as part of a very small delegation interested in hearing from North Koreans themselves about their lives, the US sanctions and incessant war manouevres, their history and more. A sample of photos and videos, with more to follow soon.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The People of North Korea. Vilified Nation, What is the Truth

La Corea del Nord nel grande gioco nucleare

September 5th, 2017 by Manlio Dinucci

I riflettori politico-mediatici, focalizzati sui test nucleari e missilistici nord-coreani, lasciano in ombra il quadro generale in cui essi si inseriscono: quello di una crescente corsa agli armamenti che, mentre mantiene un arsenale nucleare in grado di cancellare la specie umana dalla faccia della Terra, punta su testate e vettori high tech sempre più sofisticati.

La Federazione degli scienziati americani (Fas) stima nel 2017 che la Corea del Nord abbia «materiale fissile per produrre potenzialmente 10-20 testate nucleari, ma non ci sono prove disponibili che abbia reso operative testate nucleari trasportabili da missili balistici». Sempre secondo la Fas, gli Usa posseggono 6800 testate nucleari, di cui 1650 strategiche e 150 non-strategiche pronte in ogni momento al lancio. Comprese quelle francesi e britanniche (rispettivamente 300 e 215), le forze nucleari della Nato dispongono di 7315 testate nucleari, di cui 2200 pronte al lancio, in confronto alle 7000 russe di cui 1950 pronte al lancio. Stando alle stime della Fas, circa 550 testate nucleari statunitensi, francesi e britanniche, pronte al lancio, sono dislocate in Europa in prossimità del territorio russo. È come se la Russia avesse schierato in Messico centinaia di testate nucleari puntate sugli Stati uniti.

Aggiungendo quelle cinesi (270), pachistane (120-130), indiane (110-120) e israeliane (80), il numero totale delle testate nucleari viene stimato in circa 15000. Sono stime approssimative, quasi sicuramente per difetto. E la corsa agli armamenti nucleari prosegue con la continua modernizzazione delle testate e dei vettori nucleari.

In testa sono gli Stati uniti, che effettuano continui test dei missili balistici intercontinentali Minuteman III e si preparano a sostituirli con nuovi missili (costo stimato 85 miliardi di dollari). Il Congresso ha approvato nel 2015 un piano (costo stimato circa 1000 miliardi) per potenziare le forze nucleari con altri 12 sottomarini da attacco (7 miliardi l’uno), armato ciascuno di 200 testate nucleari, e altri bombardieri strategici (550 milioni l’uno), ciascuno armato di 20 testate nucleari. Nello stesso quadro rientra la sostituzione delle bombe nucleari Usa B61, schierate in Italia e altri paesi europei, con le nuove B61-12, armi da first strike. Il potenziamento delle forze nucleari comprende anche lo «scudo anti-missili» per neutralizzare la rappresaglia nemica, tipo quello schierato dagli Usa in Europa contro la Russia e in Corea del Sud, non contro la Corea del Nord ma in realtà contro la Cina.

Russia e Cina stanno accelerando la modernizzazione delle loro forze nucleari, per non farsi distanziare. Nel 2018 la Russia schiererà un nuovo missile balistico intercontinentale, il Sarmat, con raggio fino a 18000 km, capace di trasportare 10-15 testate nucleari che, rientrando nell’atmosfera a velocità ipersonica (oltre 10 volte quella del suono), manovrano per sfuggire ai missili intercettori forando lo «scudo».

In tale situazione, in cui una ristretta cerchia di stati mantiene l’oligopolio delle armi nucleari, in cui chi le possiede minaccia chi non ce le ha, è sempre più probabile che altri cerchino di procurarsele e ci riescano. Oltre ai nove paesi che già posseggono armi nucleari, ve ne sono all’incirca altri 35 in grado di costruirle.

Tutto questo viene ignorato da giornali e telegiornali, mentre lanciano l’allarme sulla Corea del Nord, denunciata come unica fonte di minaccia nucleare. Si ignora anche la lezione che a Pyongyang dicono di aver imparato: Gheddafi – ricordano – aveva rinunciato totalmente a ogni programma nucleare, permettendo ispezioni della Cia in territorio libico. Ciò però non lo salvò quando Usa e Nato decisero di distruggere lo Stato libico. Se esso avesse avuto armi nucleari, pensano a Pyongyang, nessuno avrebbe avuto il coraggio di attaccarlo. Tale ragionamento può essere fatto anche da altri: nell’attuale situazione mondiale è meglio avere le armi nucleari che non averle.

Mentre in base a questa pericolosa logica aumenta la probabilità di proliferazione nucleare, il Trattato sulla proibizione delle armi nucleari, adottato a grande maggioranza dalle Nazioni Unite lo scorso luglio, viene ignorato da tutte le potenze nucleari, dai membri della Nato (Italia compresa) e dai suoi suoi principali partner (Ucraina, Giappone, Australia). Fondamentale è una larga mobilitazione per imporre che anche il nostro paese aderisca al Trattato sulla proibizione delle armi nucleari e quindi rimuova dal suo territorio le bombe nucleari Usa, la cui presenza viola il Trattato di non-proliferazione già ratificato dall’Italia. Se manca la coscienza politica, dovrebbe almeno scattare l’istinto di sopravvivenza.

Manlio Dinucci

  • Posted in Italiano
  • Comments Off on La Corea del Nord nel grande gioco nucleare

Featured image: Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked

There, said it! Zionism contradicts not only human rights but also universal justice. Zionism is above all. No less than the Israeli Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked said this at a conference organized by the Israeli Bar Association in Tel Aviv.[1] Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy call her “Israel’s Minister of Truth.”[2] Right-wing Zionist ideology negates human rights.

Shaked and their ilk have been very critical of Israel High Court of Justice. In her speech, she criticized the court for giving insufficient attention to Zionism and the country’s Jewish majority. Zionism and the challenges the country is facing have become a blind spot, which carries no certain weight in comparison to individual rights. According to her, demography and the Jewish majority should be taken more into consideration.

“Zionism should not continue, and I say here, it will not continue to bow down to the system of individual rights interpreted in a universal way that divorces them from the history of the Knesset and the history of legislation that we all know,” Shaked said.

The Netanyahu government pushes the controversial “nation-state bill” that will determine that Israel is the “national home of the Jewish people” and only they can realize the right to self-determination in the state. Shaked considers national and Zionist values as an “absolute truth.”

Critics of Zionism have been saying that the State of Israel is not a democracy because it discriminates its non-Jewish inhabitants because of not being Jewish. The Israeli political establishment pretends that Israel is a “Jewish and democratic” state. Avram Burg, the former Speaker of the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, called this an “oxymoron,” a contradiction in itself. Right from the start, critics of the pseudo-democratic character of Israel had a hard time; “Anti-Zionists,” “Anti-Semites,” or “self-hating Jew,” are outlaws. Critics, such as Oren Yiftachel, Professor at Ben Gurion University, call Israel an “Ethnocracy.”

Shaked belongs to Naftali Bennett‘s nationalistic “Jewish Home” Party. This party together with the right-wing settler movement have hijacked Zionism and transformed it into a nationalistic, racist, and fascist-like ideology. Under Josef Burg, the long-time Interior Minister of Israel, the “National-Religious Party” was a religious liberal, conservative party.

The Israeli right cherishes a claustrophobic world view, i. e., the whole world is against us, and a next Holocaust is just around the corner. The newest example is the BDS Movement, which is seen by the Zionist establishment and World Jewry as an existential threat fought against by all available means, which also means at the cost of freedom of speech. In the US and other European states, such as Germany, the Zionist Israel lobby and their Philosemetic accomplices are just going berserk.

Let’s be thankful to Shaked. Finally, she revealed the real face of Zionism, which anybody already knew who did not see things through rose-colored glasses such as the so-called Zionist left from the Labour party or the former Meretz party. They have been justifying the injustices, the racism, the occupation regime and the Apartheid system over decades. It’s a pity that the West still accepts their hypocrisy. They are the so-called “good Israelis” in contrast to the Likudniks, not to speak of the Shakeds, Bennetts, Libermans and their ilk.

The disenchanting of the real face of Zionism by Shaked and Gideon Levy praise of this invited severe contradictions by so-called liberal Zionists such as Ravit Hecht.[3] According to her, a “fragrance of true love exudes from Levy’s text to his honest, brave princess.” Hecht tries to save the real Zionism because what Levy and his ilk are defending is a “sadistic distortion.” Hecht is wrong by insinuating that Levy and others prefer the leadership of Shaked and their conservative colleagues to the liberal Likudniks. Levy praises Shaked only for speaking the truth about the real Zionism, which is anti-democratic, racist, and anti-liberal.

When has Zionism become “a blind spot in the law,” what about Judaism? Hasn’t Zionism perverted and hijacked Judaism on which Zionism made recourse to? Zionism is a form of nationalism whitewashed with pseudo-Jewish rhetoric. The Zionists are using the Jewish religion as a facade to legitimize their racist and expansionist colonialism. The real problems of this ideology ruts in Zionism itself. To get rid of the problems, Israel must get rid of Zionism.

The Zionist intruders want to portrait this conflict as a religious one between Muslims and Jews, which is wrong. Jewish life has flourished in Muslim countries until the Zionist appeared on the scene in Palestine. Only then, the conflict started. The only goal of the Zionist is to take over the Land of Palestine and get rid of as much Palestinians as possible. The whole charade has nothing to do with religion and should be rejected by the international community. The Palestinian people are victims of a racist movement that is as distant to religion as the earth from the moon.

These are the real problems Zionism is facing. Levy knows this. That’s why he praised Shaked. She is the one to show the actual face of Zionism to the world. The international community should demand from Israel to become a representative of liberal democracy for all its citizens. One consequence could be an international boycott of the State of Israel.

Notes

[1] http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.809617

[2] http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.809867

[3] http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.810167

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Zionism Contradicts Human Rights and Universal Justice: Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked Speaks the Truth

Stronger BRICS Partnership for a Brighter Future

September 5th, 2017 by Pres. Xi Jinping

Translated from Chinese, this is the opening speech of the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping at the BRICS Xiamen Summit

“A partnership forged with the right approach defies geographical distance; it is thicker than glue and stronger than metal and stone.”  (Chinese saying).

“The past decade has seen the unremitting efforts of BRICS countries in pursuing development and deepening partnership. It is but a beginning in the history of BRICS cooperation.”

.

.

Your Excellency President Jacob Zuma,

Your Excellency President Michel Temer,

Your Excellency President Vladimir Putin,

Your Excellency Prime Minister Narendra Modi,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

I am delighted to meet with my colleagues again. I wish to begin by extending, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, a warm welcome to you all. Welcome to the BRICS Xiamen Summit. With the focus on the theme of the summit: “Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”, I look forward to working with you to take stock of BRICS cooperation, map out a blueprint for its future development and set sail on a new journey of cooperation.

BRICS cooperation has traversed a glorious journey of one decade. Though separated by mountains and oceans, our five countries have been closely bound by a shared commitment to win-win cooperation.

As an ancient Chinese saying goes, “A partnership forged with the right approach defies geographical distance; it is thicker than glue and stronger than metal and stone.” We owe the rapid development of BRICS cooperation to our adoption of a right approach. Guided by this approach, we have respected and supported each other in following the path of development suited to our respective national conditions; we have pushed forward economic, political and people-to-people cooperation in an open, inclusive and win-win spirit; and we have worked in unison with other emerging market and developing countries to uphold international justice and equity and foster a sound external environment.

Past progress shows that BRICS cooperation has met our common need for development and is in keeping with the trend of history. Though we have different national conditions, we share the commitment to pursuing development and prosperity through partnership. This has enabled us to rise above differences and seek win-win results.

As the world undergoes profound and complex changes, BRICS cooperation has become more important. Our people expect us to jointly boost development and improve their well-being. The international community expects us to make contribution to world peace and common development. We must redouble our efforts to comprehensively deepen BRICS partnership and usher in the second “Golden Decade” of BRICS cooperation.

First, we need to seek practical results in our economic cooperation. Results-oriented cooperation is the foundation of BRICS cooperation, and significant progress has been made in this regard. However, we have yet to fully tap the potential of BRICS cooperation. Statistics show that of the 197 billion US dollars outbound investment we made in 2016, only 5.7% took place among our five countries. This means BRICS cooperation still has broad space.

We need to stay focused on promoting results-oriented economic cooperation, and expand converging interests in trade and investment, currency and finance, connectivity, sustainable development, innovation and industrial cooperation. This year, we have formulated the BRICS Trade in Services Cooperation Roadmap, the Outlines for BRICS Investment Facilitation, the BRICS E-Commerce Cooperation Initiative, the BRICS Action Plan for Innovation Cooperation and the Action Plan for Deepening Industrial Cooperation Among BRICS Countries. We have launched the African Regional Center of the New Development Bank (NDB), decided to set up the BRICS Model E-Port Network and reached extensive agreement on taxation, e-commerce, local currency bond, public-private partnership, and the network of financial institutions and services. Our practical cooperation has become more institutionalized and substantive, and delivered more tangible results.

I wish to announce here that China will launch the Economic and Technical Cooperation Plan for BRICS Countries with 500 million yuan for the first term to facilitate policy exchange and practical cooperation in the economic and trade fields. China will contribute four million US dollars to the NDB Project Preparation Facility to support the business operation and long-term development of the bank. China will work with all parties to follow through on the outcomes and consensus achieved in the past, and make good use of existing mechanisms. Together, we must seize the historic opportunities of the new industrial revolution, explore new areas and models of practical cooperation, and enhance our links to ensure sustained and steady progress of the BRICS cooperation mechanism.

Second, we need to strengthen the complementarity of our development strategies. Despite our differences in national conditions, our five countries are in a similar stage of development and share the same development goals. We all face an arduous task in growing the economy. Strengthening the complementarity of our development strategies will help bring out our comparative strengths in resources, market and labor force, and release the growth potential of the five countries and the creativity of our three billion people, opening up huge space for development.

We need to plan well at the macro level and take concrete actions in key areas. Acting in the spirit of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, we need to identify those areas where our development policies and priorities converge, and continue to work toward the goal of connectivity in trade and investment, currency and finance, and infrastructure. With a focus on structural reform and sustainable development, we need to expand our converging interests and share experience on innovation, entrepreneurship, industrial development and production capacity to boost our respective economic development. It is important to strike a balance between the speed of growth and the quality and efficiency of growth. By implementing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, we have the opportunity to achieve balanced economic, social and environmental progress, and bring about interconnected and inclusive development.

Third, we need to make the international order more just and equitable. Our ever closer ties with the rest of the world require that we play a more active part in global governance. Without our participation, many pressing global challenges cannot be effectively resolved. We should speak with one voice and jointly present our solutions to issues concerning international peace and development. This meets the expectation of the international community, and will help safeguard our common interests.

We should remain committed to multilateralism and the basic norms governing international relations, work for a new type of international relations, and foster a peaceful and stable environment for the development of all countries. We need to make economic globalization open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all, build an open world economy, support the multilateral trading regime and oppose protectionism. We need to advance the reform of global economic governance, increase the representation and voice of emerging market and developing countries, and inject new impetus into the efforts to address the development gap between the North and South and boost global growth.

Fourth, we need to promote people-to-people exchanges. Amity between the people holds the key to sound state-to-state relations. Only with intensive care can the tree of friendship and cooperation grow luxuriant. Enhancing the exchanges among our peoples and seeing the spirit of partnership embraced by all is a worthy cause that deserves our enduring commitment. A job well done in this regard will keep BRICS cooperation vibrant.

We are pleased to note that the important consensus reached at the leadership level on closer people-to-people exchanges is being translated into reality. This year, people-to-people exchanges among our five countries have been in full swing, marked by the diverse activities of the BRICS Games, the BRICS Film Festival, the BRICS Culture Festival and the High-level Meeting on Traditional Medicine. We hope that through our joint efforts, these activities will take place regularly and be institutionalized. We need to expand our outreach to get the public more involved and encourage more lively exchanges of diverse cultures.

Dear Colleagues,

The past decade has seen the unremitting efforts of BRICS countries in pursuing development and deepening partnership. It is but a beginning in the history of BRICS cooperation. As I said in my letters to you early this year, looking ahead, BRICS cooperation is set to achieve greater development and play an even bigger role in international affairs. Let us set sail from Xiamen and join hands to usher in the second “Golden Decade” of BRICS cooperation and deliver greater benefits to the people of our five countries and around the world.

Thank you.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Stronger BRICS Partnership for a Brighter Future

With centuries of experience garnered from waging wars of colonial conquest, combating revolutionary movements and imperial policing, the British Army has been seen as an expert institution in the area of counter-insurgency operations. The high regard held for the theoretical constructions of British military officers such as Orde Wingate, Robert Thompson and Frank Kitson seemingly bear this out. But defining a counter-insurgency campaign as a ‘success’ or a ‘victory’ poses problems.

This is because most of the counter-insurgency operations conducted after the ending of the Second World War occurred against the backdrop of decolonisation.

This meant that regardless of whether such operations were deemed to be successful or not, the countries within which the operation was conducted were embarked upon a path of political independence. And even where they were adjudged successful, the legacy of these campaigns, replete with disregard for the rule of law and violations of the human rights of civilian populations, have left a pall of moral darkness.

In a 2008 research paper published under the auspices of the U.S. Army War College, a serving British Army colonel, I.A. Rigden sought to classify British military counter-insurgency campaigns conducted after the Second World War into those which were ‘successes’ and ‘failures’ alongside those he calibrated as somewhere between success and failure.

Entitled The British Approach to Counter-Insurgency: Myths, Realities and Strategic Challenges, Rigden considered the following to be “successes”: Malaya, Kenya, Brunei, Malaysia, Radfan (Part of Aden), Dhofar (Oman) and Northern Ireland. The campaigns in Greece between 1945 and 1946, Eritrea in 1949 and Togoland in 1957 he judged as “partial successes”. The operation in Cyprus was a “draw”, while the following were earmarked as “failures”: Palestine (1945 to 1948), Egypt (1946 to 1956), as well as the three missions in Aden respectively in 1955, between 1956 and 1958, and from 1965 to 1967. Rigden reserved judgement on British involvement in the counter-insurgency efforts in both Afghanistan and Iraq which were ongoing a the time that his paper was published.

There are compelling reasons to conclude that ‘Operation Telic’, the mission undertaken by the British armed forces from the time of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 to the withdrawal of the last forces in 2011, should be ruled as a failure.

In the early stages of the mission after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s government, British troops were depicted as calmly undertaking a policing mission in Basra. They patrolled the streets in an orderly manner and appeared to be winning the proverbial “hearts and minds” of the local people. This stood in marked contrast to the strife-ridden experience of American troops in Baghdad. Basra is of course part of Shia Iraq which welcomed the removal of Saddam. So the British did not have to contend with a ferocious insurgency as did their American allies.

The veneer of a successful pacification began to crumble when in 2006, Shia militias started targeting British forces and casualties began to mount. These attacks drove British troops off the streets and into secluded compounds. Shia militias seized control of the streets.

By 2007, most of the initial 46,000 personnel which had been used during the invasion had been reduced to a token figure of around 5,000 troops who withdrew first from their occupation headquarters located at Saddam’s former palace before being largely confined to Basra Airport.

To Shia militias and the local population, the withdrawals and the whittling down of personnel signified an ignominious defeat. In fact, one high-ranking American official, the retired General Jack Keane went on record to state that the British Army’s decision to pull out of Basra amounted to a defeat. Other U.S. army officers went on to say the same thing.

The same conclusion ought to be drawn so far as the campaign in Afghanistan is concerned. Britain withdrew all combat forces from Afghanistan in 2014 while retaining a minuscule force of around 500 to train and advise Afghan security forces. The withdrawal of combat troops after 13 years of fighting the Taliban who today control more territory than at any point since the invasion may be cited as evidence of a failed mission.

The aura of failure persists given that there are no tangible achievements related for instance to the notion of ‘nation-building’ or in regards to the curtailment of the global trade in heroin. Global terrorism is today a phenomenon which has intermittently blighted the peaceful living circumstances of British cities.

The former British prime minister, David Cameron acknowledged the heavy price paid by Britain during its involvement in Afghanistan. His allusion to Britain’s part in checking the expansion of Prussian power, the defeat of Nazism and its role as a partner of the United States during the Cold War which ended with the dismantling of the Soviet system in Russia and eastern Europe could not cover up the underlying reality of failure.

But even defining what a success is can pose problems.

The idea of winning a counter-insurgency can be a contentious matter for protagonists. For the legacies of brutally managed operations replete with amoral tactics and strategies which invariably abrogated the notion of upholding the rule of law and consistently trampled underfoot the civil and human rights of innocent civilians continue to haunt places such as Kenya and Northern Ireland.

And those adjudged to be ‘failures’ may be considered as such because of the nature of the objectives of the campaign and the resources given to the military fighting the counter-insurgency, as well as wider considerations determined not in the theatre of battle, but in the cabinet boardrooms of politicians.

The question of whether a campaign may be considered as a success weighs heavily in the case of Northern Ireland where a thirty year ‘low-intensity’ war involving insurgent republican guerrillas from the Roman Catholic community against the British military and loyalist proxies drawn from the Protestant community came to an end and led to a peace settlement.

Most British academics and members of the military regard the Northern Ireland campaign as a hard-won success while mainstream Irish nationalists regard it as a drawn stalemate. The argument in favour of a British victory stems from the fact that it was the Irish Republican Army which in 1994 called for an unconditional ceasefire. The declaration of a “complete cessation of military operations” was accompanied by an announcement of its willingness to enter into inclusive talks about the future of the province.

The IRA had been so thoroughly infiltrated by agents of British state and military intelligence that it is argued that its leadership came to the decision that it could no longer continue with its armed struggle. The litmus test for acknowledging a British victory would be that the ultimate goals of the Republican movement, namely those related to securing the withdrawal of the British Army, the termination of British sovereign status over Northern Ireland’s six counties, and reunification of the province with the Republic of Ireland did not come to pass.

At the same time, it should be noted that the demands made by the leaders of the civil rights movement as related to power-sharing between Catholic and Protestant communities and reform of policing were met by the eventual peace process. Further, the granting of immunity to paramilitary figures and an early release programme for certain prisoners meant that the punishment normally meted out by victors over a vanquished foe did not come to pass.

If the outcome of the Good Friday Agreement produced a state of affairs demanded three decades earlier by the Catholic-led civil rights movement, which may conceivably have been possible to have achieved if the British government had applied sufficient pressure on the Protestant community to accede to a power-sharing arrangement, then the subsequent radicalisation of Catholic youth, and the ensuing resuscitation of the Irish Republican Army might have been averted.

Talk of victory takes on a pyrrhic quality when consideration is given to the adherence by British Army officers to a counter-insurgency policy which from its inception had adopted the use of what effectively were death squads under the auspices of intelligence units such as the Military Reaction Force (MRF), the Special Reconnaissance Unit (SRU), Force Research Unit and 14 Intelligence Company.

Image result for Military Reaction Force

The MRF (Source: Belfast Child)

Many of the post-war counter-insurgencies were fought effectively as colonial wars in the dying days of empire. In Aden for instance, British troops were captured acting as brigands, murderers and in the words of Lieutenant Colonel Colin Mitchell as “nigger-bashing imperialists”. The techniques of counter-insurgency developed by officers who had served in these conflicts as the mentality developed in subjugating non-white colonials were arguably transferred intact to Northern Ireland, a province on an island considered by Irish republicans to be Britain’s “first and last colony.”

It is also appropriate to mention that many of the campaigns deemed to be “failures” were themselves constricted by issues outside of the use of military force. The interplay of limited or even unattainable objectives alongside pressing geopolitical concerns have served to create situations where failure was the inevitable outcome of the mission.

This is an underlying feature of the era of waning British power when army officers were involved with managing the dismantling of an empire. In Palestine and Cyprus, the British Army found itself in the middle of antagonistic communities respectively of Arabs and Jews, and Greeks and Turks. Some of the conflicts such as that of Aden were to do with containment prior to withdrawal.

And political decisions have played a part in necessitating the aborting of a mission. In Iraq for instance, the decision to retain a small, token force in Basra meant that the army was put into a position of not being able to actively perform peacekeeping and anti-insurgency missions, and could do little else other than to fortify its location and defend itself.

The post-war economic circumstances of near bankruptcy and regime of austerity in Britain alongside the prevailing mood in the United States to bring about the creation of a homeland for the Jews in the wake of the Jewish holocaust in Europe doubtlessly affected the willingness of Britain to retain the mandate it had over Palestine. Jewish terror groups such as Irgun and Lehi hit hard at British interests. Led by future prime minister, Menachem Begin, Irgun’s most spectacular operation was the bombing in 1946 of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem which served as the seat of the British administration. Lehi, which was better known as the ‘Stern Gang’, assassinated Lord Moyne, the resident British envoy to the Middle East in 1944.

At the time, the Hollywood screenwriter Ben Hecht praised the Zionist insurgents by saying

“Every time you blow up a British arsenal, or wreck a British jail, or send a British railroad train sky high, or rob a British bank or let go with your guns and bombs at the British betrayers and invaders of your homeland, the Jews of America make a little holiday in their hearts.”

While the administration of Harry Truman’s invoking of the Neutrality Act, and banning of fundraising for Zionist groups in the United States portrayed a neutral stance on the Jewish-Arab conflict, the international routes of supply which aided Jewish insurgent organisations remained open. The newly created Central Intelligence Agency may have been comprised of key agents who were Arabists, but information obtained by U.S. Navy intelligence intercepts of cable traffic with Jewish gun-runners was not shared with Britain or acted upon by the American authorities.

The British tired of its responsibilities in Palestine and after reaching the conclusion that its efforts in maintaining the peace between Jews and Arabs and combating Zionist terrorists were both costly and futile, decided to hand over its governing responsibilities to the United Nations.

The conduct of each of the anti-insurgency efforts whether classified as “successes” or “failures” have left a ghastly legacy of human rights abuses. For instance, the ‘shoot-on-sight’ policy operated by the British during the Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya was mirrored by the ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy which materialised in Northern Ireland.

There are innumerable parallels which can be drawn between the inhumane and even depraved aspects of many of these campaigns, but one particularly striking legacy left by a British counter-insurgency effort concerns that of Palestine. This relates to the practices employed in combating Arab and Jewish insurgencies which included the policy of imposing collective punishment on communities from where insurgents hailed such as by destroying the homes of their families and the levying of punitive taxes. For example, a collective fine was imposed on the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem because its inhabitants failed to help police investigating an abortive attempt on the life of the British High Commissioner.

Today, the state of Israel exacts retribution against the communities and families of Palestinian guerrillas in an identical fashion. These and other draconian measures are rooted in the Defence (Emergency) Regulations passed by the British Mandate government in 1945 which in 1948 was incorporated into the law of the newly created state via section 11 of the Government and Law Arrangements Ordinance.

Palestine

The Defence Regulations had provided for the establishing of military tribunals to try civilians without granting the right of appeal, allow for the conducting of sweeping searches and seizures, prohibited the publication of books and newspapers, demolishing houses, detaining individuals for an indefinite period of time, sealing off particular  territories, and imposing curfew.

These are measures that are routinely applied by the Israelis within the occupied territories.

It is also worthwhile reminding that the counter-insurgency efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the former initiated by a war based on a lie and the latter initiated supposedly to serve as a quick and decisive police action, both bear the hallmarks of colonial interventions. The overthrow of Saddam Iraq served to break the a Middle Eastern state which threatened to challenge Israel’s undisputed regional hegemony, while the invasion of Afghanistan was the fulfillment of a plan designed well before the 9/11 attack to create U.S. bases close to oil rich Central Asia. From the point of view of Britain’s strategic and economic interests, both were unnecessary adventures and arguably doomed to fail.

But as seen, even with those considered to be “successes”, the costs both in terms of the destruction of human lives and sunken moral prestige were high.

It is worth reflecting on William Faulkner’s words from The Sound and the Fury that “victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.”

Adeyinka Makinde is a law lecturer with interests in intelligence and security studies. He is based in London, England and can be followed on Twitter @AdeyinkaMakinde

This article was originally published by Adeyinka Makinde.

Featured image is from the author.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on British Counter-insurgency Campaigns Since the End of the Second World War

The Guardian in its article, “Cambodia’s strongman PM digs in with arrest of opposition leader,” would report:

The Cambodian opposition leader, Kem Sokha, has been arrested accused of treason, according to the government, in the latest of a flurry of legal cases lodged against critics and rivals of the strongman prime minister, Hun Sen. 

The surprise arrest raises the stakes as Hun Sen’s political opponents, NGOs and the critical press are smothered by court cases and threats ahead of a crunch general election in 2018.

The Guardian would also note:

On Saturday night a pro-government website – Fresh News – alleged that Kem Sokha had discussed overthrowing Hun Sen with support from the United States.

The Guardian would conclude by stating:

Last week the US expressed “deep concern” over the state of Cambodia’s democracy after the government there ordered out an American NGO and pursued a crackdown on independent media. 

Among the media in the firing line is the well-respected Cambodia Daily, which often criticises the government. 

It faces closure on Monday if it fails to pay a US$6.3m tax bill, a threat it says is a political move to muzzle its critical reporting.

The Guardian fails to mention that the Cambodia Daily is owned by an American and that the “American NGO” ordered out of Cambodia was the National Democratic Institute (NDI), an organisation notorious for its role in subverting and overthrowing the governments of sovereign nations.

The Guardian and other American and European media platforms have collectively failed to dive into Kem Sokha’s background. Had they, charges of treason would seem less far fetched and contrived as they have been presented to the public.

Kem Sokha, Made in America 

Before taking to politics, Kem Sokha founded a US-European funded front posing as an independent nongovernmental organisation called the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR).

Kem Sokha (third from foreground on left) meets with then US Secretary of State John Kerry. As the US has done elsewhere, it is carefully cultivating Sokha’s political party, assisting it into power to then serve US, not Cambodian interests. 

CCHR on its webpage titled, “History,” states:

Human rights activist Kem Sokha launched and registered CCHR in November 2002. In December 2005 he was arrested and detained with others activists accused of criminal defamation for comments written by an unknown individual on banners displayed at Human Rights Day celebrations. The activists were released following international pressure and a campaign for freedom of expression led by CCHR’s then Advocacy Director, Ou Virak. In early 2007 Kem Sokha left CCHR to pursue a career in politics.

On a page titled “Welcome Message,” CCHR claims to be:

…a leading non-aligned, independent, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect democracy and respect for human rights – primarily civil and political rights – in Cambodia. We empower civil society to claim its rights and drive change; and through detailed research and analysis we develop innovative policy, and advocate for its implementation.

Yet, according to its own financial disclosures, there is nothing “independent” or “non-aligned” about the organisation.

On its webpage titled, “Donors and Partners,” it lists the Australian and British embassies, the US State Department, the European Union, USAID, Freedom House and Open Society among many other foreign government-funded and corporate-funded foundations as its financial sponsors.

Under “Affiliations and Cooperation,” it lists Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Article 19 along with many other primarily US and European-based, organised and funded fronts that leverage human rights advocacy in pursuit of politically-motivated agendas.

Ironically, on this same page, activists are shown demanding the release of then-imprisoned Myanmar politician Aung San Suu Kyi who has recently run afoul with advocacy groups due to her role in ongoing genocide against that nation’s Rohingya minority.

CCHR is clearly not “independent” if it is in fact dependent entirely on US and European cash to operate. Nor is it “non-aligned” if it is clearly aligned unequivocally with US and European-led interference across Southeast Asia through fronts they collectively fund to undermine one government in favour of another.

Since taking to politics, Kem Sokha and his opposition party have regularly met with the sponsors of CCHR, including the US Secretary of State John Kerry in 2016.

The aforementioned American-owned Cambodia Daily would report in a 2016 article titled, “Kerry to Meet With Civil Society, CNRP in Visit,” that:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with the CNRP and at least one NGO leader when he visits Phnom Penh next week, in addition to Prime Minister Hun Sen and Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong, as was previously announced. 

Kem Monovithya, a spokeswoman for the CNRP and the daughter of CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha, said Mr. Sokha planned to meet with Mr. Kerry, although she declined to give further information. 

The director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, Chak Sopheap, also said she would meet with Mr. Kerry in a meeting she described as being facilitated by the U.S. Embassy.

The Cambodia Daily would also quote Sopheap, who openly desired the US to pressure her own government in regards to political changes she and her organisation sought:

“I especially wish to inform Secretary Kerry about civil society’s grave concerns regarding the draft trade union law, the proposed cyber crime law, and the implementation of the LANGO,” Ms. Sopheap wrote in an email, adding that she hoped Mr. Kerry would continue to “apply diplomatic pressure” during the U.S.-Asean summit in California next month.

Diplomats meeting with and supporting opposition groups in a host state constitutes clear interference in the host state’s internal political affairs and is beyond the scope of legitimate diplomatic relations.

Those in the opposition hosting foreign diplomats and accepting assistance are clearly engaged in what Merriam Webster defines as treason:

“the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance…” 

US Interference Poses Direct Threat to National Security 

This sort of support provided by the United States in Cambodia has in other nations resulted in the usurpation of governments and even war. Examples include Ukraine, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

The nation of Myanmar is also currently led by a political party propelled into power by extensive US and European support provided over a period of decades.

In neighbouring Thailand, US support for opposition groups has resulted in a protracted political conflict, recently culminating in the fleeing abroad of ousted ex-prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Continued US support for Shinawatra and opposition networks will likely lead to further conflict in the near future.

Current Cambodian prime minister, Hun Sen, has repeatedly noted the threat to national security such foreign interference poses.

The Phnom Penh Post, in a 2016 article titled, “US policy destabilised Middle East, says Hun Sen,” stated:

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday lauded his own government’s efforts of bringing “peace” to Cambodia without “foreign interference” while calling out the US for destabilising the Middle East, where he said American policy had given rise to destructive “colour revolutions”.

The article would also report:

“Please look at the Middle East after there was interference by foreigners to create colour revolutions such as in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Egypt and Iraq, where Saddam Hussein was toppled by the US,” the premier said. 

“Have those countries received any achievement under the terms of democracy and human rights? From day to day, thousands of people have been killed. This is the result of doing wrong politics, and America is wrong.”

Considering this, the facts regarding Cambodia’s opposition and its ties to US and European interests, it should come as no surprise that foreign-funded organisations posing as NGOs are being shuttered and opposition leaders openly colluding with foreign interests are being arrested for treason.

Cambodia’s style of dealing with what is overt foreign interference lacks subtly, diplomacy and discretion. However, Phnom Penh may calculate that strengthening ties with other nations fighting off foreign interference in the region and its growing political and economic ties with Beijing may be enough to prepare Cambodia for any measures the US and Europe take in retaliation to uprooting their networks.

If left unchecked, the millions of dollars in US and European money and assistance provided to Cambodia’s opposition will continue allowing it to build its capacity to manipulate and win elections. While the opposition will cite election victories as the foundation of its growing legitimacy, the fact that these victories come as a result of foreign sponsorship, on behalf of foreign interests, undermines the opposition’s legitimacy entirely.

Democracy as a means of self-determination does not exist in a system manipulated by foreign interests. In fact, a process infected by foreign interference is fundamentally undemocratic.

Ultimately the goal of undermining and overthrowing the current Cambodian government centres around eliminating another potential regional partner for China and creating another point of either contention or destabilisation along China’s periphery.

The US has pursued for decades a policy of encircling and containing China with the hopes of one day undermining and eventually completely overthrowing China’s political order as well. Washington policymakers have repeatedly stated their collective desire to establish and maintain “primacy” in Asia, alluding to the fact that its efforts in nations like Cambodia are merely self-serving, conducted behind the guise of democracy and human rights promotion, not in any manner for such promotion.

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

All images in this article are from the author.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Cambodia’s US-Backed Opposition Leader Charged with Treason

Yesterday, Pyongyang’s state broadcaster came out declaring what it claims was another ‘successful test’, this time with a hydrogen bomb, which they say could be mounted on to their still as yet nonexistent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Seizing the moment, state news anchor Ri Chun Hee proudly announced that the test was a “perfect success,” and symbolises the country’s final step on the long road to attaining a “state nuclear force.” All very exciting.

Still, there has been no independent verification of the claim, but why let that get in the way of a promising international security crisis?

Kim Jung Un: Looking at shiny objects, pointing, generally looking busy. 

North Korea’s alleged ‘test’ is said to have happened just hours after Pyongyang state-run media released images of leader Kim Jong Un ‘inspecting’ (looking, pointing) something which looks like it could be a hydrogen bomb, but no one is really sure.

We’re also told that this was “ready to be placed on top of an ICBM,” however no one has actually seen a real operational ICBM yet. That’s kind of an important detail in this grand plot, but one which is routinely overlooked by legions of western mainstream ‘experts’ on CNN and NBC. So far, the DPRK only has a series of botched tests of their short-range Hwasong-12 rockets (glorified Scud missiles) to show the world. Still, the western media insist that this constitutes a potential threat to the US.

So confident was this mainstream media outlet, that they’ve seemed to have hedged their bets on the authenticity of the DPRK state claims, leaving the offending ‘H Bomb’ in quotes…

This wouldn’t be the first time North Korea exaggerated its WMD credentials. Last January they exaggerated claims of a successful ‘H-bomb’ test. Despite their dodgy record, the western media, and politicians who are fed by defense contracts – are lapping up Pyongyang’s latest pig’s breakfast.

Whatever this latest test was, it’s hardly an act of war.

Meanwhile, South Korea wasted no time retaliating by showing off its new toys purchased out of its US dollar reserve account, launching multiple missiles for the cameras. Seoul insists that it’s ready to activate four Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile batteries. It also carried out a major joint drill (likely pre-planned anyway) with F-15K fighter jets and surface-to-surface ballistic missiles. This posturing by South Korea has excited the western media to no end. Everyone is loving it, because nothing brings eye balls and ratings like a good crisis.

Guardian reporter Justin McCurry confirms:

South Korea has carried out a simulated attack on North Korea’s nuclear test site in a huge show of force in response to Pyongyang’s detonation of what it claims is a hydrogen bomb.

Seoul has also approved the complete deployment of a US anti-missile system in another sign that it intends to address North Korean provocations with reminders of its own military firepower, while keeping the door open to dialogue.”

You can be certain that CNN absolutely loves this latest ‘crisis’ too, wailing this morning:

“South Korea strengthened the deployment of a controversial US-made missile defense system and launched a huge show of military might on Monday in response to North Korea’s hydrogen bomb test.”

Naturally, not a word of condemnation from the western media about South Korea’s real provocations – broadcast in colour around the world.

How Serious is the Threat?

At the time of publishing this piece, members of the UN Security Council are already convening emergency sessions about what to do next. In the final analysis, there will have to be some clear and present threat in order to justify some harsh response from the UNSC.

Can such a rational evaluation be made with so much theatre on both sides?

Washington’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley gave a predictable hawkish speech claiming that,

“He is begging for war.”

Of course Haley is all too eager to oblige.

Once again, western media outlets are treating claims by North Korea’s state-run KCNA media agency as ‘good as gold’ (ratings gold, that is).

For the US, this latest move by North Korea has been PR gold. It’s helped to revive and reenergize the dying conversation of a nuclear standoff between ‘The Good Guys’ and ‘The Bad Guys.’

And to deal with those bad guys, you need tough guys.

Enter US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who swiftly moved in with “tough new sanctions” against the DPRK, warning that “this isn’t the time for just talk.” A novel approach.

Eager to win back some approval points and stop the political hemorrhaging that seems to be draining all of the mojo Trump had when he whipped-up the campaign trail crowds promising to ‘drain the swamp,’ the President took to Twitter, to do what he thinks his base wants, which is to be Kim’s ‘bad cop’.

Kim and The Donald, two iconic frontmen, both being played like a marionette by “the generals” off camera.

Cue Trump… 

“North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States,” wrote Trump.

Tough.

“North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success. South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”

Tougher.

Trump also tries to slam the door shut on any chance of bilateral negotiations:

Toughest.

Of course, Trump’s comments appear to be winding up Pyongyang. A vicious circle of fighting talk. Are there any adults left in the room?

Not to be outdone, here comes a ‘good cop.’ Enter US Defense Secretary James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, who is still earning his nickname meant to resemble an unstable, rabid house pet. After his meeting with President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday, the Mad Dog, wearing a purple tie (the same colour as Hillary’s revolution), read his military decree on the White House lawn:

“We have many military options, and the president wanted to be briefed on each one of them. We made clear that we have the ability to defend ourselves and our allies, South Korea and Japan, from any attack, and our commitments among the allies are ironclad,” said Mattis.

What a relief, he sounds moderate compared to Trump. But wait…

Before exiting the podium, he said:

“We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea, but as I said, we have many options to do so.”

This is a unique breed of lunatic.

Talking tough, and talking of “options” for “annihilating” a country. Normal people would say this is an idiotic proposition because the fall-out would be much worse than any of Kim apocalyptic sabre rattling. All this looks very familiar. Quite simply, what we are seeing here in Washington is Neoconservativism reasserting itself through one of its flagship planks – the preemptive strike.Above all other military strategies, this is always the most favorable for the Pentagon because it doesn’t require any real justification or accountability for a preemptive action. All that’s required is a sufficient amount of media fear-mongering and political hype about “the threat we all face” and how “we must act” – and then simply fire away and sift through the rubble, reforming the narrative afterwards. In the meantime, the ruling parties can call it a success, and claim that “many lives were saved by this valiant action” etc. It’s clean and straightforward, albeit in the short term, but extremely messy in the long term.

As much as hawks in Washington would love to test out their new toys right now, a conflagration is not likely to happen by the hand of the US in the Pacific Rim. There are too many powerful players in the immediate vicinity (South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Philippines… and Russia, too) and the fall-out from any rash US-led geopolitical pissing contest, ‘surgical’ or kinetic action could be detrimental to all parties. Better to get someone else to start it for them, but that’s not easy either.

There was a time when people had high hopes for Mattis. He was affectionately referred to as the “warrior monk,” with many FOX News pundits drooling over his apparent Sun Tzu prowess, as was rumoured that he has actually read some historical books and was “really smart” and “really wise” – apparently a rarity in Washington military circles these days. But no matter how many books people think he’s read about the Peloponnesian Wars, it’s should be pretty clear by now that Mattis, like his predecessor Ash Carter, is acting as kind of an executive sales rep for the military industrial complex. That’s essentially what the position of Defense Secretary has become in America. It’s a straightforward deal: you’ll keep your job, as long as you do and say what’s required to keep international tensions high at all times. This translates into profits, and shareholder dividends for industry stakeholders. If you’re not with the program, then you’ll have to tender your resignation. Just ask Chuck Hagel.

What Americans should really understand is that “the generals” with whom Trump is so enamored, and who he trusts with all our bombs and silos – have left nothing but a string of military failures in their wake. Between Generals James Mattis and Major General H.R. McMaster, you have a collective 30 plus years and two of the worst military and foreign policy boondoggles in US history, Afghanistan and Iraq, underscored by successive failed “surges.” Add to these, a total defeat in Syria, blowing billions of US taxpayer dollars on a proxy war that’s arguably created a new generation of Islamist extremists (although no one will admit it). Impressive, isn’t it? So why do the media continue to elevate the military brass?

Not every General is a good general. As with any other position or profession, some are good, and some are corrupt, and many are incompetent, or promoted for playing ball. General David Petraeus is a good example of this. The media can’t get enough of him. He was “the architect of the surge” we’re told, which means he was around when Obama-Bush ordered up another 30,000 troops for Iraq in a futile effort to fix what they broke. Still, the media will bend over backwards in an almost worshipful mode whenever his name is mentioned, forgetting that Petraeus was found guilty of the same crime for which half of America wanted Hillary Clinton locked-up. Despite bringing his name and his office into disrepute, Petraeus was rewarded board positions with mega Wall Street firms like KKR, and a perennial seat at Bilderberg.

Men like Mattis, McMaster and Petraeus can, and will run rings around this President who has already signaled his weakness for those chevrons on the shoulder. And,this President will happily defer everything to these men.

Should we be surprised if they keep getting it wrong?

Let’s just pray that they don’t get it wrong with North Korea, too.

Patrick Henningsen is an American-born writer and global affairs analyst and founder of independent news and analysis site 21st Century Wire and host of the SUNDAY WIRE weekly radio show broadcast globally over the Alternate Current Radio Network (ACR).

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Trump Springs the Neocon Trap Again: North Korea’s ‘Test’ Is No Act of War

In late August Russia handed over decoded radar data to the Netherlands from the aerial zone where Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down on July 17, 2014. These materials had initially been provided in their original, i.e., non-decoded form, along with the software needed to decode them.

However, the Dutch investigators, despite being armed with the latest in modern technology as well as the assistance of their British colleagues, were not able to decode the recordings, and in the end they asked Russian experts to do it. In three years this has been the only time they have asked to collaborate. Never before had the commission accepted any Russian offers of assistance.

The decoded recordings clearly showed that the missile had been fired from the zone controlled by the Ukrainian military. And this is not some fabricated story concocted by journalists, but documented, technical information.

Estimated distance to Flight MH-17 from the Ukrainian-controlled BUK launcher in Zaroshchenskoe at the moment of attack lies within the operational range, unlike one presumably operated by the Donbass militia.

Estimated distance to Flight MH-17 from the Ukrainian-controlled BUK launcher in Zaroshchenskoe at the moment of attack (less than 30km) lies within the operational range, unlike one, presumably operated by the Donbass militia.

However, every sign seems to indicate that the decoded information obtained from Russia will not be included in the case file, but will instead face the fate of so much other data that does not fit neatly into the preferred version of the investigation. It will probably just fall into a black hole, which is what happened to the photos of the tragedy that were taken by American spy satellites.

In the meantime however, it will not be easy for the investigators to stick to their prescribed approach to the investigation. Independent experts are conscientiously suggesting new avenues of inquiry that could help move the process along.

For example, since all of the Ukrainian army’s existing launch sites for its Buk-M1 missile-defense system can be accounted for and examined by the commission, it would be a simple enough matter to establish whether at least one of them was used to fire the missile. An inspection of the 60 existing launch sites within this system is both physically possible and could provide some surprising information. The launch of a Buk-M1 missile leaves indelible “burns” on the ramp that cannot be concealed, even under a new coat of paint. Although that would seem to be a very simple suggestion, it’s a significant one.

Kees van der Pijl

Kees van der Pijl, a Dutch professor in the Department of International Relations at the University of Sussex and the president of the NGO The Committee of Vigilance Against Resurgent Fascism, recently finished writing a book titled “The Launch: Flight MH17, Ukraine and New Cold War” (Der Abschuss: Flug MH17, die Ukraine und der neue Kalte Krieg). The German-language version of the book will go on sale later this month, and the English original and Portuguese translation will be available by the end of the year.

Professor van der Pijl examines the tragedy from a geopolitical perspective and asks: who benefited most from this disaster? And he answers: the US, which subsequently imposed sanctions against Russia, undermining its gas industry and checking its growing role on the international stage.

Specifically, the professor cites the following arguments:

  • One day before the tragedy, the BRICS nations signed an agreement to establish their own bank, which the US saw as a rival to the IMF and World Bank.
  • Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel had settled on a new conceptual framework for resolving the crisis in Ukraine – without US input – and real progress was being made.
  • In addition, once the Boeing 777 was downed, American gas companies were suddenly able to find the traction to kick-start their work in Europe and force Russia out of the EU market. Moscow was forced to abandon the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline, and relations with the government in Kiev, which subsequently became a pawn in the games played by the West, definitively soured.

Not a single European or American media outlet has reacted to the announcement of the book’s publication and its path onto the shelves of bookstores is unlikely to be an easy one. However, times are changing, and many people are taking an interest in and flocking to Professor van der Pijl’s blog, Der Abschuss Flug MH17, which provides information about the publication of the book as well as links to his sources.

Using the materials available to them, the authors of the blog intend to shed light on the absurd inconsistencies evident during the investigation, as well as the investigators’ stubborn reluctance to answer awkward questions. Some known examples are:

  • How could Ukrainian President Poroshenko, who announced the tragedy 15 minutes after it occurred, have known that the Boeing 777 had been shot down by a Russian Buk missile?
  • Why does the investigative commission not take into account the results of the experimental destruction of a retired passenger airliner by the company Almaz Antey, while also refusing to take part in a second experiment?
  • What prompted Ukrainian dispatchers to alter MH17’s flight path right before tragedy struck?

We shall soon see whether officials will block the distribution of the book and what the consequences of that might be. But events could take an interesting turn. As a result of Professor van der Pijl’s efforts, we will learn the price of not only the work of the Dutch commission investigating the tragic fate of flight MH17, but the European democracy and European justice as well…

The publication is based on Dmitry Sedov’s article by Strategic Culture Foundation (in Russian), adapted and translated by Oriental Review.

All images in this article are from Oriental Review.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on A New Twist in the Investigation into the Shooting Down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17

As the 9th Annual BRICS summit commences in Xiamen, it is becoming increasingly clear that four major organisations which help to unite the countries of Asia and Eurasia, and also increasingly those beyond, have unique purposes to achieve the mutual goals of more meaningful economic, monetary, logistical and security cooperation throughout the world.

These organisations are as follows:

Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)

The EAEU formally began in 2015 although it has its roots in multiple proposals dating back to the 1990s. In many ways the EAEU is the logical successor to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) which was to be the successor body to the Soviet Union on a trans-national level.

In many ways the CIS has not been a success due to the overriding inertia and uncertainty of the economic and political situation of the 1990s and more recently due to the uncooperative attitudes among certain CIS members, most notably Georgia which formally withdrew in 2008 and Ukraine whose associate membership has become tenuous since the coup of February 2014.

By contrast, the EAEU was conceived by a group of nations, led by Russia who wanted to preserve the best elements of the CIS idea while taking the idea of integration of a customs union, free trade zone and freedom of movement among peoples to the next logical level, leaving open room for future expansion among Eurasian states beyond former parts of the Soviet Union.

Currently, the EAEU is comprised of Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The extent to which the EAEU could possibly expand is evidenced by Indonesia’s recent statement of interest in forming a free-trade relationship with the EAEU.

While it might be difficult for Indonesia to become a full member of the EAEU because the distance between Indonesia and the rest of the EAEU is prohibitive of easy freedom of movement, Moscow and Jakarta have both expressed a desire to work on a deal which would allow for free trade between Indonesia and the other member states of the EAEU.

The BRICS

The idea of wider multi-continent free trade/customs union zone is a key element of this year’s BRICS summit.

Russian Presidential aid Yury Ushakov has described the aims of this year’s summit in the following way,

“Documents to be signed after the meeting of the business council include an action plan for the BRICS countries on trade and economic cooperation, an action plan for cooperation in innovation, a strategic program for customs cooperation and a memorandum of understanding between the BRICS business council and the New Development Bank”.

Founded in 2009, the goal of a BRICS wide customs union is clearly among the most ambitious endeavours the BRICS will embark upon to date. The core mission of the BRICS is to create an environment which fosters wider economic, monetary and commercial cooperation between its members which include Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Key long-term goals of the BRICS include developing a strategy to become independent of the US Dollar as a trading currency, harmonising investment and business opportunities between states, create new development funds and expand economic activity beyond the existing BRICS states. This year, Egypt, Mexico and Thailand are just three nations with immense economic potential that will join the BRICS summit.

While the core members of the BRICS are Asian and Eurasian, the inclusion of Brazil and South Africa is demonstrative of a wider approach which seeks to unite the growing and booming economies of the so-called ‘wider global south’ which is sometimes referred to as the ‘wider global east’.

The idea to create more favourable trading conditions for economies which could be mutually beneficial to one another is clearly attractive to economies looking to diversify their scope of trade and expand their global reach.

One Belt—One Road

One Belt—One Road is not just the most ambitious initiative on this list, but it is fair to say that it is the most wide reaching trading/commerce and logistic initiative in modern history. Announced by China in 2013, One Belt—One Road seeks to create a wide network of land roads and maritime belts which will modernise existing trade roots while consecrating new works that will ultimately create manifold and interlocking trading roots covering East Asia, South Asia, South East Asia, Eurasia, East Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

While One Belt—One Road is initially focused on creating and refining infrastructure, the initiative also seeks to ultimately harmonise the process of commerce  between borders, all without forcing participating countries to develop any particular kind of governance.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

Formed in 2001, the SCO promotes cooperation on peace and security issues between member states and observers. The SCO is one of the most important instruments that the states of the wider Asian and Eurasian world have and their disposal to settle unresolved disputes, including border disputes as well as to promote a more united foreign policy stance on key global issues.

SCO was formed by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Uzbekistan joined in 2001 while India and Pakistan both joined in 2017.

SCO observer states include: Iran, Afghanistan, Belarus and Moldova, while the rank of ‘dialogue partner’ includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Turkey, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Egypt and Syria have both expressed an interest in joining.

In this sense the SCO holds the potential to be one of the largest bodies dealing with security cooperation throughout all of Asia and Eurasia.

Goals for Cooperation

While each organisation has a different set of agendas and a unique composition wherein Russia is the only state to be a member of each aforementioned organisation/initiative, it would be naive to claim that each body has a goal which is mutually exclusive to the others. In reality, the leaders of each organisation/initiative would be wise to understand how the organisations can help to cooperate towards similar goals.

The One Belt—One Road initiative is of course the most wide reaching initiative. In the short and medium term it depends on the logistical cooperation among nations in building roads, railways, ports and shipping channels to help create the ultra-modern trade superhighway.

However, in the very short term, this can only be achieved through cooperation across borders and where disputes do exist, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is the forum which is best placed to resolve such issues.

This is especially the case as China, India and Pakistan are all members. The border disputes India has with both neighbours should never again be reduced to the kind of military stand-off experienced this summer amid the Doklam/Donglang dispute when India sent its troops to what China calls its sovereign territory but what India insists is allied Bhutanese territory.

The SCO could have, and should have solved this crisis before it escalated into a summer-long stand-off which only recently ended when India agreed to withdraw troops prior to the BRICS summit.

The proximate timing of the Indian withdrawal to the BRICS summit does however provide a glimmer of optimism in respect of the disputes between India and China which have been unwisely exaggerated by the chauvinistic government of Indian Prime Minister Modi.

Clearly, India was at some level, embarrassed about having to attend a summit on cooperation in China, at a time when India was on the verge of dragging China into a border war that it never wanted to engage in.

In future disputes, it will be necessary for responsible members of the SCO to request emergency discussions in order to bring about expedient and meaningful resolutions to such crises. The Kashmir dispute is another issue which ought to be tackled head-on by the SCO.

While the SCO can help to work to create safety, peace and stability along One Belt—One Road, it is up to both the BRICS and EAEU to provide the political mechanisms to insure that the road flows smoothly.

The monetary policies of the BRICS could help create an atmosphere wherein the countries participating in One Belt—One Road trade in local currencies which are often more favourable to regional economic conditions vis-à-vis the US Dollar.  There is also a possibility that the BRICS could create a special currency based on the Special Drawing Rights of various local or world currencies. This could create a currency of easy exchange for local economies as well as one that could eventually become a competing global reserve currency to the Dollar and Euro.

The existing EAEU customs union/free trade area could help serve as a model for something similar among the BRICS countries.

A free trade zone that would cover significant parts of One Belt—One Road would do a great deal not only to ease the collective burdens of world-trade and transit but would encourage more local trade within regions as opposed to trade which is limited to endeavours between regions. In the case of existing members of the EAEU, this is already a reality, one which has gone some way to make the EAEU countries an ideal initial place to consecrate important parts of One Belt—One Road.

Conclusion

It is clear that BRICS, the EAEU and SCO are ultimately all best served to hasten the development of smooth and frequent trade between all member states of each body. This naturally leads one to understand that One Belt—One Road is both literally and geo-politically the link between the other three.

While there are clear and present challenges to these lofty goals of enhanced commercial, geo-political and security relations, the financial, monetary and political mechanisms to minimise the problems and make the most of the immense potential of the projects are firmly in place. It is simply a matter of world leaders utilising these tools in the most effective way possible.

Featured image is from the author.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Brick by BRICS: The Roadmap for Cooperation in the Wider ‘Global East’ All Leads to One Belt–One Road

Here’s what the media isn’t telling you about North Korea’s recent missile tests.

Last Monday, the DPRK fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan’s Hokkaido Island. The missile landed in the waters beyond the island harming neither people nor property.

The media immediately condemned the test as a “bold and provocative act”  that showed the North’s defiance of UN resolutions and “contempt for its neighbors.” President Trump sharply criticized the missile test saying:

“Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table.”

What the media failed to mention was that,  for the last three weeks, Japan, South Korea and the US have been engaged in large-scale joint-military drills on Hokkaido Island and in South Korea. These needlessly provocative war games are designed to simulate an invasion of North Korea and a “decapitation” operation to remove (Re: Kill)  the regime. North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un has asked the US repeatedly to end these military exercises, but the US has stubbornly refused. The US reserves the right to threaten anyone, anytime and anywhere even right on their doorstep. It’s part of what makes the US exceptional. Check out this excerpt from an article at Fox News:

“More than 3,500 American and Japanese troops kicked off a weeks-long joint military exercise Thursday against the backdrop of an increasingly belligerent North Korean regime. The exercise, known as Northern Viper 17, will take place on Hokkaido — Japan’s northern-most main island — and will last until Aug. 28….

“We are improving our readiness not only in the air, but as a logistical support team,” Col. R. Scott Jobe, the 35th Fighter Wing commander, said in a statement. “We are in a prime location for contingency purposes and this exercise will only build upon our readiness in the case a real-world scenario occurs.” (US, Japanese troops begin joint military exercise amid North Korea threat”, Fox News)

Monday’s missile test (which flew over Hokkaido Island) was conducted just hours after the war games ended. The message was clear: The North is not going to be publicly humiliated and slapped around without responding. Rather than show weakness, the North demonstrated that it was prepared to defend itself against foreign aggression. In other words, the test was NOT a  “bold and provocative act” (as the media stated) but a modest and well thought-out  response by a country that has experienced 64 years of relentless hectoring, sanctions, demonization and saber rattling by Washington. The North responded because the Washington’s incitements required a response. End of story.

And the same is true of the three short-range ballistic missiles  the North tested last week. (two of which apparently fizzled out shortly after launching.)  These tests were a response to the 3 week-long joint-military drills in South Korea which involved  75,000 combat troops  accompanied by hundreds of tanks, armored vehicles, landing craft, heavy artillery, a full naval flotilla and flyovers by squadrons of state of the art fighters and strategic bombers.  Was the North supposed to sit on its hands while this menacing display of brute military force took place right under its nose???

Of course not. Imagine if Russia engaged in a similar operation over the border in Mexico while the Russian fleet conducted “live fire” drills three miles outside of San Francisco Bay. What do you think Trump’s reaction would be?

He’d blow those boats out of the water faster than you could say “Jackie Robinson”, right?

So why the double standard when it comes to North Korea? Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

North Korea should be applauded for showing that it won’t be intimidated by the schoolyard bully. Kim knows that any confrontation with the US will end badly for the North, even so, he hasn’t caved in or allowed himself to be pushed around by the blustering, browbeating thugs in the White House. Booyah, Kim.

By the way, Trump’s response to Monday’s missile test was barely covered in the mainstream media, and for good reason. Here’s what happened two days later:

On Wednesday,  a US-led flight-group of  F-35B fighters, F-15 fighters and B-1B bombers conducted military operations over a training range east of Seoul. The B-1B’s, which are low-altitude nuclear bombers, dropped their dummy-bombs on the site and then returned to their home base. The show of force was intended to send a message to Pyongyang that Washington is unhappy with the North’s ballistic missile testing project and is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the North if it fails to heed Washington’s diktats.

So Washington is prepared to nuke the North if they don’t straighten up and do as they are told?

It sure looks that way, but who really knows?  In any event, Kim has no choice but to stand firm. If he shows any sign of weakness, he knows he’s going to end up like Saddam and Gaddafi. And that, of course, is what’s driving the hyperbolic rhetoric; the North wants to avoid the Gaddafi scenario at all cost. (BTW, the reason Kim has threatened to fire missiles at the waters surrounding Guam is because Guam is the home of Anderson Airforce Base which is the point-of-origin for the B-1B nuclear-capable bombers that have been making threatening flyovers on the Korean Peninsula for some time now. The North feels like it has to respond to that existential threat.

Wouldn’t it help if the media mentioned that fact or does it better serve their agenda to make it look like Kim is barking mad by lashing out against the ‘totally innocent’ United States, a country that only seeks to preserve the peace wherever it goes?

Give me a break!

It is so hard to find anything in the media that doesn’t reflect Washington’s bias and hostility. Surprisingly, there was  pretty decent article at CBS News last week written by a former Western intelligence officer with decades of experience in Asia. It’s the only article I’ve found that accurately explains what’s  really going on beyond the propaganda. Check it out:

“Prior to President Trump’s inauguration, North Korea made it clear it was prepared to give the new U.S. administration time to review the policy and come up with something better than President Obama’s.  The only wrinkle was that if the U.S. went full-steam ahead with its annual joint exercises with South Korea (especially if that were accompanied by more talk of “decapitation” and more flights of strategic bombers over the Korean peninsula), the North would react strongly.

In short, the U.S. did, and the North reacted.

Behind-the-scenes contacts went up and down, but couldn’t get traction.  In April, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un paraded new missiles as a warning, to no effect.  The regime launched the new systems, one after another.  Still, Washington’s approach didn’t change.” (Analysis: Pyongyang’s view of the North Korea-U.S. crisis”, CBS News)

Okay, so now we know the truth: The North gave it their best shot and came up snakeeyes, mainly because Washington doesn’t want to negotiate, they’d rather twist arms (Russia and China), tighten the embargo and threaten war. That’s Trump’s solution. Here’s more from the same piece:

“On July 4, after North Korea’s first successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch, Kim sent a public signal that the North could put the nuclear and missile programs “on the table” if the U.S. changed its approach.

The U.S. did not, so the North launched another ICBM, very deliberately deeming it a warning to the U.S. that they were to be taken seriously. Still, more B-1 bombers flew over the Peninsula, and the U.N. Security Council passed new sanctions.” (CBS News)

So, the North was ready to do some serious horse-trading, but the US balked. Kim probably heard what a wheeler dealer Trump was and figured they could work something out. But it hasn’t happen.  Trump has turned out to be a bigger bust than Obama, which is pretty bad.  He not only refuses to negotiate but he also delivers bellicose threats almost every day. This isn’t what the North was expecting. They were expecting a   “non interventionist” leader who might be receptive to a trade-off.

The current situation has left Kim with no good options. He can either cave in and terminate his missile program altogether or increase the frequency of the tests and hope that they pave the way for negotiations.   Kim chose the latter.

Did he make a bad choice?

Maybe.

Is it a rational choice?

Yes.

The North is betting that its nuclear weapons programs will be valuable bargaining chits in future negotiations with the United States. The North has no plan to nuke the west coast of the United States.  That’s ridiculous! That doesn’t accomplish anything. What they want is to preserve their regime,  procure security guarantees from Washington,  lift the embargo,  normalize relations with the South,  extricate the US from the political affairs of the peninsula, and (hopefully) end the irritating and endlessly provocative 64 year US occupation. Yankee go home. Please.

Bottom line: The North is ready to deal. They want negotiations. They want to end the war. They want to put this whole nightmare behind them and get on with their lives. But Washington won’t let them because Washington likes the status quo. Washington wants to be a permanent feature in South Korea so it can encircle Russia and China with lethal missile systems and expand its geopolitical grip bringing the world closer to nuclear Armageddon.

That’s what Washington wants, and that’s why the crisis on the peninsula will continue to boil.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

Featured image is from Stefan Krasowski | CC BY 2.0.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on What the Media Isn’t Telling You About North Korea’s Missile Tests. The DPRK has No Plans to Nuke the West

If the theory of nuclear deterrence holds true – and it is the only argument the supporters of WMD have got – then we should all be cheering the North Korean bomb. The logic of nuclear deterrence is that it is much better that every state has nuclear weapons, because then we can all deter each other. It is demonstrably true that possession of nuclear weapons is not a deterrent to other nations acquiring them. But it is supposed to deter other nations from using them. In which case, surely the more the merrier, so we can all deter each other.

The madness of the argument is self-evident. We are borrowing hundreds of billions we cannot afford for Trident, yet in all the reams of analysis of what to do about North Korea, Trident never gets a mention. It is a system entirely useless even in the one situation in which it was supposed to be effective.

How did we get here? In the 1950s the USA dropped 635,000 tonnes of bombs on North Korea including 35,000 tonnes of napalm. The US killed an estimated 20% of the North Korean population. For comparison, approximately 2% of the UK population was killed during World War II.

That this massive destruction of North Korea resulted in a xenophobic, American-hating state with an obsession with developing powerful weapons systems to ensure national survival, is not exactly surprising. The western media treat the existence of the Kim Jong-un regime as an inexplicable and eccentric manifestation of evil. In fact, it is caused. Unless those causes are addressed the situation can never be resolved. Has any western politician ever referenced the history I have just given in discussing North Korea?

This has so often been my despair. My book The Catholic Orangemen of Togo recounts my frustration whilst Deputy Head of the FCO’s Africa Department, at failing to get the Blair government to pay attention to the massive historical and continuing grievances that underlay the horrific violence in Sierra Leone. Politicians prefer a simplistic world of enemies who are “evil” for no reason. Newspaper editors prefer it even more. It justifies war. The truth is always a great deal more complicated.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD): Deterrence Believers Should Cheer the North Korean Bomb

Trump, North Korea and the Danger of World War

September 5th, 2017 by Peter Symonds

The North Korean nuclear test yesterday, its sixth and most powerful, has once again exposed the extremely volatile and precarious state of global geopolitics and the great danger of a descent into a nuclear world war.

The unstable regime in Pyongyang has concluded that its only hope of self-preservation, in the face of provocative threats from an unstable Trump administration, is to try and expand its nuclear arsenal as quickly as possible. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is acutely conscious of the brutal end of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, after they abandoned their so-called weapons of mass destruction.

While the actions of North Korea are certainly compounding the risk of conflict, prime responsibility for pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war rests with US imperialism. Moreover, as the reckless and belligerent statements from Trump and his officials demonstrate, North Korea’s limited nuclear weaponry and reactionary nationalist bombast will not prevent the US from using its military might, including its huge nuclear arsenal, against the North Korean people.

After a meeting between Trump and his top military and national security advisers, US Defence Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis warned North Korea that it faced “a massive military response” to any threat to the US or its allies.

“We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea,” Mattis continued, “but as I said, we have many options to do so.” President Trump “wanted to be briefed on each one of them,” he added.

Trump himself warned of a US nuclear attack against North Korea when he declared last month that it confronted “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” A White House readout from his phone call yesterday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe explicitly declared that the US stood ready to use “the full range of diplomatic, conventional and nuclear capabilities at our disposal.”

Trump was asked on Sunday:

“Will you attack North Korea?”

He refused to rule out pre-emptive military strikes, simply declaring:

“We’ll see.”

The US president has repeatedly said that he would not signal a military attack in advance, compounding the uncertainty, and hence fears in Pyongyang. Furthermore, as the crisis on the Korean Peninsula has escalated, the divisions in the Trump administration have resulted in an incoherent policy, which swings wildly between threats of all-out war and suggestions of talks, further inflaming the already explosive situation.

In the aftermath of yesterday’s nuclear test, the White House, along with the American media, has turned its fire on China and Russia, underscoring the fact that the US confrontation with North Korea is bound up with far broader strategic aims. American strategists regard domination of the vast Eurasian land mass as the key to US global hegemony and China as the chief obstacle to that goal.

NBC presenters Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd on yesterday’s “Meet the Press,” repeatedly emphasised the accusation that China and Russia were providing “economic help” to North Korea. Republican Senator Roy Blunt added:

“There’s some sense that they have been more helpful than they should have been and more sustaining to the economy than they should have been.”

Last month, both China and Russia voted for, and have begun implementing, crippling UN sanctions on North Korea that will slash its exports by one third. What is now being actively discussed in Washington is a total economic embargo—itself an act of war—and the cutting of trade with those who continue to conduct any with North Korea—above all China and Russia.

Trump, who is already preparing trade war measures against China over its alleged “theft” of intellectual property, tweeted yesterday:

“The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.”

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin confirmed on Fox News Sunday that he was preparing “a sanctions package to send to the president, for his strong consideration” to do just that.

The implications for the global economy are immense—a collapse of trade, plunging the world into economic depression, as in the 1930s. That such a possibility is being actively considered is a measure of the depth of the economic and geo-political tensions wracking the world. Moreover, the threat of all-out trade war between the world’s two largest economies is being accompanied by the preparations for all-out military conflict.

The Trump administration has accelerated the diplomatic, economic and military challenge to China begun by President Obama under his “pivot to Asia.” The massive US military build-up in North East Asia, including the installation of anti-ballistic missile systems and huge and highly provocative joint US-South Korean war games, is directed more at fighting a nuclear war with China than a conflict with the small, backward country of North Korea.

As well as ramping up the confrontation on the Korean Peninsula, the Trump administration has given the green light for more “freedom of navigation” operations in another of the region’s volatile flashpoints—the South China Sea. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the US Pacific Command is preparing to sail warships and send military aircraft directly into waters and airspace claimed by China around its islets, two or three times in the next few months as part of a regular schedule.

In Europe, the US is escalating its confrontation with Russia by taking the first steps towards annulling the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with the former Soviet Union. As Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung warned, the danger is “that the US will construct new missiles and station them in Europe,” raising the terrifying spectre of a nuclear war in Europe between the two countries—the US and Russia—that both possess thousands of nuclear warheads.

The most dangerous factor in this highly volatile situation is the profound economic, social and political crisis of US imperialism—of which Trump is the most malignant expression. His administration confronts deep internal divisions and a huge and mounting social crisis, which is generating massive domestic opposition, as a result of its incompetence and indifference to the human suffering caused by the Houston flooding. The danger is that Trump will resort to a war against North Korea with incalculable consequences, as a means of directing acute domestic class tensions outwards against an external foe.

At the same time, these social tensions, in America and around the world, are fueling the coming revolutionary upheavals of the working class. The crucial issue is the building of a revolutionary leadership, to forge a unified international movement of workers guided by a scientific socialist program and perspective to put an end to the capitalist system and its outmoded division of the world into rival nation states. That is the perspective for which the International Committee of the Fourth International and its sections fight.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Trump, North Korea and the Danger of World War

“…I would like to refer specifically to the painful case of the Congo, unique in the history of the modern world, which shows how, with absolute impunity, with the most insolent cynicism, the rights of peoples can be flouted. The direct reason for all this is the enormous wealth of the Congo, which the imperialist countries want to keep under their control…How can we forget the betrayal of the hope that Patrice Lumumba placed in the United Nations? How can we forget the machinations and maneuvers that followed in the wake of the occupation of that country by UN troops, under whose auspices the assassins of this great African patriot acted with impunity?…”

Che Guevara in his Dec. 11, 1964 speech to the UN General Assembly

“…Cordier was part of the Congo Club, a group of senior UN officials intent on making sure that the international organization safeguarded Western interests in the Congo…. “

Ludo De Witte in his 2001 book, The Assassination of Lumumba

“Lumumba’s fall and assassination were the result of a vast conspiracy involving U.S., Belgian and UN officials…My own research in the United Nations Archives in New York has yielded data on…the anti-Lumumba activities of Andrew Cordier…”

–Howard University Professor Emeritus of African Studies Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja in his 2003 book, The Congo From Leopold to Kabula: A People’s History

“Students for a Democratic Society will hold a rally today to protest the University’s expansion policies and the alleged involvement of Acting [Columbia University] President Andrew W. Cordier in the assassination of former Congolese Premier Patrice Lumumba….The radical student organization has…accused President Cordier, who was formerly dean of the School of International Affairs…of helping to plot…the downfall of his government…A leader of the Brooklyn Black Panther Party, known as Captain Ford, is scheduled to speak at this evening’s rally…”

–from a Sept. 26, 1968 Columbia Daily Spectator article

“…Mr. Lumumba, the Prime Minister….is completely irresponsible—if not a mad man…He is wildly ambitious, lusting for power and strikes fear into anyone who crosses his path. There is really no such thing as a Congolese Government…There is a cabinet, but Lumumba uses it as his tool. Some members of the Cabinet share his vision and lust for power…The only real solution of the problem is a change of leadership. It will not be easy, however, to remove Lumumba from his position…”

–Former Columbia University President and School of International Affairs [SIPA] Dean and United Nations Under-Secretary General Andrew Cordier in an Aug. 18, 1960 letter to Manchester College in Indiana Emeritus Professor V.F. Schwalm 

In his 2009 book Harlem vs. Columbia University: Black Student Power in the late 1960s, Professor of History and African American Studies Stefan Bradley noted that on Aug. 23, 1968–three months after they had requested on May 22, 1968 that New York City police be used to clear Columbia University’s campus of protesting students for a second time–“Grayson Kirk and David Truman stepped down as the president and vice president” of Columbia University; and “Andrew Cordier, from the School of International Affairs [SIPA]” of Columbia University “took over the reins of the university as acting president.” Cordier then spent two years as Columbia University’s fifteenth president until September 1970, before spending an additional two years as Dean of Columbia’s School of International Affairs [SIPA] prior to his 1975 death–from cirrhosis of the liver–at the age of 74.

Before being appointed as Columbia’s School of International Affairs Dean in 1962 (by a Columbia University board of trustees that included the former U.S. Ambassador to Belgium between 1959 and 1961, Columbia Life Trustee William A.M. Burden), Cordier had worked since 1946 at the United Nations as advisor to the President of the General Assembly and executive assistant to the Secretary General. And, as UN Under-Secretary General, Cordier, coincidentally, “had a large role in the Congo” in the summer of 1960, 57 years ago, according to Professor Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Professor of History Emmanuel Gerard and University of Pennsylvania Professor of History Bruce Kuklick’s 2015 book, Death in the Congo: Murdering Patrice Lumumba.

As Carole Collins observed in an article, titled “The Cold War Comes to Africa: Cordier and the 1960 Congo Crisis,” that appeared in the June 22, 1993 issue of the Journal of International Affairs:

“…In early September 1960, while filling in as the Secretary-General’s interim special representative to the Congo… Cordier’s decisions effectively…reinforced U.S. and Belgian efforts to oust Lumumba… Some scholars argue that Cordier’s actions ultimately served to help abort the Congo’s transition to democracy, set in motion a series of events culminating in the murder of Lumumba — the Congo’s first democratically elected prime minister — and facilitated the rise to power of a young Congolese army officer, Joseph Desire Mobutu…The Zairian [Congolese] people are still grappling to this day with the tragic legacy of these decisions…

“…Several sources, including Madeleine Kalb’s study based on declassified diplomatic cable traffic, document the extent to which Cordier continually briefed and was briefed by U.S. diplomats and collaborated with them on Congo policy….“…Cordier’s 15 September [1960] letter to [Manchester College in Indiana Emeritus Professor V.F.] Schwalm reveals that he had advance notice of Kasavubu’s intent to dismiss Lumumba, and that he welcomed the move…Cordier notes he met four times with Kasavubu…to discuss the firing of Lumumba… When Kasavubu announced his dismissal of Lumumba from office on the radio on Monday, 5 September, Cordier…made his `two most important decisions:’ to send U.N. troops to close the airport and to seize the radio station.

“These…actions…primarily hurt Lumumba because only Kasavubu enjoyed access to radio facilities in the neighboring state of Congo Brazzaville. Similarly, Kasavubu’s allies were allowed to use the ostensibly closed airport to travel into the Congolese interior to mobilize support for the president while Lumumba’s supporters were grounded….Near the end of his three-week stay in early September, Cordier …authorized the United Nations to offer food and pay to the Congolese Army… This action…allowed Mobutu — a one-time Lumumba aide who had been appointed chief-of-staff of the army by Kasavubu just days earlier — to win credit for paying the soldiers their past-due salaries…and to pave the way for his coup attempt a few days later…. The combination of U.N. and U.S. support was pivotal for Mobutu’s subsequent seizure of power.

“…On 14 September [1960], Mobutu seized power… In the end, Cordier’s actions served to fuel the Congolese civil war…. After his dismissal by Kasavubu, Lumumba was placed under virtual house arrest, but even this failed to dampen his popular or legislative support….In January 1961, he was killed through the coordinated efforts of Mobutu, Kasavubu, Tshombe and the CIA…[Connor Cruise] O’Brien – the…Irish diplomat…who had represented the United Nations in Katanga in 1961…believes that Cordierdeliberately helped Washington plot Lumumba’s ouster…”

Howard University Professor Emeritus of African Studies Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja’s 2003 book, The Congo From Leopold to Kabula: A People’s History, also contains a reference to the role that former Columbia University President Cordier played in Congolese history:

“…The dismissal [of Lumumba] was…clearly a civilian coup and therefore illegal. Both houses of[the Congolese] parliament, where Lumumba still had a working majority, gave him a vote of confidence and rejected Kasa-Vubu’s decisions as null and void…Cordier and U.S. Ambassador [to the Congo] Timberlake worked hand in hand to implement U.S. policy objectives. Acting as a viceroy, Cordier helped engineer and execute the illegal overthrow of Lumumba from power, beginning with his active support of the Kasa-Vubu coup of 5 September [1960]…”

Conor Cruise O’Brien’s 1962 book To Katanga and Back: A UN Case History, also indicated how former Columbia University President Cordier contributed to the illegal overthrow of Patrice Lumumba’s democratically-elected Congolese government in September 1960:

“…Andrew Cordier…had taken a decision which, politically, had broken the back of Lumumba—the Prime Minister who had called in the United Nations [to end Belgian military intervention in support of the illegal Belgium-backed secessionist Tshombe regime in the Congo’s Katanga province]…Had it not been for Mr. Cordier’s…action, there is little doubt that the support Lumumba could have rallied at this crucial moment would have been most formidable…Mr. Cordier’s actions…had played a decisive part in this crucial series of events, as a result of which the Congo no longer possessed a universally recognized Government…”

Kwame Nkrumah (JFKWHP-AR6409-A).jpg

Former President of Ghana Kwame Nkrumah (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

But as Kwame Nkrumah [the democratically-elected Ghanaian president who was overthrown in a CIA-backed military coup in 1966] argued in his 1967 book Challenge Of The Congo, “how could such action of the United Nations be justified when Lumumba was the lawful Prime Minister?” Nkrumah also noted in the same book that “the executive assistant to the Secretary-General, Andrew Cordier, knew in advance of Kasavubu’s plan to dismiss Lumumba;” and during the period in early September 1960 when former “acting” Columbia University President Cordier was the “acting” head of the UN Congo Mission in Kinshasa[Leopoldville], “press correspondents in Leopoldville at the time were convinced that the UN were helping to oust Lumumba…”

Coincidentally, a now de-classified “Telegram From the Station in the Congo to the Central Intelligence Agency” that was sent from Leopoldville[Kinshasa] on Sept. 5, 1960 also stated:

“…An unimpeachable source…advised [Embassy] that Kasavubu plans to oust Lumumba…As soon as this step taken, he plans to broadcast a message to Congolese people from Radio Congo requesting them to remain calm and accept the new government….Kasavubu plan includes following steps: A. For the UN Operation Congo (UNOC) to guarantee his personal safety with UN troops. B. Request UNOC to guard the radio station, thus guaranteeing his personal safety when he speaks and insuring that Lumumba forces will not be able take control of the radio and mount a propaganda campaign in support of Lumumba. C. Airports Congo would be closed to all departures. 4.Kasavubu’s plan has been coordinated with UNOC at highest levels here. He already has taken the first step, to demand protection by UN troops. The rest of the plan was to be implemented 5 September but timing may well be changed.”

According to Ludo De Witte’s 2001 book The Assassination of Lumumba, as Acting Head of the UN Operation Congo [UNOC] in Kinshasa/Leopoldville during early September 1960, Cordier “did exactly what was expected of him.”

In discussing, at a September 2004 Woodrow Wilson International Center for Cold War Studies conference at Princeton University, what happened in the Congo between July 1960 and the Jan. 17, 1961 murder of the democratically elected, but illegally ousted, Congolese Premier Lumumba and two of Lumumba’s colleagues, CUNY Emeritus Professor of Political Science Herbert Weiss characterized former Columbia President Cordier’s historical role in the following way:

“There is a very important event…that is the closing of the airport and the closing of the radio, without which the dismissal of Lumumba would have had a very different end…The key person there is Andrew CordierCordier was, at the very minimum, a profoundly non-neutral person whose writings suggest that he was a racist…It’sCordier’s actions that cut the feet from under Lumumba…”

And at the same September 2004 conference, another conference participant, Thomas Kanza, the Congo’s first permanent representative to the UN, said:

“If I may, I would like to support what Herbert said….Your…points are really correct. When Cordier came to Kinshasa…and Cordier stepped in, as special representative of the Secretary General. Number one, the dismissal of Lumumba…Cordier stepped in and said that he must be dismissed… Cordier was really acting as the number one UN [man] in the Congo…Cordier, as far as I’m concerned, was responsible for many things, including what would happen later….”

According to the Death in the Congo book, in the month before the former Columbia president used his UN power in the Congo to coordinate with Kasa-Vubu’s plan to illegally dismiss Lumumba in early September 1960, Cordier had personally interviewed Lumumba in New York City on Aug. 1, 1960, when “Lumumba made a last visit to the UN;” and the following personal interaction happened during this interview:

Cordier began his interview with Lumumba with a lengthy and condescending exposition…Ignoring the white man’s speech, Lumumba made his own long reply. He admonished Cordier and expressed disappointment…that the UN had not evicted the Belgians…”

During the same month that Cordier was coordinating with Kasa-Vubu to illegally remove Lumumba from power in a “civilian coup,” the CIA’s Chief of Station in the Congo, Larry Devlin (using illegally the diplomatic cover of “consul” at the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa/Leopoldville), was also covertly working to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Patrice Lumumba. In his 2007 book Chief of Station, Congo: A Memoir of 1960-67, Devlin (who died in 2008) describes what happened when he visited the Congolese presidential palace shortly after the “civilian coup” of Kasavubu that Cordier backed:

“…[Congolese National Army/ANC] Colonel Mobutu stood in the doorway flanked by two soldiers…`Wait for me outside,’ he said softly to the soldiers. He closed the door and shook hands with me…Finally, he said, `Here is the situation: the army is prepared to overthrow Lumumba. But only on the condition that the United States will recognize the government that would replace Lumumba’s…’

[CIA Director] Allen Dulles had made it absolutely clear to me that the United States wanted Lumumba removed from power, but I had always thought in terms of a legal or parliamentary change, not an army coup…Yet the more I considered Mobutu’s plan, the better it sounded…

“`I’ve got to get back to my commanders,’ Mobutu said, turning to leave. `I have to give them a `go’ or a `no go’ order. Lumumba doesn’t know they’re here, so they must get back to their bases before he finds out.’…

“…I held out my hand to Mobutu and said with as much conviction as I could muster: `I can assure you the United States government will recognize a temporary government composed of civilian technocrats.’

“…`The coup will take place within a week,’ he said. `But I will need five thousand dollars[equivalent to around $41,000 in 2017 U.S. dollars]to provide for my senior officers…’

“…I assured Mobutu that the money would be available and arranged to meet him in his office…I left the presidential palace without further incident…I arrived at army headquarters at the early hour agreed upon with Mobutu…Mobutu said he had met his area commanders and told them that the coup was on. `I’ll be setting a date and time shortly but it will be within the next week,’ he said. `I’ll take control of the radio station, announce the formation of new government.’…On the evening of Sept. 14 [1960]…at a party…at the home of Alison `Tally’ Palmer, the American vice-consul…I…had a call with the news that Mobutu was on the radio announcing that the army was installing a government of technocrats…Our efforts to remove Lumumba…were at last bearing fruit…”

M'hamed Boucetta en 1978

M’hamed Boucetta (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

In a statement at a Dec. 10, 1960 UN Security Council meeting, the Moroccan representative to the UN, Mhamet Boucetta, indicated how the CIA-supported Mobutu used some of the Congolese National Army [ANC] troops (that Cordier had paid with U.S. government-provided UN money)  to “install a government of technocrats” between Sept. 13 (when a joint meeting of the Congolese Chamber of Representatives and Senate restored full power to the illegally “dismissed” Lumumba by 88 votes to 5 with 3 abstentions) and Sept. 14, 1960:

“I should like to tell you something I saw with my own eyes. I was present at the last two meetings held by this [Congolese] Parliament…By an overwhelming majority, the Parliament gave the legitimate Government a vote of confidence and renewed its mandate…

“The next morning, a hundred soldiers with helmets and submachine guns at the ready and an old tank with a rusty gun were stationed in front of the Parliament building. The elected representatives of the people were not allowed to enter…The members of Parliament were rounded up and hustled away, payment of their allowances was stopped…That is what…we saw…”

And less than five months after Mobutu’s first CIA-backed coup in September 1960, the 35- year-old Lumumba was murdered in the Katanga region of the Congo. As The Congo From Leopold To Kabila: A People’s History book observed:

As it turned out, Mobutu played a critical role in every step leading to Lumumba’s assassination…He did so by the coup of 14 September [1960], Lumumba’s arrest on 1 December [1960], and his incarceration at the elite military garrison of Mbano-Ngungu[Thysville]. And Mobutu was among the…Congolese involved in the…plan of sending Lumumba to his death in Katanga…”

And, according to Death in the Congo:

CIA turncoats, among others, have testified that in the immediate aftermath of the assassination Devlin boasted to people in the Agency about his role in the murder…In 1960 he persisted in trying to finish off Lumumba and immediately took credit when the African was killed; he later persisted in denying that he tried…Justin O’Donnell, a senior officer from CIA headquarters got to Leopoldville[Kinshasa] on November 3[1960]. O’Donnell would oversee the murder and report to Devlin. In asking for O’Donnell after Washington’s encouragement, Devlin let headquarters know that he still had…poisons, but also wanted a `high-powered foreign make rifle with telescopic and silencer.’…Devlin asked for the rifle in writing a week after an unusual appearance by Lumumba on the balcony of his residents where he spoke to a crowd below…Devlin and those around him in the Congo would not rest until someone finished the job…The Belgians and the American fixated on murder…”

In a 2010 All Africa website column, a former Staff Director of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Africa, Stephen R. Weissman, also asserted that “Devlin gave a green light to delivering Lumumba to men who had publicly vowed to kill him” and “shortly before” Lumumba’s “transfer” to where he was murdered, “Mobutu indicated to Devlin that Lumumba `might be executed,’ according to a Church Committee [of the U.S. Senate] interview,” but “Devlin did not suggest that he offered any objection or caution.”

In an Aug. 18, 1960 letter to Manchester College in Indiana Emeritus Professsor V.F. Schwalm, formerColumbia University President Cordier wrote the following about the democratically-elected Congolese prime minister that he would help oust from power less than a month later:

“…Mr. Lumumba, the Prime Minister….is completely irresponsible—if not a mad man…He is wildly ambitious, lusting for power and strikes fear into anyone who crosses his path. There is really no such thing as a Congolese Government…There is a cabinet, but Lumumba uses it as his tool. Some members of the Cabinet share his vision and lust for power….The only real solution of the problem is a change of leadership. It will not be easy, however to remove Lumumba from his position…In various ways the Secretary-General has given encouragement to the moderates and they are also receiving encouragement from other powerful political sources…”

Patrice Lumumba, however, presented an alternative historical point of view in the last letter he wrote from the Camp Hardy military prison in Mbano-Ngungu[Thysville]–a letter to his wife–before being assassinated on January 17, 1961:

“My dear wife,

“I am writing these words not knowing whether they will reach you, when they will reach you, and whether I shall still be alive when you read them…What we wished for our country, its right to an honorable life, to unstained dignity, to independence without restrictions, was never desired by the Belgian imperialists and the Western allies, who found direct and indirect support, both deliberate and unintentional,amongst certain high officials of the United Nations, that organization in which we placed all our trust when we called on its assistance. Neither brutal assaults, nor cruel mistreatment, nor torture have ever led me to beg for mercy, for I prefer to die with my head held high, unshakable faith, and the greatest confidence in the destiny of my country rather than live in slavery and contempt for sacred principles.History will one day have its say, but it will not be the history that is taught in Brussels, Paris, Washington or in the United Nations, but the history which will be taught in the countries freed from imperialism and its puppets…   Love live the Congo! Long live Africa!

“Patrice”

Listen to this historical protest folk song from 2017 about role of Belgian and U.S. governments, UN and former Columbia University administration officials in eliminating democratically elected Congolese PM Patrice Lumumba, between July 1960 and January 1961.

***

This article was originally published by Bob Feldman 68.

Featured image is from the author.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The Illegal Overthrow of Patrice Lumumba’s Government: The Congo and the Elimination of Patrice Lumumba Revisited

Full scale economic war in between America and Russia is underway. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said so, and the US administration and the American congress voted it in with new sanctions. The only question that remains is “who will win?” Here’s a look at the future of US-Russia relations and the ultimate loser in this new type of Cold War.

A fact most people are not aware of is that the United States is at risk of repaying its debt if anything major happens. The $20 trillion that America owes is by far the largest of any single country, and about as much as the 28 members of the European Union owe altogether. The sum is greater than what America produces in one year, or twice the debt to DGP ration of 1988. But now let’s look at the makeup of this staggering debt.

“Merika” With Hair on Fire

This debt-to-GDP ratio tells investors that the country might have problems repaying the loans. And Baby Boomers are by far the biggest domestic investors via social security and other trust funds. In short, recent administrations have mortgaged the legacy of a generation. President Barack Obama holds the record for piling up the biggest US debt, just so the reader knows. The Bush administration comes in second where piling up debt is concerned, and tax cuts piled on top of the expensive “War on Terror” emptied American coffers at a staggering rate after 2001 and the 9/11 event. Social Security, which will have to pay Baby Boomer retirees their pensions soon, was gutted by Bush and Obama. If these funds are not propped up, 75 million Americans will be robbed of their hard-won retirement. But Social Security and the trusts are only used to cover other US government departments. But what about foreign debtors?

Countries like China, Japan, and Great Britain buy treasuries as investments and in order to guarantee American trade (especially in China’s case). Buying “treasuries” also helps China and other countries keep their currencies strong versus the US dollar. But in 2016 the pattern of purchasing huge US debts altered when China lowered its holdings of U.S. debt. Furthermore, as the debt-to-GDP ratio increases, the nations that hold US debt might demand higher interest payments to compensate for the increased risk. After this happens diminished demand will derive cause interest rates to rise further. This situation will create a downward spiral that puts pressure on the dollar, and that will eventually increase interest payments to unsustainable levels. Once the US government can no longer sustain social security and other programs, it’s fair to assume the whole house of cards will fall. Currently, Social Security costs more than $1 trillion per year, and payroll taxes no longer cover the fund. So, Congress can no longer “borrow” from the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for other federal programs.

For fiscal year 2018 the interest on the debt is $315 billion, and this will double by the year 2027. But there’s no need for an economics lesson here, so I’ll proceed to Russia’s situation by comparison.

Debt Free by Comparison – Russia

Russia’s national debt is by far the lowest in Europe and the lowest in the former G8 countries. In fact, before the Ukraine crisis took shape Russia’s growth was astounding compared to the US, Germany, France, Japan, and the other G8 nations. Reuters reported Russia’s growth rate of 2.5 times that of the US in quarter 4 of 2011. Russian President Vladmir Putin’s repaying almost all of the country’s foreign debt, high energy prices combined with Russia’s exports to Europe were creating a Russia powerhouse economy. If the truth is ever told of the new “Red Scare” it will reveal fear as the motivator for a new Cold War waged by western powers.

When US President Donald Trump was elected many of his supporters believed there would be a “reset” to normal in US-Russia relations. These hopes were quickly dashed when the technocracy and the globalist control mechanism attacked Trump with a vengeance over his Russia narrative. Allegations of some form of collusion in between the new American president and Putin’s Russia became the flavor of the day for corporate and government controlled media. When Trump and Putin met in Hamburg there was renewed hope, but this was quickly dashed when the US Congress hurriedly pushed through a new sanctions law that rolled Russia in with Iran and North Korea. The Israel lobby (AIPAC) put the squeeze on its constituency in congress and on Trump, and a new economic war was waged. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said

“the US had declared full-scale economic war”.

Putin’s Russia having already made the “shift” eastward to Asia, the only logical reaction to the Trump reversal was to head full steam in the direction of Beijing. For a couple of years both Russia and China have been hoarding gold and taking steps to separate from the dollar currency. Where Russia’s natural gas is concerned, the blockages thru Ukraine and Syria created to Europe by the NATO nations have been circumvented. The Turkish South Stream project is back in full swing and Russia’s armed forces have help signal the end of ISIL in Syria. Trump signing this new sanctions bill will end up costing Americans and Europeans the future if I am right.

Further evidence of America has big trouble come from Sputnik News and China inviting Guinea, Mexico, Tajikistan and Thailand to the upcoming BRICS summit. Meanwhile Putin is creating a Ministry of the Future headed by economic whiz kid Maxim Oreshkin, who was recruited from the ranks of VTB Capital. According to Bloomberg Oreshkin is creating an informal group known as the “office of changes” bent on improving the structure of the ministry. The ministry will be staffed by renowned gurus like; “Ekaterina Vlasova, poached from Citigroup Inc, Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ Zoya Viktorova and Yulia Urozhaeva from McKinsey & Co.”

The Real Bear Market

An interesting aspect of Oreshkin’s emergence is his role in bringing about a pet project of Putin, in ramping up Russia’s place in the so-called “digital economy”. To this end the Russian president already demanded a final version of this “digital economy development program” be set in place by October. According to the Kremlin the new initiative should create support mechanism for the development of key end-to-end digital technologies, including artificial intelligence, robotics, quantum computing, development of information and telecommunications and computing infrastructure, and financial incentives.

In conclusion, it’s abundantly clear that Dmitry Medvedev was right in finally giving up the ghost of hope for US-Russia reconciliation. One reason for this is the clear desperation western leaders and business exhibit in their all-out war on Putin. In fact, the only logical reason for trashing west-east relations has to be fear the system of banking and business in the US and Europe will fail. As for Russia’s play I am reminded of a report I made some months back on Putin’s “Third Way” for society. It’s been obvious for some years now the Putin administration has been battling to change Russia’s business and government ecosystem. But economic and geo-strategy assault from western powers has interrupted this plan. I believe Putin had intended to meld Russia’s new initiative into the existing G20 economic structure. But Trump’s turnabout forced a new direction. In the long view we can only watch and see if the staggering giant of American globalist capitalism can overcome a new power structure in world economics. If the Eurasian Union separates from the dollar, the world will certainly enter a time of dire crisis. We may soon witness a real bear in the world marketplace, one unwelcomed by Wall Street.

Phil Butler is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

Featured image is from the author.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on US Sponsored Economic Warfare against Russia: Who’s Going to be the Ultimate Loser?

The Legacy of Slobodan Milosevic

September 4th, 2017 by Marcus Papadopoulos

Slobodan Milosevic was faced with an extremely serious and deadly situation in the 1990s. Indeed, that applied to all Serbs at that time in the Balkans, and still does to this very day. Mr Milosevic was up against the West, led by America and followed by the European Union. After realising that the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia could not be saved, Milosevic did everything he could to safeguard the newly created Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and protect Serbs living in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo and Metohija. And because of that, the West imposed crippling and merciless sanctions on the FR of Yugoslavia.

And to make matters even worse, there was no country in the world which was able to come to the aid of Mr Milosevic and the Serbs. We have to remember that the world at that time was very different to what it is today. In the 1990s, America reigned supreme in the world – it had no challengers. Russia was on its knees as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union and of communism, while China was in a developmental stage.

However, despite that perilous situation, Mr Milosevic kept the West out of the FR of Yugoslavia – maintaining its independence and its national industries and resources – and he preserved the territorial unity of Serbia and Montenegro, as well as ensuring that Kosovo and Metohija remained an integral part of Serbia. Like all leaders, Mr Milosevic made serious mistakes. However, he was a true Yugoslav and Serb patriot who ensured that his country and people would not be slaves to the West or, indeed, to anyone else in the world.

When Milosevic was overthrown in an American and European-instigated campaign, in October 2000, the West’s colonisation of Serbia and Montenegro began. Today, Serbia and Montenegro have been separated from each other by the West, have had many of their national industries and resources privatised and then sold off to foreigners, have seen their once mighty militaries decimated on the orders of Washington and Brussels, and are in an appalling economic situation. In short, both Serbia and Montenegro are now colonies and slaves of the US and EU.

The Serbs have been utterly humiliated by the West. That is a deeply upsetting reality. Everything which has happened to Serbia and Montenegro since October 2000 was prophesied by Mr Milosevic – his words were visionary. In concluding, Mr Milosevic was a bulwark against American and European imperialism, Croatian fascism, Bosnian Muslim fundamentalism and Albanian organised crime. Today, the world is suffering terribly from each and every one of those abominable groups – Mr Milosevic’s warnings about them have been vindicated. Furthermore, Mr Milosevic fought for the independence and sovereignty of Serbia, and for Serbs to be free and to have self-respect and self-dignity. I salute President Milosevic.

Why have NATO officials and Western leaders not been prosecuted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for war crimes in Yugoslavia?

The ICTY is neither a legitimate nor a proper court. It is financed by the US and EU and exists only to punish Serbs for having resisted the West in the 1990s, and to warn other people in the world of what can happen if America and NATO are resisted. In short, the ICTY is a tentacle of the US and NATO. The people who work for the ICTY are guided only by self-interest: money and publicity. It breaks my heart to see Serbs there. And it breaks my heart even more knowing that Serbs sent Serbs to the ICTY – and I am referring, of course, to Mr Milosevic, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic having been sent to that despicable place by treacherous Serbs. History will not be kind with those traitors.

Was the trial of Mr Milosevic “victor’s justice”?

The trial of Mr Milosevic was a farce. If the ICTY had had even the slightest bit of credibility, it would have allowed Mr Milosevic to cross-examine Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, who both have Serb blood up to their necks. If there was any justice in this world, Messrs Clinton and Blair would stand trial in a court in Belgrade for the murders of citizens of the FR of Yugoslavia, for the illegal bombing campaign of an independent and sovereign country (FR of Yugoslavia), and for supporting the KLA, a terrorist and organised crime group.  There was, of course, no judgment in the trial of Mr Milosevic because he died during the proceedings; however, he was the indisputable moral victor of the sham trial. He destroyed the prosecution’s case against both him and the Serbs, demonstrating the case to have been deceitful, political and prejudiced. Mr Milosevic and the Serbs were the victors.

The death of Milosevic leaves unanswered questions

I do not think that we will ever know for certain if  Milosevic did die from natural causes or not. Perhaps it is the case that he simply died from heart failure. But, it is true to say that the trial was not going well for the prosecution. Furthermore, the former Yugoslav president was in a prison and court run, effectively, by the US and NATO. Given that the Americans have no moral compunction in invading and/or bombing other countries, causing the deaths of thousands of people in doing so, it is well within their deprived mindset to have killed someone who was tearing their case to pieces.

How Milosevic will be remembered in Serbia

Today, Serbia is a weak, poor, small and landlocked country. And on top of that, it has lost its independence and sovereignty, together with its economy. There are now NATO supervisory offices in key Serbian institutions, ensuring that the puppet Serbian Government continues on the dangerous road to NATO and EU membership. So, for instance, NATO has a supervisory office in the Serbian Defence Ministry, the very building it bombed in 1999. Many Serbs today mourn for Mr Milosevic and realise that they took for granted what they had under him: jobs, salaries, pensions and national security. Of course, there were many problems in Serbia during Mr Milosevic’s tenure but these were largely because of the collapse of the SFRY, the West’s sanctions on the FR of Yugoslavia, and the West’s constant efforts to undermine him. Mr Milosevic’s legacy is very favourable and is becoming more so as each painful year for Serbia passes.

Why was Milosevic demonised by the west

Initially, Mr Milosevic was demonised by the West because he opposed the breakup of the SFRY. Then he was demonised because he aided Serbs fighting for their freedom and survival in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo and Metohija. Further to that, he was also demonised because he was running a socialist economy which ensured that Serbia’s national industries and resources remained nationalised and free from foreign control. Mr Milosevic stood in the way of the colonial agenda of the US and EU.

Regarding the SFRY, the Americans and the Germans ignited the wars in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia, which destroyed everything that the heroic Yugoslav people had toiled away for since 1945. The reasons for that callous interference were numerous, from seeking the destruction of the last communist country in Europe to preventing Russia from having future influence in the new Europe to eliminating Yugoslavia’s military industry, which, by 1991, had accounted for seven percent of the global market.

Zoran Djindjic and his “democratic revolution”

Zoran Djindjic will go down in Serbian history as one of the worst of traitors, similar to Milan Nedic. He – and others – instigated the overthrow of Mr Milosevic and gave Serbia to the US, EU and NATO. He was working for the very people who bombed and massacred Serbs in 1999. How he could have worked with the Americans, the Europeans and NATO against his own country and his own people is, simply, incomprehensible to me.

The Serbs, throughout their history, have only ever wanted peace and freedom. Yet Mr Djindjic helped to turn the great Serbian people into slaves of the West.I only wish he had been tried in a Serbian court for treason. I will never forgive him for what he did to the FR of Yugoslavia and to the Serbian people. The suffering of people in both Serbia and Montenegro today is, in large part, down to him, though, of course, there were many other traitors, too. But, that is history now. Serbs need to reflect on their status today as slaves and rise up to overthrow Western colonial rule and the West’s current puppet in Belgrade, Alexander Vucic.

My affinity for the Serbs (and Yugoslavia) dates back to my childhood, when Serbs (and, indeed, all of the other groups in the SFRY) had freedom, security, stability and peace in their lives, under Josip Broz Tito (how Serbia needs a Tito-like leader today!). I am confident that the Serbs will, one day, rise and regain their freedom. After all, they defied and eventually beat the Ottomans, the Austro-Hungarians and the Nazis. And they will, hopefully soon, expel the US, the EU and NATO from their country. Serbs stand for peace and freedom. Justice is on their side, as it has been throughout their history.

Dr Marcus Papadopoulos, is a specialist on the Balkans. 

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The Legacy of Slobodan Milosevic

Raqqa: A Hellhole Created by US-NATO

September 4th, 2017 by Neil Clark

As Jan Egeland, the UN humanitarian adviser on Syria, has stated, if there’s a worse place to be in the world at the moment than the Syrian city of Raqqa, then it’s hard to imagine.

This week, the UN estimated that the battle to capture the de facto ISIS capital is costing the lives of 27 civilians a day.

It’s not just the almost non-stop aerial bombardment and shelling from the mainly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces that the 25,000 or so citizens in ISIS-held parts of the city have to endure.

Access to safe drinking water, food and other basic services is at an all-time low with many residents relying on food they had stored up earlier to survive,” says UN public information officer David Swanson.

Both ISIS snipers and the US-led coalition have been targeting people trying to flee from the Middle Eastern hellhole. The UN notes that coalition forces have even been attacking boats on the Euphrates River, described as

one of the remaining escape routes for civilians.”

We can only imagine the headlines if Russia was doing all this. But because it’s the US and its allies, the international reaction has been muted to say the least. It’s revealing to compare the “humanitarian” concern voiced by pro-war Western politicians and mainstream media outlets when Russia began its military operations in Syria in September 2015, with the lack of concern over what’s been happening in Raqqa.

The claim that Russia was fighting terrorists was widely ridiculed. The US and its allies issued a statement saying that Russia’s actions, which included a strike on a ISIS training camp near Raqqa, would “only fuel more extremism and radicalization.”

On October 2, 2015, the claim made by then-US President Barack Obama that Russian strikes would only “strengthen ISIS” made Western news headlines.

Accusations that Russia was committing war crimes also received prominent coverage.

But when the US-led coalition bombs ISIS, the reporting from mainstream outlets is different. Then, the operation is presented much more positively, with little or no talk about how it will “strengthen” the enemy or “fuel more extremism and radicalization.” There is also little or no talk of war crimes.

A meticulously-researched Alert from Media Lens earlier this summer compared the coverage of the sieges of Aleppo and Mosul.

When Russian and Syrian forces were bombarding ‘rebel’-held East Aleppo last year, newspapers and television screens were full of anguished reporting about the plight of civilians killed, injured, trapped, traumatised or desperately fleeing…

By contrast, there was little of this evident in media coverage as the Iraqi city of Mosul, with a population of around one million, was being pulverised by the US-led ‘coalition’ from 2015; particularly since the massive assault launched last October to ‘liberate’ the city from ISIS, with ‘victory’ declared a few days ago.”

As I noted here in an earlier Op Edge, it was deemed a ‘Thought Crime’ by Imperial Truth Enforcers to actually refer to the recapture of eastern Aleppo by Syrian government forces as a ‘liberation.’ Pro-war Labour MP John Woodcock even went so far as to call the left-wing Morning Star newspaper “traitorous scum” for daring to defy the gatekeepers and use the ‘L’ word.

But of course, if it’s the US and its allies doing the bombing, then using the word ’liberation’ is de rigueur, regardless of how much death and destruction the ‘liberation’ causes.

There have been no calls from ‘Inside the Bastille’ Western politicians or media pundits for people to protest outside US embassies about the number of civilians killed by coalition airstrikes in Raqqa – as there were over Aleppo. And absolutely no likening of coalition actions to those of the Nazis.

It’s worth noting, too, that while the US and its allies repeatedly called for a “humanitarian pause” in the fighting for Aleppo, they’ve rejected the UN calls for one in Raqqa.

Going slower only delays the liberation and subsequently costs more civilians their lives,” US Colonel Joe Scrocca, director of public affairs for combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, told Middle East Eye.

What makes the double standards even more outrageous is that without the warmongering actions of the US and its allies in the Middle East, there would be no ISIS/ISIL in the first place. The ‘Coalition’ is fighting in Raqqa a monster that – like Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s famous novel – they helped to create. The terrorist organization known by the names of ‘Islamic State,’ ‘ISIS/ISIL,’ or ‘Daesh,’ grew out of the chaos that Bush and Blair’s illegal invasion of Iraq had unleashed. As Patrick Cockburn, author of the book ‘The Rise of Islamic State,’ puts it, “ISIS is the child of war.”

Furthermore, the spread of IS to Syria was actually welcomed by the US and its allies as a way of weakening the secular Ba’athist government in Damascus, which Western neocons were desperate to see toppled because of its friendly links with Iran and Russia.

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria, and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran),” – declared a secret US intelligence report, which was declassified in 2015.

In 2016, a leaked tape conversation between US Secretary of State John Kerry and anti-government Syrian activists revealed how the US was pleased to see Islamic State gain territory.

The reason Russia came in is because ISIL was getting stronger,” Kerry admits, flatly contradicting the claims made publicly by the State Department in October 2015 that Russia wasn’t targeting ISIS/ISIL.

Daesh was threatening the possibility of going to Damascus and so forth,” Kerry went on. “We were watching. We saw that Daesh was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened. We thought, however, we could probably manage. You know, that Assad might then negotiate,” he said.

The US and its allies didn’t just watch with pleasure as ISIS expanded – they aided the process. They did this not only by giving money and weaponry to ‘moderate rebels’ who then – surprise, surprise – defected to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s head-chopping outfit, but by targeting forces that were opposed to Islamic State. Israel, for instance, has bombed Syria on countless occasions in the last few years, but each time its attacks have been against those fighting ISIS.

An aspect of the conflict in Syria that has not received the attention it undoubtedly deserves, has been the role of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) in acting as the de facto air force of Daesh [ISIS] and sundry other Salafi-jihadi and rebel groups fighting in the country,” notes John Wight.

We must not forget too that if Washington’s Endless War Lobby had got their way in August 2013, and the US and its allies launched a full-scale military assault on the Syrian government – then Islamic State and its affiliates would probably now be in charge of the entire country. Yet the failure to bomb Assad four years ago is still openly regarded as a tragedy by Western regime-change hawks.

Of course, the key role that the US and its coalition have played in the rise – and expansion – of the forces they are now bombing, is never mentioned in the mainstream reporting of the ‘Battle for Raqqa.’ We’re meant to believe that ISIS fighters appeared – like Mr. Benn’s shopkeeper “as if by magic” – and took control of Syria’s seventh largest city by complete accident. And, we’re certainly not meant to ask questions such as “From where did these terrorists obtain their weapons?” or, “Under what legal authority do the US and its allies carry out air strikes in Syria?

My 1987 Lonely Planet Guideto Jordan and Syria, says of Raqqa:

There’s really nothing to do or see but it can be a good base from which to visit Lake Assad and the walled city of Rasafah, 30km to the south.”

The city is most definitely not a “good base” for tourists today.

One person who did manage to get out of “the worst place on Earth” earlier this year told RT’s Ruptly news agency:

The streets are full of dead bodies. The schools were targeted, the bridges, and mosques. The [dead] people are lying on the streets; some people were dragged by cars… Dogs were eating the [dead] bodies for there was no one to pick them up.

The bombed-out ruins of Raqqa and the rotting corpses lying on its streets are a testament to a ‘liberal interventionist’ neo-con foreign policy, in all its bloodstained, hypocritical, ‘humanitarian’ glory.

Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66

Featured image is from Morukc Umnaber / Global Look Press


Global Research announces the forthcoming release of  the print edition of Mark Taliano’s Book, “Voices from Syria”  which includes two additional chapters. 

Taliano talks and listens to the people of Syria. He reveals the courage and resilience of a Nation and its people in their day to day lives, after more than six years of US-NATO sponsored terrorism and three years of US “peacemaking” airstrikes.

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. 

Special Pre-Publication Offer

**Pre-Order Special Offer: Voices from Syria (Ships mid-September)

ISBN: 978-0-9879389-1-6

Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 2 new chapters)

List Price: $17.95

Special Price: $9.95 

Click to order

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Raqqa: A Hellhole Created by US-NATO

Two vice presidents of the Banco Occidental de Descuento (BOD) bank were arrested in connected with over 200 million bolivars found in a vehicle of Lilian Tintori, the wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.

Junior Fructuoso Marquez Ramirez, 67, vice president of interbank operations, and Luis Antonio Llavanero, vice president of operations and services, were arrested Thursday, the La Tabla website reported.

According to the Venezuelan investigative site, the two senior bank executives took advantage of their positions to allow the entry and exit of large sums of cash.

On Wednesday, the criminal investigation police (CICPC) seized four crates of new currency worth 205 million bolivars from a vehicle owned by Tintori’s brother. The fresh notes of higher denominations that are just being introduced into circulation were still in the crates from which they were offloaded when they entered the country.

The opposition spokeswoman took to her twitter account to say the funds were for medical expenses for the family’s 100-year-old grandmother.

Social media erupted following the news, with many mocking Tintori’s claim.

The Attorney General’s Office filed for Marquez Ramirez and Llavanero to be charged, while also summoning Tintori and her brother to appear before a court.

Given the court order prohibiting her exit from the country pending the investigation, Tintori was not able to travel to Europe to meet with right-wing leaders. She detained by officials of the Venezuelan Migration Service at the Maiquetìa International Airport on Saturday when she attempted to board a Copa Airlines flight bound for Panama.

The BOD bank is owned by Víctor Vargas Irausquin, whose daughter is married to Spanish royal, Luis Alfonso de Borbon.

In April, the bank faced another scandal when its Vice President of Public Affairs, sociologist and university professor Tulio Hernandez, published messages on his Twitter inciting violence against government supporters, urging people to throw heavy objects at them. A day later a man threw a bottle of frozen water from a building, killing a nurse who was walking by a pro-government march.

Hernandez was forced to resign and the bank distanced itself from the remarks.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Two Venezuela Bank Executives Arrested After Opposition Leader Found with Cases of Cash

How goddamn dumb do Senators Cory Booker, D-NJ, Al Franken, D-MI, and Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, think we are?

All three Democratic presidential hopefuls are “initial co-sponsors” of an Orwellian bill to “enhance” our government’s ability to “prevent genocide and mass atrocities” with military force: Senate Bill 1158, the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2017.

Remember the US war to prevent genocide and mass atrocities in Libya? Where the Obama Administration toppled the secular Libyan state, and destroyed its national oil company to make way for US oil corporations? Where Hillary Clinton ordered the assassination of an African president, and left a failed state of warring militias, including ISIS, plus a modern-day slave trade and streams of desperate refugees risking their lives to get to Europe from Libyan shores.

The US war to “prevent genocide and mass atrocities” in Syria is of course ongoing, even though President Trump shut down Obama’s billion-dollar operation to train Islamist militias who were fighting each other when they weren’t fighting President Bashar al-Assad. The casualties in Syria are well into the hundreds of thousands, the refugees and internally displaced persons equal to half the pre-war population of 22 million. Nevertheless, Syria’s secular state, its national oil company, and its national bank still stand, thanks to Russia’s decision to draw the line and lend military support.

Let’s not forget Bush’s preemptive war. He gave us an absolutely ridiculous excuse: that he had to prevent Saddam Hussein from attacking the US with “weapons of mass destruction.” So the US invaded Iraq, destroying much of its infrastructure and archaeological heritage, killing a million or more Iraqis, and discharging so much toxic ordnance that the people of Basra and Fallujah now suffer high rates of cancer and unprecedented rates of birth defects. The US destroyed Iraq’s national oil company, opened its oil fields to Bush’s oil tycoon cronies, toppled a secular government, let the Shia majority seize power, and made way for the current battles raging between Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish militias. Most recently, the US destroyed the City of Mosul to save it from ISIL.

Saddam Hussein was not a nice guy, but if anyone—including Cory Booker, Al Franken, and Elizabeth Warren—believes that’s why the US did all that to Iraq, I’d like to sell them 500 tons of yellowcake uranium ore from Niger, along with the Washington Post and the New York Times—all at a one-time bargain basement price.

But they don’t believe that, and they don’t believe any outlandish claims that the US prevents genocide and mass atrocities or wants to. They don’t believe that WAR IS PEACE and FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, because whatever else we may think about Senators Booker, Franken, and Warren, they’re not that stupid. They’re just hoping that we are, or that we’re so mortified by Donald Trump that we’ll line up behind one of them or another militarist Democrat in 2020. Or they’re hoping that most of us are too damaged, distracted, disaffected, or disengaged to care.

Origins of S.1158 – the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2017

Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, the Democrats’ top dog on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act. He is an avowed Zionist, frequently lauded by AIPAC, the Zionist Organization of America, and the Zionist press. He has supported US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, opposed the Iran nuclear deal, called for the removal of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, and said that the US cannot accept North Korea’s status as a minor nuclear power.

Cardin also joined Ohio Republican Ron Portman to introduce Senate Bill 7.20 – the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which would make it a felony for Americans to support the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement that was created to protest Israel’s decades-long occupation of Palestine. If S.720 becomes law, avoiding the purchase of Israeli goods for political reasons will become a federal crime punishable by a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison.

Neither Cory Booker, nor Al Franken, nor Elizabeth Warren have joined the 43 Senators, mostly Republicans, co-sponsoring S.720. Such an outright assault on our civil rights might go down less well with their liberal base than preventing genocide and mass atrocities. Doesn’t every liberal Democrat, and indeed every American of good will, want to prevent genocide and mass atrocities? Only a psychopath wouldn’t.

Hillary Clinton with the Libyan rebels

As the US and NATO’s war on Libya began, Pakistani scholar Tariq Ali wrote in the Monthly Review,

“The sheer cynicism is breathtaking. We’re expected to believe that the leaders with bloody hands in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are defending the people in Libya. The fact that decent liberals still fall for this rubbish is depressing.”

On the fifth anniversary of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, Ali wrote that,

“The human cost of this war would, if some other country were doing it, be labeled genocide.”

Democrats for Preventing Genocide and Mass Atrocities

Twenty Democrats, including Booker, Franken, and Warren, but only five Republicans, have signed on as co-sponsors of the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Mass Atrocities Prevention Act. Indeed, much of this Orwellian movement is coordinated within the elite, richly resourced, corporate funded, ideological bastions of the Democratic Party. One of these is the “ENOUGH Project to counter genocide and crimes against humanity,” founded by career militarists John Prendergast and Gayle Smith. Enough is an NGO subsidiary of a larger NGO, the Center for American Progress (CAP). CAP is a think tank, aka propaganda vehicle, founded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta. Podesta played key roles in both the Clinton and Obama Administrations prior to his Wikileaks notoriety.

Another key pillar of genocide prevention propaganda is Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policys, founded by Samantha Power. After Power became its first Executive Director. she worked with “the US Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute” to produce Mass Atrocity Response Operations, a Military Planning Handbook. As President Obama’s Ambassador, she went on to crusade for US/NATO wars in Libya and Syria, then to rant, rave, and fulminate about Russia.

One of ENOUGH’s greatest propagandistic achievements is STAND, “the student-led movement to end mass atrocities,” which declares that it’s on a mission “to empower individuals and communities with the tools to prevent and end genocide.” STAND has chapters on high school, college ,and university campuses all over the US with regional coordinators in the West, Midwest, Southeast, Eastern, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast. John Kerry, Ben Affleck, George Clooney, and John Prendergast have all appeared to speak at its campus events.

STAND shows a list of films and promotes a list of books about Armenia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Darfur, the Holocaust, and Rwanda, all of which support the justifying narratives that prevail in the US foreign policy establishment. STAND’s R2P—[Responsibility to Protect]—Student Journal is now accepting submissions from both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

I’m sure that a few veterans of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and the movement to end the Vietnam War are reading this and shaking their heads, as are a few of the millions who surged into streets all over the world desperate to stop the Iraq War in 2003. Who imagined that one year later, a national, networked student lobby for war would be growing out of the Save Darfur movement with so much institutional support in Washington D.C.?

STAND, the Aegis Trust, and their matching concerns

In 2015, STAND became the official youth chapter of the Aegis Trust, an offshoot of the UK National Holocaust Center. Aegis claims responsibility for the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Rwanda, which exists to enshrine the official lies equating the Holocaust and the Rwandan massacres of 1994. These lies are at the heart of the Western interventionist canon and the Rwanda/Israel Pact. A page of the Aegis website reads:

“We failed in Rwanda. We failed in Srebrenica. But you are writing a different future. Today I am moved, and I am inspired.” – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

That reminded me of Norman Finkelstein calling Ban Ki-moon “a comatose puppet of the United States.”

STAND’s “conflict areas” of concern match those of the Aegis Trust: Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Burma, and Syria. Palestine has never been on their lists. STAND’s “policy statements” read like those of the Aegis Trust, the Enough Project, and the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, and STAND chapters lobby their House Reps and Senators accordingly. How deep into the deep state is that?

Whatever the answer, passage of the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act is now among STAND’s top priorities, so they’re no doubt on the phone requesting meetings and urging Senators Booker, Franken, Warren and others to move their bill out of committee to the Senate Floor.

Will anyone call to tell these Senators that WAR IS NOT PEACE, THE US DOES NOT PREVENT GENOCIDE, and there’s no way they could honestly believe the bs in this bill?

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on US Senators Want America to “Prevent Genocide and Mass Atrocities” through the Use of Military Force

The ISIS Retreat and the Stranded ISIS Bus Convoy

September 4th, 2017 by Zero Hedge

In a bizarre twist to an already unusual story, a convoy of 17 buses carrying Islamic State terrorists and their families has remained stranded since Thursday in the Syrian desert as the US, Russians, and Syrians discuss their fate: attack the convoy or allow it to pass? Regardless of what happens, emerging photos and video depicting ISIS’ retreat from Lebanon as well as their current helpless plight stuck in the middle of Syria constitutes perhaps the most significant blow to ISIS propaganda to date.

Earlier this week we reported on the unusual deal which allowed a large convoy of Islamic State fighters and their families to exit their contested stronghold along the Syrian-Lebanese border under the watch of the Lebanese and Syrian armies and Hezbollah after being defeated. As first announced by Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah in a speech Monday night, the deal involved the transportation of 26 wounded and 308 ISIS fighters, along with 331 civilian family members via buses and ambulances to Syria’s eastern province. The controversial deal was struck in return for the bodies of 9 Lebanese soldiers, kidnapped by ISIS in 2014.

Stranded ISIS convoy: there are over 600 in the group, which includes civilian family members. Photo source: Stripes, via Arabic media.

That convoy was allowed to enter Syria but was attacked by the US-led anti-ISIL Coalition on Wednesday as it crossed open desert on its way to the Islamic State stronghold of Deir Ezzor. Per coalition statement, the convoy wasn’t attacked directly – just outlying ISIS vehicles which were attempting to join and bolster the transport. Part of the highway in front of the convoy, including a key bridge, was further targeted in order to stop its movement.

According to the latest update (released Friday afternoon) from the US coalition (@CJTFOIR), the buses remain stranded. Apparently, deliveries of food and water have been made:

 After turning around and heading back west from the Abul Kamal area, the convoy of 17 buses containing hundreds of armed ISIS fighters and their families remains in the Syrian Desert between Humayma and As Sukhnah.

 …In accordance with the law of armed conflict, the Coalition has struck ISIS fighters and vehicles, including a tank, armed technical vehicles, and transport vehicles seeking to facilitate the movement of ISIS fighters to the border area of our Iraqi partners. Food and water have been provided to the convoy.

The ISIS convoy had reportedly been on an indirect and lengthy route through Syria, likely in order to avoid air strike, before being halted. On Friday the Syrian and Lebanese governments extracted another concession as part of negotiations over the fate of the convoy: ISIS handed over the body of an Iranian Revolutionary Guard officer to Hezbollah.

Meanwhile Hezbollah’s Nasrallah revealed that he personally negotiated the deal with Syrian President Assad, who displayed initial reluctance. As Fox News reports:

“I went to President Assad…I went to Damascus,” he said, adding that he sought to convince Assad to let the convoy pass through government territory.

“He [Assad] told me, this is embarrassing for us, but no problem,” Nasrallah told supporters gathered in eastern Lebanon for a “victory rally” to celebrate the expulsion of ISIS from the border area.

“The Syrian government has put up with the embarrassment for the sake of Lebanon,” he said.

The ceasefire agreement immediately sparked controversy in the region, especially in Iraq, whose leaders see the deal as intentionally allowing more terrorists to settle at its own border. The US coalition was also quick to accuse the deal’s brokers as being soft on terrorism and said, “relocating terrorists from one place to another is not a lasting solution.”

But as we pointed out, the US and its allies have routinely allowed for ISIS retreats and transfers much larger in scale which appear purposefully designed to put pressure on the Syrian government. One of the more shocking admissions of such a strategy came in 2016, when then Secretary of State John Kerry was caught on audio telling a Syrian opposition gathering, which met on the sidelines of a U.N. General Assembly meeting, that Obama hoped to use ISIS as leverage against Assad. According to Kerry on the leaked audio (25:50):

“And we know that this was growing, we were watching, we saw that DAESH was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened”… “(We) thought, however, we could probably manage that Assad might then negotiate. But instead of negotiating he got Putin to support him.”

One knowledgeable reporter on the ground has observed that the ordeal has been a huge blow to ISIS propaganda. Robert Fisk reports,

“some ISIS leaders in Syria did not want members of the group who had surrendered territory to be welcomed back into the so-called caliphate, and the militants should have fought to the death instead.”

Other observers of Islamic State social media accounts have noted that ISIS members have reacted in disbelief, claiming the entire brokered deal and ISIS retreat to be a fiction of Hezbollah media.

At the moment, terrorists and their families remain sitting on chartered buses in Syrian no-man’s land awaiting the decision of regional and foreign militaries controlling land and air over Syria. Will the convoy be destroyed or allowed to pass? Will the US coalition strike and kill over 300 civilian ISIS family members in the process? Simple imprisonment could prove difficult as the ISIS militants were allowed to carry small arms as part of the deal and will surely go down fighting at this point. Or there’s the remote chance that the Syrians and Hezbollah actually desire for the US to attack the convoy: the Syrian and Lebanese governments could maintain they upheld their end of the bargain (this becomes important for potential future battlefield deals brokered with other groups), while the US would claim the moral high ground of fighting terror.

Whatever scenario unfolds, this currently developing story is arguably one of the strangest to come out of recent events in the war.


Global Research announces the forthcoming release of  the print edition of Mark Taliano’s Book, “Voices from Syria”  which includes two additional chapters. 

Taliano talks and listens to the people of Syria. He reveals the courage and resilience of a Nation and its people in their day to day lives, after more than six years of US-NATO sponsored terrorism and three years of US “peacemaking” airstrikes.

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. 

Special Pre-Publication Offer

**Pre-Order Special Offer: Voices from Syria (Ships mid-September)

ISBN: 978-0-9879389-1-6

Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 2 new chapters)

List Price: $17.95

Special Price: $9.95 

Click to order

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The ISIS Retreat and the Stranded ISIS Bus Convoy

Preparedness and prevention are hallmark qualities of the Cuban Revolution. They’re evident in the Caribbean island’s medical sector, educational system, environmental policies and at Playa de Giron in 1961. However, an often overlooked area where these two qualities safeguard the well-being of Cuban families is the development of a hurricane evacuation plan.

As one-time hurricane, now tropical storm, Harvey continues to wreak havoc in Houston and other areas of Texas and Louisiana, and on the eve of the 12-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, teleSUR spoke with Gail Reed. She is executive editor of the Medicc Review, a peer-review journal about health and medicine in Latin American, Caribbean, and other developing countries, and a journalist who has spent more than three decades in Cuba. We wanted her insight into Cuba’s local preparation and prevention plans, compared to U.S. disaster relief efforts, and how these distinct measures save lives as well as property during severe storms.

Our conversation began with Reed expressing solidarity with the people of Texas and Louisiana, as well as first responders, stressing that their predicament faced with the catastrophic flooding occasioned by tropical storm Harvey is “unforgivable.”

She proceeded to detail Cuba’s intersectoral preparedness and response to hurricanes, which include education, drilling and how the country’s relatively small civil defense force is deployed at provincial, municipal and local community levels when a storm is first detected.

Reed stressed that while “Hurricanes give you several days warning” the Cuban government “gives seven days warning,” during which time local communities are given ample opportunity to prepare for the worst.

She noted that local leaders are the protagonists of “disaster warning processes based on constant drilling,” which takes place under the rubric of “risk-reduction” in every province, city, town and village.

These constant drills are coupled with an integrated response from local fire departments, health, transportation and other vital public services. Above all, Cuba places “tremendous emphasis on educating the population” to keep communities and families, particularly the most vulnerable, safe.

“A taxi driver can tell you what a hurricane 5 is on the Saffir-Simpson scale and they will give you a whole lecture on what they need to do to prepare,” said Reed.

The journalist also pointed out that Cuba no longer talks about evacuation, but rather focuses on “protection,” which includes reinforcing “a local school” capable of accommodating local communities and pets.

She said that, unlike the people of Texas and Louisiana affected by tropical storm Harvey, all of whom must apply for federal aid, Cubans, despite the country’s vastly inferior economic resources, do not feel as though they will be abandoned “no matter what,” nor subjected to market-driven price gouging of vital supplies as witnessed in Texas today.

Cuba’s “small loss of life and property,” Reed emphasized, is usually significantly less than that seen in major disasters like Hurricane Katrina and now tropical storm Harvey. And the reason is this level of preparation.

According to Reed, the Cuban approach to prevention policies demonstrate a thoughtful insight into the sheer power of nature and the impact of climate change. The U.S. philosophy of disaster relief, on the other hand, is more of an afterthought, which fails to recognize human frailties.

Reed recalls how in 2005, Cuba, which has suffered over half century of a U.S. economic blockade, offered to send 1,500 medical professionals from the Henry Reeves Brigade to help the people of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The former U.S. President George W. Bush, swiftly rejected the offer.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on A Lesson for the US: Cuba’s Response to Hurricanes

A recent report by Bulgarian journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva entitled, “350 Diplomatic Flights Carry Weapons For Terrorists,” may very well have blown the lid on a secret program to provide weapons to terrorists in Iraq and Syria as well as anti-Houthi militants in Yemen. Gaytandzhieva’s report claims that the documents leaked to her by anonymous sources show that the Azberbaijani airline Silk Way Airlines was contracted by companies in the United States, Israel, and the Balkans to the militaries of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates as well as U.S. Special Ops. Gaytandzhieva’s own on-the-ground reporting also uncovered many weapons related to this secret trade in Aleppo after she had traveled there to investigate the story.

PLEASE NOTE: It is important to visit Gaytandzhieva’s original article in which she presents scanned copies of the documents sent to her.

Although Gaytandzhieva’s report is months old, it gained wider traction in the alternative media after it was revealed she was subsequently interrogated by Bulgaria’s intelligence services and then fired from her newspaper because of the story.

Gaytandzhieva reports that at least 350 diplomatic flights by Silk Way Airlines (an Azeri state-run company) transported weapons all across the world to various war zones over the past three years. She writes that the planes carried “tens of tons of heavy weapons and ammunition headed to terrorists under the cover of diplomatic flights.” Gaytandzhieva says that the documents implicating Silk Way Airlines were sent to her on Twitter by Anonymous Bulgaria.

She reports that the documents include correspondence between the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Azerbaijan to Bulgaria. They also include documents which were attached requesting clearance for overflight and/or landing in Bulgaria and many other countries in Europe as well as the United States, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Turkey including others still.

According to Gaytandzhieva, the documents show Silk Way Airlines offering diplomatic flights to private companies and arm manufacturers in Israel, the Balkans, and the United States as well as the UAE, KSA, militaries and U.S. Special Ops Command (USSOCOM). The airline also offered its services to the militaries of Germany and Denmark in Afghanistan and to Sweden in Iraq.

According to Gaytandzhieva, the diplomatic flights were utilized because they are exempt from checks, taxes, and air bills. For that reason, she states that the Silk Way planes transported “hundreds of tons of weapons to different locations around the world without regulation” and for free. The reporter writes that the planes made stops ranging from a few hours up to a whole day for no logical reason i.e. repair, refueling, etc., thus lending further evidence that the planes were indeed shipping weapons as a primary mission.

Gaytandzhieva writes that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) requires that

“Dangerous Goods, Regulations, operators, transporting dangerous goods forbidden transportation by civil aircrafts, must apply for exemption for transportation of dangerous goods by air.”

She states that, according to the documents she received, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry sent instructions to its embassies in Bulgaria and other European countries requesting diplomatic clearance for Silk Way Airlines flights. The embassies then sent diplomatic notes to the Foreign Ministry of the host countries to request the exemption. The Foreign Ministry would then send back a note signed by the local civil aviation authorities granting the necessary exemption for the transport of the dangerous goods by air.

These requests, according to the documents and the report, included information about the type and quantity of the goods on board, listed as “heavy weapons and ammunition.” Still, Gaytandzhieva writes,

“the responsible authorities of many countries (Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Turkey, Germany, UK, Greece, etc.) have turned a blind eye and allowed diplomatic flights for the transport of tons of weapons, carried out by civil aircrafts for military needs.”

US Connection

The main customers of the “flights for weapons” program seem to be American companies which supply weaponry to the U.S. military and Special Operations Command. In the cases being addressed by Gaytandzhieva, however, all the weapons being transported are “non-standard” weapons, meaning those not used by the U.S. military or Special Ops.

According to the “register of federal contracts,” American companies were awarded contracts for $1 billion over the last three years under a program for “non-US standard weapons supplies.” According to the documents analyzed by Gaytanzhieva, all of these companies used Silk Way Airlines for the weapons transport. In some cases where Silk Way Airlines was too busy to accommodate shipment, Azerbaijan Air Force planes were used to transport the weapons. The weapons, however, never reached Azerbaijan.

Gaytanzhieva writes,

The documents leaked from the Embassy include shocking examples of weapon transport. A case in point: on 12th May 2015 an aircraft of Azerbaijan Air Forces carried 7,9 tons of PG-7V and 10 tons of PG-9V to the supposed destination via the route Burgas (Bulgaria)-Incirlik (Turkey)-Burgas-Nasosny (Azerbaijan). The consignor was the American company Purple Shovel, and the consignee – the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan. According to the documents, however, the military cargo was offloaded at Incirlik military base and never reached the consignee. The weapons were sold to Purple Shovel by Alguns, Bulgaria, and manufactured by Bulgaria’s VMZ military plant.

According to the federal contracts registry, in December of 2014 USSOCOM signed a $26.7 million contract with Purple Shovel. Bulgaria was indicated as the country of origin of the weapons.

On 6th June 2015, a 41-year old American national Francis Norvello, an employee of Purple Shovel, was killed in a blast when a rocket-propelled grenade malfunctioned at a military range near the village of Anevo in Bulgaria. Two other Americans and two Bulgarians were also injured. The US Embassy to Bulgaria then released a statement announcing that the U.S. government contractors were working on a U.S. military program to train and equip moderate rebels in Syria.

Which resulted in the U.S. Ambassador in Sofia to be immediately withdrawn from her post. The very same weapons as those supplied by Purple Shovel were not used by moderate rebels in Syria. In December of last year while reporting on the battle of Aleppo as a correspondent for Bulgarian media I found and filmed 9 underground warehouses full of heavy weapons with Bulgaria as their country of origin. They were used by Al Nusra Front (Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria designated as a terrorist organization by the UN).

Another U.S. contractor involved in the same program for non-US standard military supplies is Orbital ATK. This company received $250 million over just the past two years. Information as to what type of weapons and to whom those weapons were supplied is classified.

According to the documents, Orbital ATK transported weapons on 6 diplomatic Silk Way Airlines flights in July and August of 2015 flying the route Baku (Azerbaijan)-Tuzla (Bosnia and Herzegovina)-Baku-Kabul (Afghanistan). The weapons were exported by IGMAN j.j. Konjic, (Bosnia and Herzegovina) commissioned by Orbital ATK. The consignee was the National Police of Afghanistan. Interestingly, all these diplomatic flights with weapons had technical landings and a 7 h 30 min stop at Baku before their final destination – Afghanistan.

Military aircrafts of Azerbaijan transported 282 tons of cargo (PG-7VL and other grenades) on 10 diplomatic flights in April and May 2017 to the destination Baku-Rijeka (Croatia)-Baku. The consignor was the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan, and the consignee – Culmen International LLC, USA. This same company has been awarded two contracts ($47 million each) along with other contractors for non-US standard weapon supplies on 18 February 2016 and 19 April 2017 respectively. Culmen International LLC has also signed a $26.7 million contract for foreign weapons with the Department of Defense and a $3.9 million contract for newly manufactured non-US standard weapons.

Chemring Military Products is another main contractor in the program for non-US standard weapon supplies to the US army through diplomatic Silk Way Airlines flights. This military supplier has 4 contracts for $302.8 million in total. The weapons were purchased from local manufacturers in Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania and according to documents transported to Iraq and Afghanistan via diplomatic flights.

One of those flights in particular, on 18 October 2016, carrying 15.5 tons of 122 mm rockets bought by Chemring in Belgrade, Serbia, was diverted from its destination – Kabul, and instead landed in Lahore, Pakistan. After a 2-hour stop, the aircraft took off to Afghanistan. The only possible explanation for the extension of the flight by a thousand kilometers is offloading in Pakistan, even though documents stated that the cargo was destined for Afghanistan.

The largest non-US standard weapons supplier to the US army is Alliant Techsystems Operations-USA with contracts totalling $490.4 million. In December of 2016, this company transported tons of grenades (API 23×115 mm, HE 23×115 mm, GSH 23×115 mm) from Yugoimport, Serbia to the Afghani Defense Ministry on diplomatic flights to the destination Baku-Belgrade-Kabul.

The Saudi Connection

The United States is by no means the sole patron of Silk Way Airlines and the diplomatic cover business for arms transfers. As many as 23 diplomatic flights carrying weapons from Bulgaria, Serbia, and Azerbaijan to Riyadh and Jedda were utilized according to Gaytanzhieva’s investigation. The consignees were listed as VMC military plant and Transmobile of Bulgaria, Yugoimport in Serbia, and CIHAZ in Azerbaijan, according to the documents.

It must be noted that KSA was clearly not purchasing those weapons for itself because KSA only uses Western weapons. It seems obvious that, if the documents are accurate, the weapons were those being funneled to terrorists in Syria and Yemen. KSA also provides weapons to southern Africa where wars, civil wars, warlords, and terror are commonplace due to the region’s vast amounts of natural wealth.

Gaytanzhieva writes,

On 28 April and 12 May this year, Silk Way carried out two diplomatic flights from Baku to Burgas-Jeddah-Brazzaville (Republic of Congo). The military cargo on-board of both flights was paid for by Saudi Arabia, according to the documents leaked from Azerbaijan’s Embassy to Bulgarian sources. The aircraft made a technical landing at Jeddah airport with a 12 h 30 min stop for the first flight and 14 h stop for the second one.

The aircraft was loaded with mortars and anti-tank grenades including SPG-9 and GP-25. These very same weapons were discovered by the Iraqi army a month ago in an Islamic State warehouse in Mosul. Islamic State jihadists are also seen using those heavy weapons in propaganda videos posted online by the terrorist group. Interestingly, the consignee on the transport documents, however, is the Republican Guards of Congo.

Coyote machine gun 12,7х108 mm appeared in videos and photos posted online by militant groups in Idlib and the province of Hama in Syria. The same type of weapon was transported on a diplomatic flight via Turkey and Saudi Arabia a few months earlier.

In February and March of 2017, Saudi Arabia received 350 tons of weapons on Silk Way diplomatic flights flying to the route Baku-Belgrade-Prince Sultan-Baku. The cargo included 27 350 psc. 128-mm Plamen-a rockets and 10 000 pcs. 122 mm Grad rockets. The consignor was Tehnoremont Temerin, Serbia to order by Famеway Investment LTD, Cypruss.

On 5 March 2016, an Azerbaijan Air Force aircraft carried 1700 pcs. RPG-7 (consignor: Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan) and 2500 pcs. PG-7VM (consignor: Transmobilе Ltd., Bulgaria) for the Defense Ministry of Saudi Arabia.

Diplomatic flights from Burgas Airport to Prince Sultan Airport on 18 and 28 February 2017 each carried a further 5080 psc. 40 mm PG-7V for RPG-7 and 24 978 psc. RGD-5. The weapons were exported by Transmobile, Bulgaria to the Ministry of Defense of Saudi Arabia. Such munitions and RPG-7 originating in Bulgaria can often be seen in videos filmed and posted by the Islamic State on their propaganda channels.

UAE Connection

UAE also uses western standard weapons for its military. However, it is also another country that purchased non-standard weapons which were then apparently transferred to a third party. Gaytanzhieva writes,

On three flights to Burgas-Abu Dhabi-Swaihan in March and April of 2017, Silk Way transported 10.8 tons of PG7VM HEAT for 40 mm RPG-7 on each flight with technical landing and a 2-hour stop in Abu Dhabi. The exporter is Samel-90, Bulgaria, the importer – Al Tuff International Company LLC. The latter company is involved with Orbital ATK LLC, which is the Middle East subsidiary of the American military company Orbital ATK. Although the ultimate consignee is the UAE army, the documents of the flight reveal that the sponsoring party is Saudi Arabia.

Cash And Carry

Gaytanzhieva reports that, on February 26, 2016, an Azeri Air Force plane took off from Baku and landed in UAE. At this point, it loaded two armored vehicles and a Lexus car. The payment, according to the “request for clearance” documents showed that the payment was made in U.S. dollars cash. The plane then landed in North Sudan and, the next day, it landed in the Republic of Congo. Safe Cage Armour Works FZ LLC., UAE was listed as the exporter and the Republican Guards of the Congo was listed as the receiving entity. Saudi Arabia was the sponsoring party.

White Phosphorous

Although not specifically considered a “chemical weapon” in the traditional sense, white phosphorous is, in effect, a chemical agent. It is used largely for its smoke screening purposes but there is also a psychological element since contact with white phosphorous results in excruciatingly painful deep first, second, and third degree burns.

The use of white phosphorous over heavily populated civilian areas is prohibited under international law. In fact, white phosphorous is only allowed if the agent is being used for the purposes of masking or camouflage. If being used as a weapon, it is banned as a chemical weapon under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

With that in mind, Gaytanzhieva writes,

White Phosphorus is an incendiary weapon whose use is very controversial due to the deadly harms it can inflict. On 31 March 2015, Silk Way transported 26 tons of military cargo including white phosphorus from Serbia (exporter: Yugoimport) and 63 tons from Bulgaria (exporter: Arsenal). On 22 March, another 100 tons of white phosphorus were exported from Yugoimport, Belgrade to Kabul. No contract is attached to the documents of those flights.

On 2 May 2015, a Silk Way aircraft loaded 17 tons of ammunition, including white phosphorus, at Burgas airport. The exporter was Dunarit, Bulgaria. The aircraft made a technical landing and a 4-hour stop at Baku before reaching its final destination – Kabul. The consignee was the Afghani police. No contract is attached as proof.

Baku – The Secret Weapons Hub For The World

Although Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense is routinely listed as the consignee for weapons, it routinely did not receive the arms it was slated to obtain. For instance, according to Gaytanzhieva, on May 6, 2015, an Azeri military plane flew to Burgas, Bulgaria to Incirlik Turkey and back to Burgas. That flight carried aviation equipment from Bulgaria to Turkey with EMCO LTD, Sofia listed as the consigner and the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan listed as the consignee. The cargo, however, was unloaded in Turkey and never even touched down in Azerbaijan.

Gaytanzhieva asserts that some of the weapons carried on diplomatic Azeri flights were used by Azerbaijan against Nagorno-Karabakh against Armenia. Back in 2016, Azerbaijan accused Armenia of using white phosphorous but Armenia denied the Azeri allegations. Armenia accused Azerbaijan of making the story up for propaganda purposes. Indeed, she writes, the only evidence that Azerbaijan could produce was one unexploded grenade discovered by Azeri soldiers. She also asserts that documents from the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Sofia, Bulgaria showed that white phosphorous weapons were transported on a diplomatic flight via Baku in 2015.

She writes,

Baku plays the role of an international hub for weapons. Many of the flights make technical landings with stops of a few hours at Baku airport or other intermediary airports en-route to their final destinations. Moreover, these types of aircrafts flying to the same destinations do not typically make technical landings. Therefore, a landing for refueling is not actually required. Despite this, Silk Way aircrafts constantly made technical landings. A case in point: in December of 2015 Silk Way carried out 14 flights with 40 tons of weapons on each flight to the destination Ostrava (the Czech Republic)-Ovda (Israel)-Nososny (Azerbaijan). The exporter is not mentioned in the documents while the receiver is consistently the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan. Strangely, the aircraft diverted and landed at Ovda airport (a military base in Southern Israel), where it remained for 2 hours.

In 2017, there were 5 flights from Nish (Serbia) via Ovda (Israel) to Nasosny (Azerbaijan). Each flight carried 44 tons of cargo – SPG Howitzer, RM-70/85. The consignor is MSM Martin, Serbia, the consignee: Elbit Systems, Israel, and the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan. All aircrafts landed in Israel and stayed for 2 hours en-route to Azerbaijan.

The same Israeli company Elbit Systems on a flight from Barno (the Czech Republic) via Tel Aviv (Israel) to Bratislava (Slovakia) re-exported armored vehicles (TATRA T-815 VP31, TATRA T-815 VPR9). They were sent by Real Trade, Prague to Elbit Systems. The ultimate consignee, however, was the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan. The aircraft landed in Tel Aviv and then in Bratislava, where the cargo was imported by another company – MSM Martin, Slovakia. It is not clear why the plane flew from Europe to Asia and then back to Europe with the same cargo on-board. Ultimately, it did not reach its final destination – Azerbaijan. This type of aircraft, IL 76TD, can carry cargo of up to 50 tons. This one carried only 30 tons according to the documentation provided. Therefore, it could carry additional cargo of 20 tons. Since the flight was diplomatic, it was not subjected to inspection.

Burkina Faso’s Military Coup

Gaytanzhieva also draws a connection between diplomatic weapons flights landing in Brazzaville, Burkina Faso, dropping off non-standard weapons. A week after the weapons were dropped a coup was attempted in the country. She writes,

Some diplomatic flights carry weapons for different conflict zones crossing Europe, Asia and Africa. Such is the case with two Azerbaijan Air Forces flights to the destination Baku-Belgrade-Jeddah-Brazzaville-Burkina Faso on 30 August and 5 September 2015. The consignors were CIHAZ, Azerbaijan, and Yugoimport, Serbia. The consignee was the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Congo. The aircraft made two technical landings – in Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

The 41.2-ton cargo from Baku and Belgrade included: 7, 62 mm cartridges, 12 pcs. sniper rifles, 25 pcs. М12 “Black Spear” calibre 12,7х108 mm, 25 psc. RBG 40×46 mm/6M11, and 25 pcs. Coyote machine gun 12,7х108 mm with tripods. The same heavy machine gun appeared in videos and photos posted online by militant groups in Idlib and the province of Hama in Syria a few months later. The aircraft also carried: 1999 psc. M70B1 7,62х39 mm and 25 psc. М69А 82 мм. On 26 February 2016, a video featuring the same М69А 82 mm weapons was posted to Youtube by a militant group calling itself Division 13 and fighting north of Aleppo.

Interestingly, the aircraft that carried the same type of weapons landed in Diyarbakir (Turkey), 235 km away from the border with Syria. Another type of weapon, RBG 40 mm/6M11, which was from the same flight and supposedly destined for Congo too, appeared in a video of the Islamic Brigade of Al Safwa in Northern Aleppo.

After Turkey, the aircraft landed in Saudi Arabia and remained there for a day. Afterwards it landed in Congo and Burkina Faso. A week later, there was an attempted military coup in Burkina Faso.

The Kurdish Connection

Gaytanzhieva also documents how Kurdish groups such as the YPG have been receiving arms transporting by these secret diplomatic flights. She writes,

In March of 2017, over 300 tons of weapons were allegedly sent to the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Northern Syria. Six diplomatic flights transported 43 tons of grenades on each flight from VMZ Military Plant, Bulgaria, to the Defense Ministry of Iraq. There are no contracts applied, however. On 28 March, 82 tons of cargo (AKM 7,62×39 mm and AG-7) were sent from Otopeni (Romania) to Erbil (Iraqi Kurdistan). The consignor was Romtechnica S.A., the consignee – again the Ministry of Defense in Baghdad. No contracts are provided for this flight either.

On 16 March 2016, yet another Silk Way diplomatic flight carried 40 tons of military cargo from Slovenia to Erbil: the exporter is ELDON S.R.O., Slovakia, the importer – Wide City Ltd. Co, Erbil, the final consignee – the government of Kurdistan.

Wide City Ltd. Co has three offices – in Limassol (Cyprus), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Erbil. The office of the Bulgarian company Techno Defence Ltd is at the address in Sofia. On the website of the company, the owner of Techno Defense Ltd Hair Al Ahmed Saleh claims that he has an office in Erbil and that his company manufactures Zagros weapons in Azerbaijan (K15 zagros, 9×19 mm and automatic K16 zagros). These types of Zagros weapons appeared in propaganda footage posted by the military wing of the Kurdish PKK party, which is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey. The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliev is also an ethnical Kurd.

Gaytanzhieva states that she reached out to all sides for questions and statements on her investigation but never received an answer or comment.

Gaytanzhieva Fired From Newspaper After Questioning

Although the report was months old, Qatari-based al-Jazeera ran the story and revealed that Gaytanzhieva had been interrogated by the Bulgarian national security services and subsequently fired from her job with the paper. The reporter later tweeted and confirmed that she had indeed been questioned by security services and fired from her job.

Conclusion

Gaytanzhieva’s report is groundbreaking to say the least not simply because she has exposed the fact that Western and gulf countries are procuring weapons for conflicts across the globe but also because she has exposed the direct mechanism that they have undertaken to accomplish the weapons facilitation. Her report exposes the fact that these weapons did not simply make it in to the hands of the moderate cannibals known as “rebels” by the Western corporate press but also into the hands of al-Qaeda and al-Nusra. In other words, these weapons found their way into the hands of ISIS since ISIS and Nusra/Qaeda are essentially the same organization.

Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 andvolume 2The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President, and Resisting The Empire: The Plan To Destroy Syria And How The Future Of The World Depends On The OutcomeTurbeville has published over 1000 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

Featured image is from TruthLeaks.org.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Leaked Documents Reveal How U.S., Gulf Countries Ship Weapons to Terrorists Using Diplomatic Flight Cover

Selected Articles: A Tit for Tat on US Aggression?

September 4th, 2017 by Global Research News

Global Research strives for peace, and we have but one mandate: to share timely, independent and vital information to readers across the globe. We act as a global platform to let the voices of dissent, protest, and expert witnesses and academics be heard and disseminated internationally.

We need to stand together to continuously question politics, false statements, and the suppression of independent thought.

.

Stronger together: your donations are crucial to independent, comprehensive news reporting in the ongoing battle against media disinformation. (click image above to donate)

*     *     *

British Troops Withdraw From South Syria, End Training to Militants

By Andrew Illingworth, September 04, 2017

Just like US military personnel who were also part of the so-called “moderate opposition” training program in southern Syria, British special forces troops operated from a coalition base established at the town of al-Tanf near Syria’s border with Iraq.

Video: 9/11 and the Global War on Terrorism

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky and James Corbett, September 04, 2017

9/11 marks the onslaught of the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT), used as a pretext and a justification by the US and its NATO allies to carry out a “war without borders”, a global war of conquest.

Did Defense Secretary James Mattis Commit War Crimes in Iraq?

By Aaron Glantz, September 04, 2017

Retired Gen. James Mattis earned the nickname “Mad Dog” for leading U.S. Marines into battle in Fallujah, Iraq, in April 2004. In that assault, members of the Marine Corps, under Mattis’ command, shot at ambulances and aid workers. They cordoned off the city, preventing civilians from escaping. They posed for trophy photos with the people they killed.

Unnerving the Donald: North Korea’s Sixth Nuclear Test

By Dr. Binoy Kampmark, September 04, 2017

Given that China does trade with Pyongyang, the cessation of trade between the US and the world’s second largest economy is bound to be an own goal of dramatic idiocy. Doing so will make the US smaller rather than great, somewhat against the current puffy rhetoric preferred in the White House.

North Korea: “Annihilation”, “Massive Military Response” or Economic Warfare?

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, September 04, 2017

What is significant is that without South Korea’s cooperation, the US will not be in a position to effectively initiate military procedures against the DPRK. Hopefully, peace negotiations (with the support of China, Russia and South Korea) could emerge.

Russia Protests US Searches of Its Diplomatic Facilities

By Stephen Lendman, September 03, 2017

Newly arrived Russian ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov can expect rough waters to navigate in his new post, operating in hostile territory.

Moscow will react “professionally and calmly” to America’s latest affront, not with “hysterical impulses,” he said. Tough sanctions imposed in early August didn’t make things easier.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Selected Articles: A Tit for Tat on US Aggression?

Mad Dog Mattis Threatens North Korea with Mass Destruction

September 4th, 2017 by Stephen Lendman

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

Aggressive war is the only language spoken in Washington – diplomacy not an option with sovereign independent states.

On Sunday, Defense Secretary Mattis warned US forces could launch a “massive military response” against North Korea following its latest nuclear test, more powerful than previous ones. Here’s his full statement:

“We had a small group national security meeting today with the president and the vice president about the latest provocation on the Korean peninsula.”

“We have many military options, and the president wanted to be briefed on each one of them.”

“We made clear that we have the ability to defend ourselves and our allied – South Korea and Japan – from any attack, and our commitments among our allies are ironclad.”

“Any threat to the US or its territories including Guam or our allies will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming.”

Kim Jong-un should take heed in the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice. All members unanimously agreed on the threat North Korea poses and they remain unanimous in their commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

“We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea, but as I said we have many options to do so.”

Fact check:

The threat of US aggression against sovereign independent states is ominously real, North Korea a possible target.

In its entire history, the DPRK never attacked another country. It threatens none now – not America, South Korea, Japan or any others.

Its leadership genuinely fears possible US aggression, believing nuclear and ballistic missile weapons are essential deterrents – for defense, not offense.

For decades, it’s wanted rapprochement with Washington and West. US policymakers seek confrontation over diplomacy, risking possible war now or later, creating a dangerously unstable situation.

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping both stress dealing with it diplomatically is the only option. Seoul’s University of North Korean Studies Koo Kab-Woo stressed the DPRK “will continue with its nuclear weapons program unless the US proposes talks” – an option Trump rules out.

China’s Global Times (GT) said North Korea’s “nuclear issue…reached deadlock.” On Monday, Security Council members will hold another emergency meeting to consider a response to its latest nuclear test.

China opposes “a full embargo on North Korea,” GT explained. So does Russia – because imposition would be hugely destabilizing. It would give the DPRK a greater incentive to accelerate its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

GT explained the

“root cause of the North Korean nuclear issue is that the military pressure of the Washington-Seoul alliance generates a sense of insecurity for Pyongyang who then believes that owning a nuclear strike capability is its sole guarantee for survival of its regime.”

War on the Korean peninsula would gravely affect the region. Nuclear war would be catastrophic. Millions could perish.

Mattis earlier said it

“would be probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes.”

Trump’s threat about unleashing “fire and fury like the world has never seen” sounded like the ravings of a madman.

Would he dare attack North Korea preemptively? Will generals running his geopolitical agenda urge it?

Refusal to engage the DPRK diplomatically assures no way of resolving crisis conditions diplomatically. Surgical strikes won’t work. Catastrophic full-scale war would follow.

On Sunday, asked if he intends war on North Korea, Trump responded “(w)e’ll see.”

East Asian nations and their people have nothing to fear from Pyongyang – plenty to fear from America’s rage for unchallenged global dominance, aggressive wars its favored strategy.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Mad Dog Mattis Threatens North Korea with Mass Destruction

Macron’s War on Labor Rights

September 4th, 2017 by Stephen Lendman

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

On Thursday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Labor Minister Muriel Penicaud unveiled what Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called “the mother of all (labor) reform” plans.

Its 36 measures in five separate decrees are long on business-friendly policies, dismally short on anything benefiting workers.

Macron’s popularity plunged from 62% after his May electoral triumph to 40%, according to an Ifop poll released last Sunday.

He fell from grace because of unpopular neoliberal spending cuts and wanting business more empowered to negotiate hours, pay and benefits, slash the number of worker committees, and limit penalties for wrongful dismissals – without union involvement, disempowering them, the gold standard for business, the worst one for workers.

France’s General Confederation of Labor (CGT) union strongly opposes his worker-unfriendly policies. Its head Philippe Martinez called for strike action from September 12 – 23, urging millions to take to the streets in protest, warning rank-and-file members: “All our fears have been confirmed.”

CGT’s heavy membership in ports, railway, petrol, transport and manufacturing gives it leverage to bring the country to a halt if that’s its intention.

Leftist France Unbowed political leader Jean-Luc Melenchon called Macron’s labor reform a “social welfare coup d’etat.”

Business leaders love it, wanting the ability to exploit workers freely. Employers federation head Pierre Gattaz backs it, calling it “an important first step in the building of labor laws which are in step with the daily reality inside our companies.”

Prime Minister Philippe deplorably called the plan “ambitious, balanced and fair.” Saying it’ll “make up for lost years of mass unemployment” turned truth on its head.

CFDT and Force Ouvriere union heads expressed strong “disappoint(ment)” with much of what’s proposed. They haven’t asked their members to join the CGT’s strike action.

Macron’s plan circumvented parliament through executive orders expected to be adopted next month – rubber-stamp parliamentary ratification to come after the fact, the National Assembly dominated by Macron supporters.

According to labor specialist Patrick Thiebart, his plan will “allow France to regain real competitiveness” by giving companies more control of workers, letting unions retain the illusion of representing them – as negotiating partners with business.

Labor gets short shrift in America, notably since the neoliberal 90s. New Deal, Fair Deal and Great Society benefits eroded greatly, heading for elimination altogether.

Labor is ill-treated in Europe the same way. Monied interests never had things better in Western societies – at the expense of ordinary people, lacking political advocates.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Macron’s War on Labor Rights

Government forces have lifted a 3-years long ISIS siege from the city of Deir Ezzor, according to pro-government sources.

Last weekend, government forces, led by the SAA Tiger Forces and supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces, recaptured a large area including Bir Ghabaghib and al-Shula villages. On Monday, government troops reportedly reached the 137 Regiment area in western Deir Ezzor and met with Republican Guard units there.

If it’s confirmed, the next SAA goal will be to establish a full control over the Sukhna-Deir Ezzor highway and to liberate the entire city.

ISIS responded to the SAA advance with launching multiple attacks against government forces positions inside the city. Separately, the terrorist group deployed large reinforcements to al-Mayadeen preparing for a large attack in the Deir Ezzor area.

The only ISIS chance to counter the SAA advance is to bring off a successful battle using prepared fortifications inside and around Deir Ezzor and to conduct multiple raids against SAA supply lines using car bombs and technicals.

In other cases, ISIS days in Deir Ezzor city are numbered.

In eastern Hama, the SAA and its allies liberated the key town of Uqayribat and some nearby points after a series of intense clashes with ISIS terrorists. Now, government forces are working to clear the entire pocket.

The Syrian military has deployed at least one Russian TOS-1 heavy flamethrower system in order to strengthen the defense of Aleppo city.

The military is actively preparing for possible attacks of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and its allies from the so-called moderate opposition.

The SAA is now deeply involved in a large-scale anti-ISIS operation in Deir Ezzor province. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham may use this for launching an attack against government forces at some front in the province of Aleppo or Hama.

If you’re able, and if you like our content and approach, please support the project. Our work wouldn’t be possible without your help: PayPal: [email protected].ru or via: http://southfront.org/donate/ or via: https://www.patreon.com/southfront


Global Research announces the forthcoming release of  the print edition of Mark Taliano’s Book, “Voices from Syria”  which includes two additional chapters. 

Taliano talks and listens to the people of Syria. He reveals the courage and resilience of a Nation and its people in their day to day lives, after more than six years of US-NATO sponsored terrorism and three years of US “peacemaking” airstrikes.

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. 

Special Pre-Publication Offer

**Pre-Order Special Offer: Voices from Syria (Ships mid-September)

ISBN: 978-0-9879389-1-6

Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 2 new chapters)

List Price: $17.95

Special Price: $9.95 

Click to order

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Video: Syrian Army Reaches Deir Ezzor City. Large Scale anti-ISIS Operation

The United Kingdom has withdrawn its troops from the coalition-operated al-Tanf base in Syria’s southwestern desert and de facto ended all military assistance hitherto provided to Free Syrian Army (FSA) affiliated mercenaries in the region.

Just like US military personnel who were also part of the so-called “moderate opposition” training program in southern Syria, British special forces troops operated from a coalition base established at the town of al-Tanf near Syria’s border with Iraq.

Virtually all of the FSA fighters who were part of the Pentagon-vetted training program had, in previous years, fought pro-government forces in Syria’s Deir Ezzor region alongside the Al-Qaeda-linked Jahbat al-Nusra terrorist group.

According to the UK-based Daily Telegraph news group, the British wind-down of support to FSA militants began in June of this year when at least 20 special forces troops were confirmed to have withdrawn from the al-Tanf base.

As of very recently, the remainder of the British contingent at al-Tanf has departed taking with them any further UK support for FSA militants in southern Syria.

The coalition-backed militants at al-Tanf have proved themselves almost entirely more interested in fighting against forces led by the Syrian government in southern Syria rather than fighting ISIS, which was meant to be their official purpose as Western proxies in the region.

Featured image is from the author.


Global Research announces the forthcoming release of  the print edition of Mark Taliano’s Book, “Voices from Syria”  which includes two additional chapters. 

Taliano talks and listens to the people of Syria. He reveals the courage and resilience of a Nation and its people in their day to day lives, after more than six years of US-NATO sponsored terrorism and three years of US “peacemaking” airstrikes.

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. 

Special Pre-Publication Offer

**Pre-Order Special Offer: Voices from Syria (Ships mid-September)

ISBN: 978-0-9879389-1-6

Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 2 new chapters)

List Price: $17.95

Special Price: $9.95 

Click to order

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on British Troops Withdraw From South Syria, End Training to Militants

Earlier today North Korea published pictures of its leader Kim Jong Un admiring a thermonuclear device or H-bomb. Hours later it tested such a bomb in an underground explosion. The North Korean news agency announced:

Pyongyang, September 3 (KCNA) — Respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un guided the work for nuclear weaponization on the spot.He was greeted by senior officials of the Department of Munitions Industry of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and scientists of the Nuclear Weapons Institute before being briefed on the details of nuclear weaponization.

He watched an H-bomb to be loaded into new ICBM.

Saying that he felt the pride of indomitably bolstering up the nuclear forces at a great price while seeing the Juche-oriented thermonuclear weapon with super explosive power made by our own efforts and technology, he expressed great satisfaction over the fact that our scientists do anything without fail if the party is determined to do.

The H-bomb, the explosive power of which is adjustable from tens kiloton to hundreds kiloton, is a multi-functional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP attack according to strategic goals.

The Walter Cronkite of North Korean TV, Ri Chun Heeshowed more pictures from the visit (vid) the visit and later announced the nuclear test.

Some analyst nicknamed the new device the Peanut. The bomb type obviously differs from the implosion type Disco Ball of March 2016. The “Junche orientation” component, which presumably guarantees the ideological conformity of the device, seems to be the round white box on the left.

(More seriously: Juche refers to self-sufficiency – i.e. North Korea made the components and built the device by itself.)

A graphic in one of the pictures shows the peanut within the warhead bay of a Hawsong-14 Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile.

An hour after the above release, earth-quake detection monitors in south Asia went off. A seismic event of 6.1 to 6.3 magnitude on the logarithmic momentum magnitude scale was detected in the area of Punggye-ri. Like earlier North Korean nuclear weapon tests in the same area, the event happened exactly on the half hour mark (at 12:00am local time). The magnitude points to a large device with an explosive power between 100 kilotons and 1 megaton TNT equivalent. (All previous North Korean nuclear tests were in the low kiloton range.) Some detection stations found another seismic event of 4.6 magnitude shortly thereafter. If confirmed it was likely caused by a “cave-in” of the sub-terrain test chamber. It will take some time to assess the data and to come to more precise estimates, but the qualitative different size of this test compared to previous ones is undeniable.

Added: A later statement by the North Korean news agency confirmed a successful test of a two-stage thermonuclear device. It claimed that no radiation was released to the atmosphere.

One must now assess that North Korea has the capability to make, launch and deliver staged thermonuclear weapons up to megaton size at ICBM ranges. Most of China, Japan and at least the U.S. west coast are in reach of such a weapon. With this warhead size the somewhat dubious accuracy of North Korean missiles has much less relevance.

Before the U.S. and South Korea started this years invasion maneuver Ulchi on August 22, North Korea had warned that it would test-launch four Hawsong-12 mid range ballistic missiles towards the large U.S. base on Guam if, and only if, the U.S. would continue to use “strategic equipment” around its borders. This referred to B-1B nuclear bombers and aircraft carriers.

The U.S. understood and scaled back the planned maneuver. No “strategic equipment” was used.

On August 28, when the maneuver had ended, North Korea launched a test of a single Hawsong-12 medium range missile into the Pacific. The missile crossed over Japan at a height of 550 kilometer. (It thereby did NOT violate Japanese air-space.) Earlier tests had been flown in unrealistic steep trajectories to avoid such an overflight. This test was likely designed to prove to the U.S. the capability to reach Guam.

On August 31 the U.S. flew another “show of force” with B-1B bombers and F-35 stealth fighter planes over South Korea. The planes trained precision bombing with live bombs at a South Korean training area. These plane types are “strategic equipment” and the training makes only sense in a “preemptive strike on North Korea” scenario.

One can understand today’s nuclear test as a response to these continuing U.S. provocations. The U.S. will of course claim that only North Korea is “provoking” here and it itself is only “responding”. But such a hen-egg discussion and juvenile tit-for-tat is not only useless but dangerous. History tells us that the U.S. completely devastated North Korea and killed some 20% of its population, not vice versa. So far only North Korea had to fear nuclear destruction. That has now changed into a more balanced situation. A preventive or preemptive war on North Korea is no longer an option.

Today’s event should convince even the dumbest of the doubters that North Korea’s claimed capabilities are real. It should also demonstrate to the White House that verbal “fire and furry” insults, tit-for-tat shows of force and further economic sanctioning of North Korea and/or China are, as predicted, only worsening the situation.

Phillipe notes in the comments that today is the opening of a BRICS summit in Xiamen in China. Xi Jinping is giving a big speech. He will not like this disruption. China strongly condemned the test but there is little else it could reasonably do.

North Korea has offered several times to negotiate with the U.S. towards a peace agreement. (As the Korea War only ended in a ceasefire the nations are still at war.) It offered to stop all its nuclear and missile testing if the U.S. stops the large scale maneuvers in South Korea. Russia, China and South Korea have long urged the U.S. to pick up on that offer. The U.S. could have done so every day since the offer was first made years ago. Not doing so has only created the current situation and today’s events.

One September 9 North Korea will celebrate its Independence Day. Such occasions are often used to demonstrate new capabilities. Today’s first KCNA statement included the lines:

[Kim Jong Un] watched an H-bomb to be loaded into new ICBM

[which] can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP attack

A strong nuclear explosion at great height can cause an Electro-Magnetic-Pulse which does not directly kill people on the ground but creates some damage to unprotected electric and electronic equipment. The EMP threat is largely exaggerated but a hobby horse of many fear- and war-mongers in Congress. North Korea surely knows this and the statement thereby touches a sensible point. I find it unlikely that North Korea would go with such an unproven concept. This is mere trolling. But a September 9 ICBM missile test, on a realistic trajectory and with a simulated nuclear load, is definitely a possible next step to up the pressure towards new negotiations.

I for one feel no urge to witness a full Hawsong-14 ICBM test with even a dud megaton nuclear device on board. If the White House feels the same it must NOW stop further provocations and immediately agree to open-ended talks with North Korea.

Featured image is from KCNA / Moon of Alabama.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The Peanut – North Korea Tests a New Nuke – Continues to Press for Negotiations