How Britain stole $45 trillion from India

By Jason Hickel

3a4683d7f99349baa4791de15b662965_18.jpgLord Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, and his wife, Lady Edwina Mountbatten, ride in the state carriage towards the Viceregal lodge in New Delhi, on March 22, 1947 [File: AP]

There is a story that is commonly told in Britain that the colonisation of India – as horrible as it may have been – was not of any major economic benefit to Britain itself. If anything, the administration of India was a cost to Britain. So the fact that the empire was sustained for so long – the story goes – was a gesture of Britain’s benevolence.

New research by the renowned economist Utsa Patnaik – just published by Columbia University Press – deals a crushing blow to this narrative. Drawing on nearly two centuries of detailed data on tax and trade, Patnaik calculated that Britain drained a total of nearly $45 trillion from India during the period 1765 to 1938.

It’s a staggering sum. For perspective, $45 trillion is 17 times more than the total annual gross domestic product of the United Kingdom today.

How did this come about?

It happened through the trade system. Prior to the colonial period, Britain bought goods like textiles and rice from Indian producers and paid for them in the normal way – mostly with silver – as they did with any other country. But something changed in 1765, shortly after the East India Company took control of the subcontinent and established a monopoly over Indian trade.

Here’s how it worked. The East India Company began collecting taxes in India, and then cleverly used a portion of those revenues (about a third) to fund the purchase of Indian goods for British use. In other words, instead of paying for Indian goods out of their own pocket, British traders acquired them for free, “buying” from peasants and weavers using money that had just been taken from them.

It was a scam – theft on a grand scale. Yet most Indians were unaware of what was going on because the agent who collected the taxes was not the same as the one who showed up to buy their goods. Had it been the same person, they surely would have smelled a rat.

Some of the stolen goods were consumed in Britain, and the rest were re-exported elsewhere. The re-export system allowed Britain to finance a flow of imports from Europe, including strategic materials like iron, tar and timber, which were essential to Britain’s industrialisation. Indeed, the Industrial Revolution depended in large part on this systematic theft from India.

On top of this, the British were able to sell the stolen goods to other countries for much more than they “bought” them for in the first place, pocketing not only 100 percent of the original value of the goods but also the markup.

After the British Raj took over in 1858, colonisers added a special new twist to the tax-and-buy system. As the East India Company’s monopoly broke down, Indian producers were allowed to export their goods directly to other countries. But Britain made sure that the payments for those goods nonetheless ended up in London.

How did this work? Basically, anyone who wanted to buy goods from India would do so using special Council Bills – a unique paper currency issued only by the British Crown. And the only way to get those bills was to buy them from London with gold or silver. So traders would pay London in gold to get the bills, and then use the bills to pay Indian producers. When Indians cashed the bills in at the local colonial office, they were “paid” in rupees out of tax revenues – money that had just been collected from them. So, once again, they were not in fact paid at all; they were defrauded.

Meanwhile, London ended up with all of the gold and silver that should have gone directly to the Indians in exchange for their exports.

This corrupt system meant that even while India was running an impressive trade surplus with the rest of the world – a surplus that lasted for three decades in the early 20th century – it showed up as a deficit in the national accounts because the real income from India’s exports was appropriated in its entirety by Britain.

Some point to this fictional “deficit” as evidence that India was a liability to Britain. But exactly the opposite is true. Britain intercepted enormous quantities of income that rightly belonged to Indian producers. India was the goose that laid the golden egg. Meanwhile, the “deficit” meant that India had no option but to borrow from Britain to finance its imports. So the entire Indian population was forced into completely unnecessary debt to their colonial overlords, further cementing British control.

Britain used the windfall from this fraudulent system to fuel the engines of imperial violence – funding the invasion of China in the 1840s and the suppression of the Indian Rebellion in 1857. And this was on top of what the Crown took directly from Indian taxpayers to pay for its wars. As Patnaik points out, “the cost of all Britain’s wars of conquest outside Indian borders were charged always wholly or mainly to Indian revenues.”

And that’s not all. Britain used this flow of tribute from India to finance the expansion of capitalism in Europe and regions of European settlement, like Canada and Australia. So not only the industrialisation of Britain but also the industrialisation of much of the Western world was facilitated by extraction from the colonies.

Patnaik identifies four distinct economic periods in colonial India from 1765 to 1938, calculates the extraction for each, and then compounds at a modest rate of interest (about 5 percent, which is lower than the market rate) from the middle of each period to the present. Adding it all up, she finds that the total drain amounts to $44.6 trillion. This figure is conservative, she says, and does not include the debts that Britain imposed on India during the Raj.

These are eye-watering sums. But the true costs of this drain cannot be calculated. If India had been able to invest its own tax revenues and foreign exchange earnings in development – as Japan did – there’s no telling how history might have turned out differently. India could very well have become an economic powerhouse. Centuries of poverty and suffering could have been prevented.

All of this is a sobering antidote to the rosy narrative promoted by certain powerful voices in Britain. The conservative historian Niall Ferguson has claimed that British rule helped “develop” India. While he was prime minister, David Cameron asserted that British rule was a net help to India.

This narrative has found considerable traction in the popular imagination: according to a 2014 YouGov poll, 50 percent of people in Britain believe that colonialism was beneficial to the colonies.

Yet during the entire 200-year history of British rule in India, there was almost no increase in per capita income. In fact, during the last half of the 19th century – the heyday of British intervention – income in India collapsed by half. The average life expectancy of Indians dropped by a fifth from 1870 to 1920. Tens of millions died needlessly of policy-induced famine.

Britain didn’t develop India. Quite the contrary – as Patnaik’s work makes clear – India developed Britain.

What does this require of Britain today? An apology? Absolutely. Reparations? Perhaps – although there is not enough money in all of Britain to cover the sums that Patnaik identifies. In the meantime, we can start by setting the story straight. We need to recognise that Britain retained control of India not out of benevolence but for the sake of plunder and that Britain’s industrial rise didn’t emerge sui generis from the steam engine and strong institutions, as our schoolbooks would have it, but depended on violent theft from other lands and other peoples.


ماذا لو كان نتنياهو ضيف العار؟

يناير 19, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– بالرغم من وجاهة النقاش اللبناني الداخلي حول القمة العربية والمسؤوليات التي يتبادلون الاتهامات بتوزيعها في ما بينهم، حول تفسير النتيجة الباهتة والهزيلة، إلا أن في هذه النقاشات عندما تصير شتائم وإهانات وتخويناً، براءة ذمة لحكام العرب الذين خذلوا لبنان الذي لم يخذلهم يوماً، فوق كونه لم يخذل قضية العرب ولا قضايا العرب يوماً. فأسباب الحكام العرب لمقاطعة قمة بيروت، ليست لبنانية، والمسؤولية اللبنانية هي بعدم قراءة هذه الحقيقة والانتباه إليها، والغياب العربي الذي تصاعد منسوب الاعتذارات المتأخرة فيه ليس ثمرة التزامات يتذرعون بها وموعد القمة معلوم ومحفوظ ومحجوز على جداول أعمال كل منهم قبل أي مستجدّ به يتذرعون.

– ببساطة جاء الأميركي ووزّع أمر العمليات، بيروت عاصمة المقاومة ومصدر قلق «إسرائيل»، فلا تمنحوا دولتها فرصة الاعتزاز بالإنجاز، عاقبوها وحاصروها ما استطعتم حتى يلتزم مَن على رأس الدولة بما هو أبعد من مجاملتنا بتخصيص الرياض بزيارته الأولى، واحترام رغبتنا بعدم ربط عقد القمة بحضور سورية. فالمطلوب من رئيس الجمهورية اللبنانية أن يلتزم معاقبة المقاومة كي لا يُعاقَب، وتعاقب الدولة اللبنانية من خلاله، بما هو أكثر من تعطيل الحكومة، ومن يظنّ أن بعض الكياسة التي يطلبها في التعامل مع حضور ليبيا كان سيغير من المشهد شيئاً فهو واهم ولا يعرف في السياسة ألفباءها. فالحكومة الليبية على لائحة أعداء حكام الخليج ومصر وكل الذين يقفون خارج التابعية التركية القطرية، ويتنافسون معها على الوكالة الأميركية لشؤون المنطقة والعالم الإسلامي، ولو كانت القمة في بلد من بلدان التابعية الأميركية وتم حظر حضور ليبيا فيها لتبسّموا وقالوا خيراً على خير.

– السؤال ببساطة ماذا لو كان بنيامين نتنياهو ضيف العار على القمة، ويسمّونه ضيف الشرف، وماذا لو كان لبنان يدعو لقمة في زمن الرهانات على الحرب على سورية، ويتعهد بتقديم الدولة ومؤسساتها منصة لهذه الحرب، وفي الحالتين بغياب ليبيا وحظر حضورها وإنزال علمها عن السارية، ورفع علم «إسرائيل» بين الأعلام العربية، وشطب كرسي سورية وإنزال علمها، هل كان سيجرؤ أحد على الغياب من حكام العرب، ربما باستثناء قلة قليلة تخجل أو يحرجها الحضور، أو لا تزال تحفظ لبعض القيم مكانة، كحال الجزائر والعراق وربما الكويت، لكن ماذا عن الآخرين، كل الآخرين وفي مقدّمتهم حكام الخليج الذي يريدون لبنان سوق عقار، وملهى ليلياً، لكنهم يتفادونه كعنوان للسياسة والمواقف والمؤتمرات، إلا بتوقيع ممهور بخاتم أميركي أسود.

– على اللبنانيين وهم يناقشون أين أخطأوا أن ينتبهوا أن خطأهم الجسيم هو في حسن الظن، وسوء الظن من حسن الفطن. لقد أحسنوا الظنّ بحكام لا قرار لهم، حكام صاروا رهائن لمفهوم الأمن الإسرائيلي، ولا مكان يشبههم في بلد المقاومة وعاصمتها، والمرتهنون لهؤلاء الحكام يعلمون جيداّ مهمتهم، التطبيل والتزمير لكل إساءة للمقاومة، وإعلان استعداد لكل مؤامرة تستهدفها، والابتسامة الصفراء بوجه رئيس للجمهورية مؤمن بالمقاومة حاول أن يحسن الظن بهم وبمرجعياتهم في دول الخليج، لكنه فخور بخياراته، وها هم يعايرونه بتمثيله الحكومي، لإضعافه ومماشاة الضغوط الأميركية عليه وعبره على المقاومة، كما يعطلون الحكومة يعطل مَن هو خلفهم القمة، والقرار تعطيل لبنان حتى يركع.

– لبنان الذي يرفض الركوع مدعوّ لأخذ العبرة، ورئيسه الذي لا يبيع ولا يشتري في المواقف والمواقع، أن يراجعوا مسيرة المسايرة والمجاملة والسير بين النقاط، فلون لبنان واضح لا يغيّره طلاء أو لا يحجبه حلو الكلام، لبنان معني بأن يسارع للقول، ألغيت القمة بانتظار المزيد من التشاور حتى تتوافر ظروف عقدها بحضور ومشاركة كل القادة العرب وفي مقدّمتهم الرئيس السوري، فلبنان يجمع الكلمة العربية، ولا ينطق بالعبرية، وفي الختام عليكم السلام، بئس القمة وبئس الحكام. فبيروت تحرجكم وبيروت تجرحكم وهي التي أخرجت المارينز الذي به تستنجدون، وقد أخرجت الإسرائيلي الذي إليه تتوقون، وبيروت مرفوعة الرأس أمام من أذلَّكم ويسرق مالكم وتؤدّون له الطاعة كلّ يوم، فوجب أن تعاقبوها لتنالوا البراءة من أنفسكم لأنفسكم، ومَن الذي يعاملكم كمعاملة السيد لعبيده بينما بيروت تعلّمكم أن تكونوا أسياداً ينتفضون على العبودية.

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Cleric Dies of Medical Negligence in Saudi Prison: Activists

Saudi Arabia Sheikh Ahmed Al-Ammari

January 21, 2019

Saudi activists announced that the former dean of the Holy Quran faculty in the University of Medina, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Ammari died of a stroke in prison.

According to the “Prisoners of Conscie” (conscience) account on Twitter, a Saudi group that follows up situations of political detainees in the Kingdom, Al-Ammari died on Sunday due to a medical negligence that led to coma.

The group stated that the funeral prayer of Al-Ammari to be held at Masjid Al-Haram on Monday noon, adding that the cleric, who was arrested earlier in August, is to be buried in Al-Sharae’ graveyard in Mecca.

The account affirmed that “If silence goes on, we’ll hear bad news on other prisoners. Elderly detainees are so many, and others whose health is deteriorating are much more.”

Al-Ammari was arrested by the Saudi Forces last August in a campaign against the close associates of prominent cleric, Sheikh Safar Al-Hawaly, who was arrested earlier in July.

Until now, the Saudi Forces did not comment on Al-Ammari’s death.

Reports on the Saudi cleric’s death appear amid wide criticism of Saudi Arabia following the murder of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October in the Turkish consulate.

Source: Social Media

Israeli Aggression on Syria Part of Attempts to Prolong Crisis: Foreign Ministry

Syria Foreign Ministry

 January 21, 2019

The Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said on Monday that the Israeli aggression carried out at dawn on Damascus and its Countryside is an attempt to prolong the crisis in Syria and the terrorist war on it.

In two identical letters sent to the UN Secretary General and Head of the Security Council, the Ministry said this aggression attempts to raise the morale of the remaining terrorist hotbeds that are subservient to the Israeli occupation, in addition to being an attempt by the occupation authorities to avoid their escalating internal problems.

“Syria affirms that Israel’s persistence in its dangerous aggressive behavior wouldn’t be possible without the unlimited support of the US administration and the immunity provided to it by the US and other Security Council member states,” the letter stated.

The Ministry reiterated calls for the Security Council to shoulder its responsibilities as per the UN Charter and take immediate and decisive steps to prevent Israeli attacks from reoccurring, to force Israel to respect resolutions on disengagement, and to hold it accountable for its crimes against the Syrian and Palestinian peoples.

Source: SANA

Syria Confronts “Israeli” Attack, Prevents it from Achieving Objectives

Local Editor

Syrian air defenses have confronted an “Israeli” attack targeted the Syrian territories and prevented it from achieving its objectives.

A military source told SANA that at 01:10 o’clock on Monday, January 21, 2019, the “Israeli” enemy launched land and air strikes and through successive waves of guided missiles.

The source added that immediately our air defenses dealt with the situation and intercepted the hostile missiles, downing most of them before reaching their targets as they continue their heroic response to the aggression.

Earlier, SANA reporter said that the “Israeli” aggression was carried out from above the Lebanese territory, the Galilee and Lake Tiberias, using various types of weapons.

The reporter added that the Syrian air defenses downed dozens of hostile targets fired by the “Israeli” enemy towards Syrian territory.

On Sunday morning, Syrian air defenses, a military source said, confronted an “Israeli” aerial attack targeted the southern region and prevented it from achieving any of its objectives.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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من أول غزواته كسر عصاته

يناير 21, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

الفشل المحقق يلاحق قادة العدو الصهيوني والسماء السورية باتت حراماً عليهم والبحر المتوسط بات ملاذ الخائبين…!

بعد خمسة أيّام فقط من توليه منصب قائد أركان الجيش الإسرائيلي رسمياً، بتاريخ 15/1/2019، اتخذ الجنرال أفيف كوخافي أول قرار قتالي، وذلك عبر موافقته على قرار رئاسة أركان سلاح الجو الإسرائيلي القاضي بتنفيذ غارة جوية على مطار دمشق الدولي ظهر أمس، حيث قامت أربع طائرات حربية «إسرائيلية» بتنفيذ محاولة إغارة على المطار السوري وذلك من أجواء البحر المتوسط المقابلة لبلدة برجا اللبنانية/ قضاء الشوف.

وكما فشل ما قبلها من الغارات فإنّ يقظة سلاح الدفاع الجوي السوري وجهوزية طواقمه العالية قد أفشلت هذه الغارة أيضاً. إذ تمّ إسقاط جميع الصواريخ «الإسرائيلية» دون أن تصل الى الهدف الذي يعرف نتن ياهو ورئيس أركانه أنه أصبح من المحرّمات عليهما.

وعلى الرغم من تيقنهما من ذلك إلا أنهما أقدما على تنفيذ محاولة الإغارة هذه. فما السبب الذي دفعهم الى ذلك يا تُرى؟

إنّ السبب الحقيقي وراء هذه الخطوة هو المصلحة المشتركة بين نتن ياهو وكوخافي والمتمثلة في أنّ نتن ياهو يحاول الإفلات من التحقيقات القضائية التي تضيّق الخناق عليه بسرعة عبر تقديم نفسه للجمهور على أنه منقذ «إسرائيل»، بينما يحاول رئيس الأركان الجديد أن يعطي صورة قوية عن نفسه للجمهور «الإسرائيلي» خاصة أنه جنرال فاشل تماماً.

فقد كان هذا الجنرال قائداً لما يُسمّى بفرقة غزة. وهي فرقة المظليين رقم 98، في الجيش «الإسرائيلي» عندما اضطر هذا الجيش للانسحاب من قطاع غزة عام 2005. ثم شارك في هزيمة الجيش «الإسرائيلي» في لبنان سنة 2006، وعيّن بعد ذلك قائداً للاستخبارات العسكرية الإسرائيلية من سنة 2010 وحتى شهر 11/2014، حيث تمّ تعيينه قائداً للجبهة الشمالية في الجيش. ثم نائباً لرئيس أركان الجيش الإسرائيلي منذ شهر 5/2017 وحتى تعيينه رئيساً لهيئة الأركان العامة.

إذاً فهو قد فشل في إدارة المعركة ضدّ قطاع غزة وانسحب من هناك مهزوماً. ثم فشل في جميع المهمات التي كلفت بها فرقته المظلية في الحرب الإسرائيلية ضدّ لبنان عام 2006. وبعد ذلك فشل في تحقيق أيّ نجاح، خلال توليه قيادة الاستخبارات العسكرية، سواء في الجنوب اللبناني أو الجنوب السوري. يُضاف الى ذلك فشله المدوّي على الجبهة السورية، خلال قيادته للجبهة الشمالية، خاصة أنه هو نفسه صاحب نظرية إقامة المنطقة العازلة في الجولان السوري المحرّر. وهو أيضاً فشل في منع الجيش السوري وقوات المقاومة من تحرير الأراضي التي كان يسيطر عليها الإرهابيون المسلحون في الجولان والجنوب السوري. كما فشل هو ورئيس وزرائه في منع قوات حلف المقاومة من التموضع على طول خط الجبهة مع الجولان المحتلّ وصولاً الى حوض اليرموك.

إذن فهو صاحب مسلسل فشل لن تستطيع عنتريات نتن ياهو وأكاذيب وسائل إعلامه من تغييرها. فلا «اختراقاته» في دول الخليج ولا رحلات السفاري التي قام بها الى تشاد قادرة على تغيير وقائع الميدان التي تقول:

1- إنه عاجز عن اختراق الأجواء السورية واللبنانية وأصبح مضطراً لإطلاق ألعابه النارية من أجواء البحر المتوسط.

2- إنّ رئيس أركانه الجديد، الذي يريد الإيحاء بأنه لن يتوانى في مواجهة «الوجود الإيراني» في سورية، قد فشل منذ اللحظة الأولى، أي لحظة موافقته على تنفيذ محاولة الغارة.

3- إنّ هذا الجنرال الفاشل سوف يتوّج مسلسل هزائمه بالهزيمة الكبرى التي سيشهدها كيانه والتي يُعدّ لها حلف المقاومة كل العديد والعدة والتي ستنتهي حتماً بتفكك وزوال كيان الاحتلال لا محالة…!

بعدنا طيّبين، قولوا الله.

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Talk of Western intervention in the Black Sea is pure fantasy

January 19, 2019

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with The Asia Times by special agreement with the author)Talk of Western intervention in the Black Sea is pure fantasy

Crimea is essential to Russia strategically and economically, but speculation over Ankara helping to boost the US presence in the Black Sea is far-fetched given Turkey’s energy deals with Moscow.

A power struggle over the Black Sea between Russia and the US plus NATO has the potential to develop as a seminal plot of the 21st century New Great Game – alongside the current jostling for re-positioning in the Eastern Mediterranean.

By now it’s established the US and NATO are stepping up military pressure from Poland to Romania and Bulgaria all the way to Ukraine and east of the Black Sea, which seems, at least for the moment, relatively peaceful, just as Crimea’s return to Russia starts to be regarded, in realpolitik terms, as a fait accompli.

After a recent series of conversations with top analysts from Istanbul to Moscow, it’s possible to identify the main trends ahead.

Just as independent Turkish analysts like Professor Hasan Unal are alarmed at Ankara’s isolation in the Eastern Mediterranean energy sphere by an alliance of Greece, Cyprus and Israel, Washington’s military buildup in both Romania and Bulgaria is also identified as posing a threat to Turkey.

It’s under this perspective that Ankara’s obstinance in establishing a security “corridor” in northern Syria, east of the Euphrates river, and free from the YPG Kurds, should be examined. It’s a matter of policing at least one sensitive border.

Still, in the chessboard from Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf, Turkey and Crimea, the specter of “foreign intervention” setting fire to the Intermarium – from the Baltics to the Black Sea – simply refuses to die.

Ukraine Russia map

‘Russian lake’?

By the end of the last glacial era, around 20,000 years ago, the Black Sea – separated from the Mediterranean by an isthmus – was just a shallow lake, much smaller in size than it is today.

The legendary journey of Jason and the Argonauts, before the Trojan war, followed the Argo ship to the farther shore of Pontus Euxinus (the ‘Black Sea’) to recover the Golden Fleece – the cure for all evils – from its location in Colchis (currently in Georgia).

In Ancient Greece, steeped in mythology, the Black Sea was routinely depicted as the boundary between the known world and terra incognita. But then it was “discovered” – like America many centuries later – to the point where it was configured as a “string of pearls” of Greek trading colonies linked to the Mediterranean.

The Black Sea is more than strategic, it’s crucial geopolitically. There has been a constant drive in modern Russian history to be active across maritime trade routes through the strategic straits – the Dardanelles, the Bosphorus and Kerch in Crimea – to warmer waters further south.

As I observed early last month in Sevastopol, Crimea is now a seriously built fortress – incorporating S-400 and Iskander-M missiles – capable of ensuring total Russian primacy all across the eastern Black Sea.

A visit to Crimea reveals how its genes are Russian, not Ukrainian. A case can be made that the very concept of Ukraine is relatively spurious, propelled by the Austro-Hungarian empire at the end of the 19th century and especially before World War I to weaken Russia. Ukraine was part of Russia for 400 years, far longer than California and New Mexico have been part of the US.

Now compare the reconquest of Crimea by Russia, without firing a shot and validated by a democratic referendum, to the US “conquests” of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya. Moreover, I saw Crimea being rebuilt and on the way to prosperity, complete with Tatars voting with their feet to return; compare it to Ukraine, which is an IMF basket case.

Crimea is essential to Russia not only from a geostrategic but also an economic point of view, as it solidifies the Black Sea as a virtual “Russian lake”.

It’s immaterial that Turkish strategists may vehemently disagree, as well as US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker who, trying to seduce Turkey, dreams about increasing the US presence in the Black Sea, “whether on a bilateral basis or under EU auspices.”

Under this context, the building of the Turk Stream pipeline should be read as Ankara’s sharp response to the rampant Russophobia in Brussels.

Ankara has, in tandem, consistently shown it won’t shelve the acquisition of Russian S-400 missile systems because of American pressure. This has nothing to do with pretentions of neo-Ottomanism; it’s about Turkey’s energy and security priorities. Ankara now seems more than ready to live with a powerful Russian presence across the Black Sea.

It all comes down to Montreux

Not by accident the comings and goings on NATO’s eastern flank was a key theme at last summer’s biennial Atlanticist summit. After all, Russia, in the wake of reincorporating Crimea, denied access over the eastern Black Sea.

NATO, though, is a large mixed bag of geopolitical agendas. So, in the end, there’s no cohesive strategy to deal with the Black Sea, apart from a vague, rhetorical “support for Ukraine” and also vague exhortations for Turkey to assume its responsibilities.

But because Ankara’s priorities are in fact the Eastern Mediterranean and the Turkish-Syrian border, east of the Euphrates river, there’s no realistic horizon for NATO to come up with permanent Black Sea patrols disguised as a “freedom of navigation” scheme – as much as Kiev may beg for it.

What does remain very much in place is the guarantee of freedom of navigation in the Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits controlled by Turkey, as sanctioned by the 1936 Montreux Convention.

The key vector, once again, is that the Black Sea links Europe with the Caucasus and allows Russia trade access to southern warm waters. We always need to go back to Catherine the Great, who incorporated Crimea into the empire in the 18th century after half a millennium of Tatar and then Ottoman rule, and then ordered the construction of a huge naval base for the Black Sea fleet.

By now some facts on the ground are more than established.

Next year the Black Sea fleet will be upgraded with an array of anti-ship missiles; protected by S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems; and supported by a new “permanent deployment” of Sukhoi SU-27s and SU-30s.

Far-fetched scenarios of the Turkish navy fighting the Russian Black Sea fleet will continue to be peddled by misinformed think tanks, oblivious to the inevitability of the Russia-Turkey energy partnership. Without Turkey, NATO is a cripple in the Black Sea region.

Intriguing developments such as a Viking Silk Road across the Intermarium won’t alter the fact that Poland, the Baltics and Romania will continue to clamor for “more NATO” in their areas to fight “Russian aggression”.

And it will be up to a new government in Kiev after the upcoming March elections to realize that any provocation designed to drag NATO into a Kerch Strait entanglement is doomed to failure.

Ancient Greek sailors had a deep fear of the Black Sea’s howling winds. As it now stands, call it the calm before a (Black Sea) storm.

Try to Figure Out Where Labour Ends and Likud Starts

likud caa.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

A few days before Christmas, Labour Cllr Richard Watts and the Islington Council, acting at the request of the UK Likud Herut Director, chose to stop me from playing with the Blockheads. The impoverished Council, in an odd interpretation of working for its citizens, hired two partners from one of London’s most expensive law firms to help them in their crusade against my saxophone.

Their action prompted hundreds of complaints and a petition of protest from  almost 7000. Despite the backlash, another Labour councillor has stepped in to try to ruin my musical career.  Rachel Eden has in the past attempted to interfere with my literature event at Reading Literary Festival, organised a protest against me without knowing who I was and what I stood for, and is on the Zionist We Believe in Israel list of 2016 General Election candidates who pledge their support for Israel.

Dear xxxx,

Hope you’re well and enjoying the run up to Christmas…
Sorry to email you about something controversial but I suspect that you’d rather I let you know.  (the comments in brackets are my own GA)

I just wanted to alert you that I am sure inadvertantly (sic) Progress has taken a booking from Gilead (sic) Atzmon.  He’s not a household name but he is very well known by the Jewish community as an anti-semite, last time he came to Reading he claimed that Jerusalem-ites doing mitzvot caused the Grenfell Tower tragedy: (GA: If Mrs. Eden had actually bothered to read the JC article, she would have noticed that I emphasise that Jerusalem vs. Athens is not a Jew vs Gentile binary. I pointed out that tragedies like the Grenfell tower come about because in Jerusalem people are trained to follow patterns and regulations: as opposed to thinking authentically and ethically as in Athens.)

As you’ll see from this story he was protested by a mix of Jewish and LGBT residents, he is also a holocaust ‘skeptic’ and Labour councillors including me. (GA: I am not a Holocaust ‘skeptic’ as I am not an historian, however, I support the idea that every event in the past must be subject to  historical analysis and revision!)

If you want to know a bit more about him the Jewish Chronicle keeps an eye on him:  (GA: now there’s an unbiased source)

He recently lost a libel lawsuit in which was sued by the campaign against anti-semetism:(sic) (GA: I settled a libel suit with CAA’s Gideon Falter, and the issue was not relevant to antisemitism.)
Hope not hate have a bit about him here:

(GA: Hope not Hate is a notorious Zionist operation and has been exposed as such many times in the past.)

All in all I am guessing you and the committee probably didn’t know any of this as he is trying to portray himself as “just” a jazz musician, but I would assume he’s not the sort of person you want associated with Progress Theatre.


The promoters of the concert replied to Cllr Eden as follows: “Our focus is on – and our interest is in – the music, nothing else. We do not aim to provide a platform for people to express their personal views on any non-musical subject. We have not received complaints of offence being caused at any of our concerts in the fourteen years we have been promoting jazz, despite programming a wide variety of acts and individuals. In the case of Gilad Atzmon, we understand that he has never even been questioned by any law enforcement authority about the allegations to which you refer, let alone convicted.”

It would be a blessing for the kingdom if our politicians had the clarity of thinking, ethical stand and respect for free speech displayed by our musical promoters and venues. Apparently, despite Eden’s persistent  harassment of the venue, the promoters held fast against her onslaught.

As expected, when it became clear that Cllr. Eden would not be able to stop my concert, the notorious ultra Zionist Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) in accord with its stated goal to ruin anyone it deems a threat to Zion, openly re-joined the effort to rid Britain of my saxophone.

Apparently, numerous promoters around the country have received threatening letters from Stephen Silverman, a ‘music teacher’ as well as The CAA’s ‘Director of Investigation and Enforcement.’ A charity is defined as “an organisation set up to provide help and raise money for those in need.” I wonder what it is that qualifies an organisation as charitable when instead of helping others it operates to investigate and ‘enforce’ rules of its own making.

Enforcement commissar Silverman’s email is a rehash of their usual list of misleading, misquoted and badly sourced accusations and ends with, what for them is an unusually polite declaration:  “It would, of course, be inappropriate for us to attempt to dictate who appears at your venue, and that is not my intention. The purpose of this letter is merely to provide you and your venue with information of which you may be unaware.”

Naturally, Silverman does not actually mean his deferential words. Once a venue replies that it does not intend to accede to the demands of Silverman and his klan, Silverman sends a second letter accusing the venue of “taking side” with haters, in “dereliction of duty” to side with Jews. The email ends with a clear threatening note:


Sent: 18 January 2019 17:11
Cc: ‘Anthony Orkin’
Subject: RE: Gilad Atzmon

Thank you for your reply. On the basis of your response it is clear that, by failing to stand up to antisemitism, you have chosen to side with those who seek to stir up hatred towards this country’s Jewish communityYour willingness to turn a blind eye to the activities of this leading antisemite shames you, your board and your arts centre, and is nothing less than a dereliction of duty. 

There is a vast amount of documented evidence, accumulated over many years, that bears witness to the extent of Gilad Atzmon’s antisemitism. He attempts to shield himself from the consequences of this with a bogus philosophy of his own devising that purports to be critical of ‘Jewishness’, Jewish politics and Jewish culture rather than of Jews. It is a paper-thin facade that crumbles under even the most cursory scrutiny.

This is someone who publicly told a Jewish man that he detested the Jew in hone (GA: actually, this was in reply to a tweet that “as a Jew” I should want to kill Arabs. The tweet was from vile hateful character @onepound1 who was subsequently banned from twitter for hate speech. I didn’t know that @onepound1 is indeed Jewish, perhaps Mr. Silverman is more familiar with this anonymous twitter user and his murderous intent?) stated that burning synagogues could be considered a rational act (GA: indeed, as are many violent actions in a war. They are rational not ethical and not desirable. The Guardian published my letter in that regard)  and invited the Jewish people to apologise for being so hateful that the world has been forced to persecute them (GA: here’s the quote in context:  “Instead of constantly blaming the Goyim for inflicting pain on Jews, it is time for Jews to look in the mirror and try to identify what it is in Jews and their culture that evokes so much fury. It may even be possible that some Jews would take this opportunity to apologise to the Gentiles around them for evoking all this anger.”). He repeats some of the same discredited antisemitic views about Jewish power that were employed by the Nazi regime to pave the way for the Holocaust, and he uses his blogs, videos and public talks to encourage others to share his hatred. (GA: noticeably Silverman doesn’t present a single hateful comment by me.) In 2012, he was disavowed by a group of prominent Palestinian writers and activists who refused to have anything further to do with his antisemitism. (GA: here he is telling you that a group of 20 Palestinian activists are more sensitive to accusations of antisemitism then they are in furthering their cause.)

We will endeavour to ensure that your actions, positive or negative, receive the attention that they deserve.

Kind regards

Stephen Silverman

Director of Investigations and Enforcement

Direct: 0330 822 XXXX extn 203

– –

As I point out above, Silverman’s accusations are misleading. However, threatening emails from this specific Jewish charity raise some serious concerns. In August, 2017, after the CAA and Silverman sent similar threatening notes to an Oxford bookshop that refused to acquiesce to their demands, a member of the audience was the victim of a  vicious physical attack that left him with a severe eye injury. After the attack, audience members, some of whom were Jewish, responded with angry letters to the CAA, but the British ‘charitable’ organisation refused to take any responsibility for the attack.

Friday night’s concert at the Progress Theatre was a sold out success, in spite of Cllr Eden’s campaign and CAA’s threatening messages. Last night we performed at the Ropetackle Arts Centre which has received similar threatening emails from Silverman and one Simon Butler, a NYC ‘CAA’s volunteer.’

The Ropetackle Arts Centre responded to the threats as follows:

“The letter from Mr Silverman has been passed to me in my capacity as chairman of the charity which runs the Ropetackle Arts Centre.

We recently received a similar request from Simon Butler. After very careful consideration, we informed him that we were intending to go ahead with the concert. This remains our decision which we do not feel appropriate to explain or justify other than to point out that Gilad Atzmon has performed at our Centre on numerous previous occasion without any complaint.”

If the CAA wants to fight antisemitism for real they should consider ceasing their operation tomorrow morning.  Their mean spirited attempt to ruin people financially reflects disastrously on them and anyone who is associated with their campaign. The more their operation and its methodology become known, the more likely the public is to believe that their bullying is supported by Jews in general. Such thoughts could lead to a real backlash which is a result antithetical to the goals of those of us who oppose all racism and violence.


My battle for truth and freedom involves  some expensive legal services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me.



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