FTX PARTNERSHIP WITH UKRAINE IS LATEST CHAPTER IN SHADY WESTERN AID SAGA

NOVEMBER 16TH, 2022

By Kit Klarenberg

Source

KIEV, UKRAINE (THE GRAYZONE) — The demise of FTX, the fifth-biggest cryptocurrency exchange by trade volume in 2022, and the second-largest by holdings, has sent a wave of chaos through global financial markets.

As the turbulence grows, the government of Ukraine is conducting an ongoing cleanup and whitewashing operation to rid any and all references to a high-level cryptocurrency fundraising arrangement it struck with FTX from the web. Eerily, it seems to have commenced just days before the scandal erupted.

Online records unearthed by The Grayzone claim tens of millions were raised by FTX for the Ukrainian government, and put to a variety of belligerent uses. But with the company now exposed as a Potemkin village lacking underlying assets, and major question marks hanging over whether its operations were from day one fraudulent top to bottom, where does that leave the supposedly successful donation scheme? Were those sums truly raised, and if so, to what purposes were they actually put?

FTX’s destruction resulted from a mass sell-off of the company’s native bitcoin token, FTT, by the rival exchange, Binance. Its value plummeted, prompting a three-day “run” on billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency, which in turn created – or exposed – a “liquidity crisis” within FTX, as it did not have the available assets required to redeem client withdrawals. FTX filed for bankruptcy on November 11th.

FTX founder and top Democrat Party donor Sam Bankman-Fried now faces criminal investigations in the Bahamas, where the exchange was headquartered, and calls for official investigations into the largely unregulated cryptocurrency industry are reverberating across the globe.

The sudden death of FTX has been compared to the 2008 disintegration of Lehman Brothers that precipitated the financial crisis.

Massive customer holdings have apparently gone missing thanks to a secret “back door” in the FTX bookkeeping system that allowed Bankman-Fried to make changes to the company’s financial records without any accountability. This connivance may have been used to hide at least $10 billion in client funds Bankman-Fried transferred from exchange to another company he founded, digital asset trader Alameda Research.

While mainstream media pores over the details of Bankman-Fried’s gargantuan crypto scam, not one single major outlet has investigated or even acknowledged FTX’s relationship with the government of Ukraine.

Were client holdings unaccountably and illegally funneled into the West’s proxy war? Or did the supposed aid FTX sent to Kiev find its way into the hands of Ukrainian scammers, corrupt warlords and illicit actors?

The corporate media’s failure to explore these questions appears all the more perverse given Bankman-Fried’s flamboyant promotion of his intimate financial relationship with the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

FTX PLEDGES TO “TURN BITCOIN INTO BULLETS, BANDAGES AND OTHER WAR MATERIEL” FOR UKRAINE

The partnership between FTX and the Ukrainian government was first publicized on March 14th when the leading cryptocurrency website CoinDesk announced Kiev had launched a dedicated webpage for cryptocurrency donations dubbed Aid for Ukraine.

Under its auspices, FTX pledged to “convert crypto contributions to Ukraine’s war effort into fiat for deposit” at the National Bank of Kiev, allowing the embattled government to “turn bitcoin into bullets, bandages and other war materiel.” CoinDesk stated the initiative “deepens an unprecedented tie-up between public and private sector forces in crypto.”

Oleksandr Bornyakov, an official at Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation, hinted to CoinDesk about an “upcoming NFT collection” auction to “give the next boost to the crypto fundraising process.”

(Bornyakov’s Ministry of Digital Transformation played a key role in the successful, Zelensky-led campaign to cancel The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal and Aaron Mate’s appearance at Web Summit, a major international gathering of the tech industry in Lisbon, Portugal).

In a press release accompanying the announcement of the FTX partnership with Ukraine, Bankman-Fried explained that, “at the onset of the conflict in Ukraine, FTX felt the need to provide assistance in any way it could.” He promised that the arrangement provided “the ability to deliver aid and resources to the people who need it most.”

KIEV DISAPPEARS AID FOR UKRAINE SITE DAYS BEFORE FTX SCANDAL GOES PUBLIC

The Aid for Ukraine webpage has now been deleted, but can still be accessed via the Internet Archive. Until very recently, it encouraged visitors to “help Ukraine with crypto” and pleaded, “don’t leave us alone with the enemy.”

The site featured promotional quotes from an assortment of Ukrainian government officials and bitcoin bros – among them, FTX’s founder.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, thanked “the crypto community” for funding the purchase of helmets, bulletproof vests, and night vision devices. For his part, Bankman-Fried declared himself “incredibly excited and humbled” to “support crypto donations to Ukraine.”

The last available Internet Archive capture of Aid for Ukraine” took place on the afternoon of October 26th. Throughout the webpage’s existence, the Internet Archive captured multiple snapshots of it weekly. This clearly indicates the page was purged by Kiev in late October, several days before the FTX crisis initially broke out.

Once it was deleted, the Ukrainian government created a standalone website on November 1st to promote the endeavor. The page was identical, and quotes from Bankman-Fried, and references to FTX’s involvement and its logo, remained in place until the morning of November 15th.

Was the original webpage’s dumping and erasure, and the shift to a totally new interface, at that time merely a spooky coincidence, or were the Ukrainians warned of what was coming? What did Kiev know, and when did it know it?

BANKMAN-FRIED CHANNELED MILLIONS TO BIDEN THROUGH “STEALTH” PAC

Though FTX has been accused of serving as a money laundering vehicle for the US Democratic Party, concrete evidence supporting this claim has yet to materialize. But given Bankman-Fried’s background as one of the most prolific donors to the Democrats, and the role he played as a nexus between party power-brokers and the cryptocurrency sphere, the allegations are understandable.

Bankman-Fried is the son of Stanford law professor Barbara Friedman, founder of a shadowy Super PAC called Mind the Gap which quietly channeled millions to Democratic party candidates, primarily from nameless Silicon Valley investors.

The organization has no website or social media footprint, and its founders do not advertise their involvement publicly. Chosen through complex data analysis, beneficiaries of the Super PAC often have no idea themselves who or what has donated to their campaigns.

“The raison d’être is stealth,” an individual “with ties to the organization” told Vox back in 2020.

Bankman-Fried establishment of FTX in April 2019 – the same month Joe Biden announced his 2020 Presidential run – has added to the intrigue surrounding the scandal. Once vast sums started flowing into and through the FTX exchange, its founder channeled profits into Biden’s campaign coffers. Oddly, Bankman-Fried had no prior history of political giving.

Throughout the 2020 campaign, Bankman-Fried gifted over $5 million to Biden and groups supporting him. This reportedly helped fuel a potentially decisive “nine-figure, eleventh-hour blitz of TV advertising” targeting swing states, and made the crypto bro the second-largest donor to the president, right behind Michael Bloomberg.

Bankman-Fried claimed this wellspring of generosity was “motivated less by specific issues than by the Biden team’s ‘generic stability and decision-making process.’” Such an apparent lack of enthusiasm for the President stands at odds with the staggering sums he has pumped into Democratic party coffers ever since.

In 2022 alone, Bankman-Fried lavished almost $40 million on Democratic candidates, campaigns, and PACs. The giving spree made him the second-largest individual donor to Democratic causes, behind liberal venture capitalist George Soros.

More recently, Bankman-Fried pledged to donate a staggering $1 billion between this year and 2024 to ensure a Democratic victory in the next presidential vote. On October 14th, however, he completely backtracked, branding the investment a “dumb” move. Something scandalous was brewing behind the scenes.

One week later, the Texas State Securities Board announced it was investigating FTX on suspicion of selling unregistered securities. The development went largely unnoticed by the media. To the extent it generated any interest at all, it was framed as just one of several examples of financial authorities scrutinizing crypto players.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE $60 MILLION RAISED BY AID FOR UKRAINE?

If FTX was indeed laundering funds for the proxy war in Ukraine, the slightest indication that regulators were investigating its operations would have triggered alarm bells throughout Washington – and by extension, Kiev. This may be why the Ukrainian government switched the Aid for Ukraine webpage with a dedicated website, and scrubbed the original entirely from the internet just days after the announcement.

Also curious are the Internet Archive captures of the Aid for Ukraine website that show records of funds purportedly flowing to Kiev via Bitcoin had not been updated since July. At the time, the webpage reported that over $60 million had been raised by the “community.” This figure is reflected on the updated standalone Aid for Ukraine fundraising site.

A breakdown of spending on the new Aid for Ukraine website states Kiev had spent a total of $54,573,622 in cryptocurrency donations by July 7th on a wide variety of equipment, vehicles, drones, “lethal equipment” and other resources. One of the biggest single expenditures was $5,250,519 on a “worldwide anti-war media campaign,” the details of which would only “be published after our victory” due to “security reasons.”

Ukrainian government officials and private sector actors involved in the operation of Aid for Ukraine have scoffed at suggestions of impropriety regarding its use, but have only raised further questions with their denials.

Oleksandr Bornyakov of Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation declared that Aid for Ukraine simply used FTX to “convert donations into fiat in March.” The CEO of Everstake, the “validator” company that in theory guaranteed crypto funds donated via Aid for Ukraine reached Kiev’s Ministry of Defense, also thanked “every crypto holder for donating…in those early day [sic], when every cent and every minute was crucial.”

Taken in tandem, these comments suggest Aid for Ukraine was set up purely to receive donations in the initial stages of the war, and the $60 million figure represents sums received and converted in the weeks immediately following the launch of the initiative. This interpretation is reinforced by an Everstake staffer’s presentation at a cryptocurrency conference at Web Summit on November 1st, on the subject of “raising [over] $60m in crypto for Ukraine.”

But an Internet Archive capture of Aid for Ukraine on April 1st adds to the confusion, showing that two-and-a-half-weeks after the initiative launched, the webpage was updated to claim “over $70 million” had been raised from crypto donors. This was revised down to “over $60 million” five days later.

More strangely, Aid for Ukraine records show that from the time of the initiative’s launch to April 14th, a total of $45,103,538 was spent. This means just $9,470,084 was spent between April 14 and July 7th, a period in which the war developed into a “bloody war of attrition” according to The Guardian.

This leaves a gap of at least $5.5 million in the money Aid for Ukraine claimed to have raised in its initial weeks, and the funds it says it distributed in Ukraine.

The disparity was confirmed in a tweet by the official Aid for Ukraine Twitter account, posted on the evening of November 15th, which stated that “out of $60 million received, $54 million have already been spent on Ukraine’s humanitarian and military needs.”

This implies that no further funds of any size were received after early April, and the total has remained static ever since, despite the resource being open for donations. Which would be highly unusual.

The government of Ukraine, FTX, and Everstake all now have serious questions to answer. Namely, why the funds purportedly raised appear to have decreased in a span of a few days, why no donations have been received since then on the Aid for Ukraine webpage or its new website, how much has been donated since the alleged initial influx, and where did the rest of the money go?

UKRAINE: A BLACK HOLE FOR WESTERN AID

Stories of potential financial impropriety by Ukrainian officials and the country’s military are invariably ignored or outright buried by the Western media. An August exposé by the Kyiv Independent documented wide-ranging abuses by the leadership of a wing of the International Legion, including sexual harassment, looting, threatening soldiers at gunpoint and sending them unprepared on reckless missions. Though the Kyiv Independent often influences Western media’s coverage of the Ukraine conflict, this story was completely ignored in mainstream quarters.

That same month, CBS broadcast an investigative feature revealing that only 30 percent of Western arm shipments to Ukraine ever reach the frontline. Due to intense backlash from the Pentagon and other powerful sources, CBS temporarily pulled its own documentary and an accompanying promotional trailer and article from the web. The feature has since been “updated” to claim that “the situation has significantly improved” since filming, and “a much larger quantity now gets where it’s supposed to go.”

When it comes to Ukraine, Democrats at the highest levels are also immensely skilled at burying embarrassing stories. In December 2015, Joe Biden coerced Kiev’s then-leader Petro Poroshenko into firing prosecutor general Viktor Shokin as a condition for the US underwriting a $1 billion IMF loan to Ukraine.

“I’m going to be leaving here in six hours. If [Shokin] is not fired, you’re not getting the money,” Biden threatened.

With Shokin’s firing, the experienced lawyer’s ongoing probe into the energy giant Burisma ended as well. Which meant that Burisma’s most famous board member, Hunter Biden, the son of then-US Vice President’s son, eluded official scrutiny.

Now, a politically connected crypto-billionaire who used a secret financial “back door” to fleece customers of ungodly sums of money has become the latest character in the saga of shady US aid to Ukraine. And though the collapse of his FTX firm is front page news, mainstream outlets are studiously avoiding the Ukraine angle.

From Ally to Enemy: Australia Hammers Final Nail in US ‘Deal of the Century’

October 26, 2022

Abraham Accord signing ceremony in Washington. (Photo: Wikimedia)

By Ramzy Baroud

US President Donald Trump’s so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ was meant to represent a finality of sorts, an event reminiscent of Francis Fukuyama’s premature declaration of the ‘End of History’ and the uncontested supremacy of western capitalism. In effect, it was a declaration that ‘we’ – the US, Israel and a few allies – have won, and ‘you’, isolated and marginalized Palestinians, lost.

The same way Fukuyama failed to consider the unceasing evolution of history, the US and Israeli governments also failed to understand that the Middle East, in fact, the world, is not governed by Israeli expectations and American diktats.

The above is a verifiable assertion. On October 17, the Australian government announced that it is revoking its 2018 recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Expectedly, the new decision, officially made by Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, was strongly criticized by Israel, celebrated by Palestinians and welcomed by Arab countries who praised the responsible diplomacy of Canberra.

Any serious analysis of the Australian move, however, must not be confined to Australia’s own political shifts but must be extended to include the dramatic changes underway in Palestine, the Middle East and, indeed, the world.

For many years, but especially since the US invasion of Iraq as part of the politically-motivated ‘war on terror’, Washington perceived itself as the main, if not the only, power that is able to shape political outcomes in the Middle East. Yet, as its Iraq quagmire began destabilizing the entire region, with revolts, social upheavals and wars breaking out, Washington began losing its grip.

It was then rightly understood that, while the US may succeed in waging wars, as it did in Iraq and Libya, it is unable to restore even a small degree of peace and stability. Though Trump seemed disinterested in engaging in major military conflicts, he converted that energy to facilitate the rise of Israel as a regional power, which is incorporated into the Middle East’s political and economic grids through a process of political ‘normalization’, which is wholly delinked from the struggle in Palestine or the freedom of the Palestinians.

The Americans were so confident in their power to orchestrate such a major political transformation to the extent that Jared Kushner – Trump’s Middle East advisor and son-in-law – was revealed to have attempted to cancel the very status of Palestinian refugees in Jordan, an attempt that was met with a decisive Jordanian rejection.

Kushner’s arrogance reached the point that, in January 2020, he declared that his father-in-law’s plan was such a “great deal” which, if rejected by Palestinians, “they’re going to screw up another opportunity, like they’ve screwed up every other opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence.”

All of this hubris was joined with many American concessions to Israel, whereby Washington virtually fulfilled all Israeli wishes. The relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem was merely the icing on the cake of a much larger political scheme that included the financial boycott of Palestinians, the cancellation of funds that benefited Palestinian refugees, the recognition of the illegally occupied Syrian Golan Heights as part of Israel and the support of Tel Aviv’s decision to annex much of the occupied West Bank.

The then Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies had hoped that, as soon as Washington carried out such moves, many other countries would follow, and that, in no time, Palestinians would find themselves friendless, broke and irrelevant.

This was hardly the case, and what started with a bang ended with a whimper. Though the Biden Administration still refuses to commit to any new ‘peace process’, it has largely avoided engaging in Trump’s provocative politics. Not just that, the Palestinians are anything but isolated, and Arab countries remain united, at least officially, in the centrality of Palestine to their collective political priorities.

In April 2021, Washington restored funding to the Palestinians, including money allocated to the UN refugees’ agency, UNRWA. It did not do so for charitable reasons, of course, but because it wanted to ensure the allegiance of the Palestinian Authority, and to remain a relevant political party in the region. Even then, the PA President, Mahmoud Abbas, still declared, during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Kazakhstan on October 12, that “we (Palestinians) don’t trust America”.

Moreover, the annexation scheme, at least officially, did not go through. The rejection of any Israeli steps that could change the legal status of the occupied Palestinian territories proved unpopular with most UN members, including most of Israel’s western allies.

Australia remained the exception, but not for long. Unsurprisingly, Canberra’s reversal of its earlier decision regarding the status of Jerusalem earned it much criticism in Tel Aviv. Four years following its initial policy shift, Australia shifted yet once more, as it found it more beneficial to realign itself with the position of most world capitals than to that of Washington and Tel Aviv.

Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ has failed simply because neither Washington nor Tel Aviv had enough political cards to shape a whole new reality in the Middle East. Most parties involved – Trump, Netanyahu, Scott Morrison in Australia, and a few others – were simply playing a political game linked to their own interests at home. Similarly, the currently embattled British Prime Minister Liz Truss is now jumping on the bandwagon of relocating the British embassy to Jerusalem so that she may win the approval of pro-Israel politicians. The move further demonstrates her lack of political experience and, regardless of what Westminster decides to do next, it will unlikely greatly affect the political reality in Palestine and the Middle East.

In the final analysis, it has become clear that the ‘Deal of the Century’ was not an irreversible historical event, but an opportunistic and thoughtless political process that lacked a deep understanding of history and the political balances that continue to control the Middle East.

Another important lesson to be gleaned from all of this is that, as long as the Palestinian people continue to resist and fight for their freedom and as long as international solidarity continues to grow around them, the Palestinian cause will remain central to all Arabs and to all conscientious people around the world.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Under Satan’s Banner

October 19, 2022

by Dragan Filipovic

In all history, there is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare

– Sun Tzu, ‘The Art of War’

Putin’s West is Satanic Speech

During the signing ceremony on the accession to the Russian Federation of the four new regions on September 30th president Vladimir Putin declared that a ‘revolutionary transformation of the world’ is underway and stated that there will be ‘no return to the old order’. As expected, his oration was largely ignored or distored by Western mainstream media:

“Our compatriots, our brothers and sisters in Ukraine who are part of our united people have seen with their own eyes what the ruling class of the so-called West have prepared for humanity as a whole. They have dropped their masks and shown what they are really made of.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, the West decided that the world and all of us would permanently accede to its dictates. In 1991, the West thought that Russia would never rise after such shocks and would fall to pieces on its own. This had almost happened. We remember the horrible 1990s, hungry, cold and hopeless. But Russia remained standing, revived, grew stronger and occupied its rightful place in the world.”

Signing ceremony for the accession of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and the Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions at the Grand Kremlin Palace’s St George Hall

“Meanwhile, the West continued to look for another chance to strike a blow at us, to weaken and break up Russia… to set our peoples against each other and to condemn them to poverty and extinction. They cannot rest easy knowing that there is such a great country with this huge territory and its natural wealth, resources and people who cannot and will not do someone else’s bidding.

Western countries have been saying for centuries that they bring freedom and democracy to other nations. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead of bringing democracy they suppressed and exploited, and instead of giving freedom they enslaved and oppressed. The unipolar world is inherently anti-democratic and unfree; it is false and hypocritical through and through.

Do we want to have in Russia, ‘Parent number one, parent number two and Parent number three’ instead of Mother and Father? Do we want our schools to impose on our children perversions that lead to degradation and extinction? Do we want to drum into their heads the idea that other genders exist besides Female and Male, and to offer them gender reassignment surgery? This is all unacceptable to us. We have a different future of our own.

Let me repeat that the dictatorship of the Western elites targets all societies, including the citizens of Western countries themselves. This is a challenge for us all. This complete renunciation of what it means to be human, the overthrow of faith and traditional values, and the suppression of freedom are coming to resemble the reverse of religion – pure Satanism. Exposing false messiahs, Jesus Christ preached in the Sermon on the Mount: “By their fruit ye shall know them.” These poisonous fruits are already obvious to people, and not only in our country but in all countries, including many people in the West itself.

The world has entered a period of a fundamental, revolutionary transformation. New centers of power are emerging. They represent the majority of the international community. They are ready not only to declare their interests but also to protect them. They see in multipolarity an opportunity to strengthen their sovereignty, which means gaining genuine freedom, historical prospects, and the right to their own independent, creative and distinctive forms of development, to a harmonious process.

There are many like-minded people in Europe and the United States, and we feel and see their support. An essentially emancipatory, anti-colonial movement against unipolar hegemony is taking shape in the most diverse countries and societies. Its power will only grow with time. It is this force that will determine our future geopolitical reality.“

“The destruction of the Western hegemony is irreversible,“ Putin concluded.

JFK’s Forgotten ‘Peace For All Time Speech’

President John F. Kennedy, under the influence of the Cuban Missile Crisis when the world was brought to the brink of annihilation, made an equally momentous speech at the American University on June 10, 1963:

“I have chosen this time and place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived – yet it is the most important topic on earth: world peace.

What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave.

I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women – not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.”

“I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn.

Today the expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need to use them is essential to keeping the peace. But surely the acquisition of such idle stockpiles – which can only destroy and never create – is not the only, much less the most efficient, means of assuring peace.

…wherever we are, we must all, in our daily lives, live up to the age-old faith that peace and freedom walk together. In too many of our cities today, the peace is not secure because the freedom is incomplete. It is the responsibility of the executive branch at all levels of government – local, State, and National – to provide and protect that freedom for all of our citizens by all means within their authority…

All this is not unrelated to world peace. ‘When a man’s ways please the Lord,’ the Scriptures tell us, ‘he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.’ And is not peace… basically a matter of human rights – the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation…?

The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough – more than enough – of war and hate and oppression. We shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless of its success. Confident and unafraid, we labor on – not toward a strategy of annihilation but toward a strategy of peace.”

“Man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life.” – JFK in his 1961 Inaugural Address

Rise and Fall of a Hegemon

Kennedy’s speech was quickly relegated to the memory hole after his assassination only five months later with his successor Lyndon B. Johnson quickly ramping up the war in Vietnam, chosing to ignore painful French colonial lessons there a decade earlier as well as president Charles de Gaulle’s warning that “…you will sink step by step into a bottomless military and political quagmire”. LBJ forged full steam ahead, using a false flag attack in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964 to commit a half a million U.S. troops to the jungles of Indochina.

An alleged North Vietnamese attack on the USS Madoxx was used as an excuse to ramp up the Vietnam war which ended up costing 58,220 American and over two million Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian lives

Even though it was done under the banner of ‘defending democracy and freedom’, it nevertheless gave the lie to JFK’s assertion that the United States would never start a war.

Shock and Awe on full display in Baghdad, March 2003 at the start of the war to rid the world of Saddam’s non-existent WMD’s; when the kinetic phase of a war is completed it is replaced by an economic shock and awe, when the target country’s economy is plundered

Former Austrian foreign minister Karin Kneissl concurs with Putin’s portrayal of the West’s exploitative colonial mindset:

“The era of the ‘Seven Sisters,’ a cartel of oil companies that divided up the oil market, came to an end (in the 1970’s). However, for US policymakers – at least, psychologically – this era still persists. ‘It’s our oil,’ is an expression I often hear uttered in Washington. Those voices were particularly loud during the illegal US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq. To really understand the core of the conflict in Ukraine – where a proxy war rages – one must break down the confrontation thus: The US and its European allies, who represent and back the global financial sector, are essentially engaged in a battle against the world’s energy sector. “ Kneissl wrote for the The Cradle on October 13th.

Political Studies professor Radhika Desai lectures in the same vein:

“The conflict that the West calls Russia’s invasion of Ukraine… is not a conflict between Ukraine and Russia; it is a phase in the hybrid war that the West has been waging for decades against any country that chooses an economic path other than subordination to the United States. In its current phase, this war takes the form of a US-led NATO war over Ukraine. In this war, Ukraine is the terrain, and a pawn – one that can be sacrificed. This fact is hidden by wall-to-wall Western propaganda portraying Russian President Vladimir Putin as either mad or a devil hell-bent on recreating the Soviet Union. This pre-empts any questions about why Putin might be doing this, about the rationale for Russian actions.

The United States, having sought without success to dominate the world, wages this war to stall its historic decline, the loss of what remains of its power. This decline has accelerated in recent decades as neoliberalism turned its capitalist economic system unproductive, financialised, predatory, speculative, and ecologically destructive, massively diminishing Washington’s already dubious attractions to its allies around the world.“

With an annual budget approaching a trillion dollars, the U.S. military is far removed from its Hollywood image of a ‘mean, lean fighting machine‘, and has turned into a bloated dinosaur mired in monumental corruption. This was confirmed by no less an auhority than the former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld who, on September 10, 2001, revealed that Pentagon auditors found that 25% of the military budget could not be accounted for, and that $2.3 trillion were missing.

The very next day, however, the war on waste was overtaken by the ‘war on terror’ and everything was forgiven and forgotten. Business continued as usual.

The current decrepit state of the U.S. military is aply reflected in its dismal recruitment figures, with the army announcing on October 1st that – despite offering sign-up bonuses of up to $50,000 – it had still managed to miss its enlistment target by 25%.

The most likely causes: one in three Americans are overweight or otherwise unfit, the Covid ‘vaccine’ mandates, and lastly, Pentagon’s advocacy of LGBTQ/transgender ideology which has become the centerpiece of Biden regime’s ‘numerous accomplishments’ but which a priori eliminates potential conservative and religious-minded candidates who usually form the backbone of the military.

After obligatory inoculations recruits must undergo doctrinal inculcation emphasizing ‘equity and minority rights’ prior to being unleashed to sow death and destruction in defense of human rights around the globe

The New Normal: ‘Drag Queens’ are now in charge of teaching biology to kids, including that 72 genders exist – according to polls, a third of Generation Z consider themselves ‘gender fluid’ – which is what Putin was referring to in his speech

Winner Takes All

Ukraine’s Blitzkrieg Means That Russia Cannot Win The War,” runs a typical headline used by the mainstream media as it downplays Russia’s strategic success and amplifies the tactical setbacks in order to make it look like the war is turning into a quagmire for Putin.

This is something which geopolitical analyst Pepe Escobar takes issue with: “ … in only 7 months, Russia annexed 120,000 km2 – or 22% of Ukrainian territory – that produces nearly 90% of GDP and has over 5 million citizens. Along the way, the allied forces basically destroyed the Ukrainian army, which they continue to do 24/7; billions of dollars of NATO equipment; accelerated the demise of most Western economies; and evaporated the notion of American hegemony…”

The U.S. military has shown itself incapable of beating a ragtag Taliban force in Afghanistan and does not stand a chance against Russia, as the military expert Scott Ritter confirmed in 2017:

“NATO would be totally outmatched in a conventional war with Russia… Today, NATO and American anti-armor weapons continue to play catch up to new innovations being fielded by the Russians. The Americans like to quantify the Russian Army as being ‘near peer’ in terms of its capabilities; the fact of the matter is that it is the U.S. and NATO armored forces that are ‘near peer’ to their Russian counterparts, and there are many more Russian tanks in Europe today than there are NATO and American.”

Instead of Russia running out of missiles and ammunition as is often claimed, it is the U.S. and NATO which have emptied out their warehouses and run out of weapons, as reported by CNBC: “In the U.S. weapons industry, the normal production level for artillery rounds for the 155mm howitzer – a long-range heavy artillery weapon currently used on the battlefields of Ukraine – is about 30,000 rounds per year in peacetime. The Ukrainian soldiers… go through that amount in roughly two weeks.” Pentagon is now looking for U.S. companies to build more shells, while new HIMARS systems promised to Ukraine won’t arrive for years.

The painful truth for NATO is that the decades-long offshoring of manufacturing to low-wage countries has left it with insufficient industrial capacity required to wage a protracted war against a ‘near-peer’ adversary.

All this is ignored by the Western media which, through sensationalistic headlines like “In Washington, Putin’s Nuclear Threats Stir Growing Alarm” and “Putin Prepared to Use Nuclear Weapons”, is creating the illusion that Russia is losing badly and will resort to anything to turn things around.

Former CIA director and retired general David Petraeus was thus interviewed by ABC News on October 2nd and stated how Russia is “desperate after a string of setbacks” and then promised that if it used nuclear weapons, the US would destroy the Russian military in Ukraine and sink its naval fleet.

What Petraeus – better known for having lost both ‘surges’ in Iraq and Afghanistan – fails to mention is that the U.S. is the one nuclear superpower with a first strike policy which is defined as an “…attack on an enemy’s nuclear arsenal that effectively prevents retaliation against the attacker. A successful first strike would cripple enemy missiles that are ready to launch and prevent the opponent from readying others for a counterstrike by targeting the enemy’s nuclear stockpiles and launch facilities.”

Under this policy, “The U.S. president has the auhority, without consulting anyone, to order a pre-emptive nuclear strike – not merely in retaliation… Our warheads could be launched in defense of allies, after the onset of a conventional war involving our troops… or in response to a bellicose threat posed by a nuclear state.”

On the other hand, Russia’s Basic Principles doctrine does not allow for unprovoked use of nuclear weapons – tactical or strategic. In any case, Russia has absolutely no need to resort to tactical nukes as it possesses the most powerful conventional weapon in existence, nicknamed FOAB – Father of All Bombs – a thermobaric bomb with a blast yield of 44 tons TNT; more importantly, these weapons do not emit any radiation, as nuclear fallout would pose both an immediate and lingering threat to their troops as well as to local civilians – most of whom are expected to one day become loyal Russian citizens.

FOAB dropped from a Tu-160 bomber at the Opuk training range, Black Sea in 2016; this ordnance is designed to vaporize targets and collapse structures by igniting a fuel-air mixture in midair

Some 150 U.S. B61 nuclear bombs are located in six air bases throughout Europe

Artist Marina Abramovich and Jacob Rotschild posing in front of a painting titled ‘Satan Summoning His Legions’ by Thomas Lawrence at the Royal Academy of Arts; Lord Rotschild & Co. control most of the planet’s assets

High Noon for NATO, Midnight for Humanity?

100 Seconds to Midnight according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists who now warn that we have never been closer to a nuclear holocaust and find ourseleves at doom’s doorstep

NATO has on October 17th launched ‘Steadfast Noon’, its annual nuclear drills set to last until October 30th which is taking place 600 miles from the Russian border with “14 countries and air forces from across NATO to exercise nuclear deterrence capabilities involving dozens of aircraft, including fourth and fifth generation fighter jets as well as surveillance and tanker aircraft,” as per the NATO press release.

As luck would have it, ‘Steadfast Noon’ will likely coincide with Moscow’s own annual nuclear drills dubbed ‘Grom’, when Russia tests its nuclear-capable bombers, submarines and missiles.

This is a Do-or-Die moment for the western hegemon which is not willing – or rather, cannot – back down under any circumstances. Conscious of its inability to win a conventional war against Russia, it will resort to any measure in order to win, even if it means setting the world ablaze.

The U.S. has managed to convince itself that it can emerge victorious from a pre-emptive nuclear war, but cannot afford be seen as the aggressor in the eyes of the global community; a ‘False Flag’ event is therefore set to be staged in Ukraine using a low-yield device for which Russia would quickly be blamed, triggering an immediate NATO response. As inadvertently confirmed by Ukrainian president Zelensky while addressing the Australian Lowy Institute on October 6th, the scheme involves a ‘decapitation strike’ on Moscow against Putin and his Cabinet, after which the rest of the regime would collapse like a house of cards.

Assuredly, if this suicidal policy is ever applied outside a computer simulation, the world would have to concur with Mr. Putin’s assertion that the collective west is being run by satanists.

Sadly, that realization will have come too late to save humanity.

2017 Deagel.com forecast in which the U.S. is projected to lose two-thirds of its population by 2025; Deagel is a branch of the US military intelligence, preparing briefs for agencies such as the NSA, NATO, UN, and the World Bank. This forecast has been purged after the founder Edwin Deagel passed away in 2021

“There are decades where nothing happens; and then there are weeks where decades happen.”

– Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

On Wars, Battles, and Military Operations: Defining Success

October 09, 2022

Source

by Mansoureh Tajik for the Saker blog

Hitting, succeeding, and capturing, all these things, if they are not with a spiritually sacred dimension, they are nothing but defeat.”[1]

– Imam Khomeini

Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, a response to a larger compound war that had percolated for several years, has been the subject of much quasi analyses. A vast majority of the compositions involves ad hoc cursory descriptions that concentrate on the “mechanics” of sub-operations within the operation, laical aims beneath the goal, secularly-defined methods & means, and varied temporal aftereffects discharged into a future material outcome that is concealed for now. In all these though, the critical “quintessence” has gone AWOL.

By critical “quintessence”, I mean careful and calculated use of a different kind of compass to navigate and approach the analyses and evaluation of methods, means, and outcomes. The sort of compass that actively and willfully transforms the nature of an exploration into relevant questions. Questions like: How do you measure “success” in a war, or in a battle, or in a military operation? What are the indicators by which you measure that success? Is success defined by the tangible and measureable superiority in domains of land, sea, air, inner space, outer space, and cyberspace? Is it measured by the square kilometers of land that is acquired and brought under control? Or, is it calculated by the number of hearts and minds captured, the number of injured produced, or the number of dead bodies accumulated? Is it in the number prisoners you take? Or, is it, perhaps, measured in Euro, Pound, Dollar, Rial, Yuan, Ruble, gold, silver, bitcoin, cubic feet of oil and gas, fluctuations in stock prices, and the like? Or, is it defined by how fast you announce “Mission Accomplished” while attired in a body gear that has been engineered to cause artificial ‘inflation’ in order to deflect attention from severe defects and shortcomings?

Source: Stephen Jaffe/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images. The guy in the middle is George W. Bush Jr. on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln where he delivered his “Mission Accomplished” speech regarding the illegal war of aggression against Iraq on May 1, 2003.

The author of an article titled, “is Putin’s goody two shoes behavior with his limited operation blowing up in his face?” had perhaps some sort of US American definition for “success” in mind when he wrote:

“It was doomed from the beginning by the Kremlin’s ridiculous assumption that Washington would permit the operation to be limited. The widening of the war was guaranteed. The fact that the war has widened is now understood by Russian TV hosts who say the proxy war in Ukraine between the US and Russia is over and Russia now faces a real direct war with the US and its NATO puppets. For Russia to continue in Ukraine, the Kremlin must fight a real war and knock out the government in Kiev and the governmental and civilian infrastructure that permits Ukraine to conduct war without Russian interference and which permits supply avenues for ever more dangerous Western weapons to be acquired by Ukraine. It is stunning that Putin thought he could drive Ukrainian troops out of Donbas and then sign an agreement ending the conflict.”

It appears what the author is essentially suggesting that Russia should have invoked a Russian version of ‘shock and awe’ operation, perhaps similar to what the US executed in Iraq three weeks after which it announced its mission as ‘accomplished’. How did that sort of “real war”, the sort that “knocked out the government and destroyed the governmental and civilian infrastructure” in Iraq worked out for you? How did it work for you in Afghanistan? How has it worked out for your parasitic Zionist regime in West Asia?

At any rate, I am referring to type of exploration that questions the questions and detonates their underlying usual and customary assumptions. To put all that into cognitively more accessible terms to fit my purpose, I may say, anybody can wage a war – that is easy. But to wage a war with the right adversary and to the right proportion and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy (adapting a rhetorical prose attributed to Aristotle).

But who is the right adversary? What is the right proportion? When is the right time? What is the right purpose? And most important of all, how is the right way determined?

The short answer is it depends. A bit longer answer is that it depends on your worldview, belief system, and ethical and moral framework based on which you are engaged in a war and the criteria according to which those belief systems and worldviews define success, and measure and evaluate its key indicators.

Here, I would like to focus on two major competing worldviews (from among several) that define and determine what that “right” is. One of the two worldviews belongs to Estekbar Jahani, or Global Arrogance, represented by US-Anglo-Zionist-West. The other worldview is that of Moghavemat, or the Resistance, represented by the Islamic Revolution of Iran and the nations and groups that are in this camp.

The rationale for examining the first worldview, belonging to the Global Arrogance, is quite obvious. For the most part, this worldview has wreaked havoc on our entire plant and has championed indiscriminate death and destruction anywhere it had been allowed to penetrate. We examine the second worldview, that of the Resistance, for two specific reasons. Firstly, it is the worldview that has been solidly standing up to the first worldview and limiting its spread for some time now. Secondly, it is the worldview that has currently formed a strategic partnership with Russia in her war against US-NATO (which is a segment of US-Anglo-Zionist-West).

I would also like to limit the focus of the essay regarding the indicators of ‘success’ in a war or military operations, on three specific indicators: the right purpose, the right method & tools, and the right proportion.

On with it. We have ample evidence that the first group, the Global Arrogance, believes itself to be the owner of the entire planet and everyone and everything in it. Thus, it arrogates to itself the right to consider anyone, anytime, and anywhere to be the right person, the right time, and right place to attack to get anything it wants if it can do so by getting away at minimum socio-political and economic cost to its clique. They prefer a hit and run sort of approach and pave their paths with blood and tears.

The report card, for the past few decades, of the representatives of the Global Arrogant worldview (US-Anglo-Zionist-West) is colorfully marked by illegal and aggressive wars and military operations against Lebanon (1982-1984), Grenada (1983), Libya (1986), Islamic Republic of Iran, Persian Gulf (1987-1988), Panama (1989-1990), Iraq Persian Gulf (1990-1991), Iraq (1991-2003), Somali (1992-1995), Serbia (1992-1995), Haiti (1994-1995), Yugoslavia (1992-1995), Afghanistan (2001-Present), Yemen (2002-Present), Iraq (2003-Present), Pakistan (2004-Present), Somalia (2007-Present), Libya (2011-Present), Uganda (2011-Present), Sudan (2011-Present), and Syria (2014-Present), just to be brief.

For this camp, the right purpose has been $, Power, Oil; the right Methods & Means has been wholesale killing, stealing, lying, cheating, sanctions, torture –pardon me, ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’—of prisoners, terror, chemical, biological, nuclear, and you name it; any means and methods, in short. The most savage, the better. As far as the right proportion is concerned, the limits appear quite limitless:

Leslie Stahl: “We have heard that half a million [Iraqi] children have died. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”

Madeline Albright: “I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it.”

So, this is another definition of “success” for the Global Arrogance:

Source: Images are a selection from a study titled “Living near an active U.S. military base in Iraq is associated with significantly higher hair thorium and increased likelihood of congenital anomalies in infants and children,” (2019). The study was conducted by a team of independent medical researchers. This photo was extracted from the Intercept, available online at: https://theintercept.com/2019/11/25/iraq-children-birth-defects-military/

The more one stirs up the US wars and operations, the worse it stinks. So, let’s move on.

I have better access to evidence regarding the indicators I mentioned with respect to the worldview of the Moghavemat, the Resistance, which is, as stated, represented by the Islamic Revolution of Iran and the nations and groups that are aligned in it. I will therefore draw on field evidence and demonstrate how we might determine the right purpose, the right method & tools, and the right proportion as well as how we evaluate and measure success in various operational domains, within the specific framework rooted in our belief system.

The Sacred Defense (Iraq-Iran war 1980-1988). Saddam of then Iraq, encouraged, fully supported, equipped to his teeth, and financed to no end by the West, the East, and the Middle, attacked the newly constituted Islamic Republic of Iran on Shahrivar 31, 1359 [September 22, 1980]. The attack was illegal, unjustified, and unprovoked. It was a coordinated attack along a 1,280 Kilometer Iran-Iraq border from the north most borderline to the south most shorelines plus the Persian Gulf and several major inner cities’ important infrastructures. The West provided him with the chemical and biological weapons for use and he did not say no.

Naturally, Iran had to defend itself. Let me add here that any religion, school of thought, charter, moral and ethical framework that does not recognize self-defense as an obligation (and not merely as a legitimate right) is not worth the paper on which it is written. Why? Because, people, when they view something as a right, they have this propensity to give up their legitimate and God-given rights easily, willingly, and rather foolishly. However, if they are taught to think of something as a duty and obligation, then they cannot easily let go of their obligation without expecting severe consequences. That expectation of severe consequence has great deterrent value—so we are taught by the Quran:

“Would you not fight a people who broke their oaths and intended to expel the Messenger, and they were the first to begin their attack on you? Do you fear them? But Allah has more right that you should fear Him, if you are true believers.” [Tawbah (Chapter 9, Verse 13]

From this verse, we understand that there are at least three types of people with whom we must fight: 1) People who willfully break their oaths, contracts, and any agreement they have made with us. 2) People who attempt to expel us from our land and dislocate us. 3) People who initiate an attack and aggress against us.

In our Sacred Defense against Saddam of Iraq, not just one but all three conditions were met. He tore up the 1975 Algiers agreement; he attacked our land and killed and displaced millions of our people; and he began to actually occupy segments of our land. In response, we had the duty to: 1) Fight him and his army and his allies. 2) Don’t fear any them. 3) Fear only God. So, the motivation, or the purpose for this war, on this end, for the people of Iran was, first and foremost, to fulfill their duties and defend their nation against the aggressors.

With respect to defense, Ayatullah Khamenei has a very interesting elucidation that I’d like to quote here. He says:

“Defense is a part of the identity of a nation that is alive. Any nation that cannot defend itself is not alive. Any nation that does not recognize the importance of defense is not alive, in a manner of speaking, it is not alive. We cannot have eyes and power of analysis to see deep and hostile plot of the Arrogance against Islam, the Revolution, and the Islamic System, yet not think about defending ourselves. God forbid the day this nation and its elected officials to neglect wretched and hostile aggression of Global Arrogance headed by the United States of America.”[2]

As far as material “how,” or material methods & means were concerned, in the Sacred Defense, we did not have the luxury of choosing from among many ways and means. We had inherited a nation that had been entirely dependent on the Global Arrogance headed by the US-West, LLC for its military equipment and training. Billions of dollars sent by Shah to purchase military crafts and the like were blocked by the same entity. After the Revolution, even nails and barbed wires had been put on the list of sanctions. Quite amusingly, it was the only war over which the communist Soviet Union and the capitalist US-West had come together and had formed a perfect and united alliance against Iran. So, the Iranians did the best they could with what they had. And they succeeded. Iran’s territorial integrity remained intact.

What stands out the most for us, what is most valuable for us, however, is that the Islamic Republic of Iran did not use just any means. Weapons of mass destruction were out of question. Chemical and biological weapons were out of question. Hitting cities, towns, and people was out of question. When the Iranian cities and towns were being bombarded and innocent civilians were being killed, some voices from within Iran were asking for exact retaliation. Top officials went to visit Imam Khomeini to ask permission to respond in kind. Imam Khomeini, however, outright refused and said,

“You must take great care not to ever get angry and, due to the fact that they are bombing your cities and killing your loved ones, become inclined to respond in kind. But this way, you are not taking revenge from him [Saddam]. You must take your revenge from Saddam and the Baath regime, and you are doing that. Be careful though that not even a bullet is shot toward their cities. These are cities that are oppressed just like our Behbahan [a city in Iran] is oppressed. Basra, too, is oppressed. So is Mandali. All of them are under oppression. We must protect the human aspect of this to the end. We must protect the human aspects until our martyrdom or death and don’t submit to this anger that since he is doing this, we, too, must hit one of their cities. No, it’s not like this. The principles are Islam’s principles. This is Islamic Republic. Here, Islam rules. So, be mindful of yourself, of those who have power, of the government that has power, of the Guard that has power, of the military that has power, of Basij that has power, those who have power must, more than others, protect the human aspects, the Islamic aspects. They must spend this power in the right place and never violate its boundaries.”[3]

We prostrate before God and thank Him for Imam Khomeini who helped protect and keep the soul of our nation unblemished. When he is talking about spending the power in the right place, he is in fact talking about the quintessential right method & means and the right proportion based on our beliefs. Thank God that this spirit manifested itself in the battlefields during the Sacred Defense.

Eight year of Iraq-Iran war also taught the Iranians to be self-sufficient in everything and taught the US-West, LLC a valuable lesson. It taught them that a war with Iran would not be a walk in the park. And the Iranians learned to become quite self-sufficient in bi**h-slapping the United States of America when the opportunities have presented themselves.

Source: Khabar Online News Agency. The arrest of US navy personnel near Farsi Island in Persian Gulf within the Iranian territorial water by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard on January 12, 2016. Photo was accessed online at: khabaronline.ir/x6fSc

Source: IRNA. Remains of the United States RQ-4A Global Hawk BAMS-D surveillance drone that had violated the Iranian air space over the Strait of Hormuz by IRGC on June 20, 2019.

Source: Image from Ayn al-Asad US airbase in Iraq after Operation Martyr Soleimani on Jan. 8, 2020 @ 1:20 am. Transcript and translation of a CBS interview by Bashgah Khabarnegaran Javan News Agency. Accessed online at: https://www.yjc.news/00WwDI

These are noteworthy events if we also note that in 2020, the military expenditure for the United States was 801 billion dollars (38% of the world total on military expenditure) and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s was 24.6 billion dollars (1.2% of World’s total)[4]. That is, the US spent 33 times more on all things military than Iran, yet, when slapped by Iran in Ayn al-Asad while the whole world was watching, the Commander in Chief of the United States of America’s most significant response was: “it didn’t hurt.” Well, that’s not exactly what we heard.

It perhaps is an opportune moment here to hear directly from Sardar Hajizadeh, the IRGC Commander who gave the order for Ayn al-Asad’s strike, about exactly how that event on January 8, 2020 proceeded. I have translated for you segments of an interview he gave on this topic last year. The full video in Persian could be accessed here.

Interviewer: We would like to re-visit that day when you heard he [Martyr Soleimani] had been martyred. What happened? Did you form a meeting? If you could, please talk about any of them that is not classified or is not a security issue.

Sardar Hajizadeh: There were discussions. At that point, we gave the highest probability for a direct fire exchange with [the United States of] America, hit some of their bases and they in turn to react to it. That high probability was expected among all groups, the political figures and the military figures. We considered all aspects. But it was impossible for us not to give a direct respond. Also, the honorable people of Iran must pay attention to this matter that [the US] America, after the World War II, after 75 years, during all these times, no nation had ever had any direct battle with them, or hit them. No one had done that. That is, no one had dared to do that.

After that operation, too, when I would meet with top military commanders from many countries, all of them would ask at the very beginning of the meeting, their first question of me would be this, ‘how did you possibly made this decision?!’

Sardar Hajizadeh: So, [US] Americans realized that Iran intends to do something and they began to issue threats.

Interviewer: The Americans?

Sardar Hajizadeh: Yes. It was the second day, the day after their terror act, Trump came and issued a direct threat. He said, ‘If Iran responds, we will hit 52 locations in Iran. So, it is under these circumstances that you are deciding to hit [US] America. And many people from many places [foreign officials & international organizations] were sending messages to us not to escalate, to cool down, or to do something later, and so on and so forth…

Interviewer: So, what happened next? They said they’ll hit 52 locations but the decision here did not change?

Sardar Hajizadeh: No, it did not. They would say quite solidly that they would absolutely hit 52 locations and we, too, made the solid decision to absolutely hit. Until the night before the operation, our decision was to hit Taji Camp. It is near Baghdad, near Kazmain. But the night before we changed our decision and decided to hit Ayn al-Asad.

Interviewer: Who had information that you were going to target Ayn al-Asad?

Sardar Hajizadeh: Very limited number of people had it. Just a few commanders of the Revolutionary Guard, for example, and the head of the Command Center, Major General Bagheri. Very limited number of people knew, we and only seven or eight other high commanders.

Interviewer: Did you inform Iraq? How long before the operation did you notify them?

Sardar Hajizadeh: See, there has been this ambiguity about this and they said something like…

Interviewer: …people say they [the US Americans] knew, they evacuated the location, they left….

Sardar Hajizadeh: Well, we will show you photographs and you will broadcast them. Almost in all US bases, they were on high alert and they did not know where exactly we were going to hit. But they were anxious. From Persian Gulf to Strait of Hormuz to Kuwait, from there to Iraq and to Jordan…everywhere they were giving high probability that we would respond. That day, after Hajj Qasem’s martyrdom, they distanced themselves about 500 kilometers from Makron shores. That is, they went outside of Hormuz Strait.

Interviewer: They were giving a high probability you hit, and they left.

Sardar Hajizadeh: Yes. So, all these talks that the Americans knew and all that, no, [the US] America did not know where we were going to hit. Decidedly they did not know.

[Videos and films were shown by Sardar Hajizadeh in the program that clearly showed the US forces had evacuated the Persian Gulf and had dispersed their planes to different locations in their various bases.]

Sardar Hajizadeh: Now you see the photographs of Al-Hodaid and A-Zahrra, when you look, before they martyred him [Martyr Soleimani], these fighter jets [pointing to photos] have their regular arrangements. The fighters are all lined up together. But after they martyred him [pointing to other photos], as they were worried about attacks from Iran, they spread them all over the taxiway, in different disparate locations. They spread it around. That means they adopted a full defensive posture. You see these navy ships here [pointing to Persian Gulf], these are from before their terror act. Now you see after the martyrdom, all of them are gathered up here. You see here is fully evacuated. This shows that they are worried they might be attacked. The same situation applies to their air bases.

Interviewer: When did we let the Iraqi’s know?

Sardar Hajizadeh: Half an hour before firing the missiles. Either through Quds Force or the Foreign Ministry, they informed the Iraqi Prime Minister that we intend to hit an airbase in Iraq.

Interviewer: Half an hour?

Sardar Hajizadeh: Half an hour. However, they did not know which base.

Interviewer: They did not even know which base?

Sardar Hajizadeh: No they didn’t. This half-an-hour notice, too, was only out of respect for the Iraqis since it was their land, they had decided to let them know half an hour before the strikes.

Interviewer: Had the number of missiles been determined, too?

Sardar Hajizadeh: We fired and hit them with 13 missiles.

[A video of the exact moment Sardar Hajizadeh is giving the go ahead for the strikes by phone is shown. I took a screenshot of the video [images below] at two separate moments. The first image is the moment Sardar Hajizadeh is giving the go ahead for the strike by phone and the second image is moments after that.]

The moment Sardear Hajizadeh is giving the order for the strikes on Ayn al-Asad: “Hit. Hit baba, Bismillah.”

Sardar Hajizadeh, having just ordered them by phone to fire the missiles, is explaining to those present in the command room: “You see we are firing one at a time [with pause] so that their people would have time to escape because we are not after mass killing. But that evil Trump committed such crime. Even at the time they were striking Haji’s vehicle with their missiles, the strikes on the two cars were done within a second from one another. He had not given them any opportunity [to get away].”

The fine point Sardar Hajizadeh is raising here is noteworthy because he is referring to a code in the rules of combat among the Iranian fighters and commanders. When striking a place where there are a lot of low-ranking soldiers, you fire in a way they would have an opportunity to run if you are able to provide them that opportunity, like Ayn al-Asad strikes. However, Trump had ordered striking Sardar Soleimani and Abu Mohandis Al-Mahdi and their companions while they were not even in a battlefield, or in a military base, or on high alert.

The interview continues…

Interviewer: Was Ayn al-Asad Operation complete success?

Sardar Hajizadeh: Yes. All missiles hit precisely where they were directed to hit. Precisely where they were meant to hit.

[Here, the interview has incorporated videos reports from Persian-language stations like BBC and the like about the strikes.]

Interviewer: One thing they say is this, ‘there was nothing at Ayn al-Asad when we hit it. What was the use of hitting Ayn al-Asad? The damage to [the US] Americans was not that significant.’ Could you expand on this a bit more?

Sardar Hajizadeh: You see, they could have killed Sardar Soleimani without admitting they did this. Why did they claim responsibility? Why? Because they wanted to say, ‘We have power. We hit and you cannot do anything.’ That was the whole story. And we RESPONDED, we HIT to say, ‘It is not like you can hit and run. If you hit, you will definitely be hit.’

[The interview is moved to a different location.]

Sardar Hajizadeh: You see, all of these have been destroyed. Here is the control center for UAVs. It’s destroyed.

Interviewer: Did they have any people who were killed?

Sardar Hajizadeh: Yes, they had people who were killed. The Iraqi people who were there they reported to us about the dead bodies they [the US Americans] were putting into bags. And they managed to kick out all of them [the Iraqis] within the first hours. Even when they were pulling out the dead bodies from underneath the rubbles. First they kicked out the Iraqis, then, they pulled the dead bodies out.

Interviewer: Themselves?

Sardar Hajizadeh: Yes, themselves.

[Toward the end of the interview, the interviewer asks, “Was this the retaliation/revenge?”]

Sardar Hajizadeh: This was the beginning of the revenge. I believe it was an important beginning and it demolished [the US] American’s grandiosity. But it is not yet finished.

Interviewer: Once we hit them, what happened next? What else were we ready for?

Sardar Hajizadeh: We were ready, in the event they responded, to start hitting the US bases. The beginning was Ayn al-Asad but the continuation was to be all bases in the region. That is, we had to hit all of them. We had prepared 400 missiles for the initial moments. We had prepared ourselves to escalate and continue the fight. But, well, the [US] Americans did not decide on continuing.

Interviewer: Did they even try to destroy any of our incoming missiles?

Sardar Hajizadeh: No. You see, these people have some capabilities. But we, too, know how to fight. We have learned a thing or two in these few years. We hit both their shield and themselves. All the bases they have in the region, you can do simultaneous strikes with 500 missiles, you can completely decommission them and hit them rather hard in a manner that would be hard for them to rehabilitate.

Sardar Hajizadeh: One day, I had a meeting with high commander of the Russian aerospace division, who had come to Iran. I showed him the videos of the Persian Gulf and was explaining to him how with drones we fly right overhead the US navy ships. He asked, “Don’t they hit? Don’t they see you? Aren’t you afraid?” I said [smiling], “General, test them!” He flew [the drone] over the US navy ship. I told him not to worry. You see, others are learning these moves. The head of Russian aerospace asked, “how come they don’t hit you?” I answered, “if they hit, we’ll hit back.”

Sardar Hajizadeh: At any rate, hitting Ayn al-Asad was not some small task. Some claim we coordinated things with them. If we were the sort to coordinate [chuckle] things with them, then, we wouldn’t have been having all these battles!

This article will continue, Inshallah.

References:

[1] Imam Khomeini, Sahifeh-ye Noor, Vol. 19, Page 23, 1378.

[2] Ayatullah Khamenei. “Speech during a visit at IRGC Central Command: Jang Salari,” on Aban 29, 1368 [Nov. 20, 1989]. Accessed online at https://farsi.khamenei.ir/newspart-print?id=11062&nt=2&year=1368

[3] Imam Khomeini, Sahifeh-ye Imam. Center for Collection and Publication of Imam Khomeini’s Work; 2nd Edition, Vol. 18, Pages 211-212. Tehran, 1379.

[4] Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). “Trends in World Military Expenditure – 2021.” SIPRI Fact Sheet, April 2022. Accessed online at: https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/2022-04/fs_2204_milex_2021_0.pdf

The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People – Book Review

September 22, 2022 

The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People, by  Walter Russell Mead. (Photo: Book Cover)

By Jim Miles

(The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People.  Walter Russell Mead.  Alfred A Knopf, New York, 2022.)

In today’s world, a clear understanding of the relationship between the US and Israel is important – this is not the work to clear it up. Walter Mead’s hypothesis is that Israel does not control US governance, but that many other forces have shaped the relationship. With that, he is correct and in an overly long convoluted manner he is able to make that sort of clear. “The Arc of the Covenant,” for the arguments presented could have been well worked in half of its almost six hundred pages.

Instead, the book is a mix of theology, sociology, geopolitics, domestic politics, history, and biographical analysis of – mostly – various presidents of the US It really succeeds with none of them. It contains far too much theorizing and conjecture, discusses at length beliefs and morals, and has far too many unanswered rhetorical questions (okay, rhetorical questions really seek no answer, but there are far too many of them). The reader will not come away with a good understanding of Israel as the vast majority of the discussion is centered on US political maneuvering.

To his credit Mead is quite critical of many US failures around the world but mostly in the Middle East. Unfortunately that comes from a perspective, unstated but implied, that the US is the indispensable nation and acts with good intentions because of its moral strength and liberal beliefs. He does use “exceptionalism” frequently, implied or directly, giving support to the thought that Mead, without stating it directly, is a firm believer in the US being the world’s global policeman, “by the courageous use of necessary force.”

Omissions

There are far too many problems with the arguments presented in this work to counter them here, but it is what is missing that makes the arguments so weak.

While he discusses “national interests” and the ability of the US to use force to maintain peace (a lot of an oxymoron) he never discusses the US as an empire. Certainly the evil Russians and Chinese, and before World War I the Germans, Russian, and Ottomans were all the cause of that war as contending empires. British, French, Dutch, and other European empires are mentioned in passing, but he does not accept, or will not articulate, that the US is the largest empire the world has seen – militarily and economically, the two going hand in glove.

The massive 750 military bases around the world, mostly surrounding Russia and China, and that ability to use the global reserve currency, the petro-dollar (never mentioned in the book although oil is continually mentioned as a strategic value) and its associated institutions (WTO, BIS, World Bank, SWIFT et al) to impose destructive sanctions on countries that do not abide by its wishes is the modern form of imperialism.

He reiterates several times the US role in decolonization without recognition that it was the US that denied Vietnam its fair and democratic elections, denied Korea the right to vote for its post war government, created the CIA with its initial successes overthrowing governments in Iran and Guatemala in 1953. He admits US errors in Iraq, Libya, and – well not quite Syria, it was the “brutal” Russians that destroyed Syria, even while US forces remain in large parts of the country to this day. There is no mention of Operation Gladio, the occupation of Japan and Germany that continues today, nor the seemingly endless list of interventions to overthrow unfriendly regimes either through economic or military power.

Israel

When it comes to discussing Israel there are equally large omissions. A reasonable essay on Herzl’s machinations is given, but after that, he generally uses only passing mention of Israel’s settlements and the wall as the main components of Palestinian strife. He accepts that some people think of Israel as a “colonial-settler” enterprise but dismisses that thought as being on the radical left and of little importance.

He dismisses the idea that Israel is a racist (actually he never mentions that with Israel) and an apartheid state. The book is recent enough that the author is surely aware of the major institutional labels of Israel as apartheid, including Israel’s own B’etselem.

Nor does he get into the details of the ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Palestinian people as an ongoing process. The many discriminatory laws and policies, house destructions, the imprisonment, and the torture as an everyday occurrence of Palestinian life are never considered.

At the same time, Mead does not create a coherent history of Israel. In his concluding remarks Mead states, “….for both Israelis and Palestinians, two peoples whose fates have become intertwined in ways that neither side wanted or foresaw.” This is absolutely not true, as Jabotinsky, Herzl, Weismann, Ben Gurion and others – including most of the British political establishment – knew that depositing Jewish immigrants on land owned by Palestinians was a source of major problems as obviously the Palestinians recognized it as well.

He continues with “their private quarrel must be fought out in the glare of global publicity.” That at least is good news, as the balance of power, out of sight of global publicity, hugely puts Israel in a dominating position.

Finally he concludes “I have tried to shine a useful light on the relationship between the ways Americans think about the world and the approaches they develop to act in it.” Mission not accomplished as per the errors and omissions mentioned above among many others.

Current Events

“The Arc of a Covenant” was published shortly before the Russian invasion in Ukraine to prevent the ongoing shelling of the Donbas people by Ukrainian forces. Since then, it is clearly demonstrated that the “prime directive” (p. 13) of the US empire is the destruction of the Russian state and the containment of the power of China.

We are entering a new era where “the ways American think about the world and the approaches they develop to act in it” are clearly global dominance through financial and military means. All the purported values and morals are worthless when the true history of US imperial adventures are understood.

– Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews to Palestine Chronicles.  His interest in this topic stems originally from an environmental perspective, which encompasses the militarization and economic subjugation of the global community and its commodification by corporate governance and by the American government.

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‘Samarkand Spirit’ to be driven by ‘responsible powers’ Russia and China

The SCO summit of Asian power players delineated a road map for strengthening the multipolar world

September 16 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

Amidst serious tremors in the world of geopolitics, it is so fitting that this year’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) heads of state summit should have taken place in Samarkand – the ultimate Silk Road crossroads for 2,500 years.

When in 329 BC Alexander the Great reached the then Sogdian city of Marakanda, part of the Achaemenid empire, he was stunned: “Everything I have heard about Samarkand it’s true, except it is even more beautiful than I had imagined.”

Fast forward to an Op-Ed by Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev published ahead of the SCO summit, where he stresses how Samarkand now “can become a platform that is able to unite and reconcile states with various foreign policy priorities.”

After all, historically, the world from the point of view of the Silk Road landmark has always been “perceived as one and indivisible, not divided. This is the essence of a unique phenomenon – the ‘Samarkand spirit’.”

And here Mirziyoyev ties the “Samarkand Spirit” to the original SCO “Shanghai Spirit” established in early 2001, a few months before the events of September 11, when the world was forced into strife and endless war, almost overnight.

All these years, the culture of the SCO has been evolving in a distinctive Chinese way. Initially, the Shanghai Five were focused on fighting terrorism – months before the US war of terror (italics mine) metastasized from Afghanistan to Iraq and beyond.

Over the years, the initial “three no’s” – no alliance, no confrontation, no targeting any third party – ended up equipping a fast, hybrid vehicle whose ‘four wheels’ are ‘politics, security, economy, and humanities,’ complete with a Global Development Initiative, all of which contrast sharply with the priorities of a hegemonic, confrontational west.

Arguably the biggest takeaway of this week’s Samarkand summit is that Chinese President Xi Jinping presented China and Russia, together, as “responsible global powers” bent on securing the emergence of multipolarity, and refusing the arbitrary “order” imposed by the United States and its unipolar worldview.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pronounced Xi’s bilateral conversation with President Vladimir Putin as “excellent.” Xi Jinping, previous to their meeting, and addressing Putin directly, had already stressed the common Russia-China objectives:

“In the face of the colossal changes of our time on a global scale, unprecedented in history, we are ready with our Russian colleagues to set an example of a responsible world power and play a leading role in order to put such a rapidly changing world on the trajectory of sustainable and positive development.”

Later, in the preamble to the heads of state meeting, Xi went straight to the point: it is important to “prevent attempts by external forces to organize ‘color revolutions’ in the SCO countries.” Well, Europe wouldn’t be able to tell, because it has been color-revolutionized non-stop since 1945.

Putin, for his part, sent a message that will be ringing all across the Global South: “Fundamental transformations have been outlined in world politics and economics, and they are irreversible.” (italics mine)

Iran: it’s showtime

Iran was the guest star of the Samarkand show, officially embraced as the 9th member of the SCO. President Ebrahim Raisi, significantly, stressed before meeting Putin that “Iran does not recognize sanctions against Russia.” Their strategic partnership will be enhanced. On the business front, a hefty delegation comprising leaders of 80 large Russian companies will be visiting Tehran next week.

The increasing Russia-China-Iran interpolation – the three top drivers of Eurasia integration – scares the hell out of the usual suspects, who may be starting to grasp how the SCO represents, in the long run, a serious challenge to their geoeconomic game. So, as every grain of sand in every Heartland desert is already aware, the geopolitical pressure against the trio will increase exponentially.

And then there was the mega-crucial Samarkand trilateral: Russia-China-Mongolia. There were no official leaks, but this trio arguably discussed the Power of Siberia-2 gas pipeline – the interconnector to be built across Mongolia; and Mongolia’s enhanced role in a crucial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) connectivity corridor, now that China is not using the Trans-Siberian route for exports to Europe because of sanctions.

Putin briefed Xi on all aspects of Russia’s Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine, and arguably answered some really tough questions, many of them circulating wildly on the Chinese web for months now.

Which brings us to Putin’s presser at the end of the summit – with virtually all questions predictably revolving around the military theater in Ukraine.

The key takeaway from the Russian president: “There are no changes on the SMO plan. The main tasks are being implemented.” On peace prospects, it is Ukraine that “is not ready to talk to Russia.” And overall, “it is regrettable that the west had the idea to use Ukraine to try to collapse Russia.”

On the fertilizer soap opera, Putin remarked, “food supply, energy supply, they (the west) created these problems, and now are trying to resolve them at the expense of someone else” – meaning the poorest nations. “European countries are former colonial powers and they still have this paradigm of colonial philosophy. The time has come to change their behavior, to become more civilized.”

On his meeting with Xi Jinping: “It was just a regular meeting, it’s been quite some time we haven’t had a meeting face to face.” They talked about how to “expand trade turnover” and circumvent the “trade wars caused by our so-called partners,” with “expansion of settlements in national currencies not progressing as fast as we want.”

Strenghtening multipolarity

Putin’s bilateral with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi could not have been more cordial – on a “very special friendship” register – with Modi calling for serious solutions to the food and fuel crises, actually addressing the west. Meanwhile, the State Bank of India will be opening special rupee accounts to handle Russia-related trade.

This is Xi’s first foreign trip since the Covid pandemic. He could do it because he’s totally confident of being awarded a third term during the Communist Party Congress next month in Beijing. Xi now controls and/or has allies placed in at least 90 percent of the Politburo.

The other serious reason was to recharge the appeal of BRI in close connection to the SCO. China’s ambitious BRI project was officially launched by Xi in Astana (now Nur-Sultan) nine years ago. It will remain the overarching Chinese foreign policy concept for decades ahead.

BRI’s emphasis on trade and connectivity ties in with the SCO’s evolving multilateral cooperation mechanisms, congregating nations focusing on economic development independent from the hazy, hegemonic “rules-based order.” Even India under Modi is having second thoughts about relying on western blocs, where New Delhi is at best a neo-colonized “partner.”

So Xi and Putin, in Samarkand, for all practical purposes delineated a road map for strengthening multipolarity – as stressed by the final  Samarkand declaration  signed by all SCO members.

The Kazakh puzzle 

There will be bumps on the road aplenty. It’s no accident that Xi started his trip in Kazakhstan – China’s mega-strategic western rear, sharing a very long border with Xinjiang. The tri-border at the dry port of Khorgos – for lorries, buses and trains, separately – is quite something, an absolutely key BRI node.

The administration of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Nur-Sultan (soon to be re-named Astana again) is quite tricky, swinging between eastern and western political orientations, and infiltrated by Americans as much as during the era of predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s first post-USSR president.

Earlier this month, for instance, Nur-Sultan, in partnership with Ankara and British Petroleum (BP) – which virtually rules Azerbaijan – agreed to increase the volume of oil on the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline to up to 4 million tons a month by the end of this year. Chevron and ExxonMobil, very active in Kazakhstan, are part of the deal.

The avowed agenda of the usual suspects is to “ultimately disconnect the economies of Central Asian countries from the Russian economy.” As Kazakhstan is a member not only of the Russian-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), but also the BRI, it is fair to assume that Xi – as well as Putin – discussed some pretty serious issues with Tokayev, told him to grasp which way the wind is blowing, and advised him to keep the internal political situation under control (see the aborted coup in January, when Tokayev was de facto saved by the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization [CSTO]).

There’s no question Central Asia, historically known as a “box of gems” at the center of the Heartland, striding the Ancient Silk Roads and blessed with immense natural wealth – fossil fuels, rare earth metals, fertile agrarian lands – will be used by the usual suspects as a Pandora’s box, releasing all manner of toxic tricks against legitimate Eurasian integration.

That’s in sharp contrast with West Asia, where Iran in the SCO will turbo-charge its key role of crossroads connectivity between Eurasia and Africa, in connection with the BRI and the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).

So it’s no wonder that the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait, all in West Asia, do recognize which way the wind is blowing. The three Persian Gulf states received official SCO ‘partner status’ in Samarkand, alongside the Maldives and Myanmar.

A cohesion of goals

Samarkand also gave an extra impulse to integration along the Russian-conceptualized Greater Eurasia Partnership  – which includes the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) – and that, just two weeks after the game-changing Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) held in Vladivostok, on Russia’s strategic Pacific coast.

Moscow’s priority at the EAEU is to implement a union-state with Belarus (which looks bound to become a new SCO member before 2024), side-by-side with closer integration with the BRI. Serbia, Singapore and Iran have trade agreements with the EAEU too.

The Greater Eurasian Partnership was proposed by Putin in 2015 – and it’s getting sharper as the EAEU commission, led by Sergey Glazyev, actively designs a new financial system, based on gold and natural resources and counter-acting the Bretton Woods system. Once the new framework is ready to be tested, the key disseminator is likely to be the SCO.

So here we see in play the full cohesion of goals – and the interaction mechanisms – deployed by the Greater Eurasia Partnership, BRI, EAEU, SCO, BRICS+ and the INSTC. It’s a titanic struggle to unite all these organizations and take into account the geoeconomic priorities of each member and associate partner, but that’s exactly what’s happening, at breakneck speed.

In this connectivity feast, practical imperatives range from fighting local bottlenecks to setting up complex multi-party corridors – from the Caucasus to Central Asia, from Iran to India, everything discussed in multiple roundtables.

Successes are already notable: from Russia and Iran introducing direct settlements in rubles and rials, to Russia and China increasing their trade in rubles and yuan to 20 percent – and counting. An Eastern Commodity Exchange may be soon established in Vladivostok to facilitate trade in futures and derivatives with the Asia-Pacific.

China is the undisputed primary creditor/investor in infrastructure across Central Asia. Beijing’s priorities may be importing gas from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and oil from Kazakhstan, but connectivity is not far behind.

The $5 billion construction of the 600 km-long Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan (Pakafuz) railway will deliver cargo from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean in only three days instead of 30. And that railway will be linked to Kazakhstan and the already in progress 4,380 km-long Chinese-built railway from Lanzhou to Tashkent, a BRI project.

Nur-Sultan is also interested in a Turkmenistan-Iran-Türkiye railway, which would connect its port of Aktau on the Caspian Sea with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea.

Türkiye, meanwhile, still a SCO observer and constantly hedging its bets, slowly but surely is trying to strategically advance its own Pax Turcica, from technological development to defense cooperation, all that under a sort of politico-economic-security package. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did discuss it in Samarkand with Putin, as the latter later announced that 25 percent of Russian gas bought by Ankara will be paid in rubles.    

Welcome to Great Game 2.0

Russia, even more than China, knows that the usual suspects are going for broke. In 2022 alone, there was a failed coup in Kazakhstan in January; troubles in Badakhshan, in Tajikistan, in May; troubles in Karakalpakstan in Uzbekistan in June; the non-stop border clashes between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (both presidents, in Samarkand, at least agreed on a ceasefire and to remove troops from their borders).

And then there is recently-liberated Afghanistan – with no less than 11 provinces crisscrossed by ISIS-Khorasan and its Tajik and Uzbek associates. Thousands of would-be Heartland jihadis have made the trip to Idlib in Syria and then back to Afghanistan – ‘encouraged’ by the usual suspects, who will use every trick under the sun to harass and ‘isolate’ Russia from Central Asia.

So Russia and China should be ready to be involved in a sort of immensely complex, rolling Great Game 2.0 on steroids, with the US/NATO fighting united Eurasia and Turkiye in the middle.

On a brighter note, Samarkand proved that at least consensus exists among all the players at different institutional organizations that: technological sovereignty will determine sovereignty; and that regionalization – in this case Eurasian – is bound to replace US-ruled globalization.

These players also understand that the Mackinder and Spykman era is coming to a close – when Eurasia was ‘contained’ in a semi-disassembled shape so western maritime powers could exercise total domination, contrary to the national interests of Global South actors.

It’s now a completely different ball game. As much as the Greater Eurasia Partnership is fully supported by China, both favor the interconnection of BRI and EAEU projects, while the SCO shapes a common environment.

Yes, this is an Eurasian civilizational project for the 21st century and beyond. Under the aegis of the ‘Spirit of Samarkand.’

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

AN INTERVIEW WITH JOHN PILGER: “ASSANGE IS THE COURAGEOUS EMBODIMENT OF A STRUGGLE AGAINST THE MOST OPPRESSIVE FORCES IN OUR WORLD”

JULY 27TH, 2022

Source

Oscar Grenfell

In an interview with the World Socialist Web Site, renowned Australian investigative journalist John Pilger has warned that the “US is close to getting its hands on” the courageous WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.

Last month, British Home Secretary Priti Patel approved Assange’s extradition to the US, where he faces 175 years imprisonment under the Espionage Act for publishing true information exposing American war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. As Pilger explains, Patel’s order will be the subject of a further appeal, but the British judiciary that will adjudicate has facilitated Assange’s persecution every step of the way. This underscores the urgency of a political fight to free Assange, based on the powerful struggles of the working class that are emerging all around the world.

Pilger began his media career in the late 1950s. His first documentary, The Quiet Mutiny, exposed aspects of the US war in Vietnam in 1970. Since then, Pilger has produced more than 50 documentaries, many of them feature-length and centering on revealing the crimes of the major imperialist powers.

In a 2012 Rolling Stone interview, Assange was asked: “Who has been your most critical public supporter?” He replied: “John Pilger, the Australian journalist, has been the most impressive.”

Pilger has been unwavering in his defence of the WikiLeaks publisher. In 2018 and 2019, he addressed Socialist Equality Party rallies, demanding that the Australian government use its diplomatic and legal powers to free Assange.

Because of his principled defence of Assange and opposition to war, Pilger is hardly ever referenced in Australia’s official media, despite being one of the country’s most well-known and respected journalists.

WSWS: After Patel’s announcement allowing extradition, where is the Assange case up to? Are the dangers he confronts of a greater urgency than previously?

John Pilger: It is a dangerous, unpredictable time. Since the Home Secretary signed the extradition order, a provisional appeal has been filed by Julian’s lawyers. ‘Provisional’ is part of the tortuous process of appeal. The lawyers must submit what are known as ‘perfected grounds of appeal’ in the next few weeks, then the US and the Home Secretary file their responses. Only after that does it go to a judge (not sitting in a court) to decide whether or not he will accept it. It may sound meticulous but, having observed it, it looks to me like a finely spun blanket of obfuscation over a profoundly biased system.

Until the High Court hearing last year, I believed the country’s senior judges would reject the US appeal and reclaim something of the mythologised notion of British justice if only for the system’s survival, which partly depends on “face” within the arcane reaches of the British establishment. This show of “independence” in support of justice has happened in the past. In Julian’s case, the facts are surely too outrageous—no properly constituted court would even consider it—yet I was wrong. The decision by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales last October that the US in effect had the right to fabricate and belatedly introduce “assurances” that had not even been part of previous due process was quite shocking. There was no justice, no process; the guile and ruthlessness of US power was on show. Might is right.

Today, the US knows it is close to getting its hands on Julian. Unlike previous parliaments at Westminster, there is not a single voice speaking up for him. In spite of a tenacious campaign emphasising the threat Julian’s extradition poses to a “free press,” he is barely acknowledged in the media, which remains intensely hostile to him. Journalists have never been as compliant as they are today, and Julian’s case is a reminder—to some—of what they ought to be. He shames them.

WSWS: You have consistently defended Julian for more than ten years. Over that period have you been shocked by the intensity with which he has been pursued?

JP: Perhaps not shocked; as a journalist, I have had my own taste of state ruthlessness. Remember the pursuit of Julian is a measure of his achievements. He informed millions about the deceptions of governments too many trusted; he respected their right to know. It was a remarkable public service.

WSWS: Do you think this is bound up with a broader assault on democratic rights?

JP: Yes, it’s the latest stage of the abandonment of what used to be called “social democracy.” The “rollback” of rights in the US and UK is in reaction to the uprising, in the 1960s an 1970s, of people and their conscientiousness and of ideas of equity. This was an historical “moment” when society was becoming more enlightened; minority and gender rights were gaining acceptance; workers were fighting back. At the same time, the so-called “information age” was launched. It was only partly about information; it was a media age, with the media establishing a ubiquitous, controlling place in people’s lives. One of the most influential books of the time was The Greening of America. On the cover were the words: “There is a revolution coming. It will not be like revolutions of the past. It will originate with the individual.” The message of its author, a young Yale academic, Charles Reich, was that truth-telling and political action had failed and only “culture” and introspection could change the world.

Within a few years, driven by new opportunities of profit, the cult of “me-ism” had subverted people’s sense of acting together, their sense and language of social justice and internationalism. Class, gender and race were separated; class as a way of explaining society became heresy. The personal was the political, and the media was the message. The propaganda was that something called globalism was good for you. Corporatism, its specious language and its authoritarianism, appropriated much about the way we lived, ensuring what the economist Ted Wheelwright called a “Two Thirds Society”—with the bottom third beholden to debt and poverty while an unrecognised class war uprooted and destroyed the power of labour.  In 2008, the election of the first black president in the land of slavery and the fabrication of a new cold war completed the political disorientation of those who, 20 years earlier, would have formed a critical opposition and an anti-war movement.

WSWS: Is there a relationship with the escalation of war, including the US-led confrontations with China and Russia?

JP: Events today are the direct result of plans laid in the 1992 Defence Planning Guidance, a document that laid out how the US would maintain its empire and see off any challenges, real and imagined. The aim was US dominance at any cost, literally. Written by Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney, who would play key roles in the administration of George W. Bush and the invasion of Iraq, it might have been written by Lord Curzon in the 19th century. They formed “The Project for a New American Century.” America, it boasted, “would oversee a new frontier.” The role of other states would be as vassals or supplicants, or they would be crushed. It planned the conquest of Europe, and Russia, with all the zeal and thoroughness of Hitler’s imperialists. The roots of NATO’s current war on Russia and provocations of China are here.

WSWS: What do you think of the role being played by the Albanese Labor government? Can you comment on the Declassified Australia report, with internal briefings for Attorney-General Dreyfus, which indicated that the only focus of the Labor government is a hypothetical prison transfer, after Assange has been extradited to the US and convicted of Espionage Act charges there?

JP: The Albanese Labor government is as right-wing and compliant as any Australian Labor government—only the Whitlam government in 1972–75 broke the mould, and it was got rid of. It was the Labor government of Julia Gillard that initiated Australia’s collusion with the US to silence Assange. The “prison transfer” idea may be seen as a weasel way of satisfying support for Julian in his homeland. Whatever happens, the US will decide and the Albanese government will do as it’s told.

WSWS: We are raising the need for workers and young people to come to Assange’s defence, as the spearhead of the fight against war and authoritarianism. Why do you think ordinary people should take up the struggle to free Assange?

JP: Julian Assange is the courageous embodiment of a struggle against the darkest, most oppressive forces in our world; and people of principle, young and old, should oppose it as best they can; or one day it may touch their lives, and worse.

CHOMSKY ON ISRAELI APARTHEID, CELEBRITY ACTIVISTS, BDS AND THE ONE-STATE SOLUTION

Chomsky believes that calling Israeli policies towards Palestinians “apartheid” is actually a “gift to Israel”, at least, if by apartheid one refers to the South-African style apartheid.

JULY 5TH, 2022

RAMZY BAROUD

This is, according to the Italian socialist Antonio Gramsci, the ‘interregnum’- the rare and seismic moment in history when great transitions occur, when empires collapse and others rise, and when new conflicts and struggles ensue.

The Gramscian ‘interregnum, however, is not a smooth transition, for these profound changes often embody a ‘crisis,’ which “consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born”.

“In this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear,” the anti-fascist intellectual wrote in his famous “Prison Notebooks”.

Even before the Russia-Ukraine war and the subsequent deepening of the Russia-NATO crisis, the world was clearly experiencing an interregnum of sorts – the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, the global recession, the rising inequality, the destabilization of the Middle East, the ‘Arab Spring’, the refugee crisis, the new ‘scramble for Africa’, the US attempt at weakening China, the US’ own political instability, the war on democracy and decline of the American empire ..

Recent events, however, have finally given these earth-shattering changes greater clarity, with Russia making its move against NATO expansion, and with China and other rising economies – BRICS nations – refusing to toe the American line.

To reflect on all of these changes, and more, we spoke with the world’s ‘most cited’ and respected intellectual, MIT Professor Noam Chomsky.

The main objective of our interview was to examine the challenges and opportunities facing the Palestinian struggle during this ongoing ‘interregnum’. Chomsky shared with us his views about the war in Ukraine and its actual root causes.

The interview, however, largely focused on Palestine, Chomsky’s views of the language, the tactics and solutions affiliated with the Palestinian struggle and the Palestinian discourse. Below are some of Chomsky’s thoughts on these issues, taken from a longer conversation that can be viewed here.

CHOMSKY ON ISRAELI APARTHEID

Chomsky believes that calling Israeli policies towards Palestinians “apartheid” is actually a “gift to Israel”, at least, if by apartheid one refers to the South-African style apartheid.

“I have held for a long time that the Occupied Territories are much worse than South Africa. South Africa needed its black population, it relied on them,” Chomsky said, adding: “The black population was 85% of the population. It was the workforce; the country couldn’t function without that population and, as a result, they tried to make their situation more or less tolerable to the international community. (…) They were hoping for international recognition, which they didn’t get.”

So, if the Bantustans were, in Chomsky’s opinion, “more or less livable,” the same “is not true for the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Israel just wants to get rid of the people, doesn’t want them. And its policies for the last 50 years, with not much variation, have been just somehow making life unlivable, so you will go somewhere else.”

These repressive policies apply in the entirety of the Palestinian territory: “In Gaza, (they) just destroy them,” Chomsky said. “There’s over two million people now living in hideous conditions, barely survivable. International law organizations say that they are not likely to even be able to survive in a couple of years. (…) In the Occupied Territories, in the West Bank, atrocities (take place) every day.”

Chomsky also thinks that Israel, unlike South Africa, is not seeking the international community’s approval. “The brazenness of Israeli actions is pretty striking. They do what they want, knowing the United States will support them. Well, this is much worse than what happened in South Africa; it’s not an effort to somehow accommodate the Palestinian population as a suppressed workforce, it’s just to get rid of them.”

CHOMSKY ON THE NEW PALESTINIAN UNITY

The events of May 2021 and the popular unity among Palestinians are “a very positive change”, in Chomsky’s opinion. “For one thing, what has severely impeded the Palestinian struggle is the conflict between Hamas and the PLO. If it’s not resolved, it’s a great gift to Israel.”

Palestinians also managed to overcome the territorial fragmentation, according to Chomsky: “Also, the split between the legal boundaries” separating Israel from “the expanded area of greater Palestine” was always a hindrance to Palestinian unity. That is now being overcome, as the Palestinian struggle “is turning into the same struggle. Palestinians are all in it together.”

“B’tselem and Human Rights Watch’s description of the whole region as a region of apartheid – though I don’t entirely agree with it for the reasons I mentioned, because I think it’s not harsh enough – nevertheless, it is a step towards recognizing that there is something crucially in common between all this area.”

“So, I think this is a positive step. It is wise and promising for Palestinians to recognize ‘we’re all in it together’, and that includes the diaspora communities. Yes, it’s a common struggle,” Chomsky concluded.

CHOMSKY ON ONE STATE, TWO STATES

Though support for a one state has grown exponentially in recent years, to the extent that a recent public opinion poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center (JMCC), concluded that a majority of Palestinians in the West Bank now supports the one-state solution, Chomsky warns against discussions that don’t prioritize the more urgent conversation of Tel Aviv’s colonial quest for a “greater Israel.”

“We should not be deluded into thinking that events are developing towards a one-state outcome or towards a confederation, as it’s now being discussed by some of the Israeli left. It’s not moving in that direction, that’s not even an option for now. Israel will never accept it as long as it has the option of greater Israel. And, furthermore, there is no support for it in the international community, none. Not even the African states.”

“The two-states, well, we can talk about it but you have to recognize that we have to struggle against the ongoing live option of a greater Israel.” Indeed, according to Chomsky, “much of the discussion of this topic seems to me misplaced.”

“It is mostly a debate between two states and one state that eliminates the most important option, the live option, the one that’s being pursued, namely greater Israel. Establishing a greater Israel, where Israel takes over whatever it wants in the West Bank, crushes Gaza, and annexes – illegally – the Syrian Golan Heights .., just takes what it wants, avoids the Palestinian population concentrations, so, it doesn’t incorporate them. They don’t want the Palestinians because of what is called the democratic Jewish state, the pretense of a democratic Jewish state in which the state is the sovereign state of the Jewish people. So, my state, but not the state of some Palestinian villager.”

Chomsky continues, “To maintain that pretense, you have to keep a large Jewish majority, then you can somehow pretend it’s not repressive. But so the policy is a greater Israel, in which you won’t have any demographic problem. The main concentrations of Palestinians are excluded in other areas, they are basically being expelled.”

CHOMSKY ON BDS, INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY

We also asked Chomsky about the growing solidarity with Palestinians on the international stage, on social media, and the support for the Palestinian struggle among many public personalities and celebrities.

“I don’t think mainstream celebrities mean that much. What matters is what is happening among the general population in the United States. In Israel, unfortunately, the population is moving to the right. It is one of the few countries I know, maybe the only one, where younger people are more reactionary than older ones.”

“The United States is going in the opposite direction,” Chomsky continued, as “young people are more critical of Israel, more and more supportive of Palestinian rights.”

Regarding the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), Chomsky acknowledged the significant role played by the global grassroots movement, though he noted that BDS “has a mixed record”. The movement should become “more flexible (and) more thoughtful about the effects of actions”, Chomsky noted.

“The groundwork is there,” Chomsky concluded. “It is necessary to think carefully about how to carry it forward.”

Feature photo | Graphic by MintPress News

Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Romana Rubeo is an Italian writer and the managing editor of The Palestine Chronicle. Her articles appeared in many online newspapers and academic journals. She holds a Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Literature and specializes in audio-visual and journalism translation.

Stories published in our Daily Digests section are chosen based on the interest of our readers. They are republished from a number of sources, and are not produced by MintPress News. The views expressed in these articles are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

The High Cost of American Friendship

June 19, 2022

Source

By Eamon Mckinney

Democracy is easily defined by most, but to America it means any country that subverts its own national interests to those of the U.S.

Henry Kissinger once famously said, “To be an enemy to America can be dangerous, but to be a friend can be lethal.” The aged but far from venerable Kissinger’s words have never been truer than they are today. America has a habit of redefining words to suit its own purposes. What the word “friend” means to America is interpreted differently by other nations. Of course friend is not the only word that means something different to America than it does to everyone else. Democracy is easily defined by most, but to America it means any country that subverts its own national interests to those of the U.S. The recent Summit of the Americas held in Los Angeles hosted a number of notable Latin America statesmen. There were however many notable absentees, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, the latter two are undeniably democracies but by virtue of their independent government policies they were not welcome at the American-hosted summit. According to America’s twisted version of democracy, only right-wing, neo-liberal, America-friendly countries can qualify as legitimate democratic governments, and by extension “friends.”

The days when America can dictate and bully Latin American nations are over. Though not as intended by the hosts, there was much unity and friendship in evidence at the Summit. The head of Mexico’s socialist Government Manuel Lopez Obrador refused to attend in protest at the exclusion of the three absent nations, a lower-level official was sent in his stead. The heads of state of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador also declined the invitation citing the same reason. This principled and courageous stance came with the understanding that they would be positioning themselves as American enemies, but they did it anyway. After two hundred years under the imperialist Monroe doctrine they will no longer tolerate being considered America’s backyard. The message from Latin America was clear, “we don’t need your version of friendship, and we will take our chances as your enemy.”

Although unstated, one of the main U.S. objectives at the Summit was to dissuade further Latin American engagement with China. The problem for America is that “south of the border” they prefer the Chinese version of friendship. That entails actually listening to the needs of their “friends”, something America is lamentably bad at. All the Latin countries are struggling with burdensome IMF debt and many are seriously close to default. They need investment in their economies and their infrastructure. China offers both without the internal interference in the nations’ domestic affairs. Respect for sovereignty and self-determination is what Latin Americans having been fighting for since the Spanish conquest more than 400 years ago. For the first time in centuries countries can see how that can now be achieved, and China is a big part of that scenario. America only offers co-operation on security, Latin America has security concerns but most of that concern is directed at America. The tone deaf empire needs to understand that Latin America has a new, much better friend.

The message the U.S. got from the Summit was a clear continent-wide rejection of American policies and its attempts to create an anti-China block. We can assume that American officials are getting used to such rejection by now. Attempts to create an anti-China alliance in Asia have also failed miserably, for many of the same reasons. No Asian country sees China as a threat, they see it as a regional leader whose economic miracle has concurrently raised the economies of its neighbours. The U.S. attempts to create security concerns where they don’t exist has gained zero traction among Southeast Asian nations. With the exception of the occupied nations of South Korea and Japan, China’s relationships with its Asian neighbours are excellent. “Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Jaakob said that “When Americans come to Asia they only want to talk about security, we have no pressing security concerns, when Asian nations get together we talk about trade, any problems can be resolved through negotiation and diplomacy”. The main security concern among Asian nations is the talk of the need for an Asian NATO. The recent U.S. attempts to place missiles aimed at China in six Asian countries unsurprisingly found no takers. If America was listening (doubtful), they would have heard that it is neither needed nor wanted in a region that just wants to do business. American friendship in Asia means making any enemy of China, and none consider that worth the price.

Another of America’s enemies, Russia has defied all attempts to destroy its economy and has rebounded to have the world’s strongest currency. The transparent motivations behind the Ukraine conflict have many nations quietly cheering Russia on in their fight against the common enemy, the Empire. The sanctions designed to destroy Russia found little support outside the usual suspects in the NATO clique. With the world facing catastrophic shortages of food, energy and capital it is increasingly Russia and China that countries are turning to for help.

While America’s enemies continue to enjoy much goodwill, how are America’s friends doing? Not so good. By joining in the absurd Anti-China Covid rhetoric spurred by Trump, Australia, Canada and Britain have committed economic suicide by alienating a valuable trade partner, just to please America. American friends in Europe will suffer through horrific food and energy shortages together with rapidly increasing inflation, all largely a result of the Ukraine provocation. Not forgetting the instigation of an unnecessary and dangerous war in their neighbourhood, a war that no one but America (NATO) wanted. And of course the Ukraine itself, goaded into a disastrous war against a much stronger foe, now finds itself facing defeat and destruction. All attempts by the hapless Zelensky at a negotiated peace are blocked by the West. Not while there are some Ukrainians still alive apparently. Despite the encouraging words of his American masters, the disposable Zelensky finds himself very much alone. The once prosperous post-Soviet Ukraine has turned into a bankrupt, burned-out shell of its former self. Zelensky may well retreat to his $45mil in Miami when it is all over, but the unfortunate Ukrainian people will suffer the consequences of American friendship for generations to come.

If America has its way, its “friends” in Taiwan will soon suffer the same fate as the Ukraine. Despite all attempts to provoke China into an action that would draw International outrage, and presumably sanctions, China has demonstrated considerable restraint. It understands the game being played and absent a foolish Declaration of Independence from Taiwan, it is unlikely to be drawn in. South Korea and Japan have been occupied nations since 1944. The American presence is overwhelmingly objected to by the citizens, yet they owe fealty to America. In the event of a China conflict, their U.S. bases would likely be the first targets in any China response. Yet both nations declined American requests to host China facing missiles in their countries.

The loss of American influence has accelerated tremendously in recent months, and it came at a bad time. America needs friends more than ever now and it is finding them increasingly hard to come by. Even long time “friends” and supplicants like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are shunning America’s call to produce more oil. Biden couldn’t even get MBS to take his phone call. Shamelessly they also turned to Venezuela to ask for oil, unsurprisingly they found no friends or solutions there either.

Returning to Henry Kissinger, by his definition, being a friend or enemy of America can be equally dangerous. “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests”

Those that consider themselves American “friends” should heed his words.

But credit where it is due, the U.S. is indeed inspiring a new spirit of friendship and co-operation among the nations of the world. Economic and security blocs of like-minded countries are expanding in Central Asia, Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. All of these blocs are anti-imperialist in nature, and by definition anti-American. More than a century of American imperialism is coming to a rapid end.

When Will Americans Face War Crimes Charges?

May 27, 2022

By Declan Heyes

Source

This article surveys previous war crimes’ trials from earlier eras to assess today’s plans to put captured Russian soldiers on trial in Kiev and Azov militia members on trial in Donbass.

This article surveys previous war crimes’ trials from earlier eras to assess today’s plans to put captured Russian soldiers on trial in Kiev and Azov militia members on trial in Donbass. Although all crimes should be appropriately punished, the examples which follow, which are in no way exhaustive, show that has rarely been the case.

The article begins with the Nuremberg trials before moving on to some of the more relevant issues those trials, and the Tokyo ones which followed, gave rise to. It uses those trials, rather than NATO’s more recent war crimes in the Arab world, as its benchmarks to more properly hone in on the key issues pertaining to NATO’s war crimes in Ukraine. While just a snap shot, the article is important as it sets out the main parameters under which the main perpetrators in Washington, London, Brussels and Kiev should, with their entourage, be in the dock as a first step to being jailed for life.

Nuremberg’s Ground Rules

The Nazi leaders tried at Nuremberg faced a total of four counts: (1) crimes against peace: the planning, initiating and waging of wars of aggression in violation of international treaties and agreements; (2) crimes against humanity: conducting the crimes of extermination, deportation and genocide; (3) war crimes: the violation of the rules of war; (4) and, finally, “a common plan of conspiracy to commit” the criminal acts listed in the first three counts. These four counts now form the basis of any legal discussion of genocide and its related crimes.

These four counts are also more than sufficient to indict NATO’s leaders. Previous articles cited NATO’s think tanks plotting violating counts one and four. As my previous articles repeatedly call attention to NATO’s wars of extermination, I have little more to say here on why the USA should be indicted under count two or, indeed, on count three. There is, in short, overwhelming grounds to charge NATO’s political, media, military and industrial elite along the very same lines adumbrated above, under which those who faced justice at Nuremberg were charged.

That is because the Nuremberg proceedings clarified and reaffirmed the emerging principles of international law: aggressive war, such as those which NATO waged in Iraq, Serbia, Syria, Vietnam, Libya and Yemen, constitute crimes, for which NATO’s instigators, heads of state included, are accountable; and accomplices and accessories who joined organizations, such as the SS, the SAS, the Parachute Regiment, the U.S. Marine Corps and the Gestapo, knowing of their criminal purposes, should be held to legal account.

Count 2 involved crimes against humanity, including the crimes of extermination, genocide, murder, enslavement, deportation or other inhuman acts done against any civilian population. Any proper investigation of NATO’s terror campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and Libya would furnish sufficient grounds to indict tens of thousands of NATO personnel and their political overseers as war criminals.

The most authoritative definition of war crimes, count three, was formulated in the London Charter of August 8, 1945, which established the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal. Under their definition, war crimes are acts of violence against civilian populations, prisoners-of-war or, in some cases, enemy soldiers in the field; they are committed primarily by military personnel; they are in violation of the laws and customs of war; they are not justified by military necessity; and they often involve weapons or military methods of unusual cruelty or devastation. The Ukrainian Armed Forces and their far right militias, which Ukraine’s political leaders deliberately fully incorporated into their armed forces, stand accused of countless numbers of such war crimes.

Orders from On High

Nuremberg not only formalized earlier conventions but internationalized the crimes as well. The defense that these crimes had been legal in Nazi Germany was rejected. Superior orders, as in the earlier Major Wirz and Llandovery Castle cases, were again rejected as a defense. Because of these precedents, German generals, German bureaucrats, German judges and German economic ministers were all found guilty. As the German High Command, the Waffen SS and the Gestapo were condemned as criminal organizations, the very same should apply to every NATO force implicated in all of its Arab Spring, Serbian and Ukrainian genocide campaigns.

Genocide

The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide specifically lists five acts, any of which intentionally perpetrated against a national, ethnic, racial or religious grouping may constitute genocide. Killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group or forcibly transferring children of the group to another group are each cited as genocidal mechanisms by that body. The UN has also decreed that conspiracy, incitement, attempt and complicity in genocide are also punishable. Perpetrators may be punished whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals. All transgressors are, in theory at least, legitimate targets for retribution.

Given that the deliberate destruction or emasculation of a society’s leaders, if perpetrated to cull a community’s leadership, also constitutes genocide — even if the majority survives, Poroshenko and Ukraine’s other leaders who led the extermination campaign against Ukraine’s Russian speakers must stand trial and spend the remainder of their lives in a penal colony, if found guilty.

Embargoed Japan

On July 21, 1941, Japan signed a preliminary agreement with the Vichy government of Marshal Henri-Philippe Petain, leading to Japan’s occupation of airfields and naval bases in Indochina. Almost immediately, the U.S., Britain, and the Netherlands instituted a total embargo on oil and scrap metal to Japan— arguably tantamount to a declaration of war. This was followed soon after by the United States and Great Britain freezing all Japanese assets in their respective countries. Radhabinod Pal, one of the judges in the post-war Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, later argued that the U.S. had clearly provoked the war with Japan, calling the embargoes a clear and potent threat to Japan’s very existence. These points are noted to posit that NATO’s prolonged and systematic use of sanctions to starve Venezuela, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Russia into submission constitute (1) crimes against peace; (2) crimes against humanity, most obviously in the death through malnutrition of 500,000 Iraqi children; (3) war crimes; (4) and, finally, “a common plan of conspiracy to commit” the criminal acts listed in the first three counts.

Unit 731

Although the Soviets wanted Unit 731, Japan’s producers of chemical and biological weapons, charged, the International Military Tribunal found no evidence that such a unit even existed. Unit 731 escapes even token mention in the vast tomes of the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal. This is all the more surprising when we consider that at least twenty of the twenty-eight major defendants on trial at Tokyo had direct knowledge of the unit’s activities. These include Generals Hideki Tojo and Sadao Araki, former Prime Ministers Kiichiro Hiranuma and Koki Hirota and Shumei Okawa, the supremacist intellectual.

All in all, five thousand Japanese were arrested after World War II; 2,400 went to prison; eight hundred and nine were executed by firing squad; and eight were hanged, including General Hideki Tojo. Just as in Germany, most of the arraigned were small fry. They included 173 Taiwanese and 148 Koreans. Only a small number of high ranking army and navy officers, no captains of the war economy and virtually none of the civilian demagogues in politics, academe and the media who helped prime Japan’s twin pumps of racial arrogance and fanatical militarism were put on trial. No secret police, no secret society members, no industrialists faced trial. The enslavement of Formosans and Koreans was not mentioned, nor was the issue of the comfort women or unit 731. At the Tokyo trial, all the defendants meticulously avoided implicating Hirohito. The judges even commented that the emperor was conspicuous by his absence from the dock. These mistakes should not be replicated when NATO’s leaders, industrialists, media enablers and apologists, past and present, stand trial for their own bio labs in Ukraine. They must all swing.

The Tiger of Malaya

General Tomoyuki Yamashita, the Tiger of Malaya, was hanged in Manila on February 23, 1946. The fate of this officer, a first-class fighting man, affirmed something new in the annals of war. For Yamashita did not die for murder, or for directing other men to do murder in his name. Yamashita lost his life not because he was a bad or evil commander, but simply because he was a commander, and the men he nominally commanded had done unspeakably evil things. He was hanged for simply being Japan’s nominal boss of bosses in the Philippines during the Rape of Manila when Imperial naval troops engaged in an orgy of slaughter and rape, of beheadings and burnings alive, of torture and wanton destruction, of the murders of the helpless — women, babies, priests and American prisoners of war included.

Although the war crimes of the Japanese in Manila deserved retribution — and Homma, its main architect, was also hanged — Yamashita deserved justice. The American officers in charge of his trial did not give him the opportunity to defend himself and Time magazine raged and ranted about Yamashita’s brutality during the Bataan Death March; Yamashita had been stationed in Manchuria at the time. The fact that both Yamashita, who captured Singapore, easily the biggest and most ignominious surrender in British military history, and Homma had both previously defeated MacArthur probably decided their fate: the Japanese invaded the Philippines a fortnight after Pearl Harbor and, short of polishing up his pompous “I shall return” speech, MacArthur made little preparations to repel them. Next time, the scales of justice must be balanced so all culpable NATO generals and not just heroic Iranian and Iraqi generals in Bagdad face the music.

Japanese Occupation

From 1945 to 1958, U.S. military personnel were involved in 9,998 reported crimes and other terror attacks on Japanese civilians. One of the most notorious of these occurred on January 1957, when Spc. 3rd Class William S. Girard, a soldier in the U.S. Army 8th Cavalry Regiment, shot and killed a Japanese woman. The “incident” occurred at a target range at Somagahara, Gunma Prefecture, which locals often entered, even during live firing exercises, to collect brass shell casings which they sold for scrap. Witnesses insisted Girard, who was on guard duty, baited Naka Sakai, by tossing empty casings toward her, calling out in broken Japanese for her to collect them, and then amusing himself by firing off empty cartridges from the grenade launcher on his M1 rifle. One of his shots killed her. Girard got a three-year sentence, suspended. But less than a month after his conviction, Girard and his Japanese wife, “Candy,” were relocated, with a hero’s welcome, to the United States. The incident expedited the closing of army facilities in Japan’s main islands and led to an increase of sexual attacks on Okinawans. Because the tendency of young American occupation troops to rape and pillage remains a major problem in Okinawa to this day, just as it has remained a problem in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and wherever those criminals congregate, the only solution is to ban American troops serving overseas. Japan, for one, and Iraq and Syria, for others, would welcome such an initiative to cage these brutes.

Italian Savages

Italy has never atoned for its war crimes in Spain, in the Balkans and in Africa where it gassed Ethiopian villagers in a flagrant breach of the Geneva Convention. Italy, which helped foment the war, has actually been brazen enough to put aged Nazis in the dock – whilst simultaneously engaging in fresh bouts of criminal adventurism in the Balkans, Libya and Iraq under the NATO umbrella. Of more than 1,200 Italians sought for war crimes in Africa and the Balkans, not even one has ever faced justice. Webs of denial spun by the Italian state, the Vatican, academe and the media have re-invented Italy as a victim, gulling the rest of us into acclaiming the Good Italian long before Captain Corelli strummed his mandolin, while running his hand up the legs of peasant Greek girls. Benito Mussolini’s invading soldiers slaughtered all before them, they starved infants in concentration camps and they engaged in genocide. They were the Americans of their day.

When General Pietro Badoglio, whose planes strafed Red Cross camps and dropped 280kg bombs of mustard gas into Ethiopian villages, died of old age in his bed, the Italians buried the bastard with full military honors; they even renamed his home town after him! General Rudolfo Graziani, aka the butcher of Libya, massacred entire communities; his crimes included an infamous assault against the sick and elderly of Addis Ababa. His men posed for photographs holding the severed heads of the victims of Mussolini’s Pax Romana. General Mario Roatta, known to his men as the black beast, killed tens of thousands of Yugoslav civilians in indiscriminate reprisal attacks and deliberately deprived them of water, food and basic medicines in the concentration camps he herded the survivors into. Successive Italian governments have steadfastly refused to reveal the location of stockpiles of mustard gas in Ethiopia and innocent African children still continue to die as a result. And Italy and all of NATO couldn’t care less about those war crimes or the thousands of other more recent ones that regularly feature on this site.

Look Over There

The United States has had to admit its own war crimes on some very rare occasions. The best-known such episode involved the pre-meditated murder of 400 unarmed women, children and old men by an American company under the command of Lieutenant William Calley during the Vietnam war. Calley’s trial established yet again that whatever immunity is accorded military acts in war extends only to conduct that conforms to the rules of war. The deliberate killing of civilians by infantrymen, as occurred at My Lai, is a war crime because it cannot be excused by the exigencies of war. Lt. William Calley, Jr. was tried and convicted by an American military court-martial of premeditated murder. The Vietcong, had they captured him, could have legitimately show-cased him as a war criminal — to wide-spread Western protests, no doubt. Calley served just over three years for ordering and taking part in these murders. Three other defendants were acquitted.

Marine Private Michael Schwartz was convicted of killing twelve Vietnamese villagers in a separate incident at Danang. When other officers testified that they had been ordered to kill their prisoners, Lieutenant James Duffy, another defendant, was cleared of summarily executing a prisoner. No compensation was paid to their victims. Like My Lai, Schwartz was tried, not by an international court, but, as in the second Iraq war, by his compatriots, by his fellow-Americans. In the light of America’s more recent transgressions against international law, this merely reinforces the widely-held notion that America’s hired guns remain above the law.

Although vested interest groups still hunt down the lowliest Nazi collaborators, the mass slaughters of Vietnamese villagers in 1967 by the elite Tiger Force unit of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division are now all but forgotten; an earlier investigation had been closed in 1975, even though it had established that members of this highly decorated unit had committed war crimes when they wantonly massacred hundreds of unarmed civilians. Given that Senator John Kerry, the Democratic candidate for the 2004 U.S. Presidency, freely admits to murdering 21 Vietnamese civilians and that Henry Kissinger, the former U.S. secretary of state, was wanted in Belgium and France for crimes against humanity, it is one rule for one set of victims and another rule for America’s victims.

Ukraine in Short

Though the Ukrainian war, like all others, is hell, that should not excuse the planners and perpetrators of the unspeakable war crimes that have been visited upon Ukraine. Although 21 year old Russian Sgt. Vadim Shyshimarin may well be, as charged and so very rapidly convicted by the corrupt Kiev regime, a war criminal, I imagine his was a cock eyed show trial. That is, for starters, because the CIA’s Radio Free Europe forced Shyshimarin to emotionally face off with the widow of a Ukrainian he allegedly killed, because it would be more impossible for Shyshimarin to get appropriate legal aid in Ukraine than it was for George Dimitrov to get legal counsel in Nazi Germany, because of the sheer speed of the trial and because (Z)elensky is an even bigger show boater than Goebbels ever was.

Regarding the proposed trials of those evacuated to Russian POW camps from Mariupol, even their own skin, in the form of head to toe Nazi tattoos, seem to condemn them both as criminals and as the idiots they are obviously are. They, however, are not the real criminals, who are to be found pulling the strings in Davos, Washington, Brussels and London.

There is, in the criminal world, an old saying that, if you do the crime, you should do the time. Because NATO’s top war criminals are serial abusers, the only way we will ever have a lasting peace is if the Clinton, Bush, Cheney, Epstein, MacCain, Maxwell, Obama and related organized crime families are, along with all their enablers, jailed and the keys metaphorically thrown away.

Though that is unlikely to happen today or the day after, what must happen is a systematic process of gathering and collating evidence against them and those who follow them for when the tide turns and the arc of the moral universe eventually bends towards justice for us and jail time for them.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with India Today television channel, Moscow, April 19, 2022

April 20, 2022

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1810023/

Question: The big question that most are asking is the reason for this operation, the reason for President Putin to take the country to war at a time when we have seen negotiations and talks taking place. What was the reason? We know that America said that Russia was going to carry out operations. New Delhi certainly was not aware of it. Many countries said that it is not something that is going to happen, but it did happen.

Sergey Lavrov: The real reason is the complacency of most countries of the world after the end of World War II, when our Western colleagues, led by the United States, declared themselves winners and in violation of the promises to the Soviet and Russian leadership started moving NATO eastward. They kept saying: “Don’t worry, this is a defensive alliance, it is not a threat to Russian security.” It was a defensive alliance when there were NATO and the Warsaw Treaty, and there was the Berlin Wall, as you remember, both physical and geopolitical. It was very clear what was the “line of defence” for this “defensive alliance.”

When the opponent disappeared, both the Warsaw Treaty disappeared and the Soviet Union disappeared, they decided that they will move the “line of defence eastward.” They did this five times without explaining against whom they are going to defend themselves, but in the process building up their advanced assault capacities and choosing the former Soviet republics, especially Ukraine, as the springboard against the Russian interests.

As early as 2003, for example, when they had a presidential election in Ukraine, the West was publicly and blatantly demanding Ukrainians: you must choose, are you with Russia or with Europe? Then, of course, they started pulling Ukraine into the European Union Association Agreement. The agreement provided for zero tariffs for Ukrainian goods in Europe, and European goods in Ukraine. We had a free trade area agreement with Ukraine in the context of the Commonwealth of Independent States. So, we told our Ukrainian neighbours: guys, we have zero tariffs with you, but we have protection with the European Union, because we negotiated WTO entry for 18 years. For some time, we did manage to protect some sectors of the Russian economy – agriculture, insurance, banking, and some others – with considerable tariffs. We told them: if you have zero [tariffs] with Europe and zero [tariffs] with us, we are not protected against European goods, which was part of the deal when we entered the WTO.

Then in 2013, when the Ukrainian President understood the problem, he asked the European Union to postpone the signature of the Association Agreement. We suggested that the three of us – Russia, Ukraine, and the EU – could sit together and discuss how to proceed. The European Union in a very arrogant way said that this is none of your business, we do not put our nose in your trade with China or other countries, so this is going to happen. Then the President of Ukraine decided to postpone this ceremony. The next morning, the demonstrators were on Maidan in Kiev.

In February 2014, the European Union helped negotiate a deal between the President and the opposition. Next morning, the signatures of the European Union representatives – France, Germany and Poland – were absolutely ignored by the opposition, who staged a coup and declared that they are creating a “government of the winners,” that they will cancel the special status of the Russian language. They threatened to throw ethnic Russians out of Crimea, they sent armed groups to storm the Crimean parliament. That is how the war started. The Crimeans said: “We don’t want to have anything [to do] with you, leave us alone.” As a I said, there was a threat from armed groups. The eastern areas of Ukraine said: “Guys, we do not support your coup, leave us alone.” They never attacked the rest of Ukraine. The putschists attacked them, having called them terrorists. They called them terrorists for eight long years.

We managed to stop this bloodshed in February 2015 – the so-called Minsk Agreements were signed, providing Eastern Ukraine with some special status, language, the right to have some local police, special economic relations with the adjacent Russian regions. It was basically the same as [the agreement] the European Union negotiated for the north of Kosovo where Serbs live. In both cases, the European Union failed totally to deliver on what was guaranteed by the signatures of its members. For eight long years, the respective governments of Ukraine and Presidents of Ukraine were saying, blatantly and publicly, that they were not going to implement the Minsk agreements, that they will move to Plan B. They continued to shell the territories of these [self-] proclaimed republics during all these years. We warned the Europeans, the Americans, and Ukraine that they are ignoring something which was endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. To no avail.

People do not want to go back into this history because they prefer to take events on their immediate merit, but these particular events are rooted in the desire of the United States and what we call the collective West, to rule, to dominate the world and just show everybody that there would be no multipolarity. It would be only unipolarity.

And that they can declare Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yugoslavia, located tens of thousands of miles from the United States, threats to their security, and can do whatever they please there, levelling cities, like they did with Mosul in Iraq, and Raqqa in Syria. Russia has been warning all its colleagues that just on our borders you have been creating a springboard against us: you have been pumping arms into Ukraine, you have been totally ignoring the legislation of Ukraine, which prohibited, completely prohibited the Russian language, you have been encouraging neo-Nazi ideologies and practices. The neo-Nazi battalions were very much active against the territories which proclaimed themselves independent and who were promised special status. It’s inside Ukraine.

It was all linked with Ukraine becoming NATO’s springboard, and NATO expansion. They were saying that Ukraine will be in NATO. Nobody can stop Ukraine if it so wishes. Then President Zelensky said that he might think about coming back to possess nuclear weapons. In November last year, my President suggested to the United States and to NATO to sit down, to cool off, and to discuss how we can agree on security guarantees without NATO’s further eastward expansion. They refused. In the process, the Ukrainian army radically intensified the shelling of those republics in violation of all the ceasefire agreements. We didn’t have any other choice but to recognise them, to sign mutual assistance treaties with them, and, in response to their request, to send our troops as part of special operation to protect their lives.

Question: You provided the basics: the history, as well as the present context. But you also said, President Putin himself said, that this is not targeting civilians or the citizens, people of Ukraine. It is to do with the administration. We know that in international foreign policy parlance it is used quite often: not in my backyard. America says it all the time, and many other countries say it. But should an entire people, and entire population be punished for an administration wanting to carry out independent foreign policy?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t think it’s about any independence. Since 2013, and maybe even earlier, hundreds and hundreds of US, UK, and other Western security and military experts have been openly sitting in the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence and the Ukrainian security apparatus. They basically were running the place.

As for the civilians, immediately when this special operation started in response to the request from Donetsk and Lugansk in full compliance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, when it was announced by President Putin, he said that the sole purpose of this operation is to demilitarise and denazify Ukrainians – these two problems of the country are intimately linked. We have been targeting only military infrastructure. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian army and the so-called nationalist battalions, which are using Nazi insignia, swastikas, which was borrowed from Indian history, but twisted the wrong way, and insignia of Waffen-SS battalions, these people were using and continue to use civilians as human shields. They were placing heavy weapons in the middle of towns and cities, next to schools, next to kindergartens, to hospitals. The internet is full of the testimonies of the people who were living in these places, and who were asking these people not to do this.

Unfortunately, nobody in the West actually pays attention to the facts, which we have been providing. Instead, they are staging some fake situations, like a couple of weeks ago with the place called Bucha. The Russian troops left on March 30, I think, and for three days the city was back in the hands of the Ukrainian administration. The mayor of Bucha Anatoly Fedoruk was publicly saying that the city is back to normal life. Only on the fourth day, they started showing images of dozens of corpses lying in the street, which was only a few days before shown as being back to normal. Then a few days later in the city of Kramatorsk, which was fully in the Ukrainian hands, they summoned people to the railway station, and attacked them with a Tochka-U missile. It was proven beyond any doubt that the missile was fired by the Ukrainian army. That’s why the next morning it was out of the news in the West because everybody understood the obvious nature of this provocation. Now, The New York Times says that they have the proof that cluster bombs were used by the Ukrainian army.

Speaking of civilians and the rules of international humanitarian law, I can once again assure you that our army operates against the military infrastructure and not against civilians.

Question: Mr Lavrov, you said that Russian forces have only targeted military facilities. Even if there were military facilities or tanks that have been placed in civilian areas, Russian forces did not show restraint in taking them down. Hence, there are civilians who have been killed. There has been bloodshed, whether it is the outskirts of Kiev, primarily Mariupol, Volnovakha – absolutely raised to the ground. Some responsibility has to be taken by the Russians also on the bloodshed?

Sergey Lavrov: It is always terrible when military activities bring damage to the civilians and to the civilian sector, to civilian infrastructure. As I said, when people have been killing ethnic Russians, citizens of Ukraine, in the east for eight years, no TV representatives, be it Asian, be it African, be it Latin American, be it European, be it the United States, paid any attention to this. The Russian journalists have been working on the contact line, on the side of the republics, round the clock, showing the atrocities committed by the Ukrainian neo-Nazis and Ukrainian armed forces. And during all those years not a single foreign journalist cared to come to the other part of this line of contact to see what was going on there.

The statistics available from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe indicate that the damage afflicted on the civilians and the civilian infrastructure on the side of the republics, the [self-] proclaimed republics, was five times more and bigger than the same figure for the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government.

This is not to say that we can just ignore the victims and the damage to the civilian infrastructure, but once again I want to emphasise a very important thing. This outcry started only when the Russians decided to protect Russians who are citizens of Ukraine and who were absolutely discriminated. There was no outcry when the city of Raqqa, for example, in Syria was levelled with dozens and hundreds of corpses lying there unattended for weeks and weeks. The American military never had any scruples about achieving their military goals, be it in Syria, be it in Iraq, be it in Afghanistan, for that matter.

This is a tragedy, when people die. But we cannot tolerate the situation when our Western colleagues say that they can do anything they want. They can encourage the government in Kiev to be as Russophobic as it takes. They would not tell them to stop prohibiting the Russian language in education, in media, stop banning all Russian speaking channels, including Ukrainian channels, they would not tell them not to prosecute the opposition, who favours dialogue with Russia, and to stop violating the commitments to give special status to the territories where the Russian speaking population dominates.

Question: You made a very important point because India Today has travelled to Donetsk and we have been putting out these reports. It is very important because it is important to understand the plight of Russian descent and Russian speaking people in Ukraine. There is no taking away from that. We will talk about Donbass. But coming to the allegations against Russia of genocide, of war crimes, and on the fact that chemical weapons have been used by Russian forces, what do you have to say to the visuals? You said that there were no bodies. There were bodies in the basements that have been found much later that would have been found anyway much later. Will there be no investigation that will be carried out? Why just say that it did not happen?

Sergey Lavrov: We are investigating the atrocities of the neo-Nazi battalions of Ukraine and of Ukrainian armed forces. There is a special commission created by the Russian chamber – there is a public organisation which is very experienced. They have been discovering the fakes staged by the so-called White Helmets in Syria, in many other cases. We will not cease our efforts to establish the truth.

We are used to the fact that the United States, the United Kingdom, and other Western countries have a very interesting habit: they just throw in news when they believe this news will work ideologically for their benefit, and then, when it comes to the facts, and when more facts are discovered, putting a big question mark on their assertions, they just lose interest.

2007, London. Poisoning of Mr Litvinenko. Huge outcry. The investigation begins, and after a few weeks a public inquiry is announced, which in the UK  means that it is secret. Until now, we cannot get the facts about what had happened to Mr Litvinenko.

2014, Malaysian Airlines Boeing. Shot down over Ukraine. We presented a huge amount of facts. We requested that we be part of the investigation – no way. Ukrainians who did not close their skies during the conflict were invited to this investigation group, Russia was not. Malaysia, as the owner of the plane, was invited only five months later after the Australians, the Dutch. They and the Malaysians agreed among themselves that anything coming out of this room must be subject to consensus, meaning that Ukraine, which did not close the skies, had a veto power on this investigation. We could not get the truth on this one as well.

2019, Salisbury poisoning. The people disappeared. The only proof which was made public is “highly likely,” as Theresa May said. The Brits insisted on the expulsion of Russian diplomats by most of the European countries. When I asked my friends, did they provide proof beyond the public statements about “highly likely” it was Russia, they said “no, but they promised to.” I checked one year later, whether this was done, it was not done. And so on, and so forth.

2020. Our opposition blogger Mr Navalny was poisoned. We asked the Germans. We immediately responded to the German request to let him go to the Berlin hospital. Twenty-four hours after the request he was flown to Berlin. We don’t have any confirmation who was flying with him, where did they get the bottle which is the key element in this investigation. When we asked the Germans to show us the formula which they discovered in his blood, they said this is a military secret.

It is us who until now insist on the truth about Litvinenko, about the Skripals, about Malaysian Boeing, and about Navalny. The stories that they stage in Ukraine these days are of the same nature.

Question: Going back to the investigations, you are saying that that Azov battalion is absolutely shameful, yes, they should be investigated. They are neo-Nazis, and they should not have been incorporated or integrated into any military regime in any country. But if you introspect and look at your own people as well, is there any instance of denying and rejecting claims? Will there be investigations against your own people if they have done wrong? Will they be held accountable?

Sergey Lavrov: We have a law that prohibits the military to do anything which is not allowed under international humanitarian law. Any violations are registered and investigated.

On Azov, it is interesting that you mentioned it. Azov was listed in the United States in 2014 or 2015 as a group that cannot be supported, that cannot legitimately operate, and it was prohibited by Congress to provide any assistance to this battalion. Everybody forgot about this or rather they certainly remember what this group is about, and they decided to put their money on this group.

In Japan, as you know, they passed a special decree by the government that Azov is no longer a neo-Nazi group, and the Japanese government apologises for listing Azov as such. And of course when President Zelensky in his camouflage was asked about Azov by some journalists, who felt that something was wrong with these neo-Nazi trends, Zelensky said quietly: Azov, they are what they are, we have many groups like this. They are part of our army.

You, I mean the media, started asking questions about Azov only when the military operation was launched. For eight long years, nobody lifted a finger, nobody bothered about what was being groomed in Ukraine, as a continuation, or rather a resurrection, of what was boiling in Europe in 1930s.

Question: President Zelensky said that Russia plans to use tactical nuclear weapons.

Sergey Lavrov: He says many things. Depends on what he drinks and what he smokes. He says many things.

Question: Do you think it was a strategic miscalculation by President Zelensky to take on Russia when there was no certain assurance from NATO and the European Union that they would actually back Ukraine?

Sergey Lavrov: President Zelensky came to power with the promise of peace. He said that he will reach peace on the basis of the Minsk Agreements. A few months later, he said he cannot implement the Minsk Agreements because the Minsk Agreements are “unimplementable.”

Question: It was the Russian forces, the DPR.

Sergey Lavrov: No, he never said that it was because of the military situation on the ground. He said that it is unthinkable for Ukraine to give special status to any part of his territory. But it was very “thinkable,” if I may say so, when Ukraine was created, to put together the territories which now (those in the west) never celebrate Victory Day, May 9, and the eastern territories, which would never celebrate the heroes honoured in the west: those who collaborated with Hitler. With this difficult composition of territories, to say that Ukraine can only be a unitary state, and that it would not give special status to these people even if the Security Council demands so, I believe that this was not very far-sighted.

Had he cooperated as he promised to his electorate when he was elected, had he cooperated in implementing the Minsk Agreements, the crisis would have been over long ago.

Question: Did the West betray Zelensky?

Sergey Lavrov: No, I think the West played Zelensky against Russia and did everything to strengthen the desire to ignore the Minsk Agreements.

The “West” is a broad notion. It’s the United States and the Brits. The rest of the West, including the European Union, is just an obedient servant.

Question: Tactical nuclear weapons. Will Russia ever use them?

Sergey Lavrov: Ask Mr Zelensky. We never mentioned this. He mentioned this. So, his intelligence must have provided him some news. I cannot comment something which a not very adequate person pronounces.

Question: As a P5 member, as a nuclear power, will nuclear be an option at all, on the table at all?

Sergey Lavrov: When the Soviet Union and the United States in 1987, Gorbachev and Reagan, decided that they have special responsibility for peace on this planet, they signed the solemn declaration that there could be no winners in a nuclear war, and therefore a nuclear war must never be launched.

After the Trump administration came to office, we have been telling them, because tensions were aggravated: “Why don’t we try to send a positive political message to the entire universe and to reiterate what Gorbachev and Reagan pronounced?” During all the four years of the administration, they refused to do so.

But we were really encouraged when President Biden was inaugurated. Five days after his inauguration, we repeated this offer, he first agreed to extend the [New] START treaty without any preconditions. In June 2021, when they met with President Putin in Geneva, they issued this declaration. This declaration was issued on our initiative. After the Americans and the Russians said that there must be no nuclear war, that they won’t think about it, we started to promote the same commitment in the context of the P5. Not the United States, not UK, not France – Russia. Eventually, earlier this year, in January this year, the P5, at the level of presidents and heads of government, issued the statement which we initiated and which we were pushing through for all these years.

Question: So nuclear is off the table?

Sergey Lavrov: This statement, both the Russian-American statement, and the P5 summit statement, were issued on the strong insistence of the Russian Federation.

Question: Coming back to the Donbass region, DPR, LPR. The independence of these republics is non-negotiable for Russia when you talk to Ukraine. What happens if the negotiations succeed between Ukraine and Russia and should there be a settlement, will Russia withdraw from other areas: Sumy, Kharkov, Zaporozhye, Kherson, Nikolayev?

Sergey Lavrov: I thought you are a journalist, but you can be a spy. I am not discussing the military operation, for obvious reasons it is never the case.

On the territorial situation, we recognise DPR and LPR within the administrative boundaries of the former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Minsk agreements were signed when these two territories were split roughly half and half. Now the militias of these republics are fighting to get their territory back.

When they had a referendum in 2014, it was held on the entire territories of the former regions. But then the coup leaders started the war, which they called an anti-terrorist operation, and they took a considerable chunk of both regions. So, yes, we recognise LPR and DPR within their declared territories as a result of the referendum.

Question: Which in fact includes Mariupol and Volnovakha, as part of Donetsk.

Sergey Lavrov: Yes.

Question: My question is, if there is a settlement between the two sides, and they recognise, which President Zelensky said he would not, he said that they are going to fight for Donbass to the very end, so where are the red lines?

Sergey Lavrov: I cannot intelligently discuss what President Zelensky says because he always changes his mind diametrically.

He was the initiator of the negotiations, which we accepted. At some point we were disappointed because they were changing their mind every time, coming late, leaving early, but then in Istanbul, about one month ago, it was on March 29, they brought a paper, saying that we are not going to be a member of any military alliance, that they will be neutral. In return, they asked for security guarantees, preferably P5, maybe some others, and it was written and initialled by the head of the heads of delegations. The security guarantees they were asking for would not cover Crimea and the territories in the east of Ukraine.

It was not our language, it was their language. Now President Zelensky says “no way.” They started backtracking even earlier. But this is a paper with the signature of the head of the Ukrainian delegation. So, before we can intelligently discuss what he says one day or another, we need to have clarity about the credibility of this person and about his team.

Question: Was there any understanding in Istanbul on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kiev, as well?

Sergey Lavrov: We changed the configuration of our presence. This was announced immediately after Istanbul that since we believed that they brought something which could serve as a basis [of an agreement], we made a goodwill gesture, and we changed the configuration in the Kiev and Chernigov areas.

This was not appreciated at all. Instead, this Bucha thing was immediately staged and played, like Skripals were played in Salisbury, like the Malaysian Boeing, like Navalny, played, but immediately put aside when the hard facts were presented which they cannot challenge.

Question: There are mayors who have been appointed now by Russia in Berdyansk and Melitopol, and they are saying that they will hold a referendum, that they are not going to go back. Is that the plan?

Sergey Lavrov: That’s the outmost democracy, right? A referendum – people saying what they want.

Question: Which means that you are securing your land boundary in Sumy and Kharkov, but also the waters, if you look at Zaporozhye, Nikolayev.

Sergey Lavrov: People have been suffering in all these places for eight long years, when neo-Nazis were prohibiting them to speak their own language, prohibiting them to commemorate the heroes of World War II, of the Great Patriotic War, prohibiting to have parades and to have any events to commemorate the fallen, the parents, the grandparents of these people.

Now when they have thrown away these neo-Nazis, and say that now we will decide who will be running the place – this is our mayor, this is our legislature, I believe that this is a manifestation of democracy after so many years of oppression.

Question: It seems that Ukraine has lost more land than it would have gained by negotiating on Donbass.

Sergey Lavrov: It’s the decision of those who have been running Ukraine, of those who have been sabotaging the Minsk agreements, in spite of the UN Security Council decision. We are not up for regime change in Ukraine. We have said this repeatedly. We want the Ukrainians themselves to decide how they want to live further in a way, which would not repeat the Minsk agreements, when they did decide that they did not want to do anything with the coup leaders, who immediately said that they are against anything Russian: culture, language, everything what these people cherish. Then they were promised something by the European Union and cheated.

We want the people to be free. To decide how they want to live in Ukraine.

Question: Russia is one of the most sanctioned countries in the world. How long can you sustain?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t think we are thinking in the context of sustaining. Sustaining means, you know, you sustain, you take some hardships, and hope that, sooner or later, this would be over.

Russia has been under sanctions all along – Jackson–Vanik, then it was repealed, but Magnitsky Act was introduced, then we were punished for the free vote of the Crimeans, we were punished for supporting those who were in favour of keeping the Minsk agreements, but the Ukrainian government did not want them to get what they promised, and so on and so forth.

So, now we have come to a very straightforward conclusion. We cannot rely on our Western colleagues in any part of our life, which has strategic significance, be it food security, which we managed to ensure ourselves after 2014, be it, of course, defence, and be it some strategic sectors where high-tech is developing and indicating the future of the mankind. We did not have time to achieve self-sufficiency in all these areas, but in most cases, we resolved this issue. Of course, we are open to cooperation with all other countries who do not use illegal, illegitimate unilateral measures in violation of the UN Charter.

India is among those. We cooperate bilaterally. I visited a couple of months ago, and we cooperate in many international organisations.

Question: Speaking of India, India is under immense pressure to sever ties, to cut down imports of energy, of fuel, but India has stood its ground. In terms of reliability, is there a concern that India should have with regards to the kind of defence cooperation both countries have? Could there be delays in deliveries of critical weapons systems that India is buying from Russia, such as the S-400s? What is the conversation you have been having with New Delhi on this ground?

Sergey Lavrov: India is our very old friend. We called our relationship a long time ago a strategic partnership. Then, about 20 years ago, the Indian friends said: why don’t we call it a “privileged strategic partnership?” Sometime later, they said that this was not enough. Let’s call it “especially privileged strategic partnership.” This is a unique description of the bilateral relations between India and Russia.

With India, long before all this became such a hot potato, we supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s concept “Make in India” and we started substituting simple trade with local production, shifting production of the goods needed by India on your territory. It was for quite a number of years already that we have been promoting the use of our national currencies in settlements between the governments of the two countries.

We promoted national information systems, transmission systems, like SWIFT. You have your own, we have our won. They are being used more and more. Payment cards: we have MIR, you have RuPay. They are mutually supportive. It is not, you know, a huge percentage, of the overall volume of trade, but it is steadily growing. On defence, we can provide anything India wants. Technology transfers in the context of defence cooperation are absolutely unprecedented for any of India’s outside partners.

Question: We have got away with a waiver from the United States for the S-400s, but future collaborations, could they become difficult?

Sergey Lavrov: You know, when the Americans say that they are in favour of democracy all over the world, they mean only a very specific thing – that it is up to them to decide who is democracy, and who deserves to have some good attitude on behalf of Washington. When they convened this summit of democracies, you only need to look through the list of invitees, to understand that it is not about real democracies, it is about something else. The Americans now run all over the world, their ambassadors have priority number one to go to the foreign ministry, to the government of the country where they serve and say: “You must stop talking to Russia, you must join sanctions against Russia.”

Well, long before this crisis, I have been talking to the Americans, to the Europeans, I told them: when you say democracy, democracy, and at the conferences you always want this language on rule of law and democracy, I asked them about adding that apart from the national level, we want democracy and the rule of law internationally. They don’t like it. When they push everybody in this anti-Russian camp, when they go to India, when they go to China, to Turkey, to Egypt, countries with their own thousands years of history of civilization, of culture, and when they are not even ashamed to publicly tell you what to do, I believe something is wrong not only with manners, which always has been the case, but something is wrong with the mentality.

When Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, says publicly: “We, the United States, has not yet decided whether to introduce sanctions against India for the S-400s,” they have not decided what is good for you. His under-secretary Wendy Sherman later said: “We must help India understand what is important for its security.” How about that?

Question: I suppose your counterpart gave them a befitting reply on how to conduct one’s foreign policy?

Sergey Lavrov: Absolutely. I respect Subrahmanyam Jaishankar very much. He is a seasoned diplomat, and he is a real patriot of his country. He said that we will be taking the decisions on the basis of what India believes it needs for its development, for its security. It’s respectful. Not too many countries can say something like this.

Question: You mentioned China. For us, the China factor is very important. Russia has a unique relationship when it comes to ties with China and ties with India. You mentioned the United States of America, so again, I am going to go back to the US. Recently, in one of the visits, deputy national security advisor said that should India continue ties with Russia, there will be consequences. If, he said, there is another incident at the LAC, then the US will not come to India’s rescue. The statement is flawed, because there are two points. One is that he said “should there be another incident,” not recognising that the Chinese are still on Indian soil. Secondly, he said that they will not come to India’s rescue, but they did not come in the first place. But where does Russia stand?

Sergey Lavrov: We stand in favour of resolving any conflicts on the basis of arrangements negotiated directly between the parties, like, just like it was in Ukraine, when the two parties, the rebels, as they are called, the separatists, as they are called, for us they are self-proclaimed republics, on the one side, and the government, which came to power as a result of the coup, on the other side had a deal, negotiated and endorsed by the Security Council. It is another matter that the government, with the instigation of the West, failed to deliver, but the method is the one which we believe should be applied everywhere.

After those incidents on the border, we welcomed the resumption of the discussions between the military of India and China, the discussions between the politicians, at the level of the foreign ministers, and we hope that this would be resolved. We cannot use those threats, which are absolutely normal for the Americans, who say “or else, there would be consequences.” It is their favourite statement.

What we would like to do, as Russia, we would like to promote the formats where India, Russia, and China participate together. It started in 1996-1997, when Russia’s Foreign Minister at that time, Yevgeny Primakov, suggested the RIC format – the troika formed by Russia, India, and China. It happened, and we continue to convene in this format. I think, last November there was probably the 20th ministerial meeting. Not only foreign ministers, but also ministers of economy, ministers of trade, political scientists meet, which may not be very much publicised, but it is a very useful format.

We were very much in favour, even we were the leading force in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to promote this, of the full membership of India, together with Pakistan, in this organisation. This is another premise for China and India to be together in the company of their neighbours, and to build more confidence.

Question: Finally, before I let you go, sir, Europe is looking to halt gas from Russia. Come summer, policies might get harsher. But you are looking for the dedollarisation of the global energy market by dealing in roubles. How do you propose to do that, should they start halting?

Sergey Lavrov: There will be no change for the Europeans and other countries who buy our gas. The reason for this decision was very simple and obvious. When they froze the Russian assets in dollars, euro, yens, and the pound sterling for the amount of more than 300 billion euros or dollars, those were mostly the money kept in Western banks after we received payments from them, from the Western countries, for our gas deliveries.

In other words, they paid us, and they stole the money from us because those were the currencies which are linked to the Western banking system. So what we told them to do: they would not be paying directly to Gazprom’s accounts abroad, but they would be paying to a bank called Gazprombank. It is an independent entity. They would be paying the same amount which they have to pay under the existing contracts, but they will pay these amounts to a special account which they have to open with this bank. There would be a parallel account in roubles. So they pay euros, and then inside this bank these euros are transferred to the rouble account, and from this account Gazprom receives roubles.

Question: So you are not running losses at all on the money Russia is to receive from Europe? There is no money that has been stopped?

Sergey Lavrov: Exactly. As of now, they would not be able to keep the money in their banks, the money that they not even owe us, but which they paid to us already. I believe this is something which does not contradict contracts. They would still be paying in euros or dollars or whatever was the currency of the contract, but we will have insurance that this robbery would not happen again.

Question: Finally, sir, before I let you go, I have to go back to that question on eastern Ukraine. Intensification of war efforts now in eastern Ukraine – is the trigger the flagship warship Moskva that sunk. What really happened there? Is that one of the triggers now why we see more intensification against Ukraine?

Sergey Lavrov: No, this operation in the east of Ukraine is aimed, as was announced from the very beginning, to fully liberate the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. This operation will continue. Another stage of this operation is beginning. I am sure that this will be a very important moment of this entire special operation.

Question: What happened to the warship?

Sergey Lavrov: It is for the Ministry of Defence. They explained what happened and I cannot add anything to this.

Question: On that note, many thanks for joining us here on India Today. It was indeed a pleasure, sir.

Sergey Lavrov: Thank you very much.

Question: That was the Foreign Minister of Russia speaking exclusively to India Today.


Notes on information availability from the Russian Federation:

The best video is on Telegram:  https://t.me/MFARussia/12362
This is the first complete address from the Russian MFA that they posted on Telegram since the attack on the availability of Russian information started.  It is also a complete interview in English and without translators.

The Indian interviewer is smart and respectful.  Mr. Lavrov is patient and clear.

It is still a hit-and-miss exercise to get complete information from Russian professional sources.   You can see these interviews live on Ruptly but there is no playback.  The videos and transcripts are on the Russian Foreign Ministry site, but frequently there is no playback.  In copying this transcript just a while ago, the Russian MFA site went down again.

It is important to see or read these completely in order to find nuance and context. It seems to be a fashionable journalistic method to report on one or two snippets only. In that, the Russian media sources are not helping us to help them. Here is an example.  Mr. Lavrov’s takeaway quote on being asked about Zelenski, is:  “He says many things, depending on what he drinks or what he smokes.”   RT decided to shorten that, and said:  “He says many things, depending on what he drinks.”   Incorrectly reporting even direct quotes does not serve the Russian cause.

Amarynth

From Korea to Libya: On the Future of Ukraine and NATO’s Neverending Wars

April 6, 2022

Ukraine needs peace and security, not perpetual war that is designed to serve the strategic interests of certain countries or military alliances.

By Ramzy BAROUD

Much has been said and written about media bias and double standards in the West’s response to the Russia-Ukraine war, when compared with other wars and military conflicts across the world, especially in the Middle East and the Global South. Less obvious is how such hypocrisy is a reflection of a much larger phenomenon which governs the West’s relationship to war and conflict zones.

Like every NATO-led war since the inception of the alliance in 1949, these wars resulted in widespread devastation and tragic death tolls.

On March 19, Iraq commemorated the 19th anniversary of the US invasion which killed, according to modest estimates, over a million Iraqis. The consequences of that war were equally devastating as it destabilized the entire Middle East region, leading to various civil and proxy wars. The Arab world is reeling under that horrific experience to this day.

Also, on March 19, the eleventh anniversary of the NATO war on Libya was commemorated and followed, five days later, by the 23rd anniversary of the NATO war on Yugoslavia. Like every NATO-led war since the inception of the alliance in 1949, these wars resulted in widespread devastation and tragic death tolls.

None of these wars, starting with the NATO intervention in the Korean Peninsula in 1950, have stabilized any of the warring regions. Iraq is still as vulnerable to terrorism and outside military interventions and, in many ways, remains an occupied country. Libya is divided among various warring camps, and a return to civil war remains a real possibility.

Yet, enthusiasm for war remains high, as if over seventy years of failed military interventions have not taught us any meaningful lessons. Daily, news headlines tell us that the US, the UK, Canada, Germany, Spain or some other western power have decided to ship a new kind of ‘lethal weapons‘ to Ukraine. Billions of dollars have already been allocated by Western countries to contribute to the war in Ukraine.

In contrast, very little has been done to offer platforms for diplomatic, non-violent solutions. A handful of countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia have offered mediation or insisted on a diplomatic solution to the war, arguing, as China’s foreign ministry reiterated on March 18, that “all sides need to jointly support Russia and Ukraine in having dialogue and negotiation that will produce results and lead to peace.”

Though the violation of the sovereignty of any country is illegal under international law, and is a stark violation of the United Nations Charter, this does not mean that the only solution to violence is counter-violence. This cannot be truer in the case of Russia and Ukraine, as a state of civil war has existed in Eastern Ukraine for eight years, harvesting thousands of lives and depriving whole communities from any sense of peace or security. NATO’s weapons cannot possibly address the root causes of this communal struggle. On the contrary, they can only fuel it further.

If more weapons were the answer, the conflict would have been resolved years ago. According to the BBC, the US has already allocated $2.7bn to Ukraine over the last eight years, long before the current war. This massive arsenal included “anti-tank and anti-armor weapons … US-made sniper (rifles), ammunition and accessories.”

The speed with which additional military aid has poured into Ukraine following the Russian military operations on February 24 is unprecedented in modern history. This raises not only political or legal questions, but moral questions as well – the eagerness to fund war and the lack of enthusiasm to help countries rebuild.

After 21 years of US war and invasion of Afghanistan, resulting in a humanitarian and refugee crisis, Kabul is now largely left on its own. Last September, the UN refugee agency warned that “a major humanitarian crisis is looming in Afghanistan”, yet nothing has been done to address this ‘looming’ crisis, which has greatly worsened since then.

The amassing of NATO weapons in Ukraine, as was the case of Libya, will likely backfire. In Libya, NATO’s weapons fueled the country’s decade long civil war.

Afghani refugees are rarely welcomed in Europe. The same is true for refugees coming from Iraq, Syria, Libya, Mali and other conflicts that directly or indirectly involved NATO. This hypocrisy is accentuated when we consider international initiatives that aim to support war refugees, or rebuild the economies of war-torn nations.

Compare the lack of enthusiasm in supporting war-torn nations with the West’s unparalleled euphoria in providing weapons to Ukraine. Sadly, it will not be long before the millions of Ukrainian refugees who have left their country in recent weeks become a burden on Europe, thus subjected to the same kind of mainstream criticism and far-right attacks.

While it is true that the West’s attitude towards Ukraine is different from its attitude towards victims of western interventions, one has to be careful before supposing that the ‘privileged’ Ukrainains will ultimately be better off than the victims of war throughout the Middle East. As the war drags on, Ukraine will continue to suffer, either the direct impact of the war or the collective trauma that will surely follow. The amassing of NATO weapons in Ukraine, as was the case of Libya, will likely backfire. In Libya, NATO’s weapons fueled the country’s decade long civil war.

Ukraine needs peace and security, not perpetual war that is designed to serve the strategic interests of certain countries or military alliances. Though military invasions must be wholly rejected, whether in Iraq or Ukraine, turning Ukraine into another convenient zone of perpetual geopolitical struggle between NATO and Russia is not the answer.

commondreams.org

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

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InterventionismIraqNATOUkraineWar

President Putin’s Full Remarks at the Oil for Ruble announcement

April 01, 2022

Ed Note – Amarynth

The video that we could obtain, was only a snippet and that is posted here:  http://thesaker.is/putin-sets-ruble-for-gas-payment-deadline/

The full address is worth taking a look at, as Mr Putin in no uncertain terms told the west and Europe what they are doing. I caution that this is a machine translation, so, fine parsing of words may not be productive. This is the gist of what Mr Putin said.

As the Kremlin website is more down than up, this machine translation came via a poster on Moon of Alabama.  We thank you for grabbing it,  karlof1 | Mar 31 2022 16:33 utc | 94

—————–
Today I have signed an Executive Order that establishes the rules for trade in Russian natural gas with so-called unfriendly states. We offer counterparties from such countries a clear and transparent scheme. To purchase Russian natural gas, they must open ruble accounts in Russian banks. It is from these accounts that payment will be made for gas delivered starting tomorrow, from April 1 of this year.If such payments are not made, we will consider it a failure to fulfill obligations on the part of buyers – with all the ensuing consequences. No one sells anything to us for free, and we’re not going to do charity either. That is, existing contracts will be stopped.

I would like to stress once again that in a situation where the financial system of Western countries is used as a weapon, when companies from these states refuse to fulfill contracts with Russian banks, enterprises, individuals, when assets in dollars and euros are frozen, it makes no sense to use the currencies of these countries.

In fact, what’s going on, what’s already happened? We supplied European consumers with our resources, in this case gas, and they received it, paid us in euros, which they then froze themselves. In this regard, there is every reason to believe that we have supplied part of the gas supplied to Europe virtually free of charge.

This, of course, cannot continue. Moreover, in the case of further gas supplies and their payment under the traditional scheme, new financial revenues in euros or dollars can also be blocked. Such a development of the situation is quite expected, especially since some politicians in the West talk about it, speak publicly. Moreover, it is in this vein that the heads of government of the EU countries speak. The risks of the current state of affairs are, of course, unacceptable for us.

And if you look at the issue as a whole, the transfer of payments for the supply of Russian gas to Russian rubles is an important step towards strengthening our financial and economic sovereignty. We will continue to consistently and systematically move in this direction within the framework of the long-term plan, to increase the share of settlements in foreign trade in the national currency and the currencies of those countries that act as reliable partners.

By the way, you have probably heard that many traditional suppliers of energy resources to the world market are also talking about diversifying settlement currencies.

Let me repeat once again: Russia values its business reputation. We comply with and will continue to comply with our obligations under all contracts, including gas contracts, and we will continue to supply gas in the established volumes, I want to emphasise this, and at the prices specified in the existing long-term contracts.

I emphasize that these prices are several times lower than the current quotes on the spot market. What does that mean? Simply put, Russian gas is cheaper energy, heat, light in the homes of Europeans, an affordable cost of fertilizers for European farmers, and therefore, food in the end. Finally, this is the competitiveness of European enterprises, and hence the salaries of Europeans, citizens of European countries.

However, judging by the statements of some politicians, they are ready to neglect the interests of their citizens, if only to please their overseas master, the suzerain. Some kind of populism inside out: people are encouraged to eat less, dress warmer to save on heating, refuse to travel – and all this supposedly for the benefit of those people from whom these voluntary deprivations are demanded for the sake of abstract North Atlantic solidarity.

Such dubious approaches and actions in economic, energy, food policy on the part of Western countries have been observed for more than a year.

By the way, the food crisis will be followed by another inevitable, another wave of migration, including primarily to European countries.

Nevertheless, step by step, decisions are being made that push the world economy to a crisis, lead to the severance of production and logistics ties, lead to an increase in global inflation and increased inequality, to a decrease in the well-being of millions of people, and in the poorest countries – I have already said this – to the tragedy of mass starvation.

Naturally, the question arises: who is responsible for this? Who will be responsible for this?

It is clear that the United States will again try to solve its problems – namely its own problems – at someone else’s expense, including launching a new wave of emissions and budget deficits. It has already grown exorbitantly, and in the leading European economies the record is broken by inflation, and in the United States. And at the same time, they are trying to blame their mistakes in economic policy on us, they are always looking for someone to blame. It’s pretty obvious, we’re seeing it.

I would like to add that the United States will try to capitalize on the current global instability, as it did during the First and Second World Wars, during its aggressions against Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria and so on. Global markets are falling, and the value of shares of companies of the American military-industrial complex is only growing. Capital is flowing into the U.S., depriving other regions of the world of development resources.

As a result, Europeans are not only forced to fork out, but also, in fact, with their own hands to undermine the competitiveness of European companies, to remove them from the global market. For Europe, this means large-scale de-industrialization and the loss of millions of jobs, and against the background of rising prices for food, gasoline, electricity, housing and communal services, there is also a radical decline in the standard of living of citizens.

This is the price that the ruling Western elites offer to pay to people, as I have already said, for their ambitions and short-sighted actions both in politics and in the economy, including for the economic war that they are trying to unleash against Russia, or, one might say, have already unleashed.

It didn’t start now, it didn’t start in the last month. Illegitimate sanctions and restrictions have been imposed against our country constantly, for many years. Their goal is to restrain Russia’s development, undermine our sovereignty, and weaken our potential in production, in finance, in technology.

Let me repeat that all these sanctions were prepared in advance, they would have been introduced in any case, I want to emphasise this. In fact, these are sanctions for our right to freedom, for the right to be independent, for the right to be Russia. For the fact that we do not want to dance to someone else’s tune, to sacrifice our national interests and traditional values.

The collective West is not going to abandon the policy of economic pressure on Russia. Moreover, of course, he will look for new reasons for sanctions, namely pretexts. Therefore, it is not worth counting on changing these approaches, at least in the near future.

In this regard, I would like to ask the Government, the Bank of Russia and the regions to ensure that the sanctions pressure on our country, as it was in previous decades, will continue when organising systematic work to develop the economy and its individual sectors. That is the objective reality.

What do I consider important to note here and I ask you to draw the attention of all colleagues to this? Considering the situation in each specific industry, sphere, it is necessary to focus not only on overcoming the challenges of the current year, but also to build long-term development plans based on the internal capabilities of our economy, Russian science and education system. We must rely primarily on private business initiative and healthy competition, strive to maximize the load of our enterprises, create new competencies and increase Russia’s global competitiveness as a whole.

At the same time, the key indicators of the effectiveness of economic policy for us should be the preservation and creation of jobs, the reduction of poverty and inequality, improving the quality of people’s lives, the availability of goods and services. It is with these requirements in mind that we discussed the situation in the construction and housing sector last week.

Oligarchs Lie, Cheat, and Censor…Dying Humor

 MARCH 24, 2022

MIRI WOOD SYRIA

Oligarchs have been in the news lately, but in the generic mood of bias. Most function behind the scenes as financiers who pull strings that let working class folk get crushed in warehouse collapses because they weren’t allowed to seek appropriate shelter prior to a deadly tornado. Some have their names mentioned when their billions allow them to take old ladies on private space ship rides. Others get to be deified as godly philanthropists.

Oligarchs behind the scenes are the most hazardous, because, remaining anonymous, they get to engage in all kinds of seemingly low-level lying, looting, and crushing remnants of the sense of humor via censorship.

Syria News website was founded by an immigrant Syrian. It currently has two staff and unpaid writers: One is the Syrian immigrant who happens to be Muslim and the other is I, a US American who happens to be Jewish.

Syria News has just been notified that some anonymous oligarchs have stolen some fractions of pennies from us, by “disabled -” or “restricted ad serving.” Three of my reports — two recent and one over two years old — have been named as the causative factor for the Kafkaesque crimes of being “shocking,” “derogatory,” and/or “dangerous.”

According to the anonymous oligarchs’ warning, all of my writings (hundreds or thousands, I don’t know) are under complete “disabled ad serving” for “dangerous or derogatory content.”

According to a bona fide physical dictionary, dangerous means “1. Attended with danger; hazardous; perilous; unsafe. 2. Likely to, or capable of causing injury or harm.”

Shocking is an adjective meaning, “causing intense surprise, disgust, horror, etc.”

By what standard of human decency is it ok for Macron to mass enucleate Gilets Jaunes protesters, is it ok that MSM yellow journalists ignore the blinding of dozens of French citizens, while the secretive oligarchs steal pennies from a website because I verified the brutality, I condemned the savagery, and I shared photographs of some of his one-eyed victims, because so few of us stand on our hind legs to bear witness, while the snobs on the Hill and the snobs in the SC look the other way?

Contrary to the lies of the anonymous oligarchs, I have never written anything that could remotely be considered “likely to, or capable of causing injury or harm” to another.

Per the same physical dictionary, derogatory means “Harmful to the reputation or esteem of a person or thing; disparaging.”

Maybe if the media oligarchs and the diplomatic oligarchs and the corrupt politician wannabe oligarchs hadn’t tolerated Colin Powell’s scary ‘Show & Lie’ at the UN, 2003, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, & Yemen would be intact.

Instead, the cowards cowered and the liars got rich.

The three targeted reports the anonymous oligarchs have wrongfully targeted are Hollywood & Syria: The Uses of Enchantment in Crimes against Peace; NATO UN Junta Monthly anti-Syria Meeting ups Imperial Hypocrisyand False Flag Chemical Plot Gets Nusra Front Terrorists Fried.

The Hollywood report explains how the use of moulage trauma in movies has been used on Syrian children to make journalists, diplomats, and politicians suspend disbelief in order to engage in war propaganda against a sovereign country — in this case, Syria. I made clear that none of the painted children — whose photographs were shared widely in mainstream media sources, without the threat of censorship — was physically injured. The writing was challenging as it was a challenge to be objective while imagining the fear and terror endured by the kidnapped children.

I also emphatically stated that there was no evidence that photographers had any part in the kidnappings, nor was there any evidence the photographers were skilled in the art of moulage trauma applications.

The March 2022 report on the NATO UN Junta meeting contains hyperlinks to the statements of various diplomats, the ones who appear to be oblivious to the fact that children are being kidnapped and marketed on the dark web. It includes photos of a motherless child, made up in ghoulish moulage, shared in transatlantic NATO media for purpose of war propaganda — which is a breach of International Law — and of the child further traumatized in a similar photo whose credit claimed it was taken years later, in another country.

Do I not have the moral duty to let our diplomats know about this? The “shocking content” is that they don’t, and that the first credited photographer had no complaint over his subject being moved from Syria to Yemen, in the same makeup but with her dress moved downward, and with her trying to calm another mother-less boy, screaming in terror.

THE SHOCK BELONGS TO OUR OVERPAID POLITICIANS, AND OUR FINELY COIFFED DIPLOMATS WHO ALL AVERT THEIR GAZE, SOME OF WHOM MAY BE TOO BUSY COUNTING THEIR STOCK DIVIDENDS FROM THEIR WAR INVESTMENTS.

Similarly, the False Flag Chemical Plot Gets Nusra Front Terrorists Fried report did not show photographs of the inbred terrorists’ burn injuries from spilling those poisonous substances they were going to bomb civilians with, onto themselves (am I supposed to apologize for the use of the word, “fried”? Am I supposed to hire a psychoanalyst to wipe out all shreds of unconscious humor? I once got a very bad burn from a crazed chef, which involved — really — a frying pan. Maybe I’ll stand myself in the corner, for using the self-defense humor mechanism, because the absurdity of that story is much more enjoyable than remembering the excruciating pain of the burn). Instead, I included two videos shared by the stethoscope-less, CPR-less, can’t use an Ambu bag White Helmets, using their own videos which show them engaged in kidnappings of Syrian children.

That report also includes a photograph never censored, a photograph of the White Helmets holding a near-term baby that was skillfully, surgically cut from its living mother’s womb.

HOW DARE OUR TAXES FUND THESE CRIMINAL PSYCHOPATHS? HOW DARE OUR PAID JOURNALISTS, OUR CORRUPT POLITICIANS, AND OUR MOSTLY LYING DIPLOMATS AVERT THEIR GAZE FROM THESE HORRORS, AND THEN LIE ABOUT THEM?

Hidden oligarchs cheat us out of pennies, claiming report on Hollywood techniques is “dangerous & derogatory.”
Hidden oligarchs claim this report contains “shocking content” though featured image of kidnapped kids in moulage trau
Oligarchs claim of ‘shocking content’ included videos not censored in social media, showing actual kidnappings of Syrian children.

There are few journalists — salaried or not — with the skills I bring to my reporting: Not only have I been involved in direct trauma care involving countless patients, but I have also been taking photographs since getting my first camera — a hand-me-down 1946 Brownie at the age of six.

I know the anatomy and physiology of bleeds, including arterial ones. I know that violent psychopaths who rip a kidnapped child’s deltoid and scapular muscles until he’s unconscious from pain, and his arm is only still attached because of his skin, is caused by the degenerate violence perpetrated against the little boy, and I recognize it is not crushing injury (ffs, even The Guardian couldn’t hide the obvious, and was forced to change its featured image of the child, whose attackers should be locked up permanently in a psychiatric facility for violent criminals).

I have attempted to put reality in the faces of our phony diplomats and corrupt politicians. In every instance, I have utilized Tort Law & Journalistic Ethics. I am mindful in my writing, to adhere to the highest of ethical standards, and I have never breached irresponsibility in doing the work of UN diplomats, work they get paid for, for free.

If Syria News readers would like to give a figurative (“metaphorical and not literal”) punch to the invisible, apocryphal oligarchs, you can do so by sending us a donation:


Syria News is a collaborative effort by two authors only, we end up most of the months paying from our pockets to maintain the site’s presence online, if you like our work and want us to remain online you can help by chipping in a couple of Euros/ Dollars or any other currency so we can meet our site’s costs on time; you can also donate with Cryptocurrencies through our donate page.

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‘After Syria, Ukraine is part two of World War III’: Senior Analyst

March 17, 2022

In a recent episode of his YouTube political talk program ’60 minutes’, senior Lebanese political analyst Nasser Qandil argued that ‘the Ukraine war is part two of World War III’, after ‘part one in Syria had ended in a clear victory for Russia’.

Source: Nasser Qandil (YouTube)

Description:
Date: March 7, 2022

( Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing a small monthly amount here )

Transcript:

Nasser Qandil:

I wish to talk about a number of points regarding the Ukraine war, because we – as always –aim at deepening and consolidating the understanding, awareness, and perception of all those watching us, and helping them to receive the means (that raise their) awareness and not (imposing) our own outcome, meaning they can use the tools, premises, and introductions (we present) to reach different conclusions – and this is an achievement that’s way more important than (merely) dictating to them the outcome (of analyses) and saying (that’s the whole thing) and ‘full stop’ (i.e. you don’t need to think any further). Therefore, our mission in this program is to increase the knowledge (of viewers), and not only to use (the knowledge) we have or that which people have (in our discussions).

The first conclusion I wish to consolidate with you, my dear viewers, is that this war is the largest war after World War II. I personally tried to check through history before adopting this conclusion, (looking into) the Korean war, the Vietnam war, the Invasion of Iraq, the Invasion of Afghanistan, the wars of Israel in our region (the Middle East) since 1967 including the October War we fought (against Israel) as Arabs, and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon; this whole outcome makes me confidently say, bearing responsibility for my words, that this is the world’s largest war after World War II, and I’ll explain why.

The first point is that the initiator of this war is Russia, while all the other wars had (another) common (factor). We haven’t witnessed a war – except for a limited number like the October War for example, like initiatives (by forces) opposing the American (hegemony) project and its extensions and alliances, the majority – 99% of the wars witnessed after World War II were wars of domination and control carried out by the US. Therefore, we are before a war, the first characteristic of which is the transfer of the military initiative in decision-making. This shift moved from a side that was the only one taking the initiative, and which has, for seventy years, taken the lead at the global level, which is the US, (that recently) withdrew from Afghanistan and (began) avoiding to take part in wars and (began) gathering its shreds and shrapnel from places it got involved in with the aim of incurring the least amount of (further) losses, and in an attempt to strike settlement (agreements), (while) on the other hand we have the rise of a side that has started – since more than 10 years within a limited (pace) – speaking about the South Ossetian war in 2008, the Crimean Peninsula war in 2014, the huge position (Russia took) in Syria in 2015, and (the part it took) in Kazakhstan in 2021. However, now (this war) is President Putin’s largest war – Russia’s largest war after this calm ascent (of Russia), and the parallel decline of American power.

Here, we can’t look at the war from the (aspect of) geography alone. Before going into the geographical (aspect), it’s a fundamental and essential issue yes. But (first) we’re talking about a descending arc of a state, which is the US arc (of power), and an ascending Russian arc – an arc that represents this rise of Asia as a whole, and can be seen in Eastern countries in different manifestations, even if there weren’t a precise and accurate coordination and approach between Russia, Iran, and China – because there are many who would try to dig up some cracks and holes within this presentation; we are not talking about congruence of approaches. Even in the Syrian war, China didn’t take the position that Iran took; Russia took time until it took (its) position (to support Syria,) but it eventually did and paid the price for it and reaped its fruits. Consequently, it’s not necessary to speak about congruence, yet there’s an Asian rise (of power) that no one can argue about, a rise that shakes American hegemony. No one can say that the rise of Iran is not evident, and that this rise (of power) didn’t lead to the erosion of America’s position and grip on the heart of Asia and especially in our region (the Middle East). (In addition,) China’s rise worries America and the entire West, and Russia’s rise is now evident in the military sphere and through this huge, massive qualitative step, which (helped) form this ascending Russian arc that expresses this rise of Asia, (a Russian arc) that is sometimes ahead of the (Asian arc) such that it enjoys a higher degree of courage in its decision-making, (all of this) while the descending American arc (lies on the other side)…here we talk about the second characteristic of this war, which makes it one of the world’s most important wars after World War II, which is that it’s taking place in Europe.

All other wars – in the view of the West that led the world, (the West being) the US and Europe – were on the peripheries and in third world countries. I mean, check (the history) of all the (previous) wars – it (will help) explain to us why this revival of racist thought is being seen in (the attitudes) of journalists and analysts through unintended slips of tongue sometimes, (because) maybe if they thought a little about it they’d be ashamed (of what they were saying). However, this war is actually in Europe, and not in a third world country.

Therefore, for the first time since World War II – although the Yugoslavian war was in Europe, it was a war carried out by the US and western Europe to destroy what’s left of the Soviet legacy, to pave the way for a tight grip on the entire geography, economy, and politics of Europe. Now, this is the first war to knock Europe’s door, meaning that Russia is fighting a war and it’s on the European door. This is the second factor.

The third factor – I want to draw attention to the necessity of investigation, to reread information about Ukraine. Here, I’ll provide the main points to help (the viewer) get (the idea of) what we’re talking about. There’s a chain called ‘The European Bridge’ of five major European states, historically speaking: Spain, France, Germany, Poland, and Ukraine. Ukraine, in terms of (geographical) area equals (the area of) France plus a bit, (and it equals) Germany + Holland + Belgium + Switzerland (all together) in (its geographical) area. Ukraine’s population equals the population of France and equals the population of both Poland and Romania added together. The rest of the Eastern European countries became fragments – after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia – the rest, such as Lithuania, Estonia and Hungary are actually micro-states compared to the size of Ukraine. We’re speaking about 45 million people, meaning twice the number of Iraq’s (population) back when the war started (there). We’re speaking about an area of (about) 600,000 km², which is Syria’s size multiplied by three times and a half, and Lebanon’s size multiplied by 60. We are speaking about the second (most important) state in the Soviet Union after Russia, in terms of size, population, army, technical qualifications of its (various) generations, its colleges, participation in food and technical production, its position in terms of nuclear weapons.

So, we’re not speaking about Iraq, the besieged, disintegrated, weak Iraq that suffers from internal crises, that is not supported by any (external) side, and which is this far (from Europe) – if (in) Iraq, the US army’s entrance to the capital, Baghdad, took 20 days while they were at their peak of advancement, and so even if it takes the Russian army 200 days to enter Kyiv, they will still be considered as making (good) progress – (this approach) allows us to read the situation correctly. Ukraine – this is Ukraine, of course in Ukrainian history there’s a connection between it and Russia; Ukraine is to a large extent (considered as a) mini-Russia. Originally, Russia initiated from Kyiv, the Russian Empire was founded in Kyiv and then moved to Moscow. Therefore, there are efforts for reaching parity, or emulation and competition (between them). Ukraine believes – those who know the traditional Soviet environment (can relate), when we used to visit the Soviet Union, none would introduce themselves by their original nationality and point out that they’re not Russian, except for the Ukrainians; they use to say ‘I’m not Russian’. And I’m speaking about communists, he’d be an official whose mission is to negotiate with us and talk about issues. So, (we can notice that) Ukraine has a sense of competition, with the European background, and a dimension that is related to the way Ukraine was formed – which is a group of (mixed) ethnicities, and if you look at its geography you can notice that parts of it didn’t belong to Ukraine and Stalin later joined many of them to Ukraine: a part of Moldova, a part of Poland, in addition to the Crimean Peninsula that was originally Russian.

Anyway, Lenin and Stalin had a bias for Ukraine and a special interest in satisfying this Ukrainian pride and reassuring them that (Ukraine) is of an important and special status. Therefore, it has always been – I use a metaphor sometimes, I’d say that Ukraine’s (relation) with Russia is like Queen Elizabeth and Lady Diana, in which Queen Elizabeth represents the throne, history (of England), etc., and Lady Diana is the sweet, lovely, popular, (lady) that (represents) elegance, youth, and beauty etc. Therefore, Ukraine, in the eyes of the Soviet Union and the West – Brzezinski said in the 80s or 1978 that ‘Russia without Ukraine is a great state, and a very great one, yet without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an Empire’.

So, we must know what we are speaking about, and why am I saying these words. It is to say that the conclusion is that Putin – this is his war, (the war) that he had been preparing for since at least 2014, because the 2014 war when he annexed the Crimean Peninsula and joined it to Russia, it was the first Ukrainian war for President Putin. (Furthermore,) since 2008, when he entered South Ossetia, he wasn’t aiming at Georgia; look at the (world) map, you’ll see Georgia’s size compared to Ukraine, it can’t even be compared to it! The fight is over Ukraine, the same way Syria was (of great importance) in the Middle East; the one who controls Syria will have control over the (whole Middle East) region and the world through it, (now,) the one who controls Ukraine will have control over Europe and the world through it.

Therefore, the first point we must break free from in our thinking and debate, is talking about the duration of the war; who said Putin wishes to end it in a short period of time? Why put a formula that says that one of the signs of success is the speed in which the achievement is done? It’s not a rule at all! This war might be (intentionally) designed to be a long one, so that a new world system could be built upon its ramifications, developments, and (resulting) frameworks.

It’s a war that cannot end without (reaching) a Russian-American-European settlement. Who’s Zelenskyy? What (kind of) position and power does he have (compared to Russia’s power)? What can he offer in any kind of negotiations? And what kind of decision does he get to make in negotiations? Therefore, it’s a Russian-American war. Europe became part of it. And if Europe had made the decision of not being a part of it, the whole thing would’ve ended through a Russian-European settlement. Therefore, the US used all its capabilities to make Europe a part of it, but that’s not a permanent condition. Today the fight is over Europe; to what extent can Europe remain part of this war?

Therefore, we are before part two of World War III. If Syria was the first episode, then Ukraine is the second episode. The first episode ended – if we are speaking internationally – it ended with a clear victory for Russia. Now we are before the second episode.

The Last American War … will be in Europe

Two weeks into the Ukraine conflict, the Atlantic alliance is already fraying. Europe, which helped destroy much of West Asia, is now the battlefield for the Last American War.

March 09 2022

By Abdel Bari Atwan

During the second US-led war on Iraq in 2003 and its resulting invasion and occupation, I wrote an article in the British daily, The Observer, commissioned by its editor-in-chief, entitled ‘America is an expert in destruction not construction.’ That title proved to be dismally accurate as US warplanes bombed all Iraqi infrastructure facilities from water and electricity stations to bridges, and killed more than a million Iraqis, according to the international medical journal Lancet.

Joe Biden said he would target Russia when he became US president. But, his war with Russia will have mainly European casualties.Photo Credit: The Cradle

Nearly 20 years later, the article springs to mind again as I follow the developments of the Ukrainian war, the associated military and diplomatic posturing of global stakeholders, and the potential ignition of a nuclear war that could lead to catastrophic consequences for the world – starting with Europe.

Battlefield: Europe

It is Europe, after all, which will be the main theater of a nuclear clash unless current mediation efforts bear fruit. And any ‘political solution’ of the conflict spells victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his country, as Moscow will not accept anything short of a complete purging of NATO’s strategic depth in Ukraine.

It was the United States that instigated and ignited this war, and Ukraine and its good people were merely victims of US President Joe Biden’s declaration upon entering the White House that Russia is the number one enemy of the United States, followed by China. He simply made Ukraine the “poisoned bait” to draw the Russians into a long war of attrition that could sap their economy and cause sedition from within.

The US-European threat of “sanctions from hell” was a double plan: these would either deter Putin from invading Ukraine, or provoke him into doing exactly that. The former would be paraded as a Russian defeat, and the latter would be used to financially bankrupt the Russian state, turn its citizens against their government, and isolate Moscow.

But, about two weeks after the first Russian tank entered Ukrainian territory, the naivety of the western plan was fully exposed. Not only did it incorrectly assess the speed at which Moscow might achieve its aims, but it thoroughly underestimated Russia’s ability to counter western punishments with its own.

The western plan has instead triggered a backlash of monumental proportions, whose first line of victims will be residents of both Europe and the United States.

Ukraine, the flint to start a fire

As the dust settled, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky began to show signs of shock and hysteria, lashing out at NATO’s “weakness,” amassing battalions of right-wing neo-Nazis to replace deserting Ukrainian army soldiers, and putting out a global call for foreign fighters to come to Ukraine and fight the Russians.

Zelensky has by now realized that NATO was only prepared to stand by his side and provoke his anti-Moscow rants until the Russian armored vehicles rolled in. He discovered quickly that he was abandoned by all, especially the United States, whose representative to the United Nations said yesterday that it would not send a single soldier or plane to Ukraine.

As oil prices skyrocketed to around US $130 per barrel this week, European countries, including Germany, Bulgaria, and France have said that they cannot manage without Russian oil and gas imports. Those words are the first tangible indication of a crack in the Atlantic alliance, and should be expected to extend to the NATO alliance as the fissures grow.

Europe ostensibly derives its strength from the power of its economy, and the so-called “common values” of the waning liberal order premised on democracy, human rights and social justice. Now, these elements are being eroded one by one as censorship, authoritarianism and war-profiteering take hold within western governance.

The masks have dropped. Those “values” are instead being rapidly replaced by overt racist sensibilities, favoring the “blond-haired and blue-eyed” citizen over all others, and mobilizing neo-Nazi and extremist movements to maintain the western “rules-based order.”

Economy is power: the western alliance collapse

The economic prosperity, security and stability enjoyed by the west since the end of the Second World War will be the first victim of this confrontation taking shape in Ukraine, and it looks near certain that financial collapse, political chaos and intra-state geographic fragmentation may ensue.

The decades of punishing sanctions imposed by the United States as an alternative to direct military intervention in North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela have not achieved their goals. They have not caused the ‘regime-change’ that was intended, and it is highly unlikely that the current sanctions on Russia, if imposed (so far, Russian oil and gas flow is paid for through the SWIFT financial system) in whole or in part, will prove an exception.

Alexander Novak, Russia’s deputy prime minister in charge of energy, warned late Monday of “catastrophic” consequences for world oil and gas markets if the US implements its threats to impose a ban on energy exports from his country.

These actions, he predicted, would result in a ten-fold rise in the price per cubic meter of natural gas and an unprecedented US $300 dollars per barrel for oil. Novak further threatened that Moscow would retaliate by halting gas supplies to Europe through their Nord Stream 1 pipeline, especially if Germany continues to suspend its Nord Stream 2 counterpart in response to US pressure and if Washington imposes a ban on Russian oil.

Nord Stream 1 currently operates at 100 percent and pumps nearly 60 billion cubic meters per year to Europe.

The United States destroyed Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya, and has not participated in the reconstruction of any of its destruction.

But the victim now will be Europe, which, while able to bully those weaker states, will not be able to do so with a much bigger, stronger global power like Russia, led by a shrewd geopolitical strategist like Vladimir Putin.

Europe is now lending its territories to this last American war. It is facing a nuclear power that is allied with other nuclear states like China, North Korea and, potentially, India. This time, the magic may be turned on the magician, and the destruction on the USA.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

بوتين يسأل: لماذا العجلة؟.. فالوقت معنا!

 ناصر قنديل

هي ليست حرب أوكرانيا بل حرب أوروبا، فالصراع الروسي الأميركي يدور حول موقع أوروبا في الخريطة العالمية الجديدة، ومن غير المعقول أن تكون روسيا على أبواب إعلان آسيا خالية من الوجود الأميركي بينما أميركا تمسك بكل أوروبا في قبضتها، والحرب على أوروبا كانت حرباً من طرف واحد خاضها الأميركيون طوال ثلاثين عاماً، فتقدموا الى الحدود الروسية بلا تردد، سمحوا بولادة الاتحاد الأوروبي من بوابة حرب يوغوسلافيا، فالاتحاد الذي منعوا قيامه في أيام وجود الاتحاد السوفياتي منذ عام 1964 كي لا يتحول إلى قوة مستقلة، أفرجوا عنه بعد تفكك الاتحاد السوفياتي عام 1994 ليكون آلتهم القانونية لوراثته واستقطاب الدول الأوروبية الشرقية كمرحلة تمهيدية لضمها إلى حلف الناتو. والمعادلة بسيطة وهي أن أوروبا الغربية ستتحمل أكلاف الدول الأوروبية الشرقية الفقيرة، وزحف سكانها وأياديهم العاملة الرخيصة نحو الغرب وسلعهم الزراعية المنافسة، والوعد الأميركي لأوروبا هو تطويق روسيا وإلزامها بتأمين تدفق الغاز تحت شروط تفرضها واشنطن، كميات وأسعاراً، بما يتناسب ويتلاقى مع نتائج الزحف الذي بدأ نحو آسيا من قبل أميركا منذ عام 2000 وحربي أفغانستان والعراق لتطويق الصين، ووضع سقف لنموّها الاقتصادي وكميات وأسعار استهلاكها للطاقة، لتعوض أوروبا كل أكلافها على فقراء الاتحاد الأوروبي، وتحكم سيطرتها على الأسواق الآسيوية، دون مزاحمة صينية، ودون تحكم روسي بأسعار ومصادر الطاقة، وعندما لم يعد من أمل لإنعاش حروب أميركا الآسيوية، خصوصاً بعد الفشل في الحرب على سورية التي تحولت الى حرب أميركية روسية مباشرة، وبعد الانسحاب من افغانستان الذي تحول الى خيبة أوروبية كبرى، وصعود إيران التي تحولت الى مأزق أميركي أوروبي مشترك، وضع الأميركيون أوكرانيا كعنوان للحرب التي ستعيد أوروبا الى بيت الطاعة مجدداً، وستتيح جمع الطاقات الأميركية الأوروبية في حرب مشتركة تحت العنوان نفسه، محاصرة روسيا وإضعافها، وصولاً لإملاء الشروط عليها.

الحرب على روسيا لم تتوقف وفقاً لقراءة الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، فعام 1990 انتهت الحرب الباردة من طرف واحد هو الطرف الروسي بينما بقيت مستمرة من الطرف الأميركي، والهدف تفتيت وحدة روسيا وتحويلها الى أشلاء ممزقة ضعيفة وعاجزة، وفق نظرية قوامها أن روسيا لا بد أن تقوم يوماً ما وتستعيد عافيتها وتعود للبحث عن مستقبل يشبه ماضيها، وطالما لديها الجغرافيا والموارد والسكان والجيش، كعناصر لهذا النهوض فهي خطر على الهيمنة الأميركية على العالم؛ ولذلك خاضت روسيا اختبارات عديدة لرسم سيناريو المواجهة لقطع الطريق على الحلقة الأخيرة من هذه الحرب التي بدأت مؤشراتها بالظهور، من بوابة قيام أوكرانيا بشن حرب لاستعادة دونباس، والبدء بفتح جبهة شبه جزيرة القرم، ولأن روسيا تفهم الشيفرة الأميركية وأميركا تفهم الشيفرة الروسية، لم يكن هناك التباس حول أن أوكرانيا، روسيا الثانية بالنسبة للغرب بحجم مساحتها وسكانها وتاريخها ومواردها وجيشها، هي رأس الحربة، من خارج حلف الناتو، منعاً للتورط في حرب مباشرة. والنظر الى حجم وسرعة الإجراءات المتبادلة التي اتخذتها دول الغرب من جهة وروسيا من جهة أخرى، يبدو واضحاً أن الخطط كانت جاهزة لكل الفرضيات على طرفي الصراع، باعتبار ما يجري آخر الحروب، وأم الحروب، والحرب الفاصلة.

بالنسبة لروسيا كانت كل الاختبارات التي تلت حرب أوكرانيا الأولى عام 2014، محور تجميع ودراسة لرسم السيناريوات والخطط، ولذلك توقفت موسكو عند حدود ضمّ شبه جزيرة القرم وأبقت وضع دونباس معلقاً، خشية أن يشكل نقطة الضعف التي تفجّر الحرب قبل ان تكون مستعدة لكل احتمالاتها، وكانت كلمة السر المفهومة من الطرفين الروسي والغربي، أن إعلان الاعتراف بجمهوريتي دونباس يعني إعلان الحرب، وأهم ما تحققت منه روسيا هو خشية أميركا وأوروبا من المواجهة العسكرية المباشرة وسعيهما لتفاديها، ورهانهما على العقوبات الاقتصادية والمالية المشددة كضربة قاضية تعادل حرباً نووية، لذلك تركزت خطة روسيا على كسب الوقت في احتواء أعلى درجات العقوبات المالية، عبر مراكمة مخزون احتياطي مالي يكفيها لسنتين، لا تطاله العقوبات، وترصد كل محاولة لتخزين احتياطات اوروبية تحرّر أسواق أوروبا من الارتهان للغاز والنفط الروسيين، وضبط أسواق النفط والغاز على حافة التوازن بين العرض والطلب، بحيث يؤدي أي تأزم إلى جنون السوق، بحيث تنتقل معركة تداعيات العقوبات إلى أوروبا، وتتحوّل التداعيات بنتائجها الى مصدر لزيادة العائدات الروسية النقدية السائلة. وإذا سارت هذه الجبهة كما يجب فتصبح إطالة أمد الحرب خطة روسية، لأن موسكو لا تريد تكرار تجربة الأميركيين في العراق، لا لجهة بسط احتلال أجنبي يصبح عرضة لحرب استنزاف، ولا لجهة بناء حكم مؤيد يعجز عن انتزاع ثقة الشعب، والحرب يجب أن تبقى نافذة مواربة مفتوحة لحل سياسي دولي شامل تكون أميركا وأوروبا شريكتين فيه.

يستغرب الروس الحديث عن معيار السرعة لقياس نجاح عمليتهم العسكرية، وينقلون عن الرئيس فلاديمير بوتين قوله، لماذا العجلة؟.. فالوقت معنا!

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The Face of Western Civilization

March 09, 2022

Source

By Francis Lee

It is interesting to note how the collective west has reacted to the present and ongoing events in Eastern Europe – namely, in Russia and Ukraine. As I understand it Russia has concerns about its own security and NATO’s inexorable push toward the Russian frontier. Moreover, there has been a positioning of missile systems, nuclear and otherwise, right smack on the borders of Romania and Poland. How did this situation arise, to the extent which it has?

Back in 1990 but not wishing to alarm the Russians the American Secretary of State, James Baker, proposed a hypothetical bargain to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev after the fall of the Berlin Wall: if you give up your part of Germany, NATO will “not shift one inch eastward.” (Famous Words).

Controversy erupted almost immediately over this 1990 exchange—but more important was the decade to come, when the words took on a new meaning. Gorbachev let his East Germany (DDR) go, but Washington rethought the bargain, not least after the Soviet Union’s own collapse in December 1991. Russia was initially assured that NATO forces and hardware would not move one inch further to the Western borders of Russia. Washington realized, however, that it could not just win big but win bigger. The new approach completely reversed the original pact: Not one inch of territory need be off limits to NATO.  The Russians had not done their paperwork and had not signed up to the original written agreement. A silly oversight perhaps, but a costly, legal, and enforceable one.

Jens Stoltenberg NATO Fuhrer.

Well, we all know how this worked out. Just to rub salt in the wound NATO Chief, Jens Stoltenberg, has made it clear that there is more to come. Apparently, anyone can join NATO and have its own missile system installed and pointing at Russia with a 3-to-5-minute flight time to St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Well, and who could possibly object to this! (Sarcasm). Sooner or later, however, Russia was going to alter facts on the ground starting with Ukraine. No state worth its salt, viz., a sovereign state, could possibly allow itself to be surrounded with a view to war, invasion, and total obliteration. The Cuba crisis of 1962 was a prototype of this face-off. At that time both the US and USSR adhered to a Westphalian posture, to wit, non-interference in each other’s sphere of influence, security imperatives and recognition of each other’s sovereignty. But it would appear things had changed since the US Anglo-Zionist empire came into being by NATO’s incremental expansion and push to Russia’s western frontiers. It would appear things had changed in terms of the West’s foreign policy which had become belligerent and expansionist. If Russia didn’t like the new ‘Rules-Based’ Policy of the western hegemon in tow with its Western allies, well, too bad!

Russia’s initial inertia in 2014 allowed the NATO backed Ukrainian army to push up to the eastern republics in the Donbass, Lugansk and Donetsk. But the stout resistance of these two republics halted the advance of the Ukie army and inflicted two heavy defeats at Ilovaisk and Debaltsevo in 2014/15. At that time Russia did not allow the incorporation for the two republics into the Russian Federation. (It should be understood, however, that the two republics were in fact receiving aid, both in war materiel and ‘volunteers’ from Russia, although this was never openly admitted by the Russian government.) Be that as it may, Crimea, was a different matter; it was the home base of the Russian navy and a permanent military presence for Russia. Russia also held the freehold for its base in Sevastopol until 2045 and paid an annual rental for this to the Ukrainian government. This being the case there was a referendum which overwhelmingly endorsed the outcome: Crimea, whose population was dominantly Russian, and Russian speaking, became Russian again after the temporary period of Ukrainian stewardship which had lasted since 1954.

This much is history.

The West. God’s own creation. Where to start!

The United States.

­The United States is – unlike western central and eastern Europe – a sovereign state. Since its inception the US has pursued wars just about everywhere around the globe but started at its home base. After the anti-British revolution, the US started to play the imperialist game. First there were the wars against Mexico. From 1846 to 1848, the United States of America and Mexico fought the Mexican American War. There were many causes of the war, but the biggest reasons were Mexico’s lingering resentment over the loss of Texas and the Americans’ desire and acquisition of Mexico’s western lands, such as Arizona, Nevada, California and New Mexico. The Americans believed their nation should extend to the Pacific: this belief was called “Manifest Destiny.” This was a quasi-religious doctrine, which if anything has actually grown stronger as the centuries pass.

Additions to the US empire came in the form of Cuba, Hawaii, Guam and the Philippines – pretty run of the mill stuff, as imperialism goes. The US did not have a hinterland beyond the Americas but got global after the first and more importantly the second world war. The United States was to become a full-blown imperialist power, particularly in Western Europe, and Japan which had become a patchwork of non-sovereign states under US hegemony. This is still the case today. Now even Eastern European non-sovereign states became part of the US-NATO bloc.

But the US war machine ran into trouble in Southeast Asia, first with the Korean and then Indo-China wars. The carnage and general fall-out of these wars was unparalleled. See the bombing of Laos, Vietnam and particularly North Korea. These were outright defeats for the American war machine, though the Americans were loath to admit it.

US B52 dropping its load of bombs somewhere in South East Asia.

Then of course there has been the US involvement in the middle east which has included, ongoing wars against Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. More to come to be sure. But It seems ominous to conclude that the US is trapped in unwinnable wars in the middle-east but in fact leaves much of the heavy lifting to its Zionist Rottweiler, not only in the middle-east, but crucially in the US itself where the Anti-Deformation League (ADL) American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA); in terms of international relations and foreign policy I suppose you could call this the tail wagging the dog. The British had the common sense to remove themselves from the Zionist entity in 1948. The American-Israel lobby have, however, have been loath to part with this geopolitical entity which has been a liability ever since.

The United Kingdom

When Britain was a sovereign state its Empire covered a vast patchwork of subaltern states – most importantly India, which also included modern Pakistan, Burma, Malaya, Singapore – and various states in Africa: from Capetown to Cairo. There were many wars fought in Southern Africa, for example the Boers vs the Zulus, the Boers vs the English known as the Boer Wars, and the Zimbabwean (at that time Rhodesia) bush war.

These wars were also bloody affairs but particularly brutal in India – during the so-called Indian Mutiny 1857-58. This was an uprising of the – Sepoys – Native Indian soldiers against their British masters. The violence with which the British put down the rebellion has only been approached in the history of the empire by the repression of the Irish rebellion in the 1790’s and of the native Mau Mau rebellion in East Africa in the 1950s. Karl Marx wrote in 1853 ‘’the British had a double mission in India, one destructive the other regenerating … they had accomplished in a way that unbound before all our eyes all the profound hypocrisy and inherent barbarism of bourgeois civilization, turning from its home where it assumes respectable forms to the colonies where it goes naked.’’

(In this respect see India and George Orwell’s personal experiences in this jewel in the crown of the British Empire. In two particular factual pieces where he was personally involved, he recounted the following two essays which are well worth reading: ‘’A Hanging’’ and ‘’Shooting An Elephant’’ 1936)

The British long retreat from empire was given an additional shove by the US in 1946 with the American loan – Michael Hudson explains:

‘’The first loan on the post-war agenda was the British Loan which, as President Truman announced in forwarding it to Congress, would set the course of American and British economic relations for many years to come. He was right, for the Anglo-American Loan Agreement spelled the end of Britain as a Great (imperial) Power. (Super-Imperialism – pp.268/269). So the UK was, to use an American expression, forced to eat crow.

This pattern of imperialism, its rise and fall, has been generally on the same trajectory, with the various states involved having had only a limited tenure. The UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Austro-Hungary, and even little Belgium have had their own involvement with their imperial fate. These are now all subaltern regimes in the present American Empire.

(See The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival. First published in 1913, Sir John Glubb British-soldier and diplomat examined the human race over a period of 4,000 years and found the same patterns of rise and fall of national greatness and all in the same timescale.)

All of which brings us to the present impasse.

The present geopolitical situation involving the great powers seems to be reaching a critical moment. To recount the history and present situation. The Ukrainian government sent its army into the Eastern Ukraine – some 100,000 men – earlier in the year, with the intent of invading and subduing the two breakaway republics – the Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts, which had defied the bombing and shelling campaign which had been going on since 2014. This had cost the lives of some 14000 inhabitants of these two republics. But the Kiev forces were thrown back after their initial first push by a counterattack in 2014-15, where they were comprehensively defeated at the battles of Ilovaisk and Debaltsevo. But the shelling still continued. However, this second Ukrainian offensive has had unforeseen outcomes.

When Putin heard of the new invasion from the western Ukraine attacking the breakaway republics, he had had enough, as had the Russian people and the Russian Parliament a fortiori. He firstly extended full citizenship to the populations of the two republics which automatically became part of the Russian Federation. Next came the part which changed everything. It was expected that having absorbed the two breakaway republics he decided in his own words to demilitarise and clear out the neo-nazi forces – for good – in the rest of the Ukraine. And then to the alarm of the western elites the Russian forces rolled west.

Of course, this has caused consternation if not abject panic, in western capitals with what amounted in military terms to a complete paralysis of the West. But then the information war took off. This is the formidable weapon of the western states and is used to potent effect. But there were also economic effects which are just beginning to come on stream.

These included shortages for various components and food stuffs and raw materials which will negatively affect western economies as well as the all-pervasive death wish of financialization. Russia has not yet rolled out its own sanctions to see how they go down in western capitals, but it will be interesting to see their effect.

So, this is where we are. At the dawn of a bi-polar world. As Robert Kennedy once said. ‘’Like it or not, we live in interesting times.’’

Exclusive: Pro-Zionist U.S. Politicians Dead Set on War with Russia

World affairs are rapidly moving toward chaos as the war between Russia and Ukraine threatens to escalate into a nuclear conflagration.

March 9, 2022

By  VT Editors

by Richard C. Cook for VT

World affairs are rapidly moving toward their culmination as the U.S.-instigated war between Russia and Ukraine threatens to escalate into a nuclear conflagration.

The charge to world war is being led by U.S. Zionist politicians and bureaucrats, especially President Joe Biden and his chief implementer, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. As usual, the dirty work on the ground is being carried out by the ever-present CIA and its compliant military superstructure.

By now the Zionist march to world domination has been thoroughly documented and will not be reprised here. It has been accomplished largely through infiltration and control of the English-speaking nations—chiefly Great Britain and the U.S.

Great Britain was taken over during the latter part of the 19th century through the instrumentality of Cecil Rhodes’ Round Table, controlled by the Rothschilds. The U.S. fell under the dominion of the same influences with Zionist creation of the Money Trust leading to the Federal Reserve System in 1913.

The chief competition for world hegemony by 1900 was imperial Germany, which the Zionists succeeded in knocking off through World Wars I and II. Along the way, it was also necessary to eliminate competition from the Austro-Hungarian, Russian, Ottoman, and Persian empires, although the aid of Bolshevik Russia, aka the Soviet Union, had to be enlisted to counter the strength of Hitler’s Germany on the European continent.

By then, the independent Zionist entity of Israel had been wrested from British-controlled land in Palestine. Zionism now had a tangible world headquarters.

But after World War II, as Zionist-controlled America moved decisively toward world hegemony through war against all comers led by its CIA and military establishments, Russia became viewed as a dispensable burden, leading to the Cold War and the dissolution of the Eurasian Soviet conglomeration of nations during the 1990s.

In Europe, Zionist America moved swiftly to take over the British-inspired NATO, which metastasized by the early 21st century to include most of Eastern Europe. Also eager to join were politicians on the Zionist payroll from the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine.

Meanwhile, with Russia seemingly down for the count, the Zionists had utilized their 9/11 false flag attacks to launch a massive series of wars against nations of the Middle East to cement control over the Asia-European bridge and to seize the Asian heartland in Afghanistan. Russia’s Slavic kinsmen in Yugoslavia had already been trounced through the NATO attacks in the Balkans in the 1990s.

Earlier, the ground for the Middle Eastern assaults had been prepared by the U.S. through the first Iraq war of the late 1980s. Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya were then smashed to bits, while Zionist wars against Syria and Yemen are ongoing.

Of course, Iran has proven a harder nut to crack. Part of the problem with the Zionist plans for Syria and Iran came from support to those nations given in various forms by a resurgent Russia led by Vladimir Putin.

This brings us to today.

Russia under Putin was the last remaining obstacle to final Zionist victory, particularly with China having been pacified through incorporation into the West’s consumer economy and the threat of military confrontation through the U.S.’s “pivot to Asia.” So, obviously, Russia and Putin had to go.

After Russia stomped on the pretensions of Georgia and effectively began to integrate itself into the European economy through the export of petrochemicals, wheat, and strategic minerals, a provocation through the Western takeover of Ukraine presented itself as the chosen means to draw Russia into a catastrophic war.

This was accomplished expertly under the second Obama administration by the 2014 coup engineered by Vice President Joe Biden and the Obama State Department, whereby the legitimate democratically-elected government of Ukraine was overthrown and replaced by a cabal of U.S. puppets under Poroshenko.

Soon afterward, the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine declared independence from the Kiev regime, followed by the Russian annexation of the vital region of the Crimean peninsula.

The Kiev regime then began the assault on Donbass which has gone on now for eight years, and Americans began a relentless propaganda attack against Russia for its actions in Crimea. This attack was led then, as now, by the ubiquitous U.S. Zionist media led by such entities as CNN, NBC, FOX, the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, etc.

Meanwhile, the now-president of the Kiev Regime, Zelensky, continued to lobby openly for NATO membership and announced his intention to acquire nuclear weapons, even as the U.S. Defense Department set up bioweapons laboratories throughout the country. Russia and Putin, quite naturally, saw the actions of the Kiev regime as an existential threat. On February 24, 2022, the Russian military invaded.

Now the Zionist West has seen its big chance. The time for war with Russia has come, whatever the cost may be. As Zionist politicians everywhere salivate, the door is about to slam, where the last vestiges of independent national sovereignty on planet earth may be closed. Nuclear war looms as the U.S. takes action through sanctions, weapons shipments, and threats of armed retaliation through NATO allies, such as Poland.

Russia has accused the West, rightly so, of acts of economic warfare, and has put its strategic weaponry on alert. The U.S. claims it does not want war against Russia, but this is a sham. The U.S. has already mobilized its direct and asymmetric weaponry.

The main threat is to cut off all imports from Russia, with Germany and other European nations expected to follow suit. This is already crashing Western stock markets and will inevitably cause an economic depression.

Even as this takes place, the Zionist media is trying to get us to blame only Putin. Biden and the other Zionists will, of course, continue to blame Putin for everything, and the megaphone of MSM media will continue to amplify the call to war a thousand-fold.

World war is roaring down the tracks.

Unless, someone, somewhere, breaks the Zionist shackles. As it is absolutely impossible for this to come from the enslaved English-speaking nations, the initiative can only come from continental Europe.

If Zelensky should begin acting like a sane human being and accepts the Russian conditions for peace, and if Putin refrains from taking the Zionist bait and desists from launching a preemptive nuclear attack, then maybe something can change even at this hour. We can only hope.


Richard C. Cook is a former U.S. government analyst who writes on geopolitical subjects.  

Did Russia Have to Attack Ukraine?

March 5, 2022

By Darko Lazar

While announcing the start of military operations inside Ukraine on February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that he “had no other way of proceeding”.

“What was happening left us with no choice,” Putin said, noting that a “high-risk” situation in Ukraine posed an existential threat to Russia. However, he never specified what that risk was.

Naturally, everyone concluded that Putin was talking about NATO’s eastward expansion over the last three decades. But what if there is more to it than that?

Pathogens and biological weapons

In October 2017, Putin was hosting a meeting at the Kremlin of the Russian Presidential Commission on Human Rights.

At one point, the discussion took an unexpected turn when Putin suddenly suggested that the West was working on a new bioweapon.

“Do you know that biological material is collected all over the country, from different ethnic groups and people living in different geographical locations of Russia?” Putin said. “But what for? They do it purposefully and professionally.”

The Russian president was referring to research being conducted by the US Air Force’s largest medical department (the 59th Medical Wing). Those allegations prompted a quick response from the Pentagon.

The spokesman for the Air Education and Training Command, Capt. Beau Downey, told Sputnik that the samples are being collected “to conduct musculoskeletal research aimed at identifying the different biomarkers associated with injury.”

Fast forward to October 2021, when the war of words between Beijing and Washington over the origins of the coronavirus was intensifying. Both sides were alleging that the pandemic was linked to each other’s research.

That same month, Beijing joined Moscow in calling on the United Nations to review the biological warfare strength of the US and its allies. China and Russia jointly demanded that Washington abides by a UN convention on biological weapons, accusing the Americans of operating more than 200 military biolabs outside the US. The Chinese and the Russians allege that these US military facilities pose a direct threat to their national security.

Nothing about this declaration suggests that it was meant for propaganda purposes. It wasn’t widely covered by the media or circulated by the Chinese and Russian governments.

Instead, it was quickly followed by Moscow’s demands for security guarantees from the West, including that Ukraine should never become a member of NATO. China offered its support to Russia, warning that Moscow had “reasonable security concerns,” which the Americans and their allies should take “seriously”.

Just a few days later, Russia’s neighbor to the south and one of its most important allies, Kazakhstan, suddenly descended into chaos. Hundreds were killed as shadowy armed cells began seizing critical state infrastructure.

While a large Russian force deployed to help restore order in that country, Russia’s official news agency TASS highlighted reports that a secret bio-laboratory there had been compromised. The lab, which sits just outside Kazakhstan’s Almaty, is funded by the Pentagon and used to store dangerous pathogens. According to unconfirmed reports, the lab was briefly seized by “unidentified people”.

Then came the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, which was overshadowed by the most recent meeting between Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. A few weeks later, Russian troops were given the order to move on Ukraine.

A chain of laboratories 

On February 25, an article published in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists cites the director of the Pentagon’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, Robert Pope, who claims that Russia’s military operation in Ukraine endangers a network of US-linked labs, which handle dangerous pathogens.

The Cooperative Threat Reduction Program is part of the so-called Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), which traces its roots back to the Manhattan Project – the American-led development of the world’s first functional atomic weapon.

And while Pope claims that the US military labs in Ukraine are not bioweapons facilities but public and animal health laboratories, he makes a number of startling revelations.

For starters, he confirms the existence of pathogens that can easily become infectious.

“If you lose the electrical power, the pathogens in the freezers warm up,” Pope explains.

“If the ventilation system is damaged, or the building itself is damaged, and these now ambient-temperature pathogens are able to escape the facility, then they can be potentially infectious.”

From there, Pope appears to try and build an alibi by suggesting the Russians “could potentially go to one of these facilities and fabricate something that they call evidence of nefarious activity.”

But the real kicker is Pope’s admission that these supposedly harmless facilities may hold pathogen strains left over from the Soviet bioweapons program.

“Scientists being scientists, it wouldn’t surprise me if some of these strain collections in some of these laboratories still have pathogen strains that go all the way back to the origins of that program,” the good doctor warns.

Perhaps equally alarming is the disclosure that 62% of this program’s USD 360 million budget is allocated for biological research.

The website of the US embassy in Kiev confirms the existence of this program. However, the fact sheets and PDF files detailing the operations of these facilities have been removed from the server. Whoever the Pentagon tasked with that mission wasn’t very thorough, as the original documents can still be found on the web archive.

If these were mere animal health laboratories, one would expect their financing to have come from the US Department of Health. But the documents show that the sole “donor” for each of these labs is the US Department of Defense. Moreover, all the facilities either had or were in the process of obtaining licenses to work with dangerous pathogens.

Two of the labs, in Kiev and Odessa, were undergoing some sort of additional construction. The sam.gov website, a central database that includes information about all US government contractors, reveals that the construction commenced in late July and was supposed to be completed within seven months – in late February.

Are these facilities really developing genetic tools that threaten the Russian population and pose the sort of “high risk” that Putin was referring to? No one can say for sure. But the involvement of shadowy characters like Pope and warnings from both Beijing and Moscow about opaque American military biolabs must be treated as more than just conspiracy theories.

What will it be like after the war?

The establishment of US military labs in former Soviet republics surrounding Russia is just another consequence of NATO’s 30-year-long eastward expansion. The same can be said for the wars in the Balkans, Georgia and of course, Ukraine.

NATO’s insistence on integrating these countries into the Western military alliance gave rise to very legitimate concerns in Moscow. While watching this powerful and hostile force inch closer toward its borders, the Russians spent the better part of the last three decades warning of the potential consequences.

At the start of 2022, NATO simply rebuffed Moscow’s core demands for formal security guarantees, sending a clear message that negotiations over such matters are impossible. It’s also the clearest indication yet that only Russia can guarantee its own security and that Moscow will likely have to remove threats along the country’s vast border by force.

As such, Moscow is no longer relaying its concerns via diplomatic channels. The Russian military is doing the talking now, and if the West is even remotely interested in averting a nuclear holocaust, they will need to listen carefully.

One of the more explicit attestations of the severity of this situation came from an unlikely source. At the end of February, Russian state television host Dmitry Kiselyov opened his primetime show by saying: “Why do we need a world if Russia is not in it?” 

Some people are still walking around thinking the world they knew just a few months ago still exists. But the old political structures and alliances are dead. So is the unipolar world. The old-world order is no longer.

These are tectonic shifts in the global balance of power that are historically accompanied by the outbreak of disease, uncompromising social divisions, economic hardship, and wars. Those who survive will live to tell the tale.

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