South China Sea: Failing to Find Asian Allies, US Invites UK to Meddle

December 16, 2016 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – Parroting the US State Department’s rhetoric, almost verbatim to justify the decision, a UK envoy vowed to fly warplanes over, and sail warships through the South China Sea over “concerns” regarding “freedom of navigation there.”

Reuters in its article, “British fighters to overfly South China Sea; carriers in Pacific after 2020: envoy,” would report:

The envoy, Kim Darroch, told a Washington think tank that British Typhoon aircraft currently deployed on a visit to Japan would fly across disputed parts of the South China Sea to assert international overflight rights, but gave no time frame.

Speaking at an event also attended by Japan’s ambassador to Washington, Darroch said that most future British defense capacity would have to be directed toward the Middle East, but added:

“Certainly, as we bring our two new aircraft carriers onstream in 2020, and as we renew and update our defense forces, they will be seen in the Pacific.

The time frame of 2020 assumes that the United States will still have any significant presence in the region, somehow reversing the otherwise irreversible retreat it has been undergoing throughout Asia-Pacific over the past decade.

The US Has Run Out of Friends in Asia, So Brings Along Europe

Client regimes the United States and its European allies have cultivated throughout the region have either turned on them or have been effectively removed from power, or even the prospect of ever holding power again.

The Philippines, quite literally a territory of the United States until the end of World War 2, and a nation that vacillated between independence from and interdependence with Washington for decades since, has recently become more vocal about perceived inequities in Manila-Washington relations. This is primarily because of the much more significant – and growing – ties Manila has with Beijing.

US-backed opposition forces in Malaysia have repeatedly tried and failed to oust the ruling government in street protests led by Anwar Ibrahim’s political alliance under the brand name “Bersih.”

In neighboring Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra and his political opposition party were ousted from power in 2014 and have since been incrementally picked apart through legislative and judicial proceedings. Even as Shinawatra clung to power, Thailand’s establishment began shifting away from Cold War ties with the US and toward closer ties with not only Beijing, but also Moscow as well as its regional neighbors.

In Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party are increasingly hemorrhaging political legitimacy as her followers carry out what could be described as genocide against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority. The United States has cynically elected to draw an increasing amount of attention to this in a bid to prevent Suu Kyi from double dealing with both Washington and Beijing.

Vietnam has recently showed reluctance to sign the US-initiated and dominated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement, being one of the few nations in Southeast Asia to have agreed to it in the first place, while Cambodia’s previously pro-Western government headed by Hun Sen has become increasingly vocal about US meddling both in Cambodia, and across the region, openly taking Beijing’s side in the South China Sea dispute.

Even Indonesia finds itself increasingly repelled by America’s overbearing stick and its increasingly unappealing carrot.

Collectively, the region is attempting to rebalance itself to accommodate and cooperate with the rise of China, and create checks and balances in the void America’s mismanaged “Pacific Century” has left.

The Specter of Empire  

It is perhaps ironic that the United States finds itself increasingly isolated in Asia amid its own attempts to isolate Beijing. It is also ironic that it is ending its “Pacific Century” the same way it began, side-by-side European nations attempting to impose Western interests on a region of the planet quite literally oceans away.

However, unlike during the age of empires, the US and any European nation that joins it in Asia-Pacific today, will find a region of the planet on parity with Western technology, wealth and power. Militarily speaking, the number of facilities the US and its European allies can exploit in the region are shrinking both in number and in relative significance to growing Asian military power – including China’s expanding Pacific forces.

However, in addition to military power, the US still maintains vast political and media networks throughout Asia. The US State Department’s Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) aims to indoctrinate thousands of young Asian students and professionals, provide them with both fronts to operate as well as significant financial and political support to continue their work, all in an effort to transform the region’s values and principles to align with Washington’s interests.

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), its subsidiaries, and “aid” organizations like USAID all continue to build opposition fronts aimed at pressuring and altogether overthrowing political establishments across Asia. Together, this signifies a US that may be in retreat, but a US that still poses a potent threat to peace, stability, and prosperity across the region.

The inclusion of British forces in Asia-Pacific to augment US provocations presents a threat to Asian stability. With Asia increasingly trading among themselves and with the rest of Eurasia, instability brought by US-European meddling is perhaps the only threat that could actually undermine “freedom of navigation,” trade, and economic growth – the very things the US claims its presence in Asia-Pacific is meant to protect.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook.”

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The Real Secret of the South China Sea

July 27, 2016

by Pepe Escobar for Sputnik News

The Real Secret of the South China SeaThe South China Sea is and will continue to be the ultimate geopolitical flashpoint of the young 21st century – way ahead of the Middle East or Russia’s western borderlands. No less than the future of Asia – as well as the East-West balance of power – is at stake.

To understand the Big Picture, we need to go back to 1890 when Alfred Mahan, then president of the US Naval College, wrote the seminal The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783. Mahan’s central thesis is that the US should go global in search of new markets, and protect these new trade routes through a network of naval bases.

That is the embryo of the US Empire of Bases – which de facto started after the Spanish-American war, over a century ago, when the US graduated to Pacific power status by annexing the Philippines, Hawaii and Guam.

Western – American and European — colonialism is strictly responsible for the current, incendiary sovereignty battle in the South China Sea. It’s the West that came up with most land borders – and maritime borders — of these states.The roll call is quite impressive. Philippines and Indonesia were divided by Spain and Portugal in 1529. The division between Malaysia and Indonesia is owed to the British and the Dutch in 1842. The border between China and Vietnam was imposed to the Chinese by the French in 1887. The Philippines’s borders were concocted by the US and Spain in 1898. The border between Philippines and Malaysia was drawn by the US and the Brits in 1930.

We are talking about borders between different colonial possessions – and that implies intractable problems from the start, subsequently inherited by post-colonial nations. And to think that it had all started as a loose configuration. The best anthropological studies (Bill Solheim’s, for instance) define the semi-nomadic communities who really traveled and traded across the South China Sea from time immemorial as the Nusantao – an Austronesian compound word for “south island” and “people”.

The Nusantao were not a defined ethnic group; rather a maritime internet. Over the centuries, they had many key hubs, from the coastline between central Vietnam and Hong Kong to the Mekong Delta. They were not attached to any “state”, and the notion of “borders” didn’t even exist.Only by the late 19th century the Westphalian system managed to freeze the South China Sea inside an immovable framework. Which brings us to why China is so sensitive about its borders; because they are directly linked to the “century of humiliation” – when internal Chinese corruption and weakness allowed Western barbarians to take possession of Chinese land.

Tension in the nine-dash line

The eminent Chinese geographer Bai Meichu was a fierce nationalist who drew his own version of what was called the “Chinese National Humiliation Map”. In 1936 he published a map including a “U-shaped line” gobbling up the South China Sea all the way down to James Shoal, which is 1,500 km south of China but only over 100 km off Borneo. Scores of maps copied Meichu’s. Most included the Spratly Islands, but not James Shoal.

The crucial fact is that Bai was the man who actually invented the “nine-dash line”, promoted by the Chinese government – then not yet Communist – as the letter of the law in terms of “historic” Chinese claims over islands in the South China Sea.

Everything stopped when Japan invaded China in 1937. Japan had occupied Taiwan way back in 1895. Now imagine Americans surrendering to the Japanese in the Philippines in 1942. That meant virtually the entire coastline of the South China Sea being controlled by a single empire for the fist time in history. The South China Sea had become a Japanese lake.

Not for long; only until 1945. The Japanese did occupy Woody Island in the Paracels and Itu Aba (today Taiping) in the Spratlys. After the end of WWII and the US nuclear-bombing Japan, the Philippines became independent in 1946; the Spratlys immediately were declared Filipino territory.In 1947 the Chinese went on overdrive to recover all the Paracels from colonial power France. In parallel, all the islands in the South China Sea got Chinese names. James Shoal was downgraded from a sandbank into a reef (it’s actually underwater; still Beijing sees is as the southernmost point of Chinese territory.)

In December 1947 all the islands were placed under the control of Hainan (itself an island in southern China.) New maps — based on Meichu’s — followed, but now with Chinese names for the islands (or reefs, or shoals). The key problem is that no one explained the meaning of the dashes (which were originally eleven.)

So in June 1947 the Republic of China claimed everything within the line – while proclaiming itself open to negotiate definitive maritime borders with other nations later on. But, for the moment, no borders; that was the birth of the much-maligned “strategic ambiguity” of the South China Sea that lasts to this day.

“Red” China adopted all the maps — and all the decisions. Yet the final maritime border between China and Vietnam, for instance, was decided only in 1999. In 2009 China included a map of the “U-shaped” or “nine-dash line” in a presentation to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf; that was the first time the line officially showed up on an international level.
No wonder other Southeast Asian players were furious. That was the apex of the millennia-old transition from the “maritime internet” of semi-nomadic peoples to the Westphalian system. The post-modern “war” for the South China Sea was on.

Gunboat freedom

In 2013 the Philippines – prodded by the US and Japan – decided to take its case about Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) in the South China Sea to be judged according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Both China and Philippines ratified UNCLOS. The US did not. The Philippines aimed for UNCLOS – not “historical rights”, as the Chinese wanted — to decide what is an island, what is a rock, and who is entitled to claim territorial rights (and thus EEZs) in these surrounding waters.UNCLOS itself is the result of years of fierce legal battles. Still, key nations – including BRICS members China, India and Brazil, but also, significantly, Vietnam and Malaysia – have been struggling to change an absolutely key provision, making it mandatory for foreign warships to seek permission before sailing through their EEZs.

And here we plunge in truly, deeply troubled waters; the notion of “freedom of navigation”.

For the American empire, “freedom of navigation”, from the West Coast of the US to Asia – through the Pacific, the South China Sea, the Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean – is strictly subordinated to military strategy. Imagine if one day EEZs would be closed to the US Navy – or if “authorization” would have to be demanded every time; the Empire of Bases would lose “access” to…its own bases.

Add to it trademark Pentagon paranoia; what if a “hostile power” decided to block the global trade on which the US economy depends? (even though the premise — China contemplating such a move — is ludicrous). The Pentagon actually pursues a Freedom of Navigation (FON) program. For all practical purposes, it’s 21st century gunboat diplomacy, as in those aircraft carriers showboating on and off in the South China Sea.The Holy Grail, as far as the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is concerned, is to come up with a Code of Conduct to solve all maritime conflicts between Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and China. This has been dragging on for years now because mostly the Philippines wanted to frame the Chinese under a set of binding rules but was only ready to talk until all ten ASEAN members had agreed on them first.

Beijing’s strategy is the opposite; bilateral discussions to emphasize its formidable leverage. Thus China assuring the support of Cambodia – quite visible early this week when Cambodia prevented a condemnation of China regarding the South China Sea at a key summit in Laos; China and ASEAN settled for “self-restraint.”

Watch Hillary pivoting

In 2011 the US State Department was absolutely terrified with the planned Obama administration withdrawals from both Iraq and Afghanistan; what would happen to superpower projection? That ended in November 2011, when then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton coined the by now famous “pivot to Asia”.

“Six lines of action” were embedded in the “pivot”. Four of these Clinton nicked from a 2009 report by the Washington think tank CSIS; reinvigorating alliances; cultivating relationships with emerging powers; developing relationships with regional multilateral bodies; and working closely with South East Asian countries on economic issues. Clinton added two more: broad-based military presence in Asia, and the promotion of democracy and human rights.

It was clear from the start – and not only across the global South — that cutting across the rhetorical fog the “pivot” was code for a military offensive to contain China. Even more seriously, this was the geopolitical moment when a South East Asian dispute over maritime territory intersected with the across-the-globe confrontation between the hegemon and a “peer competitor”.

What Clinton meant by “engaging emerging powers” was, in her own words, “join us in shaping and participating in a rules-based regional and global order”. This is code for rules coined by the hegemon – as in the whole apparatus of the Washington consensus.

No wonder the South China Sea is immensely strategic, as American hegemony intimately depends on ruling the waves (remember Mahan). That’s the core of the US National Military Strategy. The South China Sea is the crucial link connecting the Pacific to the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and ultimately Europe.And so we finally discover Rosebud — the ultimate South China Sea “secret”. China under Clinton’s “rule-based regional and global order” effectively means that China must obey and keep the South China Sea open to the US Navy.

That spells out inevitable escalation further on down the sea lanes. China, slowly but surely, is developing an array of sophisticated weapons which could ultimately “deny” the South China Sea to the US Navy, as the Beltway is very much aware.

What makes it even more serious is that we’re talking about irreconcilable imperatives. Beijing characterizes itself as an anti-imperialist power; and that necessarily includes recovering national territories usurped by colonial powers allied with internal Chinese traitors (those islands that The Hague has ruled are no more than “rocks” or even “low-tide elevations”).

The US, for its part, is all about Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny.  As it stands, more than Russia’s western borderlands, the Baltics or “Syraq”, this is where the hegemon “rules” are really being contested. And the stakes couldn’t be higher. That’ll be the day when the US Navy is “denied” from the South China Sea; and that’ll be the end of its imperial hegemony.

 

Putin is Defeating More than ISIS in Syria

October 16, 2015 (F. William Engdahl – NEO) – Russia and its President, Vladimir Putin, a little more than a year ago, in July 2014 were the focus of attention in Europe and North America, accused, without a shred of forensic evidence, of shooting down an unarmed civilian Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine. The Russians were deemed out to restore the Soviet Union with their agreement to the popular referendum of Crimean citizens to annex into the Russian Federation and not Ukraine. Western sanctions were being thrown at Russia by both Washington and the EU. People spoke of a new Cold War. Today the picture is changing, and profoundly. It is Washington that is on the defensive, exposed for the criminal actions it has been doing in Syria and across the Middle East, including creating the recent asylum crisis in Germany and large parts of the EU.

As a student of international politics and economics for most of my adult life, I must say the emotional restraint that Vladimir Putin and the Russian government have shown against tasteless ad hominem attacks, from people such as Hillary Clinton who likened Putin to Adolf Hitler, is remarkable. But more than restraint is required to bring our world from the brink or some might say, the onset of a World War III. Brilliant and directed action is essential. Here something extraordinary has taken place in the very few days since President Vladimir Putin’s September 28, UNGA speech in New York.

What he said…

What Putin said to the UN General Assembly must be noted to put what he and Russia did in the days immediately following into clear focus. First of all he made clear what the international law behind the UN Charter means and that Russia is scrupulously abiding by the Charter in actions in Syria. Russia, unlike the US, has been formally asked by the legitimate Syrian government to aid its war against terror.

To the UN delegates and heads of state Putin stated, “The decisions debated within the UN are either taken in the form of resolutions or not. As diplomats say, they either pass or they don’t. Any action taken by circumventing this procedure is illegitimate and constitutes a violation of the UN Charter and contemporary international law.”

He continued, “We all know that after the end of the Cold War the world was left with one center of dominance, and those who found themselves at the top of the pyramid were tempted to think that, since they are so powerful and exceptional, they know best what needs to be done and thus they don’t need to reckon with the UN, which, instead of rubber-stamping the decisions they need, often stands in their way.”

Putin followed this with a clear message to Washington and NATO governments on the subject of national sovereignty, something anathema to many who embrace the Nirvana supposed to come from globalization, homogenization of all to one level: “What is the meaning of state sovereignty, the term which has been mentioned by our colleagues here?” Putin rhetorically asked. “It basically means freedom, every person and every state being free to choose their future. By the way, this brings us to the issue of the so-called legitimacy of state authorities. You shouldn’t play with words and manipulate them. In international law, international affairs, every term has to be clearly defined, transparent and interpreted the same way by one and all.”

Putin added, “We are all different, and we should respect that. Nations shouldn’t be forced to all conform to the same development model that somebody has declared the only appropriate one. We should all remember the lessons of the past. For example, we remember examples from our Soviet past, when the Soviet Union exported social experiments, pushing for changes in other countries for ideological reasons, and this often led to tragic consequences and caused degradation instead of progress. “

Those few words succinctly point to what is fundamentally wrong in the international order today. Nations, above all the one proclaiming herself Sole Superpower, Infallible Hegemon, the USA, have arrogantly moved after the collapse of the main adversary, the Soviet Union in 1990, to create what can only be called a global totalitarian empire, what G.H.W. Bush in his September 11, 1991 address to Congress called a New World Order. I believe with conviction that borders do matter, that respect for different cultures, different historical experiences is essential in a world of peace. That is as much true with nations as with individual human beings. We seem to have forgotten that simple notion amid all the wars of the past decades. Vladimir Putin reminds us.

Then the Russian president goes to the heart of the matter. He lays bare the true activities of the Obama Administration in Syria and the Middle East in arming and training “moderate” Islamist terrorists to attack Washington’s bête noire, Syria’s duly-elected and recently re-elected President, Bashar al Assad.

Putin states, “instead of learning from other people’s mistakes, some prefer to repeat them and continue to export revolutions, only now these are “democratic” revolutions. Just look at the situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa…problems have been piling up for a long time in this region, and people there wanted change. But what was the actual outcome? Instead of bringing about reforms, aggressive intervention rashly destroyed government institutions and the local way of life. Instead of democracy and progress, there is now violence, poverty, social disasters and total disregard for human rights, including even the right to life.”

Then in a remark addressed to Washington and their NGO Color Revolutions known as the Arab Spring, Putin pointedly asks,“I’m urged to ask those who created this situation: do you at least realize now what you’ve done?“

Putin, without naming it, addresses the US and NATO role in creating ISIS, noting with precision the curious anomaly that the sophisticated new US Treasury unit to conduct financial sanctions against terrorist organizations, has utterly ignored the funding sources of ISIS, their oil sales facilitated by the Turkish President’s own family to name just one. The Russian President stated, “…the Islamic State itself did not come out of nowhere. It was initially developed as a weapon against undesirable secular regimes. Having established control over parts of Syria and Iraq, Islamic State now aggressively expands into other regions. It seeks dominance in the Muslim world and beyond…The situation is extremely dangerous. In these circumstances, it is hypocritical and irresponsible to make declarations about the threat of terrorism and at the same time turn a blind eye to the channels used to finance and support terrorists, including revenues from drug trafficking, the illegal oil trade and the arms trade.

And what Putin is doing…

Russia in the last weeks has completely out-maneuvered the diabolical, and they are diabolical, agenda of the Obama Administration not only in Syria but also in the entire Middle East and now in the EU with unleashing the flood of refugees. He openly reached out to invite Obama in their New York September 30 meeting to cooperate together in defeating ISIS. Obama stubbornly insisted that first Assad must go, despite the fact that Christine Wormuth, the Pentagon Undersecretary responsible for the Syrian war, confirmed Russian statements about Assad’s essential role today in any defeat of ISIS. She told the US Senate that Assad’s military “still has considerable strength,” adding, “it’s still the most powerful military force on the ground. The assessment right now is the regime is not in imminent danger of falling.”

Now come the howls of protest from neo-con warhawks, like the ever-ready-for-war Senator John McCain, chairman of the NGO International Republican Institute of the democratic revolution exporting US-backed NGO, National Endowment for Democracy. Or we hear flaccid protests from President Obama. This is because Washington finds itself deeply exposed to the light of world scrutiny for backing terrorists in Syria against a duly-elected state leader and government. The US warhawks accuse Russia of hitting “the moderate opposition” or civilians.

Emperor’s New Clothes

Russia’s Putin is playing the role ever so elegantly, even gracefully, of the small boy in the Hans Christian Anderson classic fairy tale from 1837, The Emperor’s New Clothes. The boy stands with his mother amid thousands of other villagers in the crowd outside the vain Emperor’s palace balcony, where the disassociated king struts around the balcony naked, thinking he is wearing a magnificent new suit of clothes. The boy shouts, to the embarrassment of all servile citizens who pretend his clothes are magnificent, “Mother, look the Emperor has no clothes!”

What do I mean? In the first four days of precision bombing of select sites in Syria Russian advanced fighter jets firing Kh-29L air-to-surface laser-guided missiles that strike targets with a precision less than two meters, managed to destroy key ISIS command centers, munitions depots and vital infrastructure. According to the Russian Defense Ministry official reports, with photos, Su-34 bombers attacked an ISIS special training camp and munition depot near Al-Tabqa, Ar-Raqqah province,” a critical ISIS outpost captured in August, 2014 after bitter battles. “As a result of explosion of the munition depot, the terrorist training camp was completely destroyed,” the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman stated. Russian Su-25 jets have also attacked training camp of the Islamic State in the Syrian Idlib, destroying a workshop for explosive belt production.

Moscow states its air force has “engaged 3 munition, fuel and armament depots of the illegal armed groups. KAB-500 aviation bombs detonated the munition and armament,” and they used BETAB-500 concrete-piercing bombs to destroy four command posts of the ISIS armed groups. The facilities with terrorists are completely destroyed,” the Moscow spokesman added. Russia’s aviation conducted 20 flights and carried out 10 airstrikes against facilities of the Islamic State (ISIL) terrorist group in the past 24 hours. Then Moscow announced they had also hit key outposts of other terror groups such as the Al Qaeda-franchise, Al Nusra Front.

These are the so-called “moderates” that McCain and the Washington warhawks are weeping over. Washington has been creating what it calls the “New” Syrian Forces (NSF), which they claim is composed of “moderate” terrorists, euphemistically referred to as “rebels.” Imagine how recruitment talks go: CIA recruiter, “Mohammed, are you a moderate Islamist? Why yes, my dear CIA trainer. Please take me, train me and arm me in the fight against the ruthless dictator Assad and against ISIS. I’m on your side. You can trust me…”

In late September it was reported that Major Anas Obaid a.k.a. Abu Zayd, on completing his CIA training in Turkey, defected from the train-and-equip program to join Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria) immediately on entering Syria. Incredibly, US officials admit that Washington does not track or exercise command-and-control of its Jihadist proxies once they enter Syria. Abu Zayd’s defection after being trained in advanced warfare techniques by the US, is typical. Other elements of the New Syrian Forces directly handed all their weapons to Nusra upon entering Syrian territory at the town of Atareb at the end of September.

These latest “moderate” defections to join Al Qaeda’s Al-Nusra Front affiliate in Syria come less than two weeks after Gen. Lloyd Austin III, head of the US “war against ISIS,” during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Syria, admitted that the US military program that intended produce 5,400 trained fighters a year has so far only resulted in “four or five” who still remain on the ground and active in combat. The rest have all joined ISIS or Al Nusra Front of Al Qaeda, the US-backed “moderate opposition” to ISIL.

What the successful Russian precision airstrikes have done is expose in all its ugly nakedness the Emperor’s New Clothes. For more than one year, the Obama Administration claims it has committed the most awesome airpower on the planet allegedly to destroy ISIS, which has been described as a “ragtag band of militants running around the desert in basketball shoes.”

Curiously, until last week, ISIS has only expanded its web of power in Syria and Iraq under US bombings. Now, within 72 hours, the Russian military, launching only 60 bombing runs in 72 hours, hitting more than 50 ISIS targets, has brought the ISIS combatants into what the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman described as a state of “panic” where more than 600 have deserted. And, according to Moscow, the fight is only beginning, expected, they say to last three to four months.

The Obama Administration has been training terrorists of Al Qaeda/Al Nusra, allegedly to fight ISIS, much like the disgraced General David Petraeus did in Iraq and Afghanistan along with Obama’s special ISIS coordinator, the just-resigned General John Allen. The US-trained “moderate” terrorists were being readied, it’s now clear to all the world, in reality, to battle Assad and open the way for a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Syria and a real plunge into darkness for the world if that were to succeed.

Now, with the truth in the open, exposed by the remarkable successes of a handful of Russian fighter jets in four days against ISIS, accomplishing more than the US “anti-ISIS coalition” in more than one year, it is clear to the world Washington has been playing a dirty double game.

Now that hypocritical Obama Administration mask has been blown off with the precision hit of a Russian laser-guided Kh-29L missile. As German and other EU governments have admitted, much to the strong objection of Washington, Putin has demonstrated that Russia is the essential part of any peaceful resolution of the Syria war. That in turn has a huge bearing on the current asylum-seeker crisis in Germany and other parts of the EU. It also has a huge bearing on prospects for world peace. The Norwegian Parliament’s Nobel Peace Prize Committee, rather than consider John Kerry, might consider Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister, Sergey Shoygu, for the prize.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Baseless Russia Downed MH17 Allegations Resurface

Baseless Russia Downed MH17 Allegations Resurface

by Stephen Lendman

Previous articles explained no credible evidence suggests Russia or Donbass freedom fighters had anything to do with downing MH17.
What benefit could they possibly have gotten from downing a commercial aircraft unrelated to conflict on the ground – especially knowing the uproar it would cause? 
Washington and Kiev gained plenty from blaming their crime on convenient adversaries – 298 lost passenger and crew member lives bought lots of useful propaganda.
On Tuesday, media scoundrels featured the following headlines:
New York Times: “Malaysian Airlines Crash Investigators to Examine Possible Missile Parts in Eastern Ukraine” – alleging surface-to-air Russian ones, highlighting Ukraine, Washington and other Western countries saying the aircraft “was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile fired from territory in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists.”
Washington Post publishing an AP article titled: “Prosecutors: Possible Buk missile parts found at MH17 site” – again alleging surface-to-air Russian made.
Wall Street Journal: “MH17 Investigators Examine Possible Missile Parts” – pointing fingers at Russia. Saying the “widely held view (is) that the plane was brought down by an advanced antiaircraft weapon.”
Chicago Tribune: “Prosecutors: Possible missile parts found at Malaysia plane crash site” – suggesting they’re from a Russia made BUK missile.
Washington Times: “Possible Russian missile parts found at MH17 crash site: investigators.”
CNN: “MH17 investigators: Possible missile parts found…from a Russian-made Buk surface-to-air-missile system – the type of system that the case’s lead prosecutor already said is suspected to have downed the plane.”
The BBC was worst of all headlining: “MH17: ‘Russian missile parts’ at Ukraine crash site.” The UK government owned and operated propaganda service pronounced Russia guilty despite no evidence whatever suggesting it – ignoring eyewitnesses they interviewed last year saying Ukrainian warplanes were seen overflying Donbass near MH17 when it was downed. The BBC then buried the story.
Most reports indicated no proved link between the parts found and MH17’s downing, nor responsibility for the crime. At the same time, they hyped a possible surface-to-air likely Russian made BUK missile despite no evidence of this type weapon used.
High-resolution photos showed cockpit damage from likely 30 millimeter air-to-air cannon fire downed the plane. Only Ukrainian warplanes and helicopters patrolled the skies over Donbass – no others. Kiev complicit with Washington downed MH17. It’s hard drawing any other conclusion. 
Don’t expect it from the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) investigating cause, not responsibility for the incident or the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprised of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine outrageously, charged with bringing “perpetrators of the attack on MH17 to justice.”
No independently verified evidence suggests a surface-to-air missile downed MH17. None exists. Yet the US-manipulated Joint Investigation Team in cooperation with the Dutch Safety Board issued a statement saying in part:
Investigation continues into “parts (found), possibly from a Buk surface-air-missile system. (They’re) of particular interest to the criminal investigation as they can possibly provide more information about who was involved in  the crash of MH17” – strongly suggesting Russia and/or Donbass freedom fighters in less than so many words.
None of the above major media reports (and many others) or either investigation team suggested the possibility of Ukraine’s culpability – despite BBC reported eyewitness testimony explained above and other evidence indicating its warplane downed MH17, not Russian or Donbass surface-to-air missiles.

Wow what a surprise! Debris found on island not part of Flight MH370

SEE ALSO

I’m surprised no one is questioning how a heavy piece of MH370’s wing could be washed high up on a beach in La Reunion 500 days later

Official: Debris found on island not part of Flight MH370

An object found on an Indian Ocean island is not part of a plane door but a generic ladder that has nothing to do with missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Malaysian official said Sunday.

The debris was found on the island of Reunion, where a piece of a Boeing 777 wing flap was found on a beach in the town of Saint Andre on Wednesday.

“I read all over media it (the new debris) was part of a door,” Malaysian Director General of Civil Aviation Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told AFP and other media outlets. “But I checked with the Civil Aviation Authority, and people on the ground in Reunion, and it was just a domestic ladder.”

Flight 370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, bound for Beijing with 239 people aboard. Most of the victims were Chinese.

The item was handed to authorities after it washed ashore south of Reunion’s capital of St Denis in the north, according to the the BBC. The BBC and Sky News were among outlets initially reporting the object might be part of an aircraft door. Sky News said the object was discovered in a different location to a wing flap, which was found on the northeast of the island on Wednesday.

Reunion is a French territory of more than 800,000 people almost 600 miles east of Madagascar. The island is about 3,500 miles southwest of Maylaysia and more than 2,000 miles from the vast area of the Indian Ocean where Flight 370 is suspected to have crashed. The wing flap, suspected to be from Flight 370, arrived at a testing facility in France on Saturday. The “flaperon” was escorted to the DGA TA aeronautical testing site near Toulouse, southern France, by police motorcycles and a police car.

Experts in Toulouse will begin work to determine whether the part came from the missing Boeing 777 on Wednesday, the Paris prosecutor’s office said. An investigating judge is due to meet with Malaysian authorities and French aviation investigative agency representatives Monday.

Malaysia’s Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai, citing French authorities and Boeing, confirmed Sunday that the flaperon had been verified as being from a Boeing 777, the same type of aircraft as Flight 370. Representatives from the U.S., France, China and Boeing were working to establish whether the flaperon came from the flight, he said.

Malaysian officials said they would seek help from territories near Reunion to try to find more plane debris and to allow access to crash experts, the Associated Press reported.

I’m surprised no one is questioning how a heavy piece of MH370’s wing could be washed high up on a beach in La Reunion 500 days later

I’m surprised no one is questioning how a piece of MH370’s wing, clear of signs of corrosion,  could be washed high up on a beach in La Reunion 500 days later. The wreckage which required four people to carry was apparently buoyant enough to float. A piece of luggage was conveniently placed nearby.

Malaysian Airlines MH370 and MH17. A Criminologist Questions: What are the Probabilities? Is it a Mere Coincidence?

Vladimir Putin is to Blame, according to the Mainstream Media.

Both the MH17 and the MH370 crashes are currently in the news. While MH17 is the object of the UN Security Council Resolution, US officials confirm that debris of MH370 have been found in the French island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean.

This incisive July 2014 article by Criminology Professor Jason Kissner of California State University analyzes the relationship between the two Malaysian airline crashes.  

Four months after the vanishing of Malaysia Airlines flight 370, Malaysian Airlines flight 17 was allegedly brought down by a surface-to-air missile.

Western Mainstream Media (MSM) hastened–on the basis of very thin evidence joined with the refusal to even mention other evidence–to attribute blame to the “appropriate” party, which in the case of flight 17 happens to be Vladimir Putin.

Careful observers of the mainstream media processes are well aware that this sort of thing is what we are to expect, and undoubtedly helps explain the very low level of trust people place in MSM institutions.

Here, of course with the leave of figures such as Anderson Cooper and Barack Obama, we are going to do some of our own thinking about, and analysis of, certain key pieces of evidence.  In so doing, we should not be surprised if we arrive at conclusions different from that which our Ruling Class masters would have us believe.

First, let’s present the currently prevailing theory as to what happened.  K.T. McFarland, national security analyst at Fox, presents “three possible scenarios” pertaining to the attribution of responsibility.

Of the three “possible” scenarios McFarland presents (and one wonders exactly what scenarios are supposed to be impossible), McFarland (and many others) appears to favor the prospect that pro-Russian rebel separatists are responsible.  The theory is that motive and opportunity coincide in that group better than they do with respect to other potential malfeasants.

 Maybe the separatists are responsible.  But the case is hardly closed, and plenty of evidence that people such as McFarland choose to ignore should be considered as objectively as possible.

First, similar to Malaysia Airlines flight 370, there is evidence that contact with Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was lost in advance of the wayward event. Next, and once more like flight 370, we have evidence that the pilot of Flight 17 actually diverted–purportedly on the basis of a vague sense of being “uncomfortable”–the craft into the dangerous warzone region where it was shot down.

Next, reflect that, on the same day, 55 planes flew over Donetsk just as flight 17 did and that these flight patterns have been in place for some time.

The Normal MH17 Flight Path vs. the Warzone flight path over Donesk Oblast on July 17th

And here is evidence reported by Zero Hedge that may be very important:

 “While there are various questions that have already emerged from what was supposed to be Ukraine’s “slam dunk” proof confirming Russian rebel involvement in today’s MH-17 tragedy, perhaps one just as gaping question emerges when one looks at what is clearly an outlier flight path in today’s final, and tragic, departure of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.

 Perhaps the best visualization of what the issue is, comes from Vagelis Karmiros who has collated all the recent MH-17 flight paths as tracked by Flightaware and shows that while all ten most recent paths pass safely well south of the Donetsk region, and cross the zone above the Sea of Azov, it was only today’s tragic flight that passed straight overhead Donetsk.”

The Karmiros evidence could of course be wrong, but can we prove that it is wrong now, and can we be 100% confident that what the MSM tells us is true?

And, if it’s wrong, why hasn’t the Karmiros evidence been refuted?  The answer to that is that it’s probably because it hasn’t received any discussion.  Why not?

Next, here are a few other curious tidbits.  The flight 17 crash shares an anniversary with the demise of TWA 800, which AT’s own Jack Cashill has compellingly argued was, in fact, brought down by a missile on July 17, 1996 and subsequently covered up by the US government.  And, the maiden flight of flight 17 occurred in 1997 on the date of, you guessed it, July 17.

[Moreover Russia’s last ruling monarch of the Romanov family Tsar Nicholas II, together with his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei were executed on 17 July 1918. Subliminal message to Putin? No doubt it’s another “coincidence”]

So “17s” are everywhere.  To be sure, though, each of the items in the last paragraph is easily ranged under the heading “coincidence.”

But before we do that, there is one more piece of evidence to consider.  Upon having done so, we will synthesize all of the evidence by thinking in terms of probabilities.

There is evidence at YouTube that seems to indicate that CNN recently used footage of a helicopter downing in Syria and represented it as depicting the downing of a helicopter, by pro-Russian forces, in the Ukraine (go to 2:39 for a photo comparison).

Now to the probabilistic summary.

Reasoning with probabilities is notoriously tricky, so we have to proceed carefully.  Fortunately, a simple coin flip analogy can be employed.  If you flip a fair 50/50 coin twice, four possible sequences can occur, and each has an equal likelihood of occurring {HH, HT, TH, TT}.  The equal likelihood of the possible sequences flows from the standard supposition that the coin flips are independent of one another, which is simply to say that an H on flip 1 says nothing about whether flip 2 will produce an H or a T.

The analogy with MH 17 is as follows.  If five months ago (before the vanishing of MH 370) you had contemplated the likelihood that the next two major airline disasters to receive massive global coverage would each involve Malaysia Airlines, you would have been justified in concluding that the likelihood was very low indeed.  By analogy, it would be like specifying only an {H, H} sequence as the outcome ahead of time (a {T, T} sequence would represent the same airline as having been involved, but not Malaysia Airlines).

 Now what the Western mainstream media are implicitly arguing is that MH 370 and MH 17 have no real link and are only connected with massive airline disasters in recent months by chance; they’re saying that it could just as well have been any two flights so linked (by analogy, {H, H} or {H, T} or {T, H} or {T, T}).  If this argument is valid, nothing at all should be made at all of the fact that Malaysia Airlines was involved in both instances, since all possible sequences are accounted for and no sequence is much more likely than any other.

And yet, the evidence presented in this article suggests that MH 370 and MH 17 are linked in ways that might not be due to chance.  Both MH 370 and MH 17 appear to have lost communicative contact, and both appear to have veered off course on very unusual routes.  How many aircraft of other airlines have done so in recent months, never mind how many of the 55 aircraft over Donetsk did so on July 17?  How many aircraft other than MH 17 had their inaugural voyage on the date of July 17?

These considerations suggest that, in fact, in the cases of MH 370 and MH 17 we might not be dealing with a “fair coin.”

In turn, the following very reasonable question presents itself: was Malaysia Airlines in particular targeted on July 17, and, if so, what ragtag rebel would have even been in a position to do that (especially given the route alteration, if true), and, if so, how did they accomplish it?

 One suspects that the MSM will completely ignore these considerations and will likely coalesce, for several reasons, around an account that blames the episode on an accidental discharge that Putin can nonetheless be blamed for given the hostilities in the region.

However that may be, one thing is almost certainly true: the likelihood that Western MSM would in any way, shape, or form discuss evidence implicating U.S. aligned interests in the demise of MH 17 is virtually nil, no matter how compelling such evidence might be.

Dr. Jason Kissner is Associate Professor of Criminology at California State University. Dr. Kissner’s research on gangs and self-control has appeared in academic journals.  His current empirical research interests include active shootings

Attempt to cover up the truth faces a major obstacle, Malaysian Pressure Forces MH17 Investigation to UN

Malaysian Pressure Forces MH17 Investigation to UN …

Eric Zuesse

Malaysia, frustrated by the refusal of the official international investigation-team to produce any clear evidence yet of whom to blame for the downing of the MH17 Malaysian airliner over the Ukrainian civil-war zone on 17 July 2014, has finally forced the team to request the UN to investigate. They’ve forced the original four nations on the team to accept UN adjudication of any final report. This will enable a court-proceeding to make the ultimate determination of guilt (upon which judgment penalties and compensation will be assessed), and this court-determination would inevitably allow whatever party is being blamed by the five-member official investigating team, to present its own evidence in the case, so that the court will make the ultimate determination — the official investigating team will not be performing that crucial judgmental function.

Malaysia was long prohibited from even participating in this investigational team, but on 5 November 2014, a deal was finally reached with the four nations that did comprise the team — four U.S. allies: Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, and (a suspect in possibly having downed the MH17) Ukraine itself (though it had lost none of its citizens in the disaster) — so, the next day, Malaysia’s New Straits Times  headlined “Malaysia to join MH17 criminal probe team,” and reported that, “The prime minister said the country had been invited to play a bigger role in the recovery and investigation of the ill-fated aircraft, believed to have been downed by a missile over eastern Ukraine on July 17.” The Malaysian report went on then, pointedly, to note: “In July, the Dutch and Ukrainian authorities agreed that the bulk of the operations would be carried out by the Netherlands, with assistance from countries whose citizens were on board the flight. Malaysia had repeatedly asked to be part of the joint investigation team, currently comprising investigators from the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and Ukraine.” Implicitly, that phrase “Malaysia had repeatedly asked to be part of the investigating team” said that Malaysia had consistently been refused membership until 5 November 2014. In fact, even by late November of 2014, Malaysia continued to be refused membership, and I headlined on November 30th, “Malaysia Becomes Angry About Exclusion from MH17 Investigation.” That refusal was especially outrageous because, like three of the four nations that already were on the team, Malaysia had lost (44) citizens from the downing. But in addition, Malaysia had lost the plane, from it. There was no excuse for the four pro-Western nations to exclude Malaysia, and for their limiting the investigating-team to only Ukraine (a key suspect in the downing) and three of its allies. And, between November and now, Malaysia has finally become so fed-up with the team’s continuing refusal to act, and to declare the culprit, so that the rest of the team finally consented to Malaysia’s demand to transfer the investigation over to the UN.

On 24 June 2015, Agence France Press, a mouthpiece for yet another Western nation (France), bannered, “Netherlands, Malaysia push for UN tribunal for MH17 culprits,” and Thailand’s Bangkock Post headlined this same story more honestly and directly, as “Malaysia demands UN court for MH17 shootdown,” but carried unchanged the anti-Russian-slanted AFP text. The anti-Russian-slanted AFP ‘news’ report said “It remains unclear, however, whether Russia would back the creation of the special tribunal” (something which they could also have said of the U.S., for example) and included a sub-head: “- Getting Russia on board -,” which section had only this brief and anonymously sourced reference to Russia: “The diplomat [unidentified] said the countries were mindful of the need to ‘avoid a Russian veto’ [as if a Russian veto would have been likelier than an American one, etc.].” That’s propaganda for a regime, not news-reporting for a democracy — it delivers the bias (to whip up support for war), along with its sugar-coated pro-regime facts.

The present writer has already set forth the conclusive evidence that Ukraine downed this airliner, and that the reason Ukraine did it — intentionally, not at all by mistake — was in order to enable the U.S. to blame Russia for it and thus get the EU to hike economic sanctions against Russia. Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany isn’t the only nation in history that has used what the intelligence trade calls “false-flag attacks” in order to blame the nations that it itself aims to attack. The U.S. has perfected that technique.

Russia was framed for the downing of MH17, which was a U.S. job carried out by the Ukrainian Air Force. (The EU knows that the U.S. has a mega-criminal government, but they go along with it, thinking that their aristocrats will get some of the loot that’s being yanked off by America’s aristocrats. They do this though 206 of the murdered passengers were EU citizens. And Netherlands, which provided the U.S. key assistance in the buildup to overthrowing Ukraine’s democracy, lost the most people in it, which just goes to show on which side Dutch aristocrats stand — it’s not the Dutch public’s side.)

Finally, Malaysia is having some success in pulling this criminal investigation away from the clearly proven criminal (Ukraine — which now is itself a U.S. client-state) and its friends.

Anyone who believes Western ‘news’ media about international affairs is simply laying his mind out to be raped by agents of the local nation’s aristocracy. Almost everything has become propaganda now. Honest journalism is squelched, if not strangled.

That’s why, if you’ll google the headline of this news-report, none of the major mainstream and ‘alternative’ ‘news’ sites will likely come up — though it has been sent to all of them.

———-

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

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