Australian submarines: an immature and potentially devastating move

September 23, 2021

Australian submarines: an immature and potentially devastating move

by Jean-Luc BASLE  for the Saker Blog

In a September 20th interview with French newspaper Ouest France, France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian explains that the Australian submarine contract was part of France’s Indo-Pacific strategy – a strategy which included India* and whose objective was to ensure stability in a region critically important to world peace and prosperity and, incidentally, where two million French people live. This tripartite de Gaulle-type initiative on the part of France in an area the United States regard as its private reserve since the late 19th century, could not be tolerated. Washington DC had to put an end to it. It did it in a rather abrupt and inimical way, considering France is its oldest ally.

In practical terms, what will come out of this new AUKUS alliance? Nothing, if we believe Scott Ritter, former US Marine Corps intelligence officer which views it as a “dangerous joke”. Why a joke? Because Australia has neither the industrial nor the financial wherewithal not to mention the personnel necessary to build (partially) and fully manage a fleet of nuclear submarines. Why dangerous? Because Chinese leaders see AUKUS as a threat directed at China, and also because other countries may follow suit Australia’s example.

Noting that “a US ally could be armed with nuclear weapons anytime” and that the international community has reason to question Joe Biden’s sincerity when he states that the Australian submarines will not be equipped with nuclear weapons, Yang Sheng observes that: “a nuclear submarine is one tasked to launch a second-round nuclear strike in a nuclear war”. Furthermore, Chinese leaders consider the submarine contract as a violation of the non-proliferation treaty and a de facto legalization of “the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines by all countries”. In a rather corrosive article, the Bulletin of American Scientists stigmatize the members of the AUKUS Alliance, especially the United States, for facilitating “the proliferation of very sensitive military nuclear technology in the coming years”. It further notes that there is little the International Atomic Energy Agency can do to stop Iran from acquiring “enriching uranium to HEU levels** to pursue a submarine program”.

 Will this lead to a new arms race between the United States and China, as some people fear? Hopefully not. China knows it is winning its competition with the United States. Why waste useful resources in such a race? Chinese are patient people – a virtue Westerners lack.

 In his bi-weekly foreign policy video, geopolitical analyst Alexander Mercouris sees AUKUS as further proof of U.S. amateurish foreign policy. Amateurish, indeed, but potentially devastating for world peace coming after George W. Bush’s cancelation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. In its January 2020 bulletin, the board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists move the Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds to midnight – the closest to midnight it has ever been in 75 years. In their January 2021 bulletin, the board left it there. Where will it be in January 2022? The French initiative, for all its shortcomings and challenges, had the advantage of not upsetting the global apple cart. Brutally left in the cold by its Anglo-Saxon friends, the French should waste no time in offering its nuclear-powered Barracuda submarines to India in replacement of the nuclear-powered submarines the Indian Navy leases from Russia. What a sweet victory this would be.

*India is a long-time client of France’s armament industry.

** Highly Enriched Uranium

Strategic Stupidity… Biden Torpedoes French & NATO Relations With Aussie Sub Deal to Target China

September 21, 2021

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Finian Cunningham

It’s not only France that is stunned by the Anglo-American skullduggery. The other European NATO allies were also left in the dark, Finian Cunningham writes.

The Gallic gall erupting between France and the United States, Britain and Australia has overshadowed the new military alliance that U.S. President Joe Biden announced last week for the Indo-Pacific region.

That alliance was supposed to signal a U.S.-led initiative to challenge China. But the strategic move is turning out rather stupid and shortsighted as it has backfired to slam a hole in Washington’s alliance with France and wider NATO partnerships.

French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered the recall of ambassadors from the U.S. and Australia in a sign of the intense anger in Paris over the newly unveiled alliance known as AUKUS – standing for Australia, United Kingdom and the United States. The return of French envoys from these allied nations has never happened before.

What’s at stake is a €56 billion contract to build a fleet of 12 submarines for Australia by France that was first signed in 2016. That deal has been scrapped and replaced by a contract with the U.S. and Britain to supply Australia with eight nuclear-powered submarines. The French subs that were on order were diesel-electric powered.

That’s a huge loss in financial revenue for France as well as a hammer blow to French naval jobs and ancillary industries. But what’s more damaging is the stealth and a palpable sense of betrayal. The French were evidently hoodwinked by the Americans, British and Australians over the whole backroom deal.

France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian did not beat around the bush to express the rage being felt in Paris at the highest level. “I am outraged… this is a stab in the back,” he fumed to French media on news of the new Anglo-American military alliance in the Indo-Pacific and the consequent cancellation of the French sub contract.

“There has been duplicity, contempt and lies – you cannot play that way in an alliance,” he added referring to the NATO military organization of which France is a prominent member.

Apart from the recall of its ambassadors, France has also cancelled a scheduled summit in London this week between French and British defense ministers.

Sir Peter Ricketts, a former British national security advisor and past ambassador to France, said the growing row was “just the tip of the iceberg”. He said it was much worse than when France fell foul of the United States and Britain back in 2003 over the Iraq War.

Ricketts told the BBC as quoted by The Guardian: “This is far more than just a diplomatic spat… this puts a big rift down the middle of the NATO alliance.”

What is particularly galling for the French is that the new U.S. alliance with Britain and Australia was obviously under private discussion for several months to the exclusion of Paris and other NATO members. The French only found out about the pact when it was announced on September 15 in a joint virtual press conference between Biden and his British and Australian counterparts, Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison.

When Biden made his first overseas trip as president in June this year to attend the G7 summit in Cornwall, England, and later to meet other NATO leaders in Belgium, there was no mention of the AUKUS plan. Biden even held a bilateral and apparently cordial meeting with Macron in Cornwall without any hint of the new alliance under formation nor the impending impact on the French submarine contract. More bitterly in hindsight, Biden also held a closed meeting with Johnson and Morrison during the G7 summit even though Australia is not a member of the forum. They must have discussed AUKUS in secret. No wonder the French are aggrieved by the contempt shown.

But it’s not only France that is stunned by the Anglo-American skullduggery. The other European NATO allies were also left in the dark.

Last week, European foreign policy chief Josep Borrell presented a new EU strategic vision for the Indo-Pacific region the day after the AUKUS alliance was announced. Borrell had metaphorical egg dripping off his face when he answered media questions about the U.S., UK, Australia initiative. “We were not informed, we were not aware… we regret not having been informed.”

The brutal irony is that Biden came to the White House promising that he would repair transatlantic partnerships with Europe and NATO which had been ravaged by Donald Trump and his browbeating over alleged lack of military spending by allies. When Biden visited England and Belgium in June it was something of a love-in with European leaders who swooned over his vows of “America is back”.

After Biden’s unilateral withdrawal from Afghanistan last month when European NATO partners were not consulted and their apprehensions were brushed aside, now we see Biden poking France in the eye and kicking it in the coffers with €56 billion pain.

“Political trust has been shattered,” said Frederic Grare of the European Council for Foreign Affairs as quoted by the Euronews outlet.

But the whole sordid betrayal and bickering have more than money and loss of trust involved – far-reaching though that those issues are.

Washington’s willingness to supply nuclear-powered submarines to Australia with British collaboration shows that the United States is moving ahead with a more reckless offensive policy towards China. Biden is explicitly declaring a strategic move to confront China more openly and provocatively, ramping up the hostility of previous administrations under Trump and Obama.

Beijing condemned the new AUKUS alliance as a harbinger of more “Cold War”, saying that it would bring insecurity to the region and lead to a new arms race. That may be an understatement as the Anglo-American alliance spells move to a war footing.

China warned that despite Australia’s insipid assurances to the contrary, the nuclear-powered submarines could be armed with nuclear missiles in the future. Beijing said Australia would be targeted for a nuclear strike in the event of any future war with the United States.

Biden’s strategic move to engage with Britain and Australia in order to threaten China is proving to be a loose cannon in relations with France and other European NATO allies. That speaks of Washington’s desperation to confront China. 

عالم ينهار عالم ينهض ومركز ثقل العالم ينتقل إلى الشرق

 محمد صادق الحسيني

«‏العالم ليس سوى غابة… هذه مقولة كنا قد نسيناها

‏لكن الخنجر الذي طعنتنا به أميركا في الظهر

‏يعيد تذكيرنا بها اليوم مجدداً».

‏هذا الكلام لسفير فرنسا السابق في واشنطن ‏(في إشارة إلى إلغاء صفقة الغواصات الأسترالية لفرنسا بضغط من الولايات المتحدة الأميركية).‏

لا يزال العالم يعيش تحت صدمة فسخ صفقة الغواصات التي تعمل بالوقود التقليدي بين أستراليا وفرنسا واستبدالها بأخرى مع أميركا تعمل بالوقود النووي.

وهو ما اعتبره القادة الفرنسيون خيانة أميركية للشراكة الأطلسية وتواطؤاً بريطانياً ذميماً وانقياداً أسترالياً بغيضاً، سيرمي بظلاله على كل العمل المشترك في حلف الناتو.

وهو ما أثار بالفعل تساؤلات عميقة لدى المتابعين والخبراء والمراقبين على حدّ سواء.

ويعتقد مطلعون أنّ العاصفة الهوجاء من النقد اللاذع التي انطلقت مع هذه الواقعة لدى الفرنسيين لها ما يبرّرها بسبب سوابق أميركية تعود لأيام حكم ترامب.

فقد سبق للأميركيين أن وجهوا انتقادات لاذعة للفرنسيين كما للألمان، متهمين إياهم بأنهم لم يقوموا بواجباتهم كما ينبغي تجاه حلف الأطلسي فيما يدفع الأميركيون من خزانتهم لحماية أوروبا والدفاع عنها، وهو خلاصة الكلام الذي أسمعه ترامب للأوروبيين في اجتماعه الشهير بقادتهم في الأشهر الأخيرة من عهده على هامش اجتماع عالي المستوى في فرنسا.

ومن يومها تحسّس قادة أوروبا رؤوسهم وبدأوا يتحدثون عن ضرورة تشكيل قوة دفاعية خاصة بهم.

واليوم مع القرار المفاجئ لأستراليا بإلغاء ما عُرف بصفقة القرن (ما قيمته 56 مليار دولار) مع فرنسا واستبدالها بأخرى أميركية مع إعلان مفاجئ لجو بايدن عن تحالف ثلاثي يضمّ بلاده وبريطانيا وأستراليا، تكون الرواية الفرنسية عن الخيانة الأميركية تجاه باريس والطعن في الظهر قد اكتملت.

لعلّ من المفيد هنا الإشارة إلى أنّ حلف شمال الأطلسي وهو الحلف القائم بين أميركا وأوروبا إنما تشكل بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية من أجل حماية أوروبا من الاتحاد السوفياتي سابقاً.

الأوروبيون يشعرون بقوة منذ زمن ليس بالقليل بأن واشنطن تعيش موسم الهجرة إلى الصين، وأنها لم تعد ترى في موسكو عدوها الأساس بقدر ما ترى ذلك في الصين، خصوصاً بعد أن انتقل الصراع برأيهم من الميدان والحروب العسكرية إلى الاقتصاد، وهو المجال الذي سبقتهم فيه الصين مسافات طويلة.

بالتالي فإنّ ما بات مطلوباً بالنسبة لواشنطن إنما هو تحالفات جديدة تقوم على ضرورة الانتقال من ضفتي الأطلسي إلى ضفتي الهادئ وبحر الصين.

في هذه الأثناء فإنّ تحوّلاً مهماً آخر أيضاً قد طرأ في موازين القوى العسكرية أيضاً في النطاق الأوروبي.

حيث يجمع المتخصصون والعالمون بتقنيات القوة العسكرية الروسية الراهنة، وهو ما يعرفه جنرالات الناتو وكذلك جنرالات البنتاغون جيداً بأنّ قدرات العسكر الروسي المتطورة جداً باتت قادرة على سحق القوة العسكرية الغربية والسيطرة على الميدان فيها من لينينغراد إلى النورماندي (أقصى غرب فرنسا) خلال 24 ساعة.

وهذا التحول المهم في الموازين هو الذي دفع ألمانيا مبكراً للتوجه شرقاً باتجاه موسكو والتفاهم معها لإنجاز مشروع السيل الشمالي 2 للغاز، لتأمين ألمانيا من الطاقة، والتزام الحذر الشديد تجاه أيّ مخطط مقترح من واشنطن قبل أن يتطابق مع المصلحة القومية الألمانية العليا.‏

واليوم يأتي الدور على فرنسا للتفكير ملياً في ما إذا كان المطلوب منها التفكير جدياً بالتوجه شرقاً في إطار حماية أمنها القومي واستجرار الطاقة مثلاً من الروس أيضاً عبر ألمانيا.

تجدر الإشارة بالطبع هنا إلى أنّ باريس هي الأخرى قامت مع ذلك بترتيب أمورها مبكراً مع الجزائر (المحسوبة حليفاً قوياً لروسيا) لاستجرار خط الغاز من نيجيريا عبر ربط خطوطه بخطوط نقل الغاز الجزائري وهو المشروع الذي تعمل عليه الجزائر منذ مدة والذي يكلف نحو 13 مليار دولار.

في هذه الأثناء جاءت واقعة فرار الأميركيين من أفغانستان وهروبهم المذلّ والمستعجل منها، وكذلك واقعة استكمال تشكل تجمع الشرق الجديد الرباعي في إطار منظمة شانغهاي للتعاون الدولي في العاصمة الطاجيكية قبل أيام (روسيا والصين وإيران وشبه القارة الهندية) بعد الإعلان عن انضمام إيران إليه كعضو كامل الصلاحية، بمثابة القشة التي قد تقصم ظهر البعير الأوروبي الآيل إلى الترهّل والتراجع في الوزن الدولي.

وهو يعني في ما قد يعني تلخيصاً وفي المجمل أنّ العالم بعد التضحية الأميركية بأفغانستان وإلغاء صفقة الغواصات الفرنسية مع أستراليا لصالح واشنطن وتغيير أميركا لعقيدتها العسكرية، يتحوّل عملياً في الموازين العامة نحو آسيا.

‏ وبهذا تكون أميركا قد جمّدت عملياً دور أوروبا في استراتيجيتها العامة ‏مستبدلة الدور الأوروبي الناتوي ضدّ روسيا لصالح ناتو جديد في مواجهة الصين.

‏في هذه الأثناء فإنّ ما سيتعزز في المقابل هو تحالف شانغهاي الآسيوي الجديد وإن لم يكتمل بعد كحلف عسكري رسمياً.

إنها موازين القوى الدولية الجديدة التي تشي بأنّ مركز ثقل العالم ينتقل من الغرب إلى الشرق.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

بعد التضحية بأفغانستان… أميركا تلفظ أوروبا تأهّباً لمقارعة التنين الصيني

سبتمبر 17, 2021 

 محمد صادق الحسيني

بينما كان الاتحاد الأوروبي يناقش استراتيجيته الجديدة، في المحيطين الهندي والهادئ، كما أعلن مسؤول السياسة الخارجية في الاتحاد جوزيب بوريل، قام الرئيس الأميركي بالإعلان المفاحئ عن إقامة حلف آوكوس AUKUS  بين بلاده وبريطانيا وأستراليا من دون إعلام الاتحاد الأوروبي بأي شيءٍ.

وأكد بوريل للصحافيين بأنهم علموا بذلك (من وسائل الإعلام) لكنهم لم يستشاروا أبداً. كما أعرب عن أسفه أن لا يكون الاتحاد الأوروبي جزءاً من هذا التحالف.

صحيح أن أزمات الدول الغربية، وعلى رأسها الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، هي أزمات بنيوية تتعلق بالنظام الرأسمالي، المحكوم عليه بالزوال، لأسباب موضوعية ليس لها مكان في هذا المقام، ولكن الأزمة الحالية التي تعصف بالعلاقات الأوروبية الأميركية، بشكل عام وتلك الفرنسية الأميركية بشكل خاص، تأتي في هذا الظرف الدولي الحالي، في ظل موازين القوى الدولية، التي تختل بشكل واضح ومتسارع لصالح القوى المعادية للامبريالية والهيمنة الأميركية الأوروبية، على مقدرات شعوب العالم، بالتالي فهي تشكُل تعبيراً جلياً على أن الصراعات الحادة والتناقضات المتزايدة بين الدول الأوروبية والولايات المتحدة الأميركية، سببها التناقض الموضوعي لمصالح الطرفين، الاقتصادية والسياسية والعسكرية، على صعيد العالم.

وهذا يعني أن الصراع الدولي يزداد تصعيداً ويشي بتغيرات محتملة في التحالفات الدولية، لنقل الاصطفافات الدولية القائمة حالياً في العالم من جهة لجهة أخرى.

ونقول اصطفافات لأن الولايات المتحدة لا تتعامل مع أية دولة في العالم، بما في ذلك أعضاء حلف شمال الأطلسي وكبريات هذه الدول، مثل فرنسا وبريطانيا وألمانيا واليابان على أنها دول مستقلة، وإنما هي تتعامل معها كدول محتلة (منذ نهاية الحرب العالميه الثانية، كدول تابعة لواشنطن) وهي بالتالي لا ترقى إلى مستوى الحليف.

من هنا فإن واشنطن، وانطلاقاً من هذه القاعدة، تتعامل مع تلك الدول، إضافة إلى أذناب الولايات المتحدة الأميركية في “الشرق الأوسط”، بما فيها “إسرائيل”، على أنها أدوات لخدمة المصالح الأميركية، يجب أن تعمل طبقاً للأوامر التي يتلقونها من سيد البيت الأبيض لا أكثر.

أما مناسبة المقدمة هذه، فهي موجة الغضب الهستيري التي ظهرت على لسان وزير الخارجية الفرنسي، جان إيڤ لودريان، والهجوم الحاد الذي شنه، خلال مؤتمر صحافي عقده يوم 16/9/2021، على الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن وقوله عنه إن تصرفاته المفاجئة لا تختلف عن تصرفات سلفه، دونالد ترامب. وذلك في تعقيبات له على قيام أستراليا (جزء من التاج البريطاني وليست دولة كاملة الاستقلال كما كندا ونيوزيلاندا) بإلغاء صفقة الغواصات مع بلاده.

فما هي هذه الصفقة وما هو سبب حالة الهستيريا، التي يعيشها رأس الديبلوماسية الفرنسية هذه الأيام، وماذا يمكن لها أن تفرز من تداعيات؟

بدأت القضية بقيام لودريان نفسه، عندما كان وزيراً للدفاع في فرنسا عام 2016، كسمسار لشركات الصناعات العسكرية الفرنسية، حيث نجح، آنذاك، بإقناع رئيس وزراء أستراليا في حينه، مالكولم تيرنبول، بشراء 12 غواصة فرنسية، تعمل بالوقود التقليدي (الديزل) تقوم بصناعتها شركة  “دي سي أن أس” الفرنسية للتعاقدات البحرية.

وقد اختارت الحكومة الأسترالية، في شهر نيسان عام 1916، هذه الشركة الفرنسية ووقعت معها عقوداً رسمية، للبدء في تصنيع الغواصات، حيث قام رئيس الوزراء الأسترالي لاحقاً بزيارة لمقر هذه الشركة الفرنسية، في ميناء شيربورغ الفرنسي، وافتتح مشروع صناعة الغواصات الاثنتي عشر، التي كان يفترض أن تنتهي الشركة من تسليمها، لأسطول شبه الدولية في أستراليا، عام 2030.

علماً أن القيمة الإجمالية لهذه الصفقة كانت تساوي 90 مليار دولار أسترالي، أي ما قيمته 56 مليار دولار أميركي، وهي بذلك من الصفقات العملاقة التي تعقد بين الدول، والتي لها تأثيرات مباشرة في الاقتصاد الفرنسي، سواءً من جهة تشغيل اليد العاملة أو من جهة قيمة الضرائب التي تحصل عليها الدولة الفرنسية، في صورة ضرائب دخل للعاملين في شركة التصنيع وشركات الدعم التي تمدها بالمواد نصف المصنعة أو غيرها من شركات التصميم والتزويد والإمداد.

كما أن لمثل هكذا صفقة كبيرة تأثيراً جديداً في السمعة الدولية للصناعات العسكرية الفرنسية، التي يعمل السياسيون الفرنسيون بشكل متواصل لتسويق منتجاتها. وعليه فإن ما حدث يعد ضربةً اقتصاديةً وماليةً وسياسيةً كبرى وجهتها. واشنطن لباريس.

يعزو المراقبون السبب وراء الهيجان، الذي يعاني منه وزير الخارجية الفرنسي، لودريان، والذي أدى به للإدلاء بهذه التصريحات النارية، ضد الرئيس الأميركي بايدن وضد الولايات المتحدة وأستراليا نفسها إلى قيام الرئيس الأميركي، يوم 15/9/2021، بعقد مؤتمر صحافي في البيت الأبيض، تناقلت وقائعه جميع وكالات الأنباء العالمية، ومن بينها وكالة الأنباء الفرنسية.

حيث أعلن الرئيس الأميركي، خلال المؤتمر الصحافي، عن قيام تحالف أمني واسع النطاق، بين بلاده وبريطانيا وأستراليا، تحصل أستراليا بموجبه على 12 غواصة حديثة تعمل بالوقود النووي (مقابل الغواصات الفرنسية التي كانت ستتسلمها من فرنسا تعمل بوقود الديزل التقليدي)، لمواجهة العداء المتزايد تجاه الصين، بحسب تعبير وكالة الأنباء الفرنسية.

وقد كانت النتيجة الأولى لهذا الإعلان هو فسخ أستراليا لعقد شراء الغواصات الفرنسية، الأمر الذي دفع وزير الخارجية الفرنسي ووزيرة الجيوش الفرنسية بإطلاق تلك التصريحات غير المعهودة تجاه واشنطن ورئيسها.

إذ قال وزير الخارجية الفرنسية إنّ هذا القرار، الذي أعلن عنه بايدن، يُعتبر طعنة في الظهر (لفرنسا) وأن بايدن اتخذ قراراً مفاجئاً كما كان يفعل ترامب (و. ص. ف.)، بينما قالت وزيرة الجيوش الفرنسية، فلورانس بارلي، أن فسخ العقد (من قبل أستراليا) أمر خطير من الناحية الجيوسياسية وعلى صعيد السياسة الدولية (إشارة الى إمكانية تغيّر التحالفات او الاصطفافات الدولية الحاليّة – توجه دول أوروبية باتجاه الصين وروسيا). يضاف إلى ذلك ما قالته وزيرة الجيوش الفرنسية، عن احتمال مطالبة فرنسا بتعويضات عن فسخ عقود رسمية، في الوقت الذي لم تفصح فيه ما إذا كانت المقصودة هي الحكومة الأسترالية فقط وإنما بريطانيا والولايات المتحدة أيضاً، وهما اللتان تسببتا في فسخ تلك العقود، بعد إعلان الرئيس الأميركي، عن تشكيل التحالف الدولي الجديد، بين الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا و”شبه الدولة الأسترالية”، والذي أطلق عليه اسم “آوكوس / AUKUS /، وهو اختصار ودمج لأسماء أستراليا والمملكة المتحدة والولايات المتحدة الأميركية باللغة الإنكليزية …. Australia / United Kingdom / USA ….، والهادف إلى مواجهة الصين في آسيا والمحيط الهادئ، كما أعلن الرئيس بايدن نفسه، بحسب ما أوردته هيئة الإذاعة البريطانية.

وفي خطوة، من قبل الرئيس الأميركي، اعتبرها المحللون الاستراتيجيون محاولة من قبله لمراضاة فرنسا، قال الرئيس بايدن: “نتطلع للعمل بشكل وثيق مع فرنسا وشركاء رئيسيين آخرين في هذه المنطقه الاستراتيجية… وأضاف أن باريس شريك وحليف أساسي” (لواشنطن)، بحسب ما نقلت وكالة الصحافة الفرنسية.

ومن نافل القول أيضاً إن العديد من المسؤولين الصينيين قد اعلنوا إدانتهم لهذا الحلف الأمني العسكري الجديد، الذي يعكس استمرار تحكم عقلية الحرب الباردة بسياسات الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا (التي لم تعد عظمى)، وتؤجج الصراع في بحار الصين والبحار والمحيطات القريبة من الصين وروسيا معاً وتزيد سباق التسلح بشكل كبير جداً، كما صرح الناطق باسم وزارة الخارجية الصينية، شاو لي جيان، الذي قال: “إنّ هذا (الحلف) يقوّض بشكل جدي السلام والاستقرار الاقليميين (يعني في منطقة بحار الصين وآسيا) ويزيد من حدة سباق التسلح”.

إذن فها هي الولايات المتحدة الأميركية تتعامل مع الدولة النووية العظمى، فرنسا، والعضو في حلف شمال الأطلسي منذ تأسيسه، تتعامل معها وكأنها أقلّ من جمهورية موز. لا بل على أنها ليست موجودة، إذ يقوم الرئيس الأميركي بإعلان تحالف أمني عسكري، بين بلاده ودولتين أطلسيتين أخريين، من دون أن يقوم حتى بإعلام الحكومة الفرنسية أو الرئيس الفرنسي بذلك…!

وهنا يجب أن يطرح السؤال الجدي على إمارات نفط الجزيرة العربية، من صغيرهم إلى كبيرهم، كيف سيتعامل معكم الرئيس الأميركي في كل شؤون المنطقة؟ وكيف سيتعامل مع آمر الحاجز الطيار “الإسرائيلي” في فلسطين المحتلة وغيره في المنطقة؟ هل تعتقدون أنه سيعاملكم معاملة أفضل من معاملته لفرنسا، الدولة النووية؟ وهل ما زلتم تعتقدون أن الحاجز الإسرائيلي الطيار في فلسطين المحتلة قادر على حمايتكم، بعد رفع الغطاء الأميركي عنكم جميعاً، بمن فيكم عناصر الحاجز الطيار؟

إن الجهة الوحيدة القادرة على حمايتكم، هي عودتكم إلى رشدكم والتخلي عن عباءات المحتلين الصهاينة والإميركان وغيرهم، وفتح آفاق التعاون الواسعة، مع دول ومنظمات حلف المقاومة المنتصر، الذي ها هو يرغم سادة البيت الأبيض على كسر الحصار الاقتصادي والمالي على كل من إيران وسورية ولبنان، وجعل ما يطلق عليه قانون قيصر الأميركي لخنق سورية، فعلَ ماضٍ ناقص…!

استخلصوا العبر قبل أن تستخلص شعوبكم حقوقها منكم بطريقة مختلفة جداً هذه المرة وتخلصوا من هذا السيد المنافق إلى الأبد وافتحوا آفاق التعاون الإقليمي مع جيرانكم من الدول الشقيقة ومع بقية دول الجوار العربي ودول العالم المختلفة، سعياً وراء التطور والتنمية وتأمين الحياة الكريمة والمستقبل الزاهر لشعوب عربية عانت من التبعية للأجنبي منذ أكثر من مئة عام منذ نهاية الحرب العالمية الأولى وتقسيم العالم العربي إلى إمارات وكيانات ضعيفة ممزقة.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

Researcher Michael Swifte on draconian covid policies in Australia

 

Eva Bartlett

moi

Michael Swifte is an independent activist and advocate residing in Brisbane, Australia. He is a part of the critical thinking collective Wrong Kind of Green.

From a brief bio on him:

“His work focuses on the non-profit industrial complex with a special interest in the development of the Galilee Basin coal complex, networked hegemony, the collateralization of nature for the ‘new economy’, and in highlighting the political will for fossil fuel driven industrial decarbonization.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/5CR18fSy3vQ?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent


Follow his work:

https://twitter.com/empathiserhttps://wesuspectsilence.wordpress.com/
https://www.wrongkindofgreen.org
https://www.facebook.com/michaelswizswifte

RELATED LINKS:

Monica Smit Refuses to be Silenced: Chooses Jail over Unfair Bail
https://xyz.net.au/2021/09/monica-smit-refuses-to-be-silenced-chooses-jail-over-unfair-bail

*her arrest
https://twitter.com/_Mrtdogg/status/1432585114333110274
https://www.reignitedemocracyaustralia.com.au/monicas-arrest/

CHO served
https://www.reignitedemocracyaustralia.com.au/sutton-served

Oz surveillance legislation
https://insiderpaper.com/australian-government-new-surveillance-laws-modify-twitter-facebook-posts/

Increase of suicidal ideations
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/519837-covid19-lockdowns-mask-wearing-isolation/

Phone call with a lawyer at Caxton Legal Centre
https://sciencepublichealthpolicyqld2021.blogspot.com/2021/01/phone-call-with-lawyer-at-caxton-legal.html

Denis Rancourt interview
https://odysee.com/@EvaKareneBartlett:9/interview-with-canadian-physicist-and:1

Mark Crispin Miller censorship
https://www.corbettreport.com/interview-1633-mark-crispin-miller-exposes-propaganda-in-the-academy/

Sitrep : Here comes China : Military Drills, Extortion, the ‘Religious Freedom Balkanization’ Plan for China

August 07, 2021

Sitrep : Here comes China : Military Drills, Extortion, the ‘Religious Freedom Balkanization’ Plan for China

The main news of the day is the Biden administration’s effort to sell 40 155mm M109A6 Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer artillery systems, 1,698 precision guidance kits for munitions, spares, training, ground stations and upgrades for previous generation of howitzers, to the island of Taiwan in a deal worth up to $750 million. China is, to say the least, livid.

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202108/1230698.shtml


Military Drills: US ‘large-scale’ military exercises cannot scare China, Russia

The US has begun two “large-scale” military exercises. The first is a joint Indo-Pacific military exercise led by the US Indo-Pacific Command with the participation of Japan, Australia and the UK. The other is the “Large-Scale Exercise 2021” held by US Navy around the world and is reportedly the largest naval exercise since 1981. A US military scholar told media that it is intended to demonstrate to China and Russia that US naval forces can simultaneously meet challenges in the Black Sea, Eastern Mediterranean, South China Sea and East China Sea.

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202108/1230616.shtml


More Military Drills:  Chinese, Russian militaries to hold joint drill in NW China

YINCHUAN — A joint military exercise by the Chinese and Russian armies will be held from Aug. 9 to 13 at a training base of the People’s Liberation Army in northwest China’s Ningxia Hui autonomous region.

The exercise, named ZAPAD/INTERACTION-2021, is the first joint military exercise held inside China since the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the exercise’s leading group.

http://www.chinadailyglobal.com/a/202108/06/WS610c8415a310efa1bd667010.html


And more, an ongoing military drill from Friday to Tuesday

A large section of waters from Hainan to the Paracels has been cordoned off by China’s maritime authorities from Friday

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3144111/south-china-sea-are-carrier-killer-missiles-being-primed-pla


While we are right at the end of the Tokyo Olympics, the force is strong for canceling or otherwise interfering with the upcoming Beijing 2022 Games.

This is what Radio Free Asia (and people should recognize that for what it is), reports, and this is clearly within the human rights wars.

2021-07-27 — The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday said it had to “remain neutral” on global political issues in response to a request from the U.S. Congressional commission that asked it to postpone and relocate the 2022 Beijing Winter Games if China does not end its human rights abuses against Muslim Uyghurs in its Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

The reply came in response to a letter that the bipartisan U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) sent to IOC president Thomas Bach. The commission made the letter public on July 23.”

Despite these efforts to do something to China, anything, before the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese are keeping cool:  “Off the field, observers noted that the success of the Tokyo Olympics under huge pressure is a desperately needed inspiration for the world. Tokyo’s experience in carrying out a major international event under such circumstances sets an example for next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics, experts said. ”


Let’s look at the latest Xinjiang information:

And then during the time of writing, the news broke.  Part of the Xinjiang story, is pure hard blackmail:  the US-based nongovernmental organization (NGO) The Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) blackmailed, bribed, and extorted a Chinese company and its US cooperative partner for $300,000 by threatening to hype up fabricated “forced labor” issues related to China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202108/1230759.shtml

The complete Xinjian story of forced labor, a genocide (with no dead people), prison camps et al is falling apart like an overripe watermelon that just smashed itself falling off the watermelon buggy and is not fit for eating any longer.


While we are on the topic of extortion, Alex Rubinstein did some undercover work.

He says:  “Using a friend’s company on my application and adopting a fake persona, I attended a three-day summit on religious freedom where leading figures in the Democratic Party including Nancy Pelosi, USAID Director Samantha Power and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken joined up with anti-gay Evangelicals, a slew of shady NGOs and multiple bonafide cults to ratchet up pressure against China.”:

From this ‘Davos of Religious Freedom’, we see top democrats, top republicans, the Christian far right, some clear cults, NGO’s with no history, and just about every anti-China organization in the world right across the spectrum.  The objective?  Balkanization under the guise of religious freedom as the new front in the new China cold war.  This report is incredibly detailed and would need some time to read through.  It is however recommended to understand the vast array of forces aligned in the new cold war against China.

https://realalexrubi.substack.com/p/top-democrats-unite-with-christian

And the 2nd part is out, titled: A Cult, a Fake Gov’t & US-funded NGOs Hold Panels Panning China

https://realalexrubi.substack.com/p/cult-fake-govt-ngos


And this is how medical philanthropy US to China actually operates:

https://saker.community/2021/08/02/tarnished-american-philanthropy-in-china/


So, what is happening in China?  Simply said, strong strong words. 

The recent visit of US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, despite the usual initial nice and welcoming words apparently did not go down well.  “A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that the talks were in-depth, frank, and beneficial to the relationship between the two countries.”

Days later the story changed materially.   “We will no longer make unilateral efforts to maintain the public opinion atmosphere in China-US relations. Using illegal sanctions as a pretext, the US, aided by Canada, has effectively kidnapped a high-ranking Chinese corporate official, Meng Wanzhou, and is still threatening her with possible imprisonment. No other nation behaves so brazenly in defiance of international norms.

“The basis for such changes is that Chinese society has become fed up with the bossy US and we hold no more illusion that China and the US would substantially improve ties in the foreseeable future. The Chinese public strongly supports the government to safeguard national dignity in its ties with the US and firmly push back the various provocations from the US. In the face of the malicious China containment and confrontational policy adopted by the two recent US administrations, the Chinese people are willing to form a united front, together bear the consequences of not yielding to the US, and win for the country’s future through struggles.

In other words, Chinese society would unconditionally support whatever tough counterattacks the Chinese government would launch in the face of US-initiated conflicts in all directions toward China. The US should abandon forever the idea of changing China’s system and policies through sanctions, containment, and intimidation. We hope US allies in the Asia-Pacific, especially Japan and Australia, can weigh the situation. They should not act as accomplices of the US’ China containment policy and place themselves at the forefront of confronting China, or they are betting their own future.”

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202107/1229704.shtml

And this is the message that is still prevailing in China and internal to her people.

Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou was in the dock in a Canadian court this last week but at the time of writing, I have not seen any reports.


Further detail:

Far more world leaders visit China than America: “If leadership diplomacy was an Olympic sport, Beijing beats Washington to the gold medal.” In 2019, 79 foreign leaders visited China, while only 27 called on the United States. More world leaders have visited China than the United States in every year since 2013. Many US allies visited China more often than the United States, including those of South Korea, Germany, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and New Zealand. Read full article →

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said ties with Southeast Asia are a priority for China and called for “multilateralism with Asian characteristics”, as the country seeks to counter US moves in the region.“China has always made Asean its priority for diplomacy in the region … and firmly supports Asean’s central role in regional cooperation,” Wang said, according to the Chinese foreign ministry readout on Thursday. “Both sides should conduct frequent communication on all levels, and continue with mutual understanding and support for each other’s core interests.” Read full article $→ 

US drops visa fraud charge against Chinese researcher accused of hiding ties to Chinese military. Days before trial was expected to start, US prosecutors ask judge to dismiss charge against cancer researcher Tang Juan. Federal agents said Tang allegedly sought refuge at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco after they interviewed her at her home. Read full article $→ 

The US dropped cases against five Chinese researchers accused of hiding ties to the Chinese military. The China Initiative has raised concern about racial profiling of Asians, however, and led to calls for investigation into the DOJ’s conduct. Judges had already dismissed parts of two cases after it was revealed FBI agents hadn’t properly informed them of their rights against self-incrimination. Read full article $→

U.S.-listed Chinese firms must disclose Chinese government interference risks. The Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday that Chinese companies listed on U.S. markets must disclose the risks of the Chinese government interfering in their business as part of their reporting obligations. Read full article $→

For the first time since 2013, China funded no overseas coal projects in H1. Last month, ICBC announced that it would begin to phase out coal project financing, and pulled out of a major $3 billion coal power plant project in Zimbabwe. Then Beijing  published fresh guidelines encouraging overseas enterprises to invest in greener projects and dump environmentally risky ones. Read full article →


Selections from Godfree Roberts’ extensive weekly newsletter: Here Comes China. You can get it here: https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe

There are some delicious long reads in this week’s newsletter from Martin Jacques, Martin Chorzempa, Chris Lau, Rick Sterling, Yiwen Lu and Hubert Horan

Further selections and editorial and geopolitical commentary by Amarynth.

The ‘Israel’ Lobby at the University of Sydney

The ‘Israel’ Lobby at the University of Sydney

By Tim Anderson – The American Herald Tribune

Documents released under freedom of information law show that an ‘Israeli’ organization has, over many years, privately contributed millions of dollars to the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences [FASS]. A sub-branch of the ‘Israeli’ World Zionist Organization [the Fund for Jewish Higher Education] contributes around half a million dollars to FASS each year, with contributions peaking at $819,000 in 2019. The WZO is committed to the ‘Israeli’ colony in Palestine, where more than half the population is denied full citizenship rights.

These amounts are way out of proportion to the nominal beneficiaries at the University: Hebrew, Biblical, Jewish and Holocaust Studies, and give the ‘Israeli’ lobby influence with University of Sydney management. This ‘Israeli’ funding is sustained while federal ‘foreign influence’ laws are trumpeted against China, and form part of a much larger private fund pool – one billion dollar plus, announced with pride in the University’s 2019 Annual Report  – at the University, for which there is little public accountability. The door is wide open for corruption, alongside secret foreign influence.

2020 data on the WZO confirms documents provided to me by a whistle-blower within the administration, back in 2018, which showed that the ‘Committee for Jewish Higher Education’ had been the largest single donor [by far] to FASS, with combined donations of $571,000 [in eight separate donations] in the first five months of 2012, all tagged for the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies, including its specialty in Holocaust Studies.  With about 10 academics staff [not all full time] that department represents less than 2% of the 700 or so academic staff in the Faculty.

With all senior managers eligible for performance bonuses, at least in part based on their fund raising, these large undisclosed sums indicate a great potential for corruption, all the more so now that the Federal Court of Australia [in the case brought by the NTEU and myself] has rubber stamped management gag orders, even when they concern public academic work.

The ‘Israel’ lobby, acting through the tabloid media, pressured University of Sydney managers to expel me from my academic position in 2018-2019. The final issue was my graphic linking of one of ‘Israel’s’ Gaza massacres with the racial massacres of Nazi Germany; and my refusal to submit to secret gag orders, effectively made under pressure from the ‘Israel’ lobby. In late 2020 the Federal Court ruled that academics must follow management orders, even when it concerns their research and teaching. I have published some detail on this case and its implications; showing the vulnerability of the corporate university to outside pressures.

‘Israel’ lobby influence on the wider phenomenon of academic ‘cancel culture’ deserves attention. A recent Guardian article cites several British academics on the problem of university managers trying to “silence academics on social media.” This was said to be part of a tension between the corporate university and social media, where “on the one hand unis are pushing their staff to be more active online … but when that individual voice is in conflict with the official brand it creates a tension … it is about brand protection.” The corporate media has discovered that it can use this tension to goad management to move against certain academics.

The ‘Israel’ lobby has spent time and effort in this territory, in particular by trying to vilify as ‘racist’ public figures who criticize ‘Israel.’ The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance [IHRA] has had some success in its attempts to extend the definition of anti-Semitism “to criticism of ‘Israel’ and support for Palestinian rights.” But I am one of many who have written that there is no legitimate basis for conflating criticism of a state or government with inciting hatred against a people.

An ‘Israel’ lobby group in the USA, under the guise of ‘protecting Jewish students’ branded as ‘biased’ more than 200 academics who supported the boycott against ‘Israel.’ Academics and teachers have been hounded from their positions in the USA, the UK, Australia and New Zealand because of their comments on ‘Israel,’ including those who have raised legitimate academic questions about ethno-nationalist settler colonialism” and of “victims becoming perpetrators.”

Jewish writers have not been immune from these attacks. Some have hit back, saying that “unfounded allegations of anti-Semitism [are used to] cover up ‘Israeli’ apartheid.” Last year sixty Jewish and ‘Israeli’ academics condemned the German parliament for its attempts to equate the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement with anti-Semitism.

A 2017 letter signed by more than 200 British academics complained of the ‘Israel’ lobby’s repeated attempts to link academic criticism of ‘Israel,’ and support for the Palestinian people, with anti-Semitism. These moves were “outrageous interferences with free expression” and “direct attacks on academic freedom.” The group said “we wish to express our dismay at this attempt to silence campus discussion about ‘Israel,’ including its violation of the rights of Palestinians for more than 50 years. It is with disbelief that we witness explicit political interference in university affairs in the interests of ‘Israel’ under the thin disguise of concern about anti-Semitism.”

In the USA, President Donald Trump in 2019 signed an executive order to withhold funds from universities which did not do enough to stop “anti-Semitic practices,” which includes criticism of ‘Israel.’ Defense of the ‘Israeli’ colony in Palestine is taken seriously.

‘Israel’ and academic freedom became an issue at the University of Sydney in March 2015, after students shut down a talk by former British Army Colonel Richard Kemp, who had been invited on campus to defend the ‘Israeli’ military’s slaughter of more 2,000 Palestinian civilians in Gaza in 2014. According to the Times of ‘Israel,’ Kemp was to give a lecture about “ethical dilemmas of military tactics and dealing with non-state armed groups.” The ‘Israel’ lobby claimed the protest and student behavior was an attempt to intimidate Jews. A wider debate over the intellectual freedom afforded to visitors like Richard Kemp ensued.

At around this time I looked into the reporting of the slaughter in Gaza, preparing a graphic which showed – from relatively independent sources – that ‘Israeli’ forces had slaughtered more than 1,000 Palestinians [the final count was more than 2,000] of whom, according to UN sources, more than 75% were civilians.

The person who invited Colonel Kemp was former University of Sydney academic Dr. Suzanne Rutland. At her retirement a few months later Provost Stephen Garton praised Suzanne as a person of “moral courage” who had made “an effort to bridge the cultural and political divide, to promote tolerance and understanding … [and] we owe her a debt of gratitude.” Stephen used the occasion to backhand the students who had confronted Kemp, saying that some on campus “confuse academic freedom with the right to disrupt.”

Dr. Rutland had a high profile from her academic and community work. In 2008 she received the Order of Australia for her services to Higher Jewish Education and “interfaith dialogue.” She was also active in campaigns against anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial. However her response to the students who confronted Colonel Kemp was not so tolerant. She denounced them as vicious racists, saying “when they stand there chanting, ‘free Palestine’ what they mean is the dismantling of the Zionist entity which means genocide against ‘Israel’s’ Jewish population.” This is an extreme view.

In fact, the better view is that ‘Israel,’ by its repeated massacres and ethnic cleansing, is engaged in a form of genocide. The US Centre for Constitutional Rights, noting a controversy over this question, wrote that:

“Prominent scholars of the international law [on the] crime of genocide and human rights authorities take the position that ‘Israel’s’ policies towards the Palestinian people could constitute a form of genocide. Those policies range from the 1948 mass killing and displacement of Palestinians to a half century of military occupation and, correspondingly, the discriminatory legal regime governing Palestinians, repeated military assaults on Gaza, and official ‘Israeli’ statements expressly favoring the elimination of Palestinians.”

Attacks on the critics of ‘Israel’ are often aimed at deflecting attention from this.

The now Emeritus Professor Suzanne Rutland was not just an academic, she was a conduit of ‘Israeli’ finance to the university.  Her online CV [now redacted online] listed her as ‘Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Jewish Education for Australia, for the World Zionist Organization.’ The WZO was founded in 1897 with the aim of creating a Jewish ‘state’ and, since the creation of ‘Israel,’ it has become an umbrella group for a range of ‘Israel’ lobbies. The WZO declares its commitment to “‘Israel’ education.”

At the political level the ‘Israel’ lobby remains influential. A 2018 study by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute [APRI] found that an ‘Israeli’ lobby group in Australia [AIJAC] was the biggest single foreign funder of Australian MPs’ overseas travel. MPs from both major parties were beneficiaries of these ‘study tours’. While the public focus of foreign influence in Australia has become China, with special new laws to criminalize ‘foreign influence,’ the APRI study showed that influence peddling from ‘Israel’ has been greater than that from China or the USA. While Australian MPs had been funded for nearly 60 trips to China and 45 to the US, AIJAC had sponsored around 100 visits to ‘Israel,’ “nearly evenly split between Labor and Liberal.”

Freedom of Expression: Good for the Western Goose, Forbidden for the Muslim Gander

By Kim Petersen

Source

Aussie soldier gulping beer 43f4f

When French President Emmanuel Macron was pilloried in some quarters for defending freedom of expression as a French value, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison backed his European counterpart: “We share values. We stand for the same things.” This professed French/Australian value for freedom of expression has now come back to bite the backside of the Australian prime minister.

When it comes to publication of inflammatory western depictions of the prophet Mohammed that raise the ire of many Muslims worldwide, many western voices will step forth to defend freedom of expression. However, this fidelity to the freedom of expression will often change when what is being expressed casts the West in a negative light; a case in point being an image of an Australian soldier slitting a Muslim child’s throat.

News.com.au featured a 60 Minutes Australia report about “disturbing allegations of the murder of children and a ‘killing as a sport’ culture” among Australian fighters deployed in Afghanistan.

A sociologist, Samantha Crompvoets, spent months interviewing Special Forces soldiers about alleged war crimes in Afghanistan. Among the insouciant acts noted were soldiers tallying their kills on wall boards — kills that included civilians and prisoners.

60 Minutes described the killers as a “rogue band” of special forces soldiers. One especially “disturbing allegation” described how Australian Special Forces soldiers mercilessly slit the throats of 14-year-old boys, bagged their bodies, and tossed them in a river.

Guardian exclusive exposed depravity with a photo of an Australian soldier drinking beer from a Taliban fighter’s prosthetic leg.

The findings by Crompvoets and the 60 Minutes report were corroborated by the Australian government’s redacted Brereton Report of “possibly the most disgraceful episode in Australia’s military history”:

… 39 unlawful killings by or involving ADF members. The Report also discloses separate allegations that ADF members cruelly treated persons under their control. None of these alleged crimes was committed during the heat of battle. The alleged victims were non-combatants or no longer combatants.

What particularly stuck in the craw of political Australia was a tweet by a Chinese official, Zhao Lijian, of a gruesome throat-slitting image.

Australian prime minister Morrison was apoplectic, calling the post “repugnant,” “deeply offensive to every Australian, every Australian who has served in that uniform,” “utterly outrageous,” and unjustifiable noting that it was a “false image.” Morrison demanded an apology from the Chinese government, the firing of Zhao Lijian, and for Twitter to remove the post.

“It is utterly outrageous and cannot be justified on any basis whatsoever, the Chinese Government should be totally ashamed of this post,” Morrison said.

First, calling the image false is deflection because anyone who gives more than a cursory glance to the image will right away realize that it is has been photo-shopped and does not purport in any way to be an untouched photograph.

Second, the Australian prime minister obviously has backward moral priorities. I submit that what should be deeply offensive to Morrison and every human being — not just Australians — and especially offensive for every Australian who has served in the Australian military are the egregious war crimes committed by those wearing the same uniform. The starting and focal point for condemnation must be the war crimes. Logically, if the spate of gruesome war crimes had not been committed by Australians in uniform, then outcry at the crimes would not have been filliped.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying did address the outrage by Morrison in a TV address.

“These cruel crimes have been condemned by the international community,” said Hua.

“The Australian government should do some soul searching and bring the culprits to justice, and offer an official apology to the Afghan people and make the solemn pledge that they will never repeat such crimes. Earlier, they said the Chinese government should feel ashamed but it is Australian soldiers who committed such cruel crimes.”

“Shouldn’t the Australian government feel ashamed? Shouldn’t they feel ashamed for their soldiers killing innocent Afghan civilians?”

According to Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani, Morrison did express — not a full-fledged apology — but “his deepest sorrow over the misconduct by some Australian troops.” Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne also wrote to her Afghan counterpart to extend “apologies for the misconduct identified by the inquiry, by some Australian military personnel in Afghanistan.” The wording would seem to diminish the atrocities as “misconduct.” There is also a overarching emphasis that the crimes were committed by some troops, seeking to exculpate the bulk of the troops from bad apples among them.

It would seem Australia is trying to distract from its horrendous war crimes. Colloquially put, Australia’s political honcho is trying to cover the military’s bare ass.

World Socialist Web Site was scathing in denouncing the Australian Establishment’s response,

The tweet by a mid-ranking Chinese official, condemning Australian war crimes in Afghanistan, has been met with hysterical denunciations by the entire political and media establishment. The response can only be described as a staggering exercise in hypocrisy, confected outrage and an attempt to whip-up a wartime nationalist frenzy.

The illustration is based on an investigative report by the Australian Department of Defense, Hua pointed out, noting that “although it is a painting, it reflects the facts.”

Hua pointed to Morrison’s real purpose: to divert attention and shift pressure from Australian war crimes to criticism of China.

Australia Liberal MP Andrew Hastie preferred that the war crimes had been kept buried. Hastie (who as a captain in the Special Air Services was cleared of wrongdoing in an investigation into soldiers under his command who chopped the hands off dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan) criticized the Australian Defence Force for releasing allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan, saying it has allowed China to malign Australian troops.

Bipartisan support was forthcoming for Australian government indignation as Labor leader Anthony Albanese also criticized the image and shadow foreign affairs minister Penny Wong called it “gratuitous” and “inflammatory.”

Prosecuting Western War Crimes

At the end of World War II war crimes tribunals were set up. In Europe there was the Nuremberg Tribunal and in Asia the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal. It was victor’s justice and no Allies were tried. This although the United States and, to a lesser degree France, engaged in a deliberate policy of starving German prisoners of war (who the US re-designated as disarmed enemy forces to evade the Geneva Conventions on POWs, as president George W Bush would later similarly do in Afghanistan when he refused to recognize POWs, labeling them instead as unlawful enemy combatants) and civilians. Germans stated that over 1,700,000 soldiers alive at the end of the war never returned home.

In the Far East, there were no allies prosecuted at the Tokyo War Crimes Trial. It must be noted that just as Nazi scientists were brought back to work at the behest of the US, class A Japanese war criminals were also protected by the US from prosecution.

Australia is not alone in the commission of war crimes. Canadian Airborne Regiment troops tied and blind-folded 16-year-old Shidane Arone, beat him with a metal bar, and burned with cigarellos for hours (he was later found to have burns on his penis), and took “trophy pics.” Arone was dead the following morning. The Canadian Airborne Regiment would be disbanded. US war crimes are numerous. They include My Lai in Viet Nam, Bagram in Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib in Iraq, etc.

Western war criminals are seldom punished, or when punished, then not in a meaningful way proportionate to the crimes committed. In fact, if you expose the war crimes perpetrated by a western allied country, then you risk becoming targeted for imprisonment. Such is the situation that Julian Assange finds himself in today. Although an Australian citizen, Morrison has been unsympathetic to the WikiLeaks founder and publisher who exposed egregious US war crimes. Said Morrison, “Mr Assange will get the same support that any other Australian would … he’s not going to be given any special treatment.”

This is what adherence to the tenet of freedom of expression genuinely signifies in much of the western world. In other words, freedom of expression is good for the western goose but bad when it is for the Muslim gander.

For further background view the damning allegations of serious war crimes, including the execution of innocent civilians and detainees.

Australian Lowlifes – American Empire’s Bitches

Australian Lowlifes – American Empire’s Bitches

December 01, 2020

By Allen Yu for the Saker Blog

I have picked on America for some time … and for good reasons … because American leaders and media on the world stage have been tragically hypocritical and arrogant for too long.

Just look at the recent murder of Iran’s top nuclear scientist – Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Imagine if a top scientist in the U.S. (or U.K. or France or Germany for that matter) was murdered in a similar fashion: American leaders and media would all be all up in arms, calling out the despicable act for what it is, an affront against basic civility.

But because this happened to Iran, there is no moral indignity expressed in the U.S. media or its leaders. Trump seemingly smugly tweeted the news. Other leaders acknowledged nonchalantly almost as if it were news about bad weather. The killing is treated at worst as political intrigue by Israel – with certain approval by Trump – to prevent Biden from improving relations with Iran and perhaps rejoining the JCPOA.

It’s truly despicable … but expected. And now we see something just as disgusting in … Australia!

A few weeks ago, news came out that Australia troops have murdered at least 39 innocent civilians in Afghanistan in the course of the Afghan war. Over the weekend, an obscure artist in China made an art about the tragedy which was widely circulated in Chinese social media, and which Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Li JianZhao twitted.

The Australians are now all up in arms over the image! The angle Australian (and U.S.) media and leaders is taking is that this is all “fake news”! Australian Prime Minister Morrison pronounced it to be a “fake image”! In this Australian news video, one Australian politician pronounced that the image is “gratuitous, inflammatory, deeply offensive.” The reporters fumed that China was “childish” and a “bully” and that Australians must “stand up” to Chinese aggression. China is doing this – in their view – because it is mad at Australia for speaking up about Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and banning Huawei. Australian must not back down because who knows what else will China demand of Australians later, and what else evil China will demand of Australia’s children and grandchildren down the road!

I kid you not … that’s what they are saying in Australia!!!

So a few quick responses.

First, this is not “fake news.” It is real news. Watch “Killing Field: Explosive new allegations of Australian special forces war crimes | Four Corners.” It’s a documentary made by the Australian Public Broadcast Service and can be easily found on YouTube at https://youtu.be/-GPplTKCYpQ The issues are real. The events are real. The tragedy is real. The pain is real.

Second, this is not a “fake image.” It’s art – commonly understood to be an expression or application of creative skills to produce artifacts that evokes beauty and/or emotive power.

I remember a few years ago, many the West laughed at Muslims for getting for mad at “art” that satirized the Muslim prophet Muhammadin in what has been called the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. The Muslims accused the West of defaming their religion, but the West hollered “Freedom of speech”! But even in their fervor, never did Muslim supporters raise the issue about a “fake image”!So to Australian media and politicians again … this is Art.

Third, talk about “gratuitous, inflammatory, deeply offensive”! It is the Australians who are “gratuitous, inflammatory, deeply offensive” for attacking Chinese who are creating and spreading art that expresses a shared human pain. The art evokes a primal, innate expression for basic human rights, especially taken in larger view of the West’s endless wars in the world – including the Middle East, Afghanistan, Africa, Latin America, among others. It is a basic human right to feel and communicate such emotions from human tragedies and offenses.

Fourth, about China being “childish” and a “bully,” please look in the mirror. Please look first into the mirror and reflect upon what you as a nation have done to others. You who say you are a gate keeper of peace have betrayed that trust and blindly killed some 39 – probably much more(!) – innocent men, women, and children. China is not “bullying” you by holding a mirror up and hoping that you can reflect upon the crimes you have conducted.

Fifth, stop crying about how you must stand up to China … Over the past two or so years, you have taken dramatic actions following U.S. lead in fighting a trade, technology, and ideology war against China the last few years. This is your choice, not China’s. You have spread lies about Huawei’s 5G insecurity, you have sided with and inflamed foreign-sponsored hooligans in Hong Kong, and you have created false, unsubstantiated reports about so-called Xinjiang “concentration camps.” Yes, you should stop. But not because of China per se, but because that’s the common, basic, decent, human thing to do.

Please understand that even after you do stop, you still have to face the music for the music your troops have conducted in Afghanistan.

China does not want to be your judge or savior, Australia. You have to face up to the court of history and humanity yourself. Please grow up, get some bones, stop being America’s bitch, and take some responsibility for yourself, Australia.

RCEP hops on the New Silk Roads

Source

RCEP hops on the New Silk Roads

November 16, 2020

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted on Asia Times

Ho Chi Minh, in his eternal abode, will be savoring it with a heavenly smirk. Vietnam was the – virtual – host as the 10 Asean nations, plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, on the final day of the 37th Asean Summit.

RCEP, eight years in the making, binds together 30% of the global economy and 2.2 billion people. It’s the first auspicious landmark of the Raging Twenties, which started with an assassination (of Iran’s Gen. Soleimani) followed by a global pandemic and now ominous intimations of a dodgy Great Reset.

RCEP seals East Asia as the undisputed prime hub of geoeconomics. The Asian Century in fact was already in the making way back in the 1990s. Among those Asians as well as Western expats who identified it, in 1997 I published my book 21st: The Asian Century (excerpts here.)

RCEP may force the West to do some homework, and understand that the main story here is not that RCEP “excludes the US” or that it’s “designed by China”. RCEP is an East Asia-wide agreement, initiated by Asean, and debated among equals since 2012, including Japan, which for all practical purposes positions itself as part of the industrialized Global North. It’s the first-ever trade deal that unites Asian powerhouses China, Japan and South Korea.

By now it’s clear, at last in vast swathes of East Asia, that RCEP’s 20 chapters will reduce tariffs across the board; simplify customs, with at least 65% of service sectors fully open, with increased foreign shareholding limits; solidify supply chains by privileging common rules of origin; and codify new e-commerce regulations.

When it comes to the nitty gritty, companies will be saving and be able to export anywhere within the 15-nation spectrum without bothering with extra, separate requirements from each nation. That’s what an integrated market is all about.

When RCEP meets BRI

The same scratched CD will be playing non-stop on how RCEP facilitates China’s “geopolitical ambitions”. That’s not the point. The point is RCEP evolved as a natural companion to China’s role as the main trade partner of virtually every East Asian player.

Which brings us to the key geopolitical and geoeconomic angle: RCEP is a natural companion to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which as a trade/sustainable development strategy spans not only East Asia but delves deeper into Central and West Asia.

The Global Times analysis is correct: the West has not ceased to distort BRI, without acknowledging how “the initiative they have been slandering is actually so popular in the vast majority of countries along the BRI route.”

RCEP will refocus BRI – whose “implementation” stage, according to the official timetable, starts only in 2021. The low-cost financing and special foreign exchange loans offered by the China Development Bank will become much more selective.

There will be a lot of emphasis on the Health Silk Road – especially across Southeast Asia. Strategic projects will be the priority: they revolve around the development of a network of economic corridors, logistic zones, financial centers, 5G networks, key sea ports and, especially short and mid-term, public health-related high-tech.

The discussions that led to the final RCEP draft were focused on a mechanism of integration that can easily bypass the WTO in case Washington persists on sabotaging it, as was the case during the Trump administration.

The next step could be the constitution of an economic bloc even stronger than the EU – not a far-fetched possibility when we have China, Japan, South Korea and the Asean 10 working together. Geopolitically, the top incentive, beyond an array of imperative financial compromises, would be to solidify something like Make Trade, Not War.

RCEP marks the irredeemable failure of the Obama era TPP, which was the “NATO on trade” arm of the “pivot to Asia” dreamed up at the State Department. Trump squashed TPP in 2017. TPP was not about a “counterbalance” to China’s trade primacy in Asia: it was about a free for all encompassing the 600 multinational companies which were involved in its draft. Japan and Malaysia, especially, saw thought it from the start.

RCEP also inevitably marks the irredeemable failure of the decoupling fallacy, as well as all attempts to drive a wedge between China and its East Asian trade partners. All these Asian players will now privilege trade among themselves. Trade with non-Asian nations will be an afterthought. And every Asean economy will give full priority to China.

Still, American multinationals won’t be isolated, as they will be able to profit from RCEP via their subsidiaries within the 15-nation members.

What about Greater Eurasia?

And then there’s the proverbial Indian mess. The official spin from New Delhi is that RCEP would “affect the livelihoods” of vulnerable Indians. That’s code for an extra invasion of cheap and efficient Chinese products.

India was part of the RCEP negotiations from the start. Pulling out – with a “we may join later” conditional – is once again a spectacular case of stabbing themselves in the back. The fact is the Hindutva fanatics behind Modi-ism bet on the wrong horse: the US-fostered Quad partnership cum Indo-Pacific strategy, which spells out as containment of China and thus preclude closer trade ties.

No “Make in India” will compensate for the geoeconomic, and diplomatic, blunder – which crucially implies India distancing itself from the Asean 10. RCEP solidifies China, not India, as the undisputed engine of East Asian growth amid the re-positioning of supply chains post-Covid.

A very interesting geoeconomic follow-up is what will Russia do. For the moment, Moscow’s priority involves a Sisyphean struggle: manage the turbulent relationship with Germany, Russia’s largest import partner.

But then there’s the Russia-China strategic partnership –which should be enhanced economically. Moscow’s concept of Greater Eurasia involves deeper involvement both East and West, including the expansion of the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), which, for instance, has free trade deals with Asean nations such as Vietnam.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is not a geoeconomics mechanism. But it’s intriguing to see what President Xi Jinping said at his keynote speech at the Council of Heads of State of the SCO last week.

This is Xi’s key quote: “We must firmly support relevant countries in smoothly advancing major domestic political agendas in accordance with law; maintaining political security & social stability, and resolutely oppose external forces interfering in internal affairs of member states under any pretext.”

Apparently this has nothing to do with RCEP. But there are quite a few intersections. No interference of “external forces”. Beijing taking into consideration the Covid-19 vaccine needs of SCO members – and this could be extended to RCEP. The SCO – as well as RCEP – as a multilateral platform for member states to mediate disputes.

All of the above points to the inter-sectionality of BRI, EAEU, SCO, RCEP, BRICS+ and AIIB, which translates as closer Asia – and Eurasia – integration, geoeconomically and geopolitically. While the dogs of dystopia bark, the Asian – and Eurasian – caravan – keeps marching on.

After Hiroshima and Nagasaki: U.S. and Australian Brutalisation of Women on the Japanese Mainland

August 24, 2020

After Hiroshima and Nagasaki: U.S. and Australian Brutalisation of Women on the Japanese Mainland

by A.B. Abrams for The Saker Blog

Over a year ago I published the book Power and Primacy: The History of Western Intervention in the Asia-Pacific, which was an attempt to fill what I saw as a gap in scholarship on the subject. I found that while several scholars had covered individual cases of Western powers intervening in the region, from David Easter and Geoffrey B. Robinson’s works on the Western-engineered coup and massacres in Indonesia of an estimated 500,000 to 3 million people[1] – to Bruce Cumings and Hugh Deane’s works on the Korean War, there were no major works assessing broader trends and consistencies in Western intervention. Power and Primacy was thus written to show the consistencies in Western designs towards the region and the means used to achieve them over a period of more than 70 years, from the Pacific War which began in 1941 to Western policies towards China and North Korea today.

This month marks the 75th anniversary of the dismantling of the Japanese Empire, and the famous declaration by General Douglas MacArthur that, with the region’s only non-Western military power and the world’s only non-Western naval power now defeated, ‘The Pacific is now an Anglo-Saxon lake.’ While the U.S. and its allies portrayed themselves as a benevolent and democratising force in the region, the darker aspects of East Asia’s time under the new hegemon, which starkly contradict this, have seen very little discussion or coverage. It is notable, for example, that after the Japanese Empire’s fall not only did living standards in southern Korea fall dramatically after it was placed under the rule of an American military government, but mass rapes, the use of comfort women, and serious human trafficking – the very things used by many to justify the American embargo on Japan which had started hostilities in 1941 – not only continued but were expanded under U.S. control. The government of Syngman Rhee, the Princeton-educated Christian radical the U.S. placed in power, killed 2% of its population at the most conservative estimate within five years, placing hundreds of thousands more in concentration camps and exercising a level of brutality not seen even under the Japanese Empire.

With Japan today having seen 75 uninterrupted years with tens of thousands of Western soldiers based on its territory, where they appear set to remain indefinitely, this is a suitable time to reflect on the nature of the relationship between the country and the West – which is very far from that of equal sovereign powers with shared goals and ideals. Evidence for this has ranged from massive involvement of American intelligence in the political process, including funding pro-Western political parties and supporting their election campaigns,[2] to the testimonies of multiple officials. Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, for example, noted regarding his country’s inability to reach a deal with Russia over the Kuril Islands due to an effective American veto over all major foreign policy decisions: “I think it represents a big problem that when making foreign policy decisions, Tokyo is always guided by the United States’ approach. Japan depends on America.” He further stated: “The Japanese media and government… always take America’s side. Tokyo is dependent on the US’ views … Japan will continue to side with America and the G7 countries.”[3] Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama, who in the 1950s had also sought to resolve the dispute with Moscow and sign a peace treaty on the basis that Japan would receive two of the four islands, was harshly threatened by the U.S. and was ultimately forced to concede to Washington’s demands not to go through with an agreement. Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori came to a similar conclusion regarding the country’s lack of effective sovereignty in an interview with Russian state media in 2018. [4]

Beyond these political indicators, however, are more human indicators of the nature of America’s place in post-war Japan which cannot be overlooked, and which contrast very strongly with portrayals in the vast majority of Western media including both documentaries and popular media. An extract from the book Power and Primacy, pages 66-69, given below, recently reached over 3 million viewers on social media and highlighted the true consequences for Japan’s population of subjugation by the United States. The full references are provided in the book itself. Perhaps most importantly, this is not presented as an isolated set of cases of U.S. and Western conduct towards an East Asian population placed under their power – rather it is part of a much wider trend which if anything was considerably more extreme in Vietnam and in both South and North Korea – the latter of which was briefly occupied by U.S. forces in 1950. An understanding of the past is key to comprehending the nature of Western involvement in the Asia-Pacific region today, which is why I found that this project was particularly essential now in light of the ‘Pivot to Asia,’ the North Korean nuclear crisis, the Trump administration’s recent ‘Tech War’ on China and other key events which have increasingly placed the region at the centre of determining the future of world order.

Text Start:

There was a far darker side to the U.S. and allied occupation of Japan, one which is little mentioned in the vast majority of histories – American or otherwise. When Japan surrendered in August 1945, mass rapes by occupying forces were expected… [despite setting up of a comfort women system which recruited or otherwise trafficked desperate women to brothels] such crimes were still common and several of them were extremely brutal and resulted in the deaths of the victims. Political science professor Eiji Takemae wrote regarding the conduct of American soldiers occupying Japan:

‘U.S. troops comported themselves like conquerors, especially in the early weeks and months of occupation. Misbehavior ranged from black-marketeering, petty theft, reckless driving and disorderly conduct to vandalism, assault, arson, murder and rape. Much of the violence was directed against women, the first attacks beginning within hours after the landing of advanced units. In Yokohama, China and elsewhere, soldiers and sailors broke the law with impunity, and incidents of robbery, rape and occasionally murder were widely reported in the press [which had not yet been censored by the U.S. military government]. When U.S. paratroopers landed in Sapporo an orgy of looting, sexual violence and drunken brawling ensued. Gang rapes and other sex atrocities were not infrequent […] Military courts arrested relatively few soldiers for their offences and convicted even fewer, and restitution for the victims was rare. Japanese attempts at self-defense were punished severely. In the sole instance of self-help that General Eichberger records in his memoirs, when local residents formed a vigilante group and retaliated against off-duty GIs, the Eighth Army ordered armored vehicles in battle array into the streets and arrested the ringleaders, who received lengthy prison terms.

The U.S. and Australian militaries did not maintain rule of law when it came to violations of Japanese women by their own forces, neither were the Japanese population allowed to do so themselves. Occupation forces could loot and rape as they pleased and were effectively above the law.

An example of such an incident was in April 1946, when approximately U.S. personnel in three trucks attacked the Nakamura Hospital in Omori district. The soldiers raped over 40 patients and 37 female staff. One woman who had given birth just two days prior had her child thrown on the floor and killed, and she was then raped as well. Male patients trying to protect the women were also killed. The following week several dozen U.S. military personnel cut the phone lines to a housing block in Nagoya and raped all the women they could capture there – including girls as young as ten years old and women as old as fifty-five.

Such behavior was far from unique to American soldiers. Australian forces conducted themselves in much the same way during their own deployment in Japan. As one Japanese witness testified: ‘As soon as Australian troops arrived in Kure in early 1946, they ‘dragged young women into their jeeps, took them to the mountain, and then raped them. I heard them screaming for help nearly every night.’ Such behavior was commonplace, but news of criminal activity by Occupation forces was quickly suppressed.

Australian officer Allan Clifton recalled his own experience of the sexual violence committed in Japan:

‘I stood beside a bed in hospital. On it lay a girl, unconscious, her long, black hair in wild tumult on the pillow. A doctor and two nurses were working to revive her. An hour before she had been raped by twenty soldiers. We found her where they had left her, on a piece of waste land. The hospital was in Hiroshima. The girl was Japanese. The soldiers were Australians. The moaning and wailing had ceased and she was quiet now. The tortured tension on her face had slipped away, and the soft brown skin was smooth and unwrinkled, stained with tears like the face of a child that has cried herself to sleep.’

Australians committing such crimes in Japan were, when discovered, given very minor sentences. Even these were most often later mitigated or quashed by Australian courts. Clifton recounted one such event himself, when an Australian court quashed a sentence given by a military court martial citing ‘insufficient evidence,’ despite the incident having several witnesses. It was clear that courts overseeing Western occupation forces took measures to protect their own from crimes committed against the Japanese – crimes which were largely regarded as just access to ‘spoils of war’ at the time by the Western occupiers.

As had been the case during the war, underreporting of rapes in peace- time due to the associated shame in a traditional society and inaction on the part of authorities (rapes in both cases occurred when Western militaries were themselves in power) would lower the figures significantly. In order to prevent ill feeling towards their occupation from increasing, the United States military government implemented very strict censorship of the media. Mention of crimes committed by Western military personnel against Japanese civilians was strictly forbidden. The occupying forces ‘issued press and pre-censorship codes outlawing the publication of all reports and statistics “inimical to the objectives of the Occupation.”’ When a few weeks into the occupation Japanese press mentioned the rape and widespread looting by American soldiers, the occupying forces quickly responded by censoring all media and imposing a zero tolerance policy against the reporting of such crimes. It was not only the crimes committed by Western forces, but any criticism of the Western allied powers whatsoever which was strictly forbidden during the occupation period – for over six years. This left the U.S. military government, the supreme authority in the country, beyond accountability. Topics such as the establishment of comfort stations and encouragement of vulnerable women into the sex trade, critical analysis of the black market, the population’s starvation level calorie intakes and even references to the Great Depression’s impact on Western economies, anti-colonialism, pan-Asianism and emerging Cold War tensions were all off limits.

What was particularly notable about the censorship imposed under American occupation was that it was intended to conceal its own existence. This meant that not only were certain subjects strictly off limits, but the mention of censorship was also forbidden. As Columbia University Professor Donald Keene noted: ‘the Occupation censorship was even more exasperating than Japanese military censorship had been because it insisted that all traces of censorship be concealed. This meant that articles had to be rewritten in full, rather than merely submitting XXs for the offending phrases.’ For the U.S. military government it was essential not only to control information – but also to give the illusion of a free press when the press was in fact more restricted than it had been even in wartime under imperial rule.

By going one step further to censor even the mention of censorship itself, the United States could claim to stand for freedom of press and freedom of expression. By controlling the media the American military government could attempt to foster goodwill among the Japanese people while making crimes committed by their personnel and those of their allies appear as isolated incidents. While the brutality of American and Australian militaries against Japanese civilians was evident during the war and in its immediate aftermath, it did not end with occupation. The United States has maintained a significant military presence in Japan ever since and crimes including sexual violence and murder against Japanese civilians continue to occur.”

Text End

For Full Manuscript of Power and Primacy

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For A. B. Abrams’ upcoming work, scheduled for publication in October 2018, titled Immovable Object: North Koreans 70 Years at War with American Power:

  1. ‘Indonesia’s killing fields,’ Al Jazeera, December 21, 2012. ‘Looking into the massacres of Indonesia’s past,’ BBC, June 2, 2016. 
  2. Weiner, Time, ‘C. I. A. Spent Millions to Support Japanese Right in 50’s and 60’s,’ New York Times, October 9, 1994. 
  3. ‘Stationing American troops in Japan will lead to bloody tragedy – ex-PM of Japan,’ RT, (televised interview), November 6, 2016. 
  4. ‘Ex-Japan FM: I Told Putin We Follow U.S. Policy as We’re Surrounded by Nuke States,’ Sputnik, May 22, 2018. 

Would Rudolf Steiner be a Vučić troll?

Would Rudolf Steiner be a Vučić troll?

By Saker´s Johnny-on-the-spot in Belgrade for The Saker Blog

Would Rudolf Steiner be a Vučić troll?

I doubt it. But it was good of Zoran to take time off his busy schedule to comment on my reporting from Belgrade. I am sorry that my dispatches fall short of Australian journalistic standards. Serbian political language is probably more robust than anything that Zoran experienced down under. I suspect that returning to Serbia must have been quite a culture shock. I cannot imagine that in Australia it would occur to anyone to refer to the Queen and her dysfunctional family in the robust terms that I routinely employ with reference to Vučić. There are, nevertheless, equally piquant descriptors that could be applied to some of the British royals who have been in the news lately. Some of the same attributes would also fit Vučić quite nicely.

Zoran is upset by the epithets that I use. There is visual evidence that Vučić is keenly aware of the disrepute in which he is generally held and of the trashy nicknames that, long before me, the Serbian people pinned on him:

He does not seem to be bothered by it, or at least he puts up a brave front and pretends not to be. If Vučić says he is OK with it, why should it perturb Zoran so much?

My descriptions of Vučić as a “tyrant” and “psychopath” are not complimentary but more relevantly I would suggest that they are accurate, just as it would be completely accurate, for example, to describe Prince Andrew as a pervert. In Black’s Law Dictionary, the term “tyrant” is defined thus: “The chief magistrate of the state, whether legitimate or otherwise, who violates the constitution to act arbitrarily contrary to justice”. The Cambridge dictionary defines “tyrant” as “a ruler who has unlimited power over other people, and uses it unfairly and cruelly,” a definition that is essentially identical. This is a precise description of Serbia’s form of government under Vučić. As President, formally he has limited and largely ceremonial powers, not unlike the President of Switzerland or the Queen of England (and Australia). However, it is he in fact who makes all important decisions in the country and micro-manages everything, as every person in Serbia who is not on cannabis is perfectly aware. To judge whether he perceives himself within the constitutional framework, watch his own ludicrous boasting of the things he has supposedly done which, whether actually done or not, constitutionally do not pertain at all to the office of the President:

More seriously, as everyone living in Serbia knows, major government institutions are empty shells, ministers, judges, and other officials are his puppets and party appointees, they sit at his pleasure, and do not make independent decisions. Arbitrary, personal rule is the salient feature of Serbia’s political system under Vučić. I submit that saying so publicly, far from being an insult or in bad taste, is simply a true statement within the legal and political definition of the term “tyrant,” as I use it. Nobody in Serbia today would seriously challenge that, not even trolls, in private at least.

As for my other uncomplimentary description of Vučić, that he is a “psychopath,” the impression that Vučić has serious mental health issues is widespread in Serbia. But I do not make that assertion lightly. As a layman, I defer to the diagnosis put forward by a competent professional, Prof. Mila Alečković, who has a doctorate in clinical psychology from the Sorbonne and has taught and practiced in France for many years. In her considered professional judgment, without reference to what the common people might be whispering in the cafes, Alexander Vučić is in fact a psychopathic personality. Take a watch at what Prof. Alečković has to say on the subject:

The utility of Prof. Alečković’s exceedingly well-argued presentation is that even in layman’s terms it provides reasonable grounds to conclude that both of the descriptions of Vučić that Zoran objects to, not just that of “psychopath,” but based on the visual evidence that she provides also “tyrant,” are accurate. If so, that is very bad news indeed for the country that such an individual happens to be running.

It is a pity that other than regard for good journalistic practices, not much else seems to have rubbed off on Zoran in Australia. One of the things he might have learned there is to support the right of citizens to present their grievances and to voice their views publicly without getting their heads smashed. Minimizing the number of protesters and denigrating their concerns is a rather disingenuous strategy of avoidance to express human solidarity, even with those whose views we may not share. I wonder how Zoran would have reacted in Germany in 1942 if told of the students who were members of the White Rose Society and of what they had done. Would he have dismissed them as insignificant because they were just a handful? In retrospect, who does he think was morally superior and ultimately victorious in that controversy, the outnumbered students or the regime they were protesting against?

He should give the matter some deep thought for his own sake now that he is back in Serbia, as he observes the dominant trends. It is always useful to repeat Pastor Bonhoeffer’s admonition concerning the fate of the fence-sitter who refuses to speak up when morally he ought to. After silently watching those he wanted nothing to do with being taken away, when his turn comes will anyone be left to stand up in his defense?

I sympathise with commentators who are so defensive about their country that they confuse it with the ruling regime, though it is bringing ruin upon the country they cherish. Saint Paul speaks in the Gospel of that sort of phenomenon as “zeal not according to reason.” But no government should ever enjoy the immunity from criticism to which one’s country is properly entitled.

Free word | The US-China Conflict كلمة حرة | الصراع الأميركي الصيني

Panic and the Pandemic ‘Down Under’: The Ultimate Unseen Enemy

By Jeremy Salt

Source

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In the southeastern corner of Australia a State of Emergency has replaced what was known until recently only as the State of Victoria. The unseen enemy has been a fact of modern life since the 1950s but at least the red under the bed could be seen if found. COVID-19 is the ultimate unseen enemy, because it literally cannot be seen except through a microscope and noone knows where it is and when it will strike.

The panic generated by the spread of the virus is completely disproportionate to the risk of dying from it. Between late January and July 1, 2020, 2,505, 923 people were tested for COVID-19 in Australia. As updated by Worldometer on July 3, of the 8255 cases that tested positive, 7319 had recovered.  A further 832 cases were still active (99 percent in mild condition; of the 7423 ‘closed’ cases 99 percent of those infected had recovered and one percent (104) had died.

Figures issued by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that of the deaths associated with COVID-19, no-one below the age of 39 had died.  In the 40-49 age bracket, there had been one death; 50-59, two; 60-69, 13; 70-79, 31; 80-89, 35; over 90, 20. Thus, well over 80 of the 104 deaths were in the 70s-90s age bracket.

By comparison 3334 Australians died from influenza/pneumonia in 2016 (median age 88.8). In 2017 the figure was 4269 (median age 88.3): in 2018, 3102 (median age 89.3). In the same year, 2952 Australians died from accidental falls, their median age 87.3. A further 3046 Australians died from “intentional self-harm” and hundreds of others from traffic accidents or drowning.  This is not to underplay the seriousness of the COVID-19 virus but only to put it into perspective and the context of deaths from other causes.

The figures for influenza deaths in 2019 have not yet been published.  According to a report published on August 18, 2019, however, even before the influenza season (June-September) was over 430 people had already died (some deaths were attributed to other causes despite showing “flu-like symptoms).” Hospitals were said to be “overrun,” with nearly 217,000 people diagnosed with the illness and “experts” believing the final death toll could could be much higher. [1] The Queensland government’s Ministry of Health confirmed that 264 people in Queensland alone had died.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one billion people around the world get the flu every year, with a loose estimate of 290,000-650,000 deaths, compared to the number of people misleadingly listed by the WHO as dying ‘of’ the COVID-19 virus: 472, 541 by June 23, 2020, and more than half a million by the end of the month. Despite the comparatively high global death toll from influenza, only five pandemics have been declared in more than a century, the worst of them in 1918 and the most recent after the ‘swine flu’ outbreak of 2009.

While COVID-19 may be ‘a’ cause of the 104 deaths it is not generally ‘the’ cause.  Those who die are listed as having been infected with the virus and its significance in their deaths remains unknown. Most of those infected have other serious and possibly terminal diseases likely to end their lives anyway (only about four percent of those said to have been infected with the virus when they died had no preconditions) and statements that people have died ‘from’ the virus or ‘of’ the virus, as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) on its website, are misleading.

Doctors in the UK are authorized to list the virus as a cause of death on the clinical “balance of probabilities.” In Australia doctors are instructed that COVID-19 should be recorded on the death certificate when the disease caused “or is assumed to have caused or contributed” to the death. The doctors might be right but probabilities and assumptions are hardly scientific as a means of assessing the causes of death. Bearing this in mind, the veracity of the statistics has to be regarded with some caution.

A further issue in COVID-19 control is the reliability of the basic WHO-approved test for the virus, which two investigators have concluded after detailed research is “scientifically meaningless.”[2]  Many deaths associated with COVID-19 have occurred in nursing or aged care homes, where the Swiss Policy Research Institute estimates that up to 30 percent may ultimately have been caused not by the virus but by the consequences of the lockdown, including isolation, panic and fear.[3]

Australian politicians will insist that without the lockdown the figures would have been much higher. This will forever remain a moot point but other countries have come through well without adopting such restrictive measures as Australian governments, Singapore, Japan and Taiwan among them.

Sweden, on the other hand, the bad boy of the pandemic, took minimal measures and suffered a comparatively high death toll of 5280, 51.85 deaths per 100,000 or a 8.1 fatality rate per 100,000. Of the deaths, 1151 were in the 70-79 age bracket and 2191 in their 80s to 90s, a total of 3342 deaths, more than two-thirds of the total, suggesting that while Sweden was correct in thinking that no more than minimal restrictions were necessary for the general population, it failed to provide sufficient protection for the most vulnerable, the aged and seriously ill.

In the state of Victoria 20 people infected with COVID-19 had died by the end of June, 2020 (compared to 68 deaths from influenza in 2016 and 297 in 2017).  The battle to contain the virus is being led by the Premier, Daniel Andrews, an aspiring or professional politician since he left university, and his Health Minister, Jenny Mikakos, a tax lawyer before she went into politics.  They have closed down schools and businesses.  Tens of thousands of people have been thrown out of work and the center of Melbourne turned into a dead zone.  In a city that is a magnet for young people, with hundreds of bars and other music ‘venues, the ‘hospitality’ sector has been severely affected.

While staff can claim unemployment benefits, restaurant and bar owners have been hung out to dry, with the government that closed their businesses offering nothing beyond small dollops of financial support and the suggestion that they take out bank loans. Many will go under (some already have) and others will be saddled with debt if/when they are able to reopen.  The easing of restrictions can mean little in practice, when owners of a ‘music venue’ have to apply a ‘density quotient’ of one person per four square meters.  This obviously rules out the numerous small bars where people like to meet because they ARE small and therefore cozy.

The politicians, the police, the health ‘experts’ and the media are all speaking with one voice.  There is no two-way conversation between the state and the people but a monologue, with the government and its ancillary forces telling the people what they have to do, what they have to understand, as the media frequently puts it.  In the name of suppressing the pandemic the dividing line between the authoritarian state and the liberal democracy is gradually being erased.

Expanded police powers include random home door-knocks to check that people are ‘self-isolating,’ with the police searching for anyone not at home.   A recent video showed police harassing a woman walking in the center of the city with a child in a pusher.  While one policeman wrestled her to the ground when she objected, another wheeled the child away. Groups of police are arriving unnannounced at restaurants to make sure social distancing guidelines are being observed and the names and contact phone numbers of all customers recorded on the official government form.  Police ‘enforcement patrols’ have been set up in viral ‘hot spots’, with traffic stopped across the city to check whether drivers have moved out of these suburbs.

Both the Federal (national) and state police have an arm called Protective Service Officers. In Victoria, they were created for the express purpose of providing security at suburban railway stations but are now being redeployed at shopping centers and in residential areas.   In the words of Police Minister Lisa Neville, “What we hadn’t predicted was that we would be given the opportunity to test how using them in shopping centers and other areas would go and we’ve had that opportunity.”   Assistant Police Commissioner Shane Patton concurs, as it had been a “real advantage” for the Victoria Police to be able to use the PSOs elsewhere during the pandemic.

Hundreds of people have been calling the “police assistance line,” set up for reports of “non-urgent” crime, to report breaches of the pandemic regulations: 61,000 in February, before the pandemic was declared; 71,000 in March and 102,000 in April, an average of  3500-11,500 day, mostly about the virus.  ‘Dobbing in’ – snitching – has always been regarded with the greatest contempt in Australia, along with contempt for the ‘scab,’ the worker who breaks the union picket line, but now the police see the snitch as a virtue, as doing “the right thing and holding others to account,” says Assistant Police Commisssioner Patton. “It’s about saving lives.”

Fines of up to $1652 are being imposed for people not doing the right thing, by failing to wear a face mask or not observing the correct social distance.   Apart from police surveillance and intervention, the phone app millions of Australians have been persuaded into downloading enables the government to track them down wherever they happen to be, in the name of ‘tracing’ contacts of those who might have been infected.   The fact that anyone with a smartphone can be tracked down anyway, can even be heard and photographed without their knowledge is no argument for taking the surveillance possibilities of the virus app lightly when there is no verifiable protection against its use for other purposes.

With the number of new cases on the rise, Andrews called in the army to give logistical support. Prime Minister Scott Morrison, talking as though this was Afghanistan, said the army was already “on the ground” in Victoria.  Discussions were continuing with Mr Andrews and the Minister of Defence.   The army had already been summoned “to assist with compliance” at the hotels where nationals returning from overseas are being quarantined in their rooms for 14 days (at least at the government’s expense: in Queensland overseas arrivals have to pay $2800 per person).

The quarantine hotels have been placed under the overall control of Corrections Victoria, which runs the state’s prisons.  Media images show up to a dozen police and soldiers in uniform with slouch hats surrounding travelers bussed in from the airport as they wheel their luggage into a hotel foyer.  In South Australia police armed with assault rifles have been patrolling “at risk” areas.

As the number of infections continued to rise in Victoria, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian called on anyone offering accommodation – hotels, hostels and Airbnb –  to turn away people from Victoria.  The NSW government then took a further step, closing its borders to Victorians from ‘hot spots’ and threatening those who ‘slip across’ with an $11,000 fine and six months in jail.  Queensland has closed its borders to all visitors from Victoria.  Cars crossing from Victoria into South Australia have been vandalized and the drivers abused, such is the hysteria that has been generated.

While travelers arriving in Melbourne are quarantined in hotels for 14 days at the government’s expense, those arriving in Brisbane on a flight from overseas have to pay $2800 per person.   No arrangement seems to have been made for travelers who need to be in Queensland and don’t have $2800 to spare.

With dire reports of death, new ‘hot spots’ and ‘spikes’ filling the papers every day, people have been wondering when and how it will all end, “when will I be able to hug my grandchildren again?” as the headline over one article read but “do the right thing”,  “do the decent thing”, “play it safe and stay at home” are the messages repeatedly being hammered home by politicians, police, bureaucrats,  health experts and the media, in and out of uniform, but all speaking with the same voice of authority.

Around the world ‘lockdowns’ have had profound economic and social consequences, including mass unemployment (about half the British workforce is now unemployed or underemployed), depression, domestic violence, eviction from homes, impoverishment, the denial of regular medical service even to people with serious and possibly terminal illnesses and ‘distance education,’ with parents expected to hold down jobs and simultaneously supervise the education of their children at home.

Health practitioners writing for the British medical journal the Lancet say the closure of schools in 107 countries around the world has been based on evidence and “assumptions” from influenza outbreaks.  About 862 million children and young people – “roughly half of the global student population” [4] – have been affected, apart from the impact on the lives of parents and other relatives.

The other consequences include the loss to society of parental productivity, the possibility of vulnerable grandparents called on to provide child care transmitting the virus to children (or children transmitting it to them), the loss of education, harm to the welfare of the child especially among the most vulnerable childen and nutritional problems caused to children for whom free school meals are “an important source of nutrition.”  Social isolation is listed as another negative byproduct.

The Lancet study notes the “remarkable dearth of policy-relevant data” on school distancing, including closures.  The authors question whether the closures were necessary and draw attention to the adverse effects, which include the economic harm to working parents, health-care workers and other workers “forced” from work to provide child-care.

İt finds that “the evidence to support national closure of schools to combat COVID-19 is very weak and that data from influenza outbreaks suggest that school closures could have relatively small effects on a virus with COVID-19’s high transmissibility and apparent low clinical effect on school children.”

Writing in the New York Times, David Katz, President of the True Health Initiative and founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Centre, proposed more targeted ways of dealing with the pandemic, based on preferential protection for the medical and those over 60 years of age while allowing ‘herd immunity’ to develop among the population at large.  Infection would spread but only in a mild form for the vast bulk of the population, with adequate medical resources then available to treat those who become seriously ill. [5]

Although contact-tracing phone apps have been introduced in many countries, including Australia, the WHO has recommended against their use in any circumstance, whether epidemic or pandemic.   Issues of privacy, increased government surveillance at a time when it has already reached an all-time high and the possible ‘repurposing’ of the apps are immediately raised.

These questions only add to a long list that need answers, including where the virus first surfaced.  The media fed the first assumption that it was transferred to humans from a ‘wet market’ in China but numerous other countries, including the US, have since been identified as an earlier possible source (according to a Spanish report, the COVID-19 virus was discovered in waste water in Barcelona in March 2019).

The supposedly ‘natural’ origin of the virus has been challenged by some eminent epidemiologists who say it can only have been developed in a laboratory.  If so, was its release accidental or deliberate? Given the intense security measures observed in biological research laboratories, especially when a virus can threaten human life, how could such a release have been accidental?

On October 18, 2019, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation sponsored a pandemic exercise called ‘Event 201.’  According to the scenario as laid down, it would only be a matter of time before an epidemic turned into a pandemic with catastrophic global consequences, arising from the transmission of a virus to humans through bats and pigs.  The ‘matter of time’ turned out to be only two months later, when the first outbreak of COVID-19 was identified in China (subsequent reports had it appearing much earlier elsewhere).

Fortuitously, the virus surfaced at the precise point when US banks, trading houses and other financial institutions were about to plunge off the cliff, more disastrously than in 2007-09.  While the world was looking the other way, the Federal Reserve bailed Wall Sreet out to the tune of trillions of dollars: $6.6 trillion from September, 2019 – March, 2020, a total of $29 trillion since 2007.  When the root of the problem is systemic, however,  these trillions might end up as good money thrown away after bad.  Writing in the current issue of the Atlantic, Frank Partnoy warns that the US financial system could be on the cusp of calamity and “this time we might not be able to save it.” [6]

The enormity of this second bailout would surely have caused public fury if exposed to the light of day but the bigger story was what it represented, not just the collapse of financial houses but an epochal collapse of the global ‘free market’ capitalist order as it had operated since 1945.  Based on over-production and artificially-stimulated consumerism in a world of shrinking resources, the system had not been sustainable for a long time.  Astute observers had seen the end coming for years. Already in 2015 the UN Agenda 2030 had as its central theme “a sustainable world with income equality, gender equality and vaccines for all.”  But how was the changeover to be managed, how was the new world going to be built on the ruins of the old and how could the global capitalist order be preserved in these new circumstances?

At this point COVID-19 appeared like a genie out of the bottle. In the short term it provided cover for the trillions of dollars paid out in the US to faltering corporations and financial institutions.  Banks and corporations in the UK, Australia and other countries were also the prime beneficiaries of multiple billion dollar ‘stimulus’ packages.   Media-generated pandemic panic then enabled governments to lock down entire populations and prepare them for the post-COVID-19 world.

On June 3, 2020, the WEF announced ‘The Great Reset,’ the theme of its next global forum, in January 2021.  This ‘reset’ would be based on economic restructuring built around sustainable development. The ‘market’ would be steered towards new outcomes; investments would advance equality and sustainability; and a ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ would be launched to address health and social issues.

The ‘reset’ has been endorsed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the corporate world.  Goldman Sachs has developed “a framework for investing after Covid-19,’ which it regards as a “rule-changing” and an “existential event where capital needs to find new homes.”  Retooling, winners and losers, new learning, and filling empty spaces created by failed businesses are some of the key phrases in a research paper on how Goldman Sachs (which would have collapsed in 2007-9 but for the $12.9 billion it received in the ‘bailout’ of that time) plans to be part of ‘The Great Reset.’[7]

The ‘reset’ is top-down management by the same institutions and corporations that created and kept alive a failing economic order for as long as they could and only accepted change when the system was on the point of collapse. The First Industrial Revolution did not lead to social equity and balance but to children working in coal mines for ten hours a day or losing their fingers in the spinning jenny at the textile factory.

The notion now, that those who have exploited humanity in every age are about to become its benefactors, is amusing but not to be taken seriously. The promises of great health, social and environmental benefits made by the architects of the ‘great reset’ and the Fourth Industrial Revolution are no more than the sales pitch for the restructuring of the old economic order.

Just like the old order, the new one is destined to serve the money and power interests of governments, institutions and corporations stratospherically above the interests of the people. The economic and social debris of the old world, the collapsed businesses, the millions of jobs lost (almost half the working age population of the US is presently unemployed) and the countless lives destroyed will be cleared away, leaving the corporations, protected, refinanced, and coming through unscathed, to fill Goldman Sachs’ empty spaces.

There could not be a ‘great reset’ without the pandemic. With the consent of the people, fear bordering on hysteria has been used to turn ‘liberal democracies’ into working models of authoritarian states.  The world has been subjected to a training exercise for the balance between state and society once the world has been reset.  State intervention and micro- surveillance will be generally accepted as part of the ‘new normal.’ Consensual authoritarianism will prevail.  Rights and responsibilities will be reversed: even more than previously, it will be the right of the state to intervene and the responsibility of the individual to obey.

The leaders 

Finally, the background and personalities of the politicians who have locked down Australia raise questions of their own. Internationally, Scott Morrison, the prime minister, was last seen on holiday in Hawaii, a big smile on his face and frangipani wreathing his head, Nero-like, as large parts of Australia burnt down.  The folly of his behavior might have finished him off had not the virus given him the opportunity to renew himself as a national leader.

Politically, Morrison is an arch-conservative; religiously, he is a Christian fundamentalist, a Pentacostalist who regularly attends Sydney’s Horizon Church.  The Pentecostalists believe in the ‘inerrancy’ of the Bible and ‘prosperity theology,’ acording to which the rich are rich because they deserve to be rich.  They also believe in miracles, faith healing through the laying on of hands and the vocal gifts of ‘glossolalic’ utterances, otherwise known as speaking in tongues, and xenoglossia, which is speaking or writing in a language noone else can (yet) understand.

In Morrison’s political life there is little of the mercy, compassion and humility usually associated with Christianity.  As Minister for Immigration and Border Protection in 2014, he did his best to stop asylum seekers from reaching Australia and was accused by the Australian Human Rights Commission of falling down on his responsibilities under international law to protect children being kept in detention. He has denied that there was ever slavery in Australia, in complete ignorance of the 19th century ‘blackbirding’ of tens of thousands of Pacfic islanders, tricked into coming to Queensland to work on plantations as indentured laborers or the indigenous people exploited by church missions. He opposes gay marriage and has upheld the ‘right’ of religious schools under the Sex Discrimination Act to expel gay or lesbian students.

In foreign affairs he has further cemented Australia’s place as a camp follower of the US, whatever it decides to do. On Palestine, his government has recognized West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and has tried to block the prosecution of Israelis for war crimes at the International Criminal Court.  In late June only the Marshall Islands and Australia voted against resolutions tabled by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) opposing Israel’s annexation of the West Bank.

Morrison has signaled that if the US decides to go to war against Iran he will “seriously consider” Australia joining it.  Australia hosts a number of US military/communications bases, is fully inside the current US military-economic ‘pivot’ against China and Morrison has just announced a $270 billion ‘defense’ program for a “dangerous and disorderly post-COVID19 world” policy fashioned around the ‘threat’ from China.  Here the virus is again used as cover, this time to justify massive (in Australian terms”) ‘defence’ spending.

Both Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne have made numerous public statements that could only antagonize China.  In late June the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Security Organization (ASIO) raided the home and office of an NSW Labor Party MP, Shaoquette Mosolmane, on the basis of an allegation that the office had been infiltrated by a Chinese government agent. Although no evidence was presented and no charges laid, Mosolmane was immediately suspended from the Labor Party.  The raid would have had to have been authorized by Morrison. These developments plus the accusation that Wuhan was the source of the COVID-19 virus have directly fed public and media anti-Chinese sentiments.

In the private sector, Morrison was hired as the director of New Zealand’s Office of Tourism and Sport in 1998 but ‘let go’ in 2000 with a year of his contract still to run, after criticism of the board’s conduct and performance by the Auditor-General. In 2004 he was taken on as managing director of Tourism Australia by the Howard government and, again, ‘let go’ in 2006   a year before his contract ended, after complaints of $184 million being awarded in contracts without proper assessment that the organization was getting value for money. The fact that a federal Liberal Party government let Morrison go is a fair enough indication that what he did wrong was serious. In 2007 he entered federal parliament after a dirty election campaign which saw him collaborating with a Labor Party figure, Sam Dastyari, to do in a rival within his own party.

While Morrison presents himself as a man of the people, as an open, good-hearted suburban dad, he has a tainted background in business, has engaged in underhand behavior in politics, has shown no empathy with the wretched of the earth in line with the tenets of the Christian faith he professes and has played on public biases and fears to advance his own political interests.

Daniel Andrews, the Victorian Premier, comes across as a far cleaner figure, if increasingly out of his depth in the handling of the pandemic.  He also has a religious background, as a Catholic, but a progressive one. He supports abortion on demand, has opened safe injection rooms for drug addicts and has legalized euthanasia for the terminally ill.   Nevertheless, his close daily control of the messages coming out of the government and increasingly authoritarian management style have earned him the nickname of “Chairman Dan.’

The consequences

So far the federal Australian government has spent $138 billion to support workers and businesses, but many – especially in the hospitality sector – have received little or no financial support and will either not be able to reopen their businesses or will reopen them saddled with years of debt.  In May unemployment had jumped in one month from 5.2 percent to 6.2 percent of the work force, with 600,000 people losing their jobs in April and a further 230,000 in May.   At 13.8 percent, youth unemployment was especially high.   The ABS statistics show that about 2.7 million workers – one in five of the work force – ‘left’ their employment in March-April or had their hours reduced.   According to current predictions, unemployment will reach 10 percent.

The financial costs incurred in the name of suppressing the virus are likely to set Australian economic development back for decades.  The social costs and medical costs are yet to come in.  These would cover the number of people whose medical needs have been disrupted by the single-minded focus on COVID-19, and those whose health has been worsened by isolation, loneliness and the inability to maintain businesses and provide for their families, leading in some cases, without any doubt, to suicide.

Victorians, and Australians more generally, need to do the right thing, the decent thing, and ask questions instead of docilely accepting what they are being told, much of it misleading and lacking context.  Overall, the question eventually to be asked may not be whether the cure was worse than the disease, but how much worse it was.

Waiter, I’ll have the soup of the day followed by the vaccine

Waiter, I’ll have the soup of the day followed by the vaccine

May 27, 2020

by Denis Conroy for The Saker Blog

Statistics suggest that one and a half billion day-labourers throughout the world need work to avoid starvation. This fact suggests that clarity of mind may only exist apropos of external conditions. This thought of itself suggests that man’s inhumanity to man is really a war on human rights. Clarity of mind may be the ace in the pack, but the problem is, the pack is rigged.

Watching Donald Trump respond to the Covid-19 enables us to observe just how myopic the American way of doing business is, especially when their idea of ‘progress’ is interrupted. When the twin prongs of capitalism, investment and expediency were curtailed by the novel Covid-19 virus, and the music faltered, the ‘establishment’ honchos quickly sought to place their fat arses on seats paid for by tax-payers’ money as the game of musical-chairs came to an abrupt halt. Under cover of institutional privilege, the wily controllers of external conditions were quick to consolidate their advantage.

Adherents of the house-of-cards economy, a system designed for elites to engorge themselves at the expense of main street took fright when the mechanics of their Ponzi scheme began to splutter under the pressure of the pandemic. Soon afterwards, a forlorn sense of angst began to pervade the zeitgeist. An unknown force was interfering with the ‘norm’.

What followed from this point onwards was a babble-fest conducted by inhouse-gurus of the institutional-stripe who quickly appeared at centre stage like marionettes competing for a Nobel Prize in atonal gibberish. Their pronouncements concerning the nature of something that would only be understood in hindsight or through ongoing research made little sense, but such is the role of the marionette.

In the heat of the Covid-19 moment, institutional bodies that normally underpin the status quo were seriously challenged by the social dimensions of the pandemic. Instead of a unified or clarified front we observed a host of snide internecine tensions emerge to fuel political division as well as giving crackpottery free rein. The burden of proof had become the meat in the political sandwich. For we (the masses) who had been relegated to the role of mere spectator, the deep-state was seen for what it really was, a collection of inept coterie-managed institutions now successfully privatised and without any real connection to the public domain. Authoritarianism was having a field day.

What the pandemic has taught me to date is that there is no deep state. Power, it would seem, needs spokespersons, and institutions meet this need by providing honchos to personalise the hobby horses that they have taken charge of ; think church, royalty, the ‘defence’ department, banks (Bank of International Settlements?), The New York Times, Disneyland, Donald Trump, Monarchy, etc. etc. etc…and one notices that the only thing they have in common is that they provide services that have surface value.

Therefore, the realization that surface values…known knowns…were being used as pugnacious tools when dealing with scientific facts relating to Covid-19 had me reaching for the whisky bottle.

What has kept Donald Trump’s quiff (well-stuck) from blowing in the wind is the institutional glue that keeps American mythology alive and unwell…a vapid narrative born of a need to keep the scales of injustice tilted toward protecting its own predatory appetites…a congenital aberration peculiar to unfettered capitalism perhaps?

Hence the myopic messages endlessly militating for more of the same for the purpose of keeping alternative flavours at bay… Trump declares churches ‘essential’ (Evangelical Christians et al?) and calls on them to reopen. But alas, open and reopen are merely extensions of Trump’s interpretation of what is ‘essential’. In his mind, ‘essential’, it would seem, means doing the sort of deals that keep the status quo buoyant for the privateers.

Nevertheless, when it comes to motivation, this great twit is not without a high degree of artistry. He has brought new meaning to the expression ‘out of sight, but not out of mind’, and he does it very well…embarrassingly well!

Bewitched by the voodoo of contemporary Neo-con economics, Trump’s essentiality can be best understood in terms of business motivation separated from conscience or science. He is a child of his time who tweets a story based on lies, cheating and widespread corruption which is frequently criminal as well. He has managed to ensconce himself as titular head of a business-as-usual culture that bailed out the corrupt banks in 2008 …$4.6 trillion have already been paid out…and the farce continues as structural change is blocked at every turn by means most queer! He is of a class of people who are there to prove that economics is not a science.

But stranger than strange, it could be the case that Covid-19 has the power to affect the national (or personal) psyche. As psychic reality ultimately possesses the power to temper thought, this phenomenon has the capacity to deal with the restructuring of systemic issues. That we have become used to accepting co-adjustments relating to our wellbeing per hefty amounts of bureaucratic verbiage, it does not exclude the fact that this pandemic has the potential for us to re-prioritize adjustments.

A more worrisome aspect…here in Australia…is the fact that the Covid-19 has become a ‘for-profit’ issue, and the best way of getting into the action is to get behind the guy with the biggest stick. Trump as world sheriff has deputised our lacklustre prime minister for the purpose of weaponizing the Covid-19 issue with the intention of whacking-a-mole (a yellow-peril mole as is the case down here) because it is becoming ever more proficient in ways that suggest the emergence of a culture that is capable of producing an improved world order…ScoMo, our great leader wants all us boy and girl scouts to get behind this ‘deal’ … I can almost hear his deft fingers knead the national psyche from my place in lockdown.

And while in lockdown, my thoughts now focus on what a nightmare might look like in the mind of Donald Trump…or for many Americans for that matter. Trump the child screaming his way out of a bad dream and his mother rushing in to comfort him. He, telling her that he had an awful dream. He, having dreamed that peace had broken-out across the world. He, saying to his mother, “But mum, no more weapons of mass destruction sales to Saudi Arabia or our other allies”, and she, his mother saying, while attempting to comfort him, “shush dear boy, America would never allow that to happen, now go back to sleep, everything will stay the same my dear child, the world outside is evil and it needs to be bombed. Bombing is how America sleepwalks through time.”

While the above reverie occurred in lockdown, another troubling thought quickly followed on its coattails. What is it in the American constitution (culture) or psyche that enables the general public to myopically sustain belief in their ‘democracy’ in spite of the fact that their use of excessive military force throughout the globe is there for all to see. Has horror been normalized?

As much of the world observes how America has become possessed of a pathology wherein sadism and paranoia define the inhumane hubris that MAGA lauds, a vulgar complacency now conceals what John Steinbeck’s Ethan felt in “The Winter of Our Discount”(published in 1961)…a parabolic reality wherein the main character Ethan is surrounded and influenced by family and friends who urge him to be less honest, abandon integrity, take bribes because anything else is futile in a corrupt society…restore the status of the family by any means!

And corruption breeds contradictions. Here in Australia one can still encounter the spirit of what the average Oz calls ‘a fair go’…but for how long will it last if American corruption continues to spill-over into Australia. Our Prime Minister ( ScoMo) is a political clone and devotee of Neo-con economics…a blinkered pallbearer dutifully shouldering the demise of colonial grandeur…a functionary on a mission to nowhere who finds it impossible to reimagine a genuinely independent Australia.

No doubt there are difficulties here as elsewhere, but until the spirit of young Australian awareness comes to the rescue, we are likely to continue to elect the usual idiomatic pageboys of last resort. After all, Australia is no longer a white-sliced-inbred Anglo culture strutting the stage with pin-striped aplomb to impress the natives. We have become a diverse society in spite of the White Australia Policy that once-was.

So, the times are a ’changing and the Covid-19 is a kind of mirror held up to reality. What we see when we peer into the mirror is a redundancy which makes us wonder at the ineptness of Western leadership. The Covid-19 itself being a mirror that discloses the fact that power in the hands of charlatans is power wasted.

So, when we hear people talk about a return to normalcy, we are left wondering whose interpretation of the norm is relevant. Clearly, the political honchos are marching to a different drum beat and the Pentagon is there to keep it that way.

Denis A. Conroy
Freelance Writer
Australia

Is there really a group ready to hang Erdogan out to dry?

May 01, 2020

Is there really a group ready to hang Erdogan out to dry?

by Intibah Kadi for the Saker Blog

Australian Investigator and Reporter, Chris Ray, has written an excellent piece [1]on Syrian born Imam Fedaa Al Majzoub, a graduate from the world’s most prestigious Muslim institution, Al-Azhar University, and who, until recently, enjoyed a privileged position in the Sunni Islamic community in Australia as a leader and academic and was presented as a “moderate”. Like many of his peers, he engaged with government and NGO’s in “interfaith” activities [2], reassuring the Australian government and public of unity, fraternity and equal regard for the law [3]and governance of Australia , glossing over, or in fact denying any contradictions vis-à-vis their hardline Takfiri agenda and where loyalties ultimately lie, also perhaps underplaying the decades-long role Saudi Arabia has played in the Muslim communities of Australia[4]. Some of the positions this Imam held in Australia were; Adjunct Lecturer at a public Australian university, Religious Advisor to the Islamic Council of NSW (the most populous state in Australia), Deputy Chairman of the NSW board of Imams, Member of the Fatwa Board on the Australian National Imams Council and Head of Muslim Chaplaincy within the NSW Government Department of Family and Community Services.

My interest in the subject of the Al Majzoub family began back in 2012 when they received media coverage and government sympathy in Australia. They were well known for their opposition to the Syrian government. Several people produced exposes of two brothers of the family including Fedaa Al Majzoub, and corporate media in Australia even repeated those allegations and defended the family. In closed forums the background was discussed and explored regarding the father of the family Hassan AlMajzoub, Syrian born, educated further in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and having lived and worked in Pakistan and Afghanistan where he came and went from Australia for a period of time. When allegations broke out in late 2014 in Australia about the academic and cleric, Imam Fedaa Majzoub, the subject of Chris Ray’s current article, government leaders and the major media rushed to defend him. The prestigious, conservative paper, a prominent newspaper,The Australian, published an article titled “The Respected Aussie imam smeared by Assad regime.” [5], referring with outrage to alleged Syrian Government allegations against him. One of the allegations was that Majzoub was implicated in massacres, one which Ghassan Kadi and I described in English from a Syrian, Arab language documentary.[6]

Notwithstanding Chris Ray’s excellent article on Al Majzoub and his alleged activities, including a previous piece on the two brothers written in 2014 [7], it appears that part of the sources he drew from, namely that of author Abdullah Bozkurt, could be problematic but, even if it does, it provides an interesting story in itself.

Bozkurt produces stunning exposés on Erdoğan, one after another. They are quite delightful to read. Many of his articles are excellent. Nevertheless, Bozkurt appears to have his own dubious agenda. The recent news regarding documents implicating Fedaa AlMajzoub, which Chris Ray has picked up on, seems to only originate from one source; Bozkurt [8]. Perusing Arabic, English and Turkish language media, there appears to be nothing about Fedaa AlMajzoub being in trouble with Turkish authorities. I stand to be corrected, but I will not accept to be corrected if there are reports or the subject is covered by any Gülenist media or supporters because of their history. This is because I believe Bozkurt is working with or sympathetic to the Gülenists. In Sweden, after evacuating from the 2016 attempted coup in Turkey where he was the Ankara bureau chief of the Gülen-friendly “Today’s Zaman Daily, Bozkurt established the media outlet https://www.nordicmonitor.com/. From Sweden, Bozkurt made his claims regarding connections between Al Majzoub and Erdoğan, replete with documents described as genuine.

Abdullah Bozkurt, professes to have recently come across or been furnished with leaked memos allegedly from Turkish police and intelligence compiled way back in 2012. They appear to not contain letter heads and, according to some observers, are not written in a style recognised as typical of Turkish officials. Of interest, the documents don’t implicate any Western powers despite it being well-known that the war on Syria and Libya was prosecuted primarily by the West and that with regard to Syria, Turkey was a crucial enabler for its NATO allies and terrorists’ to access Syria. Bozkurt, being an experienced media man, a former Bureau Chief of a large Turkish newspaper with many contacts, could well be telling the truth about the reliability of these documents, particularly if they have come from dissidents, including Gülenists, who have or still are deeply embedded into the Turkish apparatus, a weeding out task seemingly almost impossible for Erdoğan.Gülenists have been used by the CIA in intelligence operations and are referred to as Gladio B operators[9] and, naturally, they are not going to expose the dirt of the West and their allies in the going-ons regarding Syria or anywhere else. Gülenist articles on international or Turkish affairs may seem attractive, but they are yet another side of the coin when it comes to terrorism.

Bozkurt’s claim is that the classified intelligence documents he states he received, reveal a jihadist group called the Ben Ali Group, led by an Abdaladim Ali Mossa Ben Ali, a Libyan with close ties to Al Qaeda, having participated in transferring foreign fighters and weapons from Libya through to Turkey and that links existed between this group and Erdoğan who was Prime Minister at that time. The documents presented as genuine, show a close working relationship between Ben Ali and Fedaa Al Majzoub, which it alleges was in touch with Erdoğan’s then chief advisors, namely Ibrahim Kalin, now the Presidential spokesman, and Sefer Turan, now the chief Presidential advisor, during the process of arranging the transfer of foreign fighters and weapons. None of this news is new information to those up-to-date on the attempts to take down the sovereign state of Syria. The surprise lies in the total absence of Bozkurt implicating any role of Western forces behind the events he reports on and their close relationship, particularly at this period, with Erdoğan.

At the time of these documents which were claimed to have been created in 2012, any such concerns expressed within them by Turkish authorities would have been laughable as all the enemies of Syria worked together for as long as they were moving forward in achieving their individual aims.

Clearly until the break between Qatar and Saudi Arabia in 2017, memberships in terrorist groups largely were interchangeable and often based on who provided the best or most exciting opportunities. Ghassan Kadi explained to Sputnik in 2015 [10] that “…members walk in and out of these organizations all the time, and in effect, there is no difference between them at all”. Their relationships only fell apart when they failed to take down the Syrian government and scrambled to look for whom to blame for their own failures. Even well after this alleged police and intelligence report, numerous exposés appeared on Erdoğan’s own son and son-in-law’s business ventures with ISIS regarding Syrian oil.

Perusing many of Bozkurt’s articles in turkishminute.com, clearly a Gülenist mouthpiece or strong sympathiser media site, there is no evidence [11]of Bozkurt mentioning any Western players in bed with Turkey with regards to any of the mischief and mayhem going on with Syria and all the bands of terrorists involved. His Twitter account renders no satisfaction either on this deficit.

Had the Western enemies of Syria decided it was time to take down Erdoğan, surely this article and its contents, and maybe some others by Bozkurt, would suddenly have gained prominence, making it to “news flash” status. Fetullah Gülen is no longer a favourite tool of the Americans; some of his key people and enablers spend more time in court than doing anything else in the US. Or, perhaps it is early days and the news, if true, hasn’t been taken up by entities of America’s choosing. If the documents are genuine and have only recently come to the attention of Erdoğan, surely the paranoid megalomaniac would be on another purge within his government and all its apparatuses; that is unless it is being kept very quiet. However with opposition to Erdoğan around the world, keeping the lid on any purge might be difficult.

Investigations I carried out on Feeda AlMajzoub placed him clearly with the FSA and if the 2012 Turkish reports are true, he would have worked with all kinds of people and entities committed to taking down the Syrian government. It was publicly stated by AlMajzoub’s own people that he was the “only Australian “[12] on the Syrian National Council, the political wing of the FSA, at that time funded by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. He was allegedly in the terrorist area when his brother was killed [13] and there are many photos of him with militants from all over the world.

However, once Saudi Arabia and Qatar fell out, the FSA and its affiliates were funded primarily by Qatar, with Turkey facilitating and allowing all the physical logistics such as training camps and, most importantly, access into Syria. Saudis no doubt from the beginning would have felt uncomfortable that they could not control all aspects of the war on Syria due to the longest border with Syria being that of Turkey. Whilst Saudi Arabia controls Jordan, Jordan’s long border with Syria could not provide in any way the logistics and attributes possessed by Turkey. It is common knowledge that Syria would never have been invaded without the key help of Turkey due to its geography[14].This reality was a boon for Turkey’s (Erdoğan’s) dream to gain world Sunni leadership [15].

So why, according to Bozkurt’s article, is Turkey turning on alleged assets such as this Imam, when the regime itself is and has for a long time been deeply involved in the actions described in Bozkurt’s exposé? If this is true, perhaps one explanation could be offered that such individuals have served Erdoğan’s purposes. If that is the case, Erdoğan would likely want to identify all who were loyal and co-operative with him on Syria but who also took money and orders from Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom Erdoğan wishes to wrestle the title of “Leader of the Sunni world” from and, who Erdoğan these days, along with Qatar, stands against. If these claims of Bozkurt are true, and if a Turkish “crackdown” on Al-Qaida has indeed been taking place, given that Al-Qaida, also identified as Al Nusra, which has been a crucial asset to Erdoğan, surely it would merely be a tokenistic action for Western consumption.

Boztkurt’s exposé intimates that the lid is about to blow off on the activities of Erdoğan in respect to this Ben Ali Group and associates. No evidence of such an impending event seems to exist, nor does potential collaboration by powerful entities or states seem to transpire around these allegations, let alone any sign of a developing action brewing in an attempt to set up Erdoğan for a fall. When the time for Erdoğan to take a tumble arrives, we may get a surprise as to who will be responsible.

References and Footnotes:

[1] Chris Ray. “Moderate” Australian Imam Named in Syria arms trafficking operation

[2] Footnote: Chris Ray’s article picks up an important point of a strategy used in Australia by the hidden radical leadership in the Sunni community, that being the activities of “Interfaith” meetings. Such meetings, encouraged initially by the Jewish B’nai B’rith movement, were embraced by Government and relevant NGO’s and educational facilities as a celebration and affirmation of a harmonious, diverse and culturally rich Australia. Concurrently this raised the profile of government “approved” and endorsed, mostly highly qualified, articulate Islamic leaders in the country, ignoring the fact that not all of the country’s Muslims were Sunni. Not only did they become the “show ponies”, trotted out each time Australian authorities or NGO’s wanted to express harmony, they were also used to quell the public anxieties after 9/11, subsequent attacks attributed to “Islamic terrorism” or any disharmony such as the Cronulla Riots in 2005. Fedaa Al Majzoub was up there with Prime Ministers and people of influence. Note the fifth last paragraph of the report below regarding a high level interfaith event; “Interfaith Dinner honouring His Grace Bishop Kevin Manning as the 2010 Champion of Cultural Inclusion”, 9 June 2010

https://islamicfriendshipevents.blogspot.com /2010/06/interfaith-dinner-honouring-his-grace.html

[3]Dinner Meeting between the Imams and the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, Mr. Tony Negus 25 December 2010

https://islamicfriendshipevents.blogspot.com/2010/09/dinner-meeting-between-imams-and.html

[4] Footnote: Saudi Arabia’s role in strong business relationships with Australian government and companies and as a strong US ally, gave them a powerful inroad to radicalising Muslim communities, including emerging refugee communities. Saudi Arabian Wahhabi missionaries could easily enter Australia and go about their activities. Funding for Islamic based activities was substantial. This included funding universities, mosques, study groups, promoting to government particular Islamic leaders, inculcating Saudi Wahhabi culture into communities in place of their traditional cultures, just to mention some of their strategies to replace Sunni Islam with the Wahhabi version. Some links” “Revealed: the Saudis’ paymaster in Australia”, Sydney Morning Herald, 10 September, 2005; https://www.smh.com.au/national/revealed-the-saudis-paymaster-in-australia-20050910-gdm1ko.html ,and “How to be a useful idiot: Saudi funding in Australia”, Mervyn Bendle, 13 October 2008, updated 29 September 2010; https://www.abc.net.au/news/2008-10-13/32626 and “NATIONAL SECURITY:Secret Saudi funding of Australian institutions”,Mervyn Bendle (reviewer) 21 February 2009 http://www.newsweekly.com.au/article.php?id=3808. All this time, it appeared Australian authorities in general, possessed little of no capacity in appreciating the nefarious undercurrents to many of these events, culminating in recruitment opportunities for Wahhabis for the wars and conflicts that interested them.

[5] Respected Aussie Imam Smeared by the Assad Regime, The Australian, December 2014

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/the-respected-aussie-imam-smeared-by-the-assad-regime/news-story/01bafc012a5b37d65c626e82be829049

[6] OGARITE DANDACHE’S AUGUST 2013 DOCUMENTARY ON LATTAKIA MASSACRE

https://intibahwakeup.blogspot.com/2013/10/ogarite-dandaches-august-2013.html

[7] Blood Brothers; the Sydney Jihadists who took on Assad, Chris Ray, 9 January 2014
https://www.crikey.com.au/2014/01/09/blood-brothers-the-sydney-jihadists-who-took-on-assad/?wpmp_switcher=mobile?wpmp_switcher=mobile%20*http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/the-controversies-raging-inside-our-islamic-schools-%2020151012-gk790z.html

[8]Al-Qaeda group in Libya had close ties to Erdoğan, intelligence documents reveal, Adbullah Bozkurt, 20 January 2020

[9] The Origins of NATO’s Secret Islamic Terrorist Proxies. Tom Secker, 11 March 2013

[10] “Moderate Islamism” Washington, Brussels Playing with Fire in Syria, Iraq. Ghassan Kadi, Sputnik,12 December 2015

https://sptnkne.ws/x3Zy

[11] Search on Adbullah Bozkurt’s articles https://www.turkishminute.com/author/abozkurt/

[12] Popular Sydney Sheikh Mustapha Al Majzoub martyred in Syria, Muslim Village, 20 August 2012; https://muslimvillage.com/2012/08/20/27205/popular-sydney-sheikh-mustapha-al-majzoub-martyred-in-syria/

[13] Footnote: In 2012 the younger brother of Imam Fedaa AlMajzoub, Sheikh Mustapha AlMajzoub was killed in a terrorist held part of Syria. He was a “Sheikh”, a school teacher responsible for cultivating the minds of young Muslims in Australia and, on his Facebook page, boasted about the capture of 72 Syrian government loyalists. Under his post a friend asked if they had been “slaughtered” yet. The then Premier of NSW, Barry O’Farrell, allegedly, according to Arabic Newspaper, An-Nahar, published on 27 August 2012, offered his condolences for the “killing” of Sheikh Mustapha Al Majzoub. This is despite on the 22nd of August 2012, The Australian publishing that the Sheikh was ” … known to police and intelligence services because of his “extreme” views” https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/sydney-sheik-killed-in-syria-an-extremist/news-story/795ec65ea88ecf84f0622b84e08a6aa4. The grieving father Hassan AlMajzoub travelled to the terrorist held area where his son was killed to visit his grave.The headstone says “Al Shahid Mustapha Al Majzoub”. The father posted a video on his Facebook page of his visit https://www.facebook.com/hassan.almajzoub.31/videos/310864785734275/?__cft__%5B0%5D=AZUKkfhfK2lZeHTBMp5Z_JM9y_nmpWkOiHq6DUuo9B_uWgbB72S38q6xaXp9SUYvvQ7QrUza_-_cfDLMuT2ctlurWw-ElbqHXUQ2J4pUkPhPBSQMZBmXiPZwVfBMeCwee8cKigq-hiQCxN5nzxe6S_Ws&__tn__=%2CO%2CP-y-R

[14]The Gateway To Idlib Goes Via Cilica, Ghassan Kadi, The Saker,1 March, 2020 http://thesaker.is/the-gateway-to-idlib-goes-via-cilica/

[15] Erdogan’s Long-Coming Reality Check: Ghassan Kadi , The Saker, 14 February 2020

Australia: The “Building 7” of the COVID 19 Pandemic

By David Macilwain

Source

This article was first published on American Herald Tribune on April 26, 2020. A must read!

coronavirus australia 50ae5

Seven hours after the Twin Towers came down, and before the transfixed and terrified New Yorkers had any idea who or why jet liners had flown into them, the answer to this question appeared on TV screens to those lucky enough to notice it. Despite this vital clue as to how it was that a bunch of jihadis with box cutters could demolish those monoliths of the American Empire, the mayhem loosed upon the world by the Bush and Cheney regime soon stifled any dissenting opinions.

Subsequently the grim task of sorting through thousands of tonnes of rubble looking for clues and body parts focussed local attention exclusively on the “Ground Zero” into which the two towers had miraculously collapsed. No-one noticed what was happening just a block away, as the remains of WTC7 were – presumably – removed, just as they didn’t seem to have really noticed the 50 storey building when it was standing, or ever found out what went on in it.

Work on a new WTC7 began in 2002 and the replacement was opened in 2006, so there are no more reminders of the astonishing collapse of Building 7. The official investigation didn’t even examine the collapse till 2008, when it rapidly concluded that WTC7 was the first such building in the world to collapse due to fire. Following a four year computer study by Architects and Engineers for Truth however, this was shown to be false, though the report released only in March this year, found that fire could not have been responsible, without stating their clear conclusion and the only one possible – that someone pulled the plug on Building 7.

Long before this of course, “conspiracy theorists” had latched onto the freefall collapse of WTC7, for the simple reason that it was never hit by a plane. The significance of this “anomaly” was not so much on why Building 7 collapsed anyway, but in what it suggested about the Twin Towers. If WTC 7 was brought down by a controlled demolition – as it so clearly was, then could this also be the explanation for the sudden and unexpected collapse of the North Tower at a time when the fire started by the jet fuel in the upper sections showed some sign of abating? This then followed in timely fashion by the remarkably similar collapse of the South Tower.

Once this unthinkable possibility is entertained, and the collapse of the towers closely observed, the tell-tale signs of a controlled demolition are immediately apparent along with the apparent close monitoring of the operation – such that an initial list in one tower is corrected and it falls perfectly into its own footprint. As an illustration of what a well organized controlled demolition looks like, this example from Frankfurt is instructive.

While no doubt now remains amongst the cognoscenti that the demolition of the Three Towers was the mother of all false flag operations, enabling two decades of the Empire’s “War on Terror”, the consequences of recognizing this crime against humanity as an “inside job” are almost beyond belief; everything claimed by the NATO powers as a pretext for offensive or pre-emptive action against other states must be questioned, with the default response being disbelief until proven otherwise.

And with each subsequent suspect event that is exposed as a false flag or act of cyber-warfare, the true nature of past events is confirmed; this is their modus-operandi, and has been for decades.

The corollary of this chain of crimes, and the compounding chain of disinformation that sustains it, is that those who believe the first great lie – in most cases the 9/11 lie – have their false belief reinforced by every subsequent operation, and to the point where they are prepared to believe almost anything. Given that these operations are well planned by their perpetrators, whose understanding of human psychology and manipulation guides their presentation to the target audience, the dumbfounding of the population now enables whatever they deem necessary.

As a prime example of such manipulative operations, it’s hard not to come back to the so-called “Salisbury Poisoning” of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, where practically nothing the UK government claimed and that media broadcast was true or verifiable. All we know is that two Russian guys visited Salisbury twice that weekend, and that Dawn Sturgess died several months later; everything else is hearsay based on the statements of categorically untrustworthy agencies, agents and authorities.

Removing the Bench March 23 2018 03181

*(23 March 2018: army officers in protective suits remove the bench where Sergi and Yulia Skripal were found. Credit: Will Oliver/EPA)

It may take a while for this to sink in – because we were told so much about the Skripals and the GRU agents, and we saw the hundreds of PPE-wearing men “cleaning up” – and tearing up – Salisbury town center; they must have been doing something! And we all heard how the victims of the Russian Novichok nerve agent finally recovered thanks to the dedicated work of hospital staff, under instruction from advisors from nearby Porton Down.

Porton Down of course used to be the UK’s chemical and biological weapons development center, back in the ‘50s testing Sarin on human subjects who thought they were trialing a cure for the common – Coronavirus – cold. More recently Porton Down was closely involved in Britain’s operation to fight the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, coincidentally led by the now-renowned Colonel Alison McCourt. It is unwise to dismiss such coincidences.

As the Coronavirus 19 outbreak becomes increasingly politicized, with the US openly accusing China of allowing the virus to escape from the Wuhan facility, or even doing so intentionally, it’s worth remembering Porton Down’s history and questioning its current activities – if only because nobody does! Although as a class 4 lab it is now similarly involved in testing for the presence of COVID 19 in patient samples, its history suggests no information would ever be forthcoming, just as it wasn’t about Porton Down’s possession of Novichok samples in March 2018.

Besides, no-one is really questioning that there is a very serious outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the UK, even if death and case statistics are unreliable and dishonestly presented. Despite the overwhelming number of deaths being in the “old and sick” part of the population, the media constantly picks out the unrepresentative and unusual cases of younger and apparently healthy people who for some reason have succumbed to the virus.  The object of this disinformation initiative is to support the false idea that “we are all at risk” – and so must all follow the isolation guidelines.

But it is not on the UK’s trials that I want to focus. Rather it is on the “Building 7” of the COVID 19 Pandemic – Australia.

The actions taken by the Australian government on the pretext of preventing the spread and devastation of the novel Coronavirus mimic closely those taken by European countries fighting the outbreak – the unprecedented and massive public expenditure – $320 Billion, to support the beleaguered economy and some of those thrown out of work by the collapse of the “non-essential” hospitality and tourist related industries; the sudden and draconian measures to restrict social contacts and viral transmission involving a lockdown for an unspecified period of time, and the accompanying imposition of on-the-spot fines of thousands of dollars for “resisters”; and the suspension of normal Parliamentary process and any democratic oversight of these new laws.

What we have is tantamount to Martial law, with government by decree. All of which would arguably be justifiable in the face of escalating deaths and collapsing health systems, as has happened in Italy, France, Spain and the UK – and the US.

But just as there was no jet plane to blame for the sudden collapse of World Trade Center 7, there is no COVID 19 Pandemic to blame for the collapsing of the Australian economy, and all the excess deaths that will result from the millions of jobs lost, escalation of domestic violence and suicides, and deaths of people too afraid to go to the doctor or hospital for fear of catching the Virus.

In fact there isn’t even an epidemic of the Coronavirus in Australia, with a total death toll just one tenth of the daily deaths in New York or the UK or Italy. The daily addition to diagnosed cases of COVID 19 is now in single figures, with little if any evidence of community transmission unrelated to the initial surge in numbers that came with the debouchment to all states of Australia of infected passengers from the Ruby Princess, and the unregulated entry of Australians returning from the US and Italy before the borders were closed.

A fortnight ago it was announced that from a total of 6335 cases of infection in the whole of Australia, 238 were in hospital, of whom 81 were in ICUs, and just 35 on ventilators. The 61 fatalities then has now risen to 80, with a typical age structure dominated by the over 70s with co-morbidities. 20 of these fatalities came from the cruise ship. New cases are now in single figures, while over 5000 are said to have recovered, most evidently without any treatment; unlike in some countries, Hydroxychloroquine has not been approved until very recently and has been reported only adversely, as something Donald Trump – bless his heart – is promoting.

Adding to the feeling that the Australian government has another agenda is its dogged pursuit of a surveillance app to enable contact tracing of COVID 19 – or any other infectious agent – which Australians are being encouraged to install on their mobile phones. Their natural reluctance and residual distrust of the government will be overcome by the carrot and stick, as we are told that if everyone installs the App, life will be able to return to the new normal sooner. Those who refuse to do so will be restricted, and pilloried by the compliant and fearful masses, who have already shown a worrying willingness to dob in lock-down resisters. Dobbing in is a very un-Australian thing to do, so this tradition is another thing turned upside down by the Virus response.

While there is now much talk of when the lock-down may be eased or finally lifted, Government ministers are unyielding and suggest that just one new case of infection that results from such loosening could explode into a whole new epidemic, and so we must wait longer while a manhunt continues for the secretive killer, or a vaccine is proven. (that the population has been prevented from acquiring any resistance to a second outbreak does give this claim some credibility however) So the social lock down remains, despite moves to lift it in countries really affected by the Pandemic, and despite the collapsing of our economy and society around our ears.

It looks rather as if this New Normal was part of the 2020 Vision, and something that even George Orwell could not have imagined. The threat of a “second wave” is now the basis for a complete cessation of flights into and out of Australia for at least another year. Those seeking to escape from this pleasant but stultifying and insular existence will be increasingly ostracised, like the poor Chinese Australians attacked by strangers on the street and told to “go home”.

These despicable and racist attacks are the natural result of the Government’s unjustified and incendiary attacks on China, and attempts to hold it responsible for the crisis they themselves have created. You may draw your own conclusions as to what lies behind this physical and verbal assault on our most important and vital trading partner, as well as on the true origins of SARS-CoV-2.

I’ve already drawn mine from the rubble of Building 7, and another event in New York last October which involved Australia’s Pandemic preparedness overseer Jane Halton. But just like WTC 7, Event 201 has now been covered over, reborn as “COVID 19”.

 

 

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’?

April 28, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’?

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

There must be SOME criteria where the proponents of the Great Lockdown could say, “In hindsight, this was wrong.”

It is obviously hysterical to insist that admitting a policy mistake is totally, completely impossible. German fascists are not wiping out Poland, after all.

I mean, what if a secret global doomsday machine in Poland gets triggered if global GNP falls below a certain threshold, wiping out humanity? Certainly then all would agree, “The Great Lockdown turned out to be a mistake,” right?

Absurd extremes aside, the coronavirus overreaction has turned into a major test case for today’s Western worship of both technocracy and scientific secularism. Since 1980 they have insisted that national cultures should not play any shaping role in public policy because Westerners have discovered a system of “universal values” which should guide all national governments.

(The Western system is – of course – actually based on aristocratic/bourgeois neoliberalism & neo-imperialism.)

A corollary is that a technocratic 10% should be implementing these values with zero lower-class input into public policy formation. A second corollary is that science is the one, true, rightly-guided, infallible way. In April 2020 the doctors and professors are always right, and US President Donald Trump is always wrong.

But… then how do we explain this written – not spoken – declaration from the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, as reported by AP? This was published on April 24, during the truly fake-news controversy regarding Trump and injecting disinfectants.

“Given that countries currently in ‘summer’ climates, such as Australia and Iran, are experiencing rapid virus spread, a decrease in cases with increases in humidity and temperature elsewhere should not be assumed,” the researchers wrote earlier in April in response to questions from the White House Office of Science and Technology.”

But Iran is not in summer – they are in the northern hemisphere, so Iran is in spring.

Australia is in the southern hemisphere – it is in autumn.

In fact, due to the tilting of the earth, if the northern hemisphere is in spring then the southern hemisphere can only be in autumn, never in summer. Spring in the north and summer anywhere else is an impossibility.

Not only am I not a rightly-guided epidemiologist, I am not even a scientist and yet I know this. Heck, maybe even Trump knows this.

Associated Press, the largest news-gathering organisation in the world, obviously made the same elementary mistake as these scientists. It is very possible that in their rabid desire to discredit Trump the journalists cared more about over-exaggerating his clearly off-the-cuff science than fact-checking.

My point here is not to say “gotcha, you are dumb” – my point is to say that this is precisely why socialist democracy (which relies on consensus) is so much more valuable than Western technocratic individualism. You see: God, in His wisdom, made humans imperfect – and that includes epidemiologists and we journalists.

That is why the West’s choice to rely solely on epidemiologists, and also a mainstream media which is supposed to be always ever-skeptically vetting everyone’s declarations, is a fundamentally flawed approach to handling the corona response. Combine this with a Western system where politicians are forced to be always either in electioneering mode or fund-raising mode, and you get a system which uncritically bows to very mistake-prone earthly authorities.

I find it stunning that US polls have consistently pegged general support for the lockdowns to be at 80%, and that an unthinkable 95% of Democrats say the measures don’t go too far. Considering all the poverty, the refusals to loan to Main Street, the delays in government aid, the exponentially-increasing certainty of prolonged economic chaos – Americans are still not fed up? I can only theorise that the US people have been so propagandised by a lack of “contrarian voices” – contrarian because they dare to say that the needs of the lower classes must be voiced and implemented – that they have been terrified into submission by their media. Democrats are obviously the least open to different ideas – we see how fantastically total their groupthink is.

But back to my main point: what are the realistic criteria where people would say – as people must often do if we are to have a civilised society which progresses – “I was wrong”?

I can’t think of any which would be acceptable… and that shows the massive hysteria of the Western response

Please note that “I was misled” is certainly acceptable.

After all, just turn on your television and you are almost guaranteed to see a journalist nodding along to whatever an epidemiologist is saying – these two classes have been given the key to socioeconomic policy. In the corona hysteria these two have worked in tandem, and both must be judged according to the huge power they have been given.

As late as March 20th The New York Times fake-leftist bien-pensant Nicolas Kristof quoted “one of the best disease modellers in the world” declaring that the best-case scenario in the US was “about 1.1 million deaths”, with the worst-case being “2.2 million deaths”. They even put the latter in the sub-headline. Because he is such an awful, unreadable journalist Kristof does not make it clear if these two scenarios are the result of everyone doing absolutely nothing to combat coronavirus (an absurdity, which only an ivory tower academic would waste time studying) – I assume that is the case. However, many others may not make that assumption because Kristof leads the reader to believe (and maybe he believes this – he is not clear) that despite all the personal protective gear, ventilators, new hospital beds and everything else that US society could throw at corona, then we should still expect over 1 million deaths. Thus, both scientists and Kristof conclude: “If anything, we’re still underreacting.”

It turns out the epidemiologist’s numbers were indeed based on the idea that everyone did absolutely nothing. Well, thanks for getting dumb journalists all worked up over nothing! And I guess epidemiologists can’t write Kristof’s article for him but it’s certain that this power tandem failed at the top.

I’m not surprised, because I always doubted 2.2 million and here’s one reason why: MSM journalists seem to forget that recent history is not kind to US epidemiologists: In 2014 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted 1.4 million Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone alone. There were only 28,616 total cases. If this was Iran or China we could just accuse them of a cover-up, but alas…. And those are two countries with far, far less resources to throw at a virus. On April 3 satirical website The Onion re-ran Historians Politely Remind Nation To Check What’s Happened In Past Before Making Any Big Decisions – they are indeed more credible than The New York Times.

So what are the criteria for a fact-based backtracking?

Frankly, I don’t think the Great Lockdown supporters have thought about this at all, and that should cause them some worry.

This question has clearly been repeatedly shot down to the point where everyone self-censors, which is the most effective form of censorship. The question itself has been deemed to be proof of being a far-right neo-fascist: A Google search reveals What If the Pandemic Policymakers Are Wrong? Will health experts become the latest elite deemed “too big to fail”? That’s a great sub-headline – I’d nick it, but this article is almost completely written already. What’s too bad is that this article is from the website American Greatness, LOL.

So just asking “what if” puts me on the far-right? Well, I did just sign off on the cover to my latest book on socialism so, LOL, I could debate that rather at length. However, asking “but what if”, providing a modicum of contrarian views, being skeptical – this is what objective journalism is in any nation.

I am willing to question my faith: One article idea in my “to do” basket is, “What do socialists do if the bailouts actually work?” I am not so self-righteous, smug and smothering that I refuse to honestly ask and answer that question – it’s at least possible they will… because the question is not mathematical and because that history is not yet written.

Can Great Lockdown supporters question themselves? I doubt they can or even want to respond.

What I fear is this: that many Great Lockdown supporters are so self-righteous, out of touch and indoctrinated that they will genuinely believe that “even preventing one death made it worth it”. This is the view of a child, not an adult citizen who should know that any “War on Dying” is nothing but a joke. That is the exact view of a lowest-common denominator American politician – are REALLY trying to be like them? “Whatever you say” politicians are the third wheel on the tricycle which is steering Western, pro-upper-class corona policy.

To answer my own question: Because the virus was supposed to be so extraordinary, extraordinary measures have been taken. So it’s gone far beyond only total deaths – the accurate counting of which appears to be already hopelessly muddled.

If corona pricks the Western bubble economy (Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus) and “Great Depression 2” becomes a real thing – was it worth it?

If major aspects of the current drastic reduction in political rights get normalised – just as France prolonged a “temporary” state of emergency for two full years, and then Emmanuel Macron legalised it into common police practice – was it worth it?

If the US bows to Dr. Anthony Fauci, their nation’s leading technocrat on infectious diseases, and permanently “breaks that custom” of shaking hands to show warmth and friendship to strangers or if France ends the la bise hello kisses – was it worth it?

There are economic, political and cultural shockwaves stemming from the Great Lockdown – maybe their proponents didn’t foresee them, or maybe they were misled, but these things cannot be ignored because they, too, will cause death and pain.

You don’t want to talk about those things? No problem.

You don’t even have to answer the simple question the headline poses – too many people getting bossed around these days already.

***********************************

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20, 2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26, 2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

Coronavirus Brings People to Consensus: We Do Not Trust The System

Coronavirus Brings People to Consensus: We Do Not Trust The System

By Nour Rida

Precautionary measure and quarantine are essential to slow the spreading of Coronavirus. Since its growth is exponential, it is directly related to the contact of the persons [quarantine, lockdown, social distancing] and the probability of infection [hand sanitizing, masks, gloves, etc]. It is also essential that governments take swift action to control the situation.

People across the world, for the first time in long decades suffer from the same calamity. They all have the same fear; facing an unknown virus that is taking away lives of people within days. Even though scientists and researchers have assured that 70 to 80 percent of those infected by the virus can recover by themselves, but a state of panic and alarm is prevailing. This state of panic and mistrust of the government is not in Iran, nor in countries like Lebanon, Bahrain, Iraq or in African countries that have concerns over the humble health system. It is people at the heart of Europe, Australia and the Americas freaking out. To this concern, al-Ahed news interviewed people from different countries to see what things are like on the ground.

Starting with the UK, Nadine said that the UK is very slow in taking measures. “Students are still regularly going to their schools and public areas are packed with people. During the coming two weeks or even months we will witness a peak in COVID-19 spread. There was only one late step came as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a quarantine for people older than 70 years.”

Nadine has been to the supermarket multiple times now to buy some food, tissue paper and essential goods but all she finds is empty shelves and people quarreling.

“It is crazy at supermarkets, so much hoarding on goods and people are literally getting into fights over tissue paper and other goods. The prices doubled and the shelves are empty even though the government claimed there will be no shortage. Every time I go to the supermarket I do not find anything to buy.”

It does not seem that the health care system is trustworthy. Nadine adds, “And then if you get sick and call 999 or 111 they ask you to stay home, there is no place at the hospitals. There are no real measures to contain the situation. Here people talk a lot about Johnson’s plan of herd immunity, and about the greed of the government which aims at preventing the health system from paying tremendous amounts of money. So the old and sick with no immune system can die and the rest will survive.”

Moving to the US, from Apex, North Carolina, Nancy who is a software engineer told al-Ahed news “I feel really afraid, capitalist countries like our country takes the lives of human beings for granted. Governments here evaluate us as potential for making money and to lift the economy.”

She said that hospitals are not carrying out tests for the virus unless the case is very severe. The performance of the government is terrible and the health sector is not ready to face such an epidemic. It is also scary to see people rush to the stores to pile goods at their homes and buy guns too.

Coronavirus Brings People to Consensus: We Do Not Trust The System
North Carolina

From Canada, Jaden, a university student from Montreal told the news website “It feels weird. For the first time in my life I feel like the globe is facing an eminent danger including everyone. There is a lot of tension in the air, and unfortunately we see greed and selfishness.

Feeling sad that people are so selfish and acting inhumane, he added “It is like everyone here is only concerned with their own lives. We see that in the quarrels taking place in the supermarkets over goods and how suddenly all the shelves are empty.”

Coronavirus Brings People to Consensus: We Do Not Trust The System
Montreal
Coronavirus Brings People to Consensus: We Do Not Trust The System

Ahmed, from Australia’s Sydney said he witnessed a quarrel of a few women over tissue paper and canned food. “As much hilarious as it was, it was painful and scary.”

“I think it is all about feeling like you are in control and that is because of mistrust of the government and the system. People are scared but they do not realize how they are affecting the society. It is selfishness and inhumanity that I see in these scenes.”

Asma from Germany says hundreds stand at the doors of hypermarkets and supermarkets and rush in to hoard goods in what seems to be like a famine is hitting the planet. Born to a German mother and originally an Iranian father, she said that there is no mercy among people and it is so scary to see Germany in that state of chaos.

“Like I could never imagine my country, Germany as such. There is so much greed in the air. I understand that people are afraid but why not help one another survive this crisis. But again, people do not trust the system here, they fear for their lives.”

After a long period of slow response, suddenly, Switzerland found itself in the middle of 4 seriously hit countries, Italy, France, Germany and to a lesser extent, Austria. There are a lot of cross-border workers from these countries to Switzerland. Italy and France are severely hit and the pandemic epicenter is shifting to Western Europe. These cross-border transported the virus to Switzerland much faster than previously thought or expected and now the situation became critical.

Karina, a Swiss citizen told al-Ahed news “After a relative period of calm and feeling of security, suddenly, the general public is facing soaring numbers of cases, drastic measures reaching total lockdown, airports closure, shops closure, etc. Obviously, this is creating a panic situation especially that the public was not well aware of the extent of the situation.”

She added “The actions taken by the government were a bit late. The situation is already out of control and the growth rate is enormous. Since Switzerland is a federal state, each canton decided to take measures according to its own institutions.”

Karina explained that in principle, goods availability is insured by a very strong public security system, however, people are panicking and stockpiling essential goods and food at home. “Supermarkets started to be overwhelmed by the number of clients but the situation is still controllable. However, people are very collaborative and respect the orders given by the authorities.”

Emilio, a Mexican engineer said his country has not taken efficient measures on time. “There are panic shopping in the markets but still there is no chaos so far.”

Asked on whether he trusts the health and political systems, he said “Honestly no. I think the answer of our government is being slow and not appropriate.”

At the time when it is important to stock up on some things while waiting out Covid-19 and being ready for maybe compulsory quarantine for two weeks or a few, hoarding unnecessary items can deplete the supply for everyone else. Yes, being prepared for a possible quarantine is smart but also being caring about other members of the society is an essential characteristic of being a human being. It remains a wonder to see people of the so-called “developed countries” [ruled by governments that see themselves superior in this world] witness such a state of mistrust and chaos.

Yemeni Defense Minister: Much more Ready to Hit Back at US-Saudi Aggression, than before Our last Peace Initiative

The Minister of Defense, Major General Mohammed Al-Atefi, affirmed that the Yemeni Armed Forces have completed all needed preparations to launch a comprehensive strategic attack that cripples the enemies capabilities, indicating that the countries of aggression are not sincere regarding peace and if the aggression and the blockade continue, we will not stand idly by.

In an interview with Almasirah newspaper published on Sunday, Al-Atefi said, “we stand ready on the brink, of combat readiness much more better than before our political leadership has presented the initiative. It was put forth from the position of strength.”

He stressed that the initiative in the offensive battle is in our hands and not in their hands, explaining that it is in the interest of the enemy to accept the contents of the initiative if not they will regret not seizing the opportunity. He added that “there is no way for the enemy except to stop the aggression and lift the siege on Yemen.”

Al-Atefi stressed that the Yemeni Army and Popular Committees on the frontlines are standing on the outskirts of major cities and vital areas. He noted that we have new and developed armament capabilities that delight the Yemenis and what terrifies the aggression forces. He pointed out that the weapon that had shot down a number of the aggression aircraft will be announced soon, stressing that the weapon has capabilities to neutralize the hostile air force.
The Minister referred to the capabilities of Yemen in the field of Air Defense, saying: there will come a time when we announce that the airspace of Yemen has become prohibited to aggression’s planes, indicating that work is under way to neutralize hostile aircraft completely.

On behalf of the Yemeni navy, Maj. Gen. Al-Atefi affirmed that our naval forces have reached a stage that enables them to carry out their tasks with high efficiency and protect the regional waters and Yemeni coasts with distinction. He pointed out that our navy is at the highest levels of readiness and possesses weapons and systems, which makes it an effective marine force south of the Red Sea and the region in general.

The Minister affirmed that the Zionist entity participated and is still present from the first day of the aggression against our country, stressing that the revenge is coming undoubtedly. He explained that the Yemeni army possesses a bank of military, navy and wildly targets, for the Israeli enemy, and we will not hesitate one second to destroy them if the leadership makes the decision.

Al-Atefi pointed to the Emirati participation in the aggression against Yemen, stressing that the Armed Forces promises regarding the Emirati enemy still in effect, and we closely monitor his conspiracy activity. He considered that the countries of aggression are not sincere regarding peace and the initiatives and dialogues are to establish the argument, stressing that if the aggression and the siege continue, we will not stand idly by.

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