New Zealand Massacre: The Hate That Australia Produced

Astute News

“We stand here and condemn absolutely the attack that occurred today by an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist,”Australian Prime MinisterScott Morrisontold a news conference, as his country grapples with the fact that one of its own murdered 50Muslim worshippers in neighboring New Zealand.

The kind of anti-Muslim views espoused by politicians and pundits are indistinguishable from those disseminated by violent far-right groups

While Morrison should be commended for calling out and identifying exactly who and what the Christchurch mosque mass murderer is – “a right wing, violent terrorist”– Australia’s political leader and his conservative party is responsible for the mainstreaming of the kind of anti-Muslim rhetoric that once existed only in memes found in the far-right blogosphere.

Bearin mind that Morrison, as then opposition immigration spokesman in 2011, urged the shadow cabinet to leverage growing anxieties voters held about “Muslim immigration”,”Muslims in Australia”,and the “inability” of Muslims to integrate into the…

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Marco Polo is back in China – again

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March 10, 2019

Marco Polo is back in China – again

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author)

Embattled Chinese technology giant Huawei is on a new commercial offensive in New Zealand, one that playfully conflates the nation’s passion for rugby with telecommunications infrastructure.

“5G without Huawei is like rugby without New Zealand,” one billboard said. Another reads: “New Zealanders wouldn’t accept second or third best on the rugby field, and they shouldn’t have to put up with it when it comes to 5G.”

Last November, New Zealand blocked the use of Huawei equipment and supplies in the roll out its new generation 5G network over national security concerns, one of the first indications that Wellington is taking a harder look at its largest trading partner.

The company is not banned outright in New Zealand, but is under a temporary ban via its local partner Spark, which has been prohibited from deploying Huawei’s technology over spying concerns shared by New Zealand’s “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing partners, namely the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) said last year that it had “established links between the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) and a global campaign of cyber-enabled commercial intellectual property theft.”

“This long-running campaign targeted the intellectual property and commercial data of a number of global managed service providers, some operating in New Zealand,” Andrew Hampton, director general of the GCSB, said.

A Huawei advertising billboard in New Zealand. Photo: Huawei website screen grab

Concerns over Huawei’s alleged links to China’s ruling Communist Party are now global, but New Zealand’s stance on China is fast shifting, with Huawei’s ban just the latest in a growing list of concerns that have caused ripples in previously calm and mostly trade-centric relations.

Last month, headlines on both sides of The Ditch — the sea that separates Australia and New Zealand – were made after allegations surfaced that a New Zealand academic had been harassed by presumed Chinese agents.

New Zealand scholar and China expert Anne-Marie Brady recently alleged that her office at the University of Canterbury and then her personal residence were broken into by persons acting on behalf of the Chinese government.

Earlier, Chinese officials had appealed to her university as well as New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to stop funding her research, some of which has probed China’s military activities, including revelations that Beijing is building bases on territory that Australia claims in Antarctica. Brady was also the first to reveal that a sitting member of New Zealand’s parliament previously served as a Chinese security agent.

New Zealand’s newfound and rising China concerns are starting to mirror Australia’s. Canberra’s fears have centered on Beijing’s perceived interference in its domestic politics, resulting in new laws that without overtly naming China aim to curb its political influence.

Brady has testified to Australia’s parliament, which was recorded in the official Hansard ledger. Australian journalist Peter Hartcher noted last month that New Zealand had not done the same, though it has since faced strong pressure to do so, including via a 150-strong petition from academics.

Andrew Hastie, chair of the Australian parliament’s security and intelligence committee and noted China hawk, told the reporter that “it appears that she’s a target of interest for the Chinese Communist Party or apparatchiks of the Chinese state as a way of silencing her and intimidating her.”

“It’s very clear that my country’s government wants this story to go away. The Chinese Ministry of State Security operates in our societies unhindered and our governments just watch. It’s happening in Australia, too,” Brady told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

The shells of the Sydney Opera House are seen through a Chinese flag. Photo: AFP/Torsten Blackwood
The shells of the Sydney Opera House are seen through a Chinese flag. Photo: AFP/Torsten Blackwood

As the controversy spirals, Wellington is now waking to the issue. China’s targeting of Australia-based people of interest has until now been more overt.

In 2017, Chinese academic Chongyi Feng was detained in China and not allowed to board a flight to Australia, where he teaches at the University of Technology Sydney. Feng holds permanent residency in Australia but is not a citizen, meaning Canberra was limited in what it could do.

Unrelated but threatening moves have worried politicians, journalists and academics in Australia, with allegations and instances of spying, bribery, political donations, academic interference and pro-Beijing propaganda placements in Chinese language Australian newspapers.

While some claims have bordered on hysteria, others have been proved and grounded in fact. To be sure, New Zealand’s view of China has not been as tortured as in Australia, which has relied on Chinese demand and investment to keep its recession-proof economy afloat even as it balances ties with its close ally the US.

But China is also New Zealand’s largest trade partner. New Zealand’s exports of all goods and services to China were worth NZ$16.6 billion (US$11.8 billion) for the year ended September 2018, $2.6 billion (US$1.8 billion) more than Australia and almost double New Zealand’s sales to the US, a government website says.

New Zealand is not confronted with the same trade-versus-security dilemma as Australia, but recent Chinese moves in its backyard have clearly made Wellington uncomfortable. It’s view of China as a “strategic partner” is also changing, as Beijing increasingly challenges the “rules-based order” in global affairs New Zealand holds dear.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s left-leaning Labour government has started to raise those concerns, analysts note. Those were seen in a Strategic Defense Policy statement issued last year, the first by New Zealand to raise Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea.

“[New Zealand] is navigating a more complex world” and will “face challenges not previously seen in our neighborhood… [its] security outlook may be shaped most powerfully by a combination of forces putting pressure on the international rules-based order which will play out in newly potent ways close to home.”

New Zealand Labour leader Jacinda Ardern speaks to the press in Wellington on October 19, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Charlotte Greenfield
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in an October 19, 2017, file photo. Photo: Reuters / Charlotte Greenfield

China “seeks to restore claimed historical levels of influence … [and] some actions in pursuit of these aims challenge the existing order.” “It has expanded its military and coast guard presence in disputed areas of maritime Asia. It has determined not to engage with an international tribunal ruling on the status of sovereignty claims,” the paper said.

In July, New Zealand announced it would spend NZ$2.35 billion (US$1.67 billion) on four Boeing P-8A Poseidon submarine-hunting maritime patrol aircraft that would offer more interoperability with the US and Australia in naval exercises.

Winston Peters, acting foreign minister with the minority New Zealand First party, traveled to Washington last December to seek US support and help in the Pacific, New Zealand’s backyard and a part of the world that feels significantly less safe for a small but independent nation than it did even two years ago.

“New Zealand is a small but well-functioning democracy located at the bottom of the world,” he said in an address. “While New Zealand and the United States work together on a range of global issues, our cooperation and like-mindedness is now coming into sharper relief in the Asia Pacific where the region is becoming more contested and its security is ever more fragile.”

In recent months, analysts and academics have noticed a perceptible shift away from China. “I can’t recall in recent years a more substantial and consolidated New Zealand official view of the behaviors that China is exhibiting in the South China Sea,” professor Robert Ayson of Victoria University told Asia Times.

“Jacinda Ardern’s coalition government has brought with it generally higher levels of concern about some of China’s goals and actions in the wider Asia-Pacific region and an increased willingness to put these concerns on the public record.”

“China’s more worrying behavior and the arrival of a more concerned government has meant that those parts of New Zealand’s official community which have been concerned about China have had a more receptive audience in Cabinet for their views.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) welcomes New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters at the Department of State in Washington DC on December 17, 2018. Photo: Nicholas Kamm / AFP)

“It’s no coincidence that these stronger indications of skepticism and concern about China have come when Winston Peters is foreign minister and his [New Zealand] First colleague Ron Mark is Defense Minister,” he said via email, pointing out the minority leader’s nationalist and more traditional realist credentials compared with the left-leaning and inclusive Ardern.

But Ardern may also take a more traditional view that China can still be a part of rules-based-order, including in regard to climate change mitigation efforts. The basis for that is a “comprehensive strategic partnership” signed under former prime minister John Key and President Xi Jinping.

David Capie, a professor at the University of Wellington, told Asia Times that “those actions [of China’s] threaten New Zealand’s interests, so it’s not surprising that there would be a shift in policy. I’m sure it is a welcomed by our closest partners, but this is a New Zealand decision.”

There is speculation that Wellington has been pushed into a harder line vis-à-vis Beijing by both Canberra and Washington and that the Labour government — despite being far more left-leaning than the previous center-right Key government — was correcting a perceived laxity on China by its predecessors.

“It sometimes takes the election of a new government for officials to be able to take a look at policy settings and to work out if they need adjusting,” Capie said. “I think that’s what’s happened to New Zealand.”

Still, Wellington must keep intact its crucial economic ties with China, even as it changes the way it looks at Beijing’s place in the world and region. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with Ardern on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in November, where the two leaders discussed upgrading their ten-year-old free trade agreement (FTA), according to Chinese media.

Chinese tourists taking pictures in New Zealand. Photo: Facebook

New Zealand has also signed on to the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade pact. At the same time, domestic anti-China tensions have flared with Chinese buyers often blamed for inflating property prices. That backlash has recently motivated foreign property ownership law changes.

Adding to the economic drama, a plane bound for Shanghai to promote China-New Zealand tourism under the “Land of the Long White Cloud” promotion campaign was recently inexplicably turned back. The campaign aims to lure more Chinese to New Zealand, especially to lesser visited areas.

Much of New Zealand’s trade with China centers on dairy and agricultural exports, with the Chinese keen for goods and foods they see as clean, safe and high-quality. New Zealand has been using that clean image as a drawcard for tourism promotions. One entrepreneur even started selling bottled New Zealand air to China, with each bottle enough for 180 breaths.

“I wouldn’t overstate the shift that’s taken place. The government has expressed a desire to keep working with China and sees it as an especially important partner on issues like climate change and trade,” Capie said.

But the harassment of New Zealand nationals who reveal China’s hidden moves in the region and a block on Huawei’s involvement in its telecom infrastructure development shows the relationship is shifting from what was once a friendly, warm and trusted place.

Australia’s Shameful Gift to Netanyahu

By Jeremy Salt
Source

Scott_Morrison_Netanyahu_fb7d8.jpg

Australia and Israel are white settler states, established violently over the heads of the indigenous people, without the benefit of any treaty arrangement. ‘A land without people for a people without land’ was the Zionist lie. ‘Terra nullius’ was the Australian white settler equivalent.

Australian aboriginal ownership was collective and traditional. Palestinian ownership was collective, traditional and individual but in both cases, the land was stolen. How can the foundations of any state established on stolen land be said to be legal? What will white Australians say if someone comes along and takes ‘their’ country from them? ‘You can’t do this to us’?

The essential differences between Israel and Australia are numbers and hinterland. The land the white settlers called Australia was inhabited in the late 18th century by about half a million people. They had lived in this island continent and its small heart-shaped island off the southern coast, Tasmania, for more than 60,000 years, making the oldest recorded civilizations in the Near East look like newborns. They had their own languages, traditions, art, and oral history, the ‘dreaming,’ which is the most wondrous telling of the experiences of their ancestors.

But they were not numerous. They had no written laws and – most importantly – no modern weaponry. Killed, driven off their land and stricken by the diseases the white settlers brought with them, they were soon decimated. There was no-one to whom they could turn for help, no sympathetic similar civilization living nearby that could spring to their assistance. They were all on their own.

Contrast this with the Palestinians. Their land was also taken from them but they lived according to written laws and contracts which Europeans could understand even if they violated them. They were not sufficiently well-armed to defend themselves against a colonial-settler minority backed by outside governments but they were far more numerous than the settlers, 90 percent of the population in 1920, even after 40 years of Zionist colonization, and still two-thirds of the population at the time of the war of conquest in 1948.

By 2018 the Israeli population stood at 8.4 million, of which number 6.1 million (about 75 percent) is Jewish and mostly Zionist. The Palestinian world population of about 12 million includes about 4.4 million Palestinians living in the West Bank, East Jerusalem or Gaza and about 1.4 million within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. Within a few years, the Palestinian population between the Mediterranean and the River Jordan is expected to surpass the Jewish population.

These numbers aside, as part of an Arab-Islamic civilization with a rich history, the Palestinians also have the support of a vast hinterland. The population of the Arab world stands at about 420 million. The world Muslim population is about 1.8 billion. Corrupt and undemocratic Arab governments may collaborate with Israel but the people are behind the Palestinians, as are Muslims everywhere as well as Christians and those of no particular religious or ideological affiliation who know right from wrong and, as a matter of conscience, must support the Palestinians.

In the face of these demographics, Israel’s continuing war against the Palestinians would seem to be suicidal. Palestine as an issue is not going to go away. In the long term, this is a war Israel cannot win.  It holds Palestine by force, not by right, law or morality. All three are on the side of the Palestinians and not on the side of an Israeli state which continues the illegal settlement of their land.

No plan, no UN resolution gave Israel any right to drive the Palestinians from their homes and out of their homeland.  No resolution gave the Zionists any sovereign right to Jerusalem.  It was a Palestinian city which, after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, should have remained the property of the Palestinian people, overwhelmingly Muslim and Christian, in their own state or as part of a Syrian state.  Instead, their land and the right to choose their future was taken from them.

Here are some relevant land ownership figures, compiled in 1945 by the British mandatory authorities (one dunam is the equivalent of 1000 sq. meters or about 0.245 of an acre):

Jerusalem district (Hebron, Jerusalem, Ramallah):

Arab ownership – 3,3993,001 dunums.

Jewish ownership – 39, 679 acres.

In the Jerusalem region, the ‘Arabs’ (mainly Palestinian Muslims and Christians) owned 1,326, 571 dunums against 33,401 dunums owned by Jews.   In 1946 the UN produced a map showing that 62 percent of the Jerusalem district was ‘Arab’ and only 38 percent Jewish, despite the heavy Zionist settlement.

While the demographics of Jerusalem city showed a Jewish majority, as many incoming Jews preferred to live in cities rather than work on the land, most properties even in West Jerusalem (about 70 percent) were Palestinian-owned in 1948.

Almost all of the east – the old city – was. The fine stone buildings, the walls, the cobbled streets and the arches were designed and built over the centuries by Muslim and Christian Palestinians. They were part of the booty that fell to the Zionists when the city was taken over, first installment 1948 and second 1967, with the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population continuing until the present day.

In law, all Jerusalem – not just the eastern sector – is an occupied city. It is an Israeli city, Israel’s ‘capital’, only according to the occupier’s law, which in fact is not a law at all but a gross violation of international law.

Yet, with two of the world’s most populous Muslim countries, Indonesia and Malaysia, not far away and objecting loudly, the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has announced his government’s recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and its recognition of East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital when the time comes.  He was speaking in Sydney at the Zionist think tank, the Lowy Institute, started by, and named after, Frank Lowy, a billionaire businessman of Czech origin who, as a member of the Haganah, helped to ethnically cleanse Palestine in the war of 1948 before migrating to another ethnically cleansed country, Australia, in the early 1950s.

Of course, Zionism never had any intention of sharing Palestine, let alone sharing Jerusalem as the capital of two states.  Morrison has pledged to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state when the time comes.  He must know that Israel is determined to make sure the time will never come.  Israel, of course, is only partly happy because Australia is only-half recognizing its claim to Jerusalem.

Had the indigenous Australian people been more numerous, had they had the weapons to defend themselves and had they the support of a hinterland willing to support their resistance to white settlement, Australia could well have been driven openly in the direction of Israel or apartheid South Africa.  Israel is now pursuing the same goal that white settler Australia managed to achieve, the reduction of the indigenous population to an insignificant minority, whose rights are covered up with tokenism, as exemplified in the ‘sorry’ movement and the verbal acknowledgment of traditional land ownership at every conference or workshop, at a time rural aboriginal communities are treated with the same neglect as before. Out of sight, out of mind.

Why did Morrison do this? Out of his Christian religious convictions?  (He worships at a Pentecostal church in Sydney, which boasts of its adherents speaking in tongues when being baptized. Morrison has denied ever speaking in tongues himself, even though it would clearly be good practice for anyone planning a political career).

Does Morrison have some idea that the ‘Jewish vote’ will swing the next federal election his way? Did not the Wentworth byelection in 2018, lost by his government, show him that while there is a strong and influential Zionist lobby in Australia, there is no such thing as a Jewish vote, but individual Jewish voters, who may support Israel, but not Netanyahu’s Israel, and might see the Morrison decision as inflammatory and not helpful in the long term to anyone, including Israeli Jews.

Like Israel, Australia began life as a colonial settler state.   Its Foreign Minister, H.V. Evatt, played a significant role in imposing Israel on Palestine in 1948.  There have been exceptions, but by and large, all Australian governments have given open-ended support to Israel ever since.  Their criticisms of its frequently vicious behavior never amount to more than a mild slap on the wrist, delivered for propaganda purposes.

It is no wonder that in Malaysia and Indonesia, Australia is widely regarded as a post-colonial remnant, still dependent on distant countries, first Britain and now the US, and still unable to pluck up the courage to carve out a genuinely independent future.

When Israel refuses to abide by international law, on Jerusalem, on the West Bank, on Gaza, on the occupied Golan Heights, on the return of the Palestinian people to their homeland and on the laws of war, why give Netanyahu the gift of recognizing even the western half of an occupied city as his capital?

Almost everyone writing on Australian politics seems to believe that Morrison will be out of government after the federal elections in 2019.  Bill Shorten, an ALP (Australian Labor Party) machine man all his political life, has criticized Morrison over Jerusalem, but is he just playing politics, scoring points, or when he takes over as Prime Minister, will he rescind this unnecessary and provocative decision?

Bahraini FM Defends Australia’s Decision on Al-Quds, Slams AL Statement

December 16, 2018

Bahrain FM Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa

The foreign minister of Bahrain has defended Australia’s formal recognition of the so-called “West Al-Quds” (Jerusalem) as Israeli capital, saying the move would not affect a future Palestinian state with “East Al-Quds” as its capital.

Australia’s government announced the decision on Saturday, reversing decades of Middle East policy, but said it would not immediately move its embassy there.

The United States in May opened its embassy in Al-Quds.

The Arab League (AL) had issued a statement criticizing the Australian decision as “blatantly biased towards the positions and policies of the Israeli occupation”.

But Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa described the statement as “mere rhetoric and irresponsible”.

“Australia’s stance does not impact the legitimate Palestinian demands, first among them being East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, and it does not contradict the Arab Peace Initiative,” he tweeted on Saturday.

Source: Reuters

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“RIC”: BRICS after Bolsonaro

November 08, 2018

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

BRICS is the acronym of the “alliance” that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

In reality, and with all due respect to Brazil and South Africa, BRICS is about RIC.

With Russia, India and China, in any order, there lies the future of Eurasia; the virtually unchartered quarter that houses over one third of the entire world population; a huge chunk of landmass, rich in resources, not only human resources, and just waiting for the right moment to make its mark in history.

The so-called “Silk Road”, or in reality silk roads, was historically the network of caravan paths that ancient traders took on their journeys from east to west, linking worlds largely unknown to each other, long before Vasco da Gama’s highly documented trips.

And whilst the ancient cultures of India and China flourished in their own right, apart from Alexander’s conquest, the Muslim and subsequent Mongol conquests, there was little historic geopolitical interaction between that far Far East and the Middle East; let alone Europe. The long icy and hard terrain made it very difficult, even for the brave at heart, to take the journey from Beijing to Vienna. The temptations to make that trip did not match the hardship of the journey for the averagely motivated traveler.

But this is all about to change. The new “Silk Road”, the network of super highways that the “RIC” nations are intent to build is going to change this status quo and shorten land distances.

The Trans-Siberian railway is a Russian route and constructing it linked Vladivostok with Moscow, but it was not intended to link China with Europe. If anything, it helped bolster the isolation of the USSR. But the new “Silk Road” project will change the transportation map of the world upside down once and for ever.

The determination to build this massive road network does not need either Brazil or South Africa; again with all due respect to both nations.

By taking many considerations into account, we must be realistic and say that the electoral win of Brazilian candidate Bolsonaro will not affect the prospect of the “Silk Road” one way or the other. The repercussions of his election will affect Brazil more than any other country. Purportedly, his policies will affect global climate, but this is another issue. His fiscal and international policy making decisions may put Brazil under the American sphere of influence, and this unfortunately can and will affect Brazil very adversely, but the damage is likely to be restricted to Brazil only.

With or without Brazil, BRICS can survive, but for it to survive and make a difference, it will need to become more serious about conducting its business.

The first step towards becoming more proactive is best done by establishing proper trust and conciliation between the three major players; Russia, China and India.

The love-hate relationship that marred the Soviet-Maoist era took a while to heal. The Russians and the Chinese seem to have gone many steps ahead towards establishing trust and confidence in each other. But China and India continue to have serious problems, and for as long as they have border and sovereignty disputes, this hinders them from becoming effective partners in every way.

Furthermore, BRICS needs a preamble and a Statement of Purpose. At the moment, it doesn’t have one. With all of its hypocrisies, the Western alliance camouflages itself behind the veil of Christian values, democracy and the “free world” slogans. Thus far, the only undeclared statement of purpose for BRICS seems to be that of defiance to the Western alliance.

The BRICS alliance will face a struggle founding an attractive preamble. Orthodox Christian Russia, predominantly Hindu India and Communist/Taoist/Buddhist China have little in common religiously speaking. Perhaps the BRICS leaders should be using common political grounds instead. They certainly cannot use democracy; not only because such an adoption would make them look as copycats, but also because they have different ideas about democracy, and Russia and China definitely do not endorse Western-style democracy.

In reality however, BRICS can use abstract lofty principles as their preamble; principles such as morality, honesty, and if they want to be less “theological” as it were, they could use principles such as “International law”, “International equality” and the like.

Apart from accumulating gold, building bridges and super road networks, planning fiscal measures to cushion the effects of a possible collapse of the Western economy on their own economies, developing state-of-the-art hypersonic weaponry and giving a clear message announcing that the world is no longer unipolar, the BRICS alliance ought to make clear statements about what kind of alternative world it envisions.

This is very important, because a significant percentage of the world population does not know what to expect if the BRICS alliance becomes the new dominant financial and military power. They have special concerns about China because they don’t know much about China, and they worry not only about whether or not China will be a new colonial super power, but they also worry about one day waking up and seeing traffic signals in Mandarin; so to speak.

To many people across the globe, the Chinese culture, language and modus operandi look like something from another planet.

The Cyrillic Russian and the Devanagari Indian scripts are no less daunting than the Mandarin script, but many Indians and Russians speak English and the West has had much more cultural interaction with both Russia and India than it ever did with China.

Furthermore, for the BRICS alliance to become more viable, it will need to develop a military alliance akin to that of NATO. When and if such an alliance is forged, then members will be protected as any attack on one will be considered as an attack on the whole coalition. Such an alliance will not increase the chances of war. Quite the contrary in fact, as it can lead to much needed stability. If for argument sake North Korea were a member, it would not be in a situation where it can claim that it needs nuclear weapons for self-defense, and secondly, the West would not be threatening to attack for fear of a major global escalation. The Cold-War, costly and potentially disastrous as it was, presents a successful model of nuclear deterrence. And in retrospect, had Vietnam been a member of the Warsaw Pact (or a similar one that included the USSR), it is possible that America’s war on Vietnam would have been averted. A more realistically plausible scenario is the case of former Yugoslavia. Had the Warsaw Pact been still standing, NATO would have never attacked Serbia back in 1999.

To be able to afford a more effective military deterrent, be a viable stand-alone economic power and to be attractive to the rest of the world, the BRICS coalition will ultimately need more member nations. Ideally, it would be of huge significance if Japan could be convinced to join it. The inclusion of Japan will not only add a huge financial power to the group, but it will also generate an in-house regional security to the China Sea region. Baby steps have been recently made between China and Japan towards conciliation, and much more needs to be done. It will take a lot of work and good intentions on both sides to undo a long history of hostilities and distrust.

Other nations that can and arguably should enter the coalition are; Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and post Erdogan Turkey. Why post Erdogan? Because Erdogan’s Turkey can turn BRICS into a bag of TRICS.

Resource-rich Australia has much to gain in joining such an alliance as this will not only bolster its own security, but it will also secure economic stability and on-going trade.

Thus far, all the official visits that the RIC leaders have exchanged, all the business deals they made, all the projects they are embarking on, huge as they are, are only baby steps towards turning their alliance into one that can lead the world and establish the necessary moral, financial and security foundations that are capable of underpinning it.

Over and above establishing a new world reserve currency, setting up an alternative to the US-based Internet and WWW, SWIFT, etc, the brave new world will need hope, trust, morality and concrete assurances for a long-awaited change for the better. These are the real challenges facing the BRICS alliance now; not the Bolsonaro win.

Supporters of Apartheid Israel Abuse Sydney Anti-War Student

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Media, parliamentary, academic and other supporters of apartheid Israel have abused University of Sydney doctoral student Jay Tharappel for his outspoken support of Yemen, opposition to Israel and his consistent stance against the long wars on Syria and Korea.

Much of the western media falsely pretend that the massively internationalized war on Syria is a “civil war”. Most also refuse to recognize the simple fact that, over the past 65 years, the USA has never agreed to a peace agreement with North Korea.

The personal attacks on Jay reveal a shallow recognition of free speech in Australia. It is extraordinary that so much abuse has been heaped on one dissident voice. Demands for censorship of his political comments have come from various sources, but many of them supporters of the apartheid state of Israel.

First came the bully and smear media, from Murdoch’s Daily Telegraph, and from Channel Seven. The Murdoch tabloid, in a torrent of personal abuse, attacked Jay for rejecting the false chemical weapons claims against Syria, in April 2017. It then falsely claimed that Jay’s criticism of Murdoch journalist Kylar Loussikian was a racist attack.

In August 2018 Channel Seven manufactured another scandal about Jay, falsely claiming that a Yemeni badge he wore in China was ‘anti-semitic’. One part of that badge, seen on Jay’s shirt in one of my social media posts, said ‘death to Israel’.

The photo was simply one of the friends at lunch. Channel Seven, using the false translation “death to Israeli”, claiming it was a racist incitement. I posted in response that the Channel Seven piece ‘promotes ignorance, apartheid, and war’.

In fact ‘death to Israel’ is a political statement by the Yemeni group Ansarallah, which calls for an end to apartheid Israel, the regime that is reported to have killed a Palestinian child every three days for the past 18 years. The Australian government sells arms to the Saudis to bomb Yemen, as they ignore that terrible war and try to suppress any news about Yemen.

Later, the University of Sydney told the Sydney Morning Herald that I was “under investigation” for refusing to take down that photo of Jay and friends at lunch. After a Sydney Morning Herald against me, I made a social media statement explaining my position.

For Channel Seven’s principal sources journalist, Bryan Seymour used (to represent “many in the Jewish and Muslim community”) two people. First was a well-known supporter of Israel, Vic Alhadeff. Vic was previously a chair of the NSW Community Relations Commission but resigned in 2014 after posting in support of Israel’s bloody reign of terror in Gaza.

The other was Jordanian-Australian Jamal Daoud, who claimed to represent a Palestinian group but is best known for his repeated attacks on those who support Syria. He has abused many supporters of Syria as ‘spies’ and ‘prostitutes’. In 2017 he took an Israeli propagandist to Syria, and since then has been wanted for questioning in Syria. Earlier, in 2015, he began an online petition to challenge a security ban on him entering Lebanon.

The corporate media came back to abuse Jay after he wrote a thoughtful piece on his visit to North Korea (DPRK) in the student newspaper Honi Soit. The article defended independent Korea while it described in some detail what he had seen there. On social media pages, many appreciated the unusual article, while others responded with censorial outrage.

The Daily Telegraph added another abusive piece, which copied much of Jay’s article while adding invective. Even the state-owned ABC wrote in support of the demand that the article be taken down, simply because it was seen as too favorable to North Korea.

Why the hysteria over criticism of Israel? Well, both the Murdoch media and Channel Seven have deep business links with Israel’s occupation forces, including those who regularly demolish Palestinian homes in their ethnic cleansing purges.

Pro-Israel figures and some Jewish media in Australia predictably and falsely tried to conflate Jay’s and my opposition to Israel with anti-Jewish racism. I have made my position on Israel and racism very clear on many occasions, most recently in an article called The Future of Palestine.

A selection of pro-Israel types jumped on the bandwagon. They included federal Labor MP Tim Watts, who attacked Jay’s article and Honi Soit, saying ‘everyone associated with this article ought to be ashamed’.

When he was criticized for picking on a student newspaper he said, by way of justification, that he was trying to get at me (‘the professor’).

In fact, Tim Watts is yet another supporter of apartheid Israel. In late 2015 he went on an Israeli-government paid junket to Israel, in a group led by conservative minister Christopher Pyne. The group seemed to toe the Israeli line because Palestinian minister Dr. Sabri Saidam described them as “rude” and “not well educated” on Palestine.

Subsequently, Tim Watts took his Israel connection seriously. He strongly recommended the book ‘My Promised Land’ by Ari Shavit, which explains how Israel created “something unique and quite endearing” in a tough neighborhood.

This “unique and quite endearing” creation was described by an authoritative 2017 report to the United Nations as an ‘apartheid state’ and therefore ‘a crime against humanity’. US academic lawyers Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley wrote that “the situation in Israel-Palestine constitutes an unmet obligation of the organized international community to resolve a conflict, partially generated by its own actions”.

Professor Ariadne Vromen, a professor in Government at the University of Sydney, and opponent of the BDS campaign against Israel, jumped in, inexplicably, attacking the former Syrian Ambassador to Australia Tammam Sulayman. Ambassador Sulayman is now Syria’s envoy to North Korea, and it was he who invited us to visit that country.

Ariadne claimed that Ambassador Tammam had failed her research design course, 15 years ago. “He didn’t pass first year”, she said. After some criticism, she removed her post.

Of course, it is inappropriate for academics to abuse students or former students, or to humiliate them for their grades or results. In this case, Ariadne’s comments were also false. When I enquired, Ambassador Sulayman spelled out to me the reason why he had left Ariadne’s class and his doctoral studies at the University:

“Of course I didn’t complete at that time with Ariadne because [his supervisor, another academic] started the war on me and I complained against her to the university. So I stopped everything … in my [thesis] preface I stated there is no linkage between the secular Baath party and al Qaeda … but she said ‘that does not exclude links between Saddam and al Qaeda’, and I said but we are talking about the Baath party … Then she started returning every paper I sent her … she is a clear Zionist … It is silly for [Ariadne] to say that I didn’t finish even one year without mentioning the reason.”

Professor Vromen’s abuse of a former student and ambassador is strange. Why would an academic jump into abuse a former student, in the context of an abusive media campaign against another student? What is wrong with honest discussion?

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. The University of Sydney is well known for harboring pro-apartheid-Israel academics. It hosts a research project backed by US Government-funded agencies, called ‘The Electoral Integrity Project’. That project rates the electoral democracyof many countries. As it happens, they rate Israel’s ‘democracy’ very highly (17/127), even though the Jewish state is notorious for its institutionalized racism.

In 2007-08 the University of Sydney accepted a large grant from the American Australian Association, to establish a ‘United States Studies Centre’. This was mostly Australian Government money but came at the suggestion of media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The idea of the Centre came from a desire to repair the damage done to the image of the USA in the wake of its 2003 invasion of Iraq. I wrote an article about this scandal, back in 2010.

Washington remains the major funder and arms provider to apartheid Israel, providing the racist state with more than three billion dollars every year, mostly in military subsidies.

By Tim Anderson
Source

Is the next US aggression on Syria already scheduled?

The Saker

August 31, 2018

[This article was written for the Unz Review]

The things that please are those that are asked for again and again
Horace

Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran
John McCain

President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price…
Donald Trump

It is difficult to have a dialogue with people who confuse Austria and Australia
Vladimir Putin

Bis repetita

It appears that we are coming back full circle: the AngloZionists are again, apparently, preparing to use the very same White Helmets (aka “good terrorists”) to execute yet another chemical false flag attack in Syria and againblame the government forces for it. The Russians are, againwarning the world in advance and, just as last time, (almost) nobody gives a damn.  And there are even reports that the US is, yet again, considering imposing a (totally illegal) no-fly zone over Syria (I have not heard this once since Hillary’s presidential campaign).  And just like last time, it appears that the goal of the US is  to save the “good terrorists” from a major governmental victory.

It appears that my prediction that each “click” brings us one step closer to the “bang!” is, unfortunately, coming true and while the Empire seems to have given up on the notion of a full-scale reconquest of Syria, the Neocons are clearly pushing for what might turn out to be a major missile strike on Syria.  The fact that firing a large number of missiles near/over/at Russian forces might result in Russian counter-attack which, in turn, could lead to an major, possibly nuclear, war does not seem to factor at all in the calculations of the Neocons.  True, the Neocons are mostly rather stupid (as in “short-term focused”) people, with a strong sense of superiority and a messianic outlook on our world.  However, it baffles me that so few people in the USA and the EU are worried about this.  Somehow, a nuclear war has become so unthinkable that many have concluded that it can never happen.

The other thing which the Neocons seem to be oblivious to is that the situation on the ground in Syria cannot be changed by means of missile strikes or bombs.  For one thing, the last US attack has conclusively shown that US Tomahawks are an easy target for the Syrian (mostly antiquated) air defenses.  Of course, the US could rely on more AGM-158 JASSM which are much harder to intercept, but no matter what missiles are used, they will not effectively degrade the Syrian military capabilities simply because there are so few lucrative targets for cruise missile strikes in Syria to begin with.  Considering that the US knows full well that no chemical attack will take place (or even couldtake place, for that matter, since even the USA have declared Syria chemical weapons free in 2013) the White House might decide to blow up a few empty buildings and declare that “the animal Assad” has been punished I suppose.  But even if completely unopposed a US missile attack will make no military sense whatsoever.  So this begs the question of what would be the point of any attack on Syria?  Sadly, the rather evident answer to that is that the upcoming missile strike has less to do with the war in Syria and much more to do with internal US politics.

Russian and Syrian options

There are a few differences too.  The biggest difference is that this time around the Russian naval task force in the eastern Mediterranean is much bigger than last time: 15 ships including two advanced frigates, the Admiral Grigorovich and the Admiral Essen (see a detailed report here: https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/russia-sends-largest-naval-fleet-ever-to-syrian-waters/) and two 636.3-class advanced diesel-attack submarines.  That is a lot of anti-ship, anti-air and anti-submarine firepower and, even more crucially, a lot of advanced early warning capabilities.  Since the Russian and Syria air defense networks have been integrated by single automated fire system this means that the Syrians will very accurately “see” what is taking place in and around the Syrian airspace (this is especially true with the Russians keeping their A-50U AWACs on 24/7 patrol).

What has me most worried are the various reports (such as this one) which says that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week that “Moscow would be held responsible” if any chemical attack occurs.  If by “Moscow will be responsible” the crazies in Washington DC mean “morally responsible”, then this is just the usual nonsense.  But I am afraid that with certified nutcases like Bolton and Pompeo in charge, the US might be considering attacking Russian personnel in Syria (not necessarily at the well defended Khmeimin or Tartus bases).  These guys could easily target various installations or Syrian military units where Russian personnel are known to be deployed and declare that they were not deliberately targeting Russians and that the Russians hit were “clearly involved” with the Syrian chemical weapon forces.  The US has already targeted Russian nationals for kidnapping and detention, they might start killing Russian nationals next and then place the responsibility for these deaths on the Kremlin.  You don’t think so? Just think “Skripal” and you will see that this notion is no so far fetched.

The Russians do have options, by the way.  One thing they could do is place 6 (modernized) MiG-31s on quick alert in southern Russia (or, even better, in Iran) and keep a pair of them on combat air patrol over Syria (or over Iran).  Combined with the “eyes” of the A-50U, these MiG-31s could provide the Russians with a formidable capability, especially against the US B-1B deployed in Qatar or Diego Garcia.  So far, the MiG-31s have not seen action in Syria, but if intercepting a large number of cruise missiles becomes the mission then they would offer a much more flexible and capable force than the very small amount of Su-35 and Su-30 currently based in Khmeimim.

But the key to protecting Syria is to beef-up the Syrian air defenses and early warning capabilities, especially with advanced mobile air defense systems, especially many short-to-medium range systems like the Tor-M2 and the Pantsir-S2.  Until this goal is achieved, the USA and Russia will remain in a most dangerous “Mexican standoff” in which both parties are engaged in what I call a “nuclear game of chicken” with each party threatening the other side while counting on its own nuclear capability to deter a meaningful counter-attack or retaliation.  This is extremely dangerous but there is very little Russia can do to stop the US leaders from coming back to that same strategy over and over again.  So far the Russians have shown a truly remarkable level of restraint, but if pushed too far, they next step for them will be to retaliate against the US in a manner which would provide them with what the CIA calls “plausible deniability” (I discussed this option over a year ago in this article).  If attacked directly and openly the Russians will, of course, have no other option left than to hit back.  And while it is true that the Russian forces in and near Syria are vastly outnumbered by US/NATO/CENTOM forces, the Russians have a massive advantage over the USA in terms of long range cruise missiles (see Andrei Martyanov’s analysis “Russia’s Stand-Off Capability: The 800 Pound Gorilla in Syria” for a detailed discussion of this topic).

None of the above is new, the world has been been stuck in this situation for well over a year now and there still appears to be no end in sight.  Unfortunately, I can only agree with Ruslan Ostashko: only a massive military defeat or a no less massive economic collapse will stop the folks who “who confuse Austria and Australia” to give up their insane quest for world hegemony by violence.

The Saker

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