Poodle Trump Runs With Dogs of War

US President-elect Donald Trump

April 9, 2017

Finian Cunningham

So the brash, big-mouth tycoon in the White House with an outsized ego has finally unleashed the dogs of war in Syria.

Invoking God and the suffering of “little babies”, the supposed US Commander-in-Chief Donald Trump ordered the bombing of Syria with cruise missiles launched from warships in the Mediterranean.

A Syrian airbase was destroyed, along with several casualties, and civilians reportedly among the dead.

This was while Trump was digesting a dinner of steak and carrots in his Florida beach resort on Thursday night.

Trump has styled himself as a hard-nosed and “unpredictable” American president.

The bitter irony here is that everything Trump is doing in his latest act of illegal war is actually so predictable.

The US political establishment – driven as it always is by the imperative need of waging wars to shore up its crumby capitalist economy – has been baying for all-out deployment in Syria for the past six years.

Since Washington instigated its criminal regime-change operation against the sovereign government of Syria in March 2011, the hawkish establishment was never quite satisfied with the strategy of using proxy terror groups to do the dirty work. Direct military intervention to topple the Syrian state has always been on the cards as the preferred method.

The Deep State establishment – or the War Party comprising both Republicans and Democrats in hock to the military-intelligence apparatus – thought they would get their way with the election of warmonger Hillary Clinton last November. Alas, the surprise election of Trump to the presidency temporarily upset their militarist agenda.

But the advent of Trump to the White House was only a hitch for the powers-that-be. The relentless Deep State-driven media witch-hunt against Trump over ridiculous allegations of being a Russian puppet has evidently prevailed.

Trump, the self-declared “outsider” has been forced to prove that he is an “insider”, an obedient poodle to the American war Rottweiler – if he wants to stay in office and see out the next four years without being impeached.

In order to survive the pressure over “Russian stooge” allegations, Trump is throwing some meat to the US War Party by giving them their long-sought-after direct military intervention in Syria.

Trump’s order to blast Syria with 59 cruise missiles is a brazen act of war that makes a mockery of international law. Russia and some other independent nations have denounced the US “act of aggression against a sovereign state”.

The fact that Russian forces were stationed at the targeted airbase at Shayrat – but were reportedly unscathed – is a shocking sign of how reckless the latest American military action is. If Russian personnel had been killed, then that would potentially be cause for a full-scale war between two nuclear powers.

Mary Ellen O’Connell, a US-based law scholar at University of Notre Dame, Indiana, was quoted by the Guardian saying there was “zero legal basis” for Trump’s missile attack. She said it was an unfounded act of aggression.

Even some members of the US Congress have questioned Trump’s unilateral action as being unconstitutional since he did not receive authorization from Congress, as required by American law.

But these are piffling, academic concerns when it comes to how the US always behaves. International law is only a selective rhetorical device for a rogue state that considers itself above the law.

As Russian military spokesman Igor Konashenkov remarked, the US has been waging wars regardless of international law for decades based on concocted pretexts, as in Serbia (1999), Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Libya (2011), and now Syria.

Trump has finally bought into the US war agenda in Syria – despite mouthing off against such an intervention as far back as 2013 – in order to keep his seat in the Oval Office. The intense media pressure from the witch-hunt over Russia has seen to that, in part.

The next prop in the whole despicable drama was Trump’s gullibility over the latest false flag involving chemical weapons in Syria earlier this week.

Anyone with a bit of wit can see that the CIA-trained and Turkish, Saudi-supplied terrorist proxies carried out the massacre of civilians from their own toxic arsenal. The CIA-trained bandits tried the same deadly stunt back in August 2013 when they gassed hundreds of children near Damascus and videoed the horror for Western media dissemination.

The same profane ploy was used again this week in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, in Syria’s northern Idlib province.

The truth is simple: the Syrian army does not have chemical weapons, after they were destroyed as part of a Russian-brokered decommissioning deal back in 2013. The only party to have access to such weapons are the Western, Turkish and Saudi-backed terror groups.

Like the propaganda service they are, the Western mainstream media then dutifully blasted the “news” that the Syrian air force dropped chemical weapons on Khan Sheikhoun – willingly and unquestioningly using the images and video supplied by “activists” affiliated with the jihadist terror groups.

When US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley stood up in front of the Security Council holding photographs of dying children – purportedly from poisonous gas – she was role-playing for the false flag.

As with the general Western media response, Haley’s display had the unmistakable air of choreography. It was 2003 all over again, when then Secretary of State Colin Powell lied to the Security Council about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, while brandishing dud vials of “lethal chemicals”.

It is not clear whether Trump or his ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley are merely gullible or something more sinister, such as willing accomplices in a charade.

But the upshot is this: Trump is acting like an obedient poodle going along with the Machiavellian American power system. Invoking God and suffering babies is just a shallow moral cover for his complicity in another US criminal act – in a countless list of such crimes down through history.

There is something fitting about Trump’s background as a real estate billionaire. That business is all about shafting people, cheating to stay ahead, or selling overinflated assets.

Trump himself is one such overinflated “asset”. All his past talk about “America first”, “forgotten workers”, “draining the swamp” and lashing out against his predecessor Barack Obama over “reckless wars in the Middle East” – is all just cheap hokum.

To save his political skin and no doubt lucrative future business opportunities for his dynasty, Trump has donned the cap of Commander-in-Chief and is groveling before the American war machine.

He is handing over an “official” license for war in Syria that the American Deep State has been craving for years.

It is a measure of how crazed and obscene the American political system is. The message is: no matter which way the electorate votes, the warmongers in the Pentagon and their corporate masters get the result they want. Which is war. Even if that risks a world war with Russia.

That’s how American capitalism works. And Trump is nothing but a poodle willing to jump through the hoops, roll over and lick the boots of the criminal masters.

Source: Sputnik

Only a Fool Would Trust Rogue State USA

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) talks with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on March 18, 2017 in Beijing, China

Only a Fool Would Trust Rogue State USA

By Finian Cunningham

Sputnik” – The United States suffers from a chronic trust deficit, to put it mildly. Anything that its leaders say must be weighed against years of deception and relentless criminal conduct by US governments.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Chinese President Xi Jinping at the weekend, vowing greater cooperation to reduce tensions boiling up on the Korean Peninsula. Only a day before, however, Tillerson was threatening that the US would use pre-emptive military strikes against China’s ally North Korea if “we believe” it presented a threat “to us”.

So what’s it to be then? Cooperation or pre-emptive war?

At the same time that Tillerson was seemingly conveying a cordial tone to Beijing, President Trump was mouthing off at home that “North Korea was behaving badly” and that China had not done enough to contain it.

Trump’s comments angered China, with the latter responding it had in fact gone to great lengths over recent years to calm tensions on the Korean Peninsula between North Korea and the American ally in the South, by continually calling for dialogue, which the US has continually rebuffed, preferring to play hardball instead.

The weekend exchange is but one brief insight into why Washington cannot be trusted. The president and his top diplomat can’t even articulate a consistent policy for even a few hours. How could one possibly take them seriously?

But Trump and Tillerson’s mixed signals are a mere trifling matter. Why the US cannot be trusted has got much more to with decades of systematic misbehavior by Washington. North Korea “behaving badly,” says Trump. Typical American arrogance and ignorance do not admit the reality of the US behaving atrociously.

The whole specter of a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula was created in the first place by the United States. Its decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 was motivated by the Soviet Union’s imminent entry into the Pacific War. Washington did not want to see the Soviet Union taking Japanese or Korean territory.

Korean communist rebels were about to over-run the peninsula in 1945 and reclaim it from imperialist Japanese control. By dropping the atomic bombs on Japan, the Americans thwarted the advance of communists in Asia-Pacific. Korea was de facto divided between a communist northern state and a US-installed southern state, which also saw the reinstatement of quislings who had collaborated with Japanese fascism.

The subsequent Korean War (1950-53) was a US-led orchestration to defeat the communist North. Over three million Koreans were killed in a war which brought the peninsula to the brink of nuclear conflagration, if American generals had their way at the time. Still, more conventional bombs and napalm were dropped on North Korea by the US than on the whole of Japan during the Pacific War, according to international war crimes lawyer Christopher Black.

Pyongyang, the northern capital, was obliterated by US carpet bombings. American troops committed countless massacres against civilians, such as in Sinchon when hundreds of women and children were incinerated in ditches and air raid shelters.

Koreans were forced to live in caves to escape the brutal American bombing of their country. One special terror technique was the flying of nuclear-capable bombers over the northern territory. The people below did not know if a fate like that of Hiroshima was about to descend on them.

When the bombs stopped in 1953, the US never declared a full armistice or signed a non-aggression treaty, as is normal following conflicts. From the North Korean standpoint, the Americans still retain the “right” to attack their country.

When the US today conducts annual war maneuvers with its South Korean ally, we can perhaps understand why North Korea is alarmed by what it sees as a rehearsal for resumed hostilities.

Over the weekend, US Secretary of State Tillerson said that his nation does not want conflict with North Korea. But Washington ruled out the reasonable proposal from China for the US to cancel its war maneuvers in exchange for North Korea curbing its weapons program.

The US is moving ahead with installation of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea. That move defies warnings from both China and Russia that it is destabilizing the entire region and provoking a new arms race.

Washington’s words of “not wanting war” are accompanied by the ultimatum that North Korea unilaterally disarm its nuclear weapons program and testing of ballistic missiles.

 

But history has shown that any country which is not sufficiently defended is liable to be destroyed by Washington. We saw this with regard to former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Somalia. Anywhere where the Americans can make easy prey, they will do so with the utmost barbarity, and then add insult to injury by calling it “nation building”.

Despite Western media demonization of North Korea as some kind of crazy rogue state, the people there are not fools. They know from family histories the atrocious cost of American war. And they know that any nation perceived as weak by Washington will be bombed back to the Stone Age.

Nevertheless, there is ample opportunity for a positive way forward. The Korean people, North and South, have always been willing to engage in dialogue for the peaceful reunification of their country, which was only artificially partitioned by American hegemonic meddling.

This spirit of dialogue and cooperation is also shared by the majority of citizens in the wider region. Chinese and Japanese people quite reasonably want a general demilitarization of the region. That primarily means Washington removing up to 100,000 of its troops from Japan and South Korea, along with its bases and all the other trappings of war.

The biggest hindrance to democratic, peaceful self-determination in Korea and the region is Washington’s insistence on remaining there to “protect” its allies. Washington forced its way into the region by using nuclear terrorism, and it remains there through the same ploy of nuclear menace — under the guise of blaming North Korea.

Ironically, the US State Department described Tillerson’s tour of the Asia-Pacific this weekend as a “listening tour”.

Well if Tillerson and his government were truly listening, they would hear the following: stop destabilizing whole countries and inciting wars; leave ordinary citizens in neighboring nations to get on with their lives and mutual relations; and American militarism should pack up and go home to redirect its monstrous resources to improve the lives of millions of impoverished American families.

There is a direct analogy here with how Washington and its NATO agenda of hostility towards Russia are destabilizing Europe against the wishes and interests of most European citizens.

No wonder so few trust American power. It is the most destructive force in the world since the Second World War. American criminal wars and subterfuges have destroyed dozens of countries.

So when an American envoy talks about wanting peace, while at the same time threatening pre-emptive attacks and demanding that others unilaterally disarm — the only appropriate response is contempt.

Only a fool would trust Washington because it is the biggest warmongering rogue state on Earth.

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England,

For Allies & Foes Alike, All Roads Lead to Moscow

By Finian Cunningham

March 13, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  “RT” – In the same week that the United States sent thousands of additional troops to Kuwait for deployment in Iraq and Syria, Russia was busy pursuing a heavy-duty diplomatic deployment.

The contrast speaks of a paradigm-shift in geopolitics. Russia has become the main player in the future of the vital Middle East region, where the US and its European allies formerly claimed to be the lynchpin powers.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu in Moscow.

The next day, it was Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s turn to be greeted in the Kremlin. The meeting in Moscow confirms the restored relations since the fatal Turkish shoot-down of a Russian fighter jet over Syria in November 2015.

Full Re-engagement: Syrian crisis and megaprojects to dominate Erdogan, Putin meeting https://on.rt.com/85ao 

Photo published for Syria debacle & megaprojects dominate Erdogan’s Russia visit — RT News

Syria debacle & megaprojects dominate Erdogan’s Russia visit — RT News

The presidents of Russia and Turkey have held a meeting in Moscow on Friday, putting behind a 16-month-old crisis in bilateral relations. High-profile infrastructure projects and the Syrian crisis…

rt.com

Russia can rightly claim to have gained the respect of virtually all the countries in the Middle East, ranging from allies and foes alike. Syria and Iran, longtime allies, have expressed gratitude for Moscow’s military intervention in Syria to salvage that country from a nearly six-year war, while, at the same time, states normally thought of as US clients, such as Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, have also paid their respects to Russia over its principled use of military force to stabilize the restive region.

The latter countries are particularly significant, given that they have backed proxy forces in Syria that have been fighting against Russia’s ally, the Syrian government of President Assad. Israel and Saudi Arabia are also implacably opposed to Iran, another key Russian ally.

But here is a measure of Russia’s kudos in the region. When Israel’s Netanyahu came to Moscow this week – his third visit in 16 months – he was reportedly put in his place by Putin over a remark he had made comparing Iran to ancient Persia, claiming it was trying to “destroy Jews.” Putin wagged his finger and told the Israeli leader to “stop dwelling in the past” and instead deal with a “changed world”. The bumptious Netanyahu was suitably quietened by the admonishment.

It’s hard to imagine any other international leader commanding that kind of deference.

Putin to Netanyahu: Don’t judge Iran by 5th century BC, we live in a different world https://on.rt.com/8599 

Other countries in the Middle East that have recently sought renewed contact with Russia include Egypt, Libya, Qatar, and Bahrain.

The remarkable thing is how Russia has been able to garner the respect of such a diverse range of states with such divergent political and religious outlooks, some vehemently opposed to each other. Yet, in Russia, they all find a reliable gravitational center.

American political commentator Randy Martin says that the leadership displayed by Russia stems from a fundamental difference in how the US operates. He says that Moscow genuinely wants to build peace and development in the region, whereas Washington has always been motivated by selfish reasons of hegemonic dominance.

Says Martin: “Russia under Putin is trying to build relationships, regional development, multilateralism and peace-making. Russia understands that the only viable future for itself and others is to create a stable, multi-polar international order. And Russia is showing true leadership by demonstrating a principled tolerance of others.”

The commentator added: “It is instructive to contrast Russian military intervention and subsequent diplomacy with that of the US. Everywhere the US has been involved in has imploded in relentless violence and failure. That’s because Washington is only interested in exploiting the oil-rich region ultimately for its own strategic ends. By contrast, Russia has a real stake in the region’s future as a neighbor and partner.”

After witnessing a series of destructive US-led wars across the region, from Afghanistan and Iraq to Libya, it seems the Russian government has made a strategic resolution that the apocalyptic dynamic had to stop, not just for its own sake, but for the world at large. Syria was the line in the sand.

BREAKING: Assad: No one invited US to Manbij, all foreign troops in Syria without permission are ‘invaders’ https://on.rt.com/85eo 

‘What are they [foreign troops] going to do? To fight ISIS? The Americans lost nearly every war’ – Assad http://on.rt.com/85eo pic.twitter.com/arClIighfl

View image on Twitter

 

 

Through the principled use of military power, Russia’s intervention in Syria has put out the flames of a conflict that was threatening to engulf the entire region. While Washington and its clients who backed regime-change have cause to be displeased with Russia’s intervention, nevertheless, there can at least be a tacit acknowledgement that it was Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, who brought the madness to an end.

That newfound respect for Russian power has materialized in the sponsorship of peace talks on Syria by Russia and Turkey. Both countries brokered a ceasefire in December, which has largely held, to facilitate two rounds of negotiations between the Assad government and the Syrian opposition. Those talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, have now paved the way for rebooted peace negotiations in Geneva next week under the auspices of the United Nations.

In his meeting with Erdogan in Moscow this week, Putin noted that the talks in Astana were the “first time ever that the conflicting parties in Syria came to the negotiating table.” He added that “this tangible result” was grounds for “cautious optimism for a full-fledged political settlement.”

Of greater significance, Putin referred to Russia’s bigger strategic picture. He said that the political talks marked the “start of the process of rebuilding Syria and others countries in the region.”

The bedrock principle laid down by the Russian leader is respect for sovereignty. That applies to Russia’s allies as well as their foes. Moscow is saying that if the conflict-torn region is to have any future then, at a minimum, each and every player must have a modicum of respect for sovereignty. The dark days of zero-sum, regime-change intrigues against others must end.

Through its commendable stand in the Mideast, Russia has shown that it is a power that can be trusted, whereas the US and its European allies have been fatally compromised through their own unscrupulous, treacherous scheming. Not even supposed allies have confidence that Western powers can be trusted in the long-run.

The case of Turkey and Israel – both ardent allies of Washington – coming to Moscow this week to pay homage to Putin shows that they realize that Russia, despite their political differences, has become the indispensable player in the region. Washington, London, and Paris are like yesterday’s men.

Randy Martin, the political commentator, says that the consummate difference between Russia and the US is due to the former’s profound understanding of war and peace.

Russia knows the cost of war, and so appreciates the price of peace,” says Martin. “Given the vast destruction and pain that Russia endured through war over the past century, perhaps no other country on the planet has a better understanding of the importance of making peace. By contrast, the US has never experienced the suffering of war the way Russia has. The US only knows how to incite war and inflict suffering.”

This fundamental distinction appears to be why Russia has emerged as a reliable leader in the war-torn Middle East and beyond. It is a power that others can respect.

It’s those that don’t respect Russia – Washington and its surrogates in Europe – who accuse Putin of being an aggressor, who are showing their true colors. Their accusations are projections of their own aggressor-status. Russia is putting an end to their warmongering through genuine world leadership – and that is why they jealously slander Putin as an aggressor.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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Double Standards over ‘Russian Interference’ in Western Elections

Double Standards over ‘Russian Interference’ in Western Elections

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 23.02.2017 | OPINION

Double Standards over ‘Russian Interference’ in Western Elections

Just as polls show Marine Le Pen of the Front National taking a decisive lead over her two main rivals, Francois Fillon of the Republicans, and Emmanuel Macron of the newly formed En Marche, the latter gets a high-profile reception in Downing Street with British prime minister Theresa May.

Fillon has no plans to make a similar visit to Britain, while Downing Street officially announced that it would not be receiving Le Pen, reported the Independent.

With only weeks to go to the first round of the French presidential elections in April, the British government’s hosting of Macron this week can be seen as an extraordinary endorsement of his candidacy.

One could express it even more strongly and say that Britain is evidently interfering in the French democratic process by elevating one candidate over another.

A spokesman for premier May said that Macron had requested the meeting at Downing Street and «we were able to accommodate».

A smiling Macron photographed on the doorsteps of Number 10 clearly showed him relishing the singular honor bestowed by the British prime minister.

One can imagine the media hullabaloo if Marine Le Pen were greeted in Moscow by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the Kremlin to then pointedly announce that her rival Macron would not be receiving a similar invitation. There would be howls of «Russian interference» in the French election.

Indeed, Russia is being accused of doing just that already on the basis of scant allegations. Emmanuel Macron has recently claimed that his campaign is being targeted by Russian hackers and «fake news». Macron’s campaign team is alleging – without providing any evidence – that its computers are being attacked by «Russian hackers».

The liberal pro-EU candidate is also claiming that «Kremlin-run news media» are mounting a fake news «influence campaign» to damage his credibility.

This follows the publication of a news article by the Sputnik outlet earlier this month which quoted French political rivals accusing Macron of being supported by global banking interests and a wealthy gay rights lobby.

Russian government-owned Sputnik has denied that it is trying to damage Macron’s candidacy, and that it was merely giving coverage to criticisms aired by French political rivals.

Based on such flimsy, partisan claims of political interference, the French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault earlier this week issued a warning to Russia to «stop meddling in the French presidential election».

Thus, a one-sided overblown claim by one of the presidential candidates is raised to a state level as if it is an established fact of Russian subversion of French sovereignty.

This narrative of Russian interference in foreign elections has evidently become contagious. Ever since American intelligence agencies, amplified by US media, began accusing Russia of hacking into the presidential elections to favor Donald Trump, the narrative has become a staple in other Western states.

Last week, German news outlet Deutsche Welle published this headline: «Is Moscow meddling in everything?» The article goes on to ask with insinuating tone: «Does Putin decide who wins elections in the West? Many believe that he cost Clinton the US presidency; now Macron is next France, and then Merkel will be in the line of fire».

The Russian government is legitimately entitled, as are other governments, to hold views on the outcome of foreign elections. After all, many European governments, including those of Germany and France, were adamantly opposed to Trump winning the US election, instead preferring his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. But they weren’t subjected to criticism that they were interfering in the American election.

Regarding France, Russian state interests might be best served by Marine Le Pen taking the presidency. She has expressed a desire to restore friendlier relations with Moscow and to jettison the NATO agenda of hostility towards Russia. Her anti-EU views would also help to undermine the Washington-led atlanticist axis which has driven enmity between Europe and Russia.

The Kremlin has been careful to not make any public statements on the outcome of the French election, nor of any other foreign election, maintaining that it does not interfere. Nevertheless, Moscow is entitled to have its own private assessment on what would serve its own national interests. There’s nothing untoward about that. It seems almost bizarre to have to explain that.

But such is the fever-pitch and hysteria about alleged Russian malfeasance that the slightest sign, such as a random news article airing critical comments as in the Macron example, is taken as «proof» of Kremlin interference.

This is in spite of the fact that no evidence is presented. German state intelligence, for instance, recently concluded that there was no evidence to support allegations that Russia was running a Trump-like influence campaign against Chancellor Merkel ahead of her country’s elections being held in September.

Perhaps the most egregious expression to date of the Russian interference narrative were claims made this week by Britain’s Telegraph newspaper that the Kremlin had sponsored a coup attempt against the government of Montenegro last October.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov lambasted the evidence-free claims as «absurd». Lavrov said it «is just another one in a series of groundless assertions blaming our country for carrying out cyberattacks against the entire West, interfering in election campaigns in the bulk of Western countries as well as allegations pointing to the Trump administration’s ties with Russian secret services, among other things».

The height of absurdity is Britain this week hosting Emmanuel Macron at the Downing Street residence of Prime Minister Theresa May.

May’s intervention is a full-on endorsement of this one candidate at a crucial time in the French election which sees his main rival Marine Le Pen taking a decisive lead in the polls.

But where are the headlines denouncing «British interference» in French democracy?

Western media are too preoccupied digging up far-fetched stories claiming Russian interference based on the flimsiest speculation.

That double standard is clear evidence of the irrational Russophobia that is gripping Western governments and news media. Russophobia that has become a psychosis.

UK’s Delusional Threats to Europe over ‘Hard Brexit’

UK’s Delusional Threats to Europe over ‘Hard Brexit’

UK’s Delusional Threats to Europe over ‘Hard Brexit'

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May delivered her much-anticipated speech on Brexit this week, and it was suffused with delusions of grandeur. When are British leaders going to realize that their days of imperial greatness are long gone? Listening to May, however, one would think that the world’s map was still splattered in red, white and blue colors of the Union Jack – otherwise known by former colonial subjects as the Butcher’s Apron.

The Conservative prime minister gave a bravado speech that heralded a blissful, prosperous future for «global Britain». May said that Britain was now open for free trade with the rest of the world, after having voted in a referendum last June to quit the European Union, after 43 years of membership.

Finally, after seven months of dithering and confusion on the matter, May declared that Britain would henceforth be seeking a «hard Brexit», whereby the United Kingdom would no longer seek to be part of the EU’s single market. It would therefore be free from obligations concerning migration and free movement of European citizens. That is, Britain would gain full control of its borders. A «soft Brexit» option would have involved a compromise between retaining single-market membership and accepting a degree of open borders.

No way. Theresa May was at last supposedly giving clarity on Britain’s position, saying there would be «no half measures, no half in, half out… Brexit means Brexit». The Financial Times approved of her upbeat message with the headline: «No more Theresa Maybe».

Listening to May’s prognosis of glowing prospects for «global Britain» – trading with the US, Canada, China, India and the Persian Gulf among others as bilateral partners – makes one wonder why Britain ever bothered joining the EU’s single market back in 1988, as her predecessor Margaret Thatcher had zealously committed to (15 years after its original accession to the European Economic Community, the precursor of the EU.)

Perhaps it has something do with the fact that nearly 50 per cent of the UK’s exports go to EU markets – free from any trade barriers. How Britain’s exports will fair in a global marketplace of cut-throat trade tariffs is a moot question.

According to the British government it’s all going to be rosy. That, by the way, wasn’t May’s position prior to the referendum. She campaigned for remaining in the EU and in doing so she had predicted that leaving the bloc would spell economic disaster for Britain. All that doom seems to have dramatically disappeared now in May’s apparently revised upbeat world outlook, without providing an explanation for her U-turn.

Here’s the thing: Downing Street’s supposed announcement of clarity on the Brexit this week raises, on the contrary, even more befuddling questions. May is aiming to conclude Brexit negotiations in two years with the European Commission based in Brussels. But that timescale is impossibly optimistic. Only a few weeks ago, her top diplomat charged with negotiating the Brexit was forced to resign because he dared to warn that a separation deal would take up to 10 years to finalize. And that longer-term view is probably a realistic assessment. For instance, it took Canada seven years to recently conclude a free-trade pact with the EU. For Britain, with many more legal entanglements to resolve, any less timeframe seems in the realm of «daydreams» – as some EU politicians caustically remarked following May’s speech this week.

Britain’s Foreign Minister Boris Johnson can crow all he likes that «the world is queuing up to do business with Britain». One of those potentially new trade partners is Britain’s old colony, the United States of America. Following President Donald Trump’s welcoming remarks for a «quick trade deal» with Britain earlier this week, there was much excitement from Johnson and other Brexiteers that a new lucrative horizon was indeed dawning.

The harsh reality is that Britain will be technically and legally a member of the EU until it concludes departure negotiations that could several years. Under those circumstances, as several EU politicians have pointed out, Britain will not be free to negotiate bilateral trade agreements with the US or any other nation. That means that Britain will not be able to gallop off into supposed new trade deals with the US, China or anyone else, until it finishes its no doubt protracted divorce proceedings with the EU.

The Brexit process is going to be a rude awakening for British leaders who seem to harbor delusions about Britain’s stature in the world.

This delusional thinking was revealed when Theresa May issued a barely veiled warning to the EU that Britain would not accept a «punitive» Brexit deal.

Despite her speech opening with charming talk of Britain being the best of friends with Europe, May drew a dagger towards the end.

«I know there are some voices calling for a punitive deal that punishes Britain and discourages other countries from taking the same path. That would be an act of calamitous self-harm for the countries of Europe. And it would not be the act of a friend,» said the British premier.

With a foreboding tone, she added: «Britain would not – indeed we could not – accept such an approach. And while I am confident that this scenario need never arise – while I am sure a positive agreement can be reached – I am equally clear that no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.»

It was a glinting threat from May, akin to flashing a knife at the EU.

Earlier, May said in contradictory fashion that while Britain was leaving the single market, at the same time it was demanding «full access to markets as an associate member to make trading as frictionless as possible».

So, only in a rhetorical sense is the British government declaring a «hard Brexit» by purportedly «leaving the single market». For all intents and purposes, however, the British still want «full access» to the market, as May stipulated in her speech. And this privilege is to be had at the same time that Britain takes full control of its borders over EU migration.

That sounds like Britain wanting to have its cake and eating it. Supposedly being out of the market, but still in it for all practical purposes, while pulling up the draw bridge on the rest of Europe. Moreover, the British prime minister is declaring that if Britain does not get «full access» it will be perceived as «punitive» – and then in that case her country will «walk away» from negotiations.

Her haughty attitude sparked outrage across the EU. Guy Verhofstadt, the EU Parliament’s point man on Brexit, reportedly fumed that Britain’s «days of cherrypicking and a la carte Europe are over».

Tomas Prouza, the Czech’s EU minister, noted sardonically of the British position: «Trade as free as possible, full control of immigration… where’s the give for all the take?»

What May was alluding to in her threat of walking away was that Britain would undercut the EU by slashing corporation tax, thereby luring foreign companies away from continental Europe to set up shop in Britain. That is, turning Britain into a tax haven to cheat the rest of Europe.

May also hinted that Britain’s military forces in NATO might be pulled out of Poland and the Baltic states, which would have the effect of destabilizing these EU members, given their congenital paranoia over alleged Russian aggression.

The British government’s threats to the EU stems from a misplaced arrogant attitude of a has-been world power, which somehow still thinks that it can pontificate to other, perceived lesser nations.

With a ballooning trade deficit with Europe and an all-but extinct industrial base, the only asset that the UK can claim is its City of London global financial center – which accounts for 80 per cent of its national economy. Despite Theresa May’s supercilious tone, Britain will find that it needs Europe a lot more than Europe needs Britain. And if cut loose harshly, the former Great Britain is in no industrial shape to ply the global markets as it once did with the backing of its colonial armies of occupation.

Britain’s «hard Brexit» is all «hard talk» belying typical British subterfuge to wheedle self-serving concessions. Such conceited British attitude will only stiffen EU resolve to make minimal trade concessions in the final separation. If the British are seen to get a «cherry-picked» deal of access to the single market, yet be able to spurn any immigration, that would be tantamount to giving an exit license for other members of the EU to do likewise. And given the level of Euro-skepticism rising across Europe, Brussels and other pro-EU governments must, of their own necessity, act sternly towards Britain in its divorce arrangement.

Britain can indeed expect a «hard Brexit». On much harder terms from the EU than delusional British politicians are arrogantly demanding. Less Rule Britannia; more like Fool Britannia.

West Directed Killer’s Hand in Assassination of Russian Ambassador

West Directed Killer’s Hand in Assassination of Russian Ambassador

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 20.12.2016 | OPINION

West Directed Killer’s Hand in Assassination of Russian Ambassador

The brutal slaying of Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov in Ankara sent shockwaves around the world. Condemnations were issued by Washington and European states of the act of terrorism by a gunman who shot Karlov in the back while he was speaking at a photo gallery in the Turkish capital.

The White House condemned what it called a «heinous attack», while the European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Morgherini vowed solidarity with Russia in the aftermath of the killing.

One headline read: ‘EU, US Shocked by killing of Russian ambassador in Turkey’.

Given the months of relentless and unwarranted vilification of Russia by the US and EU over the Syrian conflict, the phrase «crocodile tears» comes to mind on hearing their condemnations in regard to the murdered ambassador.

Within hours on the same day of this atrocity, Monday, a second apparent terrorist attack took place in the German capital, Berlin, when a Pakistani asylum plowed a lorry into a crowded Christmas market, killing at least 12 people and injuring nearly 50 others. Taken together, both events ramped up state security measures across Europe. Again, another cruel irony, given the culpability of European states in sowing seeds of violence.

Karlov (62) had been a career diplomat for four decades, taking up his post in Turkey in 2013. He worked deftly behind the scenes to facilitate the recent political dialogue between Russia, Iran and Turkey aimed at finding an evacuation arrangement for civilians and militants out of the battleground Syrian city of Aleppo.

Both Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that Karlov’s assassination was a «provocation» to derail the ongoing sensitive negotiations on finding a political settlement in Syria’s conflict. Those talks went ahead the day after the killing when foreign ministers from the two countries, plus Iran, met in Moscow as planned on Tuesday.

Pointedly, the US and its European allies have been left out of the talks between Russia, Iran and Turkey. Even though the Western states are a party to the nearly six-year war in Syria, having bankrolled and armed various anti-government militant factions.

Putin, in a televised address from the Kremlin, said that investigations into the murder of ambassador Karlov needed to find «who was behind the hand of the gunman».

The shooter, who was quickly killed by Turkish special forces when they stormed the photo gallery, was named as Mevlut Mert Altintas, a 22-year-old off-duty member of the Ankara’s anti-riot police squad. Video footage taken by surviving members of the public attending the fatal event showed the killer declaring support for the people of Aleppo and shouting «Allahu Akbar» («God is Great»)… «This is payback for Aleppo», as Karlov lay dying on the floor.

Turkish authorities later claimed that the shooter was affiliated with the Gulenist movement, which they have already blamed for inciting the failed coup back in July. That move may be a diversion by the Turkish government to conceal what would otherwise be an embarrassing affiliation between its police force personnel and Islamist terrorists in Syria.

Some Russian lawmakers went as far as alleging that the slaying of Karlov may have been orchestrated by the US-led NATO military alliance. The Syrian army’s liberation of Aleppo last week, with the help of Russian, Iranian and Lebanese military allies, has come as a strategic defeat for NATO powers who have been waging a covert war for regime change in Syria.

Over the weekend, reports also emerged of several special forces from NATO members having been captured by Syrian troops in Aleppo. The covert presence of NATO personnel in Aleppo, presumably training and directing jihadist terrorists, would be proof positive of the Western criminal conspiracy prosecuting the war in Syria.

It remains to be seen if the killer cop who shot ambassador Karlov was acting under direction from NATO intelligence.

However, even if he acted alone, it can still be said that the Western governments and their news media have an onerous responsibility for «directing his hand».

Among the condemnations pouring forth from UN chief Ban Ki-Moon, the US, UK, France and Germany were those articulated by American Secretary of State John Kerry and Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN. Only days before the murder of Andrey Karlov, the Western states and senior UN officials were waging an intense media campaign alleging that Russia was committing war crimes during the Syrian offensive to retake Aleppo.

John Kerry denounced what he called was a «massacre» in Aleppo. Samantha Power was almost hysterical at the UN Security Council berating Russia for being «incapable of shame» and bandying reckless, unsubstantiated claims of women and children being executed in Aleppo.

A months-long crescendo of condemnation by Western governments and media reached a climax last week when Aleppo finally was finally recaptured by the Syrian army and its allies. Citing dubious sources linked to terror groups holding east Aleppo under siege, the West has demonized Russia as an oppressor of civilians, committing crimes against humanity.

American, British and French diplomats have grossly distorted historical analogies by comparing Russia and its Syrian ally to the depredations of Nazi Germany and Spain’s fascist Franco.

Recall too that when Russian consular offices in Syria have been targeted by militant rockets, the Western states declined to condemn these gross violations. Recall too how British foreign secretary Boris Johnson urged public protests outside the Russian embassy in London. Recall too when two Russian nurses were murdered in a terror rocket attack on a mobile hospital in Aleppo, Western states kept a muted silence rather than condemn. In countless subtle and not-so subtle ways, Western governments and media have set Russia up as a villain deserving attack.

The climax of condemnation reached unconscionable heights last week when Washington, its Western allies and the UN – all amplified unquestioningly by the Western news media – vilified Russia for allegedly slaughtering civilians in east Aleppo. American ambassador Samantha Power specifically cited unverified reports of children being killed in a basement by Syria and Russian forces.

Belying Western hysteria, a calm evacuation of tens of thousands of civilians in Aleppo was actually underway. There was no evidence of any massacres or crimes against humanity that the West and UN officials were screaming about. Droves of civilians have instead expressed relief and gratitude for having been liberated by Syrian and Russian forces from a reign of terror imposed on them for four years by Western-backed militants.

Virtually everything that Western official sources have been saying about Aleppo, and the Syrian war more generally, is seen to be a grotesque lie.

Russian lawmaker Alexey Pushkov, of the Duma’s foreign affairs committee, is correct when he said following the death of Andrey Karlov that the West bore responsibility because its hysteria and fabrications about events in Aleppo have fostered a climate of deranged hatred towards Russia.

When the Turkish assassin raised his pointed gun at Karlov, he declared that he was acting in memory of «civilians killed in Aleppo». But who gave him the image of Russia being a legitimate target for «payback»? Who filled his head with (false) images of carnage and horror against civilians in Aleppo?

In answering those questions honestly, the conclusion is that Western governments, diplomats and media directed the gun that murdered ambassador Andrey Karlov.

Russophobia: War Party A Digital 9/11 If Trump Wins

By Finian Cunningham

November 06, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – “Sputnik” – There are disturbing signs that a digital 9/11 terror attack is being readied for election day in the US to ensure that Donald Trump does not win.

Such an attack – involving widespread internet and power outage – would have nothing to do with Russia or any other foreign state. It would be furnished by agencies of the US Deep State in a classic “false flag” covert manner. But the resulting chaos and “assault on American democracy” will be conveniently blamed on Russia.

That presents a double benefit. Russia would be further demonized as a foreign aggressor “justifying” even harsher counter measures by America and its European allies against Moscow.

Secondly, a digital attack on America’s presidential election day this week, would allow the Washington establishment to pronounce the result invalidate due to “Russian cyber subversion”. That option stands to be invoked if the ballot results showed Republican candidate Donald Trump as the imminent victor.

Democrat rival Hillary Clinton is the clear choice for the White House among the Washington establishment. She has the backing of Wall Street finance capital, the corporate media, the military-industrial complex and the Deep State agencies of the Pentagon and CIA. The fix has been in for months to get her elected by the powers-that-be owing to her well-groomed obedience to American imperialist interests.

The billionaire property magnate Trump is too much of a maverick to be entrusted with the White House, as far as the American ruling elite are concerned.

The trouble is, however, that despite the massive campaign to discredit Trump his poll support remains stubbornly close to Clinton’s. The latter has been tainted with too many scandals involving allegations of sleazy dealings with Wall Street, so-called pay-for-play favors while she was former Secretary of State, and her penchant for inciting overseas wars for regime change using jihadist terrorist foot-soldiers.

As one headline from McClatchy News only days ago put it: “Majority of voters think Clinton acted illegally, new poll finds”.

Trump is right. The US presidential election is “rigged”. Despite handwringing condemnations by pundits, it seems obvious that the system is heavily stacked against any candidate who does not conform with the interests of the establishment. The massive media-orchestrated campaign against Trump is testimony to that.

But such is popular disgust with Clinton, her sleaze-ball husband Bill and the Washington establishment that her victory is far from certain. Indeed in the last week before voting this Tuesday various polls are showing a neck-and-neck race with even some indicators putting the Republican narrowly ahead.

Over the weekend, the Washington Post, which has been one of the main media outlets panning Trump on a daily basis, reported this: “The electoral map is definitely moving in Trump’s direction”.

This is where a possible Deep State contingency plan is being readied to scupper a shock win by Trump.

In recent days, American media are reporting a virtual state of emergency by the US government and its security agencies to thwart what they claim are Russian efforts to incite “election day cyber mayhem”.

In one “exclusive” report by the NBC network on November 3, it was claimed that: “The US government believes hackers from Russia or elsewhere may try to undermine next week’s presidential election and is mounting an unprecedented effort to counter their cyber meddling.”

On November 4, the Washington Post reported: “Intelligence officials warn of Russian mischief in election and beyond.”

Apparently, the emergency security response is being coordinated by the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, the National Security Agency and other elements of the Defense Department, according to NBC.

These claims of Russian state hackers interfering in the US political system are not new. Last month, the Obama administration officially accused Moscow of this alleged malfeasance.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has lambasted American claims that his country is seeking to disrupt the presidential elections as “hysterical nonsense”, aimed at distracting the electorate from far more deep-rooted internal problems.

The Obama administration and its state security agencies have not provided one iota of evidence to support their allegations against Russia. Nevertheless the repeated charges have a tendency to stick.

The Clinton campaign has for months been accusing Trump of being a “pro-Russian stooge”. Her campaign has also claimed that Russian hackers have colluded with the whistleblower organization Wikileaks to release thousands of private emails damaging Clinton with the intention of swaying the election in favor of Trump.

Wikileaks’ director Julian Assange and the Russian government have both rejected any suggestion that they are somehow collaborating, or that they are working to get Trump elected.

But on the eve of the election, the US authorities are recklessly pushing hysteria that Russia is trying to subvert American democracy.

Michael McFaul, the former US ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014 is quoted as saying: “The Russians are in an offensive mode and the US is working on strategies to respond to that, and at the highest levels.”

NBC cites a senior Obama administration official as saying that the Russians “want to sow as much confusion as possible and undermine our process”.

Ominously, the news outlet adds that “steps are being taken to prepare for worst-case scenarios, including a cyber-attack that shuts down part of the power grid or the internet.”

Nearly two weeks ago, on October 21-22, the US was hit with a widespread internet outage. The actors behind the “distributed denial of service” were not identified, but the disruption was nationwide and it temporarily disabled many popular consumer services. One former official at the US Department of Homeland Security described the event as having “all the signs of what would be considered a drill”.

Could that cyber-attack have been the work of US Deep State agencies as a dress rehearsal for an even bigger outage planned for November 8 – election day?

The Washington establishment wants Clinton over Trump. She’s the marionette of choice for their strategic interests, including a more hostile foreign policy towards Russia in Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere.

But Trump might just snatch an election day victory from the jaws of defeat.

In which case, the shadowy forces that really rule America will trigger a “digital 9/11”. It’s not difficult to imagine the chaos and mayhem from internet blackout, power, transport, banking and communications paralysis – even for just a temporary period of a few hours.

Months of fingering Russia as a destabilizing foreign enemy intent on interfering in US democracy to get “Comrade Trump” into the White House would then serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy. In that event, the US authorities could plausibly move to declare the election of Donald J Trump null and void.

In fact the scenario could be contrived to a far more serious level than merely suspending the election result. The US authorities could easily feign that a state of emergency is necessary in order to “defend national security”.

That contingency catapults beyond “rigged politics”. It is a green light for a coup d’état by the Deep State forces who found that they could not win through the “normal” rigging methods.

 

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