UK Column News converstion with journalist Eva Bartlett, recently returned from North Korea

Mike Robinson and Patrick Henningsen with today’s UK Column News, including a conversation with investigative journalist Eva Bartlett, recently returned from North Korea.


PHOTOS FROM A WEEK IN THE DPRK

Children in Pyongyang Orphanage before performing drumming. August 29, 2017.

From August 24-31, I visited the DPRK (North Korea) as part of a very small delegation interested in hearing from North Koreans themselves about their lives, the US sanctions and incessant war manouevres, their history and more. A sample of photos and videos, with more to follow soon.

Please bear in mind that this country is among the most vilified on earth–along with Syria and formerly (now-destroyed) Libya, to name a few. Western media does not speak of North Korea’s people, nor of the amazing infrastructure, free housing and medical care, impressive agriculture and green energy, and the many things the people of the DPRK have done so well which I’ll elaborate on over the coming days.

Pyongyang, and much of North Korea, was leveled in the 50s by US bombings, with reportedly just one or two low-level buildings standing. After destroying and murdering in DPRK, America slapped sanctions on the country. How the people have continued, and made huge advances, is worthy of respect. The absurdly cartoonish “news” one hears in western media about North Korea is meant to detract from America’s crimes against the Korean people, and to garner support for yet another American-led slaughter of innocent people.

One high school student commented something to the effect: “Why doesn’t anyone put sanctions on America?” Too true.

I’ll be adding more photos to this album as internet and time allow, with hopes of offering a starkly different view than the corporate media rendition of North Korea.

**A few good resources on North Korea and the US aggressions:

1. Michel Chossudovsky’s overview, including citing western media sources acknowledging the US destruction of North Korea:

“After destroying North Korea’s 78 cities and thousands of her villages, and killing countless numbers of her civilians, [General] LeMay remarked,“Over a period of three years or so we killed off – what – twenty percent of the population.” (See War Veteran Brian Willson. Korea and the Axis of Evil, Global Research, April, 2002)

According to Dean Rusk, who later became secretary of state, the US bombed “everything that moved in North Korea, every brick standing on top of another.”  

It is now believed that the population north of the imposed 38th Parallel lost nearly a third its population of 8 – 9 million people during the 37-month long “hot” war, 1950 – 1953, perhaps an unprecedented percentage of mortality suffered by one nation due to the belligerence of another.” (See Brian Willson. Korea and the Axis of Evil, Global Research, April, 2002)

Even Newsweek tacitly acknowledges that the US committed extensive war crimes against the Korean people:

Screenshot Newsweek 4 May 2017

While Newsweek in this article is telling the truth, more generally the US media has failed to inform Americans regarding the extensive war crimes committed against the Korean people by successive US administrations.

Collective Memory of the People of North Korea

It is not in America’s collective memory as pointed out by Newsweek, but it is certainly in the collective memory of the people of the DPRK.

There is not a single family in North Korea which has not lost a loved one during 37 months of extensive US carpet bombing (1950-53). Put yourself in their shoes.

Pyongyang capital of North Korea, in 1953, almost entirely destroyed by U.S. bombing during the Korean War.

*

2. Stephen Gowans’ “Washington Considers Military Action Against North Korea to Force Regime Change
“In addition to direct military action from 1950 to 1953 against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (the country’s official name), US aggression has included multiple threats of nuclear annihilation, and the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons into South Korea until 1991. Re-deployment is now under consideration in Washington.

Most US nuclear threats against Pyongyang were made before North Korea embarked upon its own nuclear weapons program, and constitute one of the principal reasons it did so. The country’s being declared an original member of the Bush administration’s Axis of Evil, along with Iraq and Iran, provided an additional impetus.

…North Korea has additionally been menaced by annual US-directed war games involving hundreds of thousands of troops, carried out along North Korea’s borders. While US officials describe the twice yearly assembling of significant military forces within striking range of the DPRK as routine and defensive, it is never clear to the North Korean military whether the US–directed maneuvers are defensive exercises or preparations for an invasion. “

*

3. The International Action Center: “U.S. troops have occupied south Korea since 1945; 28,500 are still there. There are 38 U.S. military installations in south Korea, plus one militarized golf course. (lifeinkorea.com) The golf course is the station for the first Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in south Korea, a U.S. radar system opposed by the Korean people, in the north and south, as well as China.

Every year, the U.S. carries out massive war exercises in and around the Korean peninsula. This year’s Operation Key Resolve/Foal Eagle, which began in March and continued until April 24, has involved hundreds of thousands of troops from the U.S. and south Korea.

The south Korean news agency Yonhap reported on March 13: “The U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six will join the annual Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises between the two allies for the first time, along with the Army’s Rangers, Delta Force and Green Berets.” Yonhap quoted an unnamed military official as saying, “A bigger number of and more diverse U.S. special operation forces will take part in this year’s Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises to practice missions to infiltrate into the North, remove the North’s war command and demolition of its key military facilities.”

*

4. Christopher Black’s “North Korea: The Grand Deception Revealed

“In 2003 I had, along with some American lawyers, members of the National Lawyers Guild, the good fortune to be able to travel to North Korea, that is the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, in order to experience first hand that nation, its socialist system and its people. The joint report issued on our return was titled “The Grand Deception Revealed.” That title was chosen because we discovered that the negative western propaganda myth about North Korea is a grand deception designed to blind the peoples of the world to the accomplishments of the Korean people in the north who have successfully created their own circumstances, their own independent socio-economic system, based on socialist principles, free of the domination of the western powers.

At one of our first dinners in Pyongyang our host, Ri Myong Kuk, a lawyer, stated, on behalf of the government, and in passionate terms, that the DPRK’s Nuclear Deterrent Force was necessary in light of US world actions and threats against the DPRK. He stated, and this was repeated to me in a high level meeting with DPRK government officials later on in the trip, that if the Americans would sign a peace treaty and non-aggression agreement with the DPRK, it would de-legitimize the American occupation and lead to reunification. Consequently there would be no need for nuclear weapons. He stated sincerely that, “It’s important that lawyers are gathering to talk about this as lawyers regulate the social interactions within society and within the world,” and added just as sincerely that, “the path to peace requires an open heart.”

It appeared to us then and it is apparent now, in absolute contradiction to the claims of the western media, that the people of the DPRK want peace more than anything else so they can get on with their lives and endeavours without the constant threat of nuclear annihilation by the United States. But annihilation is what they in fact face and whose fault is that? Not theirs.

We were shown American documents captured in the Korean War that are compelling evidence that the US planned an attack on North Korea in 1950. The attack was carried out using American and south Korean forces with the assistance of Japanese Army officers who had invaded and occupied Korea decades before. The North Korean defence and counter-attack was then claimed by the US to be “aggression” which the United States manipulated in the media to get the UN to support a “police operation,” the euphemism they chose to use to carry on what was in fact their war of aggression against North Korea. Three years of war and 3.5 million Korean deaths followed and the US has threatened them with imminent war and annihilation ever since….”

*
Related:

I had an interesting encounter with a Korean man I had met when exiting the flight from DPRK on August 31st. Then we had just exchanged some brief words. Later in Beijing, we met by chance and spoke about North Korea.

As it happens, he had visited 28 years prior, and as it further happens he was born in the south and lived 20 years of his life there before America. He speaks the language and on this recent trip interacted with North Koreans one-on-one.

In sum, he was very impressed with the changes since he’d been there nearly 3 decades ago. And while he was born in the south, and lives in America, he does not support the US rhetoric around the north.

Hopefully we’ll have a proper interview/talk when both back at respective homes.

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Why Did Venezuela Shut Down 2 TV Stations? (Maybe there was a reason!)

 

Posted on August 29, 2017

With Trump’s recent hint at possible military action against Venezuela, media attacks against the South American country and its Bolivarian government have ramped up exponentially over the past few days.

An article published Monday in the Daily Beast is perhaps illustrative. The piece, by Antonio Mora, accuses the Maduro government of torture, rape, drug trafficking, forced starvation, and other crimes–though no mention of disconnecting babies from incubators.

“Few doubt the Maduro regime is heavily involved in drug trafficking, supporting terrorism, and looting the country’s economy,” Mora writes.

I guess I’m one of the “few.” I do doubt these things. Unlike certain other countries, Venezuela, at least to my knowledge, has not provided assistance to ISIS or served as Al-Nusra’s air force, and if there are any Venezuelans selling drugs in my neighborhood, I haven’t yet made their acquaintance.

“The international community must treat the regime as an active criminal enterprise, using criminal investigations to pierce the veil of banking secrecy in places such as Andorra, Switzerland, and the Cayman Islands in order to access the ill-gotten gains hidden there by Venezuelans made wealthy by their corrupt dealings,” Moro goes on. Apparently the US Federal Reserve and the crime syndicates on Wall Street are small potatoes compared to these créme de la créme Caracas plunderers.

“The violent repression, oppression, and human rights abuses by the Venezuelan government have become so commonplace and the Venezuelan people have become so despondent, little is seen as shocking anymore,” says our pundit before adding that “millions of Venezuelans are clamoring for the international community to take action and save the country from an authoritarian regime that has turned totalitarian since protests erupted against a power grab in March.”

Sounds very much like a call for war. Of course, if the Maduro government were every bit as evil as the Daily Beast claims,  the US regime-change harlequins wouldn’t be trying near this hard (or even at all) to overthrow it.

Naturally, like all “dictators,” Maduro makes minced meat out of the free press–pundit Moro informs us that “the regime has taken dozens of television and radio stations off the air,” though the details of this he leaves a bit sketchy.

Fortunately, however, we have an article published by VenezuelaAnalysis.com that offers some insight into why at least two of these media outlets, both cable TV channels, were closed–and yes, there was indeed a legitimate reason for shutting them down: according to writer Ryan Mallett-Outtrim, both channels were found to have advocated the murder of President Nicholas Maduro.

One wonders if the Daily Beast simply didn’t find that detail relevant or newsworthy enough to mention. ]

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Venezuela Pulls 2 Channels Off Air Over ‘Resign or Die’ Comments

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim | Venezuela Analysis

Puebla, Mexico, August 25, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan regulators ordered Thursday two cable networks be taken off air, after they were accused of promoting violence.

The country’s national telecommunications regulator CONATEL said Colombian broadcasters RCN and Caracol Television would be taken off air for “openly calling for [the] assassination [of the president].”

“The measure is within the bounds of the law, given that those stations over several months attacked Venezuela and [its] institutions,” CONATEL said in a statement, quoting former head regulator Andres Mendez.

The move was in response to comments by former Mexican president Vicente Fox aired by RCN and Caracol. Addressing Maduro, Fox warned “this dictator will leave through resignation, or with his feet in front of him, in a box”.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox speaks during an RCN broadcast. The subtitle at the bottom of the screen reads, “Dictator Maduro, Reisgn or Die.”

During RCN’s broadcast, the lower third beneath Fox simply read, “Dictator Maduro, resign or die.”

Fox’s comments were quickly condemned by Maduro ally and Bolivian President Evo Morales.

“If anything happens to our brother President Maduro, it will be Mexican ex-president Vicente Fox’s responsibility,” he said.

Fox made his comment during the “Thinking the 21st Century” conference in Baranquilla, Colombia. Last month, the ex-president was declared persona non grata in Venezuela after he participated as an observer in an unofficial opposition plebiscite asking citizens if they would support a “zero hour” campaign of protests aimed at overthrowing the government.

Neither RCN or Caracol appeared available in Venezuela at the time of writing, and at least one major cable provider has confirmed cutting one of the signals.

“We inform you that the 772 Caracol International channel is no longer available for Venezuela because we are complying with an order from … CONATEL,” cable provider DirecTV tweeted.

Some viewers have reported they can still access RCN through DirecTV, but not through most other major providers.

Venezuela’s opposition had condemned CONATEL’s decision as censorship.

“One more channel off the airwaves! Has that made crime go down? Is inflation any lower? Is there more food? More medicine? Has any problem been solved?” opposition leader Henrique Capriles stated.

The shutdowns are the second major regulatory action taken against broadcasters accused of promoting unrest in Venezuela. Earlier this year, CONATEL pulled CNN’s Spanish language channel, accusing the broadcaster of seeking to “undermine the image of the national executive branch”.

The decision came in the wake of CNN’s publication of an investigation that alleged to have uncovered evidence Venezuelan diplomatic officials in Iraq had sold Venezuelan passports to non-Venezuelans, including Iraqi and Syrian nationals. Venezuela’s government largely dismissed the report as US propaganda.

In 2014, another major Colombian broadcaster, RTN24, was also wiped from Venezuelan airwaves after CONATEL alleged it had “promoted violence”. Another major case also occurred in 2007, when the Caracas-based RCTV lost its broadcast concession, after regulators determined the station had played a role in a 2002 coup that temporarily overthrew the Chavez government.

Jews Under Attack By the Washington Post!

Hard as it may be to believe, Jews–specifically those who serve in the Trump administration–are under attack by the Washington Post.

Steven Mnuchin and Jared Kushner

Gary Cohn

Post pundit Dana Millbank has published an article accusing Jared Kushner, Steven Mnuchin, and Gary Cohn of “shame” and “disgrace” and of playing the role of “court Jews” in the White House.

“We have seen such a character before in Jewish history: the shtadlan,” says Millbank. “The shtadlan, or ‘court Jew,’ existed to please the king, to placate the king, to loan money to the king.

“He would dress like other members of the court, and he would beg the king for leniency toward the Jews, but, ultimately, his loyalty was to the king,” he added.

So what did Kushner, Mnuchin, and Cohn do that was so contemptible in Millbank’s opinion? They failed to denounce Trump’s comments on the Charlottesville events. Or as the Post writer puts it:

“The three men, the most prominent Jews in President Trump’s administration, could have spoken out to say that those who march with neo-Nazis are not ‘very fine people,’ as their boss claims. Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, and Cohn, the chief economic adviser, were actually standing with Trump when he said it. They said nothing.

This is not just mild criticism of course. It is a vicious attack. The only mainstream media attacks more vicious than this are those aimed at Trump himself.

Millbank asserts that all three men have expressed privately to unnamed acquaintances that “they are disturbed and distressed by what Trump said,” yet lamentably “none is speaking publicly about an outrage that makes millions of Americans feel as though they are living a nightmare.”

And oh yes, Millbank lets it be known in the article that he is Jewish himself, which of course gives him license to say things about Jews that no Gentile writer would ever dare express.

The article was brought to my attention by Ariadna, one of our readers, who feels it is an attempt by the Washington Post to pressure Jews in Trump’s administration to publicly disavow the president, this with the hope of encouraging them to resign en masse. The result of such a mass resignation conceivably would make an impeachment or a presidential resignation all the more likely.

Millbank’s article in the Washington Post is a bit, well, over the top, shall we say. But an article published by CNN goes the Post even one better. The TV news network has published on its website an article lauding–are you ready for it?–the anarchist group Antifa.

The hooded, black-clad delinquents who specialize in smashing windows and attacking people with clubs are portrayed by CNN writers Sara Ganim and Chris Welch as crusading advocates for social justice who “seek peace through violence.”

In the view of the writers, the black-bloc bon vivants are a bit prone perhaps to some unrestrained exuberance, but certainly they are not in any way commensurate to those nasty “white nationalists, neo-Nazis and others–who have been blamed for provoking violence at last week’s ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville.”

The article even quotes one of the Antifa protestors who was present at that event.

“We were marching down one of the streets, and energy was ecstatic,” he rhapsodizes.

I truly can’t remember a time when any protest group in America ever got this much favorable coverage.

Stonewalling Washington: Trump pushes leftist view of US racism further than Obama or Clinton

August 18, 2017

by Ramin Mazaheri

Stonewalling Washington: Trump pushes leftist view of US racism further than Obama or Clinton

I feel sorry for Americans – they have such lousy leaders they feel compelled to defend.

I don’t mean Trump or Obama or Clinton or even JFK – I mean George Washington.

It’s really gotta be a blow to the national pride when Americans have to admit, if only to themselves: “Trump makes a fair point: the father of our country, George Washington, was a slave-owning bastard, just like Confederate leaders Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.”

LOL, Trump deserves some sort of leftist medal: “Unwitting Service to the Advance of Leftism Despite Overwhelming Idiocy,” or something, because his recent statement has done more to push a truly leftist analysis of American history than anyone could have hoped.

Racist, imperialist, bourgeois, repressive, anti-worker, pre-modern…this describes all of the US leaders Trump mentioned . A true leftist must be a wall of stone on this point, so…kudos to Trump, no?

It’s just that Washington, Lee, Jackson and Thomas Jefferson have previously only been lumped together by modern leftist leaders like Ho Chi Minh, Castro, Khomeini, etc.

So what’s America to do? They can’t admit the truth: “It’s not George’s fault he had slaves!” And Trump – he can’t be right even if he finds a cure for cancer.

Like I said – I feel sorry for Americans: they know their emperor has no clothes…that weren’t made by slaves.

How much can an American truly identify with slave-owning George Washington? “No taxation without representation” still holds up, but what about his demand that a slave overseer be “vigilant” because, “I expect to reap the benefit of the labour myself.”

LOL, and we all know there’s much, much worse out there from dear, honest George! But it’s “bad form” to say such things out loud.

Contrarily, it’s going to be a very, very long time before Mao’s “Serve The People” slogan is outdated.

And the flustered response of the US media is just too, too priceless!

But Trump has broached the unresolved issues in American culture which Obama’s speechwriters worked with every breath to sidestep. When it was claimed that Obama’s election meant that the US was now a post-racial society, all us leftists just laughed. But how many Baby Boomers actually agreed, and patted themselves on the back for what a great job they’ve done?

The victory of Hillary would have certainly just continued Obama’s whitewashing: She would have never, ever called George Washington out as a racist, and certainly not with the blunt, irrefutable logic of Trump.

So Trump has, as predicted, has not only undermined the presidency but he has undermined all presidents, as well as the American elite’s revision of their own history.

Trump admitted you can’t explain away the reality of American Gangsterism

The reality is that only when America admits that their 18th century Founding Fathers are bourgeois, racist, anti-99%, false idols – only then can they advance to true leftism.

There’s no way around that, but there are many in the way. “American Salafists”, as I call them: People who think the US Constitution is perfect and that all we need to do is to return to living exactly as those living centuries ago originally intended.

Before I get to the hilarious way the media is trying to spin this issue, the impact goes even deeper than just media spin: How can American parents explain to their kids that Trump is totally, completely wrong?

They can’t, is the answer.

I was reminded that this very same issue was superbly handled by the greatest American dramatic TV series of all-time: The Sopranos. The scene goes like this:

It’s Columbus Day, which is mainly a day for Italian-American pride.

Tony Soprano’s weak, Millennial teenage son (named A.J.) is at the kitchen table and reading from the indispensable “A People’s History of the United States” by the leftist Howard Zinn.

A.J. doesn’t know what to make of Columbus’ written admiration of the Native Americans’ potential to…make good slaves.

A.J. – “That doesn’t sound like a slave-trader to you?”

Carmela (the Mom) – “George Washington had slaves – the father of our country.

A.J. – “What’s your point?”

Tony (the Dad) – “So you finally read a book…and it’s bulls—t!”

(LOL at Tony, he’s hilarious, and I hate gangster movies. But it’s not surprising that this sociopathic capitalist gangster waxes sympathetic for the slave-trader…)

Tony – “Look, you had to walk in Columbus’ shoes to see what he went through: They thought the world was flat, for cryin’ out loud. And he lived on an island with a bunch of naked savages and – that took a lot of guts. You remember when we went to Florida – the heat!? And those bugs?!”

A.J. – “Like it took guts to murder people and put them in chains!”

Carmela – “He was a victim of his time.”

A.J. – “Who cares? It’s what he did!”

Tony: “He discovered America, is what he did!!! He was a brave Italian explorer and, in this house, he’s a hero! End of story!!!!!”

Here’s the full scene.

Today, at kitchen tables across America, the always-idealistic younger generation certainly sees the truth of Trump’s comparison.

And this TV scene is exactly how the US media has responded to Trump’s statement: “George Washington was a hero and Stonewall Jackson was the real racist! End of story!!!!!”

It might help you to imagine CNN anchor, journalism industry joke and African-American Don Lemon as “Tony Soprano”. Don is trying to stifle the justified teenage outrage of “Deplorable/99%-er” A.J. And you can maybe picture MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow as Carmela, with her misplaced moral relativism and idiotic jingoism.

The media can try to completely use the whole incident as a way to discredit Trump – just as Tony can bully A.J. into silence – but the damage is already done.

Capitalist, private media can only spin in circles – it’s not socialist, state media, after all…

George Washington’s slaveholding is not an “irony” of history, nor a “paradox”, nor any other of the endless moral backflips American media is doing. I’d say they are blinded by bloodlust to discredit Trump with every teleprompted word, but it goes deeper than that.

Ever notice that you never hear the phrase “anti-imperialist” from the mouth of a mainstream American journalist?

But…isn’t that the big difference between Washington/Jefferson and Jackson/Lee?

That’s all that really divides them: Both had slaves, both upheld the system of slavery – but the former fought against British imperialism while the latter sought to divide America.

But because the US media establishment is terrified of, and probably even unequipped to properly discuss, the issue of imperialism, all they can do is hysterically act like Trump has single-handedly invented White Nationalism in 7 months.

Absurd….

Racism is indeed a key part of the foundation of America, but any leftist knows – and maybe even young A.J. now sees as well – that imperialist capitalism is the truest bedrock. America used racism to serve capitalist interests, not the other way around.

But the US media never wants to delve honesty into such realities. They don’t even want to acknowledge that imperialism exists, and they work tirelessly to fool the 99% into believing it. Just look at the very opening paragraph from a New York Times op-ed on Venezuela the day after Trump made his comparison: “No one should be worried about American military action anywhere in Latin America. The notion is risible.”

What’s laughable would be the idea that nearly ALL of Latin America doesn’t have reason to be worried about American military action, and not just Venezuela!

But…c’mon, let’s be content that Trump has unwittingly forced the US to deal with their racist idols and whitewashed history – let’s not ask for the moon and have him call into question American imperialism.

Thanks to Donald, Confederate statues are coming down!

You know that so many Blacks are DYING to say: “Trump is right! Washington was a racist bastard!”

But how many are foolishly holding their tongue in order to score points against Trump, who is already getting beaten so badly they should invoke the slaughter rule?

However, I wouldn’t recommend that an African-American back up Trump out loud in the lunchroom…if they want to keep their job. “Silent but dignified” – same old survival tactic….

For talking heads like Don Lemon, the cognitive dissonance resulting from lauding Washington and denigrating of Robert E. Lee results only in a pathetic knee-jerk nationalism. Don said that anyonesupporting Trump’s words is “complicit in racism”.

Whatever Don…you’re so far behind you actually think you’re in the lead. Go cash your paycheck – you’re doing a great job for the 1%!

The only way out for everyone – not just Blacks – is true leftism: total denunciation of both Washington and Jackson, and demanding socialism’s ethnic solidarity, which capitalism has never provided. It also can never provide it, despite the propaganda efforts of people like Lemon.

For true leftists – I don’t see how Trump’s comments can’t be seen as a major positive! The idea that Trump is fomenting White Nationalism in America is like being worried about rain falling in the ocean.

And hey, a lot of Confederate statues are being hauled down! You can actually close your eyes in 2017 America and imagine its 1917 Russia! Isn’t that amazing?! This type of unreflective ancestor worship is exactly what Mao and Chinese communists fought against!

So enjoy yourself! Maybe even get a backpack together and pretend a Long March is around the corner!

But this incident proves in a serious way that the true leftists who were not browbeaten into supporting Hillary were right: Do you think one fascist statute would have fallen under Clinton II?Of course not.

Trump will always represent an advance by a retreat, which only the most rabid Pentagon warmonger could fail to understand.

But this incident proves the predictably positive leftist effect of Trumpism: Americans are increasingly forced to openly question the system, to create grassroots movements, to take an open political and moral stand, and to deal with the horrible aspects of American society that would have certainly been swept under the rug with a Hillary victory.

I’m still waiting for my predicted “Mexican Power” movement to happen, but it’s early, after all.

It’s seven steps back, one step forward with the Donald..but Hillary would have just turned on her pumps and walked away from the very start.

And Trump’s comments did another thing many people thought was impossible: it got the media off Russophobia for a few days.

Enjoy the silence and the falling statutes!

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

Sanctions against China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. Part of a Global Military Agenda. Pentagon’s World War III Scenario

Global Research, July 29, 2017

Washington announced sweeping sanctions to be imposed on three countries: Russia, Iran and North Korea, following the US House of Representatives vote to impose a three countries’ sanctions “package”.  

While the justifications are diverse and unrelated, all three countries are from a military and geopolitical standpoint on the US nuclear “hit list”. They are considered as de facto rogue states, enemies of America.

The Congressional bill invoked respectively Tehran’s support of terrorism, Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential elections, and North Korea’s ICBM missile tests.

The pretexts with regard to Russia and Iran are largely fabricated. The main sponsor of  Islamic terrorism is US intelligence.

The “package sanctions regime” is intimately related to the Deep State military agenda. Moreover it is worth noting that the legislation included a (rather dangerous) clause to “disapprove of any moves the president makes to end the sanctions… and build a better relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

This clause is visibly intended by the neocon hawks in Washington to constrain the powers of the White House. In the words of Paul Craig Roberts, they are intended to “Put Trump in a box.”

The Congressional bill still requires the endorsement of President Trump, who might exercise his veto.

The China Sanctions Regime

While China was excluded from the Congressional three countries’ “package”, Washington formally intimated in early July that sanctions would also be imposed on China in response to China’s increased bilateral commodity trade with North Korea.

China is described as an ally of North Korea. While the US sanctions regime is not officially directed against the Chinese government, selected Chinese banks and trading companies involved in the financing of China-DPRK commodity trade are potential targets of US reprisals.

Having lost patience with China, the Trump administration is studying new steps to starve North Korea of cash for its nuclear program, including an option that would infuriate Beijing: sanctions on Chinese companies that help keep the North’s economy afloat.

The insinuation is crystal clear: curtail your trade with North Korea, or else…

Washington has visibly opted for a coordinated package of sanctions which is intimately related to its global military agenda. Is this sanctions regime a preamble to military action?

From a US foreign policy perspective, China, Russia and Iran constitute a geopolitical “block”. China and Russia are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Agreement (SCO), allies in the fields of trade, energy as well as military cooperation, Iran is slated to become a full member of the SCO.

Economic sanctions are indelibly tied into military and intelligence planning. In many regards the sanctions “package” (in derogation of international law) constitutes an act of war.

Russia and China have a longstanding comprehensive military cooperation agreement. Ironically, barely acknowledged by the Western media, a month prior to the House of Representatives vote, Beijing and Moscow signed (June 29, 2017) a  so-called roadmap on military cooperation for 2017-2020, which in essence constitutes a rebuttal to US-NATO threats including the US sanctions regime.

Moreover, both China and Russia have economic as well as defense cooperation agreements with North Korea.

Russia signed in November 2015 an “agreement on the prevention of dangerous military activities” with the DPRK, largely directed against the militarization of the Korean peninsula. In turn, China has a bilateral military cooperation agreement with North Korea which is part of the 1979 Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty,

The US sanctions regime is not only directed against those “three plus one” countries, it is also directed against countries which have bilateral trade, investment or military cooperation agreements with China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.

Weakening the European Union

Moreover, the sanctions regime is quite deliberately intended to weaken the European Union, specifically in relation to the sale of Russian natural gas to the EU.

Punitive measures are also envisaged directed against European companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which is used to transport natural gas from North Western Russia to Germany.

What this suggests is that EU member states which enter into trade with Russia would be subjected to sanctions.

France has raised doubts about “the legitimacy of new US sanctions against Iran and Russia, saying they do not conform to international law due to their extraterritorial reach” (Press TV)

The Pentagon’s Military Agenda

This sanctions package directed against four enemies of America is related (and “supportive”) of US and allied military deployments in major regions of the World:

  • Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Balkans (against Russia),
  • Caucasus (against Russia and Iran)
  • Syria and Iraq (against Iran and Russia),
  • Militarization of the Persian Gulf (against Iran)
  • South China Sea (against China as part of the Pivot to Asia)
  • East Asia and the Korean peninsula including the THAAD deployment (against North Korea, China and Russia).

Vigilant Shield 07:

Irmingham [Iran], Nemazee [North Korea], Ruebek [Russia], Churya [China]

From a strategic point of view, the Pentagon’s World War III war “scenarios” which have been conducted on regular basis for more than ten years include these four countries, which are now the object of US sanctions.

The details of these WWIII war games scenarios –which involve the use of nuclear weapons– invariably remain classified. In 2006, the Vigilant Shield 2007 war games involving four fictitious countries were leaked to the Washington  Post in an article by William Arkin

Vigilant Shield exercise (Vigilant Shield 07), which simulated the outbreak of a major war, contemplated four hypothetical enemies: Ruebek (Russia), Churya (China), Irmingham (Iran) and Nemazee (North Korea).

Examine the details below of the World War Scenario (Road to Conflict). Is there a relationship?

Is the US sanctions regime directed against four countries in any way related to the war games and routine World War III scenarios conducted by the Pentagon against these four countries. 

Further analysis is contained in Michel Chossudovsky, Towards a World War III Scenario, The Dangers of Nuclear War, Global Research, (2011) (click cover to order from Global Research)

Irmingham [Iran], Nemazee [North Korea], Ruebek [Russia], Churya [China]

Details and Sequencing: [emphasis added]

“• Road to Conflict (RTC): 11 Sep – 15 Oct 06

 – Initial Irmingham Enrichment I&W [indications and warning]
– Initial Ruebeki & Irmingham Involvement
 – Ruebek I&W, PACFLT [U.S. Pacific Fleet] Sub Deployments
– Initial Nemazee ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] I&W
– Initial MHLD [homeland defense?] I&W
 – Strategic IO [information operations (cyber warfare)] operations (Ruebek & Churya)
– Ruebek & Irmingham Conduct Joint AD [air defense] Exercise

• Phase 1 / Deployment: 4 – 8 Dec 06

 – Rogue LRA [Russian long-range aviation] w/CALCM [conventional air launched cruise missile] Launch
– Continue Monitoring Strategic Situation
– Continue Monitoring Nemazee Situation

  • Possible Nuclear Testing
  • Probable ICBM Preparation

– Continue Monitoring MHLD Situation

• Five VOIs [vessels of interest]
  • Churya Flagged VOI into Dutch Harbor Supports BMDS [ballistic missile defense system] Threat to Ft Greely

 – Continue Monitoring IO Activities
 – Nemazee Conducts SLV [space launch vehicle] Launch – 8 Dec 06

• Phase 2 Minus 42 Days:

 • Additional Nemazee ICBM Shipments to Launch Facilities
• RMOB [Russian main operating bases] Acft Conduct LR Navigation Flights
• AS-15 [nuclear armed cruise missile] Handling at RMOBs

 – Minus 41 Days:
 • Additional Nemazee ICBM Preps at Launch Pad # 2
– Minus 40 Days:
  • Activity at Nemazee Nuclear Test Facilities
– Minus 35 Days:
  • DOS [Department of State] Travel Warning
 – Minus 30 Days:
• Ruebek LRA Deploys Acft to Anadyr & Vorkuta

• Phase 2 Minus 30 Days:

 • Growing International Condemnation of Ruebek
• Ruebek Deploys Submarines

 – Minus 20 Days:
  • Nemazee Recalls Reservists
 – Minus 14 Days:
• DOS Draw-down Sequencing
– Minus 13 Days:
  • Ruebek Closes US Embassy in Washington DC
 – Minus 11 Days:
• Nemazee Conducts Fueling of Additional ICBMs
  • Ruebeki Presidential Statement on Possible US Attack

• Phase 2 Minus 10 Days:

 • POTUS Addresses Congress on War Powers Act

– Minus 6 Days:
  • Ruebek President Calls “Situation Grave”
 – Minus 5 Days:
• CALCM Activity at Anadyr, Vorkuta, and Tiksi
• Ruebeki SS-25 [nuclear armed mobile ICBMs] Conduct out of Garrison Deployments
• Nemazee Assembling ICBM for Probable Launch
– Minus 4 Days:
  • Ruebek Closes US Embassy in Washington DC
  • Ruebek Acft Conduct Outer ADIZ [air defense identification zone] Pentrations
• Mid-Air Collison w/NORAD Acft During ADIZ Penetration

• Phase 2 Minus 4 Days:

 • Nemazee ICBM Launch Azimuth Threatens US

 – Minus 3 Days:
 • NATO Diplomatic Efforts Fail to Diffuse Crisis
 • USAMB to Ruebek Recalled for Consultation
 • POTUS Addresses Nation
 – Minus 2 Days:
 • Nemazee Leadership Movement
 – Minus 1 Day:
 • Ruebek Expels US Mission

• Phase 2 / Execution: 10 – 14 Dec 06

 – Pre-Attack I & W
 – Imminent Terrorist Attack on Pentagon Suggests Pentagon COOP [continuity of operations plan]
– Nemazee Conducts 2 x ICBM Combat Launches Against United States

– Ruebek Conducts Limited Strategic Attack on United States
• Wave 1 – 8 x Bear H Defense Suppression w/CALCM
• Wave 2 – Limited ICBM & SLBM Attack
– 2 x ICBM Launched (1 impacts CMOC [Cheyenne Mountain], 1 malfunctions)
– 2 x SLBM Launched Pierside (1 impacts SITE-R [“Raven Rock” bunker on the Maryland-Pennsylvania border], 1 malfunctions)
– 3 x Bear H from Dispersal Bases w/ALCM (Eielson AFB, CANR, Cold Lake)
– US Conducts Limited Retaliatory Attack on Ruebek
• 1 x ICBM C2 Facility
• 1 x ICBM Against ICBM Launch Location
• Phase 2 / Execution:
 – Ruebek Prepares Additional Attack on United States
• Wave 3 – Prepares for Additional Strategic Attacks
  – 1 x ICBM Movement, NO Launch
– 3 x SLBM PACFLT Pierside Missile Handling Activity (NO Launch)
– 6 x BEAR H (launch & RTB [return to base]) w/6 x ALCM (NO launch)”

 emphasis added

 

P.C. Roberts on ‘the ignorant, stupid Nikki Haley’ and the destruction of the Trump Administration

[ Ed. note – A very interesting commentary by Paul Craig Roberts, who argues that Trump is powerless–he is under the complete control of the Deep State–and that the president is furthermore being treacherously undermined by his own appointees. The Trump administration is full of Russophobes like UN Ambassador Nikki Haley who, rather than  pursuing the peaceful relations with Russia that Trump seemed to promise during the campaign, have instead become parrots essentially, repeating the mainstream media mantra about “Russian interference” in the election. What are the implications of all this? Not good, says Roberts. Trump has become nothing more than a “figurehead” president, he argues, while the media and the Deep State are committed to  “raising tensions between the US and Russia to the point of nuclear war.” ]

By Paul Craig Roberts

President Trump Has Been Contradicted by His Own Government, Which Has Lined Up Against Him in Favor of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, and the Russophobic Presstitute Media that serves the military/security complex and the neoconservatives.

I am afraid that The Saker and Finian Cunningham are correct. Nothing can come of Trump’s meeting with Putin, because, as Cunningham puts it,

“Trump doesn’t have freedom or real power. The real power brokers in the US will ensure that the Russophobia campaign continues, with more spurious allegations of Moscow interfering to subvert Western democracies. Trump will continue to live under a cloud of media-driven suspicions. And thus the agenda of regime change against Syria and confrontation with Russia will also continue. Trump’s personal opinions on these matters and towards Vladimir Putin are negligible—indeed dispensable by the deep powers-that-be.”

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/395782-trump-putin-meeting-media-syria/

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47392.htm

Cunningham points out that instead of lauding the meeting as the beginning of the process to defuse the high tensions between the two major nuclear powers, the US media denounced Trump for being civil to Putin in the meeting.

What is missing from the media in the entirety of the Western world and perhaps also in Russia is the awareness that the dangerous tensions are orchestrated not only by Hillary and the Democratic National Committee, the neoconservatives, the US military/security complex, and the presstitutes, but also by President Trump’s own appointees.

Trump’s own ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, and Trump’s own Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, sound exactly like Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, the neoconservatives, the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN and the rest of the totally discredited presstitute media that is committed to raising tensions between the US and Russia to the point of nuclear war.

Continued here

***

Click the link just above to read the rest of Roberts’ commentary. Meanwhile, the “Russia conspiracy soap opera” continues in the media. The lone exception to this seems to be one program on Fox News.

The Trump-Putin Meeting: Establishment of a Personal Relationship, “There was Positive Chemistry Between the Two”

White House Press Briefing

Global Research, July 10, 2017

On July 7  following Trump’s meeting with Putin, a US Press Briefing was held at the G20 in Hamburg.

It is important to analyze the shift in political discourse of both President Trump and Secretary of State Tillerson.

The main contribution of the Trump-Putin meeting was to establish communication at a personal level.

The World is at a dangerous crossroads. That Trump-Putin personal relationship is fundamental.

History tells us that political misunderstandings can lead to war.

Admittedly no significant shifts in US foreign policy have occurred: the Pentagon’s military agenda prevails. Media lies and political deceit also prevail.

Yet at the same time, discussion and diplomatic exchange have resumed –which in many regards is an important achievement.

” The two leaders, I would say, connected very quickly.  There was a very clear positive chemistry between the two.  I think, again — and I think the positive thing I observed — and I’ve had many, many meetings with President Putin before — is there was not a lot of re-litigating of the past.  I think both of the leaders feel like there’s a lot of things in the past that both of us are unhappy about.  We’re unhappy, they’re unhappy.

I think the perspective of both of them was, this is a really important relationship.  Two largest nuclear powers in the world.  How do we start making this work?  How do we live with one another?  How do we work with one another?  We simply have to find a way to go forward.  And I think that was — that was expressed over and over, multiple times, I think by both Presidents, this strong desire.  (Tillerson)

In this regard, a certain sanity in the international relations narrative has been restored. Ironically, Washington casually admits it’s mistakes in relation to Russia. In the words of Secretary of State Tillerson:

“So we want to build on the commonality, and we spent a lot of time talking about next steps.  And then where there’s differences, we have more work to get together and understand.  Maybe they’ve got the right approach and we’ve got the wrong”(emphasis added)

Moreover, the meeting is also a slap in the face for the Deep State Neocons, the US media not to mention Hillary et al, who continue to blame Moscow for having intervened in the 2016 US presidential elections while casually portraying Trump as a Manchurian candidate controlled by the Kremlin.

The “Russia Did It” narrative, which borders on ridicule, no longer holds. In turn, Trump’s position has to some extent also been reinforced. Not surprisingly, the US media has slashed back at Trump accusing him of having been manipulated by Putin. According to CNN “Putin may have less of a warm diplomatic bedside manner, but he understands the art of presentation and how to set a trap.”

An important threshold has been reached

Has talking to the Kremlin rather than waging war on Russia become the “new normal” (at least at the level of political discourse)? Not yet.

Nonetheless, an important transition has taken place. Talking to the Kremlin sets a new momentum. Lest we forget, history tells us that all out war could unfold as a result of a personal political misunderstanding. Remember World War I.

Michel Chossudovsky, July 9, 2017


For the complete transcript of the Press Briefing click below

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/07/07/press-briefing-presidents-meetings-g20-july-7-2017

Selected quotes with notes and emphasis  

SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Hi, everybody.  I just want to highlight very briefly, and then Secretary Tillerson will go on, and then afterwards we’ll both answer a few questions.

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  Thank you, Steve, and thanks for staying with us late these evening.

President Trump and President Putin met this afternoon for 2 hours and 15 minutes [for a longer period of time than what was initially agreed upon by the two governments] here on the sidelines of the G20.  The two leaders exchanged views on the current nature of the U.S.-Russia relationship and the future of the U.S.-Russia relationship.

They discussed important progress that was made in Syria, and I think all of you have seen some of the news that just broke regarding a de-escalation agreement and memorandum, which was agreed between the United States, Russia and Jordan, [this agreement was no doubt drafted before the Trump Putin meeting] for an important area in southwest Syria that affects Jordan’s security, but also is a very complicated part of the Syrian battlefield.

This de-escalation area was agreed, it’s well-defined, agreements on who will secure this area.  A ceasefire has been entered into.  And I think this is our first indication of the U.S. and Russia being able to work together in Syria.  And as a result of that, we had a very lengthy discussion regarding other areas in Syria that we can continue to work together on to de-escalate the areas and violence once we defeat ISIS, and to work together toward a political process that will secure the future of the Syrian people.

As a result, at the request of President Putin, the United States has appointed — and you’ve seen, I think, the announcement of Special Representative for Ukraine, Ambassador Kurt Volker.  Ambassador Volker will draw on his decades of experience in the U.S. Diplomatic Corps, both as a representative to NATO and also his time as a permanent political appointment.

The two leaders also acknowledged the challenges of cyber threats and interference in the democratic processes of the United States and other countries, and agreed to explore creating a framework around which the two countries can work together to better understand how to deal with these cyber threats, both in terms of how these tools are used to in interfere with the internal affairs of countries, but also how these tools are used to threaten infrastructure, how these tools are used from a terrorism standpoint as well.

The President opened the meeting with President Putin by raising the concerns of the American people regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election.  They had a very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject.  The President pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement.  President Putin denied such involvement, as I think he has in the past.  

The two leaders agreed, though, that this is a substantial hindrance in the ability of us to move the Russian-U.S. relationship forward, and agreed to exchange further work regarding commitments of non-interference in the affairs of the United States and our democratic process as well as those of other countries.  So more work to be done on that regard.

Q    Mr. Secretary, Nick Waters (ph) from Bloomberg News.  Can you tell us whether President Trump said whether there would be any consequences for Russia to the interference in the U.S. election?  Did he spell out any specific consequences that Russia would face?  And then also, on the Syria ceasefire, when does it begin?  And what makes you think the ceasefire will succeed this time when past U.S.-Russian agreements on a ceasefire have failed?

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  With regard to the interference in the election, I think the President took note of actions that have been discussed by the Congress.  Most recently, additional sanctions that have been voted out of the Senate to make it clear as to the seriousness of the issue.  But I think what the two Presidents, I think rightly, focused on is how do we move forward; how do we move forward from here.  Because it’s not clear to me that we will ever come to some agreed-upon resolution of that question between the two nations.

So the question is, what do we do now?  And I think the relationship — and the President made this clear, as well — is too important, and it’s too important to not find a way to move forward — not dismissing the issue in any way, and I don’t want to leave you with that impression.  And that is why we’ve agreed to continue engagement and discussion around how do we secure a commitment that the Russian government has no intention of and will not interfere in our affairs in the future, nor the affairs of others, and how do we create a framework in which we have some capability to judge what is happening in the cyber world and who to hold accountable.  And this is obviously an issue that’s broader than just U.S.-Russia, but certainly we see the manifestation of that threat in the events of last year.

And so I think, again, the Presidents rightly focused on how do we move forward from what may be simply an intractable disagreement at this point.

As to the Syria ceasefire, I would say what may be different this time, I think, is the level of commitment on the part of the Russian government.  They see the situation in Syria transitioning from the defeat of ISIS, which we are progressing rapidly, as you know.  And this is what really has led to this discussion with them as to what do we do to stabilize Syria once the war against ISIS is won.

And Russia has the same, I think, interest that we do in having Syria become a stable place, a unified place, but ultimately a place where we can facilitate a political discussion about their future, including the future leadership of Syria.

So I think part of why we’re — and again, we’ll see what happens as to the ability to hold the ceasefire.  But I think part of what’s different is where we are relative to the whole war against ISIS, where we are in terms of the opposition’s, I think, position as to their strength within the country, and the regime itself.

In many respects, people are getting tired.  They’re getting weary of the conflict.  And I think we have an opportunity, we hope, to create the conditions in this area, and the south is I think our first show of success.  We’re hoping we can replicate that elsewhere.

MR. SPICER:  Abby.

Q    Mr. Secretary, you spoke, when you were speaking of the ceasefire, about they’re being detailed information about who would enforce it.  Can you give any more information on what conclusions were reached?  And you spoke of the future leadership of Syria.  Do you still believe that Assad has no role in their government?

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  I would like to defer on the specific roles in particular of security forces on the ground, because there is — there are a couple of more meetings to occur.  This agreement, I think as you’re aware, was entered into between Jordan, the United States, and Russia.  And we are — we have a very clear picture of who will provide the security forces, but we have a few more details to work out.  And if I could, I’d like to defer on that until that is completed.

I expect that will be completed within the next — less than a week.  The talks are very active and ongoing.

And your second question again?

Q    Does the administration still believe that Assad has no role in the future government of Syria?

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  Yes, our position continues to be that we see no long-term role for the Assad family or the Assad regime.  And we have made this clear to everyone — we’ve certainly made it clear in our discussions with Russia — that we do not think Syria can achieve international recognition in the future.  Even if they work through a successful political process, the international community simply is not going to accept a Syria led by the Assad regime.  

[Points to the insistance of Washington on regime change, Will that position be in any way modified?]

And so if Syria is to be accepted and have a secure — both a secure and economic future, it really requires that they find new leadership.  We think it will be difficult for them to attract both the humanitarian aid, as well as the reconstruction assistance that’s going to be required, because there just will be such a low level of confidence in the Assad government.  So that continues to be the view.

And as we’ve said, how Assad leaves is yet to be determined, but our view is that somewhere in that political process there will be a transition away from the Assad family.

Q    Thank you.  Demetri Sevastopulo, Financial Times.  On North Korea, did President Putin agree to do anything to help the U.S. to put more pressure on North Korea?  And secondly, you seem to have reached somewhat of an impasse with China in terms of getting them to put more pressure on North Korea.  How are you going to get them to go beyond what they’ve done already?  And what is President Trump going to say to President Xi on that issue tomorrow?

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  We did have a pretty good exchange on North Korea.  I would say the Russians see it a little differently than we do, so we’re going to continue those discussions and ask them to do more.   

Russia does have economic activity with North Korea, but I would also hasten to add Russia’s official policy is the same as ours — a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

And so I think here, again, there is a difference in terms of view around tactics and pace, and so we will continue to work with them to see if we cannot persuade them as to the urgency that we see.

I think with respect to China, what our experience with China has been — and I’ve said this to others — it’s been a bit uneven.  China has taken significant action, and then I think for a lot of different reasons, they paused and didn’t take additional action.  They then have taken some steps, and then they paused.  And I think in our own view there are a lot of, perhaps, explanations for why those pauses occur.  But we’ve remained very closely engaged with China, both through our dialogues that have occurred face-to-face, but also on the telephone.  We speak very frequently with them about the situation in North Korea.

So there’s a clear understanding between the two of us of our intent.  And I think the sanctions action that was taken here just in last week to 10 days certainly got their attention in terms of their understanding our resolve to bring more pressure to bear on North Korea by directly going after entities doing business with North Korea, regardless of where they may be located.  We’ve continued to make that clear to China that we would prefer they take the action themselves.  And we’re still calling upon them to do that.

So I would say our engagement is unchanged with China, and our expectations are unchanged.

Q    And you haven’t given up hope?

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  No, we have not given up hope.  When you’re in an approach like we’re using — and I call it the peaceful pressure campaign.  A lot of people like to characterize it otherwise, but this is a campaign to lead us to a peaceful resolution.  Because if this fails, we don’t have very many good options left.  And so it is a peaceful pressure campaign, and it’s one that requires calculated increases in pressure, allow the regime to respond to that pressure.  And it takes a little time to let these things happen.  You enact the pressure; it takes a little while for that to work its way through.

So it is going to require some level of patience as we move this along, but when we talk about our strategic patience ending, what we mean is we’re not going to just sit idly by, and we’re going to follow this all the way to its conclusion.

Q    Thank you.  Mr. Secretary, I have issue — you just mentioned on the DPRK.  We note China and Russia recently said — they asked North Korea to stop the — to freeze, actually, the nuclear activities, and also they asked the U.S. to stop the deployment of THAAD system.  So did President Putin bring up his concern about the deployment of THAAD system?  And also, what’s the expectation of President Trump on tomorrow’s meeting with President Xi Jinping, other than the DPRK issue?  Thank you.

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  The subject of THAAD did not come up in the meeting with President Putin.

In terms of the progress of North Korea and this last missile launch, again, those are some of the differences of views we have between ourselves in terms of tactics — how to deal with this.  President Putin, I think, has expressed a view not unlike that of China, that they would support a freeze for freeze.

If we study the history of the last 25 years of engagement with various regimes in North Korea, this has been done before.  And every time it was done, North Korea went ahead and proceeded with its program.

The problem with freezing now — if we freeze where they are today, we freeze their activities with a very high level of capability.  And we do not think it also sets the right tone for where these talks should begin.  And so we’re asking North Korea to be prepared to come to the table with an understanding that these talks are going to be about how do we help you chart a course to cease and roll back your nuclear program?  That’s what we want to talk about.  We’re not interested in talking about how do we have you stop where you are today.  Because stopping where they are today is not acceptable to us.

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  And the national security advisor’s office.

As to the nature of the 2 hours and 15 minutes, first let me characterize — the meeting was very constructive.  The two leaders, I would say, connected very quickly.  There was a very clear positive chemistry between the two.  I think, again — and I think the positive thing I observed — and I’ve had many, many meetings with President Putin before — is there was not a lot of re-litigating of the past.  I think both of the leaders feel like there’s a lot of things in the past that both of us are unhappy about.  We’re unhappy, they’re unhappy.

I think the perspective of both of them was, this is a really important relationship.  Two largest nuclear powers in the world.  It’s a really important relationship.  How do we start making this work?  How do we live with one another?  How do we work with one another?  We simply have to find a way to go forward.  And I think that was — that was expressed over and over, multiple times, I think by both Presidents, this strong desire.

It is a very complicated relationship today because there are so many issues on the table.  And one of the reasons it took a long time, I think, is because once they met and got acquainted with one another fairly quickly, there was so much to talk about — all these issues.  Just about everything got touched on to one degree or another.  And I think there was just such a level of engagement and exchange, and neither one of them wanted to stop.  Several times I had to remind the President, and people were sticking their heads in the door.  And I think they even — they sent in the First Lady at one point to see if she could get us out of there, and that didn’t work either.  (Laughter.)

But I think — what I’ve described to you, the 2 hours and 15 minutes, it was an extraordinarily important meeting.  I mean, there’s just — there’s so much for us to talk about.  And it was a good start.  Now, I will tell you we spent a very, very lengthy period on Syria, with a great amount of detailed exchange on the agreement we had concluded today — it was announced — but also where we go, and trying to get much greater clarity around how we see this playing out and how Russia sees it playing out, and where do we share a common view and where do we have a difference, and do we have the same objectives in mind.

And I would tell you that, by and large, our objectives are exactly the same.  How we get there, we each have a view.  But there’s a lot more commonality to that than there are differences.  So we want to build on the commonality, and we spent a lot of time talking about next steps.  And then where there’s differences, we have more work to get together and understand.  Maybe they’ve got the right approach and we’ve got the wrong approach. [a strong statement by US Secretary of State]

So there was a substantial amount of time spent on Syria, just because we’ve had so much activity going on with it.
 
Q    Thank you very much.  Mr. Secretary, can you say if the President was unequivocal in his view that Russia did interfere in the election?  Did he offer to produce any evidence or to convince Mr. Putin?

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  The Russians have asked for proof and evidence.  I’ll leave that to the intelligence community to address the answer to that question.  And again, I think the President, at this point, he pressed him and then felt like at this point let’s talk about how do we go forward.  And I think that was the right place to spend our time, rather than spending a lot of time having a disagreement that everybody knows we have a disagreement.

MR. SPICER:  Thank you, guys, very much.  Have a great evening.

END
7:41 P.M. CET

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