Trump on Borrowed Time and Potential Dangers

Trump on Borrowed Time and Potential Dangers

By Ali Abadi, Al-Ahed News

Why are we witnessing the intensification of normalization efforts between Arab regimes and the Zionist entity following the US presidential elections? What options does Donald Trump have during the remainder of his time in office?

Prior to the US elections, it was clear that the goal of the normalization agreements was to boost Trump’s reelection campaign. But the extension of the normalization current beyond the election that Trump lost has other potential objectives:

–    Attracting additional support for Trump in his battle to cling to power by sharpening the capabilities of the Zionist constituencies to support his electoral appeals that don’t have a great chance of success. But Trump has not given up yet in his efforts to reverse the results.

–    Sending important signals to those concerned at home and abroad that Trump still has vigor, as he plans to complete the goals he set and stay on the political scene. If he were to lose the presidency now, he may return in 2024, as those close to him have hinted. In the meantime, he seeks to gain support from the Jewish and Christian Zionist circles as a “man of word and action” in supporting “Israel” absolutely and without hesitation.

With Trump preoccupied with the battle to cling to power at home, his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is abroad – touring as “Israel’s” minister of foreign affairs accompanied by Arab ministers to sign more normalization agreements. He is legalizing “Israeli” settlements and the occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights and declaring a move to criminalize the campaign of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). 

It’s worth noting that months before the US elections, Pompeo reportedly had his sights set on the 2024 presidential race. As such, Pompeo, who identifies with Trump’s approach and acts as his obedient supporter, plans to be the natural heir to the Trumpian current in the event that its leader is absent due natural causes like death or unnatural causes such as imprisonment due to his legal issues. 

He is also preparing the groundwork for the birth of an “Israeli”-Arab alliance (Saudi, Bahraini, and Emirati) standing in the face of the Islamic Republic of Iran and adding further complications to any possible return of the Biden administration to the nuclear deal.

Saudi and “Israeli” officials are now speaking in one voice about a “no return” to the nuclear agreement, as they set the conditions and limits that they feel the next American administration should abide by. This is also a reflection of widespread concerns over the failure of Trump’s so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran. 

This was the background for news reports about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meeting “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saudi territory – a get-together arranged by Pompeo.

The choice for war is in the balance

All of the above are possibilities. But does that give way to expectations for a military adventure against Iran, for example, during the transitional period before Joe Biden takes office on January 20?

No sane person can absolutely deny such a possibility. In this context, news about the US strategic B-52 bomber’s flight to the region, the possibility of supplying US bombs that penetrate fortifications to the Zionist entity, the dismissal of US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and the withdrawal of US units from Iraq and Afghanistan trickled in. 

The last move may be aimed at withdrawing targets near Iran in the event Washington takes military action against Tehran. However, attacking Iran militarily is not an American desire as much as it is an “Israeli” and Saudi one. The Pentagon has previously opposed military action against Iran, at a time when the US military has not recovered from its wounds in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

This view does not appear to have changed, and US military commanders are unlikely to agree to put the military during the transition period on the course of a new war in the Middle East for personal or populist purposes. 

There are other considerations too. The costs of the war and its consequences are difficult to determine. Trump also knows that the mood of the American public can’t bear sacrifices abroad, financially or on a humanitarian level.

What about other possibilities?

Based on Trump’s behavior over the past four years, it appears the US president prefers to score goals and make quick deals. He is not inclined to get involved in prolonged duels. As such, it’s possible to predict that Trump will resort to localized strikes in Syria, Iraq, or Yemen (there is talk about the possibility of placing Ansarullah on the list of terrorist organizations) or cover a possible “Israeli” strike in Lebanon under one pretext or another. 

He could also resort to assassinating figures affiliated with the axis of resistance, and this possibility is more likely, especially in Iraq and Syria. Trump revealed in recent months that he thought about assassinating the Syrian president, and there are also American threats directed at leaders of the resistance factions in Iraq.

In conclusion, any aggressive military action against Iran appears to be a rooted “Israeli” option that Netanyahu tried to market to the Americans since the Obama era but failed. He is trying to strike Iran via the Americans, but Washington has other calculations and options. 

The Saudis have also urged successive US administrations to strike Iran, according to what appeared in WikiLeaks documents quoting the late King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. The window of opportunity for major military action before Trump’s departure appears narrow. He may consider the rapid operations approach followed by similar actions against Iran’s allies to deal a moral blow to Tehran, cut back its regional leadership role, and besiege its growing influence in the power equation with the Zionist entity that is challenging the US hegemony over the region.

However, we should add that the axis of resistance has its own plans for the confrontation. It withstood the maximum pressure and is able to turn any adventure into an opportunity, relying on its vigilance and accumulated capabilities.

Dr. Bashar Al-Jaafari’s Statement During the Security Council Session on the Political and Humanitarian Situation in Syria Bashar al-Jaafari at the Security Council 11/25/2020

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on 

Al-Jaafari: countries hostile to Syria, particularly the US and Turkey, support terrorist organizations and separatist militias

25 November، 2020
New York, SANA

Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari, said that countries hostile to Syria, on top of them the US and Turkey, continue their violations of the international law, UN conventions and Security council resolutions relevant to the crisis in Syria through supporting the terrorist organizations, separatist militias and perpetrating crimes against the Syrian people and looting their resources.

“The US occupation and its tools of separatist militias continue their practices aiming at looting the Syrian State resources, furthermore, the US occupation forces have lately excavated the antiquities in Hasaka and stolen large quantities of treasures and gold in the presence of French and Israeli experts at archaeological site in al-Malkiyah city and unearthed 12 historic tombs dating back to the Roman era,” al-Jaafari added in a statement to the UN Security council through video on the situation in Syria.

He added that the stolen priceless antiquities which date back to thousands of years are being smuggled through northern Iraq and Turkey in a preparation for transporting them to other destinations, stressing that these crimes are part of continued ones being perpetrated by the terrorist organization of Daesh with the aim of securing the financial resources for its terrorist acts.

Al-Jaafari reiterated that the political process, facilitated by the UN, is possessed and led by the Syrians and that making the work of the Committee for Discussing the Constitution a success entails respecting its principles being agreed upon, in addition to refusing any external interferences and any attempts by some states to impose timetables, adding that only the Syrian people have the right to determine their destiny.

He also renewed Syria’s condemnation, in the strongest terms, the visit of the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Syrian Golan and the West Bank on Nov 19th, referring that this visit emphasizes the absolute bias of the current US administration until the very end of its mandate to the Israeli occupation Entity.

Regarding the International Conference on the return of Syrian Refugees recently held in Damascus on 11th and 12th of November, al-Jaafari affirmed that it has constituted a significant step to the efforts of Syrian State and its allies to ensure the voluntary, safe and good return of the displaced to their areas and their original residences.

Baraa Ali/ Mazen Eyon

China Newsbrief and Sitrep

November 25, 2020

Source

China Newsbrief and Sitrep

By Godfree Roberts – selected from his extensive weekly newsletter : Here Comes China

This is why we study China.

There is no point in believing we can make sense of China by a skin-deep knowledge of present-day China. We will be little the wiser. Chinese civilization is over 4,000 years old: as a political entity it is over 2,000 years old, the longest continuously existing polity in the world. Chinese history and culture is fundamentally different from that of the West: it always has been and always will be. So best to dispense with our Western-tinted spectacles and open our minds to arguably the world’s most successful civilization. China has been the most advanced country not just once but at least four times; and we are on the verge of this becoming five. A country, a culture, and a people with the most extraordinary history that is fast becoming the magnet of the future.    (This was the keynote address to the Buzz Expo China Summit.)


A small diplomatic snub

Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State and fourth in line for the presidency, requested a meeting with his opposite number in China’s six-man cabinet but, China delivered a gentle snub by sending Yang Jiechi, a member of the 35-member State Council.


Debt Forgiveness

Of course the West would want China to forgive debts and thus enhance the value of Western revenue streams. This is another aspect of the war. Just as trillions of dollars of cash injected into the banking cartel at the start of the crisis constitute a prophylactic against the damage of this closure policy, it also defends the asset values from destruction while allowing Western banks to buy up assets from the failed business sector and freeze out China, from cash flows of any kind. The extension of the crisis to the West’s debt peons means that those who participate locally in the West’s protection racket can be asked to freeze China out on the international lending stage. The nature of the Western “loansharking” business remains obscured. China should wait until the West cancels all its fraudulent debt instruments before even discussing its own loan book.


Scholarship for Sale?

Five of Washington’s most prominent think tanks have been producing policy papers urging closer U.S. ties with Taiwan — a territory locked in an uncertain legal status that threatens to be a flashpoint between Beijing and Washington. These seemingly impartial research institutions are pushing for expanded arms sales and trade agreements with Taiwan without widely disclosing their high-level funding from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), Taiwan’s equivalent to an embassy. The five think tanks — the Brookings Institution, the Center for American Progress*, the Center for a New American Security, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Hudson Institute — all disclose their funding from TECRO but bury it deep on their websites or annual reports. [I am shocked, shocked! to find partisan scholarship traded on the open market]

None of their researchers disclose the potential conflict of interest between Taiwanese funding and advocating for more security guarantees for and trade with Taiwan. “Taiwan is an interesting case because we know Taiwan gives a good amount of money to think tanks, and we know they have a good amount of influence around town,” said Ben Freeman, director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy. “For most people in this town, Taiwan doesn’t have the scarlet letter that funding from Saudi Arabia or China would, but it begs the question, why not just disclose at the front of a report, ‘We get funding from this government,’” said Freeman, who authored “Foreign Funding of Think Tanks in America,” a recent report. “I don’t see the reasons you’d just keep this under wraps.” And yet, while urging greater U.S. economic and security commitments to Taipei, Washington’s most influential think tanks do just that.

What Taiwan’s money buys: When Ryan Hass of the Brookings Institution wrote for the Taipei Times in December about the importance of bipartisan support in both Taiwan and the U.S., it appeared to be an impartial op-ed. Nowhere in the article was the Taiwan government’s funding for Brookings and its scholars disclosed. One would have to go to Brookings’s 2019 annual report to see that TECRO provides between $250,000 and $499,999 to the think tank. In February, Hass, again writing for the Taipei Times, urged policymakers in Washington and Taipei to counter potential economic risks to Taiwan in a U.S.-China technology competition by “pursu[ing] a U.S.-Taiwan trade agreement that includes chapters covering trade in goods and services, as well as e-commerce, investment rules, and possibly other areas.”  The Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank with close ties to the Clinton and Obama administrations, collected between $50,000 and $99,999 from TECRO in 2019. That information was only disclosed in an “annual honor roll recognizing supporters who make gifts of $5,000 or more.”It was not disclosed when CAP senior fellow Trevor Sutton published a March column in Washington Monthly, in which he posited that strengthening U.S.-Taiwan relations would assist in “defeating” the “narrative” by “illiberal movements” to portray “democratic governance” as “messy, corrupt, and ineffective.” Nor was TECRO’s funding disclosed when CAP senior fellow Michael H. Fuchs published a September 2019 report on “How to Support Democracy and Human Rights in Asia,” and offered direct recommendations about what U.S. policymakers should do to “robustly support Taiwan.” [MORE]

Footnote: Taiwan is a breakaway Chinese province, one of hundreds led astray by warlords over the centuries. Like most US protectorates, it is a stagnant, corrupt backwater whose educated elite are leaving in droves for careers in China proper.


Those Chinese Scientists Arrested by the US?

Michael Lauer, deputy director of the NIH, confessed that 93% of the 189 researchers surveyed by the NIH had undisclosed scientific research funding from China, but only 4% of them have intellectual property issues, and another 9% had hidden the establishment of companies abroad. Under the pressure of the investigation, 54 scholars were expelled or offered to resign because they did not fully disclose their cooperation with China. The vast majority of them were ethnically Chinese scholars. Some scholars have also been prosecuted and sentenced. There were no cases of theft of significant intellectual property.

This means that the researchers under investigation did not, as previously claimed by the FBI, systematically transfer intellectual property rights to China or other countries. Rao Yi, a professor at Peking University, pointed out that even among the 4% of the respondents involved with IP rights issues, it could be their personal issues, and it does not mean that China’s initial establishment of the talent plans was for stealing US intellectual property rights. Rao Yi’s letter to NIH head Francis Collins August 2018:  “Your August 20th statement is shocking because it is the first time when any government official has issued a statement restricting scientific collaborations in peacetime. If there are competitions, the Olympic Games have shown us how to compete.”  [MORE]


Who Knew?

Trump’s Chip Ban Gives Huawei and South Korea an Enormous Incentive to Strike a Grand Bargain “Chip fabricators will remove American equipment from production lines in order to maintain market share in China.”  A US ban on foreign companies’ sales of chips to Huawei Technologies if American equipment or software is involved will undermine America’s already-weakened position in the global semiconductor equipment market, industry sources say. Chip fabricators will remove American equipment from production lines in order to maintain market share in China, the world’s largest purchaser of semiconductors.  [MORE]

Huawei surpassed Samsung to become the world’s largest smartphone maker in April, a feat that was considered impossible with America’s ban in effect. Huawei now holds a 19% market share ahead of Samsung’s 17%.

Huawei’s new 54,000 sq.ft flagship store in Shanghai has more than 200 customer care consultants that can provide support in 10 languages. At the same time, it also has 19 reception counters and 12 after-sales service area.

Shanghai Micro Electronics Equipment announced that the first China-made 28nm immersion type lithography machine will be delivered in 2021-2022. Although it still has a big gap with the Dutch 7nm chip preparation process, it also marks a leap forward in China-made lithography, which is gradually reducing the gap with ASML. The Chinese market accounts for one-third of global semiconductor sales, and there is an urgent need for semiconductor import substitution.[MORE]

Yangtze Memory Technologies has unveiled its latest 3D NAND memory chip with cutting-edge 128-layer technology. The Wuhan-based company, whose work was not interrupted by the Covid-19 outbreak, said its new chip, the X2-6070, has passed sample verification with several partners, and could start mass production by end of this year or in the first half of 2021. The rollout makes it China’s first NAND chip using 128-layer technology, where the number of layers determines the density of data storage. The new chips will come in two specifications, one featuring 1.33 terabytes of storage and the other 512 gigabytes, according to a company announcement dated on Sunday. Yangtze Memory hopes the 1.33 TB product will initially be used in high-capacity USB drives, flash memory cards and solid-state hard drives, and eventually be expanded into enterprise-level servers and data centers


The Ruling in the Meng Case

On 28 January 2019, formal charges were laid by the U.S. Department of Justice, accusing Meng’s employer, Huawei, of misrepresentations about its corporate organization which had enabled it to circumvent laws that imposed economic sanctions on Iran. Huawei was also charged with stealing technology and trade secrets from T-Mobile USA. Meng, the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei, was charged with fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. Huawei pled not guilty to the charges of violating the Iran sanction provisions in a New York court and not guilty to the stealing charges in a Seattle court. After a number of preliminary legal skirmishes, the extradition hearings against Meng began in 2020. Associate Justice Holmes issued her ruling on 27 May, 2020. Law takes its time.

Meng had told HSBC officials who met with her in the back of a Hong Kong restaurant in 2013 that, despite the allegations in a newspaper article, Huawei had not made improper use of a closely associated firm, named Skycom Tech, to supply U.S. materiel to Iran. The reason she had made this statement to HSBC, it was alleged, was that Huawei used HSBC as a banker when transacting business. If Huawei, as alleged, was implicated in violations of the Iran sanction laws, HSBC might well be held to be complicit in such crimes. The U.S. alleged that Meng’s representations to HSBC constituted fraud under its law.

Meng Wanzhou argued that, for a case of fraud to be made out, in both the U.S. and Canada, it was necessary for the prosecution to prove that the fraud materially contributed to a tangible loss. This could not be made out here. For Meng’s deception of HSBC to cause it a tangible loss in the U.S., it was necessary for U.S. prosecutors to invoke the impact of another law, the Iranian sanction law. Without it there would not be any harm and, therefore, no fraud in the U.S. As Canada did not have any such sanction provisions in place, Meng’s deception would not have led to any tangible loss in Canada and there would have been no fraud committed in Canada. This argument that the basic requirement for extradition–mirroring laws–had not been met, was rejected by Associate Chief Justice Holmes.

She deployed standard legal reasoning that is, she looked for previous holdings and used the imprecisions she found in them and in the wording of the legislation she was interpreting. Holmes found that previous decisions had held that, in order to determine whether the conduct in the applicant jurisdiction created an offence, it was necessary to assess the essential nature of that conduct. That meant evaluating the foreign conduct in its context, in its legal environment. Meng argued that looking at the legal environment required taking a foreign law, one distinct from the laws being compared, into account, something which should not be done under the Extradition Law.

The presiding judge responded that only some aspects of the legal environment, constituted by that other law, had to be taken into account, not all of it. It was her job to say which aspects could be so used. Holmes admitted that she was going out on a limb because the distinction between looking at some aspects of a foreign law and taking the actual law into consideration is fraught, both as a matter of logic and of established law. She wrote that “the issue is at what level of abstraction… the essence … of the conduct is to be described… there is little authority or precisely what may be included in ‘imported legal environment’.”

Undeterred by the lack of any known criteria (remember the Rule of Law!), she used what she likely calls her common sense and what Meng’s supporters probably think was her unconscious bias. Associate Justice Holmes decided that, in this case, it was appropriate, when looking for the essential nature of the foreign conduct, to look at the effects of that U.S. law, the Iran sanction law. As its effects made Meng’s deceiving conduct fraudulent in the U.S., and as deception is the core of fraud in Canada, the essential/contextualized nature of Meng’s conduct satisfied the essence of fraud as defined under Canada’s Criminal Code. Lawyers call this sort of finessing good lawyering; in the wider community it is seen as legal chicanery. Holmes ruled that Canada was free to extradite Meng. [MORE]

Canada’s government has the authority to halt the extradition of a Huawei executive and should do so as part of efforts to secure the release of two Canadian citizens detained in China, a former Supreme Court Justice has said. Former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour told Radio Canada on Tuesday that it was “high time for the [justice] minister to exercise his authority, his responsibility under the law and put an end to this process. From the beginning it was not in Canada’s interest to go ahead with this extradition request from the United States,” added Arbour, also a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. She added Meng is accused by Washington of violating “unilateral American sanctions against Iran” that Ottawa has never applied. [MORE]

Harry Glasbeek comments: Everyone on earth knew why US charged Huawei and its CFO: to obtain bargaining chips in its fight with China: to persuade Americans that the government was right to deny them access to cheaper goods and a better 5G system and to make China more pliable when the US demanded better trade terms and more protection for its intellectual property. There was no attempt to hide any of this. Did the Canadian government understand this? Of course. Did it feel it had to allow the U.S. to use Canada’s supposedly neutral legal machinery to further its political project? Of course. Could the Canadian government have said “no” and simply turned a blind eye when Wanzhou Meng landed in Vancouver? Of course. Was Associate Justice Holmes, at the very least, in a position to guess all of this? Of course.

More on the Meng Case – Jeff J Brown did a fascinating expose which he recently published at Covert Action Magazine and gave us permission to post here.

Exclusive: Huawei Sting Operation Exposed

What makes Meng’s story so volatile, is that, due to her being arrested/kidnapped in Canada, her case is now a ménage-à-trois, with Ottawa being the submissive, as it has been caught in the middle. While claiming that they are only “respecting its extradition treaties,” Canada and the U.S. indicate they must defer to their “independent judiciaries” and honor the “rule of law.” Upon close examination, however, this case demonstrates gross hypocrisy, if not many inconsistencies and fault lines. At least U.S. President Trump admitted publicly what routinely goes on behind closed doors. On December 11, 2018, just days after Meng’s apprehension, Trump said he would be happy to use her as a bargaining chip to win a better trade deal with China.


Finally, a Note to China from Michael Hudson

This is from January 2020 and I’m sure it was presented to Mr.Hudson’s students.  De-dollarization is the alternative to privatization and financialization.

“The United States is not telling China or Russia or third world countries or Europe how to get rich in the way that it did, by protective tariffs, by creating its own money and by making other countries dependent on it. The United States does not want you to be independent and self-reliant. The United States wants China to let itself become dependent on U.S. finance in order to invest in its own industry. It wants Chinese corporations to borrow from the United States, and to sell its stocks to US investors just like Khodorkovsky in Russia was trying to sell Yukos oil to Standard Oil, and essentially turn Russia’s oil reserves to U.S. investors.”


This represents but a fraction of what is included in the Here Comes China newsletter.  If you want to learn about the Chinese world, get Godfree’s newsletter here

Flying Dragon, Crashing Eagle

Flying Dragon, Crashing Eagle

November 23, 2020

by Pepe Escobar and first posted at Asia Times

Four geoeconomic summits compressed in one week tell the story of where we stand in these supremely dystopian times.

The (virtual) signing of RCEP in Vietnam was followed by the equally virtual BRICS meeting hosted by Moscow, the APEC meeting hosted by Malaysia, and the G20 this past weekend hosted by Saudi Arabia.

Cynics have not failed to note the spectacular theater of the absurd of having the Top 20 – at least in theory – economies discussing what is arguably the turning point in the world-system linked to a beheading-friendly desert oil hacienda with a 7th century mentality.

The Riyadh declaration did its best to lift the somber planetary mood, vowing to deploy “all available policy tools” (no precise details) to contain Covid-19 and heroically “save” the global economy by “advancing” global pandemic preparedness, vaccine development and distribution – in tandem with debt relief – for the Global South.

Not a peep about The Great Reset – the Brave New World scheme concocted by Herr Schwab of Davos and fully supported by the IMF, Big Tech, transnational Big Capital interests and the oh so benign Prince Charles. Meanwhile, off the record, G20 sherpas moaned about the lack of real global governance and multiple attacks on multilateralism.

And not a peep as well about the real life vaccine war between the expensive Western candidates – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca – and the much cheaper Russia-China versions – Sputnik V and Sinovac.

What seems to be the case is that any agenda – sinister or otherwise – fits the one-size-fits-all vow by the G20 to provide “opportunities of the 21st century for all by empowering people, safeguarding the planet, and shaping new frontiers.”

The House of Xi

At the G20, President Xi Jinping did not waste the chance – after RCEP, BRICS and APEC – to once again emphasize China’s priorities: multilateralism, support for WTO reform, ample international cooperation on vaccine research and production.

But then, in tandem with reducing tariffs and facilitating the trade of crucial medical supplies, Xi proposed a global health QR code – a sound way to restore global travel and trade: “While containing the virus, we need to restore the secure and smooth operation of global industrial and supply chains.”

Predictably, there were howls about neo-Orwellian intrusion, comparing the QR code with the exceptionally misunderstood Chinese credit system. Herr Schwab’s Great Reset in fact proposes something similar, with even more neo-Orwellian overtones, disguised under an innocent “Covid Pass” app, or highly secure “health passport”.

What Xi has proposed amounts to just a mutual recognition of health certificates, issued by different nations, based on nucleic acid tests. No gene altering vaccines coupled with nanochips. These QR codes, incorporated to health apps, are already used for domestic travel in China.

Chinese officials have made it very clear that Beijing has been working as the representative of the Global South inside the G20. That’s multilateralism in action. And the multilateralist drive extends from RCEP – signed between 15 nations – to the brilliant Sun Tzu maneuver of China now accepting even the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the successor of the Obama-promoted and Trump-detonated TPP.

This revival – a case of Make TPP Chinese Again – can be envisaged because Beijing not only has mastered how to contain Covid-19 but is also recovering in lightning speed. China will be the only major economy growing in 2020 – de facto leading the world to a tentative post-Covid paradigm.

What the APEC meeting made crystal clear is that with East Asia graphically hitting the economic limelight, as seen with RCEP, much vaunted US “leadership” inevitably diminishes.

APEC promoted a so-called Putrajaya Vision 2040, condensing an “open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful” Asia-Pacific all the way to 2040. That neatly ties in with the three accumulated five-year Chinese plans all the way to 2035, approved last month at the CCP plenum in Beijing.

The emphasis, once again, is on multilateralism and an open global economy.

Few are more capable to capture the moment than Professor Wang Yiwei at the Institute of International Affairs at Renmin University, who wrote the best Chinese book on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Wang stresses how China is in a period of “strategic opportunity” and is now “the most powerful leader of globalization”. China’s emphasis on multilateralism will “activate the connectivity and vitality of a trade platform like RCEP”.

Stranger than fiction

Now compare all of the above with Trump at the G20 tweeting about the election dystopia and privileging golfing instead of discussing Covid-19 containment.

And then there’s

The Elements of the China Challenge, the new 74-page delusional epic concocted by the office of secretary Mike “We Lie, We Cheat, We Steal” Pompeo.

Diplomatic howls comparing it with the notorious George Kennan “long telegram” that codified the containment of the USSR in the Cold War are nonsense. Chinese Foreign Ministry reaction was more to the point: this was concocted by some “living fossils of the Cold War” and is doomed to end up “being consigned to the dustbin of history”.

President Xi Jinping, at RCEP, BRICS, APEC and the G20, concisely laid out the Chinese case: multilateralism, international cooperation on multiple fields, an open global economy, due representation of Global South’s interests.

As we wait for a set of imponderables all the way to January 20, 2021, perhaps an angular approach to what may lie ahead for the world economy is best offered by fiction.

Enter Billions, season 5, episode 2, dialogue written by Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Axe: “You know they call us traders ‘gamblers’. The world’s economy is one big casino, fueled by a giant debt bubble and computer driven derivatives. And there’s only one thing better than being a gambler at a casino.”

Wags: “That’s being the house.”

Axe: “That’s right. There’s a systemized machine out there, sucking capital from localities and injecting it into the global markets, where it can be used to speculate and manipulate. And if something goes wrong there are bailouts and bail-ins, federal aid and easing. Where the government doesn’t hunt you down, but instead gives you a nice soft net to land in.”

Wags: “That’s your answer to the fireside chat: You want to become a bank.”

Axe: “I want to become a bank.”

Wags: “In order to rob it?”

Axe: “In order that I don’t have to.”

Bibi & Mossad Chief Fly to Saudi Arabia, Meet with MBS & Pompeo

Bibi & Mossad Chief Fly to Saudi Arabia, Meet with MBS & Pompeo

By Staff, “Israeli” Media

The “Israeli” entity’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mossad Cheif Yossi Cohen reportedly took a private flight Sunday to Saudi Arabia, where they met with Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman [MBS], according to “Israeli” sources.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also reportedly attended the meeting.

Netanyahu’s office had no immediate comment on the report.

According to the a flight tracker website, a Gulfstream IV jet, which Netanyahu used several times on flights to Moscow, took off from the entity’s Ben Gurion Airport yesterday [Sunday] and landed in NEOM megacity in the Tabuk Province of northwestern Saudi Arabia.

The flight tracking data indicated that the plane took off from Tel Aviv at 5 p.m. local time on Sunday and took off back to the “Israeli” entity in roughly five hours.

At a press conference at the White House last August, US President Donald Trump said that he expects Saudi Arabia to join other Gulf states like the United Arab Emirates [UAE] in normalizing relations with the “Israeli” entity.

بين استقبال السعودية لنتنياهو وتلقيها صاروخ “قدس 2”.. كيف ردّت قيادات فلسطينية ويمنية؟

الميادين نت المصدر: الميادين

اليوم 23 نوفمبر2020

لجان المقاومة الفلسطينية تقول إنه “بزيارة الارهابي نتنياهو للسعودية تكتمل أركان جريمة التطبيع”. والقيادي في الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين ماهر مزهر يؤكد أن “الأنظمة الفاسدة لن يحميها التحالف مع هذا العدو المجرم”.

بعد زيارة نتنياهو للسعودية... حركات وفصائل المقاومة ترد

قالت صحيفة  “واشنطن بوست” الأميركية إن استراتيجية ترامب الشاملة في الشرق الأوسط وصلت إلى طريق كارثي ومسدود من سوريا إلى العراق واليمن وبما هو أشمل، فإيران هي الهدف الأساسي من كل هذه الاستراتيجية.

وفي ظل هذا الواقع، يسرع وزير الخارجية الأميركي مايك بومبيو الخطى لفتح كوة في هذا الجدار المسدود، وتحقيق “إنجاز” يريد ترامب من خلاله أن “يتوّج” به ولايته. فهل يغيّر أي اتفاق تطبيع  مرجّح مع السعودية من حقيقة فشل الإدارة الأميركية؟ أم إن نتائجه ستنقلب على ترامب وحلفائه؟

الصحيفة ترى أنّ رعاية ترامب لاتفاقات سلام في الشرق الأوسط بين دول عربية و”إسرائيل” ستكون الجانب “الأكثر إيجابية” في إرثه من السياسة الخارجية.

الزهار للميادين: الشارع العربي يرفض التطبيع 

وتعليقاً على زيارة رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي بنيامين نتنياهو إلى السعودية، قال القيادي في حركة حماس محمود الزهار للميادين، إن “زيارة رئيس وزراء الاحتلال الاسرائيلي هي علامة فارقة في تاريخ العرب والمسلمين”.

وأشار إلى أن نتنياهو لن يكون سعيداَ بتزامن زيارته للسعودية مع استهداف جدة بصاروخ، موضحاً أن “الحدث في ذاته بغاية الأهمية وهي أن المقاومة قادرة على أن تطال المحتل أينما كان”.
 
إلى ذلك، رأى الزهار أن “زيارة نتنياهو هي محاولة لاستغلال الظرف بين رحيل ترامب وتولي بايدن الرئاسة”، مؤكداً أن الشارع العربي يرفض زيارة نتنياهو.

من جهته، قال عضو المكتب السياسي لحركة أنصار الله عبد الوهاب المحبشي، إن تطبيع السعودية مع “إسرائيل” قديم وكان في الخفاء وخرج الآن للعلن.

وخلال حديثه مع الميادين، أشار المحبشي إلى أنه “بعد التحالف في العدوان على اليمن خرجت التحالفات إلى العلن”، لافتاً إلى أن “إسرائيل” مشاركة في العدوان.

وأضاف، “نحن مع فلسطين وشعبها في الخندق نفسه والعدوان على اليمن وفلسطين مصدره واحد”، مشدداً على أنه “يجب على كل شعوب المنطقة الوقوف إلى جانب الشعبين اليمني والفلسطيني ضد العدوان”.

الجدير بالذكر أنه خلال 48 ساعة حققت القوات المسلحة اليمنية إنجازان، الأول مكشوف ولكن لم يعلن عنه رسمياً، يتمثل بالسيطرة على معسكر ماس الاستراتيجي، والثاني غير مكشوف تسارع القوات المسلحة للإعلان عنه وتبنيه، هو قصف منشأة تابعة لأرامكو في جدة والتي تستهدف للمرة الأولى وبصاروخ مجنح جديد اسمه “قدس 2”. بالتزامن مع زيارة رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي بنيامين نتنياهو للسعودية.

من جهته، أكد عضو المجلس السياسي في أنصار الله محمد البخيتي أن اليمن تطور قدراتها الصاروخية والدفاعية بشكل مستمر”، مشيراً إلى أن ذلك ينعكس على الواقع الميداني، “فموازين القوى بدت بشكلٍ واضح لصالح اليمن على حساب العدوان”، على حد تعبيره.

وعن زيارة نتنياهو للسعودية، أعربت لجان المقاومة في فلسطين عن رفضها للزيارة، قائلةً “بزيارة الإرهابي نتنياهو للسعودية تكتمل أركان جريمة التطبيع مع كيان العدو الصهيوني”.

كما اعتبرت أن “الأنظمة الفاسدة لن يحميها التحالف مع هذا العدو المجرم، وسيبقى صراعنا مع العدو الصهيوني صراع وجودي وعقائدي لن يغيره هرولة المنجرفون نحو العدو الصهيوني”.

بالتزامن، صرح ماهر مزهر، القيادي في الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين حول لقاء نتنياهو مع ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان، مشيراً إلى أن “النظام الرجعي العربي ما زال يقدم الهدايا المجانية لقاتل الأطفال من أجل أن يستمر في عدوانه ضد شعبنا”.

واعتبر مزهر أن هذا اللقاء “يعبر عن الوجه والدور الحقيقي القذر الذي تلعبه عائلة بن سلمان في تطويع بعض الدول المارقة من أجل فتح علاقات مع هذا الكيان الغاصب”. 

كذلك، رأى مزهر أن “أوسلوا السوداء وما جلبته لشعبنا من كوارث هي من شجعت وقدمت غطاءً لهؤلاء الخونة من أجل الاستمرار في مسلسل البيع والتفريط”، مضيفاً “الأجدر على القيادة الفلسطينية أن تعلن عن موت ودفن أوسلو حتى تقطع الطريق على هؤلاء المرتزقة”.

وتابع “ما زلنا نراهن على الشعب السعودي الشقيق وكل أحرار الأمة من المحيط إلى الخليج للتحرك من أجل إسقاط كل من خان وباع تضحيات أمتنا من الشهداء والجرحى والأسرى”.

الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين اعتبرت بدورها أنّ هذا اللقاء، “يأتي في إطار استمرار السعي الأميركي الصهيوني لتوسيع دائرة التطبيع بين بعض الدول العربيّة الرجعيّة مع العدو الإسرائيلي، والذي كنا نتوقعه، ونعتقد أنّه سيكون فاتحة لتطبيع وخيانة دول عربيّة وإسلاميّة أخرى”.

وقالت “الجبهة الشعبية” أنّ “هذا اللقاء يؤكّد على الدور الخياني الذي تلعبه عائلة آل سعود الحاكمة، منذ إنشائها ودعمها من قبل الدول الاستعماريّة الغربيّة”، داعيةً إلى إقامة أوسع اصطفاف عربي وفلسطيني لمّجابهة ومقاومة هذه “الخيانة العلنيّة” التي تقوم بها هذه الأنظمة العربيّة.

وأكدت أنّ “الوحدة الوطنية المنشودة، هي الوحدة التي تقوم على أساس استراتيجيّة وطنيّة شاملة، وبرنامج سياسي مقاوم، يقف على أرضية مشروعه الأساسي، أي التحرير، وعودة شعبنا إلى قراه ومدنه التي هُجر منها”.

شهاب للميادين: زيارة نتنياهو الى السعودية هي مقدمة لشن عدوان على الفلسطينيين

بالتزامن، أشار مسؤول المكتب الاعلامي في حركة الجهاد الإسلامي داوود شهاب، إلى أن “واشنطن ترتب الملفات في المنطقة لصالح إسرائيل”، مضيفاً “تل أبيب تسعى للبقاء مهيمنة ومسيطرة في المنطقة من خلال المشروع التطبيعي”.

وخلال حديثه مع الميادين، حذر شهاب من تداعيات زيارة نتنياهو إلى السعودية لجهة تشكيل تحالفات ضد استقرار المنطقة وأمنها، مؤكداً أن “إدارة ترامب وتل أبيب حريصتان على إنهاء الملفات في المنطقة لصالح المشروع الاسرائيلي”. ولفت إلى أن “زيارة نتنياهو المشؤومة الى السعودية هي مقدمة لشن عدوان على الشعب الفلسطيني وقضيته”.
 
وبحسب شهاب، فإن “تل أبيب تسعى للبقاء مهيمنة ومسيطرة في المنطقة من خلال المشروع التطبيعي، لافتاً إلى أن “أنظمة خليجية تلهث وراء “إسرائيل” للحفاظ على عروشها وزيارة نتنياهو خيانة للقدس والمقدسات”.

وفي وقت سابق، أعلن المتحدث باسم أنصار الله، محمد عبد السلام، أن رئيس وزراء الاحتلال، بنيامين نتنياهو “يزور مملكة آل سعود تمهيداً للتطبيع الكامل بعد تصريحات مسؤلين سعوديين أنهم يرحبون بخطوات التطبيع”.

عبد السلام، قال إن “الدول المعتدية على اليمن والمحاصرة لشعبه تتجه لتصبح منخرطة كلياً وبشكلٍ رسمي ومعلن في المشروع الصهيوني”، مشيراً إلى أن “السعودية والإمارات والبحرين والسودان هي ذاتها الدول التي تضع من إمكاناتها العسكرية والمادية حرباً مفتوحة على الشعب اليمني”.

القيادي في حركة حماس سامي أبو زهري أكد أن “المعلومات عن زيارة نتنياهو للسعودية خطيرة إن صحّت”، داعياً  “السعودية لتوضيح ما حصل، لما يمثّل ذلك من إهانة للأمة، وإهداراً للحقوق الفلسطينية”.

وكشفت وسائل إعلام إسرائيلية في وقت سابق اليوم، عن رحلة سرية إلى السعودية أقلعت أمس الأحد من مطار بن غوريون، وقالت إن نتنياهو وبرفقته رئيس الموساد التقيا ولي العهد السعودي في مدينة نيوم السعودية بحضور وزير الخارجية الأميركي مايك بومبيو.

يشار إلى أن تصريح وزير الخارجية السعودي فيصل بن فرحان على هامش “قمة العشرين” السبت، كان “لافتاً جداً” إذ أكّد أنّ بلاده “كانت دائماً داعمة للتطبيع الكامل مع إسرائيل”، مشيراً كذلك إلى أن السعودية “مع صفقة السلام الدائم والشامل التي تفضي إلى دولة فلسطينيّة تأتي قبل التطبيع”. 

الجدير بالذكر أنه بعد التطبيع الإماراتي الذي تلاه تطبيع بحريني للعلاقات مع “إسرائيل”، كانت الأنظار متجهة نحو السعودية وعمّا إذا كانت ستعلن تطبيع العلاقات هي الأخرى.

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Pompeo to Meet Taliban Negotiators in Qatar

Pompeo to Meet Taliban Negotiators in Qatar

By Staff, Agencies

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will Saturday meet negotiators from the Taliban and Afghan government amid signs of progress in their talks as the United States speeds up its withdrawal.

The State Department said late Friday that Pompeo will meet separately with the Afghan government and Taliban negotiation teams in the Gulf state of Qatar.

Pompeo will also see Qatar’s ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and the foreign minister on his stop in the capital Doha, the Taliban’s base for diplomacy, the State Department said on its public schedule.

The outgoing top US diplomat is on a seven-nation tour of Europe and the Middle East as President Donald Trump shores up late-term priorities.

Earlier this week, the Pentagon said it would soon pull some 2,000 troops out of Afghanistan, speeding up the timeline established in a February agreement between Washington and the Taliban that envisions a full US withdrawal in mid-2021.

Trump has repeatedly vowed to end “forever wars,” including in Afghanistan, America’s longest-ever conflict that began with an invasion to dislodge the Taliban following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

US President-elect Joe Biden, in a rare point of agreement, also advocates winding down the Afghanistan war although analysts believe he will not be as wedded to a quick timetable.

The Taliban for the first time are speaking to Afghanistan’s government.

The talks started September 12 in Doha but almost immediately faltered over disagreements about the agenda, the basic framework of discussions and religious interpretations.

Several sources told AFP on Friday that the two sides appear to have resolved some of the issues, however.

Among the sticking points so far, the Taliban and the Afghan government have struggled to agree on common language on two main issues.

The Taliban are insisting on adherence to the Hanafi school of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, but government negotiators say this could be used to discriminate against Hazaras, who are predominantly Shiite, and other minorities.

Another contentious topic is how the US-Taliban deal will shape a future Afghan peace deal and how it will be referred to.

The Doha peace talks opened after the Taliban and Washington signed a deal in February, with the US agreeing to withdraw all foreign forces in exchange for security guarantees and a Taliban promise to start talks.

Despite the talks, violence has surged across Afghanistan, with the Taliban stepping up daily attacks against Afghan security forces.

Trump’s plan to slash troops by January 15 – less than a week before his successor Joe Biden is to be sworn in to office – has been criticized by Kabul residents who fear it will embolden the Taliban to unleash a new wave of fighting.

Afghan civilians have long borne the brunt of the bloodshed.

Officials in Kabul also worry it will harden the Taliban position at the negotiating table, where the future of hard-won gains including women’s rights are on the line.

Ramzy Baroud on Pompeo’s Designation of BDS as ‘Antisemitic’

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November 20, 2020

Ramzy Baroud speaks about Pompeo’s visit to illegal Jewish settlements. (Photo: Video Grab)

The United States Secretary of State has made an unprecedented visit to an Israeli settlement in the illegally occupied West Bank and the disputed Golan Heights – the first chief diplomat from the U.S to do so.

Mike Pompeo visited The Psagot Winery – part of a network of settlements in the West Bank – which are considered illegal under international law.

Well, how significant is this trip? More so, that it comes hot on the heels of the projected victory of President-Elect Joe Biden, a past critic of illegal settlements.

To look into this, we spoke to Skype Dr. Ramzy Baroud, a US-Palestinian journalist, and Editor of the Palestine Chronicle.

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Is Trump’s Afghan Drawdown Driven By Principles Or Machiavellian Motives?

By Andrew Korybko

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Trump’s decision to cut the number of US troops in Afghanistan from 4500 to 2500 raised questions about whether he’s simply fulfilling a campaign promise out of principle or whether he’s hedging his bets in a Machiavellian way by preemptively attempting to obstruct Biden’s possible foreign policy in the event that his opponent successfully seizes power after the disputed presidential election.

Americans are divided along partisan lines over whether Trump is a man of his word or just a sore loser after he decided to cut the number of US troops in Afghanistan from 4500 to 2500. His supporters recall how he previously campaigned on doing just that with the ultimate goal of completely withdrawing the American military presence from Afghanistan while his opponents believe that he’s preemptively attempting to obstruct Biden’s possible foreign policy in the event that the Democrat candidate successfully seizes power after the disputed presidential election. The reality is probably somewhere in between. The President is moving forward with his original plans out of confidence that he’ll be certified the winner but also understands very well that this move would make Biden’s plans much more difficult to implement in that region in the worst-case scenario that he replaces him.

Although Trump is criticized even among some of his supporters for controversially bombing Syria in 2017 and assassinating Major General Soleimani at the start of this year, he nevertheless holds the distinction of being the first president in nearly four decades not to embroil America in a new war. To the contrary, despite his heavy-handed “America First” policy of so-called “surgical strikes”, “maximum pressure”, and other coercive measures against his country’s adversaries, Trump has remained committed to ending the US’ “endless wars” across the world. Nowhere is this more evident than in Afghanistan, which is the longest war in American history. So serious is Trump about executing on this ambitious vision that he even approved talks between his administration and the Taliban, the latter of which is still officially designated as a terrorist group and thus contradicts his 2016 campaign pledge to show zero tolerance towards what he calls “radical Islamic terrorists”.

For Trump, pragmatism is more important than politics, which is something that his base in general sincerely appreciates about him in contrast to his predecessors. Unlike what his opponents claim, however, he’s not just recklessly withdrawing from a war-torn region without any backup plan in mind, but actually envisions American engagement with that landlocked country and the Central Asian region beyond to be more economically driven in the future as elaborated upon by Pompeo in February. The author analyzed this new vision at the time in a piece about how “The US’ Central Asian Strategy Isn’t Sinister, But That Doesn’t Mean It’ll Succeed”. The gist is that the US might expand upon Pakistan’s recent infrastructural gains under CPEC to use the “global pivot state” as a platform for pioneering a trans-Afghan trade corridor to Central Asia. This would be a more peaceful way for the US to compete with Russia, China, and Turkey in that strategic region.

Biden, however, has signaled that he might appoint neoliberal war hawk Michele Flournoy as his Secretary of Defense if he “wins” the election. She’s been previously criticized by many as a warmonger who risks returning the US back to its destabilizing strategy of “endless wars” and “humanitarian interventions”, which would be the exact opposite of how it’s conducted its foreign policy over the past four years under Trump. Democrats are already decrying his Afghan drawdown as dangerous so it’s likely that they intended to at the very least retain the previous troop numbers there for a bit longer than he did, or possibly even expand them under a milder variation of the Obama-era “surge”. It doesn’t seem like there’s much appetite even among those ideologues for doubling down on the war in any traditional sense, especially since the geostrategic situation there has tremendously changed since the Obama era, but their plans would still be less peaceful than Trump’s.

Since it’s still uncertain whether or not the incumbent will remain in office next year, it makes sense that he’d also try to obstruct his potential successor’s policies, not just out of petty spite, but also in order to ensure his own legacy. By reducing the US military presence in Afghanistan by almost half of its current number (which is already much less than what he inherited), Trump would make it more difficult for Biden’s team to sabotage the sensitive peace process that he oversaw across the past four years. That doesn’t mean that they couldn’t still ruin everything in the event that they seize power, but just that they’d have to try harder and their subversive efforts would be much more noticeable. It’s therefore with these points in mind that the author concludes that Trump made his Afghan drawdown decision for both principled and Machiavellian reasons.

Israel’s Power Is Unlimited

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PHILIP GIRALDI • NOVEMBER 17, 2020 

Philip Giraldi - Wikipedia
Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director
of the Council for the National Interest,
a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation
(Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks
a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy
in the Middle East. Website i
https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, 
address is P.O. Box 2157,
Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is 
inform@cnionline.org.
← Neocons Poised to Join Ne

Democrats and Republicans bow to force majeure

Even though there was virtually no debate on foreign policy during the recent presidential campaign, there has been considerable discussion of what President Joe Biden’s national security team might look like. The general consensus is that the top levels of the government will be largely drawn from officials who previously served in the Obama administration and who are likely to be hawkish.

There has also been, inevitably, some discussion of how the new administration, if it is confirmed, will deal with Israel and the Middle East in general.

Israelis would have preferred a victory by Donald Trump as they clearly understand that he was and still is willing to defer to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on nearly all issues. Indeed, that process is ongoing even though Trump might only have about nine more weeks remaining in office. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reportedly preparing to sanction several international human rights organizations as anti-Semitic due to the fact that they criticize Israel’s brutality on the West Bank and its illegal settlement policies. The White House is also prepared to free convicted but paroled Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard from travel restrictions so he can move to Israel, where he is regarded as a hero. Pollard was the most damaging spy in U.S. history and any mitigation of his sentence has been opposed by both the Pentagon, where he worked, and also by the intelligence community.

Finally, it is widely believed that before the end of the year Trump will declare that the United States accepts the legitimacy of Israeli intentions to declare annexation of nearly all the Palestinian West Bank. The White House will actually encourage such an initiative reportedly “to sow hostility between Israel and the Biden administration.” One should note that none of the pro-Israeli measures that are likely to come out of the White House enhance U.S. security in any way and they also do nothing particularly to benefit Trump’s campaign to be re-elected through legal challenges.

If Biden does succeed in becoming president, the special place that Israel occupies in the centers of American power are unlikely to be disturbed, which is why Netanyahu was quick off the mark in congratulating the possible new chief executive. Biden has proudly declared himself to be a “Zionist” and his running mate Kamala Harris has been a featured speaker at the annual gatherings of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington. Both are strongly supportive of the “special relationship” with the Israel and will make no effort to compromise America’s apparent commitment to protect and nourish the Jewish state.

Though Israel is central to how the United States conducts its foreign policy, the country was invisible in the debates and other discussions that took place among candidates during the recent campaign. American voters were therefore given the choice of one government that panders to Israel at the expense of U.S. security or another party that does exactly the same thing. To be sure, Biden did state that he would work to reinstate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) relating to Iran’s nuclear program, which was canceled by Trump. But he also indicated that it would require some amendment, meaning that the Iranians would have to include their missile program in the monitoring while also abandoning their alleged propensity to “interfere” in the Middle East region. The Iranian government has already indicated that additional conditions are unacceptable, so the deal is dead in the water. Israel has also privately and publicly objected to any new arrangement and has already declared that it would “save the option” of working through the Republican Senate to thwart any attempts by the Biden Administration to change things.

That Israel would blatantly and openly interfere in the deliberations of Congress raises some serious questions which the mainstream media predictably is not addressing. Jewish power in America is for real and it is something that some Jews are not shy about discussing among themselves. Jewish power is unique in terms of how it functions. If you’re an American (or British) politician, you very quickly are made to appreciate that Israel owns you and nearly all of your colleagues. Indeed, the process begins in the U.S. even before your election when the little man from AIPAC shows up with the check list that he wants you to sign off on. If you behave per instructions your career path will be smooth, and you will benefit from your understanding that everything happening inn Washington that is remotely connected to the interests of the state of Israel is to be determined by the Jewish state alone, not by the U.S. Congress or White House.

And, here is the tricky part, even while you are energetically kowtowing to Netanyahu, you must strenuously deny that there is Jewish power at work if anyone ever asks you about it. You behave in that fashion because you know that your pleasant life will be destroyed, painfully, if you fail to deny the existence of an Israel Lobby or the Jewish power that supports it.

It is a bold assertion, but there is plenty of evidence to support how that power is exerted and what the consequences are. Senators William Fulbright and Chuck Percy and Congressmen Paul Findlay, Pete McCloskey and Cynthia McKinney have all experienced the wrath of the Lobby and voted out of office. Currently Reverend Raphael Warnock, who is running against Georgia Loeffler for a senate seat in Georgia demonstrates exactly how candidates are convinced to stand on their heads by the Israel Lobby. Warnock was a strong supporter of Palestinian rights and a critic of Israeli brutality. He said as recently as 2018 that the Israelis were shooting civilians and condemned the military occupation and settlement construction on the Palestinian West Bank, which he compared to apartheid South Africa. Now that he is running for the Senate, he is saying that he is opposed to the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement due to what he calls the movement’s “anti-Semitic overtones.” He also supports continued military assistance for Israel and believes that Iran is in pursuit of a nuclear weapon, both of which are critical issues being promoted by the Zionist lobby.

There is some pushback in Washington to Israeli dominance, but not much. Recent senior Pentagon appointee Colonel Douglas Macgregor famously has pointed out that many American politicians get “very, very rich” through their support of Israel even though it means the United States being dragged into new wars. Just how Israel gains control of the U.S. political process is illustrated by the devastating insider tale of how the Obama Administration’s feeble attempts to do the right thing in the Middle East were derailed by American Jews in Congress, the media, party donors and from inside the White House itself. The story is of particularly interest as the Biden Administration will no doubt suffer the same fate if it seeks to reject or challenge Israel’s ability to manipulate and virtually control key aspects of U.S. foreign policy.

The account of Barack Obama’s struggle with Israel and the Israeli Lobby comes from a recently published memoir written by a former foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes. It is entitled The World As It Is, and it is extremely candid about how Jewish power was able to limit the foreign policy options of a popular sitting president. Rhodes recounts, for example, how Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel once nicknamed him “Hamas” after he dared to speak up for Palestinian human rights, angrily shouting at him “Hamas over here is going to make it impossible for my kid to have his fucking bar mitzvah in Israel.”

Rhodes cites numerous instances where Obama was forced to back down when confronted by Israel and its supporters in the U.S. as well as within the Democratic Party. On several occasions, Netanyahu lecture the U.S. president as if he were an errant schoolboy. And Obama just had to take it. Rhodes sums up the situation as follows: “In Washington, where support for Israel is an imperative for members of Congress, there was a natural deference to the views of the Israeli government on issues related to Iran, and Netanyahu was unfailingly confrontational, casting himself as an Israeli Churchill…. AIPAC and other organizations exist to make sure that the views of the Israeli government are effectively disseminated and opposing views discredited in Washington, and this dynamic was a permanent part of the landscape of the Obama presidency.”

And, returning to the persistent denial of Jewish power even existing when it is running full speed and relentlessly, Rhodes notes the essential dishonesty of the Israel Lobby as it operates in Washington: “Even to acknowledge the fact that AIPAC was spending tens of millions to defeat the Iran deal [JCPOA] was anti-Semitic. To observe that the same people who supported the war in Iraq also opposed the Iran deal was similarly off limits. It was an offensive way for people to avoid accountability for their own positions.”

Many Americans long to live in a country that is at peace with the world and respectful of the sovereignty of foreign nations. Alas, as long as Israeli interests driven by overwhelming Jewish power in the United States continue to corrupt our institutions that just will not be possible. It is time for all Americans, including Jews, to accept that Israel is a foreign country that must make its own decisions and thereby suffer the consequences. The United States does not exist to bail Israel out or to provide cover for its bad behavior. The so-called “special relationship” must end and the U.S. must deal with the Israelis as they would with any other country based on America’s own self-interests. Those interests definitely do not include funding the Israeli war machine, assassinating foreign leaders, or attacking a non-threatening Iran while continuing an illegal occupation of Syria.

Pompeo: All Options Remain on the Table against Iran

Pompeo: All Options Remain on the Table against Iran

By Staff, Agencies

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has repeated Washington’s threats against Iran, saying all options remain on the table against the Islamic republic.

Pompeo made the remarks in an interview with the “Israeli” newspaper “Jerusalem Post” when he was asked whether “all options still on the table” against Iran.

Pompeo said this has been the policy of the United States for the past four years and there’s no reason it would change.

“My judgement is, and history will reflect, that we’ve been pretty successful,” he said.

“I remember when we first began the maximum pressure campaign. We’d withdrawn from the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], and the world said this will never work, American sanctions alone won’t work,” he said.

“Well, they have significantly reduced Iran’s capacity to foment harm around the world. It’s not complete,” he added.

“[US President Donald Trump] has done several things. One, he denied them money. That also sent a strong message to the Middle East that facilitated the Abraham Accords [through] this central understanding, this isolation of Iran in ways that are deeply different than before, whether it’s the [United Arab] Emirates or Bahrain or Sudan or whoever signs the Abraham Accords next,” he continued.

On Wednesday, Iran warned the US of a crushing response if it takes any hostile move against the country.

This followed a New York Times report that Trump had asked his top aides, including Pompeo, about the possibility of striking Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The report said the aides dissuaded Trump by warning him that any such a move could escalate into a broader conflict in the last weeks of his presidency.

BDS: US to label Israel boycott movement as ‘antisemitic’

ٍSource

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo makes announcement as he prepares to visit illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank

The United States will label the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, which seeks to isolate Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians, as antisemitic, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday.

Calling the movement “a cancer”, Pompeo said the US “will regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as antisemitic… We want to stand with all other nations that recognise the BDS movement for the cancer that it is.”

Pompeo made his comments in a joint appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as he prepared to visit an illegal Israeli settlement in a controversial breach of diplomatic protocol.

The outgoing secretary of state also said he will defy convention and visit the occupied Golan Heights.

The Golan Heights is Syrian territory that has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war, but was unilaterally recognised as Israeli by the US last year.

Pompeo’s announcements come as four Republican Senators call on US President Donald Trump to allow goods made in Israeli settlements as to be labelled as “Made in Israel”. 

Established in 2005, the BDS movement seeks to apply financial pressure on Israel to address its violation of Palestinians’ rights, a tactic the Israeli government has actively sought to discredit. The movement is inspired by the international pressure placed on South Africa’s apartheid regime.

Over the years, Israeli authorities have increased efforts to fight BDS, passing a number of laws seeking to criminalise calls for a boycott of Israel or Israeli companies.

Settlement-building is seen by many as the greatest obstacle for Israeli-Palestinian peace. However it has seen a huge uptick since Trump, a staunch supporter of Israel, took office in 2016.

حرب فضربة فعمليّة

طبّلت وزمّرت وسائل الإعلام الخليجية لمشروع حرب يشنها الرئيس الأميركي المنتهية ولايته دونالد ترامب وتقلب معادلات المنطقة، انطلاقاً من خبر قيام ترامب بإقالة وزير دفاعه مايك إسبر. وخلال أيام وبعد تعيين وزير جديد كتبت الصحف الأميركية عبر تسريبات ترامب نفسه أنه كان يفكر بضرب المفاعل النووي الإيراني في نطنز، لكنه صرف النظر عن الفكرة بعد تلقيه تحذيرات من مستشاريه بخطورة فتح حرب كبرى في المنطقة.

في الخبر نفسه أن وزير خارجية ترامب مايك بومبيو كان الوحيد في فريقه المؤيّد للعمل العسكري في المدة المتبقية من ولاية ترامب ووجاءت جولة بومبيو الخارجية تعبيراً عن سعيه لتسويق مشروعه وربط الخطوات السياسيّة في المنطقة بنتائج هذا المشروع.

في باريس كان واضحاً أن بومبيو سعى لتجميد ولادة الحكومة اللبنانية الجديدة تحت شعار أن متغيرات كبرى مقبلة وستقلب الوقائع في المنطقة ومنها لبنان ولاستبعاد أي فرضية تربط كلام بومبيو بفرضية عمل عسكري أميركي أصدرت وزارة الدفاع الأميركية بياناتها عن تنفيذ قرار انسحاب متدرّج من المنطقة بتوجيهات ترامب.

لم يكن كافياً تقلّص الحرب الى ضربة فتقلص المرجع أيضاً من ترامب الى بومبيو الذي حط رحاله في كيان الاحتلال وقام بجولات استفزازية وصلت الى الجولان تعبيراً عن الوقوف الأعمى مع الكيان في كل خطواته العدوانية وفي طليعتها ضم الجولان، لكن يبدو أن زيارة الجولان كانت تعبيراً رمزياً عن أبوة بومبيو لتقلص جديد حيث الضربة صارت عملية تنفذها قوات الاحتلال على تخوم الجولان المحتل وتمنحها وسائل الإعلام الخليجية تغطية استثنائية بصفتها تغييراً نوعياً لقواعد الاشتباك وإصابة استراتيجية لمحور المقاومة.

الشهداء عندما يسقطون مهما كانت رتبهم ومهما كان عددهم هم إصابات موجعة، لكن التغيير الاستراتيجي شيء آخر.

بلغ الهزال في حالة المشروع الأميركي حدّ أن يكون الردّ على قرار الانسحاب الجزئي صواريخ على السفارة الأميركيّة وأن يكون سقف المقدور عليه أميركياً وإسرائيلياً هو تكرار لما سبق وتمّ اختباره من عمليات توجع بسقوط الشهداء، لكنها لا تغير معادلات باتت فوق طاقة الأميركي والإسرئيلي والمطبع الخليجي معهم ولا تعوّض عجز الفقاعات الإعلاميّة ولا النقل المباشر للقنوات الخليجية وخروج بعض المعلقين المدفوعي الأجر ليكرروا عبارة تحول استراتيجي.

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Pompeo, Bolton Made Rich By ‘Israeli’ Lobby – Pentagon Adviser

Pompeo, Bolton Made Rich By ‘Israeli’ Lobby - Pentagon Adviser

By Staff, Agencies

A top adviser at the Pentagon said Iran hawks, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former national security advisor John Bolton, have been taking money and getting rich from the ‘Israeli’ lobby.

Washington’s support for Tel Aviv is the result of the ‘Israeli’ lobby money, said retired Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor, who was appointed this week as senior adviser to newly installed acting War Secretary Christopher Miller, in two media appearances back in 2012 and 2019.

“You have to look at the people that donate to those individuals,” he said in a September 2019 interview when asked if Bolton and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham wanted war with Iran.

“Bolton has become very, very rich and is in the position he’s in because of his unconditional support for the ‘Israeli’ lobby. He is their man on the ground, in the White House. The same thing is largely true for Pompeo, he has aspirations to be president. He has his hands out for money from the ‘Israeli’ lobby, the Saudis and others,” he added.

In another interview in 2012, Macgregor stressed that the ‘Israel’ lobby in the United States has “enormous influence” on Congress and that it wanted to instigate “military strikes” with Iran.

“I think the American ‘Israeli’ Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC] and it’s subordinate elements or affiliated elements that represent enormous quantities of money over many years have cultivated an enormous influence in power in Congress,” he told Russia’s state media network RT.

“I think you’ve got a lot of people on the Hill who fall into two categories. One category that is interested in money and wants to be re-elected, and they don’t want to run the risk of the various lobbies that are pushing military action against Iran to contribute money to their opponents.”

AIPAC is known for being the main architect of US policies throughout the Middle East, and has been criticized repeatedly for wielding disproportionate influence in Congress.

The US State Department declined to comment on behalf of Pompeo in response to Macgregor’s remarks.

Bolton, however, reacted to the disclosure through a spokesman, saying, “I don’t respond to anti-Semites.”

This is while his financial disclosures show he earned thousands of dollars for speaking to pro-‘Israel’ groups prior to his appointment as the White House national security adviser in 2018.

Trump Doubles Down on Coup D’État

Trump Doubles Down on Coup D'État - TheAltWorld

Finian Cunningham

Former editor and writer for
major news media organizations.
He has written extensively on
international affairs, with articles
published in several languages

November 12, 2020©

For the first time in the history of the United States an incumbent president is refusing to concede electoral defeat. Ominously, Donald Trump, the sitting president, has this week also packed the Pentagon’s civilian leadership and intel agencies with political loyalists who are described as his “foot-soldiers”.

The flurry of appointees are former special forces and generals. Here is a profile of the president’s men. One Pentagon insider said of them: “These are the people who go in and do whatever they think is required to achieve his [Trump’s] agenda. They are true soldiers in the war on government, the war on what Trump calls the deep state.”

The shakeup in the military-intelligence apparatus has stunned observers from its audacity. There is speculation that Trump will next sack the Pentagon’s top general Mark Milley, FBI chief Christopher Wray and CIA director Gina Haspel, to be replaced by “true believers” of his Make America Great Again project.

There is an edgy feeling that Trump, a maverick megalomaniac, is actually going for it. That is, a coup d’état.

But this can’t happen here, or so goes the plaintive refrain. Well, it looks like it is.

A stunning bold-faced denial of reality this week came from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who told incredulous reporters that there would be a “smooth transition”… to a second Trump administration.

Most of the Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill are refusing to acknowledge publicly that Democrat Joe Biden won the presidential election – despite him gaining a decisive lead of more than five million votes over Trump as well as in the all-important Electoral College votes.

Trump-appointed Attorney General William Barr is brazenly politicizing the justice department by endorsing Trump’s calls for investigations and lawsuits over allegations of voting fraud and other purported irregularities. There is negligible evidence to support these allegations, many of which have been thrown out already by state judges as frivolous. But Barr is giving inordinate authority to shore up what amounts to tittle-tattle from a sore loser.

State election officials, both Republican and Democrat, have unanimously reported no significant electoral fraud or malfeasance.

Republican city commissioner in Philadelphia Al Schmidt, in the key swing state of Pennsylvania which was won by Biden, confirmed there were no voting irregularities. He was then denounced as “disloyal” by Trump. Schmidt also claims to have subsequently received death threats.

Strangely, too, Trump and Republicans in Congress aren’t complaining about fraud in the down-ballot votes for the House and the Senate races where they performed relatively well in gaining or holding on to seats. Even though those ballots were cast in the exact same process as the presidential vote. How can one item on the ballot sheet be prone to fraud, but the ones which suit Republicans aren’t? It’s self-serving duplicity that’s what it is.

What Team Trump is betting on is not winning litigation over the election results. There is not a chance of the president overturning the large majorities that Biden won in key swing states. No, the game plan seems to be to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the elections and run out the clock so that Republican legislatures in states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Arizona do not certify Biden as the winner of the popular vote.

Moreover, it is being mooted that Republican legislatures in these states will appoint electors to the Electoral College who will nominate Trump as the winner, in defiance of the popular vote. The Electoral College is to convene on December 14 when the deciding vote is cast on who is to be next president. Tradition and precedent holds that the state electors respect the popular vote, but this election is unprecedented. It is not unthinkable that Trump will continue insisting that the election was stolen from him by citing (baseless) fraud claims. For many of his 72 million voters, there is a shared conviction (delusion) that the election was rigged or absurdly contend that the coronavirus was “weaponized”.

Biden won over 77 million votes in the popular ballot. If Trump goes for barricading himself in the White House claiming he is the rightful winner, then the U.S. faces a constitutional nightmare scenario. Widespread violent protests are on the cards, if not civil war. Already Trump hacks have prepared the propaganda narrative that any protests against Trump are the work of “Antifa subversives” and “Marxist terrorists”. We saw that outlandish narrative being wheeled out during the recent months of legitimate massive protests against racist police killings.

As tensions boil over in the run-up to the presidential inauguration date on January 2o, what Trump and his cadres will declare is a state of emergency and martial law to “protect the nation” from leftists and “deep state” orchestrated “color revolution” against a “democratically elected president”.

This is the significance of the shakeup at the Pentagon and intelligence apparatus this week. Trump is putting in place the kind of fascist operatives to carry out his coup d’état.

Ironically, Trump claims he was the target of coup forces from the deep state after his 2016 election victory over “swamp creature” Hillary Clinton. To be fair to Trump, that effort to unseat him was real enough, centered on baseless “Russia collusion” claims that dogged his entire presidency. However, that coup attempt failed. But now another seizure of power is underway this time hatched by Trump himself and his cronies.

Biden and his Democrat party are being sheepishly complacent about the dramatic and daring power grab taking place by Trump. Biden this week sought to sound calm and cool, saying that Trump’s refusal to concede defeat was merely “embarrassing”. Biden really is being “sleepy Joe” if he doesn’t realize that there is a coup going down in the White House.

Another sign of complacency was from the New York Times which headlined: ‘Trump Stacks the Pentagon and Intel Agencies with Loyalists. To What End?’

The NY Times answered its question by speculating Trump was planning overseas adventurism, perhaps a military attack on Iran or a rushed withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

How stupidly complacent. Trump’s adventurism is not overseas, it is right at home. It’s all about trashing the U.S. constitution and installing himself for a second term regardless of democratic mandate. In short, dictatorship.

US Sanctions: Shooting Blanks Against the Resiliency of Targeted Nations

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, October 27, 2020

As explained many times before, Security Council members alone may legally impose sanctions on nations, entities and individuals.

When used by countries against others, they breach the UN Charter, how the US, NATO and Israel operate time and again.

The Charter’s Article II mandates all member states to “settle…disputes” according to the rule of law.

US/Western sanctions are weapons of war by other means — used to pressure, bully and terrorize targeted nations into submission.

Though widely used, most often they fail to achieve intended objectives.

US sanctions war and other hostile actions against Cuba for 60 years, Iran for 40 years, Venezuela for 20 years, and against countless other nations largely shot blanks.

Most often, they’re counterproductive.

Hardships imposed on people in targeted nations fuel anti-US sentiment — blaming Washington, not their governments, for what they endure.

Under international law, nations are prohibited from intervening in the internal affairs of others.

Military action against an adversary is only legal in self-defense if attacked — never preemptively for any reasons.

Hardcore US bipartisan policy targets all independent nations unwilling to subordinate their sovereign rights to its interests.

That’s what US hostility toward China, Russia, Iran, and other targeted countries is all about.

Since WW II, no nations threatened the US militarily or politically.

Like all other empires in world history now gone, a similar fate awaits the US — because of its counterproductive geopolitical policies, over time making more enemies than allies, weakening, not strengthening, the state.

Last week in response to US sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the following:

“(T)his unfriendly and destructive policy of constant introduction of various restrictions in relation to us, our economic operators, our economy, unfortunately, this has already become an integral part of unfair competition, undisguised hostile takeover competition on the part of Washington.”

Last month, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova slammed the US, saying:

“We condemn (US) calls for forging a certain coalition against the pipeline, wherein German and other companies have already made multi-billion dollar investments.”

In response to EU sanctions on Russia over the Navalny novichok poisoning hoax, its Foreign Ministry demanded to know “who is behind the anti-Russian provocation,” adding:

“In response, we get aggressive rhetoric and outright manipulation of the facts” — by the EU in cahoots with the US.

Sergey Lavrov slammed Berlin for being in breach of its international obligations for failing to provide Moscow with information it claims to have about the Navalny incident — because none exists.

In mid-October, protesters outside the US embassy in London accused Washington of attempting to “strangle” Cuba’s economy by a virtual blockade on the island state.

The so-called Rock Around The Blockade solidarity campaign called for breaking the illegal action, chanting “Cuba si! Yankee no! Abajo el bloqueo/Down with the blockade!”

Despite annual UN General Assembly measures against US blockade of the island state, it’s been in place for decades without success because of Cuban resiliency.

Trump regime Office of Foreign Assets Control threatened to sue “anyone who trades with Cuba” or has property in the country.

Despite decades of US war on Cuba by other means, aiming to regain imperial control over the island state, policies of Republicans and Dems consistently failed.

US war on China by sanctions and other means widens the breach between both countries.US Sanctions: Weapons of War by Other Means on Targeted Nations

On October 21 in a Foreign Affairs article titled “How China Threatens American Democracy” (sic), Trump regime national security advisor Robert  O’Brien invented nonexistent threats.

Instead of fostering productive bilateral relations with all nations, policies of both right wings of the US one-party state go the other way against nations Washington doesn’t control — how the scourge of imperialism operates.

China fosters cooperative relations with other nations, threatening none — polar opposite longstanding US policy, seeking dominance over planet earth, its resources and populations.

Undeclared US initiated Cold War against China, Russia, and other targeted nations threatens to turn hot by accident or design — especially in East Asia, the Middle East, and near Russia’s borders.

On Sunday, O’Brien expressed frustration, saying:

“One of the problems that we have faced with both Iran and Russia is that we now have so many sanctions against these countries that we have very little (opportunity) to do anything about it,” adding:

“But we are looking at all possible deterrent measures that we can apply to these countries, as well as others…”

Last Thursday, the US Treasury Department announced new sanctions on Iran’s IRGC, its Quds Force, and Bayan Rasaneh Gostar Institute “for having directly or indirectly engaged in, sponsored, concealed, or otherwise been complicit in foreign interference” in US November 3 elections.

Fact: Throughout US history, no evidence showed that any foreign nations ever interfered in its electoral process — a US specialty against scores of nations throughout the post-WW II period.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh slammed the hostile action, saying:

Its government “strong(ly) reject(s) baseless and false claims” by the US, adding:

“(I)t makes no difference for Iran who wins the US election.”

On core domestic and foreign policy issues, both right wings of the US one-party state operate largely the same way.

Rare exceptions prove the rule.

On Monday, Pompeo announced more illegal sanctions on Iran — part of longstanding US war on the country by other means.

Tehran’s “Ministry of Petroleum and Minister of Petroleum, the National Iranian Oil Company, the National Iranian Tanker Company, and 21 other individuals, entities, and vessels” were targeted for unjustifiable reasons.

Iran, its ruling authorities, and entities foster cooperative relations with other countries — hostile actions toward none, except in self-defense if attacked, the legal right of all nations.

US imperial policy targets all countries, entities and individuals not subservient to its rage to rule the world unchallenged.

US maximum pressure on Iran and other nations is all about wanting them transformed into vassal states.

Separately on Monday, convicted felon/US envoy for regime change in Iran and Venezuela Elliott Abrams said the following:

“The transfer of long-range missiles from Iran to Venezuela is not acceptable to the United States and will not be tolerated or permitted,” adding:

“We will make every effort to stop shipments of long-range missiles, and if somehow they get to Venezuela they will be eliminated there.”

Was the above threat a possible US declaration of hot war on Venezuela, on Iran as well?

Last week, Pompeo announced new US sanctions on “the State Research Center of the Russian Federation FGUP Central Scientific Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics (TsNIIKhM).”

He falsely claimed the research institute conducts “malware attacks (that threaten) cybersecurity and critical infrastructure (sic).”

No evidence was cited because none exists, including alleged Russian malware against “a petrochemical plant in the Middle East,” along with “scann(ing) and prob(ing) US facilities.”

Pompeo falsely accused Russia of “engag(ing) in dangerous and malicious activities that threaten the security of the United States and our allies (sic).”

The above is what the US and its imperial partners do time and again — falsely blaming others for their own high crimes.

The Trump regime also imposed unlawful sanctions on Iran for supplying Venezuela with gasoline — the legal right of both nations to conduct bilateral trade relations.

Last month, former Trump regime acting DNI Richard Grenell met secretly with Venezuelan Vice President for Communications Jorge Rodriguez in Mexico, according to Bloomberg News.

It was a futile attempt to get President Maduro to step down ahead of US November 3 elections, Trump seeking a foreign policy success to tout that failed.

US war on Venezuela by other means, notably by Trump, imposed great hardships on its people alone — failing to achieve regime change.

US-designated puppet-in-waiting Guaido’s involvement in the scheme made him widely despised by the vast majority of Venezuelans.

Separately, Russia’s US embassy responded to unacceptable tightening of visas for its journalists by the Trump regime, creating “artificial barriers (that impede) their normal work,” adding:

“In particular, the limitation of the period of stay for foreign media employees to 240 days (with the possibility of extension up to 480 days) will not allow them to consistently cover local events.”

Journalists “will have to leave the United States for a considerable time to obtain a new visa.”

This new policy flies in the face of what “freedom of speech and equal access to information” is supposed to be all about.

On Monday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova slammed US accusations of alleged Moscow cybersecurity threats, calling them “unfounded,” adding:

“(T)his time (the US outdid itself) in anti-Russia rhetoric with extremely harsh statements occasionally bordering on bizarre rudeness.”

“Such an approach will not benefit the State Department and is indicative of the fact that they treat the culture and norms of state-to-state communication with disdain.”

Businessman Trump sought improved relations with Russia — the aim thwarted by surrounding himself with Russophobic hardliners.

The same holds for US hostility toward China, Iran, and other countries on its target list for regime change.

*

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image is from podur.orgThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

American Militarism Marches On: No Discussion or Media Coverage of Washington’s War Against the World

Philip Giraldi October 22, 2020

Nearly everyone has heard the comment attributed for former Clinton consigliere Rahm Emanuel that one should never let a good crisis go to waste. The implication of the comment is that if there is a major crisis going on the cover it provides permits one to do all sorts of things under the radar that would otherwise be unacceptable. That aphorism is particularly true in the current context as there are multiple crises taking place simultaneously, all of which are being exploited to various degrees by interested parties.

One of the more interesting stories carefully hidden by the smoke being generate by civil unrest, plague and personal scandals is the continued march of American militarism. The story is particularly compelling as neither main party candidate is bothering to talk about it and there is no discussion of foreign policy even planned for the final presidential debate. Last week eccentric multi billionaire Elon Musk announced that he and the Pentagon are developing a new 7,500 m.p.h. missile capable of delivering 80 tons of military cargo nearly anywhere in the world in under an hour. It would undoubtedly be a major advanced capability catering to those military planners who envision continued U.S. intervention worldwide for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, agreement on a new START treaty that would limit the proliferation of some hypersonic weapon systems is stalled because the White House wants to include China in any deal. Beijing is not interested, particularly as Donald Trump is also claiming that Beijing will pay for the multi-trillion dollar stimulus packages that the United States will ultimately require to combat the coronavirus “… because this was not caused by our workers and our people, this was caused by China and China will pay us back in one form or another. We’re gonna take it from China. I tell you now, it’s coming out of China. They’re the ones that caused this problem.”

Indeed, China and Russia continue to be the boogeymen trotted out regularly to scare Americans. Last week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s State Department issued a statement warning that “some foreign governments, such as those of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Russian Federation, seek to exert influence over U.S. foreign policy through lobbyists, external experts, and think tanks.” Why the statement was issued at this time, so close to elections is unclear, though it is possibly an attempt to line up possible scapegoats if the electoral process does not produce results acceptable to whomever loses. In fact, Russia and China hardly find a place on the list of those who fund lobbyists and think tanks.

Also of interest is another story about how Washington has chosen to interact with the world, one involving both enemy du jour Iran and Venezuela. Readers will undoubtedly recall how the United States seized in international waters four Greek owned but Liberian flagged tankers loaded with gasoline that were bound for Venezuela. The tankers were transporting more than a million gallons of fuel to economic basket case Venezuela, a country which is in its sad condition due to sanctions and other “maximum pressure” imposed by Washington, which has also sanctioned Venezuela’s own oil industry. The fuel was seized based on unilaterally imposed U.S. sanctions on Iranian sale or export of its own petroleum products, a move intended to strangle the Iranian economy and bring about an uprising of the Iranian people. As the sanctions imposed by Washington are not supported by the United Nations or by any other legal authority, the seizure is little more than exercise of a bit of force majeure that used to be called piracy.

Even though foreign and national security policy has not really been discussed in either the Biden or Trump campaign, there is general agreement in both parties that Venezuela is a rogue regime that must be replaced while Iran is an actual, tangible threat due to its alleged misbehavior in the Middle East. It has been dubbed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the “number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world.” Saner voices have observed that neither Venezuela nor Iran threaten the United States in any way and that the U.S. and Israel continue to kill many more civilians than Iran ever has, but they have been drowned out by the media talking heads who constantly spout the established narrative.

Well, the alleged Iranian fuel has arrived in New Jersey and a legal battle for custody of it has begun.  The fuel had been removed from the Greek tankers and transferred to other tankers for removal to the United States but the complication is that the Trump administration must now prove its case for forfeiture before the oil can be sold. The U.S. justification for seizing the cargoes is the claim that the fuel was an asset of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which the Treasury, Justice and State Departments have conveniently designated a foreign terrorist organization. But that contention is disputed by the cargoes’ owners, who claim to have nothing to do with the IRGC. They include other energy exporters and shippers in the Middle East, namely Mobin International Limited, Oman Fuel Trading Ltd and Sohar Fuel Trading LLC FZ. They have filed a motion for dismissal and are seeking return of the fuel plus additional compensation for the losses they have suffered. One has to hope they win as it is the United States that is in the wrong in this case.

The entire saga of the tankers and the fuel is symptomatic of the undeclared economic warfare that the United States now prefers to use when dealing with adversaries. And there is considerable evidence to suggest that Washington is trying to goad Iran into responding with force, providing the U.S. government with a plausible rationale for responding in kind. President Trump has directly threatened Iran in an October 9th public statement in which he promised the Iranians that “If you fuck around with us, if you do something bad to us, we are gonna do things to you that have never been done before.”

So, Washington’s aggression directed against much of the world continues with a national election less than two weeks away but no one is talking about it. That would seem odd in and of itself, but the sad part is that it is deliberate collusion on the part of government and media to make sure the voting public remains unaware the extent to which the United States has in reality become a pariah, a full-time bully in its foreign relations.

Iran Seeks to Confuse the United States?

By Philip Giraldi

Source

Another story that is more fiction than fact
John Ratcliffe c1317

Those who have been waiting for the elusive October Surprise that will upset the apple cart on election day are admittedly running out of time. The media’s unwillingness to even consider that the antics of Hunter Biden just might constitute an embarrassment of major proportions or even something worse has done much to kill that story. And the old tried and true expedient of starting a little war somewhere is also proving to be a false hope as no one appears ready to provoke the righteously wrathful Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by ponying up a casus belli. Maybe there is still time for a false flag operation, but even that would require more prior planning than the White House appears capable of.

There is, however, one area that might just be exploitable to create a crisis, though it much depends on whether a tired public is willing to go one more round over the issue of “foreign election interference.” And yes, the Russians are presumed to be involved, on this occasion, as they always are, joined by the ever-vengeful Iranians.

On Wednesday Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe held a news conference at which he laid out details of the most recent dastardly plot against American democracy. He described how Iran and Russia both obtained American voter registration data, apparently through publicly accessible databases and through purchases of email lists. Though no actual votes have been altered, they are using that information “to influence the presidential election as it enters its final two weeks.” Ratcliffe elaborated how “This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine…confidence in American democracy.”

Ratcliffe focused mostly on Iran, saying that it had been identified as the source of what he described as a claimed 1,500 “spoofed emails” routed through Estonia that “seek to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump.” Iran was also blamed for other material, to include a video encouraging the casting of illegal ballots both domestically and overseas. Additional intelligence suggests that Iran is planning to take more steps to influence the election in the coming days, though what those measures could possibly be was not revealed.

Other government sources elaborated, indicating that Iranian intelligence has been credited with the sending of the email messages going out to Democratic voters in four states, including hotly disputed Pennsylvania and Florida. The emails falsely claimed to be from the alleged far-right group Proud Boys which has been much in the news.  Their message was that “we will come after you” if the recipients fail to vote for Donald Trump.

It doesn’t take much to realize that threatening messages relating to voting for Trump allegedly coming from a source described as “racist” would undoubtedly motivate most registered Democratic voters to do the opposite, but that seems to have escaped the analysts of the Directorate of National Intelligence. And one must also ask why Tehran would want the re-election of a president who has been unremittingly hostile, including imposing crippling sanctions, withdrawing from a beneficial nuclear agreement, and assassinating a leading Revolutionary Guards general. Even U.S. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer appears to have figured that one out, saying “It was clear to me that the intent of Iran in this case and Russia in many more cases is to basically undermine confidence in our elections. This action I do not believe was aimed… at discrediting President Trump.”

The anti-Trump New York Times has, of course, another, more sinister interpretation, suggesting that “…it may also play into President Trump’s hands. For weeks, he has argued, without evidence, that the vote on Nov. 3 will be ‘rigged,’ that mail-in ballots will lead to widespread fraud and that the only way he can be defeated is if his opponents cheat. Now, on the eve of the final debate, he has evidence of foreign influence campaigns designed to hurt his re-election chances, even if they did not affect the voting infrastructure.”

The Times also notes a broader conspiracy by the dreadful Persians, explaining how “Iran has tinkered at the edges of American election interference since 2012, but always as a minor actor. Last year, it stepped up its game, private cybersecurity firms have warned. They have caught Iranian operatives occasionally impersonating politicians and journalists around the world, often to spread narratives that are aimed at denigrating Israel or Saudi Arabia, its two major adversaries in the Middle East.” Again, however, the article provides no explanation of what Iran could possibly hope to gain from the minimal “tinkering” it might be able to engage in an American election in which billions of dollars will be spent by Democrats and Republicans who are viciously attacking each other without any outside help.

Ratcliffe had less to say about Russia but U.S. media coverage of the story included a referral to a recent account of how the U.S. military’s Cyber Command helped take down a network developed by Russian hackers called TrickBot that had been used in ransomware attacks directed against companies as well as cities and towns across the United States. It also reported how “In recent days, another Russian hacking group called Energetic Bear, often linked to the F.S.B. — one of the successors to the Soviet Union’s K.G.B. — appears to have focused its attention on gaining access to state and local government networks. That has caught the attention of federal investigators because, until now, the group had largely targeted energy firms, including public utilities.”

There was, however, no evidence that either hacking group was being directed against voter systems, so Russia’s inclusion in the front-page Times story headlined “Iran and Russia Seek to Influence Election in Final Days, U.S. Officials Warn” has to be considered questionable editorial judgment. Perhaps scaremongering would be a better description. In any event, the story itself is much ado about nothing. Iran’s sending out 1,500 emails if that actually occurred, would have zero impact. Likewise, the claimed existence of alleged Russian hacking groups that have done nothing directed against voters or balloting systems with only a few days left until the election would appear to be an electoral tactic rather than exposure of any genuine threat. One might even describe it as a bit of deliberate disinformation.

Chomsky on General Soleimani’s Killing: ‘It’s as if Iran Decided to Murder Mike Pompeo’

October 23, 2020 – 18:44

American polymath Noam Chomsky said the assassination of top Iranian commander Lt. General Qassem Soleimani has shown that the US is a “rogue state” that has no regard for international law.

“The murder of Soleimnai… is an extraordinarily dangerous act. Nothing like that happened during the Second World War or during the Cold War,” Chomsky said in an interview on Wednesday.

“It’s as if Iran had decided to murder (US Secretary of State) Mike Pompeo and a major general along with him at Mexico City International Airport. We take that pretty serious and that is what the murder of Soleimani was,” he added.

“Incidentally, it is praised here which is pretty astonishing; it shows how extreme the internal assumption is, that the United States is a rouge state, which has nothing to do with international law or obligations,” Chomsky said.

The American professor further highlighted the US’ withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, saying Trump’s actions on Iran increases Washington-Tehran tensions.

The pullout, he said, was a “violation of international law” as the agreement was authorized by the United Nations Security Council, he added, referring to UNSC Resolution 2231, Press TV reported.

US President Donald Trump ordered a fatal drone strike on General Soleimani’s vehicle upon his arrival in Baghdad International Airport on January 3 at the invitation of the Iraqi government.

The attack also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), as well as eight other Iranian and Iraqi people.

The two commanders were highly popular because of the key role they played in eliminating the US-sponsored Daesh terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

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Win-Win vs Lose-Lose: The Time Has Come for the World to Choose

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ehret_1-175x230.jpg

Matthew Ehret October 21, 2020

It is a tragedy of our age that society has been locked in a zero-sum operating system for so long that many people living in the west cannot even imagine a world order designed in any other way… even if that zero sum system can ultimately do nothing but kill everyone holding onto it.

Is this statement too cynical?

It is a provable fact that if one chooses to organize their society around the concept that all players of a “great game” must exist in a finite world of tension as all zero-sum systems presume, then we find ourselves in a relatively deterministic trajectory to hell.

You see, this world of tension which game masters require in today’s world are generated by increasing rates of scarcity (food, fuel, resources, space, etc). As this scarcity increases due to population increases tied to heavy doses of arson, it naturally follows that war, famine, and other conflict will rise across all categories of divisions (ethnic, religious, linguistic, gender, racial etc). Showcasing this ugly misanthropic philosophy during a December 21, 1981 People Magazine Interview, Prince Philip described the necessity of reducing the world population stating:

“We’re in for a major disaster if it isn’t curbed-not just for the natural world, but for the human world. The more people there are, the more resources they’ll consume, the more pollution they’ll create, the more fighting they will do. We have no option. If it isn’t controlled voluntarily, it will be controlled involuntarily by an increase in disease, starvation, and war.”

When such a system is imposed upon a world possessing atomic weapons, as occurred in the wake of FDR’s death and the sabotage of the great president’s anti-colonial vision, the predictably increased rates of conflict, starvation and ignorance can only spill over into a global war if nuclear superpowers chose to disobey the limits and “norms” of this game at any time.

Perhaps some utopian theoreticians sitting in their ivory towers at Oxford, Cambridge or the many Randian think tanks peppering foreign policy landscape believed that this game could be won if only all nation states relinquished their sovereignty to a global government… but that hasn’t really happened, has it?

Instead of the relinquishing of sovereignty, the past decade has seen a vast rise of nationalism across all corners of the earth which have been given new life by the rise of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and broader multipolar alliance. While these impulses have taken on many shapes and forms, they are united in the common belief that nation states must not become a thing of the past but rather must become determining forces of the world’s economic and political destinies.

The Case of the Bi-Polar USA

Unfortunately, within the USA itself where nationalism has seen an explosive rise in popularity under President Trump, the old uni-polar geopolitical paradigm has continued to hold tight under such neocon carryovers as Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Esper, CIA director Gina Haspel and the large caste of Deep State characters still operating among the highest positions of influence on both sides of the aisle.

While I genuinely believe that Trump would much rather work with both Russia, China and other nations of the multipolar alliance in lieu of blowing up the world, these aforementioned neocons think otherwise evidenced by Pompeo’s October 6 speech in Japan. In this speech, Pompeo attempted to rally other Pacific nations to an anti-Chinese security complex known as the Quad (USA, Australia, Japan and India). With his typically self-righteous tone, Pompeo stated that “this is not a rivalry between the United States and China. This is for the soul of the world”. Earlier Pompeo stated “If the free world doesn’t change Communist China, Communist China will change us.”

Pompeo’s efforts to break China’s neighbours away from the Belt and Road Initiative have accelerated relentlessly in recent months, with territorial tensions between China and Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei being used by the USA to enflame conflict whenever possible. It is no secret that the USA has many financial and military tentacles stretching deep into all of those Pacific nations listed.

Where resistance to this anti-China tension is found, CIA-funded “democracy movements” have been used as in the current case of Thailand, or outright threats and sanctions as in the case of Cambodia where over 24 Chinese companies have been sanctioned for the crime of building infrastructure in a nation which the USA wishes to control.

Pompeo’s delusional efforts to consolidate a Pacific Military bloc among the QUAD states floundered fairly quickly as no joint military agreement was generated creating no foundation upon which a larger alliance could be built.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi accurately called out this regressive agenda on October 13 saying:

“In essence [the Indo-Pacific Strategy] aims to build a so-called Indo-Pacific NATO underpinned by the quadrilateral mechanism involving the United States, Japan, India and Australia. What it pursues is to trumpet the Cold War mentality and to stir up confrontation among different groups and blocs and to stoke geopolitical competition. What it maintains is the dominance and hegemonic system of the United States. In this sense, this strategy is itself an underlying security risk. If it is forced forward it will wind back the clock of history.”

China Responds with Class

China’s response to this pompous threat to peace was classy to say the least with Wang Yi teaming up with Yang Jiechi (Director of China’s Central Foreign Affairs Commission) who jointly embarked on simultaneous foreign tours that demonstrated the superior world view of “right-makes-might” diplomacy. Where Wang Yi focused his efforts on Southeast Asia with visits to the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand and Singapore, Yang Jiechi embarked on a four-legged tour of Sri Lanka, the UAE, Algeria and Serbia.

While COVID assistance was a unifying theme throughout all meetings, concrete economic development driven by the Belt and Road Initiative was relentlessly advanced by both diplomats. In all bilateral agreements reached over this past week, opportunities for cooperation and development were created with a focus on diminishing the points of tension which geopolticians require in order for their perverse “game” to function.

In Malaysia, the $10 billion, 640 Km East Coast Rail link was advanced that will be completed with China’s financial and technical help by 2026 providing a key gateway in the BRI, as well as two major industrial parks that will service high tech products to China and beyond over the coming decades.

After meeting with Wang Yi on October 9, Indonesia’s Special Presidential Envoy announced that “Indonesia is willing to sign cooperation documents on the Belt and Road Initiative and Global Maritime Fulcrum at an early date, enlarge its cooperation with China on trade and investment, actively put in place currency swap arrangements and settlements in local currency, step up the joint efforts in human resources and disaster mitigation, and learn from China’s fight against poverty.”

In Cambodia, a major Free Trade Agreement was begun which will end tariffs on hundreds of products and create new markets for both nations. On the BRI, the New International Land-Sea Trade corridor and Lancang-Mekong Cooperation plans were advanced.

In the Philippines, Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Locsin discussed Duterte’s synergistic Build Build Build program which reflects the sort of long term infrastructure orientation characteristic of the BRI which are both complete breaks with the decades-long practices of usurious IMF loans which have created development bottlenecks across the entire developing sector.

In Thailand Wang Yi met with the Thai Prime Minister where the two accelerated the building of the 252 km Bangkok-Korat high speed rail line which will then connect to Laos and thence to China’s Kunmin Province providing a vital artery for the New Silk Road.

In the past few years, the USA has been able to do little to counter China’s lucrative offers while at best offering cash under the rubric of the Lower Mekong Initiative established under the Hillary-Obama administration in preparation for the Asia Pivot encirclement of China that was unleashed in 2012. This was done as part of a desperate effort to keep China’s neighbors loyal to the USA and was meant to re-enforce Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership which Trump thankfully destroyed during his first minutes in office.

Yang Jiechi’s Four-Legged Tour

In Sri Lanka, a $90 million grant was offered by China which will be devoted to medical resources, water supplies and education and which the Chinese embassy website stated “will contribute to the well being of Sri Lankans in a post-COVID era”. Another $989 million loan was delivered for the completion of a massive expressway stretching from Central Sri Lanka’s tea growing district to the Port of Hambanota. While this port is repeatedly used by detractors of the BRI like Pompeo as proof of the “Chinese debt trap”, recent studies have proven otherwise.

In the UAE, the Chinese delegation released a press release after meeting with Prince Zayed al-Nahyan stating: “Under the strategic guidance of President Xi and the Abu Dhabi crown prince, China will enrich the connotation of its comprehensive strategic partnership with UAE, cement the political trust and support, promote alignment of development strategies, and advance high-quality joint construction of the Belt and Road.”

In Algeria, Yang offered China’s full support for the New Economic Revival Plan which parallels the Philippines’ Build Build Build strategy by focusing on long term industrial growth rather than IMF-demands for privatization and austerity that have kept North Africa and other nations backward for years.

Finally in Serbia which is a vital component of the BRI, the Chinese delegation gave its full support to the Belgrade-Budapest railway, and other long term investments centered on transport, energy and soft infrastructure, including the expansion of the Chinese-owned Smederevo Steel Plant which employs over 12 000 Serbians and which was saved from bankruptcy by China in 2016. By the end of the trip, Prime Minister Brnabic announced: “Serbia strongly supports China both bilaterally and multilaterally, including President Xi Jinping’s Access and Roads Initiative and the 17+1 Cooperation Mechanism, in the context of which most of Serbia’s infrastructure and strategy projects will be realized”

The Spirit of Win-Win Must Not Be Sabotaged

Overall, the spirit of the growing New Silk Road is fast moving from a simple east-south trade route towards a global program stretching across all of Africa, to the Middle East, to the High Arctic and Latin America. While this program is driven by a longer view of the past and future than most westerners realize, it is quickly becoming evident that it is the only game in town with a future worth living in.

While China has committed to the enlightened idea that human society is more than a “sum of parts”, the Cold Warriors of the west have chosen to hold onto obsolete notions of human nature that suppose we live in a world of “each vs. all”. These obsolete notions are premised on the bestial idea that our species is destined to do little more than fight for diminishing returns of scraps in a closed -system struggle for survival where only a small technocratic elite of game masters calling themselves “alphas” control the levers of production and consumption from above.

Thus far, President Trump has distinguished himself from other dark age war hawks in his administration by promoting a foreign policy outlook centered on economic development. This has been seen in his recent victories in achieving economic normalization between Serbia and Kosovo, and endorsing the Alaska-Canada railway last month. With the elections just around the corner and the war hawks flying in full force, it is clear that these piecemeal projects, though sane and welcomed are still not nearly enough to break the USA away from its course of war with China and towards a new age of win-win cooperation required for the ultimate survival of our species.

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