New World Order in Meltdown, But Russia Stronger Than Ever

New World Order in Meltdown, But Russia Stronger Than Ever

August 30, 2019

by Jon Hellevig for The Saker Blog

Last week was full of portentous events. Only somebody who has not been awake for the last few years will fail to realize how these at first sight unconnected events are part of the same matrix. There was the ever louder talk in mainstream media about an approaching global recession, inverted yield curves and the negative yields, which tell us that the Western financial system is basically in coma and kept alive only by generous IV injections of central bank liquidity. By now it has dawned on people that the central bankers acting as central planners in a command economy and printing money (aka quantitative easing) to fuel asset bubbles are about to wipe off the last vestiges of what used to be a market economy.

Then we saw Trump taking new twitter swipes at China in his on-and-off “great trade deal” and the stock markets moving like a roller coaster in reaction to each new twitter salvo. Also, we had both Trump and Macron sweet talking about getting Russia back and again renaming their club G8. Last Tuesday at a G7 presser in Biarritz, the Rothschild groomed Macron took it one step further opening up about the reasons why they all of a sudden longed for friendship with Russia: “We are living the end of Western hegemony.” In the same series, Britain’s new government under Boris Johnson was telling his colleagues in Biarritz that he is now decisively going for a no-deal Brexit, after which he went back to London and staged a coup d’état by suspending parliament to ensure no elected opposition interfered with it.

Perhaps the weirdest news to crown it all, came from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the Western central bankers were holed up for their annual retreat. The president of Bank of England Mark Carney shocked everybody (at least those not present) by announcing that the US dollar was past its best-before and should be replaced with something the central bankers have up their sleeves.

The New World Order is in its death throes

What these events have in common is that they amount to an admission that the globalist New World Order project in its present form is dead, or at least in its death throes. It has bumped its head against an impenetrable Sino-Russian wall of resistance. The heated totalitarian propaganda against Russia since 2001 (when the NWO realized that Putin wasn’t their man); regime change and color revolutions in neighboring countries; attempts at Maidan style coups in Moscow; and finally the sanctions since 2014 were key to the Anglo-Zionist empires strategy. They needed to take over either China or Russia to gain absolute world hegemony. Taking over either one, they would have checkmated the remaining one, and after that the entire world. They rightly deemed Russia as the weaker piece and went all out in that direction. The NWO wanted to take advantage of Russia’s weakness in form of its Western minded comprador class and a shell-shocked liberal intelligentsia (dominating media, culture and business, just like in Hong Kong, BTW), which is constitutional uncapable of thinking with their own brains to liberate themselves from Soviet era stereotypes (“Soviet Union/Russia bad, West good”).

They then figured that economic and cultural sanctions (e.g. Olympic ban) coupled with doubling down on the propaganda would break the country. Luckily, the Russian narod, the common people saw through it all and would not play along with the enemy. At the same time, Russia paraded its resurrected military in Crimea and Syria as well as its formidable new hypersonic doomsday weapons. The military option to take over Russia was not in the cards any longer.

Russian economy from strength to strength

And the Russian economy. Believing their own propaganda, they had got that totally wrong. Endlessly repeating their own self-serving talking points they must have truly fancied that Russia’s economy amounted to nothing else than export of fossil fuels, that “Russia’s economy is the size of Holland’s,” that “Russia does not produce anything,” and that Russia was “nothing but a gas station with nukes” (somehow managing to ignore the significance of the nukes part). I seriously believe, that the propaganda had become so complete that the Western leaders and the intelligence people actually had come to adapt their own propaganda as the truth. What is for sure, is that all Western media, including what should be the most respected business journals and all those think tanks, had not published one honest appraisal of the Russian economy in 15 years. Every single piece I read over the years had clearly been written with the aim to denigrate Russia’s achievements and economic development. Nowhere to be found were reports on how Putin by 2013 had totally overhauled the economy transforming Russia into the most self-sufficient diversified major country in the world with all the capabilities of the foremost industrial powers. In fact, I tend to think that even the US presidents from Bush to Obama were fed in their intelligence briefings cooked up fake reports about the Russian economy and the whole nation. Actually, I would go one step further. I bet that the CIA itself in the end believed the propaganda it had given birth to. (It has been said that at some point the genuine Russia analysts had all been dismissed or demoted and replaced with a team specializing in anti-Russian propaganda).

But actually all the data was there in plain view. I myself took the trouble to compile a report on the real conditions of Russia’s economy fresh at the onset of the 2014 crisis. In the report, I set out to show that Russia indeed had modernized and diversified its economy; that it had a vibrant manufacturing industry in addition to its energy and minerals sector; and that its budget revenues and economy at large were not at all as dependent on oil and gas as it was claimed. Among other things, we pointed out that Russia’s industrial production had by then grown more than 50% (between 2000 and 2013) while having undergone a total modernization at the same time. In the same period, production of food had surged by 100% and exports had skyrocketed by almost 400%, outdoing all major Western countries. Even the growth of exports of other than oil and gas products had been 250%.

The gist of the study https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/putin-midterm-interim-results/ may be summarized with this quote from it: “The crisis-torn economy battered by years of robber capitalism and anarchy of the 1990’s, which Putin inherited in 2000, has now reached sufficient maturity to justify a belief that Russia can make the industrial breakthrough that the President has announced.” Events have borne out this insight. And it is therefore that Russia won the sanctions battle.

The report represented an appeal to the Western leaders to give up on their vain hope of destroying Russia through their sanctions and risking nuclear war at it. Russia was invincible even in this respect. For that purpose I expressly added this missive in the introduction to the report:

“We strongly believe that everyone benefits from knowing the true state of Russia’s economy, its real track record over the past decade, and its true potential. Having knowledge of the actual state of affairs is equally useful for the friends and foes of Russia, for investors, for the Russian population – and indeed for its government, which has not been very vocal in telling about the real progress. I think there is a great need for accurate data on Russia, especially among the leaders of its geopolitical foes. Correct data will help investors to make a profit. And correct data will help political leaders to maintain peace. Knowing that Russia is not the economic basket case that it is portrayed to be would help to stave off the foes from the collision course with Russia they have embarked on.”

A follow-up report https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/russian-economy-2014-2016-the-years-of-sanctions-warfare/ of June 2017 covering the sanctions years 2014 – 2016, showed how Russia went from strength to strength never mind the Western attempts at isolation. This report stressed that Russia’s economy had now become the most diversified in the world making Russia the most self-sufficient country on this earth.

In this report we exposed the single biggest error of the propaganda driven Russia analysis. This was the ridiculous belief that Russia supposedly was totally dependent on oil and gas just because those commodities made up the bulk of the country’s exports. Confusing exports with the total economy, they had foolishly confused the share of oil and gas in total exports – which was and remains at the level of 60% – with the share of these commodities of the total economy. In 2013 the share of oil and gas of Russia’s GDP was 12% (today 10%). Had the “experts” cared to take a closer look they would have realized that on the other side of the equation Russia’s imports were by far the lowest (as a share of GDP) of all major countries. The difference here is that while Russia does not export a great deal of manufactured goods, it produces by far a bigger share of those for the domestic market than any other country in the whole world. Taking the 60% of exports to stand for the whole economy was how the “Russia produces nothing” meme was created.

Finally in a November 2018 report https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/russian-economy-strong-and-stable/#chapter2, I could declare that Russia had won hands down the sanctions war having emerged from it as a quadruple superpower: industrial superpower, agricultural superpower, military superpower and geopolitical superpower.

Macron et co. realizes that Russia actually is a superpower

These facts have now finally dawned on certain key stakeholders of the globalist regime can be discerned from the fact that they have tasked their handpicked puppet president Macron to make up with Russia. Trump has got the same assignment, which is evident from the siren calls of the two leaders in Putin’s address. Both want to invite Putin to their future G7-8 get-togethers.

As it was said, Macron went as far as unilaterally capitulating and declaring the decline of the West. He went on to spell out that the reason for this spectacular geopolitical about-face was the rise of the Beijing – Moscow (de facto) alliance that has caused a terminal shift on the world scene. Curiously, he also openly blamed the errors of the United States for the dire state of affairs pointing out that “not just the current administration” were to be blamed. No doubt, the foremost of these errors, Macron had in mind, was the alienation of Russia and pushing the country into the warm embrace of China. It is quite clear, that this is what they want to remedy, snatch the bear back from the dragon. Fortunately, that won’t happen. Good if there will be rapprochement and good if the West will try, but after all what Russia has learnt by now it will not sell out on China under any circumstances. I think Putin and the Russian powers that be have clearly opted for a multipolar world order. That is definitely not what Macron’s and Trump’s employers have in mind but let them try.

Until Trump took office, the strategy of the US regime had been to pursue only Russia in its geopolitical ambitions, but by then it had dawned on them that Russia was invincible especially in the de facto alliance with China. In a sign of desperation, the empire then opened big time another front with China. Essentially going from bad to worse.

The world order is being shaken like never before

“The world order is being shaken like never before…”, that’s another quote from Macron. Obviously, it refers to the military and geopolitical strengths of the Sino-Russian alliance, but certainly also to the economic shifts as the West has lost – and will keep losing – its economic domination. This brings us back to Mark Carney of Bank of England and his unprecedented attack on the US dollar (*1) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-24/why-mark-carney-thinks-dollar-can-no-longer-be-worlds-reserve-currency arguing that it was time to end its global reserve currency status. As one option Carney brought up that the major Western central banks would instead issue a digital cryptocurrency. That is to say, a NWO currency controlled by the central banks. That would effectively mean the replacement of the Federal Reserve cartel with a cartel of the Western central banks (the Fed obviously being a part of it). That’s yet one step further north from any kind of democratic control and a giant step towards world government.

What could possibly have prompted such a radical US hegemony puncturing idea to be put forward? One reason obviously is that the Western economies really are in that extreme critical condition that more and more analysts caution about. (We shall look at the economic facts further down). There’s a very real possibility that we will be hit by a doomsday recession. What’s sure is that Carney’s bizarre speech could possibly not have occurred in a normal economic environment (any more than Macron’s admission that the Western hegemony is done with). According to Zerohedge (*2) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-26/things-will-never-be-same-again-here-are-20-questions-central-banks-admit-defeat Financial Times, the party organ of the globalist elite, admitted as much in its report on the Jackson Hole meeting. The central bankers “acknowledged they had reached a turning point in the way they viewed the global system. They cannot rely on the tools they used before the financial crisis to shape the economic environment, and the US can no longer be considered a predictable actor in economic or trade policy — even though there is no imminent replacement for the US dollar in sight.” There was an effective admission that the central bankers had run out of tricks to pull the economies out of the everything-bubble mess, not to mention the looming doomsday recession. According to FT, Carney went as far as flashing the war card saying: “past instances of very low rates have tended to coincide with high risk events such as wars, financial crises, and breaks in the monetary regime.” On the one hand this can be seen as an admission on how deeply tormented they are about the financial situation and what could happen when it comes crashing down. On the other hand, it can be seen as a sales pitch, “only we can fix it, trust us, give us a carte blanche.” Or more probably, both.

Note from above Carney saying: “the US can no longer be considered a predictable actor in economic or trade policy.” Bank of England President here directly attacking President Trump.

And just a couple of days later William Dudley an ex-president of New York Federal Reserve Bank (the most influential of the 12 federal reserve banks that comprise the Federal Reserve System) followed up on a direct attack on Trump. But as they say about spies, there are no ex-spies, and I would think the same applies for the global financial elite. And yes indeed, Dudley is a card carrying member of the Council of Foreign Relations. Dudley had penned an op-ed for Bloomberg titled “The Fed Shouldn’t Enable Donald Trump.” (*3) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-28/member-elite-bill-dudley-could-open-can-worms-quite-staggering , where he openly lobbies for the Fed to deliberately damage the economy in order to neutralize the policies (namely trade wars) of the sitting president and prevent his reelection chances by willfully ruining the economy.

One thing is for sure, the elite is desperate and in serious disarray. Very probable that the elite is split, too. It seems as if there were two globalist factions competing with each other and wanting to follow vastly different strategies. One faction supports Trump and the other is against him. Possibly, one that wants to do things with force and another that wants to gain by stealth. That could be Pentagon and the military-industrial complex vs. the financial elite, who also owns the media. My argument does not hinge on the veracity of those division lines, but that some rupture exists among the elites must be taken for granted, otherwise Trump would have been ousted by now with all that pressure on him.

To summarize this introduction. The Western world is in turmoil: the previous overwhelming geopolitical domination is gone and over with; military solutions against the main adversaries – China and Russia – are off the books; hybrid wars against them have failed; China and Russia are economically stronger than ever, too strong for the adversary; and to boot the domestic Western economies are in extraordinary bad shape, risking a depression of epic proportions.

Further down in this report, I will look at the one aspect of the question I am best equipped to handle, namely the economy. I will outline just in how bad shape the Western debt-fueled casino economies are. Having that as the background, I will then show how surprisingly strong the Russian economy is, at least in comparison with the Western gambling nations. Most importantly, Russia is virtually debtless, and that’s really the clue to survival in this extraordinary economic environment. In addition to the solid finances, Russia has other things going for it, too, as we will see below. I will not provide comparative data on China. One reason for that is, that China is not an economic risk. China does not have the debt problem that it is frequently touted in Western press to have. China, as the world’s number one export country, would of course take a hit in a serious global crisis, but that would not kill the economy. Although, China is the biggest exporter, there has been a shift from export-led growth towards domestic investment and consumption. The share of exports of goods and services in the country’s GDP was by 2018 down to 19.5%, half of the 2006 peak of 36%. On the contrary, the Chinese economy would stay vivid and therefore also help to sustain Russia’s exports.

I may add as one more piece of background, that it is my firm belief that the approaching economic disaster has long been evident to the central bankers and the globalist elite decision makers. Most likely the game plan was to establish the absolute world hegemony – which they not long ago thought was within early reach – and then after that deal with the debts as they saw fit as democratic dissent would not matter a bit anymore by then. That’s why they felt confident in building up the asset bubbles to carry them over to the final solution. Reminds me about a story told about Moscow’s so-called Khrushchyovka tenement buildings. These are low-cost three- to five-storied houses built quickly and cheap during the Khrushchev era to address the dire housing shortages of the 1960s. According to the story, the planners knew they would serve only for a few decades, but that would not matter all that much because by that time there would be Communism and everything would be perfect anyway. No Communism materialized, but presently the Moscow government under Mayor Sobyanin has initiated a program to tear them all down and erect new buildings where flats with title will be given for free to house the 1.5 million present residents of those buildings slated for replacement. – Well, that’s sort of Communism, isn’t it? – This kind of wishful thinking must have kept the globalist elite going, too. Unfortunately for the dreamers, though, their plans hit a snag in form of Russia and China.

Central bank fueled asset bubbles

Russia is low in debt, but you can’t say the same about the US and other Western nations. And that debt really is what got the world in the present mess and brought it teetering on the brink of financial collapse. Since the late 80s, the US central bank, the Federal Reserve under Alan Greenspan developed an addiction to cure any downward tick on Wall Street with easy credit, eventually requiring after every downturn ever bigger central bank liquidity injections to keep the stock indices on a growth curve. Greenspan was experimenting with a policy aimed at creating a “wealth effect” aka “trickle-down.” The idea being that Wall Street bankers and big corporations be stuffed with all the free money they can swallow for the purpose of keeping stock and bond prices high. The theoretical frame told that doing so something would eventually trickle down to the real economy, and everybody would live happily ever after. After stocks and bonds, Greenspan’s wealth effect policy was addressed to inflate home prices and all real estate with that. That was the road that eventually led to the 2008 subprime loan crisis, which took down Lehman Brothers and then all of Wall Street and the whole global economy.

But Wall Street recovered soon, because Greenspan’s successor Ben Bernanke had set forth to blow up an even bigger asset bubble. And the Europeans followed suit. The Fed fueled the market frenzy with creating money out of thin air (aka quantitative easing) in favor of governments, banks and corporations to the tune of $3.5 trillion in the decade following the 2008 collapse.

The European Central Bank has done the same for Europe in volumes more than 2.5 trillion euro to date. All the other Western central banks joined the gambling by flooding the markets with fiat money at same levels relatively speaking.

But anyway this astronomic leverage and the humongous budget deficits of the Western countries didn’t get the real economy anywhere. They have blown up asset bubbles of phantasmagorical proportions with preciously little trickle-down. Since the pre-crash peak in October 2007, the broadest US stock index (Wilshire 5000) has gained 95% (on top of covering the nearly 60% crash from in between). In the same 12-year period industrial production (manufacturing, mining, energy, utilities) has grown only 5% combined over all those years. (*4) https://www.deepstatedeclassified.com/heres-what-happens-when-the-fed-cuts-rates/ Deduct – the in itself lossmaking – shale oil and gas and there is barely no growth left in the 12 years. In fact, the US manufacturing sector was in June still 1.6% below the pre-crisis peak in December 2007. (*5) https://www.deepstatedeclassified.com/industrial-production-is-punk/ So we have a 5% gain in the most important part of the real economy vs. 95% in stock market gambling. The absurdity of the stock market growth is further evidenced by the gap between growth of real final sales and stock valuations since 2007 peak. Since then, the former has grown on an average 1.6% per year, while the stock market has delivered annualized growth at levels of 15%. Total industrial production share of the GDP in the US has sunk to 18%. (For comparison, the figure for Russia was 32% and growing.)

Trickle-down, anyone?

It would be false to claim there has not been any trickle-down at all. Millions of people have kept their jobs because of it. But at the same time they have had their real wages squeezed and the overwhelming majority have seen their standards of living drop. Only massive loads of consumer credits and ultra-cheap mortgages have kept up an illusion of superficial prosperity among the middle classes. This debt-fueled prosperity and it’s cursory result, the artificial real estate asset bubble will prove a wolf in sheep’s clothing when the everything-bubble bursts.

There’s been another form of trickle-down, too, a much more real and actually beneficial one. By creating the debt-fueled illusion of prosperity, the Western central banks have actually subsidized China, Russia and all of the emerging world as they have flushed their export goods on the global markets where the Western nations have picked it all up on borrowed money. Thanks for that, though. At the same time, that has driven production costs up in the West with the consequence that their own industries have been priced out.

The humongous borrowings fail to produce GDP growth

Every year since the last bout of the crisis in 2008, growth of debt in the national economies of each Western country has far exceeded the growth of economic output measured as GDP. Below chart shows just how bad it has been in the US.

The debt and GDP growth curves started to diverge in the late 70s, but from 2000 debt has spiraled out of control delivering preciously little incremental GDP. Deduct the wasteful debt and wasteful spending and there would be no growth whatsoever.

Not only has there been no real GDP growth but even the nominal growth has to a crucial extent been provided for by means of the enormous government borrowings. We see from below table that that in each year from 2008 to 2017 even the nominal GDP growth has been less than the growth of government debt, with 2015 and 2015 as the only exceptions when they were on par.

In the peak crisis years 2008 and 2009, debt growth was a staggering 5.7 and 6.3 times that of GDP growth.

The debt game has been equally miserable all over the West, perhaps with the only exception of Germany, who has wisely refrained from participating, even when egged on by liberal economists calling Germany’s more prudent policy unfair to the gambling nations. Below chart shows how much more the Western governments have borrowed than produced economic growth. The chart covers years 2004 to 2013, but the trend has been the same ever since. GDP growth has been vastly less than the growth of the colossal debtberg.

Note Russia there as the shining exception.

Below chart ranks countries according to their debt burden relative to GDP. And again you see how debtless Russia is compared with the squandering nations.

These charts concerned only government debt, when we add private debt to it, the picture is doubly worse. From the point of view of a national economy it really doesn’t matter in which form the excess debt expands, public or private. In fact, on an average in the West the situation with household debt is equally dire. Below chart tells you just how bad. And again note Russia as the one shining exception.

And it’s no better with corporations, which have throughout the last decade been enjoying mindboggling levels of central bank largesse in form of virtually unlimited interest-free financing. For example, compared to earnings, US bond issuers are about 50% more leveraged now than in 2007. (*6) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-24/corporate-debt-risk-flash-crash

Finally, there is the black hole containing trillions and trillions of bankers derivative risks. Deutsche Bank – which was recently placed in emergency care – alone is said to have 49 trillion dollars in exposure to derivatives. These risks alone could take down the whole global financial system. (*7) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-07-20/bank-49-trillion-derivatives-exposure-melting-down-our-eyes

First no real interest, then on to negative yields

One of the many deadly side effects of the central bankers’ practice on gambling with the national economies is that they first eliminated real interest rates (pushed rates below inflation) and then doubled down on the destruction of sound economic principles by cooking up a system with negative yielding bonds (bonds which yield below zero). By now $30 trillion of the $60 trillion US bond market yield below inflation (no real interest) and nearly $17 trillion worth of bonds are in negative yield territory. That’s mostly made up by sovereign debt of Japan and European governments (12 at the moment) but recently the mass of negative yielding corporate bonds has also doubled to $1.2 trillion. Half of the $5 trillion worth of European government bonds sport a negative yield as well as 20% of European investment grade corporate bonds.

Inflation risk

Normally, this kind of excess liquidity artificially put on the market (aka money printing) would have led to high inflation if not hyperinflation. Several factors have helped to keep prices in check. First, it needs to be pointed out, though, that inflation is actually a lot higher than what the government reports. This has been pretty convincingly proven in the case of the United States. (See, for example, (*8) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-17/cpi-constantly-understates-inflation-why-will-lead-catastrophe?fbclid=IwAR0byF4lMciG77ItFvkFhftV9qEnkXAuKaj9oYLmnZn5c8C4ds4E8mie7rk). Official statistics may not see it, but people sure feel it.

Secondly, the asset price bubbles in real estate and financial markets in fact represent inflation, it’s just not officially recorded as such. As it is only the 10% (and increasingly, the 1%) who get the money, they spend it on the stuff that counts for them, stocks and real estate. Keeping their loot offshore also helps to dampen inflation at home. The squeeze on the middle classes and stagnating wages, is sadly an important factor in keeping inflation down. Ordinary people just can’t afford to buy.

One should also note, that resulting from the illusionary debt-fueled prosperity and its effect on keeping the local Western currencies artificially high, there has actually been an inflation in wages and production costs, but only in relative terms in comparison with the emerging world. This in turn has led to further offshoring of manufacturing jobs.

A crucial factor, which in the crazy money printing environment has kept consumer goods from hyperinflating has been imports from the emerging Asia and especially China. Huge growth of the Chinese manufacturing industry coupled with massive influx of cheap labor from the rural countryside into the cities enabled China for a couple of decades to constantly increase its exports to the US and Europe and these countries to keep prices down. (Including by domestic industries having to lower prices in competition). With the Trump trade wars and dramatically increasing protectionism, this will change. And it could get very ugly.

Finally, there is an important consideration that few if anyone seem to understand. That is the fact that the US and other Western countries have been able to print the stupendous amounts of money while keeping rates down and without the currency values crashing only because they enjoy local currency monopolies in their respective territories. The USD has of course been enjoying a global monopoly, but that is fast fading. All the other factors mentioned above (and several other ones), have enabled to prop up and prolong these currency monopolies, but there is a limit to everything. In the coming recession, I would expect some of the lesser currencies to lose their monopoly trust and that would shatter the position of the bigger currencies USD and Euro and force them to raise interest rates. I have earlier written more in detail about this in a report titled How the Dollar and Euro Monopolies Destroyed the Real Market Economy. https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/dollar-euro-monopolies-destroyed-market-economy/

The below chart suggests that the Western countries are already on the way to lose their respective currency monopolies. The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) now have a combined GDP (measured in PPP, which is the only correct way to measure the relative size of national economies) larger than not only the G7 countries, but the US and Eurozone economies combined.

At its foundation in 1973, the G7 countries had a combined GDP PPP of 50% of the world economy, by today it is down to 30%. In the same time the nominal GDP share of world economy has crashed from 80% to 40%. The currency monopolies came with the economic superiority, it is therefore only natural that with the economic domination goes the currency domination, too. If we haven’t reached the tipping point yet, then that will happen within 5 to 10 years.

In summary, everything else unchanged, the risk of inflation picking up with just a few percentage points could have the entire Western financial systems coming crashing down due to the pressure on interest rates growing. The Fed and the ECB are continuously speaking about their inflation targets and how they want to pump the markets with more liquidity to raise inflation. There could yet be a big surprise in store for them. Interest rates as such could also be the primary trigger (even without inflation first rising), as nations would have to protect their currencies and attract financing for their colossal debtbergs.

Must add as a P.S. that the incipient flight to gold might well be one of the trigger events for those currencies to lose their monopolies. (Gold price is up 20% since May).

Deleveraging will come

These massive borrowings have delivered nothing of tangible value. Now, when the party is nearly over all there is left are the debt bubbles that have hit the roof. The real values of all the assets below bear no relation to the money that went into inflating the balloons. What’s left is economic hardship for 80% of the people, a crumbling infrastructure and simmering social tensions.

The debt saturation point has been reached, therefore this time it will be different, the central bankers have lost their magic wand and won’t be able to renew the debt binge and extend it with one more decade. Instead, there will be a day of reckoning. Governments and corporations will have to put their act together and let the market weed out the failed entities. Those who cannot carry the debt, will have to shed it. There will be bloodbath with defaults, bankruptcies and massive unemployment. – Perhaps a revolution here and there. – There will be no choice, deleveraging must happen.

Now, whether this system will come crashing down or just slowly die as it trundles downhill will not matter all that much. It will eventually die either way. Most people would prefer the slow motion option, but only with the crash would a cure come. Whatever, it has become increasingly difficult to stave off the crash and this time around, the financial markets would take the real economy down with them big time.

The impressive figures on Russia

The question then is, who would be left standing? Naturally, those who are less leveraged. Now, scroll back to have a new look at the above charts on government and household debt. Find the position of Russia there? That’s right. Russia is the country with – by far – the least debt, both public and private. Having after 2014 following sanctions been cut off from the Western debt orgy, even Russian corporations are shielded against a possible Western debt apocalypse.

In a global recession, no country is safe, but Russia looks to have quite a lot going for it in terms of economic advantages. Russia’s national balance sheet is next to none with by far the lowest debt of all major countries. All economic actors, the government, corporations and households are economically solid and minimally leveraged. Not only is the government virtually debtless, but it has again replenished its spectacular forex and sovereign wealth fund reserves. On top of that comes a hefty budget surplus. – Yes, you heard that right, surplus. In a time when all Western countries are in a chronic fight against deficits, you rarely even hear the term budget surplus. And more, Russia runs the world’s third biggest trade surplus. Add to that the current account surplus, and there’s the hat trick in form of your classic triple surpluses. Russia has a lot more going for it, too, as we will see.

Let’s look at Russia’s present financial health report.

Thanks to import substitution (domestic production instead of imports to neutralize sanctions) Russia’s industrial production rose 2.6% year-on-year in June. (USA +1.1%, UK +0.8%, Japan -2.4%, Germany -5.9%). Above, we mentioned that US industrial production was up with as little as a cumulative 5% since 2008 to date. In the same period Russia’s industry grew 18% notwithstanding the hardships of sanctions and sharp drop in oil price. In fact, since 2014 when the sanctions were first imposed, Russia’s industry has grown 12%.

Russia’s merchandise trade surplus for the first half of 2019 was $93 billion, ranking third in the world after China and Germany and before South Korea. Imports were down by 3%, the other side of the coin of growing domestic manufacturing. Even when exports also were slightly down, lower imports will keep the surplus on track to reach levels near $200 billion for the full year, just under last year’s record $212 billion.

Q1 current account surplus clocked in at $33 billion, up 10% over the year.

In this connection, it might be helpful to remind that Russia’s economy is nowhere near as dependent on fossil fuel extraction as it is habitually believed in the West. In fact, oil and gas only account for 10% of Russia’s GDP according to World Bank statistics. (In 2017, total natural resources share of GDP was 10.7%, but that includes minerals and forest, too).

We also need to point out that Russia has an enormous strength by way of being the world’s most self-sufficient major country. Russia has the by far lowest level of imports relative to GDP of all countries, as evidenced by below table. It shows that Russia’s imports as a share of GDP was as low as 7.2%, while the corresponding level for Western European countries was between 30 to 40%. The extraordinary low levels of imports in a global comparison obviously signifies that Russia produces domestically a much higher share of all that it consumes (and invests), this in turn means that the economy is superbly diversified contrary to the claims of most so-called Russia experts.

Despite initial scares, inflation has remained low even when the VAT rate was from the new year raised from 18% to 20%. The rolling 12-month inflation runs at 4.6% but with the declining trend the full year inflation is expected to hit the central bank’s target 4%.

The job market continues strong with record low unemployment levels, while the job participation rate has not deteriorated (so no tricks here). The July reading of 4.6% translates to 3.4 million unemployed, which is low for a country with a population of 146 million. The strength of the labor market was underscored by an increase of real salaries by 3.5% by July. This while disposable income otherwise has remained subdued.

Whereas the US is combating persistent budget deficits (latest reading, a deficit of 4.5% of GDP) – likewise the EU countries – Russia mustered a huge budget surplus equal to 3.4% of the GDP by July this year.

Russia’s foreign exchange and gold reserves have also done a spectacular comeback reaching $520 billion.

The Russia sovereign wealth fund surged in July to reach a value equal to 7.2% of GDP.

Despite the wholesome macroeconomic environment and impressive figures, Russia’s GDP growth has been less than 1% so far this year (year-on-year 0.6% in Q1 and 0.9% in Q2). However, by the looks of it the fundamental economy seems to be growing and modernizing, while the drag on the growth comes from depressed household consumption. What’s more important, though, is that while Russia’s growth is hovering around the 1%, so is that of all of the Western world. (Accuse me of whataboutism if you will, but these things need to be put in perspective). Q2 growth in the Eurozone was 1.1%, with Germany even about to slide into recession. UK clocked in at 1.2% and Japan at 0.4%. (All figures, year-on-year). The US showed only 2% (revised down 28 August) even when fueled by a mountainous budget deficit set to reach $1 trillion for the fiscal year and despite all that easy money the Fed keeps pumping out. Only China remained firmly in growth territory with 6.2%.

But, the real conundrum is, how can Russia produce the same GDP as all the Western countries with their seemingly limitless injections of give-away money? How is it possible that all those trillions and trillions that the Western central bankers have thrown on the economy do not produce any real incremental economic output?

The big disadvantage Russia has compared with the Western countries is the exorbitant real interest rate that the central bank maintains. The steering rate is presently 7.25%, with inflation predicted to be 4%, that translates into a primary real interest of 3.25%. Compare that with the negative real interest – and even negative yields – of competitor countries. As, the Russian central bank has failed to create a real banking sector which would lend according to international standards to the country’s businesses, the ones that are lucky to get a loan at all would look to pay interest at the level of 15% of more (save the largest corporations). The Governor of the Russian Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina does not see this as a problem, though. She has said that instead she would pin her hopes on improving the countries investment climate (sic!). (She calls for improvement of corporate governance, development of human capital, and all kinds of nice things. That would sure do it). (*9) http://ibcongress.com/en/news/nabiullina-nazvala-glavnye-ogranichenija-dlja-razvitija-ekonomiki-rossii/

Just this week, Putin called a high profile meeting with Nabiullina, the minister for economic development Maxim Oreshkin, and the finance minister Anton Sulanov, to express his deep concern with the sluggish GDP growth and stagnating income. No doubt, that the depressed income is not only a drag on the economy but on the president’s popularity. There is only one quick fix for it. The government and the CBR must ditch their overzealous austerity programs. It’s good that Russia is not over leveraged with debt, but certainly some debt would be in order to finance the infrastructure and other national strategic development programs instead of ripping it off people’s backs. Free the funds for raising pensions and public service salaries instead. And most importantly, Nabiullina must lower the rates and not run real interests in excess of 3% when the rest of the developed world is in negative territory. There is no other quick remedy for raising people’s income. That’s Putin’s choice. Hope somebody tells that to him.

In conclusion, we are not saying that Russia would not be hurt by the coming recession, we merely express our confidence that Russia is among the world’s countries best placed to cope with it.

Jon Hellevig, originally from Finland, works and lives in Moscow since the early 1990s. By education lawyer and MBA, Hellevig first worked in Moscow as a financial controller for a Russia-American joint venture engaged in shipment of oil and later became founder together with Russian partners of a business administration and consulting firm. Hellevig has written several books on Russian taxation and labor law. From mid-2000, Hellevig has written books on philosophy and social practices. The combination of his experience of actual life and governance in Russia with the theoretical framework pushed Hellevig to engage in the public debate about Russia’s development path including by way of writing articles for the part of the media, which is interested in the truth. Having at least a working knowledge of seven languages (English, Russian, Finnish, Swedish, Spanish, German, and French), Hellevig has been able to follow first-hand the news across the Western hemisphere. Doing so, he realized a decade or so ago, that all the Western media in unison report the same stories about Russia and circulate the same fabricated scandals in the same words at the same time. Frustrated with the totalitarian style propaganda lies about Russia, Hellevig began to regularly produce fundamental analysis reports on the Russian economy in the wake of the sanctions that the Western powers imposed on Russia following the Ukrainian crisis in 2014

Georgian MP Calls for Recognition of Genocide by Russia

August 23, 2019

by Ruslan Ostashko

 Translated by Scott and captioned by Leo

If we got an impression that Euro-Georgian historical amnesia hit its limits, the next voice coming from Gabunistan proves us wrong. The head of the “Georgian Labour Party” Shalva Natelashvili called on the Parliament to adopt a resolution “On the historical and current genocide of the Georgian people.”

Our previous material based on online comments left by Europe-loving and Russia-hating representatives of Georgia published by PolitRussia.

After we posted the video, some commentators wrote that the comments bristling with ignorance and hatred were allegedly created by us. For the sake of hype, they say.

Well, here are the fresh words of not some anonymous Euro-Georgian inhabitant of the Internet, but the conscience of modern Georgian politics – Shalva Natelashvili.

Shalva Natelashvili: “The hard days are upon us, but no wreaths on the graves of the heroes, and no compassionate interviews would return us territories, won’t save our homeland and state, won’t be able to protect us from the expected worst threats, if the entire world does not recognize us as people who are victims of genocide. To do this, we must first recognize ourselves as such, which we still have not done,” Natelashvili said.

What is this person talking about? Let’s read the text of the resolution “On the historical and current genocide of the Georgian people,” which Natelashvili calls the Georgian Parliament to approve.

The Parliament of Georgia declares with all responsibility, to the entire world that the Georgian people, as a nation and as a state for thousands of years has been a victim of bloody, brutal attacks aimed not only at the seizure of the country or its parts, but also the physical destruction of the Georgian people, the elimination of its culture, religion, national identity. An obvious confirmation of this is historically known centuries-old invasions, among which the campaigns of Arabs, Persians, Khazars, Seljuks, Ottomans, Mongols, Iranians, and Turks followed by the physical destruction of millions of Georgians on ethnic grounds, as well as resettlement of millions of Georgians from their lands, and their forced settlement in other countries, and the sale of tens of millions of people as slaves, mainly in Asian markets.”

Take a note that Russians are not on the list of those who “genocided” Georgians in ancient times. Natelashvili had enough common sense here to not invent ancient history. He concentrated on inventing the modern history, because what he wrote in the next paragraph is enough to earn an isolation in a neuropsychiatric hospital.


Shalva Natelashvili: “Since 1801, the genocide of Georgian people has been carried out by the authorities of all formations of Russian Empire. This confirms by the abolition of Georgian statehood, the abolition of the autocephaly of the Church, the occupation, annexation in 1921, the seizure of the territories of independent Georgia and their transfer to the neighboring state, where millions of Georgians were forcibly assimilated, the loss of language, religion and culture. It is worth noting that in the war between fascism and bolshevism of 1941-1945, 400 thousand Georgians died out of a population of three million.”

Yes, Natelashvili refuses to admit that the Principality of Kartli, in whose honor the Euro-Georgians have recently renamed their country as Sakartvelo, pleaded with the Russian Emperor to take them in. And they did this on their knees. This traumatizes Natelashvili so bad that he has to come up with some nonsense.

[Historical note: in 1801 when the Principality of Kartli was accepted into the Russian Empire, its population was 40,000.]

Apparently the fact that proud Kartvelians crawled before the Russian Emperor in the knee-elbow position begging for our ancestors to save them from a real genocide, is so traumatizing for the nationalist Natelashvili that he is ready to escape into any nonsense. For example, the claim that Russia made Georgians to abandon their their language. Wait a minute, if Russia took the Georgian language away, in what language did riots in Tbilisi get squealed? Obviously, not in Russian or in English.

As for the “annexation in 1921,” somehow it turns out that after this terrible annexation the population of Georgia began to grow steadily.

 

The chart shows that the population of the Georgian SSR did not fall dramatically, even during the Great Patriotic war, which Gabunistan resident Natelashvili hypocritically calls the “war between fascism and bolshevism.” Forgetting that he, the liberal Natelashvili, actually was born only thanks to the victory of the USSR over the Nazis. That is, Euro-Georgian spits on heroism of his ancestors in order to pull the owl of genocide on the globe of harassment of Georgians by the Soviet authorities.

However, Natelashvili had even more nonsense.

Shalva Natelashvili: “Today, too, the policy of genocide is the leading strategy of the Kremlin’s policy towards the Georgian people. This is clearly confirmed by the bloody wars started by Russia in the 1990s in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region.”

Look at this, the Georgian Nazi even hypocritically denies Ossetians their ethnicity. He denies their right to exist. There is no South Ossetia for him. There is the “Tskhinvali region.”

*Clip starts* – 5:19

Georgian Labour Party posted a video of Natelashvili proudly yelling at two South Ossetian villagers below a hill, where he goes as far as telling them that this is Georgian territory, and that they are occupiers like the Russians. And makes claims that Georgians created the culture in this region, while the Ossetians migrated here from Central Asia. That Ossetians have no connection to the Caucasus whatsoever.

*Clip ends* – 6:23

How does this liberal Natelashvili differ from the nationalist Gamsakhurdia that initiated the wars in the 90s? He doesn’t differ a bit.

Back to genocide. According to Natelashvili, under the Russian Empire and in the USSR there was genocide, and this genocide is going on right now. But during the two hundred years while Georgia was a part of Russia, the Georgian population grew actively, and started declining only under the current nationalist and liberalism leadership.

[Image – On this chart, the Georgian population change is marked in red, Azerbaijan’s population in orange, and Armenian population in blue.]

This apparent contradiction doesn’t compute in this Tbilisi liberal head for the absence of any mental activity there. He continues:

Recognize as confirmed the historical and current genocide for the destruction of the Georgian people.”

Here on the final point I would even agree with Natelashvili. Do not be surprised, because the genocide of Georgians really exists.

It is carried out by all the authorities of non-sovereign Georgia, starting with Gamsakhurdia. That is why after 1991, the population of the former Georgian SSR started to decline. With this in mind, the proposal of the head of the “Labour Party” is actually an admission of guilt. And if you throw out all the nonsense about being occupied by Russia, and add to this the responsibility of the Euro-Georgian authorities for the decline of the republic, the resolution can be adopted.

Tbilisi, however, won’t accept any responsibility for the current state of affairs. This would be contrary to infantile nationalist discourse, in which the stupidity of Euro-Georgians and their unwillingness to live in peace with its neighbors is being blamed on anyone but themselves.

And after all that, they will resort to swearing at me in comments for calling their forgotten good not remembering ancestry of a kebab democracy, Gabunistan.

Moscow Mitch, Secret Russian Subs… and Russophobia Derangement

Image result for Moscow Mitch, Secret Russian Subs… and Russophobia Derangement

Finian Cunningham
August 11, 2019

Arch Republican Senator Mitch McConnell is being taunted by major US media outlets and at political rallies as a “Russian asset”. Meanwhile, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reports on “super-secret” Russian submarines which are “operating unseen” in British territorial waters.

The collapse in rational thinking among American and British political mainstream circles is highlighted by the rampant Russophobia. Such thinking is delusional, paranoid and ultimately horrifying at a time of heightened international tensions between nuclear superpowers.

First, let’s deal with the farcical furore over Senator McConnell being labelled a Russian asset. The Senate majority leader has been dubbed by US news channel MSNBC and the Washington Post as “Moscow Mitch” and “doing Putin’s bidding”. The monikers followed McConnell’s blocking of legislation aimed at tightening security of electoral systems ostensibly to prevent “foreign meddling”.

It’s not clear why McConnell objected to the proposed legislation. It seems he doesn’t agree with extra federal controls over state-level electoral systems. Also, he claims that hundreds of millions of dollars have already been spent upgrading electoral systems, and therefore additional expenditure is not warranted. He is a fiscal hawk after all.

Nonetheless, it is a preposterous leave of senses when paranoid Russophobia in US politics and media are inferring that McConnell’s opposition to the proposed electoral legislation is “evidence” that he is a Russian agent, by allegedly enabling Russian hacking into US elections.

At a recent political event in his home state of Kentucky, McConnell was heckled and booed by Democrat supporters chanting “Moscow Mitch, Moscow Mitch!” The protesters were wearing T-shirts and brandishing placards with images of McConnell donning a Cossack hat with Soviet-era hammer and sickles.

Understandably, the 77-year-old senator has reacted with aghast over the political attacks. He called it “modern-day McCarthyism” harking back to the Cold War years of Red Baiting. He even said it was worse that the past McCarthyism. And he has a point there.

McConnell’s exasperation is borne out of the complete irrational vacuousness of the accusations. The six-time elected lawmaker is the longest-serving Republican senator. He is a grandee of the traditionally rightwing party, with an “impeccable” record of being hawkish towards Russia and President Vladimir Putin.

How anyone can construe that good ole boy McConnell is a Russian stooge is too absurd for words. What the accusations do betray is the total derangement and politically illiterate condition of mainstream American political and media culture.

As Princeton Professor Stephen Cohen remarked in a recent interview Russophobia and paranoia over alleged interference in US politics has become a permanent mindset among too many American politicians, pundits, military-intelligence agencies and Democrat supporters. Cohen rightly deplores how the whole baseless narrative of “Russia-gate” continues with a life of its own, having not been finally made redundant after the two-year Mueller probe spectacularly failed to provide any substantive details or evidence.

Still, however, former FBI chief Robert Mueller in recent hearings before Congress was permitted to reiterate hollow accusations that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential elections and, he asserted, Moscow will do so again in the 2020 elections. This is simply doctrinal thinking which is, in turn, accepted as “fact” that Russia’s President Putin ordered an “interference campaign” to subvert American democracy. (Moscow has always vehemently rejected that.)

That’s why when someone as antipathetic towards Russia as Senate leader Mitch McConnell exercises relative sanity by rejecting the alleged need for more electoral security systems to “prevent foreign meddling” he is then assailed with hysterical accusations of being a “Russian asset”. The utter irrationality is self-reinforcing because of unhinged delusions about Russian malignancy. No evidence is required. It’s “true” because “we believe it is true”.

McConnell has hit back at his detractors by calling them “leftwing hacks” and “communists”. He made that conclusion by referring to the Democrats’ policy of seeking to expand free healthcare for American citizens. He proudly called himself the “Grim Reaper” who would protect America from a “socialist agenda”.

This inane back and forth demonstrates how dumbed down American political culture is. Increasingly bitter partisan accusations and slander are flying around based on no facts, no evidence, no reason, nor any intelligent understanding about policy, history or political philosophy.

But, lamentably, at bottom the crazed political discourse relies on an embedded Russophobia. Russia is viewed as evil and malicious, by both sides of the political coin. Rather than addressing inherent problems in American society, the discourse finds a common false explanation – blame it on Russia or association with presumed communism. The Cold War nihilism of American politics and propaganda has never stopped. It’s just become more delusional and divorced from any semblance of reality. In this context, the modern-day Russophobia is perhaps more dangerous because of its irrationality and evidence-free doctrinal thinking.

Which brings us to the “super-secret” Russian submarines that are stalking Britain, according to the Daily Telegraph. The so-called report (more accurately, psy-ops piece) is a must-read for exposing the delusional anti-Russia paranoia that the British political class have in common with the Americans.

“A new breed of super quiet Russian submarines are feared [sic] to be operating unseen [sic] in British territorial waters, according to military sources [sic],” the Telegraph claimed.

The sources were, as usual, anonymous, betraying that the Telegraph was being used, as it often is, as a conduit for British intelligence propaganda.

Not one scrap of evidence was presented to substantiate these “fears” of “unseen” Russian submarines. Supposedly, the “unseen” vessels are “proof” of how dastardly and stealthy those damn Russians are. The point of the article was to deliver a public message for more military spending on Britain’s Royal Navy.

What makes it possible for the Daily Telegraph to publish such bogeyman rubbish is because of the systematic inculcation of Russophobia among many, but not all, Britons.

As with its American counterpart, British political culture has become degenerate and depraved. It is the equivalent of medieval sorcery and “magical thinking”. Standards of proof, reason and due process have been abandoned. It’s like a regression to pre-Enlightenment times. The fact that the US and Britain possess nuclear arsenals aimed at Russia makes the deranged thinking of their political class a truly frightening prospect for the entire world.

The One People Americans Are Encouraged to Hate

July 30, 2019

by Yvonne Lorenzo for The Saker Blog

The One People Americans Are Encouraged to Hate

How would you react if you read the following statements and found that they were spoken by government employees who are part of the American Deep State and have a great deal of power over the nation and you? Wouldn’t the prejudice appall and disgust you?

“I do always hate the Israelis,” Lisa Page, a senior FBI lawyer on the Israel probe, testified to Congress in July 2018. “It is my opinion that with respect to Western ideals and who it is and what it is we stand for as Americans, Israel poses the most dangerous threat to that way of life.” As he opened the FBI’s probe of the Trump campaign’s ties to Israel in July 2016, FBI agent Peter Strzok texted Page: “fuck the cheating motherfucking Israelis… Bastards. I hate them… I think they’re probably the worst. Fucking conniving cheating savages.” Speaking to NBC News in May 2017, former director of national intelligence James Clapper explained why US officials saw interactions between the Trump camp and Israeli nationals as a cause for alarm: “The Israelis,” Clapper said, “almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Israeli technique. So we were concerned.”

Of course, readers of The Saker know that the officials quoted never actually made those remarks about the Israelis; nor did they express their hatred of Germans, Saudi Arabians, Turks, French, Libyan, Congolese, Somalians, Germans, Italians, British, Canadians, Greeks, or even Chinese.

No; the actual nation and people named were the RussiansHere is the link to the original excellent piece published in The Nation. Yet it seems perhaps not with a touch of irony the speakers were engaging in projection and discussing themselves, the so-called America elites.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember how I found The Saker, originally not on this official site of his but at his Blogspot blog. Yet as an American slowly waking up to the terrible truths of the corruption and destructive actions engaged by the American government and its “Deep State” from reading LewRockwell.com (where I later became a contributor to Lew’s site via this link) and supporting Ron Paul, I was horrified to discover that American “fair play” was only an illusion. Nevertheless, I am astonished by the hatred that I quoted. In this time of extraordinary oppression against any individual who dares challenge certain dogmas, that is to say if anyone is White and a true follower of the Way of Jesus Christ especially, for example, as The Saker himself wrote recently on the whole homosexual brouhaha here, then the full force of the establishment, the powers that be, will be brought to bear—your employment, perhaps your life would be at risk. Not that Lisa Page or Peter Strozk would ever dare to criticize Israel, or look into the mirror and see themselves as they truly are, but if they did, they’d probably be taken to a CIA black site and waterboarded for their troubles.

A few years ago, I was truly haunted by a photograph posted on the Saker’s site of a beautiful young woman and her infant child; I can’t recall the link yet I believe the post was by a Saker contributor. The two were murdered by shelling from the Neo-Nazi Ukrainians. I wonder why Putin in his interview with Oliver Stone didn’t, in his usual calm yet convincing manner, discuss the terrible loss of life and the tens of thousands of refugees, the human suffering caused by the American Empire, for after all Victoria Nuland admitted that billions were poured into Ukraine in support of “regime change.” Nevertheless, what astonishes me is the complete lack of empathy, in fact the evident enjoyment in wreaking havoc and death around the world on the part of America’s political class especially.

Meanwhile, back in America, America itself is breaking apart at the seams. How can one maintain an empire when the empire itself is built on sand? As Boyd D. Cathey noted in his piece “Is It Time for America to Break Apart?”:

“There are then, palpably, two Americas. They still use the same language, but they are increasingly incapable of communicating with each other. Almost weekly words and terms are redefined beyond comprehension, and those ‘devil terms’ have become the modern equivalents of linguistic hydrogen bombs deployed by the progressivists. They illustrate what political theorist Paul Gottfried has called a ‘post-Marxist’ praxis that has actually moved beyond the assaults of cultural Marxism towards a new and imposed template.

“No dissent from this template is permitted in our society. If it demands you call black, white; then you must comply, or suffer the consequences. If your eyes tell you one thing, but the collective media and elites tell you something else, ‘who you gonna believe, them or your lying eyes’?”

I shared the Nation piece, since the news of the statements by the corrupt Page and Strozk were new to me, with The Saker and SmoothieX12, Andrei Martyanov who posted about it on his blog. I think this insight Martyanov offers is important but not the full picture.

He writes, “It is always funny to read about ‘values’ and ‘ideals’–if that ‘way of life’ continues, the end-result will be precisely [the] total elimination of everything of true value [the] combined West ever produced with the US Constitution being shredded to pieces. Ah, wait, I forgot–these are the thoughts of people who are directly involved in [a] criminal coup attempt, which by definition is anti-constitutional and violates this very same ‘way of life’ these people allegedly try to protect. One has to have, of course, [an] appreciation of their fever-pitch hatred of Russians and, what matters here, this is not private, [not] an exception that is, attitude. It is not a secret that [a] very large strata of US policy-makers is afflicted by Russophobia. A large part of this Russophobia, apart from being racial–you know, dirty Slavs and all that jazz–is very much a suppressed complex of inferiority. Throughout all 20th and 21st century not only Russia presented itself as an inconvenient impediment to America-the-savior-of-humanity narrative, but Russia remains the only nation which can remove the United States from the map and can conventionally defeat any combination of forces the United States can assemble. This simple fact makes many in US ‘elite’, which is largely ignorant on the issues of real war, very uncomfortable.”

In due time, I hope to have soon a conversation to be published with The Saker on the topic of Christianity in general and Orthodox Christianity in particular; while SmoothieX12’s secular commentary and observations are entirely correct, I truly believe something far more sinister is taking place. On display in these Russophobic statements is a malevolence, not just willful blindness, fear or arrogance. Is this an Adobe Photoshopped manipulated image or truly the real face and eyes of Peter Strozk taken during his Congressional testimony? What do believers see when they look at this?

Peter Strozk

Philip Giraldi wrote about Jeffrey Epstein and his connections to the rich and powerful “elites” and likely intelligence agencies here at Unz.com and also here on the Strategic Culture website. Aside from the intelligence angle, Vanity Fair discusses the people Epstein “collected” in this article:

“Epstein remained a fixture in elite circles even after he was a registered sex offender. A few years ago, for example, he was a guest at a dinner in Palo Alto hosted by LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman for the MIT neuroscientist Ed Boyden. At the dinner, Elon Musk introduced Epstein to Mark Zuckerberg. (‘Mark met Epstein in passing one time at a dinner honoring scientists that was not organized by Epstein,’ Zuckerberg spokesman Ben LaBol told me. ‘Mark did not communicate with Epstein again following the dinner.’)…

“One source who’s done business with Epstein told me that Epstein’s 21,000-square-foot townhouse on East 71st Street welcomed a steady stream of the Davos crowd in the past decade. The source said Bill Gates, Larry Summers, and Steve Bannon visited the house, which has been called one of the largest private residences in Manhattan. ‘Jeffrey collected people. That’s what he did,’ the source said. Gates and Summers did not respond to requests for comment.”

The site Vigilant Citizen, run by anonymous individuals who investigate the occult hallmarks of the Western “elites,” discussed Epstein on this post via this link and noted his connections to the rich and powerful along with occult symbolism on structures on his island:

The fact that a “temple” was built on an island known for extreme depravity is disturbing. However, when one fully understands the mindset of the occult elite, it makes perfect sense. It is all about symbolism and ritual.

For instance, the “temple” has a striking resemblance with Hammam Yalbugha – a Mamluk-era public bath located in Syria.

Why did Epstein model his “temple” on this specific building? Because of the symbolism attached to it. Indeed, the hammam is a classic example of architecture from the Mamluk era. In Arabic, the word “mamluk” literally means “property” and is used to designate slaves.

During the Mamluk era, children were captured by the ruling class to become slaves. Boys were usually trained to become soldiers while girls were groomed to become the personal concubines of their masters. Considering the fact that Epstein island was used to import child sex slaves for the elite, the symbolism is perfectly fitting.

In order to give the “temple” an unmistakeable occult dimension, the building was adorned with golden statues representing gods (Neptune) and owl-like birds. The building is also surrounded by maze-like patterns, similar to those found in Islamic architecture.

To get a better feel of Epstein island, I suggest you view this drone footage which provides great shots of some truly bizarre elements.

Epstein Island Temple

Hammam Yalbugha Aleppo, Syria

In my opinion, something far worse is going on than fear and self-loathing within the souls of the rich and powerful who rule the Western world, not merely decadence. Global Western “elites” are malevolent sociopaths (although I suspect several of the individuals in the Russian “Fifth column” Saker writes about are as well); while America is disintegrating around them, these elites still can cause great mischief. Reader of my words who are Americans must do all they can to resist and challenge these monsters in power; for monsters they are. Yes, they are presumed innocent until proven guilty but the fact remains the armies they control have killed and maimed millions of innocents throughout the world, including children. That I as a believer I think there is something evil behind them and within them is not provable by the scientific method perhaps; but I trust that my concerns are valid. If the reader of my words is a believer, please pray.

Yvonne Lorenzo [send her mail] makes her home in New England in a house full to bursting with books, including works on classical Greece and by Mises, Murray Rothbard, Tom Woods, Joseph Sobran, and Lew Rockwell. Her interests include gardening, mythology, ancient history, The Electric Universe, and classical music, especially the compositions of Handel, Mozart, Bach, Haydn, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, and the Bel Canto repertoire. She is the author Son of Thunder and The Cloak of Freya.

Americans Are Consigning Themselves to the Trash Bin of History

Related image

July 26, 2019

Paul Craig Roberts

Image result for paul craig roberts

The Democrats are even more insane than I thought.  The Trump-hater Nadler had a press conference with other Trump-hating Democrats and claimed, despite the absence of any evidence from Mueller, that Trump is a criminal.  Reassured by this certitude, the Democrats will continue their impeachment investigation, says Nadler.  

Among the most crazed elements of the Democrats, Mueller is no longer the hero. Mueller sold out to Trump in order to protect himself, as Trump was going to have Mueller assassinated if Mueller did not clear him.  This conspiracy theory comes from those who ridicule skeptics of the official 9/11 story and various of the school shootings. The dastardly Mueller, more concerned with protecting himself than with cleansing the government of the Trump evil, suppressed the evidence of Trump’s guilt in order to save his own ass.  

Image result for Americans Are Consigning Themselves to the Trash Bin of HistoryIn other words, the Democrats, deserted by their hero, cannot let go of the orchestration we call “Russiagate.”

It is enough to drive a person to despair that among the abundant evidence of American election interference, no attention is given by Democrats to interference by the Israel Lobby, the pharmaceutical lobby, the oil lobby, the Wall Street Lobby, the military/security complex lobby.  Sheldon Adelson, a single individual with a fortune from casino gambling of $33 billion, 300 million dollars, has more clout on the outcome of US presidential elections than Putin. These few lobbies mentioned above have resources berween them in excess of the GDP of Russia.  It is totally impossible for Russia to outbid them.

Assume that Russia, whose Gross Domestic Product is overshadowed by the resources of the Forbes 400, would try to compete with, for example, the Israel Lobby, in determining US foreign policy.  If Russia could compete with the Israel Lobby in controlling American political outcomes, would the Middle East have been destroyed by Washington, with millions of displaced and dispossessed refugees overrunning all Western countries? Surely not. Is Russia happy that the destabilization of the Middle East threatens the Muslim provinces of the Russian Federation with jihadists? Obviously not.  Nevertheless, the instability that Washington has introduced into the Western world serves the rise of Russia and China, not America and its empire. 

One has to wonder how it serves the image and power of the United States to be portrayed, as it is portrayed, as fighting Israel’s wars for domination of the Middle East. How does the world avoid seeing the US of A as a two-bit vassal of Zionist Israel? Doesn’t Trump’s national security advisor, John Bolton, and Trump’s Jewish son-in-law make this perfectly clear every day? The President of the United States is nothing but the punk two-bit vassal of Zionism.

The US Department of State formerly was in the hands of “Arabists.”  Today it is in the hands of Zionists. Washington in its total incompetence has alligned with a tiny percentage of the population against the majority in the Middle East. This will come to no good result.

Zelenskii’s dilemma

 • JULY 25, 2019

The recent elections to the Ukrainian Rada have yielded two most interesting results:

First, almost all the nationalist parties failed to get even one representative elected to the Rada (Poroshenko’s and Timoshenko’s parties did get some seats, but only 25 each)

Second, for the first time since the independence of the Ukraine, the country’s President will have an absolute majority in the Rada.

These are the results as reported by the Unian information agency:

The Servant of the People Party with 43.17% remains in the lead. The Opposition Platform – For Life Party ranks second with 13.01%, Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna Party ranks third with 8.18%, Petro Poroshenko’s European Solidarity Party has 8.11%, and Svyatoslav Vakarchuk’s Holos (Voice) Party has 5.83%. All the other parties failed to get a representative into the Rada.

Also of interest is the score of the “Opposition Platform – for Life” party (Rabinovich, Boyko, Medvedchuk) which got a total of 44 seats.

In plain English what this means is that the war parties have suffered a crushing electoral defeat.

One might be forgiven in thinking that this is fantastic news for Zelenskii, but in fact it is quite the opposite: this election result creates an extremely dangerous situation for him.

Why the outcome of elections is extremely dangerous for the Ukraine

The first thing that we need to remember is while the neo-Nazis suffered two crushing defeats in a row (in the Presidential election and in the Parliamentary elections), they have not somehow magically disappeared. Here is the key factoid which we must never forget:

The Nazi-occupied Ukraine is not a democracy, but a plutocracy combined with an ochlocracy.

In plain English this means that the Ukraine is ruled by oligarchs, mobs and death squads.

The entire Euromaidan is nothing more than the overthrow of one oligarchic gang by a combination of other oligarchic gangs which used neo-Nazi mobs to seize power. The fact that the USA and the EU backed this typical neo-Nazi coup really means very little: the West has always sided with anybody and everybody who is in some way against Russia. This has been true since the Middle-Ages and it is still true today (I would even argue that Hitler’s rise to power was yet another operation by the Anglosphere to try to control the European continent and the fact that eventually the Nazi golem turned on its intended masters, does not change that).

The oligarchs are still there, as are the neo-Nazis mobs and death squads. And that creates an immense problem for Zelenskii: this new Rada might well represent the views of a majority of the Ukrainian people, but the real power in the country is not concentrated in the Rada at all: it is in the streets.

Legally speaking, Zelenskii does have the tools to crack down on the oligarchs and the neo-Nazis, but in practical terms he has nothing. Okay, maybe not quite “nothing”, but whatever power he has is rooted much more in the fact that he has the backing of the ultimate Uber-oligarch Kolomoiskii (whom many consider to be the real “president” of the Ukraine, Zelenskii being nothing more than a puppet). Not only that, but Kolomoiskii has many scores to settle with Poroshenko’s gang, and we can be pretty sure that he will want to his enemies to pay for what they did to him under the previous regime.

So let’s sum it up.

The people of the Ukraine desperately want peace. For the time being, the Rada reflects this overwhelmingly important fact. I say “for the time being” because what will happen next is that the various forces and individuals who currently support Zelenskii have done so just to gain power. They do not, however, have a common ideological platform or even a common program. As soon as things go south (which they will inevitably do) many (most?) of these folks will turn against Zelenskii and side with whoever can muster the biggest crowds and mete out the most violence.

In theory, Zelenskii could “go Putin” and crush the oligarchs. But Zelenskii is no Putin, to put it mildly. Furthermore, the true reason why the Ukrainian oligarchs hate and fear Russia is not because of some supposed Grand-Russian nationalism or imperialism, but because they want to keep the Ukraine in the same dysfunctional and very profitable condition in which this poor country has been kept since 1991. When Putin came to power and cracked down on the Russian oligarchs, the Ukrainian oligarchs looked in absolute horror at what was happening in Russia, and they decided to do whatever it takes to prevent that from ever happening in the Ukraine.

There is a well-known slogan in the Ukraine “Путин прыйдэ – порядок навэдэ” which can be translated as “Putin came and restored order”. This is the Ukie oligarch’s ultimate nightmare. As it so happens, it is also the AngloZionist Empire’s ultimate nightmare. Hence the apparently bizarre alliance between Anglos, Zionists and Nazis: they all fear that Putin will come and restore order to the Ukraine. Add to this the hallucinations of Hillary (“Putin wants to restore the USSR”) and Brzezinski (“Russia needs the Ukraine to be a superpower”) and you have a simple and all-encompassing explanation for what we have seen taking place in the Ukraine since the Euromaidan.

Interestingly, there are even indicators that Putin is very popular with a majority of the Ukrainian people (see hereherehere or here). This might, in part at least, explain why Poroshenko’s campaign was centered on the “either me or Putin” concept which, considering the crushing defeat suffered by Poroshenko, could suggest that Putin was the real winner of the last election or, alternatively, that folks only voted for Zelenskii as the least pro-war and the most anti-Poroshenko candidate: a kind of anti-anti-Putin candidate, at least while campaigning. Now that he got elected, Zelenskii quasi-instantly switched to the exact same rhetoric as what got Poroshenko so severely defeated. Why?

Because Zelenskiii is afraid that the neo-Nazi mobs and death squads will be unleashed against him at the very first opportunity. In fact, the neo-Nazis have already begun promising a new Maidan (see here or here).

Conclusion: Zelenskii has two options, both very dangerous

The truth is that Zelenskii has to choose between acting on the will of the people and face the wrath of the neo-Nazis or do the will of the neo-Nazis and face the wrath of the peopletertium non datur!

And if that was not bad enough, there is another factor making this even worse for Zelenskii: nobody can meaningfully help him.

Experience has already shown that the AngloZionists are long on promises and short on real action. In fact, we can be pretty sure that, besides more empty anti-Russian slogans, the West has very little to offer the Ukraine. And, frankly, the USA and the EU have enough very real problems to deal with to continue to waste time, energy and money on what Trump really would no doubt (privately) call a “shithole”, thereby overlooking the undeniable fact that the Ukraine is only a shithole because of the immense resources spent by the Empire to turn it into a shithole in the first place (in the Soviet times, the Ukraine was the richest and most prosperous Soviet republic).

In theory, Russia could help, of course. But we can rest assured that the neo-Nazis will immediately call for a new Maidan if Zelenskii makes any meaningful overtures to Russia. Their outraged screams will be further supported by an entire “choir” of no less horrified western politicians.

Right now Zelenskii talks the very same talk which Poroshenko, Timoshenko and the rest of the Nazi freaks talked. But he must realize that if he also walks the walk, then he will end up just as universally hated as Poroshenko is now. So what can he do?

The Ukraine desperately needs better relations with Russia, but that is impossible as long as there is a war going on in the Donbass. Furthermore, there is one question which now every Russian and Ukrainian politician has to answer: Whose is the Crimea? This is just about the most polarizing question right now, and one which forces every person to chose between the Empire (main sponsor of the “Crimea belongs to the Ukraine forever” reply) and Putin’s Russia (in which everybody except the most terminally stupid liberal politicians reply “Crimea belongs to Russia forever”).

So far, Zelenskii has apparently decided that talking is all he is going to do simply because his triumphant electoral victories have landed him in the middle of an immense minefield, and any steps he takes from now on could cost him very dearly. Right now, in the short term, the neo-Nazi mobs represent a much bigger danger to Zelenskii than the (disorganized, demoralized and generally apathetic) people. But this will inevitably change as the economic and political situation gets worse.

The sad reality is that the Nazi occupation of the Ukraine has turned the country into a prototypical failed state and that there are no signs of any kind indicating that things might get better, even marginally, for the foreseeable future. Personally, I am inclined to think that the “least bad” outcome for this entirely artificial country to begin with, would be to break up into several different parts, maybe joined by some kind of very loose confederation, possibly united by a common declaration of neutrality. Not only would that solve Ukraine’s artificiality problem, but it would also make it easier (including politically) for external actors (US, EU, Russia, UN, OSCE, EEU, SCO, etc.) to help those successor states which will form following the break-up of the current monolith.

For the time being Zelenskii appears to be dead set to repeat some of the worst mistakes of Poroshenko: the latest news is that the Ukies have now seized a Russian tanker. This is a truly fantastically stupid decision as we already know what Russia will do in retaliation: “inspect” (sometimes for many hours) Ukrainian ships thereby causing immense financial loses to the owners of these ships. Whether Zelenskii ordered this operation (or, at least, authorized it) or not is irrelevant. If he did – then he is just as stupid and clueless as Poroshenko. If he did not – then he is not in control. Either way, that’s just more trouble for Zelenskii already less than impressive debut as President.

Vladimir Putin Interview With Oliver Stone

Vladimir Putin Interview With Oliver Stone

South Front

22.07.2019

Vladimir Putin answered questions from American film director, screenwriter and producer Oliver Stone. The interview was recorded on June 19, 2019 in the Kremlin (source):

Oliver Stone: So, I interviewed Mr Medvedchuk. It was in Monte Carlo. He gave us a very interesting interview. He gave us his view of the Ukraine. I gather that you’re close with him.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: I would not say that we are very close but we know each other well. He was President Kuchma’s Chief of Staff, and it was in this capacity at the time that he asked me to take part in the christening of his daughter. According to Russian Orthodox tradition, you can’t refuse such a request.

Oliver Stone: Oh, you cannot refuse it?

I thought it was a big honour for you to be the godfather of his daughter.

Vladimir Putin: It is always a great honour to be a godfather.

Oliver Stone: Well, how many children are you godfather to?

Vladimir Putin: I will not give a number but several people.

Oliver Stone: Wow. Is it like a hundred or three hundred?

Vladimir Putin: No, no, are you serious? Certainly not. Just a few.

Oliver Stone: Otherwise I would ask you to be the godfather for my daughter.

Vladimir Putin: Does she want to become an Orthodox Christian?

Vladimir Putin Interview With Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone: Ok, we’ll make her that.

Vladimir Putin: You have to ask her.

Oliver Stone: As long as she stands in church, right?

Vladimir Putin: Of course. How old is she?

Oliver Stone: She is 22 now.

Vladimir Putin: Is she a believer?

Oliver Stone: Yes, she is a believer. She is raised Christian.

Vladimir Putin: I see.

Oliver Stone: You know, young people in America sometimes, they are different.

Vladimir Putin: Young people are different everywhere.

Oliver Stone: They are spoiled to some degree in the western world.

Vladimir Putin: It depends. The older generation always says that about the younger generation.

Oliver Stone: Yeah, I know, I know. That’s true. But I don’t know what is going on with the American culture. It’s very strange right now.

Vladimir Putin: Is there an American culture?

Oliver Stone: As you know, I’ve been very rebel all my life. Still am. And I have to tell you, I’m shocked by some of the behaviours and the thinking of the new generation. It takes so much for granted. And so much of the argument, so much of the thinking, so much of the newspaper, television commentaries about gender, people identify themselves, and social media, this and that, I’m male, I’m female, I’m transgender, I’m cisgender. It goes on forever, and there is a big fight about who is who. It seems like we miss the bigger point.

Vladimir Putin: They live too well. They have nothing to think about.

Oliver Stone: Yeah, but it’s not a healthy culture.

Vladimir Putin: Well, yes.

Oliver Stone: Years ago when we were talking about homosexuality, you said that in Russia we don’t propagate it.

Vladimir Putin: Not exactly. We have a law banning propaganda among minors.

Oliver Stone: Yes, that’s the one I’m talking about. It seems like maybe that’s a sensible law.

Vladimir Putin: It is aimed at allowing people to reach maturity and then decide who they are and how they want to live. There are no restrictions at all after this.

Oliver Stone: Ok. Mr Medvedchuk proposed recently, you know, a plan for solving the tensions in Ukraine between east and west. You know about this?

Vladimir Putin: To be honest, we do not talk so often. He has more free time than I do. But we meet from time to time, especially in connection with his efforts to get detainees released. He devotes much time to this.

He also told me something about his plans on Donbass but I do not know the details. At any rate, I consider it absolutely correct that he calls for direct dialogue with the people who live in Donbass. There is not a single example in recent history when a crisis was settled without direct contact between the sides to the conflict.

He says he thinks it is necessary to fully implement the Minsk agreements and I cannot help but agree with this as well. So, I know the elements of his proposals. He speaks about them in public and I agree.

Oliver Stone: Ok. They have a new president now. Has anything changed in Ukraine? Or still the same?

Vladimir Putin: Not yet. After all, the recent election was clearly a protest vote. A fairly large number of people supported the newly-elect President in central Ukraine, in the east and the south. And these are all people who sincerely seek a settlement in any event. During his election campaign President Zelensky continuously spoke about his readiness to do everything to solve this crisis. And then literally just yesterday, while in Paris, I think, he said suddenly he does not believe it is possible to hold talks with what he called separatists. This is clearly at odds with what he said during his election campaign.

Oliver Stone: So no change?

Vladimir Putin: Unfortunately, none for the time being.

Oliver Stone: Do you think there’s any revulsion? I mean, you were telling me about Ukraine and Russia. Do you think there is any reason for this hatred of Russia in Ukraine?

Vladimir Putin: You know, our relationship is not easy at the moment. This is the result of the grievous events linked with the coup d’état. The other part of this story is propaganda by the current government in Ukraine, which blames Russia for all the tragic events that ensued.

Oliver Stone: Well, historically, do you see these two countries coming together again?

Vladimir Putin: I think this is inevitable. At any rate, the cultivation of normal, friendly and, even more than friendly, allied relations is inevitable.

Oliver Stone: Yeah. Mr Medvedchuk would be a good liaison.

Vladimir Putin: I believe so. But our positions, our points of view, differ on many things. Mr Medvedchuk was born in the family of a man that was said to be convicted during the Soviet times for nationalist activities. He was born in Siberia, where his family and his father virtually lived in exile.

Oliver Stone: What’s the connection?

Vladimir Putin: Connection between what?

Oliver Stone: All this story to my question?

Vladimir Putin: The connection is that he has his own ideas about Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. For example, I believe that Russians and Ukrainians are actually one people.

Oliver Stone: One people, two nations?

Vladimir Putin: One nation, in fact.

Oliver Stone: You think it is one nation?

Vladimir Putin Interview With Oliver Stone

Click to see the full-size image

Vladimir Putin: Of course. Look, when these lands that are now the core of Ukraine, joined Russia, there were just three regions – Kiev, the Kiev region, northern and southern regions – nobody thought themselves to be anything but Russians, because it was all based on religious affiliation. They were all Orthodox and they considered themselves Russians. They did not want to be part of the Catholic world, where Poland was dragging them.

I understand very well that over the time the identity of this part of Russia crystallized, and people have the right to determine their identity. But later this factor was used to throw into imbalance the Russian Empire. But in fact, this is the same world sharing the same history, same religion, traditions, and a wide range of ties, close family ties among them.

At the same time, if a significant part of people who live in Ukraine today believe that they should emphasise their identity and fight for it, no one in Russia would be against this, including me. But, bearing in mind that we have many things in common, we can use this as our competitive advantage during some form of integration; it is obvious. However, the current government clearly doesn’t want this. I believe that in the end common sense will prevail, and we will finally arrive at the conclusion I have mentioned: rapprochement is inevitable.

Oliver Stone: I don’t think Mr Medvedchuk would agree. He would say: two nations, similar people. That what he would say, take a strong line on that.

Vladimir Putin: He doesn’t. That is what I am saying.

Oliver Stone: That’s what I’m saying. He does not agree.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, of course. This is what I am saying: our positions on some things, important ones, are different. But at the same time, he speaks in favour of establishing good relations with Russia in order to use these competitive advantages in the economy. He shows how today the Ukrainian economy is completely destroyed because it has lost the Russian market and, most importantly, cooperation in industry. Nobody needs Ukrainian industrial goods on Western markets, and that goes for agriculture too: very few goods are purchased. Round timber is in demand, but soon there will be no timber in Ukraine at all. It’s not like the vast expanses of Siberia.

For example, Europe often takes some steps towards Ukraine – or did so until recently – with, say, permitting purchases of round timber. And this is just one example. In fact, there are many more.

Oliver Stone: Well, someone told me today that Mr Medvedchuk’s party, For Life Party, is up 12 percent in the polls. So he is building a party that has a following, it seems to me.

Vladimir Putin: If so, that is good. To be honest, I don’t know. But if kit is true, that is good.

If so, we can only welcome this because he and his partners in the party stand for restoring relations with Russia. How could we not welcome that? Of course, we welcome it. I have known him for a long time. He keeps his word. If he says something, he does it.

Oliver Stone: So, he is a very courageous man, I think. His villa was bombed, his offices were bombed. He is under threat all the time. He is hanging in there, staying in his country.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, this is true because he has convictions. I mentioned that his father was a Ukrainian nationalist and was convicted by a Soviet court for this. Strange as it may seem but the founders, many founders of Ukrainian nationalism advocated good relations with Russia. They said good relations were necessary for the development of Ukraine itself.

Oliver Stone: When was that?

Vladimir Putin: This was in the 19th century. They came out for Ukraine’s independence but said that Ukraine must preserve good, friendly relations with Russia. Mr Medvedchuk adheres to similar ideas. This is why he has convictions. I may not agree with his position on something but I always respect it.

Oliver Stone: Yeah, two nations he says. When I hear the words “Ukrainian nationalism,” I get worried, because I think of Stepan Bandera and people who have convictions too.

Vladimir Putin: Me, too.

Oliver Stone: Ukrainian nationalism is dangerous too.

Vladimir Putin: In general nationalism is a sign of narrow-mindedness but I do not want to offend Mr Medvedchuk.

Oliver Stone: It’s words.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, but in any event, he is in the category of people who advocate independence, the consolidation of an independent Ukraine, but at the same time believe that it is easier to achieve this by pursuing cooperation with Russia. And I think he is largely right.

Oliver Stone: You’re very clear.

You talked about the coup d’état. Just want to revisit that because there has been a lot more research done. It seems that research has revealed that there were shooters, snipers at the Maidan. The forensics with the angle of shooting, bodies of the police and the protestors. It was all very badly investigated. Not at all really. But what evidence we have seems to point to there being, they say, Georgian shooters, people from Georgia. And I’ve heard that. Have you heard anything more on the Russian front?

Vladimir Putin: No but I know what you are talking about. I know that the authorities headed by President Yanukovych at that time did not use the army and were not interested in giving any excuse to the opposition to use force. And, as Mr Yanukovych told me repeatedly, it did not even occur to him to use force and the military against civilians, even against those who had already taken up arms. I completely rule out that he could have done this, but those who were looking for a pretext to stage a coup could have well done it, of course.

Oliver Stone: I remember you were telling me about the Obama phone call, Obama and you had an agreement that there would be no firing on the last day. And he gave you a promise that he would…

Vladimir Putin: You know, while Obama is no longer President, there are certain things we do not discuss in public. At any rate, I can say that the US did not follow through on the agreements that we reached during this phone call. I will stop there without going into detail.

Oliver Stone: Yes. So recently, you know Russia has been obviously accused and accused over and over again of interference in the 2016 election. As far as I know there is no proof, it has not turned up. But now in the US there has been an investigation going on about Ukraine’s interference in the election. It seems that it was a very confusing situation, and Poroshenko seems to have been very strongly pro-Clinton, anti-Trump.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, this is no secret.

Oliver Stone: Do you think there was interference?

Vladimir Putin: I do not think that this could be interpreted as interference by Ukraine. But it is perfectly obvious that Ukrainian oligarchs gave money to Trump’s opponents. I do not know whether they did this by themselves or with the knowledge of the authorities.

Oliver Stone: Where they giving information to the Clinton campaign?

Vladimir Putin: I do not know. I am being honest. I will not speak about what I do not know. I have enough problems of my own. They assumed Mrs Clinton would win and did everything to show loyalty to the future US administration. That is nothing special. They wanted the future President to have a good opinion of them. This is why they allowed themselves to make unflattering statements about Trump and supported the Democrats in every possible way. This is no secret at all. They acted almost in public.

Oliver Stone: You do not want to go any further on that because you do not have any information?

Vladimir Putin: You know, this would be inappropriate on my part. If I said something more specific, I would have to put some documents, some papers on the table.

Oliver Stone: You understand that it has huge implications because Mr Trump would be very grateful?

Vladimir Putin: I did not interfere then, I do not want to interfere now, and I am not going to interfere in the future.

Oliver Stone: But that is a noble motive. Unfortunately, the world has degenerated in these two years, with all this backbiting and accusations, dirty fighting. Anyway…

Vladimir Putin: There are no rules at all. It is no holds barred.

Oliver Stone: Well, you have rules. You say no interference.

Vladimir Putin: I have principles.

Oliver Stone: Ok. But you seem to have rules based on those principles.

Vladimir Putin: Well, yes.

Oliver Stone: Ok. Well, you are fighting with one hand tied behind your back.

Vladimir Putin: Why? You mean, because of these principles?

Oliver Stone: Yes. If you knew something about the election, it would tilt the balance in a very weird way.

Vladimir Putin: I think this is simply unrealistic. I have said so many times.

Oliver Stone: What is unrealistic?

Vladimir Putin: To change anything. If you want to return to US elections again – look, it is a huge country, a huge nation with its own problems, with its own views on what is good and what is bad, and with an understanding that in the past few years, say ten years, nothing has changed for the better for the middle class despite the enormous growth of prosperity for the ruling class and the wealthy. This is a fact that Trump’s election team understood. He understood this himself and made the most of it.

No matter what our bloggers – or whoever’s job it is to comment on the internet – might say about the situation in the US, this could not have played a decisive role. It is sheer nonsense. But our sympathies were with him because he said he wanted to restore normal relations with Russia. What is bad about that? Of course, we can only welcome this position.

Oliver Stone: Apparently, it excited the Clinton people a lot. The Clinton campaign accumulated the “Steele dossier.” They paid for it. It came from strange sources, the whole “Steele dossier” issue. Some of it comes from Ukraine. They also went out of their way, it seems to me, with the CIA, with Mr Brennan, John Brennan, and with Clapper, James Clapper, and Comey of the FBI. They all seem to have gotten involved, all intelligence agencies, in an anti-Trump way.

Vladimir Putin: They had levers inside the government, but there is nothing like that here. They applied administrative pressure. It always gives an advantage in countries such as the USA, some countries of Western Europe, about 2 percent on average, at a minimum.

Oliver Stone: Two percent? What are you talking about?

Vladimir Putin: Yes. According to experts, those with administrative pressure they can apply always have a 2 percent edge. You can look at it differently. Some experts believe that in different countries, it can vary, but in countries such as the United States, some European countries, the advantage is 2 percent. This is what experts say, they can be wrong.

Oliver Stone: I do not know. I heard of the one percent, but it seems to get more like 12 percent.

Vladimir Putin: That is possible, depending on how it is used.

Oliver Stone: Well, you are not disagreeing. You are saying that it was quite possible that there was an attempt to prevent Donald Trump from coming into office with a soft, I will call it a soft coup d’état?

Vladimir Putin: In the USA?

Oliver Stone: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: It is still going on.

Oliver Stone: A coup d’état is planned by people who have power inside.

Vladimir Putin: No, I do not mean that. I mean lack of respect for the will of the voters. I think it was unprecedented in the history of the United States.

Oliver Stone: What was unprecedented?

Vladimir Putin: It was the first time the losing side does not want to admit defeat and does not respect the will of the voters.

Oliver Stone: I would disagree. I would say it happened in 2000, that the Republicans lost the popular vote, they lost Florida, and they did not accept that, and they had a coup d’état in their way, a soft coup d’état also. And they put Bush in.

Vladimir Putin: But this was a court decision, as far as I remember.

Oliver Stone: Yeah, in a way, but the court decision was blocked. There was a vote going on. And if you remember the Brooks brothers’ riot, all those Republicans rushed to electoral offices in Miami, and they prevented the vote from going through in a county, in one of those major counties. It was a key factor. It was not like the Russian revolution. It was a minor event, but it was big. It shifted the momentum, totally. I remember that night. Then they referred it to the Supreme Court. Also, and the same thing in January 2017, when the intelligence assessment was released, what was it, January 7th,, a few days before Trump was to be inaugurated, the intelligence assessment actually said that the intelligence agencies suspected Trump would have been colluding with Russia. That is even bigger. That is an attempt at a coup d’état, because the electors in America still had the right to overturn the election vote.

Vladimir Putin: This is what they call unscrupulous application of administrative pressure.

Oliver Stone: Ok, ok, ok. Well, listen, it seems to be going on a lot more than we know. Talking about America and Russia, I have not seen you since the Kerch Strait. Any comments on that?

Vladimir Putin: No, I do not, as we have repeatedly said. The former President, Mr Poroshenko, staged this provocation intentionally during the election campaign. He was aware that people in the country’s east and south would not vote for him, and he used this provocation to escalate the situation and then declare a state of emergency there. I have reason to believe that he was going to declare a state of emergency in the entire country, and possibly to postpone the election as a result. Generally speaking, he was trying to hold on to power at all costs, and he was seeking any means to execute this plan. This was the regime’s death throes.

As far as I remember, recently the newly appointed Chief of the Ukrainian army’s General Staff has made a statement that offers roughly the same interpretation of events but perhaps using milder language.

Oliver Stone: Who gave that interpretation?

Vladimir Putin: Chief of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Oliver Stone: Ok, but beyond Poroshenko, the United States has a shadow here. The United States knows what he is doing, and supported it.

Vladimir Putin: Absolutely.

Oliver Stone: It is the creation of a strategy of tension that worries me enormously. I have seen this happen in so many places now. I think I read on Monday, the Russian bombers, the Russian SU-57 escorted, what was it, the B-52 bomber, a nuclear bomber, US bomber, close to the Russian borders.

Vladimir Putin Interview With Oliver Stone

Click to see the full-size image

Vladimir Putin: The Su-57 aircraft are just entering service. This is a fifth-generation jet fighter. It was the Su-27 that was mentioned.

Oliver Stone: Do you think that is normal?

Vladimir Putin: Actually, it is sad, probably, but this is common practice. US aircraft did not enter our airspace, and our aircraft did not conduct any high-risk maneuvers.

But generally speaking, this is not great. Just look where the Baltic or Black seas are located, and where the USA is. It was not us who approached US borders, but US aircraft that approached ours. Such practices had better stop.

Oliver Stone: In this continuing strategy of tension, there was a report in The New York Times last week that the Obama Administration, before they left office, put in what they call a cyber warfare device. It was inserted in Russian infrastructure in January 2017.

Vladimir Putin: This is being discussed almost openly. It was said Russia would be punished for interfering in the election campaign. We do not see anything extraordinary or unexpected here. This should be followed closely. That is the first thing.

The second is I believe that we only need to negotiate how we are to live in this high-tech world and develop uniform rules and means of monitoring each other’s actions. We have repeatedly proposed holding talks on this subject to come to some binding agreement.

Oliver Stone: Continuing that theme of strategy of tension, how is Russia affected by the US-Iranian confrontation?

Vladimir Putin: This worries us because this is happening near our borders. This may destabilize the situation around Iran, affect some countries with which we have very close relations, causing additional refugee flows on a large scale plus substantially damage the world economy as well as the global energy sector. All this is extremely disturbing. Therefore we would welcome any improvement when it comes to relations between the US and Iran. A simple escalation of tension will not be advantageous for anyone. It seems to me that this is also the case with the US. One might think that there are only benefits here, but there will be setbacks as well. The positive and negative factors have to be calculated.

Oliver Stone: Yeah. Scary.

Vladimir Putin: No, this is not scary.

Oliver Stone: You sound very depressed, much more depressed than last time.

Vladimir Putin: Last time the situation concerning Iran was not like this. Last time nobody said anything about getting into our energy and other networks. Last time the developments were more positive.

Oliver Stone: The situation is worse now?

Vladimir Putin: Take North Korea, they have also rolled back a bit. Trade wars are unfolding.

Oliver Stone: Venezuela.

Vladimir Putin: Venezuela as well. In other words, regrettably, the situation has not improved, so there is nothing special to be happy about. On the other hand, we feel confident. We have no problems.

Oliver Stone: Well, you are an optimist, and always have been?

Vladimir Putin: Exactly.

Oliver Stone: You are a peacemaker.

Vladimir Putin: Absolutely spot on.

Oliver Stone: So obviously, you have to get together with the Americans, and the Chinese, and the Iranians. I know.

Vladimir Putin: Just do not put the blame on us. Lately no matter what is happening, we always get the blame.

Oliver Stone: Well, the irony is that Mr Trump came to office promising that he was not going to interfere in other countries. He made this overall strategy, he was against the wars that we have started, and ever since he has been in office, it has got worse. Why, one wonders? Is he in charge, or are other people pushing these agendas?

Vladimir Putin: I think he is against this now, too. But life is complicated and diverse. To make the right decision it is necessary to fight for what you believe in.

Oliver Stone: Yeah, conviction.

It is your fourth term, are you getting tired?

Vladimir Putin: No, if I had been tired, I would not have run for the fourth term.

Oliver Stone: Ok. Listen, can I find out something? Let’s take a pause. I just want to ask my director if he wants to ask any more things about Ukraine. Five minutes?

Vladimir Putin: The director always has the final word; after all, he is the one calling the shots.

Oliver Stone: Thank you.

I think we are fine.

Vladimir Putin: Very well. Are we done?

Thank you so much.

Oliver Stone: Thank you, sir.

Vladimir Putin: Are you going back to the States?

Oliver Stone: I am very worried about you.

Vladimir Putin: Why?

Oliver Stone:I can see there are so many problems. It weighs you down. It is sad to see. It is a tough situation.

Vladimir Putin: It is all right. We have seen worse.

Oliver Stone: Russian bombes in Syria. What has happened to Skripal? Where is he?

Vladimir Putin: I have no idea. He is a spy, after all. He is always in hiding.

Oliver Stone: They say he was going to come back to Russia. He had some information.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, I have been told that he wants to make a written request to come back.

Oliver Stone: He knew still and he wanted to come back. He had information that he could give to the world press here in Russia.

Vladimir Putin: I doubt it. He has broken the ranks already. What kind of information can he possess?

Oliver Stone: Who poisoned him? They say English secret services did not want Sergei Skripal to come back to Russia?

Vladimir Putin: To be honest, I do not quite believe this. I do not believe this is the case.

Oliver Stone: Makes sense. You do not agree with me?

Vladimir Putin: If they had wanted to poison him, they would have done so.

Oliver Stone: Ok, that makes sense. I don’t know. Who did then?

Vladimir Putin: After all, this is not a hard thing to do in today’s world. In fact, a fraction of a milligram would have been enough to do the job. And if they had him in their hands, there was nothing complicated about it. No, this does not make sense. Maybe they just wanted to provoke a scandal.

Oliver Stone: I think it is more complicated. You know, you think I am much too much of a conspiracy guy.

Vladimir Putin: I do not believe this.

Oliver Stone: I have seen things. I do.

Vladimir Putin: You should not. Take care of yourself.

Oliver Stone: Can we get a picture?

Remark: This is a great honour for us. Can we take a picture with you?

Vladimir Putin: With pleasure.

Anti-Russian ‘Protests’ in Georgia: Inexcusable, but Supported by the West

Image result for Anti-Russian ‘Protests’ in Georgia: Inexcusable, but Supported by the West

Anti-Russian ‘Protests’ in Georgia: Inexcusable, but Supported by the West

Dmitry Babich July 21, 2019

The recent wave of anti-Russian actions in the former Soviet republic of Georgia became an embarrassment even for the notoriously pro-Georgian Russian liberals, of whom there have always been plenty in Moscow. This time the supporters of the exiled former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili (a flamboyant Russophobe admired by the West, but wanted in his own native Georgia for corruption and for starting the war of 2008) disappointed even their ideological “claque” in Moscow.

“The fans of Georgia in Moscow were literally disarmed and made silent by none other than the Georgian TV anchor Giorgy Gabunia, who publicly insulted Vladimir Putin’s late mother on Georgian television, using unprintable words,” admitted Vladimir Vorsobin, a liberal Russian journalist, who spent the last two weeks in Georgia, trying to show the readers of Komsomolskaya Pravda (Russia’s largest newspaper by print circulation) by his example that this small post-Soviet country on the Black Sea coast was “safe for Russian tourists.”

Gabunia’s indecent stunt followed two weeks of ugly anti-Russian demonstrations, with lots of racist slogans, denouncing Russia, “the Russian Ivan,” calling Russians occupiers, etc. So, even the Russians’ patience started to wear thin, especially since these pogrom-like protests were not provoked by any new developments on the Russian side.

Indeed, on earlier occasions the organizers of Russophobic actions at least waited for some pretext. (For example, the brief five days’ war in August 2008, when Russia interfered after Saakashvili’s attack against South Ossetia, saving the small people of that former Georgian autonomy from ethnic cleansing by Saakashvili and Georgian nationalists.) This time, there was literally nothing from the Russian side: no new statements, laws or, heaven forbid, military actions. Nothing. What happened was that on June 20, 2019, a group of Russian parliamentarians came to the Georgian capital Tbilisi in order to attend the Interparliamentary Assembly of Orthodox Christianity (MAP). The rotating presidency of this group, which unites the parliamentarians of various Orthodox Christian countries (both Russia and Georgia belong to this Eastern branch of European Christianity), this year went to Russia. And it was Tbilisi’s turn to be the city host. So, the leader of the Russian parliamentarian delegation, a State Duma member Sergei Gavrilov, was invited by the hosts to take the chairman’s seat in the session hall of the Georgian parliament.

After Gavrilov took his seat, a real hell broke loose in the center of Tbilisi, leading to 240 injured (two people became one-eyed as a result of violence). The supporters of the ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, representing the largest opposition party United National Movement (UNM), violently removed Gavrilov from his seat and called on citizens to start a protest action. The sound of Russian language and the presence of a Russian deputy in a speaker’s seat were the only officially announced reasons.

“I killed Russians, I am killing them and I will kill them!” yelled one of the leaders of UNM, Akaky Bobikhidze from the tribune of the parliament after removing the “occupier” from there. His behavior was recorded for a YouTube video by the Georgian service of Radio Free Europe.

As a result of several hours of violent protests, the Georgian parliament was stormed by a pro-Saakashvili mob. When riot police defended the building, two hundred and forty people were injured (including many policemen) and more than 300 arrested. Gavrilov and members of his delegation, having suffered minor injuries, but a lot of verbal abuse, had to leave Georgia, with which Russia does not have diplomatic relations since 2008.

The other disconcerting element of this shameful situation was the fact that neither the Georgian government nor the Western media had the courage to condemn the obvious and unprovoked violence from the side of Saakashvili’s supporters. Bidzina Ivanishvili, the leader of the ruling party Georgian Dream, as well as former president Giorgy Margvelashvili solidarized themselves with the “protest action” which looked more like a pogrom because of the crude racist tone of its slogans (anti-Russian demonstrations on a smaller scale continued even after the violent stage of 20-21 July). Margvelashvili even said it was “the right way to oppose Russia’s soft power” and called on the West to imitate Georgia in its fight with Russia during his speech to the protesters. The current president of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, who served as the foreign minister under Saakashvili before defecting to the Georgian Dream, called Russia an “enemy,” but expressed her expectation that Russian tourists would return to Georgia, since they are contributing a substantial share of the country’s GDP. (According to World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism contributed 33.7 percent of Georgia’s total GDP.)

The Western press not only solidarized itself with the anti-Russian actions in Tbilisi, it also blamed the casualties on its favorite scapegoat – the Christian Orthodox church in Russia and Georgia. Correspondent Amy MacKinnon of The Foreign Policy (a major US media outlet) traced the origins of the protest to the very idea of holding the assembly of countries with predominantly Christian Orthodox population: “The Russian Orthodox Church has long served as a conduit for Russia’s influence in Eastern Europe and has a potent influence in highly religious Georgia,” McKinnon wrote in her article, where a hope is expressed that the Georgian government will treat Orthodox church with the same suspicion as the Western press does.

The headline chosen by The Daily Beast was even more aggressive and hateful:

“Amid Russian and Orthodox Provocations, Riots in Tbilisi Threaten Pride Parade.”

Upon reading the article, it becomes clear that the gay parade, which had been scheduled to take place in Tbilisi next day after the ugly anti-Russian riot, did not receive any threats from Russians or, heaven forbid, from the Christian Orthodox believers. The organizers were just afraid to do out when the anti-Russian government (represented by Georgian police) and the anti-Russian protesters (represented by Saakashvili’s supporters) were fighting each other with rubber bullets, truncheons and stones on the streets of Tbilisi.

It is enough to quote one paragraph from that article in order to see how “tolerant” The Daily Beast was to anyone in that story who was not gay, anti-Russian or at least anti-Christian:

“After the brutal events of early Friday morning, the organizers of the Pride Parade postponed the march for several days saying, “We could not permit ourselves to contribute to further escalation of tensions in the country. We will not allow pro-Russian, Neo-Nazi groups to weaken Georgia’s statehood.” Now it is not clear when or even if the parade will take place.

According to the local news site civil.ge, the organizers of Pride feel that the Georgian government “has no desire to protect the LGBTQ community against radical groups financed from Russia.”

This shameless torrent of lies blaming the victims (because the only people threatened in those days on the streets of Tbilisi were Russians or the supporters of the Georgian Orthodox church) is indicative of the degradation of Western attitudes to Georgia.

“We should not forget that the civil wars in Georgia started in 1991, when the Georgian nationalist thugs attacked the local autonomies of Abkhazia and South Ossetia at the order of the first president of independent post-Soviet Georgia, who was then Zviad Gamsakhurdia,” remembers Dmitry Kulikov, a prominent commentator on post-Soviet space at the Moscow-based Vesti FM radio. “They were defeated and now even Georgian officials recognize that these were awful crimes committed by Gamsakhurdia under the flag of Georgian nationalism. So, why does anyone expect the people with the same ideology around Saakashvili and Zurabishvili to be any better?”

At the time, in 1991-1992 the Western press had the objectivity to call Zviad Gamsakhurdia a madman and a criminal. The Western governments did not protest in any way, when Gamsakhurdia’s government was toppled by the internal Georgian opposition in an armed uprising which many said had the backing of Moscow.

So, why is the West backing the same Russophobic Georgian nationalists who are now acting together with exiled Mikheil Saakashvili, a psychological and ideological double of Gamsakhurdia?

This is a question which historians will have a hard time answering. It was not Georgian nationalism that changed (it stayed largely the same – violent, noisy, anti-Russian and always eager to get Western backing). It was the West (namely, the US, the EU and their allies) that changed for worse.

Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the newspaper Argumenty i Fakty

Via The Saker

July 18, 2019

Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the newspaper Argumenty i Fakty

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the newspaper Argumenty i Fakty published on July 17, 2019

Original interview in Russian

Question: Can an improvement in the relations with the United States be expected in the near future?

Sergey Lavrov: An improvement will hardly materialise any time soon, since it is anything but easy to sort out the mess that our relations are in, which is not our fault. After all, bilateral relations require reciprocal efforts. We have to meet each other half way.

Russia is ready to move in this direction, as we have said on a number of occasions. We proceed from the premise that Russia and the United States bear special responsibility. We are the two largest nuclear powers, the founding members of the United Nations and permanent members of its Security Council. Cooperation between our two countries is key to ensuring stability and predictability in international affairs. However, not everything depends on us. It takes two to tango, as the saying goes.

The situation is quite complicated on the American side. On the one hand, President Donald Trump talks about seeking to be on good terms with Russia, but this attitude is far from prevalent in Washington. We see this in unfriendly steps, such as various groundless accusations Russia faces, imposing financial and economic sanctions, seizing diplomatic property, kidnapping Russian nationals in third countries, opposing Russia’s foreign policy interests, as well as attempts to meddle in our domestic affairs. We are seeing system-wide efforts to reach out to almost all countries around the world and persuade them to scale back their relations with Russia.

Many US politicians are trying to outshine each other in ramping up anti-Russia phobias and they are using this factor in their domestic political struggles. We understand that they will only escalate in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. Nevertheless, we will not give up in despair. We will continue to look for common ground with the US despite all the challenges that there are.

It is essential that the Russian and US presidents both understand that there is a need to end the deadlock in our relations. During their June meeting which took place in Osaka the two leaders spoke out in favour of stepping up economic cooperation, combining efforts to settle regional crises, resuming dialogue on strategic stability, and also said that they appreciated dialogue on combatting terrorism. Vladimir Putin invited Donald Trump to Moscow to take part in the events to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in WWII.

All in all, it has to be recognised that Washington has been inconsistent and quite often unpredictable in its actions. For this reason, trying to predict anything in our relations with the US is a fruitless task. Let me reiterate that as far as Russia is concerned we are ready to patiently work on improving our relations. Of course, this will be possible only if Russia’s interests are respected, and based on equality and mutual respect.

Question: Our diplomats’ access to several Russian properties in San Francisco has been restricted. What practical actions are you taking to protect our property?

Sergey Lavrov: Washington has actually expropriated six Russian buildings which have been registered with the US Department of State as diplomatic property. These are two buildings of the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco, the Consul General’s residence in Seattle, the countryside facilities of the Russian Embassy and Trade Mission in New York, as well as our Trade Mission in Washington. We have no diplomatic presence on the West Coast, where tens of thousands of Russian citizens and compatriots live. We have been denied the right to visit these places by the US State Department. All this is a flagrant violation of the United States’ international legal obligations.

We have responded to these openly coercive actions. We have shut down the US Consulate General in St Petersburg, which incidentally was not a US property. We are mulling over a choice of possible methods to reclaim the illegally seized Russian property. We regularly raise the subject of Washington’s violation of its obligations at the bilateral level and also at multilateral platforms. We will continue to do this.

Question: The United States abducts and hunts down Russian citizens around the world, imprisoning them under far-fetched pretexts, whereas we appear to be afraid of giving an appropriate response to these international bandits.

Sergey Lavrov: We are not afraid of anything. But we will not act like bandits either, because we respect international law.

The hunt for Russian citizens in other countries is nothing other than an instrument of US pressure on Russia. Washington has flatly refused to cooperate with our law enforcement agencies on the basis of the 1999 Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. Instead, it puts pressure on its allies and other states to arrest Russian citizens on their territory and subsequently to extradite them to the United States. This is being done quietly, furtively and without any reliable proof [of these people’s guilt]. Some of our citizens have been abducted, as it happened to Konstantin Yaroshenko in Liberia in 2010 and to Roman Seleznev in the Maldives in 2014.

Of course, we will not leave our citizens alone with their problems. We carefully examine all the cases of Russian citizens detained at Washington’s request. The Russian authorities are working on measures to enhance the effectiveness of the legal protection of our citizens abroad. The Foreign Ministry and Russian diplomats in the United States are taking all possible measures to protect the rights and interests of our compatriots in distress. We are doing our best to ensure that Russian detainees have access to consular and legal assistance around the clock, as well as to improve their detainment conditions. In our contacts with the Americans, we invariably demand that our citizens be released and returned home as soon as possible. This also concerns the widely publicised cases of Viktor Bout and Maria Butina.

We raise this question at multilateral platforms, including the UN Human Rights Council, as well as in our contacts with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.

Unfortunately, knowing the aggressive methods of the American system, which does not just stop at using illegal methods, we cannot guarantee that nothing bad will happen to Russian citizens abroad. In this context, I would like to use this occasion to recommend that our citizens thoroughly consider the risks of foreign trips, especially ones to the countries that have extradition agreements with the United States.

Question: Why would Russia pay for PACE membership if it is constantly subject to the assembly’s provocations?

Sergey Lavrov: Just to clarify, there are no separate fees for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Our country makes payments to the Council of Europe’s budget pursuant to the council’s Statute and Russian law. PACE-related expenses account for a small fraction of the Council of Europe’s common budget.

Strictly speaking, Council of Europe membership is a source of a number of benefits for our citizens and the country in general. They include refining our national legal system, solving a whole range of social and humanitarian issues, and fighting corruption. Every single ministry and agency that is part of the Inter-Agency Commission on Russia’s Council of Europe Membership (around 20 in total) confirm the importance of proactive participation in this organisation, including mechanisms of over 60 conventions that our country joined. 

As concerns provocations, they are engineered by the aggressive Russophobic minority egged on by the United States, an observer in the Council of Europe. Of course, this sours the atmosphere and does not bode well for constructive PACE work. But then again, the sensible majority of PACE members who support Russia’s return to the fold of this parliamentary structure is sick and tired of this meaningless vagary. This is indicated by the fact that at the June session, the assembly issued a resolution to restore Russia’s powers without any reservations, thus meeting the condition of Russia’s resuming payments.

Question: It is outrageous to watch the Ukrainian army’s rampage against LPR and DPR residents. Innocent civilians, children and defenders of these two republics are being killed. It was reported that local people addressed Russian President Vladimir Putin with a request to send in troops. Why not do it and force Ukraine to make peace as was the case with Georgia?

Sergey Lavrov: True, the situation in Donbass remains extremely disturbing. To this day, hardly anything has been done to cease fire and shelling continues. Of course, the suffering of the people in these two unrecognised republics strikes a painful chord in our hearts.

The signals that President Vladimir Zelensky sent during his election campaign and right after being elected were rather contradictory. We hope that Kiev’s recent pledge to fully comply with the Minsk Agreements will take the shape of a practical policy after the pre-term Verkhovna Rada elections. The most important thing is to end the war and hear the people in southeastern Ukraine who want peace to be restored, who want to freely speak their native Russian language and their socioeconomic rights to be observed. All this was committed to writing in the Package of Measures.

I really hope that the new Ukrainian leadership will not continue the disastrous course of Poroshenko’s regime and will successfully convert the credit of trust it has into actual efforts to restore civil peace in Ukraine. The long-awaited disengaging of forces and equipment that began in late June in Stanitsa Luganskaya that had been blocked by the previous administration for two and a half years is a convincing indication that where there is political will there can be progress.  

Question: Does Russia intend to officially recognise the DPR and the LPR as independent states?

Sergey Lavrov: Our position on this matter is well known. According to the Minsk Package of Measures, where Russia acts as a guarantor, Donbass has to be granted special status that is permanently enshrined in Ukraine’s constitution. We believe in the need to focus at this point in time on implementing the Minsk Agreements as approved by a UN Security Council resolution, which makes them a binding instrument.

The Ukrainian leadership must look its own citizens straight in the face and renounce the policy of putting Donbass in an economic chokehold, recognise the right of Donetsk and Lugansk residents to speak their native language and celebrate the dates and public holidays they hold as sacred, and honour the memory of their national heroes. Without this it would not be serious, to say the least, to talk about restoring trust among DPR and LPR residents toward official Kiev. Of course, establishing meaningful and direct dialogue between Kiev and the unrecognised people’s republics is the central condition of the Minsk Agreements. This requires streamlining the work of the Contact Group formed by Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk representatives and supported by Russia and the OSCE. In this case, the Normandy Format can also be effective in facilitating the work of the Contact Group. There can also be other ways to support the settlement process in Donbass from the outside, as long as they are acceptable for all sides, and, of course, do not water down the tenets of the Minsk Agreements. President Vladimir Putin was abundantly clear in reaffirming his position, including during his telephone conversation with President Vladimir Zelensky on July 10.

Question: What is Russia’s Foreign Ministry doing to liberate Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky from detention in Kiev? He has spent more than a year in prison, in essence, for his professional activity. Why cannot Russia put pressure on Ukraine to free him?

Sergey Lavrov: The court proceedings in the case of RIA Novosti Ukraine editor-in-chief resemble the theatre of the absurd. There is no doubt that the journalist was subject to an illegal arrest, just for working for a Russian media outlet and honestly reporting on the ongoing developments. Even Ukrainian prosecutors seem to understand this, since they have been postponing hearings under the pretext of studying the investigative materials.

Russia demands that Kiev immediately release Kirill Vyshinsky and fully restore all his rights. Our diplomats maintain close contacts with the journalist’s lawyers, since Ukraine declined consular access. We do everything we can to reach out to our foreign partners, including on international platforms, calling on them to work with Kiev in order to bring about a positive resolution as soon as possible.

Question: What measures should the Georgian government take in order to prevent individuals who are a disgrace for Georgia from holding anti-Russia demonstrations near the country’s parliament?

Sergey Lavrov: Relations between the government and the opposition are Georgia’s internal affair. We have no intention to interfere in this process. However, we are definitely concerned about any attempts made by some radical representatives of the Georgian political elite to whip up Russophobic sentiment and pit our peoples against one another. I doubt that these individuals thought about the damage their action was causing to their country and the prosperity of its people, which depends to a significant extent on the state of economic and humanitarian relations with Russia.

We expect the Georgian leadership to recognise as soon as possible the detrimental nature and danger of further efforts to fan anti-Russia hysteria. After all, it is essential that official Tbilisi found the strength to condemn the shameful actions of a local television network that offended the President of Russia, causing misgivings even within the Georgian society.

We hope that the Georgian authorities will be able to restore social and political stability in the country and remove the existing security threats Russians currently face there. Should this happen, the necessary conditions will be created in order to look into the possibility for removing the precautionary measures Russia has taken, including a ban on air travel to Georgia. We want to be friends and to cooperate so that Russians and Georgians can benefit.

Question: The Chinese media have recently started referring to Siberia as “Chinese land.” Some 12 million Chinese currently live in Russia’s Far East and Siberia. Can it happen that China actually takes over Siberia and Russia’s Far East in the near future?

Sergey Lavrov: Border disputes between Russia and China were settled for good a long time ago. The bilateral Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation adopted in 2001 states that there are no territorial claims between the two countries. Against this backdrop, those who have misgivings over the constructive development of Russian-Chinese relations seek to spread the myth of the Chinese threat.

As for the 12 million Chinese who allegedly live in the Far East and Siberia, I have great doubts about the accuracy of this figure. The associated fears are clearly blown out of proportion.

The policy by Russia and the People’s Republic of China to strengthen their neighbourly relations is a multifaceted and long-term effort that cannot be affected by short-term fluctuations. Sino-Russian cooperation is not aimed against anyone. Its main purpose is to facilitate socioeconomic development and prosperity for our countries and peoples. As Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping said following the June 5 talks in Moscow, the two countries are entering a new era in their comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation. The growing mutual trust in military and political affairs, record-high trade figures and expanding cultural and humanitarian contacts, as well as better coordination with Beijing on international affairs speak volumes of the positive momentum in our bilateral dialogue.

Question: Relations with Iran are essential for Russia’s geopolitics. However, Iran has indulged in unacceptable aggressive rhetoric against the state of Israel on numerous occasions and went beyond words. How is Russia’s position any different from that of European countries in the 1930s when they encouraged Hitler’s anti-Soviet stance?

Sergey Lavrov: Russia sees intrinsic value in its relations with Iran, Israel and all other Middle East countries. Russia has a multipronged foreign policy that is free from the principle of “being friends against someone.” In our contacts with the leaders of all regional countries we are consistent in calling on our partners to find peaceful solutions to the problems that may arise and renounce the use or threat of force.

The escalating tension in the region we are witnessing today is the direct result of Washington and some of its allies raising the stakes in their anti-Iranian policy. The US is flexing its muscles by seeking to discredit Tehran and blame all the sins on the Islamic Republic of Iran. This creates a dangerous situation: a single match can start a fire. The responsibility for the possible catastrophic consequences will rest with the United States.

As for the historical aspect of your question, it is not appropriate to project what happened in Europe in the 1930s on the current developments in the Middle East. As we all know, Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier sought to appease Hitler in order to direct the German military might against the USSR. We are not seeing anything of this kind today.

Iran regularly reaffirms to us its interest in regional stability through dialogue with all the interested countries, including the Gulf Arab states. In addition to this, Tehran has always stressed that it did not intend to undertake any aggressive action.

As far as Russia is concerned, we are taking steps to de-escalate tensions. We are proactive in promoting the concept of collective security in the Persian Gulf implying a stage-by-stage approach to resolving conflicts and devising confidence building and control mechanisms. We are working with our partners to preserve the multilateral agreements to promote a settlement on the Iranian nuclear programme.

Question: Do you think that we are geopolitically losing in Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia and allowing a belt of “Russia’s enemies” to build up around us from among some of the former “brotherly nations” who earn money in Russia and on Russia, repatriate it and still consider us if not enemies, definitely not friends?

Sergey Lavrov: The political processes in Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia concern us, there is no question about it, because they are our brotherly peoples and we are tied by a long history of relations, including being part of one state.

Unfortunately, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union the West came to believe that it was the end of history and the West can now blatantly interfere with the affairs of any country and presumptuously call the shots in its domestic politics. Ukraine is perhaps the most flagrant example.

Armenia is a different story. This country is Russia’s key partner in the South Caucasus with whom we have strong strategic relations and an alliance. We are engaged in an extensive political dialogue and cooperate between parliaments and on the international scene. Russia is Armenia’s leading economic partner. Our links in the education, culture, investment, military and technical sector are on the rise.

As concerns Georgia, I am certain that Georgians do not see us Russians as enemies. Unfortunately, right now we see certain politicians in Georgia competing in anti-Russian rhetoric to achieve their mercenary and opportunistic goals. I am sure that everything will be ironed out sooner or later and that our countries will again enjoy neighbourly relations.

Broadly speaking, our agenda in the post-Soviet space has a unifying nature and is aimed at stimulating the socioeconomic development of respective countries, promoting and harmonising integration in the region, strengthening collective security and the potential of our coordinated response to threats and challenges. 

Question: What is the status of the talks with Iraq over bringing back our women and children from prisons? What are the prospects of them returning back home?

Sergey Lavrov: So far, we have managed to bring back home 90 children. According to our records, some 30 more children remain in Iraq. We plan to bring them back within the next months.

Unfortunately, the situation is more complicated when it comes to their mothers. All of them are convicted for breaking Iraqi law, by illegally crossing the border, staying in the country illegally and participating in terrorist activities. Sixty-six Russian nationals are currently in prison. The Russian Embassy in Baghdad is constantly monitoring their cases and providing necessary help.

To recap, we started working on the humanitarian operation to return our minor citizens back to Russia in the autumn of 2017 when Iraqi officials informed us that Russian women and children were detained during a counter-terrorist operation in Mosul.

The office of the Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights Anna Kuznetsova established a commission to coordinate the operation. The commission involves representatives of competent government bodies, including the Foreign Ministry. Together with the Iraqi authorities we agreed on a course of action to locate the children and prepare the necessary documents for their repatriation. Russian specialists collected the children’s and mothers’ biological material for DNA relationship testing. Meanwhile, we were looking for relatives to establish formal guardianship. Then we received rulings of the Baghdad Central Court on returning the children.

We continue to work hard on this matter.

Question: What is the reason for facilitating access to Russian citizenship for people living abroad?

Sergey Lavrov: These decisions are based above all on humanitarian considerations. This is why we have adopted a facilitated procedure for the granting of Russian citizenship to the residents of certain districts in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. The procedure was formalized in April of this year by a presidential executive order.

Kiev’s blockade has made the living in certain districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine unbearable. The people have been deprived of everything, including social payments, pensions, wages, as well as the national system of banking, education and healthcare services. They have been stripped of their voting rights, as neither election commissions nor polling stations were established in their districts. In other words, Kiev has de facto turned these people into stateless persons.

It was our duty to provide assistance to these people in that situation. Russian citizenship will allow them to tackle their current problems, give them freedom of movement as well as access to healthcare services, education, banking services and transportation.

At the same time, Russia is not forcing anyone to adopt its citizenship or abandon the Ukrainian citizenship. Each resident of Donbass makes the decision independently.

Besides, this is not a new practice at all. A number of European countries, for example, Poland, Hungary and Romania, have been doing this for years.

The general procedure for granting Russian citizenship is regulated by a federal law, which says that the basic condition is the applicant’s residence in Russia. But the law also stipulates preferences for foreign nationals living outside Russia if at least one of their parents is a Russian citizen living in Russia. An exception has been made for the stateless persons who used to hold Soviet citizenship and are living in the former Soviet republics. They can receive Russian citizenship without taking up residency in Russia. In addition to this, parents holding Russian citizenship can register their children born in mixed marriages as Russian citizens. We are working to improve this procedure.

In reality, Russian offices abroad issue Russian passports to some 50,000 people every year. Over half of them are children born in mixed marriages. Their parents usually write in their applications that they want to maintain the legal and spiritual connection to Russia.

Question: Have you ever developed good personal relations with foreign colleagues even though you may have political differences with their home countries? Can you provide an example of such friendship?

Sergey Lavrov: Good and trust-based personal relations are extremely important in the diplomatic profession. In some cases communications are maintained and solutions to problems are found only thanks to such personal relations. In general, I believe that the ability to maintain close contacts, avoid emotional decision-making and never forget about your country’s strategic interests when dealing with short-term concerns are the required qualities of all diplomats irrespective of rank and post.

Of course, partners and counterparts do change. For example, as a Foreign Minister I have worked with five US Secretaries of State. But this does not mean [personal] ties are broken off when my colleagues retire or are appointed to another position. After all, this is a small world.

As for giving examples, I would not like to name anyone now, including out of respect for the other colleagues. After all, friendship is a very personal matter. Besides, many of my friends are still working in the diplomatic service or are prominent in the socio-political sphere.

Question: What quality distinguishes a real diplomat from a fake one?

Sergey Lavrov: As for the qualities a professional diplomat must have, I would say that the most important of them is a deep understanding of your country’s development goals and foreign policy interests. Of course, this calls for special training, good knowledge of history, constant involvement in all aspects of life, as well as colossal erudition. Diplomats routinely work with people from other countries, ethnicities and cultures. So they must be well-versed in a country’s specifics. Of course, it is very important to have a knowledge of foreign languages, which is, by the way, a strong point when it comes to our diplomacy. Overall, diplomatic work consists of active contacts with people, which is why a real diplomat must make a good impression, find common language with others in any situation, as well as be able not only to hear but also to listen to what the counterparts say.

Georgian Rugby Players Kicked Out For Their Russophobic Gestures

South Front

July 17, 2019

Into an exile from the Moscow club “Glory” turned for two Georgian rugby players a demonstration of “support for the people of Georgia.” Now Revaz Brodzeli and Saba Ioseliani will have to make a sporting career someplace else…

An example of how to deal with the Euro-Georgians over Russophobia antics was shown by the leadership of the Moscow Rugby Club “Slava.” It ripped up the contracts with players who allowed themselves to gesture support on the field over anti-Russian protests in Georgia. This is how the exit of Brodzeli and Ioseliani looked like on the field:

*Clip plays* – 0:46

[Ed. – The one hand over eye gesture, which is also an esoteric occult symbol which can be seen often with celebrity images.]

*Clip ends* – 1:01

This gesture was addressed to blame Russia for the so-called “occupation of 20% of Georgia’s territory.” Which is constantly used by the disorderly protesters in Tblisi. This is how it originally looked like. For it to be understood that it was exactly that gesture, here is a link to the Instagram of Rezo Gigineishvil, who accepted money from [Russian director] Nikita Mikhalkov to make a film that glorifies terrorists that took hostages over anti-Soviet agitation.

Rezo Gigineishvili: “After the war in 2008, I went with my film crew to Georgia to shoot the movie “Love With An Accent.” Even back then, despite the post-war period, after the shock and stress that people in Georgia felt, I don’t remember my Russian colleagues feeling any discomfort. Then once again, I was struck by the dignity of my people. I am sure that clear-thinking people do not believe that Georgians are Russophobes.”

Clear-thinking people don’t watch that rubbish which is filmed with Russian money by Gigineishvili. And clear-thinking people see that this kreakl [Ed. – pro-West social media instigators] didn’t write a single word about the shock and stress of Russians over the murder of Russian peacekeepers and civilian Ossetians, by those same “worthy” Georgians.
By the way, he in particular was the one who filmed the Georgian “tourist commercial” by making the movie “Love With An Accent,” which had music by the Russophobe Nino Katamadze. So the question is about how the Bohemian Euro-Georgians were able to adapt in Russia? And about the rugby players who would probably not getting their job back.

Rezo Gigineishvili: Brodzeli told Georgian journalists that “the gesture was done in support of the people of Georgia, not the politicians.” “Although, they thought the gesture was political and anti-Russian” he emphasized, commenting after the termination of their contracts.

“They thought the gesture was anti-Russian” is completely correct, because the people of Georgia, whom the rugby players supported, somehow opened an uncomfortable topic of ethnic purges. Which was what these same people tried to arrange in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These rugby players expressed support to these purgers, so let them play in Tbilisi then.

And it would be not bad if in addition they could take the publisher who initiated this gesture on Instagram, Gigineishvili. He, unfortunately, is a Russian citizen, and he is refusing to leave our country. However, we could take away his opportunities to receive Russian budget financing for talentless movies that are created by this kreakl. I’ll remind you what our citizens wrote about [2017] movie “Hostages”:

*Clip plays* – 3:24

With the release of Gigineishvili’s film, “Hostages”, about non-sympathetic terrorists that hijacked an airliner in Tbilisi in 1983, this is what I have to say about it. Terrorism is objectively really bad in the moral reasoning for their crimes. Well, specifically Mazhor’s sons that hijacked the Tbilisi airliner, in their terrorist operation were unthinkable brutes. Two passengers and two crew members were shot by them immediately. Those killed weren’t fighting back the hijackers, they didn’t have a chance to cry for their moms.

When the hijackers realized that things aren’t going according to plan, and the pilots locked themselves in the cockpit, they out of anger started to beat the stewardess with their hands and pistol whipped them. The latter was even more cruel. Valentina Krutikova in the end after her torture was shot to death. Irina Himage survived because when they finished by smashing her head, she jumped off the plane on the concrete below. She became handicapped for the rest of her life, since she damaged her spine. Later, these freaks didn’t even let the passengers go use the bathroom.

When the Spetsnaz Alpha Group troops got on board and tied up the bandits, the entire plane stank worse than a dirty barrel. The main issue here is that none of this was needed. The terrorists were children of the local nomenklatura. Ones that could travel abroad. They could have ran away from the USSR very simply, and sneakily, by posing as tourists. But they particularly wanted noise and drama. So that they could get talked about by political “big faces.” Basically, this murder, taking hostages, beating of flight attendants, all of this was started only to leave the USSR… with noise and with thunder. These scum deserved their execution by firing squad, 100 times over.

*Clip ends* – 4:55

So now the Moscow kreakl, Gigineishvili, who filmed a movie about the justification for Americanized teens of the Tbilisi nomenklatura, shows us on Instagram the gesture of Georgian nationalists. The same gesture for what two Euro-Georgians are now kicked out of the Moscow Rugby Club. I sincerely thank the Rugby Club “Slava” for them showing how to deal with Euro-Georgians that demonstrate Russophobia.

I hope that this experience will be mercilessly used also on Katamadze, the former recipient of Nikita Mikhalkov’s money, and on anybody that dares to blurt out even a word about so-called “Russian occupation of 20% of Georgia.”

Expensive and Humiliating. Poland Bought Gas in the USA (Ruslan Ostashko)

June 30, 2019

TRANSCRIPT:

An extra billion cubic meters of absolutely unnecessary, and highly costing gas, the president of the US has managed to sell it to Polish nationalists. The full beauty of this “Ukrainian victory” can be understood only if you remember the history of the issue.

Andrzej Duda’s visit to Washington was marked not only by loud statements that (showed the depth of the historical illiteracy of the Polish President. http://thesaker.is/the-poles-are-braver-than-the-russians-the-president-of-poland/)

Another highlight of the visit was another deal imposed on Duda in the energy sector.

“Our countries have signed an additional contract for the supply of two billion cubic meters of gas,” the head of the White House said on June 12, noting that the total amount of the contract is about eight billion dollars. The website of the Polish gas operator PGNiG clarifies that the volume of LNG supplied to the country from the US terminal Plaquemines will be increasing starting with 2023 from 1.35 to 3.38 billion cubic meters (after regasification).”

https://ria.ru/20190617/1555578771.html

It has been almost 2 years since one of the best Russian analysts, my friend and colleague Ivan Danilov wrote a material titled “Trump is a vacuum cleaners salesman.” Let me remind you what Ivan wrote in July 2017.

“It would seem that selling liquefied American gas to Poland, which is much more expensive than gas supplied by Gazprom, is a difficult task. More precisely, it is possible to force politicians to make such a decision, but how to make even ordinary voters understand the overpayment, which, according to various estimates, will be from 50% to 150% compared to the price of Russian gas? The American President took one of the most effective trumps from the deck of marked cards of experienced merchants, offering the Poles a bonus in the form of “independence from Russian supplies.” In fact, the American leader said that not just gas is supplied to Poland, but the right American gas “with a taste of independence from Russia”, and, of course, it is implied that such gas should be very expensive, and its consumption is a sign of national success, prestige and belonging to an elite Western club.”

https://ria.ru/20170707/1498046623.html

The devil hides in two things. First, taking into account the LNG purchases in the US and the connection to the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline, Warsaw, starting from 2022, intends to purchase more than 14 and a half billion cubic meters of gas per year. Obviously, it doesn’t need that much. And, secondly, this American gas purchased by the Poles “with a taste of independence from Russia” can not be cheaper than 6-7 dollars per million British thermal units, BTU.

(BTU is an Anglo-Saxon unit of energy, just over a kilojoule. https://www.convertworld.com/ru/energiya/britanskiye-termicheskiye-yedinitsy.html)

So, Russian gas is already at the level of $5 per million of British thermal units. That is, the Poles intend to pay more to the extent of $1 to $2 per million BTU. While the Americans themselves are trying to buy cheaper energy.

The question comes: are people ruling in Warsaw so stupid that they do not understand that they have signed up to buy very expensive gas in quantities that their own country doesn’t need at all?

Turns out Poland plans to resell expensive American gas to other Eastern Europeans. They plan to act as an intermediary and not only to pay for their purchases of expensive energy with other people’s money, but also to get a profit.

“Previously, it was called the concept of ‘three Seas’ or ‘inter-Seas’, and a few years ago put forward the ‘Initiative of the three seas’ (Baltic — Adriatic — Black Sea, BABS). The impetus was the coming to power in the US Donald Trump, who promised ‘to save’ Europe from Russian gas with the help of American LNG. Donald Trump said that this project will provide BABS participants with ‘prosperity and security.’ And then he offered the Europeans to build terminals for American LNG — in the Lithuanian Klaipeda, Polish Swinoujscie and on the Croatian island of Krk in the Adriatic sea. It was assumed that from these terminals the network of gas pipelines would extend to the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia and Lithuania, forming a barrier to gas from Russia to the Western Europe.”

https://ria.ru/20190617/1555578771.html

That is, three members of the EU – Poland, Lithuania and Croatia – imagined themselves the most intelligent, deciding to lick Uncle Sam’s shoes, and at the same time to cash in at the expense of their neighbors. For anyone with a head on their shoulders, the outcome was predictable from the start. But, as shown by the behavior of American satellites, they could not wait to take place of the “heroes” of a known saying: “a Ukrainian is stupider than a crow, but more cunning than the devil.”

As a result, the stupid crows all took a part in the operation BABS – Lithuania got into debt by renting a LNG terminal in Klaipeda, which it will never pay off. Poland is rowing expensive and unnecessary American gas, despite the fact that it does not even have money for, say, the modernization of its entirely coal-fired power plants for another type of fuel. And Croats decided to be the coolest of them all.

“In January 2019, Croatian Energy Minister Tomislav Ćorić, announced that a construction of a re-gasification complex on the island of Krk ‘will be carried out regardless of the lack of interest from natural gas buyers.’ In early February, the final investment decision was made on the project.”

https://ria.ru/20190617/1555578771.html

That is, the example of Lithuanians taught them nothing. They are so stupid that they will build a LNG terminal at a loss.

Why didn’t the BABS project take off? Because Russia has built the Turkish stream. And why Putin was able to agree with Erdogan on the construction of this gas pipeline to supply energy to the Southern and South-Eastern Europe? Because the American “geniuses of geopolitics” tried to overthrow and kill Erdogan by organizing a coup, and Moscow saved him.

Now Russian Prime Minister Medvedev offers Slovaks the natural gas bypassing “Tse-Europe” (Russian social media nickname for Ukraine from the Ukrainian nationalists’ saying ‘Ukraine is the Europe’ which is not true neither geographically, nor historically, demographically or culturally. – S.H.). As for Poland and Croatia, none of the sane buyers thinks about buying natural gas from the US.

Once again, the post-Soviet nationalists will pay in full for the “decommunization” they started and rise in Russophobia. As they are already paying in other energy issues.

I send my warm regards to all who hoped for the collapse of Gazprom, the rupture into shreds of Russian economy and the realization of other collective wet dreams of post-Soviet westophiles.

A thrifty pays twice the price, an idiot – three times, and a Russophobe always overpays.

RussiaGate 2.0 and The Plan to Impeach President Trump

Global Research, May 05, 2019

In the wake of RussiaGate 1.0, will there be a shift in US foreign policy involving a decisive change in US-Russia relations?

Is the Witch-hunt over? 

Or is RussiaGate 2.0 in the making? 

On March 3, Trump and Putin held a telephone conversation. They spoke for an hour and a half.

The discussions were described by Trump as “positive”.

Trump “unofficially” discussed “The Russian Hoax” with Vladimir Putin. “Very Productive Talk”.

“Getting along with Russia and China, getting along with all of them is a very good thing, not a bad thing, it a good thing, it’s a positive thing,” (to reporters on May 3)

Trump confirmed that he was open to negotiations on reducing the stock of nuclear weapons with both Moscow and Beijing in the context of a trilateral deal (US-Russia-China). Indelibly, such an agreement could potentially destabilize Trump’s 1.2 trillion dollar nuclear weapons program. It could also have an impact on the movement of Aerospace and Defense (A & D) stocks, which experienced a market bonanza in 2018.

The lifting of sanctions on North Korea, Ukraine and the crisis in Venezuela were also discussed.

The Trump-Putin telephone initiative was taken without prior consultation with John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, who have systematically blocked the restoration of normal dialogue and diplomatic exchange with Moscow.

Is this part of an unfolding internal battle between Trump and his national security advisers, not to mention Vice President Mike Pence? (image right).

President Trump’s overture to the Kremlin visibly contradicts both Bolton and Pompeo who are threatening president Maduro,  pressuring him to leave Venezuela and hand over the presidency to Guaido.  According to Trump:

“He [Putin] is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela other than he’d like to see something positive happen for Venezuela,”

It is worth noting that two days prior to the Trump-Putin telephone conversation, Pompeo told Lavrov (also in a telephone conversation) that

“the intervention by Russia and Cuba is destabilizing for Venezuela and for the U.S.-Russia bilateral relationship.”

In a bitter irony, this (telephone) statement by Pompeo was made on the same day (May 1st) as the failed “military coup” in Caracas.

Will Trump’s dialogue with Putin have a bearing on the Bolton-Pompeo threats directed against the Maduro government? Was Trump’s call to Putin (May 3) meant to override Pompeo’s overt threats (May 1st) to intervene militarily in Venezuela?

Lavrov and Pompeo are set to meet early this week in Finland. Will Pompeo, a former army officer, Christian evangelical and for a short while a former-CIA director change his tone and approach following Trump’s telephone conversation with Putin? Unlikely. Mike Pompeo has been the architect of numerous foreign policy blunders since his appointment by Trump first as CIA director in January 2017 and then as Secretary of State.

The presumption of the mainstream media (which borders on ridicule) is that Donald Trump as president of the United States should have sought the green-light from Bolton-Pompeo. The fact of the matter is that these two individuals are deliberately involved in sabotaging US relations with a large number countries:

The conversation, which Trump went on to describe as “very positive,” appeared to be yet another example of Trump taking Putin’s claims at face value despite contrary evidence from his own governmentThe White House national security adviser, John Bolton, and U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo both said earlier this week that the Kremlin talked Maduro out of leaving Venezuela after U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido attempted to end his regime on Tuesday by calling for a military uprising. (emphasis added)

RussiaGate 2.0

How is this internal confrontation going to evolve? Who is calling the shots at the White House?

Pompeo and Bolton are an obstacle to normalizing diplomatic relations with Russia. They are dangerous individuals, psychopathic in their understanding of global geopolitics, influential with regard to sanctions and  military intervention. They are also misinformed with regard to the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, which they consider as peace-making bombs.

Both Bolton and Pompeo were instrumental in the sabotage of the latest US-North Korea summit in Hanoi.

Impeachment

Despite the release of the Mueller report, the impeachment campaign prevails. Immediately following the Putin-Trump telephone conversation, the campaign to impeach Trump has gone into high gear.

The Atlantic, March 2019

Will The Kremlin Intervene in the 2020 elections? 

Another absurd proposition: The US media is now intimating that Trump’s conversation with Putin is setting the stage for Kremlin intervention in the 2020 elections:

“Mr. President, did you tell him not to meddle in the next election?” a reporter asked.

“Excuse me, I’m talking, I’m answering this question. You are very rude. So we had a good conversation about several different things,” Trump told the reporter.

When asked again about Russian interference in future U.S. elections, Trump said: “We didn’t discuss that.”

According to the Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro

“President Donald Trump wants Russia to interfere on his behalf again in 2020”.

“All of a sudden, he’s willing to take the word of a leader like Vladimir Putin who, time and again, has shown himself to be adversarial to the United States and to be dishonest,” .

In turn, former Vice President Joe Biden, who is now candidate for the 2020 presidential elections has stated:

 “that Congress would have “no alternative” but to impeach President Trump if his administration seeks to block its investigations of issues raised in the special counsel’s report on Russian election interference.” (WaPo, April 30, 2019)

See Trump’s press conference 


ANNEX.

The Russian embassy in the US on the Trump-Putin Telephone Exchange

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the United States of America Donald Trump, at the initiative of the American side.

The current state and prospects of bilateral relations were discussed with a focus on economic cooperation. The two presidents spoke in favour of developing mutually beneficial trade and investment relations. They affirmed their shared commitment to step up dialogue in various areas, including on issues of strategic stability.

Vladimir Putin informed Donald Trump of the key results of his April 25 meeting in Vladivostok with Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK Kim Jong-un, stressing that Pyongyang’s good-faith fulfilment of its commitments should be accompanied by reciprocal steps to ease the sanctions pressure on North Korea. Both parties noted the importance of consistent progress towards denuclearisation and achieving long-term normalisation on the Korean Peninsula.

The situation in Ukraine was touched on in the context of the recent presidential election. Vladimir Putin emphasised that the new leadership in Kiev should take real steps to implement the Minsk Agreements, which are critical to resolving the internal Ukrainian conflict.

While exchanging views on the situation around Venezuela, the President of Russia underscored that only the Venezuelans themselves have the right to determine the future of their country, whereas outside interference in the country’s internal affairs and attempts to change the government in Caracas by force undermine prospects for a political settlement of the crisis.

It was agreed to maintain contacts at various levels.

The two heads of state expressed satisfaction with the business-like and constructive nature of the conversation.
——————

“The conversation between Trump and Putin lasted for almost 1.5 hours,” Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
More:
http://tass.com/world/1056870

Wiki-Gate: Julian Assange Was Framed by the People Who Supported Him

Global Research, April 22, 2019

Julian Assange’s arrest (after almost seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy) constitutes a hideous and illegal act. He is imprisoned in Britain’s Belmarsh maximum security prison, pending his extradition to the United States. 

Statements by US prosecutors suggest that Assange would not be charged under the 1917 Espionage Act. What is contemplated are accusations of conspiring “to commit unlawful computer intrusion based on his alleged agreement to try to help Ms. Manning break an encoded portion of passcode that would have permitted her to log on to a classified military network under another user’s identity.” (NYT, April 11, 2019).

The charges can of course be changed and shifted around. Bolton-Pompeo will no doubt play a role. In a 2017 statement when he was CIA Director Mike Pompeo “referred to WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service,” which needed to be eradicated.”  

Assange is relentlessly accused by the corporate media of treason, acting on behalf of the Kremlin. An indictment invoking the 1917 Espionage Act remains a distinct possibility with a view to overriding The First Amendment of the US Constitution which guarantees Freedom of Expression.

Assange constitutes a new Russia-Gate media narrative? His arrest coincides with the release of the redacted version of the Mueller report.

Prepare for Wiki-Gate: a long and drawn-out legal procedure which will be the object of extensive media coverage with a view to ultimately misleading the public.  

The unspoken objective of Assange’s indictment is to  create a legal precedent which will enable Washington and its allies to arrest independent and anti-war journalists indiscriminately.

What is at stake, –revealed by Wikileaks– is that politicians in high office are the architects of war crimes. To protect them and sustain their legitimacy, they require the suppression of  freedom of expression, which in turn requires “the criminalization of justice”.

Ironically, from the very outset (over a period of more than 12 years) there has never been a concerted effort on the part of Washington (and its national security intelligence apparatus) to suppress the release of classified US government information or to close down the Wikileaks project. In fact, quite the opposite.

Why?

Because the carefully selected and redacted Wikileaks quotes by the mainstream media have been used to provide legitimacy to US “foreign policy” as well as obfuscate (through omission) many of the crimes committed by US intelligence and the Pentagon.

Wikileaks and the Mainstream Media

It is important to note that Julian Assange from the outset was supported by the mainstream media, which was involved in releasing selected and redacted versions of the leaks. And despite Assange’s arrest and imprisonment, Wikileaks continues to release compromising US diplomatic cables, the latest of which (reported by McClatchy, April 17, 2019) pertains to “evidence that US troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians” including a 5 month old infant. 

At the outset of the Wikileaks project, the mainstream media including the New York Times, The Guardian and the Economist praised Julian Assange. The British elites supported him. Assange became a personality. It was a vast Public Relations campaign. It was a money-making undertaking for the corporate media.

In 2008  The Economist (which is partly owned by the Rothschild family) granted Assange The New Media Award.

About-turn?  Shift in the Mainstream Media Narrative.

Today, ironically  these same corporate media which praised Assange are now accusing him (without a shred of evidence) of being involved in acts of conspiracy on behalf of  the Kremlin. According to John Pilger:

“The Guardian has since published a series of falsehoods about Assange, not least a discredited claim that a group of Russians and Trump’s man, Paul Manafort, had visited Assange in the [Ecuadorian] embassy. The meetings never happened; it was fake.”

Assange has been the object of an all out smear campaign by those who supported him.

The Economist which granted him the New Media Award in 2008 intimates that Assange is an enemy agent responsible for “information anarchy … culminating in the destabilization of American democracy”.

Others think it a long-overdue reckoning with justice for a man who had unleashed information anarchy upon the West, culminating in the destabilisation of American democracy. Is Mr Assange a heroic journalist, reckless activist or even an enemy agent? (The Economist, April 12,2019, emphasis added)

The smear operation is ongoing:

Screenshot Economist headline, April 17, 2019

Starting in early 2017, coinciding with RussiaGate, Assange is depicted as a  “Putin Stooge” working for the Kremlin, Why?

In 2016, some of Mr. Assange’s former American sympathizers turned sharply against him after he made WikiLeaks into an enthusiastic instrument of Russia’s intervention in the American presidential election, doling out hacked Democratic emails to maximize their political effect, campaigning against Hillary Clinton on Twitter and promoting a false cover story about the source of the leaks. (NYT, April 2019, emphasis added)

And then The Guardian, (April 20) with which Assange actively collaborated goes into a high-gear smear operation and  character assassination: “cheap journalism” by the Guardian (read excerpt below):

Was Julian Assange Framed by the People Who Supported Him? 

The latest from the New York Times April 15, 2019, which previously collaborated with Assange, describes him as a threat to National Security, working on behalf of the Russians.

Flashback to 2010:

WikiLeaks published a series of controversial intelligence leaks including some 400,000 classified Iraq war documents, covering events from 2004 to 2009 (See Tom Burghardt, The WikiLeaks Release: U.S. Complicity and Cover-Up of Iraq Torture Exposed, Global Research, October 24, 2010).

These revelations contained in the Wikileaks Iraq War Logs provided “further evidence of the Pentagon’s role in the systematic torture of Iraqi citizens by the U.S.-installed post-Saddam regime.” (Ibid).

The Role of the Frontline Club. Assange’s Social Entourage

While Assange was committed (through the release of leaked government documents) to revealing the “unspoken truth” of corruption and war crimes, many of the people (and journalists) who “supported him” are largely “Establishment”: Upon his release from bail in December 2010 (Swedish extradition order over allegations of sexual offenses) Henry Vaughan Lockhart Smith, a friend of Assange, a former British Grenadier Guards captain and a member of the British aristocracy came to his rescue.  Assange was provided refuge at Vaughan Smith’s Ellingham Manor in Norfolk.

Vaughn Lockhart Smith is the founder of the London based Frontline Club (which is supported by George Soros’ Open Society Institute). In 2010, the Frontline Club served as the de facto U.K “headquarters” for Julian Assange.

Vaughan Smith is a journalist aligned with the mainstream media. He had collaborated with NATO, acted as an embedded reporter and cameraman in various US-NATO war theaters including Afghanistan and Kosovo. In 1998 he worked as a video journalist in Kosovo in a production entitled The Valley, which consisted in “documenting” alleged Serbian atrocities against Kosovar Albanians. The video production was carried out with the support of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

Upon Assange’s arrest on April 10, 2019 Vaughn Smith, while acknowledging his disagreements with Assange, nonetheless expressed his unbending support and concern for Assange:

Smith said that while he didn’t agree that everything Assange released should have been released, he did think the Wikileaks founder “triggered a discussion about transparency that is incredibly important.”

“I support Julian because I think his rights as an individual reflect on us, his fellow citizens,” he told Tremonti.

“I think how we treat somebody who we may not agree with, that tells us truths that we may not wish to know … is a great comment on us.” (CBC, April 10, 2019)

The Role of the Corporate Media: The Central Role of the New York Times

The New York Times, the Guardian, Der Spiegel and El Pais (Spain) were directly involved in the editing, redacting and selection of leaked documents.

In the case of the New York Times, coordinated by Washington Bureau Chief David Sanger, the redacted versions were undertaken in consultation with the US State Department.

Even before the Wikileaks project got off the ground, the mainstream media was implicated. A role was defined and agreed upon for the corporate media not only in the release, but also in the selection and editing of the leaks. The “professional media”, to use Julian Assange’s words in an interview with The Economist, had been collaborating with the Wikileaks project from the outset.

Moreover, key journalists with links to the US foreign policy-national security intelligence establishment have worked closely with Wikileaks, in the distribution and dissemination of the leaked documents.

In a bitter irony, The New York Times, which has consistently promoted media disinformation was accused in 2010 of conspiracy. For what? For revealing the truth? Or for manipulating the truth? In the words of Senator Joseph L. Lieberman:

“I certainly believe that WikiLleaks has violated the Espionage Act, but then what about the news organizations — including The Times — that accepted it and distributed it?” Mr. Lieberman said, adding: “To me, The New York Times has committed at least an act of bad citizenship, and whether they have committed a crime, I think that bears a very intensive inquiry by the Justice Department.” (WikiLeaks Prosecution Studied by Justice Department – NYTimes.com, December 7, 2010)

This “redacting” role of The New York Times was candidly acknowledged by David E Sanger, Chief Washington correspondent of the NYT:

“[W]e went through [the cables] so carefully to try to redact material that we thought could be damaging to individuals or undercut ongoing operations. And we even took the very unusual step of showing the 100 cables or so that we were writing from to the U.S. government and asking them if they had additional redactions to suggest.” (See PBS Interview; The Redacting and Selection of Wikileaks documents by the Corporate Media, PBS interview on “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross: December 8, 2010, emphasis added).

Yet Sanger also said later in the interview:

 “It is the responsibility of American journalism, back to the founding of this country, to get out and try to grapple with the hardest issues of the day and to do it independently of the government.” (ibid, emphasis added)

“Do it independently of the government” while at the same time “asking them [the US government] if they had additional redactions to suggest”?

David  E. Sanger is not a model independent journalist. He is member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Aspen Institute’s Strategy Group which regroups the likes of Madeleine K. Albright, Condoleeza Rice, former Defense Secretary William Perry, former CIA head John Deutch, among other prominent establishment figures.

It is worth noting that several American journalists, members of the Council on Foreign Relations had interviewed Wikileaks, including Time Magazine’s Richard Stengel (November 30, 2010) and The New Yorker’s Raffi Khatchadurian. (WikiLeaks and Julian Paul Assange : The New Yorker, June 11, 2007)

Historically, The New York Times has served the interests of the Rockefeller family in the context of a longstanding relationship. In turn, the Rockefellers have an important stake as shareholders of several US corporate media.

Concluding Remarks 

Who are the criminals?

Those who leak secret  government documents which provide irrefutable evidence of extensive crimes against humanity or the politicians in high office who order the killings and atrocities.

What is unfolding is not only “the criminalization of the State”, the judicial system is also criminalized with  a view to upholding the legitimacy of the war criminals in high office.

And the corporate media through omission, half truths and outright lies upholds war as a peace-making endeavor (see below)

 

Putin Won – Time Magazine Annoyed That He Does More Than Superman

by Angelina Proskurina

Translated and captioned by Leo.

Putin Won – Time Magazine Annoyed That He Does More Than Superman

Hello friends, with you is Angelina Proskurina, and today I would like to talk about latest issue of the popular American magazine “Time”, on the cover where we can unexpectedly see President Vladimir Putin.

Almost the entire publication is dedicated to the Russian leader. But not even opening the journal can we notice that the Americans were able to make a truly serious opening. Russia in their opinion presents itself as a new type of empire, which spread its tentacles to literally all 7 continents. And special attention was given to Washington, which could not resist this encroachment.

In all honesty, this cover reminds me of a poster for some new fantasy Marvel movie. But not for something as serious as the “Time” magazine. A bloody red background, a large amount of the Kremlin’s stars all over the planet, and in the center is the silhouette of the Russian leader which reminds me more of Slenderman hanging over the whole planet. Is that enough drama for you?

Importantly, the article is written by journalist Simon Schuster. He gives the same opinion as given by many American “experts”. Thanks to America’s favorite Russian conspiracy of how they helped Trump “Make America Great Again”, there is now a new different allegation. American experts think that for Putin, he doesn’t have enough influence on just the West. For a while now, he has spread his politics all over the world, hoping to cobble up the whole planet.

There is more growing confidence that this material was written by George Orwell or Aldous Huxley, but not by a journalist of one of the world’s most prestigious publishers. If we throw aside all of the delirium by this fantasy writer, then we can notice the parallel red thread of this act: the rise of Russia’s influence in the world.

There is a critical discussion about “Putin’s empire.” Yes, yes. You can take a look at the cover one more time and have a closer view at the sub-headline. Which verbatim translates to from English to Russian like this: “How Putin built improvised empire of tyrants and rogue states.” The author sweeps dust to dust spreading word of the empire scheme which Vladimir Vladimirovich is building.

Critically I emphasize the inconsistency for the full absence of such a system. But even here they show contradictions, since later the journalist admits that there is a system. It’s just that for the Americans, it doesn’t suit their taste. When the West offers the world only investigations and money, Russia provides freedom, safety and a readiness to go into compromise. The main one here is freedom, which it views as the most important value.

This is exactly why Russia’s influence in the world continues to grow. The governments of many countries want to cooperate with us into making contracts for the delivery of military weapons, like Turkish President Erdoğan did. And no matter how the US angrily threatened them with sanctions over their offer of supplying Patriot surface-to-air missiles (SAM) instead of our Russian S-400s, Ankara firmly was confident in their decision and continues their talks with us

This is why until the American elite understand that you can’t take exceptional methods of whipping right and left through the use of sanctions, the more their authority will begin to fall in the political arena. Nobody cancelled diplomacy. Until that point, Russia remains and will remain in the winning position instead of Washington. We already have a handful of advantages.

And for today that is all. My friends, leave your comments and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel. And until next time!

‘Pulp Fiction’, the Mueller Report & empty Generation X politics

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

‘Pulp Fiction’, the Mueller Report & empty Generation X politics

Turns out the Mueller Report isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

It is certainly a sad day for America. Get wasted on tabloid, sore-loser, unproven accusations and the hangover will be costly. But the damage to the credibility of the Democratic Party and the Mainstream Media? Incalculable.

Generation X-ers are role models now, but the past two years sure wasn’t “leadership”. Millennials trusted them on this one – you were so very certain, somehow – and… now what do you do?

Achhh….

This is not my problem, thankfully. I wrote against Russia(non)gate as early as February 2017, treating it for what it was worth – fodder for jokes. What’s amazing is how people took it so very seriously, and for so very long.

Wild claims of treason cannot replace a political platform… but I think it all clicks when we remember that taking total sociopolitical nonsense extremely seriously is a hallmark of the West’s Generation X.

I find it so interesting that Western media now talks almost solely of Baby Boomers and Millennials – it is as if Generation X has been written out of history! I guess Boomers, who are now the richest generation (as they inherit the wealth of the dying Greatest Generation), only want to focus on their grandkids and not their own loser children?

There are plenty of gleeful post-mortems being given in the left following the Mueller Report, but not many are asking: how did this come about? Two-plus years of mass delusion, mass paranoia, mass Russophobia, mass lynch-mob mentality – what are the moral issues which drove allegedly progressive people to these totally-unfounded political stances?

These moral issues simply must come from Generation X, because they are the still-vibrant, mature-adulthood foot soldiers of the ruling Baby Boomers, who – if not already retired – are taking Fridays off to visit their worshiped grandkids who they are spoiling with praise.

In newsrooms across the US the generation really in charge of day-to-day operations now is Generation X – they are the editors and top journalists. The Greatest Generation has passed on ownership of the media to Baby Boomers, while Boomer journalist-proletarians are on their last legs: journalism is a stressful job – there are no 65-year old daily reporters in newsrooms, and no one would hire even the most robust one (too expensive, too opinionated, etc.). Millennials aren’t in charge, to their shock and awe, because any craft relies on experience and Millennials don’t have any yet.

So the biggest blow to US media credibility since the failure to question “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in Iraq is truly a Gen X affair. It’s Pulp Fiction in political form.

“Ooh, this doesn’t sound like the usual mindless, boring, ‘getting to know you’ chit-chat. This sounds like you actually have something to say.”- Mia Wallace

However, as many may remember from the movie, John Travolta doesn’t really have anything to say: he is about to salaciously ask if a man was crippled over giving Uma Thurman a foot massage.

Elitist publications like Esquire routinely declare Dazed and Confused to be the “definitive film of Generation X”, but that’s false: that movie is childish, because it is about children – high schoolers. Those who say Dazed and Confusedis the definitive Generation X movie are likely Baby Boomers, who subconsciously want to see their adult children as actual children, and thus remain forever young themselves, in that very typically American fashion (and which is because elders are not honoured there). Pulp Fiction is what the Dazed and Confused characters turned out to be in their adult prime, and it is not impressive: they are drug addicts, cheating boxers, wannabe actresses, raging bullies, the visually bizarre, the sexually bizarre and losers without children.

Pulp Fiction was such an enormously positive artistic shock when it came out in 1994 – it seemed that Generation X had found its cinematic auteur. Unlike most actor-driven pap, which is super-quick closeups instead of dialogue and plot, this was clearly the work of a great director. Want proof? Tarantino famously exhumed John Travolta to play a leading part – even your next-door neighbor would have been a huge hit in that role.

Our downfall was that we all foolishly assumed that Tarantino had something to say simply because he told Pulp Fiction so spectacularly well. It’s been written that Pulp Fiction is one cliffhanger after another, and it is… because there is actually no content. Content is slow-building and wonky.

Pulp Fiction is a supercool movie which is about nothing: it is 3 tabloid vignettes woven together in a most riveting fashion, and with no heartfelt moral in any of them. This is in stark contrast to Tarantino’s only other truly great movie, Reservoir Dogs, which is ultimately about the power of male camaraderie.

Ignore whatever fawning cinema critics say: Tarantino has not come close to approaching greatness with any movie since Pulp Fiction – he essentially has made living cartoons (Kill Bill 1 and 2), bad action TV from the 1970s (Jackie Brown, The Hateful 8) and childish revenge fantasies for minority groups (Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained, Death Proof – Jews, Blacks and women, respectively). The reason for this artistic collapse is simple: he truly has nothing to say on any topic of any importance, whether social, political, economic or religious. This disinterest in things of social substance is the essence of Generation X.

With the same “all hype, no substance” of a Gen X rapper, the Mueller Report has proven to be nothing but empty calories. America is now disgusted with itself for gorging on something so unhealthy, again.

“The days of me forgetting are over, and the days of me remembering have just begun.” – Pulp Fiction, opening scene

That, of course, is what an immature slacker loser says after their latest failure, which was so very similar to their last failure.

It was all a big empty diversion, of course, both Pulp Fiction and the Mueller Report. The latter was to deflect attention from the total failure of the hollow, out-of-touch, self-glorifying, 99%-hating, fake-leftist Democratic Party in the 2016 presidential election. The idea that Trump would somehow require Putin’s assistance to defeat decades of emperor-egoed Democrats, and even amidst the Great Recession and its failed QE solutions, is as believable as were the emperors new clothes. I can go on and on about this, but I just said the crux of the biscuit.

The Mueller Report, despite repeated assurances that it would contain everything short of the meaning of life, turned out to be superficial nonsense. Obstructing justice is what Liberal Democratic politicians do; the fraud convictions for Paul Manafort is what Liberal Democratic politicians do – an investigation of any top US politician would produce the same crimes. What was in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction? Just two lights and a battery, per Samuel Jackson.

While Political Correctness is an often unfairly-maligned lens, Generation X is known for taking this to the absurd extreme: a belief that moral relativity can be a guiding ethical philosophy.

Moral relativity also means never having to say you were wrong – there are no “truths”. This helps explain why so many Gen X journalists, like Rachel Maddow, are now trying to move the goalposts on their Trump-Russia accusations.

For those of us who do not make moral relativity our crowning ethos, such people will always look like lying, amoral, untrustworthy, egotistical people until they admit wrongdoing and apologize for the consequences. It is not “all relative”….

However, it’s not just anti-Trumpers who are typically-Generation X, but pro-Trumpers too. I get it as a protest vote, but the only way a person could possibly justify a sincere vote for The Donald would be through moral relativistic machinations worthy of anyone on MSNBC defending Barry “Bailout” Dronebama. Many Gen Xers made such votes. Generation X is full of people who think anyone on TV is automatically worthy of respect, and who are also unable to parse political meaning intelligently following a lifetime of disinterest and disdain.

I think that pro-Trumpers won’t need any such moral twists and turns in 2020 – who could vote for a Democratic Party which went all in on Trump the Treasoner and was wrong?

It’s really too bad, because a 2nd term of Trump will be very tough on three countries which are very dear to me: Iran, Cuba and Palestine.

But Pulp Fiction is the greatest Generation X movie because of its politics, NOT just its style.

Yes, Pulp Fiction actually had serious political messages, but they are rarely examined – a legacy of Generation X is the preference to focus on style, remember?

Sociopolitcally, Pulp Fiction is best remembered for initiating the current age of comfort in, trivalization of, and expectation of massive explicit violence. However, it is wrong to pin this on Gen Xers and Tarantino – here, they are the victims of larger American imperialist culture and history.

Gen Xers grew up or lived during the violent 1970s and then the crack epidemic – this is when bloody gun violence, road rage, gang warfare and tabloid TV journalism became a part of everyday life. Had Gen Xers not numbed and habituated themselves to this violence… how could they function in US society? However, from the first hatchet to an Indian’s skull American culture has been imbued with violence – duh.

These immediate and unfair criticisms blinded many to what is so impressive about the sociopolitical commentary in Pulp Fiction, which 25 years later has proved to be stunningly politically prescient; it gave seemingly scant attention to politics and economics, yet it completely it captured the essence of Western Gen X thinking on such subjects.

“It’s the little differences. I mean they got the same s*** over there they got here, but just there it’s a little different.” “Example?” – Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield

It’s a repeatedly cosmopolitan movie, mirroring the coming advent of the Euro and the confirmation of pan-Europeanism. Samuel Jackson is so entranced by Travolta’s rendering of Amsterdam that, “Aw man, I’m going, that’s all there is to it, I’m f***ing going!” to move to Europe. European Gen Xers were similarly “jump in the deep end and damn the consequences” pan-Europeanists – look at how that has turned out. (And whatever happened in real-life to that Columbian, taxi-driving fox (excuse me, wolf), Esmerelda Villa Lobos? I always preferred her to Bruce Willis’ self-absorbed French girlfriend… yet I moved to France?)

Pulp Fiction presaged Brexit, denying England’s connection to the Continent. Referring to Harvey Keitel’s tuxedoed, American, smooth, “Mr. Wolf” character, Travolta says, “I don’t know why I just thought he’d be European or something?” Jackson responds, “Yeah man, he was about as European as f***ing English Bob.” The English will no longer be European (Union) as of April 12, one hopes.

Pulp Fiction also anticipated the rise of violent Christian evangelism, where Christianity is deployed to justify atrocious violence. This is not something which can be done on a public level, due to official Western secularity, but the “Christian Warrior” concept is certainly alive and well among the army’s rank and file as well as the Pentagon. The raging bullying of Samuel Jackson, self-righteously screaming Scripture at an apartment full of terrified and baby-faced novices he is slowly murdering in cold blood, certainly reminds one of a confident, well-trained US mercenary in Afghanistan, Iraq or any of the other foreign wars which were massively supported by Gen Xers. I always thought this scene could have never have been played by a White actor – hits too close to home.

Did you just order a $5 shake? That’s a shake – that’s milk and ice cream – that’s $5?” What’s amazing today is the idea that anyone would balk at paying $5 for a milkshake in a fancy place like the fictitious Jack Rabbit Slim’s! Balking wouldn’t start until more like $11. Reduced purchasing power is indeed the primary economic consideration since the mid-1970s, and you have to give Tarantino credit for recognising that and memorably hitting the nail on the head.

The movie was the first rationalization of lifestyles which used to be thought of as deviant in the West; it also illustrates the idea in the West (which is governed by “identity politics” instead of socialist solidarity) that deviants are not minority outcasts but, somehow, the true elite. The most amusing example is Rosanna Arquette, with her 13 piercings all over her body: rejecting any sort of “normal” philosophy, she pontificates about how not using a needle for piercing “goes against the whole idea of piercing” as if piercing was a complex moral philosophy! Obviously, that makes her one of the apostles, and apostles don’t have to admit they were wrong on Trump’s Russia collusion. Such boring, self-absorbed conversations – whether on piercing, tattoos, craft brewing or vinyl records – replaced sociopolitical discussion for Gen X.

Hard drug use used to be thought of as deviant, but much like violence I think that Pulp Fiction is simply reflecting American reality – Gen X was the victim, not the originator of this trend.

The famous anal rape scene was perpetrated by – of course – rural Americans: it’s the Gen X version of Deliverance. Elitists who demean “White Trash” is something I have written about often, but we can’t deny that Tarantino was politically attuned to American fake-leftism when he decided to portray rural people as truly horrific “deplorables”. If the movie was written today all that would be needed is to add a “MAGA” hat to “the Gimp”, the disturbing, bondage leather-clad human kept in a dungeon by the film’s hillbillies.

The famous Christopher Walken scene – a family heirloom watch is hidden inside rectums for 7 years in a POW camp – is essentially a way to mock the sacrifices of armed forces, which is very Generation X. They could not have cared less about fighting Vietnamese socialism (which was real), yet they fell as hard as stones for WMD nonsense when Islam was declared the enemy (which is false) after 9/11.

Most interestingly, in film’s moral and philosophical climax, Pulp Fiction illustrates why Generation X has certainly proven to be the strongest adherents of ice-cold neoliberalism. We must recall Gen X was the first US generation in several generations to not have any socialists at all; they are a resolutely capitalist-imperialist generation which grew up hating socialism, hating Russia and not caring that this hate was misguided and morally wrong. Gen X is hardcore capitalist-imperialist, but they merely do it in a passive-aggressive way, not unlike their Canadian neighbors. Gen X also doesn’t talk about politics or economics – their unity on heartless neoliberal capitalism-imperialism is as assumed as the sun coming up in the morning. This explains why Tarantino doesn’t talk about economics much, but when he does it is 100% neoliberal capitalism.

When Samuel Jackson explains to John Travolta that he has had a religious epiphany and is going to quit gangsterism in order to “walk the earth” and “get in adventures”, he is immediately smacked down by Travolta. We can interpret this as a typical Gen X lack of “pioneer spirit”, yet Travolta’s rationale is totally neoliberal: “No Jules, you decided to be a bum. Just like all those pieces of s*** who beg for change, who sleep in garbage bins, who eat what I throw away. They got a name for that Jules – it’s called a bum. And without a job, a residence or legal tender, that’s what you’re gonna be man, a f***ing bum”. This speech is the essence of the hyper-capitalist and fundamentally neoliberal economic view which Generation X obviously totally embraced: without money, a job and the trappings of middle-class respectability Jackson is just walking human excrement. Shortly thereafter, when Jackson is going to give $1,500 to diplomatically and peacefully resolve restaurant gunfight standoff, Travolta warns, even at the risk of murder and his own death, “Jules, you give that f***ing nimrod $1,500 and I’ll shoot him on general principle.” Travolta’s “principle” is quite in line with neoliberal American capitalism – no economic “giving” or redistribution under any circumstances, no to Jules’ revolution, no to socialism.

Add up all these different and often bizarre sociopolitical proclivities and beliefs, and we can understand why – incredibly – so many Gen Xers genuinely believed that treasonous Russian collusion was a certainty because there existed a scandalous videotape of Trump getting urinated on by Russian prostitutes despite his well-known phobia of germs. It sounds like an axed fourth storyline in Pulp Fiction….

Forget about the Gen X things most people focus on with Pulp Fiction – the nostalgia, the retro style, the super-cool music (RIP this week to Lebanese-American Dick Dale, who introduced Arabic scales to US pop music; the movie also introduced a new generation to Link Wray’s Rumble, which marked the birth of the power chord AND reverb, and what’s cooler than those?) – Pulp Fiction gave an accurate presentations of Generation X’s socioeconomic value system.

“Pride only hurts, it never helps.” – Marsellus Wallace

Yet another motto of Generation X.

Well, it all depends on context: “Non serviam” (I will not serve) was the sin that cast Satan from heaven, sure, but not serving the gangster Wallace is a good form of pride.

A total lack of pride is what led to Russiagate debacle.

Gen Xers are the media and political staffers who were all-too willing to serve gangsters, banksters, political shysters and journalism magnate hucksters. They composed the editors, the talking heads, the chiefs of staff, the rank and file, and the movers and shakers who only shook America into the nothingness that is the Mueller Report.

They had no pride, because pride is not found in the success of your individual self but in shared concepts, shared responsibilities and shared achievements. Gen Xers in these jobs of social responsibility – tens or hundreds of thousands of them – repeatedly failed to stand up to what was obviously a totally pathetic ruse because they cared only about their own success.

Much like Bruce Willis, who served Wallace in order to retire early to a Tahitian beach, Gen Xers pushing Russia(non)gate were only it for themselves. (Willis’ character had obviously served Wallace before, which is why he was insulted with “palooka” by Travolta’s character.) That’s the Gen X way, and America needs to realize this. They say that Millennial Americans are more collective-minded, and I certainly hope so – but maybe it only appears that way because they are standing next to Gen Xers?

What has Russiagate ultimately given us? It has given us “fake news” – the idea that propaganda actually can exist in the United States, and not only outside it. It has also given Americans the idea that they may actually have their own “Deep State”, a concept which every other nation has already identified in their own country. These are indeed momentous and necessary realizations which America needed to examine deeply, but they are so pitifully far behind in political thought that I could only satirise them before moving on to examine actually-important issues.

So what happens when Gen Xers fight other Gen Xers? You get a nothing Mueller Report.

Did the pro-Trump Gen Xers “win”, really?

No. Donald Trump was an unwanted prize to begin with. His victory, and now his exoneration, and soon his re-election, are a typically-Gen X affirmation of their political and moral abyss.

But that’s how Gen X likes it. They don’t like to join and they don’t like to lead. They like to laugh all alone, mockingly, and not with the group. Certainly unelectable, yet America must elect them. As Pulp Fiction relates, they are a strange, unrelatable lot. Interesting to watch, as long as you are far away.

I’d like to end with: regardless, let’s not write Generation X out of Western society – these problems aren’t going away. Similarly, don’t encourage Tarantino by paying to see his next movie – make him get back to making art and not pulp, although apparently his next movie is going to be his last one.

A couple weeks ago Nancy Pelosi, knowing the Mueller Report was about to be a dud, dropped Democrats’ hysterical and undemocratic demands for Trump’s impeachment with a decidedly parental (and fundamentally smug), “Andhe’s just not worth it”. Mommy and Daddy know exactly how to defuse their kids, after all.

It’s a very Generation X-type of idea: The fight is not worth fighting.

Russiagate wasn’t, that’s for sure.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red ChinaHis work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

Zakharova on Mueller Report: Western Journalists Are “Riff-Raff” Totally to Blame For Russia Hoax!

March 28, 2019

Russiagate Is Really Finished

Source

March 23, 2019

On February 12 we wrote that Russiagate Is Finished. The conclusion was based on an NBC report:

After two years and 200 interviews, the Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee.

Democrats and other Trump opponents have long believed that special counsel Robert Mueller and Congressional investigators would unearth new and more explosive evidence of Trump campaign coordination with Russians. Mueller may yet do so, although Justice Department and Congressional sources say they believe that he, too, is close to wrapping up his investigation.

Russiagate conspiracy theorist Marcy Wheeler countered by arguing that a conspiracy had been proven when Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort admitted to handing out polling data to some Ukrainian/Russian contact to curry favor with some Russian oligarch he owned money. But Manafort’s crimes, which he plead guilty for on September 14 2018, had nothing to do with “Russia” or with Trump and only peripherally with his election campaign:

On Friday, Manafort, who was chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign from June to August 2016, pleaded guilty in federal district court in Washington to two charges of conspiracy against the United States—one involving a lobbying scheme that involved financial crimes and foreign-agent registration violations, and the other involving witness tampering. In the course of his plea, Manafort also admitted guilt on bank-fraud charges on which a federal jury in Virginia hung last month.

Marcy and others held out hope that the Mueller investigation would come up with an indictment that would justify the utter nonsense she and other Russagaters promoted for over two years. Just two week ago former CIA director John Brennan, who likely conspired with British intelligence to frame Trump with the Russia affair, said (vid) that he expected further indictments:

During an appearance on MSNBC on March 5, Brennan predicted that Mueller would issue indictments related to a “criminal conspiracy” involving Trump or his associates’ activities during the 2016 election.

That last hope of the Russiagate dead-enders is now gone:

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III submitted a long-awaited report to Attorney General William P. Barr on Friday, marking the end of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President Trump.

A senior Justice Department official said the special counsel has not recommended any further indictments — a revelation that buoyed Trump’s supporters, even as other Trump-related investigations continue in other parts of the Justice Department.

None of the Americans charged by Mueller are accused of conspiring with Russia to interfere in the election — the central question of Mueller’s work. Instead, they pleaded guilty to various crimes, including lying to the FBI.The investigation ended without charges for a number of key figures who had long been under Mueller’s scrutiny …

Conclusions from the Mueller report will be released by the Justice Department over the next days.

That the Russiagaters were wrong for falling for the bullshit peddled in the Steele dossier and the “Russian hacking” lies of the snakeoil salesmen Clapper and Brennan was obvious long ago. In June 2017 we pointed to a long Washington Post piece on alleged Russian election hacking and remarked:

Reading that piece it becomes clear (but is never said) that the sole source for that August 2016 Brennan claim of “Russian hacking” is the absurd Steele dossier some ex-MI6 dude created for too much money as opposition research against Trump. The only other “evidence” for “Russian hacking” is the Crowdstrike report on the DNC “hack”. Crowdstrike has a Ukrainian nationalist agenda, was hired by the DNC, had to retract other “Russian hacking” claims and no one else was allowed to take a look at the DNC servers. Said differently: The whole “Russian hacking” claims are solely based on “evidence” of two fake reports.

The Steele dossier was fake opposition research peddled by the Clinton campaign, John McCain and a bunch of anti-Trump national security types. The still unproven claim of “Russian hacking” was designed to divert from the fact that Clinton and the DNC colluded to cheat Bernie Sanders out of the nomination. The stupid claim that commercial click-bait from a company in Leningrad was a “Russian influence campaign” was designed to explain Clinton’s election loss to the other worst-candidate-ever. The “Russiagate” investigation was designed to  prevent Trump from finding better relations with Russia as he had promised during his campaign.

All were somewhat successful because some media and some bloggers were happy to sell such nonsense without putting it into the big picture.

It is high time to start a deep investigation into Brennan, Clapper, Comey and the Clinton campaign and to uncover the conspiracy that led to the Steele dossier, the FBI investigation following from it and all the other bullshit that evolved from that investigation.

As for Marcy Wheeler, Rachel Maddow and other dimwits who peddled the Russiagate nonsense I agree with the advice Catlin Johnstone gives:

Every politician, every media figure, every Twitter pundit and everyone who swallowed this moronic load of bull spunk has officially discredited themselves for life.

The people who steered us into two years of Russiavape insanity are the very last people anyone should ever listen to ever again when determining the future direction of our world.

Posted by b on March 23, 2019 at 01:12 PM | Permalink

“THEY JUST WANT ME IN PRISON”: MINT PRESS CONTRIBUTOR EVA BARTLETT INTERVIEWS JAILED UKRAINIAN JOURNALIST KIRILL VYSHINSKY

Russian-journalist-Ukraine_edited-1

The Ukraine courts are still dependent on political authorities, and the special service is used to carry out political schemes and to fight inconvenient points of view and dissent, rather than to protect national security.” — Imprisoned Ukrainian-Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky tells Eva Bartlett.

 –by Eva Bartlett, February 25th, 2019, Mint Press News

KHERSON, UKRAINE (Interview) — Ukrainian-Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky has been imprisoned by Ukraine since his May 2018 arrest on yet unproven allegations of “high treason” and of conducting an “information war” against Ukraine in his role as chief editor of RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency.

To date, Vyshinsky has not been allowed a trial, the Ukrainian authorities instead repeatedly prolonging his pre-trial detention and delaying his right to justice.

In November, 2018, I spoke with journalist Vladimir Rodzianko about the case of Kirill Vyshinsky. In our interview, Rodzianko explained Vyshinsky’s May 2018 arrest, Vyshinsky’s work as an editor, the absurdities of Ukraine’s accusations against Vyshinsky, and the lack of outcry on his imprisonment.

Through intermediaries, I was later able to interview the imprisoned journalist, via email. While his replies came at the end of 2018, my intermediaries just recently were able to provide a translated transcript of Vyshinsky’s words.

More recently, I went to Kiev to interview Vyshinsky’s defense lawyer, Mr. Andriy Domanskyy. That interview will be published in the near future. While conducting the interview with Mr. Domanskyy on February 19, he received a phone call from the Kherson Court informing him that during the February 21 pleading, the court would limit the time during which Vyshinsky and Domanskyy could read the case files–case files amounting to 31 volumes.

Below is my correspondence with Kirill Vyshinsky.

EB: What do you believe was the motivation for the Ukrainian authorities to arrest and detain you?

KV: My detention and arrest represent an attempt by the Ukrainian authorities to bolster the declining popularity of President [Petro] Poroshenko in this election year. How? First, my arrest was used to stoke another scandal involving a story about “terrible Russian propaganda.” I’m a journalist, a citizen of the Russian Federation and Ukraine, and my arrest can be explained as part of the fight against “Russian propaganda.”

Second, from the very first hours of my detention, without a trial and even before pre-trial restrictions were set for me, high-ranking Ukrainian politicians started talking about the need to swap me for a Ukrainian convicted in the Russian Federation. Swaps are a favorite PR topic of the current Ukrainian government, which, in the past five years, has been unable to accomplish anything to benefit the country’s economy, achieve peace in Ukraine, or resolve the civil conflict in Donbass. This government did nothing to improve the well-being and safety of its citizens, so it was looking for other ways to score electoral points. Anti-Russian hysteria and PR around a prisoner swap is one such way.

EB: Had the Ukrainian authorities harassed you prior to May 2018?

KV: Nothing happened before May 2018, this is what amazes me! Accusations
against me in the case investigated by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) are connected with posts on the website that I run dating back to the spring of 2014.
The posts were made in the spring of 2014. According to the SBU, they represented a threat to the national security of Ukraine, but they remembered them only in 2018! And this is despite the fact that the SBU and Ukraine’s Ministry of Press and Information (another supervisory authority) have been regularly publishing lists of websites that were a “threat to national information security,” while my website was never listed!!

And then, in May 2018, I was arrested.

EB: The authorities accuse you of “treason”. How would you counter this? What had you been covering in Ukraine?

KV: I believe that accusing me of treason is false and absurd. None of the posts they are using to incriminate me are under my byline. These texts were submitted by our contributors, who shared their point of view on the developments in Ukraine in the spring of 2014, when the referendum was held in Crimea, and everything was just getting started in Donbass. All these materials are from the Opinion and Point of View sections, and each of them is followed by a disclaimer that “the author’s views do not necessarily represent those of the editorial board.”

From the vast number of texts that were published in the spring of 2014, the SBU picked only about 15 that they deemed “treasonous.” They simply ignored other texts with other views posted on our website and accuse me of conducting “special operations.” Again, they accuse me of conducting an “information war” for the mere fact that we posted a variety of opinions on our website. What does the fact that I impartially let people speak in support of Maidan or against it have to do with special operations?

As for the events that I covered, ours is a news website, and we post many texts on social and political issues. None of the texts that are included in the SBU files were written by me. I’m accused of providing an opportunity to speak about the situation in the country to people whose opinion is inconvenient for official Kiev. That’s all there is to it.

EB: How did your coverage of the proposed autocephaly for a ‘national Ukrainian church’ influence your detention?

KV: This is the most absurd accusation! This is the only episode from 2018. We posted a news piece on our website, in which Ukrainian political scientist Dmitry Korneychuk expressed skepticism about the possibility of granting autocephaly [a form of self-governance exceeding basic autonomy] to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The same news piece included the point of view of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has argued for the need for autocephaly!! It was a classic piece of journalism providing two points of view, for and against, where the reader has to decide which one is more credible.

However, the SBU believed that posting this material was part of my personal war against the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church!! I read this text out more than once in court. In it, the view “against” autocephaly takes up 11 lines, whereas the case “for” autocephaly is laid out in 17 lines, and I’m being accused of conducting a special operation against Ukrainian autocephaly!

EB: How have you been treated in prison? Do you have access to doctors? How has your health been since in detention? Are you allowed visitors and if so, under what conditions?

KV: I consider the prison conditions to be tolerable by Ukrainian standards, although access to medical care is quite limited. The prison medical unit was downsized, and I had to wait for a specialist doctor appointment for months. To alleviate acute neuralgia pain, I was given …diphenhydramine! It’s like treating acute heart pain with vitamin C. It won’t make things worse, but it doesn’t do much to help, either.

I feel pretty good right now, but this is definitely not due to the prison medicine but to the efforts of my lawyers and the medications they passed me. Once a month, my father comes to see me. We talk through a phone, separated by a glass partition.

EB: How many times has your trial been delayed? What were the reasons given for the delay? Do you feel that you will be given a fair trial?

KV: The issue is not about adjourned hearings, but the fact that the SBU keeps extending the investigation all the time, citing the need to conduct some kind of expert analysis in addition to the one that is already filed in the case. That is why I have been in jail for seven months now. The charges are absurd, the evidence does not include any text that was written by me, but the SBU is acting upon a political order issued by the Ukrainian authorities, which is to keep me in prison while the authorities try to net some political dividends from my arrest. It has nothing to do with justice. They just want me in prison.

EB: Have any international bodies supporting journalists, or any international human rights organizations, been in contact with you about your imprisonment?

KV: Yes, the UN Monitoring Mission in Ukraine and the Red Cross office in Ukraine visited me. Representatives of the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] mission regularly attend my court hearings in order to stay up to date on my case. Several international journalism organizations — such as the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, the Press Club Brussels Europe — my colleagues from Russia, and many friends spoke in my support, and I thank everyone so much! I am counting, primarily, on moral support and the ability to get as much information out about my actual case as possible, as opposed to what is published in the Ukrainian media at the behest of the SBU.

EB: Do you have any message you’d like to convey about this entire ordeal?

KV: My main takeaway from the past six months is huge disappointment in the level of political power in Ukraine and the state of its judicial system. Despite declarations about Ukraine’s “European choice,” the courts are still dependent on political authorities, and the special service is used to carry out political schemes and to fight inconvenient points of view and dissent, rather than to protect national security.

Kirill Vyshinsky
December 26, 2018, Kherson Detention Center
See also:

Vladimir Rodzianko On Journalist Kirill Vyshinsky, Detained in Ukraine

Media Ignores the Plight of Kirill Vyshinsky: A Russian Journalist Imprisoned Without Trial in Ukraine

Munich Conference Showed That America Is Losing Ground

Source

February 18, 2019

Munich Conference Showed That America Is Losing Ground

by Ruslan Ostashko

Translated by Scott and captioned by Leo.

The annual Security Conference, traditionally hosted by Germany in Munich, this time was not attended by neither the leader of Russia nor by the head of the United States. The latter was replaced by Vice President Mike Pence, who tried to convince the audience that America is strong. This came out not very convincing.

It has been 12 years since Vladimir Putin delivered his famous “Munich speech.” It was dubbed the starting point for a new “Cold War” between Russia and the West. A year and a half later an “Olympic war” commenced and ended with bringing Georgia to its senses despite it being pumped up by the “most advanced” American weapons. And going on further, everything following was deepening of the conflict.

Now, after 12 years, we can sum up some results. The first and the main result: a “unipolar world” has been destroyed. Flown in from Washington, the Vice President of the United States, of course, puffed up his cheeks. But his demands weren’t concerning Russia, but the European vassals of America, who reacted to Pence’s demands without usual enthusiasm. Here’s what was written on this by my friend and colleague Ivan Danilov.

“By and large, on the Munich stage, the world was shown a completely different America, its new image only seen so far by very few people: it’s an image of a Hegemon affronted by the entire world, which is experiencing mental suffering from the fact that its desires are no longer fulfilled like before. Pence presented Germany in particular and the European Union as a whole a fairly large list of grievances that cause irritation in Washington. Vice President of the US criticized the Nord Stream 2 and virtually accused Germany that support for this project, Berlin contributes to the increasing dependency of the EU on Russia.’We cannot protect the West if our allies depend on the East,’ he said. The European Union was required to immediately abandon attempts to circumvent American sanctions against Iran and possibly join them.”

The fact that Pence did not want to talk about cooperation, and demanded submission, has been noticed even by the American media. The New York Times wrote  that the Vice President of the United States “focused on the list of requirements for American allies.”

How exactly these same allies took Pence’s demands is clearly demonstrated in the title of the German magazine Spiegel: Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz Trumps Bauchrednerpuppe. l

“America is not the leader, it is losing ground,” the newspaper writes in response to Pence’s words that ‘the US has become the leader of the free world.’ If we translate from politically correct into Russian, the German journalists actually declared that the “king of democracy” is naked.

The Russian delegation, that had enough of the slogan “America is the strongest,” was adding fuel to the fire. This is what Deputy foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said:

“The West, with its self-conceit, self-aggrandizement, and its belief in the infallibility of its own approaches to civilization, world development, values, should stop and think for a moment: if you value your world order so much, can you increase the risks of your existence for the sake of the pursuit of ephemeral establishment of a universal, God forbid, New Order for the rest of the world?”

It sounds sarcastic and in its form and in its content. Actually, our delegation headed by Sergey Lavrov, focused on shaking the “Euro-Atlantic unity” in Munich. For example, the Russian Foreign Minister sarcastically pointed to the duality of the behavior of representatives of the EU. They were publicly stigmatizing Moscow, but in private whined about the fact that they needed the normalization of relations with Russia.

“Apparently, while this has not happened, they somehow have to be guided by their mutual responsibility and follow the course, which is fixed in the European Union under the pressure of an aggressive Russophobic minority. But we patiently explain our readiness to resume relations on an equal basis to the extent and with such speed in which it will be convenient to our partners.”

That is, the second result of the “Cold War 2.0” can be formulated as follows: “the US sustainable sovereignty over the EU is no more.” Sergey Lavrov used constructive terms to describe the situation:

“The common European house needs major repairs. The tasks are really large-scale. They can only be effectively addressed together, on a universal basis.”

The participants of the conference who listened to these words burst into thunderous applause. They only applauded more to Angela Merkel, while Mike Pence did not receive any applause at all.

*Clip plays*

I thank you for your attention, and I’m ready to answer your questions.

*Loud applause*

Finally, about the third result of the Cold War 2.0. It’s the fact that the plan to strangle Russia with the notorious “isolation” failed. Moreover, as admitted by the same Lavrov before leaving for Moscow, Russian diplomats would not mind a bit of “isolation.”

“We would even like to see some isolation, because the negotiations went back-to-back for more than two dozen meetings. Our entire delegation worked without a break.”

What is 12 years on the historical scale? Nothing. To destroy in such a short period of time all that the United States has built up over the decades since the creation of NATO and to the peak of its power at the beginning of the XXI century – is something remarkable. It will take another 12 years to compare the “overhaul” of the world order with the situation today. Do you have any predictions about what our country will achieve by February 2031?

The Alternative Skripal Narrative

February 17, 2019

by Michael Antony for The Saker Blog

The Alternative Skripal Narrative

The recent titbit fed to us by Bellingcat (reputedly close to MI6) that a third Russian agent was booked on the flight from Heathrow to Moscow on the night of 4th March 2018 — the flight taken by the two alleged GRU officers filmed in Salisbury — but didn’t show up for it, has pointed to a possible solution to the baffling Skripal puzzle. What if the third man, or perhaps the man who was supposed to take his place, was by then lying in Salisbury Hospital in a coma from opiate poisoning? What if Sergei Skripal was a triple agent trying to escape back to Russia to tell the world the truth about the Steele Dossier, which he had helped to concoct as a scurrilous, obscene joke and which had unexpectedly become the new bible of the insane war party in Washington?

This is the alternative narrative I will set out in detail here so that the reader can judge whether it forms a more plausible and coherent story than the mishmash of improbabilities, absurdities and contradictions served up by the British police and MI6. Of course in the absence of all the facts we must sometimes use imaginative reconstruction to fill in the gaps, but the point is to see how many thorny problems, raised by the facts we do have, can be solved by this narrative and cannot be solved by the official one.

It is not necessary to decide whether Skripal was a triple agent from the start (that is, a plant sent across in a spy swap, a classic Cold War way of infiltrating the enemy) or whether he became a triple agent when he realized how important this grotesque Steele Dossier had become and how much the Russians would pay him to come back and demolish it. What evidence there is (his phone call in 2012 to his old school friend, Vladimir Timoshkov, whose account of it three weeks after the poisoning gained widespread UK media coverage) suggests he started out as a purely mercenary traitor. Disillusioned by the collapse of the USSR into a gangster capitalist state run by Yeltsin’s mafia cronies, he decided he might as well profit from it by selling the corpse of what had once been his country to the highest bidder. The Russians didn’t seem to think of him as much more than a common criminal (only worth a moderate 13-year sentence, instead of the death penalty he would have got in the USA for betraying 300 agents) or they wouldn’t have let him survive six years in their prison. Perhaps when they exchanged him in the spy swap they gave him a wink and said: “Since you’re just a money-grubbing whore, any time you want to come back with some interesting stuff learned from working for MI6, let us know and we’ll discuss the price.”

He soon got to learn that interesting stuff when he was sent to Salisbury, the home town of his MI6 recruiter and handler, Pablo Miller. Miller had recruited him in Spain in 1995 and later handled him from Estonia, when he was posted there as a diplomat. It is a little too much to believe Skripal’s move to Salisbury was a coincidence. The two men became friends again, met regularly in the pub, and there is every reason to think Miller resumed his role as handler. Miller was now working for Christopher Steele, his old boss at MI6, in his private intelligence firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, based in Mayfair. This is one of the private intelligence-gathering outfits run by ex-spies of the kind Litvinenko used to work for. Just as Litvinenko got Lugovoy (his accused assassin) to help him out with due diligence reports on Russian businessmen because of his more up-to-date information, so Miller would have used Skripal in the same way. His help became vital when Steele got the commission from the Democratic Party to dig up Russian dirt on Donald Trump, and they had to invent some GRU set-up of the Donald with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel. Miller, the old Russia hand, would have done a good part of the work on this dossier and would have needed all the authentic detail his Russian agent could provide. Perhaps it was Skripal who came up with the scenario of Trump getting prostitutes to urinate on the bed the Obamas had slept in, which hidden cameras filmed. He must at least have given it his imprimatur as a typical GRU blackmail ploy to turn somebody into an asset. And that obscene fiction, the core of the Steele Dossier, became the basis of the neo-con legend that Trump was a Russian stooge — the insane underpinning of the whole mad Mueller probe into “Russian collusion”.

When Sergei the mercenary realized the vast importance this farcical, obscene Steele Dossier had taken on, that it was gospel truth for the whole anti-Trump, anti-Russia war party in Washington, he began to see how much it might be worth to the Russian state to blow it sky-high. If he were to describe on a prime-time Russian talk-show how he invented these obscene details over a beer with Miller and Steele in a pub, it would not only have all of Russia rolling on the floor with laughter. Heads would roll in Washington. The neo-con war party would become a laughing-stock. MI6 would be run out of town. Steele might face FBI perjury charges. The CIA might have its budget cut. Trump would be able to talk to Putin again. And the rewards for Sergei might be considerable. Not only seeing his 90-year old mother again, but perhaps even a swanky villa with a sea-view in Crimea or Sochi instead of that dank, shabby row-house in darkest Salisbury.

Was it Sergei who broached this subject to Yulia on one of her visits to Britain, or was she recruited by the GRU to put it to him? My bet is the latter, since after the poisoning her cousin Viktoria claimed Yulia’s new boyfriend and his mother both worked for the Russian secret services (before disappearing from view.) With all of Sergei’s communications monitored by MI6, the only way he had of talking to the GRU was through his daughter, living back in Russia again but able to visit Britain. Through her he must have managed to negotiate a deal for his return. Somehow MI6 got wind of their plans — perhaps Yulia, not a trained spy, was a bit naive or careless about listening devices. Steele became convinced they had made an escape plan for Sergei, to be carried out next time she visited Salisbury.

The thing that proves this was a British crime not a Russian one is the fact that Yulia was a prime target. The Russians had no motive to eliminate her, but if they had, they could have done it in Russia with a simple road accident with no questions asked. Only the British had to do it in Britain, since they didn’t have the resources in place to do it in Russia. And if she was not a prime target but collateral damage, why was Sergei not attacked when he was alone? Why wait for her to visit him? The fact they were both targeted the day after she arrived in Britain puts MI6’s signature all over it. She was a danger to MI6 because she knew of Sergei’s plan to return to Russia and trash the Steele Dossier, and she had to be stopped from revealing this to the world when he was killed. Silencing her at the same time was just as important to MI6 as silencing him.

To imagine that Putin would have ordered the assassination of an old double agent whom he had held for six years in prison (with ample opportunities to arrange his death) and then pardoned and swapped in a spy swap (part of the rules of the spying game on which his own life had been based), a week before the Russian elections and three months before the Football World Cup in Russia, which he hoped would lead to Russia’s re-acceptance into the community of nations, makes no sense. It carried only huge risks for a negligible benefit, and Putin does not take pointless risks, as his consistent prudence in Syria, even when his forces have been attacked, has shown. Compare the enormous gains this crime brought Britain. This assassination (as it was meant to be) gave MI6 a perfect opportunity to frame the Russians and incite a new anti-Russia frenzy to sabotage their celebratory Football World Cup (compared by the British Foreign Secretary to Hitler’s Olympics.) It would also show the EU Britain’s value as an anti-Putin cheerleader, bringing Europe and Britain together in an anti-Russia hate-week to distract from their Brexit quarrel, and uniting a fractious parliament behind a floundering leader. With any luck it would derail the Nordstream2 gas pipeline, a priority target for the US neo-con plan to ruin Russia’s economy, overthrow the regime and break up the country — goals MI6 fully shared, as their propaganda wing, the Integrity Initiative, has since made clear. In fact MI6’s plans to work for the total isolation and economic ruin of Russia, including sporting bans and ending cultural exchanges, date from 2015 and were leaked recently by Anonymous. The enormous preponderance of motivation on the British side, as well as the low risk in carrying out such a crime on their own turf with a grovelling press, a brainwashed public and tame police, point clearly to MI6 as the perpetrators.

Steele probably turned to his CIA friends for suggestions on how to frame Russia. They came up with novichok. This nerve agent invented by a Soviet chemist who later moved to the US and published the formula could be pinned on Russia as a uniquely Russian “chemical weapon.” Never mind that any decent laboratory could produce it, as a chemistry professor at Cornell has testified. Never mind that the British-invented nerve agent VX had been used to assassinate Kim Yong-Un’s half-brother in Kuala Lumpur Airport without Malaysia screaming that Britain must have done it. Russia is different. Hysterical hatred can be instantly incited against Russia by the MI6-controlled media and MI6-brainwashed politicians. Anyone who doubts Russia’s guilt can be vilified as a Putin stooge. Whether the novichok was sent over from the US by courier or produced at Porton Down is not important. What is important is that MI6’s attempt to kill the Skripals with novichok failed disastrously.

Let’s take the famous Nina Ricci perfume bottle, laced with novichok, which was found in a rubbish bin or charity bin by a homeless man and given weeks later to his woman friend, who tragically died after spraying it on her wrist. The police/MI6 narrative is that this perfume bottle was used to transport the novichok from Russia in the baggage of one of the alleged GRU men caught on CCTV in Salisbury. The novichok was then sprayed on the door handle of the Skripals’ house. The assassins then callously threw away the bottle (which they knew contained enough novichok to kill more people) in a dustbin or charity bin, demonstrating their indifference to loss of life as well as their indifference to leaving clues all over the place. There are problems with this narrative.

The homeless man claimed he had found the perfume bottle still in its box sealed in cellophane, proof it was not reopened after it had been laced with novichok and professionally repackaged. The bottle could not therefore have been used (as claimed) to spray the novichok on the doorknob, or the cellophane seal would have been broken. Assassins far from home don’t usually carry around cellophane-wrapping machines to repackage opened perfume bottles, especially when they are just going to chuck them in the bin. Nor would they take the risk, having fitted the separate spray nozzle onto the bottle and sprayed the doorknob, of disassembling it again to put it back in the box, knowing that a drop on their skin would kill them. And where would they perform this delicate operation? On the street? This poisoned perfume bottle was therefore never reopened, never used and it affected nobody until it ended up in the hands of the homeless man. So who or what was it intended for?

Ladies’ perfume bottles are normally intended for women. How many women are there in this story? Only one. The only possible explanation for the existence of this unopened, unused bottle of perfume laced with novichok is that it was a poisoned gift meant for Yulia Skripal. Why didn’t she open it? Because she had a spy father who took one look at it and said: “Don’t touch it!”

So here is the alternative narrative. MI6 had the bright idea of putting novichok in a Nina Ricci perfume bottle and sending it as a birthday present to Yulia Skripal at her father’s house. Her birthday was on 17th March, but the present was probably delivered on the 3rd, the day she arrived, so as to nip their escape plan in the bud. It was meant to seem like a present from her family or boyfriend. No doubt the parcel had Russian stamps on it, designed to frame the Russian state when the Skripals were found dead in their house with an open perfume bottle in Yulia’s hands. Unfortunately for MI6, Sergei took one look at this Nina Ricci perfume bottle and his spy instincts smelled danger. He refused to open it, but instead went for a long walk with it and put it in a rubbish bin or charity bin half-way across town. There it was found by the homeless man and given to his woman friend, a victim of MI6’s murderous callousness. Even after MI6 knew it had gone missing, they did not warn the public to beware of picking up a Nina Ricci perfume bottle because they didn’t want to give themselves away as the assassins.

The failure of the perfume bottle to kill the Skripals must have alarmed MI6. They followed the pair around Salisbury the next day. Where did they go? We can’t be sure since we have not been given all the CCTV footage. But let us engage in some more imaginative reconstruction to cover the gaps. The Skripals’ car made some unexplained journeys towards the outskirts of the town. The two alleged GRU men caught on Salisbury’s CCTV walked in some unexplained directions, with not a scrap of evidence they came within half a kilometre of the Skripals’ home. What if the two unexplained journeys intersected? Not necessarily in time but in place. What if they met at that hoary cliché of spy stories, the dead drop, the discreet delivery point for a package? The hole-in-a-garden-wall just big enough to hide something? A Mossad spy, commenting on the British police narrative, said that no GRU assassination team would ever have flown direct from Russia using Russian passports. But a support team delivering a package? Why not? What did they risk?

Now what would the GRU need to deliver to Sergei Skripal to help him escape from Britain back to Russia? Clearly, a passport. MI6, once they suspected his loyalty, would have put him on an airport watch list. He would need a passport in a false name to get out, and perhaps a flight ticket to Moscow in the same name so he wouldn’t need to make an internet booking, easily spied on. But the passport could not be blank. It needed a UK visa and entry stamp. So the third Russian agent who Bellingcat now tells us didn’t show up for the flight back to Moscow must have intended his seat to be taken by Sergei Skripal, who would use the passport and visa which he had flown in with a few days before (delivered to Sergei by his two colleagues at the dead drop that day.) Either Sergei and the third man bore a sufficient physical resemblance or passport photos were switched by an expert forger in London. Unfortunately, though Sergei now had a usable passport, he was hit before he made it to the flight.

MI6, after the failure of the perfume bottle attempt, knew they had to act fast to stop the Skripals driving to the airport. Once they observed the package delivery at the dead drop, they would have guessed it was a passport. There was now no chance of using novichok. The Skripals were unlikely to return home and pack a bag, so they had to be knocked out in a public place. Using novichok and risking the lives of dozens of other people was too much even for MI6. So they decided to spray them in the street with an opiate like Fentanyl, and later on to add novichok to the blood samples they sent to Porton Down for analysis (without of course any controlled chain of custody except their own.)

We know that the Skipals were knocked out with an opiate and not a nerve agent because of a simple incident — in fact, a slip-up. The first person on the scene when the Skripals collapsed on their bench was an army nurse, the Chief Nursing Officer of the British Army, Colonel Alison McCourt, accompanied by her teenage daughter, Abigail. Does anyone believe she was there by chance and was not part of the MI6 team following the Skripals about and looking for an opportunity to drug them discreetly? Now Colonel McCourt had long experience both with Ebola in Sierra Leone and with the danger of chemical weapons during her service in Iraq, where protection against nerve agents was a priority. She knew the enormous precautions required in approaching a victim of a nerve agent attack. Yet Colonel McCourt encouraged her daughter to rush over to the collapsed Skripals and begin administering first aid to them, something very dangerous if a nerve agent had been used. She later even recommended Abigail for a medal for heroism for her action, which is why it got into the papers. How did Colonel McCourt know that a nerve agent had not been used on the Skripals, unless she was part of the team that had sprayed them with an opiate? Would she have allowed her daughter to touch the Skipals unless she was sure there was no nerve agent present? This is what is known as a smoking gun.

There has been extraordinary silence in the mainstream media about the fact that none of the first responders or the Salisbury Hospital staff were in any way affected by the deadliest nerve agent known to man, even though no precautions were taken against it for at least two days. The nurses assumed they were dealing with an opiate overdose. When the blood test results came back from Porton Down showing novichok present in the blood samples, the hazmat suits were donned and the hospital allegedly went into panic mode. We can assume most of this was a charade. Sergeant Bailey, allegedly contaminated with novichok though the police can’t decide where, recounts in the Panorama BBC film shown in November that the nurses who cared for him wore full hazmat suits, but his wife and children wandered in to see him wearing no protection at all. Clearly the nurses were engaging in an MI6-mandated charade but couldn’t bear to impose it on his family because they knew there was no novichok present. Bailey, no doubt also drugged by an opiate, had been selected as a fake British victim to stir up more indignation against Russia, and to add further fake proof that novichok had been used, which the total absence of contamination of first responders might cast doubt on. As part of this charade, all the poor man’s furniture and belongings were destroyed by the heartless brutes of MI6, which he recounts in tears, in order to incite more irrational hatred of Russia — which the British public, the most brainwashed on earth, came up with on cue.

Of course the failure of the perfume bottle assassination attempt, and the need to switch drugs and use an opiate instead of novichok, left MI6 and the police with the task of explaining how the phantom novichok was administered. The farcical story they finally came up with, that it was sprayed on the Skripals’ front door handle with the perfume bottle, has convinced nobody except the brainwashed masses. Even the clownish Foreign Secretary’s story that MI6 had shown him a Russian spy handbook which described how their spies had recently been practising putting novichok on door handles (a technical skill obviously requiring weeks of training and about to be unleashed en masse against Britain’s unsuspecting doorknobs) but unfortunately he couldn’t produce this handbook as it was classified, left people howling with laughter. It was worthy of a Monty Python sketch, something the Russians, who are great fans of British comedy, must have appreciated.

The idea that assassins could walk up to the front door of a terraced house in broad daylight, a door with clear glass panels in the middle and on both sides of it, so that anyone outside is visible from the hallway, and spray the doorknob with novichok while the Skripals were inside and their car was in the driveway, is simply not believable. These professional assassins did not even have a car or even bicycles to make a getaway if seen. And the two police versions of what time the attackers did this, first of all at 9.15 before the Skripals left home and then at 1.30 (after the police revised their timeline to fit the train schedule of the two Russians caught on CCTV) would both have left many hours’ delay before this deadly nerve agent took effect at 4.15 that afternoon.

We are asked to believe that two people of very different size, a man of 66 and a girl half that age, fell unconscious at the exact same moment either seven hours or three hours after being poisoned with a deadly “military grade” nerve agent. Why this delayed effect? Would this be useful in a battlefield chemical weapon — let’s leave the enemy active for several hours? And how to get a simultaneous collapse many hours later? No explanation. And if novichok was used to attack the Skripals, why was Abigail McCourt not affected when she gave them first aid and why did her highly trained army nurse mother allow her to touch victims of a deadly nerve agent?

The intelligent people who work in Salisbury Hospital cannot possibly be dupes to this grotesque deception, riddled with impossibilities. They are therefore accomplices and criminally responsible. I believe many of the hospital staff suspected MI6 was staging this whole thing but went along with it because of the high level of Cold War, anti-Russian brainwashing of the British population. They saw it as an exciting spy game they were taking part in with their wonderful secret services who had Won the War and Saved the World. It was a question of loyalty to Britain to defend this criminal lie. They must have suspected the Skripals’ blood samples had been laced afterwards with novichok. Perhaps the OPCW did too, since they claimed the traces of novichok were “very pure”. Was that a hint it had never been through any human body? One can sympathize with the Russians for trying to hack the laboratory computers to find out if any of the experts had expressed doubts to each other or suspicions the OPCW had set this up. Since they knew they were victims of a shameless NATO conspiracy to frame them, all they could do was try to expose it by any means they had.

The Russians’ patience and calm in the face of this campaign of lies and hate have been almost saint-like. If the West is not wiped out by the nuclear war they are constantly pushing for with Russia, then one day Britain and all the other NATO vassal states which wrongfully expelled droves of Russian diplomats will have to make Russia an abject apology and pay compensation for the misery caused the Russian people by their illegal sanctions. Is it too much to hope that some people at Salisbury Hospital or in the local police who know the truth will have the courage sooner or later to come forward and expose this vile warmongering deception, and the totalitarian media manipulation by the sinister forces that secretly govern Britain? Do they spare a thought for the Skripals and the state they are in right now — held incommunicado without any charge against them, not represented by any lawyer, and unable to communicate with their family or the public? Surely they are not fooled by that scripted video? Where are the human rights campaigners protesting against this totalitarian sequestration? What world are they living in? Has it not occurred to them that in the era of MI6’s proven involvement in torture, whether in Guantanamo, Abu Graib, black sites or extraordinary rendition to places where people can be tortured to death, Yulia Skripal might be listening every night to her father whimpering in the next cell as the voice goes on repeating: “You Ruskie bastard, tell us when you started lying to us.”

The official narrative about the Skripals has been shot full of holes by various dissident commentators in the alternative media. That always begs the question: well, so what really happened? The above alternative narrative, combining both the known facts and speculations to cover the gaps where the facts are still missing, should allow the reader to judge its overall plausibility, compared to the official one. To prove an alternative narrative to the criminal’s story, a prosecutor does not need to establish every single event in the chain, many of which will remain unknown. He only needs to prove that certain key events in the criminal’s narrative are contrary to the known facts, and that these facts are compatible with the alternative narrative. The key facts in this case are the state of the Nina Ricci perfume bottle, clearly never opened after it was laced with novichok and repackaged, and therefore never used to spray novichok anywhere; the impossibility of a deadly nerve agent having a three hour delay in its effects and then affecting two very different people at the same moment; the unlikelihood of a senior army nurse allowing her daughter to touch victims of a nerve agent; the unlikelihood novichok was used (rather than an opiate), given the lack of any effect on the first responders, and the fact Sergeant Bailey’s children were allowed to approach him without wearing hazmat suits, which the nurses, however, wore.

Put those basic problems in the official narrative together with the speed with which the UK government blamed Russia for this event, when there was no more link between Russia and novichok than between Britain and the use of British-invented VX nerve agent to assassinate Kim Yong Un’s half-brother in Kuala Lumpur airport. No nerve agent whose formula has been published is the monopoly of any nation, nor does its use incriminate any nation. This rush to judgment reveals a premeditated plan by Britain to use this event to sabotage Russia’s Football World Cup (which they compared to Hitler’s Olympics) as part of a long-term British goal to isolate, discredit and economically ruin Russia. The need for MI6 to prevent Skripal exposing the Steele Dossier, produced by Skripal’s MI6 handlers, since it would show the degree of Britain’s cynical interference in the American election to discredit Trump and destroy any rapprochement with Russia, formed the motive for MI6 to commit murder, for which it has a considerable reputation. Combining the two things, killing the Skripals and crucifying Russia for it, was no doubt seen as a great coup by MI6. It was seen as even more ingenious to follow up this alleged “chemical weapons” attack on British soil with the fake chemical attack at Douma staged by the White Helmets, founded and financed by MI6. This was aimed at relaunching the war to overthrow Assad and dismantle Syria, giving the Americans and the Israelis its oil fields, and allowing Qatari gas to be piped to Europe to replace Russian gas. All of these fit Britain’s and NATO’s known strategic goals. The speed of the knee-jerk response of NATO countries in expelling Russian diplomats, without any debate or demand for evidence in any parliament, raises the suspicion that this was planned not by MI6 alone but jointly with the CIA and other NATO secret services, which largely control supposedly democratic governments.

The continued NATO harassment, sanctions and campaigns of lies and false accusations against Russia, including the blatant war rhetoric of the British Defence Secretary, do not bode well for the future. For the US to tear up nuclear arms treaties and then blame Russia is beyond shameful: it is destroying all possibility of negotiations to avert war. The Kerch Strait incident staged by the puppet regime in Kiev, sending gunboats into the Kerch Strait without observing the 2003 Protocol requiring them to notify in advance the Port of Kerch (a protocol observed by the dozens of ships that go through the Strait peacefully every day) was clearly part of a NATO plan to set up a major naval clash in the Black Sea. That clash (followed by an attempt to recapture Crimea or at least blow up its magnificent bridge, a reproach to a man who cannot even build a wall) may be expected in coming months, perhaps as a distraction from Brexit or a way of derailing it. NATO, in short, is on a clear trajectory towards war with Russia, which their deluded worldview convinces them they can win. Their initial use of Russia as a scapegoat and bogeyman to unite the NATO vassals against a common threat, keeping Europe in subjection to America, has got out of hand, and is heading, under the impetus of hysterical rhetoric, towards actual war. Unless decent people unite to stop this escalation then the nuclear catastrophe will occur. Exposing the barefaced lie of the Skripal false flag attack may be a step towards averting that global cataclysm.

Michael Antony is a writer based in Switzerland, and his next book, about the coming nuclear war, is called Requiem for America. He has a blog, michaelantonyblog@wordpress.com

%d bloggers like this: