Fall of Empires: London, Washington & Paris on brink of collapse

George Galloway
George Galloway was a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years. He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator.
Fall of Empires: London, Washington & Paris on brink of collapse (by George Galloway)
Despite the thrashing around of the NATO disinformation apparat, the imperial heartland has entered 2019 in a state of complete chaos.

Washington, London, and Paris – the three capitals of the Empire – are today effectively ungoverned, shutdown, tottering on the brink of collapse or under siege by their own people.

Their self-chosen Nemeses – Moscow and Beijing – meanwhile toast the New Year in a state of considerable optimism and self-confidence. These are the facts, this is the news.

We should start at the top of the Empire. The United States government has closed down amid stasis and a barrage of inter-governmental howitzers.

The defense secretary, ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, has resigned as have other uniformed subalterns angry at the president’s re-found determination to withdraw from costly and losing foreign wars. The actual “mad dog” – John Bolton – openly defies President Trump over Syria, Mueller closes in, and the new Democratic majority in the House gears up to “impeach the mother***er.”

Nobody knows if President Trump will be around for much longer, and the merest glance at the views of his putative successor – Vice President Mike Pence – recalls the famous picture of President Nixon with his vice president, Spiro Agnew, standing behind him. The satirical speech bubble had Nixon pointing over his shoulder and saying “nobody is going to shoot me with this guy next in line.”

In London, British Prime Minister Theresa May is a dead woman walking; Britain’s exit from the European Union is still a matter of total uncertainty, yet a mere 80 days away. Violence outside the Parliament has begun to erupt, no faction can command a majority, an election cannot be held because its most likely result would be the election of veteran anti-imperialist Jeremy Corbyn whom the ‘deep state’ would sooner see under arrest (alongside this writer, according to the coup-apparatus Integrity Initiative).

A no-deal Brexit will see the south of England grind to a halt given the lack of preparation for it, as trucks headed to and from the continent turn Kent, the ‘Garden of England’, into a car-park.

A Brexit in name only – otherwise known as Theresa May’s deal – cannot pass in the House of Commons next week given Labour’s opposition together with at least 50 of the government’s own MPs and the 10 members of the coalition partners, the DUP.

A third option, a new referendum, runs the risk of the same scenario being played out (but almost entirely unreported here) on the streets of Paris and other French cities. Defying the result of the first referendum, cheating 17.4 million people of that which they voted for, risks social peace in England. Millions of Brexit voters are among those in Britain with nothing left to lose.

In France, the Elysee has become Macron’s Bastille and it is not at all inconceivable that it will be stormed.

Last weekend his own spokesman had to be smuggled out of a back-door after a truck hijacked by protestors smashed through the door of his government building. The very conditions Macron strove so very hard to bring about in Damascus and that France DID help bring about in Kiev are now rocking the very foundations of the French Republic.

No amount of turning the ‘Nelson’s Eye’ (when famously England’s Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar was told that the French Navy were advancing on him, he put his telescope to the black patch covering his missing eye and said “I see no ships” – will alter the fact that for eight weeks and counting, hundreds of thousands of French people of all political stripes have been – increasingly violently – on the streets of cities throughout the country demanding that their president resign. And that Macron showering Euros down the Champs Elysees in concessions – in absolute defiance of the EU’s fiscal rules – has merely encouraged ‘les autres’ to keep on demonstrating.

This week, the EU (and NATO) government of Italy joined the side of the ‘Gilets-Jaunes’, with Italy’s Salvini personally denouncing the French president as being “against his own people.”

This Saturday, a mammoth demonstration will take place in London,leveling the same raft of anti-austerity demands on the British government as the Yellow Vests are making of Macron. The center cannot hold.

The old order is dying; the new one cannot be born. If we are not careful we will soon be alive in the time of monsters.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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The Not So Special US-UK Relationship

The Not So Special US-UK Relationship

The Not So Special US-UK Relationship

The Anglo-American ‘Special Relationship’ has been known to exist as a close alliance between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since the days of FDR and Churchill forged during the Second World War. It is called special because of the unique historical and cultural bonds of kinship that unite the American and British peoples through a perceived shared heritage, common political/social/economic values and language. Together over the course of 72 years it has been the White House with the support of 10 Downing Street as its principal strategic leading ally in Europe.The so-called ‘Special Relationship’ is an unprecedented coming together and sharing of two nation states intelligence and national security infrastructures and spy-intelligence organisations. The US-UK relationship is highly integrated at an intelligence, defence, foreign policy and security level. As well as being two highly developed, mature, sophisticated economies that do a tremendous amount of trade and investment with each other there are cultural affinities with a shared language and common ancestry.

At a political level the relationship between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is an institution of the Anglo-American special relationship and the poster child of it. When it has been good and based on mutual admiration and mutual chemistry with a strong bond of friendship such as Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, Tony Blair with Bill Clinton and George W Bush, John F Kennedy and Harold Macmillan and FDR together with in war time arms Churchill it has served to create an aura of confidence and glamour as well as excitement in the conduct of Western global leadership under the American order. Low points included the evident cold body language and distaste Edward Heath had for Richard Nixon.

Also Harold Wilson fell out with President Johnson regarding not having British involvement in the Vietnam War. British Conservative Prime Minister John Major did not get on well with American liberal ‘New’ Democrat President Bill Clinton regarding differing positions on the Irish peace process and Northern Ireland as well as Major helping Republican George Bush during the 1992 Presidential Election.

Now, quite possibly the US-UK “special relationship” has suffered serious damage and could be at its lowest ebb ever, which will have tremendous consequences for the UK’s position in the world going forward outside of the European Union. The relationship and alliance has always meant far more to London than to Washington DC. But in so heavily involving the British intelligence services in interfering in the 2016 US Presidential election directly working against the Republican candidate Donald Trump and in favour of the Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton, the British State may just have crossed a red line to far in the mind of President Donald Trump.

There has been much banging on about Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential election. This of course is never spoken of in the context that various American and British Governments have not only covertly interfered and intervened directly in other countries internal democratic elections and political systems such as the case with the British Conservative Government of John Major attempting to help the Republican Bush 1992 campaign against Bill Clinton, but also overtly, such as was the case with Iran after WWII. However, the more one learns of the extent of the British intelligence state’s involvement in the 2016 US Presidential election working in favour of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, the more one begins to see that an argument can be mounted that the level of British State intervention in the 2016 US Presidential election to help tip the balance in favour of one candidate against the other is unprecedented.

Such is the case of one British political ‘activist’ by the name of Simon Bracey-Lane who mysteriously worked as an activist for the Bernie Sanders 2016 Presidential campaign and a very strange organisation called The Institute of Statecraft which runs something spuriously called the ‘Integrity Initiative’. The Institute for Statecraft and its Integrity Initiative is a front for the British Government’s intelligence services. It is funded largely by the British Foreign Office and NATO Governments. It came into being in 2015 long before Donald Trump was ever perceived to be a serious candidate for the White House and its sole purpose is to continue in that most ridiculous and backwards ‘Cold War’ mentality of smearing all things Russian and smearing anyone who takes a positive interest and positive perspective on Russia and the great Russian people.

It would seem Bracey-Lane was an agent of the British Government on a mission to collect up data on Bernie Sanders, the chief rival for the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton back in 2016 and then in all likelihood pass such data to the 2016 Clinton Campaign. The British Government at the time at made it known it wanted Hillary Clinton elected President. Senator Sanders was of course a left wing firebrand, the closest American politics gets to having a socialist, who was lukewarm towards Israel and intent on revolutionising American domestic and international policy to take it in a more progressive and liberal internationalist direction. Sanders wanted to reform the bloated US defence budget and military-industrial complex and attempt to tone down aggressive impulses in American foreign policy. With a little extra push in a few primaries and caucus he might well have secured the Democratic Party nomination.

This involvement by the British State in the internal political affairs of the United States is disconcerting. Not only did the British State intervene extensively in the 2016 US Presidential election to tip the balance towards the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, it has at the same time being displaying a deeply ingrained prejudice and bigotry against all things Russian. Indeed, over the last few years the level of anti-Russian hysteria in England alongside the level of anti-EU hysteria has been an appalling and irrational spectacle to behold. Even in English police stations they now have posters up about how to look out for ‘Russian gangs’ etc. which is absolute rubbish, but then the English police are themselves utterly rubbish, as the world has witnessed recently with the disgraceful bungling of the Gatwick Airport drone fiasco. The English really need to calm down and focus on their own internal affairs such as the mess they have created for themselves with this thing of theirs called Brexit.

This British Government front called the Institute for Statecraft and its ‘Integrity Initiative’ was launched in 2015 by the British Government as a secret operation to propagate anti-Russia propaganda into the western media stream and create generally an aggressively hostile anti-Russian media narrative, for what purpose and to what end only the British Government and those who hold such severe and obsessive anti-Russian opinions can answer.

The Institute for Statecraft and its ‘Integrity Initiative’ programs where designed to smear anyone who does not follow the anti-Russia line. The Steele dossier which has been of such great help to the Robert Mueller Special Counsel Investigation was also a largely a British Government operation but seems to have actually emanated from this Institute for Statecraft mission. The ‘Integrity Initiative’ builds ‘cluster’ or contact groups of trusted journalists, military personal, academics and lobbyists within foreign countries. These people get alerts via social media to take anti-Russian action when the British State perceives a need.

It would seem there are some at the very highest levels of the British State who would like nothing more than to start an all out war against Russia, which would be the gravest strategic and human mistake probably made since the last monster thought he could achieve such a diabolical scheme circa 1941. And perhaps there are some at the top of the EU who have never forgiven nor gotten over that it was Russia that was the main liberator of the European continent against the German Nazi Third Reich and it was Russia who was the principle and superior opponent against the Wehrmacht.

Yet the fact of the matter is as per usual when the English are involved they generally end up causing more damage than good. All these anti-Russian efforts by the British State and involvement in the internal affairs of American politics such as infiltrating the Bernie Sanders campaign and gathering up a dossier on Donald Trump has ironically and paradoxically served to actually weaken to its worst level the US-UK ‘special relationship’. Quite possibly US-UK relations are at their lowest point. The management of the President of the United States’ visit to the UK was a public relations disaster for the British Government of Theresa May and Mr. Trump has made it quite clear he has little time for the British Prime Minister, openly attacking her handling of the Brexit negotiations, openly pining for Boris Johnson to replace her and openly stating that a US-UK Free Trade Agreement post-Brexit is not a certainty. Also President Trump has little time for Britain’s defence establishment and its pathetic and ridiculous Henry Jackson Society so-called Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. President Trump cannot stand pip squeaks like Gavin Williamson and that is why Trump kept the entire British Government in the dark about his troop pull outs in Syria and Afghanistan.

Fiasco In Islington :Gilad Atzmon

Fiasco In Islington

By Richard Hugus | December 21, 2018

Jazz saxophonist and writer Gilad Atzmon was recently banned from playing at an assembly hall in Islington, a borough of London, by order of the Islington Town Council. This came about as a result of an e-mail from one person — Martin Rankoff  — saying nothing more than that if Atzmon was going to be at the venue on December 21 he would give a ticket that was given to him to someone else. Rankoff wrote, “Mr Atzmon’s news and beliefs I personally find repulsive and do not wish to be in the same place as him, let alone listen to his music.” Rankoff included links to ADL and Israeli news outlets accusing Atzmon of antisemitism. Incredibly, on the basis of this letter alone, the Islington Council went way out of its way and contacted the show’s promoter to get Atzmon banned — something Rankoff didn’t even ask for.

Imagine the situation in reverse: Gilad Atzmon writes a letter to the Council saying he is uncomfortable with Martin Rankoff appearing in the audience at Islington assembly hall. He refers to Mr. Rankoff’s pro-Israel Twitter page where Rankoff calls Jeremy Corbyn “A F***ing Antisemite and Racist” and where Corbyn is pictured on a bike with a comment suggesting Corbyn should be rammed by a car. Atzmon says that he doesn’t feel safe with Rankoff in the audience. He finds Mr. Rankoff’s support for Israel repulsive because Israel was founded on genocide against the people of Palestine. As proof he provides links to news reports on the slaughter of unarmed protestors in Gaza since  March 30, 2018, and a story on the Deir Yassin massacre of 1948.

This imaginary second complaint would have been scorned as an abridgement of Rankoff’s rights. Indeed, since the Islington Council has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, in which criticism of Israel is deemed antisemitic, the Council would probably feel obliged to forward the letter to the authorities as evidence of hate speech.

The Council provided a statement on the banning in which it says: “under the Equality Act 2010, the Council must, in the exercise of its functions, have due regard to the need to foster good relations between different races and religions within the borough. The Council took account of the fact that Mr Atzmon’s presence at the Hall, and knowledge of his presence among residents of the borough, might harm such relationships, as well as the Council’s duty to tackle prejudice and promote understanding within the borough.”

This begs the question — in what way would either the “presence” of Gilad Atzmon or “knowledge of his presence among residents” harm the relationship between different races and religions in the borough? Atzmon was to appear at the venue as a saxophone player in a jazz group. It’s hard to imagine a more severe inversion of the concept of discrimination. On the basis of the feelings of one complainant, the right of a musician to work or even be present in Islington is taken away.

What lies behind this is a familiar tactic. Zionists have no argument to counter critics of Israel, so they try to shut them up by attacking their character and robbing them of their livelihood. Now AIPAC and other lobbies are working to make it illegal to criticize Israel, as we see in the recent case of a Texas speech therapist whose yearly contract was denied because she refused to sign a pledge not to support a boycott of Israel. One might ask, what does a teaching position in Pflugerville, Texas have to do with one’s opinions about a country seven thousand miles away? And why does that country have the right to compel anyone in the US to sign a loyalty oath?

If the BDS movement doesn’t do it, zealotry and fanatacism will be the undoing of the Zionist project. People don’t like being told what they are allowed to think and say. When our words and thoughts are policed, it makes us question all the more. What were once decent leftist positions against racism and discrimination have been twisted into a new kind of totalitarianism, one in which it is racist to question the racist, and discriminatory to question discrimination; one in which we are told to think something doesn’t exist when we can see with our own eyes that it does. The self-righteous members of the Islington Town Council have set a very dangerous precedent, and have been used as fools on top of it.

How can #Brexit be about democracy after this?

How can Brexit be about democracy after this?

How can Brexit be about democracy after this?

By Graham Vanbergen: I have written endlessly about the involvement of dark money and right-wing free-market fundamentalists agitating for Brexit who secured positions in high office and the very corridors of power. In my recent book, ‘Brexit – A corporate coup d’etat’ – I highlighted how they established, built and nurtured authoritative organisations to ensure that Brexit was not a wasted opportunity to push forward the next stage of the global reign of free markets

But don’t take my word for it. Some of our media partners at TruePublica have uncovered just as much democracy wrecking shenanigans going on in the background.

Take openDemocracy. They put an investigations team on following the money and found a link between foreign billionaires and Brexit just as I did. They found illicit secretive sources of political funding and exposed Arron Banks, the self-proclaimed ‘Bad boy of Brexit’ and the ongoing scandal of his huge donations. They even worked with accountants to show his insurance businesses were verging on bankruptcy at the time of the referendum and yet he brought £8 million to the Leave campaign. This donation is now under investigation.

Like me, they found the link with Steve Bannon, Trump, Cambridge Analytica and the now infamous Facebook data scandal. That wasn’t that hard but confirming the use of advanced social engineering systems that were used in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan designed originally to ‘change hearts and minds,’ was. But sadly, that too is a fact of the farce that Brexit has become.

Then there are our partners at Unearthed, the investigative arm of Greenpeace. Their undercover investigation, published in the Guardian, raised concerns about the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) work on Brexit that may have broken charity rules by campaigning for a specific policy outcome. It’s all about a hard Brexit and a US-UK free trade deal.

The IEA is registered as an educational charity. It has been under investigation by the Charity Commission since July as a result.

I go into some detail about the IEA and others and also highlight one American organisation in my book with over 450 business relationships and links to hard-right free-market think tanks, themselves linked to the hard right-wing Tea Party and other profit-driven fundamentalists. These powerful American outfits are also pushing for a hard Brexit and nothing less.

Carol Cadwalladr’s epic award-winning investigations published in The Guardian and The Observer highlighted the secrets of dark money and the foreign billionaires behind Brexit. Again, she was following the money and made the connections between big business interests and Brexit. The list of scandals uncovered by Cadwalladr continues to grow.

Then there’s Theresa May. She has been accused of holding secret weekly Brexit meetings with Cabinet ministers and civil servants of which no record has been made. This is unheard of outside of a wartime government. Of the clandestine gatherings, one insider told the London Evening Standard: “In terms of democracy this feels like a scandal.” It is.

This government is defined by its secretiveness and a desire to avoid any scrutiny whatsoever. Theresa May and her cabinet are now avoiding parliament on anything serious. The problem is, as I have said time and time again over the years even before she became the PM – Theresa May is an authoritarian leader, not a collaborative one who believes in democracy. She has decided what is best for the country and no parliamentary participation is allowed if it does not agree with her position. One only has to look at the scale of democracy denying instruments (such as trashing privacy and constructing the West’s biggest surveillance state) she brought to the country in her time at the Home Office.

The ‘Meaningful Vote’ was cancelled – but only because she was facing democratic defeat. A second vote was then forced upon May – a confidence vote leaving her badly wounded. But no second referendum is allowed. As far as the PM is concerned only she has the right to interpret the view of the country. Let’s not forget May pretty much lost a general election campaign in which she demanded a personal mandate. May disappears into secretive meetings precisely because she can’t communicate with anyone at all – not the electorate, or the Tory party or that of parliament. In the meantime, the government have just been accused of wasting £100,000 on a social media campaign to get support for her Brexit deal at the vote she just cancelled. It is not that May is in a difficult position – it’s that she is clueless as are her woeful advisors.

All these reports, investigations and scandals that have emerged since Britain’s EU referendum must surely lead everyone to conclude that the EU referendum result was, in fact, more the outcome of a paid-for propaganda exercise facilitated by ultra right-wing radicals in the Tory party than democracy in action. It is leading Britain into chaos.

Democracy was denied to Britain when we found out that foreign-born billionaires and corporations had massively overspent official campaigning budgets set in law. Democracy was denied when Theresa May came to power and it will continue to be denied as she constantly changes the goalposts to best suit her game.

There is only one thing we can be sure of. The ‘investors,‘ especially the vulture funds, hedge funds and special interest groups exposed by all these scandals are looking to profit from the very chaos that Brexit causes – and it is unbelievable how been successful that plan has turned out to be!

 

Graham Vanbergen is the contributing editor of TruePublica, a columnist at the European Financial Review and author of Brexit – A corporate coup d’etat.

Another View of the EU (European Union)

 

December 10, 2018

by Jimmie Moglia for The Saker BlogAnother View of the EU (European Union)

The MacDonaldization of words forces many to lay that reason asleep which disturbs their gayety. Among recent new entries is ‘Brexit’, a word suitable to a speaking-club made of millions, where most half-hear what, if they heard the whole, they would but half-understand.

Furthermore, some words in time are debased by repetition, and can no longer be heard without an involuntary sense of annoyance. Hence I will spare my twenty-five readers further comments on how England will work-out her separation from the European Union. Official news suggests that about half of the citizenry is filled with all that sparkles in the eye of hope, while the other sees but penury ahead and thickens the gloom of one another.

Being a matter of contest, the success of one party implies the defeat of the other, and at least half the transaction will terminate in misery.

Instead I will deal with two separate events in another European country, a historic Italian chocolate factory being moved to Turkey, and the saga of an Italian truck driver – both edifying examples of the benefits of the European Union and of globalization at large.

To start, while being conscious that dainty bits make rich the ribs but bankrupt quite the wits, I confess to liking chocolate. On mountain-walks or bike-rides I rate it well above any ‘energy-bar’, another recent entry in the MacDonaldized English dictionary.

As a brief aside, in his essay “In Praise of Idleness”, Bertrand Russell presents an argument in support of useless knowledge and says that he enjoyed peaches and apricots more since he learned that they were first cultivated in China in the early days of Han Dynasty, and that the word ‘apricot’ is derived from the same Latin source as the word ‘precocious’, because the apricot ripens early; and that the A at the beginning was added by mistake, owing to a false etymology.

In the same spirit… the chocolate factory in question is (was) dear to my heart for being old, historic and located in a small town not far from where I was born – besides being famous worldwide for a special brand of chocolates.

The town is Novi Ligure, mostly unknown outside Italy. Its ancient Latin name was Curtis Nova (New Court) and in 970 AD Emperor Otto 1st donated it to a monastery. In time it became an Independent Township, then it changed hands among various neighboring feudal rulers. When Napoleon invaded Italy in 1798 he annexed it to the French Empire. After Waterloo and the Congress of Vienna, Novi became part of Piedmont and the Kingdom of Savoy.

In 1860 – one year before Italy became a country as the Kingdom of Italy – Stefano Pernigotti set up a shop in the market square selling his home-made ‘torrone’ (an Italian hard candy of Arabic origins) and ‘mostarda’ (an Italian chutney). In 1882 King Humbert I allowed the Pernigottis to use the royal emblem on the cover of their products – then Pernigotti started experimenting with chocolate. Their actual chocolate industrial production began in 1927 with the ‘Gianduiotto,’ a now world-famous and classy dessert chocolate.

During the 1980s, reaganomics, thatcherism, their continental followers and globalization created a crisis. Heinz acquired the company, but management and manufacturing remained in the hands of the last Pernigottis. Followed a sequence of different ownerships and management transfers, until the Turkish group Toksoz acquired it two years ago. Now Toksoz announced the closure of the Italian plant for good and the 200 employees will be laid off. There have been demonstrations by workers and their families, but very likely nothing will come of it.

Turkey is not part of the European Union, but, as far as workers’ rights, there is no difference, as the next recounted saga of an Italian truck driver will illustrate.

I translate here the actual recordings of an interview that the truck driver gave to a journalist. The translation cannot fully convey the spirit and nuances of a truck driver’s rendition of his state of mind and view of life, but the reader can easily imagine.

“I’m 52 years old and have always been a truck driver. I started at 20, driving a small truck, delivering drinks in my area, which is a valley in Northern Italy where the “white-asses” (read the Christian Democrats) were always predominant. Then came Bossi, (leader of the Northern League – more on him and the League later) who began to pick up more votes than the white-asses ever did. But with the League, things, as I’m about to tell you, instead of improving worsened.

At the age of 23, I began driving a large truck for a young entrepreneur of the town (near Milan). I carried iron rods. The truck was always overloaded by up to 100 tons. In those conditions, to stop the truck you need tens and tens of extra meters: if you are a car or a cyclist or a pedestrian at less than that distance braking is useless. The truck does not stop and mangles everything.

It happened to some of my colleagues, but even after that no one ever checked. That overload was a weapon: one unexpected occurrence and all is gone, cargo, bodies and all. One day I said to the boss:

– Boss, do we need to overload the truck in this manner?

– I am forced to do it – he replied – because to win the contract with the foundry, I had to lower the rates. If I respect the load limits I have to make more trips and I will be in the red. If you don’t feel like driving on overload, I can find someone else.

To make all of the trips our owner was committed to do, we also had to reduce loading and unloading times. Which meant that the load was not secured to the floor – a real problem during transport because materials can slip.

One day, a friend and colleague who was carrying cold-drawn steel tubes, had to brake suddenly to avoid a tractor coming out of a field. My friend was driving like crazy, because another risk factor was speed: to respect the scheduled deliveries, you were forced to routinely exceed the legal limits.

When my friend saw the tractor he immediately realized he had no chance of stopping in time, precisely because it was overloaded and going too fast. But, instinctively, he pushed on the brake, partly due to conditioned reflex and partly to the fear of killing the poor fellow driving the tractor.

The tractor, on seeing the truck in the mirror approaching at crazy speed, swerved into a field, tipped over but the driver was not seriously hurt. But the braking of the truck caused the mountain of steel tubes to slide against the cabin, killing my friend. His body was so mangled that his wife identified him from a shoe. “I bought him these shoes the day before yesterday at the market,” she said. The rest of her husband was literally mush, “Martha, it’s better you don’t look,” said a firefighter who knew her.

Then the steel tube manufacturers transferred their ironworks in Eastern Europe and I was unemployed for a few months. Until the owner of a company who contracted for a larger company in another province hired me.

It was, in fact, a detached department of the same larger company, with about 200 employees. But in this detached department employees were split-up into many small sub-companies, each with less than 15 employees. The 200 employees worked essentially elbow-to-elbow, but the payroll had the stamp of 14 different companies. This enabled the employer to bypass the workers’ statute and trade-union rights that apply to companies with over 15 employees. Therefore the boss was free to fire anyone at any time and without reason.

Yet no one complained. They thought that, in a ‘valley of hunger’ like ours, it was already a sign of grace having a boss and a shitty job, because both are still better than no boss and no job.

I was on the TIR truck (TIR= acronym of International Road Transport) from Monday to Friday and often on Saturday and even Sunday, if there were urgent deliveries. Yet I was considered as having a privileged position. I climbed in the cabin at six in the morning and left it at six in the evening, with an hour stop for lunch, later reduced to twenty minutes because the intensity of the traffic forced you to make up for lost time. More and more often I happened to leave after eight in the evening.

A couple of years ago the owner calls me, invites me to sit down, and shows me a letter with a header consisting of a yellow and red truck, and asks:

– Camillo, you know Willi Betz?

– Who is he?

– He is a sharp and sly German who understood everything about the European Union and organized himself ahead of time to use it to advantage.

Basically, the boss explains to me that this German set-up a transportation company with hundreds of trucks in an Eastern European country. Now, thanks to the European Union, which has knocked down the borders, they can transport goods anywhere without any problems, no bureaucracies, no duties, nor loss of time. At the wheel of all those trucks the German has put East European drivers, whose wages are one-third of ours.

– In short, Camillo – my master comes to the point – you understand that if I sell my truck and have Bets transport my goods I save a lot of money. Look here – and he shows me a letter by Betz hammering it with his finger – have you seen those prices? Calculating your contributions and the cost of the truck, you cost me 60% more than a driver of Betz…

– Boss, you don’t mean to lower my pay by 60%?

– Nooo! Whom are you taking me for? A slave driver? I am happy with a 40% reduction.

My blood went to my head, I wanted to punch the bastard. But I checked myself. My wife lost her job in the garment industry many years ago and I still have one son at school. The other works but earns so little that each month he asks me to help… So I accepted.

Six months ago, the boss calls me in again. With him there is a guy I don’t know, greasy haired and badly dressed.

– Camillo – says the boss– this is Vilic… his name would be a bit complicated to learn, but let’s call him Vilic. He comes from Poland and for a while he will give you a hand.

I’m worried. Each time the boss announces a novelty it turns out to be a rip-off.

– Vilic, continues the boss, will make a few journeys with you, to learn the way. Then he will take your place, but you don’t have to worry, because you will drive a new truck and make deliveries elsewhere, even abroad. You know, the bosses of the mother company are moving operations to the East and I need someone I can trust, like you, for deliveries to their new factory, and you will see advantages from this change.

The prospect of international travel and of being away for a whole week scares me a little, but I think of the gain. I have driver friends who commute between Milan and Poland, and bring home a salary that is the double of mine.

I begin my journey with Vilic at the side. He brought a bag with him, from which drifts out an unpleasant smell of food. He wears the same clothes when I first met him in the office of the boss, and smells a bit.

He speaks little, in a broken Italian. At any road deviation I point to a reference that will help him remember. Here, you see that big sign? Careful, here you must stay on the left and turn…

He points with his finger at the sign, tells the names of the towns we go through, and takes notes in a notebook.

We stop at a rest station. He tells me that he brought food with him. He pulls from the bag an oily paper bag, and begins to eat a kind of meatballs that exude an unpleasant smell of garlic. When I go to the toilet, I find him drinking from the faucet.

This continues for a week, he’s always dirty and smelly, always munching on meatballs. One day I offered to buy him lunch, but he refused.

I thought that he had no money and felt uncomfortable for not being able to reciprocate. So the next day, I made up that the owner had offered lunch to us both. He devoured everything like a very hungry creature. With the beer he opened up for the first time with a few confidences. He said he had a wife and a daughter, who, however, left him.

He told me that at night he sleeps in a kind of closet that the boss found for him, and that, with the first pay-check, he will move into digs that a Polish shopkeeper has promised him in exchange of an advance.

He told me his wages: less than half of mine, and no contributions. The boss convinced him to register as a business owner and independent contractor. I look at this poor soul with the unpronounceable name and I feel great pity for him. Yet, according to European Union statistics, he is an industrialist, a businessman, a sole proprietor, the founder of a start-up company!

One Saturday evening I speak with my wife about these filthy tricks, and she says:

– Camillo, according to me, your boss cannot get away with this business! Do you remember what Bossi said at Ponte di Legno? [Bossi was the notorious boss of the Lega Nord – I will get back to this later. Ponte di Legno is the resort where Bossi went on vacation, near Camillo’s town].

Bossi said that we have everything to gain with the European Union. Why don’t you go to talk about your situation with Congressman Magrelli? [name altered].

So I go to see Congressman Magrelli, whom I have known for many years, we use the ‘thou’ when talking to each other.

– Dear Magrelli – I say at the end of a meeting in the headquarters of the League Section in the Valley – do you think it’s right that they reduce my pay by 40% while they hire a Pole to do the driving, treating him as an independent contractor and with a pay at the level of hunger?

– Dear Camillo, says Magrelli, we of the (Northern) League are not afraid of free competition, because a free market benefits all.

– But if the free market is the freedom to reduce the pay of the Italians to the level of those of the slaves of the East, the European Union is a big workers’ rip-off! But tell me Magrelli, Bossi preaches the autonomy of Padania (Northern Italy), but he is not even able even to defend the autonomy of Italy?

At this point, Magrelli moves away to greet someone else, and we are no longer able to talk. Every time I get closer to him, and try to restart our conversation, he ignores me until he leaves.

Last week the owner calls me again. He keeps his gaze low and his features are drawn. With a wave of the hand, he invites me to sit down without even looking at me. Minutes go by while he shifts sheets on his desk, reads or glances at them, as if I were not there. Then he says:

– Unfortunately, things are not good, we need to cut costs, and you are a burden that we can no longer afford… tomorrow Vilic takes your place, as he has learned roads and ways.

– Will I then be given another truck to drive?

– No, No… in fact, here lies the problem, the mother company has moved operations to the East and has taken over cross-border deliveries – they will handle them.

I never felt so humiliated. I was shown the door because a slave imported from Poland costs much less than me, who had already given up 40% of the salary.

As for the Northern League, here is a related personal but short chapter from my extended chronicles of wasted time. The N League had originally acquired notoriety, among other things, for having introduced the language of the toilet in the main stream of Italian politics. Though tasteless, I rated the matter as an act of sincerity, given the notoriously pharisaical nature of politicians at large.

Still, it never dawned on me to participate in the N League or in any other party. Then a friend of mine called me to say that the Politbureau of the N League had decided to establish a foreign chapter. The goal, my friend said, was to soften the tone and modify the coarse impression of the party abroad – as well as, indirectly, projecting an alternative image of the party at home. That is, the objectives of the Foreign League were cultural. One of which was a broadcast, on the League’s Radio Network, of call-in shows. Another was to establish links with political or educational groups in various countries interested in preserving their own local languages.

Though generally skeptical, I decided to believe my friend and accepted the invitation. It was a voluntary operation – no salaries or compensation involved.

For some time I broadcast a live monthly radio program titled “Window on America,” which was well followed, at least judging by the number of phone calls and messages. Then some inexplicable events converted a developing suspicion into a conviction – namely that the objectives of the Foreign N League were not as stated – therefore I resigned.

A few short months later, the bubble burst. It turned out that Bossi and a restricted conniving crew, were crassly and personally appropriating the funds that flowed into the coffers of the League, thanks to the quizzical Italian system of funding political parties. Unofficially included in the bubble were 3 million Euros assigned to the Foreign N League.

In time Bossi was condemned to over 2-year imprisonment. But, via continued and extended appeals, it is expected that the sentence will exceed the statute of limitations, hence it will not be served.

Something similar happened with Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister who vied with Bill Clinton to get the Nobel Prize for porno-lies and porno-politics. Sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment for a fiscal fraud of gargantuan dimensions, his sentence was converted into a few sessions of community service in a retirement home.

These people represent the simple, squalid and frightening concretion of personal interest with the arrogance of power. In the end, the only good thing that can be said of them is that they are not worse than what they could be.

But what connects the tortuous Brexit, a closed chocolate factory, the depressing story of a truck driver, the corruption of politicians and the European Union?

Most readers will know already. They are examples and consequences of an ideology imposed from above under different disguises.

All men are agreed concerning the truth, when demonstrated; but they are too much divided about latent truths, or when truth conflicts with prejudice. Brexit is/was about immigration from within and from without of the European Union. The saga of the truck driver made redundant, thanks to the European Union, is both an example and an archetype.

As many by now know, the founder of the European Union was Coudeneuve-Kalergi in the 1920s. When his book , “Praktischer Idealismus” came out, it caught the attention of wealthy (Jewish) bankers who offered massive financial backing for the program. A “Coudeneuve-Kalergi” prize is conferred yearly to the best among the deserving “European-Unionizers.” Two years ago the current Pope got the prize.

However “anti-semitic” it may sound, it is not my or anyone else’s invention. Kalergi envisioned a mongrelized Europe led and controlled by the best of the Jews. They would retain their racial-ethnic identity, though the genetic stock of their upper echelon was to be strengthened by intermarriage with the best of the European nobility.

WW2 disrupted the plan. After the war, the Allies (Roosevelt and Churchill) first signed off on the Morgenthau Plan for the actual physical elimination of the German race. Morgenthau was Roosevelt’s Jewish Secretary for the Economy. And only the fear of Germany’s assimilation by the Soviet Union caused the Morgenthau plan to be scrapped.

Nevertheless, the Kalergi plan restarted with a vengeance in the early 70s, following three events that I do not think unconnected.

a) The 1968 ‘student’ revolution, a product of Cultural Marxism – whose end result was trading the workers’ struggle for sexual liberation and degeneracy.

b) The 1967 Israeli aggression and annexation of Arab and Palestinian lands, aiming at the goal of a “Greater Israel” (from the Nile to the Euphrates). It turned out to be a test to see if the world would react to the utter disregard by Israel of the UN resolutions, calling for the return of lands stolen through aggression in 1967. As we know the world did nothing.

c) The launching of the “Holocaust” in 1972, a program whose strength increases in proportion to the distance in time from the alleged historical occurrence of the event.

Add to this a parallel phenomenon in the US, with massive Jewish congressional and senate pressure to first eliminate quotas on immigration and now to eliminate borders altogether.

For the saga affecting the truck driver in Italy is repeated in America on a scale comparable or greater than in Europe. The human tsunami that reached California from the South essentially eliminated jobs for those Americans who cannot survive on radically lower wages.

But unlike Americans, immigrants can accept jobs at essentially any compensation, because they automatically join the welfare system, which includes various supplementary benefits and health-care.

Of course it would be inhuman to deny treatment to a person who needs it. At which point the endlessly intractable issue of health-care meets with the equally intractable issue of the hyper-medicalization of America. Prompted and encouraged through massive advertising to seek treatment for any ailment, the migrant patient could not possibly pay for insurance, medicines and costs. Whereupon the government becomes the payer, and the consequences are easy to envision and calculate.

In the meantime, the human tsunami in California initially caused Americans looking for a job to move North. But now the same tsunami is moving North. Trump promised to put America First, but at least so far, it turned out to be mostly a euphemism for “Israel First.”

One factor, certainly ignored by the Zionist controlled media, but even overlooked by the social media, has to do with the nature of current Zionism. And I realize that the subject would need a better treatment than the simple following references.

There have been different currents (religious and political) among Jews. Through history, the strain that most antagonized the goy is referred to as ‘Classical Judaism.’ Exemplified by the case of the ultra-religious Jew who refused to allow his phone to be used on the Sabbath to call an ambulance for a non-Jew who collapsed in a street of Jerusalem. Or by the declared contempt for the goy at large by high-ranking rabbi(s), who said and say that that the goy will hopefully live long, because they are like donkeys, alive only to serve the Jews.

Furthermore, it is generally unknown, that at the historical peak of Classical Judaism, Jews always succeeded in allying themselves with the upper echelons of goy society, kings, lords, even some Popes. For, setting National Socialism aside, resentment and pogroms against the Jews came from below, not from above.

Today, the same symbiotic relationship of old seems to bind the American Congress with the neo-cons and their own current-day version of Classical Judaism. Which goes some way to explain the fathomless hypocrisy inspiring the present (nominally American) foreign policy. Including ignoring the ongoing murders of Palestinians, waging disastrous wars in the Middle East for the benefit of Israel, declaring unending friendship with the retrograde state of Saudi Arabia, (with Trump literally dancing with the Saudis,) piling beyond-ridiculous accusations and threats against Russia, subjecting to racketeering, via the international payment system, countries that do not pay homage to Israel, and so on.

There is no viable explanation as to why more reasonable currents of the Jewish community are unheard or ignored. Because there is no plumb line long enough to fathom the depth of hypocrisy, contained in some pronouncements of the Talmud, on which Classical Judaism was founded. And the current neo-conservative practitioners of Classical Judaism seem to have preserved with steadiness a doctrine which their ancestors have accepted with docility.

To conclude, this was but a quick sketch, traced by the pencil of concern for the patience of the readers. And I realize that in detailing, however cursorily, what I learned, I fear I may be accused of exaggeration. All I can do is cautiously to avoid deserving it. The intent is always to motivate readers to inform themselves independently. The subject is highly interesting, let alone critical, and it would be a fault of no trifling nature to treat it with levity.

Colluding in war crimes: Britain’s unreported military alliance with israel (apartheid state)

Colluding in war crimes: Britain’s unreported military alliance with Israel

Mark Curtis – Middle East Eye Dec 7, 2018

may-netanyahu

Britain’s international trade secretary, Liam Fox, recently visited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pledging to increase trade and investment between the two countries, which already stands at a record $9bn.

While more than 230 Palestinians have been killed and thousands more injured by Israeli forces since March, London’s ties with Tel Aviv are growing ever stronger.

Yet, I cannot find a single article in the British “mainstream” media noting the depth of supportive UK policies towards Israel. This media blackout is allowing Britain to continue backing Israeli aggression in the occupied territories with impunity.

Arms as usual

In 2016 and 2017, when Theresa May has been prime minister, the UK sold £402m worth of military goods to Israel, including components for combat aircraft, tanks, drones and military communications. As Prince William visited Israel in late June, the UK approved export licences for 34 types of military-related equipment.

These arms exports have been authorised while Palestinians risk their lives in the Great March of Return demonstrations on the perimeter fence between Gaza and Israel. Some 33 children were among those killed, alongside more than 24,000 Palestinians injured. Dozens of people have had limbs amputated, including 15 children, while the UN reports that 1,200 patients will require long-term limb reconstruction.

But many services are unavailable in Gaza as the healthcare system grapples with the massive influx of casualties. By the end of October, only 74 of 335 exit-permit applications had been approved by Israeli authorities for injured Palestinians needing attention outside of Gaza.

Documents revealed by Edward Snowden in 2014 showed that the US National Security Agency was providing to its Israeli counterpart, the Israeli SIGINT National Unit (ISNU, also known as Unit 8200) data used to monitor and target Palestinians.

A key partner of the NSA and ISNU was shown to be Britain’s spy centre, GCHQ, which was feeding the Israelis selected communications data it collected. In 2009, during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza that left nearly 1,400 people dead, including 344 children, this involved sharing information on Palestinians.

A ‘strong partnership’

GCHQ: the British government's listening post in Cheltenham. Click to enlarge

GCHQ: the British government’s listening post in Cheltenham. Click to enlarge

Is the UK doing this now? Last year, Robert Hannigan, the outgoing director of GCHQ, said that his organisation had a “strong partnership with our Israeli counterparts in signals intelligence” and that “we are building on an excellent cyber relationship with a range of Israeli bodies”.

Earlier this year, Hannigan became chair of BlueVoyant Europe, a global cybersecurity firm whose operations are managed by, among others, a former deputy commander of Unit 8200, and a former division head in the Israeli security agency Shin Bet. Another key player in the firm is former British minister Lord Mandelson, who chairs BlueVoyant’s European Advisory Group.

Cybersecurity has become a key area of UK-Israeli cooperation. A recent report by the British Israeli lobby group, Bicom, notes that “government-to-government cooperation between the UK and Israel in cybersecurity is strong and has been described by a senior UK official as a ‘first-order partnership’”.

It added that “there are close working relationships between the countries’ national cybersecurity agencies and acknowledged cross-fertilisation in the development of their national security strategies”.

Pic Israelis cap: IDF open fire on Palestinian protesters in Gaza earlier in 2018

Indeed, the report notes that “it is perhaps no coincidence” that the former UK ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, returned from his posting in Tel Aviv in 2015 to become director of cybersecurity at the UK Cabinet Office.

In striking evidence of Britain’s reliance on Israel’s cybersecurity sector is the report’s claim that since major British banks are clients of many Israeli cyber companies, “the vast majority of digital transactions and credit card ecommerce in the UK is essentially protected by Israeli technologies”.

Deepening military relations

White phosphorus shells explode in Gaza.

White phosphorus shells explode in Gaza.

As I documented in an article for Middle East Eye in June, the UK’s military relationship with Israel is extensive, covering areas such as naval cooperation and the provision of components for Israeli nuclear-armed submarines. But the lack of journalistic investigations means that few details have emerged on many programmes.

In September, the government revealed that it was providing military training to Israel. This followed news in 2016 that British military pilots were due to be trained by a company owned by Israeli arms firm Elbit Systems. Training is longstanding: in 2011, it was revealed that British soldiers were being trained in Israel in the use of drones that had been “field-tested on Palestinians” during the 2009 war in Gaza.

The contracts keep coming. Earlier this year, the UK’s Ministry of Defence agreed to a contract worth up to $52m to purchase a battlefield management application from Elbit Systems UK, while Israel’s armour specialist, Plasan, was selected by the UK Ministry of Defence to design and produce armour protection for Britain’s new Type 26 frigates being built by BAE Systems in Glasgow.

At the Conservative Party conference in October, senior government figures queued up at an event hosted by Conservative Friends of Israel to defend Israeli actions in the occupied territories. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson stated: “In terms of defence, Britain and Israel are working increasingly closely together. There’s a real bond.”

Facilitating Israeli violence

Similarly, Liam Fox told Netanyahu last week: “I am looking forward to an enhanced and even more ambitious trade and investment relationship with Israel as we work closer together going forward into the future.”

Netanyahu replied: “Britain is in fact our largest trade partner in Europe … we value the friendship, we value the prospects for the future.”

Fox and Williamson are continuing the strategy of their boss, Theresa May, who has said of Israel: “I want to build the strongest and deepest possible relationship between our two countries.”

Yet, the reality of what this means in practice – especially in terms of British military and intelligence support for Israel, and how this facilitates Israeli aggression – is simply not being reported in the British media. The longer that continues, the easier it will be for Israel to continue to act with impunity for its crimes.

– Mark Curtis is a historian and analyst of UK foreign policy and international development and the author of six books, the latest being an updated edition of Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam.

Source

Is May Scared of Putin? British Showing Double Standards Over Russia

British Prime Minister Theresa May © Getty Images

Ken Livingstone
Ken Livingstone is an English politician, he served as the Mayor of London between 2000 and 2008. He is also a former MP and a former member of the Labour Party.
Although Saudi Arabia admitted weeks ago that its staff murdered Jamal Khashoggi, the UK hasn’t imposed sanctions on the Riyadh government. In stark contrast, when it comes to sanctioning Russia, London never lacks enthusiasm.

While no punishment has been inflicted on the Saudi government and no diplomats were expelled over the murder of the journalist in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, we have still got Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May demanding action against President Putin’s government because of recent conflict with Ukraine.

Even though it is now nine months since the attempted murder of the Skripals in Salisbury, there has still been no conclusive evidence that President Putin’s government was involved in any way. So why does Britain’s prime minister have such a double standard in how she handles events? She cannot really believe that Russia is going to go to war against the West, but there seems an absolute determination to see the removal of Putin’s government.

To understand this hysteria about Putin we need to look at the history of Russia since the disintegration of the Soviet Union back in 1991. Once Boris Yeltsin had seized power one of his first actions was to bring in a group of economists from the neo-liberal Institute of Economic Affairs which is based in London.

The result of Yeltsin adopting the neo-liberal economic agenda was effectively the looting of Russia’s economy with devastating effects on the Russian people. There was widespread support from the US government for Yeltsin’s policy with the so-called Wolfowitz Doctrine which spelt out that no nation must ever again be allowed to rise to the stature of the Soviet Union and there should now be a unipolar world under the domination of the United States.

The looting of Russia’s economy was finally stopped and the neo-liberalist economists thrown out when Vladimir Putin was elected president in 2000 and began the reversal of the destruction of Russia’s industries. Putin firmly rejected the Wolfowitz Doctrine which led to several insurgencies in Russia’s Caucasus which Moscow suspected had the backing and instigation of British intelligence.

Although President Trump seems uncertain about what his policy should be towards Russia and China, his vice-president Mike Pence has no doubts. On October 4, Pence made a speech at the Hudson Institute in which he strongly denounced China. The host was Mike Pillsbury, a consultant with the US Department of Defense, who has a long involvement in America’s policy towards China. He said that Pence’s speech represents a “significant influential minority around Trump, but not a government wide position. There is a rising influence in Trump’s administration, by those who wish to provoke conflict with both China and Russia with its members still committed to the neoconservative doctrine of America’s global predominance.

Similar views have been expressed by Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has constantly urged a hard line towards China and Russia. Bolton has opposed Trump’s policy towards North Korea and has been a key player in persuading Trump to get the USA to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which had been agreed between Reagan and Gorbachev in 1987.

READ MORE: Business as usual: US INF pullout will delight arms industry as it threatens to reignite Cold War

To build support for this hostility to Putin’s administration the Western media has been filled with lies about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Up until 2014 there was a good relationship between Putin and the directly-elected president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. That year Yanukovych announced a delay in reaching an economic agreement with the European Union because he wished to ensure it did not damage Ukraine’s economic relations with its biggest trading partner, Russia.

Almost immediately right-wing demonstrators started protesting in Kiev’s central square. These protests quickly evolved into violent clashes with radical nationalists and paramilitary groups echoing the fascist ideology of Stepan Bandera, chanting Nazi and racist slogans and demanding the ethnic cleansing of Russians from Ukraine.

No-one will be surprised that Britain, the US and EU officials supported the coup, and there is little doubt that Western intelligence agencies had been up to their necks in encouraging these far-right groups ever since the end of WWII.

Nowhere in the Western media do we see honest reporting about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. It is never mentioned that during the WWII, as Russian troops drove the Nazis out of Ukraine, many Ukrainians fought side-by-side with the Nazis against Stalin’s troops. This long-standing conflict has recently erupted following the Kerch Strait crisis.

The Western press constantly repeats the story that Russia has seized three Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea and their crews and dismisses Russia’s claim that these ships had illegally entered Russian waters. President Putin pointed out that “it was without a doubt, a provocation. It was organised by the president ahead of the elections. The president is in fifth place ratings-wise and therefore had to do something. It was used as pretext to introduce martial law.”

The Russian newspaper Izvestia cited sources in Ukraine’s leadership saying that they have been trying to persuade the US (unsuccessfully) to open a military base in Ukraine. The report cannot be confirmed but could well be true.

I believe that Ukraine’s President Poroshenko is deliberately talking up the so-called threat from Russia because at the elections in March he seems doomed to lose. But his imposition of martial law in several parts of Ukraine could be used to rig the forthcoming election and he has warned of the risk of full-scale war, claiming to have detected a build up of Russian tanks on the border which overlooks the fact that Moscow moved army units closer to the border four years ago.

The hardliners in Trump’s administration want him to increase his support for NATO and Kiev, while Ukraine itself wishes to become a member of the organization which would mean the frontier of the military alliance coming right up to the border of Russia.

Poroshenko has also claimed that Putin is planning to annex Ukraine. On November 29, he told the German newspaper Bild “Don’t believe Putin’s lies. Putin wants the old Russian empire back. Crimea, Donbass, the whole country… He believes his empire cannot function without Ukraine. He sees us as his colony.

Poroshenko has been pushing for the West to increase economic sanctions against Russia and urged Germany’s Angela Merkel to drop a plan to cooperate with Russia on building a new gas pipeline. Poroshenko warned this would make the EU dependent on Russian energy and reduce Ukraine’s sales to the EU via its existing pipeline.

Given the enfeebled state of Ukraine’s economy it’s hard to see how Russia could benefit by taking it over. Back in August, in my first column for RT, I spelt out the truth about the history of tensions between Russia and Ukraine. From the beginning of the Soviet Union under Lenin, Crimea had never been a part of Ukraine and over ninety percent of its population were Russians. It was only in 1954 that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev changed the boundary to include Crimea in Ukraine.

After the overthrow of Ukraine’s government in 2014 the vast majority of Crimean residents decided to opt out of Ukraine and reunite with the Russia they had been part of for centuries before Khrushchev’s arbitrary decision. The whole of the Western media was screaming that Russia had gone to war to seize Crimea and this led to the US, UK and other European states imposing sanctions against Russia without recognising the right of Crimea’s people of to determine their own future.

Given the number of US satellites that circle the planet, spying around the world, it is surprising that America hasn’t been able to reveal the truth about whether or not Ukraine’s three ships deliberately crossed the boundary into Russian waters on November 25.

As Putin pointed out “Military vessels intruded into Russian territorial waters and did not answer [the border guards]… What were they supposed to do?” he said at a business forum in Moscow. “They would do the same in your country, this is absolutely obvious,” he told a foreign investor. “These territorial waters were always ours even before Crimea joined Russia.

As I wrote in my first article for RT, my generation was lied to all our lives about the so-called threat from the Soviet Union, so don’t be surprised if I don’t always believe what our prime ministers tell us.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

#Brexit Dark money investigations: what we’ve found out, and why we’re looking

Dark money investigations: what we’ve found out, and why we’re looking

by Adam Ramsay

For the past two years openDemocracy has been tracking down the secretive, wealthy donors trying to influence British politics unseen.

Arron Banks with Nigel Farage: two of “the bad boys of Brexit”. Image, Ben Birchall/PA Archive/PA Images

It started with the Democratic Unionist Party. We forced them to confess that a huge Brexit donation had come via a secretive group in Glasgow. We showed that the chair of that group was connected to the former head of Saudi intelligence and to a Danish man involved in gun-running in India.

We travelled round Northern Ireland and the west of Scotland, banging on doors and meeting sources, but were blocked at every turn. BBC Northern Ireland picked up the story and followed it to Kiev. We still don’t know for sure where this cash came from, but we did help force a change in the law, so this could never happen again.

Then there were the Scottish Tories. We showed that a huge portion of their surge in 2016 was funded by money from secretive sources, and eventually got one of those groups fined. An independent Scottish media organisation, The Ferret, followed our story, and forced an Electoral Commission investigation. And it’s not just the Scottish Tories. We exposed one of the key loopholes allowing dark money to flood into the Labour Party, UKIP and the Lib Dems too.

And then there was “the man who bought Brexit”, Arron Banks. Did the millions he poured into the Leave campaigns really come from his own pockets? We showed that he didn’t appear to be nearly as rich as he claimed: it was hard to understand how he could have afforded his lavish donations. We worked with accountants to show his insurance businesses were verging on bankruptcy at the time of the referendum, and with a reporter in Lesotho to show that his diamond mines didn’t have many diamonds.

The Bannon emails

We got our hands on emails from Banks showing that he’d asked Steve Bannon – advisor to Donald Trump, founder of Breitbart News and vice-president of Cambridge Analytica – for help fundraising in the US. We met sources who showed that he’d lied to Parliament, and then, when asked about our story on the BBC, that he’d lied again.

We looked at how the Brexit money was spent, showing how several supposedly independent campaigns used the same obscure merchandise company based at the end of a terraced row in Ely (and yes, we went to Ely). We explained how Cambridge Analytica itself is the result of the privatisation of military propaganda, and we examined the terrifying connections between the Brexit campaign and Britain’s growing role as the global hub of mercenary firms.

Our story on Darren Grimes, the 22-year-old given a £675,000 donation by Vote Leave, triggered the court case which led to the conclusion that Vote Leave broke the law and to the campaign being referred to the police. We then revealed that the police waited months before bothering to collect the key documents relating to the case.

We investigated a group called Veterans for Britain, who had also taken a large donation from Vote Leave, and exposed connections to the expanding network of privatised military and intelligence contractors – including the mercenary military propaganda firm SCL, and its subsidiary, Cambridge Analytica.

We were one of the first outlets to seriously investigate the European Research Group. We showed how they were set up to turn the UK into “a low-tax, offshore haven”, that they were funded from the public purse and that they had members who were ministers – in breach of the ministerial code. We were the first outlet to disclose their membership, and that they’ve had an office in the Houses of Parliament since the 1990s. And that they got a donation via the same secret group who funnelled cash to the DUP.

Weird interests

As Brexit ministers came and went, we investigated them, too. We showed Steve Baker’s web of weird interests, including that he took thousands of pounds from an arms company whilst sitting as vice-chair of the group lobbying for the arms industry in Parliament, and how he’s got longstanding links to the American radical right. When he stood down, we showed how his replacement, Dominic Raab, was moulded as a politician by the dark-money ‘think tank’ the Institute for Economic Affairs.

Which takes us to Britain’s dark-money-funded think tanks. We showed how a staff member for a group called the Legatum Institute, connected to a hedge fund in Dubai and owned by a disaster capitalist who made a fortune from the collapsing Soviet Union, had unprecedented access to government ministers during the Brexit process, despite the fact that no one is sure who is paying his wages. And when he took a job with a private lobbying agency despite sitting on Liam Fox’s committee of advisors, our story forced him to resign from that committee.

Our work has run in parallel to – and often intersected with – that of others: Carole Cadwalladr is, of course, the icon.

But here’s the bottom line. People have different interests and ideas, and politics is a negotiation between them. We are not investigating the dark money in British politics either because we are for Brexit or because we are against it. We are investigating dark money because the rich and powerful will always hide selfish demands behind the language of ideology and policy wonkery. They hide their political donations because they don’t want us to know that what their representatives say is paid-for propaganda. If we are to have an open and honest conversation about the future of the country, we first need to understand where everyone is really coming from, what people’s interests really are.

And that means we need to keep shining a light into the dark money poisoning our democracy.

So please, contribute to our appeal, so we can keep striving for an open democracy.

America and Britain Complicit in Saudi Acts of Genocide in Yemen: 85,000 Children Dead, 14 Million at “Risk of Starvation

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America and Britain Complicit in Saudi Acts of Genocide in Yemen: 85,000 Children Dead, 14 Million at “Risk of Starvation

America and Britain Complicit in Saudi Acts of Genocide in Yemen

By Dr. Leon Tressell

The recent death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has helped shed more attention on the Saudi war of aggression in Yemen. According to the UN up to 14 million people are at risk of starvation in Yemen. Yet the American and British governments, who have the ability to stop the Saudi war machine in its tracks, continue the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners. 

Corporate politicians try and defend the military actions of the Saudi led coalition in Yemen by sheer unadulterated lies. UK Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt in a debate in the House of Commons blithely stated that the Saudi led coalition had not breached any international law.*

Yet evidence of war crimes in Yemen abound. Save The Children, which is feeding starving people in Yemen, has recently released figures showing that the Saudi instigated war in Yemen has caused the deaths of 85,000 children over the last four years.

Tamer Kirolos, Save The Children’s Director in Yemen, has recently said:

“We are horrified that some 85,000 children in Yemen may have died because of extreme hunger since the war began. For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death and it’s entirely preventable.’’

The air, sea and land blockade of Yemen that the Saudi and UAE led coalition imposed a year ago has been a key factor in creating the conditions for mass starvation in Yemen. However, that is only part of the  story.

In Yemen the Saudi and UAE led coalition has systematically set out to destroy the resources of farmers, herders and fishers alongside the deliberate targeting of food processing, storage, transport and water irrigation.

This falls under the UN definition of genocidal acts. The UN Office Of The Special Advisor On The prevention Of Genocide has an analysis framework that comprises eight categories of factors that it uses to determine whether there may be a risk of genocide in a situation. One of the categories that falls under the category of “Genocidal Acts’ is the deliberate destruction of the food infrastructure:

“Less obvious methods of destruction, such as the deliberate deprivation of resources needed for the group’s physical survival and which are available to the rest of the population, such as clean water, food and medical services.’’

The Saudi led coalition, unable to achieve any decisive breakthroughs on the battlefield against the Houthi opposition, has resorted to the mass bombing of Yemen’s food infrastructure to try and bring about victory in their illegal war.

A new report by Professor Martha Mundy, The Strategies of the Coalition in the Yemen War: Aerial bombardment and food war, provides a very detailed analysis of the bombing campaigns carried out by the Saudi led coalition in Yemen. This provides clear evidence of the genocidal nature of the military campaign that is supported by the American and British governments. Martha Mundy explains:

“If one places the damage to the resources of food producers (farmers, herders, and fishers) alongside the targeting of food processing, storage and transport in urban areas and the wider economic war, there is strong evidence that Coalition strategy has aimed to destroy food production and distribution in the areas under the control of Sanaʿaʾ.”

In the first phase of the war, March to August 2015,  the Saudi coalition focused its bombing primarily upon military targets. However, once their superior fire power failed to crush the Houthi resistance the Saudi led coalition then moved into the realm of deliberate war crimes in the hope of bringing about victory on the battlefield. Professor Mundy, drawing upon data from a wide variety of Yemeni sources, states that the pattern of Saudi bombing moved very early on from military to civilian targets:

“From August 2015 there appears a shift from military and governmental to civilian and economic targets, including water and transport infrastructure, food production and distribution, roads and transport, schools, cultural monuments, clinics and hospitals, and houses, fields and flocks.’’

The map below illustrates the systematic way that the Saudi coalition has set out to destroy Yemen’s food infrastructure in every region of the country.

Alongside the bombing of fields and flocks of animals the Saudi led coalition has deliberately targeted the irrigation system of Yemen in an attempt to destroy the agriculture of the country.

The attacks upon the irrigation system has led to severe shortages of water for farmers whose food production has seen massive declines as a consequence. The Tihama region of Yemen, once known as the breadbasket of the country, has seen a devastating collapse of agriculture. Professor Mundy’s report gives figures for 2017, before the Saudi led siege of the port of Hudadaya made the situation even more catastrophic:

  • 51% fall in the amount of land under cultivation
  • 43% of people go hungry every night
  • crop yields per hectare have declined between 21-60%

Professor Mundy notes the complicity of the US and UK in these war crimes. She states categorically that the Saudi targeting of the irrigation works, provided by the Tihma Development Agency has been facilitated by its Western partners:

“It is inconceivable that the US (and UK) military advisors who give target intelligence to the Coalition did not know the location/s and purpose of the Tihama Development Authority.’’

The other aspect of Yemen’s food infrastructure that the Saudi coalition has systematically targetted is its fishing industry. These attacks have inflicted severe damage upon fishing ports all along Yemen’s Red Sea coast. They have destroyed over 220 fishing boats which has led to a 50% fall in fish catches. The map below illustrates the attacks upon fisherman. 

The US and UK along with France are well known for being the major arms sellers to the Saudi coalition  and for protecting its more well known war crimes from diplomatic censure. Less well known is their support for the Saudi coalitions economic war against Yemen, a major cause of starvation, and the deliberate destruction of Yemen’s water and food infrastructure.

Professor Mundy’s report, which draws upon a variety of Yemeni sources, adds to the  growing body of evidence  that reveals how Saudi Arabia and its allies are committing acts of genocide in Yemen. This is with the active complicity of America and its UK ally.

This evidence of the deliberate destruction of the food infrastructure of Yemen, which is designed to create the conditions for mass starvation, is a clear act of genocide. As such, it is the responsibility of ordinary people across the world to pressure their governments into taking action against this genocide.

 

Note

*The Saudi Embassy in London was contacted on numeorous occasions for a comment about the issues raised in this article. Not surprisingly, it failed to provide any comment.

Major Psy-Op in Europe Exposed: UK Government Tramples on Values It Vowed to Protect

Major Psy-Op in Europe Exposed: UK Government Tramples on Values It Vowed to Protect

Major Psy-Op in Europe Exposed: UK Government Tramples on Values It Vowed to Protect
Those who have been saying that the West has turned Russia into a scapegoat to be blamed for each and every thing that goes wrong have been proved right. We have witnessed concocted stories invented to denigrate Moscow that have gone viral as directed by the secret services. The UK, the country that is spearheading the anti-Russian information campaign, offers a good example that illustrates how this is being done.An online group of hackers known as Anonymous has just revealed covert UK activities in the EU. According to the documents released by that group, London is in the midst of a major program to interfere in the internal affairs of EU members, the US, and Canada. Anonymous threatens to release more information on the clandestine operations of the UK government, unless it agrees to remove the shroud of secrecy protecting those information-warfare efforts. On Nov. 24 Twitter deleted RT comments on the issue. The UK knows it has friends it can rely on in a crunch.

The Integrity Initiative is a London-based organization set up and funded by the government-friendly Institute for Statecraft, in cooperation with the Free University of Brussels (VUB) to wage information-warfare operations against Russia. Anonymous calls it a “large-scale information secret service.” It aims to “change attitudes in Russia itself” as well as the influence of Russian natives living abroad. The Integrity Initiative’s budget for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2019 is estimated at £1.96 million ($2.51 million). The network has received grants from NATO, the US State Department, and Facebook.

The Initiative’s operations have been kept under wraps. Its activities are conducted by “clusters” of local politicians, journalists, military personnel, scientists, and academics involved in anti-Russian propaganda efforts. The list includes William Browder, a US-British businessman convicted in absentia in Russia for tax evasion.

The Integrity Initiative network has offices from which to conduct its covert operations in France, Germany, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Norway, Serbia, Spain, and Montenegro. Its plans to expand to the US, Canada, Eastern Europe, and the MENA region are already underway.

The Anonymous hackers mention Operation Moncloa that was launched in June in Spain to prevent Pedro Baños, a colonel known for his Russia-friendly views, from being appointed the new head of Spain’s influential national security agency.

It’s all part of a broader picture. In March, Prime Minister Theresa May promised to “defeat” Russia with a new cyber-warfare initiative titled the Fusion Doctrine. Back then, Ms. May told British intelligence services to use social media “to prevent the spread of misinformation.” In other words, she has pulled the military into this anti-Russian propaganda effort. Security sources have floated the idea that that the UK must harness “soft power” and “counter-propaganda” on social media networks. Is it possible to imagine any media remaining independent in a country where they’re part of a “soft power strategy” implemented by the government under the rallying cry of protecting national security?

This is the origin of so many fantasies about Russia and the imaginary threat it poses. The plan included an enhanced role for the BBC World Service to promote British “values” abroad, ensuring that the Ofcom shuts down media organizations that fail to meet “high British standards.” Only gullible people can believe that such “values” and “standards” exist. Russia has been used as a bogeyman to justify measures aimed at killing off the freedom of the media. Any story about Russia’s nefarious deeds spread by British news outlets should be taken with a grain of salt.

The UK government is facing some hard times. The Brexit deal with the EU is headed to parliament for approval. It’s impossible to predict whether the MPs will vote yes or no. Both outcomes threaten the very existence of the United Kingdom. The use of the “Russian threat” is seen as one way to keep the nation united and the media under control.

Keeping its activities out of the public eye, the government is doing exactly what it has so indignantly accused Russia of. The pot is calling the kettle black. As the freedom of the press is being suppressed and the media networks are following the government’s instructions about what information they should offer their readers, UK officials continue to brazenly deliver their pompous speeches about the need to protect those very values to which the government itself poses the greatest challenge. Anonymous is right — any responsible government must explain the intentions behind the Integrity Initiative, how exactly it is funded, and why its activities should be shielded from public view.

US/UK/Israeli Alliance the Greatest Threat to World Peace

US/UK/Israeli Alliance the Greatest Threat to World Peace

US/UK/Israeli Alliance the Greatest Threat to World Peace

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

These countries comprise the real axis of evil, not the phony Bush/Cheney created one.

They’re nuclear armed and dangerous, allied in their wars of aggression, waging them endlessly against one nation after another, wanting them smashed for control of their territory, resources and populations – at the expense of millions of casualties and vast destruction.

Israel’s Mossad likely allied with the CIA in staging the mother of all 9/11 false flag attacks – not sick and dying bin Laden (perishing in December 2001 in a Pakistani hospital) and other Arabs falsely blamed for what happened. 

Dancing Israelis in northern New Jersey when the Twin Towers came down from wired detonations, not aircraft, along with Israelis employed by WTC companies told to stay home the day of the attacks was all about advance knowledge of what was coming.

The aftermath of that fateful day was transformational – including endless wars of aggression against nonbelligerent states, consolidated corporate empowerment, and enactment of police state laws in America and Europe, eroding fundamental freedoms ahead of eliminating them altogether.

The US and UK are allied in diabolical propaganda, political, economic, and financial war on Russia, China, Iran, and other sovereign independent nations not yet attacked militarily.

Israel is allied with them against Middle East nations, wanting the region’s map redrawn, targeted countries transformed into pro-Western vassal states, Iran most of all, the main obstacle to US/Israeli regional dominance, along with Russia’s presence.

Usually reserved Sergey Lavrov slammed the Trump regime for conducting hostile “geopolitical games” with its imperial partners against Russia, adding:

“The architecture of the Russia-EU dialogue is seriously damaged. European producers suffer multibillion losses.”

“The (US installed) Kiev regime wages war against its own people. A new conflict emerged in Europe, while the United States suffers no losses at all.”

It “takes advantage of the situation to encourage dangerous military activities at Russian borders, and to promote an arms race in our region, while we all used to hope that there was no place for a new cold war there.”

Lavrov slammed Trump State Department, saying it “declared that Daesh has not been completely defeated, and that the main condition for its defeat is regime change in Syria and the withdrawal of any Iranian or pro-Iranian units from the country,” adding: 

“This confirms my theory that the Americans view Daesh as an excuse for their presence in Syria and almost as an ally in the fight against the Syrian regime. In other words, the main task now is regime change, not defeating Daesh.”

Lavrov and other Russian officials are well aware that the US created ISIS and other terrorist groups, regime change the objective in all US wars of aggression.

US Cold War 2.0 is raging more dangerously than earlier with the Soviet Union when the threat of military confrontation was minimal – no longer. Washington’s rage for dominance could explode into nuclear war.

Britain’s new hardline army chief General Mark Carleton-Smith is – militantly Russophobic.

Since appointed chief of general staff in June, he turned truth on its head, claiming “(t)he misplaced perception that there is no imminent or existential threat to the UK…is wrong.”

The only threats Britain, the US, other NATO countries and Israel face are invented. Real ones don’t exist. Claiming otherwise is propaganda for increased military spending at the expense of vital homeland needs.

Carlton-Smith lied saying “Russia today indisputably represents a far greater threat to our national security than Islamic extremist threats such as al-Qaeda and ISIL,” adding:

“Russia has demonstrated that it is prepared to use military force to secure and expand its own national interests. The Russians seek to exploit vulnerability and weakness wherever they
detect it.”

“Russia has embarked on a systematic effort to explore and exploit Western vulnerabilities, particularly in some of the non-traditional areas of
cyber, space, undersea warfare.” 

“We cannot be complacent about the threat Russia poses or leave it uncontested. The most important conventional military response to Russia is the continued capabilities and coherence of the NATO alliance.”

The above remarks and similar ones are bald-faced lies. Allied with Washington, Britain supports ISIS, Al-Qaeda and likeminded groups. Russia is involved in combatting them.

US-dominated Britain and other NATO countries continue waging wars of aggression, blaming their high crimes on targeted states – what imperialism is all about.

Since the US/UK-staged Skripal false flag last March, wrongfully blamed on Russia, bilateral relations deteriorated far more than earlier.

It’s what hardliners running Washington and Britain intended all along – new dirty tricks likely coming at strategically planned times.

A Final Comment

The international Anonymous hacktivist group exposed a US/UK/NATO “large-scale information secret service” anti-Russia psyop – pretending it’s to counter Russian propaganda by “provid(ing) a coordinated Western response to Russian disinformation and other elements of hybrid warfare.”

The dirty initiative is all about inventing nonexistent Russian interference in Western affairs- the stuff Washington, London and its imperial partners do repeatedly, blaming others for its criminal activities.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

 

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

We must stop a minority of #Brexit fanatics from holding the United Kingdom to ransom

By Andy Price
The hard Brexit wheels are coming off. We know it, the EU knows it, May knows it.
As the Brexit negotiations peter out this week in Brussels, fevered Brexit fanatics – from Boris Johnson, David Davis and Jacob Rees Mogg in the Telegraph, to many others on Twitter – are ranting and raving about the most sensible thing Theresa May has done in two and a half years of Brexit negotiations by suggesting extending the transition period in an attempt at genuine compromise.
This would be a good opportunity to remind ourselves of some salient facts. These Conservative MPs are speaking on behalf of the hardest of Brexiteers, a collection of somewhere between 60-80 of the Tory MPs.

That’s somewhere between 60 and 80 MPs out of a total of 317 Conservative MPs in the House of Commons. And while having 317 MPs means the Conservatives are the largest party at the last election, they did not win enough of the votes to form a majority. Therefore, for all their bluster and bloviating, let’s just state clearly what the members of this small group are: they are a minority faction, holding a minority view, in a minority government.

Their claims to speak for the “will of the people” as cast in the EU referendum of 2016 thus grow weaker by the day. Time alone is a good enough driver of this – the actual vote on referendum day is fading in the historical memory. But more than this, the electorate is changing by the day. Polling points to increasing scepticism about Brexit and even just the straightforward demographics are telling. More and more people are coming of age, turning 18, becoming voters. And young people are the group most opposed to leaving the EU.

This is the real driver of the hard Brexiteer’s frothing, wide-eyed cries of betrayal and surrender: these MPs surely know that whatever appeal they had in 2016 is withering before the nation’s eyes.

A bus passes an anti-Brexit advertisement paid for by the owner of a plumbing business in London, Britain, October 18, 2018. Reuters/Peter Nicholls

Still squabbling

Nothing more quickly erodes public opinion of politicians than politicians fighting amongst themselves. And the Conservatives seem to be spending more time doing this than any other activity – such as, say, representing their constituents – at present. It’s all doubly distasteful when those doing the fighting claim to be spending all their energies fighting not for themselves or their ideological positions but for the will of the people.

Moreover, the most prominent members of this group only do further disservice to their long-term goals. Jacob Rees Mogg, no matter what levels of popularity he has in the Conservative party, is categorically not the future of a tech savvy, multicultural, diverse, post #MeToo Britain. That ship has sailed, and no amount of quaint caricatures of a gilded past can stop the move to a different kind of Britain envisaged by the generation now turning 18.

But beyond Rees-Mogg, the other figures do the cause no favours either. Johnson and Davies, both key architects of the vote to Leave, very publicly walked away from government and the difficult job of delivering Brexit when things didn’t go their way. In a time of national crisis such as this, this behaviour does not come across as a principled falling on their swords but rather as a desertion of a sinking ship.

In short, the hard Brexit wheels are coming off. We know it, the EU knows it, May knows it. And the reason the wheels are coming off is equally as clear: the Brexit that took shape out of the days following June 23 2016 was always, always, undeliverable in any kind of form that didn’t cause untold political and economic damage to the UK. This is particularly true in the matter of the Irish border. History will show that the lion’s share of the blame for the type of Brexit that emerged in those early days lies with May. Her quite frankly ridiculous political game playing, aimed at pleasing the fanatics in her party, created the red lines that have that run through the heart of this whole debacle.

But even she now knows that the time for compromise has arrived. As in life, so it should be in politics – we compromise constantly in our private and professional lives: why should it be any different here? It seems May might be realising that, belatedly.

Sadly, she is hampered by the fanatics. And this is what the rest of us should be focusing on: how is it that a tiny handful of MPs holding a minority position in society – remember, 99% of the things they are fighting for in a hard Brexit were not on a ballot in 2016 (and indeed, many of them argued publicly against these positions) – came to hijack the political debate as a whole?

That worrying question has many answers – answers we need to address collectively over the coming years. In the meantime, let’s extend the transition period and give ourselves time to breathe as we reflect on how we got to this sorry state – and how we get out of here.


Andy Price, Head of Politics, Sheffield Hallam University


This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Bill to “Officially” Recognize Palestine Submitted to British Parliament

Bill to “Officially” Recognize Palestine Submitted to British Parliament

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal,

UK’s first MP of Palestinian descent Layla Moran submits bill to House of Commons

A bill to officially recognize Palestinian state has been submitted to the House of Commons by the first British Palestinian MP on Wednesday.

Layla Moran, a Liberal Democrat MP, said in a video she shared before submitting the bill that she is very proud for being elected as the first Palestinian MP in the U.K. “but it remains the fact that Britain has not officially recognized the Palestinian as a state and I believe that is something that should change.”

“Since I was elected I have been dismayed at the progress the Conservative Government has made towards recognising the state of Palestine,” Moran said in a statement issued to Anadolu Agency.

“I am in favour of a two-state solution, but until the state of Palestine is recognised, the two actors can’t come to the table as equal partners,” she said.

She said:

“Given the U.K.’s role in the Balfour declaration it is vital that Britain recognises the role it has played and the role is has to play in re-igniting the peace talks.

“Whilst I appreciate that the U.K. recognizing the state of Palestine alone won’t be a solution, doing it would go some way to reigniting the spark of hope that has gone out in the heart of Palestinians across the world.”

The bill will be published in the next few days or weeks and it will, if passed into law, require the Government to formally recognise the state of Palestine within 3 months of the Bill being passed, a statement from Moran’s parliamentary office said.

“I don’t believe that we should be waiting some sort of fictitious moment in the future with undefined goals where this is given as a reward for Palestine and Palestinian leaders’ going back to negotiating table,” Moran said in the video she shared earlier on YouTube.

“I encourage anyone who believes in peace between Israel and Palestine, who believes in the two-state solution to back this bill and back Britain recognizing Palestine as a state as soon as possible,” she said.

Palestine embarked on a strategy to seek international recognition as an independent state in 1988 with its declaration of independence. Between 2009 and 2010, a second phase began, during which many countries decided to recognize it as an independent state.

In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly granted Palestine the status of non-member observer state.

It has been recognized by 137 of the 193 UN member states and the UK, US and most of the EU countries are still to recognize Palestinian state officially.

Featured image is from Anadolu Agency

#BREXIT – Finally Laid Bare For All To See

Source

BREXIT - The Final Truth

By Graham Vanbergen:

The dream of Brexit, that of the so-called ‘ultras,’ the buccaneering Brexiteers is finally being laid bare for what it really is – a fantasy. The tally of Theresa May’s appointments who have walked out has now reached 18. The record-setting turnover rate in Theresa may’s government is only trumped in the democratic West by the master of chaos himself – Donald Trump, who to date, has lost 68 members of his Executive office staff – including the Whitehouse physician. And this is the man the ‘ultras’ are courting.

This dream has now turned into a constitutional and political nightmare – it is humiliating to witness. Britain, once a diplomatic titan in an uncertain world is now in catastrophic freefall. Political implosion is what now beckons.

The walkouts in the Tory party have one thing in common, it is what binds them. Not one of them has stated what they would do, or how they would replace Theresa May’s proposal. The only option they are providing – without being honest enough to say so – is a no-deal Brexit.

These political chancers include Boris Johnson – the ex-Foreign Secretary, ex-Brexit Secretary David Davis and Dominic Raab who has also abandoned his post as the Brexit Secretary and chief negotiator with the European Union. Then there’s Shailesh Vara, Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Jo Johnson – Transport Minister, Guto Bebb – Minister for Defence Procurement, Suella Braverman – another Brexit Minister, Esther McVey – the Works and Pensions Secretary.

Less well known are Rehman Chisti who left his role as Conservative vice-chairman, Ranil Jayawardena – Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, Nikki da Costa – the director of legislative affairs at Downing Street, Parliamentary Private Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative Party vice-chairman Ben Bradley, Maria Caulfield, vice-chairwoman of the Conservative Party, Scott Mann – a Parliamentary Private Secretary for the Treasury, and yet another Parliamentary Private Secretary, Robert Courts. Then there’s Andrea Jenkyns – Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and finally Chris Green, who was a Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Department for Transport.

Two and half years into negotiations and the sixth wealthiest country on the planet has proved just one thing – it is incapable of negotiating any deals whatsoever – even with itself.

More cabinet resignations will likely lead to a vote of no confidence in Theresa May. That vote, if successful will spark a Tory leadership battle right at the moment that crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s on some sort of deal with the world’s biggest trading bloc should be done with smiles and handshakes all around.

The Brexiteers who promised us so much mislead everyone. John Redwood said – “getting out of the EU can be quick and easy – the UK holds most of the cards“. David Davis said – “there will be no downside to Brexit,” and my favourite bad guy of them all – Liam Fox, who famously said – “the free trade agreement that we will do with the EU should be one of the easiest in human history.” They were all ruinously misguided at best.

So what now? Well, if Theresa May does survive the next round with her knife-throwing colleagues, the chances of getting her deal through parliament now looks a bit belly up – euthanised by misadventure. In turn, a politically cataclysmic fight for a second referendum will open the doors to the proverbial abyss of chaos, as if we weren’t already most of the way there. And even if Ms May does win the day, what do we get? When politicians and political commentators were working through the options last year they spoke of EEA countries like Iceland, Liechtenstein or the Norway/Canada deal, but this deal is none of those. May has effectively put on paper a deal she herself said no British Prime Minister should do.

Throughout all of this – Britain has not taken back control. A hard Brexit might give us control but at an economic cost that would prove much worse than the effects of the 2008 financial crash where taxpayers bailed out a bunch of irresponsible louts in Lambougini’s.

To be fair to Theresa May she was dealt a bad hand but has proved beyond any doubt she is no card player. Her appointments, designed to keep enemies close – betrayed her, and her strategic decisions throughout have had all the hallmarks of political despair, like a cornered animal facing the final moments with its attacker.

Much as I dislike Theresa May for her bad form in the Home Office, she has at least stuck to her guns – unlike the pitiful shards of a political party that boasted about strong and stable leadership, now forced to the edge of its own cliff. The ‘resigners,’  those that have chosen to walk away from their self-imposed dilemma are much worse though. They have abandoned the people they represent and the country they serve and now wait like salivating wolves ready for the final slaying in the glory hunting hope of being the next leader of the pack.

This shambles all started with Britain’s worst ever Prime Minister, David Cameron, stating in some sort of ‘moment of Blairism’ that he “thought he was right all along” to call the referendum. He wasn’t. This hoodie-hugging pig lover’s other decision of delusion was to blow up the wealthiest county in Africa and turn it into a slave-trading nation, which created the migrant crisis currently destabilising Europe.

Today, the two main political parties of Gt. Britain have literally torn themselves limb from limb. The third has already been cremated and is now dust. Now we have thugs from the DUP calling the shots. Society is fully divided, the country has been reduced to the status of international laughing stock and the very union of Britain is now at threat.

Theresa May’s terrible plan is to make us subservient to a political union next door that is itself fracturing. The ‘ultras’ want to make us subservient to a political union across the Atlantic that would be even worse. Heads we lose, tails we lose.

Brexit is a politically generated crisis and a crisis of their ongoing mismanagement. In reality, it was a contest between the centre-right and radical right – now it’s turning into a fight for all of society.

There’s no way out of this crisis. No matter which way you turn it is a conundrum – like a riddle with no answer.

The fact that David Cameron, who let this uncontrollable genie out of its bottle, was so tragically mistaken is one thing, but the rest of this mess really only demonstrates that many of those walking the corridors of power are psychologically flawed and unfit for office.

This is not Brexit, it’s Brex-Shit – and nothing else.

#Brexit: The Men Who Want to Push Britain Off a Cliff

The Men Who Want to Push Britain Off a Cliff

Theresa May has a Brexit deal. Now a group of feckless Conservatives wants to torpedo everything.

The pro-Brexit, Conservative lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg speaking to the media outside the Houses of Parliament on Thursday.CreditCreditMatt Dunham/Associated Press

LONDON — I am scared. The markets are scared. The politicians I have been talking to are scared, or livid.

A few days ago, Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled her deal with the European Union. Within 48 hours, Britain’s government spun into crisis. Mrs. May’s survival is threatened as furious prominent Brexiteers go public with their intention to unseat her. Four ministers have resigned, more resignations may follow and nobody believes that she has the votes to get her deal through Parliament. What happens after that is a conundrum.

The cause of this paralysis is the hard-line Brexiteers, a frighteningly powerful cohort within Mrs. May’s Conservative Party, a group that is heedless about economic damage to Britain in pursuit of a political goal.

The first minister to resign was Mrs. May’s Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, a cold-eyed man in a hurry, a flintily ambitious Thatcherite. The bid to topple Mrs. May was initiated by Jacob Rees-Mogg, a vain, drawling member of Parliament, a financier who once campaigned alongside his nanny in a Mercedes and has built a career as a political rock star and possible leader on the back of such affectation. They join an earlier defector, the flailing, floppy-haired Boris Johnson, a man who is half-crazed by his repeated failure to become the Conservative Party’s leader and who is desperate to grasp at his last chance, even if it means undermining the country.

Everything is up in the air in Britain’s tumultuous politics right now, but there is one certainty: There is no limit to the practical, economic and psychological damage these Brexiteers are prepared to inflict on the rest of us in the pursuit of their delusions or their demented desire for power.

They savage Mrs. May’s deal and offer no practical suggestions for anything else. This is an utter failure of responsibility. Yes, the prime minister’s deal is pitiful, an awkward compromise that will hobble Britain’s economy and diminish our power. But the truth is — and everyone knows this — there is no better, purer Brexit available without a permanent economic hit.

If they were reasonable people, the pro-Brexit faction would now be shocked into facing reality. But they are not. These are the same politicians who tricked voters out of Europe by promising them that leaving would be all gain and no pain. Britain would become proud, sovereign, powerful, more prosperous. It could slash immigration, enrich its health service, cut magnificent and profitable trade deals with the rest of the world, opt out of European Union laws and still trade with and travel freely in Europe.

It was always rubbish, marketed by people deliberately indifferent to facts. The European Union was never going to let us leave the club while retaining all the advantages of belonging, any more than a tennis club allows ex-members to use the facilities for free. It said so, patiently, repeatedly. The agonizing negotiations of the past 18 months proved that over and over

Mrs. May finally managed some wriggling round the edges, reducing part of the huge and unavoidable economic penalties of Brexit by keeping Britain in the European Union Customs Union and parts of the single market. It is a valuable concession, and one the European Union has agreed to principally in order to not inflame sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland, which would otherwise have to rebuild a border with the Irish Republic. The price that must be paid for remaining in the market is that Britain agrees to faithfully track and follow its rules, while no longer having any voice in how they are made.

These restrictions have sent the hard-line Brexiteers into a cold fury, but they were inevitable. You can’t even join a tennis match if you insist on drawing your own courts and deciding your own scores. The Brexit fanatics blindly ignore that. They have learned nothing, acknowledged nothing.

Rather than accepting their shameful role in deceiving voters over what was possible, they are doubling down on denunciation. They accuse Mrs. May of betrayal, of trapping and binding the country, of breaking her word. It is sheer selfish manipulation, political destructiveness on a huge scale, because they cannot get what they want; indeed, they cannot agree among themselves on what they want. They want the prime minister removed, but while they may secure the votes to challenge her, they’re unlikely to get enough to unseat her.

Even if they succeed in wounding her so deeply that she decides to step down and a hard-line Brexiteer takes her place, a new prime minister cannot negotiate a harder Brexit; the European Union has made it clear that the withdrawal deal is closed. If these craven politicians did find their way to power and tried to force a “no deal” Brexit — leaving the European Union without any kind of agreement in place — Parliament and the country would revolt. Nearly four out of five voters thought Brexit was going badly this July. In some areas that voted Leave, there have been big swings toward staying in the European Union.

In their grab for power, these monstrous, preening egos, desperate for validation and vindication, are already steering the Brexit process out of control, knocking Mrs. May’s deal sideways, increasing the speed at which investors and businesses flee. This chaos could last weeks or months. But the group’s ruthlessness in mowing down the middle ground of a compromise Brexit may give them whiplash. For members of Parliament, who must pass the final vote on any Brexit deal, the recent Brexiteer extremism has made their choices far starker and has raised the stakes.

If Mrs. May’s deal cannot get through Parliament, and the nightmare of a no-deal looms, then it becomes much more likely that a decisive number of members of Parliament will resolve that the final decision has to be returned to the electorate, in a second referendum that is being called the People’s Vote. Last month, an estimated 700,000 people marched in London in support of such a referendum.

The People’s Vote could offer the British electorate three choices: no deal, Mrs. May’s deal and remaining in the European Union. A recent poll found support for such a vote is now running at almost 60 percent, while the Remain vote has shifted from 48 percent in the referendum to 54 percent now.

A few weeks ago, I feared that a second vote would feel illegitimate, that a compromise Brexit, though bad for the country, should go ahead. The dangerous intransigence of the hardest Brexiteers has changed my calculation, and may change that of many others.

These hard-liners are ruthless. They aren’t prepared to accept a compromise that the prime minister has constructed for them. Instead, they are blowing it up. By eliminating the center option, they intend to push Britain to the hardest possible Brexit, toward the wrecked economy and shattered lives that would follow. They have destroyed any sense that I — and many others — had, that we owe it to them to honor and accept the original referendum. They are polarizing and galvanizing us. If no deal is the Brexiteers’ preferred option, I can with a clear conscience campaign for Remain in a People’s Vote. Anyone else could, too.

It’s just possible that the crash the Brexiteers are engineering could also be their own.

Jenni Russell (@jennirsl) is a columnist for The Times of London and a contributing opinion writer.

Venezuela wants to repatriate its gold from Britain, reduce reliance on the dollar, @bankofengland REFUSES request

Venezuela wants to repatriate its gold from Britain, reduce reliance on the dollar

Venezuela wants to repatriate its gold from Britain, reduce reliance on the dollar – UPDATE: Bank of England REFUSES request

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The Venezuelan government is looking to repatriate around $550 million in gold bars from the Bank of England due to increasing concerns about looming US sanctions.

Caracas is planning to bring 14 tons of gold, held in Britain, back to Venezuela, according to unnamed public officials, as quoted by Reuters. The UK regulator has reportedly sought to clarify what Venezuela plans to do with the gold.

The plan on repatriating the gold bars, kept in London, has been reportedly discussed for nearly two months amid increased difficulties in getting insurance for the shipment needed to move a large gold cargo.

“They are still trying to find insurance coverage, because the costs are high,” the source told the agency.

Venezuela’s foreign exchange holdings have significantly declined since the already-imposed US penalties banned the country’s government from borrowing cash on international markets.

A new round of anti-Venezuelan sanctions was introduced by the White House last week. They ban US citizens from dealing with entities and people involved with gold sales in Venezuela, which the US calls “corrupt and deceptive.”

The South American country is currently dealing with one of the worst economic crises in history, going through a fifth year of recession and an annual inflation of more than 400,000 percent. The crisis has reportedly forced nearly a million citizens to flee to neighboring countries.

Caracas has been holding its gold reserves in foreign bank vaults, which is a common practice for developing countries. In 2011, Venezuelan socialist leader Hugo Chavez repatriated nearly 160 tons of gold from the US and some European countries.

Since 2014, Venezuela has been using its gold as collateral to get billions in loans from international lenders. As a result, the country’s gold reserves have been significantly depleted. According to the latest data from the country’s central bank, gold holdings have dropped to 160 tons in June from 364 tons in 2014.

Swap agreements became difficult for Venezuela in 2017 after Washington banned US financial institutions from financing operations there.

‘Grim Irony’: Saudi Strikes Uses British Intel to Destroy UK Aid Facilities in Yemen

Saudi Strikes Use British Intel to Destroy UK Aid Facilities in Yemen

RT-Independent–>

A child at camp for displaced people in the Yemeni province of Amran.

A child at camp for displaced people in the Yemeni province of Amran. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 November 2018 (13 hours 41 minutes ago)
A vital cholera treatment center in Abs, in the Hajjah province, was hit in June in airstrikes which are supported by British intelligence, reported by the Independent.

British-backed Saudi bombing destroyed Oxfam facilities in Yemen, said the United Kingdom charity. The information about the destruction of facilities of the humanitarian organization emerged during last week’s parliamentary debates in the House of Commons where U.K. ministres were evaluating the impact of the country’s arms sale to Riyadh.

A vital cholera treatment center in Abs, in the Hajjah province, was hit in June in airstrikes which are supported by British intelligence, according to British news outlet Independent.

The location of the treatment facility was notified 12 times. In April, coalition air raids damaged an Oxfam supported water supply system that provided water for 6,000 people.

“On the one hand, British aid is a vital lifeline, on the other, British bombs are helping to fuel an ongoing war that is leading to countless lives being lost each week to fighting, disease, and hunger,” said Oxfam’s head of advocacy, Toni Pearce.

“The UK continues to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, whose coalition bombing campaign in Yemen has cut off vital food supplies, destroyed hospitals, and homes, and hit aid programmes funded by British taxpayers.”

The U.K. has sold an estimate of US$5 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since its proxy war in Yemen to oust the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in 2015.

The U.K. government has recently come under pressure to halt arms sale to Riyadh, especially after the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the kingdom. Germany and Switzerland already took the step.

U.K. government previously said that its intelligence support and training of the Saudi led-forces aims to help reduce civilian casualties but the latest report by Yemen Data Project showed that 48 percent of all known airstrikes had hit unarmed civilians and non-military targets.

The Saudi-led war in Yemen is witnessing worst famine as civilian casualties increase each passing day.

Britain’s Labour party had strongly called for a halt on arms sale. Emily Thornberry, the shadow secretary of state for foreign and Commonwealth affairs, from Labour party, wrote an article on Oct. 13 for The Guardian criticizing the government’s inaction against the Saudi kingdom despite concrete evidence of its crimes domestically and abroad.

“And yet this government apparently urges us to forget all of that because Bin Salman has committed himself to allowing women in Saudi Arabia to have the right to drive their own cars. And, more importantly, as far as it is concerned, he will give us a good trade deal after Brexit so we can continue exporting the arms he is using to prosecute his brutal war against the people of Yemen,” she said adding that a Labour government will not show same compromise while dealing with Saudi Arabia.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, who sits on the International Development Committee and the Committee on Arms Export Controls, said bombing their own aid was a “grim irony”.

This week Doctors Without Borders said their health facilities have been hit five times by the Saudi-led coalition since the war erupted in 2015, killing 21 patients and staff, and injuring 33 others.

The U.N. secretary-general  Antonio Guterres appealed to end the war in Yemen Friday. On Wednesday the United States secretary Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. is urging Saudi Arabia to accept a ceasefire in Yemen and allow the country to rebuild itself.

Saudi-led Yemen strikes destroy UK aid with British bombs – Oxfam slams London’s ‘incoherent’ policy

RT

Saudi-led Yemen strikes destroy UK aid with British bombs – Oxfam slams London’s ‘incoherent’ policy

UK Was Aware of Saudi Plot Against Khashoggi Weeks in Advance

Jamal Khashoggi was about to disclose details of Saudi Arabia’s use of chemical weapons in Yemen when he was killed.

An activist dressed as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman holds a prop bonesaw during a demonstration calling for sanctions against Saudi Arabia outside the White House in Washington, U.S., Oct. 19, 2018.

UK Was Aware of Saudi Plot Against Khashoggi Weeks in Advance: Report
By TeleSur

Saudi Arabia told the U.K. about their plan of abducting Khashoggi three weeks before the incident took place. The MI6 warned them against carrying out the said operation.

The murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi was about to disclose details of Saudi Arabia’s use of chemical weapons in Yemen when he was killed, as reported by the Sunday Express, a source close to him told the media outlet Friday.

This revelation was made as different intelligence sources disclosed that the U.K. was made aware of the entire plot by Saudi Arabia three weeks before the incident took place on Oct. 2.

Intercepts by GCHQ of internal communications by the kingdom’s General Intelligence Directorate revealed orders by a “member of the royal circle” to abduct the troublesome journalist and take him back to Saudi Arabia. The report does not confirm or deny whether the order came from the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

They were supposed to abduct Khashoggi and take him back to Riyadh but could take other actions, if the journalist created problems.

“We were initially made aware that something was going in the first week of September, around three weeks before Mr. Khashoggi walked into the consulate on October 2, though it took more time for other details to emerge,” the intelligence source told the Sunday Express Friday.

“These details included primary orders to capture Mr. Khashoggi and bring him back to Saudi Arabia for questioning. However, the door seemed to be left open for alternative remedies to what was seen as a big problem. We know the orders came from a member of the royal circle but have no direct information to link them to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Whether this meant he was not the original issuer we cannot say.”

The MI6 had warned their Saudi counterparts to cancel the mission. “On October 1 we became aware of the movement of a group, which included members of Ri’āsat Al-Istikhbārāt Al-‘Āmah (GID) to Istanbul, and it was pretty clear what their aim was.

“Through channels, we warned that this was not a good idea. Subsequent events show that our warning was ignored.”

Sunday Express also obtained an anonymous interview from a close friend of Khashoggi’s who revealed that the journalist was about to obtain “documentary evidence” of Saudi Arabia’s use of chemical weapon in its proxy war in Yemen.

Iran has previously claimed that the kingdom had been supplying ingredients that can be used to make the nerve agent Sarin in Yemen but Khashoggi was possibly referring to phosphorus which can be used to burn bones. Last month it was claimed that Saudi Arabia had been using U.S.-supplied white phosphorus munitions against troops and even civilians in Yemen.

Jamal Khashoggi was a Washington Post columnist who left Saudi Arabia a year ago due to the widespread crackdown on dissent by the crown prince which saw imprisoning of a large number of dissenters and activists in Saudi Arabia.

The journalist went to Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 .to get papers for his marriage and never seen after that. Turkey maintained that he was killed inside the consulate by Saudi authorities but the latter denied any allegations against them for almost three weeks before finally accepting that he indeed was murdered but alleged it to be a rogue operation about which the crown prince had no knowledge.

The case of Khashoggi created an international uproar and diplomatic scandals where many countries are deciding to impose sanctions on the country and many companies severed their ties with Saudi Arabia.

According to the latest updates, the European Union is considering a ban on arms sale to Saudi Arabia and other sanctions. The EU will make a joint decision on how to punish the kingdom, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday in Istanbul after Russia-Turkey-France-Germany summit on Syria. A similar sentiment was expressed by France’s Emmanuel Macron.

This article was originally published by TeleSur” –

UK Is Sending Its Police to Train in israel (apartheid state) : Here’s Why It Should Bother You

UK Sending Its Police to Train in Israel: Here’s Why It Should Bother You

(ANTIMEDIA Op-ed)  According to the Independent, government sources say a British team is set to travel to Israel in the near future to learn Israeli counterterrorism enforcement strategies. The proposed move comes amid a spate of terrorist activity in the United Kingdom, as well as concerns about the British authorities’ response time and ability to counter terrorist attacks.

However, as the Independent notes:

“There are, of course, significant differences between political violence in the UK and Israel. The murders and maiming in the streets of Britain are in pursuit of a murderous Islamist jihad with a variety of justifications offered including retaliation for the war against Isis in Iraq and Syria. In Israel and the occupied territories it is justified as part of the struggle for Palestinian nationhood against Israel.”

The Jerusalem Post cites police involvement as being integral when it comes to “turning the tide” in Jerusalem’s battle against terrorist activity. More than 3,500 police officers are reportedly involved in multiple units, constantly patrolling and on guard with undercover officers on site at all times.

Considering this, it is curious that the United Kingdom would want to learn police tactics from an occupying force that suppresses its local population. Why would the United Kingdom want to create a similar environment and heavily arm its police force? And to what end?

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