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Ukraine regime seizes on provocations by right-wing extremists to ban pro-peace religious procession from entering Kyiv

New Cold War – July 26, 2016

Photo of July 2016 religious procession for peace in Ukraine (photo on Donbass ! blog)

July 2016 procession for peace in Ukraine

A paramilitary force of the right-wing Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists, headed by Nikolai Kokhanivskiy, has put up a picket on Zhytomyr highway near Kyiv to block the mass religious procession for peace which began several weeks ago from entering Kyiv. They are prepared to stop the “‘Moscow popy” (pejorative term for Orthodox Church priests). A report in Ukrinform is here.

“They must understand that Kyiv is Ukraine, so they have to turn around and march to Donetsk and Moscow, not Kyiv”, said Kokhanivsky.

When asked what his force will do with women and children marching in the procession, he answered that they will deal only with the “popy”.

The title of the news article in Ukrinform, the Ukrainian state news agency, calls the Orthodox Church procession a “Moscow procession” while OUN men in military uniforms are called “activists”. The procession has been harassed and threatened by right-wing nationalists along its two routes, which began in western Ukraine and in eastern Ukraine in early July.

The procession is ignoring the authorities’ ban from entering Kyiv and continues marching. Pilgrims are also refusing to board buses offered by authorities, reports Ukrinform.

A July 26 news report is published in French on the procession; it is here.

July 27, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | | Leave a comment

Putin to receive Erdogan in hometown

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | July 27, 2016

The developments in Turkey are taking a dramatic turn. All Indications are that the Turkish government is in possession of definite information that the attempted military coup was orchestrated by the United States. (Anadolu )

The Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag made an open allegation in a television interview,

  • The US knows that Fethullah Gülen (the cleric who lives in Pennsylvania) carried out this coup. Mr. Obama knows this just as well as he knows his own name. I am convinced that American intelligence knows it too.

Bozdag is known to be one of the closest and trusted political associates of President Recep Erdogan. The well-informed Turkish political commentator Semih Idiz wrote that “This belief (Bozdag’s allegation) goes all the way to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  It implies that Washington knew what was coming and did nothing to warn Ankara. The pro-government Islamist media has even claimed that the U.S. tried to kill Erdoğan with this coup attempt.”

The government has taken into confidence Turkey’s two main opposition parties – the Kemalist party CHP (Republican Party) and the nationalist party MHP (Nationalist Movement Party). The ruling AKP (Justice & Development Party) and the CHP and MHP have set aside their political differences and have voiced support for Ankara’s demand to Washington for the extradition of the Islamist cleric Fetullah Gulen. No doubt, this grand reconciliation could have implications in the downstream for the fractured Turkish political landscape. (VOA)

The MHP leader Davlut Bahceli has spoken publicly about a possible deep-rooted US conspiracy to trigger civil war conditions in Turkey. Bahceli also hinted that the coup plot was likely masterminded from the Incirlik air base used by the US forces, under the supervision of the US commander in Afghanistan. Two Turkish generals serving in Afghanistan have been detained by the Turkish intelligence at Dubai airport.

Bahceli has tabled a motion in the parliament seeking clarification on “rumours” that the CIA was behind the coup plot. A falshpoint arises if the government makes the details available. The Turkish media reported that Ankara has warned the authorities in Pakistan regarding the elite schools run by Gulen’s organization in that country. (See the Deutsche Welle report Secular Pakistanis resist Turkey’s ‘authoritarian demands.)

The Obama administration is unlikely to extradite Gulen, given his key role in US intelligence operations in the Central Asian region, while Turkey has made this the litmus test of US’ goodwill and sincerity as ally. Significantly, the New York Times featured an article over the weekend authored by Gulen where he urged Washington not to extradite him. Gulen wrote,

  • His (Erdogan’s) goal: To ensure my extradition, despite a lack of credible evidence and virtually no prospect for a fair trial. The temptation to give Mr. Erdogan whatever he wants is understandable. But the United States must resist it.

Washington probably anticipates that a showdown with Ankara may become unavoidable in a very near future over the Gulen issue. The US State Department has advised dependents and families of US diplomatic personnel posted in Turkey to leave the country. Another travel advisory on Monday counselled US nationals to “reconsider travel to Turkey at this time”. (here)

It becomes extremely significant that amidst all this, President Erdogan will be traveling to St. Petersburg, Russia, to meet President Vladimir Putin on August 9. This will be Erdogan’s first trip abroad after the coup and he is signalling that restoring friendly ties with Russia is his topmost priority. Of course, Erdogan will be keenly interested in close cooperation between the intelligence agencies of Turkey and Russia. The prominent Turkish columnist Murat Yetkin wrote today,

  • The question lingers in the air about whether Russia, whose intelligence services have been accused by the Democratic Party in the U.S. of intercepting their electronic communications, would provide any material to Erdoğan linking Gülen to the coup plotters. It certainly seems there is a lot of exchange of information going on nowadays, as was revealed by Çavuşoğlu, who said that Turkey has warned a number of countries, including the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan, about a possible coup plot by Gülenists who infiltrated the state apparatus there through their school network. Moscow has already closed Gülen’s school network in Russia, accusing it of cooperating with the CIA.

The meeting between Putin and Erdogan promises to be a defining moment in Russia’s relations with the West in the post-cold war era. If a major NATO country such as Turkey crosses the ‘red line’ by forging ties with Russia at the present juncture that will be in strategic defiance of the US’ containment strategy against Russia. It can turn out to be a far bigger setback to the US regional strategies than the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, because it weakens the entire western alliance system.

Europe, in particular, will be holding its breath over the fate of its moribund ‘one in, one out’ deal with Turkey over the refugee flow. Erdogan said on German TV on Tuesday that Europe is not a ‘sincere’ interlocutor. The issue is hugely controversial in Europe, given the lengthening shadows of terrorism. German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces growing public demand to quit. (BBC, AFP )

July 27, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hillary Clinton Is A Threat To All Of Humanity

corbettreport – July 25, 2016

TRANSCRIPT AND SOURCES: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=19281

Hillary Rodham Clinton is a Wall Street-backed warmonger whose potential election as President of the United States this November poses an existential threat not just to Americans but to all of humanity.

July 26, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Trump and the End of NATO?

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 26.07.2016

If Donald Trump is elected US president it will spell the end of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. At least, that’s how a phalanx of US foreign policy pundits and establishment figures see it. Trump once again caused uproar recently with comments that were viewed as undermining a «cornerstone» of US foreign policy since the Second World War.

Ahead of accepting official nomination as the Republican party presidential candidate, the billionaire property magnate told the New York Times in an interview that, if elected, he would not automatically deploy American military forces to defend another member of NATO if it were attacked.

As the NYT noted Trump’s conditionality regarding NATO was the first time any senior American politician has uttered such a radical change in policy. It overturns «American cornerstone policy of the past 70 years».

Trump was asked whether he would defend Eastern European countries if they were attacked by Russia.

(Hypothetical, propagandistic nonsense, but let’s bear with the argument for the underlying logic that it exposes.)

Trump did not give the customary automatic, unconditional «yes» response. Rather, he said he would have to first review whether these countries had fulfilled their «obligations to us». If they had, then, he said, US forces would defend. If they hadn’t lived up to past financial commitments to NATO, then the inference was that a would-be President Trump would not order troops to defend.

The reaction to Trump’s comments was explosive. NATO’s civilian chief, Jens Stoltenberg, was evidently perplexed by Trump’s equivocal attitude. «Solidarity among allies is a key value for NATO», said the former Norwegian prime minister. «This is good for European security and good for US security. We defend one another».

Stoltenberg was just one of the many pro-NATO figures on both sides of the Atlantic who stampeded to slam Trump for his comments.

The rightwing American Enterprise Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations, and senior foreign policy makers within the Republican and Democrat parties all unanimously berated Trump over his views on NATO. Estonian and Latvian political leaders also expressed deep anxiety on what they saw as a withdrawal by the US from Europe’s security.

Reuters reported a joint letter from a US bi-partisan group of «national security» experts who condemned Trump’s «inflammatory remarks» for not representing the «core interests» of the United States.

«The strength of our alliances is at the core of those interests», said the group. «The United States must uphold the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s commitments to all of our allies, including Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania».

Reuters also quoted a former US ambassador to the alliance as saying that Trump’s policy means: «It’s the end of NATO».

Robert Hunter, who was NATO envoy under President Bill Clinton, added: «The essence of NATO, more than any other single factor, is the commitment of the United States of America to the security of the other 27 members».

The Los Angeles Times quoted former NATO supreme commander, US General Wesley Clark, as saying that Trump’s stance «undercuts NATO’s deterrence in Europe». Clark said that the comments showed that Trump has a fundamental misunderstanding of how the alliance works. «It will mean the end of the European Union and the collapse of the US’s largest trading partner».

The former NATO military chief also made the snide comment that Russian leader Vladimir Putin would be «happy» with Trump’s shift in defense policy. As did Hillary Clinton’s senior policy advisor, Jake Sullivan, who made the inane assertion that «Putin would be rooting for Trump» to win the November presidential election.

It is not the first time that Donald Trump has shown an irreverent disregard for NATO and other military partnerships which have been the hallmark of US foreign policy since World War Two. Previously, during the Republican primaries in March, the presidential contender told the Washington Post he would withdraw US troops from Japan, South Korea and the Middle East if regional allies did not shoulder more of the defense burden in terms of boosting financial contributions.

Trump says that his view of drawing down overseas American military forces is part of his «America First» policy. He told the New York Times this policy means: «We are going to take care of this country first before we worry about everyone else in the world».

In a certain sense, Trump’s worldview is laudable. Given the immense challenges for fixing the US economy, impoverished communities, post-industrial unemployment and crumbling infrastructure, of course it does not make sense for the US to maintain over 1,000 military bases overseas in over 100 countries.

And, as Trump has pointed out, it is the US that pays the lion’s share of the budget for its military partnerships. In the 28-member NATO alliance, the US pays 70-75 per cent of the entire budget.

But here is where Trump gets it fundamentally wrong. His premise of the United States functioning as a benevolent protector is misplaced. If that were the case then, yes, Trump’s point about the arrangement being «unfair» would be valid.

However, NATO and the US’s other military umbrellas in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, are not motivated primarily about maintaining security and peace. These military pacts are all about providing the US with a political, legal and moral rationale for intervening its forces in key geopolitical regions. The massive expenditure by the US on military alliances is really all about maintaining Washington’s hegemony over allies and perceived enemies alike. The reality is that America’s «defense» pacts are more a source of relentless tensions and conflicts. Europe and the South China Sea are testimony to that if we disabuse the notional pretensions otherwise.

In all the heated reaction to Trump’s latest comments on NATO the over-riding assumption is that the United States is a force for good, law and order and peace.

Under the headline «Trump NATO plan would be sharp break with decades-long US policy», this Reuters reportage belies the false indoctrination of what US and NATO’s purpose is actually about. It reports: «Republican foreign policy veterans and outside experts warned that the suggestion by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that he might abandon NATO’s pledge to automatically defend all alliance members could destroy an organization that has helped keep the peace for 66 years and could invite Russian aggression».

Really? Maintaining peace for 66 years? Not if you live in former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, or Ukraine and Syria where NATO powers have been covertly orchestrating and sponsoring conflicts.

Also note the unquestioned insinuation by Reuters that without NATO that would «invite Russian aggression».

If we return to the original question posed by the New York Times, which sparked the flurry of pro-NATO reaction, the newspaper put it to Trump like this:

«Asked about Russia’s threatening activities, which have unnerved the small Baltic States that are among the more recent entrants into NATO, Mr Trump said that if Russia attacked them, he would decide whether to come to their aid only after reviewing if those nations have fulfilled their obligations to us».

The NY Times, like so many NATO advocates who went apoplectic over Trump, is constructing its argument on an entirely false and illusory premise of «Russia’s threatening activities».

Unfortunately, it seems, Trump bought into this false premise by answering the question, even though his conditional answer has set off a firestorm among NATO and Western foreign policy establishments. Can you imagine the reaction if he had, instead, rebutted the false assertion about there even being Russian aggression?

But this fabrication of «Russian threat» is an essential part of the wider fabrication about what the US-led NATO alliance is really functioning for. It is not about defending «the free world» from Russian or Soviet «aggression», or, for that matter, from Iranian, Chinese, North Korean, or Islamic terrorist threats. In short, NATO and US military «protection» has got nothing to do with defense and peace. It is about protecting American corporate profits and hegemony.

Ever since its inception in 1949 by the US under President Truman, NATO is a construct that serves to project American presence and power around the world, as well as propping up its taxpayer-subsidized military-industrial complex. The most geopolitically vital theatre is Europe, where the European nations must be kept divided from any form of normal political and economic relations with Russia. If that were to happen, American hegemonic power, as we know it, is over. That’s what the alarmism among the NATO advocates over Trump is really about.

Trump’s declared aim of withdrawing US forces from overseas and of cutting down NATO is admirable, even if his reasoning is faulty and imbued with false notions of American benevolence.

If he were to implement such policies, then indeed the American facade of NATO might well collapse. Which would be an immeasurably good thing for restoring peaceful international relations, especially with regard to Europe and Russia, despite what the reactionary, rightwing Russophobic European states might say.

But here’s the thing. Trump does not seem to understand how deeply important NATO or US militarism elsewhere around the globe are to American hegemony under its corporate capitalist system. If and when he does actually try to implement his policy, he will encounter formidable forces that he probably isn’t aware of yet.

Without a massive popular mobilization, Trump will not be allowed to implement such a challenge to the foundational premise of modern American power. The US military-industrial-intelligence complex will see to that.

The last American president who tried to rein in the corporate power of US militarism was John F Kennedy. He was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in broad daylight by the CIA-Pentagon and their contract killers. And for 53 years, the entire American media and law enforcement establishments have brazenly covered up that shocking truth in the fashion of a «ministry of truth».

Potentially, Trump’s stance on NATO is damaging to the military alliance, and could even precipitate a terminal decline. That is why the reaction to his comments has been so fierce, and is also why he won’t be allowed to get away with such a policy if he is elected.

This is not meant, however, to sound defeatist. Of course, US militarism and its war-mongering imperialist foreign policy could be overturned. American hegemony is not divinely ordained. But such a radical, fundamental change in direction will require a massive popular movement among ordinary Americans. It will not be achieved on the basis of one fiery politician’s words.

July 26, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Why Sarah Silverman is a Comedian

By Sam Husseini | July 26, 2016

In remarks from the Democratic National Convention stage applauded by big media, Sarah Silverman lauded the Democratic Party primary process as “exemplary”.

I guess that’s why she’s a comedian.

Perhaps she doesn’t know who Debbie Wasserman Schultz is. Perhaps she doesn’t know that Schultz just resigned as head of the Democratic National Committee after the release by WikiLeaks of DNC internal emails showing evidence of them conspiring against Sanders. Of course, Schultz was then immediately named “honorary chair” of the Clinton campaign. Schultz as “honorary” anything — now that’s funny.

Hey Sarah, check this out: “DNC Staffers Mocked the Bernie Sanders Campaign, Leaked Emails Show“. Julian Assange accused the Democratic National Committee of “naked conspiracies” against Bernie Sanders.

Still, Silverman insisted: “This Democratic primary was exemplary. No name calling … that stuff is for third graders.”

Yes, name calling is for third graders. Which I guess is why she then blurted out “Can I just say, to the Bernie or Bust people, you’re being ridiculous.”

Wow, there’s a well-reasoned argument. “You’re being ridiculous.”

I have mixed feelings about people shouting in a hall, but what was really ridiculous was that as I flipped from network to network, none seems to want to tell me what it was the delegates were chanting. After poking around my twitter feed, here’s some of what they were apparently saying — more substantial than the speeches from the podium:

“Tax Wall Street!” and “Release the transcripts!” and “99 percent!” and, as it was claimed that Clinton would be tough on Wall Street: “Goldman Sachs! Goldman Sachs!” and “We trusted you! We trusted you!” (to Elizebeth Warren) and apparently, at one point, they referred to the DNC scandal — “Wikileaks! Wikileaks! Wikileaks!” When Bernie Sanders talked about Hillary Clinton on crime, some shouted “super predators!”

But who wants to hear what delegates think when we have Sarah Silverman making STD jokes about “feel the burn”?

Not that activists shouldn’t be questioned. I’ve had my own criticisms of #BernieOrBust for some time. Some of them have made a cult out of an obviously flawed man, who it’s been apparent for weeks if not months would not get the nomination. Backing Sanders should be a tactic, not the goal. His supporters now should use the VotePact.org voting strategy — see in my piece “#BernieAndBoom.” This would mean disenchanted Democrats and disenchanted Republicans who know and trust each other pairing up and vote for the independent candidates of their choice, like the Green or Libertarian candidates. Methodical action is the order of the day in the coming weeks, months and years.

And I don’t mean to be too hard on Silverman. After all, I don’t think her performance with Al Franken was quite the unintentionally funniest bit on Monday night.

I thought it was hilarious when Elizabeth Warren tried to paint Clinton as someone who would stand up to Wall Street. And I thought it was unintentionally uproariously funny when the much touted “first Muslim” member of Congress, Keith Ellison, introduced Sanders without a mention of perpetual U.S. wars — which have killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims over the last several decades. Seeing the king of rhetoric, Bill Clinton applauding speakers like some kind of phony wise man was sickeningly priceless. And there was comedic irony in Cory Booker’s endless empty platitudes about “courage” and such as grassroots activists showed some degree of actual courage — struggling to find a way to be heard in a rigged system.

Silverman also said: “My shrink says we don’t get what we want, we get what we think we deserve.” So, maybe that’s what she thinks she deserves: a corporate, militaristic candidate serving the interests of the elite — of which Silverman is a member at this point.

The sign many were waving last night — “love trumps hate” — was way off. Clinton — “we came, we saw, he died” (about Qaddafi) — is the candidate of love? Really? The Clinton message is actually “fear trumps Trump”. Even as speaker after speaker at the DNC attacked Trump for instilling fear (true enough), their own go-to message was: Back Hillary because the Donald should arouse such fear in you that all other thought processes should immediately shut down.

So it took extra chutzpah, and comedic gold, for Silverman to saying that “I will vote for Hillary with gusto” — showing for all to see her extraordinary delusion.

This is a world view in which substance, debate and democracy must be avoided. The New York Times headlined a piece “Sarah Silverman tames the Bernie beast” — echoing the now fashionable founding money man of the one percent Alexander Hamilton’s derision of the general public: “Your people, sir — your people is a great beast!”

Appropriately, just as Sanders ended his own sad speech, which induced tears of grief among his perhaps naive delegates, the choreographers of the evening’s festivities chimed in a riff from “Taking it to the Street” — perhaps they didn’t think to look at the rest of the lyrics of the song:

You, telling me the things you’re gonna do for me 

I ain’t blind and I don’t like what I think I see

Quite appropriate for an evening of promises on behalf of the corporate candidate of perpetual wars who has just again reiterated her actual big money allegiance with her vice presidential pick — to the delight of a stage managed, big media driven system appalled by the threat of accountability and democracy actually breaking out.

July 26, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Militarism | , , , | 3 Comments

Philippine leader declares unilateral ceasefire with rebels

Press TV – July 25, 2016

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a unilateral ceasefire with Maoist rebels, saying he wants to end decades of hostilities with the communist guerrillas.

“Let us end these decades of ambuscades and skirmishes. We are going nowhere and it is getting bloodier by the day,” said Duterte on Monday, adding, “To stop violence on the ground (and) restore peace, I am now announcing a unilateral ceasefire.”

Making his first “State of the Nation Address” before Congress, Duterte said he wants “permanent and lasting peace” with the guerillas before the end of his six-year term, which started on June 30.

He urged rebel leaders to engage in efforts to restart peace talks.

Negotiations have been underway between representatives of the government and rebels, with reports suggesting that a general agreement has been reached to resume peace talks.

The two sides have also agreed to organize a meeting between Duterte and Jose Maria Sison, a rebel leader who is currently in self-exile in Europe. Reports say Sison will soon fly home to attend the meeting although official peace talks are expected next month in Norway.

About 30,000 people have been killed since the communists started their insurgency in the Philippines in the 1960s.

The military says the New People’s Army, the communists’ armed wing, has fewer than 4,000 gunmen today, down from a peak of 26,000 in the 1980s.

Talks with the rebels collapsed in 2013 after the government of former president, Benigno Aquino, rejected to release some key rebel commanders.

Duterte’s reconciliation bid with the rebels comes as the Philippines is in the midst of a massive operation against drug dealers. The security in the Southeast Asian country has also been fragile due to recurrent attacks by militants of Abu Sayyaf, a group which has pledged allegiance to Daesh Takfiris.

July 25, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

NATO’s bid for global dominance could lead to new Cuban missile crisis – top Russian senator

RT | July 25, 2016

The policy of one-sided military dominance exercised by the US and its NATO allies could cause a major standoff similar to the Cuban missile crisis of the early 1960s, the head of the Russian Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee has warned.

Though the world is not currently facing the threat of a new nuclear crisis, Russia’s opponents could make such a situation a reality, senator Konstantin Kosachev said in a major interview with popular daily Izvestia.

Kosachev noted that global security has passed through three stages and is currently at the beginning of a fourth period. The first stage took place in the 1950s and 1960s, when the national security of a state or group of states was secured by pure military dominance. Very soon this approach became universal and all major nations became involved in the arms race, perfecting their weapons systems and creating military blocs.

The second stage lasted throughout 1970s and 1980s, when nations understood the futility of their efforts to become the strongest and instead started to limit each other’s military might through international treaties. This was the period of agreements securing the global balance of forces.

The third period started with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. In the Paris Charter of the 1990s, world powers agreed to maintain the logic of the second stage and build a common security system through avoiding standoffs and mutual threats, acting like equal partners.

However, instead of following the principles of the Paris Charter, the United States and its NATO allies have returned to the first stage and are now attempting to secure their safety through ultimate military dominance, Kosachev stated. NATO is expanding, and its members are continuously increasing their military budgets and developing new types of weapons.

The Russian official noted that this approach has de-facto introduced several classes of security for different nations that could be compared to classes of seats in a passenger jet.

“First class is for NATO and their allies, for those who support the monopolar model. Economy class is for everyone else – they are telling the world that those who do not want to join their model will have to deal with their problems independently. But the problem is that a bomb is ticking in the luggage hold and it is an equal threat to everyone,” Kosachev said. “They cannot divide security by classes and think that they remain safe once they secure exceptional safety for themselves only.”

“Western leaders constantly claim that their nations are threatened and they have to defend themselves. But it is not them who is threatened, they simply perceive Russia’s non-compliance with the imposed model of divided security and privileges to their countries as a threat,” the Russian senator told reporters.

He went on to explain that the fact that Russia does not accept the suggested model does not mean that it was threatening the United States or United Kingdom. The main threat to common security lies in NATO’s claims for global dominance together with the developing model of an exceptional place for certain nations.

“This approach prevents us from disarming the bomb in the luggage hold – to get rid of the real threats that all nations are facing and that are much more real.”

Kosachev drew attention to the fact that while the new British Prime Minister Theresa May was speaking of the threat of Russian nuclear weapons, European cities such as Nice and Munich were hit by deadly terrorist attacks. Over the past years US leaders have placed Russia alongside the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group in the list of global threats. “We totally share their concerns about IS, but why at all did they put Russia on this list?” he asked.

It was NATO that clearly realized its concept of establishing its security outside its members’ borders, the senator stated. He also said that it was NATO that claimed there was not a place in the world that had no importance to it, that destabilizing the situation in any country potentially threatened NATO’s interests.

“Russia is not interfering with NATO’s affairs and we also are categorically against NATO interfering in our affairs, the world belongs to us all with all its problems. The monopolar model does not suit us and we actively disagree with it. Unfortunately, our Western partners describe this disagreement as a threat. Yes, this is a threat to their single-sided interests, but not a threat to their security and not an excuse to reject the numerous Russian proposals concerning collective global safety,” Kosachev said.

“The realization of our proposal could be a good basis for the fourth stage in post-WWII history,” he concluded.

READ MORE:

US ground ops in Syria ‘illegal’, may lead to ‘unpredictable’ consequences

July 25, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Might The Donald Be Good for Peace?

By Brian CLOUGHLEY | Strategic Culture Foundation | 25.07.2016

Donald Trump is erratic. We all know that. It is insulting to assert, in the words of Britain’s new Foreign Secretary, the erratic Boris Johnson, that he is «frankly unfit to hold the office of President of the United States», but he’s certainly unpredictable and says some things that are, to put it mildly, intriguing. The fact remains that he could be next president of the United States, which makes it important to look at what he might do if that comes about, especially in the light of America’s military catastrophes so far this century.

Obama followed his predecessors in expanding America’s iron fist as self-appointed global policeman. He vastly increased the US military presence around the world and intensified the Pentagon’s aggressive confrontations with China and Russia.

In China’s case this was effected by sending US Naval E-P3 electronic surveillance aircraft on missions close to the mainland, deploying EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft to Clark Air Base in the Philippines, ordering B-52 nuclear bombers to overfly the South China Sea where the US Navy also carried out extended manoeuvres by massive strike groups of nuclear-armed aircraft carriers and guided missile cruisers. All this in a region where the US has not the slightest territorial interest or claim. China’s Sea is 12,000 kilometres, 7,000 miles, from the American mainland, yet Washington considers it the sacred right and duty of the United States to act as a global gendarme and give orders to China about its posture in its own back yard, where there has not been one instance of interference with commercial shipping passing through that region.

As to confrontation with Russia, the US has ensured that its Brussels sub-office, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, will go on playing its toy-soldier games right up to Russia’s borders. The official statement after NATO’s war drum-thumping conclave in Warsaw on July 8-9 is indicative of its determination to continue its attempts to menace Russia, which has not made the slightest move to threaten a single NATO member. It is absurd to claim that «the security situation has deteriorated» in the Black Sea and the Baltic because of Russian action.

These regions would be perfectly calm if it were not for constant provocations by US-NATO warships and combat and electronic warfare aircraft which deliberately trail their coasts in attempts to incite reaction by Russian forces. NATO’s Warsaw Declaration is a farrago of contrived accusations compiled to justify the existence of the farcical grouping that destroyed Libya and proved incapable of overcoming a few thousand raggy baggy insurgents in Afghanistan. So the military alliance is spending vast sums to deploy soldiers, aircraft, ships and missiles right up to Russia’s borders in deliberate confrontation. As Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained «Russia is not looking [for an enemy] but it actually sees it happening. When NATO soldiers march along our border and NATO jets fly by, it’s not us who are moving closer to NATO’s borders».

There’s no answer to that, but the Obama-Pentagon administration is not going to relax its anti-China and anti-Russia attitude, and if Hillary Clinton becomes president – she of the infamous «We came; We saw; He died» giggling interview in which she rejoiced in the savage murder of President Gaddafi of Libya – there will be more of the same. In fact, probably a lot more of the same, only harder, faster and of more financial benefit to US manufacturers of weapons systems. She described President Putin as «someone that you have to continuously stand up to because, like many bullies, he is somebody who will take as much as he possibly can unless you do. And we need to get the Europeans to be more willing to stand up».

So might The Donald be different?

He’s arrogant and impulsive, but although the official Republican stance on China is predictably belligerent, it isn’t likely that The Donald will support confrontation by the nuclear-armed armadas that at the moment plough so aggressively around China’s shores. And he isn’t likely to endorse the Pentagon’s happy fandangos concerning Russia, either.

His comments about the US-contrived shambles in Ukraine are illuminating, in that he says «we’re the ones always fighting [figuratively] on the Ukraine. I never hear any other countries even mentioned and we’re fighting constantly. We’re talking about Ukraine, get out, do this, do that. And I mean Ukraine is very far away from us. How come the countries near the Ukraine, surrounding the Ukraine, how come they’re not opening up and they’re not at least protesting? I never hear anything from anybody except the United States».

They’re not protesting because they have to bow the knee to the Pentagon and its palatial branch office in Brussels (recently built at a cost of over a billion euros) – but The Donald made a good point: Why on earth does the US meddle in Ukraine? Has it benefited economically, politically, socially or culturally from its blatant interference?

Not only that, but The Donald says that the United States has to «fix our own mess» before «lecturing» other nations on how to behave.

No matter how extreme he may be in some of his statements, that one strikes a truly sensible note. Why does America consider that it has the right to hector and lecture China and Russia and so many other countries? It is, of course, because, as Obama announced, America considers itself the «one indispensable nation in world affairs».

What crass conceit. And Obama laboured the point in declaring that «I see an American century because no other nation seeks the role that we play in global affairs, and no other nation can play the role that we play in global affairs». This comes from the president of the country that destroyed Iraq and Libya, and is now itself in chaos caused by deliberate killing of black people by police and a surge in black protests against such slaughter.

Certainly The Donald shouts that he wants to «Make America Great Again» and such xenophobic nonsense – but that’s for the sake of vote-catching. As he rightly said«When the world sees how bad the United States is and we start talking about civil liberties, I don’t think we are a very good messenger».

Then The Donald went further in common sense and suggested that as president he might close some of the hundreds of US military bases abroad because «if we decide we have to defend the United States, we can always deploy» from American soil, which would be «a lot less expensive». How very sensible.

Hillary came back with the predictable rejoinder that the president of the United States «is supposed to be the leader of the Free World. Donald Trump apparently doesn’t even believe in the Free World». This is straight out of the Cold War vocabulary of divisive confrontation – and if she becomes president, there will be even more pugnacious patronising baloney about «leadership of the Free World» and «the one indispensable nation». As The Donald said«How are we going to lecture when you see the riots and the horror going on in our own country».

So there might be hope for the future if The Donald drops his more outlandish ideas about Muslims and Mexicans and institutes a policy of rapprochement and live-and-let-live with China and Russia. He’s a better bet on that score than confrontational Hillary.

It just might be that The Donald would be good for rapprochement and peace.

July 25, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. ‘Vetted’ And Armed Syria Terrorist Group That Beheaded Boy, Gave Them TOW Missiles

By Brandon Turbeville | Activist Post | July 22, 2016

While the United States attempts to back away from its association with terrorist group Nour al-Din al-Zinki, the “moderate” terrorist organization whose members recently videotaped themselves beheading a young boy and discussing whether or not to boil his body afterwards, previous reports coming the from the mainstream media reveal that Obama, Kerry, Clinton and crew will not be able to cover their tracks so easily this time around. That is, if they even care to.

This is because reports coming from Business Insider in 2015 reveal that the United States had indeed supported and armed Nour al-Din al-Zinki in the lead up to the heinous act. What’s even more damning, however, is the fact that the group was considered one of the U.S. “vetted” organizations, a designation that was touted as a sure way to avoid arming “extremist” terrorists like ISIS or al-Qaeda.

The lie of vetting and “moderation” is now thoroughly debunked if, for no other reason, than the public beheading of a child.

But there is more! Not only has the United States “vetted,” endorsed, and armed Nour al-Din al-Zinki, it has armed them with TOW missiles, a type of guided missile that is capable of piercing and damaging tanks, armored personnel carriers, and other forms of vehicles found on the battlefield. These missiles are especially dangerous for a number of reasons including the fact that they can be used from a considerable distance.

As Jeremy Bender wrote for Business Insider in his article, “These CIA-Vetted Syrian Rebel Groups Fighting Assad Are Russia’s Primary Targets,”

Since 2013, the CIA has been training and equipping various moderate rebel elements in the Syrian civil war in an effort to undermine the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and force him to the negotiating table.

Among the range of munitions and supplies that the CIA has funneled to the various brigades of the Free Syrian Army and other moderate groups through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Turkey are TOW anti-tank missiles.
. . . . . .

These weapons have helped decimate Syrian armour and pushed a recent regime offensive against rebel-held territory to a standstill in reported “tank massacres.”
For instance, on October 8, a Syrian armoured offensive suffered massive casualties as, rebels armed “with US-made TOW missiles … [and] other guided rockets … caused the destruction … of over 15 armoured cars, vehicles, and tanks,” according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.
What is striking is just how many CIA-vetted groups now exist throughout Syria receiving TOWs.
According to Syrian observer Hasan Mustafas, no fewer than 42 vetted groups now receive TOWs from a Saudi supply originally provided by the US. These weapons are funneled into Syria through Military Operations Command (MOC) posts in Turkey and Jordan that are co-operated by Western and local intelligence agencies.
The various groups are well documented due to the nature of TOW provisions. Saudi Arabia can not deliver the US-supplied TOWs without prior CIA approval. Additionally, Mustafas notes, the various vetted groups must apply to receive the TOWs. They are then provided with small batches of arms.

Bender provides a list of the groups who received the TOW missiles but, among them, is the name of Nour al-Din al-Zinki, the child beheading and carcass boiling “moderate” rebels that allegedly representing freedom and democracy.

Still, State Department Spokesman Mark Toner is only stating that the beheading of the boy might only cause the United States to “pause” and reflect upon its relationship with the group, meaning arming and supporting it.

At the end of the day, the horrific atrocity that was committed by Nour al-Din al-Zinki was really nothing more than several more pints in a massive ocean of blood created by the United States, Israel, the GCC, and NATO. Still, it stands as yet another example of why this treacherous and immoral war against Syria must be ended immediately.

The list of terrorist organizations “vetted” and provided with TOW missiles as reported by Business Insider is as follows:

13th Division (Forqat 13)

101st Division Infantry (Forqat 101 Masha’a)

Knights of Justice Brigade (Liwa’ Fursan al-Haqq)

Falcons of the Mountain Brigade (Liwa’ Suqour al-Jabal)

Grouping of the Falcons of Al-Ghab (Tajamuu Suqour al-Ghab)

1st Coastal Division (Forqat Awwal al-Sahli)

Gathering of Dignity (Tajammu al-Izza’)

Central Division (Al-Forqat al-Wasti)

46th Division (Forqat 46)

Sultan Murad Brigade (Liwa’ Sultan Murad)

Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, (Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki)

Mujahideen Army/Army of Holy Warriors (Jaish al-Mujahideen)

Revolutionaries of al-Sham Brigades (Kata’eb Thuwar al-Sham)

1st Regiment (Al-Fauj al-Awwal)

Ahmed al-Abdo Martyrs’ Force (Quwwat al-Shaheed Ahmad al-Abdo)

Al-Rahman Legion (Faylaq al-Rahman)

Martyrs of Islam Brigade (Liwa’ Shuhadah al-Islam)

Yarmouk Army (Jaish al-Yarmouk)

Lions of Sunnah Division (Forqat Usood al-Sunnah)

the 18th March Division (Forqat 18 Adhar)

Southern Tawhid Brigade (Liwa’ Tawhid al-Junoub)

Hamza Division (Forqat al-Hamza)

1st Artillery Regiment (Al-Fauj al-Awwal Madfa’a)

Syria Revolutionaries Front — Southern Sector (Jabhat Thuwar Souriya)

The First Corps (Faylaq al-Awwal)

The Dawn of Unity Division (Forqat Fajr al-Tawhid)

Salah al-Din Division (Forqat Salah al-Din)

Omari Brigades (Tajammu Alwiyat al-Omari)

Unity Battalions of Horan Brigade (Liwa’ Tawhid Kata’eb Horan)

Youth of Sunnah Brigade (Liwa’ Shabbab al-Sunnah)

Moataz Billah Brigade (Liwa’ Moataz Billah)

Sword of al-Sham Brigades (Alwiyat Saif al-Sham)

Dawn of Islam Division (Forqat Fajr al-Islam)

Supporters of Sunnah Brigade (Liwa’ Ansar al-Sunnah)

Horan Column Division (Forqat Amoud Horan)

Emigrants and Supporters Brigade (Liwa’ Muhajireen wal Ansar)

Military Council in Quneitra and the Golan

United Sham Front (Jabhat al-Sham Muwahidda)

69th Special Forces Division (Forqat 69 Quwwat al-Khassa)

11th Special Forces Division (Forqat 11 Quwwat al-Khassa)

Partisans of Islam Front (Jabhat Ansar al-Islam)

Al-Furqan Brigades (Alwiyat al-Furqan)

July 25, 2016 Posted by | War Crimes, Militarism | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Declassified 9/11 Report Portrays US-Saudis as Partners in Crime

By Tony Cartalucci – New Eastern Outlook – 25.07.2016

The recently released, previously classified report titled, “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 (.pdf), reveals that indeed long-time US ally, Saudi Arabia, had connections to the alleged hijackers who purportedly carried out the 9/11 attacks.

While the US would go on to invade Afghanistan and Iraq predicated on the 9/11 attacks, it should be noted that all of the alleged hijackers were either Saudis or Persian Gulf citizens, or connected to terrorist organizations supported by Persian Gulf states.

The Western media has attempted to downplay the impact of the document’s release, claiming that subsequent investigations found the “many” of the allegations in the document “without basis” – even as the US and Saudi Arabia today openly arm and fund terrorists in Syria.

To Whose Benefit? 9/11

Many mistakenly believe on one hand terrorism is simply an inevitable clash of civilizations between “Islam” and the West, while others maintain it is the predictable backlash to flawed or unjust Western foreign policy.

In reality, it is neither.

It is meticulously engineered violence used as a tool for achieving geopolitical objectives around the world – from overthrowing governments and justifying military interventions, to creating paralyzing fear and hysteria at home to garner support for a growing domestic police state and a large military footprint overseas.

In essence, it is a highly conductive medium through which modern day empire can spread.

This can clearly be seen through the use of terrorism today. Some 14 years after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and as memories begin to fade, the US finds itself partnered with Saudi Arabia once again, arming and funding terrorists to fight their proxy wars in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and beyond, just as they did in the 1980s when they jointly created Al Qaeda to begin with.

As the pendulum of geopolitical necessity swings from needing heavily armed, fanatical proxy forces to fight abroad, to needing a pretext at home to initiate large-scale military interventions overseas, these terrorist organizations are characterized by Western politicians and the media in a similarly shifting manner. During the 1980s Al Qaeda was portrayed as “freedom fighters.” In 2001 when the United States sought to use full-scale military force to rearrange the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, Al Qaeda was transformed into a villain.

The 2001 terrorist attacks allowed the US to justify over a decade of global-spanning war that it otherwise would have been unable to wage.

The Hijackers Had Ties to Saudi Intelligence 

The 28 pages now declassified depicts a tangled web of connections between the Saudi government, Saudi intelligence agencies, the Bin Laden family, and the hijackers – most of whom were Saudi citizens themselves.

The report states:

While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi Government. There is information, primarily from FBI sources, that at least two of those individuals were alleged by some to be Saudi intelligence officers.

The report also reveals that the suspected Saudi intelligence officers worked for companies that had ties to both the Saudi government, and Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden (spelled: Usama Bin Ladin throughout the report).

And not only did various Saudi intelligence officers have connections to the alleged hijackers, several are revealed to have known each other as well.

Mentioned also is Osama Bin Laden’s half-brother, Abdullah Bin Ladin, claimed to have worked for the Saudi Embassy in Washington D.C. as an “administration officer,” revealing once again the incestuous ties between the Bin Ladin family, the Saudi government, and through equity firm – the Carlyle Group – the Bush family and other political and business leaders in the United States.

The report also mentions that despite the many apparent links, and attempts by the FBI to investigate them further, many suspects were inexplicably able to “leave” the United States and return to Saudi Arabia.

The report also referred to “mosques” either directly funded by the Saudi government in which various aspects of terrorism were thought to be coordinated, or mosques in which associates of the hijackers met frequently or operated out of.

This illustrates precisely how the US-Saudi terror enterprise keeps its ranks full – through a global network of centers masquerading as mosques, protected by law enforcement and intelligence organizations linked to the West, allowing for both the recruitment and radicalization of terrorists, as well as the planning and financing of terrorism itself.

US Intelligence Community Before 9/11: Incompetence or Collusion? Or Both?  

The US and Saudi Arabia helped create Al Qaeda and for years used the organization to wage proxy war around the world. It’s actions on 9/11 then helped set the stage for a decade of war in which the US toppled governments, occupied nations, while conducting covert warfare against others, expanding US hegemony across the globe, and dividing and destroying nations allied to its rivals in Beijing and Moscow.

It is very clear that Saudi Arabia played a role in the 9/11 attacks, as well as in terrorism of all kinds around the world before and after the attacks.

Clearly the FBI and the CIA both were aware of Saudi Arabia’s role. It is also clear that efforts were made to protect valuable Saudi assets by spiriting them out of the country as dutiful agents attempted to do their jobs by investigating them further. Those who spirited Saudi agents and officials out of the country, protecting them from further investigation regarding their role in 9/11, are likely linked to those Americans who helped their Saudi counterparts organize and carry out the attacks.

And while some FBI and CIA agents attempted to do their job, one comment toward the end of the 28 pages reveals that perhaps agents were not as aware as they should have been regarding the nature of Al Qaeda and its relationship to Saudi Arabia.

The report quotes a former FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge, saying:

Basically [redacted]. They were not a country identified by the State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism. And the theme or the common modus operandi that we saw in San Diego was that if there were [redacted] there, their primary objective was to monitor dissidents in the interest of protecting the royal family. So they were not viewed as an inimical threat to national security.

The agent’s conclusion is based entirely on the assumption that the State Department’s terrorist designations are meaningful and accurate. If such designations are not accurate, then the FBI would have neglected to fully investigate suspects who were indeed very much an inimical threat to national security.

Today, Al Qaeda and the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS) are likewise portrayed as enemies of Saudi Arabia. This is despite clear evidence showing both terrorist organizations and their affiliates in Iraq and Syria, are armed and funded by, as well as working in the direct interests of Riyadh – as well as Washington. When terrorist attacks do unfold in Saudi Arabia, despite being portrayed as attacks aimed at Riyadh itself, they are often instead aimed at Shia’a targets throughout the country.

Shia’a in Saudi Arabia, unlike Al Qaeda and ISIS, do represent a threat to Riyadh – not predicated on fanatical extremism – but instead upon self-defense against the brutality and injustice of the Saudi political system which specifically targets Shia’a.

It appears that some agents, despite laboring under faulty assumptions, did attempt to do their jobs, while others appear to have been protecting suspects very likely tied to the 9/11 attacks, and possibly even tied to the attacks themselves. Together, through incompetence and collusion, the attacks unfolded, and the rest – as they say – is history.

Protecting Saudi Terrorism Then and Now 

While the Western media now claims that many of the declassified report’s allegations have been found to be “without basis,” the heavy redaction throughout the report leads one to believe that Saudi Arabia and the various tentacles of its security apparatus reaching into the United States are still being covered up by complicit American agents and interests.

Additionally, despite the very troubling implications of the report’s contents, it should be noted that in the aftermath of 9/11 the US, along with Europe, continued supplying Saudi Arabia with billions of dollars worth of military weapons while politically supporting Riyadh during its own brush with the “Arab Spring” in 2011. Today, despite evidence of Saudi Arabia’s arming and funding of designated terrorist organizations including Al Nusra, the US and Europe continue lending military and political support to Riyadh nonetheless.

Saudi Arabia didn’t victimize the United States on 9/11, nor trick Washington. Riyadh and Washington are partners in crime, at times in lockstep, at other times posing as adversaries when maximum plausible deniability is desired.

Despite attempts to claim Saudi Arabia is blameless in the 9/11 attacks, the hijackers were undoubtedly Saudis, inspired by indoctrination that originated in Saudi-funded networks, allegedly approached and assisted by Saudi intelligence agents, and representative of terrorist organizations Riyadh to this day still arms, funds, and uses to wage it and America’s proxy wars with.

The report is not really a revelation, but instead another piece of evidence that affirms the US and Saudi Arabia are collaborators in terrorism, not partners fighting it. Those who depend on either in a true fight against global terrorism, should be prepared for perpetual failure.

July 25, 2016 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Green Party of Canada’s Failure to Address the Lies and Crimes of 9/11 and Complicity in Cover Up

Reckoning with reality

American Herald Tribune | July 24, 2016

Below is an excerpt of Monika Schafer’s 2015 resignation letter. In it she lays out her reasons for no longer wanting to be part of the Green Party of Canada. Basically Ms. Schaefer accuses Ms. May of betraying her promise to speak truth to power. Ms. Schaefer accuses Ms. May of knowingly going along with what the Green Party leader well understands is a fraudulent interpretation of what really happened on 9/11. The effect of Ms. May going along with the lies of 9/11 is to maintain in positions of power those most responsible for perpetrating the crimes that have lea to millions of deaths in the still-continuing 9/11 wars and the ongoing torrent of false flag terror events.

To: Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada
Subject: why I am cancelling my membership
Date: Thu, 30 Jul 2015 14:38:38 -0600

Dear Elizabeth May,

After many years of loyal Green Party involvement, including attending the founding convention of the GPC in 1983, and being the Yellowhead candidate in the last three general federal elections, not to mention the thousands of dollars of donations which I have made over the years, it is with a heavy heart that I am officially cancelling my Green Party membership effective immediately.

I have learned over the past year that even the Green Party of Canada is a controlled opposition party. There is no room for speaking the truth about current events in the Green Party of Canada. At first I gave the benefit of the doubt to you and others, because I understood that everyone is on their own learning curve, just as I was. We have all been subjected to a lifetime of training, indoctrination, education, mind-control, call it what you will, we have been brainwashed. I tried very hard to give you and others the information that would lead to your understanding of who is really pulling the strings of our government representatives, playing them like puppets.

At risk of repeating myself, I will again quote Voltaire who said: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” Indeed, did Stephen Harper not say that anyone who criticizes Israel is anti-semitic? Being labelled anti-semitic is akin to being labelled terrorist. And we know what Bill C-51 can do to anyone with that label!

Elizabeth May, I have enjoyed our friendship. I have had such deep respect for your wisdom and intelligence. However, I am extremely disappointed that you have allowed political expediency to compromise your integrity and cloud your vision, when you were always the one who said you would speak truth to power, uncompromisingly.

9/11 is the litmus test. It is the defining event of our times. It is what triggered the fraudulent War on Terror. It was a false-flag event! If you (and all the other MPs) are not able or willing to talk about it, then that proves that you (and all the other MPs) are controlled by the very cabal of people that brought us that event.

The frequency of subsequent false flag events is increasing. London, Bali, Madrid, Boston, Ottawa, and Paris. These events are always followed by a ratcheting-up of restrictions on freedoms and rights. Bill C-51 is a case in point.

The Zionist New World Order agenda does not bode well for the future of our species let alone all life on this beautiful Mother Earth. If we truly want to implement the Green Vision which you and I both care about so deeply, we need to get to the root of who is in control of our media, our banks and our governments. We need to expose and bring down the criminal cabal now in charge in order to take back our future…….

Best wishes,

Monika Schaefer

Jasper, Alberta

July 24, 2016 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

US Election Campaign: Shaping Policy on Russia

By Andrei AKULOV | Strategic Culture Foundation | 24.07.2016

Donald Trump has secured the nomination of the Republican Party to become the next US president.

It has been a controversial campaign and the US policy on Russia is in the process of being shaped. While the media focused on Melania Trump’s plagiarism and other oddities during the Republican National Convention, something very important happened to provide a clue to the GOP presidential candidate’s stand on the issue. The Republican Party officially altered its platform on Ukraine and Russia.

Trump’s team proved its grip on the Republican Party is tight enough to make the entire institution adopt a new view on a major foreign policy issue. Trump-supporting delegates attending the GOP platform meeting in Cleveland insisted that the wording in the initial proposal be altered. They wrote a new amendment ruling out sending US weapons to Ukraine and made sure the new Republican platform does not include a provision calling for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, despite the fact that this view is widely supported by the GOP’s establishment.

The previous platform advocated «providing lethal defensive weapons» to Ukraine, reflecting the virtually unanimous position of the GOP foreign policy elite and national security leaders. Donald Trump won again.

Trump is a sober-minded politician known for his non-ideological, deal-making nature. Unlike other prominent Republicans, he harbors none of Russophobia. Trump realizes that sanctioning and the attempts to «isolate» Russia are bad for business and thriving business is what makes a nation great. He’s a pragmatic global dealmaker who keeps in mind the interests of an average Joe, not global imperial ambitions that make the US overloaded with international commitments and overstretched. Trump has exposed that the Republican party’s rank-and-file members are much less interventionist than previously thought. They don’t want confrontations or military operations abroad – the lessons and losses of Iraq and Afghanistan are too fresh. Trump has repeatedly said that radical Islamism and terrorism is a greater threat to Europe than Russia. He said he would «get along very well» with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mike Flynn, foreign policy advisor to Trump, has suggested that Moscow and Washington join forces to counter Islamic State in the Middle East.

The change of wording at the GOP program is telling but it does not signify the change of policy yet.

There is another important development that went down almost unnoticed by media.

On July 14, members of the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs passed a bill to tighten sanctions against Russia.

It contains new innovations to provide support for Ukraine. The Stability and Democracy for Ukraine Act strictly binds the powers of the American President to lift sanctions against Russia with the status of Crimea.

The bill forbids NATO members from exporting arms containing US technology to Russia. It requires a regular report on foreign financial institutions «illicitly controlling Ukraine state-owned assets – namely Russian banks in Crimea». The proposed legislation extends the existing Magnitsky Act to new territories, including Crimea, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Transnistria.

If the document is approved, the head of the United States will be able to lift the measures against Moscow only in two cases: after confirmation of the «restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty over Crimea» or if it is proved that «the decision on the status of the Peninsula was under international control and recognized the democratically elected Ukrainian government». The bill also seeks to establish an international consortium to draw private investment in Ukraine by minimizing political risk to would-be private investors.

The proposed act poses a serious threat to the Russia-US relationship. While Washington repeatedly states that the lifting of sanctions depends on the implementation of the Minsk agreements, Moscow believes it’s ridiculous to link the sanctions with the implementation of the Minsk agreements, because Russia is not a party to the conflict and not the subject of the agreements on the settlement in Ukraine. If the bill becomes a law and Donald Trump wins the November election, he’ll have no choice but to comply with the new legislation’s provisions.

Indeed, there are conflicting trends in the US policy on Russia.

On July 20, important news related to the Russia-US relations was largely kept out of media headlines. Russian and US experts and military agreed to meet in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss the Syrian issue.

«We proceed on the basis that the military and political experts will launch intensive work in Geneva in the coming days in furtherance of the US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Moscow», the source said.

This is one of the results of the talks held in Moscow as part of the visit of the Secretary of State John Kerry on July 14-15.

During the visit, he was received by Russian President Vladimir Putin, held talks with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. It was stated on the ministerial meeting that the sides agreed on specific steps to make the work on Syria more effective. No specific details of the agreed plan were provided. If the plan goes through, it will unite Russia and the US in the fight against the common enemy. But military cooperation and sanctions are hardly compatible. Evidently, there are conflicting trends that are shaping the US policy on Russia as the election race continues.

We’ve yet to make precise how the Democratic convention to take place in Philadelphia on July 25-28, 2016 will define its stance on Russia. One thing is certain – a large sector of American society stands for normal relations with Moscow. The alterations inserted into the GOP program serve as an irrefutable evidence to confirm this fact.

July 24, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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