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No Remorse For Hillary

By Craig Murray | April 25, 2018

I am hopeful that the commendable discovery process involved in US litigation will bring to light further details of the genesis of Christopher Steele’s ludicrous dossier on Trump/Russia, and may even give some clues as to whether Sergei Skripal and/or his handler Pablo Miller were involved in its contents.

The decision by the Democratic National Committee to sue the Russian Government, Wikileaks, Julian Assange personally and the Trump campaign is an act of colossal hubris. It is certain to reveal still more details of the deliberate fixing of the primary race against Bernie Sanders, over which five DNC members, including the Chair, were forced to resign. It will also lead to the defendants being able to forensically examine the DNC servers to prove they were not hacked – something which astonishingly the FBI refused to do, being instead content to take the word of the DNC’s own private cyber security firm, Crowdstrike. Unless those servers have been wiped completely (as Hillary did to her private email server) I know that is not going to go well for the DNC.

I cannot better Glenn Greenwald’s article on why it is a terrible idea to sue Wikileaks for publishing leaked documents – it sets a precedent which could be used to constrain media from ever publishing anything given them by whistleblowers. It is an astonishingly illiberal thing to undertake. Nor is it politically wise. The media has done its very best to ignore as far as possible the actual content of the leaks of DNC material, and rather to concentrate on the wild accusations of how they were obtained. But the fundamental crookedness revealed in the emails is bound to get some sort of airing, not least as the basis of a public interest defence.

I have often been asked if I regret my association with Wikileaks, given they are held responsible for the election of Donald Trump. My answer is that I feel no remorse at all.

Hillary Clinton lost because she was an appalling candidate. A multi-millionaire, neo-con warmonger with the warmth and empathy of a three week dead haddock and an eye for the interests of Wall Street, who regarded ordinary voters as “deplorables” (a term she used not just once, but frequently at fund-raisers with the mega-wealthy). Hillary Clinton conspired with the machine that was supposed to be neutrally running the primaries, to fix the primaries against Bernie Sanders. The opinion polls regularly showed that Sanders would beat Trump, and that the only Democratic candidate who Trump could beat was Clinton. Egomania and a massive sense of entitlement nevertheless led her not just to persist to get the candidacy, but persist to rig the candidacy. She then proceeded to ignore major urban working class battleground states in her campaign against Trump and focus on more glamorous places. In short, Hillary was corrupt rubbish. Full stop, and not remotely Wikileaks’ fault.

Wikileaks did not go out to get the evidence against Hillary. They were given it. Should they have withheld the knowledge of the rigging of the field against Bernie Sanders from the American people, to let Clinton benefit from the corruption? For me that is a no-brainer. It would have been a gross moral dereliction to have done so. It is also the case that Wikileaks can only publish what they are given. Had they been given dirt on Trump, they would have published. But they were not given any leaks on Trump.

I should put in an aside here which might surprise you. I like Anthony Weiner. I have never met him, but I watched the amazing 2016 fly on the wall documentary Weiner and he came across as a person of genuine goodwill, passion and commitment, undermined by what is very obviously a pathological illness. I realise that was not the general reaction, but it was mine.

But – and now I am going to really annoy people – I have to say that from an international perspective, rather than an American domestic perspective, I am also not in the slightest convinced that Trump has been worse for the World than Clinton would have been. Trump has not, to date, initiated any new military intervention or substantially increased any military conflict during his Presidency. In fact his current actions more closely match his words about non-intervention during his election campaign, than do his current words. Despite hawkish posturing, he has not substantially increased American military intervention in Syria.

My reading of the reported chemical weapon attack on Douma is this. Whether it was a false flag chemical attack, a pro-Assad chemical attack, or no chemical attack at all I do not know for sure. But whichever it is, it was used to attempt to get Trump to commit to a major escalation of American involvement in the war in Syria. So far, he has not done that. The American-led missile attack was illegal, but fortunately comparatively restrained, certainly in no way matching Trump’s rhetoric. All the evidence is, and there is a great deal of evidence from Libya and Afghanistan, that Clinton would have been far more aggressive.

That leaves the dichotomy between Trump’s rhetoric and his actions. Certainly there is every sign of a sharp tilt to the neo-cons. His apparent preference in his press conference with Macron today for an extended presence of France, the former colonial power, and US troops in Syria is deeply troubling. His sacking of the sensible Tillerson from the State Department, and his appointment of the odious John Bolton as National Security Adviser all appear to be terrible signs. But still, nothing has actually happened. There is a reading that Trump is placating the neo-cons with position and rhetoric while his actions – in Syria and in what a hating political class fails to acknowledge has all the makings of a diplomatic coup in North Korea – go in a very different direction.

It is beyond doubt that Hillary, who cannot open her mouth without denouncing Russia for causing her own entirely self-inflicted failure – would be taking the new Cold War to even worse extremes than it has already reached, to the delight of the military-industrial complex and her Wall Street friends. It is open to debate, but I would contend that it is very probable that President Hillary would have launched a major attack on Syria by now, just like she presided over as Secretary of State in Libya.

So my answer is this. Firstly, Clinton caused her own downfall by arrogance, and by failing to grasp the alienation of ordinary people from neo-liberal policies that impoverished them while the rich grew massively richer. Secondly, I strongly suspect that if Hillary were President, more people would be dead now in the Middle East.

So no, I have no regrets at all.

Support Craig Murray’s continued writing.

April 25, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

With eye on Pompeo, Zarif reaches New York

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | April 23, 2018

As the May 12 deadline draws close for Trump to waive the sanctions against Iran, as required under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or (JCPOA), Tehran has carried the war of words into the enemy camp. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in New York over the weekend on a six-day visit, ostensibly to attend High-Level Meeting on Peace-building and Sustaining Peace at the United Nations on April 24-25.

But in reality he is on a Track 1.5 mission to reach out to the US audience as well as to be simply available on call on American soil through next week when the leaders of two key allies of the US – French President Emmanuel Macron an German Chancellor – are scheduled to meet Trump in Washington to discuss policy options with regard to the JCPOA, amongst other things.

The big question is whether President Donald Trump would instruct his top officials to establish direct contact with Zarif in New York on the sidelines of the UN meet. Tehran is drawing encouragement from the remarks last Thursday by Mike Pompeo, CIA Director and Secretary of State-designate at his confirmation hearing in the US Senate.

Pompeo told the US senators, “I want to fix this (JCPOA) deal. That’s the objective. I think that’s in the best interests.” Alongside, he acknowledged that Iran was not pursuing a nuclear weapon program even before the nuclear deal; nor will it be in future. Pompeo emphasized that as CIA Director, he didn’t find any evidences that Iran violated the nuclear deal and he believes that Tehran cannot expand its program even shortly after a hypothetical US withdrawal from the JCPOA. Even more intriguing was Pompeo’s remark,

  • If there’s no chance that we can fix it (nuclear deal), I will recommend to the president that we do our level best to work with our allies to achieve a better outcome and a better deal. Even after May 12, there’s still much diplomatic work to be done.

Pompeo signaled that Trump may not make a final decision by the May 12 deadline and may instead opt to continue the consultations with European allies with a view to “fixing the flaws of the JCPOA”.

A commentary in the influential Tehran Times noted on Saturday that “the White House hasn’t come to a determined and clear decision on how to deal with the JCPOA yet,” The Iranians never branded Trump as a one-dimensional man. Besides, Tehran is greatly experienced in moving past US rhetoric.

Zarif fired his opening salvo soon after reaching New York when he told CBS’ Face the Nation moderator Margaret Brennan in a fascinating interview that Tehran has kept a number of options ready, “including options that would involve resuming (the nuclear program) at a much greater speed,” but will “make the necessary decision when we see fit.” (Full transcript is here.)

Zarif underscored that Tehran cannot be expected to “unilaterally and one-sidedly implement the deal.” Plainly put, Iran will not accept any unilateral move to scrap the JCPOA. President Hassan Rouhani has also warned from Tehran that the range of Iran’s policy options include “what they (US) cannot imagine.”

Interestingly, Zarif also told the CBS that Tehran is open to a prisoner swap if there is a “change of attitude” on the part of the US. Zarif said, “The United States needs to approach this from a position of dealing with another sovereign government. And if that approach led to change, then the United States would see a difference.”

Pressed by Brennan on whether the Iranians were open to an exchange, Zarif offered an opening: “It is a possibility, certainly from a humanitarian perspective, but it requires a change in attitude.” Zarif just signaled that he’s ready to meet with American counterparts.

Trump has a job cut out for Pompeo. To be sure, Israel must be panicking.

April 23, 2018 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Abolish the FBI, America’s KGB

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | April 18, 2018

In his ongoing fight with President Trump, former FBI Director James Comey is now speculating that the reason that President Trump hasn’t adopted the fierce anti-Russia mindset of the U.S. national-security establishment is because the Russians might have secret dirt on the president and are blackmailing him into establishing normal relations between the United States and Russia.

There is another possibility — one also involving blackmail of the president — that unfortunately Comey doesn’t seem to consider: that the U.S. national-security establishment, including the FBI, has acquired secret dirt on the president and has blackmailed him into embracing and supporting their forever wars and their permanent control over the U.S. government and the American people.

Before one cries “Conspiracy theory, Jacob!” let us keep in mind two things:

First, if the Russian Deep State is capable of blackmail, as Comey suggests, so is the U.S. Deep State. I haven’t seen anyone in the establishment press say, “Conspiracy theory, James!” in response to Comey’s assertion. That’s because the establishment press believes that blackmail by the Russian Deep State is a reasonable possibility. It’s only when it comes to the U.S. Deep State that they react with horror and exclaim, “My Deep State would never do such a nefarious thing. It’s only the Russian Deep State that would do such thing.”

Second, the FBI was founded on dirt and blackmail. That’s what J. Edgar Hoover, the longtime FBI director specialized in — spying on people with the intent of discovering their dark secrets and then blackmailing them with it, with the intent of maintaining Hoover’s and the FBI’s ever-expanding power within the U.S. government and ever-growing control over American society.

Don’t forget COINTELPRO, the infamous FBI program that involved illegal surveillance of the American people, just like the KGB did to the Russian people. In fact, President Truman even compared the FBI to the Gestapo, the national police force of the Nazi regime, writing “We want no Gestapo or Secret Police. F.B.I. is tending in that direction.”

For an excellent example of the use of secret dirt and blackmail on the part of the FBI, just recall what these people did to Martin Luther King (who they now conveniently extol as a great American). They illegally spied on him because they were convinced that he was part of a worldwide communist conspiracy to take over America and the world. In the process of doing that, they learned that King had apparently engaged in extra-marital relations. They then used that illegally acquired dirt to blackmail King into hopefully committing suicide. It was all done under the supervision and with the full support of none other than the FBI director himself, J. Edgar Hoover.

The crimes that the FBI enforces, like kidnapping or transporting underaged girls across state lines for nefarious reasons, were always just a veneer to justify the existence of a national police force that specialized in illegal surveillance, dirt, and blackmail. They wanted to make it look like law enforcement was what the FBI was all about. In reality, the FBI was about secret surveillance, acquiring dirt on people, and then blackmailing them to maintain Hoover’s and the FBI’s grip on power.

Ancient history? Come on! They have named their building after their icon. It’s called the J. Edgar Hoover Building. Any normal person would be ashamed of having had a scoundrel and blackmailer in charge of his agency. Not the FBI. They glorify Hoover. They revere him. They honor him by having their building named after him.

In his presidential campaign, Trump made it clear that he was opposed to the forever wars in which the U.S. national-security establishment has embroiled America. Trump was going to put a stop to them. He was going to bring the troops home. He was questioning America’s roll in NATO, the Cold War dinosaur that should have gone out of existence with the end of the Cold War.

But once he got into office, Trump flipped completely. He became one of them. His presidency, insofar as foreign policy is concerned, is nothing more than a continuation of Bush-Obama.

Was it because Trump suddenly became a believer in the Pentagon’s and CIA’s forever wars and interventionist, imperialist foreign policy? Or could it be because the FBI, the NSA, or the CIA is blackmailing Trump into supporting their forever wars with secretly acquired dirt regarding either Trump’s business practices or his personal life or both?

Or consider the JFK-assassination related records, which the CIA and other federal agencies have succeeded in keeping secret from the American people for more than 50 years. The law required the National Archives to release them to the public last October. President Trump made two public announcements all the way up to the release date stating that he intended to follow the law and release the records.

At the last minute, Trump changed his mind and ordered that the records could be kept secret, at least for another six months. Was that change of heart because he suddenly became convinced that “national security” would be gravely threatened by the release of 50-year-old records? Or could it be that the Deep State blackmailed him into changing his mind by threatening the release of long-secret dirt that they had discovered about him and his personal or business life?

Our American ancestors had it right: A free society and a national police force are not reconcilable. The same holds true with a national-security state. That’s why the United States had no FBI, Pentagon, military-industrial complex, CIA, and NSA for more than a century.

It’s time to restore a limited-government republic to our land. It’s time to restore liberty to America. It’s time to abolish the FBI and dismantle America’s Deep State. It’s time to return to founding principles.

For more information, see:

Yes, The FBI Is America’s Secret Police by James Bovard

Has the FBI “Become America’s Secret Police, Like the KBG? by Louis Jacobson

April 19, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption | , , , , | 2 Comments

‘We don’t do Twitter diplomacy, need serious approach’ – Putin’s spokesman to Trump over Syria rant

© Jaap Arriens / Global Look Press
RT | April 11, 2018

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed Donald Trump’s attempts to talk to Russia through a barrage of tweets on Wednesday, and warned that the US president risked worsening “an already fragile situation.”

“We don’t do Twitter diplomacy. We are proponents of a serious approach,” Peskov told the media in Moscow. “We still think it is important to avoid steps that could harm what is already a fragile situation.”

In his earlier missives, Trump veered between intimidation and encouragement towards Moscow. He warned Russia to “get ready” for “nice, new and ‘smart’” missiles as a result of supporting Bashar Assad, who he described as “a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it.” This suggested that a US military response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria on April 7 is imminent.

However, Trump later wrote that there is “no reason” for the relationship between the Kremlin and the White House to be “worse now than it has ever been,” and asked “all nations to work together.” He also enjoyed a sideswipe at the “Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation” for causing “much of the bad blood with Russia.”

April 11, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Syrian Air Defenses respond to ‘missile attack’ on airbase in Homs – state media

RT | April 9, 2018

A military airport in Homs province has been targeted in a “missile attack,” SANA reports. Although Syrian air defense systems allegedly intercepted at least eight projectiles, several people were reportedly injured and killed.

Several missiles were launched at Syria’s T-4 air base in the east of Homs province, SANA reports, citing a military source. According to the agency, the attack has “probably” been carried out by the United States.

There are several “martyrs and wounded” as a result of the strike, SANA added, without specifying the number of casualties.

While the US Defense Department is “aware” of reports of an alleged missile strike, it has dismissed reports of any US involvement.

“At this time, the Department of Defense is not conducting air strikes in Syria,” the Pentagon told Reuters in a statement. “However, we continue to closely watch the situation and support the ongoing diplomatic efforts to hold those who use chemical weapons, in Syria and otherwise, accountable.”

According to Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen broadcaster, the missiles were coming from the Mediterranean Sea, through Lebanese airspace. Meanwhile, Al Masdar News is reporting that “unknown jets” have entered Syrian airspace from Lebanon, and is speculating that the jets could be Israeli. In response, the Syrian Air Defense system at Mezzeh Air Base was activated, the report added.

Almost precisely a year ago, on April 7, 2017, the US carried out a strike against Syria’s Shayrat Airbase, launching a volley of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the Mediterranean Sea. Back then, Washington justified the attack as a necessary response in the wake of reports of a deadly chemical attack in Idlib province, without waiting any on any investigation into the incident.

The latest news comes as Damascus faces fresh accusations of allegedly targeting civilians in a chlorine attack, which were put forward by the controversial White Helmets group, which is always to the fore in Western media coverage of the Syrian conflict.

Damascus, meanwhile, has denied the accusations, while the Russian Foreign Ministry denounced the latest reports as another example of a “continuous series of fake news about the use of chlorine and other chemical agents by the government forces.”

Amid escalating tensions, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the US Central Command (CENTCOM), have allegedly been compiling lists of potential targets and attack options to present to Trump and his national security team, senior US military officials told Israel’s i24NEWS.

Israeli officials had, throughout Sunday, advocated striking targets in Syria, calling on Washington to retaliate against Damascus in response to the alleged Douma chemical attack. The charge was led by the Israeli Strategic Affairs and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who told the Army Radio on Sunday that he personally hopes that the US would take military action against the Syrian government. Among an array of politicians, Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog also called on the US to take “decisive military action” against Syria. The idea of Israel’s intervention in Syria was also supported by the Israeli Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, who urged his followers “to try and stop this massacre.”

Donald Trump’s fury, meanwhile, focused on Damascus and the Syrian president Bashar Assad, whom the US president called an “animal.” The US leader also lashed out against Iran and Russia for supporting Assad, saying there is a “big price” to pay for the latest chemical attack.

Trump has already held talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, after which both leaders decided to form a united front against Russia at the upcoming United Nations Security Council meetings, planned for Monday. Macron previously indicated that France might consider unilateral actions, including a military strike if chemical weapons were ever used in Syria again.

April 8, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Trump-Putin summit is just what’s needed

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | April 2, 2018

The Chinese commentators consistently paint a pessimistic outlook for the troubled relations between Russia and the West, which no doubt form a crucial template of Beijing’s foreign policy. China is a “stakeholder” in the tensions between Russia and the West. Beijing must be acutely conscious that there has always been a significant (albeit not influential currently) school of opinion in the West, including in the United States, that a rapprochement with Russia will make sound long-term strategy to effectively contain China’s rise, which must be the West’s top priority.

Nonetheless, a news analysis by Xinhua with a Moscow dateline has simply gone overboard in making some hasty conclusions about the state of play in the backdrop of the Skripal spy case that has suddenly invaded the centre stage of Russia’s ties with the West:

·       With the inertia of the sanctions spiral going on, Russia and the West are expected to continue the hostility in the diplomatic sphere and even expand it to other areas that are more painful for both sides in the foreseeable future.

·       Although the question hanging over the spy-poisoning attack remains unanswered, one thing is for sure: Russia’s reputation has been damaged in the eyes of the international community while the alliance between the United States and Europe has been consolidated… It is widely expected that the tensions between Russia and the West will not ease off anytime soon. 

Is the state of play so hopeless? Xinhua has exaggerated. Things look gloomy but are not beyond salvation. Russia’s tensions with the West are actually not so serious as China’s own tensions with the West. But then, China is much smarter than Russia in its diplomacy in finessing these tensions. China also has the advantage that it was not a Cold-War adversary of the West in the sense in which the former Soviet Union got pitted in the “bipolar” world. China did splendidly well to exploit the rivalry between the US and USSR.

Russia is the main target today, because it is also the only power that has the capability to maintain global strategic balance and it has an ideological position with regard to the US’ hegemony, which it is determined to uphold no matter the costs involved — although Russia is not a communist country any more. Besides, Russia is not like any other country. It is a European power historically, culturally, economically and politically. And Russia’s habitation and name in a common European home profoundly impacts the US’ transatlantic leadership role.

China being an Asiatic country can run with the hare and hunt with the hound – making the best of both worlds by keeping a quasi-alliance with Russia while also on parallel track going in top gear to tap into the western markets to get fatter and richer. China’s supreme advantage is that it lacks any ideology (other than nationalism and self-interests). Russia takes a principled stance but China keeps its head under the parapet if its interests are not affected. If the tensions run high in Russia’s relations with the West, China is its beneficiary.

However, Russia’s tensions with the West over the Skripal case are more complex than what Xinhua has reported. It is discernible that European countries have been reluctantly dragged into the Skripal case. (Blood is thicker than water, after all.) The big question is how far the US collaborated with Britain. In my assessment, the jury is still out.

There are unanswered, unanswerable questions. The most important thing is that the Skripal case might have got dovetailed with the “anti-Trump” project of the Washington establishment. In particular, was this the swan song of Lt. Gen. HR McMaster (who was expecting dismissal for the past several weeks)? Is it a counterattack by the “Deep State” to keep Trump off balance just when he began making moves to put together a new team in his cabinet with a view to force his will on foreign policies?

Has there been an orchestrated (Anglo-American) attempt involving the intelligence agencies to force Trump’s hands? How much is the Skripal case entangled with the campaign over Trump’s “collusion” with Russia? Most important, where exactly does Trump himself stand in all this?

To my mind, Trump is not seeking confrontation with Russia, and if anything, his phone call to British PM Theresa May might have had a salutary effect on London, which has since noticeably piped down on the Skripal file. Read the White House readout of the phone call, here. There is no trace whatsoever here that Trump is traveling on a path of confrontation with the Kremlin.

In fact, neither Trump nor Vladimir Putin wants this “to be going beyond hysteria over diplomacy” – to borrow words from Xinhua. Trump has always had great conceptual clarity in his mind that it is China – and not Russia – that is the US’ real adversary.

Any longtime observer of Russian-American relations would know that most of the time things are never really what they’ve appeared to be on surface. The two big powers are greatly experienced in navigating through choppy waters. Therefore, it comes as no surprise to me that TASS has just at this juncture highlighted the prospect of a summit between Trump and Vladimir Putin.

Given the longstanding media culture in Moscow, it is inconceivable that the state news agency would have carried such a report on its own volition reflecting on the Kremlin leader. There is, for sure, some very serious “signaling” going on.

April 2, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

China gives shock therapy to US

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | March 28, 2018

Just as a hypothesis was appearing that the United States “marginalized” China in the processes surrounding the North Korean situation, it gets blown to smithereens. The North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s “unofficial” three-day visit to Beijing is a stark reminder that China is becoming even more central than before in the resolution of the tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

A profound reset of the power dynamic in the Asia-Pacific and internationally has taken place between Sunday and Wednesday. Questions arise as regards the exquisite timing of Kim’s first-ever visit to Beijing, its rich symbolism in this being his first-ever journey abroad after taking the reins of power seven years ago, and what it means.

Both Beijing and Pyongyang must be acutely conscious of the timing. The Xinhua dispatch on the visit cited both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Kim openly noting the regional backdrop. Xi noted that this is “a special time” when “positive changes had taken place on the Korean Peninsula”. Kim noted that “the Korean Peninsula situation is developing rapidly and many important changes have taken place” while “a series of major and happy events” have occurred in China too.

The three key elements discernible from the unusually long 2600-word Xinhua report are:

  • Both China and North Korea sense that an open display of fraternal ties is necessary and can be advantageous.
  • The ties by far exceed a friendly inter-state relationship. Xi pointedly recalled the past when the two leaderships “maintained close exchanges and paid frequent calls on each other like relatives.” Equally, ideological affinities were stressed. Kim recalled his father and grandfather. There is an attempt to hark back to the past fervor in the relationship, which is thought to have been a bygone era.
  • Most important, Kim committed himself to the “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”. But he added the expectation that Seoul and Washington should also respond with goodwill and create an atmosphere of peace and stability on the basis of “progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace.” In return, he secured China’s assurance of support “no matter how the international and regional situation changes.”

No doubt, Kim received an exceedingly warm welcome with several politburo members in attendance. Kim said “he felt he should come in time to inform Comrade General Secretary Xi Jinping in person the situation out of comradeship and moral responsibility.” Xi remarked, “I am willing to keep frequent contacts with Chairman through various forms such as exchange of visits.” Xi and Kim have personally pledged to mentor the relationship and a line of communication opens directly between them. Xi is staking his prestige.

Xinhua made no reference to President Donald Trump or his tentative plan to meet Kim in end-May (although surely, the topic would have figured in the talks.) On the other hand, Xi voiced support for the improvement of inter-Korean ties and peace talks. China’s support strengthens Kim’s hands in the upcoming negotiations with his South Korean counterpart President Moon Jae-in.

Kim has once again shown astuteness and statesmanship by securing China’s support precisely just when it matters most to him. Significantly, Kim’s visit to Beijing comes at a time when the US-China relations are buffeted by adverse currents – Trump’s threat of trade war, the Taiwan Travel Act (designed to encourage high-level contacts between Washington and Taipei), and the US Navy’s freedom of navigation operation last weekend within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in the Spratly archipelago.

Kim’s visit to Beijing coincided with China’s Liaoning carrier strike group of more than 40 other warships and submarines conducting drills off the coast of Hainan in the South China Sea in a substantial show of force. Even as Xi and Kim were holding talks, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called on a visiting US Congressional delegation to “play a constructive role and work with China to maintain the political and public opinion foundations for China-US relations.”

The US faces a dilemma in the weeks ahead. The recent reshuffle in the State Department and the National Security Council has added to the disarray within the Trump administration. The huge uproar in public opinion over the appointment of John Bolton as the NSA is not helping matters, either. On the other hand, US-Russia tensions are cascading. No one knows whom to dial in Washington.

Beijing is plainly disdainful of Trump’s attempts last week to flex muscle. The signs are that Trump is already backtracking. The Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying was rather “forceful” in her remarks on Tuesday: “I must stress that negotiation is by no means an occasion for one party to make requests in an arrogant and condescending way.”

Having extended a big hand of support, Beijing is enabling Kim to approach the negotiating table from a position of advantage. An editorial in the Global Times notes that a “friendly relationship between China and North Korea is an important strategy to protect their interests… which can enhance regional balance and eliminate some unrealistic motives.”

Kim isn’t going to be a pushover for Trump. There is speculation among US analysts that Trump may not want to square up to Kim just yet. But then, wriggling out of engagement may not be easy if the inter-Korean summit in April creates new momentum for peace. How Trump gets filled in on Xi’s talks with Kim may show which way the wind is blowing.

March 28, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

US bureaucracy and media sent reeling by news of Trump-Kim summit; working to prevent it

By Alexander Mercouris | The Duran | March 12, 2018

Events in the US since President Trump agreed to South Korean President Moon’s proposal that he meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un show (1) the extent to which the US elite including large sections of the US government’s bureaucracy are willing President Trump to lose despite the huge damage this threatens the US; and (2) how President Trump’s foreign policy instincts are often superior to those of the foreign policy veterans or “adults” which whom he has become surrounded.

Firstly, it is now clear that President Trump’s decision to agree to President Moon’s proposal for a summit meeting with Kim Jong-un was his own.

Apparently when he was told of the proposal by the South Korean delegation which came to brief him about the talks the South Koreans had just had with Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang, he immediately and enthusiastically agreed to it without first consulting any of his advisers.

Moreover it seems his excitement was so great that he even let slip news of the big announcement which was coming at the Gridiron Dinner.

It seems that none of the key officials of the government – Secretary of State Tillerson (currently on a tour of Africa), Defense Secretary Mattis or National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster – were consulted.

Not only were key officials of the US government not consulted, but there is no secret about their concern and displeasure, whilst the US media is now united with expressions of concern that by agreeing to meet with Kim Jong-un President Trump has walked into some kind of trap.  In his typical earthy way President Trump has even tweeted about it

Not surprisingly, there are already attempts to hedge the summit meeting with preconditions, with White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders already talking about unspecified ‘concrete steps’ North Korea must take place before the summit meeting can happen at all

The president will not have the meeting without seeing concrete steps and concrete actions take place by North Korea, so the president will actually be getting something

It is also being said – apparently in all seriousness – that President Trump’s agreement to meet with Kim Jong-un reverses a previously unknown US policy not to meet with North Korea’s leaders lest this might lend them ‘legitimacy’.

Apparently Kim Jong-un’s father Kim Jong-il had repeatedly sought a summit meeting with the US President, only for his requests to be spurned by the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

All I would say about that is that I have never heard of such a policy before, but that if such a policy does exist then it is wrong, has visibly failed, and should be immediately reversed.

Suffice to say that when Kim Jong-il apparently first requested a summit meeting with US President Bill Clinton in the 1990s North Korea did not have nuclear weapons or intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Now it has both.

In other words refusing to meet with North Korea’s leaders has not denied them ‘legitimacy’; it has merely made them pursue their strategic weapons programme more aggressively, resulting in the opposite outcome to the one intended.

If President Trump has indeed reversed a policy of not meeting with North Korea’s leaders, then he should be commended – not criticised – for reversing a policy which has utterly and completely failed.

In any event this criticism ignores the fact that this latest proposal for a summit did not originate with the North Koreans.  It clearly comes from the South Koreans whose President Moon Jae-in is looking to President Trump for political cover so that he can press ahead with his dialogue with the North.

Refusing the proposal for a summit would deal a major political blow to President Moon Jae-in, quite possibly inclining him to cut the US further out of the steps he is taking to pursue dialogue with the North, which cannot be in the US’s interests.

US critics of the Trump-Kim summit need to understand that the US is not the only player in this game and that it is a mistake to see this is as a one-to-one confrontation between North Korea and the US.

Not only are the South Koreans taking an active and independent role in the diplomacy, but President Trump himself has just got a call from a very powerful player with a big stake in the game who will have made it very clear that he wants the summit to go ahead.

That player was no less a person than Chinese President Xi Jinping, who took time off from a key meeting of China’s National People’s Congress to telephone President Trump in order to make clear China’s wish that the Trump-Kim summit takes place and that progress towards a comprehensive settlement of the Korean conflict takes place.

Here is how China’s Xinhua news agency reports the call

Speaking by telephone, Xi told Trump that he appreciates the US president’s desire to resolve the Korean Peninsula issue politically, hoping that the United States and the DPRK will start dialogue as soon as possible and strive for positive results.

Xi added that he hopes all parties concerned will show goodwill and avoid doing anything which might affect or interfere with the improving situation on the peninsula, calling on them to maintain the positive momentum on the Korean Peninsula issue.

Xi also told Trump that China and the United States should focus on cooperation, control differences, promote win-win economic cooperation, and push for new advancement of bilateral relations in the new year.

Regarding the situation on the Korean Peninsula, Trump said the nuclear issue has shown positive development recently, adding that a high-level meeting between the United States and the DPRK meets the interests of all parties, hoping for an eventually peaceful solution to the nuclear issue.

It has been proved that President Xi is right to insist on a dialogue between the United States and the DPRK, Trump said, adding that the US side highly appreciates and values China’s significant role in resolving the Korean Peninsula issue, and is willing to strengthen communication and coordination with China over the issue, Trump said.

Xi pointed out that China remains persistent in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula, and resolving the nuclear issue through talks.

At present, the positive changes in the situation on the Korean Peninsula are conducive to putting the denuclearization process back on the right track of settlement through dialogue, which is also in line with the direction set by UN Security Council resolutions concerning the DPRK, Xi said.

“I believe that as long as all parties adhere to the general direction of political and diplomatic settlement, we will surely push forward the Korean Peninsula issue in the direction that the international community has been looking forward to,” Xi said. (bold italics added)

It is unusual for Xinhua to quote words Xi Jinping actually used in a telephone call with another world leader, yet this is what it has just done in relation to the conversation Xi Jinping and Donald Trump have just had with each other. Moreover the words which Xinhua has quoted make clear China’s concern that the dialogue be continued.

On any objective assessment the storm of anger and criticism that the news of the Trump-Kim summit has provoked is baffling.

The critics have no alternative to offer other than the same policy of endless confrontation that has failed so dismally up to now.

As for the summit itself, what exactly is it that they fear? President Trump is hardly in a position to give the whole US position away. No one is expecting a comprehensive settlement of the whole conflict emerging from a single summit, and it is absurd to talk as if that is what might happen. Months and probably years of hard negotiating lie ahead.

However if a negotiation is going to succeed the parties must at some point meet, and that is all the South Koreans and the North Koreans are proposing, and all that President Trump has agreed to.

Personally I cannot escape the feeling that the true cause of the alarm of at least some of the critics of the proposed Trump-Kim summit is that they do not want President Trump – who they have spent years ridiculing as an infantile narcissist – to prove them wrong by achieving a major diplomatic success. President Trump’s tweet which I have quoted above shows that he thinks the same.

However there is almost certainly a more sinister agenda at work as well.

It is difficult to avoid the impression that some people in the US do not want to see the confrontation with North Korea end, not just because they balk at the idea of the US making concessions and because the Korean conflict is for the US’s military industries highly lucrative but because they fear that an end to the Korean conflict might undermine the US’s position in the north east Pacific and might result in South Korea going its own way.

Some of the criticisms which have been made of the President Trump’s agreement to attend the Trump-Kim summit look suspiciously like the start of a campaign by these people to abort prospects for a Korean settlement.

Given the entrenched positions these people hold in the US government and in the US media, there is no guarantee they will fail, and no guarantee that in the face of the obstacles they are putting before it the Trump-Kim summit will take place.

It is to be earnestly hoped that President Trump this time sticks to his decision and presses ahead with the summit. As I have said previously, a great opportunity to make the deal of his life stands before him. In his own interests and in the interests of the US he should not spurn it but seize it.

March 11, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Trump, Israel and the America First Scam

Trump’s Jerusalem decisions with the idea of putting America first is nothing but a scam being played on American people

By Bob Johnson | Veterans Today | December 23, 2017

On Wednesday the White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders equated Donald Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and his decision to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem with putting America first.

To equate Trump’s Jerusalem decisions with the idea of putting America first is nothing but a scam being played on American people who genuinely care about other Americans and about America.

Today, when Trump signed the tax bill into law, he made a comment about rebuilding America’s infrastructure. He pointed out how the US spent over $7 trillion in the Middle East and said that money could have been used to improve the infrastructure across America. This statement of Trump’s, coming on the heels of his Jerusalem decision, shows he just doesn’t get it. Either that, or he is playing the fool.

Surely Trump knows that Israel and its powerful lobby decide key US decisions in US foreign policy for the Middle East. I’d be shocked if when candidate Trump met with his biggest campaign contributor, billionaire American Jewish casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, that Adelson did not make it very clear to Trump that Israel and the Israel lobby call the shots in regards to US Middle East foreign policy.

Pleasing Adelson is probably Trump’s motivation for claiming that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, for the decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and for Trump torpedoing the nuclear agreement with Iran.

Trump’s overwhelming desire to please Adelson, Israel and the Israel lobby does NOT at all put America first. This ungodly trinity that Trump works to please wants US politicians to start a new war for Israel’s benefit, this time against Iran. In 2013 at Yeshiva University in New York Adelson said regarding the US and Iran:

“You pick up your cell phone and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say ‘OK, let it go,’ and so there’s an atomic weapon goes over, ballistic missiles in the middle of the desert that doesn’t hurt a soul, maybe a couple of rattlesnakes and scorpions or whatever. And then you say, ‘See? The next one is in the middle of Tehran.’”

Trump must know that using the people in the American military to fight wars for the Jewish state of Israel is in no way, shape or form putting America first. US politicians from both parties voted to use American troops and American tax dollars for Israel’s benefit when they launched the war against Iraq in 2003.

Now the same forces of Israel, its lobby and Israel first individuals like Adelson are moving us down that same road to a new war for Israel’s benefit. These Israel first forces are moving Americans in the US military “as a lamb to the slaughter” to quote a phrase from the Hebrew/Jewish authors of the Bible.

Since our thoughts and beliefs determine our actions, if we really want to break free from this deadly cycle of religious inspired violence, we need to work to change the thinking of people who are currently under the spell of the “revealed” religions.

The American founder and Deist Thomas Paine made this clear when he wrote in his outstanding book on God, Deism and religion, The Age of Reason that we need a revolution in religion based on our innate God-given reason and Deism.

December 23, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Poll Shows US Voters Prefer Russia as Friend, Not Enemy, Echoing Trump’s Call

Sputnik – 17.11.2017

American voters agree by a two-to-one margin that a friendly US posture toward Russia would be a greater asset to the United States and the world than the present policy of hostility toward Moscow, according to a poll by Rasmussen reports.

In conducting the poll, Rasmussen read the following quote to survey participants, without identifying President Donald Trump as the speaker, and asked voters whether they agreed or disagreed: “Having Russia in a friendly posture, as opposed to always fighting with them, is an asset to the world, and an asset to our country, not a liability.”

According to Rasmussen, 52 percent agreed that having Russia as a friend is a good idea, 27 percent disagreed, while 21 percent said they were undecided.

The poll that had surveyed 1,000 likely voters has been released just days after US President Donald Trump has reiterated his stance on ties with Russia after his second meeting with President Vladimir Putin, saying that positive relations between Washington and Moscow “is a good thing.”

Russia in its turn has repeatedly expressed readiness to cooperate with the US on global issues on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

While Moscow has denied claims of interference in the US November 2016 election, Trump has called the ongoing probe into the alleged meddling conducted separately by Congress and Special Counsel Robert Mueller a “witch hunt.”

READ MORE: Trump to Continue to Look for Ways to Work With Russia

November 17, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations

Simon Wood | September 20, 2017

“As a responsible nuclear weapons state, our republic will not use a nuclear weapon unless its sovereignty is encroached upon by an aggressive hostile force with nuclear weapons. The DPRK will faithfully fulfill its obligation for non-proliferation and strive for global denuclearization.” – Kim Jong Un, May 8, 2016

Attention: António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Sir,

I am writing in regard to a speech given by US President Donald Trump to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) earlier this week, in particular the following excerpt:

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

As Secretary-General you are sworn to uphold the principles enshrined in the United Nations charter.

Article 1:

[The Purposes of the United Nations are:] [1.] To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.

Article 2, paragraph 4:

All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the THREAT or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

Article 33:

The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.

[Emphasis in bold and capitals added]

I refer you to a statement made by President Kim of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on July 4th:

“[T]he DPRK would neither put its nukes and ballistic rockets on the table of negotiations in any case nor flinch even an inch from the road of bolstering the nuclear force chosen by itself unless the U.S. hostile policy and nuclear threat to the DPRK are definitely terminated.”

[Emphasis added]

As Mr. Kim’s statement clearly demonstrates a road forward for negotiation, as well as the perfectly reasonable pre-condition that hostile statements, actions and overall policy towards his nation cease, and given further that the US party is well aware of this position, Mr. Trump’s statement at the United Nations is in clear violation of the principles of the UN charter. I further add that the DPRK has ample cause for fear of the capabilities and will of the United States after the complete destruction of Pyongyang in the early 1950s.

I am writing therefore to inquire as to the date upon which you will hold an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss punitive sanctions upon the United States for the reckless and illegal statement of its highest representative. For context, I invite you to imagine the international response to, say, Russian President Vladimir Putin making an identical statement with regard to the United Kingdom. [We would have no choice but to destroy it if we perceive a threat]. Given recent tragic history, of which you will surely be aware, ‘threats’ can easily be invented via unnamed intelligence sources, amplified globally in major media organs, then later justified as ‘intelligence failures’ down the road once the damage is done.

Failure to censure the United States for this threat of force against a nation which – as all do – has the right to defend itself from clearly stated intentions of attack will only increase the suspicion held by many world citizens that the United Nations is powerless to impede or control powerful nations.

Faithfully,

Simon Wood

Twitter: @simonwood11

September 21, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani delivers clear and calm rebuttal of Trump’s hostile remarks at UN

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | September 20, 2017

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has addressed the General Assembly in a short speech that primarily covered Iran’s foreign policy outlook, its specific goals for peace and an unambiguous warning against anyone who seeks to undermine the 2013 JCPOA (aka the Iran nuclear deal).

President Rouhani used the word ‘moderation’ throughout the speech. He characterised Iran’s history, contemporary outlook and policy positions as quintessentially moderate.

After paying tribute to Iranian voters who recently re-elected him as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, he then set out to define Iran’s definition of moderation in the following way.

“Moderation is the inclination as well as the chosen path of the great Iranian people. Moderation seeks neither isolation nor hegemony. It implies neither indifference nor intransigence. The path of moderation is the path of peace, but a just a inclusive peace; not peace for one nation and war and turmoil for others. Moderation is freedom and democracy, but in an inclusive and comprehensive manner, not purporting to promote freedom in one place while supporting dictators elsewhere. Moderation is the synergy of ideas and not the dance of swords. Finally, the path of moderation nurtures beauty. Deadly weapons exports are not  beautiful, rather peace is beautiful.

We in Iran strive to promote peace…. we never condone tyranny and always defend the voiceless. We never threaten anyone  but we do not tolerate threats from anyone. Our discourse is one of dignity and respect. We are unmoved by threats and intimidation. We believe in dialogue and negotiation based on equal footing and mutual respect”.

Rouhani then briefly turned to the issue of Palestine. He stated that a “rogue and racist state” (Israel) cannot trample on the rights of Palestinians in the 21st century. He continued, citing Iran’s historic record of helping minorities and the oppressed.

Rouhani stated,

“Iran is a bastion of tolerance… we are the same people who rescued Jews from Babylonian servitude… open our arms to receive Armenian Christians in our midst”.

He explained further, that just as Iran fought for Jews in the past, today Iran fights for the rights of oppressed Palestinians. He stated, “We support justice and seek tranquillity”.

Rouhani then described Iran’s fight against Takriri/Salafist terrorism as a fight based on ethics and humanity rather than one of conquest. The Iranian President said that Iran does not seek to restore its empire nor export revolution through the force of arms. He contrasted this with the ‘boots on the ground’ approach of “neo-colonialists”.

Turning once again to the theme of moderation, Rouhani said that Iran does not merely preach moderation but practices it. He said that the JCPOA is a primary example of moderate geo-political behaviour.

Rouhani then said that the JCPOA which has been applauded by the wider international community, both in the east and west, can become a new model of interaction between nations. The clear inference here was to North Korea. Even German leader Angela Merkel who supports the JCPOA along with her EU colleagues are suggesting using it as a model for bringing about de-escalation on the Korean peninsula.

Hassan Rouhani then stated that Iran never sought nuclear weapons and does not now. He remarked that it is “ridiculous” for a country, Israel,  which has nuclear weapons and has signed not a single international protocol for nuclear safety has the “audacity” to preach to peaceful nations.

He then stated,

“Iran will not be the first country to violate the JCPOA but will respond resolutely to its violation by any party”.

While he did not name Donald Trump or the United States, Rouhani said that yesterday, words were spoken in the General Assembly that were “hateful” and “unfit to be heard in the UN which was established to promote peace…”.

He went on to say that Iran’s missiles are for defensive purposes and to prevent against the “adventurous tendencies” of others, before stating

“The US should explain why after spending the assets of its own people, why instead of contribution to peace, it has only brought war, misery poverty and the rise of terrorism and extremism to the region”.

Rouhani concluded by praising Iran’s economic reforms and subtly alluded to Iran’s increased participation in joint economic ventures, the clear reference being to China’s One Belt–One Road initiative.

The Iranian President concluded by inviting all those who seek peace to visit Iran which has been historically hospitable to such individuals.

Rouhani’s speech did exactly what it should have done given the circumstances. It was a calm and clear articulation of Iran’s position in the region and the wider world. By citing the wide international support for the JCPOA, including among NATO members and other US allies, Rouhani has made it clear that the US and Israel are isolated in their anger towards the deal.

Rouhani also highlighted US hypocrisy in supporting Israel’s technically non-disclosed nuclear arsenal while accusing Iran of wanting nuclear weapons without evidence and contrary to the clear statements from Iran.

Rather than reacting aggressively to Donald Trump’s provocative speech, Rouhani’s calm and at times poetic approach to the issues, put the ball squarely in the US court. As it stands, the US is currently sending mixed signals in respect of whether Trump seeks to formally pull out of the JCPOA.

September 20, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 2 Comments