Another symbolic international day for Palestinian rights has degenerated into the usual stale observations and recommendations that do little other than try to impart a semblance of balance between the coloniser and the colonised. Perhaps the UN has preferred to remain loyal to the monstrous history it spawned by approving the Partition Plan on 29 November 1947, rather than address its complicity in the dispossession, ethnic cleansing and displacement of the Palestinians.
Departing from a jeopardising premise, Fiji’s Peter Thomson presided over the 71st session of the UN General Assembly and declared that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is “fundamental to our efforts to realise the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and to ensure that they are able to enjoy lives of dignity, opportunity, prosperity and equality.” The Palestinian people have endured a history of premeditated killing for decades because the UN upholds obscurity as a priority over the anti-colonial struggle. Peace, therefore, can be eliminated from the convenient rhetoric as it is nothing but a euphemism for oblivion in the context of Israeli colonial violence and international acceptance and complicity.
Not to be outdone, the Head of the EU Delegation to the UN, João Vale de Almeida, presented a summarised version of the perpetual concerns and condemnations, but added a slight variation to the usual rhetoric. The EU, he claimed, is “alarmed by the advancement in the Knesset of the ‘Settlement Regularisation Bill’ which would allow for the ex post ‘legalisation’ of Israeli outposts in the occupied West Bank and de facto confiscation of private Palestinian land.” It is mystifying, to say the least, how an international institution that is normally so well-informed can express “alarm” over violations that have occurred blatantly and in a clear, calculated sequence following the original Zionist plan for Greater Israel. There was more likely to be advance knowledge and acquiescence, not alarm, over the proposed legislation.
Almeida made another obfuscating comment regarding Gaza: “Militant activity and the dire situation in Gaza feed general instability and constitute a recipe for renewed conflict.” He provided no context for the Palestinian resistance in Gaza; no mention of how Israel’s Operation Protective Edge destroyed the enclave and displaced Palestinians in a space that is completely besieged. Hamas “and other militant groups” are also urged to stop “the illicit arms build-up.” Presumably the EU, like Israel, wishes there to be a defenceless population that is completely stripped of the right to defend itself against Israel’s state of the art military technology. Almeida’s statement encourages the abuse of Palestinian civilians by Israel whenever it chooses to field test its latest weapons on live targets before marketing them internationally and thus exposing international hypocrisy with regards to alleged support for Palestinian rights.
Perhaps the symbolic commemoration of “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” should be scrapped, since the UN, the EU and other international institutions are incapable of articulating the trajectory between the initial and the current colonial violence against Palestinians. All of the futile statements which simply rehash decades of other repetitive rhetoric do not help the Palestinians in any way. Sporting a keffiyeh for the macabre day, which is a backdoor commemoration of the UN Partition Plan as well as purported international solidarity, is humiliating, not a show of support. In the absence of a commitment to support Palestine’s anti-colonial struggle, one can conclude that the international agenda for this “day of support” is to devaluate Palestine and downgrade it even further from a symbolic presence to a passive memory.
President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree approving Russia’s new Foreign Policy Concept. The document specifies Moscow’s position on key global issues, highlighting its relations with the US, EU, China and other countries.
Published on Thursday, the concept is now in force, replacing the previous one from 2013. Moscow’s “views on core principles, priority directions, aims and tasks of the Russian foreign policy” are stated in the document of almost 40 pages.
Saying that Russia pursues an independent foreign policy based both on national interests and respect for international law, the concept states that Moscow’s policy is “open, foreseeable” and “shaped by centuries” of Russia’s historic role in the development of global civilization.
“Russia is fully aware of its special responsibility for maintaining security in the world both on global and regional levels, and is aimed at cooperative actions with all concerned states in the interest to solve common issues,” the document says.
Moscow calls for “creation of a broad international anti-terrorist coalition, firmly based on a legal framework, and effective and systematic cooperation among states,” the document says. No “double standards” should have a place in such a coalition, which should become the main force to fight global terrorism.
Nuclear war hazard low, but US missile shield threatens Russia’s national security
Moscow stands for the creation of “zones free of nuclear weapons and other types of weapons of mass destruction, especially in the Middle East,” the concept states, adding that “fighting international terrorism is key priority in international security.”
No country should use terrorist organizations to pursue its “political, ideological and other aims,” it says. Political and legal framework for nuclear and other weapons nonproliferation course is key, to avoid risks of such weapons landing in the hands of terrorist organizations.
Russia stays true to its international obligations in the arms control, and expects the same from its partners. Washington’s development of its global missile defense system is viewed as a “threat to national security,” with Moscow “reserving the right to take relevant counter measures.”
“Russia stands for constructive cooperation with the US in the field of arms control, with a compulsory allowance for an inseparable correlation between strategic offensive and defense weapons,” the document says. Global strategic stability should be the key factor in possible further arms reduction, it adds.
“Despite [the fact] that a threat of a large-scale war, including nuclear war, initiated between key states remains low, risks that [such states] may be involved in regional crisis, escalating them, are growing,” the new Foreign Policy Concept warns.
Russia-US dialogue possible, but only if US abandons its ‘restraining’ course
Washington and its allies have been pursuing a “restraining course” against Russia, aiming to “pressure” it both politically and economically, the document says, adding that such policy “undermines regional and global security.” It also harms long-term interests of both sides, and goes against a “growing necessity for cooperation” and joint counteraction to global threats.
Russia reserves the right to “harsh” retaliatory measures to “unfriendly actions,” including measures in toughening its national defense.
Moscow “is interested in building mutually beneficial relations with the US, taking into consideration the two countries’ responsibility for global strategic stability and the state of international security in general,” the concept stresses, adding that the two nations have significant opportunities in trade, investment, scientific and other forms of cooperation.
The development of dialogue on bilateral relations, as well as on other international issues “is only possible if based on equality, mutual respect and non-interference in one another’s internal affairs.”
In regard to contacts with NATO, Moscow plans to build its relations with the alliance based on its eagerness to be engaged in equal partnership. So far, Russia negatively regards NATO’s expansion, with its military infrastructure getting closer to the Russian borders. Such actions are considered as “defying the principle of equal security” and might cause new “division lines in Europe.”
Meanwhile, Moscow praises the role of the United Nations in “regulating international relations and coordinating world policies,” saying that there are no other options to replace the organization in the 21st century.
Relations with EU among Moscow’s priorities, abolishing visa regime will strengthen ties
Stepping-up mutually beneficial bilateral ties with European countries is named among one of Russia’s key priorities in the new Foreign Policy Concept.
The EU is Russia’s important trade and economic partner, the document says, adding that Moscow also regards Europe as its associate in foreign policy and is looking for “stable cooperation” based on mutual respect. Relations with Germany, France, Italy and Spain are mentioned as being key for the Kremlin in promoting its interests on the international arena.
“The strategic task in relations with the EU is forming a broad economic and humanitarian space from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean,” that will unite and “harmonize” the European continent, the concept says.
“The visa regime remains one of the main barriers in the way of development of contacts between Russia and the EU. The gradual cancellation of the visa regime on a reciprocal basis will become a powerful impulse for strengthening cooperation between Russia and the EU in economic, humanitarian, cultural, educational and other spheres,” the document says.
Russia to strengthen ties with the East, presence in the Antarctic
Among Moscow’s other foreign policy priorities, the concept mentions developing further relations with its eastern neighbors. “Full-scale” partnership and cooperation with China is on the agenda, as well as “further deepening” of strategic partnership with India. With the latter, Russia has always had “privileged” relations, according to the document, which says that the two nations’ cooperation is based on corresponding foreign policies, “historic friendship and deep mutual trust.”
Japan and other countries in the Asia-Pacific Region are also mentioned as important partners to work with in the near future.
“Russia will also continue its work on preserving and widening its presence in the Antarctic,” the concept states, adding that Moscow is as well “open for building relations with Canada” to cooperate in the Arctic and other regions.
Russia’s position on Syria is also mentioned in the new Foreign Policy Concept, with Moscow standing for the Middle Eastern country’s “unity, independence and territorial integrity.” Representatives of all ethnic and religious groups in Syria should be provided with equal security and peace, and enjoy “equal rights and opportunities,” the document says.
The idea of conducting a referendum on exiting the European Union has become more popular in EU countries, including Italy, Poland and Spain ever since the Brexit vote, while large numbers of people in other states of the bloc would support holding such a referendum, IFop pollster revealed in a survey for Sputnik.
According to the poll, the number of people who would support such a referendum has increased by 7 percent in Italy since July and now stands at 53 percent. The number of supporters of a vote on EU membership has also increased in Spain and Poland by 5 percent, to 39 percent and 38 percent, respectively.
The Brexit-style referendum is also popular in other European countries. Almost half, or 47 percent, of French nationals polled backed such an idea. The number of supporters of holding a referendum on exiting the European Union in Germany stands at 43 percent. The survey was carried out by France’s IFop pollster on October 22-26. As many as 5,019 people took part in the poll. The maximum sample error stands at 3.1 percent.
On June 23, the United Kingdom voted on referendum to leave the European Union. UK Prime Minister Theresa May said the country would trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017, thus kick-starting withdrawal negotiations.
The Iranian official news agency IRNA carried a detailed summary of an interview given by the Speaker of the Majlis Ali Larijani to a Chinese TV network, regarding the fate of the Iran nuclear deal of July 2015 under the Donald Trump presidency in the United States.
These have been the most comprehensive remarks so far since the election of Trump, at an authoritative level in the Iranian leadership. Unsurprisingly, IRNA highlighted the interview. The salience remains to be that Iran is keeping an open mind on the incoming US president’s likely policies. (See my blog Iran keeps open mind on Donald Trump.)
However, Larijani’s latest remarks display a quiet confidence in Tehran that Trump’s campaign speeches regarding Iran will not translate as policies. Larijani is an accomplished statesman and when he flags that an American president’s policies ‘usually differ’ from his election rhetoric, it becomes a considered statement.
Tehran indeed should know. Ronald Reagan’s campaign speeches in 1980 in the middle of the hostage crisis were much more threatening than Trump’s. In fact, Iran was the leitmotif of Reagan’s campaign rhetoric against Jimmy Carter. Yet, some say the Reagan team didn’t want a denouement to the hostage crisis until the November election was over. (In fact, Iranians released the hostages soon after the election was over, but before Reagan moved into Oval Office.)
Reagan’s brilliant but devious campaign manager was none other than William Casey, who later had covert dealings involving Iran as head of the CIA in the new administration. It won’t be surprising if Iranians are jogging the memory. Only the other day Trump had shouted that Goldman Sachs had ‘total control’ over Hillary Clinton and yet his team already is stacked with Goldman insiders – Steve Bannon as chief White House strategist, Steven Mnuchin for the Treasury Secretary job and so on.
At any rate, Larijani pointed out that the US’ European allies (and Russia and China) may not go along with any US move to scuttle the Iran deal or reimpose sanctions. This is entirely plausible.
What Larijani left unsaid was about any back channel contact with the Trump team. He couldn’t have been explicit, of course. Interestingly, he also did not slam the door shut against the idea of Iran working with the US on regional issues. He merely said that so far American and Iranian regional policies have differed.
[Asked whether you are ready for cooperation with the US on regional issues, Larijani said, ‘We think that its policies in the region are against those of Iran’s.’
The US and the Zionist regime enjoy chaotic situation in the region, as they think their interests will be ensured under this condition while Iran has a different viewpoint as it thinks about a sustainable security in the region and believes that terrorism should be uprooted.
‘I think China and Russia are of the same attitude regarding the issues but the US and the Zionist regime think otherwise,’ Larijani said.]
Indeed, Trump’s move to work with Russia over the Syrian conflict cannot but involve Iran one way or another at an early stage itself. President Hassan Rouhani telephoned President Vladimir Putin on Monday and the Kremlin readout said the two leaders “highly rated the level of Russian-Iranian cooperation on the anti-terrorist track and agreed to work closely together to ensure the long-term normalization of the situation in Syria.”
What makes Iran an engrossing regional power is invariably the sophisticated intellectual underpinnings it gives to its foreign policies and regional strategy. So, how does Trump appear through the Iranian looking glass?
Glancing through the range of opinions in Iran, certain elements can be identified. First, in the excessive focusing on Trump’s colorful personality traits (which are, arguably, not more exotic than Reagan or George W. Bush’s), foreign observers have neglected the acuteness of the crisis within the United States, which has been steadily building up through recent decades.
Trump ultimately represents the class interests of the rich and the privileged and there is going to be a glaring shortfall in his ability or willingness to redeem his pledges to the marginalised and alienated sections of society. The seething anger is going to mount as it becomes clear that the ‘swamps’ which Trump promised to clean up remain an enduring fact of life. In sum, much of Trump’s attention will come to be trained on the challenges posed by the domestic political situation.
Second, Iranian scholars underscore the dialectics of the trans-Atlantic relationship. (The EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini visited Tehran thrice this year.) Trump is starting with a handicap since European opinion militates against his rise to power, not only in style but also in the content of his whole political platform. An unfriendly Europe will try to seek a new code of conduct, which in turn will compel Trump to trim his discourse.
Third, emanating from the above two factors, Iranian scholars assess that the US cannot afford to wage wars abroad. It neither has the money needed to spend on wars nor does it enjoy the political respite to take the eyes off the acute internal contradictions in the US’ political economy. Most certainly, an invasion such as the one in 2003 in Iraq is way beyond American capability. Europe will not join any US-led ‘coalition of the willing’, either. Thus, the limits to the US influence in the Middle East are already apparent.
All in all, therefore, a new concert of world powers is becoming necessary and unavoidable, especially with a major potential economic crisis staring at the world economy. Larijani’s cautious optimism can be put in perspective as the articulation of a rational assessment.
Allegations that Russian hacking attacks aided the victory of Donald Trump are a myth, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Italian newspaper Corriere della sera. The interview also focused on sanctions against Moscow and NATO-Russia tensions.
In the immediate aftermath of the victory of Donald Trump at the US presidential elections, American and international media were quick to assume the alleged hacking of the camp of the Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by “Russian hackers” was to blame for the result.
Speaking to the Corriere della sera in an interview published late Wednesday, Lavrov stressed that the only ones who really “helped” Donald Trump to become the 45th US president were American citizens.
“It is symptomatic that the authors of such insinuations, who had inflated Russophobic hysteria in the United States on the eve of the vote, are now playing mum. No promised ‘evidence’ of interference in the electoral process has been presented neither to the American, nor to the international public,” Lavrov said.
In October, Washington officially accused Moscow of staging hacking assaults on US officials and institutions, though not delivering any facts or other information backing the serious statement. Kremlin rebuffed the accusations by the US as “nonsense.” The lack of proof has raised numerous questions as to what exact purposes the allegations might have actually served, Lavrov said.
“This confirms once again that the whole story is from the field of myth-making with a goal to solve the short-term political objectives,” the foreign minister added.
On November 29, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also weighed in, linking the recent hacking attacks on the country’s telecommunications group Deutsche Telecom to Moscow. However, the German leader admitted she did not know who exactly the attackers were.
‘Italy businesses dissatisfied with Russia sanctions’
When asked on how Russia is viewing relations with Italy, which is among the countries who imposed sanctions on Moscow over the Ukrainian crisis, Lavrov noted that both sides are suffering from the measures.
“Sanctions introduced by the EU against Russia, joined by Italy, and the Russian retaliatory steps had a negative impact on bilateral trade and economic cooperation,” Lavrov said. He also noted that Italy, which used to be the fourth-largest trading partner with Russia, now ranks sixth, while Washington has surpassed Rome and is now placed fifth.
“Thus, Washington, who became the initiator of a large part of the anti-Russian intentions, is not suffering any losses. Perhaps there is something our Italian and in general European partners have to think about,” Lavrov said. Russia, for its part, has already “adjusted” itself to the restrictions with the country’s economy solidly “standing on its feet.”
The Russian foreign minister also noted that “Italian political, business, public circles are increasingly expressing [their] dissatisfaction with the sanctions policies, advocate for the return” of the growing bilateral ties between the two states.
“A number of regions in Italy adopted a resolution calling for the removal of anti-Russian sanctions,” Lavrov said. He added Moscow hopes that Rome will build relations with Russia “based primarily on self-interest.”
“All the rich history of Russian-Italian relations, which are based on years of experience of fruitful cooperation, is an example that with joint efforts we managed to achieve significant results,” Lavrov said.
Over the past two decades, the Kosovar government has spent over $2 billion on payments to former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) paramilitary organization. Kosovo received the money from the United States and the European Union and since 2009 mostly from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The Kosovo Liberation Army was formed during the mid-1990s by Kosovo Albanians seeking independence from Serbia and the creation of a monoethnic state. Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008.
There have been numerous reports of abuses and war crimes committed by KLA members during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war, including massacres of civilians, prisons camps, allegations of organ theft etc. A special court in The Hague has been established to investigate those crimes. According to different estimates, currently at least 500 KLA veterans are fighting in the ranks of Daesh in Syria.
“Compared to the entire population of Kosovo, this number is the fifth-largest among other European countries. Many of the KLA veterans fighting for Daesh receive payments from the Kosovar budget which [is] regularly funded by the US, the EU and the IMF,” journalist Brankica Ristic wrote for Sputnik Serbia.
Currently, there are 46,000 KLA veterans in Kosovo. A list was made up to identify those who deserve pensions from the budget. The IMF unveiled €106 million ($113 million) for the initiative.
The first payments were made in 2015. Some 12,000 former KLA members, who fought against the Yugoslavian government and law enforcement agencies in the 1990s, received €170 ($181) each.
However, since that time the number of officially registered veterans has increased fourfold. Pristina had to ask the IMF to unveil more funds. The Kosovar budget for 2017 is €2 billion ($2.1 billion), including money to transform the Kosovo security forces into full-fledged armed forces, which will be funded by the IMF. However, the IMF does not want to give money for pensions for 46,000 KLA veterans. The fund asked Pristina to clarify the number of veterans. The government hopes that if the IMF rejects giving the money the US could do [so]. But the victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential election has put this into question.
“After the 1999 war Kosovo received $3.8 billion of international aid. According to different sources, between 2000 and 2010 the region received up to $40 billion. Part of this money could have been paid to those fighting now in the ranks of Daesh,” the journalist wrote.
“Sweep away the community of honest brokers in America [and] we’ll be left with a culture and public dialogue based on assertion rather than authenticity, on claim rather than fact.”
While you were going about your daily routines this week, the Trudeau Sunny Ways government was rushing Bill C-30 (the act to implement the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement — CETA) through the House. Thirty of its 140 pages are devoted to amending The Patent Act, amendments which will increase annual drug costs for Canadians by up to 13 per cent. We already pay more for drugs than any other country except the U.S. Unless the rewards of CETA are very impressive, this “free trade” zealotry qualifies as a special kind of madness.
Faith over fact
In observing the Trudeau government and its media cheerleaders regarding CETA, I am reminded of U.S. journalist Ronald Suskind’s revelations about how the George W. Bush administration justified their decisions. One of Bush’s senior aides chastised Suskind for being part of the “reality-based community” in contrast to Bush’s “faith-based community.” He told Suskind:
“[You] believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. That’s not the way the world really works anymore. … when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality …we’ll act again, creating other new realities.”
If those contrasting realities ring a bell, they should, because we have lived for 10 years with such thinking under Stephen Harper and there has been an almost seamless transition to the Trudeau government’s dissembling on international treaties. When it comes to trade and investment deals, the facts mean nothing. Chrystia Freeland simply refuses to answer questions and calls the deal “the gold standard” of trade agreements — full stop.
As in the U.S., we have assertion rather than authenticity, claim rather than fact.
The federal government makes its own “reality” by crafting “facts” to fit its policy objectives — no matter how outrageous they are when put to the test. Three numbers stand out in the talking points of federal governments under both Harper and Trudeau: that CETA will increase GDP by $12 billion, that it will create 80,000 jobs and that the newly created wealth will boost income by $1,000 per family.
But economist Jim Stanford debunked these numbers long ago — pointing out in 2012 that the federal trade department simply took the $12-billion figure (itself a highly dubious figure) “[a]nd divided it by the number of families in Canada. That assumes that every additional dollar of GDP translates directly into family income. In fact, higher GDP never fully trickles down into income…” The money that does find its way into income goes mostly to the wealthy.
The $12-billion figure came from a study commissioned by Canada and carried out by three EU economists. Stanford pointed out that the model used made some outrageous assumptions:
“[c]onstant full employment (so no one can be unemployed due to imports), balanced trade (so a country’s total output cannot be undermined by a trade deficit), no international capital flows (so companies cannot shift investment abroad), and no impact from fluctuating exchange rates.”
Stanford called the study “outrageous.” He was being far too polite. It was outright fraud. Anyone paying even cursory attention to the Canadian economy knows that not one of these assumptions holds. We haven’t had full employment for decades, we have been experiencing trade deficits for years, NAFTA resulted in the shifting of billions of investment dollars to Mexico and China, and our exchange rate has been all over the map.
Faith gets a reality check
But while the Harper/Trudeau axis trots out its faith-based “reality” others are thankfully stuck in the “fact-based” one. The latest are researchers from Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute (GDEI) who in September produced the aptly named study “CETA Without Blinders.” The Tufts researchers used the Global Policy Model developed by the United Nations. That model, unlike the one commissioned by Ottawa, examined the likely impact of CETA on jobs, wages and inequality. It’s not a pretty picture:
- “CETA will lead to a reduction of the labour income share. Competitive pressures exerted by CETA on firms and transferred onto workers will raise the share of national income accruing to capital and symmetrically reduce the share of national income accruing to labour.
- By 2023, workers will have foregone average annual earnings increases of €1776 in Canada and between €316 and €1331 in the EU depending on the country.
- CETA will lead to net losses of government revenue. Competitive pressures exerted by CETA on governments by international investors and shrinking policy space for supporting domestic … production and investment will reduce government revenue and expenditure.
- CETA will lead to job losses. By 2023, about 230,000 jobs will be lost in CETA countries, 200,000 of them in the EU, and 80,000 more in the rest of the world [the study projects a loss of 23,000 Canadian jobs due to CETA in the first seven years].
- CETA will lead to net losses in terms of GDP. [D]emand shortfalls nurtured by higher unemployment will also hurt productivity and cause cumulative losses amounting to 0.96 per cent of national income in Canada…”
As if to highlight the predictions of the Tufts University’s report, a recent Canadian study underlined just how grim things are already getting for Canadian workers and their families. Researchers at the University of Waterloo just released a national index of well-being which shows economic growth has not resulted in an improved quality of life since the 2008-2009 recession:
“The index shows the Canadian economy expanded 38 per cent between 1994 and 2014, while improvements in Canadians’ well-being grew just 9.9 per cent. … The biggest decline in that time is in leisure and culture — areas that can enrich lives, alleviate stress and build connections with others, such as socializing with others or taking a holiday.”
The start of this two-decade period coincides precisely with federal governments’ (starting with the Chretien/Martin regime) complete abandonment of enormously successful post-war industrial policies aimed at high wages and value-added manufacturing, and putting literally all their economic policy eggs in the external trade basket.
Why any reputable economist would expect a different result from signing CETA is inexplicable — unless you remember that it’s all about faith. Beginning with the original Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA), its promoters saw it as a leap of faith. Peter Nicholson, a former Scotiabank vice-president and later a personal adviser to Paul Martin, was one of free trade’s gurus. He acknowledged that supporters of the free-trade agreement thought it would “cause Canadian firms to pull up their socks … and compete in the North American market.” Instead, bemoaned Mr. Nicholson years later, many companies adjusted to the FTA “by simply moving across the border… taking the path of least resistance.”
Welcome to CETA, back to the future.
Murray Dobbin has been a journalist, broadcaster, author and social activist for 40 years. He writes rabble’s State of the Nation column.
Do European lives matter? Not to Obama. But does anything or did anything matter to him? His America is down the toilet. And his Europe too. For different reasons of course. He didn’t mean to divide America. It just kinda happened. Wall Street was the priority and the Mexican Wall kinda built itself. The new Berlin Wall however is his baby. That was intentional. He built it with malice. And last week he came to Europe to kiss it goodbye. It felt like the kiss of death.
Trump wants to keep the Mexicans out of America. And he is ridiculed. Obama on the other hand wants to keep the Russians out of Europe. And he is applauded. Especially in Europe! Trump is all mouth. While Obama is all war. Yet the Europeans fear Trump. Maybe Europe’s Obama fetish is a peculiar death wish. Or more likely its a super colony obeying the orders of the super power. Even if the order is death. Whatever it is Obama’s departing gift to Europe is a time bomb. And Europe says thanks!
Divide and rule is the oldest trick in the book. And Europe fell for it. Not once but twice. The first time as they say was a tragedy. This time around (the second coming) is just a farce. The first Cold War was believable (even if it was a hoax). The New Cold War though is a joke. But no one is laughing. Except Obama. He’s smirking. While his European pawns are deadly serious. And for that reason – if they – the Europeans -don’t stop – they’ll soon be dead. And Obama will still be smirking.
Obama’s time bomb comes in two parts. One is called the Ukraine. And the other is called the Baltic states. And the spare part is called Poland. Under Obama they all became highly irrational overnight. Obama activated them. And now they’re ready to trigger World War III at any moment. It’ll probably be the shortest War in history. For Europe that is, because it’ll be dust within seconds. But does Obama care? No. Does Europe even care? No. It loves Obama’s shit. The more he gives – the more it smokes it. The subsequent hallucinations and paranoia are weird.
Nothing Trump says or does comes close. Trump wants to arrest, deport and hate the Mexicans. In contrast Obama and his European clowns want to exterminate the Russians. And Trump is supposed to be the mad one! In Europe, Obama’s hate makes Trump’s hate look cute. Obama’s version is structural (its policy), whereas Trump’s version is emotional (its nonsense). No wonder Obama’s candidate (Clinton) got the full support of the US warmongering establishment. The weird thing is that Europe – the target of Obama’s hate – also supported his candidate.
The Europe that obeys Obama however is a dead man walking. Its the lie called the European Union – a racket that financially bleeds ordinary “deplorable” Europeans. Like Obama’s candidate, the EU has lost touch with reality. And no longer is credible – if it ever was. As the EU loses the support of Europe’s “deplorables” it shamelessly clings onto Obama. Merkel, Hollande, Renzi and Tsipras kowtowed last week and didn’t complain about the bomb on their backs. Like true fundamentalists they believe in Obama’s hate. And are ready to be his suicide bombers. It’s a case of après moi, rien!
Europe is expendable – that’s the Obama doctrine. And one of Obama’s key representatives in Europe, Victoria Nuland, said it best in February 2014 when the time bomb was being planted in Ukraine: “Fuck [Europe].” The fact that the EU elite itself obeys this doctrine doesn’t justify it. On the contrary, it justifies the opposite: resistance. In any shape or form. The only thing that can defuse Obama’s time bomb is the rejection not only of Obama but also of the EU. The US electorate has just given us the first part of this double rejection. Now it is up to the EU electorate. And the signs are good.
In the coming year France, Germany, Holland and maybe even Italy get to vote. And in each country “the deplorables” are the majority. European lives may not matter to the North Atlantic elite, but they do matter to ordinary Europeans. And despite what the elites say – it isn’t a case of “racism”. Its common sense. The point is that Lives Matter – Everywhere. Especially the lives of the weak. The ones that are sacrificed in war. The ones that Obama has been sacrificing in his wars. Europe doesn’t want to be another statistic. Neither does Russia. Adios Obama! And take the EU and your time bomb with you.
It is now an undisputed fact that the Western democratic values and the so-called “freedom of speech” that have been heralded for a long time as the principal achievements of the Western world are nothing but empty slogans. This is evidenced by the latest resolution of the European Parliament on countering Russia’s media influence dubbed the “EU strategic communications with a view to counteracting propaganda.” This document was initiated by a Polish member of the European Parliament, Anna Fotyga who claims that Russia has been providing financial support to opposition political parties and organizations in the EU, thereby undermining the unity of its states.
It is noteworthy that the authors behind this document are speaking about the necessity of media pluralism and freedom of information, while introducing a form of censorship against all Russian media sources.
At the same time those behind this curious paper advocate the revocation of Article 55 of Chapter IX of the UN Charter, which demands a universal respect and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for everyone, regardless of their race, sex, language or religion, including the rights to freedom of expression.
It’s curious that delusional witch hunts and the suppression of alternative media sources have recently become one of the principal attributes of European politics. This is clearly shown by the report that has been presented by Dr Andrew Foxall, the Director of the Russia Studies Centre at The Henry Jackson Society, that advocates the notion that activists, journalists, and politicians should point out the pro-Russian connections of individuals and parties across the political spectrum and challenge the credibility of these entities via political debates, while personal and organizational connections of left- and right-wing politicians and parties and their Russian counterparts should be mapped across Europe.
It’s curious that Dr Marcus Papadopoulos, the editor in chief of Politics First has been outraged by the above mentioned report, calling it manifestation of a modern form of McCarthyism. Papadopoulos is convinced that this is nothing but a slap in the face of freedom of speech and a rather stupid attempt to try to silence those who disagree with with the UK government.
It’s curious that UK politicians are convinced they can call “idiots” anybody who disagrees with their position.
Moreover, the “Foxall’s proclamation” was released on the eve of the discussion of the EU strategic communications with a view to counteracting propaganda in the EU parliament and has become a sort of foundation for this document.
This means that Operation Mockingbird which was launched by the CIA in the 1950s hasn’t been discontinued and is now being implemented in the EU. If you take a look at the rapidly growing funding of the European corporate media sources, it becomes obvious that America’s loyal puppets have been busy producing disinformation on a massive scale. Every day we witness new articles being published that have nothing in common with reality, yet no amount of evidence can force those corporate media sources to confess that they’ve been deliberately lying.
Just take a look at the role Western media played in the Ukrainian crisis, where Russia’s position is just being ignored by every single Western journal and newspaper. Yet, the fact that Russia hasn’t been preparing any sort of occupation of Ukraine has been proven by France’s military intelligence, General Christophe Gomart in the speech he delivered in front of the French National Assembly. Yet, his report was just ignored.
It must be clearly understood that a web of deception is always being created by the CIA in those regions and in those periods when specific Washington’s actions may become the cause of serious criticism and may lead to the manifestation of one’s independence from the United States. For this purpose, the White House annually allocates billions of dollars to the National Endowment for Democracy, USAID, the CIA and countless NGOs to spread disinformation. However, such steps are not causing alarm among European politicians, that are subjecting their people to vassal dependency on Washington and its position.
Back in 2011 the Guardian reported:
The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.
A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an “online persona management service” that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world. The multiple persona contract is thought to have been awarded as part of a programme called Operation Earnest Voice (OEV), which was first developed in Iraq as a psychological warfare weapon against the online presence of al-Qaida supporters and others ranged against coalition forces. Since then, OEV is reported to have expanded into a $200m programme and is thought to have been used against jihadists across Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Today we can witness the direct result of this program on most European forums, where those dissatisfied with their elected officials are being subjected to harassment and trolling. Yes, the delusional notion about the so-called “Russian propaganda” is the talk of the day in the EU, while Washington’s aggressive disinformation campaign is being silently ignored, as if nothing of interest was happening in this domain.
The world, through the ballot box, is speaking out. From the British «Yes» vote on BREXIT – the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union – to the election of the anti-globalization Donald Trump as president of the United States, the world is speaking out against the homogenization of the world into a super-state of blurred and overlapping governments, cultural identities, religions, and politics. The U.S. presidential election was not so much an election as it was a referendum on globalization in all of its malignant manifestations: free trade, open borders, and subjugation of national sovereignty to amorphous international organizations.
From every continent, there is growing popular support for «exiting» international contrivances, from the European Union and International Criminal Court to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and even the United Nations.
In August of this year, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines threatened to pull his country out of the UN in what was the first such threat by a UN member-state since Indonesian President Sukarno successfully withdrew his nation from the UN in 1965.
Proponents of economic and political globalization have not only been dealt heavy blows in the election of Trump in the United States and the success of the BREXIT vote in the United Kingdom, but also in the decision by South Africa and other African nations to withdraw from the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The international tribunal heavily-influenced by global hedge fund viper George Soros that is increasingly seen by Africa as the «International Caucasian Court» primarily targeting African leaders for war crimes prosecutions. In October of this year, South Africa joined Burundi and Gambia in announcing that it would leave the ICC. Ironically and embarrassingly, the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, is from Gambia.
In 2015, South Africa was condemned by the usual collection of Soros-financed NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, for not arresting President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, previously indicted by the ICC, while he was on an official visit to South Africa. South Africa rejected the ICC’s interference in its internal affairs and this disgust for the court culminated in the recent decision to depart from the court.
A month later, Russia announced that it was withdrawing as a signatory to the 2000 Rome Treaty that established the ICC. After the November Asia-Pacific economic summit in Lima, Peru, Philippines President Duterte also announced his country would join Russia, South Africa, and others in leaving the ICC. Duterte said, «They are useless — those in the International Criminal [Court]. [Russia] withdrew. I might follow. Why? Only the small ones like us are battered». Other African nations are considering scrapping the ICC. They include Uganda, Kenya, and Namibia. In 2015, Namibian President Hage Geingob visited former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete to urge him to follow Namibia’s lead and exit from the ICC. At a summit of the African Union in South Africa, Geingob said, «Some people are saying we are the ones who created the ICC. However, when one creates something to be an asset but later on it becomes an abomination, you have the right to quit it since it has ceased serving its intended purpose».
The BREXIT and Trump victories have emboldened electorates in many other nations to reject contrivances that stymie national sovereign rights. December 4, 2016 represents a watershed date to reject globalist agendas. It is the date of the re-run of the Austrian presidential election of April 24, 2016, one in which the anti-EU candidate of the Austrian Freedom Party, Norbert Hofer, was narrowly defeated by pro-EU Alexander van der Bellen of the Green Party. It turned out that 77,900 absentee ballots were miscounted in what represented a typical Soros-manipulated election. The Constitutional Court of Austria ordered a new election. The outcome of the December 4 election is believed by pollsters to heavily favor Hofer, as Austria has been caught up in the anti-EU groundswell rippling through Europe. December 4 is also the date of the Italian constitutional change referendum.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has staked his political future on the referendum, which if passed, will reduce the power of the Italian upper house of parliament, the Senate, and drastically cut back the powers of the Italian regions. Renzi has tapped support for his referendum from the usual collection of those who do not represent the common people – members of the glitterati of the elite, such as actors, singers, celebrity chefs, professional athletes, film directors, and other diversionary leeches on society. The campaign for Montenegro to join NATO, backed by Soros- and CIA-funded propagandists, saw Montenegrin actors, journalists, and professional athletes appearing on television commercials urging NATO membership for the country even as many polls showed majority opposition to joining the military alliance.
Renzi, a supporter of the EU and global integration, said he will resign if his referendum fails. And fail it is expected to do as «No» voters are far ahead in opinion polls. December 4 may very well go down in history along with June 24, 2016 and November 8, 2016 – the respective dates of BREXIT and trump’s election – as a red-letter day when voters rejected globalization. Renzi will soon join other discredited globalists, including former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron, former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, French President Francois Hollande, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel as footnotes in a failed history of international integration.
Another important date for GLEXIT was November 13. With the globalists’ world still shaken from the election of Trump on November 8 came word that the pro-Russian former MiG pilot Rumen Radev, a political novice, won the Bulgarian presidential election. The election resulted in the resignation of Bulgaria’s pro-EU government. The same day, voters in Moldova elected Igor Dodon, who rejected a Moldova-EU trade agreement and favored joining the Eurasian Economic Union championed by Russia. The two elections in countries where Soros has infiltrated so much of the media and political infrastructures with pro-EU and pro-NATO acolytes were historic and another indication that the world was rejecting globalization.
In addition to the EU, NATO, and the ICC, other regional globalist-oriented organizations are also teetering on permanent disruption. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has split along pro-Indian and pro-Pakistani lines. A recent SAARC summit in Pakistan was canceled after India refused to attend. India was soon joined by its allies, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Afghanistan. The organization appears to be permanently split, with the other SAARC members of Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Nepal opposing India and generally aligning with Pakistan. Another failed international organization, the Arab League, is a vassal of Saudi and Gulf money and showed its worthlessness in 2011 when it suspended Syria and Libya as members after they were faced with NATO-backed jihadist revolutions. The League also grants membership to the Saudi puppet government of Yemen.
Mirroring the withdrawal of African states from the ICC, Venezuela in 2013 announced its withdrawal from the heavily U.S.-influenced Inter-American Convention on Human Rights (IACHR), a contrivance of the Organization of American States based in Washington, DC next to the White House. Venezuela’s withdrawal also rejected the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CorteIDH) based in Costa Rica. The Dominican Republic withdrew from the court in 2014. Trinidad and Tobago admirably led the way in rejecting the so-called «Inter-American System», that is, American hegemony over the Western Hemisphere, when it withdrew from the IACHR in 1998. Criticism of the IACHR has come from Ecuador, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Peru.
The Commonwealth of Nations, an anachronistic leftover from the British Empire that cobbles together former British colonies into a group of British royal family sycophant nations, has seen Gambia, Maldives, and Zimbabwe leave the tacitly-worthless international organization.
Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) also dealt a body blow to the globalization cause. TPP is dead with U.S. withdrawal. American rejection of TPP left other TPP signatories, such as New Zealand and South Korea, looking to expand trade agreements with China in a display of renewed preference for bilateralism over multilateralism. There is a «New World Order», but not one envisaged by the globalists. This New World Order is one of renewed national sovereignty, cultural and religious identity, and rejection of dictates from unelected international bureaucrats.
There’s news. There’s fake news. And then there’s “pseudo” news, which according to the European Parliament, encompasses any Russian media which doesn’t adhere to a Western narrative and neglects to present an entirely pro-EU perspective on world events.
In a completely bonkers move this week, the EU Parliament approved a resolution to counter “Russian propaganda” and the “intrusion of Russian media” into the EU. The resolution was adopted with 304 MEPs voting in favor, 179 MEPs voting against it and 208 abstaining. The most bizarre part, however, is that the resolution lumped Russian media in with Islamist propaganda of the kind spread by terror groups like the so-called Islamic State. Thus Russian media is put on the same level with videos of ISIS beheadings and incitements to mass murder.
According to the resolution, Russian media exists to “undermine the very notion of objective information or ethical journalism,” and one of its methods is to cast all other information “as biased or as an instrument of political power.”
The real hypocrisy here is that this last part almost exactly describes how Brussels regards any media critical of its own actions. The resolution criticizes channels like RT for casting other news sources as biased or as instruments of political power while smearing anyone who associates with the Russian media as Kremlin puppets, bought and paid for by Vladimir Putin — and yet the irony appears completely lost on them.
Act as I say, not as I do
The totally barmy resolution also “notes with regret” that Moscow uses meetings with EU counterparts only for propaganda purposes, rather than for establishing a “real dialog” with Brussels. Another statement ripe with irony, given Brussels just a couple of weeks ago hosted an EU-Russia summit, the aim of which was to foster “mutual understanding” between Russia and the EU — without inviting any representatives of the Russian government. Instead, they asked obscure and practically unknown opposition figures with zero power or influence inside Russia. As noted by RT columnist Bryan MacDonald, this would be like Brussels hosting a summit to discuss the future of the United States and inviting the Green Party’s Jill Stein while ignoring the two parties that actually hold power. Under Brussels’ own definition, one could easily argue that the EU is trying to “undermine political cohesion” in Russia just as it accuses Moscow of doing in Europe.
Unfortunately, this ludicrous report is not a one-off. It appears to be part of an all-out attack on the Russian media coming from every angle. One of the most surprising developments comes from the organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which apparently prides itself on protecting journalists and press freedom worldwide. RSF has declared that it will no longer give interviews to any reporters from the Rossiya Segodnya group, which includes RT and the Sputnik news agency.
Similarly, a couple of weeks ago US State Department spokesman John Kirby refused to acknowledge an RT reporter as being on an equal footing with other journalists in the briefing room. Kirby point blank refused to treat Gayane Chichakyan as being “on the same level” because she represented a “state-owned” outlet — despite AP reporter Matt Lee stepping in to defend her.
Now, while RT may be state-funded, one very much doubts that Kirby would chastise a reporter from, say, the virulently anti-Russia BBC, whose Trust members are all appointed by the Queen on the advice of UK government ministers. He probably also doesn’t worry too much about US government-funded media like the CIA-founded RFE/RL, which operates for the exclusive purpose of undermining the Russian government and spreading pro-US information. Around the same time as Kirby’s comment, RT’s video agency Ruptly was banned from attending a Pentagon media event because the agency is a “Russian propaganda platform.”
Now, if RT was spreading false information, all these concerned think tankers, government agencies, and politicians might have a point. But you would be hard-pressed to turn on RT any day of the week and hear one of its anchors spreading blatant lies. You might hear a different editorial slant than you would on CNN, but in a world dominated by Western corporate media, alternative viewpoints are necessary and refreshing.
McCarthyism goes global
Meanwhile, the British Parliament is set to hear another report denouncing public figures for their alleged links to Russia and the Russian media. Neo-McCarthyism has indeed gone global. The British report, cautiously and tastefully named ‘Putin’s Useful Idiots’ was written by Andrew Foxhall of the notorious neocon think tank the Henry Jackson Society. The report challenges the credibility of politicians or public figures who appear sympathetic to Russia and proposes a crackdown on such individuals.
The British report even suggests news laws which could force politicians to declare all of their media appearances, presumably so those who appear on the likes of RT can be smeared as Kremlin agents and Putin’s puppets.
This is incredible and truly worrying. What is going on here should not be confused with anything to do with protecting democracy and the credibility of journalism. In fact, what the EU is doing is engaging in an all-out attack on journalism, much the same way they would accuse unfriendly governments of cracking down on the spread of information that did not suit the prevailing narrative. But dangerously, they are doing it under the guise of concern for democratic principles and values.
These people are suggesting it is nothing short of treasonous to hold an opinion that goes against the acceptable government-sanctioned consensus. In any other part of the world, this is the kind of mentality and action that Brussels and London criticize as a severe violation of media freedom and nothing short of state repression.
If the European project is solid as a rock, surely Brussels has nothing to worry about. But if a couple of Russian media outlets present such a grave threat to its existence, there must be some serious cracks in the foundations. Ultimately, it speaks to the fragility of the union that the EU so quickly throws its “values” out the window when the going gets tough.
Danielle Ryan is an Irish freelance writer, journalist and media analyst. She has lived and traveled extensively in the US, Germany, Russia and Hungary. Her byline has appeared at RT, The Nation, Rethinking Russia, The BRICS Post, New Eastern Outlook, Global Independent Analytics and many others. She also works on copywriting and editing projects. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook or at her website http://www.danielleryan.net.
Following in the wake of the White House policy, European political elites have been stepping up their groundless propagandistic rhetoric about the growing military threat of Russia, Iran, China, which is aimed at achieving further militarization of Europe at the expense of the social benefits of its citizens.
In his recent speech at an event hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, NATO‘s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that he expects a 3% real increase in defence spending in Europe and Canada, however, he added, other than the US, only four NATO members are currently spending 2% of GDP on defence.
Against the background of a string of upcoming election campaigns in the EU, it’s really not that hard to predict how Europeans are going to take the announcement that their governments are planning to increase their military budgets. The most likely scenario is that a number of EU states will vote for their own version of Trumpxit, which means that an outsider candidate will have more chances than those from the ruling elites. As the living conditions of an ever increasing number of Europeans continue to deteriorate, it’s highly unlikely that EU citizens are going to tolerate new military expenditures.
The data provided by the Eurostat shows that in 2015, around 25 million children, or 26.9% of the population aged 0 to 17, in the European Union were at risk of poverty or social exclusion. A total of six member states saw a third of all children being at risk of poverty or social exclusion, these are Romania (46.8%), Bulgaria (43.7%), Greece (37.8%), Hungary (36.1%), Spain (34.4%) and Italy (33.5%).
According to the Guardian, having a child while living in a rental accommodation has become unaffordable for young families in two–thirds of the UK. The most inaccessible place for those wanting to start a family was London, with a two-bedroom rental there costing 60% of the average income for someone in their 20s and 44% for someone in their 30s. This was followed by the south-east, south-west and the east. At the same time, the number of families with children living in emergency accommodations in England rose by 45% in the last 12 months, reaching the highest level in 12 years.
In turn, the Fabian Society says the Tory’s social cuts will increase the number of kids living in poverty by 75% over the next 15 years in the UK, the Daily Mirror notes. Moreover, Berlin has already announced that social disparity will be steadily growing throughout the upcoming decade in Germany.
The Finish Yle notes that the number of children living in poor families has tripled over the last two decades. What is striking is that even those families where both parents are employed full time are unable to earn an adequate revenue.
Ever since 2008, the deepening social crisis in the EU has been making local citizens feel increasingly frustrated with their elected officials. At the same time, local political elites are reluctant to address the most pressing problems of their population, instead they prefer to increase military spending and cut social benefits provided to the poor.
The chain of events, namely the Brexit and the Trumpxit shows the growing frustration of the hard-working people that are still unable to provide decent childhood for their children. And it doesn’t take a genius to know that the ruling elites are going to face a bitter electoral defeat in Germany, France, the Netherlands and Austria. There’s really no way they can win.