Rio athletes just voted Yelena Isinbayeva onto IOC Athletes Committee.

 

In a massive snub to WADA and IAAF, Russian pole vault champion and Olympic star Yelena Isinbayeva was elected to the IOC Athletes Committee despite being banned from competing in Rio Olympic by WADA instigated IAAF collective ban on Russian track and field athletes.

What the athletes competing in the Rio Olympic Games think of the doping scandal was made clear on 18th August 2016 during the elections to the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Committee.

Twenty three candidates stood for four vacant places on the Athletes’ Committee.  The four elected are German fencer Britta Heidemann (1,603 votes), South Korean table tennis player Ryu Seung-min (1,544 votes), Hungarian swimmer Daniel Gyurta (1,469 votes) and – in a massive snub to WADA and the IAAF which banned her from competing in Rio – Russia’s two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva (1,365 votes).

Isinbayeva is Russia’s most famous current athlete.  She has a completely clean record, and was a strong prospect for another gold medal in her sport.  She was however banned from competing in Rio at WADA’s instigation as a result of the collective ban imposed on Russia’s track and field athletes by the IAAF.

Isinbayeva’s election to the IOC’s Athletes’ Committee is therefore an act of high symbolism, showing the extent to which outside the Western world the whole doping scandal is seen for what it is: a politicised lynching of Russian athletes and of the Russian Olympic  Team by WADA and its backers in the West.

The Russians are already saying as much.  TASS reports that Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov told journalists that Isinbayeva’s election

“……is a serious lesson to the IAAF leadership, who doubted that she was ‘clean’. It is a response of athletes from all parts of the world who voted for Lena. This is a victory for Lena and a victory for Russia. Under the current circumstances, the athletes of the world, in fact, voted for Russia.  We had looked forward to the decision and hoped for the victory. Today, it is extremely important for her and for her country that the Olympians had elected her at a time when she was banned from competing in the Olympics for some far-fetched reasons.”

What this episode underlines is the extent to which the West – and in particular the English speaking part of the West – deludes itself when it supposes that it speaks for the whole world.

On the contrary the world outside the West sees the present confrontation between the West and Russia in a completely different way from the way the Western media presents it.

Far from seeing Russian athletes as cheats many people in the world outside the West sees them for what they are really are: victims of the West in this affair.  Enough athletes at Rio obviously share this view and feel sufficiently strongly about it to ensure that Isinbayeva got elected.

Advertisements

Operation Crossroads 70 Years Later

Seventy years ago this month a joint U.S Army-Navy task force staged two atomic weapons tests at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, the first atomic explosions since the bombings of Japan in August 1945. The first test, Able, took place on 1 July 1946. The second test, Baker, on 25 July 1946, was the most dangerous, contaminating nearby ships with radioactive fallout and producing iconic images of nuclear explosions later used in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. Documents posted today by the National Security Archive, shed light on Operation Crossroads, as does a gallery of videos and photographs.

The Navy, worried about its survival in an atomic war, sought the Bikini tests in order to measure the effects of atomic explosions on warships and other military targets. Named Operation Crossroads by the task force’s director, Rear Admiral William Blandy, the tests involved a fleet of 96 target ships, including captured Japanese and German warships. Both tests gave the U.S. military what it sought: more immediate knowledge of the deadly effects of nuclear weapons.

The U.S. Navy’s early March 1946 removal of 167 Pacific islanders from Bikini, their ancestral home, so that the Navy and the Army could prepare for the tests, is also documented with film footage. The Bikinians received the impression that the relocation would be temporary, but subsequent nuclear testing in the atoll rendered the islands virtually uninhabitable.

Observers from the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission, including two from the Soviet Union, viewed the Crossroads tests from a safe distance. Recently declassified documents shed light on the emerging Cold War atmosphere; one of the observers, Simon Peter Alexandrov, who was in charge of uranium for the Soviet nuclear project, told a U.S. scientist, Paul S. Galtsoff, that while the purpose of the Bikini test was “to frighten the Soviets,” they were “not afraid,” and that the Soviet Union had “wonderful planes” which could easily bomb U.S. cities.

Today’s posting contains a number of primary source documents on the planning of Operation Crossroads and assessments of the two tests, including:

  • An estimate from Los Alamos Laboratory of the planned underwater atomic test: “There will probably be enough plutonium near the surface to poison the combined armed forces of the United States at their highest wartime strength.”
  • A report by an Army officer on the Able test, which exploded in mid-air above an array of warships, conveyed Army-Navy tensions: Noting that Admiral Blandy had painted a “very optimistic picture from the Navy point of view” of the damage done to the ships, “when we examined the target fleet through our field glasses [we saw] that even on the major capital ship, superstructures had been severely damaged.” “The target fleet had indeed suffered a staggering blow.”
  • The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Evaluation Board noted in a message sent after the Baker test that because of the radioactive water the Baker test spewed upon the ships, the “contaminated ships became radioactive stoves, and would have burned all living things aboard with invisible and painless but deadly radiation.”
  • According to a Navy observer’s report, the two tests were “spectacular and awe-inspiring,” but the “radiological contamination of the target vessels which followed the underwater burst was the most startling and threatening aspect.”
  • The contamination of the target ships caused by the Baker test led Stafford Warren, the task force’s radiation safety adviser, to warn Admiral Blandy of the danger of continuing decontamination work to salvage the ships: the ships were “in the main extensively contaminated with dangerous amounts of radioactivity.” It was not possible to achieve “quick decontamination without exposing personnel seriously to radiation.” These warnings eventually led Blandy to halt the cleanup effort.
  • The Joint Chiefs of Staff Evaluation Board’s final report on the Crossroads tests called for U.S. superiority in atomic weaponry and Congressional action to give the U.S. Presidents license to wage preventive war against adversaries which were acquiring nuclear weapons. The Crossroads report was suppressed for years until it was declassified in 1975.

Rothschild about the monetary policy:

We are witnessing the greatest experiment in history

The investment banker Lord Rothschild is not sure how the biggest experiment of the history of monetary policy will end. So far his company has earned big money. Rothschild sees the greatest risks in the West.

A luminary in the financial sector, Jacob Rothschild – head of investment company RIT Capital Partners – warns against the negative consequences of the expansive monetary policy of central banks. Low interest rates, negative returns on some government bonds and bond-buying programs by some central banks are part of the largest monetary experiment in world history. The long-term consequences of these policies, as Rothschild, are completely unpredictable.

In the semi-annual report of RIT Rothschild looks at the current situation: “In the past six months, the central bankers have continued the biggest experiment of monetary policy in the world’s history. We are in unfamiliar territory and it is therefore impossible to estimate the unconsidered consequences of very low interest rates, the fact that around one third of all government debt has a negative return, as well as the massive bond-buying programs.

Concerning risks writes Rothschild: “Meanwhile remains weak growth, with weak demand and deflation in many parts of the developed world. Many of the risks to which I referred last year, remain: In fact, the geopolitical situation has continued to deteriorate. The United Kingdom has withdrawn from the EU, the presidential elections in the US in November will be unusually tense, whereas the situation in China remains unclear and the growth of the world economy is slowing. remain the Middle East conflicts exist and are unlikely to be resolved in the coming years. Their consequences we have felt already during the terrorist attacks in France, Germany and the USA.

RIT has given this risk adjusted its portfolio with gold again play a greater role: “In times like these the preservation of the assets remains the fundamental objective. In equities, we have lowered our commitment of 55 percent to 44 percent. Our commitment to Sterling has been shut down in the past six months, at 34 percent, with currency accounting for about 25 percent of the total portfolio. We have increased gold and precious metals to the end of June to 8 percent. ”

Since inception of RIT in 1988 Rothschild was able to achieve a total return of about 2,000 percent.

India and Pakistan join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

Away from the distractions caused by the British Brexit vote the process of Eurasian construction has just taken another big step forward with the agreement of India and Pakistan to join the Chinese and Russian led Shanghai Cooperation Organisation as full members.

Iran is expected to follow shortly, leaving the whole of Eurasia united under the umbrella of this organisation apart from a few small countries and the states of Europe which are part of the Western alliance.  Even countries like Turkey and Azerbaijan, which are aligned with the West, now have have relations with it.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is not an “eastern NATO” – a sort of Warsaw Pact of eastern and central Eurasia – but neither is it the empty talking-shop Western commentators sometimes pretend it is.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has a constitution and structure, and it most definitely does have a security dimension even if it is one which in theory is focused on anti-terrorism in Central Asia rather than in meeting any conventional security threat from the West.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is closely linked to the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation (“CSTO”), which most definitely is a military alliance bringing together Russia and its closest partners with the former USSR.

Most importantly, at the core of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is the military-strategic relationship between China and Russia.  These two countries, despite attempts in the West to deny the fact, most definitely are military allies.  Putin recently actually admitted as much.  Moreover, he also disclosed something which was already obvious to anyone who follows their respective actions on the world stage closely, which is that the two countries’ leaderships are in constant communication with each other.  As reported Putin’s precise words were as follows:

“We are in constant contact and we consult on global and regional issues. Since we consider each other close allies, naturally, we always listen to our partners and take into account each other’s interests”.

To get a sense of how close military cooperation between China and Russia has become, consider that the two countries recently conducted a joint command exercise in Moscow involving joint planned use of their anti-ballistic missile defences.  The US would never do such a thing with any of its allies and if it did it would certainly not make the fact public.

When military relations between two countries are so close as to conduct exercises like this, it is a certainty that a web of security, intelligence and defence related agreements exist between them.  The fact that we do not know about them does not mean that they do not exist.  It means that the leaderships of the two countries – Russia’s Security Council and China’s Politburo – have decided not to make them public.  The reason for that is because disclosing their existence would reveal the extent of their countries’ military alliance, something which neither country for the moment wants to do.

The fact that at the core of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is the alliance of China and Russia means that it cannot be just a talking shop.  Rather it is part of a web of organisations – the Eurasian Economic Union, the Silk Road, the BRICS group and the CSTO – that the two allies are weaving around themselves in order to extend the regional and global influence of their alliance.

The Pakistanis and Indians understand this very well.  By joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Pakistanis and the Indians are not allying themselves with the Chinese and the Russians against the US and the West.  The reason the Chinese and the Russians prefer to keep the fact of their alliance secret is precisely so that they do not have to present countries like Pakistan and India with such a binary choice.  Rather it enables the Pakistanis and the Indians – two countries traditionally at odds with each other – to maintain their traditional links with their old allies – China in the case of Pakistan, Russia in the case of India – whilst enhancing their formal links with one of the two major alliances of today’s world, which is gradually reshaping the world around it.

It is clear that the economic power of the world is moving to the Asian continent. This will put even more and more pressure on the European Union. How will the US react to this? Will it tell their allies to stop trading whit countries who belong to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation The European Union will have to make decisions, which will not allways please the Americans. EU has to reorganise their trade policy toward those countries in the future, if Europe will have a chance to compete on the world market in the future. The negotiations regarding the trade agreements between Canada America and EU, as TTIP and CETA, have already lost their power, if this agreement in the Shanghai groups is developing.

Alfons

Moscow and Beijing to join hands to offset the growing threat posed by the deployment of a US anti-missile defence system in South Korea and a possible deployment in Japan.

“It is only a matter of time before Japan has THAAD on its soil,” an editorial in the Global Times warned.

“Washington is ambitious to build a global anti-missile system so missile activities in China and Russia can be put under close surveillance, which will disable China and Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrence against the US,” it said.

Beijing has said Washington’s decision last month to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system would only worsen tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Both Russian and Chinese Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov and Wang Yi have criticised the US move.

On Friday, Beijing newspaper Global Times, known for its strident editorials, questioned why the US was deploying new anti-ballistic missile stronghold in Northeast Asia with an excuse of dealing with threats of the North Korean nuclear and missile programs.

“As THAAD is approaching its doorstep, China must speed up the upgrading of its offensive weaponry to offset the threat caused by the US global anti-missile system,” the editorial of the influential Chinese daily published by the ruling Communist Party argued on Friday.

A US-Japan-South Korea coterie linked by THAAD is forming in Asia that could threaten peace in the region, the state-run paper warned.

“China and Russia should cooperate on the joint work of developing strategic offensive weaponry, and acquire an overwhelming advantage against the US anti-missile system. Both countries can conduct military simulations, which can include strategic nuclear weapons, against THAAD,” it added.

Editorials of state-owned media in China, like Global Times, generally reflect the Communist Party viewpoint.

After a UN Security Council meeting last week, US envoy to the UN, Samantha Power, rejected suggestions the decision to deploy the anti-missile defence system in South Korea had provoked ballistic missile tests by North Korea.

China and Russia have increased their security, economic and diplomatic relationship in recent years.

Even as the US continues with what it calls “freedom of navigation” exercises in the South China Sea, China has got support from Moscow on the dispute.

Attempts to internationalize the issue must be stopped, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said repeatedly in the last few weeks.

“I am convinced that they (attempts to internationalize the issue) are completely counterproductive,” said Lavrov. “Only negotiations, which China and the ASEAN are pursuing can bring the desired result, namely, mutually acceptable agreements.”

alfons