Russia-Baiting and the International Fallout of the Murky Skripal Poisoning Case

By Kanwal Sibal, former foreign secretary of India

 The West would do well to remember that it cannot escape engaging Russia – a formidable nuclear power, a permanent member of the UN Security Council and Europe’s crucial energy partner.

The facts about the Skripal poisoning incident are murky indeed. Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, initially began by claiming that either the Russian authorities engineered this chemical assault on the former Russian spy or that they had lost control over the nerve agent Novichok produced at the time of the Soviet Union and that elements that got hold of it used it in the murder attempt at Salisbury.

But the British have so far produced no proof that the Russians are officially or unofficially responsible for this manifestly outrageous act. They are proceeding on the assumption that Russia has to be the villain, which is a political position, not one based on verifiable facts.

There is a striking disparity between the international tumult that the British government has created over the affair and the unprecedented collective punitive actions they have mobilised against Russia and the less than definitive conclusion the British government has reached about Russian culpability when Theresa May does not go beyond stating that it is “highly likely” that Russia is behind the incident.

“Highly likely” means that the some dots have not been connected, yet the reprisals against Russia assume that they have. British foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who spurns the virtues of self-restraint and moderation, has accused President Vladimir Putin personally for this poisoning operation and has invoked Hitler in this context.

Such lack of sobriety only raises suspicions about Britain’s version and intentions.

Russia’s stand

Russia has vehemently denied any role in the Skripal poisoning. Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has pointed out that Britain, as a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention, has not followed the procedure laid down by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to deal with cases of use of chemical agents.

According to him, no samples were sent as required to the OPCW and to Russia for investigation at their end about the exact nature of the chemical agent used and its provenance. (The British have subsequently sent a sample to the OPCW).

Putin has asked convincingly as to why Russia would commit such an act just before the Russian presidential elections and months before the Football World Cup event that Russia would host. Russia has faced sports boycotts in the past, be it the Olympics of 1980, the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, and, most recently, Russian athletes were banned from participating in the Winter Olympics in South Korea on account of doping allegations. A Skripal type incident would thus  seem perfectly tailored to provoke a western boycott of the Football World Cup in a bid to “spoil Putin’s party”.

Other commonsensical arguments are being made by the Russian side. Skripal, a Russian spy who worked for Britain, was in Russian custody for six years before he was exchanged in a spy swap and sent to Britain in 2010. This exchange meant that he was no longer of any further use to Russia, having been extracted dry of anything worthwhile. Why seek to eliminate him after eight years, the Russians say, when he could have been eliminated on Russian soil while in their custody?

Putin has also made the point that if it really was a Russian operation it would not have been bungled the way it has been. What makes the incident even more difficult to unravel is that the very existence of Novichok is in doubt as it did not figure in the list of chemical weapons prepared by the OPCW for destruction by Russia. As it happens, Russia destroyed all its chemical weapon stocks by November 2017 under OPCW’s verification.

A deterioration of ties

Whatever the truth behind the Skripal affair, Russia-baiting has become a prime feature of US and European foreign policy for various reasons. Even before it intervened in Georgia and Ukraine tensions between Russia and the West were mounting, be it because of NATO’s eastwards expansion, the narrative that if erstwhile constituent parts of the Soviet Union wanted to join NATO or the EU they should be free to do so and that Russia had no right to object, Russia’s supposed threat to the Baltic states, the positioning of elements of the US anti-ballistic missile system on European soil under the pretext that it was intended to counter the Iranian missile threat, Russian fears that the US was trying to acquire a first strike capability and so on.

Russia’s internal politics had become a source of contention with the West, with Putin accused of curtailing democracy at home, violating human rights, extending state control over the economy and throttling free enterprise. Russia was not considered eligible for a partnership with the West unless it measured up to western standards of domestic political and economic governance. America’s active promotion of democracy in Russia’s neighbourhood, especially in the Ukraine, in the hope that success there would encourage internal democratic change in Russia was not a recipe for earning Russia’s trust. Russia’s intervention in Georgia in 2008 caused by provocations by its then president Mikheil Sakaashvili with encouragement from elements in the US establishment caused a further deterioration of Russia’s ties with the West.

In 2013, the Ukraine crisis erupted with the coup engineered against president Yanukovych with western connivance, leading eventually to Crimea’s annexation by Russia in 2014. This has sharpened political confrontation between the two sides to the point that a Cold War like atmosphere is growing. Russia’s military intervention in Syria to prevent one more regime change engineered by the West in West Asia has exacerbated matters further.

Under Obama the US  conducted itself in a patronising manner against Russia, denigrating it as a regional power and characterising it in Obama’s 2014 United Nations general assembly as a global threat along with the ebola virus and the Islamic State. Following Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, in 2014, three rounds of wide-ranging sanctions were imposed on individuals, companies and officials by the US, EU, Australia and Japan, including Russia’s energy sector and banks.

In December 2016, Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed two Russian compounds in the US. He also sanctioned GRU and the FSB, the two Russian intelligence agencies for cyber operations. In June 2017 the US Senate passed legislation- signed by Trump in August – that would prevent the easing, suspending or ending of sanctions by the President without the approval of the Congress. This targeted the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, provoking both Germany and Austria to strongly protest.

Continuing the politics of sanctions the UK has, over the Skripal incident, expelled 23 Russian diplomats, the US 60 and others, both EU and non-EU countries, have joined the expulsions that now number almost 150.

Russia has previously retaliated by expulsions of its own, sanctioning individuals in US and Europe, closing some western consulates and its market to western products. It has threatened to respond to the latest round of sanctions.

That the West should continue to demonise and vilify Putin who has been elected again, and cause a virtual collapse of relations with Russia is difficult to understand. The West cannot escape engaging Russia, the world’s largest country with immense natural resources at its command, a formidable nuclear power, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Europe’s direct neighbour and its crucial energy partner.

The policy of sanctions has not brow-beaten Russia into submission and is unlikely to do so. These sanctions  have become an instrument in the hands of the West which controls global finance to conduct a kind of asymmetric warfare against  vulnerable countries, even one as militarily strong as Russia. It is telling that a permanent member of the UNSC is being sanctioned by three other permanent members, reducing the UNSC to a bystander notwithstanding the increasing risk of conflict.The Russian economy is, however, nowhere near collapsing.

Putin has unveiled a new array of advanced weaponry to signal its capacity to defend itself. It has to be a party in any eventual solution to the current crisis in West Asia. Public opinion in the West has been conditioned to look at Russia as a virtually rogue state, which is preventing any sensible engagement with it. Trump had the intention to normalise ties with Russia but the US Congress, anti-Russian lobbies and the mainstream media has made this virtually impossible, particularly as Russia’s purported interference in the US presidential elections has become an issue of intense domestic debate, involving the legitimacy of Trump’s electoral win.

A Britain weakened by Brexit and a British prime minister with a shaky political base find the Skirpal affair handy to gain political popularity and project that Britain remains a “great power”. Britain has artfully and successfully mustered support from its allies, especially the US, to demonstrate that it would retain international clout even outside the EU.

The biggest beneficiary of the intense western hostility towards Russia is China. The more Russia is strategically weakened, the more strategic strength China gains. For India, the free-fall in US/Europe relations with Russia is doubly negative, in that not only China’s ambitions are being served with Russia becoming more dependent on China, but also because of the pressure it puts on us to maintain a dynamic balance between our very valuable ties with Russia and our closer understandings with the West.

by alfonso

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US form new rebel army in Syria with massive arms deliveries from the Balkans.

The Pentagon, after seven years of war, shows no signs of halting its massive arms purchases for Syrian rebels in the Balkans.

New plans indicate that the US wants to buy 25,000 Kalashnikov rifles and 20 million cartridges. The Pentagon plans to spend $ 162.5 million on weapons, ammunition, and other equipment in 2019 to arm Syrian fighters, who, as the official reading suggests, are fighting the “Islamic State.” The information is based on a recently disclosed budget report. The amount adds to the $ 2.2 billion already paid by the US for weapons from former Eastern Bloc countries to Syrian fighters [and other Pentagon-backed groups].

This was reported by the Investigative Portal BIRN in September last year. The arming of Syrian rebels with weapons and ammunition as part of the so-called education and equipment program of the United States was almost exclusively about war weapon manufacturers from the Balkans and Central Europe, as the news portal Balkan Insight writes. The Arab news portal Al Jazeera, in cooperation with BIRN, unveiled details about US spending on the continuation of the proxy war in Syria. BIRN tracked more than 20 flights commissioned by the Pentagon leaving the island airport of Krk in Croatia.

The “unidentified military equipment” was shipped to US bases, especially in the Middle East. The pattern of these arms transports did not change in comparison to first revelations in the past year, it is said. The return flights will continue to be operated by the Azerbaijani airline Silk Way. The Serbian Aviation Directorate informed BIRN that a Silk Way flight from Baku, Azerbaijan, to Rijeka in Croatia on October 5, 2017, which overflowed its airspace, received a permit for “transport of weapons and dangerous goods”. The Croatian authorities have refused to confirm or deny whether the flights are carrying arms to Syria.

Expert: Paths of delivered weapons uncontrollable James Bevan, Director of Conflict Armament Research, has documented more than 40,000 items found in the inventory of the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria and found that many of them were originally delivered by the Pentagon to its allies. Apparently, there are no mechanisms by which the US can guarantee that war goods will not end up in the hands of terrorists. “The main problem is that giving weapons to non-state actors has very little control over what happens to these weapons,” Bevan said, “especially in a situation like Syria, where we have several competing groups.” “In other words, as someone who provides weapons in this conflict, you really have no control over where they go,” he added. The Pentagon insists that US arms deliveries to Syria are “step-by-step” and are only for certain operations. The new weapons are needed, according to the latest Pentagon budget, to create a force capable of “ensuring a safe environment and fighting ISIS 2.0 and AQ [al-Qaeda].” The equipment will be provided to 65,000 “Vetted Syrian Opposition” fighters, which is meant to mean something like “verified Syrian opposition”. Of the fighters, 30,000 are to be tasked with offensive combat operations, while the remaining 35,000 will become part of the new “Internal Security Forces” whose task will be to maintain security in “liberated areas”. The “Vetted Syrian Opposition” has also been used in the past to refer to Syrian rebel groups in West Syria, which have been equipped by the US with BGM-71 anti-tank guided missiles. These units fought primarily with al-Qaeda-related al-Nusra Front against the Syrian army, which is supported by Russia and Iran. The news portal Telepolis notes critically in a recent report that the US is providing “hundreds of millions in support to opponents of a legitimately elected government and undermining the stability of a country.” Continue US support for YPG The US Department of Defense is currently building a deployment force of 30,000 troops in eastern Syria. Most fighters are recruited from the so-called Democratic Forces of Syria. The unit is led by the Kurdish YPG militia and is itself around 50,000 strong. Through the Syrian Democratic Forces, the US controls at least one-third of Syria’s territory. The US military announced in January that half of the new “Internal Security Forces” – still known as the “Border Guard

By alfonso

 

Global Britain

by Thierry Meyssan

On 13 November last, Theresa May seized the opportunity offered by the Prime Minister’s annual speech at Lord Mayor’s Banquet to give an overview of the new British strategy after the Brexit [1]. The United Kingdom intends to re-establish its Empire (Global Britain) by promoting international free exchange with the help of China [2] and ejecting Russia from international instances with the help of its military allies – the United States, France, Germany, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Retrospectively, all the elements we can see today were mentioned in this speech, even if we didn’t immediately understand it at the time.

Let’s take a step back. In 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke at the Munich Security Conference. He noted that the unipolar world proposed by NATO was by essence anti-democratic, and he called upon the European states to dissociate themselves from this US fantasy [3]. Without responding to this essential comment about the absence of democracy in international relations, NATO denounced Russia’s desire to weaken the cohesion of the Alliance in order to threaten it more easily.

However, a British expert, Chris Donnelly, has since refined this rhetoric. In order to weaken the West, Russia is allegedly attempting to delegitimise its economic and social system, the foundation for its military power. That would be the hidden motive behind Russian criticism, particularly in the media. Let’s note that Donnelly does not respond any more than did NATO to the essential remark by Vladimir Putin, although why bother debating democracy with an individual who is suspected, a priori, of authoritarianism?

I believe that Donnelly is correct in his analysis, and that Russia is correct in its objective. Indeed, the United Kingdom and Russia are two diametrically opposite cultures.

The former is a class-based society with three levels of nationality fixed by law and mentioned on all identity papers, while the latter – like France – is a Nation created by law, where all citizens are « equal in rights » and where the British distinction between civil rights and political rights is unthinkable [4].

The aim of social organisation in the United Kingdom is the accumulation of wealth, while in Russia it is the construction of one’s own individual personality. Therefore in the United Kingdom, the ownership of land is massively concentrated in very few hands, unlike Russia, and especially France. It is almost impossible to buy an apartment in London. The best that one can do – as in Dubaï – is to sign a 99-year lease. For many centuries, almost all of the city has belonged to no more than four people. When a British citizen dies, he or she decides freely to whom they will bequeath their heritage, and not necessarily to their children. On the contrary, when a Russian citizen dies, History begins again at zero – his or her property is divided equally between all the children, whatever the wishes of the deceased may have been.

Yes, Russia is indeed attempting to delegitimise the Anglo-Saxon model, which is all the more easy to do since it is an exception which horrifies the rest of the world as soon as they understand it.

Let’s return to Theresa May. Two months after her speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet, on 22 January 2018, Her Majesty’s Chief of Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, gave a very important speech which was entirely dedicated to the coming war with Russia, based on Donnelly’s theory [5]. Drawing the lessons from the Syrian experience, he described an enemy who possesses new, extremely powerful weaponry. (This was two months before President Putin revealed his new nuclear arsenal [6]). Sir Nick Carter confirmed the necessity of having many more ground troops, of developing the British arsenal, and of preparing for a war in which the images broadcast by the medias would be more important than victory on the ground.

The day after this shock conference at the Royal United Services Institute (the Defence think tank), the National Security Council announced the creation of a military unit to combat « Russian propaganda » [7].

How is the British project developing?

Although the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons has cast doubts on the reality of the Global Britain project [8], several of its points have moved ahead, despite a huge setback.

It is important to understand that Mrs. May is not attempting to change, but rather to reorganise her country’s policies. Over the last half century, the United Kingdom has been trying to integrate the European structure, progressively losing the advantages inherited from its former Empire. The question now is not to abandon everything that was achieved during this period, but to re-establish the former world hierarchy, in which Her Majesty’s officials and the gentry lived in clubs all over the world, waited on by the local populations.

In her journey to China the week following Sir Nick Carter’s speech, Theresa May negotiated several commercial contracts, but entered into political conflict with her hosts. Beijing refused to distance itself from Moscow, and London refused to support the Silk Road project. Free exchange, yes, but not via communication routes controlled by China. Since 1941 and the Atlantic Charter, the United Kingdom shares the charge of the « common spaces » (both maritime and aerial) with the United States. Their two navies are designed to be complementary, even though the US Navy is much more powerful than that of the Admiralty.

Thereafter, the Crown activated the government of its Australian dominion in order to reconstitute the Quads, the anti-Chinese group which used to meet during Bush Jr’s mandate [9]. Apart from Australia, this group is composed of Japan, India and the United States.

Presently the Pentagon is working on ways to create trouble on both the maritime Pacific Silk Road and the land-based Silk Road.

The announced military Alliance was constituted in the form of the very secret « Little Group » [10]. Germany was weathering a government crisis at the time and did not participate at first, but it seems that this late start was rectified at the beginning of March. All the members of this conspiracy coordinated their actions in Syria. Despite their efforts, they failed three times to organise a false-flag chemical attack in Western Ghouta, since the Syrian and Russian armies had seized their laboratories in Aftris and Chifonya [11]. However, they did manage to publish a common anti-Russian statement concerning the Skripal affair [12] and to mobilise both NATO [13] and the European Union against Russia [14].

How might this situation evolve?

It is obviously strange to see both France and Germany support a project which was specifically designed against them: Global Britain, insofar as the Brexit is not a retreat from the federal bureaucracy of the European Union, but an act of rivalry.

In any case, Global Britain today may be defined as follows :

the promotion of international free exchange, but exclusively in the thalassocratic context, in other words with the United States against the Chinese communication routes;

and the attempt to exclude Russia from the Security Council and cut the world in two, which implies the on-going manipulation with chemical weapons in Syria, and the Skripal affair.

We may anticipate several incidental consequences of this programme:

The current crisis is a reshuffle of the elements from the end of Obama’s mandate, except that London is now at the centre of the game rather than Washington. The United Kingdom, which can now no longer count on the support of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, will turn to the new US National Security Advisor, John Bolton [15]. Contrary to the allegations of the US Press, Bolton is absolutely not a neo-conservative, but a close friend of Steve Bannon. He refuses the idea that his country could be submitted to international law, and howls at Communists and Muslims, but in reality he has no intention of launching any new wars, and desires only to live at peace in his own home. He will not fail to sign all the declarations proposed to him against Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and North Korea. London will be unable to manipulate him to exclude Moscow from the Security Council, because his personal objective is not to reform the UNO, but to get rid of it altogether. He will however be a faithful ally concerning the the conservation of the « common spaces » and the opposition to the Chinese « Silk Road », particularly since he was the initiator of the Proliferation Security Initiative – PSI in 2003. We should therefore begin to notice the outbreak, here and there, along the traces of the Chinese routes, of new pseudo civil wars nourished by the Anglo-Saxons.

Saudi Arabia is preparing the creation of the « Neom », a new fiscal paradise in the Sinaï and the Red Sea. It should replace Beyrouth and Dubaï, but not Tel-Aviv. London will connect it with the Crown’s different fiscal paradises – including the City of London, which is not English, but depends directly from Queen Elisabeth – in order to guarantee the opacity of international commerce.

The multitude of jihadist organisations which flows out of the Levant is still controlled by MI6, via the Muslim Brotherhood and the Order of the Naqshbandis. These troops may well be redeployed for use, mainly against Russia – and not against China or in the Caribbean, which is the option currently being studied.

After the Second World War, we were witness to the decolonisation of the European empires, and then, after the Vietnam war, we saw the financialisation of the world economy by the Anglo-Saxons, and finally, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, we saw the solitary attempt at world domination by the United States. Today, with the powerful rise of modern Russia and China, the fantasy of a culturally globalised world governed in unipolar fashion is fading away, while the Western powers – and particularly the United Kingdom – are falling back on their own imperial dreams. Of course, the high level of current education in the old colonies is forcing them to rethink their models of domination.

added by alfonso

 

 

Hope for a new beginning.

Hope for a new beginning. Thousands of civilians leave the East Ghuta, where they have been held hostage by Islamists. Now they are receiving medical care. Thousands of civilians leave the East Ghuta, where they have been held hostage by Islamists. Now they are receiving medical care

By Karin Leukefeld, Al-Wafidin

The evacuation of civilians from the East Ghuta continues. Thousands of fighters from various armed groups have arrived with relatives in Idlib. Only the “Islamic Army” in Duma, the former administrative center of the region, remains uncompromising.

Four buses are waiting on Wednesday at the outskirts of Al-Wafidin. Hundreds of residents of the eastern suburbs of Damascus, who are to be taken to one of five detention centers of the Syrian government, are sitting and crowded in the buses. In the morning, these people had come through the humanitarian corridor established by Al-Wafidin at the end of February, as part of the UN Security Council ceasefire.

For days, civilians were initially prevented from leaving East-ghuta by the combat groups. Since the beginning of March, with the help of the Russian “Center for Reconciliation”, arrangements have been made for their withdrawal, and the pale and exhausted people are pouring out of the area.

“In the first few days, far more people came than we expected,” reports an officer in the Syrian army. Times were 5,000, then come again 6,500. Today, 1,000 civilians have come so far, he says: “Women, children, old people. Men are held back there. As hostages. ”

In a schoolyard, people are gathered before being checked for identity in the school building. Many no longer have their Syrian papers with them. Among the combat groups, a semi-state administration with its own birth and marriage certificates and identity cards had been installed. Those in possession of official documents were suspected of being agents and in danger of being arrested or killed.

Many do not want to talk to foreign journalists. Women grab their headscarves and shyly turn away. Abu Khalid smiles friendly and agrees to answer questions in English. He is supported on two crutches, his eleven-year-old son Khalid stands next to him and holds a coat tightly.

Five years ago, he broke his leg in an accident, says Abu Khalid. Because there was no medical care, the fracture was inflamed, and he could only walk with crutches. “I’m very glad we could leave Duma,” he says, putting his arm around his son’s shoulder. He, his wife and three children could go. The daughter is twelve, the youngest child was born a year before the beginning of the war and will soon be eight.

He used to breed and sell chickens, says Abu Khalid. Her life was good. On the way down the corridor, he saw his business for the first time since 2011. Now he hopes to build a new life: “I need to get well, find work and a place to live.” The daughter comes to fetch the father, and soon after, the family disappears into the school building.

From the school to the front line to Duma, it is only a few minutes’ walk. Another group has safely made its way through the corridor. Tired, people run past the cameras of the journalists. Some smile, children laugh, wave. Special forces of the Syrian army accompanied the group of about 200 people, then take over the volunteers of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARH).

About 300 medical emergencies have been placed in clinics in Damascus from this point of arrival, says SARH representative Abu Samir: “Children who have lost their arms or legs and urgently need care. Kidney and cancer sufferers who need special medicines. “However, these are hardly to be found in Damascus because of the economic sanctions against Syria imposed by the European Union.

Nothing of this is reported by the MSM

translation by alfonso

MeToo in Russia

As many as 48 reporters have been barred from the State Duma after protesting alleged sexual harassment of colleagues by a senior lawmaker.

Dozens of reporters for Russian media outlets have been stripped of their parliamentary accreditation after supporting allegations of sexual harassment against a senior lawmaker. More than 30 Russian newspapers, radio and television outlets are boycotting coverage of the State Duma (parliament) after accusing it of failing to take allegations of sexual harassment against Leonid Slutsky seriously.

Slustky, the powerful head of the Duma’s International Relations Committee, is said to have allegedly cornered women in his office and, on at least one occasion, touched a female reporter on her pubis.

As Russian media’s #MeToo moment escalated last week, dozens of outlets announced a boycott of their parliamentary coverage in protest after the Duma’s ethics committee exonerated Slutsky, ruling that he “didn’t violate” the legislative body’s code of conduct.

Parliamentary speaker Vyacheslav Volodin has now stripped 48 correspondents from outlets that include business daily RBC, independent web-based TV channel Dozhd, newsmagazine Novaya Gazeta and online news site Znak of their State Duma accreditation. Other outlets that have supported the boycott don’t have reporters with permanent Duma accreditation credentials.

Volodin, a loyal supporter of President Vladimir Putin — who won re-election to his fourth term on March 18 — has told journalists supporting the boycott that they “should find other jobs” if they were unhappy covering the boycott. He was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying that journalists shouldn’t “exert pressure on Duma members.”

Meanwhile, as the row escalates, other Russian journalists are emerging with their own stories of harassment, including one male reporter who alleges Vladimir Zhirinovsky, head of the LDPR, Russia’s right-wing nationalist party, sexually harassed him.

Vitaly Tretyakov, dean of Moscow State University’s School of Television, has been vilified by students after telling them that “any decent man in certain circumstances can put his hand on a woman’s exposed knee … or any other place.”

Tretyakov, who was talking to students on Friday at Novosibirsk State University in Siberia about the Slutsky case, someone he says he knows well, was criticized by students in the audience, many of whom walked out.

By alfonso

US abusing its rights as host country by expelling Russian diplomats at UN – Russia’s UN envoy.

 

Washington has abused its power as the host of the UN headquarters when it moved to expel 12 staffers from Russia’s mission at the UN, Moscow’s envoy Vassily Nebenzia said. He called the decision an “extremely unfriendly” step.

“The expulsion of Russian diplomats as well as other recent unfriendly steps, such as restriction of access to Russian diplomatic property, visa denials to mission staff and other [measures], can be viewed as the US abusing its rights and privileges as the hosting country,” Vassily Nebenzia said.

Nebenzia pointed out that the status of the staff at the permanent representations of the countries at the United Nations are regulated by UN conventions, namely the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations of 1946 and the Agreement Between the United Nations and the US Regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations, signed in 1947.

The US announced earlier on Monday that it was expelling 48 Russian diplomats from the US and declaring 12 Russian diplomats at the UN seat in New York ‘persona non grata’. Washington followed the lead of the UK in their retaliation over the Sergei Skripal poisoning in Salisbury, which London blames on Russia without providing any evidence. The UK is also refusing to cooperate with Moscow in the investigation.
In a statement on the expulsion of the 12 UN staffers, US ambassador at the UN Nikki Haley accused them of having “engaged in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security.” 

These allegations were dismissed by Nebenzia, who said that the US had no right to interfere with the work of the UN.
“The employees of Russia’s mission at the UN present their credentials to the UN and perform their functions exclusively within the UN,” he stressed, noting that, as the host country, the US has a special obligation to preserve the privileges and immunity of the staff of the UN member countries, as well as the employees at the UN administrative bodies.

“This is an extremely inappropriate and unfriendly step,” Nebenzia said, adding that he “doesn’t think” that kicking out Russian UN diplomats from US territory is in line with the agreements the US has with the UN.

The US, Canada and 16 EU countries have agreed to expel Russian diplomats, in what appears to be a coordinated manner. While the punitive measure is being linked to the Skripal case, Nebenzia suggested the anti-Russia campaign could have been premeditated, even before the increasingly murky incident in Salisbury on March, 4.

“This friendship against Russia, is, no doubt, over the case which, the further it goes, the more murky details emerge. There’s no case, so to speak. There is a verdict made without any investigation,” Nebenzia said, noting that Russia’s requests for information on a supposedly ongoing probe have been neglected.

“The further we go the more questions arise, including from me. What happened before – did the Salisbury incident precede the expulsion of Russian diplomats, or did the decision to expel Russian diplomats precede the Salisbury incident?” Nebenzia wondered.

Nebenzia said that the departure of the diplomats will deal “a blow” to the mission. “But I think we will mobilize,”he added.

by alfonso

 

 

America’s Troll Farm Media

by GERALD SUSSMAN

Despite all the smoke and mirrors, most Americans seem to see where the stenographers of corporate capitalism are taking us. A recent Gallup poll found that while 84% of Americans see media as “critical” or “very important” to democracy, only 28% see the corporatist mainstream news media (MSM) as actually supporting democracy. They’re right on both counts of course.  The quality of a democracy is only as good as the information people have to make informed judgements about public policy and politicians.

Even as the mainstream news media continue to lose street cred, they persist in a rumor-saturated full court press against the “Trump-Putin presidency,” which only further exposes their lack of professionalism and increasing vulgarity. MSM management and their boardroom bosses have long understood that as long as they spice up their “nothing burger” news, ratings and advertising rates will keep them in business and please their commercial and government clients. Tabloid journalism, which can describe most American mainstream media these days, even when wrapped up as “all the news that’s fit to print,” is in constant search of sensation, scandal, gossip, and profit – and only occasionally in public-oriented investigative integrity.

What else does the citizenry have to say? A mere 18% have “a lot” of trust in the MSM, while 74% see them as “biased” (Pew Research, July 2016). A study by the Harvard-Harris polling organization in May 2017 confirmed this, finding that 65 percent of Americans consider the so-called “free press” biased, obsessed with scandal, and full of “fake news” and therefore cannot be trusted. Among the concurring are a majority of both Democrats (53%) and Independents (60%) as well as 80% of Republicans. Amongst the “informed public,” trust in American institutions in general, that is, the government, business, NGOs, and the MSM, is going through the worst crisis in recorded history, according to the marketing firm Edelman in 2018. The US is the lowest rated of the 28 countries surveyed by the firm on this measure. This is not consistent with the image of a serious “democracy.”

On the MSM coverage of national politics, Americans are equally skeptical. A June 2017 Rasmussen survey of likely American voters indicated that 50% think most reporters are prejudiced against the president, and only 4% believe most reporters are biased in Trump’s favor. Although this is weighted by the 76% of Republicans who support this view, the study also found that 51% of independent voters and even 24% of Democrats also agree. Aided by the billions of dollars of free, almost all negative, publicity the MSM provided, with apparent reverse effect during the presidential campaign, Trump’s standing is also supported by the 47 million American shock troops that faithfully follow him on Twitter.

On January 27, 2018, the Washington Post editorial board issued this statement: “A foreign power interfered in the 2016 presidential election. U.S. law enforcement is trying to get to the bottom of that story. Congress should be doing everything possible to make sure

the investigation can take place.” Obviously referring to Russia, the Post’s declaration, as the late investigative journalist Robert Parry and many other independent and respected writers have pointed out, was and remains without a shred of evidence. It’s WMD time all over again, only this time the propaganda is being trumpeted mainly by the Democrats. It would better serve the cause of democracy to investigate the Post for its covert coalition and collusion with the deep state and the Clinton (right) wing of the Democratic Party. The Post and the rest of their pack have constructed a wicked Russia foil in order to undermine Moscow’s presumed ally Trump and boost bigger Pentagon budgets. It’s an extremely dangerous game that is headed toward military confrontation and massive annihilation by the yahoos in government and the liberal media.

But it’s not a new game, because despite their “free press” claims, American major news media have long been instruments of state propaganda. In the 1970s, Carl Bernstein exposed the fact that the overseas branches of US MSM had long served as eyes and ears of the CIA’s “Operation Mockingbird,” and it’s very likely than many amongst their ranks remain agency assets. Back then, Philip Graham, publisher of the Post, ran the agency’s media industry operations, a fact not mentioned in the currently showing eponymous film. During the GW Bush presidency, the Pentagon recruited over 75 military generals to spread propaganda in the mass media, fed in camera by leaders at the Defense Department, the State Department, the Justice Department, and the White House. Their responsibilities included their employment as “objective” foreign policy and war analysts for major network and cable news channels, many of them concurrently receiving pay by military contracting firms. The Pentagon referred to the on-air military propagandists as “surrogates” and “message force multipliers.”

 The Russians are Coming

In February 2018, former CIA director John Brennan, the man who fed the Russian“hacking” story to the House Intelligence Committee, became a senior national security and intelligence analyst for NBC and MSNBC in what has become standard revolving door practice between government and the corporate world. Brennan was a well-known advocate for the CIA’s rendition and torture program, spying on its critics, and its use of drone bombings and assassinations in the Middle East. And he certainly knows something about hacking, as he was forced to admit, after first lying about it, that his CIA hacked the computers of Senate staffers who were investigating the agency’s role in torturing prisoners. A man the MSM apparently regard as having impeccable credentials for truth telling.

If the Russia “hacking” story has no legs, the more interesting piece of news is the organized efforts of the Democrats and some Republicans to bring down Trump and turn over the White House to theocrat Mike Pence. Mainstream pundits and reporters are churning out unsubstantiated speculations about Russia and Trump by the hour. A number of Democrats, military brass, and mercenary journalist (and former country club caddy) Thomas Friedman have characterized alleged Russian intervention as a new “Pearl Harbor” or “9/11,” thereby building a case for war and for treason against the president. There’s no downside to making even the most absurd claims about Russia and Trump, no penalty for fabrications, misrepresentations, or getting facts wrong. If they were honest, their ledes might read: “This fictional news report is loosely based on a true story.” Or: “Any resemblance in this story to real people and events is merely coincidental.”

There’s room in the inferno for the Democrats’ deep state allies. Starting in mid-2015, Peter Strzok, the FBI’s H. Clinton personal email scandal investigator before taking the lead in the probe of Russian election interference, sent emails to his lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, which  clearly revealed that both of them were actively working for the Clinton campaign to undermine Trump in any way possible. The pair also exchanged references to a “secret society” that was operating within the Department of Justice and the FBI to block a Trump victory. Until their exposure, Strzok had been Robert Mueller’s right hand man on the Trump-Russia investigation.

Meanwhile, two years later, the hunt for the smoking Kalashnikov continues. The best the MSM have come up with is that a St. Petersburg outfit called Internet Research Agency (IRA) placed $100,000 in ads on Facebook (compared to the $81 million Facebook ad spending by the Trump and Clinton campaigns), some of the Russian ads actually directed against Trump. As Jeffrey St. Clair pointed out in the pages of CounterPunch, in the key states where Clinton lost the election, the traditional Democrat strongholds of Michigan ($832 spent on token IRA buy ads), Pennsylvania ($300), and Wisconsin ($1,979), all but $54 of this amount was spent before the party primaries even started.

Facebook’s vice president for advertising Rob Goldman said that in fact most of the total Russian ad buys occurred after the presidential election. “We shared that fact,” he tweeted, “but very few [news] outlets have covered it because it doesn’t align with the main media narrative” about Trump’s election victory. Winning the election for Trump was simply not the Russian objective, Goldman says. Alex Stamos, Facebook chief security officer, concurred. The ads, he said, were more about sowing discord, with messages about guns, immigrants, and racial strife, than on pushing a particular candidate. Think about all the blockbuster American (and British) movies that portray Russians as sinister, violent, and criminal. For starters, remember über-teutonic Ivan Drago, Sgt. Yushin, the many sadistic “Russian” mafia nogoodniks, along with the Cold War-for-children cartoon characters, Boris Badanov and Natasha Fatale? Among the many Russophobic films and TV shows over the decades: The Americans, Air Force OneThe Peacemaker, The Saint, Rambo III, Red Dawn, Red Heat, the James Bond flicks, and the 2018 Oscar for documentaries, Icarus. Soviet and Russia-era films, not well tutored in ethnic caricatures, have no comparable stereotypical American counterparts.

There are a few signs of life in mainstream journalism. New York Times correspondent Scott Shane was one of the few journalists who happened to notice that the US intelligence agency (the CIA, NSA, and FBI) report of January 6, 2017 on Russian “hacking” actually offered no evidence. “Instead,” he said, “the message from the agencies essentially amounts to ‘trust us.’” It took the mainstream media 6 months before they acknowledged that the Obama administration claim that 17 intelligence agencies backed the hacking claim was false, the real number was only 3, and even the NSA had only “moderate confidence” in the finding. Last January, the NSA made a significant alteration in its mission statement: it removed the words “honesty” and the pledge to be truthful from its list of priorities.

Even if there were genuine evidence that Russian officials had hacked the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta emails, as originally claimed by the intelligence agencies, one should put this in context of the long history of the CIA’s efforts to overthrow many democratically elected leaders who had the temerity to stand up to the superpower. These would include Allende, Arbenz, Mossadeq, Lumumba, Chavez, Goulart, Ortega, and others. The list of US interventions in foreign elections just since 1948 (Italy) is voluminous. Do the mainstream media suffer amnesia about Victoria Nuland and John McCain’s presence in the Maidan, egging on the coup against Yanukovych or her infamous leaked phone call to the US ambassador in Kiev in which she dictated the ousted president’s successors? And is it reasonable to expect Russia to be passive about a hostile NATO putting troops along its borders and reacting to efforts to install an anti-Russian regime next door in the Ukraine? In this recent historical context, US accusations of Russian political interference smack of complete hypocrisy.

A study by Carnegie Mellon professor Dov Levin found that between 1946 and 2000 alone, the US intervened in foreign elections 81 times, which does not include its invasions, blockades, sanctions, assassination attempts, and other regime change initiatives. “The U.S. is no stranger to interfering in the elections of other countries,” he wrote. In 1996, the US intervened in the Russian election to prevent the Communist Party from returning to power. Have the MSM also forgotten the lies the government and the CIA told about Saddam Hussein’s WMD and connections to terrorist movements? Or that, thanks to Edward Snowden’s exposés, we know that Obama’s NSA bugged the phones of 35 foreign political leaders?

If the MSM are still confused, perhaps they should listen to former CIA director James Woolsey. Interviewed by Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, Woolsey was asked directly whether the US ever interfered with other countries’ elections. He initially said, “probably, but it was for the good of the system in order to avoid the communists from taking over.” Ingraham followed up with the question, “We don’t do that now?” To this Woolsey responded, “nyum, nyum, nyum, nyum, nyum, only for a very good cause,” a rather frank admission that merely amused Ingraham, who failed to follow up with this obvious statement of US double standards. After leaving the CIA, Woolsey became chairman of Freedom House, a right-wing government-supported private NGO that putatively supports human rights causes and has been active in regime change operations around the world – far more actively than merely doing Facebook postings.

William Binney, formerly with NSA as a high-level intelligence operative, subsequently becoming a whistleblower on the agency’s illegal surveillance operations, called the alleged Russian attacks on the DNC “a charade.” Speaking to Daniel Bernstein at Consortium News, Binney said that had any bulk transmissions come from across the Atlantic, the NSA would have known about it, as they tap every communication from abroad. The data from “Guccifer 2.0,” was a download “not a transfer across the Web,” which “won’t manage such high speed.” The intelligence agencies “have been playing games with us.  There is no factual evidence to back up any charge of hacking here.” It was likely no more than a USB transfer, he said.

Is there any hope for the mainstream media to change? It would take a revolution to get the MSM to become more democratic. A Harvard Shorenstein Center report found that media coverage of the 2016 US party conventions contained almost no discussion of policy issues and instead concentrated on polling data, scandals, campaign tactics, and Trump and Russia bashing. Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS, spoke for the media establishment: “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS …. The money’s rolling in …. It’s a terrible thing to say. But bring it on, Donald.”

As Walter Cronkite would say, “And that’s the way it is.”

By alfonso

 

 

 

Theresa May and the Riot License – still has the audacity to bring the EU and NATO into the game, if no evidence exists, of Salisbury.

Of course, it is the legitimate right of every state to investigate crimes committed on its territory. It is his duty if he wants to be respected as a state in the international community. Of course, this is also true of the Salisbury process, where much is hinted at the use of poison when making international press coverage the basis of assumptions.

In this governmental task, the Federal Government should also comply with any British request for assistance or assistance in forensic investigations when such requests are made or offered by the British Government.

On the island it dies faster.

James Bond seems to be something of the icon of the United Kingdom when it comes to pulling the Colt in British national interest. Respected scientist David Kelly witnessed this when he was found murdered at a field hedge after being suspected of shoveling the latent British belligerent, this time invading Iraq. In any case, the honorable Mr. Kelly has permanently riddled the British and international fabric of lies to establish the Iraq war.

The price was high. He paid his sense of responsibility with life. It is not known that such an enlightenment frenzy was used at the time, as is happening now with the British Prime Minister at the Salisbury Valley. Strange enough, if no evidence is presented, but a prejudgment list is sent to another country.

Withholding: this is the first German state duty under the circumstances created by Theresa May.

This is called “demonstration” of what the British Prime Minister subordinated to another state in the British House of Commons yesterday. This is a British-Russian matter, to deal with Mrs. May. It is the most natural task of German policy to stay out of this dispute.

However, this will not be as easy as early statements made by British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson. The usual game against Russia, this time before the World Cup, should be raised. Best of all, just before the Russian presidential election in a few days, on March 18, 2018. If that is not an election influence, when you spectacularly come up with an ultimatum? Should you shoot back at 5.45 am? What happens tonight, if there is no Russian answer? Is London habitual again in the rhetoric of war?

The alleged Russian sins register is the expression of a Western hubris.

From Ukraine to Crimea to Syria: it was the West that plunged the world into misery. While since the ordeal of war against Yugoslavia in 1999, the West had ruined international law and especially the Charter of the United Nations, Moscow acted on the basis of international law. That did not suit London, Paris and Washington because they had reserved the “license to wage war”. That does not change the circumstances.

Theresa May still has the audacity to bring the EU and NATO into play if there is no evidence to support Salisbury. This is how you prepare for war in the Western scenario, but do not solve any criminal cases. Gleiwitz and Tonkin greet.

 

by alfonso (translated from german)

Max Blumenthal: US is Arming Neo-Nazis in Ukraine

AARON MATÉ: It’s The Real News. I’m Aaron Maté. A surge of neo-Nazism and anti- Semitism in Eastern Europe has a strong US tie. The Polish Senate has approved a law that criminalizes the assigning of responsibility to Polish nationals for the crimes of the Nazi Holocaust and for using the term Polish death camp. Poland’s far-right government is a close US ally and was openly embraced by President Trump in a visit last July. Meanwhile, in Ukraine, it has just been revealed that the US has supplied military assistance to the Azov Battalion, a far-right militia known as a bastion of neo-Nazism within the Ukrainian armed forces.

Max Blumenthal is a bestselling author and senior editor of the Grayzone Project. His recent piece published by The Real News is called The US is Arming and Assisting Neo-Nazis in Ukraine While Congress Debates Prohibition. Welcome, Max. Let’s start with what you have reported for The Real News about Ukraine. You call this a truly scandalous episode of close- to-covert US support for neo-Nazism in Ukraine. Explain what’s going on now.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: The Azov Battalion is essentially a militia that’s grown out of the Patriot of Ukraine Party, which was a neo-Nazi, white nationalist party founded by a street demagogue named Andriy Biletsky, who has pledged to restore the honor of the white race, his words, through his Social National Party in the Ukrainian parliament, advanced laws forbidding race mixing, this kind of thing. The Azov Battalion became active after the civil war began in the Donbass region in Eastern Ukraine, when pro-Russian separatists sought to secede, partly because of the neo-Nazi incipiency in Kiev. They didn’t want any part of it. They speak Russian. Their language was not going to be recognized by the new government.

So, the Azov Battalion was ultimately incorporated into the country’s National Guard and military through the Ministry of Interior, through Arsen Avakov, who has been basically a

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supporter of its agenda all along. He also at one point installed another figure from Patriot of Ukraine, Dmitry Yarosh, as the police commissioner in Kiev. This is another neo-Nazi figure.

All along, we saw these denials, especially in 2014 during the Maidan so-called Revolution of Dignity, which was actually a right-wing nationalist coup against the democratically elected government. We heard liberal voices like Timothy Snyder or neoconservative operatives like Jamie Kirchick deny the very existence of neo-Nazism in the ranks of the Maidan. Now, I think it’s very clear that Azov is on the march, and I’ll get to that in a minute.

What I did here at The Real News was compile a series of reports, including from Azov’s own website, that demonstrate that US military trainers have visited Azov in the field to train and exchange logistical information. They appeared in uniform with Azov Battalion members who were wearing the wolf’s angel patch, which is a Nazi SS symbol, a runic neo-Nazi symbol on their arm. This is just a scandalous spectacle. Not only that, contracts have been revealed showing that the Texas-based AirTronic arms company has produced PSRL-1 grenade launchers that were actually authorized under this watch of the State Department and delivered directly into the hands of the Azov Battalion. The US has armed Azov. Azov actually scrubbed photographs from its website that showed them in the field with those very weapons.

One reason this is significant is because the Azov Battalion functions in a lot of ways like ISIS has in Syria and Iraq, where it receives foreign fighters. It’s received sniper training from a Swedish military veteran, and it received a French farmhand named George Montaux. At some point in 2016, Montaux returned from Azov camps in the east with a trove of weapons that was enormous. I mean, we’re talking about hundreds of pounds of C4 explosives, automatic weapons and grenade launchers, and he was on his way to Western Europe to attack a soccer festival and carry out attacks on synagogues and mosques. This would have been one of the most significant terror attacks in recent European history.

So, it’s a scandalous episode and now we’ve learned in the last week that the Azov Battalion has formed a National Corps, which is both a political party and a street militia that is deployed into the streets of Kiev. A neo-Nazi militia is deployed into Kiev. They’re not fighting pro-Russian separatists. They’re there to “restore law and order”. This is part of the wider agenda of the far-right nationalist and neo-Nazi movement in Ukraine. It’s called the Reconquista. It’s been spelled out by Andriy Biletsky, their chief ideologue. And the idea is to essentially recapture the so-called white countries in Europe, Ukraine being the bastion of the white reconquest of Europe. So, you have hundreds of armed neo-Nazi militia members in Kiev right now. They have actually interrupted a city council meeting. They took over a city council meeting in central Ukraine.

It’s beginning to look like a putsch. President Poroshenko is weaker than ever. He’s even been denounced by the Kiev Post, which is basically an arm of the pro-NATO Atlantic Council. He’s, I don’t know why, getting attacked by all of the pro-Maidan Western commentators.

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Meanwhile, this neo-Nazi putsch is happening completely beneath the radar of US media and it’s absolutely terrifying, not only to the Jewish community of Ukraine but to average Ukrainians.

AARON MATÉ: Max, in the piece, you quote anti-Nazi activist Efraim Zuroff, who says that Ukraine has more statues for killers of Jews than any other country. I found that chilling. There have been efforts in the US Congress to bar the delivery of weapons to neo-Nazis in Ukraine but they’ve been defeated. Is that right?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, they haven’t been defeated. They’ve been continually pulled from Congressional defense authorization bills and there is one prohibition that’s been proposed. The House Appropriations Bill contains the language forbidding weapons to Azov, but in the meantime, while Congress dithered, the Trump administration authorized the shipment of tandem anti-tank missiles, extremely advanced anti-tank missiles from Raytheon. The US’s envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, who is connected to Raytheon through various means which I explained in a separate article at Truthdig, is in favor of this arms shipment, and it’s inevitable that it will reach Azov because as I said, Azov has been absorbed into the national Ukrainian military and are considered some of the best fighters.

Another point is that if you look at the 600 or so Azov National Corps members who deployed to Kiev to restore national order, just the cost of their coats alone would cost over 1.7 million dollars, according to several Ukrainian media sources. Who’s paying the bills for them? How are they able to maintain advanced weaponry, such high-level uniforms? All of these questions suggest that they’re operating hand in glove with the Ukrainian military, the Ukrainian government, specifically the Interior Ministry of Arsen Avakov.

AARON MATÉ: Let’s talk about Poland. You have this law just passed this week by the Polish Senate that criminalizes the criticism, essentially, of Poland’s role in the Nazi Holocaust. I was struck by the language from the State Department in response to this. It was very mild. They talked about it jeopardizing strategic relationships, saying that, “The resulting divisions that may arise among our allies benefits only our rivals.” Mild words there from the US towards a very close ally openly embraced by Donald Trump.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Yeah.

AARON MATÉ: Your thoughts on the role of the US in supporting the Polish government. And also, one of your areas of focus, which is Israel, which also has developed ties to Poland, although they have criticized this legislation.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Yeah. First, I should mention that Ukraine has enacted very similar legislation, forbidding, basically banning any Ukrainian citizen from condemning Nazi collaborators like Stepan Bandera or Roman Shukhevych, who had streets, boulevards and memorials named for them across Ukraine. These were the Jew-killers that Efraim Zuroff was referring to. In fact, Stepan Bandera Boulevard in Kiev leads to Babi Yar, one of the sites of

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Jewish slaughter that’s remembered in Holocaust history. That’s just disgusting to me and it should be to everyone else. American Jewish organizations have been very silent on this matter.

In Poland, the government, the Law and Justice Government, this right-wing nationalist government which received Trump very warmly, Trump gave that speech where he echoed a lot of their language about the clash of civilizations and values, has enacted a law forbidding Polish citizens, the Senate has passed a law forbidding Polish citizens from referring to Polish death camps. Essentially, they want to delete the extensive collaboration of Polish citizens including people who are considered heroes by Polish nationalists today, from the annals of the Holocaust because they were Nazi collaborators. They were war criminals who were involved in the mass slaughter, the industrial slaughter of Jews.

The Israeli government has been very upset about this. This week, Israeli media has been turning to the so-called bubbies, the grandmothers who came to Israel after the Holocaust out of the Displaced Persons camps. One of the things that haven’t been really mentioned in Israeli media is the fact that the Israeli government last year signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Polish Law and Justice government. Part of that memorandum of understanding was that Israel recognizes Poland’s need to ban expressions relating to Polish death camps. Israel just signed on to that. They basically signed on to the legislation that their government is condemning.

Why did they do that? Well, Israel has a long history, and the Zionist movement has a long history, of collaborating with anti-Semites including Nazi Germany, to advance its own narrow national interests. In this case, we recently saw Poland abstain from a UN vote condemning the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. And Poland recently signed a 14.5 million dollar deal to import Patriot missiles from Israel that are mostly made by Israeli arms manufacturers.

Israel’s basically looking to Eastern Europe as the future support base for its own Likud right- wing government. Israel really has no place to condemn Poland, or Ukraine, or any other country that engages in banning certain recognitions of the Holocaust because Israel’s government has authorized its own legislation to forbid its Palestinian citizens from observing their own destruction, specifically the nakba, which represented the organized campaign of ethnic cleansing from 1947 to 1948, and the ongoing campaign of destruction and dispossession of the Palestinian people. So, those are really shared values between Israel and the Polish government and those shared values are reflected in the Memorandum of Understanding.

AARON MATÉ: On that historical point about the history of figures in the Zionist movement, prominent figures collaborating with anti-Semites. There’s an episode of the Moderate Rebels podcast, hosted by Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton, with guest Joseph Massad on this topic and we’ll link to that on The Real News website on this page.

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Max Blumenthal, bestselling author, senior editor of the Grayzone Project, thank you. And thank you for joining us on The Real News.

END

by alfonso

After Putin’s Weapons Premier

After Putin’s Weapons Premier: US Senators Want Disarmament Talks with Moscow RT German)

The first call for talks after Putin’s speech: A group of US senators calls on the Foreign Minister Rex Tillerson to revive the dialogue with Moscow on disarmament treaties. The Russian Senate responds with goodwill.
After Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled six completely new strategic weapons, US Senators call on Foreign Minister Rex Tillerson to seek dialogue with Moscow to update the existing disarmament treaties between the two countries. In a letter addressed to Tillerson by Democrat Jeff Merkley, Dianne Feinstein, Ed Markey, and independent US Senator Bernie Sanders, it says:
Following the President’s public appearance on March 1, when he presented some novel nuclear weapons, including a cruise missile and a nuclear-powered submarine drone, which Russia is supposedly developing, a strategic dialogue between Russia and the US became even more urgent. These weapons are not affected by the START treaties in their current form and have destabilized the situation if used.
The US needs to schedule new negotiations with Russia to adjust the START treaties, the US senators said. The authors of the letter emphasized that Russia needed to increase the transparency of its tactical nuclear weapons, and that, too, dialogue with Russia was necessary.
Putin had featured a series of strategic weapons in a video last week that were previously unknown to the public. The Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs in the Supreme Council Konstantin Kosachev interpreted the request of the US Senators as a signal for positive shifts in US policy. These are in line with the proposals made by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his message to the Federal Assembly when he presented to the world public the latest weapons systems of the Russian army.
A news that makes hope. After the long months and even years of sharpest rhetoric from US congressmen and senators to the Russian address – including demands to break ties – now the features of positive rather than negative parliamentary pressure are not coming to our president but to us the President of the United States, “he wrote on Facebook.
In addition, Kosachev expressed the hope that, following such a decision, there could be adequate and reasonable changes in US policy in the area of ​​strategic stability and collective security, because the “threats in the modern world are the same for our countries”.

by alfonso