Aletho News


What if Trump dumps the Iran deal?

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

The last big European effort to dissuade US President Donald Trump from abandoning the 2015 Iran nuclear pact ended without success Friday with the ‘working visit’ by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the White House. Earlier in the week, French President Emmanuel Macron also tried his hand. Perhaps, all that remains is a phone call from British PM Theresa May to Trump.

Macron and Merkel met with no success. Macron floated an ingenious idea of linking the Syrian conflict, Iran’s ballistic missile program, Iran’s regional policies and the nuclear deal and negotiating a new package deal. But Trump didn’t sound enthusiastic. He’d rather tear up the Iran deal and move on. Macron estimated finally that Trump would act for “domestic reasons.” Mike Pompeo, the newly appointed secretary of state, also said Friday that the US is unlikely to remain in the deal.

At the joint press conference with Merkel at the White House on Friday, Trump was rhetorical and took a hard line. Merkel, while conceding that the 2015 pact might not have been a perfect deal, flagged that it was a “first step” that significantly slowed down Iran’s nuclear program and left scope for improvement – “one piece of the mosaic, one building block, if you like, on which we can build up this structure.”

Indeed, the remarks by Macron and Merkel vaguely hint at their acceptance that the 2015 pact needs to be re-negotiated. If so, they have caved in to Trump’s bullying. On the other hand, what they said does not reflect the common European Union position. The EU has never discussed the idea of a new Iran deal. The vast majority of EU countries seem perfectly pleased with the implementation of the 2015 deal and see no reason to reopen the agreement that was painstakingly negotiated. Any shift in the EU stance will need unanimity of opinion, which is highly unlikely to favor a re-negotiation of the 2015 deal.

The big question is what Iran’s reaction is likely to be to Trump’s decision to leave the nuclear deal. The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke on this in a conversation with Robin Wright at the New Yorker magazine. This is what Wright wrote:

  • Tehran has three broad choices if Trump opts out, according to Zarif. In the first, Iran could withdraw from the deal, terminate compliance, and resume—even increase—its uranium enrichment… “America never should have feared Iran producing a nuclear bomb,” Zarif said. “But we will pursue vigorously our nuclear enrichment.”
  • Iran’s second option exploits a dispute mechanism in the deal, which allows any party to file a formal complaint with a commission established to adjudicate violations. Iran has filed eleven complaints—to Federica Mogherini, the E.U.’s foreign-policy chief, who heads the commission—citing U.S. violations on three different counts, Zarif said. The process allows forty-five days for resolution. “The objective of the process is to bring the United States into compliance,” Zarif said.
  • Iran’s third option is the most drastic: the country could decide to walk away from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or N.P.T… In Tehran, debate is still intense about which option Iran should choose. “Iran is not a monolith,” Zarif said.

The growing impression is that the 2015 deal cannot be saved. But then, there is a flip side to it. One, Trump has shown that his strident rhetoric need not necessarily be followed by corresponding action. The North Korean example is in front of us. Two, Washington never really implemented the Iran deal. So, what difference does it make if Trump pulls out?

In the downstream, the US options are very limited. More US sanctions? Well, Iran has lived with US sanctions for four decades. Regime change? Just forget it. Military attack? Simply suicidal. Then, there are the ground realities. Iran is well entrenched in the so-called northern tier of the Middle East (Iraq, Syria and Lebanon) where the Shi’ite predominance is a geopolitical reality. Above all, there are other players in that region also who don’t like the US presence.

Importantly, Russia and China will never cooperate with Trump on the Iran file. The only significant variable, if at all, could be Europe’s implementation of the deal, which is of course crucial for Tehran. This was how Wright concluded: “I asked Zarif if there was a prospect, if the deal dies, that Iran would negotiate again with the United States. “Diplomacy never dies,” he told me. “But it doesn’t mean that there is only one avenue for diplomacy, and that is the United States.” Whatever Iran’s final decision, he said, it “won’t be very pleasant to the United States. That I can say. That’s a consensus.” Read Wright’s piece here.

April 28, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

US family sues Pyongyang for torturing son to death despite lack of evidence

RT | April 27, 2018

The parents of Otto Warmbier have sued North Korea on the day the key peninsular summit, accusing the nation of torturing their son to death. Earlier medical reports said no signs of torture were found during autopsy.

Otto Warmbier was arrested during a tourist trip to North Korea in December 2015 and detained in prison. His health deteriorated while in custody, and he was released home in a coma, before dying days later. Cindy and Fred Warmbier filed a civil suit at Washington District Court on Thursday, alleging that their son was tortured and killed by the North Korean government.

“North Korea, which is a rogue regime, took Otto hostage for its own wrongful ends, and brutally tortured and murdered him,” they said in the suit, which was filed on the same day that North and South Korea held a key diplomatic summit in the demilitarized zone, seeking to defuse tension and pave the way to a peaceful accord.

In the lawsuit, the Warmbiers allege that their son was targeted on the basis of a false accusation in retaliation for the US government’s decision to impose additional sanctions on North Korea, which was announced at the time. They say Otto was forced to make a false confession, over which he was sentenced to a lengthy prison term. The suit alleges that the young man was subjected to torture, which resulted in his ultimate death. It asks for unquantified damages as well as punitive fines.

Last year, a coroner disputed the claims by the Warmbier family that their son was tortured by the North Koreans. The post-mortem report contradicted a claim that the family made in a Fox and Friends interview that “someone had taken a pair of pliers and rearranged his bottom teeth.”

“There was no evidence of trauma to the teeth,” the coroner, Dr Lakshmi Kode Sammarco, told reporters after the interview. “We were surprised at that statement.”

She said the team that did the most-mortem looked hard for any evidence of torture, but could not find anything definitive. The team didn’t do a full autopsy on Otto’s body at the request from the family.

Warmbier’s alleged crime in North Korea was attempting to steal a propaganda banner from a locked room as a trophy. While this may seem as a petty crime for a foreigner, under North Korea’s law it is a serious offense – the same way that insulting the king is in Thailand, for example.

He was one of around a dozen US citizens arrested in North Korea for various crimes. The punishment for others varied a lot, from deportation in the case of Sandra Suh, who was accused of using her status as an aid worker to produce anti-Pyongyang propaganda; to lengthy imprisonment for Pastor Kenneth Bae, who spent over two years behind bars for violating a ban on preaching before being released in 2014. The imprisonment of Canadian Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim for similar activities was even longer, lasting over three years, but he too was released despite being sentenced to life. The record shows that Pyongyang is not in the habit of kidnapping and torturing to death foreign tourists and prefers to release them to score points on the diplomatic front.

April 28, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Why Are Palestinians Protesting in Gaza?

By Mike Merryman-Lotze | CounterPunch | April 27, 2018

Once again, the Israeli military has turned its guns on Gaza — this time on unarmed protestors, in a series of shootings over the last few weeks. Gaza’s already under-resourced hospitals are straining to care for the 1,600 protesters who have been injured, on top of 40 killed.

According to a group of United Nations experts, “there is no available evidence to suggest that the lives of heavily armed security forces were threatened” by the unarmed demonstrators they fired on.

The violence is getting some coverage in the news. But the conditions in Gaza that have pushed so many to protest remain largely invisible. So do their actual demands.

The Great Return March was organized by grassroots groups in Gaza as a peaceful action with three key demands: respect for refugees’ right to return to their homes, an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, and an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

Seventy years ago, Palestinians were expelled from their homes en masse when their land was seized for the state of Israel. Many became refugees, with millions of people grouped into shrinking areas like Gaza. Fifty years ago, the rest of historic Palestine came under Israeli military occupation.

While these refugees’ right of return has been recognized by the international community, no action has been taken to uphold that right. Meanwhile, the occupation has become further and further entrenched.

For over a decade, the people of Gaza have lived under a military-imposed blockade that severely limits travel, trade, and everyday life for its 2 million residents. The blockade effectively bans nearly all exports, limits imports, and severely restricts passage in and out.

In over 20 visits to Gaza over the last 10 years, I’ve watched infrastructure degrade under both the blockade and a series of Israeli bombings.

Beautiful beaches are marred by raw sewage, which flows into the sea in amounts equivalent to 43 Olympic swimming pools every day. Access to water and electricity continually decreases, hospitals close, school hours are limited, and people are left thirsty and in the dark.

These problems can only be fixed by ending the blockade.

As Americans, we bear direct responsibility for the horrific reality in Gaza. Using our tax money, the U.S. continues to fund the Israeli military through $3.8 billion in aid annually.

A group of U.S.-based faith organizations has called out U.S. silence in a statement supporting protesters and condemning the killings: “The United States stood by and allowed Israel to carry out these attacks without any public criticism or challenge,” they said. “Such U.S. complicity is a continuation of the historical policy of active support for Israel’s occupation and U.S. disregard for Palestinian rights.”

The signatories include the American Friends Service Committee, where I work, an organization that started providing humanitarian aid to refugees in Gaza as far back as 1948.

While the U.S. does give money to the United Nations and international aid groups working in Gaza, it’s barely a drop in the bucket compared to our support of the military laying siege to the territory.

As my colleagues in Gaza have made clear, what they need isn’t more aid. That humanitarian aid is needed because of the blockade. What they need is freedom from the conditions that make life unlivable — like the blockade itself — and a long-term political solution.

Ignoring the reasons Gaza is in crisis only hurts our chances to address this manmade humanitarian horror.

Mike Merryman-Lotze has worked with the American Friends Service Committee as the Palestine-Israel Program Director since 2010.

April 28, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Two tweets to break democracy? Incredible claim in House report on ‘Russian meddling’

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | April 28, 2018

Though the House Intelligence Committee report exonerated President Donald Trump of ‘collusion’ with Russia, it still accused Moscow, and RT specifically, of meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

The report released on Friday says the committee “found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government,” but it accepted the US intelligence community’s claims from the January 2017 report that said Russia used ‘active measures’ to meddle in the elections.

How did that happen? That’s classified. Much of Chapter two, suggestively titled ‘Russia attacks the United States,’ was entirely redacted at the request of the US intelligence community, according to Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas). The few tidbits that the public was allowed to see defined spear phishing and credential harvesting and admitted that “attribution is a bear.”

The report then goes full tinfoil hat, claiming that WikiLeaks is a Russian intelligence outlet and accusing RT of serving some dark agenda of the Kremlin. According to the US spy community, RT produces content which appeals to “skeptics of both the mainstream media and the establishment.” Points for honesty on that, Langley, that is literally what “Question More” means.

During the election campaign, the report says (see page 32), RT engaged in “wide-ranging” attacks on Hillary Clinton, “including the insinuation that the Clinton family were criminals,” and “used advertising to promote material leaked by Russian intelligence.” To illustrate this point, the committee offered screenshots of two promoted RT tweets.

You read right. Two tweets. Which, if the screenshots can be trusted, got but a handful of retweets and even fewer replies.

“We spent $30 for two tweets, and those two tweets destroyed their democracy,”  RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan quipped on Twitter, summarizing the report. “And we criticized both Hillary and Trump, but Hillary more often. And that’s offensive.”

Understandable bewilderment aside, let’s look at the two stories in question. The first one was a five-point listicle about affairs, such as Whitewater, Travelgate, Benghazi and Hillary’s emails – all of which have been reported on by the mainstream US media. In each instance, the Clintons were not charged. Did the headline read a bit like Fox News? Sure. Was it also true? Yes.

The second promoted tweet was on a Sunday before the election, reporting about the 33rd batch of emails from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s personal account, which were being released by WikiLeaks. And no, RT did not get advance warning on any of the drops, despite some serious tinfoil-ruffling by various US media and Clinton campaign officials. We just watched out for them very hard, because that’s journalism.

That particular batch of emails contained no bombshells, though. One message accused Chelsea Clinton of using her parents’ foundation funds for her wedding. Another included Hillary’s aide Philippe Reines urging staff not to joke about the private server emails, “because email retention = Benghazi.”

Then there was a 2008 message addressed to Podesta, David Brock of Media Matters and Tom Matzzie of, saying that Arianna Huffington was “enthusiastic” about Progressive Media USA, but that it would be more useful if HuffPo would “echo our message without any perceived conflicts.”

Yet Congress would have you believe that RT promoting these two stories to the tune of $30 (and getting very little for the money) somehow broke American democracy.

To get away from that sort of heat, ahead of facing the committee in October 2017, Twitter announced that it would “off-board” all RT advertising. The company neglected to mention it was Twitter that pitched an election-related advertising campaign to RT, or that RT declined the offer.


April 28, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Ex-DNI Clapper leaked Steele dossier info to CNN, then tried to deny it in Congress – House report

RT | April 28, 2018

James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence-turned CNN pundit, first denied and then admitted to discussing the anti-Trump ‘Steele dossier’ with a CNN journalist while in office, an intelligence report reveals.

The 253-page US House Intelligence Committee report on the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections outlines Clapper’s “inconsistent testimony to the Committee about his contacts to the media, including CNN.” Pages 107-108 feature the record of how Clapper “flatly denied” discussing the dossier compiled by Christopher Steele with the media during a congressional testimony in July, but then “subsequently acknowledged discussing the dossier with CNN journalist Jake Tapper.”

Tapper co-authored a breaking CNN report on a briefing that US President Donald Trump received from senior intelligence officials on a Steele Dossier.

The heavily-redacted House report notes that Clapper discussed the topic with Tapper around the same time that Trump and outgoing President Barack Obama received their respective briefings on the Steele dossier. The conversation took place in “early January,” which runs counter to Clapper’s own account of events, in which he previously insisted that he had not leaked any info to the media about the infamous dossier before he left office on January, 20.

The House report also says that the CNN article served as a trigger for all the subsequent dossier-related publications, becoming a “proximate cause of BuzzFeed News’ decision to publish the dossier for the first time just a few hours later.” The report notes that the dossier had long been circulating in the intelligence community and among the media, but only following the CNN release that cited “multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings” in its report, Pandora’s box was opened.

Ironically, a day after CNN published its report, which it now turns out could have been sourced by Clapper himself, the former DNI chief publicly denounced the leaks, voicing his “profound dismay,” and saying that he does not “believe the leaks came from within the IC [ intelligence community],” the report notes.

The Steele dossier features unverified, salacious details about Trump’s stay in Moscow, sparking speculations that Russia might be in possession of compromising material, which it could use to blackmail the US president.

Topping off the Clapper-CNN controversy is the fact that soon after leaving office, he was hired by none other than CNN as its national security analyst. The timing is mentioned specifically in the House report, which says Clapper started working for CNN “shortly after his testimony to the committee.”

This is not the first time that Clapper has been caught red-handed lying to lawmakers. Last month marked five years since he told the US Select Committee on Intelligence how the National Security Agency (NSA) was not collecting the data on millions of Americans. Three months later, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden uncovered a mass surveillance program that had been run by the agency for years.

April 28, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Withdrawing US troops from S. Korea may be discussed with allies & North – Mattis

RT | April 28, 2018

The withdrawal of some 28,000 US troops stationed in South Korea may be on the table in future negotiations between the US and North Korea, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said on the heels of a landmark inter-Korean summit.

Asked if US forces will remain in South Korea provided Seoul and Pyongyang replace their 1953 truce with a formal peace treaty, Mattis indicated that the continued US military presence in South Korea may become a part of the bargain with the North.

“Well, that’s part of the issues that we’ll be discussing in the negotiations with our allies first and, of course, with North Korea,” he said, speaking alongside Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak at the Pentagon on Friday.

Mattis then appeared to take a step back, saying that “for now, we have to go along with the process… and not try to make preconditions or presumptions about how it’s going to go.”

Responding to the question of whether he trusts North Korea’s assertions of a new-found aim for peace and denuclearization, Mattis noted that “we are optimistic right now that there’s opportunity that we have never enjoyed since 1950 [the beginning of the Korean war],” but added that he doesn’t have “a crystal ball” to foretell where the current rapprochement leads.

The statement comes in the wake of Friday’s historic meeting between North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, where they signed a declaration reiterating their commitment to the complete denuclearization of the whole peninsula and expressed hope that they can seal a peace accord by the end of the year through multi-party negotiations involving Washington and, possibly, Beijing.

Pyongyang previously indicated that it would only be ready to disarm if its safety is guaranteed and saber-rattling by the US, which has held numerous drills with South Korea at the North Korean border over the years, stops.

While it is the first official acknowledgment by Washington that its large garrison stationed in South Korea may become a concession to Pyongyang, US President Donald Trump reportedly touted the idea during a fundraiser in March. At the time, Trump linked the prospect of the US troops withdrawal to economic issues.

“We have a very big trade deficit with them [South Korea], and we protect them. We lose money on trade, and we lose money on the military. We have right now 32,000 soldiers on the border between North and South Korea. Let’s see what happens,” he said, The Washington Post reported, citing an audio recording of the meeting.

The US president, who is expected to hold his own summit with the North Korean leader in May or June, offered cautious praise of the talks, noting on Twitter that “good things are happening, but only time will tell.”


Peace breaks out on the Korean peninsula despite – not because of – Washington hawks

April 28, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Debunking the Cynics in Mainstream Media Who Spit Upon Korea’s Historic Triumph For Peace

By Adam Garrie | Eurasia Future | 2018-04-28

While the leaders of multiple nations have praised the efforts of Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in to open a new chapter for peace and reconciliation between the divided Korean states, certain voices in US mainstream media remain cynical in the face of a moment of joy for the Korean people, Asia as a whole and the wider world.

When expressed in its most exhaustive fashion, the cynics point to the previous time that the two Korean states attempted to engage in a peace process during what is known as the Sunshine Policy which became the official stance of Seoul via-a-vis Pyongyang between 1998 and 2008, with several notable interruptions. Some writers such as the notorious Max Boot of the Washington Post have claimed that the current rapprochement between the two Korean states will fail because in his view, the Sunshine Policy failed. However, Boot mis-characterises both the current events in Korea and the Sunshine Policy, while failing to understand key difference between that period and recent events.

Strength versus weakness 

In the 1990s, the North Korean economy was at its lowest ebb in history. While there is no ‘famine or starvation’ in contemporary North Korea and nor was there during the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s, the 1990s were lean years for the DPRK in every sense. The economic downturn of the mid-1990s hit North Korea particularly hard and it was this reality that led leaders in Seoul to extend a hand to Pyongyang based on a combination of genuine compassion towards fellow Koreans and based on the fact that some in Seoul honestly believed that the DPRK was on the verge of collapse in the 1990s and therefore it was judged that it was more prudent to manage this collapse in an ordered and fraternal fashion, rather than a hostile and suspicious one.

Today, North Korea’s economy is incredibly strong in terms of aggregate growth rates, infrastructural development, consumer technology development, the building of modern housing and the building of public leisure, arts and entertainment centres. Without much international fanfare, Kim Jong-un has modernised the economy in ways that are far less radical than what Deng Xiaoping did in China, but are nevertheless indicative of a shift towards some of the characteristics of market socialism.

Secondly, with North Korea now in possession of modern hydrogen bombs and the intercontinental ballistic missiles with which to deliver them to the US mainland, Pyongyang now feels that it has more of an equal footing with its main international antagonist than ever before, let alone in the economically depressed 1990s.

So while the Sunshine Policy was instigated by the South at a time of Northern weakness in every sense, today’s rapprochement was launched by Kim Jong-un during his 2018 New Year’s Message. Kim acted from a position of strength and confidence and what is more, he did what he promised he would do throughout 2017’s weapons tests. The DPRK had always said that when it reached nuclear parity with the United States (which the DPRK defines as the ability to strike the US mainland with modern nuclear weapons), it would then and only then, be willing to engage in international discussions about peace. Furthermore, throughout the weapons tests, Pyongyang reiterated that the US and not South Korea remained the only foe that the country was arming itself against.

Differences in declarations

Contrary to what the Washington Post’s Max Boot says, yesterday’s Panmunjom Declaration is a far lengthier document than the June 15th North–South Joint Declaration of the year 2000. To illustrate this point, the following is the full text of the agreement signed yesterday between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in:

“During this momentous period of historical transformation on the Korean Peninsula, reflecting the enduring aspiration of the Korean people for peace, prosperity and unification, President Moon Jae In of the Republic of Korea and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea held an Inter-Korean Summit Meeting at the ‘Peace House’ at Panmunjom on April 27, 2018.

The two leaders solemnly declared before the 80 million Korean people and the whole world that there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and thus a new era of peace has begun.

The two leaders, sharing the firm commitment to bring a swift a swift end to the Cold War relic of long-standing division and confrontation, to boldly approach a new era of national reconciliation, peace and prosperity, and to improve and cultivate inter-Korean relations in a more active manner, declared at this historic site of Panmunjom as follows:

1. South and North Korea will reconnect the blood relations of the people and bring forward the future of co-prosperity and unification led by Koreans by facilitating comprehensive and groundbreaking advancement in inter-Korean relations.

Improving and cultivating inter-Korean relations is the prevalent desire of the whole nation and the urgent calling of the times that cannot be held back any further.

1) South and North Korea affirmed the principle of determining the destiny of the Korean nation on their own accord and agreed to bring forth the watershed moment for the improvement of inter-Korean relations by fully implementing all existing agreements and declarations adopted between the two sides thus far.

2) South and North Korea agreed to hold dialogue and negotiations in various fields including at high level, and to take active measures for the implementation of the agreements reached at the summit.

3) South and North Korea agreed to establish a joint liaison office with resident representatives of both sides in the Gaeseong region in order to facilitate close consultation between the authorities as well as smooth exchanges and cooperation between the peoples.

4) South and North Korea agreed to encourage more active cooperation, exchanges, visits and contacts at all levels in order to rejuvenate the sense of national reconciliation and unity.

Between South and North, the two sides will encourage the atmosphere of amity and cooperation by actively staging various joint events on the dates that hold special meaning for both South and North Korea, such as June 15, in which participants from all levels, including central and local governments, parliaments, political parties, and civil organisations, will be involved.

On the international front, the two sides agreed to demonstrate their collective wisdom, talents, and solidarity by jointly participating in international sports events such as the 2018 Asian Games.

5) South and North Korea agreed to endeavour to swiftly resolve the humanitarian issues that resulted from the division of the nation, and to convene the Inter-Korean Red Cross Meeting to discuss and solve various issues, including the reunion of separated families.

In this vein, South and North Korea agreed to proceed with reunion programmes for the separated families on the occasion of the National Liberation Day of Aug 15 this year.

6) South and North Korea agreed to actively implement the projects previously agreed in the 2007 October 4 Declaration, in order to promote balanced economic growth and co-prosperity of the nation.

As a first step, the two sides agreed to adopt practical steps towards the connection and modernisation of the railways and roads on the eastern transportation corridor as well as between Seoul and Sinuiju for their utilisation.

2. South and North Korea will make joint efforts to alleviate the acute military tension and practically eliminate the danger of war on the Korean Peninsula.

1) South and North Korea agreed to completely cease all hostile acts against each other in every domain, including land, air and sea, that are the source of military tension and conflict.

In this vein, the two sides agreed to transform the demilitarised zone into a peace zone in a genuine sense by ceasing as of May 2 this year all hostile acts and eliminating their means, including broadcasting through loudspeakers and distribution of leaflets, in the areas along the Military Demarcation Line.

2) South and North Korea agreed to devise a practical scheme to turn the areas around the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea into a maritime peace zone in order to prevent accidental military clashes and guarantee safe fishing activities.

3) South and North Korea agreed to take various military measures to ensure active mutual cooperation, exchanges, visits and contacts. The two sides agreed to hold frequent meetings between military authorities, including the defence ministers meeting, in order to immediately discuss and solve military issues that arise between them.

In this regard, the two sides agreed to first convene military talks at the rank of general in May.

3. South and North Korea will actively cooperate to establish a permanent and solid peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. Bringing an end to the current unnatural state of armistice and establishing a robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula is a historical mission that must not be delayed any further.

1) South and North Korea reaffirmed the Non-Aggression Agreement that precludes the use of force in any form against each other, and agreed to strictly adhere to this agreement.

2) South and North Korea agreed to carry out disarmament in a phased manner, as military tension is alleviated and substantial progress is made in military confidence-building.

3) During this year that marks the 65th anniversary of the Armistice, South and North Korea agreed to actively pursue trilateral meetings involving the two Koreas and the United States, or quadrilateral meetings involving the two Koreas, the United States and China, with a view to declaring an end to the war and establishing a permanent and solid peace regime.

4) South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realising, through complete denuclearisation, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

South and North Korea shared the view that the measures being initiated by North Korea are very meaningful and crucial for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and agreed to carry out their respective roles and responsibilities in this regard.

South and North Korea agreed to actively seek the support and cooperation of the international community for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

The two leaders agreed, through regular meetings and direct telephone conversations, to hold frequent and candid discussions on issues vital to the nation, to strengthen mutual trust and to jointly endeavour to strengthen the positive momentum towards continuous advancement of inter-Korean relations as well as peace, prosperity and unification of the Korean Peninsula.

In this context, President Moon Jae In agreed to visit Pyongyang this fall.

April 27, 2018

Done in Panmunjom

Moon Jae In


Republic of Korea

Kim Jong Un


State Affairs Commission

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”.

By contrast, the much shorter declaration from 2000 reads as follows:

“In accordance with the noble will of the entire people who yearn for the peaceful reunification of the nation, President Kim Dae-jung of the Republic of Korea and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea held a historic meeting and summit talks in Pyongyang from June 13 to 15, 2000.

The leaders of the South and the North, recognizing that the meeting and the summit talks were of great significance in promoting mutual understanding, developing South–North relations and realizing peaceful reunification, declared as follows:

  1. The South and the North have agreed to resolve the question of reunification independently and through the joint efforts of the Korean people, who are the masters of the country.
  2. For the achievement of reunification, we have agreed that there is a common element in the South’s concept of a confederation and the North’s formula for a loose form of federation. The South and the North agreed to promote reunification in that direction.
  3. The South and the North have agreed to promptly resolve humanitarian issues such as exchange visits by separated family members and relatives on the occasion of the August 15 National Liberation Day and the question of unswerving Communists serving prison sentences in the South.
  4. The South and the North have agreed to consolidate mutual trust by promoting balanced development of the national economy through economic cooperation and by stimulating cooperation and exchanges in civic, cultural, sports, health, environmental and all other fields.
  5. The South and the North have agreed to hold a dialogue between relevant authorities in the near future to implement the above agreements expeditiously.

President Kim Dae-jung cordially invited National Defence Commission Chairman Kim Jong-il to visit Seoul, and Chairman Kim Jong-il will visit Seoul at an appropriate time.

(signed) Kim Dae-jung, President, The Republic of Korea

(signed) Kim Jong-il, Chairman, Supreme Leader, The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

June 15, 2000″

Therefore when someone like Max Boot says that the 2000 agreement was more substantive than the one signed yesterday, he is stating a self-evident untruth.

A totally different international context 

In the year 2000, the US was more powerful than it is today, China was far weaker than it is today and Russia was for the first time since the early 16th century, largely geopolitically irrelevant. Today, China is in many sectors, more powerful than the US and is shortly set to become the world’s number one overall economy. Russia has long reclaimed its place as a global superpower and a very diplomatically important one at that, while the US remains powerful but is nevertheless in a period of geopolitical decline.

Against this backdrop, China has taken a far more proactive role in asserting its desire to secure peace in Korea while Russia has also worked closely with both Korean states in order to help foster an attitude of peace through strength that was unthinkable in the late 1990s and early 2000s when the DPRK was far weaker in every sense than it is today.

While the US under Donald Trump is in a self-described position of needing to re-acquire “greatness”, American foreign policy is also vastly less predictable than it was under Bill Clinton, George W. Bush or Barack Obama. Trump’s pattern in almost all foreign policy matters is that of issuing extravagant and often worrying threats, claiming that some sort of negotiation is still possible, going back to even more outlandish threats and then waiting to see the response of other nations.

The DPRK has in many ways out-classed Trump in this respect as throughout the process of Trump threatening the DPRK, Pyongyang armed itself to the teeth, successfully tested nuclear capable ICBMs and made it clear that if Trump made good on his threat to “destroy” the DPRK, it would result in mutually assured destruction for parts of the US. This doctrine of mutually assured destruction is one of the primary reasons that nuclear war was averted during the Cold War and North Korea has resurrected it in the name of peace through strength.

From this position of strength, the DPRK is now in a position to issue its own demands, namely trading de-nuclearisation for the withdrawal of US troops and weapons from South Korea. Furthermore, as the DPRK has rejuvenated its relationship with China and has intensified its always good relationship with Moscow, should Trump play hardball regarding US withdrawal from South Korea, the DPRK could also invite Russia and/or China to have a military presence in the North.

The fact that both Trump and US Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis have suggested that US withdrawal from the South is a possibility, means that if good will exists on both sides, a more pacific Korea could be entirely possible over the course of negotiations. This does not mean the US will cease its neo-imperial ambitions in Asia, but it does mean that the US may well be eager to pivot its attention and resources to different parts of Asia and in particular, in ways that are less costly than maintaining its large presence in South Korea.

A different South Korea 

While North Korea has changed drastically since 1998, the South has changed too. With the US putting up more and more tariff walls against both rivals like China and long time partners like South Korea, Seoul has raised unfair US trade practices with the World Trade Organisation, while Seoul-Beijing relations are at their best ever. By contrast, in 1998, China and South Korea had only engaged in formal relations for six years.

Today, trade between China and South Korea continues to expand while both Presidents Xi Jinping and Moon Jae-in seek to promote more economic connectivity.

Furthermore, the impeachment of anti-DPRK war-monger Park Geun-hye has led to a kind of collective revitalisation of the peace movement within South Korea. Jailed former President Park Geun-hye was removed from office after months of the largest protests that South Korea has ever seen. The collective attitude in the South was one of opposition to the corruption, paranoia, militancy and blind following of Washington that Park Guen-hye, like her brutal dictator father Park Chung-hee came to represent.

Moon is the anti-Park in the sense that he is moderate, sincerely concerned with peace and while still close to the US as all South Korean leaders necessarily are, has shown an incredibly high degree of independence in terms of attitude and policy making that remains vastly overlooked in both the west and Asia.

The contrast between Park and Moon is literally like night and day. This has had a profound effect on both the North and South Korean political psyche that bears close examination.


Not only have the series of meetings between North and South progressed in a matter of months in 2018 rather than in a matter of years as was the case in the Sunshine Policy era, but already, more lengthy and concrete agreements have been made than those made at the peak of the Sunshine Policy.

As China, Russia, both Korean states and Asia as a whole become more independent of western influence, one must also realise that the events in Korea cannot be seen in isolation but must be viewed as part of a wider Asian space that is a growing economic powerhouse, a geopolitically independent space more so than at any time in the 20th century and a place where increasingly, national governments rather than far away superpowers dictate the trajectory of events.

Finally, as Kim Jong-un is a young leader who has embarked on meaningful internal economic reforms and as Moon Jae-in was a man whose spirit of peace and cooperation replaced his bellicose and old fashioned predecessor, one cannot underestimate the good will that has transpired between two leaders who have both survived one of the most tense periods in modern Korean history since the 1950s and have collectively chosen a path of peace and enlightenment over fear and hostility.

April 28, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Takeaways from Korean summit

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | April 27, 2018

From the Indian perspective, the Korea summit at Panmunjom today heralding the ‘end of the Korean war’ is a poignant occasion. The Kashmir issue, which is almost of the same vintage, now remains as the only other decades-old flashpoint in international security since World War II. Arguably, the Korean problem is far more complicated than the Kashmir issue. The Kashmir issue is a bilateral issue whereas in the Korean problem, there are overlapping templates at the bilateral, regional and international level. Both are ‘nuclear flashpoints’.

But the Korean War (1950-1953) was far more catastrophic than all the wars India and Pakistan ever fought over Kashmir. The military casualties (dead, wounded or missing) exceeded 1 million while the civilian casualties are estimated to be several millions.

The key passages of the Panmunjom Declaration jointly issued by the leaders of South and North Korea – Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un – read as follows:

  • The two leaders solemnly declared before the 80 million Korean people and the whole world that there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and thus a new era of peace has begun.
  • South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realising, through complete denuclearisation, a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. South and North Korea shared the view that the measures being initiated by North Korea are very meaningful and crucial for the denuclearisation of he Korean peninsula and agreed to carry out their respective roles and responsibilities in this regard. South and North Korea agreed to actively seek the support and cooperation of the international community for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

A signed joint statement was issued after several hours of talks between Moon and Kim (including one-on-one discussion as they strolled through the gardens and sat privately against the leafy backdrop with a serene atmosphere, deep in conversation, animatedly, but out of earshot). The joint statement is largely aspirational and doesn’t spell out concrete steps. But it flags the general idea that “the South and North have confirmed their common goal of realizing a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.” The highlights are:

  • They will hold talks on formally establishing a peace treaty
  • Agreed to “urgently resolve” humanitarian issues of divided families
  • The two sides will work together to “ease the sharp military tensions on the Korean peninsula” and defense ministers will meet in May
  • Starting May 1, all propaganda activities, including loudspeakers and leaflets, will be halted.
  • Moon will visit Pyongyang in the autumn. They agreed to establish an inter-Korean joint liaison office in Kaeseong.

Kim noted, “We hope we will not repeat our mistake of the past. I hope this will be an opportunity for the two Korean peoples to move freely from North to South. We need to take responsibility for our own history.”

Of course, there are still huge strategic and political divisions between North Korea on one side and South Korea and the United States on the other side. But this is a good start, since there has been a concrete commitment by Kim on denuclearization.

All the key players in the region have welcomed the agreement, including China and Japan. Russia’s Foreign Ministry says it is ready to facilitate cooperation between North and South Korea, in railways, gas and electrical energy.

China has taken care not to distract from the meeting at Panmunjom. The Chinese coverage of PM Modi’s meeting with President Xi Jinping at Wuhan has been noticeably restrained. China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang has been quoted as saying,

  • “Today, the leaders of South and North Korea held their summit successfully. (They) announced a joint declaration on their common understanding of inter-Korean relations, easing military tension on the Korean Peninsula, denuclearizing the peninsula and a permanent peace.
  • The positive outcome of the summit is helpful for inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation, peace and stability on the peninsula and the political resolution of Korean Peninsula issues.”

Trump’s first reaction to the Panmunjom meeting has come when he tweeted, “After a furious year of missile launches and Nuclear testing, a historic meeting between North and South Korea is now taking place. Good things are happening, but only time will tell!”

South Korea is showering all praise on President Trump and giving him credit for what happened today at Panmunjom. It is a wise strategy, since South Korea is essentially creating a positive momentum for Trump’s forthcoming summit with Kim and flattering the US president’s vanities at the same time. Put differently, South Korean president Moon is ensuring that Trump gets the Nobel Prize for Peace this year – and getting Trump to believe he earned it. But the real winner is Moon himself in taking a great leap forward in his life’s mission of inter-Korean reconciliation.

Full text of the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula is here.

April 28, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 2 Comments

Dubai firm commissioned Qatar-smearing film from American who made fake news for Iraq war

RT | April 28, 2018

When Gulf states cut ties with Doha in 2017 over its alleged support of terrorism, tensions were aided by a Dubai firm that hired a man to create an anti-Qatar video. That same man also led a US propaganda project in Iraq.

Charles Andreae is the owner of the firm Andreae & Associates, which was contracted in August 2017 to produce a six-part film linking Qatar with global terrorism, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has revealed. The Dubai-based strategic communications firm Lapis Communications, which is owned by an Afghan-Australian entrepreneur, gave Andreae more than $500,000 to produce the video.

The brief given to Andreae’s firm was to produce “six multimedia products focused on an investigation into the role of the state of Qatar and the state’s connection to global terrorism.” It was commissioned as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were intensifying an international campaign against Qatar over its alleged links to terrorism.

News of the contract emerged in a recently filed lobbying declaration with the US Department of Justice. American companies such as Andreae & Associates are required by law to disclose information on lobbying and PR work for foreign clients.

The film, titled ‘Qatar: A Dangerous Alliance,’ included conservative pundits discussing Qatar’s links to Islamist groups, as well as bits of news and archive footage. Copies of the video were distributed at an event at the Hudson Institute think tank in October. Among the keynote speakers at that event were US President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon, former defense secretary Leon Panetta, and former CIA director David Petraeus. So far, the documentary has been viewed more than 700,000 times on YouTube and is also available on Amazon.

In addition to Andreae’s involvement in making the film, he also registered as a lobbyist with the US Senate on Qatar-US relations on behalf of Lapis in January. But Andreae’s questionable actions didn’t begin with Qatar.

Andreae was also responsible for running the Washington end of a Pentagon propaganda contract in Iraq, which he did when he was working for the British public relations firm Bell Pottinger. Although the campaign details were known in 2016, Andreae’s involvement was only confirmed to the Bureau by Bell Pottinger co-founder Tim Bell last week.

That project, which has a $500 million contract with the Pentagon, consisted of running secret operations during the Iraq War. Bell Pottinger answered to the US commander in Iraq and created fake local news reports and smeared Iran. It also put together Al-Qaeda propaganda videos, planted them in people’s homes, and tracked who viewed them.

Neither Andreae & Associates nor Lapis Communications has responded to RT’s request for comment.

Read more:

Qatar govt. must send troops to Syria or lose US support and be toppled – Saudi FM

April 28, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | 1 Comment

US House Report Accuses Russia of Election Meddling, Finds No Proof

Sputnik – 28.04.2018

WASHINGTON – The US House Intelligence Committee on Friday released its final report on its yearlong Russia investigation, accusing Moscow of interference in the 2016 US election but concluding that the Kremlin did not collude with President Donald Trump’s campaign team.

The heavily redacted 243-page document, titled “Report on Russian Active Measures,” drew swift praise from Trump, who hailed its conclusions as “powerful” and called for an immediate end to ongoing investigations into allegations of collusion between his campaign team and Moscow.

But US Democrats criticized the report, vowing to redouble their efforts to investigate alleged Russian meddling in the US vote.

Russia has repeatedly denied interfering in the election, dismissing allegations of meddling as “absurd.”

No evidence of collusion

The US House Intelligence Committee formally opened its Russia investigation on January 25, 2017, just five days after Trump took office. Congressmen on the committee spent the next 14 months holding nine hearings, interviewing 73 witnesses and combing through more than 300,000 documents, according to Congressman Mike Conaway, who led the panel’s investigation.

The committee announced in March that it had wrapped up the probe, with Republicans on the panel releasing a preliminary report saying they uncovered no evidence of “collusion, coordination, or conspiracy” between Trump’s campaign team and Moscow. Friday’s final report underlined many of the same conclusions.

In its final report, the committee accused Russia of waging a “multifaceted, persistent and effective” influence campaign in the United States, but highlighted key US intelligence community failings and ruled out any collusion between Trump and Moscow.

The report claimed that Russian state actors and other third parties were behind the release of documents and communications stolen from US political organizations during the 2016 campaign.

But with regard to accusations of a conspiracy between Moscow and Trump’s campaign team, the report concluded that none of the witnesses had provided any evidence of collusion or coordination between the two sides. The committee also found no indications that Trump’s business dealings in Russia before the campaign would have formed the basis for any kind of collusion, the report said.

The report did say that members of the Trump campaign team showed “poor judgment” in their dealings with Russian nationals. But it also underlined that the committee did not find proof that meetings between Trump’s associates and Russian officials, including one between Jeff Sessions and former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, constituted collusion with Moscow.

The panel also concluded that the Trump associates who had contact with Russians during the 2016 US election had no influence on either Trump or his campaign.

In addition, the report said the committee found no evidence that Trump’s campaign team was involved in the hacking and distribution of former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails through WikiLeaks.

Intelligence shortcomings

The report highlighted what the committee called significant “shortcomings” in the US intelligence community’s assessment that Russia wanted Trump to win the election.

The committee “identified significant intelligence tradecraft failings that undermine confidence in the [intelligence community’s] judgments regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategic objectives for disrupting the US elections,” the report said.

For instance, the report poked holes in the US intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia wanted to help Trump to win the election, arguing that the Kremlin’s main goal was to sow discord in the United States, not to influence the outcome of the vote.

The report also criticized the intelligence community’s reliance on an unverified dossier on Trump compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, saying the document was compiled with “second and third-hand” information.

Former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign team paid for opposition research on Trump obtained from Russian sources — information that eventually made its way into the Steele dossier.

“Some of this opposition research was used to produce sixteen memos, which comprise what has become known as the Steele dossier,” the report noted.

The committee traced how the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee hired the law firm Perkins Coie, which in turn hired Fusion GPS to conduct research on Trump’s Russia ties. Steele later used the information to compile his unverified dossier, which alleged that Russia had collected embarrassing information about Trump that it could use to exert leverage over him.

The House report also documented how Steele’s dossier was then used to obtain a warrant to conduct surveillance on Trump campaign aides.


The committee provided a series of recommendations in the report, including a call for the Congress to update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in order to allow investigators to obtain warrants for probes involving international cyber actors.

The report also called on the US intelligence community to immediately brief state and local officials about existing threats to election infrastructure.

The House panel also urged the Congress to refrain from hampering the president’s ability to respond at his own discretion to any particular foreign threat.

The committee also provided a series of recommendations for European leaders. It urged European nations to seek long-term solutions to decrease their economic dependence on Russia, and take steps aimed at strengthening media pluralism, including reforming legal and regulatory environments, building professional journalism associations and improving the financial sustainability of “legitimate” news outlets.

“European governments, non-governmental organizations, businesses, think tanks, and academia should implement and encourage multi-pronged, country-wide efforts by both public and private entities to combat Russian propaganda, technical, and cyber operations,” the report said.

European governments and organizations should also put more stringent cyber security practices in place, including multifactor authentication and encryption, the report said, adding that efforts should be made to educate work forces on basic cyber security practices.

Trump applauds, democrats cry foul

Trump welcomed the release of the report, saying its conclusions confirmed the need to immediately end the Russia investigation.

“Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released. ‘No evidence’ that the Trump Campaign ‘colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia.’ Clinton Campaign paid for Opposition Research obtained from Russia- Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW!” Trump said in a Twitter post just minutes after the release of the report.

Trump later told reporters at the White House that he and his administration were “honored” by the report’s conclusions, which he called “conclusive,” “strong” and “powerful.”

But leading US Democrats including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi vowed to press ahead with efforts to investigate alleged Russian interference in the 2016 vote.

“House Democrats will continue to investigate Russian attacks on our elections,” Pelosi said. “We will not relent in our effort to follow the facts and secure our elections from foreign interference. We have no time to waste.”

Pelosi slammed what she called a Republican attempt to cover up for Trump, saying the report “made a mockery” of the Congressional investigation into Russian election interference.

Along with its final report on the Russia probe, the House Intelligence Committee on Friday also released a 98-page rebuttal compiled by Democrats on the panel.

In their response, Democrats criticized what they called “gaps” in the panel’s report and aspects of the investigation that they believe were not fully explored.

The committee’s investigation is one of several US probes into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election, which include the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Both Russia and the Trump campaign have denied all allegations of collusion, and Moscow has called accusations it interfered in the 2016 election “absurd.”

April 28, 2018 Posted by | Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Western media silent as Rodchenkov’s Russian doping claims fail to stand up in court

RT | April 28, 2018

Russian officials plan to sue Grigory Rodchenkov, whose testimony played a key part in the country’s Olympic bans, after a sports court rejected his claims. But most believe it’s too late to reverse the impact of the doping saga.

The scandal over Olympic doping has been running since 2014, and most of the allegations have been known for years. What’s changed?

In a landmark ruling in February, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the highest legal authority in such cases, reversed the life bans of 28 Russian sportsmen and gave them back their medals, many of them from the Sochi Olympics in 2014.

But it was only this week that a 160-page summary of the session exposed exactly how the allegations that led to the exclusion of entire Russian teams in various sports from Rio 2016 and PyeongChang 2018 failed to stand up to legal scrutiny.

Who failed to convince?

Between 2005 and 2015, Grigory Rodchenkov headed Moscow’s anti-doping testing lab before resigning in the wake of the scandal and eloping to the US, where his words laid the foundation for the portrayal of “state-sponsored” doping in Russia involving athletes, coaches, and officials at all levels. He remains in an American witness protection program and testified via Skype “behind a screen, which concealed the entirety of his upper body save for his forearms and hands” according to CAS.

He maintained that there was a “Sochi plan” designed to pump Russian athletes with performance-enhancing drugs and then swap any contaminated samples for pre-stored urine during the 2014 Games. He also described that he was the inventor of the Duchess Cocktail, a powerful mix of PEDs allegedly distributed to a list of Russian athletes. Many were later excluded from competing on the basis of the Duchess list.

However, when cross-examined, Rodchenkov admitted that he “never: (a) distributed the Duchess Cocktail; (b) seen an athlete take the Duchess Cocktail; (c) witnessed instructions being given to athletes and coaches to use the Duchess Cocktail; (d) seen an athlete give a clean urine sample; or (e) seen an athlete tamper with a doping sample.” He also admitted that no test of the effectiveness of the Duchess cocktail was ever conducted, and when asked about its exact make-up, which has been a matter of some contention, he “stated that he needed five minutes to explain, and therefore refrained from doing so.”

He also repeated claims that a team of officials, nicknamed “Magicians,” had developed a technique for opening tamper-proof sample bottles in order to manipulate them and clear Russian athletes, but added that he personally “never observed first hand any bottles being opened or de-capped” and did not know the “precise method” used by them.

How did the panel respond to Rodchenkov?

The exiled official turned out to be a star witness for the Russian appellants in the case. In its conclusion, it said that his assertion of the guilt of Alexander Legkov, the Sochi gold-winning skier who led the appeal, constituted a “bare assertion which is uncorroborated by any contemporaneous documentary evidence.” On the use of Duchess by a specific athlete, which a specific official reportedly told Rodchenkov about, the panel ruled that it is “hearsay” of “very limited” value. As to his claims of a Sochi plan, ahead of which clean urine samples were delivered to him, CAS stated that the witness’s words were “not corroborated by any further evidence.”

Which other testimony casts doubt on the accusations against Russian athletes?

Richard McLaren, the former head of WADA and author of the eponymous report, whose list of names were used to ban hundreds of competitors, freely admitted that their inclusion did not “mean that they committed an anti-doping rule violation,” and that he was “merely asked to identify those who may have benefited from the systems.” The Canadian professor added that his report was, in any case, “just the starting point for further work” and was severely restricted by budgetary and time constraints.

In view of questions over Rodchenkov, McLaren was asked if his report was, in essence, based on his single testimony. The expert objected, saying that he sought to “corroborate everything” and explained that the Russian scientist’s evidence had been confirmed by “four individuals who provided information on condition that their identities would remain confidential.”

What effect has the publication of the court documents had in Russia?

An outburst of righteous fury.

“Rodchenkov has done his dark deed. We have suffered colossal damage,” said renowned skater and coach Irina Rodnina, one of those namechecked in the fugitive’s accusations. “Since these claims have surfaced we have tried to play by the rules against those without rules.”

“Rodchenkov lied about doping in our country, which was to be proved. I recommend that a commission is assembled that would gather all false publications about Russian athletes in the Western media, and sue them for defamation,” tweeted Igor Lebedev, the deputy chairman of the Russian Duma.

“It’s clear Rodchenkov is mixing up his stories, and his new testimony is evidence that the previous ones were fabrications,” said Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s press secretary.

What has been the reaction in the West?

A polite silence. Aside from specialist websites writing about Olympic sport, no major Western outlet has covered the story.

This is particularly telling in view of the fact that the entire doping scandal was not started by investigators, but German documentary makers from ARD, who managed to create the biggest Olympics upheaval since the fall of the Soviet Union with the help of little more than interviews with two other runaway Russian insiders, the Stepanovs.

Since then, there has been a consistent barrage of accusations, all of them reported without question within the wider context of Moscow’s new image of an international rogue state, from Crimea to the US voting booths to the running track.

Just a fortnight ago, Rodchenkov gave an interview to a Norwegian TV station wearing a ski mask and a balaclava, and his words were spread verbatim by dozens of outlets from the New York Times to Fox News.

Only last month, hundreds of millions around the world tuned in to watch Icarus, a film in which he was portrayed as a heroic whistleblower, which won an Oscar for Best Documentary.

The officials have been similarly reticent.

When the original ruling was published, IOC chief Thomas Bach stepped in to say that it was “extremely disappointing and surprising” and demanded that CAS reform itself.

Meanwhile, the American anti-doping agency USADA, which earlier said that the February ruling had “sabotaged the integrity of the Games” despite not being at the CAS hearing and added that “the whole mess stinks” and that “the nightmare for clean athletes continues,” has not been quick to retract its statements or turn away from Rodchenkov.

In any case, Russia’s anti-doping agency remains under suspension, without accreditation to enter its own testing centers, and although the country will be allowed to compete under its own flag at Tokyo 2020, several of its teams will have limited allocations.

What about the athletes whose names have been cleared?

Legkov told Russian television how he felt when he was forced to miss the Olympics this year despite being cleared, because the IOC chose not to invite any athletes whose names had been linked to doping scandals, regardless of guilt.

“I was preparing for Pyeongchang like a madman, I give it my all. I had better results in tests than even those ahead of Sochi. In a moment all that was ruined,” said the skier.

“No one was listening to us. We insisted on our innocence right from the start. But we lost those years of our careers. We trained our whole lives to be able to do this,” Maxim Vylegzhanin, who won three silver medals at Sochi and had them restored by the same decision this year, told RT.

What next?

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says that Russia “defend[s] clean athletes,” while former sports minister and hockey legend Viacheslav Fetisov said that “now we have a chance of winning our cases in court,” as long as “there is a firm position, and facts to back it up.” The Russian Luge Federation and several individuals say that they will launch lawsuits, which may mention Rodchenkov by name.

“It’s evident that McLaren just took Rodchenkov’s words at face value. The CAS decision confirms that now. The guilt of the athletes, if it was present, should have been determined with evidence. This did not happen. We await more legal proceedings,” said Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov.

But several top officials say it is too little, too late, not just for those sportspeople who missed the last Olympics, but for Russian sports as a whole.

“This will change nothing,” said Nikolay Durmanov, the ex-chief of the Russian anti-doping agency. “Yes we can enjoy some moral satisfaction, but in the eyes of the world Russian sport has been painted a rich black color, and there is nothing we can do to wash that reputational stain off this generation. This was an information war waged against us.”

April 28, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment