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Anti-US base candidate wins Okinawa governor elections

RT | September 30, 2018

A staunch opponent of the planned relocation of a US military base within Okinawa Island, where the issue sparked major public protests, has beaten a government-backed competitor in the local governor elections.

Denny Tamaki, a former opposition lawmaker and the son of a US marine, has got a win against Atsushi Sakima, the former mayor of a local city of Ginowan, who was backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party. The vote was largely determined by the issue of the relocation of the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which has been a source of controversy for the locals over the years.

Tamaki vowed to continue fighting against relocation of the US base from the crowded town of Ginowan to the less populated coastal region of Nago, which would put corals and dugongs, the endangered marine mammals, at risk, according to environmental activists. He also pledged to follow the steps of the former Okinawa governor Takeshi Onaga, who had been an outspoken opponent of the relocation until his death in August that prompted early gubernatorial elections.

His major rival in the four-person race, Sakima, also supported the closure of the existing Futenma base but did not clarify his stance on the issue of relocation. Tamaki, meanwhile, vowed to continue fighting for the base to be relocated off the island.

Tamaki’s victory is considered to be a blow to Abe’s plans as the prime minister is pushing for the controversial base relocation plan despite vehement opposition from the locals, the Japanese media report. Okinawa, which amounts to less than one percent of the Japanese total land area, hosts about a half of the 50,000 American troops in Japan.

The US presence on the island has long been a source of discontent for the locals. Okinawans have raised concerns about machinery mishaps, noise, sexual assaults against Japanese women, and even some deadly incidents – all of which triggered massive protests. Onaga also repeatedly clashed with the government over the relocation issue in particular.

In 2015, he revoked an approval for the construction works issued by his predecessor. His decision was overruled by the central government, which went ahead with the project. In August, the local government retracted the permission again. Since then, the work has been suspended.

Following Onaga’s death in August, 70,000 people protested the Japanese government’s plan to relocate the US air base. Participants also held a one-minute silence to pay respect to the late governor.

September 30, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , , | Leave a comment

Railroad link to connect Russia’s St. Petersburg with Germany’s Berlin

RT | September 30, 2018

Russia and Germany have agreed to connect Germany’s capital Berlin with St. Petersburg, which is often branded Russia’s northern capital.

The news, first published in the Russian media, was confirmed by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. The train will go from Germany to the Russian exclave city of Kaliningrad and then onwards to St. Petersburg, the ministry has confirmed in a letter to RT.

There is currently no direct railway between St. Petersburg and Berlin. Passengers have to make a two-hour connection in Moscow and spend 32 hours on road. It is also difficult to get from Berlin to Kaliningrad by train – you have to change trains twice. The new route will also slash the travel time between St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad by almost a half.

Russian Railways has also confirmed the new route, Izvestia daily reports. The countries have given no information about the date of the launch of the railroad, but it is likely to be a significant boost Russian-German tourism.

“At the moment, the technical development of the project is being carried out. The matter is, for example, that some stations on the route can accept trains with 50 cars, and some can’t. It is too early to speak about the approximate time frames of the launch,” Russian Railways said.

September 30, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , | 3 Comments

Bolivia: Morales Seeks New Relationship With Chile After Ruling

teleSUR | September 29, 2018

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales hopes to start a “new era” in his nation’s relationship with Chile once the International Court of Justice rules on Bolivia’s demand for sea access on Monday.

The new age will take “advantage of our potentialities, promoting integration for the well being of our peoples,” Morales said. “It’s necessary to cure injuries from the past.”

After a years-long process, the court will decide whether the Chilean government must negotiate a sea exit for Bolivia. La Paz issued the demand in April 2013.

Morales said he values peaceful solutions for international disputes, based on international law.

“Bolivia will never give up in its cause, that’s why the Bolivian people will gather on October 1 without divisions, without difference around our three-color flag, our wiphala and our sea claim flag,” he said. “Our reunion with the sea is not only possible, but inevitable.”

He also asked the people of Chile to understand the demand shouldn’t be considered an “unfriendly act,” but rather an opportunity.

Bolivia demanded the court declare Chile must negotiate an exit for the Pacific Ocean, based on diplomatic evidence it has previously agreed to do so.

Chile is denying any negotiation based on a 1904 treaty between both countries, giving up 120,000 square kilometers of territory, including 400 shore kilometers, to Chile.

The treaty was a result of the War of the Pacific, in which Bolivia and Peru fought against Chile between 1879 and 1883.

The UN’s International Court of Justice is legally binding but it has no means to enforce its rulings over the states.

September 30, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

US could use Navy for ‘blockade’ to hamper Russian energy exports – Interior Secretary

RT | September 30, 2018

The US could use its Navy to prevent Russia’s potential energy supplies to the Middle East, Internal Secretary Ryan Zinke said, Washington Examiner reports.

The blockade would actually mean an “act of war,” a Russian Senator fired back.

Zinke alleged that Russia’s engagement in Syria – notably, where it is operating at the invitation of the legitimate government – is a pretext to explore new energy markets.

“I believe the reason they are in the Middle East is they want to broker energy just like they do in eastern Europe, the southern belly of Europe,” he has reportedly said.

And, according to to the official, there are ways and means to tackle it. “The United States has that ability, with our Navy, to make sure the sea lanes are open, and, if necessary, to blockade … to make sure that their energy does not go to market,” he said.

Zinke was addressing the attendees of the event hosted by the Consumer Energy Alliance, a non-profit group which styles itself as the “voice of the energy consumer” in the US.

He went on to compare Washington’s approaches to dealing with Russia and Iran, noting that they are effectively the same.

“The economic option on Iran and Russia is, more or less, leveraging and replacing fuels,” he said, while referring to Russia as a “one trick pony” with an economy dependent on fossil fuels.

Zinke’s statements provoked an angry response from Moscow, which equated a potential maritime blockade to an “act of war,” while calling the interior secretary’s assumptions “nonsense.”

“A US blockade of Russia would be equal to a declaration of war under international law,” Russian Senator Aleksey Pushkov said, commenting on Zinke’s words. Russia does not currently export any energy to the Middle East, which itself is a major oil exporting region. The whole idea is an “absolute nonsense,” the Senator argued.

The comment from the US Interior Secretary come as the Trump administration has been on a mission to boost the export of its liquefied natural gas to Europe, replacing Russia, the far cheaper option for European consumers. To that effect, the Trump administration officials, including US President Donald Trump himself, try to persuade Germany to pull out of the “inappropriate” Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which according to Trump, made Berlin Moscow’s “captive.”

Moscow has repeatedly stressed that the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is set to double the existing pipeline capacity to 110 billion cubic meters, is a purely economic project. The Kremlin argues that Washington’s fervent opposition to the project is simply driven by economic reasons and is an example of unfair competition.

“I believe we share the view that energy cannot be a tool to exercise pressure and that consumers should be able to choose the suppliers,” Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said following a meeting with US Energy Secretary Rick Perry in Moscow in September.

The US stance has drawn a backlash from Germany, which has reaffirmed its commitment to the project.

Germany’s leading organization for industry, the Federation of German Industries (BDI), has called on the US to stay away from EU energy policy and the bilateral agreements between Berlin and Moscow.

“I have a big problem when a third state interferes in our energy supply,” Dieter Kempf, head of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) said following a recent meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

September 30, 2018 Posted by | Economics, War Crimes | , , , | 12 Comments

The US Military-Industrial Complex’s Worst Nightmare: The S-300 May Destroy and Expose the F-35

By Federico Pieraccini | American Herald Tribune | September 30, 2018

The tragic episode that caused the death of 15 Russian air force personnel has had immediate repercussions on the situation in Syria and the Middle East. On September 24, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu informed allies and opponents that the delivery of the S-300 air-defense systems to the Syrian Arab Republic had been approved by President Vladimir Putin. The delivery had been delayed and then suspended as a result of Israeli pressure back in 2013.

In one sense, the delivery of S-300 batteries to Syria is cause for concern more for Washington than for Tel Aviv. Israel has several F-35 and has claimed to have used them in Syria to strike alleged Iranian weapons transfers to Hezbollah. With the S-300 systems deployed in an updated version and incorporated into the Russian command, control and communications (C3) system, there is a serious risk (for Washington) that Israel, now incapable of changing the course of events in Syria, could attempt a desperate maneuver.

It is no secret that Greece purchased S-300s from Russia years ago, and that NATO and Israel have trained numerous times against the Russian air-defense system. Senior IDF officials have often insisted that they are capable taking out the S-300s, having apparently discovered their weaknesses.

Tel Aviv’s warning that it will attack and destroy the S-300 battery should not be taken as an idle threat. It is enough to look at the recent downing of Russia’s Il-20 surveillance aircraft to understand how reckless a desperate Israel is prepared to be. Moreover, more than one IDF commander has over the years reiterated that a Syrian S-300 would be considered a legitimate target if threatening Israeli aircraft.

At this point, it is necessary to add some additional information and clarify some points. Greece’s S-300s are old, out of maintenance, and have not had their electronics updated. Such modern and complex systems as the S-300s and S-400s require maintenance, upgrades, and often replacement of parts to improve hardware. All this is missing from the Greek batteries. Secondly, it is the operator who uses the system (using radar, targeting, aiming, locking and so forth) that often makes the difference in terms of overall effectiveness. Furthermore, the system is fully integrated into the Russian C3 system, something that renders useless any previous experience gleaned from wargaming the Greek S-300s. No Western country knows the real capabilities and capacity of Syrian air defense when augmented and integrated with Russian systems. This is a secret that Damascus and Moscow will continue to keep well guarded. Yet two years ago, during the operations to free Aleppo, a senior Russian military officer warned (presumably alluding to fifth-generation stealth aircraft like the F-35 and F-22) that the range and effectiveness of the Russian systems may come as a surprise.

The following are the words of Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu concerning the deployment of the S-300 to Syria and its integration with other Russian systems:

“Russia will jam satellite navigation, onboard radars and communication systems of combat aircraft, which attack targets in the Syrian territory, in the Mediterranean Sea bordering with Syria. We are convinced that the implementation of these measures will cool hotheads and prevent ill-considered actions threatening our servicemen. Otherwise, we will respond in line with the current situation. Syrian troops and military air defense units will be equipped with automatic control systems, which have been supplied to the Russian Armed Forces. This will ensure the centralized management of the Syrian air defense forces and facilities, monitoring the situation in the airspace and prompt target designation. Most importantly, it will be used to identify the Russian aircraft by the Syrian air defense forces.”

If the Israelis will follow through with their reckless attempts to eliminate the S-300 (if they can find them in the first place, given that they are mobile), they will risk their F-35s being brought down. The US military-industrial complex would suffer irreparable damage. This would also explain why Israel (and probably the US) has for more than five years put enormous pressure on Moscow not to deliver the S-300 to Syria and Iran. The US State Department’s reaction over the future purchase by Turkey and India of the S-400 confirms the anxiety that US senior officials as well as generals are experiencing over the prospect of allies opting for the Russian systems. This would allow for a comparison with weapons these allies purchased from the US, leading to the discovery of vulnerabilities and the realization of the US weapons’ relative inferiority.

Given Tel Aviv’s tendency to place its own interests above all others, it would not be surprising to find them using the possibility of attacking the S-300 with their F-35s as a weapon to blackmail Washington into getting more involved in the conflict. For the United States, there are two scenarios to avoid. The first is a direct involvement in the conflict with Russia in Syria, which is now unthinkable and impractical. The second – much more worrying for military planners – concerns the possibility of the F-35’s capabilities and secrets being compromised or even being shown not to be a match against air-defense systems nearly half a century old.

An illuminating example of how the United States operates its most advanced aircraft in the region was given in eastern Syria around Deir ez-Zor. In this part of Syria, there is no threat from any advanced air-defense systems, so the US is often free to employ its F-22 in certain circumstances. The Russian military has repeatedly shown radar evidence that unequivocally shows that when Russian Su-35s appear in the same skies as the F-22, the US Air Force simply avoids any confrontation and quickly withdraws such fifth-generation assets as the F-22. The F-35 is not even ready in its naval variant, and has yet to be deployed on a US aircraft carrier near the Middle Eastern theater or the Persian Gulf; nor is it present in any US military base in the region. The US simply does not even consider using the F-35 in Syria, nor would it risk its use against Russian air defenses. Israel is the only country that so far may have already used these aircraft in Syria; but this was before the S-300 came onto the scene.

The F-35 program has already cost hundreds of billions of dollars and will soon reach the exorbitant and surreal figure of over 1 trillion dollars. It has already been sold to dozens of countries bound by decades-long agreements. The F-35 has been developed as a multi-role fighter and is expected to be the future backbone of NATO and her allies. Its development began more than 10 years ago and, despite the countless problems that still exist, it is already airborne and combat-ready, as the Israelis insist. From the US point of view, its employment in operations is played down and otherwise concealed. The less data available to opponents, the better; though the real reason may lie in a strong fear of any revelation of potential weaknesses of the aircraft damaging future sales. At this time, the Pentagon’s marketing of the F-35 is based on the evaluations provided by Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer, and on the tests carried out by the military who commissioned it to Lockheed Martin. Obviously, both Lockheed Martin and the US Air Force have no interest in revealing any weaknesses or shortcomings, especially publicly. Corruption is a big thing in Washington, contrary to common assumptions.

The combination of Israel’s ego, its inability to change the course of events in Syria, coupled with the loss of its ability to fly throughout the Middle East with impunity due to Syria now being equipped with a superior air defense – all these factors could push Israel into acting desperately by using the F-35 to take out the S-300 battery. Washington finds itself in the unenviable position of probably having no leverage with Israel over the matter ever since losing any ability to steer events in Syria.

With the Russian air-defense systems potentially being spread out to the four corners of the world, including China, India, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and who knows how many other countries waiting in the queue, Russia continues to increase its export capacity and military prestige as it demonstrates its control of most of the Syria’s skies. With the introduction of the the S-500 pending, one can imagine the sleepless nights being spent by those in the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin’s headquarters worrying about the possibility of an F-35 being taken down by an S-300 system manufactured in 1969.

September 30, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

US creating basis for regional conflagration in Middle East: James Petras

Press TV – September 29, 2018

The United States is creating the basis for the regional conflagration in the Middle East by fortifying its circle around Iran, American writer and academic James Petras says.

The US State Department has endorsed the proposed sale of more than 800 tactical missiles to Bahrain amid the Al Khalifah regime’s heavy-handed crackdown on pro-democracy campaigners and political dissidents in the tiny Persian Gulf country.

The approval includes Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) Unitary Rocket Pods and Army Tactical Missiles System (ATACMS) Unitary missiles for an estimated cost of $300 million, the Arabic-language al-Khaleej al-Jadeed news website reported on Saturday.

“Well, it’s part of the US setting up the aggressive policy; mainly it is directed against the government in Iran. And it’s largely responsible for encouraging this aggression with the addition of its support of Israel and Saudi Arabia,” Professor Petras said.

“It’s creating the basis for the regional conflagration. I don’t think anyone is aware of any danger to the small (Persian) Gulf state. They’re mainly there to serve the US, and to enrich the oligarchies that run those countries,” he added.

“They have no defensive function. They have no positive role to play. And they are forever condemned for their repression of their dissident populations,” the analyst said.

“So I think this is an act by the Trump administration to fortify its circle around Iran. It’s likely to force Iran to increase its defenses and its alliances in the region,” he added.

“I don’t think it has any positive function for the US to continue meddling the Middle East and causing new wars, new terrorists, and new instability in the region,” the academic concluded.

September 30, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

What is the Meaningful 97% in the Climate Debate?

By Dr. Tim Ball | Watts Up With That? | September 29, 2018

For a brief period, the New York Times added a column to their best-seller book list. It identified the percentage of people who finished reading the book. As I recall, the outright winner for lowest percentage was Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose with only 6%. It is an excellent and fascinating book if you understand the Catholic church, its theological disputes, know much about medieval mythology, understand Catholic religious orders, and are familiar with the history of Italy in the Middle Ages. As one reviewer wrote, “I won’t lie to you. It is absolutely a slog at times.” This phrase struck me because it is exactly what a lawyer told me after reading my book “The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science.”

I told him it was a slog to research because it required reading all the Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a task that few, certainly fewer than 6%, ever achieve, including most of the people involved with the production. This is the tragedy. There are so many people with such strong, definitive views, including among skeptics and the general science community who have never read the Reports at all. The challenge is made more difficult by the deliberate attempt to separate truth and reality from propaganda and the political agenda.

In media interviews or discussions with the public, the most frequent opening challenge is; “But don’t 97% of scientists agree?” It is usually said obliquely to imply that you know a lot, and I don’t understand, but I assume you are wrong because you are in the minority. I don’t attempt to refute the statistics. Instead, I explain the difference in definitions between science and society. Then I point out that the critical 97% figure is that at least 97% of scientists have never read the claims of the IPCC Reports. How many people reading this article have read all the IPCC Reports, or even just one of them? If you have, it is probably the deliberately deceptive Summary for Policymakers (SPM). Even fewer will have read the Report of Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis. Naively, people, especially other scientists, assume scientists would not falsify, mislead, misrepresent, or withhold information. It is worse, because the IPCC deliberately created the false claim of consensus.

I wrote earlier about the problem of communications between groups and the general public because of the different definition of terms. Among the most damaging, especially in the public debate, is the word consensus. Exploitation of the confusion was deliberate. On 22 December 2004, RealClimate, the website created to manipulate the global warming story, provided this insight;

We’ve used the term “consensus” here a bit recently without ever really defining what we mean by it. In normal practice, there is no great need to define it – no science depends on it. But it’s useful to record the core that most scientists agree on, for public presentation. The consensus that exists is that of the IPCC reports, in particular the working group I report (there are three WG’s. By “IPCC”, people tend to mean WG I).

In other words, it is what the creators of the Reports consider a consensus. This is classic groupthink on display. One characteristic of which says they have,

“…a culture of uniformity where individuals censor themselves and others so that the facade of group unanimity is maintained.”

The source of the 97% claim in the public arena came from John Cook et al., and was published in 2013 in Environmental Research Letters. It was titled “Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature.” I acknowledge to people some of the brilliant dissections of this claim, such as Lord Monckton’s comment, “0.3% consensus, not 97.1%.” If I have time, I explain how the plan to exploit the idea of consensus was developed by the same people and corrupted science exposed in the emails leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in November 2009.

Harvard graduate, medical doctor, and world-famous science fiction writer, Michael Crichton provides an excellent riposte.

“I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.”

The attempt to deceive and divert was built into the structure, format, and procedures of the IPCC. Few people know that a major part of the deception is to identify all the problems with the science but only identify them in the Report of Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis. They know most won’t read or understand it and can easily marginalize the few who do. In 2012 I created a list of several of these acknowledgments, but only one is sufficient here to destroy the certainty of their claims about future climates. Section 14.2.2. of the Scientific Section of Third IPCC Assessment Report, (2001) titled “Predictability in a Chaotic System” says:

“The climate system is particularly challenging since it is known that components in the system are inherently chaotic; there are feedbacks that could potentially switch sign, and there are central processes that affect the system in a complicated, non-linear manner. These complex, chaotic, non-linear dynamics are an inherent aspect of the climate system.”

“In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible” (My emphasis).

This is not reported in the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) that is deliberately different. David Wojick, an IPCC expert reviewer, explained,

“What is systematically omitted from the SPM are precisely the uncertainties and positive counter evidence that might negate the human interference theory. Instead of assessing these objections, the Summary confidently asserts just those findings that support its case. In short, this is advocacy, not assessment.”

He should add, it is deliberate advocacy, as the RealClimate quote shows.

The SPM receives scant attention from the media and the public, except for the temperature predictions and then only the most extreme figure is selected. The Science Report receives even less attention, but that is by instruction because it is released months later. All of this is why I quoted German physicist and meteorologist Klaus Eckart Puls (English translation version) on the cover of both my books.

“Ten years ago, I simply parroted what the IPCC told us. One day I started checking the facts and data – first I started with a sense of doubt but then I became outraged when I discovered that much of what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements. To this day I still feel shame that as a scientist I made presentations of their science without first checking it.” “Scientifically it is sheer absurdity to think we can get a nice climate by turning a CO2 adjustment knob.”

The real challenge of the 97% consensus claim is to get more of the 97% to do what Puls did, read the Reports and find out what the IPCC did and said. They need to do it because the misuse and loss of credibility of science aren’t restricted to the climate deception. As I read and hear from all sectors of science and society, it is endemic (fake news) and potentially devastating. I think one of the most important achievements of my successful trial with Andrew Weaver was to go beyond the defamation charge, against my lawyer’s advice, and show that the misuse of science will and must elicit passionate reactions. So, next time you are confronted with the 97% oblique charge, simply ask the person if they have read any of the IPCC Reports. Just be prepared for the invective.

September 30, 2018 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | 2 Comments