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Former Spy Details Israel’s Main Motive Behind Epstein’s Sexual Blackmail Operation

MintPress speaks with Ari Ben-Menashe, a former Israeli spy who worked closely with Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine Maxwell’s father, as part of their work with Israeli military intelligence and had frequent encounters with Jeffrey Epstein.

A graphic shows Ari Ben-Menashe, left, and Jeffery Epstein, right. Credit | Claudio Cabrera
By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | December 13, 2019

MONTREAL — In recent weeks, renewed attention has been brought to the allegations that Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking and sexual blackmail operation was run on behalf of Israeli military intelligence. Those claims revolve around statements made by a former Israeli military intelligence official turned public relations consultant Ari Ben-Menashe, whose allegations regarding the Epstein scandal were reported by MintPress this past October.

Ben-Menashe’s claims related to Epstein first surfaced in an interview between Ben-Menashe and Zev Shalev of the independent news outlet, Narativ. As detailed in a MintPress summary and commentary of that interview, Ben-Menashe claimed to have seen Jeffrey Epstein in the office of Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine Maxwell’s father, several times in the 1980s.

At the time, Ben-Menashe was in close contact with Robert Maxwell regarding their work mutual work with Israeli military intelligence. Maxwell, in addition to heading a media empire and being a one-time member of U.K. parliament, was a longtime operative for Israeli intelligence, so much so that his 1991 funeral was attended by no less than six serving and former heads of Israeli intelligence as well as several high-ranking Israeli politicians and prime ministers.  

Maxwell is alleged to have recruited Jeffrey Epstein for Israeli intelligence and later introduced Epstein to Ben-Menashe and another operative, Nicholas Davies. Epstein was introduced to Ben-Menashe as having been pre-approved by leading figures in Israel’s military intelligence directorate, known as Aman.

MintPress recently conducted its own interview with Mr. Ben-Menashe as part of an ongoing investigation on the life and connections of the now-infamous Jeffrey Epstein.

Part of that interview is provided below with relevant commentary, particularly regarding claims related to the relationship between Epstein and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Epstein’s trip to Tel Aviv immediately prior to his first arrest, and the reasons for Israeli military intelligence’s interest in orchestrating and financing a major sexual blackmail operation targeting top U.S. politicians.

“Israel Requested that Epstein Target Clinton”

MintPress News first asked Ben-Menashe about Robert Maxwell, a known asset and operative for Israeli intelligence, having recruited Jeffrey Epstein. Ben-Menashe confirmed this to MintPress and also noted that, after their initial meeting, Epstein was frequently present in Maxwell’s office in London.

During the 1980s, as MintPress previously reported, Epstein claimed to have been an intelligence operative and so-called “bounty hunter” in the world of shadow finance. During this time, he was known to have developed close relationships with several British arms dealers, particularly Sir Douglas Leese. Thus, Epstein appeared to frequently be traveling between the Middle East and London, which is also supported by Epstein’s now-infamous Austrian passport which he was believed to have carried during this period of time.

Ben-Menashe told MintPress that he had not only met Epstein after Epstein had been recently recruited by Israeli military intelligence, but had seen him on several occasions thereafter as Epstein “used to be in [Robert Maxwell’s] office [in London] quite often” and would arrive there between trips to and from Israel.

In addition, Ben-Menashe revealed his understanding of why Epstein was eventually shepherded into acting as a professional sexual blackmailer on behalf of Israeli military intelligence. Per Ben-Menashe, there were concerns among Israeli intelligence figures that, following the Reagan Era, a new president would push for Israel to make peace with the Palestinians, something those officials sought to avoid by any means necessary.

ABM – Here’s the thing… Mr. Carter… as in President Carter… the Israelis feared that Mr. Clinton, when he was campaigning for President, will be a repeat of Mr. Carter. He wanted to press them for peace with the Palestinians and all that stuff. They feared… Clinton wasn’t that… but they feared he was that… And I think Mr. Epstein was sent early on to catch up with President Clinton.

MintPress News (MPN) – Well, that’s interesting because the first year Clinton was in office, Epstein was already attending donor dinners at the White House and making White House visits as well.

ABM Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. I believe his biggest client was Mr. Clinton catch, or catch, or whatever, and he had a few other congressmen and what not but Clinton was, was his biggest catch.

Thus, Ben-Menashe argues, when Bill Clinton’s candidacy in the 1992 U.S. Presidential election became clear, efforts were made to target him via sexual blackmail and Jeffrey Epstein was chosen for that purpose. Bill Clinton was eventually blackmailed by the state of Israel and his administration was also targeted by Israeli espionage as part of the “Mega” spy scandal. Epstein’s involvement in the Clinton administration and his visits to the White House date back to Clinton’s first year in office. More information on the Epstein-Clinton relationship can be found in this MintPress report.

In addition, MintPress also asked Ben-Menashe if he was aware of Ghislaine Maxwell being directly involved with her father’s intelligence-related activities prior to his death in 1991. Ben-Menashe noted that Ghislaine accompanied her father so frequently, including on a now-infamous 1989 party on Maxwell’s yacht where Donald Trump and several key figures in the PROMIS software scandal were in attendance, that she was involved in his intelligence-related activities to some extent. However, he stopped short of saying how involved she was or what she has specifically been involved in prior to her father’s death.

When did Epstein really meet Ehud Barak?

One of the more controversial ties between Epstein and powerful politicians is that between Epstein and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Barak has claimed to have only met Epstein in 2002 and, from that point on, their relationship was very public, with Barak frequently visiting and even spending the night at residences owned by Epstein, including apartments where he housed the underage girls that he exploited. Barak also visited Epstein’s now-infamous island and recruited him to help fund the Israeli intelligence-connected company, Carbyne911.

However, there appear to be indications that Epstein and Barak may have met much earlier than Barak has since claimed. Given that Ben-Menashe claimed to have learned of Epstein’s recruitment by Israeli military intelligence in the 1980s, MintPress asked if one of the people involved in his recruitment was Ehud Barak. Barak served as head of Israel’s military intelligence directorate, Aman, from April 1983 to January 1986.

Ben-Menashe could not recall the exact year when he first became aware of Epstein’s recruitment by Israeli military intelligence but stated that it was “most likely” during Ehud Barak’s tenure as the head of Aman. Yet, even if Epstein’s recruitment did not take place while Barak headed Aman, it is highly likely — per Ben-Menashe — that Epstein had met Barak during this time because “Robert Maxwell became buddies with Ehud Barak… and he [Robert Maxwell] probably introduced them, the young man [Epstein] to Mr. Barak” if the two were not already acquainted.

Since the Epstein scandal broke, Ehud Barak has insisted that he did not meet Epstein until the year 2002 and claimed that the two had been introduced by former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Ben-Menashe dismissed the possibility that this claim was true, emphatically stating that he was “sure they had met before” and that he did not believe that their first meeting was in 2002.

Epstein’s 2008 Trip to Tel Aviv

Just a few months before he was sentenced to prison for the first time in June 2008, Jeffrey Epstein had made a sudden visit to the Israeli capital of Tel Aviv. In April of that year, the Palm Beach Daily News reported that Epstein was staying at the Tel Aviv Hilton and quoted an Epstein spokesman as saying that he was “spending Passover, meeting with Israeli research scientists, and taking a tour of military bases.”

Sometime prior to Epstein’s sentencing on June 30 of that year, Alexander Acosta –then-U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida– signed off on a lenient sentence for Epstein who was charged with soliciting sex from a minor. That legal arrangement has since been nicknamed the “sweetheart deal.” Acosta later told Trump transition officials prior to his nomination for Secretary of Labor that his decision to approve the “sweetheart deal” came after he had been told to back off in the Epstein case because Epstein “belonged to intelligence.”

Though Acosta did not specify from whom he had received this information, former CIA agent Phil Giraldi has made a convincing case that they originated from Epstein’s then-lawyer Alan Dershowitz, a close associate of Epstein with ties to high-ranking Israeli politicians, and Barry Krischer, then-Florida State Attorney for Palm Beach who recently received an award from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for his “outstanding contribution to the legal profession and to the community at large.”

As detailed in a previous MintPress report on Epstein’s ties to Israel published this past August, the ADL’s long-time top funders have close ties to Epstein and his sexual blackmail network, particularly the Bronfman family of Seagrams fame.

Ben-Menashe told MintPress that Epstein’s 2008 Tel Aviv visit was likely “blowing smoke” and involved Epstein “trying to make himself important maybe not to get arrested” and “hoping that the Israelis would help him.” He then added that “At the time they probably did” help Epstein, but added that “the second time around [i.e. 2019], well… it would be a harder sell.”

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

 

December 13, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , | 3 Comments

Will Pelosi have the Votes to Impeach?

By Renée Parsons | OffGuardian | December 13, 2019

Despite an inadequate performance last week by Constitutional law experts before the House Judiciary Committee, Chair Jerrold Nadler released a unilateral committee report on Saturday entitled “Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment.” The Report came the day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s press conference in which she directed the formation of Articles of Impeachment.

As has become apparent to any objective observer; that is one who prefers facts over fiction, the Democrats remain locked in an imaginary world struggling to maintain relevance, a stature of standing that no longer exists.

Presumably with no Quid Pro Quo, no allegation of criminal conduct, no legally substantial evidence or factual basis and no bipartisan support, in defiance of previous impeachment norms, the Democrats are hell bent on making public jackasses out of themselves.

In a hearing with Constitutional legal experts expected to score big legal points in support of impeachment, the witnesses instead turned out to be smug, hyper partisan activists as they were consistently unpersuasive and unimpressive.

All three displayed not a wit of objectivity or neutrality while touting their own personal political agenda with a foreign policy ax to grind, leaving the unmistakable impression that their testimonies were nothing short of conflated.

Condescending as if pontificating to a class of mediocre law students, Professor Noah Feldman had suggested in 2017 that Presidential tweets could be grounds for impeachment, indicative of the depth of his thinking as he repeatedly impressed himself with his own rhetoric.

Professor Pamela Karlan opened with a shrillness that grew into a hyperbole spewing divisiveness among the American people and went on to revisit the Russiagate and foreign electoral influence myth ad nauseam. Those dim witted Democrats on the committee repeated the mantra as if held in a spellbound trance whenever “Russiagate” was mentioned. There was no mention of Israel interference in US elections.  Testimony of Professor Michael Gerhardt.

Stating that he had not voted for Trump in 2016, GWU Law Professor Jonathan Turley who is a registered Democrat (as is yours truly) opened with a brilliant statement as he set the tone for an extraordinarily compelling testimony throughout the day, carefully explaining to the Democrats why they had not met a credible legal threshold for impeachment.

Factually concise with rational, impartial explanations, Turley effectively disputed Democratic claims that an abuse of power stemming from a presumed effort to help one’s own re-election is “inferred” and does not constitute proof of intent or direct knowledge of what was in the President’s mind.

However, it did not appear that any of the Democrats had the acute sensibility to understand Turley’s point as there is an edge of lunacy to the collective Democratic mind these days.

What the Democrats fail to grasp is the double-standard that every politician makes decisions based on what is best for their reelection just as the Dems are hoping to benefit electorally in 2020 with the farcical impeachment.

After his testimony, Mr. Turley tweeted. “Before I finished my testimony, my home and office were inundated with (death) threatening messages and demands that I be fired from GW.

While it was surprising that there was no Democratic Star on either the Intel or Judiciary Committees who stepped forward to make a credible, cogent case for impeachment,  it was somewhat surprising that the Republicans had an energetic array of participating Members not limited to Intel ranking member Devin Nunes (Calif), Judiciary ranking minority Rep. Doug Collins (NC), Rep. Jim Jordan (Oh), Rep. John Ratcliffe (Texas) and Rep. Mark Gaetz (R-Fla) all of whom can be expected to continue their Bulldog approach as the Committee begins preparing Articles of Impeachment.

For instance, Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala) asked the defining question regarding the purpose of the hearing with “no fact witnesses” via a process that has been “insufficient, unprecedented and grossly inadequate.” Roby pointed out that the Dems had apparently not considered: that a constitutional law panel should come “only after specific charges have been made known and underlying facts presented in full due to an exhaustive investigation. How does anyone expect a panel of law professors to weigh in on legal grounds for impeachment prior to knowing what the grounds brought by this Committee are going to be?

At her news conference the day after the Judiciary committee hearing, Pelosi was asked by a reporter “Do you hate President Trump?” Pelosi responded with a shaky false piety as if she knows the votes are not there:

We don’t hate anybody. Not anybody in the World. And as a Catholic, I resent your using the word ‘hate’ in a sentence that addresses me. I don’t hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is full – a heart full of love and always pray for the president, And I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time, So don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that.

It is a curiosity that with the 2020 election a scant twelve months away, the Democrats have not made the case for the urgency of why impeachment needs to occur right now, immediately, before the Christmas holidays when the Spirit of Good Cheer, Universal Love and Peace for all Americans should take precedence over the Democrat’s divisive animosity, pitting one American against another.

In 2018, thirty-one new Democrats were elected to the House; predominately from districts that voted for Trump in 2016 assuring a tough 2020 re-election campaign.

Let’s assume that every one of those 31 newbies have been paying very close attention to the Intel and Judiciary committee hearings with two questions in mind:

Is there sufficient legal evidence to convince my constituents to support Articles of Impeachment and is this flawed impeachment campaign worth losing my seat in Congress?

Did any of those 31 notice when the Constitutional law experts were asked by Rep. Matt Gaetz “Can you identify one single material fact in the Schiff Report? – all four remained silent.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-0SC) has already indicated that he does not intend to ‘whip’ the Dems in preparation for an Impeachment vote on the House floor and that the Dems “expect to lose some votes.”

Let’s do the math: With 233 Dems and 197 Republicans, if 18 of the 31 House newbies do not vote to impeach, the Democratic Motion to approve Articles of Impeachment will fail with a tie of 215 votes. Whether the Dems lose 18 votes or less, the damage will be irreversible.

As the Democratic party appears to have lost whatever is left of its sanity and integrity, the question remains why are the Democrats willing to sacrifice losing some of those 31 House seats in 2020?

December 13, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | | Leave a comment

UN General Assembly Adopts Five Russian Resolutions Aimed at Disarmament, Global Security

Sputnik – 13.12.2019

UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations General Assembly voted in favour of five draft resolutions addressing arms control, disarmament and international security earlier submitted by Russia at the UN’s First Committee.

Three of the documents adopted late Thursday tackle the issue of avoiding a conflict in the space are dubbed “Transparency and Confidence-building Measures in Outer Space Activities”, “Further Practical Measures for the Prevention of an Arms race in Outer Space” and “No First Placement of Weapons in Outer Space. The other two drafts address preserving existing armed control treaties and strengthening information security.

The first resolution encourages countries “to continue to review and implement to the greatest extent practicable, the proposed transparency and confidence-building measures contained in the report, through the relevant national mechanisms, on a voluntary basis and in a manner consistent with the national interests”.

The text of the second resolution urges the international community to continue undertaking efforts to maintain peace and improve security in the world and avoid conflict in space.

The third document asks all states, “especially spacefaring nations, to consider the possibility of upholding, as appropriate, a political commitment not to be the first to place weapons in outer space”.

The resolution dubbed “Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security” expresses concern that some countries develop information and communications technologies (ICT) for military purposes and the probability of using ICT in future conflicts is growing.

It also welcomes the launch of the UN open-ended working group on developments in the ICT field in the context of international security negotiations, as well as the group of governmental experts on developments in the ICT field in the context of global security.

The document titled “Strengthening and Developing the System of Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-proliferation Treaties and Agreements” calls on all states parties to arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation treaties to implement such agreements in their entirety and continue efforts to strengthen the system of arms control to preserve global stability, peace and security.

December 13, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

New sanctions to ban humanitarian trade with Iran: US Treasury

Press TV | December 13, 2019

The US Treasury Department has stressed that Washington’s newly announced sanctions targeting Iran’s air and maritime transport industries will lead to the restriction of trade related to humanitarian goods.

“US persons will be prohibited from engaging in transactions involving Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) or E-Sail, including transactions for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices,” the Treasury’s guidelines on Iran sanctions read.

“In addition, non-US persons that knowingly engage in certain transactions with IRISL or E-Sail, even for the sale to Iran of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices, risk exposure to sanctions under additional authorities,” it added.


Screenshot showing a segment of the US Treasury Department’s guidelines on Washington’s new sanctions against Iran announced on December 11, 2019.

The announcement comes after the Trump administration announced Wednesday that it was targeting IRISL and Iran’s major airline, Mahan Air, over baseless allegations of Tehran supporting “terrorists” in the region.

The Wednesday order put IRISL and Mahan under US presidential Executive Order (EO) 13382, which allegedly targets “weapons of mass destruction proliferators”.

The Treasury’s guidelines on the new sanctions stressed that entities put under EQ 13382 would not be eligible for any humanitarian sanction exceptions.

The statement comes despite Washington’s claim that its sanctions do not affect Iran’s access to humanitarian goods.

US officials have, nonetheless, signaled on numerous occasions that Washington’s sanctions seek to harm Iran’s general population in a bid to force Tehran to accept Washington’s dictates.

Earlier this year, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Tehran had to listen to Washington “if they want their people to eat”.

The new bans mark the latest round of Washington’s wide sweeping sanctions against the country after the US government unilaterally pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions lifted under the deal last year.

Speaking on Thursday, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook boasted that US sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector have led to more than $50 billion in revenue losses, have hindered Iran’s refined-oil products and have undermined foreign investment.

“Both upstream and downstream investments in Iran’s oil and gas sector have stopped,” Hook said.

“Foreign investors have almost entirely pulled out of Iran due to the risks and billions in investment has been lost,” he added.

Hook said that the wide sweeping oil sanctions seek to force Iran to negotiate with the US, a demand which Iranian officials have firmly rejected as long as Washington fails to uphold the previously negotiated nuclear deal agreement.

US-backed figure claims Iranians ‘understand’ Trump

Following Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, the US has since adopted a policy of “maximum pressure” against Tehran, coupling sanctions with stepped up regional provocations and military deployments aimed at Iran.

The US has also sought to provoke internal unrest in the country by supporting various destabilizing elements targeting the country, such as the terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) and violent separatist groups.

According to observers, Reza Pahlavi, son of deposed Iranian king Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, is one of the main figureheads being “groomed” by Washington as part of its campaign to destabilize Iran amid recent foreign-backed riots in Iran.

In recent remarks to the US-based magazine Newsweek, Pahlavi expressed his support for Trump’s aggressive policies targeting the Iranian economy and called for stepped-up western intervention in Iran.

He also claimed that the Iranian people “understand and appreciate” the US-imposed sanctions and believe that the Iranian government is to blame for the “maximum pressure” targeting Iran.

Pahlavi’s remarks come despite numerous studies indicating that Iranian resentment against Washington has largely increased amid the US’ wide sweeping sanctions.

A recent study published by the University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) and the Toronto-based IranPolls shows that an overwhelming 86 percent of Iranians despise US policies.

The study’s results come despite stepped-up efforts by foreign media outlets to stir unrest in Iran and promote anti-government sentiment amid tightening US sanctions crippling the country’s economy.

December 13, 2019 Posted by | Economics, War Crimes | , | 2 Comments

Washington’s Proposed New Sanctions Against Turkey also Aimed Against Russia

By Paul Antonopoulos | December 13, 2019

With the world fixated on Turkish actions against Syria, Greece and Libya at the moment, the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Senate of the United States Congress approved a bill, “Promoting American  National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act,” spearheaded and thoroughly promoted by staunch anti-Syria/Venezuela/Iran/Russia Democratic Senator Robert Menendez who celebrated the bills passing on his Twitter. The Republican-led Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 18-4 to send the bill for a vote in the full Senate.

The approval of the bill was widely reported in the mainstream media as an “anti-Turkey bill.” Senator Jim Risch, the panel’s Republican chairman, a fellow endorser of the bill with Menendez, said that the approval of this bill is because of the “drift by this country, Turkey, to go in an entirely different direction than what they have in the past. They’ve thumbed their nose at us, and they’ve thumbed their nose at their other NATO allies.”

According to the draft bill, the Turkish acquisition of the powerful S-400 missile defense system gives grounds to impose sanctions against this country, under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). In particular, the document restricts the sale of U.S. weapons to Turkey and imposes sanctions on Turkish officials responsible for supplying weapons towards their illegal military operation in Syria.

Turkey signed in December 2017 the first contract with Russia for the purchase of the S-400 for a value of $2.5 billion, which caused tension in relations between Ankara and Washington. The U.S. demanded that Ankara renounce that transaction and buy U.S. Patriot systems, and threatened to delay or cancel the sale of the F-35 fighters to Turkey. Ankara refused to make concessions and assured that its purpose of acquiring Russian systems remains firm.

What was missed, perhaps intentionally by the majority of the mainstream media is that this bill has a heavy anti-Russian/Syrian component to it. Although not as detailed and expansive as the Turkish section of the bill, it claims that “the Russian Federation and Iran continue to exploit a security vacuum in Syria and continue to pose a threat to vital United States national security interests,” without explaining what these security interests are, exactly as we have become accustomed to.

According to the bill, there will be a “list of each Russian person that, on or after such date of enactment, knowingly exports, transfers, or otherwise provides to Syria significant financial, material, or technological support that contributes materially to the ability of the Government of Syria to acquire defense articles, defense services, and related information.” Although the bill has not said which specific Russians, the nature of the bill means that there will be inevitable sanctions against Russia as it is a top weapon exporter to Syria, which will unlikely change despite of the new sanctions. Those in the eventual sanction list will face an American blacklist, which means a ban on entry, freezing of assets in the United States, a ban on doing business with this person for American citizens or companies. At the same time, the bill allows that the US President can consider each case separately and refuse to impose sanctions.

These proposed new sanctions that will have to pass the House of Representatives, which passed its own anti-Turkish sanctions bill by an overwhelming 403-16 vote in October, is part of a wider effort for the U.S. to keep pressurizing Russia’s economy. On December 9, the committees of both chambers of the U.S. Congress previously agreed on the military budget for 2020, which includes restrictions against the Nord Stream 2 and Turk Stream pipelines to bring Russian energy to Europe, infrastructures designed to raise Europe’s energy security. The U.S. bill that provides sanctions against companies participating in the laying of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline aims to obtain unilateral advantages in the gas area to the detriment of the interests of the countries of Europe. This prompted the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Russian-German Foreign Chamber of Commerce, Matthias Schepp, to explain that the new measures against Nord Stream 2 affect not only Russia, but, above all, European companies and Germany’s energy interests.

Washington is frustrated that European energy policy is decided in Europe, not in the U.S., which calls into question the cooperation between the U.S. and Europe. It is a very risky measure and Europe would need to have a blunt attitude of rejection of these measures imposed by the U.S., because its own economy is at risk.

Effectively, the “Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act,” which strangely targets Russia who had a greater role than the U.S. in defeating ISIS terrorists, is just another way for Washington to warn other countries not to buy the S-400 or Russian military equipment or engage in energy diplomacy with Moscow. It is unlikely that this will deter states from conducting arms and energy deals with Russia as Moscow has been pioneering anti-sanction measures to protect financial transactions without punishment, and rather it demonstrates a Washington that is becoming increasingly desperate in the Era of Multipolarity.

Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies.

December 13, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 1 Comment

UK election – victory for English Nationalism under the banner of Brexit

By Johanna Ross | December 13, 2019

Overnight the electoral map of the UK has changed significantly. Scotland is once again bathed in a sea of yellow, as England has been shrouded in blue. With the Scottish National Party obtaining 45% of the vote north of the border, and the Conservatives only 25% it is clear not only is there no mandate for Brexit in Scotland, but as leader Nicola Sturgeon has said, there is now very much a mandate for holding a second referendum on Scottish Independence.

England, on the other hand has put its support resoundingly behind Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his mantra of ‘Get Brexit Done’. With a remarkable 364 seats, as opposed to Labour’s 203 – its worst performance since 1935 – he proclaimed that a ‘political earthquake’ had occurred and that he would end all the squabbling of the last few years he would take the country out of the EU ‘no ifs and no buts’. This was a message that appealed to the majority, clearly sickened by the deadlock of Brexit. Despite the radical spending programme proposed by the Labour party, this election ended up being, as it was promoted, all about Brexit.

And this takes us to the broader context of what is in fact happening in the UK. Indeed, it’s important to see this election in the wider European political landscape. This was not just a Conservative party win, but a victory for nationalism. Not just Scottish Nationalism, but English Nationalism under the banner of Brexit, and Welsh and Irish Nationalism. For the first time ever, Northern Ireland elected more Nationalist MPs than Unionist, in what was also, like Scotland, an anti-Brexit vote, which will spur on more talk of Irish reunification. Welsh Nationalist party Plaid Cymru also held on to its four seats in Wales.

So while it may be portrayed as a landslide victory for the Conservatives, this election more than ever has shown up the cracks forming in the Union. Scottish Nationalism appears to be on an irreversible path to independence, with the question now being not if there will be a referendum on independence, but when. The strong Remain vote up north has only boosted the case for leaving the UK, as Scotland places more importance on being part of Europe, than being part of Britain. England, for its part, has clearly put more emphasis on being out of Europe, than it has on retaining the Union.

Indeed, looking at the western world in general, the popularity of nationalist and right-wing parties is undisputedly on the rise. The AfD in Germany, the National Front in France or Vox in Spain – these parties are all gaining popularity, just as Trump has in the US. And together with Johnson’s Conservatism, they all have something in common, that ‘populist’ appeal that really gets its message across. For regardless of their party leaders’ sins (Boris Johnson has been repeatedly been lambasted as a liar, racist, and misogynist), they have not been enough to deter voters, for whom clearly the nation state is what matters most.

There’s no doubt that Brexit has been a shock for the EU. Arguably Britain had always been a hesitant member, refusing to join the Euro, or join the Schengen zone (which allows borderless travel between states); it never quite developed that European mindset. But the Brexit vote took EU politicians by surprise, sending shockwaves across a Union already under pressure from Eurosceptic parties. They will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief in Brussels that the Brexit stalemate will now be broken with Boris Johnson’s parliamentary majority – finally a deal can be passed – but the reality that one of their major players finally leaving must be making them nervous.

Boris Johnson put faith in the people, and the gamble paid off. But whether he appreciates the real seismic consequences of this ‘political earthquake’ is another question. For cracks are not only emerging between Britain and Europe, but across the United Kingdom itself. It’s the price to be paid for Brexit.

Johanna Ross is a journalist based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

December 13, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , | 2 Comments