Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

No More Air Travel is What Net Zero Means

By Harry Wilkinson – GWPF – 27/02/20

No-one can be surprised at the judges’ decision to block a third runway at Heathrow. Collectively, the country has failed to grasp the implications of deep decarbonisation.

Many people will regard the decision to block a third runway at Heathrow as an unwelcome intrusion of judges into our democratic system. They will be bemused that those judges cited the Paris Agreement to justify their decision, when one can hardly see China*, or indeed any other signatory to the Paris Agreement, blocking vital airport expansion because of that same treaty.

But to blame the judges is to miss the point. All they have done is to take the commitments of that accord and the Government’s pledge to achieve net zero emissions at face value. It is simply a matter of fact that such expansion cannot be reconciled with reducing our emissions, at least in the short term. This is what net zero means. It means to abandon the pursuit of growth, the pursuit of new opportunities, of new trading links, of progress and resign the country to a new era of eco austerity. Today brings that decision, and the government’s shameful failure to be upfront about its implications, into sharp focus.

When the Paris Agreement was signed it was heralded as an extraordinary moment in the fight against climate change. Green journalists parroted this view, useful as it was to the politicians and activists desperate to show that some progress had been made. Those familiar with the details could see that all it really did was to confirm countries’ existing plans. China, India, and other developing countries were allowed to continue increasing their emissions, and the EU reaffirmed its own emissions targets. America’s inclusion was more significant, but it wasn’t long until Trump announced his intention to withdraw.

The end result is to leave Britain uniquely vulnerable to the economic consequences of rapid decarbonisation policies. While the more cautious approach of Eastern European countries will act as brake for the EU, Britain is faced with a fundamental political choice as it leaves. It can choose to embrace the free market and technological progress, which will lead to the more efficient use of resources and indeed come to reduce the consumption of almost every natural resource. Or it can continue with an opportunity-destroying, insular and unilateral approach of state-mandated decarbonisation in one country. Time to choose.

*China, by the way, is planning to build 216 new airports by 2035.

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment

GOVERNMENT WANTS TO BAN EVERYTHING! – #NewWorldNextWeek

Corbett • 02/27/2020

Welcome to New World Next Week — the video series from Corbett Report and Media Monarchy that covers some of the most important developments in open source intelligence news. This week:

Watch this video on BitChute / Minds.com / YouTube or Download the mp4

Story #1: Posting Anti-Vaccine Propaganda on Social Media Could Become Criminal Offence

Zero Hedge Suspended On Twitter

Outrage as YouTube Reportedly Blocks History Teachers Uploading Hitler Archive Clips

UK Police Deny Responsibility for Poster Urging Parents to Report Kids for Using Linux

Story #2: UNESCO Claims Climate Denial To Be Criminalized And Prosecuted

Jerome Ravetz on The Corbett Report

Story #3: Foreign Interference In Elections Is Unacceptable. Congress Must Make It Illegal.

You can help support our independent and non-commercial work by visiting http://CorbettReport.com/Support & http://MediaMonarchy.com/Join. Thank You.

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | | Leave a comment

Washington Post Admits OAS Bolivia Election Report It Defended During Coup Was ‘Deeply Flawed’

By Morgan Artyukhina | Sputnik | February 27, 2020

The Washington Post reported Thursday on a study concluding the Organization of American States’ claims of voter fraud in the October 2019 Bolivian election “appear deeply flawed.” However, the paper’s editorial board consistently pushed the narrative that Evo Morales was “undermin[ing] Bolivia’s democracy” during the crisis leading to his ouster.

‘Deeply Flawed’ Conclusions

“Bolivia dismissed its October elections as fraudulent. Our research found no reason to suspect fraud,” reads a Thursday headline in the Washington Post’s analysis section. Penned by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Election Data and Science Lab researchers John Curiel and Jack R. Williams, the piece based on their study closely examines data from the October 20 Bolivian election and methods used by the Organization of American States (OAS) to determine the vote count had been fraudulent.

“There is not any statistical evidence of fraud that we can find – the trends in the preliminary count, the lack of any big jump in support for Morales after the halt, and the size of Morales’s margin all appear legitimate,” the duo concluded. “All in all, the OAS’s statistical analysis and conclusions would appear deeply flawed.”

MIT Graph showing Morales’ Movement for Socialism steadily gained ground as votes were tallied, explaining Evo Morales’ late victory

According to the researchers, the OAS’ conclusion relies on an undemonstrated assumption: that actual voting results are accurately reflected by unofficial counts and by reported voter preferences, and that deviation between these heavily points to voter fraud by the Bolivian government once official counting was resumed the day after election day. La Paz had previously promised to count four-fifths of preliminary votes on election night and count the rest the next day, but when Morales’ standing began to improve after the resumption of counting, the OAS cried foul.

“Our results were straightforward. There does not seem to be a statistically significant difference in the margin before and after the halt of the preliminary vote,” Curiel and Williams wrote. “Instead, it is highly likely that Morales surpassed the 10-percentage-point margin in the first round.”

MIT Graph showing correlation margin of voting precincts’ results before and after tallying was paused, demonstrating no new irregularities

The researchers ran 1,000 simulations to see if the difference between votes for Morales and his closest competitor, Carlos Masa, could be predicted. “In our simulations, we found that Morales could expect at least a 10.49 point lead over his closest competitor, above the necessary 10-percentage-point threshold necessary to win outright. Again, this suggests that any increase in Morales’s margin after the stop can be explained entirely by the votes already counted.”

MIT Graph showing Evo Morales’ margin of victory in 1,000 simulations of the October 20, 2019 Bolivian election

The study was reprinted by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), which noted in a disclosure that it “contracted with the authors to see if the numerical and statistical results of CEPR’s November 2019 study could be independently verified. Any analysis and interpretation of findings in this report express the sole views of the authors, researchers at MIT Election Data and Science Lab.”

“The OAS greatly misled the media and the public about what happened in Bolivia’s elections, and helped to foster a great deal of mistrust in the electoral process and the results,” economist and CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot said in a Thursday statement about the MIT report. “The OAS needs to explain why it made these statements and why anyone should trust it when it comes to elections.”

Parallel Findings Prior to Coup Ignored

However, at the time of the crisis, Washington Post editors seemed uninterested in CEPR’s analysis, deferring instead to the OAS, whose faults CEPR had already seen through even before Morales was ousted.

The day after the OAS statement and two days after the election, Weisbrot called on the body to retract its “irresponsible” statement on the election.

“The OAS statement implies that there is something wrong with the vote count in Bolivia because later-reporting voting centers showed a different margin than earlier ones,” Weisbrot said. “But it provides absolutely no evidence – no statistics, numbers, or facts of any kind – to support this idea. And in fact, a preliminary analysis of the voting data at all of the more than 34,000 voting tables – which is all publicly available and can be downloaded by anyone – shows no evidence of irregularity.”

“This kind of change in voting results, due to later-reporting areas being politically or demographically different than earlier ones, is quite common in election returns – as anyone who has watched election returns come in on CNN in the United States knows,” Weisbrot continued. “That is why it is wrong to draw conclusions from a change in the voting pattern without any statistical analysis or even looking closely at the data.”

“As this narrative gets repeated in the media, it will take on a life of its own, and will be difficult to correct, even as more people look at the data, or produce statistical analysis,” he warned.

CEPR’s formal report was published on November 8, titled, “No Evidence That Bolivian Election Results Were Affected by Irregularities or Fraud, Statistical Analysis Shows.” Two days later, opposition forces, urged on by supportive western powers including the United States, forced Morales from office, and the opposition and began a violent and bloody purge against the Movement for Socialism–Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples (MAS-IPSP), Morales’ indigenous-working class umbrella party.

Newspaper Beat Coup Drums During Crisis

As Weisbrot predicted, the media did perpetuate this narrative – and the Washington Post played a key role in building momentum for Morales’ ouster.

On October 14, six days before the election, the Post ran a story titled “How Evo Morales running again – and again – undermines Bolivia’s democracy,” which warned that “depending on how the election goes,” Morales’ next term “could place democracy itself at risk in the Andean country.”

“In a tight race, international scrutiny and a strong, unified response to any electoral irregularities could be what allows Bolivians to salvage their democracy from the brink,” the opinion piece warns.

​However, four days after the election, on October 24, the Washington Post’s editorial board made its official voice known, declaring that “There’s still time for Bolivia’s president to right the path to democracy.” The article justifies its position using the OAS La Paz observer statement from October 21 and a similar one by the US State Department, which was adamantly pro-coup.

Then on November 10, the coup came, and Morales was forced to resign and flee the country. After pro-opposition police forces and far-right militias acted to block MAS senators from attending a key Senate session on November 12, the highest-ranking opposition senator, Jeanine Añez, declared herself the country’s interim president. Añez moved quickly to prepare de facto martial law, and the army and police massacred dozens of Morales supporters who rallied against the seizure of power.

A backer of former President Evo Morales scuffles with police in La Paz, Bolivia, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. The opposition senator who has claimed Bolivia's presidency Jeanine Anez, faces the challenge of stabilizing the nation and organizing national elections within three months at a time of political disputes that pushed Morales to fly off to self-exile in Mexico after 14 years in power. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
© AP Photo / Natacha Pisarenko A backer of former President Evo Morales scuffles with police in La Paz, Bolivia, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019.

The opposition senator who has claimed Bolivia’s presidency, Jeanine Anez, faces the challenge of stabilizing the nation and organizing national elections within three months at a time of political disputes that pushed Morales to fly off to self-exile in Mexico after 14 years in power.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, built a bulwark of pro-coup support for its readers in the nation’s capital and around the world. On November 11, during the interregnum, the Post’s editorial board once again made its voice heard: “Bolivia is in danger of slipping into anarchy. It’s Evo Morales’s fault.”

“Mr. Morales, who had grown increasingly autocratic in nearly 14 years in office, insisted on running for a fourth term even after he lost a national referendum on whether he could seek it. The electoral tribunal, which he controls, then moved to falsify the results of the Oct. 20 vote so as to hand him a first-round victory,” the paper’s editors wrote, stating as fact what had previously been merely warned to be suspected. “The result was predictable: Angry Bolivians took to the streets all over the country. They had been demonstrating for weeks when, on Sunday, an audit released by the Organization of American States reported massive irregularities in the vote count and called for a fresh election.”

Two days later, the day after Añez seized power, the Post ran another story by the title “It’s not just a ‘coup’: Bolivia’s democracy is in meltdown.” Then on the 15th came the laconically titled piece, “The Bolivian ‘coup’ that wasn’t.” While the two stories quibble over what to call the opposition’s seizure of power, the underlying point is the same: Morales tried to steal the election and went against world opinion and domestic popular will by clinging to power.

With the publication of Curiel’s and Williams’ findings, the Post has helped to unring the bell it shook so hard during the election crisis. However, it doesn’t change the fact that the paper helped provide ideological cover for the ouster of yet another democratically elected leader in a Third World nation by uncritically accepting and repeating the US State Department’s positions and those of international bodies like the OAS that help forward its policies.

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Crickets! Finland’s Insect Food Boom Goes Bust

Grilled maggots for human consumption

Swedish ‘Sustainable Food’ Project Teaches Kids to Eat Insects, Garbage © CC BY-SA 3.0 / Guttorm Flatabø / Grilled maggots for human consumption
Sputnik – February 27, 2020

Despite the media’s preoccupation with insect food and massive campaigns touting crickets and larvae as a sustainable and climate-responsible alternative to meat, the excitement has waned in a matter of several years, the Finnish broadcaster Yle reported, concluding that Finns are “not yet ready to eat crickets”.

Finland’s cricket breeding business took off in September 2017, when the country’s Ministry of Agriculture allowed breeding and selling insects as food, a decision made possible by a revision of the EU’s food standards.

After that the number of insect breeding facilities spiked, as revenues in the billions of euros were predicted. In 2018, Europe’s largest cricket farm emerged in Loviisa, which began to produce hundreds of tonnes of insect powder.

However, in the following years, the buzz subsided, and insect breeders suffered major setbacks amid dwindling demand and stiff competition.

According Lauri Jyllilä of the Finsect company, which promotes insect food, there were over 70 companies in the insect food business at the peak of the enthusiasm. Now, there are about 50 left, with no new companies being founded.

The price of frozen crickets reached as much as 100 euros per kilogram, Jyllilä explained, which was way too expensive even for sympathetic and ecologically-minded consumers.

“The cost of freshly frozen crickets should be 10-15 euros per kilogram”, Jyllilä ventured.

Kurikka resident Panu Ollikkala, one of Finland’s first cricket breeding specialists, dropped out of the competition in the autumn of 2019.

“Demand was inadequate. The price has fallen so much that my business didn’t pay off”, a despondent Olikkala mused.

The Kouvola farm, touted as Europe’s largest, followed suit. Entrepreneur Vesa-Matti Rajamäki admitted that he no longer believed in the success of cricket production. Numerous unsuccessful insect breeders complained that the massive support of the traditional meat industry makes competition virtually impossible.

“A lot of beautiful words were said about the insect business. Many farms were opened, and bank loans were taken” cricket farm owners Kirsi and Jouko Siikoine said. They intend to close down their business in March 2020. “The onterest in eating insects and the insect processing sector has plummeted”, the couple explained.

In the city of Kurikka, which is now considered the centre of insect production, crickets are still being bred, but a downward trend is visible.

“This is a sort of cricket breeding bank, thanks to which you can quickly restore your production if you want”, Jyllilä explained.

The University of Turku, the Finnish Institute of Natural Resources, and the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency ran a project named “Insects in the food chain” and concluded that the main difficulty is getting the approval of bulk consumers. Even people who opt out of meat for the sake of the carbon footprint or perceived health benefits largely prefer vegetable sources of protein.

Crickets are often grounded into powder and added to bread, protein bars and chocolate. However, after large-scale promotion, many products gradually left the market.

The main selling point of the bug diet is the reduced environmental footprint. According to Finnish insect producers, a single kilogram of crickets only requires a single litre of water, as opposed to 2,500 litres for a kilogram of rice and a whopping 15,400 litres for a kilogram of beef. Insect food is also claimed to be rich in protein.

Many are still averse to eating insects for reasons of ideology and aesthetics. This opposition has resulted in a common web mantra: “I will not eat bugs and I will not live a pod”.

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment

Don’t Hold Your Breath for ‘World War III’: World War IV Has Already Begun

By A. B. Abrams | The Saker Blog | February 27, 2020

“A. B. Abrams is the author of the book ‘Power and Primacy: A History of Western Intervention in the Asia-Pacific.’ His second book covering the history of the United States’ conflict with North Korea is scheduled for publication in 2020.

He is proficient in Chinese, Korean and other East Asian languages, has published widely on defence and politics related subjects under various pseudonyms, and holds two related Masters degrees from the University of London.”


The world today finds itself in a period of renewed great power conflict, pitting the Western Bloc led by the United States against four ‘Great Power adversaries’ – as they are referred to by Western defence planners – namely China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. This conflict has over the past 15 years escalated to encompass the military, economic and information spheres with global consequences – and appears to be coming to a head as signs of peaking tensions appear in multiple fields from military deployments and arms races to harsh economic wars and a harsher still information war.

While the term ‘World War III’ has been common since the 1940s, referring to the possibility of a global great power war on a greater scale than the first and second world wars, the Cold War between the Western and Soviet Blocs was at its height as total, as global and as heated as the prior conflicts. As weapons technology has evolved, the viability of a direct shooting war has diminished considerably – forcing major powers to seek alternative means to engineer their adversaries’ capitulation and assert their own dominance. This has been reflected in how the Cold War, and the current phase of global conflict some refer to as ‘Cold War 2’ have been distinct from the first two world wars despite the final objectives of the parties involved sharing many similarities. I would thus suggest redefining what a ‘world war’ is and acknowledging that this current phase of global conflict is every part as intense as the great power ‘hot wars’ waged in the first half of the 20th century.

Had the intercontinental range ballistic missile and the miniaturised nuclear warhead been invented twenty years earlier, the Allied Powers may have needed to rely more heavily on economic and information warfare to contain and eventually neutralise Nazi Germany. The Second World War would have been very different in nature to reflect the technologies of the time. When viewed from this paradigm, the Cold War can be seen as a ‘Third World War’ – a total conflict more vast, comprehensive and international than its predecessors stretched out over more than 40 years. The current conflict, or ‘World War IV,’ is ongoing. An assessment of prior ‘great power wars,’ and the unique nature of the current conflict, can provide some valuable insight into how warfare is evolving and the likely determinants of its victors.

As of 2020 it is clear that great power conflict has become almost as heated as it can short of an all-out hot war – with the Western Bloc applying maximum pressure on the information, military and economic fronts to undermine not only smaller adversaries such as Venezuela and Syria and medium sized ones such as North Korea and Iran, but also China and Russia. When exactly this phase of conflict began – sometime after the Cold War’s end – remains uncertain.

The interval between the third and fourth ‘world wars’ was considerably longer than that between the second and the third. This was due to a number of factors – primarily that there was no immediate and obvious adversary for the victorious Western Bloc to target once the Soviet Union had been vanquished. Post-Soviet Russia was a shade of a shadow of its former self. Under the administration of Boris Yeltsin the country’s economy contracted an astonishing 45% in just five years from 1992 (1) leading to millions of deaths and a plummet in living standards. Over 500,000 women and young girls of the former USSR were trafficked to the West and the Middle East – often as sex slaves (2), drug addiction increased by 900 percent, the suicide rate doubled, HIV became a nationwide epidemic (3) corruption was rampant, and the country’s defence sector saw its major weapons programs critical to maintaining parity with the West delayed or terminated due to deep budget cuts (4). The possibility of a further partition of the state, as attested to multiple times by high level officials, was very real along the lines of the Yugoslav model (5).

Beyond Russia, China’s Communist Party in the Cold War’s aftermath went to considerable lengths to avoid tensions with the Western world – including a very cautious exercise of their veto power at the United Nations which facilitated Western led military action against Iraq (6). The country was integrating itself into the Western centred global economy and continuing to emphasis the peaceful nature of its economic rise and understate its growing strength. Western scholarship at the time continued to report with near certainty that internal change, a shift towards a Western style political system and the collapse of party rule was inevitable. The subsequent infiltration and westernisation was expected to neuter China as a challenger to Western primacy – as it has other Western client states across the world. China’s ability to wage a conventional war against even Taiwan was in serious doubt at the time, and though its military made considerable strides with the support of a growing defence budget and massive transfers of Soviet technologies from cash strapped successor states, it was very far from a near peer power.

North Korea did come under considerable military pressure for failing to follow what was widely referred to as the ‘tide of history’ in the West at the time – collapse and westernisation of the former Communist world. Widely portrayed in the early 1990s as ‘another Iraq’ (7), Western media initially appeared to be going to considerable lengths to prepare the public for a military campaign to end the Korean War and impose a new government north of the 38th parallel (8). Significant military assets were shifted to Northeast Asia specifically to target the country during the 1990s, and the Bill Clinton administration came close to launching military action on multiple occasions – most notably in June 1994. Ultimately a combination of resolve, a formidable missile deterrent, a limited but ambiguous nuclear capability, and perhaps most importantly Western certainty that the state would inevitably collapse on its own under sustained economic and military pressure, deferred military options at least temporarily.

The fourth of the states that the United States today considers a ‘greater power adversary,’ Iran too was going to considerable lengths to avoid antagonism with the Western Bloc in the 1990s – and appeared more preoccupied with security threats on its northern border from Taliban controlled Afghanistan. With a fraction of the military power neighbouring Iraq had previously held, the presence of an ‘Iranian threat’ provided a key pretext for a Western military presence in the Persian Gulf after the Soviets, the United Arab Republic and now Iraq had all been quashed. With the new government in Russia put under pressure to terminate plans to transfer advanced armaments to Iran (9), the country’s airspace was until the mid 2000s frequently penetrated by American aircraft, often for hours at a time, likely without the knowledge of the Iranians themselves. This combined with a meagre economic outlook made Iran seem a negligible threat.

While the Cold War ended some time between 1985 and 1991 – bringing the ‘third world war’ to a close – the range of dates at which one could state that the ‘fourth world war’ began and the West again devoted itself to great power conflict is much wider. Some would put the date in the Summer of 2006 – when Israel suffered the first military defeat in its history at the hands of the Lebanese militia Hezbollah. Using North Korean tunnel and bunker networks, command structures, weapons and training (10), and bolstered by Iranian funding and equipment, the shock of the militia’s victory, though underplayed in Western media, reverberated among informed circles across the world.

Others would place the date two years later in 2008 during the Beijing Summer Olympics, when Georgia with the full support of the West waged a brief war against Russia – and Moscow despite harsh warnings from Washington and European capitals refused to back down on its position. Post-Yeltsin Russia’s relations with the Western Bloc had appeared relatively friendly on the surface, with President George W. Bush observing in 2001 regarding President Vladimir Putin that he “was able to get a sense of his soul,” and predicting “the beginning of a very constructive relationship.” Nevertheless, signs of tension had begun to grow from Moscow’s opposition to the Iraq War at the UN Security Council to President Putin’s famous ‘Munich Speech’ in February 2007 – in which he sharply criticised American violations of international law and its “almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations.”

It could also be questioned whether, in light of what we know about Western support for separatist insurgents in Russia itself during the 1990s, the war against the country ever ended – or whether hostilities would only cease with a more total capitulation and partition and with the presence of Western soldiers on Russian soil as per the Yugoslav precedent. As President Putin stated in 2014 regarding continuing Western hostilities against Russia in the 1990s: “The support of separatism in Russia from abroad, including the informational, political and financial, through intelligence services, was absolutely obvious. There is no doubt that they would have loved to see the Yugoslavia scenario of collapse and dismemberment for us with all the tragic consequences it would have for the peoples of Russia” (11). Regarding Western efforts to destabilise Russia during the 1990s, CIA National Council on Intelligence Deputy Director Graham E. Fuller, a key architect in the creation of the Mujahedeen to fight Afghanistan and later the USSR, stated regarding the CIA’s strategy in the Caucasus in the immediate post-Cold War years: “The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvellously well in Afghanistan against the Red Army. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power” (12). The U.S. Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare’s director, Yossef Bodansky, himself also detailed the extent of the CIA’s strategy to destabilize Central Asia by using “Islamist Jihad in the Caucasus as a way to deprive Russia of a viable pipeline route through spiralling violence and terrorism” – primarily by encouraging Western aligned Muslim states to continue to provide support for militant groups (13).

Much like the Cold War before it, and to a lesser extent the Second World War, great powers slid into a new phase of conflict rather that it being declared in a single spontaneous moment. Did the Cold War begin with the Berlin Blockade, the Western firebombing of Korea or when the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki – which accelerated the move into a nuclear arms race. Equally, multiple dates were given for the opening of the Second World War – the German invasion of Poland in 1939, the beginning of the Sino-Japanese war two years prior, the Japanese Empire’s attack on Pearl Harbour and conquest of Southeast Asia which marked the first major expansion beyond Europe and North Africa in 1941, or some other date entirely. The slide into a new world war was if anything even slower than its predecessors.

The shift towards an increasingly intense great power conflict has been marked by a number of major incidents. In the European theatre one of the earliest was the Bush administration’s withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty in 2002 and subsequent deployment of missile defences and expansion of NATO’s military presence in the former Soviet sphere of influence, which was widely perceived in Russia as an attempt to neutralise its nuclear deterrent and place the Western Bloc in a position to coerce Moscow militarily (14). This threatened to seriously upset the status quo of mutual vulnerability, and played a key role in sparking a major arms race under which Russia would develop multiple classes of hypersonic weapon. Their unveiling in 2018 would in turn lead the United States to prioritise funding to develop more capable interceptor missiles, a new generation of missile defences based on lasers, and hypersonic ballistic and cruise missiles of its own (15).

Another leading catalyst of the move towards great power confrontation was the Barak Obama administration’s ‘Pivot to Asia’ initiative, under which the bulk of America’s military might and considerable assets from the rest of the Western world would be devoted to maintaining Western military primacy in the Western Pacific. This was paired with both economic and information warfare efforts, the latter which increasingly demonised China and North Korea across the region and beyond and actively sought to spread pro-Western and anti-government narratives among their populations through a wide range of sophisticated means (16). These programs were successors to those sponsored by Western intelligence agencies to ideologically disenchant the populations of the Warsaw Pact and Soviet Union with their own political systems and paint Western powers as benevolent and democratising saviours (17). Economic warfare also played a major role, with efforts centred around the ‘Trans-Pacific Partnership’ trade deal – or ‘Economic NATO’ as several analysts referred to it – to isolate China from regional economies and ensure the region remained firmly in the Western sphere of influence (18). The military aspect of the Pivot to Asia would reawaken long dormant territorial disputes, and ultimately lead to high military tensions between the United States and China which in turn fuelled the beginning of an arms race. This arms race has more recently led to the American withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, which paves the way for deployment of American long-range missiles across the Western Pacific – all with China and North Korea firmly in their crosshairs (19).

It is arguably in the Middle East, however, where the new phase of global conflict has seen its most direct clashes so far. The nine-year conflict in Syria, although far less destructive or brutal, provides ‘World War IV’ with something of an analogue to the Korean War in the Cold War. The conflict has united the Western Bloc and a wide range of allies, from Turkey and Israel to the Gulf States and even Japan (which funds the jihadist-linked White Helmets) (20), in an effort to overthrow an independent government with close and longstanding defence ties to Russia, North Korea, Iran and China. The conflict has seen North Korean, Russian, Hezbollah and Iranian special forces (21) among other assets deployed on the ground in support of Syrian counterinsurgency efforts, with all of these parties providing considerable material support (the Koreans have built and fully staffed at least three hospitals as part of large medical aid packages and continue to be a major supplier of arms and training) (22). China too, particularly concerned by the presence of jihadist militants of Chinese origin in Syria, has played some role in the conflict – the exact details of which remain uncertain with much reported but unconfirmed (23).

Syria’s insurgency involving a range of jihadist groups, at times united only by their intent to end the secular Syrian government, have received widespread support from the Western Bloc and their aforementioned allies. This has involved both material support, which according to State Secretary Hillary Clinton included turning a blind eye to Gulf countries’ considerable assistance to the Islamic State terror group (24), and active deployments of special forces from a wide range of countries, from Belgium and Saudi Arabia to Israel and the U.S. The U.S., European powers, Turkey and Israel have at times directly attacked Syrian units in the field – while Russian reports indicate that close Western coordination with jihadist groups has been used to facilitate a number of successful attacks on Russian positions (25). The conflict in Syria arguably represents a microcosm of the macrocosm which is a new world war – one which pits the Western Bloc and those which support the Western-led order, both directly and through local proxies, against three of its four ‘great power adversaries’ in the field.

‘World War IV’ is unlikely to come to an end for the foreseeable future, and its final outcome remains difficult to predict. Much like in the Cold War, the Western Bloc retains considerable advantages – today most notably in the field of information war which allows it to extensively shape perceptions of the vast majority of the world’s population. This has included the demonization of Western adversaries, the whitewashing of Western crimes both domestically and internationally, and portraying westernisation and increased Western influence as a solution to people’s frustrations from corruption to economic stagnation. This has been a key facilitator of the pro-Western protests engulfing states from Sudan and Algeria to Ukraine and Thailand. Economically too, only China among the Western Bloc’s major adversaries has posed a serious threat to Western primacy. Indeed, it remains highly questionable whether the other three could survive economically under Western pressure without Chinese trade and economic support.

Russia has made a considerable economic recovery since the 1990s, but remains a shadow of its former self in the Soviet era. The country’s leadership has succeeded in reforming the military, foreign ministry and intelligence services, but the economy, legal system and other parts of the state remain in serious need of improvement which, over 20 years after Yeltsin’s departure, cannot come soon enough. Even in the field of defence, the struggling economy has imposed serious limitations – and in fields such as aviation and armoured warfare the country is only beginning to slowly go beyond modernising Soviet era weapons designs and begin developing new 21st century systems (26). On the positive side, the country does remain a leader in many high end technologies mostly pertaining to the military and to space exploration, while Western economic sanctions have undermined the positions of Europhiles both among the elite and within the government and boosted many sectors of domestic production to substitute Western products (27).

In the majority of fields, the ‘Eastern Bloc’ have been pressed onto the defensive and forced to prevent losses rather than make actual gains. While preserving Venezuelan sovereignty, denying Crimea to NATO and preventing Syria’s fall have been major victories – they are successes in denying the West further expansion of its own sphere of influence rather than reversing prior Western gains or threatening key sources of Western power. Pursuing regime change in Venezuela and Ukraine and starting wars in the Donbasss and in Syria have cost the Western Bloc relatively little – the Ukrainians and client states in the Gulf and Turkey have paid the brunt of costs for the war efforts. Material equipment used by Western backed forces in both wars, ironically, has largely consisted of Warsaw Pact weaponry built to resist Western expansionism – which after the Cold War fell into NATO hands and is now being channelled to Western proxies. Libyan weaponry, too, was transferred to Western backed militants in Syria in considerable quantities after the country’s fall in 2011 – again minimising the costs to the Western Bloc of sponsoring the jihadist insurgency (28). The damage done and costs incurred by the Syrians, Hezbollah, Russia and others are thus far greater than those incurred by the Western powers to cause destruction and begin conflicts.

Syria has been devastated, suffering from issues from a return of polio to depleted uranium contamination from Western airstrikes and a new generation who have grown up in territories under jihadist control with little formal education. The war is a victory only in that the West failed to remove the government in Damascus from power – but Western gains from starting and fuelling the conflict have still far outweighed their losses. In the meantime, through a successful campaign centred around information warfare, the Western sphere of influence has only grown – with further expansion of NATO and the overthrow of governments in resource rich states friendly to Russia and China such as Libya, Sudan and Bolivia. Commandeering the government of poor but strategically located Ukraine was also a major gain, with states such as Algeria and Kazakhstan looking to be next in the Western Bloc’s crosshairs. Thus while Syria was saved, though only in part, much more was simultaneously lost. The damage done to Hong Kong by pro-Western militants, ‘thugs for democracy’ as the locals have taken to calling them, who have recently turned to bombing hospitals and burning down medical facilities (29), is similarly far greater than the costs to the Western powers of nurturing such an insurgency. Similar offensives to topple those which remain outside the Western sphere of influence from within continue to place pressure on Russian and Chinese aligned governments and on neutral states seen not to be sufficiently pro-Western.

While the Western Bloc appears to be in a position of considerable strength, largely by virtue of its dominance of information space, which has allowed it to remain on the offensive, a sudden turning point in which its power suddenly diminishes could be in sight. From teen drug abuse (30) to staggering debt levels (31) and the deterioration of party politics and popular media, to name but a few of many examples, the West appears at far greater risk today of collapse from within than it did during the Cold War. A notable sign of this is the resurgence of both far right and far left anti-establishment movements across much of the Western world. Despite massive benefits from privileged access to third world resource bases, from France’s extractions from Francophone West Africa (32) to the petrodollar system propping up American currency (33), Western economies with few exceptions are very far from healthy. A glimpse of this was given in 2007-2008, and little has been done to amend the key economic issues which facilitated the previous crisis in the twelve years since (34). The West’s ability to compete in the field of high end consumer technologies, particularly with rising and more efficient East Asian economies, increasingly appears limited. From semiconductors to electric cars to smartphones to 5G, the leaders are almost all East Asian economies which have continued to undermine Western economic primacy and expose the gross inefficiencies of Western economies. The result has been less favourable balances of payments in the Western world, a growing reliance on political clout to facilitate exports (35), and increasing political unrest as living standards are placed under growing pressure. The Yellow Vests and the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are all symptoms of this. With very real prospects of another economic crash in the coming decade, in the style of 2008 but likely much worse, Western economies are expected to bear the brunt of the damage. Their ability to survive remains in serious question. Effects of a crash on North Korea, Iran, Russia and even China will be far less severe. While the previous crash hit Russia particularly hard (36), an economic turnaround from 2014 and the insulation provided by Western sanctions leave it far less vulnerable to the fallout from a Western economic crisis.

Ultimately China appears to be setting itself up for an ‘Eastern Bloc’ victory – a coup de grace which could see Western gains over the past several decades reversed and the power of the West itself diminished to an extent unprecedented in centuries. While the United States reluctantly outsourced much of its high end consumer technologies to East Asian allies during the Cold War – namely Japan, South Korea and Taiwan – China is going for the jugular of the Western world’s economy with its ‘Made in China 2025’ initiative, which will see some critical remaining fields of Western technological primacy shift to East Asian hands. The Coronavirus, bombings in Hong Kong, the trade war, and the wide range of tools in the Western arsenal for destabilisation can at best slightly delay this – but cannot prevent it. In a globalised capitalist economy the most efficient producers win – and East Asia and China in particular, with its Confucian values, stable and efficient political systems and world leading education (37), are thus almost certain to take over the high end of the world economy.

Much as the key to Western victory in the Cold War was successful information warfare efforts and isolation of the Soviet economy from the majority of the world economy, the key to determining the victor of ‘World War IV’ is likely lie in whether or not Beijing succeeds in its attempt to gain dominance of high end technologies critical to sustaining Western economies today. This is far from the only determinant of victory. Efforts to undermine the effective subsidies to Western economies from Central and West Africa, the Arab Gulf states and elsewhere in the third world, and to ensure continued military parity – to deter NATO from knocking over the table if they lose the game of economic warfare – are among the other fields of critical importance. Based on China’s prior successes, and those of other East Asian economies, the likelihood that it will meet its development goals is high – to the detriment of Western interests. The result will be an end to world order centred on Western might – the status quo for the past several hundred years – and emergence in its place of a multipolar order under which Russia, Asia (Central, East, South and Southeast) and Africa will see far greater prominence and prosperity.

  1. Menshikov, S., ‘Russian Capitalism Today,’ Monthly Review, vol. 51, no. 3, 1999 (pp. 82–86).
  2. Yulia V. Tverdova, ‘Human Trafficking in Russia and Other Post-Soviet States,’

Human Rights Review, December 11, 2016.

  1. Klein, Naomi, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, London,

Penguin, 2008 (Chapter 11: ‘Russia Choses the Pinochet Option: Bonfire of a Young Democracy’).

  1. ‘The Death of the MiG 1.44 Program; How the Collapse of the Soviet Union Derailed Moscow’s Fifth Generation Fighter Development,’ Military Watch Magazine, September 16, 2018.

‘Russia’s Sukhoi Unveils Images from Cancelled Next Generation Fighter Program,’ Military Watch Magazine, December 17, 2019.

  1. Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly, President of Russia, Kremlin, December 4, 2014.

Bechev, Dimitar, Rival Power: Russia’s Influence in Southeast Europe, New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 2017 (Chapter 1).

  1. Kristof, Nicholas D., ‘WAR IN THE GULF: China; Beijing Backs Away From Full Support of the War,’ New York Times, February 1, 1991.
  2. ‘Thaw in the Koreas?,’ Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, vol. 48, no. 3, April 1992 (p. 16).
  3. ‘Time to End the Korean War,’ The Atlantic, February 1997.
  4. Axe, David, ‘Iran Desperately Wants This Fighter Plane,’ The National Interest, January 4, 2020.
  5. ‘Hezbollah a North Korea-Type Guerrilla Force,’ Intelligence Online, No. 529, August 25–September 7, 2006.

“North Koreans Assisted Hezbollah with Tunnel Construction,” Terrorism Focus, The Jamestown Foundation, vol. III, issue 30, August 1, 2006.

Dilegge, Dave and Bunker, Robert J., and Keshavarz, Alma, Iranian and Hezbollah Hybrid Warfare Activities: A Small Wars Journal Anthology, Amazon Media, 2016 (p. 261).

‘Bulsae-3 in South Lebanon: How Hezbollah Upgraded its Anti-Armour Capabilities with North Korean Assistance,’ Military Watch Magazine, September 3, 2019.

  1. Kremlin, President of Russia, Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly, December 4, 2014.
  2. Congressional Record, V. 151, PT. 17, U.S. Congress, October 7 to 26, 2005.
  3. ‘American political scientist: Western Intelligence used Azerbaijan to export terrorism into Russia,’ Panorama, May 30, 2015.
  1. Kremlin, President of Russia, Plenary session of St Petersburg International

Economic Forum, June 17, 2016.

  1. Gregg, Aaron, ‘Military Industrial Complex Finds a Growth Market in Hypersonic Weapons,’ Washington Post, December 21, 2018.
  2. Mullen, Mike and Nunn, Sam and Mount, Adam, A Sharper Choice on North Korea: Engaging China for a Stable Northeast Asia, Council on Foreign Relations, Independent Task Force Report No. 74, September 2016.

Cartalucci, Tony, ‘Twitter Targets Hong Kong in US-backed Regime Change Operation,’ Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, October 15, 2019.

Park, Kyung-Ae, ‘Regime Change in North Korea?: Economic Reform and Political Opportunity Structures,’ North Korean Review, vol. 5, no. 1, Spring 2009 (p. 23-45).

  1. ‘Worldwide Propaganda Network Built by the C.I.A.,’ New York Times, December 26, 1977.
  2. Wu, S., ‘Why the TPP is an “economic NATO,”’ Huffington Post, October 19,

2015.

  1. Ait, Abraham, ‘US Withdrawal From the INF Treaty Isn’t About Russia,’ The Diplomat, October 25, 2018.
  2. al-Jablawi, Hosam, ‘The White Helmets Struggle Without US Funding,’ Atlantic Council, June 11, 2018.
  3. ‘North Korean Special Forces in Syria; A Look at Pyongyang’s Assistance to Damascus’ Counterinsurgency Operations,’ Military Watch Magazine, June 10, 2018.
  4. ‘DPRK Ambassador affirms his country’s readiness to support health sector in Syria,’ Syrian Arab News Agency, July 25, 2016.
  5. Pauley, Logan and Marks, Jesse, ‘Is China Increasing Its Military Presence in Syria?,’ The Diplomat, August 20, 2018.

Hemenway, Dan, ‘Chinese strategic engagement with Assad’s Syria,’ Atlantic Council, December 21, 2018.

  1. ‘We finally know what Hillary Clinton knew all along – U.S. allies Saudi Arabia

and Qatar are funding Isis,’ The Independent, October 14, 2016.

  1. ‘Inquiry Into Death of Russian Lt. Gen. Asapov Shows Data Leaks to Daesh –

Source,’ Sputnik, September 26, 2017.

‘Drones used by Syrian terrorists “require advanced training” – Russian MoD in response to US,’ Sputnik, January 9, 2018.

  1. ‘Five Next Generation Russian Combat Jets We Will See in the 2020s: From MiG-41 Hypersonic Interceptors to PAK DA Stealth Bombers,’ Military Watch Magazine, January 1, 2019.
  2. Twigg, Judy, ‘Russia Is Winning the Sanctions Game,’ National Interest, March 14, 2019.
  3. Hersh, Seymour, ‘The Red Line and the Rat Line,’ London Review of Books, vol. 36, no. 8, April 2014

Angelovski, Ivan and Patrucic, Miranda and Marzouk, Lawrence, ‘Revealed: the £1bn of weapons flowing from Europe to Middle East,’ The Guardian, July 27, 2016.

Chivers, C. J. and Schmitt, Eric and Mazzetti, Mark, ‘In Turnaround, Syria Rebels Get Libya Weapons,’ New York Times, June 21, 2013.

McCarthy, Andrew C., ‘Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Debacle: Arming Jihadists in Libya . . . and Syria,’ National Review, August 2, 2016.

  1. ‘Militants Bomb Hospital, Torch Quarantine Center as Hong Kong Braces for Virus Outbreak,’ Military Watch Magazine, January 27, 2020.
  2. ‘Class A drug use “at record levels due to young people”,’ BBC News, September 20, 2019.
  3. Buchholz, Katharina, ‘Industrialized Nations Have Biggest Foreign Debt,’ Statista, February 7, 2019.
  4. ‘France’s Colonial Tax Still Enforced for Africa. “Bleeding Africa and Feeding

France,”’ Centre for Research of Globalization, January 14, 2015.

Bart Williams, Mallence, ‘The Utilization of Western NGOs for the Theft of Africa’s Vast Resources,’ TedxBerlin, January 26, 2015

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfnruW7yERA).

  1. Wong, Andrea, ‘The Untold Story Behind Saudi Arabia’s 41-Year U.S. Debt Secret,’ Bloomberg, May 31, 2016.

Spiro, David E., The Hidden Hand of American Hegemony: Petrodollar Recycling and International Markets, New York, Cornell University Press, 1999.

  1. ‘Banks have not learnt lessons of 2008 crisis, says Gordon Brown,’ Financial Times, October 31, 2017.

‘A decade after the financial meltdown, its underlying problems haven’t been fixed,’ The Guardian, August 6, 2017.

  1. ‘Fearing U.S. Sanctions Over Su-35 Purchase: What is Behind Indonesia’s Interest in New F-16V Fighters,’ Military Watch Magazine, November 6, 2019.

Rogan, Tom, ‘The very political reason Qatar buys different fighter aircraft from Britain, France, and the US,’ Washington Examiner, February 25, 2020.

Krishnan, Rakesh, ‘Countering CAATSA: How India can avoid American arm twisting,’ Business Today, March 6, 2019.

  1. Gaddy, Clifford G. and Ickes, Barry W., ‘Russia after the Global Financial Crisis,’ Eurasian Geography and Economics, vol. 51, no. 3, 2010 (pp. 281-311).
  2. Hobbs, Tawnell D., ‘U.S. Students Fail to Make Gains Against International Peers,’ The Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2019.

Turner, Camiilla, ‘Chinese students are two years ahead of their white British peers by age 16, report finds,’ The Telegraph, July 30, 2019.

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US behind annihilation of Yemeni air defense missiles during Saleh’s reign: Report

Press TV – February 27, 2020

A Yemeni security source says the United States destroyed the country’s air defense missiles during the reign of slain Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh over allegations that the weapons would fall into al-Qaeda hands in case the then Yemeni administration was toppled.

The unnamed source told Yemen’s official Saba news agency on Thursday that an American delegation consisting of Program Manager in the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) with the Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Dennis F. Hadrick, liaison officer Santo Polizzi, technical expert Niels Talbot, Deputy Director of Programs in the Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism at the US Department of State, Laurie Freeman, and the military attaché at the US embassy in Sana’a held meetings with Yemeni Ministry of Defense officials at the time to pressure them to hand over the missiles in preparation for their complete destruction. Their demands were initially turned down though.

The source added that Brigadier Ammar Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, a nephew of President Saleh and then deputy director of the National Security Bureau, was then tasked with persuading Yemeni military officials to agree with the surrender and annihilation of the air defense missiles in exchange for hefty sums of money.

The Yemeni security source highlighted that the American delegation began collecting and disabling the missiles in August 2004, and it agreed to continue negotiations through the National Security Agency since the Yemeni Ministry of Defense refused to deal with such talks at the time.

The source said two batches of the Yemeni air defense missiles were detonated in al-Jadaan and Wadi Halhalan areas of Yemen’s central province of Ma’rib on February 28, 2005 and July 27, 2009.

The munitions, which included shoulder-launched and surface-to-air SAM-7, SAM-14 as well as SAM-16 missiles, were destroyed with the assistance of the American company Ronco.

On Sunday, Yemeni armed forces unveiled four domestically-built long-range, surface-to-air missile defense systems, which could act as game changers and alter the course of battle in the face of the deadly campaign led by Saudi Arabia against Yemen.

The president of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Mahdi al-Mashat, who was speaking at a ceremony in the capital Sana’a identified the systems as Fater-1 (Innovator-1), Thaqib-1 (Piercer-1), Thaqib-2 and Thaqib-3.

The systems have entered service following successful tests, the official announced.

Mashat praised the efforts by the Yemeni Ministry of Defense as regards the development and modernization of the military systems in order to deter or, if need be, confront the enemy.

“The new defense systems will change the course of the battle against the coalition of aggression, and pave the ground for the introduction of more sophisticated systems in order to engage enemy targets,” Mashat stated.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing back to power the government of former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and crushing the Ansarullah movement.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past nearly five years.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have purchased billions of dollars’ worth of weapons from the United States, France and the United Kingdom in the war on Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition has been widely criticized for the high civilian death toll from its bombing campaign. The alliance has carried out nearly 20,500 air raids in Yemen, according to the data collected by the Yemen Data Project.

The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.

February 27, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

US rejected key talks on extending soon-to-expire treaty that limits strategic nuclear arms – Russia

RT | February 27, 2020

The US has declined an invitation to hold a formal meeting to discuss the legal details of extending the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which is due to expire in a year, a senior Russian diplomat has said.

Washington has decided to ditch important talks on the bilateral treaty’s fate, the Deputy Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department, Vladimir Leontyev, told a strategic arms-themed event in the Russian parliament on Thursday.

“We offered a meeting between our legal experts to make sure that we’re on the same page and to negotiate a common understanding of the technical side of the extension [of the treaty], but a few days ago the Americans officially declined that offer.”

The START pact limits the number of nuclear warheads and the means of their delivery. The current iteration of the agreement – called New START – was signed by then-US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in 2010. It is set to expire in February next year.

Moscow has argued that the treaty should be extended without preconditions. The US, meanwhile, hinted that it wants China to join the agreement, an idea Beijing has rejected.

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov criticized the US for its reluctance to extend the treaty, saying that “the lack of clarity with regards to the fate of START is concerning.”

Last year, the US left the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) with Russia, after accusing Moscow of having secretly violated it. Russia, which denied these allegations, abandoned the agreement after the US did.

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Anonymous sources and the guys and gals who made the Iraq war a reality are now claiming that the Kremlin is at it again!

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | February 27, 2020

Those hapless individuals who run the United States are again slipping into a fantasy world where Americans are besieged by imaginary threats coming from both inside and outside the country. Of course, it is particularly convenient to warn of foreign threats, as it makes the people in government seem relevant and needed, but one might recommend that the tune be changed as it is getting a bit boring. After all, there are only so many hours in the day and Russian President Vladimir Putin must pause occasionally to eat or sleep, so the plotting to destroy American democracy must be on hold at least some of the time.

Yes, anonymous sources and the guys and gals who made the Iraq war a reality are now claiming that the Kremlin is at it again! Hints over the past year that Putin might try to replay 2016 in 2020 only do it better this time have now been confirmed! Per one news report the enemy is already at the gates: “U.S. intelligence officials told lawmakers last week that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election campaign by aiming to cast doubt on the integrity of the vote and boost President Donald Trump’s re-election.”

And there’s more! In a New York Times article headlined “Same Goal, Different Playbook: Why Russia Would Support Trump and Sanders: Vladimir Putin is eager both to take the sheen off U.S. democracy and for a counterpart who is less likely to challenge his territorial and nuclear ambitions,” it was revealed that the Kremlin is intending to also help Bernie Sanders, so whichever way the election goes they win.

According to the Times Bernie has been “warn[ed]… of evidence that he is the Russian president’s favorite Democrat.” The article then goes on to explain, relying on its anonymous sources, that “…to the intelligence analysts and outside experts who have spent the past three years dissecting Russian motives in the 2016 election, and who tried to limit the effect of Moscow’s meddling in the 2018 midterms, what is unfolding in 2020 makes perfect sense. Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders represent the most divergent ends of their respective parties, and both are backed by supporters known more for their passion than their policy rigor, which makes them ripe for exploitation by Russian trolls, disinformation specialists and hackers for hire seeking to widen divisions in American society.”

The Times article was written by David Sanger, the paper’s venerable national security correspondent. He is reliably wedded to Establishment views of the Russian threat, as is his newspaper, and strikes rock bottom in his assessment when he cites none other than “Victoria Nuland, who in a long diplomatic career had served both Republican and Democratic administrations, and had her phone calls intercepted and broadcast by Russian intelligence services.” Nuland, clearly the victim of a nefarious Russian intelligence operation that recorded her saying “fuck the EU,” opined that “Any figures that radicalize politics and do harm to center views and unity in the United States are good for Putin’s Russia.” Nuland is perhaps best known for her role in spending $5 billion in U.S. taxpayer money to overthrow the legitimate government of Ukraine. She is married to leading neoconservative Robert Kagan, which Sanger fails to mention, and is currently a nonresident fellow at the liberal interventionist Brookings Institution. She also works at former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s consultancy, presumably for the Benjamins. Albright, one might recall, thought that killing 500,000 Iraqi children through U.S. sanctions was “worth it.”

Given the fact that Russia will have very limited resources in their effort to corrupt American democracy, which is, by the way, doing a very good job of self-destruction without any outside help, how exactly will they do it? Sanger explains “As they focus on evading more vigilant government agencies and technology companies trying to identify and counter malicious online activity, the Russians are boring into Iranian cyberoffense units, apparently so that they can initiate attacks that look as if they originate in Iran — which itself has shown interest in messing with the American electoral process… And, in one of the most effective twists, they are feeding disinformation to unsuspecting Americans on Facebook and other social media. By seeding conspiracy theories and baseless claims on the platforms, Russians hope everyday Americans will retransmit those falsehoods from their own accounts. That is an attempt to elude Facebook’s efforts to remove disinformation, which it can do more easily when it flags ‘inauthentic activity,’ like Russians posing as Americans. It is much harder to ban the words of real Americans, who may be parroting a Russian story line, even unintentionally.”

So those wily Russians are making themselves look like Iranians and they are planning on “feeding disinformation” to “unsuspecting Americans” consisting of “conspiracy theories” and “baseless claims.” Sounds like a plan to me as the various occupants of the White House and Congress have been doing exactly that for the past twenty years. That we had a national election in 2016 in which a reality television personality ran against an unindicted criminal would seem to indicate that the effort to brainwash the American people has already been successful.

The usual bottom feeders are also piling on to the Russian interference story. Jane Harman, former congresswoman who once colluded with Israeli intelligence to lobby the Department of Justice to drop criminal charges against two employees of AIPAC in exchange for Israel’s support to make her chair of the House Intelligence Committee, warns “How dangerous it would be if we lose the tip of the spear against those who would destroy us.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan also has something to say. He is “very disturbed” by his conviction that Russia is actively meddling in the 2020 campaign in support of President Trump. He said “We are now in a full-blown national security crisis. By trying to prevent the flow of intelligence to Congress, Trump is abetting a Russian covert operation to keep him in office for Moscow’s interests, not America’s.” Brennan is best known for having orchestrated the illegal campaign to vilify Trump and his associates prior to, during and after the 2016 election. He also participated in a weekly meeting with Barack Obama where he and the president would add and remove names from a “kill list” of U.S. citizens residing overseas. He and his boss should both be in prison, but they are instead fêted as American patriots. Go figure.

Time to take a step back from the developing panic. As usual, the U.S. government intelligence agencies have produced no actual evidence that Moscow is up to anything, and there are already reports that the Office of National Intelligence briefer “overstated” her case against the Kremlin in her briefing of the House Intelligence Committee. Sure, the Russians have an interest in an American election and will favor candidates like Trump and Sanders that are not outright hostile to them, but to claim as the NY Times does that Russia has incompatible “territorial and nuclear interests” is a stretch. And yes, Moscow will definitely use its available intelligence resources to monitor the nomination and election process while also clandestinely doing what it can to improve the chances of those individuals they approve of. That is what intelligence agencies do.

In American Establishment groupthink there is one standard for what Washington does and quite a different standard for everyone else. Does it shock any American to know that the United States has interfered in scores of elections all over the world ever since the Second World War, to include those in places like France and Italy well into the 1980s? And in somewhat more kinetic covert actions, actually removing Mohammed Mossadeq in Iran, Salvador Allende in Chile, Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala and Mohamed Morsi in Egypt just for starters, not even considering the multiple plots to kill Fidel Castro. And it continues to do so today openly in places like Iran and Venezuela while also claiming hypocritically that the U.S. is “exceptional” and also a “force for good.” That anyone should be genuinely worrying about Russian proxies buying and distributing a couple of hundred thousands of dollars’ worth of ads in an election in which many billions of dollars’ worth of propaganda will be on the table is ridiculous. It is time to stop blaming Russia for the failure of America’s ruling class to provide an honest and accountable government and one that does not go around the world looking for trouble. That is what the 2020 election should really be all about.

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment