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Why the economics behind Jason Kenney’s small nuclear reactor dream don’t add up

By David Climenhaga | AlbertaPolitics | August 12, 2020

When Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says small nuclear reactors “could be a game changer in providing safe, zero-emitting, base load power in many areas of the province,” as he did Sunday in a tweet, he’s pulling your leg.

For a variety of economic and technical reasons, the scenario Kenney described while re-tweeting a CBC story about his announcement that Alberta intends to sign onto the three-province effort to develop small nukes is unlikely ever to occur.

Kenney and his government’s officials certainly know this.

This is not a judgment call on whether “small modular reactors” — as the companies proposing manufacturing these things prefer to call them to sooth a public skittish about the word “nuclear” — will perform as advertised. Small nuclear reactors can be built and should be able to be operated reasonably safely.

Nor is it a call on whether nuclear power is the solution to a warming planet or a dystopian nightmare with the potential to make things even worse. There are reasonable voices on both sides of that debate.

The problem is that the economics of the scheme described by Kenney just don’t add up.

Consider these facts:

As long as natural gas is cheap and plentiful, small nuclear reactors will not make economic sense.

Except in a few locations like very remote mines, small nuclear reactors will never make sense from an economic standpoint as long as natural gas is readily available and inexpensive, as it is now in Canada and will likely remain.

Even a modular reactor built by a mature industry selling lots of units would cost more to build and run than a natural-gas powered plant. And right now, there is no approved small reactor design anywhere in the West, and no mature industry to make them.

Even if this idea is not just a pipe dream, no electrical utility is ever going to buy one unless they are forced to by government policy or regulation — the kind Alberta’s United Conservative Party purports to be opposed to. Nor will any bitumen-mining company.

Probably the only way to make these things competitive would be to impose a stiff carbon tax that vastly increases the price of natural gas.

Small nuclear reactors are not necessarily as cheap to build as nuclear fairy tales like the premier’s suggest.

Creating an acceptable small nuclear reactor design all the way from the drawing board to approval by a national nuclear regulatory authority will cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

While dozens of speculative companies are printing colourful brochures with pretty pictures of little nukes being trucked to their destinations, very few are serious ventures with any possibility of building an actual reactor. The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency says diplomatically there are about 50 concepts “at different stages of development.” Those that are serious, like NuScale Power in the United States, have huge amounts of government money behind them.

The only small nuclear reactor plant known to be operating in the world now is the Akademik Lomonosov, Russia’s floating power barge with two 35-megawatt reactors aboard. From an original estimate of US$140 million in 2006, its cost had ballooned to US$740 million when the vessel was launched.

Operational costs are bound to be higher because it floats, but the kind of small reactors Kenney is talking about won’t be cheap by any yardstick.

Small reactors are less economical to run than big reactors.

If a reactor is only producing 300 megawatts of electricity compared to 800 megawatts or more, it’s not going to generate as much profit for its private sector owners. This is why all reactors getting built in the world nowadays are large — 1,000 to 1,600 megawatts.

Ontario Power Generation Inc.’s eight operational reactors at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station on Lake Huron can produce a combined 6,200 megawatts. The eight reactors at the Pickering NGS near Toronto have combined output of 3,100 megawatts.

This is why nobody wanted to buy the scaled-down CANDU-3 reactor, development of which was paid for by Canadian taxpayers in the 1980s. At 300 megawatts, CANDU-3s were just too small for commercial viability. A working CANDU-3 has never been built.

The cost of small reactors would have to come down significantly to change this. And remember, the research and development requirements of small reactors are just as high as for big ones. With nobody manufacturing modules, there are no existing economies of scale. In other words, dreamy brochures about the future of small reactors are just that — dreams.

By the way, in 2011 the Harper government privatized the best commercial assets of Crown-owned Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., to … wait for it … SNC-Lavalin Group Ltd. Think about that every time you hear Conservatives in Ottawa screeching about the goings on at SNC-Lavalin!

In the Alberta government’s news release, Energy Minister Sonya Savage was quoted saying “Alberta’s rich uranium deposits … could make us an attractive destination to develop and deploy SMRs.”

Not really.

With one exception, all current small reactor designs use enriched uranium, and Canada doesn’t produce any. So if we adopted a lot of the small reactors being touted by Premier Kenney right now, we’d be putting our energy supply in the hands of foreigners.

Would putting a large percentage of our national power needs directly in the hands of other countries be sound policy from the standpoint of security or sovereignty? Not if you’ve been paying attention!

The only exception is the CANDU-3, which SNC-Lavalin recently rebranded as the CANDU-SMR, which can run on naturally occurring uranium like that found in Alberta.

Global uranium markets are already saturated, so there’s no way this will become a new resource industry for Alberta.

Don’t expect a boom in uranium mining in Alberta, either. There’s a worldwide glut of the stuff. Prices are low. (Sound familiar?) Existing suppliers have invested billions to mine high-grade deposits, and even that production is fetching only depressed prices.

So nobody’s interested in creating new uranium mines in Alberta, probably ever.

Small reactors might be safer than big reactors, but we don’t really know that.

Kenney and Savage talk about small reactors as if it were a fact they’re safer than big reactors. Maybe they are. But we don’t really know that because nobody but the Russians actually seems to have built one, and in most cases they haven’t even been designed.

Remember, the Russians’ small reactors are both on a barge. For what it’s worth, critics have called it “floating Chernobyl.”

However safe they are designed to be, small reactors won’t be safe without public regulation.

This is an important consideration. The safety of electricity generation projects regardless of what kind of fuel they use needs to be watched over by accountable, responsible, and, yes, properly paid public employees.

This runs counter to the philosophy of all four provincial governments involved in the inter-provincial effort to encourage the development of small nukes.

With the potential effects of a nuclear disaster so long lasting, can we trust industry to regulate itself? More importantly, can we trust a UCP government not to hand regulation of these plants to the for-profit companies that would operate them?

Then there’s still the matter of waste disposal.

Nuclear plants don’t produce a lot of waste by volume, but what there is sure has the potential to cause problems for a very long time. Thousands of years and more. So safe storage is an issue with small nukes, just like it is with big ones.

Where are we going to store the waste from all these wonderful small nuclear reactors Kenney is talking about?

Canada created the Nuclear Waste Management Organization to find a “willing host community” for a deep geological repository capable of storing nuclear waste for thousands of years. Almost nobody wants the stuff, for obvious reasons. Does any Alberta community want to put up its hand?

“More research and development work is required on the fuel cycle for some SMR technologies,” the UN’s IAEA notes cautiously.

Alternatively, spent fuel could be reprocessed in fast reactors. But why do that when natural uranium prices, just like oil prices, are in the bargain basement, making fast reactors uneconomical? What are we going to do to raise prices? Build a uranium pipeline?

So what gives?

None of this sounds like the basis of an exciting new industry for Alberta. On the contrary, there’s a whiff of scam about the whole effort to proselytize the idea of a small reactor manufacturing industry, which wouldn’t be located in Alberta anyway, and more uranium mining, which isn’t going to happen.

The timing of last Friday’s announcement was certainly intended as a distraction from a political embarrassment the day before.

But arguably the whole memorandum of understanding is a distraction too, a way to tell citizens and foreign investors fretting about global climate change, “Don’t worry about it, we’re working on it.” That’s less embarrassing than admitting that we’re doing very little to reduce CO2 emissions.

Ontario has a big nuclear industry with lots of private employers and a large workforce, so for a modest investment it looks good for Premier Doug Ford to sign on.

How many jobs is it likely to create here in Western Canada? Well, Saskatchewan’s ministry of the rnvironment recently posted a job for a “Director of SMRs.” That person will supervise four people. That’s probably about it for the foreseeable future.

If Alberta ends up with the same number of people working on this, we’ll be lucky.

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions at The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald.

August 12, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Prince Peter Kropotkin and the Murder of the Liberator Tsar

By Martin Sieff | Strategic Culture Foundation | August 11, 2020

Why did London host a convention of anarchists in July 1881 less than three months after they had murdered the Liberator Tsar of Russia?

The International Anarchist Congress of London, from July 14 to July 20, 1881 was highly unusual in many ways, though it has almost totally been forgotten by history,  save as a curiosity.

It was the last such gathering to be held for more than a quarter of a century until the International Anarchist Congress of Amsterdam in August 1907. During that time, there were four other unsuccessful attempts to call international congresses, in Geneva in 1882, in Paris in 1889, in Chicago in 1890 and once again in Paris in 1900.

Those interested in the procedural minutiae of the congress can easily enough find obscure academic articles discussing theoretical intellectual positions held and debated at the Congress.

But as far as I have been able to find, no historians have given any serious study to the possibility that the Congress may have been used to coordinate or plan any program of “Propaganda of the Deed” – the assassination of important political leaders across Europe and the Americas, which was central to the achievement of the anarcho-syndicalist movement’s goals.

Nor is there any discussion anywhere – save in terms of abstruse and apparently harmless political theory – of the role that former Prince Peter Kropotkin, the most consistently high-profile and charismatic leader of the anarchist movement played in the convention.

Most striking of all, there appears never to have been any serious investigation conducted as to why the British government permitted its capital London, to be the host of the conference that on the surface stood for the destruction of everything that the British Empire, its traditions and institutions held dear.

The decision to permit the 1881 congress to gather in London was particularly striking – and from the Russian government’s point of view outrageous – because it opened only four months almost to the day after Tsar Alexander II, the Great Liberator who freed 24 million serfs from slavery and supported Abraham Lincoln and the Union through the U.S. Civil War, was assassinated by a specially designed shrapnel grenade thrown by Ignacy Hryniewiecki on Sunday, March 13, 1881.

That hideous crime was planned and committed by the Narodnaya Volya, “The People’s Will” itself a strange, tiny, conspiratorial group shrouded in mystery and unanswered questions to this day.

The name of the group suggests – as it was meant to – a mass popular movement, But the Narodnaya Volya was no such thing. The best estimates of Russian and Western historians alike put it at no more than 200 members. Almost none of these were from peasant backgrounds. They were almost all from favored, prosperous, professional middle class families and in some cases even from aristocratic backgrounds.

Interestingly, the followers of the late Osama Bin Laden in the first generation of al-Qaeda that carried out the destruction of the World Trade Towers in New York City on September 11, 2001 exhibit an almost identical set of profiles, as former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki bin Feisal bin Abdelaziz ibn Saud has pointed out.

The Narodnaya Volya was only founded in 1879. But it was totally crushed by 1884. Yet in the first two years of its existence, it operated with apparent impunity carrying out no less than eight attempts on the life of Tsar Alexander. No other tsar in Russian history including Alexander’s son and grandson after him was ever hunted so mercilessly and relentlessly by assassins.

The Narodnaya Volya never lacked for any of the financing it needed for its murderous schemes. The Russian internal security services, who proved extremely efficient and energetic in smashing the group after it carried out its bloody deed, seemed utterly helpless and inept against it until that point. This may in large part have been because the group was so tiny and so novel in its operational techniques.

Who led the Narodnaya Volya? Its documented leaders were Andrey Zhelyabov and Sofya  Perovskaya. Perovskaya came from an aristocratic background but showed little capability beyond her own murderously intense fanaticism and strange obsession with murdering the tsar. Other members of the group when arrested openly commented on her merciless hatred for the ruler who had liberated the serfs.

But Perovskaya from 1872 was personally very closely associated with the then handsome, dashing and charismatic anarchist leader Prince Peter Kropotkin. It is likely they were lovers.

The carefully (British) constructed image of Kropotkin that endures to this day is a tubby, kindly, smiling old, bearded Father Christmas. In his youth, however, he was darkly satanically handsome and was obsessed with Goethe’s devil figure Mephistopheles in  “Faust.”

For Perovskaya, Kropotkin would have been the dashing, aristocratic brilliant love of her life. For Kropotkin, the rather plain Perovskaya would have been a means to an end: The hunting and murder of the tsar.

Kropotkin came from one of the most aristocratic eminent families in Russia. He claimed descent from the House of Rurik, the original ruling family of Russia. He had actually been a personal page of Tsar Alexander II in his early years in power. He had been brutally bullied (or so he later claimed) when entering the Imperial corps of pages. For ever after, he maintained an intense personal hatred of the tsar, intensified by the years he spent as a prisoner for his subversive activities in the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg starting in 1872. His escape was engineered by friends in 1876.

Kropotkin’s relationship with Perovskaya starting in 1872 in the Tchaikovsky (not the great musical composer) Circle is the key documented fact that links Kropotkin directly to the murder of the great tsar he so intensely personally hated. The group’s leader Nikolai Tchaikovsky, like Kropotkin found protection in Britain for most of his later life.

Kropotkin was a noted scientist in his day who contested Darwin and argued a version of evolution based on natural cooperation rather than natural selection. In fact it was superficial and crackpot but interestingly has recently been revived, along with his scientific reputation in British academic circles.

During the remainder of his own long life (he died in 1921 at the age of 79), Kropotkin was allowed to live in complete peace and security in Britain. Not coincidentally, Britain was the only major country in Europe not to suffer from the mysterious outbreak of assassinations that swept the continent and even the United States in the last quarter of the 19th century.

As Matthew Ehret has noted, the anarchist assassinations seemed to disproportionately target major leaders who rejected free trade and a global economic order dictated by British financial interests from the City of London. Its victims included U.S. presidents James Garfield (1881) and William McKinley (1901), French President Sadi Carnot (1894), Spanish Prime Minister Antonio Canovas (1897) and King Umberto I of Italy (1900).

In addition, in 1878 alone, anarchists attempted to kill Emperor Wilhelm I of Germany twice as well as the Kings of Spain and Italy. Kropotkin hailed all these efforts at “the Propaganda of the Deed.” Not coincidentally, all of these leaders, especially the old Kaiser, Bismarck’s patron and protector stood like Tsar Alexander II squarely opposed to British efforts at global financial domination.

Yet despite all these outrages – or more likely because of them – Kropotkin, the guiding figure of anarcho-syndicalism and the great champion of the murder of national leaders continued to enjoy a charmed life protected by the British Empire.

To this day, British historians and other writers have unanimously continued to swallow the approved line that Kropotkin was a kindly, brilliant, pacifist saint – belonging to the company of Mohandas Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King rather than that of Sergei Nechayev and Dostoyevsky’s “Devils.”

The hyper-energetic, much loved and woefully idiotic American popular historian Barbara Tuchman spread this Disneyworld fairy tale image of Kropotkin in her enormously popular and influential history of the pre-World War I world “The Proud Tower” in 1966. Typically, she won the Pulitzer Prize twice for writing other histories that got their central facts and theses wrong.

A serious study of the role of Kropotkin and his “Anarchist International” in the assassinations of the late 19th century is well over 100 years overdue.

But even in that age of carefully selected and discriminating terror, the hunting and murder of the great liberator Tsar Alexander stands out for its relentless nature and obsessive cruelty.

That age of assassinations and the Anarchists Congress that the British so incongruously hosted in July 1881 is not just a matter of abstract curiosity about a long forgotten and irrelevant past. It offers disquieting parallels to the use of targeted assassinations and the methodical destabilization of great nations in the name of free trade, democracy and human rights that continues at a feverish pace in our own time.

As the great American novelist William Faulkner rightly wrote in “Requiem for a Nun,” “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

August 12, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Russia wants neither ‘rethink’ nor ‘reset’ if it means restoring American supremacy & returning to Cold War diplomacy

By Scott Ritter | RT | August 12, 2020

Some 136 American “experts” on US-Russian relations recently debated the merits of “rethinking” US policy on Russia. What these specialists failed to consider is that Moscow may not be interested in their plans.

In the span of a week, Politico, a non-partisan global news and information company whose stated mission is “providing accurate, nonpartisan impactful information to the right people at the right time,” published two pieces that addressed the topic of US-Russian relations.

The first, which appeared on August 5, was an “open letter” written by Russia policy heavyweights Rose Gottemoeller, Thomas Graham, Fiona Hill, Jon Huntsman Jr., Robert Legvold and Thomas Pickering, and signed on by 97 other prominent policy makers and academics, including George Shultz, William Perry and Sam Nunn. Entitled “It’s Time to Rethink Our Russia Policy”, the letter opined that the current mix of sanctions and diplomacy put forward as policy by the US wasn’t working, and that it was time for Washington to take a new approach toward the “problem” of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Six days later, Politico published a response written by 33 other Russian policy specialists, academics and journalists who took umbrage at the letter’s notion. Entitled “No, Now Is Not the Time for Another Russia Reset”, the article instead postulated that a Putin-led Russia represented a threat to American “interests and values” that required “strong pushback” rather than renewed diplomacy. While the authors of this piece acknowledge that “America’s ability to bring about change in Russia might be very limited”, any failure on the part of the US to aggressively push back against “Russia’s repression, kleptocracy and aggression” would fail to incentivize President Putin to the kind of “change” needed before any betterment of relations could occur.

On the surface, the 136 “experts” on US-Russian affairs who either wrote or endorsed these competing opinion pieces appear to have the issue of a US-Russian policy “rethink” covered from all angles. The one thing the authors of both articles have in common, however, is a tendency to view the issue from a US-centric point of view, with little or no regard as to how Russia feels about the concept of any “rethinking”—especially along the lines suggested.

What the supporters of a US-Russian “rethink” and those who oppose it insist on is the idea that Russia would either willingly assume the kind of supine posture any such “rethink” would be predicated on, or that the policy tools used to compel change, built around enhanced economic sanctions, diplomatic isolation and regional push back, would be sufficient to complete the task.

What these so-called “experts” fail to recognize is that the days of an “inferior” Russia aspiring to join the ranks of the “superior” West are gone forever. The image of the “shining city on a hill” that American exceptionalism is built upon  no longer inspires as it once did. America’s reputation around the world is on a downward trajectory—in 2016, some 64 percent of the populations of 33 countries surveyed by the Pew Research Center had a favorable impression of the US, in 2020, this had fallen to 53 percent (note: the Pew survey did not include many nations, such as those in the Middle East, where the perception of the US is much lower, and as such represents a upwardly skewed result). The idea that America is the most powerful, influential nation on earth is no longer universally held. Moreover, in Russia only 20 percent have a positive impression of the US—not exactly a vote of confidence.

The American-led “liberal world order” that has dominated the globe since the end of the Second World War is, from the Russian perspective, “obsolete”, and membership of the same is no longer viewed as attractive. Indeed, Russia has eschewed the notion of rejoining the G-8, noting that the G-7 is irrelevant without the presence of global economic powers such as Brazil, China, India and Turkey, and that the G-20 forum—which includes these nations, and more—is a far more suitable one for Russia.

It is not just the world that is rejecting American leadership—its own population has lost faith. A scant 52 percent of Americans embraced the vision of a “shining city on a hill” when President Ronald Reagan gave voice to it in his farewell address in 1989; today some 62 percent believe America no longer serves as an object of emulation for the other nations of the world. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated a brewing socio-economic-political crisis of identity in the US, exposing a fundamentally flawed healthcare system, a labor market operating void of a safety net and race relations that appear to be getting worse, rather than better.

The fixation on the 2016 US Presidential election, and the notion that Russia somehow put its thumb on the electoral scale to enable an otherwise improbable President Donald Trump victory, represents the manifestation of this lack of confidence, as Americans desperately search for someone other than themselves to blame for the failures of its democratic institutions.

Robert Mueller, the Special Prosecutor responsible for the eponymously named report on Russian interference in the aforementioned election, alleged that Russian internet “troll farms” had, at their peak, a monthly budget of $1.25 million for targeted advertising on US social media. This figure was pure allegation, with Facebook stating it found that Russian-affiliated accounts spent a mere $100,000 on advertisements.

In any event, whatever the amount was, the notion that any amount of Russian-derived digital advertising helped sway an election where the major candidates spent in excess of $1 billion dollars on social media-based advertisements is laughable. By way of comparison, Mike Bloomberg spent over $500 million running the most sophisticated advertising campaign in the history of US electoral politics in a losing bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination. That the psyche of the average American voter can be swayed by what he or she reads online is insultingly simplistic; most voters are well informed on the issues of concern to them, know who they want to vote for and why. The last thing they need is online click-bait to tell them what to do.

This reality appears to be lost on those involved in the Russian “reset” debate, where both sides appear to be particularly sensitive to the fragility of American democracy, and desperate to allocate blame for this disturbing truth on a manufactured Russian threat rather than focus on a failing American society.

The foundation of the Russia “reset” debate, whether pro or con, is centered on the restoration of American supremacy, and has little to do with the actual improvement of diplomatic relations. Those who oppose the reset lay out a litany of issues where the US and Russia disagree. In every instance, the issues involved are not discussed on their merits, but rather a zero-sum analysis built around the concept that if it is good for Russia, it is bad for the US. Even the reset proponents seek to restore a Cold War approach toward diplomacy and détente, because this is safe ground built on the premise that the US will once again prevail.

The need to be seen as victorious is, of course, driven by the defensive stance taken by one-time policy professionals whose entire careers were predicated on either the defeat of the Soviet Union or, following its collapse in 1991, the containment of a much-diminished Russia. The notion of an ascendant Russia at a time when the US is on the decline both at home and abroad is simply unacceptable.

For the supporters of a Russian “rethink”, this situation is best accomplished by an engagement that resets US-Russian relations according to a Cold War-era road map. For the anti-reset crowd, the present reality must be avoided at all costs by seeking to compel Russian behavior through the application of Cold War-like pressure built around sanctions and a combination of military and diplomatic pressure.

Even if the American “experts” were able to come to an agreement on how best to proceed vis-à-vis Russia, there is virtually no chance Russia would play along. The main reason for this is that Russia has seen this game played before and is fully cognizant of the cost of doing business with the US in a post-Cold War reality. The debasement of Boris Yeltsin—and by extension, Russia—at the hands of Bill Clinton is a matter of public record, as is the role played by the US in writing Russia’s post-Soviet Constitution and securing Yeltsin’s reelection in 1996.

Russia knows that when the US uses terms like “reset” or “rethink” regarding Russia, it is with a mind to return US-Russian relations to such a status, where Russia lay prostrate at the feet of the US, and Putin did not hold the reins of power.

The former US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, embraced a vision of the “reset” undertaken by President Obama that was predicated on similar conditions, which is why it failed (McFaul did not sign either letter published by Politico). While the US can engage in an intramural debate about US-Russian policy, Russia will continue to do what it has for the past six years—proceed unencumbered by the baggage of American demands, and increasingly impervious to the threat—and reality—of US sanctions and diplomatic containment.

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ‘SCORPION KING: America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.’ He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

August 12, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

‘We Have Absolute Proof’ DNC Leaks Were Not Hacked, NSA Whistleblower Says

Sputnik – 12.08.2020

Because the National Security Agency is tapped into data transfer points throughout the United States, via its mass surveillance programmes, if there was any evidence that the DNC servers were hacked then they would have the evidence to prove it, a former technical director at the agency explains.

Documents published by WikiLeaks that belonged to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) could not have been hacked via the internet and must have been initially downloaded from within the US, according to an investigation by members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Bill Binney, a cryptogropher and former technical director at the US National Security Agency (NSA), blew the whistle on the agency’s mass surveillance programmes after serving with them for 30 years. Mr Binney detailed for Sputnik why the forensic evidence proves that key claims of Russiagate (regarding Russian officials hacking the DNC servers) are a “farce”.

Bill Binney

© Photo : Bill Binney

Sputnik: A recent investigation by you and some of your colleagues at Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity determined that the Democratic National Committee documents published by WikiLeaks in 2016 could not have been hacked by actors outside the US and instead had to have been downloaded onto a USB or CD-ROM.

Bill Binney: Yes, that’s right. And we have forensic evidence to prove it.

Sputnik: Could you please break down, for the average layperson, exactly how you came to this conclusion?

Bill Binney: Well, we did it by looking at the published DNC emails by WikiLeaks. In other words, the original assertion was that the DNC data was hacked externally, from Russia or by the Russians in Europe or something, and then transferred to WikiLeaks to publish so they could influence the election.

We looked at the DNC emails that were documented by WikiLeaks on the web. And that came down in three groups. One came down on 23rd of May 2016 and the other 25th of May 2016 and then one on the 26th of August of 2016. All of those three batches of emails had last modified times ending in an even number and even second, rounding up to the second, not including milliseconds. So, that meant to us that that was the property of the FAT (file allocation table) format. It’s a programme that when you read data to a thumb drive or CD ROM, and the programme indexes stuff on the [CD] and the thumb drive, for example, it then also rounds off the last modified time to an even number. That tells us very simply that there is 35,813 emails, all with the same property FAT file formatting saying that hey this was read [ie downloaded] to a thumb drive or a CD ROM before WikiLeaks got it to publish. Which meant it was physically transported to WikiLeaks. So, for us, that meant it was not a hack. Period.

We also had [CEO of cyber security firm Crowdstrike] Shawn Henry give testimony, I think it was the 7th of January of 2017, the secret testimony that just came out, where he said ‘we had indications that the data was exfiltrated, but we didn’t see the data exfiltrated’. Well, the indications that it was [exfiltrated], is this a FAT file format, to my mind. I mean, Shawn Henry never said specifically why his people were saying that. So for us, the only thing he could be [basing] it on what was last modified time.

Sputnik: So, just to be clear, when information is downloaded onto a CD roam or thumb drive, you’re saying that there’s a particular process, which means that, the last modified time will be recorded in such a way onto those files that is different than if those files were hacked and taken from a server across international boundaries or across a very long distance.

Bill Binney: Right. And we had provided all this data to the courts. Also we’ve included the Podesta emails, which show how a hack could occur and what the last modified times looked like. And that’s a, that’s also published by WikiLeaks, I think on the 21st of September [2016], that’s the date for that, that they put it out there. And the modified times of those files… close to 10,000 of them I think, run through even and odd numbers and various times, including milliseconds, things of that nature. So all that stuff, all that data, we provided to several courts, and several sets of lawyers to introduce as evidence in court and we were prepared to testify to that in court.

Sputnik: And is it not possible for the last modified time to be changed somehow or modified itself?

Bill Binney: Sure, but I don’t know of a programme that does, other than FAT, I mean, keeping in mind, you’re talking about 35,813 files. If you want to change them, you can go in and do them individually one at a time. I don’t know of any other programme that does it automatically, which is what what’s happened here, because it’s just a straightforward consistency. Humans make errors. If they go in and do something like that, they’ll make errors somewhere in the files. We didn’t see any errors at all. So that’s a program doing [it].

Sputnik: How many people from VIPs would you say were involved in this investigation that you conducted?

Bill Binney: Probably about six and a couple of auxiliaries, as we call them, in the UK cooperating with us. And we had a couple other people from outside VIPS helping us because they were also interested in getting to it too. Also, people who retired from commercial companies, running fiber lines and things like that.

Sputnik: If you were still working at the NSA and you were tasked to investigate an alleged hack would you have additional technical resources if you worked for the government, then if you’re doing it independently?

Bill Binney: Yeah, absolutely. This is one of the reasons why I started in August of 2016 saying that this entire Russiagate story was a farce. And that basically came out by knowing the capacity of NSA. The capabilities of them being able to capture stuff on the web. I mean, [the NSA] have over almost a hundred tap points inside the United States, all loaded up with fiber optic lines… You know, it can take everything off those lines and capture it. [A]nd that was true across the US as well as all the external points exiting and entering where you exit and enter the US.

And you’ll notice that NSA never said they saw any of the data transferring anywhere on any line. And that’s because it didn’t, it went on a thumb drive, you know, that’s the difference. That was one of the main reasons I said that this was not a hack. Because if it was NSA would have it. Like they did when the Chinese hacked one of the places over here in the US about six years ago. The government said, the hack came from this building in Shanghai.

Sputnik: And is there any kind of a practical or legal consideration as to why the NSA can’t publish its findings regarding the DNC servers?

Bill Binney: Actually, there isn’t, if the president approves, I mean, he can declassify anything he wants.

Sputnik: So where do you go from here? Is there more to investigate in relation to this subject or is this the end of the matter for you?

Bill Binney: As far as I’m concerned, we have absolute proof that this whole thing […] Russiagate, is a fabrication. It was a fabrication of the FBI, CIA and the DOJ primarily, but also included the State Department and [Department for Homeland Security] and a number of other departments.

Sputnik: There are those that argue Julian Assange will have a fair trial in the US should he be extradited. What can you tell us about the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, where Mr Assange would be tried?

Bill Binney: That’s a court that’s pro CIA because it’s in that jurisdiction of CIA. This is why they picked that court because it’s pro CIA and whatever national security issues come up, they will always go with that national security. So, you have a prejudiced judge in a court to begin with.

Sputnik: Would there be a jury with 12 men and women?

Bill Binney: Pulled from the area and most of them work for the government. So, you know, you just look at it. I mean, that should be a disqualifier as a jury from my point of view. But also think of it this way: Julian Assange published data he was given. So has the New York Times, The Guardian, all the major publications, the Washington Post, they’ve all done that. So why aren’t they being charged also?

Sputnik: Well, the US government is claiming that the first amendment does not apply to foreign journalists.

Bill Binney: Well then why don’t they go after The Guardian ?

Sputnik: Maybe they’re next?

Bill Binney: [I]f you accept their premise – of the US government – that means that any journalist anywhere in the world, publishing any article that exposes crimes by the US government, the US government can charge them with conspiracy to violate national security. So, every reporter in the world is now liable based on that [premise].

This interview has been edited for concision and clarity

August 12, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , , , | Leave a comment

Guilt by Accusation: Alan Dershowitz and Maria Farmer

By Vernon Thorpe • Unz Review • August 12, 2020 

Alan Dershowitz, in Guilt by Accusation, writes, referring to accusations concerning his alleged sexual misconduct,

“Evidence was no longer important. It was the accusation that mattered, as well as the identities of the accuser and accused. The presumption shifted from innocence to guilt. For a man to call a false accuser a liar became a political sin, even if the accused had hard evidence of the accuser’s lies, as I did.”

The main purpose of his short book is to dent the credibility of Virginia Roberts Guiffre who, as well as being a leading witness against Dershowitz’s friend and former client Jeffrey Epstein, has claimed that the latter trafficked her for sex with Mr Dershowitz.

Now that Jeffrey Epstein is dead and Ghislaine Maxwell has been arrested and charged we can only hope that the courts get to the bottom of the matter and find out what actually did or did not happen.

However, Mr Dershowitz, as well as writing his case-for-the-defence in relation to Virginia Guiffre, has also expended effort to discredit another person who has made accusations damaging to him. That person is Maria Farmer, who worked for Epstein and whose allegations against him and others are recounted in the Netflix documentary Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich.

Although Farmer does not claim to have been abused by Dershowitz, she does state in an affidavit that she saw Dershowitz on a number of occasions at Epstein’s New York mansion where she worked, “going upstairs at the same time there were young girls under the age of 18 who were present upstairs in the house.” Dershowitz vigorously denies that this was even possible, saying that he only met Epstein “well after she [Farmer] stopped working for him”. According to Dershowitz, Farmer stopped working for Epstein in the “early summer of 1996” with Dershowitz only meeting Epstein for the first time, via Lynn Forester (Lady d’Rothschild), in the summer of 1996. However, Farmer claims in an interview with the journalist Whitney Webb that Dershowitz met Epstein years before he claims, via Bert Fields, the husband of Barbara Guggenheim.

Curiously Dershowitz, in his recent article aiming to discredit Farmer, does not mention the one time he is referred to by name in Webb’s lengthy phone interview. Instead, he sets out to depict Farmer as someone who may have“been motivated by the anti-Semitic attitudes she has long harboured, to falsely accuse prominent Jews of sexual misconduct.”

It is this suggestion and others made in the article that I want to examine here. Note that Farmer’s claims about Dershowitz are in fact relatively mild and hardly the high-coloured stuff we might expect of an anti-Semitic liar; indeed, Dershowitz’s reference to “prominent Jews” in the plural may suggest that he is attempting to undermine Farmer’s claims about Epstein, Maxwell and perhaps others, rather than just himself.

The claims that Dershowitz makes about Farmer’s alleged anti-Semitism are a large part of the ‘evidence’ he brings forward to undermine the testimonial authority that Farmer claims to have as an alleged victim of Epstein. If Farmer can be shown to be a raving anti-Semite with a vicious attitude towards Jewish people, then her testimony becomes more questionable both in the eyes of the public and in the eyes of judges.

Dershowitz, referring to Farmer’s interview with Webb (which is available on Youtube in two parts here and here makes the following claims in his NewsMax article entitled Key Witness in Epstein Case Made Anti-Semitic Claims

Dershowitz opens the article by citing, in quotation marks, six statements that he asserts Farmer uttered in the course of the interview.

Here they are:

  • “I had a hard time with all Jewish people.”
  • “I think it’s all the Jews.”
  • “They think Jewish DNA is better than the rest of us.”
  • “These people truly believe they are chosen every one of them.”
  • “All the Jewish people I met are pedophiles that run the world economy.”
  • “They are ‘Jewish supremacists’” and they are “all connected” through a mysterious organization called MEGA, which is run by Leslie Wexner who is “the head of the snake.”

Most readers, on seeing these statements, would conclude that whoever uttered them was someone with very bigoted attitudes towards Jews in general and prone to the kind of conspiratorial thinking that takes hold in the minds of people with paranoid tendencies.

What happens if we actually listen to the interview, to which Dershowitz provided no link or reference? As there is no transcript of the interview I have transcribed the relevant sections of it myself, together with timings so that readers can check for accuracy.

Exhibit 1

“They think Jewish DNA is better than the rest of us.”

This is cited by Dershowitz as an example of the“bigotry Maria Farmer spewed during a recorded two-hour interview that can be heard online.”

What Farmer actually said, in the relevant section of the interview (and the only time she mentioned DNA) is as follows:

14.09-14.41 DNA

“When I called Ghislaine [Maxwell] and asked why I couldn’t eat there [at a private and exclusive country club] she said “it’s a Jewish country club, you’re not Jewish, they’re not going to serve you.” This is how this woman spoke to me, yeah. This is how these people think Whitney. They, honest to God, think their DNA is better than everybody else’s, I swear to you. It was a theme all the time with them. With Eileen Guggenheim, with Jeffrey Epstein, with Ghislaine. It was a theme.”

It is quite clear from the context that Farmer, when she says “They”, is referring to the set of people she mentions and not all Jewish people. Yet Dershowitz, by stripping away the context of the quotation, leads the reader to assume that “They” is a universal ascription of certain views to Jews in general of the kind that might be made by a genuinely bigoted person.

Exhibit 2

“I had a hard time with all Jewish people.”

“I think it’s all the Jews”.

“All the Jewish people I met are pedophiles that run the world economy.”

The context of these quotations can be seen below.

“1hr 24.05 “I was actually glad I was in hiding in obscure hillbilly town. Like I’ve had to live in horrible places full of ignorant hillbillies and it was a relief because they weren’t elites, you know. It was just, it’s, for a long time I had a hard time with all Jewish people, I’m gonna be honest with you. For a long time I was like, I think it’s all the Jews. Like I don’t know, because my sister is like, “Maria, it’s just the ones you met, it’s these people.” It’s just unfortunate that all the Jewish people I met also happen to be pedophiles that run the world economy, you know. So it gives like a bad taste in your mouth. But David Icke has kind of helped me with that. I kind of understand it better now, but like er that looks hard. You know, they did a number on all of us. We’ve all had a hard time with, like, a lot of it because of the abuse, you know. So it’s hard to not then go, all these people are like this when it’s not true, not all of them, just a huge chunk of elites are like this.”

The first thing to notice here is that Dershowitz removes the words “For a long time” from both the first and second quotes. Had he kept the phrase in, this might have led readers to ask what Maria Farmer’s evolving attitudes were and whether she has distanced herself or is in the process of doing so from previous attitudes. Compare how you might react on hearing that someone had said, “For a long time, I thought, black people are inferior”, as opposed to hearing the person had simply said “black people are inferior”.

Farmer explicitly distances herself from a bigoted stance towards “all Jewish people” seeing herself as trying to recover from such an attitude. In this context, she refers to the advice of her sister and, alarmingly, that of David Icke who certainly has trafficked in wild conspiracy theories concerning lizards and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Not the best choice for a guide, to put it mildly, and a worrying sign of Farmer’s naivete – but the point here is that she is actively resisting a tendency to bigotry she presents as arising from her traumatic experiences.

Again she refers to the specific people she came across in the Epstein set, who she claims are powerful pedophiles that run the world economy. And she suggests that as a result of the abuse she says she suffered at the hands of people within this elite set, she developed an attitude towards Jews that was bigoted and which she is trying to resist. She does not deny that she has sometimes blurred the line between Jews generally and the arrogant criminal conduct of the elite set, but it must be recalled that she was a young woman at the time of the alleged abuse and has since struggled with her prejudice, hoping to overcome it.

It is hardly unusual for abuse victims to develop negative and irrational attitudes to groups of people who share features with their abusers. Female rape victims not uncommonly struggle not to have negative attitudes to all men, or to all men who share certain physical characteristics with the men who raped them. Very often such victims know that such attitudes are irrational and struggle with them. Or think of the attitudes to ‘all Germans’ of some Holocaust victims, or to ‘the Japanese’ of British prisoners of the Japanese in World War II, or of the attitudes of Jewish and Palestinian victims of Palestinian and Israeli terrorism to those they identify with the terrorists. To quote Maria Farmer in a way that deliberately suppresses her struggles with past attitudes and depict her as a straightforward bigot to be excoriated is to suppress the voice of someone who may simply be trying to recover from damage inflicted upon her.

Exhibit 3

“These people truly believe they are chosen every one of them.”

Maria Farmer does not actually say what Dershowitz has her saying (by combining two clauses in different sentences). Again, “every one of them” clearly refers to a specific group, the Epstein set.

1hr 32.04-1hr 32.47

“You wouldn’t believe the way Jeffrey and Ghislaine spoke about African-Americans. It was like, it made my skin crawl. Anybody who was not Jewish, and you should write about this, but the way they spoke about them, it was really horrifying and it showed me a great deal about how these people truly believe that they are chosen to do something here. I don’t know, it’s unbelievable to me. I mean, and it was every one of them, the way they spoke. And one time I heard Isabelle say to her mother Eileen [Guggenheim] “Mommy, why do you call Maria a nobody” and she said “Honey, Isabelle, Maria is not a Jew, she is a nobody. So you can see why, for about 20 years…”

Exhibit 4

“They are “Jewish Supremacists”

1hr 33.45-1hr34.04

“This is a problem, this elitism is very deep and these are the people pushing racism, these are the people saying, pushing white, saying there is White Supremacy, which maybe there is in some ignorant Southern hillbilly groups, but I don’t know any White Supremacists but I know a lot of Jewish Supremacists they’re all elites and they are all connected. And they are the biggest Supremacists I have ever met. And the things they said about Black people made me cry. Honest to God. It made me sick.”

Note that Dershowitz completely misquotes Farmer here and again, by stripping the quotation of context leads his readers to assume that “They” refers to all Jews, rather than Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell and their set. Presumably for Dershowitz, someone condemning White Supremacists they had met, and referring to that particular group as ‘they’, could be condemned as having a bigoted attitude to all white people – even if they said in the same interview that they know this isn’t about white people as a group.

It is worth now quoting Farmer at length to gain an insight into the levels of dishonesty Dershowitz is to employ.

PART 2

34.19 – 37.27

“So Jeffrey and Ghislaine they were at the estate, they came like three times to visit Wexner while I was there. And they would go meet with him and then they would come back. And Ghislaine said they were working on all these Israeli charities for students and for,you know,Jewish people. And I remember thinking, oh that’s weird. And she was like, she was like “you don’t understand our loyalty to Israel, Maria. You don’t understand our loyalty.” She’s like, “unless you’re a dual citizen you just don’t get it”. She’s like “your people could never understand.” She would say “My people, your people, The Chosen Ones”, all that bullshit. And I’m just like…Let me tell you something, if I walk out of here not at all racist it’s a freaking miracle. Because I struggle every day with it. I’m like urgh I was so abused. I guess it could have happened from any group but because they are the ones that happen to control the world. It’s hard, it’s really hard, like this specific group of elites. It’s really hard to not just hate them, you know. So I haven’t gotten over hating that Ghislaine and the way she…

WW: I think they try and lump everyone in by design too, you know, in order to give themselves protection.

MF: Yes.

WW: I think it’s very intentional.

MF: It is very intentional.

WW: I can’t blame you for feeling that way considering what you had to go through so.

MF: Right. Well I don’t really feel that way. Let me tell you my background. Every boyfriend I’ve ever had was very Jewish, like 100 per cent, and never, I mean I had the best relationships in New York, I mean these were like the most patient guys, I don’t know why they put up with me, I think back on it and like those were the nicest guys. So there were the four boyfriends I had and everybody who got in touch with them says you know what Maria your boyfriends loved you so much and say nothing but nice things. So I have had very good experiences.But it was the Eileen Guggenheim thing and the Ghislaine all of that really soured me on like the religious, on religion in general, if you wanna know the truth. Like religion being used against people. And erm just all of it. It just really soured me. And I don’t, I don’t totally trust people, even though I have friends that are Jewish, like I still havefraught trust issues because, and it’s so unfair to them – rationally I know it’s unfair, but I was so, you know, scalded by the hot water, you know, I just can’t, I just can’t, I just can’t stick my hand back in. Like it’s too hard right now.

WW: That’s ok, it makes sense.

MF: But I don’t totally feel that way. I’m just being honest. I’m like a really honest person Whitney. And so, most people will never talk about that stuff. And I’m not…and the other thing that pisses me off is this whole anti-semitic bs because they call Bernie Sanders anti-semitic.

WW: Oh yeah, I know.

MF: I’m like, when is it going to end.

WW: It’s out of control. And the whole dual loyalty thing, you can’t say that even though you just mentioned what Ghislaine told you, right? Sheldon Adelson, he’s on video saying, all I care about is being a good citizen of Israel and he’s the top political donor in the United States. So the fact you’re not allowed to talk about is I think very troubling, right so…”

Whatever one makes of Farmer’s claims, there can be no doubt that Dershowitz has concocted a grotesque smear, depicting her as something she is not to a wide readership who will never hear the interview. Perhaps, using his own standards, we should begin to question his own reliability as a witness, using his actual – not fabricated or misleadingly presented – words.

It is not as though Dershowitz doesn’t have an impressive track record when it comes to smears and character assassination; in particular, blaming victims is something he has shown himself very willing to do.

Just a few examples will suffice here, but those looking for more documentation on Dershowitz’s reliability should consult, for starters, David Samel; Norman Finkelstein and Tim Wilkinson.

Dershowitz falsely claimed that Norman Finkelstein suspected his mother of being a ‘kapo’ by distorting a moving account of her experiences Finkelstein had recalled. He falsely and without evidence claimed that Walt and Mearsheimer drew from “neo-Nazi” websites for their work on the Israel Lobby. He called Richard Goldstone a “moser” and accused Robert Fisk of anti-Semitism when he attempted to look for the possible motivational causes of the hijackers of 911, telling listeners that Fisk was anti-American and that “anti-Americanism is the same as anti-Semitism”[1].

Readers can look up Finkelstein’s thorough refutation of Dershowitz’s book The Case for Israel in Beyond Chutzpah, for examples of his deeply biased, deeply unreliable approach and well-documented attempts to justify numerous war crimes and his defence of torture.

As Finkelstein points out, Dershowitz asserts in Chutzpah,

“Anti-Semitism is the problem of bigots…Nothing we do can profoundly affect the twisted mind of the anti-Semite”. As Finkelstein puts it, “In sum, Jews can never be culpable for the antipathy others bear towards them: it’s always of their making, not ours.” (p81 Beyond Chutzpah)

Such a point is worth remembering when examining Dershowitz’s book The Case Against Israel’s Enemies. In this later book, he argues that the dispossession of the Palestinians was deserved because of their support for Hitler during World War II (in this he differs from Joan Peters whom he heavily relied on in writing his earlier The Case for Israel which largely adopted her debunked conclusions). He states that “The truth is that the Palestinian leadership, supported by the Palestinian masses, played a significant role in Hitler’s Holocaust.” (p. 196) There is, of course, not the slightest evidence of this ‘significant role’, but Dershowitz thinks it acceptable to smear an entire people and use such statements to justify ongoing human rights abuses against that same people to this day.

It’s a familiar story. Ignoring the historical context, the Occupation, “they” deserve what they get because, well, they are bigoted towards Zionists for no reason whatsoever. And as a result, we can safely ignore their testimonial authority with regard to what Dershowitz calls the “so-called Palestinian Nakba” (p.206).

Maria Farmer is only the latest victim of Dershowitz’s smears. Before you throw people under the bus, it’s best to dehumanise them, ignoring the harms done to them in order to justify your character assassination (or, when it comes to Israel, the ‘targeted’ assassinations Dershowitz supports).

Dershowitz’s latest article is of a piece with his advocacy for Israel’s crimes over the years. Blaming the victim, while making oneself invulnerable to criticism by demeaning those who dare to criticise, is a hallmark of Dershowitz’s career.

Notes

[1] The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East (London: Harper Perennial 2006) p. 1034.

August 12, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 2 Comments

Kamala Harris explains her neoconservative views on the US-Israel relationship to AIPAC (2017)

News Media Inc. | January 23, 2019

Video of woke ™️ Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris explaining her ghoulish, neoconservative views on the Middle East and Israel to AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee).

“America’s support for Israel’s security must be rock-solid.”

“As Iran continues to launch ballistic missiles… we must stand with Israel.”

“I support the U.S. commitment to provide Israel with $38 billion in military assistance.”

Full speech. Warning, extremely offensive:

August 12, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Russia to Start the Production of Its COVID-19 Vaccine in Cuba

teleSUR | August 11, 2020

Russia’s Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) Chief Executive Officer Kiril Dmitriev announced that Cuba could begin producing the COVID-19 vaccine, the Sputnik V, in November.

“Cuba has a large capacity to produce medicines and vaccines with highly qualified staff. We could coordinate with its government to start the vaccine production in November,” Dmitriev stated.

He also pointed out that the third stage of vaccine trials will begin in Russia on Wednesday. Later the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and the Philippines will continue testing it.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko announced the registration of the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine, the Sputnik V, which is named after the first artificial satellite launched into orbit by the USSR in 1957.

Before being tested in 76 volunteers, the Russian COVID-19 vaccine passed all the necessary safety and efficacy tests in several animal species.

On Tuesday morning, outlet Sputnik reported that that the Russian vaccine, which was developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute, can protect a person from the coronavirus for up to two years after injection.

“Such a prolonged period of protection is possible due to the vaccine being based on viral vectors – a harmless human adenovirus delivers a portion of the COVID-19 virus to a human body forcing it to form an immune response to it,” the Russian outlet explained.

August 12, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 3 Comments

US concerned about Serbia’s intention to buy Chinese weapons

By Paul Antonopoulos | August 12, 2020

Belgrade’s announcement that it may purchase the Chinese FK-3 anti-aircraft missile system was enough for the U.S. to express concern about Serbia’s future, not only with Europe, but with the entire world.

The U.S. Embassy in Belgrade said that “procuring military and defense equipment is a sovereign decision. However, governments should understand the short- and long-term risks and costs involved in doing business with Chinese companies. Procurement choices should reflect Serbia’s stated policy goal of greater European integration. Alternative vendors which are not beholden to authoritarian regimes offer equipment that is both capable of meeting Serbia’s defense need and comparable in quality and cost.”

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić hit back, saying “Whenever we decide to buy something, somebody has something against it,” and emphasized that the FK-3 system was not on the U.S. sanctions list against China.

The U.S. Embassy’s statement gives the impression that Washington has a deep concern about Serbia’s future strategic interests and alliances, so much so that it warned Belgrade on its path towards the European Union even though the U.S. has no influence over Brussels in this regard. Of course Washington has no concern for Serbia’s interests after it sustained crippling sanctions on the Balkan country, recognizes Kosovo as an independent state, ensured that the Republika Srpska is attached to Bosnia and Herzegovina without option to reunite with Serbia, and led a deadly bombing campaign that destroyed Serbian infrastructure and killed thousands of civilians in 1999.

Washington is afraid of cheaper and better-quality weapons that Serbia can procure from both China and Russia. The Americans are also frustrated that Serbia has not become a state dependent on U.S. patronage despite decades of aggression and pressure. Effectively, Washington is continuing a campaign to limit Serbia’s independent and strategic interests. It is recalled that Washington threatened Belgrade with sanctions and indirect threats when Serbia purchased the Russian Pantsir missile system and trained with the S-400 missile defense system.

A NATO official who spoke on condition of anonymity, according to Defense News, said that “defense procurement is a national decision. Serbia has the right to freely choose its political and security arrangements. NATO and Serbia are close partners and we are committed to strengthening our partnership with Serbia, while fully respecting its policy of neutrality.”

Although both NATO and the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade emphasized that they respect Serbia’s sovereign decision, Washington does not truly respect Serbia’s policy of neutrality, which is why it makes continuous threats of sanctions and indirect warnings that Belgrade is becoming too close to Moscow and Beijing. Serbian political scientist Aleksandar Pavić argues that Washington expects Serbia to buy weapons from countries that have recognized Kosovo’s independence, and that this is Belgrade’s fault as they have purchased weapons from France, and even expressed the possibility of buying some American bombers, despite both countries recognizing Kosovo’s independence.

Although Serbia is attempting to maintain a policy of neutrality, so much so that it even considers buying weapons from the U.S., the reality is that such a policy is impossible. The best Belgrade can hope for is to enact a policy of balancing the Great Powers by strengthening relations with those who support Serbia’s sovereignty and independence, and maintaining friendly posture but distance with those who still support an independent Kosovo. By Serbia buying French military equipment, despite its recognition of an independent Kosovo, and entertaining the idea of buying American bombers, Belgrade is sending mixed messages to its international partners that it can overlook the Kosovo issue. By maintaining such a policy, Belgrade is giving Washington enough leeway to comment and attempt to push Serbia away from China and Russia. Having a stronger policy against those who recognize Kosovo’s independence will give Belgrade a much clearer foreign policy and will force Washington to approach Serbia differently.

None-the-less, by discouraging Belgrade from the idea of ​​buying Chinese weapons, Serbia will likely continue to buy Chinese weapons, and with even stronger intensity. Although Serbia will always prioritize its relations with China and Russia over those who weakened it and recognized Kosovo’s independence, Belgrade should now show this more strongly by ending its policy of neutrality as the West is not neutral towards Serbia.

As the Balkans is heating up again as a place of conflict, Serbia cannot be neutral as much as it attempts to do so. This does not mean that it should have openly hostile relations with the U.S. and other Western States, but because Serbia refuses to sever its deep relations with China and Russia, Serbian interests will always be sidelined when it comes to Western ambitions in the Balkans. Under these conditions, Belgrade should take a stronger position and be unafraid to highlight that their interests do not align with those that the West has for the Balkans.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

August 12, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

First ever railway bridge connecting Russia & China to open in 2022

RT – August 12, 2020

The long-awaited cross-border railway bridge linking Russia and China across the Amur river is scheduled to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2022, authorities in Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region announced on Wednesday.

The 2,209-meter-long (1.4 mile) structure will link Russia’s Far East with China’s northernmost Heilongjiang province. The Nizhneleninskoye (Jewish Autonomous Region) to Tongjiang (Heilongjiang province) bridge will be the first railway bridge between the two countries. It is expected to bring bilateral trade to new highs.

China has already completed the construction of its part of the structure. As for the Russian side, the region’s acting governor Rostislav Goldstein said earlier it “would be preferable to complete all the work on time, which is the first quarter of 2021.”

Construction of the cross-border bridge officially began in 2016, after 28 years of negotiations. The new bridge and its associated infrastructure will be 19.9km (12.4 miles) long. Some 6.5km (4.1 miles) of the bridge and road junctions will lie in China, and the remaining 13.5km (8.4 miles) will be located in Russia, according to China’s CNS agency.

The highway section of the bridge over the Amur river was completed last year. It will greatly facilitate trade between the two countries, since the route will be roughly 3,500km (2,175 miles) shorter than before. Russia plans to export iron ore, coal, mineral fertilizers, lumber and other goods via the link to China.

August 12, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

Media Falsely Claim Ethiopian Climate Crisis as Crop Yields Set Records

By H. Sterling Burnett | ClimateREALISM | August 10, 2020

Among the top Google News search results today for “climate change,” an article at Insider.com claims “food insecurity from climate change” is “pushing millions of people into cities.” In reality, Ethiopian crop yields are enjoying consistent, impressive gains, and are setting new records virtually every year. Also, Ethiopia’s rural population is growing, not shrinking, as higher crop yields support more farmers and more food production. The Insider.com article being promoted by Google is a perfect example of the dishonest claims made by proponents of the Climate Delusion.

The Insider.com article, titled “Climate change is pushing millions of people into cities like Addis Ababa. Here’s what rapid urbanization looks like in the Ethiopian capital,” asserts that World Health Organization predictions of a growing Ethiopian urban population prove that climate change is devastating crop production and driving people into cities. But that is faulty logic that defies objective reality. In reality, Ethiopia is benefiting from increasing food production and rapid economic growth in its cities. This economic growth is not forcing people away from the farms, but rather enticing many Ethiopians into cities with better paying jobs and the cultural and social attractions of urban life.

Data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), charted below, show remarkable growth in Ethiopian crop yields as the Earth continues its modest warming. Crop yields per acre are currently 80 percent higher than just a decade ago, and double what they were in the year 2000.

Moreover, the FAO reports that fully half the Ethiopian population was undernourished in the year 2000, while less than 20 percent of the population is undernourished today.

It is amazing that a “news” article at Insider.com can paint this spectacular crop growth and beneficial improvement in nutrition as “food insecurity from climate change.”

About the only thing that is true in the Insider.com article is that Ethiopia is experiencing dramatic urban population growth. However, it is a lie that the urban growth is being caused by climate change destabilizing food production and forcing people into cities. According to the FAO, Ethiopia’s urban areas have added 13 million people since the year 2000. However, Ethiopia’s rural areas have added 28 million people since the year 2000. Ethiopia’s urban and rural areas are gaining population – with rural areas experiencing the largest growth – as increasing crop yields sustain more population and bring more wealth to the nation’s people.

World Bank economic data illustrate this. Per the World Bank:

“Ethiopia’s economy experienced strong, broad-based growth averaging 9.9 percent a year from 2007/08 to 2017/18, compared to a regional average of 5.4%. … Industry, mainly construction, and services accounted for most of the growth. … Higher economic growth brought with it positive trends in poverty reduction in both urban and rural areas. The share of the population living below the national poverty line decreased from 30% in 2011 to 24% in 2016.”

In summary, Ethiopia is enjoying spectacular gains in crop yields that are supporting a rapidly growing population and dramatic growth in both urban and rural populations. The growth in Ethiopia’s urban population is clearly and inarguably a result of spectacular increases in food production and a wealthier population rather than mythical food insecurity. But the easily discernible and reassuring truth doesn’t promote climate alarmism. Therefore, the media lie and invent a false narrative.

August 12, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment