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‘Ticking time bomb’: New government report claims UK’s nuclear enterprise is not ‘fit for purpose’

RT | September 21, 2018

Budget constraints are preventing the UK’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) from scrapping potentially dangerous nuclear subs, a new government report showed, noting that some nuclear-servicing facilities were “not fit for purpose”.

The condition of some of the UK’s 13 nuclear sites and constant delays in maintenance created “a ticking time bomb,” House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said in their latest report.

The document, published Friday, earmarked two facilities in particular which are in need of urgent upgrades – the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) and Devonport Dockyard, where the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines are refitted. It said further investment delays are no longer acceptable.

“Although they had deferred dismantling on affordability grounds in the past, this was no longer acceptable on safety and reputation grounds,” the report said, noting that it is likely that the first sub will not be dismantled until the mid-2020s. The UK currently possesses 20 submarines awaiting disposal, nine of which contain fuel (the type of fuel is not specified).

“I am particularly concerned that the infrastructure available to support the Enterprise is not fit for purpose,” Meg Hillier, the chair of the PAC committee noted, adding that the military better “get on top of this quickly.”

Despite MoD reassurances that it is committed to the safety of the “nuclear programmers” and will “carefully” consider the MPs’ recommendations, Labour lawmaker Luke Pollard warned that there is actually no clear plan on how to dismantle and recycle the submarines. And, crucially, the military simply lacks money for it, he said as cited by the Independent.

To maintain the nation’s nuclear deterrent for the next decade, the government must spend £51 billion on nuclear equipment and support programmers, the report claimed.

Britain’s nuclear arsenal has quite a history of safety mishaps and authorities were even accused of downplaying the real dangers stemming from the nuclear deterrent.

UK’s Trident nuclear program in particular has caused concern after reports it operated on a variant of Microsoft’s Windows XP, which has been at the center of the global ransomware outbreak. Last year, Defence Police Federation chairman Eamon Keating warned that budget cuts left military bases practically open to attack.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

First principle of international relations should be ‘do no harm’

By Yves Engler · September 20, 2018

Many progressives call for Canada to “do more” around the world. The assumption is that this country is a force for good, a healer of humankind. But if we claim to be the “doctors without borders” of international relations, shouldn’t Canada swear to “first do no harm” like MDs before beginning practice? At a minimum shouldn’t the Left judge foreign policy decisions through the lens of the Hippocratic oath?

Libya illustrates the point. That North African nation looks set to miss a United Nations deadline to unify the country. An upsurge of militia violence in Tripoli and political wrangling makes it highly unlikely elections planned for December will take place.

Seven years after the foreign backed war Libya remains divided between two main political factions and hundreds of militias operate in the country of six million. Thousands have died in fighting since 2011.

The instability is not a surprise to Canadian military and political leaders who orchestrated Canada’s war on that country. Eight days before Canadian fighter jets began dropping bombs on Libya in 2011 military intelligence officers told Ottawa decision makers the country would likely descend into a lengthy civil war if foreign countries assisted rebels opposed to Muammar Gadhafi. An internal assessment obtained by the Ottawa Citizen noted, “there is the increasing possibility that the situation in Libya will transform into a long-term tribal/civil war… This is particularly probable if opposition forces received military assistance from foreign militaries.”

A year and a half before the war a Canadian intelligence report described eastern Libya as an “epicentre of Islamist extremism” and said “extremist cells” operated in the anti-Gadhafi stronghold. In fact, during the bombing, notes Ottawa Citizen military reporter David Pugliese,Canadian air force members privately joked they were part of “al-Qaida’s  air force”. Lo and behold hardline Jihadists were the major beneficiaries of the war, taking control of significant portions of the country.

A Canadian general oversaw NATO’s 2011 war, seven CF-18s participated in bombing runs and two Royal Canadian Navy vessels patrolled Libya’s coast. Ottawa defied the UN Security Council resolution authorizing a no-fly zone to protect Libyan civilians by dispatching ground forces, delivering weaponry to the opposition and bombing in service of regime change. Additionally, Montréal-based private security firm Garda World aided the rebels in contravention of UN resolutions 1970 and 1973.

The NATO bombing campaign was justified based on exaggerations and outright lies about the Gaddafi regime’s human rights violations. Western media and politicians repeated the rebels’ outlandish (and racist) claims that sub-Saharan African mercenaries fuelled by Viagra given by Gaddafi, engaged in mass rape. Amnesty International’s senior crisis response adviser Donatella Rovera, who was in Libya for three months after the start of the uprising and Liesel Gerntholtz, head of women’s rights at Human Rights Watch, were unable to find any basis for these claims.

But, seduced by the need to “do something”, the NDP, Stephen Lewis, Walter Dorn and others associated with the Left supported the war on Libya. In my new book Left, Right: Marching to the Beat of Imperial Canada I question the “do more” mantra and borrow from healthcare to offer a simple foreign policy principle: First Do No Harm. As in the medical industry, responsible practitioners of foreign policy should be mindful that the “treatments” offered often include “side effects” that can cause serious harm or even kill.

Leftists should err on the side of caution when aligning with official/dominant media policy, particularly when NATO’s war drums are beating. Just because the politicians and dominant media say we have to “do something” doesn’t make it so. Libya and the Sahel region of Africa would almost certainly be better off had a “first do no harm” policy won over the interventionists in 2011.

While a “do more” ethos spans the political divide, a “first do no harm” foreign policy is rooted in international law. The concept of self-determination is a core principle of the UN Charter and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Peoples’ inalienable right to shape their own destiny is based on the truism that they are best situated to run their own affairs.

Alongside the right to self-determination, the UN and Organization of American States prohibit interfering in the internal affairs of another state without consent. Article 2 (7) of the UN Charter states that “nothing should authorize intervention in matters essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.”

A military intervention without UN approval is the “supreme international crime”. Created by the UN’s International Law Commission after World War II, the Nuremberg Principles describe aggression as the “supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” In other words, by committing an act of aggression against Libya in 2011 — notably bombing in service of regime change — Ottawa is responsible not only for rights violations it caused directly, but also those that flowed from its role in destabilizing that country and large swaths of Africa’s Sahel region.

If Canada is to truly be the “good doctor” of international relations it will be up to Left foreign policy practitioners to ensure that this country lives up to that part of the Hippocratic oath stating, “First do no harm”.

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Is ‘deep state’ trying to block Corbyn government?

RT | September 20, 2018

Jeremy Corbyn’s top adviser has questioned whether the ‘deep state’ is maneuvering to block any possibility of a Labour government under his leadership, because the establishment deplores his approach to foreign policy.

Corbyn adviser Andrew Murray has not, to date, been granted a parliamentary security pass, and asks in an article he’s penned in the centre-left publication, the New Statesman, whether such a move is a “political stunt” committed by the “deep state,” in an attempt to prevent a Corbyn administration ever coming into power.

Murray has questioned whether the Mail on Sunday revelations he’s been refused “Commons security clearance” in addition to being “banned from entering Ukraine,” is all just a “curiously-timed episode.”

The Labour adviser writes: “We are often told that the days of secret state political chicanery are long past and we must hope so. But sometimes you have to wonder – this curiously timed episode seems less rooted in a Kiev security scare than in a political stunt closer to home.”

The former chair of Stop the War and current chief of staff to Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, references the Mail on Sunday, which claims a Ukrainian secret service officer told them Murray’s Ukraine ban is because he’s “part of Putin’s global propaganda network.”

Murray denies such a claim, suggesting the ban is in retaliation to a speech he “made more than four years ago protesting the takeover of Ukraine by ultra-nationalists.”

It’s Corbyn’s attitude to foreign affairs that Murray says the “deep state” cannot live with, claiming a prospective Labour government would put an end to acting aggressively on the world stage.

He says: “The powers-that-be can perhaps live with a renationalised water industry but not, it seems, with any challenge to their aggressive capacities, repeatedly deployed in disastrous wars, and their decaying Cold War world view.”

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, has told BBC Radio 4s ‘Today Programme’ that Murray’s “deep state” interference claims are “highly unlikely,” and called for Corbyn’s adviser to produce the evidence, “otherwise it’s just fake news.”

Watson said: “I genuinely don’t know why he has reached that conclusion and presumably he has more knowledge of that than me.”

Murray signs off his article with an apparent dig at the British intelligence services, stating: “Britain could soon have an anti-war government. Vet that, comrades.”

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | | Leave a comment

Iran urges UN to censure Israel’s nuclear threat, make it respect international rules

Press TV – September 20, 2018

Tehran has written to the United Nations, calling on the world body to condemn Israel for threatening Iran with a nuclear attack and bring the regime’s atomic weapons program under its supervision.

Standing right beside the Dimona nuclear facility late last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Iran as a “threat” to the region and said Tel Aviv has the means to destroy its “enemies” in a veiled reference to Tel Aviv’s nuclear arsenal.

“Those who threaten to wipe us out put themselves in a similar danger, and in any event will not achieve their goal,” he said. “But our enemies know very well what Israel is capable of doing. They are familiar with our policy. Whoever tries to hurt us – we hurt them.”

In a letter addressed to the UN on Thursday, the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the world body said Netanyahu’s belligerent remarks poses “a serious threat to international peace and security.”

It also urged the UN to make Israel abide by international rules and the UN Charter.

The letter also highlighted Israel’s long history of aggression, occupation, militarism and state terrorism among other international crimes, urging the world community to take a firm position on the Zionist regime’s “unbridled actions and nuclear threat.”

In the letter, Iran further demanded that the UN condemn Israel’s anti-Iran threat, make the regime join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and bring its nuclear program under the supervesion of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

It also reminded the UN that Iran is itself a victim of weapons of mass destruction, particularly chemical weapons.

The UN member states should not turn a blind eye to Israel’s threat and make efforts towards to the elimination of its entire nuclear stockpile, the letter read.

Responding to Netanyahu’s highly aggressive comments, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif slammed the premier as “warmonger” and said the threat was “ beyond shameless.”

“Iran, a country without nuclear weapons, is threatened with atomic annihilation by a warmonger standing next to an actual nuclear weapons factory. Beyond shameless in the gall,” Zarif tweeted.

Israel is the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, but its policy is to neither confirm nor deny that it has atomic bombs. The Tel Aviv regime is estimated to have 200 to 400 nuclear warheads in its arsenal.

Unlike Iran, the regime is not a member of the NPT — whose aim is to prevent the spread of nuclear arms and weapons technology – in defiance of international pressure.

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Japanese Abu Town Mayor Opposes Aegis Ashore Deployment Nearby

Sputnik – 20.09.2018

Norihiko Hanada, the mayor of the Japanese town Abu, said on Thursday he was opposed to the deployment of Aegis Ashore component of the US ballistic missile defense system next to the town, NHK reported.

The mayor argued that such a deployment could be detrimental to the safety and security of the town residents, the NHK broadcaster reported.

According to the outlet, the town’s assembly has unanimously voted to back the residents’ petition against such a deployment.

The government wants to set up an Aegis Ashore unit at a military training range in the city of Hagi, next to Abu, while another unit is expected to be installed in the city of Akita.

In March, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said, in response to concerns voiced by Russia, that the system was needed to ensure Japan’s protection against North Korea’s missile and nuclear capabilities. Pyongyang has launched several missile and nuclear tests in the last few years. However, North Korea has not had one test since the beginning of 2018 as its relationship with South Korea began to improve.

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

U.S. Perversity on Peace in Korea

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | September 19, 2018

Just when you think that the U.S. national-security state’s policy toward Korea can’t get more perverse, it does. The latest perversion? Opposing a peace agreement between North Korea and South Korea! Imagine that. And why would U.S. officials oppose such an agreement? Because it would inevitably lead to calls for U.S. troops in Korea to be sent packing home to the United States. After all, when a peace agreement is entered into, what would be the justification for keeping U.S. troops in that faraway land?

Don’t believe me? Well, take if from the New York Times, one of the most mainstream papers in the country:

President Moon Jae-in of South Korea arrived in Pyongyang Tuesday for his third summit with Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, to work toward a common goal: fashioning a political statement this year declaring the end of the Korean War. Such a declaration, although not a legally binding treaty, could carry far-reaching repercussions, helping North Korea escalate its campaign for the withdrawal of American troops from the South, analysts said. For that and other reasons, the United States has strong reservations about such a breakthrough.

Why the strong reservations? Wouldn’t you think that U.S. officials would be ecstatic about the prospect of peace in Korea? Wouldn’t you expect that to be the response of any rational person?

Not for a regime that has come to view Korea as a constant flashpoint to keep people on edge and afraid, thereby assuring ever-increasing budgets for the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA, and their army of contractors and sub-contractors. And not for a regime that has come to view Korea as a place that permanently bases tens of thousands of U.S. troops. And not for a regime that continues to target the North Korean regime for regime change.

A peace agreement between the two Koreas would threaten all of those things. Suddenly, the national-security state would lose one its principal flashpoints for crisis and fear, one that it has relied on since at least 1950. It would also mean having to bring all those troops home and trying to figure out what to do with them. And it would mean giving up its dream of regime change, at least through military force.

That’s why U.S. officials are so concerned about the ongoing improvement in relations between North and South Korea and the possibility that the two countries could enter into a peace agreement.

South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un continue their efforts to improve relations between their two countries. They are currently holding their third summit, with Kim visiting Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, for the first time ever. Kim was met by huge throngs of people, organized of course by the North Korean regime, cheering for Kim, waving flowers, and chanting “reunification of the fatherland.”

Left out of these negotiations are U.S. officials. But so what? Korea belongs to the Koreans, not to the Pentagon or the CIA. It’s their civil war, a civil war that the Pentagon and the CIA butted into more than 60 years ago, and without the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war. Koreans don’t need the permission of U.S. officials to resolve their war and their differences.

What is concerning U.S. officials is that the two leaders might reach an agreement that doesn’t involve “denuclearization” by North Korea. But the only reason that North Korea has nuclear weapons is to deter the Pentagon and the CIA from attacking and invading North Korea for the purpose of regime change. With no regime-change attack by the United States, North Korea’s nukes become irrelevant.

But there’s the rub: The Pentagon and the CIA refuse to give up their goal of regime change in North Korea. They don’t want U.S. troops to come home. They want to keep them in South Korea forever (just like they want to keep their wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan, their war on terrorism, and their war on drugs going on forever). In that way, there is always the chance that North Korea can be provoked into committing some provocative act that could serve as an excuse for bombing and destroying North Korea’s communist, anti-U.S. regime and replacing it with a pro-U.S. puppet regime.

Meanwhile, trying their best to ratchet up tensions and forcing North Korea to “denuclearize,” U.S. officials are doing everything they can to fortify their brutal systems of economic sanctions on the North Korea people, even lashing out against everyone they suspect is violating the sanctions, like Russia. They have to keep those North Korea citizens starving to death so that their public officials finally “denuclearize.”

In another perversity, South Koreans are being warned against violating U.S. sanctions by entering into mutually beneficial economic transactions with the North, such as working together to operate a passenger rail line between the two countries.

The best thing South Koreans could ever do for themselves and the American people would be to boot all U.S. troops out of their country, whether South and North arrive at a peace agreement or not. Korea remains no business of the Pentagon and the CIA. But at least the American people are getting to see the real truth about the U.S. national-security state and its perverse and destructive policies.

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Idlib: Lull Before the Hurricane

By Peter FORD, former UK ambassador to Syria | September 17, 2018

It appears that the Russians have pressed the pause button on their plans for an offensive alongside the Syrian government to retake Idlib. By the time they return to play mode the martial music may have changed.

New US policies for Syria

Without fanfare the US has just reformulated its position to create the conditions for it to launch devastating strikes on Syria no longer just on the pretext of alleged use of chemical weapons but on any ‘humanitarian’ pretext the US sees fit. In an interview with the Washington Post on 6 September, James Jeffrey, the hawkish new Special Envoy for Syria fresh from the neocon incubator of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, did not mince words:

“We’ve started using new language,” Jeffrey said, referring to previous warnings against the use of chemical weapons. Now, he said, the United States will not tolerate “an attack. Period.”

“Any offensive is to us objectionable as a reckless escalation” he said. “You add to that, if you use chemical weapons, or create refugee flows or attack innocent civilians.”

Jeffrey’s remarks were little noticed because he was that day announcing something else more immediately striking: a ‘new’ policy on Syria involving cancellation of Trump’s announced departure of US troops before the end of 2018 and in statement of a plan to stay on indefinitely until achievement of the twin goals of removing all trace of the Iranian presence in Syria and installation of a Syrian government which would meet US conditions – conditions which President Assad would by Jeffrey’s own admission not be likely to meet.

The headlines naturally focussed on this latest Washington folly – do they think Iran will up sticks as long as there is a single US soldier on Syrian soil, or that there is a Syrian Mandela waiting in the wings? – and the importance of the remarks about Idlib was missed. Yet those words may be about to bring the world to the brink of global war.

New doctrine for US intervention

What Jeffreys was saying was quite clear. That with or without alleged use of chemical weapons, a sudden exodus of frightened civilians from a part of Idlib, use of the fabled ‘barrel bombs’, or launch of a major offensive will be taken by the US as a trigger for drastic and probably sustained bombing aimed at bringing the government of Syria to its knees.

Until now successive US administrations have been careful to draw the red line for intervention in Syria at use of chemical weapons, presumably on the grounds that there is universal agreement and international law to the effect that use of prohibited weapons is taboo. WMD after all were the casus belli for Iraq, even if it turned out to be false. Now suddenly we have a new, broader and consequently more dangerous doctrine.

The State Department has not yet favoured the American public, Congress or anyone else with an explanation or justification for the change, but we can speculate. Can it be, for example, that US policy makers realise that when the next alleged use of chemical weapons occurs in Syria, as surely it will, it will be more difficult to sell intervention to the public than the first two times because the game has now been rumbled? Not only has the idea that the White Helmets might not be all they seem entered the bloodstream of media discourse, but the OPCW inspectors, able for once after Douma actually to visit a crime site, failed to find any proof of use of prohibited weapons. Add to that those pesky Russians unhelpfully telling the world exactly how and where the White Helmets were going to stage their next Oscar-winning performances. So why bother with all that rigmarole over chemical weapons when Western opinion is already sufficiently primed to accept any intervention whatever as long as it is somehow ‘humanitarian’ and doing down the evil Russians?

Responsibility to Protect

Step up ‘Responsibility to Protect’, the innocuous-sounding UN-approved doctrine beloved of interventionists of both Left and Right. Never mind that most legal scholars utterly reject the notion that this doctrine legalises armed aggression other than with Security Council approval or in self-defence. Was it not effectively invoked in the British government’s legal position statement provided at the time of the post-Douma strikes? (The US administration, knowing their audience, never bothered to provide any legal justification whatever.)

Slight snag: although the British government have preemptively sought with their legal statement to give themselves cover to commit acts of war on a whim, and without recourse to Parliament, as long as it can be dressed up as humanitarian, nevertheless there might be considerable disquiet in Parliament and possibly even among service chiefs were the government to appear to be about to launch strikes alongside the US had there not been even the appearance of a chemical weapons incident. For this reason it is likely that the British government will attempt to persuade the US not to give up just yet on chlorine.

Is it this new amplified threat – of strikes whether or not Assad obliges or appears to oblige with suicidal use of chlorine – which has given the Russians reasons to call off the dogs, pro tem at least? Probably not, because the Russians were taking it as read that fake chemical attacks were coming anyway. They will take note however that the US has just effectively lowered the bar on its own next heavy intervention in Syria and will not be deterred by any blowing of the gaff.

For those who naively but sincerely believed that if Assad laid off the chlorine he would not get bombed the world has suddenly become a lot more dangerous. For realists however the new doctrine merely removes a hypocrisy, or rather introduces an inflexion into the hypocrisy, whereby the itch felt by those salivating at the prospect of striking Syria, Russia and Iran can be masked as a humanitarian concern which goes beyond abhorrence of chemical weapons.

September 19, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

The Anne Frank Test

More power to the wicked

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • September 18, 2018

The week leading up to the funeral of Senator John McCain produced some of the most bizarre media effusions seen in this country since the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. McCain, who never saw a war or regime change that he didn’t like, was apparently in reality a friend of democracy and freedom worldwide, a judgment that somehow ignores the hundreds of thousands of presumed foreign devils who have died as a consequence of the policies he enthusiastically promoted in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya.

McCain, who supported assassination of US citizens abroad and detention of them by military commissions back at home, was hardly the upright warrior for justice eulogized in much of the mainstream media. He was in fact for most of his life a corrupt cheerleader for the Establishment and Military Industrial Complex. McCain was one of five Senators who, in return for campaign contributions, improperly intervened in 1987 on behalf of Charles Keating, Chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, a target of a regulatory investigation by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB). The FHLBB subsequently did not follow through with proposed action against Lincoln.

Lincoln Savings and Loan finally did collapse in 1989, at a cost of $3.4 billion to the federal government, which had insured the accounts, while an estimated 23,000 Lincoln bondholders were defrauded, many losing their life savings. When the Keating story broke in 1989, the Phoenix New Times newspaper called McCain the worst senator from any state in American history.

There was plenty of pushback on the McCain legacy coming from the alternative media, though nothing in the mainstream where politicians and pundits from both the left and the right of the political spectrum united in their songs of praise. Amidst all the eulogies one article did, however, strike me as particularly bizarre. It was written by Jeffrey Goldberg, Editor in Chief of The Atlantic, and is entitled “McCain would have passed the Anne Frank test” with the sub-heading “The senator spent decades demonstrating his willingness to fight powerful men who abused powerless people.”

Goldberg, a leading neoconservative, casually reveals that he has had multiple discussions with McCain, including some in “war zones” like Iraq. He quotes the Senator as saying “I hated Saddam. He ruled through murder. Didn’t we learn from Hitler that we can’t let that happen?” Goldberg notes that McCain’s hatred “for all dictators burned hot” before hitting on a number of other themes, including that, per the senator, it was Donald Rumsfeld’s “arrogance and incompetence… that helped discredit the American invasion” of Iraq. Goldberg quotes McCain as saying “He [Rumsfeld] was the worst.”

Jeffrey Goldberg also claims a conversation with McCain in which he asserted that, even though an Iraq war supporter, he had become frustrated with the effort to “renovate a despotic Middle Eastern country.” As he put it, “theory of the American case was no match for the heartbreaking Middle East reality,” which is yet another defense of U.S. interventionism with the caveat that the Arabs might not be ready to make good use of the largesse. Elsewhere Goldberg, echoing McCain, has attributed the disaster in Iraq to the “incompetence of the Bush Administration,” not to the policy of regime change itself, presumably because the Pentagon was unsuccessful at killing enough Arabs quickly enough to suit the neoconservatives. McCain’s reported response to Goldberg’s equivocation about Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was “But genocide! Genocide!”

Given the title of the article, Goldberg inevitably turns to the holocaust with McCain: “He said that, in the post holocaust world, all civilized people, and the governments of all civilized nations, should be intolerant of leaders who commit verified acts of genocide… I told him then that he would most definitely pass the Anne Frank test… [which] is actually a single question: ‘Which non-Jewish friends would risk their lives to hide us should the Nazis ever return?’”

After some additional blather Goldberg enthuses that he was “… pretty sure [McCain would] kill Nazis to defend Anne Frank.” McCain smiled and responded “It would be an honor and a privilege.”

It would be tough to figure out where to go from there, but Goldberg was steering a steady course. He saw two “sterling qualities’ in McCain. Number one was his “visceral antipathy for powerful men who abuse powerless people.” The second quality was “self-doubt,” how “in moments of great testing, it is possible for any human, including the bravest human, to fail.”

The second quality is a bit hard to discern in McCain, whose dogged pursuit of whole nations full of alleged enemies has left a trail of bodies spanning the globe, but it is the first virtue that is hardest to reconcile with the reality of a man who epitomized America’s reckless brutality in its overseas military ventures since 9/11. The tally runs Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya with ongoing adventures in Somalia and Syria. Iran, Russia, and China are pending, all of which were on McCain’s enemies list.

As many as three million Muslims have died as a direct result of the series of wars, endorsed by McCain and Goldberg, that began in late 2001 and have continued to this day. Remarkably, not a single one of the wars initiated over that time period has actually ended with either victory or some return to normalcy. Whole countries lie in ruins and millions of people have been driven from their homes, creating an unsustainable refugee crisis, while the United States wallows in unsustainable debt.

American born but Israeli by choice Goldberg, a leading Zionist voice who was once in the Israel Defense Force where he served as a prison guard, celebrates McCain in full knowledge that his tribe is not the one that is dying, hence the seal of approval granted to the senator by virtue of his successful completion of the Anne Frank Test. Goldberg’s body of work as a journalist frequently includes discussions of Israel, anti-Semitism and the threats posed by Israel’s numerous enemies. Glenn Greenwald has called Goldberg “one of the leading media cheerleaders for the attack on Iraq,” having “compiled a record of humiliating falsehood-dissemination in the run-up to the war that rivaled Judy Miller’s both in terms of recklessness and destructive impact.”

One might well object to Goldberg’s formulation of what constitutes decent human behavior, wrapped as it is around a perpetual victimhood holocaust metaphor that inevitably is used in extenso to justify every atrocity committed by the Jewish State. Goldberg should perhaps try examining his “test” in a number of different versions that would move him outside of his tribal comfort zone. He might ask if, in a hypothetical state run by those who believe the Talmud and Torah to be the true word of God, he would hide Christians fleeing from a government that considered it acceptable to kill non-Jews and that gentiles are little more than beasts, fit to serve as slaves for true believers. To reprise for Goldberg the question he posed to McCain, would he approve that the Jewish persecutors should be killed to protect the innocent?

Or maybe a better example, as it would fit in with Goldberg’s experience as a prison guard, might be the case of a teenage Palestinian fleeing, seeking refuge from a rampaging group of armed settlers inspired by mass murderer Baruch Goldstein or by members of a unit in the Israeli Army. Knowing that many Israelis regard someone throwing a stone or shouting at police as a terrorist and that the Jewish State’s government has an abominable record for killing, beating and imprisoning children, would he open his door? And what would McCain do if he were still around given that the ethnic cleansing being engaged in by Israel on the Palestinians may not be full scale genocide, but it is very close in principle, reflecting the Israeli government desire to make the Palestinians a non-people?

In short, Goldberg should ask himself whether his Anne Frank Test has universal applicability or is it something that is only for Jews. I rather suspect that the test is little more than a word game that empowered Jews like Goldberg use to underline their special status with the ambitious and gullible like Senator John McCain. That McCain enthusiastically became Goldberg’s patsy is at least one good reason that we should all be grateful that he never was elected president.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

September 19, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , | 4 Comments

Korean defense chiefs sign ‘military pact’ after Kim & Moon adopt denuclearization roadmap

RT | September 19, 2018

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have signed a joint statement following their bilateral talks in Pyongyang. The countries’ defense chiefs have meanwhile signed a separate military pact.

As part of the military agreement, the neighbors will halt border drills from November 1, Yonhap reports. South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo and North Korea’s No Kwang-chol also agreed to stop military flights in the vicinity of the demarcation line. In addition, the agreement envisions setting up a buffer zone in the Yellow Sea and suspending maritime drills.

As a clear sign of mutual trust, the Pyongyang military agreement also calls for the withdrawal of soldiers from the demilitarized zone and disarming the servicemen keeping watch at Panmunjom border village. The nations also agreed that each would close eleven border guard posts by the end of 2018.

The Koreas’ armed forces will establish and operate a “joint military committee” to discuss the implementation of the military agreement on a “permanent basis,” Moon Jae-in noted.

Speaking to the press on the outcome of Moon’s visit to North Korea, Kim noted that the “agreement at Pyongyang summit will advance an era of peace, prosperity.” Kim especially noted that the military agreement will help to denuclearize the peninsula and reach a lasting peace. He also agreed to travel soon to South Korea to meet Moon for the fourth time since the reconciliation effort between the neighbors began with the Olympic Peace diplomacy earlier this year. To emphasize their commitment to peace, the nations have decided to send a united team to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and will submit a joint bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics.

Moon meanwhile told reporters that the neighbors finally managed to agree to “specific denuclearization steps.” The South Korean president also noted that the leaders are striving to turn the demilitarized zone into a zone of peace, and that work will soon begin to reconnect cross-border rails and roads before the end of the year.

Moon arrived in North Korea on Tuesday morning for the third face-to-face meeting with his counterpart. Previously, the leaders held talks on April 27 and May 26 in the border village of Panmunjom, in an unprecedented effort to reconcile the two nations following the Korean War (1950-53). Part of Moon’s agenda for the trip was restarting the US-Korean dialogue that hit a brick wall last month, after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo canceled his visit to Pyongyang.

One of the major breakthroughs of the Pyongyang summit was the consent given by the North to allow international inspectors to document a “permanent dismantlement” of its key missile facilities. North Korea also agreed to closing its main nuclear complex in Yongbyon – although only if the United States takes reciprocal conciliatory steps, Moon told reporters. The Korean Peninsula should turn into a “land of peace without nuclear weapons and nuclear threats,” he noted.

“The North expressed its willingness to continue taking additional steps, such as permanent shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear facility, should the United States take corresponding measures under the spirit of the June 12 North Korea-US joint statement,” the joint statement said.

September 19, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | | 1 Comment

‘The Era of no war has started:’ Koreas reach new agreements

Press TV – September 19, 2018

The two Koreas have agreed to take further steps toward peace following a one-on-one meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is on his first ever visit to Pyongyang.

The two leaders issued a joint statement at the end of the second day of their summit in the North Korean capital on Wednesday, agreeing to take a step closer to peace by turning the Korean Peninsula into a “land of peace without nuclear weapons and nuclear threats.”

“The era of no war has started,” Moon said at a joint press conference with Kim after issuing the statement. “Today, the North and South decided to remove all threats from the entire Korean Peninsula.”

He said that Kim “agreed to permanently close the Tongchang-ri missile engine test site and missile launch facility in the presence of experts from relevant nations.”

The South Korean president said the North’s leader had also agreed to shut down its Yongbyon nuclear facility but only if the United States took “corresponding measures.”

It was not clear what measures were expected of the US.

Moon said Pyongyang had already pledged to work toward the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” during his first encounter with him in April, in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas.

The two Koreas “have continuously shown their trust toward one another and I hope there will be another summit between the two countries as soon as possible,” Moon said.

Kim also agreed to work toward denuclearization during a summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore back in June.

But North Korea has said denuclearization will have to be phased, with each stage coming in return for reciprocal steps by the US, potentially including the removal of US forces from the region.

Yet, no specific steps have been designated toward that goal, and Pyongyang says that, while it has taken several goodwill measures — including the suspension of missile and nuclear tests — the American side has taken no moves in return.

North Korea has also already dismantled a nuclear site and has returned the remains of some US soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War to America.

In return, Pyongyang is also seeking relief from harsh international sanctions — mostly spearheaded by the US — imposed on the country over its nuclear and missile programs.

The US, however, has not offered any such relief.

Kim to visit Seoul

When President Moon hoped for another summit, he must have had little idea that his wish would be granted very soon. Kim said shortly after their meeting that he would make a visit to the South in “the near future,” in what would be the first-ever visit to the capital, Seoul, by a North Korean leader.

Moon then said that the trip could happen this year unless there were “special circumstances.” He said the trip would be “unprecedented” and would “provide a turning point for the two Koreas.”

‘This divided nation to unite on its own’

Kim described the latest agreements as a “leap forward” toward military peace on the peninsula.

“The world is going to see how this divided nation is going to bring about a new future on his own,” the North Korean leader said, in a remark potentially meaning that diplomacy with the US, which has already stalled, may not be necessary.

The two Koreas also plan to link up their railways, allow reunions for families separated by the Korean War, and to co-host the 2032 Summer Olympics, according to the joint statement.

The Korean War ended with a truce and not a peace treaty. Ever since, the two countries were on a near-constant war footing. But Kim initiated a rapprochement with South Korea in January. And the US started diplomatically engaging North Korea only later.

The two Koreas have since been advancing their relations. But the US failure to reciprocate North Korean moves has plagued diplomatic engagement between Washington and Pyongyang.

Trump ‘excited’ by developments

Following the announcement, Trump took to Twitter to describe the developments as “very exciting.”

Kim Jong Un has agreed to allow Nuclear inspections, subject to final negotiations, and to permanently dismantle a test site and launch pad in the presence of international experts. In the meantime there will be no Rocket or Nuclear testing. Hero remains to continue being… …returned home to the United States. Also, North and South Korea will file a joint bid to host the 2032 Olympics. Very exciting!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2018

He failed to mention the North Korean demand for reciprocal US measures.

September 19, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

US Must ‘Show Commitment’ to Peace Talks with North Korea – Scholar

Sputnik | September 19, 2018

The Trump administration needs to take a page from North Korea’s playbook and show some type of commitment to peace that amounts to more than just suspended war games, Simone Chun, fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and member of the Korean Peace Network, told Sputnik.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in marked their third meeting on Tuesday. Moon’s three-day visit to Pyongyang is expected to cover talks on the North’s continued denuclearization and the rebooting of dialogue between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the US.

The pair previously met at the border village of Panmunjom on two different occasions in April and later in May of this year.

​Chun told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear on Tuesday that the United States needs to put its best foot forward and work to mend its issues with the DPRK.

“It’s very disappointing that as President Moon Jae-in is making another very historic summit… that there’s many disagreements within the Trump administration on what to do with North Korea and US negotiations,” she told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. “This is, again, Moon Jae-in taking the initiative.”

“We should really be supporting the peace process and really counter the opposition and conflicting messages coming from the Trump administration,” Chun added, before adding that “diplomacy will render better results.”

In June, US President Donald Trump and Kim met for the first time in Singapore with the hopes of finding a peaceful solution to nuclear matters that had been unfolding on the Korean Peninsula. The historic summit concluded with both leaders signing a four-point agreement that would pave the way toward peace in the region.

Although North Korea has moved toward dismantling its nuclear test sites, and the US has steered away from full-fledged war games, Chun told Becker that Washington’s efforts aren’t up to par.

“North Korea has done several irreversible steps toward denuclearization and respecting and implementing the Singapore summit, whereas the United States has so far only done one by suspending the war games,” she said. “I really think the United States should take reciprocal action and show commitment.”

And while a bilateral peace agreement between Pyongyang and Seoul would sound like great news to many, it’s likely not going to happen due to South Korea’s ties to the US.

“There’s a good chance [that Moon and Kim could sign a peace agreement], however, I know that President Moon Jae-in is still very [interested] in working with the United States. I don’t think that they’ll sign a peace treaty,” Chun said.

Kim and Moon are expected to reveal the results of their latest meeting in the days to come. Moon’s visit to Pyongyang also marks the first visit to the North by a president of South Korea in 11 years; the last meeting took place in October 2007, when former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun was in office.

September 19, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

US-Indian Relations: Trump Gets a Unique Partner for America First

By Melkulangara BHADRAKUMAR | Strategic Culture Foundation | 18.09.2018

The inaugural meeting of the foreign and defence ministers of India and the United States in a new “2+2” format on September 6 in New Delhi assumed added significance as an attempt by the Trump administration to translate its Indo-Pacific vision outlined in the National Security Strategy (NSS) of last December.

The NSS had explicitly singled out Russia and China as “revisionist” powers that “challenge American power, influence and interests.” Equally, it ascribed a pivotal role to India in the Indo-Pacific. The “2+2” deliberations fleshed out these two templates.

For the first time in the post-Cold War era, the US has inserted itself into the “time-tested” relationship between India and Russia. Demolition of Indian-Russian partnership has been a hidden agenda of the US’ regional policy since the 1990s but it surged in an overt and abrasive form last week.

This shift from an aspirational approach to intrusive approach can be seen in the backdrop of the deterioration of US-Russia relations and the probability that tensions are unlikely to dissipate in a foreseeable future. The US sanctions against Russian defence sectors have been enacted in the full knowledge that India would be an acutely affected party. The US sanctions laws against Russia are acting like the Damocles’ sword to wear down India’s resistance to rollback in ties with Russia.

A similar US assault on India-Russia energy cooperation can be expected soon, which is another promising area for US exports to India. Besides, the US is also threatening to sanction Russia’s financial sector. Clearly, what the US is seeking goes far beyond a reset or atrophy in the Indian-Russian relationship. It aims at nothing less than draining the contents of the “Special Privileged Strategic Partnership” between India and Russia and make it an empty shell. Yet, partnership with Russia has been historically an anchor sheet of India’s strategic autonomy.

Indeed, it becomes a sad reflection of the huge inroads the US has made through the recent decade since the signing of the 2008 US-Indian nuclear deal to breach India’s strategic autonomy. Put differently, weakening of the India-Russia relations is an imperative need for Washington to hustle India on the path of becoming its key ally in the Indo-Pacific. Such a profound shift in the US approach can only be understood in terms of the strategic importance and the sense of urgency that the NSS attaches to the Indo-Pacific region.

The NSS ranks the Indo-Pacific as a strategically more vital area than the Middle East (which has been the principal domain so far of the US’ strategic attention.) The NSS prioritizes the “Quad” (quadrilateral alliance of the US, Japan, Australia and India) more emphatically than even Washington’s transatlantic leadership as a platform of the US’ global strategies. Washington intends to checkmate China, which the NSS has portrayed as the US’ competitor who poses challenge to its world leadership and the international order.

Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy appeals to the Indian audience alongside the NSS’ grand designation of India as a “leading global power”. Delhi exulted over the NSS document: “We appreciate the importance given to India-United States relationship… the two responsible democracies…share the same objectives.” To be sure, the Trump administration has rekindled a decade-old Indian dream of being a “counterweight” to China.

An influential section of India’s foreign-policy elite remains wedded to the notion that fundamentally, the US helped China’s rise in the Cold War era and that India is similarly well positioned to garner American benevolence in the emergent New Cold War conditions. The “2+2” highlighted that the US has astutely tapped into the Indian elite’s “unipolar predicament”.

In the recent period since the NSS was announced, the Trump administration has declared India as a “Major Defence Partner”, opening the door for the sale of more advanced and sensitive military technologies by American vendors at par with the US’ closest allies and partners, and fostering convergence of interests with India on a range of issues like maritime security, domain awareness and so on.

Without doubt, this has been a “win-win” strategy for Washington. The signing of a Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) at the “2+2” testifies to it. The COMCASA is modeled on agreements Washington has with its most important NATO and treaty allies. It is a big leap forward in developing “inter-operability” between the militaries of the US, its allies, and India, which in turn transforms India into a front-line state in the US’ military-strategic offensive against China in the Indo-Pacific. Another such “foundational agreement”, Logistics Exchange Memorandum Agreement (signed in 2016 and operationalized last year), has already opened India’s air bases and naval ports to routine use by US warplanes and battleships for refueling and resupply.

The “2+2” joint statement announced that India and US will stage their first-ever joint exercise involving all three branches of India’s military next year, and that they are setting up “hotlines” between their respective foreign and defence ministries “to help maintain regular high-level communication on emerging developments.” It commits the two countries to increased bilateral, trilateral and quadrilateral military-security cooperation. On the other hand, COMCASA is expected to pave the way for a major boost in Indian purchases of US weaponry, which is likely to begin with India’s procurement of armed naval drones for anti-submarine warfare.

All this works splendidly for the US. In sum, by playing on India’s geopolitical apprehensions regarding China’s rise as a global power and playing astutely on India’s own great-power ambitions, US is promoting on the one hand its business interests in the Indian market while on the other hand also locking India into its Indo-Pacific alliance system against China as well as progressively undermining the India-Russia “time-tested” relationship.

It’s a “win-win” strategy all the way. The Trump White House has drawn encouragement from the “2+2” to push the idea of concluding a free-trade agreement with India. Informal conversations have already begun.

Trump appears bullish that when push comes to shove, the present Indian government will bend to Washington’s diktats. Indeed, the Trump administration can count on influential back channels, too. It is no secret that the upper caste Indian Diaspora in the US has close links with the Hindu nationalist groups that mentor Modi government.

Thus, it comes as no surprise that Trump sees Prime Minister Modi as a unique partner for his “America First” project. Trump will skip the East Asia Summit in Singapore in November but is signaling interest in Modi’s invitation to him to be the guest of honor at India’s National Day celebrations in January.

September 18, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment