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North Korea Says US Should Completely Halt Joint Drills With Seoul Instead of Suspending Them

Sputnik – November 19, 2019

The US should completely stop joint military exercises with South Korea instead of postponing them, Chairman of the North Korean Asia-Pacific Peace Committee Kim Yong Chol said, following Washington and Seoul’s decision to delay the upcoming military drills known as the Combined Flying Training Event, scheduled for November.

“The United States puts the postponement of joint exercises as care and concessions to someone and boasts that they contribute to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, but what we demand from the United States is not to conduct exercises with South Korea or completely stop the exercises at all,” Kim said, as quoted by the Korean Central News Agency.

According to Kim, Washington-Seoul joint drills do not ensure security on the Korean Peninsula or contribute to a diplomatic solution to the issue. He also reiterated that unless Washington abandons its “hostile policy” toward North Korea, denuclearization talks are impossible.

On Sunday, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said that the United States and South Korea agreed to hold off the upcoming joint military air exercises in a show of good faith to promote a denuclearization dialogue with Pyongyang and encourage the latter to reciprocate.

After the first US-North Korea summit in June 2018, US President Donald Trump announced that he intended to suspend the joint military exercises with South Korea, calling them expensive and inappropriate in dialogue with Pyongyang. The allies have since canceled several drills that North Korea deemed as a provocation. Most recently, in early November, Washington and Seoul reportedly agreed to skip the Vigilant Ace military drills, scheduled to take place in December, for the second year in a row. However, later reports indicated that the countries would proceed with the exercise but would hold limited flight drills.

Despite the suspensions, the talks have since reached a deadlock, with Pyongyang calling for more flexibility on the part of Washington, particularly concerning sanctions relief. In October, North Korea gave the US until the end of the year to come up with a mutually acceptable deal to advance the denuclearization process.

November 19, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

U.S. Continues to Draw Lines in Eastern Mediterranean

By Paul Antonopoulos | November 19, 2019

From November 3 to November 14, Israeli, U.S., German, Italian and Greek war jets participated in the “Blue Flag 2019” military exercises out of the Ovda Air Base in Israel’s Negev Desert. The timing of these exercises corresponds with Turkey and a whole host of other countries conducting their own naval exercises in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas.

Lines are certainly being drawn in the Eastern Mediterranean between pro-U.S. forces and states seeking their own sovereignty away from U.S. hegemony, especially Turkey. Greece proves to be a curious country at the moment, since one of its warships participated in the Turkish-led naval exercises, even though Pakistan twice violated Greek airspace during these exercises and a war of words continues to ensue between Turkish and Greek political leaders over the maritime waters of Cyprus and the Eastern Aegean.

Although Greece was involved in both exercises, there can be no doubt that the Blue Flag 2019 exercises were aimed against Russia, Turkey and Iran. Part of the Blue Flag 2019 was the process and execution of aerial scripts to neutralize Russia’s S-400 Triumph missile defense system. However, since none of the participating countries have an S-400, the Israeli military had deployed U.S.-made Patriot missiles in specific locations to try to simulate the capabilities of the Russian-made systems during the military exercises that occurred near the Gaza Strip.

The simulation of the S-400 rocket launcher demonstrates for the first time that Israel is actively preparing to deal with such a system that exists only in Syrian and Turkish territory. In Syria, the powerful Russian defense system was deployed to protect Russian forces exactly four years ago, ironically because Turkey blew out a Russian jet from Syrian airspace in November 2015.

Meanwhile, the S-300V4 missiles will also be deployed in Egypt. The S-300V4 uses almost similar technology to the S-400 and has great capabilities in handling stealth aircraft. The S-400 has recently been shipped to Turkey, but is not yet operational, while Iran and Saudi Arabia have also shown interest in these systems.

The oldest and least capable S-300PMU-2 was deployed by the Syrian armed forces in late 2018, reducing the frequency of Israeli attacks in the country, but not stopping them. It is unclear what exact development led to Israel’s implementation of the S-400 neutralization training, however it is likely that these systems will also begin appearing elsewhere in the Middle East, putting Israel in a compromised military position.

Whatever the case, a big game is being played in the area with the possession and potential use of strategic weapons, such as Russian missiles and 5th generation American fighter jets.

Turkey, Greece, Israel, the U.S. and Syria have been embroiled in a meltdown of developments over who will eventually have the upper hand in the Eastern Mediterranean, but it is also seen that alliances are forming in the region. Although Greece was involved in both exercises taking place in the Eastern Mediterranean,  its warship participating in the Turkish-led exercises took a more observatory position ensuring that its maritime waters were not violated, while it took a very active role in Israel, even winning the war games against the other participants of the exercises, which is unsurprising since Greece has the best pilots in NATO.

While Greece also participated in the Turkish-led naval exercises, it was actively training its pilots alongside the U.S. and conducting drills with Patriot missile batteries modified to imitate the Russian-made systems. However, the Russian systems hit targets twice as fast as the Patriots, and at a longer distance and higher altitude – essentially, attempting to use Patriots to simulate the S-400 would not  have been very accurate.

It cannot be forgotten that Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter of oil in the world, on September 14 had its daily supply cut by nearly 50 percent because of drone and missile attacks against state-owned oil company by the Yemeni Houthi-led Ansarullah resistance movement. With Saudi Arabia investing billions of dollars into the Patriot system, it would have been expected that they would have a near 100% success rate in hitting all the missiles launched by the Ansarullah Movement.

It is for this reason that Russian Senate Security and Defense Committee member Franz Klintsevich, in a comedic manner, stated that “if Saudi Arabia had installed the Russian anti-aircraft systems, this would not have happened. The S-300 and S-400 missile systems, supported by the Pantsir S-1 would not have allowed any of the drones and missiles to hit their target. The Saudis should think about it.” Therefore, there is a huge doubt that the modified Patriots could successfully mimic the S-400.

Whether the training against “the S-400” in Israel was successful for the participating countries, it more importantly demonstrates an intent by these countries to be able to overcome the Russian missile defense system. For Israel, it is crucial so that it knows how to respond to any hypothetical war with Iran or Turkey, while for the U.S. it would also be against Russia.

With Russia selling the S-400 system, announcing its intent to also sell fighter jets, and conducting patrols with Turkey in Syria, their ties are becoming much more integrated. It also appears that the U.S., Greece and Israel are strengthening their military coordination in the Eastern Mediterranean. Although Israel is not against Russia, it certainly has an adversarial political and military relationship with Turkey despite their close economic ties, just as Greece does with Turkey. And although Greece might not be against Russia, they certainly are against Turkey. The U.S. intentions for the Blue Flag 2019 exercise are to coordinate an alliance against Russia, and potentially Turkey, while training against the S-400.

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

November 19, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mossad And The JFK Assassination

John-F-Kennedy.net

“Israel need not apologize for the assassination or destruction of those who seek to destroy it. The first order of business for any country is the protection of its people.” – Washington Jewish Week, October 9, 1997

In March, 1992, Illinois Representative Paul Findley said in The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, “It is interesting – but not surprising – to note that in all the words written and uttered about the Kennedy assassination, Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad, has never been mentioned.”

Considering that the Mossad is quite possibly the most ruthless and efficient intelligence agency in the world, it is peculiar that they have never been scrutinized in relation to the Kennedy assassination, especially when practically every other entity in the world (short of Elvis impersonators) has been implicated. But that all changed in January, 1994 with the release of Michael Collins Piper’s Final Judgment. In this book, Piper says, “Israel’s Mossad was a primary (and critical) behind the scenes player in the conspiracy that ended the life of JFK. Through its own vast resources and through its international contacts in the intelligence community and in organized crime, Israel had the means, it had the opportunity, and it had the motive to play a major frontline role in the crime of the century – and it did.”

Their motive? Israel’s much touted Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, who ruled that country from its inception in 1948 until he resigned on June 16, 1963, was so enraged at John F. Kennedy for not allowing Israel to become a nuclear power that, Collins asserts, in his final days in office he commanded the Mossad to become involved in a plot to kill America’s president.

Ben-Gurion was so convinced that Israel’s very survival was in dire jeopardy that in one of his final letters to JFK he said, “Mr. President, my people have the right to exist, and this existence is in danger.”

In the days leading up to Ben-Gurion’s resignation from office, he and JFK had been involved in an unpublicized, contentious debate over the possibility of Israel getting nuclear capabilities. Their disagreement eventually escalated into a full-fledged war of words that was virtually ignored in the press. Ethan Bronner wrote about this secret battle between JFK and Ben-Gurion years later in a New York Times article on October 31, 1998, calling it a “fiercely hidden subject.” In fact, the Kennedy/Ben-Gurion conversations are still classified by the United States Government. Maybe this is the case because Ben-Gurion’s rage and frustration became so intense – and his power so great within Israel – that Piper contends it was at the center of the conspiracy to kill John Kennedy. This stance is supported by New York banker Abe Feinberg, who describes the situation as such: “Ben-Gurion could be vicious, and he had such a hatred of the old man [Joe Kennedy, Sr., JFK’s father].” Ben-Gurion despised Joe Kennedy because he felt that not only was he an anti-Semite, but that he had also sided with Hitler during the 1930’s and 40’s. [We will touch upon this aspect of the story in an upcoming article entitled The CIA and Organized Crime: Two Sides of the Same Coin].

Anyway, Ben-Gurion was convinced that Israel needed nuclear weapons to insure its survival, while Kennedy was dead-set against it. This inability to reach an agreement caused obvious problems. One of them revolved around Kennedy’s decision that he would make America his top priority in regard to foreign policy, and not Israel! Kennedy planned to honor the 1950 Tripartite Declaration which said that the United States would retaliate against any nation in the Middle East that attacked any other country. Ben-Gurion, on the other hand, wanted the Kennedy Administration to sell them offensive weapons, particularly Hawk missiles.

The two leaders thus engaged in a brutal letter exchange, but Kennedy wouldn’t budge. Ben-Gurion, obsessed by this issue, slipped into total paranoia, feeling that Kennedy’s obstinance was a blatant threat to the very existence of Israel as a nation. Piper writes, “Ben-Gurion had devoted a lifetime creating a Jewish State and guiding it into the world arena. And, in Ben-Gurion’s eyes, John F. Kennedy was an enemy of the Jewish people and his beloved state of Israel.” He continues, “The ‘nuclear option’ was not only at the very core of Ben-Gurion’s personal world view, but the very foundation of Israel’s national security policy.”

Ben-Gurion was so preoccupied with obtaining nuclear weapons that on June 27, 1963, eleven days after resigning from office, he announced, “I do not know of any other nation whose neighbors declare that they wish to terminate it, and not only declare, but prepare for it by all means available to them. We must have no illusions that what is declared every day in Cairo, Damascus, and Iraq are just words. This is the thought that guides the Arab leaders … I am confident … that science is able to provide us with the weapons that will serve the peace and deter our enemies.”

Avner Cohen, in Israel and the Bomb, published by Columbia University Press, reinforces this sense of urgency by writing, “Imbued with lessons of the Holocaust, Ben-Gurion was consumed by fears of security … Anxiety about the Holocaust reached beyond Ben-Gurion to infuse Israel’s military thinking.” He further adds fuel to this point by pointing out, “Ben-Gurion had no qualms about Israel’s need for weapons of mass destruction,” and “Ben-Gurion’s world view and his decisive governing style shaped his critical role in instigating Israel’s nuclear progress.”

Kennedy, on the other hand, was adamant in his refusal to promote Israel’s ascension to the nuclear stage. Avener Cohen, in Israel and the Bomb, stresses, “No American president was more concerned with the danger of nuclear proliferation than John Fitzgerald Kennedy. He was convinced that the spread of nuclear weapons would make the world more dangerous and undermine U.S. interests.” Cohen continues at the end of this passage, “The only example Kennedy used to make this point was Israel.”

Realizing that Kennedy would not change his mind, Ben-Gurion decided to join forces with Communist China. Both countries were greatly interested in creating nuclear programs, and so began their secret joint dealings. Working in unison through intermediary Shaul Eisenberg, who was a partner of Mossad gun-runner and accountant Tibor Rosenbaum, Israel and China proceeded to develop their own nuclear capabilities without the knowledge of the United States.

If you find this scenario improbable, I strongly urge you to read Gordon Thomas’ excellent book, Seeds of Fire, where he exposes how the Mossad and CSIS (Chinese secret service) have conspired on many occasions to not only steal American military secrets, but to also doctor U.S. intelligence programs such as the Justice Department’s PROMISE software. This instance, I am afraid to say, is but the first where echoes of the JFK assassination can still be felt today reverberating through our post 9-11 world. The danger of Israel developing the Bomb in unison with China became a highly volatile situation, and was closely monitored by the CIA.

Intent on pursuing this path, the Israeli’s constructed a nuclear facility at Dimona. When Kennedy demanded that the U.S. inspect this plant, Ben-Gurion was so incensed that he erected another PHONY facility that held no evidence of nuclear research and development. (Does this scenario sound eerily familiar to the game we’re playing with Saddam Hussein in Iraq right now?) Fully aware of their shenanigans, though, JFK told Charles Bartlett, “The sons of bitches lie to me constantly about their nuclear capability.”

Avner Cohen, in Israel and the Bomb, reiterates this claim by saying that Ben-Gurion had taken the nuclear issue so closely to heart that he, “concluded that he could not tell the truth about Dimona to American leaders, not even in private.”

Dr. Gerald M. Steinberg, political science professor at Bar-Ilan University’s BESA Center for Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv, weighs in by saying, “Between 1961 and 1963, the Kennedy administration placed a great deal of pressure on Ben-Gurion in the effort to pressure for acceptance of international inspection of Dimona and Israeli abdication of their nuclear weapons. This pressure apparently did not alter Israeli policy, but it was a contributing factor to Ben-Gurion’s resignation in 1963.”

To convey how serious this situation had become in modern terms, look at what is happening in Iraq with United Nations security teams inspecting the royal palaces and bunkers for nuclear weapons and materials. This matter is so urgent that our nation is on the verge of war. Forty years earlier, the heat that JFK was placing on Ben-Gurion was equally as strong as what George Bush is laying on Saddam Hussein today.

In Israel and the Bomb, Avner Cohen reinforces this point. “To force Ben-Gurion to accept the conditions, Kennedy exerted the most useful leverage available to an American president in dealing with Israel: a threat that an unsatisfactory solution would jeopardize the U.S. government’s commitment to, and support of, Israel.”

The pressure on Ben-Gurion was so immense that he ended up leaving office. But Kennedy, in true pit-bull style, didn’t let up on Ben-Gurion’s successor, Levi Eshkol, as Avner Cohen reports. “Kennedy told Eshkol that the U.S. commitment and support of Israel ‘could be seriously jeopardized’ if Israel did not let the U.S. obtain ‘reliable information’ about its efforts in the nuclear field. Kennedy’s demands were unprecedented. They amounted, in effect, to an ultimatum.” Cohen concludes this thought by asserting, “Kennedy’s letter precipitated a near-crisis situation in Eshkol’s office.”

In the end, as we’re all aware, Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963; but less known is that China conducted its first nuclear test in October, 1964. What makes this event more profound is Piper’s claim that even though Israel said its first nuclear tests took place in 1979, they actually occurred in October, 1964 along with the Chinese! If this is true, other than August, 1945 when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, October 1964 may possibly be the most dangerous month in 20th century history.

Let’s return, though, to JFK’s assassination and the direct results of it in regard to the Jewish lobby, American foreign policy, and the militarization of Israel. To understand how powerful the Israeli lobby is in this country, venerable Senator J. William Fulbright told CBS Face the Nation on April 15, 1973, “Israel controls the U.S. Senate. The Senate is subservient, much too much; we should be more concerned about U.S. interests rather than doing the bidding of Israel. The great majority of the Senate of the U.S. – somewhere around 80% – is completely in support of Israel; anything Israel wants; Israel gets. This has been demonstrated time and again, and this has made [foreign policy] difficult for our government.”

Do you hear what Senator Fulbright said? This isn’t a crazy conspiracy theorist or a KKK anti-Semite. It’s a much-respected U.S. Senator saying that about 80% of the Senate is in Israel’s hip pocket. Adding clout to this argument is Rep. Paul Findley, who was quoted in The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs in March, 1992, “During John Kennedy’s campaign for the presidency, a group of New York Jews had privately offered to meet his campaign expenses if he would let them set his Middle East policy. He did not agree … As the president, he provided only limited support of Israel.”

To understand how important Kennedy’s decisions were during his short-lived presidency, we need to look at the issue of campaign finance. Considering how influential the Israeli lobby is in the U.S. Senate (hearkening back to the words of Senator Fulbright), they had to have been enraged when President Kennedy genuinely wanted to cut the knees out from under the current campaign finance methods because it made politicians so reliant upon the huge cash inlays of special-interest groups. Regrettably, Kennedy did not have the time to implement this program, and to this day our political system is still monopolized by lobbyists from the very same special-interest groups. One can only imagine what changes would have occurred in regard to our foreign policy had Kennedy eradicated these vipers and blood-suckers from the halls of Congress.

Tragically, Kennedy’s ideas never came to fruition, and his heated battle with Prime Minister Ben-Gurion over whether Israel should be allowed to develop a nuclear program was ultimately lost. The reason why is that Lyndon Baines Johnson, who Kennedy intended to drop from his ticket in 1964 due to his extreme dislike for, had a complete reversal in foreign policy. As you will see, not only did Israel’s nuclear program move ahead unchecked; they also became the primary beneficiary of our foreign aid.

But this absolute turnaround would not have occurred if Kennedy would not have been assassinated. Up until LBJ became president, Kennedy dealt with the Middle East in a way that most benefited the U.S. His primary goal – and one which would most keep the peace – was a balance of power in the Middle East so that each and every nation would be secure. This decision adhered to the Tripartite Declaration which the U.S. signed in 1950. But under the Johnson administration, this fragile balance was overturned, and by 1967 – only four years after Kennedy’s assassination – the U.S. was Israel’s main weapons supplier, and OUR best interests were put well behind those of Israel!

As Michael Collins Piper writes: “The bottom line is this: JFK was adamantly determined to stop Israel from building the nuclear bomb. LBJ simply looked the other way. JFK’s death did indeed prove beneficial to Israel’s nuclear ambitions and the evidence proves it.”

Reuven Pedatzer, in a review of Avner Cohen’s Israel and the Bomb, in the Israeli Newspaper Ha’aretz on February 5, 1999 wrote, “The murder of American president John F. Kennedy brought to an abrupt end the massive pressure being applied by the U.S. administration on the government of Israel to discontinue their nuclear program.” He continues, “Kennedy made it quite clear to the Israeli Prime Minister that he would not under any circumstances agree to Israel becoming a nuclear state.” Pedatzer concludes, “Had Kennedy remained alive, it is doubtful whether Israel would today have a nuclear option,” and that, “Ben-Gurion’s decision to resign in 1963 was taken to a large extent against the background of the tremendous pressure that Kennedy was applying on him concerning the nuclear issue.”

If you’re still not convinced; how about some numbers? In Kennedy’s last fiscal budget year of 1964, Israeli aid was $40 million. In LBJ’s first budget of 1965, it soared to $71 million, and in 1966 more than tripled from two years earlier to $130 million! Plus, during Kennedy’s administration, almost none of our aid to Israel was military in nature. Instead, it was split equally between development loans and food assistance under the PL480 Program. Yet in 1965 under the Johnson administration, 20% of our aid to Israel was for the military, while in 1966, 71% was used for war-related materials.

Continuing in this same vein, in 1963 the Kennedy administration sold 5 Hawk missiles to Israel as part of an air-defense system. In 1965-66, though, LBJ laid 250 tanks on Israel, 48 Skyhawk attack aircrafts, plus guns and artillery which were all offensive in nature. If you ever wondered when the Israeli War Machine was created, this is it! LBJ was its father.

According to Stephen Green in Taking Sides: America’s Secret Relations with a Militant Israel, “The $92 million in military assistance provided in fiscal year 1966 was greater than the total of all official military aid provided to Israel cumulatively in all the years going back to the foundation of that nation in 1948.”

Green continues, “70% of all U.S. official assistance to Israel has been military. America has given Israel over $17 billion in military aid since 1946, virtually all of which – over 99% – has been provided since 1965.”

Can you see what’s happening here? Within two years of JFK’s assassination, Israel went from being a weak, outmatched member of the volatile Middle Eastern community that was not allowed to develop nuclear weapons to one that was well on its way to becoming a undeniable military force on the world stage. John Kennedy adamantly put his foot down and refused to allow Israel to develop a nuclear program, while LBJ bent over backward to facilitate and bolster them. Or, as Seymour Hersh wrote in The Samson Option, “By 1968, the president had no intention of doing anything to stop the Israeli bomb.”

The result of this shift in focus from the Kennedy to Johnson administration is, in my opinion, the PRIMARY reason behind our current troubles in the Middle East which culminated in the 9-11 attacks and our upcoming war with Iraq (and beyond). I have a great deal of confidence in this statement, for as Michael Collins Piper points out, here are the results of John F. Kennedy’s assassination:

1) Our foreign and military aid to Israel increased dramatically once LBJ became president.

2) Rather than trying to maintain a BALANCE in the Middle East, Israel suddenly emerged as the dominant force.

3) Since the LBJ administration, Israel has always had weaponry that was superior to any of its direct neighbors.

4) Due to this undeniable and obvious increase in Israel’s War Machine, a constant struggle has been perpetuated in the Middle East.

5) LBJ also allowed Israel to proceed with its nuclear development, resulting in them becoming the 6th largest nuclear force in the world.

6) Finally, our huge outlays of foreign aid to Israel (approximately $10 billion/year when all is said and done) has created a situation of never-ending attacks and retaliation in the Middle East, plus outright scorn and enmity against the U.S. for playing the role of Israel’s military enabler.

In Israel’s, and especially David Ben-Gurion’s eyes then, what were their alternatives – to remain weakened (or at least balanced) in relation to their neighbors and handcuffed by JFK’s refusal to bow to their will, or KILL the one man standing in their way to becoming dominant in the Middle East, the recipient of huge amounts of military aid, and one of the premier nuclear forces in the world? It’s something to think about.

November 17, 2019 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 4 Comments

Major US-South Korea air exercise postponed, described by US as an ‘act of goodwill’ to Pyongyang

RT | November 17, 2019

The United States and South Korea shelved aerial drills that were set to kick off later in November and were earlier described by Pyongyang as provocative, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced on Sunday.

At a press briefing with his South Korean counterpart Jeong Kyeong-doo in Bangkok, Esper insisted the move was not “a concession” to his partner country’s neighbor and argued the postponement was rather a diplomatic gesture in a hope to bring new life into the gridlocked denuclearization talks. “We have made this decision as an act of goodwill to contribute to an environment conducive to diplomacy and the advancement of peace,” Esper said.

No new date for the training has been set. Previously, Seoul and Washington had scaled down the exercise from the grandiose Vigilant Ace drills to a more modest Combined Flying Training Event, for the second year in a row.

US Defense Secretary urged Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table and hinted the delay with the exercise could be considered a part of a deal, term frequently used by Trump’s administration for diplomatic talks. “I see this as a good-faith effort by the United States and the Republic of Korea to enable peace, to facilitate a political agreement, a deal if you will,” he said.

Last month, North Korea walked away from the formal denuclearization talks with the United States in Sweden. Country’s foreign ministry added that it had “no intention to hold such sickening negotiations before the U.S. takes a substantial step to completely and irreversibly abandon the hostile policy” against North Korea.

A less obvious sign of softening of the US policy towards North Korea played out on Thursday in the United Nations, when the assembly adopted a resolution condemning human rights violations in North Korea. The document was sponsored by the European Union and joined by the United States and others. However, South Korea decided to withdraw from the list of sponsors, for the first time since 2008, the period of Seoul’s Sunshine Policy towards North Korea. North Korea dubbed the resolution as “a political provocation” of the US.

November 17, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

North Korea to US: We are not interested in talks aimed at appeasing us

Press TV – November 14, 2019

North Korea rebuffs a recent offer by the United States to resume bilateral talks, saying accepting such negotiations would only help Washington pass a Pyongyang deadline for the former to adopt a more flexible approach.

The proposal came through American negotiator Stephen Biegun to his North Korean counterpart Kim Myong Gil through a third country. It urged that the countries resume their discussions following three rounds of failed talks, which started in Singapore last year and was followed up in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi and Stockholm.

The North has given the US until the end of the year to ease its stance towards the country.

On Thursday, the North Korean negotiator called Biegun’s proposal a “sinister aim of appeasing us in a bid to pass with ease” Pyongyang’s deadline.

“We have no willingness to have such negotiations,” the Korean official asserted.

The Singapore talks came on Washington’s initiative against a backdrop of drawn-out sheer hostility, marked by fiery exchanges between the countries.

After the Hanoi talks, Trump even paid a “surprise” visit to the North as he was staying for a visit in South Korea and became the first US president to take a few steps into the North Korean soil.

However, all the apparent US attempts at rapprochement have fallen far short of Pyongyang’s demands that Washington lift its punishing sanctions against it and halt its joint military maneuvers with the South.

The US has conditioned such measures on the North’s denuclearizing first.

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said on Wednesday that he was open to changes in the US military activity in South Korea.

Kim Yong Chol, a senior North Korean official, who led negotiations in the run-up to the Vietnam summit, said late on Thursday that he hoped Esper meant to completely halt the joint drills.

“But if … the hostile provocation against us is carried out, we won’t help but responding with shocking punishment that the United States can’t afford,” he added.

November 14, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

US, South Korea could scale back joint drills: Esper

Press TV – November 14, 2019

US military exercises with South Korea could be scaled back to aid diplomacy with the nuclear-armed North, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signaled on his way to Seoul, as Pyongyang said it was running out of patience.

The North has long protested joint military drills, which it condemns as preparations for invasion, and has set Washington an end-of-year deadline to come up with a new offer in deadlocked negotiations on its weapons programs.

The US and South Korea last year cancelled several joint drills in the wake of the Singapore summit between President Donald Trump and the North’s leader Kim Jong Un, but are due to carry out a combined air exercise next month.

“We will adjust our exercise posture either more or less depending on what diplomacy may require,” Esper told reporters on board his plane to Seoul, where he starts an Asian tour Thursday.

The possible downsizing of the joint drills should not be seen as a “concession” to Pyongyang, he said, “but as a means to keep the door open to diplomacy”.

“I’m all for diplomacy first,” he added.

His comments came after Pyongyang reiterated its demands for the combined exercise to be scrapped.

“The US is not accepting with due consideration the year-end time limit that we set out of great patience and magnanimity,” a spokesman for the State Affairs Commission (SAC) said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

The SAC is the North’s top governing body and it is unusual for it to issue such declarations.

Holding the drills would be an “undisguised breach” of the Singapore summit declaration, it said, adding: “Betrayal is only what we feel from the US side.”

“We no longer feel the need to exercise any more patience,” it went on, but gave no details of the “new way” it was threatening to pursue if Washington did not meet its demands.

Negotiations have been gridlocked since the Hanoi summit between leader Kim Jong Un and Trump broke up in February disagreement over sanctions relief and what the North would be willing to give up in return.

Working-level talks restarted in Sweden in October only to break down quickly, with the North blaming the US for not giving up its “old attitude”.

Pyongyang has carried out a series of missile tests in recent weeks and months, including one launched at sea, which it said was fired from a submarine — a potential strategic game-changer.

The tests would improve the North’s capabilities, Esper acknowledged.

“Anytime you test, you learn something,” he said. “We take them very seriously and we watch them very closely, but we’re also not going to overreact and do something that, for example, could close the door to diplomacy.”

November 14, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

US, Israel won’t partake in confab on WMD-free Mideast

Press TV – November 12, 2019

The United States will not participate in a conference on establishing a zone free of all types of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Middle East “because of Israel,” Russia has announced.

“The Americans refused to take part because Israel refuses to participate,” said Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, Austria, on Tuesday.

The WMDFZ conference will be held from November 18 to 22, at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York. According to Ulyanov, Russia and China will participate as observers.

Israel is the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, but its policy is to neither confirm nor deny having atomic bombs. Estimates show that the regime is currently in possession of 200 to 400 atomic warheads.

The Tel Aviv regime is also believed to possess the capability to deliver its nuclear warheads in a number of methods, including by aircraft, on submarine-launched cruise missiles and the Jericho series of intermediate to intercontinental range ballistic missiles.

Ulyanov also said the Arab countries of the Middle East “proceed from the assumption that Israel has nuclear weapons and does not want to abandon it.”

Last year, the First Committee of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a decision — submitted by the League of Arab States — that requests UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to hold a regional conference on the establishment of the WMDFZ in the Middle East by the end of this year.

Israel and the US have already expressed their strong opposition to the initiative, saying it would target Tel Aviv.

However, “practical work will finally begin, though without the Americans,” said the Russian official.

In a June report, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) revealed that the Israeli regime has 30 gravity bombs that can be delivered by fighter jets — some of which are believed to be equipped for nuclear weapon delivery.

Israel also possesses close to 50 warheads that can be delivered by land-based ballistic missiles, such as Jericho III, said to have a range of 5,500 km, the global security think tank added.

The institute further said that the Israeli regime has modified its fleet of German-built Dolphin-class submarines to carry nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles, giving it a sea-based strike capability.

Israel is not a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), either.

November 12, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , | 2 Comments

Willy Wimmer: ‘We are on a path of war again’

RT | November 9, 2019

Three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, one of the symbols of the Cold War, Europe remains divided because it chose confrontation over a common future, Willy Wimmer, Germany’s former State Secretary for Defense believes.

Germany is marking 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall – a symbol of division, perhaps, not just for Germans but for all Europeans, who saw the continent split between the Western and the Soviet bloc. The wall’s destruction has since turned into a symbol of German reunification. Yet, Europe itself has failed to achieve the genuine unity that was a dream of the people who tore it down back on November 9, 1989.

Wimmer is a long-term member of the German parliament and the former vice-head of the OSCE Assembly, who also was a high-ranking official with the German Defense Ministry at the time of reunification and oversaw the integration of West and East Germany’s Armed Forces.

He believes that instead of striving for a “Common House” uniting all the European nations, the politicians drew new lines in the sand, setting their nations on a path to fresh conflict. The hopes that filled the hearts of the people following the end of the Cold War have been ultimately dashed, he said, while calling the present European and NATO policies towards Russia a “disaster”.

Below are some more of his thoughts on the issue, which he shared with RT.

Anglo-Saxon ‘division’ strategy instead of Gorbachev’s ‘Common House’

The reason for the new Cold War is absolutely clear. If we had followed the policies of [the last Soviet leader] Mikhail Gorbachev, [former German Chancellor] Helmut Kohl and even [the former US President] George H. W. Bush, we would have entered an era of cooperation. It is for this reason that I mention the “common European House” – the big idea of Mikhail Gorbachev.

It is a kind of Anglo-Saxon policy not to have cooperation on the European continent – mainly between the Russians, the French, the Poles and the Germans. They want to have a line of confrontation in this area and therefore are against all promises. [As a result] NATO was extended to the East.

I was responsible for the organization of the German Armed Forces on the German territory following reunification. We did not want foreign troops in former East Germany. We did not want to have British or French troops there; we wanted to have only German ones. We wanted to explain to the world that there was no desire to enlarge NATO up to the new borders with Russia that were created in 1992.

It was against all the ideas we had after reunification. What is happening now is some kind of Anglo-Saxon policy that was created even before WWI. We are on the path of war again. That is so much against the will of our people.

This is also against the will of the Dutch, the French, the Spanish and the Italians. We see it as a disaster that a US president that is willing to cooperate with the Russian President Vladimir Putin – President [Donald] Trump – has to face such a disastrous policy organized by the US deep state, which is against our national interests and the national interests of all other western Europeans.

“The remains of the Berlin Wall are not only the symbol of German reunification or the end of the division in Europe. It is a symbol of missed hopes and forgotten expectations when it comes to the great idea of Mikhail Gorbachev to help build a common European House.”

As long as we live, the German people will remember with great gratitude the Soviet Secretary General and its leader, as well as the Russian population. We always said that a key for German reunification was in Moscow. Moscow handed it over to us and therefore we have to face responsibility for the future.

Links to Russia re-established

The role of Mikhail Gorbachev is still akin to that of a saint to the Germans. People in Germany like Mr. Gorbachev and they like his idea of a common European House. We see it as a disaster in Germany that, together with NATO, we are preparing some kind of a common European battleground again.

Gorbachev is a kind of a hero for Germans. I travel a lot in all parts of Germany and when I come to the Eastern part I see another big issue for them. For 20 years after unification, it was very difficult to talk to them about the Russians and their relationship to Russia. They almost ignored such talk because of the past.

But, when you now come to Rostock, Dresden or Leipzig they are learning Russian again, they go to theaters to watch Russian performances and listen to Russian music. They have re-established their links with Russia, and if they could do what they want to do, they would be the big economic partners of Russia these days.

Things have really changed for the Russian Federation and with regard to Russia. People in Dresden, Saxony’s capital, are absolutely proud that Russian President Vladimir Putin once served there. That is the reality these days, despite what the mainstream media say.

November 9, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Iran is winning strategic struggle for influence, even as US cripples its economy

By Darius Shahtahmasebi | RT | November 8, 2019

A new report has confirmed what some analysts have been saying for some time: that Iran is winning the regional struggle for strategic influence.

The 217-page report, published by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), is entitled “Iran’s Networks of Influence in the Middle East” and details Tehran’s use of proxy forces and networks throughout the region and the effects and benefits of its “minimum output” foreign policy strategy.

It is probably worth mentioning at this point that H.R. McMaster, Trump’s former national security adviser, was once an employee of the IISS. As was James Steinberg, a former US deputy secretary of state. Furthermore, at the end of 2016, the Guardian revealed that the organization had received £25 million ($32 million) from the Bahraini royal family (apparently almost half of its total income has come from Bahrain). Iran and Bahrain aren’t exactly close friends.

Notwithstanding the potential motives and bias of the IISS, the report definitely arrives at some interesting conclusions.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has tipped the balance of effective force in the Middle East in its favor,” the report explains.

But here’s the crazy part. Iran is, and has been for years, completely pummeled to the ground by US-imposed sanctions. Many commentators have for some time now been predicting an impending collapse of the Iranian economy.

On top of that, and likely because of this fact, Iran’s military budget has consistently been low (especially when compared to the United States or any of Washington’s major allied powers in the region). This flies completely in the face of allegations that Iran is a regional aggressor and the number-one state sponsor of terrorism (with what money?), but don’t let this get in the way of a good story.

According to the US Defense Department’s annual review of the country, “Iran’s military doctrine is defensive. It is designed to deter an attack, survive an initial strike, retaliate against an aggressor, and force a diplomatic solution to hostilities while avoiding any concessions that challenge its core interests.”

In other words, despite being under the constant threat of war, whether from the US, Israel or Saudi Arabia, Iran is not looking for a fight. It maintains a much lower military expenditure than Saudi Arabia, Israel, and especially Washington, yet as the recent IISS report notes, it has emerged from the rubble of a war-torn Middle East region as a victor.

As Foreign Affairs (the Council on Foreign Relations’ magazine) explained in a recent article:

“Iran now enters its second year under maximum pressure strikingly confident in its economic stability and regional position.”

It is likely with this newfound confidence that Iran is beginning to dictate some shots of its own to the international community, particularly when it comes to the future of uranium enrichment. Foreign Affairs also explains that Iran has essentially weathered the storm of US sanctions and come up trumps all on its lonesome. Many of the people predicted to come to Tehran’s aid during the United States’ maximum pressure campaign have been nowhere to be seen.

According to the IISS report, Iran has been winning the regional geopolitical struggle for influence by developing asymmetric warfare, such as swarm tactics, drones and cyber-attacks. It has relied upon the Quds arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to increase its operations throughout the Middle East, as well as to provide training, support and weapons to other actors allied to Tehran. The report also notes Iran’s relationship with Hezbollah, its role in the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, as well as its role (supposedly) in Yemen.

As my Kung Fu instructor once told me, you serve yourself in a confrontation best by using minimum output for maximum gain. Winning the lottery doesn’t entail that you then go to a casino and put all your money down on your first gamble. Just because you have it, doesn’t mean you have to expend it.

In comparison, Saudi Arabia has expended time, effort, billions of dollars and the lives of many innocent civilians waging a genocidal war in Yemen – and it’s still losing. As Bloomberg once explained:

“Saudi Arabia has better weapons than its enemies in Yemen, no surprise in a war that pits one of the richest Arab countries against the poorest. And still the Saudis are struggling to impose their will.”

Not only is it losing a war, it’s also losing an economic battle. At the beginning of the conflict, Reuters estimated that the war would cost Saudi Arabia approximately $175 million per month. However, even by the end of the first year of the war, the kingdom had to increase its defense spending by $5.3 billion. This trend has continued right throughout the conflict. At the end of 2016, Saudi Arabia had to announce a projected increase of 6.7 percent in defense spending for 2017, bringing its total budget to around $50.8 billion.

If the IISS report’s findings are correct, there may be a deep lesson in here for the US and its allies. Perhaps it’s not that Iran has emerged victorious despite the fact it has not spent billions of dollars invading other nations at any one time; but because it hasn’t been.

At the end of the day, how much influence can you exert when you forcibly invade, occupy and kill those countries you seek to influence?

November 8, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 2 Comments

New START Treaty Extension is Only Way to Avoid Further Erosion of Arms Control – Moscow

Sputnik – 08.11.2019

MOSCOW – Extension of the Russian-US Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is the only way to avoid further erosion of arms control and prevent strategic stability degradation, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Friday, accusing Washington of ignoring Moscow’s concerns.

“We are extremely concerned over the situation around the future of the New START treaty, which expires in February 2021. This is the last instrument in control over the strategic offensive arms of our two countries. We have repeatedly expressed a readiness to address issues related to its possible extension.”

Under the current circumstances, the extension of the New START treaty seems to be the only way to prevent a complete degradation of strategic stability and avoid erosion of control and limitation mechanism in the area of nuclear arms and missiles, as well as win time to continue to study and work on approaches, including on new arms and technologies, and consider methods of their control”, Ryabkov said at the Moscow Non-Proliferation Conference.

While repeatedly raising this issue, the United States has avoided any substantive discussion, the diplomat noted.

“Besides this, Washington clearly ignores our concerns related to the US’ adherence to its commitments under the treaty and refuses to clarify its plans regarding the treaty’s extension”, Ryabkov added.

The diplomat stressed that the US has also suggested that the treaty should cover Russia’s new armaments.

“This is impossible without significant adjustments to the treaty’s text”, Ryabkov emphasised.

In the meantime, China has commented on a previous offer by the US to start trilateral talks on armament issues between Washington, Moscow and Beijing, stating it has no such plans, but noting that nuclear arms might be reduced to a reasonable extent.

The New START is the last remaining arms control accord in force between Moscow and Washington after the suspension of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

The New START agreement stipulates that the number of strategic nuclear missiles launchers must be cut in half and limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550. It is set to expire in February 2021, and Washington has so far not announced plans to extend the accord.

November 8, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

‘Israel’, Gulf States Preparing Non-aggression Pact

Al-Manar | November 6, 2019

In context of the process aimed at normalizing ties between the Zionist entity and the Gulf States, the Israeli media revealed that the two sides were preparing a non-aggression pact sponsored by the US administration.

Zionist analysts considered that Washington is trying to endorse the non-aggression pact as a substitute for the failed ‘Deal of the Century’, adding that the US Treasury Secretary conveyed the Israeli-prepared draft to the Gulf officials.

The Isralei media also unveiled the enemy’s participation in investment projects and expos in Saudi and Emirates, adding that Tel Aviv specialized hundreds of millions of dollars for this purpose.

November 6, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Kremlin Says US Silent on Future of Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty

Sputnik – November 5, 2019

MOSCOW – Russia has not received any indication from the United States that it is ready to discuss the future of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.

“There are no advancements on START, no signals from the Americans, no signals about being ready to begin discussing an extension of old modalities or new modalities. It is a long process, and, of course, we will inevitably enter a zeitnot [race against the clock]. If the silence continues, we will enter a period where it will be impossible to agree on some new realities of the arms control”, he told reporters.

Peskov stressed the complexity of such talks and refrained from providing a precise time frame for negotiations.

The statement comes after Beijing stated that it saw no reason to engage in trilateral disarmament negotiations with the United States and Russia, especially since conditions for such an arrangement do not exist.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent in September a proposal to leaders of several countries, including NATO members, to introduce a moratorium on the deployment of INF Treaty-covered missiles in Europe and other regions. Later, NATO confirmed that it had received the letter, but did not consider this proposal credible.

On 2 August, the US withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which banned all short-medium (310–620 miles) and intermediate (620–3,420 miles) range ground-launched missiles, citing Russia’s alleged violations of the pact as its reason for exiting.

In early 2019, US President Donald Trump floated the idea of drafting a new arms control agreement between Washington, Moscow and Beijing.

The New START agreement was signed in 2010 by then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his US counterpart at the time, Barack Obama. It is currently the only arms control agreement between two countries that is still in force. It is set to expire in February 2021, and so far Washington has shown no inclination to extend it.

November 5, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment