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Human Rights Watch – Watching What Suits Their Agenda

By Gary Jordan | Wake the F… Up | March 11, 2021

Is there a more egregious attack on human rights than being forced to accept an injection of experimental, toxic junk into your body with the threat of social benefit sanctions, hefty fines and/or imprisonment should you refuse?

Apparently, President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo of Indonesia doesn’t see it that way. Nor do the folks at the George Soros-funded Human Rights Watch.

On Monday, February 15th 2021 a Jakarta Post headline screamed out ‘Get vaccinated or lose your social aid’, sending a message to the poorest of the poor in the archipelago nation that they would suffer the consequences dearly, should they refuse to be administered the Chinese Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone who has ever visited Indonesia knows that ‘social aid’ is in very short supply and that the Indonesian government dole it out sparingly. But if you’re going to coerce and threaten a segment of the population why not start with the most destitute and poverty-stricken, right? At least that’s the idea Jokowi and his gaggle of drug pushers have. As a friend of mine remarked, Indonesia went from being a nation that severely punishes those who do drugs to one that severely punishes those who don’t. Another example of the inverted, upside-down state of our existence in the 2020s to date.

Further into the Jakarta Post article, it’s explained that measures would be put in place to ensure steady vaccine uptake and that those who were not willing to be compliant participants in the ongoing trials would be deemed a hindrance to the campaign and therefore could potentially be hit with heavy fines and possible jail time. Does it matter that even the Food and Drug Administration has expressed efficacy and safety concerns and have gone as far as stating that it would NOT be recommending frontline workers are vaccinated with the Sinovac product? Or does it matter that clinical trials in Indonesia have shown a mere 65% efficacy rate? Of course not. Did you think you were living in 2019 and had the freedom to choose what goes into your body? Have the jab or go to jail! Jokowi’s orders.

Of course, as shocking as it is to think that such freedom is a thing of the past in the thriving and modern predominantly Muslim nation of Indonesia, when you scratch the surface and delve into the previous actions of their Globalist agenda-pushers called politicians, you’ll soon find that they are on the same road to techno-Fascism as the remaining 192 United Nations members states are. As we speak, for example, a well-known artist from the island of Bali sits in a prison cell for supposed ‘hate speech’ after he publicly declared on social media that the COVID-19 tests are inaccurate (something since acknowledged by authoritative sources) and that the Indonesian Doctor’s Association (IDI) were ‘flunkeys’ to the World Health Organization (WHO). Meeting a similar fate was a 19-year-old girl from the island of Kupang who was arrested after she appeared on video setting fire to a face mask and calling the pandemic out as a hoax. Both are victims of one of the world’s most Orwellian laws, known as the Information and Electronics Transaction Act (UU ITE), which has created a modern-day Stasi-like system in Indonesia where neighbours report neighbours for the sins of speaking their minds. This is the wet dream of Indonesia’s notorious CIA-backed ex-Dictator, Suharto. Had he lived to experience his mata-mata (eyes everywhere) police state be so enabled and enhanced by the current technological advancements in his country he would have thought he’d died and gone to heaven. And now, with the introduction of ‘virtual police’ who will directly contact you on your mobile device to warn you that what you are about to post may break the law, it appears the people of Indonesia can do no wrongthink.

I wonder if they agree that the idea of a vaccine mandated, centrally controlled, hive mind, AI driven, Fascist police and military-run Brave New World for the future is just the rant of a crazy conspiracy theorist? Maybe they could ask the Fact-Checkers. After all, when a nation deploys the military to engage in contact tracing and to enforce travel restrictions, as Indonesia has recently done, it’s nothing to be worried about. It’s all for the greater good, right? Best to ignore the fact that the same military which is about to be let loose amongst the public and given unprecedented power over it are the same that have, in relatively recent times, committed human rights abuses that include, but are not limited to, the shooting dead of four young students, the public stripping and hog-tying of dozens of indigenous men for the horrific act of raising a flagthe assassination of two men and the subsequent burning and disposal of their corpses and the rape and torture of sex slaves. What could go wrong?

Sarcasm aside, as someone who has spent over a decade living in Indonesia, I find the state of affairs there extremely worrying. A government that demands an emergency authorized, non approved, low efficacy, potentially harmful, experimental vaccine be administered into the veins of every man, woman and child against their wishes, is a government of occupation – working against its very own people. That same worry is felt by many in the nation with some even resorting to hiding in the woods for fear of being injected. Of course, mainstream media in the country presents these same people as being outsiders and lunatics who have watched too many YouTube videos and ridicules them as subjects of disinformation. We should trace our minds back to recent history, which is littered with stories of demonized persons hiding in the woods for fear of government policy. Perhaps Jokowi and his Big Pharma cartel should be reminded of that.

Perhaps Human Rights agencies should be too.

On receiving the disturbing news of coercion and injection by force in Indonesia, I reached out to several of them, starting with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. To date, I have not had a reply from Amnesty. Human Rights Watch, however, did send me a note from their office in Amsterdam stating that they did not have the capacity to handle individual requests. This I accept as I can imagine an organization of their notoriety receives vast amounts of correspondence from people all over the world who are victims of human rights violations. Nevertheless, I have to ask again; is there a more egregious attack on human rights than being forced to accept an injection of experimental, toxic junk into your body with the threat of social benefit sanctions, hefty fines and/or imprisonment should you refuse?

And if indeed the organization is too busy to investigate this very serious issue in Indonesia, what exactly is keeping them busy? What could be more threatening to the rights of a human being than the accelerated pauperization of social aid recipients or the imprisonment of conscientious objectors? I soon found out the answer to this question was…

Britney Spears.

The state of well being of the multi-millionaire pop princess takes priority over a nation of 275 million people who are about to be turned into guinea pigs. As many people will have heard, Britney Spears was thrust into the spotlight again as a result of a recent documentary that highlighted her plight in regards to her father’s standing as her legal guardian and the implications of this on her career and finances. Poor Britney. Human Rights Watch used this opportunity to jump on the #FreeBritney bandwagon. In their defence, the coverage they had given to the movement did shed light on the issue of guardianship over the many people worldwide who are under the control of others due to mental health or psycho-social issues. Still, it made me take a more in-depth look at Human Rights Watch in specific. As far as I’m concerned, they did not need a random email from myself or anyone else to highlight the horrendous laws which have been passed in Indonesia, threatening the freedom and finances of those who object to being vaccinated. For that reason, they cannot consider themselves serious challengers of Fascist, authoritarian rights-abusing governments who medically terrorize their population. They certainly can’t consider themselves purveyors of human rights when they are turning a blind eye to the arbitrary whims of pharmaceutical cartel-driven establishment policy. So what is the main reason for their ignorance of the current status quo – not just in Indonesia, but in regards to what has been happening worldwide since the COVID-19 cult hijacked our planet?

Have Human Rights Watch stepped forward to voice their disdain when employees of a corporation in the UK called Metropolitan Police were arresting peaceful protestors en masse in London? Were they loudly condemning the presence of 20 agents of the state in Dublin, Ireland when they turned up in cars and riot vans in front of a beauty salon to arrest the owner, who had opened her business during lockdown because she had no other way of earning a living? Were they up in arms over the callous Big Pharma-owned politicians who spat on the faith and beliefs of the people of New York City by eliminating religious exemption to vaccine requirements? Were they vocal when vicious thugs within the Victoria Police Department in Australia were abducting journalists who were reporting on the anti-lockdown street protests? Did they kick up a fuss when perverts, hired by Justin Trudeau’s government in Canada as security guards in mandatory quarantine centers, sexually assaulted detainees? Or how about when a Canadian citizen was forced to skip a potentially life-saving cancer treatment appointment at the demands of malevolent public health officials who insisted he checked into a government detention center? Were they even heard objecting to mandatory quarantine, to begin with?

Have they been heard crying out their disapproval of the apartheid conditions imminent in society as a result of proposed phoney vaccine passports and immunity certificates? Have they condemned the neglect of the unvaccinated in Israel who presently will not be allowed to enter establishments without proof of vaccination via their ‘Green Passport?’ Are they sounding the alarm bells in recognition of the tsunami of discrimination about to be unleashed on unvaccinated people?

No. Tumbleweed. Deafening silence.

These topics matter as much to Human Rights Watch as the penalization of poor Indonesians who are too terrified to come out of the jungle, for fear of being damaged by an ineffective and dangerous vaccine amid credible and very real reports of adverse reactions worldwide.

Where you will be sure to hear the voice of the Human Rights Watch team though is anywhere that the agendas of the Globalists are threatened. Belarus for example. When the dark suits of the IMF and World Bank showed up in mid-2020 and attempted to bribe the nation’s leader, Aleksander Lukashenko, with almost a billion dollars in exchange for permission to destroy the country with lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions, thus creating absolute dependence on the ubiquitous parasites, Lukashenko refused. What would result was the demonization of the President worldwide in the left-wing bought-and-paid-for mainstream media. At the very forefront of this campaign was Human Rights Watch. As police and security personnel in the nation clashed with protestors, this was suddenly viewed by Human Rights Watch as an act of abuse on civil liberties on behalf of the Belarussian law enforcement personnel. The same, and sometimes even worse, behaviour, when committed by police on anti-lockdown protestors in LondonEdinburghBerlinToronto, or Dublin is ignored though. Why is that? Simply because the demonization of the Belarussian President and his security force is part of the Globalist banking agenda, which serves the interest of Human Rights Watch major donor, George Soros. Why bother with trivial matters such as the greatest attack on civil liberties this century, as is occurring worldwide with tyrannical practices that are being put in place in the name of keeping us safe from a virus with a 99.97% recovery rate? This is of no significance to Human Rights Watch, who are more interested in the agendas of the Open Society Foundation – for example, Black Lives Matter, Transgender rights and anything anti-Russian. Poor Indonesian families be damned. They’ve got more important people to serve, such as the IMF and World Bank billionaires… and Britney Spears of course.

For certain, the last people on the planet that would object to President Jokowi of Indonesia’s forced medical experimentation on his people are the Human Rights Watch crew. 2020 proved to be a year that would see them run off their feet, waging war week after week with Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, who refused to allow undocumented immigrants to swarm his country as and when they pleased – much to the detriment of the radical leftist extremist Soros, who was as hell-bent as ever on transforming the tradition and culture of all European nations. An issue of this importance would never allow Human Rights Watch the time to concern themselves with menial points such as bodily autonomy and freedom to choose. In fact, they seemed to develop a case of amnesia on the ‘my body, my choice’ argument that they’ve spouted for decades.

Nuremberg Code-evading practices in Indonesia were no where near as important to Human Rights Watch as the trial of Alexey Navalny, a man who mainstream media dubiously reported had been poisoned on the orders of Vladimir Putin – amidst no evidence of such an incident occurring. The anti-Putin tool of the Globalists would be given massive amounts of attention by them as they ignored the health violations of the pre-dominantly Muslim citizens of Indonesia. It was imperative that a man who once compared Muslims to cockroaches was given higher priority than Muslims that were been subjected to Big Pharma crime and corruption,

The organization’s bias can only be matched by its hypocrisy. When they are not pushing the Globalist anti-Putin agenda then it’s the anti-China rhetoric. In their 2020 end of year report on China they complained;

“In April, authorities in Guangzhou, home to China’s largest African community, forcibly tested Africans for the Coronavirus, and ordered them to self isolate or to quarantine in designated hotels.”

It’s wrong when China does this to Africans, you see, but when Canadian authorities do exactly the same thing to their own citizens and to tourists today, there isn’t a peep to be heard out of Human Rights Watch.

They continue;

“To combat COVID-19, Chinese tech giants developed an app known as the Health Code. Using unknown algorithms, the app generates one of three colours (green, yellow or red), depending on a range of factors such as whether people have been to virus-hit areas. That colour has a wide-ranging impact on people’s lives, including their freedom of movement, as local authorities throughout the country require people to show the app when they move around.”

Once again, if China does this, it’s wrong. However, no mention has ever been made by them concerning, for example, the UK’s NHS Test and Trace app which supposedly serves the same purpose and undoubtedly creates the same restrictions on freedom of movement as the app in China. Nor is there a mention of the ‘Green Passport’ of Israel or the proposed vaccine passports that have been planned in the UKIreland and Australia among other nations. The closest we have come to Human Rights Watch addressing the worldwide Fascist takeover of the past twelve months is a special report entitled ‘COVID Free Speech Abuses’, in which the usual suspects, e.g, China, Russia, Egypt, Brazil, Hungary and Belarus are admonished, with no mention of the severe abuses of the pro-Davos leaders on their people, such as Trudeau, Johnson and Merkel.

But all roads lead to Gates. The likelihood of Human Rights Watch questioning vaccine mandates is slim when we delve into their financial records and see that Bill Gates and his ever-present bribes are at work. In my book, The Covid-19 Illusion; A Cacophony of Lies, I cover the inner workings of Gates and show how far his tentacles stretch. It appears he’s found his way into the grubby little paws of Human Rights Watch’s Board of Directors too. In December 2018, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the NGO a US$200,000 grant for ‘general operating support’. The philanthro-capitalist vaccine vendors have wriggled their way in alongside Soros to keep Human Rights Watch on the straight and narrow, focusing on the goals of the techno-fascist agendas and neglecting the populations of nations that are bound for a vaccine mandated Orwellian dystopia. The only saving grace now is with the people themselves and their desire to reject the Great Reset and all its horrors. For, surely, it will be a cold day in hell before groups like Human Rights Watch concern themselves with anything that remotely resembles human rights if it means disrupting the plans of their wealthy, cash-wielding overlords.

Indeed it may be that Human Rights Watch will fit in just fine with the upcoming techno-Fascist New World Order. Perhaps they will feel right at home with Klaus Schwab, the son of a man who was at one time owned a company referred to as a National Socialist Model Company by the Nazis. They themselves have a history with individuals who greatly admired the Third Reich. Their former senior military analyst, Marc Garlasco, was in possession of a rather large collection of Nazi memorabilia. Perhaps Human Rights Watch don’t consider President Jokowi’s ‘injection by force’ method so abhorrent at all – considering the company they’ve kept in the past.

One thing that’s for certain, it is highly unlikely that their European Media Director, Andrew Stroehlein, will be moved to action by this article – considering he only reads what he agrees with and avoids everything contrary to his narrative. Stroehlein, an active Twitter user, advises his followers, in a pinned Tweet to ‘block early and often’ and singles out ‘fact deniers’ and ‘propagandists for abusive governments’ among those that should be blocked. Firmly entrenched in his echo chamber he tells his followers not to share anything from ‘powerless fools looking for attention’ or to ‘hateful headlines and clickbait’.

I guess when you work for a Human Rights organization that avoids investigating serious human rights violations, you may as well be a Media Director that shuns opinions you disagree with.

Human Rights Watch have fumbled and fidgeted in the face of monstrous crimes against humanity, scoffing at those who called out their Globalist masters for what they are. They are an extension of the cult of COVID-19 that is toying with the world today for evil intentions.

Without a doubt, 2020 was the year the cult that runs the world stepped out of the closet and showed their faces. It was also the year that organizations like Human Rights Watch proved to the world that they have no interest in human rights and are merely a front for political agendas. Going forward we should embrace the fact that once these groups opened the door to the closet, it was firmly latched behind them and the masks slipped off. They now have to be confronted for their atrocities and held accountable for their failure to act on their duties.

thecovid19illusion@protonmail.com

March 11, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Atlantic Council urges Biden to enforce regime change in Belarus

By Paul Antonopoulos | February 18, 2021

A recent online meeting hosted by the Atlantic Council think tank discussed ways to force regime change in Belarus. The think tank detailed a plan with the aim of removing Aleksander Lukashenko, the current president of Belarus, from power by utilizing sanctions and other methods of pressure.

The Washington-based Atlantic Council is affiliated with NATO and receives funding from international billionaires like Adrienne Arsht, global companies like Goldman Sachs, Facebook and Google, as well as the Rockefeller Foundation and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. These are only a few examples of their extensive funding. Some of the most powerful and influential figures in the world participate in the operations of the think tank, as well as a representative of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Belarus’ main opposition figure.

Objectives of the virtual meeting, entitled “Biden and Belarus: A strategy for the new administration,” includes organizing Washington’s control over the Belarussian opposition movement. In addition, they suggest a new position for a senior organizer to administer and maintain sanctions against Minsk, and appoint a senior official to administer assistance to the opposition. Their agenda also emphasized recognizing Tikhanovskaya’s position as the true leader of Belarus and delegitimizing Lukashenko by relocating the newly appointed U.S. ambassador to the Belarussian capital of Minsk, Julie Fisher, to the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius.

The Atlantic Council also suggested that U.S. Congressional funding for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty must be doubled from its current $117.4 million. The think tank also called for the U.S. to offer more advice to Belarussian opposition leaders. John Herbst, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, suggested in the virtual meeting that Belarussian opposition leaders should reduce public expressions about their aspirations for Minsk to be involved in Western security councils like NATO and economic structures like the European Union so that they do not provoke any response from Moscow.

Economist Anders Åslund, who is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, also suggested that sanctions should be applied to companies in Russia and not Belarus. He argued that if sanctions hit Belarus, Minsk would be more dependent on Moscow. He also advised the Biden administration to sanction hundreds of Belarussian officials, saying that the aim of the sanctions is to put enough pressure on Belarus so that Lukashenko has no choice but to relinquish power. Åslund emphasized that this is really a group of regime change sanctions. In addition, the think tank suggested that the U.S. should increase its funding of the Belarussian opposition from $60 million to $200 million, saying that this amount came from Belarussian activists themselves.

As Åslund himself says, these measures exist entirely to force regime change against a sovereign nation. The mission of the Atlantic Council is to encourage and embolden the U.S. to control the Belarussian opposition movement with the aim of overthrowing Lukashenko. At the same time, the think tank claims that it respects Belarus’ sovereignty. However, it is evident that the think tank does not respect the sovereignty or self-determination of the Belarussian people and simply wants the Biden administration to install a lackey into power to continue Washington’s campaign of pressure against Russia.

If the Biden administration adopts the recommendations made by the Atlantic Council, this would not only cause significant tensions and further divisions in Belarus, but would also increase tensions between Washington and Moscow, which are already extremely strained.

The Atlantic Council promotes Western hegemony and a U.S.-led unipolar world order. The think tank is ranked seventh in the category of “2020 Top Think Tanks in the United States,” and tenth globally. Along with funding from the world’s richest people and most powerful corporations, the Atlantic Council wields great influence in not only NATO, but also various U.S. power structures like the White House and the Pentagon. For this reason, there is every chance that at some point during Biden’s presidential mandate that he will engage in a significant campaign of pressure against Belarus with the ultimate aim of further isolating Russia in Eastern Europe.

As the Atlantic Council attempts to maintain a U.S.-led unipolar order, Russia is one of its main targets because the Eurasian country inhibits American dominance over large areas of the Caucasus, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Because Belarus is the sole friendly state in Eastern Europe towards Russia, Lukashenko’s removal from power will open the path for Russia to be completely isolated in the region. Biden also champions a U.S.-led unipolar order, and because of this there is every chance that at some point in the future he will enact the Atlantic Council’s program against Belarus to target Russia.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

February 18, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 1 Comment

Canada to fund opposition in Belarus and names Russia and China its main enemies

By Lucas Leiroz | February 10, 2021

Canada is changing its geopolitical intentions. Apparently, this country, which has always been passive in the face of American decisions, wants to take more aggressive positions on the international stage. The Canadian government recently announced that it will finance opponents against Lukashenko in Belarus and now the Canadian intelligence director has made a note regarding Moscow and Beijing as “the biggest threats to Canada”. Ottawa visibly wants to take more incisive actions in the international scenario, perhaps because it doubts Washington’s ability to guarantee its interests at the moment. However, the country has no material conditions to carry out its plans and may be taking positions which are complicated to maintain in the long term.

Canadian positioning on the international arena has always been previously determined by its largest partner, the US. Washington has historically held a leadership role in bilateral relations, and this has always been accepted peacefully by Ottawa’s officials. Certainly, nothing will change in this regard and a rupture of interests between Americans and Canadians seems very unlikely in the near future. However, due to a number of issues, it is possible to say that Washington has become increasingly unable to maintain a foreign policy as broad as in the past, which has motivated Canada to make some decisions that in the past would have been taken first by the US.

Examples of this type of more aggressive attitude on the part of Canada can be seen in some recent events. Earlier this week, Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau announced in a note the donation of 2.25 million Canadian dollars to political opponents of Lukashenko in Belarus. The money will go to all organizations working to “promote democracy” in Belarus. The note also observes that the country had already sent 600,000 Canadian dollars to help opposition organizations, in particular women and representatives of the “independent media”. In fact, oppositionists receiving foreign funding tend to increase their activities, which tends to generate more violence on the streets and social instability in the country. By promoting open funding for these organizations, Ottawa creates a strong diplomatic crisis, not only with Belarus, but also with Russia, which maintains good ties with Lukashenko and condemns Western interventionism.

Another fact worth mentioning is a recent statement by the Canadian intelligence director on Russia and China. During a conference, David Vigneault, director of the Canadian secret service (CSIS), singled out Moscow and particularly Beijing as the states most involved in “human and cyber threats” against Ottawa. The Chinese role in the alleged “cyber-attacks” suffered by Canada was emphasized, with China being considered the main threat to Canadian national security – although no evidence of the existence of such cyber-attacks has been presented. This speech, however, does not come about by chance. Previously, in November 2020, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) had previously claimed in a report that China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are Canada’s biggest threats to cybersecurity. China and Russia vehemently deny that they pose any kind of threat to Western countries, responding that such claims are devoid of any evidence, being nothing more than justifications for geopolitical maneuvers and international sanctions.

Biden’s election represented a resurgence of old American foreign policy, with a focus on preserving global hegemony. The Trump administration, marked by a huge geopolitical decline, had caused great discontent among Washington’s international allies because it had supposedly “decreased security” in these countries in the face of their common geopolitical rivals. However, even though the West celebrated Biden’s victory, there is still a collective distrust of the new president’s real ability to comply with his bold geopolitical plans. In other words, Biden undoubtedly wants to regain American global dominance, but it may be too hard for any American government to do so.

A recovery of American hegemony benefits Canada because, being a country that is geographically close and historically allied to the US, this guarantees security and stability. However, amid the decline of recent years and uncertainty about the future, the Canadian government may have to make its own decisions and seek a balance between a constantly changing world and an advanced process of geopolitical multipolarisation. What Justin Trudeau seems to want to do in his country is not very different from what Macron has been doing in France and Merkel in Germany: he is looking for a Westernist alternative to the American decline. To this end, these politicians anticipate decisions that historically were up to Washington.

If Biden keeps his promises, Canada will be in an extremely comfortable position due to its ties to the US. If Biden fails, Ottawa will have to seek European support. But in any case, getting ahead on some issues can be a serious strategic mistake for Canadians. Canada’s material apparatus, military capabilities and international influence are exceedingly small compared to the countries that Ottawa has chosen as its main enemies. The cyber-attacks that Canadian intelligence agencies accuse Russia and China of carrying out are unlikely to be real, however, it is undeniable that Moscow and Beijing have sufficient power to carry out such attacks and will not hesitate to do so if necessary.

If Canada really intends to guarantee its survival in a world of constant change, choosing much more powerful enemies and financing riots in the zone of influence of other powers seems to be a terrible strategy, even more considering that Canada also has its areas of instability and its foci of tensions, with separatist movements that are gradually growing, such as Quebec and Alberta, and that can at any moment evolve into deeper unrest if they receive foreign money from countries interested in responding to Ottawa’s affront.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

February 10, 2021 Posted by | Russophobia | , , | 4 Comments

Biden vows to sanction ‘Lukashenko regime henchmen’ until Minsk turns ‘democratic’

RT | October 28, 2020

Democrat candidate for US president Joe Biden has called for regime change in Minsk, denouncing President Alexander Lukashenko’s “brutal dictatorship” and vowing to sanction his “henchmen” until there’s a “democratic Belarus.”

“I continue to stand with the people of Belarus and support their democratic aspirations,” Biden said, claiming that President Donald Trump “refuses to speak out on their behalf.”

Biden said that “No leader who tortures his own people can ever claim legitimacy” and demanded that “the international community should significantly expand its sanctions on Lukashenka’s henchmen and freeze the offshore accounts where they keep their stolen wealth.”

The Belarus statement was among a flurry of press releases by Biden’s campaign on Tuesday, and a rare foray into the subject of foreign policy. The Democrat has generally avoided the subject during the campaign, focusing his attacks on Trump on the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lukashenko, who has been president since 1994, was awarded a convincing victory in the August 9 election, by election organisers. The opposition claims the results were rigged.

Official runner-up Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, whom Biden endorsed in the statement, supposedly received about 10 percent of the vote. She has since fled to the neighboring Lithuania and reached out to EU countries for support, calling for a general strike to pressure Lukashenko into annulling the election they claim was “rigged.”

Police in Belarus forcefully dispersed demonstrations on Sunday, prompting some Biden supporters to demand “a plan for Belarus.”

While the EU, UK and Canada have imposed sanctions on Belarussian officials and openly sided with Tikhanovskaya in denouncing the “rigged” election, the Trump administration has been more diplomatic.

Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun met with Tikhanovskaya in Lithuania at the end of August, but said his job was “to listen, to hear what the thinking of the Belarusian people is and to see what they are doing to obtain the right to self-determination.”

“The United States cannot and will not decide the course of events in Belarus,” Biegun said at the time.

This stands in stark contrast with the Trump administration’s strategy for Venezuela, which Biden’s Belarus plan appears to mirror. Vowing to stand with the Venezuelan people in their pursuit of democracy, Washington endorsed opposition figure Juan Guaido as “interim president” of that Latin American country in January 2019, lining up the Organization of American States and even the EU in support.

However, Guaido has repeatedly failed to seize power in Caracas, leaving the government of President Nicolas Maduro more entrenched than ever. Meanwhile, the US-imposed sanctions – ostensibly targeting Maduro’s “regime” – have made lives miserable for the vast majority of Venezuelans, as even think tanks supporting the policy have noted.

October 28, 2020 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 3 Comments

Ultimatum day in Belarus: Tikhanovskaya announces strike after Lukashenko refuses to resign, Minsk denies work has stopped

By Jonny Tickle | RT | October 26, 2020

Former Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, now exiled in the EU, called a nationwide strike Monday after long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko refused to step down following an ultimatum from the opposition.

The measure finally brings things to a head after months of protest and will be seen as a litmus test for the anti-Lukashenko coalition’s attempt to force a transfer of power. Should the strike action fail to take hold, it will be seen as a victory for the incumbent, but if it gains momentum, then all bets are off.

On Monday morning, opposition-leaning media reported that multiple large businesses throughout the country had ceased working. This was denied by the government, which claimed that key enterprises are “operating normally” and “production has not been stopped.”

On October 13, in what she called the ‘People’s Ultimatum’, Tikhanovskaya demanded the president’s resignation, as well as an end to violence against protesters, and the release of those considered to be political prisoners.

Writing on her Telegram channel, Tikhanovskaya announced on Monday morning that the deadline had passed, and the general strike was to begin.

“Belarusians know that, on October 26, the main job is to show that no one will work for the regime,” she wrote. “They are risking their personal freedom today so that we can achieve freedom for our country.”

According to the most popular opposition Telegram channel, the Polish-based NEXTA Live which has almost two million subscribers, reports of strikes have come from many large factories including the Minsk Tractor Works (MTZ), Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant (MZKT), and Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ).

https://t.me/tutby_official/18092

Early on Monday morning, Euradio reported that police detained workers at Grodno Azot, a chemical plant near the border with Poland.

https://t.me/euroradio/9757

However, according to Moscow-based news agency RIA, Belarus’ production and business sectors are working normally.

The unrest in Belarus began on August 9, after the county’s presidential election. After the closure of polling stations, and the publication of an exit poll, mass protests began against the falsification of results. According to the Central Election Committee, incumbent President Lukashenko received 80.10 percent of the vote, with opposition candidate Tikhanovskaya receiving just 10.12 percent. During days of protests, police and internal troops used tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber bullets to disperse protesters.

October 26, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | | Leave a comment

Lithuanian government impoverishes their own citizens to try and topple Lukashenko

By Paul Antonopoulos | October 26, 2020

Since the re-election of Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko on August 9, deemed a rigged election by the West, protests have persisted for nearly three months. Led by opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the protests do not only continue to persist, but neighboring countries are actively intervening in the domestic affairs of Belarus in the hope that Lukashenko will be toppled, and thus, in their view, weaken Russian influence.

Just days after the election, a faction of the Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats in the Seimas, the unicameral parliament of Lithuania, called for the immediate announcement of Lithuanian sanctions against 39 of the most influential representatives of the “Alexander Lukashenko regime,” as they termed it.

“Lithuania must clearly, quickly and unambiguously formulate and consolidate strategic provisions for the Belarusian regime at the European Union and transatlantic level, be an icebreaker in the fight for freedom and against tyranny. Sanctions must also send a signal to other influential members of the regime that continue to support Lukashenko, will mean a stalemate and further sanctions against a wider range of the current elite,” said leader of the Seimas opposition, Gabrielius Landsbergis.

With full backing from the opposition, decision makers in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius achieved complete unanimity to pressure Belarus on behalf of NATO and the European Union. Taking on the so-called responsibility of dealing with the situation in Belarus, Lithuania developed a plan to challenge the legitimacy of Lukashenko by providing visas, housing and financial support to opposition figures; promoting Belarusian activists in Lithuanian universities, including awarding educational scholarships at the expense of the Lithuanian Ministry of Education, Science and Sports; simplified employment in the Lithuanian labor market; and, free medical services.

In addition, separate assistance is also provided to the Belarusian opposition in the form of a €200,000 grant to the Belarusian European Humanitarian University, a private liberal arts university founded in Minsk in 1992 shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union. It has however been operating in exile in Vilnius since 2004 after being shut down for “unsuitable classes,” but more likely for aggressively promoting liberal ideology.

While Vilnius may be proud of its role in the Belarusian conflict, Lithuanians are beginning to realize the economic consequences of such assistance, especially since a Ukraine-style color revolution was averted and Lukashenko’s position is consolidated and secure. Despite the fact that Vilnius annually receives visible support from the European Union, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda and his government ineffectively allocate resources received towards anti-Lukashenko activities.

Social protection spending in Lithuania is among the lowest in the Europe Union while the poverty rate is among the highest. Lithuanian citizens do not have enough employment opportunities, which is why they seek for it in Western Europe. Many educated Lithuanians travel abroad for work opportunities but often end up doing mundane work, irrespective of their university qualifications. In the United Kingdom it is common to find Lithuanians doing construction, nannying or maid work. According to a statement by representatives of the Ministry of Social Security and Labor, the situation with unemployment in Lithuania is absolutely critical.

Belarusian migrant workers to the Baltic country are just worsening the situation, especially since 2,360 labor permits were issued since the beginning of the year, a significant amount considering Lithuania’s population is only about 2.7 million. This would be especially frustrating for Lithuanians considering unemployment in Belarus was 4.6% in 2019, lower than Lithuania’s 6.35%. Belarus is also capable of consistent GDP growth without having to rely on remittances unlike Lithuania which is experiencing a population decline due to immigration to the West because of the lack of employment opportunities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has not been any kinder to Lithuania’s prospects as a negative trend continues in almost all sectors of the economy, including wholesale trade and retail business, transportation, food services, industrial output, the scientific and technical service sector, construction and tourism.

Vilnius’ priority in favor of the Belarusian opposition instead of Lithuanian citizens has seen a degradation of living quality. In fact, crime is beginning to explode in Lithuania, partially because of the lack of opportunities. In all of the EU, Lithuania had the second highest number of intentional homicides in 2017. It was only behind Latvia and recorded 4 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. It can only be assumed until the next release of official statistics that crime in Lithuania has only become worse as a result of the downturn in the economy because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Primary care and public health measures in Lithuania are underfunded but there is no shortage for the defense sector, whose funding is steadily growing. While Lithuania spends 2.02% of their GDP on defense, parliamentary parties signed an agreement pledging to increase the country’s defense spending to 2.5% of the GDP by 2030. An increasing military budget and prioritized funding for the Belarusian opposition will only see more Lithuanians become dissatisfied with the domestic situation.

Lithuania claims its bloated military budget is part of their NATO responsibilities and is a deterrence against Russia. Although Lithuania cannot match Russia militarily, the justification of stalling the Russians long enough so that NATO can intervene in a hypothetical war is being actively used. Of course, Russia has no ambitions of conquering the Baltic States as they would try to have us believe, but this permanent paranoia cannot be shaken off. This paranoia and servitude to Atlantic-Euro interests drives Vilnius’ anti-Lukashenko policies.

Whereas Lukashenko is believed to be a Russian puppet, he was actually far more dynamic as he attempted to balance Moscow and the West. In fact, Lukashenko often prioritized relations with the West over Moscow. However, given Belarus’ recent negative experience with the West, largely spearheaded by Lithuania, it has only forced Lukashenko to return to Russia’s sphere of influence. Effectively, rather than pressuring Lukashenko into capitulation, Lithuania has only driven him back to Moscow, thus weakening their own geopolitical positioning and failed to strengthen it. While Lukashenko is secure in Minsk, Lithuanian citizens are increasingly impoverished as their government does everything it can to topple the Belarusian leader.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

October 26, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

Useful Idiot or Trojan Horse? Belarusian opposition figure Tikhanovskaya’s links to NATO’s Atlantic Council adjunct raise eyebrows

By Kit Klarenberg | RT | October 16, 2020

‘Accidental politician’ Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has captured the West’s imagination, her lack of political experience presenting an ideal blank canvas for news-narrative weaving – and all too easily manipulated by malign forces.

From the moment she announced her candidacy for the Belarusian presidency after her husband Sergey was spuriously jailed for electioneering activities that would be considered normal in the rest of Europe, Tikhanovskaya has been a darling of the Western media. With her improbable ascension from stay-at-home mother to leading opposition figure, then proto-revolutionary leader-in-exile, documented on an almost daily basis.

Along the way, Tikhanovskaya has been keen to stress the upheaval in Belarus is neither pro-Western nor pro-Russian in character, but pro-democracy, a key message reiterated uncritically over and again by mainstream journalists. However, not a single one has deigned to mention, much less question, the fact that one of her key confidantes, Franak Viacorka, is a ‘non-resident fellow’ at Atlantic Council, a think tank that aggressively propagandizes in support of NATO, and wider American financial, political, military and ideological interests in Europe and beyond.

This position isn’t mentioned in his Twitter bio, and it’s unclear precisely when he became Tikhanovskaya’s ‘international relations advisor.’ Viacorka’s Atlantic Council appointment was announced on August 15 – in a Washington Post op-ed published the same day, he and Melinda Haring, deputy director of the council’s Eurasia Center, painted a glowing, provocative portrait of the would-be president of Belarus, framing her as part of a wider feminist uprising against the country’s “deeply patriarchal” elite, an upheaval central to the radical shakeup of the country.

The council billed Viacorka as a “journalist from Belarus,” which is true, to an extent. A long-time anti-Lukashenko activist, his campaigning as a teenager in the run-up to the 2006   presidential election was even the subject of an award-winning documentary. Subsequently, he spent seven years at US government-controlled media outlets Radio FreeEurope and Radio Liberty, before moving to Washington DC in August 2018 to serve as Digital Media Strategist   for the US Agency for Radio Free Europe’s parent company US Agency for Global Media (USAGM), a role which ended just before he joined the Atlantic Council. In August 2018, USAGM’s then-CEO acknowledged its media outlets’ “global priorities reflect US national security interests.”

Founded in 1961, the council is best understood as NATO’s intellectual wing-cum-propaganda arm. Just as the alliance’s paradoxical purpose is, in the phrase of academic Richard Sakwa, “to manage the security risks created by its existence,” so too the organization exists to promote the notion of a Russian threat, in order to justify NATO’s post-Cold War endurance.

In this sense, the Atlantic Council is no different from most other ‘think tanks’ in that its raison d’etre is to defend and further the concerns of its financiers – in pursuit of that goal, as with most other lobby groups of this nature, it often publishes highly dubious, biased ‘research’ under the guise of objective academic inquiry, and recruits to its ranks individuals who advance its objectives in some way, promoting these as ‘independent experts.’

Some clue as to the council’s concerns and aims can be found in the publicly-available list of its key donors, which includes the US embassies of UAE and Bahrain, Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk, defense giant Raytheon, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), and the US State Department. From 2006  to 2016, the council’s annual revenue leaped ten-fold, from $2 million to $21 million – a period in which, concurrently and not coincidentally, corporate and state budgets typically reserved for lobbying firms were increasingly directed to think tanks. Its board of directors is likewise highly illustrative, a veritable ‘who’s who’ of warmongers, comprising Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Robert Gates, Michael Hayden, David Petraeus, and many others.

Despite a host of council apparatchiks frequently popping up in media reporting, and in turn influencing debate, public perceptions and government policy, one would be hard-pressed to find a single mainstream article making even passing reference to the organization’s politically-charged agenda and funding sources. Indeed, the Atlantic Council’s press relations strategy has been astonishingly effective, its in-house ‘fellows’ and Digital Forensics Lab (DFRLab) operatives universally positioned as experts in an array of fields, ever-ready to provide insight on pressing issues in the form of op-eds, marketable quotes and more.

There’s no more palpable example of this phenomenon than former DFRLab chief Ben Nimmo, who for years has been widely-touted as an eminent authority on Moscow’s ‘information warfare’ and ‘cyber operations,’ as well as on Kremlin strategy and thinking – despite boasting zero discernible acumen in Russian politics, data analysis, information technology, or social media. Despite his palpable lack of relevant skills, Nimmo’s tour of duty at DFRLab saw him appear in a panoply of articles, reports and academic papers on the threat posed to the world by Russian ‘disinformation,’ in the process disseminating a vast amount of damaging untruths himself.

He was also a pivotal player in the council’s ‘anti-fake news’ partnership with Facebook. Launched in May 2018, DFRLab was granted exclusive and unprecedented access to the social media giant’s private data, in order to identify and study “disinformation networks,” before earmarking particular accounts and pages for deletion and banning. That an effective wing of Western state power was afforded such capacity failed to provoke any mainstream alarm, even when the initiative got off to a highly inauspicious start – a number of accounts Nimmo identified as Kremlin-directed ‘bots’ and ‘trolls’ and which were subsequently banned by social networks turned out to be real people.

Since then, at intermittent intervals this partnership has led to the purging of untold numbers of pages and accounts from the social network, among them many alternative media outlets, independent journalists, political groups, and other legitimate information sources, highlighting issues and events the mainstream media consistently downplays or ignores, including US interventionism, drug legalization, police brutality and more.

Viacorka’s work for the Atlantic Council to date hasn’t been quite so destructive, authoring articles for its website, and making appearances on major news networks, promoting Tikhanovskaya as the legitimate president of Belarus and perpetuating disputed and extremely questionable claims that she’d received up to 70 percent of the vote in that country’s recent election – key messages the council itself began aggressively advancing the day after the election.

Ever since, Tikhanovskaya has repeatedly appealed to US and EU leaders to recognize her as the winner and duly-elected president of Belarus, claiming she’ll step aside within six months of taking office, but her call has been ignored by international bodies and every government in the world, bar that of Lithuania.

Instead, typically at most an election re-run has been called-for, a somewhat odd display of reticence, given Washington, London, Berlin and Paris have priors in formally recognizing individuals with far less legitimate claims than she as de-facto leaders of countries, such as Juan Guaido in Venezuela. This may suggest Western governments aren’t actually as convinced of her alleged landslide victory as they publicly profess to be, and fear Lukashenko’s removal from office by external and internal force and/or without a viable, stable alternative in place could mean the country descends into further chaos, and in turn becoming a fresh flashpoint in Europe.

Viacorka himself acknowledged the disorganized nature of the protests in an Atlantic Council article – while taking as inevitable Lukashenko’s ouster and Belarus’ transition to democracy, he bemoaned how “a lack of coordination between the different elements within the protest movement” had left it “vulnerable to the divide-and-conquer tactics of authorities.”

Viacorka went on to note that, in a bid to address this “absence of leadership,” Tikhanovskaya had founded a Coordination Council to serve as the country’s effective government in waiting. He dubbed the endeavor “the main threat to Lukashenko” and “the first attempt to create a credible alternative,” but his description raises serious questions about whether it’s a legitimate attempt to provide a coherent, tangible face to the movement, or an opportunistic hostile takeover.

“The Coordination Council provides a degree of clarity for government officials and international observers looking to gain a better understanding of who represents the diverse opposition movement… The Council must occupy the political vacuum at the forefront of Belarus’s democratic uprising. Leaderless street protests have shaken the Lukashenka regime to its foundations, but they are not enough to bring about the kind of historic transition to democracy millions of Belarusians now expect… The Council features a number of members drawn from the professional classes… who are expected to play important roles in the attempt to move beyond today’s mass protests towards a national political transition,” Viacorka wrote.

One wonders whether the coordination council was an idea Viacorka himself presented to Tikhanovskaya in his capacity as her ‘international relations advisor’ – and if, in turn, his thinking was in any way influenced by the Atlantic Council.

Whatever the truth of the matter, it’s almost certain the Atlantic Council’s meddling in Belarusian politics has a clandestine element, given the organization’s key role in the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) initiative Open Information Partnership (OIP). Officially, under its auspices DFRLab, Bellingcat, Zinc Network and Media Diversity Institute “work together through peer-to-peer learning, training and working groups to pioneer methods to expose disinformation,” in collaboration with a sizable network of NGOs across Europe.

However, leaked documents make clear the endeavor is, in fact, a secret UK government information warfare outfit seeking to covertly further Whitehall’s global policy objectives, by, among other things, influencing “elections taking place in countries of particular interest to the FCO.” A file setting out the terms of the project indicates Belarus is one of a dozen “high impact, priority countries” for the OIP, strongly suggesting this year’s presidential vote was very much “of interest” to the project.

The same document indicates DFRLab, Bellingcat, Zinc Network and Media Diversity Institute had conducted a secret operation in Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus in 2018, “delivering audience insights and recommendations to increase reach and resonance of selected independent media outlets.”

While innocent-enough sounding, examples offered of the organization’s work offered elsewhere in the file indicate OIP has engaged in numerous ‘astroturfing’ initiatives across Eastern Europe, helping organizations and individuals to produce flashy, FCO-funded propaganda masquerading as independent citizen journalism, which is then amplified globally via its NGO network and other channels.

For instance, in Ukraine the Open Information Partnership worked with a 12-strong group of online ‘influencers’ “to counter Kremlin-backed messaging through innovative editorial strategies, audience segmentation, and production models that reflected the complex and sensitive political environment,” in the process allowing them to “reach wider audiences with compelling content that received over four million views.”

In Russia and Central Asia, OIP established a covert network of ‘YouTubers,’ helping them create videos “promoting media integrity and democratic values.” Participants were also taught how to “make and receive international payments without being registered as external sources of funding” and “develop editorial strategies to deliver key messages,” while the consortium minimized their “risk of prosecution” and managed “project communications” to ensure the existence of the network, and indeed OIP’s role, were kept “confidential.”

Were similar efforts undertaken in Belarus at some point subsequently, and if so, how many of the citizen journalists on the ground covering the protests this year have received funding and training from OIP, and what role has the organization and its extensive pan-European NGO matrix played in promoting their “compelling content” the world over?

At the very least, another leaked FCO file indicates a number of organizations in the country had exploratory discussions with OIP, including the Belarusian Association of Journalists, and Euroradio – both were said to have “expressed an eagerness to be part of the network,” and to be operating in “the most vital space in the entire network.”

It may be significant that Franak Viacorka has been a prominent amplifier of Euroradio’s “fearless” coverage of the unrest that has engulfed the streets of Minsk for the past two months.

October 16, 2020 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment

European Union sanctions against Belarus will backfire and deepen Minsk’s ties to Moscow

By Paul Antonopoulos | October 2, 2020

Yesterday, it was agreed upon at the European Council special meeting that Belarus will be sanctioned. However, the scope of the sanctions and the long path to agree on them, demonstrates that the European Union is in a crisis and cannot project its power as it wishes. German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the bilateral agreement on Belarus and the strategic approach to Turkey as a step forward. The chancellor stated that “we had many discussions today on the issues of Belarus and Turkey, Cyprus and Greece. In short, I can say that they were completely successful.”

This comes in the aftermath of the Greek and Cypriot Prime Minister’s continually vetoing any sanctions against Belarus unless the European Council agreed to a strong joint statement against Turkey and for sanctions to be implemented by December if Ankara continues to violate the maritime space of Greece and Cyprus. Diplomatic sources in Athens revealed that despite the insistence of the majority of the European Council to pass a strong statement against Turkey and a pathway towards sanctions, Germany became isolated and had to eventually give up its resistance to stop an appeasement policy towards Turkey.

None-the-less, with Athens and Nicosia satisfied with the European Council’s statement and plan for sanctions against Turkey, the path was now open for Belarusian officials to be sanctioned without veto objections. This is despite Belarus not being a European Union member or candidate state, or threatening military action against EU member states like Turkey does.

“It was a long and difficult debate, because of course Greece and Cyprus demanded their rights as our member states. But we also had a very frank discussion about the need to look at all of our relations with Turkey,” Merkel said with seeming disappointment. “We can say today that there are sanctions against actors in Belarus, which means that the European Union is now taking action against those who oppose the democratic movements. I think this sends a very important signal.”

Minsk announced today the imposition of sanctions against European officials in response to those imposed by the European Union on Belarusian officials. The European Union claims that the officials who have been sanctioned are involved in the alleged suppression of anti-government protests and/or falsifying the August 9 elections in which President Alexander Lukashenko won 80.10% of the vote. Belarus’ foreign ministry said it had drawn up a list of European officials barred from entering the country, but added that the list would not be made public.

The European Union agreed to impose sanctions on some 40 Belarussian officials, however, Lukashenko is not among them. This in itself is a sign of weakness and desperation from the European Union as it strangely does not sanction Lukashenko, who won the election, but only those associated with him.

Lukashenko in recent years has been trying to court the European Union while also resisting further integration with Russia, even clashing with Moscow over gas and oil prices. Although protests against the election result had the appearance of a Ukraine-like colour revolution, the European Union immediately expressed solidarity, burning all bridges that had been built between Minsk and Brussels. This has only pushed Belarus firmly back into Russia’s sphere. The Belarusian President and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held a meeting for over four hours in Sochi last month, which Russian spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said was “constructive, lengthy and substantive in content.” The meeting also resulted in a $1.5 billion loan for Belarus.

It is evident that the attempted colour revolution failed to materialize, Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has not amounted much domestic influence and Lukashenko will not be removed from power soon. Rather than attempting to quickly repair relations to bring Belarus back closer to Brussels, the sanctions demonstrates that the European Union is moving forward with its foreign policy blindly and against their own interests.

The problem the European Union has is that if it repairs its relations with Lukashenko, it will mean an acknowledgment of weakness as they were not able to achieve what they wanted in Belarus. This is in the midst of the European Union already being deeply divided between a small German-led bloc and the rest of the Union in policies towards Turkey.

Another conundrum for Brussels is that from Lukashenko’s perspective, the European Union is now untrustworthy. Successive provocations, like having diplomats lay flowers where rioters died and saying Lukashenko is an illegitimate president, has likely created a permanent rift between Minsk and Brussels. Therefore, coupled with newly passed sanctions, the European Union has lost all influence they once might have had on Minsk, and therefore weakened their own interests while strengthening Russia’s by forcing the deepening of Belarus’ ties with Moscow.

With the European Union’s divorce with the United Kingdom becoming uglier, having tense relations with Turkey, and the endless rift it has with Russia – all completely different issues to each other – European policymakers have demonstrated that they are incapable of self-reflection and identifying weaknesses and failures in their foreign policy. For what the European Union wanted to achieve in Belarus, it has been a serious failure. By not sanctioning Lukashenko, Brussels has left a door open to normalize relations. However, from Lukashenko’s perspective, he will likely end his years-long flirtation with Brussels and move to more deeply integrate Belarus with Russia.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

October 2, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

US troops to stay longer in Lithuania: Defense minister

Press TV – September 22, 2020

A new battalion of US military forces, equipped with tanks and other armored vehicles, is to be deployed to Lithuania in November and will remain there until next June, the country’s defense minister says.

Lithuania’s Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis made the announcement on Tuesday, though he said the deployment was “not connected at all to the situation in Belarus.”

He said the new battalion would replace an American troop contingent that was stationed in the country near Belarus’ border earlier this month for a two-month tour.

NATO activity has picked up near the borders of Belarus, where there has been unrest after the re-election in August of President Alexander Lukashenko.

Lukashenko has said Western countries seek to destabilize Belarus and has put the country’s military on high alert and shut its borders with Poland and Lithuania.

The US battalion currently deployed in Lithuania arrived earlier and is staying longer than the government had indicated before the outbreak of protests in neighboring Belarus.

Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin warned in a recent televised interview that an American armor battalion had redeployed its tanks to a location in Lithuania close to the Belarusian border.

Lukashenko also accused the US of organizing the post-election protests in Belarus through social media platforms. He said Americans, acting through centers in Poland and the Czech Republic, were controlling the social media platforms that are playing a leading role in the unrest.

Earlier this month, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry issued a statement saying that the US would deploy 500 troops to the country to engage in war games near the border with Belarus.

September 22, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

Belarusian sanctions vetoed by Cyprus exposes deep divisions between Mediterranean and Northern Europe

By Paul Antonopoulos | September 22, 2020

Yesterday there was a meeting between all of the EU’s Foreign Ministers to pass sanctions against Belarus. It created massive controversy and revealed the significant divide between Mediterranean and Northern European nations. The EU has been completely disinterested in Turkey’s blatant violations against the maritime space and continental shelf of Cyprus, one of its 27 member states, for well over a year and a half now. However, following the Belarusian elections on August 9, the EU rapidly mobilized to sanction President Alexander Lukashenko and another 40 individuals associated with him. This was on the allegations of electoral fraud and state-perpetrated violence and repression against opposition supporters. To the great frustration of the EU, Cyprus was the only country to veto sanctions against Belarus.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs went on Twitter and said that Cyprus is “hostage taking” the EU on sanctions against Belarus, which “sends a wrong signal to Belarusians, our societies and the whole world.” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said on Twitter that “some colleagues should not link things that must not be linked,” referring to Cyprus vetoing Belarusian sanctions so long as Turkey is not sanctioned. Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt, now the Co-Chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations, was especially angered and in a series of Tweets complained that “Cyprus is profoundly embarrassing the EU with its linking of Belarus sanctions to unrelated issues,” that Cyprus is “misusing” its veto rights, and that “the meeting of EU foreign ministers […] will unfortunately be remembered for Cyprus again blocking any sanctions on Belarus.”

To be clear, Cyprus, one of the smallest countries in the EU with only 1.2 million inhabitants, is not taking a great moral stand to oppose sanctions against Belarus, which is neither an EU member, an EU member candidate, or a direct threat to any EU members. Rather, Cyprus is making a stand as the EU is prioritizing sanctions against Belarus as they believe it will weaken Russian influence in the Baltics and Eastern Europe. The EU has been very slow in their response to Turkish threats against Greece and Cyprus, with many member states not wanting to sanction Turkey, yet wanting fast tracked sanctions against Belarus. Cyprus will approve sanctions against Belarus as soon as sanctions against Turkey are approved by the other EU member states.

The EU’s reluctance to sanction Turkey is curious considering it is militarily threatening two EU member states, Greece and Cyprus, yet wants to prioritise sanctions on Belarus, which as previously stated, is neither an EU member, an EU member candidate, or threatening EU members. Brussels continues the line of an imagined Russian threat via Belarus against the Baltic countries and Poland, while ignoring the open and direct threats of Turkey against Greece and Cyprus.

Unsurprisingly, Bildt was exposed in a report by the Stockholm Center for Freedom in having very intimate and close relations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, perhaps including indirect funding. Bildt, as a northern European Swede, is not threatened by Turkish aggression due to the obvious restrictions in geography. This is the same reason for the indifferent attitudes of the Baltic countries, Sweden, Germany and other northern European countries for their disinterest in Turkish aggression against Cyprus and Greece. And herein lays the polar differences between Mediterranean and Northern Europe, which is beginning to split the EU apart.

Although Moscow continually announces its desire for cooperation with the EU, Northern Europe, led by the Baltic states and Poland, continue to pressurize Russia because of a perceived threat against these states. Russia, unlike Turkey, does not violate the sovereignty of any EU member state, nor does it make near daily military threats.

Turning Cyprus from a victim of Turkish aggression, especially considering that the latter invaded the northern portion of the island in 1974, to perpetrator, is not only an egregious injustice to Turkey’s history of violations, it also plays right into Erdoğan’s endeavour to once again avoid sanctions. This year the Dutch vetoed an EU stimulus package to help European economies struggling with COVID-19 restrictions and the Austrians vetoed Operation Irini to prevent Turkish arms from reaching Libya. Yet, only the Cypriots are being harshly criticized for their veto on Belarus sanctions. The double-standards that characterize the Berlin-led EU foreign policy strategy in dealing with the Eastern Mediterranean crisis exposes internal inconsistencies within the Union.

What many Northern Europeans refuse to acknowledge is that Cyprus, Greece and the wider European Mediterranean region, do not have the luxury of friendly neighbors like Sweden and Germany do, and rather have to contend with an aggressor state like Turkey that openly announces its intentions to invade Greek islands and the rest of Cyprus, whilst simultaneously being militarily involved in fellow Mediterranean countries like Libya and Syria.

A small state like Cyprus, that does not have a professional military, has very limited options in dealing with such aggression, especially when its EU colleagues rush to shield Ankara from sanctions rather than defend Cyprus from an external threat. This comes to the crux of the so-called raison d’être of the EU – a supposed unity between Europe. However, Northern Europe has only demonstrated to Mediterranean Europe that there is certainly no unity, especially when two of its 27 member states are being directly threatened and violated by an external state.

On August 29, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a “Pax Mediterranea” which can be interpretated as a new Mediterranean order, one becoming increasingly independent of the EU and involving the close cooperation of Mediterranean states. With Northern Europe disinterested with security issues in the Mediterranean as they prioritize their economic relations with Turkey, there is every chance we will see a significant bloc emerge in the Mediterranean that better serves its own interests rather than those of Northern Europe.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

September 22, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Belarus Warns to Consider Tikhanovskaya’s Meeting With EU Foreign Ministers Meddling

Sputnik

MINSK  The participation of former Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya in the upcoming meeting of EU foreign ministers next week will amount to interference in Belarus’ internal affairs, Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Anatoly Glaz said on Saturday.

“It could certainly be funny and curious if it were not so sad. It is quite obvious, in fact, that such actions, if any, are an impudent and open interference in the internal affairs of our country and complete disrespect for its citizens,” Glaz said.

“Why hold any elections at all if it is possible to simply appoint someone all the way convenient from abroad and pretend to build a relationship with them?” the spokesman said.

If the meeting ends up taking place with Tikhanovskaya’s participation, Glaz said there would be no need left to prove that “a course to undermine Belarus’ sovereignty is being implemented.”

“Of course, our principled and understandable position on this matter has already been communicated to the EU envoy in Minsk, as well as to the relevant persons in Brussels,” the spokesman added.

EU foreign ministers are scheduled to convene this upcoming Monday in Brussels. Tikhanovskaya’s press secretary Anna Krasulina has confirmed the Lithuanian-exiled Belarusian ex-presidential candidate’s attendance.

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

‘Provocative & unacceptable’: Minsk says Lithuania’s recognition of Tikhanovskaya as Belarusian president breaks international law

By Jonny Tickle | RT | September 15, 2020

Lithuania’s decision to recognize Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as the leader of Belarus “violates the norms of international law,” according to a statement by the Council of the Republic, the upper house of parliament in Minsk.

Last week, the Lithuanian Seimas (parliament) adopted a resolution titled “On the Illegitimate Union Imposed by Russia on Belarus,” naming former presidential candidate Tikhanovskaya as the “elected leader” of the Belarusian people, and incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko as “illegitimate.”

“The decision of Lithuanian MPs to appoint a ‘leader of the people of Belarus’ is beyond the scope of common sense,” the Presidium of the Council of the Republic’s statement read. “Such actions are provocative and unacceptable, and violate the norms of international law.”

The statement also called Lithuania’s actions “blatant interference,” accusing the Seimas of “showing open disrespect for the sovereign right of the Belarusian people to choose their own leadership.”

Tikhanovskaya fled across Belarus’ northern border to Lithuania on August 11, two days after official election results suggested that she had come in a distant second place. Following the vote, thousands of Belarusians took to the streets throughout the country to protest over what they believe to have been a wholly rigged election. During days of demonstrations, police and internal troops used tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber bullets to disperse protesters, while strikes began at large factories.

Following her arrival in Lithuania, Tikhanovskaya formed a body called the Coordination Council, with the goal of organizing a peaceful transition of power away from President Lukashenko, and of holding new elections. The group, which includes Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich as part of its leadership, has been accused by the Belarusian authorities of “aiming to seize state power” and “harming national security.”

September 15, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment