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Let’s Boycott Israel and Its Friends

If you want change, begin to play hardball

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • December 18, 2018

In his recent article “Averting World Conflict with China” Ron Unz has come up with an intriguing suggestion for the Chinese government to turn the tables on the December 1st arrest of Meng Wanzhou in Canada. Canada detained Mrs. Meng, CFO of the world’s largest telecoms equipment manufacturer Huawei, at the request of the United States so she could be extradited to New York to face charges that she and her company had violated U.S. sanctions on Iran. The sanctions in question had been imposed unilaterally by Washington and it is widely believed that the Trump Administration is sending a signal that when the ban on purchasing oil from Iran comes into full effect in May there will be no excuses accepted from any country that is unwilling to comply with the U.S. government’s demands. Washington will exercise universal jurisdiction over those who violate its sanctions, meaning that foreign officials and heads of corporations that continue to deal with Iran can be arrested when traveling internationally and will be extradited to be tried in American courts.

There is, of course, a considerable downside to arresting a top executive of a leading foreign corporation from a country that is a major U.S. trading partner and which also, inter alia, holds a considerable portion of the U.S. national debt. Ron Unz has correctly noted the “…extraordinary gravity of this international incident and its potential for altering the course of world history.” One might add that Washington’s demands that other nations adhere to its sanctions on third countries opens up a Pandora’s box whereby no traveling executives will be considered safe from legal consequences when they do not adhere to policies being promoted by the United States. Unz cites Columbia’s Jeffrey Sachs as describing it as “almost a U.S. declaration of war on China’s business community.” If seizing and extraditing businessmen becomes the new normal those countries most affected will inevitably retaliate in kind. China has already detained two traveling Canadians to pressure Ottawa to release Mrs. Meng. Beijing is also contemplating some immediate retaliatory steps against Washington to include American companies operating in China if she is extradited to the U.S.

Ron Unz has suggested that Beijing might just want to execute a quid pro quo by pulling the licenses of Sheldon Adelson’s casinos operating in Macau, China and shutting them down, thereby eliminating a major source of his revenue. Why go after an Israeli-American casino operator rather than taking steps directly against the U.S. government? The answer is simple. Pressuring Washington is complicated as there are many players involved and unlikely to produce any positive results while Adelson is the prime mover on much of the Trump foreign policy, though one hesitates to refer to it as a policy at all.

Adelson is the world’s leading diaspora Israel-firster and he has the ear of the president of the United States, who reportedly speaks and meets with him regularly. And Adelson uses his considerable financial resources to back up his words of wisdom. He is the fifteenth wealthiest man in America with a reported fortune of $33 billion. He is the number one contributor to the GOP having given $81 million in the last cycle. Admittedly that is chump change to him, but it is more than enough to buy the money hungry and easily corruptible Republicans.

In a certain sense, Adelson has obtained control of the foreign policy of the political party that now controls both the White House and the Senate, and his mission in life is to advance Israeli interests. Among those interests is the continuous punishment of Iran, which does not threaten the United States in any way, through employment of increasingly savage sanctions and threats of violence, which brings us around to the arrest of Meng and the complicity of Adelson in that process. Adelson’s wholly owned talking head National Security Adviser John Bolton reportedly had prior knowledge of the Canadian plans and may have actually been complicit in their formulation. Adelson has also been the major force behind moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, has also convinced the Administration to stop its criticism of the illegal Israeli settlements on Arab land and has been instrumental in cutting off all humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. He prefers tough love when dealing with the Iranians, advocating dropping a nuclear bomb on Iran as a warning to the Mullahs of what more might be coming if they don’t comply with all the American and Israeli demands.

Meanwhile another Israeli, Haim Saban has performed similar work with the Democrats, contributing $5 million to their coffers, making him the top donor to the party. Saban has said that he is a “one issue guy, and my issue is Israel.”

Of course, one might reasonably argue that America’s problem with Jews who are passionately attached to Israel funding and controlling the major political parties is self-generated, that no one should be allowed to fund any political party to such an extent that one obtains control over policies. But that is an argument that will have to be directed at the Supreme Court, which permitted corporations to be treated as persons with its Citizens United ruling, allowing virtually unlimited money to flow into political PACs as a First Amendment right.

The lopsided wag-the-dog relationship with Israel is so dangerous to actual American interests in so many ways that the United States is now approaching a precipice and might soon find itself plummeting to ruin. Israel, not Russia, constantly interferes in the functioning of America’s remaining democracy. Fighting Israel’s wars and protecting it from any criticism have debased the value of being an American citizen and literally impoverished the country under a mountain of debt. The U.S. has been victimized by terrorism, much of which can be traced back to Israeli roots, and Washington is now isolated globally as the United States has become more and more like Israel, a militarized state, politically corrupt and abandoning basic liberties.

How does one right the sinking ship? For starters, the Ron Unz formula for correcting the problem with China provides an excellent roadmap. Israel and its friends do not have a grip on congress, the White House and the media because they are wonderful warm people that others find to be sympathetic. It is difficult even to imagine a scintillating conversation with a malignant toad like Sheldon Adelson. Israel’s ability to corrupt and misdirect is all based on Jewish money, a process in which Zionist oligarchs buy their way to power and access. So the solution is to hit back where it really hurts – boycott Israel and Israeli products and do the same for the companies that are the sources of income for the American Jews who are the principal supporters of the Zionist project.

The United States Congress is currently moving to make it illegal to openly advocate boycotts of Israel or even to inquire about doing so, while 25 states have already also done the same to a greater or lesser extent. Last week a speech therapist in Texas was fired from a job she had held for nine years because she refused to sign an oath affirming that she would not boycott Israel. It is a measure of Jewish power in the U.S. that American politicians choose to provide cover for Israel’s misdeeds even if it means the end of the First Amendment and free speech. But punitive steps intended to intimidate any and all critics of Israel aside, there is no reason why consumers cannot exercise judgement over what they buy and what they are supporting through their spending. If you want to visit Las Vegas, by all means go, but don’t patronize the casinos and hotels owned by Sheldon Adelson, which include The Venetian and Sands Resort.

Democratic party major donor Haim Saban, meanwhile, is a producer of Hollywood children’s entertainment, including the lucrative Power Rangers. You can stop your children from watching his violent programming and tell the network’s advertisers why you are doing so. And then there are businessmen including Bernard Marcus, who is a co-founder of Home Depot and a major supporter of Israel, and Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots. No one really has to spend $1000 to go to a football game, particularly if the owner is a good friend of Benjamin Netanyahu, and if you need something for your home or are seeking entertainment, choose to spend your dollars somewhere else. Readers can do the homework for the businesses and services that they normally patronize. If outspoken advocates for Israel own the company, take your dollars elsewhere.

As it is nearly impossible in the United States to vote for a politician who is in any way critical of Israel, those who are opposed to the terrible damage that the Israelis and their domestic lobby are doing to the U.S. can instead vote with their purchasing power. It does not afford the same pleasure as “throwing the bums out,” but there will be considerable satisfaction in being able to strike back against a powerful lobby that is so hubristic and insensitive to any criticism that it has become completely tone deaf.

Apart from domestic considerations, observers have noted that Israeli treatment of the Palestinians has been worse than apartheid under South Africa yet South Africa was subjected to multiple boycotts and bans on its participation in international fora, to include even sporting competitions. It is past time to do the same to Israel, which has been shooting dead hundreds of unarmed Palestinians for months now without paying any price at all. Boycotting Israel internationally is a good start. It is non-violent and proportionate and it just might be an idea that will spread and finally bring about some payback for what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabal of war criminals have done and continue to do. As the end of 2018 approaches, it would be something to look forward to if 2019 just might turn out to be the year of the international Israel Boycott.

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

December 18, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Averting World Conflict with China

The PRC Should Retaliate by Targeting Sheldon Adelson’s Chinese Casinos

By Ron Unz • Unz Review • December 13, 2018

As most readers know, I’m not a casual political blogger and I prefer producing lengthy research articles rather than chasing the headlines of current events. But there are exceptions to every rule, and the looming danger of a direct worldwide clash with China is one of them.

Consider the arrest last week of Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Huawei, the world’s largest telecom equipment manufacturer. While flying from Hong Kong to Mexico, Ms. Meng was changing planes in the Vancouver International Airport airport when she was suddenly detained by the Canadian government on an August US warrant. Although now released on $10 million bail, she still faces extradition to a New York City courtroom, where she could receive up to thirty years in federal prison for allegedly having conspired in 2010 to violate America’s unilateral economic trade sanctions against Iran.

Although our mainstream media outlets have certainly covered this important story, including front page articles in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, I doubt most American readers fully recognize the extraordinary gravity of this international incident and its potential for altering the course of world history. As one scholar noted, no event since America’s deliberate 1999 bombing of China’s embassy in Belgrade, which killed several Chinese diplomats, has so outraged both the Chinese government and its population. Columbia’s Jeffrey Sachs correctly described it as “almost a US declaration of war on China’s business community.”

Such a reaction is hardly surprising. With annual revenue of $100 billion, Huawei ranks as the world’s largest and most advanced telecommunications equipment manufacturer as well as China’s most internationally successful and prestigious company. Ms. Meng is not only a longtime top executive there, but also the daughter of the company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, whose enormous entrepreneurial success has established him as a Chinese national hero.

Her seizure on obscure American sanction violation charges while changing planes in a Canadian airport almost amounts to a kidnapping. One journalist asked how Americans would react if China had seized Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook for violating Chinese law…especially if Sandberg were also the daughter of Steve Jobs.

Indeed, the closest analogy that comes to my mind is when Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia kidnapped the Prime Minister of Lebanon earlier this year and held him hostage. Later he more successfully did the same with hundreds of his wealthiest Saudi subjects, extorting something like $100 billion in ransom from their families before finally releasing them. Then he may have finally over-reached himself when Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident, was killed and dismembered by a bone-saw at the Saudi embassy in Turkey.

We should actually be a bit grateful to Prince Mohammed since without him America would clearly have the most insane government anywhere in the world. As it stands, we’re merely tied for first.

Since the end of the Cold War, the American government has become increasingly delusional, regarding itself as the Supreme World Hegemon. As a result, local American courts have begun enforcing gigantic financial penalties against foreign countries and their leading corporations, and I suspect that the rest of the world is tiring of this misbehavior. Perhaps such actions can still be taken against the subservient vassal states of Europe, but by most objective measures, the size of China’s real economy surpassed that of the US several years ago and is now substantially larger, while also still having a far higher rate of growth. Our totally dishonest mainstream media regularly obscures this reality, but it remains true nonetheless.

Provoking a disastrous worldwide confrontation with mighty China by seizing and imprisoning one of its leading technology executives reminds me of a comment I made several years ago about America’s behavior under the rule of its current political elites:

Or to apply a far harsher biological metaphor, consider a poor canine infected with the rabies virus. The virus may have no brain and its body-weight is probably less than one-millionth that of the host, but once it has seized control of the central nervous system, the animal, big brain and all, becomes a helpless puppet.

Once friendly Fido runs around foaming at the mouth, barking at the sky, and trying to bite all the other animals it can reach. Its friends and relatives are saddened by its plight but stay well clear, hoping to avoid infection before the inevitable happens, and poor Fido finally collapses dead in a heap.

Normal countries like China naturally assume that other countries like the US will also behave in normal ways, and their dumbfounded shock at Ms. Meng’s seizure has surely delayed their effective response. In 1959, Vice President Richard Nixon visited Moscow and famously engaged in a heated “kitchen debate” with Premier Nikita Khrushchev over the relative merits of Communism and Capitalism. What would have been the American reaction if Nixon had been immediately arrested and given a ten year Gulag sentence for “anti-Soviet agitation”?

Since a natural reaction to international hostage-taking is retaliatory international hostage-taking, the newspapers have reported that top American executives have decided to forego visits to China until the crisis is resolved. These days, General Motors sells more cars in China than in the US, and China is also the manufacturing source of nearly all our iPhones, but Tim Cook, Mary Barra, and their higher-ranking subordinates are unlikely to visit that country in the immediate future, nor would the top executives of Google, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, and the leading Hollywood studios be willing to risk indefinite imprisonment.

Canada had arrested Ms. Meng on American orders, and this morning’s newspapers reported that a former Canadian diplomat had suddenly been detained in China, presumably as a small bargaining-chip to encourage Ms. Meng’s release. But I very much doubt such measures will have much effect. Once we forgo traditional international practices and adopt the Law of the Jungle, it becomes very important to recognize the true lines of power and control, and Canada is merely acting as an American political puppet in this matter. Would threatening the puppet rather than the puppet-master be likely to have much effect?

Similarly, nearly all of America’s leading technology executives are already quite hostile to the Trump Administration, and even if it were possible, seizing one of them would hardly be likely to sway our political leadership. To a lesser extent, the same thing is true about the overwhelming majority of America’s top corporate leaders. They are not the individuals who call the shots in the current White House.

Indeed, is President Trump himself anything more than a higher-level puppet in this very dangerous affair? World peace and American national security interests are being sacrificed in order to harshly enforce the Israel Lobby’s international sanctions campaign against Iran, and we should hardly be surprised that the National Security Adviser John Bolton, one of America’s most extreme pro-Israel zealots, had personally given the green light to the arrest. Meanwhile, there are credible reports that Trump himself remained entirely unaware of these plans, and Ms. Meng was seized on the same day that he was personally meeting on trade issues with Chinese President Xi. Some have even suggested that the incident was a deliberate slap in Trump’s face.

But Bolton’s apparent involvement underscores the central role of his longtime patron, multi-billionaire casino-magnate Sheldon Adelson, whose enormous financial influence within Republican political circles has been overwhelmingly focused on pro-Israel policy and hostility towards Iran, Israel’s regional rival.

Although it is far from clear whether the very elderly Adelson played any direct personal role in Ms. Meng’s arrest, he surely must be viewed as the central figure in fostering the political climate that produced the current situation. Perhaps he should not be described as the ultimate puppet-master behind our current clash with China, but any such political puppet-masters who do exist are certainly operating at his immediate beck and call. In very literal terms, I suspect that if Adelson placed a single phone call to the White House, the Trump Administration would order Canada to release Ms. Meng that same day.

Adelson’s fortune of $33 billion ranks him as the 15th wealthiest man in America, and the bulk of his fortune is based on his ownership of extremely lucrative gambling casinos in Macau, China. In effect, the Chinese government currently has its hands around the financial windpipe of the man ultimately responsible for Ms. Meng’s arrest and whose pro-Israel minions largely control American foreign policy. I very much doubt that they are fully aware of this enormous, untapped source of political leverage.

Over the years, Adelson’s Chinese Macau casinos have been involved in all sorts of political bribery scandals, and I suspect it would be very easy for the Chinese government to find reasonable grounds for immediately shutting them down, at least on a temporary basis, with such an action having almost no negative repercussions to Chinese society or the bulk of the Chinese population. How could the international community possibly complain about the Chinese government shutting down some of their own local gambling casinos with a long public record of official bribery and other criminal activity? At worst, other gambling casino magnates would become reluctant to invest future sums in establishing additional Chinese casinos, hardly a desperate threat to President Xi’s anti-corruption government.

I don’t have a background in finance and I haven’t bothered trying to guess the precise impact of a temporary shutdown of Adelson’s Chinese casinos, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the resulting drop in the stock price of Las Vegas Sands Corp would reduce Adelson’s personal net worth were by $5-10 billion within 24 hours, surely enough to get his immediate personal attention. Meanwhile, threats of a permanent shutdown, perhaps extending to Chinese-influenced Singapore, might lead to the near-total destruction of Adelson’s personal fortune, and similar measures could also be applied as well to the casinos of all the other fanatically pro-Israel American billionaires, who dominate the remainder of gambling in Chinese Macau.

The chain of political puppets responsible for Ms. Meng’s sudden detention is certainly a complex and murky one. But the Chinese government already possesses the absolute power of financial life-or-death over Sheldon Adelson, the man located at the very top of that chain. If the Chinese leadership recognizes that power and takes effective steps, Ms. Meng will immediately be put on a plane back home, carrying the deepest sort of international political apology. And future attacks against Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese technology companies would not be repeated.

China actually holds a Royal Flush in this international political poker game. The only question is whether they will recognize the value of their hand. I hope they do for the sake of America and the entire world.

December 13, 2018 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments

Huawei CFO Detained in Canada to Face Fraud Charges in US

Sputnik – December 7, 2018

Canadian prosecutors said Friday that the US is seeking the extradition of Huawei Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Meng Wanzhou on suspicion of engaging in conspiracies to defraud multiple financial institutions and contravene US sanctions on Iran.

It isn’t clear how many charges she faces, but each one carries a maximum sentence of 30 years behind bars.

Meng, the Chinese telecommunication giant’s CFO and deputy board chair, was arrested in Vancouver on Saturday but the US Department of Justice did not announce the arrest until Wednesday. Canada’s Globe and Mail broke the story, based on law enforcement sources, that she had been arrested for violating US sanctions against Iran.

A gag order, or as it is called in Canada, a publication ban, was imposed on Meng’s case. Several media outlets have challenged the gag in court. That ban was eventually lifted by a judge in Vancouver, BBC reports.

The court is still considering whether it will grant Meng bail. The Canadian government prosecutor has told the judge Meng has substantial resources in China and is a flight risk.

The prosecutor alleged that Meng deceived American lawyers regarding the connection between the company SkyCom and Huawei. Using SkyCom as a secret proxy, Huawei sold products to Iran in breach of US sanctions between 2009 and 2014.

Huawei is the second-largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world, Sputnik News reported.

The US has introduced a number of measures to curb the flow of technology from Huawei and another telecom manufacturer, ZTE Corp, believing that the Chinese government have could used the tech for surveillance in the past year. Huawei products have also been banned by the Pentagon from being sold on US military bases.

December 7, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

‘Arrogant jingoist policy’: Lavrov blasts Washington’s request to arrest Huawei CFO

RT | December 7, 2018

Washington’s “revolting” policy of stretching its own criminal laws to other countries’ territories has to end, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said as Huawei’s top executive faces extradition to the US.

Lavrov slammed America’s habit of applying its laws “extraterritorially” and dubbed it “revolting to the vast majority of normal states and normal people.”

The minister’s outrage follows the recent arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, Canada.The businesswoman, who is also the daughter of the company’s founder, was apprehended on Sunday at the request of the US, and is now facing extradition. The charges levied against Meng remain unknown, but it is believed they relate to possible violations of US sanctions placed on Iran.

Talking to reporters at an OSCE event in Milan, Lavrov said that Washington’s approach has no support in the world and alienates the US’ own partners.

Chinese diplomats protested Meng’s arrest, saying that she didn’t violate any US or Canadian laws.

The Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, Geng Shuang, demanded that Washington and Ottawa clarify the reasons behind the executive’s detention and “immediately” release her. Chinese officials also said that the arrest itself “seriously harmed the human rights of the victim.”

December 7, 2018 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

Russian diplomacy is winning the New Cold War

By Stephen F. Cohen | The Nation | November 22, 2018

Washington’s attempt to “isolate Putin’s Russia” has failed and had the opposite effect.

On the fifth anniversary of the onset of the Ukrainian crisis, in November 2013, and of Washington “punishing” Russia by attempting to “isolate” it in world affairs — a policy first declared by President Barack Obama in 2014 and continued ever since, primarily through economic sanctions — Cohen discusses the following points:

1. During the preceding Cold War with the Soviet Union, no attempt was made to “isolate” Russia abroad; instead, the goal was to “contain” it within its “bloc” of Eastern European nations and compete with it in what was called the “Third World.”

2. The notion of “isolating” a country of Russia’s size, Eurasian location, resources, and long history as a great power is vainglorious folly. It reflects the paucity and poverty of foreign thinking in Washington in recent decades, not the least in the US Congress and mainstream media.

3. Consider the actual results. Russia is hardly isolated. Since 2014, Moscow has arguably been the most active diplomatic capital of all great powers today. It has forged expanding military, political, or economic partnerships with, for example, China, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, India, and several other East Asian nations, even, despite EU sanctions, with several European governments. Still more, Moscow is the architect and prime convener of three important peace negotiations under way today: those involving Syria, Serbia-Kosovo, and even Afghanistan. Put differently, can any other national leaders in the 21st century match the diplomatic records of Russian President Vladimir Putin or of his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov? Certainly not former US Presidents George W. Bush or Obama or soon-to-depart German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nor any British or French leader.

4. Much is made of Putin’s purportedly malign “nationalism” in this regard. But this is an uninformed or hypocritical explanation. Consider French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently reproached Trump for his declared nationalism. The same Macron who has sought to suggest (rather implausibly) that he is a second coming of Charles de Gaulle, who himself was a great and professed nationalist leader of the 20th century, from his resistance to the Nazi occupation and founding of the Fifth Republic to his refusal to put the French military under NATO command. Nationalism, that is, by whatever name, has long been a major political force in most countries, whether in liberal enlightened or reactionary right-wing forms. Russia and the United States are not exceptions.

5. Putin’s success in restoring Russia’s role in world affairs is usually ascribed to his “aggressive” policies, but it is better understood as a realization of what is characterized in Moscow as the “philosophy of Russian foreign policy” since Putin became leader in 2000. It has three professed tenets. The first goal of foreign policy is to protect Russia’s “sovereignty,” which is said to have been lost in the disastrous post-Soviet 1990s. The second is a kind of Russia-first nationalism or patriotism: to enhance the well-being of the citizens of the Russian Federation. The third is ecumenical: to partner with any government that wants to partner with Russia. This “philosophy” is, of course, non- or un-Soviet, which was heavily ideological, at least in its professed ideology and goals.

6. Considering Washington’s inability to “isolate Russia,” considering Russia’s diplomatic successes in recent years, and considering the bitter fruits of US militarized and regime-change foreign policies (which long pre-date President Trump), perhaps it’s time for Washington to learn from Moscow rather than demand that Moscow conform to Washington’s thinking about—and behavior in—world affairs. If not, Washington is more likely to continue to isolate itself.

John Bachelor Show

Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University and a contributing editor of The Nation.

November 22, 2018 Posted by | Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A New Body On Nuclear Disarmament?

By Vladimir KOZIN – Oriental Review – 15/11/2018

In October 2018, Senior Adjunct Fellow of the Federation of American Scientists and former safeguards inspector with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Thomas Shea, unveiled his book Verifying Nuclear Disarmament at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.

A key element of his publication is the establishment of a new international control mechanism for the phased and complete elimination of nuclear weapons by all nuclear powers, which will simultaneously monitor any attempts to re-create such weapons of mass destruction again.

In his book, the 78-year-old author, who began his military career on a US aircraft carrier fitting carrier-based aircraft with nuclear bombs, builds on the provisions of the international Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) adopted in July 2017 by suggesting that a special implementing body be set up, which he calls the International Nuclear Disarmament Agency (INDA), to complement the IAEA should the treaty ever enter into force.

According to the US expert, the INDA would be a key body for controlling the entire process of global nuclear disarmament, it would oversee the dismantling of nuclear warheads and the equipment needed to make them at nuclear weapons facilities, and it would also ensure that nuclear weapons are never made again. The agency would operate in accordance with the principles set out in the text of the TPNW.

Thomas Shea has worked out the organisational structure of the INDA and sets this out in his book, along with the principles of its interaction with nuclear states and the IAEA.

The American researcher believes that the INDA should be headed by a Nuclear Disarmament Council made up of 24 members (one from each country party to the TPNW). The council would have nine permanent committees that would control the process of eliminating nuclear weapons, safeguard weapon-sensitive information, ensure the safety and security of nuclear weapons, and carry out inspections to verify nuclear disarmament agreements, so perform certain supranational functions, in other words. The council would also oversee the day-to-day activities of the new disarmament control agency and help implement all the provisions of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The INDA’s research work will be provided by its staffed Research Institute and its Center for Research and Development related to the verification of nuclear disarmament.

The book’s author has developed key principles for preventing rearmament following the total elimination of nuclear weapons from the world’s arsenals, including the introduction of a strict inspection regime and the international control of fissile material that could be used to make nuclear warheads. He also suggests converting highly enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium as soon as possible, which could then only be used in nuclear power plants.

The American researcher proposes starting the nuclear disarmament process by determining for each nuclear state the minimum amount of fissile material that could be used to made nuclear warheads. He believes it would then be possible to embark on a reciprocal exchange of information about operationally deployed nuclear warheads, which should be eliminated first, and then information about non-deployed warheads, which should be disposed of second. The next step in the nuclear disarmament process would be an agreement to reduce the amount of fissile material intended for nuclear weapons and place all remaining stocks of fissile material under special international control to rule out future rearmament.

Thomas Shea suggests that nuclear states take ten confidence-building nuclear disarmament measures. In particular, he believes that an important measure to increase the level of trust between nuclear states in the nuclear missile sphere would be their mutual commitment not to be the first to use nuclear weapons against each other or not to use them at all, whether first, second, or third, and he also calls for the signing of bilateral agreements on the gradual reduction of nuclear arsenals.

Referring to the Nuclear Posture Review approved by the Trump administration in February 2018, Thomas Shea criticises Russia, China and North Korea for modernising their nuclear weapons, while ignoring the fact that the nuclear arsenals of the West’s “nuclear troika” (Great Britain, the US and France) have been upgraded, as have those of the de facto nuclear powers – Israel, India and Pakistan.

Thomas Shea expresses support for the eventual entry into force of the international TPNW. This contradicts Washington’s official negative position on general nuclear disarmament, which is the most strongly opposed to the idea being implemented in comparison with the other nuclear-armed states. It is well known that the US has already started making plans to create a completely new strategic nuclear triad over the next seven to eight years, which America’s current military and political leaders envisage will exist right up to the 2080s.

The US researcher does not mention any deadlines in his book for reaching global nuclear zero, recognising that the process for complete nuclear disarmament could take many years due to existing disagreements on the issue between nuclear-armed states. He simply notes more generally that nuclear disarmament can only take place when every legal nuclear power – which is to say the “nuclear five” represented by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – and the four de facto nuclear powers that are not party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty – namely Israel, North Korea, India and Pakistan – understand that they will not be able to fully safeguard their security with nuclear weapons alone and so will switch to non-nuclear means to protect their defence interests. Thomas Shea believes that “disarmament won’t come quickly, quietly or cheaply”.

It is likely that the book will arouse some interest among those in the field as an example of the author’s development of a global mechanism for verifying complete nuclear disarmament at some point in the future. It is unlikely to become a catalyst for discussions on how to create a world completely free of nuclear weapons, however, given that the level of nuclear missile confrontation in the world has grown significantly thanks to the biggest nuclear power – America – while the threshold for using nuclear weapons has been lowered, particularly given the Pentagon’s readiness to use low-yield nuclear warheads, which is to say nuclear warheads with an explosive power of less than 5 kilotons.

The real situation in the world today shows that there are too many doctrinal and military-technical obstacles preventing the complete and irreversible elimination of all nuclear weapons. Their elimination is also made more complicated by the lack of a global consensus. There has also been no noticeable increase in the level of trust between nuclear-armed states, which all have different views on nuclear arms control and the doctrinal basis for their actual use.

It is important to bear in mind that only two-thirds of UN member states voted in favour of adopting the TPNW and it did not have the support of every nuclear power. The process of joining it is even worse: only a third of UN member states have actually signed it. The ratification process is moving along just as slowly. As of November 2018, it had been ratified by less than half of the 50 countries required.

The difficulties in implementing the TPNW are also reflected in the fact that a large proportion of the global community does not want to retain the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in its current form. This is clearly shown by the results of a UN vote. In October 2018, the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, which debates disarmament and international security, unfortunately voted against a draft resolution in support of the INF Treaty. Thirty-one countries voted in favour, 54 countries abstained, and 55 countries, including the US, Great Britain, Canada, France and Ukraine, voted against.

In other words, there is a lack of a global consensus on nuclear disarmament. In fact, it is possible that America’s targeted efforts to unilaterally withdraw from the INF Treaty and its refusal to extend START III could undermine the nuclear non-proliferation regime that has existed for many decades, as well as the entire international legal system for nuclear and conventional arms control that has been established with such difficulty over a long period of time.

November 15, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mixed US Midterms Results Offer Chance for Peace Agenda With Russia, China

Sputnik – 09.11.2018

WASHINGTON – The mixed results of the US midterm congressional elections resulting in a divided Congress give President Donald Trump the chance to revive the agenda for improving relations with Russia and pull out of foreign wars that he was elected on in 2016, analysts told Sputnik.

With several results not yet in, the Democrats looked likely to have a majority of around 13 to 15 seats in the House of Representatives while the Republicans extended their Senate majority from 51 out of 100 seats to 54 or 55.

Trump Faces Post-Election Foreign Policy Opportunity

Trump now had room for maneuver on his foreign policy agenda, but it remained to be seen whether he would take advantage of it, political commentator and professor John Walsh said.

“Let us see whether Trump can now return to his original agenda of ‘getting along’ with Russia and China: That is the big question,” Walsh said.

During his 2016 presidential election campaign, Trump challenged the foreign policy consensus of US hegemony, Walsh recalled.

“If you look at his agenda, he wishes to make the United States less the imperial nation and more a normal nation albeit the number one among them. Let us see how this goes,” Walsh said.

Even if Trump was blocked from achieving this goal, he had dramatically changed the issues and terms of debate on US foreign policy in national politics, Walsh pointed out.

“Whether he succeeds or not, Trump indicates a turn away from empire not out of humility, but out of the recognition of reality. Let us hope he can carry this as far as possible whether or not he succeeds completely… The farther he goes, the farther we are from war and even nuclear Holocaust,” Walsh said.

Whether Trump ultimately succeeds or fails, his success so far signals a recognition — whether profound or dim — that the US unipolar moment is over, Walsh emphasized. “Let us praise the passage of that ugly moment,” Walsh said.

The losses suffered by Trump’s Republican Party in the midterm elections were relatively minor and fell within the normal rhythms of US politics, Walsh observed.

“There was entirely too much drama about the midterms. An incumbent in his first term always suffers a loss in the House of Representatives. That is what we saw. And as predicted long ago, the Republicans held the Senate: Surprise,” Walsh said.

Trump was likely to face more plots to undermine him from the US security and political establishments, Walsh cautioned.

“Now let us see what the Deep State will do. They can impeach him in the House but not convict him in the Senate should they choose to go that route,” he said.

Trump Likely to Be Stalled on Domestic Front

On the domestic front, the best Trump could hope for was a deadlocked Congress, California State University Chico Professor Emeritus of Political Science Beau Grosscup said.

“[In] domestic dynamics, Trump will continue to be Trump but his ‘green light’ and enabling House committee system is no longer there,” Grosscup said. “Expect Trump to play the victim (aided by the House Republican Party) when Democrats even mention investigation or impeachment.”

On the legislative front, Republican efforts to cut social security in the name of debt that had been generated due to previous enormous concessions to Wall Street would be stalled, Grosscup predicted.

Trump would also carry reduced political influence or coattails to help candidates supporting him into the 2020 presidential elections, Grosscup said.

See also:

2018 US Midterms: Why Trump Says They Were a ‘Tremendous Success’

November 9, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

US Blocks $199Mln in Assets Belonging to Iran, Syria, N Korea in 2017 – Treasury

Sputnik – 07.11.2018

WASHINGTON – The United States blocked nearly $200 million in assets belonging to Syria, Iran, and North Korea in 2017 as a result of the sanctions imposed on the three countries, the Treasury Department said in its annual report to Congress released on Wednesday.

“Approximately $199 million in assets relating to the three designated state sponsors of terrorism in 2017 have been identified by OFAC as blocked pursuant to economic sanctions imposed by the United States,” the report said.

The statement comes days after the US fully reinstated sanctions against Iran, including measures that curb Tehran’s oil industry. At the same time, the United States temporarily exempted eight nations — China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey — from the sanctions on importing oil from Iran.

In May, US President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and reimpose sanctions against Tehran that were previously lifted under the accord, including secondary restrictions.

The first round of the US sanctions was reimposed in August, while the second round, targeting over 700 Iranian individuals, entities, banks, aircraft and vessels, came into force this week.

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Withdrawal from INF Treaty: Implications for Asia Pacific

By Arkady SAVITSKY | Strategic Culture Foundation | 23.10.2018

One of the motives behind the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty is its desire to acquire first-strike capability against Russia from Europe, while keeping intact its strategic nuclear arsenal. Another motivation is the need to keep China, America’s fiercest geopolitical challenger, in its crosshairs by forcing it to alter its foreign, defense, and trade policies in order to tip the balance in Washington’s favor. The capability to knock out key infrastructure sites with precision intermediate-range strikes deep inside China, not just in the coastal provinces, is one way to make Beijing more tractable on key issues and force a rollback of its global influence. In April, Adm. Harry Harris, the commander of US Pacific Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the US should renegotiate the INF Treaty to better compete with China. The admiral knew what he was talking about.

China has developed the DF-26 “aircraft carrier-killer” ballistic missile that has now rendered the old US strategy ineffective. Zachary Keck of the National Interest believes the DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile could stop the US Navy in its tracks without firing a shot. That threat has to be countered and one way to do it is by knocking it out with land-based, highly accurate missiles. Such systems are cheaper than aircraft carriers and can do the job without exposing thousands of servicemen to the missile threat if used for a first strike. China has been testing a new nuclear-capable, air-launched ballistic missile constructed on the basis of the DF-21 that will help that country improve its warfighting capabilities. Beijing also boasts land-based mobile missile systems (LBMMS) with DF-10 cruise missiles that have a maximum range of 1,500 to 2,000 km. China has to defend itself, and fielding these systems is the only way that it can counteract America’s huge sea, space, and air advantages.

Actually, the process of encircling China with intermediate missiles is going to kick off with the deployment of the Aegis Ashore ballistic missile-defense (BMD) systems Japan has decided to buy. The batteries will be installed in the prefectures of Akita and Yamaguchi. Using the MK-41 launcher, the Aegis Ashore can fire intermediate-range Tomahawk missiles. The deal is a blatant violation of the INF Treaty that Washington accuses Moscow of not complying with.

After a long period of indecision, the US approved the sale of military equipment to Taiwan in September, drawing China’s ire. Last summer, the State Department requested that US Marines be sent to Taiwan under the pretext of safeguarding America’s de facto embassy there. National Security Adviser John Bolton is known for his support of the idea of stationing US troops on Taiwanese soil. Bolton wants to see the China policy revisited. He argues that Taiwan is closer to the Chinese mainland and the disputed islands in the South China Sea than either Okinawa or Guam — giving US forces greater flexibility for rapid deployment throughout the region should the need arise. If the ongoing escalation continues, the US could wind up deploying intermediate-range missiles on that friendly island.

Other targets include North Korea and the Russian Far East, especially the Vilyuchinsk naval base on the Kamchatka Peninsula that is home to a fleet of ballistic missile submarines.

Locating and destroying mobile land-based missiles, either from the air or from the ground, is an extremely challenging mission. Fast-flying ballistic delivery technology and stealthy cruise missiles are effective against a wide variety of targets, even if sophisticated air defenses are in place to protect them. The states in the region that are unfriendly to the United States would see their biggest military advantage erode away.

Intermediate-range weapons can accomplish the same missions as strategic weapons. With the high-precision technology the US possesses today, even conventional missiles could inflict damage comparable to that of nuclear strikes. Its ground-based assets boast large magazines and can have numerous reloads at the ready. In theory, the US could impose an arms-control agreement with China on its own terms, using theater weapons as its negotiating leverage. All the countries unfriendly to the US, such as China and North Korea, as well as Russia’s Far East area, will be within the range of fast-hitting, hard to counter, intermediate-range missile systems.

Moreover, with the arms race escalating in the Asia Pacific region, the US could involve itself in some lucrative deals selling conventional intermediate-range missile systems to the countries in that area, such as Japan. A conventional version of some of these weapons will be in high demand, bringing in substantial profits and spurring US economic growth.

So, the US is encouraging an arms race in the Asia Pacific region. It has adopted a policy of encirclement with its potential enemies in the crosshairs of its intermediate-range weapons. It will have the option of destroying key sites with conventional warheads. This policy will inevitably force Russia and China closer together. The militarization of the region will further accelerate. Those targeted by the US will be incentivized to develop weapons systems that can reach the continental US. No one will win and everyone will lose. There is still time to reverse the US decision to leave the INF Treaty.

October 23, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

China says Washington canceled military talks, not Beijing

Press TV – October 4, 2018

China has rejected an allegation by the United States that Beijing has canceled security talks with Washington planned for this month, saying that US officials have “distorted the facts.”

An unnamed US official had told Reuters on Sunday that China had canceled the security meeting between American Secretary of Defense James Mattis and his Chinese counterpart, alleging that China had been unable to make its defense secretary available for the scheduled talks.

On Wednesday, Beijing effectively said that that assertion was a lie.

“Such an argument completely distorts the fact with ulterior motives and is extremely irresponsible,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying in a statement. “The Chinese side expresses strong dissatisfaction.”

Hua said Washington had recently told Beijing that it hoped to postpone the talks.

“The facts are that the United States a few days ago told China it hoped to postpone the second round of the China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue,” she said, adding, “We request [that] related parties stop this sort of behavior of making something out of nothing and spreading rumors.”

Earlier, on Tuesday, Hua said China and the US had previously agreed in principle to hold the dialogue in mid-October.

The security meeting’s first round was held in Washington last year, and its second round was scheduled to take place in Beijing.

Military tensions have surged between China and the US in recent weeks.

Washington often angers Beijing by sending warplanes and warships to territory claimed by China but disputed by other regional countries. The US says that with those deployments, it is practicing what it calls its right to freedom of navigation.

On Tuesday, China condemned that practice.

Additionally, the US has used its domestic laws to impose sanctions on China over Beijing’s decision to purchase military equipment from Russia, including advanced S-400 missile defense systems.

By applying its domestic laws to influence relations between China and Russia, the US is effectively in breach of their sovereignty.

The US has also initiated a trade war with China and has accused it of seeking to influence the US congressional mid-term elections, something that Beijing has strongly denied.

October 4, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , | 2 Comments

Declassified docs reveal how Pentagon aimed to nuke USSR and China into oblivion

RT | September 2, 2018

Plans for a nuclear war devised by the US Army in the 1960s considered decimating the Soviet Union and China by destroying their industrial potential and wiping out the bulk of their populations, newly declassified documents show.

A review of the US general nuclear war plan by the Joint Staff in 1964, which was recently published by George Washington University’s National Security Archive project, shows how the Pentagon studied options “to destroy the USSR and China as viable societies.”

The review, conducted two years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, devises the destruction of the Soviet Union “as a viable society” by annihilating 70 percent of its industrial floor space during pre-emptive and retaliatory nuclear strikes.

A similar goal is tweaked for China, given its more agrarian-based economy at the time. According to the plan, the US would wipe out 30 major Chinese cities, killing off 30 percent of the nation’s urban population and halving its industrial capabilities. The successful execution of the large-scale nuclear assault would ensure that China “would no longer be a viable nation,” the review reads.

The Joint Staff had proposed to use the “population loss as the primary yardstick for effectiveness in destroying the enemy society with only collateral attention to industrial damage.” This “alarming” idea meant that, as long as urban workers and managers were killed, the actual damage to industrial targets “might not be as important,” the George Washington University researchers said.

The 1964 plan doesn’t specify the anticipated enemy casualty levels, but – as the researchers note – an earlier estimate from 1961 projected that a US attack would kill 71 percent of the residents in major Soviet urban centers and 53 percent of residents in Chinese ones. Likewise, the 1962 estimate predicted the death of 70 million Soviet citizens during a “no-warning US strike” on military and urban-industrial targets.

The Pentagon continues to rely heavily on nuclear deterrence, and – just like in the 1960s – the US nuclear strategy still regards Russian and Chinese military capabilities as main “challenges” faced by Washington. The latest Nuclear Posture Review, adopted in February, outlined “an unprecedented range and mix of threats” emanating from Beijing and Moscow. The document, which mentions Russia 127 times, cites the modernization of the Russian nuclear arsenal as “troubling” for the US.

The existing nuclear strategy also allows the US to conduct nuclear strikes not only in response to enemies’ nuclear attacks, but also in response to “significant non-nuclear strategic attacks” on the US, its allies and partners.

The newest US Nuclear Posture Review was heavily criticized by Russia and China. Moscow denounced the strategy as “confrontational,” while Beijing described the Pentagon’s approach as an example of “Cold-War mentality.”

September 2, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Russia, China nearing alliance conditions

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | August 10, 2018

The Chinese Communist Party Politburo member Yang Jiechi is visiting Moscow on August 14-17 at the invitation of the secretary of the Russian national security council, Nikolai Patrushev to participate in the 14th round of Russian-Chinese consultations on strategic stability. The forthcoming event in Moscow will be closely watched since the two countries are fast nearing a situation of confronting a common ‘enemy’. This is a new experience for both since the halcyon days of the Sino-Soviet alliance in the 1950s.

The mainstream opinion has been that the Sino-Russian comprehensive partnership and cooperation is more the stuff of geopolitical signaling than a strategic alliance. The Western opinion has also been notably skeptical whether such partnership between Russia and China will be sustainable over time due to the growing asymmetry in the two countries’ comprehensive national power. Both premises may be getting outdated by the sheer force of developments.

Curiously, another body of opinion is steadily forming lately whether Russia and China could be actually on the verge of reaching alliance conditions in the rapidly changing global situation characterized by growing tensions in their respective relations with the United States. An essay in the Financial Times this week titled ‘China and Russia’s dangerous liaison’ authored by the daily’s Asia editor (who used to be the Beijing bureau chief previously), Jamil Anderlini, forcefully makes this point.

The writer argues that it is an intelligence blunder of historic proportions that the West is making by “dismissing the anti-western, anti-US alliance that is now forming between Moscow and Beijing.” Anderlini writes:

  • This idea that Russia and China can never really be friends is just as wrong and dangerous as the cold war dogma that portrayed global communism as an unshakeable monolith… Their tightening embrace is as much about antipathy towards the US and the US-dominated global order as their rapidly growing common interests… Thanks to its continued rise and obvious ambition to supplant the US, China is a far bigger long-term challenge for America than Russia. No less a figure than Henry Kissinger – the architect of that reconciliation with China in 1972 – has reportedly counselled Donald Trump to pursue a “reverse Nixon-China strategy” by seeking to befriend Moscow and isolate Beijing.

However, the chances of a “reverse Nixon-China strategy” by the US are virtually zero. Even if President Trump is inclined in that direction, the ‘Deep State’ simply won’t allow him a free hand. It is after much effort that NATO has cast Russia in an ‘enemy’ image and anchored a whole new purposive agenda on that platform. Unshackling it can lead to the unraveling of the western alliance system itself. The New York Times today reported that the Washington establishment connived with the US’ NATO allies to present a fait accompli at the recent summit meeting of the alliance in Brussels.

In fact, the Trump administration has just announced plans to create a new Space Force as the sixth branch of its military to prepare for “the next battlefield” to counter Russia and China, which are “aggressively” working to develop anti-satellite capabilities. Announcing this at the Pentagon on August 9, US Vice-President Mike Pence said,

  • China and Russia have been conducting highly sophisticated on-orbit activities that could enable them to maneuver their satellites into close proximity of ours, posing unprecedented new dangers to our space systems… We must have American dominance in space, and so we will.

President Trump promptly tweeted, “Space Force all the way!” And this comes soon after the announcement by Washington that it would impose extensive new sanctions against Moscow by August 22, including bans on a wide range of exports, by the end of the month as punishment for the alleged nerve agent attack on former Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Britain in March. The State Department has further threatened another wave of sanctions in 3 months’ time, including a lowering of the diplomatic relations with Russia. Without doubt, within a month of the Helsinki summit, US-Russia relations are in free fall once again.

Moscow has strongly reacted. PM Dmitry Medvedev warned on Friday that tightening up of economic sanctions against Russia may be treated as a declaration of economic war, to which Russia will respond with all economic, political and other means possible.

Similarly, China and the US are embroiled in an escalating trade war. On Wednesday, Beijing unveiled a list of US$16 billion worth of American goods it plans to hit with tariffs. This is response to Washington’s announcement the previous day that it would impose 25 per cent tariffs on an equivalent value of Chinese exports. An editorial in the government-owned China Daily on Thursday flagged that “the possibility that the two countries are heading for a prolonged trade conflict has to be faced.”

Clearly, a closer coordination between Russia and China in a concerted strategy to push back at the US will be a key topic at the consultations in Moscow next week. The point is, the quasi-alliance between Russia and China cannot be belittled as ‘geopolitical signaling’ anymore. Just short of a formal military alliance, the two countries are intensifying their cooperation and coordination. In an unusual gesture, Moscow announced well in advance that President Vladimir Putin will be receiving Yang, signaling the high importance that the Kremlin attaches to the strategic consultations with China.

The bottom line is, despite the attempts by American analysts to create dissension in the Sino-Russian relations – by propagating that China poses demographic threat to the Russian Far East; that China is conspiring to militarily seize the Siberian Lebensraum; that China is overshadowing Russia in the Central Asian region, etc. –the attraction of China is only increasing in Moscow’s strategic calculus, thanks to China’s formidable economic firepower (with its nominal GDP set to overtake the Eurozone’s by the end of this year) and China’s rapidly developing technological sophistication.

Of course, Moscow realizes that no significant improvement in the Russian-American relations can be expected either so long as Trump remains in power. To be sure, new directions of Russia-China cooperation will be identified at the talks in Moscow. Read a commentary, here, by a leading Chinese pundit who envisions the Northern Sea Route (which is a key template of Moscow’s Arctic strategies) as an “important component” of China’s Belt and Road initiative, and could be considered as “part of an ambitious strategy to change China’s land and sea connections to Europe and the world.”

August 11, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , , | 2 Comments