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Break in Relations With the EU? – ‘If This Is the Way They Want It, So Be It’

By Alastair Crooke – Strategic Culture Foundation – October 26, 2020

Wolfgang Munchau of Euro Intelligence has been suggesting recently that the EU is making mistakes born from listening only to its own (like-minded) echo chamber. Munchau was referring to how – when Boris Johnson had sought for a deal “to be in sight” by this month’s EU summit, he was met with disdain. The Council said not only was there ‘no deal in sight’, but that there would be no acceleration of negotiations, and furthermore stuck rigidly to its three red-line, ‘non-negotiables’.

Macron haughtily afterwards stated that the UK had to “submit” to the bloc’s “conditions” – “We didn’t choose Brexit”.

To which Boris tartly retorted: ‘There’s no point then in talking’.

Munchau wryly noted that the biggest risk to any deal “is when you keep telling yourself that the other side needs ‘it’ more than you do”. Charles Michel, the President of the European Council, then made clear what the Council imagines ‘it’ to be: It is the EU’s majestic “huge and diversified markets”.

“The EU has a month to disabuse Emmanuel Macron of this intellectually lazy assertion. The EU should not base its negotiating strategy on [the]notion that Johnson will fold: Maybe he will, maybe not”, Munchau observed.

Well, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov clearly shares Munchau’s general analysis. Speaking at Valdai last week, Lavrov said, “When the European Union is speaking as a superior, Russia wants to know, can we do business with Europe?”

“… Those people in the West who are responsible for foreign policy and do not understand the necessity of mutually respectable conversation – well, we must simply stop for a while to communicate with them. Especially since Ursula von der Leyen states that geopolitical partnership with current Russia’s leadership is impossible. If this is the way they want it, so be it”, [he concluded].

Notably however, it was not Boris Yeltsin who made the greatest efforts to achieve Russia’s integration into the European space, but President Putin, during his first term in the early 2000s, until at least 2006. What Lavrov indirectly was acknowledging is how bad things have become. In effect, he simply stated what everyone already knew; namely, that the old framework for Russian-EU relations no longer exists. What’s there to talk about?

This is no small matter. If Merkel and the EU have shifted to integrating the Union, as a higher priority than attending to its relations with Russia, then all the old anti-Russian prejudices of East Europe – principally those of Poland – must be assuaged. This is what is happening, and it means the solidifying of Europe as ‘up and against’ Russia, China and their strategic partners. And with Germany again aspiring to its earlier prominence in and over Europe, tensions with Russia ( and therefore with China), will grow. Europe will be self-defining as the middle between two antagonistic poles to the East and West – a ‘friend’ of neither.

And – coincidentally, or not – on 14 October (a day later), President Xi symbolically visited, a micro-chip factory, and said that China will win the tech war, and will lead the world in multilateralism. Secondly, on the same day, President Xi visited a Marine Base, calling on the Chinese military to “put all (their) minds and energy on preparing for war”. China does not want war, he emphasised, but has accepted that it may happen. And finally, at Shenzhen economic zone’s 40th anniversary, Xi indicated that global changes are afoot: The status quo cannot continue, and “sometimes one needs to speak forcefully for the West to listen”.

In his own more muted way, President Xi was simply echoing Lavrov – underlining that the earlier framework for China-western relations also no long exists. This was implicit too when he said that he wanted China’s new stance to be endorsed by the CCP Plenum at the end of October, so that no-one could impute to China some policy ‘play’ towards the incoming U.S. President.

It seems there is a very clear message here for the EU. But are they listening? Whilst Europe does have ‘cards’ to play, it is hubris to assume that all will ‘submit’ to European ‘conditions’ and values, just to avoid losing access to its markets. Yes, indeed there is a large European ‘market’, but it has some very obvious lacunae too – No cloud platforms; little investment in telecoms and 5G (particularly in Germany); no security of energy supply at an affordable cost; and has no social media platforms to rival either those of the U.S. or China. China has the money and the know-how which the U.S. cannot replace.

Europe does have pockets of expertise (such as in AI and aerospace), but no Big Tech. And in terms of spending on Tech R & D, the EU is a minnow. Europe badly needs Chinese (and Russian) collaboration in Tech to participate in the ‘New Economy’, yet the U.S. wants the EU to sever completely from Chinese and Russian technology.

This is the point: The U.S. currently is concerting a full-spectrum strategy to isolate and weaken China and Russia. This is nothing new. It is a reprise both of the long-running ‘Anglo’ vendetta against Russia, and an attempt to try to extend Pompeo’s anti-China ‘Clean Network’ and ‘Clean Path’ policies to Europe. The term ‘clean’, of course, means ‘lock out’ of all Chinese tech – complete exclusion. The U.S. is making a big ‘ask’ of Europe – living as it does under the shadow of recession. Nonetheless, it is likely that Europe will (mostly) comply.

But viewed from 180° – from the Russian and Chinese perspective – their limited and tense relationship with the U.S. is unlikely to improve, whomsoever wins next month in Washington. The U.S. animus against Russia will continue irrespective. And as for Beijing, were Biden to win (an old foe of Huawei), China expects little change, beyond revised tactics. Biden is thought by Beijing likely to use multilateralism more in order to rally U.S. allies to form a United Front against China, than as a genuine commitment to taking Europe’s views into consideration. Obama’s Victoria Newland neatly expressed her then-Administration’s view (in respect to Ukraine): “F**K the EU!”.

Is it realistic that Germany and Europe will resist U.S. pressures? Merkel still wants NordStream 2, sure. And Germany notably has failed to invest in telecoms – and needs Huawei. Other key Tech (and the finance to support it) is available only from China. There are no substitutes. Yet, the Euro-élites’ hatred and loathing for Trump, and their conviction of a forthcoming Biden victory, will likely spur them to try and recreate the multilateral order with Washington at its head, were the Democrats to win. This means pressures on Europe to adopt an anti-Russian and anti-China stance may grow and become irresistible. The paradox is that the U.S. nonetheless will probably still view Europe as an ‘access-limited’, regulated market and trade threat.

Is it surprising then that these states – Russia and China – have come to their ‘we have had enough’ moment? They have had it with Europeans’ moralising about their values, and believing that everyone will ‘fold’ in the face of the threat of exclusion from Europe’s market.

China is now the world’s biggest economy (in PPP terms). Russia and Central Asia are already compatible with Chinese technology. China has already established this as ‘facts on the ground’. Politics will follow in its wake. China and Russia are indeed likely to win the Tech war (sooner, rather than later). Can any trade block really afford the moral ‘superiority’ dividend of standing aloof and ‘above’ this other “huge and diversified” market?

Tom Stevenson, an investment director at Fidelity International, writing in The Telegraph, points out that the pandemic’s adverse effects have been significantly greater in Europe and the Americas, both north and south, than in China:

“Despite accounting for nearly 60pc of the global population, Asia has had less than 15pc of Covid-related deaths this year. Europe, with less than 10pc of the world’s people, accounts for nearly a third of all deaths. Same story in north America. Third quarter GDP figures from China will show how this materially better pandemic performance is showing up in economic data. First in, first out and a much steeper recovery path, too. Credit Suisse thinks that by the end of next year, China’s economic output will be 11pc above its pre-virus level, while the U.S., Europe and Japan will still be catching up.

“Coronavirus has caused some fundamental changes in the way that businesses and whole industries now operate. In particular, global supply chains are being replaced by a more regional approach, which has reduced Asia’s dependence on the health of Europe and the U.S. Today around 60pc of all trade in Asia happens within the region. The big growth in our dependence on technology and the increasing digitisation of the economy also plays to China’s strengths”

It is insanity. On the one hand, the EU doggedly is following the U.S. in applying sanctions on Russia (even when France and Germany know the U.S. allegations on which these are based –the alleged Navalny poisoning– are false); it is complicit in trying to unbalance the situation near Russia’s borders; and then further demands to impose Europe’s values on others’ trade with Europe.

And at the same time, they expect China and Russia to continue as if nothing is awry, and to save them from bankruptcy. Who needs whom the most? Is anyone listening?

October 26, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , , , | 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

Moldova could be the next target of Western-backed color revolution to pressurize Russia

By Paul Antonopoulos | October 22, 2020

Washington could be organizing a color revolution and mass protests in Moldova like the ones that have already gripped Belarus and Kyrgyzstan. The Moldovan elections are scheduled for November 1 and have eight presidential candidates participating. The main rivals however are current President Igor Dodon, considered “pro-Russian,” and former Prime Minister Maia Sandu, considered “pro-European.”

There is a combination of internal and external factors at play in Moldova, something that has come to typically define the post-Soviet space. There is constant internal instability when considering the breakaway region of Transnistria, weak statehood, many conflicting ideological interest groups, and active attempts to get Moldova into the NATO and EU sphere of influence. This is what makes Moldova at high risk of experiencing a color revolution after the upcoming presidential elections if Dodon is re-elected.

According to polls and local experts, the first round of the presidential election may not determine the winner. Dodon, who aims to bring Moldova closer to Russia via the Eurasian Economic Union, and Sandu, who is considered the country’s main pro-Western politician, will likely compete against each other in the second round of voting. Polls show that Dodon has greater support from citizens, but not enough to win in the first round.

The director of the Russian Intelligence Service, Sergei Naryshkin, warned that the U.S. was preparing a color revolution in Moldova and highlighted that Washington would continue to interfere in the internal affairs of states friendly to Moscow, especially those along Russia’s borders. According to him, a color revolution could occur after the Moldovan presidential elections. The reason is Washington’s dissatisfaction with Dodon as he supports constructive relations with members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, particularly Russia.

The U.S. State Department ordered its embassy in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau to encourage the opposition to organize mass protests to demand an annulment if Dodon is re-elected. According to Russian secret services, U.S. diplomats are also trying to persuade Moldovan security forces not to interfere in possible street protests and to immediately “side with the people.”

Many Moldovan experts also warn of a possible coup attempt. Sandu, who sees the country as part of the EU family and supports the idea of ​​uniting Moldova with Romania, has already accused local authorities of preparing to falsify the election results and called on her supporters to prepare for protests. However, if Dodon is re-elected, it is likely his supporters will not allow the opposition to question the election results. As recently as last week, Dodon talked about preparing for a potential color revolution attempt.

The destabilization of the post-Soviet space has all the signs of a planned and coordinated campaign to pressurize Russia by creating hotspots on or near its borders. The U.S. is the only country in the world that has enough resources and motivation to organize persistent and constant campaigns and has been actively indifferent or encouraging destabilization in countries on or near Russia’s frontiers, whether it be Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia-Azerbaijan or elsewhere.

This has been a consistent policy since the collapse of the Soviet Union when we consider how the 1990’s was dominated by manufactured coups, rebellions and revolutions in many former Soviet Republics, including Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Armenia and other neighbors or near neighbors of Russia.

Now that the U.S. is on the verge of a presidential election, the State Department and U.S. special services are attempting to weaken Russia and other geopolitical opponents. In other words, destabilization along Russia’s borders is part of a campaign to curb and undermine the country’s economic, political and technological capabilities. Because of Russia’s independent foreign and economic policies, size and resources, the Eurasian country poses a threat to U.S. global domination. It is for this reason that tensions, wars, riots and revolutions are constantly erupting near Russia’s borders, but at the same time Washington persistently points out that its national interest is to ensure peace, democracy and stability in countries that border Russia.

Although Moldova does not directly border Russia, it is a former Soviet Republic that still maintains cordial relations with Moscow. Moldova is a gateway that connects Eastern Europe to the Balkans. A potential Dodon re-election will once again prohibit any EU and NATO advancement towards the border of Russia.

This makes a color revolution against his re-election all the more necessary so that Moldova can potentially be the next country that borders Ukraine to become an EU and/or NATO member state. With another neighbor of Ukraine becoming an EU and/or NATO member, the eventual path of Kiev’s accession into those two organizations will become easier to navigate. This means the largest European country to border Russia, Ukraine, will be even more integrated into a system to pressurize Moscow.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

October 22, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 2 Comments

European hypocrisy: empty words for Palestine, deadly weapons for Israel

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | October 20, 2020

In theory, Europe and the United States stand on completely opposite sides when it comes to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. While the US government has fully embraced the tragic status quo created by 53 years of Israeli military occupation, the EU continues to advocate a negotiated settlement that is predicated on respect for international law.

In practice, however, despite the seeming rift between Washington and Brussels, the outcome is, essentially, the same. The US and Europe are Israel’s largest trade partners, weapon suppliers and political advocates.

One of the reasons that the illusion of an even-handed Europe has been maintained for so long lies partly in the Palestinian leadership itself. Politically and financially abandoned by Washington, the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas has turned to the European Union as its only possible saviour.

“Europe believes in the two-state solution,” PA Prime Minister, Mohammad Ishtayeh, said during a video discussion with the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs on October 12. Unlike the US, Europe’s continued advocacy of the defunct two-state solution qualifies it to fill the massive gap created by Washington’s absence.

Ishtayeh called on EU leaders to “recognize the State of Palestine in order for us, and you, to break the status quo.”

However, there are already 139 countries that recognise the State of Palestine. While that recognition is a clear indication that the world remains firmly pro-Palestinian, recognizing Palestine as a State changes little on the ground. What is needed are concerted efforts to hold Israel accountable for its violent occupation as well as real action to support the struggle of Palestinians.

Not only has the EU failed at this, it is, in fact, doing the exact opposite: funding Israel, arming its military and silencing its critics.

Listening to Ishtayeh’s words, one gets the impression that the top Palestinian official is addressing a conference of Arab, Muslim or socialist countries. “I call upon your Parliament and your distinguished Members of this Parliament, that Europe not wait for the American President to come up with ideas … We need a third party who can really remedy the imbalance in the relationship between an occupied people and an occupier country, that is Israel,” he said.

But is the EU qualified to be that ‘third party’? No. For decades, European governments have been an integral part of the US-Israel party. Just because the Donald Trump administration has, recently, taken a sharp turn in favour of Israel should not automatically transform Europe’s historical pro-Israel bias to be mistaken for pro-Palestinian solidarity.

Last June, more than 1,000 European parliamentarians representing various political parties issued a statement expressing “serious concerns” about Trump’s so-called Deal of the Century and opposing Israeli annexation of nearly a third of the West Bank. However, the pro-Israel US Democratic Party, including some traditionally staunch supporters of Israel, were equally critical of Israel’s plan because, in their minds, annexation means that a two-state solution would be made impossible.

While US Democrats made it clear that a Joe Biden administration would not reverse any of Trump’s actions should Biden be elected, European governments have also made it clear that they will not take a single action to dissuade – let alone punish – Israel for its repeated violations of international law.

Lip service is all that Palestinians have obtained from Europe, as well as much money, which was largely pocketed by loyalists of Abbas in the name of ‘State-building’ and other fantasies. Tellingly, much of the imaginary Palestinian State infrastructure that was subsidised by Europe in recent years has been blown up, demolished or construction ceased by the Israeli military during its various wars and raids. Yet, neither did the EU punish Israel, nor did the PA cease from asking for more money to continue funding a non-existent State.

Not only did the EU fail to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing occupation and human rights violations, it is practically financing Israel, as well. According to Defence News, a quarter of all of Israel’s military export contracts (totalling $7.2 billion in 2019 alone) is allocated to European countries.

Moreover, Europe is Israel’s largest trading partner, absorbing one-third of Israel’s total exports and shipping to Israel nearly 40% of its total import. These numbers also include products made in illegal Jewish settlements.

Additionally, the EU labours to incorporate Israel into the European way of life through cultural and music contests, sports competitions and in myriad other ways. While the EU possesses powerful tools that can be used to exact political concessions and enforce respect for international law, it opts to simply do very little.

Compare this with the recent ultimatum the EU has given the Palestinian leadership, linking EU aid to the PA’s financial ties with Israel. Last May, Abbas took the extraordinary step of considering all agreements with Israel and the US to be null and void. Effectively, this means that the PA would no longer be accountable for the stifling status quo that was created by the Oslo Accords, which was repeatedly violated by Tel Aviv and Washington. Severing ties with Israel also meant that the PA would refuse to accept nearly $150 million in tax revenues that Israel collects on behalf of the PA. This Palestinian step, while long overdue, was necessary.

Instead of supporting Abbas’ move, the EU criticized it, refusing to provide additional aid for Palestinians until Abbas restores ties with Israel and accepts the tax money. According to Axios news portal, Germany, France, the UK and even Norway are leading the charge.

Germany, in particular, has been relentless in its support for Israel. For months, it has advocated on behalf of Israel to spare Tel Aviv a war crimes investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC). It has placed activists, who advocate the boycott of Israel, on trial. Recently, it has confirmed the shipment of missile boats and other military hardware to ensure the superiority of the Israeli navy in a potential war against Arab enemies. Germany is not alone. Israel and most European countries are closing ranks in terms of their unprecedented military cooperation and trade ties, including natural gas deals.

Continuing to make references to the unachievable two-state solution, while arming, funding and doing more business with Israel is the very definition of hypocrisy. The truth is that Europe should be held as accountable as the US in emboldening and sustaining the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Yet, while Washington is openly pro-Israel, the EU has played a more clever game: selling Palestinians empty words while selling Israel lethal weapons.

Read also:

Zionist War on Palestinian Festival in Rome is Ominous Sign of Things to Come 

October 20, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Popular protectionist policies in France could eventually lead to “Frexit”

By Paul Antonopoulos | October 15, 2020

The majority of French people say they are in favor of protectionism, according to the latest OpinionWay poll by Le Printemps de l’Économie and Inseec U. In fact, the figure has risen sharply since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the European Union’s weak response to external threats like Turkey. This is a fundamental trend that could lead to a referendum on France’s exit from the European Union.

According to OpinionWay polls, the share of French people in favor of protectionism has gone from 51% in March to 60% in September. The survey confirms the desire for protectionism in France, which has only been reinforced since the pandemic began. The survey shows that 60% of the French people questioned consider globalization as “a threat to France” and 65% believe that “France must protect itself more from the world today,” a level never observed since polling began

In the event of a major crisis, a country will first and foremost try to protect and supply its own population, even if it comes to the detriment of others. This was seen all across the European Union in the first months of the pandemic when most member states abandoned inter-European solidarity to the detriment of other member states. For example, in March, Germany banned the export of protective medical equipment at a time when France did not have enough.

As popularity for protectionism is increasing in France, according to the OpinionWay survey, support for free trade went down from 46% to 35%. Supporters of free trade try to pass off protectionism as authoritarianism and isolationism. However, during the Trente Glorieuses (The Glorious Thirty), which between 1945-1975 saw unprecedented economic growth and development in France, trade was carried out in a fair framework which limited distorted competition, unlike what happens with free trade.

The polls also show that the tide is turning for 18-24-year old’s, “traditionally known to be in favor of opening up to the world,” as Pierre-Pascal Boulanger, president and founder of Printemps, highlighted in the La Tribune article. “The gaps are narrowing sharply since now 44% of very young people are in favor of protectionism against 37% in March.”

Therefore, for all the rhetoric of European sovereignty by French President Emmanuel Macron, it means absolutely nothing as sovereignty can only be national. This year alone we saw Italy abandoned by its partners at the peak of the pandemic, while European Union member states still refuse to pass sanctions against Turkey despite its violations of Greek and Cypriot sovereignty, and constant threats of war.

Any European protectionist inclination is directly undermined by national interests. France is now beginning to prioritize its national interests over that of the European Union, especially with the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, suggesting an implementation of a European carbon tax at its borders, something that Paris considers essential but which does not please Berlin.

The same thing could be seen concerning the taxation of GAFAM [Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft]. The subject has been on the table for years but Germany is blocking taxes against GAFAM because the U.S. is its major trading partner and Berlin is afraid that Washington will retaliate by taxing imported vehicles which would hurt the German economy.

An Elabe poll released on February 12 showed that 80% of the French people questioned were opposed to a new duel between Macron and opposition leader Marine Le Pen in the 2022 elections. However, recent opinion polls show that the two candidates are indeed neck-to-neck and marginally ahead of other opponents. However, the European question encompasses all political and economic dimensions and must be put at the center of discussions. The European question goes beyond the left-right divide and a referendum on France’s exit from the European Union may be at the heart of the political debate. It will blur the ideological divides as people from different political positions would campaign for a “yes” or “no” vote, as we saw with Brexit.

Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party and considered the great architect of the UK’s exit from the European Union, has never won the general elections. But he put such pressure to obtain a referendum and succeeded in creating a real debate on the question of sovereignty and protectionism.

The Brexit referendum has shown that it is possible. If a similar debate can get into the French spotlight, strong Frexit sentiment can build off the back of increasing popularity in protectionist policies. The French in 2005 voted against the treaty to establish a European constitution despite all predictions it would be unanimously passed. Although detached from the European Union, the French also withdrew from NATO for several decades, demonstrating there is a high sense of independence and sovereignty in France.

With Brussels unwilling to take a strong position against external threats like Turkey and/or showing a lack of solidarity when the pandemic was spreading across the continent, France’s possible exit from the European Union can build momentum and popularity.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst. 

October 15, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , | Leave a comment

The Yugoslav Wars: Biden’s Belligerent Militarism Revisited

By Nauman Sadiq | Global Research | October 11, 2020

Ironically, while three US presidents have been accused of impeaching the Constitution for relatively minor offenses, including Bill Clinton for perjury and Donald Trump for using political influence to discredit opponents, no US president has ever been charged, let alone convicted, of waging devastating wars of aggression.

Unless impeachment proceedings are initiated against war criminals, including George Bush and Dick Cheney for invading Afghanistan and Iraq and Barack Obama and Joe Biden for waging proxy wars in Libya and Syria, the impeachment provisions in the US Constitution would serve as nothing more than a convenient tool for settling political scores.

The fact is not only the domestic law enforcement and judicial systems of the Western powers but also international institutions, such as International Criminal Court, have been used as tools of perception management for solely prosecuting alleged “war criminals” of former Yugoslavia and impoverished African nations and real war criminals have never been prosecuted for the crimes of destroying entire nations with their militarism and interventionism.

Before being elected as Obama’s vice president in 2008, as a longtime senator from Delaware and subsequently as the member and then the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joe Biden, alongside inveterate hawk Senator Joe Lieberman, was one of the principal architects of the Bosnia War in the Clinton administration in the nineties.

Reflecting on first black American president Barack Obama’s memorable 2008 presidential campaign, with little-known senator from Delaware, Joe Biden, as his running-mate, Glenn Kessler wrote for the Washington Post [1] in October 2008:

“The moment when Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. looked Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic in the eye and called him a ‘damned war criminal’ has become the stuff of campaign legend.

“The Democratic vice presidential nominee brings up the 1993 confrontation on the campaign trial to whoops of delight from supporters. Senator Barack Obama mentioned it when he announced he had chosen Biden as his running mate.

“During vice presidential debate with his counterpart on the Republican ticket, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Biden twice gave himself credit for shifting US policy on Bosnia. The senator from Delaware declared that he ‘was the catalyst to change the circumstance in Bosnia led by President Clinton.’ At another point he noted: ‘My recommendations on Bosnia — I admit I was the first one to recommend it. They saved tens of thousands of lives.’”

Instead of “saving tens of thousands of lives,” the devastating Yugoslav Wars in the nineties in the aftermath of the break-up of the former Soviet Union and then the former Yugoslavia claimed over 130,000 fatalities, created a humanitarian crisis and unleashed a flood of millions of refugees for which nobody is to blame but the Clinton administration’s militarist policy of subjugating and forcibly integrating East European states into the Western capitalist bloc.

Regarding Washington’s modus operandi of waging proxy wars in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, since the times of the Soviet-Afghan jihad during the eighties, it has been the fail-safe game plan of master strategists at NATO to raise money [2] from the oil-rich emirates of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait; then buy billions of dollars’ worth of weapons from the arms markets [3] in the Eastern Europe; and then provide those weapons and guerilla warfare training to the disaffected population of the victim country by using the intelligence agencies of the latter’s regional adversaries. Whether it’s Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Libya or Syria, the same playbook was executed to the letter.

Raising funds for proxy wars from the Gulf Arab States allows the Western executives the freedom to evade congressional scrutiny; the benefit of buying weapons from unregulated arms markets of the Eastern Europe is that such weapons cannot be traced back to the Western capitals; and using jihadist proxies to achieve strategic objectives has the advantage of taking the plea of “plausible deniability” if the strategy backfires, which it often does. Remember that al-Qaeda and Taliban were the by-products of the Soviet-Afghan jihad, and the Islamic State and its global network of terrorists were the blowback of the proxy war in Syria.

Nevertheless, smugly oblivious to the death and destruction caused by Washington’s global domination agenda, national security shill Glenn Kessler further noted in the aforementioned Washington Post article:

“Biden focused on deficiencies in US policy toward Bosnia, he called for NATO expansion before it became fashionable and most recently prodded the Bush administration to back a $1 billion package to rebuild Georgia after the Russian invasion.

“As the incident with Milosevic shows, Biden is hardly shy about emphasizing his own role in world affairs. Biden’s book portrays him frequently confronting Clinton and bucking him up on Bosnia when the president had doubts about his own policy. But the hard legislative work was left to others. Biden did take an early stab at prodding action, writing an amendment in 1992 — opposed by George H.W. Bush’s administration — that authorized spending $50 million to arm the Bosnian Muslims.

“In April 1993, Biden spent a week traveling in the Balkans, meeting with key officials, including a three-hour session with Milosevic. The trip was detailed in 15 pages of the senator’s autobiography.

“By all accounts, the meeting was tense. Milosevic spent a lot of time poring over maps and expressing concerns with peace proposals crafted by a group of international mediators. Milosevic denied he had much influence over the Bosnian Serbs, but then immediately summoned Radovan Karadzic, their leader, with a curt phone call.

“According to Biden’s book, Milosevic asked the senator what he thought of him. ‘I think you’re a damn war criminal and you should be tried as one,’ Biden said he shot back. Milosevic, he said, did not react.

“Upon his return to the United States, Biden issued a 36-page report on the trip, laying out eight policy proposals, including airstrikes on Serb artillery and lifting the arms embargo on Bosnian Muslims.

“Biden continued to make fiery statements on Bosnia, demanding action. Richard C. Holbrooke recalled that when he was nominated as assistant secretary of state for Europe in late 1994, Biden ‘in no uncertain terms made it clear to me that the policy on Bosnia had to change and he would make sure it did. He believed in action, and history proved him right.’

“’When you look back, Senator Biden got Bosnia right earlier than anyone. He understood that a combination of force and diplomacy would revive American leadership and avoid a disaster in Europe,’ said James P. Rubin, a Biden aide at the time who later became spokesman for Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright.”

It’s pertinent to mention that though touted as a “collective defense pact,” the trans-Atlantic military alliance NATO and its corollary economic alliance European Union were conceived during the Cold War to offset political and economic influence of the former Soviet Union which was geographically adjacent to Europe.

Historically, the NATO military alliance at least ostensibly was conceived as a defensive alliance in 1949 during the Cold War in order to offset conventional warfare superiority of the former Soviet Union. The US forged collective defense pact with the Western European nations after the Soviet Union reached the threshold to build its first atomic bomb in 1949 and achieved nuclear parity with the US.

But the trans-Atlantic military alliance has outlived its purpose following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and is now being used as an aggressive and expansionist military alliance meant to browbeat and coerce the Central and Eastern European states to join NATO and its corollary economic alliance, the European Union, or risk international isolation.

It was not a coincidence that the Soviet Union was dissolved in December 1991 and the Maastricht Treaty that consolidated the European Community and laid the groundwork for the European Union was signed in February 1992.

The basic purpose of the EU has been nothing more than to entice the former communist states of the Eastern and Central Europe into the folds of the Western capitalist bloc by offering financial incentives and inducements, particularly in the form of foreign direct investment and grants and loans to the tune of billions of dollars, and by abolishing internal border checks in the common European market, allowing free movement of workers from Eastern European nations seeking employment in prosperous Western European economies.

Naively giving credit to former Senator and Vice President Joe Biden for his supposed “humanitarian interventionism” and for creating a catastrophe in the Balkans in the nineties, Paul Richter and Noam N. Levey, writing for the LA Times [4] in August 2008, observed:

“Biden has frequently favored humanitarian interventions abroad and was an early and influential advocate for the US military action in the Balkans in the 1990s.

“Biden considers his most important foreign policy accomplishment to be his leadership on the Balkans in the mid-1990s. He pushed a reluctant Clinton administration first to arm Serbian Muslims and then to use U.S. air power to suppress conflict in Serbia and Kosovo.

“In his book, ‘Promises to Keep,’ Biden calls this one of his two ‘proudest moments in public life,’ along with the Violence Against Women Act that he championed.

“In 1998, he worked with McCain on a resolution to push the Clinton administration to use all available force to confront Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, a move designed to force the president to use ground troops if necessary against Serb forces in the former Yugoslavia, which was beset by fighting and ethnic cleansing.

“In addition, Biden, who claims close relationships with many foreign leaders, has demonstrated a readiness to cooperate with Senate Republicans in search of compromise — a trait that meshes with Obama’s pledge to reduce the level of partisan conflict and stalemate in Washington.

“He has called his new adversary, presumed Republican presidential nominee in the 2008 elections, Senator John McCain of Arizona, a ‘personal and close friend.’”

Birds of a feather flock together. Not only did Joe Biden collaborate with Joe Lieberman in the Clinton administration to create a humanitarian crisis in the Balkans in the nineties but he also shared the hawkish ideology of late Senator John McCain.

Though a decorated Vietnam War veteran who died battling cancer in 2018, McCain was a highly polarizing figure as a senator and was regarded by many Leftists as an inveterate neocon hawk, who vociferously exhorted Western military interventions not only in the Balkans in the nineties but also in Libya and Syria in 2011.

McCain was a vocal supporter of the 2011 military intervention in Libya. In April 2011, he visited the anti-Gaddafi forces and National Transitional Council in eastern Libyan city Benghazi, the highest-ranking American to do so, and said that the rebel forces were “my heroes.”

Regarding Syria’s proxy war that began in 2011, McCain repeatedly argued for the US intervening militarily in the conflict on the side of the anti-government forces. He staged a visit to rebel forces inside Syria in May 2013, the first senator to do so, and called for arming the Free Syrian Army with heavy weapons and for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Syria.

Following reports that two of the terrorists he posed for pictures with had been responsible for the kidnapping of eleven Lebanese Shia pilgrims the year before, McCain disputed one of the identifications and said he had not met directly with the other.

In the aftermath of a false-flag chemical weapons attack in Ghouta in 2013, McCain vehemently argued for strong American military action against the government of Bashar al-Assad, and in September 2013, cast a Foreign Relations Committee vote in favor of then-President Obama’s request to Congress that it authorize a military response, though the crisis was amicably resolved after seasoned Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov staged a diplomatic coup by persuading Damascus to ship its alleged chemical weapons stockpiles out of Syria under Russian supervision.

***

Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism. He is a regular contributor to Global Research.

Notes

[1] Biden Played Second Fiddle to Joe Lieberman in Bosnia Legislation:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/06/AR2008100602681.html

[2] U.S. Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/24/world/middleeast/us-relies-heavily-on-saudi-money-to-support-syrian-rebels.html

[3] Billions of dollars weapons flowing from Eastern Europe to Middle East.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/27/weapons-flowing-eastern-europe-middle-east-revealed-arms-trade-syria

[4] On foreign policy, he’s willing to go his own way:

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2008-aug-24-na-foreignpol24-story.html

October 12, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

European oil companies will not tolerate Poland’s attempt to cancel Nord Stream 2

By Paul Antonopoulos | October 12, 2020

By handing out a €6.5 billion fine against Gazprom, Warsaw has obviously and massively miscalculated because it did not only antagonize the Russian energy company as was intended, but also European partners of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which the Polish government obviously had not considered. Even leaders within the European Union were shocked at the huge fine that Poland is attempting to impose against Nord Stream 2.

It may very well be that the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has lost itself when deciding on the price of the fine against Gazprom. But regardless of that, UOKiK has apparently also exceeded its jurisdiction. As the Düsseldorf-based energy supplier Uniper reports, the existing agreements on Nord Stream 2 have nothing to do with a joint venture, which is why the Polish laws on merger controls do not apply to them. The initial plans were to finance the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline through the establishment of a joint venture. For this, however, the companies involved should have received a permit in all the countries in which they operate, as well as from Poland, the only EU state that blocked this decision. The decision for it not to be a joint venture was made without further ado so as not to waste time or money in a dispute with Polish authorities.

The pipeline partners designed an alternative financing model for Nord Stream 2 and instead of joining Nord Stream 2 AG (Company) as a co-partner, the European energy companies are participating in the project as lenders so that Polish antitrust laws do not apply to them. However, Gazprom, the majority shareholder of Nord Stream 2 AG, has given its European partners shares in the company as collateral for the financing provided. If the loans from the Russian side are not paid, the European corporations automatically become the owners of Nord Stream 2 AG. Referring to this fact, the Polish antitrust authorities have declared the European partner companies to be quasi-shareholders in the pipeline project.

With this UOKiK also justifies the exorbitant fine against Gazprom and the fines of around €55 million against Uniper (German), Wintershall (German), Engie (French), OMV (Austrian) and Shell (English-Dutch). Neither Gazprom nor Nord Stream 2 are financially at risk at the moment and the Russian group has already announced that it will take the fine to court.

Poland is of course now aware that their attempts to fine the Nord Stream 2 project will amount to nothing. The aim of the Polish government is not so much to force a large sum of money from Gazprom in the long term, but rather to bury the pipeline project entirely. And this is the part where Warsaw has grossly miscalculated, not only European reactions, but Russian determination.

The goal to cancel Nord Stream 2 also explains why Polish authorities published their decision last week. Relations between the EU and Russia are extra strained because of the Navalny case and the situation in Belarus. France and Germany are working on new sanctions against Russia for the Navalny case and continue to apply pressure against Belarus.

Another question is how effective these measures will be. Sanctions have long degenerated into ambiguity as it is the usual way the West deals with Moscow. Russia has learnt how to adjust their economy accordingly, meaning that sanctions have turned into a farce. The West is regularly expanding its blacklists of sanctioned companies and private individuals, but there has been no significant effect. Political forces with a keen interest in the failure of Nord Stream 2 are plentiful in the West and they are currently advancing the Navalny case in the hope that it will cut the EU from Russia more strongly or permanently. This will not occur as Europe desperately needs Russian energy, which is why Nord Stream 2 is such a critical project for all involved.

Poland plays the main role in trying to cancel Nord Stream 2 and the decision by UOKiK is just another push to finally get Europe to abandon the pipeline project. According to a joint declaration by France and Germany, measures are currently being prepared for those alleged to be responsible in the Navalny case and their participation in the so-called Novichok program.

Despite these measures, Western Europe is bringing its energy project which is important for its own future out of the danger zone, while Poland is attracting even more displeasure from EU giants through its own operation. A penalty against Gazprom may be a Russian problem, but fines against leading corporations from Germany, France, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Austria are guaranteed to leave many of Europe’s biggest capitalist angered. The effort Warsaw is making to thwart Nord Stream 2 is visibly turning opposite to what they expected as there is little doubt the Nord Stream 2 project will come to fruition and completion.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

October 12, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , | 2 Comments

More on the Anti-Semitism Scam: Jewish Students Get Protected Status

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | October 10, 2020

In both the United States and Europe there has been an increase in the passage of laws that are intended to protect Jews. Indeed, one might say that one of the few growth industries in Donald Trump’s United States has been the protection of Jewish citizens and their property from a largely contrived wave of anti-Semitism that is allegedly sweeping the nation. Even while potentially catastrophic developments both in the Middle East and the United States continue to unfold, the threat of anti-Semitism continues to find its way into much of the news cycle in the mainstream media.

A survey conducted last month in all fifty states was released with the headline “First-Ever 50-State Survey On Holocaust Knowledge Of American Millennials And Gen Z Reveals Shocking Results. Disturbing Findings Reveal Significant Number Of Millennials And Gen Z Can’t Name A Single Concentration Camp Or Ghetto, Believe That Two Million Or Fewer Jews Were Killed And A Concerning Percentage Believe That Jews Caused The Holocaust.”

The survey is based on the premise that detailed knowledge of the so-called holocaust should be an essential part of everyone’s education. Currently, 12 states already require holocaust instruction in their public school curricula, though that includes five of the six biggest states, and recently passed federal legislation will eventually fund holocaust education everywhere in the U.S. But, of course, the real back story that one must not mention is that the standard holocaust narrative is at least as much fiction as fact and it is employed regularly to create special benefits and protections for both Jews in general and also for the State of Israel. That is why the usual sources in the media become outraged whenever it seems that the propaganda is not effective.

The ignorance of the holocaust story inevitably received wide play in the mainstream media but there are a number of things that all Americans should know about the anti-Semitism hysteria that drives the process. First of all, the extent to which there is actual anti-Semitism and the background to many of the incidents has been deliberately distorted or even ignored by the press and by the government at all levels. Anti-Semitism is hatred of Jews for either their religion or their ethnicity, but many of the so-called anti-Semitic incidents are actually related to the policies advanced by the state of Israel. Organizations like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which have a vested interest in keeping the number of anti-Semitic incidents high, deliberately conflate the two issues in their reports.

In its 2018 report, ADL reported “1,879 acts,” in the United States during the course of the year. It is not a particularly large number given the size and population of the U.S. and also with respect to what is included. There were certainly some physical attacks, including two shooting incidents at synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway, but most of the incidents were much less kinetic, including shouting and name calling on university campuses between groups supportive of and opposed to Israel’s repression of the Palestinians.

Europe is way ahead of the game when it comes to punishing so-called holocaust denial or anti-Semitism, which now includes any criticism of Jews and/or of Israel. As one critic put it, Europeans generally can exercise something like free speech, but the speech is limited by certain rules that must be observed. Three weeks ago, the French nationalist writer and critic of Jewish power Hervé Ryssen was jailed for the fifth time for the crime of “hate speech.” He faces up to 17 months in prison for having been found guilty of “…insult, provocation, and public defamation due to origin, ethnicity, nationality, race, or religion.” In 2016 he was imprisoned for 5 months, in 2017 for 6 months and in 2018 for one year on similar charges. He also had to pay a 2000 Euros fine to the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism. In January 2020, Ryssen was found guilty of “contesting the existence of crimes against humanity,” i.e. questioning the so-called holocaust which labels him as a négationniste, a “holocaust denier.”

Ryssen has written numerous books on Jewish power in Europe and on Israel. His scholarship has rarely been questioned, but his willingness to speak out sometimes boldly on issues that are forbidden has put him in prison more often than not. Curiously, the French law against vilifying ethnic groups and religions has de facto only rarely been applied to protecting either Christians or Muslims. Satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo continues to “blaspheme” against both religions without any intervention from the authorities, but it is careful not to make fun of Jews.

The United States is clearly moving in the direction of France, at least insofar as the Jewish community and Israel are concerned. But it is also refreshing to note that a revived progressive wing of the Democratic Party is engaging in a bit of pushback. Three weeks ago, 162 Democratic congressmen plus one Republican and one independent actually voted against an amendment intended to “Protect Jewish Students from Antisemitism at School.”

The vote took place on Sept. 16th, and was over a Republican proposed amendment to the  Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act (H.R.2574). The amendment designated anti-Semitism to be a form of discrimination included in the bill and would allow private citizens to file lawsuits claiming damages under the Civil Rights Act’s Title VI, focusing particularly on education programs. In spite of the considerable level of opposition, unfortunately the amendment still passed by a vote of 255 to 164.

According to the Concerned Women for America  (CWA), a group that lobbied for the added language, “The amendment ensures that recipients of federal education funding act against anti-Semitism in our communities. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) on college campuses is one of the ways such discrimination is being displayed.” The bill allows suits directed against any program receiving federal money if it can be claimed that one is the victim of discriminatory practices that negatively affect a protected class more than another class. Previously, the protected classes were identified as “race, color, or national origin,” but Jews and, by extension, Israel are now also protected. The specific additional language that was inserted was: “In carrying out the responsibilities of the recipient under this title, the employee or employees designated under this section shall consider antisemitism to be discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin as prohibited by this title.”

In practice, the new legislation will mean that Jewish students or their families or proxies can use Civil Rights legislation to sue educational institutions if they are made uncomfortable by the presence of critics of Israel. The real targets are groups like BDS, which have obtained some traction on university campuses and have been targeted by both the Israeli government and domestic Israel Lobby organizations. But, of course, the real danger is that once protected status is granted to one chosen group that promotes the interests of a foreign government there is no control over how “hate speech” will be defined and the consequences for American fundamental liberties will be catastrophic, moving far closer to the European model of freedom limited by “rules.”

October 10, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

Battlefield Social Media: The West’s Growing Censorship

By Ulson Gunnar – New Eastern Outlook – 08.10.2020

Censorship in the West flourishes as tech giants turn social media back into traditional programmed media.

The United States, United Kingdom and the European Union are fond of passing judgement on nations around the globe regarding “free speech.”

While it is increasingly clear to a growing number of people that this “concern” is disingenuous and aimed at merely defending agitators funded and directed by Western special interests in these targeted nations, the West still likes to fashion itself as a sort of champion of free speech.

Yet back home the Internet has been taken over by social media and tech giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Their platforms clearly serve as online public squares where everything is discussed and even election campaigns play out. Yet these companies have, over the years, begun to eliminate voices of dissent against a notion known as “consensus.”

If you are speaking out against “consensus” you are in real danger of disappearing from these platforms. Some of these platforms, like Google-owned YouTube, serve as the livelihood to people who have for years built up their audiences, produced hundreds of videos and when their accounts are deleted for speaking out against the “consensus,” they have their livelihoods destroyed.

In the wake of these incremental “purges” is a chilling effect with content creators self-censoring or even withdrawing entirely from Western social media.

It is the sort of very real censorship the West has crusaded against in fiction around the globe for decades.

Consensus or Else 

A more recent example is Google’s decision to ban ad revenue for those going against the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) “consensus.”

CNBC in their story “Google will ban ads from running on stories spreading debunked coronavirus conspiracy theories,” would claim:

Google next month will ban publishers from using its ad platform to show advertisements next to content that promotes conspiracy theories about COVID-19. It will also ban ads that promote those theories. In cases where a particular site publishes a certain threshold of material that violates these policies, it will ban the entire site from using its ad platforms.

Those “conspiracy theories” might include questioning the official death rates of COVID-19. Yet even the British government itself has been recently forced to investigate its statistics regarding death rates, vindicating the very sort of people who would have been either forced into silence or forced to give up ad revenue.

The London Guardian in its article, “Matt Hancock orders urgent review of PHE Covid-19 death figures,” would admit:

The UK health secretary, Matt Hancock, is ordering an urgent review of the daily COVID-19 death statistics produced by Public Health England, after it emerged that they may include recovered former sufferers who could have died of other causes.

False reporting over deaths to hype COVID-19, induce greater public panic and pave the way for billions in government handouts to pharmaceutical giants is at the very core of many of these so-called “conspiracy theories” Google seeks to silence through its campaign of financial coercion.

Imagine if this chilling effect was achieved sooner. Would the British government have even bothered investigating its faulty statistics if there weren’t people suspicious of them?

The chilling effect this has over openly discussing something as serious as COVID-19 considering its socioeconomic impact is truly alarming and much more so because it is happening in the so-called “free world” overseen by its self-appointed arbitrators in the US, UK and EU.

A similar campaign was carried out to purge Google, Twitter and Facebook of anyone allegedly connected with “Russia” who also so happened to be anti-war and anti-NATO for waging those wars.

Entire lists are compiled by Western government-funded organizations which are then submitted to these tech giants for purging. The Western media writes accompanying articles announcing, justifying and spinning the purges… but also sending a warning to those left about what is and isn’t going to be tolerated on these platforms.

Social Media Transforming Back into Programmed Media 

Content creators are faced with two decisions; to either self-censor themselves to protect their work, their audiences and their livelihood, or to accept the possibility they will eventually be “purged” (censored) and need to rebuild their audiences from scratch on platforms with far fewer potential readers, viewers and patrons.

Social media, of course, is no longer social media in this sort of environment, but more akin to the sort of programmed media giant Western special interests built their power on over the course of the 20th and early 21st century.

Private Public Squares? 

Of course the defense is that Google, Facebook and Twitter are “private companies”and can do as they please with their platforms. In reality, these companies work in tandem with Western governments whether it is fomenting political destabilization abroad or creating “concensus” at home.

The notion that censorship is “OK” because the US, UK and EU governments launder it through private companies ignores the close relationship these companies have with the government and how their platforms have been transformed into de facto public squares and critical channels of public communication and participation.

The West’s growing overt censorship leaves it with a choice; to either accept that it is in reality as guilty of censorship and manipulating the public as it has claimed its opponents are, or continue pretending it isn’t but at the continued cost of its legitimacy upon the global stage.

There is a very good reason the West is in decline around the globe and why its attempts to leverage notions like “human rights” and “free speech” against nations like China or Russia are increasingly impotent. That reason can be found, at least in part, among the growing number of purge lists, censorship campaigns and calls for “consensus” across Western social media.

Finally, the increasingly overt nature of censorship and controlled narratives promoted by tech giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter should have them facing restrictions and bans around the globe. Why should any nation host a “public square” where discourse is entirely controlled by interests oceans away? Why shouldn’t a local alternative be created instead where the revenue is kept locally and if narratives are to be controlled, controlled in a way that best suits people locally?

It is ironic that, China for example, is condemned for not allowing Google, Facebook and Twitter to operate freely within their information space because it is a violation of “free speech,” even as Google, Facebook and Twitter cudgel free speech on their own respective platforms.

How much longer will the world tolerate these double standards? How long until individuals, organizations and even entire nations begin creating alternatives to Google, Facebook and Twitter to at the very least balance out the lopsided power and influence they have collectively accrued and abused?

October 8, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Censored Russian Filmmaker Speaks Out Against ‘European Magnitsky Act’ as Yet Another Western Hit-Job Against Moscow

By Robert Bridge | Strategic Culture Foundation | October 5, 2020

Award-winning Russian filmmaker and investigative journalist Andrei Nekrasov has petitioned the EU Commission president to consider evidence that challenges the official EU narrative into the 2009 death of Sergei Magnitsky, the tax advisor who worked for Hermitage Fund chief Bill Browder. What has been the EU response thus far to the request? Nothing but a cacophony of crickets.

Last month, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the EU Commission, in the course of her State of the Union Address, urged parliament to “complete our tool box” by passing a so-called ‘European Magnitsky Act’ to punish Russia over the 2009 death of Sergey Magnitsky. Unfortunately, the only tool that appears in the EU “tool box” at this point is a sledgehammer.

Von der Leyen appears to be doing the cheap bidding of Washington at a time when the Trump administration is furious over the prospects of Germany and Russia completing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which envisages 55 bln cubic meters moving annually from the coast of Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany. Such a project could actually work to dissolve tensions between Brussels and Moscow, and of course Washington would never stand for that. The EU Commission president hinted as much in her speech when she remarked that “no pipeline will change” Brussels’ stance. Incidentally, this makes the alleged poisoning of Russian opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, seem all the more questionable when considered in the full context of events.

In any case, for anyone who has been following the long string of accusations being leveled against Russia over the course of the last several years, an unmistakable pattern has emerged. From the suspicious ‘poisoning’ of the Skripals in the UK, to the downing of Malaysia Flight 17 over Ukraine, Russia is never invited to contribute testimony and evidence that may help to shine a critical light on the proceedings. That seems to be an unforgivable oversight if the pursuit of truth were indeed the goal.

Instead of going out of its way to base its conclusions on all of the available data, the Western capitals are once again picking and choosing its sources. In the Magnitsky case, the bulk of the ‘incriminating evidence’ is being provided by none other than Bill Browder, an individual who has a real conflict of interest in the case, to say the least.

Before continuing, some essential background. As an auditor at the Moscow law firm Firestone Duncan, Sergey Magnitsky worked directly with Hermitage Capital Management, the asset management company headed by Browder. In 2001, Browder was the director of two HSBC subsidiary companies that were eventually accused by the government of underpaying its taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Browder was convicted in Russia in absentia for “aggravated tax evasion” as well as illegally bankrupting a company involved in tax fraud. As for Magnitsky, he met a more tragic fate, dying in 2009 in a Moscow prison awaiting trial for tax fraud, a tragedy that has provided the basis for the so-called Magnitsky Act. In Western capitals, the name Magnitsky has become synonymous with the “murderous brutality” that the Western media endlessly ascribes to the Russian state. For many Russians, however, the case provides yet another stark example of the West acting unilaterally as judge, jury and executioner without considering all of the available evidence and facts at its disposal.

Former Kremlin critic questions Browder story

Andrei Nekrasov, an award-winning Russian filmmaker and investigative journalist, has spent a considerable amount of time and energy getting to the bottom of the Magnitsky case. In 2016, he released a film entitled, ‘The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes’, which was supported by a number of European film funds and the public Franco-German TV network Arte TV. In the words of the New York Times, the film was “generating a furor.” In the film, Nekrasov argues, with no shortage of compelling evidence, that entire governments are being misled by Browder into believing that Magnitsky had been persecuted and killed for exposing political corruption. That is highly questionable, Nekrasov argues, considering that Browder had been an avid supporter of the Russian government before the question of tax fraud hit the headlines.

In his open letter to the EU Commission, Nekrasov goes on to take issue with Browder’s claim that Magnitsky was tortured during his imprisonment, revealing that the auditor “spent a considerable part of his detention in an “elite” – better equipped – section of the Matrosskaya Tishina prison…. where the rich and famous prisoners, such as the oil tycoon [Mikhail] Khodorkovsky…. and the leaders of the 1991 coup against Gorbachev were kept.”

Furthermore, during a Oct, 2013 hearing at the UK High Court of Justice (‘Karpov vs Browder’), Browder claimed that the Russian authorities, purportedly wanting Magnitsky out of the way, imprisoned him because the lethal outcome was a “reasonably foreseeable” consequence of the sentence, “not least” because of the high mortality rate in the Russian prisons. Judge Simon, however, dismissed such a “causal link”, noting that “nothing is said [by Browder – R.B.] about torture and murder ( §128, Page 25 ).

Meanwhile, Magnitsky himself stated that the quality of the medical attention he received in prison was “adequate”.

Here, it is important to note that Nekrasov is no biased journalist with a political ax to grind. As far as reporting the truth goes, he is a rare type of reporter who is guided not by a desire to reach a predetermined conclusion, but by where the facts lead him. In fact, in one of his earlier documentaries, ‘Disbelief,’ he discusses the 1999 Russian apartment bombings in a way that showed the government in a negative light.

In his letter, he admits that he was ready to retell Browder’s emotional story about his “heroic lawyer.”

“I believed Browder,” Nekrasov writes, “partly for political reasons, as my previous work had been highly critical of the Russian government.”

He continues: “Having, however, detected inconsistencies in Mr. Browder’s story I decided not to sweep them under the rug. The result of my investigative work, the film entitled “The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes” was at first highly praised by its commissioning editors, at ZDF/ARTE inter alia. The premiere of the film was to be held at the European Parliament in April 2016. Yet, as a result of Browder’s intense pressure on the top management of ZDF, and a decision of a group of Green MEPs, the screening was dramatically cancelled, minutes before the planned starting time.”

It is difficult, as the mild-mannered journalist confessed, to consider that snub as “anything but censorship”.

The question that must be asked is obvious: how can the President of the EU Commission call to punish Russia when the cinematic work of a highly respected investigative journalist, who provides an alternative perspective to the Magnitsky case, is banned from viewing for EU MEPs due to the threat of legal action by Bill Browder? How can the West speak about “democracy” and the “rule of law” when only one side of the Magnitsky saga is allowed to go unchallenged? Why does Mr. Browder feel compelled to suppress this film? If he is telling the truth, why not let Neskrasov’s ‘false’ story see the light of day so that the facts can speak for themselves?

Andrei Neskarov’s letter ends as follows:

“Should you not be concerned that the findings of other European journalistic investigations [here, here and here] … while directly relevant to the Magnitsky question, have apparently failed to reach your high offices and your keen attention?

My film, “The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes”, ends with a question: “Will democracy survive if its moral high ground, human rights, is used to protect selfish interests?”

My film was censored, but I pose that question again today.

Yours truly,

Andrei Nekrasov

Nekrasov’s open letter to the President of the EU Commission can be read in its entirety here.

October 5, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

‘False’ positive Covid-19 tests saw non-contagious people counted as fresh infections & triggered 2nd wave alarm – Belgian media

RT | October 5, 2020

Over a half of coronavirus infections revealed this summer by one of Belgium’s biggest labs were old and no longer contagious, but were still reported as new cases, local media discovered.

Belgian daily newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws examined the tests carried out by AZ Delta, one of the largest labs in the country, and made a stunning discovery. Almost half of all positive cases reported throughout June, July and August were actually people with an old infection.

The problem, it turns out, lies in the PCR Covid-19 tests. The paper reports that scientific data reveals virus particles can be detected up to 83 days after the actual infection. This led to instances where people were no longer contagious, but were still registered as positive cases. According to HLN, all of these people had to be quarantined.

Belgian experts sounded the alarm in mid-July, when coronavirus numbers spiked after a relief in June, and even insisted that the second wave had already begun for the country.

“We may have had to deal with old infections largely in the summer months,” the lab’s clinical biologist Frederik Van Hoecke told the paper.

October 5, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

Lavrov: Doctors at Berlin Clinic Where Navalny Was Treated Found No Signs of Military-Grade Poisons

Sputnik – 05.10.2020

Last month, German authorities announced that a Bundeswehr analysis of Russian opposition blogger Alexei Navalny’s samples found traces of a ‘Novichok’ group nerve agent. Moscow called the allegations odd, pointing out that before Navalny’s transfer to Germany, Russian doctors treating him in Siberia found no signs of any poisons in his system.

Doctors at the Charite university hospital where Alexei Navalny was treated found no evidence from his samples that he was poisoned by any military-grade poison, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

“Doctors in Omsk did not find any traces of chemical warfare agents, they honestly said this. But I would like to draw your attention that the fact that  Charite clinic also did not find any toxic substances in its analyses; instead, they were ‘found’ later in the Bundeswehr’s clinic,” Lavrov said, speaking to members of the Association of European Businesses in Russia on Monday.

“We still do not know: did the French and the Swedes carry out the test themselves, or were they simply given them by the Germans. And the fact that our partners are trying to keep everything a secret, to muddy the waters, is something that worries us greatly. We want to find the truth and we will seek to do so,” the diplomat added.

At the same time, Lavrov said, Moscow has no doubts that the European Union will attempt to slap new sanctions on Russia in connection with the Navalny case, based on a recently created cookie-cutter sanctions policy about alleged violations in the use of chemical weapons, which he noted require no factual basis or large-scale discussion by all sides accused of involvement to implement.

According to Lavrov, Russia’s Western colleagues’ policies, whether in cyberspace or the alleged use of chemical weapons, seem to be aimed at the creation of new institutions outside the United Nations or any other international legal framework, allowing for facts to be presented, guilt to be determined and punishment in the form of sanctions to be doled out without listening to the other side.

On Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry complained that its German counterparts had refused to provide the Russian Embassy in Berlin with consular access to Alexei Navalny since he was discharged from the Charite clinic. According to Moscow, Russian prosecutors have sent the German side four requests for legal aid for their probe into Navalny’s alleged poisoning, with none of them receiving a response.

Moscow has also slammed the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for quietly providing the German side with ‘technical assistance’ on the Navalny case without informing Russia, pointing out that the claims of poisoning being alleged “took place not in Germany, but in Russia,” and that Russia must be party to any objective investigation.

Last week, Navalny accused the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin personally of poisoning him, saying he can’t think of any other explanation for what happened to him. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov shot back, calling the claims “groundless… extremely insulting and unacceptable,” and revealing that Moscow “has information” that Navalny has been cooperating with the Central Intelligence Agency.

On Saturday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned that sanctions against Russia would “be impossible to avoid” “if the results of the German, Swedish and French laboratories are confirmed” by the OPCW.

Dr. Leonid Rink, one of the chemists who helped create the so-called Novichok group of military-grade poisons, told Sputnik that if Navalny really had been poisoned by Novichok, he would have been dead in ten minutes flat, and would never have made it to the Tomsk airport or his plane.

Navalny collapsed onboard a domestic flight from Tomsk to Moscow on August 20, with his plane making an emergency landing in Omsk, where doctors worked for nearly two days straight to stabilize his condition. On August 22, a charter flight took him to the Charite clinic in Berlin. There he gradually recovered before being discharged late last month.

October 5, 2020 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia | | 1 Comment