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May and Merkel Fiddle While Their Unions Burn

By Tom LUONGO | Strategic Culture Foundation | 16.03.2019

When it was reported by John Petley of the Bruges Group that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had, in effect, written the Brexit withdrawal agreement Theresa May has now twice had turned down by her parliament it should have come as no shock to anyone closely following the Brexit drama.

Uncorroborated? Sure. Most likely true. Of course.

The European Union doesn’t want Brexit to happen. And if it were to happen it would only be acceptable to them if it looks like the deal Mrs. May put before the House of Commons twice only to be rebuked by historic margins.

This was not a version of Brexit anyone had in mind. Not the softest-minded Labour voter and especially not the sovereignty-minded Leave voter of the Nigel Farage persuasion.

It was, in short, a betrayal of all things fundamentally nationalist.

For the past week I’ve been watching a lot of British Parliament as it debates, and I use that word very loosely, the situation Mrs. May and the MP’s themselves have put the country in. And, in a word, it is shameful.

May and Merkel both miscalculated terribly on what the British people would accept. It’s obvious that both only thought in terms of the kind of political leverage they could bring to bear on the House of Commons which would eventually force them to cave to supposed horror-show of a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit.

Make no mistake, the horror show would mostly fall on Germany – whose banking system, already teetering on collapse thanks to other rifts forming within the currency bloc – and export-driven economy would suffer from the Brits having more control over the exchange rate of the pound versus the euro.

A lower pound would be the first result of a no-deal Brexit. Good for long-suffering British manufacturing and bad for Germany’s, since the UK is Germany’s biggest export market.

Economically and philosophically, no-deal is the best deal for the UK But don’t tell that to the MP’s who are scared to death of it.

But what’s most important about all of this is that it is all just a symptom of a much deeper problem, the unwieldy nature of the European Union itself.

Germany and the elites who have pushed this project, the unelected financiers I like to call The Davos Crowd, are dead set against anything that obstructs its completion.

The wave of nationalist political fervor racing across the continent is, however, a consequence of their trying to form a political and fiscal union that far exceeds the original mandate sold to voters when they joined.

And that is threatening to tear Mrs. Merkel’s union to pieces. This is why she and her posse in Brussels are so committed to screwing the British people. They have to send the right message to Italy and Hungary. It’s why they want $39 billion.

It’s why they are using the non-issue of the Irish border to tie the UK into the customs union and single market forever. But, make no mistake, just like Merkel’s horrific treatment of Greece was seen as unconscionable by people across Europe in 2015 they are looking at how the Brits are being treated and are equally as appalled.

Merkel, Juncker et.al. all saw the divisions within the Labour and Conservative parties that have resulted from their planning and thought them to be assets. But they aren’t. Maybe in the short-run it will get them what they want, another moment to kick the can down the road a little bit further.

But in the long-run all it is doing is setting up for another round of Brexit in the future with a much less plastic set of circumstances. Because, as I said earlier, they have miscalculated. The British people are fed up with them and with their own government.

The Labour party is squealing out of both sides of its mouth trying to get themselves out of the corner they’ve painted themselves into. Because they can read the polls. And what was a solid Labour lead in the winter has become a solid Tory lead in the Spring.

Because as split as the Tories are, voters understand that there are more of them trying to implement their will than there are Labour MP’s. And that counts for something.

Mrs. May has made a mess of things thinking she could shoe horn a terrible deal through parliament that would satisfy the EU while blowing up the traditional two-party system in the House of Commons.

And this is why I say to hardened cynics who think these people are all-powerful that they aren’t. They are smart but they aren’t clever. They do the same thing that has worked before and run the same playbook. Brexit looks exactly like the Greek debt talks.

Merkel didn’t update her playbook for 2018. It wasn’t a short-term negotiation. It was a three-year process that tried the patience of 66 million Brits. And they have seen the real face of the EU and many more of them want no part of it.

Merkel and Juncker are trying to hold onto their manufactured leverage over the Brits to, in turn, hold onto a Union that is in the process of failing. May and her cabinet are trying to hold onto a relationship with the EU while the UK itself is now in danger of failing.

The Scots are pushing for independence to stay in the EU. Wales is beginning to consider it. Northern Ireland doesn’t like being anyone’s Trojan Horse.

They have thoroughly underestimated the will of the people and it will cost them what little cache they have left with voters. Remember, confidence lost in the institutions of government begets a loss of confidence in the money and their ability to manage it.

If you want a catalyst for a European sovereign debt crisis, look no further than Brexit now or the downstream effects of a delayed Brexit later.

If an extension is approved by the EU and given to the Brits, Euroskeptics will go from commanding a projected 32-33% of a 705 seat European Parliament to possibly 35-36% of a larger one that includes the Brits.

Because if Brexit is delayed and betrayed do you think Remainers will be elected en masse? Or do you think Farage et.al. will not storm into Brussels mad as hell?

Merkel and May may have won this battle using their useful idiots like Anna Soubry and Ian Blackford but they will lose the war as the rest of Europe comes to terms with being frog-marched towards a future they neither want, signed up for or are willing to pay for anymore.

No wonder the Yellow Vests keep showing up every weekend.

March 16, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics | , | Leave a comment

Germany’s Über Hypocrisy over Venezuela

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 12.03.2019

Germany has taken the lead among European Union member states to back Washington’s regime-change agenda for Venezuela. Berlin’s hypocrisy and double-think is quite astounding.

Only a few weeks ago, German politicians and media were up in arms protesting to the Trump administration for interfering in Berlin’s internal affairs. There were even outraged complaints that Washington was seeking “regime change” against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government.

Those protests were sparked when Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, warned German companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia that they could be hit with American economic sanctions if they go ahead with the Baltic seabed project.

Earlier, Grenell provoked fury among Berlin’s political establishment when he openly gave his backing to opposition party Alternative for Germany. That led to consternation and denunciations of Washington’s perceived backing for regime change in Berlin. They were public calls for Grenell to be expelled over his apparent breach of diplomatic protocols.

Now, however, Germany is shamelessly kowtowing to an even more outrageous American regime-change plot against Venezuela.

Last week, the government of President Nicolas Maduro ordered the expulsion of German ambassador Daniel Kriener after he greeted the US-backed opposition figure Juan Guaido on a high-profile occasion. Guaido had just returned from a tour of Latin American countries during which he had openly called for the overthrow of the Maduro government. Arguably a legal case could be made for the arrest of Guaido by the Venezuelan authorities on charges of sedition.

When Guaido returned to Venezuela on March 4 he was greeted at the airport by several foreign diplomats. Among the receiving dignitaries was Germany’s envoy Daniel Kriener.

The opposition figure had declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela on January 23 and was immediately recognized by Washington and several European Union states. The EU has so far not issued an official endorsement of Guaido over incumbent President Maduro. Italy’s objection blocked the EU from adopting a unanimous position.

Nevertheless, as the strongest economy in the 28-member bloc, Germany can be seen as de facto leader of the EU. Its position on Venezuela therefore gives virtual EU gravitas to the geopolitical maneuvering led by Washington towards the South American country.

What’s more, the explicit backing of Juan Guaido by Germany’s envoy was carried out on the “express order” of Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, according to Deutsche Welle.

“It was my express wish and request that Ambassador Kriener turn out with representatives of other European nations and Latin American ones to meet acting President Guaido at the airport,” said Maas. “We had information that he was supposed to be arrested there. I believe that the presence of various ambassadors helped prevent such an arrest.”

It’s staggering to comprehend the double-think involved here.

Guaido was hardly known among the vast majority of Venezuelans until he catapulted on to the global stage by declaring himself “interim president”. That move was clearly executed in a concerted plan with the Trump White House. European governments and Western media have complacently adopted the White House line that Guaido is the legitimate leader while socialist President Maduro is a “usurper”.

That is in spite of the fact that Maduro was re-elected last year in free and fair elections by a huge majority of votes. Guaido’s rightwing, pro-business party boycotted the elections. Yet he is anointed by Washington, Berlin and some 50 other states as the legitimate leader.

Russia, China, Turkey, Cuba and most other members of the United Nations have refused to adopt Washington’s decree of recognizing Guaido. Those nations (comprising 75 per cent of the UN assembly) continue to recognize President Maduro as the sovereign authority. Indeed, Russia has been highly critical of Washington’s blatant interference for regime change in oil-rich Venezuela. Moscow has warned it will not tolerate US military intervention.

Russia’s envoy to the UN Vasily Nebenzia, at a Security Council session last month, excoriated the US for its gross violation of international law with regard to Venezuela. Moscow’s diplomat also directed a sharp rebuke at other nations “complicit” in Washington’s aggression, saying that one day “you will be next” for similar American subversion in their own affairs.

Germany’s hypocrisy and double-think is, to paraphrase that country’s national anthem, “über alles” (above all else).

German politicians, diplomats and media were apoplectic in their anger at perceived interference by the US ambassador in Berlin’s internal affairs. Yet the German political establishment has no qualms whatsoever about ganging up – only weeks later – with Washington to subvert the politics and constitution of Venezuela.

How can Germany be so utterly über servile to Washington and the latter’s brazen criminal aggression towards Venezuela?

It seems obvious that Berlin is trying to ingratiate itself with the Trump administration. But what for?

Trump has been pillorying Germany with allegations of “unfair trade” practices. In particular, Washington is recently stepping up its threats to slap punitive tariffs on German auto exports. Given that this is a key sector in the German export-driven economy, it may be gleaned that Berlin is keen to appease Trump. By backing his aggression towards Venezuela?

Perhaps this policy of appeasement is also motivated by Berlin’s concern to spare the Nord Stream 2 project from American sanctions. When NS2 is completed later this year, it is reckoned to double the capacity of natural gas consumption by Germany from Russia. That will be crucial for Germany’s economic growth.

Another factor is possible blackmail of Berlin by Washington. Recall the earth-shattering revelations made by American whistleblower Edward Snowden a few years back when he disclosed that US intelligence agencies were tapping the personal phone communications of Chancellor Merkel and other senior Berlin politicians. Recall, too, how the German state remarkably acquiesced over what should have been seen as a devastating infringement by Washington.

The weird lack of action by Berlin over that huge violation of its sovereignty by the Americans makes one wonder if the US spies uncovered a treasure trove of blackmail material on German politicians.

Berlin’s pathetic kowtowing to Washington’s interference in Venezuela begs an ulterior explanation. No self-respecting government could be so hypocritical and duplicitous.

Whatever Berlin may calculate to gain from its unscrupulous bending over for Washington, one thing seems clear, as Russian envoy Nebenzia warned: “One day you are next” for American hegemonic shafting.

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 2 Comments

The Final Version of the EU’s Copyright Directive Is the Worst One Yet

By Cory Doctorow | EFF | February 13, 2019

Despite ringing denunciations from small EU tech businesses, giant EU entertainment companies, artists’ groups, technical experts, and human rights experts, and the largest body of concerned citizens in EU history, the EU has concluded its “trilogues” on the new Copyright Directive, striking a deal that—amazingly—is worse than any in the Directive’s sordid history.

Goodbye, protections for artists and scientists

The Copyright Directive was always a grab bag of updates to EU copyright rules—which are long overdue for an overhaul, given that it’s been 18 years since the last set of rules were ratified. Some of its clauses gave artists and scientists much-needed protections: artists were to be protected from the worst ripoffs by entertainment companies, and scientists could use copyrighted works as raw material for various kinds of data analysis and scholarship.

Both of these clauses have now been gutted to the point of uselessness, leaving the giant entertainment companies with unchecked power to exploit creators and arbitrarily hold back scientific research.

Having dispensed with some of the most positive versions of the Directive, the trilogues have also managed to make the (unbelievably dreadful) bad components of the Directive even worse.

A dim future for every made-in-the-EU platform, service and online community

Under the final text, any online community, platform or service that has existed for three or more years, or is making €10,000,001/year or more, is responsible for ensuring that no user ever posts anything that infringes copyright, even momentarily. This is impossible, and the closest any service can come to it is spending hundreds of millions of euros to develop automated copyright filters. Those filters will subject all communications of every European to interception and arbitrary censorship if a black-box algorithm decides their text, pictures, sounds or videos are a match for a known copyrighted work. They are a gift to fraudsters and criminals, to say nothing of censors, both government and private.

These filters are unaffordable by all but the largest tech companies, all based in the USA, and the only way Europe’s homegrown tech sector can avoid the obligation to deploy them is to stay under ten million euros per year in revenue, and also shut down after three years.

America’s Big Tech companies would certainly prefer not to have to install these filters, but the possibility of being able to grow unchecked, without having to contend with European competitors, is a pretty good second prize (which is why some of the biggest US tech companies have secretly lobbied for filters).

Amazingly, the tiny, useless exceptions in Article 13 are too generous for the entertainment industry lobby, and so politicians have given them a gift to ease the pain: under the final text, every online community, service or platform is required to make “best efforts” to license anything their users might conceivably upload, meaning that they have to buy virtually anything any copyright holder offers to sell them, at any price, on pain of being liable for infringement if a user later uploads that work.

News that you’re not allowed to discuss

Article 11, which allows news sites to decide who can link to their stories and charge for permission to do so, has also been worsened. The final text clarifies that any link that contains more than “single words or very short extracts” from a news story must be licensed, with no exceptions for noncommercial users, nonprofit projects, or even personal websites with ads or other income sources, no matter how small.

Will Members of the European Parliament dare to vote for this?

Now that the Directive has emerged from the Trilogue, it will head to the European Parliament for a vote for the whole body, either during the March 25-28 session or the April 15-18 session—with elections scheduled in May.

These elections are critical: the Members of the European Parliament are going to be fighting an election right after voting on this Directive, which is already the most unpopular legislative effort in European history, and that’s before the public gets wind of these latest changes.

Let’s get real: no EU political party will be able to campaign for votes on the strength of passing the Copyright Directive—but plenty of parties will be able to drum up support to throw out the parties that defied the will of voters and risked the destruction of the Internet as we know it to pour a few million Euros into the coffers of media companies and newspaper proprietors—after those companies told them not to.

There’s never been a moment where your voice mattered more

Watch this space. We will be working with allies across the EU to make this upcoming Parliamentary vote into an issue that every Member of the European Parliament is well-informed on, and we’re going to make sure that every MEP knows that the voters of Europe are watching them and taking note of how they vote.

All that it takes is for you to speak up. Over four million Internet users have signed the petition against the Directive. If you can do that, you can pick up the phone and call your MEP. Tell them why you’re against the Directive, what it means for you, and what you expect your representatives to do in the forthcoming plenary vote. It really is the last chance to make your voice heard.

Take Action – Stop Article 13

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Brussels Shows Its Fear of Euroskeptics

By Tom LUONGO | Strategic Culture Foundation | 10.03.2019

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been under fire from the European Union for years for his opposition to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open immigration policy.

A policy which she herself has had to pull back on. And no matter how far Merkel has changed her stance and acceded to the reality of the damage her policy has created, Orban is still guilty of the sin of non-compliance.

Actually, he’s guilty of a whole lot more than that. Because Orban has not only stepped on the third-rail of European politics he’s stomped up and down while taking a massive dump on it.

That third-rail, of course, is naming names. Naming the very person who controls so much of EU policy through his co-opting large swaths of the European parliament.

That person, of course, is George Soros.

Now there is a push, ahead of May’s European Parliamentary elections, to kick Orban’s dominant Fidesz party out of the European People’s Party (EPP), a nominal center-right coalition and the largest single party within the EU parliament.

And with each victory over Soros Orban grows even bolder. After a successful re-election campaign predicated on the slogan, “Don’t Let Soros Win,” Orban has banned Soros’ major NGO, Open Society Foundation, as well as forced out his Central European University.

But his biggest sin was equating outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude “When things get tough you have to lie” Juncker with Soros’ attempts to weaken Hungary’s border.

His reward for this, and building a border fence which thwarts Soros and Merkel’s tactic of tying immigrants in the host country in legal limbo for years by being inset from Hungary’s actual border, has been an Article 7 procedure opened up against Hungary for not abiding by the EU’s position on human rights.

Poland is in similar hot water with Merkel but thanks to one of the few reasonable things within the EU’s framework, each country can use the other to veto the actual censuring and concomitant removal of voting rights within the Union that comes with the full application of Article 7.

But this article isn’t really about Orban’s latest troubles with the faux democrats within the EU parliament. It’s about how scared those people are of the rise in Euroskeptics like Orban across the continent ahead of May’s elections.

Orban’s potential expulsion from the EPP is just another symptom of this fear. Recently, France’s Marine Le Pen, found out that the trial against her for tweeting out images of ISIS beheadings back in 2015, will go forward with the potential of landing her in jail for three years.

This is not much different than the kidnapping charge Sicilian prosecutors tried to bring against Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister, Leader of Lega and all-around bad boy Matteo Salvini in Italy. This was a lame attempt to split Italy’s Euroskeptic coalition and keep it focused on internal trivialities versus mounting a real challenge in May’s elections.

The same is true now for Le Pen. Her National Rally party is polling within the margin of error of President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche with a real chance to send a plurality of French Euroskeptic MEPs to Brussels in a couple of months.

Merkel is struggling with the same thing. And even though support for Alternative for Germany (AfD) has waned in recent polling, down to just 13%, don’t underestimate the voters’ desire to send a strong message to Brussels by voting in stronger numbers for the new or alternative parties rather than how they would vote for them at home.

We’ve seen this in the past with UKIP who shocked everyone in the last European elections in 2014 with the size of the vote for them. It never translated into domestic momentum as typical prisoner’s dilemma concerns are more prevalent in Britain’s majoritarian voting system.

But for the EU parliament where the two-party system doesn’t hold sway and the direct benefits are harder to make a case to voters for, it’s much more likely voters will loosen up a little and throw their support for a smaller, less established party.

And that, along with some serious miscalculations about Brexit which I’ll get to in a minute, has the power elite in European political circles very scared. So scared that they are willing to devote serious resources in Quixotic endeavors of dubious value.

Expelling Orban from the EPP will only give him more strength. It will only give Euroskeptics more ammunition. Orban, like Salvini, revels in being the outsider. He’ll use it to rally others across Eastern Europe and pull a few more seats into that orbit.

According to the latest polling, which you can find an up-to-date tally of here, Euroskeptic parties will take between 215 and 225 seats out of the 705 up for grabs, assuming Britain actually leaves and doesn’t stand for MEP elections, which at this point doesn’t look likely.

If reports are true that Prime Minister Theresa May cut a deal with Merkel in July of last year on the withdrawal agreement. And if that agreement was structured so as to ease the way for the U.K. to rejoin the EU later are true, then there is no way Mrs. May will be able to forestall Brexit on WTO terms at this point, even if it takes another 90 days to do so.

A report from the Bruges Group, since taken down, had the details (see link above). And we’ll know if this is the case if suddenly Theresa May agrees to step aside as Prime Minister just after March 29th whether or not Britain leaves.

Because she will have either failed to scuttle Brexit and be sacrificed to save the Tories. Or she steps aside for a true Brexiteer in the event of Parliament voting for an extension.

We’ll know this was the case if she does so.

Lots of ifs, I know, but right now everyone is doing the Juncker-Two-Step, lying and cajoling to maintain the status quo and continue forward towards further European integration.

Mario Draghi at the European Central Bank did his part, going full dove for the rest of 2019 to keep markets from imploding.

And if Brexit is settled on WTO terms that opens up their worst nightmare going forward.

Watch Viktor Orban smile the smile of the just at that point.

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | Leave a comment

UK’s Political Freak-Show Set to Run and Run

MPs on all sides are intent on derailing Brexit while the Zionist wrecking-crew continue gunning for Corbyn

By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune | March 2, 2019

The EU referendum question did not ask political parties, big business, the banks, Parliament or the media for their opinion. It asked ordinary citizens across the UK. Parliament got its instructions: leave.

To say that Saint Theresa and her Government have gone about it the wrong way is putting it mildly. The EU bureaucrats never wanted to hand us a deal – why would they, it’s not in their nature. It might have been better to just walk away after first agreeing on terms with European industry and commerce for continuing trade, and letting the Europeans argue the toss with their ‘crats in Brussels? Similarly our collaboration on the environment, security, and science.

Twenty-five years of EU membership have left us half-crippled and malfunctioning. We’ll have to re-learn many things including the lost art of export selling. We should have been doing that these last 2 years. The Institute of Export has been there to help.

Tangled with the shambles of Brexit is the continuing witchhunt by the Zionist Inquisition which stalks our marbled corridors and menaces politicians in their smoke-filled rooms, especially Labour. Indeed, a 62-minute documentary film with the title WitchHunt was due to be screened at the House of Commons next week but has been ‘pulled’ after an outcry from the very people it exposes. They, of course, haven’t yet seen it.

Within hours of invitations being sent to Labour MPs and journalists, there were calls for the expulsion from the Labour Party of Chris Williamson MP whose office had booked a room for the film show. Williamson was later suspended from the party for saying Labour had “given too much ground” in the face of criticism over anti-Semitism. Unbelievable, eh?

Incidentally, the film has been praised by directors Peter Kosminsky, Mike Leigh and Ken Loach (Kosminsky and Leigh are both Jewish).

Kosminsky: “[WitchHunt] packs a powerful punch, telling a story we just aren’t hearing at the moment.”

Leigh: “This impeccably-executed film exposes with chilling accuracy the terrifying threat that now confronts democracy, and the depressing intractability of the Israel-Palestine situation.”

Loach: “The case of Jackie Walker is important. This film asks whether her lengthy suspension from the Labour Party and attempts to expel her are fair, or an injustice which should be challenged. She is not the only one in this position. See the film and make up your own mind.”

The film is due for online release on 17 March after touring a number of UK cities with its director Jon Pullman. The press briefing describes it thus:

“In 2015, while the far right was gaining ground around the world, socialist MP Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the UK Labour Party in a landslide victory. Accusations of antisemitism within the party immediately began to circulate. Well-known anti-racists and left-wing Jews, such as Jackie Walker, were amongst the chief targets. WitchHunt sets out to investigate the stories and the people behind the headlines, examining the nature of the accusations. Is this a witchhunt, as some claim? If so, who is behind it, and what is the political purpose of such a campaign?

“Has the media failed in its duty to fairness and accuracy in reporting on such serious allegations? Through a series of interviews, analysis and witness testimony, WitchHunt explores the connections between the attacks on Labour, the ongoing tragedy of Palestine and the wider struggle against race-based oppression.”

And this week the BBC continued to stoke the anti-Semitism ruckus by wheeling in TWO Friends of Israel MPs (the unbearably bombastic Zahawi and the tediously pedantic Gardiner) as panelists on their flagship political debate programme Question Time. Both spoke on anti-Semitism without declaring their interest. Chairperson Fiona Bruce should have tipped off the audience but didn’t.

It’s true that the Labour Party is swamped by complaints of anti-Semitism, many of them absurd or vexatious, and is struggling to deal with them in a reasonable time. But that’s no excuse for Tom Watson, the party’s deputy leader and no particular friend of Corbyn, to barge in and email all Labour parliamentarians asking them to send him complaints about anti-Semitism for monitoring. This would, of course, undermine and compromise the official process now managed by the party’s new General Secretary Jennie Formby.

Watson describes himself as “a proud and long-standing supporter of Labour Friends of Israel” and is a recipient of considerable funds from Jewish sources. He calls the BDS movement “morally wrong” and says those who campaign for it “seek to demonize and delegitimize the world’s only Jewish state”.

With his leanings, he represents an ever-present knife in Corbyn’s back. All things considered, perhaps Watson himself should be suspended.

Meanwhile, our Israel-adoring Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, was busy arranging for the political wing of Hezbollah to join its military wing on the list of proscribed terror organizations. This is not a very good idea since, in Lebanon, Hezbollah is seen as a political movement and a provider of social services as well as a militia. As such it forms an important part of the Lebanese government and Javid’s move could cause obstacles for the UK in the rehabilitation of the region and when providing humanitarian help to refugees pouring into Lebanon to escape the horrors of Syria. But Javid insists: “Hezbollah has identified as one of its biggest targets the state of Israel and its people…..  This Government have continued to call on Hezbollah to end its armed status; it has not listened …. it is evident that Hezbollah has got more involved in and drawn into the Syrian conflict, and is responsible for the death and injury of countless innocent civilians. …..”

Javid, a merchant banker in the literal and rhyming sense, might just as well call on Israel to disarm. He conveniently overlooks the fact that Hezbollah was formed to counter Israel’s invasion and occupation of South Lebanon in 1982. Hezbollah is funded by Iran, a bitter foe of Israel, and is, therefore, by crazy logic, an enemy of Israel’s chums like the stupid wing of the UK’s Conservative Party. But let’s not leave out Labour. A big noise in Labour Friends of Israel, Louise Ellman MP, congratulated Javid on “bringing this much-needed measure before the House…..  Hezbollah is not our friend, and today was a good opportunity to say so….. Hezbollah specifically targets Jewish people and Jewish organizations.”

Hezbollah, it seems, hasn’t been forgiven in some quarters for doing rather well against Israel’s mighty military in the 2006 war.

March 3, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

People’s Vote: Corbyn Signs His Own Death Warrant

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | February 26, 2019

Throughout his leadership of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn has disappointed some of his most ardent admirers by his refusal to hang tough. Yes, he has played many situations with canniness and subtlety, but too often he has been soft, appeased and conciliated where it is either unnecessary, or worse, entirely counter productive.

Too often he vows to “listen” to the problems of dissenting New Labour MPs, instead of asserting his authority. Too many times he has promised to “tackle antisemitism”, instead of bluntly telling everyone – “Labour is NOT antisemitic, this is a smear campaign”.

Corbyn should know by now that he can’t win by playing their game by their rules. You can’t appease people who do not want to be appeased. You can’t clean up a smear campaign, and trying just spreads the smears further.

However, none of his previous mistakes compare to the kamikaze of backing a people’s vote on Brexit, a huge mistake that undermines the Labour movement from multiple angles.

Firstly, there is “The Independent Group” to consider – this is, essentially, a cave to their demands. Corbyn has now shown he will bow to threats of defection and the loss of eight entirely forgettable MPs. More than bowing to the pressure, he has handed them legitimacy. Before today The Independent Group was a joke – their launch fell flat, they are all variously personally compromised, they have no policies, no ideology, no leader and they are even registered as business, NOT a political party.

They should have been ignored, mocked even, but not taken seriously. This decision hands them power. A dreadful mistake, that breathes life into a New Labour movement that has been husking out its last moments ever since Corbyn was elected leader.

Yes, it’s true this is technically no change from the Labour Conference position – but this announcement has meaning. Whatever the truth of the situation – the media can now present TIG as a small group who stood for their principles, and in doing so bent “Corbyn’s Personality Cult” back to the path of reason. Paying off a blackmailer is never the solution. They always want more.

Secondly, there is the Lexit vote. Brexit is not a purely left-vs-right issue. The media have tried to present Brexit as a battle between lovely cuddly progressives who want to remain and awful mean racists who want to leave. Obviously it was never that simple. There is a very real portion of the left who believe the EU is anti-democratic. It’s important to remember that being anti-EU was always a traditionally socialist position. A second referendum is a betrayal of those people, and weakening of Corbyn’s socialist base. There are marginal seats, especially in the poorer areas of the country, who will swing against Labour if it is perceived they are campaigning to stop Brexit.

Third, a teetering and hilariously incompetent Tory government has been shown a crack of hope here. They can now pitch themselves as “The British Party”, standing up for the nation against the “European” Labour party who want to “sell us out to Brussels”. You can be sure that’s how the Mail, Times and Sun will sell it. May can leverage this into a “khaki election” and win on a landslide of national pride.

Finally, and most importantly, there is the question of undermining democracy itself. It has never, ever, before been suggested we simply re-do a vote because we don’t like the outcome. Brexit has been sold as a vote “built on misinformation”, we have been told that “the realities have changed”, and that new voters have come of age, whilst old voters died. We have even been told Brexit needs to be undone because it is a threat to our “national security”.

A second referendum lends credence to these arguments – it sets the precedent. Demographic changes, dishonesty, national security. These lines of argument are vague and unquantifiable enough that they could then be cited as reason to delegitimize literally ANY vote. Up to, and including, a general election…. that Jeremy Corbyn won.

“Labour lied about privatising water”…. re-do the vote.
“Millions of old lefties have died since the last election”…. re-do the vote.
Corbyn’s campaign manager is a security threat…. re-do the vote.

The EU has form when it comes to replaying referenda until they get the result they want, but it is new in the British experience.

The actual form the vote is still undecided. Will it be a choice between two deals? Will there be a “remain option”? But this is largely immaterial. If the option is “this deal or no deal” and “no deal” has been ruled out, then a no vote on the deal is a vote to remain. The threat of no deal has been hammered home to us in a thousand different ways. A vote which “forces” no deal will be seen as a threat to the nation and discarded. Moving the deadline back is already being mooted, they can do this as many times as they want until people forget we were ever meant to leave, or will accept a deal which is just remain renamed.

The problem is not Brexit. The establishment has a million different tools for deconstructing, preventing, obfuscating and totally halting Brexit. The problem, from the establishment POV, is Jeremy Corbyn. They can’t stop Brexit until Corbyn has been removed… and Corbyn has now handed them the power to do this.

It’s important to hold all these issues in their proper perspective – this is about Corbyn, not Brexit. Corbyn is the threat, not Brexit.

In or out of the EU, a Tory or New Labour government would still push austerity for the poor and tax breaks for the rich.
In or out of the EU, a Tory or New Labour government will pour money into the arms industry whilst neglecting public services.
In or out of the EU, a Tory or New Labour government will still support American interventions in Syria, Venezuela and around the globe.

And, in or out of the EU, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party would have reversed all of those policies.

That’s why MPs from every party have been actively trying to weaken his leadership, remove him from office and destroy public faith in his ideas. More than that, Corbyn is the only party leader who might actually deliver a proper departure from the EU (he would need to do so, in some ways, to enact his manifesto). Corbyn, and his fellow socialists, undermine the idea of Brexit as the cause of the racist rich.

If anyone but Jeremy Corbyn was leader of the Labour party one of two things would have already happened:

  1. The 2D Blairite elected in Corbyn’s place would have “united for common purpose” with the Tories to deliver Brexit in name only, and we’d have left the EU under a deal that was essentially the exact status quo under a rebranded status quo. Austerity – check. Free movement – check. Preparing to contribute to the EU army. Some small concessions, perhaps. Even less democratic representation.
  2. Brexit would have been called off entirely and we’d all have been “saved from an act of national self-harm”.

Brexit is NOT the biggest political crisis in Britain’s history. It isn’t even the most important political question facing us this decade, year or month. Austerity is. Growing poverty. Defunded public services. Privatisation of our transport, water and eventually our NHS. These are real crises.

The most important question we need to ask is – what is better for ordinary people, a Conservative government or a Labour government?

Do we want to be a neo-liberal state slowly crushing the poorest and most vulnerable beneath austerity’s boot heel? Or do we want to change, and try take care of each other?

For all the criticism of Jeremy Corbyn from the left, he has been steadfast in trying to secure a socialist government for this country, and undo the evil of the austerity. In backing the “people’s vote”, I fear he has dashed any chance of that happening.

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he’s forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

February 26, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics | , , , | 1 Comment

Russia remains Ukraine’s key trade partner despite Kiev’s claims of cutting economic ties

RT | February 20, 2019

Despite years of mutual trade restrictions, Russia remained Ukraine’s biggest trade partner in 2018, according to data published by the State Statistics Service of Ukraine.

Sales of Russian produce to Ukraine saw 12.3-percent year-on-year growth to US$8.1 billion. That makes Russia the biggest Ukrainian supplier, leaving China, Germany, Belarus, and Poland far behind. At the same time, the Russian market remained a major destination for Ukrainian exports. Ukraine sold $3.7 billion worth of goods to Russia, marking a 7.1 percent increase compared to the previous year.

Moscow suspended the free trade zone deal with Kiev shortly after the Ukrainian government signed an association agreement with the EU. Ukraine was automatically included on Russia’s counter-sanctions list against the EU, introduced by Moscow in 2014 in retaliation to European penalties over re-unification with Crimea and Russia’s alleged military involvement in Ukraine’s eastern regions.

In 2015, Ukraine imposed sanctions on a wide range of food imports from Russia, including meat and fish, coffee, dairy products, chocolate and confectionery, grains, cigarettes, beer, and many others. Last year, Kiev added fertilizers to its endless list of restrictions. In December, the Ukrainian authorities extended the measures for another year. The country also introduced sanctions against several individuals and entities.

In response, Russia banned the import of more than 50 Ukrainian goods, worth $510 million. The Kremlin announced that the restrictions can be lifted if Kiev gives up its own restrictions targeting specific Russian goods.

Despite bilateral restrictions, trade turnover between Russia and Ukraine has been increasing in recent years, with Russia enjoying a significant trade surplus.

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Pompeo, Pence & the Alienation of Europe

Pompeo leaving Warsaw. (State Department photo by Ron Przysucha)
By Patrick Lawrence | Consortium News | February 19, 2019

What a job Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did in Europe last week. If the objective was to worsen an already critical trans–Atlantic rift and further isolate the U.S., they could not have returned to Washington with a better result.

We might have to mark down this foray as among the clumsiest and most abject foreign policy failures since President Donald Trump took office two years ago.

Pence and Pompeo both spoke last Thursday at a U.S.–sponsored gathering in Warsaw supposedly focused on “peace and security in the Middle East.” That turned out to be a euphemism for recruiting the 60–plus nations in attendance into an anti–Iran alliance.

“You can’t achieve peace and stability in the Middle East without confronting Iran,” Pompeo said flatly. The only delegates this idea pleased were Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and officials from Gulf Arab nations who share an obsession with subverting the Islamic Republic.

Pence went on to the annual security conference in Munich, where he elaborated further on a few of the Trump administration’s favored themes. Among them: The Europeans should ditch the nuclear accord with Iran, the Europeans should cut off trade with Russia, the Europeans should keep components made by Huawei and other Chinese companies out of their communications networks. The Europeans, in short, should recognize America’s global dominance and do as it does; as if it were still, say, 1954.

It is hard to imagine how an American administration can prove time and again so out of step with 21stcentury realities. How could a vice-president and a secretary of state expect to sell such messages to nations plainly opposed to them?

Pounding the Anti-Iran Theme 

Pompeo, who started an “Iran Action Group” after the Trump administration withdrew last year from the 2015 nuclear accord, returned repeatedly to a single theme in his Warsaw presentations. The Iranians, he said, “are a malign influence in Lebanon, in Yemen, and Syria and Iraq. The three H’s—Houthis, Hamas, and Hezbollah—these are real threats.”

Pence ran a mile with this thought. “At the outset of this historic conference,” he said, “leaders from across the region agreed that the greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East is the Islamic Republic of Iran.” To be noted: all the “leaders from across the region” in attendance were Sunnis, except for Netanyahu. The major European allies, still furious that Washington has withdrawn from the nuclear accord, sent low-level officials and made no speeches.

The European signatories to the Iran accord knew what was coming, surely. While Pence insisted that Britain, France and Germany withdraw from the nuclear pact—“the time has come,” he said—he also criticized the financing mechanism the three set up last month to circumvent the Trump administration’s trade sanctions against Iran. “They call this scheme a ‘special purpose vehicle,’ ” Pence said. “We call it an effort to break American sanctions against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime.”

There were plenty of European leaders at the security conference last weekend in Munich, where Pence used the occasion  to consolidate what is beginning to look like an irreparable escalation of trans–Atlantic alienation. After renewing his attack on the Iran agreement’s European signatories, he shifted criticism to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Now under construction, this will be the second undersea pipeline connecting Gazprom, the Russian energy company, to Germany and other European markets. Last month the U.S. renewed threats to sanction German companies working on the $11 billion project. “We cannot strengthen the West by becoming dependent on the East,” Pence said at the security conference Saturday.

These and other remarks in Munich were enough to get Angela Merkel out of her chair to deliver an unusually impassioned speech in defense of the nuclear accord, multilateral cooperation and Europe’s extensive economic relations with Russia. “Geo-strategically,” the German chancellor asserted, “Europe can’t have an interest in cutting off all relations with Russia.”

US Primacy V. Europe’s Future  

Merkel’s speech goes to the core of what was most fundamentally at issue as Pompeo and Pence blundered through Europe last week. There are three questions to consider.

The most obvious of these is Washington’s continued insistence on U.S. primacy in the face of full-frontal resistance even from longstanding allies. “Since day one, President Trump has restored American leadership on the world stage,” Pence declared in Warsaw. And in Munich: “America is stronger than ever before and America is leading on the world stage once again.” His speeches in both cities are filled with hollow assertions such as these—each one underscoring precisely the opposite point: America is fated to continue isolating itself, a little at a time, so long as its leaders remain lost in such clouds of nostalgia.

The other two questions concern Europe and its future. Depending on how these are resolved, a more distant trans–Atlantic alliance will prove inevitable.

First, Europe must soon come to terms with its position on the western flank of the Euro–Asian landmass. Merkel was right: The European powers cannot realistically pretend that an ever-deepening interdependence with Russia is a choice. There is no choice. China’s Belt and Road Initiative, as it progresses westward, will make this clearer still.

Second, Europe must develop working accommodations with its periphery, meaning the Middle East and North Africa, for the sake of long-term stability in its neighborhood. The mass migrations from Syria, Libya and elsewhere have made this evident in the most tragic fashion possible. It is to Germany’s and France’s credit that they are now negotiating with Turkey and Russia to develop reconstruction plans for Syria that include a comprehensive political settlement.

As they do so, Washington shows no sign of lifting sanctions against Syria that have been in place for more than eight years. It may, indeed, impose new sanctions on companies participating in reconstruction projects. In effect, this could criminalize Syria’s reconstruction—making the nation another case wherein Europe and the U.S. find themselves at cross purposes.


Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author, and lecturer. His most recent book is “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century” (Yale). Follow him @thefloutist. His web site is http://www.patricklawrence.us.

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 2 Comments

EU Claims ‘Russian Sources’ Are Threat to Parliamentary Elections in May

Sputnik – 19.02.2019

BRUSSELS – The Council of the European Union adopted conclusions on Tuesday, casting Russia as a threat to “free and fair” EU parliamentary elections in May, citing the country’s alleged “disinformation strategies.”

“The sources and phenomena of disinformation can be identified inside and outside the Union and are originating from a range of state and non-state actors. In this regard, efforts should target malign actors, notably Russian sources,” the Council of the European Union document read.

The Council accused unidentified Russian sources of increasingly deploying disinformation strategies and suggested that any action against them should be guided by threat analyses and intelligence assessments.

With less than a hundred days left until the European vote, the Council added another initiative to a raft of documents that seek to set out a common approach toward suspected disinformation and other malicious practices it believes could undermine the electoral process.

The Council called for an array of non-legislative measures, including enhancing preparedness to cyber threats, establishing a network of fact-checkers to detect disinformation on social and digital media, and setting up a rapid alert system to share data on perceived disinformation campaigns.

Russia has repeatedly refuted claims of interfering in other countries’ electoral processes. The Russian envoy to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, accused the bloc in December of blaming Russia for meddling in the May elections before they even began.

February 19, 2019 Posted by | Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Ní Riada Calls on EU to End Funding to Israel

IMEMC News & Agencies – February 16, 2019

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called for the ending of all EU funding to Israel.

The Ireland South MEP made the call as she tabled an amendment designed to close the loophole allowing Israel to use EU funds for military purposes.

“Israel must be completely excluded from receiving any funding for research and development,” she said.

“Every penny that they have received under the research and development scheme, which they have egregiously abused, makes the EU complicit in each and every murder Israel has carried out since 2000.

“That’s over 10,000 Palestinians. More than 2,000 of them children.

“The EU’s Horizon 2020 is the biggest research and development program in the world, with €80 billion dedicated to it since 2014”.

“Israel is allowed to take part in the program on the basis of the EU-Israel association agreement, signed in 2000. An outrageous agreement that we warned two decades would only give legitimacy to Israel’s campaign of genocide.

“We have been proved depressingly right. In that time, in addition to their usual litany of human rights abuses, they have launched no less than five major assaults and invasions on Palestinian territory, started a war in Lebanon and hijacked an international peace flotilla carrying humanitarian aid, massacring those on board.

“EU treaties do not allow any spending on military or defense to be charged to the EU budget. However, the European Commission has been continuously undermining this clear rule for many years now through a blatant loophole made for ‘dual-purpose’ technologies.

“Dual-purpose technology, is any technology that can also be used for military purposes. This allows Israeli arms manufacturers and military companies to apply for EU funding.

“It has been well documented that Israel systematically uses dual-purpose technology for military purposes once it is through the research and development stage.

“Today, I tabled an amendment that calls for the EU to stop funding dual-purpose technology under this program. This would immediately stop taxpayer’s money from subsidizing the Israeli arms industry, and by extension, wholesale murder, under the guise of civilian innovation.

“This, however, is only a start. The EU needs to stop all funding to Israel until we see an end to human rights violations by Israeli forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

February 16, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Pence says EU must withdraw from Iran deal & stop trying to ‘break up’ sanctions on ‘vile regime’

RT | February 14, 2019

US Vice-President Mike Pence has demanded that Europe withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and lashed out at the EU’s efforts to evade Washington’s sanctions on Tehran.

Speaking at a security conference in Warsaw, Pence chastized Europe for leading an “effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions” against Iran, and complained that European countries had not been “cooperative” since the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran deal last year.

“The time has come for our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal” and join with the US to give the Iranian people and the world “peace, security and freedom,” he said.

Pence said the EU’s newly created Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), conceived as a way to continue facilitating trade between the EU and Iran, was an “ill-advised step” which would only “strengthen Iran, weaken the EU, and create still more distance between Europe and the United States.”

In January, the EU unveiled a new transactions channel aimed at bypassing the SWIFT international payments system to circumvent US sanctions. The system, called INSTEX – or ‘Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges’ – has limited capacity and only allows “humanitarian” trade by focusing on sectors “most essential” to Iranian people like food, pharmaceutical and medical devices. While the EU hailed the mechanism as a way to preserve the Iran deal, critics say it won’t change much as European countries still worry about US repercussions if they are “caught” evading sanctions and working in Iran.

Pence said that the US had been “a force for good” in the Middle East and claimed that Trump is committed to standing with “the good people of Iran and stand up to their oppressors.”

He cited the US’ withdrawal from the Iran deal as proof that Washington was making good on that promise, despite the fact that American sanctions, which Pence called “the toughest in history,” have had devastating effects on the Iranian people. He said the sanctions would “get tougher still” until Tehran complies with US demands, and said Washington’s efforts to isolate Iran was a “noble cause.”

Pence said that the nuclear deal did not ensure that the “vile regime” of Iran would not obtain nuclear weapons, but instead “delayed the day” that this would happen. This is despite the fact that Europe, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the UN have all said that Iran is complying with the terms of the deal.

Pence called the Warsaw meeting, which was organized by the US and Poland, an “unprecedented gathering” of leaders, but the attendees list probably wasn’t quite what he might have hoped for, since major EU countries chose not to send top officials and Russia declined an invitation altogether. The summit was billed as a way to promote “peace and security in the Middle East” but focused mainly on efforts to isolate Iran. Ironically, Iran was not invited to the gathering.

Earlier at the conference, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that peace and stability in the Middle East was “not possible” without confronting Iran.

The absence of top diplomats from Germany, France and the UK is a sign that Europe is not likely to back down on its continued support of the Iran deal or its efforts to continue trading with Tehran. Iran dismissed the meeting as an anti-Iran “circus” aimed at “demonizing” the country.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

Anti-Russia Sanctions Imposed Due to Strong US Pressure – Lavrov

Sputnik – 13.02.2019

On Tuesday, the Financial Times reported that the United States and the European Union had been negotiating and were close to reaching an agreement on imposing new economic sanctions against Russia after the incident in the Sea of Azov in late November.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated on Tuesday that the possible sanctions over the Kerch Strait incident are imposed under strong pressure from the United States.

“But we also know that these sanctions are taken under the strongest US pressure, which once again shows the EU’s lack of independence. Sad,” Lavrov said.

He also said that Russia doesn’t discuss sanctions with anyone and it is focused on developing its economy so it does not depend on other states’ whims.

“We have already said a long time ago that we are not discussing sanctions with anyone. We want to build our economy, trade with normal foreign partners so as not to depend on someone’s whims. In this case, the whims of those who did not keep their word, allowed a coup in Kiev, did not make the opposition fulfill agreements with [then] president [Viktor] Yanukovych, ” Lavrov said at a press conference following talks with his Lesotho counterpart Lesego Makgothi.

He added he considered the planned sanctions as a sign that the Europeans were again admitting their inability to make Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko implement the Minsk agreements.

The foreign minister’s comments follow the Financial Times’ earlier reports that the US and the EU were close to reaching an agreement on imposing new economic anti-Russia sanctions for its alleged aggression toward Ukraine in the Sea of Azov in late November.

On November 25, Ukraine’s Berdyansk and Nikopol gunboats, and the Yany Kapu tugboat illegally crossed the Russian maritime border as they sailed toward the Kerch Strait, the entrance to the Sea of Azov. Russia seized the Ukrainian vessels and detained 24 people on board after they failed to respond to a demand to stop. After the incident, a criminal case on illegal border crossing was opened in Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly slammed Kiev’s attempts to portray the detained sailors as prisoners of war, stressing that they faced criminal charges. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the incident was a provocation prepared in advance as a pretext to declare martial law, which was announced after the incident and lasted for a month. Putin said the provocation could be linked to Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko’s low approval ratings ahead of the presidential election, set to be held in March.

February 13, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment