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EU approval of glyphosate weed killer was based on ‘plagiarized’ Monsanto studies, report finds

RT | January 15, 2019

EU regulators based a decision to relicense the controversial glyphosate-based Monsanto weed-killer on an assessment which was heavily plagiarized from agri-chemical industry reports, a cross party group of MEPs has revealed.

The MEPs commissioned the investigation after the Guardian reported that Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) had copy-and-pasted tracts from Monsanto studies into its safety assessment for the weed killer. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) then based its recommendation that glyphosate was safe based on that very report.

The results of the investigation were published just hours before a parliamentary vote on tightening scrutiny on the approval of pesticides. The cross-party report said that BfR had given the “deliberate pretence” of independent assessment, but in reality was “only echoing the industry applicants’ assessment.”

The scale of plagiarism was “extremely alarming” according to Green MEP Molly Scott Cato. The study found that more than 50 percent of the chapters were plagiarized, including whole pages of text.

Bayer, which bought Monsanto for $63 billion last year, is dealing with more than 9,300 lawsuits from people claiming that the company’s glyphosate-based weed killers caused their cancers. The World Health Organization has classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

Adding to the company’s woes, a French court on Tuesday decided to cancel the authorization to market RoundUp Pro 360, a Monsanto weed killer product which contains glyphosate. Filings showed that regional court in Lyon ruled to cancel the market authorization for the product, saying the approval, which had been granted by French environment agency ANSES in 2017, had not taken potential health risks into consideration.

The court said that “scientific studies and animal experiments” showed that RoundUp Pro 360 is a “potentially carcinogenic product for humans, suspected of being toxic for human reproduction and for aquatic organisms.” ANSES has not yet commented on the ruling. French President Emmanuel Macron had previously pledged to outlaw it completely in France by 2021.

Bayer has defended the product, however, citing other regulatory rulings which found glyphosate to be safe and the company is appealing a court decision in the US which awarded $78 million in damages to a plaintiff in California.

In 2018, two studies showed that the best-selling herbicide was showing up in food products for both humans and animals. Researchers at Cornell University found the substance in all 18 dog and cat food brands surveyed — including one product which was certified as GMO-free.

The other study found glyphosate in all oat-based cereals and foods tested. One variant of Quaker Oatmeal Squares, for example, contained nearly 18 times the levels of glyphosate considered acceptable.

Glyphosate is off-patent and also marketed by dozens of other companies around the world.

January 15, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | | Leave a comment

The War on Populism

CJ Hopkins | Consent Factory | January 10, 2018

Remember when the War on Terror ended and the War on Populism began? That’s OK, no one else does.

It happened in the Summer of 2016, also known as “the Summer of Fear.” The War on Terror was going splendidly. There had been a series of “terrorist attacks,” in Orlando, Nice, Würzberg, Munich, Reutlingen, Ansbach, and Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, each of them perpetrated by suddenly “self-radicalized” “lone wolf terrorists” (or “non-terrorist terrorists“) who had absolutely no connection to any type of organized terrorist groups prior to suddenly “self- radicalizing” themselves by consuming “terrorist content” on the Internet. It seemed we were entering a new and even more terrifying phase of the Global War on Terror, a phase in which anyone could be a “terrorist” and “terrorism” could mean almost anything.

This broadening of the already virtually meaningless definition of “terrorism” was transpiring just in time for Obama to hand off the reins to Hillary Clinton, who everyone knew was going to be the next president, and who was going to have to bomb the crap out of Syria in response to the non-terrorist terrorist threat. The War on Terror (or, rather, “the series of persistent targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America,” as Obama rebranded it) was going to continue, probably forever. The Brexit referendum had just taken place, but no one had really digested that yet … and then Trump won the nomination.

Like that scene in Orwell’s 1984 where the Party switches official enemies right in the middle of the Hate Week rally, the War on Terror was officially canceled and replaced by the War on Populism. Or … all right, it wasn’t quite that abrupt. But seriously, go back and scan the news. Note how the “Islamic terrorist threat” we had been conditioned to live in fear of on a daily basis since 2001 seemed to just vanish into thin air. Suddenly, the “existential threat” we were facing was “neo-nationalism,” “illiberalism,” or the pejorative designator du jour, “populism.”

Here we are, two and a half years later, and “democracy” is under constant attack by a host of malevolent “populist” forces …. Russo-fascist Black vote suppressors, debaucherous eau de Novichok assassins, Bernie Sanders, the yellow-vested French, emboldened non-exploding mail bomb bombers, Jeremy Corbyn’s Nazi Death Cult, and brain-devouring Russian-Cubano crickets. The President of the United States is apparently both a Russian intelligence operative and literally the resurrection of Hitler. NBC and MSNBC have been officially merged with the CIA. The Guardian has dispensed with any pretense of journalism and is just making stories up out of whole cloth. Anyone who has ever visited Russia, or met with a Russian, or read a Russian novel, is on an “Enemies of Democracy” watch list (as is anyone refusing to vacation in Israel, which the Senate is now in the process of making mandatory for all U.S. citizens). Meanwhile, the “terrorists” are nowhere to be found, except for the terrorists we’ve been using to attempt to overthrow the government of Bashar al Assad, the sadistic nerve-gassing Monster of Syria, who illegally invaded and conquered his own country in defiance of the “international community.”

All this madness has something to do with “populism,” although it isn’t clear what. The leading theory is that the Russians are behind it. They’ve got some sort of hypno-technology (not to be confused with those brain-eating crickets) capable of manipulating the minds of … well, Black people, mostly, but not just Black people. Obviously, they are also controlling the French, who they have transformed into “racist, hate-filled liars” who are “attacking elected representatives, journalists, Jews, foreigners, and homosexuals,” according to French President Emmanuel Macron, the anointed “Golden Boy of Europe.” More terrifying still, Putin is now able to project words out of Trump’s mouth in real-time, literally using Trump’s head as a puppet, or like one of those Mission Impossible masks. (Rachel Maddow conclusively proved this by spending a couple of hours on Google comparing the words coming out of Trump’s mouth to words that had come out of Russian mouths, but had never come out of American mouths, which they turned out to be the exact same words, or pretty close to the exact same words!) Apparently, Putin’s master plan for Total Populist World Domination and Establishment of the Thousand Year Duginist Reich was to provoke the global capitalist ruling classes, the corporate media, and their credulous disciples into devolving into stark raving lunatics, or blithering idiots, or a combination of both.

But, seriously, all that actually happened back in the Summer of 2016 was the global capitalist ruling classes recognized that they had a problem. The problem that they recognized they had (and continue to have, and are now acutely aware of) is that no one is enjoying global capitalism … except the global capitalist ruling classes. The whole smiley-happy, supranational, neo-feudal corporate empire concept is not going over very well with the masses, or at least not with the unwashed masses. People started voting for right-wing parties, and Brexit, and other “populist” measures (not because they had suddenly transformed into Nazis, but because the Right was acknowledging and exploiting their anger with the advance of global neoliberalism, while liberals and the Identity Politics Left were slow jamming the TPP with Obama and babbling about transgender bathrooms, and such).

The global capitalist ruling classes needed to put a stop to that (i.e, the “populist” revolt, not the bathroom debate). So they suspended the Global War on Terror and launched the War on Populism. It was originally only meant to last until Hillary Clinton’s coronation, or the second Brexit referendum, then switch back to the War on Terror, but … well, weird things happen, and here we are.

We’ll get back to the War on Terror, eventually … as the War on Populism is essentially just a temporary rebranding of it. In the end, it’s all the same counter-insurgency. When a system is globally hegemonic, as our current model of capitalism is, every war is a counter-insurgency (i.e., a campaign waged against an internal enemy), as there are no external enemies to fight. The “character” of the internal enemies might change (e.g., “Islamic terrorism,” “extremism,” “fascism,” “populism,” “Trumpism,” “Corbynism,” et cetera) but they are all insurgencies against the hegemonic system … which, in our case, is global capitalism, not the United States of America.

The way I see it, the global capitalist ruling classes now have less than two years to put down this current “populist” insurgency. First and foremost, they need to get rid of Trump, who despite his bombastic nativist rhetoric is clearly no “hero of the common people,” nor any real threat to global capitalism, but who has become an anti-establishment symbol, like a walking, talking “fuck you” to both the American and global neoliberal elites. Then, they need to get a handle on Europe, which isn’t going to be particularly easy. What happens next in France will be telling, as will whatever becomes of Brexit … which I continue to believe will never actually happen, except perhaps in some purely nominal sense.

And then there’s the battle for hearts and minds, which they’ve been furiously waging for the last two years, and which is only going to intensify. If you think things are batshit crazy now (which, clearly, they are), strap yourself in. What is coming is going to make COINTELPRO look like the work of some amateur meme-freak. The neoliberal corporate media, psy-ops like Integrity Initiative, Internet-censoring apps like NewsGuard, ShareBlue and other David Brock outfits, and a legion of mass hysteria generators will be relentlessly barraging our brains with absurdity, disinformation, and just outright lies (as will their counterparts on the Right, of course, in case you thought that they were any alternative). It’s going to get extremely zany.

The good news is, by the time it’s all over and Trump has been dealt with, and normality restored, and the working classes put back in their places, we probably won’t remember that any of this happened. We’ll finally be able to sort out those bathrooms, and get back to paying the interest on our debts, and to living in more or less constant fear of an imminent devastating terrorist attack … and won’t that be an enormous relief?

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Photo: Zakaria Abdelkafi – AFP

January 10, 2019 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

France Moves To Ban All Protests As PM Announces Major Crackdown On Yellow Vests

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 01/09/2019

France is signaling it’s making preparations for a massive new crackdown on the gilets jaunes or “yellow vests” anti-government protests that have gripped the country for seven weeks. A new law under consideration could make any demonstration illegal to begin with if not previously approved by authorities, in an initiative already being compared to the pre-Maiden so-called “dictatorship law” in Ukraine.

In the name of reigning in the violence that has recently included torching structures along the prestigious Boulevard Saint Germain in Paris, and smashing through the gates of government ministry buildings, the French government appears set to enact something close to a martial law scenario prohibiting almost any protest and curtailing freedom of speech.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe presented the new initiative to curtail the violence and unrest while targeting “troublemakers” and banning anonymity through wearing masks on French TV channel TF1 on Monday. He said the law would give police authority crack down on “unauthorized demonstrations” at a moment when police are already arresting citizens for merely wearing a yellow vest, even if they are not directly engaged in protests in some cases.

PM Philippe said the government would support a “new law punishing those who do not respect the requirement to declare [protests], those who take part in unauthorized demonstrations and those who arrive at demonstrations wearing face masks”.

Philippe’s tone during the statements was one of the proverbial “the gloves are off” as he described the onus would be on “the troublemakers, and not taxpayers, to pay for the damage caused” to businesses and property.

“Those who question our institutions will not have the last word,” he added.

However, if anything the protests have grown fiercer in response to any police crackdown or violence against demonstrators. Should all protests be banned under the new law, it could be the start of more violent riots gaining steam, as what began Nov. 17 as anger over fuel tax hikes has now turned into rage at President Emmanuel Macron and policies that seem to favor the urban elite.

Other yellow vest inspired protests previously broke out across Europe, and in perhaps a sign of things to come a video from The Netherlands of a woman pushing her baby in a stroller being arrested by police apparently for merely wearing a yellow vest is going viral.

In the video, police confront the woman in what appears a quiet neighborhood far away from any visible protest. Police were photographed alongside the baby on the street as the mother was dragged away.

Image via journalist Sotiri Dimpinoudis

With the French prime minister now announcing coming draconian measures banning all protest, this is precisely the horrific scene that could begin to be repeated across France and the EU.

In total at least six people have died and over 1,400 people injured during the French protests, with thousands arrested weekly, according to international reports. Over the weekend some 50,000 protesters continued demonstrating in multiple cities, leading to significant clashes in Paris, Bordeaux and Rouen. A number of commentators have noted that though there appear fewer demonstrators compared to December, there appears a serious uptick in violent acts on the part of both demonstrators and police response.

January 9, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , , | 1 Comment

EU agrees sanctions against Iranian intelligence service over ‘assassination plot’ – Danish FM

RT | January 8, 2019

The European Union has agreed to enact sanctions against the Iranian intelligence service over its alleged “assassination plots on European soil,” the Danish foreign minister has tweeted.

Specific details in relation to potential new European sanctions against Iran are unclear; nor is it known whether they are close to being implemented. Foreign ministers of EU member states had reportedly agreed to consider sanctions in response to the supposed Iranian plot at a meeting in mid-November.

In late October, Danish security forces said they had arrested a man who was allegedly plotting to assassinate the leader of the Danish branch of an Iranian Arab separatist movement. Tehran denied the accusations as “hostile” and said they were in line with the “enemies’ plots” to undermine Iranian-European relations.

The European Commission, while backing Denmark’s accusation and condemning Tehran, has urged member states to not let it impact the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal of 2015. The US, which unilaterally pulled out of the agreement in May 2018, simply praised Denmark for arresting an “Iranian regime assassin.”

US President Donald Trump’s administration has been cracking down on Iran, accusing it of sponsoring terrorism and violating international obligations. It has repeatedly warned the EU against maintaining trade with Tehran, but Europe has so far been determined to keep JCPOA alive, and is working on a mechanism to bypass American sanctions.

The target of the alleged plot was a local leader of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA), the Danish Foreign Ministry said at the time. ASMLA, pushing for a separate Arab state within Iran, is classified as a terrorist organization by Tehran.

Tehran has blamed ASMLA for the September 28, 2018 attack on a military parade in Ahvaz, which left 30 people dead and 70 injured. ASMLA denied responsibility, blaming the attack instead on a splinter group within the movement.

January 8, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

India sequesters Iran ties from US predatory strike

(Iran’s Chabahar Port)
By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | January 2, 2019

India has done well to put in place the nuts and bolts of a payment mechanism for its trade and investment transactions with Iran against the backdrop of the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) in May last year followed by the imposition of sanctions against Iran. The US had threatened to bring Iran’s oil trade to zero by the end of 2018 but ultimately pragmatism prevailed and major importing countries such as India were given 6-month ‘waivers’ in November.

Delhi has utilised this interregnum to sequester India-Iran economic relations as far as possible from the vagaries of the Trump administration’s Iran policies. How far Delhi sensitized Washington in advance about its Iran strategy we may never know, but the overall approach suggests a quiet determination to safeguard Indian economic (and political) interests from suffering collateral damage without, at the same time, displaying any strategic defiance of the US in the foreign-policy domain. The Indian diplomacy has been successful here so far.

Broadly, the Indian government has revisited the strategy adopted by the UPA leadership in similar circumstances of US sanctions against Iran and in the light of past experience, finessed a payment mechanism that dispenses with the use of American dollar in India-Iran economic transactions thereby bypasses the cutting edge of the US sanctions. Indeed, the impetus to do so is far more keenly felt today than under the UPA government because India-Iran economic relationship is transforming phenomenally and assuming strategic importance under the Modi government, especially with the operationalization of the Chabahar Port project.

Arguably, the Modi government is showing far greater grit in comparison with the timid attitude by the previous UPA government in asserting India’s strategic autonomy to advance the India-Iran partnership notwithstanding the hostile policies of Washington toward Iran, which are in the nature of forcing a ‘regime change’ in Tehran. Interestingly, the Indian approach is also impervious to the continued Israeli and Saudi intrigues against Iran, although the Modi government has significantly boosted India’s relations with these two Middle East countries.

The Indian policy toward relations with Iran under the deepening shadow of US sanctions has evolved in three carefully measured stages through the month of December. Needless to say, this wouldn’t have been possible without mutual trust and understanding in the relationship characterized by close consultations through diplomatic channels. In the first stage, it came to be known that in early November the two countries signed an agreement to the effect that India will import crude oil from Iran using a rupee-based payment mechanism and that 50 percent of those payments will be used for exporting items by India to Tehran.

Accordingly, India’s government-owned UCO Bank (which has no exposure to the US) was designated to handle this mechanism. In a third stage, in continuation of the above, the Ministry of Finance in Delhi issued an order in end-December exempting the National Iranian Company (NIOC) which exports crude to India from paying a steep ‘withholding tax’ to the Indian authorities. This order issued on December 28 will have retrospective effect from November 5 so that an amount of $1.5 billion that Indian refiners had accumulated as outstanding payments to NIOC could be released. Under Indian laws, the income of a foreign company that is deposited in an Indian bank account is subject to a withholding tax of 40 percent plus other levies, leading to a total take by the authorities of 42.5 percent.

Suffice to say, the door is open, Iran will now be able to use the rupee funds for a range of expenses–including imports from India, the cost of its missions in the country, direct investment in Indian projects, and its financing of Iranian students in India. It can also invest the funds in Indian government debt securities. The tax exemption order, though, only refers to crude oil. That means it does not apply to imports of other commodities, such as fertilizer, liquefied petroleum gas and wax. It appears that the scope of the use of funds will ensure balanced bilateral trade, which is traditionally in Iran’s favour.

On December 31, the two countries announced that their banking transactions mechanism is ready for operation.

Interestingly, India is leapfrogging many other countries that have been talking about similar payment mechanisms with Iran bypassing the US sanctions. The most glaring instance is of the European Union’s much-vaunted proposed mechanism of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which has not arrived yet. Brussels had vowed to establish the SPV “before the end of the year (2018) as a way to protect and promote legitimate business (of European companies) with Iran,” to quote the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

Clearly, Delhi is not waiting to take the cue from other capitals that may harbor grave reservations over the US sanctions against Iran. Equally, Tehran’s willingness to accept for payments the Indian rupee (which is not traded on international markets) bears testimony to its great desire to sustain a beneficial relationship with India notwithstanding the US pressure on Delhi to severely cut back on economic ties with Iran.

All in all, Delhi seems to be preparing for the long haul. The fact of the matter is that politically, it is an increasingly tall order for the present Iranian leadership to continue with its adherence to its share of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal without any infringement or breach in the face of the failure on the part of the European leaders to deliver on their promise that in return Iran will be compensated through steps such as the EU maintaining and deepening economic relations with Iran, the continued sale of Iran’s oil and gas, effective banking transactions with Iran, the further provision of export credit and development of the SPVs in financial banking, insurance and trade areas and so on.

The ground reality is that the European leaders failed to deliver on their promises to Tehran and Iran has been left to fend for itself under the most savage and unlawful economic and political pressure by Washington. Simply put, while Europe claims that the Iran nuclear deal is of strategic importance, it is unwilling or reluctant to invest in its own strategic interests. The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif aptly summed up the European dilemma in a recent remark that you cannot swim without getting wet. Delhi may have shown that where there is a strong political will, there is always a way forward.

Without doubt, the operationalization of the Chabahar Port a week ago dramatically changes the India-Iran strategic calculus. Where words are not adequate to describe it, a look at the map showing India’s new Silk Road will do. Its geopolitical ramifications are profound. Ironically, Chabahar may eventually bring not only India and Iran but the US as well on the same page. Much lies in the womb of time.

January 2, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Since When Did the Irish Words “Sinn Féin” Mean Pro-Empire?

By Aidan O’Brien | CounterPunch | December 27, 2018

Brexit has exposed Ireland as much as it has exposed Britain. In the on and off deal between the UK and the EU, the future of the Irish border, and therefore the future of Ireland, is being decided by faceless bureaucrats in Britain and Brussels. This is yet more proof – if any more proof was needed – of Ireland’s dependent status. After the Irish banking disaster, this is the latest ignominy “Independent Ireland” must bear.

While the subjugation of Ireland by its powerful neighbors is nothing new – the almost cheerful acceptance of this current state of affairs by “rebel Ireland” is something new.

For decades now the Sinn Féin party has been the face of “rebel Ireland”. It fought British rule in the north. And openly defied the comprador capitalists in the south. But today it cheers on Brussels as the latter decides the fate of Ireland. Today Sinn Féin criticizes anyone who wishes to exit the European Union. Today – irony of ironies – Sinn Féin is the Unionist Party par excellence. In the most smug way, it is now loyal to the prevailing Empire.

The Irish words “sinn féin” mean “ourselves”, or in political terms, “ourselves alone” – as opposed to “ourselves following the orders of others”. So in contemporary terms, the words “sinn féin” best describe those arguing for Brexit. While those wishing to remain in the EU are anything but “sinn féin”. Following this semantic line, Ireland’s Sinn Féin party, by defending the EU and mocking Brexit, has turned the meaning of “sinn féin” on its head.

What explains this un-sinn féin like politics within Sinn Fèin? In a few words: out of date Irish nationalism. Rebel Ireland has always been blinded by Britain. It could never see around Britain. For much of history this blindness was logical. For centuries Britain was the rising Empire. And up until recently, it was the greatest Empire the world had ever seen.

Over the centuries, in its struggle against this British behemoth, rebel Ireland has sought the assistance of imperial Spain (1601), imperial France (1798) and imperial Germany (1916). All this was justifiable back then because the British juggernaut was mercilessly crushing Ireland. And right up until the fall of Margaret Thatcher (1990) Britain continued to crush Ireland.

This crushing narrative, however, changed dramatically around the year 2000 and caught the rebel Irish off guard. As imperial Britain faded away and became “America’s poodle” – imperial Europe started to flex its muscles. The crush then was originating in the EU rather than in the UK. Regardless, the Irish rebels continued to focus their ire on Britain. They completely ignored the sinister nature of imperial Europe. The rebel Irish love of Europe was about to become a love of pain – a pain they embrace today.

If the Sinn Féin party could’ve taken its eyes off Britain around 2000 – if it looked at the big European picture – it would’ve seen the writing on the EU Wall. The Single European Act (1987), the Maastricht Treaty (1992), the European Central Bank (1998), the Euro (1999) and the Lisbon Treaty (2007) all pointed to a Europe hostile towards social and international justice.

Considering the fact that the “EU” was, from the get go, a right wing unification of Germany and France – the imperialist nature of contemporary Europe should not be news to anyone. But unfortunately it is – even to left wing Irish rebels. The thought that the EU represents a more menacing threat to Ireland than the UK, seems to be a thought too far for Sinn Féin.

Facts, such as the following, don’t seem to register in the Sinn Féin view of Europe: the EU is a neoliberal nightmare (the primacy of the market is written into the EU constitution), the EU is a bank robber (the bailout of Germany), the EU is a wage robber (the austerity), the EU hates Africa (fortress Europe), the EU is anti-Venezuela, anti-Palestine, and anti-Russia (pro CIA/Zionist/Latin fascism), the EU’s military industrial complex is determined by EUCOM, etc..

But does Sinn Féin know the meaning of EUCOM? Does anyone in Europe know the meaning of EUCOM? The United States European Command and its attack dogs -NATO and AFRICOM – are embedded deep within the EU.

Its time Irish nationalism updated its understanding of Europe. Ireland is no longer living in the 17th, 18th or 19th centuries: Europe isn’t automatically the gateway to freedom. Although the EU is trying to turn the clock back to the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Radical inequality is bolstering Europe’s monarchies, aristocracies and crusading armies. Does 21st century Sinn Féin really think that this retrograde monster is reformable?

Just when Britain is redefining itself for the better, “rebel” Ireland has the gall to lecture the British on the goodness of EU backwardness. It is blind to the fact that Brexit plus Jeremy Corbyn equals the best chance for “socialism” right now in Europe. Corbyn will thrive in an independent Britain, whereas in the EU he will be in a free market straitjacket. All of which begs the question: does Ireland’s “rebels” really want anything to do with socialism?

Brexit is exposing the poverty of the rebel Irish vision. Knee jerk worship of Europe, and knee jerk hatred of Britain, has today turned the great Irish rebellion on its head. The Empire has changed its position. A more sophisticated vision would see that the imperialism south of today’s Irish border is more virulent than the traditional kind north of the border.

The Irish border must go. First and foremost, however, the Irish fight is against foreign rule. And that comes in many guises. If Brussels gets its way, Ireland is facing another century or two of foreign rule or just simply foreign annihilation. On the other hand, if Brexit gets its way, there’s a real chance that foreign rule in Ireland may unravel. A weaker EU and a more inward looking Britain (not forgetting the real possibility of a more socialist Britain) would give most meaning to the Irish words “sinn féin”.

Aidan O’Brien lives in Dublin, Ireland.

December 28, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Angela Merkel: Nation States Must “Give Up Sovereignty” To New World Order

Photo Credit: Abdülhamid Hoşbaş – Anadolu Agency
Tapainfo.com – 11/22/2018

“Nation states must today be prepared to give up their sovereignty”, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who told an audience in Berlin that sovereign nation states must not listen to the will of their citizens when it comes to questions of immigration, borders, or even sovereignty.

No this wasn’t something Adolf Hitler said many decades ago, this is what German Chancellor Angela Merkel told attendants at an event by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Berlin. Merkel has announced she won’t seek re-election in 2021 and it is clear she is attempting to push the globalist agenda to its disturbing conclusion before she stands down.

“In an orderly fashion of course,” Merkel joked, attempting to lighten the mood. But Merkel has always had a tin ear for comedy and she soon launched into a dark speech condemning those in her own party who think Germany should have listened to the will of its citizens and refused to sign the controversial UN migration pact:

“There were [politicians] who believed that they could decide when these agreements are no longer valid because they are representing The People”.

“[But] the people are individuals who are living in a country, they are not a group who define themselves as the [German] people,” she stressed.

Merkel has previously accused critics of the UN Global Compact for Safe and Orderly Migration of not being patriotic, saying “That is not patriotism, because patriotism is when you include others in German interests and accept win-win situations”.

Her words echo recent comments by the deeply unpopular French President Emmanuel Macron who stated in a Remembrance Day speech that “patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism [because] nationalism is treason.”

The French president’s words were deeply unpopular with the French population and his approval rating nosedived even further after the comments.

Macron, whose lack of leadership is proving unable to deal with growing protests in France, told the Bundestag that France and Germany should be at the center of the emerging New World Order.

“The Franco-German couple [has]the obligation not to let the world slip into chaos and to guide it on the road to peace”.

“Europe must be stronger… and win more sovereignty,” he went on to demand, just like Merkel, that EU member states surrender national sovereignty to Brussels over “foreign affairs, migration, and development” as well as giving “an increasing part of our budgets and even fiscal resources”.

Translation by ZeroHedge

December 28, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 9 Comments

States that stood up for INF Treaty have now ‘de facto blessed’ US for scrapping it – Moscow

RT | December 22, 2018

The very same nations that blasted the White House for deciding to pull out of the landmark 1987 INF Treaty have now helped to defeat the UN resolution calling for its support, the Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out.

Russia expressed “disappointment” as a resolution in support of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was voted down by a narrow margin in the UN General Assembly on Friday.

Forty-three states, including China and South American countries, voted for the document drafted by Russia.

Forty-six voted against the resolution, with 78 abstaining. The US’ allies in NATO and the EU voted ‘No’ despite previously speaking in favor of keeping the arms agreement intact, the Russian Foreign Ministry noted.

These countries, especially the NATO members – contrary to their own statements about the importance of the INF Treaty – acted as its opponents.

Friday’s vote shows how the US’ allies “de facto blessed” Washington for violating the INF deal, the foreign ministry stressed.

Moscow’s envoy to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya told Rossiya 1 TV channel that prior to the vote his American counterpart, Nikki Haley, sent out a letter urging everyone to vote down the Russian draft.

As the US announced its willingness to ditch the landmark INF Treaty back in October, many European politicians defended the need to keep the existing agreement and hailed its role in nuclear disarmament. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called Washington’s decision “regrettable” as the treaty is “hugely important” to the European continent.

EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini referred to the embattled treaty as the “key” and “a fundamental pillar” to European security architecture and urged for it to be “preserved and fully implemented.”

The INF Treaty bans Moscow and Washington from developing and deploying ground-based missiles with ranges from 500 to 5,500 kilometers. Both sides accuse each other of violating its terms, and likewise deny any wrongdoing.

Two weeks ago, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to pull the US from the deal in 60 days “unless Russia returns to compliance.”

Russia, in turn, warned that the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty will trigger an arms race across the globe.

December 22, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

DPRK Is Still Being Persecuted For “Violating Human Rights”

By Konstantin Asmolov – New Eastern Outlook – 20.12.2018

The ties between South and North Koreas are becoming closer and there are fewer tensions in the relationship between DPRK and the USA. That often makes us forget that, though it was rather the Democrats’ strategy to pick on North Korea for violating human rights, the pressure on Pyongyang for this reason has merely become less blatant.

For example, on 23 October 2018, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in DPRK, Tomás Ojea Quintana, announced that over the past year many changes had taken place on the Korean Peninsula, but the situation with human rights in DPRK remained the same. He referred to testimonies, made by defectors from North Korea, when he said that ordinary North Korean inhabitants were starving and had no access to medical services due to lack of money. During his speech he even showed a padlock, which had been given to him as a gift by a teenage defector from North Korea, and said that specifically the United Nations had the key to improving the human rights situation in DPRK.

On 15 November, the UN General Assembly Third Committee on human rights, humanitarian affairs and social matters unanimously (without a vote) approved yet another resolution, put forward by Japan and the European Union, condemning DPRK for violating human rights. The UN has been adopting such resolutions since 2005, and the latest resolution happens to be the 14th one. And just as the resolutions approved earlier, it condemns DPRK for constant, systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights in the north of the Korean Peninsula. It demands, among other things, that all labor camps be immediately closed, all prisoners freed, and all parties, responsible for violating human rights, be held responsible. The authors of the document urge for the situation in DPRK to be resolved in the International Criminal Court; for the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to be brought to justice, and for concrete measures to be taken on this issue, with due consideration to be given to the conclusions reached by the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate violations of human rights in DPRK (as it turns out the notorious 2014 report was, for the most part, based on false testimonies).

In reality, no serious changes were made to the document, which, according to South Korean media sources, lends evidence to the idea that no progress has been made to resolve human rights issues in North Korea, and does not illustrate the fact that such resolutions are produced regardless of the reality on the ground in North Korea. Still, the UN Committee on humanitarian affairs “has welcomed” Pyongyang’s attempts to normalize diplomatic relations with the international community and to abide by the inter-Korean agreements on families split up by the conflict.

In response, North Korea’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Kim Song, stated that discussions about human rights violations in DPRK were out of the question, and that the international community was meddling in internal affairs of a sovereign nation. China, Russia, Syria, Myanmar and other countries also did not support the resolution, but they did not demand for its approval to be put to a vote. They did not do so because the international community cannot demand that Pyongyang abide by its conditions, and the pressure applied by the resolution on North Korea is not great enough to start a confrontation over it. DPRK media outlets also called the resolution a thinly veiled campaign to tarnish North Korea’s reputation, and stated that the step taken by the UN was aimed at halting the current trend towards better dialogue and peace.

In November 2018, Moon Jong In, a special advisor to the South Korean President on issues connected with diplomacy and unification, advised the DPRK leader to start focusing on human rights issues, and to better still close labor camps. In his opinion, any rhetoric voiced by Kim Jong-un on human rights issues can substantially help Pyongyang gain more trust from the international community. Quoting the statement made by Moon Jong In, Amnesty International estimated (it would be interesting to know how) that there are more than 130,000 political prisoners in North Korea. And on 31 October 2018, experts from the international organization Human Rights Watch published an 86-page report, entitled “You Cry at Night but Don’t Know Why: Sexual Violence against Women in North Korea”, which stated that North Korean officials used the lawless rape of women as a mechanism of repression. We will dedicate a separate article to the analysis of this report, as it is a good example of how broad interpretations of the meaning of the word “rape”, and inaccurate information selection help transform DPRK into an analogue of those African nations where mass rape is actually part of repression means, used by authorities.

On 26 November, the main DPRK newspaper commented on the Human Rights Watch report and the repeated allusions to this issue, by noting that the USA had been using these mind games in order to gain concessions from DPRK in negotiations and to destabilize the North Korean regime. The paper also reported that, currently in the US, it is being asserted that the stumbling block in the relationship between the USA and DPRK is the nuclear issue. But once this issue is resolved to the benefit of Washington, the US will use the human rights violation issue or another reason to apply pressure on DPRK to change its regime.

On 27 November, the international news agency France-Presse announced that Washington approached the UN Security Council with a request to hold a meeting on the human rights issues in North Korea on 10 December. Such meetings have taken place since 2014, and despite objections from Beijing, the request has already received support from 9 nation-participants, which is essential for its approval.

DPRK’s Ambassador to the United Nations once again expressed regret at the fact that the UN Security Council followed orders from Washington blindly, and highlighted that the decision would not have a favorable effect on the outcomes of diplomatic negotiations between the international community and Pyongyang.

Along with international sanctions, imposed in response to the violations, unilateral ones are also being used. Hence, on 29 November, in order to reinforce the fight against human trafficking, Donald Trump signed an executive order to ban provision of non-humanitarian and non-trade financial assistance to a number of countries in year 2019. Eighteen countries were placed in this banned list, which includes DPRK, China, Iran, South Sudan, Eritrea, Venezuela and even the Russian Federation. They were included, because their local authorities failed to make enough effort to combat human trafficking, and these restrictions will remain in place until the nations take decisive action. Trump appealed to the International Monetary Fund and development banks to not offer credit lines to the previously mentioned nations.

Every year, the USA publishes a report on human trafficking, and every time DPRK, for 16 years in a row now, is listed as a nation which actively engages in human trafficking. Since 2003, the country has received the lowest rating, which means that it is actively involved in human trafficking within its borders, and that local authorities take no measures to resolve this issue. In the case of DPRK, “slave trade” usually refers to the fate of North Korean defectors to China, who end up in inhumane conditions on account of the efforts made by the so-called “brokers” that are often protected by South Korean NGOs.

As the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in DPRK, Tomás Ojea Quintana, stated, the United Nations would embrace closer ties between the two Koreas, but human rights violations were impossible to ignore. The author urges the readers to remember this statement and also recall it when answering the question “Will DPRK be left alone after it (let us say this is possible) fulfills the denuclearization requirements?” After all, in one possible scenario any mistake on North Korea’s part is presented as deplorable, but in another, as an unfortunate incident, which is easily forgotten. It is probably not worth explaining what the reaction of the international community would have been if the diplomatic mission where a dissident was dismembered had been a North Korean and not a Saudi one.

Konstantin Asmolov, PhD in History, Leading Research Fellow at the Center for Korean Studies of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

December 20, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | 1 Comment