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UK using Cold War’s black propaganda tactics against Russia

By Lucas Leiroz | May 19, 2022

Once again, the West appears to be operating with an old Cold War mentality against Russia. Documents recently declassified by the British government reveal a series of sabotage practices used by the UK during the bipolar era whose similarities to the current relations with Russia seem evident. In fact, sabotage, fomenting hatred, spreading lies and other common tactics seem like a commonplace part of British foreign policy and the current Special Operation in Ukraine is just another target.

Recently, it was revealed that the British government ran a series of secret “black propaganda” campaigns against enemy countries during the decades of the Cold War. Not only the Soviet Union and Communist China were targets of British intelligence, but also countries in Africa, the Middle East and specific regions of Asia. The tactics included various methods of sabotage, from information warfare to the promotion of racial and terrorist tensions, always aimed at promoting the destabilization of rival nations.

Commenting on the case, expert in intelligence Rory Cormac told The Guardian during an interview: “These releases are among the most important of the past two decades (…) It’s very clear now that the UK engaged in more black propaganda than historians assume and these efforts were more systemic, ambitious and offensive. Despite official denials, [this] went far beyond merely exposing Soviet disinformation (…) The UK did not simply invent material (…), but they definitely intended to deceive audiences in order to get the message across”.

An example of how British praxis worked was the extensive and complex action operated to promote tensions between the Soviet Union and the Islamic community. In the second half of the 1960s, the Information Research Department (IRD) forged at least eleven Soviet state media documents exposing the government’s alleged “anger” at the “waste” of Soviet weapons by Egypt during the 1967 Six-Day War. Later, the same department forged documents supposedly originating from the Muslim Brotherhood accusing Moscow of sabotaging the Egyptian campaign, criticizing the quality of Soviet military material and calling the Russians “filthy-tongued atheists” who saw the Egyptians as “peasants who lived all their lives nursing reactionary Islamic superstitions”.

Last year, The Observer had already revealed that the IRD was directly responsible for the massacre of hundreds of people in Indonesia through the spread of lies in a black propaganda campaign in 1965. At the time, the department financed the preparation of pamphlets allegedly belonging to the PKI, then the largest communist party in the non-communist world, which were actually just British false flags. This encouraged anti-communist militias to promote an unprecedented massacre in the country, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of communist militants and civilians. Now, with the new declassified documents, it is possible to see that this was not an isolated episode, but a regular practice in British intelligence services.

In fact, it seems impossible to analyze this case and not correlate in some way to the current Western campaign against Russia, in which the UK seems to be very involved. In a way, it appears that despite the end of the Cold War, the bipolar mentality has never stopped working in the West. Simply, what was once aimed at the Soviet Union is now aimed at Russia.

This is precisely what political analyst Joe Quinn thinks: “The timing of this declassification of the documents is interesting insomuch as it may serve, for some, as confirmation that the West’s geopolitical war against the Soviet Union never really ended, it just continued as a war against the Russian Federation, but without the justification of fighting against Communism”.

The British media has been one of the most active in spreading anti-Russian narratives, fake news and pro-Kiev propaganda. Although most of the work is operated by the private sector, it is naive to think that there is no state incentive for pro-NATO propaganda. The British state – as well as the US and allied nations – has a very deep interest in creating a psychological warfare scenario, so there is a type of clandestine public-private cooperation between the state departments and these media agencies for their common objective to be achieved.

The special military operation in Ukraine is the main reason why Russia is attacked by Western propaganda today. From accusations of war crimes, false flags (like the tragedy in Bucha) to the absolutely unrealistic “analyses” alleging that Ukraine is “winning” the conflict, we have in all these cases examples of how the British media acts in collusion with the interests of NATO, operating old tactics of misinformation and black propaganda against London’s geopolitical enemies.

In this regard, Adriel Kasonta, a London-based foreign affairs analyst and former chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Bow Group think tank, believes that currently the main interest of British intelligence is to have a public opinion approving the sending of weapons to Ukraine and believing it is strategic, forging data to make it appear that that Kiev is close to “winning”.

“It aims to mislead the domestic audience by convincing them that the ‘special operation’ is not going according to plan and to persuade them that sending lethal weapons to the front by NATO allies contributes to the alleged victories and successful resistance of the Ukrainian side. It is a psychological game, and nothing persuades the naturally peaceful population to support a war in a distant land [more] than the opponent’s alleged low morale and military losses”, says the analyst.

With that, it seems to be clear that there is indeed a blatant anti-Russian campaign going on which aim is to harm Moscow using old and well-known black propaganda and information war tactics. It is essential that the recently declassified documents are released so that Western public opinion is aware of the weapons used by their governments and media agencies against nations that are not aligned with NATO’s geopolitical plans.

Lucas Leiroz is a researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.

May 19, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Western military strategy for Ukraine changes for conciliatory tone

By Uriel Araujo | May 18, 2022

According to Western authorities and media reports Ukraine has been winning the war, but, notwithstanding all the weapon’s shipments from the West, this narrative can only be described as propaganda, for a number of reasons. Amid this triumphalist rhetoric, the US-led West seems to have chosen the path of full-spectrum conflict with Moscow, as one can see in the recent G7 joint statement.

And yet, strangely, French President Emmanuel Macron’s own remarks during Europe Day contained a conciliatory tone about not “humiliating” Moscow should Kiev win. The US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, in turn has asked May13 for a conversation with his counterpart, Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu, to talk about “an immediate ceasefire”. This was the very first talk the two officials had since the beginning of the Russian military operations in February. Thus, we are seeing contradictory signs.

Moreover, Austin also showed he is interested in keeping lines of communication open with the Kremlin. The one-hour long phone call was requested by Washington. This is the same Lloyd Austin who, in April 26, stated he believed Kiev would win the war, with American help.

Echoing Austin’s change of tone, Macron reportedly has asked Ukraine to make some “concessions”, to which President Volodymir Zelensky replied in a May 13 interview with Italian TV channel RAI that “we won’t help Putin save face by paying with our territory”. This has generated some embarrassment and has prompted a reply from the French presidency, stating that Macron in fact has never “asked President Zelenskyy for any concession.” The same day the G7 announced its intentions to further contain and isolate Moscow, Macron stated, during his address to the European Parliament, on May 9, that “we are not at war with Russia”, adding that Europe’s duty is to “stand with Ukraine to achieve a ceasefire, then build peace.”

Macron and Austin are not alone. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz during a long talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 13 over the telephone, according to a recent Twitter publication of his, stated that there must be a “ceasefire” in Ukraine “as quickly as possible”. Interestingly there was no talk of Russia immediately retreating, which would be a strange thing if it were true that Kiev is “winning” the war.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi in turn has also echoed the same theme about a ceasefire. The fact that the speeches of leaders from the three EU largest countries are thus aligned is a clear sign that something is changing. This reflects popular opinion also: according to a recent survey across 27 Western countries (conducted by polling company Ipsos), support for diplomatic talks with Russia has increased precisely in France, Germany and Italy.

These are certainly not the only problems that should worry the US. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, for example, has threatened to block Sweden and Finland NATO bids. With Turkey being such a relevant NATO member, this is yet another sign of the contradictions within the alliance.

In spite of the aforementioned Austin statements, the American take on this is still somewhat more complicated, though. According to the Politico website, a high-ranking Washington official has admitted the US worries about a “fracture”, considering these recent European developments. Within American society itself, however, concerned voices, even in the conservative camp, are increasingly more skeptical about the current US policy regarding the Russo-Ukrainian war. As inflation rises, the 40 billion-dollar package to help Kiev, which is being discussed in Congress, is under a lot of criticism.

While Western officials are starting to change their tone and are apparently willing to start some dialogue with Moscow, the Ukrainian President in turn is maintaining his triumphalist uncompromising tone. Kiev, however, is largely dependent on the West, and in the long run would have no choice, but to play along.

The problem is that any “appeasement” endeavors will face a harsh internal reaction from the very extremist forces the West has been supporting. One should recall Dmytro Yarosh’s 2019 threatening remarks about Zelensky “losing his life” and ending up “hanging on a tree on Khreshchatyk (in the Kiev’s center)” if he “betrayed” Ukrainian nationalists. Yarosh, a far-right activist, is nowadays an adviser to Valerii Zaluzhny, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

This also explains why countries such as Germany are increasingly reluctant to further arm Kiev – the risk of weapons ending up in the hands of unpredictable extremist groups is too high.

By now, it has become abundantly clear that today’s conflict in Ukraine is a proxy Western war against Russia. The attitude of the United States and EU leaders regarding the crisis has been one of open confrontation without compromise – and of fueling tensions. However, as we can see, there are signs that this approach could be starting to decline.

In early May, referring to the former US President, Noam Chomsky, stated, in an interview, that only one “Western statesman” is advocating “a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine, instead of looking for ways to encourage and prolong it”, namely “Donald Trump”. Chomsky’s remark seemed accurate back then, but this might be changing now.

May 18, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

15,000 NATO troops from 14 nations, including the US, Sweden, Finland and Ukraine, start drills near Russia

Samizdat | May 16, 2022

Large-scale NATO military drills started in Estonia on Monday. The exercise dubbed ‘Hedgehog 2022’ is one of the largest in the Baltic nation’s history, according to the military bloc. The drills will involve some 15,000 troops from 14 nations, including both military bloc members and their partners.

Soldiers from Finland, Sweden, Georgia and Ukraine are among those that will take part in the exercise, Finnish public broadcaster Yle reported. The drills will include all branches of the armed forces and will involve air, sea and land exercises, as well as cyber warfare training, according to the broadcaster.

According to a NATO statement, the drills will also see the US Navy Wasp-class landing ship ‘Kearsarge’ take part in the exercises. Both the military bloc and Estonian Defense Forces deputy commander, Major General Veiko-Vello Palm, have denied that the drills just over 60km from the Russian border have anything to do with Moscow’s ongoing military action in Ukraine.

The drills started just a day after Finland and Sweden officially announced their plans to join NATO, and were planned long before the conflict in Ukraine broke out, Western officials have said.

The exercises in Estonia are, however, just one part of NATO’s large-scale military activities near the Russian border. Another Baltic state, Lithuania, is hosting the ‘Iron Wolf’ exercise, which involves 3,000 NATO troops and 1,000 pieces of military equipment, including Germany’s Leopard 2 tanks.

Two of NATO’s biggest exercises – ‘Defender Europe’ and ‘Swift Response’ – are taking place in Poland and eight other countries, involving 18,000 troops from 20 nations, according to NATO’s statement on Friday.

“Exercises like these show that NATO stands strong and ready to protect our nations and defend against any threat,” the military bloc’s spokesperson, Oana Lungescu, said, adding that the drills “help to remove any room for miscalculation or misunderstanding about our resolve to protect and defend every inch of allied territory.”

The NATO Response Force is currently taking part in the 7,500-strong ‘Wettiner Heide’ drills in Germany. The Mediterranean Sea is about to witness ‘Neptune series’ naval drills involving the USS ‘Harry S. Truman’ carrier strike group that will be placed under NATO command. This will only be the second time since the end of the Cold War that a US carrier group has been transferred under the military bloc’s command, NATO has said.

In June, the Baltic States and Poland will host what NATO describes as “Europe’s largest integrated air and missile defense exercise,” which would involve 23 nations.

In late April, Finland hosted NATO naval drills. Now, it is also hosting a joint land exercise, in which troops from the US, the UK, Estonia and Latvia are participating.

The massive military wargames are taking place amid heightened tensions between Russia, NATO and some of the military bloc’s partners. Finland, which shares a long border with Russia, and Sweden decided to reconsider their long-standing policy of non-alignment following a major change in public opinion after the launch of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

The development sparked a wave of criticism from Moscow, which warned that it would have to respond if Finland and Sweden join NATO. Moscow also maintains that it considers NATO’s expansion as a direct threat to its own security.

May 16, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | 10 Comments

‘Finns & Swedes won’t benefit from NATO’

Samizdat | May 16, 2022

NATO membership won’t make Finland and Sweden more secure, but would likely see them fighting somebody else’s wars and hosting American bases, Dr. Jan Oberg, director of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, has told RT.

“It’s a disastrous decision,” Oberg said on Sunday, following an official declaration by the Finnish government that it is planning to join the US-led military bloc. Hours later, a similar announcement was made by the ruling party in Sweden. The two Nordic nations stayed out of NATO during the Cold War, but their governments said Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has become a game-changer.

Finland and Sweden have failed to carry out “long-term consequence analysis,” he added. “Nobody seems to ask whether NATO is the right thing to join. After all these years since 1945, NATO has proven that it’s not able to deliver what taxpayers are paying for, namely stability, peace and security… and then Finland and Sweden say: ‘We’ll join this failed organization,’” he remarked.

“We have to ask ourselves: ‘Who caused the conflict [between Moscow and Kiev]?’ Everybody talks about the Russian invasion, which I deplore too, but underlying that is the conflict, which has to do with the NATO expansion,” the peace researcher said.

Making sure Ukraine becomes a neutral country that will never join NATO has been cited by Moscow as one of the main reasons for its ongoing military operation.

Oberg said he understood Russia’s concerns about the expansion of the bloc towards its borders. “If I was sitting in Moscow, I would feel that this was threatening,” he observed, referring to Finland and Sweden’s possible membership. “When you move troops up to the very border on both sides you increase tension; you decrease reaction time; you do all the things you shouldn’t do strategically if peace was your goal. Peace is not the goal of these people.”

The military-industrial complex – “those who sell weapons and profit from wars” – will gain from NATO adding two new members, he said. “The Swedish people and the Finnish people will not benefit from this. It’ll be completely new for them that they are now supposed to participate… in somebody else’s wars.”

With the US pushing for bases in Denmark and Norway, “are we to believe that there will not be American bases or American troops or something, you know, more permanent in Sweden and Finland?” he wondered.

NATO membership would also be “opening these countries for potential nuclearism that should never have been done in this particular area,” the peace researcher added.

Oberg said it was “appalling” that the governments in Helsinki and Stockholm didn’t put the issue to a referendum. “This is unheard of with such an important decision as joining NATO.”

While opinion polls have shown an overwhelming support for NATO membership in Finland, in Sweden the idea was backed by less than 50% of the public, he noted. “I’m amazed that there’s so little public discussion, so little uproar in terms of huge demonstrations in large cities in Sweden,” the scholar said.

He blamed the media, of which “80% to 90% is pro-NATO,” for this situation. “It’s very difficult to get into the media today with an alternative view… There’s no democracy and free media practice in this,” Oberg insisted.

Jan Oberg is a Danish-Swedish peace researcher, who received his doctorate from Lund University in Sweden. He taught courses in several countries, including Japan, Austria and Switzerland.

In 1986, the scholar co-founded the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Futures Research (TFF), an independent think tank aimed at promoting conflict-mitigation and achieving peace through peaceful means around the globe. He assisted on-the-ground work in ex-Yugoslavia, Georgia, Burundi, Iraq, Iran and Syria. In 2013, Oberg and TTF were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for their activities.

May 16, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 11 Comments

Ukraine War

BY ISRAEL SHAMIR • UNZ REVIEW • MAY 14, 2022

The immediate beginning of the trouble was a Geneva summit between two presidents that apparently went wrong. We don’t know what went wrong. The pro-Western Russian officials ran away to Georgia and Israel; they are being replaced by anti-Western officials. This East-West break will not be reversed with ease.

Russians are very similar to Ukrainians. Both are stubborn fighters. Throughout the 20th century they chose different strategies: Russians became internationalists, Ukrainians preferred nationalism. The Ukrainian nationalism was anti-Russian, while Russians harbored no negative feeling towards Ukrainians. It was natural for Ukrainians to flirt with anti-Russian powers. Yet when Ukrainian officials began to declare themselves NATO allies, even the most international Russians became alarmed.

Both Rome’s Pope and Noam Chomsky were capable of understanding the immediate casus belli behind Ukraine: NATO had barked at Putin’s door, and he reacted. In December 2021 Putin diplomatically proposed that NATO withdraw to its mid-1990’s line, and moreover he suggested that peaceful discussion about NATO’s borders might prevent future conflict. Putin proposed an international agreement on NATO’s borders, a political solution that everyone could agree on. This proposal was disregarded with nonchalance; NATO refused to discuss the idea. Putin was rightfully irritated. Further attempts to argue across the West/East divide weren’t successful. The West declined Putin’s politics. And the war began.

NATO began shipping in armaments and ammunition, and deployed their spies. Their intelligence gathering allowed them to sink a big Russian ship named Moscow. They provided the coordinates in real-time for Russian ships and planes. From the very beginning it was clear that Russia fights NATO more than Ukrainians, who they consider to be brothers. This wartime pathos was quite an unexpected development. Putin had always been known as a soft leader; he refused to be drawn into wars. Russia has avoided war for many years under Putin’s rule; and generations of Russians have become used to a peaceful and prosperous life. Suddenly, by circumstances beyond their control, they have been switched to life under war and sanctions.

Fortunately for everyone, the war in Ukraine has practically dried up. The Ukrainian leadership desperately begs for UN help to keep the war going, as if the Azov Battalion and the rest of the violent, cruel, thuggish militants need to be paid to shoot people. US Democrats have drafted a nearly $40 billion Ukraine War aid package, which was recently single-handedly blocked by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. The Ukraine War has become a political football in the USA. Both the Neocons on the right and the Neoliberals on the left hope to ride this war into Congress.In hindsight there were plenty of warnings. Russians were blocked from the Olympic games by an international conspiracy of blatant hypocrisy. Russian athletes were accused of doping. Now, Western athletes also use doping, but they know how to get around the rules. The Norwegians claimed they have asthma, and they need special performance-enhancing drugs to heal it. The Americans had excuses of their own, and so did the athletes of many other nations. Russian RUSADA man Mr. Grigori Rodchenkov was bribed by the US to deliver proof of Russian doping. The Russians claim the evidence was falsified. In any case the Russian official defected westward, in a step unseen since the Cold War. Russia was tagged as a pariah throughout the games; she was not allowed to play her national anthem nor display her flag. Russians have been persecuted by the Olympic establishment for generations. There is an undeclared war against Russian athletes; here is the full story. The pattern is undeniable. Russian athletes are routinely penalized for activities that other nations practice with impunity. This has to stop.

Russians are unhappy with war as a solution for the Ukraine crisis. They speak of “betrayal”, and that means the political steam behind the offensive is getting thin. Instead, Russians think they can derail the NATO war and the international sanctions by judiciously withholding Europe’s gas and oil. The Arab Oil Embargo brought the US to its knees in the 1970’s using just that strategy. NATO exists to fight wars; bringing war to NATO simply feeds it. The only way to defeat NATO is to starve it. Russia has great quantities of oil, gas and wheat. She produces aluminum, iron, coal, steel, titanium and cheap electricity. The Russian economy has been called “bulletproof” because of its ability to withstand geopolitical shocks.

How exactly are sanctions hurting Russia? Banking freezes are simply pushing Russia into the waiting arms of China, which literally has an unlimited need for Russian energy and commodities. The US Petrodollar is on the cusp of being denominated in Roubles. Stories of boycotts by Twitter, Facebook and Pornhub underscore the ludicrous nature of Western sanctions. “EU blacklists Abramovich, targets energy, luxury sectors…” It seems that only Russia’s Jewish Mafia will be hurt by the international sanctions. The efficacy of Western sanctions is being wildly exaggerated by the Western media and the implacable coming of winter has always been a harbinger of Russian victory. As Biden says, “It will be a very Dark Winter.”

Germany needs Russian energy. It always has. It always will. There is simply no other option for Germany. As the home base of NATO, Germany is in a unique position to forge a lasting peace with Russia. Germans might benefit greatly from increased trade to the East along such routes as the China-Europe Railway Express, but they remain choked by their old millstones. The business of war is no longer profitable. The big players are now supplying China with everything it needs to manufacture the world’s wealth, and Russia is in a unique position to be a major producer. The rest of Europe is also conveniently located to benefit from the new Chinese empire, if they could only cease squabbling long enough to draw a profit. The dying Anglo-American empire is the only entity that profits from division along the Eurasian continent.

May 15, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 2 Comments

Italy’s Matteo Salvini Speaks Out Against Finland, Sweden Joining NATO, Arms Deliveries to Ukraine

By Tim Corso | Samizdat | May 15, 2022

The leader of Lega, Italian ruling coalition’s party, Matteo Salvini has stood up against the idea of accepting Sweden and Finland in NATO as the former is considering to make this step in the nearest future and the latter have already decided to file a bid to join.

“Not now. Everything that delays the process of achieving peace should be put on a waiting list,” he argued.

His position was backed by a fellow party member, Economic Development Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti, who argued that the accession to NATO of the two new countries located near Russia’s borders, “will definitely not help to reduce the [duration of the Ukrainian] conflict”.

This stance contradicts the official policy declared by Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio – a member of the Five Stars Movement. He stated at the G7 countries’ meeting that Rome would back Finland and Sweden’s bids to join the alliance.

The two countries, which have long maintained their neutral status, changed their tune following the start of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine on 24 February. Sweden has yet to make the final decision on the matter and announce its bid, but NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg already stated that the alliance will gladly welcome both states in its ranks.

Meanwhile, the president of Turkey, a NATO member-state, expressed concern over Finland and Sweden’s bids to join the alliance. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Ankara can’t consider the prospect of the two countries joining the alliance as positive at the moment.

Lega Leader Against Arms Deliveries to Ukraine

Head of the Lega party Matteo Salvini also has spoken against sending more weapons to Ukraine, arguing that it does not help to stop the conflict.

“It is one thing to send economic and military assistance at the beginning [of the conflict…], it is another thing to do it now. Peace must be achieved, and sending weapons will not help,” Salvini said.

Former Italian Prime Minister and leader of the Five Stars Movement, Giuseppe Conte, holds a similar stance, calling on more efforts to be made in the field of diplomacy instead of arms supplies to Ukraine.

Moscow has repeatedly urged the Western countries to stop supplying weapons to Ukraine, but these calls fell on deaf ears as these states started to ship heavy weaponry to Kiev. The Kremlin argued that such steps only perpetuate the conflict and delay the signings of an agreement that ends the Russian special operation. Moscow accused the West of waging a hybrid war against Russia and using Ukraine for its goals, trying to fight “until the last Ukrainian standing”.

May 15, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Russia sanctions will trigger global food and energy crises – China

Samizdat | May 12, 2022

The international sanctions campaign to punish Russia over the Ukraine conflict will backfire, causing suffering by people around the world while failing to promote peace in the former Soviet republic, a top Chinese diplomat has told the UN Security Council.

“Sanctions will not bring peace but will only accelerate the spillover of the crisis, triggering sweeping food, energy and financial crises across the globe,” Chinese deputy UN ambassador Dai Bing said on Thursday in New York. He added that continuing to impose sanctions on Moscow will force children around the world to “suffer the bitter consequences.”

Dai made his comments as the Security Council met to discuss the humanitarian crisis brought on by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Although he also spoke of efforts to help protect children affected by the fighting, such as encouraging Russia and Ukraine to work together to enable more civilian evacuations, he said the only real solution is a negotiated peace deal.

“Achieving peace is the best protection for children,” Dai said. “Dialogue and negotiation are the most realistic and feasible way to reach a ceasefire and to stop the war. The international community should encourage Russia and Ukraine to return to the negotiation track and keep accumulating political conditions for the restoration of peace.”

By instead trying to force a resolution through sanctions, Western nations and their allies are actually causing more harm to children, especially those living in such war-torn places as Afghanistan, Yemen, the Horn of Africa and the Sahel region, Dai said. “China again calls on parties to stay rational and exercise restraint, transcend prejudice and strife, and make unremitting efforts for the early resolution of the crisis in Ukraine.”

The US and its NATO allies have spearheaded the sanctions campaign, trying to isolate Russia and devastate its economy and currency. However, the ruble is actually stronger today than before the Ukraine crisis began, rebounding from an historic low reached in March. In fact, it has been the world’s top-performing currency so far in 2022, even though Russia’s economy is reportedly on track to contract by an estimated 12% this year.

Meanwhile, food and energy shortages are looming around the world, and inflation is at around a 40-year high in the US and parts of Western Europe. President Vladimir Putin claimed on Thursday that sanctions are triggering a global economic crisis, and the blame “lies entirely with the elites of Western countries who are ready to sacrifice the rest of the world to maintain their global dominance.”

May 12, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , , | 2 Comments

US regime willing to escalate Ukrainian conflict

Washington’s recent maneuvers reveal US wants to take conflict to its ultimate consequences

By Lucas Leiroz | Aletho News | May 12, 2022

Once again, the US seems to be the side most interested in taking the Ukrainian conflict to its ultimate consequences. A law recently signed by Joe Biden threatens to escalate the dispute in Eastern Europe to extremely dangerous levels, increasing NATO’s support for Kiev in order for the Ukrainian forces to be able to continue fighting for a long time even without any material chance of real victory.

On May 9 the US president signed the “Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022”, leading to a new phase in Washington-Kiev relations, in which Americans will be authorized to streamline and de-bureaucratize the process of sending military aid to Ukrainian forces. The objective of such a maneuver is to banish any procedural obstacle to the agility of bilateral military partnership, encouraging the systematic sending of material so that Ukrainian troops maintain their “resistance” against the Russian special operation.

Explicitly, the American objective with such an attitude is not to contribute to the achievement of peace, but to encourage further combat and promote war. The indiscriminate escalation of the hostilities became a central point of American strategy in Ukraine. Washington assumes the objective is simply to make Ukraine beat Russia. In practice, as there is no possibility of this happening, the objective of the American “aid” seems to be to provoke a “long-term defeat”, that is, to make Russia suffer in this conflict enough so that it does not start any other operation like this again. This could only be achieved by fueling the fighting with more and more weapons for Ukraine, as proposed by the new law.

Scott Ritter, military analyst and former US Marine Corps intelligence officer commented on the topic as follows: “The stated policy of the United States at this point in time is to create the conditions for a strategic Russian defeat in Ukraine, one of the goals of which is to bleed Russia dry so that Russia can never again carry out an action such as it has undertaken in Ukraine, or anywhere else (…) This is the opposite of achieving peace. This is about promoting war. And as such, yes, the lend-lease legislation is not just adding fuel to the fire, it’s pouring fuel all over the fire”.

In fact, this supposed “strategic objective” seems incoherent. For there to be any real harm to Russia, the aid would have to be strong enough that Moscow would be forced to mobilize its full offensive potential towards Ukraine – which evidently is not happening now. And for that to occur, a level of help much higher than mere shipment of armaments would be needed. To reverse Ukraine’s current status of virtually strategic neutralization, the West would need to become more directly involved in the conflict, which would be interpreted as NATO intervention and would result in a Russian response – something the Americans certainly want to avoid.

So, the speech seems just an attempt to deceive public opinion: there is no real intention to “defeat” Russia, either in the short or long term. There is only the desire to carry the conflict forward in order to delay its consequences, which are the retreat of NATO in Europe and the geopolitical multipolarization. When victory becomes impossible, delaying defeat is the most strategic thing to do and that is precisely what the US is doing in Ukraine, to the detriment of the local people, who just want peace.

An important point to be commented on is the fact that the bill approved by Biden this week is not new. Despite its recent approval, the project had already been introduced by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in January 2022. This means that the intention of US lawmakers is old and has no specific relationship with Russian military operation. It was already the goal of the US to promote an unrestrained militarization of Ukraine, which demonstrates that Moscow’s justification for the need to demilitarize Kiev is valid. Had the operation not started, Kiev would now be receiving these weapons in the same way – and possibly using them against civilians in Donbass.

The first consequences of the Act are about to come. On May 10 the House approved a new budget of more than 33 billion dollars in military aid to Kiev. With the new Act, approval by the Senate must take place as quickly as possible, without further discussions or bureaucracies. Direct private transactions with Ukraine will also take place without regulation in the US. Of course, this will also be a precedent and the US is expected to force European countries to pass similar laws to reduce bureaucracy in military trade with Kiev.

Now the scenario is set for an escalation that is sure to further complicate the situation for Ukraine. The Russians clearly do not want to use their full military potential in this operation, but they are willing to tolerate it only up to a point. If necessary, Moscow will not hesitate to increase its fighting force to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

Both the Ukrainian government and the West know this but prefer to maintain the narrative that it is possible to “defeat Russia”, perpetuating a situation that harms the civilian population more and more and only benefits the West and its military industry.

Lucas Leiroz is an researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.

May 12, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Russia accuses Lithuania of extremism

Samizdat | May 11, 2022

The Lithuanian parliament’s resolution branding Russia a “supporter of terrorism” amounts to “provocation, extremism and political hypocrisy,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

Earlier this week, the Baltic country’s lawmakers unanimously passed a resolution stating that “the Russian Federation, whose military forces deliberately and systematically bomb civilian targets, is a state that supports and practices terrorism.”

Since the beginning of the conflict in late February, Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of shelling residential areas. Kiev denies that it targets civilians, while Moscow insists that it only hits military targets.

On her show on Sputnik radio on Wednesday, Zakharova said the three Baltic countries, all NATO members, have expressed “neither concern, condemnation nor at least bewilderment” over the actions of the alliance in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yugoslavia, which led to “hundreds of thousands of casualties among the civilian population,” and to the “emergence of conflicts in places where they were not even contemplated.”

Because of this, Zakharova argued, there is no point in believing that the Lithuanian parliament’s resolution has anything to do with pacifism or with any desire “to resolve the extremely difficult situation in Ukraine.”

“This should be treated exactly as an element of provocation, extremism and political hypocrisy,” the foreign ministry spokeswoman said, adding: if Lithuania is truly concerned of the fate of Ukraine and of “its own European continent,” it should not have engaged in “provocative activities” over the last eight years, but instead care about the fate of people in Donbass and urge Kiev to observe the Minsk agreements.

If Lithuania is really concerned now, it would call for a ceasefire, oppose the supply of weapons to Kiev, and offer intermediary services, Zakharova said. “Instead, they are doing exactly the opposite.”

Russia attacked the neighboring state following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists that the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

May 11, 2022 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , | 1 Comment

Assad renews Syria’s bonds with Iran

BY M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | INDIAN PUNCHLINE | MAY 9, 2022 

The unannounced arrival of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Tehran on Sunday makes yet another wrinkle to the geopolitics of West Asia. In a short trip of a few hours, Assad had meetings with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raeisi and returned to Damascus. 

This is only the second trip by Assad to Iran in the past 11 years since the conflict erupted in Syria. The last occasion was in 2019, when he came accompanied by the charismatic commander of the IRGC’s elite Quds Force late Qassem Soleimani to mark Syria’s “victory” in the conflict. Much water has flowed down down the Euphrates and the Tigris since then. 

There is some speculation that Russia may redeploy its forces in Syria. The Israeli intelligence website DebkaFile reported cryptically on Friday that “Russian units deployed to Syria are assembling at the air bases of  Hmeimim, Qamishli, Deir e-Zor and T4, ready for some to transfer to the Ukraine warfront. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Russians are handing over key bases to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Hizballah.” 

Prima facie, this is kite-flying, so to speak. There is no independent word from Moscow. Iran will be certainly in the loop on any big Russian troop withdrawal from Syria. The Turkish air space is closed to Russian [military] planes since April and on February 28 Ankara had restricted the passage of Russian warships through the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits (unless they are returning to their bases in the Black Sea.) 

Analysts have interpreted the Turkish decisions as “anti-Russian” but they come under the ambit of Montreux Convention (1936) and on closer look, may even work to Moscow’s advantage since the door is also closed to any NATO naval build-up in the Black Sea. Russian papers have pointed out that Moscow has been using the air corridor via Iran and Iraq to supply its troops in Syria. 

Indeed, Turkey is doing a delicate trapeze act vis-a-vis Russia and Ukraine, being a Black Sea power with overlapping security concerns, while also a NATO power. Turkey has deftly created space to manoeuvre since NATO is technically not at war with Russia, and since Turkey is not a EU member country, it isn’t obliged to sanction Russia, either. 

Turkish leadership has actively nurtured contacts with the Kremlin, and the economic partnership continues, including over the construction of the massive $20 billion Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (comprising four 1,200 MW VVER units), which is expected to meet ten percent of Turkey’s electricity demand when it is completed in 2025. 

Again, Russian carrier Aeroflot has just resumed flights to Turkey in anticipation of the tourist season. Believe it or not, Turkey has found an ingenuous formula to allow Russian tourists to travel to Turkey bypassing the suspension of Visa and Mastercard by making it possible to access their funds through Russia’s homegrown payments system called Mir! Some 4.7 million Russian tourists visited Turkey last year, accounting for 19% of the total tourist arrivals, fetching an annual income exceeding $10 billion. 

When it comes to Russian-Iranian relations too, the picture is broadly similar to India’s — neither supporting Russia nor opposing it while refusing to censure Russian intervention and counselling ceasefire and dialogue as the only solution. 

According to Iranian media reports, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak is due to visit Iran shortly in connection with the session of the Iran-Russia Joint Economic Committee. The discussions are expected to focus on “strengthening financial cooperation and resolving transit problems” between the two countries as well as cooperating in the fields of oil and gas and promoting trade and tourism. Tehran knows that such camaraderie with Moscow is contrary to the spirit of Western sanctions.   

Moscow has every intention to remain actively involved in Syria. Special Russian Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov disclosed to Tass last week that Russia is working on scheduling the next international meeting on Syria in the Astana format for the end of May in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Does that look like Russia washing its hands off Syria? To quote Bogdanov, “We already discussed this with partners Iran and Turkey as the guarantors of the Astana process plus with the Syrian government and opposition delegations.” 

The official Syrian news agency Sana described Assad’s trip to Tehran as a “working visit.” It quoted Assad as stressing to Khamenei about “the importance of continuing cooperation in order not to allow America to rebuild the international terrorist system that it used to harm the countries of the world,” adding that the US “is weaker than ever.”

There are four main takeaways from Assad’s talks with the Iranian leadership. First, Assad made it clear in no uncertain terms that no matter Syria’s normalisation with the UAE (or other Arab countries involved in the conflict), he continues to attribute the highest importance to Syria’s alliance with Iran. Assad underscored that Syria is ready for broader coordination with Iran in security, political and economic fields.

Second, Damascus needs Tehran’s help for finally freeing Syria from foreign occupation. Raisi told Assad, “The whole of the Syrian land must be liberated from foreign occupiers. This occupation should not be subject to the passage of time, and the occupying forces and their mercenaries should be expelled.” Sana cited Khamenei as stressing that Iran will “continue to support Syria to complete its victory over terrorism and liberate the rest of the country’s lands.” 

Third, the two countries have a consensus on the effectiveness and vibrancy of the resistance front. Assad acknowledged that the weakening of the US’ influence in West Asia and the end of Israel’s military supremacy regionally is a direct outcome of the strategic relations between Iran and Syria, “which must continue with strength.” 

Interestingly, Khamenei recalled that Soleimani had “a special liking towards Syria and literally sacrificed his life” for that country and viewed the issue of Syria as a “sacred duty and obligation”. Khamenei reminded Assad poignantly, “This bond is vital for both countries and we should not let it weaken. On the contrary, we should strengthen it as much as possible.” Raisi called Assad “one of the figures of the Resistance Front” like his father Hafez al-Assad.

Fourth, Assad sought and obtained assurances from the highest level of Iranian leadership that Iran will help Syria overcome its difficulties. This is particularly crucial at a juncture when regional politics is in flux and Russia is preoccupied in Ukraine. 

A resuscitation of the US-led regime change project in Syria is not to be expected and Washington no longer wields commanding influence over its Persian Gulf allies or Turkey to get them to act as its surrogates. But Assad’s challenge is that Syria is getting relegated to the back burner as new hotspots and topical issues draw the region’s attention — such as JCPOA, Yemen, Iran-Saudi normalisation, OPEC+, etc. 

Although the conflict has ended, Syria still remains under foreign occupation and its economy is in ruins. A frozen conflict may legitimise the status quo. Meanwhile, Israel is waiting in the wings. Assad’s visit to Tehran signals that Iran remains the mainstay of Syria’s future strategy to avoid such a dismal fate. Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian affirmed on Monday that Assad’s visit was held in an atmosphere of “fraternity and friendship,” and it opens a new chapter in the strategic ties.

May 9, 2022 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UK pledges more military aid for Ukraine

Samizdat | May 8, 2022

The UK pledged a further £1.3 billion ($1.6 billion) in military support and aid to Ukraine on Saturday. London said the move nearly doubles London’s previous spending commitments to Kiev, and is the country’s highest rate of spending on a conflict since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The extra money will come from a reserve used by the government for emergencies. Like other NATO member states, the UK has been increasingly supplying Kiev with weapons, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missile systems and armored vehicles.

This week, London said it was sending 13 armored vehicles to Ukrainian police and the National Guard. The UK government has also been delivering tanks to Poland in order to replace those Warsaw has donated to Kiev.

Similarly, the US pledged an additional $150 million in military assistance to Ukraine on Friday. The package includes 25,000 155mm artillery rounds, as well as radars and electronic jamming equipment.

Russia has repeatedly criticized the West for “flooding” Ukraine with weapons, and warned in April that foreign arms become legitimate targets once they reach Ukrainian soil.

May 8, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 2 Comments

US ‘directly’ involved in Ukraine conflict – Moscow

Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin
Samizdat | May 7, 2022

Washington should be added to a “list of war criminals” as it is now directly participating in “hostilities” in Ukraine, Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin claimed on Saturday, citing media reports about alleged US intelligence-sharing with Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden has told senior intelligence officials that “counterproductive” leaks about data sharing with Ukraine should stop, NBC reported on Friday.

Though there was no official reaction to the report from the US authorities, Volodin took to Telegram to comment on it. “The United States is taking part in hostilities in Ukraine. US President Biden, demanding to stop leaks about the exchange of intelligence information with Ukraine, admitted that Washington had been exposed,” he wrote.

Volodin said that the Ukrainian government, which he described as the “Kiev Nazi regime,” not only relies on weapons from the West, but also on the “assistance of American intelligence forces.”

The Duma chairman wrote that Washington “essentially coordinates and develops military operations” in Ukraine, and is therefore directly participating in the “hostilities” against Russian forces.

“For the crimes committed in Ukraine by the Kiev Nazi regime, the US leadership should also be held accountable, adding to the list of war criminals,” Volodin concluded.

However, the Pentagon earlier dismissed some of the media reports and specifically denied that the US had provided data allowing Ukrainian forces to strike Russia’s Black Sea flagship ‘Moskva’ off the coast of Odessa last month.

“The Ukrainians have their own intelligence capabilities to track and target Russian naval vessels, as they did in this case,” said US military spokesman John Kirby.

Russia insists that its missile cruiser wasn’t attacked, but sank on April 14 after a fire that had broken out on board caused ammunition to explode.

The White House National Security Council has admitted, however, that the US is “regularly providing detailed, timely intelligence to the Ukrainians on the battlefield to help them defend their country against Russian aggression and will continue to do so.”

This statement apparently did not come as a surprise to Moscow. On May 5, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists that the Russian authorities know the US, the UK and NATO “on a permanent basis” transmit intelligence and other data to Kiev but this would not “hinder the achievement of the goals set during the special military operation.”

Russia attacked its neighboring state following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join NATO. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

May 7, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments