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Russia stops gas transit through Poland

Moscow’s counter-sanctions ban the use of the Polish section of the Yamal-Europe pipeline

Samizdat | May 12, 2022

Russian energy major Gazprom said on Thursday it will not be able to use the Polish section of the Yamal-Europe pipeline for gas transit to Europe due to Moscow’s retaliatory sanctions.

Company spokesman Sergey Kupriyanov specified that the site belongs to EuRoPol GAZ, which is a joint venture between Gazprom and Polish gas major PGNiG. The latter is the operator of the Polish part of the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline.

On Wednesday, Moscow approved a list of companies in respect of which it will apply special economic measures. The list consists of 31 firms, including Polish EuRoPol GAZ, as well as the former German unit of Gazprom. The Russian-owned subsidiary was seized by the German authorities last month and could potentially be nationalized.

“For Gazprom, this means a ban on the use of a gas pipeline owned by EuRoPol GAZ to transport Russian gas through Poland,” the company said on its official Telegram channel.

Russian President Vladimir Putin decreed on May 3 that no Russian entity will be allowed to make deals with those on the sanctions list, or even fulfil its obligations under existing deals.

The decree forbids the export of products and raw materials to people and entities on the sanctions list.

Putin said the decree was in response to the illegal actions of the US and its allies meant to deprive Russia and its citizens and legal entities of property rights or to restrict their property rights.

The Yamal-Europe gas pipeline passes through Russia, Belarus, Poland, and Germany. Russia supplies nearly 40% of Europe’s overall gas demand, and this route accounts for nearly 15% of the country’s westbound deliveries. The pipeline has been operating in reverse mode recently, sending gas from Germany to Poland after Warsaw refused to accept Moscow’s demand to pay in rubles.

May 12, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

Poland hosts major NATO wargames

Samizdat | May 1, 2022

Poland is participating in two large-scale multinational drills and is the host nation for one of them, the country’s Defense Ministry revealed on Sunday amid Russia’s allegations that Warsaw is preparing to occupy the western part of Ukraine.

The Defender Europe 2022 (DE22) and Swift Response 2022 (SR22) will be conducted in nine countries including Poland between May 1-27, the Polish ministry said.

“There will be approximately 18,000 participants from over 20 countries training together in both exercises. The portion of the exercises on Polish soil will see some 7,000 troops and 3,000 pieces of equipment,” the statement reads.

Defender Europe is a regularly conducted American-led multinational exercise that aims poised to “build preparedness and interoperability between Allies and partners” of NATO and America. DE22 training will be conducted at several sites in Poland, with Polish soldiers to be joined by personnel from the US, France, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, and UK.

The Swift Response exercise will entail approximately 550 Polish soldiers being deployed to Lithuania and Latvia along with troops from the Czech Republic and a German-Dutch force.

“Joint combined exercises such as these enhance the security of the NATO Eastern Flank through a training in accordance with NATO standards and procedures,” the Defense Ministry emphasized.

It added that the drills also contribute to the allies’ preparedness “to meet new and emerging challenges at the contemporary battlefield in order to deter a potential aggressor.”

The military specifically pointed out that DE22 and SR 22 “are not aimed against any country and are not related to the current geopolitical situation in the region,” in a veiled reference to the ongoing Russian military offensive in Ukraine.

These assurances come as Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Director Sergey Naryshkin accused Warsaw of preparing to occupy the western part of Ukraine, which Poland considers as “historically belonging” to it. The potential “reunification” of Poland with western Ukraine will come under the guise of deploying a “peacekeeping” mission into the country under the pretext of protecting Kiev from “Russian aggression,” the official alleged. Warsaw denied the claims.

For years, Russia has expressed concern over NATO’s expansion eastwards, which it considers a direct threat to its own security. This factor along with the possibility of Ukraine eventually joining the alliance were named by Moscow as the key reasons for launch of its military offensive.

May 1, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 5 Comments

The spectre that haunts Biden as he wings his way to the borderlands of Ukraine

The Russian special operation may after all be inching toward successful conclusion

BY M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | INDIAN PUNCHLINE | MARCH 24, 2022

By a queer coincidence, former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright passed away while President Joe Biden was travelling in Air Force 1 en route to Europe on what is probably the most crucial diplomatic mission of his presidency. 

The general expectation is that 80-year old Biden is personally undertaking a mission to persuade the US’ European allies that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) should intervene in the Ukraine crisis in some way. And, ironically, Albright was the choreographer of the idea that in the post-cold war era, the NATO should reinvent itself and transform as a global security organisation. 

Albright, like most American diplomats of East European descent, was passionately devoted to the NATO. She supported the alliance’s brutal military intervention in Yugoslavia in 1999 and would have supported an intervention in Ukraine. 

The White House spin is that Biden will discuss additional sanctions against Russia. But the possibility of new restrictions has waned following the EU foreign and defence ministers’ meeting on Monday where a decision was taken to put off further sanctions. 

The EU meeting instead assessed that the ongoing Ukraine-Russian talks should proceed further and even if upbeat predictions may not be entirely correct, since the talks are challenging, the good part is that neither party has complained of any deadlock in the negotiations so far. 

Conceivably, Biden is travelling to Europe not to discuss tougher sanctions  (something which he could as well have handled in a videoconference) but to explore NATO’s potential engagement in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict for which his participation becomes absolutely essential. 

As things stand, there is every possibility of a prolonged conflict in Ukraine and Russia eventually prevailing. Such a scenario is extremely damaging for Biden politically in the US. Biden is facing domestic criticism both for his failure to prevent the conflict as well as for being ineffectual in blocking the Russian advance.

While the US rhetoric pillories Russia for “war crimes” and the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, et al, the world capitals view this as a geopolitical confrontation between America and Russia. Outside of the western camp, the world community refuses to impose sanctions against Russia or even to demonise that country. 

The world community steers clear of taking sides between the US and Russia. The Islamabad Declaration issued on Wednesday after the 45th meeting of the foreign ministers of the fifty-seven member Organisation of Islamic Conference refused to endorse sanctions against Russia and instead counselled cessation of hostilities in Ukraine, avoidance of loss of lives, enhancement of humanitarian assistance and a “surge in diplomacy” — almost ditto China and India’s stance.

Not a single country in the African continent and West Asian, Central Asia, South and Southeast Asian region has imposed sanctions against Russia. Following a visit to Hanoi, Malaysian PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob said, “We discussed the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and agreed that Malaysia and Vietnam will remain neutral on this issue. As for sanctions against Russia, we do not support them. The sides do not support unilateral sanctions; we recognise only restrictions that could be imposed by the UN Security Council.” This is the consensus within ASEAN too. 

Interestingly, Chinese Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi was the chief guest at the OIC meeting in Islamabad. In his remarks, Wang Yi said, “China supports Russia and Ukraine in continuing their peace talks, and hopes that the talks will lead to ceasefire, end the fighting, and bring about peace. Humanitarian disasters should be avoided, and spillover of the Ukrainian crisis should be prevented so as not to affect and harm the legitimate rights and interests of other regions and countries.” 

The Chinese foreign ministry press release on Wang Yi’s meeting with the Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said, “As to the Ukraine issue, the two sides agreed that all countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected and their reasonable security concerns should be taken seriously. It is imperative to prevent any humanitarian crisis, maintain the peace talk process and resolve conflicts through dialogue and negotiation. Both sides emphasised that all countries have the right to make independent judgements, withstand external pressure, and disagree with the simple logic of “black or white” and “friend or foe”.

Again, the Chinese press release on Wang Yi’s meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry said, inter alia, “The two sides exchanged views on the Ukraine issue, and agreed to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries and stay committed to a comprehensive solution to the current crisis. Shoukry said, Egypt opposes some countries exerting pressure on China and stands for strengthening cooperation rather than escalating confrontation.” 

Curiously, four foreign ministers from West Asia travelled to Moscow last week to discuss the bilateral cooperation — from Qatar, Iran, Turkey and the UAE. 

Nonetheless, the outcome of Biden’s visit to Europe will have significant bearing on the conflict in Ukraine. If Biden succeeds in getting European backing for his proposal for a NATO intervention in Ukraine, the conflict may escalate dramatically into a world war involving nuclear weapons.   

 Will Biden push the envelope? It seems he’s unwilling to risk. Biden seems to have a Plan B as well. He has scheduled a separate visit to Warsaw. Poland indeed has its fair share of Russophbes and has been straining at the leash for some form of involvement in Ukraine. 

The heart of the matter is that Poland also has an axe to grind. Parts of Poland comprise today’s ethnically mixed western borderlands of Ukraine — oblasts of Zhytomyr, Khmelnytskyi and Lviv. If Ukraine fragments or collapses in defeat, Poland will most certainly seize the opportunity to reclaim its lost territories. Poland’s hyper-activism over Ukraine is self-evident. 

Incidentally, in recent days, former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk have both accused Budapest of trying to lay its hands on Ukraine’s largely Hungarian-populated Transcarpathian region. On Tuesday, Sikorski alleged in a tweet that Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán and President Vladimir Putin reached a secret agreement on the partition of Ukraine! 

On the same day, Iryna Vereshchuk complained in a Facebook post: “The way the Hungarian leadership has been treating Ukraine lately is even worse than some of the Russian satellite states of the former Soviet Union. Hungary does not support the sanctions. They don’t provide weapons. They don’t allow transit of weapon supplies from other countries. They say ‘no’ to virtually everything.”   

Biden cannot but be exploring with the Polish leadership possibilities that fall short of an outright NATO intervention in Ukraine. The spectre that haunts the Biden administration, despite the swagger of its media bluster, is that the Russian special operation may after all be inching toward successful conclusion, creating a large buffer of regions on the eastern side of the Dnieper river, and gaining control of Black Sea coastline that denies access to NATO ships. 

Poland becomes a key stakeholder in such an outcome and Washington surely regards Warsaw as its number one interlocutor in the developing situation, as the fate of Ukraine hangs in the balance. 

March 24, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 2 Comments

Much wants more and loses all

GEFIRA | March 11, 2022

The collective post-West has been running amok for the last two weeks. The powers that be make believe that they did not expect that events would unfold the way they are unfolding now (though they did their best to make things happen as they are happening) and they make a show imposing sanctions on the aggressor and assuring the populace that the aggressor sooner or later will cave in. There is yet a third aspect to the phenomenon: the same powers that be want the people to forget that merely twenty years back they themselves assaulted Yugoslavia/Serbia, used missiles with depleted uranium, bombed cities and shot at civilians. Of course, that earlier event was a humanitarian action while the current one is a brutal act of aggression, but we digress.

Now there is a big misconception on the part of the post-West about Russia. If the Western media claim the Russian people are against the war or that the Russian people are about to rebel and overthrow President Putin, then they are either delusional or lying through their teeth. Reality is something that refuses to obey our wishes. The Russian people have rallied around their president and their authorities; the Russian people – unlike citizens of the post-Western countries – are patriotic and ready to sacrifice themselves in defence of their fatherland. Western sanctions? The post-West may withdraw businesses and impose sanctions on Russian oligarchs, which is music to the ears of the Russian people. They resented Western dominance anyway and they will be more than happy to see the oligarchs mopped up from their society. Russians view the hostilities as a repeat of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. Contrary to what has been done to the Western collective mentality, the Russian authorities under Vladimir Putin took great efforts to raise Russia’s citizens in patriotic values. Russians are going to win because they do not care about money so much as the West does. That’s one big misconception that Western people have about their opponents from the East.

It is the West that cannot imagine a life without money and the resultant luxuries. Sanctions or no sanctions, Western companies will sooner or later (I bet: sooner) resume business with Russia because – as everybody in the West knows – “money makes the world go round”. No less a person than Comrade Lenin famously said: capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will make a noose to hang them. And so they will, make no bones about it.

Yes, the West is ready to go to war with Russia so long as it has… Ukrainian, Polish, Romanian, Lithuanian, Latvian or Estonian soldiers at its disposal. The moment the West runs out of those soldiers, its leaders will go back to the negotiating table with the Kremlin. Do you want any evidence? Here you are.

A few days ago Americans tried to set Poland against Russia in that they suggested to Warsaw that it send Soviet-made MiG aircraft to Ukraine. Though the Polish authorities usually oblige the West’s wishes, this time they had second thoughts about the proposal and replied that they were ready to send the said aircraft to the American air base in Rammstein so that Americans could pass them over to Kiev. And you know what? Washington was beside itself with annoyance! You see? The dog was expected to bite the bear, with the dog’s owner watching from the sidelines and biding his time.

Just picture it to yourself. Warsaw sends the MiG aircraft to Ukraine, Moscow regards it (and rightly so!) as a hostile act and fires a couple of missiles against selected targets in Polish territory. What do you think the West would do? Yes, you guessed it right. The West would express its great indignation and impose a set of new sanctions… for a time.

Talking about President Putin, who – according to the Western analysts is about to be toppled either by the people closest to him or by the nation – his Christian name is Vladimir, and Vladimir was the name of the grand prince of Rus’ who united the many Slavic tribes and christened them. He went down in history as Vladimir the Great. The chances are – whether you like it or not – that Putin is going to be another Vladimir the Great.

The current war means the end of the world that we have been accustomed to. We are entering a new cold war period and a new division of the globe with the United States, Great Britain, and the European Union on the one side, and Russia and China on the other. This new world throws a monkey wrench into the plans forged by globalists of the Klaus Schwab ilk. Or, globalism will be reduced to the Western world. The international rules that all the countries have up to now tried to abide by are no more valid for Russia, and consequently sooner or later for others because of the domino effect. Being beleaguered by the West, Moscow will have no intention to play by the rules created in this West. Why should it?

Sanctions work both ways. Russia has a lot to offer, be it crude oil, natural gas, rare metals or what not. Look back into the past! The Bolsheviks that took reins of power after 1917 were hated by the West. Lo and behold, it did not take many years for the capitalists to resume business with the hated communists; similarly, after the Second World War the Soviet Union was regarded as a hostile empire and yet, and despite that, business between the West and the Soviets went as usual. How about China? It was Taiwan that was first supported by the West, yet slowly but surely Washington reversed course, left Taiwan to its own devices and resumed contacts with Beijing. Since – as said above – money makes the world go round, the greedy capitalists helped China develop in that they outsourced almost all production to the Middle Kingdom. Do you think it is going to be different now with regard to Russia?

When Ukraine is eventually conquered by Russia, what will the elites in such small countries like Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – all bordering on Russia – think about their security and the ability of the collective West to help them? I want to see that man or that woman who really thinks that NATO will go to war with Russia over Estonia or Latvia.

Ukraine has been exploited by Western companies for thirty long years. All those contacts with democracies and capitalism did not benefit the country at all. It only benefited a handful of people, who fled Ukraine before the hostilities, leaving the rank and file behind. Rumour has it that President Zelensky is kept in the American embassy in Warsaw though we are all made to believe that he remains in Kiev. How much would you bet on President Zelensky residing in Kiev, a city that is about to be soon encircled?

The West could have further exploited Ukraine and teased Russia but it simply overplayed its hand. Precisely as it is described in this fable by Aesop where a goose laying golden eggs is killed by the greedy owners. The moral? Much wants more and loses all. Now that Moscow is taking retaliatory steps like shutting down media outlets that propagated Western ideas and Western lifestyle the West has lost its ideological bridgehead inside Russia that it has held for thirty years. The West really thought it was ready to make a killing. A big killing. Western elites really thought Russia would be withdrawing from its positions further and further; they really believed the Navalny kind of Russian dissenters that the Russian people were all against the authorities. Worse, the West still thinks that Russians will force their president to surrender because otherwise common people will be stripped of the opportunity to eat hamburgers and cheeseburgers in McDonald’s restaurants in Moscow and Petersburg! Sure, there are some such people who are ready to trade their country for ham- and cheeseburgers, but then it is a splinter from the large whole. The majority accustomed to Russia’s greatness are not willing to sell this greatness off. Plus, they are not attracted by the Western values of married homosexuals or the many sexes that are invented by the month. That’s also something that the post-West is not aware of. Remember also that millions of Russians have bitter recollections of the Yeltsin era during which western-style capitalism promised them well-being and brought poverty, unrest and humiliation instead. That’s one big reason why President Putin is appreciated by the vast majority of the population: he put an end to chaos and brought in stability. If you think Russians dream about homosexual parades in their cities or pregnant soldiers in their army or the many gender pronouns, you cannot be more delusional.

There is one more explanation to all what is occurring. The West went to great lengths to have Russia and Ukraine clash for the sheer purpose of weakening both countries. This is one sure way of preserving world preponderance, is it not? Lead nations to war the moment you see they have developed too much and too fast. The United States achieved its global dominance because the Second World War wreaked havoc with the economies of Germany, Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy and Japan – the world’s powerhouses. After the cessation of the hostilities all those countries needed American aid and American dollars and were compelled to accept almost all the dictates from Washington.

Look at the present political map of the world. Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Ukraine, the countries of former Yugoslavia, the states that went through an array of all those colour revolutions: they are reeling under the blows of all manner of war, civil war, social upheaval and the attendant economic collapse. Which country emerges victorious? Yes, sure, the one that has not been directly engaged in the conflict. A classic case of two dogs fighting for a bone with a third running away with it.

Russia and Ukraine will lose a number of people (killed, wounded, displaced); Ukraine will have its economy ruined; Poland is already accommodating a million (and rising!) Ukrainians who somehow do not want to defend their country and prove their rights to it (If you say that women and children do not or should not take part in hostilities, then think again); Warsaw will have a lot of trouble with them. Who emerges victorious? You know who. Vice-President Kamala Harris visited Poland to reassuringly pat the Polish nation on the shoulder in recognition of Poland’s hospitality towards Ukrainians. She knows that such gestures work with Poles. The supranational elites hating ethnically monolithic countries are rubbing their hands in glee. At last Poland, this ethnically and religiously monolithic nation, is changing to a mix of Poles and Ukrainians, of Catholic and Orthodox Christians, to be later skilfully set off against each other like Croats and Serbs if Warsaw should fail to toe the Western party line.

GEFIRA – Global Analysis from the European Perspective. Preparing for the world of tomorrow.

March 12, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Poland ready to deploy all their MIG-29 jets to the Rammstein Air Base

Statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland regarding the statement by the US Secretary of State on providing airplanes to Ukraine – 08.03.2022

The authorities of the Republic of Poland, after consultations between the President and the Government, are ready to deploy – immediately and free of charge – all their MIG-29 jets to the Ramstein Air Base and place them at the disposal of the Government of the United States of America.

At the same time, Poland requests the United States to provide us with used aircraft with corresponding operational capabilities. Poland is ready to immediately establish the conditions of purchase of the planes.

The Polish Government also requests other NATO Allies – owners of MIG-29 jets – to act in the same vein.

March 8, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

International nuclear watchdog passes resolution on Ukraine

RT March 3, 2022

In a resolution passed on Thursday by its board of directors, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reportedly “deplored” Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia has denounced the document, calling it politicized and factually incorrect.

The resolution, which is yet to be published, apparently calls on Russia to allow the Ukrainian authorities to resume control of its nuclear sites. Moscow says the assertion that they are not already in control is incorrect.

There were claims that Russian troops had occupied the site of the destroyed Chernobyl nuclear power plant as they moved from Belarus towards Kiev. The Russian Defense Ministry has denied them, stating that Ukrainian guards remained in control of the facility.

On March 1, Reuters gave a preview of the draft of the damning resolution, which was penned by Poland and Canada on behalf of Ukraine.

The news of the resolution’s passage, with just two votes having been cast against it at the session of the 35-member board, was welcomed by Ukraine. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba claimed in a tweet that it showed the world was “united against Russia’s actions, which threaten Ukraine and all of Europe.”

Russia’s representative at the IAEA, Mikhail Ulyanov, blasted the document, claiming it contained “intentional politically motivated lies and mistakes.” In particular, the assertion that the Ukrainian authorities were not in control of the nation’s nuclear sites was wrong, the official said in a series of tweets.

Moscow was satisfied that “countries whose populations taken together exceed a half of the mankind refused to support the resolution,” Ulyanov added.

China has confirmed that it voted against the resolution. Its representative, Wang Qun, said the document “obviously” overstepped the agency’s mandate to monitor nuclear security, and that by adopting the resolution, it had undermined the IAEA’s position as a professional, non-political organization.

The diplomat complained that some nations had “forcibly pushed” the draft and rejected suggestions submitted by other board members about how to improve the document.

Earlier on Thursday, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi confirmed to journalists that all safety precautions the agency had taken in Ukraine remained intact.

March 3, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Nuclear Power | , , , | Leave a comment

The US and NATO have never been sanctioned for starting wars. Why?

By Robert Bridge | RT | March 2, 2022

The West has taken an extreme stance against Russia over its invasion in Ukraine. This reaction exposes a high degree of hypocrisy considering that US-led wars abroad never received the punitive response they deserved.

If the current events in Ukraine have proven anything, it’s that the United States and its transatlantic partners are able to run roughshod across a shell-shocked planet – in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, to name a few of the hotspots – with almost total impunity. Meanwhile, Russia and Vladimir Putin are being portrayed in nearly every mainstream media publication today as the second coming of Nazi Germany for their actions in Ukraine.

First, let’s be clear about something. Hypocrisy and double standards alone do not provide justification for the opening of hostilities by any country. In other words, just because NATO-bloc countries have been tearing a path of wanton destruction around the globe since 2001 without serious consequences, this does not give Russia, or any country, moral license to behave in a similar manner. There must be a convincing reason for a country to authorize the use of force, thereby committing itself to what could be considered ‘a just war’. Thus, the question: Can Russia’s actions today be considered ‘just’ or, at the very least, understandable? I will leave that answer up to the reader’s better judgment, but it would be idle not to consider some important details.

Only to the consumers of mainstream media fast food would it come as a surprise that Moscow has been warning on NATO expansion for well over a decade. In his now-famous speech to the Munich Security Conference in 2007, Vladimir Putin poignantly asked the assembled global powerbrokers point blank,“why is it necessary to put military infrastructure on our borders during this [NATO] expansion? Can someone answer this question?” Later in the speech, he said that expanding military assets smack up to the Russian border “is not connected in any way with the democratic choices of individual states.”

Not only were the Russian leader’s concerns met with the predictable amount of disregard amid the deafening sound of crickets, NATO has gone on to bestow membership on four more countries since that day (Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia). As a thought experiment that even a dolt could conduct, imagine Washington’s reaction if Moscow were building a continuously expanding military bloc in South America, for example.

The real cause for Moscow’s alarm, however, came when the US and NATO began flooding neighboring Ukraine with a dazzling array of sophisticated weaponry amid calls for membership in the military bloc. What on earth could go wrong? In Moscow’s mind, Ukraine was beginning to pose an existential threat to Russia.

In December, Moscow, quickly nearing the end of its patience, delivered draft treaties to the US and NATO, demanding they halt any further military expansion eastwards, including by the accession of Ukraine or any other states. It included the explicit statement that NATO “shall not conduct any military activity on the territory of Ukraine or other states of Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia.” Once again, Russia’s proposals were met with arrogance and indifference by Western leaders.

While people will have varying opinions as to the shocking actions that Moscow took next, nobody can say they were not warned. After all, it’s not like Russia woke up on February 24 and suddenly decided it was a wonderful day to start a military operation on the territory of Ukraine. So yes, an argument could be made that Russia had concern for its own security as a justification for its actions. Unfortunately, the same thing may be more difficult to say for the United States and its NATO minions with regards to their belligerent behavior over the course of the last two decades.

Consider the most notorious example, the 2003 invasion of Iraq. This disastrous war, which the Western media hacks have chalked up as an unfortunate ‘intelligence failure’, represents one of the most egregious acts of unprovoked aggression in recent memory. Without delving too deep into the murky details, the United States, having just suffered the [false flag] attacks of 9/11, accused Saddam Hussein of Iraq of harboring weapons of mass destruction. Yet, instead of working in close cooperation with the UN weapons inspectors, who were on the ground in Iraq attempting to verify the claims, the US, together with the UK, Australia, and Poland, launched a ‘shock-and-awe’ bombing campaign against Iraq on March 19, 2003. In a flash, over a million innocent Iraqis suffered death, injury, or displacement by this flagrant violation of international law.

The Center for Public Integrity reported that the Bush administration, in its effort to bolster public support for the impending carnage, made over 900 false statements between 2001 and 2003 about Iraq’s alleged threat to the US and its allies. Yet somehow the Western media, which has become the most rabid proliferator for military aggression bar none, failed to find any flaw in the argument for war – that is, until after the boots and blood were on the ground, of course.

It might be expected, in a more perfect world, that the US and its allies were subjected to some stiff sanctions in the wake of this protracted eight-year ‘mistake’ against innocents. In fact, there were sanctions, just not against the United States. Ironically, the only sanctions that resulted from this crazy military adventure were against France, a NATO member that had declined the invitation, together with Germany, to participate in the Iraqi bloodbath. The global hyper-power is not used to such rejection, especially from its purported friends.

American politicians, self-assured in their Godlike exceptionalism, demanded a boycott of French wine and bottled water due to the French government’s “ungrateful” opposition to war in Iraq. Other agitators for war betrayed their lack of seriousness by insisting that the popular menu item known as ‘French Fries’ be substituted with the name ‘Freedom Fries’ instead. So the lack of French Bordeaux, together with the tedious redrafting of restaurant menus, seems to have been the only real inconveniences the US and NATO suffered for indiscriminately destroying millions of lives.

Now compare this kid gloves approach to the US and its allies to the current situation involving Ukraine, where the scales of justice are clearly weighed down against Russia, and despite its not unreasonable warnings that it was feeling threatened by NATO advances. Whatever a person may think about the conflict now raging between Russia and Ukraine, it cannot be denied that the hypocrisy and double standards being leveled against Russia by its perennial detractors is as shocking as it is predictable.

Aside from the severe sanctioning of Russian individuals and the Russian economy, perhaps best summed up by the French economy minister, who said his country is committed to waging “a total economic and financial war on Russia,” there has been a deeply disturbing effort to silence news and information coming from those Russian sources that might give the Western public the option of seeing Moscow’s motivations. On Tuesday, March 1, YouTube decided to block the channels of RT and Sputnik for all European users, thereby allowing the Western world to seize another chunk of the global narrative.

Considering the way that Russia has been vilified in the ‘empire of lies’, as Vladimir Putin dubbed the land of his politically motivated persecutors, some may believe that Russia deserves the non-stop threats it is now receiving. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. This sort of global grandstanding, which resembles some sort of mindless virtue-signaling campaign now so popular in liberal capitals, aside from unnecessarily inflaming an already volatile situation, assumes that Russia is totally wrong, period.

Such a reckless approach, which leaves no room for debate, no room for discussion, no room for seeing Russia’s side in this extremely complex situation, only guarantees further standoffs, if not full-blown global war, further down the road. Unless the West is actively seeking the outbreak of World War III, it would be advisable to stop the hideous hypocrisy and double standards against Russia and patiently listen to its opinions and version of events (even ones presented by foreign media). It’s not as unbelievable as some people may wish to believe.

Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is the author of ‘Midnight in the American Empire,’ How Corporations and Their Political Servants are Destroying the American Dream.

March 2, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Poland wants to end political censorship online

Poland is one of the few countries pushing to support free speech on monopoly platforms

By Dan Frieth | Reclaim the Net | June 10, 2021

According to Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Big Tech corporations have amassed so much power that they control politics, and the solution is for governments around the world to introduce laws limiting that power.

Polish legislators are working on a bill that would make it illegal for online platforms to censor content that does not break Poland’s laws.

“Today, who sets these rules is really the master of destiny for society and for nation-states,” Morawiecki said in a recent interview with Newsweek. “So today, platforms and communication networks and intellectual property are even more important than the land and the buildings and the technology assembly lines and all the materials that go into creating these digital realms.”

The PM argued for a new approach focused on protecting the power of governments, as well as the well-being of society, accounting for the way the internet and social media has transformed the social, political, and economic environment.

“These dynamics do not make it easier to grasp the elements of the moving parts of the complicated interdependent economic jigsaw puzzle that is our modern age,” Morawiecki said.

“And this is why it is so much more difficult to understand who sets the rules today, because it is no longer the governments that can have this competence over the setting of the rules.

“Huge international corporations in the area of the digital world, in particular, are setting the rules very often that are suitable for themselves, which may not always be a social good.

“This is another form of dominance over the rest of the sectors they operate in, but it may also create dominance over other areas of the lives of citizens in a society.

“And this is why states should now be very active in eliminating censorship and eliminating monopolistic powers of those companies, as well. And this is one of the reasons we started to work on this anti-censorship regulation.”

Morawiecki and members of his political party PiS (Law and Justice Party) are pushing for the introduction of a new legislation to push back against Big Tech. They recently proposed a bill that would allow the government to fine social media companies for censoring legal speech in Poland. Additionally, the legislation would allow social media users in Poland to appeal censorship they deem unfair to the Free Speech Council, which will be formed when the bill passes. A social media platform found guilty of removing legal speech could be fined as much as $13.35 million.

In February, Hungary’s Justice Minister Judit Varga said she was working on a new law to “regulate the domestic operations of large tech companies.” She argued that mainstream online platforms “limit the visibility of Christian, conservative, rightwing opinions,” adding that the “power groups behind global tech giants” are so powerful that they can influence national elections.

In February, Poland’s Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta echoed the conservative Hungarian government’s sentiments, saying the Polish government was focusing on protecting conservatives.

“We see that anonymous social media moderators often censor opinions which do not violate the law but are just criticism of leftists’ agenda,” he told the Financial Times. “This creates important risks of infringing freedom of speech.”

Morawiecki added that the new legislation is being discussed in parliament, and the government is not only looking at domestic legislation but also discussing it with the European Commission (the legislative arm of the European Union).

“We are in discussion with the European Commission in two aspects of this area. One is vis-à-vis the freedom of speech and eliminating the censorship issue,” said the Polish PM.

“The other one is in taxing companies where they do business—so not letting them go to tax havens like Luxembourg or Cyprus or Switzerland, and not paying taxes at all or very little taxes paid in these other tax haven countries, because I think that Big Tech companies minimizing their tax burden this way is not sustainable for our economies.”

June 11, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Poland slams social media deplatforming of Trump as government readies anti-censorship law

RT | January 14, 2021

The Polish government has decried social media platforms’ (mis)handling of US President Donald Trump’s accounts as Warsaw prepares to pass its own legislation to stop ideological censorship.

Facebook’s decision to remove Trump’s account was politically motivated, hypocritical, and “amounts to censorship,” Deputy Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta told local media.

Under the country’s new anti-censorship law, “removing lawful content would directly violate the law, and this will have to be respected by the platforms that operate in Poland,” he explained to Polish outlet Rzeczpospolita.

PM Mateusz Morawiecki made similar comments earlier this week, though he did not mention the US president by name. “Algorithms or the owners of corporate giants should not decide which views are right and which are not,” he wrote on Facebook. “There can be no consent to censorship.”

“Censorship of free speech, which is the domain of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, is now returning in the form of a new, commercial mechanism to combat those who think differently,” Morawiecki continued.

The new anti-censorship law, first unveiled last month, will allow users whose content is taken down by the Big Tech companies to petition a special court if they believe the content did not violate Polish law and should be restored. The user may first file a complaint to the platform, which has 24 hours to restore the ‘offending’ content if they agree it does not violate Polish law.

If the platform refuses, however, the user has 48 hours to petition a court newly created for this purpose. Should the court find in favor of the censored user over a seven-day consideration period, the censoring platform can be fined up to €1.8 million.

Polish government figures, especially those on the right wing of the political spectrum, have had their own struggles with Facebook censorship in the past. The platform kicked Konfederacja party MP Janusz Korwin-Mikke off the site in November despite some 780,000 followers, alleging he had repeatedly violated “community standards.”

Morawiecki has called for the EU to adopt similar rules for governing social media, though the multinational group’s current trajectory seems to lean toward punishing platforms for not removing ‘offensive’ content quickly enough.

However, individual countries such as France are starting to push back against the dominance of Big Tech. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire recently referred to the tech titans as a “digital oligarchy” and “one of the threats” to democracy.

As when Poland first announced the new rule, social media users tired of being tread on by Facebook and Twitter expressed their approval.

January 14, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

French Government “Shocked” at Twitter Banning of Trump

By Paul Joseph Watson | Summit News | January 11, 2021

The French government has echoed Angela Merkel’s sentiment in saying it is “shocked” at Twitter’s banning of President Trump, asserting that Big Tech is a threat to democracy.

Junior Minister for European Union Affairs Clement Beaune said the decision to silence Trump proved the need for Big Tech platforms to be tightly regulated.

“This should be decided by citizens, not by a CEO,” he told Bloomberg TV on Monday. “There needs to be public regulation of big online platforms.”

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire also said that “the digital oligarchy” was “one of the threats” to democracy and should be reigned in by the state.

As we highlighted earlier, the German government also warned that Big Tech’s deplatforming of Trump set a very dangerous precedent.

Communicating via a spokesman, Chancellor Angela Merkel called the move “problematic,” adding that social media giants shouldn’t have the power to decide who has the right to free speech.

“This fundamental right can be intervened in, but according to the law and within the framework defined by legislators — not according to a decision by the management of social media platforms,” said the statement.

While Republicans were completely toothless in their efforts to control Big Tech during Trump’s administration, Poland could be set to pass a law that would fine social media companies $2.2 million a pop for censoring lawful free speech.

“In the event of removal or blockage, a complaint can be sent to the platform, which will have 24 hours to consider it. Within 48 hours of the decision, the user will be able to file a petition to the court for the return of access. The court will consider complaints within seven days of receipt and the entire process is to be electronic,” reported Poland In.

January 11, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

Poland accuses Russian air traffic controllers of DELIBERATELY crashing president’s plane, seeks their arrest

RT | September 16, 2020

Polish prosecutors are now seeking the arrest of three Russian air traffic controllers at the Smolensk-Severny airport, accusing them of deliberately causing the crash that killed President Lech Kaczynski in 2010.

Investigators have “applied to the district court of the Warsaw-Mokotow region with a motion for the temporary arrest” of the three men, Ewa Bialik, spokesperson for the Prosecutor General’s Office, told reporters on Wednesday.

“The charges brought against the air traffic controllers relate to the deliberate provocation of a plane crash that resulted in the death of many people,” she added.

Kaczynski and his wife were among the 96 people on board the Polish Air Force Tu-154M that crashed outside Smolensk on April 10, 2010, while attempting a landing in thick fog. Initial investigations by both Polish and Russian officials found no technical problem with the aircraft, and blamed pilot error.

However, the president’s twin brother Jaroslaw has insisted ever since that the crash was caused by some kind of Russian perfidy. His claim seems to have gained traction in Polish public opinion, as a survey published earlier this year showed 44 percent of Poles considered the plane crash the major “current issue” standing between Warsaw and Moscow.

While he holds no elected office at the moment, Jaroslaw Kaczynski chairs the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, which has been in power since 2015. The current charges against Russian air traffic controllers are based on the claim by Polish investigators from 2018 that traces of explosives were found in the wreckage. However, no such traces were found during the original probe, nor in the soil samples collected at the time.

The Smolensk crash was a massive blow to attempts at patching up Polish-Russian relations. Kaczynski was supposed to attend a commemoration of the Soviet killing of Polish soldiers in Katyn Forest during WWII, an issue that has troubled relations between Moscow and Warsaw ever since.

Under PiS rule, Poland has repeatedly clashed with Russia on the diplomatic level, while urging fellow NATO states to permanently station troops on its territory. However, Warsaw has also fought numerous political battles with the EU, which has objected to PiS policies that conflicted with values officially embraced by Brussels.

September 16, 2020 Posted by | Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Russia takes Europe’s support to calm Belarus

Opposition protests in Minsk, Belarus, August 16, 2020
By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | August 18, 2020

The mercurial Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has not been an easy ally for the Kremlin. But the growing interference by Belarus’ “New European” neighbours is setting the stage for a “colour revolution” with potentially anti-Russian orientation. Poland, egged on by the US, has convinced itself that it has become a regional heavyweight and eyes Belarus as a valuable piece of real estate that could shift the military balance on Russia’s western borders.    

Indeed, historically, present-day Belarus figured in all four major invasions of Russia since the 18th century — by Sweden allied with Poland (1708-1709); by Napoleon through the North European Plain (1812); and by Germany, twice (1914 and 1941). Plainly put, Belarus forms a buffer zone crucial to Russia’s national security.   

In post-Soviet history, with the Baltic states and Poland having been integrated into NATO and a pro-western regime installed in power in Ukraine since 2014, the western alliance has advanced closer to Russia than ever before. If during the Cold War era, the nearest NATO power was 1,600 kms from St. Petersburg, that distance has shrunk to a mere 160 kms today.

Furthermore, the signing of an Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement between the US and Poland on August 15 has made the latter “a lynchpin of regional security” (as the US state department describes Poland.) The agreement signed in Warsaw provides the legal basis for the establishment of American military bases in Poland, which harbours historical animosity against Russia.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on August 17 that increased US military presence in Poland “aggravates the difficult situation near Russia’s Western borders, facilitating an escalation of tensions and increasing the risk of inadvertent incidents.” It flagged that the latest US-Poland defence agreement “will help qualitatively strengthen the offensive capability of the US forces in Poland.”

To be sure, the Belarus developments cannot be seen in isolation. A Kremlin statement said that on August 15 Lukashenko reached out to President Vladimir Putin to brief him on the developments. It said that the two leaders discussed the unrest in Belarus following the presidential election of August 9 and and both sides “expressed confidence that all existing problems will be settled soon.”

However, the next day, Putin called Lukashenko for another discussion. The Kremlin readout said that after a discussion touching on the external interference fuelling the unrest in Belarus, the “Russian side reaffirmed its readiness to render the necessary assistance to resolve the challenges facing Belarus based on the principles of the Treaty on the Creation of a Union State, as well as through the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, if necessary.”

That was a dramatic announcement, with ominous overtones of past Russian doctrines of collective security. Clearly, the announcement had the desired effect. Lukashenko has voiced on August 17 his readiness to hold fresh elections in accordance with a new constitution to be drafted in the coming few months.

The protests in Belarus may not subside easily. A transfer of power has become inevitable at some point and Moscow senses that the priority should be to navigate the developing situation toward an orderly transition. But Moscow’s capacity to navigate Belarus to calmer waters and stimulate a rational political dialogue is limited when external interference to stir up tensions continues.

Indeed, for the first time since protests began in Belarus a week ago, Washington has openly warned Moscow to stay out of the situation. An unnamed “senior Trump administration official” told the media on August 17, “The massive number of Belarusians peacefully protesting make clear that the government can no longer ignore their calls for democracy… Russia must also respect Belarus’ sovereignty and the right of its people to freely and fairly elect their own leaders.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said on August 15 (while on a visit to Poland) that the US is discussing with the European Union to “try to help as best as we can the Belarusian people achieve sovereignty and freedom.”

To be sure, a Russian intervention in Belarus would be viewed by Europe as a negative development. Therefore, Putin is moving cautiously. But the fact is also that the European countries are struggling with the pandemic and a grave economic crisis. It’s unclear whether the major European powers would be inclined to follow the lead of Washington and Poland to provoke Russia.

Significantly, German Chancellor Angela Merkel telephoned Putin on August 19 in the first such contact since protests erupted in Minsk. A Kremlin statement said Putin and Merkel “thoroughly discussed” the emergent situation and “Russia pointed out that foreign attempts to interfere in the country’s domestic affairs were unacceptable and could further escalate tensions.”

Summing up Merkel’s conversation with Putin, the German Spokesman Steffen Seibert stated, “The chancellor said the Belarusian government must refrain from the use of force against peaceful demonstrators, immediately release political prisoners and enter into a national dialogue with the opposition and society to overcome the crisis.”

A Russian-German convergence seems possible over Belarus. Significantly, French President Emmanuel Macron has since called Putin and the latter again “emphasised that interfering in the (Belarus) republic’s domestic affairs and putting pressure on the Belarusian leadership would be unacceptable.” The Kremlin readout said Putin and Macron “expressed interest in the prompt resolution of the problems.”

Subsequently, Putin also reached out to the  President of the European Council Charles Michel where, again, he expressed concern over “some countries’ attempts to put pressure on the Belarusian leadership and destabilise the internal political situation.” This was a reference to Poland and Lithuania, two EU member countries and strong allies of the US, who are principally culpable for destabilising Belarus.

But the big question is whether the Cold Warriors in Washington and the “New Europeans” in Central Europe would be satisfied with anything less than a regime change in Belarus that brings that country into their orbit. A Russian military intervention would lend credibility to their thesis of “revanchist Russia”.

A sub-text here is that the German-Russian proximity greatly annoys Washington and Warsaw. A recent paper by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, noted, “Compared to many of its neighbours, Germany has longstanding political, economic, and cultural ties to Russia—not to mention a streak of skepticism toward the United States that inclines parts of the German political class to sympathise with Russian views about the need for a less U.S.-centric international order.”

Equally, there is growing acrimony lately in German-American relations following Washington’s recent threats of “crushing legal and economic sanctions” if German companies took part in any form in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, which would carry natural gas from Russia to Germany. (Incidentally, Poland also staunchly opposes the Nord Stream 2 project, which bypasses it.)

The German Minister of State Niels Annen has “firmly rejected” the proposed US sanctions and hit back saying, “Threatening a close friend and ally with sanctions, and using that kind of language, will not work. European energy policy will be decided in Brussels, and not in Washington, DC.”

These acerbic exchanges between German and American politicians as well as the recent move by the Trump administration to withdraw over 12,000 troops from Germany (and to divert some of them to Poland) highlight the complexities of Germany’s relationship with the US and Poland. The right-wing Polish government is happy to perform as the US’ Trojan horse within the EU.  

However, so long as the EU refuses to rally behind Poland, whose rightwing populist leadership is already viewed with scepticism as something of an enfant terrible in the portals of Old Europe, Moscow gets diplomatic space. Putin’s calculus is working on this basis.

The bottom line is that Russia has legitimate interests in Belarus and Moscow’s preference is for an orderly transition in Belarus through consultations between Lukashenko and the political opposition. A helpful stance by the EU, therefore, matters to Putin.

The latest reports from Brussels disclosed that in the 30-minute phone conversation earlier today between Putin and Charles Michel, they “discussed options to facilitate a dialogue between Minsk and the opposition, including with the OSCE mediation.”

August 18, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment