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US state-run Voice of America, RFE/RL ‘defiantly refusing’ to follow Russian foreign agent law

Press TV – June 15, 2021

The Russian government’s media regulator says US state-run outfits Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty [RFE/RL] are “defiantly refusing” to comply with Russian legislation on the work of foreign agents within the country.

Media regulator Roskomnadzor said Russian law describes restrictions and regulations “in detail” in order to prevent “ambiguous interpretations,” and there could be serious penalties for non-compliance.

“American media outlets Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty [RFE/RL], which are listed as foreign agents, are defiantly refusing to comply with the law in full,” the regulator said in a statement.

“In particular, Voice of America is yet to establish a Russian legal entity, and Radio Liberty is systematically failing to comply with the requirement to mark the materials it posts.”

Roskomnadzor says the Russian laws are “much more tolerant than similar regulation in many foreign countries.”

The regulator referenced the US Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires foreign agents to submit regular financial reports and give a detailed description of contacts with government officials.

Russian ‘foreign agent’ law pinpoint NGOs that engage in political activity using foreign funding.

According to the legislation, mass media organizations and specific individuals, who are deemed “foreign agents”, must make the designation clear to their readers.

The law was expanded in 2017 to include media organizations after RT TV network (former Russia Today) was declared a foreign agent in the United States.

Latvia-based news outlet Meduza and Dutch-funded online newspaper VTimes have been added to the list of foreign agents in recent months. Both Voice of America and RFE/RL have had the designation for four years.

Roskomnadzor noted that, “Russian media outlets deemed foreign agents by the US – in particular, Russia Today and news agency Sputnik – have completely fulfilled their requirements under American law, unlike US state media in Russia.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accused Moscow of using the ‘foreign agent’ legislation to “restrict independent reporting, including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,” a charge Moscow denies.

The Russian media regulator said in February that it fined the Russian-language service of US-funded Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe nearly $150,000 over non-compliance with its ‘foreign agent law.

Roskomnadzor said RFE/RL’s director failed to label nine of the US outlet’s websites operating in Russia.

June 15, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

American unilateralism & intervention is driving global instability, not Russian actions: Putin

RT | June 14, 2021

While Washington constantly talks of the need for international harmony, it has rarely played a positive role in it in recent years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, stressing that stability is vital in world politics.

Asked during an interview with NBC’s Keir Simmons, broadcast on Monday, whether he would support a call for predictability and stability from his US counterpart, Joe Biden, when the two leaders meet in Geneva on Wednesday, Putin said that it is the most important value… in international affairs.” However, he added, “on the part of our US partners, this is something that we haven’t seen in recent years.”

Simmons pointed out that Biden has previously accused Russia of causing “a lot of instability and unpredictability,” with Putin responding that Moscow is concerned about the impact of American foreign policy as well. The Russian president pointed to what he described as Washington’s role in destabilizing Libya in 2011, as well as across much of the Middle East.

Putin also said that, when he asked US officials about their views on Syria’s political trajectory in the event of President Bashar Assad’s departure from power, they said they had no clear picture of what might follow.

“If you don’t know what will happen next, why change what there is?” the Russian president asked, adding that Syria could “be a second Libya or another Afghanistan” if Washington and its allies had succeeded in removing Assad from power. Russia has supported the Syrian government in the conflict, following a request from Damascus in 2015.

Eventually, it is America’s unilateralism and Washington’s desire to impose its will on others that disrupts stability in the international arena, Putin claimed. “That’s not how stability is achieved,” he said, adding that only dialogue can ensure security and peace.

“Let us sit down together, talk, look for compromise solutions that are acceptable for all the parties. That is how stability is achieved,” the president urged.

Putin’s comments came ahead of his first meeting with Biden since the US leader took office in January. The Russian president has said that US-Russia relations are at their “lowest point in recent years” in the run-up to the summit.

Biden said he wants to use the session to help build a “stable and predictable relationship” with Moscow. Yet, at the G7 summit, held in England last week, he also insisted that the US “will respond in a robust and meaningful way” to any “harmful activities” by Russia.

June 14, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sorry Ukraine, US won’t be riding to your rescue: Essential wake-up call to Kiev, ending years of delusion

By Paul Robinson | RT | June 9, 2021

Since 2014, the US has encouraged Kiev’s leaders to believe that it has their back, come what may. Now, as the Nord Stream 2 pipeline nears completion, the Ukrainian president is screaming betrayal as he realizes he was misled.

A while back, it used to be popular in some circles to play up talk of the “Putinsliv” – the impending sell-out in which Russian President Vladimir Putin was apparently destined to throw the rebels of Donbass under the bus and surrender them to the tender mercies of the Ukrainian government. The irony is that, while Putinsliv never happened, the fury coming out of Kiev this week suggests that Ukraine itself has suffered a dramatic and unexpected “Bidensliv,” being sold out by US President Joe Biden.

Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, had a troubled relationship with the country, which he accused of trying to undermine his election campaign in 2016. Republicans also used the business dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter, in Ukraine to paint Trump’s Democratic opponent as corrupt. Consequently, Ukrainians generally welcomed Biden’s election as president and have viewed him as a much more reliable ally.

Until this week, that is. Now, things are looking a little different.

For the past few months, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been pressing Biden for a meeting. His position was that this should take place before Biden holds talks with Putin. Otherwise, the argument goes, the Russian and American leaders might stitch up Ukraine’s fate and then present Kiev with a fait accompli. Better that Zelensky gets to Biden first, they say, so as to forestall any attempt by the Americans to betray Ukraine to the Russians.

This, however, was not to be. Speaking to Zelensky by phone on Monday, Biden offered to host him in Washington later this summer, after Biden meets Putin in Geneva on 16 June. Apparently, the White House has decided that managing relations with Russia takes precedence over keeping Ukraine happy – a not unreasonable position given that Moscow has nearly 1,500 nuclear warheads in its arsenal, whereas Ukraine has not a single one. The safety of the world tends to focus the mind on what is really a priority.

In another blow to Zelensky, the Biden administration has finally given up its campaign to sabotage the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is designed to bring natural gas directly from Russia to Germany. At present, Russia exports natural gas to the rest of Europe largely through an old Soviet pipeline system running through Ukraine, and pays Kiev some $3 billion a year for the privilege. Kiev fears that, once the new underwater link is up and running, Russia will be able to stop the supply of gas through the country, thereby depriving it of much-needed cash.

For this reason, Zelensky and his allies have been lobbying the Americans to prevent the pipeline from being finished. To that end, the Trump administration imposed numerous sanctions on companies involved in the project. Now, though, the Biden government has waived those sanctions on the main German company involved, in effect giving the pipeline a green light for completion.

This was little more than a recognition of reality: Nord Stream 2 was going to be completed no matter what America did. So it made little sense for the US to degrade its relations with Berlin any more than it has already. Given a choice between the goodwill of rich and powerful Germany on the one hand, or of weak and impoverished Ukraine on the other, it was fairly obvious which one Washington would side with. The only surprise was that it took so long to work it out.

Adding insult to injury, Putin announced last week that the first section of the pipeline had been completed. This news provoked Zelensky into a mini tantrum. Speaking to the Axios news website, he complained that he was “confused” and “disappointed” by the American decision to waive sanctions on the project. He was “positive” that America could stop construction if it wanted, he said. Zelensky was also angered by the fact that the Americans didn’t tell him about their decision, and that he had to learn about it from a White House press briefing. “How many Ukrainian lives does the relationship between the United States and Germany cost?” he asked.

The Ukrainian president’s comments reveal a remarkable naivety. It seems he truly believed both that the United States is all-powerful; and that the Americans would prioritize relations with Kiev over relations with Moscow and Berlin. Now he is learning the hard way that in international politics, as Thucydides said, “the strong do what they will, and the weak suffer as they must.”

If the episode acts as a wake-up call for Zelensky’s government, that will be a good thing. For too long, Ukrainian leaders have given the impression they are living in a fantasy world in which the West will in due course induce Russia to abandon any support for the rebellion in Donbass with a campaign of massive economic, military and diplomatic pressure. This vision has manufactured an unwillingness in Kiev to make the concessions required to bring peace to Donbass under the Minsk II Agreement of February 2015, most notably the granting of “special status” to the provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk. As a result, it has played a major role in perpetuating the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

To be fair to Zelensky, the Americans have done everything they can to encourage the fantasy that Russia can be pressured into surrender. As he notes in his interview with Axios, Biden had offered him “direct signals” that the US was prepared to block the [Nord Stream 2] pipeline. This is plausible. It fits a pattern of behavior in which Washington has led Kiev’s ruling elite to believe it will have their back come what may, including in its efforts to ignore the Minsk Agreement.

Consequently, it is perhaps not surprising that Zelensky feels betrayed. The American government has misled Ukraine’s leaders into thinking that it will go the whole hog on the country’s behalf. To an outside observer, this was never plausible. But in the desperate world of Ukrainian politics, it may well have appeared otherwise. Kiev’s bubble has long since needed bursting. To the extent that the Nord Stream 2 debacle has done that, it has paradoxically been a rather good week for Ukraine – no matter what Zelensky or his supporters may think.

Paul Robinson is a professor at the University of Ottawa. He writes about Russian and Soviet history, military history, and military ethics, and is author of the Irrussianality blog

June 10, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

The Coming Biden/Putin Train-Wreck Summit

By Ron Paul | June 7, 2021

I have my doubts whether the Putin-Biden summit in Geneva will take place later this month, but even if somehow it is pulled off, recent Biden Administration blunders mean the chance anything of substance will be achieved is virtually nil.

The Biden Administration was supposed to signal a return of the “adults” to the room. No more bully Trump telling NATO it’s useless, ripping up international climate treaties, and threatening to remove troops from the Middle East and beyond. US foreign policy would again flourish under the steady, practiced hands of the experts.

Then Biden blurted out in a television interview that President Putin was a killer with no soul. Then US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discovered the hard way that his Chinese counterparts were in no mood to be lectured on an “international rules-based order” that is routinely flouted by Washington.

It’s going to be a rough ten days for President Biden. Just as news breaks that under the Obama/Biden Administration the US was routinely and illegally spying on its European allies, he is preparing to meet those same allies, first at the G7 summit in England on June 11-13 and then at the June 14th NATO meeting in Brussels.

Make no mistake, Joe Biden is up to his eyeballs in this scandal. Ed Snowden Tweeted late last month when news broke that the US teamed up with the Danes to spy on the rest of Europe, that “Biden is well-prepared to answer for this when he soon visits Europe since, of course, he was deeply involved in this scandal the first time around.”

Though Germany’s Merkel and France’s Macron have been loyal US lapdogs, the revelation of how Washington treats its allies has put them in the rare position of having to criticize Washington. “Outrageous” and “unacceptable” are how they responded to the news.

Russia has been routinely accused (without evidence) of malign conduct and interference in internal US affairs, but it turns out that the country actually doing the spying and meddling was the US all along – and against its own allies!

Surely this irony is not lost on Putin.

Biden has bragged in the US media that he would be taking Putin to task for Russia’s treatment of political dissidents like Alexei Navalny. Biden wrote recently in the Washington Post, that when he meets Putin, “I will again underscore the commitment of the United States, Europe and like-minded democracies to stand up for human rights and dignity.”

Perhaps President Putin will remind him of how the Biden Administration continues the slow-motion murder of Julian Assange for the non-crime of being a journalist exposing government misdeeds.

Perhaps Putin will remind Biden of how US political dissidents are being treated, such as the hundreds arrested for what the Democrats and the mainstream media laughably call the “January 6th Insurrection.” Many of these non-violent and unarmed protesters have been held in solitary confinement with no chance of bail, even though they have no prior arrests or convictions. Most await trial on minor charges that may not even take place until next year.

The Washington foreign policy establishment is hopelessly corrupt. The weaponization of the US dollar to bring the rest of the world to heel is backfiring. Only a serious change in course – toward non-interventionism and non-aggression – can avert a disaster. Time is running out.

Copyright © 2021 by RonPaul Institute

June 7, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | 2 Comments

Report on Turkey smuggling weapons to Al-Qaeda in Syria shows why Russia’s desire to halt ‘aid’ was right

By Eva Bartlett | RT | June 4, 2021

New allegations that aid trucks to Syria from Turkey carried weapons for terrorists have surfaced. But it’s unlikely to convince those in the West to change their tune that Russia was wrong to want border crossings closed.

In July 2020, there were those who self-righteously railed at Russia for allegedly denying humanitarian aid to Syrians. They screamed that in calling for crossings to be closed, Russia was attempting to starve and choke civilians in need of assistance.

The Russian mission to the UN, however, maintains that ample aid is delivered from within Syria, via various agencies, including the UN. It argues that delivering aid from outside of Syria is no longer necessary, since most of the country has returned to peace and security. I haven’t come across a Russian representative who has stated so, but wonder if another reason Russia wanted cross-border ‘aid’ from Turkey halted was because it knew weapons were being smuggled to terrorists in Syria?

On May 30, Sedat Peker, a Turkish mobster and former ally to Turkish President Recep Erdogan, published a new video in a series he has been releasing on criminal activities among Erdogan’s inner circle. In this latest video, Peker spoke of the weapons and vehicles sent to Al-Qaeda in Syria, and that the contractor behind these shipments was a company called SADAT, run by Erdogan’s former chief military advisor.

“Our trucks went under the name of Sedat Peker Aid Convoy. We knew other trucks that went on my behalf carried weapons. This was organized by a team within SADAT. No registration, no paperwork applied to these shipments that crossed directly [to Syria],” said Peker.

The revelations should not come as a surprise. In January 2013, the late journalist Serena Shim, as I wrote, exposed how terrorists and arms were smuggled into Syria from Turkey, noting World Food Organization trucks were being used. In October 2014, Shim was killed in a car accident, shortly after telling Press TV she feared for her life and that Turkish intelligence had accused her of being a spy. Her family, and inquiring journalists, believed it was down to Turkish foul play, noting the official story of Shim’s death changing. The US government didn’t investigate the suspicious death of one of its citizens in Turkey.

As Shim reported, if WFO trucks were at one point used to smuggle arms into Syria, can you blame Russia or Syria if they are indeed sceptical of supposed ‘aid’ entering from Turkey?

But whenever the issue of aid crossing into Syria is brought up at the UN Security Council, the narrative is usually to ‘blame Russia’. Hysterical headlines aside, is it really likely that Russia, with the world’s eyes on its every move, is actually trying to starve civilians in Syria? It is Russia, remember, that has demined vast areas of Syria formerly occupied by terrorist factions in order for local people to be able to return to their areas. It is also Russia that delivered aid to Raqqa, the city completely flattened by the US and allies in the pretext of fighting terrorism.

Syria’s cross-border mechanism (CBM) began in 2014, when – due to the presence of terrorist groups – aid couldn’t be delivered from within the country. The Security Council established the CBM, with four crossings into Syria: two from Turkey, one from Iraq, the last from Jordan. In December 2019, all except the Bab al-Hawa crossing from Turkey were closed down, with aid being coordinated via Damascus.

But as Russian representatives at the UN pointed out in a statement in July 2020, by then the situation had changed, with most of Syria back under the control of the government. Sending aid to those who need it can be done from within the country. Western media suggested that Syria would use the closure of crossings to starve its civilians, but the reality is that Damascus has consistently cooperated in sending aid, while the US has in the past stymied aid delivery.

Russia’s statement also noted, “The UN still has no presence in Idlib de-escalation zone which is controlled by international terrorists and fighters. It’s not a secret that the terrorist groups control certain areas of the de-escalation zone and use the UN humanitarian aid as a tool to exert pressure on [the] civil population and openly make profit from such deliveries.”

But amid a round of finger pointing, the West and allies continued to criticise Russia for wanting to end the CBM. In response, the Russian Federation’s representative to the UN Security Council wondered whether the UN’s OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) could go to Idlib to see if terrorists occupying that region were respecting the Declaration of Commitment some had signed regarding aid deliveries.

This was a valid point, given that in areas previously occupied by terrorists, most civilians never saw the ample aid sent in by Syria and agencies. Terrorist groups controlled and hoarded the aid, from east Aleppo to Madaya to al-Waer, to eastern Ghouta. So it was by no means a stretch of the imagination to assume the same might play out in Idlib, particularly since the terrorists included factions from the aforementioned regions, who were bussed to Idlib as the cities and towns finally returned to peace.

The Russian statement also addressed frenzied Western claims that the other closed crossings were the only means to send aid to civilians in the north-east of Syria. It read, “In total, since the beginning of 2020 when ‘Al Yarubiyah’ was closed, more humanitarian aid has been delivered to the north-east of Syria than in previous years.”

Still the narrative continued, though, and in March 2021, the dictator of Human Rights Watch, Ken Roth, tweeted about “Putin starving Syria”, resurrecting the cries over the unnecessary, and closed, crossings. But his claim prompted an angry response from some.

So who is actually starving civilians in Syria? Aside from terrorists hoarding food and denying it to the local people, there are more significant reasons for their preventable suffering. And these are the West’s sanctions against them, particularly the June 2020 Caesar Act.

Last year, James Jeffrey, the then US Special Representative for Syria Engagement, was quoted as saying the latest sanctions would contribute to the fall of the Syrian pound. What a wonderful way to “protect” Syrians. In US parlance, “protect” means “starve.”

As I walk around Damascus, I ask about the cost of food, and whether people can afford to feed their families. Most say their salaries aren’t sufficient: food prices have skyrocketed, salaries have not. Most describe adopting a more vegetarian diet – chicken and meats are too expensive to have more than once a month, or at all.

Furthermore, there is the US occupation forces’ thieving or destroying of Syrian resources. On that, Dr. Bashar Ja’afari, in his former post as Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, in June 2020, said, “When the United States daily steals 200,000 barrels of oil from the Syrian oil fields, 400,000 tons of cotton, 5,000,000 sheep and sets fire to thousands of hectares of wheat fields, and deliberately weakens the value of the Syrian pound, and when it imposes coercive economic measures aiming to choke the Syrian people and occupying parts of the Syrian lands, and when the US representative expresses her concern over the deteriorating situation of the Syrian citizen’s living conditions the logical question will be are not these acts the symptoms of political schizophrenia?”

But as usual the US and its allies blame Russia and Syria for the suffering in Syria, whitewashing their own very long litany of crimes there.

Although the smuggling of weapons and terrorists via Turkey has been openly known for years, it’s rather amusing that it takes a petty mobster, and not Western media or leadership, to draw new attention to it. No, as terrorists use those weapons to fight the Syrian government (and rival terrorist factions, and civilians), the West is only concerned about blaming Russia and Syria. Ten years of lies and war against the people of Syria just aren’t enough for America and its allies.

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine (where she lived for nearly four years).

June 4, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Russia Falsely Accused of Hacking USAID

By Stephen Lendman | May 29, 2021

Virtually all accusations by Washington and its complicit partners against Russia and other nations free from US control lack evidence supporting them because none exists.

Yet they surface time and again, supported by Western press agent media.

On Friday, the Russophobic NYT was at it again, falsely accusing Moscow of hacking USAID.

In response to an earlier phony US accusation of Russian hacking last year, its US embassy said the following:

“We paid attention to another unfounded attempt of the US media to blame Russia for hacker attacks on US governmental bodies.”

“We declare responsibly: malicious activities in the information space contradicts the principles of the Russian foreign policy, national interests and our understanding of interstate relations.”

“Russia does not conduct offensive operations in the cyber domain.”

“What is more, the Russian Federation actively promotes bilateral and multilateral cyber security agreements.”

“In this regard, we would like to remind (the US regime) of the initiative put forward by President Vladimir Putin on September 25 on a comprehensive program of measures to restore Russian-US cooperation in the field of international information security.”

“We have received no reply from Washington.”

“Many our other suggestions to start constructive and equal dialogue with the US remain unanswered.”

Hacking and countless other crimes are how the US-dominated West and Israel operate.

In sharp contrast, Russia fully complies with its international obligations, according to the rule of law.

Yet once again, NYT fake news falsely claimed the following:

“Hackers linked to Russia’s main intelligence agency surreptitiously seized an email system used by (USAID) to burrow into the computer networks of human rights groups and other organizations of the sort that have been critical of President Vladimir V. Putin, Microsoft Corporation disclosed on Thursday (sic).”

When accusations are unsupported by independently verified evidence, they’re baseless.

None exists to support accusations against Russia under Vladimir Putin.

Will the latest phony one be used as a pretext to cancel a scheduled mid-June summit between Putin and Biden’s impersonator — because he can only recite lines scripted for him.

If held, the summit will be farcical — a know-nothing imposter engaging with a world leader of Putin’s stature.

Perhaps the latest phony accusation against Russia will be used to cancel it — to avoid US embarrassment if they meet face-to-face.

No Russian hack of USAID occurred, no evidence suggesting it.

What the Times indicated as the aim of the phony claim fell flat like earlier baseless accusations against Russia.

An invented scenario by the Times reads like a rejected grade B Hollywood script.

Corporate predator Microsoft is complicit with wars by hot and/or other means on invented US enemies.

So are the Times and other establishment media — operating as mouthpieces for US imperial interests on all things geopolitical, notably against Russia, China, and nations victimized by US aggression.

No phony NYT claim of Russian “malicious activity (or) appetite for disruption” against the US or other countries exists, no evidence suggesting it.

An unnamed DHS official falsely claimed that the agency was “aware of the potential compromise” at USAID (sic) and is “working with the FBI and (the State Department’s agency) to better understand the extent of the compromise (sic) and assist potential victims (sic).”

No Russian SolarWinds hack occurred earlier or other hacking it was falsely accused of earlier.

Yet Microsoft and the Times falsely claimed a Nobelium group in Russia hacked SolarWinds and USAID despite no verifiable evidence because there is none.

Time and again, Times reports don’t pass the smell test.

Its daily editions feature managed news misinformation, disinformation and fake news on major domestic and geopolitical issues — far removed from all the news it claims to be fit to print.

A Final Comment

Undemocratic Dem war goddess Samantha Power heads USAID.

Like other interventionist extremists, she never met a nation free from US control she didn’t want smashed.

She once called US foreign policy “a tool box” with a range of options to advance the nation’s hegemonic aims.

Civil rights lawyer Chase Madar earlier called her hellish agenda “a richly instructive example of the weaponization of human rights.”

Like other US hostile to the rule of law officials, she falsely blames others for its high crimes of war and against humanity.

Chances are she was behind the latest false accusation of Russian hacking, enlisting Microsoft to make the phony claim.

Her maliciously destructive worldview is polar opposite values just societies cherish.

May 29, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 5 Comments

No going back to Open Skies, US tells Russia ahead of Biden-Putin summit

RT | May 27, 2021

The US State Department has communicated to Moscow that the Biden administration has no intention of rejoining the Open Skies treaty, which was one of the topics expected to come up at the Geneva summit in June.

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman sent the message to her Russian counterpart Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Thursday, AP reported, citing US officials speaking on condition of anonymity. Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed receiving the message.

It was a rare case of President Joe Biden not reversing a decision made by his predecessor Donald Trump, who had taken the US out of the treaty in May 2020.

The US officially left the treaty in November, but when Biden came to power he ordered a review of the decision, holding out the possibility that Washington might rejoin. The subject was expected to come up at the June 16 meeting between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.

Earlier in the day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had told reporters that time to salvage the arms control agreement was running out fast.

“This topic can surely be touched upon somehow, but time is running out fast. We are already carrying out procedures for leaving the treaty, and the US has little time to change its previous decisions,” Peskov said.

Last month, Moscow announced it would begin the procedure of withdrawing from the treaty, concerned that the US has continued to receive intelligence through overflights conducted by other NATO members still party to it.

With the US definitely out, further presence of Russia in Open Skies no longer makes sense, Russian Senator Andrey Klimov – who sits on the foreign relations committee – told RIA Novosti following the announcement from Washington.

The Open Skies treaty was intended to build trust between Russia and the West following the Cold War. Signed in 1992 and going into effect in 2002, it allowed signatories to openly fly unarmed surveillance planes over the territory of other participants. More than 1,500 such flights have taken place since.

May 27, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Russia Laments Washington’s Failure to Strictly Adhere to New START Treaty Provisions

By Henry Batyaev – Sputnik – 26.05.2021

Russia is calling on the United States to keep their end of the bargain with respect to the New START Treaty after Moscow found that the United States had converted some of its strategic offensive arms, making it impossible to verify whether they can be now used to carry nuclear weapons.

The representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said on Wednesday that Moscow will continue to demand that Washington comply with the terms of the treaty.

She added that Moscow is closely monitoring US efforts to modernise its strategic offensive arms, including through the increase of funding.

According to the New START Treaty, the sides must notify each other on the elimination of treaty‑accountable systems or conversion to non‑nuclear or non‑accountable status.

In February, Russia and the United States agreed to extend the New START treaty for five more years without renegotiating any of its terms. The treaty, now set to expire on February 5, 2026, is the only arms control agreement between two countries that is still in force.

May 27, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Rosneft announces launch of flagship gas project in the Arctic

RT | May 16, 2021

Russian energy giant Rosneft has revealed the launch of the Rospan International gas project in the Yamal region of the Arctic. It is expected to become the company’s gas production hub in the region.

“Regarding natural gas, we want to announce that in the first quarter of 2021 the company launched its flagship gas project called Rospan,” Eric Liron, Rosneft’s vice president for in-house services, told investors during a teleconference this week.

The project will provide annual gas production of more than 20 billion cubic meters, as well as production of 5 million tons of gas condensate and more than one million tons of propane and butane, he added.

“At the moment, both technological lines have already been put into operation. The railway terminal for the shipment of propane and butane has also been opened, all the necessary pipeline infrastructure is operating and the production potential has been fully technically confirmed,” Liron said.

Rospan International, a subsidiary of Rosneft, produces gas and gas condensate at the Vostochno-Urengoysky and Novo-Urengoysky license areas.

May 16, 2021 Posted by | Economics | | 2 Comments

Butting Heads With China and Russia: American Diplomats Are Outclassed

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | May 13, 2021

With the exception of the impending departure of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan, if it occurs, the White House seems to prefer to use aggression to deter adversaries rather than finesse. The recent exchanges between Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a meeting in Alaska demonstrate how Beijing has a clear view of its interests which Washington seems to lack. Blinken initiated the acrimonious exchange when he cited “deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks on the United States, economic coercion toward our allies. Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability. That’s why they’re not merely internal matters, and why we feel an obligation to raise these issues here today.” He then threatened “I said that the United States relationship with China will be competitive where it should be, collaborative where it can be, adversarial where it must be” before adding “I’m hearing deep satisfaction that the United States is back, that we’re reengaged with our allies and partners. I’m also hearing deep concern about some of the actions your government is taking.”

The Chinese Foreign Minister responded sharply, rejecting U.S. suggestions that it has a right to interfere in another country’s domestic policies, “I think we thought too well of the United States, we thought that the U.S. side will follow the necessary diplomatic protocols. The United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength. We believe that it is important for the United States to change its own image, and to stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world.” Yi had a point. Ironically, most of the world believes that the U.S. represents a greater threat to genuine democracy than does either China or Russia.

In another more recent interview Blinken has accused the Chinese of acting “more aggressively abroad” while President Biden has claimed that Beijing has a plan to replace America as the world’s leading economic and military power. U.S. United Nations envoy Linda Thomas-Greenfield has also delivered the same message that Washington is preparing to take no prisoners, pledging to push back against what she called China’s “authoritarian agenda” through the various agencies that make up the UN bureaucracy. Indeed, the United States seems trapped in its own rhetoric, finding itself in the middle of a situation with China and Taiwan where warnings that Beijing is preparing to use force to recover its former province leave Washington with few options to support a de facto ally. Peter Beinart in a recent op-ed observes how the White House has been incrementally increasing its diplomatic ties with Taiwan even as it both declares itself “rock solid” on defending while also maintaining “strategic ambiguity.”

China understands its interests while the U.S. continues to be bewildered by Beijing’s successful building of trade alliances worldwide. Meanwhile Russian President Vladimir Putin, reputedly an excellent chess player, is able to think about genuine issues in three dimensions and is always at least four moves ahead of where Biden and his advisers are at any time. Biden public and video appearances frequently seem to be improvisations as he goes along guided by his teleprompter while Putin is able to explain issues clearly, apparently even in English.

A large part of Biden’s problem vis-à-vis both China and Russia is that he has inherited a U.S. Establishment view of foreign and national security policy options. It is based on three basic principles. First, that America is the only superpower and can either ignore or comfortably overcome the objections of other nations to what it is doing. Second, an all-powerful and fully resourced United States can apply “extreme pressure” to recalcitrant foreign governments and those regimes will eventually submit and comply with Washington’s wishes. And third, America has a widely accepted leadership role of the so-called “free world” which will mean that any decision made in Washington will immediately be endorsed by a large number of other nations, giving legitimacy to U.S. actions worldwide.

What Joe Biden actually thinks is, of course, unknown though he has a history of reflexively supporting an assertive and even belligerent foreign policy during his many years in Congress. Kamala Harris, who many believe will be succeeding Biden before too long, appears to have no definitive views at all beyond the usual Democratic Party cant of spreading “democracy” and being strong on Israel. That suggests that the real shaping of policy is coming from the apparatchik and donor levels in the party, to include the neocon-lite Zionist triumvirate at the State Department consisting of Tony Blinken, Wendy Sherman and Victoria Kagan as well as the upper-level bureaucracies at the Pentagon and intelligence agencies, which all support an assertive and also interventionist foreign policy to keep Americans “safe” while also increasing their budgets annually. Such thinking leaves little room for genuine national interests to surface.

Biden’s Secretary of State Tony Blinken is, for example, the perfect conformist bureaucrat, shaping his own views around established thinking and creating caveats to provide the Democratic Party leadership with some, though limited, options. Witness for example the current White House attitude towards Iran, which is regarded, along with Russia, as a permanent enemy of the United States. President Biden has expressed his interest in renegotiating a non-nuclear proliferation treaty with the Iranians, now being discussed by diplomats without direct contact in Austria. But Blinken undercuts that intention by wrapping the talks in with other issues that are intended to satisfy the Israelis and their friends in Congress that will make progress unlikely if not impossible. They include eliminating Iran’s alleged role as a regional trouble maker and also ending the ballistic missile development programs currently engaged in by the regime. The downside to all of this is that having a multilateral agreement to limit Iranian enhancement of uranium up to a bomb-making level is very much in the U.S. interest, but it appears to be secondary to other politically motivated side discussions which will derail the process.

A foreign and national security policy based on political dogma rather than genuine interests can obviously generate some disconnects, unlike in Russia or China, where redlines and national interests are clearly understood and acted upon. To cite yet another dangerous example of playing with fire that one is witnessing in Eastern Europe, the simple understanding that for Russia Belarus and Ukraine are frontline states that could pose existential threats to Moscow if they were to move closer to the west and join NATO appears to be lacking. The U.S. prefers to stand the question on its head and claims that the real issue is “spreading democracy,” which it is not. Policy makers in Washington might consider what Washington would likely do if Mexico and Canada were to be threatened with foreign interference that might bring about their joining a military alliance hostile to the United States.

The American Establishment-driven foreign policy thinking clearly has trouble in accommodating the obvious understanding that the U.S. actually becomes more vulnerable every time it interferes in China’s trade practices or gives the green light for alliances like NATO to expand. Expansion of the national security policy components often brings in another client state that rarely has anything whatsoever to contribute and which, on the contrary, becomes a burden, relying for their own security on overstretched American military resources. In return, the expansion itself guarantees that a hostile and genuinely threatened Russia will take steps of its own to counter what it sees as a potential grave threat to its own security and national identity.

Quite simply, America’s national security should dictate that the United States treat China as a competitor rather than an enemy while also disengaging from support and encouragement of Ukraine’s irredentist ambitions as quickly as possible. A recent shipment of offensive weapons to Kiev should become the last such initiative and speeches by American politicians pledging “unwavering support” for Ukraine should be considered unacceptable. Washington should meanwhile reject any clandestine attempts to overthrow Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus and make clear to Vladimir Putin that it will not support any NATO expansion into Eastern Europe, which admittedly was a pledge already made when the Soviet Union collapsed that was subsequently ignored by President Bill Clinton. Thanks to Bill, America is now obligated to defend not only Western Europe but also Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, North Macedonia, the Baltic States and tiny little Montenegro.

In short, United States engagement in complicated overseas quarrels should be limited to areas where genuine vital interests are at stake. In fact, by that standard one should begin to emphasize the security impact of the crisis on America’s southern border, which has a completely different genesis and is being driven by politics. As British statesman Lord Palmerston said in 1848 “We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.” The United States government would be very wise to be guided by that advice.

May 13, 2021 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Western ‘rules-based international order’ designed to undermine UN & circumvent international law: Russian FM

By Jonny Tickle | RT | May 13, 2021

Western countries are developing rules without the consent of the rest of the international community, and are both undermining and circumventing the United Nations. That’s according to Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister.

Speaking on Wednesday at a joint press conference in Moscow with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Lavrov reiterated Russia’s support for the organization, and criticized those who take individual approaches, instead of using established collective decision-making mechanisms.

In particular, he noted that some countries engage in “illegitimate actions,” such as using force “without the approval by the UN Security Council,” as well as unilaterally imposing sanctions.

“We consider developing certain ‘rules’ behind the back of the greater part of the international community and then imposing them on others as universal norms unacceptable and dangerous practice,” Lavrov explained. “The ‘rules-based order’ concept promoted by our Western colleagues is unrelated to either law or universal morality.”

In his opinion, the idea of ‘rules’ causes damage to the coordinating role of the UN, and has caused an imbalance in the architecture of global governance.

The Foreign Minister also expressed his support for Guterres’ attempts to resolve crises by political and diplomatic means, including through mediation. The UN Secretary-General was visiting Moscow for his annual face-to-face discussions with Russian leadership.

Wednesday was not the first time Lavrov slammed the so-called ‘rules based order.’ Last week, Lavrov accused Western countries of imposing totalitarianism in international relations by forcing their political positions on other countries. In particular, he pointed the finger at the US and the EU, accusing them of turning away from the principles of democracy and multilateralism.

In February, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova echoed the same sentiment, when she accused Western countries of resolving global problems in a private group without inviting both Russia and China.

“Our Western partners seek to resolve issues in a narrow circle and advance decisions that they are comfortable with, which will later be imposed on other members of the international community through the prism of the ‘rules-based world order’,” she said.

May 13, 2021 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Putin submits bill for Russia to quit Open Skies Treaty one year after US withdrew from ‘spying agreement’

By Jonny Tickle | RT | May 11, 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin has submitted a bill to the country’s parliament to leave the Open Skies Treaty, a post-Cold War surveillance agreement that allows signatory countries to openly spy on each other from the air.

The much-maligned pact has come under attack in recent times, and appears to be on its last legs. Last May, under then-President Donald Trump, the US announced it would withdraw from the treaty. This was confirmed six months later, in November.

Following Washington’s decision to leave the agreement, Moscow revealed that it wanted guarantees from America’s NATO military bloc allies that they would not share information gained through Open Skies with Washington. Such reassurances are yet to come, and current US President Joe Biden has not shown a willingness to re-sign the treaty.

On Tuesday morning, Putin submitted a bill to the State Duma, noting that Moscow would “start domestic procedures” to enable the country to withdraw from Open Skies.

The explanatory note attached to the document praised the agreement for “significantly contributing to building confidence in the military sphere,” noting that America’s decision to leave the treaty in its current form threatens Russia’s national security.

“On November 22, 2020, the US withdrew from the treaty under a far-fetched pretext,” the statement says. “Serious damage was done to compliance with the treaty and its significance in building confidence and transparency.”

In January, Russia’s foreign ministry announced that it had launched domestic procedures to withdraw from the treaty. In a statement, it noted that the move was coming after a “lack of progress in negotiations around the continuation of the treaty under new circumstances.”

May 11, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment