Softpanorama

May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
(slightly skeptical) Educational society promoting "Back to basics" movement against IT overcomplexity and  bastardization of classic Unix

Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
and Alliance of Transnational Elites

Neoliberalism is inseparable from imperialism and globalization

Who Rules America > Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism

News American Imperialism Recommended Links Predator state Neoliberalism as a New form of Corporatism Neoconservatism as a US version of Neoliberalism IMF as a key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement
Debt enslavement Greece debt enslavement Ukraine debt enslavement Provisional government as an instrument for Ukraine's debt enslavement "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia Looting pays dividends to empire
Antiamericanism as a Blowback to American Empire Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Globalization of Financial Flows Divide and conquer strategy Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few The Deep State Why did we get the collapse of the USSR so wrong ?
American Exceptionalism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism The Grand Chessboard New American Militarism Media-Military-Industrial Complex The Iron Law of Oligarchy Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult
Fifth Column of Globalization Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries US Department of Imperial Expansion Diplomacy by deception Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources American imperialism: the attempt to secure global hegemony
Victoria Nuland’s ‘Ukraine-gate’ Color revolutions Compradors NGOs as braintrust of color revolutions EuroMaidan The Far Right Forces in Ukraine as Trojan horse of neoliberalism Narcissism as Key American Value
Resurgence of ideology of neo-fascism Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Machiavellism Right to protect Big Uncle is Watching You Industrial Espionage
Media domination strategy Media as a weapon of mass deception Developing Countries Hit Hardest by Brain Drain Republics are usually warlike and unscrupulous Politically Incorrect Political Humor American Imperialism Bookshelf Etc

Introduction

All U.S. schoolchildren should be taught, as part of their basic civics education, by conscientious elementary, middle school and high school teachers, that they live in an imperialist country. The term itself ought to be popularized. This is what politicians like Obama actually refer to, elliptically, when they call the U.S. “exceptional.

Gary Leupp, The U.S. Versus ISIS

Looks like the USA successfully managed to recreate Imperial Rome on a new level, neoliberalism level. See Empires Then and Now - PaulCraig

The idea financial imperialism is simple. Instead of old-fashion military occupation of the country, take over the countries in crisis, if necessary remove their democratically elected governments from power by claiming that election are falsified and/or official are corrupted, and/or the government is authoritarian (unlike the puppets they want to install). They use the installed puppets to mandate austerity, burden the country with debt  and facilitate condition under which most of which will be stolen and repatriated to the West.

But neoliberals take this old idea to a new level -- the crisis can be manufactured. The scheme looks like the following (see IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement discussion of Greece for more information):

After installation of a puppet government, it is relatively easy to use Fifth column based government to protect foreign financial interests. Now you can recoup the costs and enjoy the profits. Much cheaper and more humane then bombing the country and killing a couple of hundred thousand people to achieve the same goals (Iraq variant) or by arming and training  jihadists (using Saudi and Gulf monarchies money) and tribal elements to depose the government (Libya and Syria variants) who kill as much, if nor more. 

A classic recent examples were Yeltsin's government in Russia, Yushchenko regime in Ukraine,  Poroshenko-Yatsenyuk duo in Ukraine and sequence of neoliberal governments in Greece. 

In other words neoliberalism is inseparable from imperialism and globalization (Neoliberalism A Critical Reader Alfredo Saad-Filho, Deborah Johnston, p. 2)

In the conventional (or mainstream) discourse, imperialism is either absent or, more recently, proudly presented as the ‘AmericanBurden': to civilize the world and bring to all the benediction of the Holy Trinity, the green-faced Lord Dollar and its deputies and occasional rivals. Holy Euro and Saint Yen. New converts win a refurbished international airport, one brand-new branch of McDonald’s, two luxury hotels, 3,000 NGOs and one US military base.

This offer cannot be refused - or else.2 In turn, globalisation is generally presented as an inescapable, inexorable and benevolent process leading to greater competition, welfare improvements and the spread of democracy around the world. In reality, however, the so-called process of globalisation - to the extent that it actually exists (see Saad-Rlho 2003) - is merely the international face of neoliberalism: a world-wide strategy of accumulation and social discipline that doubles up as tin imperialist project, spearheaded by the alliance between the US ruling class and locally dominant capitalist coalitions.

This ambitious power project centered on neoliberalism at home and imperial globalism abroad is implemented by diverse social and economic political alliances in each country, but the interests of local finance and the US ruling class, itself dominated by finance, are normally hegemonic.

...the United States, the United Kingdom and east and south-east Asia respectively, neoliberalism is a particular organisation of capitalism, which has evolved to protect capital(ism) and to reduce the power of labour. This is achieved by means of social, economic and political transformations imposed by internal forces as well as external pressure. The internal forces include the coalition between financial interests, leading industrialists, traders and exporters, media barons, big landowners, local political chieftains, the top echelons of the civil service and the military, and their intellectual and political proxies. These groups are closely connected with ‘global’ ideologies emanating from the centre, and they tend to adapt swiftly to the demands beamed from the metropolis. Their efforts have led to a significant worldwide shift in powerrelations away from the majority. Corporate power has increased, while finance hits acquired unrivalled influence, and the political spectrum has shifted towards the right. Left parties and mass organisations have imploded, while trade unions have been muzzled or disabled by unemployment. Forms of external pressure have included the diffusion of Western culture and ideology, foreign support for state and civil society institutions peddling neolibcral values, the shameless use of foreign aid, debt relief and balance of payments support to promote the neoliberal programme, and diplomatic pressure, political unrest and military intervention when necessary.

...the ruling economic and political forces in the European Union have instrumentalised the process of integration to ensure the hegemony of neoliberalism. This account is complemented by the segmentation of Eastern Europe into countries that are being drawn into a Western European-style neoliberalism and others that are following Russia’s business oligarchy model.

In sum, neoliberalism is everywhere both the outcome and the arena of social conflicts. It sets the political and economic agenda, limits the possible outcomes, biases expectations, and imposes urgent tasks on those challenging its assumptions, methods and consequences.

In the meantime, neoliberal theory has not remained static. In order to deal with the most powerful criticisms leveled against neoliberalism, that it has increased poverty and social dislocation around the world, neoliberal theory has attempted to present the ogre in a more favorable light. In spite of the substantial resources invested in this ideologically inspired make-over, these amendments have remained unconvincing, not least because the heart of the neoliberal project has remained unchanged. This is discussed in Chapter 15 for poverty and distribution, while Chapter 21 unpicks the agenda of the ‘Third Way', viewed by many as ‘neoliberalism with a human face’.

Neoliberalism offered a finance-friendly solution to the problems of capital accumulation at the end of a relatively long cycle of prosperity. Chapters 1. 22 and 30 show that neoliberalism imposed discipline upon a restless working class through contractionary fiscal and monetary policies and wide-ranging initiatives to curtail social rights, under the guise of anti-inflation and productivity-enhancing measures. Neoliberalism also rationalised the transfer of state capacity to allocate resources inter-temporally (the balance between investment and consumption) and inter-sectorally (the distribution of investment, employment and output) towards an increasingly internationally integrated (and US-led) financial sector. In doing so, neoliberalism facilitated a gigantic transfer of resources to the local rich and the United States, as is shown by Chapters 11 and 15.

The “elephant in the room” is peak oil (plato oil to be more correct) and the plato of food production. Without "cheap oil" extraction growing, it is more difficult to sustain both  population growth and rising standard of living simultaneously. It became the situation of iether/or.

So the future it does not look pretty. As soon as "cheap oil"  escape the current plato,  Western financial system gets into trouble: private banks based fractional reserve banking requires economy expansion for survival.  Essentially they add positive feedback loop to the economy, greatly increasing the instability.  That connection was discovered by Hyman Minsky. Minsky explored a form of instability that is embedded in neoliberal/financialized economies resulting from the use of fiat currency and fractional reserve banking. he argued that such an economy automatically generates bubbles, bursting of which result in periodic deep economic crisis. Which are not an exception, but a feature of neoliberal capitalism (aka "supercapitalism", or "casino capitalism).  

When Minsky crisis hits  some, less important, banks will implode and strategically important need to be saved by government at a great expense for taxpayers. The western elite is well aware of this possibility and will steal, loot and pillage as fast as they can to prolong the agony...  Neoliberal expansion and conversion of other countries into debt slaves thus serves as a substitute for economic growth.

What actually is devalued in austerity programs imposed on indebted nations via currency depreciation is the price of local labor (along with standard of living of the most population). So austerity programs caused a huge drop in the standard of living of population. For example after EuroMaydan color revolution the standard of living in Ukraine dropped to the level of the most poor countries of Africa  (less then $2 a day for the majority of population).

This is a pretty instructive example.   It qlso cur domestic consumption of fuels and minerals, consumer goods, and food.  As wages are sticky and it is difficult to reduced them directly (via high unemployment, leading to falling wages). But the currency depreciation can do the same trick even more effectively. For example since February 22 coup d'état, grivna, the Ukrainian currency depreciated from 8 to 28 grivna to dollar, or approximately 350%.

This is how war of creditors against debtor countries turns into a class war. But to impose such neoliberal reforms, foreign pressure is necessary to bypass domestic, democratically elected Parliaments. Not every country’s voters can be expected to be as passive in acting against their own interests as those of Latvia and Ireland. The financial capital objective is to bypass parliament by demanding a “consensus” (facilitated by a huge foreign debt) to put foreign creditors first, above the national economy. This is the essence of the status of debt slave country. Civil war it a perfect tool to accelerate this process. 

Buying natural monopolies in transportation, communications, and the land from the public domain for pennies on the dollar now can be called "rescue package", not the road to debt peonage and a financial neo-feudalism that is a grim reality of "debt slave" countries, where populations are indentured laborers of international capital. Let me state it very simply : "the borrower [debtor] is SERVANT to the lender" ( Wikipedia ):

An indentured servant or indentured laborer is an employee (indenturee) within a system of unfree labor who is bound by a signed or forced contract (indenture) to work for a particular employer for a fixed time. The contract often lets the employer sell the labor of an indenturee to a third party. Indenturees usually enter into an indenture for a specific payment or other benefit, or to meet a legal obligation, such as debt bondage.

The whole point of creating debt is to gain control of and rule over such countries.  Prof. Hudson's article Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011) illustrates this point admirably.

At the same time then comes to bailing out bankers who overplayed with derivatives, all rules are ignored – in order to serve the “higher justice” of saving banks and their high-finance counterparties from taking a loss. This is quite a contrast compared to IMF policy toward labor and “taxpayers.” The class war is back in business – with a vengeance, and bankers are the winners this time around.

Classic, textbook example of neocolonialism was rape of Russia in 1991-1999. See Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia

Henry C K Liu Views

One of the most interesting analysis of this new phenomena was provided by Henry C K Liu in his series of articles SUPER CAPITALISM, SUPER IMPERIALISM


PART 1: A Structural Link

Robert B Reich, former US Secretary of Labor and resident neo-liberal in the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1997, wrote in the September 14, 2007 edition of The Wall Street Journal an opinion piece, "CEOs Deserve Their Pay", as part of an orchestrated campaign to promote his new book: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (Afred A Knopf).

Reich is a former Harvard professor and the former Maurice B Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He is currently a professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California (Berkley) and a regular liberal gadfly in the unabashed supply-side Larry Kudlow TV show that celebrates the merits of capitalism.

Reich's Supercapitalism brings to mind Michael Hudson's Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1972-2003). While Reich, a liberal turned neo-liberal, sees "supercapitalism" as the natural evolution of insatiable shareholder appetite for gain, a polite euphemism for greed, that cannot or should not be reined in by regulation, Hudson, a Marxist heterodox economist, sees "super imperialism" as the structural outcome of post-World War II superpower geopolitics, with state interests overwhelming free market forces, making regulation irrelevant. While Hudson is critical of "super imperialism" and thinks that it should be resisted by the weaker trading partners of the US, Reich gives the impression of being ambivalent about the inevitability, if not the benignity, of "supercapitalism".

The structural link between capitalism and imperialism was first observed by John Atkinson Hobson (1858-1940), an English economist, who wrote in 1902 an insightful analysis of the economic basis of imperialism. Hobson provided a humanist critique of neoclassical economics, rejecting exclusively materialistic definitions of value. With Albert Frederick Mummery (1855-1895), the great British mountaineer who was killed in 1895 by an avalanche while reconnoitering Nanga Parbat, an 8,000-meter Himalayan peak, Hobson wrote The Physiology of Industry (1889), which argued that an industrial economy requires government intervention to maintain stability, and developed the theory of over-saving that was given a glowing tribute by John Maynard Keynes three decades later.

The need for governmental intervention to stabilize an expanding national industrial economy was the rationale for political imperialism. On the other side of the coin, protectionism was a governmental counter-intervention on the part of weak trading partners for resisting imperialist expansion of the dominant power. Historically, the processes of globalization have always been the result of active state policy and action, as opposed to the mere passive surrender of state sovereignty to market forces. Market forces cannot operate in a vacuum. They are governed by man-made rules. Globalized markets require the acceptance by local authorities of established rules of the dominant economy. Currency monopoly of course is the most fundamental trade restraint by one single dominant government.

Adam Smith published Wealth of Nations in 1776, the year of US independence. By the time the constitution was framed 11 years later, the US founding fathers were deeply influenced by Smith's ideas, which constituted a reasoned abhorrence of trade monopoly and government policy in restricting trade. What Smith abhorred most was a policy known as mercantilism, which was practiced by all the major powers of the time. It is necessary to bear in mind that Smith's notion of the limitation of government action was exclusively related to mercantilist issues of trade restraint. Smith never advocated government tolerance of trade restraint, whether by big business monopolies or by other governments in the name of open markets.

A central aim of mercantilism was to ensure that a nation's exports remained higher in value than its imports, the surplus in that era being paid only in specie money (gold-backed as opposed to fiat money). This trade surplus in gold permitted the surplus country, such as England, to invest in more factories at home to manufacture more for export, thus bringing home more gold. The importing regions, such as the American colonies, not only found the gold reserves backing their currency depleted, causing free-fall devaluation (not unlike that faced today by many emerging-economy currencies), but also wanting in surplus capital for building factories to produce for domestic consumption and export. So despite plentiful iron ore in America, only pig iron was exported to England in return for English finished iron goods. The situation was similar to today's oil producing countries where despite plentiful crude oil, refined petrochemical products such as gasoline and heating oil have to be imported.

In 1795, when the newly independent Americans began finally to wake up to their disadvantaged trade relationship and began to raise European (mostly French and Dutch) capital to start a manufacturing industry, England decreed the Iron Act, forbidding the manufacture of iron goods in its American colonies, which caused great dissatisfaction among the prospering colonials.

Smith favored an opposite government policy toward promoting domestic economic production and free foreign trade for the weaker traders, a policy that came to be known as "laissez faire" (because the English, having nothing to do with such heretical ideas, refuse to give it an English name). Laissez faire, notwithstanding its literal meaning of "leave alone", meant nothing of the sort. It meant an activist government policy to counteract mercantilism. Neo-liberal free-market economists are just bad historians, among their other defective characteristics, when they propagandize "laissez faire" as no government interference in trade affairs.

Friedrich List, in his National System of Political Economy (1841), asserts that political economy as espoused in England, far from being a valid science universally, was merely British national opinion, suited only to English historical conditions. List's institutional school of economics asserts that the doctrine of free trade was devised to keep England rich and powerful at the expense of its trading partners and it must be fought with protective tariffs and other protective devices of economic nationalism by the weaker countries.

Henry Clay's "American system" was a national system of political economy. US neo-imperialism in the post WWII period disingenuously promotes neo-liberal free-trade against governmental protectionism to keep the US rich and powerful at the expense of its trading partners. Before the October Revolution of 1917, many national liberation movements in European colonies and semi-colonies around the world were influenced by List's economic nationalism. The 1911 Nationalist Revolution in China, led by Sun Yat-sen, was heavily influenced by Lincoln's political ideas - government of the people, by the people and for the people - and the economic nationalism of List, until after the October Revolution when Sun realized that the Soviet model was the correct path to national revival.

Hobson's magnum opus, Imperialism, (1902), argues that imperialistic expansion is driven not by state hubris, known in US history as "manifest destiny", but by an innate quest for new markets and investment opportunities overseas for excess capital formed by over-saving at home for the benefit of the home state. Over-saving during the industrial age came from Richardo's theory of the iron law of wages, according to which wages were kept perpetually at subsistence levels as a result of uneven market power between capital and labor. Today, job outsourcing that returns as low-price imports contributes to the iron law of wages in the US domestic economy. (See my article Organization of Labor Exporting Countries [OLEC]).

Hobson's analysis of the phenology (study of life cycles) of capitalism was drawn upon by Lenin to formulate a theory of imperialism as an advanced stage of capitalism:

"Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capitalism is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed." (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, 1916, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Chapter 7).

Lenin was also influenced by Rosa Luxemberg, who three year earlier had written her major work, The Accumulation of Capital: A Contribution to an Economic Explanation of Imperialism (Die Akkumulation des Kapitals: Ein Beitrag zur ökonomischen Erklärung des Imperialismus), 1913). Luxemberg, together with Karl Liebknecht a founding leader of the Spartacist League (Spartakusbund), a radical Marxist revolutionary movement that later renamed itself the Communist Party of Germany (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, or KPD), was murdered on January 15, 1919 by members of the Freikorps, rightwing militarists who were the forerunners of the Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA) led by Ernst Rohm.

The congenital association between capitalism and imperialism requires practically all truly anti-imperialist movements the world over to be also anti-capitalist. To this day, most nationalist capitalists in emerging economies are unwitting neo-compradors for super imperialism. Neo-liberalism, in its attempts to break down all national boundaries to facilitate global trade denominated in fiat dollars, is the ideology of super imperialism.

Hudson, the American heterodox economist, historian of ancient economies and post-WW II international balance-of-payments specialist, advanced in his 1972 book the notion of 20th century super imperialism. Hudson updated Hobson's idea of 19th century imperialism of state industrial policy seeking new markets to invest home-grown excess capital. To Hudson, super imperialism is a state financial strategy to export debt denominated in the state's fiat currency as capital to the new financial colonies to finance the global expansion of a superpower empire.

No necessity, or even intention, was entertained by the superpower of ever having to pay off these paper debts after the US dollar was taken off gold in 1971.

Monetary Imperialism and Dollar Hegemony

Super imperialism transformed into monetary imperialism after the 1973 Middle East oil crisis with the creation of the petrodollar and two decades later emerged as dollar hegemony through financial globalization after 1993. As described in my 2002 AToL article, Dollar hegemony has to go, a geopolitical phenomenon emerged after the 1973 oil crisis in which the US dollar, a fiat currency since 1971, continues to serve as the primary reserve currency for  international trade because oil continues to be denominated in fiat dollars as a result of superpower geopolitics, leading to dollar hegemony in 1993 with the globalization of deregulated financial markets.

Three causal developments allowed dollar hegemony to emerge over a span of two decades after 1973 and finally take hold in 1993. US fiscal deficits from overseas spending since the 1950s caused a massive drain in US gold holdings, forcing the US in 1971 to abandon the 1945 Bretton Woods regime of fixed exchange rate based on a gold-backed dollar. Under that international financial architecture, cross-border flow of funds was not considered necessary or desirable for promoting international trade or domestic development. The collapse of the 1945 Bretton Woods regime in 1971 was the initial development toward dollar hegemony.

The second development was the denomination of oil in dollars after the 1973 Middle East oil crisis. The emergence of petrodollars was the price the US, still only one of two contending superpowers in 1973, extracted from defenseless oil-producing nations for allowing them to nationalize the Western-owned oil industry on their soil. As long as oil transactions are denominated in fiat dollars, the US essentially controls all the oil in the world financially regardless of specific ownership, reducing all oil producing nations to the status of commodity agents of dollar hegemony.

The third development was the global deregulation of financial markets after the Cold War, making cross-border flow of funds routine, and a general relaxation of capital and foreign exchange control by most governments involved in international trade. This neo-liberal trade regime brought into existence a foreign exchange market in which free-floating exchange rates made computerized speculative attacks on weak currencies a regular occurrence. These three developments permitted the emergence of dollar hegemony after 1994 and helped the US win the Cold War with financial power derived from fiat money.

Dollar hegemony advanced super imperialism one stage further from the financial to the monetary front. Industrial imperialism sought to achieve a trade surplus by exporting manufactured good to the colonies for gold to fund investment for more productive plants at home. Super imperialism sought to extract real wealth from the colonies by paying for it with fiat dollars to sustain a balance of payments out of an imbalance in the exchange of commodities. Monetary imperialism under dollar hegemony exports debt denominated in fiat dollars through a permissive trade deficit with the new colonies, only to re-import the debt back to the US as capital account surplus to finance the US debt bubble.

The circular recycling of dollar-denominated debt was made operative by the dollar, a fiat currency that only the US can print at will, continuing as the world's prime reserve currency for international trade and finance, backed by US geopolitical superpower. Dollars are accepted universally because oil is denominated in dollars and everyone needs oil and thus needs dollars to buy oil. Any nation that seeks to denominate key commodities, such as oil, in currencies other than the dollar will soon find itself invaded by the sole superpower. Thus the war on Iraq is not about oil, as former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan suggested recently. It is about keeping oil denominated in dollars to protect dollar hegemony. The difference is subtle but of essential importance.

Since 1993, central banks of all trading nations around the world, with the exception of the US Federal Reserve, have been forced to hold more dollar reserves than they otherwise need to ward off the potential of sudden speculative attacks on their currencies in unregulated global financial markets. Thus "dollar hegemony" prevents the exporting nations, such as the Asian Tigers, from spending domestically the dollars they earn from the US trade deficit and forces them to fund the US capital account surplus, shipping real wealth to the US in exchange for the privilege of financing further growth of the US debt economy.

Not only do these exporting nations have to compete by keeping their domestic wages down and by prostituting their environment, the dollars that they earn cannot be spent at home without causing a monetary crisis in their own currencies because the dollars they earn have to be exchanged into local currencies before they can be spent domestically, causing an excessive rise in their domestic money supply which in turn causes domestic inflation-pushed bubbles. While the trade-surplus nations are forced to lend their export earnings back to the US, these same nations are starved for capital, as global capital denominated in dollars will only invest in their export sectors to earn more dollars. The domestic sector with local currency earnings remains of little interest to global capital denominated in dollars. As a result, domestic development stagnates for lack of capital.

Dollar hegemony permits the US to transform itself from a competitor in world markets to earn hard money, to a fiat-money-making monopoly with fiat dollars that only it can print at will. Every other trading nation has to exchange low-wage goods for dollars that the US alone can print freely and that can be spent only in the dollar economy without monetary penalty.

The victimization of Japan and China

Japan is a classic victim of monetary imperialism. In 1990, as a result of Japanese export prowess, the Industrial Bank of Japan was the largest bank in the world, with a market capitalization of $57 billion. The top nine of the 10 largest banks then were all Japanese, trailed by Canadian Alliance in 10th place. No US bank made the top-10 list. By 2001, the effects of dollar hegemony have pushed Citigroup into first place with a market capitalization of $260 billion. Seven of the top 10 largest financial institutions in the world in 2001 were US-based, with descending ranking in market capitalization: Citigroup ($260 billion), AIG ($209 billion), HSBC (British-$110 billion), Berkshire Hathaway ($100 billion), Bank of America ($99 billion), Fanny Mae ($80 billion), Wells Fargo ($74 billion), JP Morgan Chase ($72 billion), RBS (British-$70 billion) and UBS (Swiss-$67 billion). No Japanese bank survived on the list.

China is a neoclassic case of dollar hegemony victimization even though its domestic financial markets are still not open and the yuan is still not freely convertible. With over $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves earned at a previously lower fixed exchange rate of 8.2 to a dollar set in 1985, now growing at the rate of $1 billion a day at a narrow-range floating exchange rate of around 7.5 since July 2005, China cannot spend much of it dollar holdings on domestic development without domestic inflation caused by excessive expansion of its yuan money supply. The Chinese economy is overheating because the bulk of its surplus revenue is in dollars from exports that cannot be spent inside China without monetary penalty. Chinese wages are too low to absorb sudden expansion of yuan money supply to develop the domestic economy. And with over $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, equal to its annual GDP, China cannot even divest from the dollar without having the market effect of a falling dollar moving against its remaining holdings.

The People's Bank of China announced on July 20, 2005 that effective immediately the yuan exchange rate would go up by 2.1% to 8.11 yuan to the US dollar and that China would drop the dollar peg to its currency. In its place, China would move to a "managed float" of the yuan, pegging the currency's exchange value to an undisclosed basket of currencies linked to its global trade. In an effort to limit the amount of volatility, China would not allow the currency to fluctuate by more than 0.3% in any one trading day. Linking the yuan to a basket of currencies means China's currency is relatively free from market forces acting on the dollar, shifting to market forces acting on a basket of currencies of China's key trading partners. The basket is composed of the euro, yen and other Asian currencies as well as the dollar. Though the precise composition of the basket was not disclosed, it can nevertheless be deduced by China's trade volume with key trading partners and by mathematical calculation from the set-daily exchange rate.

Thus China is trapped in a trade regime operating on an international monetary architecture in which it must continue to export real wealth in the form of underpaid labor and polluted environment in exchange for dollars that it must reinvest in the US. Ironically, the recent rise of anti-trade sentiment in US domestic politics offers China a convenient, opportune escape from dollar hegemony to reduce its dependence on export to concentrate on domestic development. Chinese domestic special interest groups in the export sector would otherwise oppose any policy to slow the growth in export if not for the rise of US protectionism which causes shot-term pain for China but long-term benefit in China's need to restructure its economy toward domestic development. Further trade surplus denominated in dollar is of no advantage to China.

Emerging markets are new colonies of monetary imperialism

Even as the domestic US economy declined after the onset of globalization in the early 1990s, US dominance in global finance has continued to this day on account of dollar hegemony. It should not be surprising that the nation that can print at will the world's reserve currency for international trade should come up on top in deregulated global financial markets. The so-called emerging markets around the world are the new colonies of monetary imperialism in a global neo-liberal trading regime operating under dollar hegemony geopolitically dominated by the US as the world's sole remaining superpower.

Denial of corporate social responsibility

In Supercapitalism, Reich identifies corporate social responsibility as a diversion from economic efficiency and an un-capitalistic illusion. Of course the late Milton Friedman had asserted that the only social responsibility of corporations is to maximize profit, rather than to generate economic well-being and balanced growth through fair profits. There is ample evidence to suggest that a single-minded quest for maximizing global corporate profit can lead to domestic economic decline in even the world's sole remaining superpower. The US public is encouraged to blame such decline on the misbehaving trading partners of the US rather than US trade policy that permits US transnational corporation to exploit workers in all trading nations, including those in the US. It is a policy that devalues work by over-rewarding financial manipulation.

Yet to Reich, the US corporate income tax is regressive and inequitable and should be abolished so that after-tax corporate profit can be even further enhanced. This pro-profit position is at odds with even rising US Republican sentiment against transnational corporations and their global trade strategies. Reich also thinks the concept of corporate criminal liability is based on an "anthropomorphic fallacy" that ends up hurting innocent people. Reich sees as inevitable an evolutionary path towards an allegedly perfect new world of a super-energetic capitalism responding to the dictate of all-powerful consumer preference through market democracy.

Reich argues that corporations cannot be expected to be more "socially responsible" than their shareholders or even their consumers, and he implies that consumer preference and behavior are the proper and effective police forces that supersede the need for market regulation. He sees corporations, while viewed by law as "legal persons", as merely value-neutral institutional respondents of consumer preferences in global markets. Reich claims that corporate policies, strategies and behavior in market capitalism are effectively governed by consumer preferences and need no regulation by government. This is essentially the ideology of neo-liberalism.

Yet US transnational corporations derive profit from global operations serving global consumers to maximize return on global capital. These transnational corporations will seek to shift production to where labor is cheapest and environmental standards are lowest and to market their products where prices are highest and consumer purchasing power the strongest. Often, these corporations find it more profitable to sell products they themselves do not make, controlling only design and marketing, leaving the dirty side of manufacturing to others with underdeveloped market power. This means if the US wants a trade surplus under the current terms of trade, it must lower it wages. The decoupling of consumers from producers weakens the conventional effects of market pressure on corporate social responsibility. Transnational corporations have no home community loyalty. Consumers generally do not care about sweat shop conditions overseas while overseas workers do not care about product safety on goods they produce but cannot afford to buy. Products may be made in China, but they are not made by China, but by US transnational corporations which are responsible for the quality and safety of their products.

Further, it is well recognized that corporations routinely and effectively manipulate consumer preference and market acceptance often through if not false, at least misleading advertising, not for the benefit of consumers, but to maximize return on faceless capital raised from global capital markets. The subliminal emphasis by the corporate culture on addictive acquisition of material things, coupled with a structural deprivation of adequate income to satisfy the manipulated desires, has made consumers less satisfied than in previous times of less material abundance. Corporations have been allowed to imbed consumption-urging messages into every aspect of modern life. The result is a disposable culture with packaged waste, an obesity crisis for all age groups, skyrocketing consumer debt, the privatization of public utilities that demand the same fee for basic services from rich and poor alike, causing a sharp disparity in affordability. It is a phenomenon described by Karl Marx as "Fetishism of Commodities".

Marx's concept of Fetishism of Commodities

Marx wrote in Das Kapital:[1]

The relation of the producers to the sum total of their own labor is presented to them as a social relation, existing not between themselves, but between the products of their labor. This is the reason why the products of labor become commodities, social things whose qualities are at the same time perceptible and imperceptible by the senses … The existence of the things qua commodities, and the value relation between the products of labor which stamps them as commodities, have absolutely no connection with their physical properties and with the material relations arising therefrom. It is a definite social relation between men that assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things. In order, therefore, to find an analogy, we must have recourse to the mist-enveloped regions of the religious world. In that world, the productions of the human brain appear as independent beings endowed with life, and entering into relation both with one another and the human race. So it is in the world of commodities with the products of men's hands. This I call the Fetishism which attaches itself to the products of labor, as soon as they are produced as commodities, and which is therefore inseparable from the production of commodities. This Fetishism of Commodities has its origin … in the peculiar social character of the labor that produces them.
Marx asserts that "the mystical character of commodities does not originate in their use-value" (Section 1, p 71). Market value is derived from social relations, not from use-value which is a material phenomenon. Thus Marx critiques the Marginal Utility Theory by pointing out that market value is affected by social relationships. For example, the marginal utility of door locks is a function of the burglary rate in a neighborhood which in turn is a function of the unemployment rate. Unregulated free markets are a regime of uninhibited price gouging by monopolies and cartels.

Thus the nature of money cannot be adequately explained even in terms of the material-technical properties of gold, but only in terms of the factors behind man's desire and need for gold. Similarly, it is not possible to fully understand the price of capital from the technical nature of the means of production, but only from the social institution of private ownership and the terms of exchange imposed by uneven market power. Market capitalism is a social institution based on the fetishism of commodities.

Democracy threatened by the corporate state

While Reich is on target in warning about the danger to democracy posed by the corporate state, and in claiming that only people can be citizens, and only citizens should participate in democratic decision making, he misses the point that transnational corporations have transcended national boundaries. Yet in each community that these transnational corporations operate, they have the congenital incentive, the financial means and the legal mandate to manipulate the fetishism of commodities even in distant lands.

Moreover, representative democracy as practiced in the US is increasingly manipulated by corporate lobbying funded from high-profit-driven corporate financial resources derived from foreign sources controlled by management. Corporate governance is notoriously abusive of minority shareholder rights on the part of management. Notwithstanding Reich's rationalization of excessive CEO compensation, CEOs as a class are the most vocal proponents of corporate statehood. Modern corporations are securely insulated from any serious threats from consumer revolt. Inter-corporate competition presents only superficial and trivial choices for consumers. Motorists have never been offered any real choice on gasoline by oil companies or alternatives on the gasoline-guzzling internal combustion engine by car-makers.

High pay for CEOs

Reich asserts in his Wall Street Journal piece that modern CEOs in finance capitalism nowadays deserve their high pay because they have to be superstars, unlike their bureaucrat-like predecessors during industrial capitalism. Notwithstanding that one would expect a former labor secretary to argue that workers deserve higher pay, the challenge to corporate leadership in market capitalism has always been and will always remain management's ruthless pursuit of market leadership power, a euphemism for monopoly, by skirting the rule of law and regulations, framing legislative regimes through political lobbying, pushing down wages and worker benefits, increasing productivity by downsizing in an expanding market and manipulating consumer attitude through advertising. At the end of the day, the bottom line for corporate profit is a factor of lowering wage and benefit levels.

Reich seems to have forgotten that the captains of industry of 19th century free-wheeling capitalism were all superstars who evoked public admiration by manipulating the awed public into accepting the Horatio Alger myth of success through hard work, honesty and fairness. The derogatory term "robber barons" was first coined by protest pamphlets circulated by victimized Kansas farmers against ruthless railroad tycoons during the Great Depression.

The manipulation of the public will by moneyed interests is the most problematic vulnerability of US economic and political democracy. In an era when class warfare has taken on new sophistication, the accusation of resorting to class warfare argument is widely used to silence legitimate socio-economic protests. The US media is essentially owned by the moneyed interests. The decline of unionism in the US has been largely the result of anti-labor propaganda campaigns funded by corporations and government policies influenced by corporate lobbyists. The infiltration of organized crime was exploited to fan public anti-union sentiments while widespread corporate white collar crimes were dismissed as mere anomalies. (See Capitalism's bad apples: It's the barrel that's rotten)

Superman capitalism

As promoted by his permissive opinion piece, a more apt title for Reich's new book would be Superman Capitalism, in praise of the super-heroic qualities of successful corporate CEOs who deserve superstar pay. This view goes beyond even fascist superman ideology. The compensation of corporate CEOs in Nazi Germany never reached such obscene levels as those in US corporate land today.

Reich argues that CEOs deserve their super-high compensation, which has increased 600% in two decades, because corporate profits have also risen 600% in the same period. The former secretary of labor did not point out that wages rose only 30% in the same period. The profit/wage disparity is a growing cancer in the US-dominated global economy, causing over-production resulting from stagnant demand caused by inadequate wages. A true spokesman for labor would point out that enlightened modern management recognizes that the performance of a corporation is the sum total of effective team work between management and labor.

System analysis has long shown that collective effort on the part of the entire work force is indispensable to success in any complex organism. Further, a healthy consumer market depends on a balance between corporate earnings and worker earnings. Reich's point would be valid if US wages had risen by the same multiple as CEO pay and corporate profit, but he apparently thought that it would be poor etiquette to raise embarrassing issues as a guest writer in an innately anti-labor journal of Wall Street. Even then, unless real growth also rose 600% in two decades, the rise in corporate earning may be just an inflation bubble.

An introduction to economic populism

To be fair, Reich did address the income gap issue eight months earlier in another article, "An Introduction to Economic Populism" in the Jan-Feb, 2007 issue of The American Prospect, a magazine that bills itself as devoted to "liberal ideas". In that article, Reich relates a "philosophical" discussion he had with fellow neo-liberal cabinet member Robert Rubin, then treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, on two "simple questions".

The first question was: Suppose a proposed policy will increase the incomes of some people without decreasing the incomes of any others. Of course Reich must know that it is a question of welfare economics long ago answered by the "pareto optimum", which asserts that resources are optimally distributed when an individual cannot move into a better position without putting someone else into a worse position. In an unjust society, the pareto optimum will perpetuate injustice in the name of optimum resource allocation. "Should it be implemented? Bob and I agreed it should," writes Reich. Not exactly an earth-shaking liberal position. Rather, it is a classic neo-liberal posture.

And the second question: But suppose the people whose incomes will rise are already wealthier than everyone else. Although no one will lose ground, inequality will widen. Should it still be implemented? "I won't tell you where he and I came out on that second question," writes Reich without explaining why. He allows that "we agreed that people who don't share in such gains feel relatively poorer. Widening inequality also further tips the balance of political power in favor of the wealthy."

Of course, clear thinking would have left the second question mute because it would have invalidated the first question, as the real income of those whose nominal income has not fallen has indeed fallen relative to those whose nominal income has risen. In a macro monetary sense, it is not possible to raise the nominal income of some without lowering the real income of others. All incomes must rise together proportionally or inequality in after-inflation real income will increase.

Inequality only a new worry?

But for the sake of argument, let's go along with Reich's parable on welfare economics and financial equality. That conversation occurred a decade ago. Reich says in his January 2007 article that "inequality is far more worrisome now", as if it had not been or that the policies he and his colleagues in the Clinton administration, as evidenced by their answer to their own first question, did not cause the now "more worrisome" inequality. "The incomes of the bottom 90% of Americans have increased about 2% in real terms since then, while that of the top 1% has increased over 50%," Reich wrote in the matter of fact tone of an innocent bystander.

It is surprising that a former labor secretary would err even on the record on worker income. The US Internal Revenue Service reports that while incomes have been rising since 2002, the average income in 2005 was $55,238, nearly 1% less than in 2000 after adjusting for inflation. Hourly wage costs (including mandatory welfare contributions and benefits) grew more slowly than hourly productivity from 1993 to late 1997, the years of Reich's tenure as labor secretary. Corporate profit rose until 1997 before declining, meaning what should have gone to workers from productivity improvements went instead to corporate profits. And corporate profit declined after 1997 because of the Asian financial crisis, which reduced offshore income for all transnational companies, while domestic purchasing power remained weak because of sub-par worker income growth.

The break in trends in wages occurred when the unemployment rate sank to 5%, below the 6% threshold of NAIRU (non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment) as job creation was robust from 1993 onwards. The "reserve army of labor" in the war against inflation disappeared after the 1997 Asian crisis when the Federal Reserve injected liquidity into the US banking system to launch the debt bubble. According to NAIRU, when more than 94% of the labor force is employed, the war on wage-pushed inflation will be on the defensive. Yet while US inflation was held down by low-price imports from low-wage economies, US domestic wages fell behind productivity growth from 1993 onward. US wages could have risen without inflationary effects but did not because of the threat of further outsourcing of US jobs overseas. This caused corporate profit to rise at the expense of labor income during the low-inflation debt bubble years.

Income inequality in the US today has reached extremes not seen since the 1920s, but the trend started three decades earlier. More than $1 trillion a year in relative income is now being shifted annually from roughly 90,000,000 middle and working class families to the wealthiest households and corporations via corporate profits earned from low-wage workers overseas. This is why nearly 60% of Republicans polled support more taxes on the rich.

Carter the granddaddy of deregulation

The policies and practices responsible for today's widening income gap date back to the 1977-1981 period of the Carter administration which is justly known as the administration of deregulation. Carter's deregulation was done in the name of populism but the results were largely anti-populist. Starting with Carter, policies and practices by both corporations and government underwent a fundamental shift to restructure the US economy with an overhaul of job markets. This was achieved through widespread de-unionization, breakup of industry-wide collective bargaining which enabled management to exploit a new international division of labor at the expense of domestic workers.

The frontal assault on worker collective bargaining power was accompanied by a realigning of the progressive federal tax structure to cut taxes on the rich, a brutal neo-liberal global free-trade offensive by transnational corporations and anti-labor government trade policies. The cost shifting of health care and pension plans from corporations to workers was condoned by government policy. A wave of government-assisted compression of wages and overtime pay narrowed the wage gap between the lowest and highest paid workers (which will occur when lower-paid workers receive a relatively larger wage increase than the higher-paid workers with all workers receiving lower pay increases than managers). There was a recurring diversion of inflation-driven social security fund surpluses to the US fiscal budget to offset recurring inflation-adjusted federal deficits. This was accompanied by wholesale anti-trust deregulation and privatization of public sectors; and most egregious of all, financial market deregulation.

Carter deregulated the US oil industry four years after the 1973 oil crisis in the name of national security. His Democratic challenger, Senator Ted Kennedy, advocated outright nationalization. The Carter administration also deregulated the airlines, favoring profitable hub traffic at the expense of traffic to smaller cities. Air fares fell but service fell further. Delays became routine, frequently tripling door-to-door travel time. What consumers save in airfare, they pay dearly in time lost in delay and in in-flight discomfort. The Carter administration also deregulated trucking, which caused the Teamsters Union to support Ronald Reagan in exchange for a promise to delay trucking deregulation.

Railroads were also deregulated by Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 which eased regulations on rates, line abandonment, and mergers to allow the industry to compete with truck and barge transportation that had caused a financial and physical deterioration of the national rail network railroads. Four years later, Congress followed up with the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 which provided the railroads with greater pricing freedom, streamlined merger timetables, expedited the line abandonment process, and allowed confidential contracts with shippers. Although railroads, like other modes of transportation, must purchase and maintain their own rolling stock and locomotives, they must also, unlike competing modes, construct and maintain their own roadbed, tracks, terminals, and related facilities. Highway construction and maintenance are paid for by gasoline taxes. In the regulated environment, recovering these fixed costs hindered profitability for the rail industry.

After deregulation, the railroads sought to enhance their financial situation and improve their operational efficiency with a mix of strategies to reduce cost and maximize profit, rather than providing needed service to passengers around the nation. These strategies included network rationalization by shedding unprofitable capacity, raising equipment and operational efficiencies by new work rules that reduced safety margins and union power, using differential pricing to favor big shippers, and pursuing consolidation, reducing the number of rail companies from 65 to 5 today. The consequence was a significant increase of market power for the merged rail companies, decreasing transportation options for consumers and increasing rates for remote, less dense areas.

In the agricultural sector, rail network rationalization has forced shippers to truck their bulk commodity products greater distances to mainline elevators, resulting in greater pressure on and damage to rural road systems. For inter-modal shippers, profit-based network rationalization has meant reduced access - physically and economically - to Container on Flat Car (COFC) and Trailer on Flat Car (TOFC) facilities and services. Rail deregulation, as is true with most transportation and communication deregulation, produces sector sub-optimization with dubious benefits for the national economy by distorting distributional balance, causing congestion and inefficient use of land, network and lines.

Carter's Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) approach to radio and television regulation began in the mid-1970s as a search for relatively minor "regulatory underbrush" that could be cleared away for more efficient and cost-effective administration of the important rules that would remain. Congress largely went along with this updating trend, and initiated a few deregulatory moves of its own to make regulation more effective and responsive to contemporary conditions.

Reagan's anti-government fixation

The Reagan administration under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Mark Fowler in 1981 shifted deregulation to a fundamental and ideologically-driven reappraisal of regulations away from long-held principles central to national broadcasting policy appropriate for a democratic society. The result was removal of many longstanding rules to permit an overall reduction in FCC oversight of station ownership concentration and network operations. Congress grew increasingly wary of the pace of deregulation, however, and began to slow the pace of FCC deregulation by the late 1980s.

Specific deregulatory moves included (a) extending television licenses to five years from three in 1981; (b) expanding the number of television stations any single entity could own from seven in 1981 to 12 in 1985, with further changes in 1995; (c) abolishing guidelines for minimal amounts of non-entertainment programming in 1985; (d) elimination of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987; (e) dropping, in 1985, FCC license guidelines for how much advertising could be carried; (f) leaving technical standards increasingly in the hands of licensees rather than FCC mandates; and (g) deregulation of television's competition, especially cable which went through several regulatory changes in the decade after 1983.

The 1996 Telecommunications Act eliminated the 40-station ownership cap on radio stations. Since then, the radio industry has experienced unprecedented consolidation. In June 2003, the FCC voted to overhaul limits on media ownership. Despite having held only one hearing on the complex issue of media consolidation over a 20-month review period, the FCC, in a party-line vote, voted 3-2 to overhaul limits on media concentration. The rule would (1) increase the aggregate television ownership cap to enable one company to own stations reaching 45% of our nation's homes (from 35%), (2) lift the ban on newspaper-television cross-ownership, and (3) allow a single company to own three television stations in large media markets and two in medium ones. In the largest markets, the rule would allow a single company to own up to three television stations, eight radio stations, the cable television system, cable television stations, and a daily newspaper. A wide range of public-interest groups filed an appeal with the Third Circuit, which stayed the effective date of the new rules.

According to a BIA Financial Network report released in July 2006, a total of 88 television stations had been sold in the first six months of 2006, generating a transaction value of $15.7 billion. In 2005, the same period saw the sale of just 21 stations at a value of $244 million, with total year transactions of $2.86 billion.

Congress passed a law in 2004 that forbids any network to own a group of stations that reaches more than 39% of the national television audience. That is lower than the 45% limit set in 2003, but more than the original cap of 35% set in 1996 under the Clinton administration - leading public interest groups to argue that the proposed limits lead to a stifling of local voices.

Newspaper-television cross-ownership remains a contentious issue. Currently prohibited, it refers to the "common ownership of a full-service broadcast station and a daily newspaper when the broadcast station's area of coverage (or "contour") encompasses the newspaper's city of publication".

Capping of local radio and television ownership is another issue. While the original rule prohibited it, currently a company can own at least one television and one radio station in a market. In larger markets, "a single entity may own additional radio stations depending on the number of other independently owned media outlets in the market".

Most broadcasters and newspaper publishers are lobbying to ease or end restrictions on cross-ownership; they say it has to be the future of the news business. It allows newsgathering costs to be spread across platforms, and delivers multiple revenue streams in turn. Their argument is also tied to a rapidly changing media consumption market, and to the diversity of opinions available to the consumer with the rise of the Internet and other digital platforms.

The arguments against relaxing media ownership regulations are put forth by consumer unions and other interest groups on the ground that consolidation in any form inevitably leads to a lack of diversity of opinion. Cross-ownership limits the choices for consumers, inhibits localism and gives excessive media power to one entity.

Professional and workers' guilds of the communication industry (the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of TV and Radio Artists among others) would like the FCC to keep in mind the independent voice, and want a quarter of all prime-time programming to come from independent producers. The Children's Media Policy Coalition suggested that the FCC limit local broadcasters to a single license per market, so that there is enough original programming for children. Other interest groups like the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters are worried about what impact the rules might have on station ownership by minorities.

Deregulatory proponents see station licensees not as "public trustees" of the public airwaves requiring the provision of a wide variety of services to many different listening groups. Instead, broadcasting has been increasingly seen as just another business operating in a commercial marketplace which did not need its management decisions questioned by government overseers, even though they are granted permission to use public airways. Opponents argue that deregulation violates a key mandate of the Communications Act of 1934 which requires licensees to operate in the public interest. Deregulation allows broadcasters to seek profits with little public service programming.

Clinton and telecommunications deregulation

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was the first major overhaul of US telecommunications law in nearly 62 years, amending the Communications Act of 1934, and leading to media consolidation. It was approved by Congress on January 3, 1996 and signed into law on February 8, 1996 by President Clinton, a Democrat whom some have labeled as the best president the Republicans ever had. The act claimed to foster competition, but instead it continued the historic industry consolidation begun by Reagan, whose actions reduced the number of major media companies from around 50 in 1983 to 10 in 1996 and 6 in 2005.

Regulation Q

The Carter administration increased the power of the Federal Reserve through the Depository Institutions and Monetary Control Act (DIDMCA) of 1980 which was a necessary first step in ending the New Deal restrictions placed upon financial institutions, such as Regulation Q put in place by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and other restrictions on banks and financial institutions. The populist Regulation Q imposed limits and ceilings on bank and savings-and-loan (S&L) interest rates to provide funds for low-risk home mortgages. But with financial market deregulation, Regulation Q created incentives for US banks to do business outside the reach of US law, launching finance globalization. London came to dominate this offshore dollar business.

The populist Regulation Q, which regulated for several decades limits and ceilings on bank and S&L interest to serve the home mortgage sector, was phased out completely in March 1986. Banks were allowed to pay interest on checking account - the NOW accounts - to lure depositors back from the money markets. The traditional interest-rate advantage of the S&Ls was removed, to provide a "level playing field", forcing them to take the same risks as commercial banks to survive. Congress also lifted restrictions on S&Ls' commercial lending, which promptly got the whole industry into trouble that would soon required an unprecedented government bailout of depositors, with tax money. But the developers who made billions from easy credit were allowed to keep their profits. State usury laws were unilaterally suspended by an act of Congress in a flagrant intrusion on state rights. Carter, the well-intentioned populist, left a legacy of anti-populist policies. To this day, Greenspan continues to argue disingenuously that subprime mortgages helped the poor toward home ownership, instead of generating obscene profit for the debt securitization industry.

The party of Lincoln taken over by corporate interests

During the Reagan administration, corporate lobbying and electoral strategies allowed the corporate elite to wrest control of the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, from conservative populists. In the late 1980s, supply-side economics was promoted to allow corporate interests to dominate US politics at the expense of labor by arguing that the only way labor can prosper is to let capital achieve high returns, notwithstanding the contradiction that high returns on capital must come from low wages.

New legislation and laws, executive orders, federal government rule-making, federal agency decisions, and think-tank propaganda, etc, subsequently followed the new political landscape, assisting the implementation of new corporate policies and practices emerging from corporate headquarters rather than from the shop floor. Economists and analysts who challenged this voodoo theory were largely shut out of the media. Workers by the million were persuaded to abandon their institutional collective defender to fend for themselves individually in the name of freedom. It was a freedom to see their job security eroded and wages and benefits fall with no recourse.

Note
1. Das Kapital, Volume One, Part I: Commodities and Money, Chapter One: Commodities, Section I.

Next: PART 2: Global war on labor

Henry C K Liu is chairman of a New York-based private investment group. His website is at http://www.henryckliu.com.

Copyright 2007, Henry C K Liu

Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance [Paperback]

William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)

Hudson is a Wall Street economist who used to work at the Chase Manhattan Bank.

In Part One, he describes the rise of the American empire.

Part Two describes its institutions: the US-controlled World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, which all benefit the USA. The US has the sole veto power in all three.

Part Three describes what Herman Kahn called `the greatest rip-off ever achieved', the way the US's ruling class levies us all to pay for its aggressive wars, just as the Roman Empire levied tribute to pay for its constant wars. Similarly Britain, Germany and Japan all pay for the US's military bases in their countries.

In 1945, as in 1918, Britain led Europe's capitulation to the USA's debt demands. The British ruling class chose dependency on the US ruling class. The USA insisted that Britain ended the sterling bloc, accepted IMF controls, did not impose exchange controls, and did not devalue. As Hudson writes, "The Anglo-American Loan Agreement spelled the end of Britain as a Great Power."

The 1945-51 Labour government's huge spending on unnecessary imperial, counter-revolutionary wars robbed our industry of investment. This excessive military spending meant that we had constantly to borrow from the IMF, increasing our dependence on the USA. Now Britain is the USA's Trojan horse in Europe, against Britain's interests.

Hudson immodestly claims that his analysis supersedes Lenin. He says that the US national government's interests, not the private interests of the capitalist class, drive the system. He claims that the US government subordinates `the interests of its national bourgeoisie to the autonomous interests of the national government'. But is the US government really independent of the capitalist class? How `autonomous' are these interests?...

Joshua Malle (Seattle, WA USA)

Difficult and rewarding, Hudson is the real deal, May 24, 2006

See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

This review is from: Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominanc (Paperback)

Super-Imperialism is better viewed as a radical alternative to common undergraduate textbooks such as Joan Edelman Spero's, "The Politics of International Economic Relations" than as an update to the theories of Lenin or Hobson. (His background and prose style are similar to Spero's and his book covers similar ground.)

It has three sections, each which could have been a separate book.

The 2003 Edition has a new introduction and two new chapters at the end. The rest of the book has occasional new material, but does not appear to have been extensively re-written.

It's a difficult and rewarding book. The difficulty lies partly in the subject matter itself, partly in Hudson's convoluted prose and partly in the numerous typographical errors that mar the 2003 Pluto Press edition.

The book is rewarding because it's honest. Readers educated in the U.S. will initially regard Hudson's account with some skepticism. We can't help it; We've been systematically miseducated by pro-U.S. polemics presented in an "objective" tone.

In contrast Hudson is a strident critic of the U.S. management of the global economy. But so is any reasonably objective person who is apprized of the facts. I much prefer an author who honestly tells you the real story as he understands it to one who conceals the awful truth behind an ostensibly impartial facade. But a "revisionist" has to work twice as hard to make his case, and that is why the book contains the detailed explication of what reviewer Myers calls the "intricacies of events and negotiations that gave rise to the present order."

I think an open-minded reader will be won over by Hudson's thoughtful use of contemporaneous sources (e.g. government publications and articles in the business press) and also biographical sources to illuminate how key decision makers understood the alternatives, and their motives for pursuing the policies that they did when forging the post-war economic order. As he places these choices in context it quickly becomes evident that the motives on the U.S. side have been consistently aggressive and that U.S. policy makers have all along viewed multilateral economic institutions as instruments of national policy--to the world's detriment.

Hudson also has a keen sense of the painfully narrow horizon of human foresight. The historical sections sometimes read like a conspiracy theory in which the conspirators are not very smart. E.g., Franklin Roosevelt's stubborn insistence that World War I debts be repaid prolonged the Great Depression; When J. M. Keynes was negotiating Bretton Woods for the newly elected Labour government, he got them a terrible deal; The U.S. transition to "super-imperialism" which is the main story of the book (chapters 11 through 14) was originally an unintended consequence of the huge budget and trade deficits caused by the Vietnam War.

If you are interested in "globalization" this book is an important piece of the puzzle, but it really only covers up through 1973, and it spends more time on the relationship between the U.S. and Europe than on "North-South" relations. Having said that, Ch. 8 "The Imperialism of U.S. Foreign Aid" is very good, esp. how foreign aid benefits the U.S. balance of payments and the harmful effects of U.S. agricultural exports. China is hardly mentioned.

If you are an economics student and you sense that they aren't telling you the whole story, or just a thoughtful citizen who wants to sharpen your conceptual tools for understanding and resisting the strategies of U.S. imperialism, this book is for you.

Help other customers find the most helpful reviews

Comment Comment (1)

Salty Saltillo (from the road, USA)

An awkward argument with moments of brilliance, November 3, 2004

See all my reviews

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)

Hudson's historical argument in this book is both brilliant and sometimes a bit rough.

Hudson has always had a great talent for interpreting and sketching out for weaker minds like us what the US government's abandonment of the gold-standard really means. When Hudson came forward with his thesis in the mid 1970's, his thesis was outrageous among orthodox economists: to suggest that the US should be worried about the long-term consequences of running balance of payments deficits year after year, decade after decade was crazy leftist nonsense in the 1970s. As long as people continue to need the US markets more than the US needs any other one country's markets (and people still have faith in the good credit of the US government) there is no reason US could not run balance of payment deficits forever, according to the conventional wisdom.

What amazes me is that now, after having done exactly what Hudson warned the US government not to do in the 1970s, many otherwise relatively orthodox economists are beginning to worry about this. Hudson may be on the more "sky-is-falling" end of things, but his analysis was right on the nail in 1972 and is still there today: worst case scenario - massive recession and massive devaluation of the dollar (by massive I mean, unprecedented). Former US Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin was quoted in March 16, 2006 WSJ as saying that "The probabilities are extremely high that if we don't address these imbalances, then at some point, and it could be years down the road, we'll pay a very big price." We are in a limbo world where no one really knows how this problem is going to play out, but Hudson should be credited for being one of the first, and longest-running, advocates for addressing this problem. Too bad it has taken so many decades for people to recognize what he has been telling us all along about balance of payments deficits.

The rest of the argument Hudson makes in this book is a bit tough to follow, though. Essentially, Hudson attempts to show how the US has, during this century but especially since WWII, systematically sought to manipulate all of the great economic institution-building opportunities following WWII to advance the interests of the US over other countries. Coming off the gold standard and running up a balance of payments deficit was just one of many ways in which this occurred. The US largely succeeded. The GATT (now WTO), World Bank, IMF, all bear American "fingerprints".

I agree that the mega-institutions of the contemporary world economic and political machine are largely the unilateral creation of the US, imposed on the other great nations at a time when the other nations were particularly vulnerable to US force of will and not particular inclined to be heterodox visionaries. I also agree that the US in general has probably used as much leverage as it could in negotiating all of the defining institutions in which it had any hand in constructing.

And yet, how could it have been any different? National governments pursue their self-interest and the interest of their citizens, often at the expense of other national governments and their citizens. The nation-state system is set up to work that way. But is the problem really one of US bad behavior, as Hudson suggests? Isn't the problem really structural? In the nation-state world, wherein the world is divided up into pseudo-autonomous political monopolies, each individually endowed with particular strengths and weaknesses, and all pitted against each other in a laissez-faire system where the only things that keep nation-states from raping and killing each other to oblivion are, good faith and the fact that the balance of power among the nation-states is enough to keep each monopoly contained in its behavior towards the other monopolies, what sort of behavior could we have expected from the US, a nation-state that, at a series of pivotal moments in 20th century history, found itself with "golden opportunities" to take advantage of other nations' weaknesses and advance its own power? Would the French, or the Brits, or the Japanese, or the Italians, or the Germans, or the Russians have behaved any different if they found themselves holding all the cards in 1945 instead of the US?

My point is, the facts Hudson lays out are correct -- there clearly is a problem in the way in which our current world order has been put together and the US is at the middle of that problem. The conclusions Hudson draws from those facts do not go deep enough in understanding what those facts mean, however.

It isn't that the Americans behave or behaved "bad" by the standard of good behavior implicit in the nation-state system, it is that the nation-state system itself to a certain extent reflects 19th century laissez-faire values of autonomy and individuality that pit nation-states against each other in a world where each is out to improve its lot through trade and, when possible and tolerable, violence.

The system itself breaks down when one player becomes too powerful. To blame the US for the systemic problem of massive power imbalances between nation states is simply pushing any hope for correction in the wrong direction.

Samuel Brittan: The wrong kind of Third Way

FT.com / Columnists / Samuel Brittan - The wrong kind of Third Way: When a book entitled Supercapitalism: the Battle for Democracy in an Age of Big Business (Icon Books) landed on my desk I took it for just another of the many anti-capitalist diatribes so beloved by publishers. Its author was Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labour who parted company from the Clinton administration on the grounds that it was not interventionist enough. But I was glad I persevered. For it turned out to be one of the most interesting books on political economy to appear for a long time.

During the postwar decades up to the early 1970s, the Bretton Woods system of semi-fixed exchange rates worked, after a fashion; and countries seemed able to combine full employment with low inflation and historically rapid growth and diminishing income differences. Reich calls them a "not quite golden age". It was "not quite" because of the treatment of women and minorities and the prevailing conformist and authoritarian atmosphere.

It has been succeeded by what Reich calls supercapitalism, in which the cult of the bottom line has replaced the cosy oligopolies of postwar decades, once-dominant companies shrink or disappear, new ones spring up overnight and the financial sector is (or was until recently) in the driving seat. He rightly dismisses many of the popular scapegoats – or heroes – of the process. The changeover began well before Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher could influence anything. Free-market economists have been preaching essentially the same message since the 18th century. It is extremely unlikely that there has been a radical change in the psychology or morality of business operators. His own candidate is the technologies that have empowered consumers and investors to get ever better deals.

Unfortunately, many of these same consumers have lost in their capacity as citizens. He cites the failure of the political process even to attempt to correct the increasing skewness of US income distribution. In later pronouncements he has attributed the subprime loan disaster in part to the failure of supercapitalism to raise the incomes of the mass of wage earners who have been impelled to resort to borrowing as a substitute. Moreover, Congress has performed abysmally in correcting market failures in environmental and other areas. He has a non-partisan explanation: the staggering increase in business lobbying expenditures affecting Democrats as well as Republicans, as a result of which the political process, far from correcting the distortions of unbridled capitalism, has made them worse.

But for me the novel point of the book is his utter dismissal of the prevailing idea of appealing to the "social responsibility" of business to improve matters. This is a notion that particularly appeals to soft centre politicians such as David Cameron's Conservatives in Britain as a new kind of Third Way. Reich argues that it is the job of the democratic political process by laws, taxes and other interventions to harmonise the pursuit of money-making with the public good. "The job of the businessman is to make profits." He is completely unabashed by the charge that he sounds like Milton Friedman and indeed quotes the late Chicago professor approvingly several times. He argues that the so-called stakeholders who insist on being consulted before legislation is drafted are increasingly companies whose interests might be affected. One result is the "corruption of knowledge". We should beware of claims that a company is doing something for the public good. Corporate executives may donate some of their shareholders' money to a genuinely good cause or forbear from polluting the atmosphere to forestall a greater legal or fiscal burden. But in that case such actions are likely to be limited and temporary, "extending only insofar as the conditions that made such voluntary action pay off continue".

Similarly we should beware of a politician who blames a company for doing something that is legal. Such words are all too often a cover "for taking no action to change the rules of the game". Above all, "corporations are not people. They are legal fictions, nothing more than bundles of contractual agreements ... A company cannot know right from wrong ... Only people know right from wrong and only people act." One example of the "anthropomorphic fallacy" is when companies are held criminally liable for the misdeeds of their executives. Not only are the genuinely guilty let off too lightly but many innocent people get hurt. For instance, "the vast majority of Andersen employees had nothing to do with Enron but lost their jobs nonetheless".

I have two reservations. One is that I cannot share Reich's confidence that a revived and effective "democracy" would be a cure-all. You only have to see where democratic pressures are driving US energy policy. Second, there is a danger that the Friedman-Reich position could inadvertently give sustenance to the "I was only doing my job" defence for evil actions. You do not have to hold shares in a company selling arms to Saudi Arabia, or work for it. But do not deceive yourself that such individual gestures can be a substitute for a change in policy.

Supercapitalism The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life by Robert B. Reich

Amazon.com

The Balance of Capitalism and Democracy, September 17, 2007

By Izaak VanGaalen (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)

This review is from: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (Hardcover)

According to Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, there was a time when capitalism and democracy where almost perfectly balanced. This was the period of 1945 to 1975, which he calls the "Not Quite Golden Age." During this period there was a three-way social contract among big business, big labor, and big government. Each made sure that they as well as the other two received a fair share of the pie. Unions recieved their wages and benefits, business their profits, and regulatory agencies had their power. It was also a time when the gap between the rich and the poor was the narrowest in our history. It was not quite the golden age because women and minorities were still second class citizens, but at least there was hope.

Fast forward to 2007, capitalism is thriving and democracy is sputtering. Why has capitlism become supercapitalism and democracy become enfeebled? Reich explains that it was a combination of things: deregulation, globe spanning computer networks, better transportation, etc. The changes were mainly a result of technological breakthroughs; unlike many leftists, he is not conspiratorial thinker. The winner of this great transformation was the consumer/investor and the loser was the citizen/wage earner. The consumer has more choices than ever before and at reasonable prices. The investor has unprecedented opportunities to make profits. The citzen, however, is not doing well. The average citizen does not have much voice - other than voting - in the body politic. And on the wage earner has been stagnating for many years. The most salient illustration of this trend is Walmart. Walmart delivers the goods at low prices, but the trade-off is low wages for their employees. We justify this dilemma, as Reich nicely puts it, because "The awkward truth is that most of us are of two minds."

As a left-leaning author, Reich makes some startling pronouncements. One, stop treating corporations as human beings. They are neither moral or immoral, they are merely "bundles of contracts." I couldn't agree more. Stop expecting corporations to be socially responsible, see them for what they are: profit-seeking organizations. Any socially responsible action is a ruse to bolster the bottom line anyway. Don't even encourage them to be socially responsible because it will wrongly lead us to believe that they are solving problems when they are not. Corporations play by the rules that they are given and it is up to citizens and their elected representatives to change the rules.

This is no easy task in the age of supercapitalism. There are currently 38,000 registered lobbyists in Washington DC in a virtual arms race of spending with each other to buy favors from our so-called representatives. The only way citizens can compete with this is not by hiring more lobbyists but advocating through new media outlets such as the internet and cable tv. This, according to Reich, is currently to most effective way to make government more responsive.

The question that remains, after reading this book, is will consumers be willing to sacrifice their low prices to achieve their goals as citizens. If the answer is yes, we can possibly rebalance the equation between democracy and capitalism; if not, we are left to the not so tender mercies of supercapitalism.

Robert Reich makes a compelling argument that supercapitalism has robbed democracy of much of its power. Supercapitalism by the definition presented in the book is simple--the consumer is king and prices ALWAYS go down. What Reich looks at is the cost of low prices to companies, society, the individual and its impact on the workings of democracy. So how is democracy compromised? Reich also points out that the rise of different lobbying groups, the cost of politics and globalization as contributing to this process. This isn't a surprise. It has just become more pronounced with time.

It's not due to some large conspiracy or any hidden political agenda as much as it is driven by consumption. Ultimately Reich argues that it robs the common citizen of any control over democracy. It's not surprising that this is a highly charged issue because the economics of what benefits society (or "the common good" as Reich calls it)often gets tangled up in the web of politics. Reich also points out that the cost of supercompetitiveness, constantly falling prices is a loss to the economic and social health of America. Reich points out that everyone wants to get the lowest price possible but he also suggests that we must balance that with our desire to have decent wages and benefits. He also points out that the move towards regulation was initiated by government and that corporations went along because it kept out competition and guaranteed a top and bottom for prices allowing companies to get a profit without fear of cutting prices so low that it would put them out of business.

I should point out that this is an oversimplification of Reich's points but it does capture some of the concepts. He also makes some suggestions that would help keep the free market afloat without undermining democracy and allowing consumers to still benefit from competitive pricing. Since this is economics we are discussing politics is mixed in and might color whether or not you agree with his points.

Reich's style is breezy for a book that looks at economics, democracy and the erosion of wages, benefits. Reich comes across as fair balanced and thoughtful even as he sells his take on what is undermining American society. Ultimately it's a worthwhile book to read simply because it opens up dialogue on the social cost of constantly lowering prices and how it impacts those who live next door to us

Aftershock The Next Economy and America's Future by Robert B. Reich

Amazon.com

Every middle class American should read this book. Many observations about income disparities have been written up lately but Reich pulls the important points together in a powerful and accessible way.

Reich's main thesis is that the current transition the US economy is under is misunderstood. Many of the policy elite (Geithner, Volcker) have repeated the familiar claim that Americans are living beyond their means. Personally I don't discount that completely but Reich's insight goes much deeper and rings truer:

"The problem was not that American spent beyond their means but that their means had not kept up with what the larger economy could and should have been able to provide them."

"We cannot have a sustained recovery until we address it. ... Until this transformation is made, our economy will continue to experience phantom recoveries and speculative bubbles, each more distressing than the one before."

Anyone looking at the unemployment data since WWII has to wonder why the unemployment component of the last three recessions is so prolonged. Instead of a sharp trend up, there are long slopes of delayed returns to peak employment. (Google "calculated risk blog" and look at Dec. 2010 articles.) I believe Reich has demonstrated the main culprit this. To be clear, he is not describing the detailed mechanics of what triggered the Great Recession. (Nouriel Roubini has a good book that I would recommend for more on the financial fraud, leverage and credit risks involved - Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance. ) But Reich is taking a long term view and exposes a dysfunctional trait of the US economy that no one can afford to ignore. It is this weakness that will delay the current recovery and continue to create greater risks in the future.

Reich draws the parallels between the Great Depression and the Great Recession, particularly the imbalance of wealth concentrated in fewer hands and middle class workers with less income to convert into consumer demand. One of the fascinating devices he found to do this was the writings of Marriner Eccles (Fed chair between '34 to '48):

"As mass production has to be accompanied by mass consumption, mass consumption, in turn, implies a distribution of wealth - not of existing wealth, but of wealth as it is currently produced - to provide men with buying power equal to the amount of goods and services offered by the nation's economic machinery. Instead of achieving that kind of distribution, a giant suction pump had by 1929-1930 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. This served them as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied to themselves the kind of effective demand for their products that would justify a reinvestment of their capital accumulations in new plants. In consequence as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped."

Reich also shares a couple of powerful and disturbing graphs that show how the middle class has been squeezed and also how since the late 70s, hourly wages have not only not kept up with the rise in productivity but have remained essentially flat.

Another driving theme Reich presents is the "basic bargain" and he evokes Henry Ford, the man that took mass production to new heights and paid his workers well:

"[Henry] Ford understood the basic economic bargain that lay at the heart of a modern, highly productive economy. Workers are also consumers. Their earnings are continuously recycled to buy the goods and services other workers produce. But if earnings are inadequate and this basic bargain is broken, an economy produces more goods and services than its people are capable of purchasing."

I was concerned early in the book that Reich would leave out some of the important complexities of the topic but he covered related finances, politics and even consumer/voter psychology in a succinct yet informative way. His summary of changes to the labor market in the last 30+ years was very good.

His ideas for correcting this were interesting if perhaps difficult to implement politically. My take away however was that this is a strong indicator of how bad he thinks the situation really is. Many Americans may be yearning to return to "normal". Reich is the first to thoroughly convince me that it is not going to happen.

This is a very quick read of 144 pages and is well worth the time.

Finance is a form of imperial warfare

As Michael Hudson aptly noted in Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011)

Finance is a form of warfare. Like military conquest, its aim is to gain control of land, public infrastructure, and to impose tribute. This involves dictating laws to its subjects, and concentrating social as well as economic planning in centralized hands. This is what now is being done by financial means, without the cost to the aggressor of fielding an army. But the economies under attacked may be devastated as deeply by financial stringency as by military attack when it comes to demographic shrinkage, shortened life spans, emigration and capital flight.

This attack is being mounted not by nation states as such, but by a cosmopolitan financial class. Finance always has been cosmopolitan more than nationalistic – and always has sought to impose its priorities and lawmaking power over those of parliamentary democracies.

Like any monopoly or vested interest, the financial strategy seeks to block government power to regulate or tax it. From the financial vantage point, the ideal function of government is to enhance and protect finance capital and "the miracle of compound interest" that keeps fortunes multiplying exponentially, faster than the economy can grow, until they eat into the economic substance and do to the economy what predatory creditors and rentiers did to the Roman Empire.

Simon Johnson, former IMF Chief Economist, is coming out in May's 2009 edition of The Atlantic with a fascinating, highly provocative piece, on the collusion between the US' "financial oligarchy" and the US government and how its persistence will contribute to prolonging the economic crisis. Here is the summary (hat tip to Global Conditions):

One thing you learn rather quickly when working at the International Monetary Fund is that no one is ever very happy to see you (…)

The reason, of course, is that the IMF specializes in telling its clients what they don't want to hear.(…)

No, the real concern of the fund's senior staff, and the biggest obstacle to recovery, is almost invariably the politics of countries in crisis. (…)

Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason-the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit-and, most of the time, genteel-oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders (…)

Many IMF programs "go off track" (a euphemism) precisely because the government can't stay tough on erstwhile cronies, and the consequences are massive inflation or other disasters. A program "goes back on track" once the government prevails or powerful oligarchs sort out among themselves who will govern-and thus win or lose-under the IMF-supported plan. (…)

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (…).

(…) elite business interests-financiers, in the case of the U.S.-played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even better-in a "buck stops somewhere else" sort of way-on the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for "safety and soundness" were fast asleep at the wheel.

But these various policies-lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership-had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector's profits-such as Brooksley Born's now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998-were ignored or swept aside.

The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

(…) the American financial industry gained political power by amassing a kind of cultural capital-a belief system. Once, perhaps, what was good for General Motors was good for the country. Over the past decade, the attitude took hold that what was good for Wall Street was good for the country. (…)

One channel of influence was, of course, the flow of individuals between Wall Street and Washington. Robert Rubin, once the co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, served in Washington as Treasury secretary under Clinton, and later became chairman of Citigroup's executive committee. Henry Paulson, CEO of Goldman Sachs during the long boom, became Treasury secretary under George W.Bush. John Snow, Paulson's predecessor, left to become chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, a large private-equity firm that also counts Dan Quayle among its executives. Alan Greenspan, after leaving the Federal Reserve, became a consultant to Pimco, perhaps the biggest player in international bond markets.

A whole generation of policy makers has been mesmerized by Wall Street, always and utterly convinced that whatever the banks said was true (…).

By now, the princes of the financial world have of course been stripped naked as leaders and strategists-at least in the eyes of most Americans. But as the months have rolled by, financial elites have continued to assume that their position as the economy's favored children is safe, despite the wreckage they have caused (…)

Throughout the crisis, the government has taken extreme care not to upset the interests of the financial institutions, or to question the basic outlines of the system that got us here. In September 2008, Henry Paulson asked Congress for $700 billion to buy toxic assets from banks, with no strings attached and no judicial review of his purchase decisions. Many observers suspected that the purpose was to overpay for those assets and thereby take the problem off the banks' hands-indeed, that is the only way that buying toxic assets would have helped anything. Perhaps because there was no way to make such a blatant subsidy politically acceptable, that plan was shelved.

Instead, the money was used to recapitalize banks, buying shares in them on terms that were grossly favorable to the banks themselves. As the crisis has deepened and financial institutions have needed more help, the government has gotten more and more creative in figuring out ways to provide banks with subsidies that are too complex for the general public to understand (…)

The challenges the United States faces are familiar territory to the people at the IMF. If you hid the name of the country and just showed them the numbers, there is no doubt what old IMF hands would say: nationalize troubled banks and break them up as necessary (…)

In some ways, of course, the government has already taken control of the banking system. It has essentially guaranteed the liabilities of the biggest banks, and it is their only plausible source of capital today.

Ideally, big banks should be sold in medium-size pieces, divided regionally or by type of business. Where this proves impractical-since we'll want to sell the banks quickly-they could be sold whole, but with the requirement of being broken up within a short time. Banks that remain in private hands should also be subject to size limitations.

This may seem like a crude and arbitrary step, but it is the best way to limit the power of individual institutions in a sector that is essential to the economy as a whole. Of course, some people will complain about the "efficiency costs" of a more fragmented banking system, and these costs are real. But so are the costs when a bank that is too big to fail-a financial weapon of mass self-destruction-explodes. Anything that is too big to fail is too big to exist.

To ensure systematic bank breakup, and to prevent the eventual reemergence of dangerous behemoths, we also need to overhaul our antitrust legislation (…)

Caps on executive compensation, while redolent of populism, might help restore the political balance of power and deter the emergence of a new oligarchy. (…)

(…) Over time, though, the largest part may involve more transparency and competition, which would bring financial-industry fees down. To those who say this would drive financial activities to other countries, we can now safely say: fine".

The nature of financial oligarchy is such that the government's capacity to take control of an entire financial system, and to clean, slice it up and re-privatize it impartially is almost non-existent. Instead we have growing, potentially corrupt, collusion between financial elites and government officials which is hall mark of corporatism in this more modern form on neoliberalism.

The Great Deception

In 1998 Mark Curtis wrote The Great Deception: Anglo-American Power and World Order, a work whose stated goal was to shed light on various myths of Anglo-American power in the post-Cold War era.

Curtis attempts to demonstrate how the United Kingdom remained a key partner of the United States' effort to enforce their hegemony in the world. He analyzes what he refers to as a special relationship between the two countries and concludes that quite serious consequences exist for both states.

Trade for life

Trade for Life: Making Trade Work for Poor People is a work published in 2001. It is a strong critique of the function of international organizations, especially the World Trade Organization (WTO). Curtis analyzes the decisions taken by the WTO in developing states and concludes that these decisions were seldom without bias against the poor countries; he claims that certain of these decisions, notably certain structural adjustments, caused their intended benefactors more harm than good. Further, Curtis regrets that some rules are lacking when their need is called for, noting the relative lack of regulation checking the growth of power of multinational companies. A partner of Christian Aid in Zimbabwe has said that "the manner in which the WTO functions, is like placing an adult against a child in a boxing ring, like Manchester United against a local Zimbabwean team.

The WTO judges all countries on the same level, while they are not the same. The WTO must help create a situation where countries are more equal." This is a quotation that Mark Curtis recycles throughout his book.

Curtis concludes by saying that market forces can be used in a different, more egalitarian, manner than the one currently employed by the WTO. He believes that it could benefit developing nations if this goal was pursued.

His book was edited by ChristianAid while Mark Curtis was "Policy and Politics" Director and is freely available.

Web of Deceit

In 2003 Mark Curtis published Web of Deceit: Britain's Real Role in the World. This book has been his most successful to date. It offers a new academic approach to the role of the United Kingdom in the post 1945 world until the current the War on Terrorism. It further criticizes the foreign policy of Tony Blair. Curtis, defending the idea that Britain is a rogue state, describes various relations the United Kingdom undertook with repressive regimes and how he thinks these actions made the world less just.

Moreover, the book analyzes various recent actions of the British Army in the world, describing not only what he characterizes as the immorality of the War in Iraq, but also of the War in Afghanistan, and the Kosovo War. Curtis denounces equally strongly Britain's alliances with states he categorizes as repressive, such as Israel, Russia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Additionally, he details and criticizes the non-intervention of Britain in the Rwandan Genocide.

Curtis draws most of his research from recently declassified documents by the British secret service. He notably claims to demonstrate the role and complicity of the British in the massacre of millions of Indonesians in 1965, the toppling of the governments of Iran and British Guyana, and what he describes as repressive colonial policies in the former colonies of Kenya, Oman, and Malaysia.

Unpeople

In 2004, Mark Curtis published Unpeople: Britain's Secret Human Rights Abuses. This book followed a similar line of thought begun in Web of Deceit. Unpeople is based on various declassified documents from the British secret service.

Among the declassified secret service reports, Curtis asserts that the United Kingdom had given aid to Saddam Hussein in 1963 in order that he rised to power in Iraq; he further posits that the Western Powers, notably the UK, performed various arms deals with the Iraqi government while the Iraqi government was involved in the brutal aggression against the Kurdish community. Curtis asserts that these documents further indict the British government in their role played in the Vietnam War, the coup d'État against Idi Amin in 1971, the coup d'État against Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, and coups in Indonesia and Guyana.

Mark Curtis estimates that approximately ten million deaths throughout the world since 1945 have been caused by the United Kingdom's foreign policy.

Alliance of transnational elites

From Amazon review of Blowback The Costs and Consequences of American Empire Chalmers Johnson

But Johnson is relying on the idea that "America" is a unitary entity, so that the hollowing out of industry hurts "America", not specific social groups within the country. In reality, US foreign policymakers work to advance the interests not of "America", but of those same business elites that have benefited from turning Asia into the world's sweatshop and undermining the unions that built their strength on American industry. American economic imperialism is not a failed conspiracy against the people of Asia, but an alliance between American elites and their Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, and Chinese counterparts - against the potential power of the working majority in all those countries.

But it's more complex than that, too, since the US seeks to prevent the emergence of an independent military challenge (especially China, but also Japan) to its Asia hegemony while seeking to expand the power of American commercial interests in the region, even as it tries to keep Asian elites happy enough with the status quo to prevent their rebellion against it.

In other words, the US system in Asia is more complicated than Johnson conveys, and defending America's mythical "national interests" will never address its fundamental injustices.

While Johnson seems to have abundant sympathy for the people of Asia, his nationalist framework prevents his from proposing the only real challenge to American hegemony: a popular anti-imperialist movement that crosses the barriers of nation-states.

Imperialism 101 by Micjael Parenti

Imperialism 101 By Michael Parenti

By Michael Parenti

24 June, 2011
Michaelparenti.org

Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders. When not ignored outright, the subject of imperialism has been sanitized, so that empires become "commonwealths," and colonies become "territories" or "dominions" (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, "commonwealths" too). Imperialist military interventions become matters of "national defense," "national security," and maintaining "stability" in one or another region. In this book I want to look at imperialism for what it really is.

Across the Entire Globe

By "imperialism" I mean the process whereby the dominant politico-economic interests of one nation expropriate for their own enrichment the land, labor, raw materials, and markets of another people.The earliest victims of Western European imperialism were other Europeans. Some 800 years ago, Ireland became the first colony of what later became known as the British empire. A part of Ireland still remains under British occupation. Other early Caucasian victims included the Eastern Europeans. The people Charlemagne worked to death in his mines in the early part of the ninth century were Slavs. So frequent and prolonged was the enslavement of Eastern Europeans that "Slav" became synonymous with servitude. Indeed, the word "slave" derives from "Slav." Eastern Europe was an early source of capital accumulation, having become wholly dependent upon Western manufactures by the seventeenth century.

A particularly pernicious example of intra-European imperialism was the Nazi aggression during World War II, which gave the German business cartels and the Nazi state an opportunity to plunder the resources and exploit the labor of occupied Europe, including the slave labor of concentration camps.

The preponderant thrust of the European, North American, and Japanese imperial powers has been directed against Africa, Asia, and Latin America. By the nineteenth century, they saw the Third World as not only a source of raw materials and slaves but a market for manufactured goods. By the twentieth century, the industrial nations were exporting not only goods but capital, in the form of machinery, technology, investments, and loans. To say that we have entered the stage of capital export and investment is not to imply that the plunder of natural resources has ceased. If anything, the despoliation has accelerated.

Of the various notions about imperialism circulating today in the United States, the dominant view is that it does not exist. Imperialism is not recognized as a legitimate concept, certainly not in regard to the United States. One may speak of "Soviet imperialism" or "nineteenth-century British imperialism" but not of U.S. imperialism. A graduate student in political science at most universities in this country would not be granted the opportunity to research U.S. imperialism, on the grounds that such an undertaking would not be scholarly. While many people throughout the world charge the United States with being an imperialist power, in this country persons who talk of U.S. imperialism are usually judged to be mouthing ideological blather.

The Dynamic of Capital Expansion

Imperialism is older than capitalism. The Persian, Macedonian, Roman, and Mongol empires all existed centuries before the Rothschilds and Rockefellers. Emperors and conquistadors were interested mostly in plunder and tribute, gold and glory. Capitalist imperialism differs from these earlier forms in the way it systematically accumulates capital through the organized exploitation of labor and the penetration of overseas markets. Capitalist imperialism invests in other countries, transforming and dominating their economies, cultures, and political life, integrating their financial and productive structures into an international system of capital accumulation.A central imperative of capitalism is expansion. Investors will not put their money into business ventures unless they can extract more than they invest. Increased earnings come only with a growth in the enterprise. The capitalist ceaselessly searches for ways of making more money in order to make still more money. One must always invest to realize profits, gathering as much strength as possible in the face of competing forces and unpredictable markets.

Given its expansionist nature, capitalism has little inclination to stay home. Almost 150 years ago, Marx and Engels described a bourgeoisie that "chases over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere. . . . It creates a world after its own image." The expansionists destroy whole societies. Self-sufficient peoples are forcibly transformed into disfranchised wage workers. Indigenous communities and folk cultures are replaced by mass-market, mass-media, consumer societies. Cooperative lands are supplanted by agribusiness factory farms, villages by desolate shanty towns, autonomous regions by centralized autocracies.

Consider one of a thousand such instances. A few years ago the Los Angeles Times carried a special report on the rainforests of Borneo in the South Pacific. By their own testimony, the people there lived contented lives. They hunted, fished, and raised food in their jungle orchards and groves. But their entire way of life was ruthlessly wiped out by a few giant companies that destroyed the rainforest in order to harvest the hardwood for quick profits. Their lands were turned into ecological disaster areas and they themselves were transformed into disfranchised shantytown dwellers, forced to work for subsistence wages-when fortunate enough to find employment.

North American and European corporations have acquired control of more than three-fourths of the known mineral resources of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. But the pursuit of natural resources is not the only reason for capitalist overseas expansion. There is the additional need to cut production costs and maximize profits by investing in countries with cheaper labor markets. U.S. corporate foreign investment grew 84 percent from 1985 to 1990, the most dramatic increase being in cheap-labor countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Spain, and Singapore.

Because of low wages, low taxes, nonexistent work benefits, weak labor unions, and nonexistent occupational and environmental protections, U.S. corporate profit rates in the Third World are 50 percent greater than in developed countries. Citibank, one of the largest U.S. firms, earns about 75 percent of its profits from overseas operations. While profit margins at home sometimes have had a sluggish growth, earnings abroad have continued to rise dramatically, fostering the development of what has become known as the multinational or transnational corporation. Today some four hundred transnational companies control about 80 percent of the capital assets of the global free market and are extending their grasp into the ex-communist countries of Eastern Europe.

Transnationals have developed a global production line. General Motors has factories that produce cars, trucks and a wide range of auto components in Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, Spain, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Nigeria, Singapore, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea and a dozen other countries. Such "multiple sourcing" enables GM to ride out strikes in one country by stepping up production in another, playing workers of various nations against each other in order to discourage wage and benefit demands and undermine labor union strategies.

Not Necessary, Just Compelling

Some writers question whether imperialism is a necessary condition for capitalism, pointing out that most Western capital is invested in Western nations, not in the Third World. If corporations lost all their Third World investments, they argue, many of them could still survive on their European and North American markets. In response, one should note that capitalism might be able to survive without imperialism-but it shows no inclination to do so. It manifests no desire to discard its enormously profitable Third World enterprises. Imperialism may not be a necessary condition for investor survival but it seems to be an inherent tendency and a natural outgrowth of advanced capitalism. Imperial relations may not be the only way to pursue profits, but they are the most lucrative way.Whether imperialism is necessary for capitalism is really not the question. Many things that are not absolutely necessary are still highly desirable, therefore strongly preferred and vigorously pursued. Overseas investors find the Third World's cheap labor, vital natural resources, and various other highly profitable conditions to be compellingly attractive. Superprofits may not be necessary for capitalism's survival but survival is not all that capitalists are interested in. Superprofits are strongly preferred to more modest earnings. That there may be no necessity between capitalism and imperialism does not mean there is no compelling linkage.

The same is true of other social dynamics. For instance, wealth does not necessarily have to lead to luxurious living. A higher portion of an owning class's riches could be used for investment rather personal consumption. The very wealthy could survive on more modest sums but that is not how most of them prefer to live. Throughout history, wealthy classes generally have shown a preference for getting the best of everything. After all, the whole purpose of getting rich off other people's labor is to live well, avoiding all forms of thankless toil and drudgery, enjoying superior opportunities for lavish life-styles, medical care, education, travel, recreation, security, leisure, and opportunities for power and prestige. While none of these things are really "necessary," they are fervently clung to by those who possess them-as witnessed by the violent measures endorsed by advantaged classes whenever they feel the threat of an equalizing or leveling democratic force.

Myths of Underdevelopment

The impoverished lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America are known to us as the "Third World," to distinguish them from the "First World" of industrialized Europe and North America and the now largely defunct "Second World" of communist states. Third World poverty, called "underdevelopment," is treated by most Western observers as an original historic condition. We are asked to believe that it always existed, that poor countries are poor because their lands have always been infertile or their people unproductive. In fact, the lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America have long produced great treasures of foods, minerals and other natural resources. That is why the Europeans went through all the trouble to steal and plunder them. One does not go to poor places for self-enrichment. The Third World is rich. Only its people are poor-and it is because of the pillage they have endured.

The process of expropriating the natural resources of the Third World began centuries ago and continues to this day. First, the colonizers extracted gold, silver, furs, silks, and spices, then flax, hemp, timber, molasses, sugar, rum, rubber, tobacco, calico, cocoa, coffee, cotton, copper, coal, palm oil, tin, iron, ivory, ebony, and later on, oil, zinc, manganese, mercury, platinum, cobalt, bauxite, aluminum, and uranium. Not to be overlooked is that most hellish of all expropriations: the abduction of millions of human beings into slave labor.

Through the centuries of colonization, many self-serving imperialist theories have been spun. I was taught in school that people in tropical lands are slothful and do not work as hard as we denizens of the temperate zone. In fact, the inhabitants of warm climates have performed remarkably productive feats, building magnificent civilizations well before Europe emerged from the Dark Ages. And today they often work long, hard hours for meager sums. Yet the early stereotype of the "lazy native" is still with us. In every capitalist society, the poor-both domestic and overseas-regularly are blamed for their own condition.

We hear that Third World peoples are culturally retarded in their attitudes, customs, and technical abilities. It is a convenient notion embraced by those who want to depict Western investments as a rescue operation designed to help backward peoples help themselves. This myth of "cultural backwardness" goes back to ancient times, when conquerors used it to justify enslaving indigenous peoples. It was used by European colonizers over the last five centuries for the same purpose.

What cultural supremacy could by claimed by the Europeans of yore? From the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries Europe was "ahead" in a variety of things, such as the number of hangings, murders, and other violent crimes; instances of venereal disease, smallpox, typhoid, tuberculosis, plagues, and other bodily afflictions; social inequality and poverty (both urban and rural); mistreatment of women and children; and frequency of famines, slavery, prostitution, piracy, religious massacres, and inquisitional torture. Those who claim the West has been the most advanced civilization should keep such "achievements" in mind.

More seriously, we might note that Europe enjoyed a telling advantage in navigation and armaments. Muskets and cannon, Gatling guns and gunboats, and today missiles, helicopter gunships, and fighter bombers have been the deciding factors when West meets East and North meets South. Superior firepower, not superior culture, has brought the Europeans and Euro-North Americans to positions of supremacy that today are still maintained by force, though not by force alone.

It was said that colonized peoples were biologically backward and less evolved than their colonizers. Their "savagery" and "lower" level of cultural evolution were emblematic of their inferior genetic evolution. But were they culturally inferior? In many parts of what is now considered the Third World, people developed impressive skills in architecture, horticulture, crafts, hunting, fishing, midwifery, medicine, and other such things. Their social customs were often far more gracious and humane and less autocratic and repressive than anything found in Europe at that time. Of course we must not romanticize these indigenous societies, some of which had a number of cruel and unusual practices of their own. But generally, their peoples enjoyed healthier, happier lives, with more leisure time, than did most of Europe's inhabitants.

Other theories enjoy wide currency. We hear that Third World poverty is due to overpopulation, too many people having too many children to feed. Actually, over the last several centuries, many Third World lands have been less densely populated than certain parts of Europe. India has fewer people per acre-but more poverty-than Holland, Wales, England, Japan, Italy, and a few other industrial countries. Furthermore, it is the industrialized nations of the First World, not the poor ones of the Third, that devour some 80 percent of the world's resources and pose the greatest threat to the planet's ecology.

This is not to deny that overpopulation is a real problem for the planet's ecosphere. Limiting population growth in all nations would help the global environment but it would not solve the problems of the poor-because overpopulation in itself is not the cause of poverty but one of its effects. The poor tend to have large families because children are a source of family labor and income and a support during old age.

Frances Moore Lappe and Rachel Schurman found that of seventy Third World countries, there were six-China, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Chile, Burma, and Cuba-and the state of Kerala in India that had managed to lower their birth rates by one third. They enjoyed neither dramatic industrial expansion nor high per capita incomes nor extensive family planning programs. The factors they had in common were public education and health care, a reduction of economic inequality, improvements in women's rights, food subsidies, and in some cases land reform. In other words, fertility rates were lowered not by capitalist investments and economic growth as such but by socio-economic betterment, even of a modest scale, accompanied by the emergence of women's rights.

Artificially Converted to Poverty

What is called "underdevelopment" is a set of social relations that has been forcefully imposed on countries. With the advent of the Western colonizers, the peoples of the Third World were actually set back in their development sometimes for centuries. British imperialism in India provides an instructive example. In 1810, India was exporting more textiles to England than England was exporting to India. By 1830, the trade flow was reversed. The British had put up prohibitive tariff barriers to shut out Indian finished goods and were dumping their commodities in India, a practice backed by British gunboats and military force. Within a matter of years, the great textile centers of Dacca and Madras were turned into ghost towns. The Indians were sent back to the land to raise the cotton used in British textile factories. In effect, India was reduced to being a cow milked by British financiers. By 1850, India's debt had grown to 53 million pounds. From 1850 to 1900, its per capita income dropped by almost two-thirds. The value of the raw materials and commodities the Indians were obliged to send to Britain during most of the nineteenth century amounted yearly to more than the total income of the sixty million Indian agricultural and industrial workers. The massive poverty we associate with India was not that country's original historical condition. British imperialism did two things: first, it ended India's development, then it forcibly underdeveloped that country.

Similar bleeding processes occurred throughout the Third World. The enormous wealth extracted should remind us that there originally were few really poor nations. Countries like Brazil, Indonesia, Chile, Bolivia, Zaire, Mexico, Malaysia, and the Philippines were and sometimes still are rich in resources. Some lands have been so thoroughly plundered as to be desolate in all respects. However, most of the Third World is not "underdeveloped" but overexploited. Western colonization and investments have created a lower rather than a higher living standard.

Referring to what the English colonizers did to the Irish, Frederick Engels wrote in 1856: "How often have the Irish started out to achieve something, and every time they have been crushed politically and industrially. By consistent oppression they have been artificially converted into an utterly impoverished nation." So with most of the Third World. The Mayan Indians in Guatemala had a more nutritious and varied diet and better conditions of health in the early 16th century before the Europeans arrived than they have today. They had more craftspeople, architects, artisans, and horticulturists than today. What is called underdevelopment is not an original historical condition but a product of imperialism's superexploitation. Underdevelopment is itself a development.

Imperialism has created what I have termed "maldevelopment": modern office buildings and luxury hotels in the capital city instead of housing for the poor, cosmetic surgery clinics for the affluent instead of hospitals for workers, cash export crops for agribusiness instead of food for local markets, highways that go from the mines and latifundios to the refineries and ports instead of roads in the back country for those who might hope to see a doctor or a teacher.

Wealth is transferred from Third World peoples to the economic elites of Europe and North America (and more recently Japan) by direct plunder, by the expropriation of natural resources, the imposition of ruinous taxes and land rents, the payment of poverty wages, and the forced importation of finished goods at highly inflated prices. The colonized country is denied the freedom of trade and the opportunity to develop its own natural resources, markets, and industrial capacity. Self-sustenance and self-employment gives way to wage labor. From 1970 to 1980, the number of wage workers in the Third World grew from 72 million to 120 million, and the rate is accelerating.

Hundreds of millions of Third World peoples now live in destitution in remote villages and congested urban slums, suffering hunger, disease, and illiteracy, often because the land they once tilled is now controlled by agribusiness firms who use it for mining or for commercial export crops such as coffee, sugar, and beef, instead of growing beans, rice, and corn for home consumption. A study of twenty of the poorest countries, compiled from official statistics, found that the number of people living in what is called "absolute poverty" or rockbottom destitution, the poorest of the poor, is rising 70,000 a day and should reach 1.5 billion by the year 2000 (San Francisco Examiner, June 8, 1994).

Imperialism forces millions of children around the world to live nightmarish lives, their mental and physical health severely damaged by endless exploitation. A documentary film on the Discovery Channel (April 24, 1994) reported that in countries like Russia, Thailand, and the Philippines, large numbers of minors are sold into prostitution to help their desperate families survive. In countries like Mexico, India, Colombia, and Egypt, children are dragooned into health-shattering, dawn-to-dusk labor on farms and in factories and mines for pennies an hour, with no opportunity for play, schooling, or medical care.

In India, 55 million children are pressed into the work force. Tens of thousands labor in glass factories in temperatures as high as 100 degrees. In one plant, four-year-olds toil from 5 o'clock in the morning until the dead of night, inhaling fumes and contracting emphysema, tuberculosis, and other respiratory diseases. In the Philippines and Malaysia corporations have lobbied to drop age restrictions for labor recruitment. The pursuit of profit becomes a pursuit of evil.

Development Theory

When we say a country is "underdeveloped," we are implying that it is backward and retarded in some way, that its people have shown little capacity to achieve and evolve. The negative connotations of "underdeveloped" has caused the United Nations, the Wall Street Journal, and parties of various political persuasion to refer to Third World countries as "developing" nations, a term somewhat less insulting than "underdeveloped" but equally misleading. I prefer to use "Third World" because "developing" seems to be just a euphemistic way of saying "underdeveloped but belatedly starting to do something about it." It still implies that poverty was an original historic condition and not something imposed by the imperialists. It also falsely suggests that these countries are developing when actually their economic conditions are usually worsening.The dominant theory of the last half century, enunciated repeatedly by writers like Barbara Ward and W. W. Rostow and afforded wide currency in the United States and other parts of the Western world, maintains that it is up to the rich nations of the North to help uplift the "backward" nations of the South, bringing them technology and teaching them proper work habits. This is an updated version of "the White man's burden," a favorite imperialist fantasy.

According to the development scenario, with the introduction of Western investments, the backward economic sectors of the poor nations will release their workers, who then will find more productive employment in the modern sector at higher wages. As capital accumulates, business will reinvest its profits, thus creating still more products, jobs, buying power, and markets. Eventually a more prosperous economy evolves.

This "development theory" or "modernization theory," as it is sometimes called, bears little relation to reality. What has emerged in the Third World is an intensely exploitive form of dependent capitalism. Economic conditions have worsened drastically with the growth of transnational corporate investment. The problem is not poor lands or unproductive populations but foreign exploitation and class inequality. Investors go into a country not to uplift it but to enrich themselves.

People in these countries do not need to be taught how to farm. They need the land and the implements to farm. They do not need to be taught how to fish. They need the boats and the nets and access to shore frontage, bays, and oceans. They need industrial plants to cease dumping toxic effusions into the waters. They do not need to be convinced that they should use hygienic standards. They do not need a Peace Corps Volunteer to tell them to boil their water, especially when they cannot afford fuel or have no access to firewood. They need the conditions that will allow them to have clean drinking water and clean clothes and homes. They do not need advice about balanced diets from North Americans. They usually know what foods best serve their nutritional requirements. They need to be given back their land and labor so that they might work for themselves and grow food for their own consumption.

The legacy of imperial domination is not only misery and strife, but an economic structure dominated by a network of international corporations which themselves are beholden to parent companies based in North America, Europe and Japan. If there is any harmonization or integration, it occurs among the global investor classes, not among the indigenous economies of these countries. Third World economies remain fragmented and unintegrated both between each other and within themselves, both in the flow of capital and goods and in technology and organization. In sum, what we have is a world economy that has little to do with the economic needs of the world's people.

Neoimperialism: Skimming the Cream

Sometimes imperial domination is explained as arising from an innate desire for domination and expansion, a "territorial imperative." In fact, territorial imperialism is no longer the prevailing mode. Compared to the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the European powers carved up the world among themselves, today there is almost no colonial dominion left. Colonel Blimp is dead and buried, replaced by men in business suits. Rather than being directly colonized by the imperial power, the weaker countries have been granted the trappings of sovereignty-while Western finance capital retains control of the lion's share of their profitable resources. This relationship has gone under various names: "informal empire," "colonialism without colonies," "neocolonialism," and "neoimperialism. "U.S. political and business leaders were among the earliest practitioners of this new kind of empire, most notably in Cuba at the beginning of the twentieth century. Having forcibly wrested the island from Spain in the war of 1898, they eventually gave Cuba its formal independence. The Cubans now had their own government, constitution, flag, currency, and security force. But major foreign policy decisions remained in U.S. hands as did the island's wealth, including its sugar, tobacco, and tourist industries, and major imports and exports.

Historically U.S. capitalist interests have been less interested in acquiring more colonies than in acquiring more wealth, preferring to make off with the treasure of other nations without bothering to own and administer the nations themselves. Under neoimperialism, the flag stays home, while the dollar goes everywhere - frequently assisted by the sword.

After World War II, European powers like Britain and France adopted a strategy of neoimperialism. Left financially depleted by years of warfare, and facing intensified popular resistance from within the Third World itself, they reluctantly decided that indirect economic hegemony was less costly and politically more expedient than outright colonial rule. They discovered that the removal of a conspicuously intrusive colonial rule made it more difficult for nationalist elements within the previously colonized countries to mobilize anti-imperialist sentiments.

Though the newly established government might be far from completely independent, it usually enjoyed more legitimacy in the eyes of its populace than a colonial administration controlled by the imperial power. Furthermore, under neoimperialism the native government takes up the costs of administering the country while the imperialist interests are free to concentrate on accumulating capital-which is all they really want to do.

After years of colonialism, the Third World country finds it extremely difficult to extricate itself from the unequal relationship with its former colonizer and impossible to depart from the global capitalist sphere. Those countries that try to make a break are subjected to punishing economic and military treatment by one or another major power, nowadays usually the United States.

The leaders of the new nations may voice revolutionary slogans, yet they find themselves locked into the global capitalist orbit, cooperating perforce with the First World nations for investment, trade, and aid. So we witnessed the curious phenomenon of leaders of newly independent Third World nations denouncing imperialism as the source of their countries' ills, while dissidents in these countries denounced these same leaders as collaborators of imperialism.

In many instances a comprador class emerged or was installed as a first condition for independence. A comprador class is one that cooperates in turning its own country into a client state for foreign interests. A client state is one that is open to investments on terms that are decidedly favorable to the foreign investors. In a client state, corporate investors enjoy direct subsidies and land grants, access to raw materials and cheap labor, light or nonexistent taxes, few effective labor unions, no minimum wage or child labor or occupational safety laws, and no consumer or environmental protections to speak of. The protective laws that do exist go largely unenforced.

In all, the Third World is something of a capitalist paradise, offering life as it was in Europe and the United States during the nineteenth century, with a rate of profit vastly higher than what might be earned today in a country with strong economic regulations. The comprador class is well recompensed for its cooperation. Its leaders enjoy opportunities to line their pockets with the foreign aid sent by the U.S. government. Stability is assured with the establishment of security forces, armed and trained by the United States in the latest technologies of terror and repression. Still, neoimperialism carries risks. The achievement of de jure independence eventually fosters expectations of de facto independence. The forms of self rule incite a desire for the fruits of self rule. Sometimes a national leader emerges who is a patriot and reformer rather than a comprador collaborator. Therefore, the changeover from colonialism to neocolonialism is not without risks for the imperialists and represents a net gain for popular forces in the world.

Chapter 1 of Against Empire by Michael Parenti

Michael Parenti is an internationally known award-winning author and lecturer. He is one of the nation's leading progressive political analysts. His highly informative and entertaining books and talks have reached a wide range of audiences in North America and abroad. http://www.michaelparenti.org/


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

Home 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008

For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section

[Jul 29, 2021] Is nationalism really dead- - Washington Examiner

Jul 29, 2021 | www.washingtonexaminer.com

Five years ago, it seemed to many observers that something called "nationalism" had returned to U.S. politics and culture. After a period stretching from the end of the Cold War to the election of Donald Trump when Americans, or at least the elite, had been confident about economic globalization, internationalist foreign policy, and mass immigration, it appeared that much of the Right was now rejecting that consensus. Crucial to this perceived shift was the revival of the idea of America as a "nation," a specific place and distinct people whose values and political projects are not necessarily addressed to the rights and needs of humanity as a whole.

AfterNationalism_072021.jpg
After Nationalism: Being American in an Age of Division , by Samuel Goldman. University of Pennsylvania Press, 208 pp., $24.95.

Half a decade later, it is much harder to believe that nationalism is, or ever was, resurgent, or that it offers a way forward for conservatives. Many Republican voters and politicians continue to support Trump, who has largely taken leave of his earlier nationalist orientation in favor of railing against the 2020 election. A handful of think tanks and small magazines, such as American Affairs , have separated themselves from the former president while persisting in efforts to sketch the possibilities for a conservative nationalism after Trump. Other intellectuals on the Right are trying to imagine what comes, as political theorist Samuel Goldman puts it, "after nationalism."

In his short new book, After Nationalism : Being American in an Age of Division , Goldman argues that a renewal of nationalism is neither possible nor desirable. He supports this argument with a historical account that distinguishes among three different understandings of "nation" that have shaped politics over the past four centuries. The one closest in time to us -- and closest to the values of the centrist, anti-Trump conservative intellectual class -- is "creedal nationalism," in which American identity is based on agreement with a "creed," a set of values derived from founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

Creedal nationalism, which flourished in the mid-20th century, emphasized legal equality and some degree of economic equality. Its adherents connected this egalitarianism to an interpretation of American history according to which our founding values, at first applied only partially or even hypocritically, were over the course of many political struggles wrested from the control of white land-owning elites and extended to all. As Goldman observes, that creedal account of identity as both a philosophical commitment to certain ideas and the historical process of their realization was a powerful force for collective action. It told people that who they were depended on what they believed and assured them that their beliefs had been, and therefore could continue to be, not merely an abstract ideal or a vision of the past but a program for political change. They had an identity, an ideology, a history, and a program for the future.

https://7fbafedd62e34b7ee1aaa06faa377c81.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Goldman claims that the creedal form of nationalism was a "failure" and disappeared during the crisis of the 1960s and 1970s. According to him, activists from racial, sexual, and other minorities contested its interpretation of American history, which they came to see not as the gradual expansion of the democratic promise of our founding but as a series of conflicts between oppressors and oppressed. Undermining faith in America's basic goodness, understood as its capacity to integrate an ever-widening circle of people into an ever-expanding notion of freedom and equality, these activists also overloaded narratives of national history with demands for inclusion of "their" perspectives. Histories written in the aftermath of this cultural revolution tended to be either polemically "anti-American," a confusing muddle of multicultural perspectives, or both. But conservatives and old-fashioned liberals have failed to produce a cohesive new narrative, resorting instead to unconvincing arguments about the need for politically useful, if historically false, national myths that can generate consensus.

Creedal nationalism, however, may neither be as obsolete nor as opposed to multiculturalism and activist politics as Goldman suggests. We seem, in fact, to be witnessing the emergence of a new form of woke creedalism: a historical account of American identity organized around the efforts of minorities to overcome white supremacy, patriarchy, and other evils. Unlike the earlier form of creedalism, this new iteration does not present America's founding ideals as essentially good -- it is more likely to see them as irredeemably tainted by the original sins of slavery and colonialism. It does, however, have the same structure and purpose as the earlier creedalism. It offers adherents a sense of who they are (victims of America), what they believe (a particularly strident sort of American egalitarianism), where they have been (oppression), and what they must do (defeat, rule over, and eventually assimilate or annihilate their oppressors). The identitarian Left does not operate in an era "after nationalism." Rather, it promotes a form of creedal nationalism that defines itself against a certain understanding of America.

If the Left has not moved beyond nationalism, one may doubt that the Right will. Goldman calls on readers to imagine a new kind of American identity divorced from any "coherent and enduring sense of shared identity and purpose." Such commitments, he insists, can only fuel the culture wars by stoking debates about who Americans are and what they value. He urges us instead to move toward a minimal loyalty to the liberal democratic process, which we should appreciate as a means of diffusing our political, cultural, and ethical divisions and allowing us to live decently together.

This proposal, which amounts to an appeal to fellow conservative intellectuals to distance themselves further from nationalism, has at least two problems. First, Goldman hopes people will stop looking to politics to express their cultural identities and turn instead toward "associational" life: unions, churches, etc. But the associational life of much of working- and middle-class America has been hollowed out in the last two generations, largely because of economic policies that have left average people facing lives that are ever more isolated, precarious, and brief. Second, although he briefly acknowledges in his introduction the "impulses" and "grievances" that lead the Republican Party to shift away from "globalism," Goldman seems by his conclusion to have forgotten that Americans face serious material problems that cannot be solved without collective action through the state. Pursuing this collective action will require a long and intense process of political mobilization that seems implausible if people are not united by a shared belief similar in intensity to the creedal nationalism of the past -- and counter to the creedal nationalism of the contemporary Left.

Blake Smith is a historian of modern France and a literary translator.

[Jul 24, 2021] American Empire still exists. US gov't can always sell LNG to Poland

Jul 24, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

XJ033858JH 11 hours ago remove link

Don't worry, US gov't...you can always sell your LNG to Poland...hahahah!

LA_Goldbug 11 hours ago

I wonder what the price is for this LNG from all the way across the Atlantic.

rosalinda 10 hours ago

I read it is triple the price of the Russian gas. The Russians have all the advantages here. Putin probably would not weaponize the gas, but who is to say some Russian leader in the future might not take the opportunity? Europe is more dependant on Russian gas then Russia is dependant on European money

XJ033858JH 10 hours ago

It's more like 3.3 times...10% for the big guy

BannedCamp 8 hours ago

Likewise, Russia could nuke the whole world, but they never used a nuke on any country before, but the US has. Saying that Russia might do something that the accusing party (The U.S) is actually doing right now (to Germany) is blatant hypocrisy.

[Jul 24, 2021] Nord Stream 2 'Deal' Is Not An American Concession, It's Admission Of Defeat - ZeroHedge

Jul 24, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

After much arm-twisting, bullying and foghorn diplomacy towards its European allies, the United States appears to have finally given up on trying to block the giant Nord Stream 2 project with Russia. What an epic saga it has been, revealing much about American relations with Europe and Washington's geopolitical objectives, as well as, ultimately, the historic decline in U.S. global power.

In the end, sanity and natural justice seem to have prevailed. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea will double the existing flow of Russia's prodigious natural gas to Germany and the rest of Europe. The fuel is economical and environmentally clean compared with coal, oil and the shale gas that the Americans were vying with Russia to export.

Russia's vast energy resources will ensure Europe's economies and households are reliably and efficiently fueled for the future. Germany, the economic engine of the European Union, has a particular vital interest in securing the Nord Stream 2 project which augments an existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Both follow the same Baltic Sea route of approximately 1,222 kilometers – the longest pipeline in the world – taking Russian natural gas from its arctic region to the northern shores of Germany. For Germany's export-led economy, Russian fuel is essential for future growth, and hence benefiting the rest of Europe.

It was always a natural fit between Russia and the European Union. Geographically and economically, the two parties are compatible traders and Nord Stream 2 is merely the culmination of decades of efficient energy relations.

Enter the Americans. Washington has been seething over the strategic energy trade between Russia and Europe. The opposition escalated under the Trump administration (so much for Trump being an alleged Russian stooge!) when his ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, fired off threatening letters to German and other European companies arrogantly warning that they would be hit with sanctions if they dared proceed with Nord Stream 2. Pipe-laying work was indeed interrupted last year by U.S. sanctions. (So much for European sovereignty and alleged meddling in internal affairs by Russia!)

The ostensible American rationale was always absurd. Washington claimed that Russia would exploit its strategic role as gas supplier by extracting malicious concessions from Europe. It was also claimed that Russia would "weaponize" energy trade to enable alleged aggression towards Ukraine and other Eastern European states. The rationale reflects the twisted Machiavellian mentality of the Americans and their supporters in Europe – Poland and the Baltic states, as well as the Kiev regime in Ukraine. Such mentality is shot-through with irrational Russophobia.

The ridiculous paranoid claims against Russia are of course an inversion of reality. It is the Americans and their European surrogates who are weaponizing a mundane matter of commercial trade that in reality offers a win-win relationship. Part of the real objective is to distort market economics by demonizing Russia in order for the United States to export their own vastly more expensive and environmentally dirty liquefied natural gas to Europe. (So much for American free-market capitalism!)

Another vital objective for Washington is to thwart any normal relations developing between Russia and the rest of Europe. American hegemony and its hyper-militaristic economy depend on dividing and ruling other nations as so-called "allies" and "adversaries". This has been a long-time necessity ever since the Second World War and during the subsequent Cold War decades, the latter constantly revived by Washington against Russia. (So much for American claims that Russia is a "revisionist power"!)

However, there is a fundamental objective problem for the Americans. The empirical decline of U.S. global power means that Washington can no longer bully other nations in the way it has been accustomed to doing for decades. The old Cold War caricatures of demonizing others have lost their allure and potency because the objective world we live in today simply does not make them plausible or credible. The Russian gas trade with the European Union is a consummate case in point. In short, Germany and the EU are not going to shoot themselves in the foot, economically speaking, simply on the orders of Uncle Sam.

President Joe Biden had enough common sense – unlike the egotistical Trump – to realize that American opposition to Nord Stream 2 was futile. Biden is more in tune with the Washington establishment than his maverick predecessor. Hence Biden began waiving sanctions imposed under Trump. Finally this week, the White House announced that it had come to an agreement with Germany to permit Nord Stream 2 to go ahead. The Financial Times called it a "truce" while the Wall Street Journal referred to a "deal" between Washington and Berlin. (Ironically, American non-interference is presented as a "deal"!)

The implication is that the United States was magnanimously giving a "concession" to Europe. The reality is the Americans were tacitly admitting they can't stop the strategic convergence between Russia and the rest of Europe on a vital matter of energy supply.

In spinning the eventuality, Washington has continued to accuse Russia of "weaponizing" trade. It warns that if Russia is perceived to be abusing relations with Ukraine and Europe then the United States will slap more sanctions on Moscow. This amounts to the defeated bully hyperventilating.

Another geopolitical factor is China. The Biden administration has prioritized confrontation with China as the main long-term concern for repairing U.S. decline. Again, Biden is more in tune with the imperial planners in Washington than Trump was. They know that in order for the United States to have a chance of undermining China as a geopolitical rival the Europeans must be aligned with U.S. policy. Trump's boorish browbeating of Europeans and Germany in particular over NATO budgets and other petty issues resulted in an unprecedented rift in the "transatlantic alliance" – the euphemism for American dominance over Europe. By appearing to concede to Germany over Nord Stream 2, Washington is really aiming to shore up its anti-China policy. This too is an admission of defeat whereby American power is unable to confront China alone. The bully needs European lackeys to align, and so is obliged to offer a "deal" over Russia's energy trade.

All in all, Washington's virtue-signaling is one helluva gas!


21 play_arrow 2
Peter Pan 12 hours ago

What the USA accuses Russia of planning to do down the track is actually what the USA is doing now. In other words it is the USA that is weaponusing the gas issue with threats and sanctions.

_ConanTheLibertarian_ 12 hours ago remove link

The US had no business interfering. Bye.

buzzsaw99 12 hours ago

the usa should ask russia to teach them how to keep natural gas flowing when it gets cold outside. lol

RedSeaPedestrian 11 hours ago

How to keep a windmill spinning comes first.

two hoots 11 hours ago

Well we did interfere and the results exposed our decline in multifarious ways, mainly power in all things that matter in the international arena: diplomacy, defense, economic, trust. We yet have great influence with our scientific and industrial capabilities but even there others are reaching parity. Internally our unsupportable debt will hinder even that. Basically it is the US Government (domestic/foreign affairs) that has led the charge of our decline. "Government is dead" .... (we need a new and improved one to worship)

Max21c 11 hours ago

The Washingtonians & Londoners are just upset because now their buddies and puppets in the Ukraine aren't going to be able to use control over the transit of Russian gas through the Ukraine to hold Europe hostage and get their way. So everything that they're accusing the Russians of doing in the future is what Washingtonians, Londoners, and the Ukraine were doing in the past. They're just upset since their Ukrainian vassals can no longer do their bidding's against Moscow and Eastern Europe.

MR166 9 hours ago

I am a USA loving conservative but I really never understood the objections to the pipeline. Since energy = standard of living the pipeline does nothing but help mankind. The US has no problem becoming totally dependent on China for drugs, medical supplies, chips and manufacturing but is afraid of Russia shipping gas to Europe. How does that make any sense at all???!!!

ar8 9 hours ago (Edited) remove link

I will explain it for you:

US companies wanted to sell their gas to Europe.

The US companies attempted to use the US to bully European countries, companies, projects and people through sanctions and threatening fines.

It worked, a bit: numerous companies ceased working on it.

But the US, as usual, with its bullyboy tactics had been less effective and created more self-damage than it expected. It has created many enemies as a result, which will hasten the demise of the US government.

Despite its age, the following is still relevant to Nord Stream II: "War Is a Racket" is a speech and a 1935 short book, by Smedley D. Butler, a retired United States Marine Corps Major General and two-time Medal of Honor recipient.

Rudolph 2 hours ago

One more reason. We control Ukraine, Ukraine control gas to Germany. = We control Germany.

Vivekwhu 9 hours ago

What is the point of having a financial/military/market empire if you don't have a finger in every pie enriching your elite?

Chief Joesph 11 hours ago

It was simply a war of hate about anything Russian. The U.S. really had nothing to offer Germany anyway. From the German perspective, they had to protect their own interests, and since Russia was offering to sell them natural gas and the U.S. wasn't, the choice was rather simple. Perhaps it might make better relationships between eastern block countries and the west too.

The U.S. spends a great amount of time and resources "hating" other countries for no reason at all. It's bigotry by any other definition. The U.S. practices a systematic and especially politically exploited expression of hatred and hostilities. Not only do they practice this against other countries, but among their own kind too. The U.S. ranks as one of the more hateful countries in the world, only surpassed by the Middle East. Add that to the reasons why Germany doesn't want to go along with U.S. temper tantrums.

LA_Goldbug 10 hours ago

Not "hating" but "bombing" is the right description of the US foreign policy practice.

porco rosso 11 hours ago

Mr Putin is way too clever for these yankster clowns and makes them look like the fools they are time and time again. That is why they hate him so much.

Max21c 11 hours ago remove link

Putin didn't have to outsmart them. The Europeans need the gas. Water does not usually flow uphill.

porco rosso 11 hours ago

True. But in Germany there are a lot of treacherous transatlantic elements that wanted to sabotage the pipeline at any cost.

These elements are Germans but they dont give a **** about Germany. Treacherous scumbags.

wootendw PREMIUM 11 hours ago (Edited)

" The ostensible American rationale was always absurd. Washington claimed that Russia would exploit its strategic role as gas supplier by extracting malicious concessions from Europe. It was also claimed that Russia would "weaponize" energy trade to enable alleged aggression towards Ukraine and other Eastern European states. "

The absurdity lies with the existence of NATO or the US being in NATO. It no more makes sense for US to commit ourselves to Europe's defense against Russia than it does for Europe to buy American NG for three times the price it can get Russia's for.

williambanzai7 PREMIUM 10 hours ago (Edited)

Well apparently some tard thinks it makes perfect sense for other readily imagined strategic reasons none of which have anything to do with accountable governance.

Someone thinks NATO is a dog leash. An expensive dog leash.

yerfej 11 hours ago

The washington idiot cabal needs something to focus on to justify their existence so they wander the globe telling everyone how to live and who they can trade with when they're not busy starting or expanding wars. The reality is the US federal government is a completely useless parasite who's ONLY function is to domestically terrorize its own citizens and the other nations of the world.

known unknown 10 hours ago remove link

Nordstream II was built to a stop Ukraine from blocking gas to Europe which they already did once, stealing gas which they have always done. Germany asked Russia to build it. The dummy Bulgarians stopped a similar pipeline yielding to the US. Then they cried about it when they realized they lost billions. No matter what's promised Ukraine will be cut out in 5 years if they continue hostilities towards Russians.

LA_Goldbug 10 hours ago (Edited) remove link

Most people conveniently forget or don't know about Ukraine's siphoning of the gas while in transit to European countries.

Germany is as bad as the US. Thanks to Germany Yugoslavia was decapitated with help from US and UK.

Greed is King 11 hours ago

Nordstream 2 is a trade deal between the EU (primarily Germany) and Russia.

Russia sells gas to the EU; and the EU buys gas from Russia.

So, can anybody answer these questions.

1.WTF has it got to do with America ?.

2. Who the feck does America think it is that it thinks it can interfere with and make demands of free and sovereign nations ?.

When the bully is beaten, nobody ever feels sympathy for him; America would do well to think about that.

Samual Vimes 11 hours ago (Edited) remove link

Surroguts /proxies, what ever.

Unelected policy makers in all their purple clad glory.

Max21c 12 hours ago (Edited)

After much arm-twisting, bullying and foghorn diplomacy towards its European allies, the United States appears to have finally given up on trying to block the giant Nord Stream 2 project with Russia. What an epic saga it has been, revealing much about American relations with Europe and Washington's geopolitical objectives, as well as, ultimately, the historic decline in U.S. global power.

It may show a decline in US global power or it may just show a rise in Washingtonian amateurishness, arrogance, obnoxiousness, naivete and stupidity...

all it does is show out in the open that certain people are quacks, flakes, and screwballs. Why would anyone in their right mind waste time & efforts or political capital or diplomatic capital/bonnafides on trying to do something so silly as block Nord Stream 2... It just makes Washingtonians look ridiculous, silly, and absurd...

It's almost as crazy as making a horse into a Roman Senator or declaring a war on the Neptune or attacking the sea... It appears as if right after the Berlin Wall came down American elites and Washingtonians all joined the Mad King Ludwig cult and became worshipers of everything crazy...

RedSeaPedestrian 11 hours ago remove link

Or even as crazy as making a Dementia patient a Roman Emperor. (Or is that a United States President? I forget sometimes.)

hugin-o-munin 12 hours ago remove link

Whatever political games are being played there is no getting around the fact that Europe and Russia will eventually start to get along and expand trade and industrial cooperation. Most people know that both the US and UK want to prevent this because it will diminish their current top dog positions wrt global trade and financial control. Few things compare to trade and mutual beneficial cooperation when it comes to lowering the risk for conflict.

Just like Europe should promote development and trade with northern Africa so should the US with central and southern America. This would also put an end to the endless migrant caravans that are putting a huge strain on both the EU and US today. It's actually a non brainer and says more about these satanic globalists' true motive than anything else.

ReichstagFireDept. 9 hours ago remove link

Nord Stream 2 is your best indicator that Governments are realizing that Renewable Energy is NOT the replacement for Conventional Energy.

Nat. Gas IS the clean Energy source that everyone was screaming for...now it's finally worldwide and they don't want it?!

Sorry, your Green Marxist dream is ending.

geno-econ 9 hours ago remove link

U.S. should be grateful Russia is sharing its natural resources with West rather than aligning with China. There is much more than natural gas---ferro manganese, ferro chrome, uranium, enrichment, titanium, aluminum, fertilizer, wheat, timber products, etc. U.S. trade with China essentially imports only two major resources---cheap labor and synthetic opioids !

williambanzai7 PREMIUM 9 hours ago

Well, there's some plastic junk and red refugees in there as well.

geno-econ 9 hours ago

only wealthy red capitalists disguised as refugees from China

ar8 9 hours ago

You are assuming the US government thinks rationally.

It doesn't.

[Jul 24, 2021] The "deal" was merely an attempt by the US to save face

Jul 24, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com


play_arrow

Shemp 4 Victory 6 hours ago

The "deal" was merely an attempt by the US to save face.

https://theduran.com/merkel-makes-germany-look-weak-sets-up-ukraine-slush-fund-in-nord-stream-2-deal-with-u-s/

[Jul 23, 2021] Russia rejects aspects of Germany-U.S. accord on Nord Stream 2 pipeline

Jul 23, 2021 | www.msn.com

The Kremlin said on Thursday it disagreed with some statements in an agreement between the United States and Germany on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, insisting that Russia had never used energy as a tool of political pressure.

The pact aims to mitigate what critics see as the strategic dangers of the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline, now 98% complete, being built under the Baltic Sea to carry gas from Russia's Arctic region to Germany.

"Russia has always been and remains a responsible guarantor of energy security on the European continent, or I would even say on a wider, global scale," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

[Jul 21, 2021] Germany commits to action if Russia uses energy as weapon -Nuland

Jul 21, 2021 | www.msn.com

Arby's Just Quietly Discontinued These 6 Menu Items See Dolly Parton Recreate Her Iconic "Playboy" Cover 43 Years Later

WASHINGTON, July 21 (Reuters) - Germany has committed to take action on its own and back action at the European Union level should Russia seek to use energy as a weapon or take aggressive action against Ukraine, U.S. Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland said on Wednesday.

"Should Russia attempt to use energy as a weapon or commit further aggressive actions against Ukraine, Germany will take actions at the national level and press for effective measures at the European level, including sanctions, to limit Russian export capabilities in the energy sector," Nuland told lawmakers, adding that Germany would support an extension of the Russia-Ukraine transit agreement that expires in 2024. (Reporting By Arshad Mohammed and Jonathan Landay)

[Jul 21, 2021] Russia And Germany Win War Over Nord Stream 2

Notable quotes:
"... Two world wars were fought to keep Germany down. The stated purpose of NATO is to keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down. ..."
"... IMO US didn't cause NS2 friction because it thinks it benefits Russia, but exactly because it benefits Germany too much. ..."
"... You know, NATO, "Keep the Germans down..." and all that. US must not permit it's vassals to become too economically stronger than their master. They want to drag everyone they can down with them (and in shitter US goes) so they can still be king of the hill (or ad least shitter bottom). ..."
"... The most important point to know is that US hegemony in Europe is predicated on fear and hostility between Germany and Russia. ..."
"... There are many limitations to European strategic autonomy -- and the EU embodies those limits in many ways -- but the case of NS2 demonstrates an independent streak in German strategy. It amounts to a zero sum loss for Washington. ..."
"... Lebanon does illustrate the incredible reach of the Empire. A leverage so long that every door leads to self immolation. Your mention of the current spyware scandal is right on point. These are instruments of absolute power. ..."
"... While Trump is certainly no representative of humanity, it just as certainly doesn't look like his rise was in the playbook of the dominant faction of the oligarchy. Trump really seems to fit the mould of a Bonapartist, though recast in the context of contemporary America. This would indicate that the imperial oligarchy is in crisis, which itself could lead to fractures in the empire, and among the empire's vassals in particular. ..."
Jul 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Russia And Germany Win War Over Nord Stream 2

The sanctions war the U.S. waged against Germany and Russia over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has ended with a total U.S. defeat.

The U.S. attempts to block the pipeline were part of the massive anti-Russia campaign waged over the last five years. But it was always based on a misunderstanding. The pipeline is not to Russia's advantage but important for Germany. As I described Nord Stream 2 in a previous piece :

It is not Russia which needs the pipeline. It can sell its gas to China for just as much as it makes by selling gas to Europe.
...
It is Germany, the EU's economic powerhouse, that needs the pipeline and the gas flowing through it. Thanks to Chancellor Merkel's misguided energy policy - she put an end to nuclear power in German after a tsunami in Japan destroyed three badly placed reactors - Germany urgently needs the gas to keep its already high electricity prices from rising further.

That the new pipeline will bypass old ones which run through the Ukraine is likewise to the benefit of Germany, not Russia. The pipeline infrastructure in the Ukraine is old and near to disrepair. The Ukraine has no money to renew it. Politically it is under U.S. influence. It could use its control over the energy flow to the EU for blackmail. (It already tried once.) The new pipeline, laid at the bottom of the Baltic sea, requires no payment for crossing Ukrainian land and is safe from potential malign influence.

Maybe Chancellor Merkel on her recent visit to Washington DC finally managed to explain that to the Biden administration. More likely though she simply told the U.S. to f*** off. Whatever - the result is in. As the Wall Street Journal reports today:

The U.S. and Germany have reached an agreement allowing completion of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, officials from both countries say.

Under the four-point agreement, Germany and the U.S. would invest $50 million in Ukrainian green-tech infrastructure, encompassing renewable energy and related industries. Germany also would support energy talks in the Three Seas Initiative, a Central European diplomatic forum.

Berlin and Washington as well would try to ensure that Ukraine continues to receive roughly $3 billion in annual transit fees that Russia pays under its current agreement with Kyiv, which runs through 2024. Officials didn't explain how to ensure that Russia continues to make the payments.

The U.S. also would retain the prerogative of levying future pipeline sanctions in the case of actions deemed to represent Russian energy coercion, officials in Washington said.

So Germany will spend some chump change to buy up, together with the U.S, a few Ukrainian companies that are involved in solar or wind mill stuff. It will 'support' some irrelevant talks by maybe paying for the coffee. It also promises to try something that it has no way to succeed in.

That's all just a fig leave. The U.S. really gave up without receiving anything for itself or for its client regime in the Ukraine.

The Ukraine lobby in Congress will be very unhappy with that deal. The Biden administration hopes to avoid an uproar over it. Yesterday Politico reported that the Biden administration preemptively had told the Ukraine to stop talking about the issue :

In the midst of tense negotiations with Berlin over a controversial Russia-to-Germany pipeline, the Biden administration is asking a friendly country to stay quiet about its vociferous opposition. And Ukraine is not happy.

U.S. officials have signaled that they've given up on stopping the project, known as the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and are now scrambling to contain the damage by striking a grand bargain with Germany.

At the same time, administration officials have quietly urged their Ukrainian counterparts to withhold criticism of a forthcoming agreement with Germany involving the pipeline, according to four people with knowledge of the conversations.

The U.S. officials have indicated that going public with opposition to the forthcoming agreement could damage the Washington-Kyiv bilateral relationship , those sources said. The officials have also urged the Ukrainians not to discuss the U.S. and Germany's potential plans with Congress.

If Trump had done the above Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi would have called for another impeachment.

The Ukrainian President Zelensky is furious over the deal and about being told to shut up. But there is little he can do but to accept the booby price the Biden administration offered him:

U.S. officials' pressure on Ukrainian officials to withhold criticism of whatever final deal the Americans and the Germans reach will face significant resistance.

A source close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Kyiv's position is that U.S. sanctions could still stop completion of the project, if only the Biden administration had the will to use them at the construction and certification stages. That person said Kyiv remains staunchly opposed to the project.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration gave Zelensky a date for a meeting at the White House with the president later this summer , according to a senior administration official.

Nord Stream 2 is to 96% ready. Its testing will start in August or September and by the years end it will hopefully deliver gas to western Europe.

Talks about building Nord Stream 3 are likely to start soon.

Posted by b on July 21, 2021 at 17:13 UTC | Permalink


corvo , Jul 21 2021 17:23 utc | 1

Did Merkel also get Biden to promise that neither he nor any of his clients (AQ, ISIS, etc. etc. etc.) would perpetrate any "unfortunate incidents" or "disruptions" on NS 2?

And would any such promises be worth the breath that uttered them?

Down South , Jul 21 2021 17:42 utc | 2
But it was always based on a misunderstanding. The pipeline is not to Russia's advantage but important for Germany

I'm afraid it is you who doesn't understand. Two world wars were fought to keep Germany down. The stated purpose of NATO is to keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down.

They weren't trying to block NS2 to keep Russia out but to keep Germany down,

Abe , Jul 21 2021 17:44 utc | 3
I beg to differ. IMO US didn't cause NS2 friction because it thinks it benefits Russia, but exactly because it benefits Germany too much.

You know, NATO, "Keep the Germans down..." and all that. US must not permit it's vassals to become too economically stronger than their master. They want to drag everyone they can down with them (and in shitter US goes) so they can still be king of the hill (or ad least shitter bottom).

That is why there is also pressure for all western countries to adopt insane immigration, LGBT, austerity policies and what not. What a better way to destroy all these countries, both economically and culturally, or adleast make them far more worse than US, it is only way US can again become "powerhouse", like after WW2.

psychohistorian , Jul 21 2021 17:46 utc | 5
Does this represent a fracturing of the EU? or maybe a change in direction?

What b is pointing out about how if it were Trump....only means that the bullying approach by empire didn't work and now we are seeing face saving bullying and backpedaling like crazy in some areas.

I roll my eyes at this ongoing belief that Trump represented humanity instead of all or some faction of the elite....as a demigod it seems.

Hoyeru , Jul 21 2021 17:54 utc | 6
the "facts" as you state them are not quite right.

1. China is ruthless. They waited until the last possible second to sign a deal with Iran, thus ensuring they are getting the best possible price for Iran's oil, basically robbing Iran blind. The poor Iran didn't have a choice but to agree. Even today, Putin will NOT say how much China is paying for gas on Siberia pipeline and a lot of people think China is robbing Russia blind on the deal. A second Siberia line without a NS2 will put Russia is very bad negotiation position and China in very good one, giving them the advantage to ask for any price of Russia and get it.

2. Merkel is leaving anyway in September and thw Green party that will be taking over HATES RUssia with passion. The NS2 is far from done deal, it needs to be insured. Plus it will fall under the EU 3rd energy package making sure Germany doesn't use it 100% . The NS2 will never be 100 usable, the Green party will see to that. AT best it will be only 50% usage.

And so on and so on. Funny how in today's world, we all have different facts. My facts are different than YOUR facts. My facts are just as relevant as your facts.

librul , Jul 21 2021 17:55 utc | 7
A most worthwhile read:
What is more, the most dangerous potential alliance, from the perspective of the United States, was considered to be an alliance between Russia and Germany. This would be an alliance of German technology and capital with Russian natural and human resources.

The article explains a lot, more than just Germany or Russia.

https://newcoldwar.org/stratfor-chiefs-most-blatant-coup-in-history-interview-from-dec-2014/

Interview was from done a few months after the US coup in Ukraine.

Arch Bungle , Jul 21 2021 17:56 utc | 8
Posted by: Down South | Jul 21 2021 17:42 utc | 2

They weren't trying to block NS2 to keep Russia out but to keep Germany down...

Germany would be 'down' no matter how much financial power it accumulates - i.e regardless of NS2. The imperial garrison at Rammstein AFB will make sure of that. What the Americans fear is the symbolic meaning of NS2 in terms of geopolitical influence for Russia. The loss of maneuverability against Russia that results from a key vassal not being able to move in complete obedience to Uncle Sam's wishes.

Max , Jul 21 2021 17:58 utc | 9
The pipeline construction battle has been won, not the energy flow war.

The Financial Empire is most likely resorting to some CHARADE to find an excuse to later stop the gas flow through Nord Stream 2. Empire's bullying was clearly exposed through sanctions and it LOST the battle of stopping the pipeline construction. So it moves to the next battle to find an excuse to stop the gas flow. Empire's evil intent is visible in these words, "the U.S. also would retain the prerogative of levying future pipeline sanctions in the case of actions deemed to represent Russian energy coercion, officials in Washington said."

The Financial Empire has worked hard over the last century to prevent Germany from allying herself with Russia. It wants to control energy flowing in Eurasia and its pricing. The war will be only won when the Financial Empire is defeated and its global pillars of power DISMANTLED.

"The 'heartland' was an area centered in Eurasia, which would be so situated and catered to by resources and manpower as to render it an unconquerable fortress and a fearsome power; and the 'crescent' was a virtual semi-arc encompassing an array of islands – America, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Japan – which, as 'Sea Powers,' watched over the Eurasian landmass to detect and eventually thwart any tendency towards a consolidation of power on the heartland."

Has the Financial Empire stopped interfering in other regions?

karlof1 , Jul 21 2021 18:15 utc | 10
Curious. Late yesterday Sputnik published this article with a decidedly different message:

"US, Germany Threaten Retaliatory Action Against Russia in Draft Nord Stream 2 Accord - Report...."

"As the US and Germany have reportedly reached a deal on the Nord Stream 2 project, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing the obtained draft text of the agreement, that it would threaten sanctions and other measures if Russia tried to use energy as a 'weapon' against Ukraine , though it did not specify what actions could provoke the countermeasures.

"According to the report, in such a case, Germany will take unspecified national action , a decision that may represent a concession from Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had previously refused to take independent action against Moscow over the gas pipeline that will run from Russia to Germany." [My Emphasis]

The article continues:

"On Tuesday, Ned Price, a spokesman for the US State Department, told reporters that he did not have final details of an agreement to announce, but that 'the Germans have put forward useful proposals, and we have been able to make progress on steps to achieve that shared goal, that shared goal being to ensure that Russia cannot weaponize energy ."

" The US was hoping for explicit language that would commit Germany to shut down gas delivery through Nord Stream 2 if Russia attempted to exert undue influence on Ukraine . Germany, on the other hand, has long rejected such a move, stating that such a threat would only serve to politicize a project that Merkel stresses is solely commercial in nature." [My Emphasis]

The overall motive appears to be this:

"The accord would also commit Germany to use its influence to prolong Ukraine's gas transit arrangement with Russia beyond 2024, possibly for up to ten years . Those talks would begin no later than September 1, according to the news outlet." [My Emphasis]

So, here we have the Outlaw US Empire meddling in the internal affairs of three nations--Germany, Russia and Ukraine. Ukraine cannot afford Russian gas as it has no rubles to pay for it. Thus if Ukraine has no money to buy, then why should Gazprom be obliged to give it away freely? What about other European customers who rely on gas piped through Ukraine; are they going to see what they pay for get stolen by Ukraine? And what happens when the pipelines breakdown from lack of maintenance since Ukraine's broke thanks to the Outlaw Us Empire's coup that razed its economy? Shouldn't the Empire and its NATO vassals who invaded Ukraine via their coup be forced to pay for such maintenance? And just who "weaponized" this entire situation in the first place?

Mar man , Jul 21 2021 18:21 utc | 11
From my understanding, NS 2 was mutually beneficial for Germany and Russia. As noted, Germany desperately needs energy and relying on the outrageously priced and unreliable US LNG was not a viable option.

Russia benefits also.
1.No more high transit fees Russia pays Ukraine. I imagine some of that was finding its way into US pockets after 2014.
2.Ukraine supposedly helped itself to plenty of stolen gas from the pipeline. That will stop.
3.Ukraine was occasionally shutting down the pipeline for political reasons until Russia paid the ransom. Not anymore.

So, Russia and Germany were both highly motivated to finish the pipeline ASAP.

Down South , Jul 21 2021 18:31 utc | 12
Arch Bungle @ 8
Germany would be 'down' no matter how much financial power it accumulates - i.e regardless of NS2.

The imperial garrison at Rammstein AFB will make sure of that.

Putin not too long ago (can't find the article now) said he was prepared to help Europe gain its independence should they wish to do so, Rammstein or no Rammstein.

What the Americans fear is the symbolic meaning of NS2 in terms of geopolitical influence for Russia. The loss of maneuverability against Russia that results from a key vassal not being able to move in complete obedience to Uncle Sam's wishes.
What they fear should this deal go ahead is a Germany/Russia/China Axis that would control the world island and thus the world.
Hoarsewhisperer , Jul 21 2021 18:33 utc | 13
I was convinced that the US of Assholery had lost its infantile anti-NS2 'battle' in September 2020, after watching an episode of DW Conflict Zone in which Sarah Kelly interviewed Niels Annen, Germany's Deputy FM. Annen came to the interview armed to the teeth with embarrassing facts about US hypocrisy including, but not limited to, the fact that USA, itself, buys vast quantities of petroleum products from Russia each year.

The interview is Google-able and, apart from pure entertainment value, Sarah is much easier on the eye than Tim Sebastian...

A.L. , Jul 21 2021 18:34 utc | 14
@Hoyeru | Jul 21 2021 17:54 utc | 6

1. China is ruthless. They waited until the last possible second to sign a deal with Iran, thus ensuring they are getting the best possible price for Iran's oil, basically robbing Iran blind.

Hmmm... I seem to remember Iran shafting China on the south Pars gas field when it looked like the JCPOA was looking likely...

If this memory of mine was correct (it may not be) then you really can't blame China for a little commercial payback.

In any case it was shown as soon as JCPOA Mk.1 was passed Iran RAN, not walked, to smooch up to the west for business, not China, not Russia. So if its just business for Iran then its just business for China.

There's no loyalty discount without loyalty.

robin , Jul 21 2021 18:38 utc | 16
I agree with Down South 2 and Abe 3.

In our eagerness to expose the empire's shortcomings in a quick 'gotcha!' moment we shouldn't rush head first into false premises. To suggest Dear Uncle Sam is concerned with anything other than his own navel is naive. He's the man with the plan. He knows that down the road, Oceania's eastern border won't run along the Dnieper but right off the shore of Airstrip One.

Stonebird , Jul 21 2021 18:59 utc | 17
As has been mentioned before, the NN2 pipeline gives Germany leverage over Russia , not the other way around.

US => Germany => Russia.
Which is now plan b for the US. If then they can use their leverage over Germany to steer it in any direction it wants to vs. Russia.

This will probably be followed by "targeted" sanctions on specific Politicians, Bankers and Heads of industry. They only need to propose such sanctions individually for them to have an effect. Using Pegasus for inside information to Blackmail those it wants to.
*****

Example of a sanctions racket :

Similar to the potential sanctions on any Lebanese Politian or Group Leaders if they get Oil from Iran, Russia or China. The Lebanese population be damned.

"Apparently US Treasury has informed the government of Lebanon, that if any Oil products from Iran make it into Lebanon, in any way; the government of Lebanon and all its members will be sanctioned. This includes the Central Bankers"

Just in case you didn't understand how the crisis in the country is manufactured.

Pegasus again:

"leaks on the targets of Israeli spy program Pegasus, show hundreds in Lebanon including the elected leadership of every party, every media outlet, & every security agency, have been targeted by clients in 10 countries; all belonging to the Imperialist camp.

But it is very easy to guess by looking at who are the external imperialist forces active in Lebanon. USA/UK/France/Turkey/Germany/Canada/Israel/Qatar; that's eight. Plus Saudi Arabia."
*******

PS. Lebanon; This comes as a response to Sayyed Nasrallah stating in his last speech that if the State in Lebanon is not able to provide fuel, he will bring it at the expense of Hizbullah from Iran, dock it in the port of Beirut, and dared anyone to stop it from reaching the people.
*****

Germany will only be the latest victim as the Mafia-US "protection" racket is ramped up.

Lysander , Jul 21 2021 18:59 utc | 18
Both b and the many commenters raise excellent points. Yes, the US wants to hurt both Russia and Germany. And yes the US *definitely* fears close cooperation between Moscow and Berlin. But the main take home lesson is that the US failed despite enormous efforts to block NS2. Russo-German cooperation is inevitable and the world will be better for it.
Passer , Jul 21 2021 19:02 utc | 19
Posted by: Hoyeru | Jul 21 2021 17:54 utc | 6

>>a lot of people think China is robbing Russia blind on the deal

Why would be Russia building Power of Siberia 2 and 3 to China then? Or selling LNG too? You don't have much knowledge on the topic, the way it looks. A giant gas plant was built near the border with China, the second biggest gas plant in the world, because the gas for China is rich in rare elements, thus turning Russia in of the the biggest producers of strategic helium, not to mention extracting many other rare elements. China gets gas that has been cleaned of anything valuable from it, with the exception of the gas itself.

>>merkel is leaving anyway in September and thw Green party that will be taking over

The latest polls show clear lead for CDU/CSU. And it looks like its too late.

>>the NS2 will never be 100 usable, tthe Green party will see to that. AT best it will be only 50% usage.

Do you even follow what has been going on? Germany is free not to buy russian gas, that is, to be left without gas if this is what it wants.

Do you see how nat gas prices exploded in Europe recently? Do you know why is that? Because Russia refuses to sell additional volumes via Ukraine's network. It is a message to finish the issues with NS 2 pipeline faster and then everything will be fine, there will be plenty of space for new gas volumes, and the gas price will drop.

robin , Jul 21 2021 19:12 utc | 21
@ A.L. 14

It is the UNSC resolutions of 2006, 2007 and 2010 which have laid the backbone for the incremental diplomatic, economic and material warfare against Iran. Without them, there would be no narrative framing Iran as an outlaw nor justification for crippling sanctions. That Iran should even be subjected to the JCPOA is in itself an objective injustice.

Each of these resolutions could easily have been blocked by the two permanent members of the UNSC we go to much lengths on this forum to depict as selfless adversaries of the Empire. All they had to do was raise a finger and say niet. In other words, by their actions, these two members placed Iran in a very disadvantageous trading position.

So, did they profit from this position of strength?

karlof1 , Jul 21 2021 19:24 utc | 23
It seems few care, but Sputnik followed its article from yesterday I linked to @10 with another that features an interview with Glenn Diesen . It reiterates:

"According to the draft deal, obtained by Bloomberg, Washington and Berlin would threaten sanctions and other retaliation if Russia 'tries to use energy as a weapon against Ukraine', with Germany being obligated to take unspecified actions in the event of Russian 'misbehaviour' . [My Emphasis]

The article then turns to the interview:

"Professor Glenn Diesen of the University of South-Eastern Norway has explained what is behind the US-Germany row is." [That last "is" appears to be a typo]

I suggest barflies pay close attention to Dr. Diesen who's the author of an outstanding book on the geoeconomics of Russia and China, Russia's Geoeconomic Strategy for a Greater Eurasia . I judge the following Q&A to be most relevant:

"Sputnik: The Biden administration waived sanctions on the firm behind the gas project, Nord Stream 2 AG, and its chief executive, Matthias Warnig. At the same time, Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated in June that the pipeline project was a Russian tool for the coercion of Europe and signaled that the US has leverage against it. What's behind Washington's mixed signals with regard to the project? How could they throw sand in Nord Stream 2's gears, in your opinion - or are Blinken's threats empty?

"Glenn Diesen: The mixed signals demonstrate that the completion of Nord Stream 2 was a defeat for the US. Biden confirmed that he waived sanctions because the project was near complete. Sanctions could not stop the project [link at original], rather they would merely continue to worsen relations with Berlin and Moscow. The best approach for Washington at this point is to recognise that Nord Stream 2 is a done deal, and instead Washington will direct its focus towards limiting the geo-economics consequences of the pipeline by obtaining commitments from Berlin such as preserving Ukraine's role as a transit state [Link at original].

"The US therefore waives sanctions against Nord Stream 2, yet threatens new sanctions if Berlin fails to accept US conditions and limitations on Nord Stream 2. Blinken's threats are loaded with 'strategic ambiguity', which could be aimed to conceal that they are merely empty threats . However, strategic ambiguity is also conducive to prevent Berlin from calculating the "costs" and possible remedies to US threats. Furthermore, ambiguity can be ideal in terms of how to respond as it is not a good look to continuously threaten allies." [Emphasis original]

The professor's closing remarks are also very important regarding Merkel's successor. Where I disagree is with the notion that the Outlaw US Empire has geoeconomic leverage over the EU--military yes, but the Empire is just as uncompetitive versus the EU as it is versus China.

A.L. , Jul 21 2021 19:25 utc | 24
@robin | Jul 21 2021 19:12 utc | 21

So, did they profit from this position of strength?

Of course they did, let's be real. China and Russia are not going to be the all benevolent saviors of the world, they never were, never will.

They will always serve their interests first and foremost. Sometimes, they do get suckered into UNSC resolutions like those you spoke of. Sometimes, there're backroom horse trading that we're not privy to and little countries are just chips on the table...

The best we can hope for is that they can behave with more integrity than currently shown by the incumbent anglospheric bloc in their re-ascendancy.

Either we ditch the UNSC system or everybody get nukes, because i can't see the current UNSC members willing ditch their own, ever.

Prof , Jul 21 2021 19:30 utc | 26
Lysander is correct. The most important point to know is that US hegemony in Europe is predicated on fear and hostility between Germany and Russia.

Types of interdependence between Germany and Russia, eg. NRG security, are a direct threat to US dominance over Europe as a whole.

There are many limitations to European strategic autonomy -- and the EU embodies those limits in many ways -- but the case of NS2 demonstrates an independent streak in German strategy. It amounts to a zero sum loss for Washington.

c1ue , Jul 21 2021 19:47 utc | 28
Way too much confusion over what Nord Stream 2 really means.

1) Russian gas transiting Ukraine had already fallen from 150 bcm to the high 90s/low 100s before Nord Stream 2 goes online. Even after NS2 goes online, a significant amount of Russian gas will still transit via Ukraine.

2) Energy demand generally increases over time, not decreases. Russian gas exports aren't increasing in a straight line, but keep in mind that there are significant new competitors now and in the process coming online. These include Azerbaijan as well as the ongoing pipeline struggle through the Black Sea/Turkey/Eastern Med.

I never believed there was any chance of NS2 not completing; the only question was when.

robin , Jul 21 2021 20:00 utc | 30
@ Stonebird | Jul 21 2021 18:59 utc | 17

Lebanon does illustrate the incredible reach of the Empire. A leverage so long that every door leads to self immolation. Your mention of the current spyware scandal is right on point. These are instruments of absolute power.

What we need now is a worldwide Me Too movement to denounce this leverage. Taking that first step would require a lot of courage for any blackmailed individual, but the one little breach could lead to a flood of world citizens just about fed up with the Empire's shit.

William Gruff , Jul 21 2021 20:12 utc | 32
psychohistorian @5

It pains me that I do not remember exactly who it was, but one of the more erudite posters here mentioned some time ago that Trump seemed more like a Bonapartist figure than a fascist or a typical and simple representative of a faction in the oligarchy. While Trump is certainly no representative of humanity, it just as certainly doesn't look like his rise was in the playbook of the dominant faction of the oligarchy. Trump really seems to fit the mould of a Bonapartist, though recast in the context of contemporary America. This would indicate that the imperial oligarchy is in crisis, which itself could lead to fractures in the empire, and among the empire's vassals in particular.

It is unwise to downplay the significance of Trump coming to power in 2016, regardless of what feelings one may have about the individual himself. The conditions that led to the rise of Trump not only persist, but have intensified. Those conditions cannot be resolved by mass media gaslighting and social media censorship, which actually seems to be having an effect more like holding the emergency relief valve on a boiler closed; it quiets an annoying sound, but causes the underlying issue to grow more severe.

Basically, further splits in the EU are inevitable. It is the timing of those splits that is difficult to predict, but the accuracy of that prediction hinges upon the accuracy of our assessment of events occurring now. Interestingly, Trump is still part of these unfolding events.

Christian J. Chuba , Jul 21 2021 20:33 utc | 34
Fracturing NATO and the West hmmm ... If Germany gains any independence from U.S. coercion they are 'fracturing Europe'. Bad Germany.

Germany must forever remain a vassal state of the U.S. by allowing the U.S. to use another vassal state to control their energy supply. And who says we don't believe in freedom. Neocons are such vile creatures. Always twisting words but remember, whenever they say something, the exact opposite is true.

schmoe , Jul 21 2021 21:00 utc | 37
One issue underlying this fiasco is I believe that the neocons / Atlantic Council were 100% certain that Russia did not have the expertise to lay pipelines at the required depths, and once Allseas was facing sanctions, the project would never be completed.

**********************************************************

Re: China/Russia deal

I believe that the exact pricing formula for Power of Siberia is confidential, but this much is known:

"The price of Russian gas supplies to China increased in the second quarter of 2021 for the first time since deliveries started via the Power of Siberia pipeline in 2019, but daily delivery volumes fell in April, Interfax reported on Sunday.

Russian gas giant Gazprom GAZP.MM has said it supplied China with 3.84 billion cubic metres of gas via the Power of Siberia pipeline in its first year of operation.

Citing Chinese customs data, Interfax said the price of gas increased to $148 per thousand cubic metres, rising from $121 in the first quarter, and reversing a downward trend."

**********************************************************************************

Also, Victoria Nuland informed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today about Biden's cave to Russia. That must have been brutal for her. Regardless, nice to see a rare display of sanity from s US administration.

Baron , Jul 21 2021 21:16 utc | 39
@librul | Jul 21 2021 17:55 utc | 7

The primary and only objective of the US Foreign policy vis-a-vis Europe since WW2 has been to prevent Russia and Germany (now read the German run EU project) coupling up, that's it, nothing else matters on Europe.

The completion of N-2 presents a serious blow tho this aim, the new pipeline is a must for Germany, it must get finished, without it Germany's supply of energy would have been almost fully controlled by the Americans who have either direct or indirect authority over every major source of hydrocarbons except for Venezuela and Russia, the latter only partly, the Ukrainian pipeline is fully in their sphere of influence.

Energy fuels everything from private dwellings to major corporations, it's together with labour and technology the most important ingredient in every economy. To lose control of it would have been a catastrophe for Germany, in particular if one takes into account the secret treaty between Germany and the Allies (read the US) from 1949.

"On 23 May 1949, the Western Allies ratified a new German constitution, known as the "Basic Law" or Grundgesetz. However, two days prior, a secret state treaty - Geheimer Staatsvertrag - was also signed to grant complete Allied control over education and all licensed media, press, radio, television and publishing houses until the year 2099. This was confirmed by Major-General Gerd-Helmut Komossa, former head of German Military Intelligence in his book, "Die Deutsche Karte" or The German Card".

Has anyone read the Komossa's book in full?

karlof1 , Jul 21 2021 21:18 utc | 40
schmoe @37--

What's interesting about Power of Siberia-1 is that the gas is being stripped -- refined at the newly completed Amur Gas Plant -- of its components prior to being piped into China. I don't know if Germany's petrochemical industry will be deprived in similar manner with NS2.

CD Waller @36--

Nothing in the energy production realm is carbon neutral. ROSATOM has mastered the fuel cycle which means most if not all toxic waste will now be burned for energy. New reactors do NOT use water as coolant. Clearly you need to update what you know about nuclear power.

Jackrabbit , Jul 21 2021 21:31 utc | 41
The Russian 'victory' is very narrow and mostly consists of the patience and determination to follow-thru while consistently being derided/attacked by Western media, pundits, and politicians:
  1. Since Russia/Gasprom owns NS2 100% (paying for half the construction cost outright and financing the rest), there was never much need to stop construction, only to stop/limit consumption. The 'trick' was to find a way to accomplish US/NATO goals that would not make German leaders look like puppets.
  2. Biden's approach looks good compared to Trump's heavy-handed approach. As they are BOTH spokesman of the Empire's Deep State, we can surmise that this is merely good cop / bad cop theatrics.
  3. This USA-GERMAN agreement makes Germany appear to voluntarily support EU/NATO - a good thing(tm) that most Germans will accept without question. But behind the scenes, it's unlikely that there was ever any real choice, just a mutual desire to fashion a 'smart' policy that didn't undermine German political leaders.
  4. Germany can now be pressured to support USA-Ukraine belligerence - if they don't they will be portrayed as not living up to their obligations to US/NATO/EU/Ukraine as enshrined in this agreement.
  5. If Russia retaliates against German purchase reductions in any way they will be labeled as a politically-driven, unreliable supplier. That will 'invite' sanctions and spark efforts to force EU/Germany to eliminate all Russia goods from their markets.
  6. Russia and China are likely to be increasingly linked in Western media/propaganda. Deficiencies of one or the other will apply to BOTH.
The next few winters in EU will be very interesting.

!!

karlof1 , Jul 21 2021 21:44 utc | 43
Baron @39--

Thanks very much for mentioning Komossa's book!! Here's a very short but illuminating article about book and author . There appear to be copies available for downloading, but I've yet to find one.

karlof1 , Jul 21 2021 22:40 utc | 48
Jackrabbit @41 incorrectly says Russia owns NS2 100% It's owned by Nord Stream 2 AG, and here's its website listing its financial investors, while its shareholders/owners are global. The company is located in Zug, Switzerland. Here we are told who the financial companies are :

"In April 2017, Nord Stream 2 AG signed the financing agreements for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project with ENGIE, OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, Uniper, and Wintershall. These five European energy companies will provide long-term financing for 50 per cent of the total cost of the project."

As with the first string, Russia doesn't own it 100% nor did it finance it completely; rather, its stake was @50% It appears both Nord Streams will be managed from the same location in Zug. I hope the company produces a similar sort of book to record its accomplishment as it did for the first string pair, which can be found and downloaded here .

Jackrabbit , Jul 21 2021 22:55 utc | 50
karlof1 @Jul21 22:40 #48

This Deutsche Welle (DW) explainer details NS2 ownership and financing :

Who is paying for it: Russia's energy giant Gazprom is the sole shareholder of the Nord Stream 2 AG , the company in charge of implementing the €9.5 billion ($11.1 billion) project. Gazprom is also covering half of the cost. The rest, however, is being financed by five western companies: ENGIE, OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, Uniper and Wintershall.
Emphasis is mine.

<> <> <> <> <>

Nord Stream 2 AG is a German company that is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Russia's Gazprom. The German subsidiary has borrowed half of the construction cost but is 100% owner of the NS2 project.

!!

Jackrabbit , Jul 21 2021 23:07 utc | 53
From karlof1's link to Nord Stream 2 AG's Shareholder and Financial Investors page makes it clear that NordStream 2 AG is a subsidiary of Gazprom international projects LLC, which is, in turn, a subsidiary of Gazprom. Under "Shareholder" there is only one company listed: Gasprom.

PS I was mistaken: Nord Stream 2 AG is a Swiss company, not a German one.

!!

schmoe , Jul 21 2021 23:20 utc | 56
Jackrabbit @ 41

I am no sure if this is that plausible:

"4. Germany can now be pressured to support USA-Ukraine belligerence - if they don't they will be portrayed as not living up to their obligations to US/NATO/EU/Ukraine as enshrined in this agreement.

If Russia retaliates against German purchase reductions in any way they will be labeled as a politically-driven, unreliable supplier. That will 'invite' sanctions and spark efforts to force EU/Germany to eliminate all Russia goods from their markets."

Germany has been portrayed as not living up to its NATO obligations one way or another since about 1985, and with respect to NS 2, since 2018. They do not seem fazed - maybe a Green win would change that. If the USA-Ukraine get (more) belligerent, Germany might be less likely to insist on Ukraine gas transit after 2024.

Jackrabbit , Jul 21 2021 23:20 utc | 57
The Russian government owns a majority of Gazprom. As majority owner they can be said to control the company and with that control comes an inescapable political dimension.

For the purposes of this discussion: the Russian government has biggest stake in the financial success of Nord Stream 2. That "success" depends on gas sold, not simply the completion of NS2 construction.

!!

[Jul 12, 2021] Angela Merkel Doesn't Think U.S., Germany Will Come to Quick Agreement on Disputed Pipeline

Jul 12, 2021 | www.msn.com

Merkel is meeting with President Joe Biden on Thursday this week, and said while she will discuss the issue at the White House, she does not believe the matter will be resolved at that time.

"I don't know whether the papers will be fully finalized, so to speak. I believe rather not," Merkel said. "But these will be important talks for developing a common position."

Sanctions imposed against German companies involved in the project by the U.S. were recently waived, which raised hopes in Berlin that the two countries may soon be able to find an acceptable agreement on the matter.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Washington has long argued that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline carrying natural gas from Russia to Germany endangers Europe's energy security and harms allies such as Ukraine, which currently profits from transit fees for Russian gas.

Germany is keen to increase its use of natural gas as it completes the shutdown of its nuclear power plants next year and phases out the use of heavily polluting coal by 2038.

Merkel's comments to reporters in Berlin came ahead of a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has warned that Nord Stream 2 poses a threat to his country's energy security. Should Russia route all of its gas around Ukraine in the future, the country might be cut off from the supplies it needs, putting it at further risk of being pressured by Moscow.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and supports separatists in Ukraine's eastern industrial heartland of Donbas.

Zelenskyy said he was looking for guarantees that Ukraine will remain a transit country for Russian gas beyond 2024. He also suggested that the gas issue should become part of four-way talks between his country, Russia, Germany and France on solving the conflict in eastern Ukraine and that the United States could join those negotiations.

Merkel said she took Ukraine's concerns seriously and that Germany and the European Union would use their weight in negotiations with Russia to ensure the agreements are extended.

"We have promised this to Ukraine and we will stick to that. I keep my promises and I believe that is true also for any future German chancellor," she said.

Merkel isn't running for a fifth term in Germany's national election on Sept. 26.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, not pictured, give statements ahead of talks at the Chancellery in Berlin, Monday, July 12, 2021. Stefanie Loos/Pool Photo via AP

Start your unlimited Newsweek trial

[Jun 22, 2021] The Imperial Pottery Barn rule: "What cannot be owned must be broken"

Highly recommended!
Jun 22, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

robin , Jun 22 2021 19:33 utc | 14

Posted by: Down South | Jun 22 2021 18:01 utc |

They say madness is doing the same thing over and over again and each time expecting a different result.

There's nothing mad about this strategy. If it doesn't make sense, your premise is probably wrong.


Think of it as the Imperial Pottery Barn rule :

"What cannot be owned must be broken"

Weaver , Jun 22 2021 19:50 utc | 18

Robin, "the Imperial Pottery Barn rule" is an extremely good analogy. I'm going to have a hard time citing you if I ever use that. I've also seen US foreign policy described as "rubblization," with regard to Syria especially.

[Jun 21, 2021] All War is for economic reasons

Jun 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

VetinLA , Jun 21 2021 19:25 utc | 6

Red Rider @ 2 said; "All War is for economic reasons."

Always has been, always will be. No matter the reasons given to the peons.

Max , Jun 21 2021 20:11 utc | 13

What is the fastest way to create lots of DEBT (money)? Wars, civil war, technological waves, credit bubbles (speculative, housing,...), infrastructures...

What is the real purpose of war? To capture & control more areas for EXPLOITATION? War is the fastest way to create lots of debt for all parties.

"the real value of a conflict, the true value, is in the debt it creates. You control the debt, you control everything."

Money Power = Land x Lives x Loans

Putting Afghanistan in further debt, enables it to be exploited... What are its revenue sources? Who pays for its security and infrastructure? Will NATO leave by September?

Who wants to make us all, whether we be nations or individuals, slaves to debt?

[Jun 21, 2021] The War On Afghanistan Is Lost But The U.S. Still Tries To Keep A Foot In Its Door

Jun 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Jun 21 2021 20:17 utc | 17

Those Uyghur jihadists stuck in Idlib province in Syria and in refugee camps in Turkey are bound to get a warm welcome from the Taliban when Ankara finally ships them off to Kabul as part of this proposed "security force" to protect the airport so the CIA can continue to ship out its heroin.

Don Bacon , Jun 21 2021 20:28 utc | 20

The US MSM is ablaze with "Taliban against Afghan forces" headlines, conveniently forgetting that the Taliban are Afghan forces too, in fact they preceded the current "Afghan forces" in government until the US intervention.
So why do their guys always beat our guys? Because their guys fight for their country and our guys fight for us.
Max , Jun 21 2021 20:33 utc | 21
@ ToivoS, why did the U$A withdraw from Vietnam? There was conscription in the U$A, thereby the rich were at risk. Also, the U$A was being constrained by money creation due to the gold standard. Both of these issues have been addressed.

Name a nation that the U$A has WITHDRAWN its military after occupying it, other than Vietnam. Aren't we still in Germany, Japan, South Korea, ...?

It ain't over 'til it's over.

How much DEBT has the Afghanistan conflict created so far? In trillions? Who got that money?

Don Bacon , Jun 21 2021 20:34 utc | 22
@ CJC #10
re: . . . Turkey to retain control of airport after NATO withdraws
It's more than NATO.
The US-Taliban agreement:
The United States is committed to withdraw from Afghanistan all military forces of the United States, its allies, and Coalition partners, including all non-diplomatic civilian personnel, private security contractors, trainers, advisors, and supporting services personnel within fourteen (14) months following announcement of this agreement. . . here
Don Bacon , Jun 21 2021 20:39 utc | 24

@ Max
re: . . . why did the U$A withdraw from Vietnam?
The US had no choice because the conscription-based US Army was broken, with troops refusing to obey orders and fragging their superiors etc. . .So Washington pulled out the troops and ended the draft.

Don Bacon , Jun 21 2021 20:49 utc | 25

The US "experts" who are crying about a possible, or inevitable, return to Talban government haven't read the agreement.
The US-Taliban Agreement of Feb 29, 2020 called for all foreign forces to leave Afghanistan by May 2021, and recognized that the outcome would be a return to a Taliban government. For example one agreement condition, II-5:: "The Taliban will not provide visas, passports, travel permits, or other legal documents to those who pose a threat to the security of the United States and its allies to enter Afghanistan." . . here

Don Bacon , Jun 21 2021 22:23 utc | 35

re: Why is the US in Afghanistan?
Decades ago Washington had its own "Silk Road" strategy, to move into the -Stans in Central Asia after the uSSR breakup. There was a large interest in Kazakhstan up north, as well as the other -Stands including Afghanistan. It was of course a road to nowhere but as we know the creeps in Washington ain't too bright. There were no seaports to accommodate this road, for one thing. There were some other considerations, like an energy pipeline, but it was all just going nowhere until 9-11 came along, giving the US to do what it does worst, employ its military.

Don Bacon , Jun 21 2021 22:33 utc | 36

@ Abe 32
re: This simplistic "views" are as inaccurate as insulting.
You need to get out more.
. . .from Fragging: Why U.S. Soldiers Assaulted Their Officers in Vietnam

During its long withdrawal from South Vietnam, the U.S. military experienced a serious crisis in morale. Chronic indiscipline, illegal drug use, and racial militancy all contributed to trouble within the ranks. But most chilling of all was the advent of a new phenomenon: large numbers of young enlisted men turning their weapons on their superiors. The practice was known as "fragging," a reference to the fragmentation hand grenades often used in these assaults. . . here
Canadian Cents , Jun 21 2021 23:03 utc | 40

Glad to hear that Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan is not letting the US use Pakistan as a base for its continued machinations, in spite of heavy US pressure, and that Pakistan as a whole was saying #AbsolutelyNot. Kudos Pakistan.

According to M. K. Bhadrakumar:

"Washington is now considering the hiring of Pentagon contractors (mercenaries) to secure Kabul airport. But that will be a hugely controversial step with grave consequences, as apparent from Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's brusque rejection of the very idea of American military presence on Pakistani soil in relation to the Afghan situation."

MKB also places all this into the context of "the US' grand project to create rings of instability in [Russia and China's] adjacent regions -- Ukraine, Belarus, Moldavia, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Afghanistan."

https://www.indianpunchline.com/fizz-is-gone-from-biden-putin-summit/

Biswapriya Purkayast , Jun 21 2021 23:27 utc | 41

*Mi 9 or Mi 17 helicopters. There is no Mi 19.

You forget the ISIS group that magically appeared in Afghanistan a few years ago. The same group that immediately attacked the Taliban, forcing the Taliban to dedicate its best forces to countering the threat instead of fighting the puppet child sex slaver Quisling warlord regime. What's more likely than continuing the occupation in the name of "fighting ISIS"? Just like Iraq was reinvaded and reoccupied in the name of "fighting ISIS" and continues to be occupied to this day?

[Jun 12, 2021] Scrap Sanctions Warfare! by Oliver Boyd

Looks like UNZ commenters are not fans of the US government :-)
Jun 09, 2021 | www.unz.com

Sanctions are the "gentlemanly" neo-imperial language of gunboat diplomacy, never better expressed than the attempts of the British government in the early 1950s to discipline a newly democratic Iran. First the British Labour Government, then a Conservative government under a splenetic Churchill, tried to put a halt to the runaway popularity of Mohammed Mossadegh, prime minister of Iran, and his policy to shut down the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and nationalize Iran's own oil. The British sabotaged their own company, refused to distribute the oil, and did everything else they could to impoverish Iran. This was only after the AIOC had refused to budge from its insistence on taking practically all of the profits and to refrain from treating Iranian oil workers as subhuman. Ironically, the British needed AIOC money to finance their own program of industrial nationalization and the welfare state. As is so often the case, the "sanctions" merely hardened anti-imperial sentiment, and were succeeded by a joint US-UK directed regime-change coup d'etat

None of this need suggest a diminution in the importance of national sovereignty. Sovereign nations should be free to trade with whomsoever they choose, to protect which domestic industries they consider worthy of protection. That is their right. They also have the right to enter into trade agreements with others for the purpose of regulating the conditions of trade between them, provided that they enter into such agreements without duress, bribery or punishment.

Questions of Definition

The Council for Foreign Relations (CFR) explains that sanctions have become one of the most favored tools for governments to respond to foreign policy challenges. The term sanctions can refer to travel bans, asset freezes, arms embargoes, capital restraints, foreign aid reductions, and trade restrictions, and represent efforts to coerce, deter, punish, or shame entities that are considered by those who wield them to endanger their interests. They are generally viewed as a lower-cost, lower-risk course of action in calculations that balance diplomacy against war. Yet sanctions can be just as devasting in terms of loss of human life. They may be particularly attractive in the case of policy responses to foreign crises in which national interest is considered less than vital, or where military action is not feasible.

Sanctions that blanket entire populations generally do most damage to poorer and more vulnerable social strata, who lack the means to avoid or compensate for their consequences. The USA has more than two dozen sanctions regimes. Some target specific countries such as Cuba and Iran, others target specific categories of person or institution or even specific named individuals. Sanctions have been used in efforts of counterterrorism, counter-narcotics, nonproliferation, democracy and human rights promotion, conflict resolution, and cybersecurity. They are frequently applied as a form of punishment or reprisal for behavior in which it is alleged that the target has engaged and of which the applying entity disapproves.

In the case of the UN Security Council sanctions resolutions must pass the fifteen-member council by a majority vote and without a veto from any of the five permanent members: the United States, China, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom. The most common types of UN sanctions, binding for all member states, are asset freezes, travel bans, and arms embargoes. The UN relies on member states for enforcement, with all the idiosyncrasies and abuses that this entails. The council-imposed sanctions against Southern Rhodesia in 1966 were intended to undermine Ian Smith's white supremacist regime and were followed in 1977 by another set of comprehensive UN sanctions against apartheid South Africa. They have been applied more than twenty times since 1990 against targeting parties to an intrastate conflict, as in Somalia, Liberia, and Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

The European Union imposes sanctions as part of its Common Foreign and Security Policy. They must receive unanimous consent from member states in the Council of the European Union, the body that represents EU leaders. The EU has levied its sanctions more than thirty times. Individual EU states may also impose harsher sanctions independently within their national jurisdiction.

The USA resorts to economic and financial sanctions more than any other country. Presidents may issue an executive order that declares a national emergency and invokes special powers to regulate commerce for a period of one year, unless extended by the president or terminated by a joint resolution of Congress. Most of the more than fifty states of emergency declared by Congress remain in effect today. Congress may pass legislation imposing new sanctions or modifying existing ones.

In 2019, the United States had comprehensive sanctions regimes on Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Sudan, and Syria, as well as more than a dozen other programs targeting individuals and entities (currently some 6,000). Existing U.S. sanctions programs are administered by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), while other departments, including State, Commerce, Homeland Security, and Justice, may also play an integral role. The secretary of state can designate a group a foreign terrorist organization or label a country a state sponsor of terrorism, both of which have sanctions implications. State and local authorities may also contribute to enforcement efforts.

The practice of sanctions received a significant boost with the formation of the World Trade Organization, which recognizes the legitimacy of sanctions as a response to the failure of parties in a trade dispute to reach agreement on satisfactory compensation. A complainant may ask the Dispute Settlement Body for permission to impose trade sanctions against the respondent that has failed to implement. The complainant's retaliatory response may not go beyond the level of the harm caused by the respondent. The complainant should first seek to suspend obligations in the same sector as that in which the violation or other nullification or impairment was found, unless the complainant considers it impracticable or ineffective to remain within the same sector The complainant is allowed countermeasures that are in effect and would in other circumstances be inconsistent with the WTO Agreement. In other words, the result is that a complainant responds to one trade barrier with another trade barrier, contrary to the liberalization philosophy underlying the WTO. Such measures are nearly always harmful for both the complainant and the target. Although such retaliation requires prior approval by the DSB 1, the countermeasures are applied selectively by one Member against another. The suspension of obligations is temporary and the DSB is obligated to maintain a review of the situation for as long as there is no implementation. The suspension must be revoked once the Member concerned has fully complied with the DSB's recommendations and rulings.

In a 2019 decision the WTO allowed China to impose trade sanctions on $3.6 billion of American goods on the grounds that the USA had not followed WTO rules in the way it imposed duties on what it regarded as unfairly cheap Chinese goods. The ruling concluded a case that China brought against the USA in 2013 that stemmed from levies placed on more than 40 Chinese goods. At issue were subsidies that the USA accused China of providing to its companies so that they can sell goods more cheaply overseas.

The case touched on some of the deep politics of neoliberalism for which the WTO is supreme icon, and which make the very notion of sanctions problematic as evidenced in frequent criticisms of the WTO . These are that free trade benefits developed countries more than developing countries; that countries should trade without discrimination means a local firm is not allowed to favor local contractors, giving an unfair advantage to multinational companies and imposing costs for local firms; ; it is important that nations be allowed to assist in the diversification of their economies and not be penalized for favoring emerging industries; free trade is not equally sought across different industries "" notably, both the US and EU retain high tariffs on agriculture, which hurts farmers in developing economies; principles of free trade often ignore environmental considerations, considerations of labor equity and cultural diversity.

After 9/11 "" still one of the least understood events in modern history "" and amidst the subsequent US invasions of the sovereign countries of Afghanistan and Iraq, and de-stabilization of many others (including Libya, Syria, Ukraine), the USA set about disrupting what it deemed the financial infrastructure supporting terrorists and international criminals, (but not including the USA itself). The Patriot Act awarded Treasury Department officials far-reaching authority to freeze the assets and financial transactions of individuals and other entities suspected of supporting terrorism, and broad powers to designate foreign jurisdictions and financial institutions as "primary money laundering concerns." Treasury needs only a reasonable suspicion""not necessarily any evidence""to target entities under these laws. The centrality of New York and the dollar to the global financial system means these U.S. policies are felt globally. Penalties for sanctions violations can be huge in terms of fines, loss of business, and reputational damage. Sanctions regimes today increasingly impact not merely the primary targeted countries or entities but also those who would do business with such countries or entities.

Questions of Effectiveness

Sanctions have a poor track record, registering a modest 20-30 percent success rate at best, according to one source, Emily Cashen, writing for World Finance in 2017. According to leading empirical analyses, between 1915 and 2006, comprehensive sanctions were successful, at best, just 30 percent of the time. The longer sanctions are in place, the less likely they are to be effective, as the targeted state tends to adapt to its new economic circumstances instead of changing its behavior.

Examples of "successful" applications of sanctions (always judged from the very partial viewpoint of those who impose them) are said to include their role in persuading the Iranian leadership to comply with limits to its uranium enrichment program. But if this was "success," why then did the USA break its agreement with Iran in 2018? And why was there an agreement in the first place if Iran had never had nuclear weapons nor was likely to produce them on its own account without serious provocation. Sanctions are also said to have pressured Gadaffi in handing over the Lockerbie suspects for trial, renouncing the nation's weapons of mass destruction and ending its support for terrorist activities. But then, if that was "success," why did NATO bomb Libya back to the stone age in 2011?

Sanctions that are effective in one setting may fail in another . Context is everything. Sanctions programs with relatively limited objectives are generally more likely to succeed than those with major political ambitions. Furthermore, sanctions may achieve their desired economic effect but fail to change behavior. Only correlations, not causal relationships, can be determined. The central question is one of comparative utility: Is the imposition of sanctions better or worse than not imposing sanctions, from whose viewpoint, and why? Best practices are said to combine punitive measures with positive inducements; set attainable goals; build multilateral support; be credible and flexible: and give the target reason to believe that sanctions will be increased or reduced based on its behavior.

In cases where the targeted country has other trading options unilateral measures have no real impact or may be counterproductive. Sanctions against Russia over Ukraine may have simply helped to push Russia closer to its eastern neighbors, notably China. To bypass sanctions Russia has shifted its trade focus towards Asia. Asian non-cooperation with the sanctions helps explain why Russia was expecting to grow its trade with China to $200bn by 2020. For several countries in western Europe, the sanctions had a double-edged sword. Russia is the European Union's third largest commercial partner, and the EU, reciprocally, is Russia's chief trade partner, accounting for almost 41 percent of the nation's trade prior to the sanctions. In 2012, before the Ukrainian crisis began, the EU exported a record €267.5bn ($285bn) of goods to Russia. Further, US sanctions against Russia increasingly and patently had nothing to do with Ukraine and everything to do with US interest in exploiting its imperial relationship with West European vassal states to grow its LNG (liquefied natural gas) market in competition with Russia, and by doing everything possible to obstruct "" and to coerce European nations into helping it obstruct "" Russia's Nord Stream 2 oil and gas pipeline that will bring cheap Russian oil to Europe without passing through Ukraine. The very opposite of principles of globalization and free trade.

The USA can afford to be aggressive in sanctions policies largely because (for the time being, and that time is getting shorter by the day) there is no alternative to the dollar and because there is no single country export market quite as attractive (for now and even then, one must wonder about China) as the USA. Sanctions that are effective in one setting may fail in another. Context is everything. Sanctions programs with relatively limited objectives are generally more likely to succeed than those with major political ambitions. Furthermore, sanctions may achieve their desired economic effect but fail to change behavior. Only correlations, not causal relationships, can be determined. The central question is one of comparative utility: Is the imposition of sanctions better or worse than not imposing sanctions, from whose viewpoint, and why? Best practices are said to combine punitive measures with positive inducements; set attainable goals; build multilateral support; be credible and flexible: and give the target reason to believe that sanctions will be increased or reduced based on its behavior.

Sanctions and Human Misery

Since the early 1990s, the US, Europe and other developed economies have employed sanctions on other nations more than 500 times , seeking to assert their influence on the global stage without resorting to military interventions. Yet military interventions tend to happen in any case suggesting that in some cases the sanctions are intended to "soften up" the target prior to armed conflict). The economic stranglehold of stringent sanctions on Iraq after the successful allied invasion of 1991 caused widescale malnutrition and prolonged suffering, and a lack of medical supplies and a shortage of clean water led to one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern history. Sanctions all but completely cut off the oil trade. Iraq lost up to $130 billion in oil revenues during the 1990s, causing intense poverty to many Iraqi civilians. Prior to the embargo, Iraq had relied on imports for two thirds of its food supply. With this source suddenly cut off, the price of basic commodities rose 1,000 percent between 1990 and 1995. Infant mortality increased 150 percent, according to a report by Save the Children, with researchers estimating that between 670,000 and 880,000 children under five died because of the impoverished conditions caused by the sanctions. Then US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright notoriously excused this horrendous slaughter as "worth the price ." During the Gulf War, almost all of Iraq's essential infrastructure was bombed by a US-led coalition, leaving the country without water treatment plants or sewage treatment facilities, prompting extended outbreaks of cholera and typhoid.

Targeted sanctions can be equally devastating. The de facto boycott on Congolese minerals, for example, has led to the loss of more than 750,000 jobs in the nation's mining sector. The loss of income resulting from this mass redundancy has had a severe impact on child health in the nation, with conservative estimates recording a 143 percent increase in infant mortality. Despite an international shift away from comprehensive sanctions, this Congolese suffering indicates targeted measures are still not free from ethical quandaries.

Application of sanctions became more popular at the end of the first cold war because previously targeted nations could negotiate for relief with the oppositional superpower. In the succeeding era of greater enthusiasm for sanctions it became clear that they could have dire consequences for civilian populations, and this helps account for increased popularity of targeted sanctions.

Sanctions of Spite: Syria and the Caesar Act

There are many current examples of the murderous horror of the impact of sanctions by "civilized," usually western powers, especially when their targets are poorer countries such as Venezuela and Syria. Not untypically, some of the behaviors that the imperialists seek to change are themselves the consequence of past imperial aggression.

The secular regime of Bashar Assad in Syria has faced a ten-year existential threat from the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda affiliates, ISIS and other jihadist entities supported by an array of global and regional actors including the USA, UK, and other NATO members, Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the UAE. Whatever the regime's defects they are at the very least comparable and in some cases dwarfed by those of many of Syria's opponents in the Arab world. The significance of genuine popular support for Assad , demonstrated in numerous polls, has been marginalized by western mainstream media. The regime's survival, with air support from Russia and ground support from Hezbollah and Iran, is extraordinary by any measure. Yet the USA has continued to interfere in the affairs of Syria with a view to its continuing impoverishment and destabilization by allowing Turkey to occupy large areas of the north west and populate these with jihadist emigrees; funding Kurdish forces to secure Syria's oil resources on behalf of the USA, and for maintaining prisons and camps for ISIS supporters, by maintaining its own military bases; and permitting a constant succession of Israeli bombing attacks on what Israel claims are Iranian-backed militia or Syrian Arab Army militia working in collaboration with Iran; and approving further Israeli incursions into the Golan Heights.

Defeat of ISIS and recovery of non-Kurdish areas outside of Idlib by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) took place in conditions of considerable economic challenge, exacerbated by US-imposed sanctions against both Syria and its neighbor Lebanon. This had a corrosive impact on relations among top regime figures. Bashar al-Assad's billionaire first cousin and richest man in Syria, Rami Makhlouf, complained in early 2020 of regime harassment and arrests of employees. Until then, the Makhlouf family enjoyed exclusive access to business opportunities and monopolies on hotels, tobacco, and communications, partly camouflaged by a philanthropic empire that assisted many Syrians through the conflict . Some $30 billion of the country's wealth, representing 20% of all deposits in Lebanese banks, was trapped by Beirut's financial implosion, exacerbated by the unprecedented explosion "" possibly accidental, possibly sabotage "" in the city's harbor area on August 4. Syrian businessmen needed Beirut's banks to conduct business abroad, and to evade sanctions. A regime crackdown on money transfer companies made matters worse by creating a dollar shortage , depriving thousands of families who were dependent on foreign remittances. Before the explosion, purchasing power of the Syrian pound was already worth 27 times less than before the start of the conflict.

Deteriorating economic conditions ravaged Syria's surviving pretensions to socialist principle. In the first decade of Bashar's rule, there had been big gains in healthcare in terms of available beds, hospitals, and nursing staff. But by now there were 50% fewer doctors, 30% fewer hospitals. Before the conflict, 90% of pharmaceutical needs were filled by Syrian factories. By 2018 those factories which remained had trouble getting raw materials and replacement parts for equipment because of sanctions. Before the conflict there was improved land irrigation and food security. In 2011, abject poverty stood at less than one percent, rising to 35 percent by 2015. The percentage of those facing food insecurity had fallen from 2.2% in 1999 to 1.1% in 2010. Now, 33% lacked food security. One third of homes were damaged or destroyed, 380,000 killed and 11 million displaced since 2011.

Economic conditions were worsened by ever tightening economic sanctions and US enforcement of the so-called Caesar Act from June 2020 (named after a faked human rights scandal in 2015). The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act sanctioned the Syrian government, including President Bashar al-Assad, for alleged war crimes. The purposes were to cripple Syria for the purposes of regime change, while luring Russia further into the Syrian quagmire. The Act targeted 39 individuals and entities, including the president's wife, Asma. Anyone doing business with the regime, no matter where, was potentially vulnerable to travel restrictions and financial sanctions. The Caesar Act smeared the Syria Central Bank as a "˜money laundering' institution and sought to render it impossible for Syrian companies to export and import from Lebanon. It made it difficult or impossible for Syrians abroad to transfer money to family members. The Act contributed to devaluation of the Syrian pound which tumbled from 650 Syrian pounds to one US dollar in October 2019 to 2600 to the US dollar in summer 2020.

The Caesar Act (alongside legal initiatives in Europe designed to charge senior administration officials with war crimes) were designed to stymie reconstruction, hit the construction, electricity, and oil sectors, and cripple the Lebanese private companies that would otherwise lead reconstruction efforts. Sanctions prevented non-U.S. aid organizations from assisting reconstruction. An opposition leader predicted it would result in " even greater levels of destitution, famine, and worsening criminality and predatory behavior " and would precipitate regime change, migratory flight, excess deaths, and youth deprivation. In a climate of regulatory confusion, sanctions often encourage over-compliance. Prospects of reconstruction investment funds from Russian companies were negatively impacted . Blumenthal ascribed responsibility for the Caesar sanctions initiative to a "years-long lobbying campaign carried out by a network of regime-change operatives working under cover of shadowy international NGOs and Syrian-American diaspora groups." The country had already suffered severe US and EU economic sanctions. A 2016 UNESCO report found that sanctions had brought an end to humanitarian aid because sanctions regulations, licenses, and penalties made it so difficult and risky (Sterling 2020). In 2018, United Nations Special Rapporteur, Idriss Jazairy, observed that sanctions impacted negatively on

"agricultural inputs and outputs, medicines, on many dual use items related to water and sanitation, public electricity and transportation, and eventually on rebuilding schools, hospitals and other public buildings and services, are increasingly difficult to justify, if they ever were justifiable "

After 500,000 civilians returned to Aleppo following its liberation in 2016, US sanctions and UN rules prohibited reconstruction. Returnees were allowed "shelter kits" with plastic but rebuilding with glass and cement walls was not allowed because "˜reconstruction' was prohibited.

In brazen acknowledgment of US support for the HTS terrorists of Idlib, the Caesar Act exempted Idlib province, as well as the northeast areas controlled by US troops and the SDF. It designated $50 million for "˜humanitarian aid' to these areas. Other US allies pumped in hundreds of millions of dollars more in aid, further exacerbating pressure on the Syrian pound and substantially increasing prices for all commodities in regime-controlled areas.

Syria experts Joshua Landis and Steven Simon critiqued the logic of US sanctions policy, arguing that the:

"best-designed sanctions can be self-defeating, strengthening the regimes they were designed to hurt and punishing the societies they were supposed to protect."

They recalled the destruction of Iraq's middle class in the 1990s, when US sanctions killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis:

"Their effect was gendered, disproportionately punishing women and children. The notion that sanctions work is a pitiless illusion." .

Several European nations (Italy, Poland, Austria, Greece, Hungary) indicating unease with the continuing stagnation of US and EU sanctions policy, restored tacit contacts with Damascus. While the EU was an important source of humanitarian aid for internally displaced people in Syria and for displaced Syrians abroad, it continued to refrain from dealing directly with Damascus or from support for reconstruction efforts, on the grounds of continuing instability.

Conclusion

Under indubitably wise international leadership, acting within a framework of equitable political power among nation states whose sovereignty is sacrosanct, then perhaps sanctions policies might sometimes be strategically appropriate. These conditions clearly do not apply. The increasing weaponization of sanctions is a powerful contribution to a crumbling world order, one that invokes the grave danger of over-reaction by an aggrieved victim, in a context of intense economic and military competition between rival nuclear powers.

Oliver Boyd-Barrett is Professor Emeritus at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, and at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He is an expert on international media, news, and propaganda. His writings can be accessed by subscription at Substack at https://oliverboydbarrett.substack.com.


MarkU , says: June 8, 2021 at 11:44 am GMT "¢ 1.6 days ago

A comprehensive roundup of the sanctions-based aggression being imposed on the world by the bankster dominated west. I really don't think the majority of citizens have a clue what is being done by their rulers, nor any idea of the sheer hatred being fostered by those actions. The time for waking up is well overdue, the west has been sucked dry by those same policies (especially the US) and the fall is imminent.

onebornfree , says: "¢ Website June 8, 2021 at 4:40 pm GMT "¢ 1.4 days ago

"The increasing weaponization of sanctions is a powerful contribution to a crumbling world order, one that invokes the grave danger of over-reaction by an aggrieved victim, in a context of intense economic and military competition between rival nuclear powers."

Fact: "War is the health of the state" [Randolph Bourne]- meaning, the "business" of governments is always war- war on its citizens, war on other nations, it never ends.

Tom Marvolo Riddle , says: June 9, 2021 at 6:56 am GMT "¢ 18.8 hours ago

Invade the world, invite the world. Economic cold war vs. 1/3 of the world's landmass and population. Seemingly purposeful hollowing out of it's middle class, the abolition of educational/societal standards to placate the demands of wokeness and the replacement of it's historical population with an eclectic mix of third world strivers, corrupt east asians and south american day laborers. Oh, and an increasingly debt centric economy.

The USA is obviously a very prudent country which focuses on it's own long term survival first and foremost. I expect it to do quite well in the coming years.

GMC , says: June 9, 2021 at 7:19 am GMT "¢ 18.5 hours ago
@beavertales

My good friend in Canada says that it seems to be a "BioSecurity Fascist State" forming also. And it's not against Cuba , it's against the populace of Canada. Worse than anything in the US.

V. K. Ovelund , says: June 9, 2021 at 1:04 pm GMT "¢ 12.7 hours ago

Sanctions strike hard at the very essence of positive international relationship "" trade.

U.S. economic sanctions are insulting, provocative, corrosive and largely ineffective. However, trade is hardly the essence of positive international relationship.

Claude Frédéric Bastiat was simply wrong. If instead of his special pleading, he had said, "When soldiers cross borders, goods will not," then he might have come nearer the truth; but Bastiat instead reversed cause and effect, which is why ideologically committed free traders continue to celebrate his ill-supported, ahistorical epigram to this day: "When goods do not cross borders, soldier will."

Britain traded massively with Germany right up until Britain attacked Germany in 1914. Germany traded even more massively with the Soviet Union right up until Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941. Were it not for Japanese trade with China, the Mukden Incident that, in 1931, opened the conflict that developed into World War II in Asia""well, it probably would not have occurred. In short, the trade premise that underlies your article needs to be revisited.

bayviking , says: June 9, 2021 at 2:49 pm GMT "¢ 11.0 hours ago

Sanctions is war. US wars are always cloaked behind our alleged love for democracy and freedom, but alleged friends beginning with Saudi Arabia and impacting every country South of our border, prove we are liars, interested only in preserving the best interests of our wealthiest citizens.

The purpose of US foreign policy is to enhance the profits of global US Corporations regardless what the consequences are to local targeted populations. The US has extraordinary power over the EU, but the Russian pipeline is evidence that EU support is cracking.

Shame on the USA for failing to respect the national sovereignty of other nations big and small. Our constitutional form of government is not a model example of the fruits of democracy and freedom, as both are crippled by original design, for profit prisons and schools, toll roads, and the moral hazards imposed by misguided religious fanatics who impose their will on a disinterested public.

Rev. Spooner , says: June 9, 2021 at 4:21 pm GMT "¢ 9.4 hours ago

Winston Churchill was a great one for blockades. Churchill, the MoFker is responsible for 5 million deaths. During the 2nd World War he shipped grain from India to Britain and left the Indians to starve. Five million Bengalis and east Indians died of starvation. Let's hope when the tide turns all this is forgotten and forgiven.
The war against Japan was instigated by blocades.
The war against Iran is the next.

Blade , says: June 9, 2021 at 5:46 pm GMT "¢ 8.0 hours ago

Syria policy has nothing to do with oil or Assad being a dictator. It is a continuation of Israel's policies. The whole purpose of these wars is to establish an independent Kurdish state so that the pressure on Israel could be reduced and states in the region could be destabilized. While the US was busy trying to fight Israel's wars in ME, China has become a strategic threat with no signs of slowing down the process of overtaking the US as the dominant superpower of the world. Despite all the damage these policies have caused, even the so-called conservatives in the US keep repeating nonsensical ideas like "Kurds deserve a state." Not realizing that there is no such thing as "deserving a state" or that this just a zionist project that offers nothing to the US.

Regarding China, sanctions should be used more not less, unless the US wants to be the secondary power. However, they are not needed with other countries. In ME, the US should wash its hands off Israel and let the most moral army of the world protect their own country. That country is a huge liability and problem for the US, it offered the US nothing other than selling American military secrets and earning 1.5 billion Muslims' disdain. To counter Russia and Iran, the US should double down on cooperating with Turkey, increase investments and military support so that Turks can be more active in Central Asia and Afghanistan as well. This is the smartest and the most efficient way for the US to achieve its goals in Asia and ME. Which would be slowing China's growth, Russia's creeping in the South, and Iranian activity in Arab ME.

However, the US basically does the opposite of everything it should. Turning neutral/unfriendly with Turkey is one of the dumbest things the US foreign service could do, considering the fact that Turks are the historical enemies of all three of China, Russia, and Iran, and they did exactly that? Why? For Israel whose feelings were hurt by Erdogan of course. Currently, the US government is a hostage to vocal minorities and interest groups. Therefore, its relative decline will not stop unless actual Americans with no double allegiances step up and take back their government.

nsa , says: June 9, 2021 at 8:44 pm GMT "¢ 5.0 hours ago
@beavertales

Canada is a pathetic American colony, selling their resources cheap in return for being allowed to have a few crappy hockey teams and access to degenerate American entertainment. The Brits tell them to murder white Germans, they do it. The Americans tell them to murder Afghans, they do it...

Zina , says: June 9, 2021 at 10:50 pm GMT "¢ 2.9 hours ago

The US government is a menace to all, including the US population. All US presidents are war criminals, and sanctions are only one aspect of their endless criminality.

Beagle , says: June 9, 2021 at 11:31 pm GMT "¢ 2.3 hours ago

Sanctions are the modern day adaptation of siege warfare. It's essentially a "˜starve them out' approach to foreign policy. Theoretically, one presumes, the goal is to cause enough instability to harm the targeted regime. But I can't think of a single time they have succeeded at anything but causing mass suffering to those at the bottom of the power pyramid.

In the case of sanctions on Iraq and the subsequent corrupt Oil-For-Food Program, the sanctions became a vehicle to transfer billions of dollars to oligarchs and their pet politicians" as usual.

[Jun 09, 2021] Saudi Aramco announced a mega preliminary agreement on Wednesday to buy 5 million tons of liquefied natural gas per year from the USA

Jun 09, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/08/2021 at 5:27 pm

There are a lot of things that can be done to mitigate problems due to declining oil production. When it comes to SA, they can start using natural gas from Ghawar or Qatar to replace fuel oil for power generation during especially summer.

Okay, first point: Qatar has plenty of natural gas. The problem is they are in a feud with Saudi and they do not trade with each other:

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar in mid-2017 after accusing the country of supporting terrorism. Qatar has repeatedly denied the accusations. The boycotting countries, known as the Arab quartet, also cited political differences with Qatar over Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Second point: Saudi does not have nearly enough natural gas to power their own power plants and desalination plants:

Saudi Arabia wants to buy tons of American natural gas

New York CNN Business --
Saudi Arabia has placed a huge bet on American natural gas.

In a sign of shifting energy fortunes, Saudi Aramco announced a mega preliminary agreement on Wednesday to buy 5 million tons of liquefied natural gas per year from a Port Arthur, Texas export project that's under development.

If completed, the purchase from San Diego-based Sempra Energy (SRE) would be one of the largest LNG deals ever signed, according to consulting firm Wood Mackenzie.

But this may change. Saudi is desperate for natural gas and this has led them to try to make amends with Qatar:

Arab countries agree to end years-long feud with Qatar that divided Gulf

Updated 4:08 PM ET, Tue January 5, 2021

(CNN)Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies agreed on Tuesday to restore diplomatic relations with Qatar and restart flights to and from the country, ending a three-year boycott of the tiny gas-rich nation.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar in mid-2017 after accusing the country of supporting terrorism. Qatar has repeatedly denied the accusations.

The boycotting countries, known as the Arab quartet, also cited political differences with Qatar over Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. Doha, unlike its Gulf neighbors, has friendly relations with Tehran, supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and has hosted groups affiliated with the Islamist group.

Qatar's only land border -- which it shares with Saudi Arabia -- was sealed shut. Boycotting countries closed their airspace to Qatar, and nearby Bahrain and the UAE closed their maritime borders to ships carrying the Qatari flag. REPLY RATIONALLUDDITE IGNORED 06/08/2021 at 8:29 pm

Fantastic Ron. Too many people practising truth by assertion and liar's bluff / wishful thinking. They won't change, but you persuade others whom are genuinely seeking the truth and can distinguish between evidence supported logic and security blanket speculation.

As was previously linked to on POB, ( https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/petroleum-exploration-and-development/vol/44/issue/6 , p. 1024) south Ghwar was pumping 60% water seemingly c 2008.

SA is going to end badly, as too will fever dreams that don't realise that their electric transition is a mirage – largely it's all fossil fuels in disguise and totally parasitic on upon the peak energy infrastructure of previous and current fossil fuel excess calories.

We may have an Electric Middle Ages (Ugo Bardi), but unless a new energy source AT LEAST as energy dense and net positive as FF is discovered like yesterday then this lovely wealth Blip we all enjoyed is going away.

[Jun 06, 2021] The intellectual property monopoly is a form of imperialism

Jun 06, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , May 17 2021 18:45 utc | 31

Michael Hudson appeared again on Moderate Rebels in an examination of Biden's policy direction, some of which are clearly a continuity from Trump and others Neoliberal Obaman. This observation and the following discussion reveals the modus behind what was initially Trumpian:

"So if you look at the sanctions against Russia and China as a way to split Europe and make Europe increasingly dependent on the United States, not only for gas, and energy, but also for vaccines."

Hudson calls it "the intellectual property monopoly" which was a major point in the rationale he produced for his Trade War with China. But as we've seen, the global reaction isn't as it was during the previous era from 1970-2000:

"So what we're seeing is an intensification of economic warfare against almost all the other countries in the world, hoping that somehow this will divide and conquer them, instead of driving them all together ." [My Emphasis]

And what we're seeing is the latter occurring as the Outlaw US Empire's Soft Power rapidly erodes. As with their initial program, the discussion is long and involved.

And since I've been absent, I should suggest reading Escobar's latest bit of historical review , which I found quite profound and an interesting gap filler in the historical narrative of Western Colonialism.

[Jun 06, 2021] Roman Protasevich, Casualty Of The Ryanair Incident In Belarus, Is Spilling The Beans

Jun 06, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Roman Protasevich, Casualty Of The Ryanair Incident In Belarus, Is Spilling The Beans Bemildred , Jun 4 2021 13:56 utc | 8

A TV documentary of the bomb threat against a Ryanair plan (vid) has confirmed our analysis of a false narrative which had been constructed by Belorussian regime change activists.

They had alleged that on May 23 a Ryanair plane had been forced by the Belorussian government to land in Minsk after which one activist on board, Roman Protasevich, had been arrested. But in reality a real bomb threat, delivered by email, had been received at Minsk airport as well as by Lithuanian air authorities. The plane was made aware of the threat by the Belorussian air traffic control and the pilot, after communicating with Ryanair management, had decided to land in Minsk.

Belarus handled the case by the book and the plane was released after it had been unsuccessfully searched for the alleged bomb. There were outstanding arrest warrants against two passengers on board, Roman Protasevich and his Russian girl friend Sofia Sapega. Both were detained after passing through the custom and passport controls.

Roman Protasevich had been betrayed. Other regime change activists, with whom he had disagreed, had sent the bomb threat email to get him trapped.

This is evident from his testimony in the later part of the TV documentary linked above, where he appears as a lively and engaged chain smoker.

A second Belorussian TV piece (vid) , with a ninety minutes excerpt from a four hour long interview of Protasevich, was broadcast yesterday :

Former editor-in-chief of NEXTA Roman Protasevich interviewed the Belarusian state channel ONT. In it, he pleaded guilty in a criminal case to organizing and preparing actions that violate public order, and also criticized the Belarusian opposition and said he respected Alexander Lukashenko.

In the interview Protasevich is spilling the beans about the whole foreign financed opposition organization which was behind the 2020 color revolution attempt in Belarus.


bigger

'Western' media, as well as other regime change activist claim that Protasevich must have been tortured to say what he says. However, aside from light handcuff marks at his wrists there is no evidence of that. Protasevich had previously been wounded when he fought in the fascist Ukrainian Azov battalion against the Donbas secessionists. He is a tough guy who will not be impressed by handcuffs which, by the way, police everywhere use for good reasons .

During the Korea war U.S. pilots, captured by China, admitted to dropping biological weapons on China. The U.S. long denied the use of biological weapons and claimed that the pilots had been tortured and made false confessions. Decades later secret files were released which proved that the claims the pilots had made had been correct .

At the beginning of the interview with Marat Markov, the head of the Belorussian state TV channel ONT, Protasevich is still somewhat tense. But after 3 or 4 minutes the talk develops into a lively exchange during which Protasevich at times interrupts and corrects the journalist. Protasevich's voice sounds rough and at times pressed. He is a chain smoker and claims to have a cold. Towards the end, when they talk about the personal damage the color revolution attempt has caused to many, both get somewhat emotional but in no way hostile to each other.

Protasevich's demeanor, engagement, body language and general attitude throughout the interview has me convinced that he doing it voluntarily and that he is telling the truth. He is not reading off a script someone else has written. He is doing a tell all about the foreign financed regime change effort he had been part of. And why not? He has been betrayed by his former comrades. He is now expecting up to fifteen years of jail. Telling it all might well help him to lessen the sentence for his crimes.

There are yet no English subtitles on the interview and there is no English language transcript of the interview. The following are excerpts from an eight part summary published in Russian language on Office Life. The text is machine translated:

Cont. reading: Roman Protasevich, Casualty Of The Ryanair Incident In Belarus, Is Spilling The Beans

Yes, I see a lot of "he's being tortured" now, accompanied by pictures of him crying.

Luka is a more interesting guy than I had thought. He was, prior to all this, trying to do a balancing act between East and West, not unlike Ukraine pre-Maidan. This is pretty normal. He may have been a bit naive, but so have many others been. As Roman says, Luka is not just a suit droid. He has "eggs of steel". I think the final word on him will depend on how well he preserves the Soviet-style economy he has kept running there, while finally joining the "union state".


Cosham , Jun 4 2021 14:04 utc | 9

Incidentally, I am curious why no-one has commented on western hypocrisy when complaining about passengers being endangered (which they definitely were not), in light of the following (from wikipedia):


...he boarded an S7 Airlines commercial flight to Chișinău, where he would meet Moldovan President Igor Dodon, but the Romanian government again denied permission for the plane to enter its airspace, citing the "presence of a sanctioned person on board".[citation needed] The Boeing 737-800 went on a holding pattern in Hungarian airspace for a while,[17] but after Hungary denied permission for landing and ordered the plane to leave, it was decided to divert to Minsk, Belarus, outside of the EU, reportedly with barely enough fuel to reach there.[18] The plane later flew to Chișinău with the remaining passengers, but without Rogozin.[19] The Deputy Prime-Minister later tweeted: "The Romanian authorities endangered the lives of passengers on an S7 flight, women and children. Fuel was [just] enough to [get to] Minsk. ...

where western behavior definitely contravened the Chicago convention and actually endangered passengers...
S , Jun 4 2021 16:04 utc | 22
Protasevich also said that it was allegedly planned to transfer one of the Nekhta channels to Russian hands.

This is either an incorrect translation or an incorrect summary. Protasevich said there were plans to switch the main Nekhta (NEXTA) channel to "Russian agenda", i.e. to start posting anti-Russian/anti-Putin stuff, as the channel had lots of subscribers from Russia. He was strongly against the plan, as Nekhta was one of the main media assets of the Belarusian regime changers. Later discussion was about making a separate Nekhta-branded channel for Russia.

This episode must have been important in making Protasevich realize he's not really "fighting for democracy" in Belarus, but is a mere cog in Washington's Drang nach Osten 2.0 machine.

S Brennan , Jun 4 2021 16:36 utc | 28

Tortured confession or singing after being snitched on? Nobody here knows for sure.

What we do know is; this story makes sense.

Ratting Roman Protasevich out is consistent with SOP of the Langley/Langley-acolyte crowd; back in the day OSS field agents complained of being burned by the agency's well placed cadre of Nazi infiltrators. It's hard to imagine that the practice of compromising assets/floaters has gone away.

b , Jun 4 2021 16:59 utc | 33

@Dunken

You do not seem to be a regular MoA reader. You otherwise would have read the six previous posts on the issue which discussed the evidence in detail and concluded that the narrative - that Lukashenko did something to the Ryanair flight - is false.

There was a real bomb threat and Belarus reacted to that by the book. The Ryanair pilot and his company decided to go to Minsk. Belarus did not know that Protasevich was on board. He was only arrested after passing through passport control.

The last but one will probably of most help for you.

S , Jun 4 2021 17:01 utc | 34

Boris Rozhin's summary of Protasevich's ONT interview (my translation):

1. There are plans to switch Nekhta [NEXTA] to the Russian agenda.

2. Tikhanovskaya is financed from various sources, including the Lithuanian budget, diaspora money, etc.

3. The opposition of Belarus is controlled by Poland and Lithuania (which I wrote about back in August, calling it the "Polish-Lithuanian opposition"). In Poland, it is controlled by the Prime Minister of Poland.

4. Putilo is an ungrateful pig. He received the Sakharov Prize for the work done by Protasevich.

5. One advertising post on Nekhta in August 2020 cost $20,000.

6. The main specialists in the Belarusian opposition are money laundering specialists.

7. Nekhta did not come up with an information agenda - it was communicated to it from the top. In the building where Nekhta was located there were secret rooms where Nekhta's employees were not allowed.

8. The real ceiling of the Belarusian Telegram is about 1,000,000 people. The real audience of the opposition Telegram channels is 500,000 people.

9. A Russian oligarch competing with Gutseriev and connected with Ural was involved in financing Nekhta.

10. Protasevich believes that the opposition has lost and there will be no new serious protests at this stage.

11. Protasevich is afraid that he may be extradited to the LPR and very much hopes that Lukashenko will not allow that.

12. He now considers his trip to Donbass to "Azov" to be the biggest mistake of his life. He denies being a member of Azov.

13. Protasevich is grateful that he ended up in his native Belarus, and even alive.

14. The conspirators planning the assassination of Lukashenko were connected with Tikhanovskaya's HQ. Protasevich acted as one of the mediators. He participated in conspirators' zoom calls.

15. There are still sleeping combat groups and caches of weapons in Belarus, which have not yet been discovered by the KGB.

16. Protasevich fully cooperates with the investigation and is ready to continue providing valuable information in order to correct his mistakes.

17. He no longer wants to engage in politics, asks everyone for forgiveness and hopes that things will not turn out as badly for him as they could.

Biswapriya Purkayast , Jun 4 2021 17:07 utc | 36

Nazis betrayed one of their own when he became a liability?!?

What is the world coming to?!? After all this has never happened before !

vk , Jun 4 2021 17:41 utc | 41

@ Posted by: Dunkan | Jun 4 2021 16:42 utc | 30

I agree with the blogger's assessment over the veracity of the interview.

Protasevich is clearly revising the story to make himself appear to be small fish in the whole scheme (to get a lighter sentence and also to open the remote possibility to get redeployed as a Belarusian asset), but his description of the whole scheme itself and the people involved is probably true in the general.

Those mercenaries - specially those liberal (fascist) ideologues - have, by nature, very low morale. They want a lot of money and comfort for their services, and have a very low tolerance for hardship. They also lack long-term vision, so they tend to be very greedy. Betrayal and surrender are very common among them, if you manage to hit back a little bit and/or capture them: one night at a prison cell without any luxuries already is enough.

Tortured people usually don't have the physical and mental capacity to tell such a detailed, colored and nonchalant confessions. Even if the confessor is a trained actor, it's impossible, as torture is designed to destroy the spirit/personality of the tortured. That's why confessions under torture are all in written form, just with the signature of the "confessor". The few confessions under torture are very short ones, recorded in a simple, front camera angle, with the tortured clearly physically and mentally spent, in a depressive mood/tone.

JB , Jun 4 2021 17:44 utc | 42

I find this intreview on public television of a person who has been arrested deeply disturbing.
Anyone under arrest can be considered to be in circumstances of coercion, pressure, not free.
It is highly unethical to broadcast a confession of a person under arrest.

Regardless of whether Protashevich was telling the truth, and what his motives may have been,
this interview should not have been broadcast.Chilling!

oldhippie , Jun 4 2021 17:51 utc | 44

B says this is a tough guy. Looks soft to me. Looks pampered and privileged. I do not have a word of Slavic, still see Protasevich busy manipulating and negotiating from beginning to end. Guy can't stop scheming. He has not been tortured. He has not been broken. He is not fearful.

Cuffs were tight against wristbone. Briefly. The more usual way to stop someone from slipping the cuffs is to tape back the thumbs. Some officers do not believe that sufficient. They want a pain signal to interfere with fine coordination. Maybe they had cuffs, were low on supplies, did not have good enough duct tape handy. In totally normal custody wrists can look far worse than that. Slipping cuffs is a manipulation that any con can teach to a willing student quite quickly. The way prisoners are seen cuffed on the TV is what gets used on zero risk prisoners. Or prisoners who are broken, who have learned to cooperate with the routine.

I have spent a lifetime observing Slavic immigrants to Chicago. This is destination #1. Most come to work. They still have three buckets of attitude, and then they work. Then there is a big cadre of those who have heard that Americans are gullible and easy to con. This guy looks exactly like one of them. Most of those come from privileged backgrounds. I do not understand how privilege survived the Comintern years. But it did. A former Polish landlady of mine grew up in 60s and 70s in the family manor. Sure the roof was falling in. They still had the manor hall, the outbuildings, the tenants who no longer had any legal obligation still gave deference, did service, brought offerings. When the Wall came down she promptly went to court and reclaimed title to the 1939 estate. Then started proceedings to get back the 1914 estate. Class never dies. I see a child of privilege.

Paco , Jun 4 2021 18:02 utc | 45

Posted by: oldhippie | Jun 4 2021 17:51 utc | 44

You should watch the Russian film "The Brother II", not as good as the first one by far, but since the first was a no budget project filmed with outdated stock and at friends houses, - up to this day is a very influential film that best describes Russia's meltdown of the 90's-, for the second version they had money, so they went to Chicago to film the second iteration, by my favorite director the late Balabanov. Easy to find with subtitles. The slavic -mainly Ukrainian- Chicago community has a big role to play in it.

Abe , Jun 4 2021 18:24 utc | 46

Years back I knew one counter insurgency specials with whom I had always interesting conversations.

One of funny things he told me - best way to make someone spill beans is to raid their house, then let them know their neighbor ratted them out for some thing. More often than not, suspect would start to sing "Me has/did xxx? That bastard, he did even worse yyyy!"

So, theory that Belorussian (or Russian or anyone there) calling in that bomb threat, then convincing the guy that it was his people that sold him out - that theory hold water a lot more than other one.

Stonebird , Jun 4 2021 18:43 utc | 48

As expected, the EU has it's own plan, which does not take into account the truth. Carry on regardless, as the real objective is the Belarusian "regime change".

https://www.rt.com/russia/525683-eu-bans-belarusian-carriers-airspace/

******

oldhippie | Jun 4 2021 17:51 utc | 44

As you say, he looks as if he thinks he " could zap the chain " if he feels too constricted by the programme. There is virtually no trauma.

****

Any news about the girl friend?

Norwegian , Jun 4 2021 19:11 utc | 51
At some point, according to Protasevich, there was Russian funding: 3-5 thousand euros per week. The money came from a certain company from Russia, which, judging by the name, is associated with the Urals and mining.

Its owner is a well-known Russian oligarch, and he is a direct competitor of Mikhail Gutseriev. Protasevich did not give his last name, but perhaps he means a native of Minsk, Dmitry Mazepin, who actually now controls Uralkali.

Dmitry Mazepin also owns the US American Formula one team Uralkali Haas F1 Team , where his son Nikita is one of the drivers https://www.formula1.com/en/drivers/nikita-mazepin.html (the son of Michael Schumacher, Mick Schumacher is the other).

Jen , Jun 4 2021 21:15 utc | 67

James @ 21 and onwards:

I recall reading online that when Putin first became President in 2000, he more or less struck an understanding or a "deal" with the "oligarchs" at the time, that they could keep their billions and do what they wanted as long as they stayed out of politics and paid their taxes. During the Yeltsin era, "oligarchs" were buying politicians and, in the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, even buying political parties.

After Putin made an example of Khodorkovsky by having him jailed for 10 years, and had Roman Abramovich made governor of Chukotka (near Bering Sea) in the Russian Far East, the others either fell into line or fled to Britain.

The current situation seems about the same: Moscow allows Russian business magnates to carry on wheeling and dealing as long as they operate within Russian law. Putin does not run the country as his personal fiefdom. It is true very large investment projects costing billions will come to Putin's attention and he will want to meet the people directing these projects to see what their objectives are but that would be no more and no less of what we'd expect of our own politicians if they are capable people interested and curious about what is going on in the countries they govern.

It would seem also that China allows its business magnates to operate more or less independently except where they threaten to overstep Chinese laws concerning state control, as in the case of Jack Ma's arrest concerning issues of intellectual ownership (I'm vague on the details of Ma's arrest so barflies can correct if I am wrong), and Russia may be observing what the Chinese are doing in creating a mixed economy.

Petri Krohn , Jun 4 2021 21:20 utc | 68

Posted by: U2 | Jun 4 2021 19:50 utc | 56

No, most of these "threats" aren't taken seriously. Only if there is some indication they might be real (intelligence/police) are they acted upon immediately.

This blog or any other site still haven't presented any evidence showing that the first email claimed by Minsk was real, or that the opposition knew beforehand what was going to happen.

The email was a hoax, but it contained a real bomb threat that needed to be taken seriously. It was thus one step above a prank .

What made the threat real was the information about the passengers. It is prima face evidence that the threat came from an intelligence service, a terrorist group or from an insider. All of these would be capable of carrying out the threat.

Accessing information on the passenger list is costly. For a hostile agency or terrorist group it would mean exposing human agents to exposure or capture. For example, if Belarus had been behind the email, they could have sent an agent to Athens to make sure Protasevich had boarded the flight. Greek police would have video footage of him from tens of surveillance cameras.

William Gruff , Jun 4 2021 21:24 utc | 70

Why the elaborate scheme to get rid of Nazi-boy when the Seth Rich solution is more efficient? The CIA and their attack dogs have always preferred drama when disposing of one of their own. Think of Boris Nemtsov, for instance. When a regime change "asset" starts to become a liability then there is always one final act in the play for them, which is to appear to die in the most memorable way at the hands of the empire's enemies. With Nemtsov: murdered in the perfect spot with Saint Basil's Cathedral as the backdrop - one of the few iconic visuals in Russia that any American could identify as Russian.

But what about Nazi-boy? How to kill him in a way to get the TV audience's attention and get them to automatically associate it with Belarus? Americans know absolutely nothing about Belarus. There is no pre-existing imagery in their empty little heads to connect with Belarus. They could not even use novichok because even the well-conditions American mass media consumers would get suspicious, or at least confused, because they expect that to be something to do with Russia.

No, the sky piracy nonsense was the best the western narrative spinners could cook up to get the media consumers' attention directed to Belarus.

Americans have become too jaded these days. They need drama in their brainwashing or it just won't take.

rkka , Jun 4 2021 21:33 utc | 71

"can you tell me how russia under putin works with these types of oligarchs - mikhail gutserijev and dmitry mazepin? it seems to me russia is run by oligarchs and putin has very little control over them.."

James @32

Under Yeltsin, the oligarchs owned the Russian state, and they shamelessly stripped assets out of enterprises yeltsin gave them, dodged taxes, and offshored the proceeds.

Russia was helpless, bankrupt, & dying off by 1m/yr.

Now, the State owns the oligarchs. Branko Milanovic below compares and contrasts:

https://www.globalpolicyjournal.com/blog/04/07/2019/oligarchs-and-oligarchs

Money quote:
"The Putin oligarchs are billionaires which "serve" at the discretion of the state. As a Russian commentator once said, they should all consider themselves to be temporary custodians of their wealth. If they fall from grace with the regime they could be stripped of their assets either through dubious legal proceedings, or if needed, more forcefully by being imprisoned.

The original kind of Yeltsin-type oligarchs, which "popularized" the term, were different. These oligarchs owned the state -- so the state existed only at their discretion. At the peak of their power, after Yeltsin's reelection in 1996 which they helped him win (in the deal that led to the infamous "loans for shares" trade) oligarchs, separately, controlled Yeltsin and practically most of the levers of state power. Since they also jockeyed for power amongst themselves with some being allied with the military, others controlling natural monopolies, and the third group having their own media, Russia at the end of the 1990s was a country on the verge of a civil war. It stood not so far from where Libya stands today. Under that "regime", life expectancy fell from 69 to 64.5 years, the largest decline in life expectancy ever recorded in peacetime. It was today's US opiate crisis multiplied by ten or more.

Russia was a county ruled, to borrow Mancur Olson's terminology, by roving bandits. What Putin accomplished through reining in of the roving bandit oligarchs was to create a system of stationary bandits whose wealth depends on proximity to the state and who, like every stationary bandit, have more of an interest in the strength of the state and the welfare of its population -- simply because such welfare is more closely intertwined with theirs.

It is in that sense that Putin's oligarchs represent an improvement. Since foreign commentators do not have to live in countries on whose democratic records they expatiate, they are often wont to confound the two types of oligarchs. But for people who have to live under the two alternative regimes (roving or stationary bandits) the choice is rather simple.

It is a choice of living in a state of incipient civil war where you do not know what might happen to your children in school, where you could be randomly beaten up in the street, abducted by different private militias, or evicted from your home by one mafia today and another tomorrow. Indeed, the same things can happen under the centralized kleptocratic regime (such as Putin's), but there these things happen with certain "logic" and "order". Differently put, punishment is exacted for political disobedience and the rules of conduct are well known. In the system of disorderly roving bandits, punishment can be meted out randomly, or can be done for entirely different actions or reasons -- some of which may displease one baron/bandit but not another. Under that chaotic system, violence can come from any direction, for any reason, and at any time.

To the outside observers, the system of random violence -- because foreign observers are exempt from it, as indeed foreigners were exempt during Russia's "decade of humiliation" -- might seem more democratic. There are indeed alternative centers of power in competition with each other, there is freedom of speech, each media empire owned by one baron attacks the media empire owned by another baron, and there thus appears to be a political life despite absence of a rule of law, rampant corruption, and physical insecurity. The system of stationary bandits is monochromatic by comparison but for people who live under it more predictable and much safer.

The truth is that large part of the world's population has only a choice between these two systems: between multi-original kleptocracy and anarchy, and more centrally controlled enrichment. There is no surprise that most ordinary people will select stability over chaos, predictable violence over random violence, and some administration of justice over none. "

kons , Jun 4 2021 21:37 utc | 72

Infighting, intrigue, and corruption have been a feature of emigre reactionary opposition groups since ... forever. See the royalists during the french revolution, the Russian whites, the Miami Cubans, Guaido crew and so on. The emigres themselves are economically unstable being removed from their previous 'holdings' but then also showered with money by supporters (ie Lith and Pole govt) on an ad hoc basis... leads naturally to corruption. They often end up fighting with each other over the money and love of their backers more than opposing their own country's govt.

That faced with a long prison term, Roman would make the calculation that the Belo-emigre community was sunk already and try to rescue the best outcome for himself. not surprising.

Also historically these emigre groups have always had people who got fed up with the emigre opposition life, and if they could, negotiate a safe return to their country.

Jen , Jun 4 2021 21:39 utc | 73

James @ 21 and onwards:

Of course, now you know why so many Russian business magnates buy foreign football clubs and put so much of their money promoting elite sports and cultural and arts organisations overseas.😀

It's really neither here nor there that such individuals might be interested in music. Gutseriev is probably of a generation of Soviet children who were exposed to classical music education and music education generally to a much greater extent than Western children were over 30 years ago. Being of Jewish background in Soviet times would make this exposure even more likely.

You would be well aware of how the CIA promoted particular art and cultural movements like abstract art in the past, and how US and other Western govts, especially the British, still use artists, musicians and film-makers as their foot soldiers.

Petri Krohn , Jun 4 2021 21:44 utc | 75

Posted by: jared | Jun 4 2021 20:19 utc | 63

It is likely that Protasevich would not know with certainty who trapped him.
So I think it unlikely that he would burn his bridges so willingly.
He would have to appear to be willingly divulging everything he knows, but even if he does it is likely it will be suspected that he is fabricating parts or witholding information.
A difficult situation.

The analysis includes assumptions which lead to a goal-seeked conclusion.
A common tendency.

It is OK for Protasevich to rat out his opposition colleagues, but he would be much more careful about exposing the CIA handlers, who are the real brain of the operation.

The full story may not be know yet. This is the way the narrative changes.

  1. MiG-29s intercepted the flight and Belarus thugs dragged the screaming Protasevich from the plane.
  2. Lukashenko and his KGB sent the hoax email to themselves, causing everything to happen.
  3. Belarus acted by the book. It must have been evil Putin who sent the hoax email.
  4. The whole thing was just a blunder caused by opposition infighting and incompetence. <- We are now here.
  5. The operation was a false-flag provocation planned and executed by Western intelligence services. The opposition figures are just puppets used and abused to give the operation a human face.
S , Jun 4 2021 23:03 utc | 81

I have transcribed the first 18 minutes of Protasevich's ONT interview and translated it to English.

Marat Markov: Hello, Roman!

Roman Protasevich: Good afternoon!

M: As a person from the execution lists, it is quite difficult for me to abstract from your direct participation in the processes that we will talk about today. But I'll try. And, to be honest, this is not for my own sake, but rather, probably, for the sake of people learning to talk to each other -- since you and I could.

My journalist colleagues, I am sure, they would hardly refuse such an opportunity. But today I am the one who has this right. That's why I'm going split this conversation. I will ask the questions that the media dependent on the opposition and state media would probably like to ask, that is, in some cases I will differentiate between these questions. I hope at least you understand that there are no independent media?

P: Of course.

M: It is good that you understand, because then many things will not need to be explained. Then let's start with the basics. Opposition media would ask: "Did you agree to this interview voluntarily?"

P: Absolutely.

M: And how do you feel?

P: I feel great, the only thing is, well, I've got a slight cold, but that, again, is not a reason to, you know, postpone the conversation and so on.

M: And what do you think, how will your associates react to our conversation with you?

P: To be honest, it's hard for me to predict the reaction on their part. I'm just sure that a lot of people will start publicly condemning me. I'm just sure that any support actions that they were planning earlier will naturally come to naught. I would not be surprised if, well, many would call me an alleged "traitor" and so on. But I can honestly say that I absolutely don't care what they say. I am here and now, and I really I want to do everything in order to correct my mistakes, in order to

M: So you don't care about their reaction?

P: (over) try to do something

No. I followed a certain idea of mine and my convictions, and the more I tried not to pry my nose into others' business, the more I tried not to think about where money was coming from and what kind of money, which, you know, I don't know, which intelligence services were influencing what was going on, the less I just tried to think about it, the worse it all got.

M: And are they afraid of your appearance, what do you think?

P: I think so. I think that this will cause quite a stir.

M: Well, look, a media like Nasha Niva, it would have echoed, right, the previous question. Was makeup applied to you before this interview?

P: I wasn't touched at all.

M: Well, I mean, you know

P: All they did was put on a microphone -- that's all.

M: They like to say that bruises, beatings are being covered by makeup. But you have answered, okay.

I will not further develop the airplane issue today. I think that, in principle, everything is obvious to both you and me. But a question remains, as I would call it, "from the yellow media". Who knew that you were flying on this plane?

P: I'll probably say the preamble first. In principle, the only time I told anything to anyone during this unfortunate vacation, let's call it that way, was the moment before the plane took off. And I wrote

M: Before departure from where?

P: Already from Athens to Vilnius.

M: From Athens.

P: And this is the only time at all during my entire vacation when I wrote about my movements, and the thing is, I wrote it exclusively in the working chat. That is, there were, well, several journalists who are working on the project, plus, well, there were a few people from Svetlana Tikhanovskaya's HQ -- these are Franak Vechorko [Vyachorka in Belarusian spelling] and Daniil Bogdanovich.

M: You smiled somewhat while naming the last surname. Will you give a specific surname? Whom you are suspecting from this chat, who could keep such a serious grudge against you?

P: Well, as you understand, I smiled for a reason, because, again, I also had a personal conflict with the same Daniil Bogdanovich, that is, he held the position of director of the Infopoint network, my relationships weren't working lately [unclear whether he refers to relationship with Bogdanovich or with other members of the team], and I was both emotionally tired and did not want to do any political work, and in general, in principle, I just wanted to do photography, and plus, in parallel, even, you know, two days before my departure from Athens to Vilnius, that is, they were talking about dismissing me altogether, and even Franak Vechorko wrote a phrase that "upon arrival we will discuss the prospects of our further cooperation".

M: Whom were they discussing your dismissal with?

P: There was a call, which I did not get on, and I did not get on it for an absolutely stupid reason, the Wi-Fi worked very badly at the hotel, and I simply could not join the call, and there they essentially said, behind my back, that they were going to dismiss me, you know, for the fact that I missed an absolutely petty deadline.

M: Who specifically warned you that this discussion will take place, and it will be about your dismissal?

P: The journalist guys told me about this, and

M: So you think it was Bogdanovich, after all?

P: I am inclined to assume that yes. Well, I more than that, I'm just sure of it.

M: You made quite a, well, populist mockery of the appeal of the Belarusian authorities to Poland to extradite you and Putilo. Why did you have such confidence that you won't be handed over?

P: I never had such confidence. The way I can confirm this is by the fact that, be that as it may, I never engaged in direct insults of the authorities, you know, I did not try, you know, like some people, you know, to almost send dick pics to the prosecutor's office, and so on That is, I always understood that sooner or later I could still be held responsible for my activities.

M: Well, you did quite a lot through The Black Book of Belarus at the very least, and through Belarus Golovnogo Mozga [the name of this Telegram channel is a play on "Belarus" and "encephalitis", so it could be translated as "Belcephalitis"].

P: Well, these are still somewhat different projects, I had zero direct relation to the activities of The Black Book of Belarus project. Nekhta's Belarus Golovnogo Mozga - yes, but not The Black Book of Belarus. That is, my only contact with The Black Book of Belarus project was that once I just held a journalist workshop for them, where I simply explained why headings are important, what the structure of the text should be, and so on. Well, to also accuse me of involvement with The Black Book of Belarus is probably well, in this case, that is, this was, in fact, my only somewhat direct working contact with them.

M: Your companion Sofiya, right? She was an editor of the extremist Telegram channel The Black Book of Belarus.

P: (nods in agreement)

M: They were publishing personal information of well, even though she indicated that it was only about siloviki [law enforcement, military, intelligence] -- no, of course, it wasn't just about siloviki , and you know that.

P: (nods in agreement)

M: There was personal information of journalists, my employees, you know, teachers well, in general, everyone who is connected in one way or another with the state. We found about 80 posts prepared for publication on her phone, right? They have not been published yet. How did the information get to The Black Book? Was it paid for, or were there enough people who happily gave away their colleagues and neighbors?

P: Again, I can only say the part of the things that I know for sure, I had no direct relation to this project.

M: I am not suggesting that you fantasize

P: Based on what I know, well, a lot of information, it really was passed on, among others, you know, by ex- siloviki , or, you know, that is, in fact, in some workplaces there were some that they fittingly call "rats", which just easily betrayed their colleagues, former colleagues, and so on.

M: Among those who passed through you, there were our colleagues, state journalists, former ones, those who turned their coats. Did they dabble in this, did they leak information -- about us?

P: As far as I remember, there was -- and then, only on, it seems, on Motolko's Telegram channel -- information about STV employees, you know, there were some duty schedules, something like that.

M: Well, yes, this information was there.

P: So yeah, but otherwise, well, again

M: So you haven't come across something like that?

P: (over) that is, I, I had nothing to do with the activity concerning the publication of personal information.

M: Roman, and your personal attitude, well, towards those alleged "celebrities" who turned their coats -- well, you must have somehow characterized them among yourselves -- that fact that they started talking about the same thing en masse, posting the same posts, you know, did that cheer you up, made you laugh? What was the reaction?

P: Personally, it amused me, because, first of all, again, that is, if people have just decided, you know, to show some of their opposition views, then why only now? And, again, that is, if they had such views before, then how did this then, in general, actually intersect with their worldview?

M: As we called it, "changed shoes in the air".

P: Yes, yes.

M: (over) In the middle of a jump.

P: This is, it seems to me, the most accurate characterization.

I have exactly the same question. How? That is, even if you allegedly, you know, all your life had some, well, opposition views, you know, you did not support the government, how could you calmly walk around and, you know, for example, work at Belteleradiocompany or somewhere else.

M: Well, it's called

P: (over) That is, one receives, receives money from the state, but then, at the first opportunity, decides to give up everything.

M: We have this joke when a person then simply writes in his memoirs: "I worked in the system in order to destroy it from within". Right?

P: Well, that's funny.

M: Yes, I agree.

P: It's funny.

M: Roman, a question from the likes of Onliner or Dev.by. Why did you, well, a really progressive person, not stupid at all, a former recipient of a fellowship - you understood perfectly well what could happen, the phone has a lot of interesting things on it - why didn't you kill your phone while in the air, well, haven't erased the information? Or why didn't Sofiya erase it?

P: Actually, the reason there are two reasons, in principle. One of them is very banal -- and that is that at that moment we were both, in principle, in such a state of stress that our brains practically did not work. I mean, that is, we weren't in a state to think about such things. And the primary task was just to calm down.

M: Was there a panic?

P: Of course.

M: (over) Did you panic?

P: Of course. Later, I just thought about it, and, probably, it is comparable to the feeling when you ascend the scaffold -- only, in my case, I was landing on it. Well, because I understood that as soon as the plane landed, I would be held accountable for everything I did and for all the damage that I caused to the country.

M: And why did you say that a death penalty awaits you here?

P: It's simpler. Because the State Security Committee [KGB] at one time included me in the list of persons involved in terrorism, and terrorism may well be punished with a death penalty.

M: Well, you yourself indicate that you understood that you would be held accountable. And for what exactly do you think you should be held accountable? I am not a judge, and, well, really, you are not under interrogation, and I

P: Yes, I understand, of course.

M: (over) should not be emphasizing this, but it's very important for me to know how well do you understand where you were crossing this line of what was permitted or provided for by the law.

P: Again, well, first of all, it's important to understand, and, again, I openly admit that I was one of those people who posted calls to go out on the 9th. As soon as they presented me, you know, provided me with documents, presented charges against me, that is, all these things, I immediately admitted my guilt under Part 342 of the Criminal Code, it's organizing massive unauthorized actions -- well, I don't remember, you know, the details, but something like that. I really immediately and in full admitted my guilt under this part, and after that I just knew that the appeals that were published by me, among others, they were the result of, in fact, uncontrollable riots starting in the streets [he means to say the reverse, that the riots were the result of appeals]. And, in fact, Minsk lived in chaos for three days.

M: Well, the fact is that even in the very memorable interview with Dud' you clearly indicated that not only you were called for, you, in fact, were coordinating and controlling these processes. Well, that is, at least here, here, those who were in Belarus had an absolutely clear feeling that this extremist Telegram channel, in which you were directly involved, was acting as a protest coordinator. I'm a military person, I understand perfectly well that protests are not organized by appeals alone, and that they need At least, even by the amount of auxiliary literature, instructions, right, plans, schemes, schemes [explaining] how to organize terrorism on the railway, right, how to make, you know, a device to pierce tires -- well, that is, things that an ordinary person, he, without encountering this in life, he will never know this, that is, you need to instruct him -- in fact, there was a perfectly clear coordination.

I've heard the term Love Hata. What was that, an instrument of creating this protest picture? That is, to create events, on the basis of which the messages were then posted?

P: Let's just say that, in principle, it was the main chat of the administrators of the largest Telegram channels. It was there that the discussions of the upcoming actions really took place, there was, that is, planning, work on the agenda that should be in place, you know, for this or that week of protests. That is, one can say that this chat, Hata -- well, it, you know, was called by different names, that is, it was re-created several times, it had, you know, different names, well, it's not important, that is, the main thing was that keyword, "hata" -- that is, there were, well, administrators of the largest channels, bloggers, and so on, and what was really happening was, well it was this main coordination chat of street protests and information agenda.

M: Well, who was there, in this secret chat?

P: Hmmm

M: Well, apart from you?

P: Stepan Putilo, Jan Rudik, well, another representative of the Nekhta Telegram channels also joined, that is Tadeusz Gichan, Franak Vechorko also was there, who often could just come to this well, for example, come and write in the chat specific talking points on which we had to work, Anton Motolko, Daniil Bogdanovich, whom I already mentioned, earlier there were also such characters as [Artyom] Shraybman, [Eduard] Palchis ...

M: Quite well-known people.

P: Yes, Shraybman, Palchis, [Evgeniy] Yushkevich As far as I remember, there was also Anastasiya Rogatko, who is also related to the activities of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya's HQ, then Victoriya Palchis, the wife of

M: Yes, Palchis's wife.

P: (over) Eduard Palchis, that is. Well, these are, right away, the people whom I can Oh, Dmitriy Navosha also was there. In principle, quite well-known media person.

M: (over) Well-known.

P: Yes, Evgeniy Malahovskiy, who worked mainly with courtyard chats and courtyard initiatives. There, basically, we made all the main decisions about where the next action would take place, what kind of information agenda we should push, you know, in the near future, all current events were discussed there, all incidents, everything, so, in fact, one chat, it played the role, you know, of the main coordination chat, in fact, of the entire information war and street protests.

M: So you're saying that a quite talented journalist, Shraybman, a cunning journalist, I won't hide it, he was also managing what was, in fact, the riots?

P: I can't say that he was managing directly, but quite often he would express, you know, his opinion, or was telling us that no, guys, this way it won't work, change at least, you know, for example, you know, such and such theme, or right here, perhaps draw more attention to this.

M: Well, they were as far as I understand, a secret chat, it's usually some kind of nicknames.

P: Well, again, many

M: (over) How did you know who is who?

P: many were present under their own names.

M: That is, in any case, you were sure that these people were present in this chat.

P: (over) Yes, yes, yes, yes. That is, some tried to hide, you know, under other nicknames. For example, Bogdanovich, he was always, you know, "John", or "Kastus", or "Curator", or someone else, that is. There was another person there, Miroslav, who had a surname Chigir, if my memory serves me, who worked, you know, in Belarus Golovnogo Mozga, and, well, later he you know, lately he was doing some kind of investigations, as I understand it, together with The Black Book of Belarus, well, he too, you know, was constantly changing nicknames. To be honest, I, well, can't even remember which ones now, because he, you know, was changing them literally, you know, every week. [Unclear] was also in Hata, that is, a well-known, in principle, Belarusian freelance journalist.

M: But, despite the fact that you are here, in fact, this chat still exists, as I understand it

P: (over) Yes, yes.

M: it's just named differently now.

P: Well, for sure now it's just it was re-created. Almost certainly there is still the word "hata" in it.

M: Well, I heard it is Safe Hata.

P: Well, that was the last name.

M: The last name.

P: It turned out to be not very safe.

M: Yes, they say, but there is nothing safe, unfortunately, in this age of technology.

wp007 , Jun 5 2021 0:11 utc | 85

"Protasevich admitted that he is afraid of some kind of extradition (to which country, it is not clear) "
It is clear. It is Donbass resp. Lugansk, the separatists in Ukrainia.
- BTW: the complete interview is translated in 3 german translated parts, which maybe is better to translate:
https://www.anti-spiegel.ru/
(I recommend https://www.deepl.com/translator which is better than Google.)

S , Jun 5 2021 0:47 utc | 87

@wp007 #85:

- BTW: the complete interview is translated in 3 german translated parts, which maybe is better to translate

It's not a complete interview, but a detailed summary of the interview. Here are the links to machine translations of all three parts:

Petri Krohn , Jun 5 2021 0:53 utc | 88

Posted by: JB | Jun 4 2021 17:44 utc | 42

I find this intreview on public television of a person who has been arrested deeply disturbing. Anyone under arrest can be considered to be in circumstances of coercion, pressure, not free. It is highly unethical to broadcast a confession of a person under arrest.

Regardless of whether Protashevich was telling the truth, and what his motives may have been,
this interview should not have been broadcast.Chilling!

Would it be ethical for BBC to broadcast a 1.5 hour interview with Julian Assange?


Would Julian Assange be willing to give an interview to BBC?

Would BBC be willing to do such an interview?

the pessimist , Jun 5 2021 0:58 utc | 89
My personal experience with bomb threats and airplanes FWIW:

In 2005 I was booked on a flight from JFK (NYC) to Europe. After typical hanging out at the gate I boarded the jet normally along with the other passengers and had stowed my hand luggage and taken my seat when an announcement was made for all passengers to exit the aircraft and return to the gate area. No explanation was offered. Upon returning to the gate area I found that all the passengers for that flight were sequestered in the gate area and could not leave. No explanation was offered. The jet was backed away from the terminal and taken to some other area away from the gates. I think we waited between 1.5 and 2hrs before a rumor spread that there had been a bomb threat to the aircraft. We waited longer, with people getting restive. Eventually we were told we were going to re-board the aircraft - we were to proceed down the jetway after a document check and take a bus out to the aircraft. In the jetway were armed security personnel with dogs. We had to pass single file past the dogs who smelled us for explosives and then board the bus. We unloaded near the jet where all the luggage had been arranged in a long line. Each passenger identified their bags and they were reloaded onto the jet. Only those which passengers had identified were loaded. Then we boarded again via a stair and eventually took off. I recall the delay being 7hrs total. We were told that a book had been found at a payphone booth in the gate area and amongst the pages had been a note making threats against the aircraft. Had we been airborne when the note had been found I have no doubt that we would have been asked to return, perhaps to a military airport.

Josh , Jun 5 2021 1:02 utc | 90
Well, yeah, more or less.
Detained blogger Protasevich's actions in Ukraine deemed as crimes against Donbass -- LPR

Belarus opposition financed by Lithuanian taxpayers and business, says Protasevich

Detained blogger Protasevich says afraid of extradition to LPR

Blogger Protasevich says he had nothing to do with BlackBookBelarus Telegram channel

Opposition blogger Protasevich says he respects Lukashenko

LPR says Belarusian blogger Protasevich was sniper in Ukrainian Azov nationalist battalion

Josh , Jun 5 2021 1:06 utc | 91

Those are Russian headlines from today, and not all of them.
The authorities in Lugansk want him extridited to stand trial,
Not only for participating in hostilities against the people of Lugansk, but also for organising for others to participate in the firing of numerous weapons against the population on the front lines (as something like a 'hunting trip' to customers who would pay).

robin , Jun 5 2021 9:55 utc | 98

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jun 4 2021 21:44 utc | 75

The full story may not be know yet. This is the way the narrative changes.

Your suggestion that "we are now here" at point number 4 may reflect the level of awareness of this blog and its readership, but it certainly doesn't describe the main narrative as presented - and accepted, by the general Western audience.

The media treatment of the May 31 Dublin - Krakow Ryanair flight and the June 3 Ndjamena - Paris Air France flight is a good indication of where the narrative presently stands. Despite the glaring similarity of the incidents, such as the diversion of the Ryanair flight to a third country and the military jet escort for the Air France flight, I haven't come across any commentary referring to the Minsk incident. For a story which was only a few days old and which centred around the notion of the illegitimacy of the bomb threat excuse, this really shows the bad faith of the media and the wilful passivity of its audience.

This point alone suggests that this particular narrative battle was fought and won by the West.

Counter battery fire isn't effective when it comes a week late. People have already moved on and the damage is done. The specifics of the incident don't matter anyway, as most folks have little awareness and zero curiosity of these matters. What counts is the lasting sentiment imprinted in their mind, keywords to be added to a subfile of 'Russia and stuff'.

Donbass Lives Matter , Jun 5 2021 11:41 utc | 103

How strange: a bunch of posters who have never posted here before, all with names in a specific format (U2, I2, etc.) suddenly appear to spew MSM talking points...

Stonebird , Jun 5 2021 12:45 utc | 109

willie | Jun 5 2021 11:57 utc | 105

From Christelle Nèant, Post/link.

À 14 h 48, Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa publie un post sur sa chaîne Telegram sur l'arrestation de Protassevitch. Or à cet instant précis, Protassevitch est encore dans la file d'attente et personne dans l'aéroport de Minsk ne sait qu'il est là !

À 14 h 53 , Roman Protassevitch passe calmement ses bagages aux rayons X. Mais en 18 minutes, les employés de la direction biélorusse de la lutte contre le crime organisé ont eu le temps de lire les messages des chaînes Telegram de l'opposition annonçant que Protassevitch a été arrêté à l'aéroport de Minsk, et décident de vérifier l'information.

I hadn't realised that Svetlana was part of the group that wanted Protasevitch used as "bait". Suggests that in Roman's version that accuses Bogdanovich of being the originator, he is NOT the culprit, but it is much more a higher level or external operation. If there is one channel that the Belarusian Anti-crime employees would be looking at full-time it is that of Svetlena. Deliberate publicity to use her!!

She was posting before he was apprehended., Which seems to show that the order for the deliberate publication came from Poland, not from someone who Ramon had left behind in Athens.

Skiffer , Jun 5 2021 15:17 utc | 116

Big props to S@81 for translating the first 18 minutes of the interview. I tried my hand at continuing where you left off, but it goes so deep into Belarussian opp-dynamics that it becomes meaningless without context, and not much better with context. So, here's 4 more minutes, stopping at 22.

Roman Protasevich: Ян Авсеюшкин was also in Hata, that is, a well-known, in principle, Belarusian freelance journalist.

Marat Markov: But, despite the fact that you are here, in fact, this chat still exists, as I understand it

P: (over) Yes, yes.

M: it's just named differently now.

P: Well, for sure now it's just it was re-created. Almost certainly there is still the word "hata" in it.

M: Well, I heard it is Safe Hata.

P: Well, that was the last name.

M: The last name.

P: It turned out to be not very safe.

M: Yes, they say, but there is nothing safe, unfortunately, in this age of technology.
Alright, so. While you're here, in this sort of informational vacuum, there's talk that the staffs of the "incredibles" (Ed: presumably, regime-change groups) have united, joined forces. Do you, personally, believe that Putila won't betray Vechorko, at some point? That Latushka and Tikhanovskaya can get along? Or that Strizhak wouldn't sell them all out, if he thought he could profit from it? Are you confident in this sort of alliance?

P: (over) Let me just step in here and take the question one step further. In reality, and I expect everyone understands this already – there were always major friction between different working groups and projects. One simple example would be Latushka, and his NAU initiative.
This might surprise you, but NAU was meant to be Tikhanovskaya's project, and it was supposed to be, fundamentally, her cabinet of ministers. But days before the project dropped as intended, Latushka somehow got access to the site and all the information, and he announced NAU as his own personal initiative. Despite the fact that, earlier to this, he was bartering for the position of Prime Minister from Tikhanovskaya, and so on. He essentially just stole the project for himself days before launch.
This is the clearest example I can think of, to demonstrate how much internal friction there is within the organization. (Ed: to put it mildly. "Gnawing" like a rabid animal was the literal expression used.)

M: (over) That's unthinkable/scandalous.

P: Vechorko almost beat up Erohovets (Ed: Алексей Ероховец), and he's supposed to be a representative of Страна Для Жизни. (Ed: Translation along the lines of 'Country you can live in' – I'm too far removed to explain what it is. Looks like a cross-platform movement that, perhaps, grew out of Sergei Tikhanovskiy's Youtube channel?) And so on. There are constant internal conflicts, and that's what the staff fear the most – that these internal conflicts, of which there are enormous amounts, become known to the public.
And from all this, it becomes very clear, that everyone is in it for their own personal interests.

M: Which are? What are they fighting for?

P: Let me give another simple example, concerning the highly public Olga Karach . In every public appearance, she tries very hard to out-shout the rest of the opposition, building herself up as a central figure. Every week there's a new attempt to pull the mantle off of Tikhanovskaya, for head of the opposition – that's all her work amounts to. To get financial access to the Belarusian diaspora, primarily, since she isn't really interested in wielding executive power. She's only interested in money.
Having lived in Lithuania for 10 years, she lives in a house that's 600 square meters, in an elite quarter of Vilnius.

M: (over) Wonderful woman.

P: You tell me, where that money comes from. In the same way, everyone else is competing to get a piece of that pie. For that same reason, you get tons of internal strife. There are even frictions with BYSOL , even though I'm personally well acquainted/on good terms with Andrej Strizhak I perfectly understand that there's something amiss: one moment there's money, and then suddenly they run out. We've obviously had this discussion, internally of course, away from the public.

M: Did you voice these concerns to him directly?

P: This was only discussed internally. One of the key things, well... Like in the example with Latushka – he never openly went against Tikhanovskaya, but he did steal her project from right under her nose, to accomplish his own goals.

M: She just accepted this?

P: The key take-away is this: that the organizations keep all internal conflicts under wraps, and try to the very end – even at times when I considered silence on the issue harmful – they try their hardest to keep things quiet and 'keep it in-house' (Ed: Russian proverb) so as not to disillusion their supporters among the public. In terms of finances, in terms of political ambitions, in terms of zones of influence – there are tons of examples. Everything is fought over.

My key take-away is that this interview is full of redundancies and needs creative editing for those outside of the Belarus-regime-change-keyboard-warrior demographic.

The impression I get of Roman in the select clips I've seen of the interview (I haven't seen it in its entirety) isn't one of remorse or fear, but relief. With security guarantees for cooperation, he's more than happy to throw everyone he was in contact with under the bus, and the picture is pretty much of a criminal organization with tons of money on the line, which should be a terrifying prospect for any front-line peon involved. Jail-time with a commuted sentence may not be a bad way to get yourself out, considering the alternatives.

On the other hand, his mannerisms remind me a bit of Lukashenko. Can we be sure this isn't the dictator himself with advanced Belorussian deep-fake technology, coached on hip internet lingo by the KGB, giving the interview? ;)

Don Bacon , Jun 5 2021 15:45 utc | 118

WaPo "journalism" -- State Dept provided -- nails it..../s
Detained Belarus dissident breaks down in state TV interview, renewing fears of coercion and torture


Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevich, detained last month after his flight was forced to land in Minsk, Belarus, sobs during an interview with Belarusian state television. Footage of detained journalist Roman Protasevich that aired on Belarusian state television Thursday has raised renewed concerns that he is being coerced to take part in political propaganda under duress.
...Protasevich's father, Dzmitry, told the AFP that the interview was painful to watch because his son was clearly repeating statements that he does not believe. "They broke him and forced him to say what was needed," Dzmitry Protasevich said. [with all those details??]
Exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya told reporters Friday that such videos are routinely filmed after torture and should not be believed. "The task of political prisoners is to survive," she said, according to the AFP.
Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth tweeted that the video "should be Exhibit A in a prosecution for torture and ill treatment under President Lukashenko." . .Jun 4, 2021 here
Jackrabbit , Jun 5 2021 16:00 utc | 120

Roman's story: a little too convenient?

james , Jun 5 2021 16:17 utc | 123

@ 119 jackrabbit... just for fun here... how do you think the usa gov't would react to a list given out of the police personal info who oversaw occupy wall st protests?? do you think the people who gave out the list would be charged with terrorism or some such law in the usa??

regarding your comment about romans story being a little too convenient.. lets look at the facts as they stand on the ground.. has belarus benefited from this, or has the west?? some would argue belarus-russia has benefited because a hole was been blown in the regime change operation... others would say the west has won because the narrative to isolate belarus and russia has been successful... so, i am not so sure about his story being too convenient... in fact, i can see it as a possibility a plan was in place to do exactly this with the bomb threat being phoned in from the west.. however, my gut tells me it is russia that instigated the e mail, not the west .. hard to know either way, but using protonmail it suggests the west is behind it... i think protonmail would be a lot more forthright if russia was behind it... so my gut is wrong or not very accurate!

jayc , Jun 5 2021 17:41 utc | 130

Western press continues to describe the incident as a "hijacking". Ukraine releases statement by Rada:

"By committing this compulsory act of landing a passenger plane, the Belarusian authorities endangered the safety of passengers and crew. These actions are a violation of international civil aviation rules and pose a threat to international security, including the safety of air transport"
https://en.interfax.com.ua/news/general/748084.html

NATO CEO predictably refers to a "state hijacking" which must produce "consequences" for Belarus and also Russia.

"Russia has not condemned it," Stoltenberg said during a Brookings Institution event. "Russia has actually tried to do the opposite to excuse and explain that outrageous action."

The international incident has raised the stakes for an upcoming summit between President Biden and Putin, with the two leaders to meet on June 16 in Switzerland."
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/556892-nato-chief-belarus-actions-must-have-consequences

That's the narrative and they are going to stick with it.

Paco , Jun 5 2021 17:54 utc | 131

Finally, a full transcript of the interview by the channel that broadcasted the interview:

Transcript in Russian by ONT.by

There is so much material that there is no way the western MSM is going to get away with the typical excuses, no lawyer, torture, etc. To start with there is the Dud interview in which a couple of young fellows with huge egos, especially the front man Putilo, reveal in retrospect much more than what they would like to, then there is the first news investigation item by ONT.by , with airport cameras, pilot and control tower communications, in that first program about the incident quite a few fakes are discredited, like Roman being detained right by the airplane when the cameras show that he takes a long walk from the airplane to the bus by himself, then we have the interview with Markov and then not to be forgotten, the interview is one hour an a half but four and a half hours were taped, so probably somebody is waiting for more denials and fakes to be published and then confront them with recorded facts.

It is so obvious that the MSM and whoever is behind are masters of denial and manipulation but this saga is far from over. After watching all the material available if someone insists that Roman was tortured then the Belarusian KGB operatives are truly masters of their trade and should be hired by the CIA to show them that water boarding, sleep deprivation, electroshock and all the tricks employed so far by the agency are primitive and ineffective.

robin , Jun 5 2021 20:38 utc | 133

Posted by: james | Jun 5 2021 16:08 utc | 121

@ 98 robin... so what do you think is more important? narrative control, or facts on the ground?? one is playing with people's minds, and the other is what is.. one could say the propaganda war is being won by those who want to control the narrative, but if we step outside the world of propaganda for a moment, who is actually winning?

Are you asking what is my personal stand on the matter or what I believe is more important to the belligerents? I'll assume it's the latter and answer that, to the main aggressor, controlling the narrative for its domestic audience is absolutely crucial.

As the perpetrator of wars of choice, the empire cannot afford to have its citizenry see its foreign policy for what it is. It cannot come out and say : "So, look, we're going to squeeze these different places until there's nothing left. You see, our models tell us that down the road, that Eastern block is going to significantly cut into our bottom line. That's why we need to crush them all while we're still ahead."

As I said earlier, most folks are not very curious about geopolitics. However, they would certainly resent being told they are on Team Asshole. They would seek to distance themselves from those politics and this would ultimately impede the Empire in its adventurism.

This is where the narrative management comes in. Thanks to the incessant artillery barrage, unsolicited membership to Team Asshole is duly hidden from sight. Better yet, we get to be partners in making this world a better, freedomer place for all and make a stand against tyranny and terror.

Mark , Jun 6 2021 0:52 utc | 136

It is perfectly believable that Protasevich was sold out by someone on Tikhanovskaya's team, likely with her knowledge; she would need to act quickly to capitalize on it with calls for European sanctions against Belarus. Her opposition movement is floundering and moribund, and she desperately needs relevance and attention.

[Jun 06, 2021] I think it's worthwhile to note that this new low in relations is something that is not in Russia's interest as NordStream2 is still under attack.

Jun 06, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Jun 5 2021 14:56 utc | 115

Who caused the flight to be diverted is still uncertain to me. It's clear that Roman was the target though. And that relations between the West and Russia are suffering.

With that said, I think it's worthwhile to note that this new low in relations is something that is not in Russia's interest as NordStream2 is still under attack.

Some say that Nordstream 2 is unstoppable. Well, the completion of the pipeline is near but whether Germany buys gas from Russia and/or how much gas is still a question. The Empire opposition to NS2 has been relentless but they may accept a pipeline that guarantees German energy security yet demand that it restrict purchases of Russian gas to only what is absolutely necessary.

!!


schmoe , Jun 5 2021 15:36 utc | 117

Barring a mistranslation, Putin said that continued gas transit through Ukraine depends on Ukraine's behaviour. Based on a quick impression, that contracts pretty much every previous Russian / Gazprom statement that Garprom intends to retain same flows through Ukraine. No one expects Russia to keep flows in the event of hostilities, but to give opponents of the pipeline a soundbyte to say "see, we told you they would do that" is a shocking blunder.

Skiffer , Jun 5 2021 16:22 utc | 124

In response to schmoe@116,

Actually, he kept repeating that the current transit contract will be maintained, but that if Ukraine wants to increase the volume of gas that goes through their territory, and subsequently earn more money from transit contracts, they have to make that option more lucrative for customers and suppliers. Primarily, by breaking up the gas monopoly on that territory -- harking back to the consortium suggestion by Shroeder in 2008-2009(?).

That said, he was fairly blunt about the advantages of supplying gas directly to Germany and the lack of any strictly economical reason to use Ukrainian gas transit, and that's a fairly obvious aspect of this entire project -- provided that the capacity of these auxiliary pipelines isn't exceeded, there's no good economic reason to use the Ukrainian infrastructure.

When asked about Ukrainian financial woes, in the comical context of Zelensky complaining that the gas transit income is essential for financing the Ukrainian army, he replied sardonically that it's not the responsibility of the Russian state to keep the Ukrainian state fed. There's a sort of Russian gag, where a guy asks his neighbor for something to eat, so that he has the strength to take a dump on his doorstep, which neatly fits the situation.

[Jun 06, 2021] US Troops Die for World Domination, Not Freedom Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
"... CaitlinJohnstone.com ..."
"... Please Support Our Spring Fund Drive! ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... War is a Racket ..."
"... Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix ..."
"... Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone ..."
"... Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers ..."
"... This article was re-published with permission. ..."
"... The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of ..."
Jun 06, 2021 | consortiumnews.com

US Troops Die for World Domination, Not Freedom May 31, 2021 Save

On Memorial Day, Caitlin Johnstone says it's important to block the propaganda that helps feed a steady supply of teenagers into the imperial war machine.

Airman placing U.S. flags at military graves, May 27. (Arlington National Cemetery, Flickr)

By Caitlin Johnstone
CaitlinJohnstone.com

V ice President Kamala Harris spent the weekend under fire from Republicans, which of course means that Kamala Harris spent the weekend being criticized for the most silly, vapid reason you could possibly criticize Kamala Harris for.

Apparently the likely future president tweeted "Enjoy the long weekend," a reference to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, instead of gushing about fallen troops and sacrifice.

That's it, that's the whole entire story. That silly, irrelevant offense by one of the sleaziest people in the single most corrupt and murderous government on earth is the whole entire basis for histrionic headlines from conservative media outlets like this :

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3R3ZWV0X2VtYmVkX2NsaWNrYWJpbGl0eV8xMjEwMiI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJjb250cm9sIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1398784636193488897&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fconsortiumnews.com%2F2021%2F05%2F31%2Fus-troops-die-for-world-domination-not-freedom%2F&sessionId=8c4db816a251b9ec8a405c5ae95098e3aa132642&theme=light&widgetsVersion=82e1070%3A1619632193066&width=550px

Harris, the born politician, was quick to course correct.

"Throughout our history our service men and women have risked everything to defend our freedoms and our country," the veep tweeted . "As we prepare to honor them on Memorial Day, we remember their service and their sacrifice."

https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?visual=true&url=https%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F1059031867&show_artwork=true&maxwidth=860&maxheight=1000&dnt=1&utm_campaign=wtshare&utm_medium=widget&utm_content=https%25253A%25252F%25252Fsoundcloud.com%25252Fgoing_rogue%25252Fus-troops-die-for-world-domination-not-freedom&utm_source=caitlinjohnstone.com

Listen to this article.

Which is of course complete bullshit. It has been generations since any member of the U.S. military could be said to have served or sacrificed defending America or its freedoms, and that has been the case throughout almost the entirety of its history. If you are reading this it is statistically unlikely that you are of an age where any U.S. military personnel died for any other reason than corporate profit and global domination, and if you are it's almost certain you weren't old enough to have had mature thoughts about it at the time.

Please Support Our Spring Fund Drive!

Whenever you criticize the U.S. war machine online within earshot of anyone who's sufficiently propagandized, you will invariably be lectured about the second World War and how we'd all be speaking German or Japanese without the brave men who died for our freedom. This makes my point for me: the fact that apologists for U.S. imperialism always need to reach all the way back through history to the cusp of living memory to find even one single example of the American military being used for purposes that weren't evil proves that it most certainly is evil.

But this is one of the main reasons there are so very many movies and history documentaries made about World War II: it's an opportunity to portray U.S. servicemen bravely fighting and dying for a noble cause without having to bend the truth beyond recognition. The other major reason is that focusing on the second World War allows members of the U.S. empire to escape into a time when the Big Bad Guy on the world stage was someone else.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-1&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3R3ZWV0X2VtYmVkX2NsaWNrYWJpbGl0eV8xMjEwMiI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJjb250cm9sIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1399109694334046211&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fconsortiumnews.com%2F2021%2F05%2F31%2Fus-troops-die-for-world-domination-not-freedom%2F&sessionId=8c4db816a251b9ec8a405c5ae95098e3aa132642&theme=light&widgetsVersion=82e1070%3A1619632193066&width=550px

From the end of World War II to the fall of the U.S.S.R., the U.S. military was used to smash the spread of communism and secure geostrategic interests toward the ultimate end of engineering the collapse of the Soviet Union. After this was accomplished in 1991, U.S. foreign policy officially shifted to preserving a unipolar world order by preventing the rise of any other superpower which could rival its might.

A 1992 article by The New York Times titled " U.S. Strategy Plan Calls For Insuring No Rivals Develop ," reporting on a leaked document which describes a policy known as the Wolfowitz Doctrine after then-Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz, reads as follows:

"In a broad new policy statement that is in its final drafting stage, the Defense Department asserts that America's political and military mission in the post-cold-war era will be to insure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge in Western Europe, Asia or the territory of the former Soviet Union.

A 46-page document that has been circulating at the highest levels of the Pentagon for weeks, and which Defense Secretary Dick Cheney expects to release later this month, states that part of the American mission will be 'convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests.'

The classified document makes the case for a world dominated by one superpower whose position can be perpetuated by constructive behavior and sufficient military might to deter any nation or group of nations from challenging American primacy."

This is all U.S. troops have been fighting and dying for since the Berlin Wall came down. Not "freedom", not "democracy" and certainly not the American people. Just continual uncontested domination of this planet at all cost: domination of its resources, its trade routes, its seas, its air, and its humans, no matter how many lives need to risked and snuffed out in order to achieve it. The U.S. has killed millions and displaced tens of millions just since the turn of this century in the reckless pursuit of that goal.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/26O-2SVcrw0?enablejsapi=1&autoplay=0&cc_load_policy=0&iv_load_policy=1&loop=0&modestbranding=1&fs=1&playsinline=0&controls=1&color=red&rel=0&autohide=2&theme=dark&

And, as Smedley Butler spelled out 86 years ago in his still-relevant book War is a Racket , U.S. military personnel have been dying for profit.

Nothing gets the gears of industry turning like war, and nothing better creates chaotic Wild West environments of shock and confusion during which more wealth and power can be grabbed. War profiteers pour immense resources into lobbying , think tanks and campaign donations to manipulate and bribe policy makers into making decisions which promote war and military expansionism, with astounding success . This is all entirely legal.

It's important to spread awareness that this is all U.S. troops have been dying for, because the fairy tale that they fight for freedom and for their countrymen is a major propaganda narrative used in military recruitment. While poverty plays a significant role in driving up enlistments as predatory recruiters target poor and middle class youth promising them a future in the nation with the worst income inequality in the industrialized world, the fact that the aggressively propagandized glorification of military "service" makes it a more esteemed career path than working at a restaurant or a grocery store means people are more likely to enlist.

Without all that propaganda deceiving people into believing that military work is something virtuous, military service would be the most shameful job anyone could possibly have; other stigmatized jobs like sex work would be regarded as far more noble. You'd be less reluctant to tell your extended family over Christmas that you're a janitor at a seedy massage parlor than that you've enlisted in the U.S. military, because instead of congratulating and praising you, your Uncle Murray would look at you and say, "So you're gonna be killing kids for crude oil?"

And that's exactly how it should be. Continuing to uphold the lie that U.S. troops fight and die for a good cause is helping to ensure a steady supply of teenagers to feed into the gears of the imperial war machine. Stop feeding into the lie that the war machine is worth killing and being killed for. Not out of disrespect for the dead, but out of reverence for the living.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium . Her work is entirely reader-supported , so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook , following her antics on Twitter , checking out her podcast on either Youtube , soundcloud , Apple podcasts or Spotify , following her on Steemit , throwing some money into her tip jar on Patreon or Paypal , purchasing some of her sweet merchandise , buying her books Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix , Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers .

This article was re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News .



Em , June 1, 2021 at 09:52

Instead of annually memorializing those dead youth, who were, in one way or the other, coerced to go off to foreign lands to kill or be killed, by other youth, in the name of a piece of dead symbolic cloth, wouldn't it be a better idea to honor them, while alive in the prime of living (the world over) by affording them the means to learn, leading by example, to discover for themselves – how to think critically as to what the real options are, collectively as well as individually, for survival and thriving.

CNfan , June 1, 2021 at 04:06

"Global domination" for the benefit of a predatory financial oligarchy.

Peter Loeb , June 1, 2021 at 09:11

Read William Hartung's "Prophets of War " to understand the dynamics.

Peter in Boston

Thom Williams , May 31, 2021 at 20:12

Re: CorsortiumNews, Joe Lauria, Caitlin Johnstone, Realist, & Rael Nidess, M.D.

Thank you all for speaking your truth in this dystopian human universe so apparently lacking human reason and understanding. As is so wisely introduced and recognized herein, the murderous depravity of the "Wolfwitz Doctrine" being and remaining the public policy formulation of our national governance, both foreign and domestic, is a fact that every U.S. citizen should consider and understand on this Memorial Day.
As Usual,
EA

Realist , May 31, 2021 at 17:27

Well stated, perfectly logical again on this subject as always, Caitlin. You out the warmongers for their game to fleece the public and rape the world all so a handful of already fat, lazyass but enormously wealthy and influential people can acquire, without the slightest bit of shame, yet more, more and more of everything there is to be had. You and General Butler.

Will this message get through, this time? Maybe the billionth time is the charm, eh? Can the scales suddenly fall from the eyes of the 330 million Americans who will then demand an immediate end to the madness? On the merits, it's the only conclusion that might realise any actual justice for our country and the rest of the world upon whose throat it keeps a knee firmly planted.

Sorry, nothing of the sort shall ever happen, not as long as the entire mercenary mass media obeys its corporate ownership and speaks nothing but false narratives every minute of every day. Not as long as the educational system is really nothing more than a propaganda indoctrination experience for every child born in the glorious USA! Not as long as every politician occupying any given office is just a bought and paid for tool of the Matrix with great talents for convincing the masses that 2 + 2 = 3, or 5, or whatever is convenient at the time to benefit the ledgers of their plutocrat masters.

What better illustrates the reality of my last assertion than the occupancy of the White House by Sleepy/Creepy Joe Biden who, through age alone, has been reduced to nothing more than a sack of unresponsive meat firmly trussed up with ropes and pulleys that his handlers pull this way or that to create an animatronic effect apparently perfectly convincing to the majority of the American public? Or so they say, based upon some putative election results.

Truly, thanks for the effort, Caitlin. I do appreciate that some have a grasp on the truth. I look forward to its recapitulation by yourself and many others to no effect on every Memorial Day in the USA. It would be unrealistic of me to say otherwise.

Rael Nidess, M.D. , May 31, 2021 at 12:54

Kudos for being one of a very few to mention the central driving ethic behind U.S. foreign policy since the demise of the USSR: The Wolfowitz Doctrine. As central today as it was when first published.

[Jun 03, 2021] US March Oil Production Rebounds Strongly From Winter Storm Low

Jun 03, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/03/2021 at 7:34 am

Dennis,

If all sanctions on Iran are lifted, very soon, they may reach 3.5 million barrels per day by Q1 2022, but no way before then. I doubt they will ever reach 3.8 million again.

At any rate, to get to 29.54 million bpd by Q4 OPEC would need to increase production by 4.5 million bpd from April's production level. Dennis, we both know that is not going to happen.

[May 30, 2021] A Critical Shift In The War For Oil by Tom Luongo

May 30, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats. 'n Guns blog,

Biden backed down on Nordstream 2 and, at The Davos Crowd's insistence, he will back down on the JCPOA.

Davos needs cheap energy into Europe. That's ultimately what the JCPOA was all about. The basic framework for the deal is still there. While the U.S. will kick and scream a bit about sanctions relief, Iran will be back into the oil market and make it possible for Europe to once again invest in oil/gas projects in Iran.

Now that Benjamin Netanyahu is no longer going to be leading Israel, the probability of breakthrough is much much higher than last week. The Likudniks in Congress and the Senate just lost their raison d'etre. The loss of face for Israel in Bibi's latest attempt to bludgeon Gaza to retain power backfired completely.

U.S. policy towards Israel is shifting rapidly as the younger generations, Gen-X and Millennials, simply don't have the same allegiance to Israel that the Baby Boomers and Silent generations did. It is part of a geopolitical ethos which is outdated.

So, with some deal over Iran's nuclear capability in the near future, Europe will then get gas pipelines from Iran through Turkey as well as gain better access to the North South Transport Corridor which is now unofficially part of China's Belt and Road Initiative.

Russia, now that Nordstream 2 is nearly done, will not balk at this. In fact, they'll welcome it. It forms the basis for a broader, sustainable peace arrangement in the Middle East. What's lost is the Zionist program for Greater Israel and continued sowing dissent between exhausted participants.

But the big geopolitical win for Davos, they think, is that by returning Iran to the oil markets it will cut down on Russia's dominance there. That the only reason Russia is the price setter in oil today, as the producer of the marginal barrel, is because of Trump taking Iranian and Venezuelan oil off the market.

With these negotiations ongoing and likely to conclude soon I'm sure the thinking is that this will help save Iranian moderates in the upcoming elections. But with Iran's Guardian Council paving the way for Ebrahim Raeisi to win the election that is also very unlikely( H/T to Pepe Escobar's latest on this ) :

So Raeisi now seems to be nearly a done deal: a relatively faceless bureaucrat without the profile of an IRGC hardliner, well known for his anti-corruption fight and care about the poor and downtrodden. On foreign policy, the crucial fact is that he will arguably follow crucial IRGC dictates.

Raeisi is already spinning that he "negotiated quietly" to secure the qualification of more candidates, "to make the election scene more competitive and participatory". The problem is no candidate has the power to sway the opaque decisions of the 12-member Guardian Council, composed exclusively by clerics: only Ayatollah Khamenei.

I have no doubt that Iran is, as Escobar suggests, in post-JCPOA mode now and will walk away from Geneva without a deal if need be, but Davos will cut the deal it needs to bring the oil and gas into Europe while still blaming the U.S. for Iran's nuclear ambitions because they've gotten what they actually wanted, Netanyahu out of power.

Trump's assault on Iran did what Neocon belligerence always does, increase domestic sympathies for hardliners within the existing government. I told you his assassinating Gen. Qassem Soleimani was not only a mistake but a turning point in history , it sealed the alliance between Russia/China/Iran into a cohesive one which no amount of Euro-schmoozing will undo.

Seeing the tenor of these negotiations and the return of Obama to the White House, the Saudis saw the writing on the wall immediately and began peace talks with Iran in Baghdad put off for a year because of Trump's killing Soleimani.

The Saudis are fighting for their lives now as the Shia Crescent forms and China holds the House of Saud's future in its hands.

Syria will be restored to the Arab League and all that 'peace' work by Trump will be undone quickly. Because none of it was actually peaceful in its implementation. Netanyahu is gone, Israel just got defeated by Hamas and now the rest of the story can unfold, put on hold by four years of Jared Kushner's idiocy and U.S. neoconservatives feeding Trump bad information about the situation.

The Saker put together two lists in his latest article (linked above) which puts the entire situation into perspective:

The Goals:
  1. Bring down a strong secular Arab state along with its political structure, armed forces, and security services.

  2. Create total chaos and horror in Syria justifying the creation of a "security zone" by Israel not only in the Golan but further north.

  3. Trigger a civil war in Lebanon by unleashing the Takfiri crazies against Hezbollah.

  4. Let the Takfiris and Hezbollah bleed each other to death, then create a "security zone," but this time in Lebanon.

  5. Prevent the creation of a Shia axis Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon.

  6. Break up Syria along ethnic and religious lines.

  7. Create a Kurdistan which could then be used against Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.

  8. Make it possible for Israel to become the uncontested power broker in the Middle-East and force the KSA, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and all others to have to go to Israel for any gas or oil pipeline project.

  9. Gradually isolate, threaten, subvert, and eventually attack Iran with a broad regional coalition of forces.

  10. Eliminate all centers of Shia power in the Middle-East.

The Outcomes:
  1. The Syrian state has survived, and its armed and security forces are now far more capable than they were before the war started (remember how they almost lost the war initially? The Syrians bounced back while learning some very hard lessons. By all reports, they improved tremendously, while at critical moments Iran and Hezbollah were literally "plugging holes" in the Syrian frontlines and "extinguishing fires" on local flashpoints. Now the Syrians are doing a very good job of liberating large chunks of their country, including every single city in Syria).

  2. Not only is Syria stronger, but the Iranians and Hezbollah are all over the country now, which is driving the Israelis into a state of panic and rage.

  3. Lebanon is rock solid; even the latest Saudi attempt to kidnap Hariri is backfiring. (2021 update: in spite of the explosion in Beirut, Hezbollah is still in charge)

  4. Syria will remain unitary, and Kurdistan is not happening. Millions of displaced refugees are returning home.

  5. Israel and the US look like total idiots and, even worse, as losers with no credibility left.

The net result is everyone in the region who were aggressors are now suing for peace. This is why I expect some kind of deal that returns Iran to the global economy. There's no way for Germany's shiny new trade deal with China to work without this.

Trump's hard line against Iran was always a mistake, even if Iran's nuclear ambitions are real. But with the Open Skies treaty now a dead letter the U.S. has real logistical problems in the region and they only multiply if Erdogan in Turkey finally chooses a side and gives up his Neo-Ottoman ambitions, now very likely.

But when it comes to economics, as always, Davos has this all backwards vis a vis oil. They still think they can use the JCPOA to drive a wedge between Iran and Russia over oil. They still think Putin only cares about oil and gas sales abroad. It's clear they don't listen to him because the policy never seems to change.

So, to Davos, if they bring 2.5 to 3 million barrels per day from Iran back online and oil prices drop, this forces Russia to back down militarily and diplomatically in Eastern Europe. With a free-floated ruble the Russians don't care now that they are mostly self-sufficient in food and raw material production.

None of that will come to pass. Putin is shifting the Russian economy away from oil and gas with an announced ambitious domestic spending plan ahead of this fall's State Duma elections. Lower or even stable prices will accelerate those plans as capital no longer finds its best return in that sector.

This carrot to Iran and stick to Russia approach of Brussels/Davos is childish and it will only get worse when the Greens come to power in Germany at the end of the year. Unless the German elections end in a stalemate which is unforeseen, the CDU will grand coalition as the junior partner to the Greens, just as Davos wants it.

Don't miss the significance of the policy bifurcation either when it comes to oil. The Biden administration is trying to make energy as expensive as possible in the U.S. -- no Keystone Pipeline, Whitmer trying to close down Enbridges's Line 5 from Canada into Michigan, etc. -- while Europe gets Nordstream 2 from Russia and new, cheap supplies from Iran.

This is what had Trump so hopping mad when he was President. This is part of why he hated the JCPOA. Israel and the EastMed pipeline was what should have been the U.S. policy in his mind.

Now, those dreams are dead and the sell out of the U.S. to Davos is in full swing. Seriously, Biden/Obama are going to continue on this path of undermining U.S. energy production until they are thrown out of office, either by the overwhelming shame of the election fraud lawsuits which recall Senators from Arizona, Georgia and Michigan, the mid-term elections which brings a more pro-Trump GOP to power or by military force. That last bit I put a very low probability on.

Bottom line, for now global oil prices have likely peaked no matter what drivel comes out of John Kerry's mouth.

The Brent/WTI spread will likely collapse and go negative for the first time in years as Iran's full oil production comes online over the next two years while U.S. production falls. We'll see rising oil prices in the U.S. while global supply rises, some of which China is getting at a steep discount from who? Iran.

Meanwhile Russia continues to hold the EU to account on everything while unmasking the not just the latest Bellingcat/MI6/State Dept. nonsense in Belarus surrounding the arrest of Roman Petrosovich, but also filling the void diplomatically left by a confused and incompetent U.S. policy in the Middle East.

If I'm the Bennett in Israel, the first phone call I make after taking office is to no one other than Putin, who now holds the reins over Iran, Hezbollah and a very battle-hardened and angry Syria who just re-elected Assad because he navigated the assault on the country with no lack of geopolitical skill.

Because it is clear that Biden/Obama, on behalf of Davos , have left Israel out to twist in the wind surrounded by those who wish it gone. We'll see if they get their wish. I think the win here is clear and the days of U.S. adventurism in the Middle East are numbered.

The oil wars aren't over, by any stretch of the imagination, but the outcome of the main battles have decisively shifted who determines what battles are fought next.

* * *

Join my Patreon if you like critical thinking.


wellwaddyaknow 2 hours ago (Edited)

About time that fcking Project for the New American Century(aka Greater Israel from the Nile to the Euphates) got derailed .

Fcking useless neocon sh its gutted and bankrupted the U.S. for their fcked up ziosh it garbage.

Sheldon Adelson belongs in the Aus witz Mengele suite in hell. He was the biggest cheerleader for the last 20 years of this hell on earth that was created in the middle east.

Woodenman 2 hours ago remove link

Trump got it *** backwards , he should have defunded Israel and fast tracked Iran to be a nuclear power, Iran is an oil producer, what does Israel do for us?

Would I care that Israel cannot sleep at night knowing Iran has the bomb, not at all.

AGuy 37 minutes ago

" what does Israel do for us? "

Keeps the ME unstable so the US has the excuse to keep a lot of military resources in the ME, in the name of being the worlds policemen. Plus the US needs to protect the Petro dollar, but at this point I don't think that will matter soon considering the amount of money printing & spending the US is doing at the momement.

wellwaddyaknow 2 hours ago (Edited)

Soleimani was very good at destroying ISIS trash.

And which countries backed ISIS?

JR Wirth 2 hours ago

NeoCon tears as the world attempts to move on from deranged foreign policy. Will the US throw a fit and drag the world into war? Let's call Tel Aviv and find out.

Der Steppenwolf 2 hours ago remove link

Iran already sells huge amounts of oil to China and likely many others, there just isn't going to be a significant increase in Iranian oil hitting the market as a result of any deal. Moreover, this relatively small increase will occur over time. Even if Iran eventually increases production the 2.5-3 million bpd the author cites, world consumption in 2021 is forecast to increase about 6 million bpd over 2020. Considering these facts any changes in Iranian oil production should do little to affect the overall price.

lay_arrow
AGuy 42 minutes ago

" Iran has huge potential to increase production "

I doubt that very much. Iran has very old oil fields which have been producing since the 1920s. Global Oil production peaked in 2018 & is now in permanent decline. Iran could increase NatGas production, but Oil production is in permanent decline.

Apollo 32 minutes ago

God, I hope half of the above comes true. Bibi needs to be court martialed and Israel needs to go back into smaller and more peaceful version of itself (if that is even possible) . USA can just bugger off home, and try to deal with transgendered army, president's dementia and critical race theory nonsense first.

What the world needs is less wars, less central bankers screwing the game and less stealing of other people's natural resources. Instead it just more plain old hard work, honest trading and no bs diplomacy.

dead hobo 1 hour ago (Edited) remove link

Amazingly perfect analysis.

Israel will survive. I wish them well.

So many US wars are oil based. Lies abound to cover this up. Neocon Economics turns every war opportunity into a profit center. No Profit = No War potential. Whenever you see a Neocon pumping a war somewhere, you need to look for who will make scads of money from it.

Trump isn't an angel. He's the guy who destroyed Establishment Republicanism. That begat populism. I detested him working his book when he pumped QE and ZIRP. I considered it a temporary price to pay to remove Establishment Republicans from the world. Yes, the US also needed a good Front Door with a lock. He also did good there. Trump playing the Imperialism Game clumsily worked in the favor of Peaceful Coexistence. Probably by mistake. Ok by me if everyone else declares peace anyway.

The US economy can still outpower anyone even if it is forced to play fair.

This brings us to the Deep State. Who exactly are they?

Are they Neocons who want war profits by making it look like others are the war mongers? Are they anti-peace as long as it doesn't start a full blown war - providing a profit can be made from it by their oligarch bosses?

Or is the Deep State the Davos oriented oligarchs who wants the 99% to whistle while they work to support uncountable billions of dollars flowing into the asset piles of the 1%?

Why did the Deep State allow the BLM / Antifa / Democrat cabal take over? Are they stupid? Or did they think Covid-19 along with these freaks would work in their favor somehow?

Is the Deep State only common ordinary Imperialism? Is it only oil, and natural gas and who gets to control the markets? Ukraine has a lot of natural resources. Is that a coincidence?

https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-are-the-major-natural-resources-of-ukraine.html

What is it about Peaceful Coexistence that makes them go crazy?

What does The Deep State really want?

AGuy 49 minutes ago

" The only difference will be the wars will be fought for lithium and other rare metals. "

Unlikely Oil will remain the King for causing wars. electricification of transportation is doomed to fail. First average Americans cannot afford EV. heck they are struggling with cheaper ICE vehicles. Auto loan duration have ballooned & most Americans are rolling over debt from their older vehicle when they buy a new one. Second the grid is struggling. Most of the older power plants are getting replaced by NatGas fired plants & at some point we are going to see NatGas prices shoot up. Much of the US grid was built in the 1930s & 1940s and will need trillions just to maintain it and replace equipment & power lines operating beyond their expected operating lifetime.

The US economy is slowly collapsing: Mountains of debt, demographics, dumbed down education, and worthless degrees for Millennials, failing infrastructure (ie I-40 bridge). We are on borrowed time.

AJAX-2 1 hour ago remove link

The fly in the ointment is that the banksters desperately need higher oil prices to prop up their derivative portfolios. As a result, they are at odds with the Davos Crowd and their desire for cheap/plentiful oil for Europe. We shall see who prevails.

AGuy 1 hour ago

" The fly in the ointment is that the banksters desperately need higher oil prices to prop up their derivative portfolios. "

Nope:

Higher oil prices leads to higher defaults, which is likely to trigger derivative losses. Banker shady deals come under congressional\agency scrutiny usually ending with billion dollar fines, and bad press. A lot of banks probably will get nationalized when the next banking crisis happens & all those bankers will lose out on the financial scams they play.

European Monarchist 46 minutes ago remove link

Currently:

  1. The Syrian state has survived, and its armed and security forces are now far more capable than they were before the war started (remember how they almost lost the war initially? The Syrians bounced back while learning some very hard lessons. By all reports, they improved tremendously, while at critical moments Iran and Hezbollah were literally "plugging holes" in the Syrian frontlines and "extinguishing fires" on local flashpoints. Now the Syrians are doing a very good job of liberating large chunks of their country, including every single city in Syria).

  2. Not only is Syria stronger, but the Iranians and Hezbollah are all over the country now, which is driving the Israelis into a state of panic and rage.

  3. Lebanon is rock solid; even the latest Saudi attempt to kidnap Hariri is backfiring. (2021 update: in spite of the explosion in Beirut, Hezbollah is still in charge)

  4. Syria will remain unitary, and Kurdistan is not happening. Millions of displaced refugees are returning home.

  5. Israel and the US look like total idiots and, even worse, as losers with no credibility left.

The net result is everyone in the region who were aggressors are now suing for peace. This is why I expect some kind of deal that returns Iran to the global economy. There's no way for Germany's shiny new trade deal with China to work without this.

ut218 2 hours ago remove link

Solarcycle 25 had a bad start. By 2028 people will realize we are in a period of global cooling. oil prices will soar

Itinerant 18 minutes ago

There won't be major investments of European majors in Iran's oil industry.

  • For Iran, Western partners have proved too fickle
  • For Western corporations, the risk is too great for long term investment.

China will be reaping most of the investement opportunities.


2 play_arrow
Marrubio 1 hour ago

.... the NWO & Davos idiotards ,they have been trying since March for oil not to exceed the $ 70 barrier and they are not succeeding. Week after week they try to lower the price, frightening with the covid, the production of Iran or whatever, and the following week the oil rises again. The only thing left for them is mass slaughter ... but now people know that what is going to kill them is in the "vaccine". Of course they will be stupid enough to do it; if they have shown anything it is that they are profoundly idiots. They will not be successful in getting cheap oil, simply because PeakOil is running since 2018 and since then oil production decreases at 5% per year: -5% per year, I am telling to the NWO deep idiotards.

European Monarchist 55 minutes ago (Edited)

Interesting, but it remains to be seen where this is going, short term and long.

Now that Benjamin Netanyahu is no longer going to be leading Israel, the probability of breakthrough is much much higher than last week. The Likudniks in Congress and the Senate just lost their raison d'etre. The loss of face for Israel in Bibi's latest attempt to bludgeon Gaza to retain power backfired completely.

U.S. policy towards Israel is shifting rapidly as the younger generations, Gen-X and Millennials, simply don't have the same allegiance to Israel that the Baby Boomers and Silent generations did. It is part of a geopolitical ethos which is outdated.

So, with some deal over Iran's nuclear capability in the near future, Europe will then get gas pipelines from Iran through Turkey as well as gain better access to the North South Transport Corridor which is now unofficially part of China's Belt and Road Initiative.

Russia, now that Nordstream 2 is nearly done, will not balk at this. In fact, they'll welcome it. It forms the basis for a broader, sustainable peace arrangement in the Middle East. What's lost is the Zionist program for Greater Israel and continued sowing dissent between exhausted participants.

play_arrow
Einstein101 55 minutes ago remove link

Now the Syrians are doing a very good job of liberating large chunks of their country, including every single city in Syria).

Really? Hell no! The Syrians and the mighty Russians and the Hezbollah for many months now are not able to overcome lowly terrorists militia in northern Syria's Idlib. Plus, the Israelis has been launching hundreds of airstrikes over Syria while the Russian made Syrian anti air defense can do nothing about it.

[May 29, 2021] Roman Protasevich served with the Azov Battalion

May 29, 2021 | turcopolier.com

Seamus Padraig says: May 28, 2021 at 5:23 am

If anybody here still doubts that Roman Protasevich served with the Azov Battalion, Anatoly Karlin's got the good on him: https://www.unz.com/akarlin/protasevich-served-in-azov/ English Outsider says: May 28, 2021 at 6:28 am

Battle of narratives. "Despite their potentially grave impact on public health, official and state-backed sources from various governments, including Russia and – to a lesser extent – China, have continued to widely target conspiracy narratives and disinformation both at public audiences in the EU and the wider neighbourhood."

https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/77996/eeas-special-report-update-short-assessment-narratives-and-disinformation-around-covid_sr

And on the Belarus incident –

https://euvsdisinfo.eu/lies-damned-lies-and-lukashenkas-lies/

On Pratasevich – " The second claim – on dissident Raman Pratasevich being an "Extremist" – is both unfounded and irrelevant to the case. It does not justify Lukashenka's decision to use military threat against a civilian aircraft."

https://euvsdisinfo.eu/deny-deceive-defame-and-deflect/

Having been a citizen of the European Union for so long I suppose I should know about the EEAS. I didn't so I looked it up. It's the embryonic equivalent, according to Wiki, of the US State Department. The old stamping ground of Lady Catherine Ashton of Ukrainian coup fame. Not much of a budget to do a lot of things, so I imagine the articles above are cut and paste from Bellingcat or some such source.

All very down market and a little depressing, Mr Armstrong. I had thought the EU and particularly the French would provide a counterweight to our own mini-neocons of Westminster, at least as far as the Russophobic stuff went. Not so it seems. Reply

[May 29, 2021] MINSK AND RYANAIR PLANE

May 29, 2021 | turcopolier.com

The story gets fishier by the minute . First the simulated and hypocritical outrage when Minsk is accused of following the example of the keeper and guardian of the Rules-Based International Order (suspiciously rapid and uniform). Calling this coup specialist a "journalist" is pretty creative: yes he did fight with the nazis ; more on Protasevich and more still . There has been a sustained – and unsuccessful – anti-Lukashenka operation for some time, is this the next try? The real key to the story is the fake bomb threat: who did it and when? If it did come, as Lukashenka says, from some source in Switzerland (don't be fooled by the time stamp – they are in different time zones), then everything took place as it should have and the rules required the pilot to land in Minsk ; and the threat did say the bomb would be set off in Vilnius. Incidentally, this is the third time (!) a Ryanair plane has been forced to land by armed fighters after a bomb hoax: 2017 and 2020 . Fighter interception is normal behaviour. The people who stayed in Minsk were not sinister operatives but people headed there anyway . Did the Belarusan authorities only know he was on board because of this tweet as Petri Krohn wonders (see comment 6 )? Maybe we'll read about it years later in the WaPo – remember Ukraine's Joan of Arc ? So, the question that they should be asking is: who originated the bomb threat? Answer that and you'll know whether it was another anti-Lukashenka provocation (vide Vovan and Lexus ) or something Lukashenka did to get Protasevich. But, anyway, it's time for Lukashenka to get closer to Moscow; maybe he will.

MACRON says sanctions against Russia aren't working and " I think that we are at a moment of truth in our relationship with Russia, which should lead us to rethink the terms of the tension that we decide to put in place ." Every now and again he says the unsayable, but nothing happens afterwards .

FAKE NEWS. Don't toss your NYT subscription! Eventually the news will fit. Steele dossier is junk!

[May 29, 2021] How ProtonMail Lost The Public Trust It Needs To Do Business

May 29, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Lurk , May 29 2021 15:07 utc | 1

The narrative of the incident (scroll down for the English version) by the Belorussian authorities starts with this:

On May 23, 2021, a written message with the following content in English was sent to the e-mail of the National Airport Minsk from the e-mail address protonmail.com:

A translation of the Russian language version of that paragraph is a bit more specific:

On May 23, 2021, a written message with the following content was sent to the e-mail of the National Airport Minsk info@airport.by from the e-mail address protonmail.com in English:

The radio talk between ATC and the pilot of flight RYR 1TZ has additional information about the email:

ATC: RYR 1TZ
Pilot: The bomb....direct message, where did it come from? Where did you have information about it from?
ATC: RYR 1TZ standby please.
ATC: 09:33:42: RYR 1TZ
Pilot: Go ahead.
ATC: RYR 1TZ airport security stuff informed they received e-mail.
Pilot: Roger, Vilnius airport security stuff or from Greece?
ATC: RYR 1TZ this e-mail was shared to several airports .

At 9:33 utc the Belorussian ATC knew that the email had been received by several airports in the region. This must have been the first email in question and the recipient field must have show several airport related email addresses.

We know that one of the other recipients of the email received by Minsk airport was an airport organization in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The Dossier Center , a rather shady anti-Russian outfit in London financed by the exiled billionaire and company raider Mikhail Khodorkovsky, has published this misleading narrative about the Ryanair incident (machine translation, emph. added):

Swiss Hamas - Inconsistencies in the "terrorist" version of the Belarusian authorities

On May 26, during a speech in parliament, Alexander Lukashenko commented on the emergency landing in Minsk of a Ryanair airline, on board which was the former editor-in-chief of the Nexta Telegram channel Roman Protasevich. Lukashenka said that the message about the mining of the side was received by "Athens, Minsk and Vilnius at the same time". After the Belarusian air traffic controllers passed the information about the bomb allegedly received from the special services to the Ryanair pilots, it was decided to land the plane in Minsk. To escort the board, a MiG-29 fighter of the Belarusian Air Force was raised.

The Dossier Center, together with The Daily Beast and Der Spiegel, managed to obtain and analyze a copy of an email sent by a "Hamas representative" to the Minsk airport. It follows from it that the Belarusian air traffic controllers informed the Ryanair pilots about the mining of the plane 27 minutes earlier than they themselves received the message about the bomb.

On May 23, at 12:25 pm Belarusian time, the administration of "Lithuanian Airports" received a letter with a threat of a bomb explosion on board the flight FR4978, sent from the address [email protected] .

The highlighted sentence says that a threat email arrived in Lithuania at 12:25 pm (9:25 utc). This must have been the same email which the Belorussian ATC mentioned at 9:33 utc:

ATC: RYR 1TZ this e-mail was shared to several airports.

Then however the Dossier Center claim in the second paragraph above, that "the Belarusian air traffic controllers informed the Ryanair pilots about the mining of the plane 27 minutes earlier than they themselves received the message about the bomb", makes no sense.

But the Dossier Center does show an email with a bomb threat that was received at 12:56 (9:56 utc) after the pilot had already made the decision to land in Minsk.


bigger

The explanation that resolves the seemingly contradicting evidence is simple. There were two emails sent to the airports.

In fact on May 28 the Investigative Committee of Belarus, the country's prosecution service, published a note about the case (machine translation, emph. added):

It has already been established, to which we draw special attention, that there were several messages about the "mining" of the aircraft received through the Swiss anonymous mail service ProtonMail - at 12:25 and at 12:56 . At the moment, the records of conversations with the pilots of the aircraft are being studied and analyzed in detail, and numerous other investigative actions are being carried out.

The Dossier Center however claims, without providing any evidence, that Minsk did not receive the first email (machine translation, emph. added):

At 12:30 the plane entered the airspace of Belarus. As follows from the transcript of the dispatchers' negotiations with the Ryanair pilots, at the same moment the Belarusian side informed the crew about the alleged explosion threat. At 12:33 pm, the controller informed the pilot that a letter with a message about the bomb had been sent to several airports at once. However, as the Dossier Center found out, at that time only Lithuanian Airports received a letter from the "terrorists" . The Greek Civil Aviation Authority said it had not received a bomb threat letter at the Athens airport.

At 12:47 the plane changed course and flew towards Minsk. The official statement of the Aviation Directorate of the Ministry of Transport of Belarus did not disclose details about the time of receipt of the email, but Dossier found out that a copy of the letter from user Ahmed Yurlanov came to the email of the National Airport of Minsk ([email protected]) at 12:57 pm Belarusian time - that is, almost half an hour after the transmission of the message about the possible mining of the side.

How the anti-Russian Dossier Center in London would even know when and what emails arrived or didn't arrive at Minsk airport is inexplicable.

The Daily Beast has cooperated with the Dossier Center in reporting the issue. Its piece, authored by Michael Weiss, a former research director of the neo-conservative Henry Jackson Society in London, does not resolve the issue:

The email was sent to Minsk's National Airport's general information account at 12:57 p.m. on May 23, 27 minutes after the plane first entered Belarusian airspace and 24 minutes after air traffic control in Minsk first informed the Ryanair pilot that an emailed bomb threat was "shared with several airports."

But the Greek Civil Aviation Authority, which is responsible for the plane that took off from Athens, has publicly stated that it received no such warning at any point during FR4978's journey. Lithuania did receive the email, but not Vilnius Airport, the intended destination; rather, the recipient was State Enterprise Lithuanian Airports, the state-run company that handles three different Lithuanian airports (Vilnius, Kaunas, and Palanga).

That someone in Greece did not receive the bomb threat email and who in Lithuania received the email or not does not tell us anything about the reception of the first email in Minsk. The whole writeup is a diversion from that critical point.

Here is where ProtonMail comes in.

ProtonMail was asked about the second email published by the Daily Beast and the Dossier Center. It responded with a statement to Reuters which then misleading headlined:

Bomb threat cited by Belarus was sent after plane was diverted - Swiss email provider

A bomb threat cited by Belarusian authorities as the reason for forcing a Ryanair jetliner carrying a dissident journalist to land in Minsk was sent after the plane was diverted, privacy-focused email provider Proton Technologies AG said on Thursday.
...
Proton declined to comment on specifics of the message but confirmed it was sent after the plane was diverted.

"We haven't seen credible evidence that the Belarusian claims are true," the Swiss company said in a statement. "We will support European authorities in their investigations upon receiving a legal request."

ProtonMail seems to have confirmed to Reuters that the second email, received in Minsk at 12:56 (9:56 utc), had been sent through its service.

ProtonMail however seems to not have been asked about the first email received in Minsk and Lithuania on May 23 at 12:25 (9:25 utc). Still Reuters attributes the false claim, that the bomb threat cited by Belarus was sent after the plane was diverted, directly to ProtonMail. Belarus cited the first email sent. ProtonMail only confirmed that the second email was sent. It should be in the interest of ProtonMail to clear up that issue.

Yesterday evening I asked ProtonMail to explicitly confirm that the first email was also sent to and received in Minsk. As it confirmed that the second email was sent it should have no problem with confirming the first one too. This unless it has left its claimed neutrality and is an active participant in the information war against Belarus.

Here is the full exchange:

Chahuapa @Chahuapa - 22:22 utc · May 26, 2021

Email can be easily spoofed (appear to come from some adres when it's not). I suggest anyone to stop using protonmail. It has been compromised.

ProtonMail @ProtonMail - 18:10 utc · May 27, 2021
Replying to @Chahuapa

The email leaked to the press was not obtained from us. Due to our encryption, we can't access/verify the message contents. However, we can see the sent time and can confirm it was after the plane was redirected.

Moon of Alabama @MoonofA - 19:12 utc · May 28, 2021
Replying to @ProtonMail and @Chahuapa

The Belarus prosecutor states that it received two ProtonMails - at 12:25 and at 12:56 (UTC+3). sk.gov.by/ru/news-usk-gm...
Dossier Center claims that Lithuanian airports received threat email at 12:25.
Can you please confirm that the first email at 12:25 was also sent to Minsk.

ProtonMail @ProtonMail - 19:54 utc · May 28, 2021
Replying to @MoonofA and @Chahuapa

Unfortunately we can't comment on this as the first email is not public information yet. Only the Swiss authorities can make additional disclosures at this time.

Moon of Alabama @MoonofA - 20:07 utc · May 28, 2021
Replying to @ProtonMail and @Chahuapa

I contacted you because I learned of the first email from:
a. Dossier Center
b. General Prosecutor of Belarus
Their claims of reception of the 9:25 utc email in Vilnius and Minsk are already public information.
You are only asked to confirm that both were sent at that time.

There was no further response from ProtonMail.

While ProtonMail seems to confirm the existence of the first email it is not willing to confirm that the first email was also received in Minsk.

This is not helpful. ProtonMail's confirmation to Reuters that the second email was received in Minsk has led to widely misleading headlines and numerous reports which, attributed to ProtonMail, falsely claim that Belarus recommended the plane to land in Minsk without having received a bomb threat to that plane.

ProtonMail could easily clean up the false reports by confirming in a public statement that there were two emails and that the first email at at 12:25 (9:25 utc) was also sent to and received in Minsk.

That ProtonMail rejects to do so demonstrates that it is a party in the information war against Belarus. Swiss Neutrality this is not.

But ProtonMail claims neutrality. It also claims that its encrypted email service is secure.

In light of the above ProtonMail's neutrality seems to be quite questionable. That lets me doubt that its service and products are as secure as it claims.

There have been other Swiss providers of encryption technology and services who had made false claims about their neutrality. Their claims about the security of the encryption services they provided turned out to be false.

Last year this led to headlines like these:

It is easy for ProtonMail to reclaim Neutrality by publicly providing information that an email from the account shown in the above screenshot or any other ProtonMail account was sent to the info@airport.by address in Minsk on May 23 at 9:25 utc. As ProtonMail confirmed that the second email was sent and received it must have the metadata that allows it to issue a similar confirmation about the first mail.

An additional public explanation of the fact that there were two emails in question and that its previous statement to Reuters was only with regard to the second email would be very helpful.

We should also keep in mind that this is not a question of good versus bad but true or false. One may dislike the leadership of Belarus. But one also has to acknowledge, as even The Atlantic does, that the government of Belarus acted in full accordance with the relevant laws :

Ryanair's CEO called the incident "state-sponsored hijacking." It was not. Technically, you have to be on a plane to hijack it. But the Ryanair incident was nevertheless diabolical -- and what makes it particularly diabolical is that Belarus may have managed to pull it off without violating its agreements under international law.

One should also consider that the only casualty in this incident is an openly neo-nazi regime change activist who is financed by 'western' governments .

If ProtonMail wants to take that side it is free to do so. But it can not claim neutrality, and a secure service, while doing so.

Should ProtonMail change its mind and issue a clarifying statement on the issue I will update this post accordingly.

---
Previous Moon of Alabama post on the Ryanair incident in Belarus:

Posted by b on May 29, 2021 at 14:46 UTC | Permalink

ust read this, mkay?

https://theconsciousresistance.com/protonmail-is-insecure/


psychohistorian , May 29 2021 15:15 utc | 2

GO B!!!!

I love your attack of this geo-political propaganda pig and can only suggest that when one thinks of network security they should think of Swiss cheese.

GO B!!!!

Christian J. Chuba , May 29 2021 15:17 utc | 3
regarding the first email ...
"a threat email arrived in Lithuania at 12:25 pm (9:25 utc)."

Since ProtoMail refuses to verify that Belarus received this email. Have any of the other recipients, such as Lithuania, showed the first email to anyone? This would at least confirm that Belarus was included on the recipient list. I am taking it as a given that no one will believe Belarus.
b , May 29 2021 15:23 utc | 4
"Have any of the other recipients, such as Lithuania, showed the first email to anyone? This would at least confirm that Belarus was included on the recipient list. I am taking it as a given that no one will believe Belarus."

Lithuania is hostile to Belarus. It would not reveal such information.

Christian J. Chuba , May 29 2021 16:01 utc | 5
Thanks b.

When you have an alliance of countries committed to lying about Russia, China, Iran (and friends), and get their own citizens to hate, and I mean really hate, their victims, I don't see how this ends well.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On CNN I saw yet another story on the Wuhan Lab leak and their latest take on it was to apologize for dismissing the lab leak theory last year. So their one regret was doubting our CIA because Trump and Pompeo overplayed their hand. They regret shunning their friends in the CIA because it would have helped Trump and now they have learned their lesson to forever be loyal to their government caretakers.


Perhaps naive , May 29 2021 16:02 utc | 6
If ProtonMail's position is "Unfortunately we can't comment on this as the first email is not public information yet." , perhaps Belarus should release a screenshot - showing showing time, sender, recipient, message - equivalent to the screenshost of the second email. The first email would then be just as public as the second one. ProtonMail, having lost its excuse, could then either deny or confirm the first email.
Petri Krohn , May 29 2021 16:06 utc | 7
Thank you for bringing up the issue. I still believe what I said yesterday:

I think Protonmail was criminally negligent in their tweets . Someone just shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand and they helped him pull the trigger.

Unfortunately a lie is half way around the world while truth is still tying its shoelaces.

Ms. Cat , May 29 2021 16:14 utc | 8
ProtinMail stood with the 'protesters' in both Belarus and Hong Kong:

https://protonmail.com/blog/belarus-protests-2020/

james , May 29 2021 16:14 utc | 9
b - i agree with your conclusions here... as you note, if they change, you can change your conclusion, but at present, it is the only conclusion to make as i see it... did Mikhail Khodorkovsky pay protonmail to keep silent? is protonmail run by an intel agency? etc. etc.. they may not want to say, but in this example not saying anything about the first e mail seals their duplicitous role here.. they agree to the one but when asked are silent on the other... until they change this stance, it is clear they are an asset in the western system of regime change in belarus..
james , May 29 2021 16:17 utc | 10
@ 8 ms. cat... someone ought to send a note to Ben Wolford, the guy who wrote that article asking him a question on the 2nd e mail that he can take to his superiors... otherwise he is working propaganda for a company that looks bad on him..
james , May 29 2021 16:23 utc | 11
ps - i replied to that article in the comment section... see if they respond..
vk , May 29 2021 16:26 utc | 12
Yeah, it's a myth Switzerland is a neutral country. Not only it isn't, but, since the creation of the Euro Zone, it's de facto a EU member state (its monetary policy is directly tied to the Euro, it adheres and adjust to most European law and regulations etc. etc.).

[May 29, 2021] Washington has lifted sanctions on German companies involved with the pipeline but imposed new ones on Russian entities

May 29, 2021 | turcopolier.com

NORDSTREAM. Washington has lifted sanctions on German companies involved with the pipeline but imposed new ones on Russian entities . What are we to make of this? A realisation that Berlin is determined on completion combined with face-saving meaningless toughness. Amusingly Biden's now being called " Putin's $5 million man " (because of the supposed payout by the pipeline to the supposed Russian supposed hackers). Nordstream was a " key Putin goal ", giving power to Putin , what does he have on him ? Hilarious, isn't it? Biden loved it then: here he is calling Trump Putin's puppy .

jerseycityjoan says: May 27, 2021 at 4:27 pm

Patrick:

I saw this today and while I can't say it is surprising, I am sorry that we are officially at the end of the "engagement" period with China. I hate to see our major challenges in the world increase.

I was wondering if you think we will officially recategorize our relationship with Russia, too? If so, would you expect us to also label that "competitive?" How do you think this change in our China stance will affect Russia?

Thanks.

"The U.S. is entering a period of intense competition with China as the government running the world's second-biggest economy becomes ever more tightly controlled by President Xi Jinping, the White House's top official for Asia said. "The period that was broadly described as engagement has come to an end," Kurt Campbell, the U.S. coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs on the National Security Council, said Wednesday at an event hosted by Stanford University. U.S. policy toward China will now operate under a "new set of strategic parameters," Campbell said, adding that "the dominant paradigm is going to be competition." (via Bloomberg News) Reply

[May 29, 2021] Open Thread 2021-040

Notable quotes:
"... Everything in the Western media is a hoax by default. ..."
"... Moon of Alabama picked up my comment into a post, but left out the part where I cast doubt on the sources and later questioned the whole narrative. It later turned out the story was a RFE/RL fabrication. No Belarusian MiG fighter ever forced the Ryanair plane to do anything. ..."
"... I only read filtered news. Social media is usually quite good in filtering out BS. Another good news stream is the comment section on Moon of Alabama. If something important happens, you will find a critical comment on it within a few hours. ..."
"... It turns out that, far from being an innocent young democracy activist and precocious lyceum student who could not stomach the restrictions imposed by President Lukashenko's government, as misrepresented by the Western media, Protasevich is in fact an experienced agitator with long-standing ties to the neo-Nazi fringe in the neighboring Ukraine." ..."
"... IMO, there're many parallels between Fascism, Feudalism and Neoliberalism in that ownership is completely held by the small elite circle while the masses essentially have nothing of importance. The use of Terror by all three also binds them together. ..."
May 28, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ryanair Incident - Email Warning Received Before Plane Entered Belorussian Airspace Jan , May 28 2021 18:54 utc | 5

This is an update to yesterday's post By The Book - What Really Happened With The Ryanair Flight In Belarus . That piece analyzed the timeline of the Ryanair bomb threat incident in Belarus and the response from Belorussian officials.

As part of that post I discussed the possible manipulation of a screenshot of the bomb threat email by the editor of the western financed opposition media Nexta:

Protonmail, from where the email was received, is a encrypted web-email service hosted in Switzerland which allows more or less anonymous traffic.

An alleged screenshot of the email currently gets peddled around by the Editor-in-Chief of NEXTA:

Tadeusz Giczan @TadeuszGiczan - 11:59 PM · May 26, 2021

Not that anyone had any doubts but "˜Hamas email' was sent to Minsk airport 24 minutes after Belarusian air controllers warned Ryanair pilots there's a bomb onboard.


bigger

Giczan is right in that the time shown in the screenshot is inconsistent with the timing of the Ryanair flight in the Belorussian airspace.

That however proves nothing. Time stamps in emails are notoriously unreliable as they depend on various computer timezone settings and several other variables.

Clocks, computers and phones in Switzerland are currently set to UTC(GMT)+2 hours. Clocks, computers and phones in Belarus to UTC+3. A email sent at 10:57 Geneva time would likely show up as sent at 11:57 in Minsk time. However, if the timezone of the computer/phone that is used to look at the email is set to UTC+4 the email time would be shown as 12:57.

Nice trick Mr. Nexta but that screenshot is unconvincing.

It turns out that my timezone manipulation speculation, while technically correct, might not have been an issue.

Today the Investigative Committee of Belarus, the country's proscecution service, published a note about the case (machine translation, emph. added):

Investigation of a criminal case on a deliberately false report about the "mining" of the Athens-Vilnius flight continues

At the moment, the criminal case initiated on the fact of the "mining" of the plane, which carried out the flight "Athens-Vilnius", is being processed by the USC in the city of Minsk.

These days, through destructive and extremist channels, as well as various Internet resources and Western media, incomplete and unverified information is being disseminated aimed at manipulating public opinion in their own interests. For our part, we urge the public not to popularize innuendo and cynical speculation. We consider it unacceptable to assume that someone has a monopoly on the truth until the preliminary investigation is completed.
...
It has already been established, to which we draw special attention, that there were several messages about the "mining" of the aircraft received through the Swiss anonymous mail service ProtonMail - at 12:25 and at 12:56. At the moment, the records of conversations with the pilots of the aircraft are being studied and analyzed in detail, and numerous other investigative actions are being carried out. ...

So there have been, if the officials are to be believed, two bomb threat emails. The first one at 12:25 local time (9:25 UTC) arrived five minutes before the Ryanair flight at 12:30 (9:30 UTC) entered Belorussian airspace. That would have left enough time to contact the air traffic controller who then warned the plane. The email in the screenshot received at would have been the second one.

The Ryanair pilot was warned of the bomb threat at 9:30 utc but declared Mayday only at 9:47 utc. It took him several more minutes to change the course. The sender of the emails might have watched the plane's course on Flight Aware and prepared and sent the second email when the plane seemed not to react to the first one.

Cont. reading: Ryanair Incident - Email Warning Received Before Plane Entered Belorussian Airspace

Posted by b at 18:20 UTC | Comments (28) I believe that Dossier Center actually confirms the timing of the first email with "at 12:25 pm Belarusian time, the administration of "Lithuanian Airports" received a letter with the threat of a bomb explosion on board the flight FR4978 by e-mail". This is by Google translation from the site https://dossier.center/bel-hamas/

It means that Vilnius received the email at the same time is Minsk says they received. It is unthinkable that Vilnius would have done nothing after receiving the bomb threat. It must have contacted Minsk about the email unless Vilnius new that Minsk got the same threat as well.

According to the time line, that Minsk has published, Minsk air traffic control contacted the pilot after about 3 minutes from receiving the email threat.


Petri Krohn , May 28 2021 19:02 utc | 6

I think Protonmail was criminally negligent in their tweets . Someone just shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand and they helped him pull the trigger.
b , May 28 2021 19:06 utc | 7
Thank you Jan.

It it very likely that Minsk airport received the email at the same time as Vilnius airport. The Belorussian prosecutor statement is then correct. There were two emails.

Dossier Center misleads by saying that the threat email arrived in Belarus only at 12:26 local time. But that was the second email. The alarm was triggered by the first one.

Down South , May 28 2021 19:48 utc | 8
According to the Convention of International Civil Aviation Belarus has done nothing illegal.
Article 9

b) Each contracting State reserves also the right, in exceptional circumstances or during a period of emergency, or in the interest of public safety, and with immediate effect, temporarily to restrict or prohibit flying over the whole or any part of its territory, on condition that such restriction or prohib- ition shall be applicable without distinction of nationality to aircraft of all other States.

C ) Each contracting State, under such regulations as it may prescribe, may require any aircraft entering the areas contem- plated in subparagraphs a ) or b) above to effect a landing as soon as practicable thereafter at some designated airport within its territory.

Convention on International Civil Aviation

Petri Krohn , May 28 2021 19:48 utc | 9
I commented about the earlier email in the last thread:
When was the email sent?

Mikhail Khodorkovsky is the source of this fake story. Read carefully and you will see that Lithuanian ATC received a copy of the email 6 minutes before Ryanair entered Belorussian airspace. Today's fake news is about a screenshot of another copy of the email sent half an hour later (assuming it is real).

I also included this translation from the Dossier Center:

Inconsistencies in the "terrorist" version of the Belarusian authorities - Dossier Center, May 27, 2021

On May 23, at 12:25 pm Belarusian time , the administration of "Lithuanian Airports" received a letter with the threat of a bomb explosion on board the flight FR4978 by e-mail, sent from the address ahmed_yurlanov1988@protonmail.com . It reported the following: "We, the Hamas soldiers, demand that Israel cease fire in the Gaza Strip. We demand that the EU renounce its support for Israel in this war. It is known that the participants of the Delphic Economic Forum are returning home on May 23 on flight FR4978. This plane has a bomb. If you do not fulfill our demands, the bomb will explode on May 23 over Vilnius. Allahu Akbar ".

Dossier Center offers no reason to believe the 12:25 pm email was not sent to Minsk too. The Reuters hoax, repeated in every Western media, adds two and two together (12:25 and 12:57 emails) and concludes that Minsk received no email at 12:57.

At 12:30 Ryanair was still in Ukrainian airspace and only approaching the SOMAT waypoint at the border. We do not know when exactly the flight crossed the border.

***

The legal difference between a hoax and a fabrication is that leaders and politicians are free to endorse and promote fabrications but promoting hoaxes makes them criminally liable under international criminal law. Capital crimes like this one "" I believe "" deserve the capital punishment.

foxenburg , May 28 2021 19:56 utc | 10
My instincts tell me that some clever people have successfully led some idiots a long way up a garden path and that they will now be made fools of. The icing on the cake is the capture of the smug little terrorist....a face that invites a punch.
Petri Krohn , May 28 2021 20:05 utc | 11
In April 2015 Mikhail Khodorkovsky visited Finland to meet Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb. I saw this as a very worrisome development and wrote about it on my Facebook page. Sometime in the last two years Facebook censored and removed the post (possibly on Khodorkovsky's orders). Luckily I had posted a copy on The Duran as part of my article: Is There a Plot to Expel Russia from UN Security Council?
KHODORKOVSKY MEETS FINNISH PM TO DISCUSS GOVERNMENT-IN-EXILE

NATO has chosen Mikhail Khodorkovsky to set up government-in-exile, take over Russia's UN seat and foreign assets.

The NATO plan is now obvious: Mikhail Khodorkovsky will set up puppet government-in-exile and claim to be the legitimate president of Russia. He will then ask Western governments for diplomatic recognition.

This palace coup d'état will take place not in Moscow but at the UN headquarters in New York. US security guards will remove the Russian ambassador and replace him with Khodorkovsky or his stooge.

This same scenario has been already been demonstrated before. In February 2011 the Libyan Chargé d'Affaires Ibrahim Dabbashi "" after first resigning "" took up the position of the Libyan ambassador and requested an emergency meeting of the Security Council. In less than a week the Security Council passed UNSC Resolution 1970 in effect confiscating all $100 billion dollars worth of Libya's foreign assets.

The first step of the UN Security Council in its new configuration will be to ask NATO for military assistance in removing the "pretender Putin" from the Kremlin and "liberating the Russian people from his tyranny." The US and its captive nations have a qualified majority in the Security Council so the vote will pass. (The Chinese ambassador will be prevented from casting a veto.)

A crucial part of the plan is the continuing information war against Russia. The demonization of President Putin. The Western public has already been taught the inevitability of the war against Russia.

Khodorkovsky's usurpation of power will not happen today, not yet. The NATO plan will only be put to motion once the first Russian troops overtly enter Ukrainian territory.

IN THE NEWS: Mikhail Khodorkovsky met Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb at the official summer residence Kultaranta yesterday. The meeting was held on Khodorkovsky's request.

Looks like Belarus is now going through this treatment.

Rêver , May 28 2021 20:08 utc | 12
The pieces of the puzzle start to fit together, or the dominoes start to fall, depending on how you look at it.
But unfortunately, this is no longer important to the masses fed with false narratives.
Everything will now be ridiculed as necessarily clumsy attempts by Putin and Luka to clear their names...and therefore "clues" to a "highly likely" responsibility.
Even an ICAO investigation will be reconstructed and oriented (those who do not remember the investigation on Sullenberger's January 2009 emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River, in which all 155 passengers and crew survived must watch the movie). This investigation will involve Lithuania, Poland, USA (passengers and Boeing...), Greece, France, Ireland and so on (and perhaps one seat for Belarus and Russia if not denied... for security reasons)

I posted on other thread
"the captain of the aircraft who "made the decision [to change course to Minsk] after consulting Ryanair's management", according to Kiskis."

and

Petri Krohn | May 28 2021 16:30 utc | 90
found a really interesting link. Normal behavior of trained pilot is Checklist.


When an emergency is declared, air traffic control (ATC) gives the flight "priority." Saying the magic words "declare an emergency" (or "Mayday") makes an aircraft the most important thing in the sky. If need be, ATC will move other traffic out of the way so the emergency aircraft can get to the runway as quickly as possible. ATC provides the crew with current weather, vectors (guidance) to the runway, navigation frequencies, they will contact emergency services (an ambulance if it's a medical emergency), they can even notify airline management personnel to alert them of the problem if the crew doesn't have time. For pilots, air traffic control is our "one-stop-shopping" link to services on the ground. They are awesome.
One nice perk of declaring an emergency is that the pilot-in-command of the aircraft can do whatever he/she deems necessary to keep the aircraft safe. That includes breaking Federal Aviation Regulations. Speed limits and airspace rules all go out the window once you declare an emergency. This rule encourages crews to declare an emergency even if the issue seems minor. It's a good way for the crew to cover themselves in case they accidentally break a rule while trying to deal with a problem.

I'm just not agree with maintain Flight level for "Bomb Scare". Normally is flight to minimal flight level https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Bomb_Warning:_Guidance_for_Controllers
Now, the question remains Why the pilot don't divert immediately (20 mn is too much).
And if you read the link from Petri Krohn (thanks Petri, excellent job for those 3 days!), it's not credible that the pilot can't contact Ryanair and Vilnius (he is asking Minsk ATC for frequencies???
The pilot can't be a rookie. Here are the minimal requisite to become Captain at Ryannair. https://careers.ryanair.com/pilots-requirements/

Who did he talk to ?
and how the decision to maintain the flight level and wait (in my opinion to make things worse and make air traffic control say certain things) was made.

Normally, the base of any investigation. If we don't know any more about, it's an answer.

Posted by: Rêver | May 28, 2021 at 20:00

K_C_ , May 28 2021 20:30 utc | 13
"There had been speculation that the other three persons were KGB agents. However the people were found and interviewed. All three, one Greek and two Belorussian citizen, say that they had originally planned to fly from Greece via Vilnius to Minsk. They thus had no reason to reenter the plane."

Interesting. Back when I lived in the USSA, the wife and I were on a plane that was made to divert and land at an airport that would have been our ultimate destination on the trip, but which we were only going to get to after making a stop at a further location. We were not allowed to deboard the plane and were threatened with arrest if we tried. This was about 10 years post-9/11. Mind you both destinations were within the continental United States. We were forced to land in Denver and then wait for our connecting flight to Albuquerque despite the unplanned landing was in ABQ. The same thing has happened to a couple different former co-workers. I hope the other 3 people got some of their money back and I'm glad that European airlines and airport security is different than in the USSA.

karlof1 , May 28 2021 20:34 utc | 14
Given Protasevich's earlier travels without incidents, as speculated earlier, he may have been targeted specifically because he was returning from the Delphi Conference. The rapidly authorized and blanket application of restrictions on the Belarus state airline without any evidence of wrongdoing as decried by Lukashenko seem to indicate an attempt to further attack Belarus. Belarus clearly adhered to the legal protocols for this event, and thus all the attacks on its airline have zero basis.

Recall what happening in Ukraine after the failed first coup attempt in 2004--it was further destabilized to make the next attempt succeed. The same modus is now being applied to Belarus.

The Kremlin has posted a partial transcript of the meeting between Putin and Lukashenko, where IMO it's made clear that Russia is doing quite a lot to stabilize Belarus's economy with Putin remarking "in the first quarter of this year, our trade grew by a considerable 18.4 percent;" but, their discussion about the "outburst of emotions" has yet to be made public.

Paco , May 28 2021 20:46 utc | 15
The fools are on overdrive with the MSM as their megaphone. They still call Protasevich and his doxxer lady "journalists" in spite of the toxic trail of pictures, sites and videos showing who these characters really are, but to no avail.

As a side scandal and desperation symptom some hockey tournament that at first was supposed to take place in Minsk moved to Riga, and after the plane affair the official flag of Belarus was replaced in the central city square with the "bacon" flag, the white red and white used during occupation and for a brief period after the fall of the USSR. Well, now it is known that some US Embassy official hoisted it personally, what a lack of taste to say the least.

Petri Krohn , May 28 2021 21:23 utc | 16
MSM is a HOAX wrapped in a FABRICATION "‹inside a FALSE narrative

A friend on Facebook read my post about this Ryanair hoax and posted this.

Everything in the Western media is a hoax by default. Change my mind.

I commented:

First you take it at face value.
After 1 day you notice a gigantic narrative management operation.
On day 2 you discover it was all a fabrication.
Only on day 3 do you realize that it was a hoax: anyone with access to the raw data would immediately see through the fabrication.

I made a grave mistake on Sunday. Something happened and I went to Google to look for "reliable" sources. I ended out with the Sidney Morning Herald. I then went on to congratulate Lukashenko on his well-executed revenge. But I did notice the narrative management operation and the fact that everything in the media originated from RFE/RL fraudsters.

Moon of Alabama picked up my comment into a post, but left out the part where I cast doubt on the sources and later questioned the whole narrative. It later turned out the story was a RFE/RL fabrication. No Belarusian MiG fighter ever forced the Ryanair plane to do anything.

The correct thing to do is to unsubscribe from all MSM. I found this out 10 years ago, when researching Libya. MSM propaganda invades your brain in so many levels from the factual to the emotional. Even if you filter out most levels something will still seep through.

I only read filtered news. Social media is usually quite good in filtering out BS. Another good news stream is the comment section on Moon of Alabama. If something important happens, you will find a critical comment on it within a few hours.

My plan for Belarus - Rod Liddle, The Spectator

A MiG fighter from Belarus intercepted a civilian Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius and threatened to shoot it down unless it diverted to Minsk airport. The MiG pilot informed the Ryanair pilot that he had been given permission to open fire, i.e. this was not a rogue act but one sanctioned by the Belarus President, Alexander Lukashenko. After the plane landed in Minsk, Belarus thugs boarded it and dragged off the young journalist Roman Protasevich, who apparently informed a fellow passenger that he expected to receive the death penalty.

None of this ever happened. Except for the part where Protasevich believes that he would receive the death penalty if convicted in a court of law. I do not know how severe his political crimes are, but even there I would not take his word as a fact.

On the same site I find this piece of hate speech:

Britain is right to punish Belarus for its plane hijacking - James Forsyth, The Spectator

Belarus forcing down a civilian airliner flying between two EU, and Nato, capitals is a grave threat to the international order. If any flight crossing the airspace of an autocratic regime is vulnerable to such an attack, the world begins to look a very different ­"" and more dangerous "" place. The challenge to the free world now is to hit Minsk with such a set of punishments that it doesn't dare repeat its action and that no other autocratic country tries to pull the same trick.

All this reminds me of a quote by George Orwell:

Early in life I have noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. I saw great battles reported where there had been no fighting, and complete silence where hundreds of men had been killed. I saw troops who had fought bravely denounced as cowards and traitors, and others who had never seen a shot fired hailed as heroes of imaginary victories; and I saw newspapers in London retailing these lies and eager intellectuals building emotional superstructures over events that never happened. I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what happened but of what ought to have happened according to various "party lines."
Laguerre , May 28 2021 21:24 utc | 17
Frankly who cares? The West has frequently downed airplanes in this fashion, starting with the Israeli downing of a Syrian DC3. There's nothing to say; everyone does it. If the west wants to make an issue out of it, no-one can stop them.
karlof1 , May 28 2021 21:27 utc | 18
Here's Stephen Karganovic's recap of Protasevich where he praises b's initial efforts:

"These facts are featured in an extensive expose posted on the German analytical website 'Moon of Alabama.' The hagiographical account in the 'all the news that's fit to print' 'New York Times', the German analyst says, is noteworthy primarily for the key facts that it omits. It turns out that, far from being an innocent young democracy activist and precocious lyceum student who could not stomach the restrictions imposed by President Lukashenko's government, as misrepresented by the Western media, Protasevich is in fact an experienced agitator with long-standing ties to the neo-Nazi fringe in the neighboring Ukraine."

Karganovic sees this event as an op by Belarus forces but provides no evidence for that assertion. He's pleased at its success but also knows there're many more where Protasevich came from.

Along with the Chinese government and its mouthpiece Global Times , IMO we should look more closely at the very many links the Outlaw US Empire has had since WW2 with Nazi and NeoNazi organizations and personages, while also examining the changing nature of its political economy to that of Parasitical Neoliberalism. There's also the Neoliberal Davos Reset to be included. IMO, there're many parallels between Fascism, Feudalism and Neoliberalism in that ownership is completely held by the small elite circle while the masses essentially have nothing of importance. The use of Terror by all three also binds them together.

In case you missed it, here's the Global Times discussing the Outlaw US Empire's use of Nazi methods and great willingness to do so as often as needed:

"No matter what Biden has in mind, the US government is generally up to something big against China. US executive bodies, Congress, intelligence departments, and public opinion are forming a crazy spiral. Their ultimate goal is to create and hold China accountable for the pandemic outbreak, making a new tool to severely thwart China's national interests.

"This is a big lie. German Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels once said: 'Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.' The US' radical political elites are engaged in a fever of intense competition with China. In a bid to achieve the goal, they are increasingly Nazi-like in their belief and can do whatever it takes."

Here at MoA, we've used that adage numerous times, but this is the first time I've seen it employed by a major news publication--and this publication reflects the views of China's government. IMO, the editor's use of it was okayed. The Forces of Reaction are always Dark, and this time is no different. Protasevich worked for the Dark Forces, knew it and enjoyed serving. A pawn certainly, but clearly a dangerous one.

Wolle , May 28 2021 21:52 utc | 19
News from bellingcrap: The problem was not the extra three passengers left in Minsk, but the pilots:
https://twitter.com/i_korotchenko/status/1396492018533212163/photo/1
SCNR! ;-)
Mar man , May 28 2021 23:12 utc | 20
Something most people have missed: Today, Lukashenko personally delivered a briefcase directly to Putin containing documents related to the arrest of Roman Protasevich. What could possibly be so sensitive that any type of electronic communication would be too risky and required hard copies to be delivered personally?

Why would the documents be so important to Russia? Very interesting if Protasevich's laptop or phone had some extremely incriminating evidence of a plot against Belarus and Russia.

snake , May 28 2021 23:31 utc | 21
Ryanair-gate would not be important if governments were denied the privilege of conducting its affairs in secret from those it governs and if governments were denied the privilege of sovereign immunity, which keeps the rest of the world in the dark. The private oligarch uses state secrecy and sovereign immunity to command its economic aggressions and conduct for private profit is foreign wars.

So few changes in barricade type privileges associated to nation state power would make such a big difference to global humanity.

CovertCalifornia , May 28 2021 23:34 utc | 22
Protasevich could be a double agent who was found out and risked getting killed or imprisoned at the end of his trip. In that case, hastily inventing a bomb threat from "Hamas agent" and exfiltrating him by downing the plane would make sense.

[May 28, 2021] Biden aministsration is building a coalition to challenge China. It wants to neutralize Russia. Nord Stream 2 is an element of contention

May 20, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Max , May 19 2021 21:16 utc | 26

@ Old man of the sea | May 19 2021 20:46 utc | 22

One can't blame everything on Israel. Yes, it is part of five eyes, more like SIX eyes.

Biden (JB) is building a coalition to challenge China. JB's administration wants to neutralize Russia. Nord Stream 2 is an element of contention and by making a concession JB is making Germany and Russia happy. Agree, that its completion will be a "huge geopolitical win for Putin". Let's see when Nord Stream 2 becomes fully operational. Time will tell.

Russia's main focus is De-Dollarization, stability in Russia and in its neighborhood.

China's announcement about Bitcoin led to it dropping by 30%. What will China, Russia, Turkey and Iran announcement about the U$A dollar do to its value and the market? When will China become the #1 ECONOMY?

THE MOST DANGEROUS DECADE: 2018-2028

Stonebird , May 19 2021 21:42 utc | 29

Old man of the sea | May 19 2021 20:46 utc | 22

The US is now the largest provider of LNG, so there is relatively little more financial advantage to be gained from a direct confrontation with Germany or Russia. Political maybe, but the dedollarisation is starting to take hold. (Aside; even Israel depends on the strength of the dollar to continue, like musical chairs, when the music stops there will be precious few chairs left ). The Gas/Oil lobbies in the US who are behind the sanctions may have some other trick up their sleeve, but the deflation of Zelensky in Ukraine, and the opening up of a steal-fest of Ukrainian assets might compensate.

***
Note that the West has closed Syrian Embassies so as to stop Syrians voting for Assad. They steal it's oil, and Syria is still next to Israel and doing relatively well in spite of tanker bombings, and missiles. It is also possible that, as you say, there is a price for non-interference in Israel itself.

[May 28, 2021] We must cultivate among the Ukrainians a people whose consciousness is altered to such an extent, that they begin to hate everything Russian -- Who said this why?

May 20, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Max , May 19 2021 19:25 utc | 12

The key characteristics of the SOCIOECONOMIC system of a suzerainty are hierarchy, polarization and exploitation. This enables the Global Financial Syndicate to drive PRIVATE CONTROL by privatization, extracting profits and increasing its power. Without this system it can't survive, capture new entities and increase its power.

In analyzing any situation one need to understand the POWER DYNAMICS. This enables one to understand the hierarchy of religions, nations, corporations, elites,...There seems to be a well defined playbook that is being followed to expand the global power. However, now it seems to be failing?

Is this a good chart of the POWER PLAYERS driving U$A's and international developments?

(Solid lines refer to funding and dashed lines refer to mostly ideological connections)

Does this Global Power Pyramid provide a good overview of the global entities?

Are there better charts and overview of the power players?

If one were to view Israel from an imperialist lens then it is a beachhead in the Middle East of the Financial Empire like the Colony of Virginia (1606). The IMPERIALIST goal is to create a Middle East Union (MEU), similar to the United States and the EU. Israel will be the financial, technological, military and trading hub of the ME? It will drive decimation of states to steal the region's land, oil gas and natural resources, so they can be priced in the Empire's currency.

What were the strategies and tactics used by the Imperialist settlers to steal land from the Native Americans? Wasn't (freedom of) religion one of the dimensions? How was the LAND stolen from natives of America? Weren't treaties made in bad faith? "In 1830, US Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, forcing many indigenous peoples east of the Mississippi from their lands." Ayn Rand framed it as ... to the graduating Class Of U$A's military academy at West Point

Which of the past patterns of stealing land and getting rid of the natives are being repeated by Israel? We're watching a tragedy and living through an epoch in the history of humanity.

Max , May 19 2021 20:35 utc | 20

One more thing... MECHANISM of power & control expansions to capture resources and control points...

Is this a good overview of what happened in Ukraine? It discusses various power players, plans and ploys.

"Anyone who does not understand contemporary history as a chain of decisions and events and instead always takes only the end link of a long chain into account – will not understand anything at all."

"We must cultivate among the Ukrainians a people whose consciousness is altered to such an extent, that they begin to hate everything Russian". -- Who said this & why?

The Dollar Empire is working towards neutralizing Russia through short term concessions. Russia has defined redlines and demanded no interferences with Nord Stream 2, Belarus, Syria & Ukraine (implementation of the Minsk agreement). Also, no NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia. Russia wants to develop Iran and Turkey as regional powers, and be the third power to that of the U$A and China. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

[May 28, 2021] Ukraine has become a financial black hole for the West, and the USA is trying to get rid of it by throwing it to the EU's arms

May 23, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , May 23 2021 15:36 utc | 4

The The Hill piece linked in the week in review here confirms our suspicions Ukraine has become a financial black hole for the West, and the USA is trying to get rid of it by throwing it to the EU's arms:

Instead of expending diplomatic capital on a campaign to stop Nord Stream 2, the Biden administration should work with its European partners to prepare Ukraine to withstand the pipeline's completion. The deadline for action is 2024, when Kyiv's current gas contract and President Biden's term effectively end. By that time, Washington and Brussels should formulate and implement an economic package that, first and foremost, covers Ukraine's inevitable budget shortfall from the loss of transit fees to keep the Ukrainian state running. This package should, however, also invest in the country's sustainable growth. That would entail material and technical support for Kyiv's ongoing anti-corruption campaign, whose success is a prerequisite for attracting long-term investment. One idea worth considering is a loan to cover revenue shortfalls, whose repayment would be incrementally forgiven in exchange for concrete progress on reforms by Kyiv.

That won't happen. The easiest way you can infer that is that the USA and Germany don't even have the resources to invest in green energy in their own territories, let alone on third-parties' territories. Hell, the USA doesn't even have the resources to rebuild Puerto Rico.

This is not the 1950s. The American Empire's bottomless pocket is no more.

[May 28, 2021] Note To Greenwald - The 'Russian' Pipeline Is A Germany Need

May 23, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Caliman , May 20 2021 16:44 utc | 5

Glenn Greenwald writes that President Trump acted more hostile to Russia than President Biden does, even while the media claimed that Trump was 'a Russian agent'. It is probably a fair point to make but in his piece Greenwald himself falls for anti-Russian propaganda nonsense.

The problem starts with the headline:

Biden, Reversing Trump, Permits a Key Putin Goal: a New Russian Natural Gas Pipeline to Germany
That Trump was controlled by Putin and served his agenda was the opposite of reality. First Obama, and now Biden, have accommodated Moscow far more.

Greenwald seems to presume that it is the right or the job of a U.S. president to 'permit' pipelines between two foreign country? That is of course completely false. The U.S. has no right, duty or whatever to interfere in regular businesses between foreign partners. Such interference is in fact illegal under international law. Biden, as well as Trump, should be criticized for even thinking about 'permitting' it.

On to Greenwald's main point:

When it came to actual vital Russian interests" as opposed to the symbolic gestures hyped by the liberal cable and op-ed page circus" Trump and his administration were confronting and undermining the Kremlin in ways Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, had, to his credit, steadfastly refused to do.

Indeed, the foreign policy trait relentlessly attributed to Trump in support of the media's Cold War conspiracy theory" namely, an aversion to confronting Putin" was, in reality, an overarching and explicit belief of President Obama's foreign policy, not President Trump's.

Obama waged a massive undercover war to overthrow the Syrian government, an old Russian ally. He arranged a fascist coup in the Ukraine and he sent the anti-Russian academic Michael McFaul as ambassador to Russia where McFaul immediately started to prepare a color revolution against President Putin. It was the Obama administration which launched the 'Russiagate' campaign against Trump which further infested U.S. policies with anti-Russian sentiment.

Seen from the Russian side Obama certainly showed absolutely no 'aversion to confronting Putin'.

While Trump ripped up arms treaties with Russia and gave a few useless weapons to the Ukraine, making sure they would not reach the front lines, he otherwise took, thankfully, few other damaging steps.


bigger

Now on to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline of which Greenwald writes:

Cont. reading: Note To Greenwald - The 'Russian' Pipeline Is A Germany Need

Well, the fact that the pipeline has not been finished for years, despite being near completion, tells us that it's not actually true that the "pipeline would have been finished with or without US sanctions." Certainly, it seems that Trump's pressure did work to severely slow down if not completely stop the completion of the project and presumably Biden could have continued that pressure. Btw, didn't the front-running Green party head come out against the pipeline, showing that there's not unanimous support in Germany for its completion?

But more importantly, Greenwald's main point is that Trump's actions had nothing to do with the Russian Puppet narrative against him. That both Biden and previously Obama were less "anti-Russian" in practice and yet were thought to be "tough" on Russia, while Trump (providing lethal arms to Ukraine and stopping NS2) was a "puppet" ... narrative building by the Deep State. Greenwald's larger point is in fact accurate.


jared , May 20 2021 17:10 utc | 8

I think Greenwald was thrown off by what seems a sudden reversal and positive step by Biden administration.

Personally I think Biden Administration was stunned at almost having instigated WW3 within 100 days of taking office. They looked fairly like amateur idiots even to the unwashed such as myself. Then they realized that it would be difficult and given their evident ineptness they chose the well proven political tactic of taking the loss and making it a win. Voila they are genious - why didnt Trump think of that?

We in the US must accept that our government is craven incompetents and have to hope that they might accidentally do something good by virtue of being so incompetent.

Harry , May 20 2021 17:15 utc | 9

Greenwald makes an error but it is understandable. NS2 pipeline wont deliver enough gas to truly make a significant difference to Germany. Where it makes a difference is to Ukraine, which will struggle to steal as much gas from Russia as it has in the past. Gas transit rates will fall, and if Ukraine doesnt like it RF will still be able to supply Germany without Ukraine stealing gas which was meant for Germany.

But who will make good any shortfall in Ukraine's budget?

Roger , May 20 2021 17:51 utc | 13

The early closure of the Netherlands Groningen natural gas field, due to land subsidence, was a big hit to European energy security - especially with the move from coal/nuclear to natural gas. B is very right in stating that Europe desperately needs Russian gas to fill a yawning future hole between supply and demand. Russia is also developing their Arctic gas reserves, which can be provided as LNG to Europe (as well as Asia). Very bad for the Ukrainians, but they (or the US and the Nazis) picked their bed and can deal with the consequences.

The Russians opened the Power of Siberia gas pipeline to China, and have agreements to start development on additional pipelines. China is rapidly expanding natural gas usage so no demand problem there.

Seems like the Biden administration took their "hardass" shot in the past months and it blew up in their face. Now they have to take a step back and play a bit better with their so-called allies. Probably won't last long, the US elite have extreme learning difficulties when it comes to the reality of their decline from the Unipolar moment.

karlof1 , May 20 2021 17:56 utc | 15

This is somewhat OT to the subject, but it's clear to me a greater understanding of the Russian POV is needed. Although the transcript is currently incomplete, this meeting of the Russian Pobeda (Victory) Organising Committee provides an excellent insight into the Russian mind, and IMO this excerpt says a great deal:

"Regrettably, the ranks of the great generation of victors are thinning out. But this is only increasing our responsibility for preserving their legacy, especially now that we are witnessing increasingly frequent attempts to slander and distort history and to revise the role played by the Red Army in the routing of Nazism and the liberation of European nations from the Nazi plague.

"We understand the reasons for this, and attempts to hamper the development of this country, regardless of its name, be it the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union or Russia, were made in different times and historical epochs and under different political systems. These approaches and principles remain the same. There is one principle or rather, one reason for containing Russia: the stronger and more independent Russia becomes, the more consistently it defends its national interests, the greater the striving of foreign forces to weaken it, to discredit the values uniting our society and sometimes to slander and distort what people hold dear, the things that are instilled in the younger generations of Russians and which help them acquire a strong character and their own opinions .

"This is why all kinds of Russophobic individuals and unscrupulous politicians are trying to attack Russian history, to promote the ideas of revising the results of World War II and to exonerate Nazi criminals." [My Emphasis]

And the geopolitical dynamic has drastically shifted from Greater Europe to Greater Eurasia. Here are Putin's comments from yesterday :

"Very soon, we will be celebrating 20 years of our core bilateral document, the Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation. Since the signing of this treaty, Russia and China have achieved great success in strengthening our multidimensional cooperation and mutual trust across all areas without exception: politics, international affairs, trade and the economy, cultural and humanitarian exchanges. It can be said that Russia-China relations have reached their highest level in history."

And those relations will certainly reach much greater heights regardless the nature of Russian-EU relations.

S , May 20 2021 18:36 utc | 20
@SoMuchToLearn #18:
I'm puzzled by b's arithmetic on the gas flow rates

Apart from Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2, there are also old Soviet pipelines that go through Belarus and Ukraine, as well as the recently completed Turk Stream, part of which is used to export gas to Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia (and soon Hungary, Bosnia and Austria).

ZigZag , May 20 2021 18:38 utc | 21
@11
My two cents on that is that the old surface Power-structure of Germany has been crumbling rapidly for around the last decade. Merkel has left the christian conservative party in shambles and there's no one with enough gravitas around to fill the giant sized shoes she's left vacant, same thing with the social democrats who've been in a freefall from 35% to now barely 15% for the last 15 years. Environmentalism coated Neoliberalism seems to be the maxim of the hour in the leftists and centrists spheres, and almost everyone, but foremost the Green Party, is trying to ride that wave to the finish line. Don't expect peoples first policies, climate change will dominate the election, and we'll likely be wrapped up in more deindustrialization coupled with an ever more chaotic energy policy. If anything the average persons cost of living in terms of rent, energy, food and transportation will continue to rise, while jobs in traditional industry sectors will continue to fall off. I haven't heard a coherent plan on how the German economy is supposed to work like 10 years from now, and there likely is none, all I expect is more taxes and the possibility of plundering social security trust funds to address whatever critical infrastructure issue will face us next.

@14
Green-Party was about to oust the Conservatives in a major federal state election. People got really riled up by nuclear, especially since there already was an ongoing controversy around long term waste storage. It was one of Merkels signature opportunistic moves that aimed to size the moment in absence of long term planing. It didn't work btw, Greens still ousted them, but once you make a big move like that there's not going back without losing face, but it does seem like exiting nuclear proved to be a popular strategy with the electorate in the long run. I'm sure that are more complex/intricate theories around, but I can't speak on that

FMG , May 20 2021 18:56 utc | 26

Here in Brasil Greenwald is known as a CIA asset. Just ask Pepe Escobar.

Michael Crockett , May 20 2021 19:11 utc | 31

Thanks b. The Empire of the Deranged is in a steady downward slide. By its own hand, through financial engineering (stock buy back schemes fueled by bailout's of bankrupt corporations plus derivatives etc. etc.) Add to this, restrictions on the use of swift. The US devalues its own currency. Other countries are not so interested in purchasing US debt to offset rising US deficit. Include all of that with our foreign policymaking which angers even our allies like Germany, as you point out with NS2. The Leaders think they can snap their fingers and bring the world to heel. That ship sailed a long time ago. The multi-polar world is a reality that the paper tiger struggles with. To Glen Greenwald's Brazil, US influence evaporates should Lula get elected as the next President. The tiger is toothless Glen, no need to give it more authority than it has.

DougDiggler , May 20 2021 19:32 utc | 35

With the US pressuring Germany to end NS-2 in favor of importing much more expensive fracked US gas, we see that the US thinks there is nothing wrong with asking it's vassal states to cut their own throats (forego steps to retain their economic competitiveness) to please their patron. The idiocy of Cold War 2 is costing US allies a lot and seems inimical to the very idea of US allies even regarding their own national interests. One would hope this is leading to either a re-evaluation of these alliances or a revolt of the satraps.

Max , May 20 2021 19:40 utc | 37
thanks b... Agree that "the U.S. has no right, duty or whatever to interfere in regular businesses between foreign partners." Every journalists needs to be making this key point.

Any geopolitical article that doesn't address the MONETARY arena is missing an important element and thereby incomplete. Greenwald's article is missing many key points and mistaken (&/or misleading) by taking U$A's political trickery angle. It is all about the POWER game that involves deceptions, like sending the director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on a Red Cross mission to Russia or committing to not moving NATO forces towards Russia in 1991.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT
Vladimir Putin in his Munich (2007) speech announced Russia's pivot away from the Dollar Empire and unwillingness to be a vassal. The Dollar Empire challenged Russia through Georgia in 2008. Obama & Clinton fooled Russia through their reset announcement and got a go ahead to attack Libya. The relationship was calm in 2012. Obama fooled Medvedev by saying, "he will have "more flexibility" to deal with contentious issues," after reelection, in early 2012. However, Vladimir Putin was back in 2013 and the Dollar Empire realized it has been outplayed. It moved aggressively after the two outside Russian military bases in Syria and Ukraine. Russia captured Crimea in 2014, and Putin declared Russia's willingness to go to war in Syria (2015). The Imperial Council of the United States was surprised by Russia's move into Syria and wasn't ready for a war. In the meantime, China was developing strong. Here comes Trump in 2017. It seems like the Imperial Council and its Intelligence Community came with a new ploy to associate Trump with Russia, so they can bully China and bend it over on trade. China stood up to Empire's challenge and developed its independence plan! In the meantime Trump increased sanctions on Russia using the Congress as a pretext while strengthening Ukraine. The sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 brought halt to work in December 2019. Did Trump FOOL Putin/Russia by stating, "he will have "more flexibility" to deal with contentious issues," after reelection? The reasoning behind this question is that Russia didn't start work on the pipeline until the election was over in December 2020. One year wait to start work on the pipeline.

MISSING DIMENSIONS
Why isn't Greenwald speaking against the dollar monetary imperialism and enslavement? Very rarely one come across a journalist that shines light on reality and exposes truth. It seems like Empire's MSM and journalists are making a big deal of this minuscule Nord Stream 2 sanction waiving. Why? It is just propaganda and perception management to create distrust in the China-Russia relationship? No one is mentioning Russia's redlines or its ability to retaliate to additional sanctions. Andrei Martyanow gets it right!

Please analyze every geopolitical development from the MONETARY lens too. Russia as part of its De-Dollarization plan is offering energy deals in national currencies to win nations in Eurasia, including Japan. In which currency is the U$A offering its LNG ? US$? Also, it seems like Russia's transit payments to Ukraine are in the US$. In addition to providing an alternate route, the Nord Stream 2 increases Russia's leverage with Ukraine. Imagine if those transit payments were in Rubles to Ukraine, Russia's leverage will be immense.

China, Russia, Germany, Japan... (Non-$ Bloc) are standing up to dollar's monetary imperialism, and seeking more trade in their respective national currencies. The EU and Germany will pay for its energy in Euros and reduce threats to their economies. Why don't journalists address the monetary or currency dimensions?

RUSSIAN SUCCESSES?
Successfully completing the Nord Stream 2 and supplying gas to Europe in Euros will be a huge victory for Russia and Germany. It has yet to implement its agreements (Minsk, Astana, JCPOA...). All its conflicts are frozen and unresolved. Please share agreements that Russia has successfully delivered on in the 21st Century, particularly when the Dollar Empire is involved. Will the Empire surprise Russia by attacking on multiple fronts?

The Logic of U$A Foreign Policy

bjd , May 20 2021 19:44 utc | 38
Very worthwhile opinion, the debate between you and Greenwald sharpens the mind on this issue.
Alpi , May 20 2021 19:47 utc | 39
To say that there is a shift in US geopolitical policies, is an understatement. In short, IMO, Biden is going back to Obama's plan and his pivot to Asia. Therefore, it is China, China, China. Nothing else matters that much right now.

1. Nordstream 2 settled"¦..check
2. Germany and Europeans happy"¦..check
3. Settling ME problems with going back to JCPOA, promoting KSA and Iran peace, pulling out of Afghanistan (not ME)"¦..check
4. Putting Israel in its place (via a shift in media coverage and taking away support slowly and congress expressions of outrage) "¦..check
5. Abstention form UN resolution punishing Israel"¦"¦.coming up
6. Taking Europeans to the South East China confrontation"¦..coming up
7. Prying away Iran and Russia away from China"¦"¦wishful thinking, hopefully.
8. Ousting Netanyahoo"¦"¦coming up

Although, Biden is a zionist, Netanyahu and his antics are not convenient at this time and Israel takes a back seat to grand chessboard strategy.

Greenwald's and b's commentaries are a bit of a sideshow, in my opinion. Best concentrate on the outcome and the bigger picture instead of this he said she said.

Passer by , May 20 2021 19:53 utc | 42
What happened this year is that the winter was cold, gas storage in Europe was nearly depleted, and Europe needed huge amounts of russian gas.

The other problem is that LNG is more expensive in Asia, causing LNG producers and shippers to prefer the asian market.

There are many more issues as well - such as the hit on US producers by the Covid crisis, Germany moving the carbon goal posts from 2050 to 2045, green energy problems this winter in Germany, explosions on pipelines in Ukraine, and so on.

It is also true that Russia is readying Power of Siberia 2 and 3 pipelines to China, as well as actively developing its own LNG exports.

Skiffer , May 20 2021 20:06 utc | 43
In response to SoMuchToLearn@18,

The disputed claim by Greenwald is that, "Nord Stream 2... is designed to double Russian sales capacity to an EU addicted to cheap Russian natural gas, producing massive revenue for the Russian economy and giving Moscow greater leverage when dealing with its European neighbors." This is very different from the statement that NS2 together with NS1 is twice the capacity of NS1 on its own.

There are several, to my mind, wrongful assumptions in Greenwald's claim.

The first, that the EU wants to increase its purchases of Russian gas, but is prevented from doing so solely due to the lack of infrastructure which, presumably, is operating at full capacity. From this assumption, it then follows that Russia is expecting massive revenues from an increase in transit capacity, since customers are already standing by. Finally, as a result of supplying significantly more gas to Europe and earning substantially more money from it, Moscow can be expected to take advantage of its position as an energy supplier to pressure Europe over political matters.

While it's true that European gas-needs are growing, it's more of a long-term projected development and not some energy crisis straining the current configuration. A more topical and urgent crisis is the situation in Ukraine and the state of disrepair of the gas transit infrastructure in that country, which not long ago accounted for 80% of Russian gas supplied to Europe. IIRC, official estimates gave these pipelines a few short years before becoming unusable without major repair efforts -- something like 5 years -- and coupled with the state of the country itself, it's not impossible that the pipelines outlive the state.

If we, for the sake of argument, assume that Ukraine and/or the gas infrastructure on that territory ceases to function tomorrow, halting all gas transits to Europe in the blink of an eye, which isn't as far-fetched as you might think, the result would be an energy crisis. Already, this crisis would not be of catastrophic proportions as it would have been a mere decade ago, due to alternative transit routes established to lessen reliance on Ukrainian pipelines. NS2 is designed to eliminate reliance on Ukrainian pipelines completely, if one disregards various political commitments made by Russia on Europe's behalf to retain part of its gas export through Ukraine, which I'm sure would fall to the wayside the moment European capitals started going dark. Of course, cutting off transit states also has the added benefit of making the gas cheaper and thus the contract becomes more lucrative, but that's more of a bonus.

If we, for the sake of argument, assume that all the pipelines to Europe are working at full capacity, and Europe desperately needs more gas -- say, 25 years from now when no new green alternatives have presented themselves and no new pipelines have been built because the war of sanctions continues -- there's always LNG, which Russia can supply at a competitive price, and the port infrastructure for that is already available, provided the EU is willing to resolve its energy problems collectively.

From this it follows that, no, Russia isn't expecting massive revenues to come flooding in at the completion of NS2. They're presumably expecting massive revenues from new energy projects in Asia, but they're at worst expecting to retain the current revenue in the European market, and at best see it grow in connection with European economy. Certainly, they wouldn't like to lose the European market, especially due to unpredictable incidents abroad that are outside of their control, but Europe is arguably much more vulnerable and has more to lose from such an eventuality.

Lastly, since we are no longer expecting an immediate increase in European reliance on Russian energy following NS2, how does it translate to Russian leverage over European politics? Russia is already Europe's main supplier of, not only gas, but crude oil which accounts for 2/3 of Europe's energy supply (gas is 24%). If Russia wants to leverage its position as the main energy supplier to Europe, it does not need NS2 to do so, and shutting down NS2 will not prevent it from doing so.

Passer by , May 20 2021 20:10 utc | 44
Posted by: Roger | May 20 2021 17:51 utc | 13

>>The early closure of the Netherlands Groningen natural gas field, due to land subsidence, was a big hit to European energy security

Yes, this too.

Posted by: Dutch | May 20 2021 19:51 utc | 41

>>The impressive year-on-year surge, to nearly 53 billion cubic meters, is reportedly due to the cold (in European terms) winter season.

Exactly.

[May 28, 2021] The danger of blocking North Stream Ii is that Russia can start delivering LNG to Western and Northern Europe at much more competitive prices than the American LNG, through the Arctic route

May 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , May 20 2021 0:15 utc | 49

@ Posted by: ptb | May 19 2021 23:58 utc | 45

It's Izvestia and it was in Russian, that's why I'm not able to recover it. It was also machine translated, so I may well have gotten the wrong message.

But yeah, from what I understood, the spirit of the article was that it was just a matter of time before Russia start to deliver LNG to Western and Northern Europe at much more competitive prices than the American LNG, through the Arctic route (investment in icebreakers, gas pipelines, oil pipelines, nuclear reactors etc. etc.).

[May 28, 2021] Our race is the Master Race. We are divine gods on this planet. We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects.

May 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Truth be told , May 19 2021 20:36 utc | 21

"Our race is the Master Race. We are divine gods on this planet. We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects. In fact, compared to our race, other races are beasts and animals, cattle at best. Other races are considered as human excrement. Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races. Our earthly kingdom will be ruled by our leader with a rod of iron. The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves." -- Menachem Begin (Israeli Prime Minister, 1977-1983)

[May 28, 2021] EU Parliament report says regime change needed in Russia, recommends Brussels launch propaganda TV channel to help it happen

Notable quotes:
"... A draft report published online by the assembly's Committee on Foreign Affairs caused consternation in Russian media on Monday, after statements came to light that argued the bloc "should establish with the US a transatlantic alliance to defend democracy globally" and "deter Russia" from supposed aggression in Eastern Europe. ..."
May 20, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , May 19 2021 22:31 utc | 35

Very aggressive stuff from the EU:

EU Parliament report says regime change needed in Russia, recommends Brussels launch propaganda TV channel to help it happen

A draft report published online by the assembly's Committee on Foreign Affairs caused consternation in Russian media on Monday, after statements came to light that argued the bloc "should establish with the US a transatlantic alliance to defend democracy globally" and "deter Russia" from supposed aggression in Eastern Europe.

As part of its "vision" for future ties with Moscow, the paper concludes that the EU should put forward a number of incentives designed to persuade Russians that a turn to the West would be beneficial, including visa liberalization and "free trade investment."

[...]

At the same time, the committee puts forward a number of extreme steps that it says the bloc should take. It insists that Brussels "must be prepared not to recognize the parliament of Russia and to ask for Russia's suspension from international organizations with parliamentary assemblies if the 2021 parliamentary elections in Russia are recognized as fraudulent."

The success or failure of this operation will depend entirely on the Russian people. Will it fall for the Western European honey trap once again?

After Putin is gone, bets are off. Also, the EU continues to suffer from refugee waves from Syria and Libya, and its economy continues to deteriorate (recession confirmed for Q1 2021). The whole system is so exhausted that they don't talk about even of the absorption of Moldova anymore (the Moldovan president had to bring that up to the Kremlin; good they remembered them).

--//--

US waives sanctions against Nord Stream company and CEO as Blinken & Lavrov meet in Iceland

This looks like Biden had some surge of sanity, but it's not: I read an article on Izvestia some days ago and it seems Russia won the war for the Arctic and has expelled the USA from that sea. That, combined with the fact that Russia has been ramping up investment on the sector, results in the fact that, soon enough, Russia will also have the infrastructure to deliver cheaper LNG by ship to Europe, too.

That means the USA has given up on the NordStream II in order to hurt the Russian LNG investments. Yes, people, that's the insanity of the situation: the USG is completely lost. It still has its ace in the hole, though: the Green Party is set to win the next German general elections, and they're rabid Atlanticists. Like, this would cost Germany dearly and they wouldn't last two years in government, but at least Russian gas to Europe through a non-Ukrainian route would be stopped.

Speaking of the Ukraine, this whole situation makes us reflect: it is patent at this point in time that the EU is a subsidiary of NATO - it expands eastwards after those countries become NATO members. They're the "socioeconomic" version of NATO. This has created a huge problem for the EU, though, because the Ukraine is a massive financial black hole to the American economy (through the IMF) and the USA is pressuring the EU to make it a member quick, so that this black hole goes to European (i.e. German) hands. The thing is Germany obviously doesn't want that, because it needs the Euro to keep at where it is or stronger (you can only enter the EU by entering the EZ nowadays). The Ukraine is salivating to become an EZ member - that's the whole point of the Maidan coup in the first place - so Ukraine entering the EU without entering the EZ is out of the table. The EU must've told the USA that no, the Ukraine must first become a NATO member, then they'll make it an EZ-EU member. The Ukraine is the proverbial hot potato.

All of that coupled with the hard economic fact that, without the Russian gas transit exclusivity, you can't leverage Ukraine's debt, because, after Maidan, all of the public goods and infrastructure were privatized to American capitalists. That means we have the absurd situation where Germany has to give up cheaper gas for itself (which would be essential for its economic recovery) in order to make the Ukraine happy so that it enters the EU, so that it becomes a financial black hole... to the German economy! Germany has to pay the Ukraine for the privilege of having to pay it even more, for eternity.

The price of nation-building has become more and more expensive to the capitalist world. Turns out those Third World shitholes have learned something after all those decades.

--//--

Well, well, well... how the tables have turned:

Iron Curtain reversed? EU agrees to open up to foreign tourists fully vaccinated against Covid-19, but NOT to those who've had Russia's Sputnik V jab

Taiwan is also suffering from a significant brain drain to the Mainland. They're trying to solve the problem by demonizing those people by calling them "traitors".

Interesting times.

--//--

Colonial Pipeline CEO confirms paying $4.4 million ransom to hackers, says he did it for America

This is USSR-of-the-1980s level of propaganda.

Either way, give that man a statue in D.C.!

P.S.: this is the quotation of what the CEO really said, so you don't accusing me of just reading the headline:

"[it was very hard, difficult to me etc. etc.] But it was the right thing to do for the country," Blount, who leads the company since 2017, added.

--//--

No shit, Sherlock:

Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine hasn't been approved by EU due to political pressure from top officials – Moscow's spy chief

[May 28, 2021] Was the Colonial Pipeline Co. ransomware attack a false flag operation ?

Probably it was not a false flag. First of all the state of IT security at Colonial Pipeline was so dismal that it was strange that this did not happened before. And there might be some truth that they try to exploit this hack to thier advantage as maintenance of the pipeline is also is dismal shape.
Notable quotes:
"... "As for the money-nobody really knows where it really went." If you are right about the perpetrators, my guess would be that it went into the black-ops fund, two birds one stone. ..."
"... I have become so used to false flags, I am going to be shocked when a real intrusion happens! ..."
"... an in depth article researching solarwinds hack - looks like it was Israel, not a great leap to see that colonial was a false flag https://unlimitedhangout.com/2021/01/investigative-reports/another-mega-group-spy-scandal-samanage-sabotage-and-the-solarwinds-hack/ ..."
"... Regarding the ownership of Colonial Pipeline: 'IFM Investors, which is owned by 27 Australian union- and employer-backed industry superannuation funds, owns a 16 per cent stake in Colonial Pipeline, which the infrastructure manager bought in 2007 for $US651 million.' ..."
"... 'The privately held Colonial Pipeline is valued at about $US8 billion, based upon the most recent sale of a 10 per cent stake to a unit of Royal Dutch Shell in 2019.' ..."
May 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Blackhat , May 19 2021 18:51 utc | 6

The Colonial Pipeline Co.,ransomware attack was a false flag. They wanted to blame Russian hackers so they could derail Nordstream II

It is common knowledge that the only real hackers that are able of such sabotage is CIA and Israeli. It's the same attack types they do to Iranian infrastructure on a regular basis.

The Russians are not that stupid to do something they know will be blamed on them and is of no political use to them. And could derail Nordstream2.

As for the money-nobody really knows where it really went. CEO is ultra corrupt. They never ever invested in their infrastructure so when it went down they came up with a profitable excuse. Just look at their financials/balance sheet over the years. No real investment in updating and maintaining infrastructure. Great false flag. Corruption and profiteering.


MarkU , May 19 2021 19:04 utc | 7

@ Blackhat | May 19 2021 18:51 utc | 6

"As for the money-nobody really knows where it really went." If you are right about the perpetrators, my guess would be that it went into the black-ops fund, two birds one stone.

james , May 19 2021 19:08 utc | 9

@ 6 blackhat..

I have become so used to false flags, I am going to be shocked when a real intrusion happens!

abee , May 19 2021 19:21 utc | 10

@ blackhat 6

an in depth article researching solarwinds hack - looks like it was Israel, not a great leap to see that colonial was a false flag https://unlimitedhangout.com/2021/01/investigative-reports/another-mega-group-spy-scandal-samanage-sabotage-and-the-solarwinds-hack/

vinnieoh , May 19 2021 20:05 utc | 15

Blackhat | May 19 2021 18:51 utc | 6

I'm not familiar with your handle - hello. IMO, it would be counterproductive for Russia to initiate such a hack. What really affects and debilitates US oil and gas interests is low prices, both at the pump and on the stock exchange. The hack helped jack up prices (which were already being jacked-up despite demand still lagging behind supply) which only HELPS those energy interests. It has long been known, the math isn't complicated, what level crude must trade at for US domestic oil & gas operations to be profitable. Remember that just as the pandemic was emerging Russia and Saudi Arabia once again sent the global crude market into the depths of despair.

I do agree the hack can be interpreted in light of the desperation of US energy interests to try to kill NS2. I have not yet read the recent articles discussing Biden's recent moves in that regard. If these moves are a recognition that US LNG to Europe (and elsewhere) are diametrically opposed to climate responsibility, I'd welcome those moves. As is usually the case though, environmental responsibility is probably the least likely reason.

vk , May 19 2021 22:31 utc | 35

Colonial Pipeline CEO confirms paying $4.4 million ransom to hackers, says he did it for America

This is USSR-of-the-1980s level of propaganda. Either way, give that man a statue in D.C.!

P.S.: this is the quotation of what the CEO really said, so you don't accusing me of just reading the headline:

"[it was very hard, difficult to me etc. etc.] But it was the right thing to do for the country," Blount, who leads the company since 2017, added.

--//--

No shit, Sherlock:

Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine hasn't been approved by EU due to political pressure from top officials – Moscow's spy chief

Paul , May 19 2021 23:42 utc | 42

Posted By Oldhippy @28

Thanks for your comment.

Regarding the ownership of Colonial Pipeline: 'IFM Investors, which is owned by 27 Australian union- and employer-backed industry superannuation funds, owns a 16 per cent stake in Colonial Pipeline, which the infrastructure manager bought in 2007 for $US651 million.'

also

'The privately held Colonial Pipeline is valued at about $US8 billion, based upon the most recent sale of a 10 per cent stake to a unit of Royal Dutch Shell in 2019.'

see Australian Financial Review 6 days ago.

Koch may well own another multi million $ stake.

[May 28, 2021] The Global Financial Syndicate will use all kind of distractions to mask the MONETARY power and divide the populace

Notable quotes:
"... The Global Financial Syndicate will use all kind of distractions to mask the MONETARY power and divide the populace to continue its control & dominance through monetary imperialism. The world is a playground for "evil spirits." ..."
May 17, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Max , May 16 2021 15:56 utc | 21

One need to understand the STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENT correctly, clearly, and comprehensively to live & light our world. What is your strategic construct of the national and international control system?

The Global Financial Syndicate will use all kind of distractions to mask the MONETARY power and divide the populace to continue its control & dominance through monetary imperialism. The world is a playground for "evil spirits."

How does the Financial Empire increase its control & POWER over a region? It likes turning each region into its suzerainty and an Animal Farm (Top-Down Control Structure - Democracy/Republic/...) internally by controlling its money supply through the central-private banking system.

Global Financial Empire's strategy:

Monetary Power = Lands x Lives x Loans. The key CONTROL elements of the Financial Empire within a suzerainty are:

When it comes to the international realm it seeks following freedoms:

The Global Financial Syndicate controls, finances and corrupts policies such as those in the U$A administration by its financing the substitution of national leaders with employees of the Financial Syndicate, such as Biden, Draghi, Yellen, Juncker, Macron,... Globalization is meant to establish the global financial syndicate's rule everywhere, hierarchically from top to bottom, in contrast to the democratic right of citizens to self-determination and the responsibility of governments towards their citizens.

Who wants to make us all, whether we be nations or individuals, slaves to debt?

Monetary Imperialism – What Next?

[May 28, 2021] Nuances of the right to vote and Liz Cheney

Both Liz Cheney and Mitt The Bitch Romney are examples of the filthy neocons...
Notable quotes:
"... [in case of Cheney] The war monger doesn't fall far from the tree. ..."
"... Amazing how the liberal news outlets are now supporting a Cheney. But they know more war equals more rating ..."
May 09, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Mike Rotsch 10 minutes ago

. . . which has caused some GOP leaders to fear alienating female Republican voters, particularly educated suburbanites who will be key votes in the 2022 elections.

When I first met my wife, she told me women shouldn't have the right to vote. It was instant love.

A Girl In Flyover Country 59 minutes ago

[in case of Cheney] The war monger doesn't fall far from the tree.

Rise21 42 minutes ago remove link

Amazing how the liberal news outlets are now supporting a Cheney. But they know more war equals more rating

yochananmichael 51 seconds ago

its time for the republicans to rid itself of chicken hawk warmongers like Cheney.

He father disbanded there Iraqi Army which was supposed to provide security, causing an insurgency and 5000 dead American boys and countless maimed.

vic and blood PREMIUM 4 minutes ago

Cheney's benefactors have erected massive billboards all over the state, 'thanking her for defending the Constitution.'

She has an incredible war chest, and sadly, money and advertising decides a lot of elections.

[May 24, 2021] Knowing what is going on in Germany right now is helpful to understanding the strange goings on in the USAi and its dreams of eternal empire

May 24, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , May 24 2021 3:19 utc | 111

Strange news of the fatherland... knowing what is going on in Germany right now is helpful to understanding the strange goings on in the USAi and its dreams of eternal empire. It ain't clear sailing yet for NS2!

Here is the story from Wolfgang Streeck in New Let Review.

An excerpt to tease your attention:

If your country is part of an international empire, the domestic politics of the country that rules yours are your domestic politics too. Whoever speaks of the Europe of the EU must therefore also speak of Germany. Currently it is widely believed that after the German federal elections of 24 September this year, Europe will enter a post-Merkel era. The truth is not so simple.

In October 2018, following two devastating defeats in state elections in Hesse and Bavaria, Angela Merkel resigned as president of her party, the CDU, and announced that she would not seek re-election as Chancellor in 2021. She would, however, serve out her fourth term, to which she had been officially appointed only seven months earlier.

Putting together a coalition government had taken no less than six months following the September 2017 federal election, in which the CDU and its Bavarian sidekick, the CSU, had scored the worst result in their history, at 32.9 percent (2013: 41.5 percent). (Merkel's record as party leader is nothing short of dismal, having lost votes each time she ran. How she could nevertheless remain Chancellor for 16 years will have to be explained elsewhere.) In the subsequent contest for the CDU presidency, the party's general secretary, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, appointed by Merkel only in February 2018, narrowly prevailed over two competitors.

After little more than a year, however, when Merkel publicly dressed her down for a lack of leadership, Kramp-Karrenbauer resigned and declared that she would not run for Chancellor in 2021 either. A few months later, when von der Leyen went to Brussels, Kramp-Karrenbauer got Merkel to appoint her minister of defense. The next contest for the party presidency, the second in Merkel's fourth term, had to take place under Corona restrictions; it took a long time and was won in January 2021 by Armin Laschet, Prime Minister of the largest federal state, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). To prevent the comeback of an old foe of hers, Friedrich Merz, Merkel allegedly supported Laschet behind the scenes.

While Laschet – a less-than-charismatic Christian-Democratic middle-of-the-roader and lifelong Merkel loyalist – considered the party presidency to be a ticket to the CDU/CSU candidacy for Chancellor, it took three months for this to be settled. As CDU/CSU politics go, the joint candidate is picked by the two party presidents when they feel the time has come, under four eyes; no formal procedure provided.

Thus Laschet needed the agreement of Markus Söder, Prime Minister of Bavaria, who didn't keep it a secret that he believed himself the far better choice. In the background, again, there was Merkel, in the unprecedented position of a sitting Chancellor watching the presidents of her two parties pick her would-be successor in something like a semi-public cock-fight. After some dramatic toing-and-froing, Laschet prevailed, once more supported by Merkel, apparently in exchange for his state's backing for the federal government imposing a 'hard' Covid-19 lockdown on the entire country...

...There will also be differences on the Eastern flank of the EU, where Baerbock, following the United States, will support Ukrainian accession to NATO and the EU, and finance EU extension in the West Balkans. That she will also cancel North Stream 2 will be a point of contention in a Baerbock/Scholz government.

Laschet will be more inclined towards France and seek some accommodation with Russia, on trade as well as security; he will also hesitate to be too strongly identified with the US on Eastern Europe and Ukraine. But then, he will be reminded by his Foreign Minister, Baerbock, as well as his own party that Germany's national security depends on the American nuclear umbrella, which the French cannot and in any case will not replace. (my emphasis)


[May 24, 2021] French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned on Sunday of the risk of "long-lasting apartheid" in Israel

May 24, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Մասիս , May 24 2021 6:59 utc | 124

The Roots of Coincidence

France is was denying any discomfort with Zionism for 52 years. but since yesterday effect of Plate tectonics are perceptible.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned on Sunday of the risk of "long-lasting apartheid" in Israel. The veteran politician [and high rank French official for 40 years with solid connection to French weapons trade] made the remarks in an interview with LCI TV NewsChannel, RTL radio and Le Figaro newspaper [ three major MSM]

https://www.lefigaro.fr/politique/jean-yves-le-drian-met-en-garde-israel-contre-un-risque-d-apartheid-envers-ses-populations-arabes-20210523


from Guardian.ng


French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned on Sunday of the risk of "long-lasting apartheid" in Israel in the event the Palestinians fail to obtain their own state.
Le Drian is one of the first senior French officials to use the term "apartheid" in reference to Israel , which has angrily denied any policy of racial discrimination.
The veteran politician made the remarks in an interview with RTL radio and Le Figaro newspaper in reference to the clashes between Jews and Arabs that erupted in several Israeli cities during the latest conflict.
The violence, which revealed simmering anger among Israeli Arabs over the crackdown on Palestinians in Jerusalem, shattered years of peaceful coexistence within Israel.
"It's the first time and it clearly shows that if in the future we had a solution other than the two-state solution, we would have the ingredients of long-lasting apartheid," Le Drian said, using the word for the white supremacist oppression of blacks in South Africa from 1948 to 1991.
Le Drian said the "risk of apartheid is high" if Israel continued to act "according to a single-state logic" but also if it maintained the status quo.
"Even the status quo produces that," he said.
He added that the 11-day conflict between Hamas and Israel had shown the need to revive the moribund Middle East peace process.
https://guardian.ng/news/france-sees-risk-of-apartheid-in-israel-paris-france/
"We have take one step at a time," he said, expressing satisfaction that US President Joe Biden had reiterated support for creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
Israel's latest offensive against Hamas killed 248 people in the Gaza Strip, including 66 children, and wounded over 1,900, the Hamas-run health ministry said.
Meanwhile, rockets fired by Palestinian armed groups into Israel killed 12 and wounded around 357 others, Israeli police said.

Long-lasting apartheid usually ends badly

--//--

@ James & al.
Please, enjoy a little more Roots of Coincidence


Grieved , May 24 2021 7:05 utc | 125

@120 m - "Iron Dome system according to Israeli sources..."

The point is not the numbers taken from the sales brochure of the system. The point is, what does the penetration of the fantasy shield do to the Israeli psyche?

Israel initiated the ceasefire, without conditions. After 11 days, it could take no more.

Israel has failed to protect itself from the indigenous population that it was oppressing. Palestine has won a victory that changes the game and changes the world.

The entire regional Resistance now knows that Palestine alone can hold the enemy in check. And all the Palestinians everywhere are completely united with only the Resistance as their leader.

Over at the Saker just now, a speech from Hezbollah acknowledges proudly that Palestine itself is now the leading edge of the struggle to remove Israel from the Middle East, and that Hezbollah yearns for the day when it joins side by side with the Palestinians to drive the oppressor from the land.

Palestine as it says could keep up this barrage against Israel for six months - just Palestine alone. And the damage from such a thing would not be measured in how few or how many individual persons were killed by those rockets. The damage would be measured by the scream of madness and defeat from the Zionist oppressor, thrown down by the indigenous populace and cast out of the land in abject fear.

Paul , May 24 2021 8:02 utc | 126
As barflies can see, There may be an undefined 'ceasefire' but the 100 year old ethnic cleansing project in the rest of Palestine continues:

Israel's Daily Toll on Palestinian Life, Limb, Liberty and Land

(Compiled by Leslie Bravery, Palestine Human Rights Campaign, Auckland, New Zealand)
18 May 2021 {Main source of statistics: Palestinian Monitoring Group (PMG): http://www.nad.ps/ NB:The period covered by this newsletter is taken from the PMG's 24-hour sitrep ending 8am the day after the above date.}
We shall always do our best to verify the accuracy of all items in these IOP newsletters/reports wherever possible [e.g. we often suspect that names of people and places that we see in the PMG sitreps could be typos; also frequently the translation into English seems rather odd ~ but as we do not speak Arabic, we have no alternative but to copy and paste these names from the PMG sitreps!] – please forgive us for any errors or omissions – Leslie and Marian.
206 projectiles
launched from Gaza

82 air strikes (157)

Very many
Israeli attacks

158 Israeli
ceasefire violations

21 raids including
home invasions

11 killed – 261 injured

Economic sabotage

43 taken prisoner

Night peace disruption
and/or home invasions
in 6 towns and villages
Home invasions: 09:20, Nazlet al-Sheikh Zaid - 09:20, al-Arqa - 04:00, Anabta - 03:30, Madama - 03:30, Tel.
Peace disruption raids: 14:40, Beitunya - 16:05, Um Safa village - 03:20, Bir Zeit - dawn, Bil'in - 17:40, Tura village - 18:55, Ya'bad - 19:45, Zububa - 06:30, Tubas - 18:05, Quffin - 04:00, Tulkarem - 20:00, Aqraba - 13:45, al-Azza UN refugee camp - 13:45, Aida UN refugee camp - 18:10, al-Khadr - 18:10, Janata - 20:15, Tuqu - 03:00, al-Ubeidiya - dawn, Husan - dawn, al-Ubeidiya.
Ceasefire violations – Palestinian missile attacks: Gaza enclave: From 07:00 until 07:00 the following day 206 projectiles were launched towards the Green Line from Northern Gaza, Gaza City, Central Gaza and Khan Yunis.
Ceasefire violations – Palestinian missile attacks: Gaza enclave: From 07:00 until 07:00 the following day, 206 projectiles were launched towards the Green Line from Northern Gaza, Gaza City, Central Gaza and Khan Yunis.
Ceasefire violations – Palestinian missile attacks: Northern Gaza – 53 projectiles launched towards the Green Line.
Ceasefire violations – Palestinian missile attacks: Gaza – 81 projectiles launched towards the Green Line.
Ceasefire violations – Palestinian missile attacks: Central Gaza – 17 projectiles launched towards the Green Line.
Ceasefire violations – Palestinian missile attacks: Khan Yunis – 38 projectiles launched towards the Green Line.
Ceasefire violations – Palestinian missile attacks: Khan Yunis – 17 projectiles launched towards the Green Line.
Ceasefire violations – air strikes: Gaza enclave – from 07:00 until 07:00 the following day, Israeli warplanes carried out 82 air strikes, launching 157 missiles onto Gaza. There were 7 killed, 50 injured, 35 homes destroyed and much damage caused.
Ceasefire violations – air strikes: Northern Gaza – Israeli warplanes launched 21 air strikes – 35 missiles: 16 injured and 10 homes destroyed.
Ceasefire violations – air strikes: Gaza – Israeli warplanes launched 17 air strikes – 27 missiles: 6 killed (including a child), 15 injured (including women and children) and 7 homes destroyed.
Ceasefire violations – air strikes: Central Gaza – Israeli warplanes launched 14 air strikes – 20 missiles: 11injured and 6 homes destroyed.
Ceasefire violations – air strikes: Khan Yunis – Israeli warplanes launched 13 air strikes – 46 missiles: 1 killed, 14 injured and 10 homes destroyed.
Ceasefire violations – air strikes: Rafah – Israeli warplanes launched 17 air strikes – 29 missiles. 3 injured and 2 homes destroyed.
Ceasefire violations – Israeli attacks: Gaza enclave: From 07:00 until 07:00 the following day, the Israeli Army and Navy pounded Central Gaza, Khan Yunis and Rafah.
Israeli Army attacks – 18 wounded: Jerusalem – Israeli Occupation forces opened fire, with live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters on protesters in Shuafat, al-Zaim, al-Jib, Beit Ijza, Qalandiya, near the villages of Qatanna and al-Issawiya, as well as in Abu Dis, al-Eizariya and at the entrances to Hizma, al-Sawahrah al-Sharqiya, Anata, the al-Ram road junction, Bab al-Amoud area and al-Wad Street in Jerusalem Old City. 18 protesters were wounded.
Israeli Army attack: Jerusalem – 18:00, Israeli Occupation forces opened fire on Palestinian motor vehicles in the Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood.
Israeli Army attacks – 3 killed – 72 wounded: Ramallah – Israeli forces in or near al-Bireh, Sinjil, Aboud, Ni'lin, al-Mughayer, Deir Jarir, Kafr Malik, Nabi Salih, Ein Qiniya, Ras Karkar, Kharbatha Bani Harith, Beit Sira, al-Jalazoun refugee camp, fired live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters towards protesters, killing 3 people, Muhammad Mahmoud Hamid (24), Adham Fayez Al-Kashef (20) and Islam Wael Fahmy Barnat, and wounding 72. There were many tear gas casualties.
Israeli Army attacks – 4 wounded: Jenin – Israeli troops, manning the Jalamah and Dotan checkpoints and at the southern entrance to Silat al-Dahr, fired live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters towards protesters, wounding 4 people and causing several tear gas casualties.
Israeli Army attacks – 7 wounded: Tulkarem – Israeli forces, manning the Einav checkpoint and troops in Tulkarem, Quffin, Zit and at the entrance to Beit Lid, fired live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters towards protesters, wounding 7 and causing several tear gas casualties.
Israeli Army attacks – 8 wounded: Qalqiliya – Israeli Occupation forces, at the entrances to Azun, Hajjah, and Kafr Qaddum as well as near Jayus, Hablat and at the Eyal crossing, fired live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters towards protesters, wounding 8 people and causing several tear gas casualties.
Israeli Army attacks – 33 wounded: Nablus – Israeli Army positions, near the Huwara checkpoint, the intersection of Osirin and Sarra villages and near the entrances to Qusra, Beta, Jama'in, Naqoura, Deir Sharaf, Burin, Madama, Asirah al-Qibliya, Yutma, al-Labban al-Sharqiya, Odla, al-Sawiyah and the village of Tal, fired live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters towards protesters, wounding 33 people and causing several tear gas casualties.
Israeli Army attacks: Salfit – Israeli troops, near the entrances to Deir Istiya, Qarawat Bani Hassan, al-Zawiya and the northern entrance to Salfit, fired live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters towards protesters. There were several tear gas casualties.
Israeli Army attacks – 18 wounded: Bethlehem – Israeli forces, present at Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque, the Aida refugee camp, northern entrance to Tuqu', western entrance to Beit Fajar, Um Rakba area of al-Khadr and entrance to Husan, fired live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters towards protesters, wounding 18 people and causing several tear gas casualties.
Israeli Army attacks – 1 killed: Hebron – morning, Israeli Occupation forces, positioned in the Old City, opened fire on and killed a resident: Islam Fayyad Zahida (32).
Israeli Army attacks – 30 wounded: Hebron – the Israeli Army, positioned in the Bab al-Zawiya area of Hebron and in the Old City, as well as near the entrances to Beit Ummar, Bani Naim, Tarqumiya, Khurasa village, the al-Aroub refugee camp and on Halhul Bridge, fired live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters towards protesters, wounding 30 people and causing several tear gas casualties.
Economic sabotage: Gaza -- the Israeli Navy continues to enforce an arbitrary fishing limit.
Home invasion: Jenin – 09:20, Israeli Occupation forces raided the villages of Nazlet al-Sheikh Zaid and al-Arqa, and invaded a house.
Home invasion – boy (aged 15) abducted : Tulkarem – 04:00, Israeli troops raided Anabta and abducted 15-year-old Muhammad Salam Wajih Rasheed.
Home invasions: Nablus – 03:30, Israeli forces raided Madama and Tel villages and invaded a number of homes.
Israeli police and settlers' mosque violation: 23:00, Israeli Occupation police invaded the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, filming the Mosque and its facilities.
Israeli Army – 7 wounded – rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters: Tubas – Israeli Occupation forces, manning the Tayasir checkpoint and in the village of Atouf, fired rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters towards protesters, wounding 7 people and causing several tear gas casualties.
Israeli Army – 5 wounded – rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters: Jericho – Israeli forces, at the northern and southern entrances to Jericho, as well as outside the Aqbat Jaber refugee camp, fired rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters towards protesters, wounding 5 people and causing several tear gas casualties.
Occupation settler violence: Jerusalem – 18:00, Israeli settlers stoned a family home, on the outskirts of the village of Beit Ijza.
Occupation road casualties: Bethlehem – 16:40, an Israeli settler drove his motor vehicle over and hospitalised a 19-year-old Abdullah Saqr Saad, near Khalet Iskarya.
Raid: Ramallah – 14:40, Israeli Occupation forces raided and patrolled Beitunya.
Raid: Ramallah – 16:05, Israeli forces raided and patrolled Um Safa village.
Raid – 1 taken prisoner: Ramallah – 03:20, Israeli troops raided Bir Zeit, taking prisoner one person.
Raid – 1 taken prisoner: Ramallah – dawn, the Israeli Army raided Bil'in village, taking prisoner one person.
Raid: Jenin – 17:40, Israeli troops raided and patrolled Tura village.
Raid: Jenin – 18:55, Israeli soldiers raided and patrolled Ya'bad.
Raid: Jenin – 19:45, Israeli Occupation forces raided and patrolled Zububa village.
Raid: Tubas – 06:30, Israeli forces raided and patrolled Tubas.
Raid: Tulkarem – 18:05, the Israeli Army raided and patrolled Quffin.
Raid: Tulkarem – 04:0 Israeli troops raided Tulkarem.
Raid: Nablus – 20:00, Israeli soldiers raided and patrolled Aqraba.
Raid – UN refugee camps: Bethlehem – 13:45, Israeli Occupation forces raided and patrolled the al-Azza and Aida UN refugee camps in Bethlehem.
Raid: Bethlehem – 18:10, Israeli forces raided and patrolled al-Khadr and Janata.
Raid – 2 abductions: Bethlehem – 20:15, Israeli troops raided Tuqu and abducted two 16-year-old youths: Muhammad Khaled Nasrallah and Sind Talal Al-Amor.
Raid: Bethlehem – 03:00, Israeli soldiers raided and patrolled al-Ubeidiya.
Raid – 2 taken prisoner: Bethlehem – dawn, the Israeli Army raided Husan village, taking prisoner two people.
Raid – 2 taken prisoner: Bethlehem – dawn, Israeli Occupation forces raided al-Ubeidiya, taking prisoner twopeople.
Restrictions of movement (14): 11:30, entrance to Turmusaya- 11:20, tightened procedures at Huwara - 12:00, tightened procedures at Kifl Haris - 12:50, entrance to al-Zawiya - 11:25-12:30, al-Nashash road junction - 14:10, entrance to al-Walaja village - midnight, entrance to Marah Mualla - 09:15, entrance to the Fahs area, south of Hebron - 18:45, entrance to Sa'ir - Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing closed - al-Mantar-Karni crossing closed - al-Shujaiyeh crossing (Nahal Oz) closed - Sufa crossing closed - al-Awda Port closed.
[NB: Times indicated in Bold Type contribute to the sleep deprivation suffered by Palestinian children]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If any of our subscribers should like to reproduce complete, in full and unedited, these In Occupied Palestine daily newsletters that would be very welcome!
If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please let us know and if you have friends or family who would like to receive them ask them to contact us at sumud1@outlook.com
...

[Message clipped] View entire message

Մասիս , May 24 2021 11:11 utc | 137

@ Paul, "100 year old ethnic cleansing project in the rest of Palestine continues", but
Tectonic plates still moving, collapse of an edifice of complacency

David Horovitz is the founding editor of The Times of Israel. He previously edited The Jerusalem Post (2004-2011) and The Jerusalem Report (1998-2004).
Published a shaking OP ED

Losing the war: The rising cost of Israel's lapsed support for 2-state solution

Must read

"It doesn't matter that Hamas is a repressive, misogynistic, homophobic, Islamist terrorist organization that fires thousands of rockets indiscriminately at innocent civilians all over the State of Israel...
[...]
It doesn't matter...
[...]
Again, it doesn't matter, because we are no longer avowedly seeking, even in principle, a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- the currently and foreseeably insoluble Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And since we no longer avowedly aspire to be part of the solution, we are increasingly perceived as part of the problem, as rejectionists.
[...]
Israel still has plenty of friends, and plenty of support, including crucially in the US. Three EU foreign ministers chose to make a solidarity visit to bombed Israeli homes at the height of the conflict. But the ground is shifting dangerously.
Many of us, this writer emphatically included, regard a two-state solution as essential if we are not to lose either our Jewish majority, or our democracy, or both, forever entangled among millions of hostile Palestinians. Many of us, this writer emphatically included, cannot currently see a safe route to such an accommodation.

For the last time, it doesn't matter. So long as Israel does not place itself firmly and distinctly on the side of those seeking a viable framework for long-term peace and security for ourselves and for the Palestinians, we will be regarded as blocking that framework. And even when facing an enemy so patently cynical, amoral and intransigent as Hamas, militarily strong Israel will be held responsible for the loss of life on both sides of the conflict.
We may keep on winning the battles, though they will get harder if fighting spreads to and deepens on other fronts. But we will be gradually losing the war.

[May 24, 2021] If you lie down with dogs, you'll get up with fleas

May 24, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Paco , May 24 2021 8:20 utc | 128

If you lie down with dogs, you'll get up with fleas does not apply in this case since I'm talking about very young guys whose apparent success goes up high, very high into their psyche, just to find out that the higher you fly the harder you fall. A 22 year old kid, comfortably living in Warsaw and traveling all around following the ersatz president Juanita Guaidikha Tikhanovskaya, all expenses paid, trained in Kiev during the Maidan, and in Donbass during the civil war consequence of the Maidan, and now we have all of the virtue signaling bureaucrats in Europe and the US, lead by the incombustible VonDerLeyen, excuse me while I wipe my mouth, shamelessly exposing their amnesia and solid faith in their right to do as they please while the rest of the world has to do as they demand. Talk decadence, not a better face for it than that poor lady that nobody voted for.


Rêver , May 24 2021 8:58 utc | 129

The hypocrites... "il faut rendre à César"...

All these guys are amateurs.
Or just plain old copycats.
We, the French, have invented the whole concept, with legal justification . Another great success of the National School of Administration


October 22, 1956, during which the French army captured a plane of the company Air Atlas-Air Maroc in which five leaders of the National Liberation Front (FLN) were. The five leaders of the Algerian National Liberation Front were supposed to travel from Morocco to Tunisia on the personal plane of the Sultan of Morocco.
"unfortunately", at the last moment, they had to change planes" . "Coincidentally", this plane of the Moroccan company was registered in France and therefore "legally" the French authorities forced it to land in Algeria (a French department at the time). On the ground, as "wanted terrorist", they were arrested.
more in
https://www.calameo.com/read/0007815969f106c3072eb

Chance or/and necessity? Ten years after, Mehdi Ben Barka, disappear in Paris (a joint operation of Moroccan and French secret service). Was tortured to death and corpse supposed dissolved with acid (a Jamal Khashoggi's precurssor)

Are Belarus the organizers or the victims?
if report correct: the bomb threat was given at the right time. And the pilot took the decision to land in Minsk. The accompaniment by the Belarusian fighter is purely technical, it is not the hijacking itself.

If organizers: "Chapeau bas!"

Petri Krohn , May 24 2021 9:33 utc | 131

Posted by: Rêver | May 24 2021 8:58 utc | 129

French army captured a plane...

One must not forget the case of Itavia Flight 870 , that was shot down in 1980 because of a suspicion that Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi was traveling in the same airspace at the time.

Bemildred , May 24 2021 11:32 utc | 139

A 22 year old kid, comfortably living in Warsaw and traveling all around following the ersatz president Juanita Guaidikha Tikhanovskaya, all expenses paid, trained in Kiev during the Maidan, and in Donbass during the civil war consequence of the Maidan, and now we have all of the virtue signaling bureaucrats in Europe and the US, lead by the incombustible VonDerLeyen, excuse me while I wipe my mouth, shamelessly exposing their amnesia and solid faith in their right to do as they please while the rest of the world has to do as they demand.

Posted by: Paco | May 24 2021 8:20 utc | 128

Yes, nothing is more dangerous than great un-earned success. People lose their minds.

The habit of trifling with people to get your way will get you in the end too. The habit of lying will take over your life. Just look at the US government. Just look at Trump. This is one of Putin's great strengths, he is not bullshitting anybody. Most of all, he is not bullshitting himself.

I too have sympathy for young people who get involved with politics and have no idea what is really going on. The young are at the mercy of the old, and the old are often hard masters.

[May 12, 2021] No doubt the US/UK deep state, now more than ever, are busy trying to sow conflict and division in Eurasia

May 12, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Canadian Cents , May 13 2021 0:38 utc | 76

An interesting read from Pepe Escobar at Saker's site, related to the comments by Max @24 and JB @25:
https://thesaker.is/insider-view-the-tragedy-of-the-us-deep-state/

No doubt the US/UK deep state, now more than ever, are busy trying to sow conflict and division in Eurasia, to divide-and-rule Mackinder's "World Island" and hence the world.

[May 07, 2021] In the tape (5:05), the lawyer tries to convince the general to join the plotters

May 07, 2021 | www.unz.com

In the recent plot against Belarus President Lukashenko, there is a curious detail totally missing in press reports. The trump evidence of the plot is a tape purporting to be a recording of a conversation between a Belarusian general and the chief plotter, lawyer Yuri Zenkovich, who has Belarusian and American citizenships. In Belarus, Zenkovich was an opposition activist, a well-known member of the Belarusian Popular Front. He left for the US in the mid-2000's, where he began to build his career as a lawyer, said the US Embassy. The general apparently was used to trap the lawyer, who actively looked for potential accomplices in the Belarus Army. In the tape (5:05), the lawyer tries to convince the general to join the plotters by saying: "I am supported by US Jewish capital. I have excellent relations with the American Jewish Committee. This is an NGO headed by three hundred of the wealthiest Jewish families of America. It is the Jewish Lobby of America".

https://www.unz.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Screen-Shot-2021-05-03-at-23.02.43.png

[May 05, 2021] Capital power is over labor, and it extracts money from labor in various ways, but most especially during debt conversions after the financial crisis like crisis of 2008

May 05, 2021 | www.unz.com

Mefobills , says: May 5, 2021 at 1:44 pm GMT • 4.8 hours ago

@animalogic respasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us ." is the translation presented in the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. What is lost in translation is the fact that Jesus came "to preach the gospel to the poor to preach the acceptable Year of the Lord": He came, that is, to proclaim a Jubilee Year, a restoration of deror for debtors: He came to institute a Clean Slate Amnesty (which is what Hebrew דְּרוֹר connotes in this context).

It is quite possible to have balanced civilizations that lasts for thousands of years; however it is impossible in the West, since the west is based on faulty assumptions about reality.

[May 03, 2021] US/NATO Troops Patrolling Opium Poppy Fields in Afghanistan

May 03, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Apr 28 2021 22:44 utc | 29

Hoarsewhisperer #10

Ditto. I am sure the CIA will be grinding the generals as we speak. Even the letter in Politico could well be one of their strategies. I posted a piece in the open thread yesterday from The HILL that was pure propaganda.

USA is not alone in losing guerrilla warfare.

Watch for Biden announcing a 'shake up' of the military command in the next few weeks/months.

The US military 2021 retreat from Kabul will result in a slaughter in the USA.

I see the Pentagon pulling the plug on the opium income for the CIA. Now THAT is the real war. So the CIA now has to pay its mercenary army to defend the harvest and extraction. That added cost to the CIA will not be taken lightly.

arby , Apr 28 2021 22:53 utc | 31

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 28 2021 22:44 utc | 29

"So the CIA now has to pay its mercenary army to defend the harvest and extraction."

Seems to me it is the taxpayer that is paying for defending the fields.

US/NATO Troops Patrolling Opium Poppy Fields in Afghanistan

[May 03, 2021] A Lifetime -at War- -

Notable quotes:
"... By Tom Engelhardt. Originally published at TomDispatch ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... I supported the rule of law and human rights, not to mention the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. ..."
"... In these years, one key to so much of this is the fact that, as the Vietnam War began winding down in 1973, the draft was ended and war itself became a “voluntary†activity for Americans. In other words, it became ever easier not only to not protest American war-making, but to pay no attention to it or to the changing military that went with it. And that military was indeed altering and growing in remarkable ways. ..."
"... “The dislike of government spending, whether on public investment or consumption, is overcome by concentrating government expenditure on armaments†..."
"... “The dislike of government spending, whether on public investment or consumption, is overcome by concentrating government expenditure on armaments†..."
"... “Large-scale armaments are inseparable from the expansion of the armed forces and the preparation of plans for a war of conquest. They also induce competitive rearmament of other countries.†..."
May 03, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

A Lifetime “at War†Posted on April 30, 2021 by Yves Smith

Yves here. Englehardt describes how US war-making has been a continuing exercise starting with World War II. It’s important to recognize that before that, US military budgets were modest both in national and global terms. But with manufacturing less specialized, the US was able to turn a considerable amount of its productive capacity to armaments in fairly short order.

A second point is as someone who was in Manhattan on 9/11, I did not experience the attacks as war. I saw them as very impressive terrorism. However, I was appalled at how quickly individuals in positions of authority pushed sentiment in that direction. The attack was on a Tuesday (I had a blood draw and voted before I even realized Something Bad had happened). I was appalled to see the saber-rattling in Bush’s speech at the National Cathedral on Friday. On Sunday, I decided to go to the Unitarian Church around the corner. I was shocked to hear more martial-speak. And because the church was packed, I had to sit in the front on the floor, which meant I couldn’t duck out.

By Tom Engelhardt. Originally published at TomDispatch

Here’s the strange thing in an ever-stranger world: I was born in July 1944 in the midst of a devastating world war. That war ended in August 1945 with the atomic obliteration of two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by the most devastating bombs in history up to that moment, given the sweet code names “Little Boy†and “Fat Man.â€

I was the littlest of boys at the time. More than three-quarters of a century has passed since, on September 2, 1945, Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu signed the Instrument of Surrender on the battleship U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay, officially ending World War II. That was V-J (for Victory over Japan) Day, but in a sense for me, my whole generation, and this country, war never really ended.

The United States has been at war, or at least in armed conflicts of various sorts, often in distant lands, for more or less my entire life. Yes, for some of those years, that war was “cold†(which often meant that such carnage, regularly sponsored by the CIA, happened largely off-screen and out of sight), but war as a way of life never really ended, not to this very moment.

In fact, as the decades went by, it would become the “infrastructure†in which Americans increasingly invested their tax dollars via aircraft carriers , trillion-dollar jet fighters, drones armed with Hellfire missiles, and the creation and maintenance of hundreds of military garrisons around the globe, rather than roads, bridges, or rail lines (no less the high-speed version of the same) here at home. During those same years, the Pentagon budget would grab an ever-larger percentage of federal discretionary spending and the full-scale annual investment in what has come to be known as the national security state would rise to a staggering $1.2 trillion or more.

In a sense, future V-J Days became inconceivable. There were no longer moments, even as wars ended, when some version of peace might descend and America’s vast military contingents could, as at the end of World War II, be significantly demobilized. The closest equivalent was undoubtedly the moment when the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, the Cold War officially ended, and the Washington establishment declared itself globally triumphant. But of course, the promised “peace dividend†would never be paid out as the first Gulf War with Iraq occurred that very year and the serious downsizing of the U.S. military (and the CIA) never happened.

Never-Ending War

Consider it typical that, when President Biden recently announced the official ending of the nearly 20-year-old American conflict in Afghanistan with the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops from that country by 9/11/21, it would functionally be paired with the news that the Pentagon budget was about to rise yet again from its record heights in the Trump years. “Only in America,†as retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and historian William Astore wrote recently, “do wars end and war budgets go up.â€

Buy the Book

Of course, even the ending of that never-ending Afghan War may prove exaggerated. In fact, let’s consider Afghanistan apart from the rest of this country’s war-making history for a moment. After all, if I had told you in 1978 that, of the 42 years to follow, the U.S. would be involved in war in a single country for 30 of them and asked you to identify it, I can guarantee that Afghanistan wouldn’t have been your pick. And yet so it’s been. From 1979 to 1989, there was the CIA-backed Islamist extremist war against the Soviet army there (to the tune of billions and billions of dollars). And yet the obvious lesson the Russians learned from that adventure, as their military limped home in defeat and the Soviet Union imploded not long after â€" that Afghanistan is indeed the “graveyard of empires†â€" clearly had no impact in Washington.

Or how do you explain the 19-plus years of warfare there that followed the 9/11 attacks, themselves committed by a small Islamist outfit, al-Qaeda, born as an American ally in that first Afghan War? Only recently, the invaluable Costs of War Project estimated that America’s second Afghan War has cost this country almost $2.3 trillion (not including the price of lifetime care for its vets) and has left at least 241,000 people dead, including 2,442 American service members. In 1978, after the disaster of the Vietnam War, had I assured you that such a never-ending failure of a conflict was in our future, you would undoubtedly have laughed in my face.

And yet, three decades later, the U.S. military high command still seems not faintly to have grasped the lesson that we “taught†the Russians and then experienced ourselves. As a result, according to recent reports, they have uniformly opposed President Biden’s decision to withdraw all American troops from that country by the 20th anniversary of 9/11. In fact, it’s not even clear that, by September 11, 2021, if the president’s proposal goes according to plan, that war will have truly ended. After all, the same military commanders and intelligence chiefs seem intent on organizing long-distance versions of that conflict or, as the New York Times put it , are determined to “fight from afar†there. They are evidently even considering establishing new bases in neighboring lands to do so.

America’s “forever wars†â€" once known as the Global War on Terror and, when the administration of George W. Bush launched it, proudly aimed at 60 countries â€" do seem to be slowly winding down. Unfortunately, other kinds of potential wars, especially new cold wars with China and Russia (involving new kinds of high-tech weaponry) only seem to be gearing up.

War in Our Time

In these years, one key to so much of this is the fact that, as the Vietnam War began winding down in 1973, the draft was ended and war itself became a “voluntary†activity for Americans. In other words, it became ever easier not only to not protest American war-making, but to pay no attention to it or to the changing military that went with it. And that military was indeed altering and growing in remarkable ways.

In the years that followed, for instance, the elite Green Berets of the Vietnam era would be incorporated into an ever more expansive set of Special Operations forces, up to 70,000 of them (larger, that is, than the armed forces of many countries). Those special operators would functionally become a second, more secretive American military embedded inside the larger force and largely freed from citizen oversight of any sort. In 2020, as Nick Turse reported, they would be stationed in a staggering 154 countries around the planet, often involved in semi-secret conflicts “in the shadows†that Americans would pay remarkably little attention to.

Since the Vietnam War, which roiled the politics of this nation and was protested in the streets of this country by an antiwar movement that came to include significant numbers of active-duty soldiers and veterans, war has played a remarkably recessive role in American life. Yes, there have been the endless thank-yous offered by citizens and corporations to “the troops.†But that’s where the attentiveness stops, while both political parties, year after endless year, remain remarkably supportive of a growing Pentagon budget and the industrial (that is, weapons-making) part of the military-industrial complex. War, American-style, may be forever, but â€" despite, for instance, the militarization of this country’s police and the way in which those wars came home to the Capitol last January 6th â€" it remains a remarkably distant reality for most Americans.

One explanation: though the U.S. has, as I’ve said, been functionally at war since 1941, there were just two times when this country felt war directly â€" on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and on September 11, 2001, when 19 mostly Saudi hijackers in commercial jets struck New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

And yet, in another sense, war has been and remains us. Let’s just consider some of that war-making for a moment. If you’re of a certain age, you can certainly call to mind the big wars: Korea (1950-1953), Vietnam (1954-1975) â€" and don’t forget the brutal bloodlettings in neighboring Laos and Cambodia as well â€" that first Gulf War of 1991, and the disastrous second one, the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Then, of course, there was that Global War on Terror that began soon after September 11, 2001, with the invasion of Afghanistan, only to spread to much of the rest of the Greater Middle East, and to significant parts of Africa. In March, for instance, the first 12 American special-ops trainers arrived in embattled Mozambique, just one more small extension of an already widespread American anti-Islamist terror role ( now failing ) across much of that continent.

And then, of course, there were the smaller conflicts (though not necessarily so to the people in the countries involved) that we’ve now generally forgotten about, the ones that I had to search my fading brain to recall. I mean, who today thinks much about President John F. Kennedy’s April 1961 CIA disaster at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba; or President Lyndon Johnson’s sending of 22,000 U.S. troops to the Dominican Republic in 1965 to “restore orderâ€; or President Ronald Reagan’s version of “aggressive self-defense†by U.S. Marines sent to Lebanon who, in October 1983, were attacked in their barracks by a suicide bomber, killing 241 of them; or the anti-Cuban invasion of the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada that same month in which 19 Americans were killed and 116 wounded?

And then, define and categorize them as you will, there were the CIA’s endless militarized attempts (sometimes with the help of the U.S. military) to intervene in the affairs of other countries, ranging from taking the nationalist side against Mao Zedong’s communist forces in China from 1945 to 1949 to stoking a small ongoing conflict in Tibet in the 1950s and early 1960s, and overthrowing the governments of Guatemala and Iran, among other places. There were an estimated 72 such interventions from 1947 to 1989, many warlike in nature. There were, for instance, the proxy conflicts in Central America, first in Nicaragua against the Sandinistas and then in El Salvador, bloody events even if few U.S. soldiers or CIA agents died in them. No, these were hardly “wars,†as traditionally defined, not all of them, though they did sometimes involve military coups and the like, but they were generally carnage-producing in the countries they were in. And that only begins to suggest the range of this country’s militarized interventions in the post-1945 era, as journalist William Blum’s “ A Brief History of Interventions †makes all too clear.

Whenever you look for the equivalent of a warless American moment, some reality trips you up. For instance, perhaps you had in mind the brief period between when the Red Army limped home in defeat from Afghanistan in 1989 and the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991, that moment when Washington politicians, initially shocked that the Cold War had ended so unexpectedly, declared themselves triumphant on Planet Earth. That brief period might almost have passed for “peace,†American-style, if the U.S. military under President George H. W. Bush hadn’t, in fact, invaded Panama (“Operation Just Causeâ€) as 1989 ended to get rid of its autocratic leader Manuel Noriega (a former CIA asset, by the way). Up to 3,000 Panamanians (including many civilians) died along with 23 American troops in that episode.

And then, of course, in January 1991 the First Gulf War began . It would result in perhaps 8,000 to 10,000 Iraqi deaths and “only†a few hundred deaths among the U.S.-led coalition of forces. Air strikes against Iraq would follow in the years to come. And let’s not forget that even Europe wasn’t exempt since, in 1999, during the presidency of Bill Clinton, the U.S. Air Force launched a destructive 10-week bombing campaign against the Serbs in the former Yugoslavia.

And all of this remains a distinctly incomplete list, especially in this century when something like 2 00,000 U.S. troops have regularly been stationed abroad and U.S. Special Operations forces have deployed to staggering numbers of countries, while American drones regularly attacked “terrorists†in nation after nation and American presidents quite literally became assassins-in-chief . To this day, what scholar and former CIA consultant Chalmers Johnson called an American “empire of bases†â€" a historically unprecedented 800 or more of them â€" across much of the planet remains untouched and, at any moment, there could be more to come from the country whose military budget at least equals those of the next 10 (yes, that’s 10!) countries combined, including China and Russia.

A Timeline of Carnage

The last three-quarters of this somewhat truncated post-World War II American Century have, in effect, been a timeline of carnage, though few in this country would notice or acknowledge that. After all, since 1945, Americans have only once been “at war†at home, when almost 3,000 civilians died in an attack meant to provoke â€" well, something like the war on terror that also become a war of terror and a spreader of terror movements in our world.

As journalist William Arkin recently argued , the U.S. has created a permanent war state meant to facilitate “endless war.†As he writes, at this very moment, our nation “is killing or bombing in perhaps 10 different countries,†possibly more, and there’s nothing remarkably out of the ordinary about that in our recent past.

The question that Americans seldom even think to ask is this: What if the U.S. were to begin to dismantle its empire of bases, repurpose so many of those militarized taxpayer dollars to our domestic needs, abandon this country’s focus on permanent war, and forsake the Pentagon as our holy church? What if, even briefly, the wars, conflicts, plots, killings, drone assassinations, all of it stopped?

What would our world actually be like if you simply declared peace and came home?


Hemanth Kumar , April 30, 2021 at 8:11 am

Here in Asia, many people think the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan was an act of flaying the dying horse, since Japan was staring at defeat even without the bombs. It was a totally callous act of the USA to drop the bombs just to “test their efficacyâ€.

Why then the bombs could not have dropped on Germany that was still waging war at that time? Asians smirk and say one) the “collateral†damage of radiation etc., to neighbours like France who were Allies and two) they were (and are) ‘whites’; unlike Japan and its neighbours.

NotTimothyGeithner , April 30, 2021 at 9:40 am

The war in Europe was over when the bomb was first tested.

The Rev Kev , April 30, 2021 at 9:43 am

I think that you have the dates mixed up. The war against Germany in Europe ended on May 7th and the testing of the first atom bomb was not until 16th July when the first bomb went off at Alamogordo in New Mexico. The following month the two remaining atom bombs that the US had were dropped on Japan. In short, the bombs arrived too late to use in Europe.

JBird4049 , April 30, 2021 at 3:57 pm

The bomb was built with Berlin being the first target, but because the war ended a year sooner than what everyone thought it would and making the very first bombs took longer than planned, it was used on Japan. It was probably used as a demonstration for the Soviets, but considering that sixty-six other large Japanese cities had already been completely destroyed by “conventional†firebombing, and in Tokyo’s case, with greater casualties than either nuclear bombing, the Bomb wasn’t really needed. The descriptions and the personal accounts of the destruction of Tokyo (or Dresden and Hamburg) are (if that is even possible) worse than of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Honestly, just what new and excitingly horrific ways of killing people the atom bomb used was not clearly understood. They generally thought of it as a bigger kaboom in a smaller package. And honestly, being pre-cremated during an entire night with your family and neighbors in the local bomb-shelter or dying after a few days, weeks, or even a month from radiation poisoning, is not really a difference is it?

WobblyTelomeres , April 30, 2021 at 6:28 pm

“More bang for the buck†is the phrase I heard years ago at Los Alamos.

John Wright , April 30, 2021 at 11:56 am

Another view has the dropping of the atomic bombs was a message, not to Japan, but to the Soviet Union.

From https://www.nytimes.com/1995/07/30/books/did-we-need-to-drop-it.html

“FOR 20 years after Harry Truman ordered the atomic bomb dropped on Japan in August 1945, most American scholars and citizens subscribed to the original, official version of the story: the President had acted to avert a horrendous invasion of Japan that could have cost 200,000 to 500,000 American lives. Then a young political economist named Gar Alperovitz published a book of ferocious revisionism, “Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam†(1965). While acknowledging the paucity of evidence available at the time, he argued that dropping the atomic bomb “was not needed to end the war or to save lives†but was Truman’s means of sending a chastening message to the Soviet Union.â€

Timh , April 30, 2021 at 1:32 pm

If we accept that at face value, then certainly the second bombing was unecessary. The threat would have been enough. But the US had a second bomb design to test…

BCD , April 30, 2021 at 4:13 pm

Few things working here. The US needed Japan to surrender quickly before Stalin invaded (which they asked him to do) so he couldn’t get his forces onto the island where the Allies couldn’t stop him. Most Japanese feared Stalin and preferred surrendering to the US but the Japanese government was trying to use talks with the USSR to get better terms than unconditional surrender (little did they know Stalin was licking his chops for more territory under his iron curtain).

The first bomb design (little man) was significantly less ambitious, it was so certain to function they never tested it because a study had proven there was almost no chance it would fail.

Fat boy was the scientific leap in technology needing to be demonstrated. Building little man was mostly a matter of enriching Uranium vs Fat boy Plutonium enrichment harder and detonation mechanism more complicated. However the end result was a bomb that could produce significantly higher yields with smaller amounts of fissionable material where both the size of the bomb could be significantly reduced and the yield of the device could be significantly scaled up at the same time.

Fat boy demonstrated the USA could someday be putting nukes on V2 rockets recently smuggled out of Germany. Even more important Fat boy is a precursor to the mechanism that initiates the H bomb fusion devices that Edward Teller would soon be Dr Strangloving.

Even after Trinity Fat boy still had very high odds of failure. They feared looking like fools if it failed and the USSR ended up with the Plutoniumt. As a result the US Air Force dropped little man first because it was certain to work. After the 1st bomb dropped, the Soviets declared war and began their invasion of Japan which forced Truman’s hand to drop Fat boy too. Even after Fat Boy, war mongers in Japan still refused to surrender where Emperor Hirohito finally overruled them and although there was a military coupe attempted, it failed.

Thus ended the most bloody conflict in the history of human kind.

Harold , April 30, 2021 at 7:52 pm

I’m not saying it isn’t true, but is there any actual evidence that the bombs were dropped as “a message to the Soviet Union†and not to speed the end of the war?

Also, who exactly wanted to send this “message� The US generals were against it, I understand.

Jason , April 30, 2021 at 9:23 pm

An apologia on bomb design, manufacture, and real-world application!

These ones weren’t even atomic:

https://i0.wp.com/wrongkindofgreen.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/libya-before-and-after-1.jpg

And look what they can do. Yay bombs.

Tom Pfotzer , April 30, 2021 at 9:25 am

“What would our world actually be like if you simply declared peace and came home?â€

a. All those families whose livelihood is based on waging war would have to find a new job. These people will fight tooth and nail to avoid change

b. The resource grabs by the rich people behind the Oz-like curtain would fail. Their fate would be that of the English aristocrats who have to rent out their castles in order to maintain a roof over their head. These people will fight tooth and nail to avoid change

c. The general public would have a fire-hose of newly-available resources to direct toward activities which benefit all the rest of the families outside A and B above

d. Fear-based leverage by the few over the many would be diminished. Attention would be re-directed toward valid problems we all face

=====

There’s an interesting question which I see posed from time to time, and often ask myself. It runs thus:

“Who decides who our “enemies†are, and why they are “enemies�

This is a fundamental question which I believe very few of us can currently answer accurately. Yet this question carries a $1.2T per year consequence. That’s a lot of money to allocate toward something we know nothing about.

One time I asked an acquaintance â€" who spent a career at CIA â€" that question. His reply was “Why, Congress decides who our enemies are, and why. Congress then tells the CIA what to doâ€.

I wasn’t sure if he truly believed that. It’s quite possible he did, of course, and I’m sure many of the people in group A above surely do think they’re doing honorable and patriotic work.

Group B above â€" the people who are actually moving the chess pieces of “the Great Game†â€" they are pretty clear on who defines our “enemies†and why they are “enemiesâ€. And they wisely don’t stand in front of podiums and explain their actions. These people aren’t visible, or explained, or known because it’s better for them not to be.

The way to combat manipulation by these predators is to:

a. Know them by their actions. Predators predate.
b. Don’t participate. In order for them to predate, they need minions. Don’t be a minion. Instead…
c. Be the giver, the creator and the constructor of things that are of no use to predators

NotTimothyGeithner , April 30, 2021 at 10:06 am

It’s not the soldiers but the contractors who live in dumpy overpriced holes like Northern Virginia.

As to your acquaintance, my godfather was in the CIA in the 60’s and a bit into the 70’s, and he might not say Congress as much as the President’s Chief of Staff as threat they choose what the President sees. You have to remember it’s primarily an organization of boring paper pushers looking to get promoted which requires political patronage. Imagine getting the Canada desk. You’ll be at a dead end unless you paint it as a grave threat. Then there is information overload and just the sheer size of the US. They would file reports, he mentioned an incident in Africa in the wake of decolonization when y godfather was stationed there that maybe warranted the President’s attention, but to get information to the President’s CoS took so long, it was in the President’s daily newspaper before the report could be handled. By then, why care, given the size of the US? Who can get to the Chief of Staff? Congress, so everyone else lobbies them. The CIA director is an appendage of the CoS.

When the President wants something, everyone jumps, but when the President doesn’t care, everyone is jockeying get for patronage.

HH , April 30, 2021 at 10:35 am

The war machine is sustained by plutocrats and their sociopathic flunkies in the national security state. How this works is clearly depicted in “The Devil’s Chessboard,†by David Talbot, a deeply depressing chronicle of how Allen Dulles and his brother John Foster Dulles did the dirty work of US corporations worldwide. The arrogance, impunity, and irresponsibility of these men established the framework of our secret government, which remains intact to this day.

It would be pleasant to believe that this evil persists because of public ignorance, but like the good Germans of the Nazi era, Americans accept that deception, torture, and murder are routinely practiced on our behalf to maintain our high standard of living and to keep us “safe.†The reverence for the operatives of the US national security state is evident throughout our popular culture, and that is a damning judgment on the American people.

Tom Pfotzer , April 30, 2021 at 11:17 am

Yes. Succinctly stated, and quite correct.

Of course the core problems are stationed at the place hardest to get to: right between our ears. This complicity disease runs deep and wide.

While I often succumb to that same despondency you mentioned, occasionally I interrupt the doom tape to notice that there’s a lot of people who are paddling hard toward a new ethos…like the posters here @ NC, for ex.

So today I’m going to indulge in a little happiness. Plant a tree. Do something good, something durable, something hopeful.

Something that offers no real hope of rent extraction potential.

:)

JBird4049 , April 30, 2021 at 8:53 pm

It was nice being accused of supporting the terrorists because I supported the rule of law and human rights, not to mention the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

WTF do some people think that the Founders wanted an extremely small army, a large organized militia, and passed the Bill of Rights? It was a reaction to what the British Army did to them (using much of the same tactics as the current “justice†system does today.) The ignorance and lack of thinking is really annoying.

Much of what the British military did was not good. Even now some of it would not be allowed in a court of law, but I do not recall them being nearly as violent, brutal, or deadly in their tactics while enforcing the King’s Law as the current regime or the local police are. That the milder British tactics caused a civil war with in a decade, and that the people then had less to fear from an occupying army as we do from “our†police is disturbing to think on.

But wars always come home, don’t they? Faux toughness on the supposed baddies here with claims of treason and insurrections on protests and riots now that often would hardly be in the news fifty years ago, so great was the protests and riots happening then. The cry to use the same tactics that did not work overseas to be used here at home. “To keep us safe.â€

Swamp Yankee , May 1, 2021 at 2:06 am

There’s truth to this, but once the war was really on, British and Tory/Loyalist brutality had decisive effects on public opinion, putting lots of people into the Whig/Patriot camp. Tom Paine makes great efforts to publicize British sexual assaults, looting, and general thugishness as they chase the Continental Army across New Jersey in 1776; the cruelty of backcountry British cavalry officers and Tory rangers in the Carolinas was legendary as the war reaches its latter phases.

And there was brutality on the other side, too, especially for Loyalist elites who faced a kind of “social death.†It was a war, after all, as well as a social revolution. It wasn’t France in 1789 or Russia in 1917, but it was rough, especially given the small population size.

FluffytheObeseCat , April 30, 2021 at 11:36 am

Except as Engelhardt just pointed out, the national security state does not “maintain our high standard of livingâ€. It’s an immense net drain on our standard of living. The only Americans made well-to-do or wealthy by it are those who are directly involved in supplying contract goods and services to the system.

FriarTuck , April 30, 2021 at 3:41 pm

I don’t know if Americans “accept†it as opposed to taking a dim view of being able to affect change.

The levers the average person has to change the behavior of the state is infinitesimal. Add to that the scope of action and Overton window mediated by the hypernormalized press ecosystem just means those in power get to act without restraint.

Hell, Obama literally said “We tortured some folks†and the media and government barely shrugged. To my knowledge, no one went to jail, no one was brought up in the Hague, and some of the same ghouls that perpetrated such crimes got cushy commenter jobs in the media.

Right now, localities can’t even keep their police from regularly killing citizens.

What does the average person do in the face of such things?

Jason , April 30, 2021 at 5:07 pm

Hell, Obama literally said “We tortured some folks†and the media and government barely shrugged. To my knowledge, no one went to jail, no one was brought up in the Hague, and some of the same ghouls that perpetrated such crimes got cushy commenter jobs in the media.

No one went to jail. Certainly no one went before the Hague. No bankers went to jail either. Even during the nutty Reagan administration, people went to jail for financial shenanigans. Some got long sentences. Hell, the Iran-Contra stuff was at least covered and people were indicted, even if they all got pardoned. Not anymore. These shenanigans are the norm and happen right out in the open. I’d imagine some of it’s been given legal cover. It seems like it’s become the expected behavior within these circles. To act otherwise â€" to attempt to be honest, in other words â€" is seen as weak and is mocked as fiercely as a weaker child on the playground might be.

It’s just a continuing regression. And as you note, it’s an excellent career builder:

“Looking for a job in mainstream media? Research has shown that reducing your sense of ethics and morality actually helps you get ahead.â€

John Wright , May 1, 2021 at 1:53 pm

I like to quote a radio advertisement that a local Northern California bail bondsman ran on one local radio station years ago.

“Friends don’t let friends do timeâ€.

LowellHighlander , April 30, 2021 at 10:59 am

Doubtless, Ms. Smith and Ms. Engelhardt have provided a key public service here. And I speak as a veteran, decorated for service in the War Over Oil (a.k.a. the “Persian Gulf Warâ€).

Between the vast economic inequality currently raging in our country, the social stratification enabled by access to colleges and universities accepted as “eliteâ€, the trashing of Constitutional protections (e.g. the 4th Amendment, now thoroughly eviscerated owing to the “PATRIOT ACTâ€), and the rampaging rule by “intelligence agencies†over foreign policy, I see no reason why any father should tell his children that this is a country worth fighting and dying for. [Think: China] Of course, the Empire â€" just as Rome did in its dying days â€" will be able to find enough desperately poor who will take the king’s shilling and don the uniform.

If anyone wishes to prove me wrong, let them work for a substantive “peace dividend†for a 2-3 years. Then we can sit down and talk; I’ll buy the ale.

tegnost , April 30, 2021 at 11:38 am

I think Englehart is a “Mr.†but I don’t want to get myself in trouble with the gender neutralization crowd

LowellHighlander , April 30, 2021 at 12:41 pm

oops; my apologies to all.

Rod , April 30, 2021 at 12:25 pm

And here is a nice companion reading alluding to Media collusion by a CNN colluder:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/29/opinions/lies-told-to-sustain-us-and-uk-mission-in-afghanistan-walsh/index.html

from the above article:

In these years, one key to so much of this is the fact that, as the Vietnam War began winding down in 1973, the draft was ended and war itself became a “voluntary†activity for Americans. In other words, it became ever easier not only to not protest American war-making, but to pay no attention to it or to the changing military that went with it. And that military was indeed altering and growing in remarkable ways.

Because, imo,

Since the Vietnam War, which roiled the politics of this nation and was protested in the streets of this country by an antiwar movement that came to include significant numbers of active-duty soldiers and veterans, war has played a remarkably recessive role in American life.

Despite having already ‘pledged’ at my Uncles Invitation, with the Draft’s End, I had great hope my future would see the great Peace Dividand rather than 9 more Opportunity Conflicts.
Little did that then 21 year old see the brilliance in that Pentagon Strategy.
I Now firmly support a No Exemption Draft for all post HS.
Military Service being only one, and a restricted one, of many counter-balancing options available for Public Service for that cohort.

Frank Little , April 30, 2021 at 12:42 pm

This article reminded me of one of the best Congressional Research Service reports that I’ve read: Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2020 . Despite being just a list of dates and locations with a brief description, it comes in at around 50 pages, which I think is a testament to how important foreign military engagement has been to the growth of the US even before 1945. Between these foreign wars and the genocidal war against the indigenous people of the continent I think it’s fair to say this country has been at war since its founding.

juno mas , April 30, 2021 at 6:16 pm

Correct. Even the so called Louisiana Purchase was not really a purchase of land, but a faux “option†to engage in land treaties with the native Americans;.the US chose Indian Wars and relocation treaties that have been violated repeatedly. (This territory is now known as the Red States.)

The rest of the land extending to the west coast was acquired through conquest with the new nation of Mexico. I guess the only real honest acquisition would be Seward’s Icebox.

JBird4049 , April 30, 2021 at 8:30 pm

>>I guess the only real honest acquisition would be Seward’s Icebox.

Alaska has only been inhabited for a few tens of thousands of years. I would think that the natives should have some say about who “owns†the land even though the Russian Empire did say that they did. The reasons sometimes included the use of guns. As for stealing Mexico’s territory, again that was, and in some areas still is, inhabited by natives who somehow became under the “governance†of New Spain or the country of Mexico despite not being asked about it and often still a majority part of the population in many areas when Mexico lost control.

Often, Europeans or Americans would show up somewhere, plant a flag, and say that they claimed or owned the very inhabited land, sometimes with farms and even entire cities. Rather arrogant, I would say.

Harold , April 30, 2021 at 8:49 pm

“Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim gun, and they have not.â€

juno mas , April 30, 2021 at 9:44 pm

I agree. Seward’s Icebox was not empty at time of sale. My understanding is that Seward thought it was. So faraway, so cold; no one would be living there, right?

As I’ve commented here many times, it was small pox not small bullets that allowed the Old World to take the New. There were estimates of 20 million native Americans living on the land now known as Mexico and the US. 90% were felled by Old World disease before Custer lost his scalp to the northern Plains Indians. In a fair fight the Indians would be enforcing the treaties.

It is amazing how the US continues to engage in war and still lose: Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq. . .Ukraine?

kgw , April 30, 2021 at 5:58 pm

I remember the words of Patrick Henry in his speech on the floor of the Virginia legislature debating the passing of the new constitution…

In particular, his views on the standing army : “What does a farmer in Virginia have to fear from a farmer in France?â€

Democracy Working , April 30, 2021 at 10:29 pm

For nearly a decade now every time I’ve read about the war in Afghanistan I’ve thought about Tim Kreider’s mordant 2011 cartoon We Could’ve Had The Moon, Instead We Get Afghanistan . Ten years later, that $432 billion has ballooned to $2.3 trillion (and more) and every word he wrote still stands. :-(

The author has retired from cartooning and now focuses on essay writing.

Sound of the Suburbs , May 1, 2021 at 4:37 am

We are going to have to halt the production lines.
The warehouses are full of bombs already, there is no more room.

Biden to the rescue; he’s started dropping bombs already.
When you have a large defence industry, you need war.
The only purpose is to use up the output from the defence industry.

This is what they realised in the 1940s, but we forgot.
http://delong.typepad.com/kalecki43.pdf

“The dislike of government spending, whether on public investment or
consumption, is overcome by concentrating government expenditure on
armamentsâ€

Sound of the Suburbs , May 1, 2021 at 4:47 am

Ran out of edit time.
Should be two quotes.

“The dislike of government spending, whether on public investment or consumption, is overcome by concentrating government expenditure on armamentsâ€

“Large-scale armaments are inseparable from the expansion of the armed forces and the preparation of plans for a war of conquest. They also induce competitive rearmament of other countries.â€

These were the lessons they learnt from the 1930s.

Susan the other , May 1, 2021 at 12:18 pm

So now, here we are. And how do we create a peaceful world? Refit the US military for a sustainable world. It will prove to be very useful. We and other advanced nations still have the advantage for prosperity but we should not abuse it. The whole idea back in 1945 was for the world to prosper. So I’ll just suggest my usual hack: Get rid of the profit motive. It’s pure mercantilism. And totally self defeating in a world seeking sustainability for everyone.

Philip Ebersole , May 1, 2021 at 1:35 pm

The Manhattan Project was an enormously expensive enterprise with two components â€" the development of a uranium bomb (Oak Ridge) and a plutonium bomb (Hanford, WA).

If no bomb had been used, the project would have been considered a waste of time, and there would have been a congressional investigation. If only one bomb had been used, half the cost would have been considered a waste.

I’m not saying these were the only reasons for dropping the bombs. The event was, as they say, “overdetermined.â€

[May 03, 2021] Biden is privatising the war in Afghanistan. 18,000 private contractors will stay behind to maintain a landing area for U.S. aircraft should the need arise.

May 03, 2021 | www.unz.com

Katrinka , says: April 30, 2021 at 11:36 am GMT • 15.8 hours ago

@KenH

Biden is privatising the war in Afghanistan. 18,000 private contractors will stay behind to maintain a landing area for U.S. aircraft should the need arise. According to war monger Lynn Cheney the "troops will never leave". The U.S. National Guard has been fighting undeclared wars all over the ME for twenty years and legislation is being proposed at the state level to end the abuse. I personally know one man who has done three tours in Iraq as a National Guardsman.

I totally agree with your comments concerning the U.S. government here at home. It is Bolshevism 2.0.

[Apr 27, 2021] The United States Extensive Knowledge of the 1976 Planned Military Coup in Argentina " Strategic Culture

Notable quotes:
"... While the released documents portray the U.S. as having knowledge of the coup as opposed to intervening overtly or covertly, the aftermath shows U.S. involvement was considerable. ..."
Apr 27, 2021 | www.strategic-culture.org

While the released documents portray the U.S. as having knowledge of the coup as opposed to intervening overtly or covertly, the aftermath shows U.S. involvement was considerable.

Last March, on the 45 th anniversary of Argentina’s descent into dictatorship, the National Security Archive posted a selection of declassified documents revealing the U.S. knowledge of the military coup in the country in 1976. A month before the government of Isabel Peron was toppled by the military, the U.S. had already informed the coup plotters that it would recognise the new government. Indications of a possible coup in Argentina had reached the U.S. as early as 1975.

A declassified CIA document from February 1976 describes the imminence of the coup, to the extent of mentioning military officers which would later become synonymous with torture, killings and disappearances of coup opponents. Notably, the coup plotters, among them General Jorge Rafael Videla, were already drawing up a list of individuals who would be subject to arrest in the immediate aftermath of the coup.

One concern for the U.S. was its standing in international diplomacy with regard to the Argentinian military dictatorship’s violence, which it pre-empted as a U.S. State Department briefing to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger shows. “An Argentine military government would be almost certain to engage in human rights violations such as to engender international criticism.â€

After the experience of Chile and U.S. involvement in the coup which heralded dictator Augusto Pinochet’s rise to power, human rights violations became a key factor. Kissinger had brushed off the U.S. Congress’s concerns, declaring a policy that would turn a blind eye to the dictatorship’s atrocities. “I think we should understand our policy-that however unpleasant they act, this government is better for us than Allende was,†Kissinger had declared .

Months after expressing concern regarding the forthcoming human rights abuses as a result of the dictatorship in Argentina, the U.S. warned Pinochet about its dilemma in terms of justifying aid to a leadership which was becoming notorious for its violence and disappearances of opponents. “We have a practical problem to take into account, without bringing about pressures incompatible with your dignity, and at the same time which does not lead to U.S. laws which will undermine our relationship.â€

In the same declassified document from the Chile archives of 1976, Pinochet expresses his concern over Orlando Letelier, a diplomat and ambassador to the U.S. during the era of Salvador Allende and an influential figure among members of the U.S. Congress, stating that Letelier is disseminating false information about Chile. Letelier was murdered by car bomb in Washington that same year, by a CIA and National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) agent Michael Townley.

However, the Argentinian coup plotters deepened their dialogue with the U.S. over how human rights violations would be committed. Aware of perceptions regarding Pinochet’s record, military officials approached the U.S. seeking ways to minimise the attention which Pinochet was garnering in Chile, while at the same time making it clear to U.S. officials to “some executions would probably be necessary.â€

Assuming a non-involvement position was also deemed crucial by the U.S. To mellow any possible fallout, the coup plotters were especially keen to point out that the military coup would not follow in the steps of Pinochet. One declassified cable document detailing U.S. concern over involvement spells out how the U.S. Ambassador to Argentina Robert Hill planned to depart the country prior to the coup, rather than cancel plans to see how the events pan out. “The fact that I would be out of the country when the blow actually falls would be, I believe, a fact in our favor indicating non- involvement of Embassy and USG.†The main aim was to conceal evidence that the U.S. had prior knowledge of the forthcoming coup in Argentina.

While the released documents portray the U.S. as having knowledge of the coup as opposed to intervening overtly or covertly, the aftermath shows U.S. involvement was considerable. The Chile experience, including the murder of a diplomat on U.S. soil, were clearly not deterrents for U.S. policy in Latin America, as it extended further support for Videla’s rule. The Videla dictatorship would eventually kill and disappear over 30,000 Argentinians in seven years, aided by the U.S. which provided the aircraft necessary for the death flights in the extermination operation known as Plan Condor.

[Apr 27, 2021] The Greens, if they "win" will not win with a majority. That means they will need coalition partners. Neither the CDU or the SPD is going to go along with their plan to stop NS2. The Greens, in order to form a govt. will cave in on NS2 and probably other things.

Apr 27, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

robert , Apr 22 2021 20:00 utc | 16

Just a couple of notes:

-The Greens, if they "win" will not win with a majority. That means they will need coalition partners. Neither the CDU or the SPD is going to go along with their plan to stop NS2. The Greens, in order to form a govt. will cave in on NS2 and probably other things.

-The Ukies are still fleeing the country to avoid going to the front. The Ukie brass says as much. These are not soldiers. They are farm kids. At the 1st sign of serious war, they will all head for the russians with hands in the air.

-V. Putin handled the western MSM narrative quite well, imo, when he said "Those behind provocations that threaten the core interests of our security will regret what they have done in a way they have not regretted anything for a long time." It can't be clearer than that. And that tells me that the ussa is in the crosshairs. This may be the 1st time in history that the oceans will offer no protection for the warmongers that have been at war for 222 years of 237 years of their existence

The comedian is still flaying about and now trying to play the SWIFT card (last week it was nuclear weapons, before that it was...). Which, of course, the west will not honor because it would cripple the west as much or more than RU. I would imagine he needs to change his undershorts on an hourly basis these days. He is literally caught between a rock and a hard spot. No more support from DE, FR, US, NATO, TR except good wishes. And demands from his brain-dead Banderites are only growing more shrill. What's a poor comic to do?

The west is basically done with him and with the show of force by the russians they are more done with him than before. For his sake, i hope his khazarian passport app has been approved.

Another failed state compliments of the khazarians in DC. And the beat goes on.


passerby , Apr 22 2021 21:17 utc |