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‘Weapons for tyrants’: UK blasted for inviting human rights abusers to arms trade fair

Britain’s biggest arms fair starts Tuesday, and will play host to several countries labelled ...
video

Video: India-Russia cooperation not about arms trade, but about trust – Narendra Modi

As the rising giant of the East with the world's largest young population, India has every reason to believe it will become a global...

Ending arms trade with Saudi Arabia carries serious political risks, court told

Halting Britain’s multi-billion pound arms trade with Saudi Arabia would have serious political ramifications, the...

Arms Trade Treaty Falling Down in Yemen

Two years after the UN Arms Trade Treaty entered into force, many of the governments which championed the treaty are failing to uphold it,...

Britain ‘one of the most significant violators’ of the Arms Trade Treaty, says Oxfam

Oxfam has accused British MPs of being in “denial and disarray” over an agreement to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, saying the UK has...

UK arms traders eye global weapons-sales boost thanks to tumbling post-Brexit pound

British arms firms hope a plunge in the value of the pound will make exports...

Scottish councils making millions from global arms trade

Nine Scottish local authorities are directly invested in some of the world’s leading arms manufacturers,...

EU’s loss, India’s gain? Brexit could free up Anglo-Indian arms trade

A British exit from the EU could leave the country in a position to make...

EU gun laws not stopping terror arms trade – police

Flawed European laws have allowed weapons to slip into the hands of Islamic State (IS,...
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Video: Pope Francis Urges U.S. to End Arms Trade & Open Doors to Immigrants

Democracynow.org - Pope Francis has arrived in New York, where he will speak at the United Nations General Assembly. On Thursday he became the...

The arms trade treaty is weak and legitimises arms sales

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) believes that the arms trade treaty, ratified yesterday by 19 countries, including the UK, will prove to be ineffective...

UN Arms Trade Treaty: Every U.S. Senator Must Be Held Accountable (Video)

For several decades now we have been warning that globalist politicians in one administration after another, as well as in Congress, have been working...

UN Arms Trade Treaty: Every U.S. Senator Must Be Held Accountable (Video)

For several decades now we have been warning that globalist politicians in one administration after another, as well as in Congress, have been working...

Lamar Alexander: UN Arms Trade Treaty Violates Second Amendment

There are few acts of government that contribute more to the rapid subjugation of its citizens than disarmament. Fortunately, resistance to the United Nations'...

Lamar Alexander: UN Arms Trade Treaty Violates Second Amendment

There are few acts of government that contribute more to the rapid subjugation of its citizens than disarmament. Fortunately, resistance to the United Nations'...

Kerry Signs UN Arms Trade Treaty – Civilian Disarmament Advancing

Secretary of State John Kerry signed the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty Wednesday. Upon adding his signature, Kerry addressed the world body: On behalf of...

Key Event for the International Arms Trade: WMD For Sale at the London’s Arms...

A key event for the international arms trade is taking place in London this week: the DSEi arms fair which hosts 1500 arms companies...

Russia to ‘continue arms trade’ with Iran

A senior Russian official says Moscow will continue its arms trade with the Islamic Republic of Iran as a key partner of Russia. Å“I want...

Religious & Civil Rights Groups Urge Obama to Sign Arms Trade Treaty

On September 23, the General Assembly of the United Nations will convene to discuss global nuclear disarmament. It is a different type of disarmament,...

Israel’s booming secretive arms trade

Al-Jazeera — 16 August 2013 Israel’s secretive arms trade is booming as never before, according to the latest export figures. But it is also coming...

Israel’s thriving arms trade is a setback to peace agreement

The National — 23 July 2013 Over the past decade, Israel has surged up the arms trade’s international rankings. Despite having a population smaller than New...

Sen. Chris Murphy Claims UN Arms Trade Treaty Doesn't Affect 2nd Amendment

In an op-ed published in Roll Call on July 20, Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.; shown) called for the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty to be...

US Delays While 65 Other Countries Sign 1st Global Arms Trade Treaty

(Photo: Oxfam International/cc/flickr)More than 65 countries have signed the first-ever treaty regulating the global arms trade. The United States, which is the world’s top...

US Delays While 65 Other Countries Sign 1st Global Arms Trade Treaty

(Photo: Oxfam International/cc/flickr)More than 65 countries have signed the first-ever treaty regulating the global arms trade. The United States, which is the world’s top...

Obama Urged to Sign Arms Trade Treaty Immediately

The Control Arms Coalition demonstrated in front of the United Nations in July 2012 to remind delegates of the price paid every day by...

CIA ‘arms trader’ dies

Reuters | Former CIA operative Edwin P. Wilson, who was found guilty in 1983 of selling arms to Libya but released from prison in 2004...

Anti-arms trade protester acquitted

It was smashing news this week for one anti-arms trade protester. Chris Bluemel, a music teacher from Southampton, was acquitted last Friday of assaulting...

Irish politicians back calls for universal arms trade treaty

Politicians from all the main parties have given their support to a global campaign to ban the sale of arms to conflict zones such...

Fighting dirty wars: spying for the arms trade

By Eveline Lubbers The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) is a well respected Quaker and Christian-based pacifist group, which believes in non-violent protest. In the...

POLICE SEEK TO AXE ANTI-ARMS TRADE MOVIE

Yet another below the belt blow to civil liberties was struck by the Sussex Plod this Monday. The long-awaited world premier of SchMOVIES ‘On...

‘You Don’t Get the Full Picture of What a Devastating Trade This Is’ –...

Janine Jackson interviewed William Hartung about US arms sales for the August 5, 2016, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript. William Hartung:...

HR groups slam UK trade fair marketing arms to repressive regimes

Human rights groups have censured a major UK-sponsored "security trade show" that aims to sell non-lethal weaponry and crowd control gadgets to some of...

London arms fair: sugarcoated death trade

Controversy has become a byword for the biennial Defense and Security Equipment International (DSEi) arms fair in London, at least over the few past...

NYT Lets Think Tank Funded by Gov’t and Arms Industry Claim Huge US Military...

The New York Times (9/18/17) quoted CSIS’s Anthony Cordesman saying that Sen. John McCain “has lived with underfunding of the military, seen the impact...

Pentagon falsifying paperwork to send arms worth $2bn to Syria, report finds

The Pentagon continues to ship billions of dollars of weapons to Syria, according to a damning...
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Video: Tariq Ramadan: The U.S. & Allies Are Destabilizing the Middle East & Selling...

https://democracynow.org - Extended web-only interview with Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan about U.S. arms trade, the so-called "democratization" of the ... Via Youtube

Theresa May denies suppressing report on Saudi terrorism funding to protect UK arms deals

Published time: 20 Jul, 2017 11:48 Edited time: 21 Jul, 2017 08:14 Prime Minister Theresa...

Yemen: Court Battle Exposes UK-Saudi Arms Deals And Humanitarian Tragedy

On Monday 10th July, a ruling was handed down by London’s High Court, which should, in a sane world, exclude the UK government ever...

UK court: Saudi arms sales lawful

Court to rule on legality of Britain’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Published time: 10 Jul, 2017 08:56 London’s High Court is due to rule Monday on...

U.S. $350 Billion Arms-Sale to Sauds Cements U.S.-Jihadist Alliance

Eric Zuesse On Saturday, May 20th, U.S. President Donald Trump and the Saud family inked an all-time record-high $350 billion ten-year arms-deal that not only...

‘Role model’? Fallon hails arms manufacturer who sold missiles to Yemen-bombing Saudis & Gaddafi

UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon has called missiles producer MBDA, known for controversial arms sales...

Trump wants to 'tweak' outstanding trade relationship with Canada

US President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met for the first time at...

Billions in ‘illegal’ British arms sales to Saudi Arabia under threat in High Court

Britain’s multibillion-pound arms trade with Saudi Arabia is illegal and should be stopped immediately, the...

Trump creates National Trade council to deal with trade pacts & US jobs

President-elect Donald Trump announced the establishment of the White House National Trade Council, headed by Peter...

Britain continues to back Saudi bombing of Yemen, despite US stopping arms sale

The US will halt a planned arms sale to Saudi Arabia due to “strong concerns”...

Trade first, human rights later? Theresa May’s vision for UK-Gulf relations

British Prime Minister Theresa May has set out her vision for UK trade cooperation with the Gulf regimes ahead of her historic trip to...

The Case for Free Trade

The Free Market 1, no. 1 (Fall 1983) In 1981 the Federal Register published a declaration from President Reagan: “I determine that it is in...

‘Profits prioritized over Yemeni lives:’ UK to continue arms sales to Saudis

The UK government has refused to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia, rejecting calls by two parliamentary committees and human rights groups to cease...

Air Cocaine: the Wild, True Story of Drug-Running, Arms Smuggling and Contras at a...

On March 16, 1986, President Ronald Reagan went on national television to make a desperate pitch for the restoration of congressional aid to the...

Despite slaughter at Yemen funeral, Middle East minister still justifies UK-Saudi arms sales

Britain’s minister for the Middle East, Tobias Ellwood, has justified the UK’s sale of arms...

Exposed: ‘Revolving door’ between British govt and arms dealers

Peace campaigners have exposed the cozy relationship between the British government and the nation’s arms...

British MPs denied vote on Saudi arms sales ban, while US senators propose boycott

As the US prepares to debate the legitimacy of selling arms to Saudi Arabia, British...

‘Lot of jobs at stake’: CNN host pooh-poohs US senator’s opposition to Saudi Arabia...

CNN host Wolf Blitzer appeared to play up the economic benefit of Washington’s $1.1 billion arms...

Boris v Theresa May? PM & FM at odds over arms sales to Saudi,...

British Prime Minister Theresa May and her foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, appear to be split...

Death in Yemen: UK Arms Sales to Saudi and the “Proper Use” of Illegal...

… a landmark agreement that will save lives and ease the immense human suffering caused by armed conflict around the world. It will reduce...

Trump in Mexico: Illegal immigration harms 'both countries,' no talk of who pays for...

Donald Trump called on both Mexico and the US to work together to solve the problem...
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Video: ‘UK arms and military support are fueling a brutal war in Yemen’ –...

The international charity Oxfam has accused the British government of violating the International Arms Trade Treaty as London continues its arms deals with ... Via...

NYT Reveals Think Tank It’s Cited for Years to Be Corrupt Arms Booster

The New York Times (8/7/16) reveals the corporate influence behind some of its most-used sources. A recent New York Times article (8/7/16) detailed, in often...

‘These Agreements Depend on Secrecy in Order to Pass’ – CounterSpin interviews with Lori...

The July 22, 2016, episode of CounterSpin brought together three classic interviews on corporate trade pacts. This is a lightly edited transcript. ...

UK licensed £3.3bn in arms to Saudi in first 12 months of Yemen bombing...

Britain licensed billions in arms sales to its theocratic ally Saudi Arabia in the first...

US arms giant Lockheed Martin giddy to cash in on Brexit bonanza

Global arms giant Lockheed Martin hopes Brexit will boost British business as the firm’s CEO...

Arms firms profiting from refugee crisis bought ‘access’ to Scottish politicians

Arms firms like Airbus, which are cashing in on border security deals to hold back...

British arms exports to Saudi Arabia to get full legal review after High Court...

Campaigners are bringing the government to justice after a judicial review into British arms exports...

U.N.’s Legal Expert Calls Proposed Trade Deals Illegal

Eric Zuesse Alfred de Zayas, the U.N.’s Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, is assigned the task to apply the standards of international law...

Prince of war: ‘Salesman’ Charles used to push Saudi fighter jet deal for arms...

Heir to the throne Prince Charles faces renewed criticism over his role in the sale...

UK pushes for UN arms embargo on Libya… after years of pouring in weapons

Despite sending weapons into Libya before and after the disastrous 2011 NATO intervention, Britain is...

Canada’s Saudi Arms Sales: “Don’t Be a Sucker!”

The sale of weaponized Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) to Saudi Arabia has raised a heated debate in Canada, pitting so-called realists against people who...

Arms dealer fears Brexit will hit business

A British military weapons and hardware dealer trading plane parts and troop carriers says his business would take a hit if the United Kingdom...

Trade Deals and the Environmental Crisis

With the release of leaked documents from the TTIP (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) ‘trade’ deal Greenpeace framed its conclusions more diplomatically than I...

UK police hack gun smugglers’ encrypted messages, seize arms cache with Paris attack links

Police spied on the encrypted messages of Kent-based gunrunners, who were smuggling 31 rifles and...

Canada’s Liberal government finalizes $15 billion Saudi arms deal

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. Carl Bronski In the latest example of the unbridled hypocrisy and prevarication...

World’s biggest arms fair in London likely infiltrated by criminals, judge rules

It’s highly likely the world’s largest arms fair, held in London last year, was infiltrated...

Activists were preventing war crimes by blockading world’s biggest arms fair – judge

Eight activists standing trial for disrupting the world’s biggest arms fair, held in London last...

‘Arrest arms dealers, not peace campaigners!’ 8 on trial over weapons fair protest

Eight activists are standing trial at Stratford Magistrates Court for disrupting the world’s biggest arms...

Scouting for business? British Royal Navy to head Gulf task force amid UK trade...

Britain will lead a joint maritime force in the Gulf from April alongside forces involved...

NAFTA and Obama’s Proposed ‘Trade’ Deals Are UnConstitutional

Eric Zuesse NAFTA and other mega-‘trade’ deals are actually about lots more than merely ‘trade’; they’re about sovereignty — the ability of each of the participating nations...

‘Merchants of mega death’: Protesters take aim at arms networking fair in Cardiff

Activists are descending on an arms fair in Cardiff, Wales, on Wednesday afternoon to protest...

Home Office protest targets ‘secret arms fair’ & human rights abusers

(RT) - Campaigners have held a demonstration outside the Home Office to highlight Britain’s ‘secret...

British arms sales to Saudi Arabia face parliamentary scrutiny

(RT) - British arms sales to Saudi Arabia will face a parliamentary inquiry after concerns...

Genetic weapons, human swarms & angry youth pose future threats to British security –...

(RT) - Swarm attacks, angry global youth and genetic weapons are among the futuristic threats...
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Video: Hundreds flock to German security trade fair as weapons sales skyrocket

Germans looking to stock up on self-defence gear flocked to the IWA International Trade Fair in Nuremberg, Saturday. A range of firearms, pepper spray,...

Treasury officials wined & dined by arms giants & ‘rogue banks’

Treasury officials regularly accepted invitations to lavish dinners with lobbyists for banks that were being investigated for market rigging, a new report has found. The...

Hypocrite David Cameron defends selling arms to outrageous Saudi regime

David Cameron has voiced support for the controversial Saudi-led air-strike campaign in Yemen and dismissed concerns that Riyadh is funneling funds to Islamic State. Speaking...
video

Video: Ruffling Feathers: Farmers reveal secrets of chicken meat trade in America

Chicken farms in the US are notoriously hard to access if you're not involved in the industry. But one American farmer, contracted to a...

Britain’s sale of arms to Saudi Arabia violates international law — lawyers

The British government has been accused of violating international law by enabling the export of British-made arms to Saudi Arabia, which may have been...
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Video: S. Arabia & Qatar among top US arms buyers despite human rights abuses

When it comes to arms dealing, the United States are the big guns dominating the industry with almost one third of all global trade....

‘Thriving off conflict’: UK is world’s second largest arms seller

Britain continues to sell arms to countries that commit human rights abuses and is now ranked second in the world for weapons sales, a...

Another Way Obama’s ‘Trade’ Deals Help International Corporations Privatize Government

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Recently, the issue was raised regarding the profits that would flow to international corporations by Obama’s proposed trade-deals encouraging...

UK government welcomes the world’s despots and war criminals to arms fair

By Mark Dowson A rogue’s gallery of the world’s despots and war criminals descended on London last week, at the invitation of the British government. They...
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Video: Security guards chase ‘Death’ around DSEI Arms Fair grounds

COURTESY: Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) A protester dressed as the grim reaper was dragged off the grounds of the DSEI Arms Fair by...
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Video: Protesters rally outside of UK arms expo

The world's largest weapons and security fair kicks off today in London, and is expected to attract around 1500 arms traders. But, already, a...

Thatcher made secrecy pact with Saudi king over ‘corrupt’ arms deal

Margaret Thatcher promised Saudi Arabia secrecy ahead of a £43 billion arms deal thought to have been blighted by corruption, newly-released documents reveal. The papers...

UK approved £4-million arms sales to Israel after Gaza war

The British government approved £4 million in weapons sales to the Israeli regime in the immediate aftermath of Israel’s massive military offensive against the...

Stopping Obama’s “Legacy” ‘Trade’ Deals: Did Reid Finally Do It?

Eric Zuesse President Obama has many times made clear to congressional Democrats that the most important thing in the “legacy” that he hopes to leave...

US making arms for possible China war: American author

The United States is manufacturing weapons which are considered by the American military officials as “plausible” for a possible war on China, says an...

How the Media Deceive the Public about “Fast Track” and the “Trade Bills”

Eric Zuesse The way that “Fast Track” is described to the American public is as an alternative method for the Senate to handle “Trade Bills”...

Why Are Exchange-Traded Funds Preparing For A ‘Liquidity Crisis’ And A ‘Market Meltdown’?

Some really weird things are happening in the financial world right now.  If you go back to 2008, there was lots of turmoil bubbling just underneath the surface during the months leading up to the great stock market crash in the second half of that year.  When Lehman Brothers finally did collapse, it was a [...]

The post Why Are Exchange-Traded Funds Preparing For A ‘Liquidity Crisis’ And A ‘Market Meltdown’? appeared first on The Economic Collapse.

Conservatives promote Canada as arms dealer

Psst. Looking for arms? Guns, ammunition, high tech supplies, armoured vehicles, and more, all quality Canadian made. Background check? We can get around that. Not democratic? No worries. Tools of repression? Sounds good to us. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are working … Continue reading

Arms Peddlers Discover Your Town – And Your Tax Dollars

Jim Hightower The multibillion-dollar global armament giants have discovered a hot new growth market here at home. Don't look now, but the overbearing power of...

UK Government will only suspend arms to Israel if hostilities resume

Adam Cochrane The British government announced the results of its review into arms sales to Israel on Tuesday of last week. Business secretary Vince Cable said...

Georgia-Russia Relations: Smoke and Mirrors of EU-Georgia-Russian Trade

Seth Ferris Georgia has been trying to join the EU and NATO for many years as have Romania, Moldova and Ukraine. This had been undeviating...

British government arms tyrants

Attention is focusing on British-made weapons being sent to Moscow, and understandably so. Vladimir Putin was once a friend of Britain ... but now...

Government ‘Profiting From Slaughter’ By Selling Arms To Israel

CAMPAIGNERS accused the government yesterday of profiting from the latest slaughter in Gaza by selling British weapons to Israel in multimillion-pound arms deals. Flogging arms...

Israeli arms dealers do business at Farnborough Airshow even as the bombs drop on...

“We know UK-produced military equipment has been used by Israel in its previous actions. An embargo on all military exports to, and military collaboration...

UN “Programme of Action”: Track & Destroy Small Arms and Ammo

This week in Manhattan, delegates from around the world have congregated at the United Nations headquarters to discuss ways to finally implement the Programme...

Historic Sino/Russian Trade Deal Signed

Historic Sino/Russian Trade Deal Signed

by Stephen Lendman

New York Times editors ate crow. They did so without admitting it. Hours earlier they approved copy headlining "China and Russia Fail to Reach Deal on Gas Plan."

It was when Russian officials said it was 98% complete. Finalizing it looked imminent. On May 21, it was signed, sealed and delivered as promised.

A follow-up Times article was was woefully dishonest. It suppressed what readers need to know. 

It headlined "China and Russia Are Said to Reach Major Gas Deal."

Close to reaching it should have been reported the previous day. Times editors tolerate no favorable Sino/Russian reports.

Its correspondents write as ordered. Doing so features misinformation rubbish. Vital truths are buried. It's longstanding editorial policy.

On May 21, The Times falsely claimed "it was not immediately clear if the accord was an actual contract with details of prices and terms, or if it was a memorandum of understanding that would signal the need for further negotiations."

Itar Tass claimed otherwise. It reported facts, not fiction. It said:

"Russia's Gazprom and China's CNPC have stricken a deal on natural gas supplies to China." 

"The document has been signed in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping."

"Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller reported that the contract has been concluded for $400 billion for 30 years."

"In the gas contract for China, the sides envisaged granting preferential mineral extraction tax regimes, said Gazprom CEO."

Xinhau confirmed Itar Tass' report. It headlined "China, Russia ink long-awaited gas deal," saying:

It's finalized. "China and Russia on Wednesday inked the long-awaited gas deal in Shanghai, ending the decade-long natural gas supply talks between the two neighbors."

Official documents "were signed at a ceremony attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin."

"The deal...fully embodied the principle of mutual trust and mutual benefit of China and Russia…"

It "accelerate(s) the economic and social development in Russia's far east region, and also diversify the export of the major oil and natural gas exporter."

Both countries established "a comprehensive energy cooperation partnership." They pledged stronger economic and financial ties.

They're natural partners. They promised wide-ranging cooperation. They'll increasingly trade in their own currencies. 

They'll bypass dollar transactions. They'll weaken it in the process. Other countries are doing the same thing. More on this below.

The Moscow Times headlined "China and Russia Sign Gazprom Supply Agreement," saying:

They "signed a long-awaited natural gas supply deal on Wednesday…(It) secur(es) the world's top energy user a major new source of the clean-burning fuel and open(s) a market to Moscow as Europeans look elsewhere for their energy."

The deal "represents a major (Putin) triumph as he seeks to forge new partnerships in Asia while customers in Europe attempt to reduce their reliance on Russian gas in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine." 

RT International headlined "Russia and China seal historic $400 gas deal."

"Ten years of talks ended positively. Both countries "signed a historic gas deal…(It'll) provide the world's fastest growing economy with the natural gas it needs to keep pace for the next 30 years."

It's the largest Gazprom deal ever. No other contractual arrangement approaches it. No other bilateral one anywhere.

Potentially it could nearly double in size. It depends on China's future needs.

Voice of Russia headlined "Russia, China sign contract on gas supplies worth $400 bln over 30 years."

Agreement was finalized at 4:00AM Wednesday Shanghai time. "All the fundamental issues were resolved."

Sino/Russian ties stress unity. They're stronger than ever in modern times. They're deepening. They expanding.

Gazprom and related trade deals strengthen them.

Russia will supply China with around 38 billion cubic million meters of natural gas annually. For the next 30 years.

It bears repeating. It may nearly double in size ahead. Depending on China's internal needs.


(1) Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak and China's National Energy Administration director Wu Xinxiong signed a Memorandum of Understanding on delivering Russian gas to China.

(2) Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and China National Petroleum Corporation head Zhou Jiping signed a "purchase and sale contract" to supply China's needs for the next 30 years.

Putin said implementation begins on May 22. Doing so "makes it possible to begin the next project with our Chinese partners, namely to begin working on the Western supply route."

He referred to supplying gas from Western Siberian resources. 

Secondly, he said, it's "possible for us to realize our plans to develop Russia's gas industry by connecting the Eastern and Western parts of extraction with the appropriate infrastructure."

"If need be, supplies can be diversified from the West to the East and from the East to the West."

Other increased trade deals were agreed on. In technological, industrial, and commercial sectors. In military hardware. 

Growing Sino/Russian trade lessens reliance on increasingly undependable Western sources. It gives them less access to Eastern markets.

The President of Russia's web site headlined "Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping witnesses the signing of agreements on gas supplies from Russia to China via the Eastern Route.

Putin and Xi Jinping "signed a Joint Declaration of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on the new stage of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation between the two countries."

They "witnessed the signing of a package of intergovernmental, interdepartmental and commercial documents on cooperation in the economy, trade, energy and the humanitarian areas."

They issued a joint statement. "(A)mbitious goals" were agreed on, it said. "(L)ong-term milestones" were established.

"(I)mportant bilateral documents" were signed. "Relations between Russia and the People’s Republic of China are developing successfully and have reached a new level of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation," it stressed.

"(S)pecial attention (was on) economic issues. China is Russia's leading foreign trade partner."

A Sino/Russian Investment Committee was established. Its mandate is expanding economic and financial ties.

It's "diversifying trade." It's "reducing…dependence on global economic" conditions.

It's promoting cooperation in "technology-intensive areas." They include industrial, commercial, banking and military areas.

They're increasing bilateral ruble/renminbi trade. It bears repeating. Doing so bypasses dollar transactions. It weakens dollar strength.

Economist John Williams sees its reserve currency days ending. "I don't see what will save it at this point," he said.

"Now we are to the point that the dollar has been ignored for years."  

"The federal deficit has been ignored for years. That's where we are on the brink of disaster with, and that is what has to be addressed now, and that's not happening."  

"The way I see it, the dollar could go to zero in terms of its purchasing power."  

"You don’t want to have your assets in US dollars."

Williams sees continuing US decline. Economic conditions are much weaker than reported, he said.

Inflation-adjusted growth is way overstated. Official government data is fabricated. Consumers are "strapped." 

"Median household income, net of inflation, is as low as it was in 1967."  

"The average guy is not staying ahead of inflation. For decades, you could get consumption from the future by borrowing more money and expanding your debt."  

"That all blew apart in 2007 and 2008. Now, you don't have the ability to borrow money the way you used to, and without that, there is no way consumption can grow faster than the rate of inflation." 

"There is no way you can have positive sustainable growth in the economy without the consumer being healthy."  

"It's just not going to happen." Another plunge is coming, said Williams. Exponentially rising debt is out-of-control.

America's solvency is threatened. Global markets are concerned. US economic conditions are weak. They're heading south.

Doing so harms dollar strength. So does money printing madness. "As the renewed downturn gains wider acceptance or wider recognition, that will intensify the selling pressure," Williams believes.

"When someone starts selling, it’s going to be a race for the door, and I am looking for a dollar selling panic to be the trigger for the onset of hyperinflation," he said.

He sees US deficits exploding. "It's going to do bad things to the banking system," he added.

"The Fed is going to have to come in and prop up the system until it falls apart."

It remains to be seen if he's right. Billions worldwide hope so. US imperial wars require massive funding.

Inability to do so prevents them. Peace may replace permanent conflicts. Perhaps when most needed. 

Perhaps in time to prevent disaster. The fullness of time will tell.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Canadian arms sale promotes misogyny, royal repression,

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper claims to take “strong, principled positions in our dealings with other nations, whether popular or not.” But, even the most ardent Conservative supporters must wonder what principled position is behind the recent government-sponsored arms deal … Continue reading

Prince Charles should promote human rights in Saudi Arabia, not arms sales

Andrew Smith  RINF Alternative News Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has called for Prince Charles to use his ongoing visit to Saudi Arabia to speak out...

US-EU Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement: More Secrecy and More Duplicity Revealed

Colin Todhunter  RINF Alternative News Current bilateral free trade agreement negotiations are shrouded in secrecy and are closed to proper public scrutiny (1,2). This is because...

US-EU Free Trade Agreement: More Secrecy And More Duplicity Revealed


Global Research 17/2/2014

Current bilateral free trade agreement negotiations are shrouded in secrecy and are closed to proper public scrutiny (1,2). This is because they effectively constitute part of the ongoing corporate hijack of democracy and the further restructuring of economies in favour of elite interests (3,4,5).
We need look no futher than Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) between the US and EU. European Commissioner De Gucht claims that “there is nothing secret” about the ongoing talks. In December 2013 in a letter published in The Guardian, he argued that “there is nothing secret about this EU trade deal” and that “our negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership are fully open to scrutiny” (6).

If that is the case, why then are notes of Commission meetings with business lobbyists released to Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) under the EU’s freedom of information law heavily censored?

It appears that the public is not allowed to know the positions held by the EU (unlike business interests) in these talks, who is being given access to whom and who is lobbying for what on whose behalf. High-minded platitudes referring to protecting the integrity of industry and the sensitive nature of negotiations are being used in an attempt to subvert democracy, prevent public scrutiny and secure the continued privileged positions and influence that big business holds in these talks. The arguments being used to justify the secrecy are thinly veiled disguises to try to hoodwink us into accepting the legitimacy of these negotiations.  

Documents recently received by CEO show that De Gucht's officials invited industry to submit wishlists for 'regulatory barriers' they would like removed during the negotiations. However, there is no way for the public to know how the EU has incorporated this into its negotiating position as all references have been removed.

Last month CEO received 44 documents (7) about the European Commission's meetings with industry lobbyists as part of preparations for the EU-US trade talks. Most of the documents, released as a result of a freedom of information (FOI) request, are meeting reports prepared by Commission officials.


The documents arrived almost a full ten months (!) after the FOI request was tabled and 39 of the 44 documents are heavily censored. The documents cover only a fraction of the more than 100 meetings (8) which De Gucht's officials had with industry lobbyists in the run-up to the launch of the TTIP negotiations. 


CEO asks were no notes taken during closed-door meetings with corporate lobbyists from, for example, the US Chamber of Commerce, the German industry federation BDI, chemical lobby groups CEFIC and VCI, pharmaceutical industry coalition EFPIA, DigitalEurope, the Transatlantic Business Council, arms industry lobby ASD, the British Bankers Association and corporations like Lilly, Citi and BMW? It all seems like a rather cosy affair. It doesn’t take a cynic to conclude that something is seriously amiss here.

In the 39 documents which were “partially released”, large parts of text (“non releasable” or “not relevant”) have been hidden. In some cases, every single word has been removed from the document.


Not only is the text of the EU's negotiating position secret, the public is even denied access to sentences in meeting reports that refer to the EU negotiating position. This is especially problematic as these are minutes from meetings with industry lobbyists who were clearly given information about the EU's negotiating position in the TTIP talks, unlike the public.


CEO rightly states that sharing information about the EU's negotiating position with industry while refusing civil society access to that same information is unacceptable discrimination.


In many cases parts of text are removed because they contain the views of industry lobby groups “on particular aspects of the EU/US trade negotiations.” “Release of that information could have a negative impact on the position of the industry", the Commission argues. CEO argues that it is entirely unclear this means and why the views of the lobby groups should be hidden from public scrutiny. 

The Commission has also removed all names of lobbyists from the 44 documents arguing that “disclosure would undermine the protection of […] privacy and the integrity of the individual”. Again CEO argues that this is an absurd line of argument as these are professional lobbyists who are not acting in an individual capacity. There is clear public interest in transparency around who is lobbying on whose behalf and who is getting access to EU decision-makers.

Despite being heavily censored, the documents show clearly that removing differences in EU and US regulations is the key issue in the TTIP talks, with 'regulatory barriers' coming up in a large majority of the meetings. For example, in a meeting with the European Services Forum in February 2013, a lobby group for global service players such as Deutsche Bank, IBM and Vodafone, the Commission suggested various options for regulatory cooperation such as 'compatibility', 'mutual recognition' and 'equivalence'.


In another meeting in February 2013, BusinessEurope (the most powerful business lobby in Brussels), stressed “its willingness to play an active role in the upcoming negotiations, in particular on the regulatory front”. The Commission noted the importance of EU industry “submitting detailed 'Transatlantic' proposals to tackle regulatory barriers”. In other words, a race to the bottom in setting the lowest barriers possible.


leaked EU document (10) from the winter of 2013 shows the Commission proposing an EU-US Regulatory Cooperation Council, a permanent structure to be created as part of the TTIP deal. Existing and future EU regulation will then have to go through a series of investigations, dialogues and negotiations in this Council. This would move decisions on regulations into a technocratic sphere, away from democratic scrutiny. Is it not enough that EU member states could find domestic laws to protect the public interest quite useless under proposed investor-state dispute settlement provisions (9)?.Also, there would be compulsory impact assessments for proposed regulation, which will be checked for their potential impact on trade. What about whether they protect people’s health or are good for the environment? 


This would be ideal for big business lobbies: creating a firm brake on any new progressive regulation in the very first stage of decision-making.

CEO concludes on its website:


“Ending the secrecy around the negotiations is crucial for allowing citizens to assess what is being negotiated in their name. This transparency should include the EU's negotiating position, and also shed a clear light on the involvement of corporate lobbyists in preparing the negotiations.”
 



Take action, be informed: http://corporateeurope.org/get-involved


Much of the information for this article was sourced from the website of Corporate Europe Observatory, a research and campaign group working to expose and challenge the privileged access and influence enjoyed by corporations and their lobby groups in EU policy making.


Notes




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US moves to deregulate arms exports

A US Air Force B1 bomber dropping cluster bombs.

Human rights advocates are warning that a US plan to further deregulate its arms exports would have serious human rights consequences across the globe, according to a new report.

The largest deregulation in the history of US arms exports took place on Tuesday as part of the Barack Obama administration’s export reform initiative, the Inter Press Service reported on Friday.

“We’re seriously concerned that the reforms will open a floodgate of weapons technology and equipment to governments that have bad human rights records,” Adotei Akwei, the managing director for government relations at Amnesty International USA, a global human rights movement, told IPS. “This could further facilitate the commission of human rights abuses around the world."

The plan is part of the Export Control Reform Initiative (ECRI) -- brought forward by the Obama administration in 2010-- to simplify US arms exports through eliminating redundant restrictions and regulations.

Former government officials and human rights activists fear that these extensive export deregulation measures will have serious human rights consequences and negative impact for US foreign policy.

“We in the human rights community have been fighting for the past 30 years to try to bring more oversight and regulation to the global trade in arms because of the link with human rights violations such as killings, displacement of population, and torture,” Akwei told IPS. “And now we see the US stepping back from these commitments. It is extremely alarming.”

The new initiative will transfer the oversight of arms exports from the Department of State to the US Department of Commerce. Critics warn that this change will only increase the risks connected with arms exports.

The new deregulation comes as the US Department of Defense plans to sell missiles and "bunker-buster" bombs to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in two separate deals worth $11.8 billion.

In August, the Cluster Munition Coalition denounced the United States for planning to supply cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia.

The United States and its Middle Eastern ally have refused to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits the production, transfer, use, and stockpiling of cluster munitions.

Saudi Arabia and the US are amongst the twelve countries that have used cluster munitions in the past, with the US using them in multiple locations and Saudi Arabia against Iraq in 1991.

AHT/HJ

US Reforms ‘Open Floodgates’ on Arms Exports

WASHINGTON - Earlier this week, the largest deregulation in the history of U.S. arms exports took place as part of the Barack Obama administration’s export reform initiative.

The military items that will move to Commerce Department oversight are primarily small parts such as aircraft components, electronic equipment, night vision equipment, and automatic firearms. (Credit: West Midlands Police/cc by 2.0) But a day after the new reforms came into effect, former government officials and critics from the human rights community are warning of the serious human rights consequences and of the negative long-term impact for U.S. foreign policy.

The reforms are part of the Export Control Reform Initiative (ECRI) brought forward by the Obama administration in 2010, with the goal of simplifying U.S. export practices by eliminating redundant restrictions and regulations.

The most problematic aspect of the reforms is the extensive deregulation of military exports by categorising them as ‘dual-use’ goods, which currently face no trade restrictions under international commercial law.

But according to critics, this large deregulation of armaments trade will have serious long-term consequences for U.S. military strategy and for human rights abuses across the globe.

“This could further facilitate the commission of human rights abuses around the world.” -- Amnesty's Adotei Akwei

The arms export reforms will transfer the oversight of military export items from the U.S. Department of State to the U.S. Department of Commerce. This change will only increase the risks connected with arms exports, critics say.

“Unlike standard armaments, dual-use goods currently face little or no restriction because they’ve always been considered normal commercial goods,” said William J. Lowell, a former U.S. State Department official and now the managing director of Lowell Defense Trade, a national security consulting firm here.

"What this deregulation does is move as much as 75 percent of our arms exports to the Commerce Department, with no regulation,” Lowell told IPS.

No regulation

The military items that will move to Commerce Department oversight are primarily small parts such as aircraft components, electronic equipment, night vision equipment, and automatic firearms.

But these are the items that will inevitably threaten U.S. military strategy, critics suggest.

“When you allow these items to be traded with no restrictions and no licensing, you’re basically allowing places like China and Iran to obtain our military technology and our spare parts with no restrictions whatsoever,” Steven W. Pelak, a former U.S. Justice Department official and now a partner at Holland & Hart, an international law firm, said here on Wednesday. “In the long-term, this can put American lives at risk.”

And while some emphasise the potential backfiring effect of the new deregulation on U.S. interests, others highlight the damaging effect the reforms will have on the international arms export regime.

Since World War II, the U.S. has been in the forefront in urging other countries to control conventional arms more closely, Lowell says.

“We’re the world’s largest arms provider. And now we’re basically retreating from our leadership,” he told IPS. “This means that other countries, like Russia, will be only too happy to agree with decontrolling some of their international arms transfers.”

Human rights abuses

And as critics consider the implications for U.S. foreign policy and military stability in troublesome areas around the world, human rights advocates warn of the human rights abuses that are going to take place after the deregulation.

“We’re seriously concerned that the reforms will open a floodgate of weapons technology and equipment to governments that have bad human rights records,” Adotei Akwei, the managing director for government relations at Amnesty International USA, a global human rights movement, told IPS. “This could further facilitate the commission of human rights abuses around the world."

Indeed, according to a recent report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Russia, the second-largest arms exporter after the U.S., has provided Algeria, where human rights records are troublesome, with over 90 percent the country’s armaments between 2008 and 2012.

The trend may spread to other problematic spots, including Sub-Saharan Africa. In early 2012, Sierra Leone’s People’s Party raised concerns over large imports of small weapons and ammunition from China, as it feared the weapons could be used to persecute political opponents in the upcoming elections, the SIPRI reports.

Human rights activists fear that these types of scenarios will only increase after the extensive export deregulation measures took effect on Tuesday.

“We in the human rights community have been fighting for the past 30 years to try to bring more oversight and regulation to the global trade in arms because of the link with human rights violations such as killings, displacement of population, and torture,” Amnesty International USA’s Akwei told IPS. “And now we see the U.S. stepping back from these commitments. It is extremely alarming.”

Unclear motives

It is still unclear why the U.S. administration has opted for this arms export deregulation, the largest and most comprehensive in the country’s history.

The shift from the State to the Commerce Department also comes with a change in the definition of what constitutes a “military item.” Before the reforms, the U.S. State Department maintained jurisdiction and control over all items on the U.S. Munitions List, the list containing all military-related items requiring an export license prior to being shipped to foreign countries.

Now, however, the Commerce Department defines a military item as an item that is “inherently military or [one that] possess[es] parameters or characteristics that provide a critical military or intelligence advantage to the United States.”

According to critics, the new definition is alarming.

“This definition is so unclear that the U.S. military industry simply won’t know what will fall under that category. Because of this confusion, we’ll see a real damage for U.S. industry,” Holland & Hart’s Pelak said Wednesday.

And as opponents wonder why the U.S. government will implement reforms that will damage its national industry, U.S. servicemen warn of the deadly consequences of such a massive deregulation.

Kevin McDonnell, a retired U.S. Army Colonel, recently noted that exporting night vision equipment to foreign states, now allowed under Commerce Department rules, would put U.S. lives at risk.

“In enemy hands, these devices can enable hostile forces to track and fire on our aircraft at night,” he says. “The direct result is the loss of American lives.”

© 2013 IPS North America

‘Russia begins shipping arms to Iraq’

Russia has begun shipping arms to Iraq under a historic multi-billion-dollar contract signed between Baghdad and Moscow last year. Ali al-Musawi, top media advisor to...

‘Russia begins shipping arms to Iraq’

Russia has begun shipping arms to Iraq under a historic multi-billion-dollar contract signed between Baghdad and Moscow last year. Ali al-Musawi, top media advisor to...

‘Russia begins shipping arms to Iraq’

File photo shows a Russian MI-28N attack helicopter.Russia has begun shipping arms to Iraq under a historic multi-billion-dollar contract signed between Baghdad and Moscow...

‘Russia begins shipping arms to Iraq’

Russia has begun shipping arms to Iraq under a historic multi-billion-dollar contract signed between Baghdad and Moscow last year.

Ali al-Musawi, top media advisor to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, told Russia Today on Thursday that the agreement “entails primarily weapon shipments to combat terrorism.”

Baghdad and Moscow signed the $4.3-billion contract in October 2012, making Russia Iraq’s largest arms supplier after the US, but Iraqi authorities announced a month later that the deal had been annulled over Prime Minister Nouri Maliki concerns about "corruption" within his own team.

However, Anatoly Isaykin, the director general of Russia’s state-run arms trader Rosoboronexport, said in February that the agreement was not canceled, but it has not come into effect yet.

Musawi went on to say, “We really did have suspicions about this contract,” adding, “But in the end the deal was signed. We have currently started the process of implementing one of the stages of this contract.”


The Iraqi official also stated that Baghdad does not have any plan to acquire “offensive weapons” and said, “Bagdad only strives for securing its own sovereignty, defense of its wealth and fight against terrorism.”

Reports at the time of inking the deal indicated that it involved Iraq’s purchase of 30 Mi-28 attack helicopters and 42 Pantsir-S1 surface-to-air missile systems.

Musawi said Iraq was primarily interested in possessing helicopters in an effort to enable its army to hunt down the terrorists staging attacks across the country.

Iraq has been grappling with a spike in bombings and shooting attacks over the past months.

MKA/HSN/HMV

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Published time: March 25, 2013 13:59
Reuters / Larry Downing

The CIA reportedly has a hand in clandestine supply of arms to Syrian rebels by Gulf States. At least 3,500 tons of have been delivered - some ending up on the black market, with the Turkish government an active player, a media report says.

The flow of arms continues with the help of US agents as Washington criticizes Iran and Russia for delivering weapons to the Syrian regime, the New York Times says. Secretary of State John Kerry pressed Iraq on Sunday to close its airspace to Iranian flights just as the latest arms delivery from Qatar for Syrian rebels was landing in Turkey, according to the daily’s report.

The newspaper cites air traffic data, US and foreign officials and rebel commanders in its investigation.

The airlift reportedly began in early 2012 with a Qatari Emir Air Force C-130 transport aircraft flight. Saudi Arabia and Jordan have joined in in November, when it became a major operation. More than 160 military flights have landed in Turkey over the time. Esenboga Airport near Ankara was the prime destination, but others were also involved, the newspaper claims.

“A conservative estimate of the payload of these flights would be 3,500 tons of military equipment,” Hugh Griffiths, of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, told the newspaper. He added that it appears as a “well-planned and coordinated clandestine military logistics operation.”

Indeed, CIA agents have a direct input on the deliveries, albeit mostly consultative, NYT says. The spy agency reportedly helps with procurement of weapons in Croatia and vets Syrian rebel groups, which would receive the weapons.

A Syrian rebel sniper takes aim at pro-government forces near the Abu Baker brigade in Albab, 30 kilometres from the northeastern Syrian city of Aleppo.(AFP Photo / Edouard Elias)

The involvement was supposedly motivated by the fact that the Arab states would supply arms to the Syrian militants anyway. The hopes CIA its can steer away the arms from Islamists’ hands and prevent weapons which can potentially be used by terrorist against civilian targets from being delivered, a former US official told the newspaper.

The operation was a limited success apparently, NYT says, citing two Islamist commanders.

“There are fake Free Syrian Army brigades claiming to be revolutionaries, and when they get the weapons they sell them in trade,” Hassan Aboud of Soquor al-Sham told the newspaper.

The former official described the program as “a cataract of weaponry.” He said: “People hear the amounts flowing in, and it is huge, but they burn through a million rounds of ammo in two weeks.”

Instrumental to setting up the operation was David H. Petraeus, the CIA director until November, the official said. He had prodded various countries to work together on it.

The scale of the operation increased considerably in November, after the Turkish government agreed to it, the report says. The tipping point may also have been the presidential election in the United States.

Ankara reportedly has oversight over much of the program, down to affixing transponders to trucks ferrying the arms through Turkish territory and across the border. Some in Turkey say Ankara is de facto at war with Damascus because of its involvement in the conflict.

“The use of Turkish airspace at such a critical time, with the conflict in Syria across our borders, and by foreign planes from countries that are known to be central to the conflict, defines Turkey as a party in the conflict,” said Attilla Kart, a member of the Turkish Parliament from the CHP opposition party, who confirmed details about several Saudi shipments. “The government has the responsibility to respond to these claims.”

A masked Syrian Turkmen rebel takes posision in the Hanano district of the northern city of Aleppo.(AFP Photo / Jm Lopez)

Still, rebel commanders complain that they do not receive enough weapons and do not get heavier kinds of weapons like anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles.

“The outside countries give us weapons and bullets little by little,” said Abdel Rahman Ayachi, a commander in Soquor al-Sham, an Islamist fighting group in northern Syria.

They accuse Washington of blocking such deliveries.

“Arming or not arming, lethal or nonlethal — it all depends on what America says,” Mohammed Abu Ahmed, who leads a band of anti-Assad fighters in Idlib Province, told NYT.

The CIA and General Petraeus would not comment when contacted by the newspaper. Turkish and Saudi Arabian officials declined to discuss the arms flights. Croatia and Jordan both denied any role in supplying weapons to the Syrian rebels, NYT says. Jordanian aviation officials reportedly went so far as to insist that no cargo flights occurred, and cut communication after presented evidence to the contrary.

As Nations Gather to Discuss Global Arms Treaty, NRA Goes into Wacko-Mode

The United Nations is hosting talks in New York today as more than 150 countries discuss a global arms treaty designed to lessen the illicit gun trade, especially as it intersects with international conflict zones.

The NRA's Wayne LaPierre lashes out at gun control efforts during his CPAC speech last week. (Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP) The National Rifle Association, however, is using the opportunity to once again prove that their primary mission is not the altruistic promotion of individual gun rights, but rather to serve the interests of the powerful US gun industry.

In a statement put out ahead of the conference, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said, "It is our collective responsibility to put an end to the inadequate regulation of the global trade in conventional weapons — from small arms to tanks to combat aircraft."

Reiterating his support for the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), Ban said agreement on the pact would "alleviate the plight of the millions of people affected by conflicts and armed violence and enable the United Nations to better carry out its mandate to promote peace, development and human rights around the world."

Describing the treaty and the nature of the negotiations, Reuters reports:

Diplomats say that if the treaty conference fails to reach the required consensus because the United States, Russia or another major arms producer opposes it, nations can still put the draft treaty to a vote in the U.N. General Assembly.

The other alternative is to amend the draft to make it acceptable to the U.S. and other delegations. But supporters of the treaty fear that could lead to a weak and meaningless pact.

"The U.S. traditionally has an allergy to treaties," a European diplomat told Reuters. "It might be better to have a good treaty without the U.S. and hope they come around later."

But as The Guardian's Karen McVeigh points out:

For years, the NRA has painted the UN as a bogeyman figure, claiming in its literature and fundraising drives that there is an international conspiracy to "grab your guns". Last July, when negotiations on the Arms Trade Treaty broke down – in part because of US resistance to global regulations on gun sales – the gun lobby group claimed victory for "killing the UN ATT".

Supporters of the treaty accuse the NRA of deceiving the US public about the pact, which they say will have no impact on US domestic gun ownership as it applies only to exports.

Michelle Ringuette, chief of campaigns and programs at Amnesty International USA, said they had witnessed a resurgence in the NRA's attempts to influence lawmakers and to use its opposition to the UN treaty as an opportunity for fundraising.

"We monitor what they send out to membership and put online" Ringuette told the Guardian. "It's nothing like the efforts they put in back in June and July but we have seen them step up. They have done exactly what we expected them to do, to stir up anti-UN panic."

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‘Survival of Great Apes’ Imperiled as 3,000 Lost to Illegal Trade Each Year

Roughly 3,000 great apes are stolen, traded, or killed each year, according to a new report by the UN Environment Program, which warns that the vast disappearance of primates will do great harm to the forest ecosystems of Africa and South-east Asia.

(Photo: Corbis) The report “Stolen Apes: The Illicit Trade in Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Bonobos and Orangutans” says traders within an organized trans-boundary network trade the apes in "the same ways as drugs, arms and laundered money," which has amounted to over 22,000 stolen apes since 2005.

"This trade is thriving and extremely dangerous to the long term survival of great apes," said Doug Cress,  coordinator for the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP).

"At this rate, apes will disappear very quickly," Cress stated. “Great apes are extremely important for the health of forests in Africa and Asia, and even the loss of 10 or 20 at a time can have a deep impact on biodiversity."

The majority of the apes traded are chimpanzees but also include bonobos, gorillas and orangutans. They are commonly killed during the hunt or die in captivity.

Those who survive are sold as exotic pets for wealthy individuals, zoos, and the entertainment and tourist industries, the report stated.

"Great apes are used to attract tourists to entertainment facilities such as amusement parks and circuses. They are even used in tourist photo sessions on Mediterranean beaches and clumsy boxing matches in Asian safari parks," it said.

The report coincides with the UN-backed Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) currently underway in Bangkok, Thailand.

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Beneath the ‘Fair Trade’ Label, Union-Busting Lurks

A new International Labor Rights Forum report claims that Theo Chocolate's management practices contradict its trendy "fair trade" image. (TheLivingRoominKenmore / Flickr / Creative CommonSince the 1990s, an unprecedented--but sometimes uneasy--alliance of activists and industry has tried to braid together business and humanitarianism under the label of “fair trade,” a system of standards aimed at injecting ethical checks into the sprawling global trade structure. Today, fair-trade branded coffees, skincare products and designer chocolates are hot commodities. But beneath the label lie ideological tensions over what “fair” means.

According to the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), the fair-trade certification system is riddled with loopholes that enable corporations to suppress labor rights and union activism. The ILRF’s new report focuses on the Seattle-based Theo Chocolate and its fair trade certification body, Switzerland-based Institute for Market Ecology (IMO). According to workers interviewed for the report, a campaign to form a union affiliated with the Teamsters in early 2010 at Theo's Seattle factory was met with discrimination, intimidation and anti-union propaganda.

A campaign to discourage unionization would not be unusual in a typical U.S. workplace, but the ILRF has called out Theo Chocolate for simultaneously deterring unionization in its workplace while publicizing itself as a “fair trade” brand. ILRF also criticizes Theo’s much-touted partnership with the IMO in a certification system designed to ensure compliance with fair trade standards—its Fair for Life certification program. The ILRF’s report grew out of its work with the Teamsters to help Theo workers complain to the IMO about the management's alleged anti-union actions.

According to the ILRF, in early 2010, a group of Theo workers sought to form a union to address problems they had discussed among themselves, including “safety issues in the factory, short notice shift and furlough changes, untenable workloads, low wages... and suspicion of wage discrimination against non-English speaking workers.” In the end, the report says, 19 out of 30 eligible workers signed cards affirming their approval of union representation. In a company like Theo, with a brand built on a hip, youthful image of global social responsibility, workers might well have expected that such organizing would be welcomed.

Instead, according to the report, Theo’s management fought to keep out the union through tried-and-true pressure strategies, including hiring a consultant to aid with union-deterrence efforts. One psychological tactic described in the report was painting unionization as an act of grave disloyalty:

Workers were made to feel that forming a union would ruin the gains that fair trade principles had made for cocoa farmers supplying Theo its cocoa.... A senior manager told one union supporter, “You can’t imagine how hard life is in Africa—your situation pales in comparison to theirs.”

True, Theo’s working conditions may be a cut above your average cocoa plantation. But according to testimonies in the ILRF report, the company still failed to address the supposedly pettier complaints that employees raised with management. The report criticized the company's attempt to resolve the conflicts by setting up non-union mediations that seemed aimed primarily at preempting the union, not comprehensively addressing workplace grievances.

The ILRF’s report focuses on the role of the IMO and the dubious integrity of fair trade certification when it comes to workplace fairness. When the ILRF and the Teamsters brought workers’ allegations of union-busting to the IMO, they found there was no effective way to seek fair recourse. Despite explicit provisions on freedom of association in the Fair for Life code, the ILRF says, “IMO’s certification of Theo Chocolate provided no independent mechanism for workers to challenge IMO’s flawed investigation of Theo’s violations of workers’ human rights.”

According to private email correspondence provided to In These Times, the IMO recently indicated it was open to reviewing some provisions of Fair for Life, without saying whether it would consider major changes in accordance with ILRF’s concerns. Underscoring some of the intrinsic conflicts highlighted by labor activists, the IMO referred to “confidentiality” protocols for client companies, which complicated issues of transparency in the auditing process.

Theo has criticized the report and its allegations as unfair and unfounded. In a statement sent to In These Times, Vice President of Sales and Marketing Debra Music argued that Theo honors labor rights, pointing out that in October 2010 (well after the initial pro-union vote described in the ILRF report), “our employees initiated, drafted, and distributed a petition indicating they did not want to unionize.” According to Music, this petition (like the management) denied “[a]ccusations made about Theo’s reaction to the proposed introduction of a union" and claimed that when employees met to discuss the issue, "it was made clear that the majority of [workers] were not interested in a Teamsters union.” (Statement posted here.)

To the ILRF, Theo’s labor dispute represents a broader dilemma in the fair trade world—a lack of attention to the labor rights of hired workers, who play a significant role in sectors targeted by global fair-trade campaigns. Because the fair trade movement was born from initiatives to promote small cooperative farms in the Global South, the system has historically been oriented toward traditional grassroots agriculture, rather than wage labor or industrialized workplaces.

Now a deeper controversy is brewing within the movement over dealing with issues of equity and rights for hired labor, which turns on the authority and scope of third-party certification programs.

The ILRF recommends that the fair-trade community partner with groups in the labor movement to set up an independent system for pursuing recourse against fair trade violators, which might operate parallel to legal structures like the National Labor Relations Board. The report also points out that the industry and its auditors must “identify, recognize and address the inherent conflicts of interest that arise when a fair trade certifier or auditor, working with or paid by the employer, is also the judge between a worker-management dispute about worker organizing or collective bargaining.”

"Fair trade is meant to be a social movement,” ILRF Executive Director Judy Gearhart tells ITT. “It's therefore looked [toward] to be answerable to the poorest individuals meant to benefit from [the] system."

As a consumer-driven effort to draw an ethical baseline in global commerce, fair trade certification alone can’t answer all of the labor and economic justice issues that corrode industrial supply chains. But the principles of fairness in trade should take us deeper into a global conversation about what we value as consumers and as workers, and whether the labels we choose reflect those ideas.

Obama to Renew Drive for Cuts in Nuclear Arms

Mr. Obama, administration officials say, is unlikely to discuss specific numbers in the address, but White House officials are looking at a cut that would take the arsenal of deployed weapons to just above 1,000. Currently there are about 1,700, and the new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia that passed the Senate at the end of 2009 calls for a limit of roughly 1,550 by 2018.

But Mr. Obama, according to an official who was involved in the deliberations, “believes that we can make pretty radical reductions — and save a lot of money — without compromising American security in the second term. And the Joint Chiefs have signed off on that concept.”

The big question is how to accomplish a reduction that Mr. Obama views as long overdue, considering that Republicans in the Senate opposed even the modest cuts in the new arms reduction treaty, called Start. The White House is loath to negotiate an entirely new treaty with Russia, which would lead to Russian demands for restrictions on American and NATO missile-defense systems in Europe and would reprise a major fight with Republicans in the Senate over ratification.

Instead, Mr. Obama is weighing how to reach an informal agreement with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia for mutual cuts within the framework of the new Start — but without the need for ratification. Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, Tom Donilon, is planning to travel to Russia next month, officials say, to lay the groundwork for those talks. Mr. Obama and Mr. Putin will hold two summit meetings in the early summer.

Even as he revives a nuclear agenda that has been nearly moribund for two years, Mr. Obama is also expected to try to address new threats.

Within days of the State of the Union address, officials say, he plans to issue a long-anticipated presidential directive on combating cyberattacks aimed at American companies, financial institutions and critical infrastructure like the electric grid. The announcement comes at a moment of heightened attacks from China and, most recently, from Iran.

A lobbying effort by American companies last year defeated a bill in Congress that, in some versions of the legislation, would have required private companies to meet minimum standards of protection and to report attacks to the government. It died over objections that the bill would incur huge new costs and involve the government more deeply into private computer networks.

While Mr. Obama cannot impose the failed bill’s mandates by executive order, he is expected to give companies that control “critical infrastructure” access to an experimental government program that has been aimed at protecting defense contractors. The directive will also require the government to inform industry officials of cyberthreats detected by American intelligence agencies; that, in turn, may create some liability for companies that fail to react to the warnings.

The nuclear reduction plan has been debated inside the administration for two years, and the options have been on Mr. Obama’s desk for months. But the document was left untouched through the presidential election. The president wanted to avoid making the reductions a campaign issue with Mitt Romney, who declared at one point that Russia was now America’s “No. 1 geostrategic foe,” a comment that Mr. Obama later mocked as an indication that Mr. Romney had failed to move beyond the cold war.

Mr. Romney, in turn, leapt on a remark that Mr. Obama intended to make privately to Russia’s then president, Dmitri A. Medvedev. He was picked up by an open microphone telling Mr. Medvedev that “after my election I have more flexibility” on missile defense, which Republicans said was evidence that he was preparing to trade away elements of the arsenal.

Among the most outspoken advocates of a deep cut has been a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. James E. Cartwright, whom Mr. Obama continues to turn to on strategic issues. General Cartwright has argued that a reduction to 900 warheads would still guarantee American safety, even if only half of them were deployed at any one time.

“The world has changed, but the current arsenal carries the baggage of the cold war,” General Cartwright said last year. The challenges of North Korea, which is preparing a third nuclear test, and the possibility that Iran will get the bomb pose very different kinds of threats to the United States, and do not require the ability to deliver the kind of huge first strike that was the underlying logic of a large arsenal to face off against the Soviet Union.

“What is it we’re really trying to deter?” General Cartwright asked. “Our current arsenal does not address the threats of the 21st century.”

It is unclear how much money would be saved by the nuclear reduction plan that Mr. Obama is about to endorse; partly that depends on how the cuts are spread among the three elements of America’s nuclear “triad”: land-based missiles in silos, missiles aboard hard-to-find nuclear submarines, and nuclear bombers.

“These cuts don’t require a radical change in the triad, and that makes it politically easier,” said Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association, which has argued for deep cuts. General Cartwright’s more radical plans, by some estimates, would have saved at least $120 billion over the next two decades.

But Mr. Obama is already moving quietly, officials acknowledge, to explore whether he can scale back a 10-year, $80 billion program to modernize the country’s weapons laboratories.

The White House agreed to the spending on the weapons labs as the price of winning Republican votes on the new Start three years ago, but one senior defense official said late last year that “the environment of looking for cuts in the national security budget makes this an obvious target.”

Mr. Obama’s advisers have said he is unlikely to simply announce American cuts unilaterally, though President George W. Bush took a similar step his first year in office before negotiating a short treaty with Mr. Putin that passed the Senate with little rancor.

Along with the executive order on cybersecurity, the administration plans to try again this year to get comprehensive cyberlegislation passed by Congress.

Last month, Senators Tom Carper, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, introduced a cybersecurity bill similar to the one that administration had hoped to pass in 2012.

“We want to foster notice and we want to foster information-sharing requirements,” Janet Napolitano, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said in a recent interview on the legislation. “We want to take care of some of the nuts and bolts like relaxing Civil Service requirements so we can hire more competitively. Really the things that can’t be done by an executive order.”

Ms. Napolitano said that she hoped it would be a high priority for Congress. But “in the meantime we can’t stand still,” she said.

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Countering The Lies Of The Mainstream Media

Global Research, The 4th Media, RINF, Countercurrents

The site you are reading this article on is part of the ‘alternative’ or ‘independent’ media. Many of these sites do not take advertising and are run on the basis of donations from readers. Many of the authors whose articles appear on these sites write for no or little financial remuneration. 

Contrast this situation with the so-called ‘mainstream’ print and TV media.

The corporate mainstream media with its well-paid journalists and increasing concentration of ownership bows to the concerns of advertisers. It tends to be privately owned and its owners have a vested interest in maintaining an economic system based on private ownership and in manufacturing consent for it. Moreover, such outlets these days are increasingly part of major conglomerates, which may include armaments manufacturers, banking or industrial concerns, and will not therefore adopt stances or report on stories that are harmful to the interests of the wider organisation.

The public is thus given access to a world view that is distorted in favour of state-corporate interests. Such interests have succeeded in getting across the message that, for example, the ‘free market’ is the best way to deliver goods and services to people, state provided welfare is bad and ‘individual responsibility’ is good, ‘austerity’ is necessary, privatisation increases efficiency, an endless ‘war on terror’ must be waged on designated enemies, well-being is measured in terms of a never-ending quest for GDP growth, the US and NATO are the 'world's policemen', giant agribusiness must displace peasant farmers to secure food security and gross inequalities and unregulated corporate power are both necessary and legitimate.

Over the past 15 years, numerous 'alternative' news websites have sprung up that challenge these assumptions and the belief that ordinary citizens should be passive consumers of a predetermined news agenda. There are now dozens of popular news sites that inform people of issues the mainstream media has deliberately failed to tell people the truth about. There are also many more sites with global reach that exist to scrutinise specific sectors, hold practices to account and counter corporate propaganda (for example, GMWatchCorporate Europe ObservatoryFood & Water WatchCampaign Against the Arms Trade, etc.).

The existence of ‘alternative’ independent sites has led the European Union to express concerns about the ‘damaging’ effects of people having access to these sources of information. The EU argues that societal consensus is being eroded as people are being ‘led astray’ by dissenting voices on the internet. In the report ‘A free and pluralistic media to sustain European democracy’, the EU feels there is a danger that people are being misguidedly radicalised. It advocates EU funding for ‘responsible’ journalism, getting the EU’s viewpoint across regularly and prominently in the media and placing controls on the net. The EU perceives this to be ‘pluralism’.

What is ‘responsible journalism’?

An article by Annie Day indicates that as a result of its destabilisations, coups, mass bombings and death squads, the US military and the CIA have been responsible for a figure of an estimated ten million deaths since 1945. Yet the corporate media never describes any of this as constituting a form of mass terror. Through the cynical hijacking of the concept of ‘terror’, the US now attempts to justify its ongoing tyranny through a ‘war on terror’, which goes unquestioned on a daily basis by the mainstream media.

Ukraine is the latest example of a US-backed terror campaign, which the corporate media has consistently failed to question. As the world edges ever closer to nuclear war, the mainstream media merely parrots the official lie coming from Washington that the situation is all due to ‘Russian aggression’.

You can also add to that ten million, countless others whose lives have been sacrificed on the altar of corporate profit, which did not rely on the military to bomb peoples and countries into submission but on the IMF, World Bank and WTO. It begs the question how many lives have been cut short across the world because of the inherent structural violence or silent killing of the everyday functioning of predatory capitalism? 

The appropriation of wealth through a system that funnels it from bottom to top via a process of accumulation by dispossession is celebrated by the corporate media as growthprosperity, and freedom of choice, despite evidence that, from Greece to Spain and beyond, the reality for the majority has been falling wages, increasing poverty, the stripping away of choice and misery.

So where is the ‘responsible journalism’ that the EU calls for?

Does it lie with those journalists in the corporate media whose claim to respectability is their rigid professionalism, their accountability, their objectivity?

If you can call professionalism, accountability and objectivity being in the pay of and not wishing to offend advertising interests, officialdom and powerful corporate interests then they are paragons of absolute responsibility.

Peddling their high salaried deceptions, they have failed and continue to fail the public and genuinely hold power to account. By shining their ‘investigative’ light on ‘parliamentary procedures’, personalities, the rubber stamping of policies and the inane machinations of party politics, they merely serve to maintain and perpetuate the status quo and keep the public in the dark as to the unaccountable self-serving nature of power broking and the unity ofinterests that enable Big Oil, Big Finance, Big Pharma, Big Agra and the rest of them via their secretive think tanks and policy initiatives to keep bleeding us all dry. 

But that’s the role of the media: to help reinforce and reproduce the material conditions of a divisive social system on a daily basis. It’s called having a compliant, toothless media. It’s what the corporate media itself calls part of ‘liberal democracy’
And in this type of 'liberal democracy', it is people like Edward Snowden or Julian Assange who expose the wrongdoings of the political-corporate elites that are hounded. 

It was George Orwell who said that journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed and everything else is public relations. Orwell was correct. Former CIA boss General Petraeus stated in 2006 that his strategy was to wage a war of perceptions conducted continuously through the news media, while John Pilger observes that the role of respectable journalism in western state crimes - from Iraq to Iran, Afghanistan to Libya - remains taboo. Its role has been to serve as first-choice cheerleader for illegal wars.

Intelligence agencies secure media compliance

There are of course some good journalists working in the corporate mainstream media. But if you think this article mounts to little more than a one-sided attack on the ‘mainstream’ media, you may need to think again.

Many readers will be aware of a recent story about the former editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s largest newspapers, who claimed that he accepted news stories written and given to him by the CIA and published them under his own name. 

This revelation came as a shock to many. But it should not have because  in the UK, for example, the British intelligence agencies along with the CIA has for decades strived to ensure that the mainstream press and TV complied with the interests of the Establishment. In addition to making sure that the British left was subverted, infiltrated and made toothless, the mainstream media was molded by the intelligence agencies to parrot the Establishment’s viewpoints and aims.


The article reveals the tight-knit relationship between senior journalists and MI5:

MI5 targeted labour correspondents in both newspapers and broadcasting right up to the 80s; they were recruited in droves for their contacts with a wide range of trade union officials and with each other. According to Peter Wright, MI5 always had about twenty senior journalists working for it in the national press. “They were not employed directly by us, but we regarded them as agents because they were happy to be associated with us.”

As the national public service broadcaster funded by the state, special attention was paid to the BBC:

At the BBC, Brigadier Ronald Stonham liaised with MI5 and Special Branch and advised the corporation on whether or not to employ people. Names of applicants for editorial posts in the BBC were similarly ‘vetted’ by MI5.

From the article, it becomes clear were the elite thinks journalism’s loyalty should ultimately lie:

“There should be times when the journalist, when he’s examined all the facts and tested all his sources, should come down on the side of the government of the day, the established order and the Establishment as a whole.” - Chairman of the Radio Authority

And the working class in particular should certainly know its place (Toxteth is an urban district and is used here to signify the social unrest that gripped a number of British cities in the early eighties):

“We are in a period of considerable social change. There may be social unrest, but we can cope with the Toxteths… but if we have a highly-educated and idle population, we may possibly anticipate more serious conflict. People must be educated to once more know their place.” – from a secret Department of Education Report.

The article makes clear who the British Establishment regards as the ‘enemy within’ and what it perceives the role of the much-heralded ‘free press’ (much heralded by people belonging to this ‘free press’) to be.

With massive decreases in readership, however, the print media seems to be in terminal decline. The Establishment's grip on the control of information has been in danger of slipping as the internet has become a major vehicle for the dissemination of information.

The state-corporate-financial elite has presided over a bought and paid for mainstream media for some time. Now it is engaged in an ongoing strategy of global mass surveillance and a clamp down on internet freedom. The goal is to eventually have a fully controlled internet that mirrors the shackled ‘free press’ that the Establishment has for so long cherished. 

The Russians Aren’t Coming

The Russians Aren't Coming

by Stephen Lendman

It's back to the future. It's reminiscent of Cold War fearmongering. It claimed the Russians are coming.

Norman Jewison's 1966 film titled "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming" portrayed a Soviet threat, albeit satirically.

Today, outrageous headlines irresponsibly suggest Russian hordes threaten Ukraine. Truth is polar opposite. It doesn't matter.

On March 28, Ukraine's propaganda news service Ukrinform headlined "Russia continues to redeploy troops to Ukrainian border." 

It quoted Kiev's Military and Political Studies Center head Dmytro Tymchuk saying:

"According to live data of the Information Resistance group, redeployment of Russian troops to the border of Russia with Ukraine has continued over the past day."

In Rostov region, he claimed columns of technology were "fixed." They're "heading to the state border." 

Included are 150 armored personnel carriers and 400 units of motor vehicles near the town of Millerovo, Tarasovsky settlement and the town of Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, he said.

Overnight at Rostov-Tovarny's railway station, he claimed "eight MLRS (multiple rocket launchers) Uragan arrived (on) 12 freight cars." 

So did "four BTR-80, about a dozen units of automotive vehicles (including fuel trucks)," he added.

"In Belgorod region...the column of vehicles was fixed, moving in the direction of the state border (30-40 km from the border): about 30 units of automotive vehicles, about 10 units of tracked engineering equipment."

BBC aired fake footage alleging Russian tanks heading for Ukraine's border.

CNN hyped the bogus threat headlining " 'The hordes are coming:' Ukrainians fear Russian invasion in northeast."

CBS News headlined "Putin reaches out to Obama as Russian troops continue to mass on Ukraine border."

USA Today headlined "Ukrainians fear Russian invasion near."

Foreign Policy (FP) magazine is a neocon Washington Post publication. 

It headlined "The Russians Are Coming - 10 very good reasons not to believe Vladimir Putin when he says he's totally not going to invade eastern Ukraine."

Ten lies followed straightaway claiming:

(1) Up to 50,000 Russian troops massed on Ukraine's border; other putschist reports claimed 100,000;

(2) "Putin enjoys embarrassing the United States…;"

(3) "The IMF bailout;" FP portrayed grand theft loan-sharking as responsible lending;

(4) Legitimate Crimean reunification is illegal;

(5) What will Western nations do about threatened Russian invasion;

(6) Russian comments are anti-Western;

(7) "Russia's military and arms trade relies on Ukraine;"

(8) "The Kremlin lies shamefully and farcically;" 

Daily malicious scoundrel media Big Lies are ignored.

(9) Russian "Kombinatsiya" (disinformation) "is very much in evidence now;" and

(10) "Modernizatsiya (modernization)" plans "the largest and most ambitious re-armament and modernization program" of Russia's military since the Soviet Union's dissolution. 

Doing so wrongfully suggests a threat. Russian military spending is minuscule compared to America's bloated defense budget.

Washington Post neocons headlined "Donetsk fearful of Russian military might on Ukraine's border." They ludicrously claimed residents keep their cars "gassed up in case their families need to flee advancing tanks."

Murdoch's The Sunday Times headlined "The Russians are coming. We're ready. As Moscow's forces mass on the eastern border, volunteers are flocking to bolster Ukraine's poorly equipped national guard."

FP's article hyped a nonexistent planned Russian Ukrainian invasion. Other Western scoundrel media echo the same Big Lie. 

It repeats with disturbing regularity. It does so despite no evidence whatever suggesting it. 

Russian expert Dmitry Vostok said "(b)efore casting aspersions upon Russia, (Western leaders) should (consider) their own interventions."

Their collective memories are short. They ignore or mischaracterize numerous imperial interventions. They blame victims for their crimes.

They claim holier than thou reasons for lawless aggression. They threaten more. They justify the unjustifiable. 

They defend the indefensible. They claim ravaging and destroying one nation after another to save them is OK.

They lack moral authority. Their agenda is world domination. They threaten world peace. They risk humanity's survival. 

They turn truth on its head. Big Lies repeat. Media scoundrels echo them. They call self-defense terrorism. They call Putin's all-out conflict resolution initiatives aggression.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is a consummate diplomat. He does his nation proud. 

He endures plenty dealing with Western leaders. He outshines them all. He deserves Nobel Peace Prize recognition. Recipients include a rogue's gallery of war criminals. Obama is Exhibit A.

Lavrov was clear and unequivocal. He said Moscow has no intention of invading Ukraine. Claims otherwise are spurious.

"We have absolutely no intention of and interest in crossing Ukraine's borders," he stressed. 

"The only thing we really want is that the work should be collective and the lawlessness that some Western countries are trying to sweep under the rug and paint the situation in bright colors should be stopped, so that they realize their responsibility."

Russia "had no other choice than to accept Crimea," he added. "We didn't bother reflecting about what the reaction would be." 

"We had no other choice. The choice we eventually made came from our history, international law, Russian statehood and our responsibility for the lives of those ethnic Russians who found themselves stranded abroad in a single day."

Reunification is entirely legal. International law principles affirm everyone's right to self-determination. Crimeans overwhelmingly chose to join Russia.

Moscow was obligated to oblige. Western nations plotted for years to split Ukraine from Russia, said Lavrov.

"It feels as though our Western colleagues…have long been working to 'tear' Ukraine away from Russia." 

"Once they realized they had been wrong and it had been a mistake to act in violation of all post-Soviet agreements, they couldn't own up to it." 

"A false idea of pride stood in their way. And all the sanctions we are seeing now are a knee-jerk reflex that makes them want to find a reasonable way to remedy their hurt feelings."

The same "you are either with us or against us" notion" exists. "We have long since given that up but unfortunately this kind of mentality is still there in the minds of politicians who today define the West's stance," Lavrov added.

He criticized Western nations for bullying 50 countries to vote against Crimean reunification legitimacy.

Threats were made. Nation were told they'd "face consequences." Moscow's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said:

"Many (nations) complained that they were experiencing enormous pressure from Western powers to make them vote" against reunification legitimacy.

"(T)he pressure produced a certain effect. Some countries voted (the wrong way) grudgingly, shall I say, and complained to us about the strong pressure they had experienced."

Washington and rogue Western partners ousted legitimate Ukrainian governance. They elevated a rogue's gallery of societal misfits to power. 

They're miscreants. They're dangerous. They're fascist extremists. They're illegitimate. They represent mob rule. 

On March 30, RT International headlined "Ukrainian nationalists attack anti-coup motor rally with hammers and bats," saying:

Southeastern Ukrainians "are facing increasingly violent intimidation." Western media suppress what's happening. Putschists are portrayed as democrats. 

Euromaidan thugs attacked cars displaying Russian, regional and Ukrainian flags. They came from Melitopol. They headed for a Zaporozhye anti-government rally last week.

Eye witness Artyom Tymchenko told RT:

"When the motor rally was about to enter Zaporozhye, it became clear that an ambush was being organized by the Maidan criminals."

"Near the railway station the column was stopped by the Maidan bandits, who started beating people, taking their property, smashing cars."

Motorists said Right Sector thugs attacked them.

"The police, who are supposed to sort out the situation, are not going about their job with any enthusiasm, and although the attackers didn't hide their faces, no one has been arrested so far." 

"Which simply leads to the conclusion that they acted under the protection of the criminals currently in power."

Vladimir Balagura heads an anti-putschist initiative called "Our Town."

"It is very scary to witness when people are running at you with weapons, shovels, and batons, with chains, metal rods," he said.

RT said Dnepropetrovsk residents are threatened. "Ukrainian vigilantes" are targeting people they call "pro-Russian thugs."

Right Sector neo-Nazis established their own political party. Their January 2014 manifesto states:

"(A)ll those those who at this point would try to tame the revolutionary energy of the masses should be proclaimed traitors and punished in the most severe way." 

"Death to the regime of internal occupation! Freedom or death! Glory to Ukraine!"

On May 25, sham presidential elections are scheduled. A previous article said aspirants look more like a police lineup. 

Democracy is strictly verboten. Various candidates registered to participate. Others submitted bids. It's unclear how many will stay in the race.

Former heavyweight boxing champion turned politician Vitaly Klitschko dropped out. He'll participate in Kiev's mayoral race instead.

A mid-March poll showed billionaire chocolate magnate Pyotr Poroshenko had 36.2% support. He hasn't officially registered to participate. He's expected to do so.

Klitschko had 12.9% support. He endorsed Poroshenko's candidacy. Convicted/imprisoned/now illegally freed mega-crook Yulia Tymoshenko's approval was 12%.

Ousted Party of Regions' Sergey Tigipko scored 10%. Other candidates have single-digit support or practically none at all.

In early March, Right Sector neo-Nazi leader Dmytro Yarosh announced his candidacy. Russia's Investigative Committee (IC) said he's wanted for involvement in killing Russian soldiers in Chechnya.

If apprehended, he'll be prosecuted. IC representative Vladimir Markin said there's enough evidence against him to put him on a "wanted list."

He openly boasts about "...fighting Jews and Russians till I die."

He calls Russia Ukraine's "eternal enemy." He said war between both countries is inevitable.

He openly supports Chechen militants. He backed Georgia's 2008 aggression against South Ossetia.

Yarosh and likeminded Right Sector extremists are the worst of a bad lot of rogues running Ukraine.

They're gun-toting, radicalized terrorists. Imagine them and likeminded scoundrels holding influential portfolios in Ukraine's government.

They're cold-blooded killers. They believe in barrel-of-a-gun rule. State terrorism defines their agenda. Anyone opposing them is targeted for elimination.

Yarosh has delusions of grandeur. He enjoys too little support to become president. Unless he intends seizing it by force. His extremism suggests anything is possible.

He and other Right Sector leaders have thousands of supporters. They're militants. They're capable of anything. They threaten everyone opposing their agenda.

Their extremism risks civil war. So do Svoboda neo-Nazis. Their leader Oleh Tyahnybok is a presidential aspirant. It remains to be seen what follows May elections.

On Sunday, John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov met in Paris. Crisis conditions in Ukraine was discussed. Nothing was resolved. Washington remains hardline. Ahead of talks Lavrov said:

"We have no common plan yet. We view the situation differently. Right now we are exchanging views, but we cannot say that we have found a single approach to the problem." 

"To find a solution that would suit both of us we need regular consultations."

On March 30, Itar Tass headlined "An Action in support of bank Rossiya to take place in Moscow." 

Russia's national currency will replace dollar transactions. Putin wants an independent payment system. Itar Tass quoted action organizers saying:

"Russia, at its present stage of development, should not be dependent on foreign currencies; its internal resources will make its own economy invulnerable to political wheeler dealers."

"In order to protect the bank's customers from dishonest actions by foreign financial institutions AB Rossiya has decided to operate only in the domestic market and exclusively with the national currency of the Russian Federation - the rouble."

"The bank has already notified some U.S. banks that it is closing its correspondence accounts. Similar notifications have been sent to other foreign financial institutions."

VTB bank president Andrei Kostin said Rossiya's decision to delink from foreign currencies is a step forward to work exclusively with the ruble. 

"We have been moving towards wider use of the Russian rouble as the currency of settlement for a long time. The rouble became fully convertible quite a long time ago," he added.

Kostin urges Russian products sold abroad and foreign good bought transacted solely in rubles.

"Only then are we going to use (its) advantages of…being a foreign currency in full measure," he added.

Sanctions cut both ways. Moscow signaled earlier about responding to Western measures. 

It remains to be seen what follows. East/West tensions remain heightened. Washington bears full responsibility. 

Targeting Russia is longstanding US policy. Doing so risks belligerence replacing diplomacy.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

The Ongoing Neoliberal Assault On Ordinary Working Class People In Britain


The Market Oracle, Global Research and Countercurrents 8/1/2014

British Chancellor George Osborne this week announced massive cuts of £25 billion after 2015. This included further welfare cuts of £12bn. Osbourne said that 2014 would be a year of hard truths. He claimed that his economic policies were working, but admitted that the bad news is there's still a long way to go.

He warned of more years of cuts to public services and the public sector by saying £25bn would be cut over two years after 2015. That is in addition to £17bn cuts this year and £20bn next year. Osbourne argued that government is going to have to be permanently smaller and so too is the welfare system.


When he says ‘welfare system’ does he also include cutting back the massive handouts given to the arms industry, for example, which amounts to £890 million per year according to the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (1), or the billions given to the private sector via the ‘corporate dole office’, the Department of Trade and Industry (now called the Department for Business Innovation and Skills)? Or does he exclude such types of corporate welfare dependency (2)?


What is interesting about this attack on the public sector by millionaire Osbourne and the rest of the millionaires in the British Cabinet is that the mantra that such cuts are necessary has been repeated endlessly over the past few years to the point that many of the public believe it’s true. But it’s not. Cuts are not necessary. It is ideology wrapped up in neo-liberal economic dogma that masquerades as ‘truth’. But it’s a big lie. It’s secular theology that the mainstream media never challenges and simply perpetuates.


Britain’s problems are not the result of spending on public services. In 1945, the debt was bigger than today, but Britain created the welfare state. In the 1960s, during an era of full employment, the debt was also bigger than now. In 2006, before the crisis, Britain spent more on public services than now, but there was no talk of cutting back the public sector.


The roots of the crisis (across Western economies) lie not in public sector spending but in a process that has seen the shifting balance of political and economic power towards elite interests. In the 1980s, much of Britain’s manufacturing industry was outsourced or run down, the union movement was attacked and almost decimated and wages have been depressed or have fallen in real terms over a number of years. To compensate for the hollowing out of the economy and driving down wages, low pay and increasing underemployment, credit became the short-term remedy for stimulating demand.


While profits during the last decade were higher than in the previous three decades, unemployment and underemployment have become a fact of life for millions (3). This is the outcome of the type of 'globalization' we have been witnessing and the lies that underpin it (4). It is the consequence of what David Rothkopf in this book 'The Global Power Elite and The World They are Making' says is the global elite's plundering of nations. 


The economic crisis is not due to lavish spending on public services, but the shattering of the post-war Keynesian consensus, based on notions of fairness, and consequent low demand and over investment, neo-liberal (low taxation - or no taxation for the corporate tax cheats) economic policies, a debt bubble economy and the massive welfare handout (bail out) to the banking sector. It is also a result of the manipulations within the unregulated financial sector (which was supposed to be the bedrock of the ‘new’ economy after the manufacturing base was deliberately destroyed), speculation, the criminal use of hedge funds and credit derivatives and all manner of secretive dodgy dealings that burst the bubbles they were intended to sustain. Ordinary folk are now being saddled with the consequences of a system they had no hand in shaping.


But mention the word ‘crisis’ and propaganda about the public sector being the root of all evil is sold to the masses by most politicians and the media.


Osbourne would never mention that the top 1,000 of Britain’s wealthiest people had an aggregate wealth of £333 bn in 2009. The national debt was half that. In 2009, they increased their wealth by a third (5). It doesn’t take a genius to see how the debt could be addressed. But Osbourne says: "There is no point in pretending that there is some magic wand that the Chancellor can wave to make the whole country feel richer than it actually is." 


And so the plunder of public resources continues. 


The priority of Osbourne and his millionaire cronies inside and outside the British Government is not the lives of ordinary people, but to maintain massive profit and to drive down wages and ‘costs’ and keep workers confused and weak.


Quoted in Britain’s Morning Star newspaper, Communist Party general secretary Rob Griffiths urges taxes on the rich and big business, plus public ownership of energy and public transport. The Unite union general secretary Len McCluskey accuses Mr Osborne of "continuing an unprecedented ideological attack on the state, with Britain's young people in the front line."


General union GMB general secretary Paul Kenny is also reported as demanding that big corporations must be made to pay their fair share of tax, bringing in billions of extra income. That would amount to a whopping £260 million a day according to economist and taxation specialist Richard Murphy (6).


What is happening in Britain is a continuation of what Thatcher did in the 1980s, with attacks on ordinary working people in order to allow an ever increasing concentration of power and wealth at the top. To help achieve it, we are witnessing the dismantling of the welfare state.


Mick McGahey, Vice President of the National Union of Mineworkers 1972-87:


"We understood the Conservative government's determination to use the state machine against us. In order to dismember the welfare state, they had to break the trade union movement and they needed to break the miners first."
McGahey was correct. The current Conservative-LibDem coalition is going further than Thatcher ever did. Osbourne and his cronies in government are mouthpieces for their powerful backers in the City ofLondon. As Labour MP Dennis Skinner observes:

"Osborne is busy lining the pockets of the people at the top of the pile."

Notes



UK parl. faces action day in fortnight

UK parl. faces action day in fortnight

British campaigners will demonstrate outside the parliament building in London on April 15 to call on the government to cut military budget on the Global Day of Action on Military Spending.

Britain’s annual military budget is a massive £39 billion, which is the fourth largest in the world and the country is planning to replace its Trident nuclear weapons system at a cost the Stop the War Coalition estimates to reach £100 billion.

The government is also providing subsidies to 55,000 arms trade jobs that amount to a dizzying £700 million a year while the NHS is facing 56,000 job cuts due to austerity measures.

This is while the government is cutting vital public services including the National Health Service “efficiency savings” by £20 billion in three years, social housing by £4 billion, sickness benefits by £2 billion and Mental health services and youth services by £150 million and £200 million, respectively.

“Demilitarize” campaigners now want convey the message to the parliament that the billions of pounds spent on the military can be better used on education, development and health services.

Their action is part of a global initiative calling for a shift of the international military spending, which stood at £1.15 trillion in 2011, to fund human needs.

The Global Day of Action on Military Spending is set in April to coincide with the release of the Stockholm international Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) annual figures on world military expenditures.

AMR/HE

Canada’s Secret War: IRAQ — Ten Years After “Shock and Awe”

Iraq_War

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War, the Global Research News Hour interviews Richard Sanders of the Coalition Opposed to the Arms Trade (COAT) about the myth of Canada’s non-involvement in Iraq.

There is a follow-up interview with former UN Humanitarian Coordinator Hans Von Sponeck about the deterioration of the social conditions in Iraq from before the 1991 Gulf War to the present and the potential for redress against these and future war crimes.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW


Length (58:55)
Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

_____________________________________________________________________________

Transcript- Richard Sanders Interview, March 21, 2013

Intro

March 19th marks the tenth anniversary of the day the US military and its allies began the offensive against Iraq known as Operation Iraqi freedom.

The military campaign that ensued coming on top of more than ten years of sanctions devastated the country and is estimated to have killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians as well as thousands of coalition troops, including over 4000 US troops.

Jean Chretien, prime minister at the time of the Iraq war has received praise for keeping Canada out of the Iraq war. A closer examination, however, reveals that far from withdrawing from that conflict, Canada actively supported it.

Ottawa-based Richard Sanders, coordinator of the Coalition Opposed to the Arms Trade, an anti-war group, has outlined in detail the ways in which Canada supported the Iraq war. He joins us now to explain his analysis.

Michael Welch: Well, Canada did not become an official member of the coalition of the willing, but yet Canada did, according to your research do quite a lot to support the war in Iraq. Could you maybe list off some of the ways that Canada was involved in that war?

Richard Sanders: Yeah, for sure, because we were very involved in many different ways. Okay, well one of the ways which we were involved was through our navy. We often hear that we didn’t have that many boots on the ground, that we didn’t have much of an army participation, and that seems to be the one and only criteria by which many people in the mainstream media want to decide whether Canada was involved, how many army people did we have on the ground.
So but Canadian participation through the navy was quite significant, we had thousands of people aboard numerous multi-billion dollar frigates and a destroyer that were involved in leading and protecting and supplying the coalition navy in the initial invasion in 2003, as well as many times since over the years. We also did have army generals, Canadian army generals, there were three different Canadian generals who held command positions leading the entire war, they were deputy commanders, so number two in command of the Iraq war. There were three of them and they each spent a year to a year and a half in Iraq. There was another Canadian general who led a US base where they trained thousands of us soldiers and sent them off to war in Iraq. We provided war planners which helped to organize the strategy for the wars, once it started.

Michael Welch: –the logistics?

Richard Sanders: …we helped conduct the air war, so we had can pilots and crew aboard these kinds of aircraft that coordinated the air strikes. It’s like a traffic controller– air traffic controllers– except instead of being in a tower, they’re in an air craft, which is like especially designed to coordinate all the different fighters and bombers. We provided airspace and re-fuelling for the US, thousands of US planes that were going to and from Iraq over the years since the war started. So, we basically let the US fly over our airspace, land in our airports in Newfoundland—two of them, possibly three, and then refuel there and then take off for the rest of the trip. We provided some air transport for the war, so we had C130 aircraft, with Canadian pilots flying US troops and their weapons into and out of Iraq. By taking over in Afghanistan, which we did, from the US, we helped free up US troops. We did supply some ground troops; three, four, five dozen troops at least…

Michael Welch: —was that part of–?

Richard Sanders: …on the ground. So there are some of the ways, but there are quite a few other ways. One of the ways I’ll just quickly mention is through the Canadian arms trade. We sell, Canada sells, 5-7.5 billion dollars of military equipment per year, every year, and 75% of that goes to the United States. In my research I found that about forty, at least forty different major US weapons systems that were used in Iraq, all of the major war planes for example, used in Iraq, have very important Canadian components. So these war planes, fighters and bombers that conducted the air strikes against Iraq, they would not have been able to do their missions unless they had the Canadian components in them, and there are quite a few other ways as well that we helped support. By training Iraqi police, training Iraqi troops, providing RADARSAT data, so we have this billion dollar satellite system orbiting the earth and it provides data for US weapons system. We facilitate US weapons training, testing in Canada, so they test their weapons systems that they used in Iraq, they tested them in Canada. So those are some of the ways that Canada was involved, and I think that pretty much proves that Canada was involved. I mean it’s pretty hard to deny it, there were so many ways that we were involved, I think it’s incredible that they can say “Canada was not involved, or Canada sat out the war, isn’t it great”. We’re asked to celebrate how Canada didn’t get involved. Well, we did get involved, we were very involved, and I find it really incredibly mind-blowing that they can pretend, they can put up this phony official narrative that says that we weren’t involved– we were so deeply involved. Very few other countries were as involved in Canada I mean, obviously the United States and Britain were more involved than we were. Australia had quite a few troops there, but they didn’t provide all these other things which Canada provided.

Michael Welch: Well if you include all the various ways in which Canada did help, I mean, where would we rank among the so-called coalition of the willing, did we actually contribute more than some who were listed amongst the coalition of the willing?

Richard Sanders: Oh, absolutely. We provided more than almost everyone in the whole world, I mean other than the US, Britain, and Australia, I think that a very good case can be made that Canada provided more than any country except for those three. So, I’d say we were at least in the top five. Now, its interesting the whole issue of the Coalition of the Willing, because when that was announced on March 18 2003, Secretary David Colin Powell said “We now have a coalition of the willing who have publicly said they could be included in such a listing”. And then he said, quote: “there are fifteen other nations, who, for one reason or another, do not wish to be publicly named, but will be supporting the coalition”, unquote. So in other words, the coalition of the willing is just a list of the countries that were participating in one way or another and were willing to publicly say that they were involved. And then he says, very clearly, that there are fifteen other countries that do not want to be publicly named but they were supporting the coalition. So Canada was obviously part of that group, they did not want to be publicly named as part of the coalition of the willing, so they were unwilling to be named as part of the coalition of the willing, but they were very willing to be involved.

Michael Welch: Now, you mention a lot of various ways in which Canada was involved, you did mention a few dozen people—boots on the ground—were there were actually Canadian soldiers there in Iraq, in a combat capacity… how was that possible when the official line was “We aren’t sending soldiers to Iraq?”

Richard Sanders: Okay, that’s done through having these soldiers working under the command of British or American forces, so they’re kind of on—it’s called an exchange—so it’s the same way that we had pilots flying US warplanes during the war. Flying, for example these massive transport planes that drop tanks, that carry tanks in, they’re C17– they’re called GlobeMasters, and we had Canadian pilots flying during the Iraq war, part of the Iraq war flying vast amounts of war material, weapon systems including huge tanks, flying them right into battle zones. So there were Canadians flying US war planes. And they do that by being “on exchange”, they’re on exchange missions. The other things is that these Canadian generals that are leading international forces of ground troops—they were on the ground. A general is not the guy that is back kicking doors in and running in and kidnapping people and shooting people, but he is overseeing. And, we had three Canadian generals that took turns overseeing that, they had boots on the ground, they were in Iraq. So that’s another way that we had Canadian boots on the ground, army guys—they were actual generals

Michael Welch: And these generals, how many people would you say they had oversight over?

Richard Sanders: That’s a good question, I can’t remember now, its been a few years since I researched it. Many thousands—let me see if I can very quickly find that. And, these guys received medals for their, for what they did.

Michael Welch: I believe one of those generals became-

Richard Sanders:– the Chief of Defense Staff. Walt Natynczyk- he led thirty-five thousand US troops in Iraq in 2004. He was there for over a year—sorry, about a year. So, from January 2004 to January 2005. He was given a medal by the Canadian governor general, Michaelle Jean, saying—and I can quote to you on what it said, the text that is associated with the medal, it said: “Major General Natynczyk led the corps ten separate brigades consisting of more than thirty-five thousand soldiers stationed throughout the Iraq theatre of operations. He also oversaw the planning and execution of all corps level commanding support and combat service support operations. His pivotal role in the development of numerous plans and operations resulted in a tremendous contribution by the multinational corps to operation Iraqi freedom”—that’s what they called the Iraq war—“… and has brought great credit to the Canadian forces and to Canada.” So, this is a medal that he receives for his leading role, commanding more than thirty-five thousand troops in Iraq, and then they have the gall to say that Canada wasn’t involved in the war. I mean, it’s just, it’s ludicrous.

Michael Welch: If you saw the—

Richard Sanders: We’re supposed to celebrate that Canada wasn’t involved? All we’re doing is celebrating that we’ve been deceived. That they’ve done a PR job, that they’ve been incredibly successful in their propaganda, and that they’ve been able to pull the wool over our eyes and deceive us and trick us in a psychological operation. Are we supposed to celebrate that? That’s incredible.

Michael Welch: Richard Sanders, I notice that many of the ways in which Canada was, as you say, supporting the war, it was in terms of components and all this sort of connections that seem to go right to the guts of the military. I’m wondering if it’s even possible for Canada to stay out of any US conflict given the level of, the tentacles between the Canadian and United States military industrial complex?

Richard Sanders: One of the examples I mentioned was the Canadian military exports, with the, the five billion a year or whatever to the US… that would be really hard, I mean, obviously we are so thoroughly integrated into the US war machine that Canadian parts are right in there on all these major weapons systems so if they called a war tomorrow, all of our, all of that stuff that Canadians made stuff, and these companies have received billions of dollars from the Canadian government to support their export industries… I mean, yeah, what can we do? We can say “we don’t want you to fly these planes because they have all that equipment in it?”, no, we couldn’t withdraw our support from that, it’s too late for that. So in whatever war they happen to be fighting, Canada is playing its part. But there are other things, many of the other examples—training Iraq police, training Iraqi troops, we set up the phony elections, Elections Canada was a major part in setting up phony democratic elections in Iraq. Providing RADARSAT data, sending in these exchange troops, they could be withdrawn, sending in the generals- we didn’t have to do that. Sending in our ships in the Persian gulf, we didn’t have to do that. We even had a Canadian commodore that was leading the entire multinational fleet of warships escorting the US warships into place for the initial bombardment of Iraq. And we didn’t have to do that—we could have called, we could have stopped all those things. And yeah, once you’ve sold them the equipment, you can’t stop them from using it. But they could have stopped—let’s say we found out that Canadian companies were selling weapons to oh, Syria. You don’t think that they could stop it? Of course they could. But, you’re right. We’re so thoroughly integrated into the US war machine it is very difficult to pull out.

Michael Welch: So why is this meme so pervasive, this idea that Canada said no to the war in Iraq. Why is it that people continue to believe this in spite of all the documentation that you’ve put forwards?

Richard Sanders: Well, all the research that I do and that other people do doesn’t mean anything in comparison to the mainstream media. Right, I mean I’ve got very little help from the mainstream media. The corporate media and also the… it fits into a huge mythology that we’ve had for a few decades, the whole myth of Canada as a great force for peace in the world, so it fits so nicely into that mythology that it was easy to sell this particular spin on that mythology because it fits in so nicely, so people will just go ‘yeah, that’s right, of course, because Canada is not a war-fighter, we’re a peace loving country, all that, blahblah” so it’s easy for the media to lie to us. The NDP was not much help, they basically went along with the mythology. They did do some work to expose the ways in which Canada was involved, but basically when the government said “Okay, so we’ve decided not to be involved” even though they were, they basically said “okay, we’re not involved” then the NDP was bending over backwards to congratulate itself for having pressured the government to not being involved in the war. So, they got credit, they got support from their membership.

Michael Welch: But you know Richard, it seems to me that even so-called progressive forces who are even instinctively suspicious of the mainstream media, they seem to buy into that message as well, don’t you find?

Richard Sanders: Many do. Many people don’t have, just haven’t seen the evidence. When you see it, it’s really hard to ignore, it’s really hard to not realize that we were involved when you see the list of all the things that we did. But somehow, there are peace activists- – I think there is an overlap with people who are big supports of the international criminal court, big supporters of the so-called responsibility to protect, this new doctrine that the US and NATO countries use as a pretext for going to war, you know, that used to be called humanitarian intervention. So there is an overlap between these different mythologies, or these different doctrines that are used to put a nice façade on war and participation in war. So you have people in the peace movement that are willing to go along with these pretenses, you have to ask them how they managed to wrap their minds among these things, because it seems to me that the cognitive dissonance that these contradictions would create in your mind would be so strong that you wouldn’t be able to keep such complete opposite idea going in your mind at the same time. How can you believe that Canada wasn’t involved, and at the same time know that we did this and this and this and this and this to help the war. I mean, it so completely contradictory, that you think it would cause some discomfort in your mind hat you wouldn’t be able to continue to believe these things. But somehow, they manage to. Or—the whole responsibility to protect thing, how can they believe that the United States can lead a war to protect human rights? Don’t they know anything about the long history of US wars? So, you have to ask, it would be good for you to interview people and question them about that… how do they support these ideas like the responsibility to protect and the idea that Canada is a great and wonderful peace-keeping country when it is engaged in war to the extent that it is?

Michael Welch: Well, Richard Sanders I want to thank you very much for shedding some light there on why there, on the reality of Canada’s involvement in Iraq , and I guess if people want more information about your publication or your website, where would you direct them?

Richard Sanders: Well, if you do a search for the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade then you’ll find our website, and there is lots of detailed information there with references and footnotes and whatnot to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt to prove that Canada was very, very deeply involved in the Iraq war, not only during the initial invasion, but in the many years since.

Michael Welch: Richard Sanders has been involved with the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade, and publishes Press for Conversion magazine. Thank you very much for joining us Richard.

Richard Sanders: Thank you very much for having me.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW


Length (58:55)
Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

The Global Research News Hour, hosted by Michael Welch, airs on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg Thursdays at 10am CDT. The programme is now broadcast weekly by the Progressive Radio Network in the US, and is available for download on the Global Research website.

Senate Passes Non-Binding Budget in 13 Hour ‘Vote-a-Rama’

After thirteen hours of voting that lasted into the early hours of the morning, the US Senate passed its first budget in nearly four years just after 3 am on Saturday.

The budget passed narrowly 50 to 49 on a largely partisan vote at 4:56 a.m. (AP) There was much to yawn about, however, and seemingly little to cheer for a Senate this week that found it impossible to find enough votes to re-instate the assault weapons ban or put any meaningful measures in place to curtail the runaway gun violence in the country.

In addition to a vote calling for the approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from Canada and a vote against signing an international arms trade treaty, the Senate voted on nearly a hundred other separate amendments.

Among those were a slew of Republican-backed amendments designed to undermine protections for the nation’s air, land, wildlife and public health.

According to the Center of Biological Diversity, the GOP's "backdoor" proposals included efforts to stop the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and slash funding for protection of native wildlife under the Endangered Species Act, placing hundreds of animals and plants at risk of extinction.

“Senate Republicans once again pandered to powerful special interests at the expense of wildlife, our climate and a healthy environment for people,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s ugly to see so many politicians doing so much to try to dismantle crucial environmental laws.”

The Senate's budget, which passed 50-49, was recounted by the Associated Press with the following:

Many of the proposals were offered in hopes of inflicting political damage on Democratic senators up for re-election in GOP-leaning states like Alaska and Louisiana.

Some $1 trillion in new revenue would flow to the government over the coming decade — on top of more than $600 billion in taxes on upper-income earners approved in January — and would be coupled with a net $875 billion in spending cuts. Those reductions would be generated by modest cuts to federal health care programs, domestic agencies and the Pentagon and reduced government borrowing costs. The budget proposes $100 billion in new spending for infrastructure projects and job training programs.

The president will reveal his own overdue tax-and-spending plan in two weeks, a plan that will be judged in part by whether it offers new, more politically risky proposals that could form the foundation for a bipartisan agreement between the two houses.

And Politico added:

The 12-hour series of votes — more than 100 amendments were considered, breaking a previous “vote-a-rama” record — is mostly political theater and gives both sides the opportunity to force votes on pet issues. The budget is non-binding, therefore none of the passed amendments will likely carry the weight of law.

But the votes are symbolic victories, demonstrating the ability of one side to rally enough senators to support a measure in hopes of using those votes for future bills. It also gives both sides a litany of roll calls to try to clobber their opponents during the next election.

The Hill cataloged just some of the most distracting and ideological of the GOP amendments, all of which went down to defeat:

- Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) amendment 184, to expedite exports from the United States through reform of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 in such a manner that greenhouse gas emissions produced outside the United States by any good exported from the United States are not subject to the requirements of that Act, passed by voice vote.

- Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) amendment 382, to increase funding for interstate bridges and pay for it with funding that would have gone to for foreign assistance and the Department of Energy loan guarantees, failed 26-72.

- Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) amendment 526, to require photo ID to vote in federal elections, 44-54

- Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) amendment 338, to end subsidized mobile phone service, failed 46-53.

- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) amendment 471, to reduce aid to Egypt to pay for the East Coast Missile Defense Shield, 25-74.

- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) amendment 702, to raise a point of order to prohibit funds to the United Nations while any member nation forces involuntary abortions, 38-61

- Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) amendment 673, to raise a point of order on a bill that would limit the Second Amendment, failed 50-49 to waive the budget act (60 votes are required).

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‘Turkish gun sales boom in US’

Every year, more than 30,000 people are shot and killed in the US.

A large number of Americans have rushed to purchase the Turkish-made firearms as gun control restrictions loom in the country.

The Turkish defense and aerospace industry has amplified its sales of guns and industrial goods sold to the United States for the months of January and February this year, a 5.6 percent mark-up since the same period last year, reported Hurriyet Daily News.

“Turkey could easily achieve its USD 25 billion arms trade target by 2023, with five or six Turkish companies ranking among the top 100 arms companies,” said Aral Alis, chairman of the Union of Defense and Aerospace Industry Exporters, earlier this week.


America has become the top market for Turkish firearms, motivated by potential gun control measures initiated by US President Barack Obama.

Following the Newtown shooting spree, Obama appointed Biden to lead an effort to find proposals "to reduce the epidemic of gun violence.”

On December 14, 2012, a 20-year-old man, identified as Adam Lanza, killed twenty children and six adults before pointing the gun at himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

There have been several deadly shootings across the United States over the past few months, putting the issue of lax gun control laws back in the spotlight.

Every year, more than 30,000 people are shot and killed in the US.

The US averages 87 gun deaths each day as a function of gun violence, with an average of 183 injured, according to the University of Chicago Crime Lab and the Centers for Disease Control.

The year 2012 has been a record-setting year for gun sales in the US.

About 4.5 million firearms are sold annually in the United States at a cost of 2 to 3 billion dollars.

GMA/JR

German Imperialism: Parliament Approves Military Operations in Mali

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February 27, the German parliament voted by a large majority to support the French colonial war in Mali. In April, up to 330 German soldiers are to be stationed in that country.

The parliamentary motion includes two mandates. As part of the European Union (EU)-led training mission EUTM, 180 soldiers will be used to train the Malian army. The German army (Bundeswehr) will send 40 scouts and 40 medics and doctors to Koulikoro, 65 kilometres northeast of the capital city, Bamako. Another 100 soldiers are on standby to intervene “if necessary” to “protect the German soldiers.”

According to the commander of the EUTM mission, General François Lecointre, the military trainers from the EU will commence training more than 2,500 Malian soldiers beginning April 2.

The aim of the mission is to stabilise the ailing Malian army and enable it to support the combat mission conducted by French troops in the north of the country. About one year ago and before the French invasion, the Malian army had been driven out of the region by a coalition of Islamist rebels and Tuareg warriors.

The second mandate involves an additional 150 soldiers to logistically support the combat mission of the French Air Force. The plan is to use an Airbus to refuel French Rafale and Mirage fighter jets in the air. In addition, 63 soldiers and three Transall planes will continue to transport French combat troops and troops from the Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to Mali.

In January, shortly after the beginning of the war, the German army commenced logistical support of combat French and African troops, without a mandate from the German parliament. Since then, the Transall planes have transported some 570 soldiers and about 290 tons of material in 117 flights carried out in the area of operation.

According to official estimates, the German military operation will cost at least €55.5 million. In addition to the governing parties, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Christian Social Union and the Free Democratic Party (FDP), the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Greens also voted in favour. From a total of 567 MPs, 496 voted in favour of the training mandate, and 492 for the deployment of “logistical support.”

The mandate initially runs for 12 months but is likely to be extended. Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere (CDU) had already prepared parliamentarians in the first discussion in parliament for a prolonged military campaign, declaring, “No deployment is a walk in the park.”

The parliamentary vote is a further expansion of the dirty imperialist colonial war in Mali. The official website of the federal parliament states, “Germany [will] contribute, through its actions, to bring under state control those areas in northern Mali still under the influence of terrorist, extremist and armed groups.”

Officially, the Bundeswehr missions in both Mali and Afghanistan have been justified with the alleged “war against terrorism”.

In parliament, Rainer Stinner, foreign policy spokesman of the FDP parliamentary group, declared that the situation in Mali “has long-term influence on our German security interests” and that there was “a risk that terrorist forces or forces with evil intent would spread in another regions of the world.”

The reference to “terrorism” by imperialist powers to justify their colonial wars is hypocritical. The same Islamists active in northern Mali were in 2011 important allies of Western powers in their campaign against the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi. Now, these powers and their regional allies are backing similar reactionary forces in Syria to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and install a pro-Western puppet regime.

In reality, the wars in Mali and Afghanistan have nothing to do with a “struggle against terrorism,” but are rooted in definite geo-strategic and economic interests.

The latest military campaign in Mali is part of the imperialist campaign for a renewed colonial subjugation of Africa, which began with the NATO war against Libya two years ago. In common with the entire Sahel region, Mali is rich in natural resources. The major imperialist powers are seeking to secure these resources in an increasingly aggressive competitive race with China, which has close economic ties with Mali and other countries in the region.

After hesitating to participate in the Libya campaign, the German bourgeoisie is determined to gain a share of the spoils in Mali. German companies have made clear they intend to join the race for raw materials in Africa.

A long and detailed report last week in the German business newspaperHandelsblatt made clear that the German business and political elite are preparing to intensify their capacity to wage wars to secure the resources so necessary for the German export industry. The article lists China as one of Germany’s biggest competitors in this race, and explicitly identifies North Africa as one of the most strategically important regions in this respect.

The article relates that the German ambassador to NATO has been “given the job of reassessing north Africa and Middle East, along with its regional allies, to define which countries are of particular importance for Western and German security interests.”

German imperialism also regards the war against Mali as a prelude to further wars in the region. This was indicated in a comment by the foreign affairs spokesperson for the Greens, Kerstin Müller, who declared that the German operation amounted to “emergency surgery in order to prevent an even worse situation.” She then added: “If we want avoid intervention in the future in Niger or Burkina Faso, then we need a strategy for the entire Sahel.”

A particularly cynical role in the return of German imperialism is being played by the Left Party. Well aware that the motion would be passed overwhelmingly, the party voted against for tactical reasons.

In her speech before the vote, the “peace spokeswoman” of the Left Party, Christine Buchholz, gave the other parties a clear signal that the Left Party is quite willing to support future German military operations. She argued against a “general debate on the war policy of the federal government” and called instead for “a general discussion about how we can solve economic and social problems and the extreme problems that the arms trade causes in the world.”

The readiness of the Left Party to support military intervention in the interests of German imperialism was already clear from the position it took towards the Western aggression against Syria. In December of last year, leaders of the party backed an appeal for an intervention in Syria. The statement was also supported by the leaders of the CDU, the SPD and the Greens.

The Geopolitics of Oil and Natural Gas: Russia is Back to Stay in the...

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By Felix Imonti

Russia is back. President Vladimir Putin wants the world to acknowledge that Russia remains a global power. He is making his stand in Syria.

The Soviet Union acquired the Tartus Naval Port in Syria in 1971 without any real purpose for it. With their ships welcomed in Algeria, Cuba or Vietnam, Tartus was too insignificant to be developed. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia lacked the funds to spend on the base and no reason to invest in it.

The Russian return to the Middle East brought them first to where the Soviet Union had its closest ties. Libya had been a major buyer of arms and many of the military officers had studied in the Soviet Union. Russia was no longer a global power, but it could be used by the Libyans as a counter force to block domination by the United States and Europeans.

When Gaddafi fell, Tartus became Russia’s only presence in the region. That and the discovery of vast gas deposits just offshore have transformed the once insignificant port into a strategic necessity.

Earlier at the United Nations, Russia had failed to realize that Security Council Resolution 1973 that was to implement a new policy of “responsibility to protect” cloaked a hidden agenda. It was to be turned from a no-fly zone into a free-fire zone for NATO. That strategic blunder of not vetoing the resolution led to the destruction of Gaddafi’s regime and cost Russia construction contracts and its investments in Libyan gas and oil to the tune of 10 billion dollars.

That was one more in a series of humiliating defeats; and something that Putin will not allow to happen again while he is president. Since his time as an officer in the KGB, he has seen the Soviet Empire lose half of its population, a quarter of its land mass, and most of its global influence. He has described the collapse of the Soviet Union as a “geopolitical catastrophe.”

In spite of all of the pressure from Washington and elsewhere to have him persuade Bashar Al-Assad to relinquish power, Putin is staying loyal to the isolated regime. He is calculating that Russia can afford to lose among the Arabs what little prestige that it has remaining and gain a major political and economic advantage in Southern Europe and in the Eastern Mediterranean.

What Russia lost through the anti-Al-Assad alliance was the possibility to control the natural gas market across Europe and the means to shape events on the continent. In July 2011, Iran, Iraq, and Syria agreed to build a gas pipeline from the South Pars gas field in Iran to Lebanon and across the Mediterranean to Europe. The pipeline that would have been managed by Gazprom would have carried 110 million cubic meters of gas. About a quarter of the gas would be consumed by the transit countries, leaving seventy or so million cubic meters to be sold to Europe.

Violence in Iraq and the Syrian civil war has ended any hope that the pipeline will be built, but not all hope is lost. One possibility is for Al-Assad to withdraw to the traditional Aliwite coastal enclave to begin the partitioning of Syria into three or more separate zones, Aliwite, Kurdish, and Sunni. Al-Assad’s grandfather in 1936 had asked the French administrators of the Syrian mandate to create a separate Alawite territory in order to avoid just this type of ethnic violence.

What the French would not do circumstance may force the grandson to accept as his only choice to survive. His one hundred thousand heavily armed troops would be able to defend the enclave.

The four or five million Alawites, Christians, and Druze would have agricultural land, water, a deep water port and an international airport. Very importantly, they would have the still undeveloped natural gas offshore fields that extend from Israel, Lebanon, and Cyprus. The Aliwite Republic could be energy self-sufficient and even an exporter. Of course, Russia’s Gazprom in which Putin has a vital interest would get a privileged position in the development of the resource.

In an last effort to bring the nearly two year long civil war to an end, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov urged Syrian president Bashar al-Assad at the end of December to start talks with the Syrian opposition in line with the agreements for a cease fire that was reached in Geneva on 30 June. The Russians have also extended the invitation to the Syrian opposition National Coalition head, Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib. The National Coalition refuses to negotiate with Al-Assad and Al-Assad will not relinquish power voluntarily.

The hardened positions of both sides leaves little hope for a negotiated settlement; and foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has made it clear that only by an agreement among the Syrians will Russia accept the removal of Al-Assad. Neither do they see a settlement through a battlefield victory which leaves only a partitioning that will allow the civil war to just wind down as all sides are exhausted.

The Russians are troubled by what they see as a growing trend among the Western Powers to remove disapproved administrations in other sovereign countries and a program to isolate Russia. They saw the U.S involvement in the Ukraine and Georgia. There was the separation of Kosovo from Serbia over Russian objections. There was the extending of NATO to the Baltic States after pledging not to expand the organization to Russia’s frontier.

Again, Russia is seeing Washington’s hand in Syria in the conflict with Iran. The United States is directing military operations in Syria with Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia at a control center in Adana about 60 miles from the Syrian border, which is also home to the American air base in Incirlik. The Program by President Obama to have the CIA acquire heavy weapons at a facility in Benghazi to be sent to Turkey and onward to Syria is the newest challenge that Putin cannot allow to go unanswered. It was the involvement of Ambassador Chris Stevens in the arms trade that may have contributed to his murder; and the Russians are not hesitating to remind the United States and Europeans that their dealings with the various Moslem extremists is a very dangerous game.

The Russians are backing their determination to block another regime change by positioning and manning an advanced air defense system in what is becoming the Middle East casino. Putin is betting that NATO will not risk in Syria the cost that an air operation similar to what was employed over Libya will impose. Just in case Russia’s determination is disregarded and Putin’s bluff is called, Surface to surface Iskander missiles have been positioned along the Jordanian and Turkish frontiers. They are aimed at a base in Jordan operated by the United States to train rebels and at Patriot Missile sites and other military facilities in Turkey.

Putin is certain that he is holding the winning hand in this very high stakes poker game. An offshore naval task force, the presence of Russian air defense forces, an electronic intelligence center in Latakia, and the port facilities at Tartus will guarantee the independence of the enclave. As the supplier of sixty percent of Turkey’s natural gas, Moscow does have leverage that Ankara will not be able to ignore; and Ankara well knows that gas is one of Putin’s diplomatic weapons.

When the Turks and U.S see that there is little chance of removing Al-Assad, they will have no option other than to negotiate a settlement with him; and that would involve Russia as the protector and the mediator. That would establish Russia’s revived standing as a Mediterranean power; and Putin could declare confidently that “Russia is back.” After that, the Russians will be free to focus upon their real interests in the region.

And what is Russia’s real interest? Of course, it is oil and gas and the power that control of them can bring.

US, EU may start training and equipping Syrian rebels

Published time: February 27, 2013 12:28
Edited time: February 27, 2013 06:10

Soldiers of the Free Syrian Army. (AFP Photo / Ricardo Garcia Vilanova)

The US and Europe may begin equipping the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) with vehicles, body armor, night vision gear and binoculars, as well as military training. The decision is expected after a key conference on Syria in Rome.

Until now, Western countries’ official support to the forces fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad was limited to direct contact, logistical assistance and political backing.

Several top figures in the Obama administration, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and former CIA chief David Petraeus pushed for closer engagement with the Syrian rebels last year, which would likely include arming them. 

The White House rejected the plan at the time, fearing that the arms would end up in the hands of Islamist forces like the Nursa Front group, which the US considers a terrorist organization. US officials said it was too difficult to fully vet the recipients of the proposed deliveries; that policy has now apparently changed.

The pending shift was hinted at on several occasions as new US Secretary of State John Kerry toured Europe recently. He pledged not to leave the Syrian opposition “dangling in the wind,” after meeting British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague. The new US policy will likely be voiced after an international conference of the ‘Friends of Syria’ in Rome on Thursday.

A delegation from the exiled Syrian National Coalition will be attending the Rome conference, despite earlier threats to boycott it. The group reversed course and agreed to attend after a series of phone calls to the coalition leader Mouaz Khatib from top US officials.

European advocates said the Free Syrian Army should be provided with large supplies of munitions, including military vehicles, body armor and night vision goggles, as well as tactical and strategic training. This position is privately supported by Britain, France, Germany and Italy, a European official told the Washington Post on condition of anonymity.

London and Paris have pushed to lift an EU embargo on arms trades to Syria. However, the ban was prolonged until at least May, as some nations in the 27-member union have refused to lift it.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague (R) and US Secretary of State John Kerry (L). (AFP Photo / Ben Stansall)

The US appears more skeptical, and is reluctant to include body armor and training in the package, Washington sources told AP, though it would not oppose its European allies on the matter, sources said.

When asked Tuesday about the prospects for expanding US military support for the rebels, Kerry said he would not speculate on the outcome of the meeting with opposition leaders.

“We’re going to Rome to bring a group of nations together precisely to talk about this problem,” Kerry said. “I don’t want to get ahead of that meeting or ability to begin to think about exactly what will be a part of it.”

The Syrian opposition relies on arms smugglers from Turkey and Jordan, and raids on Syrian army depots, for weapons and ammunition; rebel groups with better financial standing and more ruthlessness end up with the best equipment. Most of the arms funneled to Syria went to hardline Islamists, according to a US assessment cited by the New York Time last October.

The Nusra Front, which is estimated to have some 5,000 fighters operating in Syria in small semi-independent groups, has to a large degree sidelined the relatively moderate Free Syrian Army. The groups remain at odds not only with the Assad government in Damascus, but also with each other, holding different visions for the future of Syria.

In an effort to boost the FSA and undermine the Nursa Front, Washington had Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries deliver arms to the FSA from Croatia, according to the New York Times. Rebels said that the shipment included anti-aircraft and armor-piercing weapons, mortars and rocket launchers.

British Royal Navy to send frigate to Libya to boost defense sales

The British Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Westminster (Reuters / Darrin Zammit Lupi)

The British Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Westminster (Reuters / Darrin Zammit Lupi)

Amid an undeclared arms race among European defense contractors to reequip Libya’s armed forces, Britain is sending a Royal Navy war ship to Tripoli to act as a floating show room for security firms.

A British government agency, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), is organizing an arms fair on a Royal Navy frigate, which will dock in Tripoli, Libya at the beginning of April.

UKTI has so far refused to disclose exactly what businesses will be there and what gear they will be showcasing.

“There is a scramble among European arms firms to sell to Libya with the Italians and French leading the way. In 2001 before the imposition of the arms embargo, EU countries had approved licenses to Libya worth 34 million euro,” Kaye Stearman, Media Co-ordinator for the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) told RT.

UKTI describes the event on its website as “an opportunity for UK defense and security to promote equipment and services to the Libyan navy aboard a Royal Navy vessel in Tripoli” and that it hoped to “attract key senior military personal from the Libyan government”.

A UN arms embargo is still in place and with the UK Foreign Office describing Libya as a “country of concern” with regard to its human rights abuses; Britain is restricted in terms of what it can sell. Sir John Stanley, who chairs the committees of arms export control, has said he expects the government to adhere to the criteria of arms export licenses.

UKTI has said that no weapons will be offered for sale and the Libyans will be offered specialist equipment for port security, such as inflatable dinghies or uniforms.

However, Stearman believes that the sale of arms is the ultimate priority of the event.

“When an arms company takes part in an arms fair or exhibition, it is with the expectation of sales, and it is hard to believe that the only equipment on sale will relate to security,” she said.

The exhibition appears to be part of a wider policy by the UK government of a strategy to foster relations with countries where Britain has security and business interests.

In the past the UKTO listed Libya as a “priority market” for UK arms sales, which were openly sold to Gaddafi’s regime before the uprising against him. There was also a Libyan delegation at the Farnborough Air Show in July 2012, which showcased British aerospace defense equipment such as the Typhoon fighter jet.

Speaking at the Farnborough airshow last year Chris Baker, the operations director of UKTI’s defense arm, said the UKTI was looking at Libya’s border and maritime security and “at rebuilding their defense infrastructure” and “getting their air force back on its feet from scratch”.

By March 2011 British companies had won £62 million ($95.8 million) worth of arms exports to Gaddafi since the arms embargo on Libya was lifted in October 2004. Since the fall of Gaddafi, Britain has also offered to train Libya’s army and police.

But prominent Libyans have raised concerns that the race to win defense contract could end up with weapons falling into the wrong hands, in a country which is already awash with weapons and where security is a major issue.

“I can’t see the point in having this kind of exhibition in Libya now. One of our problems is that there are arms everywhere,” Hassan el-Amin, who is chair of the congress communications committee, and lived in Britain for 28 years, told the Guardian.

Barry Gardiner, Labour MP for Brent North, said he was not against Britain having a strong arms industry, which exports worldwide, but questioned the timing of the fair and was saddened by the UKTI attempting to establish a relationship with a country in terms of arms when Britain has so many other things for sale.

“I think it is deeply regrettable that the first thing the UK should be trying to export to a country recovering from a conflict situation is arms. It would be much better if we were offering them support in other ways such as helping to rebuild their infrastructure,” Gardiner told RT.

Stearman also voiced concern that the UKTI has not released a date for the exhibition or said which companies will be attending and said that “part of the reason for the lack of information about this event, is that the government would be embarrassed by a more high profile event”.

A survey carried out by the Sunday Times in 2011found that 77% of the British public felt it was wrong to sell arms to Gaddafi’s regime.

“What is needed in Libya are efforts to demilitarize and invest in civil infrastructure,” said Stearman.

Suppressing 9/11 Truth in the Mainstream Media, Demonizing the Messenger

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Global Research News Hour Episode 13

 “It’s easy to take an issue like the 9/11 truth movement and demonize it…that happened in the election of 2008. Even though at the time it was a rising tide and growing numbers of people… had actually rejected the official explanation and were actively looking at the evidence hoping to find out what really happened, even though that was happening, the Conservatives in that election chose to demonize those folks, and I guess I appeared to be one of them because I was willing to talk about it with respect.

-Lesley Hughes

During the Canadian federal election of 2008, Lesley Hughes, overnight, went from the Liberal Party’s star candidate to a political liability.

An article Hughes wrote in 2002 entitled “Get the Truth” offered readers a contrarian viewpoint on the war in Afghanistan as retaliation for 9/11.

The anonymous blogger Black Rod, unearthed the article, conflated it into an anti-Semitic 9/11 conspiracy theory, and circulated it throughout the on-line community and the mainstream press.

Liberal leader Stephan Dion, under pressure from B’Nai Brith, the Canadian Jewish Congress, and his political opponents, not to mention uncomfortable media scrutiny, removed the candidacy of Ms. Hughes without ever confronting her about it directly.

Hughes, humiliated, dropped off the media radar screen and spent the subsequent few months licking her wounds. She finally found herself a lawyer and launched a defamation suit against the above-named groups, as well as Conservative candidate Peter Kent, the entities she saw as most responsible for this disastrous blow to her reputation.

In December of last year, at the end of a four year ordeal, Hughes was finally cleared of all charges of anti-Semitism.

Who is Lesley Hughes?

Hughes is much more than the “earnest middle-aged mother and community activist” described by National Post columnist and author Jonathan Kay in his 9/11 Truth hit-piece “Among the Truthers.”

Lesley Hughes is a Winnipeg-based broadcast and print journalist.

In the province of Manitoba, she became a house-hold name as co-host of the popular morning program Information Radio, a CBC show she helmed for more than ten years.

Her prowess as an interviewer earned her the distinction of sitting in briefly for CBC icon Peter Gzowski on the nationally broadcast Morningside, earning her praise from executive producer Patsey Pehleman for being “fresh and different.”

Over the course of a career that has spanned more than three decades, Lesley has interviewed a multitude of global movers and shakers, including former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, humanitarian Mother Theresa, South African President Nelson Mandela, dissident intellectual Noam Chomsky, French President Francois Mitterand, and playwright Tennessee Williams to name just a few.

She has since contributed articles to major newspapers. She covered the 1992 Earth Summit from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for the Globe and Mail. She reported from the World Poverty Summit in Copenhagen, and the Information Summit in Geneva. She has authored book reviews for the Winnipeg Free Press. She continues to write the back column for the distinguished Canadian organ of progressive political thought known as Canadian Dimension Magazine.

Hughes has had her work carried by Radio Denmark, Radio Antilles and the Grenadian Voice.

Hughes has been a media trainer, instructing students at the University of Winnipeg. She was designated as the University of Manitoba’s Outstanding Alumnus for Distinguished Achievement, named one of Canada’s top three columnists for a weekly community newspaper by the Canadian Community Newspaper Association, and honoured Manitoba’s Woman of the Year in Communications and Best Interviewer (Radio) by Winnipeg ACTRA among other accolades.

The recent court ruling has affirmed what informed people, supporters and detractors alike, know all too well. Lesley Hughes has not an anti-Semitic bone in her body!

Lesley Hughes, regardless of what one might think of her politics, is an inspirational, compassionate, hard-working, brilliant and breath-takingly decent human being. It is a sad commentary on the times we live in that she could be brought down from her well-earned pedestal in Canadian life, simply for…well…doing her job as a journalist.

In this exclusive interview for the Global Research News Hour, Lesley Hughes from the living room of her Winnipeg home explains how she was affected personally and professionally by the allegations, her take on the corrosive effect of anonymous blogging on journalism, and about how attacks on 9/11 skeptics signals a new kind of McCarthyism.

She also introduces her upcoming memoir, “Hit and Run: My Brilliant Life in Canadian Politics.”

Also featured in this one hour programme is an interview with Richard Sanders of the Coalition Opposed to the Arms Trade, (coat.ncf.ca) about how Canadian Pension Plan investments are aiding and abetting Israeli War Crimes. We also hear an assessment of the recent Israeli elections by Chicago based writer and broadcaster Stephen Lendman.

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Length (59:39)
Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

The Global Research News Hour hosted by Michael Welch airs on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg Thursdays at 10am CDT. The programme is now broadcast weekly by the Progressive Radio Network in the US, and is available for download on the Global Research website.

The Pentagon as a Global NRA

Given these last weeks, who doesn’t know what an AR-15 is? Who hasn’t seen the mind-boggling stats on the way assault rifles have flooded this country, or tabulations of accumulating Newtown-style mass killings, or noted that there are barely more gas stations nationwide than federally licensed firearms dealers, or heard the renewed debates over the Second Amendment, or been struck by the rapid shifts in public opinion on gun control, or checked out the disputes over how effective an assault-rifle ban was the last time around? Who doesn’t know about the NRA’s suggestion to weaponize schools, or about the price poor neighborhoods may be paying in gun deaths for the present expansive interpretation of the Second Amendment? Who hasn’t seen the legions of stories about how, in the wake of the Newtown slaughter, sales of guns, especially AR-15 assault rifles, have soared, ammunition sales have surged, background checks for future gun purchases have risen sharply, and gun shows have been besieged with customers?

If you haven’t stumbled across figures on gun violence in America or on suicide-by-gun, you’ve been hiding under a rock. If you haven’t heard about Chicago’s soaring and Washington D.C.'s plunging gun-death stats (and that both towns have relatively strict gun laws), where have you been?

Has there, in fact, been any aspect of the weaponization of the United States that, since the Newtown massacre, hasn’t been discussed? Are you the only person in the country, for instance, who doesn’t know that Vice President Joe Biden has been assigned the task of coming up with an administration gun-control agenda before Barack Obama is inaugurated for his second term? And can you honestly tell me that you haven’t seen global comparisons of killing rates in countries that have tight gun laws and the U.S., or read at least one discussion about life in countries like Colombia or Guatemala, where armed guards are omnipresent?

After years of mass killings that resulted in next to no national dialogue about the role of guns and how to control them, the subject is back on the American agenda in a significant way and -- by all signs -- isn’t about to leave town anytime soon. The discussion has been so expansive after years in a well-armed wilderness that it’s easy to miss what still isn’t being discussed, and in some sense just how narrow our focus remains.

Think of it this way: the Obama administration is reportedly going to call on Congress to pass a new ban on assault weapons, as well as one on high-capacity ammunition magazines, and to close the loopholes that allow certain gun purchasers to avoid background checks. But Biden has already conceded, at least implicitly, that facing a Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a filibuster-prone Senate, the administration’s ability to make much of this happen -- as on so many domestic issues -- is limited.

That will shock few Americans. After all, the most essential fact about the Obama presidency is this: at home, the president is a hamstrung weakling; abroad, in terms of his ability to choose a course of action and -- from drones strikes and special ops raids to cyberwar and other matters -- simply act, he’s closer to Superman. So here’s a question: while the administration is pledging to try to curb the wholesale spread of ever more powerful weaponry at home, what is it doing about the same issue abroad where it has so much more power to pursue the agenda it prefers?

Flooding the World With the Most Advanced Weaponry Money Can Buy

As a start, it’s worth noting that no one ever mentions the domestic gun control debate in the same breath with the dominant role the U.S. plays in what’s called the global arms trade. And yet, the link between the two should be obvious enough.

In the U.S., the National Rifle Association (NRA), an ultra-powerful lobbying group closely allied with weapons-making companies, has a strong grip on Congress -- it gives 288 members of that body its top “A-rating” -- and is in a combative relationship with the White House. Abroad, it’s so much simpler and less contested. Beyond U.S. borders, the reality is: the Pentagon, with the White House in tow, is the functional equivalent of the NRA, and like that organization, it has been working tirelessly in recent years in close alliance with major weapons-makers to ensure that there are ever less controls on the ever more powerful weaponry it wants to see sold abroad.

Between them, the White House and the Pentagon -- with a helping hand from the State Department -- ensure that the U.S. remains by far the leading purveyor of the “right to bear arms” globally. Year in, year out, in countries around the world, they do their best to pave the way (as the NRA does domestically) for the almost unfettered sales of ever more lethal weapons. In fact, the U.S. now has something remarkably close to a monopoly on what’s politely called the “transfer” of weaponry on a global scale. In 1990, as the Cold War was ending, the U.S. had cornered an impressive 37% of the global weapons trade. By 2011, the last year for which we have figures, that percentage had reached a near-monopolistic 78% ($66.3 billion in weapons sales), with the Russians coming in a distant second at 5.6% ($4.8 billion).

Admittedly, that figure was improbably inflated, thanks to the Saudis who decided to spend a pile of their oil money as if there were no tomorrow. In doing so, they created a bonanza year abroad for the major weapons-makers. They sealed deals on $33.4 billion in U.S. arms in 2011, including 84 of Boeing’s F-15 fighter jets and dozens of that company’s Apache attack helicopters as well as Sikorsky Blackhawk helicopters -- and those were just the highest-end items in a striking set of purchases. But if 2011 was a year of break-the-bank arms-deals with the Saudis, 2012 doesn’t look bad either. As it ended, the Pentagon announced that they hadn’t turned off the oil spigot. They agreed to ante up another $4 billion to Boeing for upgrades on their armada of jet fighters and were planning to spend up to $6.7 billion for 20 Lockheed 25 C-130J transport and refueling planes. Some of this weaponry could, of course, be used in any Saudi conflict with Iran (or any other Middle Eastern state), but some could simply ensure future Newtown-like carnage in restive areas of that autocratic, fundamentalist regime’s land or in policing actions in neighboring small states like Bahrain.

And don’t think the Saudis were alone in the region. When it came to U.S. weapons-makers flooding the Middle East with firepower, they were in good company. Among states purchasing (or simply getting) infusions of U.S. arms in recent years were Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Tunisia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Yemen. As Nick Turse has written, “When it comes to the Middle East, the Pentagon acts not as a buyer, but as a broker and shill, clearing the way for its Middle Eastern partners to buy some of the world's most advanced weaponry.”

Typically, for instance, on Christmas Day in 2011, the U.S. signed a deal with the UAE in which, for $3.5 billion, it would receive Lockheed Martin’s Theater High Altitude Area Defense, an advanced antimissile interception system, part of what Reuters termed “an accelerating military buildup of its friends and allies near Iran.” Of course, selling to Arab allies without offering Israel something even better would be out of the question, so in mid-2012 it was announced that Israel would purchase 20 of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, America’s most advanced jet (and weapons boondoggle), still in development, for $2.7 billion.

From tanks to littoral combat ships, it would be easy to go on, but you get the idea. Of course, U.S. weapons-makers in Pentagon-brokered or facilitated deals sell their weaponry and military supplies to countries planet-wide, ranging from Brazil to Singapore to Australia. But it generally seems that the biggest deals and the most advanced weaponry follow in the wake of Washington’s latest crises. In the Middle East at the moment, that would be the ongoing U.S.-Israeli confrontation with Iran, for which Washington has long been building up a massive military presence in the Persian Gulf and on bases in allied countries around that land.

A Second Amendment World, Pentagon-Style

It’s a given that every American foreign policy crisis turns out to be yet another opportunity for the Pentagon to plug U.S. weapons systems into the “needs” of its allies, and for the weapons-makers to deliver. So, from India to South Korea, Singapore to Japan, the Obama administration’s announced 2012 “pivot to” or “rebalancing in” Asia -- an essentially military program focused on containing China -- has proven the latest boon for U.S. weapons sales and weapons-makers.

As Jim Wolf of Reuters recently reported, the Aerospace Industries Association, a trade group that includes Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and other weapons companies, “said sales agreements with countries in the U.S. Pacific Command's area of activity rose to $13.7 billion in fiscal 2012, up 5.4% from a year before. Such pacts represent orders for future delivery.” As the vice president of that association put it, Washington’s Asian pivot “will result in growing opportunities for our industry to help equip our friends." We’re talking advanced jet fighters, missile systems, and similar major weapons programs, including F-35s, F-16s, Patriot anti-missile batteries, and the like for countries ranging from South Korea to Taiwan and India.

All of this ensures the sharpening of divides between China and its neighbors in the Pacific amid what may become a regional arms race. For the Pentagon, it seems, no weaponry is now off the table for key Asian allies in its incipient anti-China alliance, including advanced drones. The Obama administration is already brokering a $1.2 billon sale of Northrop Grumman's RQ-4 "Global Hawk" spy drones to South Korea. Recently, it has been reported that Japan is preparing to buy the same model as its dispute sharpens with China over a set of islands in the East China Sea. (The Obama administration has also been pushing the idea of selling advanced armed drones to allies like Italy and Turkey, but -- a rare occurrence -- has met resistance from Congressional representatives worrying about other countries pulling a “Washington”: that is, choosing its particular bad guys and sending drone assassins across foreign borders to take them out.)

Here’s the strange thing in the present gun control context: no one -- not pundits, politicians, or reporters -- seems to see the slightest contradiction in an administration that calls for legal limits on advanced weaponry in the U.S. and yet (as rare press reports indicate) is working assiduously to remove barriers to the sale of advanced weaponry overseas. There are, of course, still limits on arms sales abroad, some imposed by Congress, some for obvious reasons. The Pentagon does not broker weapons sales to Iran, North Korea, or Cuba, and it has, for example, been prohibited by Congress from selling them to the military regime in Myanmar. But generally the Obama administration has put effort into further easing the way for major arms sales abroad, while working to rewrite global export rules to make them ever more permeable.

In other words, the Pentagon is the largest federally licensed weapons dealer on the planet and its goal -- one that the NRA might envy -- is to create a world in which the rights of those deemed our allies to bear our (most advanced) armaments “shall not be infringed.” The Pentagon, it seems, is intent on pursuing its own global version of the Second Amendment, not for citizens of the world but for governments, including grim, autocratic states like Saudi Arabia which are perfectly capable of using such weaponry to create Newtowns on an unimaginable scale.

A well regulated militia indeed.

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Why Obama's 'red line' in Syria has turned pink

<!--Patrick Henningsen-->Patrick Henningsen is a writer, investigative journalist, and filmmaker and founder of the news website 21stCentury Wire.com. ...

Rand Paul accuses Obama of plotting with ‘anti-American globalists’ to grab guns

A global campaign to confiscate firearms is setting its sights on law-abiding gun owners in the United States, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) warned in...

Rand Paul alleges CIA smuggled weapons through Benghazi

Amid intensifying rumors that he’s considering a run for president, United States Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) has come down hard on the White House...

U.S Empire and Disaster Capitalism: And Then There Was One

It stretched from the Caspian to the Baltic Sea, from the middle of Europe to the Kurile Islands in the Pacific, from Siberia to...

Avoiding the truth about war

Lesley Docksey | Some years ago, back in the days when we were all campaigning about the very illegal invasion of Iraq, I met a...

Amnesty Speaks Out Against Police Beating of Hip Hop Artist

Amnesty International USA Executive Director Suzanne Nossel made the following comments today in response to reports that the international hip hop artist and human...

Court limits police surveillance powers

By Dominic Casciani | The Court of Appeal has limited police powers to keep pictures of protesters in case they go on to break...

Remember Gaza: National Demonstration: London Saturday 16 May

JOIN US TO MAKE THIS THE BIGGEST DEMONSTRATION FOR PALESTINE IN THE UK Called by: Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim...

Big bankings’ military activities

By Ruth Tanner | The Government’s decision to take a controlling stake in some of the largest British financial institutions comes as a new War...

SchNEWS SWINGS ITS LONG LENS TOWARDS STATE SURVEILLANCE

SchNEWS | It’s time to get yer party masks out- FITwatch are celebrating their 1st birthday! FITwatch have been a welcome presence at demos...

Clinton Suspends Her Presidential Campaign

By Paul Harris | Hillary Clinton yesterday suspended her bid to become America's first woman president and vowed to help Barack Obama in his...

Students Denied Legal Aid

SchNews | Reckon students are all bone-idle skiving filth who haven’t even got the wit to tie their shoelaces properly? Well then you’d be...

Heckler at the Back

SchNews | Campaigners in Nottingham have the world’s second largest seller of small-arms, Heckler and Koch, firmly in their sights. One would have thought that...

Ministers under pressure to reopen BAE investigation

David Leigh The Guardian  Pressure was mounting last night on the government to allow the reopening of the criminal investigation into secret payments by arms company...

Heathrow Protesters Uncover Spy Plot

Indymedia It has come to light that Oxford-educated Toby Kendall, 24, an employee of aerospace security consultants C2i International, infiltrated and spied on Heathrow campaign...

Blackwater sells itself as a peacekeeper

Blackwater Worldwide, the private security company whose guards are accused of shooting dead 17 Iraqi civilians last year, is attempting to reposition itself as...

The Neoconservative Agenda to Sacrifice the Fifth Fleet

The Neoconservative Agenda to Sacrifice the Fifth Fleet — The New Pearl Harbor  By Michael Salla The U.S. plans for an attack on Iran envision to...

Weapons Given to Iraq Are Missing

GAO Estimates 30% of Arms Are Unaccounted For  By Glenn Kessler The Pentagon has lost track of about 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to...

US ‘strongly opposes’ Kurdistan independence vote

As Iraqi Kurds are set to vote on independence from Iraq next week, the US firmly...

American President Trump v. Iranian President Rouhani, at the U.N.

Eric Zuesse On September 19th, America’s President Donald Trump stated his American case to the United Nations General Assembly. On September 20th, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani...

Britain has sold Saudi Arabia £6bn in weapons since Yemen war began

Published time: 19 Sep, 2017 10:51 British arms companies have earned £6 billion ($8bn) from...

Banning Saudi Arabia from Labour conference hints at Corbyn’s likely tough stance as PM

Published time: 18 Sep, 2017 12:53 Edited time: 18 Sep, 2017 12:53 Labour leader Jeremy...

Trump’s Continuing Refusal to Prosecute the 9/11 Funders

Eric Zuesse By now, it has been well documented that, as I documented on January 29th, "Al Qaeda Funded by Royal Sauds, U.S. Gov’t. Documents”....

As London lures Saudi oil giant, RT looks at UK’s history of rule-bending for...

Serious questions are being raised over controversial proposals that could lure the multi-trillion share listing...

Class and Denial in Grassroots America

Let’s get something straight…the Deep State (aka: the capitalist class) is global and multiracial. It’s not “white,” or even just American. U.S. businesses cannot survive...

An Empire Upside Down

In the early months of the Trump administration, high-profile White House visits from foreign leaders from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East garnered headlines...

Perp Caught Stealing Guns From Checked Luggage

By Andrew Shepperson Guns.com August 29, 2017 A former baggage handler at Austin Bergstrom International Airport was sentenced to 18 months in prison Friday for stealing...

Britain’s new Middle East minister visits Israel & Palestine… but no mention of 2014...

During his first official visit to Israel and Palestine as minister for the Middle East,...

Trump and the Geopolitics of Crazy

The United States has beaten its head against the wall of North Korea for more than 70 years, and that wall has changed little...

‘Shameful’ Theresa May rejects 9/11 survivors’ appeal to release Saudi Arabia terrorism report

Prime Minister Theresa May has rejected an appeal by survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks...

Veterans group sues Pentagon after personal military records exposed

The Pentagon is being sued by a veterans group after the agency exposed private information of...

British ministers condemn Maduro… but continue selling weapons to Venezuela

Unlike the conflict in Yemen, which is barely acknowledged by British politicians, the civil unrest...

Expert who disabled ‘WannaCry’ cyber attack indicted over bank malware ‘Kronos’

A British-based malware researcher has been indicted in connection to the “Kronos” malware which targets banks....

CIA chief: China tops Russia & Iran as biggest long-term threat to US

CIA Director Mike Pompeo sees China rather than Russia or Iran as the biggest threat to...

Empire of Destruction: Precision Warfare? Don’t Make Me Laugh

You remember. It was supposed to be twenty-first-century war, American-style: precise beyond imagining; smart bombs; drones capable of taking out a carefully identified and...

9/11 survivors call on Theresa May to publish ‘suppressed’ Saudi terrorist funding report

Survivors of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack are urging British Prime Minister Theresa May...

Missile Defense Will Protect You From North Korea, Say USA Today’s Missile Defense-Funded Sources

USA Today (7/17/17) presents a few words from the missile defense industry. “US Missile Defense Plans to Zap North Korean Threats” was the headline of...

Trump’s Road to Debacle in the Greater Middle East

The superhighway to disaster is already being paved. From Donald Trump’s first days in office, news of the damage to America’s international stature has come...

The Destructiveness of America’s Alliances

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Alliances between nations are military. Without being military, they would be nothing. Trade agreements don’t require any alliances at...

When Will Co-opted Figures and Board Members of Companies like Monsanto and Bayer Be...

The public is being poisoned, disease rates are spiralling, waterways are contaminated, soil is being degraded, insects, birds, invertebrates and plant diversity are in...

Signs of America's Demise, and One Way to Survive

It goes far beyond Donald Trump. He's just simple-mindedly exacerbating a trend. Clear signs of deterioration have been building in our nation, some of...

No more US weapons for Gulf Arab states until Qatar spat resolved – senator

Any further US weapons sales to Saudi Arabia or other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states will...

The Reason Behind the U.S. Government’s Secret Hatred of Europeans

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org The reason for the U.S. government’s hostility — at least since 4 February 2014 — toward Europeans, has been...

A Grain of Truth: RCEP and the Corporate Hijack of Indian Agriculture

The plight of farmers in India has been well documented. A combination of debt, economic liberalisation, subsidised imports, rising input costs and a shift...

Cuba will not return US fugitives to United States – Cuban FM

Cuba is rejecting the demands by US President Donald Trump, including the extradition of those US...

Forbes’ ‘Go Bust’ Prescription For Indian Farmers Is A Death Warrant

By Binu Mathew and Colin Todhunter Background Washington’s long-term plan has been to restructure indigenous agriculture across the world and tie it to an international system...

How I know that the Sauds did the 9/11 attacks

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org As a historian, I recognize that everything we know about history is from sources, and depends upon the reliability...

Missing the Real Noriega Story

Exclusive: The mainstream media’s obituaries for Gen. Manuel Noriega missed the real story: the U.S. government’s rank hypocrisy in justifying...

In OtherWords: May 31, 2017

Donald Trump is recently returned from his first trip overseas as president. Numerous gags from the trip made headlines — some sharp elbows during a photo...

Want to Get “Back to the Land?” You’re Not Alone

Over the past century, generations of young people have turned their backs on city life to embrace small-scale farming and back-to-the-land ideals. The exact...

Police stumble on $500mn opium poppy field in North Carolina

Undercover deputies in Catawba County, North Carolina stumbled on a field of opium poppy plants while...

‘It’s the Most Misogynist, Gender-Segregated Country in the World’

Janine Jackson interviewed Medea Benjamin about Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia for the May 19, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited...

Which government dominates U.S.-Saud alliance?

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org With America’s sale of $350 billion of its weapons to Saudi Arabia during the next ten years, which side...

Turkey’s Varied Tactics of US Lobbying

Exclusive: Turkey has built one of the premier foreign lobbies in Washington by paying powerful politicians, spreading around money to arms...

Global Britain? Theresa May risks isolating UK as European & Gulf allies turn away

Published time: 19 May, 2017 15:55 As EU states cut the UK out of negotiations...

The Public or the Agrochemical Industry: Who Does the European Chemicals Agency Serve?  

By Rosemary Mason and Colin Todhunter Environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason has just written an open letter to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Director of Risk...

The Coming Crisis for the World’s Farmers

Remember the climate crisis? It’s still happening. Having a government that resembles a circus, it turns out, hasn’t stopped the clock on the level...

IRmep Asks Appeals Court To Block Trump Transfer of $3.7 Billion in US Aid...

Washington, DC – On May 8, 2017 IRmep (Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy) Director Grant F. Smith filed an emergency motion (PDF) asking...

NAFTA Needs To Be Replaced, Not Renegotiated

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) must be replaced with a transparent trade agreement that ensures farmers in all three nations—Canada, Mexico, and...

The Return of the Dangerous ‘Obama Did Nothing’ Narrative on Syria

One of great ironies of our oversaturated media environment is that, often, the biggest falsehoods and most transparent acts of political theater enjoy the...

From Syria to Monsanto: A Moribund System of Deceit and Destruction

Today, as the dominant global power, the US rolls out its brand of unfettered capitalism across the world. US citizens constitute just five percent...

UK sends troops to train Jordanian military as Theresa May begins Middle East charm...

British troops will be deployed to Jordan to train local forces in bombing tactics. The announcement comes as UK Prime Minister Theresa May begins...

Celebrating Cesar Chavez, Farmworkers Take On Trump's Anti-Immigrant Policies

As a handful of states mark Cesar Chavez Day—a holiday honoring the iconic civil rights activist and labor leader who spearheaded historic boycotts and...

Monsanto’s Violence in India: The Sacred and the Profane

From Hinduism and Paganism to Thor, Woden and Monsanto, humans have lost their ancient beliefs, practices and connection with nature. The old practices, so...

Valerie & Obama Even Live Together

The hot topic in Washington is that Jarrett has been behind the attempt to (1) investigate Trump under the pretense of National Security and (2)...

Enemy of Reason: Behind the Mask of Pro-GMO Neoliberal Ideology

Professor Shanthu Shantharam recently wrote a response to Viva Kermani’s well thought out article about injecting some honesty into the debate about genetically modified (GM) food and...

Bush-Era Foreign Policy Delusions Are Alive and Well in 2017

In trying to unravel the debates over U.S. foreign policy currently being fought out in the editorial pages of the New York Times, The...

Sweat Shops, GMOs and Neoliberal Fundamentalism: The Agroecological Alternative to Global Capitalism

Much of the argument in favour of GM agriculture involves little more than misrepresentations and unscrupulous attacks on those who express concerns about the technology and its impacts....

Baggage handler, two others arrested for stolen-guns-for-pot scheme at Austin airport

An airport baggage handler in Austin, Texas has been arrested after authorities said he stole handguns...