What Are Russia and Turkey Preparing for Syria? A Disagreement in Sochi – Global Research

what-are-russia-and-turkey-preparing-for-syria-a-disagreement-in-sochi-8211-global-research

14-02-19 09:00:00,

The 14thof February meeting in Sochi between the three Presidents (Russia, Turkey and Iran) is not expected to find solutions agreeable to all parties about the two main problem areas left in Syria: northeast Syria (Manbij to Qamishli/al-Hasaka), currently occupied by US forces, and Idlib city and its rural areas occupied by jihadist groups friendly to Turkey. 

There are fundamentally different points of view. At the top of the agenda, the gathering is expected to have further discussions on a possible US withdrawal in the coming weeks – the month of April seems plausible – as announced by officials in Washington.

All parties are agreed, however, that US withdrawal is a priority and will be a relief to the Levant. Therefore, any step that help to reach this objective smoothly should be taken. Nevertheless, the main differences are triggered by the Russian desire and intention to conclude a “temporary deal” with Turkey over North-east Syria’s status after the US withdrawal. These differences are related to the price Syria should pay to see US forces out of the country.

Sources among decision makers in Damascus said “Russia is trying to find an excuse for Turkey to move into north-east Syria, within a “buffer zone” of 12,000 sq km out of the 42,000 sq km that represent the zone east of the Euphrates under US occupation, reviving the 1998 Adana agreement between Ankara and Damascus”.

On January the 23rd, President Putin said the 20-year-old agreement was still binding. A Syrian source reports,

“The Russian President is trying to open the road for Turkey to regain a direct relationship with Syria on a higher level. Russia believes the temporary presence of Turkey is acceptable as long as the unity of Syria is non-negotiable. But we in Damascus believe that if Turkey moves in, it will be difficult to dislodge its forces ever again”.

Russia has never abandoned the idea of Syrian unity and considers it important for the entire geographic area to return under the control of the central government. Nevertheless, Moscow believes the danger from the US is greater, and that it is worth seeing Turkey replacing the US forces temporarily if this is what Washington wants.

On the other hand,

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RIP INF Treaty: Russia’s Victory, America’s Waterloo – Global Research

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13-02-19 01:29:00,

On March 1, 2018 the world learned of Russia’s new weapons systems, said to be based on new physical principles. Addressing the Federal Assembly, Putin explained how they came to be: in 2002 the US withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. At the time, the Russians declared that they will be forced to respond, and were basically told “Do whatever you want.”

And so they did, developing new weapons that no anti-ballistic missile system can ever hope to stop. The new Russian weapons include one that is already on combat duty (Kinzhal), one that is being readied for mass production (Avangard) and several that are currently being tested (Poseidon, Burevestnik, Peresvet, Sarmat). Their characteristics, briefly, are as follows:

  • Kinzhal: a hypersonic air-launched cruise missile that flies at Mach 10 (7700 miles per hour) and can destroy both ground installations and ships.
  • Avangard: a maneuverable hypersonic payload delivery system for intercontinental ballistic missiles that flies at better than Mach 20 (15300 miles per hour). It has a 740-mile range and can carry a nuclear charge of up to 300 kilotons.
  • Poseidon: an autonomous nuclear-powered torpedo with unlimited range that can travel at a 3000-foot depth maintaining a little over 100 knots.
  • Burevestnik: a nuclear-powered cruise missile that flies at around 270 miles per hour and can stay in the air for 24 hours, giving it a 6000-mile range.
  • Peresvet: a mobile laser complex that can blind drones and satellites, knocking out space and aerial reconnaissance systems.
  • Sarmat: a new heavy intercontinental missile that can fly arbitrary suborbital courses (such as over the South Pole) and strike arbitrary points anywhere on the planet. Because it does not follow a predictable ballistic trajectory it is impossible to intercept.

The initial Western reaction to this announcement was an eerie silence. A few people tried to convince anyone who would listen that this was all bluff and computer animation, and that these weapons systems did not really exist. (The animation was of rather low quality, one might add, probably because Russian military types couldn’t possibly imagine that slick graphics, such as what the Americans waste their money on, would make Russia any safer.) But eventually the new weapons systems were demonstrated to work and US intelligence services confirmed their existence.

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Russia takes steps to survive global internet shutdown with its own web – MPs

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13-02-19 08:45:00,

Russia is preparing itself to be disconnected from the World Wide Web. The Lower House of Parliament passed in the first reading a law ensuring the security of the Russian part of the internet.

The bill envisions the ‘Runet’ – the Russian segment of the internet – being able to operate independently from the rest of the world in case of global malfunctions or deliberate internet disconnection. The measures to ensure internet stability include the creation of a national DNS system that stores all of the domain names and corresponding IP numbers.

The new legislation was drafted in response to the new US cyber strategy that accuses Russia, along with China, Iran, and North Korea, of using cyber tools to “undermine” its economy and democracy. It also threatens dire consequences for anyone conducting cyber activity against the US.

Also on rt.com
Russia will launch ‘alternative internet’ only in worst-case scenario – Foreign Ministry

The autonomous system would ensure that Russia doesn’t face a total internet shutdown if relations with the West completely collapse and the US goes as far as cutting off Russian IP addresses from the World Wide Web.

Back in 2012, then-US President Barack Obama signed an executive order allowing him to take control of all communications on American soil, including those crucial for the normal operation of the internet.

The US National Security Agency actually caused a three-day internet blackout in Syria in November 2012, whistleblower Edward Snowden told Wired magazine. NSA hackers accidently ‘bricked’ one of the core routers while trying to install spyware on it.

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Russia to US: Destroy Tomahawk launchpads & attack drones to return to INF compliance

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09-02-19 10:01:00,

The US was in breach of the INF treaty for years, the Russia’s defense ministry told the summoned US diplomat, calling on the US to destroy cruise missile launchpads, target-missiles and attack drones to return to INF compliance.

The Ministry of Defense (MOD) summoned the US military attaché in Moscow on Wednesday to hand him the treaty-related memo.

The Russian side suggested that the Americans “return to strict compliance” with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty before it expires in six months.

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DC hawks, US defense giants race to score profits from INF demise

In order to achieve this, the US must “destroy its Mk-41 universal launchers, designed for launching Tomahawk cruise missiles and target missiles,” which in fact have the same specifications as ground-based medium- and shorter-range ballistic missiles prohibited by the INF.

The American attack drones should also be disposed of because they fall under the definition of “land-based cruise missile” in accordance with the deal, the ministry added.

In early February, Washington unilaterally withdrew from the INF deal, which had been the cornerstone of European security since 1987. The US accused Russia of building prohibited missiles, but said that it may return to the accord if Moscow eliminates the ‘violation’ within the next 180 days.

Also on rt.com
Russia must create land-based hypersonic missiles with 500km+ range by 2020 – MoD

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that it “categorically denies groundless claims of Russia violating its obligations under the treaty.”

“The US accusations are false,” Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, the ministry’s spokesman, said.

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Russia has no more to say on INF Treaty, will quit pact in 6 months in mirror response – Lavrov

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06-02-19 11:04:00,

Moscow will quit the INF Treaty in six months in a mirror response to US withdrawal from the nuclear pact, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said as Donald Trump revealed that Washington is considering negotiating a new agreement.

“Russia has said everything [it is going to say] concerning the INF issue, responding to US’ unfounded allegations,” Lavrov said on Wednesday. Moscow’s top diplomat also stated that Russia is delivering a mirror response and will quit the treaty in six months.

He was commenting on US President Trump’s statement that Washington might be interested in negotiating another agreement that would include China and other countries.

Also on rt.com
Russia suspends INF Treaty in ‘mirror response’ to US halting the agreement

Last week, President Vladimir Putin said Moscow is suspending its participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty after the US announced its withdrawal from the agreement. Both Moscow and Washington have accused each other of violating the terms of the nuclear pact.

The treaty was signed by the US and USSR in 1987, and had remained a key pillar of European security.

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Russia’s secret war | The Vineyard of the Saker

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05-02-19 06:01:00,

Russia’s secret war by Time Forward! project and Evgeny Super

Translated by Scott Humor and captioned by Leo.

We have discovered that Russia has been waging a secret, carefully concealed war for the past 7 years. It is a war against corruption and unfair income distribution. You find this hard to believe? We will tell you in detail immediately after the selection of positive news of the week.

News Time

In Lipetsk, a factory for manufacturing industrial safety systems was opened. The investments are 1 billion rubles ($15.2 million).

Modernization of production worth 500 million rubles ($7.6 million) is completed at the Serov mechanical manufacturer.

In the Stavropol Krai (territory) Russia’s first lactose production was launched with investments of 400 million rubles ($6.1 million).

In Moscow – new production of cable systems.

In the Nizhny Novgorod region was launched a new workshop for the production of special vehicles.

The first industrial park was opened in the Novgorod region.

The first assembly production of milking robots in Russia was opened in Bashkiria with investment of over 400 million rubles ($6.1 million).

In Veliky Novgorod – a new production of mixed fertilizers.

The key stage of testing the Poseidon unmanned multi-purpose strategic underwater combat weapon has been successfully completed.

The Russian Army has adopted the new combat robotic complex “Uran-9”.

A modern mobile radar complex “Resonance-N” with elements of artificial intelligence has been deployed in the Arctic.

Russian schools specializing in physics and mathematics will now receive federal funding under the national Education project. This will allow them to upgrade their infrastructure and take more students on a budget basis.

Anti-corruption actions

This past week front pages of the largest mass media outlets decry the subject of corruption. One of the reasons for their interest was the publication of the Corruption Perceptions Index by the Transparency International, according to which Russia has worsened its position to the 138th place next to Papua New Guinea, Lebanon and Mexico.

Of course, there is corruption in Russia, but the objectivity of this rating is questionable. It is compiled by the international organization Transparency International on the basis of  “expert assessments,” which in turn are based on questioning the citizens regarding their personal perception of corruption.

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Russia Walking a Fine Line between Turkey & the US in Syria | New Eastern Outlook

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03-02-19 07:22:00,

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The politics of ‘safe-zone’, a stretch of Syrian territory along Turkey-Syria border jointly managed by Turkey and the U.S., has certainly given a new twist to the Syrian end-game. Most certainly, the US’ encouragement of this ‘safe-zone’ is part of its plan to win back its largely lost position and leverage in Syria. For Turkey, this ‘safe zone’ would ensure its position vis-à-vis Kurdish militias. The diplomatic manoeuvring around ‘safe-zone’, therefore, is of crucial significance. A US-Turkish understanding over this ‘safe-zone’ would certainly weaken Syria’s control over its own territory and it would create difficulties for Russia and Iran to complete the objective of establishing Syrian sovereignty over all of Syria, restoring the pre-war Syrian territorial reality. But Russia and Iran also want to make sure that Turkey continues to side with them, as the Syrian neighbour is not only a crucial partner in Sochi and Astana peace processes, but also a vital connection in the wider Eurasian connection that Russia has built over the last few years. Therefore, a US manoeuvre to win over Turkey by wetting its appetite for ‘safe zone’—a demand that the US had previously rejected many times—presented a major diplomatic challenge for Russia, which of course, featured prominently in the last week’s meeting between Turkey’s Erdogan and Russia’s Putin.

But what was even more prominent in that meeting was the way Putin’s diplomacy neutralised rather successfully the US ability to manipulate Turkey’s security concerns. This was done by not only showing sensitivity to Tukey’s concerns and interests, but also by reinforcing the importance of a US withdrawal from Syria as the key to settling all aspects of the conflict. In doing this, Putin’s intention was obviously to take Russia’s relations away from the reach of US tentacles.

To begin with, Putin first salvaged Turkey out of the criticism it had faced from Syria regarding the un-authorised presence of Turkish forces inside Syria. He did so by making a clear distinction between the US and Turkey in Syria. Although Putin underscored that any foreign presence on Syrian soil will lack “international legal grounds” if it is not on the basis of an invitation from Damascus or emanating out of a decision of the UN Security Council—and in saying so he was specifically referring to the US occupation of Syria— he was quick to give a special qualification to Turkish presence by calling it “constructive cooperation”,

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China, Russia Preparing For “Blackout Warfare” With “Super-EMP” Bombs

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31-01-19 10:14:00,

Russia, China and several other nations are developing powerful high-altitude nuclear bombs that can produce super-electromagnetic pulse (EMP) waves capable of knocking out critical electronic infrastructure, according to several declassified 2017 reports from the now-defunct Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from EMP Attack (see below). 

“Foreign adversaries may aptly consider nuclear EMP attack a weapon that can gravely damage the U.S. by striking at its technological Achilles Heel, without having to confront the U.S. military,” reads the report, which notes how foreign actors could use EMP attacks virtually anywhere in the world. 

“Super-EMP” weapons, as they are termed by Russia, are nuclear weapons specially designed to generate an extraordinarily powerful E1 EMP field. Super-EMP warheads are designed to produce gamma rays, which generate the E1 EMP effect, not a big explosion, and typically have very low explosive yields, only 1-10 kilotons … Even EMP hardened U.S. strategic forces and command, control, communications and intelligence (C3I) systems are potentially vulnerable to such a threat. –Firstempcommission.org

“Nuclear EMP attack is part of the military doctrines, plans, and exercises of Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran for a revolutionary new way of warfare against military forces and civilian critical infrastructures by cyber, sabotage, and EMP,” the report continues. 

“The Commission sees the high-altitude nuclear explosion-generated electromagnetic pulse as an existential threat to the survival of the United States and its allies that can be exploited by major nuclear powers and small-scale nuclear weapon powers, including North Korea and non-state actors, such as nuclear-armed terrorists.” 

Nuclear-electronic warfare is also known as “Blackout War” according to the Washington Free Beacon

EMP attacks will be carried out at such high altitudes they will produce no blast or other immediate effects harmful to humans. Instead, three types of EMP waves in seconds damage electronics and the strikes are regarded by adversaries as not an act of nuclear war.

“Potential adversaries understand that millions could die from the long-term collateral effects of EMP and cyber-attacks that cause protracted black-out of national electric grids and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures,”

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The U.S. Is Paying for What It Did to Russia in Afghanistan

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27-01-19 09:53:00,

As I approach 75, I’m having a commonplace experience for my age. I live with a brain that’s beginning to dump previously secure memories — names, the contents of books I read long ago (or all too recently), events, whatever. If you’re of a certain age yourself, you know the story.

Recently, however, I realized that this experience of loss, like so much else in our world, is more complex than I imagined. What I mean is that such loss also involves gain. It’s turned my mind to, and made me something of an instant expert on, one aspect of twenty-first-century America: the memory hole that’s swallowed up parts of our all-too-recent history. In fact, I’ve been wondering whether aging imperial powers, like old men and women, have a tendency to discard what once had been oh-so-familiar. There’s a difference, though, when it comes to the elites of the aging empire I live in at least. They don’t just dump things relatively randomly as I seem to be doing. Instead, they conveniently obliterate all memory of their country’s — that is, their own — follies and misdeeds.

Let me give you an example. But you need to bear with me here because I’m about to jump into the disordered mind of a man who, though two years younger than me, has what might be called — given present-day controversies — a borderline personality.  I’m thinking of President Donald Trump, or rather of a particular moment in his chaotic recent mental life. As the New Year dawned, he chaired what now passes for a “cabinet meeting.” That mainly means an event in which those present grovel before, fawn over, and outrageously praise him in front of the cameras. Otherwise, Trump, a man who doesn’t seem to know the meaning of advice or of a meeting, held a 95-minute presidential ramble through the brambles in front of a Game of Thrones-style “[Iran] Sanctions Are Coming” poster of… well, him. The media typically ate it up, even while critiquing the president’s understanding of that HBO TV series. And so it goes in the Washington of 2019.

Excuse me if I seem to be wandering off subject (another attribute of the aging mind),

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Russia’s foreign debt at decade low, as economy shifts away from neo-liberal order (Video)

russias-foreign-debt-at-decade-low-as-economy-shifts-away-from-neo-liberal-order-video

27-01-19 09:53:00,

Authored by Brian Cloughley via The Strategic Culture Foundation:

In 2007, when making a speech during his bid for the presidency of the United States, the late Senator John McCain spoke about Iran’s supposed nuclear weapons’ programme and when questioned as to whether there might be US reaction to such allegations responded by singing “That old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran… bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb.”

This jovial retort about killing people by bombing them was not surprising to those who remembered that during the US war on Vietnam McCain was shot down on a mission to bomb a power generation plant in Hanoi, the capital of North Vietnam, in the course of the entrancingly-named Operation Rolling Thunder.  If he hadn’t been shot down before he released his bombs there would almost certainly have been civilian casualties and deaths. Power stations in cities are not manned by soldiers, after all, and around the Hanoi plant there were houses that would doubtless be struck by errant bombs.

But who cares about civilians who are killed or maimed in bombing or rocket attacks?

In Syria, for example, in October 2018 “the US-led coalition was responsible for 46% of civilian casualties from all explosive weapon use in Syria.”  And in November Reuters reported that “At least 30 Afghan civilians were killed in US air strikes in the Afghan province of Helmand, officials and residents of the area said on Wednesday, the latest casualties from a surge in air operations aimed at driving the Taliban into talks.”

Forbes records that “the US has never dropped as many bombs on Afghanistan as it did this year. According to U.S. Air Forces Central Command data, manned and unmanned aircraft released 5,213 weapons between January and the end of September 2018. The UN announced that the number of civilian casualties in the first nine months of 2018 is higher than in any year since it started documenting them in 2009.”  On January 25 Defense Post reported that “Afghanistan is investigating reports that at least 16 civilians including women and children were killed in an airstrike in southern Helmand province,

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The End Of Russia’s “Democratic Illusions” About America

the-end-of-russias-democratic-illusions-about-america

27-01-19 01:49:00,

Authored by Brian Cloughley via The Strategic Culture Foundation:

In 2007, when making a speech during his bid for the presidency of the United States, the late Senator John McCain spoke about Iran’s supposed nuclear weapons’ programme and when questioned as to whether there might be US reaction to such allegations responded by singing “That old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran… bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb.”

This jovial retort about killing people by bombing them was not surprising to those who remembered that during the US war on Vietnam McCain was shot down on a mission to bomb a power generation plant in Hanoi, the capital of North Vietnam, in the course of the entrancingly-named Operation Rolling Thunder.  If he hadn’t been shot down before he released his bombs there would almost certainly have been civilian casualties and deaths. Power stations in cities are not manned by soldiers, after all, and around the Hanoi plant there were houses that would doubtless be struck by errant bombs.

But who cares about civilians who are killed or maimed in bombing or rocket attacks?

In Syria, for example, in October 2018 “the US-led coalition was responsible for 46% of civilian casualties from all explosive weapon use in Syria.”  And in November Reuters reported that “At least 30 Afghan civilians were killed in US air strikes in the Afghan province of Helmand, officials and residents of the area said on Wednesday, the latest casualties from a surge in air operations aimed at driving the Taliban into talks.”

Forbes records that “the US has never dropped as many bombs on Afghanistan as it did this year. According to U.S. Air Forces Central Command data, manned and unmanned aircraft released 5,213 weapons between January and the end of September 2018. The UN announced that the number of civilian casualties in the first nine months of 2018 is higher than in any year since it started documenting them in 2009.”  On January 25 Defense Post reported that “Afghanistan is investigating reports that at least 16 civilians including women and children were killed in an airstrike in southern Helmand province,

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Russia to work on keeping INF Treaty even if US withdraws from it – deputy FM

russia-to-work-on-keeping-inf-treaty-even-if-us-withdraws-from-it-deputy-fm

26-01-19 11:32:00,

Moscow will not abandon the INF Treaty and will make efforts to keep the landmark agreement in place even after Washington suspends its membership, Russia’s Foreign Ministry deputy head, Sergey Ryabkov said.

“Absolutely not,” Ryabkov told journalists when answering a question on whether Russia believes the INF Treaty may be given up on. Moscow considers the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which was initially signed by the US and the USSR to denuclearize the European continent, to be well worth preserving regardless of Washington’s actions, he added.

Even after the US withdraws from the deal in February “we will continue our work,” the deputy foreign minister said, adding that Russia will still work to “preserve this document” and nothing the US does will change its approach to the issue. He also expressed his hope that “common sense will prevail” eventually.

Earlier, Ryabkov said the US side confirmed to Russia that its decision to leave the treaty is “final.”

They made it clear that the announced step is not an invitation for a dialog but … is a final [decision]

Signed in 1987, the INF Treaty bans ground-based missiles with a range between 500km and 5,500km – plenty of which had been deployed by both sides of the Cold War at that time. Over the past years, the US has been claiming that Russia has been violating the INF by building missiles it prohibits. Moscow has denied the allegations and in turn accused the US of non-compliance, arguing that it can convert missile defense sites in Eastern Europe into offensive intermediate-range launchers.

Also on rt.com
Russia warns US against arms race on Earth & space after missile defense plans revealed

Most recently, Ryabkov said that many pieces of evidence the US put forward to support its accusations against Russia were in fact “fabricated.” Still, Russia took an unprecedented step in terms of transparency and unveiled extra details about the missile, which is still under development in Russia and which the US claims is in breach of the INF, in a public event.

Also on rt.com
Russia unveils evidence on missile that US claims violates INF Treaty,

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Russia, Israel and the values of “western civilization” – where is the truth? | The Vineyard of the Saker

russia-israel-and-the-values-of-western-civilization-where-is-the-truth-the-vineyard-of-the-saker

25-01-19 08:52:00,

[This article was written for the Unz Review] First, what’s the deal with this obsession about bombing entire nations back into the “stone age”?

Very interesting article in RT today: “IDF chief turned PM candidate touts body count & bombing Gaza into ‘stone age’ in campaign ad” (please read the full thing – it is short and very enlightening).  When I saw that, I immediately had a flash back to a (truly brilliant, if evil) US diplomat, James Baker, who promised Iraqi Prime Minister Tarik Aziz (whom the Empire kept in jail until his death in spite of the fact that 79 year old man suffered from depression, diabetes, heart disease, and ulcers) that the Empire would “bring it back to the stone age“.

Benny Gantz – the new face of “Western civilization”?

Now, Benny Gantz is your typical Israeli Zionazi nutcase with all that entails, but this can hardly be said of James Baker who was one of the most educated and brilliant diplomats the USA ever produced.  So what’s this thing about bringing those who dare defy the AngloZionist Empire back to the “stone age”.  Coincidence?  You tell me!

I sure don’t think so.

The Israeli butchery in Gaza enjoyed the massive support of the Israeli people who even organized special “viewing locations” for the joy of seeing Palestinian civilians (the vast majority of the people the Israelis murdered in Gaza) massacred.  Which is not very different from the way the US Americans (and their European vassals) organized “viewing locations” in their TV sets for the joy of seeing Iraqi civilians (the vast majority of the people the USA and its vassals murdered in Iraq) massacred.  The difference is only in numbers: in Gaza the Israelis only murdered “only” about 1500 Palestinians whereas the USA can pride itself on having massacred well over a million Iraqis.

Still not convinced?

Then how about Mr MAGA promising to “devastate” the DPRK? or, even better, to make Iran “SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE” (all in caps as in the original).

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US Blunders Have Made Russia the Global Trade Pivot

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20-01-19 11:08:00,

US Blunders Have Made Russia the Global Trade Pivot

Mathew MAAVAK

The year 2019 had barely begun before news emerged that six Russian sailors were kidnapped by pirates off the coast of Benin. It was perhaps a foretaste of risks to come. As nations reel from deteriorating economic conditions, instances of piracy and other forms of supply chain disruptions are bound to increase.

According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), 107 cases of piracy were noted during the first half of 2018 vis-à-vis 87 throughout 2017.  The 2018 tally included 32 cases in Southeast Asian waters and 48 along African shores – representing 75% of the total. To put this figure into perspective, Asian behemoths India and China – despite their vast shorelines – recorded only 2 cases of piracy each during the study period. Russia had none. In terms of hostages taken, the IMB tally read 102 in H1 2018 vs 63 in H1 2017.

Piracy adds to shipping and retail costs worldwide as security, insurance and salaries are hiked to match associated risks in maritime transport. Merchant vessels will also take longer and costlier routes to avoid piracy hotspots.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report in 2016 sums up the perils ahead:

As over 90% of global trade is carried out by sea, the economic effects of maritime crime can be crippling. Maritime crime includes not only criminal activity directed at vessels or maritime structures, but also the use of the high seas to perpetrate transnational organized crimes such as smuggling of persons or illicit substances.  These forms of maritime crime can have devastating human consequences.

Indeed, cases of human trafficking, organ harvesting, and the smuggling of illicit substances and counterfeit goods are proliferating worldwide in tandem with rising systemic debt and suspect international agendas.

Australia offers a case in point. While it fantasizes over a Quad of allies in the Indo-Pacific – to “save Asians from China” – criminal elements from Hong Kong, Malaysia to squeaky-clean Singapore have been routinely trafficking drugs, tobacco and people right into Sydney harbour for years,  swelling the local organised crime economy to as much as $47.4 billion (Australian dollars presumably) between 2016 and 2017.

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Why Russia Taking Ukraine in 2014 Would Have Been a Bad Idea?

why-russia-taking-ukraine-in-2014-would-have-been-a-bad-idea

20-01-19 10:10:00,

Rolling into Kiev is the easy part, but what then?

There are some people that accuse Putin of abandoning a unique chance in 2014 to stop the “Banderovites” that took over Kiev…

I heard similar stuff from Russian nationalists recently at Sputnik & Pogrom podcast with Aleksandr Zhuchkovsky, a militia man in Donbass, and then I saw this Sovok post. Unlike Russian nationalists, some out there even believe that Russia should have helped Yanukovych back to Bankova.

Criticism of Putin’s handling of the Ukrainian crisis finds a home both on the right and on the left of Russia’s political spectrum, among opponents of Putin. One can definitely find flaws in the handling of the Donbass crisis. Russia’s current position is that the republics are “self-declared”, this is what the Russian media refer to them as, that they are part of Ukraine, and that they should be reintegrated into Ukraine in some form of a federative arrangement. The kremlins’ view recognition of the Donbass republics as a step in the extreme, perhaps after Ukraine attempts to take the republics over by force.

On the other side in Kiev, Donbass republics are viewed as a part of Ukraine, forcibly torn away by Russian aggression. According to Ukrainian constitution, Ukraine is a unitary state, and without a change to the constitution, federalism is impossible. The Ukrainian parliament eagerly changed the constitution recently to include aims to join NATO and the EU. However, I do not see the same enthusiasm about federalism. This disparity in views between Kiev and Moscow, the resultant lack of recognition for the Donbass republics, high levels of criminality, and poor handling of the republics by Russian curators as Anatoly Karlin notes, don’t add to Russia’s good image.

But was reinstating Yanukovych, or creating Novorossiya ever a good idea? I have recently read a compelling case against this that mentions reasons other than just the threat of sanctions. Sergey Belov on Alternativa imagines in five points what would happen if the Kremlin did not limit itself to Crimea:

First of his arguments is that Russia would be forced to support the odious persona of Viktor Yanukovych as the legitimate president.

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There’s More to Russia Than Meets the Eye

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16-01-19 11:36:00,

There's More to Russia Than Meets the Eye

James V. DELONG

While I have only a concerned citizen’s knowledge of foreign affairs, I am baffled by the hysterical Russophobia of the MSM and the Democratic Party since the 2016 election.

As far as I can tell, there should be no real issues between Russia and the U.S.  Ukraine or Crimea is freighted with questions of local ethnicity and brutal history and should be sorted out by the parties, or at most by Europe.  We have no stake.  As for the defense of Europe, it is not credible that Russia has designs on an entity that so outweighs it in population and wealth. Trump was right to point out that the Europeans themselves do not believe in the threat, since they are happy to shortchange defense while relying on Russia for natural gas. Why would the Russians send tanks when shutting a valve would cripple Germany?

I do not really understand why either nation is in Syria, and any Russian intervention in the 2016 election was trivial.  In any case, of course the Russians want to influence our elections.  We are the world’s 800-pound gorilla (or bull in the china shop), so everyone wants to influence our elections, and who can blame these people?  People all over the world live and die depending on the self-centered whims of whoever holds power in the U.S. – just ask Moammar Gaddafi (“we came, we saw, he died“).  Saudis, Israelis, Europeans, Brits, and many others have been meddling for decades and will continue to do so. So grow up, MSM.

Irritated by the repetitive triviality of the press, I began searching for sources that would broaden and deepen my perspective.  Indeed, I found an avalanche of web material that rarely makes it through the gatekeepers in the U.S.  The quality and honesty of these varies greatly, but, to help out readers who share my unease about the information they are getting from the MSM, or even from many U.S. conservative sites, I will list a few that are worth your attention because, in my estimation, they are intelligent observers who know what they are talking about and who are trying to tell their readers the truth as they see it.

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Russia’s Scientific Revolution – Exciting Breakthroughs in Research and Technology (Russian TV News)

russias-scientific-revolution-8211-exciting-breakthroughs-in-research-and-technology-russian-tv-news

05-01-19 11:18:00,

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

This segment goes over the rapid advances in science and technology in Russia.

This research is overwhelmingly focused on practical and useful technologies rather than wasteful expenditures like trips to the moon.

One of the most incredible advances is a surgeon using a digital robot to perform surgery on a living animal, an unprecedented feat that can be applied to improve human medical advances in the future.

This state-backed scientific revolution stands in contrast to Western projects like the “gender revolution”. Perhaps Westerners could take note of what science can do when aimed at advancing human potential, rather than creating endless new cosmopolitan social identities.

image

Just a suggestion.

Transcript below:

Transcript:

How to create a scientific and technological leap for Russia? Where should priority be given — to nanotechnology, digitization, medicine, energy, or, maybe, to fundamental researches? These topics were discussed at a meeting of the Russian Academy of Sciences for two days.

Alena Rogozina’s report on how scientific potential is turning into a competitive advantage of Russia.

The synchrotron mega-installation of the Kurchatov Institute allows us to look at any substance at the atomic level. Properties of living organisms can be given to ordinary things via atom modeling.

Mikhail Kovalchuk, head of the Kurchatov Institute:

– We took a piece of a semiconductor crystal. There are only 8 atoms in the unit cell. We built a unique civilization in 60 years. During this time, we understood how living beings work. Our task today is to combine fundamental technology, I mean solid-state microelectronics, with an understanding of how animate nature works.

There are revolutionary technologies in medicine. For the first time in history, a surgeon operated a completely digital robot to perform surgery inside of a living organism. The robot was made domestically. The surgeon is also Russian.

Dmitry Pushkar, Chief Urologist:

– This is our machine. It must be completed. It must be made. As we say, it must be provided to every hospital where it is necessary. Such operations should be performed there routinely. They should become a guarantee for our patients.

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Escobar: Russia, Ukraine, & The Minsk Agreement Fiction

escobar-russia-ukraine-amp-the-minsk-agreement-fiction

23-12-18 03:56:00,

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Saker Blog

Rostislav Ishchenko is arguably the leading international analyst focused on the extraordinarily turbulent Russia-Ukraine relations. He posts regularly on Ukraina.ru, with frequent English translations here.

In contrast to the 24/7 “Russian aggression” demonization campaign effective on all corners of the Beltway and spreading towards selected European capitals, Ishchenko’s analysis, for instance of the information war deployed on all fronts of the Russia-Ukraine saga comes as a breath of fresh air.

Although we were not able to meet in person during my recent visit to Moscow, due to conflicting schedules (the meeting will take place later in the winter), Ishchenko graciously accepted to answer my most pressing questions regarding what could happen next on the Russia-Ukraine front, with translation by Scott Humor.

Ishchenko’s answers on the situation in Donbass should also be expanded to Crimea, after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed he had information about Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko planning an armed provocation on the border with Crimea in the last ten days of December.

Considering the terrain in winter is usually propitious for tank advance, would Poroshenko, in desperation, go for a major provocation in the Donbass, perhaps between Christmas and New Year’s Eve? 

First of all, this winter is too warm and the area is not yet favorable for an offensive. Second, even if frost strikes and an attack becomes possible, it is too big of a risk for Poroshenko. He does not have enough military power to defeat the DPR/LPR forces, without even mentioning that surprises are still possible as it happened in August 2008 in South Ossetia. After all, the Minsk peace agreement has not been canceled yet, and it is unlikely that the West will be able to stand against Russia in a consolidated manner at the moment when Russia is conducting a peace coercion of the confectioner, who is out of his mind with fear, and whom the West has already written off. The West requires a mandatory holding of elections, and any war would mean a cancellation of elections. If the war is facilitated by Poroshenko, he will be blamed for the cancellation of the elections and there will be no need to protect him.

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‘Russia Wins’: Fury in Washington as Trump Announces Syria Pullout

russia-wins-fury-in-washington-as-trump-announces-syria-pullout

20-12-18 09:52:00,

This just goes to show what a courageous, principled and common-sense move by Trump this is — finally!!

(RT) 51 min ago | 1300 words 280

President Donald Trump’s decision to declare ISIS defeated and order a full US withdrawal from Syria has been met with anger and disbelief by the Washington establishment that hoped for regime change in Damascus.

Trump declared victory over Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) on Wednesday morning, as media reported that some 2,000 or so US troops will leave Syria within 60 to 100 days. Though Trump had openly spoken about wanting to leave Syria back in March, senior officials in his administration have said that US forces would stay there indefinitely.

CNN’s Jake Tapper reacted to the announcement by quoting an anonymous Pentagon official who saw it as a victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Hillary Clinton’s former foreign policy adviser Jesse Lehrich bemoaned that the withdrawal would embolden Syrian President Bashar Assad and strengthen Russia and Iran, while leaving the US-allied Kurdish militias “once again hung out to dry.”

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), known as a foreign policy hawk, also disagreed with a withdrawal, calling it a “colossal”mistake and a “grave error that’s going to have significant repercussions in the years and months to come.”

Rubio echoed Lehrich’s assessment that the US withdrawal would turn Syria over to Russia and Iran, adding that it might lead to another conflict between Israel and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, and lend strength to the (hypothetical) argument by Russia and China that Washington is an “unreliable ally.”

Another foreign policy hawk, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said the pullout would be “a huge Obama-like mistake,” enabling the revival of IS and putting the Kurds at risk.

The Atlantic Council’s resident Syria expert, Faysal Itani, was likewise glum in his predictions.

“I expect ISIS will be back in some form within a year, and expelling Iran from Syria will not be achieved if the US is not in Syria at all,” he told the UAE-based The National, adding that a more likely outcome would be “a possible military confrontation between Turkey and the Kurds,

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Russia, Ukraine and the Minsk agreement fiction (Exclusive!) | The Vineyard of the Saker

russia-ukraine-and-the-minsk-agreement-fiction-exclusive-the-vineyard-of-the-saker

19-12-18 08:53:00,

by Pepe Escobar exclusive for The Saker Blog

Rostislav Ishchenko is arguably the leading international analyst focused on the extraordinarily turbulent Russia-Ukraine relations. He posts regularly on Ukraina.ru, with frequent English translations here.

In contrast to the 24/7 “Russian aggression” demonization campaign effective on all corners of the Beltway and spreading towards selected European capitals, Ishchenko’s analysis, for instance of the information war deployed on all fronts of the Russia-Ukraine saga comes as a breath of fresh air.

Although we were not able to meet in person during my recent visit to Moscow, due to conflicting schedules (the meeting will take place later in the winter), Ishchenko graciously accepted to answer my most pressing questions regarding what could happen next on the Russia-Ukraine front, with translation by Scott Humor.

Ishchenko’s answers on the situation in Donbass should also be expanded to Crimea, after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed he had information about Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko planning an armed provocation on the border with Crimea in the last ten days of December.

Considering the terrain in winter is usually propitious for tank advance, would Poroshenko, in desperation, go for a major provocation in the Donbass, perhaps between Christmas and New Year’s Eve? 

First of all, this winter is too warm and the area is not yet favorable for an offensive. Second, even if frost strikes and an attack becomes possible, it is too big of a risk for Poroshenko. He does not have enough military power to defeat the DPR/LPR forces, without even mentioning that surprises are still possible as it happened in August 2008 in South Ossetia. After all, the Minsk peace agreement has not been canceled yet, and it is unlikely that the West will be able to stand against Russia in a consolidated manner at the moment when Russia is conducting a peace coercion of the confectioner, who is out of his mind with fear, and whom the West has already written off. The West requires a mandatory holding of elections, and any war would mean a cancellation of elections. If the war is facilitated by Poroshenko, he will be blamed for the cancellation of the elections and there will be no need to protect him.

 » Lees verder

Is Russia Learning? — Paul Craig Roberts – PaulCraigRoberts.org

is-russia-learning-8212-paul-craig-roberts-8211-paulcraigroberts.org

18-12-18 05:38:00,

Support Your Website Donate: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/pages/donate/

Is Russia Learning?

Paul Craig Roberts

Is Russia learning that Washington wants no deal with Russia except Russian vassalage and that relying on agreements with the West is delusional? There is some indication that Russia is learning, but it seems to be a slow process.

Russia Insider reports that the Russian government has told Israel that Israeli strikes inside Syria are no longer acceptable. https://russia-insider.com/en/russia-greenlights-retaliatory-syrian-attacks-israeli-targets-report/ri25684

Russia Insider also reports that when asked about Kiev using Russian focus on the World Cup to attack the Donetsk and Luhansk republics, Putin answered: “if that does transpire, there will be harsh consequences for Ukraine’s sovereignty in general.” https://russia-insider.com/en/politics/what-if-kiev-attacks-during-world-cup-putin-theyll-rue-day-video/ri23722

These are reassuring statements that Putin has learned that turning the other cheek to Washington and Israel does not lead to diplomatic solutions but to further provocations. Nevertheless, Putin still appears to hold on to his belief in agreements. Putin said that the solution was for Ukraine to comply with the Minsk Protocol.

The Minsk Protocol reincorporates the Donetsk and Luhansk republics in Ukraine, which is what the Russian government wants as the Russian populations of these breakaway republics would offset to some extent the nazi elements in Western Ukraine and, thereby, maintain some political balance within Ukraine.

The defect in the Russian policy is that it overlooks that Ukraine is a Washington vassal and that Washington intends to use its vassal to foment problems for Russia. It is naive for Putin to ascribe the pending violence as a consequence of the political difficulties of the Ukrainian president. The pending violence shows Washington’s determination either to discredit Putin with Russian nationalists by his refusal to defend the Russian populations from Ukraine’s attack, or, if Russia does intervene, to demonize Russia as an agressor that has again invaded Ukraine.

By refusing to accept the votes of Donetsk and Luhansk to be reunited with Russia like Crimea, the Russian government has produced a no-win situation for itself. The failure to reincorporate Donetsk and Luhansk into Russia was a strategic error by the Russian government.

It is difficult to comprehend how the Russian government got the idea that Washington was going to permit Ukraine to return to a reasonable relationship with Russia.

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Russia hysteria in West has become dangerous & an insult to the masses – analyst to RT

russia-hysteria-in-west-has-become-dangerous-amp-an-insult-to-the-masses-analyst-to-rt

18-12-18 08:13:00,

As media organizations and Paris try to link the Yellow Vest rallies to Moscow, analysts tell RT that the demonstrations have nothing to do with Russia, and suggesting otherwise is an insult to the protesters and their cause.

Speaking to RT just one day after leaked messages revealed that a BBC journalist tried to find any trace of Russian involvement in the Yellow Vest protest, political analyst John Wight said the idea that Russia is behind everything happening in the West “is preposterous and it’s also an insult to the masses of the people who are expressing their anger and resistance” in France and elsewhere.

Also on rt.com
‘We didn’t listen to people’: French PM admits mistakes in dealing with Yellow Vest rallies

He went on to explain that the real reason people have hit the streets of France in huge numbers has nothing to do with Russia and everything to do with the French government.

“Policies have left over 8 million people in France living in poverty in 2018, 9 percent unemployment, cuts to pensions, cuts to welfare benefits, and tax cuts for the rich…

That’s got nothing to do with Russia, these people don’t live in Russia, they’re dealing with the real world consequences of their government’s policies.”

Journalist Neil Clark agreed, telling RT that the Yellow Vest protests are “organic” and “grew up in the streets of France.”

Also on rt.com
‘Macron… WHAT?’ French TV channel ‘censors’ photo of Yellow Vest protester’s placard (PHOTOS)

He added that people are simply fed up with President Emmanuel Macron. “These are bread-and-butter issues, people are complaining about tax rises, living standards falling or stagnating, and Russia has nothing to do with it.”

And despite the leaks that implicate that the BBC was out to place blame on Russia, Clark noted that the news outlet is just one small part of a wider media landscape trying to do the exact same thing.

“Yes, we can look at the BBC but I’m pretty sure that every other major news organization in the West is trying to find a Russian angle to this because that’s the narrative.”

It is indeed true that the BBC isn’t the only one pointing the finger at Russia without any basis whatsoever.

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The Russia Investigation Is About Criminalizing Peace

the-russia-investigation-is-about-criminalizing-peace

08-12-18 10:37:00,

Authored by Stephen Cohen via The Nation:

The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of dusk. — Hegel

War With Russia?, like the biography of a living person, is a book without an end. The title is a warning – akin to what the late Gore Vidal termed “a journalistic alert-system” – not a prediction. Hence the question mark. I cannot foresee the future. The book’s overarching theme is informed by past and current facts, not by any political agenda, ideological commitment, or magical prescience.

This article is adapted from the concluding section of Stephen F. Cohen’s War With Russia? From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate, just published, in paperback and e-book, by Skyhorse Publishing.

To restate that theme: The new US-Russian Cold War is more dangerous than was its 40-year predecessor that the world survived. The chances are even greater that this one could result, inadvertently or intentionally, in actual war between the two nuclear superpowers. Herein lies another ominous indication. During the preceding Cold War, the possibility of nuclear catastrophe was in the forefront of American mainstream political and media discussion, and of policy-making. During the new one, it rarely seems to be even a concern.

In the latter months of 2018, the facts and the mounting crises they document grow worse, especially in the US political-media establishment, where, as I have argued, the new Cold War originated and has been repeatedly escalated. Consider a few examples, some of them not unlike political and media developments during the run-up to the US war in Iraq or, historians have told us, how the great powers “sleepwalked” into World War I:

Russiagate’s core allegations—US-Russian collusion, treason—all remain unproven. Yet they have become a central part of the new Cold War. If nothing else, they severely constrain President Donald Trump’s capacity to conduct crisis negotiations with Moscow while they further vilify Russian President Vladimir Putin for having, it is widely asserted, personally ordered “an attack on America” during the 2016 presidential campaign. Some Hollywood liberals had earlier omitted the question mark, declaring, “We are at war.” In October 2018, the would-be titular head of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, added her voice to this reckless allegation, 

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Why Russia won’t invade the Ukraine, the Baltic statelets or anybody else | The Vineyard of the Saker

why-russia-wont-invade-the-ukraine-the-baltic-statelets-or-anybody-else-the-vineyard-of-the-saker

07-12-18 04:24:00,

[this article was written for the Unz Review]

The AngloZionist propaganda machine is constantly warning us that Russia is about to invade some country.  The list of candidates for invasion is long and ranges from Norway to the Ukraine and includes the Baltic statelets, Poland and even countries further West.  Of course, we are also told that NATO and the US are here to prevent that.  Well, thank God for them, right?

But what is conspicuously missing from this narrative is a discussion of the possible Russian motives for such a military move. Typically, we are merely told that Russia has broken the European post-Cold War order and borders by “annexing” Crimea and by sending military forces into the Donbass. Anybody with an IQ at room temperature or above by now realizes that both of these claims are total bunk. The ones who indeed broke the post-Cold War international order and borders were the NATO member states when they used military force, in complete illegality, to break-up Yugoslavia. As for the people of Crimea, they had the opportunity to vote about their future in a referendum, very much unlike the inhabitants of Kosovo which had no such opportunity. As for the 08.08.08 war, even the Europeans who eventually, and very reluctantly, agreed that it was, in fact, Saakashvili who started this conflict, not Russia.

But let’s set all this aside and assume that the Russian leaders would not hesitate to use military force again if it was to their advantage.  Let’s assume that, yes, the Russians are up to no good and that they might well try to bite-off some other piece of land somewhere in Europe.

Such an assumption would immediately raise a crucial question: why would the Russians want to do that?

For some reason, this question is rarely, if ever, asked.

Oh sure, we are told that “Putin wants to rebuild the Soviet Union” or some other type of empire but, again, nobody seems to wonder why he would want that!

So let’s look at possible rationales for such an attack:

Reason number one: to gain more land

That is probably the least credible reason of all.  Russia is a vast country (17,098,246 km2) with a relatively small population (144,526,636) resulting in a very low population density.

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Russia Says No to GMO, Becomes World’s Biggest Exporter of non-GMO Food

russia-says-no-to-gmo-becomes-worlds-biggest-exporter-of-non-gmo-food

03-12-18 05:00:00,

This segment of Russian TV does an in depth exploration into Russia’s agricultural industries including their specialty in organic food.

While the Western World continues to cozy up to Monsanto and similar corporations producing GMO crops, Russia is ramping up the production of its own organic GMO free produce and is set to become the world’s biggest exporter of non-GMO food.

These exports are purchased from countries all over the world including Japan, Israel, and Europe. This year’s exports are set to exceed a record breaking $23 Billion worth of produce.

“There are two options: you can either remove excess moisture or add stabilizers. We remove excess moisture and never use the other method. Our enterprise specializes in organic food, we don’t use any artificial additives.”

Mr. Klepker showed us the quark maker. It plays an important role in the production of high-quality quark, which contains no preservatives.

VLADIMIR KLEPKER, HEAD OF THE QUARK DEPARTMENT: “Quark, butter, sugar, and vanillin are all that’s in there. We glaze these curd snacks with chocolate.” Once packed in a wrapper signed in Hebrew, the snacks are exported to Israel.

VLADIMIR ANISIMOV, DAIRY PLANT GENERAL DIRECTOR: “There’s a large Russian-speaking community in Israel. Over one million former Soviet citizens live there. They still remember the flavors of the Soviet Union and want to have access to foods they used to have back then, foods manufactured to GOST standards without using any food additives. You won’t find anything like this in Israel.”

A third of the ice-cream selection produced by the dairy plant in Stavropol is also available in Israel. This chocolate and peanut-glazed ice-cream bar is particularly popular abroad. The conveyor belt makes 110 of them per minute. Everyone remembers such ice-cream cones, too. Forty tons of goods have been exported this year alone. In the domestic market, there’s also a high demand for products manufactured by both using traditional methods and following kashrut laws.

KONSTANTIN SOLOMONOV, DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: “We invite rabbis to the plant so they can watch the entire process, from the production of the milk to the manufacture of the end product.”

The plant will begin exporting kosher curd snacks and ice cream to Israel after New Year’s.

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Russia Is Key to Asia Future Development | New Eastern Outlook

russia-is-key-to-asia-future-development-new-eastern-outlook

27-11-18 05:36:00,

PT45322

As serious problems emerge with the further development of China’s ultra-ambitious New Economic Silk Road, the formally named Belt, Road Initiative (BRI) the Russian Federation, especially in the wake of Washington’s mis-named trade war, is finding a positive role that could serve to change the entire dynamic of East Asian and Eurasian economic development. Depending on how it proceeds, it could help China to make necessary corrections to its current BRI development model and even benefit the development of the United States in a peaceful way. Here are some factors to consider.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping formally proposed his BRI project in Kazakhstan in 2013 the project has undergone a huge advance across many countries from Pakistan to Malaysia to Africa. The original rather vague concept has been greatly expanded with creation of numerous state-tied think tanks in China proposing this or that new element. A major problem, however, has become evident in recent months in several BRI partner countries where China seems to have pursued its own project concepts such as in Malaysia, without due consideration for the needs of the partner country, sometimes leaving them with unpayable debts.

The BRI is one of the truly transforming ideas for rebuilding our debt-bloated world economy in a productive way. If that is to happen, it cannot be a mere repeat of the Anglo-American IMF model, “with Chinese characteristics.” Here is where recent initiatives of Russia’s Putin government could provide a major recalibration. The recent ASEAN meeting is instructive in this regard.

Putin Asia Pivot

Until the foolish John Brennan-Joe Biden-instigated CIA coup d’etat in Ukraine in early 2014–designed to split Russia from the EU, most especially from Germany, France and Italy–there was a dominant orientation in Russian policy circles to look West. With the Obama administration strong-arming of the EU to impose economic (self-destructive) sanctions in their trade with Russia, Russia understandably reviewed her options elsewhere. Initially, that has meant opening new economic and political and even military relations with the other giant Eurasian power, China. The results of the cooperation have been impressive in many areas. That said, the danger always lurks that the asymmetry of the relation will make Russia one day overly-dependent on China, and not a sovereign equal.

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Russia Is Disadvantaged by Her Belief that the West Is Governed by Law – PaulCraigRoberts.org

russia-is-disadvantaged-by-her-belief-that-the-west-is-governed-by-law-8211-paulcraigroberts.org

26-11-18 05:49:00,

Russia Is Disadvantaged by Her Belief that the West Is Governed by Law

Paul Craig Roberts

Ukrainian military ships have violated Russian restrictions in the Sea of Azov and Articles 19 and 21 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Ukrainian Navy crossed the Russian sea border and entered a closed area of Russian territorial waters. Clearly, Washington was behind this as Ukraine would not undertake such a provocation on its own. Here is an accurate explanation of the event: https://www.rt.com/news/444857-russia-ukraine-kerch-strait-standoff/

The Russian Navy detained the Ukrainian ships. Of course, the Western presstitutes, most of whom are CIA assets, will blame “Russian aggression.” Washington and its presstitutes are doing everything they can to make impossible Trump’s expressed goal of normal relations with Russia. NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu quickly aligned NATO with Ukraine: “NATO fully supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity, including its navigation rights in its territorial waters.” https://twitter.com/NATOpress/status/1066796714672222210/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1066796714672222210&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rt.com%2Fnews%2F444853-russia-ukraine-ships-conflict%2F

The US military/security complex prefers the risk of nuclear war to any diminution of its $1,000 billion annual budget, a completely unnecessary sum that is destined to grow as the presstitutes, in line with the military/security complex, continue to demonize both Russia and Putin and to never question the obvious orchestrations that are used to portray Russia as a threat.

The Russian goverment’s response to Ukraine’s provocation and violation of law was to call an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, as if anything would come of this. Washington pays such a large percentage of the UN budget, that few countries will side against Washington. As President Trump’s crazed UN ambassador Nikki Haley said, “we take names.”

From all evidence, the Russian government still, despite all indications to the contrary, believes that presenting a non-threatening posture to the West, which appeals to law and not to arms, is effective in discrediting Western charges of aggression against Russia. If only it were true, but no sooner than a high Russian official announced that, despite the overwhelming elections for independence from Kiev in the breakway Russian provinces of Ukraine, Russia would not recognize the independent republics of Donetsk and Luhansk than “the Ukrainian army opened massive artillery fire on Sunday, shelling residential areas of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.” https://sputniknews.com/europe/201811261070125114-ukraine-kerch-strait-crisis-martial-law-poroshenko/

By trusting that there is a rule of law in the West,

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Russia Blasts West’s Meddling In Interpol Leadership Election

russia-blasts-west8217s-meddling-in-interpol-leadership-election

20-11-18 07:30:00,

Update: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the US endorses Acting-Head Kim for Interpol Chief.

*  *  *

Four US senators, and their mainstream media mouthpieces, are enraged at the idea that Alexander Prokopchuk – a general in the Russian Interior Ministry who is currently a vice president of Interpol – is the front-runner to become its next president; and have urged nations to vote against him.

The position in question became vacant after Interpol’s President Meng Hongwei was detained in his homeland China, pending a corruption investigation.

The General Assembly is INTERPOL’s supreme governing body. Here’s how it works. #INTERPOLGA pic.twitter.com/zP1XEOlZ6Z

— INTERPOL (@INTERPOL_HQ) November 19, 2018

Based in the French city of Lyon, Interpol is a clearinghouse for police agencies around the world, helping them cooperate outside their borders. It is best-known for issuing red notices, or alerts that identify a suspect pursued by another country, effectively putting them on the world’s “most-wanted” list.

As AP reports, the Interpol presidency is more of a ceremonial position compared to the hands-on leadership role of the secretary-general. The president oversees the executive committee, which meets a few times a year and makes decisions on Interpol’s strategy and direction.

Interpol’s charter explicitly proclaims its neutrality, and two years ago it introduced measures aimed at strengthening the legal framework around the red notice system. As part of the changes, an international team of lawyers and experts first check a notice’s compliance with Interpol rules and regulations before it goes out.

But the potential of a Putin loyalist in such a prominent role has prompted concern among those critical of the Russian president’s leadership.

AP reports that Kremlin foes including financier Bill Browder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Alexei Navalny have warned that naming a top Russian police official to lead the international law enforcement agency will undermine Interpol and politicize police cooperation across borders.

As RT reports, the four US senators said in a statement, released on Monday, that electing Prokopchuk as the head of Interpol is “akin to putting a fox in charge of a henhouse.”

.@SenatorShaheen,

 » Lees verder

Can Russia Invade Norway or Is NATO Wasting Money in Preparation for an Attack?

can-russia-invade-norway-or-is-nato-wasting-money-in-preparation-for-an-attack

14-11-18 10:07:00,

During its recent military exercises, NATO troops were supposed to fight a ‘hypothetical adversary’ that invades Norway. But is the scenario based on military and political reality, or is the threat posed by Russia exaggerated?

Trident Juncture took place in the sea off the Norwegian coast and on land from October 25 to November 7. Around 50,000 troops from 31 countries, 250 aircraft, 65 vessels, and over 10,000 vehicles were involved in the large-scale endeavor.

According to the scenario, NATO forces were defending Norway from “Murinus” (Latin for ‘spider’) – a “fictional near-peer adversary on the northeastern flank of the Alliance”. In order to liberate the occupied territories, NATO forces had to deploy troops by sea, as well as conducting amphibious landings and airstrikes.   

NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg claimed that the exercises were not directed against any specific country, but it was “important to show that we are able to support and defend any ally against any threat.” However, the Russian Foreign Ministry described the drills as “reckless saber-rattling” aimed against Moscow. 

“Despite quite clumsy attempts by the representatives of the alliance and its member states to picture such military activity as defensive, it is obvious that this fighting capabilities demonstration has a distinct anti-Russian character,” it said in a statement.

Let’s try to figure out one thing – is it hypothetically possible for Russia to invade Norway? Let me underline that we will not analyze the military and political aspects at all, but focus only on the strategic, operational, and technical side of things.

In order to seize the central part of Norway, as detailed in the hypothetical scenario, Russia’s Armed Forces would have to conduct a so-called combined offensive that involves land, naval and air operations. 

Military science defines it as a type of operation where naval, military and air forces are cooperating with each other with a common strategic objective. It uses naval ships to project ground and air power onto a hostile or potentially hostile shore at a designated landing beach. Operation Overlord, which took place in June 1944, is a classic example of this type of operation.  

Of course,

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Russia & China Invest in Infrastructure; U.S. Instead Spends on Military

russia-amp-china-invest-in-infrastructure-us.-instead-spends-on-military

08-11-18 05:06:00,

Originally posted at strategic-culture.org:

China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” is famous as an extension of their domestic infrastructure investments, but Russia is also investing heavily in infrastructure. Both countries need to do it in order to improve the future for their respective populations, and both Governments have avoided the Western development model of going heavily into debt in order to pay for creating and maintaining infrastructure. Both are, in fact, exceptionally low-debt Governments.

According to the “Global Debt Clock” at Economist, China has a public debt/GDP of 17.7%, and Russia’s is 8.0%. For comparison, America’s is 93.6%. (Others are: Germany 85.8%, Spain 91.2%, Italy 122.6%, Greece 147.1%, India 54.2%, Pakistan 47.0%, and Brazil 55.0%.)

The United States isn’t going into public debt in order to finance building or maintenance of infrastructure, but instead to finance expansions of its military, which is already (and by far) the world’s largest (in terms of its costs, but not of its numbers of troops).

While the US Government now spends around half of the world’s military expenditures and plans to conquer Russia, China, and all countries (such as Iran and Syria) that cooperate with those ‘enemies’ (and please click onto a link wherever you question the truthfulness of an allegation made here), Russia and China plan to improve their infrastructures, in order to boost their national economies and to minimize the impacts that (the mainly US-caused) global warming will have. These infrastructure projects are optimistic and long-term expenditures, which are being planned and built only because the countries that the US aristocracy are targeting to conquer, expect the US aristocracy to fail to achieve its clear #1 goal, of controlling the entire world and conquering them — of America’s rulers finally achieving the global fascist empire that, in World War II, Hitler and the other Axis powers had been hoping to become.

By contrast, US infrastructure is rotting; and, while every recent US President has promised to reverse that decline, none has done anything significant to repair this nation’s rotting infrastructure — it has always been just talk and empty promises. A nation that spends over a trillion dollars a year on ‘national defense’ can’t have much left over to spend on things that ‘can wait’ — such as repairing its bridges,

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Russia and China Are Apparently Both Under the Impression That War With the US Is Coming…

russia-and-china-are-apparently-both-under-the-impression-that-war-with-the-us-is-coming

29-10-18 07:53:00,

We didn’t get to this point overnight but the vast majority of the US population is sadly utterly clueless about these things

Could it be possible that the U.S. is heading for a major war?  If you ask most Americans that question, they will look at you like you are crazy.  For most people in this country, war with either Russia or China is not something to even be remotely concerned about.  But the Russians and the Chinese both see things very differently.  As you will see below, Russia and China both seem to be under the impression that war with the United States is coming, and they are both rapidly preparing for such a conflict.

Let’s start with Russia.  After repeatedly slapping them with sanctions, endlessly demonizing their leaders and blaming them for just about every problem that you can imagine, our relationship with Russia is about the worst that it has ever been.

And when the Trump administration announced that it was withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, that pushed things to a new low.  In the aftermath of that announcement, Russian official Andrei Belousov boldly declared that “Russia is preparing for war”

He said: “Here recently at the meeting, the United States said that Russia is preparing for war.

“Yes, Russia is preparing for war, I have confirmed it.

“We are preparing to defend our homeland, our territorial integrity, our principles, our values, our people – we are preparing for such a war.”

Here in the United States, there is very little talk of a potential war with Russia in the mainstream media, but in Russia things are very different.  Russian news outlets are constantly addressing escalating tensions with the United States, and the Russian government has been adding fuel to that fire.  For example, the Russian government recently released a video of a mock nuclear strike against their “enemies”

Russian submarines have recently carried out a mock nuclear attack against their “enemies.” The Russian government has released footage of the atomic strike and it is sparking fears that the third world war is quickly approaching.

The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has published shocking videos that show a range of nuclear missile drills including a submarine carrying out a mock atomic strike.

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‘US would be history if Russia nukes Yellowstone volcano with mega-bombs’ – expert

‘US would be history if Russia nukes Yellowstone volcano with mega-bombs’ – expert

25-10-18 07:56:00,

Russia must develop the capability to destroy the US in a single swift blow if it wants to persuade the Americans to end the nuclear arms race and return to the negotiating table, military expert Konstantin Sivkov said.

In order to curb the aggression from the West, Moscow shouldn’t compete with Washington in number of nukes, Sivkov wrote in a new article. The president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems believes that an “asymmetrical response” would work much better for Russia, as it is able to produce nuclear weapons with a yield of more than 100 megatons.

If “areas with critically dangerous geophysical conditions in the US (like the Yellowstone Supervolcano or the San Andreas Fault)” are targeted by those warheads, “such an attack guarantees the destruction of the US as a state and the entire transnational elite,” he said.

The production of around 40 or 50 such mega-warheads for ICBMs or extra-long-range torpedoes would make sure that at least a few of them reach their target no matter how a nuclear conflict between the US and Russia develops, the expert said.

Such scenario “again makes a large-scale nuclear war irrational and reduces the chances of its breakout to zero,” Sivkov said.

The possession of such weapons by Russia is what would finally make Washington start talking to Moscow and give up on its sanctions policy towards Russia, the expert said.

Read more


US President Donald Trump © Reuters / Kevin Lamarque

On Monday, US President Donald Trump warned Russia and China that Washington intends to build up its nuclear arsenal until “people come to their senses.”

Trump reiterated his commitment to unilaterally abandon the landmark Intermediate Nuclear Forces in Europe (INF) treaty, saying that “Russia has not adhered to the agreement,” neither in form or in spirit.

Moscow decried the US plans, saying that an American withdrawal from the INF would “make the world more dangerous.”

The Russian presidential press-secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said that Trump’s words were “a de facto declaration of intent to launch an arms race,” adding that Russia would act to protect its national interests in view of statements like this.

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The US has encircled Russia with the biological laboratories, by Ruslan Ostashko | The Vineyard of the Saker

The US has encircled Russia with the biological laboratories, by Ruslan Ostashko | The Vineyard of the Saker

24-10-18 07:27:00,

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