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Russia’s Sound Proposal for Gulf Peace

Russia’s Sound Proposal for Gulf Peace 

There is an eminently reasonable and feasible way to avoid conflict in the Persian Gulf, and to secure peace. The principles of multilateralism and international law must be adhered to. It seems almost astounding that one has to appeal for such obvious basic norms.

Fortunately, Russia has presented a roadmap for implementing a security concept in the vital waterway based on the above principles.

Russia’s deputy envoy to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyansky, outlined a possible international coalition to provide security for commercial shipping through the strategically important Persian Gulf. The narrow outlet accounts for up to 30 per cent of all globally shipped oil on a daily basis. Virtually every nation has a stake in the safe passage of tankers. Any disruption would have huge negative consequences for the world economy, impacting all nations.

The Russian proposal, which has been submitted to the UN Security Council, is currently being considered by various parties. Crucially, the security concept put forward by Moscow relies on the participation of the Gulf nations, including Iran. Rather than being led by an outside power, the Russian proposal envisages a region-led effort.

This multilateral arrangement for cooperation between nations is solidly within the principles of the UN Charter and international law. Potentially, it can build trust and positive relations, and thereby reduce the climate of tensions and uncertainty which have intensified over recent months, primarily between the United States and Iran.

Washington has blamed Iran for several sabotage incidents on commercial shipping since June. The Americans have not provided any proof for their claims. Iran, for its part, denies any malfeasance and instead has pointed to “malign conspiracy”aimed at stoking tensions, or worse, precipitate an all-out military confrontation between the US and Iran. Significantly, too, the problem of alleged sabotage and danger to shipping followed the increased deployment of US forces in the region during May, ostensibly to counter anticipated “Iranian aggression”.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russia Initiates Civilian Evacuation Near Site Of “Mini Nuclear” Accident

Russia Initiates Civilian Evacuation Near Site Of “Mini Nuclear” Accident 

Russia is evacuating civilians in the area of Nyonoksa village in the far northern region where a nuclear-powered experimental rocket exploded during tests last Thursday, which had killed seven, Interfax reports.

So far it appears a “recommendation” and not an ordered evacuation, which officials advise should be accomplished by Wednesday, after radiation levels in the vicinity of  Severodvinsk spiked to 20 times normal last week in the blast’s aftermath. The local governor is insisting its not an “ordered” evacuation but is merely highly recommended.

Russian media reports say authorities are offering for a train to take Nyonoksa residents to safety, which might be due either to further clean-up and decontamination of the site or possibly to conduct some kind of new test. Work is still reportedly being carried out on the rocket engine that exploded.

Russia belatedly admitted on Monday that the mystery explosion which released radiation into the air last Thursday, triggering warning alerts across towns near the northern port cities of Arkhangelsk and Severodvinsk, involved a “small-scale nuclear reactor”.

Also on Monday President Trump tweeted concern over the radiation leakage, saying, “The United States is learning much from the failed missile explosion in Russia.” He added concern over the “air around the facility” which area residents have been exposed to and could possibly impact neighboring areas.

Local footage last week showed emergency personnel responding to the accident in full chemical/radiation protective suits.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Declining Empire of Chaos Is Going Nuts Over Iran

The Declining Empire of Chaos Is Going Nuts Over Iran 

The transition in recent years from a unipolar to a multipolar world order has created international tensions that seem to threaten to escalate into clashes between regional and global powers.

In 2014 we were almost at the point of no return in Ukraine following the coup d’etat supported and funded by NATO and involving extremist right-wing Ukrainian nationalists. The conflict in the Donbass risked escalating into a conflict between NATO and the Russian Federation, every day in the summer and autumn of 2014 threatening to be doomsday. Rather than respond to the understandable impulse to send Russian troops into Ukraine to defend the population of Donbass, Putin had the presense of mind to pursue the less direct and more sensible strategy of supporting the material capacity of the residents of Donbass to resist the depredations of the Ukrainian army and their neo-Nazi Banderite thugs. Meanwhile, Europe’s inept leaders initially egged on Ukraine’s destabilization, only to get cold feet after reflecting on the possibility of having a conflict between Moscow and Washington fought on European soil.

With the resistance in Donbass managing to successfully hold back Ukrainian assaults, the conflict began to freeze, almost to the point of a complete ceasefire, even as Ukrainian provocations continue to this day.

Tensions were then focussed on Syria, where a mercenary army of at least 200,000 men, armed and trained by the US, UK, Israel, France, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, almost managed to completely topple the country. Russian intervention in 2015 managed to save the country with no time to spare, destroying large numbers of terrorists and reorganizing the Syrian armed forces and training and equipping them with the necessary means to beat back the jihadi waves.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russia and China display strategic coordination in Asia-Pacific

Russia and China display strategic coordination in Asia-Pacific

Russian Tu-95 MS (above) & Chinese Xian H-6 strategic bombers. File photo 

An exciting new template has appeared in the geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific last week when Russia’s Aerospace Force and China’s Air Force carried out their first-ever joint air patrol in the region.

Steadily and imperceptibly but profoundly, the regional alignments are transforming. Russia and China routinely claim that their entente is neither a military alliance nor is directed against any third country. Yet, the alchemy of that relationship is undergoing a huge transformation, stemming out of a conscious decision by their top leaderships. 

The so-called joint patrol last Tuesday involved Russia’s Tu-95MS strategic bombers and the H-6K aircraft on China’s part. The Tupolov Tu-95MS (which NATO calls the ‘Bear’) is a is a large, four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform to carry the new Russian Kh-101/102 stealth cruise missile, which uses use radio-radar equipment and target-acquiring/navigation system based on GLONASS. The ‘Bear’ used to be a veritable icon of the Cold War as it performed a maritime surveillance and targeting mission for other aircraft, surface ships and submarines and a versatile bomber that would deliver the thermonuclear bomb.

China’s H-6K is a heavily redesigned version of the ‘Bear’, capable of carrying air launched cruise missiles. According to the Pentagon, the bomber gives China a “long-range standoff offensive air capability” with precision-guided munitions. Russia and China deployed two each of the Tu-95MS and H-6K strategic bombers in the air patrol on Tuesday. 

According to a Russian Defence Ministry statement, the air patrol was undertaken on the “planned route over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea.” The statement added that the joint air patrol was intended to strengthen Russian-Chinese relations and raise the level of interaction between the armed forces of both countries, in particular, to expand their capabilities for joint operations. 

Significantly, the Russian statement  said that another goal of the joint patrol is “strengthening global strategic stability.” 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US and Iran Stuck on Negotiation Ground Zero

US and Iran Stuck on Negotiation Ground Zero

Donald Trump says he’s ‘okay either way’, whether there’s war with Iran and Tehran seems to be okay  with that too, warns Pepe Escobar.

All bets are off in the geopolitical insanity stakes when we have the President of the United States (POTUS) glibly announcing he could launch a nuclear first strike to end the war in Afghanistan and wipe it “off the face of the earth” in one week. But he’d rather not, so he doesn’t have to kill 10 million people. 

Apart from the fact that not even a nuclear strike would subdue the legendary fighting spirit of Afghan Pashtuns, the same warped logic – ordering a nuclear first strike as one orders a cheeseburger – could apply to Iran instead of Afghanistan. 

Trump once again flip-flopped by declaring that the prospect of a potential war in the Persian Gulf “could go either way, and I’m OK either way it goes,” much to the delight of Beltway-related psychopaths who peddle the notion that Iran is begging to be bombed

No wonder the whole Global South – not to mention the Russia-China strategic partnership – simply cannot trust anything coming from Trump’s mouth or tweets, a non-stop firefight deployed as intimidation tactics. 

At least Trump’s impotence facing such a determined adversary as Iran is now clear: “It’s getting harder for me to want to make a deal with Iran.” What remains are empty clichés, such as Iran “behaving very badly” and “the number one state of terror in the world” – the marching order mantra emanating from Tel Aviv. 

Even the – illegal – all-out economic war and total blockade against Tehran seems not to be enough. Trump has announced extra sanctions on China because Beijing is “accepting crude oil” from Iran. Chinese companies will simply ignore them. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

War Profiteers and the Demise of the US Military-Industrial Complex

War Profiteers and the Demise of the US Military-Industrial Complex

Within the vast bureaucratic sprawl of the Pentagon there is a group in charge of monitoring the general state of the military-industrial complex and its continued ability to fulfill the requirements of the national defense strategy. Office for acquisition and sustainment and office for industrial policy spends some $100,000 a year producing an Annual Report to Congress. It is available to the general public. It is even available to the general public in Russia, and Russian experts had a really good time poring over it.

In fact, it filled them with optimism. You see, Russia wants peace but the US seems to want war and keeps making threatening gestures against a longish list of countries that refuse to do its bidding or simply don’t share its “universal values.” But now it turns out that threats (and the increasingly toothless economic sanctions) are pretty much all that the US is still capable of dishing out—this in spite of absolutely astronomical levels of defense spending. Let’s see what the US military-industrial complex looks like through a Russian lens.

It is important to note that the report’s authors were not aiming to force legislators to finance some specific project. This makes it more valuable than numerous other sources, whose authors’ main objective was to belly up to the federal feeding trough, and which therefore tend to be light on facts and heavy on hype. No doubt, politics still played a part in how various details are portrayed, but there seems to be a limit to the number of problems its authors can airbrush out of the picture and still do a reasonable job in analyzing the situation and in formulating their recommendations.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russian Nuclear Reactors Taken Offline In 2nd Serious Incident In Under A Week

Russian Nuclear Reactors Taken Offline In 2nd Serious Incident In Under A Week

In a deeply worrisome development related to Russia’s network of ten nuclear power plants nationwide, two of them suffered significant operating incidents in under only one week, causing multiple reactors to be take offline. 

Russia’s TASS reported that a “transformer short circuit” at the Kalinin nuclear power plant (NPP) resulted in “a complete shutdown of two and a partial shutdown of another power unit in the Tver region” early on Thursday. In total 3 out of the 4 nuclear plant’s reactors had to be unpluggedCooling towers at the Kalinin nuclear power plant, via Russia Now/The Telegraph

Hours later, as evening fell, Reuters reported one or more of the units suffering shutdown were back online. Russia is well-known as among the world’s largest producers of nuclear energy.

The Kalinin plant is north-west of Moscow in central Russia and has been operational since the mid-1980’s, with the last major known accident in 2016, in which two workers were injured when a power unit short circuited. Its newest reactor, No. 4, went operational in 2011. 

Rosenergoatom, a subsidiary of state nuclear corporation Rosatom, issued a statement stressing there was no need for panic or alarm.

“The radiation level at the station and surrounding territory remains without change and is in line with normal background levels,” the company said.

This latest incident follows a similar one which state media reported last Friday involving a a nuclear plant in the central Russian city of Beloyarsk.

A reactor there had to be disconnected when an automatic safety mechanism was triggered; however, it came back online Tuesday after an inspection found no issues. 

In Major Threat To Dollar’s Reserve Status, Russia Offers To Join European SWIFT-Bypass

In Major Threat To Dollar’s Reserve Status, Russia Offers To Join European SWIFT-Bypass

Three weeks after a meeting between the countries who singed the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was ditched by US, French, British and German officials said the trade mechanism which was proposed last summer – designed to circumvent both SWIFT as well as US sanctions banning trade with Iran – called Instex, is now operational.

And while we await for the White House to threaten Europe with even greater tariffs unless it ends this special purpose vehicle – it already did once back in May when it warned that anyone associated with the SPV could be barred from the U.S. financial system if it goes into effect – a response from the US is now assured, because in the biggest attack on the dollar as a reserve currency to date, on Thursday, Russia signaled its willingness to join the controversial payments channel, and has called on Brussels to expand the new mechanism to cover oil exports, the FT reported.

Moscow’s involvement in the Instex channel would mark a significant step forward in attempts by the EU and Russia to rescue a 2015 Iran nuclear deal that has been unravelling since the Trump administration abandoned it last year.

“Russia is interested in close co-ordination with the European Union on Instex,” the Russian foreign ministry told the Financial Times. “The more countries and continents involved, the more effective will the mechanism be as a whole.”

… and the more isolated the US will be as a currency union meant to evade SWIFT and bypass the dollar’s reserve currency status will soon include virtually all relevant and important countries. Only China would be left outstanding; after the rest of the world’s would promptly join.

On Thursday, the Kremlin confirmed the foreign ministry’s take:

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russian Nuclear Sub Wreck Leaking Radiation 100,000 Times Higher Than Normal: Report

Russian Nuclear Sub Wreck Leaking Radiation 100,000 Times Higher Than Normal: Report

Researchers in Norway have discovered radiation levels in excess of 100,000 times normal next to a Soviet-era nuclear submarine which sank in the Arctic 30 years ago – a reading which is higher than those taken 12 years ago, according to Norwegian news outlet TV2

The Kosomolets went down in the Barents Sea in 1989, killing 42 out of its crew of 69, according to the Moscow Times. It is sitting at a depth of 1,665 meters (5,462 ft) with a severely damaged hull from sitting on the seabed for 30 years. 

The radioactivity was detected near a ventilation hole which has been observed to kick up ‘mysterious’ dust clouds. 

We have observed a kind of cloud coming out of this hole once in a while. In connection with the test in which we measured pollution, a cloud came out of the hole. This may indicate that the pollution comes out in pulses, says Heldal.

It is assumed that the ventilation hole at the top of the submarine tower is in direct contact with the reactor inside the wreck. This hole will now be monitored extra closely by the researchers the rest of the cruise, which is scheduled to be completed tomorrow. –TV2

“The results are preliminary. We will examine the samples thoroughly when we get home,” said Hilde Elsie Heldal of the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research. Heldal believes that the plumes might be caused by ocean currents, tides or other conditions related to the movement of the ocean. 

The samples were taken as part of a joint operation between Norway and Russia which set sail from northern Norway on Saturday. 

In other news, Russian servicemen reportedly avoided a “planetary catastrophe” after a recent nuclear sub accident. No cluewhat it had onboard, but we’re guessing it would do more than vent little clouds of radiation. 

Here’s Putin’s Answer To The U.S. Shale Boom

Here’s Putin’s Answer To The U.S. Shale Boom

Yamal LNG

Last week saw Japan’s Mitsui and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation agree to buy a 10% stake in Novatek’s Arctic LNG (liquefied natural gas) 2 project for an officially undisclosed price, although Russia’s President Vladimir Putin independently stated that the investment would be around US$3 billion. The fact that Putin himself commented on the deal underlines how important the exploration and development of the Arctic region is for the Russian state as a source of potentially vast new oil and gas resources and the accretion of further geopolitical influence, akin to the game-changing shale industry for the U.S. Russia’s current development of the Arctic region is centred around the Yamal Peninsula and led principally Novatek but further developments are in the offing from Gazprom and Gazprom Neft, even in the face of current and future U.S. sanctions.

Novatek’s main Arctic project, the Yamal LNG (unofficially referred to as ‘Arctic 1’) last week announced that it produced 9.0 million tons of LNG and 0.6 million tons of stable gas condensate in the first half of this year, with all three LNG trains running above the 5.5 million tons per annum (mtpa) nameplate capacity over that period. This resulted in 126 LNG tanker shipments being dispatched in the six month period via trans-shipment from the ice-class LNG carriers to conventional vessels in Norway and delivered onto the global markets, mostly to Russia’s key target markets in Asia. Overall, the Yamal LNG project consists of a 17.4 mtpa natural gas liquefaction plant comprised of three LNG trains of 5.5 mtpa each and one LNG train of 900 thousand tons per annum, utilising the hydrocarbon resources of the South-Tambeyskoye field in the Russian Arctic.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Strange Case Of Chrystia Freeland And The Failure Of The “Super Elite”

The Strange Case Of Chrystia Freeland And The Failure Of The “Super Elite”

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland has become a bit of a living parody of everything wrong with the detached technocratic neo-liberal order which has driven the world through 50 years of post-industrial decay. Now, two years into the Trump presidency, and five years into the growth of a new system shaped by the Russia-China alliance, the world has become a very different place from the one which Freeland and her controllers wish it to be.

Having been set up as a counterpart to the steely Hillary Clinton who was supposed to win the 2016 election, Freeland and her ilk have demonstrated their outdated thinking in everything they have set out to achieve since the 2014 coup in Ukraine. Certainly before that, everything seemed to be going smoothly enough for End of History disciples promoting a script that was supposed to culminate in a long-sought for “New World Order”.

The Script up until Now

Things were going especially well since the collapse of the Soviet system in the early 1990s. The collapse ushered in a unipolar world order with the European Union and NAFTA, followed soon thereafter by the World Trade Organization and the 1999 destruction of Glass-Steagall (1). The trans-Atlantic at last was converted into a cage of “post-sovereign nations” that no longer had actual control of their own powers of credit generation. Under NATO, even national militaries were subject to technocratic control. This cage was perfect for the governing elite “scientifically managing” from above while the little people bickered over their diminishing employment and standards of living from below.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Stupid Do They Think We Are?

How Stupid Do They Think We Are? 

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Consumers of the print or electronic output of the League of Copy Typists and their Instructors are expected to believe many impossible things and believe them, not just before breakfast, but all day too.

Come to think it, believing any part of the official Skripal story, from the incredibly lethal nerve agent that didn’t kill them, to the spectacular coincidence of the British Army’s chief nurse being on the scene, to the re-wrapped perfume bottle would tax the White Queen’s ability. Here’s a list. But that’s not to say that we’re finished yet: there always seems to be another absurdity like the dead ducks.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Winds are Shifting

The Winds are Shifting

Odilon Redon The Birth of Venus II c.1910

How do you define terror? Perhaps, because of the way the term has evolved in the English language, one wouldn’t call the west ‘terrorists’ per se, but ‘we’ are certainly spreading terror and terrorizing very large groups of people. Yeah, bring on the tanks and parade them around town. Add a marching band that plays some war tunes.

The ‘official’ storyline : at the request of the US, Gibraltar police and UK marines have seized an oil tanker in Gibraltar. The super-tanker, 1000 feet (330 meters) long, carrying 2 million barrels, had stopped there after sailing all around the Cape of Good Hope instead of taking the Suez canal on its way, ostensibly, from Iran to Syria.

And, according to the storyline as presented to and in the western press, because the EU still has sanctions on Iran, the British seized the ship. Another little detail I really appreciate is that Spain’s acting foreign minister, Josep Borrell, said Madrid was looking into the seizure and how it may affect Spanish sovereignty since Spain does not recognize the waters around Gibraltar as British.

That Borrell guy is the newly picked EU foreign policy czar, and according to some sources he’s supportive of Iran and critical of Israel. Them’s the webs we weave. He’s certainly in favor of Palestinian statehood. But we’re wandering…

Why did the tanker take that giant detour along the African coastline? Because potential problems were anticipated in the Suez canal. But also: why dock in Gibraltar? Because no problems were anticipated there. However, the US had been following the ship all along, and set this up.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russia warns of another Cuban Missile Crisis

Russia warns of another Cuban Missile Crisis

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned that the deployment of U.S. land-based missile systems near Russia’s borders were comparable to the same situation that sparked the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Russia has historically been critical of any plan by the United States to deploy missile systems in Eastern Europe. Additionally, Russia has condemned the U.S. withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

The Cuban Missile Crisis was an event in 1962 when Russia sent nuclear missiles to Cuba in response to U.S. deployment of missiles to Turkey. This crisis was the closest the world came to nuclear war. The crisis resolved when the U.S. and Russia negotiated removal of Russian missiles from Cuba in exchange for the United States removing missiles from Turkey. Additionally, the United States pledged to not invade Cuba or assist any other force in the overthrow of the Cuban government.

Regarding the current situation, Ryabkov was quoted, “If things get as far as an actual deployment on the ground of these sorts of systems, then the situation won’t just get more complicated, it will escalate right to the limit…We could find ourselves in a situation where we have a rocket crisis close not just to the crisis of the 1980s but close to the [Cuban Missile] crisis.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin stated in February this year when he warned that Russia would match any U.S. deployment near Russia by either stationing Russia missiles closer to the United States or deploying faster missiles which are claimed to be able to evade any potential missile defense system. Faster missiles would also give the U.S. less time to respond to an attack.

Currently, Russian missiles take thirty minutes to reach the United States if launched from Russia or six minutes to reach the U.S. coast if launched from a submarine.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Dying Days Of An Empire

The Dying Days Of An Empire

Caravaggio Conversion on the way to Damascus 1600-01

Something’s been nagging me for the past few days, and I’m not sure I’ve figured out why yet. It started when Donald Trump first called off the alleged planned strikes on targets in Iran because they would have cost 150 lives, and then the next day said the US would do sanctions instead. As they did on Monday, even directly targeting Trump’s equal, the “Supreme Leader Khameini”.

When Trump announced the sanctions, I thought: wait a minute, by presenting this the way you did, you effectively turned economic sanctions into a military tool: we chose not to do bombs but sanctions. Sounds the same as not doing a naval invasion but going for air attacks instead. The kind of decisions that were made in Vietnam a thousand times.

However, Vietnam was all out war (well, invasion is a better term). Which shamed the US, killed and maimed the sweet Lord only knows how many promising young Americans as well as millions of Vietnamese, and ended in humiliating defeat. But the US is not in an all out war in Iran, at least not yet. And if they would ever try to be, the outcome would be Vietnam squared.

Still, that’s not really my point here. It’s simply about the use of having the world reserve currency as a military weapon instead of an economic one. And I think that is highly significant. As well as an enormous threat to the US. The issue at hand is overreach.

While you could still argue that economic sanctions on North Korea, Venezuela and Russia are just that, economic and/or political ones, the way Trump phrased it, comparing sanctions one on one with military strikes, no longer leaves that opening when it comes to Iran.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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