Reflections on a World Gone Mad and Pushing Back against Neocolonialist Thuggery

The following is an interview with ANDRE VLTCHEK by ALESSANDRO BIANCCHI, Chief Editor of the Italian political magazine Anti-Diplomatico:
ALESSANDRO BIANCHI: Self-determination of peoples and respect for the borders and sovereignty of a country. This is of the most complicated issue for international law. How can it be articulated for the case of Catalonia?
ANDRE VLTCHEK: Personally, I’m not very enthusiastic about smaller nations forming their own states, particularly those in the West, where they would, after gaining ‘independence’, remain in the alliances that are oppressing and plundering the entire world: like NATO or the European Union.
Clearly, the breaking of the great country of Yugoslavia into small pieces was a hostile, evil design by the West, and particularly of Germany and Austria. The dissolution of Czechoslovakia after the so-called ‘Velvet Revolution’ was a total idiocy.
But Catalonia (or Basque Country), if it became independent, would become one of the richest parts of Europe. I don’t think it would have any great positive or negative impact on the rest of the world. As an internationalist, I don’t really care if they are separate from Spain or not, or whether they are even richer than they already are, as I care much more about what is happening in places such as Afghanistan, Venezuela or North Korea.
READ MORE

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on OCTOBER 14, 2017.

NATO “Concerned By Russia’s Military Buildup Close To Our Borders”

Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,
The Secretary-General of NATO said this on October 9th, speaking in NATO member Romania, right across the Black Sea from Russia’s region of Crimea (which had always been part of Russia except for the brief period 1954-2014, when the Soviet dictator arbitrarily transferred Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 – i.e., the Soviet dictator had made Crimea ‘Ukrainian’, and only in 2014 was a plebiscite actually held there in order to determine what the people there wanted, and more than 90% chose to be restored to the Russian Government). He said, on October 9th, that NATO is ‘concerned by Russia’s military buildup close to our borders’, but NATO actually had expanded up to Russia’s borders; in no way had Russia expanded up to NATO’s borders. NATO’s leader was importantly misrepresenting history, there.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 12, 2017.

WHITE HELMETS: State Sanctioned Terrorism and Hollywood Poster Boys for War

The White Helmets. Who are they, who created them, and what purpose do they serve in Syria? These questions remain largely unanswered by the governments, corporate media and NATO member-aligned NGOs, including the UN, that have focused their efforts on regime change in Syria for the last seven years.
The White Helmets have achieved an almost cult-like status thanks to a diverse, well-oiled and multilaterally-funded support system. Their pictures adorn the front pages of most corporate media sites whenever Syria is mentioned. Their unprecedented success can be attributed to a top-drawer PR campaign – one that has been maintained to the highest standards ever since the White Helmets became the public face of ‘first responders’ in Syria following their establishment in March 2013.
Such a publicity coup would not have been possible without some heavyweight organizations working behind the scenes to create a brand that would eclipse all others in Western public perception.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on OCTOBER 9, 2017.

16 Years On: End Goal of Afghanistan is ‘Admit No Failure’

21st Century Wire says…
Today, 7 October 2017, marks the 16th anniversary of United States and British military action in Afghanistan – aka ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ – and all signs point to a policy of not admitting failure.
The war operation in Afghanistan has indeed been enduring. It has taken countless lives, and for what benefit to the Afghan people? What is the end goal?
From Bush to Obama to Trump, and NATO, there are few signs of any end to this perpetual war – now known in the mainstream as ‘America’s Longest War’ – a war that 21WIRE contributor Andre Vltchek called ‘one of the most destructive and brutal occupations in NATO’s history.’

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on OCTOBER 7, 2017.

Russia Increases Economic Support For North Korea As China Backs Away

Over the past two months, China, North Korea’s economic benefactor and formally the source of 90% of its foreign trade, has been withdrawing financial support, ostensibly under the auspices of US sanctions, as Communist Party leaders try to rein in the North’s nuclear program to appease the US and prevent a potentially destabilizing conflict on its border – a development that would be particularly unwelcome during the Communist Party’s upcoming national congress.
As we reported earlier this week, North Korea’s thriving black-market economy (the county earns hundreds of millions of dollars a year from illegal weapons sales, along with other illicit activities rumored to include counterfeiting of US dollars and the manufacture of methamphetamine) has helped blunt the economic impact of UN sanctions meant to reduce the country’s legitimate exports by 90%.
Last month, China ordered North Korean businesses operating in the country to close, and asked its banks to stop doing business with North Korean businesses and individuals in accordance with the latest round of UN Security Council sanctions.
But as China withdraws, Reuters reports that Russia, which shares a small border with North Korea along the country’s eastern flank, is quietly stepping in to offer economic support for its restive neighbor, even after declining to use its veto power to kill UN sanctions against the rogue state.
Russia’s reasoning is simple: If the North Korean regime falls, more US troops could deploy near Russia’s eastern border – an eventuality that Moscow would like to avoid, given the NATO buildup in Europe.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 5, 2017.

Boris Johnson: UK Investors Ready To Turn Libya Into Dubai After “They Clear The Dead Bodies Away”

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has drawn a storm of criticism for statements he made about war-torn Libya this week, which included discussion of UK investment opportunities only after Libyans “clear the dead bodies away.” He made the comments while describing his August visit to the North African country at a Conservative party conference Tuesday night, which drew a smattering of laughter from the audience.
Johnson specifically spoke about Sirte, which was both Gaddafi’s hometown and the last major loyalist government stronghold to fall after NATO intervention overthrew the Libyan government in 2011. And as Johnson noted, Sirte is the Mediterranean coastal city outside of which Gaddafi was brutally tortured and executed. The Foreign Secretary said:
‘There’s a group of UK business people, wonderful guys who want to invest in Sirte, on the coast, near where Gaddafi was actually captured and executed as some of you may have seen.
And they literally have a brilliant vision to turn Sirte, with the help of the municipality of Sirte, to turn it into the next Dubai.
The only thing they’ve got to do is clear the dead bodies away and then they’ll be there.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge by Tyler Durden Oct 4, 2017.

The Catalan Question and the Future of Europe

It is 5 AM in Lisbon, and I am sitting in an airport lounge with wifi, writing this week’s OTB on my iPad, clumsily. GaveKal has written a very candid analysis of the Catalonia vote/debacle, which was a hot topic at the conference where I was speaking – Spain is right next door. There were numerous past and current foreign ministers and other parliamentary leaders here, all very pro-EU, and they were aghast at Rajoy’s heavy-handed response.
Howewver, they all agreed that Catalonia could never be recognized as a new country in the EU, as this week’s OTB notes. Allowing Catalonian independence would fuel the flames of the numerous separatist movements all over Europe and disintegrate the movement to a closer EU – something that all here agreed would be a bad thing. Remember, Catalonia is much bigger than Greece – it’s 20% of the Spanish economy and Spain’s strongest region. Not a small deal. But I think the outcome will be a deal like the Basques got – more independence, and they get to keep more of their tax revenue. But the referendum was a great negotiating tactic. And Rajoy, with his clumsy police action, actually gave the separatists the upper hand.
I may at some point write a full letter on what I heard at this confernce. There were some very different viewpoints than you hear in the US (even from my close friend George Friedman). When you spend a great deal of time with Jean-Claude Trichet, former president of the ECB (who was extraordinarily polite and gracious) and hear him advocate for a stronger European NATO, and hear as well from far-left German Politician Joschka Fischer, who also espoused a hard line against Russia and China and a stronger NATO – almost sounding like Trump – you wonder what rabbit hole you have fallen down. Herr Minister Fischer was however not amused when I pointed out the similarity between his views and Trump’s. He swears he has no interest in ever being a politician again. But his talk, which I oddly found myself agreeing with much of, certainly sounded like a stump speech. My new friend may have protested his reluctance too vigorously. Oddly, the greatest disagreement I stumbled into was with a fellow American who is a friend of Hillary. Which made for a couple very lively dinner debates – which I hoped amused our hosts.

This post was published at Mauldin Economics on OCTOBER 4, 2017.

Mattis: NATO Might Drop Ally Pakistan For “Connections With Terrorist Groups”

Defense Secretary James Mattis told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday that Pakistan might be dropped by the United States as a NATO ally due to its support for the Taliban and other terrorist organizations. Currently, Pakistan is formally designated as a major non-NATO ally (MNNA) – a defense relationship which confers military and financial benefits but does not automatically imply a mutual defense pact.
During the hearing which covered a wide range of national security issues, Mattis was asked if the US would consider revoking Pakistan’s status, and responded, “I’m sure it will be.” The firm but not completely unexpected response which is sure to add tensions to the already shaky US-Pakistan alliance came after Mattis stated in his opening remarks that, “we will firmly address Pakistan’s role. NATO’s demands need to be heard and embraced in Islamabad.”
Mattis along with Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified that they view Pakistan’s main spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) as an enabler of terrorism in Central Asia. General Dunford said, ‘It is clear to me that the ISI has connections with terrorist groups.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 4, 2017.

Chris Hedges On The End Of Empire: “The Death Spiral Appears Unstoppable”

The American empire is coming to an end. The U. S. economy is being drained by wars in the Middle East and vast military expansion around the globe. It is burdened by growing deficits, along with the devastating effects of deindustrialization and global trade agreements. Our democracy has been captured and destroyed by corporations that steadily demand more tax cuts, more deregulation and impunity from prosecution for massive acts of financial fraud, all the while looting trillions from the U. S. treasury in the form of bailouts. The nation has lost the power and respect needed to induce allies in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa to do its bidding. Add to this the mounting destruction caused by climate change and you have a recipe for an emerging dystopia. Overseeing this descent at the highest levels of the federal and state governments is a motley collection of imbeciles, con artists, thieves, opportunists and warmongering generals. And to be clear, I am speaking about Democrats, too.
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The empire will limp along, steadily losing influence until the dollar is dropped as the world’s reserve currency, plunging the United States into a crippling depression and instantly forcing a massive contraction of its military machine.
Short of a sudden and widespread popular revolt, which does not seem likely, the death spiral appears unstoppable, meaning the United States as we know it will no longer exist within a decade or, at most, two. The global vacuum we leave behind will be filled by China, already establishing itself as an economic and military juggernaut, or perhaps there will be a multipolar world carved up among Russia, China, India, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and a few other states. Or maybe the void will be filled, as the historian Alfred W. McCoy writes in his book ‘In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power,’ by ‘a coalition of transnational corporations, multilateral military forces like NATO, and an international financial leadership self-selected at Davos and Bilderberg’ that will ‘forge a supranational nexus to supersede any nation or empire.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 3, 2017.

Russia Does Not Exclude Possibility Of War With NATO

Just days after the conclusion of Russia’s largest military exercise ever (which US military chiefs believe broke ‘observer rules’) and NATO’s massive war games, Pravda reports a recent Russian Defense Ministry report says that Russia is preparing for the possibility of a military conflict with NATO countries.
While Russia’s defense ministry said the Zapad exercises would involve 12,700 Russian and Belarusian troops, about 70 aircraft, up to 250 tanks, 200 artillery systems and 10 warships; Military.com reports that the U. S. Army’s commander in Europe says Russia broke up its Zapad war games with Belarus into parts to avoid having international monitors watch the weeklong exercises last month.
Lieutenant General Ben Hodges said Monday that the two countries deployed “way over 12,700” personnel, the limit beyond which Europe’s OSCE security organization should be allowed to send observers.
Hodges said: “My guess is that there probably were over 40,000 service members.”
He told reporters at NATO headquarters that Russia and Belarus “broke it up into all these little exercises” but that “these were all connected, because this was a whole of government effort.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 3, 2017.

John McCain Is Pushing For War With Russia: ‘What Has Been Set Into Motion Is Still In Motion’

The ‘Founding Father’ of Ukraine
Could only be Senator John McCain
As Civil War splits East and West
Johnny smiles and takes a breath
(A few brain cells short) …nonetheless,
His plans unfolding once again.
What has been set into motion is still in motion and coming around for a second lap. The consortium of John McCain (the ringleader with the Soros connections), acted with the ‘authority’ of Barack Hussein Obama II and ‘independently,’ aided by Victoria Nuland (commissioned by Hillary Clinton, also acting on behalf of Soros) and Lindsay Graham (a ventriloquist dummy in the hands of McCain). What a team! Arseniy Yatsenuk quacked and chirped under orders, until it was determined that he was too weak.
Yatsenuk couldn’t stem the tide of fighting between the self-proclaimed autonomous Eastern districts of Ukraine and the Kiev government. The IMF had offered to pay the Gazprom bill of $9 billion to Russia, and Ukraine was well on its way in 2014 to becoming a part of NATO and another IMF puppet of Europe. The Separatists had other plans, though, and Russia aided them and offered to support them in the manner of South Ossetia in the Georgian War of 2005.

This post was published at shtfplan on September 30th, 2017.

NATO Splinters: Germany Completes Withdrawal From Turkey’s Incirlik Airbase

Several months after an unprecedented collapse in relations between two NATO member states, on Thursday Germany’s military announced it has finished its withdrawal from Turkey’s strategic airbase Incirlik, which as a reminder was prompted by Ankara’s refusal to allow visits by German parliamentarians. Going forward, Bundeswehr planes will instead be based in Jordan.
As we reported at the time, in June Germany’s parliament, which ultimately decides on deployments, voted overwhelmingly to leave Incirlik amid a multifaceted dispute with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over his post-coup crackdown. As a “parliamentary army,” the Bundeswehr requires a vote of approval from Bundestag lawmakers for each foreign deployment and a parliamentary committee regularly evaluates Germany missions abroad.
As Deutsche Welle reports, Germany’s transfer of reconnaissance and refueling aircraft from Incirlik to Jordan’s al-Asrak airbase had been “an unprecedented, mammoth task” according to German contingent commander Stefan Kleinheyer said Wednesday.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 28, 2017.

Mattis Targeted By Taliban Rocket Attack At Afghan Airport

NATO Secretary General @jensstoltenberg together with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis is at RSHQ today visiting AFG leadership & troops pic.twitter.com/Saf5r7dIa2
— Resolute Support (@ResoluteSupport) September 27, 2017

Defense Secretary James Mattis was the target of a failed rocket attack near a key Afghanistan airport Wednesday, the Taliban said, though the attack occurred after he had left the airport. Hours after Mattis landed, as many as 40 rockets were fired at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport from an unknown location and landed in an open area, according to Najib Danish, spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry. US military officials added that a barrage of up to 40 rounds of munitions hit the airport, including 29 rocket-propelled grenades.
According to CNN, Mattis and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had already left the airport at the time of the incident, Danish said. No one was injured.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 27, 2017.

“It’s All Fun & War-Games” In Russia, Until…

Amid Russia’s largest wargames yet, with over 100,000 taking part in “Zapad 2017” according to NATO, independent news site Fontanka.ru has released footage of a rather shocking event.
***
Reuters reports that a military helicopter on a rural training exercise in western Russia mistakenly fired rockets at a group of parked vehicles, knocking at least one person to the ground, footage posted by Russian news sites and on social media showed.
The clip below shows a helicopter firing a salvo of rockets at a military truck covered in camouflage netting in open countryside, with three vehicles with no military markings visible, parked a few meters away. A man in civilian clothes who had been standing close to the truck was engulfed in a cloud of dust. The person filming the clip, who was slightly further away, could be seen sprawled on the ground.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 19, 2017.

Turkey Faces Threats For Inking Landmark Arms Deal With Russia

The long awaited deal has taken place. A deposit has already been paid. Turkey has finally signed the $2.5bn (1.9bn) contract with Russia to buy S-400 advanced missile defense system. With a range of 400 kilometers (248 miles), the system can shoot down up to 80 targets simultaneously, aiming two missiles at each one, at an altitude of up to 30 km.
***
The system is not operationally compatible with the systems used by NATO countries, which gives Turkey a military capacity independent of the alliance. NATO commanders will not have control over it. The identification friend or foe (IFF) equipment won’t prevent Turkey from using it against NATO aircraft and missiles. Reaching full operational capability will require Russian personnel to be stationed in Turkey on advice, assistance and training missions.
The technology transfer component of the S-400 deal is especially important as it would allow Turkey to rapidly expand domestic defense industry with Russia’s help. Russia would supply two batteries and help Ankara build two more such systems. A few years ago, the US refused to let Turkey produce Patriot air defense systems on its soil and the deal was off.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 19, 2017.

Russia Test Fires Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missile During “Zapad 2017” Military Drill

As reported last Thursday, Russia’s military is currently conducting its “biggest display of military power since the end of the Cold War“, called Zapad-2017. The drill involves anywhere between 12,700 and 100,000 troops (depending on whether one believes Russia or NATO), 10 ships, 70 planes and helicopters, 680 equipment units, 250 tanks, and multiple launch rocket systems and mortars.
And, as of today, the drill also includes Russia’s Iskander-M theater ballistic system, which on Monday carried out a successful test-launch of its missile at maximum range, the Russian defense ministry said adding that the test-launch was performed at the Kapustin Yar range in Russia’s southern Astrakhan Region.
“The increased capacity missile covered 480 kilometers and successfully hit its target at the Makat range [in Kazakhstan],’ the ministry said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 18, 2017.

SYRIA: NATO’s Anarchist Brigades and their ‘Rojava’ Ethnic Cleansing Programme

Thierry Meyssan
VoltaireNet
Presented in the West as the realization of a friendly utopia, the brand new Rojava is in reality a colonial state, designed and cemented in blood by Washington. This time, the plan is to expel the populations of the North of Syria and replace them with people who were not born there. In order to implement this ethnic cleansing, the Pentagon and the CIA have mobilised combatants from the circles of the European extreme-left. Thierry Meyssan reveals this insane project which has been ongoing for the last eighteen months.
In the ’80’s and ’90’s, Kurdish society was extremely feudal and patriarchal. It was maintained in a severe state of under-development, which pressured the Kurds to rise up against the military dictatorships which succeeded one another in Ankara [1].
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK was a Marxist-Leninist organisation, supported by the Soviet Union, which fought against the dictatorships of the Kemalist generals, who were members of NATO. It freed women and joined progressist combats. With the aid of Hafez el-Assad, it set up a military training camp in the Lebanese plain of Bekaa, under the protection of the Syrian Peace Force, close to the camp of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (FPLP).
During this period, the PKK could not find words strong enough to denounce American imperialism .

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on SEPTEMBER 18, 2017.

Hundreds Of Tanks And Howitzers From The United States Arrive In Poland

One day before Russia kicked off its “Zapad 2017” military exercise, dubbed the “biggest display of Russian military power since the end of the Cold War”, on September 13 American military equipment arrived in the port of Gdansk, Radio Poland reports, where more than a thousand pieces of American military equipment from the Second Anti-tank Brigade Combat Team were unloaded at the port, including Abrams tanks, Bradley combat vehicles, Paladin howitzers and other combat equipment. This is the first shipment of equipment to arrive in Poland under the initiative Operation Atlantic Resolve according to UA Wire.
According to the General Commander of Poland’s Armed Forces, General Jaroslaw Mika, the equipment will be used during military exercises.
‘This military equipment, which we see today, will be located in the western part of Poland. I mean, first of all, in such areas as Boleslawiec, Zagan, Torun, Swietoszow, and Skwierzyna. This equipment will be used in various maneuvers and training. This is a brigade fighting group. At this point, I want to emphasize the scale of the Dragon 17 exercises. This is 17,000 soldiers from 11 countries. I think that these figures are quite impressive if we are speaking about the activity of the NATO member countries, as well as the use of America’s potential,’ he said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 15, 2017.

“What Did They Expect?” Turkey Pivots From NATO, Signs Russia Missile Deal

Confirming, and sending the clearest sign of his previously discussed pivot toward Russia and away from NATO and the West, on Tuesday President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey had signed a deal to purchase a Russian surface-to-air missile system, and paid the first installment. The deal cements Turkey’s recent rapprochement with Russia, despite differences over the war in Syria, the downing of a Russian fighter jet over Turkey in late 2015 and the assassination of a Russian ambassador earlier this year, and comes as Turkey’s ties with the United States and European Union have become strained to the point of breaking.
Although the missile purchase from Russia was made public several months ago, Erdogan’s announcement was the first confirmation that Turkey had transferred money to pay for the S-400 missile system.
‘Signatures have been made for the purchase of S-400s from Russia,’ Erdogan said in comments published in several newspapers on Tuesday. ‘A deposit has also been paid as far as I know.’
As the NYT writes, “the purchase of the missile system flies in the face of cooperation within the NATO alliance, which Turkey has belonged to since the early 1950s. NATO does not ban purchases of military hardware from manufacturers outside the American-led alliance, but it does discourage members from buying equipment not compatible with that used by other members.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 13, 2017.

Syria’s Victory is a Severe Blow to the Global Extremism Project

Syria’s victory in remaining still standing – still on its feet, as it were – amid the ruins of all that has been visited upon her, marks effectively the demise of the Bush Doctrine in the Middle East (of ‘the New Middle East’). It signals the beginning of the end – not just of the political ‘regime change’ project, but also of the Sunni jihadi project which has been used as the coercive tool for bringing into being a ‘New Middle East.’
Just as the region has reached a geopolitical inflection point, however, so too, has Sunni Islam. Wahhabi-inspired Islam has taken a major hit. It is now widely discredited amongst Sunnis, and reviled by just about everyone else.
Just to be clear how linked were the two projects:
In the wake of the first Gulf War (1990-91), General Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, recalled: ‘In 1991, [Paul Wolfowitz] was the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy … And I had gone to see him (…)
‘And I said, ‘Mr. Secretary, you must be pretty happy with the performance of the troops in Desert Storm.’
‘And he said: ‘Yeah, but not really, because the truth is we should have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein, and we didn’t … But one thing we did learn is that we can use our military in the region? – ?in the Middle East? – ?and the Soviets won’t stop us. And we’ve got about 5 or 10 years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes? – ?Syria, Iran, Iraq? – ?before the next great superpower comes on, to challenge us.”

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on SEPTEMBER 12, 2017.