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April 04, 2021

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-025

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

> CF: Do they want to take on our global dominion and hegemony role? No, but we assert that they do. We posit that China thinks and behaves like us: “We had Manifest Destiny and it took us across the Pacific to the Philippines. Therefore, China must have a Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny in mind.” This is wrong. Things don’t work like that. So I would argue that we have inhaled our own propaganda, and we are living in the appropriately stoned state that that produces. If we have sound policies, we can out-compete anyone. But we’re not looking at sound policies; we’re looking at pulling down our competitor. <

Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-025

Posted by b at 8:54 UTC | Comments (154)

Happy Easter

Today we celebrate the Roman-Christian equivalent of Nowruz, the festivity that welcomes spring and with it the resurrection of life.


My personal Easter ritual, inherited from my father, is to read out loud, and then take, the Easter Walk from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's, Faust, Part I:

Look from this height whereon we find us
Back to the town we have left behind us,

Where from the dark and narrow door
Forth a motley multitude pour.

They sun themselves gladly and all are gay,
They celebrate Christ's resurrection to-day.

For have not they themselves arisen?
From smoky huts and hovels and stables,
From labor's bonds and traffic's prison,
From the confinement of roofs and gables,
From many a cramping street and alley,
From churches full of the old world's night,
All have come out to the day's broad light.
How it hums o'er the fields and clangs from the steeple!
This is the real heaven of the people,
Both great and little are merry and gay,
I am a man, too, I can be, to-day.


Happy Easter!

Posted by b at 8:16 UTC | Comments (37)

April 03, 2021

Former U.S. Official: Al-Qaeda In Syria Is "An Asset" For U.S. Strategy

There is a new public relation campaign pushed by Turkey to whitewash al-Qaeda in Syria. 'Western' journalists were invited to Idleb governorate through some Turkish agency to make some fan flicks about Hayat Tahrir al Sham, the al-Qaeda entity under Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, which rules in Idelb.

The U.S. Public Broadcasting Service sent a crew for the gig and scored an interview with Jolani himself:

In his first interview with an American journalist, Jolani told FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith that his role in fighting Assad and ISIS, and in controlling an area with millions of displaced Syrians who could potentially become refugees, reflected common interests with the United States and the West.

Jolani told Smith that his group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, posed no threat to the United States, and the government should remove him from its list of designated terrorists.

“First and foremost, this region does not represent a threat to the security of Europe and America,” Jolani told Smith. “This region is not a staging ground for executing foreign jihad.”

There is of course no reason to believe such nonsense:

Aaron Y. Zelin, whose research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy focuses on jihadi groups in North Africa and Syria, told Smith that it’s hard to know what Jolani’s intentions are “because he has been a chameleon.” Zelin said in an interview conducted March 8, “How can you necessarily trust somebody that’s just trying to survive and continue to remain in power, because that’s the only way he can?”

Still - PBS is whitewashing the guy. Just see this passage:

Since the start of the conflict in Syria a decade ago, the Assad regime’s forces and ISIS have conducted large-scale human rights abuses. The Assad regime’s actions, Jolani told Smith, fit the definition of terrorism because it was “killing innocent people, children, poor people, women.”

Human rights organizations have also documented violations by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, from indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas to arbitrary arrests.

"Arbitrary arrests" seems mild when compared to "large-scale human rights abuses". That is until you learn form recent news how Hayat Tahrir al Sham really rules:

Three women and one man were stoned to death in Idlib, northwestern Syria, on Monday, on the orders of Islamist militant group Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS).

According to sources close to HTS, who spoke to The New Arab’s Arabic language service Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, the individuals executed were charged with "adultery" and "attempted murder".

They were brutally executed in the city centre and the sentence was carried out by the security apparatuses, sources said.

But the U.S. government and its media never had trouble to ally with entities who commit such crimes. They are in fact often seen them as valuable tools. Former U.S. officials no problem with admitting that:

James Jeffrey, who served as a U.S. ambassador under both Republican and Democrat administrations and most recently as special representative for Syria engagement and special envoy to the global coalition to defeat ISIS during the Trump administration, told Smith that Jolani’s organization was “an asset” to America’s strategy in Idlib.

Is Jeffrey now in breach of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act?

The Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 (Pub.L. 97–200, 50 U.S.C. §§ 421–426) is a United States federal law that makes it a federal crime for those with access to classified information, or those who systematically seek to identify and expose covert agents and have reason to believe that it will harm the foreign intelligence activities of the U.S.

Probably not. The law protects only covered agents and it has long been obvious that Jolani and his group were working in U.S. interests.

Posted by b at 17:05 UTC | Comments (51)

April 02, 2021

The 'Russian Military Build-Up'

There is some concern about a 'Russian military buildup' near Ukraine.

But before we all panic we probably should take a look at previous similar headlines.

Since the 2014 U.S. led coup in the Ukraine the 'Russian military buildup' has happened during spring, summer, fall and winter each and every year.

It is not just near the Ukraine where a 'Russian military buildup' is happening. The same can be said about the Arctic.

It is also in Syria where a Russian military buildup happens and let's not forget the Far East.

In fact, there is a 'Russian military buildup' wherever one looks and at all times.

h/t Malinka

Posted by b at 7:18 UTC | Comments (184)

April 01, 2021

"America Is Back" Collides With A Multipolar Reality

The World Health Organization recently published its report on the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which has caused the Covid-19 pandemic. Most scientist agree that the virus is of zoonotic origin and not a human construct or an accidental  laboratory escape. But the U.S. wants to put pressure on China and advised the Director General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom, to keep the focus on China potential culpability. He acted accordingly when he remarked on his agency's report:

Although the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy.

The U.S. State Department fetched the pass and ran with it. It asked its allies to sign on to its Joint Statement on the WHO-Convened COVID-19 Origins Study which requests more unhindered access in China:

The Governments of Australia, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America remain steadfast in our commitment to working with the World Health Organization (WHO), international experts who have a vital mission, and the global community to understand the origins of this pandemic in order to improve our collective global health security and response. Together, we support a transparent and independent analysis and evaluation, free from interference and undue influence, of the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, we join in expressing shared concerns regarding the recent WHO-convened study in China, while at the same time reinforcing the importance of working together toward the development and use of a swift, effective, transparent, science-based, and independent process for international evaluations of such outbreaks of unknown origin in the future.

The most interesting with the above statement is the list of U.S. allied countries which declined to support it,

Most core EU countries, especially France, Spain, Italy and Germany, are missing from it. As is the Five-Eyes member New Zealand. India, a U.S. ally in the anti-Chinese Quad initiative, also did not sign. This list of signatories of the Joint Statement is an astonishingly meager result for a U.S. 'joint' initiative. It is unprecedented. It is a sign that something has cracked and that the world will never be the same.

The first months of he Biden administration saw a rupture in the global system. First Russia admonished the EU for its hypocritical criticism of internal Russian issues. Biden followed up by calling Putin a 'killer'. Then the Chinese foreign minister told the Biden administration to shut the fuck up about internal Chinese issues. Soon thereafter Russia's and China's foreign ministers met and agreed to deepen their alliance and to shun the U.S. dollar. Then China's foreign minister went on a wider Middle East tour. There he reminded U.S. allies of their sovereignty:

Cont. reading: "America Is Back" Collides With A Multipolar Reality

Posted by b at 17:52 UTC | Comments (198)

March 31, 2021

False Assertions, Misleading Quotes, Fake Sources - How The NYT Writes Anti-China Screeds

This, from yesterday's New York Times, is supposed to be a news piece:

An Alliance of Autocracies? China Wants to Lead a New World Order.

Written by Steven Lee Myers, the NYT's bureau chief in Beijing, the piece is full of false and unsupported assertions. It changes explicit Chinese statements in support of democracy and human rights into the opposite. It is also untruthful about the sources of its quotes:

China hopes to position itself as the main challenger to an international order, led by the United States, that is generally guided by principles of democracy, respect for human rights and adherence to rule of law.

Such a system “does not represent the will of the international community,” China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, told Russia’s, Sergey V. Lavrov, when they met in the southern Chinese city of Guilin.

In a joint statement, they accused the United States of bullying and interference and urged it to “reflect on the damage it has done to global peace and development in recent years.”

There is no evidence and no quote in the piece to support the assertion that the unilateral  "international order, led by the United States" is in fact "guided by principles of democracy, respect for human rights and adherence to rule of law." The wars the U.S. and its allies have waged and wage in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and other countries are, in fact, not in adherence to the rule of international law nor are they executed with respect for human rights or the principles of democracy.

The Wang Yi quote in the second paragraph is taken completely out of context. By placing it after his false assertions the author insinuates that Wang Yi rejected the "principles of democracy, respect for human rights and adherence to rule of law."

Wang Yi did not do that at all. He did in fact the opposite.

Here is the original quote from the report of Wang Yi's meeting with Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov:

Wang Yi said, the so-called "rules-based international order" by a few countries is not clear in its meaning, as it reflects the rules of a few countries and does not represent the will of the international community. We should uphold the universally recognized international law.

The there is the Joint Statement from the Lavrov-Wang Yi meeting which contradicts the New York Times insinuation:

The world has entered a period of high turbulence and rapid change. In this context, we call on the international community to put aside any differences and strengthen mutual understanding and build up cooperation in the interests of global security and geopolitical stability, to contribute to the establishment of a fairer, more democratic and rational multipolar world order.
  1. All human rights are universal, indivisible and interrelated. ...
  2. Democracy is one of the achievements of humanity. ...
  3. International law is an important condition for the further development of humanity. ...
  4. In promoting multilateral cooperation, the international community must adhere to principles such as openness and equality, and a non-ideological approach. ...

The Chinese Foreign Ministry report about the issuance of the above Four Point Statement quotes Wang Yi as saying:

Today, we will issue a joint statement on several issues of current global governance, expounding the essence of major concepts such as human rights, democracy, international order, and multilateralism, reflecting the collective demands of the international community, especially developing countries. We call on all countries to participate in and improve global governance in the spirit of openness, inclusiveness and equality, abandon zero-sum mentality and ideological prejudice, stop interfering in the internal affairs of any country, enhance the well-being of people of all countries through dialogue and cooperation, and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.

In no way has China rejected human rights, democracy or the rule of law. The New York Times author simply construed that.

The third NYT paragraph quoted above is likewise false. The Joint Statement did not urge the U.S. to “reflect on the damage it has done to global peace and development in recent years.” There is nothing in there that could be construed as such. The U.S. is not even mentioned in the Joint Statement.

The quote the NYT author uses is not from the official Joint Statement, as falsely claimed, but from a Chinese State TV's summarization of a press conference:

Both foreign ministers said that the international community believes that the United States should reflect on the damage it has done to global peace and development in recent years, stop unilateral bullying, stop interfering in other countries' internal affairs, and stop pulling "small circles" to engage in group confrontation.

Unsupported assertions about the motives of the "U.S. led" order, out of context quotes that turn the actual statements by the Chinese foreign minister into their opposite and missattribution of a news summary as a diplomatic statement is something that one would not expect from a news outlet but from a propaganda organ.

That is then, obviously, what the Times has become.

Posted by b at 16:40 UTC | Comments (103)

March 30, 2021

Somewhat Out Of The Mud

Thought of making another joke about the boat but that ship has now sailed.

Your host will, hopefully, be back by tomorrow.

Use as open thread ...


Posted by b at 12:59 UTC | Comments (256)

March 28, 2021

Still Stuck In Mud


Use as open thread ...

Posted by b at 6:56 UTC | Comments (316)

March 26, 2021

Taking A Few Days Off

Your host feels somewhat drained. Several posts I started to write over the last few days turned out to be rubbish and got trashed.

That is sure sign that I need a few days off. I'll leave an open thread on top and will check in once a day to release blocked comments. Aside from that I will be mostly offline.

See y all next week.


Use as open thread ...

Posted by b at 16:11 UTC | Comments (195)

March 25, 2021

Stuck In Mud

I am feeling a bit like the operator of that excavator. There is too much to do and too little motivating progress.


Those are 200,000 metric tons stuck in sand and gravel on both ends. Too much weight for the usual tugs to pull it off.


They will probably have to lighten the ship and dredge the sand at both end . That may well take several days or weeks.


These swimming walls are now too big. They are difficult to maneuver. With this height of the load the slightest gust of wind will move the ship in unintended ways. There was a sand storm in the area when this one got stuck. Unless a crew is extremely attentive and immediately uses the bow and rear thrusters any gust will push it off course. Add the bank effect which sucks the ship towards the canal walls and such an outcome is inevitable.

Brendan Greeley @bhgreeley - 12:40 UTC · Mar 25, 2021

Water moves differently around a boat in a tight canal than it does in the open ocean. When water gets squeezed between the hull and the sand, the water accelerates, and its pressure drops /2
When the hull gets too close to the bank, the pressure drop sucks the hull in to the bank. This is called the "bank effect." In shallow water, like in the Suez, the stern moves toward the bank, but the bow moves away. The boat spins. /3
The bigger the hull, the more water it displaces, the stronger the effect. The closer the hull is to the bank, the stronger the effect. So big, wide boat = strong bank effect. And container ships are getting HUGE. /4


Fifteen years ago I wrote about a record breaking ship I had photographed in Hamburg's harbor:

TEU Monsters

Cont. reading: Stuck In Mud

Posted by b at 17:03 UTC | Comments (189)

March 24, 2021

Open Thread 2021-024

News & views ...

Posted by b at 16:39 UTC | Comments (259)

March 23, 2021

Afghanistan - More Dead End Proposals Seek Time To Allow U.S. Face Saving Exit

The Doha agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban includes a promise by the Taliban to not attack U.S. troops or major cities. In exchange the U.S. promised to leave Afghanistan by May 1. The problem for the U.S. is that leaving Afghanistan will inevitable lead to a new Taliban regime, likely within a few months. It would make the U.S. look weak. That is something that Washington inherently dislikes.

In early March the Biden administration launched a new Afghanistan peace initiative. It proposed to create a new interim government with participation of the Taliban and under a new constitution. The idea is to uphold some picture of normalcy that can hold for a few months while the U.S. skips out. We said that the idea was unlikely to fly:

President Ghani is furious about Blinken's letter. Other interest groups in the Afghan government also reject it. They think it is a bluff. Unless the U.S. stops the money flow to Kabul and pulls out its troops there is no need for Ghani and other to proceed.

The Taliban will also reject the proposals. They want the U.S. to leave and they feel sure that, after that, they can win the civil war and reinstall their Islamic Emirate. Their backers in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are likewise convinced that there is no need to change course.

The new U.S. proposal is a dead end.

Today President Ashraf Ghani made a counterproposal which has a similar chance to be realized:

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will propose a new presidential election within six months, under a peace plan he will put forward as a counter-offer to a U.S. proposal that he rejects, two senior government officials told Reuters.

Ghani will unveil his proposal at an international gathering in Turkey next month, signalling his refusal to accept Washington's plan for his elected government to be replaced by an interim administration, the officials said.
"The counterproposal which we are going to present at the Istanbul meeting would be to call for early presidential elections if the Taliban agree on a ceasefire," one senior government official said on condition of anonymity.

Another Afghan government official said: "The president would never agree to step aside and any future government should be formed through democratic process, not a political deal."

A third senior official also said Ghani's proposal would include possible early elections, although he did not specify the exact time frame for the vote. The third official said Ghani had already shared his road map with Khalilzad.
...The Afghan officials said that as part of Ghani's counter-proposal, his government would ask the U.N. to closely observe the new election to ensure it is accepted by all sides.

There is no way that a credible election could happen in Afghanistan within the next few years. If the U.S. wants to get out of Afghanistan while leaving behind some functioning government its must move Ghani out of the way. As The U.S. holds the purse without which Ghani can't do anything that should not be too hard to do.

Meanwhile the Taliban have offered their own plan which would allow for the U.S. to have some time to save face:

Cont. reading: Afghanistan - More Dead End Proposals Seek Time To Allow U.S. Face Saving Exit

Posted by b at 18:18 UTC | Comments (93)

March 22, 2021

Syria - The War Is Resuming On Several Fronts

Ten years after it began, and after a short lull in fighting, the war on Syria seems now to resume on several fronts.


Last week Bloomberg published an op-ed by the Turkish President Erdogan in which he begged for 'western' help:

Now, as talk of democracy, freedom and human rights are in vogue anew, humanity’s actions in Syria will be the ultimate measure of our sincerity. I believe that restoring peace and stability in the region depends on genuine and strong Western support for Turkey.
Unfortunately, the moderate rebels, our local partners, have become the target of a coordinated smear campaign despite their hard work and sacrifice to defeat ISIS and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, another designated terrorist organization.

The safe zones, which Turkey created in cooperation with its local partners, are proof of our commitment to Syria’s future. These areas have become islands of peace and stability, as well as self-sustaining ecosystems.

Those 'islands of peace' in the Turkish occupied Idleb and along the Turkish border have seen lots infighting between the Al-Qaeda aligned Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS) and 'moderate rebels' of various Islamists hue. HTS has mostly won out and is ruling the area in cooperation with Turkish occupation troops. But to control the area costs lots of money and Turkey is currently short of it. Erdogan's recent firing of its central bank head led to another fall of the Turkish economy:

The dollar rose by as much as 15% vs the Turkish lira, and the BIST-100 stock-market index traded 10% lower after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to replace Governor Naci Agbal with Sahap Kavcioglu — the third change at the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) in two years.

Thus Erdogan is asking for more money while threatening to push more refugees towards Europe:

Cont. reading: Syria - The War Is Resuming On Several Fronts

Posted by b at 18:30 UTC | Comments (139)

March 21, 2021

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-023

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

> [W]e do express our concern at the UK’s decision to increase its nuclear weapons arsenal, which is contrary to its obligations under Article VI of the NPT. It could have a damaging impact on global stability and efforts to pursue a world free of nuclear weapons.

At a time when nuclear weapon risks are higher than they have been since the Cold War, investments in disarmament and arms control is the best way to strengthen the stability and reduce nuclear danger. <

> Suffice to say, President Joe Biden had given an impression that his era would be “different”. He held out a raft of promises that diplomacy is back at the centre of US foreign policy. By doing so, Biden won enormous credit with world capitals. Yet, before the Biden presidency reaches the 100-day mark, the new administration is busy weaponising sanctions and acting like a bully on the world stage. <

Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-023

Posted by b at 13:12 UTC | Comments (255)

March 19, 2021

U.S. Aggressiveness Follow Up

The 'western' media reporting of the spat between Biden and Putin is typically bad.

The Guardian @guardian - 18:15 UTC · Mar 18, 2021

'Takes one to know one': Putin-Biden spat escalates over 'killer' accusation

That was not what Putin had said:

Ivan Pentchoukov @IvanPentchoukov - 16:56 UTC · Mar 19, 2021

Can't believe how many outlets are running with the same totally false translation of what Putin said.

The idiom Putin used is much closer to "the names you call others is what you should be called."

The official Kremlin transcript agrees with Ivan's formulation:

[D]ifficult, dramatic, and bloody events abound in the history of every nation and every state. But when we evaluate other people, or even other states and nations, we are always facing a mirror, we always see ourselves in the reflection, because we project our inner selves onto the other person.

You know, I remember when we were children and played in the yard, we had arguments occasionally and we used to say: whatever you call me is what you are called yourself. This is no coincidence or just a kids’ saying or joke. It has a very deep psychological undercurrent. We always see ourselves in another person and think that he or she is just like us, and evaluate the other person’s actions based on our own outlook on life.

There is an additional passage of interest which sets out rules for future talks that I have not seen reported in 'western' media:

I know that the United States and its leaders are determined to maintain certain relations with us, but on matters that are of interest to the United States and on its terms. Even though they believe we are just like them, we are different. We have a different genetic, cultural and moral code. But we know how to uphold our interests. We will work with the United States, but in the areas that we are interested in and on terms that we believe are beneficial to us. They will have to reckon with it despite their attempts to stop our development, despite the sanctions and insults. They will have to reckon with this.

We, with our national interests in mind, will promote our relations with all countries, including the United States.

Secretary of State Blinken's meeting with the Chinese foreign minister in a shabby Alaskan hotel was another diplomatic train wreck:

Cont. reading: U.S. Aggressiveness Follow Up

Posted by b at 18:53 UTC | Comments (263)

March 18, 2021

U.S. Aggressiveness Will Accelerate Its Demise

The foreign policy of the current U.S. administration is exactly the same as the foreign policy of the previous one. In short: disastrous.

There are dozens of examples: The "maximum pressure' campaign against Iran continues, the sanctions on Venezuela will be upheld or even strengthened, the bombing of Syria, no change on Yemen and so on.

The problem is that none of these 'we are tough guys' policies achieves any purpose.

From the outside world the behavior and tough talk of U.S. officials is seen as juvenile. It demonstrates a  lack of knowledge, wisdom and strategy.

Consider these recent headlines about China:

> The United States will take an uncompromising stance in talks with China on Thursday in Alaska, officials have said, in the first face-to-face meetings between senior officials from the two rivals since U.S. President Joe Biden took office.

Beijing has called for a reset to ties, now at their lowest in decades, but Washington has said the Alaska talks will be a one-off, and any future engagement depends on China improving its behavior. <

Then, after days of badmouthing China, it finally dawned on Blinken that he needs China's help.

Why, after so many bad words towards it, would China help the U.S. with solving the North Korea problem? It has zero incentive to do so.

The same aggressive behavior can be seen with regards to Russia. Baseless accusations of Russian election interferences are followed with more sanctions and threats topped off with Biden calling Russia's President Putin a 'killer'. As the Canadian Russia expert Paul Robinson writes:

As for Biden’s comments, well what can one say? Didn’t he just order the bombing of Syria. Doesn’t that make him a ‘killer’ too? Politicians should avoid this sort of language. I suspect, though, that what this and the intelligence report mentioned above indicate is that Russiagate, with its allegations of Trump-Putin collusion to undermine American democracy, has done irreparable damage to US-Russia relations. One gets the impression that there is now a deep, deep hatred of Russia within the US government, a hatred that prevents any sane analysis of Russian intentions and actions, as well as of US national interests. I fear that this will last for quite a long time.

Andrei Martyanov adds:

Cont. reading: U.S. Aggressiveness Will Accelerate Its Demise

Posted by b at 18:48 UTC | Comments (163)

Open Thread 2021-022

News & views ...

Posted by b at 13:06 UTC | Comments (106)

March 17, 2021

The New Yellow Peril - Causes And Effects

The New York Times reports of a mass murdering of Asian people near Atlanta. Its front page summary says: "The motive for the killings was unclear."


However, the suspect, one Robert Aaron Long, does not leave much doubt about his motive.

via The Daily Mao - bigger

The guy thinks that China has covered up the source of the Covid virus and thus declared China to be "THE GREATEST EVIL OF OUR TIME".

One wonders how that "unclear motive" got planted into the dude's mind.

Cont. reading: The New Yellow Peril - Causes And Effects

Posted by b at 10:21 UTC | Comments (210)

March 16, 2021

Britain's Nuke Increase Is In Breach Of Its NPT Obligations

Less than a month ago the British government pleaded with Iran to 'come back into compliance' with the nuclear deal:

“I don’t think that we should be sending a signal that we are going to overlook this non-compliance or just brush it under the carpet,” James Cleverly, Britain’s junior foreign minister who covers the Middle East and North Africa, told the BBC.

“This is in Iran’s hands, they are the ones breaching the conditions of the JCPOA, they are the ones that can do something about this, and they should come back into compliance,” he said.

In fact it is the U.S. and its European proxies, including Britain, which are not in compliance with the JCPOA. Iran has exceeded some technical limits of the nuclear deal. But it is allowed to do so under §26 and §37 of the deal as the other parties are not in compliance with their duties under the deal.

It is also Britain which is now threatening to break another nuclear treaty:

Britain is lifting the cap on the number of Trident nuclear warheads it can stockpile by more than 40%, Boris Johnson will announce on Tuesday, ending 30 years of gradual disarmament since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The increased limit, from 180 to 260 warheads, is contained in a leaked copy of the integrated review of defence and foreign policy, seen by the Guardian. It paves the way for a controversial £10bn rearmament in response to perceived threats from Russia and China.

The UK has signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a nuclear weapon state. Britain, by increasing its stockpile of nuclear weapons, is now in breach of Article VI of the treaty:

Article VI

Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

In previous communication to other NPT states Britain has explicitly linked the number of nuclear warheads it has to its Article VI obligation. In a speech to the UN 2015 Review Conference of the NPT Baroness Anelay, Minister of State at the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, said:

Madam President, the United Kingdom remains firmly committed to step-by-step disarmament, and our obligations under Article Six. We announced in January that we have reduced the number of warheads on each of our deployed ballistic missile submarines from 48 to 40, and the number of operational missiles on each of those submarines to no more than eight.

This takes our total number of operationally available warheads to no more than 120. And this will enable us to reduce our overall nuclear warhead stockpile to not more than 180 by the mid 2020s.

The UK has argued to be in compliance with its Article VI obligations because it was reducing the number of nuclear warheads. It thus can not claim to be in compliance with the treaty when it increases that number.

The just published Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy which introduces the British policy change argues on page 76 that the higher numbers are necessary:

Cont. reading: Britain's Nuke Increase Is In Breach Of Its NPT Obligations

Posted by b at 14:11 UTC | Comments (61)

March 15, 2021

U.S. And Its Five Eye Partners Use 'Persuasion', Sabotage And Disinformation To Gain Vaccine Supremacy

The U.S. and some of its allies are engaged in efforts to malign the Russian Sputink V vaccine and to promote the more expensive mRNA vaccines produced by 'western' companies.

Back in November we warned that the vaccine competition would be ruthless:

The mRNA vaccines hyped in the U.S. media are simply too expensive to be used around the world. If we want to limit the global effects of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic we will have to use the cheaper vector based vaccines.

That the AstraZeneka vaccine was immediately attacked in U.S. media by an unqualified writer quoting an investment bank and the U.S. pharma promoting (Remdesivir!) Antony Fauci is quite suspicious. Pfizer and Moderna expect to make billions of dollars with their vaccines. They will use all possible ways and means to defeat any potential competition.

Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, recently noted how unfair competition practices are used to keep some vaccines away from nations who urgently need it:

Producers are struggling for the global vaccine market worth $100 billion, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

Some producers compete unfairly, sell a small batch of vaccines at a lower price on the condition to be an exclusive supplier, Putin said, speaking at a video meeting on measures to boost investment activity in Moscow.

"We see how competitors behave in the global vaccine market worth $100 billion. They come, sell a small batch of their vaccine at a discount, on the condition that everything else will be purchased only from this producer," he said.

To no one's astonishment the U.S. government is directly involved in manipulations of vaccine accessibility. As Brazil Wire found:

Cont. reading: U.S. And Its Five Eye Partners Use 'Persuasion', Sabotage And Disinformation To Gain Vaccine Supremacy

Posted by b at 12:16 UTC | Comments (245)