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8 countries America wants in an anti-Russian coalition

America wants to build a broad anti-Russian coalition between unrelated nations with unrelated internal and geo-political problems.

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What do Ukrainian neo-fascists, nationalist ultra-Catholic Polish parties, Baltic linguistic nationalists, Georgian kleptocrats, Albanian terrorists,  Serbian liberals and the neo-Ottoman regime in Turkey all have in common?

The answer is that each has been embraced and used by the United States in order to portray false unity in a geo-political movement against Russia.

Each of the political/nationalist factions I’ve listed have been paid visits by John McCain, the poster-boy of a US led anti-Russian coalition, one whose ideological or intellectual unity revolves entirely around whipping up hatred for the Russian state and in many cases also the Russian language, Russian culture and Russian Orthodox Church.

Some of the groups mentioned have few if any practical disputes with Russia, others yet have latent historical tensions with Russia that are exacerbated by US backed local politicians.

Let’s go through each of these examples:

1. Ukraine

Ukraine is an artificial state created by Lenin as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, a constituent republic in the Soviet Union. The borders which expanded to include territories of the Second Polish Republic after 1945 include regions that were historically Russian (east and south-east), Polish, Austrian and then Polish again (north west) as well as regions which were historically Hungarian, Romanian and more recently Czech (south west).

Rather than allowing regions which have very little in common apart from historical hatreds to peacefully part ways and in doing so correct an error of Soviet political geography, the US has been desirous to keep the state impossibly united.

Far from being well intentioned, the US wants an artificially united Ukraine to present itself as an anti-Russian bulwark in the borderland between Russia and the EU. This has been allowed to happen in spite of the neo-fascist ideology for the current, putsch government being almost exclusively representative of views originating from the former Austrian/Polish regions of modern Ukraine.

2. Poland 

Modern Poland shares a small border with the Russian region of Kaliningrad. Poland is an EU and NATO member and Russia has zero ambitions or practical desires to alter that.

Nevertheless, in 2014, the US encouraged Polish politicians from the then ruling Civic Platform party, to help foment regime change in Kiev. Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski was present in Kiev during the signing of an agreement between President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition parties and famously said that if parties didn’t support the agreement they’d all be dead. 

As it turns out, the flames of death fanned by the Polish Foreign Minister whose husband is the well-known American Russophobe Anne Applebaum, were in fact spread by the leaders of the opposition who the following day, forced Yanukovych out of power. He fled the country shortly thereafter.

The fact that today, many Poles find themselves at odds with a neo-fascist Ukrainian government that celebrates the massacre of Poles in the 1940s should not surprise anyone.

America played on historically tense Polish-Russian relations and the result is that anti-Polish Ukrainian nationalists are now in charge of a country that shares a larger border with Poland than Russia.

3 & 4. Estonia and Latvia

In spite of a sizeable native Russian minority. The Russian language is denied any official status in both Baltic countries. Even more worrying, local  officials in majority Russian towns are being openly persecuted for speaking Russian.

Almost nothing is said about this in the liberal mainstream media.

Furthermore, Latvia and Estonia hold annual parades honouring men who fought in Hitler’s SS during the 1940s. With western European politicians rushing to call almost any allegedly right-of-centre politician a ‘Nazi’, they continue to ignore the glorification of Nazism in the Baltic states.

The west ignores these flagrant acts of race-hatred because it doesn’t fit the narrative of countries being ‘oppressed’ by a Russia which wants nothing to do with them.

5. Georgia

Disgraced former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is best remembered as a man who tried to ethnically cleanse the Russian population of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. This led to a Russian intervention which saved the populations of South OSsetia and Abkhazia, much to the disappointment of the west who called Russia’s 5 day humanitarian intervention an act of aggression.

The rest of Georgia got increasingly tired of Saakashvili’s antics and he eventually fled the country in the light of numerous accusations of fraud.

He was later given Ukrainian Citizenship and made the Kiev regime’s puppet governor of the historic Russian region of Odessa between May 2015 and November 2016. His short term in office ended in disgrace.

It is unclear which anti-Russian regime may give him a position next.

In spite of this, many in the US are still hoping to bring Georgia into NATO.

6. Serbia 

Days after Montenegro’s NATO membership was approved by Donald Trump, John McCain flew to Serbia to meet with Serbian President-elect Aleksandar Vucic. McCain is trying his best to pull Vucic towards NATO and the EU, a move which is contrary to the desires of many Serbs who feel little historical affinity to the Berlin dominated bloc but instead favour historically close relations with Russia.

America has been trying to break Serbia’s good relations with Russia through a combination of wooing liberal Serbian politicians whilst simultaneously calling for the partition of Serbian territory, the Serbian province of Kosovo in particular.

7. Albania 

If wooing Serbian liberals is America’s carrot, Albanian terrorism is the stick. For much of the 1990s, the ethnic Albanian terrorist group KLA was named as such by the United States. In 1998 however, the US State Department worked to rehabilitate the image of the KLA from terrorists to freedom fighters.

In 1999 NATO illegally attacked the Yugoslav Republics of Serbia and Montenegro and continues to help radicalised Albanians to occupy the Serbian province of Kosovo.

Not stopping there, a London drafted document called the Tirana Platform calls for the creation of a ‘Greater Albania’ which would see the current Albanian state expand into the territory of Serbia, Montenegro and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. This has delighted ultra-nationalist Albanian politicians who increasingly make up the majority of Albania’s ruling elite.

In other words, if Serbia can’t be bought, Serbia must be chipped away and radical Albanians are the preferred method by which to do this.

Although, Albania has had few meaningful relations of anon kind with Russia since the 1960s. Albania is seen as a state which is ready and willing to help America weaken both actual and supposed Russian allies in the  Balkans.

8. Turkey 

Turkey is the most prominent and powerful nation on a list. Long before the United States was a country, the Ottoman and Russian empires fought territorial wars for centuries.

Although Barack Obama was said not to have good personal relations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey became increasingly useful in America’s attempt to form an anti-Syrian and by extrapolation anti-Russian and anti-Iranian coalition in Syria.

Now that Donald Trump has decided to attack Syria, Erdogan, like John McCain is calling for more and pledging support.

Because of the Turish economy’s dependence on Russia and because Russia and Turkey share a common Eurasian region, Russia would ultimately be a far better partner for Turkey than the distant US. This is true in spite of centuries of hatred prior to the 1920s when Lenin and the founder of the modern Turkish Republic Kemal Ataturk developed good relations.

But so long as the US appears to back Erdogan’s ambitions in Turkey, Erdogan will try as much as he can to have it both ways and call himself a ‘friend’ of Russia while actively undermining Russian interests in Syria. Russia has expressed anger about this to Erdogan and there are signs Erdogan may be climbing down.

Each country mentioned above has internal issues that are not directly or even indirectly related to Russia. Nevertheless, the US has latched onto these problems in order to paint these very different places as part of an anti-Russian bloc to be reckoned with.

This is an approach which aims at exploiting local and regional issues into a wider Cold War 2.0. Thus far, Russia has not taken the bait. Russia prefers to take each issue on a case-by-case basis rather than pretend that there is a monolith of Russian opposition when in fact, such dots are only connected in the mind of the US.

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Russian Il-20 downed by Syrian missile. Russia blames Israel. Israel blames Syria (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 110.

Alex Christoforou

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The unthinkable has happened in Syria.

The world now teeters on the brink of all out war in Syria as a Russian Il-20 was downed by Syrian missile after Israeli F-16s used it as cover during attack, according to statements made by the Russian Ministry of Defense.

President Vladimir Putin, answering a reporter’s question during a press conference with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, said the downing of the Russian Il-20 plane looks like “a chain of tragic circumstances.” 

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the tripwire triggered that has the potential to tip the fragile balance in Syria towards conflict between Russia, Iran and Israel.

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The Russian military says an Israeli raid on Syria triggered a chain of events that led to its Il-20 plane being shot down by a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile. Moscow reserves the right to respond accordingly.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said…

“Israel did not warn the command of the Russian troops in Syria about the planned operation. We received a notification via a hotline less than a minute before the strike, which did not allow the Russian aircraft to be directed to a safe zone.”

The statement by the Russian Defense Ministry said that four Israeli F-16 fighter jets attacked targets in Syria’s Latakia after approaching from the Mediterranean.

The Israeli warplanes approached at a low altitude and “created a dangerous situation for other aircraft and vessels in the region.”

The statement further said that 15 Russian military service members have died as a result…

“The Israeli pilots used the Russian plane as cover and set it up to be targeted by the Syrian air defense forces. As a consequence, the Il-20, which has radar cross-section much larger than the F-16, was shot down by an S-200 system missile.”

According to reports from RT, the Russian military said that the French Navy’s frigate ‘Auvergne,’ as well as a Russian Il-20 plane were in the area during the Israeli operation.

Map of the incident on September 17 in Syria provided by the Russian defense ministry.

The Russian ministry said the Israelis must have known that the Russian plane was present in the area, but this did not stop them from executing “the provocation.” Israel also failed to warn Russia about the planned operation in advance. The warning came just a minute before the attack started, which “did not leave time to move the Russian plane to a safe area,”the statement said.

The statement gives a larger death toll than earlier reports by the Russian military, which said there were 14 crew members on board the missing Il-20. It said a search and rescue operation for the shot-down plane is underway.

A later update said debris from the downed plane was found some 27km off the Latakia coast. The search party collected some body parts, personal possessions of the crew, and fragments of the plane.

Meanwhile Israel has come out to blame the Syrian government for the downing of the military plane, according to an IDF statement.

Israel said that it “expresses sorrow for the death of the aircrew members” of the Russian plane. However, it stated that the government of Bashar Assad “whose military shot down the Russian plane,” is “fully responsible” for the incident.

Israel further blamed Iran and Hezbollah for the incident.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) explained that its jets were targeting a Syrian facility “from which systems to manufacture accurate and lethal weapons were about to be transferred on behalf of Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”

Israel claimed that the weapons were “meant to attack Israel.”

Via RT

The IDF assumed that the Syrian anti-air batteries “fired indiscriminately” and didn’t “bother to ensure that no Russian planes were in the air.” The Israelis said that when the Syrian military launched the missiles which hit the Russian plane, its own jets were already within Israeli airspace. “During the strike against the target in Latakia, the Russian plane that was then hit was not within the area of the operation.”

According to the Israeli military, both IDF and Russia have “a deconfliction system,” which was agreed upon by the leadership of both states, and “has proven itself many times over recent years.” The system was in use when the incident happened, the IDF stated. The IDF promised to share “all the relevant information” with Russia “to review the incident and to confirm the facts in this inquiry.”

The military presented a four-point initial inquiry into events in Latakia. It insisted that “extensive and inaccurate” Syrian anti-aircraft fire caused the Russian jet “to be hit and downed.”

The Russian Il-20 aircraft, with 15 crew on board, went off radar during an attack by four Israeli jets on Syria’s Latakia province late Monday. Later on Tuesday the Russian Defense Ministry said that an Israeli raid on Syria triggered a chain of events that led to its plane being shot down by a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile.

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Trump Orders Immediate Release Of All Text Messages, Carter Page FISA Application From Russia Investigation

Trump has ordered the DOJ to release all text messages related to the Russia investigation with no redactions.

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Via Zerohedge

President Trump has ordered the Department of Justice to release all text messages related to the Russia investigation with no redactions, of former FBI Director James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, now-fired special agent Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page and twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr.

Also released will be specific pages from the FBI’s FISA surveillance warrant application on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, as well as interviews with Ohr.

The statement reads in full:

“At the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency, the President has directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to provide for the immediate declassification of the following materials: (1) pages 10-12 and 17-34 of the June 2017 application to the FISA court in the matter of Carter W. Page; (2) all FBI reports of interviews with Bruce G. Ohr prepared in connection with the Russia investigation; and (3) all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications.

In addition, President Donald J. Trump has directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr

***

As we reported last Monday, Trump had been expected to release the documents any time – with specific attention to the Page documents and the “investigative activities of Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr” – who was demoted twice for lying about his extensive relationship  with Christopher Steele – the former MI6 spy who assembled the sham “Steele Dossier” used by the FBI in a FISA surveillance application to spy on Page.

Republicans on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees believe the declassification will permanently taint the Trump-Russia investigation by showing the investigation was illegitimate to begin with. Trump has been hammering the same theme for months.

  • They allege that Bruce Ohr played an improper intermediary role between the Justice Department, British spy Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS — the opposition research firm that produced the Trump-Russia dossier, funded by Democrats. (Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS on Russia-related matters during the presidential election — a fact that Ohr did not disclose on federal forms.)
  • And they further allege that the Obama administration improperly spied on Carter Page — all to take down Trump. –Axios

Ohr, meanwhile, met with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska in 2015 to discuss helping the FBI with organized crime investigations, according to The Hill‘s John Solomon. The meeting with the Putin ally was facilitated by Steele.

Last month Trump called Ohr a disgrace, while also tweeting: “Will Bruce Ohr, whose family received big money for helping to create the phony, dirty and discredited Dossier, ever be fired from the Jeff Sessions  “Justice” Department? A total joke!”

Trump’s threat came one day after two tweets about Ohr, noting a connection to former FBI agent Peter Strzok, as well as a text sent by Ohr after former FBI Director James Comey was fired in which Ohr says “afraid they will be exposed.”

According to emails turned over to Congressional investigators in August, Christopher Steele was much closer to Bruce Ohr and his wife Nellie than previously disclosed.

Steele and the Ohrs would have breakfast together on July 30, 2016 at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington D.C., days after Steele turned in installments of his infamous “dossier” on July 19 and 26. The breakfast also occurred one day before the FBI formally launched operation “Crossfire Hurricane,” the agency’s counterintelligence operation into the Trump campaign.

“Great to see you and Nellie this morning Bruce,” Steele wrote shortly following their breakfast meeting. “Let’s keep in touch on the substantive issues/s (sic). Glenn is happy to speak to you on this if it would help.”

“After two years of investigations and accusations from both sides of the aisle about what documents indicate, it is past time for documents to be declassified and let the American people decide for themselves if DoJ and FBI acted properly,” Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows told Axios earlier Sunday.

In early August, journalist Paul Sperry tweeted that Trump may use his presidential authority to declassify “20 redacted pages of a June, 2017 FISA renewal, “and possibly” 63 pages of emails and notes between “Ohr & Steele,” and FD-302 summaries of 12 interviews.”

President Trump threatened to declassify documents two weeks ago – one day after the New York Times allegedly published an anonymous Op-Ed claiming to be from a White House official claiming to be part of an unelected “resistance” cabal within the Trump administration.

“The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy – & they don’t know what to do,” Trump tweeted earlier this month, adding: “The Economy is booming like never before, Jobs are at Historic Highs, soon TWO Supreme Court Justices & maybe Declassification to find Additional Corruption. Wow!”

Trump’s threat comes as calls by frustrated GOP legislators to release the documents have hit a fevered pitch. Spearheading the effort are Republican Reps. Meadows, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz and Lee Zeldin – who have repeatedly asked Trump to declassify more of the heavily redacted FISA surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page in late 2016.

In June, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee asked President Trump to declassify key sections of Carter Page’s FISA warrant application, according to a letter obtained by Fox News.

Carter Page, the DOJ/FBI’s person of interest, weighed in on the matter in late August, tweeting: “The Corrupt DOJ, co-conspirators in the DNC and their high-priced consultants correctly believed they had American democracy and the FISA Court over a barrel in 2016.”

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De-Dollarization Tops Agenda at Russia’s Eastern Economic Forum

The Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) was held in Vladivostok on Sept.11-13. Founded in 2015, the event has become a platform for planning and launching projects to strengthen business ties in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Via Strategic Culture

This year, the EEF brought together delegations from over 60 countries to discuss the topic “The Far East: Expanding the Range of Possibilities”. A total of 100 business events involving over 6,000 participants were held during the three days.

1,357 media personnel worked to cover the forum. Last year, the number of participants was 5,000 with 1,000 media persons involved in reporting and broadcasting. The EEF-18 gathered 340 foreign and 383 Russian CEOs. Nearly 80 start-ups from across South-East Asia joined the meeting.

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This year, a total of 175 agreements worth of 2.9 trillion rubles (some $4.3 billion) were signed. For comparison, the sum was 2.5 trillion rubles (roughly $3.7 billion) in 2017.

They included the development of the Baimsky ore deposits in Chukotka, the construction of a terminal for Novatek LNG at Bechevinskaya Bay in Kamchatka and the investment of Asian countries in Russia’s agricultural projects in the Far East.

Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Mail.Ru Group, Megafon and Chinese Alibaba inked an agreement on establishing AliExpress trade joint venture. Rosneft and Chinese CNPC signed an oil exploration agreement.

The Chinese delegation was the largest (1,096 people), followed by the Japanese (570 members). The list of guests included the president of Mongolia and prime ministers of Japan and South Korea.

It was also the first time Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the event to meet his Russian counterpart. The issue of de-dollarization topped the agenda. Russia and China reaffirmed their interest in expanding the use of national currencies in bilateral deals.

During the forum, Kirill Dmitriev, the head of RDIF, said the fund intends to use only national currencies in its transactions with China starting from 2019. It will cooperate with the China Development Bank.

This “yuanification” is making visible progress with Shanghai crude futures increasing their share of oil markets up to 14 percent or even more. China has signed agreements with Canada and Qatar on national currencies exchange.

READ MORE: Eastern Economic Forum opens new chapter in US-Russia dialogue

De-dollarization is a trend that is picking up momentum across the world. A growing number of countries are interested in replacing the dollar. Russia is leading the race to protect itself from fluctuations, storms and US-waged trade wars and sanctions.

Moscow backs non-dollar trade with Ankara amid the ongoing lira crisis. Turkey is switching from the dollar to settlements in national currencies, including its trade with China and other countries. Ditching the US dollar is the issue topping the BRICS agenda. In April, Iran transferred all international payments to the euro.

The voices calling for de-dollarization are getting louder among America’s closest European allies. In August, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for the creation of a new payments system independent of the US.

According to him, Europe should not allow the United States to act “over our heads and at our expense.” The official wants to strengthen European autonomy by establishing independent payment channels, creating a European Monetary Fund and building up an independent SWIFT system.

Presenting his annual program, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called on Sept. 12 for the European Union to promote the euro as a global currency to challenge the dollar.

According to him, “We must do more to allow our single currency to play its full role on the international scene.” Mr. Juncker believes “it is absurd that Europe pays for 80 percent of its energy import bill – worth 300 billion euros a year – in US dollars when only roughly 2 percent of our energy imports come from the United States.” He wants the raft of proposals made in his state of the union address to start being implemented before the European Parliament elections in May.

70% of all world trade transactions account for the dollar, while 20% are  settled in the euro, and the rest falls on the yuan and other Asian currencies. The dollar value is high to make the prices of consumer goods in the US artificially low. The demand for dollars allows refinancing the huge debt at low interest rates. The US policy of trade wars and sanctions has triggered the global process of de-dollarization.

Using punitive measures as a foreign policy tool is like shooting oneself in the foot. It prompts a backlash to undermine the dollar’s status as the world reserve currency – the basis of the US economic might. The aggressive policy undermines the US world standing to make it weaker, not stronger.

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