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‘Action vs. reaction,’ Russia responding to threats from the West, says Dr. Marcus Papadopoulos (VIDEO)

On Tuesday 25th October, 2016, at the House of Lords, the second chamber of the UK Parliament in London, Dr. Marcus Papadopoulos gave a speech on the origins of the current tension between America and Russia.

Dr. Marcus Papadopoulos

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Dr. Marcus Papadopoulos is the editor of Politics First (a non-partisan publication for the UK’s Houses of Parliament – a magazine written by politicians for politicians) and an expert on Russia.

In attendance were politicians, journalists, academics, priests and peace activists. The speech was overwhelmingly applauded and credited for having given an informative, accurate and well corroborated assessment of why the world today is witness to a serious standoff between America and Russia.

Below is a video and transcription of the speech:

Dr. Marcus Papadopoulos:

“Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen and can I first of all say thank you to Uniting for Peace for having organised and for having invited me to speak at this event – an event whose subject matter cannot be emphasised enough as it is of paramount importance to every single person in this world today. Indeed, the deterioration in relations between the United States and Russia is, in my estimation, the most dangerous reality facing the world at this moment in time. However, that deterioration is not a surprise – at least not a surprise for any objective and enlightened individual with empathy.

Now, the hook of my talk is “action, reaction”. Action on behalf of the West, reaction on behalf of Russia. When a country is sidelined, has its views and concerns discarded, has its national security threatened, and observes its allies in the world being undermined and/or militarily attacked, sooner or later that country is going to respond.

Indeed, that is human nature. The alarming degree of tension between the US and Russia is due to Moscow having had its face slapped over and over again by Washington since the 1990s. And the Russians are now responding. So in order to try and defuse the current standoff between the US and Russia, it is essential to learn about the Russian mindset and what has happened since the end of the Cold War.

The concept of national security resonates in a profoundly different way with a Russian as it does with an American or a Briton. Over a period of approximately 300 years, Russia was invaded by foreign armies on five occasions – and all five invasions came through Russian’s western borders. In 1605, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth invaded; in 1708, Sweden invaded; in 1812, France invaded; in 1918, Imperial Germany invaded; and in 1941, Nazi Germany invaded.

Those invasions – and in particular the Nazi one, which involved a racial war of extermination against the Soviet Union, resulting in the deaths of 27 million Soviet people – has had a profound, a manifestly huge effect on the Russian mindset, making Russians extremely sensitive and alert to any potential threat to their homeland.

If more people at the Houses of Parliament and in British mainstream media were aware of the unprecedented horrors which Russia endured and eventually prevailed over during the Great Patriotic War, which is the Russian name for the Second World War, then there might be more understanding shown to what the Kremlin is saying today about its security concerns in Europe and the wider world.

If we turn to the year 1992, we see that Russia, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, was in meltdown – politically, economically and militarily. The fabric of Russian society was torn to shreds. Russia had gone, overnight, from being a superpower to a country barely able to stand on its own two feet. For the US, which is the leader of the western world and of NATO, the Russian decline provided a golden opportunity to achieve American global hegemony.

The Pentagon’s Defence Planning Guidance of 1992, more commonly known as the Wolfowitz Doctrine, after its co-author Paul Wolfowitz, argued that: “Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union…We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.” On Russia, the document stated that: “Despite its current travails, Russia will remain the strongest military power in Eurasia and the only power in the world with the capability of destroying the United States.”

And so, to prevent “the re-emergence of a new rival”, and in light of the Russian nuclear arsenal, the US began advancing NATO eastwards, in 1999 and 2004, taking the alliance to Russia’s doorstep. That is something, which even the former Secretary of State James Baker acknowledged, was told to Mikhail Gorbachev, in 1990, by George H Bush, would not occur. American and British politicians rarely, if at all, consider how they would respond if a Russian-led military alliance was on their borders; for example, in Mexico, Canada or France.

Now, some of you in this room might be thinking: Yes but NATO is a defensive organisation. Well, in 1994 and 1995, NATO attacked the Bosnian Serbs, Russia’s allies; in 1999, NATO bombed Serbia, a historic Russian ally; in 2003, NATO spearheaded the invasion of Iraq, who Russia had close relations with; in 2011, NATO intervened in Libya, which was Russia’s eyes and ears in North Africa; and from 2011 to the present, the US, UK and France – all NATO members, of course – are attempting to overthrow the Syrian Government, which is Russia’s eyes and ears in the Middle East. In short, Moscow, rightly so, views NATO as an aggressive organisation – and one that is used by Washington to prevent a rival power from challenging its global dominance.

We then have two events which are inter-connected and have resulted in the Russian strategic nuclear deterrent being threatened. In late 2001, the US withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, a cornerstone agreement for reducing tension between the US and Russia. The American withdrawal led to the formation by Washington of the Missile Defence Agency, which this year activated a missile defence shield in Eastern Europe which is aimed at Russia. How would the US react to a Russian missile defence system in, say, Mexico or Canada? We all know how the Americans responded to the deployment of Soviet ICBMs to Cuba.

Another dimension to the cordon sanitaire being established by the US on Russia’s wester borders is the training of, and supporting of, pro-Western groups in former Soviet republics, in order to bring forth pro-Western governments in these places. Georgia and especially Ukraine are two major examples of that. In the case of the latter, many of the Maidan activists in Kiev were trained by the Americans in combat, and this training took place in western Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania.

While I have already referred to the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya and Syria, it is necessary to emphasise that these countries are all of geo-strategic importance, they have all been subjected to NATO intervention, and they all had/have close relations with the Russian Federation. From the Kremlin’s point of view, one after another of its allies have been targeted by the US, which the Americans are doing in order to weaken Russia abroad which will then help to weaken Russia at home.

However, in recent years, Russia has regained a lot of its lost superpower status and has begun to respond to the American threat. Action, reaction. And yes – let me make something very clear: Russia has a right to national security…something that many Western politicians and journalists seem to think that Russia is not entitled to. Russia has a right to be heard on the international stage, to not be encircled, to not have a missile defence shield on its borders and to not have its allies in the world targeted.

So the US’ action has been to try and encircle and weaken Russia, and Russia’s reaction has been to increase its defence spending, modernise its nuclear arsenal, carry out large-scale military manoeuvres, and fight for the survival of its allies in the world. Action, reaction.

Now, we hear the American and British governments say that Russia is responsible for the tension. Well, as I have demonstrated, the roots of that tension go back to the 1990s, when the Americans began taking steps to keep Russia down in the world and the US up in the world. Did the Americans believe that Russia would countenance their country being encircled and weakened? How on earth were the Russians supposed to respond? Empathy was, and remains, absent in many American and British politicians.

In concluding, action, reaction, explains why Europe finds itself at the heart of a renewed and dangerous standoff between America and Russia: aggressive and selfish actions by America, and defensive reactions by Russia. If the current confrontation between the two superpowers is to be reduced, then Washington and its allies need to examine the policies they have been pursuing in relation to Russia since the 1990s, and ask themselves how they would respond if roles were reversed.

Action, reaction is innate in all human beings. And unless the West starts to listen to and understand Russia’s perspective, then action, reaction will continue and could very well lead to a situation in which the future of the world is teetering on the edge of the abyss.

Thank you very much.”

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European Court of Justice rules Britain free to revoke Brexit unilaterally

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that Britain can reverse Article 50.

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The UK is free to unilaterally revoke a notification to depart from the EU, the European Court has ruled. The judicial body said this could be done without changing the terms of London’s membership in the bloc.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) opined in a document issued on Monday that Britain can reverse Article 50, which stipulates the way a member state leaves the bloc. The potentially important ruling comes only one day before the House of Commons votes on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the EU.

“When a Member State has notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the European Union, as the UK has done, that Member State is free to revoke unilaterally that notification,” the court’s decision reads.

By doing so, the respective state “reflects a sovereign decision to retain its status as a Member State of the European Union.”

That said, this possibility remains in place “as long as a withdrawal agreement concluded between the EU and that Member State has not entered into force.” Another condition is: “If no such agreement has been concluded, for as long as the two-year period from the date of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU.”

The case was opened when a cross-party group of British politicians asked the court whether an EU member such as the UK can decide on its own to revoke the withdrawal process. It included Labour MEPs Catherine Stihler and David Martin, Scottish MPs Joanna Cherry Alyn Smith, along with Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer.

They argued that unilateral revocation is possible and believe it could provide an opening to an alternative to Brexit, namely holding another popular vote to allow the UK to remain in the EU.

“If the UK chooses to change their minds on Brexit, then revoking Article 50 is an option and the European side should make every effort to welcome the UK back with open arms,” Smith, the SNP member, was quoted by Reuters.

However, May’s environment minister, Michael Gove, a staunch Brexit supporter, denounced the ECJ ruling, insisting the cabinet will not reverse its decision to leave. “We will leave on March 29, [2019]” he said, referring to the date set out in the UK-EU Brexit deal.

In the wake of the landmark vote on the Brexit deal, a group of senior ministers threatened to step down en masse if May does not try to negotiate a better deal in Brussels, according to the Telegraph. The ministers demanded that an alternative deal does not leave the UK trapped within the EU customs union indefinitely.

On Sunday, Will Quince resigned as parliamentary private secretary in the Ministry of Defense, saying in a Telegraph editorial that “I do not want to be explaining to my constituents why Brexit is still not over and we are still obeying EU rules in the early 2020s or beyond.”

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Seven Days of Failures for the American Empire

The American-led world system is experiencing setbacks at every turn.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


On November 25, two artillery boats of the Gyurza-M class, the Berdiansk and Nikopol, one tugboat, the Yany Kapu, as well as 24 crew members of the Ukrainian Navy, including two SBU counterintelligence officers, were detained by Russian border forces. In the incident, the Russian Federation employed Sobol-class patrol boats Izumrud and Don, as  well as two Ka-52, two Su-25 and one Su-30 aircraft.

Ukraine’s provocation follows the advice of several American think-tanks like the Atlantic Council, which have been calling for NATO involvement in the Sea of Azov for months. The area is strategically important for Moscow, which views its southern borders, above all the Sea of Azov, as a potential flash point for conflict due to the Kiev’s NATO-backed provocations.

To deter such adventurism, Moscow has deployed to the Kerch Strait and the surrounding coastal area S-400 batteries, modernized S-300s, anti-ship Bal missile systems, as well as numerous electronic-warfare systems, not to mention the Russian assets and personnel arrayed in the military districts abutting Ukraine. Such provocations, egged on by NATO and American policy makers, are meant to provide a pretext for further sanctions against Moscow and further sabotage Russia’s relations with European countries like Germany, France and Italy, as well as, quite naturally, to frustrate any personal interaction between Trump and Putin.

This last objective seems to have been achieved, with the planned meeting between Trump and Putin at the G20 in Buenos Aires being cancelled. As to the the other objectives, they seem to have failed miserably, with Berlin, Paris and Rome showing no intention of imposing additional sanctions against Russia, recognizing the Ukrainian provocation fow what it is. The intention to further isolate Moscow by the neocons, neoliberals and most of the Anglo-Saxon establishment seems to have failed, demonstrated in Buenos Aires with the meeting between the BRICS countries on the sidelines and the bilateral meetings between Putin and Merkel.

On November 30, following almost two-and-a-half months of silence, the Israeli air force bombed Syria with three waves of cruise missiles. The first and second waves were repulsed over southern Syria, and the third, composed of surface-to-surface missiles, were also downed. At the same time, a loud explosion was heard in al-Kiswah, resulting in the blackout of Israeli positions in the area.

The Israeli attack was fully repulsed, with possibly two IDF drones being downed as well. This effectiveness of Syria’s air defenses corresponds with Russia’s integration of Syria’s air defenses with its own systems, manifestly improving the Syrians’ kill ratios even without employing the new S-300 systems delivered to Damascus, let alone Russia’s own S-400s. The Pantsirs and S-200s are enough for the moment, confirming my hypothesis more than two months ago that the modernized S-300 in the hands of the Syrian army is a potentially lethal weapon even for the F-35, forbidding the Israelis from employing their F-35s.

With the failed Israeli attack testifying to effectiveness of Russian air-defense measures recently deployed to the country, even the United States is finding it difficult to operate in the country. As the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War confirms:

“Russia has finished an advanced anti-access/area denial (A2AD) network in Syria that combines its own air defense and electronic warfare systems with modernized equipment. Russia can use these capabilities to mount the long-term strategic challenge of the US and NATO in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East, significantly widen the geographic reach of Russia’s air defense network. Russia stands to gain a long-term strategic advantage over NATO through its new capabilities in Syria. The US and NATO must now account for the risk of a dangerous escalation in the Middle East amidst any confrontation with Russia in Eastern Europe.”

The final blow in a decidedly negative week for Washington’s ambitions came in Buenos Aires during the G20, where Xi Jinping was clearly the most awaited guest, bringing in his wake investments and opportunities for cooperation and mutual benefit, as opposed to Washington’s sanctions and tariffs for its own benefit to the detriment of others. The key event of the summit was the dinner between Xi Jinping and Donald Trump that signalled Washington’s defeat in the trade war with Beijing. Donald Trump fired the first shot of the economic war, only to succumb just 12 months later with GM closing five plants and leaving 14,000 unemployed at home as Trump tweeted about his economic achievements.

Trump was forced to suspend any new tariffs for a period of ninety days, with his Chinese counterpart intent on demonstrating how an economic war between the two greatest commercial powers had always been a pointless propagandistic exercise. Trump’s backtracking highlights Washington’s vulnerability to de-dollarization, the Achilles’ heel of US hegemony.

The American-led world system is experiencing setbacks at every turn. The struggle between the Western elites seems to be reaching a boil, with Frau Merkel ever more isolated and seeing her 14-year political dominance as chancellor petering out. Macron seems to be vying for the honor of being the most unpopular French leader in history, provoking violent protests that have lasted now for weeks, involving every sector of the population. Macron will probably be able to survive this political storm, but his political future looks dire.

The neocons/neoliberals have played one of the last cards available to them using the Ukrainian provocation, with Kiev only useful as the West’s cannon fodder against Russia. In Syria, with the conflict coming to a close and Turkey only able to look on even as it maintains a strong foothold in Idlib, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States are similarly unable to affect the course of the conflict. The latest Israeli aggression proved to be a humiliation for Tel Aviv and may have signalled a clear, possibly definitive warning from Moscow, Tehran and Damascus to all the forces in the region. The message seems to be that there is no longer any possibility of changing the course of the conflict in Syria, and every provocation from here on will be decisively slapped down. Idlib is going to be liberated and America’s illegal presence in the north of Syria will have to be dealt with at the right time.

Ukraine’s provocation has only strengthened Russia’s military footprint in Crimea and reinforced Russia’s sovereign control over the region. Israel’s recent failure in Syria only highlights how the various interventions of the US, the UK, France and Turkey over the years have only obliged the imposition of an almost unparalleled A2AD space that severely limits the range of options available to Damascus’s opponents.

The G20 also served to confirm Washington’s economic diminution commensurate with its military one in the face of an encroaching multipolar environment. The constant attempts to delegitimize the Trump administration by America’s elites, also declared an enemy by the European establishment, creates a picture of confusion in the West that benefits capitals like New Delhi, Moscow, Beijing and Tehran who offer instead stability, cooperation and dialogue.

As stated in previous articles, the confusion reigning amongst the Western elites only accelerates the transition to a multipolar world, progressively eroding the military and economic power of the US.

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Is Silicon Valley Morphing Into The Morality Police?

Who gets to define what words and phrases protected under the First Amendment constitute hate — a catchall word that is often ascribed to any offensive speech someone simply doesn’t like?

The Duran

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Authored by Adrian Cohen via Creators.com:


Silicon Valley used to be technology companies. But it has become the “morality police,” controlling free speech on its platforms.

What could go wrong?

In a speech Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said:

“Hate tries to make its headquarters in the digital world. At Apple, we believe that technology needs to have a clear point of view on this challenge. There is no time to get tied up in knots. That’s why we only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division and violence: You have no place on our platforms.”

Here’s the goliath problem:

Who gets to define what words and phrases protected under the First Amendment constitute hate — a catchall word that is often ascribed to any offensive speech someone simply doesn’t like?

Will Christians who don’t support abortion rights or having their tax dollars go toward Planned Parenthood be considered purveyors of hate for denying women the right to choose? Will millions of Americans who support legal immigration, as opposed to illegal immigration, be labeled xenophobes or racists and be banned from the digital world?

Yes and yes. How do we know? It’s already happening, as scores of conservatives nationwide are being shadow banned and/or censored on social media, YouTube, Google and beyond.

Their crime?

Running afoul of leftist Silicon Valley executives who demand conformity of thought and simply won’t tolerate any viewpoint that strays from their rigid political orthodoxy.

For context, consider that in oppressive Islamist regimes throughout the Middle East, the “morality police” take it upon themselves to judge women’s appearance, and if a woman doesn’t conform with their mandatory and highly restrictive dress code — e.g., wearing an identity-cloaking burqa — she could be publicly shamed, arrested or even stoned in the town square.

In modern-day America, powerful technology companies are actively taking the role of the de facto morality police — not when it comes to dress but when it comes to speech — affecting millions. Yes, to date, those affected are not getting stoned, but they are being blocked in the digital town square, where billions around the globe do their business, cultivate their livelihoods, connect with others and get news.

That is a powerful cudgel to levy against individuals and groups of people. Wouldn’t you say?

Right now, unelected tech billionaires living in a bubble in Palo Alto — when they’re not flying private to cushy climate summits in Davos — are deciding who gets to enjoy the freedom of speech enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and who does not based on whether they agree with people’s political views and opinions or not.

You see how dangerous this can get — real fast — as partisan liberal elites running Twitter, Facebook, Google (including YouTube), Apple and the like are now dictating to Americans what they can and cannot say online.

In communist regimes, these types of folks are known as central planners.

The election of Donald Trump was supposed to safeguard our freedoms, especially regarding speech — a foundational pillar of a democracy. It’s disappointing that hasn’t happened, as the censorship of conservative thought online has gotten so extreme and out of control many are simply logging off for good.

A failure to address this mammoth issue could cost Trump in 2020. If his supporters are blocked online — where most voters get their news — he’ll be a one-term president.

It’s time for Congress to act before the morality police use political correctness as a Trojan horse to decide our next election.

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