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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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Photos of swastika on Ukrainian mall stairway creates a stir [Video]

Ukrainian nationalist press in damage-control mode to explain away the Nazi sign, but they forgot the name of the street the mall is on.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the aspects of news about Ukraine that does not make it past the gatekeepers of the American and Western news media is how a significant contingent of Ukrainian nationalists have espoused a sense of reverence for Nazis. The idea that this could even happen anywhere in the world in an open manner makes the claim seem too absurd to be taken seriously. Gone are the days when the Nazi swastika adorned streets and buildings in Europe. Right?

Well, maybe, wrong.

This was seen in Kyiv’s Gorodok (or Horodok, if you insist) Gallery, a shopping center in that city, located on Bandera Avenue.

The pro-nationalist news service UNIAN wasted no time going to press with their explanation of this incident, which admittedly may be accurate:

Children and teenagers who participated in the All-Ukrainian break dance festival held in the Kyiv-based Gorodok Gallery shopping mall were shocked to see a swastika image projected onto an LED staircase.

The mall administration apologized to visitors, explaining saying that their computer system had apparently been hacked.

“The administration and staff have no relation to whatever was projected onto the LED-staircase, and in no way does it support such [an] act. Now we are actively searching for those involved in the attack,” it said in a statement.

According to Gorodok Gallery’s administrative office, it was not the first time a cyber breach took place.

As reported earlier, Ukraine is believed to be a testing ground for cyberattacks, many of which are launched from Russia. Hackers have earlier targeted critical energy infrastructure, state institutions, banks, and large businesses.

This time, it appears, hackers aimed to feed the Kremlin’s narrative of “Nazis in power in Ukraine” and create a relevant hype-driving viral story for Russian media to spread it worldwide.

The Gorodok Gallery also apologized on its Facebook page and said that this was a result of hacking.

But what about the street that the mall is on? From the self-same Facebook page, this is what we see:


To translate, for those who do not read Ukrainian or Russian, the address says the following:

23 Steven Bandera Prospekt, Kyiv, Ukraine 04073

This street was formerly called “Moscow Avenue.” Big change, as we shall see.

Steven Bandera got his birthday designated as a national holiday in Ukraine last December. He is known in Ukraine’s history for one thing. According to the Jerusalem Post:

The street where the shopping mall is located is named for Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist who briefly collaborated with Nazi Germany in its fight against Russia.

His troops are believed to have killed thousands of Jews.

Several Israeli papers picked this bit of news up, and of course, the reasons are understandable. However, for the West, it appears possible that this news event will largely go unnoticed, even by that great nation that is often called “Israel’s proxy”, the United States.

This is probably because for certain people in the US, there is a sense of desperation to mask the nature of events that are happening in Ukraine.

The usual fare of mainstream news for the West probably consists of things like “Putin’s military seizes innocent Ukrainian sailors in Kerch incident” or, “Ukraine’s Orthodox Church declared fully independent by Patriarch of Constantinople” (not that too many Americans know what a Constantinople even is, anyway), but the overriding narrative for the American people about this country is “Ukraine are the good guys, and Russia are the bad guys,” and this will not be pushed aside, even to accommodate the logical grievance of Israel to this incident.

If this article gets to Western papers at all, it will be the UNIAN line they adhere to, that evil pro-Russia hackers caused this stairway to have a swastika to provoke the idea that Ukraine somehow supports Naziism.

But UNIAN neglected to mention that the street name was recently changed to Stephan Bandera (in 2016), and no one appears to have hacked this. Nor does UNIAN talk about the Azov fighters that openly espoused much of the Nazi ideology. For nationalist Ukrainians, this is all for the greater good of getting rid of all things Russia.

A further sad fact about this is the near impossibility of getting assuredly honest and neutral information about this and other similar happenings. Both Ukrainian nationalists and Russian media agencies have dogs in the race, so to speak. They are both personally connected to these events. However, the Russian media cannot be discounted here, because they do offer a witness and perspective, probably the closest to any objective look at what is going on in Ukraine. We include a video of a “torchlight march” that took place in 2017 that featured such hypernationalist activity, which is not reported in the West.

More such reports are available, but this one seemed the best one to summarize the character of what is going on in the country.

While we do not know the motive and identities of whoever programmed the swastika, it cannot really be stated that this was just a random publicity stunt in a country that has no relationship with Nazi veneration.

The street the mall is on bears witness to that.

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It’s Back to the Iran-Contra Days Under Trump

Abrams and his cronies will not stop with Venezuela.

Strategic Culture Foundation

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Authored by Wayne Madsen, via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Showing that he is adopting the neoconservative playbook every day he remains in office, Donald Trump handed the neocons a major win when he appointed Iran-contra scandal felon Elliott Abrams as his special envoy on Venezuela. Abrams pleaded guilty in 1991 to two counts of withholding information on the secret sale of US weapons for cash to help illegally supply weapons to the Nicaraguan right-wing contras, who were battling against the government of President Daniel Ortega. Abrams would have headed to a federal prison, but President George H. W. Bush, an unindicted co-conspirator in the scandal, issued pardons to Abrams and his five fellow conspirators – former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, and former Central Intelligence Agency officials Alan Fiers, Duane “Dewey” Clarridge, and Clair George – on Christmas Eve 1991, during the final weeks of Bush’s lame duck administration.

Abrams escaped being charged with more serious crimes by Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh because he cut a last-minute deal with federal prosecutors. Trump, who has made no secret of his disdain for cooperating federal witnesses, would have normally called Abrams a “rat,” a gangster term meaning informant. The man who helped engineer the pardons for Abrams and his five convicted friends was none other than Bush’s Attorney General, William Barr, who has just been sworn in as Trump’s Attorney General. Trump, who is always decrying the presence of the “deep state” that thwarts his very move, has become the chief guardian of that entity.

During a recent hearing of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, newly-minted congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, reminded her colleagues and the world about the sordid background of Abrams.

Omar zeroed in on Abrams’s criminal history:

“Mr. Abrams, in 1991 you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding the Iran-Contra affair, for which you were later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush. I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony you give today to be truthful.”

Abrams, as is the nature of neocons, refused to respond to Omar and cited her comments as “personal attacks.”

Abrams’s and his fellow criminals’ use of mercenaries and “death squads” to conduct secret wars in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala during the Ronald Reagan administration in the 1980s has made a re-entrance under Trump. Abrams was brought on board by neocons like National Security Adviser John Bolton, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to oversee a US military build-up in Colombia, said to be 5000 US troops, to support Venezuelan paramilitary and military efforts to topple President Nicolas Maduro. Abrams and Bolton are also believed to have retained the services of another unindicted conspirator in the Iran-contra affair, Michael Ledeen, a colleague of the disgraced and convicted former Trump National Security Adviser, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn. Ledeen and Flynn co-authored a book titled, “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and its Allies.” The book contains nothing more than the standard neocon tripe one might expect from the likes of Ledeen.

An official investigation of the Iran-contra scandal by the late Republican Senator John Tower of Texas concluded that Abrams’s and Ledeen’s friend, Iranian-Jewish middleman Manucher Ghorbanifar, a long-time Mossad asset and well-known prevaricator, was extremely instrumental in establishing the back-channel arms deals with Iran. Ghorbanifar has long been on the CIA “burn list” as an untrustworthy charlatan, along with others in the Middle East of similar sketchy credentials, including the Iraq’s Ahmad Chalabi, Syria’s Farid “Frank” Ghadry, and Lebanon’s Samir “Sami” Geagea. These individuals, however, were warmly embraced by neocons like Abrams and his associates.

Abrams, whose links with Israeli intelligence has always been a point of consternation with US counter-intelligence officials, is part of an old cabal of right-wing anti-Soviet Democrats who coalesced around Senator Henry Jackson in the 1970s. Along with Abrams, this group of war hawks included Richard Perle, Frank Gaffney, William Kristol, Douglas Feith, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Abram Shulsky, and Paul Wolfowitz. Later, this group would have its fingerprints on major US foreign policy debacles, ranging from Nicaragua and Grenada to Lebanon, Iraq, and Libya. Later, in December 2000, these neocons managed to convince president-elect George W. Bush of the need to “democratize” the Middle East. That policy would later bring not democracy but disaster to the Arab Middle East and North Africa.

Abrams and his cronies will not stop with Venezuela. They have old scores to settle with Nicaraguan President Ortega. The initiation of “regime change” operations in Nicaragua, supported by the CIA and the US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) in Miami, have been ongoing for more than a year.

The Trump administration has already achieved a regime change victory of sorts in El Salvador. Nayib Bukele, the former mayor of San Salvador, who was expelled from the formerly-ruling left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation (FMLN) party and joined the right-wing GANA party, was recently elected president of El Salvador. Bukele has quickly re-aligned his country’s policies with those of the Trump administration. Bukele has referred to President Maduro of Venezuela as a “dictator.” He has also criticized the former FMLN government’s recognition of China and severance of diplomatic ties with Taiwan. It will be interesting to see how a sycophant like Bukele will politically survive as Trump continues to call hapless asylum-seeking migrants from his country, who seek residency in the United States, “rapists, gang monsters, murderers, and drug smugglers.”

Another country heading for a US-installed “banana republic” dictator is Haiti. President Jovenal Moise has seen rioting in the streets of Port-au-Prince as the US State Department removed all “non-essential” personnel from the country. Moise, whose country has received $2 billion in oil relief from Venezuela, to help offset rising fuel prices, has continued to support the Maduro government. However, at the US-run and neo-colonial artifice, the Organization of American States (OAS), Moise’s envoys have been under tremendous pressure to cut ties with Venezuela and recognize the US puppet Juan Guaido as Venezuelan president. Moise’s refusal to do so resulted in armed gangs hitting the streets of Port-au-Prince demanding Moise’s resignation. It is the same neocon “regime change” playbook being used in Venezuela and Nicaragua.

There will be similar attempts to replace pro-Maduro governments in his remaining allies in the region. These include Suriname, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Abrams was also brought in as an adviser on Middle East policy in the George W. Bush administration. The carnage of Iraq is a stark testament to his record. In 2005, it was reported that two key Bush White House officials – Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliot Abrams – gave a “wink and a nod” for the assassinations by Israeli-paid operatives of three key Lebanese political figures seeking a rapprochement with Syria and Lebanese Hezbollah – Member of Parliament Elie Hobeika, former Lebanese Communist Party chief George Hawi, and former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

In 2008, a United Nations panel headed by former Canadian prosecutor Daniel Bellemare later concluded Hariri was assassinated by a “criminal network” and not by either Syrian and Lebanese intelligence or Lebanese Hezbollah as proffered by Abrams and his friends in Washington.

Representative Omar was spot on in questioning why Abrams, whose name is as disgraced as his two fellow conspirators – Oliver North and John Poindexter – whose criminal convictions were overturned on appeal, is working for the Trump administration on Venezuela. The answer is that the neocons, who can sense, like raptors, Trump’s political weakness, have filled the vacuum left by top-level vacancies in the administration.

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Putin: If mid-range missiles deployed in Europe, Russia will station arms to strike decision centers

Putin: If US deploys mid-range missiles in Europe, Russia will be forced to respond.

RT

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Via RT…


If the US deploys intermediate-range missiles in Europe, Moscow will respond by stationing weapons aimed not only against missiles themselves, but also at command and control centers, from which a launch order would come.

The warning came from President Vladimir Putin, who announced Russia’s planned actions after the US withdraws from the INF Treaty – a Cold War-era agreement between Washington and Moscow which banned both sides form having ground-based cruise and ballistic missiles and developing relevant technology.

The US is set to unilaterally withdraw from the treaty in six months, which opens the possibility of once again deploying these missiles in Europe. Russia would see that as a major threat and respond with its own deployments, Putin said.

Intermediate-range missiles were banned and removed from Europe because they would leave a very short window of opportunity for the other side to decide whether to fire in retaliation after detecting a launch – mere minutes. This poses the threat of an accidental nuclear exchange triggered by a false launch warning, with the officer in charge having no time to double check.

“Russia will be forced to create and deploy weapon systems, which can be used not only against the territories from which this direct threat would be projected, but also against those territories where decision centers are located, from which an order to use those weapons against us may come.” The Russian president, who was delivering a keynote address to the Russian parliament on Wednesday, did not elaborate on whether any counter-deployment would only target US command-and-control sites in Europe or would also include targets on American soil.

He did say the Russian weapon system in terms of flight times and other specifications would “correspond” to those targeting Russia.

“We know how to do it and we will implement those plans without a delay once the relevant threats against us materialize,”he said.

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