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What really happened in Security Council: China REJECTED oil embargo on North Korea

China to continue supplying North Korea with crude oil at previous levels; will continue cross border trade

Alexander Mercouris

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It is now clear that ever since North Korea carried out its Hwasong 15 ICBM launch complex three party negotiations between the US, China and Russia have been underway in great secrecy in order to agree a further sanctions resolution in the UN Security Council against North Korea.

Almost certainly the two recent telephone conversations between US President Trump and Russian President Putin have touched on this.

The unusual secrecy in which the negotiations were conducted meant that when the sanctions resolution was finally agreed and was voted for unanimously by the UN Security Council it came as something of a surprise.

In the run up to the vote the US had however been making fully clear what sort of pressure it wanted the UN Security Council and China specifically to impose on North Korea: a total embargo on all supplies of oil to North Korea along with a naval blockade and an effective cessation of all trade between North Korea and the outside world.

The important point to take away from the UN Security Council meeting is that China again rejected these demands.

Here it is important to make a number of points about China’s deliveries of crude oil to North Korea.

Firstly, crude oil is about the only product North Korea needs to import in order to keep its economy going which it cannot produce itself.  I say this though it is known that North Korea has been stockpiling crude oil in anticipation of a possible future embargo of crude oil deliveries to itself and would probably be able to keep its economy going for some time albeit at a reduced rate if crude oil were indeed cut off.

By contrast North Korea is able to refine crude oil and can sustain its economy if refined oil products such as petroleum are cut off, provided it continues to be supplied with crude oil in sufficient quantity.

I would add briefly and in parenthesis that the Germans in the 1930s perfected a technology for making synthetic oil from coal, which North Korea produces itself and of which it has no shortage.  The procedure is however complicated and expensive and comes with environmental cost.  There is no information that North Korea has copied it, though presumably over time it could do so.

Secondly, all crude oil which North Korea imports comes from China.

Thirdly, it appears that China does not actually require payment from North Korea for this crude oil, which is provided essentially as a gift.

The text of the latest sanctions resolution voted for unanimously by the UN Security Council is provided at the end of this article.

Its key provision is paragraph 4 which caps crude oil deliveries to North Korea at four million barrels for any twelve month period.  Not only does this however fall well short of a total oil embargo.  It is the same amount that China supplied to North Korea last year.

In other words China has again rejected the US demand for a total oil embargo, and specifically for a total embargo on all crude oil supplies.

Moreover the text of the resolution shows that China has also rejected the US demand for a naval blockade of North Korea.  Instead a complex system of inspections of North Korean ships  suspected of trading in prohibited products has been introduced, which however will be subject to ultimate supervision by the UN Security Council itself.

In addition it is clear that cross border trader between China and North Korean private traders, which has become increasingly important for the North Korean economy, will continue as before.

The resolution will however significantly toughen economic conditions in North Korea.  The key point is that though North Korea is able to refine its own petroleum, it must now do so from the crude oil it imports, which is now capped at last year’s levels.

The point is explained clearly in a commentary by China’s official Xinhua news agency

The resolution sets a ceiling of 500,000 barrels for the import of refined petroleum to the DPRK during a 12-month period beginning from Jan. 1, 2018.

That reduces the country’s import of refined oil by almost 90 percent, and is a reduction from the 4.5 million barrels it imported in 2016, as well as a 2 million-barrel limit stipulated in a September resolution.

The resolution also restricts the DPRK’s crude oil imports to no more than 4 million barrels a year and requests that countries supplying oil to Pyongyang provide a quarterly report to the Security Council committee monitoring the sanctions.

The U.S.-drafted resolution refrains from banning all oil imports for the Northeastern Asian nation, something the administration of President Donald Trump has threatened many times amid Pyongyang’s non-stop provocative actions.

In summary, China will supply to North Korea sufficient crude oil to enable North Korea to sustain its civilian economy.  However by ending all but a small quantity of North Korea’s imports of petroleum and refined oil products China is trying to force North Korea to choose between sustaining its civilian economy or its military, which like all militaries everywhere is a major user of petroleum products.

The calculation appears to be that North Korea will soon run out of sufficient refined oil products such as petroleum to do both, and that rather than risk its civilian economy it will cut back on its military and its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programme, which is itself a heavy user of refined oil products.

That this is indeed China’s calculation is explained in detail by an editorial in the semi official Chinese English language newspaper Global Times.

Chinese society says no to North Korea’s development of nuclear technologies but also feels sympathetic toward North Korean people that suffer the hardships. We hope the sanctions only target its nuclear development and missile activities. We do not want to hurt people’s livelihoods or impair the stability of the regime.

The problem is that this calculation may prove wrong.  On this issue there now appears to be a difference between China and Russia, with the Russians warning that no amount of sanctions will ever persuade the North Koreans to give up on their ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programme.

The Russians are almost certainly right.  Not only have the North Koreans shown a complete unwillingness to compromise on their ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programme up to now, but with that programme now very close to success, with the Hwasong-15 apparently capable of reaching any part of the continental US, and with North Korea apparently very close to miniaturising a thermonuclear warhead for it, North Korea has no real incentive to draw back now.

Perhaps in a year’s time, when the key elements of the programme are completed, it may do so, but having got so far there seems little point in doing so now.

The question is what happens if North Korea presses ahead?  Global Times makes China’s concerns clear

Chinese society says no to North Korea’s development of nuclear technologies but also feels sympathetic toward North Korean people that suffer the hardships. We hope the sanctions only target its nuclear development and missile activities. We do not want to hurt people’s livelihoods or impair the stability of the regime. Beijing has endured mounting pressure from Washington.

Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development is unacceptable. It is also unacceptable to use force against it and change the political situation in North Korea and the Korean Peninsula. It is hoped that Washington and Pyongyang can discover their common interests.

The new resolution is extremely harsh. It may be the last hope for a desperate situation on the peninsula. South Korea recently said it could suspend joint military drills with the US until after the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in February 2018. It is hoped Pyongyang gets the message and responds positively.

A peaceful solution to the nuclear crisis is becoming more costly for both North Korea and the US.

This suggests that the Chinese see the resolution as the last chance to avoid war.  If so, and if that is right, then since there is practically no chance of North Korea drawing back war is indeed coming.

The full text of Security Council resolution 2397 (2017) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling its previous relevant resolutions, including resolution 825 (1993), resolution 1695 (2006), resolution 1718 (2006), resolution 1874 (2009), resolution 1887 (2009), resolution 2087 (2013), resolution 2094 (2013), resolution 2270 (2016), resolution 2321 (2016), resolution 2356 (2017), resolution 2371 (2017), resolution 2375 (2017), as well as the statements of its President of 6 October 2006 (document S/PRST/2006/41), 13 April 2009 (document S/PRST/2009/7), 16 April 2012 (document S/PRST/2012/13), and 29 August 2017 (document  S/PRST/2017/16),

Reaffirming that proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security,

Expressing its gravest concern at the ballistic missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on 28 November 2017 in violation of resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016) 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), and 2375 (2017) and at the challenge such a test constitutes to the Treaty on Non‑Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and to international efforts aimed at strengthening the global regime of non‑proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the danger it poses to peace and stability in the region and beyond,

Underlining once again the importance that the DPRK respond to other security and humanitarian concerns of the international community, including the necessity of the DPRK respecting and ensuring the welfare, inherent dignity, and rights of people in the DPRK, and expressing great concern that the DPRK continues to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles by diverting critically needed resources away from the people in the DPRK at tremendous cost when they have great unmet needs,

Acknowledging that the proceeds of the DPRK’s trade in sectoral goods, including but not limited to coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore, textiles, seafood, gold, silver, rare earth minerals and other prohibited metals, as well as the revenue generated from DPRK workers overseas, among others, contribute to the DPRK’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs,

Expressing its gravest concern that the DPRK’s ongoing nuclear- and ballistic missile‑related activities have destabilized the region and beyond, and determining that there continues to exist a clear threat to international peace and security,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, and taking measures under Article 41,

“1.   Condemns in the strongest terms the ballistic missile launch conducted by the DPRK on 28 November 2017 in violation and flagrant disregard of the Security Council’s resolutions;

“2.   Reaffirms its decisions that the DPRK shall not conduct any further launches that use ballistic missile technology, nuclear tests, or any other provocation; shall immediately suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program and in this context re‑establish its pre‑existing commitments to a moratorium on all missile launches; shall immediately abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, and immediately cease all related activities; and shall abandon any other existing weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner;

Designations

“3.   Decides that the measures specified in paragraph 8(d) of resolution 1718 (2006) shall apply also to the individuals and entities listed in annex I and II of this resolution and to any individuals or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, and to entities owned or controlled by them, including through illicit means, and decides further that the measures specified in paragraph 8(e) of resolution 1718 (2006) shall also apply to the individuals listed in annex I of this resolution and to individuals acting on their behalf or at their direction;

Sectoral

“4.   Decides that all Member States shall prohibit the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK, through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels, aircraft, pipelines, rail lines, or vehicles and whether or not originating in their territories, of all crude oil, unless the Committee approves in advance on a case‑by‑case basis a shipment of crude oil which is exclusively for livelihood purposes of DPRK nationals and unrelated to the DPRK’s nuclear or ballistic missile programmes or other activities prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) or this resolution, further decides that this prohibition shall not apply with respect to crude oil that, for a period of twelve months after the date of adoption of this resolution, and for 12-month periods thereafter, does not exceed 4 million barrels or 525,000 tons in the aggregate per twelve month period, and decides that all Member States providing crude oil shall provide a report to the Committee every 90 days from the date of adoption of this resolution of the amount of crude oil provided to the DPRK;

“5.   Decides that all Member States shall prohibit the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK, through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels, aircraft, pipelines, rail lines, or vehicles, and whether or not originating in their territories, of all refined petroleum products, decides that the DPRK shall not procure such products, further decides that this provision shall not apply with respect to procurement by the DPRK or the direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer to the DPRK, through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels, aircraft, pipelines, rail lines, or vehicles, and whether or not originating in their territories, of refined petroleum products, including diesel and kerosene, in the aggregate amount of up to 500,000 barrels during a period of twelve months beginning on January 1, 2018, and for twelve month periods thereafter, provided that (a) the Member State notifies the Committee every thirty days of the amount of such supply, sale, or transfer to the DPRK of refined petroleum products along with information about all the parties to the transaction, (b) the supply, sale, or transfer of refined petroleum products involve no individuals or entities that are associated with the DPRK’s nuclear or ballistic missile programmes or other activities prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017), or this resolution, including designated individuals or entities, or individuals or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, or entities owned or controlled by them, directly or indirectly, or individuals or entities assisting in the evasion of sanctions, and (c) the supply, sale, or transfer of refined petroleum products are exclusively for livelihood purposes of DPRK nationals and unrelated to generating revenue for the DPRK’s nuclear or ballistic missile programmes or other activities prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) or this resolution, directs the Committee Secretary beginning on 1 January 2018 to notify all Member States when an aggregate amount of refined petroleum products sold, supplied, or transferred to the DPRK of 75 per cent of the aggregate yearly amounts have been reached, also directs the Committee Secretary beginning on 1 January 2018 to notify all Member States when an aggregate amount of refined petroleum products sold, supplied, or transferred to the DPRK of 90 per cent of the aggregate yearly amounts have been reached, and further directs the Committee Secretary beginning on 1 January 2018 to notify all Member States when an aggregate amount of refined petroleum products sold, supplied, or transferred to the DPRK of 95 per cent of the aggregate yearly amounts have been reached and to inform them that they must immediately cease selling, supplying, or transferring refined petroleum products to the DPRK for the remainder of the year, directs the Committee to make publicly available on its website the total amount of refined petroleum products sold, supplied, or transferred to the DPRK by month and by source country, directs the Committee to update this information on a real-time basis as it receives notifications from Member States, calls upon all Member States to regularly review this website to comply with the annual limits for refined petroleum products established by this provision beginning on 1 January 2018, directs the Panel of Experts to closely monitor the implementation efforts of all Member States to provide assistance and ensure full and global compliance, and requests the Secretary-General to make the necessary arrangements to this effect and provide additional resources in this regard;

“6.   Decides that the DPRK shall not supply, sell or transfer, directly or indirectly, from its territory or by its nationals or using its flag vessels or aircraft, food and agricultural products (HS codes 12, 08, 07), machinery (HS code 84), electrical equipment (HS code 85), earth and stone including magnesite and magnesia (HS code 25), wood (HS code 44), and vessels (HS code 89), and that all States shall prohibit the procurement of the above-mentioned commodities and products from the DPRK by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, whether or not originating in the territory of the DPRK, clarifies that the full sectoral ban on seafood in paragraph 9 of resolution 2371 (2017) prohibits the DPRK from selling or transferring, directly or indirectly, fishing rights, and further decides that for sales of and transactions involving all commodities and products from the DPRK whose transfer, supply, or sale by the DPRK are prohibited by this paragraph and for which written contracts have been finalized prior to the adoption of this resolution, all States may only allow those shipments to be imported into their territories up to 30 days from the date of adoption of this resolution with notification provided to the Committee containing details on those imports by no later than 45 days after the date of adoption of this resolution;

“7.   Decides that all Member States shall prohibit the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK, through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels, aircraft, pipelines, rail lines, or vehicles and whether or not originating in their territories, of all industrial machinery (HS codes 84 and 85), transportation vehicles (HS codes 86 through 89), and iron, steel, and other metals (HS codes 72 through 83) and further decides that this provision shall not apply with respect to the provision of spare parts needed to maintain the safe operation of DPRK commercial civilian passenger aircraft (currently consisting of the following aircraft models and types: An-24R/RV, An-148-100B, Il-18D, Il-62M, Tu-134B-3, Tu-154B, Tu-204-100B, and Tu-204-300);

“8.   Expresses concern that DPRK nationals continue to work in other States for the purpose of generating foreign export earnings that the DPRK uses to support its prohibited nuclear and ballistic missile programs despite the adoption of paragraph 17 of resolution 2375 (2017), decides that Member States shall repatriate to the DPRK all DPRK nationals earning income in that Member State’s jurisdiction and all DPRK government safety oversight attachés monitoring DPRK workers abroad immediately but no later than 24 months from the date of adoption of this resolution unless the Member State determines that a DPRK national is a national of that Member State or a DPRK national whose repatriation is prohibited, subject to applicable national and international law, including international refugee law and international human rights law, and the United Nations Headquarters Agreement and the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, and further decides that all Member States shall provide a midterm report by 15 months from the date of adoption of this resolution of all DPRK nationals earning income in that Member State’s jurisdiction that were repatriated over the 12 month period starting from the date of adoption of this resolution, including an explanation of why less than half of such DPRK nationals were not repatriated by the end of that 12 month period if applicable, and all Member States shall provide final reports by 27 months from the date of adoption of this resolution;

Maritime Interdiction of Cargo Vessels

“9.   Notes with great concern that the DPRK is illicitly exporting coal and other prohibited items through deceptive maritime practices and obtaining petroleum illegally through ship-to-ship transfers and decides that Member States shall seize, inspect, and freeze (impound) any vessel in their ports, and may seize, inspect, and freeze (impound) any vessel subject to its jurisdiction in its territorial waters, if the Member State has reasonable grounds to believe that the vessel was involved in activities, or the transport of items, prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017), or this resolution, encourages Member States to consult with the flag States of relevant vessels once they are seized, inspected, and frozen (impounded), and further decides that, after six months from the date such vessels were frozen (impounded), this provision shall not apply if the Committee decides, on a case-by-case basis and upon request of a flag State, that adequate arrangements have been made to prevent the vessel from contributing to future violations of these resolutions;

“10.  Decides that when a Member State has information to suspect that the DPRK is attempting to supply, sell, transfer or procure, directly or indirectly, illicit cargo, that Member State may request additional maritime and shipping information from other relevant Member States, including to determine whether the item, commodity, or product in question originated from the DPRK, further decides that all Member States receiving such inquiries shall respond as promptly as possible to such requests in an appropriate manner, decides that the Committee, with the support of its Panel of Experts, shall facilitate timely coordination of such information requests through an expedited process, and requests the Secretary-General to make the necessary arrangements to this effect and provide additional resources to the Committee and the Panel of Experts in this regard;

“11.  Reaffirms paragraph 22 of resolution 2321 (2016) and decides that each Member State shall prohibit its nationals, persons subject to its jurisdiction and entities incorporated in its territory or subject to its jurisdiction from providing insurance or re-insurance services to vessels it has reasonable grounds to believe were involved in activities, or the transport of items, prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017), or this resolution, unless the Committee determines on a case-by-case basis that the vessel is engaged in activities exclusively for livelihood purposes which will not be used by DPRK individuals or entities to generate revenue or exclusively for humanitarian purposes;

“12.  Reaffirms paragraph 24 of resolution 2321 (2016) and decides that each Member State shall de-register any vessel it has reasonable grounds to believe was involved in activities, or the transport of items, prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017), or this resolution and prohibit its nationals, persons subject to its jurisdiction and entities incorporated in its territory or subject to its jurisdiction from thereafter providing classification services to such a vessel except as approved in advance by the Committee on a case-by-case basis, and further decides that Member States shall not register any such vessel that has been de-registered by another Member State pursuant to this paragraph except as approved in advance by the Committee on a case-by-case basis;

“13.  Expresses concern that DPRK-flagged, controlled, chartered, or operated vessels intentionally disregard requirements to operate their automatic identification systems (AIS) to evade UNSCR sanctions monitoring by turning off such systems to mask their full movement history and calls upon Member States to exercise enhanced vigilance with regards to such vessels conducting activities prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017), or this resolution;

“14.  Recalls paragraph 30 of resolution 2321 (2016) and decides that all Member States shall prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK, through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, and whether or not originating in their territories, of any new or used vessels, except as approved in advance by the Committee on a case-by-case basis;

“15.  Decides that, if a Member State has information regarding the number, name, and registry of vessels encountered in its territory or on the high seas that are designated by the Security Council or by the Committee as subject to the asset freeze imposed by paragraph 8(d) of resolution 1718 (2006), the various measures imposed by paragraph 12 of resolution 2321 (2016), the port entry ban imposed by paragraph 6 of resolution 2371 (2017), or relevant measures in this resolution, then the Member State shall notify the Committee of this information and what measures were taken to carry out an inspection, an asset freeze and impoundment or other appropriate action as authorized by the relevant provisions of resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017), or this resolution;

“16.  Decides that the provisions of this resolution shall not apply with respect solely to the trans-shipment of Russia-origin coal to other countries through the Russia-DPRK Rajin-Khasan port and rail project, as permitted by paragraph 8 of resolution 2371 (2017) and paragraph 18 of resolution 2375 (2017);

Sanctions Implementation

“17.  Decides that Member States shall report to the Security Council within ninety days of the adoption of this resolution, and thereafter upon request by the Committee, on concrete measures they have taken in order to implement effectively the provisions of this resolution, requests the Panel of Experts, in cooperation with other UN sanctions monitoring groups, to continue its efforts to assist Member States in preparing and submitting such reports in a timely manner;

“18.  Calls upon all Member States to redouble efforts to implement in full the measures in resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013) 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) and this resolution and to cooperate with each other in doing so, particularly with respect to inspecting, detecting and seizing items the transfer of which is prohibited by these resolutions;

“19.  Decides that the mandate of the Committee, as set out in paragraph 12 of resolution 1718 (2006), shall apply with respect to the measures imposed in this resolution and further decides that the mandate of the Panel of Experts, as specified in paragraph 26 of resolution 1874 (2009) and modified in paragraph 1 of resolution 2345 (2017), shall also apply with respect to the measures imposed in this resolution;

“20.  Decides to authorize all Member States to, and that all Member States shall, seize and dispose (such as through destruction, rendering inoperable or unusable, storage, or transferring to a State other than the originating or destination States for disposal) of items the supply, sale, transfer, or export of which is prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) or this resolution that are identified in inspections, in a manner that is not inconsistent with their obligations under applicable Security Council resolutions, including resolution 1540 (2004), as well as any obligations of parties to the NPT, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Development of 29 April 1997, and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction of 10 April 1972;

“21.  Emphasizes the importance of all States, including the DPRK, taking the necessary measures to ensure that no claim shall lie at the instance of the DPRK, or of any person or entity in the DPRK, or of persons or entities designated for measures set forth in resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) or this resolution, or any person claiming through or for the benefit of any such person or entity, in connection with any contract or other transaction where its performance was prevented by reason of the measures imposed by this resolution or previous resolutions;

“22.  Emphasizes that the measures set forth in resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) and this resolution shall in no way impede the activities of diplomatic or consular missions in the DPRK pursuant to the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations;

Political

“23.  Reiterates its deep concern at the grave hardship that the people in the DPRK are subjected to, condemnsthe DPRK for pursuing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles instead of the welfare of its people while people in the DPRK have great unmet needs, emphasizes the necessity of the DPRK respecting and ensuring the welfare and inherent dignity of people in the DPRK, and demands that the DPRK stop diverting its scarce resources toward its development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles at the cost of the people in the DPRK;

“24.  Regrets the DPRK’s massive diversion of its scarce resources toward its development of nuclear weapons and a number of expensive ballistic missile programs, notes the findings of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance that well over half of the people in the DPRK suffer from major insecurities in food and medical care, including a very large number of pregnant and lactating women and under-five children who are at risk of malnutrition and 41 per cent of its total population who are undernourished, and, in this context, expresses deep concern at the grave hardship to which the people in the DPRK are subjected;

“25.  Reaffirms that the measures imposed by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) and this resolution are not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population of the DPRK or to affect negatively or restrict those activities, including economic activities and cooperation, food aid and humanitarian assistance, that are not prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) and this resolution, and the work of international and non‑governmental organizations carrying out assistance and relief activities in the DPRK for the benefit of the civilian population of the DPRK, stresses the DPRK’s primary responsibility and need to fully provide for the livelihood needs of people in the DPRK, and decides that the Committee may, on a case-by-case basis, exempt any activity from the measures imposed by these resolutions if the committee determines that such an exemption is necessary to facilitate the work of such organizations in the DPRK or for any other purpose consistent with the objectives of these resolutions;

“26.  Reaffirms its support for the Six Party Talks, calls for their resumption, and reiterates its support for the commitments set forth in the Joint Statement of 19 September 2005 issued by China, the DPRK, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States, including that the goal of the Six-Party Talks is the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner and the return of the DPRK to the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) and International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards at an early date, bearing in mind the rights and obligations of States parties to the NPT and underlining the need for all States parties to the NPT to continue to comply with their Treaty obligations, that the United States and the DPRK undertook to respect each other’s sovereignty and exist peacefully together, that the Six Parties undertook to promote economic cooperation, and all other relevant commitments;

“27.  Reiterates the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in north-east Asia at large, and expresses its commitment to a peaceful, diplomatic, and political solution to the situation and welcomes efforts by the Council members as well as other States to facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue and stresses the importance of working to reduce tensions in the Korean Peninsula and beyond;

“28.  Affirms that it shall keep the DPRK’s actions under continuous review and is prepared to strengthen, modify, suspend or lift the measures as may be needed in light of the DPRK’s compliance, and, in this regard, expresses its determination to take further significant measures in the event of a further DPRK nuclear test or launch, and decides that, if the DPRK conducts a further nuclear test or a launch of a ballistic missile system capable of reaching intercontinental ranges or contributing to the development of a ballistic missile system capable of such ranges, then the Security Council will take action to restrict further the export to the DPRK of petroleum;

“29.  Decides to remain seized of the matter.”

Annex I

Travel Ban/Asset Freeze (Individuals)

1.  CH’OE SO’K MIN

a.  Description:  Ch’oe So’k-min is an overseas Foreign Trade Bank representative.  In 2016, Ch’oe So’k-min was the deputy representative at the Foreign Trade Bank branch office in that overseas location.  He has been associated with cash transfers from that overseas Foreign Trade Bank office to banks affiliated with North Korean special organizations and Reconnaissance General Bureau operatives located overseas in an effort to evade sanctions.

b.  AKA:  n/a

c.  Identifiers:  DOB: 25 July 1978; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

2.  CHU HYO’K

a.  Description:  Chu Hyo’k is a North Korean national who is an overseas Foreign Trade Bank representative.

b.  AKA:  Ju Hyok

c.  Identifiers: DOB: 23 November 1986; Passport No. 836420186 issued 28 October 2016 expires 28 October 2021; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

3.  KIM JONG SIK

a.  Description: A leading official guiding the DPRK’s WMD development efforts. Serving as Deputy Director of the Workers’ Party of Korea Munitions Industry Department.

b.  A.K.A.: Kim Cho’ng-sik

c.  Identifiers: YOB: between 1967 and 1969; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male; Address: DPRK

4.  KIM KYONG IL

a.  Description:  Kim Kyong Il is a Foreign Trade Bank deputy chief representative in Libya.

b.  AKA:  Kim Kyo’ng-il

c.  Identifiers:  Location Libya; DOB: 01 August 1979; Passport No. 836210029; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

5.  KIM TONG CHOL

a.  Description:  Kim Tong Chol is an overseas Foreign Trade Bank representative.

b.  AKA: Kim Tong-ch’o’l

c.  Identifiers: DOB: 28 January 1966; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

6.  KO CHOL MAN

a.  Description:  Ko Chol Man is an overseas Foreign Trade Bank representative.

b.  AKA:  Ko Ch’o’l-man

c.  Identifiers: DOB: 30 September 1967; Passport No. 472420180; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

7.  KU JA HYONG

a.  Description:  Ku Ja Hyong is a Foreign Trade Bank chief representative in Libya.

b.  AKA:  Ku Cha-hyo’ng

c.  Identifiers:  Location Libya; DOB: 08 September 1957; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

8.  MUN KYONG HWAN

a.  Description:  Mun Kyong Hwan is an overseas Bank of East Land representative.

b.  AKA:  Mun Kyo’ng-hwan

c.  Identifiers: DOB: 22 August 1967; Passport No. 381120660 expires 25 March 2016; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

9.  PAE WON UK

a.  Description:  Pae Won Uk is an overseas Daesong Bank representative.

b.  AKA: Pae Wo’n-uk

c.  Identifiers: DOB: 22 August 1969; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male; Passport No. 472120208 expires 22 Feb 2017

10. PAK BONG NAM

a.  Description:  Pak Bong Nam is an overseas Ilsim International Bank representative.

b.  AKA:  Lui Wai Ming; Pak Pong Nam; Pak Pong-nam

c.  Identifiers: DOB: 06 May 1969; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

11. PAK MUN IL

a.  Description:  Pak Mun Il is an overseas official of Korea Daesong Bank.

b.  AKA: Pak Mun-il

c.  Identifiers: DOB 01 January 1965; Passport No. 563335509 expires 27 August 2018; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

12. RI CHUN HWAN

a.  Description:  Ri Chun Hwan is an overseas Foreign Trade Bank representative.

b.  AKA:  Ri Ch’un-hwan

c.  Identifiers: DOB 21 August 1957; Passport No. 563233049 expires 09 May 2018; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

13. RI CHUN SONG

a.  Description:  Ri Chun Song is an overseas Foreign Trade Bank representative.

b.  AKA:  Ri Ch’un-so’ng

c.  Identifiers: DOB: 30 October 1965; Passport No. 654133553 expires 11 March 2019; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

14. RI PYONG CHUL

a.  Description: Alternate Member of the Political Bureau of the Workers’ Party of Korea and First Vice Director of the Munitions Industry Department.

b.  A.K.A.: Ri Pyo’ng-ch’o’l

c.  Identifiers: YOB: 1948; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male; Address: DPRK

15. RI SONG HYOK

a.  Description:  Ri Song Hyok is an overseas representative for Koryo Bank and Koryo Credit Development Bank and has reportedly established front companies to procure items and conduct financial transactions on behalf of North Korea.

b.  AKA:  Li Cheng He

c.  Identifiers: DOB: 19 March 1965; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

16. RI U’N SO’NG

a.  Description:  Ri U’n-so’ng is an overseas Korea Unification Development Bank representative.

b.  AKA: Ri Eun Song; Ri Un Song

c.  Identifiers: DOB: 23 July 1969; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

Annex II

Asset Freeze (Entities)

1.    MINISTRY OF THE PEOPLE’S ARMED FORCES (MPAF)

a. Description: The Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces manages the general administrative and logistical needs of the Korean People’s Army.

b. Location: Pyongyang, DPRK

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Skripal and Khashoggi: A Tale of Two Disappearances

Two disappearances, and two different responses.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Two disappearances, and two very different responses from Western governments, which illustrates their rank hypocrisy.

When former Russian spy Sergei Skripal went missing in England earlier this year, there was almost immediate punitive action by the British government and its NATO allies against Moscow. By contrast, Western governments are straining with restraint towards Saudi Arabia over the more shocking and provable case of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The outcry by Western governments and media over the Skripal affair was deafening and resulted in Britain, the US and some 28 other countries expelling dozens of Russian diplomats on the back of unsubstantiated British allegations that the Kremlin tried to assassinate an exiled spy with a deadly nerve agent. The Trump administration has further tightened sanctions citing the Skripal incident.

London’s case against Moscow has been marked by wild speculation and ropey innuendo. No verifiable evidence of what actually happened to Sergei Skripal (67) and his daughter Yulia has been presented by the British authorities. Their claim that President Vladimir Putin sanctioned a hit squad armed with nerve poison relies on sheer conjecture.

All we know for sure is that the Skripals have been disappeared from public contact by the British authorities for more than seven months, since the mysterious incident of alleged poisoning in Salisbury on March 4.

Russian authorities and family relatives have been steadfastly refused any contact by London with the Skripal pair, despite more than 60 official requests from Moscow in accordance with international law and in spite of the fact that Yulia is a citizen of the Russian Federation with consular rights.

It is an outrage that based on such thin ice of “evidence”, the British have built an edifice of censure against Moscow, rallying an international campaign of further sanctions and diplomatic expulsions.

Now contrast that strenuous reaction, indeed hyper over-reaction, with how Britain, the US, France, Canada and other Western governments are ever-so slowly responding to Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case.

After nearly two weeks since Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, the Saudi regime is this week finally admitting he was killed on their premises – albeit, they claim, in a “botched interrogation”.

Turkish and American intelligence had earlier claimed that Khashoggi was tortured and murdered on the Saudi premises by a 15-member hit squad sent from Riyadh.

Even more grisly, it is claimed that Khashoggi’s body was hacked up with a bone saw by the killers, his remains secreted out of the consulate building in boxes, and flown back to Saudi Arabia on board two private jets connected to the Saudi royal family.

What’s more, the Turks and Americans claim that the whole barbaric plot to murder Khashoggi was on the orders of senior Saudi rulers, implicating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The latest twist out of Riyadh, is an attempt to scapegoat “rogue killers” and whitewash the House of Saudi from culpability.

The fact that 59-year-old Khashoggi was a legal US resident and a columnist for the Washington Post has no doubt given his case such prominent coverage in Western news media. Thousands of other victims of Saudi vengeance are routinely ignored in the West.

Nevertheless, despite the horrific and damning case against the Saudi monarchy, the response from the Trump administration, Britain and others has been abject.

President Trump has blustered that there “will be severe consequences” for the Saudi regime if it is proven culpable in the murder of Khashoggi. Trump quickly qualified, however, saying that billion-dollar arms deals with the oil-rich kingdom will not be cancelled. Now Trump appears to be joining in a cover-up by spinning the story that the Khashoggi killing was done by “rogue killers”.

Britain, France and Germany this week issued a joint statement calling for “a credible investigation” into the disappearance. But other than “tough-sounding” rhetoric, none of the European states have indicated any specific sanctions, such as weapons contracts being revoked or diplomatic expulsions.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “concerned” by the gruesome claims about Khashoggi’s killing, but he reiterated that Ottawa would not be scrapping a $15 billion sale of combat vehicles to Riyadh.

The Saudi rulers have even threatened retaliatory measures if sanctions are imposed by Western governments.

Saudi denials of official culpability seem to be a brazen flouting of all reason and circumstantial evidence that Khashoggi was indeed murdered in the consulate building on senior Saudi orders.

This week a glitzy international investor conference in Saudi Arabia is being boycotted by top business figures, including the World Bank chief, Jim Yong Kim, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Britain’s venture capitalist Richard Branson. Global firms like Ford and Uber have pulled out, as have various media sponsors, such as CNN, the New York Times and Financial Times. Withdrawal from the event was in response to the Khashoggi affair.

A growing bipartisan chorus of US Senators, including Bob Corker, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Chris Murphy, have called for the cancellation of American arms sales to Saudi Arabia, as well as for an overhaul of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Still, Trump has rebuffed calls for punitive response. He has said that American jobs and profits depend on the Saudi weapons market. Some 20 per cent of all US arms sales are estimated to go to the House of Saud.

The New York Times this week headlined: “In Trump’s Saudi Bargain, the Bottom Line Proudly Stands Out”.

The Trump White House will be represented at the investment conference in Saudi Arabia this week – dubbed “Davos in the Desert” by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He said he was attending in spite of the grave allegations against the Saudi rulers.

Surely the point here is the unseemly indulgence by Western governments of Saudi Arabia and its so-called “reforming” Crown Prince. It is remarkable how much credulity Washington, London, Paris, Ottawa and others are affording the Saudi despots who, most likely, have been caught redhanded in a barbarous murder.

Yet, when it comes to Russia and outlandish, unproven claims that the Kremlin carried out a bizarre poison-assassination plot, all these same Western governments abandon all reason and decorum to pile sanctions on Russia based on lurid, hollow speculation. The blatant hypocrisy demolishes any pretense of integrity or principle.

Here is another connection between the Skripal and Khashoggi affairs. The Saudis no doubt took note of the way Britain’s rulers have shown absolute disregard and contempt for international law in their de facto abduction of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. If the British can get away with that gross violation, then the Saudis probably thought that nobody would care too much if they disappeared Jamal Khashoggi.

Grotesquely, the way things are shaping up in terms of hypocritical lack of action by the Americans, British and others towards the Saudi despots, the latter might just get away with murder. Not so Russia. The Russians are not allowed to get away with even an absurd fantasy.

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Did Saudis, CIA Fear Khashoggi 9/11 Bombshell?

Jamal Khashoggi may have gleaned highly sensitive inside information on what actually happened on 9/11.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The macabre case of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi raises the question: did Saudi rulers fear him revealing highly damaging information on their secret dealings? In particular, possible involvement in the 9/11 terror attacks on New York in 2001.

Even more intriguing are US media reports now emerging that American intelligence had snooped on and were aware of Saudi officials making plans to capture Khashoggi prior to his apparent disappearance at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week. If the Americans knew the journalist’s life was in danger, why didn’t they tip him off to avoid his doom?

Jamal Khashoggi (59) had gone rogue, from the Saudi elite’s point of view. Formerly a senior editor in Saudi state media and an advisor to the royal court, he was imminently connected and versed in House of Saud affairs. As one commentator cryptically put it: “He knew where all the bodies were buried.”

For the past year, Khashoggi went into self-imposed exile, taking up residence in the US, where he began writing opinion columns for the Washington Post.

Khashoggi’s articles appeared to be taking on increasingly critical tone against the heir to the Saudi throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The 33-year-old Crown Prince, or MbS as he’s known, is de facto ruler of the oil-rich kingdom, in place of his aging father, King Salman.

While Western media and several leaders, such as Presidents Trump and Macron, have been indulging MbS as “a reformer”, Khashoggi was spoiling this Saudi public relations effort by criticizing the war in Yemen, the blockade on Qatar and the crackdown on Saudi critics back home.

However, what may have caused the Saudi royals more concern was what Khashoggi knew about darker, dirtier matters. And not just the Saudis, but American deep state actors as as well.

He was formerly a media aide to Prince Turki al Faisal, who is an eminence gris figure in Saudi intelligence, with its systematic relations to American and British counterparts. Prince Turki’s father, Faisal, was formerly the king of Saudi Arabia until his assassination in 1975 by a family rival. Faisal was a half-brother of the present king, Salman, and therefore Prince Turki is a cousin of the Crown Prince – albeit at 73 more than twice his age.

For nearly 23 years, from 1977 to 2001, Prince Turki was the director of the Mukhabarat, the Saudi state intelligence apparatus. He was instrumental in Saudi, American and British organization of the mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan to combat Soviet forces. Those militants in Afghanistan later evolved into the al Qaeda terror network, which has served as a cat’s paw in various US proxy wars across the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, including Russia’s backyard in the Caucasus.

Ten days before the 9/11 terror attacks on New York City, in which some 3,000 Americans died, Prince Turki retired from his post as head of Saudi intelligence. It was an abrupt departure, well before his tenure was due to expire.

There has previously been speculation in US media that this senior Saudi figure knew in advance that something major was going down on 9/11. At least 15 of the 19 Arabs who allegedly hijacked three commercial airplanes that day were Saudi nationals.

Prince Turki has subsequently been named in a 2002 lawsuit mounted by families of 9/11 victims. There is little suggestion he was wittingly involved in organizing the terror plot. Later public comments indicated that Prince Turki was horrified by the atrocity. But the question is: did he know of the impending incident, and did he alert US intelligence, which then did not take appropriate action to prevent it?

Jamal Khashoggi had long served as a trusted media advisor to Prince Turki, before the latter resigned from public office in 2007. Following 9/11, Turki was the Saudi ambassador to both the US and Britain.

A tentative idea here is that Khashoggi, in his close dealings with Prince Turki over the years, may have gleaned highly sensitive inside information on what actually happened on 9/11. Were the Arab hijackers mere patsies used by the American CIA to facilitate an event which has since been used by American military planners to launch a global “war on terror” as a cover for illegal wars overseas? There is a huge body of evidence that the 9/11 attacks were indeed a “false flag” event orchestrated by the US deep state as a pretext for its imperialist rampages.

The apparent abduction and murder last week of Jamal Khashoggi seems such an astoundingly desperate move by the Saudi rulers. More evidence is emerging from Turkish sources that the journalist was indeed lured to the consulate in Istanbul where he was killed by a 15-member hit squad. Reports are saying that the alleged assassination was ordered at the highest level of the Saudi royal court, which implicates Crown Prince MbS.

Why would the Saudi rulers order such a heinous act, which would inevitably lead to acute political problems, as we are seeing in the fallout from governments and media coverage around the world?

Over the past year, the House of Saud had been appealing to Khashoggi to return to Riyadh and resume his services as a media advisor to the royal court. He declined, fearing that something more sinister was afoot. When Khashoggi turned up in Istanbul to collect a divorce document from the Saudi consulate on September 28, it appears that the House of Saud decided to nab him. He was told to return to the consulate on October 2. On that same day, the 15-member group arrived from Riyadh on two private Gulfstream jets for the mission to kill him.

Official Saudi claims stretch credulity. They say Khashoggi left the consulate building unharmed by a backdoor, although they won’t provide CCTV images to prove that. The Turks say their own CCTV facilities monitoring the front and back of the Saudi consulate show that Khashoggi did not leave the premises. The Turks seem confident of their claim he was murdered inside the building, his remains dismembered and removed in diplomatic vehicles. The two private jets left the same day from Istanbul with the 15 Saudis onboard to return to Riyadh, via Cairo and Dubai.

To carry out such a reckless act, the Saudis must have been alarmed by Khashoggi’s critical commentaries appearing in the Washington Post. The columns appeared to be delivering more and more damaging insights into the regime under Crown Prince MbS.

The Washington Post this week is reporting that US intelligence sources knew from telecom intercepts that the Saudis were planning to abduct Khashoggi. That implicates the House of Saud in a dastardly premeditated act of murder.

But furthermore this same disclosure could also, unwittingly, implicate US intelligence. If the latter knew of a malicious intent towards Khashoggi, why didn’t US agents warn him about going to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul? Surely, he could have obtained the same personal documents from the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, a country where he was residing and would have been safer.

Jamal Khashoggi may have known too many dark secrets about US and Saudi intel collusion, primarily related to the 9/11 terror incidents. And with his increasing volubility as a critical journalist in a prominent American news outlet, it may have been time to silence him. The Saudis as hitmen, the American CIA as facilitators.

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Did U.S. and Allies Commit War Crime by Bombing Syria on April 14th?

The US Government and its allies alleged that there had been a chemical weapons attack which the Syrian Government had perpetrated in the town of Douma Syria on April 7th.

Eric Zuesse

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Originally posted at strategic-culture.org:


Bombardment (or other military invasion) of a country that has not invaded nor threatened to invade the attacking country(s) is “aggression” under international law, and is the chief crime that the Nazis were hanged for at Nuremberg after World War II.

The US and its allies have routinely committed aggression, in places such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. A particular instance of it, to be discussed here, could be especially prosecutable, because the alleged ‘cause’ for the invasion could turn out to have been a provable lie, an intentional fabrication which had been concocted by the perpetrators so as to ‘justify’ their invasion. This particular instance was the US-and-allied bombing of Syria, by over a hundred missiles, on April 14th.

The concept here is “War of Aggression” in Wikipedia, whose article makes clear that certain types of invasions, such as in boundary-dispute cases, do not constitute a war-crime. That article cites a statement from the Nuremberg Tribunal: “To initiate a war of aggression … is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” Lying about the cause for invading is almost invariably an important part of that “accumulated evil.” Hitler was infamous for doing it. Did the US do this on April 14th?

That Wikipedia article refers to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as the standing body that possesses the authority to judge such cases. However, the US Government has refused to accept that Court’s authority, and prefers instead to be forced to a military surrender as the earlier fascist powers were, before it will yield to any such court’s authority. They know that that won’t happen, so are brazen in what they now are doing. The US Government rejects international law (except as applied to other countries — especially ones that the US aristocracy wants to conquer, such as Syria, Russia, Iran, and China). Because the US Government has not surrendered, as the earlier Axis powers did in WW II (when the US was a democracy, instead of a dictatorship as it now is), it maintains its freedom to do what the Germans and the Japanese and the Italians did in WW II — to do such things: aggressions. Like the earlier fascists, the US and allied aristocracies invade and expect to win and thus to possess immunity from prosecution for their crimes. Of course, thus far, they have succeeded, even after the blatant lying that had ‘justified’ the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

This does not mean, however, that the US Government will necessarily be free from the international ‘court’ of public opinion, if and when a demonstrable act of aggressive war by the US Government can be clearly and incontrovertibly presented to that ‘court’ (assuming, of course, that the news-media aren’t themselves likewise effectively controlled by the US Government and its allies — or by their aristocrats, who advertise in and own them).

For the international ‘court’ of public opinion to be applicable, a certain modicum of honesty on the press’s part will therefore be essential. The present article is consequently being submitted to all US-and-allied news-media for publication, broadcast, and public discussion, so as to enable the international ‘court’ of public opinion to function, on this matter (since the US Government blocks the ICC from having jurisdiction over it). The international ‘court’ of public opinion will be able to function only if these news-media publish the case that’s presented here. Otherwise, the public just won’t even have a chance. So, here is that case:

THE CASE

The US Government and its allies alleged that there had been a chemical weapons attack which the Syrian Government had perpetrated in the town of Douma Syria on April 7th. The US Government organized a bombardment of the Syrian Government, which occurred seven days later. The US Government did everything it could to prevent the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW, the internationally authorized body which investigates such matters) from inspecting the area, either before or after the US-and-allied bombing. The OPCW wanted to investigate in order to determine whether there had actually been the alleged chemical-weapons attack perpetrated by the Syrian Government, as the US regime and its allies had alleged in order to allegedly justify their April 14th invasion.

Some UN delegates were even afraid that the aggressive US might take “military action” in order to prevent an OPCW investigation there. Syria’s Government headlined on April 10th, “OPCW to send a fact-finding mission to Douma upon request of Syria and Russia”. Pamela Falk of CBS News reported on April 10th, that “Because the US and Russia draft resolutions are unlikely to pass the Security Council, the Russian mission to the UN is planning to introduce a resolution, obtained by CBS News, that supports an OPCW fact-finding mission to Douma.” But events were racing too fast for anything to issue from the UN The US and its allies were determined to invade, and quickly.

On the night of April 10th, RT bannered “Europe air traffic control issues alert over ‘possible air strikes on Syria within 72 hours’”. Infowars headlined on April 11th “REPORT: US SET TO TARGET 70 DIFFERENT SITES IN SYRIA” and reported that, “The United States is planning to target as many as 70 different sites in Syria, including some at which Russian soldiers are stationed, a source close to the Department of Defense has told Infowars. … According to the source, evidence provided by the controversial White Helmets group, which some have linked to jihadist groups in the region, will be used to justify the attack. The source added that Trump wasn’t supposed to tweet about the air strikes. Earlier today, Trump tweeted, ‘Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and smart! You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!’” He was international judge, jury, and executioner, like George W. Bush was regarding Iraq in 2003.

On April 12th, Breitbart News bannered “May Readies UK for Syria Strikes, Defies Strong Public Opposition” and reported: “Theresa May is clearing the way to launch attacks on the Syrian regime, despite multiple polls showing only one in five Brits support missile attacks.”

This would be an invasion by the aristocracies, not by the publics; these invading nations are dictatorships; their publics have no control over their nations’ international relations, none really at all. To call these nations ‘democracies’ is thus to insult democracy. These nations’ respective aristocracies make even such life-and-death decisions — invasions and other international war-crimes — regardless of the desires and interests of their subjects (called ‘citizens’). And they are doing it (like they did against Iraq in 2003, and against Libya in 2011) against a Government and nation that had never invaded nor even threatened to invade any of the invaders. It’s thus clearly “aggressive war.” Even if Syria’s Government had perpetrated a chemical attack in Douma, the invading nations have been invading without even having sought from the UN an authorization to do it. Back in 2003, when the same invaders destroyed Iraq, they at least tried to obtain a UN authorization to invade. When that effort failed, they simply ordered the UN’s weapons-inspectors out, so as not to kill them, too, in their war-crime. But Donald Trump and his allies didn’t even try to get a UN authorization. (And he has treated the OPCW’s investigators with just as much impatience and contempt as G.W. Bush had treated Hans Blix’s in 2003.)

Also on April 12thRussian Television reported, “The first four chemical weapons experts from the OPCW have arrived in Syria on a fact-finding mission (FFM) into the April 7 Douma incident.”

The US had barred at the Security Council any OPCW findings prior to any invasion; but on the day of the US-and-allied invasion, April 14th, the OPCW announced its determination to investigate Douma, notwithstanding the US regime’s opposition to that. The OPCW insisted upon doing their job, maybe even to expose that this invasion had been a war-crime, if that’s what it was. So, the OPCW simply took upon itself to act, to gather evidence.

This investigation had been wanted by Syria and Russia, but the US and its allies tried at the United Nations to block it. Now that the OPCW was in Syria, the US and its allies charged that the Syrian Government didn’t want any such investigation, and was delaying it so as to hide evidence; the Syrian Government responded that it needed some time in order to be able to make Douma safe enough to allow OPCW investigators to work there. Some armed anti-Government fighters still remained inside Douma. The OPCW were waiting for the Government’s go-ahead to enter Douma.

On Wednesday, April 18th, Reuters headlined “Head of chemical weapons watchdog: UN security team was shot at in Douma”, and reported that,

The head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said on Wednesday that a UN security team doing reconnaissance in Douma, Syria came under gunfire a day earlier, sources told Reuters.

OPCW Director General Ahmet Üzümcü told a meeting at the organization’s headquarters in The Hague that the security team was forced to withdraw, delaying the arrival of chemical weapons inspectors due to visit the site.

America’s allegations that Syria was overstating the dangers to the OPCW investigators were now clearly lies. It was manifestly the case. The lies from the American side poured like a river, just as usually had been the case — most infamously during the lead-up to the 2003 invasion and destruction of Iraq, which likewise was rushed through on the basis of lies, by the US and its allies.

Also on April 18th, TruePublica bannered “Syrian ‘Rebels’ Used Sarin Nerve Gas Sold By Britain” and reported that the UK Government had “granted licences for the sale of chemical weapons ingredients and components to Syria ten months after the uprising began.” The poorly written text in that news-report failed to make unambiguously clear in its opening, whether these chemicals had been sold to Syria’s Government and/or to the US-UK-backed jihadists who were trying to overthrow it. But both seem to have been the case, and some of these were “donations” and not merely sales; so, at least some of them went to the jihadists whom UK was backing, and weren’t sales to the Syrian Government. (See bottom of page 50 in this document, saying “the revision of the Syria sanctions regime led to some licence revocations in July 2012 for the export of chemicals,” and “the Government is satisfied that no gifting package contravenes its policy,” but the TruePublica report failed to link to any documentation whatsoever, for its vaguely written allegation here, neither to this document nor to anything.) So: the chemical incidents that the US and UK regimes were blaming against Syria’s Government might actually all have been due instead to “chemical” “donations,” by the accusing countries, those foreign invader-regimes, donated to their jihadist allies now in Syria, working in conjunction to provide fake excuses for the US and its allies to invade. Britain might have supplied the terrorists chemical weapons, in this particular instance. Furthermore, on 8 September 2013, London’s Metro newspaper had headlined “British government confirms chemicals were sold to Syria between 2004 and 2010”. And on 7 October 2013, Christof Lehmann’s NSNBC news-site bannered “Top US and Saudi Officials responsible for Chemical Weapons in Syria”. Those were alleged to have been donations of such chemicals to the jihadists. Furthermore, America’s two leading scientists on such matters, Theodore Postol and Richard Lloyd, issued the most-detailed investigation ever of the 21 August 2013 Ghouta chemical attack in Syria that US President Obama was trying to use as a ‘justification’ to invade that nation, and they concluded “the US Government’s Interpretation of the Technical Intelligence It Gathered Prior to and After the August 21 Attack CANNOT POSSIBLY BE CORRECT.” Furthermore Robert Parry at his Consortium News reported on 23 December 2013 that “Ake Sellstrom, the head of the United Nations mission investigating chemical weapons use in Syria, agrees that the vector analysis – at the heart of the New York Times’ indictment of the Syrian government for the deadly Aug. 21 Sarin gas attack – doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.” That fact explained why Gareth Porter at Inter Press Service had headlined on 27 August 2013, “In Rush to Strike Syria, US Tried to Derail UN Probe”. As Seymour Hersh reported in the London Review of Books on 19 December 2013, “The White House’s misrepresentation of what it knew about the attack, and when, was matched by its readiness to ignore intelligence that could undermine the narrative.” Obama continued in George W. Bush’s footsteps, though as a candidate he had condemned Bush’s international policies. Trump now was doing the same. The US regime (like in 2003) simply didn’t want the truth to become publicly known. America’s Republican Party aristocrats and their politicians and news-media had blamed Obama for being too soft against Assad for not bombing Syria, but actually Obama was merely less brazen than his successor Donald Trump (financed by Republican Party aristocrats who had financed Bush) has turned out to be. The US and its allies were clearly lying about the Ghouta incident, just like they had done about “Saddam’s WMD.” So, UK firms, and also “US and Saudi Officials,” might have given jihadists such chemicals. What’s especially damning is the “donations,” since those would have been to the jihadists, in order for them to set up “false-flag” attacks (such as they did in Ghouta), to be blamed against Assad. And still today in the US and allied countries the politicians and news-media refer to Obama as having been indecisive instead of a liar on the Ghouta incident, and Assad is unquestioningly presumed to have been to blame for the Ghouta chemical attack, just as the US-and-allied aristocracies want.

Finally, on April 21st of 2018, the Syrian Government announced that Douma was sufficiently safe for the OPCW inspectors to be able to investigate, and the OPCW entered there, and began its work.

On April 22nd, RT headlined “‘Whole story was staged’: Germany’s ZDF reporter says Douma incident was false flag attack” and reported that “‘People told us in a very convincing manner that this whole story was staged,’ Uli Gack, a reporter with the German ZDF public broadcaster, said (referring to the alleged Douma chemical attack) while he spoke live on ZDF Heute (‘Today’) show on Saturday.” He had entered along with the OPCW investigators.

The OPCW receives funding from the US Government and so has never yet made public their findings regarding Douma. On 5 November 2013, Reuters reported that “The United States has been the biggest contributor to the OPCW’s fund for the Syria mission, with Britain, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland also contributing.” Obviously, if the OPCW findings indicate that this alleged event wasn’t really a chemical attack by the Syrian Government but instead was staged by the anti-Government fighters who are supported by the US Government, or otherwise was not planned by the Syrian Government, then the US and its allied Governments (UK, and France) who bombed Syrian Government facilities on April 14th are war-criminals, irrespective of whether they can be prosecuted for that, or for anything else. They’re then just international gangsters, but will be known to be that by an honest OPCW report. So, the US has done everything possible to block it.

Since the OPCW has refused, even as of this late date, to make public its findings, that ZDF Heute news-report, from their reporter who accompanied the OPCW investigators, is perhaps the only independent evidence yet available regarding whether the US-and-allied bombing-campaign on April 14th was a war-crime. (Of course, also, no US or British or French ‘news’ medium has done any follow-up report regarding whether their Government is a war-criminal on this.)

The journalist in that April 20th ZDF report speaks German very fast there, and no translation-option is provided in the video. Furthermore, the video will be gone entirely, after a year (“Video available until 20.04.2019, 19:00”) even in its spoken-only, German-only, version, and so my written news-report and translation here won’t merely make the ZDF report’s contents available to English-speaking audiences for the first time, but it will also provide these contents in a permanent form, which can be included in the various web archives, which that video is not. (Videos are often not archivable. They unfortunately have this severe problem, as historical evidence.)

It’s a two-minute and 29 second video. Here is the video (for as long as it’s still online).

In it, ZDF’s reporter Uli Gack said: “IS [Islamic State] had created the attack. The place was a commando post for the Islamists who had installed chlorine containers and were waiting that this place, highly interesting for the Syrian airforce, would be bombarded, which happened, and the chlorine containers were bombarded. People say that several provocations of this type had happened in Douma. During one of these so-called exercises by the IS, people had been exposed to the gas, which was filmed and then shown as proof for the April 7 attack. I cannot put my hand into the fire for this, but there seems truth in the stories.”

Interviewer (also from ZDF, which is a German Government channel, and Germany is allied with the US and therefore supports US propaganda against Syria’s Government) then asks: “So, why would Assad or the Russians hinder the examinations of the facts?”

Gack: “The terrain under places like Homs is like Swiss cheese, everywhere cells appear from the underground and it is dangerous for the examiners. At least, this could be true. The traces of the gas are disappearing slowly and it may be impossible to know who is responsible.”

On May 4th, the OPCW announced that their collection of evidence regarding the Douma incident was now over, the analysis of it would require “three to four weeks,” and “At this time, it is not possible to give a timeframe for when the Douma report will be issued to States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention,” meaning that they were struggling to find a way to present an honest report which wouldn’t hurt their employer, OPCW.

The OPCW reported on July 24th, that “The Secretariat has verified the destruction of all 27 chemical weapons production facilities (CWPFs) declared by the Syrian Arab Republic.”

On September 6th, the UN reported that, “IZUMI NAKAMITSU, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, updating the Council on the implementation of resolution 2118 (2013) on the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons programme, said that the Technical Secretariat of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had verified the destruction of all 27 chemical weapons production facilities declared by that country.” This announcement was made at that time because the jihadists in Syria’s most-densely pro-jihadist province, Idlib, the American Government’s allies there, had been documented by the Syrian and Russian Governments to have prepared in Idlib yet another assembly of chemicals to be ready to be spread by a Syrian and Russian bombing campaign, which had been planned by Syria and its ally Russia, in order to exterminate the jihadists in Idlib. So, clearly, any further banned chemicals on Syrian territory would be from the US and its allies, not from Syria and its allies. This crucial fact has not been reported to the American people by American ‘news’ media. The US regime still harbors hopes of sparking a chemical release in Syria that they can blame against Syria’s Government as an excuse to bomb it further — to commit still more aggressions against Syria.

On September 24th, the OPCW reported that, “The FFM [Fact-Finding Mission] continues to collect and analyse information with regard to the alleged use of toxic chemicals as a weapon in Douma and will provide a final report on its findings in due course.” Presumably, the OPCW wants to find a way to phrase their report so that the US Government and its allies won’t discontinue funding the OPCW. Perhaps by the time it is finally issued, the ‘news’ media won’t need to give it more than a perfunctory and extremely brief ‘news’ report, with a dull headline. (If even that.) After all: On May 4th, the OPCW had announced that their collection of evidence regarding the Douma incident was over, and the analysis of it would require “three to four weeks,” so that the analysis was completed by around June 1st — and yet it hasn’t been made public.

This is like a repeat of what the US regime and its allies had done to Iraq in 2003, regarding “Saddam’s WMD” that didn’t exist — invasion on the basis of lies about “weapons of mass destruction” — as if the US regime isn’t itself the world’s worst producers of such things and users of them, too: “pots calling the kettle black” and then invading that kettle. The UN is terrifically exercised about eliminating chemical-and biological weapons stockpiles from weak countries such as Iraq and Syria, but what about eliminating them from the world’s most powerful countries, which are even storing ebola virus for military use (or at least the US and UK Governments are)? What about that? Nothing. There’s no International Criminal Court to judge these leaders, who really are international war-criminals, even if OPCW ends up saying that Assad had been a domestic war-criminal. To be an international war-criminal is vastly more heinous, and there can be no reasonable doubt that the leaders of the US alliance are that.

In the international court of public opinion, today’s fascist powers could yet be internationally responded-to by consumer boycotts of their mega-corporate brands (whose owners control those fascist governments), and by other means. Furthermore, there exists the possibility of international economic sanctions against such fascist regimes, which kill millions and endanger the whole world. And, also, why are politicians in the US-allied nations being re-elected by the publics there? Certainly those voters don’t want to be controlled by the US regime’s stooges, as now is the case there. An exposure of the US regime as being an international fascist dictatorship could produce real results, even if the US regime continues stiffing the International Criminal Court. Whether the OPCW will risk doing this — calling out the US alliance’s lie on this occasion — is the question. But, for the sake of world peace, they ought to do it, not cave to their funders. Otherwise, how much longer will this decades-long string, of invasions by the US and its allies (such as of Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, and Syria and Yemen now), continue? If the ICC cannot prosecute America’s Presidents, then what use is it, really? So, all that is left here is an honest OPCW — if it is honest — and honest news-media (if they too will be honest).

What is at stake here could be whether fascist control of the world will be stopped, at all — ever.

A typical example of the depth of the enormously profitable corruption in the US, by which millions of Americans get routinely destroyed in order to expand yet further the wealth of America’s billionaires, the aristocrats, is summarily described here and here. This documentary, which is only summarized there, demonstrates that not only the people in the invaded countries are being destroyed by these aristocrats. Fascism is bad for everyone except the very few people who are enriched (enormously) by it, the super-rich who stand behind it, and who control it.

PS: 

What is the historical and ideological source of this fascism, which is now gripping the world? On 10 July 2018, I headlined at The Saker, “Vladimir Putin’s Basic Disagreement with The West” and attributed the source of the US-UK alliance to the UK magnate, Cecil Rhodes, late in the 1800s. He saw that in order for the British Empire to continue expanding, it would need to do so in alliance with the then-emerging US empire — a tight alliance between these two aristocracies — and that it should include also Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In 1877, he wrote: “I contend that we are the first race in the world, and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race. I contend that every acre added to our territory means the birth of more of the English race who otherwise would not be brought into existence. Added to this, the absorption of the greater portion of the world under our rule simply means the end of all wars.” He rationalized: further conquest by this ‘race’ would be the only path to permanent peace. The concept of ‘national security’, then, means, to them, expanding this particular empire, until it rules the entire planet. That’s their goal. That’s their ‘Paradise’. As I document also there, the American billionaire George Soros carries on today in Rhodes’s footsteps, to expand the US-UK empire. But the idea is not his; it is Rhodes’s. And today it has come to be based on two specific mechanisms. The US dollar as the world’s reserve currency is one bastion of this neo-Rhodes-ian system. The City of London’s constituting the bastion of the half of the world’s privately-owned wealth (most of the global aristocracy’s wealth) that’s hidden in offshore locations, where there is complete secrecy and non-accountability to any government, is the other half of this Rhodes-ian Paradise. It’s actually a global aristocratic gangland. That’s the reality of the Rhodes-ian system, which is today’s fascist Axis.

Here are three Snowden-released confidential documents that are typical as being Rhodes-ian:

One document, dated 12 November 2004, is headed “TOP SECRET” and to be sent “TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL” or to the entire core Rhodes empire, and it related that “From 4 – 6 October, Lt Gen Hayden and GCHQ [Government Communications Headquarters, in Cheltenham, England] Director David Pepper co-chaired the annual NSA-GCHQ Joint Management Review (JMR) at Chevening House. The fine Palladian house, the country residence of the UK Foreign Secretary, dates back to 1630. It is set in 27 acres of gardens, within an estate of 3,000 acres, and is located 23 miles south of London, in the Kent countryside.” It said “that NSA and GCHQ must work hard to keep one another apprised and well connected throughout (actually one of NSA’s Special US Liaison Officer, London’s key responsibilities); A validation of the common cause that joins our two nations.”

Another document, dated 19 November 2004, is likewise headed “TOP SECRET” and to be sent “TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL.” It’s headlined “Leaders Peer into the Future, See Global System.” It said: “Last week, SIGINT leaders flew in from around the world to attend the annual SIGINT Site Commanders Operational Review here at Fort Meade. This year’s SCOR conference focused on how we are to govern the global SIGINT network in the 21st century. It went very well.”

Another document, dated 24 November 2004, is likewise headed “TOP SECRET” and to be sent “TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL.” It’s headlined “Finding the Achilles’ Heel.” It said: “JWAC [Joint Warfare Analysis Center] provides the combatant commands, Joint Staff, and other customers with effects-based precision targeting options for selected networks and nodes in order to carry out the national security and military strategies of the United States during peace, crisis, and war.” It discussed “Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. As we continue the Global War on Terrorism, new opportunities are identified and analytic partnerships are formed.”

Tim Shorrock at Salon wrote on 10 June 2013:

“The largest concentration of cyber power on the planet is the intersection of the Baltimore Parkway and Maryland Route 32,” says Michael V. Hayden, who oversaw the privatization effort as NSA director from 1999 to 2005. He was referring not to the NSA itself but to the business park about a mile down the road from the giant black edifice that houses NSA’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Md. There, all of NSA’s major contractors, from Booz to SAIC to Northrop Grumman, carry out their surveillance and intelligence work for the agency.

So: Lt. Gen. Hayden in London on 12 November was preparing what would be presented at Ft. Meade on 19 November to America’s SIGINT from around the world. Then, on 24 November, JWAC was discussing “effects-based precision targeting options” that the entire SIGINT would adopt, after that meeting which Hayden had had 12 days earlier at the luxurious and private country residence of the UK Foreign Secretary. This “TOP SECRET” meeting seems to have been an instance of close coordination between US and UK. No announcement was ever made regarding what was said or agreed-to at any of those top-secret meetings.

But, above all: Why were only the Rhodes circle of nations’ leaders (“TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL”) included in these “TOP SECRET” US Government communications? Why not also French? Why not also Israeli? Why not also Saudi? Why not also Japanese? Etc.? (In other words: why not all other aristocracies that are allied with America’s aristocracy.) None of those countries were allowed to participate in these crucial and secret meetings.

Is “the special relationship” the core of the US empire? Is that what it basically is? If so, it’s what Rhodes wanted. And it certainly isn’t democracy, not anywhere. It’s privatized government, in the hands of the US and UK aristocracies, which control the generals and the weapons-making firms whose boards the generals join after their ‘public’ service. This is an entity that’s independent of any treaty the US Government has. It stands above any of America’s treaties. And, yet, this alliance never faced the US Constitution’s requirements in order to be able to become a treaty obligation or right with any foreign nation. The US Government has — to put this matter in clear terms — been taken over by international gangsters, US and foreign, who work closely together, via agents everywhere, answerable ultimately only to the US and UK aristocracies, and beyond any laws at all, entirely unConstitutional.

It is fascist, and it is trying to expand — they’re more like Adolf Hitler, than like Francisco Franco. It’s aggressive war, to control the world. It’s clearly war-criminal.

That’s what the OPCW is now facing.

To understand it more fully, I recommend especially two videos:

——

The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire (Documentary)

Operation Gladio – Full 1992 documentary BBC

What they show is the basic history that all students, everywhere, should know before they head off to college, so that they can understand the broader context in which their professors are functioning. And that’s the context I described in my “Vladimir Putin’s Basic Disagreement with The West”.

Here is an operation by the Rhodes-ians, under the leadership of US President Barack Obama:

Here is an act of partisan resistance against those nazis, today.

These wars are on in many places. One shouldn’t have to be targets that the new nazis are trying to kill, before one becomes knowledgeable about whom they are, and what they really stand for. Any nation’s politicians who support the new nazism are enemies of the people whom they had promised to represent. For example, this is the real reason why America’s NSA actually isn’t recording just the metadata on every phone call to or from every phone in America, but is also recording every phone-conversation, in blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution; and not only Trump’s appointee to the US Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh lies to endorse it, but also his colleague on the US DC Circuit Appeals Court, Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland did. They actually don’t care about the US Constitution; they just pay “lip service” to it. This is how these gangsters-in-suits run the country. Obviously, there is bipartisan support, by America’s aristocrats, for establishing a total-surveillance government. Whereas Garland refused to say why he voted for it, Kavanaugh said his reason was that “national security” overrides the US Constitution. And, now, he is on the Supreme Court, which interprets the US Constitution. He’s normal there, not unusual. He’s not the basic problem; the aristocracy that he serves is the basic problem.

Will the OPCW stand up against it? Or will it instead serve its masters? Blaming the invaded Government is so much safer than blaming the invaded ones, especially for an authority that’s being paid by the invading ones.

But, if the OPCW won’t do it, who will? Who even can? And, what kind of world would that then leave us with?

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