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BREAKING: OIC recognizes East Jerusalem as capital of Palestine

Under the leadership of the Turkish President, the OIC unites for Palestine, while Erdogan bolsters his personal prestige in a calculated diplomatic masterstroke.

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A meeting of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Turkey has produced a joint declaration on Palestine. The Istanbul Declaration’s main points are as follows:

–The OIC will recognise East Jeruslaem/East Al-Quds as the capital of the State of Palestine

–The US cannot play any part in the peace process as it Washington is not impartial

–Members of OIC nations will push for the UN to recognise the full statehood of Palestine

–The OIC will put pressure on countries which have not yet recognised Palestine as a state to do so immediately

Below is the full text of the 23 point Istanbul Declaration on Palestine:

“1. Reject and condemn in the strongest terms the unilateral decision by the President of the United States America recognizing Al-Quds as the so-called capital of Israel, the occupying Power; reject it as null and void legally, and consider it an attack on the historical, legal, natural and national rights of the Palestinian people, a deliberate undermining of all peace efforts, an impetus to of extremism and terrorism, and a threat to international peace and security; and call upon all member states to give high priority for the Palestinian question in their daily discourses and foreign policy agenda, especially in their dealing with counterparts in other parts of the world;

2. Reaffirm the centrality of the Cause of Palestine and Al-Quds Ash-Sharif to the Muslim Ummah; renew our principled support for the Palestinian people in their pursuit to attain their inalienable national rights, including their right to self-determination and the establishment of their independent and sovereign Palestinian State on the borders of 4 June 1967, with Al-Quds Ash-Sharif as its capital; assert the status of Al-Quds Ash-Sharif in the hearts and minds of the Muslim and Christian peoples throughout the world because it has the first of the two qiblas, the third holy mosque, where Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, started his Mi’raj (Ascension to Heaven), and the birthplace of Jesus Christ, peace be upon him; and resolve to confront any steps that would affect the historical, legal, religious or status of the or political City of Al-Quds Ash-Sharif;

3. Reaffirm our attachment to the just and comprehensive-peace based on the two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine and consistent with internationally-recognized terms of reference and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the Extraordinary Islamic Summit Conference in Makkah Al-Mukarramah in 2005- as a strategic choice; and call on the international community to act in an effective and serious manner to achieve this solution;

4. Reaffirm our adherence to all resolutions adopted by the regular and extraordinary sessions of the Islamic Summit on the Cause of Palestine and the City of Al-Quds Ash-Sharif, in particular the Extraordinary Summit in Jakarta, including the affirmation that a comprehensive and just peace will be achieved only by ending the occupation and establishing the independent State of Palestine that has full sovereignty on the City of Al-Quds Ash-Sharif as its eternal capital;

5. Consider that this dangerous declaration, which aims to change the legal status of the City of Al-Quds Ash-Sharif, is null and void and lacks any legitimacy, as being a serious violation of the international law, and the Fourth Geneva Convention in particular, and all relevant resolutions of international legitimacy, particularly the U.N. Security Council resolutions No. 478 (1980) and 2334 (2016), the foundations of the peace process that stipulate that City of Al-Quds Ash-Sharif as a final status issue, the agreements signed and the undertakings made in this regard by the United States of America, which requires the immediate reversal of this decision;

6. Hold the U.S. Administration fully liable for all the consequences of not retracting from this illegal decision; and regard it as an announcement of the U.S. Administration’s withdrawal from its role as sponsor of peace and its realization among all stakeholders and an encouragement of Israel, the occupying Power, to continue its policy of colonialism, settlement, apartheid and the ethnic cleansing it has been practicing in the occupied Palestinian territory in 1967, and in the City of Al-Quds Ash-Sharif at its core;

7. Thank regional institutions for their positive stand in favor of the State of Palestine and the status of Al-Quds; and mandate the General Secretariat to mobilize support for the cause of Palestine from all regional organizations.

8. Declare East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine and invite all countries to recognize the State of Palestine and East Jerusalem as its occupied capital;

9. Assert our continued commitment to protecting the City of Al-Quds Ash-Sharif, its historic status, its cultural mission, and its legal status, and to take all necessary measures to put an end to the violations committed by the brutal Israeli occupation and any party that supports this occupation and its colonial and racist policies; and condemn in this regard the full and unjustified bias of the U.S. Congress in favor of the imperial and racist policies and practices of Israel, the occupying Power;

10. Welcome the international consensus rejecting the declaration of the U.S. Administration, which violates all resolutions of international legitimacy, because of its serious repercussions on the security and stability in the region and the world; and regard this international consensus as a message of strong support for the rights of the Palestinian people and their just Cause and right to their land, notably the City of Al-Quds Ash-Sharif;

11. Support all legal and political steps at the national and international levels, which contribute to preserving the historical and legal status of the City of Al-Quds Ash-Sharif; and support the State of Palestine in its efforts in all international forums to consolidate its sovereignty over Al-Quds Ash-Sharif and the occupied Palestinian territory in general;

12. Call upon all States to continue to fully implement UNSCR 478 of 1980 and in this regard urge all States to: a) refrain from supporting the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the so-called capital of Israel and; b) not to relocate their Diplomatic Missions to Al-Quds Ash-Sharif;

13. Call on the U.N. Security Council to assume its responsibilities immediately and reaffirm the legal status of the City of Al-Quds Ash-Sharif, and to end the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine, to ensure the international protection of the Palestinian people, and to implement and respect all its resolutions on the Palestinian Cause;

14. Affirm its readiness to take up this grave violation in the U.N. General Assembly should the U.N. Security Council fail to act in accordance with the U.N. General Assembly resolution no.377A; the “Uniting for Peace resolution”;

15. Stand for the Cause of Palestine and Al-Quds Ash-Sharif as the main issue in international forums, including Member States’ voting in favor of the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, the UNESCO and other international organizations and expressing their rejection of any action contrary to this principled position, and any member state taking a different stance shall be considered to have left Islamic unanimity and should therefore be held accountable;

16. Urge strongly all member states to support Bayt Mal Al-Quds Ash-Sharif, the executive arm of Al-Quds Committee chaired by His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco, in order to help the steadfastness of the inhabitants of Al-Quds;

17. Express unequivocal support for the just struggle of the Palestinian people and our condemnation of the Israeli attacks on the peaceful protests of the Palestinian people against the illegal declaration of the U.S. Administration and our full solidarity with the Palestinian people in these difficult circumstances, which require Member States and all peace-loving forces to take urgent action to avoid taking any similar steps and to respond to the imperialist and racist procedures by Israel, the occupying Power, towards the City of Al-Quds Ash-Sharif;

18. Also affirm commitment to provide the necessary material resources to support the steadfastness of the Palestinian people within the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly in the City of Al-Quds Ash-Sharif, who continue to protect the historic, civilizational and legal identity of the Holy City;

19. Strongly urge all Member States, specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations in the Member States to increase their contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) so as to ease the ongoing financial crises, exacerbated by the current humanitarian situation on the ground, and to support the Agency’s valuable work in assisting the Palestine refugees;

20. Call upon the Member States and relevant OIC bodies to continue to provide all forms of economic, social, technical and material support and assistance to the Palestinian people and the State of Palestine including promotion and facilitation of trade with Palestine, developing capacity building programs and enhancing financial and economic assistance to build up a strong and independent Palestinian national economy and to strengthen the economic and social development of Palestine, including the City of Al-Quds Al-Sharif, as its capital;

21. Call upon the OIC Executive Committee and its Bureau and the Ministerial Contact Group on Al-Quds to act expeditiously and communicate with the governments of world countries and international organizations to raise their awareness of the seriousness of this step and the actions of Muslim countries in this regard and to act preemptively concerning any negative consequences of the declaration of the U.S. Administration;

22. Request IDB to support economic and social development endeavors in Quds Al-Sharif and other occupied territories through the “Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development” by prioritizing Palestine’s projects and formulating special and flexible mechanisms and procedures for them;

23. Assert the need to continue to follow developments in this regard and to take the necessary action accordingly”.

How it unfolded

After a closed door meeting, OIC Secretary General Yousef Al-Othaimeen offered brief introductory remarks followed by a statement from Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas.

Preisident Abbas hailed the meeting as one of the msot successful Islamic summits in history. He reaffirmed that Palestine cannot accept the US as a peace broker as the US has forfeited any claim to be an honest and neutral partner.

He further affirmed that Palestine will go to the UN in order to declare Trump’s declaration null and void while pushing the UN to recognise the full statehood of Palestine.

The main speaker was the summit’s host Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdgoan. Erdogan stated that the founding mission of the OIC was to protect that sanctity of al-Quds and that today’s summit has shown the world that Al-Quds is not alone.

Erdogan affirmed the mutual stance of the OIC that America’s participation in future peace talks over Palestine has “come to an end” and that OIC member states will identify new mediators along with the UN.

As he did earlier in the day, Erdogan once again showed slides detailing the history of Israeli occupation of Palestine. He then showed images of Israeli soldiers and military style police torturing Palestinian children and other civilians.

Erdogan then rhetorically asked how Trump could defend such actions, saying,

“Hey Trump, are you backing up this country–this Israel? There is torture here…terrorism here..is that what you are defending?”

The Turkish President answered his question by stating that Trump is a defender of a “zealous Zionist rationale”.

He further stated that Trump “would defend such a country” as the US has been using YPG-PYD terrorists to allegedly fight Daesh in Syria.

What is the significance? 

In many ways the most significant development at the summit was the unmistakable position of Iran and Turkey as non-Arab countries, taking a clear leadership role on Palestine, an issue once dominated by Arab luminaries such as Egypt’s Nasser, Libya’s Gaddafi and to an extent Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. Today, Syria remains the only Arab state to continue and speak in a clear and decisive manner for Palestine, although Syria’s own war against terrorism is the immediate priority.

In this sense, the conference helps to further solidify an already strong and rapidly growing Iran-Turkish partnership that just over a year ago would have been difficult to imagine.

This, along with Lebanon’s support for the OIC initiatives affirms my own statements that the Northern Bloc of the Middle East is the clear diplomatic winner in the hearts and minds of the Arab street and the wide Muslim world.

The comparative lack of enthusiasm from Saudi Arabia and its contemporary allies, including Egypt was noticeable. Even Jordan’s King Abdullah II, the custodian of the holy mosques of the Noble Sanctuary in Al-Quds, make what by his standards were strong statements in favour of the OIC’s ultimate decision. Considering Jordan’s normally good relations with Israel and highly good relations with the US, this statement carried considerable weight.

Beyond this, Donald Trump’s move has clearly triggered a geo-political backlash. The signatories to the Istanbul Declaration include countries as varied as Pakistan, Indonesia, Albania, Malaysia and the Arab world. While it remains to be seen which countries will be fully implement the declaration in respect of their own national laws and diplomatic positions, it is clear that the condemnation of the US move has been universal, with even the EU criticising Trump’s unilateralism.

Erdogan’s moment

Turkey’s President  has clearly used the summit to enhance his personal prestige in the wider Muslim world. His impassioned rhetoric and fierce condemnation of both Israel and the US has already proved popular on Arabic social media, outside of the countries with whom Turkey has outstanding disputes.

Beyond this, Erdogan has used the summit to solidify his multi-polar credentials. Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro attended the summit as an observer and Erdogan thanked Maduro profusely during his remarks.

When Erdogan went on to call the Venezuelan President the voice and leader of his region, it was another shot at the US which for years has been trying to oust both Maduro and his Bolivarian predecessor Hugo Chavez.

CONCLUSION: 

In respect of the efficacy of the Istanbul Declaration, it all boils down to how united OIC members will remain when it comes to implementing that which they have pledged to implement.

If a majority of the concerned nations do take active measures to implement the articles of the Declaration, it could have a great deal of geo-political impact, insofar as a wide variety of nations from around the world–nations which don’t often agree with one another, act in unison in response to a highly provocative move by the United States.

For Erdogan, it is largely mission accomplished. He has finally found an issue to bolster his pan-Islamic credentials to the broadest possible audience, while shaming some of his own regional rivals (Egypt and Saudi Arabia in particular) and making it clear beyond a reasonable doubt, that for the time being, Turkey’s once healthy relations with both the US and Israel are over.

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CIA Director and NYT Accidentally Expose Skripal Poisoning Hoax – DUCKGATE (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 189.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the stunning, inadvertent, admission by the New York Times and CIA Director Gina Haspel that much of what we know from the Salisbury-Skripal poisoning is pure fabrication and manipulation.

‘Duckgate’, as it is now being dubbed, was used to trick US President Trump into expelling 60 Russian Diplomats over false photographic evidence presented to him by Haspel, as it was provided to her by UK authorities.

The manipulation of POTUS Trump, courtesy of CIA Director Haspel, the UK government (and accidentally documented on by the NYT), has now blown open some serious holes into the entire narrative that Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by Russian agents with the deadly Novichok nerve agent.

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Via The Blogmire…


(SEE UPDATE AT THE BOTTOM)

Well this is interesting.

I had intended to put up a new thread for people who want to continue commenting on the Salisbury and Amesbury cases, as the last piece I did on it has reached an unmanageable 1,500+ comments. But just as I was about to do so, I was alerted to an important piece over on the Moon of Alabama website, entitled, “CIA Director Used Fake Skripal Incident Photos To Manipulate Trump“.

The gist of the piece is as follows. Back in April 2018, the Washington Post published an article about the decision taken by the United States to expel 60 Russian diplomats in the wake of the Salisbury poisoning. According to the authors, the day after the decision was made, President Trump reacted in anger when he found out that the French and the Germans were expelling just four diplomats each:

“The next day, when the expulsions were announced publicly, Trump erupted, officials said. To his shock and dismay, France and Germany were each expelling only four Russian officials — far fewer than the 60 his administration had decided on. The President, who seemed to believe that other individual countries would largely equal the United States, was furious that his administration was being portrayed in the media as taking by far the toughest stance on Russia.”

Mr Trump, it seems, believed that he had been misled by officials, as the piece goes on to say:

“Growing angrier, Trump insisted that his aides had misled him about the magnitude of the expulsions. ‘There were curse words,’ the official said, ‘a lot of curse words.’”

Whether Mr Trump was misled about the magnitude of the expulsions is impossible to say without a transcript of that meeting. What does seem certain, however, is that he was misled in another, far more important way, as Moon of Alabama goes on to point out.

In an article in today’s New York Times about the head of the CIA, Gina Haspel, an extraordinary piece of information is revealed — albeit unwittingly, it would seem, by authors who probably have no idea of its significance. Pointing to that same meeting mentioned in the Washington Post article, in which Mr Trump was persuaded to expel 60 diplomats, here is the NYT’s account of what took place:

“During the discussion, Ms. Haspel, then deputy C.I.A. director, turned toward Mr. Trump. She outlined possible responses in a quiet but firm voice, then leaned forward and told the president that the “strong option” was to expel 60 diplomats.

To persuade Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the conversation, officials including Ms. Haspel also tried to show him that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were not the only victims of Russia’s attack.

Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks that British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives [my emphasis].”

If you’re late joining the party, and don’t understand what is so extraordinary about this, let me spell it out plainly and unambiguously:

Firstly, there were no dead ducks as a result of poisoning. None. Zilch. Nada!

Secondly, there were no children sickened by nerve agent. None. Zilch. Nada!

Yet even though there were no dead ducks, and no sick children, Mr Trump was apparently persuaded by the head of the CIA to expel 60 diplomats after being shown pictures of dead ducks and sick children.

In addition to the extraordinary nature of this revelation, there is also a huge irony here. Along with many others, I have long felt that the duck feed is one of the many achilles heels of the whole story we’ve been presented with about what happened in Salisbury on 4th March 2018. And the reason for this is precisely because if it were true, there would indeed have been dead ducks and sick children.

According to the official story, Mr Skripal and his daughter became contaminated with “Novichok” by touching the handle of his front door at some point between 13:00 and 13:30 that afternoon. A few minutes later (13:45), they were filmed on CCTV camera feeding ducks, and handing bread to three local boys, one of whom ate a piece. After this they went to Zizzis, where they apparently so contaminated the table they sat at, that it had to be incinerated.

You see the problem? According to the official story, ducks should have died. According to the official story children should have become contaminated and ended up in hospital. Yet as it happens, no ducks died, and no boys got sick (all that happened was that the boys’ parents were contacted two weeks later by police, the boys were sent for tests, and they were given the all clear).

And yet despite the fact that no ducks died and no children were made sick, the director of the CIA (a.k.a. the Canard Invention Association), allegedly using information given to her agency by the British Government, showed the President of the United States pictures of dead ducks and sick children, apparently from Salisbury, to persuade him to take extreme action (Note: You can read more about the duck feed and all the other holes in the official story here). In other words, Mr Trump was lied to, and in a big way, and with potentially huge consequences.

I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the claims made in the New York Times piece, since the purpose of inserting the bit about the ducks and the children was to cast Gina Haspel as a strong leader, rather than to cast doubt on the Skripal story. My guess is that Mr Trump might be quite interested to know that he was misled, either by the director of the CIA and/or the British Government. It might even make him wonder this: if no less a person than the President of the United States was given a false version of events, what are the chances that the rest of the story stacks up?

As ever, someone got some ‘splaining to do.  Discuss among yourselves.


PS. An aside. The Independent, which is apparently a publisher of news, has picked up on this storyhere. In their piece, they basically repeat what was said in the New York Times about how Gina Haspel persuaded Mr Trump using the dead ducks and sick children pics. But here’s the thing. Whilst it doesn’t surprise me that writers in the likes of the Washington Post or New York Times might not know too many details regarding the Salisbury case, the Independent knows full well that there were no dead ducks and no sick children. And so since they are writing about it, they must know that either the CIA director or the British Government, or both, knowingly misled the US President. Yet they say nothing about this in their piece. Why? Simply because they are not journalists, but stenographers, and they have no intention of informing their readers of what is true and what is real. I’m not sure how they live with themselves, but somehow they manage.


UPDATE: The Guardian has published an article (18th April), in which the director of public health at Wiltshire Council, Tracy Daszkiewicz, was asked to comment on the New York Times report. Here is what she said:

“There were no other casualties other than those previously stated. No wildlife were impacted by the incident and no children were exposed to or became ill as a result of either incident [my emphasis].”

So according to Ms Daszkiewicz, not only were no children made ill (which we already knew), but nor were any exposed to the substance. How does this accord with the official narrative? In that scenario, Mr Skripal gave bread to three boys, one of whom ate a piece, less than half-an-hour after his hands had become contaminated. In which case, they would undoubtedly have been exposed to it. Then again, if he wasn’t contaminated at that time … well, that would agree with Ms Daszkiewicz’s assessment, but it would have another consequence involving cans and worms!

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Airline wars heat up, as industry undergoes massive disruption (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 145.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the global commercial airline industry, which is undergoing massive changes, as competition creeps in from Russia and China.

Reuters reports that Boeing Co’s legal troubles grew as a new lawsuit accused the company of defrauding shareholders by concealing safety deficiencies in its 737 MAX planes before two fatal crashes led to their worldwide grounding.

The proposed class action filed in Chicago federal court seeks damages for alleged securities fraud violations, after Boeing’s market value tumbled by $34 billion within two weeks of the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX.

*****

According to the complaint, Boeing “effectively put profitability and growth ahead of airplane safety and honesty” by rushing the 737 MAX to market to compete with Airbus SE, while leaving out “extra” or “optional” features designed to prevent the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes.

It also said Boeing’s statements about its growth prospects and the 737 MAX were undermined by its alleged conflict of interest from retaining broad authority from federal regulators to assess the plane’s safety.

*****

Boeing said on Tuesday that aircraft orders in the first quarter fell to 95 from 180 a year earlier, with no orders for the 737 MAX following the worldwide grounding.

On April 5, it said it planned to cut monthly 737 production to 42 planes from 52, and was making progress on a 737 MAX software update to prevent further accidents.

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Via Zerohedge…

Step aside (fading) trade war with China: there is a new aggressor – at least according to the US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer – in town.

In a statement on the USTR’s website published late on Monday, the US fair trade agency announced that under Section 301 of the Trade Act, it was proposing a list of EU products to be covered by additional duties. And as justification for the incremental import taxes, the USTR said that it was in response to EU aircraft subsidies, specifically to Europea’s aerospace giant, Airbus, which “have caused adverse effects to the United States” and which the USTR estimates cause $11 billion in harm to the US each year

One can’t help but notice that the latest shot across the bow in the simmering trade war with Europe comes as i) Trump is reportedly preparing to fold in his trade war with China, punting enforcement to whoever is president in 2025, and ii) comes just as Boeing has found itself scrambling to preserve orders as the world has put its orderbook for Boeing 737 MAX airplanes on hold, which prompted Boeing to cut 737 production by 20% on Friday.

While the first may be purely a coincidence, the second – which is expected to not only slam Boeing’s financials for Q1 and Q2, but may also adversely impact US GDP – had at least some impact on the decision to proceed with these tariffs at this moment.

We now await Europe’s angry response to what is Trump’s latest salvo in what is once again a global trade war. And, paradoxically, we also expect this news to send stocks blasting higher as, taking a page from the US-China trade book, every day algos will price in imminent “US-European trade deal optimism.”

Below the full statement from the USTR (link):

USTR Proposes Products for Tariff Countermeasures in Response to Harm Caused by EU Aircraft Subsidies

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has found repeatedly that European Union (EU) subsidies to Airbus have caused adverse effects to the United States.  Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) begins its process under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to identify products of the EU to which additional duties may be applied until the EU removes those subsidies.

USTR is releasing for public comment a preliminary list of EU products to be covered by additional duties.  USTR estimates the harm from the EU subsidies as $11 billion in trade each year.  The amount is subject to an arbitration at the WTO, the result of which is expected to be issued this summer.

“This case has been in litigation for 14 years, and the time has come for action. The Administration is preparing to respond immediately when the WTO issues its finding on the value of U.S. countermeasures,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.  “Our ultimate goal is to reach an agreement with the EU to end all WTO-inconsistent subsidies to large civil aircraft.  When the EU ends these harmful subsidies, the additional U.S. duties imposed in response can be lifted.”

In line with U.S. law, the preliminary list contains a number of products in the civil aviation sector, including Airbus aircraft.  Once the WTO arbitrator issues its report on the value of countermeasures, USTR will announce a final product list covering a level of trade commensurate with the adverse effects determined to exist.

Background

After many years of seeking unsuccessfully to convince the EU and four of its member States (France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom) to cease their subsidization of Airbus, the United States brought a WTO challenge to EU subsidies in 2004. In 2011, the WTO found that the EU provided Airbus $18 billion in subsidized financing from 1968 to 2006.  In particular, the WTO found that European “launch aid” subsidies were instrumental in permitting Airbus to launch every model of its large civil aircraft, causing Boeing to lose sales of more than 300 aircraft and market share throughout the world.

In response, the EU removed two minor subsidies, but left most of them unchanged.  The EU also granted Airbus more than $5 billion in new subsidized “launch aid” financing for the A350 XWB.  The United States requested establishment of a compliance panel in March 2012 to address the EU’s failure to remove its old subsidies, as well as the new subsidies and their adverse effects.  That process came to a close with the issuance of an appellate report in May 2018 finding that EU subsidies to high-value, twin-aisle aircraft have caused serious prejudice to U.S. interests.  The report found that billions of dollars in launch aid to the A350 XWB and A380 cause significant lost sales to Boeing 787 and 747 aircraft, as well as lost market share for Boeing very large aircraft in the EU, Australia, China, Korea, Singapore, and UAE markets.

Based on the appellate report, the United States requested authority to impose countermeasures worth $11.2 billion per year, commensurate with the adverse effects caused by EU subsidies.  The EU challenged that estimate, and a WTO arbitrator is currently evaluating those claims

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Mueller report takes ‘Russian meddling’ for granted, offers no actual evidence

RT

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Via RT…


Special counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ report has cleared Donald Trump of ‘collusion’ charges but maintains that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Yet concrete evidence of that is nowhere to be seen.

The report by Mueller and his team, made public on Thursday by the US Department of Justice, exonerates not just Trump but all Americans of any “collusion” with Russia, “obliterating” the Russiagate conspiracy theory, as journalist Glenn Greenwald put it.

However, it asserts that Russian “interference” in the election did happen, and says it consisted of a campaign on social media as well as Russian military intelligence (repeatedly referred to by its old, Soviet-era name, GRU) “hacking” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the DNC, and the private email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta.

As evidence of this, the report basically offers nothing but Mueller’s indictment of “GRU agents,” delivered on the eve of the Helsinki Summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in what was surely a cosmic coincidence.

Indictments are not evidence, however, but allegations. Any time it looks like the report might be bringing up proof, it ends up being redacted, ostensibly to protect sources and methods, and out of concern it might cause “harm to an ongoing matter.”

‘Active measures’ on social media

Mueller’s report leads with the claim that the Internet Research Agency (IRA) ran an “active measures” campaign of social media influence. Citing Facebook and Twitter estimates, the report says this consisted of 470 Facebook accounts that made 80,000 posts that may have been seen by up to 126 million people, between January 2015 and August 2017 (almost a year after the election), and 3,814 Twitter accounts that “may have been” in contact with about 1.4 million people.

Those numbers may seem substantial but, as investigative journalist Gareth Porter pointed out in November 2018, they should be regarded against the background of 33 trillion Facebook posts made during the same period.

According to Mueller, the IRA mind-controlled the American electorate by spending “approximately $100,000” on Facebook ads, hiring someone to walk around New York City “dressed up as Santa Claus with a Trump mask,” and getting Trump campaign affiliates to promote “dozens of tweets, posts, and other political content created by the IRA.” Dozens!

Meanwhile, the key evidence against IRA’s alleged boss Evgeny Prigozhin is that he “appeared together in public photographs” with Putin.

Alleged hacking & release

The report claims that the GRU hacked their way into 29 DCCC computers and another 30 DNC computers, and downloaded data using software called “X-Tunnel.” It is unclear how Mueller’s investigators claim to know this, as the report makes no mention of them or FBI actually examining DNC or DCCC computers. Presumably they took the word of CrowdStrike, the Democrats’ private contractor, for it.

However obtained, the documents were published first through DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 – which the report claims are “fictitious online personas” created by the GRU – and later through WikiLeaks. What is Mueller’s proof that these two entities were “GRU” cutouts? In a word, this:

That the Guccifer 2.0 persona provided reporters access to a restricted portion of the DCLeaks website tends to indicate that both personas were operated by the same or a closely-related group of people.(p. 43)

However, the report acknowledges that the “first known contact” between Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks was on September 15, 2016 – months after the DNC and DCCC documents were published! Here we do get actual evidence: direct messages on Twitter obtained by investigators. Behold, these “spies” are so good, they don’t even talk – and when they do, they use unsecured channels.

Mueller notably claims “it is clear that the stolen DNC and Podesta documents were transferred from the GRU to WikiLeaks” (the rest of that sentence is redacted), but the report clearly implies the investigators do not actually know how. On page 47, the report says Mueller “cannot rule out that stolen documents were transferred to WikiLeaks through intermediaries who visited during the summer of 2016.”

Strangely, the report accuses WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange of making “public statements apparently designed to obscure the source” of the materials (p.48), notably the offer of a reward for finding the murderer of DNC staffer Seth Rich – even though this can be read as corroborating the intermediaries theory, and Assange never actually said Rich was his source.

The rest of Mueller’s report goes on to discuss the Trump campaign’s contacts with anyone even remotely Russian and to create torturous constructions that the president had “obstructed” justice by basically defending himself from charges of being a Russian agent – neither of which resulted in any indictments, however. But the central premise that the 22-month investigation, breathless media coverage, and the 448-page report are based on – that Russia somehow meddled in the 2016 election – remains unproven.

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