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CONFIRMED: CIA Director admits US sees China as biggest threat

Between the bluster of his remarks, CIA Director Mike Pompeo gave an honest admission of America’s long term geo-strategic goal of undermining China and specifically its One Belt–One Road initiative.

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CIA Director Mike Pompeo has given an interview in which he explained  why he believes that China is the number one long term threat to the United States.

While Pompeo’s statement was filled with objective inaccuracies as well as gross assumptions which conflate the idea of geo-strategic sovereignty interest with aggression and extra-legal provocations, his statement does speak to a largely unspoken reality which underlies America’s long term geo-strategic thinking, one which makes the idea of the United States becoming a contented super-power willing to share its rightly piece of the multi-polar pie, all the more remote. In other words, meaningful detente with Russia or China is impossible according to the long term trajectory of US ambition. This is not to say measures which ease specific tensions are not possible.

At this time there are three superpowers and two of them are becoming incredibly close allies. This is of course China and Russia. Rather than cooperate in measures that both Beijing and Russia are already cooperating over, namely the Chinese One Belt–One Road (aka New Silk Road) initiative, the US has taken it upon itself to not only shun the project but to actively disrupt it through a combination of overtly aggressive measures against the  sovereign interests of China as well as engaging in and fomenting new conflict areas along the routes China’s New Silk Road.

The US has been passively goading India into conflict with China causing friction between the neighbours with historic regional disputes and even more importantly, the US is engaged in conflicts along crucial vulnerable positions along the New Silk Road.

Specifically, I recently wrote a piece in The Duran which underscores the deeper long term implications of US strategic goals for Asia and Eurasia, goals which are linchpins of the subtext of Pompeo’s remarks.

“NATO’s recent land and sea exercises in eastern and southern Europe as well as the Black Sea frontiers of Eurasia are at face value, provocations designed to anger and intimidate Russia. Likewise, America’s presence in Iraq and Syria are at face value, provocations designed to angry and intimidate Iran. But they are also something else: they are provocations designed to anger and intimidate China.

The key element here lies in understanding the geography of China’s massive trade/commerce project, One Belt–One Road, also referred to as the New Silk Road.

A map of the likely final routes of the land and sea trade corridors which China is working to build in cooperation with local nations along the route goes a long way in explaining why the United States is conducting troop exercises, engaging in military conflicts and threatening new military conflicts in key spots along the New Silk Road.

The following map shows the routes of China’s New Silk Road. Each number corresponds to an area where US troops or their allies are either active in a conflict zone or have recently engaged in military exercises”.

READ MORE: US troops in Europe and the Middle East are there to provoke China more than Russia or Iran

Against these geo-political realities, it becomes clear that Pompeo’s remarks are more than just militant bluster, but are instead an admission of what America’s long game is, irrespective of who is in the White House. The fact that the CIA has often had a stronger hand in influencing US foreign policy than the State Department or White House itself, this ought to make Pompeo’s remarks all the more worthy of long term analysis.

Pompeo stated,

“I think China presents probably the most … well it’s hard to pick between China, Russia and Iran to be honest with you. I guess if I had to pick one with a nose above the others, I’d probably pick China. They have a real economy that they have built, unlike Russia that lives and dies on how many barrels of oil they can pluck out of the ground. And Iran that is similarly very single sector derivative and not to the scale of China population wise.

I think China has the capacity to present the greatest rivalry to American of any of those over the medium and long term”.

He continued,

“It’s (China) very much focused on countering U.S. power projection. So you see that whether it’s going on in the South China Sea or East China Sea, the work they’re doing in other parts of the world. You talked about the technical piece. You’ve probably spent more time on it than me. But we could probably spend hours talking about their technical programs. If you look at them, they are probably trying either to steal our stuff or make sure they can defeat it. And most often both. And so yes. Look, we have other relationships, we have commercial relationships with the Chinese as well. But I think its very clear when they think about their place in the world, they measure their success in placing themselves in the world where they want to be vis-à-vis the United States and not as against anyone else”.

First of all, it is necessary to expose the factually untrue statement about Russia’s economy. Contrary to what the US publicly states, Russia’s economy is growing at a healthy rate and expending in multiple sectors.

Secondly, China’s big population being a worry for the US vis-a-vis Russia’s smaller population is a fact that Russian opposition politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky highlighted in a recent debate on Asian affairs. In this sense, while the US is frightened by Russia’s factually strong economy and its geographical and by extrapolation geo-political position as a Eurasian bridge to China, the US is doubly afraid of China’s tremendous man-power.

Thirdly, China is only ‘projecting’ its power around its own territory whilst in provoking China in the South and East China Seas, the US is attempting to exercise its hegemonic power in someone else’s natural sphere of influence. In this sense when it comes to ‘power projection’ the truth can be derived from inverting what Pompeo said in this respect.

None of this should come as a surprise as it follows the trajectory of centuries of western geo-strategy.

Eurasia including and especially Russia, is included in what British thinker Halford John Mackinder called the Pivot Area in his theory which posited that Eurasia including and especially Russian Imperial lands needed to be conquered and subdued by the west in order to attain geo-political dominance over Asia and what one might now call the Global East or New Global South.

Far from  being discarded, Mackinder’s theories continue to prove to be a guiding force behind the west’s policies of war, occupation and provocation against the countries which occupy his ‘pivot area’. Indeed, Britain and France’s continued opposition to Russia in its wars with Turkey throughout the 19th century go a long ways in explaining that far from being original, Mackinder simply wrote a theory which largely conformed to late modern western military and geo-political practice.

America’s confrontation with China using what geo-political expert Andrew Korybko calls Hybrid War, is America’s number one foreign policy goal of the 21st century insofar as almost every other conflict in which the US is engaged trickles down from the primary objective of subduing China.

In this sense, when one reads between the bluster and bellicosity of Pompeo’s statement, he actually did something which he rarely does; he gave an honest summary of America’s long term geo-strategic ambitions.

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Brexit Withdrawal Agreement may lead to Theresa May’s downfall (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 151.

Alex Christoforou

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The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement has been published and as many predicted, including Nigel Farage, the document is leading to the collapse of Theresa May’s government.

During an interview with iTV’s Piers Morgan, remain’s Alistair Campell and leave’s Nigel Farage, were calling May’s Brexit deal a complete disaster.

Via iTV

Alastair Campbell: “This doesn’t do remotely what was offered…what is the point”

“Parliament is at an impasse”

“We have to go back to the people” …”remain has to be on the ballot paper”

Nigel Farage:

“This is the worst deal in history. We are giving away in excess of 40B pounds in return for precisely nothing. Trapped still inside the European Union’s rulebook.

“Nothing has been achieved.”

“In any negotiation in life…the other side need to know that you are serious about walking away.”

“What monsieur Barnier knew from day one, is that at no point did Theresa May intend to walk away.”

“Fundamental matter of trust to the electors of our country and those who govern us.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Theresa May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, and why the deal is a full on victory for the European Union and a document of subjugation for the United Kingdom.

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Coming in at 585 pages, the draft agreement will be closely scrutinized over the coming days but here are some of the highlights as outlined by Zerohedge

  • UK and EU to use the best endeavours to supersede Ireland protocol by 2020
  • UK can request extension of the transition period any time before July 1st, 2020
  • EU, UK See Level-Playing Field Measures in Future Relationship
  • Transition period may be extended once up to date yet to be specified in the text
  • EU and UK shall establish single customs territory and Northern Ireland is in same customs territory as Great Britain

The future relationship document is less than seven pages long. It says the U.K. and EU are seeking a free-trade area with cooperation on customs and rules: “Comprehensive arrangements creating a free trade area combining deep regulatory and customs cooperation, underpinned by provisions ensuring a level playing field for open and fair competition.”

The wording might raise concerns among Brexiters who don’t want regulatory cooperation and the measures on fair competition could amount to shackling the U.K. to EU rules.

As Bloomberg’s Emma Ross-Thomas writes, “There’s a clear sense in the documents that we’re heading for a customs union in all but name. Firstly via the Irish backstop, and then via the future relationship.”

Separately, a government summary of the draft agreement suggests role for parliament in deciding whether to extend the transition or to move in to the backstop.

But perhaps most importantly, regarding the controversial issue of the Irish border, the future relationship document says both sides aim to replace the so-called backstop – the thorniest issue in the negotiations – with a “subsequent agreement that establishes alternative arrangements for ensuring the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland on a permanent footing.”

On this topic, recall that the U.K.’s fear was of being locked into the backstop arrangement indefinitely in the absence of a broader trade deal. The draft agreement includes a review process to try to give reassurance that the backstop would never be needed. Basically, the U.K. could choose to seek an extension to the transition period – where rules stay the same as they are currently – or opt to trigger the backstop conditions. In fact, as Bloomberg notes, the word “backstop,” which has been a sticking point over the Irish border for weeks, is mentioned only once in the text.

As Bloomberg further adds, the withdrawal agreement makes clear that the U.K. will remain in a single customs area with the EU until there’s a solution reached on the Irish border. It’s what Brexiteers hate, because it makes it more difficult for the U.K. to sign its own free-trade deals, which they regard as a key prize of Brexit.

Predictably, EU Commission President Juncker said decisive progress has been made in negotiations.

Meanwhile, as analysts comb over the documents, Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group, has already written to Conservative lawmakers urging them to vote against the deal. He says:

  • May is handing over money for “little or nothing in return”
  • The agreement treats Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the U.K.
  • It will “lock” the U.K. into a customs union with the EU
  • It breaks the Tory election manifesto of 2017

The full document…

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4 resignations and counting: May’s government ‘falling apart before our eyes’ over Brexit deal

The beginning of the end for Theresa May’s government.

The Duran

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Via RT


Four high profile resignations have followed on the heels of Theresa May’s announcement that her cabinet has settled on a Brexit deal, with Labour claiming that the Conservative government is at risk of completely dissolving.

Shailesh Vara, the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office was the first top official to resign after the prime minister announced that her cabinet had reached a draft EU withdrawal agreement.

An hour after his announcement, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab – the man charged with negotiating and finalizing the deal – said he was stepping down, stating that the Brexit deal in its current form suffers from deep flaws. Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, submitted her letter of resignation shortly afterwards. More resignations have followed.

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jon Trickett, predicted that this is the beginning of the end for May’s government.

The government is falling apart before our eyes as for a second time the Brexit secretary has refused to back the prime minister’s Brexit plan. This so-called deal has unraveled before our eyes

Shailesh Vara: UK to be stuck in ‘a half-way house with no time limit’

Kicking off Thursday’s string of resignations, Vara didn’t mince words when describing his reservations about the cabinet-stamped Brexit deal.

Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement leaves the UK in a “halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally become a sovereign nation,” his letter of resignation states. Vara went on to warn that the draft agreement leaves a number of critical issues undecided, predicting that it “will take years to conclude” a trade deal with the bloc.

“We will be locked in a customs arrangement indefinitely, bound by rules determined by the EU over which we have no say,” he added.

Dominic Raab: Deal can’t be ‘reconciled’ with promises made to public

Announcing his resignation on Thursday morning, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted: “I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.”

Raab claimed that the deal in its current form gives the EU veto power over the UK’s ability to annul the deal.

No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime.

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said that Raab’s resignation as Brexit secretary is “devastating” for May.

“It sounds like he has been ignored,” he told the BBC.

Raab’s departure will undoubtedly encourage other Brexit supporters to question the deal, political commentators have observed.

Esther McVey: Deal ‘does not honor’ Brexit referendum

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey didn’t hold back when issuing her own letter of resignation. According to McVey, the deal “does not honour” the result of the Brexit referendum, in which a majority of Brits voted to leave the European Union.

Suella Braverman: ‘Unable to sincerely support’ deal

Suella Braverman, a junior minister in Britain’s Brexit ministry, issued her resignation on Thursday, saying that she couldn’t stomach the deal.

“I now find myself unable to sincerely support the deal agreed yesterday by cabinet,” she said in a letter posted on Twitter.

Suella Braverman, MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the EU © Global Look Press / Joel Goodman
Braverman said that the deal is not what the British people voted for, and threatened to tear the country apart.

“It prevents an unequivocal exit from a customs union with the EU,” she said.

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Five Saudis Face Death Penalty Over Khashoggi Killing; Crown Prince Cleared

According to the Saudi prosecutor, five people charged are believed to have been involved in “ordering and executing the crime.”

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Via Zerohedge


Saudi Arabia public prosecutor Sheikh Shaalan al-Shaalan said on Thursday that the kingdom will seek the death penalty for five suspects among the 11 charged in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, confirming suspicions that members of the murder squad purportedly sent to “interrogate” Khashoggi will now themselves face beheadings as the Saudi Royal Family closes ranks around the Crown Prince, per the FT.

As for Mohammed bin Salman who runs the day to day affairs of the world’s top oil exporter and is the de facto head of OPEC, the prosecutor said had “no knowledge” of the mission, effectively absolving him of any domestic suspicion, if not international.

The charges were handed down after the kingdom dismissed five senior intelligence officers and arrested 18 Saudi nationals in connection with Khashoggi’s disappearance. The Saudi insider-turned-dissident journalist disappeared on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul to pick up documents that would have allowed him to marry his fiance. Khashoggi was a legal resident of Virginia.

According to the Saudi prosecutor, five people charged are believed to have been involved in “ordering and executing the crime,” according to CNN.

The prosecutor said that the former Saudi deputy intelligence chief, Ahmed al-Assiri, ordered a mission to force Khashoggi to go back to Saudi Arabia and formed a team of 15 people.

They were divided into three groups, the Saudi Public Prosecutor said: a negotiation team, an intelligence team and a logistical team.

It was the head of the negotiating team who ordered the killing of Khashoggi, the prosecutor said.

The Saudis stuck by latest (ever changing) narrative that the Washington Post columnist was killed after a mission to abduct him went awry. The deputy chief of intelligence ordered that Khashoggi be brought back to the kingdom, Shaalan said. The team killed him after the talks failed and his body was handed to a “collaborator” in Turkey, he said.

Asked whether Saud al-Qahtanti, an aide to Prince Mohammed, had any role in the case, Shaalan said that a royal adviser had a coordinating role and had provided information. The former adviser was now under investigation, the prosecutor said, declining to reveal the names of any of those facing charges.

Al-Shaalan did reveal that a total of 21 suspects are now being held in connection with the case. Notably, the decision to charge the 5 comes after National Security Advisor John Bolton repudiated reports that a recording of Khashoggi’s murder made by Turkish authorities suggested that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was behind the murder plot.

But as long as OPEC+ is planning to do “whatever it takes” to boost oil prices, the US’s willingness to give the Saudis a pass could always be tested if crude prices again turn sharply higher.

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