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India slips through grip of US empire and buys Russian S-400 [Video]

Life imitates Art as crumbling US “empire” receives another blow to its prestige and reputation, this time from its ally India.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The most recent evidence of this comes with India’s decision to enter into a $5 billion defense deal with Russia. This was reported by CNN, strangely enough playing “hawk” network here, because, well, Russia:

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India could soon be faced with the threat of US sanctions following a controversial $5 billion weapons deal with Russia, a move analysts say poses more of a headache for Washington than it does Delhi.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi finalized the deal, which will see India take possession of a high-tech S-400 missile defense system, during a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Indian capital New Delhi on Friday.

The deal could potentially open India up to US sanctions under legislation known as Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

The law, signed by President Donald Trump last August, is designed to punish Moscow for its “malign activities.” Last month, the US imposed sanctions against China for its purchases of Russian military equipment, including the S-400, under CAATSA legislation.
But whereas China is an emerging rival power, India is seen as an important US strategic ally.

US defense chiefs have worked hard to increase cooperation with Delhi in a range of areas in recent years, amid shared concerns over Chinese military expansion in the Indo-Pacific region.

India’s purchasing of the Russian weapons system effectively forces the Trump administration to choose between punishing Delhi — and destroy the fledgling defense relationship — or granting the country an exemption, weakening the effect of the sanctions and opening up the US to accusations of favoritism.

On the eve of Putin’s arrival in Delhi, the US State Department on Wednesday urged all allies and partners to forgo transactions with Russia that would trigger sanctions. A law has been passed that would allow for exemptions, a rule most analysts believe would be applied to India. However, Trump has yet to specify whether the India-Russia deal would qualify.

Speaking to CNN, Peter Layton, from Australia’s Griffith Asia Institute, said the problem for the US is that if it allows India to purchase the S-400 there is no reason why it should not also allow other countries, such as Turkey to do so too.

“The CAATSA will appear a rather subjective sanction program if it only applies to some nations and not all,” said Layton.

The Russian S-400 Triumf is the state-of-the-art air defense and antimissile system in its class. It easily surpasses the capabilities of the older US-made Patriot system. It can engage multiple targets such as manned and unmanned aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles at a range of 400 kilometers (250 miles), it can track them at 600 km (370 mi) distant, and it is invulnerable to present-day radar-jamming technologies. The Duran reported on this system extensively in December of last year, and a lot of information is available here.

Perhaps the biggest deal about the S-400 is that it is, indeed, a great deal. The system costs $400 million per fire unit (eight launchers, 112 missiles, command and support vehicles), compared with the MIM-104 Patriot system at some $2.5 billion per system as offered to Poland. (To be sure, the pricing structure is different between the two systems, as the US offers a per-missile price where the Russian system appears to be for a complete defense battery.)

The S-400 being so capable and at a relatively affordable price is hard for US arms manufacturers to compete against,” said Layton, who described the missile system as offering superior value-for-money to comparable US options.

Turkey also recently concluded a deal with Russia for this system, and this was a news maker, since Turkey is a NATO member and ally.  This sale underlined the disintegration of NATO’s own stated purpose, because the alliance originally came into existence to counter the perceived threat of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Now, with Russia as an emerging market economy and great power, but at the same time a great power unwilling to accede either military or societal authority to the West, the US has now found itself in a newly invigorated competition with Russia.

In any case, India’s move, as Turkey’s, is a clear indication that the days of the United States as the “empire” directing all nations’ affairs, at least in the West, is crumbling. While the alignment of power in the world in present times is far less about military conquest than it is about economic competition, the three great powers in the world still boast – and build – formidable weapons systems. Where the US-built systems were often regarded as the envy of the world, now that title goes to Russia more and more often, with China not far behind. All three nations have highly expert engineers and scientists. All three nations have plenty of money to invest in research and development. And two of the three – Russia and China – have very efficient governmental structures in place to allow tremendously successful development to happen on a budget far less than the Americans require.

This has generated quite a lot of angst in the United States. The US government is a volatile mix of aging Cold Warriors who have yet to accept that Russia is no longer the Great Bear of Communism, and Sorosian-style globalists who are opposed to Russia’s intent to develop itself as distinctly Russian, and Christian, in identity. Although the hawks and Sorosians might find themselves at odds with one another without Russia, the present reality gives them a common enemy.

This is part of the reason why Presidents Trump and Putin’s Helsinki summit was so widely vilified. While the US President is on record, literally, as signing various sanctions bills against Russia, quietly, he and Russian president Vladimir Putin appear to be remaining in contact, carrying on talks behind the scenes, and both leaders plan a second and even a third meeting in the foreseeable future. President Putin has shown noticeable silence regarding recent US moves, and speculation exists that both leaders may be waiting until after the US Congressional midterm election in November to see if a break opens in which they can move towards a better state of relations between the two countries.

The present result of this is the slowly withering authority – and respect – of the world towards the United States. In a dying empire, these two are the first things to disappear. The historical move of some failing empires has been to tighten control through fear and intimidation, but that historically fails as well.

It appears that history is repeating itself, here and now.

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“The present result of this is the slowly withering authority – and respect – of the world towards the United States. In a dying empire, these two are the first things to disappear.” In a few words – loss of respect for federal authority – this is the first step to national civil war / revolution also domestically, within the USA. This civilian loss of respect and how it will lead to civil war in the USA is well-described in Greer’s book “Twilight’s Last Gleaming”, the first book I know of that discusses the civil war now on the USA’s… Read more »

Guy
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Guy

Would love to hear what Haley ,Nimrata Randhawa ,has to say about this.Just this time though, as I have come to the point where I can’t stand to listen to her bull$hit.

TheCelotajs
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TheCelotajs

That is because Haley has no idea what she is doing.

AM Hants
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AM Hants

It’s ally India?????

When the US was refusing Visas to the Indian Prime Minister, Modi, Russia was providing India with their nuclear submarine, plus, technology for Russian military jets.

BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa

SCO – Shanghai, China by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan.

TheCelotajs
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TheCelotajs

The rest of the World is now seeing the United States as nothing more then a big bully on the world stage. Do as we say or we will sanction you.

Latest

‘End of free speech’: Maffick CEO, host slam Facebook’s unprovoked ‘censorship’ after CNN report

This is because of the political content that challenges the US wars. It is absolutely an act of censorship.

RT

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Via RT…


Facebook blocking several pages operated by Maffick Media is nothing short of outright censorship, the company’s CEO Anissa Naouai said, after a US-funded think tank pointed them out to CNN for a ‘hit-piece’.

The actions of the social media giant, which suspended the accounts of In the Now, Soapbox, Back Then and Waste-Ed last Friday without providing any explanation or even contacting the company that ran the pages, is nothing but a simple attempt to get rid of dissenting voices critical of Washington’s policies, Naouai told RT.

It is blatant censorship. What else can you call it?

Unexplained ban

The ban came literally out of the blue even though Maffick did not violate any existing Facebook regulations. “There is no rule that you have to post anything about your funding or personal funding. No one does it, not any of the US-sponsored outlets,” Naouai said. However, that was apparently the stated reason for the blocking as a Facebook spokesperson said the social media giant wanted the pages to become more transparent by disclosing their funding and “Russian affiliations.”

Facebook never contacted Maffick Media directly, though. In fact, it did not even answer the company’s emails and stayed conspicuously silent about the ways that would allow the accounts to be reinstated. “We have not heard a word from Facebook and it has been over three days now,” Naouai said.

The whole situation makes one think that the suspension is in fact connected to the pages’ popularity as well as their critical stance towards US policies, the Maffick CEO said. “We have hosts that talk about things that are not allowed to talk about on other networks like CNN,” she explained.

“If a video that says that gets hundreds of thousands of views on a page that has millions of views, people [in Washington] start to notice that and they get upset. I believe that is why we were targeted: because of our success and because of, as CNN said, high quality of our videos,” Naouai added.

The Maffick CEO also assumed that a recent piece on the US-sponsored coup attempt in Venezuela might have become a trigger for this drastic measure taken by Facebook. “There is a very … divisive and obnoxious policy taking place right now against Venezuela,” she said, “we do not know if this was the segment that triggered [the suspension] but the timing is convenient.”

“When someone calls out what is happening in Venezuela as a blatant coup it ruffles the feathers of think tanks that spent millions if not billions of dollars to persuade [the audience otherwise] and lobby their interests.”

‘Interrogation’ by CNN

Some details of this whole case may indeed seem odd. Just about an hour after the pages were blocked, CNN published a report on the issue as if they broke the news. “CNN knew that we were going to be blocked before we did,” Naouai said, explaining that, when she found out her company’s pages were suspended, CNN had already published its piece.

Weeks before the blocking, CNN sought to interview some freelancers working with Maffick in an apparent attempt to “dig up some dirt,” Rania Khalek, the American host of Soapbox – one of the video shows Maffick ran on Facebook – recalled.

When the company’s leadership “got wind of it” and offered CNN an interview, it all ended up with a 45-minute “interrogation” loaded with “unethical” questions that “almost any other media organization would even think to answer.”

It felt like a police interrogation: very invasive questions about Maffick and our editorial policies. It was clear that they were doing a hit-piece.

“A CNN journalist repeatedly asked me about my political viewpoints. He was in complete disbelief that I have editorial control over my scripts. He could not understand how it was possible,” Khalek, who was one of those, who gave the interview to CNN, said.

Maffick Media assumed that CNN might in fact pressure Facebook into blocking the accounts. “It is a very competitive market existing in a very political atmosphere that is toxic right now in the US,” Naouai said.

Loophole for state censorship?

CNN itself admits in its piece that it did not just stumble upon the Facebook pages in question independently. Instead, this issue was brought to its attention by the Alliance for Securing Democracy – a part of the German Marshall Fund. This fund is a think tank, which is financed by the US and German governments and has such people as Michael Morell, the former CIA deputy head, and Jacob Sullivan, former Vice President Joe Biden’s top security aide, on its advisory board.

Now, CNN, which stepped on a slippery slope by scrutinizing other media outlets’ funding, had to go to some extraordinary lengths to persuade its audience that the Alliance for Securing Democracy “does not receive any funding” from the German Marshall Fund, while still being a part of it at the same time. However, all these facts just added a new layer to the story.

“You have this US-funded think tank prompting CNN to pressure Facebook to ban our pages. That is an act of censorship,”Khalek said. She thinks the whole scheme was used to circumvent the First Amendment banning the US authorities from directly censoring free speech. “So, they use a middleman to pressure private companies to censor us,” she added, calling it a “legal loophole.”

‘Beginning of an end’

Regardless of who is really behind the ploy, Facebook banning some media pages without any explanation sets a tremendously dangerous precedent, Maffick Media believes. “We had a verified page, which had billions of views, just disappear from online without any kind of comment, any kind of requirement, without breaking any rules. That is unprecedented,” Naouai said.

You have Facebook dictating what people can and cannot see and judging what is good content and bad content. And it is all based on the accusations and criticism coming from a government-funded outlet. If Facebook does it to us, it can do it to anyone,” Khalek warned.

This is because of the political content that challenges the US wars. It is absolutely an act of censorship.

The US establishment apparently seeks to suppress the outlets that “offer a platform to alternative voices that can speak out against US wars and the corporate control over our government in a way that you just do not hear in our corporate media,” the Soapbox host believes.

However, if the social media giant and the likes of it will just continue to randomly block media resources while having “no grounds” to do so, it could create very serious problems for society, Naouai believes.

That would be the beginning of an end of free speech.

 

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Warsaw And Munich: Whistling Past NATO’s Graveyard

Sanctions cut both ways.

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


If the Anti-Iran conference in Warsaw was the opening act, the annual Munich Security Conference was the main event. Both produced a lot of speeches, grandstanding and virtue-signaling, as well as a lot of shuffling of feet and looking at the ground.

The message from the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia was clear, “We are still committed to the destruction of Syria as a functional state to end the growing influence of Iran.”

Europe, for the most part, doesn’t buy that argument anymore. Germany certainly doesn’t. France is only interested in how they can curry favor with the U.S. to wrest control of the EU from Germany. The U.K. is a hopeless has-been, living on Deep State inertia and money laundered through City of London.

The Poles just want to stick it to the Russians.

Everyone else has a bad case of, “been there, done that, ain’t doin’ it again.”

They know supporting the fiction that the War in Syria was a war against the evil President Bashar al-Assad is counter-productive.

The geopolitical landscape is changing quickly. And these countries, like Hungary, Italy, and the Czech Republic, know that the current policy trajectory of the Trump administration vis a vis Russia, Iran and China is a suicide pact for them.

So they show up when called, receive our ‘diplomats’ and then pretty much ignore everything they said. This is what happened, ultimately, in Munich.

Even the EU leadership has no illusions about the goals of the U.S./Israeli/Saudi policy on Syria. And that’s why they refused to shut Russia and Iran out of the Munich Security Conference despite the hyperventilating of Pompeo’s amateur-hour State Dept.

The Syria Hangover

These countries are struggling with the after-effects of eight years of war displacing millions who Angela Merkel invited into Europe for her own political purposes.

The resultant chaos now threatens every major political power center in Europe, which could culminate in a Euroskeptic win at the European Parliamentary elections in May.

Continuing on this road will only lead to Russia, Iran, Turkey and China forming a bloc with India to challenge the economic and political might of the West over the next two decades.

So it was no surprise to see Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu glad-handing looking for support to beam back home for his re-election campaign.

It was also no surprise to see NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg grovel at the feet of the U.S. over the shared mission because he knows that’s where the gravy flows from.

But there was no statement of purpose coming out of Munich after two days of talks. Warsaw already set the stage for that. Vice-President Mike Pence fell completely flat as the substitute Trump. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looked sad and confused as to why no one applauded him for his cheap and empty rhetoric about how evil Iran is.

The Syria operation was put together by the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar with the expressed purpose of creating a failed state of ungoverned fiefdoms. Syria was to be carved up piecemeal with a great land grab for all major partners getting a piece.

Israel gets a buffer zone east of the Golan Heights, Turkey gets Idlib, Afrin and Aleppo. The Kurds get everything east of the Euphrates. And Europe gets pipelines from the Arabian peninsula.

Meanwhile Iran loses Syria and Lebanon, Russia gets pushed out of the European gas market (along with the putsch in Ukraine) and the center of the country is a hot mess of terrorism which can be exported all around the region and further directed against Russia and Iran.

It all looked so good on paper.

But, as I’ve described multiple times, it was an operation built on perception and the false premise that no one would stand up to it.

In came Russia in October 2015 and the rest, unfortunately for the neocons, is just a chase scene.

Sanctions Cut Both Ways

Because for Europe, once it became clear what the costs would be to continue this project, there was little to no incentive to do so. That’s why they sued for peace with Iran by negotiating the JCPOA.

For every MAGApede and Fox News neocon who excoriates Obama for giving Iran $150 billion dollars (of their own money back which we stole) I remind you that it was Obama in 2012 that signed the sanctions which froze that money in the first place.

The JCPOA was signed because in 2014 the Syria operation looked like it was on auto-pilot to success. Iran could have their money back because it wouldn’t matter. They would be vassals and the money wouldn’t buy them anything of substance.

It was Russia and China’s making the move into Syria that changed that calculus.

That’s why the only ones who keep pushing for this balkanization strategy are the ones who still stand to gain from it. The U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel. It was clear in Munich that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was the man everyone wanted to talk to.

Everyone has cut bait. Even the Saudis are hedging their best cozying up to Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. still needs to project power globally to support the dollar and its obscene fiscal debauchery. Israel is staring at a future in which its myriad enemies have won and the Saudis need to rule the Sunni Arab world by leading them in a war against Iran.

The Warsaw Summit was a triumph only insofar as the U.S. can still call its allies to attention and they’ll do so. But that’s about it. But it was clear at Munich that Europe isn’t buying what the U.S. is selling about its relationship anymore.

It’s an not only an abusive one with Trump applying maximal economic pressure but also a wholly unrealistic one. Foreign policy midgets like Pompeo and Pence were literally pleading with everyone to not undermine their latest plan to make the world safe for Israel and Trump’s moronic Energy Dominance plan.

Whistling in Munich

In the end, the whole Munich affair looked like a bunch of people gathering to whistle past the graveyard of the fraying post-WWII institutional order. Trump wants Europe to pay for NATO so we don’t but Europe doesn’t want NATO on Trump’s terms which put them in the cross-hairs of his power play with Russia and China over the INF treaty.

Putin has built a version of fortress Russia that is for all practical purposes impregnable, short-of an all-out nuclear conflict which no one except maybe the most ideologically possessed in D.C. and Tel Aviv wants.

The naysayers have had their day but the weapons unveiled by Putin at last March’s State of the Union address changed the board state in a way that requires different tactics. I said so last March and it identified a shift narrative for all of us as to what Putin’s long-game was.

These new weapons represent a state change in weapons technology but, at the same time, are cheap deterrents to further escalation.  They fit within Russia’s budget, again limited by demographic and, as I pointed out in a recent article, domestic realities

…[They highlight] we’re not winning in technology.  So, all we can do is employ meat-grinder policies and force Russia and her allies to spend money countering the money we spend.

It’s a game that hollows everyone out.  And it’s easier for Putin to sell the defensive nature of his position to Russians than it is to sell our backing Al-Qaeda and ISIS to defeat them.  Because that reality has broken through the barrier to it.

And that’s why Europe is so unwilling to go along with Trump on the INF Treaty, Iranian regime change and even his Arab NATO plan. They are the ones being asked to be on the front lines, pay for and fight a war against their best interests.

And that’s why no one was willing to join the latest ‘coalition of the willing’ in Munich to perpetuate the conflict in Asia. They’ll go along with Trump’s plans in Venezuela, it doesn’t cost them anything strategically.

But even Merkel knows that in light of the events of the past three and a half years, the right move for Europe is to cut a deal with Russia and Iran while keeping their head down as the U.S. loses its mind.


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Venezuela Under Washington’s Gun

It is discouraging to see Trump participate in the attempt to chase Maduro out of office.

Paul Craig Roberts

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Via Paul Craig Roberts…


A full court press is taking place in Florida today (Presidents Day) with Republicans, Democrats, expatriates from Cuba and Venezuela and the fascist warmonger ministry of propaganda that constitutes the US media all denouncing Maduro and blaming him for the hardships imposed on Venezuelans by Washington’s sanctions and attacks on Venezuela’s currency . Even “liberal” NPR is reading off the same fascist warmonger script. NPR managed to report on Venezuela without mentioning the sanctions, without mentioning the theft of Venezuela’s gold foolishly entrusted to the US and British central banks, or the orchestrated protests funded by US-financed NGOs that are small in comparison with the crowds that support Maduro that are never mentioned in the US media. In other words, NPR is just another part of the whorehouse brigade.

What Americans forget, or never knew, is that the Cuban expatriates are the descendents of the corrupt Batista crowd that had looted Cuba for years and were thrown out of Cuba by Castro. The Venezuelan expatriates are from the rich elite that couldn’t adjust to Chavez running the country for the people instead of for them, and some of these expatriates were involved in the failed CIA coup against Chavez. All of these expatriates are nothing but shills for Washington’s takeover so that they can get back in on the take.

It is discouraging to see Trump, who the Democrats, the media, and the military/security complex are attempting to chase out of office participate in the attempt to chase Maduro out of office.

It is discouraging to see Washington’s vassals in Europe and in the Organization of American States throw all truth to the wind and line up with Washington’s lies.

It is discouraging that within Western civilization lies dominate all aspects of domestic and international policy. Truth has been stamped out.

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