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An open letter to the people of Europe

The future of peace and of prosperity in Europe depends upon reconciliation with Russia, which far from having aggressive designs on Europe wants to be Europe’s friend.

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Dear friends,

It has become incumbent upon me as a lover of peace and understanding, and as an opponent of the lies that often plague public discourse, to write to you the following:

In many countries in your region, the new media message which is being embraced throughout the world – from America to the Far East, from the Middle East to southern Europe, from Latin America to Africa – is being slandered and misrepresented.

I do not claim for a moment that new media are in anyway a monolithic bloc. The opposite is true.   This itself is part of the appeal of new media.

New media are news and opinion organisations that speak for themselves, and which speak against a rotten status quo which for too long has censored free speech, free thought, and freedom of conscience in the West.

I speak today therefore not on behalf of new media as a whole (as such a thing would be dishonest and realistically impossible) but instead in order to address the issue that ‘Russia is hurting you’, ‘Russia seeks to hurt you’ or that ‘Russia shall hurt you’.

Russia is a proud country, a vast country, a powerful country, a culturally and academically rich country. Many of your countries could be the same, but it is your governments which are strangling your people, retarding your progress, and serving as the soul obstacle to your national improvement.

Russia exists as a stable bulwark of statehood, not of ideology, not of territorial ambition, nortof greed.

She is a satisfied country, though one understandably frustrated with the provocations made against her, and the mistruths said about her.

It is not only unfair for your governments and media to cast Russia in this light, but it is an educational crime to destroy the minds of young generations, so that they cannot engage in friendly if not
fraternal relations with the Russian people, who are your friends and in some cases your neighbours.

To Norway, Sweden and Finland:

The idea that the Great Northern War is suddenly going to resume is fanciful.   Yes, you lost your territory in the early 18th century, a time of which no living person in the Nordic countries has a personal historical memory. 

Such wars are not going to be repeated in some act of vengeance, not least because Russia won those wars.

Instead of teaching your young people that Russia is barbaric, you should be teaching good global relations and cultural understanding, in the way your countries are famous for doing about places located on the opposite side of the world.

To the people of Estonia, Latvia and Latvia:

It is not Russia which has made the gap between wages and purchasing power bloat itself to tragic levels.

It is not Russia that has taken away job opportunities, forcing young people to seek emigration upon graduation.

It is not Russia which has put foreign weapons on your soil, often asking you to foot the bill.

Russia is a neighbour, a country with a shared history, and a country that is open for business.

It is your national and European politicians who are lining their pockets at your express whilst Russia looks for and finds economic opportunities elsewhere.

To Poland:

Napoleon is dead, so is Piłsudski, and so is Stalin.

Russia is not looking towards you in any aggressive sense. She is currently hardly looking to you even in a business sense, since you have decided to lump yourselves in with western European countries like Britain, a state whose current  government uses you to twist the arm of Brussels, only to spit in your face a moment later.

In Britain good minded, hardworking Poles are being murdered, beaten and spat upon in the streets by illiterate thugs, whilst the government completely ignores their plight.

This isn’t happening to good minded Poles in Russia. 

Is this dignity? Is it dignity for NATO troops to use your treasured land as the launching pad for a third world war?

Poles have suffered much in wars.  The people do not want another war – much like the Russian people.

Interestingly, who is it that is condemning the genocide of Poles by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army during the 1940s? It is not your so called allies.  It is Russia.

And what’s more during the funeral of Leonid Brezhnev, the Funeral March of Poland’s most treasured composer – Chopin – was played, just decades after the works of Jewish composers were banned in Germany.

Are these the traits of an enemy? I do implore you to consider all of this. 

To Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia:

Because of your status as geographical gatekeepers between east and west, you are at an advantage.

You have witnessed all of the horrors of the 1940s, and because of this many in Hungary and Slovakia are anti-communist to this day, yet not anti-Russian, whilst many in Germany remain nostalgic for the Marxist-Leninist government of the DDR, and associate this positively with Russia.

The Czech government has remained sceptical of many of the antagonistic policies towards Russia of many of its neighbours, whilst many Czechs remain loyal to socialist parties which would not have exist without the aid after 1945 of the USSR.

Finally, to the people of southern Europe:

Many of you are more sympathetic to Russia than you are to your north and north-eastern fellow Europeans.

Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Cyprus have seen first-hand how Germanic domination has been economically stifling, and how it is incompatible with your culture for any number of historical, climatic and geographical reasons.

Russia is happy to be your friend, and is moreover happy to be so without any rigid impositions of governmental dogmas.

It is the EU which has raped you of your dignity; Russia is willing to do business with you on mutually agreeable terms.

To Albania: 

What has NATO membership done for you? Has it lifted you out of breath-taking poverty? Has it satisfied the demands of your extreme factions? Has it ended corruption?

No it has done nothing for you.

To Serbia:

Has the European Union with its carrot and stick approach to negotiations with you been your friend, or does it see you as the next Greece? – a lamb to be slaughtered by a wolf.

I am speaking mainly to older generations who have a sense of history, and to younger generations who are more interconnected with each other than were their parents.

You have a chance to make history, you have a chance to make peace, and above all you have a chance to make sense.

Russia is not the enemy of the peoples of Europe.

Because of a shared history and neighbouring geography, Russia – which is not and never will be politically part of Europe – can be, should be, and indeed wants to be your friend.

The enemies are your corrupt governments; the enemies are educators who act as propagandists rather than purveyors of knowledge; your enemies are the international terrorists and extremists who threaten us all; your enemies are those in NATO selling you the promise of wealth of the biggest price imaginable.

I implore you not to change your minds at my behest, but rather to examine new media, especially that with a Russian perspective, and question who the real enemy is.

I implore you to use your democracies to create a meaningful change to the corrupt narrative of politicians who don’t give a damn about your life or livelihood. 

Your enemy isn’t Russia, and I hope future generations may realise that, and extend the olive branch of fraternity in a world where small European countries are being increasingly cut off from the
burgeoning opportunities emanating from the wider world.

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Republicans call Justice Department’s Bruce Ohr to testify, but where is British Spy Steele? (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 78.

Alex Christoforou

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Representative Mark Meadows tweeted Friday…

“DOJ official Bruce Ohr will come before Congress on August 28 to answer why he had 60+ contacts with dossier author Chris Steele, as far back as January 2016. He owes the American public the full truth.”

Lawmakers believe former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr is a central figure to finding out how the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid PR smear firm Fusion GPS and British spy Christopher Steele to fuel a conspiracy of Trump campaign collusion with Russians at the top levels of the Justice Department and the FBI.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) said Sunday to Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo…

So here you have information flowing from the Clinton campaign from the Russians, likely — I believe was handed directly from Russian propaganda arms to the Clinton campaign, fed into the top levels of the FBI and Department of Justice to open up a counter-intelligence investigation into a political campaign that has now polluted nearly every top official at the DOJ and FBI over the course of the last couple years. It is absolutely amazing,

According to Breitbart, during the 2016 election, Ohr served as associate deputy attorney general, and as an assistant to former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and to then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. His office was four doors down from Rosenstein on the fourth floor. He was also dual-hatted as the director of the DOJ’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Ohr’s contacts with Steele, an ex-British spy, are said to date back more than a decade. Steele is a former FBI informant who had helped the FBI prosecute corruption by FIFA officials. But it is Ohr and Steele’s communications in 2016 that lawmakers are most interested in.

Emails handed over to Congress by the Justice Department show that Ohr, Steele, and Simpson communicated throughout 2016, as Steele and Simpson were being paid by the Clinton campaign and the DNC to dig up dirt on Trump.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the role Bruce Ohr played in Hillary Clinton’s Deep State attack against the Presidency of Donald Trump, and why the most central of figures in the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, British spy for hire Christopher Steele, is not sitting before Congress, testifying to the real election collusion between the UK, the Obama White House, the FBI and the DOJ.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via The Washington Times

Republicans in a joint session of House committees are set to interview former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr this month to gauge whether a complex conspiracy against Donald Trump existed among Hillary Clinton loyalists and the Justice Department.

“DOJ official Bruce Ohr will come before Congress on August 28 to answer why he had 60+contacts with dossier author Chris Steele as far back as January 2016. He owes the American public the full truth,” tweeted Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican and member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

His panel and the House Judiciary Committee plan to hold a joint hearing to interview Mr. Ohr, according to The Daily Caller.

FBI documents show that the bureau bluntly told dossier writer Christopher Steele in November 2016 that it no longer wanted to hear about his collection of accusations against Mr. Trump.

But for months afterward, the FBI appeared to violate its own edict as agents continued to receive the former British spy’s scandalous charges centered on supposed TrumpRussia collusion.

 

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The US-Turkey Crisis: The NATO Alliance Forged in 1949 Is Today Largely Irrelevant

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via American Herald Tribune:


There has been some reporting in the United States mass media about the deteriorating relationship between Washington and Ankara and what it might mean. Such a falling out between NATO members has not been seen since France left the alliance in 1966 and observers note that the hostility emanating from both sides suggests that far worse is to come as neither party appears prepared to moderate its current position while diplomatic exchanges have been half-hearted and designed to lead nowhere.

The immediate cause of the breakdown is ostensibly President Donald Trump’s demand that an American Protestant minister who has lived in Turkey for twenty-three years be released from detention. Andrew Brunson was arrested 21 months ago and charged with being a supporter of the alleged conspiracy behind the military coup in 2016 that sought to kill or replace President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan has asserted that the coup was directed by former political associate Fetullah Gulen, who lives in exile in Pennsylvania, but has produced little credible evidence to support that claim. In the aftermath of the coup attempt, Erdogan has had himself voted extraordinary special powers to maintain public order and has arrested 160,000 people, including 20 Americans, who have been imprisoned. More than 170,000 civil servants, teachers, and military personnel have lost their jobs, the judiciary has been hobbled, and senior army officers have been replaced by loyalists.

Gulen is a religious leader who claims to promote a moderate brand of Islam that is compatible with western values. His power base consists of a large number of private schools that educate according to his curriculum, with particular emphasis on math and sciences. Many of the graduates become part of a loose affiliation that has sometimes been described as a cult. Gulen also owns and operates a number of media outlets, all of which have now been shut by Erdogan as part of his clamp down on the press. Turkey currently imprisons more journalists than any other country.

It is widely believed that Erdogan has been offering to release Brunson in exchange for Gulen, but President Donald Trump has instead offered only a Turkish banker currently in a U.S. prison while also turning the heat up in the belief that pressure on Turkey will force it to yield. Washington began the tit-for-tat by imposing sanctions on two cabinet-level officials in Erdogan’s government: Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul. Ankara has now also been on the receiving end of a Trump tweet and tariffs have been placed on a broad range of Turkish products, to include steel and aluminum.

The view that economic pressure will force the Turks to yield could be mistaken and demonstrates that the Administration does not include anyone who knows that Americans have been unpopular in Turkey since the Gulf War. The threats from Washington might actually rally skeptical and normally pro-western Turks around Erdogan but U.S. sanctions have already hit the Turkish economy hard, with the lira having lost 40% of its value this year and continuing to sink rapidly. Foreign investors, who fueled much of Turkey’s recent economic growth, have fled the market, suggesting that a collapse in credit might be on the way. Those European banks that hold Turkish debt are fearing a possible default.

It is a spectacle of one NATO member driving another NATO member’s economy into the ground over a political dispute. Erdogan has responded in his autocratic fashion by condemning “interest rates” and calling for an “economic war” against the U.S., telling his supporters to unload all their liquid valuables, gold and foreign to buy the plummeting lira, a certain recipe for disaster. If they do that, they will likely lose everything.

Other contentious issues involved in the badly damaged bilateral relationship are conflicting views on what to do about Syria, where the Turks have a legitimate interest due to potential Kurdish terrorism and are seeking a buffer zone, as well as Ankara’s interest in buying Russian air defense missile systems, which has prompted the U.S. to suspend sales of the new F-35 fighter. The Turks have also indicated that they have no interest in enforcing the sanctions on Iran that were re-imposed last week and they will continue to buy Iranian oil after the November 4th initiation of a U.S. ban on such purchases. The Trump Administration has warned that it will sanction any country that refuses to comply, setting the stage for a massive confrontation between Washington and Ankara involving the Turkish Central Bank.

In terms of U.S. interests, Turkey, which has the second largest army in NATO, is of strategic value because it is Muslim, countering arguments that the alliance is some kind of Christian club working to suppress Islam in the Middle East. And it is also important because of its geographic location close to hot spots where the American military is currently engaged. If the U.S. heeds Trump’s call to cut back on involvement in the region, Turkey will become less valuable, but currently, access to the Incirlik Airbase, near Adana and the Syrian border, is vital.

Indeed, Incirlik has become one of the flashpoints in the argument with Washington. Last week, a group of lawyers connected politically to Erdogan initiated legal action against U.S. officers at Incirlik over claimed ties to “terrorists” linked to Gulen. The “Association for Social Justice and Aid” has called for a temporary halt to all operations at the base to permit a search for evidence. The attorneys are asking for the detention of seven named American Colonels and Lieutenant Colonels. General Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command based in Germany is also cited. If the lawyers are successful in court, it will mean a major conflict as Washington asserts the rights of the officers under the Status of Forces Agreement, while Turkey will no doubt insist that the Americans are criminals and have no protection.

Another trial balloon being floated by Erdogan is even more frightening in terms of the demons that it could be unleashing. Abdurrahman Dilipak, an Islamist columnist writing in the pro-government newspaper Yeni Atik, has suggested that there might well be a second terrorist attack on the United States like 9/11. Dilipak threatened that if Trump does nothing to reduce tension “…some people will teach him [to do] that. It must be seen that if internal tensions with the United States continue like this that a September 11 is no unlikely possibility.” Dilipak also warned that presumed Gulenist “U.S. collaborators” inside Turkey would be severely punished if they dared to go out into the streets to protest in support of Washington.

If recent developments in Turkey deteriorate further it might well suggest that Donald Trump’s instinct to disengage from the Middle East was the right call, though it could equally be seen as a rejection of the tactic being employed, i.e. using heavy-handed sanctions and tariffs to compel obedience from governments disinclined to follow Washington’s leadership. Either way, the Turkish-American relationship is in trouble and increasingly a liability for both sides, yet another indication that the NATO alliance forged in 1949 against the Soviet Union is today largely irrelevant.

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Is This The Most Important Geopolitical Deal Of 2018?

After more than 20 years of fraught diplomatic efforts, the five littoral Caspian nations agreed upon a legal framework for sharing the world’s largest inland body of water.

The Duran

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Authored by Olgu Okumus via Oilprice.com:


The two-decade-long dispute on the statute of the Caspian Sea, the world largest water reserve, came to an end last Sunday when five littoral states (Russia, Iran, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan) agreed to give it a special legal status – it is now neither a sea, nor a lake. Before the final agreement became public, the BBC wrote that all littoral states will have the freedom of access beyond their territorial waters, but natural resources will be divided up. Russia, for its part, has guaranteed a military presence in the entire basin and won’t accept any NATO forces in the Caspian.

Russian energy companies can explore the Caspian’s 50 billion barrels of oil and its 8.4 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves, Turkmenistan can finally start considering linking its gas to the Turkish-Azeri joint project TANAP through a trans-Caspian pipeline, while Iran has gained increased energy supplies for its largest cities in the north of the country (Tehran, Tabriz, and Mashhad) – however, Iran has also put itself under the shadow of Russian ships. This controversy makes one wonder to what degree U.S. sanctions made Iran vulnerable enough to accept what it has always avoided – and how much these U.S. sanctions actually served NATO’s interests.

If the seabed, rich in oil and gas, is divided this means more wealth and energy for the region. From 1970 until the dissolution of the Soviet Union (USSR) in 1991, the Caspian Sea was divided into subsectors for Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan – all constituent republics of the USSR. The division was implemented on the basis of the internationally-accepted median line.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the new order required new regulations. The question was over whether the Caspian was a sea or a lake? If it was treated as a sea, then it would have to be covered by international maritime law, namely the United Nations Law of the Sea. But if it is defined as a lake, then it could be divided equally between all five countries. The so-called “lake or sea” dispute revolved over the sovereignty of states, but also touched on some key global issues – exploiting oil and gas reserves in the Caspian Basin, freedom of access, the right to build beyond territorial waters, access to fishing and (last but not least) managing maritime pollution.

The IEA concluded in World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2017 that offshore energy has a promising future. More than a quarter of today’s oil and gas supply is produced offshore, and integrated offshore thinking will extend this beyond traditional sources onwards to renewables and more. Caspian offshore hydrocarbon reserves are around 50 billion barrels of oil equivalent (equivalent to one third of Iraq’s total oil reserves) and 8.4 trillion cubic meters of gas (almost equivalent to the U.S.’ entire proven gas reserves). As if these quantities were not themselves enough to rebalance Eurasian energy demand equations, the agreement will also allow Turkmenistan to build the Trans-Caspian pipeline, connecting Turkmenistan’s resources to the Azeri-Turkish joint project TANAP, and onwards to Europe – this could easily become a counter-balance factor to the growing LNG business in Europe.

Even though we still don’t have firm and total details on the agreement, Iran seems to have gained much less than its neighbors, as it has shortest border on the Caspian. From an energy perspective, Iran would be a natural market for the Caspian basin’s oil and gas, as Iran’s major cities (Tehran, Tabriz, and Mashhad) are closer to the Caspian than they are to Iran’s major oil and gas fields. Purchasing energy from the Caspian would also allow Iran to export more of its own oil and gas, making the country a transit route from the Caspian basin to world markets. For instance, for Turkmenistan (who would like to sell gas to Pakistan) Iran provides a convenient geography. Iran could earn fees for swap arrangements or for providing a transit route and justify its trade with Turkey and Turkmenistan as the swap deal is allowed under the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA, or the D’Amato Act).

If the surface water will be in common usage, all littoral states will have access beyond their territorial waters. In practical terms, this represents an increasingly engaged Russian presence in the Basin. It also reduces any room for a NATO presence, as it seems to be understood that only the five littoral states will have a right to military presence in the Caspian. Considering the fact that Russia has already used its warships in the Caspian to launch missile attacks on targets within Syria, this increased Russian presence could potentially turn into a security threat for Iran.

Many questions can now be asked on what Tehran might have received in the swap but one piece of evidence for what might have pushed Iran into agreement in its vulnerable position in the face of increased U.S. sanctions. Given that the result of those sanctions seems to be Iran agreeing to a Caspian deal that allows Russia to place warships on its borders, remove NATO from the Caspian basin equation, and increase non-Western based energy supplies (themselves either directly or indirectly within Russia’s sphere of geopolitical influence) it makes one wonder whose interests those sanctions actually served?

By Olgu Okumus for Oilprice.com

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