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President Putin and Xi’s meeting in Moscow is far more important than the G20

The bilateral relationship between China and Russia is the bulwark of the modern global East and beyond. The G20 is an expensive dinner party.

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For the majority of the second half of the 20th century, the three greatest powers of the world were at odds. The schism between neighbours that resulted in the so-called Sino-Soviet split allowed the United States to spend much of the ensuing decades, particularly beginning in the 1970s trying to exploit the split between the great powers of the wider global east.

This of course is somewhat recent history, but the overall history of Russo-Chinese relations has been one of neighbourly cooperation and good will. From the 17th century until 20th century, China and Russia had no serious disputes and many important trading links.

The troubles of the turbulent 20th century have not only been reversed, but the generally good relations between the two countries are now at an all time high.

President Xi Jinping has just landed in Moscow, his third visit this year.

After a day of informal meetings including a dinner with his friend President Vladimir Putin, the two leaders will sign a series of trade deals said to be worth $10 billion while also discussing the commitment of both Presidents to develop further bilateral measures of cooperation and a commitment by both parties to China’s One Belt–One Road global trade, commerce and infrastructure project.

The timing of the meeting also holds great symbolic importance. Later this week, the Presidents of China and Russia will meet with the leaders of other powers at the G20 summit in Germany.

However, prior to that China and Russia have shown that their bilateral relationship takes precedence over the talking-shop that is the G20. While Presidents Xi and Putin are able to get things done and at a cordial level at that, the G20 summit like many similar global summits, are generally expensive brew-ha-has, which ultimately signify nothing.

Furthermore, this comes less than 24 hours after a US ship strayed into Chinese territorial waters in the South China Sea, a clear provocation by the United States which continues to undermine Chinese claims to its regional waters and the islands of the South China Sea. Even America’s traditional post-colonial ally in the South China Sea, Philippines has now decided to adopt a cooperative and fraternal approach to diplomacy with China as President Rodrigo Duterte has rejected the anti-Chinese posture of his predecessors.

China and Russia have shown that their modern alliance which has been built on historic good-will and which has overcome the troubles of the often overly-ideologically driven 20th century, is a bulwark that the US will not be able to break-apart.

China’a admonition of America’s deployment of THAAD missile systems in South Korea is a further demonstration that it is China which has lost patience with American aggression in Asia which has been irritatingly combined with mixed messages over China’s sphere of influence in East Asia and South East Asia.

President Xi said of America’s incursion into Chinese territorial waters,

“Bilateral relations have been affected by some negative factors. China has expressed its position to the US”.

The relationship  between China and Russia reaffirms that both sides are more important to each other than the United States is to either.

American arrogance in trying to play China against Russia has once again backfired spectacularly. The foregone conclusion in respect of the success of the meeting between Presidents Putin and Xi is a reinforcement of the reality that two of the three super-powers are close allies and the other is increasingly a source of annoyance for both.

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Hamletquest
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Hamletquest

As I recall the US was able to exclude Putin from the G8 making it less relevant as G7, but were unable to exclude Russia from the G20. However Adam is correct the whole G-Fest is a distraction and expensive waste of time and money. Clearly China’s BRI is much more important to emerging markets as well as poor oppressed/depressed ones in Europe. Everyone outside of the US and EU sphere’s of influence are signing up for China being the economic driving force for the 21st Century. Russia has partnered up for this and will seriously benefit as the western… Read more »

Simon
Guest
Simon

The G in G7 stands for Groupthink. It is utterly worthless.
But though I agree the G20 is a waste of money it is precisely because nothing can be agreed between such disparate powers that it is interesting to watch the body language.
So many interesting combinations, who hangs out with whom etc.

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Headline:
“…President Putin and Xi’s meeting in Moscow is far more important than the G20…”

If that is so why should Putin bother going to the G20 or giving it any lip service.

Actually the G20 is important for China.

China is a manufacturing and export driven economy, so its important for it to keep in touch with its major customers. This will become evident at the G20 when Xi will be schmoozing with the G20 countries.

Whilst Putin will be sidelined once again.

Simon
Guest
Simon

Putin sidelined? You haven’t got a clue. Look at the guest list.
Here’s who ‘might’ dare to avoid Putin – Tusk, Macron, Trudeau, May, Rutte, Turnbull.
Here’s who will seek him out, some already have scheduled meetings – Trump, Xi, Modi, Erdogan, Duterte, Widodo, Merkel (she has to as host), Abe (always does), Zuma, MbS, Juncker, Moon.
There are others going but they don’t matter either way.

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Simon
“…Putin sidelined?…”

Apart from the BRICS leaders who will pay homage to Putin, the rest are all B movie actors, “Conveyor Belt Politicians” owned by the Neoconservatives (includes Trump).

Trump will inform Putin about new Iran style US plus enforced 3rd country and 3rd company sanctions on Russia to prevent Nordstream 2.

Ivan Grozny
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Ivan Grozny

“Trump will inform Putin …” You are way out of line here! Russia is no 3rd tier nation!

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Ivan Grozny
The situation is the Neoconservatives want Donbas, Crimea and Syria, so on reflection with Trump being a Psychopath it will be said nicely.

Hamletquest
Guest
Hamletquest

The question you pose is sidelined by who? I think the majority members will want to meet with him, that’s the reason the US could not exclude Putin/Russia from the G20. The Trump & Putin meeting will be the one to watch, for obvious reasons. But the Deep State are already leaking formats. Apparently Trump wants informal meeting. Deep State/ Group think wants formal so they can leak more misinformation… Meanwhile US continues to taunt China under the pretext of “Right of Navigation”. What the Pentagon seems to understand by this is: “What is your territory is ours (Syria &… Read more »

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Hamletquest
“….The question you pose is sidelined by who?…”

Polite way of writing, the G20 meetings for 2015 and 2016 have been quiet “affairs” for Putin.

G20 2014 was a raucous affair so Putin cut his trip short after reports of repeated criticism from “Western leaders”, the host, Australian Premier Tony Abbott threatened to “shirt front” Putin.

Putin reportedly had ‘tense’ meeting with British PM David Cameron after he compared Russia to Nazi Germany

Canadian PM reportedly told Putin to ‘get out of Ukraine’ as Russian leader was relegated to edge of ‘family photo’.

Etc.

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

Wasn’t the meeting that mattered , back in 2014, APEC?

Here is how President Putin was sidelined. Now who was the Guest of Honour and who was placed with the women?
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Simon
Guest
Simon

LOL Brilliant! And we see at Chinese events, Putin is always at Xi’s right hand. Vice versa if they are in Russia.
Whereas the Chinese famously made Obama descend from the arse of his plane at last year’s G20 Hangzhou summit ! 😉

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

Thanks for reminding me of the time that Obama had to get off his plane, via the staff staircase. Oooooops, but, it was funny.

‘This is our country!’: Tempers flare as Obama arrives in China… http://nypost.com/2016/09/03/this-is-our-country-tempers-flare-as-obama-arrives-in-china/

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AMHants In the good old days, 2014 LoL:))) the Duran Mafia was not organised as it is today. In fact I started posting on Duran because you recommended its link on another media, RI. Also in 2014, I was one of the foremost supporters of Mr Putin on the Telegraph readers forum but gave up in April 2017 due to Putin – Russian lack of Air Defence for the Syrian Military. This is just a gist of what I used to post back then: APEC: 2014, At the APEC conference in China, Mr Putin was feted as a hero by… Read more »

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

Back in 2014 I got banned from the Telegraph, owing to not siding with their version of events in Ukraine. Also the Guardian. If you want to go back to 2014, do you remember what was actually happening at the time. Wasn’t that the year that Cameron wanted Russia thrown out of the SWIFT system? Wasn’t that the year that the cookie monsters turned up in Kiev and the Soros funded regime change script went down, whilst Russia were enjoying their Winter Olympics? Wasn’t that the year that NATO were sending in a Fleet to kick Russia out of Sevestapol?… Read more »

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AMHants
LoL:))) Have to agree with you, back in the “Good Old Days” it was fun ! Let’s hope the Duran will be more forgiving.

Mr Putin, President is still in place and will get re elected in 2018 whilst all the B movie actors you listed got trashed.

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

Who knows how it will all pan out, but, I hope we are in for a pleasant surprise.

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

You take care.

Tudor Miron
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Tudor Miron

Wives club! lol

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

The Chinese have got a sense of humour haha.

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

The way things are in reality….it is more likely that it will be TRUMP who is “sidelined”

Simon
Guest
Simon

Well, maybe the beta-males and women that make up the ‘West’ might try, but he won’t even notice, no one sidelines The Donald.
It is Erdogan who will be sidelined by Western leaders – so he will just hang out with the East.
But the most sidelined leader will be May – no one wants to be associated with a walking corpse.

Bodhisattva
Guest
Bodhisattva

Meeting between Presidents of Russia and China is indeed the most important affair of our time, for it is the KEY to multipolarity and resistance to Hegemon’s senseless propensity for chaos & destruction.

Simon
Guest
Simon

Yep, and we know what’s on the menu tonight too – not chocolate cake ! It will be Russian ice cream (a Xi favourite) served with NO surprises and NO fireworks. Calm responsible adults at dinner.

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

What, you mean there will be no tomahawk display, to close the evening?

What is interesting, is the fact that the pair of them, meet up regularly, and without the formality of a state visit, overshadowing the bigger picture.

The G7 mob, when they threw Russia out of the club, did not realise they would strengthen the Russia/China bond and make themselves look stupid, in the process.

Simon
Guest
Simon

You are right. Do you remember all the talk a few years ago about a G2?
It was meant to be US and China…..
Funny thing is – there is now a real G2. And I hope they enjoy their ice cream tonight. 😉

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

I came late to the party, so missed out on the US wanting a G2 with China. Careful what you wish for, so comes to mind.

What does interest me, is what happens when President Putin and President Xi Jinping retire from politics. Will they have a strong enough team, following their footsteps? There again, will their foes be long gone or in a position that they cannot get back on their feet?

J Y
Guest
J Y

I do not think you need to worry about China, but I am not sure about Russia.

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

It would be nice if we are just heading for something that is beneficial for us all. With a major cleanout of toxic, easily coerced and easy to blackmail politicians.

J Y
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J Y

Nothing for sure of cause, but Chinese system and history says China will likely do fine for a while.

John Mason
Guest
John Mason

I think that Putin will pick his replacement, same way that he was put into power.

AMHants
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AMHants

I hope he is worthy of him, there again, he is surrounded by a good team.

englishvinal
Guest
englishvinal

Well said; but my thought is that if you or I had the despicable criminal acts committed by those politicians video-taped and sequestered somewhere…. we might be “easy to blackmail” too…

We remaining healthy human beings in the western nations are beset by evil… and evil doers.

Bodhisattva
Guest
Bodhisattva

AMHants,

Your query “what happens when President Putin and President Xi Jinping retire from politics” is the most important question being asked by people interested in geopolitics and geoeconomics…
I would rather pose it like – will the policies and objectives of Putin-Xi era be followed in future when they will retire by say 2024-25. All of us who express their dislike and loathing of Hegemonic chaos-destruction, wish that in both countries, the same policies and objectives will CONTINUE.

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

Well said and yes.

I wonder if that is being addressed with the agreements they are signing at the moment, that are due to cover at least 4 years?

Personally, I cannot see them letting all their hard work be at the mercy of Soros and friends. Without signing, sealing and delivering some long term guarantees, that cannot be ignored.

Bodhisattva
Guest
Bodhisattva

We are not/ won’t be privy to any document so as to ascertain that there is/will be written agreement on the bilateral policies (so that policies perpetuate beyond Putin-Xi era) …

But I agree with you that, there exist high possibility of such document which will remain ‘confidential’ for decades to come.

AMHants
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AMHants

Fingers crossed.

englishvinal
Guest
englishvinal

Soros is one of the leading edge Hybrid-Reptiles.
Don’t think so?.. Look long and hard at his quasi-human facial features and then tell me that ‘phisog’ is not reptilian?

AMHants
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AMHants

Look at the similarities in this lot (apologies as I use the images often)…

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englishvinal
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englishvinal

I personally believe that “The Shift” is in progress. The follow up for the Russian and Chinese people will be very much the same ideology as Presidents Putin and Xi Jinping. The reptilian ruled era is fading fast.
Everything under the sun “cycles” and we happen to be at the apex of the movement taking humanity from the symbol of the snake eating its own tail to a different time.

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

Hopefully, but, it does appear something mega is on the move. With other nations coming on board.

Bodhisattva
Guest
Bodhisattva

Very true. Incidentally Putin-Xi combination is the most MATURED adult pair in the geopolitical arena of current world.

pogohere
Guest

brouhaha Germany at the G20 will be particularly concerned re US sanctions proposed against its Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia and with the possibility of US sanctions against steel. Washington and Berlin on a Collision Course Pepe Escobar 6-30-17 The Russia sanctions bill that passed the US Senate by 98:2 on June 15 is a bombshell; it directly demonizes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, under the Baltic Sea, which is bound to double Gazprom’s energy capacity to supply gas to Europe. Trump and Chancellor Angela Merkel will definitely be on a collision course at the G-20, with Merkel… Read more »

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pogohere
At the end of the day, the US Senate / House of Representatives will force the sanctions through unilaterally, which will be new Iran style US plus US enforced 3rd country and 3rd company sanctions on Russia to prevent Nordstream 2.

The EU and or Germany can ignore the sanctions but the companies involved in the NS2 Project will be sanctioned with a prospect of US$100’s of Millions or the odd Billion in fines for breaking the sanctions.

Gonzogal
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Gonzogal
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Gonzogal
Thanks, interesting article.

At this G20 summit,Trump is under orders from his Neoconservative overlords to arrange the return of Donbas, Crimea and Syria.

EU sanctions on the US will be difficult as its economy is heavily dependent on export to the US market like a Siamese Twin, the EU dies without the US (economically).

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

It certainly would be great to see the US get a taste of its own medicine!

The EU could diversify its exports to the East where the real economic powerhouse is and thus save itself from sinking along with the US.

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Gonzogal
The Neoconservatives control the UK, France most of East European EU countries, the others “PIGS” Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain, etc move like “Jelly on Demand”.

The EU has done and is still doing the MaxX to export to South America, ME, Africa, Asia Pacific region or wherever there is a customer.

However the sheer size and import demand of the US along with the Neoconservative control of “Money” overwhelms the other countries.

pogohere
Guest

It’s all more grist for the mill: Germany and the EU can’t ignore sanctions on their major energy companies. The plot thickens. The wedge between the Germans and the Russians will be increasingly difficult to maintain. It’s the Mackinder nightmare de jour.

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pogohere
Using the Mackinder Theorem, the Neoconservatives have taken control of Eastern Europe from the Baltics, Poland down through Ukraine to the Black Sea, the “Wall”.

In the past I have been heavily criticized for writing Putin is too slow or has a wait and see what happens approach.

Putin plays his moves too slowly, Ukraine was already a well known troublesome Transit country so Nordstream 2 and Turkstream should have been built when oil was bouncing at US$100 in order to bypass any future “Wall”.

pogohere
Guest

The neoconservatives are playing with fuses on bombs they don’t understand, but which they must use because they have no other options. The Russians have made it clear the next assault planned on Russia will take place in the territory of the aggressor.

The US has not faced such an agile, able, major military opponent since World War II.

Hegemonic desperation functions with a one gear transmission.

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pogohere
Facts:
Putin is a well known do nothing wait and see operator.

Russia was making big money when the Oil Price was hitting highs due to Neoconservative wars, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Sanctions on Iran, etc.

Questions:
What is Russia exactly going to do against sanctions that prevent the building of either Nordstream 2 or Turkstream?

What is Russia exactly going to do when Poland and Ukraine increase Oil and Gas Transit Fees making it uncompetitive against US – Arab LNG and Oil?

pogohere
Guest

Putin? The leader of the most agile, resurgent, nearly self-sufficient 1st world military and industrial power? Russian Federation: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2017 Article IV Mission May 19, 2017 http://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2017/05/19/Russian-Federation-Staff-Concluding-Statement-of-the-2017-Article-IV-Mission What does Russia produce? Fire in the hole!!!!!!!!!!!!! http://thesaker.is/what-does-russia-produce-1/ http://thesaker.is/what-does-russia-produce-2/ http://thesaker.is/what-does-russia-produce-3/ “What is Russia exactly going to do against sanctions that prevent the building of either Nordstream 2 or Turkstream?: More of the same, naturellement. Nord Stream 2? EU backs down on Nord Stream 2 31/03/2017 http://www.eurasianbusinessbriefing.com/eu-backs-nord-stream-2/ NS2 just got kicked upstairs: EU Commission could get say on Russia gas pipeline https://euobserver.com/foreign/138362 Stay tuned: Germany wants the gas and… Read more »

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pogohere “…Putin? The leader of the most agile, resurgent, nearly self-sufficient 1st world military and industrial power?…” You surely are preparing a script for a Comedy Show, LoL:))) Putin is shaped by events after it is too late and does not know how to handle anything because of his operating style which is: Do nothing Do it very slowly Wait and see what happens Russian Economy: Yes, Putin is doing a good job which is why he is popular and getting elected as President. New Pipelines – Nordstream 2 and Arab: Your link does not prove anything conclusive, its a… Read more »

pogohere
Guest

The tell: what do you emphasize in your “post”

Putin Putin Putin Putin Putin Putin Putin Putin

Ukraine Ukraine Ukraine Ukraine Ukraine Ukraine

No facts, no sources, no data

No More.

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pogohere / RW E There is no need to post links, you already know them or can google them. For Auld Lang Syne / Old Times Sake. Putin has allowed the Neoconservative to take over Eastern Europe from the Baltic Sea, Poland through Ukraine to the Black Sea. Russia is now locked out of its land route to Western Europe. There are US missile bases surrounding Russia and Putin is still waiting to see what happens next. “…Moscow is waiting to see the next moves of the Trump administration….” http://www.russia-direct.org/opinion/why-new-us-military-buildup-europe-doesnt-yet-worry-russia Neocons and the Ukraine Coup: https://consortiumnews.com/2014/02/23/neocons-and-the-ukraine-coup/ Ukraine will become the… Read more »

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

“When the US senators voted for a new package of sanctions against Russia, they were solving domestic political issues, and also tried to limit the freedom of foreign policy maneuver for President Donald Trump. They couldn’t imagine that their actions would not only cause a sharp diplomatic reaction from the leading EU countries, but would also lead to the emergence of the issue of retaliatory sanctions against the United States of America in the European media,” Danilov wrote.
https://sputniknews.com/politics/201706241054938953-germany-russia-us-nordstream2/

dago dingo
Guest
dago dingo

America has become a pariah due to it’s pathetic’ hegemonic agendas worldwide. It feels it is above the law and has expressed exactly this view in all of its illegal incursions on sovereign soils. When are its people going to realise what their government has done to them? The sooner China and Russia relegate America to the scrap heap, the better.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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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