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US protests Syrian presidency of international disarmament conference

Apparently, only America and its allies should have a voice in international negotiations forums

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Formed in 1979, the Conference on Disarmament is a multilateral disarmament forum established by the international community which rotates its presidency according to the alphabetical order of countries’ English names every four weeks.

Now, it’s Syria’s turn to take a whack at the Presidency of the international forum.

The Americans, still sticking to the chemical weapons attack in Douma narrative, despite the overwhelming evidence that there was no chemical weapons attack in Douma, much less a CW attack carried out by the Assad regime, and which conducted a missile strike on Damascus and surrounding areas, to negligible effect, is walking out and speaking out in protest of Syria’s turn at the forum’s presidency.

The US is widely known to have employed depleted uranium munitions in its Iraq war, which war has led to the deaths of over 1 million Iraqis. Either the bad guys had a military of 1 million strong, or else lots of innocent people prematurely met their maker because America needed to make them more free and to find those WMDs Saddam happened to be hiding somewhere.

Syria is ‘audacious’ for taking up its role in the international conference, according to the Americans, who are ‘outraged’ at Syria’s alleged malign activities, apparently for daring to attempt to purge its nation of destabilizing and murderous forces, preserve its territorial integrity and that of its government.

The UK, always standing up for Washington’s policies, and who joined America on its missile strikes in Damascus, also denounced the presidency of a Syrian rep, which is actually in accordance with the manner in which the conference rotates its presidency, and is now pushing to change the system on how the presidency of the conference is decided, because, as it stands, it means giving a voice to every member, and that’s just not how America and its buddies roll.

Apparently, only America and its friends should have the opportunity to participate and have a voice in international forums and negotiation bodies.

Middle East online reports:

GENEVA – The United States led a protest Tuesday against Syria taking over the Conference on Disarmament, calling it “a travesty” at a time when Damascus is widely accused of using chemical weapons.

The US ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament (CD), Robert Wood, briefly walked out of the room in protest when the Syrian representative took the floor.

“Syria’s presence here is a travesty,” he said just before the session began.

“This regime has committed countless crimes against its own people through the use of chemical weapons, and it is just unacceptable for them to be leading this body,” he insisted.

Syria’s ambassador Hussam Edin Aala meanwhile slammed the protest as “sensational propaganda” and “characterised by double-standards.”

Syria on Monday took over the rotating presidency of the CD, according to a decades-old practice among the body’s 65 members following the alphabetical order of country names in English.

But despite the mechanical nature of Syria’s arrival at the helm of the CD, following Switzerland and Sweden, a number of country representatives voiced their outrage that a representative of Damascus was presiding over the body that negotiated the chemical weapons ban.

More than 350,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since Syria’s civil war began in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

After hundreds of people died in chemical attacks near Damascus in 2013, a deal with Russia was struck to rid Syria of chemical weapons, staving off US air strikes.

But the United Nations and Western countries have accused Damascus of carrying out a number of chemical attacks since then.

A suspected chlorine and sarin attack in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7 this year triggered punitive missile strikes against alleged chemical weapons sites in Syria by the US, Britain and France.

– ‘Sad, shameful day’ –

During the first open CD session of Syria’s presidency on Tuesday, the United States led a number of diplomats in protest.

Wood briefly left the room when Syria’s ambassador Aala opened the session, before returning to voice Washington’s displeasure from the floor.

“Today marks a sad and shameful day in the history of this body,” he told the assembly.

“Simply put, it is a travesty that the Syrian regime, which continues to indiscriminately slaughter its own people with weapons banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention, should presume to preside over this body,” he said.

Wood stressed that the US would not “permit ‘business as usual’ in the CD while Syria presides over this body.

He said his country would be represented “in this hall to ensure that Syria is not able to advance initiatives that run counter to the interests of the United States.

“But we will fundamentally alter the nature of our presence in the plenaries,” he said, before moving in protest to a seat usually reserved for assistants.

Wood’s words were echoed by a number of ambassadors from other countries, including Britain and Australia.

“The UK deplores the fact that Syria will assume the presidency of the Conference on Disarmament, given the regime’s consistent and flagrant disregard of international non-proliferation and disarmament norms and agreements,” British ambassador Matthew Rowland said in a statement Monday.

But he pointed out that all CD members including Syria had to agree to change the rotating system.

The French representative also said Syria “does not have the moral authority to lead this body.”

Others, like the representatives of China and North Korea meanwhile offered their “congratulations” to the new president of the CD, while the representative of Syrian ally Russia slammed the US and other critics for “poisoning the atmosphere” at the CD.

In the following volley of accusations, Wood countered that he was “more concerned about the poisoning of the Syrian people”.

The CD, which is not a UN organisation but meets at UN headquarters in Geneva, is a multilateral disarmament forum that holds three sessions a year. It negotiates arms control and disarmament accords and focuses on the cessation of the nuclear arms race.

The US State Department issued a condemnation of the Syrian presidency of the Conference in a statement by spokeswoman Heather Nauert:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department voiced outrage on Tuesday over the Syrian government’s assumption of the presidency of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament for the next month, saying Damascus lacked credibility to preside over the body because of its use of chemical weapons.

“We are outraged at the Syrian regime’s blatant disregard for human life, its serial violations of and contempt for its international obligations and its audaciousness in assuming the presidency of an international body committed to advancing disarmament and non-proliferation,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a briefing. “Syria lacks the credibility to assume the presidency.”

Meanwhile, the US, in a coalition with its allies, France and the UK, just carried out its military strike on Damascus in blatant violation of international law before an international investigative body could carry out an investigation on the matter under of contention, but is using alleged violations of international law as an impetus to denounce Syria and the CD for assuming its legitimate role, as provided for by the very rotating system of the CD that every party to it agreed upon when it was formed. That’s just seems a little bit hypocritical, maybe, just a little bit. .

But I’m quite certain Washington is really, really, reeeeellly concerned about the security and quality of life of the people that the US is helping the Saudis slaughter in Yemen, or the preventing of food supplies going into Venezuela, or the safety and livelihood of the populations of Ukraine, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Latin America as it destabilizes nation after nation economically or through bloody military coups and interventions, in stark, blatant, violation of international law. or any code of ethics that happens to place a value on human life and liberty.

Even if Syria was up to the stuff that Washington and its cohorts accuse it of, that would basically make them rank amateurs compared to the Americans, they really know how to exterminate civilian populations, they’re the professionals.

You could just ask the Koreans about that, given that the American’s bombed about a third of their population into oblivion, to the point that the Americans ran out of targets to bomb when they were engaged in a hot war with them, but since they were American bombs, those bombs were probably really careful not to blow up any civilians.

 

 

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Social media purge continues, as platforms operate as publishers (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 80.

Alex Christoforou

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Following the suspension of Alex Jones, Twitter has also moved to restrict Jones’ Infowars account.

BuzzFeed News is reporting that the Infowars account will be restricted from tweeting, but will still be able to browse Twitter and send direct messages to other users, while users will still be able to view the account.

The move, which essentially puts the account in read-only mode, comes less than a day after Twitter temporarily limited Infowars proprietor Alex Jones for a week after he tweeted a link to a video in which he called on his supporters to get their “battle rifles” ready. That video, which was shared on Twitter-owned live streaming service Periscope, was also shared by Infowars earlier on Wednesday.

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed that Infowars’ account, which has more than 430,000 followers, will be prevented from tweeting, retweeting, liking or following other users during a seven-day window. The account will stay online, allowing users to view it during that period.

Via Zerohedge

On Tuesday, Twitter suspended the conspiracy theorist and blogger for violating the social media company’s policies, in a stark reversal for Jack Dorsey who previously bucked the trend by other tech giants to muzzle the Infowars creator.

As CNET first reported, Jones’ account was put in “read only” mode and will be blocked from posting on Twitter for seven days because of an offending tweet, the company said. While Twitter declined to comment on the content that violated its policies, a Twitter spokesperson told CNN the content which prompted the suspension was a video published Tuesday in which he said, “now is time to act on the enemy before they do a false flag.”

A Twitter spokesperson wouldn’t say what would get Jones or Infowars permanently suspended, however they noted “We look at [the] volume and nature of violations before suspending an account,” according to Buzzfeed.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the latest twists and turns in the vicious social media purge of conservative right and libertarian accounts. Platforms are acting like publishers and this may mean the end of monopoly social media services.

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

Meanwhile, in a censorship move against Libertarian commentary, Ron Paul Institute director Daniel McAdams and Antiwar editor Scott Horton were suspended by Twitter for simply retweeting. Justin Raimondo informs…

Target Liberty reports

Update from Justin:

Neither @scotthortonshow nor @DanielLMcAdams have been reinstated. You can see their tweets: they can’t tweet.

RW

Daniel McAdams explain what happened…

Robert I can give you an update from my perspective regarding what happened:

Yesterday on Twitter, former US diplomat Peter Van Buren (@WeMeantWell) took members of the mainstream media to task for swallowing and printing government lies without even bothering to check them out. He said as a former US government official (turned whistleblower) he also lied to the press on behalf of the government and was astonished that the press swallowed each one, hook, line and sinker.

Several corporate media hacks and in particular one employee of an NGO funded by George Soros — a fellow called Jonathan Katz — piled on Peter, accusing him of all manner of treachery. When Peter ended one response with a sarcastic reference to zombie attacks – “I hope a MAGA guy eats your face” — which is obviously a joke, Katz replied that he is reporting Peter for promoting violence.

So he and his buddies ganged up on Peter and got him banned. Scott Horton and I were incensed over the ban, which seemed to us totally arbitrary. There was no threat of violence and it was no different than millions of Tweets all the time. So Scott and I both joined in and criticized Katz for running off to the authorities in attempt to get someone banned rather than just walk away from the debate.

Katz then did his usual routine and ran to the authorities and had Scott and me banned. Mine was for, as Twitter informed me, because “you may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.” There is no way at all that my Tweet violated the above rule. In no way did I harass or threaten based on those criteria. I merely strongly criticized Katz for running to the authorities to get Peter banned.

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“I’m Not A Racist, But I’m A Nationalist”: Why Sweden Faces A Historic Election Upset

Sweden is set to have a political earthquake in September.

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Via Zerohedge


“Trains and hospitals don’t work, but immigration continues,” Roger Mathson, a retired vegetable oil factory worker in Sweden, told Bloomberg on the same day as the violent, coordinated rampage by masked gangs of youths across five Swedish cities.

We noted earlier that Swedish politicians were quick to react with anti-immigrant party ‘Sweden Democrats’ seeing a surge in the polls ahead of the September 9th election.

“I’m not a racist, but I’m a nationalist,” Mathson said. “I don’t like seeing the town square full of Niqab-clad ladies and people fighting with each other.”

Is Sweden set to have its own political earthquake in September, where general elections could end a century of Social Democratic dominance and bring to power a little known (on the world stage), but the now hugely popular nationalist party often dubbed far-right and right-wing populist, called Sweden Democrats?

Sweden, a historically largely homogeneous population of 10 million, took in an astounding 600,000 refugees over the past five years, and after Swedes across various cities looked out their windows Tuesday to see cars exploding, smoke filling the skies, and possibly armed masked men hurling explosives around busy parking lots, it appears they’ve had enough.

Over the past years of their rise as a political force in Swedish politics, the country’s media have routinely labelled the Sweden Democrats as “racists” and “Nazis” due to their seemingly single issue focus of anti-immigration and strong Euroscepticism.

A poll at the start of this week indicated the Sweden Democrats slid back to third place after topping three previous polls as the September election nears; however, Tuesday’s national crisis and what could legitimately be dubbed a serious domestic terror threat is likely to boost their popularity.

Bloomberg’s profile of their leader, Jimmie Akesson, echoes the tone of establishment Swedish media in the way they commonly cast the movement, beginning as follows:

Viking rock music and whole pigs roasting on spits drew thousands of Swedes to a festival hosted by nationalists poised to deliver their country’s biggest political upheaval in a century.

The Sweden Democrats have been led since 2005 by a clean-cut and bespectacled man, Jimmie Akesson. He’s gentrified a party that traces its roots back to the country’s neo-Nazi, white supremacist fringe. Some polls now show the group may become the biggest in Sweden’s parliament after general elections on Sept. 9. Such an outcome would end 100 years of Social Democratic dominance.

The group’s popularity began surging after the 2015 immigration crisis began, which first hit Europe’s southern Mediterranean shores and quickly moved northward as shocking wave after wave of migrants came.

Jimmie Akesson (right). Image source: Getty via Daily Express

Akesson emphasizes something akin to a “Sweden-first” platform which European media often compares to Trump’s “America First”; and the party has long been accused of preaching forced assimilation into Swedish culture to be become a citizen.

Bloomberg’s report surveys opinions at a large political rally held in Akkeson’s hometown of Solvesborg, and some of the statements are sure to be increasingly common sentiment after this week’s coordinated multi-city attack:

At his party’s festival, Akesson revved up the crowd by slamming the establishment’s failures, calling the last two governments the worst in Swedish history. T-shirts calling for a Swexit, or an exit from the EU, were exchanged as bands played nationalist tunes.

Ted Lorentsson, a retiree from the island of Tjorn, said he’s an enthusiastic backer of the Sweden Democrats. “I think they want to improve elderly care, health care, child care,” he said. “Bring back the old Sweden.” But he also acknowledges his view has led to disagreement within his family as his daughter recoils at what she feels is the “Hitler”-like rhetoric.

No doubt, the media and Eurocrats in Brussels will take simple, innocent statements from elderly retirees like “bring back the old Sweden” as nothing short of declaration of a race war, but such views will only solidify after this week.

Another Sweden Democrat supporter, a 60-year old woman who works at a distillery, told Bloomberg, “I think you need to start seeing the whole picture in Sweden and save the original Swedish population,” she said. “I’m not racist, because I’m a realist.”

Sweden’s two biggest parties, the Social Democrats and Moderates, are now feeling the pressure as Swedes increasingly worry about key issues preached by Akesson like immigration, law and order, and health care – seen as under threat by a mass influx of immigrants that the system can’t handle.

Bloomberg explains further:

But even young voters are turning their backs on the establishment. One potential SD supporter is law student Oscar Persson. Though he hasn’t yet decided how he’ll vote, he says it’s time for the mainstream parties to stop treating the Sweden Democrats like a pariah. “This game they are playing now, where the other parties don’t want to talk to them but still want their support, is something I don’t really understand,” he said.

Akesson has managed to entice voters from both sides of the political spectrum with a message of more welfare, lower taxes and savings based on immigration cuts.

With many Swedes now saying immigration has “gone too far” and as this week’s events have once again thrust the issue before both a national and global audience, the next round of polling will mostly like put Sweden’s conservative-right movements on top

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The Turkish Emerging Market Timebomb

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s populist economic policies have finally caught up to him.

The Duran

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Authored by Jim O’Neill, originally on Project Syndicate:


As the Turkish lira continues to depreciate against the dollar, fears of a classic emerging-market crisis have come to the fore. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s populist economic policies have finally caught up to him, and sooner or later, he will have to make nice with his country’s traditional Western allies.

Turkey’s falling currency and deteriorating financial conditions lend credence, at least for some people, to the notion that “a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” I suspect that many Western policymakers, in particular, are not entirely unhappy about Turkey’s plight.

To veteran economic observers, Turkey’s troubles are almost a textbook case of an emerging-market flop. It is August, after all, and back in the 1990s, one could barely go a single year without some kind of financial crisis striking in the dog days of summer.

But more to the point, Turkey has a large, persistent current-account deficit, and a belligerent leader who does not realize – or refuses to acknowledge – that his populist economic policies are unsustainable. Moreover, Turkey has become increasingly dependent on overseas investors (and probably some wealthy domestic investors, too).

Given these slowly gestating factors, markets have long assumed that Turkey was headed for a currency crisis. In fact, such worries were widespread as far back as the fall of 2013, when I was in Istanbul interviewing business and financial leaders for a BBC Radio series on emerging economies. At that time, markets were beginning to fear that monetary-policy normalization and an end to quantitative easing in the United States would have dire consequences globally. The Turkish lira has been flirting with disaster ever since.

Now that the crisis has finally come to pass, it is Turkey’s population that will bear the brunt of it. The country must drastically tighten its domestic monetary policy, curtail foreign borrowing, and prepare for the likelihood of a full-blown economic recession, during which time domestic saving will slowly have to be rebuilt.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s leadership will both complicate matters and give Turkey some leverage. Erdoğan has  constitutional powers, reducing those of the parliament, and undercutting the independence of monetary and fiscal policymaking. And to top it off, he seems to be reveling in an escalating feud with US President Donald Trump’s administration over Turkey’s imprisonment of an American pastor and purchase of a Russian S-400 missile-defense system.

This is a dangerous brew for the leader of an emerging economy to imbibe, particularly when the United States itself has embarked on a Ronald Reagan-style fiscal expansion that has pushed the US Federal Reserve to raise interest rates faster than it would have otherwise. Given the unlikelihood of some external source of funding emerging, Erdoğan will eventually have to back down on some of his unorthodox policies. My guess is that we’ll see a return to a more conventional monetary policy, and possibly a new fiscal-policy framework.

As for Turkey’s leverage in the current crisis, it is worth remembering that the country has a large and youthful population, and thus the potential to grow into a much larger economy in the future. It also enjoys a privileged geographic position at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia, which means that many major players have a stake in ensuring its stability. Indeed, many Europeans still hold out hope that Turkey will embrace Western-style capitalism, despite the damage that Erdoğan has done to the country’s European Union accession bid.

Among the regional powers, Russia is sometimes mentioned as a potential savior for Turkey. There is no doubt that Russian President Vladimir Putin would love to use Turkey’s crisis to pull it even further away from its NATO allies. But Erdoğan and his advisers would be deeply mistaken to think that Russia can fill Turkey’s financial void. A Kremlin intervention would do little for Turkey, and would likely exacerbate Russia’s own .

The other two potential patrons are Qatar and, of course, China. But while Qatar, one of Turkey’s closest Gulf allies, could provide financial aid, it does not ultimately have the wherewithal to pull Turkey out of its crisis singlehandedly.

As for China, though it will not want to waste the opportunity to increase its influence vis-à-vis Turkey, it is not the country’s style to step into such a volatile situation, much less assume responsibility for solving the problem. The more likely outcome – as we are seeing in Greece – is that China will unleash its companies to pursue investment opportunities after the dust settles.

That means that Turkey’s economic salvation lies with its conventional Western allies: the US and the EU (particularly France and Germany). On August 13, a White House spokesperson confirmed that the Trump administration is watching the financial-market response to Turkey’s crisis “very closely.” The last thing that Trump wants is a crumbling world economy and a massive dollar rally, which could derail his domestic economic ambitions. So a classic Trump “trade” is probably there for Erdoğan, if he is willing to come to the negotiating table.

Likewise, some of Europe’s biggest and most fragile banks have significant exposure to Turkey. Combine that with the ongoing political crisis over migration, and you have a recipe for deeper destabilization within the EU. I, for one, cannot imagine that European leaders will sit by and do nothing while Turkey implodes on their border.

Despite his escalating rhetoric, Erdoğan may soon find that he has little choice but to abandon his isolationist and antagonistic policies of the last few years. If he does, many investors may look back next year and wish that they had snapped up a few lira when they had the chance.

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