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Why Europe is obsessed with fighting ‘Russian propaganda’

The European Union relies on propaganda against Russia to draw attention away from critical economic shortcomings.

Haneul Na'avi

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“See how elastic our prejudices grow when once love comes to bend them.” — Moby Dick

Members of European Parliament (MEPs) convened on 23 Nov. to enact yet another non-legislative motion to combat “Russian propaganda”.

The EU resolution, created by European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) member Anna Fotgya (Poland), rallied parliamentarians in a torch and pitchfork session to scapegoat Russian media for exposing the hard truths about incompetent Western leadership.

Citing the typical Crimean ‘annexation’,“[…] the European Parliament condemned Russia’s state media as ‘disinformation and propaganda’ designed to ‘increase Russia’s influence and weaken the EU’, [which] passed by 304 votes to 179, with 208 abstentions”, the Moscow Times reported.

The resolution also called for “investing more in awareness raising, education, online and local media, investigative journalism and information literacy”.

Russian Spokesperson Maria Zakharova promptly responded to the accusations:

“[It] is beyond my understanding what our Western colleagues are so afraid of. I cannot call this anything but fear […] [the resolution] is stupidity and fear through and through.”

Europe’s “investments” in the Russian economy, including backing regime change in Ukraine and Syria, enacting unilateral sanctions, and bailing out Ukraine’s criminal government, have yet to yield any return on investment.

In fact, evidence shows that the EU has placed stock by ignoring its trade deficit with Russia and forging deeper ties to the indebted United States economy.

In 2014, Germany was Russia’s second-largest EU trading partner (6.6%) after the Netherlands (8.7%). Conversely, Russia was the EU’s fourth largest trading partner in 2015. Germany’s successes in the single market made it an easy target for American imperialism.

To increase its market share, US officials targeted Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands—Russia’s top three trading partners—with sanctions to procure future negotiations and trade deals.

A 2014 CNN article explained this in perfect detail:

[…] the European Union exports about 100 billion euros worth of goods and services to Russia and takes in roughly 200 billion euros of the latter’s imports […] For Germany, curtailed trade with Russia could really bite. And considering as the former is Europe’s biggest economy the implications would be felt well beyond its borders.

German financial analyst Ernest Wolff extrapolates from this observation in a Sputnik article:

“Over 6,000 German companies are trading with Russia, and many of them are now experiencing difficulties, and this is exactly what the sanctions were aimed at,” he stated.

“[It] clearly plays into the hands of the US geopolitical interests and American capital. If the US employment and labor law is introduced in European companies, this will bring the US one step closer towards US global dominance,” he mentioned.

Several conditions within EU-Russian trade became evident in 2014, which are intrinsically linked to the desperate US-EU EuroMaidan colour revolution.

Firstly, it was an attempt to circumvent Europe’s chasmic trade deficit. From 2005-2015, the EU traded disproportionately with Russia, incurring a deficit of over $90b in 2011.

The same year, EU and US officials began secret consultations of a future agreement “based on the recommendations of the EU-US High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth that steered the deliberations on the future EU-US relations,” the EU Commission reported. The ‘agreement’ would later become the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

According to a 2013 London Centre for Economic Policy Research study, [it] “could bring the EU economic gains of €119 billion a year [and] translate on average to an extra €545 in disposable income each year for a family of four in the EU.”

In reality, this was to counteract Russia’s positive trade balance of $196b (2011), with $506b in exports and $310b in imports; the highest on record.

Conversely, the US incurred a trade deficit of over $72b (2011), with imports at $2.06t and exports at 1.34t. America’s massive trade and fiscal deficits, exacerbated by the 2008 financial crisis and endless war in the Middle East, increased America’s appetite for surplus value in new markets to make up for the deficit, using conflict to divide the EU from Russia and finalise plans for the TTIP.

Furthermore, Russia’s growing Economic Complexity Index (ECI), which attracts trading partners to bundled export packages, also prompted the shift in policy. Russia’s ECI ranking almost doubled from its lowest point in 2009 (50) to 2014 (27), 5 points away from its record high in 1992 (22), diversifying its markets to weather the US-inspired 2008 global financial crisis.

The Council of the European Union then worked to entice as many countries away from Russia’s geopolitical orbit amidst the chaos, on behalf of Washington:

Major progress was achieved in the field of visa liberalisation with the Republic of Moldova with entry into force of the visa free regime in April. The visa facilitation agreement and readmission agreement entered into force on 1 January 2014 between EU and Armenia and on 1 September 2014 between EU and Azerbaijan […] The EU began negotiations on Visa Facilitation Agreement with Belarus.

Nevertheless, the subterfuge backfired. Armenia, instead of pivoting westward, joined the Eurasian Economic Union, blocking progress on the South Stream pipeline and fuelling tensions with EU vassal state Azerbaijan.

Additionally, Moldova’s leadership recently became ‘pro-Russian’, thanks to Party of Socialists’ Chairman Igor Dodon winning the country’s 2016 elections, infuriating Brussels even further.

The main problem for Brussels lies not in Moscow, but in the streets of Europe, as anti-TTIP protesters denounce the theft of worker’s rights, increased imports of genetically-modified foods, repressive copyright laws, as well as impending corporate rule over individual sovereign states.

So, how has ‘big, bad Vlad’ undermined the ‘weakened’ the ‘free and democratic’ European Union?

Amidst Western sanctions, President Vladimir Putin has made it even easier to do business in Russia by creating Special Investment Contracts (SICs), which “support potential investors in transferring business into Russia” as well as create “new facilities and receiving the status of Russian domestic [manufacturers]”, quotes the Moscow Times.

This has attracted multinational businesses to Russia and facilitated joint ventures between Moscow and other economic powerhouses. EuroChem, one of Europe’s largest mineral fertiliser producers based in Zug, Switzerland, recently signed a massive SIC at the 2016 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Sochi, Russia.

“EuroChem’s investment in three projects [Kingisepp, EuroChem-VolgaKaliy and EuroChem-Usolskiy] totals approximately RUB 287 billion while their implementation will create 3,750 new jobs in the aforementioned regions and will ensure annual tax revenues of RUB 22 billion,” the company highlighted.

Success stories such as these have increased Russia’s standing in the World Bank Doing Business ranking for startups, moving it from 37 to 26 (↑11%), mitigating sanctions in 2016.

Due to Europe’s counterproductive actions, Russia has also purged much of the EU’s market share and passed it to China—its largest trading partner. A Bruegel working paper elaborates:

[…] the EU’s relative comparative advantage is being chipped away as it continues to lose market share, and the question really is how much this might be related to China’s increasing export capacity. […] China has moved from supplying only 3.9 percent of Russia’s imports in 1998 to more than 21 percent in 2014. In the meantime the EU’s share has gradually decreased from nearly 70 percent to 55 percent.

Additionally, the largest indicator of Russia’s intentions with the European Union stems from the MIR Initiative, a large-scale freighting infrastructure project headed by Dr. Ernest Sultanov.

According to the organisation’s two charters, signed in Turin, Italy and Sochi, Russia, Moscow will play an indispensable role as an international conduit between Asia and Europe. The initiative makes a ‘Silk Road Metro‘ of the entire Asian and European continent, placing Moscow at a sensitive, critical junction to transport both freighters and passengers via high-speed rail.

Chinese President Xi spearheaded the ambitious New Silk Road project in 2013, which is a modernised version of intercontinental trade during the Han dynasty, in order to lift billions of people out of poverty across Asia, the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region, and Europe.

Dr. Sultanov theorises the following about his perspective on the MIR Initiative:

[The] creation of common infrastructure is certainly a key factor in promoting a sustainable model of development in the world today. Social mobility, security and economic upliftment find their base on [transportation] mobility and presence of infrastructure and communications permitting the fast passage of people, goods and ideas.

Socio-economic and transport/communication mobility are inversely proportional to the risk of [unacceptable] and conflict behavior: i.e. the higher system mobility a region features, the less likely it is to see a crisis or conflict break out. A common transport system in constant development unhindered by any walls or barriers is the most important factor that allowed Europe to decrease the chance of internal clashes.

The MIR Initiative is arguably the paragon of future Russo-European relations, and only ‘weakens’ the Western narrative about ‘Russian aggression’. On the contrary; it is imperative that Russia maintains stability to ensure the Silk Road’s success. Even the initiative’s Turin charter, signed by 13 high-ranking international officials, states the following:

A large infrastructure project requires a prolonged mobilization of important interests, seamless cooperation among institutions, international political action at the highest levels, and enormous resources. However, the most essential precondition is the creation of a deep consensus among countries that are located far from one another and often in conflict (as it is now occurring in the METR region). These countries could be motivated to understand one another and to cooperate because of efforts of Eurasian corridor cities.

The very definition of propaganda is “the organized dissemination of information, allegations, etc, to assist or damage the cause of a government, movement, etc”, which is precisely what the European Union is using to slander the Russian government. By shifting towards US foreign policy, Europe risks alienating herself from a rising Asia and Eurasia.

As Europe’s business class pivots eastward, they disprove Mrs. Fotgya’s baseless claims, and Zakharova is correct to say that if “the European Union has any internal issues, the cause of those problems must be found within, rather than blaming them on a third party.”

Whether or not European MEPs kowtow a Eurosceptic organisation that wishes to “decentralise power back to national capitals” and support “transatlantic alliances” will not deter Vladimir Putin from doing everything possible to make peace with the European continent and building a New World Order with Asia and Eurasia fully united in purpose. If this scares Europe, then so be it.

Better yet, EU parliamentarians should step off of the USS Pequod and chart their own destiny.

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New York Times hit piece on Trump and NATO exposes alliance as outdated and obsolete (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 61.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at the New York Times hit piece citing anonymous sources, with information that the U.S. President dared to question NATO’s viability.

Propaganda rag, the NYT, launched its latest presidential smear aimed at discrediting Trump and provoking the establishment, warmonger left into more impeachment – Twenty-fifth Amendment talking points.

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Via The American Conservative


The New York Times scored a serious scoop when it revealed on Monday that President Trump had questioned in governmental conversations—on more than one occasion, apparently—America’s membership in NATO. Unfortunately the paper then slipped into its typical mode of nostrum journalism. My Webster’s New World Dictionary defines “nostrum” as “quack medicine” entailing “exaggerated claims.” Here we had quack journalism executed in behalf of quack diplomacy.

The central exaggerated claim is contained in the first sentence, in which it is averred that NATO had “deterred Soviet and Russian aggression for 70 years.” This is wrong, as can be seen through just a spare amount of history.

True, NATO saved Europe from the menace of Russian Bolshevism. But it did so not over 70 years but over 40 years—from 1949 to 1989. That’s when the Soviet Union had 1.3 million Soviet and client-state troops poised on Western Europe’s doorstep, positioned for an invasion of Europe through the lowlands of Germany’s Fulda Gap.

How was this possible? It was possible because Joseph Stalin had pushed his armies farther and farther into the West as the German Wehrmacht collapsed at the end of World War II. In doing so, and in the process capturing nearly all of Eastern Europe, he ensured that the Soviets had no Western enemies within a thousand miles of Leningrad or within 1,200 miles of Moscow. This vast territory represented not only security for the Russian motherland (which enjoys no natural geographical barriers to deter invasion from the West) but also a potent staging area for an invasion of Western Europe.

The first deterrent against such an invasion, which Stalin would have promulgated had he thought he could get away with it, was America’s nuclear monopoly. By the time that was lost, NATO had emerged as a powerful and very necessary deterrent. The Soviets, concluding that the cost of an invasion was too high, defaulted to a strategy of undermining Western interests anywhere around the world where that was possible. The result was global tensions stirred up at various global trouble spots, most notably Korea and Vietnam.

But Europe was saved, and NATO was the key. It deserves our respect and even reverence for its profound success as a military alliance during a time of serious threat to the West.

But then the threat went away. Gone were the 1.3 million Soviet and client-state troops. Gone was Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. Indeed, gone, by 1991, was the Soviet Union itself, an artificial regime of brutal ideology superimposed upon the cultural entity of Mother Russia. It was a time for celebration.

But it was also a time to contemplate the precise nature of the change that had washed over the world and to ponder what that might mean for old institutions—including NATO, a defensive military alliance created to deter aggression from a menacing enemy to the east. Here’s where Western thinking went awry. Rather than accepting as a great benefit the favorable developments enhancing Western security—the Soviet military retreat, the territorial reversal, the Soviet demise—the West turned NATO into a territorial aggressor of its own, absorbing nations that had been part of the Soviet sphere of control and pushing right up to the Russian border. Now Leningrad (renamed St. Petersburg after the obliteration of the menace of Soviet communism) resides within a hundred miles of NATO military forces, while Moscow is merely 200 miles from Western troops.

Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has absorbed 13 nations, some on the Russian border, others bordering lands that had been part of Russia’s sphere of interest for centuries. This constitutes a policy of encirclement, which no nation can accept without protest or pushback. And if NATO were to absorb those lands of traditional Russian influence—particularly Ukraine and Georgia—that would constitute a major threat to Russian security, as Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to emphasize to Western leaders for years.

So, no, NATO has not deterred Russian aggression for 70 years. It did so for 40 and has maintained a destabilizing posture toward Russia ever since. The problem here is the West’s inability to perceive how changed geopolitical circumstances might require a changed geopolitical strategy. The encirclement strategy has had plenty of critics—George Kennan before he died; academics John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt, and Robert David English; former diplomat Jack Matlock; the editors of The Nation. But their voices have tended to get drowned out by the nostrum diplomacy and the nostrum journalism that supports it at every turn.

You can’t drown out Donald Trump because he’s president of the United States. And so he has to be traduced, ridiculed, dismissed, and marginalized. That’s what the Times story, by Julian Barnes and Helene Cooper, sought to do. Consider the lead, designed to emphasize just how outlandish Trump’s musings are before the reader even has a chance to absorb what he may have been thinking: “There are few things that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia desires more than the weakening of NATO, the military alliance among the United States, Europe and Canada that has deterred Soviet and Russian aggression for 70 years.” Translation: “Take that, Mr. President! You’re an idiot.”

Henry Kissinger had something interesting to say about Trump in a recent interview with the Financial Times. “I think Trump may be one of those figures in history,” said the former secretary of state, “who appears from time to time to mark the end of an era and to force it to give up its old pretenses.” One Western pretense about Russia, so ardently enforced by the likes of Julian Barnes and Helene Cooper (who, it may be safe to say, know less about world affairs and their history than Henry Kissinger), is that nothing really changed with the Soviet collapse and NATO had to turn aggressive in order to keep that menacing nation in its place.

Trump clearly doesn’t buy that pretense. He said during the campaign that NATO was obsolete. Then he backtracked, saying he only wanted other NATO members to pay their fair share of the cost of deterrence. He even confessed, after Hillary Clinton identified NATO as “the strongest military alliance in the history of the world,” that he only said NATO was obsolete because he didn’t know much about it. But he was learning—enough, it appears, to support as president Montenegro’s entry into NATO in 2017. Is Montenegro, with 5,332 square miles and some 620,000 citizens, really a crucial element in Europe’s desperate project to protect itself against Putin’s Russia?

We all know that Trump is a crude figure—not just in his disgusting discourse but in his fumbling efforts to execute political decisions. As a politician, he often seems like a doctor attempting to perform open-heart surgery while wearing mittens. His idle musings about leaving NATO are a case in point—an example of a politician who lacks the skill and finesse to nudge the country in necessary new directions.

But Kissinger has a point about the man. America and the world have changed, while the old ways of thinking have not kept pace. The pretenses of the old have blinded the status quo defenders into thinking nothing has changed. Trump, almost alone among contemporary American politicians, is asking questions to which the world needs new answers. NATO, in its current configuration and outlook, is a danger to peace, not a guarantor of it.


Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is the author most recently of President McKinley: Architect of the American Century

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Nigel Farage To Back Another “Vote Leave” Campaign If UK Holds Second Brexit Referendum

Nigel Farage said Friday that he would be willing to wage another “Vote Leave” campaign, even if he needed to use another party as the “vehicle” for his opposition.

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Via Zerohedge


Pro-European MPs from various political parties are pushing back against claims made by Prime Minister Theresa May’s government that a second Brexit referendum – which supporters have branded as a “People’s Vote” on May’s deal – would take roughly 14 months to organize, according to RT.

But while support for a second vote grows, one of the most notorious proponents of the original “Vote Leave” campaign is hinting at a possible return to politics to try and fight the effort.

After abandoning UKIP, the party he helped create, late last year, Nigel Farage said Friday that he would be willing to wage another “Vote Leave” campaign, even if he needed to use another party as the “vehicle” for his opposition. Farage also pointed out that a delay of Brexit Day would likely put it after the European Parliament elections in May.

“I think, I fear that the House of Commons is going to effectively overturn that Brexit. To me, the most likely outcome of all of this is an extension of Article 50. There could be another referendum,” he told Sky News.

According to official government guidance shown to lawmakers on Wednesday, which was subsequently leaked to the Telegraph, as May tries to head off a push by ministers who see a second referendum as the best viable alternative to May’s deal – a position that’s becoming increasingly popular with Labour Party MPs.

“In order to inform the discussions, a very short paper set out in factual detail the number of months that would be required, this was illustrative only and our position of course is that there will be no second referendum,,” May said. The statement comes as May has been meeting with ministers and leaders from all parties to try to find a consensus deal that could potentially pass in the House of Commons.

The 14 month estimate is how long May and her government expect it would take to pass the primary legislation calling for the referendum (seven months), conduct the question testing with the election committee (12 weeks), pass secondary legislation (six weeks) and conduct the campaigns (16 weeks).

May has repeatedly insisted that a second referendum wouldn’t be feasible because it would require a lengthy delay of Brexit Day, and because it would set a dangerous precedent that wouldn’t offer any more clarity (if some MPs are unhappy with the outcome, couldn’t they just push for a third referendum?). A spokesperson for No. 10 Downing Street said the guidance was produced purely for the purpose of “illustrative discussion” and that the government continued to oppose another vote.

Meanwhile, a vote on May’s “Plan B”, expected to include a few minor alterations from the deal’s previous iteration, has been called for Jan. 29, prompting some MPs to accuse May of trying to run out the clock. May is expected to present the new deal on Monday.

Former Tory Attorney General and pro-remainer MP Dominic Grieve blasted May’s timetable as wrong and said that the government “must be aware of it themselves,” while former Justice Minister Dr Phillip Lee, who resigned his cabinet seat in June over May’s Brexit policy, denounced her warning as “nonsense.”

As May pieces together her revised deal, more MPs are urging her to drop her infamous “red lines” (Labour in particular would like to see the UK remain part of the Customs Union), but with no clear alternative to May’s plan emerging, a delay of Brexit Day is looking like a virtual certainty.

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The National Security Agency Is A Criminal Organization

The National Security Agency values being able to blackmail citizens and members of government at home and abroad more than preventing terrorist attacks.

Paul Craig Roberts

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Via Paul Craig Roberts…


Years before Edward Snowden provided documented proof that the National Security Agency was really a national insecurity agency as it was violating law and the US Constitution and spying indiscriminately on American citizens, William Binney, who designed and developed the NSA spy program revealed the illegal and unconstitutional spying. Binney turned whistleblower, because NSA was using the program to spy on Americans. As Binney was well known to the US Congress, he did not think he needed any NSA document to make his case. But what he found out was “Congress would never hear me because then they’d lose plausible deniability. That was really their key. They needed to have plausible deniability so they can continue this massive spying program because it gave them power over everybody in the world. Even the members of Congress had power against others [in Congress]; they had power on judges on the Supreme Court, the federal judges, all of them. That’s why they’re so afraid. Everybody’s afraid because all this data that’s about them, the central agencies — the intelligence agencies — they have it. And that’s why Senator Schumer warned President Trump earlier, a few months ago, that he shouldn’t attack the intelligence community because they’ve got six ways to Sunday to come at you. That’s because it’s like J. Edgar Hoover on super steroids. . . . it’s leverage against every member of parliament and every government in the world.”

To prevent whistle-blowing, NSA has “a program now called ‘see something, say something’ about your fellow workers. That’s what the Stasi did. That’s why I call [NSA] the new New Stasi Agency. They’re picking up all the techniques from the Stasi and the KGB and the Gestapo and the SS. They just aren’t getting violent yet that we know of — internally in the US, outside is another story.”

As Binney had no documents to give to the media, blowing the whistle had no consequence for NSA. This is the reason that Snowden released the documents that proved NSA to be violating both law and the Constitution, but the corrupt US media focused blame on Snowden as a “traitor” and not on NSA for its violations.

Whistleblowers are protected by federal law. Regardless, the corrupt US government tried to prosecute Binney for speaking out, but as he had taken no classified document, a case could not be fabricated against him.

Binney blames the NSA’s law-breaking on Dick “Darth” Cheney. He says NSA’s violations of law and Constitution are so extreme that they would have to have been cleared at the top of the government.

Binney describes the spy network, explains that it was supposed to operate only against foreign enemies, and that using it for universal spying so overloads the system with data that the system fails to discover many terrorist activities. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50932.htm

Apparently, the National Security Agency values being able to blackmail citizens and members of government at home and abroad more than preventing terrorist attacks.

Unfortunately for Americans, there are many Americans who blindly trust the government and provide the means, the misuse of which is used to enslave us. A large percentage of the work in science and technology serves not to free people but to enslave them. By now there is no excuse for scientists and engineers not to know this. Yet they persist in their construction of the means to destroy liberty.

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