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Examining Myanmar’s address to the United Nations

Myanmar has delivered its most throughout statement to-date on the Rohingya crisis. Myanmar still needs to explain the situation further,

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While many speakers that the UN General Assembly, particularly those from Muslim nations as diverse as Pakistan, Turkey and Iran, have called on the body to do more for the Muslims of the state of Rakhine in Myanmar, the people known as the Rohingya.

Yesterday, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina went further calling for ‘safe zones’ inside Myanmar. However, the majority of her comments on foreign policy were a condemnation of Pakistan with references with the war of 1971 which saw East Pakistan breaking away and becoming the independent nation of Bangladesh.

However, few have examined what Myanmar has had to say. In general, Myanmar has been quiet on the subject, although not totally silent. One of the problems Myanmar has created for itself from the onset of the world turning its attention to the long-running Rohingya crisis, is that in an age of 24 hour news media, Myanmar has not been very adept at explaining its position.

By contrast, outside of Wahhabi and crypto-Wahhabi circles, most people have come to understand Syria’s noble position of fighting terrorism in order to preserve a multi-culture, tolerant, modern, secular, pluralistic society which lives up to the modern revolutionary ideals of Ba’athism.

This is partly because many individuals in Syria’s government are astute at speaking before international audiences and international reports. President Bashar al-Assad is eloquent and gentlemen even when discussing very difficult issues and Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari, Syria’s envoy to the UN, is scholarly and extremely well spoken in several languages, including English and his native Arabic.

In Myanmar by contrast, the public voice of leadership, Aung San Suu Kyi is largely a figurehead who has been expected to do things she has never prepared herself for. Without meaning the following as an insult, she attained her position more because of her lineage than because of any real achievements. Her period of “house arrest” was a generally placid affair compared for example to the jailing and torturing of Nelson Mandela by the racist former regime of South Africa.

So while not a classic freedom fighter like Mandela or Arafat, but also not a processional political speaker like Vladimir Putin or Bashar al-Assad, her position has largely been one of sticking to the more mundane issues she has felt comfortable speaking about ever since she emerged as the Sate Counsellor of Myanmar.

Myanmar’s real power base, the Tatmadaw (military), has likewise not been adept at PR, just as for example the Greek military regime of Colonels (1967-1974) had equally bad PR problems.

This is deeply unfortunate however, because while Myanmar is miles away from the simple fight of good versus evil that one sees in Syria, it is also not a matter of a text-boook genocide such as the one currently taking place in Yemen where expensively armed Saudi armed forces are killing and starving civilians in Yemen while adding fuel to the flames of a civil crisis which prior to the Saudi invasion was political with sectarian overtones. Saudi has made the Yemen conflict into one that is sectarian with political overtones.

Understanding the Myanmar/Rohingya conflict is best achieved through understanding international non-alignment

Another reason that explaining the Myanmar crisis isn’t easy is because few political leaders are telling the full complex truth, though many are telling bits of truth. It must be said that while the multifaceted and long running Civil War(s) in Myanmar are not a matter of non-Muslims killing Muslims in an ethnic cleansing, civilians are dying, including Muslims. Non-Muslim civilians, including Christians are dying as well. All of this should be condemned and it in fact was condemned by Myanmar.

In this sense, the sympathy felt by Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, parts of the Arab world and particularly by the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kydarov, should not be dismissed as “propaganda”.But neither is it true that the government is intentionally targeting civilians. ONe has to ask why would the government do such a thing? There is no logical answer in this context. It is also not true that jihadist style terrorists are not emended among the Rohingya.

With these realities in mind, here are the remarks on the subject, offered  by Myanmar’s Vice President Henry Van Thio, before the UN General Assembly:

Yesterday, the State Counsellor briefed the Diplomatic Corps on the government’s efforts regarding national reconciliation and peace. She highlighted the achievements in the past 18 months and challenges that remain. In touching upon the situation in Rakhine, she said that Myanmar shares the concern of the international community regarding displacement and suffering of all communities affected by the latest round of terrorist attacks.

She also stressed that “We condemn all human rights violations and unlawful violence. We are committed to the restoration of peace, stability and rule of law throughout the State. The security forces have been instructed to adhere strictly to the Code of Conduct in carrying out security operations, to exercise all due restraint, and to take full measures to avoid collateral damage and the harming of innocent civilians. Human rights violations and all other acts that impair stability and harmony and undermine the rule of law will be addressed in accordance with strict norms of justice. We feel deeply for suffering of all the people who have been caught up in the conflict.

Mr. President,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The situation in Rakhine has been one of the top priorities of the government since it assumed office. The government has been endeavoring to restore peace and stability and to promote harmony among all communities. The Central Committee on Implementation of Peace, Stability and Development of Rakhine State, chaired by the State Counsellor herself, was established on 30 May 2016 to address the specific needs of the State. Additionally in August 2016, she set up a commission headed by Dr. Kofi Annan to advice the government on sustainable solutions to the complex situation in Rakhine.

We have been striving to ensure that the Rakhine State is duly developed while
ensuring peace, stability and societal cohesion. This is no easy task. Deep mistrust developed over decades has to be slowly chiseled away.
On 24 August 2017, the Kofi Annan Commission released its final report. Our government immediately welcomed it.
We had hoped that today’s occasion would be an opportunity for us to
communicate to the world the progress that we have made towards implementing the Commission’s recommendations.

It is therefore with deep regret that instead, I must primarily address you on the
current state of affairs in Rakhine State, following the recent attacks by the terrorist
group known as ARSA (the terrorist group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army) last month.

Mr. President,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you are aware, within hours of the release of the Advisory Commission’s report,
a series of coordinated attacks were carried out on 30 police outposts in Northern Rakhine. The ARSA claimed responsibility for the attacks. These attacks ignited fresh violence in the region, resulting insignificant loss of life, widespread suffering and mass displacement of all communities.

Those who have had to abandon their hearth and home are many – not just Muslim
and Rakhine, but also small minority groups such as Daingnet, Mro, Thet, Mramagyi
and Hindus. Most of the world has been oblivious of their existence and plight.
Let me be clear. The government of Myanmar is deeply concerned about the
present situation in Rakhine. Our deepest sympathy goes to the families of all innocent
civilians and members of the police and security forces who have lost their lives. There
is no denying that this is a problem of significant magnitude.

I am happy to inform you that the situation has improved. No armed clashes have been reported since 5 September. Accordingly, we are concerned by reports that the numbers of Muslims crossing into Bangladesh remain unabated. We would need to find out the reason for this exodus. What is little known is that the great majority of the Muslim population decided to remain in their villages.
We share the need to ensure that vital humanitarian assistance is provided to all those in need.
Moreover, we acknowledge that the duty to respond to the challenges in Rakhine
State is first and foremost the duty of our national government. The situation in
Rakhine is complex. The challenges we face are significant. We have accordingly
adopted an integrated national strategy to address this problem.

I am pleased to announce the launch of a committee chaired by the Union Minister
of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement to implement the recommendations of the
Advisory Commission. To ensure transparency and accountability, the Committee is
mandated to publicly issue a progress report every four months. In addition to the
Committee, we intend to establish an Advisory Board comprised of eminent persons
from both Myanmar and abroad.

At present, humanitarian assistance is our first priority. We are committed to
ensuring that aid is received by all those in need, without discrimination. We have
already dedicated significant national funds and resources to humanitarian relief
operations.

I am also pleased to inform you that a new government-led mechanism, established
in cooperation with the Red Cross Movement, has also started its humanitarian
assistance activities.

On behalf of the government of Myanmar, I would like to express my gratitude to
all those countries who have offered to contribute towards this assistance programme.
In particular, we are grateful for the generous offers of support that we have recently
received from many of our friends across the world.

At the same time, we are working hard to enhance relations with Bangladesh. The
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and the National Security Advisor visited
Bangladesh in January and July of this year. We were hoping for a visit from the Home
Minister of Bangladesh but it had to be postponed as the Minister could not come in
August. We will welcome him at any time that he is able to come and hope to take
forward our cooperation on border security matters.

There has been a call for the repatriation of displaced people who have recently fled
from northern Rakhine to Bangladesh. The State Counsellor in her speech yesterday
stated that Myanmar was prepared to start the verification process at anytime. Our two
neighbors have had the experience of such a process in 1993 through the establishment
of a joint working group for implementation of repatriation process. We can develop a
process based on the experience of 1993.

Mr. President
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Myanmar stands together with the rest of the world in condemning terrorism in all
its forms and manifestations. Terrorism constitutes one of the most serious threats to
international peace and security. Our position is clear. We cannot condone terrorism.
At the same time, the government is working to ensure that acts of terrorism will
not distract us from pursuing the long term strategy that is necessary to address the
complex challenges in Rakhine State today.

The recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission provide us with a
clear roadmap. Our implementation Committee began its work last week and in due
course we will be inviting observers to witness some of our programmes.

Mr. President,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The recent events in Rakhine State are a painful reminder that we face difficult
challenges ahead on the long journey towards peace, prosperity and democracy.
However, please allow me to reiterate this: our commitment to peace remains as
strong and as unwavering today as it was one year ago when our State Counsellor,
DawAung San SuuKyi, first addressed you from this podium.

As part of this commitment, we have made the national reconciliation and peace
process our top priority. Our vision here is clear: to achieve a democratic, federal
Union, based on the principles of freedom, justice, equal rights and self-determination.
With regard to the peace process in the country, I am pleased to inform you that in
May this year, we successfully held the second session of our Union Peace Conference.
For the first time, we were able to discuss and define key principles that will form the
basis of a federal, democratic Union. The Union Accord, consisting of thirty-seven
principles covering the political, economic, social and environmental sectors was
signed by representatives of the government, the parliament, the military, ethnic armed
organizations and political parties.

Although we have made real progress, we know that the road ahead is long and
convoluted. Our democratic transition is fragile. At this important juncture in our
nation’s history, we only ask that the international community continues to support our
efforts to achieve peace, prosperity and democracy.

The remarks by Myanmar’s Vice President constitute the most throughout explanation of the government’s position to-date.

The danger however, is that the statement might be drowned out by both the well-meaning and devious voices who have taken on board, a more simplistic explanation of the crisis. India, which seeks to use its support of Myanmar towards its own economic gain, is  employing an exploitative tactic which  is ultimately unhelpful, especially when one accounts for the deeply discriminatory policies against minorities which has become a feature of the current Indian government.

What will therefore become necessary is for Myanmar to borrow a page from Syria’s book and internationalise the conflict on a limited basis and more importantly, on Myanmar’s own terms. The fact that Syria invited Iran, Russia and Hezbollah into the conflict to help fight terrorism, has meant that there is increasingly little room for others to get in the way. This has helped Syria preserve her sovereignty and end the crisis on terms set by Syria, not foreign actors.

Myanmar could and should work on putting together a regional peace keeping initiative (certainly not a military contingent) made up various nations. China and Russia come to mind and as a Muslim nation of South East Asia, Indonesia could also help assist, if the terms agreed to met various preconditions on all sides.

The danger for Myanmar is that if the issue is internationalised by Myanmar’s enemies, it could put Myanmar’s territorial integrity into danger. It could also lead to terrorist groups in Rakhine receiving additional arms both through a misunderstanding of their role and due to the fact that some international players, want to purposefully inflame the situation for their own perceived gains.

The statement Myanmar’s Vice President delivered before the UN is actually a very good start, but unless Myanmar continues to positively engage with her allies and the United Nations, there could be a slippery slope for a country that many seek to destabilise, not because of real sympathies with any one faction in the Civil War, but because of Myanmar’s strategic importance for China.

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Le RuseNeilHelga FellayJDoDeborahRCostigan Recent comment authors
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JDo
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JDo

WhaT gives? Duran providing cover for ethnic cleansing of human beings (muslims or otherwise) in Myanmar? What is going on there must be condemned unconditionally….

Godfree Roberts
Guest

Don’t jump to the conclusion that our media propose. Read more widely.

Helga Fellay
Guest
Helga Fellay

Read up on this, and don’t swallow the MSM propaganda. This situation has nothing to do with religion. It is all about two pipelines transporting oil from Burma directly to China, to be financed by something other than US dollars. The conflict has been manufactured by Israel (which has provoked the initial attack allegedly by the Rohingyas against the Burmese Security Forces who retaliated. Israel provides all the weapons and ammunition, and its lackeys, the US MSM, rages about genocide. This is a pretext we need for “humanitarian intervention” – but not because the US cares about the Rohingyas, but… Read more »

Godfree Roberts
Guest

Here’s an excerpt from http://www.gearoidocolmain.org/rohingya-psyops-us-covert-war-myanmar/ “The United Nations has accused the Government of Myanmar of committing ‘genocide’ against the Rohingya Muslim minority in the country’s troubled Rakhine State. In recent weeks the crisis in Myanmar has escalated, with human rights groups and NGOs publishing copious denunciations of the alleged human rights abuses and mass murder committed by the Myanmar Armed Forces, (Tatmadaw). The Myanmar government claims that they are fighting a war on terrorism against forces which seek to destabilise the state, Islamist forces in particular. They also claim that the so-called ethnic minority commonly referred to as ‘Rohingya’ are… Read more »

JDo
Guest
JDo

“…In the 19th century, the British Raj brought in Bengalis to work…”. I suppose, even after 200 years, it is now justified to massacre them?

“Despite thousands of serious allegations of rape, pillage and mass murder committed by these Bengali immigrants in Myanmar…” You are sounding too much like AfD in Germany … Just throw blanket accusations at a vulnerable group, and after that anything is allowed.

Helga Fellay
Guest
Helga Fellay

Before replying to Godfree Roberts, you probably should have read the link he provided. Your response to him shows that you either did not read it or did not understand it, if you read it.

JDo
Guest
JDo

Actually I did the report on the link and quoted a passage for that article.

Helga Fellay
Guest
Helga Fellay

Thank you very much for this link. It is difficult to find cogent information on this topic. My only criticism is that it refers to western, or US, involvement, but for some reason never mentions the agent that actually stirs the geopolitical pot, Israel. The US and NATO are merely supine tools at Israel’s disposal, yet Israel itself always remains under the radar and is rarely even mentioned, and never held accountable for anything. Doing so is being criminalized, I know. The only thing I have read so far is that both parties in the Burmese conflict are being armed… Read more »

Godfree Roberts
Guest

Can you provide a link for Israel’s involvement? It sounds familiar!

Helga Fellay
Guest
Helga Fellay

Actually, more than one. But here is one – look at the last paragraph of the exerpts: The “Rohingya insurgency” in Rakhine state is hardly the organic, local response to long-standing state suppression it claims to be. The group, now known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and formerly known as Harakah al-Yakin, is led by Ataullah abu Ammar Junjuni, a Pakistani national who worked as a Wahhabi imam in Saudi Arabia prior to arriving in Myanmar. According to a Reuters report from last year, the group is financed by both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia — and “a committee… Read more »

Godfree Roberts
Guest

Thanks. The whole thing sounded fishy from the start…

Helga Fellay
Guest
Helga Fellay

Indeed it did. Every red flag I can think of. And when it turned out that the pictures of the slaughtered Rohingya babies were stock footage from other conflicts, that did it for me. they don’t learn from experience. Now, that the White Helmets propaganda has been debunked for what it is, they are still resorting to the same cheap tricks.

Godfree Roberts
Guest

The same tricks are not working as well anymore. MSM credibility is below 20% in the US, and almost as bad throughout the West. They’re losing control of the narrative.

Helga Fellay
Guest
Helga Fellay

Still trying to remember where else I read about Israeli financing. Also found this: Excerpts: “In many respects, the issues in Myanmar are just another way for Israel and the west to distract Muslims from the plight of Palestine, the group of mostly Muslim and some Christian peoples who have suffered the longest under oppression, starvation and ethnic cleansing. Rohingya has its own ‘free army’ now, something which can only made a bad situation worse. Specially this ‘free army’ used to be known as Al-Yaqeen and is related to branches of the banned Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement which continues to… Read more »

Helga Fellay
Guest
Helga Fellay

and this: https://www.globalwitness.org/…/myanmar-oil-and-gas/

Helga Fellay
Guest
Helga Fellay

Here I found more, and something more specific: Israel has continued to sell weapons to Myanmar as thousands of Rohingya refugees flee the military’s violent crackdown in the Rakhine state. The weapons sold to Myanmar include over 100 tanks, weapons and boats used to police the country’s border, according to human rights groups and Burmese officials. Israeli arms companies such as TAR Ideal Concepts have also been involved in training Burmese special forces who are currently in the Rakhine state where most of the violence has taken place. Images previously posted on the arms company’s website showed its staff instructing… Read more »

Godfree Roberts
Guest
Helga Fellay
Guest
Helga Fellay

Thank you very much. We have to put this information out there, to counter the MSM propaganda which (shockingly) is still believed verbatim by a majority of Americans.

JDo
Guest
JDo

I actually have boycotted our media ever since their promotion of the war against Saddam’s fictitious WMD. So no worries there. But in this particular case I happen to have first hand information from the region. It is ethnic cleansing of the natives.

Godfree Roberts
Guest

I live near the Thai-Myanmar border where 5-10% of the population are Muslim and Thai-Muslim relations are good. There is no word here of one-sided atrocities and a general acknowledgement that ‘Saudi money’ is behind much of the problem. Beware atrocity stories, especially where resources are concerned..

JDo
Guest
JDo

I too, have numerous sources of first hand information (independent of any media or journalists) about the refugee flow into Bangladesh and the atrocities these men, women and children are fleeing from. It is heartbreaking. I do not know who is doing what in Myanmar, but please do not justify them by saying that “Despite thousands of serious allegations of rape, pillage and mass murder committed by these Bengali immigrants in Myanmar…” (as in one of your recent posts on this thread). This is a typical xenophobic excuse. All communities are very similar, with good and bad among them (exceptions… Read more »

Godfree Roberts
Guest

Were you equally outraged by Syria’s “Sarin gas”? Iraq’s “WMD”?

JDo
Guest
JDo

I had and have immense sadness and empathy for the victims in Syria – whether sarin gas or not. No matter who the perpetrators are, when the big dogs fight, it is the helpless innocents who suffer (I, as a child, had experienced the horrors of a civil war). So, I am a bit saddened at the tone of may comments here that seem to have a taint of xenophobia and anti-muslim sentiment. As for Iraqi WMD, not sure where you are going with the question. As I had mentioned before, that was the moment when I had stopped reading/watching… Read more »

XRGRSF
Guest
XRGRSF

Perhaps Myanmar, unlike Europe, is reluctant to be overwhelmed by a typical creeping Muslim invasion.

JDo
Guest
JDo

A second surprise on Duran, which I have actually started to like – this time this bigoted commentary. The people being killed and evicted are natives.

XRGRSF
Guest
XRGRSF

Why am I not surprised at your position that anyone who disagrees with you is a bigot. That’s the usual response of the political agitator. The people of Myanmar lived more or less peacefully with the Rohingya until the Rohingya decided to become tools of greater Islam, and the Anglo/Zionist empire. The Buddhists of Myanmar don’t need or want the Islamic grief, and the Rohingya are becoming very unwelcome. That’s what happens when a minority ethnic group really irritates the majority ethnic group or haven’t you read enough history to know this. Have you noticed the enormous propaganda push this… Read more »

JDo
Guest
JDo

If you don’t consider broad brush statements like “allegations of rape, pillage and mass murder committed by these Bengali immigrants in Myanmar, …“, “ … a typical creeping Muslim invasion….” (taken from some of the comments here) to be bigoted, then I am in the wrong community. Additionally, when someone says “this Wahabbist insurrection” then he/she shows his/her lack of knowledge about south/east Asia. Wahabism comes from Saudi Arabia, does not represent the majority of Muslims, and traditionally is not practiced by Muslims living in that part of the world. These people (Muslim or otherwise) are as much victims of… Read more »

XRGRSF
Guest
XRGRSF

What if it’s true? What if your precious Rohingya Bengali immigrants are guilty as charged? Wahhabism has been violently exported by Saudi Arabia throughout the world. The Wahhabi terrorists have been active in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East; Syria, Lybia, and Iraq especially come to mind. I think Myanmar is well aware of the danger of Wahhabi terrorists. The suffering of the Rohingja may be real, but what caused the reaction of the Myanmar Buddhist community? It’s not the nature of Buddhists to pick a fight without just cause. Good luck with regime change in Myanmar, but the victim… Read more »

JDo
Guest
JDo

Regime change? Are you suggesting that? I did not. First you make racist/xenophobic comments, and when I show the evidence then you go mum and try to put words in my mouth. And you don’t seem to understand that these Rohingyas can be as much victims (of geopolitics and Wahabism) as anyone else. Do you realize that non-wahabi Mulsims have suffered 1000x more than any other ethnic and religious group in the hands of Saudi Wahabis and muslim extremists? I suppose not. I am as much against empire and Anglozioinism as anyone else. But that does mean that one has… Read more »

Curtis Bok
Guest
Curtis Bok

Once again, the use of bold lettering in the midst of a long quotation highlights the terrible, difficult-to-read typeface that is your new ‘standard’ for quotations. Why do you not learn from this and change the font?

Neil
Guest
Neil

So, is ARSA a Soros organisation?

Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

Hoping for a Kosovo Mark II..

Neil
Guest
Neil

Is this the CIA and a Soros NGO spreading Wahhabi philosophy amongst Myanmar’s young Muslims, then arming them, and all that?

Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

Got it ?
Objective ?? To stop China building a pipeline, see @ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-11/china-opens-delayed-myanmar-oil-link-to-get-mideast-crude-faster..
remember ! It’s always shekels !!

hvaiallverden
Guest
hvaiallverden

Yup finally an more sober article, witch gives us al an more nuanced image of the issue in Myanmar/Burma. Yeah, how uh…. CONvenient and of course, CONvinsing when the lying prestitutes take an side, we all know the truth is diametrically opposite to any type of sniveling drivel the can muster, Muslims on top of it, yeah, they have to be terrorists, not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims, right Americans, whom else, huh, yeah one tribe likes t behead, the other one loves to sodomize. uISISa (Their GOD=Guns, Oil and Drugs) or ISIS (saudi backed lunatics,… Read more »

SFC Steven M Barry USA RET
Guest
SFC Steven M Barry USA RET

The Buddhist Burmese are wise to ruthlessly suppress this Wahabbist insurrection before it gets much traction.

Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

Otherwise, that will be their future ?..comment image

DeborahRCostigan
Guest
DeborahRCostigan

Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
On tuesday I got a brand new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleInternetRightComunityWorkFromHome/make/more ★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫:::::!sk91l..,…

hvaiallverden
Guest
hvaiallverden

I have no mercy, again, this time an different angle witch even I was not aware of, all thoe I have had it in the corner of my eyes, but the MSM is as usually either dead silent or lies about everything, its no middle ground. I sincerely hope, since this case is getting uglyer by the day, that this Myanmar officials are honest, I dont expect much to be frank, because non of this latest events are new, and the hate propaganda against Islam isnt even new, but again, we are feed half of everything or story’s witch is… Read more »

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Schaeuble, Greece and the lessons learned from a failed GREXIT (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 117.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine a recent interview with the Financial Times given by Wolfgang Schäuble, where the former German Finance Minister, who was charged with finding a workable and sustainable solution to the Greek debt crisis, reveals that his plan for Greece to take a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone (in order to devalue its currency and save its economy) was met with fierce resistance from Brussels hard liners, and Angela Merkel herself.

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Via FT

“Look where we’re sitting!” says Wolfgang Schäuble, gesturing at the Berlin panorama stretching out beneath us. It is his crisp retort to those who say that Europe is a failure, condemned to a slow demise by its own internal contradictions. “Walk through the Reichstag, the graffiti left by the Red Army soldiers, the images of a destroyed Berlin. Until 1990 the Berlin Wall ran just below where we are now!”

We are in Käfer, a restaurant on the rooftop of the Reichstag. The views are indeed stupendous: Berlin Cathedral and the TV Tower on Alexanderplatz loom through the mist. Both were once in communist East Berlin, cut off from where we are now by the wall. Now they’re landmarks of a single, undivided city. “Without European integration, without this incredible story, we wouldn’t have come close to this point,” he says. “That’s the crazy thing.”

As Angela Merkel’s finance minister from 2009 to 2017, Schäuble was at the heart of efforts to steer the eurozone through a period of unprecedented turbulence. But at home he is most associated with Germany’s postwar political journey, having not only negotiated the 1990 treaty unifying East and West Germany but also campaigned successfully for the capital to move from Bonn.

For a man who has done so much to put Berlin — and the Reichstag — back on the world-historical map, it is hard to imagine a more fitting lunch venue. With its open-plan kitchen and grey formica tables edged in chrome, Käfer has a cool, functional aesthetic that is typical of the city. On the wall hangs a sketch by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who famously wrapped the Reichstag in silver fabric in 1995.

The restaurant has one other big advantage: it is easy to reach from Schäuble’s office. Now 76, he has been confined to a wheelchair since he was shot in an assassination attempt in 1990, and mobility is an issue. Aides say he tends to avoid restaurants if he can, especially at lunchtime.

As we take our places, we talk about Schäuble’s old dream — that German reunification would be a harbinger of European unity, a step on the road to a United States of Europe. That seems hopelessly out of reach in these days of Brexit, the gilets jaunes in France, Lega and the Five Star Movement in Italy.

Some blame Schäuble himself for that. He was, after all, the architect of austerity, a fiscal hawk whose policy prescriptions during the euro crisis caused untold hardship for millions of ordinary people, or so his critics say. He became a hate figure, especially in Greece. Posters in Athens in 2015 depicted him with a Hitler moustache below the words: “Wanted — for mass poverty and devastation”.

Schäuble rejects the criticism that austerity caused the rise of populism. “Higher spending doesn’t lead to greater contentment,” he says. The root cause lies in mass immigration, and the insecurities it has unleashed. “What European country doesn’t have this problem?” he asks. “Even Sweden. The poster child of openness and the willingness to help.”

But what of the accusation that he didn’t care enough about the suffering of the southern Europeans? Austerity divided the EU and spawned a real animus against Schäuble. I ask him how that makes him feel now. “Well I’m sad, because I played a part in all of that,” he says, wistfully. “And I think about how we could have done it differently.”

I glance at the menu — simple German classics with a contemporary twist. I’m drawn to the starters, such as Oldenburg duck pâté and the Müritz smoked trout. But true to his somewhat abstemious reputation, Schäuble has no interest in these and zeroes in on the entrées. He chooses Käfer’s signature veal meatballs, a Berlin classic. I go for the Arctic char and pumpkin.

Schäuble switches seamlessly back to the eurozone crisis. The original mistake was in trying to create a common currency without a “common economic, employment and social policy” for all eurozone member states. The fathers of the euro had decided that if they waited for political union to happen first they’d wait forever, he says.

Yet the prospects for greater political union are now worse than they have been in years. “The construction of the EU has proven to be questionable,” he says. “We should have taken the bigger steps towards integration earlier on, and now, because we can’t convince the member states to take them, they are unachievable.”

Greece was a particularly thorny problem. It should never have been admitted to the euro club in the first place, Schäuble says. But when its debt crisis first blew up, it should have taken a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone — an idea he first floated with Giorgos Papakonstantinou, his Greek counterpart between 2009 and 2011. “I told him you need to be able to devalue your currency, you’re not competitive,” he says. The reforms required to repair the Greek economy were going to be “hard to achieve in a democracy”. “That’s why you need to leave the euro for a certain period. But everyone said there was no chance of that.”

The idea didn’t go away, though. Schäuble pushed for a temporary “Grexit” in 2015, during another round of the debt crisis. But Merkel and the other EU heads of government nixed the idea. He now reveals he thought about resigning over the issue. “On the morning the decision was made, [Merkel] said to me: ‘You’ll carry on?’ . . . But that was one of the instances where we were very close [to my stepping down].”

It is an extraordinary revelation, one that highlights just how rocky his relationship with Merkel has been over the years. Schäuble has been at her side from the start, an éminence grise who has helped to resolve many of the periodic crises of her 13 years as chancellor. But it was never plain sailing.

“There were a few really bad conflicts where she knew too that we were on the edge and I would have gone,” he says. “I always had to weigh up whether to go along with things, even though I knew it was the wrong thing to do, as was the case with Greece, or whether I should go.” But his sense of duty prevailed. “We didn’t always agree — but I was always loyal.”

That might have been the case when he was a serving minister, but since becoming speaker of parliament in late 2017 he has increasingly distanced himself from Merkel. Last year, when she announced she would not seek re-election as leader of the Christian Democratic Union, the party that has governed Germany for 50 of the past 70 years, Schäuble openly backed a candidate described by the Berlin press as the “anti-Merkel”. Friedrich Merz, a millionaire corporate lawyer who is the chairman of BlackRock Germany, had once led the CDU’s parliamentary group but lost out to Merkel in a power struggle in 2002, quitting politics a few years later. He has long been seen as one of the chancellor’s fiercest conservative critics — and is a good friend of Schäuble’s.

Ultimately, in a nail-biting election last December, Merkel’s favoured candidate, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, narrowly beat Merz. The woman universally known as “AKK” is in pole position to succeed Merkel as chancellor when her fourth and final term ends in 2021.

I ask Schäuble if it’s true that he had once again waged a battle against Merkel and once again lost. “I never went to war against Ms Merkel,” he says. “Everybody says that if I’m for Merz then I’m against Merkel. Why is that so? That’s nonsense.”

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The conclusion of Russiagate, Part I – cold, hard reality

The full text of Attorney General William P Barr’s summary is here offered, with emphases on points for further analysis.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The conclusion of the Russiagate investigation, led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, was a pivotal media watershed moment. Even at the time of this writing there is a great deal of what might be called “journalistic froth” as opinion makers and analysts jostle to make their takes on this known to the world. Passions are running very high in both the Democrat / anti-Trump camps, where the reactions range from despondency to determined rage to not swallow the gigantic red pill that the “no collusion with Russia” determination offers. In the pro-Trump camp, the mood is deserved relief, but many who support the President are also realists, and they know this conflict is not over.

Where the pivot will go and what all this means is something that will unfold, probably relatively quickly, over the next week or two. But we want to offer a starting point here from which to base further analysis. At this time, of course, there are few hard facts other than the fact that Robert Mueller III submitted his report to the US Attorney General, William Barr, who then wrote and released his own report to the public Sunday evening. We reproduce that report here in full, with some emphases added to points that we think will be relevant to forthcoming pieces on this topic.

The end of the Mueller investigation brings concerns, hopes and fears to many people, on topics such as:

  • Will President Trump now begin to normalize relations with President Putin at full speed?
  • In what direction will the Democrats pivot to continue their attacks against the President?
  • What does this finding to to the 2020 race?
  • What does this finding do to the credibility of the United States’ leadership establishment, both at home and abroad?
  • What can we learn about our nation and culture from this investigation?
  • How does a false narrative get maintained so easily for so long, and
  • What do we do, or what CAN we do to prevent this being repeated?

These questions and more will be addressed in forthcoming pieces. But for now, here is the full text of the letter written by Attorney General William Barr concerning the Russia collusion investigation.

Dear Chairman Graham, Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Ranking Member Collins:
As a supplement to the notification provided on Friday, March 22, 2019, I am writing today to advise you of the principal conclusions reached by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller and to inform you about the status of my initial review of the report he has prepared.
The Special Counsel’s Report
On Friday, the Special Counsel submitted to me a “confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions” he has reached, as required by 28 C.F.R. § 600.8(c). This report is entitled “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.” Although my review is ongoing, I believe that it is in the public interest to describe the report and to summarize the principal conclusions reached by the Special Counsel and the results of his investigation.
The report explains that the Special Counsel and his staff thoroughly investigated allegations that members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, and others associated with it, conspired with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, or sought to obstruct the related federal investigations. In the report, the Special Counsel noted that, in completing his investigation, he employed 19 lawyers who were assisted by a team of approximately 40 FBI agents, intelligence forensic accountants, and other professional staff. The Special Counsel issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication records, issued almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.
The Special Counsel obtained a number of indictments and convictions of individuals and entities in connection with his investigation, all of which have been publicly disclosed. During the course of his investigation, the Special Counsel also referred several matters to other offices for further action. The report does not recommend any further indictments, nor did the Special Counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public. Below, I summarize the principal conclusions set out in the Special Counsel’s report.
Russian Interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.
The Special Counsel’s report is divided into two parts. The first describes the results of the Special Counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The report outlines the Russian effort to influence the election and documents crimes committed by persons associated with the Russian government in connection with those efforts. The report further explains that a primary consideration for the Special Counsel’s investigation was whether any Americans including individuals associated with the Trump campaign joined the Russian conspiracies to influence the election, which would be a federal crime. The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the report states: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
The Special Counsel’s investigation determined that there were two main Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election. The first involved attempts by a Russian organization, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), to conduct disinformation and social media operations in the United States designed to sow social discord, eventually with the aim of interfering with the election. As noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the IRA in its efforts, although the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian nationals and entities in connection with these activities.
The second element involved the Russian government’s efforts to conduct computer hacking operations designed to gather and disseminate information to influence the election. The Special Counsel found that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks. Based on these activities, the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian military officers for conspiring to hack into computers in the United States for purposes of influencing the election. But as noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.
Obstruction of Justice.
The report’s second part addresses a number of actions by the President most of which have been the subject of public reporting that the Special Counsel investigated as potentially raising obstruction-of-justice concerns. After making a “thorough factual investigation” into these matters, the Special Counsel considered whether to evaluate the conduct under Department standards governing prosecution and declination decisions but ultimately determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion one way or the other as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction. Instead, for each of the relevant actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as “difficult issues” of law and fact concerning whether the President’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction. The Special Counsel states that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
The Special Counsel’s decision to describe the facts of his obstruction investigation without reaching any legal conclusions leaves it to the Attorney General to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime. Over the course of the investigation, the Special Counsel’s office engaged in discussions with certain Department officials regarding many of the legal and factual matters at issue in the Special Counsel’s obstruction investigation. After reviewing the Special Counsel’s final report on these issues; consulting with Department officials, including the Office of Legal Counsel; and applying the principles of federal prosecution that guide our charging decisions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense. Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president.
In making this determination, we noted that the Special Counsel recognized that “the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference,” and that, while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the President’s intent with respect to obstruction. Generally speaking, to obtain and sustain an obstruction conviction, the government would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person, acting with corrupt intent, engaged in obstructive conduct with a sufficient nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding. In cataloguing the President’s actions, many of which took place in public view, the report identifies no actions that, in our judgment, constitute obstructive conduct, had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding, and were done with corrupt intent, each of which, under the Department’s principles of federal prosecution guiding charging decisions, would need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to establish an obstruction-of-justice offense.
Status of the Department’s Review
The relevant regulations contemplate that the Special Counsel’s report will be a “confidential report” to the Attorney General. See Office of Special Counsel, 64 Fed. Reg. 37,038, 37,040-41 (July 9, 1999). As I have previously stated, however, I am mindful of the public interest in this matter. For that reason, my goal and intent is to release as much of the Special Counsel’s report as I can consistent with applicable law, regulations, and Departmental policies.
Based on my discussions with the Special Counsel and my initial review, it is apparent that the report contains material that is or could be subject to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure which imposes restrictions on the use and disclosure of information relating to “matter[s] occurring before grand jury.” Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e)(2)(B) Rule 6(e) generally limits disclosure of certain grand jury information in a criminal investigation and prosecution. Id. Disclosure of 6(e) material beyond the strict limits set forth in the rule is a crime in certain circumstances. See, e.g. 18 U.S.C. 401(3). This restriction protects the integrity of grand jury proceedings and ensures that the unique and invaluable investigative powers of a grand jury are used strictly for their intended criminal justice function.
Given these restrictions, the schedule for processing the report depends in part on how quickly the Department can identify the 6(e) material that by law cannot be made public. I have requested the assistance of the Special Counsel in identifying all 6(e) information contained in the report as quickly as possible. Separately, I also must identify any information that could impact other ongoing matters, including those that the Special Counsel has referred to other offices. As soon as that process is complete, I will be in a position to move forward expeditiously in determining what can be released in light of applicable law, regulations, and Departmental policies.
* * *
As I observed in my initial notification, the Special Counsel regulations provide that “the Attorney General may determine that public release of” notifications to your respective Committees “would be in the public interest.” 28 C.F.R. § 600.9(c). I have so determined, and I will disclose this letter to the public after delivering it to you.
Sincerely,
William P. Barr
Attorney General

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The consolidation of power of the global military industrial complex

Do Europeans support the notion that the countries of the EU be the nuclear war playground of the United States?

Richard Galustian

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Humanity faces two imminent existential threats: environmental catastrophe and nuclear war.

America has elected to completely ignore scientists warnings that we have 12 years to reverse an environmental disaster.

As far as nuclear obliteration, Trump announced that the US is withdrawing from the INF treaty, which eliminated short range missiles deployed in Western Europe, on Russia’s doorstep. It’s the equivalent of Russia placing nuclear missiles in Venezuela.

A provocation, which enables US supplied missiles to be launched, only a few minutes flight time to Moscow.

That, of course sharply increases the nuclear danger. Historically on both sides, attack warnings given by automated systems have often proved faulty in the past; that, if enacted upon, would have meant the end of life as we know it.

Anyone familiar with contemporary military history knows that it’s a virtual miracle that we have so far avoided nuclear war.

Politically within Europe, the attack on democracy is very clear. Unchallenged undemocratic institutions in Brussels exist that is, in the main, part of the problem of the UK BREXIT negotiations.

Why does the public readily accept wars, engineered by our morally bankrupt governments to create ‘regime change’ in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the Ukraine and soon to be Venezuela followed by Nicaragua and Iran, with such a muted outcry?

That preemptive nuclear attacks are even thought of shows the insanity of Western leadership controlled by vested financial interests led by the Military/Security Industrial Complex and bankers. Those same interests created both ‘industrialised’ World Wars in the 20th Century.

Our governments do not listen to the people. When two million hit the streets of London before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, it made not an iota of difference to Tony Blair’s government.

Today, people’s apathy is notably caused by conditioning’, maybe better described as we’ve been ‘disciplined’ by MSM propaganda and family’s economic necessity to focus on their income, have made us so, due to our governments mismanagement of our economies.

Example, our university students are saddled with impossible to repay debt for a reason; to keep future generations ‘disciplined’.

No one has time or dare show any dissent especially given the Orwellian ‘newspeak’ environment that is created by ‘political correctness’.

Back to the subject of Russia phobia. The Western narrative against Russia is, in the main, the below:

* that Russia tried to murder the Skripals. Let the British government, who seem to be holding the Skripals against their will, prove they are not, by letting them be interviewed by the World’s Press.

* Ukraine – For over four years, the governments of NATO and the MSM have been waging the new cold war against Russia. This began with the ‘Maidan’ protests in Kyiv, Ukraine in early 2014 that culminated in the overthrow, universally acknowledged to have been engineered by the CIA, of Ukraine’s elected president and Parliament in February 2014. Putting in power an ultra neo-Nazi government, that in particular voiced hatred against all things Russian…and Jewish. Which MSM, TV news or newspapers, says so?

* That almost 100% of Crimea’s population are glad and grateful to be part of Russia. US, UK and EU says that is untrue, which is nonsense.

The demonisation of Russia is central to the multinational corporate interests that control our governments; the bankers protecting the steeply declining US Dollar, the institutions of the EU that are really controlled by Washington, who are preparing world public opinion to accept what the United States are now gearing up for, the “defence” of Europe.

At this point let us reflect on history by quoting one of America’s most distinguished soldiers, maybe of its entire history, General Smedley D. Butler, from his book ‘War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier.’

“No one told these American soldiers that they might be shot down by bullets made by their own brothers here. No one told them that the ships on which they were going to cross might be torpedoed by submarines built with US patents.”

It is recommended to read more about General Smedley Butler, as he was the man chosen by US bankers and particularly the Bush family in the 1930s, to be the new fascist leader of the USA by overthrowing, in a coup, the then President Roosevelt during the period of Hitler’s rise to power. A coincidence one wonders. Butler was a true patriot; he bided his time then revealed the plot to both Congress and President Roosevelt. If you doubt this, it is suggested you research the subject.

We can stop the consolidation of power of the global military/security industrial complex, its war party associates, and specifically the US, UK and EU deep state political and financial elite that no doubt exists. We must elect new leaders, it’s that simple.

To quote Noam Chomsky “….power is always illegitimate, unless it proves itself to be legitimate. So the burden of proof is always on those who claim that some authoritarian hierarchic government is legitimate. If they can’t prove it, then it should be dismantled.”

Implicit in this statement is change by either elections or revolutions.

The French people have shown us when enough is enough by their persistent resistance to their government.

Do Europeans support the notion that the countries of the EU be the nuclear war playground of the United States?

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