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Russian “liberal” press does not notice the BRICS’ success

BRICS summit was a huge success, but the liberal press refuses to report it.

Dmitry Babich




The BRICS summit in Goa, India has cracked up to be a success, despite numerous predictions about the organization’s “irrelevance” by liberal media around the globe. The members of the organization (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) signed the so called Goa Declaration, which in general terms reflects Russia’s and China’s opposition to the policy of “regime change,” even though not naming the US and the EU as the main motors of this policy.

The leaders of the five biggest non-Western economies vowed to continue their support for New Development Bank and Contingent Reserve Arrangement – the two bodies set up by BRICS in order to resist the pressure of the IMF and other US-controlled global institutions.

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin met with India’s prime minister Narendra Modi, and the two leaders found common ground on all the issues discussed (including Syria). So much for the numerous reports of the Western press about Modi’s “reorientation,” presumably favoring an alliance with the United States against China. (

The two leaders of Russia and India signed deals on the deliveries of Russian S400 air defense systems to India, with the contract worth $5 billion. The two countries are also going to set up a joint venture in order to build Russian-designed Kamov helicopters in India.

But just 4-5 days ago the mood about this summit was not so optimistic – at least, in the Russian opposition press. The Goa summit attracted a lot of attention in the liberal Russian press, making it a contrast to the last year’s BRICS summit in Russia’s Ufa. In 2015, when “isolation” of Russia was still name of the game in the mainstream media of the US and the EU, where the Russian liberals take most of their ideas about their own country. This year, however, the attention of the Russian liberal press to the BRICS summit was there – but it was of a negative character. The pro-Western Russian media outlets have pronounced BRICS to be in a “critical condition.” The main reasons cited were the change of the head of state in Brazil and India’s attempts to improve relations with the United States, supposedly inviting the wrath of China.

“Despite the task of creating a “new world order”, BRICS is losing its role of a counterweight to Western institutions, becoming a union of states, whose interests move further apart,” wrote the Moscow-based Kommersant daily, a traditional liberal critic of any Russian government since 1991.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, which under the guidance of its publisher Konstantin Remchukov, a big friend of the US ambassador in Russia, blasts the Kremlin in its editorials, while from time to time allowing a sober voice to speak out on its foreign policy page, – this newspaper concentrated its attention on India’s “unhappiness” about Moscow’s expanding contacts with China and Pakistan. “Moscow and New Delhi still officially name each other privileged partners,” the newspaper reported. “But these relations are going through a difficult test now. Both friendly powers are subjected to strong pressure from outside… Can their relations take a dip down?”

But then, if Russo-Indian relations were going through such a difficult test, why would Russia suggest selling to India its most sophisticated anti-aircraft system – S400 missiles (also called “Triumph” in Russia)? The latest versions of weapons are in fact never sold to unreliable friends, not to speak of adversaries. Meanwhile, Putin’s chief foreign policy adviser, Yuri Ushakov, on the eve of the summit assured the journalists that the deal had been sealed just recently – in the midst of India’s supposed “alienation” from Russia.

“The agreement on deliveries to India of the of the anti-aircraft missiles S400 (“Triumph”) will be signed as a finalization for the talks our president and prime minister Modi are going to have,” Ushakov said on the eve of the summit. “The deal’s signing by Putin and Modi as a conclusion for the talks reflects the similarity of the Russian and the Indian approaches to the problems on the regional and the global agendas,” Ushakov told the journalists in Moscow.

All in all, the Russian side and the Indian side signed 18 documents on various spheres of cooperation in Goa.

In an interview to Russia’s RIA news agency and the Indian news agency IANS, president Putin mentioned 20 priority projects, which will be jointly developed by the Russian and Indian companies. Some of these projects are of high-tech nature, co contradicting the stereotypes about the “oil and gas” nature of Russian exports. For example, the Moscow-based “AFK Systema” group is working on a model of a “smart city” for India.  And the Russian company “Dauria Airspace” plans to help Indians place their telecommunications equipment on the Earth’s orbit.

Speaking to journalists before the summit, Putin sounded confident that his vision of the current developments in international relations will be supported by all of the BRICS’ heads of state, including the newcomer to BRICS’ summits, the new Brazilian acting president Michel Temer.

“BRICS countries do not accept outside pressure on independent states and the attempts to limit their sovereignty. This will be reflected in the declaration of our summit in Goa,” Putin said confidently to RIA. “BRICS is one of the key elements of the world order which is in the process of forming itself… We have similar approaches on the Syrian crisis and on the settlement in the Middle East in general.”

Putin also condemned the attempts of “certain Western states” to push through “one-sided solutions.”

The participants of the summit in Goa adopted the declaration and the Plan of Action, setting the priorities of their cooperation in the next few years.

As for Russo-Chinese ties, the good news is that after a slump of 27.8 percent which the trade between the two countries endured in 2015, bilateral turnover restarted its growth in 2016, gaining 7.1 percent against the level of the first three quarters of the year 2015.

According to the information from the General Administration of Customs (GAC),  the turnover between Russia and China now is $50.27 in the first three quarters of this year.

During their recent meetings, the foreign ministers of Russia and China, Sergei Lavrov and Wang Yi agreed that they saw eye to eye on the dangers of the American deployment of THAAD anti-ballistic-missile systems in South Korea. Formally directed against North Korea, these ABM complexes were obviously aimed at obliterating the importance of both the Chinese and Russian nuclear arsenals.

As for the more distant partners, such as Brazil and South Africa, the idea of a free trade zone between the BRICS’ member countries had been floated before the summit. As usual in this kind of situations, the Chinese side has fewer fears of “going global,” than the other countries, which have less competitive industries.

“By setting up a free trade  area, the BRICS countries will be able to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers, giving free play to their comparative advantages,”   said Shen Danyang, the spokesman for China’s Ministry of Commerce.

In the situation, when the United States did not take Russia and China into its own Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP agreement), it is only natural that the BRICS’ countries, as the biggest emergent economies, strive to develop ties between each other, including the creation of a free trade zone of their own. It is only to their peril that Kommersant and Nezavisimaya refuse to note these trends.

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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



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.



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



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.

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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