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The Threat To Russia and China From India’s New Pro-US Realignment

Indian Prime Minister Modi’s realignment of India with the US threatens to shatter BRICS unity reversing the course away from the US-led unipolar world.

Andrew Korybko

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In an earlier article I discussed India’s recent moves and how these threaten to realign India with the US against China and Russia.

In this article I will discuss the background to this and the strategic implications and how these developments threaten the development of the multipolar order that is challenging US global power.

The Chinese-Indian Cold War

South East Asia

Prime Minister Modi’s moves over the last month exacerbate an already existing low-intensity Chinese-Indian Cold War.  The main focus of Chinese-Indian competition at the present time is in south east Asia.

India plans to ramp up its commercial ties with the mainland members of ASEAN – often referred to as “the Mekong River states” – by cooperating with them to build the Trilateral Highway through Myanmar and Thailand. 

Part of this project links up to the Japanese East-West corridor at the Myanmar port city of Mawlamyine, connecting India to northern Thailand, southern Laos, and central Vietnam.

This map shows the crisscrossing infrastructure corridors that are planned for the Greater Mekong Subregion.  India’s Trilateral Highway – labelled the Western Corridor – is coloured purple.  Japan’s East-Corridor is coloured turquoise.

It is not a coincidence that these trade networks are expected to interlink with each other. India and Japan are the US’s two most important Asian allies in “containing” China.  From a US perspective, it makes sense for India and China to pool their resources in the ASEAN theatre. 

On the naval front, as I discussed in my previous article, India is slated to become one of the out-of-region forces active in the South China Sea alongside Japan, the US, and Australia in the “Quadrilateral Security Dialogue”.

Himalayan Push

The other main theatre of Chinese-Indian competition is the Himalayas, particularly Kashmir, Nepal and Arunachal Pradesh.

Kashmir:

Since 1948 Kashmir has been divided into Pakistani and Indian-administered zones.  As I discussed in my previous article, India is objecting to China’s plans to build the Chinese Pakistani Economic Corridor through the Pakistani-administered zone.

In a conversation with Pakistani analyst and GPolit contributor Tayyab Baloch I was told of Pakistani fears that India might exploit the Logistic Support Agreement to obtain the deployment of US troops to Indian-controlled Kashmir.  This would be seen as very threatening by Pakistan and might even facilitate the infiltration of Uighur and Tibetan terrorists into nearby China.

Though deploying US troops to this bitterly contested region would be extremely destabilising and controversial, India might be tempted to “justify” it by citing China’s refusal to stop construction of the Chinese Pakistani Economic Corridor through Pakistani-controlled Kashmir and by China’s continued occupation of the Indian-claimed territory of Aksai Chin.

Nepal:

India and China have been engaged in a fierce asymmetrical competition for influence in Nepal ever since India lent its support to Hindu-identifying Madhesi protesters in the southern Terai region during their months-long protest campaign.

The Madhesi were ostensibly protesting Nepal’s plans for federalisation which they claim will dilute their influence in Nepal’s affairs.  In Nepal’s capital Kathmandu the opinion is however that India is manipulating the Madhesi protests as proxies to ensure India’s continued influence over Nepal.

During the protests Indian traders claimed it was unsafe for them to travel to Nepal, causing a de-facto blockade of the country which cut it off from most of its fuel supplies.  The Nepalese government claimed this was in effect an embargo imposed on Nepal by India.

China for its part has pragmatically supported the democratically elected and legitimate Nepalese government, sending supplies to replace the products withheld by India. 

China has also sealed important energy deals with Nepal and is now even discussing an expansion of the New Silk Road through the Himalayans to Kathmandu. Not surprisingly India fears this could lead to the northern Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar becoming flooded with Chinese goods.  It is not difficult to see why India might therefore be tempted to use the Madhesi protests to thwart these projects.

Arunachal Pradesh:

A further region of potential Chinese-Indian rivalry in the Himalayas is the contested territory of Arunachal Pradesh, called “Southern Tibet” by China.

The dispute here dates back to the imperial era when the British marked out the border between British controlled India and a weakened China. 

The essential point is that India for decades has administered this region without its right to do so being recognised by China.

This dispute is for the time being lying dormant and has largely done so since the 1962 Sino-Indian War.  It does however occasionally flare up as a rhetorical whenever Indian-Chinese disagreements rise to the surface. Since China does not recognise India’s administration of Arunachal Pradesh, this territory retains the potential to become a serious flashpoint.

The Logistical Support Agreement give the US the right – if India agrees – to “resupply, repair, and rest” its forces anywhere in India.  This could in theory include contested areas such as Arunachal Pradesh. 

Deploying US troops so close to the border with China in a contested territory such as Arunachal Pradesh would be seen by China as intensely provocative and would be bound to provoke a Chinese reaction. 

That could transform a hereto dormant conflict into an active one, creating a third subregional front of “containment” against China.  All it would take would be the symbolic presence of a few US troops – no matter how ‘plausibly justified’ under the terms of  the Logistical Support Agreement – to trigger a confrontation between India and China that could be exploited by hardliners in New Delhi wanting to press for a concerted US-Indian joint effort to “defend Indian territory from China”.

“Containing” China In Central Asia

There remains Central Asia as a further zone of potential Chinese-Indian conflict. 

India just recently began to accede to the Ashgabat Agreement, a multinational infrastructure development platform between Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, and Oman.

India plans to build a railroad from the Indian-financed port in Iran’s southern Chabahar district to the existing Iran-Central Asian railway network, potentially making India an important regional actor.

This North-South Corridor is expected to run in parallel to the actual one of that name which traverses Iran, the Caspian Sea region, Azerbaijan and Russia.   

If completed these projects would connect India by land to the European Union, re routing India’s trade with the European Union through the Russian-Chinese zone of influence in Central Asia.

India’s increasing role in this region could benefit all parties.  This however depends on how it is pursued.  If India’s intentions are hostile to China and are directed at “containing” China in this region (as they increasingly seem to be everywhere else) then India’s growing presence in Central Asia could have destabilising consequences which would also inevitably affect Russia.

It is too early to say what form India’s role Central Asian will take.  However whatever it is it is likely to be significant. Whether it will be positive or negative depends on India.  If India continues to commit itself to multipolarity in combination with its BRICS partners Russia and China then its role in Central Asia will be positive.  If instead it undermines BRICS unity (as it seems rapidly on track to do) then its actions could turn out to be severely destabilising, turning a hereto stable region into a theatre of a new global Cold War.

Hybrid War Blackmail

Prime Minister Modi seems for the moment to be going along with – even inviting – the US’s anti-Chinese strategic assistance in South Asia and other neighbouring regions.  However he may be under pressure to do so.

As I wrote for Sputnik in October when discussing Bangladesh’s simmering Islamic/Salafist terrorist problem, the US and possibly even Saudi Arabia may be planning to turn Bangladesh into another focus of violent Salafist jihadism as the ultimate form of pressure on India. Moreover, the September 2014 announcement that Al Qaeda had opened up a South Asian branch may also have led the Indian establishment to think there is a long-term jihadist threat to India.

The extent to which these fears may have led India away from multipolarity towards realignment with the US is however debatable. In my opinion Prime Minister Modi was already predisposed to side with the US against China even if there were no external pressure upon  him.

Nonetheless the “ticking time bombs” of jihadi militancy remain a threat should Prime Minister Modi ever to decide to reverse course, though in that case India would be able to look for support to its BRICS partners – Russia and China – in a way that might actually deepen India’s ties with them.

Breaking Up The BRICS

Prime Minister Modi increasing alignment with the US puts the BRICS organisation at serious risk of falling apart.

India does sincerely wish for the success of certain multipolar projects.  These include wider use of national non-dollar currencies in bilateral trade and the establishment of alternative global institutions such as the BRICS New Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, in which India would finally have representation proportionate to its size.

However these forms of economic and institutional multipolarity are very different from the geopolitical multipolarity Russia and China practice. Whilst India would obviously benefit from that too, the short-sighted obsession of its “deep state” elites (ie. its permanent intelligence-military-diplomatic bureaucracies) in “containing” China, confronting Pakistan, and conquering the rest of Kashmir blind them to its advantages.  This leads to the strange paradox of India geopolitically embracing the same hegemon – the US – it opposes in the economic and institutional spheres.

Russia and China for their part had until recently assumed India shared their vision of economic, institutional, and – most importantly – geopolitical multipolarity.  Now it seems  the geopolitical aspect of this global vision is something India’s elite no longer wants to move forward with.

Ultimately an intensification of Chinese-Indian competition in a sort of bilateral Cold War can only serve the interests of the US.  It not only risks undermining BRICS unity from within.  Over time increasingly tense bilateral relations between India and China would inevitably spill over into other multipolar organisations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, undermining their unity and impairing their effectiveness.

It is easy to see how in such a situation things might get so bad that India – contrary to its own long-term interests – might decide to accept whatever deal it was offered by the US and turn its back on the BRICS entirely. 

It is not inconceivable that in that case India could become a bridge between a US-sponsored TTIP in western Eurasia and a US sponsored TPP in eastern Eurasia, with India forming the link in some sort of southern “rimland alliance” against Russia and China.

Russia’s Choice

In the event of India’s destruction of BRICS unity, Russia would be forced to choose between its Chinese and Indian partners. For obvious reasons Moscow would prefer this never happened.  However India’s actions might leave it no alternative.

If the point ever comes when Moscow is forced to side publicly with China against India, however politely and diplomatically this was done, the US and its proxies in India would undoubtedly use the fact to launch an information campaign claiming Moscow had “betrayed India” and had “sold India out to China”. 

Russian diplomacy is no doubt striving to avoid this situation.  Due to Russia’s longstanding friendly ties to India Russia is the only country that might have a chance of persuading India that its present course of undermining BRICS unity does not serve India’s interests. Even if Russia could not persuade India to reverse its new policies entirely, Russia might still play a useful role, moderating the policy and acting as a sort of bridge between New Delhi and Beijing.   

Realistically however there is little Moscow can do if India’s elites are determined to adopt the anti-Chinese narrative the US has spun for them. 

If India irrevocably commits itself to a pro-US anti-China course then sooner or later India will inevitably come under pressure from Washington to loosen its ties with Moscow.   This would most probably happen in the context of an artificially created crisis, making it appear that the decision was Moscow’s rather than New Delhi’s or Washington’s.

Concluding Thoughts

Prime Minister Modi’s actions over the past month in the immediate wake of US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter’s visit have caused widespread alarm amongst its BRICS allies, provoking questions as why India is now so suddenly and so visibly siding with the US.

In reality the Indian elite’s obsessions with “containing” China, confronting Pakistan, and conquering all of Kashmir has always made India highly susceptible to US manipulation and provides the answer.

The stakes however could not be higher.  With India’s news media and information space dominated by pro-Western narratives most Indians remain unaware of the change in strategic direction their country is taking.  The result however might be to shatter the BRICS, putting other multipolar projects such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in jeopardy. 

Beyond that it is difficult to see how an intensification of the Chinese-Indian Cold War could not lead in the end to a permanent realignment of India with the US, placing the whole multipolar project upon which Russian and Chinese policy is based in question.

It is not yet too late to turn back.  Time is however running short.  The further India moves along its present path the more difficult it will be to turn back.  Beyond a certain point the momentum becomes unstoppable and the process irreversible.

India is at a crossroads.  Either it deepens its cooperation with its BRICS partners, consolidating the multipolar world that is emerging, or it sabotages it and aligns with Washington.

India is today the pivot state, the country that has the decisive voice in whether or not there will be a New Cold War, and has for that reason become the object of every Great Powers’ fancy.

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Bevin Chu
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China has been geographically adjacent to India for 5000 years. Did it invade and colonize India during that time? Did it ever establish an East India Company? Did it ever establish a Raj?

Yet the moment the Anglo-American Empire came into existence in the 19th century, it overran India and subjugated it for two centuries.

Your ugly and misdirected hatred for China, and your hysterical allegations will do nothing to lift India up. They will only keep India down, spinning its wheels as it remains impoverished and backwards.

Bevin Chu
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Unless India throws off Modi’s Sinophobia, almost any other nation with a name beginning with “I” would be better than India.

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Pat Buchanan: Caravan Puts Trump Legacy on the Line

Unwanted mass migration is the issue of our time, as there is no foreseeable end to it before it alters America irremediably.

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org:


Our mainstream media remain consumed with the grisly killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and how President Donald Trump will deal with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Understandably so, for this is the most riveting murder story since O.J. Simpson and has strategic implications across the Middle East.

Yet far more critical to the future of our civilization is the ongoing invasion of the West from the Third World.

Consider the impact of the decision by Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2015 to throw open Germany’s doors to 1 million refugees from Syria’s civil war.

Last weekend, in a crushing blow to Merkel, the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party of her CDU, won its smallest share of the vote in half a century, 37 percent. Her coalition party, the SPD, saw its share of the Bavarian vote fall to a historic low of less than 10 percent.

The right-wing Alternative for Deutchland saw its support rise to 10 percent and has become a force in German politics. Some conservatives are urging the CDU to adopt the AfD hardline on illegal immigration.

The message sent by the Bavarian electorate is the message voters across Europe have been sending to their own capitals for years: You are failing in your first duty — defense of the homeland from foreign invasion. Mass migration of unassimilable peoples and cultures from a global South represents an existential threat to our Europe.

As Merkel’s chancellorship approaches its end, French President Emmanuel Macron, her progressive EU partner, has seen his approval fall to below 30 percent.

The U.S.-led NATO alliance may guard the Baltic and Black Sea regions against a Russian invasion from the east. But in Central, Southern and Western Europe, the more feared invaders are the peoples of Africa and the Muslim world, whose numbers are expected to triple or quadruple by this century’s end.

And as their numbers grow, so, too, does their desperation to escape, even at risk of their lives, the poverty, wars and repression of their homelands to cross the Med and fill the empty spaces left by a depopulating Europe.

It also now appears that the U.S. elections, not three weeks away, may be affected by another immigration crisis on the U.S. border.

As of Thursday, a caravan of 4,000 refugees without visas had crossed from Honduras into Guatemala and was heading toward Mexico. By Election Day, it will either have been stopped, or it will be here. And this caravan is a portent of things to come.

According to The Washington Post, during FY 2018, which ended last month, 107,212 members of “family units” crossed over into the U.S., “obliterating the previous record of 77,857 set in 2016.”

Citing DHS figures, the Post adds, “Border patrol agents arrested 16,658 family members in September alone, the highest one-month total on record and an 80 percent increase from July.”

When Trump, under intense political fire, ended his “zero tolerance” policy of separating refugees from their children, this message went out to Mexico and Central America:

Bring your kids with you when you cross the border. They will have to stay with you, and they cannot be held for more than 20 days. Thus, when they are released, you will be released to await a hearing on your claim of asylum. The odds are excellent that you can vanish into the U.S. population and never be sent back.

Enraged, Trump has threatened to cut off aid to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala if they do not stop the caravans and has warned Mexico he will use the U.S. military to secure our border.

Unwanted mass migration is the issue of our time, as there is no foreseeable end to it before it alters America irremediably.

As these migrants are almost all poor, not highly skilled, and do not speak English, most will join that segment of our population that pays no income taxes but qualifies for social welfare benefits like food stamps, medical care and free education in our public schools.

They are thus a net drain upon the resources of a nation that is already, at full employment, running a deficit of $779 billion a year.

These migrants, however, are a present and future benefit to the Democratic Party that built and maintains our mammoth welfare state, and which, in presidential elections, routinely wins 70 to 90 percent of the votes of people whose trace their ancestry to Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Not without reason, Democrats believe that if they can change the composition of the American electorate, they can control America forever.

If Donald Trump was elected on any one issue, it was immigration and his promises to secure the border, build the wall and halt the invasion.

How he deals with the impending crisis of the migrant caravan may affect both the fate of his party in November and his presidency in 2020.

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‘Mohammad bin Salman Must Go’, but US-Saudi Ties Are Here to Stay

Was it possible that Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was so arrogant that he could not imagine the consequences of such a heinous crime?

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Mohammad bin Salman is fully aware of the Western elite’s understanding of its own values. While he may be given a pass to bomb Yemen and kill thousands of innocent civilians, he should know better than to dare touch a Washington Post columnist – “one of ours”, as one MSNBC host said. Did he not realize there would be consequences?

As more information came out, many analysts began to confront the most obvious question. Was it possible that Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was so arrogant that he could not imagine the consequences of such a heinous crime? How could MBS betray Trump this way, not anticipating that the Democrats and the mainstream media would jump all over Trump’s friendship with him? Could he be so foolish as to place in jeopardy foreign investments planned at the Davos in the Desert conference on October 23? The answer to that question is apparently: yes, he could.

The only rational explanation for this behavior is that MBS thought he could get away with it. Remember that we are talking about someone who had Saad Hariri, the prime minister of Lebanon, kidnapped and carried off to the Kingdom, with his whereabouts unknown for days but with very little reaction from the mainstream media or Western politicians. It is possible that in this instance, MBS simply misjudged the level of Khashoggi’s popularity amongst neoliberals of the Washington establishment, provoking an unexpected response. Furthermore, the thesis that the Saudis understood that they had some kind of green light from Trump is not to be totally dismissed. Such a backlash is what you get from having a big mouthpraise your friends too much, and tweet all the time.

The rapidity with which the US media, and especially dozens of Republican and Democratic senators, attacked Saudi Arabia, blaming it for the atrocious crime, is rather unusual. After all, the Saudi elites have been inclined to behave in such a manner over the last 40 years. But it also highlights the ongoing inconsistency and double standards: nothing is said about Yemen, but the Kingdom is currently under the strongest censure for allegedly offing a journalist.

As I had already pointed out in my previous article, Khashoggi was clearly part of a faction opposed to the current ruling royal family in Saudi Arabia, headed by MBS. To understand this Saudi golden boy of the US mainstream media as well as military-industrial-spying complex, we have to go back to Mohammed bin Nayef. Bin Nayef has been under house arrest for almost two years, immediately purged by MBS as soon as he assumed power as crown prince. Bin Nayef has for decades been the CIA’s go-to man in Riyadh, helping the CIA & Co. pretend to “fight” al Qaeda in the Kingdom while using al Qaeda as a tool to inflict damage on US geopolitical adversaries.

The removal of bin Nayef by MBS was greeted with anger by a part of the US establishment close to Washington think tanks and the CIA and was never fully digested. MBS and his father, King Salman, needed to consolidate power around the throne at the time, and bin Nayef was certainly part of the faction opposing MBS, as was Khashoggi.

Naturally, these antipathies were set aside by the CIA, think tanks and neoliberals in the media due to to the importance of the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US, especially vis-a-vis the US Petrodollar. MBS even undertook a tour in the US to help smooth the relationship with the West, being hailed as a new reformer, if you can believe that.

Nowadays,the relationship between Riyadh, Tel Aviv and Washington is based on the strong friendship between Trump and MBS and Trump and Netanyahu. Furthermore, the strengthened link between Trump and MBS, facilitated by son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is close to Israel, served to create a new alliance, perhaps even hinting at the possibility of an Arab NATO. Israel is eager to see more Saudi and US engagement against Iran in the region, and the Saudis similarly praise Israel and the US for being engaged in a fight against Iranian influence in the region. In this way, Trump can please his Israeli friends and see Saudi money pour in as investments.

These agreements have led to a series of disasters in the Middle East that go against the interests of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the US. Israel’s recklessness has led to the deployment of a wide range of Russian state-of-the-art weapons to Syria, preventing Israel and the US from acting as freely as before. The disastrous Saudi war in Yemen, the almost diplomatic break with Canada, the kidnapping of the prime minister of Lebanon, and now the Khashoggi affair, have further weakened and isolated Saudi Arabia, MBS, and therefore Trump. The US is no longer able to influence events on the ground in Syria, and so the initial plans of Israel and Saudi Arabia have foundered, after having devoted hundreds of millions of dollars to arm and train terrorists to overthrow Assad.

The Khashoggi affair plays into this situation, exacerbating the war between elites in the US as their strategies in the Middle East continue to fail. The neoliberal mainstream media immediately used the Khashoggi story to pressure Trump into taking a firm stance against one of his last friends and financiers, trying to further isolate him as the midterms approach. Many in the US deep state are convinced – as they were convinced that Clinton would win the presidency – that the House and Senate will end up in Democratic hands in the November elections, paving the way for Trump’s impeachment and for Mike Pence to become president. Pence, a prominent figure of the evangelical right, would be the perfect president for Israel, placing Tel Aviv in the driving seat of US foreign policy as never before. In this scenario, it would certainly be preferable for certain parts of the elite to have a different figure at the helm in Saudi Arabia, seeing as MBS appears to be an unstable leader. Possibly they would prefer someone tied to the US secret services – someone like Mohammed bin Nayef. For these reasons, Democrats, some Republicans and the mainstream media have gone all out against MBS and Trump.

Turkey seems to be using the situation to further widen the fracture between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world. Since Doha is paying the bills for Erdogan these days, with the Turkish lira at a low, it is essentially the Al Thani family running the PR show in the Turkish media. It looks like the Qatari media are paying back with interests all the negative media they received from the Saudis over the past year. Despite this, neither Ankara nor Riyadh is intent on any kind escalation, both knowing that any suffering on their part is a boon for their enemies.

An interesting aspect related to the Khashoggi affair concerns the sources of the news about the investigation, all anonymous and coming from Turkish police or from people linked to the top echelons of the Turkish state. Knowing the odd state of relations between Ankara and Riyadh, and especially between Turkish ally Qatar and Saudi Arabia, all this news coming from one source should at least be taken with a grain of salt. What is certain is that the Turks had immediate knowledge of the matter regarding who, what, where, when and why. This means that they must have bugged the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, allowing the MIT, Turkey’s intelligence service, to know in real time what was happening to Khashoggi. The story concerning the Apple watch appears to be an attempt by the Turks to thrown off the scent Saudis who may be scratching their heads wondering how the Turks came to have such intimate knowledge of what transpired in their consulate.

For Turkey, the Khashoggi affair could be the occasion for a rapprochement with the US, following a deterioration in relations in the last two years. Turkey has few friends left, and after being cornered by Russia and Iran in Astana with regards to Syria,  it also has to deal with the tensions between Riyadh and Qatar as well as balance its relations with Iran and Israel. Erdogan would like to exploit this event as much as possible, and the release of Pastor Brunson seems to indicate Ankara’s willingness to extend an olive branch to Washington.

Russia, Syria and Iran have everything to benefit from this ongoing internal quarrel between elements within Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Qatar and the US. Whatever the outcome of the Khashoggi affair, Moscow, Tehran and Damascus can only benefit from any deterioration of relations between these countries.

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Boycott Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Here’s Why

The way to boycott Facebook, Twitter, and Google, is to NOT respond to their ads, but instead to blacklist their advertisers and all media that rely upon those giant social-media sites.

Eric Zuesse

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Originally posted at strategic-culture.org:


NATO — the neoconservatives, the marketeers for firms such as Lockheed Martin and BAE — has taken over the social-media giants and much of online international ‘news’-reporting, including that of virtually all independent news-sites and blogs.

Facebook, Twitter, and Google, in recent days, delivered what might be the death-blows.

NATO’s main PR agency, think-tank, and lobbying organization, is ‘non-profit’ — a legal tax-dodge that’s financed by donations from those weapons-making firms and their supporting firms and their ‘non-profits’, so that the taxes that it doesn’t pay will need to be paid instead by the general public. Billionaires know how to avoid taxes, and they hire politicians who write the laws with all the ‘right’ loopholes for them — and only for the very richest — to use. This PR agency is called “The Atlantic Council,” and it was set up in 1961, the exact same year that U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower left office warning that “the military-industrial complex” might take control of the U.S. Well, it did so, with The Atlantic Council’s help; and, now, it is finally lowering the boom against democracy itself — at least among the U.S. and its allied nations (the governments whose weapons-manufacturing firms are in, and sell to, NATO governments). The aim is to drive up the percentage of government-expenditures there that go to pay those firms, and so to reduce the percentages that go to pay everything else. The aim, in short, is the permanent-warfare-economy. After all, firms such as Lockheed Martin and BAE sell only to allied governments. They have virtually no consumers except those governments. So: their (and their ‘charities’) basic message is ‘austerity’ — except on ‘defense’ or realistically called “aggression.” This is national ‘defense’ such as against Iraq in 2003, and against Libya in 2011 — it is instead sheer aggression. George Orwell predicted “Newspeak” — well, here it is. It’s today’s norm, so normal that the public think it’s just natural, and conservatives and even many liberals think it’s the way that ‘a free market’ ought to be.

Here was Facebook’s announcement, on October 11th:

——

newsroom.fb.com

11 October 2018

Removing Additional Inauthentic Activity from Facebook

Today, we’re removing 559 Pages and 251 accounts that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior. Given the activity we’ve seen — and its timing ahead of the US midterm elections — we wanted to give some details about the types of behavior that led to this action. Many were using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names and posted massive amounts of content across a network of Groups and Pages to drive traffic to their websites. Many used the same techniques to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was. Others were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate.

——

Those 559 and 251 weren’t identified; none of them were. Facebook wants them to need to scream in order for them to be able to be noticed at all by the public. The announcement didn’t even say by what criteria they were measuring ‘Inauthentic Activity’ versus ‘legitimate political debate’. Their announcement did say “we look at these actors’ behavior – such as whether they’re using fake accounts or repeatedly posting spam – rather than their content when deciding which of these accounts, Pages or Groups to remove,” but unless they make public what the actual algorithms are by means of which they remove sites, no one should trust them, at all, because they can remove whatever NATO or The Atlantic Council (neither of which their announcement even mentioned) want them to remove.

The background for this act by the war-economy’s billionaires had already been reported at Mint Press on May 18th“Facebook Partners With Hawkish Atlantic Council, a NATO Lobby Group, to ‘Protect Democracy’”, where Elliott Gabriel opened:

Facebook is hoping that a new alliance with the Atlantic Council — a leading geopolitical strategy think-tank seen as a de facto PR agency for the U.S. government and NATO military alliance – will not only solve its “fake news” and “disinformation” controversy, but will also help the social media monolith play “a positive role” in ensuring democracy on a global level.

The new partnership will effectively ensure that Atlantic Council will serve as Facebook’s “eyes and ears,” according to a company press statement. With its leadership comprised of retired military officers, former policymakers, and top figures from the U.S. National Security State and Western business elites, the Atlantic Council’s role policing the social network should be viewed as a virtual takeover of Facebook by the imperialist state and the council’s extensive list of ultra-wealthy and corporate donors.

Then, on October 12th, Mint Press’s Whitney Webb bannered “Facebook Purges US-Based Independent Media For Political Disinformation”, and reported that,

Notably, Facebook’s statement on the mass purge of pages was co-authored by Facebook Head of Cybersecurity Nathaniel Gleicher, who is a former White House National Security Council director of cybersecurity policy.

Twitter also banned many of the pages targeted for deletion by Facebook on Thursday, suggesting a coordinated censorship effort between the two most popular social media platforms.

Many of the pages banned had millions of likes, such as the Free Thought Project (3.1 million likes), Antimedia (2.1 million), Cop Block (1.7 million), and Police the Police (1.9 million). Several of the pages that were deleted on Thursday had been targeted by Facebook in recent months, both through new censorship algorithms and Facebook’s controversial team of “fact checkers.”

For instance, the Free Thought Project had been flagged earlier this year as “fake news” by Facebook “fact checking” partner organizations, including  the Associated Press (AP) and Snopes. In one case, a story published by the Free Thought Project was flagged as “false” by the AP. That story, which detailed the documented case of Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) being forcibly removed from a DHS migrant detention center that had once been a Walmart, was marked false because the AP asserted that the article made the claim that Walmart was housing immigrants for DHS. However, the article does not make the claim, instead accurately noting that the facility used to be a Walmart.

Censorship algorithms had also greatly affected traffic to the recently deleted pages for much of the past year. In the case of Antimedia, its traffic dropped from around 150,000 page views per day in early June to around 12,000 by the end of that month. As a reference, in June of last year, Antimedia’s traffic stood at nearly 300,000 views per day.

Also on October 12th, heavy dot com bannered “‘Facebook Purge’: List of Some Deleted Accounts on Left & Right” and listed a few dozen sites that the article’s writer had seen online screaming about having been removed.

Meanwhile, in UK’s very mainstream Daily Mail (the second-largest-circulation of all UK’s newspapers), columnist Michael Burleigh headlined on October 13th “Putin’s taking over Libya by stealth in order to point a new weapon at the West — millions of desperate migrants” and he opened:

So bloody and extensive is President Putin’s record of aggression, not least in Syria and Ukraine, that an incursion into the empty deserts of North Africa might hardly seem worth noting.

Yet the discovery that Russia is moving troops and missiles into war-torn Libya has rightly caused alarms to sound throughout the capitals of Europe.

It is a step of huge significance, and one with potentially disastrous results for Western nations.

The discovery that Vladimir Putin, above, and his government is moving troops and missiles into war-torn Libya has rightly caused alarm. Russia – this time in the form of Rosneft, the huge oil company controlled by Putin’s sinister crony Igor Sechin – is interested in a slice of Libya’s vast oil reserves, the largest in Africa

Libya has both oil and Mediterranean ports, and Russia is hungry for both.

But was it Russia that in 2011 had invaded and destroyed Libya, or was it U.S., UK, and France, who invaded and destroyed Libya — a country that like Iraq, Syria, Yemen and others which The West has destroyed, had never threatened nor invaded any of them?

Burleigh continued:

– cause enough for concern, perhaps. Yet the real fear for European governments is this: Libya, with its porous southern borders, has become the main jumping-off point for the hundreds of thousands of African migrants now seeking to cross the Mediterranean to the shores of the EU and, in particular, Italy.

So, his own country, UK, had helped with the bombing of Libya that had caused all those ‘migrants’ (actually refugees) into Europe, but now he’s trying to blame Putin for it, as if Russia and not UK, U.S., and France were the cause of it. Doesn’t that “mislead people”?

But is the Daily Mail being strangled by Facebook, Twitter, and Google; or is it instead being done to the small-fry political sites, which aren’t owned and controlled by the aristocracies of the U.S., UK, France, and their allied aristocracies — all the aristocracies that are in NATO and promoted by The Atlantic Council?

Here is yet more from Elliott Gabriel’s excellent news-report at Mint Press on May 18th, providing background to the present purges and censorships:

The announcement, made last Thursday in a Facebook Newsroom post, explained that the social network’s security, policy and product teams will coordinate their work with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) to analyze “real-time insights and updates on emerging threats and disinformation campaigns from around the world.”

DFRLab employees include pro-war media activist Eliot Higgins (of Bellingcat fame) and Ben Nimmo — a senior fellow for information defense at the Atlantic Council, who earned infamy for his groundless accusations that actual Twitter users are Russian trolls.

Read more on Facebook

Continuing, Facebook global politics and government outreach director Katie Harbath explained:

“This will help increase the number of ‘eyes and ears’ we have working to spot potential abuse on our service — enabling us to more effectively identify gaps in our systems, preempt obstacles, and ensure that Facebook plays a positive role during elections all around the world.”

“We know that tackling these problems effectively also requires the right policies and regulatory structures, so that governments and companies can help prevent abuse while also ensuring that people have a voice during elections. The Atlantic Council’s network of leaders is uniquely situated to help all of us think through the challenges we will face in the near- and long-term.”

“The think-tank’s Digital Research Unit Monitoring Missions will also be tapped by the social network during elections and “other highly sensitive moments” to allow Facebook the ability to zero in on key locales and monitor alleged misinformation and foreign interference.”

Who is the Atlantic Council?

Hillary Clinton at the 2013 Atlantic Council Distinguished Leadership Awards (Photo: Atlantic Council)

The Atlantic Council was recently in the news for receiving a donation of $900,000 from the U.S. State Department for a “Peace Process Support Network” program to “promote non-violent conflict resolution” in support of Venezuela’s scattered opposition, with which the council enjoys very close ties. The council also advocates the arming of extremist militants in Syria (a “National Stabilization Force”) and a hard-line policy toward Russia.

Established in 1961 by former U.S. Secretaries of State Dean Acheson and Christian Herter, the Atlantic Council of the United States was originally conceived as a means to drum up support for the Cold War-era NATO alliance, which had formed in 1949 as the basis of the Euro-Atlantic security architecture during the post-WWII competition with the Soviet Union. Dozens of similar Atlantic Councils were eventually established throughout the NATO and Partnership for Peace states.

The council is a part of the Atlantic Treaty Association, a NATO offshoot that claims to unite “political leaders, academics, military officials, journalists and diplomats in an effort to further the values set forth in the North Atlantic Treaty, namely: democracy, freedom, liberty, peace, security, and the rule of law.”

In general, groups such as the Atlantic Council are meant to secure the legitimacy of U.S. policies and neoliberal economics in the eyes of world audiences and academia, whether they live in the “advanced democracies” (the imperialist center) or “developing democracies” (the post-colonial and economically exploited nations).

Mint Press — a real news-operation, instead of the fake-news operations that are being boosted by Facebook, Twitter, and Google — apparently hasn’t yet been removed by Facebook, but the permanent-war-economy is only just starting to lower the boom. And, who knows what’s next, in American ‘democracy’, now?

The way to boycott Facebook, Twitter, and Google, is to NOT respond to their ads, but instead to blacklist their advertisers and all media that rely upon those giant social-media sites. There are competitors, and those need to be aggressively favored by anyone who doesn’t want to be mentally strangulated by these three giant corporations.

These media-giants want to strangle the public; so, the public needs to strangle them first.

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