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UK Minister: Amesbury Poisoning ‘not targeted’ or ‘linked to Skripals’

Does the UK expect people to believe a couple was accidentally poisoned with military-grade nerve agent?

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The latest reports from the Amesbury alleged “Novichok poisoning” have taken a turn for the weirder. According to several reports, UK Minister of State for Security Ben Wallace has said that the Amesbury “poisonings” were neither targetted, nor linked to the Skripals. He said that instead, he believes it is a “contamination by Novichok”.

So far, the optics seemed like it could be an obvious Skripal 2.0 scenario, which was honestly ridiculous that they would bother to invent the same baseless and insane accusations against Russia twice. Yet instead, the latest reports seem to indicate a totally different spin is being taken. For example, the BBC has reported:

The victims of the nerve agent emergency in Wiltshire were not directly targeted, the security minister has said.

[UK Minister of State for Security] Ben Wallace disclosed that the “working assumption” is that the pair were exposed to Novichok either as a result of the attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Hulia in Salisbury earlier this year, or “something else”.

It must be clear however, this does not mean the U.K. isn’t pointing the finger at Russia, as the report continues:

Mr Wallace told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think what we said at the time was that this was a brazen and reckless attack in the heart of a very peaceful part of the United Kingdom, and that is part of the anger I feel about the Russian state is that they chose to use clearly a very, very toxic, highly dangerous weapon.”

In another report, the BBC, writes that:

[UK] Home Secretary Sajid Javid has called on Russia to explain the Novichok poisoning after two people were exposed to it in Wiltshire. “It is completely unacceptable for our people to be either deliberate or accidental targets, or for our streets, our parks, our towns, to be dumping grounds for poison,” he told MPs.

The oddest aspect about the latest round of accusations, and what is potentially very dangerous, is how the U.K. is implying Russia allegedly accidentally poisoned their citizens with military grade nerve agent. Sputnik quotes UK Minister of State for Security Ben Wallace as saying:

“These people weren’t linked to the Skripals… It wasn’t an attack, it was, I think, a contamination by a Novichok,” Wallace said on Monday.

This is what is particularly bizarre, that the language the UK is using implies they are currently alleging an unintentional Novichok poisoning. We must remember, however, that these are still preliminary reports. There will be plenty of time for the UK to change their story, and of course, they are still blaming Russia, now it just seems they are saying Russia unintentionally poisoned their citizens.

This brings me to the heart of what makes these accusations so bizarre. If we apply basic common sense, how many people do you know, who were accidentally poisoned with military-grade nerve agent? Is nerve agent a common cause of death among common suburban folk? We remind our readers that neither the Skripals nor this Amesbury couple has yet died.

This contradicts basic logic, what we know about Novichok, as well as the narrative about the seemingly dangerous Russian bear, the way the West makes Russia out to be.

Novichok has been acknowledged by many reports, as being the world’s most deadly known nerve agent, with Gary Stephens, a pharmacology expert at the University of Reading, saying that Novichok “is a more dangerous and sophisticated agent than sarin or VX and is harder to identify”. A Financial Times report says that:

It has been reported that Novichok agents are five to eight times more lethal than VX, which was previously thought to be the world’s deadliest nerve agent.

New Scientist reports that:

Novichoks can be eight times as deadly as VX, the V-series agent that was used to kill North Korean exile Kim Jong-nam last year. Just 10 milligrams of VX on the skin can be lethal.

Still, despite the well-known lethality of Novichok, the UK is claiming Russia contaminated Sergei and Yulia Skripal with this incredibly lethal poisoning, which can kill in tiny droplets, and yet they survived?

They are claiming Russia, a nuclear superpower which builds the rockets American astronauts use to travel to space, and which put the first man in space, does not possess the capability to assassinate a target with a more lethal nerve agent, then one used by the weaker state of North Korea? North Korea is indescribably weaker than Russia in basically every way that matters, yet a known to be weaker nerve agent allegedly kills a man when Russia allegedly fails with an agent eight times more deadly?

Of course, Russia did not kill anyone, neither the Skripals, nor this couple, yet the accusations are now becoming even more absurd. Skripal was an ex-spy, and a traitor to Russia and the Russian people, and while Russia did not kill him, there is no evidence, Russia has always been known to defend her people and her interests. It is not illogical, to imagine that a spy who betrays any superpower, such as the US, Russia, China, etc. could theoretically face dangerous repercussions.

The idea of a spy being killed by a nerve agent is not a stretch, but Skripal was no threat to Russia, and he was not killed, even after the most deadly substance in the world was allegedly administered.

This couple, however, were not even spies. By all accounts, they are completely random people, unconnected to the Skripals, in the words of UK Minister of State for Security Ben Wallace. How they did they get contaminated by Novichok? Are we to believe military-grade nerve agent was just casually misplaced in a UK neighborhood? Military-grade nerve agent which kills instantly for all intents and purposes. Does the UK wish to imply Russia is not a great power, with the ability to attack its enemies, but one which is incapable of assassinations, and haplessly misplaces their nerve agents in little shires throughout Merry Olde England.

It seems like the UK wants to have their cake and eat it too.

I have written about this before, primarily the illogical and inconsistent way the Western Media slanders Russia and her President Vladimir Putin.

In the article, I said:

The split personality complex in the west has given rise to the two heads of the western establishment: The Neoconservatives and the Neoliberals. Together they form the Diarchy (rule of two) present in western governments, though perhaps the Latin synonym Duumvirate better describes it.

This split personality influences how they view reality.

Take for example their portrayal of Russia. There are two primary ways in which Russia is misrepresented in the west:

  1. As a toothless bear, a weak, anemic regional power nostalgic for old glory, incapable of letting go. A nation overall not unlike a destitute widow after the death of a great and powerful man, as Gogol described the Cossack lands of what we call Ukraine in Taras Bulba.

This is simply not reality.

  1. The dangerous bear, an Empire terrible and strong, ready to subject the world beneath the boot of an Imperialist, Fascist, Totalitarian, Communist, Soviet, Russian Orthodox Czar. If the West does not “do something” [the most terrifying words any third world country can hear] there will not be a free power in the world that will not kneel to the Czar of Moscow.

That statement is contradictory, primarily with the first image, but also with itself. You can not be a Communist or a Fascist, nor an Orthodox Tsarist for that matter all at once.

While the above examples are mutable to a degree, those are the prevailing stereotypes about Russia. They each serve two primary purposes:

  1. The portrayal of Russia as a declining power reduces panic when undesirable, for example when the Deep State feels comfortable with their position in society, and wish to promote their leadership as strong and stabilizing. It also reinforces overall pride and morale in the west. This is the favored personality of the Neo-Liberals.
  2. The portrayal of Russia as a resurgent, terrifying eastern horde on the verge of world dominance provides for the Military Industrial Complex, allows for increased military spending, and justifies both sabre rattling and adventurism, satisfying the warmongers. The portrayal of the Neo-Cons.

That split view of Russia is what we are seeing here again.

  1. First, we are to believe, according to Western propagandists, Russia is this great dangerous threat to the world, which poisoned the Skripals with her dangerous omnipotent power. This extends to other things they claim about Russia. For example, Russia is so powerful, she rigged the US Election, masterfully manipulating the simple minded Americans, proving Russia is so powerful, that she can determine the result of the US election. This is what they imply, when they talk about the Russian threat – the Great Russian Bear.
  2. Secondly, we are to believe, according to Western propagandists, that Russia is so weak, so incompetent, so incapable of executing her goals, that not only did she fail to assassinate the Skripals, but she misplaced some of her deadly dangerous nerve agent which is now hopelessly infecting innocent UK civilians. They claim Russia is so weak, and she is a declining power, and her leadership feels threatened, and so they lashed out at enemies, but because of weakness, she was not able to assassinate people with a more deadly nerve agent than the North Koreans used. The Mighty Czardom of Russia which stretches from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean failed where the puny hermit Kingdom succeeded?

Which one, you can’t have both

These are both ridiculous ideas. The first idea, that of Russia is this dangerous all-powerful superpower, is a reflection of the inferiority complex of the impotent West, the UK in particular.

After Brexit, the UK elite feels particularly insecure, and lacking allies, and so they wish to increase support or sympathy for themselves, by using the Russian Bear as a dangerous threat. This existed in racist Russophobic propaganda in the UK since the Crimean War in the mid 19th century. Since then, many UK publications portray Russia in a racist way.

Despite the SJW world the West lives in, in a tragic and disgusting way, racism against Russians is accepted by the West to this day. Russians are among the only groups Westerners are allowed to slander. This was touched on brilliantly by the Duran’s Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris.

Western racism and the stereotyping of Russians

Likewise, the idea that Russia somehow accidentally infected people with nerve agent (really, how do you do that) reflects the arrogance of the West. They want to portray Russia as this big dangerous country, yet their arrogance does not allow it to go so far.

Therefore, they produce an inconsistent narrative where Russia at one time, is the destroyer of worlds, and at another time, accidentally misplaces nerve agent because she is a toothless bear.

The Morning in a Pine Forest is a painting by Russian artists Ivan Shishkin and Konstantin Savitsky

The reality is, Russia is truly a mighty bear, but she only protects her young, and she will not stray too far from her Taiga.

If Russia is threatened, she will defend herself, but she never meant any harm to the world. It should be blatantly obvious Rusia had nothing to do with this, but facts don’t matter in the West. Russia can be blamed for anything by propagandists. What did Russia ever do to the West, aside from save them from Nazism, and putting the first human in space?

And the idea of military grade nerve agent accidentally poisoning a suburban couple is just ridiculous. Some reports have went as far as to say:

One of the victims is believed to be a registered heroin user and local media speculated that the poison came from a contaminated syringe.

It must be said, at this moment, that is not confirmed. Victim blaming in any case, is also not appropriate, however, neither is Russia blaming, which is all the West does. There is no proof of any Russia involvement, and it is dangerous to provoke and accuse a Nuclear Superpower constantly.

In all, it must be remembered, that Russia is neither a toothless bear, nor a scary bear. By long-standing tradition, the Bears of Russian folk legend live in their taiga. They are not dangerous beasts, nor do they attack the homes of other animals, but if you attack the Taiga, retribution is inevitable.

The baisc rule of thumb, don’t threaten the Russian people with a campaign of dominance and extermination, and likewise, Russia will not be forced to defend herself and her young.

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AM HantsIsabella JonescolumGoogle IsEvilVeeNarian (Yerevan) Recent comment authors
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AM Hants
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AM Hants

How long does it take for toxicology reports to come through? When did they fall ill? With all the Forces cleaning up Salsibury, how come they missed the syringe? Owing to the strength of the military grade nerve agent, how long would it remain in am syringe without harming the container? Go back to the Skripals, ‘novochok’ on the doorknob, of a house soon to be demolished. Father plus daughter touch door knob, go for a drive into town. Then for a drink in a pub, followed by lunch, then a walk in the park. How many people did they… Read more »

Isabella Jones
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Isabella Jones

I’d like to repeat – I keep seeing all this “novichok” being repeated as though it were an incontrovertible fact. It isn’t. All we have that these people have been exposed to a narco-paralytic of the same family as the so – called “Novichok” is the word of an increasingly discredited Government. It could be anything or nothing. Russia has repeatedly asked for access to the investigation – to be refused. Why? Why purpose does that serve, except to keep the truth hidden?. The Hospital spokesman inthe Skripals case said that [a] nobody had been admitted having suffered the symptoms… Read more »

colum
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colum

It makes a funny sense. While 2.0 is a relative non-story it does revive (kind of) the Skripal case. The latest victims are actors (accidents) there to play to the cynicism and throw things back onto the skripals by closing the circle that there was a rogue agent at play who messed up. It permits the forces to pick a target and set up an actual scapegoat that will play the whole Russia narrative. We all know it’s a fit up but what of the floaters and the disinterested?This’ll possibly nail things down and set a new platform to lie… Read more »

Google IsEvil
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Google IsEvil

Upon seeing the picture you chose to headline this article with, my first thought was “Why is Theresa May” wearing a suit & tie”? Then I noticed the Amerikunt flag on her lapel. Then I realized it was a PHOTO-SHOPPED photograph. Then I realized you people lost all credibility and that I’ll NEVER read The Duran ever again.

I ALREADY get enough fake news as it is.

VeeNarian (Yerevan)
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VeeNarian (Yerevan)

I feel I must again apologise for the disgraceful, deceitful and pathetic conduct of our LYING and incompetent so called British government. Their ancestors ran a world-wide empire while this lot could not organise a “piss-up at the brewery”.
Just ignore this bunch of LYING sh…. bags and bring a fumigation kit when your are near them.

fartytowels
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fartytowels

IF there was a syringe… who the heck touches a dirty syringe lying in a park. To suggest they used it to shoot up with is beyond ridiculous. As he was a registered heroin addict he gets free sterile syringes on the NHS. D’oh! There goes another stupid theory…

tiredofthemedialies
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tiredofthemedialies

a more lethal nerve agent, then one used by the weaker state of North Korea?

That makes lots of sense. How about using THAN??? Or is it too difficult?

Ger
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Ger

The mysterious ‘syringe’ …. a prop in this bizarre saga? Perhaps next week with Putin’s fingerprints on it! Until recently I believed we Americans had a lock on morons. Thanks to the Brits, we have lost another important position on the world stage.

Jack
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Jack

A lots of words but not necessarily convincing. Let me tell you about Scripal. He is a Russian. traitor who sold for a very little their former friends and coops who seems to got what he deserved but who did it is rather very vage and uncertain and most likely he fell victim from quite different side and from other reason as a scores for his new activities rather than his old job therefore not connected to Moscow as depicted by UK officials aiming to achieve their own end but the true story is yet to unfold and this most… Read more »

Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

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Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

Remember in Skripal 1 the UK delayed forever calling in the OPCW, and now AFTER they have been successful in adding to the OPCW the power to “assign blame”, the UK has called in the OPCW.

You cant make this s$it up!

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Skripal and Khashoggi: A Tale of Two Disappearances

Two disappearances, and two different responses.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Two disappearances, and two very different responses from Western governments, which illustrates their rank hypocrisy.

When former Russian spy Sergei Skripal went missing in England earlier this year, there was almost immediate punitive action by the British government and its NATO allies against Moscow. By contrast, Western governments are straining with restraint towards Saudi Arabia over the more shocking and provable case of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The outcry by Western governments and media over the Skripal affair was deafening and resulted in Britain, the US and some 28 other countries expelling dozens of Russian diplomats on the back of unsubstantiated British allegations that the Kremlin tried to assassinate an exiled spy with a deadly nerve agent. The Trump administration has further tightened sanctions citing the Skripal incident.

London’s case against Moscow has been marked by wild speculation and ropey innuendo. No verifiable evidence of what actually happened to Sergei Skripal (67) and his daughter Yulia has been presented by the British authorities. Their claim that President Vladimir Putin sanctioned a hit squad armed with nerve poison relies on sheer conjecture.

All we know for sure is that the Skripals have been disappeared from public contact by the British authorities for more than seven months, since the mysterious incident of alleged poisoning in Salisbury on March 4.

Russian authorities and family relatives have been steadfastly refused any contact by London with the Skripal pair, despite more than 60 official requests from Moscow in accordance with international law and in spite of the fact that Yulia is a citizen of the Russian Federation with consular rights.

It is an outrage that based on such thin ice of “evidence”, the British have built an edifice of censure against Moscow, rallying an international campaign of further sanctions and diplomatic expulsions.

Now contrast that strenuous reaction, indeed hyper over-reaction, with how Britain, the US, France, Canada and other Western governments are ever-so slowly responding to Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case.

After nearly two weeks since Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, the Saudi regime is this week finally admitting he was killed on their premises – albeit, they claim, in a “botched interrogation”.

Turkish and American intelligence had earlier claimed that Khashoggi was tortured and murdered on the Saudi premises by a 15-member hit squad sent from Riyadh.

Even more grisly, it is claimed that Khashoggi’s body was hacked up with a bone saw by the killers, his remains secreted out of the consulate building in boxes, and flown back to Saudi Arabia on board two private jets connected to the Saudi royal family.

What’s more, the Turks and Americans claim that the whole barbaric plot to murder Khashoggi was on the orders of senior Saudi rulers, implicating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The latest twist out of Riyadh, is an attempt to scapegoat “rogue killers” and whitewash the House of Saudi from culpability.

The fact that 59-year-old Khashoggi was a legal US resident and a columnist for the Washington Post has no doubt given his case such prominent coverage in Western news media. Thousands of other victims of Saudi vengeance are routinely ignored in the West.

Nevertheless, despite the horrific and damning case against the Saudi monarchy, the response from the Trump administration, Britain and others has been abject.

President Trump has blustered that there “will be severe consequences” for the Saudi regime if it is proven culpable in the murder of Khashoggi. Trump quickly qualified, however, saying that billion-dollar arms deals with the oil-rich kingdom will not be cancelled. Now Trump appears to be joining in a cover-up by spinning the story that the Khashoggi killing was done by “rogue killers”.

Britain, France and Germany this week issued a joint statement calling for “a credible investigation” into the disappearance. But other than “tough-sounding” rhetoric, none of the European states have indicated any specific sanctions, such as weapons contracts being revoked or diplomatic expulsions.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “concerned” by the gruesome claims about Khashoggi’s killing, but he reiterated that Ottawa would not be scrapping a $15 billion sale of combat vehicles to Riyadh.

The Saudi rulers have even threatened retaliatory measures if sanctions are imposed by Western governments.

Saudi denials of official culpability seem to be a brazen flouting of all reason and circumstantial evidence that Khashoggi was indeed murdered in the consulate building on senior Saudi orders.

This week a glitzy international investor conference in Saudi Arabia is being boycotted by top business figures, including the World Bank chief, Jim Yong Kim, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Britain’s venture capitalist Richard Branson. Global firms like Ford and Uber have pulled out, as have various media sponsors, such as CNN, the New York Times and Financial Times. Withdrawal from the event was in response to the Khashoggi affair.

A growing bipartisan chorus of US Senators, including Bob Corker, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Chris Murphy, have called for the cancellation of American arms sales to Saudi Arabia, as well as for an overhaul of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Still, Trump has rebuffed calls for punitive response. He has said that American jobs and profits depend on the Saudi weapons market. Some 20 per cent of all US arms sales are estimated to go to the House of Saud.

The New York Times this week headlined: “In Trump’s Saudi Bargain, the Bottom Line Proudly Stands Out”.

The Trump White House will be represented at the investment conference in Saudi Arabia this week – dubbed “Davos in the Desert” by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He said he was attending in spite of the grave allegations against the Saudi rulers.

Surely the point here is the unseemly indulgence by Western governments of Saudi Arabia and its so-called “reforming” Crown Prince. It is remarkable how much credulity Washington, London, Paris, Ottawa and others are affording the Saudi despots who, most likely, have been caught redhanded in a barbarous murder.

Yet, when it comes to Russia and outlandish, unproven claims that the Kremlin carried out a bizarre poison-assassination plot, all these same Western governments abandon all reason and decorum to pile sanctions on Russia based on lurid, hollow speculation. The blatant hypocrisy demolishes any pretense of integrity or principle.

Here is another connection between the Skripal and Khashoggi affairs. The Saudis no doubt took note of the way Britain’s rulers have shown absolute disregard and contempt for international law in their de facto abduction of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. If the British can get away with that gross violation, then the Saudis probably thought that nobody would care too much if they disappeared Jamal Khashoggi.

Grotesquely, the way things are shaping up in terms of hypocritical lack of action by the Americans, British and others towards the Saudi despots, the latter might just get away with murder. Not so Russia. The Russians are not allowed to get away with even an absurd fantasy.

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US-China trade war heats up as surplus hits record $34 Billion (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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According to a report by the AFP, China’s trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record $34.1 billion in September, despite a raft of US tariffs, official data showed Friday, adding fuel to the fire of a worsening trade war.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have soured sharply this year, with US President Donald Trump vowing on Thursday to inflict economic pain on China if it does not blink.
The two countries imposed new tariffs on a massive amount of each other’s goods mid-September, with the US targeting $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing firing back at $60 billion worth of US goods.

“China-US trade friction has caused trouble and pounded our foreign trade development,” customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters Friday.

But China’s trade surplus with the US grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China’s customs administration. It was a 22 percent jump from the same month last year.

China’s exports to the US rose to $46.7 billion while imports slumped to $12.6 billion.

China’s overall trade — what it buys and sells with all countries including the US — logged a $31.7 billion surplus, as exports rose faster than imports.

Exports jumped 14.5 percent for September on-year, beating forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg News, while imports rose 14.3 percent on-year.

While the data showed China’s trade remained strong for the month, analysts forecast the trade war will start to hurt in coming months.

China’s export jump for the month suggests exporters were shipping goods early to beat the latest tariffs, said ANZ’s China economist Betty Wang, citing the bounce in electrical machinery exports, much of which faced the looming duties.

“We will watch for downside risks to China’s exports” in the fourth quarter, Wang said.

Analysts say a sharp depreciation of the yuan has also helped China weather the tariffs by making its exports cheaper.

“The big picture is the Chinese exports have so far held up well in the face of escalating trade tensions and cooling global growth, most likely thanks to the competitiveness boost provided by a weaker renminbi (yuan),” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

“With global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and US tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained,” he said.

According to Bloomberg US President Donald Trump’s new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement isn’t that different from the North American Free Trade Agreement that it replaced. But hidden in the bowels of the new trade deal is a clause, Article 32.10, that could have a far-reaching impact. The new agreement requires member states to get approval from the other members if they initiate trade negotiations with a so-called non-market economy. In practice, “non-market” almost certainly means China. If, for example, Canada begins trade talks with China, it has to show the full text of the proposed agreement to the U.S. and Mexico — and if either the U.S. or Mexico doesn’t like what it sees, it can unilaterally kick Canada out of the USMCA.

Although it seems unlikely that the clause would be invoked, it will almost certainly exert a chilling effect on Canada and Mexico’s trade relations with China. Forced to choose between a gargantuan economy across the Pacific and another one next door, both of the U.S.’s neighbors are almost certain to pick the latter.

This is just another part of Trump’s general trade waragainst China. It’s a good sign that Trump realizes that unilateral U.S. efforts alone won’t be enough to force China to make concessions on issues like currency valuation, intellectual-property protection and industrial subsidies. China’s export markets are much too diverse:

If Trump cuts the U.S. off from trade with China, the likeliest outcome is that China simply steps up its exports to other markets. That would bind the rest of the world more closely to China and weaken the global influence of the U.S. China’s economy would take a small but temporary hit, while the U.S. would see its position as the economic center of the world slip into memory.

Instead, to take on China, Trump needs a gang. And that gang has to be much bigger than just North America. But most countries in Europe and East Asia probably can’t be bullied into choosing between the U.S. and China. — their ties to the U.S. are not as strong as those of Mexico and Canada. Countries such as South Korea, Germany, India and Japan will need carrots as well as sticks if they’re going to join a U.S.-led united trade front against China.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the escalating trade war between the United States and China, and the record trade surplus that positions China with a bit more leverage than Trump anticipated.

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Via Zerohedge Trump Threatens China With More Tariffs, Does Not Seek Economic “Depression”

US equity futures dipped in the red after President Trump threatened to impose a third round of tariffs on China and warned that Chinese meddling in U.S. politics was a “bigger problem” than Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

During the same interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, in which Trump threatened to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia if the Saudis are found to have killed WaPo reported Khashoggi, and which sent Saudi stock plunging, Trump said he “might,” impose a new round of tariffs on China, adding that while he has “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and noting that Xi “wants to negotiate”, he doesn’t “know that that’s necessarily going to continue.” Asked if American products have become more expensive due to tariffs on China, Trump said that “so far, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.”

“They can retaliate, but they can’t, they don’t have enough ammunition to retaliate,” Trump says, “We do $100 billion with them. They do $531 billion with us.”

Trump was also asked if he wants to push China’s economy into a depression to which the US president said “no” before comparing the country’s stock-market losses since the tariffs first launched to those in 1929, the start of the Great Depression in the U.S.

“I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our markets are open,” Trump said in the interview that aired Sunday. So far, the U.S. has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports totaling $250 billion, prompting China to retaliate against U.S. products. The president previously has threatened to hit virtually all Chinese imports with duties.

Asked about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, Trump quickly turned back to China. “They meddled,” he said of Russia, “but I think China meddled too.”

“I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China … is a bigger problem,” Trump said, as interviewer Lesley Stahl interrupted him for “diverting” from a discussion of Russia.

Shortly before an audacious speech by Mike Pence last weekend, in which the US vice president effectively declared a new cold war on Beijing (see “Russell Napier: Mike Pence Announces Cold War II”), Trump made similar accusations during a speech at the United Nations last month, which his aides substantiated by pointing to long-term Chinese influence campaigns and an advertising section in the Des Moines Register warning farmers about the potential effects of Trump’s tariffs.

Meanwhile, in a rare U.S. television appearance, China’s ambassador to the U.S. said Beijing has no choice but to respond to what he described as a trade war started by the U.S.

“We never wanted a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests,” said China’s Ambassador Cui Tiankai.

Cui also dismissed as “groundless” the abovementioned suggestion by Vice President Mike Pence that China has orchestrated an effort to meddle in U.S. domestic affairs. Pence escalated the rhetoric in a speech Oct. 4, saying Beijing has created a “a whole-of-government approach” to sway American public opinion, including spies, tariffs, coercive measures and a propaganda campaign.

Pence’s comments were some of the most critical about China by a high-ranking U.S. official in recent memory. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo got a lecture when he visited Beijing days later, about U.S. actions that were termed “completely out of line.” The tough words followed months of increases tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing that have ballooned to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

During a recent interview with National Public Radio, Cui said the U.S. has “not sufficiently” dealt in good faith with the Chinese on trade matters, saying “the U.S. position keeps changing all the time so we don’t know exactly what the U.S. would want as priorities.”

Meanwhile, White House economic director Larry Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will “probably meet” at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in late November. “There’s plans and discussions and agendas” being discussed, he said. So far, talks with China on trade have been “unsatisfactory,” Kudlow said. “We’ve made our asks” on allegations of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers, he added. “We have to have reciprocity.”

Addressing the upcoming meeting, Cui said he was present at two previous meetings of Xi and Trump, and that top-level communication “played a key role, an irreplaceable role, in guiding the relationship forward.” Despite current tensions the two have a “good working relationship,” he said.

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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

The Duran

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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