In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Britain in its bubble

Posted by seumasach on December 5, 2015

Cailean Bochanan

5th December, 2015

When Bassar-al Assad is re-elected as president of Syria in about 18 months time it is unlikely that David Cameron will still be in office. He is no doubt delighted to have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on Wednesday in the House of Commons but it may turn out to be a pyhrric, pig in a poke.

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If you can’t beat them join them!

Posted by seumasach on October 20, 2015

Or WW3 “to stop the bloodshed”

Cailean Bochanan

20th October, 2015
Russia’s bold move to finally bring effective military force to bear against ISIL has given rise to some strange political activity in the West and heightened, collective, cognitive dissonance.
Casually turning on the TV to watch the Scottish National Party’s conference in Aberdeen I couldn’t believe my eyes when a Syrian “refugee” was given the platform and proceeded to deliver a rant against Syria’s President Assad which would be worthy of John MacCain. According to this gentleman extremism in Syria is caused by Assad and we need to establish “No bomb zones” to protect civilians. Readers may notice a similarity between “No bomb zones” and the famous “No fly zones” which also never happened.

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Cameron fends off Robertson on Libya

Posted by seumasach on October 15, 2015

Cailean Bochanan

18th October, 2015

Once again Cameron’s nemesis, the spectre of the disastrous Libya intervention, has raised its head. This time SNP foreign policy spokesman, Angus Robertson, speaking during Prime Minister’s question time in the House of Commons, has referred to the “total anarchy and civil unrest: in Libya” as one of the “unintended consequences” of that war. He went on to ask, in reference to the military intervention in Libya as well as those in Iraq and Afghanistan: “What assurances can you give that you have learnt lessons from past mistakes and you will not repeat them?” As it transpired, Cameron fended off the attack with some ease, quipping: “Would you be happier with Gaddafi running Libya?”

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The anti-Corbyn coup is stillborn

Posted by seumasach on October 12, 2015

Cailean Bochanan

12th October, 2015

The long awaited coup against Jeremy Corbyn has finally materialized. Up to fifty Labour MPs are reported to be prepared to vote for military action in Syria were it to be put to a vote. What possessed them to put forward this woefully mistimed move is anyone’s guess. Perhaps they had been reading Socialist Worker and been inflamed by its reports of “some 10,000” barrel boms “dropped in the first six months of this year” and how Russia “wants to shore up Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which is crumbling, so it is attacking all forms of opposition.” In any case, they have decided that the time has come for another UK intervention to protect civilians by creating safe havens for them. That would involve, as Labour MP John Woodcock put it, “greater involvement from air forces to sustain a no-fly zone and will certainly require an end to the hand-wringing over President Putin’s disgraceful deceit in bombing anti-Assad rebels rather than Daesh [Isis].”

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The left on the horns of a Chinese dilemma

Posted by seumasach on October 4, 2015

Cailean Bochanan

4th October, 2015

I had the impression that Osborne’s recent and startling announcement of various deals with China, including the integration of our financial markets, no less, had been met by a stunned silence. But John McDonnell, the new Shadow Chancellor made this reference to them in his speech to the Labour Party Conference:

“I found the Conservatives’ rant against Jeremy’s proposal to bring rail back into public ownership ironic when George Osborne was touring China selling off to the Chinese state bank any British asset he could lay his hands on.”

“Ironic” is putting it mildly: The Chancellor has essentially admitted the failure of the Thatcher revolution and called in the state to rescue Britain. Only it’s not the British state, which no longer knows how to run anything unless it’s into the ground. You might have thought the left would be enjoying this “irony” a bit more than they appear to be. More, for example, than William Keegan writing in the Guardian who is dismayed that Osborne is “kowtowing to a communist Chinese government” and denounces his “cloying approach to a regime notorious for its abuse of human rights”. Keegan is something of a soft left neo-keynesian and , therefore, those criticisms could be largely expected. What about the hard left?
In an article in Socialist Worker Alex Callinicos gives us the line. He is, of course, scrupulously politically correct:

“The problem here isn’t that the companies are foreign-owned.”

Why shouldn’t foreign companies take the place over? Don’t they have rights too? The problem lies elsewhere. Callinicos points out that Chinese companies are “still subject to considerable state control” and that capital “is still not allowed to flow freely in and out of the country” However, Callinicos insinuates this is changing and China is embracing the free movement of capital.
So we have two major threads in this leftist discourse: on the one hand, dealing with China is wrong because China is communist and , on the other , it is wrong because China is no longer communist.
Callinicos goes on to denounce the fact that Chinese investment will be centered on the the City of London at the expense of the “national base of companies operating in Britain.” Callinicos’ thinking in all this is particularly fuzzy. Capital exported from China can still be and is controlled by the Chinese leadership for all their rhetoric about free markets. This is particularly true of the banks. As Dend Xaoping himself used to say:”Whatever you do keep control of the financial system!” In addition, I don’t believe the behavior of Chinese banks will merely replicate that of our own: riding high on bubbles and carry trades, manipulating rates and prices and laundering funds of dubious origin. If they did China certainly wouldn’t be in the position it is today. Anyway, as Osborne announced, there is already large scale Chinese investment in the real economy, largely in infrastructure and housing. There is every reason to believe that this would increase with funding available from Chinese banks operating in the City. The principles of Chinese finance contradict completely those the City of London. We are, therefore, looking at systemic change in the British financial system.
The British left desperately need to get to grips with this issue and quickly. This is because they have essentially abandoned their neo-Keynesian perspectives and accepted the need to balance budgets. But how can they reconcile this with their claim to be anti-austerity. Balanced budgets imply genocidal austerity unless there is some countervailing tendency. That tendency is incoming investment something which, seemingly unbeknown to the left, we have been beneficiaries of for decades. All that is happening,as Osborne’s policy shows, is that the form this investment takes is changing.
For a long time China was obliged to accept fiat pounds to cover its massive trade surplus with Britain and reinvest these pounds in UK government bonds. This was win/win for Britain and largely explains the surprising prosperity of post-Thatcherite Britain. The bankruptcy of the City and its subsequent bailout changed all that. China ceased to buy new UK government bonds (note that, in addition to its massive trade deficit, Britain no longer has a current account surplus not including trade) although they agreed not to divest from existing bonds, sinking sterling. Instead, they wanted to reinvest the surplus funds in the UK. So, on the one hand, we can no longer fund our deficit with Chinese bond purchases and on the other we have the prospect of hundreds of billions worth of inward investment. So balanced budgets and Osborne’s policy are two sides of the same coin. It would be truly reckless to embrace balanced budgets without wholeheartedly welcoming the incoming investment which will render the outcome far less austere. The left are caught in a dilemma which they must resolve if they don’t want to be outflanked by the Tories.

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There will be no Third World War

Posted by seumasach on September 28, 2015

Thierry Meyssan

Voltairenet

28th September, 2015

The liberal hawks and the neo-conservatives have been unable to provoke the confrontation with Russia for which they were trained during the Cold War. Finally, the voice of reason has prevailed. While discrete negotiations are under way to seek an end to the crisis in Ukraine, Russia and China are preparing to convince the United States and their allies to participate in a global alliance against Islamic terrorism. After 5 years of tension, both the project for the seizure of power by the Muslim Brotherhood – the « Arab Spring » – and the proclamation of a Caliphate have failed. Peace is saved.

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Osborne blazes the Deng Xiaoping trail

Posted by seumasach on September 28, 2015

Cailean Bochanan

28th September, 2015

Once again I have been proved to be wrong. I had interpreted the decentralization of the British state as the key development linked to inward, especially Chinese, investment and predicted that a Tory/SNP duopoly would dominate Britain in the coming years. But Osborne’s barnstorming performance in China, following on from Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, opens up completely different perspectives. His idea of integrating our financial markets with those of China suggests nothing less than a Chinese takeover of the City of London rather than piecemeal investment in Britain’s devolved regions/nations. This chimes in too with Corbyn’s plan for a National Development Bank which is tantamount to central planning, hitherto an absolute taboo. It is not difficult to see that the kind of infrastructure overhaul that Britain requires cannot be done merely through devolved assemblies and combined councils but must be Britain wide and centrally planned. It also makes much more sense for China to finance the whole thing through the banks which can issue credits for projects as required just as they would do in China. And so we go from the Panarin-type post-imperial scenario of fragmentation to one of systemic transformation of Britain as a whole.

Such a radical revolution is inconceivable without opposition. It is striking that as Osborne blazes the trail down China way, the knives are out for Cameron back home. Cameron has been until recently vociferous in his claim that Assad must go. He obviously had an intuition that someone must go: but it has turned out to be himself. He has called it a stab in the back but the blows are coming from all sides, decisively from Michael Ancram, et tu Ancram, who has raised the specter of Libya, hitherto the politically correct war, ominously drawing the parallel between Cameron and Libya and Blair and Iraq. This is deadly and given the reality of what was done to that once thriving country and its catastrophic consequences for Africa and Europe this just won’t go away. Of course, just about all of us were implicated, but all the more need for a scapegoat.

An excellent analysis of recent events in Australia by WSWS focuses on a conflict between the ardently pro-Chinese Malcolm Turnbull and “powerful sections of the Australian military and intelligence apparatus as well as the media and political establishment, not least within the Liberal-National Coalition”This presumably parallels tensions here and it looks like Cameron has found himself on the wrong side of this argument. In other words, the proposed financial merger with China will go ahead over the dead bodies of assorted dead-enders, security state and MIC interests and neocons. In these historic September days the Blairites and the Cameronites have commenced their exit from the British political scene.

Is this another Glorious Revolution? In 1688 certain Dutch financial interests were invited to take over Britain to establish a financial system orientated towards war and empire. This time we have invited a foreign power in the to rebuild an economy gutted by a failed hegemonic project. We have come a full circle since this marks decisively the end of empire and a new historical époque in which war will no longer be the normal state of affairs

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George Osborne: We should embrace China, not fear its rise

Posted by seumasach on September 20, 2015

“The Chinese Communist Party, the biggest communist party in the world and , in my opinion, one of the best.”

Father Ted Crilly

“Recent volatility should not and will not put us off. It should drive us forward, so that we integrate China’s new financial markets with our own so they are deeper and better able to absorb shocks.”

George Osborne

This must be the most neglected and most surprising aspect of this Tory government’s policy. Not only have they signed a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with China, begun to issue UK government bonds in Yuan and broken ranks with the USA in becoming the first Western country to sign up for the AIIB: they are now also about to “integrate our financial markets” with those of China (completely mind-boggling!). Since the nature of China’s financial system, with its orientation to productive imvestment, is the complete opposite of our own this can only be seen as a totally revolutionary step: something which chimes in with Corbyn’s proposal for a National Investment Bank. But while Corbyn comes across as an unreconstructed Bennite, Osborne is more a born again follower of Deng Xaoping. The left are now taking control of both major parties in Britain! Watch out for a wave of interest in things Chinese and a politically-correct campaign against Chinaphobes.

Guardian

19th September, 2015

The United Kingdom must strive to become China’s “best partner in the west” by forging ever closer economic ties that will bring benefits to all parts of the country, George Osborne has said.

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Jeremy Corbyn and the new political centre

Posted by seumasach on August 15, 2015

Cailean Bochanan

15th August, 2015

The Blairites may be right in claiming that a Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn won’t win the 2020 general election. But they are missing the point : by that time we can expect the most pressing issues in British politics to have been resolved. The next five years are crucial in setting the direction for a new, post-imperial Britain and Corbyn as Labour leader buoyed up by the mass movement that will put him there will play a crucial role. The Blairites have misread this badly denouncing Corbyn as throwback to the past when, in fact, it is they who hold that position.

British politics is in a state of flux and it will be become more and more evident that things cannot be understood within the framework of the old left/right divide. The significance of the recent developments in Greece has been missed : pragmatism prevailed over ideology. The contradiction is that ideological rigidity and sectarianism  seems more entrenched than ever, at least, in certain quarters.

Last night’s Corbyn  rally in Glasgow bore out that point : it was very much a rally of the faithful in an atmosphere of revivalist enthusiasm. All the leftist shibboleths new and old were itemized: global warming, identity politics, even the old warhorse “class”, nationalization, socialism and so on. Of course, Corbyn has to press all the right buttons but I maintain despite that that he will prove to be a pragmatist. Otherwise, what was someone like myself who has long dissociated himself from the left doing there?

I was there because I anticipate Corbyn playing a strong hand concerning the most pressing issues we face and because I don’t expect these issues to be resolved by the victory of either the left or the right. I expect them to define a new center ground in British politics which can draw support from left or right or neither.

The first of these is the renewal of Trident. Corbyn will oppose it vehemently and hopefully the British people will take tp the streets in their millions to the same end. The left have always opposed it on moral grounds and have claimed, to counter the right, that it is not effective as a deterrent. Actually, it is very effective as a deterrent : would Russia still exist as a unitary state without it? The left’s longstanding opposition is, however, no longer the point. What clinches the argument is that the Cold War is over and Jeremy Corbyn seeks constructive cooperative relations with Russia. He does this as a pragmatist despite his ideological difficulty with what he chooses to see as a homophobic government. The simple fact is that Russia has no aggressive intent towards Britain, quite the contrary, and since there is no other nuclear threat in sight there is no need to cough up 100 billion for Trident. Apparently, many in leading military circles also hold this view and not many of them will be Corbyn supporters.

The cost of Trident is anyway prohibitive for a country in the kind of financial state we’re in. The left has developed a complacent view on the debt since there has been no run on UK bonds or on sterling despite QE. They fail to see that this because the Chinese have agreed not to ditch sterling assets. The Chinese have instead sought a deal with the UK government evidence for which can be found in the rarely noted Comprehensive Geostategic Partnership we have signed with China and the fact that we are issuing UK government bonds in RMB. To Corbyn’s credit he does not share the prevailing left view that the debt doesn’t matter and that we can simply go on for ever borrowing money from people who don’t want to lend to us or simply go on devaluing the currency to monetize the debt and then force feed it to China and others in exchange for their exports. Without actually explaining this he admits that the budget has to be balanced. Actually, the principle is also a problem since interest payments are only manageable due to negligible interest rates. Anyway, Corbyn shares with the SNP and the Tories the new consensus view that the debt is a problem and, given that, the ridiculous costs of Trident are also a problem – to be overcome simply by canceling it.

Corbyn’s realism about Britain’s financial plight also extend to the realization that simply cutting the budget won’t work. Whether we like it or not the survival of millions of people and Britain’s social cohesion depends on welfare spending and that isn’t likely to change soon. We need to look at the other side of the equation; income. There isn’t any: we lose massive amounts every month running up our monster trade deficit. Almost everything we consume we import and our exports are limited by a depleted industrial base. We must therefore, reinvest in that base both to boost exports and to substitute for imports. Corby proposes a financial system orientated to this end, some form of national investment bank. How can anyone disagree with this even if the modalities remain to be determined?

Whatever form it takes it is clear that foreign investment will play a major role in the recapitalization of Britain. The deal with China probably concerns this and ,in fact, it’s already happening. However, were Britain to withdraw from Europe this investment would be threatened. The recent Greek crisis saw a surge of anti-European and anti-German feeling and, most notably, a shift on the radical left towards a eurosceptic position. Corbyn has already come out for the EU in principle and has thus provided something of a corrective to left’s Little Englander drift. The fact that born-again eurosceptic Owen Jones is sharing his platforms illustrates this. The anti-European left and right will then hopefully be marginalized by the time of the referendum and they will have been by a new pragmatic consensus.

Corbyn’s promise to renationalize the railways looks highly ideological but he certainly knows what he;s talking about on this question. Privatization has been a disaster which has seen a natural monopoly milked and undermined by private interests. Adam Smith wouldn’t have any problem with nationalization in this case. In the end it may just come down to a form of words : the mess has to be sorted out by the state in the interests of the nation. Is that or isn’t it nationalization? How many London commuters find the remedy just as sweet by any other name. One could say the same regarding the disarray in the utilities or the education system. Does any state simply leave these things to hobble along anyhow or assume that the market will for some obscure reason sort everything out? Only, Britain it would seem. The utilities only work at all because they’re being run by people like EDF, a state run company – although the state ,of course, isn’t Britain. But maybe the British state can have at least some say. After all, we’re British!

The simple reality is that the required program for Britain is fairly obvious and we can expect to find it insinuating its way into the manifestos or discourse of the most unlikely bedfellows. We’ve understood that we don’t want any more wars and must now turn our attention to the mess on the home front.(Does that mean it has to be like Dad’s Army?) Ideology, however, still reigns and it’s only right and fair that the most passionate adherents of the various secular faiths should have one last chance to insult each other in a frenzy of self-righteous indignation before going quiet in the face, hopefully,  of the  concurrence of the mainstream on simple pragmatism.

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New Cold War or War onTerror?

Posted by seumasach on June 15, 2014

Cailean Bochanan

15th June, 2014

The betrayal of the Iraq army leadership facilitating last week’s capture of Mosul by the so-called ISIL may become a watershed in US foreign policy in providing a significant diversion from the Ukrainian fiasco and turning attention from quasi-cold war tensions towards the new Obama doctrine already outlined in his West Point speech, anticipated by Blair’s 23rd April speech and ratified by an intervention by Kofi Annan last week on BBC Newsnight.
What is this new doctrine? It is called, with great originality, the War on Terror. Thus, we return to 2001 and the post-9/11 doctrine but in a geo-political environment which has become completely transformed. In 2003 , on the eve of the Iraq War, the USA was still regarded as the undisputed global superpower, even though a resurgent Russia and China were already disputing that status. Today it has suffered a series of military reverses and the catastrophic state of its economy and society can longer be hidden. After the dismissal of Rumsfeld in 2006 in a palace coup the stage was set for Obama to turn around US foreign policy in the aftermath of the failed Iraq and Afghan wars. He is generally regarded as having failed in this respect and that judgement has seemed to have been confirmed by the dramatic events of the last week. We appear to be condemned to relive the historical cycle of US military intervention.
But, as I say, the context is completely different. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan post-9/11 were the beginning of a global war for hegemony. This war failed and no such perspectives are in sight for a severely weakened USA. Rather than being the opening shot in an attempted roll-back of Russian and Chinese power War on Terror II could lead to a re-engagement of these two emerging superpowers by Washington. Tony Blair’s above-mentioned speech already prefigures this development:

“In this speech I will set out how we should do this, including the recognition that on this issue, whatever our other differences, we should be prepared to reach out and cooperate with the East, and in particular, Russia and China.”
This was followed up by Kofi Anna’s call for a de facto alliance with Russia , China and Iran:
“Mr Annan – the UN’s former envoy to Syria – said he did not believe that there was the “stomach” for “boots on the ground”, but that a group made up of permanent members of the UN Security Council, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and possibly Egypt could agree a common approach.”
Already, the ISIL surge has raised a prospect that was previously unthinkable: joint US-Iranian military co-operation.
I have, for some time, been talking up a strategic alliance between Washington and Moscow as the great paradigm shift in global geo-politics. It was, admittedly, difficult to see how such a shift could come about. Indeed, the failure of Obama’s reset was just another amongst a litany of seeming failures. But if that remains a strategic goal of Obama, and I believe that it must, then War on TerrorII would be the key to its realization.

The roller-coaster unleashed by the Arab spring continues. The events in Iraq last week serve as a cover for the surreal Ukraine fiasco, which in turn obscured defeat in the Syrian war which in turn diverted the world’s attention from the chaos engendered in Libya by NATO intervention. Since the hand of the NATO and Western intelligence assets is clearly present in all these scenarios you might think Obama’s strategy is merely to cover failure with even more failure. But their may be a different logic at play,a convoluted logic of end of empire. If so, the cycle may be broken in Iraq and by the time the ISIL has been checked we may see the clear outlines of a new international order.

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It came in with the bond markets and it will go out with the bond markets

Posted by seumasach on July 1, 2011

Cailean Bochanan

1st July, 2011

We have a sense that capitalism is coming to an end. If by capitalism we mean that system which was introduced into England subsequent to the Dutch invasion of 1688 then that is true.

With the setting up in 1694 of the Bank of England, a consortium of private financiers came to the fore or rather came to exercise their power from behind the scenes of Britain’s political facade. In this original public-private partnership, they lent to the government at interest and used the bonds issued as the basis for leveraged banking. Swift defined concisely this new interest:

“that set of people, who are called the Monied Men; such as had raised vast Sums by Trading with Stocks and Bonds, and lending upon great interest and Premiums; whose perpetual Harvest is War, and whose beneficial way of Traffick must very much decline by a Peace”

Elsewhere he talks of “a new estate” to whom every house and foot of land in England paid a rent-charge, free of all taxes and defalcations” and where “the gentlemen of estates were, in effect, but tenants to these new landlords”

A whole class, “these new landlords” on behalf of whom the entire nation is taxed. Does this not ring a bell in post-bailout Britain?: the whole nation is mortgaged to the banker elite, which for all that their methods have evolved since the early seventeen hundreds, are essentially the same “interest” as Swift was describing and warning us about. At least, in Swift’s day the consortium’s original loan was from their own funds, however ill-gotten: today the banks are lending back to the government the funds they received from the government to bail them out, basic usury as conceived then has become the fraudulent shenanigans of the notorious “carry trade”. Now that there is no longer even the pretence that banking is about investing in business, understood as legitimate business, and now that the various bubbles from the dot.com through the housing market to commodities have exploded in our faces the monied men limit themselves to milking the state for all its worth and the ultimate bankruptcy of the system is the bankruptcy of the state itself. Curiously, the flow of funds into government bonds is being characterised as a “flight to safety”, yet the returns provided fall well short of inflation generated by endless treasury money issuance. Where then is the profit in the profit system? Wealth creation is over and the financiers are limiting their ambition to, instead of creating new wealth, monopolising all that already exists. It’s not at all clear where, if anywhere, the rest of us fit into the picture. We’ll soon find out: the peril of the “flight to safety” is becoming evident and nothing will glitter which is not gold. The burst of the bond bubble and the collapse of the dollar/pound will be dramatic events indeed, the cue for our long awaited awakening or our plunge into the abyss.

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While the sun sleeps

Posted by seumasach on February 10, 2016

What’s Up With That

10th September, 2009

The star that keeps us alive has, over the last few years, been almost free of sunspots, which are the usual signs of the Sun’s magnetic activity. Last week [4 September 2009] the scientific team behind the satellite SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) reported, “It is likely that the current year’s number of blank days will be the longest in about 100 years.” Everything indicates that the Sun is going into some kind of hibernation, and the obvious question is what significance that has for us on Earth.

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Why has Iran’s state oil company decided to dump the dollar?

Posted by seumasach on February 10, 2016

Sputnik

10th February, 2016

Tehran has taken revenge on Washington for years of US-driven economic warfare against Iran: the National Iranian Oil Company has announced that Iran will only accept payment in euros, not dollars, for its oil, F. William Engdahl notes, adding that Saddam Hussein had adopted a similar ‘petroeuro’ practice, prompting the US to invade Iraq.

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Asian rebels in Aleppo, Western blind spot

Posted by seumasach on February 9, 2016

“In the July 2015 Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit that includes China, India, and Central Asian states as members, the threat of Syrian instability and Islamic extremism was high on the agenda. A few months later in October, China and India conducted joint counter terrorism exercises inside Yunnan, China.”

Asia Times

9th February, 2016

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Secretary of State John Kerry often refer to rebel jihadi groups in Syria as the “Syrian opposition.”

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‘Radiation levels of mobile towers should be cut’

Posted by seumasach on February 8, 2016

Despite numerous studies over many years showing adverse health effects from exposure to EM radiation and despite the growing public health crisis which can safely be presumed to be a result of it, at least in part, the British authorities, far from reducing public exposure, continue to increase it exponentially. The culmination of this nefarious policy is their latest boondoggle, the so-called smart meter. Whatever their game is, it’s high-time to stop it.

The Hindu

7th February, 2016

Stating that the current level of radiation (electromagnetic field, EMF) emitted by mobile phone towers was still high, Girish Kumar, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay, on Saturday, urged the Centre to reduce the radiation level further.

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Where competing interests converge for US, China

Posted by seumasach on February 8, 2016

American policy toward Central Asia should be based on the premise that it is a region of convergent rather than competitive interests… Thus, wherever possible and appropriate, Washington should better harness…(the) Chinese presence in the region to its favor… Similarly, Washington should not try to impede China’s Silk Road Economic Belt initiative. It is not necessary and will prove ineffective for Washington to take an overly competitive approach to challenging Chinese… political, economic, and security engagement in the region”.

M.K.Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

8th February, 2016

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace brought out a paper recently on the United States’ policy options toward the Central Asian region in the period ahead following the drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan. Three pundits rooted in the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie co-authored the paper and what distinguishes them is also their long stints in the US state department and National Security Council, and/or the intelligence community.

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EU proposals will force multinationals to disclose tax arrangements

Posted by seumasach on February 8, 2016

“This will anger Washington, which is already on the warpath over what it perceives as partial targeting of the big US digital companies by the EU.

Robert Stack, the US Treasury’s deputy assistant secretary for international tax affairs, said last month he is concerned about the “basic fairness” of investigations of US companies and their tax affairs in Europe. Meanwhile the commission has said it will consider adding Google’s heavily criticised £130m tax deal with the UK to its lengthy list of inquiries.

Guardian

7th February, 2016

US multinationals such as Google, Facebook and Amazon will be forced to publicly disclose their earnings and tax bills in Europe, under legislation being drafted by the EU executive.

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“What do you want Me to do, go to war with the Russians?!”

Posted by seumasach on February 8, 2016

This is a fair summary of the situation with the best hope for Western diplomacy the claim to have stopped the “barrel bombs”. The complete fiasco and humiliation for Western imperialism so long predicted in these pages!

An Exasperated John Kerry Throws In Towel On Syria: ”

Zero Hedge

7th February, 2016

 

“Russian and Syrian forces intensified their campaign on rebel-held areas around Aleppo that are still home to around 350,000 people and aid workers have said the city – Syria’s largest before the war – could soon fall.”

Can you spot what’s wrong with that quote, from a Reuters pieceout today? Here’s the problem: “could soon fall” implies that Aleppo is on the verge of succumbing to enemy forces. It’s not. It’s already in enemy hands and has been for quite some time. What Reuters should have said is this: “…could soon be liberated.”

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Iran wants oil payments in euros only

Posted by seumasach on February 7, 2016

PressTV

5th February, 2016

Iran indicated on Friday that it wants to settle payments for its new and outstanding oil sales in euros and not in dollars or any other currencies.

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Legendary hedge funds take on the Chinese central bank

Posted by seumasach on February 1, 2016

Here comes the showdown between the Western financial model and the Chinese one viewed through a Western prism in this article. This looks to me like desperate stuff from Soros and his speculator friends.

Zero Hedge

31st January, 2016

One month ago, we first revealed that for one prominent winner from the subprime crisis, Hayman Capital’s Kyle Bass, “the greatest investment opportunity right now” is to short the Chinese Yuan: as he explained “given our views on credit contraction in Asia, and in China in particular, let’s say they are going to go through a banking loss cycle like we went through during the Great Financial Crisis, there’s one thing that is going to happen: China is going to have to dramatically devalue its currency.” He even went so far as to give a timeframe: “we think it’s going to be in the next 12-18 months.”

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Washington ‘Won’t allow rapprochement between Russia and Germany’

Posted by seumasach on February 1, 2016

The possibility of a close German-Russian alliance would certainly send shivers down the spine of representatives of the Anglo-American hegemonic interests. It also implies that what we are looking at is not so much a European Union but a Eurasian one with  Germany,Russia and China at its core.

Sputnik

31st January, 2016

Washington is closely monitoring the relations between Russia and Germany and will do anything to prevent the union between the two countries, founder of the global intelligence company Stratfor, George Friedman, said.

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Endgame for sanctions? Russia and the West move towards common ground

Posted by seumasach on January 31, 2016

Another dark cloud arrived courtesy of a ridiculous interview from Britain’s state-controlled BBC last week where Putin was accused of corruption by a US Treasury official. No actual evidence was presented and the Kremlin labelled it “pure fiction.” Of course, this programme was filmed long before the recent improvement in dialogue between Russia and the West.

Despite these concerns, due to the seniority of the European officials publicly discussing a reversal in policy, feelings of hope seem well founded. Germany’s vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel also called for detente in early January. He admitted that some “forces” in Europe and the US wanted sanctions to cripple Russia, which would “risk a conflagration.”

Bryan MacDonald

RT

30th January, 2016

When there’s a natural rapport between leaders, relationships are easy. In such an atmosphere, negotiating is a doddle. Of course, when the opposite is the case, the reverse often happens. Small disagreements can explode into furious arguments.

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Posted in Battle for Europe, Coup d'état in Ukraine, Syria | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

 
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