Articles – Israel Shamir http://www.israelshamir.com The Fighting Optimist Wed, 21 Jul 2021 15:51:00 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 Soul-Searching Science http://www.israelshamir.com/article/soul-searching-science/ http://www.israelshamir.com/article/soul-searching-science/#respond Wed, 14 Jul 2021 15:50:10 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3887 I love scientists but they will kill us all, said Jon Stewart on The Late Show with Steven Colbert . Science eased our suffering due to a pandemic that was most likely caused by science, he told the audience. (Here you can find an acerbic response to the show on the Unz Review) Is it true? Do science and the scientists save us or kill us? How far can we trust them? It has become a relevant question for now they are not satisfied to stay in their labs but rather aspire to govern us as Anthony Fauci and his ilk do.

This aspiration emerges from an Open Letter by Nobel Prize laureates and other dignitaries who demand that we cede to them the planetary stewardship the Church had, or claimed to have in the Middle Ages. Such a mind-boggling pronouncement passed without attracting much attention; this says more about the mass media than about the magnitude of the event itself. After all, since the 11th century, nobody has yet claimed to guide the whole of mankind.

The letter, called “Our Planet, Our Future: An Urgent Call for Action,” claims that Science is the new Church of mankind, benevolent and wise. “Science is a global common good on a quest for truth, knowledge, and innovation toward a better life. [We want] to promote a transformation to global sustainability for human prosperity and equity. Global greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut by half and destruction of nature halted and reversed.” They claim Covid-19 is a “zoonotic disease”, carried by bats and pangolins – the letter was published in the end of April, just before the miraculous U-turn of the scientific consensus on this point. The scientists propose seven principles of governing our lives, and some of them are very far-reaching. Should we accept their recommendations?

To discuss this, I went to one of the leading contemporary scientists, Prof. Roman Zubarev. He is a daring and outspoken man who is not afraid of speaking his mind – a rare quality amongst this rather shy multitude! Roman Zubarev heads a laboratory in the Karolinska Institute, arguably the best scientific institution in Sweden which has been heavily involved with the selection and nomination of Nobel Prize winners. In an impressive first, he formed a living cell from dead matter. He discovered Isotopic Resonance, a phenomenon related to the creation of life.

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ISH: Recently Nobel Prize laureates got together and published “An Urgent Call For Action” to mankind, in the name of science. It seems they want to form a world government, an age-old dream of various visionaries all the way from HG Wells and Shaw up to Schwab and Gates. What do the scientists actually suggest, and should we, mankind, heed their call?

RZ: I was simultaneously puzzled, disturbed, elated and provoked by that call. Usually, when a Nobel Prize winner speaks, it is worth paying attention. Here, a whole company of Nobel laureates and other esteemed experts has crafted a Letter. I have read it multiple times, trying to understand the deeper meaning, hidden underneath what appears to be virtue signaling – calls for all things good and against all things bad. But I wouldn’t think of criticizing them if not for the long-standing tradition of peer review in research. The scientists that crafted and signed the Letter must be well accustomed to relentless critical analysis of their writings by often – but not always – anonymous reviewers. Thus I thought it best to treat the Letter as if it was a research manuscript submitted for publication.

ISH: And what is your verdict?

RZ: The Letter presents a very uneven landscape of some deep thoughts and some apparently rather shallow suggestions.

One particularly striking thought is spread thinly across the Letter. I had to pick up one relevant sentence here and another one there to assemble a complete and coherent message. Here it is: Our world is in danger due to two factors – degrading environment and inequality, and without solving the latter one can’t solve the first.

They talk about global transformation and say that an essential foundation for this transformation is to address destabilizing inequalities in the world. They also quote Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Memorial prize laureate of 2001, who said The only sustainable prosperity is shared prosperity. Of course, Karl Marx has said essentially the same 150 years earlier.

It appears that now the world’s top scientists are calling for a global revolution as Marx did in his time. That appears to be the most logical conclusion one can arrive at after a careful reading of the Letter.

First the Authors admit, to their great credit, that science is not a solution to the world’s greatest problem but rather an essential component of that problem. They say: On aggregate, technological advancements so far have accelerated us down the path toward destabilizing the planet. They also say that scientific progress has led to greater levels of urbanization, and urbanization is exacerbating existing, and creating new, inequities.

Furthermore, to their additional credit they implicitly blame capitalism as a socio-economic system: While all in societies contribute to economic growth, the wealthy in most societies disproportionately take the largest share of this growing wealth. This trend has become more pronounced in recent decades.

When you distill the message, it is pretty clear – if we don’t want to lose the planet, we need to fix it within this decade, and to do that we need to change the global socio-economic system. No amount of scientific advances can be a substitute for such a change, as in capitalism technological achievements can only exacerbate inequality. That’s pretty revolutionary!

ISH: What do they suggest in practical terms?

RZ: Not much. It appears that, as scientists, they are more interested in diagnosing the problem and outlining a generalized solution rather than giving realistic advice.

In a practical sense there is a mixed bag of seven suggestions. The one in Policy is most closely related to the socio-economic system. However, it sounds strange and weak: to complement the current metric of economic success, gross domestic product (GDP), with some kind of measures of true well-being of people and nature.

I am not an economist and maybe this is a great suggestion. But to me it sounds similar to a proposal of merging the US dollar with “likes” in order to create a new world reserve currency. As far as I know, GDP is just a number used in economic reports, and it has little bearing on real-life economic processes, not to mention the structure of the socio-economic system. There are already a number of socio-economic indexes ranking the countries, and it’s unclear why more indexes would solve the inequality problem.

One suggestion in Finance & Business also sounds a bit weak: businesses must recycle more. But then they suggest that economic, environmental, and social externalities should be fairly priced. I remember Brezhnev’s demand, much ridiculed in the former USSR years past his demise in 1982, that “the economy should be economical”. But unlike Brezhnev’s toothless declaration, this one quickly grew teeth in form of the recent EU carbon tax. Unfortunately, these teeth seem to be biting the third-world hand that feeds them.

There are still some other good suggestions. In Education, the Letter calls for teaching in universities of planetary stewardship. That’s nice! I hope that the curriculum includes Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky’s Biosphere published almost a century ago in 1926. It’s about time we thought of our planet as a single system that doesn’t recognize artificial country borders. Of course one has to be careful so as not to create a monstrous and oppressive world government. With countries’ diversity, dissidents can still find refuge somewhere – we can’t risk losing this.

Another good suggestion is found in Businesswe must develop new business models for the free sharing of all scientific knowledge. I couldn’t agree more! Due to the existing copyright situation, university libraries are forced to pay exorbitantly for getting access to the publications that we scientists write and review for free. Researchers that don’t have the privilege of access to well-funded university libraries are asked to pay several dozen dollars to read a single paper that may be just a few pages long.

This is now changing, but the main battle for setting information free is still in the future. A few existing but relentlessly hounded “pirate” web sites offering free downloads of scientific literature have arguably done more to promote science in the less developed world than major Western universities.

The rest of the suggestions in the Letter seem to be full of contradictions and misconceptions. Mission-Driven Innovation, for example, calls for large-scale collaboration between researchers, government, and business, while the Letter admits elsewhere that 100 years of such collaboration has resulted in exacerbation of world’s worst problems.

In Information Technology the suggestion that Societies must urgently act to counter the industrialization of misinformation sounds dangerously close to a call for global censorship of social media. Such a thought should be foreign to any scientist truly adherent to Magna Charta Universitatum’s principle that freedom in research and training is fundamental for university life.

Equally puzzling is the call in Education to teach only scientific consensus. The Authors and Signees must know better than anybody else that scientific consensus is mostly used in science for the so-called “null hypothesis” which must be proven false by every new scientific discovery. And since education and research according to Magna Charta are inseparable, teaching only ‘scientific consensus’ means researching mostly within the null hypothesis. If implemented, this suggestion would likely result in the death of the modern science as we know it and in resurrection of the zombie corpse of scholasticism.

History is often cruel enough to let doctors taste the bitter medicine they prescribe. It’s an old story: two thousand years ago, Li Si institutionalized “five pains” punishments, and was himself subjected to them in due time. Those who cry for the political persecution of dissidents get persecuted themselves; just look at Trotsky. Those who advocate censorship will get censored themselves – the examples are too many to cite. Apparently Nobel prizes are not given for the knowledge of history.

And the history payback can materialize pretty fast. On the official signature date of the Letter, April 29, the ‘scientific consensus’ was that SARS-Cov2 was a natural virus, and the Letter dutifully blamed the Covid-19 pandemic on the destruction of natural habitats, highly networked societies, and misinformation (!). Now the growing consensus among independently-minded scientists and the general public alike is that the virus is a lab creation. Does this emerging consensus mean that the Letter spreads misinformation and has to be banned from social media? A rhetorical question, of course.

ISH: What else caught your attention?

RZ: The meandering strength of the scientific arguments that our world is doomed unless… The Letter talks about the survival of all life on this planet, a pretty high stake, and yet all we can say for sure is that we are 1.2°C above the pre-industrial (1850-1900) level. This doesn’t sound too much, especially knowing that half of that value had already been achieved in 1940s, when the CO2 emissions due to human activity were much smaller.

Even the statement that we are experiencing the warmest temperature on Earth since the last ice age some 20,000 years ago doesn’t sound too dangerous – at that time, trees grew above the Arctic Circle.

The Letter also says that we are losing the Earth’s resilience, but environmental resilience is hard to overestimate: in Northern Siberia, for example, average temperatures fluctuated between 46,000 to 12,000 years ago by some 20°C, and yet the living environment remained stable.

The Letter also says that there is a danger of >3°C warming in 80 years, which hasn’t happened for at least 3 million years. But even assuming that this projection is more accurate that the previous failed catastrophe predictions, 50 million years ago the Earth was much warmer than that. Palms growing in the Arctic region and in Antarctica are hardly consistent with the projected death of all life on the planet.

I am not against the notion that the global climate is changing, and it is a plausible hypothesis that human activity is contributing to it. But what worries me is that, when talking about climate change, the Letter doesn’t mention the positive effects of global warming, such as the land productivity increase in the vast northern part of the Northern hemisphere. In general, there seems to have been a shortage of competent ‘pro’ and ‘con’ climate change discussions recently. Hand-waving arguments without reliable and testable computer modeling are not instilling confidence. Disturbingly, discussions of the positive effects of global warming are being banned today in mainstream media.

And even if a thorough analysis will show that the ‘cons ‘prevail, and that human-induced global climate change is bad for humanity, the cure may still be worse than the disease. The Letter says that Global emissions of greenhouse gases need to be cut by half in the decade of 2021-2030. Compare this with the global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic – in 2020 carbon emissions from energy use fell by 6.3%, but the world’s GDP shrunk almost equally, by 5.2%. What impact on the global economy will a 50% reduction in fossil fuel production and consumption have, in view of the economic need for reliable energy sources? The intermittent “renewables” are already maxed out almost everywhere in the developed world, and not much more can be added without making the energy supply unreliable. We have already pushed this green sustainable energy envelope pretty hard, and if the new generation of environmental zealots knows something that the previous one didn’t, they should share this knowledge with the world.

Perhaps it would be more honest to admit that we are experiencing Peak oil, and no matter what we do now and how much a barrel of oil is going to cost, the production of marketable oil will inevitably go down. That has already happened once with conventional oil in the middle of 2000s, but then the American cavalry came to world’s rescue, untapping the shale oil potential. That solution worked for a while, but turned out to be just a temporary fix. Now oil production decline seems inevitable, and according to some projections, it could reach 50% by 2030. If this happens, the Authors’ wishes as well as the EU’s plans to cut carbon emissions by 55% compared with 1990 will be fulfilled automatically.

Or they may not be, because these days one needs to burn a lot of oil to produce some commercial oil. And in the past with Peak oil one needs to burn more and more oil to produce less and less marketable oil. And all that burned oil converts to CO2. That’s probably why such an (ostensibly) ‘environmentally conscious’ country as Canada, instead of decreasing its level CO2 emissions, has increased it by 3% between 2016 and 2019, and since 1990 the increase is over 21%.

Thus it stands to reason that past Peak oil fossil energy production declines may be accompanied with a simultaneous increase in overall CO2 emissions. Worse yet, the artificial reduction of oil consumption is intended to keep oil prices down, but when the cost of extracting a barrel of oil exceeds the market value of that barrel of oil, extraction simply stops. And with that world production of most other goods, including food, will also halt. We will then be reduced to using draft animals for farming and what in some places was euphemistically called nightsoil for fertilizer. That, and not global warming, is the truly nightmarish scenario.

But whether global warming is used as a cover for running out of economic oil or not, the decarbonization problem may just be too complicated to be reliably modeled today. The Letter admits that No one knows for sure what will work. If this is the case, the environmental zealots can only be blamed for over-selling their unreliable projections rather than purposefully wrecking the world economy.

The abrupt drastic reduction in fossil fuel consumption, no matter whether it is caused by the physical absence of oil or political prohibition of its usage, will almost certainly wreak havoc on the world’s economy. The EU hopes to insulate itself from that havoc by investing 1.8 trillion Euro into the implementation of its 55% CO2 reduction scheme and related measures. Simultaneously, the already mentioned carbon tariffs are being introduced (carbon border adjustment mechanism, CBAM). They are ostensibly aimed at leveling the playing field but in reality they are hurting many developing countries, such as Mozambique, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, etc. How does this damage to the third world square with the aim of reducing global inequality? Not much, but some peoples must foot the bill for the Western environmentalists’ dreams, and they appear to be those of the poor countries.

Since the Letter warned that climate change [is] expected to worsen inequality, and inequality is declared to be the root problem, EU actions should make the Authors and Signees furious. How could the EU act on global climate without addressing first the inequality problem, and in fact, risk increasing the global inequality?

The Letter calls for planetary stewardship by the 193 nations that have adopted the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Have all these nations, or at least their majority, approved the EU’s CBAM carbon taxation? If not (and I sincerely doubt they did), there seems to be a major violation of the Letter’s call for collective decision-making.

This could be a litmus test for the Letter’s sincerity. If the Authors and Signees raise their voice scolding the EU for putting the cart before the horse, they will deserve kudos. But if they remain silent or endorse the EU’s course of action – the Letter can be dismissed as mere virtue signaling.

Given the Authors and Signee’s credentials, that would be a big disappointment. But one could probably be forgiven for not holding one’s breath awaiting a satisfying outcome. After all, there are signs in the Letter that the Authors themselves don’t take it very seriously. For instance, the ending is anticlimactic: The long-term potential of humanity depends upon our ability today to value our common future. Ultimately, this means valuing the resilience of societies and the resilience of Earth’s biosphere.

Wait a second! One thought the aim of the Letter was to create a sense of urgency as life’s very survival on Earth was in danger. Instead, one got this?. The danger to our long-term potential is not much of a concern today for most people because first, it’s long term, and second, it’s just potential.

Also, what does it mean – valuing someone’s resilience? Doesn’t it mean – relying on their ability to cope with current challenges? Thus, if we are valuing the resilience of societies and the resilience of Earth’s biosphere, we should just stand down, respectfully relying on their ability to fix the emerging problems on their own. I am confused, but so appear to be the Letter’s authors.

ISH: Rounding up your words, we may conclude: Science is not made to guide people. Science has no morals, no ethics, no feeling of right or wrong. It is a tool, like a tractor. An excellent powerful tractor, but still a tractor. It’s men who decide how to employ tractor – or how to use science. A tractor wouldn’t tell you what to do; neither will Science. Science is not a church, it is not supposed to guide people; people should guide science. People understand what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong. Science does not. Whoever speaks in the name of Science is an impostor, like a priest speaking in the name of an idol. With one difference: God can speak to people, maybe, sometimes. Science can’t talk. It has no voice or mind. But this scientist, Prof. Zubarev, has a voice and a mind and we shall turn to him again to discuss Covid-19 and other important themes.

Roman Zubarev was trained (M.Sc.) in Engineering Physics at the Moscow Institute for Engineering Physics, USSR, and received PhD in Ion Physics from the Uppsala University, Sweden, in 1997. After postdoc training with Fred W. McLafferty in Cornell University, USA, he became associate professor of biological mass spectrometry at the Chemistry Department in Odense University, Denmark. In 2002 Dr. Zubarev came back to Uppsala as professor of proteomics. In 2009 he has moved to Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, taking a professorship in medicinal proteomics. Among his scientific achievements, Dr. Zubarev has pioneered electron capture dissociation and related fragmentation techniques, has formulated and verified the Isotopic resonance hypothesis, and developed novel methods of Chemical proteomics. For his contribution to mass spectrometry he has been awarded by the Carl Brunnee award (IMSC, 2006), Biemann medal (ASMS, 2007) and a Gold medal (Russian MS Society, 2013). Dr. Zubarev has published more than 350 peer-reviewed papers, and has several patents

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

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The Israeli Farce http://www.israelshamir.com/article/the-israeli-farce/ http://www.israelshamir.com/article/the-israeli-farce/#respond Sat, 10 Jul 2021 15:46:59 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3884 The recently inaugurated Israeli government, the Coalition-for-Change, the wet dream of Israeli and American liberals, Biden-approved-and-blessed after fifteen years of Bibi Netanyahu’s tyranny and four rounds of elections in the last two years – barely surviving a vote of confidence in cliffhanger-fashion – 59:59. It came to power on a slim ‘majority’ of 59.5:60.5 in the 120-members-strong Parliament. The delightful story of its almost-fall allows an insight into the inner workings of the Jewish state, for the members were fighting over their captive Gentile population’s right to marry and live in blessed matrimonial conjugation. Practically all Jewish MKs were against this right, but they acrimoniously argued over whether the current limitations were sufficient or should be intensified.

What is it all about? Anton, a young man from Nazareth met a girl, Sophia from nearby Jenin; they fell in love and got married. They are both Palestinians; Nazareth and Jenin are cities in Palestine; but they are not allowed to live together because Nazareth was conquered by the Jews in 1948 and Jenin in 1967. It sounds crazy, but that is Israeli reality.

Israel today is probably the most racist country in the world. The comparisons with South African apartheid or Jim Crow don’t even come close. Israeli racism is not even a distant relative of what you may call ‘racism’ in your country. A ‘racist’ American cherishes the names and traditions of his ancestors, or rejects the affirmative action that discriminates against him. An Israeli Jewish non-racist wants to keep the numbers of Goyim down, and he would be angry if called ‘racist’ because there are other Israeli racists who call for the total expulsion of non-Jews.

Under Israeli law, if an Israeli citizen marries a Palestinian, the young couple cannot live together. In our example, Anton is an Israeli citizen and he has a blue ID; Sophia has no citizenship, despite being a native of the land, and she has an orange ID. They can’t live together in Israel proper, for a Palestinian woman cannot be brought into Israel-48 even if she is the legally wed wife of an Israeli citizen. They can’t live together in the occupied territories of Israel-67 either, for Israel does not allow its citizens to live in the occupied territories unless they live in a racially segregated settlement, and Palestinians aren’t allowed into such a settlement. Thousands of such impossible marriages, mostly between Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian non-citizens of Israel, have taken place despite the prohibition. These married couples break the law every day of their lives, living illegally, without medical care and without the right to work or travel together. They are often stopped by the police and usually spend months in jail. For years they have been demanding the right to ‘family reunion’, government permission to live together legally on a permanent basis, but they aren’t even allowed to apply for it.

Older people perhaps remember how Soviet Jews demanded to be allowed to reunite with their beloved aunt in Tel Aviv, and how the wicked Bolsheviks prevented this. They remember Nobel Prize winners and humanists around the world demanding that the Kremlin let the families be reunited. Perhaps, if you are old enough, you even marched at the Soviet consulate demanding Let My People Go! Well, how can you compare? This is totally different! Then it was for the sake of Jews, and now it is for the sake of Gentiles, and that is not the same.

The law forbidding the reunion of Palestinian families is so revolting to modern sensibilities that Israel came up with a clever way of obscuring it. They call it “temporary” and renew it once a year (and have so since 2003) so they could wring their hands and say, oh, it is only a temporary measure. Other nasty and racist regulations like the Emergency Laws are renewed annually in the same way.

And now they have failed to renew the law, and it has lapsed. Not because they felt this unjust racist law should be removed from their books. No way! The new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is such a desperate racist that the KKK would ban him as too much of a good thing, and the Proud Boys would call him a Hollywood Nazi. He hates Goyim with all his heart, as all good Lubavitcher disciples do; he boasted that he killed many Arabs in his life; he was angry with Bibi Netanyahu because Bibi didn’t kill enough Arabs in Gaza for his liking. Despite such a background, Bennett was branded ‘traitor” by the nationalist camp, for he came to power by joining forces with the remnants of the once-powerful Left (Labour and Meretz) and a small Arab Islamist party. Now he feels he has to prove his racist credentials; otherwise in the next elections his party Yamina (“Rightwards”) will be decimated by its nationalist voters. The vote on extending the reunion law gave him this opportunity. He wanted to extend the law, but in his zeal he overdid it.

He correctly assessed that the left wing of his unwieldy Coalition for Change, Meretz, would vote against the extension, and so he turned the vote for extension into a vote of confidence, expecting that this tactic would thwart all resistance. With this ‘smart’ decision he kicked his own ass, because the whole opposition mobilised against the renewal. In addition, two Palestinians from the Islamist party abstained and one deputy of his own party crossed the party line.

With a vote of 59:59, the government barely survived the no-confidence vote, and the anti-reunion law’s extension did not pass. And this means that 15,000 Palestinian couples will be able to apply for reunion. And that’s great, because preventing couples from reunion is murder, akin to genocide, as the Talmud rightly says. Now everyone in Israel is looking at each other, confused.

  • Racist Prime Minister Bennett helped the Palestinians reunite, even though he put his government on the line to prevent it.
  • The Israeli left – Meretz and Labour – voted for the racist law, showing that they are only interested in Jewish LGBT rights. Their favourite topic, the right of Jewish gays to use substitute mothers to create children, was much more important for them than the most elementary rights of non-Jews.
  • The Islamist Palestinians voted for the racist law because they did not want to bring down the government. They were eager to join any government, be it with Netanyahu or Bennett or the Devil himself, as they think this is the only way to save Palestinians from losing more homes to Israeli demolitions. They were intimidated into supporting this racist law.
  • The Likud, Netanyahu’s party, as racist as anybody, voted against the racist law against their own beliefs, for they wanted to take advantage of the no-confidence vote and send Bennett packing.
  • The far-far-right and nationalist Religious Zionist Party led by Smotrich torpedoed Netanyahu’s chances to form a government, because it didn’t want to sit in government alongside Islamists. They voted against the racist bill for they want to unseat Bennett, and furthermore they feel the bill is not enough: they want to enshrine in law a permanent ban on Arab citizenship. They proved that racists are too stupid for politics: no government can be formed without the small Islamic party tipping the balance. Netanyahu and Bennett both realised that, but Smotrich’s people are too stubborn for their own good.
  • Only the Communists voted in accordance with their conscience against the racist law. In short, almost all parties (except the Communists) kicked themselves in the groin, and hard!

Let us at least hope that these long-suffering couples can be reunited. “We shall have fifteen thousand applications for citizenship tomorrow”, wailed Ms Ayelet Shaked, the Interior Minister and member of Naftali Bennett’s party. Alas, she is likely to deny these applications, or to let them languish for years. For the very idea of the law, keeping Jews in and Palestinians out, is still the one thing that all the Jewish parties of Israel, left or right, agree upon. Just ahead of the final vote, Foreign Minister and alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid tweeted this:

There’s no need to hide from the purpose of the law. It’s one of the tools meant to secure a Jewish majority in Israel. Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, and our goal is that it will have a Jewish majority.

Americans and Europeans are not allowed to harbour such sentiments. When the Italian prime minister tried to stop the massive illegal immigration of Africans, he was called ‘Nazi’, sued for ‘kidnapping’ (actually, stopping transgressors) and lost his job. In the US, Americans are obliged to welcome illegals. Jews are on the frontlines fighting for population displacement in Europe and the US, while their brethren in Israel are going the opposite way.

A similar process is taking place now in Poland, where the government is trying to impose a 30-year statute of limitations for claims of property. Yair Lapid demanded that the Poles refrain from such a step until the last house has been returned to the Jews. So Poles are not entitled to the same consideration Lapid allows Jews in Israel. Before WW2, Jews owned an immense amount of real estate in Poland. Some of the property was lost during the war, other properties were nationalised by the post-war Communist government. Now, Israel and the US are demanding that Poland restore all Jewish property to the heirs of the previous owners; and in their absence, it must be handed over to the ‘Jewish Community’. Israel and the US are angry about Poland’s 30-year statute of limitations. Jewish rights must be preserved forever. But if a Palestinian’s house was taken over by Jews after 1948, his house has become Jewish forever. There is no way to return it to the previous Gentile owner. This is the law of the Jewish state, and the US is happy with it. The laws for Jews and Gentiles are completely different, even within the great American Empire.

This difference is felt strongly in Belarus, the state that suffered the greatest losses in WW2. 25% of its population perished during the war. While Jews received billions in reparations from Germany, Belarus got only sanctions. These sanctions continue to suffocate this small (10 million population) North European state. The West has banned flights to and from Belarus; its exports and imports are blocked in an effort to collapse its economy and buy on the cheap its industry and resources. Speaking on their National Day, Lukashenko said, referring to the actions of Nazi Germany during WW2, that there had been a “Holocaust of the Belarusian people”. But who counts Gentiles? “We didn’t want to offend anyone and so we came to be insulted; while the Jews have succeeded in bringing the whole world to its knees before them and no one will dare to raise their voice and deny their Holocaust”. It is hard to argue against President Lukashenko, while at the same time US President Biden actually kneels before the Israeli president.

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

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Putin Talks to the Nation http://www.israelshamir.com/article/putin-talks-to-the-nation/ http://www.israelshamir.com/article/putin-talks-to-the-nation/#respond Fri, 02 Jul 2021 15:46:11 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3881 The Russian Direct Line is a unique exercise in direct democracy: Russian citizens call up their president and he answers their queries and solves their problems, like a Nordic konung a thousand years ago. Russia came into being as a chain of Nordic princedoms that practiced this sort of direct access to their ruler; early Russian princes and Tsars posed themselves as an instance of last appeal and immediate access. Twenty years ago, Vladimir Putin resurrected this ancient practice, and once a year every Russian can appeal to him on any subject matter at all. A man of power and authority, he can override any regulation, cut through the bureaucratic red tape, and solve any conundrum by his almost-royal grace. In the heavily bureaucratised country, such an omnipotent yet benevolent ruler provides excellent solutions to problems that should never have arisen in the first place.

The majority of questions and answers deal with everyday Russian life; with the supply of gas, with water drainage, with prices for vegetables, or communal charges. But Putin also answered questions that dealt with real world politics, and provided a few scoops for us. (Here is the full transcript)

The HMS Defender raid into Crimean waters is still fresh in memory, so Putin was asked whether this confrontation could have led to the Third World War. “No”, said Putin. “Even if we had sunk that ship, it wouldn’t put the world on the brink of a third world war because they know they could not win the war. We would also suffer, but we were in the right, and on our own ground.” This means that Russians are perfectly able to sink or capture the next NATO ship if she were to enter Russian waters.

The question of sovereign recognition does not come into the equation at all. Possession and recognition are different. The US refused to recognise (from 1940 to 1991) that the Baltic States were part of the USSR, but prudently the US Navy never tried to visit Riga port, even equipped as it was with a permit from the Latvian government-in-exile. Argentina would not recognise the British claim of sovereignty over Malvinas (Falklands) and boldly sailed within 200 miles of it. Their cruiser General Belgrano was sunk with all hands by the British RN submarine Conqueror. The law of the sea advises seafarers to pay heed to reality, not to claims however legally impressive.

Many experts are guessing that Boris Johnson sent the Defender against the will of his big uncle in the White House across the Pond. Putin disabused them of this notion. During the Direct Line, he noted that while the Defender sailed towards Crimea, a US spy plane departed from Crete to observe the Russian reaction. It was a joint US-UK operation. Putin said:

This was a joint provocation not only by the British but also by the Americans. The British ship entered our territorial waters in the afternoon, whereas earlier, at 7:30 am, a US strategic reconnaissance plane tail number 63/9792 took off from a NATO military airfield in Crete. Thus the destroyer entered [our territorial waters] in pursuit of military objectives, trying to uncover the actions of our armed forces facing a threat. With the help of the reconnaissance aircraft they were trying to figure out how we operate, and where things were located and how they function.

The raid of the Defender was followed the next day by the Dutch frigate Evertsen. She tried to approach Russian waters, but “Russian fighter jets repeatedly flew low over the ship and carried out mock attacks,” said the Dutch Ministry of Defence. The Evertsen promptly turned away from the Crimean coast. Today there are dozens of NATO (and non-NATO) ships participating in the Sea Breeze manoeuvres involving 32 countries, 5,000 troops, 32 ships, 40 aircraft and 18 special operations, and all that in the Black Sea. (Israel participated in the manoeuvres and an Israeli company had temerity to advertise its missiles ability to sink a Russian corvette – on the photo)

Putin connected this action with the Geneva Summit. I wrote about it at length here, concluding that Putin had said Nyet to nearly all of Biden’s requests. However, before the summit, Putin had already acceded to one of Biden’s requests. He withdrew Russian troops from the Ukrainian border. The Russian president provided more details during the Direct Line:

The West raised a clamour over the fact that we were conducting exercises on our own territory near the Ukrainian border. I instructed the Defence Ministry to quietly end the drills and withdraw the troops, if this is such a great concern for them. We did so. But instead of responding positively and being grateful, they trespassed on our borders.

It’s just the latest chapter in Putin’s book of Western ingratitude. In his view, based on facts, every good deed he does for the West’s benefit is unavoidably met with a nasty reward. He allowed the US transit to Afghanistan in October 2001, and in return, the US supported jihadi attacks on Russia. That’s why Putin said Nyet to Biden’s request to place US bases in ex-Soviet Central Asia.

Now we are witnessing the collapse of the house of cards the US built in Afghanistan since 2001. All the European troops have gone home: Germany, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Macedonia, Georgia, Estonia, all those countries that were forced by the US to participate in this 20-year-long occupation, have withdrawn their troops. US troops are leaving, too, as the Taliban (defeated by the US in 2001) retakes its country. Kabul regime troops are surrendering to their new Taliban leaders, just as the South Vietnamese troops surrendered to the Viet Cong in April 1975. We all recall America’s inglorious exit, with the last helicopters fleeing from the US Embassy roof. Probably soon we shall see similar episodes during the fall of Kabul.

The US has spent trillions defending Afghan women from Afghan men, not to mention promoting LGBTQ+. They would spend more and stay forever, but the Taliban are making it too expensive a hobby. Russians do not regret seeing them off. Pro-Western Russian experts once tried to claim that the US presence in Afghanistan would protect Russia. It was all bluff: once in power the US exported drugs to Russia and Europe, and imported jihadis from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan. They hoped their tame ISIS fighters would clash with the Taliban, but it never worked out that way. The Russians are not worried about the coming Taliban takeover: Moscow was the site of negotiations between the Taliban and the Kabul regime. Russian orientalists expect that the Taliban will inherit Afghanistan in such bad shape that it will be too busy at home to try and intervene in the Central Asian republics.

In Geneva, Biden didn’t respond to Putin’s ‘lecture’ (a term my informers used) on the Ukraine. During the Direct Line, Putin continued to expand his views on this touchy subject. He was insulted by the West when they sent their gunboats to Crimea even though he had kindly paid heed to their wishes and withdrawn his troops from the Ukrainian border. He refused to meet with the President of Ukraine because Putin feels Zelensky is a puppet of the West. In brutally direct words, Putin said: “Why should I meet with [President] Zelensky since he has passed management of his country into foreign hands? The main issues concerning Ukraine are not decided in Kiev but in Washington and, partly, in Berlin and Paris. What is there to talk about?”

Putin thinks the Ukraine has lost its independence. This is very different from considering it a hostile sovereign state. Ukrainians are also Russians, Putin said, like European Jews and Ethiopian Jews are still Jews. The Russian people were historically divided into Small Russians, Great Russians and White Russians; yet still all three branches belong to the same tree. Putin said the Western attempts to establish a military presence in the Ukraine is a direct threat to Russia. While the Ukrainians are brothers, the present Ukrainian authorities are a colonial administration. With these statements, a Russian recovery of the Ukraine is suddenly back on the table. I could not believe my own ears, for in 2014 Putin might have taken the Ukraine back effortlessly, but he didn’t. And now, when it would be hard, he seemingly implied it will happen, if the West attempts to establish a military base in the Ukraine, or just pushes Russia a little too hard.

Naval trespassing could provide the trigger. The British and American navies intend to raise their flags at Crimea before going to the South China Sea to wave their flags at the Chinese. There is a difference. Each nation has its own national customs. The Chinese issued hundreds of warnings to the US before they became friends. The Chinese are famous for their warnings. But the Russians are known for their fighting spirit and readiness to shoot.

It would be nice if the recent incident of the Defender would be the last. But this is hard to believe. Russia will certainly find the answer and the answer may be asymmetrical. It may be much more than sinking a destroyer at Cape Fiolent. It could be the retrieval of the Ukraine.

Covid passions

As I reported here, while Putin was in Geneva, Moscow Mayor Mr Sobyanin declared a state of mass vaccination in his city, and a wave of Internet bots opened an intensive campaign of intimidation against “vaccine hesitant” citizens. Moscow reinstituted QR codes for vaccinated citizens to enter restaurants; people were fired for refusing to vaccinate. This subject was the first one brought up in Putin’s Direct Line. The President reaffirmed the vaccination is not mandatory in Russia. However, some people in certain positions would have to vaccinate – or leave. It should be decided locally, in every region. This is good, though perhaps not good enough: many people hoped that Putin would tell Sobyanin explicitly to cool off. He did not, but his declaration that nobody should be forced to vaccinate hopefully will calm spirits a bit.

In the autumn, Russia goes for parliamentary elections, and this subject is likely to become important. While the pro-Western opposition of Navalny and company are in favour of mandatory vaccination (they just want Russia to buy Western vaccines), the Communist opposition (it is the biggest opposition party in the land) stands for voluntary vaccination, no lockdowns, and no distant learning. They may benefit from this position.

A popular leftist politician Mr Kurginyan created a video talk that was immediately removed by YouTube but is still available on Vimeo. He speaks against enforced vaccination, for in his view it is likely to cause trouble for the government and undermine Russia’s stability before the elections. He called upon Putin to refrain from forcing people to vaccinate, provided the nature of the virus is still obscure. It is an American-made bioweapon, he said, and perhaps this bioweapon gets stronger with American vaccines. Delta and other sorts of Covid are perhaps the result of its interaction with vaccines. It is a plausible idea: in Israel, the vaccinated suffer, get ill and die.

During his Direct Line, President Putin refused to speak of the virus origin. Many Russian politicians accept Ron Unz’s thesis that the virus is a US-made bioweapon. Putin didn’t argue for or against; he said that the question of virus origin should be treated separately from the question of dealing with it. For the first time ever, Putin said that he vaccinated with Sputnik-V, because, he added, this is the vaccine Russian soldiers are vaccinated with, and he is their Commander-in-Chief. However, he noted that there are four Russian vaccines, and all of them are good.

Putin also presented the strongest argument against ‘Virus is a Hoax’ idea. He said:

I heard: that there is nothing at all, in reality there is no epidemic. When you tell them that this is happening all over the world, they reply: “Right, country leaders have come into collusion.” Do they have any idea of what is happening in the world, of the contradictions that are plaguing today’s world, where all leaders allegedly upped and conspired with each other? It is absolute rubbish.

It is indeed a strong argument: is it possible to imagine a collusion of Kim Jong-un and Khamenei with Netanyahu and Biden? President Putin is perfectly able to enter some agreement, but there are states and leaders who would never do. What would say our Mike Whitney? Would they all agree to vaccine that can kill their citizens?

Indeed, Russians have begun to vaccinate, though not as much as in the West. More people contemplate why there is such a push for vaccination. Apparently, a common explanation is that the Russian vaccine was produced in massive quantities and the vaccines have to be used. Europe is not open to Russian (or Indian, or Chinese) vaccines. There is a big African market; it is said that Russians would be able to sell their vaccines to Africa; but who will pay for that?

It seems that the IMF has some ideas. They plan to issue a $650 billion SDR loan to poor countries to pay for vaccines. This loan can also be used for paying off old loans; lands and assets will be taken for collateral. The plan is supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, the same organisation that planned for Covid in 2010. If it works out, the richest folk will profit immensely from the pandemic; the loans will be in the hands of the IMF, and the US will unload its debts onto the other member states. The biggest rip-off of the pandemic is still ahead of us; it will be a virtuoso of complexity; anyone not an expert in SDR and IMF will not even understand they are being screwed. I hear that many people are now discussing how to deal with this issue; there are some plans, but nothing public yet.

The Russian supply of the vaccines to Africa could be paid off by an IMF loan. This will be in line with Putin’s usual modus operandi: conform to the existing paradigm, roll with the punches and pull in as much for Russia as you can. Currently there seems to be only one game in town, one that is played by the Covid masters, big pharma, the digital giants, the IMF and orchestrated by the Rockefeller foundation. Putin does not want to fight against this extraordinary force; he thinks Russia can manage within the rules they set. He will play along until they unveil a power grab, or any rough game, but even then Russia appears to be ready. The West should deal with its own problems, starting with the digital giants; it won’t be easy, as we learn from the recent case where Judge Hinkle ruled that Facebook and Microsoft should enjoy their God-given right to block politicians they do not like. It won’t be easy, and spending our resources threatening Putin and Xi won’t help us get the job done.

In collaboration with Paul Bennett. Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

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Geneva Rendezvous http://www.israelshamir.com/article/geneva-rendezvous/ http://www.israelshamir.com/article/geneva-rendezvous/#respond Wed, 23 Jun 2021 15:43:43 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3877 The Geneva rendezvous of two presidents remains an enigma. Why did they meet at all? They agreed that nuclear war is bad for all; fine! Didn’t they know that? Did they check on their partner’s soul, did they look into the eyes? Now we have some answers, based on conversations with my Israeli friends who had the advantage of hearing both sides, the Russians and the Americans. Our loyal readers deserve to know what actually happened in Geneva.

In brief: Biden came to tell Putin that the US is in good shape, has recovered from the pandemic, its economy is better than the Chinese one, and that he is in charge. The meeting was quite peaceful; Biden was rather mellow, while Secretary of State Blinken was in attack mode; he argued with his own president and tried to boss him about. The Russians were prepared for worse, much worse. They thought that the meetings of Biden with the G7 and with NATO would lead to a crescendo in Geneva, and were relieved to learn that this meeting was not a presentation of a united Western position towards Russia.

Prologue: A Preparation to the Summit

Putin gave an interview to NBC’s Keir Simmons. The idea was to prepare for the worst that could happen at the summit. Another man would tell Simmons to f*ck off after the first few questions, but Putin endured his immoderate rudeness and insults with a smile, like an Indian brave captured by enemies. He never descended to rudeness. Simmons spoke to Putin as Tim Sebastian on the BBC’s Hard Talk would; the Romans might have spoken thus to a king brought in chains to Rome. Putin endured all, and he became mentally prepared for rough treatment in Geneva. It was not necessary, in the end. The summit passed much better than the Western media expected.

I believe that the world needs Russia, not because it is wonderful, but so that the world does not fall under the iron heel of the Pentagon/CIA/Wall Street/NY Times. Russia is a guarantee of diversity. Marx in his days supported the colonisation of California; he thought it would be progressive. Trotsky, in his time, denied Marx, saying he would support the backward Indian chief fighting a progressive coloniser. Marx was on the side of progress, but I think Trotsky was right, fuck progress, diversity is more important.

At the summit

The only subject Biden spoke about on behalf of the united West was Belarus. He said the West had agreed to punish Lukashenko for the airliner landing and the dissident arrest. Putin replied without hesitation: Russia fully supports Belarus. They did what they were allowed to do by international law; they were within their rights. And nobody can punish Belarus without Russia’s consent.

On Ukraine, Putin ‘lectured’ the Americans (Blinken’s word). He said that Russia would agree to US participation in the Normandy process (this is a mediation process by Russia, Germany and France) but Merkel and Macron aren’t willing to let the US in. Biden said that the US could help to implement the Minsk agreements. (The Minsk agreements were signed between the Donbas and Kiev in the aftermath of the military defeat the Kiev army suffered at the hands the Donbas. By these agreements, Ukraine would become a federated republic with greater powers devolved to all its provinces including the Donbas. The Donbas would then reintegrate within the Ukraine. The Minsk agreements were never implemented, for Kiev by different subterfuges refused to devolve its powers. Russia wants the Minsk agreements to be implemented, and Putin called it the only way to settlement in the Ukraine). Biden’s words annoyed his Secretary of State Blinken. He said: it will be a waste of time, no need for us to get into it.

Referring to the Afghanistan withdrawal, Biden made an unexpected request. The US asked for temporary military bases to be established in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, for twin purposes: (1) to facilitate the withdrawal of US troops and (2) to keep supplying the Kabul government with arms and ammunition after the withdrawal. This request was (almost) unexpected, but Putin promptly refused it for the following reasons. Such bases would invite the ire of the Taliban, leading to them being necessarily attacked, and that these two states would be drawn into war. This is unacceptable for Russia, as Russia has military obligations there, and these states are very close to Russia proper. In addition, China would consider the placement of military bases near China’s border a hostile act.

Biden stressed the temporary nature of such an arrangement. Putin could say there is nothing as lasting as a temporary arrangement. He flatly refused. This is probably wise: Russia withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, and there was no reason to import the Afghan war into old Soviet territory in order to please the old adversary. Putin could also have added that the Uzbek constitution explicitly forbids the placing of foreign bases on its soil, for good reason: when there was a US base in Uzbekistan, it was used by the Americans to promote pro-American political leaders who stood in opposition to the then president Mr Karimov. But Putin didn’t go into it, to avoid the impression of passing the buck to the Uzbek leader. The buck stops at the Kremlin. His reference to Chinese interests made a lasting impression, the Americans say. In 2001, the very same Putin allowed the US the facilities to attack Afghanistan and transfer equipment via Russia. Twenty years passed, and Putin had learned that playing up to the Empire carries no reward. Then he helped the US, as a payback, the US instigated the Chechen rising and terror attacks. Putin said so in Munich, in 2007.

The Biden team tried to surprise and pressure the Russians regarding Syria. Even before the summit, the US team tried to attach to the three declarative paragraphs of their joint declaration (quite vague and meaningless by themselves) a very meaningful fourth paragraph. It actually called for the perpetuation of the present-day Syrian disorder, for the perpetual break up of Syria, covering it with insincere words about attending to humanitarian needs. There were through-border arrangements at Bab al-Hawa used by the US and its allies to resupply the Islamist rebels in Syria and to withdraw them in case of need. Through these arrangements, Americans removed the ISIS fighters and moved them to Afghanistan, so they would fight the Taliban. Preserving these arrangements would lead to the permanent separation of the Idlib enclave. Russia was against it, and so the Russians stated and explained in the UNSC (UN Security Council).

As this subject will come before the UNSC on July 10, Russia intends to veto (if necessary) any resolution that would perpetuate this open gate into Syria. Syrians are indeed in need of humanitarian help, but the Syrian government is much better prepared to deal with crisis and the distribution of aid than the Islamist fighters who steal everything and sell the stuff at Turkish markets. Putin said that. He could add that if the US is concerned with Syrians’ well-being, it might lift the sanctions that starve Syrians. Syria is under Western sanctions that forbid even the import of food, medicines and fuel. In addition, the US steals Syrian oil and Iranian oil on its way to Syria. US appeals about the humanitarian crisis in Syria remind one of the father-killer who asks for mercy as an orphan. There would be no crisis in Syria if the West had not supported the Islamist rebels and sanctioned Syria to death.

Putin didn’t go into it. The Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov proposed to set up negotiations for the whole of the MENA (Middle East – North Africa) area, including Syria and Libya. Within such a framework, the question of Bab al-Hawa could be discussed. He also suggested that the West should stop trying to remove President Assad. However, the US side refused this suggestion. No agreement was reached, and Biden referred to it in his press conference, repeating all the hypocritical regrets about the Syrian crisis.

The sides discussed cyber-security, too. As we know, Biden proposed a list of 16 items of critical infrastructure that should not be attacked by hackers. The sides should arrest all hackers who interfere with these items. Biden didn’t try to blame Putin, whether personally or Russia as a state of hacking the US infrastructure. Biden stressed that he was referring to individual rogue hackers who do these things. Putin replied that actually the US territory is the main source of hacker attacks, with Canada a distant second. (Russian territory keeps the fifth or sixth place in this ranking). Putin said that Russia received ten US requests for assistance in connection with the hacker attacks; all ten were responded to and dealt with. At the same time, Russia lodged 45 requests last year and 35 requests this year referring to US-based hacker attacks on Russian assets. All of them remained unanswered. The US simply never responds.

Biden referred to China, but without (as was usual for Trump) anti-Chinese vehemence. He said that the US economy is much stronger than the Chinese one; that they have recovered from the Covid crisis. He expressed his commiseration to Russia that she shares a thousand-miles-long border with China; that should bother the Russians immensely, he said. He repeated this statement at his press conference. The Russians were amazed by this naïve attempt to draw a wedge between Russia and China. Putin said that China is a friend of Russia; their friendship is not aimed against the US, but it was caused by the previous US administration’s efforts to antagonise both Russia and China, by declaring Russia an enemy. At his press conference, Putin said that Russia is not worried about Chinese aircraft-carriers, for their border is mainly on the land; and anyway China has so few carriers compared to the US that it is not worthy of mention.

Speaking of the economy, Putin said that US companies suffer in the Russian market because of the US sanctions. He suggested establishing a bilateral commission to promote economic relations. Biden looked at this favourably, but he switched the subject to three Americans who are now in Russian prisons, one for spying, one for financial crimes and one for a drunken brawl with police. They should be released, said Biden, for business to progress. Putin retorted that the US kidnaps Russian citizens in third countries and extradites them to America to be tried in American courts.

Biden referred to Navalny and to the political opposition in Russia. Putin retorted that the Capitol demo (Jan 6, 2021) participants have been prosecuted and expect long terms in the US jails. How can you compare, said Blinken, these internal terrorists who stormed the Capitol with peaceful opposition. Putin could have shown the videos of peaceful entry into the Capitol, when the protesters were waved in by police, he could also show the videos of wild attacks on the police by Navalny supporters in Russia; he referred to this in his press conference.

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Biden referred to the Arctic, in rather favourable (to Russia) key. Blinken intervened and accused the Russians in militarising Arctic. Putin objected. He said Russia is against the militarisation of the Arctic; Russia repairs its military infrastructure in the Arctic that existed in Soviet days and has been decaying ever since. The Russians suggested to reconvene regular meetings of the Chiefs of Staff that were held until 2014, to deal with the question. The American side did not respond to this suggestion.

The sides agreed to return ambassadors to Moscow and Washington, respectively. It remains to be seen how this will go. Before the Russian ambassador had been recalled home for consultations, he was cold-shouldered in Washington. He could not reach American officials; due to Kremlingate, they were afraid to meet with Russian diplomats. If this attitude continues the return of the ambassador will be of little use.

The sides agreed to continue their negotiations in July; probably cyber security and other topics will be discussed then. Putin suggested that a summit of the five UNSC permanent members be arranged; this is his old idea that he has voiced many times, but it was not well received by the Biden team. The summit didn’t produce any tangible results; however, the presidents have met. Biden was lucid and coherent. He is likely to last and survive many of those who spoke of his dementia. He was also quite friendly to Putin; the role of ‘bad cop’ was taken by Blinken who was accompanied by Victoria (“f*ck EU”) Nuland.

Biden’s reference to his mother’s words was quite reasonable and well received. Biden quoted his mother saying that unintentional conflict could be worse than deliberate; meaning that Russia and the US should try to avoid unintentional conflicts by means of meetings and negotiations. This is also the Russian view. Biden got tired rather fast, and the summit was adjourned before time.

Press Conference

After the meeting, they had their respective press conferences. Unusually, the press conferences were totally separate, and held in different locations. American and other foreign journalists attended the Putin conference; they asked impertinent and offensive questions. Putin answered every question. Russian journalists weren’t admitted to the Biden conference. Biden was asked questions that had been worked out in advance. There was not a single daring or even difficult question. Did Putin promised to behave? – this sort of question. None of the hard-boiled questions the US journos asked Trump. Biden had the extra advantage of speaking after Putin, so he knew what Putin answered.

Biden had for his conference a trump spot overlooking Lake Geneva; thus he had the advantage of a good picture. Putin was to speak first, in a tent, without a view. On the other hand, Biden stood under a scorching sun and sweated a lot; Putin had air conditioning. Putin was not afraid to answer any questions, did not mumble, and answered harshly, but not rudely – although some questions begged for reciprocal rudeness.

Apparently, the High Contracting Parties have not agreed on anything, which is already good. The Western media expected that Biden would drag out Putin, he would repent and promise to behave himself. It did not work out. The arrogance of the American side was striking at every step. It was quite difficult for the Russian president, although he is strong, energetic and easily finds the right words. He had no sycophantic media as Biden had. Biden became angry at a question and suggested that the journalist should change his occupation. Putin kept cool.

Probably most embarrassing was the opening of the Biden Press Conference when he spoke of America’s commitment to democracy and openness. I heard such speeches when I was forty or fifty years younger, but now they sound improbable. Alas, the US is not the free country it was once upon a time. However, the summit concluded without tragic consequences, which is already good. Life is going on.

Summit Aftermath

In Russia, there was one drastic change. If before Putin’s voyage, Russia was quite peaceful and content, immediately as the great man went away, Moscow descended into a spasm of vaccination fever. Moscow Mayor Mr Sergei Sobyanin, who ordered a very severe lockdown in spring 2020, turned back to his bad old ways and began enforcing vaccination. Until June 16, vaccination was a perfectly voluntary affair in Russia; available to all willing but nobody was forced to vaccinate. At the beginning of June, Russian officials said the pandemic was behind us. Putin explicitly said nobody should be forced to vaccinate. And apparently only 9% of Russia’s adult population went to get a jab. People were quite content and managed all right.

All that changed in one day. Now there is non-stop propaganda for vax; in social networks, influencers preach hate to those irresponsible people who refused the jab. They are called “murderers”; many employers intend to fire their non-vaccinated workers. Moscow again introduced QR-codes for restaurants. In the city of Nizhny, non-vaccinated couples can’t get married. In the south, churches and mosques were closed to worshippers. The switch is so sudden, so brutal and unexpected! At the same time, flights to Turkey and other holiday destinations have been resumed after a long break. The Euro 2020 football matches go on in the filled-to-its-capacity stadium of St Petersburg; the city applied to have more matches of the final games.

The subject of vaccination or Covid was not discussed at the summit, so we can’t say that it was a US initiative. Apparently, Covid Masters had noticed that the Russians have it too good. Dr Alexander Ginzburg, the head of Gamaleya, the Sputnik V vaccine developer and producer, advised people to revaccinate in order to save themselves from the Indian variant, the fearsome Delta, even if they are vaccinated.

I can offer an additional explanation. The Russian upper classes want to fit into a European way of living. Peter the Great, the first Russian Emperor, was so fond of European ways that he fought with the beards the natives used to grow. He even chopped the beards of disobedient boyars with his mighty axe, the stories tell. The Russian upper classes wore wigs; they accepted tobacco smoking in the 18th century and gave it up at the end of 20th century. The fashion was always fiercely enforced. Perhaps now the people of Moscow with their tendency to follow European fashion decided to accept vaccines and masks.

Another explanation connects the change to vaccine output. The production output was quite small; though it was enough for those willing to vaccinate, it won’t be sufficient if all Russians would like to take the jab. Now the output capacity has grown; and the vaccine can’t be stored forever, it has to be used. This could be a plausible explanation: desire to utilise the produced vaccines that could not be sold abroad as the West effectively blocked sales of Sputnik and other Russian vaccines on its territory. They wanted to keep the market for Pfizer and Moderna, instead of sharing the market for the greater benefit of the population.

(A similar development occurred in Israel, where they had a million of ready vaccines near their final validity date. They tried to give them to Palestine in exchange for newer vaccines in September, but the Palestinians refused for they could not use them within one week of validity. Then the Israelis decided to vaccinate children.)

Putin never got involved in the covid restriction measures. He didn’t go as far as President Lukashenko who just ignored Covid, but he never called for lockdown or for mandatory vaccination. It was delegated to local authorities, and they usually were sufficiently prompt, especially in Moscow. Perhaps the Mayor took the initiative into his hands while Putin was engaged elsewhere. Putin is a powerful leader, no doubt, but he is not an omnipotent ruler of Russia. He has to consider other opinions and positions, too.

Bear in mind that China also has a similar drive. For a year, it was considered the Chinese had beaten the virus down. It was possible to vaccinate but few did. In March 2021, one million Chinese received a jab; now 700 million got at least one shot. And in China, too, the authorities have made life miserable for those unwilling to accept. The Ukraine, however, has no vaccination. They refused the Russian vaccine; the West never provided them with Western vaccines. But nothing especially bad happened to the Ukrainians. Instead of vaccination, they treat covid with Ivermectin, and their results are better than those in neighbouring (vaccinated) Poland.

Anyway, in Geneva the presidents didn’t discuss Corona crisis or vaccinations; so apparently the present Russian rush for vaccinations was not directly connected with the summit, just with the Putin’s temporary departure, along the lines of “When the cat’s away the mice will play”. This is quite a relief: I was worried that the vaccination increase was a Western demand. Now we know it was not.

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The Can of Worms http://www.israelshamir.com/article/the-can-of-worms/ http://www.israelshamir.com/article/the-can-of-worms/#respond Fri, 11 Jun 2021 02:18:01 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3853

Do not “pursue an investigation into the origin of COVID-19 because it would ‘open a can of worms’ if it continued”. This was the instruction given by the US State Department to its investigators over a year ago, as reported by Vanity Fair in a long piece on Lab Leak. State Department investigators were warned against “digging in sensitive places” and repeatedly advised not to open a “Pandora’s box”.

What were they afraid of? They were afraid that someone might reveal that the deadly virus was cooked up by Chinese cooks under American guidance. The hands were Chinese, but the voice was that of Uncle Sam (Gen 27:22). In plain words, if the Chinese altered (Gain-of-Function’ed) the natural coronavirus, they did so on the orders of their American partners and according to their instructions. It is even more probable that the Chinese contribution was secondary, for they do not possess the know-how necessary to alter a virus. Whether it was an accidental leak of a bioweapon or the intentional deployment of bioterror (as Ron Unz expounded), in either case the US is the leading actor in the story.

President Trump threatened to sue Beijing for ten trillion dollars for the Wuhan lab leak. Good idea! But this princely sum should be charged to Washington (or rather New York with its Wall Street) as well as to Beijing. Actually, we didn’t have to wait until the end of May 2021 for this revelation. The basic facts were covered in the viral videos Plandemic and Plandemic II, released almost a year ago and promptly banned. Here you can watch a condensed (7 minutes), yet very convincing version of these two long videos, published last August. The creators conclude their story with ‘a plague on both your houses’ statement: “The US could say China did it, China could say the US did it. And both were right.”

The video (narrated by Dr David E. Martin and released by London real, the company owned by Brian Rose, a Jewish businessman from San Diego, CA, who is closely connected to the City of London) shows that work on Coronavirus began in 1999; the CDC filed a patent application on SARS-CoV in 2004; it was granted in 2007. They kept tampering with the virus for a few years, trying to make it more infectious and more deadly. After gain-of-function research was forbidden by the US government in 2014, it was promptly offshored to Wuhan lab. The research was quietly continued with US grants coming (partly) from the notorious Dr Fauci via the equally notorious Peter Daszak and his EcoHealth Alliance, the beneficiary of $39 million grant from the Pentagon. The Pentagon is a great humanitarian organization known for its love of mankind, right? If they forwarded so much money to Wuhan, they surely had our good in mind. Probably it was out of sheer modesty that they hid the grants, via a web of multiple transactions, passing money from one NGO to another until reaching its final destination in Wuhan. In 2017, the work on weaponising the virus was resumed in the US, while President Trump stopped the grants to Wuhan.

The united media and social networks unleashed their ferocious fact-checkers against the video and its conclusion that the Chinese did it on US orders. And for a long time the story disappeared. But now that the Lab Leak story has been unbanned (thanks to Nicholas Wade’s impactful story) we can check the fact-checkers and find them sorely missing actual arguments. Their main reasoning, beside labelling different opinions “debunked” or “discredited”, was based on an article in Lancet that was commissioned and produced under the guidance of the very same Peter Daszak who admitted (in 2016) that he commissioned and funded Chinese scientists to create a ‘Killer Coronavirus’. Thus the debunkers were debunked and the discrediters were discredited.

The conclusion that the virus was made by Chinese under US instructions was also reached over a year ago, in April 2020, by Tsarfat, a French-Jewish blogger, who claimed that Ralph S. Baric was the man who weaponised the virus in 2015, “and described without any inhibition how he took what appears to be a natural strain of a bat virus and altered its properties by adding HIV strains (the Spike Protein in question). The original virus that Baric manipulated in his team’s 2015 work was provided by a team of Chinese scientists which claimed its discovery in a 2013 Nature article.” What about suing Dr Baric and Gilead Sciences for some of the billions? Or Facebook for blocking this important information? Or, indeed, Dr Fauci, who covered up for Baric and for Daszak?

(Fauci has been declared the sexiest man alive, no more and no less like Henry Kissinger in his time, and probably by the same sort of people. Recently another Fauci, Jacob Fauci, made his appearance in East Jerusalem, where he argued that he intends to steal a Palestinian house because “if I don’t steal it, someone else is going to steal it.” Jacob (or Yaakov) Fauci is a fervent Jewish nationalist settler. Is he a close relative of Tony the Sexiest? I wonder!)

The Russians agree with Ron Unz. They think the virus was crafted by US scientists. While Putin avoided answering this question directly, Sergei Glazyev, an adviser to Putin and a minister of the Eurasian Commission, provided the whole script. In his view,

…The virus was synthesized in a well-known US laboratory by order of a scientific foundation closely associated with certain structures of the American financial oligarchy, then moved by ethnic Chinese to a Wuhan laboratory and released into the environment there. The purpose of this operation was to destabilize the socio-political situation in the PRC in order to create the prerequisites for a revolutionary situation. It fully fits into the logic of the global hybrid war, unleashed by the American financial oligarchy in order to maintain world domination in the confrontation with the rapidly growing China.

The Wuhan institute, says Glazyev, worked closely with a more advanced American laboratory. The Chinese scientists who worked in Wuhan had previously trained and conducted research in the United States. The United States is the only country in the world that has the necessary competencies to create such a virus. The United States is the only major country that has not signed the international convention on bioweapons. The Chinese specialists who worked at the time in the Wuhan laboratory came from the United States, where they conducted experiments on the synthesis of coronavirus using quasi-secret American funds.

Glazyev, a leading economist by trade, explained why the people behind creating a novel Coronavirus didn’t mind that it might spread all over the world. They needed to deflate the global financial bubble that had been inflated by the US Federal Reserve, the ECB, the Banks of England and Japan through a decade of quantitative easing. Throughout the decade the volume of the dollar money supply increased fivefold, and the euro increased fourfold. Financial collapse was inevitable. Thanks to the global pandemic, the bubble deflated peacefully and manageably, without any unpleasant excesses. A million or two million dead is reasonable collateral damage in the eyes of the American super-rich.

If the 2020 pandemic did not exist, it would have to be invented. And it was invented: back in 2010, the Rockefeller Foundation published the Lock Step report, a scenario for the deployment of a pandemic; all measures of social isolation and violation of the citizens’ civil rights were predicted and actually implemented last year, says Glazyev.

I looked up the “fact checkers”. Like Wikipedia, it can be a useful source as long as you are aware that it is a hostile source. It’s like reading a well-sourced Nazi apology for their own atrocities. Not a stupid essay claiming there never were any atrocities, but a clever report full of half-truths. The fact checkers say this report (technically speaking, The Rockefeller Foundation, Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development included a section called Lock Step) has been removed from the Rockefeller Foundation site, but they did find it somehow. And indeed they declared it was

…a scenario of authoritarian control in the wake of a hypothetical novel influenza pandemic similar to COVID-19. Lock Step envisions “a world of tighter top-down government control and more authoritarian leadership, with limited innovation and growing citizen pushback,” according to the report. Another excerpt on the “mandatory wearing of face masks” and “body-temperature checks at the entries to communal spaces like train stations and supermarkets” parallels ongoing practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The Lock Step scenario describes a continuation of authoritarian policies after the pandemic “fades”…

Despite the eerie similarity to reality ten years later, the Fact Checkers pronounced it fake news, because “The report makes no reference to COVID-19, a vaccine against the disease or plans to introduce a police state during a pandemic.” Well, they are hard to please!

Russian Vaccine

Russia is living like there is no virus. Last week, there was the International Economic Forum in St Petersburg, SPIEF, probably the biggest international gathering since the beginning of the pandemic anywhere in the world. The US delegation was the biggest of all. They made deals by the hundreds of billions. St Petersburg, definitely the most beautiful and most European of Russian cities, was overflowing with Forum participants and sundry tourists. It is a wonderful time of White Nights, when sun is hardly going down in this city on the Northern 60th parallel like Alaska and the Yukon. Lilac is blossoming now, and the city is full of its sweet and delightful scent.

The city was established by Tsar Peter the Great on former Swedish territory in the delta of the Neva River, and it consists of many islands and islets connected by bridges. The Russian Tsars embellished their capital with wonderful palaces and cathedrals, making it into the Venice of the North. The local people are calm, predominantly dark-blonde and blue-eyed; there aren’t many southerners, as there is in Moscow, for the city is not as prosperous as the Russian capital and offers fewer opportunities to those seeking decent wages. However, it is a very pleasant city, with tourist boats sailing its canals and rivers while the sun shines on the golden domes of its churches. It is also a city of great museums, and it is the base for the Baltic Fleet. It is but a short ride away from the Finnish border; though that border is still shut down by the pandemic.

There is no outdoor mask mandate, but masks are recommended on public transport, and many people choose to use them. In a few days, St Petersburg will host seven postponed UEFA EURO 2020 matches, and a lot of people are expected, though probably less than they had two years ago- before the pandemic. Russians go through the motions of the global pandemic response: current tests are required for Forum visitors, temperatures are checked; but the fear is gone, and that is a good thing.

The Russians decided to allow vaccine tourism: visiting foreigners will be able to get vaccinated with the Russian vaccine for a small sum (for locals it is free). The Russian Sputnik V vaccine is NOT mRNA experimental therapy, and that is a strong selling point. mRNA vaccines have been around for many years, but never have they been used on humans, for they kill ferrets right away. Sputnik V is a traditional vaccine; it is cheap and does not need to be stored at minus 70 Celsius. Its efficacy is over 90 per cent, so it is good stuff, just like the other Russian Covid vaccines. I am not a vaccination fan, but I think Russian vaccines are the safest, if you already decided you want one.

But its fate outside Russia depends on the local bureaucracy. In the EU, the licensing authorities took huge bribes from Pfizer (according to Putin at the St Petersburg Economic Forum) and that is the only reason why Sputnik V is not recognized in Europe. Western companies are eager to preserve their market share and want to keep all poachers out. Americans are as generous with bribes as European politicians and experts are keen on graft, no matter if the people of Europe would love to get access to Russian vaccines.

“We have only one disagreement with the United States: their desire to hold back our development,” said Putin. Indeed, the refusal of the EU and WHO to recognize the Russian vaccine can be seen, beyond bribes, as more of the standard US policy of hindering development in other countries. (Israel has a similar policy of de-development applied to Gaza). Wherever they come to conquer, they work to keep all other countries (Russia included) limited to supplying raw materials, while the expensive final products are made under US licence, bringing the maximum profit to US corporations.

After the fall of the USSR, US advisers to then-president Boris Yeltsin led Russia onto a quick road to de-industrialisation. They envisaged its future as a Gas Pump State. But Russians rejected the idea. They are active, well-educated folks; they like science and technical innovations; they are good workers, probably less diligent than Germans or Swedes, but head and shoulders above Eastern Europe. Putin sees the vaccine as a way to promote modernisation and a new industrialisation of his country. Still, he does not want to force Russians to ‘get a jab’, as they say in England. There are Russian adepts of mandated vaccination, among them Dmitry Medvedev, the former President and Prime Minister, and Sergei Sobyanin, the powerful Moscow City Mayor. Offering vaccines to tourists seems a good way to bypass the EU officials’ reluctance to recognise it.

The President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, also offers the Russian vaccine to the citizens of its neighbouring countries. He placed vaxx points at border crossings so that Lithuanians, Poles, Latvians and Ukrainians will be able to come and get vaccinated inexpensively. For Lukashenko, it is a way to endear Belarus to its NATO-leaning neighbours. Perhaps it will work. The old fox is a smart politician, full of tricks, and he may be able to break the blockade NATO is continuously trying to impose on this small nation.

However, Russia needs its vaccine to be recognised in Europe; otherwise all cross-border tourism will remain in abeyance for the second year in a row. Switzerland refused to let Russian journalists vaccinated by Sputnik V cover the Putin–Biden summit. This is part and parcel of the many indignities the West unleashed upon disobedient Russia, like banning its national flag and anthem from sport events. Unwillingly, Russians recognise they are at war, a hybrid war, but still a war. In this war, Russia supports the American people against the American authorities. They loudly wonder whether summits make any sense at all. We shall know the answer in a week, but expectations in Russia are very low.

In collaboration with Paul Bennett. Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

This article was first published at The Unz Review.

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The Abduction of NEXTA http://www.israelshamir.com/article/the-abduction-of-nexta/ http://www.israelshamir.com/article/the-abduction-of-nexta/#respond Mon, 31 May 2021 02:19:25 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3857

What does Lukashenko think of himself and of his country? Doesn’t he act like the King of Israel? Israel permits itself to kill and kidnap its enemies, wherever they are. The US also entitles itself to do whatever it finds necessary; kidnapping hundreds and dumping them in Guantanamo, or just killing them, as they killed Soleimani. But other states? No, God forbid! They should placidly accept whatever their betters decide and play by the rules.

However, Luka (as he is called affectionately) is made of a sterner stuff. This is the man who flatly refused to lockdown his nation; he carried out the VE-day parade in his capital Minsk on May 9, 2020, when the rest of the world was scared witless to leave their homes. And now he detained the NEXTA guy, Roman Protasevich, the organiser of last year’s protests in Minsk. Roman P. laughed at the extradition requests in safety of Warsaw; his NEXTA has offered millions in reward for Luka’s arrest. Now unexpectedly he is in the jail. He laughs best who laughs last.

The Russian social networks were very pleased. They cooked up the photo of their James Bonds, of Petrov and Boshirov of Salisbury fame, flying the plane into Minsk. Though cautious Russians probably weren’t involved, the hearts of Russians were all for Luka who arrested the Hipster.

At Sochi, the Black Sea resort and warm-climate-residence of Russian presidents, Putin received Lukashenko well, offered him a dip in the sea, and pooh-poohed Western threats. It’s just emotions, he said, an outburst of emotions. It will pass soon.

He referred to the disturbing EU recommendation to close the skies over Belarus, a direct threat to Russia, another tightening of the Iron Curtain. It would be uncomfortable for Russia and expensive for Belarus if these limitations were to persist. However, Russian support means that Belarus has nothing to worry about. And the US didn’t order its aviation to avoid Belarus, as opposed to Europeans. It is expensive to fly around Belarus; let the Europeans foot the bill.

Russia is coping with the New World Order, and doing well. It is the freest country in the world today, with theatres, museums and churches open, restaurants full of visitors, and there is a vaccine for everyone willing to take it. But this freedom was achieved through tremendous efforts, and Russia’s allies are not as capable of resisting the West. They are smaller, and it is easier to put pressure on them. Belarus, the Russian balcony over Europe, sticks out between US satellite states, and is vulnerable. The encirclement of Russia and its allies would have become a reality but for the long and friendly Chinese border.

Belarus has positioned itself as the Western hub of Chinese influence, as the westernmost ally and friend of China. Russian nationalists say Belarus is more pro-Chinese than pro-Russian. Belarus is a Eurasian state, says Lukashenko, thus connecting his country to both Russia and China. If the skies over Belarus were closed, Chinese access to Europe would suffer. It would also open a window for a sudden missile attack on Russia. For this reason among others, many Russian analysts consider the Ryanair affair a provocation. They say the West primed the trap and knew of all in advance. The Western states responded so fast and so massively that an advanced knowledge seems inescapable conclusion.

The CIA played a gambit: they sacrificed a young man of little importance in order to undermine China and Russia and strengthen the hand of Biden, due to meet Putin shortly. Others say just the opposite, the Belarus KGB achieved a great success, while the Western-sponsored Belarusian opposition have received a terrible blow. Even more conspiratorially-minded experts say it was a Russian operation, aiming to tie too-independent Belarus to its giant neighbour.

Indeed there isn’t enough certainty about the Ryanair events to rule out a provocation. Lukashenko says he would have demanded that the plane land in Minsk if he had known Roman P. was on board the plane. But he didn’t know, he says. We know for certain that a Minsk airport traffic controller informed the captain of the Ryanair aircraft that an email had been received (ostensibly from Hamas) claiming that there was a bomb onboard the aircraft that would explode over Vilnius airport. The threat was dubious; Hamas has never blown up planes, but it used suicide bombers to blow up buses in Israel so no one could guarantee it was a hoax.

All over the world, in the East and the West, all bomb threats are treated as though they were real even if they are much more often a hoax. Last year, Russia suffered thousands of hoax bomb threats; usually claiming a school was booby-trapped. These hoax threats are often traced to the Ukraine, where is an active and rabidly anti-Russian neo-Nazi network. Despite the near certainty that it is a hoax, Russian authorities invariably treat these threats as the real thing. So does the West. In August last year, British RAF scrambled two fighter jets to intercept a Ryanair liner because of a security threat; it turned out to be a mobile phone forgotten in a toilet.

Thus it is standard procedure to take security measures. In any case, it is the captain’s right and duty to decide. The captain decided to turn towards the Minsk airport. This is a fact – there is a record of the conversations between the aircraft and the airport. On the way to Minsk airport, a Belarusian fighter jet accompanied the plane. It had been scrambled, according to standard procedure, as the airliner drew close to Minsk airport and passed near the nuclear power plant. Ryanair records confirm that the fighter jet did not intercept the liner, did not threaten it, and was not perceived by the captain as a threat. While it is possible Belarus knew about the hoax (or even arranged the hoax) there is no way to prove it.

After the plane landed, the passengers got off and were taken to the terminal. While they were waiting for the immigration inspection, Ms Sapega, the NEXTA guy’s girlfriend, took a photo of him on her smartphone and sent the photo to their mutual friend. He posted the photo on Telegram, saying their leader is in Minsk! This is how the Belarusian authorities learned that this person, who had long been wanted by police, was found on their territory. He was therefore detained. This is the story coming from Belarusian authorities, and it could be true (or not). In any case, there was no hijacking of an aircraft, no forced landing, no other questionable acts. Whether Belarusian authorities knew from the start that a wanted man was on board does not matter at all. After the publication of the photo of the man on Telegram, they could not even pretend that they did not know.

And what if they had known of the young man’s presence onboard? Even if it were so, they were still acting in their own right. Any country has the right to land any civil aircraft flying in its own airspace. This not only follows from the idea of sovereignty, but is also confirmed by practice.

In 2016, Kiev authorities scrambled jets and, under the threat, forced a Belavia flight on its route to Minsk to return and land in Kiev. After landing, they removed and detained a passenger – the Russian-Armenian expert Armen Martirosyan. Why? Because he (jokingly, according to him) said by phone from the airport before take-off that he was carrying dirt on Ukrainian President Poroshenko with him. He in fact did not have any documents; he was later released; but the act of forcing the plane to land did not cause any international reaction.

The United States insists on its right to land any civilian vessel. In 2004, the United States forcibly landed a private plane in which a member of the Russian parliament’s upper chamber and a former deputy minister, Andrei Vavilov, was flying. He was taken for interrogation directly from the airport.

The most famous case was in 2013. The plane of Bolivian President Evo Morales took off from Moscow. US intelligence agencies suspected Snowden was on board. The president’s plane was forced to land in Vienna, where the plane was searched. Snowden was not found, so the plane was released. Afterwards, the United States publicly and officially declared its holy right to detain and search all the world’s civilian ships.

The United States was not alone in landing planes. In 2012, Turkey forced a Moscow-Damascus plane to land. But it was a Russian plane, so nobody cared.

Whom did the Belarusians detain? A Belarusian citizen named Roman Protasevich, the founder and head of the NEXTA telegram channel, who organized the riots in Minsk in 2020. I watched Roman P. in real time on my smartphone screen as he directed the riots in Minsk during the 2020 Belarusian events. The thought occurred to me then that Israel would have immediately sent a missile to this cosy studio if he were commanding rioters to attack Israeli police. If a missile is too strong a message, then several Israeli paratroopers would knock on his door. Such interference cannot be tolerated. What NEXTA did was an act of rebellion and sedition, and rebellious TV and radio stations are liable to be bombed. Like Israel just bombed the Associated Press and Al Jazeera offices in Gaza. Like the Americans bombed TV stations in Belgrade, Baghdad, and Kabul.

By foul means or fair, Belarus has neatly managed to capture the organiser of NEXTA. Well done! Israel has kidnapped people for less, for example, the whistle-blower Moti Vanunu, who exposed the secrets of the nuclear arsenal – taken from Rome. The United States has recently forced a plane landing to arrest an alleged participant on January 6 Capitol events.

Until the day of Roman P’s arrest, however, only that side, the side of the Israel-US hegemon, had ventured to act like a fully sovereign state. Lukashenko took an important bold step by claiming equality with Israel itself and equating Russia with the United States. It is high time. Russia has outgrown these self-imposed international restrictions.

Lukashenko’s action was not a great leap in the global struggle of titans, but surely it was a small step forward for Belarus and Russia. The RT Chief Editor Margarita Simonyan posted on Telegram that she envied Belarus. Who wouldn’t be envious of such an audacious leader? On the other hand, she could be proud of Russia. Without Moscow’s protection, Belarus would have already been fully democratised, like Syria and Iraq.

It is high time to apply international symmetry in full. Recently, US special services and their junior colleagues in Kiev were cooperating in an operation. They planned to ground an airliner en route from Minsk to Istanbul while it was crossing Ukrainian air space. Donbas fighters were to be enticed into boarding the liner in Minsk, ostensibly for the safe flight to Istanbul, which would then be “forcibly” landed in Kiev where they could be arrested and sentenced. When the plot was revealed, Western governments didn’t address what was technically a hijacking; they only regretted that the operation failed.

The Empire keeps Julian Assange under arrest for years. Dozens of Russian IT specialists (labelled “hackers”) have been arrested in third countries and extradited to the US; hundreds were snatched in the program of “extraordinary rendition” and taken to die in Guantanamo. Lukashenko demonstrated that two men could play this game.

Detained NEXTA guy, Roman P. has already begun to sing, and right away, within a few hours of his detention. We expect to learn how Poland and the Baltic states (and CIA) interfered in the internal affairs of Belarus, how they planned and attempted a “colour revolution” in Minsk. Photos in his smartphone revealed that some years ago, this young man volunteered to serve in the neo-Nazi battalion Azov in the Ukraine, taking selfies under a swastika. This is not necessarily a crime in Belarus; though Azov was well known for its war crimes in the Donbas conflict.

His girlfriend, Ms Sapega, the clever girl who snapped the unfortunate photo in Minsk airport, turned out to be editor of a site that doxxed Belarusian police and government sympathisers; she called upon the rebels to visit their vengeance on their families and homes. She has been detained for two months.

It is probable the government of Belarus will find out a lot of interesting stuff while questioning these two young people. In addition, this arrest is likely to cool off some hotheads in Belarus. Until now, they thought they were untouchable; now they have learned that the government can and will defend the country against rioters.

As a rule, I sympathise with rebels. But sometimes, the rebels are too sure of themselves. They think they are Elves fighting the Orcs. NEXTA carried its war against people of Belarus’ real economy, against its industry and agriculture, for the new digital world. Were they to win, as in Ukraine, Belarus’ industry would be robbed and sold for a song; as in Ukraine, Belarus’ workers would become unemployed, its great agriculture ruined. But Ukraine had a weak president, Mr Yanukovich, who fled to Russia when in danger. Lukashenko is cut from different cloth. He is more like Syria’s president Bashar Assad, the man who is still in power after years of being told he must go. His friendship would do a lot of good for Mr Putin.

UPDATE

Belarus TV broadcasted a film called ОНТ «Рейс «Афины-Вильнюс» (OHT Flight Athens to Vilnius) with full extensive timing of the event.

Apparently, Belarus authorities didn’t know of Roman P’s arrival to Minsk, until an opposition Telegram channel had broadcasted news report of Roman P detained in Minsk. At the time of news report, Mr P stood in the queue to immigration for checking out, after he quickly cleared customs inspection. In the absence of the report, it is highly likely Roman P would board the plane and continue his way to Vilnius. It took almost 30 minutes after the broadcast until Roman P was detained. These 30 minutes, Internet exploded. The man is still free, Belarus authorities didn’t understand what had happened, but already all opposition channels speak only of kidnapped Roman P. In 30 minutes, even sleepy Belarus KGB rose to the bait. Roman P was arrested. Roman P is convinced that he was doxxed by his own colleague, Franak Viačorka, or Frantishek Vecherko, an adviser to Svetlana T and an employee of the US Agency for Global Media. The timing is really impressive: the press release of Svetlana T calling to save Roman P had been broadcasted nine minutes after Roman has got to Minsk airport and over 20 minutes until he was detained. A Luka sympathiser would prefer to report of Belarus secret services’ excellent achievement, but it seems that the operation had been planned in Warsaw and Washington, while Luka only rose to the bait. Disappointing somewhat, but more realistic!

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

This article was first published at The Unz Review.

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Gaza Is Better Than Auschwitz http://www.israelshamir.com/article/gaza-is-better-than-auschwitz/ http://www.israelshamir.com/article/gaza-is-better-than-auschwitz/#respond Wed, 19 May 2021 02:20:22 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3861

As a teenage girl, kidnapped and locked in a cellar by a paedophile maniac, scratches his horrible leering face with her sharp nails, Gaza sends her homemade rockets to Tel Aviv. They can’t cause much damage; they are just bits of rusty iron, dangerous in the unlikely event of a direct hit, but they woke up the beast in the monster. He carefully took away every sharp object from her reach, he starved her for years to make her placid and compliant, he made sure she’d have no chance to see or gain freedom, and all of a sudden such terrible pain, such deep scratches! I have the right of self-defence, he shouts while unleashing his F-16 jets to bomb her into the stone age; and his sidekick, the senile US President, repeats after him: he has the right of self-defence! As long as she scratches, he may and should smack her! No cease-fire until she is beaten into obedience; and the US vetoed the Security Council resolution supported by 15 out of 16 members. To be on the safe side, the White House approved the sale of precise weaponry to Israel for the sum of $735 million, so they would be able to do a 9/11 to any high-rise of their choice, not only in New York. And they used the weapons to great effect.

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The vetoed resolution said what should be done right away. Israel should cease bombing Gaza, refrain from interfering with holy sites, stop grabbing Palestinian homes and lands. The US refused to approve that. This is far from enough: the violated girl should be let out of the cellar. That is, Palestinians should be allowed to move freely in their own land. The Israeli army should get out of Palestinian land. The blockade of Gaza should be removed. A goy and a Jew should have equal rights, as in the US. All apartheid laws should be made null and void. Human dignity respected. And then the girl should also be allowed to live in peace. Stolen lands and homes restored to rightful owners; refugees returned, free elections taking place. But we are very far from this point.

My friends and colleagues thought the Palestinians of Gaza could inflict defeat on Israel, or at least cause considerable pain to the maniac. Alas, not yet. The Palestinians are improving their response ability. During the First Intifada (1987), they used stones against the army; in the Second Intifada (2001), they used guns; at this Third Intifada (2021) they use rockets. But they are defeated each time, and their life becomes worse with each defeat. Before the First Intifada, Palestinians could move freely; before the Second Intifada, they had their autonomy in the West Bank; now they have none worth its salt; and what will be taken away from them after the present round of struggle we shall see. That’s why, though the Palestinian position is quite awful, the ordinary Palestinians of the West Bank are not all that keen to enter an armed struggle against the formidable enemy. Desperate young people, who see no future worth living, enter such a struggle. And Gaza, this prisoner’s managed open-air-jail administration, stepped into the breach. For Gazans, there is little difference between a life that is a living hell and death that may be better. They are being severely punished for their bold action.

Jews of Israel didn’t suffer much, though more than they expected. Their famed intelligence failed them again. The Shabak, the internal intelligence service, predicted Gaza wouldn’t respond by actions beyond protests at the land grab in Jerusalem and the invasion of the al-Aqsa Mosque. They were wrong. The Shabak was certain Gaza had no rockets able to reach Tel Aviv, or just a few, in the worst case scenario. They were wrong again. The Shabak didn’t expect the thoroughly tamed Palestinians of Israel, the second-class citizens of the Jewish state, would rise in revolt. But it happened.

The centre of this rising is Lydda (Lod), the city of St George; the saint is buried here, in the beautiful old Orthodox church. By the UN partition resolution of 1947, this Palestinian town was supposed to become a part of the Palestinian state, but Jews occupied it, massacred its inhabitants, expelled survivors and repopulated it with freshly imported North African Jews. Still, a sizable Palestinian minority survived and clung to their homes. After years of terrible discrimination, they rose against their Jewish masters in revolt, for the first time since 1948. The same happened in Jaffa and Acre, cities with a similar history.

The bands of armed militant Jews, assisted by police, ran a classic anti-Arab pogrom, as supposedly Cossacks did against Jews in the beginning of the twentieth century.

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They broke windows, burned shops, firebombed Arab apartments; mobbed Arabs on the street. Such pogroms took place all over Israel, even in Jewish Bat Yam, where an Arab had had an ice cream parlour for years. It was utterly destroyed. An Arab child has been burned (not fatally) by a Molotov cocktail thrown by a Jewish militant. Pogroms did happen over a hundred years ago in the Ukraine (incidentally, never in Russia proper), but then Russian writers lamented and expressed their solidarity with suffering Jews. Now, almost no Jewish writers have expressed their sorrow or stood with the Arabs. The Israeli Arabs, that is Palestinians with Israeli citizenship went out today (Tuesday) on national strike in support of their disenfranchised brethren. And the West Bank is also waking up.

Hundreds of martyred Palestinians created a huge wave of empathy for the suffering people. There were massive demonstrations in New York, in Paris, in London and elsewhere. The Arabs in the Arab countries also demonstrated wherever they were allowed to. To be sure, Israel does not give a damn about demos abroad; they are used to condemnations. It is a part of Jewish experience, to be condemned with a very good reason. The Jews like to claim there is no reason at all, just “anti-Semitism”, but this claim rings hollow in face of the murdered children of Gaza. The Jews are condemned because they deserve condemnation.

Only a rabid antisemite would say Gaza is worse than Auschwitz. No, it is better, but only just. And it has gone on longer, year upon year, with no end in sight.

And this war has at last awakened the empathy of the world: this was a paramount reason for Gaza’s daring attack. Now, a fast rewind is needed. Ostensibly, the current events started over a week ago, when the Israeli court (probably the most immoral of Jewish institutions) ruled to expel some Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem and give the buildings to the Jewish Ku Klux Klan. Protesters were beaten by the police and gendarmerie; among the beaten, there was an MP (Member of Parliament/Knesset) from the Communist Party, a Jew by origin, who supported the Palestinians.

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Then during the last days of Ramadan, the Israeli police and army infested al-Aqsa Mosque. They dropped hundreds of shock grenades upon the worshippers; these grenades produced a rain of sparks. Some trees in the mosque compound caught fire. At that time, thousands of Jewish militants gathered at the Wailing Wall at the bottom of al-Aqsa. As they saw fire and smoke rise from the yard, they presumed the mosque was on fire, and they broke into triumphal cheering and singing, calling their god’s vengeance upon the goyim.

[Video Aqsa fire]

That was the moment the government of Gaza (Israelis prefer to call it “Hamas”, by the name of the biggest party; likewise we could call the Israeli government “the Likud regime”) issued its ultimatum: end your assault on the mosque, or we shall send our missiles upon your heads. Israelis laughed, Gaza responded, and the mini-war began. You could say that Gaza was too rash to take on the monster: they have no air defence, and the Israeli air force could and did kill the people in their hundreds and destroy their homes.

But this is the outline of micro-events; however, let us zoom out and consider the bigger picture. Trump and Kushner forced Arab states to “normalise” their relations with Israel, creating a full disconnect between Palestinian problems and the Arab states. The Palestinians had to fight to get back on the agenda. Otherwise, they would have been forgotten. The Jewish attack on al-Aqsa provided them with a good opening to go to war and put their cause on the agenda. This was a decision taken so that the Palestinians would not be forgotten. Yes, people would whisper “You know, this maniac keeps a teenage girl locked up in his cellar as a sex slave?” and they would be answered: “Old hat! Everybody knows that but it was long ago, and probably she is used to it and does not want to get out!” The girl had to scratch the bastard even at the cost of being beaten, just to remind you of her terrible fate.

Let is consider an even bigger picture. The only force able to influence the events radically is Iran. It is the only remaining strong state of Resistance. Iraq was broken by the US invasion of 2003, Syria was destroyed by the Arab Spring in 2011, Hezbollah is not strong enough to make Israel pay for her sins. Iran is the only one; and Iran is governed by a pro-Western neo-Liberal administration. Presently Iran is negotiating with the US in Vienna for a return the nuclear deal for the removal of sanctions. In June, Iran is having an election. Despite many limitations, Iran is a democracy, and people’s votes matter and they are counted, as opposed to, say, in Arizona. If the Vienna negotiations succeed, Iran will leave the resistance front, and the liberals will win the elections, returning Pax Americana to the Middle East.

However, the Gaza war revealed the Iranian moderates as weak foreign agents who can’t/won’t defend al Aqsa. It will cost them the election. If the moderates lose, hard-liners will gain. Ahmadinejad or his like will come to power. Iran will take again the central place in the Resistance. Americans will lose the Middle East. In the next confrontation, Iran will enter the fray.

Now let us move the frame and consider the internal Palestinian arena. The last Palestinian elections took place in 2006; Hamas won fair and square, but the ruling Fatah refused to relinquish power. Only Gaza, being separated from the rest of Palestine, succeeded in a change of guard. Now the old president Mahmud Abbas promised to run elections in May 2021, but he postponed it again. His reason: Israel does not allow 300.000 Palestinians of Jerusalem to participate in the elections. If this reason evaporates, if Israel will allow the Palestinians of Jerusalem to vote, there is a good chance Hamas will win. It is not a sure thing either way: the Palestinians would have a choice between Fatah which collaborates with Israel, and Hamas which fights Israel. Life under collaborating Fatah is better and easier than under belligerent Hamas. But it is not good enough to give up hope of gaining dignity and freedom. The opinion polls are extremely unreliable; however, Fatah and Mahmud Abbas are worried they would lose the elections. In any cease-fire agreement between Gaza and Tel Aviv, the question of elections will be a deal breaker. Gaza will insist on allowing elections in East Jerusalem. If Israel allows that, there is a good chance of installing the less-prone-to-surrender Hamas in the West Bank. If Israel will let Marwan Barghouti out of jail (he is imprisoned for years for his participation in the Second Intifada) he stands a good chance of winning the elections as a Palestinian Mandela.

Did Hamas have electoral considerations in mind when it entered the battle? For sure; this is good and normal. Hamas has a record of standing for Palestinian rights, even for armed struggle. Fatah had it, too, but they lost it. So the Palestinians will have a real choice, that is, if the elections will ever happen.

Now let’s shift to the Israeli scene. For Netanyahu, this war is good. It broke out exactly on time to torpedo the creation of an alternative government, where he would be out of power and probably on his way to jail. However, an alternative Israeli government won’t be better for Palestinians. Naftali Bennett, a political leader certain to play a prominent role in the alternative government, is even more bloodthirsty than Netanyahu, and he called upon Bibi “keep fighting until Gaza is destroyed”.

By the way, Covid is dead in Israel. For the first time in a year, Covid news disappeared from the top of Israeli events. People do not care much about the damn virus when there are real problems.

And now for the even bigger picture. Russia expressed its support for the Palestinian cause. Putin said that Palestine is not a far, remote land for Russians; Russia demands Israel cease fire and observe the agreements and resolutions, including the safety of holy sites (read: al Aqsa). Putin’s adversaries in Russia are strong supporters of Israel. Liberal pro-Western anti-Putinists are Jewish or partly Jewish, and they are for Israel. Ethnic-nationalist anti-Putinist Russians (sometimes described as naziks, “little Nazis”) also support Israel and her “right” to deal with the hated darkies. For them, it does not matter that Palestinians are not darker nor lighter than Israeli Jews, it does not matter that Christian Palestinians fully support the Palestinian struggle, and that the top leader of Palestinian Christians Archbishop Theodosius Atallah Hanna (full disclosure: he baptized me and my family) said that the fight for al-Aqsa is the fight for the Holy Sepulchre, and the Christians and Muslims are fighting the same war as members of one family and one nation. Naziks are stupid.

What is worse for Putin, his allies in the media, Jews-for-Putin, (Dugin calls them the Sixth Column) like the popular broadcaster Soloviev, are all out for Israel. They could be relied upon to trash Ukrainians, or to point out European duplicity, but when it comes to Israel, they dig their heels in the sand. Russian state TV is a proxy for Tel Aviv. On Russian social networks, the pro-Israel crowd is by far the biggest and most aggressive; it also gets the support of Facebook management. You won’t be surprised to learn that I was banned on Facebook right away.

A good word for Erdogan. The Turkish president, and Turkish people are all out in support of Palestine. And their huge demos called upon Erdogan to send Turkish soldiers to liberate Palestine. Somebody should do it: the Palestinians can’t do it by themselves. Whoever liberates Palestine, will get renown beyond measure. But meanwhile, the Palestinians have to survive.

So apparently this war is not Armageddon yet. It is just another sordid campaign of Jews against disobedient natives. They got their portion of blood, they destroyed Gaza’s supply of water and electricity, they ruined its houses, and now they can placidly wait for the Gazans to be devastated by disease, hunger and occasional bombing raids. And then they will continue with their assaults. That is unless we stop them.

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

This article was first published at The Unz Review.

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Giant Killers Tackle Google http://www.israelshamir.com/article/giant-killers-tackle-google/ http://www.israelshamir.com/article/giant-killers-tackle-google/#respond Tue, 04 May 2021 02:29:44 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3864

The digital giants have taken over the world. Nobody has ever amassed this much power. Hitler would die of envy if shown the greatness of Google. Huxley and Orwell’s protagonists could only dream of what Bezos and Gates do. The latter overthrew the US President and installed one they prefer, and for good reason. The combined net worth of the top 100 ultra-rich people in the US has skyrocketed by $195 billion since Biden took office, according to Bloomberg’s calculations. These giants control the minds of billions. Nations hock their lands and industries to purchase their patent medicines. These giants know our faces, our names, all about us, even the cells we are made of, down to the last protein. Gods have been defeated, gentle Christ and mighty Sabaoth, not to mention angry Allah. Is that a thing of which it is said, ‘See, this is new’? (Eccl 1:10) No, my jaundiced ancestor was right — it has already been done in the ages before us.

Once upon a time, the giants almost pushed the gods off Olympus. Apollodorus tells us that the gods could not win, until they remembered the oracle that the giants would only be defeated if a mortal man was to help the gods. Only Man can facilitate the gods’ victory over the giants, divined the Greeks in their Gigantomachy, just as the Christians knew only a Son of Man could defeat Death. When the giants had almost defeated the gods, a mortal man, Heracles, stepped forward and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Now we are in dire need of a brave mortal to tackle giants. If there is no Heracles, anyone will do; but the giants have to be defeated. And indeed, unlikely Giant Killers have stepped forward.

The uprising began in rebellious Moscow, where the city arbitration tribunal demanded that Google restore a deleted YouTube account or pay billions of dollars in fines. Impossible, you’d say — Google is free to do whatever they want. They shadow-banned Unz.com; its brother giant Twitter banned Trump; there is no way to overturn their decisions, for such companies are private, and private property is sacred — otherwise it’s Communism and Gulag; they can do whatever they want, and their smart lawyers have already included their right to unplug you in every one-click contract agreement.

Yet Russia isn’t all that different from any other Western nation. Until this happened, the Russian legal system had refused to consider claims against the tech giants. Russian law did not allow for it. It was enough for the giants to stipulate that all claims should go to London or to some other tame court of their preference for the Russians to meekly submit. However, the giants overreached themselves when they blocked this avenue to sue them in Western jurisdiction for many Russians. The Russians responded by creating a new law that established the priority of their national law, and required the courts and tribunals to accept and judge the cases if there is no way to sue in the agreed Western jurisdiction.

This new law was applied by the Moscow Arbitration Tribunal after Google, in July 2020, deleted the account of Tsargrad, a Christian conservative TV channel and news agency belonging to Konstantin Malofeev, an unusual Russian digital media lord. Slate magazine made a profile of the man some years ago, while he was still planning to create Tsargrad. Slate grossly exaggerated Malofeev’s proximity and importance to Putin, for he is an outsider, but otherwise it gives you the general idea. Malofeev had been sanctioned by US and EU authorities in 2014, but the account of the media company he is the main owner of was blocked six years later, in the summer of 2020. Tsargrad had over one million subscribers when suddenly, and without warning, YouTube deleted its account. At first, they explained their action by asserting that Tsargrad was “breaking the community rules’, as always. Later on, Google claimed they blocked Tsargrad because its owner had been sanctioned.

The Moscow tribunal rejected both claims. (Read here the tribunal decision in full, English translation comes after Russian version) It stated that Google didn’t prove Tsargrad broke community rules; even had that been the case, Google would have had to give six months’ warning before breaking the contract. As for sanctions, the Tribunal ruled that US and EU sanctions are a part of public law of those particular countries, and cannot be applied in Russia; Google has to restore their account or suffer legal consequences.

The consequences are financial, and exponential. For the first week of non-compliance, Google would have to pay a little over one thousand dollars, nothing to speak about there. But afterwards, the fines double each week, and in half a year’s time Google would have to pay over $70 billion! Exponential fines can be very threatening. Can the Russians make Google pay? Yes! Google (google.ru) has a few billions on their accounts in Russia, all eminently liable to be seized. On the other hand, if Google restores the blocked account, they won’t have to pay a cent. Stories related to this historical decision are filed here (in Russian).

Anyway, Malofeev had been sanctioned by the US and EU over six years ago, when he was allegedly supporting the Russian rebels in Donbas (he says he ran a humanitarian mission). Why, all of a sudden, did Google freeze his account in 2020?

There is an honest answer to this question, but Google’s cagey lawyers would never admit to it. In 2020, encouraged by their meteoric rise to the top of the pandemic-troubled world, Google and the other giants unleashed their might to erase ideologically unacceptable (for them) media. They carried out a large-scale ideological cleansing of pro-family, Trump-friendly, conservative, Christian sites and accounts, and of sites that didn’t support the paradigm of gay and trans, anti-male, anti-white woke propaganda. The sites that doubted the official Covid narrative were also banned or shadow-banned. They forbid their clients to trust in God, summed it up a Russian observer. The timing of the cleansing was connected with the US Presidential elections of November 2020. The giants planned to remove Trump and install Biden by hook or by crook. Accounts that were likely to disagree with this massive fraud planned by the giants were deleted. Didn’t this constitute meddling in the important elections? For sure, but it was the giants, not the Russians, who meddled, and they even had FBI on their payroll.

Not only did American accounts suffer in this purge; the giants cleansed Russian accounts, too. Though there aren’t many Russian-reading voters in the US, the giants didn’t want to take any chances. They planned and executed probably the first complete global takeover of discourse in human history. Tsargrad was one of the smothered media voices.

Malofeev in Tsargrad office
Malofeev in Tsargrad office

Konstantin Malofeev, the Tsargrad owner, fits the proscribed profile down to a tee. He is conservative, even radical-conservative, a church-going family man and father of three, who does not support LGBTQ+. He is in his forties; he’s a strong admirer of Donald Trump; he followed Trump’s model all the way to marrying off his daughter to a Jewish oligarch’s son. (He is also a tycoon by his own right.) Malofeev modelled his media after Trump’s preferred Fox News, and even hired Jack Hanick, a founding producer for Fox News. His Tsargrad media outlet has been described as “Russian Fox News”; so he is a wannabe Russian Donald Trump. Malofeev is not a hugely popular figure, but nor is Navalny. He is radical-conservative politically, but at the same time is all for a social welfare state, for help to families. He thinks Covid is a creation of Fort Detrick, just like our Ron Unz says. (This is a widely shared view in Russia; last week it was expressed by Mr Volodin, the Parliament speaker who said the new coronavirus could be a product of a leak from a US laboratory.) Malofeev is supportive of Vladimir Putin, though Putin is too liberal and moderate for him. He works with Alexander Dugin, the prominent Russian philosopher who also thinks Putin is not Putin enough. Dugin was present at the press conference regarding the Tsargrad victory over Google, and he gave a fervent short speech calling upon mankind to remove the usurper Giants and regain freedom. I could hear the footsteps of History echoing at this event; Russia was rebelling against the established order again, just as she did in 1917, over a hundred years ago!

Alexander Dugin speaks at Tsargrad
Alexander Dugin speaks at Tsargrad

Malofeev offered Trump his support in regaining access to the discourse snatched by the Giants. In his touching letter to Trump (read it here in full, the English version comes after Russian) he wrote: “Mr President, it is clear to me that the US elections were stolen from you and your voters, and that Big Tech’s efforts to repress this information is both a moral outrage and a prosecutable crime. The death of democracy in America hurts every country in the world, Russia included. I, and many other Russians are ready to help you in your fight for free speech any way we can. Use our court system, and seriously consider my offer to partner in building future platforms. Let’s join forces and decisively go on the offensive against the free-speech haters in Big Tech. Let’s build superior free-speech platforms for people in all countries.”

At the press conference, he called for Trump to accept his assistance in his fight against the giants. Mr Malofeev is a maverick, by Russian or by any standards, but so was Trump. Anyway, who but a maverick would enter a melee against fearsome giants? Only Real Men are able to do it. Though my own views are very far from theirs, I’d say God bless anybody who would save free speech from being smothered by Giants.

P.S. Iran Revelation

For a long time, our readers have wondered why President Putin is so friendly with Israel. A possible explanation was provided last week by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. His seven-hour-long recording (allegedly made for the Oral History project) had been leaked by a Farsi émigré site based in London. In this leak (it had been acknowledged by Mr Zarif who said he was quoted out of context, while Zarif opponents allege he himself leaked it) Zarif reveals that, in his view, Russia does not want Iran to normalise its relations with the West and is trying to undermine the Vienna talks. As long as the US is out of the nuclear deal and Iran continues to be sanctioned, Tehran remains in the Russian sphere of influence, he said. In the al-Jazeera report, Russia actively tried to undermine the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), because she would not benefit from Iran enjoying normalised ties with the West, according to the diplomat. “Russia doesn’t benefit if our ties with the West are normalised”, he said.

Zarif also offered a very different version of Russia’s entry into the Syrian war. The late General Soleimani, who was assassinated by the Americans last year, visited Russia in 2015 and met with President Vladimir Putin to discuss intervening in Syria’s civil war in support of President Bashar al-Assad. It was previously accepted that Putin had been talked into the war by Soleimani. Zarif provides a completely different account, saying it was Putin who convinced Soleimani to bring Iranian troops to Syria, rather than Soleimani convincing Putin to intervene. “Putin entered the war with air power, but also brought Iran into the war with ground forces. Until then we had no ground forces there,” Zarif said.

Zarif and Lavrov
Zarif and Lavrov

If this conspiratorial interpretation is right, it would explain Russia’s positive attitude to Israel, for no country and no politician has done as much as Israel’s Netanyahu to keep Iran estranged from the US. But for Israel’s opposition, Iran might have forfeited the Axis of Resistance in the Obama era. So Israel should be cherished by Russia, indeed! Likewise, Israel was loved by the US military industries as her might inspired Arabs to buy American hardware.

Simple-minded Jews explain the US drift to make up with Iran by the influence of John Kerry. “Kerry’s daughter Vanessa is married to an Iranian national and physician. His best man at the ceremony was the son of Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. Zarif was also Kerry’s chief counterpart in the nuclear deal negotiations. Cozy crew! Look no further why Kerry hates Israel”, says Investment Watch Blog. They would be furious if their political positions were explained by having their relatives in Israel! It seems that some American patriots (like our colleague Philip Giraldi) would prefer to downgrade the special relations with Israel and to upgrade relations with Iran. Washington lawyer Reed Rubinstein, in the Jerusalem Post, suggests that the Biden administration “permits or supports a new intifada if Israel refuses to accede quietly to a new Iran deal or takes ‘unapproved’ steps to defend itself against the Iranian threat.” It is one possible reading. “This would be a catastrophic mistake and horrific breach of trust” – whines the lawyer. What ‘trust’, buddy? International politics is a cutthroat business. Perhaps Iran will cross over to the US, while the Jews will move their sympathies to Russia.

However, one should not make too much out of the partial leak of Zarif’s talk. It could mean that Zarif would like to play Gorbachev on the Islamic Republic and bring Tehran into the Pax Americana. Then he would have invented such a story implying that Iranians would make peace with the US on Washington’s conditions but for perfidious Putin. And in observed reality, Russians were always publicly supportive of JCPOA, and approving of Iran making peace with Israel and the US.

Jews and plotters

Lurashenko and Putin
Lurashenko and Putin

In the recent plot against Belarus President Lukashenko, there is a curious detail totally missing in press reports. The trump evidence of the plot is a tape purporting to be a recording of a conversation between a Belarusian general and the chief plotter, lawyer Yuri Zenkovich, who has Belarusian and American citizenships. In Belarus, Zenkovich was an opposition activist, a well-known member of the Belarusian Popular Front. He left for the US in the mid-2000’s, where he began to build his career as a lawyer, said the US Embassy. The general apparently was used to trap the lawyer, who actively looked for potential accomplices in the Belarus Army. In the tape (5:05), the lawyer tries to convince the general to join the plotters by saying: “I am supported by US Jewish capital. I have excellent relations with the American Jewish Committee. This is an NGO headed by three hundred of the wealthiest Jewish families of America. It is the Jewish Lobby of America”.

On the American Jewish Committee site there is a quotation “American Jewish Committee is the dean of American Jewish organizations.” — THE NEW YORK TIMES. We have no idea whether the AJC or its members offered their support to Mr Zenkovich. Belarus’ KGB chief offers us the comforting point of view that the plotters were rather plotting to swindle their supporters and donors and to spend it on “loose women and vodka”. Perhaps. But it is funny – the best way to convince a military general is to tell him rich American Jews support the cause. I couldn’t find an AJC response to this accusation; the plot was never referred to in the US media.

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

This article was first published at The Unz Review.

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Uncharted Waters http://www.israelshamir.com/article/uncharted-waters/ http://www.israelshamir.com/article/uncharted-waters/#respond Mon, 26 Apr 2021 02:30:57 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3867

The US has been fighting two wars: with Ukraine against Russia, and with Russia against Climate. Both are very costly, both bring no profit to Americans, both are entirely unnecessary, but both are essential for the Biden regime at this time, as the Covid pandemic runs out of steam. How will matters proceed?

The Ukrainian war may have been postponed. Russian troops withdrew from their forward positions on the Ukrainian border to their permanent bases. Perhaps Putin decided that the threat of a powerful Russian response would suffice for Kiev to give up their plans of a Donbas invasion. It was a close call: Kiev artillery shelled Donbas; Russian tanks faced them waiting for the order to roll westward, but the order didn’t come. It is still too close to call. In the last few days, the shelling of Donbas by the Kiev regime has actually intensified. Kiev troops have moved forward to the frontline separating the regime-controlled areas and free Donbas, and they brought with them more of their heavy weaponry. In Donbas, people are in a wretched mood: they feel abandoned by Russia, or rather have returned to the same hell of intermittent shelling they have lived with for years. They haven’t been allowed to join the Russian Federation as they had hoped. In Kiev, they think Putin blinked first. So say the Brits. Prudent Putin does not want war, but he may still get it. What we have now feels like a lull rather than a stable situation.

Europe Defender, one of the largest US Army-led military exercises in decades has kicked off and will run until June. The Russian Defence Minister Mr. Shoygu called upon his troops to stand ready to respond to any “adverse developments” during the NATO exercises; heavy weapons will remain in forward positions, so troop deployment could be fast. In May, Royal Navy ships will pass the Bosporus, while the Russians have moved their missile boats from the Caspian and Baltic Seas to the Black Sea. So there are still plenty of chances for things to go wrong.

Russia’s relations with the US and its minions are as bad they ever were. As bad as in 1962, during the Caribbean crisis? No, but as bad as in 1952, during the Korean War. The United States is an enemy, declared Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Ryabkov, and such a word has not been used since the Korean War. The US and Britain called Russia their most dangerous enemy, too. Until recently, Putin still believed in the possibility of integrating Russia into the Western world, not as top dog but as a powerful state on a par with Germany or France. The years that have passed have proved to him that this was an impossible pipe dream. He has had to adjust his goals. And besides, the world has changed. There has been a tectonic shift: Russia became stronger; the US antagonised China; the American people are restive and unhappy; Europeans are prisoners in their own homes. In such a world, Russia can’t possibly take US proxy assaults lying down forever.

Relations between Russia and the US have shifted from ‘rivalry’ to ‘confrontation’ and are back to a Cold War level, wrote ex-president Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s number 2 man, who has been considered a more Western-friendly member of the Kremlin team. Russia has sent the US Ambassador back home ‘for consultations’; he tried to disobey with “Hell, no, I won’t go” but eventually relented and departed to Washington, together with ten expelled US diplomats. Russians also forbade the US Embassy from hiring local staff, receiving visiting diplomats and travelling freely in Russia, making diplomatic ties rather strained.

During this time, the plot to assassinate President Lukashenko and/or kidnap his sons was uncovered in Moscow. The plotters enjoyed CIA support, said the Belarusian president, asserting that his assassination had been authorised at the highest level of the Biden administration. This disclosure drew Belarus closer to Moscow. A year ago Minsk and Moscow were cold-shouldering each other. Lukashenko had good reason to suspect that the Russian oligarchs were involved in the colour revolution in his country. They hoped to remove the stubborn president, then privatise and buy Belarus’ industry, as this republic is the only one that preserved and improved the legacy it inherited from Soviet days. Since then, Lukashenko realised that Putin is not against him and relations have begun to improve.

Bearing that in mind, people waited somewhat nervously for Putin’s annual state-of-the-nation address on April 21, expecting some dramatic announcement, be it war, or the integration of Belarus, or recognition of Donbas; however the address mainly dealt with state help to families with children. Putin played Santa Claus: he congratulated the Russian people on almost beating the pandemic; now we have to be fruitful and multiply, he implied. He also gave Russians ten days of paid holiday starting May 1st, presumably for multiplying at leisure in their summer houses. Practically every established Russian city-dwelling family has a country house for exactly such purposes. This year, Russian Easter Sunday will come on May 2nd, so Russians will get the whole Octave of Easter as a fully paid holiday. The state will cover half of children’s summer vacation costs and give a decent lump sum to each child in time for the next school year, enough to buy proper clothes and books. Holidaying in Russia will be subsidised for all, to offset the difficulty of travelling abroad due to corona restrictions. For those who insist on going abroad, Egypt will be soon be open as a holiday destination.

Such generosity has Russians worried. It reminded them of those restful hours and the shot of vodka their fathers were given before being sent to attack the German lines – a respite before battle. However, Putin didn’t mention the Kiev regime and the Ukraine even once.

He promised severe retribution to whoever crosses red lines, and compared the Czechs and Poles with “Tabaqui [the Jackal] hanging around [the man-eating tiger] Shere Khan, howling to appease their sovereign”. Shere Khan is certainly the US, the great enemy of Mowgli [Russia], the human child in the jungle. Rudyard Kipling has been cancelled in the US for his White Man’s Burden, and Tabaqui did not appear in the US cinematic versions of the Jungle Book, but Russians know the character as it appears in their cartoon version.

The Czech jackals have occasioned much mirth among Russians by claiming that their arms depot was blown up in 2014 by Petrov and Boshirov, the legendary GRU agents of Skripal fame. Hundreds of memes appeared right away, appealing to the Russian sense of humour.

The story of the arms depot is murky; the Czechs said that the depot belonged to a Bulgarian arms dealer who promptly denied the allegation; it appears the weapons were going to be smuggled into Ukraine and Syria to be used against Russia while keeping the Czech provenance deniable. A Russian James Bond would deal with the depot exactly as Petrov and Boshirov allegedly did. But why did the Czechs decide to unveil this old story right now?

There are three possible explanations: (1) It was done in order to remove Russia’s Rosatom from the tender for building the nuclear power plant it was poised to win. Without Rosatom, the $5 Billion budget will probably go to the US company Westinghouse, though it is bankrupt and unable to build the plant. (2) To distract attention from the attempt by CIA-connected plotters to kill or kidnap Belarus President Lukashenko and his family. (3) The Czechs are doing what they were told by their American masters, and theirs is not to reason why.

Whatever the reason, the Czechs expelled 18 Russian diplomats; the Russians responded by expelling 20 Czech diplomats; the Czechs upped the stakes by expelling over 60 Russian embassy staff; the Russians responded by forbidding the Czechs to hire local staff. Now they are considering sanctioning Czech beer, the biggest Czech export to Russia, and possibly Skoda cars. Czechs are likely to sanction Russia by stopping the delivery of high-tech parts. Other East European Tabaquis added to the turmoil. The Poles, Bulgarians, and Baltics expelled a few Russian diplomats; Russia did its tit-for-tat expulsion routine.

A few days ago, Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov went to Teheran and declared that Russia-Iran relations are at an ‘unprecedented’ level. The first fruit of this declaration has been announced. Russian Navy ships will escort Iranian tankers delivering Iranian oil and wheat to Syria. This will prevent Israel or the US from attacking the tankers. Israelis gleefully blabbed that they had sabotaged dozens of Iranian tankers causing immense misery to Syrians. Now it is hopefully over (or maybe not. Or maybe yes).

And just in case Israel won’t take this hint into consideration, there was another hint. A Russian C-200 missile launched by Syrians landed ‘by chance’ near an Israeli nuke factory, the Dimona nuclear centre. Israelis tried to minimise the public impact by concocting an improbable story of an old Syrian ground-to-air missile, launched against an Israeli jet that overflew by some 300 km, falling somewhere in the Negev desert. Syrians and Iranians didn’t object to this explanation and claimed that they just repelled an Israeli air attack. But Israeli social networks revealed that the Israeli public is worried, and rightly so, for the US-made Patriot missile defence system failed to stop the incoming missile. The Russian news agency reported that Russian electronic devices based in Syria had jammed the Israeli missile defence system in 12 districts, thus allowing the missile to reach Dimona. “This was a Russian response to Israeli breaches of our understandings on Syria”, the agency added.

As for Afghanistan, when the Biden regime decided to postpone its proposed withdrawal of troops until September 11, Russian experts I spoke to are convinced that the US will never leave Afghanistan by its own free will. They will keep in place thousands of private military contractors, and retain their positions in the airports if a need arises to recapture any ground.

And now for the climate war. Putin and Xi had been invited (among others) by President Biden to participate at the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate. (Biden was the only one wearing a mask at the virtual summit.) The Covid pandemic smoothly transforms into Global Warming in the plans of our masters. These plans are so outlandish that unhappy Donbas might as well be on another planet. Among others, they include terminating meat production and switching to producing insects for food. “Agriculture is the biggest driver of global biodiversity loss and a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Farmed insects could help tackle two of the world’s biggest problems at once: food insecurity and the climate crisis”, preached the BBC.

The US top spook (naturally a female; you can’t allow a white male to occupy such an important position unless he is a demented prompter-reader) Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said that climate change has to be “at the center of a country’s national security and foreign policy”. Climate change “needs to be fully integrated with every aspect of our analysis in order to allow us not only to monitor the threat but also, critically, to ensure that policymakers understand the importance of climate change on seemingly unrelated policies.” In plain words, from now on, the CIA will tell policymakers (including kings and presidents, senators and ministers) what they may and may not do. And presumably they won’t be allowed to complain about the American military complex, the biggest single polluter on Earth. Goodbye sovereign states; welcome, one world government!

President Trump (for all his faults) was the last leader of the Free World who tried to fight against the double agenda of pandemic-and-warming. Not surprisingly, he was fraudulently deprived of his high position. Biden is all for Covid and Climate, just like Greta Thunberg. Alas, no leader objects to this agenda. Brazilian President Bolsonaro who bravely spoke against both C&C repented; now he agrees, and even asks to borrow money to better fight global warming.

For Russia, the coldest inhabited country in the world, global warming could only be good (even today, April 25, it’s 2°C in Moscow). Russians are not misled by the US green agenda. “The latest US remark on the green agenda is nothing but blackmail and an attempt to create an environmental and climate screen, and use foreign economic levers to force its partners and clients to pay for modernizing its energy complex”, a top Russian expert said. However, Putin is not the man to go against such a universally accepted agenda. He tries to find a position that will profit Russia and minimise its dangers, while paying lip service to the Biden regime’s demands. Russia is successfully competing against US-supplied LNG [liquefied natural gas] with her own plentiful gas resources. If China is forced to switch from coal to natural gas, Russia will undercut the US and sell her gas to Beijing. Nuclear power plants have no CO2 output, and Russians are the best at nuclear power. Despite overall hostility, Biden welcomed Putin’s contribution to the Green Deal.

At the summit, Putin said Russia has nearly halved its emissions compared to 1990. He didn’t mention that this great achievement had been made by the destruction of the USSR, by the de-industrialisation of Russia and by a huge drop in the living standards of the Russian people. People still shudder when they remember the Nineties with its poverty, and that is what ‘halving of emissions’ means. This is what Biden has prepared for the Americans: poverty, insects for dinner, and workers reduced to delivering packages for Amazon. Perhaps the choice of dying in a nuclear holocaust is not too bad an option.

Mike Whitney recently asked me, why hasn’t Russia’s change from Communist to Capitalist made any difference in Washington’s foreign policy posture? The US is still as relentlessly hostile towards the Russian Federation as it was towards the Soviet Union. It is a good sign. Washington was friendly to Moscow when Boris Yeltsin shelled its own parliament, when Russian scientists sold their belongings in improvised flea markets at railway stations, when Russian girls sold their charms for a few dollars to visiting foreigners – in those days, Russia was popular and loved. Why is Russia treated with such hostility now?

There could be a few answers: (1) The Capitalists think that the spirit of Communism still lives in Russia, unvanquished despite everything. Indeed millions of Russians (more than 60%) say the Soviet Union was good for them; they remember or heard from their parents how socialism once worked for them. (2) For the Core, it does not matter what is the creed of the Periphery. (3) For the Satanic forces, Russia bears the light of Christ. (4) Hegemony will not suffer an independent spirit. You may choose your own answer. Perhaps all the answers are correct.

Russia, despite her efforts to fit into the global agenda, always sticks out. It is the only country in the world where masculinity is not toxic; whites feel no guilt; people eat meat and heat their homes so they are warm; despite the pandemic, theatres and churches are open; there is no #MeToo; Russian producers and directors can frolic with actresses; education and medicine are (largely) free for all. Outside Moscow, even parking is free, if you can find it. You can get vaccinated if you wish, for free, any day, yet nobody forces you to do it. There are no lockdowns, no covid passports, no mandatory masks. It would be a shame if such a country were destroyed.

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

This article was first published at The Unz Review.

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Flashpoint Ukraine: Don’t Poke the Bear http://www.israelshamir.com/article/flashpoint-ukraine-dont-poke-the-bear/ http://www.israelshamir.com/article/flashpoint-ukraine-dont-poke-the-bear/#respond Mon, 19 Apr 2021 02:34:22 +0000 http://www.israelshamir.com/?post_type=article&p=3873 Question 1— For the last 4 years, Democrat leaders have blamed Russia for allegedly meddling in the 2016 elections. Now the Democrats– who control all three branches of government — have the power to reset US foreign policy and take a more hostile approach to Moscow. But will they?

At present, there are roughly 40,000 US-NATO troops massed along the Russian border conducting military exercises while scores of Russian tanks, artillery and an estimated 85,000 Russian troops are now located about 25 miles from Ukraine’s eastern border. Both armies are on hair-trigger alert and prepared for any sudden provocation. If the Ukrainian Army invades the Russian-speaking region of Ukraine (Donbas), Moscow will likely respond.

So, will there be a conflagration in the Ukraine this spring and, if so, how will Putin respond? Will he limit the scope of his campaign to the Donbas or push onward to Kiev?

Israel Shamir– If the Russian army crosses the Ukrainian border, it won’t stop in the Donbas. The war will be brief and the Ukraine will be split into pieces. But will it happen?

Russia’s totem animal, the Bear, is a strong and peaceful animal that is not easily aroused, but once provoked, it is unstoppable. Russian rulers have typically fit this image. They weren’t adventurous, but level-headed and prudent. Putin, who is the quintessential Russian ruler, is risk-averse. He won’t start a war he never wanted to begin with, but he will act decisively if he needs to do so. Consider 2014, after the Ukrainian coup: the lawful Ukrainian president Mr Yanukovich ran to Russia and asked Putin to help him regain power. At that time, the Ukrainian army was weak and Russia could have easily retaken the country without facing any significant resistance. But, surprisingly, Putin did not give the order to take Kiev.

Putin is unpredictable. He ordered the seizure of Crimea despite the counsel of his advisors. It was an unexpected move, and it worked like a charm. He also pummeled Georgia in 2008 after Saakashvili invaded South Ossetia. This was another surprise move that succeeded better than anyone could have imagined. If the Ukrainians try to retake Donbas, the Russian army will beat them badly and continue on to Kiev. The presence of NATO’s troops will not deter Putin.

As for the Democrats, they can push Kiev to attack, but they will end up losing the Ukraine in the process. If the point is to poison relations between Russia and Europe, they can try to do so, but if they think the Russo-Ukrainian war is going to drag on, they’re mistaken. And if they think Putin won’t defend the Donbas, they’ve made a serious miscalculation.

Biden’s recent phone call to Putin suggests that the administration has decided not to launch a war after all. The unconfirmed report of two US ships turning away from the Black Sea fits this assessment. However, we cannot be sure about this since the Kremlin refused to agree to Biden’s offer for a meeting. The Kremlin’s response was a frosty “We shall study the proposal”. Russians feel that the summit proposal might be a trick aimed at buying time to strengthen their position. Bottom line: We cannot know certain how things will play out in the future.

 

Question 2— I have a hard time understanding what the Biden administration hopes to gain by provoking a war in the Ukraine. Seizing the Donbas will force the government to impose a costly, long-term military occupation that will be ferociously resisted by Russian-speaking people who live in the area. How does that benefit Washington?

I don’t think it does. I think the real objective is to provoke Putin into overreacting, thus, proving that Russia poses a threat to all of Europe. The only way Washington can persuade its EU allies that they should not engage in critical business transactions (like Nordstream) with Moscow, is if they can prove that Russia is an “external threat” to their collective security.

Do you agree with this or do you think Washington has something to gain by launching a war in the Ukraine?

Israel Shamir– What do you mean by ‘overreacting’? Putin is not threatening to nuke Washington or take over Brussels or storm Warsaw? But to solve the problem of Ukraine on such occasion would be entirely reasonable.

When the regime in Kiev began to prepare for war a few months ago, they thought it would be a repeat of 2015, where they attack Donbas, the Donbas suffers losses, and then the Russian army steps in to prevent their defeat. They saw it as a limited war with a good chance of regaining Donbas. But Moscow has indicated that they will respond to any unprovoked aggression using their full strength, thereby crushing the Ukrainian state. In other words, the Russian army won’t stop at the Donbas but will proceed to the western borders of the Ukraine until the entire country is liberated.

Is that ‘overreacting’?

Definitely not. The people of Ukraine would be saved from the nationalist, anti-Russian regime, and the people of Russia would be saved from a NATO base on their western flank. Hopefully the EU will understand this. As for the US, the Russians have already made up their minds; the United States is an enemy. There has been a tectonic shift in Russia, and that shift is the result of Russia’s weariness with the United States’ proxy assaults.

The US would like to see the Donbas reintegrated into the Ukrainian state because then they’d be praised as a ‘mighty defender of an East European country against Russia’. But then Russia would have permanent low-level war on its border. Either way, Russia’s relations with Europe would be poisoned and the EU would probably end up buying expensive liquefied gas from the US rather than instead the much cheaper Russian gas.

Russia’s decision to launch a full-blown attack on the Ukraine has made the whole plan irrelevant. Putin will not allow it to happen.

The Ukrainians are flexible folks. At present, they submit to anti-Russian nationalist narrative, but if the Russian army were to come, the Ukrainians would quickly remember that they were co-founders of the USSR, brothers to Russians, and they would shake off the nightmarish nationalist rule. The Ukrainians are wonderful people, but they easily adapt to new rulers, be they the German Wehrmacht, the Polish landlords, the Petlyura Nationalists, or the Communists. They would adapt to a partnership with Russia, too. Similarly, the Russians would embrace the Ukrainians as they did in 1920 and in 1945.

 

Question 3– The Russian army would have little problem capturing the Capitol, but holding on to Kiev might be a different matter altogether. Let’s say, Russian troops are deployed to Kiev to maintain the peace while a provisional government is established in the run-up to free elections. What would the US response be? What would NATO’s response be? How would this maneuver be portrayed in the western media? Would it be portrayed as a “liberation” or an “occupation by a ruthless imperial power”? Would this help or hurt Moscow’s relations with its partners around the world and particularly Germany where Nordstream is still under construction?

And wouldn’t this scenario prompt the US Intel agencies to arm, train and fund disparate groups of far-right extremists who would carry out a protracted insurgency against Russian troops in Kiev? How is that in Russia’s interest? Why would Putin put himself in the same situation the US put itself in Afghanistan, where a poorly-armed, ragtag militia has made governance impossible forcing the US to pack-up and leave 20 years later. Is that what Putin wants?

Israel Shamir— The comparison with Afghanistan is absurd. The Ukraine is a part of Russia that became independent the moment the Soviet Union collapsed. Ukrainians are Russians of a sort. They have the same religion, the same language, the same culture, and the same history. Yes, the CIA did try to arm the Ukrainian insurgency after WWII, but with little success. You could compare a takeover of Kiev with a takeover of Atlanta by Sherman.

Ukrainian independence and separation probably cannot be reversed right away, but instead of one big unwieldy state, Ukraine can be transformed into a few coherent independent units. Western Ukraine is likely to join Poland as an independent or semi-independent state. East and South Ukraine could become semi-independent under Russian umbrella, or join Russian Federation. And historical Ukraine around Poltava could try and go its own way. I think the Ukrainians would be happy to reunite with their mother state, or at least to become friendly with Moscow. There will be no need to deploy Russian troops in Kiev or elsewhere. There are enough Ukrainians to govern and control the situation and to deal with remaining extreme nationalists.

What would the US and NATO response be? How would this maneuver be portrayed in the western media? Probably the same as their response to Crimea takeover. They will be angry, unhappy, furious. The problem is they already are. They’ve already imposed sanctions on Russia and reinstalled the Iron Curtain. They’ve already done everything short of a military confrontation. Russia is so annoyed by it all, that she is beyond caring about another bout of sanctions.

I am certain that Russia won’t start a war in the Ukraine, but if Kiev does, the Russian army will topple the regime just like the US toppled regimes in Afghanistan, Iraq and many other states. And, any attempt to establish US or NATO military bases in Ukraine will undoubtedly be seen as casus belli.

Russians think that a big war is unavoidable, so it’s probably better to have the Ukraine under Moscow’s control before that war breaks out. The US is an enemy; that is the feeling in Russia. If the US wants to change that perception, it should act fast.

 

Question 4– Is Washington genuinely interested in the Ukraine or is it just a staging-ground for its war on Russia??

Israel Shamir– Washington would like to initiate a low-intensity war between Ukraine and Russia, a long-lasting war that would drain Russian resources and kill Russian troops; a war that would divert Russia’s attention from other hotspots, like in Syria or Libya. This is the way in which the US is laying the groundwork for an even bigger confrontation with Russia in the future.

Putin has accepted the breakup of the USSR. He’s not trying to reconstruct the Soviet empire nor is he particularly interested in the Ukraine. Twice he allowed Russia’s enemies to carry Ukraine away: in 2004 and in 2014. He has showed that he’d prefer to have as little to do with Ukraine as possible. Being a lawyer by education, Putin has a legal mind. He thought that Minsk Treaties were good enough a solution for all concerned. (The Minsk Treaty would “federalize” the Ukraine) He didn’t expect that Kiev would just ignore the treaties, but that’s what happened. Now he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. He’s not keen on annexing any part of Ukraine, but he might be forced to do so sooner or later.

In the last few weeks, US-Russian relations have deteriorated significantly. Russia is deeply offended by recent developments and will not go back to “business as usual”. We have entered uncharted waters and there is no way to predict what will happen next.

 

Question 5— No one in the United States benefits from a conflict with Russia, in fact, a military confrontation with Moscow poses a serious and, perhaps, existential threat to Russians and Americans alike. Still, the rush to war continues apace, mainly because the US military –with all of its millions of troops and high-tech weaponry– is in the hands of a foreign policy establishment that is determined to control the vast resources and growth-potential of Central Asia despite the casualties and destruction that strategy will undoubtedly cause.

The biggest obstacle to this plan is Russia, which is why –since the collapse of the Soviet Union– the US and NATO have made every effort to encircle Russia, deploy missile sites to its borders, conduct hostile military exercises on its perimeter, and arm and train Islamic extremists to fight in its provinces. (Chechnya) Now that Joe Biden has been elected president, I would expect the hostilities towards Russia will rapidly intensify in both Ukraine and Syria. Biden has already shown that he will do whatever he is told to do by the foreign policy “Borg”, which means that war with Russia might be unavoidable.

Do you agree or disagree with this analysis?

 

Israel Shamir– There are forces that want to control and direct mankind. These forces use the US as their enforcer. The Trump-related part of the US elites want the US to be the main beneficiary of the process. The Biden-related part of the US elites is more globally-oriented. Russia is ready to adjust to some of their demands (vaccination, climate) in order to avoid a final showdown. On the other hand, we don’t completely know what these global elites really want. And why the sense of urgency? Why the lack of concern for the American people or the Russians or the Europeans? Perhaps Davos is the new center of power and they are simply upset by Putin’s disobedience?

What we can say for certain is that imperialists always seek world hegemony. Independent Russia presents a challenge to that plan. Perhaps, western elites think they can bring Russia into full compliance by brinkmanship and threatening war? Perhaps, what we’re seeing in the Ukraine is an attempt to browbeat Russia into obedience? The danger is that they will push things too far and start a war they can neither manage or contain.

Putin remembers the fate of Saddam and Gadhafi. He’s not going to throw in the towel and back down. He’s not going to give up or give in.

To my American readers I’d say that the US is very strong and the people of the US can have a wonderful life even without world hegemony, in fact, hegemony is not in their interests at all. What they should seek is a strong nationalist policy that cares for the American people and avoids wasteful foreign wars.

Bio– Israel Shamir is a writer on international affairs, a radical political thinker, and a Biblical and Judaic scholar. His comments on current affairs are published on The Unz Review, and on his own sites www.israelshamir.net and www.israelshamir.com. His books Galilee FlowersCabbala of Power, Masters of Discourse are available on the Amazon… Shamir was a dissident in the USSR and in Israel where he called for full rights for the Palestinians. He is also a global dissident who calls for the dismantling the New World Order and the American Empire

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