Sunday, November 30, 2014

Russia's Patience Is 'Wearing Thin' As U.S. Attempts To Subdue Russia

Russia's Patience Is Wearing Thin

Having lived in the former USSR before immigrating to the US, Dmitry Orlov has an invaluable perspective on both the US and Russian perspectives, as well as Ukraine.
With the western propaganda flying thick and heavy, it's more important than ever to cut through the chaff and learn what we can about the most important geopolitical realignment (and renewed tensions) in recent memory.

Well, look, Russia is a place that's extremely dynamic as changing response to challenging environment, to changed environment, very popular throughout the world, at peace with most of the world, even with nations that are at war with each other, both sides will still talk to Russia and have friendly relations. Russia has a splendid relationship with both Israel and Iran for instance.

The United States is a nation that can't get anything together, can't get anything on, not education, not healthcare, nothing. It's basically sinking into a cesspool of its own making it can't respond at all. And now, it is basically being shown up to be quite incompetent in playing this international game. Now, what happens if you can't play a game by the rules is you're penalized and you forfeit the game. So, either the US leadership will learn how to play by the rules or they forfeit. I see those are as the only two real outcomes.

There's a difference to how the Russians approach the world and how the Americans approach the world. So, for instance, Americans like to threaten. If you don't do this, then we will do X, Y and Z. That's a typical American behavior.

That's not something that the Russians would ever do because they don't threaten, they just act because if you threaten, then you take away the element of surprise which is very important. The other thing is Americans refuse to talk to their enemies, they won't negotiate with terrorists, they won't do X, Y and Z and can't be reasoned with at all. You can just listen to them and do what they say or they'll bomb you whereas the Russians always talk to their enemies. Russia keeps the channels of communication open.

And the other thing is that all of this endless trash talking is very detrimental to the business of democracy and there's been a constant stream of basically garbage emanating from the west, some of it social media, some of it through the old fashioned press. But, just basically all kinds of lies and disinformation and slander, which makes the tedious business of diplomacy establishing various links at various levels very difficult, if not impossible. So there's just this incredible level of disgust with their, as they say, partners in the west in Moscow and the result is they're not really eager to talk anymore. They're not very interested in communicating. They're far more interested in acting. So, what we'll probably see is a constant stream of surprises coming from Russia that will be completely unannounced and not predicted by anyone.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Dmitry Orlov (51m:10s):

The US has no plans to humiliate Russia, but instead wants to subdue it, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, adding that no one had ever succeeded in doing so – and never will.

Speaking at a forum of the All-Russia Peoples' Front in Moscow on Tuesday, the Russian leader said that history was not about to change, and that no one would manage to suppress the country.
"Throughout history no one has ever managed to do so toward Russia – and no one ever will," Putin said.
Responding to a question about whether America was trying to humiliate Russia, Putin disagreed, saying that the US wanted "to solve their problems at our expense."

The Russian leader said the US had managed to subordinate its allies to its influence – with such countries "trying to protect foreign national interests on obscure conditions and perspectives."

One of the means of changing the balance of power in the world to eventually subdue Russia was NATO’s gradual approach to its borders, which made Russia “nervous”, Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told BBC.
Russia needs a “100% guarantee that no-one would think about Ukraine joining NATO,” Peskov added.

Despite the focus on the world economy, the crisis in Ukraine was one of the hottest topics at the G20. Talking about the summit's results at a press conference, US President Barack Obama did not announce any significant changes in his country's approach to Russia.
"We would prefer a Russia that is fully integrated with the global economy," the US president told a news conference, adding that his country was "also very firm on the need to uphold core international principles."
Before leaving Brisbane, Putin said that a solution to the crisis in Eastern Ukraine was possible. "Today the situation [in Ukraine] in my view has good chances for resolution, no matter how strange it may sound," he said, as quoted by Reuters.
The Russian leader also said he was satisfied with both the results and atmosphere of the meetings.
Australian authorities created an exceptionally friendly atmosphere for discussing solutions to economic challenges at the G20 summit in Brisbane, the Russian president said, dispelling rumors there were any confrontations.
Though many media outlets speculated that Putin had left the summit early, skipping a Sunday working breakfast because of an icy welcome at the G20, the Russian leader reiterated on Tuesday that practically all work had been finished by that time. “I addressed all sessions,” Putin said, adding: “Our stance was heard.”

Pestilence: Ebola Update

For some reason, updates on Ebola are hard to find these days. 

The number of people with Ebola in west Africa has risen above 16,000, with the death toll from the outbreak reaching almost 7,000, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.
The number of deaths is more than 1,000 higher than the figure issued by the WHO just two days ago, but it is thought to include deaths that have gone unreported in the weeks or months since the outbreak began. Most of the new deaths were recorded in Liberia.
The WHO has warned that its figures could be a significant underestimation of the number of infections and deaths. Data from the outbreak has been patchy and the totals often rise considerably when backlogs of information are cleared. The latest confirmed data shows that almost half those known to have been infected with Ebola have died.
Meanwhile, two children tested for Ebola after arriving in Britain from Africa are not infected, Public Health England confirmed on Saturday. It said the overall risk to the public of the virus continued to be “very low”.
The children, whose ages and names have not been released, underwent precautionary tests in Newcastle for both the virus and malaria.
The outbreak has been centred on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. They account for the vast majority of the cases reported to date, with about three dozen cases elsewhere.
Liberia has recorded the highest number of cases and deaths, but the rate of infection is slowing there. The disease is now spreading fastest in Sierra Leone.
Mali has started recording infections after sick people crossed over from neighbouring Guinea. It has reported two new cases this week
This outbreak has been the worst partly because it occurred in a highly mobile region, where Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone meet, and quickly spread to their respective capital cities.
Another UN agency, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, warned that families in the three countries were at risk of both malnutrition and under-nutrition.

Vincent Martin, of the FAO, said 70% of people interviewed in Sierra Leone had been eating only one meal a day since the outbreak, rather than two or three. Restrictions on movement had led to panic buying, food shortages and severe price hikes, the agency said.

The WHO said this week that the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo had ended, as it did in Nigeria in late October.
Its guidelines state that a country can be declared free of the virus once 42 days have passed and no new cases have been detected. The 42 days represents twice the maximum incubation period for Ebola.
Scientists said on Thursday that progress towards creating an Ebola vaccine had been made. An experimental vaccine has triggered promising immune responses from 20 healthy volunteers in a preliminary trial, suggesting that it should protect against infection.
Trials of a device that can diagnose an Ebola infection within 15 minutes are about to start in Guinea. The test, which can analyse blood or saliva, is six times faster than those being used in west Africa.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Iran Takes Yemen and Red Sea Waterway; Media Blackout Hides Strategic Power Play

Iran Just Took Over Yemen, Red Sea Waterway - Media Blackout Hides Strategic Power Play

[This is a very long article which is well worth reading. Below are just a few of the most germane quotes]

A power grab in Yemen brought Iran much closer to controlling this strategic Red sea waterway. Unlike the events surrounding the ISIS crisis in Northern Iraq and Syria, this major regional development which designates a significant success of Iranian imperial expansionism remains under total media blackout in the west.
It’s not clear if the blackout is meant to cover up the western failure or to enable Iran to accomplish its goals on behalf of the west without too much public attention. Reports on the events in Sana’a lean toward the later option: 
In recent months, Houthi “rebels” (Shiite Iranian proxies) took advantage of anti-government protests and sit-ins, triggered by rising fuel prices, to launch a full-scale bloody anti-government rebellion. This was the precise mode of operations throught the “Arab spring” which was a CIA operation. 
Weak government and an absence of security contributed to the Houthi territorial expansion; they currently enjoy total administrative control of Saada, Al-Jouf, Hajjah. And in September, they shocked the region by succeeding in taking over the Yemeni capital Sanaa, despite the government’s attempt to appease demonstrators with a variety of measures - ...the first step toward the creation of a Shiite state, supported by Tehran, in northern Yemen. For many predominately Sunni Arab countries, a militarized state would present an unacceptable threat in the region.

Iran’s ability to blackmail global economy on two strategic sea lanes – the Persian gulf and the Red sea (leading to the Suez canal) – are likely to have dire consequeces for regional and global stability, and draw counter measures from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel, all of whom are the immediate targets for this latest Iranian aggression which contiunes unabated by Obama and his Trilateral handlers.

A member of the Iranian parliament who is close to Khamenei declared, “Three Arab capitals (Beirut, Damascus, and Baghdad) have already fallen into Iran’s hands and belong to the Iranian Islamic Revolution.” He suggested Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, is the fourth.

In September, Shia rebels took over the capital city of Sana’a and the Al-Hudaydah port on the Red Sea. Iran has long been trying to take over the sea lanes surrounding the Arab world. It commands the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf and is now trying to seize the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

Yemen’s geostrategic location at the entrance to the Red Sea and across from the Horn of Africa along with the inherent weakness of the central regime has made it an attractive target for subversion by external power centers.

    A map of Yemen
    Map of Yemen

    Meanwhile, Iran will keep trying to augment its advantage over Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Arab world with its nuclear program, or, to put it simply, a “Shia bomb,” which would provide an umbrella and immunity for promoting the spread of the Shia revolution and the survival of the regime. From Iran’s standpoint this will entail the redress of a historical injustice – dating back to the dawn of Islam – of contemptuous, arrogant treatment of the Shia by the Sunnis, while providing a viable, Islamic, Shia alternative for confronting the West and Israel, the West’s “handiwork” in the Middle East, after the repeated failures of Arab nationalism.
    Should Iran complete its nuclear program and attain a bomb, Saudi Arabia and the other Arab states will be forced to settle for an American or Pakistani nuclear umbrella, and may even choose to launch their own nuclear program and thus open a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
    More than they fear enriched uranium or a few thousand determined ISIS fighters, the Saudis fear Shiism enriched to high levels of subversion in the east of the kingdom (in the oil-rich areas with their restive Shia population) and to the south (along the border with Yemen). The Houthi takeover of Sana’a, which constitutes an Iranian victory in the pitched battle with Saudi Arabia over its backyard, Yemen, has augmented the Saudi sense of threat and shown that Iran, which is gaining a foothold at the entrance to the Red Sea and the major international shipping lanes, does not intend to stop there. From Iran’s standpoint, Yemen is part of a series of “heavenly” victories as Khamenei calls them (the “victory” of Hizbullah in the Second Lebanon War and the rounds of fighting between Hamas and Israel), as Iran builds its status as a regional power on the ruins of the old Arab and superpowers order.

    The Sunni-Shia rivalry will continue to characterize and dictate the course of events in the region; meanwhile, as part of this struggle, Iran goes on gaining strategic territorial assets.
    This rivalry will also continue to affect other conflict arenas throughout the Middle East where Iran will try to impose its influence, as it does in Lebanon through Hizbullah. Saudi Arabia, for its part, will keep trying to counter the Iranian-Shia threat, as it is doing in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq with great transfusions of money. This will be very difficult for Saudi Arabia in the absence of U.S. support.  Yemen, which is not threatened by ISIS and where Iran has now prevailed, is clearly a case in point.

    The intensifying political-religious-military struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran has expanded to most of the Middle East’s countries. Iran’s power projection to the southern border of Saudi Arabia adds regional implications to the conflict between the Yemeni regime and the Shia rebels well beyond the domestic Yemeni dimension. The ongoing success of the al-Houthi tribe’s revolt with Tehran’s support, which has now led to the takeover of extensive parts of Yemen, creates another locus of regional confrontation (in addition to Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and the Palestinian territories) between Iran and Saudi Arabia, each with its own interests and proxies in the Yemeni arena.

    In sum, Iran is continuing to exploit the Arab camp’s weakness and Washington’s hesitant policy toward the developments in the region since the start of the Arab Spring.  While the Gulf states, chiefly Saudi Arabia, are occupied with thwarting ISIS and are joining the rickety coalition the United States has formed to defeat it, Iran keeps pursuing with increased intensity and without fear its policy of exporting its revolution to main areas of conflict, particularly Iraq, Yemen, and Syria.
    Via its proxies, Iran is gradually managing to take hold of strategic areas of the Arab world that are mired in ongoing internal crisis and where there is an active Shia population that has long been subject to Sunni authority. The Arab states’ weakness plays into Iran’s hands; it encounters no substantial resistance to its activity apart from feeble, toothless protests. As for the international community, Iran suddenly finds that it is the United States that, in effect, is helping strengthen and stabilize the Shia axis that extends from Iran through Iraq, Syria (where the United States refrained from military action after Bashar Assad crossed the chemical weapons “red line” it had drawn), Lebanon, and now also crosses the Red Sea to Yemen and back through Bahrain in a sort of circle surrounding the Arab world. For the Gulf states the fall of Sana’a (“the fourth Arab capital in Iran’s hands”) to the Shia rebels and the possibility that they will soon control the Bab al-Mandeb Strait constitute a “clear and present danger.”
    In the context of its campaign against ISIS, the United States turned to — and was rebuffed by — Iran. Yet Washington believes that its interests in the struggle against ISIS overlap with those of Iran. As in the past, however, it is doing Tehran’s work (as in the defeat of the Taliban in 2001 and the ouster of Saddam Hussein) and serving Tehran’s long-term interest in achieving regional Shia hegemony. Washington is investing limited effort and great diplomatic energy in defeating about 20,000 ISIS operatives while simultaneously strengthening Iran and its role in Iraq and Syria. In actuality, the United States is playing in the Shia court and helping vanquish a radical Sunni actor (ISIS) that poses a substantial challenge to Iran. And in the court of the nuclear talks, the United States is not taking a strong position comparable to the red lines that Iranian Leader Khamenei is laying down.27

    Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Saturday that ties between Israel and the US have reached such a nadir that the US’s assistance at the UN Security Council — including using its right to veto anti-Israel resolutions — was no longer assured.

    “We are at an unprecedented low point in our ties with the US. No one knows what they will do when Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] goes to the Security Council. Their veto is not assured like before,” Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, said at a gathering in Tel Aviv.

    The Palestinians have yet to formally submit to the UN Security Council a UN draft resolution calling for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines by 2016, but are expected to do so in the coming weeks.
    Despite Palestinian statements that the text would come up for a vote in November, Palestinian representative Riyad Mansour told AFP this week that no date had been set for the draft to be discussed at the 15-member council.
    (The Times of Israel reported earlier this month that many in Jerusalem fear the US can no longer be relied upon to use its veto in the Security Council. In a second article, ToI’s Raphael Ahren wrote that in the Security Council’s present constellation, it will be difficult — though certainly not impossible — for Abbas to get the nine yes votes required to pass a resolution or force the US to veto it. “However, if Abbas decided to hold off until next year, when five of the non-permanent Security Council members will be replaced, the chances of the Palestinian demarche will increase significantly,” he noted.)

    With no political solution in sight, governments and parliaments in Europe are moving toward Palestinian recognition, with France’s National Assembly set to vote on a non-binding resolution on December 2 after debating the issue on Friday.

    Most Americans are completely unaware of what is currently happening in the financial world, but right now there are deeply troubling signs that we could be on the verge of another major global financial collapse.  If the next great economic downturn does strike in 2015, that could mean that we may have just witnessed the last great Black Friday celebration of American materialism.  As you read this, stock prices are approximately double the value that they should be, margin debt is hovering near all-time record highs, and the “too big to fail” banks are being far more reckless than they were just prior to the last major stock market implosion.  So many of the exact same patterns that we witnessed back in 2007 and 2008 are repeating right now, and as you will see below, this includes a horrifying crash in the price of oil.  Anyone with half a brain should be able to see the slow-motion financial train wreck that is unfolding right before our eyes.

    The next great financial crash (which many have been anticipating for years) is rapidly approaching.  So many of the same things that happened last time are happening again.  As I noted above, this includes a crash in the price of oil.

    In the months prior to the last stock market collapse, the price of oil began plummeting dramatically in the summer of 2008.  This was an “early warning signal” that something was deeply amiss in the financial world…

    Many people assume that a lower price for oil is good for the economy, but the exact opposite is actually true.  The oil industry has become absolutely critical to the U.S. and Canadian economies.  And in recent years, the “shale oil boom” has been one of the only bright spots for the United States.  If the shale oil industry starts to fail because of lower prices, a lot of the boom areas all over the nation are going to go bust really quickly and a lot of the financial institutions that were backing these projects are going to feel an immense amount of pain.

    So just like we saw during the summer of 2008, crude oil prices are collapsing once again.  The chart below comes from the Federal Reserve, but it is a few days out of date.  Now that the price of crude is down to about 66 dollars, you have to imagine the price actually going below the bottom of this chart…

    Needless to say, this price collapse is having a huge impact on the stock prices of oil companies.  The following information about what happened in the markets on Friday comes from Business Insider

    This comes at a time when there are already a whole host of signs that the global economy is slowing down.  Three of the ten largest economies on the planet have already slipped into recession, and the economic nightmare over in Europe just continues to get even worse.  In fact, we just learned that the unemployment rate in Italy has shot above 13 percent for the first time ever recorded.

    And without a doubt, the next crash is coming.  Hopefully we have at least a couple more months of relative stability, but many experts are now urgently warning that time is quickly running out.
    By this time next year, Black Friday may look a whole lot different than it does today.

    Friday, November 28, 2014

    Israeli Strike On Iran?, Russian Battleships In English Channel, Cold War Heats Up

    In a surprising policy paper, the Center for American Progress, or CAP, the so-called idea factory of the White House, expressed support under certain circumstances for an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities if international negotiations eventually fail.

    CAP was founded by John Podesta, who currently serves as President Obama’s senior adviser and White House counselor.
    The think tank is known for its singular influence over the Obama administration, with many of its recommendations being utilized by the White House.
    CAP’s visiting fellow, Shlomo Brom, authored a Nov. 17 CAP paperwith a list of recommendation seven days before the now-passed Nov. 24 deadline for the conclusion of a deal between the P5+1 and Iran on Tehran’s nuclear program.
    The deadline passed Monday, with the world powers agreeing to extend nuclear talks for seven months after comprehensive talks failed to produce a deal.
    CAP’s report issued a list of recommendations for how the Obama administration should respond to the three most likely scenarios regarding talks with Iran: if a final deal was reached, if the talks failed or if an extension had been agreed upon.
    While the CAP paper was addressing the already-passed Nov. 24 deadline, it is instructive to note CAP’s support for Israeli military strikes on Tehran’s nuclear facilities if the talks had ended in failure.
    CAP’s thinking on the issue could give a glimpse into the Obama administration’s attitudes and future planning if the nuclear talks collapse after the seven-month extension.
    If the talks had failed, the CAP suggested the Obama administration should prepare “for the greater probability of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear installations.”
    The think tank posited the U.S. “should not necessarily oppose an Israeli strike under certain circumstances.”
    Continued the CAP paper: “First, a successful Israeli attack may allow the United States to avoid difficult decisions about intervening in Iran’s nuclear program.”
    “Second, the current regional situation diminishes the odds of an Israeli attack developing into a wider regional conflict.”
    CAP explained the Iranian-backed Hezbollah would find it difficult to retaliate against Israel since it has been bogged down in Syria fighting the insurgency targeting Bashar al-Assad’s regime there.
    CAP believes Assad himself is “unlikely to divert precious military resources away from his own survival, even to retaliate on behalf of his benefactors in Tehran.”

    The paper concluded that most probably Iran would be left alone “with a very limited capability to retaliate.”

    Lieutenant General Ben Hodges has told AFP that the United States Army plans to station up to 150 tanks and armored vehicles in the Baltic states as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The phone interview, conducted with AFP from Estonia saw the newly installed head of US Army forces in Europe confirm that extra personnel would be spending time in the area.

    There are about 29,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in Germany, Belgium and Italy but temporary deployment and training exercises are being stepped up. These deployments start mid-december when around 600 members of the 1st Calvalry Division arrive for a three month period of training in Eastern Europe. The deployments will go on throughout 2015 and 2016 at the very least according to Hodges.

    Although the people of Eastern Europe may welcome the American support in their region, it’s highly unlikely that Vladimir Putin will view the move in the same way. The annexation by Russia of Crimea has made many of its close neighbors nervous that the same may happen to them. NATO is determined that will not be the case.

    Russia’s Northern Fleet has been conducting naval training near Dover. Two battleships and two supply vessels worked on operations and communications in conditions of adverse weather and heavy marine traffic.
    “Today a squadron of warships and support vessels of the Northern Fleet headed by a large anti-submarine ship, the Severomorsk, crossed the narrowest part of the English Channel and passed into the Bay of the Seine,” said Russia’s defense ministry.
    The crews held a series of survival exercises in case of flooding or fire, as well as anti-submarine training.
    After the training, in one of the world’s most crowded waterways, where the squadron was constantly shadowed by the British Navy’s HMS Tyne offshore patrol vessel, the task force went further and anchored in the international waters of the Seine Bay to wait out a storm.
    Both Britain’s and France’s navies confirmed the location of the Russian ships, but denied that the Russians were doing any training.
    “They are not holding exercises. They're just waiting in a zone where they are allowed to be several times a year," the French Navy's information service said as cited by Reuters.
    The captains of the task force use every opportunity to test their crews should a situation arise.
    While sailing in high latitudes, Russian sailors trained by providing assistance to a vessel in distress. They also did electronic communication training and cargo transfers from ship to ship.
    When NATO patrol aircrafts approached the task force in North Sea waters, air raid alerts were sounded and crews trained air defense maneuvers.
    Combat duty assignments of the large anti-submarine ship, the Severomorsk, specifically practiced the detection and elimination of waterborne targets.

    In its war to create a caliphate across Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State is opening a front in North Africa, where affiliated militants are wreaking havoc in eastern Libya and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula — presenting a complex challenge for Washington and its allies in the region.
    Through its savvy use of social media and slick production of recruitment videos, the Islamic State — also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL — is attracting a growing number of individual jihadis to its harsh interpretation of Islamic, or Shariah, law.
    “ISIL’s stated goal of expanding its caliphate and its adherence to a strict form of Shariah has definitely resonated with a collection of extremists across North Africa, who appear to be mimicking ISIL’s rhetoric and brutality,” said a U.S. intelligence official who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss security issues freely.

    “I don’t think there’s any doubt that the Islamic State is going to commit and claim responsibility for an increasing number of attacks in North Africa, both in Libya and in the Sinai during the year ahead,” said Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington.
    “But it’s not yet clear how it’s going to play out,” Mr. Joscelyn said. “If they go in the direction of more horror killings the way the Islamic State is doing in Syria and Iraq, they may go after Christians and others, and that could end up triggering sectarian violence in Egypt. But that remains to be seen.”

    It was a Malaysian jet, carrying Malaysian passengers, flown by Malaysian pilots, yet after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in July 2014, Malaysia has been systematically blocked from participating in the investigation, leaving an overwhelmingly pro-NATO bloc in charge of the evidence, investigation and outcome as well as the manner in which the investigation will be carried out.

    Despite the integral role Malaysia has played during several pivotal moments in the aftermath of the disaster, it appears that the closer to the truth the investigation should be getting, the further Malaysia itself is being pushed from both the evidence and any influence it has on the likely conclusions of the investigation. With the downed aircraft in question being Malaysian, Malaysia as a partner in the investigation would seem a given. Its exclusion from the investigation appears to be an indication that the investigation’s objectivity has been compromised and that the conclusions it draws will likely be politically motivated

    The Malaysian Insider cited Malaysian scholar Dr. Chandra Muzaffar who believes the decision to exclude his country from the investigation is politically motivated, aiming at excluding members that may urge caution and objectivity instead of draw conclusions first and bend the investigation’s results around those conclusions. In particular, Dr. Muzaffar believes that the investigations is intentionally being skewed to target Russia.

    Ukraine’s involvement in the investigation is particularly troublesome. 

    Had MH17 crashed in Ukraine under different circumstances, Ukraine’s role would be welcome. However, it was apparently shot down specifically in a conflict in which Kiev itself is a participant. With both sides of the conflict possessing anti-aircraft weapons and with Kiev itself confirmed to possess weapons capable of reaching the altitude MH17 was flying at when it was allegedly hit, Kiev becomes a possible suspect in the investigation. Kiev’s inclusion in JIT represents a monumental conflict of interest.

    Imagine a potential suspect leading an investigation into a crime they may have committed. The possibilities to cover up, skew, spin, tamper with or otherwise distort both the evidence and the outcome of the investigation are endless.

    And to compound this already glaring conflict of interest, it was revealed recently that an alleged “secret deal” was struck by JIT in which any member could bar the release of evidence. With all members of JIT being pro-NATO and decidedly arrayed against Moscow, such a “deal” could prevent crucial evidence from being revealed that would effect an otherwise distorted conclusion drawn by the investigators aimed specifically at advancing their greater political agenda in Eastern Europe. Had Malaysia been a member of JIT, the ability of other members to withhold evidence would have been greatly diminished and it is likely such a bizarre deal would not have been conceivable, real or imaged, in the first place

    Malaysia is not generally perceived to be a stanch ally of Moscow, but it is neither a loyal client state of Washington, London or Brussels. On many issues, Malaysia has exhibited an independence in foreign policy that has perturbed the so-called international order maintained by the West. And Malaysia’s internal politics have long wrestled to stem inroads by Washington’s favorites including Anwar Ibrahim and his political faction, Pakatan Rakyat.
    Its inclusion in the investigation would provide a much needed, impartial counterweight to an otherwise fully pro-NATO JIT membership.

    To casual observers, the current investigation led by NATO members and Kiev, a possible suspect, would be no different than the Donetsk People’s Republic and Russia leading it. 
    Few would consider a DPR or Russian led investigation impartial, and few should see a NATO-led investigation as impartial. Had Malaysia been included in the process, an argument could have been made that an actual investigation was taking place rather than a complex propaganda campaign.

    Malaysia’s exclusion is a troubling sign for the victims of the MH17 disaster, meaning the true culprits will never be known. The overt politically motivated nature of the investigation will on one hand  help fuel NATO’s propaganda war, but on the other hand, fuel the doubts of millions worldwide over the true events that took place in the skies of eastern Ukraine that day. Like so many other events in human history that took place amid a high stake political struggle, the downing of MH17 will be shrouded in mystery, mystery draped over the truth by the irresponsible leadership of NATO, and those in Washington, London and Brussels egging on the conflict in Ukraine to this very day

    Many mainstream media websites helped a fake video go viral this month. The video showing a young Syrian boy running through sniper fire to save a little girl, was exposed as a fake when the Norwegian producer Lars Klevberg made the fact public. One of the stated aims of the Norwegian film makers was to “see how the media would respond to a fake video.” This article examines how that experiment went.

    The western press very quickly accepted the video as real and used it to support the US administration’s narrative on Syria. Many top US news sources began to spread the story. Even though the producer said he explicitly added big hints that the video was fake, like the children surviving multiple gun shots.

    But it isn’t just the mainstream media that was easily duped by the convenient propaganda film. The video experts that were asked to scrutinise the video, failed to recognise that the video was a fraud. The Telegraph stated that upon enquiry ‘experts told them they had no reason to doubt that the video is real”. International Business Times went a step further spinning the statement to “experts told The Telegraph that they have no doubts on the authenticity of the footage.

    This is very strange since both children in the film walk away after being directly and repeatedly hit by bullets. The creators of the film said he purposely scripted this as a big hint that the video is fake. The lack of scrutiny the media experts employed suggests incompetence or the same level of bias as the media that employs them