Archive | September 6th, 2019

In video: Palestinian kids in Gaza shield injured protester against Israeli fire

A Palestinian youth hurls a tear gas canister back at Israeli soldiers during clashes between Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip and Israeli forces near the so-called Gaza border fence on August 23, 2019. (Photo by AFP)
A Palestinian youth hurls a tear gas canister back at Israeli soldiers during clashes between Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip and Israeli forces near the so-called Gaza border fence on August 23, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

This undated video shows how young Palestinian boys endanger their lives by bravely protecting a wounded Gazan protester against live fire from the Israeli forces using their own bodies to shield him.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Gaza0 Comments

How Nazi Labor Engineered the Illegal Jewish Colonies in Palestine

How Israel’s Labor Engineered the Illegal Jewish Colonies in Palestine

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | August 22, 2019

Following the Israeli victory in the 1967 war, it became impossible for Zionist ideologues to mask the true nature of their state – an unwavering colonial regime with an expansionist agenda.

While Zionism was undoubtedly a colonial enterprise from the onset, many Zionists refused to perceive themselves as colonists. “Cultural Zionists”, “Reform Zionists” and Labor Zionists” advocated similar political agendas to “Revisionist” and other extreme forms of Zionism. When put to the test, the difference between left and right Zionism proved mere ideological semantics. Both groups laboured to sustain the same cognitive dissonance – victims in search of a homeland and colonists with a racist, violent agenda.

That self-serving intellectual paradigm remains effective to date, most delineated in the supposedly conflicting political discourses of the Israeli rightwing parties (Likud, and other religious and far-right nationalist parties) and the ‘left’ (Labor and others). For Palestinians, however, both political streams are two sides of the same coin.

After the decisive Israeli victory in the war of June 1967, Jewish nationalism took on a new meaning. Israel’s ‘invincible army’ was born, and even cynical Jews began to view Israel as a victorious state, which was now a regional, if not international force to be reckoned with. Equally important, it was Israel’s so-called ‘left’ and other ‘soft-Zionists’ who fully engineered that most reprehensible period in history.

The Israeli occupation of Sinai, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, and the destruction of the combined armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan, thrilled most Israelis, encouraging many to develop an imperial outlook and wholly embrace a colonial project based on a conviction that their army was the strongest  in the Middle East. The same expansionist instincts helped to sanctify the Zionist principle that ‘never again should Eretz-Yisrael be divided’.

In fact, as Professor Ehud Sprinzak argued (as cited in Nur Masalha’s book “Imperial Israel and the Palestinians: The Politics of Expansion”), following the Israeli victory in 1967, the concept of imperial expansion, and the rejection of the ‘division’ of Eretz-Yisrael became a “most energetic and influential tenet in modern Zionism”. Regardless of whether Israel fully anticipated such massive territorial expansion or not, the country seemed determined to quickly fortify its gains, rebuffing any call for a return to the armistice lines of 1949.

Although religious Jews were intoxicated by the idea that biblical “Judea and Samaria” ‘returned’ to its long-estranged owners, the first movement to capitalise on the territorial gains was, in fact, a secular elite organisation named the Movement for the Whole Land of Israel (WLIM).

The official founding conference of WLIM was held shortly after Israel’s victory. Although founded and dominated by Labor party activists, WLIM cut across party lines and ideological divides, united in their determination to preserve all of Palestine, as all of Israel. As for the unwanted population, those who were not expelled were to be duly subdued.

As Egypt and other Arab countries decried their ill-fated war, Palestine was completely taken over making Palestinians captives in their own land. Just as Israel celebrated its victory over official Arab armies, Israeli soldiers filmed themselves grinning and flashing victory signs at the so-called “Western Wall”, as well as in and around Arab Jerusalem’s holy sites. Palestinians still braced themselves for the worst.

Indeed, as Baruch Kimmerling writes in his book “The Palestinian People: A History”, that “was the moment in Palestinian history most bereft of hope”, Palestinian refugees who dreamed of returning to pre-1948 Palestine faced a momentous setback, a new Nakba, indeed, for the refugee problem was now exasperated and compounded by the war and the creation of 400,000 new refugees. Israeli bulldozers promptly moved into many parts of the newly conquered Palestinian territories – as they did in other occupied Arab lands – demolishing historical realities, and constructing new ones, as it does today.

An elderly Palestinian and a child during the Nakba [Hanini/Wikipedia]
An elderly Palestinian and a child can be seen during the Nakba [Hanini/Wikipedia]

Shortly after the war, Israel sought to fortify its occupation, firstly by rejecting peace overtures made by Egypt’s new president, Anwar Sadat, starting as early as 1971, and secondly, by unleashing settlement construction throughout the West Bank and Gaza.

The early settlements had strategic military purposes, for the intent was to create sufficient facts on the ground to alter the nature of any future peace settlement; hence, the Allon plan, named after Yigal Allon, a former general and Labor party minister in the Israeli government who took on the task of drawing an Israeli vision for the newly conquered Palestinian territories.

The plan sought to annex more than 30 per cent of the West Bank and all of Gaza for “security purposes”. It stipulated the establishment of a “security corridor” along the Jordan River as well outside the “Green Line,” a one-sided Israeli demarcation of its borders with the West Bank. The plan envisioned the incorporation of the Gaza Strip into Israel and was meant to return parts of the West Bank to Jordan as a first step toward implementing the “Jordanian option” for Palestinian refugees, i.e. ethnic cleansing coupled with the creation of an ‘alternative homeland’ for Palestinians.

The plan failed, but not in entirety. Palestinian nationalists ensured that no alternative homeland was ever to be realised, but the seizure, ethnic cleansing and annexation of occupied land was a resounding success. What was also important and consequential is that the Allon plan provided an unmistakable signal that the Labor government of Israel had every intention of retaining at least large parts of the West Bank and all of Gaza, and had no intention of honouring United Nations Security Council Resolution 242.

To capitalise on the government’s alluring settlement policies in the West Bank, a group of religious Jews rented a hotel in the Palestinian town of Hebron (Al-Khalil) to spend Passover at the “Cave of the Patriarchs”, and simply refused to leave. This sparked the biblical passion of orthodox religious Israelis across the country who referred to the West Bank by its biblical designation, Judea and Samaria. Their move also ignited the ire of Palestinians who watched in complete dismay as their land was conquered, renamed and later settled on by outsiders.

In 1970, to ‘diffuse’ the situation, the Israeli government constructed the Kiryat Arba settlement at the outskirt of the Arab city, which invited even more orthodox Jews to Hebron. Allon’s plan may have been intended for strategic purposes, but soon after, what was strategic and political, intermingled with what became religious and spiritual.

In the final analysis, Palestinians were losing their land at a rapid speed, a process that would lead to major Israeli population transfers, initially to occupied East Jerusalem – which was itself illegally annexed shortly after the 1967 war – and eventually, to the rest of the occupied territories. Over the years, the strategic settlement growth was complemented by the religiously motivated expansion, championed by a vibrant movement, exemplified in the founding of Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful) in 1974. The movement was determined to settle the West Bank with legions of Jewish fundamentalists.

Allon’s plan also extended to include Gaza and Sinai. Allon wished to establish a “finger” of territories to serve as a buffer between Egypt and Gaza. ‘Buffer’ was in this context, a codename for illegal Jewish settlements and military outposts at the southern end of the Gaza Strip and adjacent areas of northern Sinai, a region that Israel dubbed the Rafiah Plain.

In early 1972, thousands of men, women and children, mostly Palestinian Bedouins, were driven from their homes in southern Gaza. Despite living in the area for generations, their presence was an obstacle before an Israeli army blueprint that would soon incorporate half of Gaza. They were evacuated without being permitted even to haul their possessions, however modest. The Israeli army claimed that ‘only’ 4,950 people were ethnically cleansed from the area. But the tribes’ leaders contended that more than 20,000 were forced from their homes and land.

Allon had then entrusted Ariel Sharon and other military leaders to break up the newly occupied territories into mini regions, infiltrated by strategic settlements and military bases to weaken local resistance and cement Israeli control.

“(Sharon) recounts standing on a dune (near Gaza) with cabinet ministers”, wrote Gershom Gorenberg, “explaining that along with military measures, to control the Strip, he wanted ‘fingers’ of settlement separating its cities, chopping the region in four. Another ‘finger’ would thrust through the edge of Sinai, helping create a ‘Jewish buffer zone between Gaza and Sinai to cut off the flow of weapons’ and divide the two regions in case the rest of Sinai was ever returned to Egypt.”

The rest is history. Although the demographic made up of the settlers largely shifted to the right in recent days, and their political influence on Tel Aviv increased exponentially, those settlers now numbering around 600,000 living in over 200 settlements, are the hideous creation of Israel’s ‘left’ with the full backing and support of the right, all serving the original cause of Zionism that remained true to its founding principles – a colonial movement that can only be sustained through violence and ethnic cleansing.

Related

Decoding the American Jewish Zionists’ Rise to Power In “Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism”

Tlaib and Omar’s Denial of Entry by Israel Is Not a “Freedom of Speech” Issue In “Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism”

The History of US-Israel Relations In “Deception”

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Al Jazeera English documentary broadcast, West Africa’s Opioid Crisis

Image result for West Africa cartoon

Al Jazeera English has just broadcast my documentary, West Africa’s Opioid Crisis, made with South African film-maker Naashon Zalk. Commissioned by the global network’s leading documentary program, People and Power, this was a 9-month investigation in Nigeria and beyond into the devastating effects of the addictive opioid drug tramadol:West Africa – and particularly its most populous nation, Nigeria – is battling an opioid abuse crisis. Medicines such as tramadol, legally and legitimately prescribed by doctors for pain relief, are also being taken in life-threatening doses by millions in search of a fix or a release from poverty, unemployment and lack of opportunity.

People & Power sent filmmakers Naashon Zalk and Antony Loewenstein to Nigeria to investigate how the drug is smuggled, traded and abused, as well as the widespread corruption that follows this illicit trafficking, and the appalling health consequences for those in its grip.There has been huge interest in the film from across the world.

For example, Al Jazeera English posted a 3+ minute version of the film on social media and it’s already been watched more than 110,000 times in less than 24 hours. Many people have commented about their own struggles with tramadol.Naashon and I have written a film-maker’s view essay to accompany the film:Nigeria has a major drug problem.In 2019, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released its first-ever drug use survey.

The results were damning.Out of a population of 200 million people, UNODC found that just over 14 percent of Nigerians aged between 15 and 64 abused drugs – more than twice the global average of 5.6 percent. Although cannabis is the most abused narcotic, tramadol – an opioid painkiller – is causing the biggest societal problems.We started investigating this story because we had heard that West Africa in general, and Nigeria in particular, was experiencing an unprecedented explosion of tramadol abuse.

What we discovered was surprising and disturbing. The drug is legally prescribed by doctors around the world to treat acute pain but it is also being taken in dangerously high doses for a variety of non-medical purposes.Despite having Africa’s largest economy – surpassing South Africa’s in 2014 – there has been remarkably little reporting about Nigeria’s tramadol problems.

Although a few major Western media outlets have covered the drug’s abuse in the Middle East and Africa, usually focussing on how it is used by fighters belonging to hardline groups, we soon realised that there was little concrete information about how and why millions of ordinary Nigerians are abusing it.Mainstream media is regularly filled with startling reports on the opioid epidemic destroying communities across the United States but a similar situation for West Africans, especially Nigerians, has largely been ignored.What we uncovered was a huge international trade in “abuse-grade” tramadol.

Tablets of the drug are being manufactured and sold in dosages many times higher than the legal limit for medical use. The maximum legal dose for a single tablet is supposed to be 100mg, yet at one Nigerian port, we saw shipping containers that had been found to be crammed full with packets containing 225mg tablets.We were told by doctors that they had seen tablets with doses as high as 600mg a pill and that some drug abusers were taking up to 10 of these a day.

These dangerously high concentrations are predominantly manufactured illicitly in India and exported from there, via South East Asia, to Africa and the Middle East.We wanted to know how billions of pills of tramadol get into Nigeria, how they are distributed and traded thereafter and, perhaps most importantly, follow up some of the disturbing stories we’d heard about the role tramadol might be playing in Boko Haram‘s rebellion in the north-east of the country.We travelled to the four corners of Nigeria in search of answers.

From Abuja to Lagos to Maiduguri to Kano, tramadol has seeped into the pores of a nation that has so much human potential yet is stymied by poor governance and pervasive corruption. It was genuinely shocking.Over and over again we were told how the drug had become the popular tonic for a score of ills, the go-too palliative for sex workers, manual labourers, cooks and street cleaners, for bored young men and women, for the poor, the unemployed and desperate, and yes, even for Boko Haram rebels; all of them craving a tramadol fix and able to get one because a single pill is so cheap and so easily accessible from street drug dealers.Social and health effectsThe social and health effects of this abuse are easy to see (anyone doubting the consequences should spend some time walking through the psychiatric and addiction wards of Nigerian hospitals) and successive governments have taken an increasingly punitive approach to the business, but unfortunately the efforts of Nigerian law enforcement and others don’t seem to be doing much to stem the tide.

Antony has spent the last four years investigating the “war on drugs” for a book that looks at how that struggle has been playing out around the world – from Guinea-Bissau to the Philippines, Honduras to the US, and the UK to Australia. On location we’d sometimes talk about a recurring theme he’d found during his travels: how ruthlessly the world’s poor have been exploited through their often involuntary involvement in the production and distribution of narcotics to satisfy largely Western demand – which, of course, is where much of the money to pay for them has historically come from.But what we found in Nigeria was something else entirely – how the very poorest have also now become major targets of those same criminal distribution networks, how a new generation of desperately poor consumers has been cleverly sold the idea that otherwise ‘respectable’ pain relief medicines are in some way a remedy for the day-to-day drudgery of lives without hope or opportunity. It doesn’t take a genius to work out the thinking of those behind this trade; the value of each individual sale may be tiny, but make enough of them and the profits will really stack up.Yet, despite the chaos unleashed by tramadol abuse, trying to ban the drug entirely is fraught with significant problems. In its legal form, tramadol can be a genuinely important prescription therapy for those in great physical pain.

Numerous Nigerian doctors told us of this, in one instance inviting us to meet the children wracked by the agony caused by sickle cell anaemia – a genetic blood disorder that’s widespread across Africa – whose lives would be intolerable without tramadol, one of the few affordable treatments available.In truth, there are no easy answers except perhaps more education about the drug’s negative effects and more effective policing – especially more international operations aimed at those at the top of this pyramidic trade; the major manufacturers and smugglers and organised crime groups behind it all, rather than the lowly Nigerian street peddlers who sell a handful or so of the pills at a time.But policing of this sort is hard to achieve in a part of the world where corruption is widespread and low-paid officials can all too often be “encouraged” to look the other way.

The scale of illicit tramadol usage in Nigeria is now so vast that very big sums of money – hundreds of millions of dollars – are being made out of this business, and that kind of cash can oil many wheels and open many doors.We got some insight into the temptations people face while filming with customs and drug enforcement officials at Apapa docks near Lagos. They wanted to show us an intercepted shipment of illegal tramadol. It was an impressive sight – hundreds of cardboard boxes, each containing thousands of illegal individual high concentration doses – but even as we pressed for details about who was behind the shipment and what action had been taken against them (it turns out that distressingly few people have ever been prosecuted for tramadol smuggling in Nigeria), we caught sight of some of the boxes being thrown over the port security fence a few feet away.

Someone was busted for it, but when we tried to film the arrest we were briefly detained on the orders of a senior officer, clearly embarrassed that a carefully choreographed photo opportunity wasn’t going to plan.It wasn’t the only challenge we faced. Nigeria can be a complicated place to do journalism and as we were there in the summer, it was also fearsomely hot, especially in the far north where we went in search of the Boko Haram part of the story. Nevertheless, as you’ll see from the film, it was here that we heard some of the most compelling, if disturbing, accounts of what tramadol abuse can lead people to do and how desperate cravings have been exploited by a ruthless rebellion in constant need of new recruits to do its bidding.

But in the end, this became a story as much about the victims as the perpetrators: those struggling with the consequences of addiction living in a society that has yet to find answers to a steadily worsening problem.

Posted in Africa0 Comments

US Media Propaganda. Drawing “Liberals” and “Leftists” into the CIA’s Orbit. NPR

Will NPR Now Officially Change Its Name to National Propaganda Radio?

By Edward Curtin

Global Research,

Back in the 1960s, the CIA official Cord Meyer said the agency needed to “court the compatible left.”  He knew that drawing liberals and leftists into the CIA’s orbit was the key to efficient propaganda.  Right-wing and left-wing collaborators were needed to create a powerful propaganda apparatus that would be capable of hypnotizing audiences into believing the myth of American exceptionalism and its divine right to rule the world.  The CIA therefore secretly worked to influence American and world opinion through the literary and intellectual elites.

Frances Stonor Saunders comprehensively covers this in her 1999 book, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA And The World Of Arts And Letters, and Joel Whitney followed this up in 2016 with Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World’s Best Writers, with particular emphasis on the complicity between the CIA and the famous literary journal, The Paris Review.  By the mid-1970s, as a result of the Church Committee hearings, it seemed as if the CIA, NSA, FBI, etc. had been caught in flagrante delicto and disgraced, confessed their sins, and resolved to go and sin no more.  Then in 1977, Carl Bernstein wrote a long piece for Esquire– “The CIA and the Media” – naming names of journalists and media (The New York Times, CBS, etc.) that worked hand-in-glove with the CIA, propagandizing the American people and the rest of the world.  It seemed as if all would be hunky-dory now with the bad boys purged from the American “free” press.  Seemed to the most naïve, that is, by which I mean the vast numbers of people who wanted to re-stick their heads in the sand and believe, as Ronald Reagan’s team of truthtellers would announce, that it was “Morning in America” again with the free press reigning and the neo-conservatives, many of whom had been “converted” from their leftist views, running things in Washington.

So again it is morning in America this September 6, 2019, and the headline from National Public Radio announces the glad tidings that NPR has named a new CEO. His name is John Lansing, and the headline says he is a “veteran media executive.”  We are meant to be reassured.  It goes on to say that Mr. Lansing, 62, is currently the chief executive of the government agency, The U.S. Agency for Global Media, that oversees Voice of America, Radio and Television Marti, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, among others.  We are furthermore reassured by NPR that Lansing “made his mark in his current job with stirring defenses of journalism, free from government interference.”The announcement goes on to say:America’s “Righteous” Russia-gate Censorship. “Russia Bashing All the Time”

Lansing has earned an advanced degree in political agility. At the U.S. Agency for Global Media, Lansing championed a free press even as leaders of many nations move against it.

‘Governments around the world are increasingly cracking down on the free flow of information; silencing dialogue and dissent; and distorting reality,’ Lansing said in a speech he delivered in May to the Media for Democracy Forum. ‘The result, I believe, is a war on truth.’

He continued:

‘Citizens in countries from Russia to China, from Iran to North Korea, have been victimized for decades. But now we’re seeing authoritarian regimes expanding around the globe, with media repression in places like Turkey and Venezuela, Cambodia and Vietnam.’

So we are reassured that the new head of NPR, the chief of all U.S. propaganda, is a champion of a free press.  Perhaps NPR will soon enlighten the American public by interviewing its new head honcho and asking him if he thinks Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, by exposing America’s war crimes, and Edward Snowden, by exposing the U.S. government’s vast electronic surveillance programs of its own citizens, deserve to be jailed and exiled  for doing the job the American mainstream “free press” failed to do. What NPR failed to do. Perhaps they will ask him if he objects to the way his own government “interfered” in the lives of these three courageous people who revealed truths that every citizen of a free country is entitled to. Perhaps they will ask him if the U.S. government’s persecution of these truthtellers is what he means by there being “a war on truth.”  Perhaps they will ask him if he thinks the Obama and Trump administrations have been “distorting reality” and waging a war on truth.

Perhaps not. Of course not.

Don’t laugh, for the joke will be on you if you listen to NPR and its sly appeal to “liberal” sensibilities.  If you are wondering why we have had the Russia-gate hoax and who was responsible (see/hear Russia expert Prof. Stephen Cohen here) and are now involved in a new Cold War and a highly dangerous nuclear confrontation with Russia, read Lansing’s July 10, 2019 testimony before the House Appropriations Sub-Committee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs: “United Sates Efforts to Counter Russian Disinformation and Malign Influence.” 

Here is an excerpt:

USAGM provides consistently accurate and compelling journalism that reflects the values of our society: freedom, openness, democracy, and hope. Our guiding principles—enshrined in law—are to provide a reliable, authoritative, and independent source of news that adheres to the strictest standards of journalism….

Russian Disinformation.  And make no mistake, we are living through a global explosion of disinformation, state propaganda, and lies generated by multiple authoritarian regimes around the world. The weaponization of information we are seeing today is real. The Russian government and other authoritarian regimes engage in far-reaching malign influence campaigns across national boundaries and language barriers. The Kremlin’s propaganda and disinformation machine is being unleashed via new platforms and continues to grow in Russia and internationally. Russia seeks to destroy the very idea of an objective, verifiable set of facts as it attempts to influence opinions about the United States and its allies. It is not an understatement to say that this new form of combat on the information battlefield may be the fight of the 21st century.

Then research the history of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Voice of America, Radio and Television Marti, etc.  You will be reassured that Lansing’s July testimony was his job interview to head National Propaganda Radio.

Then sit back, relax, and tune into NPR’s Morning Edition.  It will be comforting to know that it is “Morning in America” once again.

Posted in USA, C.I.A0 Comments

Papua New Guinea New Leader James Marape’s Ambitious Vision: Make His Country “The Richest Black Christian Nation on Earth”?

By Andrew Korybko

Global Research,

The new Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea (PNG) recently elaborated on his vision to make his country “the richest black Christian nation on earth” through a combination of fairer resource deals with transnational corporations and a renewed focus on the agricultural sector, but the success of his ambitious plans will largely rest on his ability to “balance” between the West and China, as well as making unprecedented progress on the socio-economic development of the mostly tribal hinterland.

***

The new Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea (PNG) only entered office a few months ago after a long-running political scandal led to the resignation of his predecessor but he’s already making waves with his ambitious vision of turning this resource-rich but poverty-stricken island country into “the richest black Christian nation on earth”. James Marape made his Trump-like nationalist proclamation in late July during his visit to Australia, which was his first foreign trip since assuming his position, where he also spoke about his plan of one day “participating with Australia looking after smaller island nations”. He aims to achieve this through a combination of fairer resource deals with transnational corporations and a renewed focus on the agricultural sector, but the success of his vision will largely rest on his ability to “balance” between the West and China, as well as making unprecedented progress on the socio-economic development of the mostly tribal hinterland.

Marape’s predecessor, Peter O’Neill, was regarded as extremely close to China, though he was also at the same time responsible for laying the basis of his successor’s “balancing” act by agreeing to allow the US and Australia to jointly operate a naval base in the northern island of Manus. PNG’s new leader emphasized his more visibly neutral position by recently stating that his country is “friends to all, enemies to none” and that “every businessman and woman is welcome in our country, and the Chinese investors will not receive any special treatment and preference, just like Australian investors will not receive any special favour or treatment.” That’s a very pragmatic approach and one that’s much-needed if he hopes to make good on his bold promise because he can’t do it without cooperating equally with both “sides” of the New Cold War. Australia is a long-standing strategic partner while China is a much more recent one, but investment from both is crucial to Marape’s plans.What’s Mike Pence Talking About? The US and China Are Already in a Cold War!

PNG’s resource riches have been more of a curse than a blessing over the years after corrupt governments proved themselves incapable of fairly distributing the billions of dollars of wealth that have poured into this comparatively small country of roughly eight million people, but Marape wants to change all of that by using some of that revenue to fund an agricultural revolution that would turn his nation into “the food basket of Asia”. To do that, however, he must first make serious strides in improving the socio-economic situation of the millions of people who still live in tribal societies there where “most fights are still about women and pigs“. Tribal warfare recently intensified after an horrific massacre of women and children in July that observers worry might plunge the mountainous heartland into a renewed round of tribal warfare that could hold the country back from the advances that it so desperately needs to make.

If the security situation stabilizes and the writ of the state finally extends into the interior in a noticeable way unlike the present (where it’s only relevant as far as selling land to transnational corporations and electing figurehead representatives to parliament), then one of the first tasks will be to promote an inclusive national narrative that binds together the country’s disparate tribes, hence Marape’s embrace of race and religion as the foundation for this. Concurrent with that, PNG will need to seamlessly transition the locals from their tribal societies into the global market economy, which explains his emphasis on their traditional industry of agriculture instead of anything much more culturally disruptive like their large-scale employment in urban factories for example. Still, what Marape envisions for his people is a profound paradigmatic shift that will be difficult to pull off without the right resources, prior planning, and political will.

It’s here where the West (mostly Australia in this case) and China can help. PNG is being reconceptualized by American strategists as a pivotal geopolitical battleground in the New Cold War, which is why the US will be jointly operating a naval base with Australia there in the coming future, but it’s also partnered with the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) being spearheaded by the People’s Republic. If Marape successfully “balances” between the West’s “Indo-Pacific” strategy and China’s BRI, then PNP could conceivably reap the benefits of improved market access for his country’s forthcoming agricultural exports from both, as well as more infrastructural investment to help with the tribal interior’s socio-economic development. Should he can manage to do that, then he stands the best chances yet of turning this terribly impoverished country into “the richest black Christian nation on earth”, though it’ll still take a lot of time for Marape to pull off this miracle.

Posted in Papua New Guinea0 Comments

Will China Invest in Iran’s Transport and Industrial Infrastructure? There are Reasons to be Skeptical

By Andrew Korybko

Global Research,

Petroleum Economist recently published a report citing an unnamed senior Iranian source who alleged that China will invest $120 billion in the Islamic Republic’s transport and manufacturing infrastructure and even deploy 5,000 security personnel to the country to protect those projects, but there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about those sensationalist claims which will very likely be proven false with time.

***

Alt-Media is celebrating Petroleum Economist’s sensationalist report about China and Iran as a supposedly “game-changing” development in the New Cold War after an unnamed senior Iranian source told the publication that the People’s Republic will invest $120 billion in the Islamic Republic’s transport and manufacturing infrastructure and even deploy 5,000 security personnel to the country. The article conforms to the wishful thinking confirmation bias of its intended audience, hence why it’s being portrayed as a huge deal. If it proves to be true, then that would certainly be the case, but there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about what’s put forth in the article, with the main points to ponder being articulated below:

Sources Aren’t Always Sincere

There aren’t any reasons to doubt that a senior Iranian source really did share some sensationalist claims to Petroleum Economist (as they’d have been utterly irresponsible to have published what they did if they received it from an anonymous email address for example and were unable to verify the source’s identity), but the art of information warfare is such that sometimes actual sources deliberately “leak” false information, which in this case might have been intended to deter an American-“Israeli” strike on the country by making both aggressors wonder whether China would intervene in response in order to protect its future investments.

Look Who Was “Leaked” To

The audience should take a look at who the senior Iranian source decided to “leak” this sensationalist information to — an apolitical energy-centric news site most probably followed only by those interested in that sphere instead of a internationally renowned Alt-Media outlet like RT that would have been a better “transmitter” to the global mainstream –with it most likely being the case that the said source knew that more reputable outlets wouldn’t report on what Petroleum Economist described as “many of the key specifics of [the road map for the China-Iran comprehensive strategic partnership] not released to the public” without verifying.

Compare The Claims With Facts

It’s extremely improbable that China would invest $120 billion in Iranian transport and manufacturing infrastructure and thus double the investment that it’s already made in the Belt & Road Initiative‘s (BRI) flagship project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (which isn’t even yet fully completed) during the tough economic times provoked by the so-called “trade war“, and it would also be an unprecedented break in Chinese military policy to deploy troops (let alone on that scale) to another country for the purpose of defending BRI investments when its existing strategy is to depend on its partners’ militaries to that end.

Consider The Implications

If those two scandalous details of the report turned out to be true, then they would imply that China inexplicably places a larger importance on future Iranian transport and manufacturing projects than on the ones associated with the $60 billion that it’s already invested in the much closer and populous global pivot state of Pakistan, as well as suggesting that the Iranian military is so incompetent in ensuring security within its own borders that it must rely on 5,000 troops from halfway across Eurasia who have no experience operating in the country in order to protect a slew of future projects there.

Mixing Fact With Fiction

The most effective infowar products mix fact with fiction in order to create an alternative reality that plays to either its target’s wishful thinking fantasies or their worst nightmare scenarios, with it more than likely being the case that the sensationalist claims about China investing $120 billion in Iran’s transport and manufacturing infrastructure and deploying 5,000 troops there will be proven false with time while the less “sexy” details contained in the article about the preferential treatment that the People’s Republic will receive from its partner’s energy industry might actually be true to a large extent.

Posted in China, Iran0 Comments

US Seeks to Destabilize Southern Syria ‘Video’

By South Front

Global Research,

The US is seeking to reanimate insurgency in southern Syria. According to the pro-militant Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a number of Free Syrian Army commanders that fled Syria in 2018 are now working to form a new militant group, the Army of the South, to attack “Iranian militias” in the region. The allegedly closed U.S. Military Operation Center in Jordan will reportedly support the new group.

Over the past few months, the security situation in southern Syria became more complicated with an increasing number of IED attacks and assassinations aimed against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

The SAA uncovered loads of weapons during a search operation in the newly-captured town of al-Lataminah in northern Hama. The discovered weapons included several mortar cannons of different calibers, at least two Grad 122mm rockets, RPG-18 and RPG-26 anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades as well as a RPO-A thermobaric rocket launcher.

Video: US Evacuates Its Syria Military Base in Al-tanf, Prepares to Halt Aerial Operation

Watch video here

Militants of Jaysh al-Izza, a close ally of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, apparently left behind these weapons. The group’s members fled the town last month following a successful attack by the SAA.

On September 5, the Russian Defense Ministry denied recent reports claiming that several Russian service members were killed in a blast near the town of Jurin in northwestern Hama. These false claims were first published by Vedomosti business daily before being picked up by multiple Russian and Syrian media outlets.

Such reports appear to be a part of new propaganda wave aimed against the SAA and Russia. Such propaganda campaigns are often being launched amid important military or diplomatic developments in Syria, and the Middle East in general.

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What if President Trump Is in “Cognitive Decline”? No, Seriously

By Steve Almond

Global Research,

For the past few days, our president — back at work after a busy August spent golfing and rage tweeting — has been making stuff up about Hurricane Dorian, the deadly storm currently battering the Southeast.

Late-night comedians have been roasting Donald Trump for his lies, including Seth Meyers, who aired a segment this week about Trump’s meteorological ignorance.

The segment is supposed to be funny, obviously. But as I watched Trump repeat the exact same phrase about various “Category 5” storms — sounding each time as if he was uttering this phrase for the first time — I felt a familiar sense of dread.

I remembered the same experience in dealing with my late mother, who struggled with cognitive decline for years before her death.

To be clear: nobody knows for sure if our sitting president is experiencing cognitive decline, which is why so many psychiatrists and mental health experts have called for him to be tested.

What I do know is that if you examine the Trump presidency through the lens of cognitive decline, some of its more bewildering aspects start to make a lot more sense.

Observers — particularly those troubled by the cruelty of his regime — tend to view Trump as lazy, incompetent, demagogic and mendacious. But it seems increasingly possible that the president’s behavior is also a function of his desperate attempts to mask serious cognitive struggles.

Anyone who has dealt with a friend or relative in cognitive decline can tell you that the person in question almost never admits to their struggles. Instead, they go to elaborate lengths to hide their impairment.Trump’s Mission of Distraction: Finding the NYT “Anonymous Author”

Maybe the reason our president is reported to spend up to nine hours per day engaged in “unstructured executive time” isn’t just because he’s lazy. Maybe he’s trying to duck parts of the job he can’t handle. Maybe the reason he doesn’t read anything — including briefings — is because he can’t absorb or retain complex concepts.

Maybe the reason his unscripted speech is so often incoherent and littered with vagaries (relying on placeholder words such as  “thing” and “they”) is because he cannot summon the specific vocabulary he wants to use.

Maybe the reason Trump seeks out friendly media outlets and rallies is because he can only function in venues that feel safe and familiar, where no one will expose his struggles, where he can ramble and repeat the same slogans and stories and still receive applause.

In her own way, my own mother employed similar forms of subterfuge. She sought out familiar environments, and routines. As she struggled to track conversations, her responses became more confused and confusing. And the more cognitive function she lost, the more irritable and defensive she became.

Which brings us back to Trump and his increasingly defensive behavior.

Chris Hayes@chrislhayes

I mean this seriously: the Alabama obsession really feels…clinical at this point? I mean if someone in your life was acting this way, you’d be legit concerned.63.4K9:19 PM – Sep 5, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy12.3K people are talking about this

What many of us don’t understand about cognitive struggles is the tremendous shame people feel. Particularly people — like Trump — who are in constant danger of being exposed.

Perhaps the reason he makes such a point of bragging about his big brain and his amazing memory is because he’s racked with doubts about both. Perhaps part of the reason his lies are so frequent and brazen — consider the whopper he told about why he skipped the climate change meeting at the G7 — is because he doesn’t have enough executive function to orchestrate his lies.

I say none of this lightly.

Trump is unfit for office based on his personal corruption, his disloyalty to the Constitution and his documented crimes.

All of these offenses are predicated on the notion that Trump is, in fact, in control of his faculties. But what if he isn’t?

That may sound like a partisan question, but it’s really a medical one. Simply put: a person in cognitive decline — whether Democrat or Republican — shouldn’t control the nuclear codes. We should all agree on that. And you can be sure that if a Democratic president behaved in the ways Trump does, Republicans would be howling for a thorough cognitive evaluation.

But think about this in a more personal way: If a loved one of yours began behaving as Trump does, would you be concerned about them? Would you want them evaluated, just to be sure?

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Boris Johnson Trips: Duvets, Toothbrushes and the House of Lords

By Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Global Research,

In 2017, MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Tory creature trapped in cold storage, suggested that the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union was tantamount to fighting the battles of Agincourt, Waterloo and Trafalgar, a true statement of British strength.  (Much inconsistency there, but let him ride with it.) 

“This is Magna Carta, it’s the Burgesses coming at Parliament, it’s the great reform bill, it’s the bill of rights, it’s Waterloo, it’s Agincourt, it’s Crecy.  We win all of these things.”

Those things are not looking quite so victorious at the moment, stalling and falling as they are.  Prime Minister Boris Johnson, like his predecessor, is finding the House of Commons unruly, incapable of placation.  He has lost every vote so far, failing to get the trigger by the Fixed-term Parliaments Act to propel the country towards a speedy election.  In response to that loss, Johnson appeared at the West Yorkshire Police Headquarters intending to crow about being “strong on crime” in front of a gaggle of police officers.  Before asking the EU for an extension, he would “rather be dead in a ditch.”

He is also finding the House of Lords a tough proposition.  Everyone is talking about ways that Brexit will not happen, rather than how it will happen. In order to effectuate the former, the need to take, again, the begging bowl to Europe to seek an extension past the October 31 date of departure is becoming pressing.

On Wednesday night, reports were filtering through that the House of Lords was determined to stay and debate for as long as it was required on the fate of a backbench bill seeking to block a no-deal Brexit.  Some had even arrived with duvets and toothbrushes, anticipating a lengthy battle in the chamber.  Richard Newby, the Liberal Democrats leader in the Lords, was relieved that it did not come to that.  “I don’t think carrying through 24 or 48 hours as we have been doing in a sort of pathetic attempt to set a new Guinness world record… would do anybody any favours.”Boris Johnson Suspends UK Parliament

At 1.30 Thursday morning, peers were informed that the bill tabled by Labour’s Hilary Benn would be returned to the lower house the following day by 5pm, scuppering any new attempts at a filibuster.  (Such behaviour is precisely the sort that has gotten the conservative magazine, The Spectatorworried: pack the Lords, it suggests, with leavers, and we would not have this disagreeable nonsense.)  On Monday, the bill will again be voted on in the Commons and, if passed, duly become law with royal assent.

Johnson, through a spokesman, has expressed a desire to reject the bill’s force, requiring him to seek yet another extension on Brexit till January 31 if October’s European Council summit fails to secure a deal or Parliament’s consent for a no deal.  “The PM will not do this. It is clear the only action is to go back to the people and give them the opportunity to decide what they want: Boris to go to Brussels and get a deal, or leave without one on 31 October.”

The debate, the angst, and the anger, is taking place in a sealed vacuum, one that sees Europe and the European Union in the most abstract of terms.  The United Kingdom remains psychically and spiritually estranged from the continent, a point that is also shown by the Remainers: Europe is only relevant as a commissariat to transact with, an assemblage of destinations rather than a set of ties.  Well and good to get a vote to force Boris with his Begging Bowl to front up to the EU, but in the minds of most officials, the deal is done and dusted, on the table awaiting implementation.  The rest is a carnival of despair marked by a parody akin to students who refuse to submit their assessments on time, though a worrying one for those in Brussels who fear that a successful exit might spell the end of the EU compact.

Such conditions breed foolishness, satire, and caricature.  The trivial becomes arresting, compelling and disproportionately significant. A politician’s posture and demeanour –  how that person behaves in the House – exceeds the interests of all others, including the mechanics of one of the most important processes in several generations.  Where expertise on process is required, clownish expounding is preferred.

The delightfully hysterical reaction to Rees-Mogg himself is a case in point.  The leader of the House of Commons has taken to becoming a bit of furniture, spreading out on the front bench, quite literally, the sort of behaviour that would not have been out of place from a Head Boy at a public school.  This horrified conservative grandee Sir Nicholas Soames, former defence minister of the realm, and grandson of Winston Churchill considers that:

“[Rees Mogg] is in serious danger of believing his own shtick.  He is an absolute fraud, he is a living example of what a moderately cut double-breasted suit and a decent tie can do with an ultra-posh voice and a bit of ginger stuck up his arse.”

Even as the ship sinks, it is important to keep up appearances.

Posted in UK0 Comments

No-deal Brexit Warnings Report – A ‘Social Catastrophe’ Awaits Us, “A Slow Train of Economic Chaos”

By True Publica

Global Research,

Project Fear’ was used to criticise the campaign being run by ‘Britain Stronger in Europe’, supporters of the UK remaining in the European Union. Ironically, it was Boris Johnson who reintroduced the term after the governments’ original use of it to attack the Scottish Independence movement two years earlier. Johnson put forward claims that the pro-EU campaign was guilty of scaremongering, saying that “the agents of Project Fear” were trying to “spook” the British public into voting against British withdrawal from the European Union.

But now, the sheer weight and scale of warnings from the country’s best experts of what will likely happen in a no-deal Brexit have now completely dwarfed any opposite reaction of its impact when Britain loses the equivalent of 70 international trade deals at the stroke of mid-night 31st October. If the warnings are to be believed, the following day will unleash a slow train of chaos that the public is unprepared for. There will be silence as nothing notable happens straight away but as each week rolls into months the unfolding catastrophe will become apparent. Any politician or organisation saying that these warnings are some sort of reverse styled ‘Project Fear’ are conspiracy theorists – because the facts as we are presented with them are not on their side.

In preparation, the government has published over 100 “technical notices” outlining the practical effects of no-deal – from driving licences to drugs. Brexit readiness started at just over £2 billion, was then increased to £4billion, Boris Johnson has added another £2.1 billion and the Chancellor approved another £2billion in the spending review last week. A huge propaganda campaign – the biggest since WW2 to encourage the public to prepare for a chaotic exit has just been launched. No-deal planning is now costing over £8.3bn.

Meanwhile, 3,500 troops plus army reservists are now “held at readiness,” in case martial law is declared if things get nasty. The surveillance agencies are on heightened alert – and security services will be monitoring what they are calling the ‘battle rhythm.’ The supermarket chains and pharma giants were told to stockpile food and medicine.

In analysing online news results, TruePublica found that 53 per cent of Brexit related news is now against a no-deal Brexit, 37 per cent of Brexit news stories were neutral and just 10 per cent were defending Boris Johnson’s Brexit agenda. The government petitions website now has a ratio of 10 to 1 against Brexit with more than 10 million signatures declared in 17 overall petitions.

These are the current no-deal warnings, some may have been updated, but collectively, they paint an alarming overall picture.

Economic chaos

The Confederation of British Industry warns – that a no-deal Brexit is “a tripwire into economic chaos that could harm our country for years to come.

Over the longer term, the Bank of England originally warned the economy could be 8 per cent smaller by 2035 after a no-deal Brexit than if it stayed in the EU. On 4th Sept, the governor revised down his warnings down to 5.5 per cent due to increased preparedness. He also stated unemployment would double and that inflation would double to 5.5%.

And while the warning is reduced it should not be forgotten that this fall in GDP still represents nearly 90 per cent of the fall experienced in the previous financial crisis triggered in 2008. That recovery was the longest and slowest since the 1930s and to add another one without the usual 10 to 15 years growth cycle normally expected, would devastate household incomes.

In the meantime, the bank’s governor has also warned Brexit will “turn foreign investors off British assets.”

Foreign investment collapse

Figures from the Department for International Trade showed that investment in the UK by overseas firms has collapsed. The number of new projects in the UK fell 14% in just the last 12 month period of 2018-19. In that same time period, there was a 24% fall in the number of jobs created. The same report highlighted that there was an even sharper drop in the number of existing jobs which have been secured by further investment in the UK.

Business investment collapse

The rising threat of no-deal Brexit has set Britain on course for the biggest decline in business investment since the financial crisis, the Confederation of British Industry has warned. And according to the ONS, overall business investment has already fallen for four consecutive quarters last year. That is a double the required timeframe to count as being in a technical recession. The reason – fears over Brexit.

Company bankruptcies

The Bank of England and Treasury warns the UK will be worse off under all Brexit scenarios. But in a no-deal Brexit, the BoE warns that Britain will see a substantial amount of company bankruptcies after suffering a “real economic shock.”

Lost productivity

The Brexit process has cut the productivity of British companies by between 2% and 5% since the 2016 vote to leave the European Union, according to a research paper published by the Bank of England last Friday. However, last week the FT reported a causal link has been established between Brexit and lower investment, which they say has already reached 5 per cent.

Recession

The Office for Budget responsibility (OBR) has warned that a no-deal Brexit would plunge Britain into a recession that would shrink the economy by 2%, push unemployment above 5% and send house prices tumbling by around 10%. All that in the space of just one year. The OBR’s report also shows that even in the most benign version of a no-deal exit there would be a very significant hit to the UK economy, a very significant reduction in tax revenues and a big increase in our national debt – “a recession caused by a no-deal Brexit.”

Lost per capita income

The latest research published by the Centre of Economic Performance has analysed the effects of trading with the EU on WTO terms. It warns that after 10 years this would reduce the UK’s per-capita income by between 3.5% and 8.7% with other credible analyses coming to much the same conclusion. The upper end of this analysis falls into line with the Bank of England’s forecast.

Lost competitiveness

The CBI also warns in no uncertain terms that Brexit will be -“the slow puncture of the UK’s lost competitiveness. Unless and until a new trade deal is forged, the UK would face tariffs on 90% of its total EU goods exports, by value. Our manufactured goods will become less competitive and businesses will be tied up in new red tape. The EU will apply double testing in areas from children’s toys to high-viz jackets. Services providers, from broadcasting to insurance, who account for 80% of the UK economy will be forced to shift operations to Europe to maintain market access.”

Job losses

Unemployment has already risen by 31,000 in the second quarter of this year as business investment and confidence evaporates. The Bank of England predicts a further 34,000 fewer jobs by the end of 2019.

But in a no-deal post-Brexit world the predictions are dire. Overall, the EU is expected to lose around 1.2 million jobs but the UK, inevitably, would suffer the most out of all EU member states with 525,000 job losses, according to a report and study published in Personnel Today. Even the Business Secretary has warned that a no-deal Brexit would lead to the loss of “many thousands” of jobs without saying what that means.

Business relocations

Since Brexit was always a threat to businesses trading inside the EU, many companies have now either warned they are relocating, prepared for it or already moved critical parts of business activity – mainly to Germany, France and The Netherlands. Some the biggest names are; Jaguar LandRover, Airbus, Nissan, Honda, Michelin, Schaeffler, Aviva, Dyson, Panasonic, P&O, Phillips, Rolls Royce, Sony, Toyota, Unilever and Ford.

Financial services asset transfers

The financial services industry warned Brexit would cause a considerable reaction from its trading regime. The result is that they have collectively already moved £1 trillion in financial assets – around 12 per cent of total assets in the UK to Europe. They include – HSBC, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, UBS and Lloyds of London.

Stockpiling – No capacity left

The UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) stated “there is no space left” and Peter Ward its CEO has warned that the port of Dover is ‘catastrophically’ unprepared for a no-deal Brexit. Ward has also warned that irrespective of what the government or its agencies have said, there is no such thing as ‘frictionless trade’ after Brexit and that a tiny little detail like ports not having enough plug in points to power temperature-controlled vehicles is a real problem. UKWA is helping to advise UK businesses involved in cross border trade with a total of 300,000 trading partners.

Supermarket chains – Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco have warned that an October no-deal exit is “as bad as it gets”. Tesco boss Dave Lewis told the BBC that while it had stockpiled some goods ahead of the original March Brexit deadline, it would be more difficult this time with warehouses because they were already – “full of things getting ready for Christmas so there will be less capacity“.

Inflation

The BoE has warned the government that a disorderly exit from the EU would prompt another fall in the value of the pound, leading to higher prices and a drop in real incomes. The latest estimates from the BoE state that in a no-deal Brexit, inflation will double to 5.5 per cent.

Currency

Image on the right: 6 Sep 2014 00:00 UTC – 5 Sep 2019 04:30 UTC GBP/USD close:1.22378

Since March this year – just six months, Sterling has depreciated 12% against the JPY, 9% against the USD, and nearly 8% against the EUR. In fact, every G10 and major EM currency has gained against GBP over this period. The ‘markets’ are now moving towards no-deal – and the warnings are getting more stern – “sterling appears very vulnerable on two additional and interrelated fronts: economic data developments and central bank stance. On balance, we think there is further room for sterling to depreciate against majors (USD, EUR, JPY and CHF) in the weeks ahead, amid a confluence of negative factors.”

National Health Service

A “no-deal” Brexit will push the NHS “to the brink” as the service prepares for next winter, the BMA warns. In a briefing paper published on 2 September, the association describes how a departure from the European Union without an agreement could have “catastrophic” consequences for doctors, patients, and services at a time when the NHS is already struggling to cope with rising demand. The paper demands that the government urgently answer more than 40 questions on how crashing out of the EU on 31 October will affect crucial areas such as the NHS workforce.

Household incomes and savings

The Resolution Foundation has published warnings about the resilience of households to deal with the coming Brexit recession. To cope with the downturn that followed the financial crisis of 2008, low- and middle-income families drew down on their limited savings and now nearly 60 per cent of this group have nothing put aside. Additionally, the social security safety net cushioned the impact of that recession on lower-income households. For example, for the poorest 10th of the population, the fall in income from employment was more than offset by a boost from the tax and benefit system. That very system has been largely dismantled through Universal Credit and already causing considerable hardship.

The DWP has been asked to publish secret analysis that reveals the impact of different Brexit outcomes on poverty levels, wages and low-income households in the UK. The DWP confirmed that itdoes hold some of the analysis but that it would not publish any of the findings “as it was not in the public interest to do so”.

Rising inflation puts further pressure on household incomes, especially if unemployment rises as that will cause wages to stagnate.

Farming

The four main farm unions in the UK have written to MPs warning that a no-deal Brexit could have “severe impacts” on farm businesses, the food industry and a “fragile” rural economy.

In addition, the head of the National Farmers’ Union warns that UK farmers would have third-party status and would face high tariffs to sell their goods into Europe. “We’d be priced out of the market,” she said, claiming that the result for UK farmers would be “catastrophic.” “Forty per cent of our lamb goes to Europe, for just one example. We’re not going to suddenly start eating more lamb here. If we don’t have that export market, what happens to it?”

Some experts have predicted that 25% or more of farmers could go out of business in the first year – and although this seems overstretched, academics say government plans to replace farm subsidies after Brexit could mean that up to one in four of England’s least profitable farms could go bankrupt in around a year.

Ireland

A no-deal Brexit will have “an immediate and severe impact on almost all areas of economic activity”, the acting governor of the Central Bank of Ireland has warned. Ireland is expected to lose over 50,000 jobs.

Northern Ireland

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), has warned a no-deal Brexit could become a motivating factor for extremists in the event of a disorderly exit. The counter-terror chief warns of a year-long upsurge in dissident republican support and violence.

Something like one-quarter of all MI5 none administration based personnel are now concentrated on terror-related activity focused on the NI border.

Scotland

The Scottish First Minister has warned that a “catastrophic” no-deal departure would cost 100,000 jobs in Scotland and “plunge the economy into recession”.

Ruth Davidson’s resignation is evidence that she has given up the fight to save the union and believes it won’t hold. Although she cited family reasons in her decision to leave the job, her distaste for Johnson was no secret. In her role, she was the most influential voice for Scotland remaining a part of the U.K. at a time when support for Scottish independence has risen amid widespread opposition to Brexit. Davidson, who appeared on the 2018 TIME 100, campaigned successfully to keep Scotland inside the United Kingdom during the Scottish independence referendum in 2014.

Even the Financial Times is mourning the loss of the union – its headline was unambiguous – “Brexit has become the enemy of the UK union” and it stresses that the union is done.

Wales

The Welsh government has warned that it could be the worst affected region in the country. Over 60% of Welsh exports went go the EU. “The economic costs will be catastrophic“. Wales is set to lose £7 billion a year by 2034, the equivalent to the annual public spending on hospitals, GP surgeries and other health services in the country. Welsh farmers have threatened to storm parliament as a ‘catastrophic failure‘ of their industry is also expected. Wales is a net beneficiary of EU membership, receiving about £680 million in EU funding each year. There are 14 critical warnings for Wales in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

EU assists member states

The EU has announced it could declare no-deal Brexit a major natural disaster. The move would allow members to draw on emergency fund for floods, fires and earthquakes to reduce the economic impact of reduced economic activity.

As for Ireland – the country that will be most directly affected – the EU has said it will provide a huge cushion against the effects of Brexit. A senior EU diplomat told The Times newspaper that the bloc would “spend whatever was necessary” – a “multi-billion pound aid package” to support Ireland.

Property prices

The expected fall in inward investment and confidence in the property market is expected to see house price falls of around 6 per cent one year after a no-deal Brexit with warnings of a 20 per cent fall in subsequent years. The Office of National Statistics reported recently that London house prices had now fallen 4.4% in May year on year, the largest yearly fall since the 2009 crisis, as investment confidence drains away. This may be good for prospective first-time buyers, but little use if the consequent lending squeeze and increased deposit requirements stall the entire housing market and locks out most FTB’s.Brexit – The Truth About the Economy and What’s Next

Organised crime and terrorism

One little discussed consequence of no deal are warnings that the UK will immediately lose access to EU databases and other forms of cooperationincluding the European arrest warrant, the Schengen information system and Europol. This will hinder policing and security operations in a world where data is key to solving crime. Nor is it inconceivable, as the head of the National Crime Agency has also warned – that we will witness a rise in organised criminal activity, as gangs seek to profit from this disruption. He has also warned that Brexit itself could also lead to an increase in bribery and corruption as British companies enter into new markets around the world and has now asked the government to triple its funding to cope.

National debt

Source: ukpublicspending.co.uk

A no-deal Brexit would blow a £30 billion annual hole in the public finances as the economy shrinks and tax receipts collapse, driving the national debt above £2 trillion for the first time, the government’s budget watchdog has warned.

In all, a no-deal would add about £30billion a year to government borrowing, the OBR said – or, put another way, £577 million a week. OBR forecasters said their stress test was “by no means a worst-case scenario.”

Questions

In a no-deal post-Brexit world, where so much has subsequently gone wrong, who on earth would want to be a politician, especially a politician that either backed no-deal or didn’t fight against it as the country spirals?

When people die on the streets of Northern Ireland or when violence spills over on to the mainland – who will answer the questions as to why the Good Friday Agreement was abandoned for an ideology?

When the union falls apart, likely to start with Scotland who will answer those questions about why borders are being erected to separate the two countries as a result of an unproven, unworkable theory?

The London (England) riots erupted in 2011 with the loss of five lives, over £200 million in property damage and 3,000 arrests. If worse were to happen, as is expected, who will answer the questions to those people who have suffered losses?

When businesses go bust, assets are liquidated by the banks and hard-working people including some of Britain’s budding entrepreneurs are thrown onto the streets, who will be answerable to their losses?

With household and personal debt now higher than just prior to the 2008 financial crisis – who will pay for the job losses that lead to evictions and repossessions in a country where the housing crisis already sees a homeless person dying on the streets of Britain every 19 hours?

When food banks and charitable services become overwhelmed (already at breaking point) – who will help and protect those most vulnerable to the impending crisis that only last month saw nearly 90,000 British children being sustained on emergency three-day food parcel supplies?

When the NHS is overwhelmed by a perfect storm of people suffering from delays of medical supplies that the NHS itself will be suffering, and be suffering additional critical staff shortages, who will pay the consequences of their misery or worse?

Who would want to be the Northern Ireland secretary, the business secretary, at the home office, in charge of the military, health or housing when all these warnings develop into real-world tragedies? Who would want the job of negotiating trade deals with other countries who understand Britain’s hand is so weak, negotiations will be totally one-sided? Who would want to run a country, where citizens were told by a political elite so detached from society that a no-deal Brexit was somehow affordable when it was never affordable to at least half of the population?

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