Archive | November 6th, 2019

India’s Refusal on RCEP Causes Far-reaching Geopolitical Implications

By Andrew Korybko

Global Research,

India officially refused to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) following several days of heated negotiations on the issue during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Bangkok. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is reported to have said,

“The present form of the RCEP Agreement does not fully reflect the basic spirit and the agreed guiding principles of RCEP.”

“When I measure the RCEP Agreement with respect to the interests of all Indians, I do not get a positive answer. Therefore, neither the Talisman of Gandhiji nor my own conscience permits me to join RCEP,” he said.

This strongly implies that the Indian leader has fallen under the influence of the American information warfare narrative that clinching a free trade deal with China would harm his country’s domestic industries.

It’s very telling that much smaller economies than his country don’t give any credence to those claims, with even tiny Cambodia and Laos having no problem with the final terms that were agreed to. The joint statement released after the event noted the situation with India.

“We noted 15 RCEP Participating Countries have concluded text-based negotiations for all 20 chapters and essentially all their market access issues,” the statement said. “India has significant outstanding issues, which remain unresolved…India’s final decision will depend on the satisfactory resolution of these issues.”

This makes it seem like there’s still a faint glimmer of hope that India might eventually join, pending a revision of the agreement’s terms, though that outcome appears to be very unlikely.

Going by Prime Minister Modi’s own words, domestic considerations played the largest role in his decision. India’s economy has been slowing over the past year despite overly optimistic forecasts about its supposedly inevitable growth, proving that there are indeed some fundamental issues at home that he needs to be mindful of.

They aren’t, however, connected to China or even any of India’s other economic partners, but could arguably be the result of irresponsible financial actions and the country’s historic protectionist measures which eerily resemble some of America’s in recent years. That might not be a coincidence either since the two countries have grown incredibly close over the past decade to the point of becoming strategic partners nowadays.Asia’s Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP): The RCEP Train Left the Station, and India, Behind

(From L to R) Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi react during a photo session of the 3rd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, November 4, 2019. /Xinhua Photo

The visible bonhomie on display between Prime Minister Modi and President Trump during their “Howdy, Modi” event in Houston in September and the very profound praise that they publicly showered on one another at that time confirm that the interpersonal relations between these two countries’ leaders are just as excellent as the international ones between their governments. It’s therefore not inconceivable that Prime Minister Modi might have been very receptive to Trump’s trade war rhetoric and his anti-Chinese fearmongering. After all, both leaders were brought to power by a base of supporters who are commonly characterized as extremely nationalistic and suspicious of multilateral trade deals.

What’s so surprising about Prime Minister Modi’s decision, however, is that he also appears to have a pretty positive relationship with President Xi, which was proudly displayed during what Indian media has since called their “Chennai Connect” from October. Moreover, India is a member of BRICS – a grouping of emerging economies that also includes Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa – and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), both organizations of which are committed to increasing integration between their participants in different spheres. But now New Delhi has suddenly decided to signal that there are certain limits to how far it’s willing to go with the economic dimension of this shared vision. This is really troubling because it could eventually pose problems for the planned Eurasian integration processes of its partners and the future of multipolarity more broadly.

Russia is openly pursuing the Greater Eurasian Partnership that it envisages as uniting the Eurasian Economic Union, the Belt and Road Initiative – which India is staunchly against, the SCO, and ASEAN. But with India refusing to go along with the economic component of this through RCEP, which entails free trade with China, questions now arise about the viability of this ambitious vision that was previously taken for granted.

Even more concerning is that it’s only natural that questions also begin to arise about India’s long-term strategic intentions in general and its newfound relations with the U.S. in particular, meaning that this single decision by Prime Minister Modi could have far-reaching geopolitical implications if he doesn’t win back his partners’ trust.

Posted in India0 Comments

A New Kind of Tyranny: The Global State’s War on Those Who Speak Truth to Power

By John W. Whitehead

Global Research,

“What happens to Julian Assange and to Chelsea Manning is meant to intimidate us, to frighten us into silence. By defending Julian Assange, we defend our most sacred rights. Speak up now or wake up one morning to the silence of a new kind of tyranny. The choice is ours.”—John Pilger, investigative journalist

All of us are in danger.

In an age of prosecutions for thought crimes, pre-crime deterrence programs, and government agencies that operate like organized crime syndicates, there is a new kind of tyranny being imposed on those who dare to expose the crimes of the Deep State, whose reach has gone global.

The Deep State has embarked on a ruthless, take-no-prisoners, all-out assault on truth-tellers.

Activists, journalists and whistleblowers alike are being terrorized, traumatized, tortured and subjected to the fear-inducing, mind-altering, soul-destroying, smash-your-face-in tactics employed by the superpowers-that-be.

Take Julian Assange, for example.

Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks—a website that published secret information, news leaks, and classified media from anonymous sources—was arrested on April 11, 2019, on charges of helping U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning access and leak more than 700,000 classified military documents that portray the U.S. government and its military as reckless, irresponsible and responsible for thousands of civilian deaths.

Included among the leaked Manning material were the Collateral Murder video (April 2010), the Afghanistan war logs (July 2010), the Iraq war logs (October 2010), a quarter of a million diplomatic cables (November 2010), and the Guantánamo files (April 2011).

The Collateral Murder leak included gunsight video footage from two U.S. AH-64 Apache helicopters engaged in a series of air-to-ground attacks while air crew laughed at some of the casualties. Among the casualties were two Reuters correspondents who were gunned down after their cameras were mistaken for weapons and a driver who stopped to help one of the journalists. The driver’s two children, who happened to be in the van at the time it was fired upon by U.S. forces, suffered serious injuries.

This is morally wrong.

It shouldn’t matter which nation is responsible for these atrocities: there is no defense for such evil perpetrated in the name of profit margins and war profiteering.

In true Orwellian fashion, however, the government would have us believe that it is Assange and Manning who are the real criminals for daring to expose the war machine’s seedy underbelly.

Since his April 2019 arrest, Assange has been locked up in a maximum-security British prison—in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day—pending extradition to the U.S., where if convicted, he could be sentenced to 175 years in prison.

Whatever is being done to Assange behind those prison walls—psychological torture, forced drugging, prolonged isolation, intimidation, surveillance—it’s wearing him down.

In court appearances, the 48-year-old Assange appears disoriented, haggard and zombie-like.

“In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law,” declared Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture.

It’s not just Assange who is being made to suffer, however.

Manning, who was jailed for seven years from 2010 to 2017 for leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, was arrested in March 2019 for refusing to testify before a grand jury about Assange, placed in solitary confinement for almost a month, and then sentenced to remain in jail either until she agrees to testify or until the grand jury’s 18-month term expires.

Federal judge Anthony J. Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia also fined Manning $500 for every day she remained in custody after 30 days, and $1,000 for every day she remains in custody after 60 days, a chilling—and financially crippling—example of the government’s heavy-handed efforts to weaponize fines and jail terms as a means of forcing dissidents to fall in line.

This is how the police state deals with those who challenge its chokehold on power.

Make no mistake: the government is waging war on journalists and whistleblowers for disclosing information relating to government misconduct that is within the public’s right to know.

Yet while this targeted campaign—aided, abetted and advanced by the Deep State’s international alliances—is unfolding during President Trump’s watch, it began with the Obama Administration’s decision to revive the antiquated, hundred-year-old Espionage Act, which was intended to punish government spies, and instead use it to prosecute government whistleblowers.

Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has not merely continued the Obama Administration’s attack on whistleblowers. It has injected this war on truth-tellers and truth-seekers with steroids and let it loose on the First Amendment.Julian Assange’s Life Is in Danger

In May 2019, Trump’s Justice Department issued a sweeping new “superseding” secret indictment of Assange—hinged on the Espionage Act—that empowers the government to determine what counts as legitimate journalism and criminalize the rest, not to mention giving “the government license to criminally punish journalists it does not like, based on antipathy, vague standards, and subjective judgments.”

Noting that the indictment signaled grave dangers for freedom of the press in general, media lawyer Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr., warned,

“The indictment would criminalize the encouragement of leaks of newsworthy classified information, criminalize the acceptance of such information, and criminalize publication of it.”

Boutrous continues:

[I]t doesn’t matter whether you think Assange is a journalist, or whether WikiLeaks is a news organization. The theory that animates the indictment targets the very essence of journalistic activity: the gathering and dissemination of information that the government wants to keep secret. You don’t have to like Assange or endorse what he and WikiLeaks have done over the years to recognize that this indictment sets an ominous precedent and threatens basic First Amendment values…. With only modest tweaking, the very same theory could be invoked to prosecute journalists for the very same crimes being alleged against Assange, simply for doing their jobs of scrutinizing the government and reporting the news to the American people.

We desperately need greater scrutiny and transparency, not less.

Indeed, transparency is one of those things the shadow government fears the most. Why? Because it might arouse the distracted American populace to actually exercise their rights and resist the tyranny that is inexorably asphyxiating their freedoms.

This need to shed light on government actions—to make the obscure, least transparent reaches of government accessible and accountable—was a common theme for Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, who famously coined the phrase, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

Writing in January 1884, Brandeis explained:

Light is the only thing that can sweeten our political atmosphere—light thrown upon every detail of administration in the departments; light diffused through every policy; light blazed full upon every feature of legislation; light that can penetrate every recess or corner in which any intrigue might hide; light that will open up to view the innermost chambers of government, drive away all darkness from the treasury vaults; illuminate foreign correspondence; explore national dockyards; search out the obscurities of Indian affairs; display the workings of justice; exhibit the management of the army; play upon the sails of the navy; and follow the distribution of the mails.

Of course, transparency is futile without a populace that is informed, engaged and prepared to hold the government accountable to abiding by the rule of law.

For this reason, it is vital that citizens have the right to criticize the government without fear.

After all, we’re citizens, not subjects. For those who don’t fully understand the distinction between the two and why transparency is so vital to a healthy constitutional government, Manning explains it well:

When freedom of information and transparency are stifled, then bad decisions are often made and heartbreaking tragedies occur – too often on a breathtaking scale that can leave societies wondering: how did this happen? … I believe that when the public lacks even the most fundamental access to what its governments and militaries are doing in their names, then they cease to be involved in the act of citizenship. There is a bright distinction between citizens, who have rights and privileges protected by the state, and subjects, who are under the complete control and authority of the state.

Manning goes on to suggest that the U.S. “needs legislation to protect the public’s right to free speech and a free press, to protect it from the actions of the executive branch and to promote the integrity and transparency of the US government.”

Technically, we’ve already got such legislation on the books: the First Amendment.

The First Amendment gives the citizenry the right to speak freely, protest peacefully, expose government wrongdoing, and criticize the government without fear of arrest, isolation or any of the other punishments that have been meted out to whistleblowers such as Edwards Snowden, Assange and Manning.

The challenge is holding the government accountable to obeying the law.

Almost 50 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in United States v. Washington Post Co. to block the Nixon Administration’s attempts to use claims of national security to prevent The Washington Post and The New York Times from publishing secret Pentagon papers on how America went to war in Vietnam.

As Justice William O. Douglas remarked on the ruling, “The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell.”

Almost 50 years later, with Assange being cast as the poster boy for treason, we’re witnessing yet another showdown, which pits the people’s right to know about government misconduct against the might of the military industrial complex.

Yet this isn’t merely about whether whistleblowers and journalists are part of a protected class under the Constitution. It’s a debate over how long “we the people” will remain a protected class under the Constitution.

Following the current downward trajectory, it won’t be long before anyone who believes in holding the government accountable is labeled an “extremist,” is relegated to an underclass that doesn’t fit in, must be watched all the time, and is rounded up when the government deems it necessary.

Eventually, we will all be potential suspects, terrorists and lawbreakers in the eyes of the government

Partisan politics have no place in this debate: Americans of all stripes would do well to remember that those who question the motives of government provide a necessary counterpoint to those who would blindly follow where politicians choose to lead.

We don’t have to agree with every criticism of the government, but we must defend the rights of allindividuals to speak freely without fear of punishment or threat of banishment.

Never forget: what the architects of the police state want are submissive, compliant, cooperative, obedient, meek citizens who don’t talk back, don’t challenge government authority, don’t speak out against government misconduct, and don’t step out of line.

What the First Amendment protects—and a healthy constitutional republic requires—are citizens who routinely exercise their right to speak truth to power.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the right to speak out against government wrongdoing is the quintessential freedom.

Be warned: this quintessential freedom won’t be much good to anyone if the government makes good on its promise to make an example of Assange as a warning to other journalists intent on helping whistleblowers disclose government corruption.

Once again, we find ourselves reliving George Orwell’s 1984, which portrayed in chilling detail how totalitarian governments employ the power of language to manipulate the masses.

In Orwell’s dystopian vision of the future, Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish “thoughtcrimes.”

Much like today’s social media censors and pre-crime police departments, Orwell’s Thought Police serve as the eyes and ears of Big Brother, while the other government agencies peddle in economic affairs (rationing and starvation), law and order (torture and brainwashing), and news, entertainment, education and art (propaganda).

Orwell’s Big Brother relies on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings and make independent, non-government-approved thought altogether unnecessary.

Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is “safe” and “accepted” by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.

This is the final link in the police state chain.

Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry—mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all—our backs are to the walls.

From this point on, we have only two options: go down fighting, or capitulate and betray our loved ones, our friends and ourselves by insisting that, as a brainwashed Winston Smith does at the end of Orwell’s 1984, yes, 2+2 does equal 5.

As George Orwell recognized, “In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

Posted in USA, UK0 Comments

Akwasi Afrifa: An Appraisal of Ghana’s One Time Military Ruler

By Adeyinka Makinde

Global Research,

Akwasi Afrifa, military officer and political leader of Ghana, is a man whose legacy still polarises his countrymen to this day. Should he be remembered as a principled believer in democratic values who helped rescue Ghana from a “dictator” leading his nation to ruin? Or was he an unscrupulous and ambitious opportunist whose participation in Ghana’s first military coup set a precedent for political instability and corruption?

Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa was born into humble origins in the Ashanti region to a cobbler father he referred to as “a cowardly man” who was “short, bulky and ugly”, and a mother he remembered as a “tall, black and extremely beautiful woman.” He often wondered why his mother had married his father. A bright student, he received a scholarship to attend Adisadel College, an Anglican boys boarding school in the Cape Coast. He excelled academically, and in 1955, collected seven prizes in Latin, Greek, Religious Knowledge, History, English Language and Geography. On hand to present the tall, gangling 19-year-old with his prizes was none other than Kwame Nkrumah, the Prime Minister of the then Gold Coast (as pre-independent Ghana was named), the man who he would help overthrow in a military coup eleven years later.

Afrifa’s choice of a career in the military was not his first. He had intended to be trained in the law, but his expulsion from Adisadel put paid to those aspirations. In The Ghana Coup: 24th February 1966, a part memoir that served as his justification for the anti-Nkrumah coup, Afrifa claimed that his expulsion was for failing to take Religious Knowledge among the minimum six academic subjects in his final examinations. But the true reason was that Afrifa had led a student protest which had led to riotous acts including vandalism.

Afrifa entered the military and received training at Sandhurst Military Academy in England where the Adisadel website records that “he was listed among the best three of those cadets (drawn from various parts of the Commonwealth and other countries) who graduated and passed out as Second-Lieutenant(s) after the course.”

Afrifa was undoubtedly a bright and engaging individual, but at Sandhurst, as had occurred at Adisadel, there was a dark side to his personality; one which revealed his tendency to arrogance and resistance to authority. In The Ghana Coup, he candidly revealed his time at Sandhurst was consistently punctuated by punishment drills for various disciplinary infractions. He wrote:

I was always in trouble for breach of discipline. Almost every Wednesday I had an extra drill. Because I had so many punishment drills, I made my study timetable larger than usual in order to enter my defaulter drills into blank spaces. My punishment parades thus became a normal routine every morning.

His last punishment drill as a senior cadet was, he admitted “a very unusual occurrence.”

These brief glimpses into his formative years provide clues as to how Afrifa was able to rise to the pinnacle of political power, as well as offer some explanation as to why his life was prematurely ended on a military firing range.

A brief summary of his life and career after Sandhurst goes like this: As a young officer, he served several tours of duty as part of the Ghanaian Army’s peacekeeping contribution to the Congo. He grew disenchanted with the left-wing policies of the Nkrumah government, which he posited as being antithetical to the (British) values with which he had been inculcated.

As a major, he was a key participant in the anti-Nkrumah putsch of 1966 which was led by Colonel Emmanuel Kotoka. He consolidated his positions in both the military and the National Liberation Council (NLC) as the ruling junta styled itself, after the assassination of Kotoka in April 1967 during an abortive coup, and after the resignation of Lt. General Joseph Ankrah in April 1969, he became the Head of State.

He completed the NLC’s programme of transferring power to an elected civilian government led by Dr. Kofi Busia, during which for about a year, he served as one of a three-man Presidential Commission in lieu of a civilian president before the commission’s dissolution and his retirement from the military a year later. On his retirement he received the title of Okatakyie, a rarely bestowed award to a member of the Ashanti people who has demonstrated an exceptional level of bravery from the Ashantehene, Opoku Ware II.

In the days following Busia’s overthrow in January 1972 by Lt. Colonel Ignatius Acheampong, Afrifa attempted to mount a counter-coup to restore Busia, but was foiled and jailed by Acheampong.

Afrifa was subsequently released by Acheampong in December 1972, but appears to have been restricted to the vicinity of his hometown of Mampong-Ashanti where he farmed and involved himself in rural development projects. At some point his army pension appears to have been suspended by the Acheampong regime and in an article in the Tampa Bay Times of July 1st 1979, his brother-in-law, John Addaquay, claimed that Afrifa, together with his family, had gone into exile in London.  Afrifa, Addaqay continued, returned after Acheampong’s overthrow in July 1978 by a palace coup led by Lt. General Frederick Akuffo. Afrifa contested a seat and won it in parliamentary elections held in June 1979, but was executed along with two other Heads of State, Acheampong and Akuffo that month by edict of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) which had come to power after an uprising by junior personnel within the Ghanaian military. Each had been found guilty of “corruption, embezzlement and using their positions to amass wealth.”

In a letter written to Acheampong while Acheampong was campaigning for UNIGOV, a form of government involving a combination of military and civilian rule, Afrifa had prophesied his own demise when in a letter to Acheampong, he had remarked on the levels of indiscipline and corruption among Ghana’s military rulers, and expressed a fear that he and other military rulers would be lined up and shot as a warning to others not to stage coups. “I feel greatly disturbed about the future,” Afrifa wrote. “In order to discourage the military from staging coups in the future, how about if they line all of us up and shot us one by one?”

What then to make of the legacy of this man whose life and eventual fate serves as a point of polarising contention?

After his death, the New York Times reported that he was “highly regarded among Western diplomats for his dynamism, his political skills, and his democratic views”. A good case can be made for Afrifa as a “democrat”, if one is prepared to accept his argument that he only helped to overthrow the government led by Kwame Nkrumah as a last resort. Here Afrifa could point to a drift towards authoritarianism by Dr. Nkrumah by referring to a series of developments such as the passage of the Preventative Detention Act, the One-Party State referendum, the dismissal of Ghana’s Chief Justice and other judges, as well as the apparent interference with judicial decisions. There were also issues to do with academic freedom in the universities.

Moreover, Afrifa presided over the return to civilian rule after spearheading a nationwide campaign to inform Ghanaians of their rights as citizens. Even the failed counter-coup he mounted against Acheampong could be interpreted as a measure attempting to restore democratic rule and not to usurp power for himself.

But the negative side is worth noting. To some he appears to have been an inveterate schemer from his youth and a manipulator whose machinations came to haunt him. He was undoubtedly an ambitious man, although some are keen to invest him with Machiavellian-like powers for intrigue that lack proof in a number of events. For instance, the frequently bandied allegation that he was the author of the abortive coup led by Lt. Samuel Arthur deliberately set up to fail after the elimination of his NLC colleagues, Kotoka and Ankrah seems rather fanciful. While Kotoka was assassinated by Lt. Moses Yeboah, Ankrah succeeded in escaping death at Castle Osu by jumping into the Atlantic Ocean. But even if the case can be made that Afrifa consolidated his power base and profited from Kotoka’s death and Ankrah’s later resignation, hard evidence available in the public domain is lacking which points to his having engineered both outcomes.The Spontaneous “Military Coup” in Caracas was Meant to Fail?

The contention that Afrifa was personally corrupt is not conclusive. He was after all cleared by the Sowah Assets Commission which reported in April 1979 prior to the parliamentary elections in which he was a contestant. But uncertainty as to whether he enriched himself while in power does not diminish what Afrifa’s critics claim to be his cardinal sin; that of participating in the overthrow of the constitutional government of Ghana, an action which established a dangerous precedent which was followed by other coups including those that led to an extended period of incompetent military rule in the 1970s which created unbearable living conditions for many Ghanaians.

John Stockwell, the CIA Station Chief in Accra at the time of the anti-Nkrumah coup specifically stated that the leaders of the coup were not only given “encouragement” once their plot was discovered by the Americans, but that they were paid in compensation for their efforts.

While his execution may have had much to do with the fear or apprehension junior officers had of him, Afrifa’s detractors hold that it was legally justified on the grounds that overthrowing a government, an act of high treason, was a capital offence by virtue of the Ghana Criminal Code of 1960. The Armed Forces Act of 1962, which was in operation at the time of the coup, also provided the basis for punishing by death those who acted treasonably. In his aforementioned book on the coup, Afrifa acknowledged this by writing that he would have been prepared to hang by the neck if the putsch had failed.

Apart from this legal rationale, Afrifa’s execution, some contend, was also morally justifiable because it served as a precedent for establishing or attempting to establish illegal, unconstitutional regimes. The abortive coup led by Lt. Arthur, who resented the profligacy of the senior officers after they overthrew Nkrumah, was an enterprise of emulation backed by the rationale of “If it is proper for you to seize power by the gun, why is it wrong for me, with my gun to overthrow you?” Afrifa was certainly conscious of the precedent that he had helped set when in the chapter of his book entitled “The Ghana Condition”, he asserted that “a corporal with the necessary courage and belief and love of his country can topple corrupt leaders and lead a coup in a just cause.” But he failed to acknowledge or even comprehend that corporals, subalterns and officers could have amoral reasons for staging a coup. Arthur’s coup, which Arthur dubbed “Operation Guitar Boy” appears to have been bereft of any ideological motivation, (it did not aim to bring Dr. Nkrumah back to power or establish a particular form of governance) instead it was an ego-driven enterprise that aimed not only to settle his grievance against the senior officers, but also to earn the accolade of being the first subaltern to successfully lead a coup.

And even where the soldier with a gun perceives his moral right to seize power, there is an inherent contradiction. Thus, Afrifa’s simultaneous acknowledgement of the coup d’état as a bad thing, while considering it as an effective mechanism for restoring the constitutional rights of citizens can be viewed as fundamentally flawed.

While Afrifa’s role in steering Ghana back to a constitutional democracy is rightly lauded, the argument that the NLC put the country back on a solid economic footing is a hugely contentious one. A key aspect toward remedying what they asserted was the economic mess into which Nkrumah had plunged Ghana was to seek closer relations with the United States and the rest of the Western world.

Afrifa was key to this strategy. His book, which the journalist R.Y. Adu-Asare claimed was ghost-written by Kofi Awoonor, the author, who started it, and Kofi Busia who completed it, was an exercise in unrestrained pro-Western sentiment. Afrifa’s strategy of consistently waxing lyrical about his love of British values alongside his constant ridiculing and demonising of Nkrumah, for whom the West had no love, arguably strays into the obsequious.

While it is understandable that a person like Afrifa by virtue of his Anglican education, British military training and circumstances of living in a British colony would, for better or for worse, be inculcated with a good measure of British culture (his love of Magna Carta and British notions of “fair play”), his assertion that he and other Ghanaians would be minded to fight alongside Britain “as Canadians and Australians have” is striking. One of the grievances members of the Ghanaian Army had against Nkrumah was claimed to be his decision to put them on standby to fight in Rhodesia. Afrifa expressed this view, but conveniently ignored the fact that Britain was operating a “Kith and Kin” policy in relation to the white minority in that country. UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence) was after all a rebellion against the authority of the crown. Instead, Afrifa naively expressed his confidence that Britain would find a solution to the issue.

The pivot towards the West thus appeared to be as extreme as Nkrumah’s detractors claimed was his gravitation towards China and the Eastern Communist bloc of nations. As early as March 1966, Robert W. Komer of the United States National Security Council informed President Lyndon Johnson that the NLC was “extremely pro-Western”. This was of course no surprise given the fact that the anti-Nkrumah conspirators who included Afrifa had given the CIA Station in Accra regular updates as to the progress of their enterprise.

But this treasonous conduct (as their critics often point out) and the close relations pursued after their assumption of power, paid little dividend. The NLC slavishly backed the United States in the United Nations over unpopular adventures such as the Vietnam war and received some aid and loans, but was disappointed at the scope of aid requested, particularly that to do with military assistance. Relations with the United States deteriorated because of the differences that materialised over the issue of decolonisation in Portuguese Africa and policy towards Apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia. Further, it failed to reach a cocoa agreement with Ghana. Ever dependent on the volatile cocoa market, the Ghanaian economy continued in its parlous state at the time Afrifa handed power over to the civilian government headed by Kofi Busia. Thus, Afrifa and his colleagues arguably only made themselves as subservient to the United States and the West as they claimed Nkrumah made himself subservient to the communist world with little reward.

Afrifa, who pronounced himself as a man committed to social order and who submitted himself to a career that mandated obedience to authority, was also a man with a capacity for rebellion. His expulsion from college, his disciplinary issues at Sandhurst, his facing a court-martial at the time of the February coup, his participation in that coup and his involvement in the attempted counter-coup of 1972 all attest to this. A bright and charismatic man, he also accommodated a healthy ego. Were his rapid promotions from major to colonel and then brigadier merely maintaining a rank in proportion to his burgeoning responsibilities? Or were they an exercise in hubris? He appears to have been a brigadier at the time of the hand over to civilian power, but in retirement was referred to as a lieutenant general – all before he had reached his 35th birthday.

The swiftness by which Afrifa and the others were executed suggests that he was not granted natural justice, albeit that military commissions even when properly constituted are inherently weighted against the defendant. His relative Addaquay recalled in 1979 that he “was arrested on Friday, jailed and shot at dawn on Tuesday morning.”

It has also been suggested that the legal justification for Afrifa’s execution trumpeted by Major Kofi Boakye-Gyan at the National Reconciliation hearings in the early 2000s were merely an afterthought, given that the bulletins issued to the press by the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council in 1979 made no explicit references to the Criminal Code (1960), the Armed Forces Act(1962) and the Superior Order Rule attendant to the Armed Forces regulation which Boakye-Gyan insisted were brought to his attention at the time after consulting widely with figures such as Colonel Peter Agbeko, the head of the Armed Forces Legal Services Directorate; Justice Mills Odoi, the Advocate-General of the Armed Forces; and Justice Austin Amissah, an eminent jurist.

Among his admirers, and the critics of the AFRC’s decision to execute him, are those who suspect a tribal motive in targeting Afrifa. Aside from considering Afrifa’s elimination as an insult to the Ashanti nation which had given him one of its highest titles, they see the half-Ewe Jerry Rawlings as being the instrument of vengeance for periodic episodes in Ghana’s history where Ewe power and influence has ebbed. Although Afrifa did not strike many as a man who was overtly tribally motivated -an accusation often leveled at the late Kotoka who was an Ewe- the aftermath of Kotoka’s death during which time Afrifa expanded his power base is perceived by many Ewes as a time when Ewe influence diminished. There had been a resurgence of Ewe’s within the corridors of power while Kotoka was alive after complaints of their marginalisation during the Nkrumah era.

Divisions among the members of the NLC during the transition to civilian government was noted by analysts who observed that Afrifa’s favoured politician was Kofi Busia, like him an Ashanti, while John Harlley, the NLC’s Vice Chairman favoured Komla Gbedemah, a fellow Ewe. The hand of Afrifa in helping engineer the decision to disqualify Gbedemah cannot be dismissed given the assessment of objective analysts that the use of the clause to effect the disqualification (on the grounds that he had misused public funds) was a device employed to neutralise a potential rival to Busia, Afrifa’s preferred candidate.

Akwasi Afrifa died a villain’s death, executed like a common criminal at a firing range and buried unceremoniously in a prison cemetery. But while his detractors view him with disdain as a consummate operator in the dark arts of political subterfuge and manipulation, he was clearly not a bloodthirsty Machiavellian who insisted on preserving his power as a head of state by murder and instituting a reign of terror as did Mengistu Haile Mariam of Ethiopia and Moussa Traore of Mali.

Claims that Afrifa was a coup-plotter who was essential a democrat do not ring as hollow as those made by the widow of the Chilean Air Force General, Gustavo Leigh Guzman who was a member of the junta which staged the violent overthrow of the Marxist-orientated government of Salvador Allende before inaugurating an era of widespread human rights abuse. But Afrifa did not have ‘clean hands’ in so far as the abuse of human rights is concerned: evidence was given at the National Reconciliation hearings of his supervision of the torture of members of President Nkrumah’s Presidential Detail Department (PDD). Afrifa “could not have been my hero” wrote R.Y. Adu-Asare in 2002 because, Adu-Asare charged, he had sanctioned to killing of one Brigadier Bawah, the commander of Nkrumah’s presidential guard, and, allegedly, members of Bawah’s household.

Moreover, the background to Afrifa’s execution, dominated by a groundswell of public anger and disgust at Ghana’s military rulers cannot be ignored. The executions, which were part of what the AFRC termed a ‘House Cleaning’ operation, were met with popular approval by the media, public organisations and individuals. For instance, the June 24th editorial of the Catholic Standard, which was titled “The Great Lesson” approved of the first batch of executions which it applauded as “a means of instilling discipline and justice” in the country.

Earlier, an editorial in the June 4tb edition of the Ghanaian Times urged the AFRC not to limit the scope of its House Cleaning to 1972, the year in which Colonel Acheampong seized power, but to hold to account what it described as “the many rogues who have committed economic crimes against the nation” to an earlier time frame. The editorial made it clear that “in looking behind 1972, we are not interested in picking on any individual or group.”

The AFRC did cast its net further back, and as a compromise between the opposing views of whether civilian collaborators (and police personnel) should be included among those against whom serious measures should be taken, those senior members who served in Ghana’s first military government came into its crosshairs. Kotoka was dead, General Albert Ocran had fled into exile and Ankrah was excused for not having been a participant in the 1966 coup (he had been invited to head the government before being forced to resign), so Afrifa alone from that era was made to pay the price.

Afrifa’s participation in the coup against Dr. Nkrumah had opened up a can of worms, and his justifications, no matter how well-meaning and seemingly well-reasoned, essentially posited a counter-intuitive logic that treason could prosper by ceasing to be treason.

It is worth bearing all of this in mind when assessing the legacy of Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa. The truth, as in most cases, lies somewhere in-between the extreme narratives of demonisation and hagiography.

Posted in Africa0 Comments

“Dark Money” Is Now Coursing Through the Veins of Britain’s Democracy

By Graham Vanbergen

Global Research,

It was only a couple of months ago that the UK elections watchdog, the Electoral Commission, fined the Scottish Unionist Association Trust (SUAT) for repeated failures to declare more than £200,000 in donations to the Scottish Conservatives. The outrage here is that after a 14-month probe in 2018, the commission concluded that SUAT had “consistently failed” to adequately report political contributions – leaving the public without “the transparency it was entitled to have of SUAT’s finances”. The trust said its net assets at the end of 2017 were £2.35 million, and it is known to have donated £364,000 to the Scottish Conservatives. This is one small example of dark money at play.

Why the outrage? Because the fine for doing what it did – and let’s call this out – for attempting to rig the outcome of an election – was the princely sum of £1,800. That sum simply represents the cost of doing business to those with the deepest pockets. It will not, by any stretch of the imagination, deter dark money funders in this December’s election in Britain from infecting it with millions attempting to rig the outcome.

From April to September this year, the Electoral Commission was swamped with over forty investigations that required fines to be issued.

Just one of those fines involved the far-right party Britain First. It was found to be guilty of – ‘Failure to comply with a statutory notice; failure to deliver audit report for accounts; failure to maintain accounting records; failure to deliver accurate quarterly donations reports’. It was fined a total of £44,200 (£20,000; £5,500; £11,000; and £7,700). Britain First is also accused of opening a shell company and hiding £200,000 that came from a single source and still, no-one really knows where it came from or who paid it.

Another fine was metered out for failure to provide notification of gifts to a political party exceeding £25,000 and failure to deliver donation reports as a members association. Again, the fine was just £1,800.

Almost all of these investigations centre on money – donations and accounting ‘errors’ where over 80% of them end with an offence being discovered and a fine issued. Interestingly, the Electoral Commission’s homepage actually starts with investigations against half a dozen organisations or individuals, namely – Leave.EU, VoteLeave, BeLeave, Veterans for Britain, UKIP, Better for the Country and Momentum.

The director of ‘Unlock Democracy‘, Alexandra Runswick said:

“Penalties for rule-breaking must be proportionate, but time and time again the fines handed out by the Electoral Commission give a slap on the wrist to the rich donors that are bankrolling our politics. Campaign finance rules are completely unfit for purpose and have made UK politics a playground for the rich, and money is pumping through the veins of our political system and undermining democracy by allowing influence to be purchased by those who can afford it.”

Like the Electoral Commission, Runswick isn’t able to say who these rich donors are – because many of them are undeclared, hiding behind illegal campaign groups, front charities and so-called think tanks. These donors are classed as ‘special interest’ groups like those involved in climate denial or pushing the interests of the pharmaceutical or agricultural industries. And with so much at stake with Boris Johnson and the radical right wishing to (economically and politically) pivot from the European Union to the United States, one only has to listen to this senator telling the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the climate crisis, about just how frightening dark money and its representatives can really be:

“The hardest part is to try to figure out about the conversations that took place — powered by the unlimited dark money capability that these special interests have. The hardest thing to find around here is the small room where the lobbyists and the candidate met and the lobbyists said, ‘We are coming after you, you are toast if you don’t do what we say.’ And the candidate realizing that with millions, even billions of potential dark money spending to drop, that is a very real threat.”

We should also not forget either that the very wealthiest back-bench MP’s are all Conservatives with personal interests in mining, food, medicine, law, finance, healthcare, defence and the fossil fuel industry – or that nearly 70 peers and MP’s have been found to be directors or have controlling interests at companies linked to tax havens. Then there’s the dozens of MP’s who in 2014 were found to have financial interests or links to private healthcare companies – people like Jo Swinson, Jeremy Hunt, David Davies, Iain Duncan-Smith, Sajid Javid, Priti Patel and Jacob Rees Mogg to name just a few. All of these people are keen to have a trade deal with America who view the NHS as a business opportunity to exploit.

Donors and dark money and the polls

As identified through the elections watchdog, the Electoral Commission, and the parliamentary register of members’ financial interests, 65% of Boris Johnson’s donations came from hedge funds, city traders and rich investors. And as Byline Times reports – “Out of 40 donations made between Johnson announcing his leadership bid on 16 May and 23 July, when the result of the Conservative Party leadership election was announced, up to 30 of those donations were either from hedge funds, part of the City or wealthy investors.”

What was interesting was that Byline Times then calculated the value of short positions of donors which was, as of 8 September 2019, around £4.6 billion. Once donors to the Vote Leave campaign are added, this figure rises to a position of around £8.3 billion vested in a declining domestic stock market. Conflict of interest and the ministerial code mean for nothing in British politics today, nor does campaigning within electoral laws.

In September, Boris Johnson’s aides in Downing Street had “opened channels” with the Brexit Party to discuss a formal general election pact, this was according to close associates of Nigel Farage. The Conservatives, of course, denied any such conversations took place and that no pact is in place – but there’s no reason to believe what they say given their form.

This week TruePublica reported that there is new evidence that could lead to criminal charges against the pro-Brexit campaign led by Boris Johnson and his key adviser Dominic Cummings, which has now been passed by police to the criminal prosecution authorities. The police have taken 14 months to get this far and all the indications are that this case has legs.

We should not forget that the pollsters in Britain were up to their necks in acts of corruption in the EU referendum – and Nigel Farage still stands accused of being in the centre of it. In the book ‘Brexit – A Corporate Coup D’Etat‘ – published as plain as day are the words

“Behind the scenes, a small group of people had a secret—and billions of dollars were at stake. Hedge funds aiming to win big from trades that day had hired YouGov and at least five other polling companies, including Farage’s favourite pollster. Their services, on the day and in the days leading up to the vote, varied, but pollsters sold hedge funds critical, advance information, including data that would have been illegal for them to give the public.”

The pollsters were calling the EU referendum as a win for Remain, watched the pound Sterling rise to a 6-month peak and with the announcement of the Leave win – Britain’s currency crashed. Billions in short bets placed by hedge-funds profited from this momentous fall. Six months later – Bloomberg reported that – a lucrative line of business had been born for the polling industry, by lying to the public and selling critical information to the hedge funds. Crispin Odey is one such hedge fund manager who benefited. He was also a top fundraiser for Farage and a leading contributor of campaign cash to the pro-Brexit side. From that (very informed) bet he made about $300 million and is now betting that lot on 16 firms expected to do badly out of the chaos inflicted on the markets through Brexit. It’s easy to see why the stakes are so high when highlighting these small examples of many that exist.

Attack dog politics

Back in July 2018, TruePublica reported that –

aggressive far-right political actors from the USA have set up shop in Britain in readiness to ensure the continuance of the Conservative party at the next election in order to facilitate the further exploitation of Britain by American corporations in a post-Brexit world

UK Policy Group is the UK’s name for that organisation. Their homepage says –

“We are a unique political consultancy that helps organisations and individuals to thrive in an increasingly complex world.”

UK Policy Group’s all-male leadership team isn’t from the commercial world though but appears instead to be drawn almost exclusively from the Conservative Party, including some with a background in what they call ‘opposition research’. It provides the dirt in dirty campaigns such as ‘dossiers’ on ‘targets’ that provide ‘comprehensive, detailed analysis’ of an opponent’s record, background and views, information which, they say, can be used to shape stories in the media. Dark money is what funds these shady organisations.

It’s not just UK Policy Group or those caught out in the last three years known to be clawing away at Britain’s delicate democracy. There are now a number of special interest groups in Britain that are funded by American organisations with a conservative world view derived from the dark shadows of religion, white supremacy and what is now known as the ‘triad of family life.’ Orthodox, Evangelical, and Catholic leaders pledged a decade ago to act in unison – and have pumped $50 million into targeting more fragile EU member states – as they have in Britain. Combined with other special interest groups such as climate science denial groups, anti-abortionists – their co-ordinated multi-faceted approach to gaining the power they want has been remarkably successful.

We should not be naive any more. It is a simple fact that corruption funded through dark money is coursing through the veins of our democratic system. It is a simple fact that those with the deepest pockets can buy not just influence with politicians but the outcomes of a national election or referendum. The woefully insubstantial penalties for wrongdoing serve as the biggest advertisement ever to those with designs on profiting from an outcome that is delivered by breaking the law – and is definitely a price worth paying. The evidence for that is after all the allegations, investigations, warnings and dozens of fines for their law-breaking – no-one sits in a prison cell for attempting to profit from taking Britain down using illegal dark money tactics.

Posted in UK0 Comments

Media Debates as Russia Pushes into Africa

By Kester Kenn Klomegah

Global Research,

In an effort to push its political and economic influence in Africa, Russia has begun identifying news outlets that could facilitate the distribution of its information products and contents (syndication of news reports) from Russian media organizations.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, this is the first significant step on media cooperation by official authorities to address the information gap between the two regions. The primary objectives are to promote Russia’s image more positively, overturn the negative perceptions among the public and to counteract anti-Russian propaganda mostly by western and European media in Africa.

Russia seeks a new image in Africa. On the other hand, Russian media continue presenting Africa as a region of diseases, conflicts and dangerous for business. At least, Africa’s middle-class, approximately 380 million constitutes a huge consumer market, is more than Russia’s population of 150 million and almost the same population size of the United States.

Indisputably, Africa also needs an excellent image among the Russian public. Russian experts and academics have consistently called for forging media cooperation as an instrument for promoting business opportunities and building positive perception, and offering knowledge about post-Soviet achievements in Russia and developments in Africa.

In an emailed interview, Professor Irina Abramova, Director of the Institute for African Studies under the Russian Academy of Sciences, said in the eyes of the Russian political establishment and business community, Africa is still viewed as a continent of poverty, endless wars and epidemics, stuck in the pre-industrial stage of development, and surviving only thanks to international aid.

Meanwhile, there is a different Africa, she maintains, Africa with rapid economic growth, dynamic formation of democratic management systems, modern structures and institutions of a market economy, a major player in the market of natural and human resources, a key source of growth in global demands and profitable spheres of investment operations.

“The media should more actively inform Russians about the prospects for the development of the African continent, its history and culture. Unfortunately, the Russian man in the street does not know much about Africa,” the director explained.

“For Africans, so far Russia is associated with the Soviet Union, the majority of Africans still have very warm feelings towards Russia. In general, the Russian Federation in Africa, and Africa in the Russian Federation are very poorly represented in the media. It is necessary to organize a special media entirely dedicated to Russia-Africa,” Abramova said.

Honorary President of the Africa Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Editor-in-Chief of the Asia and Africa Today magazine, Professor Alexei Vasilyev, has also stressed that Russia and Africa have to raise media work so that people of both regions get to know much about each other.

“Measures are needed to enable us to better understand each other. Africa is different. As journalists, we have to report not only diseases, demonstrations and murders, but also about real achievements and successes (of the African continent),” he said.

TASS Director General, Sergei Mikhailov, noted that without African states it’s impossible to cultivate international economic ties, stable development of international ties, and to build a stable and cohesive system of international security. Thus, cooperation between media outlets has to be one of the most active areas of developing ties with Africa.Russia and Africa Still Behind the Curtains

Reports have shown that TASS plans to actively develop cooperation with its colleagues in Africa and give Africans a chance to familiarize themselves with developments in the world and on the African continent, which is different from most Western media. The Russian news agency plans to significantly increase the number of its bureaus in Sub-Saharan Africa, Mikhailov informed at the panel session themed “Russian-African Relations: The Role of Media” held in Sochi.

“We hope this will contribute to improving mutual understanding between Russian and African peoples. We want the events in Africa and vital issues of its development to again become top news,” he added.

The Russian Foreign Ministry supports the plan by the TASS news agency to open new offices across Africa in 2020 and urges the agency to go ahead with widening its African network, according to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov. He further suggested Angola, Guinea, Tanzania and Madagascar among the potential host countries for future TASS offices.

Over the years, media and policy experts have noted that nearly 30 years after the Soviet, Russia has not encouraged African media from south of Sahara in the Russian Federation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has largely ignored African media, south of Sahara. South Africa, Morocco and Egypt (the Maghreb region) are closer in their relationship to Russia.

Information presented at the Sochi summit explicitly confirmed this observation. Some 300 news bureaus from 60 countries are operating in Russia, including 800 correspondents and 400 technical personnel, while Africa represented by just three bureaus: South Africa, Egypt and Morocco, the Deputy Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Information and Press Department, Artem Kozhin said at the panel discussion.

According to him, this extremely low representation of African media hardly meets the level of dynamically developing relations.

“We invite all interested parties to open news bureaus and expand media cooperation with Russia,” Kozhin said.

Some are not ready to spend money by bringing Africa media to Russia.

“We understand that getting to Moscow costs quite a bit of money, and this may well be too expensive for African newsrooms,” Alexei Volin, Russia’s Deputy Minister for Communications and Mass Media, said before making the pitch.

He further emphasized that information cooperation was developing not the way it should be.

The ministry has put forward proposals on expanding cooperation with Africa, including exchanging information with Russia’s state mass media, training courses for African journalists and trips of Russian specialists to Africa for training personnel.

According to various reports by Roscongress, the organizer of the first Russia-Africa Summit held in October, Russian officials have expressed readiness to collaborate with African media and would be at the forefront to highlight post-Soviet economic and cultural reality and shape the African perception about Russia. Senior media professionals on the African side are highly qualified and have appreciable professional experience in their employment.

From Eurasia Review investigations, TASS is currently strengthening its foothold in Africa. For instance, in September it appointed Vitaly Makarchev as the head of Pretoria office in South Africa. Director General of the Maghreb Arab Press news agency Khalil Hachimi Idrissi and FAAPA Secretary General Mohamed Anis have held talks earlier during the year with TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman. The talks focused on widening media cooperation in Maghreb region.

Russian diplomats have also discussed media cooperation with Executive Director of Cabo Verdean News Agency Infopress, Jacqueline Furtado Carvalho; General Manager of Agence Congolaise de Presse, Anasth Wilfrid Mbossa; General Manager of Ghana News Agency, Albert Kofi Owusu, and Chief-Editor of the Seychelles News Agency, Rassin Vannier.

General Manager of Ghana News Agency, Albert Kofi Owusu, told the New York Times that the proposal to distribute stories from TASS, the Russian state-controlled news service, to newspapers, websites and television stations in the West African region made sense, especially since his agency was already sharing Chinese state media reports. But, this has to be done within a framework agreement of mutual benefits.

For decades, a number of foreign countries have been cooperating with African media and NGOs to push their strategic policy and business interests. For example, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation has fixed China-Africa Press Exchange Centre in Shanghai to encourage and promote exchange and visits between Chinese and African media.

Last May, China hosted the fifth Forum on China-Africa Media Cooperation. A joint statement on further deepening exchanges and cooperation was adopted.

Similarly, the United States, European Union, and Asian States support African media enormously in their information and education activity, and with regular publications of economic and business reports to create public business awareness in Africa. They have adequately collaborated with African partners in attracting business to Africa.

Nevertheless, Moscow plans to boost its presence on the continent in the next four to five years. Aware of the common responsibility, Russia and Africa have to continue coordinating efforts at implementing the documents adopted at the summit since this meets the desires and aspirations of Russia and Africa.

As explicitly outlined in the joint declaration, both Russia and Africa have to begin pursuing the targeted goals such as:

  • facilitate the people-to-people contacts between Russia and African States using the potential of non-governmental organizations and various fora, including the youth ones.
  • encourage further exchanges, mutual learning and cooperation in culture and education.
  • facilitate the opening of Russian and African mass media hubs in the respective territories of African States and the Russian Federation.

Ultimately, these could be achieved by building on the existing friendly ties, as well as on the rich experience of multifaceted and mutually beneficial cooperation that serves the collective interests between the Russia and Africa.

Posted in Africa, Russia0 Comments

Erdogan, Putin Reach ‘Historical Deal’ on Northern Syria ‘Video’

By South Front

Global Research,

On October 22, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin reached an agreement to settle the situation in northeastern Syria.

According to the agreement, Turkey’s Operation ‘Peace Spring’ will continue in a limited area between Tell Abyad and Ras al-Ayn with a depth of 32km. Starting from 12:00 October 23, units of the Russian Military Police and the Syrian Army will be deployed along the rest of the Turkish border to the east of the Euphrates.

Syria and Russia should facilitate the removal of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and their weapons from to the depth of 30km from the Turkish-Syrian border. After this, joint Russian-Turkish patrols will start to the east and the west of the area of Operation Peace Spring.

Video: How Russian-Turkish ‘Safe Zone’ Deal Shapes Course of Syrian Conflict

Watch the video here.

A joint monitoring and verification mechanism to oversee these processes will be established.

Both sides reiterated their commitment to the territorial integrity of Syria and protection of the national security of Turkey, and vowed to combat terrorism in all forms and disrupt separatist agendas in the Syrian territory.

Turkey and Russia emphasized the importance of the 1998 Adana accord, a security pact between Syria and Turkey. Among other things, it allows Turkish to carry out cross-border operations against terrorists in Syria, while Damascus promises not to harbor members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

Other points of the agreement include the need to facilitate return of refugees to Syria and find a long-standing political solution of the conflict in Syria.

On October 22, Syrian government forces completed deployment along the Hasakah-Aleppo highway. On the same day, President Bashar al-Assad inspected frontlines in southern Idlib. During the visit, he called Turkish President Erdogan a “thief” stealing Syrian land. Nevertheless, such statements are typical for the Damascus government, when it comments on Turkish military actions in Syria.

Developments on the ground and actions of the Syrian government demonstrate that Damascus supports the settlement of the situation in northeastern Syria through cooperation with Turkey.

Posted in Russia, Syria, Turkey0 Comments

Ms. Pumpkin Head for President: A Nightmare

By Edward Curtin

A few weeks ago I had a terrifying nightmare, so gruesome was it that I awoke screaming. In this dark horror show, I was carving a pumpkin for Halloween.  The cap came off easily and I disemboweled the slimy interior quickly, but as I did, I felt a strange sensation on my hand, as if a tongue were biting it.  When I was finishing carving the face, however, the trouble really started. 

The pumpkin head came alive as the eyes and mouth moved and then it started speaking in a voice that was familiar but one I couldn’t place.  Blond hair started sprouting from its head as it started shrieking and bouncing on the table in an hysterical manner.  I jumped back in fear and trembling as it started cackling, “I running, I running.” Blood ran from between the carved teeth and the blue eyes pulsated with the mania of a serial killer in a horror movie.I awoke with a scream when I realized it was Hillary Clinton.

So hideous was this night terror that I kept it to myself. But a week later when the next Democratic pseudo-debate was being promoted, I said to my wife that something told me that Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee and the debates were a sideshow.  She said she thought that would never happen and that Clinton was now hated and done for. I disagreed without recounting my nightmare because to describe it at that point would have induced more retching at the thought of the night monster.Then this past week during the Democratic debate, the courageous Tulsi Gabbard put the lie to the murderous militarism of U.S. foreign policy and its regime change operations with its use of American supported terrorists in Syria and throughout the world. 

She calmly and eloquently denounced the militarist positions of the other candidates standing beside her, as they listened disquieted and disturbed to a patriotic American speaking truth that they dare not even think, so bought and sold are they.She was a woman alone among a cast of sycophants denouncing the murderous policies carried out by presidents Democratic and Republican and foisted on the American people through a vast network of propaganda, appealing to their worst instincts.  It was a stunning few minutes, for it is so rare, almost unheard of, for a politician to tell Americans the brutal truth about their government.To many it was a sign of hope, but to the evil forces that run this country, Rep. Gabbard had gone too far and the knives came out in force, this time led by the pumpkin-headed Hillary Clinton and her accomplices at The New York Times and The Washington Post, who have consistently trashed Tulsi Gabbard in an effort to destroy her candidacy.I felt my dream was prophetic when Clinton, in her slimy manner, attacked Tulsi Gabbard, without naming her, by saying,I’m not making any predictions but I think they’ve [The Russians] got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians.

They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.Well, I ain’t making any prediction either; I’m leaving that up to my nightmare to do my talking.It tells me that Hillary-O-Lantern, spitting blood, is running and gunning again.She’s the favorite of the CIA and the military industrial complex and all those who profit from war and live off the deaths of victims everywhere.  They have bunches of sites and bots and fake news conspirators and all sorts of ways of supporting her, which they have been doing for many years, straight through their constructed Russia-gate and Ukraine-gate conspiracies and her barbaric support for wars everywhere, including the destruction of Libya and her joyful response to the fiendish death of Muammar Gaddafi, among so may atrocities.Tulsi, never cowered, said it straight and true in response:Great, Thank you. 

You the Queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and  of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose.It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies.

Join the race directly.She later said, “I stand against everything she represents.”Halloween is the time for masks and dissembling. Hillary Clinton is a figure straight out of a grotesque Halloween party, as are her clones in the Democratic party. Tulsi Gabbard was not invited to their party but came anyway, and came to tell the truth about the masquerade.She has torn off Clinton’s mask and asks the American people to see the true face of Clinton and all her minions, who represent the triumph of war and death, and the sick play we have been living through, an endless war on terror justified by endless lies.Norman O. Brown so well describes our stage set:Ancestral voices prophesying war; ancestral spirits in the danse macabreor war dance; Valhalla, ghostly warriors who kill each other and are reborn to fight again.

All warfare is ghostly, every army an exercitus feralis (army of ghosts), every soldier a living corpse.Lying is the leading cause of living death in the United States.Tulsi Gabbard has told the truth.Like me, I am sure you don’t want your nightmares to become reality. Let’s live in the truth.

Posted in USA0 Comments

The New Cold War

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The New Cold War: Russia’s “Stealth Capable” 955 Borei-class Submarines. US-NATO’s Aegis Ashore Missile Defense

By Padraig McGrath, November 06, 2019

On October 29th, the Norwegian news-outlet NRK broke the story that between 8 and 10 Russian submarines, including Sierra II class submarines, had begun naval exercises in the North Atlantic. This is one of the largest Russian naval exercises focused on submarine-warfare since the end of the cold war. It is likely that one of the core purposes of this exercise is to test the stealth-capability of the Russian subs, and of NATO forces’ abilities to track them as they push through the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom gap (abbreviated “GUIK-gap”), a closely monitored strategic bottleneck. The Sierra II class sub has a titanium hull, enabling it to submerge to greater depths than steel-hulled submarines, and it is also much quieter than most other submarines.

Syria: OPCW Whistleblowers Confirm What We Already Knew. The OPCW Suppressed Evidence Regarding alleged Chemical Weapons Attack

By Tony Cartalucci, November 06, 2019

Despite information within their own reports either indisputably disproving claims of Syria’s government using chemical weapons, or admissions that no fact-based claims could even be made with investigators often never even visiting sites where alleged attacks took place, the OPCW would release several politically-motivated conclusions that fed directly into US war propaganda at the time.

The alleged 2018 Douma chemical attack was perhaps the most pertinent example of this, with details of the alleged attack sparse and unconvincing and with the final OPCW report even including a picture taken at a militant weapon’s factory where a cylinder similar to those allegedly used in the attack was found among ordnance being prepared for use.

UN Security Council Sanctions against North Korea Responsible for Deaths of 3,193 Children Under Age 5 in 2018 Alone!

By Carla Stea, November 06, 2019

On Monday, October 28, a brilliant panel discussion revealing the atrocities resulting from the UN Security Council sanctions (in particular, Resolution 2397) forced upon the DPRK was held at 777 United Nations Plaza.  This panel discussion should have been held on the premises of the United Nations, in one of the conspicuous press briefing rooms, and announced by the secretariat, so that the numerous media outlets and resident correspondents  at UN Headquarters would have been alerted to it, and learned of the horrific consequences of UN policies causing deaths of innocent children, pregnant women, disabled and elderly.  To its credit, The Wall Street Journal, on October 31 published a small report, by Courtney McBride at the top if its “World Watch” column, page A9.

Asia’s Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP): The RCEP Train Left the Station, and India, Behind

By Pepe Escobar, November 06, 2019

A pan-Asia high-speed train has left the station – and India – behind. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which would have been the largest free trade deal in the world, was not signed in Bangkok. It will probably be signed next year in Vietnam, assuming New Delhi goes beyond what ASEAN, with diplomatic finesse barely concealing frustration, described as “outstanding issues, which remain unresolved.”

The partnership uniting 16 nations – the ASEAN 10 plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and, in theory, India – would have congregated 3.56 billion people and 29% of world trade.

From Canada’s Election to Public Action: Beyond the Moral Tumor of Alberta Tar-Sands

By Prof. John McMurtry, November 06, 2019

For months during and after Canada’s 2019 federal election campaign, corporate media provided daily frontline news space for non-stop Alberta demands for more tar-sands export infrastructure through British Columbia, as well as discrediting stories on the Trudeau government for questionable legal protection of a Quebec big business to his playing blackface in a youthful costume.

No-one joined the dots or mentioned the words ‘Big Oil’.

When Is a Whistleblower, Not a Whistleblower? From Russiagate to Ukrainegate

By Renee Parsons, November 06, 2019

It is a fact that most whistleblowers bring the transgression proudly forward into the public light for the specific purpose of exposing the deeds that deserve to be exposed.  At great personal cost, they then provide a credible case for why this offense is illegal or a violation of the public trust and deserves to be made public. This alleged WB, however, defies the traditional definition of a WB who most often experiences the wrong-doing first hand and from a personal vantage while revealing said wrong-doing as a function within an agency of their employment.

Iran Nuclear Deal and the Attack on Abqaiq Oil Facility

By Nauman Sadiq, November 06, 2019

Donald Trump has repeatedly said during the last three years that the Iran nuclear deal signed by the Obama administration in 2015 was an “unfair deal” that gave concessions to Iran without giving anything in return to the US. Unfortunately, there is a grain of truth in Trump’s statements because the Obama administration signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran in July 2015 under pressure, as Washington had bungled in its Middle East policy and it wanted Iran’s cooperation in Syria and Iraq to get a face-saving.

Posted in USA, Europe, Russia0 Comments

The Dark Side of Our Drone Future

By James Rogers

Global Research,

Let me paint a picture of the near future. Drones, some weighing a few pounds and others a few tons, will flow endlessly back and forth from rural distribution centers to inner-city delivery hubs. Day in and day out, they will drop off our weekly shopping, last-minute presents, and important medicines. Drones might even pick us up from work (or the bar) and take us home in automated airborne Ubers. They will transform our lives. Hundreds, if not thousands, of drones will fly high above towns and cities, bypassing the congested highways and streets currently plagued by traffic.

Put simply, the drone revolution will change the way in which we conceive and comprehend logistics and transportation. Yet not all the changes we see from the global spread of drones will be positive. Drones bring with them a novel set of risks and challenges—and these need to be confronted.

Some of the issues are self-evident and have already begun to cause problems as drone technologies expose unforeseen vulnerabilities within vital national infrastructure. Drones made headlines last month when they were flown at low level alongside cruise missiles to evade Saudi Arabia’s air defenses and knock nearly 6 percent of the world’s oil supply offline. It’s still not clear who committed these attacks, with some suspecting Yemen’s Houthi rebels and others pointing the finger at Iran, but this is the point. Uncertainty is a core part of the drone’s allure. The combination of ever-longer range and remote control allows for a distancing and a deniability when it comes to aggressive drone use. A drone can be above us, next to us, or, horrifyingly, outside our airplane window as we land at an international airport. It is unclear who is controlling any given drone, and there are currently few measures that can effectively trace, track, and disable the eclectic mix of drone systems that populate our skies.

“Drone” has, of course, become a somewhat amorphous term, used to describe a vast array of systems. Yet in all forms, from fixed-wing systems to quadcopters, drones present novel risks to security. These are unlikely to be resolved quickly, if at all.

The warning signs. Even if Yemen’s Houthi rebels did not conduct the September 14 attack, as they claimed, they have been successfully using fixed-wing drones for a while. They began with state support, allegedly from Iran, but soon turned to commercial drone supplies to bolster their arsenal. High-definition cameras, industrial motors, and long-range transmitters all added to the Houthis’ capabilities. Their attacks on oil pipelines in Saudi Arabia in May 2019, assassination of high profile military leaders in Yemen in January 2019, and alleged strikes on national airports in Abu Dhabi in July 2018 and Dubai the following month highlighted the protentional for hostile actors, bolstered by commercially available technology, to cause death and destruction by remote control. Even the most innocuous commercial system can be misused.

The chaos at Gatwick airport, where the alleged sighting in December 2018 of two quadcopter drones—or perhaps just one, several, or no drones at all (depending who you ask)—highlighted both this threat and its deniability. The United Kingdom’s second largest airport was brought to a standstill, but no one was brought to justice. Not only this, but the 125 near-misses and dangerous encounters that occurred between planes and slow, low-flying, off-the-shelf drones in that country last year occupied the time, capacity, and resources of police forces, airport officials, and parliamentary committees as the drone threat loomed.

The press has capitalized on the climate of fear, gleefully warning of quadcopter drones fitted with “machine guns,” “flamethrowers,” and payloads of radioactive waste—novel inventions that highlight the disturbing versatility of simple-to-acquire, and easy-to-adapt, remote systems. In fact, we need only look at the Japanese “atomic drones,” ISIS “Trojan Horse drones,” and Venezuelan “assassination drones” for pertinent reminders of how these toys can be transformed into weapons capable of violating secure governmental and military sites.

Still, this is just the start. Think of today’s nefarious drones as the Model T of dangerous drones. As drone technologies grow ever more sophisticated, proliferating in an unchecked and under-regulated manner, “hostile drone” incidents will increase in impact and number.

Evolving technology. Let’s focus on the future of the quadcopter drone threat. These drones, including systems consumers can already buy from mainstream manufacturers like DJI or Parrot, are now able to go faster, transmit images further, and fly for much longer than they could just a few years ago. Some are now “fast and furious,” rather than “low and slow.” The latest DJI Mavik 2, a relatively basic drone from a Chinese technology company, has a maximum speed of 72 kilometers per hour, an 8-kilometer video transmission distance, and can fly for up to 31 minutes. The recent use of drones to fly over the many thousands of protesters and security forces in Hong Kong highlights the pace, agility, versatility, and access of the current drone generation.A-Z of Drones 2015: Civilian Casualties, Afghanistan, Gaza

DJI, to be fair, has introduced a number of measures to encourage responsible use, particularly around airports. But as drones increase in numbers and capabilities, they are becoming more difficult to confine and counter. Readily available “add-ons”—such as the latest motors, transmitters, apps, and cameras—exacerbate the dangers.

Swarms of drones, sometimes more than a thousand strong, have kept us enthralled and entertained—be it at the Olympics or on New Year’s Eve—as Intel, one of the world’s largest computer technology companies, has shown off its multi-drone control software. Nevertheless, there is a troubling side to this captivating capability. For the princely sum of zero dollars, drone operators can download software and online tutorials that make it possible to fly multiple drones, simultaneously, toward a chosen target. When this capability is combined with ever-more-sophisticated smartphone apps that allow drone pilots to pre-set their drones’ final destination, it is easy to see how free, open-access, autonomous drone swarms are born. Of course, there is no need for these apps, tutorials, or software if a maliciously minded group has multiple operators, with multiple drones, flying all at once at a target. But the software and apps make it easier for an individual to achieve this once remarkable feat.

A window into the future. A terrorist attack by swarming drones may seem farfetched, and it is important not to engage in hyperbole. However, scenarios similar to this are playing out around the world, often in a hostile manner. Once again, the recent attacks on Saudi Arabia should give pause for concern. At least 18 drones and seven cruise missiles were reportedly used to break through national defenses and strike the designated targets in Abqaiq and Khurais. The use of these systems in swarms makes tactical sense, as it increases the likelihood of a successful strike, by overwhelming and saturating defenses. Drones may also be used to help identify targets, allowing secondary systems to strike with precision. In a different, but not unfamiliar manner, swarms have been used for saturation, spotting, and strike purposes by both criminal gangs and terrorists.

Last year, the FBI was operationally blinded when a criminal gang, embroiled in a hostage situation, made “high-speed low passes” at FBI agents with a rudimentary quadcopter drone swarm. Joe Mazel, who heads the FBI’s Operational Technology Law Unit, told Defense One that the gang buzzed the hostage rescue team and even “had people fly their own drones up and put the footage to YouTube.”

The incident was headline-grabbing, yet not a wholly new use of drones by criminal gangs. Previously, drones have been used to intimidate officers, stalk witnesses, smuggle drugs and contraband into prisons, spy on homes and industrial sites to see when occupants leave, and search for vulnerable and valuable assets. In Mexico, a drug cartel used quadcopter drones to spy on, identify, and attack a high-ranking official. The drones were fitted with grenades and sent to the residence of Gerardo Sosa Olachea, the public safety secretary for the Mexican state of Baja California. Fortunately, the grenades did not detonate. However, events like this provide a glimpse into the future.

What will the next drone attack look like? We can gain insight from the case of Basil Hassan in Denmark. Born in 1987 in a small town 20 kilometers from Copenhagen, Hassan would become known as one of the most dangerous individuals on the US list of foreign terrorists. He had a passion (and a talent) for engineering and flight. These were skills he chose to apply helping ISIS establish a caliphate in Iraq and Syria. Specifically, he saw how drone systems could be easily acquired in Denmark or ordered online, sent to Turkey, and then smuggled across the border to help ISIS units that had emerged from captured resources at the University of Mosul in Iraq. By 2014, the units were experimenting with chemical agents and explosives in attempts to create deadly weapons. They were also testing and developing both fixed-wing and quadcopter drone systems. In time, Hassan played a major role in harnessing simple commercial technologies and using them to create effective weapons of war for ISIS’s new drone squadrons across Syria and Iraq.

The Danish authorities had known about Hassan since a friend was convicted of terror-related offenses in 2007. Hassan still managed to flee the country in the spring of 2014, turning up in Turkey, where he was arrested and jailed. By the fall of 2014, however, he was suddenly released from Turkish prison in a prisoner exchange between ISIS and Turkey. Hassan then used his engineering knowledge, training, and contacts from his previous life in Denmark to smuggle advanced drone technologies into ISIS-held territory. He was able to obtain the technology he needed from a hobbyist shop in Copenhagen—using his connections in the region to order five drone computers worth a total of around $6,000, and 20 thermal imaging cameras at $4,000 each. The Danish authorities noticed, tracked, and infiltrated his activities—but over a five-year period he had managed to bolster the ISIS drone arsenal.

It’s hard to attribute specific drone attacks to Hassan, but what is clear is that the ISIS drone program grew in impact and lethality after his arrival in the terror group, and the arrival of the high-tech drone parts. What has often been overlooked is the extent to which, since 2014, ISIS has used such drone systems en masse and in coordinated, highly tactical attacks. The group has used 10 or 20 drones at a time, alongside thermal imaging systems, long-range transmitters, high-definition cameras, onboard computers, and high-speed motors to attack coalition forces in Iraq and Syria.

According to my own interviews with coalition special-operations forces and journalists, in one series of attacks that occurred within a 24-hour period, there were no less than 82 drones of all shapes and sizes lobbing bombs at Iraqi, Kurdish, US, and French forces. During these attacks, ISIS was adept at coordinating its drone attacks with suicide bombers, improvised explosive devices, and sniper fire, to cause maximum damage and chaos for coalition forces.

ISIS was able to upgrade its drone systems by fitting them with better motors and thermal imaging cameras, making it possible to conduct high-speed night attacks. As one member of the Kurdish forces recalled, the drones were so effective that some soldiers began to “fear the noise and flee from the front line.”

The upshot is that drone technologies, supplied from the European continent, made their way to war zones with devastating impact. As drone technologies become more sophisticated and available in Europe, a pertinent question for security authorities should be: What could happen in Europe if these systems got into the wrong hands?

Systems already available in Europe include agricultural drones and their chemical spraying systems, high-speed motors that can propel drones faster and farther than ever before (while carrying heavier payloads), long-distance transmitters and batteries that allow an operator to be far from the drone in use (improving deniability), thermal-imaging cameras that allow an operator to effectively see in the dark, commercially developed (or even improvised) object-release devices that allow for the deployment of mortars and grenades, data theft/transmission software to capture sensitive metadata or send misinformation messages, and the aforementioned swarming and autonomous drones. When these technologies are combined, it is easy to see how a drone could be manipulated in creative ways.

In the future, population centers will become increasingly reliant on drones to provide the vital goods and services that keep a nation functioning commercially and socially. Amazon deliveries and Uber autonomous taxis are just the beginning. Emergency medical services, police forces, and fire and rescue responders will increasingly use drones. So will postal services, communications conglomerates, and social media giants. Each will seek to harness the speed and cost-effectiveness of drones, leaving society increasingly vulnerable.

A future vulnerability. In this future, drones are not only a threat to vital national infrastructure, but also a vital national infrastructure themselves. This is troubling for a variety of reasons, not least because one rogue drone incident could mean the grounding of a whole regional or national drone fleet, bringing critical and lifesaving services to a grinding halt. If hacked, drones could be put to insidious uses by criminal gangs, or even other nations, that wish to gather data or spread misinformation.

In August 2019, for example, hackers attending the annual Defcon conference in Las Vegas managed to demonstrate how a simple off-the-shelf quadcopter drone, fitted with a radio transmitter, could hover above a home and take control of its smart TV. The drone transmitted a signal “more powerful than the one broadcast by legitimate TV networks, overriding the legitimate signal.” This may seem harmless, but such a technical capability could allow a hacker to “display phishing messages that ask for the viewer’s passwords, inject keyloggers that capture the user’s remote button presses, and run cryptomining software.” The drone could even broadcast its own material.

In Ukraine, Russian-backed forces have already used fixed-wing drones, alongside ground-based systems, “to conduct electromagnetic reconnaissance and jamming against satellite, cellular and radio communication systems along with GPS spoofing and electronic warfare attacks.” One of the tactics in Ukraine was to send menacing messages to Ukrainian troops on the ground, urging retreat.

Drones are useful for information capture, as well as disinformation. As the New York Times reported two years ago, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have raised concerns that Chinese drones manufactured by DJI “may be sending sensitive information about American infrastructure back to China.” Broader worries soon surfaced, leading the US Army to ban the use of all drones made by DJI. As Foreign Policy reported in August, the Army “may soon ban all Chinese-built drones and Chinese-manufactured components from military use.”

As the drone future approaches, policy makers, industry leaders, security forces, and technology innovators must prioritize key questions: How will national governments secure emerging drone infrastructures as they grow exponentially over the next few years? How will data be kept secure? Can the hacking of drones and spread of disinformation be prevented? And, in the face of the most advanced drones, how will counter-drone systems react?

As one counter-drone expert recently warned, “’very few airports have any countermeasures or even processes in place to detect and defeat drones,” and many existing technologies are underperforming or too risky to use. It will take a lot of work, and focused investment from authorities and industry, to create a safe and vibrant drone future—one that can harness the benefits of drones while keeping out the darker sides of the technology.

Posted in USA, Europe, ZIO-NAZI, Human Rights0 Comments

One Million Brexit Coins Ordered by Over-Confident Boris Johnson: Now Both Invalid

One Million Brexit Coins Ordered by Over-Confident Boris Johnson: Now Both Invalid

By Hans Stehling

Global Research,

It is today reported that Boris Johnson, in an act of arrogance, had ordered the Royal Mint to produce one million 50p coins to commemorate Brexit on October 31st last in the misplaced hope that he would succeed in his plan for leaving Europe on that date.   Now, with his face covered in egg, he has ordered the coins to be melted down and recycled.

The total cost of this expensive fiasco to the tax-payer has not been disclosed as the Government claims it is ‘commercially sensitive’.  In fact, what is sensitive, is whether this temporary Prime Minister will himself defray the cost of this expensive misjudgement, which is estimated to be in the region of some hundreds of thousands of pounds.

I suppose we are fortunate that he didn’t also order a customised Rolls Royce to take him to Heathrow there to board a brand new, executive-jet to fly him to have dinner in the White House with the 45th POTUS, Donald  J Trump, who is currently facing the prospect of impeachment in office. Once there, no doubt Johnson was expecting to finalise a new, comprehensive, UK-US TRADE deal – except for one small detail I.e. the U.K. Government is powerless to negotiate any trade deal until Brexit is an accomplished fact.

This then is the story of an inexperienced prime minister with big ideas that are sadly not commensurate with his innate abilities.  Boris Johnson has always been an inveterate loser and lacking in judgement – even as Foreign Secretary, as evidenced by a British mother still languishing in Prison in Iran.

Posted in UK0 Comments


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