All posts tagged: china

Has new Australian foreign agent law been safely neutered?

Tony kevin The Australian parliament is about to pass a complex package of national security laws aimed at strengthening Australia’s protections against espionage, sabotage, (covert) foreign interference and (overt) harmful foreign influence on Australian political life. The real target is China, but Russia makes a convenient public scapegoat drawing on current US/UK precedents. The draft laws which now appear to have bipartisan support are significantly improved from the first government drafts released for public comment in December 2017. Nevertheless they take Australia in an illiberal direction. The legislation is a defensive McCarthyist response by Australia’s security and mainstream media elites to the erosion of United States power and will to protect Australia. These groups cannot bear the thought that as Chinese and Russian global power grows, Australia must now radically review its great power and Asia-Pacific region relationships. Instead, Australia’s elites seek to intimidate Australia’s richly diverse plural society into docile obedience to the national security dogma of the day, whatever the cost to Australians’ traditional rights to free speech and free association with anybody …

Peace is a cliché: When the West cannot control the world unopposed, it means war

Andre Vltchek Dedicated to my friend, a philosopher, John Cobb Jr The West likes to think of itself as a truly “peace-loving part of the world”. But is it? You hear it everywhere, from Europe to North America, then to Australia, and back to Europe: “Peace, peace, peace!” It has become a cliché, a catchphrase, a recipe to get funding and sympathy and support. You say peace and you really cannot go wrong. It means that you are a compassionate and reasonable human being. Every year, there are “peace conferences” taking place everywhere where peace is worshipped, and even demanded. I recently attended one, as a keynote speaker, on the west coast of Denmark. If a heavy-duty war correspondent like myself attends them, he or she gets shocked. What is usually discussed are superficial, feel-good topics. At best, ‘how bad capitalism is’, and how ‘everything is about oil’. Nothing about the genocidal culture of the West. Nothing about continuous, centuries-long plunders and benefits that virtually all Westerners have been getting from it. At worst, it …

‘Exorbitant Privilege’ Under Siege

Frank Lee It was the French politician Valery Giscard D’Estaing who first coined the phrase ‘Exorbitant Privilege’ – a reference to the many advantages enjoyed by the US ownership and control of the world’s reserve currency. This was a situation dating back to the agreement reached in 1944 between the allied powers and established in Bretton Woods a town in New Hampshire; it was to become known as the Bretton Woods Agreement. During the conference key negotiators, most famously John Maynard Keynes for Britain, and Harry Dexter White chief US delegate, hammered out a blueprint for a new global and currency and trading system. Keynes was not entirely satisfied with the outcome and White mostly got his own way despite JMK’s misgivings about possible problems further down the road. But then the UK in the shape of Keynes, was also angling for a sizeable US loan in the not too distant future which circumscribed Keynes’ room for manoeuvre; and the loan of course came with strings – viz., the ending of British imperial preferential trading …

Open Source Investigation: The War on Cash

Following last nights shutdown of Visa’s payment system across large parts of Europe, we thought this would be good time to revisit the topic of money. Cold hard cash is on the way out, following a sustained global effort to undermine its usage. Is that a good thing? Does the Visa crash exemplify just how little power the consumer wields in a world of universally digital payments? James Corbett has been running his Open Source Investigation into the “War on Cash” since 2016, here we post some of the more concerning findings. Feel free to contribute BTL if there are any further developments, or get in touch with The Corbett Report directly here. The Cashless Society List ARGENTINA – Argentina’s currency crisis has been known for some time. In short, Argentinians don’t trust the peso and are willing to pay premium for any currency they perceive as “more stable,” especially US dollars which are traded on the black market as “blue dollars” at prices far exceeding the official exchange rate. That’s why Argentina has been …

Voices of the Syrian People

by Andre Vltchek, first published by New Eastern Outlook The attack against Syria – this proud and independent country – has just taken place. Three countries with zero moral mandate to judge or punish anybody; three countries already responsible for hundreds of millions of human lives lost on all continents for centuries, showered Syria with their missiles. They tried to scare to death Syria, and to break its determination, but they failed. Most of the Syrian people stood proudly by their government. 71 out of 103 of the Western missiles were shot down, and the rest fell on the empty facilities, which have nothing to do with a ‘production or storage of the chemical weapons’. To begin with, Syria has no chemical weapons program and no chemical weapons factories, as well as no warehouses, so nothing could really fall on something that does not exist. This was yet another gross violation of the international law, but again, the West has been violating the international laws for decades and centuries, brutalizing the entire Planet. Therefore, no …

US ‘Empire of Debt’ will go to war to stop emergence of petro-yuan

RT Reports: The imminent introduction of oil trading in yuan is a very bold move by the Chinese, because the US will not give up the basis of its hegemony – the dollar as the world’s reserve currency – without a fight, Max Keiser, host of RT’s financial program ‘Keiser Report’ has said. The Chinese plan to roll out a yuan-denominated oil contract before the end of this year is a very brave move, since countries who “tried to exit the oil-dollar matrix have met terrible ends,” Keiser pointed out. “Saddam Hussein wanted to trade oil in Euros and he was killed, Muammar Gaddafi wanted to trade his energy in something other than the US dollar – he was killed,” Keiser said. China, however, has the resolve and the resources to pull-off the de-dollarization, and besides, it’s backed by several major countries which are “resistant to America’s financial cartel,” namely Russia and Iran, Keiser said. “Kudos to China for taking this project on and of course they are rumored to be a big buyer in …

Trump’s ‘America First’ meets China’s ‘community of common destiny’

Just as President Donald Trump has reached back into U.S. history to draw inspiration for his “America First” policy from President Andrew Jackson’s mid-19th century populism, so too is Chinese President Xi Jinping reaching back to the Zhou dynasty 3,000 years ago — which lasted longer than the entire existence of the U.S. — for inspiration. Xi’s idea of a “new era” of global relations based on a “community of common destiny” is drawn from the concept of tianxia — or “all under heaven,” living in harmonious coexistence — that reigned during that ancient era. Jacksonian-style “America First” policies have never been attempted in our age of interdependence that was largely created by liberal internationalist policies of the U.S. during the 20th century. Nor has the Chinese concept of tianxia ever been tried on a world scale among highly distinct civilizations and political systems tightly tethered by globalization. In The WorldPost this week, we examine the conjunction of these two opposite historical resonances coming together at the same time. And we check the claims of …

Trump Officially Restores Cold War

by Eric Zuesse originally at StrategicCulture.com On January 20th, CBS News bannered “Terrorism no longer the military’s top priority, Mattis says” and opened: There is a major change in U.S. military strategy. On Friday, more than 16 years after the 9/11 attacks, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said terrorism is no longer the No. 1 priority. The report said, “Maintaining a military advantage over China and Russia is now Defense Secretary Mattis’ top priority.” On January 18th, the Trump Administration had issued its crucial document about how it will implement America’s national defense from now on. This document, the National Defense Strategy 2018, represents a continuation of U.S. President Barack Obama’s vision and intentions, but extends Obama’s hostility toward Russia, by adding Trump’s hostility toward China. In December 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump had issued his National Security Strategy 2018 (the NSS2018); but, in keeping with his prior commitment to leaving to the generals the implementation of his national security policy, the Pentagon has now issued this National Defense Strategy 2018 (the NDS2018), which is …

Those Magical, Fantastical Russians vs. U.S. Empire

Glen Ford in Black Agenda Report: “This induced ‘state of emergency’ is designed to prepare the American public, politically and psychologically, to maintain the momentum of the U.S. imperial offensive in the world.” The only people that can make Russiagate fade away are the ones that invented it in the first place: the spooks, Wall Street Democrats and institutional servants of capital that gathered in Hillary Clinton’s overstuffed campaign tent, last year, to plot the next moves of a beleaguered U.S. empire. Although a Bernie Sanders’ upset in 2016 had always been a statistical impossibility, Donald Trump’s capture of the Republican Party machinery had destabilized the duopoly political system at a time of great stress for U.S. imperialism. The previous year, the Russian military had set up shop in Syria, blocking U.S.-backed jihadists from ousting the secular, Arab nationalist government of Bashar al Assad. It was Vladimir Putin’s answer to the global military offensive launched by Barack Obama in 2011, with NATO’s overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, followed immediately by the jihadist push into …

Catalan Independence and Media Hypocrisy

1.3 million people marched in the streets of Barcelona on the 11th of November. They were protesting the arrest of Catalonian MPs and other officials. The charges? Sedition. The Catalan independence referendum was held peacefully and fairly. On the day votes were cast riot police broke up crowds and raided polling stations. People were injured trying to vote. To no one’s surprise, the people of Catalonia voted AGAINST the people hitting them with sticks for wanting to be free. The Spanish government dissolved Catalonia’s local government and had MPs seized. The ex-President of Catalonia fled to Belgium. He has since been handed over to the Spanish government. 1.3 million people marched against this. That’s a one, a three, and five zeroes. The Spanish press didn’t cover it. But fortunately, for now, people can upload reality to twitter. Watch this video of last nights protest of around a million people calling for Spain to release Catalan political prisoners. Then follow this link to see how this vast crowd was depicted on the front pages of Spain's …

VIDEO: Echoes of WWI: China, the US, and the Next “Great” War

In the early 20th century, the world’s dominant superpower looked warily on the rise of a competitor to its supremacy. The machinations of the British to contain the rise of Germany led inexorably to the First World War. Once again in the early 21st century, the world’s dominant superpower is looking warily on the rise of a competitor. Will the American Empire’s machinations to contain the rise of China lead to the Third World War? Or is the American/Chinese conflict another engineered conflict for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many? Join James Corbett as he presents “Echoes of World War I” to the Open Mind Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Sources and show-notes can be found here.

The End of the Cold War and Shakespeare’s Macbeth

by Vladimir Golstein It is naïve to think that Macbeth is only about some “vaulting” and murderous ambition. Macbeth does not acquire the throne with the intention of controlling his subjects. In fact, in his quest to secure his rule, he strives to control the very idea of time and change. It is thus hardly surprising that when he is killed, Macduff declares: “behold, where stands/The usurper’s cursed head: THE TIME IS FREE.” Enslaving time, means stopping its flow; it means attacking the very idea of change, and therefore destroying the agents of change: the young. Thus, Macbeth’ speciality is butchering children.  He does so as he tries to achieve “security,” – which, obviously, means the elimination of rivals.  But the witches do inform us that: “security is mortals’ chiefest enemy.”  The quest for it is as deadly as its temporary possession.  Permanence, security, they are as futile as the desire to stop the time. Now fast forward to the collapse of the Soviet Union.  That collapse meant that Russia, in fact, has re-entered time, …

Chris Hedges: The End of Empire

Chris Hedges in TruthDig: The American empire is coming to an end. The U.S. economy is being drained by wars in the Middle East and vast military expansion around the globe. It is burdened by growing deficits, along with the devastating effects of deindustrialization and global trade agreements. Our democracy has been captured and destroyed by corporations that steadily demand more tax cuts, more deregulation and impunity from prosecution for massive acts of financial fraud, all the while looting trillions from the U.S. treasury in the form of bailouts. The nation has lost the power and respect needed to induce allies in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa to do its bidding. Add to this the mounting destruction caused by climate change and you have a recipe for an emerging dystopia. Overseeing this descent at the highest levels of the federal and state governments is a motley collection of imbeciles, con artists, thieves, opportunists and warmongering generals. And to be clear, I am speaking about Democrats, too. The empire will limp along, steadily losing influence …

The 6th mass extinction is a product of capitalism — not population growth

by Barnaby Philips, 25 August, 2017, via RCG ‘Every particular mode of production has its own special laws of population, which are historically valid within that particular sphere. An abstract law of population exists only for plants and animals and even then only in the absence of any historical intervention by man’ – Karl Marx, Capital, Volume 1, Chapter 25, pp783-784 ‘You don’t need to be a scientist to know what’s causing the sixth mass extinction,’ began Professor Paul R. Ehrlich in a Guardian article on 11 July. Given the ‘developed’ imperialist world’s throwaway consumerism and the well-documented destruction of the environment by multinational corporations, it should indeed be fairly obvious. Ehrlich however names one main culprit: population growth. His solution? Some unspecified form of ‘humane’ population reduction. Apparently the reason you don’t need to be a scientist is because the pseudo-science of eugenics suffices. Ehrlich must be refuted with science.  It is capitalism’s need for infinite economic growth that is destroying life on earth. Ehrlich is best known for his 1968 book The Population Boom, which warned that …

The Rohingya Psyops: Waging Covert War on Myanmar

The United Nations has accused the Government of Myanmar of committing ‘genocide’ against the Rohingya Muslim minority in the country’s troubled Rakhine State. In recent weeks the crisis in Myanmar has escalated, with human rights groups and NGOs publishing copious denunciations of the alleged human rights abuses and mass murder committed by the Myanmar Armed Forces, (Tatmadaw). The Myanmar government claims that they are fighting a war on terrorism against forces which seek to destabilise the state, Islamist forces in particular. They also claim that the so-called ethnic minority commonly referred to as ‘Rohingya’ are really illegal East Bengali immigrants.

Is Sri Lanka being used by big powers to make the Indian Ocean another South China Sea?

by Lasanda Kurukulasuriya, September 17, 2017, via Defend Democracy Press The Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) organised by the India Foundation and held at the Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s official residence ‘Temple Trees’ from Aug. 31 to Sept.1, was billed as a gathering of Indian Ocean Region countries and ‘other concerned nations’ with a view to advancing ‘Peace, Progress and Prosperity” in the Indian Ocean. While this is no doubt a laudable goal, the absence of perspectives from regional players like China and Pakistan points to somewhat more partisan objectives than those advertised. The delegate described as ‘Principal, Ambassadors’ LLC Group, China’ was actually an American citizen, and while there was ambiguity as to the interests she represented it would be safe to surmise that she did not represent the People’s Republic of China. However, the US, also an external power, was represented by its Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia, Alice Wells. A post on the Conference’s Facebook page points to objectives not revealed elsewhere. It describes the gathering as being …

Terror Incognita: ‘Demistifying’ the Fog of War

by Sean Stinson, August 28, 2017 “The Muslim terrorist apparatus was created by US intelligence as a political weapon” – National security adviser to the Carter administration, Zbigniew Brzezinski “The truth is, there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al-Qaeda, and any informed intelligence officer knows this. But, there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an intensified entity representing the ‘devil’ only in order to drive TV watchers to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country behind this propaganda is the United States.” – Former British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” – H.L. Mencken Corporate propaganda is flying so thick and fast lately it’s dizzying just keeping up with it. For regular readers of the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Guardian, Vladimir Putin is the new Fuhrer of American …

Pepe Escobar: And the winners in the post-Daesh era are… (updated)

Syrians walk past Aleppo’s citadel as life returns to normal after the expulsion of Jihadi terrorist groups by the Syrian army and its allies Russia and Iran. Photo from the #believe_in_aleppo hashtag in Twitter. An excerpt from Pepe Escobar’s latest article in Asia Times: […] Mesopotamia and the Levant, in the post-Daesh era, are indeed unrecognizable compared to the state of play in the early 2010s. The facts on the ground in the Syrian war theater are stark. While the Beltway was blinded by regime change, Moscow swooped in and with a small expeditionary force turned the Middle East game upside down. While Russian jets fully coordinated with an array of forces on the ground, Russian diplomacy ended up closing down all manner of war fronts and imposing ceasefires or de-escalation zones. A New Syrian Army (NSA?), instead of those walking dead FSA, is now fully battle-tested, in both conventional and guerrilla warfare, and with morale extremely high to the point that Hezbollah now needs to deploy only a few of its officers to coordinate …

The Real Reason Washington is Worried about North Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrives for the opening ceremony of a newly built residential complex in Pyongyang on April 13 [2017]. Photo: Reuters   By Stephen Gowans in What’s Left A number of countries have recently tested ballistic or cruise missiles and a handful, not least Russia and China, possess nuclear-tipped ICBMs capable of striking the United States. And yet the missiles and nuclear weapons program of only one of these countries, North Korea, arouses consternation in Washington. What makes tiny North Korea, within its miniscule defense budget, and rudimentary nuclear arsenal and missile capability, a threat so menacing that “worry has spread in Washington and the United Nations”? [1] “The truth,” it has been said, “is often buried on the front page of The New York Times.” [2] This is no less true of the real reason Washington frets about North Korea’s missile tests. In a July 4, 2017 article titled “What can Trump do about North Korea? His options are few and risky,” reporter David E. Sanger, a member of the Council …

North Korea: Headlines full of “Fire and Fury” Signifying Nothing

In truly perverse fashion, the newspapers have all suddenly remembered that Nuclear war is possible, and that it’s probably not a good idea. This is all built on the developing war of words between Trump’s administration and North Korea.