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Newcastle Stop the War / BREAKING RANKS, THE CRIMES AND PUNISHMENT OF JEREMY CORBYN
« Last post by Roger on November 05, 2020, 11:33:54 AM »
BREAKING RANKS, THE CRIMES AND PUNISHMENT OF JEREMY CORBYN

Chris Nineham Stop the war

The suspension of Jeremy Corbyn because he argued claims of antisemitism in Labour were deliberately exaggerated is a travesty. There is plenty of evidence on record that various leading figures within Labour deliberately inflated claims of antisemitism to undermine Corbyn. It is clear from the content of the EHRC report itself that there is a gaping discrepancy between the claims of systemic antisemitism made by politicians and media and the actual record.

Despite this, the Labour leadership remains adamant. Kier Starmer’s intense focus on marginalising Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters is part of a pattern. From the start of his leadership Corbyn suffered an unprecedented level of attacks not just from the Labour right but from all corners of the establishment.

The right wing of the Labour Party plotted against him from the start. Highlights included the choreographed resignation of 44 frontbench MPs in so many hours after the 2016 Brexit vote, the weaponization of the antisemitism issue by senior Labour figures exposed in Labour’s internal report on antisemitism and the associated 2019 split led by Luciana Berger and Chuka Umunna.

On Manoeuvres

Anti-Corbyn manoeuvres went way beyond Labour. Early in his tenure, generals briefed journalists that he was a security threat and that the armed forces would not serve under him. For a year MI6 refused the normal meeting with the leader of the opposition. In 2019, senior civil servants told the Times that he was ‘too frail’ to be prime minister and that he was ‘losing his memory’.

Tony Blair’s extensive networks were fully mobilised as Peter Mandelson made clear when he promised to ‘work every single day in some small way to bring forward the end of his tenure in office’. Even the US administration was in on the act with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo giving private assurances that the administration would ‘push back’ against Corbyn even before he got elected and adding, ‘It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.”

The tabloid media spent the five years of his leadership demonising Corbyn. First as poorly dressed, sexist and unstatesmanlike and then as a national security threat and a terrorist sympathiser as things became more alarming. The liberal media joined in the sport, running twice as much hostile as favourable coverage. As a letter signed by one hundred media academics put it, ‘Corbyn has been treated from the start as a problem to be solved rather than as a politician to be taken seriously.’

Red Lines

It is no accident that so many of the attacks centred on questions of security and foreign policy. It was a major cause of concern for those in power that unlike any other Labour leader since the 1930s Corbyn openly opposed Britain’s aggressive foreign policy and the special relationship with the US. He was widely mocked for being the chair of the Stop the War Coalition when he was elected. What was more worrying was that Corbyn stuck to his anti-war principles after he became leader.

One of the early rebellions against his leadership came in December 2015 when eleven cabinet members, including shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn, broke with Labour policy and voted for the Tory push to extend Britain’s bombing of Iraq to Syria. The rebellion was backed by a political and media chorus echoed by some on the left demanding Corbyn distance himself from Stop the War and ludicrously that he boycott Stop the War’s Christmas dinner. Corbyn refused, came to the event and publicly stood by the Stop the War Coalition as ‘a vital democratic campaign’.

Corbyn had already caused consternation within the establishment by repeatedly refusing to countenance pushing the nuclear button if in office, despite the fact that Labour was committed to renewing Trident. He promised too that a Labour government would recognise the Palestinian state. In 2016, he broke another foreign policy taboo and directly confronted Blair’s legacy by apologising on behalf of the Labour Party for the Iraq war.

The following year he responded to the appalling Manchester terrorist attack by hosting a high profile press conference at which he linked the spread of terrorism with “wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home”. As Corbyn said this was the private view of most in the security services. Corbyn was so transgressive because he was prepared to speak openly about such matters. By doing so he threatened to shine a light on the dark heart of the British foreign policy establishment; its collusion in regime change, torture, illegal arms sales and the enormous suffering caused by the wars in the Middle East and beyond.

He was also prepared to draw policy conclusions. As he said at the press conference:

“We must be brave enough to admit the ‘war on terror’ is simply not working. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism.”

After the press conference, the media predicted a massive public backlash. That didn’t happen. Instead, polls awkwardly showed that 75% of the British public backed Corbyn’s stand.

The Disrupter

Particularly after the impressive gains that Corbyn-led party made in the 2017 election, the British establishment was presented with a profoundly serious and utterly unprecedented political problem. Labour was gaining popularity under a left-wing leader who openly opposed the strategy of maintaining a global role for Britain by supporting US power projection around the world. Given the importance of the arms trade, financial services and foreign investment within the British establishment, the ‘global Britain’ strategy is simply non-negotiable.

This is one of the reasons why the establishment has pursued the anti-Corbyn campaign with such vigour and vitriol. And why the campaign continues. Corbyn represents popular opposition not just to austerity and inequality, but to foreign policies that underpin the very basis of the modern British state. Corbyn threatened to disrupt the fundamentals. This explains the venom, and it is why it is so crucial that that the whole of the left and the wider movement rallies around to defend him, his record and his politics.
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South Tyneside Stop the War / Irish trial of anti-war activists, VERDICT NOT GUILTY
« Last post by Roger on October 24, 2020, 12:02:22 PM »
Irish trial of anti-war activists, VERDICT NOT GUILTY
October 23
Roger Cole, Peace & Neutrality Alliance
(October 23) – At Dublin Circuit Court today a jury of twelve Irish citizens acquitted peace activists Colm Roddy and Dave Donnellan of the charge of alleged criminal damage at Shannon airport over four and a half years ago.

The trial by Jury was presided over by Judge Karen O’Connor found both defendants not guilty. They entered Shannon airport on the morning of 25 May 2016 to search and investigate US military aircraft that were being refuelled on their way to and from US wars of aggression.

There were two US Air Force aircraft at Shannon at the time of the incident. One was a US Air Force Learjet C-21A aircraft registration number 84-0072 being guarded by an Irish army patrol, and the other was a US Air Force Boeing C-32B aircraft registration number 02-4452 used by the United States special forces, and being guarded by a Garda patrol car.

Speaking after the trial Colm Roddy said “the result of this trial gives us no cause for celebration. Our peaceful non-violent actions in May 2016 were undertaken to highlight Irish complicity and participation in US wars in the Middle East that have caused the deaths of millions of people in the Middle East, including the deaths of up to one million children since the First Gulf War in 1991.”

Dave Donnellan said: “Our actions were faith based. As Irish citizens we felt compelled as a matter of conscience to highlight Irish Government complicity in war crimes and it is a matter of deep regret to us that this complicity is still ongoing almost daily since 2001.”

The successful defence case was based on the argument that they had LAWFUL EXCUSE, or just cause, for their actions. In previous trials also relating to similar peace actions taken by five Catholic Workers – Deirdre Clancy, Nuin Dunlop, Karen Fallon, Damien Moran, and Ciaran O’Reilly – in 2003 the jury also acquitted the five defendants, and the Court of Criminal appeal overturned the conviction of Mary Kelly for damaging a US Navy aircraft, also in 2003.

All these trials took an unduly long time to reach a conclusion at great inconvenience to all the defendants – justice delayed is justice denied – but it is the innocent people of the Middle East who are suffering the most due to these wars and Irish complicity in these wars. May those innocents who have been slaughtered rest in peace and may some justice and accountability be applied to those responsible for, and complicity in, these war crimes
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For Your Information / The Role of Anglo-American Financiers ( In World War II)
« Last post by Roger on August 27, 2020, 10:36:44 AM »
The Role of Anglo-American Financiers ( In World War II)
Valentin Katasonov
2015 by Strategic Culture Foundation  (Source TML) https://cpcml.ca/Tmlw2020/W50031.HTM#4

This article was originally published in 2015 by Strategic Culture Foundation and also reproduced by TML Weekly at that time. TML Weekly is republishing it today to enlighten readers on the role played by international financiers in World War II and debunk the Anglo-American falsification which blames the Soviet Union for that tragedy so as to exonerate themselves.

The article also clearly examines the origins of the international financial institutions at a time the Trudeau government and provincial governments are once again indebting the country to private interests to unprecedented levels based on the fraudulent claim that this is how to achieve economic recovery. Not only that, the Trudeau government likes to claim that Canada's adherence to these international financial institutions makes it democratic and provides proof of its multilateralism. The material in this article provides ample information which shows that there are obviously various kinds of multilateralism with various kinds of aims and not all of them serve Canada. This the Trudeau and other governments in Canada do not want discussed.

Part One
The war was not unleashed by a frenzied Führer who happened to be ruling Germany at the time. World War II was a project created by the world oligarchy or Anglo-American financiers. Using such instruments as the U.S. Federal Reserve System and the Bank of England they started to prepare for the next global conflict right after World War I. The USSR was the target.

The Dawes and Young Plans; the creation of the Bank for International Settlements; Germany's suspension of reparations payments it had to pay according to the Paris Peace Treaty and the acquiescence of Russia's former allies in this decision; large-scale foreign investments in the economy of the Third Reich; the militarization of the German economy and the breaches of the Paris Treaty provisions -- these all were important milestones on the way to preparing the war.

There were key figures behind the plot: the Rockefellers, the Morgans, Lord Montagu Norman (the Governor of the Bank of England) and Hjalmar Schacht (President of the Reichsbank and Minister of Economics in Hitler's government). The strategic plan of the Rockefellers and Morgans was to subjugate Europe economically, saturate Germany with foreign investment and credits and make it deliver a crushing blow against Soviet Russia so that it would return to the world capitalist system as a colony.

Montagu Norman (1871-1950) played an important role of go-between to keep up a dialogue between American financial circles and Germany's business leaders. Hjalmar Schacht organized the revival of Germany's defence sector. This operation conducted by the Anglo-American financiers was covered up by politicians such as Franklin Roosevelt, Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill. In Germany the plans were carried out by Hitler and Hjalmar Schacht. Some historians say Hjalmar Schacht played a more important role than Hitler, but Schacht simply kept out of the spotlight.

The Dawes Plan was an attempt following World War I for the Triple Entente to compromise and collect war reparations from Germany. The Dawes Plan (as proposed by the Dawes Committee, chaired by Charles G. Dawes) was an attempt in 1924 to solve the reparations problem, which had bedeviled international politics following World War I and the Treaty of Versailles (France was reluctant to accept it got over 50 per cent of reparations). In 1924-1929 Germany received $2.5 billion from the United States and $1.5 billion from Great Britain, according to the Dawes Plan. In today's currency it is a huge sum, equal to U.S.$1 trillion. Hjalmar Schacht played an active role in the implementation of the Dawes Plan. In 1929 he summed up the results, saying that in five years Germany got more foreign loans than the United States in the 40 years preceding World War I. As a result, by 1929 Germany had become the world's second largest industrial nation leaving Great Britain behind.

In the 1930s, the process of feeding Germany with investments and credits continued. The Young Plan was a program for settling German reparation debts after World War I, written in 1929 and formally adopted in 1930. It was presented by the committee headed (1929-30) by American industrialist Owen D. Young, founder and former first chairman of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). At the time, Young also served concurrently on the board of trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation, and also had been one of the representatives involved in the previous war reparations restructuring arrangement -- the Dawes Plan of 1924. According to the plan, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) was created in 1930 to make Germany pay reparations to the victors. In reality the flow of money went in quite a different direction -- from the United States and Great Britain to Germany. The majority of strategically important German companies belonged to American capital or were partly under its control. Some of them belonged to British investors. German oil refining and coal liquefaction sectors of the economy belonged to Standard Oil (the Rockefellers). The major chemical company I.G. Farbenindustrie AG was put under the control of the Morgan Group. Forty per cent of the telephone network and 30 per cent of aircraft manufacturer Focke Wulf shares belonged to American company ITT Corporation. Major industrial concerns Radio and AEG, Siemens and Osram were put under the control of General Electric. ITT and General Electric were part of the Morgan empire. One hundred per cent of Volkswagen shares belonged to the Ford Motor Company. By the time Hitler came to power, U.S. finance capital practically controlled all the strategically important sectors of German industry: oil refining, synthetic fuel production, chemical production, auto production, aviation, electrical engineering, the radio industry, and a large part of the machine manufacturing sector (a total of 278 companies). The leading German banks -- Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Bank, Donat Bank and some others -- were also under U.S. control.

***
On January 30, 1933 Hitler was named the Chancellor of Germany. Before that his candidacy had been thoroughly studied by American bankers. Hjalmar Schacht went to the United States in the autumn of 1930 to discuss the nomination with American colleagues. Hitler's appointment was finally approved at a secret meeting of financiers in the United States. Hjalmar Schacht spent all of 1932 trying to convince the German bankers that Hitler was the right person for the position. He achieved the goal. In mid-November 1932, 17 of Germany's biggest bankers and industrialists sent a letter to President Hindenburg expressing their demand to make Hitler the Chancellor of Germany. The last working meeting of the German financiers before the election was held on January 4, 1933 in Kölnat, the home of banker Kurt von Schröder. After that the National Socialist Party came to power. As a result, Germany's financial and economic ties with the Anglo-Americans were elevated to a higher level.

Hitler immediately made an announcement that he refused to pay the post-war reparations. It put into doubt the ability of England and France to pay off World War I debts to the United States. Washington did not object to Hitler's announcement. In May 1933 Hjalmar Schacht paid another visit to the United States. There he met with President Franklin Roosevelt and big bankers to reach a $1 billion credit deal. In June the same year Hjalmar Schacht visited London to hold talks with Montagu Norman. It all went down smoothly. The British agreed to grant a $2 billion loan. The British offered no objections related to Germany's decision to suspend debt payments.

Some historians say that the American and British bankers were accommodating because by 1932 the Soviet Union had fulfilled its five-year economic development plan to achieve new heights as an industrial power. A few thousand enterprises had been built, especially in the field of heavy industry. The USSR's dependence on imported mechanical engineering expertise was greatly reduced. The chances of strangling the Soviet Union economically were practically reduced to zero. They decided to rely on war and launched the runaway militarization of Germany.

It was easy for Germany to get American credits. By and large, Hitler came to power in his country at the same time as Franklin Roosevelt took office in the United States. The very same bankers who supported Hitler in 1931 supported Roosevelt in the presidential election. The newly elected President could not but endorse large credits to Germany. By the way, many noticed that there was a big similarity between Roosevelt's "New Deal Policy" and the economic policy of the German Third Reich. No wonder. The very same people worked out both policies and consulted with both governments at the time. They mainly represented U.S. financial circles.

Roosevelt's New Deal soon started to stumble. In 1937 America plunged into the quagmire of economic crisis. In 1939 the U.S. economy operated at 33 per cent of its industrial capacity (it was 19 per cent at the worst of the 1929-1933 crisis).

Rexford G. Tugwell, an economist who became part of Franklin Roosevelt's first "Brain Trust," a group of Columbia University academics who helped develop policy recommendations leading up to Roosevelt's New Deal, wrote that in 1939 the government failed to achieve any success. There was an open sea until the day Hitler invaded Poland. Only the mighty wind of war could dissipate the fog. Any other measures Roosevelt could take were doomed to failure.[1] Only a world war could save U.S. capitalism. In 1939 the financiers used all the leverage at their disposal to put pressure on Hitler to make him unleash a big war in the east.
Part Two
The BIS played an important role during World War II. It was created as an outpost of American interests in Europe and a link between Anglo-American and German businesses, a kind of offshore zone for cosmopolitan capital, providing shelter from political processes, wars, sanctions and other things. The BIS was created as a public commercial entity, its immunity from government interference and such things as taxation was guaranteed by an international agreement signed in the Hague in 1930.

The bankers of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York were close to the Morgans, and the Governor of the Bank of England Montagu Norman, as well as the German financiers: Hjalmar Schacht (President of the Reichsbank and Minister of Economics in the Hitler government), Walther Funk (who later replaced Hjalmar Schacht as President of the Reichsbank) and Emil Puhl. All of them played an important role in the efforts to establish the BIS. The central banks of Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, and Belgium and some private banks were among the founders of the BIS. The Federal Bank of New York did its best to establish the BIS, but it was not listed as a founder. The U.S. was represented by the private First National Bank of New York, J.P. Morgan and Company, and the First National Bank of Chicago -- all parts of the Morgan empire. Japan was also represented by private banks. In 1931-1932, 19 European central banks joined the BIS. Gates W. McGarrah, a banker of Rockefeller's clan, was the first BIS chairman of the board. He was replaced by Leon Fraser, who represented the Morgans. U.S. citizen Thomas Huntington McKittrick was President of the BIS during the war years.

A lot has already been written about the BIS' activities serving the interests of the Third Reich. The bank was involved in deals with different countries, including those Germany was at war with. Ever since Pearl Harbour, the BIS has been a correspondent bank for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Despite the bank being under Nazi control during the war years, the American McKittrick was the bank's President. Soldiers were dying on the battlefields while the BIS leadership held meetings in Basel with the bankers of Germany, Japan, Italy, Belgium, Great Britain and the United States. There, in the Swiss offshore zone, all was peaceful; the representatives of the belligerents quietly worked in the atmosphere of mutual understanding.

Switzerland became the place where gold seized by Germany in different corners of Europe was transported to for storage. In March 1938 when Hitler captured Vienna, part of Austria's gold was transferred to the BIS vaults. The same thing happened with the gold from the Czech National Bank (U.S.$48 million). As the war started, gold poured into the BIS. Germany obtained it from concentration camps and by plundering the occupied countries (including civilian property: jewels, gold crowns, cigarette cases, utensils). It was called the Nazi Gold. The metal was processed into ingots to be stored in the BIS, Switzerland or outside of Europe. Charles Higham in his book Trading With The Enemy: An Exposé of The Nazi-American Money Plot, 1933-1949 wrote that during the war, the Nazis transferred $378 million into BIS accounts.

A few words about the Czech gold, about which details surfaced after the Bank of England's archives were declassified in 2012.[2] In March 1939, Germany captured Prague. The Nazis demanded U.S.$48 million from Czechoslovakia's national gold reserves. They were told that the sum had already been transferred to the BIS. It later became known that the gold was transferred from Basel to the Bank of England. At the command from Berlin, the gold was transferred to the Reichsbank's BIS account. Then the Bank of England was involved in transactions done on the orders of the Reichsbank given to the BIS. The commands were retransmitted to London. There was collusion between Germany's Reichsbank, the BIS and the Bank of England. In 1939 a scandal broke out in Great Britain because the Bank of England executed the transfer of Czech gold on the commands from Berlin and Basel, not the Czech government. For instance, in June 1939, three months before the war between Great Britain and Germany started, the Bank of England helped the Germans stuff their accounts with 440,000 pounds sterling worth of gold and transfer some gold to New York (Germany was sure that in the case of a German intervention in Poland, the United States would not declare war).

The illegal transactions with Czech gold were implemented with tacit approval of the government of Great Britain which was aware of what was going on. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir John Simon and other top officials did their best to hide the truth, including telling outright lies (that the gold had been returned to its lawful owners or had never been transferred to the Reichsbank). Recently declassified materials from the Bank of England reveal the truth that the government officials lied to provide cover for themselves and the activities of the Bank of England and the BIS. It was easy to coordinate the joint criminal activities because Montagu Norman, the head of the Bank of England, served as the chairman of the board of the BIS. He never made a secret of his sympathy for the fascists.

The Bretton Woods Conference, formally known as the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, was a gathering of 730 delegates from all 44 allied nations at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the conclusion of World War II. The conference was held from July 1 to 22, 1944. Suddenly the issue of the BIS hit the agenda. It was reported that the bank had collaborated with fascist Germany. Leaving many details aside, it was with great difficulty that the delegates reached an agreement to close the BIS (some U.S. delegates opposed the motion). The decision of the international conference has never been enacted. All the discreditable information related to the BIS' wartime activities was classified. Today it helps to falsify the history of World War II.

Finally, a few words about Hjalmar Schacht (1877-1970). He was a key figure controlling the economic machine of the Third Reich, an extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador representing Anglo-American capital in Germany. In 1945, Schacht was tried at Nuremberg and was acquitted on October 1, 1946. He got away with murder. [...] For some unexplained reasons he was not on the 1945 leading wartime criminals list. Moreover, Schacht returned to his profession as if nothing had happened and founded Schacht GmbH in Düsseldorf. This detail may go unnoticed, though it serves as further testimony to the fact that Anglo-American financiers and their plenipotentiary representatives in Germany prepared and, to some extent, influenced the outcome of World War II. The financiers want to rewrite the history of the war and change its results.

Notes
1. P. Tugwell, The Democratic Roosevelt, A Biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt, New York, 1957, p. 477.

2. See here.

(Strategic Culture Foundation, May 4-5, 2015. Edited for style and grammar by TML.)
4

Dear friends,

Today the government has announced it will resume licensing arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition bombing Yemen.

CAAT will be exploring all options available to challenge this decision.

These arms sales had been put on hold following our victory at the Court of Appeal last year. The Court found that the government had failed to properly assess the risk of weapons exported from the UK being used in violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen. It ordered the government to retake all its previous decisions in a lawful way.

This morning, a written statement by the Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss said the government had completed that review, and concluded that war crimes committed in the attacks on Yemen were "isolated incidents". She said it would now begin “the process of clearing the backlog of licence applications for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners.”

We are appalled by this decision. In five years of war we have seen the Saudi-led forces bomb weddings and funerals, market places and warehouses, schools and hospitals – these are not isolated incidents but a pattern of repeated breaches of International Humanitarian Law.

We know that the UK has licensed billions of pounds of arms sales to the Coalition - at least Ł5.3 billion in published figures since the war began, but many billions more under the secretive open licensing system.

We know that UK weapons – warplanes, bombs and missiles – are being used by the Saudi-led forces in Yemen. The government itself admits this.

UK rules expressly prohibit the licensing of arms exports where there is a clear risk they might be used in violations of international humanitarian law.

Yet the UK government has continued to support the Saudi-led attacks on Yemen, despite the terrible human impact of the bombing – and has fought our legal challenge every step of the way. Now it wants to carry on with business as usual.

We will be considering this new decision with our lawyers, and will be exploring every avenue to stop these sales and we will, of course, keep you updated with next steps.

In the meantime, you can read the initial media response in the Independent and Guardian.

With determination,
     Campaign Against Arms Trade

Sarah
Campaign Against Arms Trade
5
For Your Information / Cuba Leads by Revolutionary Example
« Last post by Roger on March 27, 2020, 04:01:12 PM »

Cuba Leads by Revolutionary Example
Ramona Wadi
March 27, 2020
© Photo: REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo
Strategic Culture

“We have more physicians working abroad than practically any other country in the world, not because we are exporting anything but simply because we want to participate in building a world with better health conditions and living conditions,” Cuban doctor Luis Herrera declared in an exclusive interview with TeleSur.

Dr Herrera is credited with developing the Interferon Alpha 2B 40 years ago, which is being used to prevent medical complications that could arise from contracting the COVID-19 strand of coronavirus.

As governments worldwide dedicated to neoliberalism struggle to contain the virus spread, closing borders and imposing military control, Cuba has maintained its internationalist approach, leading by revolutionary example. The Cuban government has allowed a British cruise liner stricken with the virus to dock in its port and the passengers to disembark until chartered flights can return them home. Cuba has been able to take such decisions knowing the country is well prepared in preventive medicine to keep any possible virus transmission under control. And yet, the West often reminds us that socialism doesn’t work; to justify, perhaps, the incessant forms of foreign intervention designed to maintain the West’s supremacy.

COVID-19 has exposed the exploitative systems of capitalism and neoliberalism. In Italy, hospitals cannot keep up with the number of patients requiring intensive care. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has delayed the steps taken by other countries in Europe and internationally to curb the virus spread, callously speaking about developing herd immunity while neglecting the segment of the population that can develop complications from the virus.

Cuba is now receiving international requests to supply the Interferon Alpha 2B. The neoliberal West is seeking the aid of a communist country under blockade to solve its problems and true to its revolutionary spirit, Cuba will be complying with the requests. The Director of BioCubaFarma, Eduardo Martinez Diaz, stated, “We currently have requests from a large number of countries, which we are responding to because we have sufficient capacity, without putting at risk the amounts required by the country,”

Not only Cuban medicine is in demand by Western countries. Italy has requested the aid of Cuban, Venezuelan and Chinese doctors to help in the Lombardy region, which is the most affected by the coronavirus. For now, at least, the duplicity over socialist countries in Latin America has been pushed aside to accommodate what is severely lacking in Europe – politics that prioritise the people.

Clearly, neoliberalism has failed humanity. Yet mainstream media is not yet enamoured of the need to shift its focus upon Cuba’s internationalist example. This would not be the first time that Cuban internationalism has provided a stark contrast to the militarisation methods employed by the West when faced with humanitarian predicaments.

The Cuban Revolution was never about privilege. Indeed, it maintained the principles outlined by Fidel Castro as regards education and healthcare, building a responsible society. By the end of 1960, all Cubans had access to free healthcare, despite the exodus of the medical elite to the U.S. in the aftermath of dictator Fulgencio Batista’s downfall. In Cuba, healthcare forms part of social responsibility and it is this value which enables the country to remain at the helm of providing medical aid internationally. Cuba had also offered to send its doctors to the U.S. in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina – an offer that was turned down by the president at that time, George. W Bush, who dismissed the Cuban offer as propaganda. In Bolivia, Cuban doctors treated Mario Teran, the executioner of Argentine revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara, for eye surgery.

In 2010, Fidel spoke out against decisions to militarise humanitarian situations. With reference to Haiti, he declared, “In my view, such events will complicate and create chaos in international cooperation, which is already in itself complex.” Again, the West has emulated the only response plan it is capable of, ensnared as it is in the capitalist predicament. “We send doctors, not soldiers!” Fidel emphatically differentiated.

When the coronavirus urgency is over, will the international community repay Cuba by standing up against U.S. imperialism until the blockade is completely lifted?
6

COVID-19: We Won’t Go Back to Normal, Because Normal Was the Problem
March 27, 2020
© Photo: Pexels
Strategic Culture

When a global pandemic strikes, the private-sector austerity model simply falls apart, writes Vijay Prashad.

Vijay PRASHAD

It is hard to remember that just a few weeks ago, the planet was in motion. There were protests in Delhi (India) and Quito (Ecuador), eruptions against the old order that ranged from anger at the economic policies of austerity and neoliberalism to frustration with the cultural policies of misogyny and racism. Ingeniously, in Santiago (Chile), during its wave after wave of protests, someone projected a powerful slogan onto the side of a building: “we won’t go back to normal, because normal was the problem.” Now, in the midst of the novel coronavirus, it seems impossible to imagine a return to the old world, the world that left us so helpless before the arrival of these deadly microscopic particles. Waves of anxiety prevail; death continues to stalk us. If there is a future, we say to each other, it cannot mimic the past.

Certainly, the coronavirus is a serious matter and certainly its spread is a consequence of its own danger to the human body; but there are social issues here that bear serious thought. Key to any discussion has to be the sheer collapse of state institutions in most of the capitalist world, where these institutions have been privatized, and where private institutions have operated to minimize costs and maximize profit.

Li Zhong (China), Paintings for Wuhan, 2020.

This is most clear in the health sector, where public health institutions have been underfunded, where medical care has been transferred to private corporations, and where private hospitals and clinics operate without any surge capacity. This means that there are simply not enough hospital beds or medical equipment (masks, ventilators, etc.) and that the nurses, doctors, paramedics, janitors, and others on the front line are forced to operate in conditions of acute scarcity, in many cases without basic protection. It is often the people who make the least who are putting the most at stake to save lives in the face of the rapidly spreading pandemic. When a global pandemic strikes, the private-sector austerity model simply falls apart.

Li Zhong (China), Paintings for Wuhan, 2020.

Furthermore, our economic system has been so completely tilted to favor the financial sector and the plutocracy that it has – for a long time – simply ignored the growth of large-scale and permanent precarious employment, underemployment and unemployment. This is not a problem created by the coronavirus or by the collapse of oil prices; this is a structural problem for which a term – precariat, or precarious proletariat – was invented at least a decade ago. With lockdowns and social isolation, small businesses have shuttered, and precarious workers find that their precarity defines them entirely. Even the most hardened bourgeois politicians are now forced to confront the reality of two points:

    That workers exist. The State-imposed general strike to prevent the spread of the virus and its consequences­ have proved that it is workers who produce value in our society and not “entrepreneurs” who generate ideas, which they claim fancifully produces wealth. A world without workers is a world that halts.
    That the share of global wealth and income that workers control is now so low that they have limited reserves when their hard-earned incomes collapse. In the United States, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, a 2018 Federal Reserve study found that 40 percent of U.S. households do not have the means to deal with unexpected expenses of around $400. The situation is not much better in the European Union, where the Eurostat data shows that 32 percent of households cannot bear unexpected expenses. That is why in the capitalist States there is now openly talk of widespread income support – even a Universal Basic Income – to manage the collapse of livelihoods and to stimulate consumer demand.

Josef Lee (Singapore), Comics in Response to the Coronavirus, 2020.

Last week, the International Peoples Assembly and Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research released a 16-point programme for this complex moment. A concatenation of crises has struck us: there are the long-term structural crises of capitalism (decline in the rate of profit, low rates of investment in the productive sector, underemployment and precarious employment), and there are the short-term conjunctural crises (collapse of the price of oil, the coronavirus).

It is now widely recognized, even by the investment houses, that the strategy for recovery from the 2008-09 financial crisis is not going to work; pumping large amounts of cash into the banking sector will not help. Directed investments are necessary in areas that had previously faced serious austerity cuts – areas such as health care, including public health, and income support. Manuel Bertoldi of Frente Patria Grande (Argentina) and I make the case for a serious debate around these issues. More than a debate about each separate policy, we need a debate about the very nature of how to understand the state and its institutions.

A key achievement of austerity capitalism has been to delegitimize the idea of state institutions (notably those that improve the well-being of the population). In the West, the typical attitude has been to attack the government as an enemy of progress; to shrink government institutions – except the military – has been the goal. Any country with a robust government and State structure has been characterized as “authoritarian.”

But this crisis has shaken that certainty. Countries with intact state institutions that have been able to handle the pandemic – such as China – cannot be easily dismissed as authoritarian; a general understanding has come that these governments and their state institutions are instead efficient. Meanwhile, the states of the West that have been eaten into by austerity policies are now fumbling to deal with the crisis. The failure of the austerity health care system is now clearly visible. It is impossible to make the case any longer that privatization and austerity are more efficient than a system of State institutions that are made efficient over time by the process of trial and error.

Abduh Khalil (Egypt), Untitled, 1949.

The coronavirus has now crept into Palestine; most alarmingly, there is at least one case in Gaza, which is one of the world’s largest open-air prisons. The Palestinian Communist poet Samih al-Qasim (1939-2014) used to call his homeland the “great prison,” from whose isolation he gifted his luminous poetry. One of his poems, “Confession at Midday,” offers a brief journey into the emotional damage done to the world by austerity and neoliberalism:

I planted a tree
I scorned the fruit
I used its trunk as firewood
I made a lute
And played a tune

I smashed the lute
Lost the fruit
Lost the tune
I wept over the tree

The coronavirus has only just begun to make its impact on India, whose public health system has been deeply eroded by a generation of neoliberal economic policies. Within India, the state of Kerala (population 35 million) – governed by the Left Democratic Front – is in the midst of a campaign to tackle the coronavirus – as Subin Dennis, a researcher at the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, and I make clear in this report. Our findings suggest that Kerala has certain in-built advantages and that it has put in place measures that are worthy of study.

How is Kerala tackling the Coronavirus pandemic?

    Kerala’s left governments over the past several decades have fought to maintain and even extend the public health system.
    Kerala’s left parties and organizations have helped develop a culture of organization, solidarity and public action.
    Kerala’s left government was swift in enacting measures to trace those infected by the virus through “contact tracing” and testing at transportation hubs.
    The chief minister and health minister held daily press conferences that calmly provided the public with credible information and an analysis of the crisis and unfolding events.
    The slogan “Break the Chain” captures the attempt by the government and by society to enforce forms of physical isolation, quarantine, and treatment to prevent the spread of the virus.
    The slogan “Physical Distance, Social Unity” underlines the importance of raising resources to assist those in economic and psychological distress.
    Public action – led by trade unions, youth groups, women’s organizations, and cooperatives – of cleaning and preparing supplies has lifted the spirit of the people, encouraging them to trust in social unity and not to fragment into trauma.
    Finally, the government announced a relief package worth Rs. 20,000 crores, which includes loans to families through the women’s cooperative Kudumbashree; higher allocations for a rural employment guarantee scheme; two months of pension payments to the elderly; free food grains; and restaurants to provide food at subsidized rates. Utility payments for water and electricity as well as interest on debt payments will be suspended.

This is a rational and decent programme; it, along with the 16-point plan, should be studied and adopted elsewhere. To dither is to play with the lives of people.

Kate Janse van Rensburg (South Africa), Marco Rivadeneira, 2020.

Colombia has implemented a national 19-day quarantine. Meanwhile, in prisons in Colombia, inmates held a protest against overcrowding and bad health facilities, fearing the death count if coronavirus breaches the walls; the crackdown by the state led to the death of 23 people. This is a fear in prisons around the world.

Meanwhile on 19 March, Marco Rivadeneira, an important leader of the agricultural worker and peasant movement in Colombia, was in a meeting with peasants in the municipality of Puerto Asís. Three armed men burst into the meeting, seized Marco, and assassinated him. He is one of more than a hundred leaders of popular movements who has been assassinated this year in Colombia, and one of 800 murdered since 2016 when the civil war was suspended. As Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research dossier No. 23 (December 2019) shows, this violence is a direct consequence of the unwillingness of the oligarchy to allow history to advance. They want to return to a “normal” situation that benefits them. But Marco wanted to create a new world. He was killed for the hope that motivated him.

Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research via consortiumnews.com
7
For Your Information / China Locked in Hybrid War with US
« Last post by Roger on March 18, 2020, 11:52:27 AM »
China Locked in Hybrid War with US
Pepe Escobar
Global Research, March 18 2020

Fallout from Covid-19 outbreak puts Beijing and Washington on a collision course
The working hypothesis of coronavirus as a very powerful but not Armageddon-provoking bio-weapon unveils it as a perfect vehicle for widespread social control – on a global scale.

Cuba rises as a biotech power

Just as a fully masked Xi visiting the Wuhan frontline last week was a graphic demonstration to the whole planet that China, with immense sacrifice, is winning the “people‘s war” against Covid-19, Russia, in a Sun Tzu move on Riyadh whose end result was a much cheaper barrel of oil, helped for all practical purposes to kick-start the inevitable recovery of the Chinese economy. This is how a strategic partnership works.

The chessboard is changing at breakneck speed. Once Beijing identified coronavirus as a bio-weapon attack the “people’s war” was launched with the full force of the state. Methodically. On a “whatever it takes” basis. Now we are entering a new stage, which will be used by Beijing to substantially recalibrate the interaction with the West, and under very different frameworks when it comes to the US and the EU.

Soft power is paramount. Beijing sent an Air China flight to Italy carrying 2,300 big boxes full of masks bearing the script, “We are waves from the same sea, leaves from the same tree, flowers from the same garden.” China also sent a hefty humanitarian package to Iran, significantly aboard eight flights from Mahan Air – an airline under illegal, unilateral Trump administration sanctions.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic could not have been more explicit:

    “The only country that can help us is China. By now, you all understood that European solidarity does not exist. That was a fairy tale on paper.”

Under harsh sanctions and demonized since forever, Cuba is still able to perform breakthroughs – even on biotechnology. The anti-viral Heberon – or Interferon Alpha 2b – a therapeutic, not a vaccine, has been used with great success in the treatment of coronavirus. A joint venture in China is producing an inhalable version, and at least 15 nations are already interested in importing the therapeutic.

Now compare all of the above with the Trump administration offering $1 billion to poach German scientists working at biotech firm Curevac, based in Thuringia, on an experimental vaccine against Covid-19, to have it as a vaccine “only for the United States.”

Social engineering psy-op?

Sandro Mezzadra, co-author with Brett Neilson of the seminal The Politics of Operations: Excavating Contemporary Capitalism, is already trying to conceptualize where we stand now in terms of fighting Covid-19.

We are facing a choice between a Malthusian strand – inspired by social Darwinism – “led by the Johnson-Trump-Bolsonaro axis” and, on the other side, a strand pointing to the “requalification of public health as a fundamental tool,” exemplified by China, South Korea and Italy. There are key lessons to be learned from South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.

The stark option, Mezzadra notes, is between a “natural population selection,” with thousands of dead, and “defending society” by employing “variable degrees of authoritarianism and social control.” It’s easy to imagine who stands to benefit from this social re-engineering, a 21st century remix of Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death.

Amid so much doom and gloom, count on Italy to offer us Tiepolo-style shades of light. Italy chose the Wuhan option, with immensely serious consequences for its already fragile economy. Quarantined Italians remarkably reacted by singing on their balconies: a true act of metaphysical revolt.

Not to mention the poetic justice of the actual St. Corona (“crown” in Latin) being buried in the city of Anzu since the 9th century. St. Corona was a Christian killed under Marcus Aurelius in 165 AD, and has been for centuries one of the patron saints of pandemics.

Not even trillions of dollars raining from the sky by an act of divine Fed mercy were able to cure Covid-19. G-7 “leaders” had to resort to a videoconference to realize how clueless they are – even as China’s fight against coronavirus gave the West a head start of several weeks.

Shanghai-based Dr. Zhang Wenhong, one of China’s top infectious disease experts, whose analyses have been spot on so far, now says China has emerged from the darkest days in the “people’s war” against Covid-19. But he does not think this will be over by summer. Now extrapolate what he’s saying to the Western world.

It’s not even spring yet, and we already know it takes a virus to mercilessly shatter the Goddess of the Market. Last Friday, Goldman Sachs told no fewer than 1,500 corporations that there was no systemic risk. That was false.

New York banking sources told me the truth: systemic risk became way more severe in 2020 than in 1979, 1987 or 2008 because of the hugely heightened danger that the $1.5 quadrillion derivative market would collapse.

As the sources put it, history had never before seen anything like the Fed’s intervention via its little understood elimination of commercial bank reserve requirements, unleashing a potential unlimited expansion of credit to prevent a derivative implosion stemming from a total commodity and stock market collapse of all stocks around the world.

Those bankers thought it would work, but as we know by now all the sound and fury signified nothing. The ghost of a derivative implosion – in this case not caused by the previous possibility, the shutting down of the Strait of Hormuz – remains.

We are still barely starting to understand the consequences of Covid-19 for the future of neoliberal turbo-capitalism. What’s certain is that the whole global economy has been hit by an insidious, literally invisible circuit breaker. This may be just a “coincidence.” Or this may be, as some are boldly arguing, part of a possible, massive psy-op creating the perfect geopolitlcal and social engineering environment for full-spectrum dominance.

Additionally, along the hard slog down the road, with immense, inbuilt human and economic sacrifice, with or without a reboot of the world-system, a more pressing question remains: will imperial elites still choose to keep waging full-spectrum-dominance hybrid war against China?

*

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This article was originally published on Asia Times.

Pepe Escobar is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
8
The British Kangaroo Court Proceedings Against Julian Assange
Moon of Alabama

February 26, 2020


   Britain is currently holding an obscene show trial against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The hearing is designed to end with the extradition of Assange to the United States or with his death. In the U.S. he would be accused of a conspiracy to reveal secrets and put into jail for the rest of his life.

Over the years Wikileaks has revealed material on many important issues. As Patrick Cockburn remarked: With WikiLeaks, Julian Assange did what all journalists should aspire to do. Wikileaks provided the material its sources revealed to partner media who profited from it, but then went on to betray Assange. As Kit Klarenberg wrote a few days ago: â They Should Be In Jailâ : How The Guardian and New York Times â Set Upâ Julian Assange.

Those who are not familiar with the false case against Julian Assange should read this interview with Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, who provides detailed insight. In Melzer's learned view Assange, as the main editor of Wikileaks, has not committed any crime.

Melzer has also written at his medium page about the case:

Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange

State Responsibility for the Torture of Julian Assange

The false 'rape' case in Sweden which was used to incarcerate Assange is also detailed in Marcello Ferrada de Noli's book: Swedenâ s Geopolitical Case Against Assange 2010-2019. It can be downloaded for free.

That the current extradition case against Assange is crooked and that a bad outcome is likely assured can be deducted from the persons behind the current proceedings. Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis at Declassified UK have done some digging:

REVEALED: Chief magistrate in Assange case received financial benefits from secretive partner organisations of UK Foreign Office

UK minister who approved Trumpâ s request to extradite Assange spoke at secretive US conferences with people calling for him to be â neutralizedâ Craig Murray and Kevin Gosztola are in the court room to document the proceedings. Gosztola tweets live (day 1, day 2, day 3) from the Woolwich courthouse in London and provides daily write ups at Shadowproof.com:

Assangeâ s Defense Details CIA-Backed Espionage Operation, Trumpâ s Politicization Of Justice Department Assange Extradition Hearing: Chelsea Manningâ s Grand Jury Resistance A Major Hurdle For Prosecutors Ambassador Craig Murray publishes daily summaries at his site:

Your Man in the Public Gallery â " Assange Hearing Day 1 Your Man in the Public Gallery â " Assange Hearing Day 2

George Galloway held a speech yesterday about the abstruse processes around the hearing. The video of it is here.

One hopes that the British court will not extradite but free Assange. Unfortunately that seems currently unlikely. But the case will be fought hard and over many month and sometimes good things do happen




9
For Your Information / Pentagon reveals deal with Britain to replace Trident
« Last post by Roger on February 23, 2020, 01:37:30 PM »
Pentagon reveals deal with Britain to replace Trident
MPs dismayed after US defence officials leak news of nuclear weapons deal before parliament is told
Jamie Doward  The Guardian
Sat 22 Feb 2020 18.05 GMT
Last modified on Sat 22 Feb 2020 21.20 GMT
 
 The Royal Navy Vanguard class nuclear submarine HMS Vengeance, which carries Trident missiles. Photograph: EPA
Britain has committed itself to buying a new generation of nuclear warheads to replace Trident, which will be based on US technology. The decision was revealed by Pentagon officials who disclosed it before an official announcement has been made by the government.
The revelation has dismayed MPs and experts who question why they have learned of the move – which will cost the UK billions of pounds – only after the decision has apparently been made. It has also raised questions about the UK’s commitment to staunching nuclear proliferation and the country’s reliance on the US for a central plank of its defence strategy.
Earlier this month, Pentagon officials confirmed that its proposed W93 sea-launched warhead, the nuclear tip of the next generation of submarine-launched ballistic missiles, would share technology with the UK’s next nuclear weapon, implying that a decision had been taken between the two countries to work on the programme.
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In public, the UK has not confirmed whether it intends to commission a new nuclear warhead. The Ministry of Defence’s annual update to parliament, published just before Christmas, says only: “Work also continues to develop the evidence to support a government decision when replacing the warhead.”
But last week Admiral Charles Richard, commander of the US strategic command, told the Senate defence committee that there was a requirement for a new warhead, which would be called the W93 or Mk7. Richard said: “This effort will also support a parallel replacement warhead programme in the United Kingdom, whose nuclear deterrent plays an absolutely vital role in Nato’s overall defence posture.”

Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate - sent direct to you
 Read more

Ed Davey, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “It is totally unacceptable that the government seems to have given the green light to the development of new nuclear weapon technologies with zero consultation and zero scrutiny. Britain under Johnson increasingly looks like putty in Trump’s hands. That Britain’s major defence decisions are being debated in the United States, but not in the UK, is a scandal. Under Johnson, it seems that where Trump leads, we must follow.”
Alan Shaffer, Pentagon deputy under-secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, also made reference to the new UK programme in a briefing session at the annual nuclear deterrence summit, in Alexandria, Virginia. “I think it’s wonderful that the UK is working on a new warhead at the same time, and I think we will have discussions and be able to share technologies,” Shaffer said.
David Cullen, director of pressure group the Nuclear Information Service, said: “The UK’s reliance on US knowledge and assistance for their nuclear weapons programme means they will find it almost impossible to diverge from any development path the US decides to take. “We are legally bound to take steps towards disarmament under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, but this would take us in the opposite direction.”
It is understood that the US had agreed with the UK not to make any announcement while parliament was in recess. However, US defence officials were apparently oblivious to the agreement and confirmed the programme’s existence – to the embarrassment of the UK government.
Hans Kristensen, director of the nuclear information project at the Federation of American Scientists, said the development of the new warhead posed significant geopolitical problems. “Britain and the US have come a long away from being leaders in reducing the role of nuclear weapons and contemplating the possible road toward potential disarmament to re-embracing nuclear weapons for the long haul. They are obviously not alone in this, with Russia, China and France doing their own work. So, overall, this is a serious challenge for the international non-proliferation regime,” he said.
Tom Plant, director of proliferation and nuclear policy at the independent security thinktank, Rusi, said the lack of debate about the new weapon was a concern. “There’s been a presumption from those in opposition and analysts like myself that it should come to parliament in some way, like the 2016 vote on Trident. I suspect that the MoD’s position is that they don’t want it to. What the programme doesn’t need from their perspective is lots of scrutiny. But if there’s going to be a decision it should absolutely come to parliament.”
The MoD said: “As previously stated in the 2015 defence review, we can confirm that we are working towards replacing the warhead. We have a strong defence relationship with the US and will continue to remain compatible with the US Trident missile. An announcement about the UK’s replacement warhead programme will be made in due course.”
10
For Your Information / Syria - Turkey Invades Idleb But Its Bluff Will Be Called
« Last post by Roger on February 13, 2020, 09:17:09 AM »
Syria - Turkey Invades Idleb But Its Bluff Will Be Called
Moon of Alabama

February 10, 2020


   Since last week's post on the Syrian Idleb campaign the Syrian army has made significant progress.

Saraqib, Al Eis and dozens of other cities and towns were liberated. Large parts of the M5 highway in Idleb are now under Syrian government control.

The aim of the current campaign is to regain control over the M5 highway between Damascus and Aleppo city and the M4 highway between Latakia and Aleppo. These highways are of importance for the revival of Syria's economy.

It was originally Turkey's task to guarantee free civilian traffic on both highways. The Sochi Memorandum of Understanding between Turkey and Russia, signed on September 17 2018, provides (machine translated):

3. A demilitarized zone with a depth of 15-20 km will be created in the de-escalation zone. 4. The specific passage of the lines defining the demilitarized zone will be agreed upon in the course of further consultations.

5. All radical terrorist groups will be withdrawn from the demilitarized zone by October 15, 2018.

6. All tanks, artillery, MLRS and mortars of the conflicting parties will be withdrawn from the demilitarized zone by October 10, 2018.

7. The Armed Forces of the Republic of Turkey and the military police of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will carry out coordinated patrols and monitoring using unmanned aerial vehicles in the demilitarized zone.

8. In the interests of ensuring free movement of local residents and goods, as well as restoring trade and economic ties, transit traffic along the routes M4 (Aleppo-Latakia) and M5 (Aleppo-Hama) will be restored before the end of 2018.

None of these points were ever fulfilled by Turkey.

Idleb is still under control of the al-Qaeda aligned Hayat Tahrir al Shams (HTS) which has continued to attack Syrian government positions as well as civilian targets. HTS is internationally recognized as a terrorist organization, including by Turkey. But Turkey has done nothing to remove it. It instead provides the organization with weapons and other supplies.

The reaction of Turkey's wannabe Sultan Erdogan to the Syrian army campaign has been hysterical. He threatened several times that he would militarily intervene if the Syrian army operation does not stop. Over the last days more than 1,450 Turkish military vehicles, including tanks, heavy artillery and armored infantry vehicles, invaded the terrorist held Idleb area.

Turkey says that these are just reinforcements for its 'observer posts'. But in reality these forces are configured to attack the Syrian army. One Turkish artillery groups tried to set up a position at the former Syrian military airbase Taftanaz north of Saraqib. Earlier today it came under Syrian artillery fire. At least six Turkish soldiers were killed and several wounded. A Turkish helicopter was allowed to come in to evacuate the casualties.

The Turkish military claimed that it retaliated for the attack:

The Turkish army responded to the targets determined in the region, said the statement.

â The necessary response was given, the targets were destroyed and the blood of our martyrs was not left on the ground. The developments are being closely monitored and necessary measures are being taken,â said the statement.

There is no evidence that any such retaliation has taken place.

Turkey demands that the Syrian army retreats back to the lines where its current campaign started months ago.

That is not going to happen.

Today, while the Turkish army settled among the terrorist, HTS sent two suicide vehicles against the Syrian lines. It is not yet known if they caused casualties. If the Turkish army wants to be the bodyguard of such terrorist it will be handled appropriately.

The Russian and Syrian air forces are in control of the airspace over Idleb. Russian war ships are deployed near the coast of Syria and are ready to launch their cruise missiles. Russia can reinforce its airforce in Syria within 24 hours. Turkey's airforce is not able to change that picture.

After the 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan nearly three quarters of Turkey's airforce pilots were dismissed. The maintenance status of Turkey's 240 F-16 fighter jets is dubious. It is estimate that less of a quarter of them are ready to fly. The F-16s are no match for the Russian Su-34 jets which cover Syria. They also lack the capabilities to overcome the Russian air defenses. Then there is also Russia's economic leverage over Turkey.

Over the last few days there have been intense talks between the Russian and the Turkish side. The Russians are not budging. Syria will liberate the two highways that Turkey promised would be opened under the Sochi MoU. Should the Turkish army try to prevent that it will be bombed to high heaven.

Erdogan can not risk a war with Russia in Syria. He is bluffing and his bluff will be called.




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