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2nd Quarter, 2017  








The emerging sub-prime pension scandal

Failing pension funds in Texas (police & firemen in Houston & Dallas) and California (public officials -relying on CalPERS) are having to cut pay outs. In the case of CalPERS by up to 60%. These failures are the outcome of poor risky investments, lavish executive perks and because of past reliance on junk bonds and derivatives purchased in search of "yield". This distortion is a direct outcome of quantitative easing and the low interest rate policies. The sub-prime pension scandal has began to spread, just like the sub-prime mortgage crisis, across the Atlantic to Europe and will have similar outcomes.

The more troublesome aspect is that in trying to save the pension funds politicians are likely to follow the disastrous route of bank bail outs leaving the tax payer to foot the bill. It is clear that governments need to re-introduce regulations that prevent not only the sale of predatory derivatives (the cause of the whole recent financial crisis) but also to prevent any private or state organization compensating for such bad decision making by calling on tax payers to pay up when they had nothing to do with the decisions.

Bit coin passes $1,000

Bit coin has jumped some $250 , from $750 to $1,000, in just a month or so as a result of uncertainty surrounding paper currencies resulting from the general economic situation but also as a result of the Indian and Venezuelan withdrawal of high value notes so as to enforce banking of funds to secure value by substituting high value notes for more lower value notes.

Vermont Electricity facility Russian hack - nothing of the kind

The Washington Post reported on Friday that Moscow could be behind intrusion into a laptop owned by a Vermont electricity utility but like the New York Times they appear to be incapable of checking their facts. According to Ibn Nr, the Vermont intrusion is a simple hacker's code known as P.A.S. and its version is V.3.1.7 which is designed to review content on Word Press sites. It runs from PHP once decrypted and it can be accessed using FireFox or Chrome browsers. The latest version of P.A.S. is V.4.1.1. This utility provides browser, explorer and search functions of directories, data base downloads and a port scanner that can bind ports to operations. It can force intrusion though to FTP and POP3 operations, can provide command line control of some operation systems functions and can show the server configuration.

This can be downloaded from the site of the builders: http://profexer.name/pas/download.php. This will not have been placed via a network, it needs to be downloaded, so there is nothing linking this to Moscow although the web site shows "Made in Ukraine". Not exactly something to be used for covert operations.

John McAfee on Cyber-security

In an interesting exchange between Larry King and John McAfee, John McAfee made some straightforward statements on the topic of cyber-security.

The over-emphasis on the part of the USA, on cyber warfare meant that not enough investment or thought had been given to the development of protection against attacks. As it is, most systems in the USA and elsewhere are vulnerable to attack. The current dynamic is somewhat like the old cold war when in fact different sides can inflict considerable damage on the other but do not do so for fear of retaliation. The current grid systems linked to internet and radio controlled networks mean that whole energy systems and certain manufacturing and laboratory processes can be rendered inoperable. In spite of this, there is no defence.

Obama's spoiler tactics & wild accusations

Obama is dragging his decline in status as an end of term president to a low ebb. While Russia, Turkey and Iran have achieved a substantive move towards a lasting peace in Syria, Obama has authorized the supply of lethal weapons to "moderates", while the media and un-named officials accuse Russia of hacking, Obama has acted by expelling over 30 Russian diplomats. Russia has shown a more practical approach to Syria and a more mature approach to the fantasy tails coming out of the Beltway from Clinton devotees, bent on damaging relations with Russia. Thus Russia has not entered into the expected tit for tat response concerning the expulsion of diplomats making the USA look childish.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has stated that Obama’s “bitter” and “helpless” team has undermined the White House’s reputation. With the outgoing president not leaving “any” major foreign policy achievements as part of his legacy and instead of “putting an elegant period” to his two presidential terms has “made a huge blot” with his latest decision to impose more sanctions on Russia, expelling 35 Russian diplomats and closing two diplomatic compounds in the US. She wrote: “Today America, the American people were humiliated by their own president. Not by international terrorists, not by [the] enemy’s troops. This time Washington was slapped by own their master, who has complicated the urgent tasks for the incoming team in the extreme,” Zakharova wrote, labeling the current administration “a group of foreign policy losers, bitter and narrow-minded.”

Zakharova also said that with its incoherent foreign policy, Obama’s administration has inadvertently debunked a long-cherished myth of America’s exceptionalism that claims a special place in the world.

“This is it, [the] curtain [has dropped]. The bad performance is over. The whole world, from the front row to the balcony, is watching a devastating blow to America’s prestige and its leadership, dealt by Barack Obama and his semi-literate foreign policy team, which has exposed its main secret to the world – exceptionalism was a masked helplessness.” “No enemy of the United States could have done worse,” Zakharova concluded.

European values?

A growing myth is emerging to mould a new image for Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany. Barack Obama has just wound up a visit to Germany where he went out of his way to say what a stalwart ally Angela was. There is a major effort to somehow build her up as the role model of common values, liberty and the rule of law. However, somewhat typical of the dying Obama administration, he overlooks the inconvenient truth that she was instrumental in preventing Europeans gaining free expression and helped sustain the growing unacceptable European democratic deficit. It was Angela Merkel who encouraged all heads of state in the Union, in an open letter, not to provide the people of Europe with referenda on the introduction of the new European Constitution which had been hacked out in a participatory vacuum by Giscard d'Estaing. The other heads of state, many recent arrivals from ex-soviet regimes and few democratic inclinations willingly followed Merkel's advice, including Tony Blair. The result was the introduction of the infamous Lisbon Treating which extended the power of the unelected European Commission by introducing a foreign service and majority non-veto voting. Angela Merkel has very weak democratic credentials and cannot be trusted.

Bashing RT...

A journalist from the TV channel Russia Today (RT) at a US State Department press briefing in Washington, asked the State Department spokesperson, Admiral Kirby, to provide the names and locations of 5 Syrian hospitals he stated had been bombed by Russian and Syrian air forces. As is usual at such briefings State Department officials seldom can produce evidence for the most of the extreme assertions that they constantly level against Russia. In this case Kirby lost control and ranted on about why the journalist didn't ask such questions of the (her) military authorities in Russia. He then went on to say he does not consider RT journalists to warrant the same treatment as the other assembled journalists. When asked why, he said because RT is state owned. This type of snide remark coming from a State Department official is a disgrace. RT is not state owned it receives funding from the Russia state just as does Voice of America, BBC in the UK and Die Velt in Germany.

The State department press briefing have always been run by third rate individuals who think it is smart not to answer the more searching questions that often come from RT journalists and this is a government department that lectures the world about "values" and "transparency" etc etc.,

Russian propaganda?

Although US State Department and even Hillary Clinton have referred to RT as Russian propaganda the range of independent shows that accept no editorial orientation is impressive including world famous Larry King's "Politicking", Afshin Rattansi's "Going Underground", Edward Harrison and Ameera David's "Boom Bust" to name just a few. The reality is that RT is one of the few media that truly supports independent journalism that promote alternative interpretations of events. It is this that the US State Department does not want because it cuts across their desire to not admit alternative points of view or neutral stands. RT has provided the third party US Presidential candidates with air time which was not provided to the people of the USA by mainstream US outlets, many of which seem to be staffed by State Department stenographers.

The scenario not considered by bluster

The Conservatives now have very little chance of winning an election because the odds have inverted as increasingly large margins favour the Labour party.

At an APE retreat last weekend the conclusions of most was that, in the bluster surrounding the last leadership election "won" by May, insufficient analysis had been conducted into the Labour party. The somewhat arrogant "write off" of Labour or more specifically, Jeremy Corbyn, blinded a tiny internal group supporting May to push ahead with support for her. It is very apparent that if the Conservative party intelligence on Labour, and the strategy being followed by Jeremy Corbyn, had been better, May would never have been selected. The only person who would have had a chance to counter Jeremy Corbyn, it has been concluded, is Andrea Leadsom who held particularly rational positions on the economy. Her track record shows she is unlikely to have come up with the types of ineffective policies of either Osborne or the weak ineffectual positions of Hammond. The reshuffle has pushed her sideways into a position where she has no possibility of exercising her talents in economics but at least she will be a more visible female component of the government. This government continues to demonstrate a failure to combine the remaining talents in an effective manner.

Freedom of the press and the exercise in gratuitous abuse

The very newspapers who resist the Leveson recommendations with regard to legislation and regulation of the media are the very same groups who base a lot of their "reasoning" and "arguments" on biased gratuitous abuse of individuals, earning them the appellations of gutter press of rags.

In the wake of the findings of the disgraceful case of media hacking into private mobiles and acts of intimidation against individuals some of the mainstream media hope to delay implementation of Leveson 1 and abandon Leveson 2. Fortunately the election result could help provide some rational analysis and hopefully a move towards a situation that can help improve the protection of the public from media abuse.

According to the Hacked Off Campaign:

"Reforming press regulation and getting to the truth of the criminality and corruption in the press and police is back on the agenda after last week's General Election resulted in a hung parliament.

Three weeks ago, the Conservative Party election manifesto pledged to abandon part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry and repeal the Leveson access to justice incentive ("Section 40"). This was a breach of the party leadership's past promises and a betrayal of victims of press abuse. And it was suspected to be the price agreed by Theresa May in meetings with Dacre and Murdoch in exchange for their support. Mrs May appeared to be willing to leave ordinary people defenseless against the power of unaccountable press barons, and to see evidence of collusion between police and press swept under the carpet, in exchange for favourable election coverage in powerful newspapers. But the public voted to deny the Prime Minister a Parliamentary majority, meaning she has no mandate for her outrageous manifesto pledges on Leveson.

There is now once again a Parliamentary Commons majority in favour of Leveson – not to mention the dozens of Conservative MPs and Peers who stand by the victims of press abuse and support reform, bravely, in spite of the party leadership's position. The dodgy deals cooked up between the PM and the press have been rejected by the voters, and have instead delivered a Parliament in favour of press regulation reform. But progress still won't be easy. Regardless of their failure to have a decisive effect on the General Election result, the Mail, Telegraph and the Murdoch papers all loyally lined up behind the Prime Minister. The owners and executives at those newspapers have debts to call in from Mrs May, and we know that they want nothing more than to kill off the Leveson reforms. Hacked Off Campaign has thanked its supporters for their generosity and support over the last Parliament, and in the run up to the election last week. And they hope they can rely on the continued commitment of supporters of their campaign throughout this Parliament, as they seek to hold all parties to their commitments and see the Leveson reforms finally brought into effect.

The election timing issue and a silver lining

For a considerabl period APE have been reporting on the strategy adopted by Jeremy Corbyn to people who consider such an individual to be incapable of mounting a strategy. This includes the mainstream British media who have have been more than willing to "report" caustic comments, insults and dirision directed at him, largely by representatives of the Conservative party; accompanied by jeering and finger pointing. While the Conservative rather smugly considered Theresa May to be "seeing off" Corbyn at each Prime Minister's Question Time, the public saw a Prime Minister who could not answer pertinent questions raised by members of the public in a straight fashion. She seldom "won the argument", simply repretitively ignored the questions. Therefore, even before the election, May had branded herself as "evasive" and this is perilously close to "dishonest". On the other hand Corbyn has tended to answer questions in a staightforward and honest manner. The other political parties went about "business as usual", as did the media, by ignoring the youth of the country and relying heavily on "traditional support" and remaining cynical that the under 30 year olds could vote intelligently, if indeed, they voted at all; we now see see the outcome. The significance of the fact that Jeremy Corbyn increased the size of the Labour party membership for it to become by far the largest party in the UK and the largest socialist party in Europe, based mainly on growimng numbers of youthful members, has been completely ignored. Most believed the Blairite chorus that this was the hard left manipulation designed to get a larger vote for Corbyn in his leadership elections. But in the end, people don't just join a party to elect its leader.

The silver lining


Charles Dickens was a Parliamentary reporter for about five years and found politicians to be pompous and to make promises which they did not keep. He considered Parliament to be a sort of circus or bear garden. In his novel "David Copperfield" he made David a parliamentary reporter who stated, "Night after night, I record predictions that never come to pass, professions that are never fulfilled, explanations that are only meant to mystify. I am sufficiently behind the scenes to know the worth of political life. I am quite an Infidel about it - and shall never be converted."

The success of the Labour party in this election has resulted in those young who voted Labour feeling empowered, as they should be. This has resulted in a heightened level of enthusiasm and support both for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party leading to what is close to a revolution in the way these voters want to become more practically engaged in politics and social issues. This is the silver lining that bodes well for the future of Britain; it also lays the foundation for the other parties to wake up and begin to respond by attempting to address important issues.

On the other hand Theresa May is unlikely to last long as leader of the Conservative party and the current options for leadership are not particularly appealing. They will be up against Corbyn who, if any politician comes across as someone who respects all constituents of any age, dismissing no one, Jeremy Corbyn is that politician. Anyone in the current ranks of senior Conservative politicians attempting to ape Corbyn's genuine gregariousnes and wholly open participatory approach, would be considered to be phoney. Corbyn's authenticity is a powerful demonstration that there are politicians who have strong convictions and who are not prepared to waver in these to obtain votes.

Timing

Recent analysis by APE suggests something few appear to have detected, it is that if the election had been called just 3 months later, the preparatory work at Labour, which has been going on since Corbyn became leader, would have resulted in a large Labour majority. Mrs. May's decision to call an election was too precipitated and a little bit too late to gain any complete advantage. This was more than evident from the manifestos, Labour was more than ready and the Conservative rendition was pitiful and their organization in disarray.

Lastly, Jeremy Corbyn, in his concentration on open meetings was an example of his understanding and long experience in campaigning for many causes over the years. Genuine campaigning sometimes uses cliches and buzz words but it gets nowhere unless there is a content made up of fundmetally important messages that people can relate to. Also the messenger needs to come across as someone who honestly believes, with some enthusism in the messages. There is here a networking effect based on word of mouth, mobiles, texting and an intagible buzz an infective enthusiasm that causes people to re-evaluate previous positions. This has been Jeremy Corbyn's "sectret weapon". This whole concept remains beyond the comprehension of those cynical politicians who are always ready to say what they think people want to hear. This is a characteristic of modern politics populated by many intellectually dishonest individuals who far from being "strong" are weak pliant cowards with no principles. This was of course the general characterization of politicians by the English author Charles Dickens who was a sometime parliamentary reporter. He expressed his complete lack of faith in politicians but considerable faith in people; Charles would no doubt have approved of Jeremy.



Credits: The majority of this article content is from a recently circulated email to supporters from the Hacked Off Team

It isn't just about BREXIT but it is also about fighting internal corruption

We have been kindly reminded by the Hacked Off Campaign Team that the British Government has not committed to Leveson Part 2. The General Election provides an opportunity for voters to consider the various candidates' commitments to implementing Leveson's recommendations and to Part 2 of the Inquiry, when casting your vote.

The Labour party and the Lib Dems have both committed to delivering Leveson Part 1, proceeding with Part 2 of the Inquiry, and to protecting media plurality. The Green Party and Plaid have always supported reform of press regulation, and the SNP have a track record of supporting it in Parliament.

The Conservatives, however, have pledged to abandon the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry, despite showing support on a cross-party basis in 2011. The then PM David Cameron endorsed Leveson Part 2 on a number of occasions in 2011, 2012 and 2013, saying that the Conservative party "remain committed" to the Inquiry in its entirety. Yet, in their recent election manifesto, they argue that the first inquiry was "comprehensive" enough – we know this is not true. Part 1 only looked into press regulation, not the specifics of any wrongdoing, the conspiracies or the cover-up. Part 2 could not begin until the criminal and civil trials had been completed, which they now have. This policy U-turn by the Conservatives is an appalling betrayal of victims of press abuse who were promised thorough investigations into alleged cover-ups of police-press corruption. The Hillsborough disaster occurred in 1989 but it took until 2016 to secure a truthful inquest verdict; they now need Leveson Part 2 to find out who knew what about the cover-up and when. The same applies to the family of Daniel Morgan, who was murdered in 1987.

Read the Hacked Off campaign's' Leveson Part 2 mythbuster to find out more on why this stage of the Inquiry is so important. We must ensure that the careful regulatory framework proposed by Leveson and agreed by Parliament is not systematically dismantled by a government subservient to newspaper editors. We need Leveson Part 2 if we are to get to bottom of the alleged collusion between police, press, and politicians. Evidence of police corruption and newspapers' cover-up of widespread illegality cannot be allowed to be swept under the carpet.

Polls open on Thursday, 8th June, at 7am and close at 10pm, use your vote wisely.



Britain's nightmare foreign policy, the generator of destructive demons

As voting day nears journalism becomes a series of irresponsible rants

With one day to go before polling day in the UK on 8th June 2017, the standards of journalism have plummeted, somewhat reminiscent of the recent US presidential election, where media, who should have known better, wallowed increasingly in partisan misrepresentation, innuendo and what has now become known as "fake news". For example, today an article in the Daily Mail, by someone called Guy Adams, is a senseless rant. Clearly written by a young person with no historic perspective or intimate experience of the events he writes about. He targets Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott, leading members of the Labour party. He labels them as apologists for terrorists. In turns out that the writer of this disjointed piece was born in 1976 and yet he rants about events over a reference period when his average age would have been around 10. It is amazing that someone can make a living writing this sort of material. It is even more amazing that editorial standards at the Daily Mail are so lax. Along with the Murdoch press and the Sun's efforts at journalism there is a deflection of the truth and massive lie created by no comment.

Theresa May and the Conservative, and Blairite governments before, are largely responsible for the spikes in immigration and entry of Middle Eastern terrorist spill over accessing our shores and entering the country. The continued foreign policy of aggression rather than negotiation has proven to be a massive failure. The leaders against this type of failed foreign venturism were Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott. This is that the recent terror attacks and the increasing exposure of the public to the likelihood of attacks can be traced directly to an aggressive foreign policy of carrying out the wishes of the USA who in turn carry out the wishes of a toxic mediation between Saudi Arabia and Israel, largely because they are compromised by Saudi influence over money and oil. Having armed Saudi Arabia to the teeth by "selling" arms to them we now witness Saudi Arabia's primitive and savage side in their Yemini campaign and recent attacks on Qatar. Foreign policy is creating failed states. The US State Department should be re-named "Failed States Department", a well deserved name when one looks at the case studies in chaos provided by the "coalition" interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and the studious avoidance of preventing the Yemin genocide. The current government's leaders such as Michael Fallon, the Secretary of State for Defence, so-called, are examples of the "say anything to get a vote" at the expense of people in Britain being murdered by terrorists. The issue is related to policing and intelligence services this is more a last ditch defence issue arising once the terror threat has festered and appeared within the country. The causal factors, however, are the fiasco in Western foreign policy which the current UK government fully supports.

The medium to long term solution is for people to vote for those who seek peace and not confrontation. Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott fall well into this category of leaders who would benefit the population of the UK.

Postscript: During the campaign it was more than evident that Dianne Abbott had some health issues but the British Press and interviewers seemed to be oblivious of this and ruthlessly attacked her; today we learn she had indeed been unwell and will take a rest. Editor

Out-of-date deterrent argument and misrepresentations threaten UK security

Who is right?








The position of the
British Conservative party
in criticizing Jeremy Corbyn
for not being willing
to say if he would
press the nuclear button
is one which paints the
Conservatives as people
who are willing to carry
out an act of genocide,
by murdering thousands
if not millions
of innocent people.

This demostration
by the Conservatives
of their standard
being a willingness
to press the nuclear button
to carry out genocide
is illegal under international
law or under any moral
or ethical consideration
that might be applied.

Jeremy Corbyn's position
is rational,
ethical and moral.
During the course of the current UK election campaign and in the latest BBC "Question Time" where members of the audience have clearly absorbed a lot of nonsense about Jeremy Corbyn's views, it is possible to observe a microcosm of how propaganda directed against Corbyn by the Conservative party is helping blind people to the real security dangers facing the UK.

The notion of a nuclear deterrent, in spite of the bluster and straight faced arguments put out by many, is well beyond it's sell by date.

First of all, today, fairly simple anti-ballistic missile systems can knock out missiles, such as those making up the Trident complement, with ease. This means two things. It is possible to defend ourselves against such attacks as well as having our own "attacks" neutered by enemies who have such defence systems. Secondly, the typical asymmetrical warfare against terrorist factions means that they could not care a less about being obliterated by any missile that gets through. The danger facing the UK is, like local attacks by terrorists in European cities and lately in Manchester, a better funded system of the development of chemical and cheap dirty nuclear bombs can be set off like so-called "improvised explosive devices" anywhere the terrorists choose. These wont appear on radar screens or even be acknowledged by those who set them off so the idea of a retaliatory Trident strike is somewhat fanciful.

With the frustration felt by Saudi Arabia with respect to the failure of their funding of terrorists in Syria and the fact that they have considerable financial resources only means their campaign to spread extreme forms of Islam throughout the world which has become closely associated with terrorist groups, can easily swing towards a far more dangerous form of aggression than the current terrorist threat by funding the development chemical and thermo-nuclear devices. Given their track record, along with Turkey of supporting terrorists and the parallel behaviour of elements within the intelligence community in Pakistan, closely linked to the nuclear arms factions, none of this is particularly fanciful and it represents one of the most serious potential threats to the West.

The only way to remain ahead of this form of evolution in danger is better intelligence combined with a more direct engagement with real or imagined enemies. Unless these people are engaged at all levels, rather than marginalized, the likelihood of peace and removal of motivation for such developments and eventual attacks remains remote. The outcome is increasing potential security risks.

Jeremy Corbyn's positions on the IRA and Hamas where always designed to engage with the "enemy" to find out what could be done to terminate the killing. As Corbyn has stated, killing on both sides was wrong and as more information comes out on the dealings of the UK government and security forces in regard to the IRA it is clear that the UK government were in fact talking to the IRA at the same time as Corbyn, and for the same reasons. So the criticism of Corbyn completely unfair and scurrilous given that his approach, in the end, was the one that brought peace in Ireland. Concerning Hamas, Corbyn was here attempting to get parties to talk and on the occasion of joining the representatives of Hamas in the meeting, in a courteous manner he referred to the assembled participants as "friends" in an inclusive manner and pointing towards the spirit of the meeting. The absurd interpretation has been that he supports Hamas because he referred to them as friends. Jeremy Corbyn abhors violence and considers the killing of anyone as unacceptable. For anyone holding this view to be accused of "supporting" the IRA or Hamas is absurd and dishonest.

The bottom line is that all of these questions as to whether Corbyn would press the nuclear button, and why does he support terrorists, are a form of propaganda based on misguided concepts. The greater danger, which has become evident in members of the public raising these issues, is that they see proactive actions to secure peace as a sign of weakness or the mark of a traitor. Even more disturbing is their thoughtless assumption that a Prime Minister who is not willing to commit widespread genocide, by deploying nuclear weapons, is weak or unreliable. In pushing this propaganda the Conservatives are peddling out of date by very dangerous myths that mislead the public and to justify in excess of £120 billions on a system that does not protect the UK. The notion that like a poker player those with such "weapons" need to convince the "enemy" that they would press the button is out dated. It relates to a different state of affairs when in the pre-1960s large nuclear powers faced each other in the form of USA, USSR, UK and France. The sell by date for this "willingness to deploy" argument has long gone and, as Corbyn mentioned a "Question Time", there would be a Strategic Review if the Labour party wins the election. The last two Strategic Reviews, were thoroughly misguided and more based on budgetary allocations to services with a nod and wink to the armaments industry.



Labour proposes a more balanced BREXIT negotiation approach

On 25th April, Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour Party's Secretary for Exiting the EU, delivered an excellent explanation of the different approach of the Labour Party to BREXIT negotiations. It is odd that the UK mainstream media did not provide much coverage of this announcement because it represents a better alternative to the somewhat cavalier approach adopted by Theresa May.

Far from accepting a series of assumptions, the Labour Party has adopted a more strategic approach that is supported by a range of options and thereby not cutting and drying any position. An important and honourable aspect is a unilateral declaration of EU Citizen's rights protection which Labour would introduce on their first day in office, if elected. This is a far more responsible position than the "intent" of the Conservatives. Labour aims to dispel the doubts of EU Citizens in the UK as a priority so as to eliminate any further stress and uncertainty; something others do not appear to be concerned about. The questions that such a move would weaken the UK's bargaining position with respect to UK citizens in Europe is a somewhat base concern and somewhat shameful.

Labour makes no assumptions concerning a likely "hard BREXIT" which most serious analysts consider to be irresponsible in economic and social terms. Starmer agreed that this means movement of people needs to continue but Labour would seek an agreed basis for controlled movement. In fact this is a discussion taking place in the EU at the moment.

It is encouraging to see the Labour Party come up with a more mature presentation on an approach to BREXIT negotiations. In doing so Labour has demonstrated a capacity not to just combat Conservative policies on BREXIT but to rather present a better alternative. So on the BREXIT debate the Conservatives have lost ground and we have yet to discuss the many other policy issues concerning the performance of this government; something the Conservatives had wished to avoid.

Theresa May wants to make this a battle on "who can lead the country" but at the moment the question is becoming what are the actual interests of the people of Britain over the next few years. Demands for change in the current government's policies appear to be high on the agenda but they wish to avoid this type of discussion.

The electorate have seen the "fear factor" tactics deployed by the Conservatives in the Scottish Referendum and the EU Referendum. It worked, just, in the case of the Scottish Referendum but failed in the case of the EU Referendum leading to the resignation of David Cameron. They will attempt to use this again in the last 2 weeks of th electoral campaign when people will need to keep their focus on which approach to BREXIT is likely to result in better outcomes and which policies they would like to see enacted in the country in relation to Health, social care, the economy, investment and innovation and economic growth. With the main security risks today come from terrorists who have a penchant for committing suicide so it is clear that the Trident nuclear "deterrent" isn't a deterrent with such people. The old Soviet Union has gone and the old justifications for possessing a nuclear arsenal considerably weakened. Part of the Conservative fear factor spoiler tactics will be of course to ask whether or not Jeremy Corbyn would press the nuclear button. Of course there are those who think this macho intent has some sense; it doesn't. It is only somewhat irresponsible and slightly deranged individuals like Michael Fallon who have spoken of the possibility of the UK carrying out nuclear first strikes. This is clearly complete and utter nonsense. To add to this sordid mix, Boris Johnson has not helped things by offering to provide the USA with a la carte internationally illegal attacks on Syria to order.

Not living in a tin pot republic and with a need to get rid of irresponsible Lilliputian politicians, the people of Britain should not put their faith in decision makers who dice with death, murder and mayhem, with such ease. These sorts of insane proclamations and the underlying aggression and associated violence of which the world has become increasingly fatigued need to be dispelled and removed from the discourse of constitutional democracy. Britain needs a change towards responsible international leadership seeking peace and goodwill for all, not based on military might or the pea brained goofy logic of "if you are not with us you are against us" and of course "all options are on the table", that is, "negotiation" based on threats of violence.

POST SCRIPT: Keir Starmer has written in the 1st May edition of the Guardian Newspaper concerning his doubts about Theresa May's Apporach to BREXIT, it is worth reading:
"I fear Theresa May is negotiating us all towards a Brexit disaster" 

State-sponsored violence and the undermining constitutional democracy

Recent history shows that the most significant state-sponsored violence that has destroyed the lives of innocent non-combatants has been sustained by the United States from Vietnam (Agent Orange) to the CIA's support of Iraqi use of poisonous gas against Iranians with the financial support of Saudi Arabia. It is therefore ridiculous that the USA has gone through the theatre of feigned offense at a false flag "chemical attack" to blame it on the Assad Regime before any evidence has been collected and analyzed. The evidence is a badly-produced amateur video placed on social media and produced by people supported directly by the governments of the UK and USA (see below).

The complaint about a reported 80 or so people killed should be contrasted by the millions who have been killed by US-sponsored warfare, economic sanctions and covert actions carried out or promoted by US administrations. To claim to be the greatest democracy in the world with a constitution that contains safeguards and checks and balances to avoid inappropriate decisions is absurd. Absurd because the administration and most of the Congress and Senate are in the hands of those who have "financed" their election campaigns or various other things, such as getting their offspring through expensive universities. The US government is essentially run by financiers and manufacturers of weapons of mass destruction as Dwight D Eisenhower warned against in his famous "Military Industrial" speech. Just as Eisenhower warned, the current state of failure of the US democratic systems, and loss of voice of the people of America in determining their own future, is the result of the power of amoral forces undermining constitutional democracy. This is also the result of there being no effective checks and balances on the military arms of the administration that hold sway over the State Department and the White House. Unfortunately, in this context, the US Constitution has nothing to offer on bringing these real aspects of US government action under a control and direction that reflects the will of the people. The US Constitution, for this reason, is inappropriate and entirely unexceptional for a country with so much military power and with a track record of such incompetence in its use as evidenced in millions of dead innocents who litter the soil over which US-related campaigns have passed leaving countries in chaos during the last 50 years. This has been of significant intensity in the Middle East more recently giving rise to the European immigration crisis and spreading instability throughout the world. The track record is abysmal and, with all it's military might, the track record is one of failure to achieve objectives. The resulting oppression and obliteration of people's freedoms from fear and mayhem caused by these irresponsible ventures is not inspiring example of "leadership" for a country which has the affront to consider itself to be the leader of the so-called "free world".

Hollywood and the failing States

The recent events leading to Donald Trump agreeing to have the US fire around 50 Tomahawk missiles to impact the area of a Syrian airfield was the cause of widespread embarrassment. This was because the images reporting on the so-called chemical attack were inconclusive. Ibn Nr has noted that the videos that appeared in Western media tended to showed photogenic children and in one scene with two patients there were some 20-odd burly "medics" all wearing medical face masks and doing precious little. The other scenes showed people running and shouting with a dynamic video sequence of back shots showing the circular symbol of the Oscar winning Hollywood idols, the White Helmets, a propaganda arm of Al Nusra. Although promoted as a civil defence force their role is to video specific mounted scenarios to be fed to the Western media. Their propaganda has been swallowed hook line and sinker by US and more particularly UK authorities who have provide them in total of over £70 million in funding. This is an absurdity when people in London and Stockholm are suffering from the consequence of murderous actions of sympathizers of this very same terrorist group.

Boris Johnson is one of the many Western politicians who are thoroughly misguided in using the group's output as well as in supporting them with UK tax payer's money.

The explanation that an air raid resulted in the rupture of stored chemical warfare containers hidden by Al Nusra is a more convincing explanation of the cause of the release of gas. On the other hand Ibn Nr is of the opinion that Al Nusra is quite capable of releasing gas on a limited scale to secure footage to produce coverage to blame the Assad Regime. At this stage of the war against Isil, Isis or Daesh the Syrian Government has absolutely no reason to risk losing momentum by attracting the inevitable outcome of actually using chemical weapons. They have been successful with the Russians in negotiating freedom of civilians as well as having the terrorists move out, as in Aleppo. However, this could only happen when the terrorists realized they were going to lose. The US action has interfered with this aspect of the peace process.

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Joseph Goebbels,
Hitler's Minister of Propaganda
President Trump's actions were illegal and just a show. He did not wait for any investigation of the so-called chemical attack before taking action; he was taken in by a poorly produced propaganda video. The claims that the Russian guarantees of the Syrian regime ridding itself of any chemical weapons are unsafe has no grounding in facts when US teams assisted in the destruction of chemical stockpiles. This process was very thorough. This line of reasoning that Russia was not up to the job was used by Rex Tillerson the new State Secretary, in the absence of any proof of who carried out the attack. Tillerson's slow and pedantic prepared script approach is a matter of increasing concern. It is clear that the USA continues to protect Al Nusra front in Syria in spite of their being considered to be a terrorist organization responsible for murderous activities. The only way the terrorists could have gained any control over any Syrian material was by previous captures of inventory. According to Ibn Nr, most of the existing chemical weapon materials in Syria is in the hands of the terrorists who have obtained supplies via Turkey.

Lastly, it is estimated that in Mosul in Iraq some 320 civilians have been killed by "allied" attacks in the last 3 weeks where as in Syria the figure is around 120 and yet all of the media attention is on the so-called chemical attack where is alleged up to 80 people died.

If you repeat it enough people will believe you

A depressing amount of the "news" and public statements of actions of various regimes emanating from CNN, BBC as well as the CIA, Pentagon and the State Department consist of little more than a scandalous and shameless range of baseless assertions, unattributed sources and complete absence of evidence, is an outstanding example of the crudest form of propaganda based on lies. This same approach was exercised and explained by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's Minister of Propaganda (see the box on the left).

The obsequious sycophant

Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Secretary, is clearly out of his depth. His repeated appearances as Trump's lap dog and obsequious sycophantic sideshows demonstrate a parochial eagerness to please "America" by repeating, without question, doubtful mantras from the Beltway. His behaviour has become an increasing embarrassment and subject of jokes and derision amongst international leadership and diplomatic circles. It is amazing that the people of the United Kingdom have to endure a representation by a clown on the international stage. This is unacceptable.

Untimely election

Theresa May called general election in the UK to be held on 8th June 2017. She justified this on the basis of there being too much disagreement in Westminster and unity in the country meant she needed a new mandate to provide a strong support in carrying out BREXIT negotiations. There is no evidence to support this assertion and it is more likely that the aim is to gain another 5 years of fixed term parliament when currently the polls indicate the Conservatives will win comfortably and increase their majority.

The other political parties, however, see this as an opportunity to call attention to the government's record on a range of issues of more immediate importance to the electorate. The Conservatives will not be able to avoid this discussion and it is of interest to see what comes out in the very rushed production of party election manifestos.

The tone of the election on the Conservative side is already descending to low levels with the firing off of personal insults largely aimed at the Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Jeremy Corbyn suffers not so much from bad policies but from a biased UK media somewhat akin to the CNN syndrome in its treatment of Donald Trump. So far the polls give the Conservatives a commanding lead of 20 points over the Labour party but it is notable that Labour have a majority support from the under-40s. Part of the challenge is for Labour which has the highest political party membership in the UK and is the largest socialist party in Europe, to get the younger generation to actually go out and vote on the day. The Conservative can rely on the over 60s who all tend to vote.


Oligarchs, totalitarianism, fascism and goon squads


Societies change and often in only slowly-perceptible ways. The images of our past and cultural heritage time-bind our perceptions so that we often only perceive imperfectly that what we consider to be decadence in foreign lands is very much part of our own state of affairs. Thus our "democratic system" as a basis for comparing our behaviour and social intercourse with that of other countries palls when we detect that, in practice, we do not uphold our own widely declared and disseminated values.

This becomes very apparent when, for example, Barak Obama produces one of his eloquent speeches such as his recent valedictory address. Yes, there are good ideals which in practice are frustrated by the slow change in basic attitudes and the emergence of many factors that slow down desired beneficial change. Obama expressed this difficulty by stating that after two setps forward there is sometimes on step back. Our problem would appear to be that combining forward and backward steps over the last 50 years, there are, in many aspects of our lives, a general trend of backwards movement and no advance.

Totalitarianism is a label we stick on the old Soviet Union under the Communist Party. Fascism was something associated with Mussolini, and he met a sad end. Fascism and totalitarianism had goon squads of fanatics who whose job it was to intimidate those opposed to the prevailing system.The characteristics of these regimes were the use of fear as a control factor, invariably this was fear of foreigners or the goon squads and enforcement procedures imposed under the "law". The common asscociation was the concentration of power in the hands of a few oligarchs who usually became very powerful and often rich. The oligarch label is commonly applied to modern Russia and, of course to the Ukraine.

The fascist system was essentially based on a close association of business with government which helped create and sustain the oligarchs. The fear on the part of the so-called working and middle classes, being dependent on corporate or government employment, was to remain safe and with a job to bring up their families. Under such circumstances the concept of a participatory democracy wains and this is replaced by a system where government, corporate leaders and tehnocrats gain an increasing power over the decision making that affects people's lives. The natural tendency for those people who detect this state of affairs is to begin to question and try and identify better ways to organise societal decision-making and secure acceptable standards of living. This questioning by members of the public is often regarded to be a threat to the system and the status of the oligarchs. In order to gain some control over the thoughts and actions of the public these systems begin to abuse privacy. Invaviably the excuse for demanding more and more information on individuals is security to "protect" people from internal and external threats.

Read more...

Sky News wasting people's time


Sky News announced that at 10.00 am on Sunday, 8th January, Theresa May would be provided with the opportunity to explain her "shared society" concept. When the time arrived Theresa May was confronted with a bunch of tired worn out questions on issues of no interest and no time was left, at all, for Theresa May to say anything about her "shared society" vision. Essentially Sky News and the journalist concerned, Sophy Ridge, simply wasted a lot of people's time and essentially showed no consideration for Theresa May. Journalists need to realize that people watch programmes to hear what guests have to say and they should allow them time to say what they have to say. Filling up a programme with their own, or their editor's, "agenda of unrelated questions" designed to entrap a captured target on camera is bad journalism. It is an insult to those who turned to the programme based on Sky News' misleading announcement and was an affront to the Prime Minister. Theresa May was very patient but she should have reminded the journalist that she came to discuss a specific topic then, maybe, this programme would have been more informative and we could all move on with our life.

An embarrassing, unintelligent report

The Director of National Intelligence has released a highly embarrassing report entitled,"Background to "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections": The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution."

This report is embarrassing because it is such an amateur cut and paste job with little input from professional intelligence analysts and containing basic errors in facts, out-of-date information and other details pointing to a product of a seriously uninformed team. It is even worse that the "dodgy dossier" signed by Tony Blair in the run up to the Iraq war which he attempted to pass off as an intelligence assessment. These reports are highly politicized and products of the post-truth and "fake-fact" environment that permeated the Westminster filter bubble under Blair then and that pervades today's Beltway.

For an "intelligence briefing" dealing with such serious accusations, the range of levels of certainty of conclusions in the document are unacceptable for any responsible decision-maker. The assessment contained in the unclassified report is stated to be supported with "high confidence" by the CIA and FBI and by NSA with moderate confidence. At the back of the document three levels of confidence are defined with the high confidence, this being the highest level, signifying that "High confidence in a judgement does not imply that the assessment is a fact or certainty; such judgements might be wrong". This definition which, in reality, is a disclaimer, and is simply not serious for the field of cyber crime. It also provides no justification for the deportation of 35 Russian diplomatic staff from the USA.


Margarita Simonyan
©RT

Rather than provide anything convincing concerning Russia's attempt to influence the US election, the document provides a considerable amount of irrelevant information on the Russia Today (RT) channel.

For those interested in understanding the rise of cross-border news of which RT is a world leader, it is worth reading the independent report produced by PwC UK (Pricewaterhouse Coopers UK plc) entitled The rise of cross-border news. Margarita Simonyan, Editor in Chief of RT explains the reason for this independent report as, "We wanted to understand the motivation of viewers and readers of cross-border news - and we believed this understanding would help all providers of global news deliver a service that meet users' needs".

Also, in order to clear up the misinformation concerning RT propaganda see the internal APE Brief RT_20160520. Our APE General Editorial Advice is that little or no additional resources should be allocated to this non-story.



©TomJones.com


©Glenn Francis
www.PacificProDigital.com

The Voice returns with Tom Jones & will.i.am


The Voice Programme has transferred from BBC to ITV and its talent contest will make its debut on Saturday night (7th January, 2017). Tom Jones will return as a judge together with will.i.am and there will be two new judges, the Oscar and Bafta-winning singer Jennifer Hudson and singer Gavin Rossdale, as well as will.i.am who moved with the show from the BBC.

Tom Jones was unceremoniously sacked from the BBC Voice with no explanation or notice and the ratings of the programme immediately fell. The British public did not approve of this cavalier and disgraceful action by the BBC.

It is expected that with his return the new Voice will do well. will.i.am commented that a change in record label from Universal to Polydor should contribute to the contest producing some stars but the choice of song is really important in achieving this.

British media exaggerating significance of EU Rep resignation

Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK government's representative to the European Union, has resigned earlier than expected to make room for someone to manage the Article 50 negotiations for BREXIT. UK Media have taken the opportunity to label this as a rift and a problem for the UK government; it really isn't. If Sir Ivan intended his email sent to staff as a criticism of government, then he should not remain in any case, since some dedication to UK interests is required.

On the other hand, the volumes of reports and documents spewed out by Berlaymont on EU progress tend to be very misleading and uninformative, patching over the many inefficiencies and cock-ups that exist in the implementation of European Commission funded activities. Like any large political organizations the EU peps up its operational image on the basis of internal propaganda that staff seems to believe. Therefore the notion that the EU and the Commission has more professional negotiators, leaving the UK at a disadvantage, is not a wholly correct representation of the required dynamics under Article 50. The Commission and Council have a well known highly structured crystalline structure that they wish to maintain and its weaknesses are also well known. The UK has a specific global mission and not one to be constrained by the EU in economic terms and definitely not by political considerations. The EU staff have little experience in operating where flexibility is required simply because political constraints do not allow them to be flexible, their degrees of freedom are limited. Concerning the significance of the UK market for many European Union Member State economic sectors, the UK has far more bargaining power and an ability to introduce needed adjustments than is generally admitted.

Washington Post trips up again for peddling fake news

In the third wire in the Botequim column on the right, we explained why a statement of the Washington Post was not true in the post entitled: "Vermont Electricity facility Russian hack - nothing of the kind."



This sort of third rate sensationalist journalism is tiresome and dishonest or just plain sloppy. No wonder less and less people trust such mainstream media. The Washington Post has now withdrawn their assertions concerning Russian involvement.

Can Theresa save Britain?

As yet, the strategy for Britain in securing a beneficial separation from the European Union, has not been declared by the government. However, what is becoming clear in this initial phase of the post-referendum period is that people are becoming increasingly informed about events and procedures associated with the European Union. This is resulting in increasing numbers supporting the referendum outcome to leave the European Union.

First of all the bad-tempered reactions at the Commission and Council under Donald Tusk were unbecoming and disrespectful of a democratic decision. Passing from that knee-jerk reaction we then witnessed a range of member State heads essentially threatening Britain with harsh terms for exit. The general thrust was, and remains, one of threats and attempted intimidation. This behaviour, which many in Britain consider to be alien to the isles and to hark back to former "Continental times", is a taboo in Britain. Britain entered a major war on September 3, 1939 to fight this type of political arrogance which thrives on the maintenance of a regime of fear. So much for the so-called "European values".

This recent awakening of this sensitivity has been intensified by the very recent revelations concerning the alleged behaviour of what was the governing party in Macedonian, a country that expects to join the European Union. It seems that this political party secured a majority of votes, in the recent election, on the basis of corrupt agricultural policies (see next article) managed under a regime of fear and intimidation. However, the Macedonian example also serves to highlight the ongoing waste of EU taxpayer's money on so-called pre-accession technical assistance programmes to agriculture, which is not used effectively. The EU-funded agricultural programme is Macedonia ineffective because of a constant interference by unelected agents from the main party (VMRO-DPMNE) in policy to ensure that it generates or funds and votes for the party1.

Significant doubts are now being raised as to the efficacy of the election monitoring groups used during this election, including Skopje-based NGOs. It is notable that they limited their attention to polling stations while ignoring the well-known role of agricultural policy in influencing votes. Under the typical alleged operational characteristics of VMRO-DPMNE, which include the issuance of threats and intimidation of nationals, in any walk of life, who criticize the government or have differing opinions, neutrality is something hard to come by in today's Macedonia. It is this constant theme of callous indifference to the treatment of people of a country which paints a depressing picture of the real values of Europe of today and the Europe to come. The European Commission, in its lax oversight of pre-accession processes under a governments that abuse human freedom is resulting in failures in this process and a significant loss of resources. This simply lays the foundation for an increasing democratic deficit and decadence in values in the European Union.

Forgetting about the economy, NATO and markets, a primary factor of importance is the reign of the community conscience in guiding governance. Theresa May can help save Britain from this depressing environment called Europe by pushing ahead with BREXIT so, at least, we can preserve values we hold dear.


1A detailed review on Macedonian agricultural policy corruption is under preparation by a consortium of investigative journalists to be submitted to the British Parliament and Parliament of the European Union.

Macedonia, is this the EU to come?

The next group of countries that are likely to become Member States of the European Union are the Balkan counties of Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. Slovenia, Croatia and Bulgaria have already joined the EU.

Macedonia is a country, often considered to be a laboratory where it is possible to assess the possible contributions of Balkan countries to the future social, political and economic change in Europe.


Macedonian agricultural policy, a voting machine
Macedonia has just undergone a general election where the previous governing party, the VMRO-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO–DPMNE) had been accused of corruption and wiretapping and a political crisis arising from an attempt to pardon those responsible. The EU sent a mediator who openly declared the former government to have been operating a regime of fear and intimidation. In spite of this image the recent election resulted in VMRO-DPMNE achieving a majority with a reduced number of MPs but insufficient to form a government. This comeback is considered to be an obvious sign of the continued pervasive corrupt influence of VMRO-DPMNE over the voting mechanism.

The rural areas provided the balance in votes that ensured that VMRO-DPMNE secure a slim majority in spite of it's negative image. This ability to maintain a vote in the rural areas is related to the VMRO-DPMNE's secret weapon of defective agricultural policies which continue to defy EU requirements and where the process of allocation of subsidies and grants lacks transparency. Therefore, no matter how many international observers were at the ballot stations, the operational aspects of vote purchases, rigging and corruption occurred out of sight of the international observers who accordingly could not really detect anything. This is why VMRO-DPMNE remained so confident throughout the election.

Although Macedonia is a small country, this development has helped erode confidence of informed observers in many in Member States of the likely future state of democracy in Europe. It has thrown into question the effectiveness of the European Commission in preparing countries for accession. The problem is that the majority of the potential new members are countries with similar political establishments with dubious democratic credentials. It has become evident that one of the stronger vectors resulting in BREXIT was that sovereignty was considered to be a risk of being increasingly undermined by the inevitable rising democratic deficit in the EU; immigration, although a trigger, was only a secondary issue. The outcome of the Macedonian election only plays into a negative narrative of European Commission incompetence contributing to an inevitable increase in the EU democratic deficit to come. These perceptions are at play increasingly in France, Austria, The Netherlands and other countries where Euro-skepticism is on the rise. This imperils the future cohesion of the EU.

Pre-accession agricultural policy changes are an area where the European Commission has normally been considered to be reasonably effective in past enlargements and having had a positive influence. In the case of Macedonia, it appears to be failing badly.

Read more ....   

UK leads European growth in people power bases



Jeremy Corbyn
Real News reported earlier this year that the British labour party had become the largest socialist party in Europe since Jeremy Corbyn had been elected as leader. In a Blairite attempt to remove him, another leadership election was imposed on the party and Jeremy Corbyn was returned as leader with the largest majority ever obtained in the history of the party.

Corbyn is a strong proponent of people power and listening to what the costituents want and need. However, the UK "mainstream" media continue to wallow in their parochial filter bubbles casting doubt on the ability of Jeremy Corbyn to win a general election. Last time we reported on the Labour party membership it stood at around 500,000; it has since increased by 140,000 to 640,000 (almost 30% within 6 months). It just keeps on growing, especially amongst the young and increasingly, well-informed so-called "middle class" voters.

Unlike the post-truth and fake news shambles that characterises the mainstream media and the chattering classes centred in London, Corbyn has been giving some comprehensive speeches which are convincing. A common criticism is "where is the detail?", but many of the more attractive innovations introduced by the failed Chancellor George Orborne and even lately by Chancellor Philip Hammond, were filched from the Labour party. Jeremy Corbyn is more careful. The conventional national media try to ignore these messages and the foreign media even more so. This is a major oversight of foreign media in ignoring the development and platform of the largest political party in Europe. Fortunately some alternative media such as APE have picked up on the key content and this is convicing more people that Labour has something to offer. This advance has been helped by the current confusion in the Conservative government concerning BREXIT.

Our correspondent in London informs us that although the media ignore Corbyn and the Government ministers talk in terms of their being "no opposition", the growth in people power under the Labour parrty and which effectively keeps Corbyn in an unassailable position, is giving rise for concern; some have become convinced that if there were a snap election, Labour would win.

Clinton's Useful Idiots

It is a bad day when a "respected" media is shown to be involved in post-truth sensationalism and fake news. This appears to be the case of the Washinton Post.



The Washington Post has issued an editor’s note that admitted its reliance on the information on the PropOrNot website. This site claims to be supported by nonpartisan experts on “Russian propaganda” but is becoming increasingly evident that the information provided is largely made up. The Post had claimed that Russia was running an increasingly sophisticated propaganda campaign that was influencing the US presidential election and made reference to their sources as being PropOrNot describing this website as being supported by independent researchers who determined that Russian state media, RT and Sputnik News produce biased articles designed to punish Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump as well as contributing to the undermining of faith in American democracy.





As is common of poor and irresponsible journalism the Post and PropOrNot provided no evidence in support of their assertions.

PropOrNot has listed numerous organizations as allies yet social media carry numerous statements from these allies stating that they have nothing to do with the group and had never even heard of it before the Post published its story. Journalist Glenn Greenwald noted that [PropOrNot]," ....this group of ostensible experts far more resembles amateur peddlers of primitive, shallow propagandistic clichés than serious, substantive analysis and expertise; that it has a blatant, demonstrable bias in promoting NATO’s narrative about the world; and that it is engaging in extremely dubious McCarthyite tactics about a wide range of critics and dissenters.”

In conclusion the source of misleading libelous propaganda that has been slandering President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican Party through association with non-existent manipulations by Russia and various private media, who cover Russian affairs, has been, and remains, this mediocre website PropOrNot and the Post has willingly acted as a distributor of the resulting fake news based on a post-truth strategy.

Putin's Useful Idiots

An American NGO called the Henry Jackson Society, has just published a document by an Andrew Foxall of the so-called Russia Studies Centre. This document is entitled, "Putin's Useful Idiots: Britain's Left, Right and Russia", demonstrates a lamentable misunderstanding of Russia's policy with repect to so-called left and right movements worldwide. There is no depth to this document with most references being all very recent, most dated 2016 and one or two 1990s vintage. In fact the analysis is plain wrong and reflects perhaps the writer's age and lack of experience with the fundamentals of Russian motivations going back beyond the initiation of World War II. The writer has simply bought into the recent Clintonesque and John Kerry State Department-driven paranoia about Putin. The personalisation of this document, centred on Putin, is typical of the brand of knee jerk journalism that is the US mainstream media today. This cannot be considered to be a serious researched document reflecting the current motivations of Putin.

Any amateur student of history knows that Russia has a well-established habit, like the USA, of funding sympathetic political movements. In fact the USA dedicates somthing like 500 times more funding to foreign political movements and NGOs than does Russia. Indeed, Russia learned some of these techniques from the USA. It is notable that although there is ample evidence of USA funding of foreign political activity as well as regime change supported by bloody wars, the Clinton campaign and security agencies in the USA could not come up with any evidence for Russian interference in the recent US election. Of course even the FBI was accused of acting on behalf of Russia. There is by contrast excessive amounts of evidence concerning USA interference in foreign elections as well as support of the so-called right in Ukraine as well as terrorist groups in the Middle East and of strong political support for Saudi Arabia in spite of evidence of their involvement in the murderous events of 9-11 in downtown New York. One cannot equate this behaviour with anything to do with freedom, democracy and the rule of law but the author of this document does not want to be bothered with such details but simply wants to deliver on attacking Putin.

One bizarre recommendation by this individual is a that politicians should be required to register the fact that they will participate in coverage by such media organizations as RT. This is a MacCarthyism excess. RT receives funding from the Russian government in the same way as Voice of America in the USA or BBC in the UK. Most US mainstream media are essentially stenographers for US government output, especially in the case of foreign affairs and State Department output so that on these stations it is difficult to get alternative point of view across. A self-imposed or funded censorship creates enormous bias in news coverage, indeed, the experience of Bernie Sanders during the primaries, provides ample evidence of this. RT has a range of programmes that are managed by people who would not accept any editorial orientation from RT. For example Larry King and his program "Politicking", Ameera David's "Boom Bust" and Afshin Rattansi's "Going Underground"". These are all programs that provide a rational and alternative view of opinions and all off them grill interviewees from any side.

Finally, to highlight where this document goes wrong, like the USA, Russia provides "support" to people whose ideas are potentially against the interests of the country. Such people, mainly on the right, are seduced into misunderstading of provision of platforms, and even funding, signifies support for their basic philosophies; it doesn't and never has done. It is largely designed to raise their profile and expose them so as to line up domestic opinion against them. This succeeded in the case of the National Front and most other ultra right wing UK parties to the benefit of the UK population.

In disagreement with Stalin, Leon Trotsky pointed out the danger of the right (Fascists) and Stalin made him pay the ultimate price. However, the lesson arising from the Nazi fiasco caused Russia to finally understand Trotsky's analysis at a great human cost. The recent Ukraine events saw the US State Department support of neofascist paramilitary units. There were calls for NATO expansion into Ukraine. NATO, however, had demonstrated its willingness to alter its etablished defensive role willy nilly to pursue a proactive regime change in Libya, under the guise of an innocent "no flight zone". This created a significant change in the perception of the stablity of NATO as a reliable adversary alliance both within the UK as well as in Russia. The evidence is there for all to see that NATO's intervention resulted in chaos and the spread of ISIS and a major European immigration crisis which Muammar Gaddafi had predicted and had prevented. This led, naturally, to the Crimean outcome in light of the important Russian naval base and ethnic make-up of Crimeans, mainly Russian speakers. Ukrainan events at the time was showing TV coverage of Ukrainan neo-fascists clubbing members of Russian ethnic groups to death. This is not to argue that what has occurred is right it is simply to point out that there were good reasons for this move in strategic terms as well as in terms of the security of the population in Crimea. When the West acts in a way that does not demonstrate a consistent strategy there is a problem of predictability resulting in instability. The only way to stop this growing global chaos is to take decisive actions.

In such a world there is a need for balanced rational analyses to identify options for possible soltions. The shallow nature of this journalistic publication devoid of objective analysis with rights reserved by a UK registered charity calls into question why this organization has a charitable status when it is wasting money on such polemic that contributes nothing to the debate.

The best way to predict the future is to create it

The title to this section is a quote from Peter Drucker the management guru who died in 2005. Drucker concentrated on the business unit but his insights remain important for the macroeconomy as well as human action in general. The current chaos in the fields of foreign affairs and economics are essentially caused by perceptions that are not based on fact, that is, evidence, and yet governments are taking decisions based on visions and assertions.

In "diplomatic circles" the oft heard statement that "all options are on the table!" normally means that as a last resort, violence and aggression will be used to secure what some countries desire. Economic sanctions are in fact an act of war that cause the populations of target countries to suffer. No country has the right to undermine the standards of living of people of another nation as a basis for changing the policies of governments over which the same people have no real influence. Democratic principles will seldom cause populations subjected to sanctions to overthrow governments. In western "democracies" the electorates are similarly unable to secure governments that reflect their will. We all suffer from a leadership incapable of predicting the future and even less able to create one that is motivated by the common human conscience that desires peace and goodwill for all. This is the leadership crisis embodied in the political party systems.

The USA and now European are increasingly aping of the Israeli model that has been imposed for over some 65 years, a policy model of intentional destruction, of the dispossession of the Palestinians, economic sanctions, ethnic cleansing and extra-constitutional looting of the land and natural resources of others; a case study in criminality, the perversion of power and decadence of leadership. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria are examples of the substitution of mindless destruction for any attempt to create viable peaceful futures. Syria has exposed the hypocrisy of the "war on terror" becoming one where terrorists are fully supported by the USA, its coalition and middle eastern states some of which are implicated in the 9-11 atrocity and which launched this terrible period of inhumane destruction.

Apeurope authorizes detailed study on the costs & benefits of Brexit

During the Apeurope Annual General Meeting held on 10th October, Group correspondents registered their extreme frustration at the absense of evidence-based positions, on all sides, during the recent European referendum. With the decision to leave the European Union, this lack of clarity continues. The vascillation and delays by all British polictical parties in defining any coherent position is alarming and the posturing of the European Commission officials and some heads of state of Member States is unacceptable. Therefore, in the continued absense of any positive government or Commission action the Apeurope Board has authorized a study on the "Costs & Benefits of the UK leaving the European Union". This study will analyse the sector and foreign trade partner potential opportunities, gaps and impacts arising from the new options that now exist with BREXIT. This has the objective of providing a basis for identifying mutual benefits to the remaining European Union's members and to the UK.

Salt & Vinegar option under BREXIT

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, assertion that no BREXIT is better than hard BREXIT and that leaving will only leave salt and vinegar. This exposes a behind-the-scenes effort on the part of a wide range of interest groups to try and reverse the UK's decision to leave the European Union.

What is not being accepted is that no one has quantified the benefits of remaining. In the 1980s UK European Commissioner Cockburn commissioned a study called "No Europe". This was supposed to calculate the benefits of being in Europe. The initial study came up with no benefits so the study was repeated, again coming up with no significant benefits. This report was a source of embarrassment and was therefore binned by the Commission. However, the fundamental message of the report was not lost on those who had read the report, especially some members of the UK Conservative party. It should be remembered that Cockburn was a UK Commissioner proposed by the Thatcher government. The bottom line here is that many in Britain know that the European Commission has no bargaining position if a country wishes to leave the EU because it is not possible to quantify the benefits of remaining. Any "hard exit" will prejudice European exporters to the UK. This means trying to punish, or threatening to punish the UK, bordering on economic sanctions, will only hurt Europe. This is why there is a panic in the European Commission.

The return of the UK fishing grounds
will be a major economic and social benefit
of BREXIT

On the question of foreign investment in the UK drying up with BREXIT, some recent confidential corporate executive conclaves are concluding that the UK's prospects are better outside the EU because the economy will grow faster than the EU as a result of the incremental growth in UK trade with non-EU countries. The organization of negotiating teams, with many members coming from British Commonwealth countries, is impressive and there is a large build-up of trading profiles being prepared, not with the EU, but with a long list of global partners. Whereas the UK started BREXIT with weak negotiation resources the current capabilities have already surpassed the somewhat sclerotic approach associated with the EU Commission typified by secrecy and a very poor public image such as their poorly handled TTIP negotiations.

There is a poorly appreciated fact surrounding the UK regulatory environment for financial services and a long established flexibility in the way the UK-based financial sector handle just about any challenge, sets London apart from any other world financial centre. This has its drawbacks but remains a well known, but seldom admitted, reality. The European Commission dreams that BREXIT will result the global financial centre migrating to Frankfurt, or anywhere else in mainland Europe, but according to traders this is unlikely to come true for the foreseeable future. At the moment European centres do not have the right combination of capabilities, experience and regulatory environments or, frankly, any track record to contemplate substituting London as the global financial centre.

Donald Tusk does not appear to understand that the British have a preference for eating fish and chips with salt and vinegar and this tradition will continue after BREXIT.


The Whale in the coming BREXIT talks

In some of the preparatory exchanges concerning the Apeurope Study "Costs & Benefits of the UK leaving the European Union" one delegate pointed out that one of the most shocking give-aways by the Heath Conservative government, when the UK entered the European Union in 1972, was the UK's fishing grounds, amongst the most productive on the planet. This had a significant negative social and economic impact on the British fishing industry. BREXIT provides the damaged UK fishing industry and the UK fishermen the opportunity to regain their former prominent contribution to Britain's Agricultural, Fisheries and Forestry sector by supplying the UK with home-caught fish.

The current catch value, official and unofficial, is around £500 million. Much fish coming to the UK market goes through large EU-based factory ships who simply sell fish caught within these waters to UK fishermen or land the fish for port-side markets. With BREXIT the national fishing communities' income could double to around £1 billion.

The re-establishment of British sovereignty over the former UK fishing grounds would be a major tangible benefit of BREXIT. In preparation to this major benefit it would make sense, in terms of managing the total manageable catch (TAC) to come to agreement with Iceland on management and to only permit EU vessels to fish under license paid to the UK treasury. License income would be used to monitor fish stocks and prevent abuse arising from unacceptable catching practices such as avoiding catching and killing very young fish needed to grow stocks for the sustainability of the industry.

This could become the Whale in the BREXIT negotiation fish tank when discussions get going. Several countries, France and Spain and indirectly The Netherlands, have much to lose with this aspect of BREXIT. The solution, of course, is for EU Commission and other Member State heads to stop their talk about punishing Britain for BREXIT but to come to a satisfactory settlement of things like this; there are many more to come and Emancipation News will be setting these out here.


US foreign policy is a ridiculous "Show Time" for gullible media; little credibility remains
Kunduz

The sheer hypocrisy of the histrionics of the USA UN ambassador and the lack of logical argument of the US State Secretary and the absurd off stage statements by leading US military figures is ridiculous. We witness a bunch of mavericks playing a high stakes poker game while the Commander in Chief, so-called, seems to be ignored. No one believes that the US attack on the Syrian army was a "mistake" as John Kerry claimed. This attack could be "called off" because it was already "mission accomplished". The terrorist attack on the humanitarian mission was immediately blamed on Syrian and Russian air attacks while the US ignored the drone evidence provided by Russia on the local terrorist vehicle pulling a howitzer. The biggest problem that runs through the US narratives and bluster is a complete lack of evidence to back up accusations relating to Russian actions in Syria, cyber attacks on some disparate Democratic Party servers and events in the Ukraine. However, the evidence that does exist supports the emerging truth that the US foreign policy is barbaric, currently protecting rapists and beheading terrorists who run a sex trade based on innocent women, selling them through online sites by having their so-called "moderates" iter-mingle with these terrorists in civilian areas to protect them from attack. The latest show by these hypocrites has been in the Security Council of the UN to demand "investigations" into war crimes. The burning alive of innocents by US repeated attacks on the hospital in Kunduz in Afghanistan and the recent attack by Saudi Arabia killing 150 individuals in the Yemen are war crimes.

White Helmets in Syria alleged to be phony NGO, involved in staged propaganda, funded by UK government, with HQ in Turkey

Journalists who have recently visited Syria report that the White Helmets who feature in many media in the West saving children following "attacks by the Syrian government or Russians" are closely embedded in the terrorist groups and only work in the areas occupied by the same. It is alleged that they have a budget of something like $100 million and employ about 3,000 individuals who are involved in staged, heavily edited, videos designed to accuse either the Syrian government or Russians of atrocities. It is further alleged that the White Helmets and heavily armed off camera, have been involved in killing Syrian Civil Defence personnel and raiding and stealing their equipment and mopping up after beheadings and executions by the terrorist organizations. These allegations are so serious that the British Government needs to be asked to explain why they waste public funds on such an organization closely involved with ISIS and Al Quaeda and others and organized to mislead the British public with distorted propaganda.

How bad Fed decisions triggered the financial crisis

Criticisms have been leveled at banks for selling mortgages to people who were at risk of defaulting. Central Banks have a responsibility to monitor any such exposure as a fundamental input to interest rate policy. The Fed had maintained an interest rate range of between 2% and 5% up until 2005. It is evident that with this history, if people buy into loans at 2% there is always the risk that interest rates will more than double if rates go up to 5%. If mortgagees are fully stretched at 2% they will default at 3% or 4%. This is clear. In spite of the well known growth in mortgage lending during 2002 through 2004 when interest rates were reduced to less than 2%. However, by 2005 Fed had doubled rates up to over 4% and then in 2006 raised rates to 5.25% in June a 300% increase over June 2004 (1.25%). This massive rise cause the precipitation of the sub-prime mortgage defaults. The contagion was spread by mainly US banks creating derivatives from the sub prime mortgages and mis-classifying then as AAA and purposely dumping these on the markets where a large number of European banks fell into the trap of purchasing them without looking at the fundamentals already in train. It is notable that the LIBOR rates began to rise in early 2008 as some banks saw this as an illicit means to serve their interests in increasingly precarious times.

In the end the lax extra-constitutional financial authority arrangements in relation to bank regulations and the lack of oversight of the derivatives grey markets by Central Banks, set the conditions a financial disaster caused largely by poor management standards, no checks and balances deployed by central banks and the corporate greed of banks. Unfortunately a lack of political leadership did not resist the call for bank bail outs ending up with governments arbitrarily confiscating money from their constituents to compensate banks and bankers for their inept management decisions. The public have paid the price that bankers should have paid. The price is austerity policies while banks are provided with cheap money which is not flowing to investment and the real economy. This disastrous "monetary policy" of quantitative easing has led to falling investment and real incomes and the levels of financialization increasing causing asset bubbles and stock market booms as a result of corporations purchasing their own shares to benefit executive incomes. The associated share prices have no relationship to the fundamentals of corporate performance. The massive over-exposure of the financial markets to derivatives that rely on low interest rates to generate a margins has created a "sub-prime financial sector", now more in debt than in 2005/2006. This is why central banks are unable to raise interest rates. Central banks now understand the lessons of 2004 through 2005 but don't want to admit it. A move in interest rates from 0.25% to 1% would represent a 300% rise and this would cripple many major financial institutions and cause yet another financial crisis.

Britain's unusual social transition that could become a revolution

In the last year Jeremy Corbyn was elected as the unexpected leader of the Labour party and a referendum on the EU resulted in the BREXIT vote to be closely followed by the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as the expected leader of the Labour party with an increased mandate. Given the dreary media coverage of Jeremy Corbyn and general criticism leveled against him it is worth noting that since his first election the Labour party has amassed a membership larger than all of the other UK political parties put together. The Labour party has become the largest political party in Europe. The unusual aspect about this transition is that in Europe, party growth has been taken up by parties who have been set up as alternatives to the conventional parties. In Britain the growth and expression of resentment against conventional parties has been a embodied by a rejuvenated Labour party returning to its roots. It is not certain how long this drive for membership will continue but is very significant. Even if it is claimed that people only joined to vote for Corbyn therein lies an important message, either way, Jeremy Corbyn is gathering a general approval. The more this process continues the weaker will become Corbyn's main rivals in the form of Blairites and others in the Parliamentary Labour party who see politics purely in terms of affording them power and status; they need to pay more attention to the swell of the social movement that is contributing to the increasing numbers of members of the Labour party. There is a need to switch emphasis from elitist and exclusive think tank cliques and secretive "cabinet" or sofa style decision-making involving a handful of politicians leading to top down impositions on the majority. There is a need to return to the old English idea of the constitutional debates involving the people and that ranged in the 17th Century giving rise to the to bottom up identification of constitutional principles that have never been bettered. At the moment, it looks as if the only political party likely to deliver this revolutionary approach is the currently expanding Labour party.