A letter from Slovenia to Syria

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 23/02/2018 - 4:00pm in


Syria, NATO

by Katerina Vidner Ferkov, February 18, 2018, via Zdravo Slovenia It is very hard to write a letter to a country where children, women, and men are being bombed by “the coalition for the greater good”, so they say in the corporate media. How to find words while you are looking for your sons and daughters in the fire, explosions and collapsed buildings? But a letter from Slovenia to Syria must be sent. Dear Syria in Slovenia we have seen this before when Yugoslavia fell apart and a devastating carnage took place in a state where people used to sing about brotherhood and equality. We saw the refugees from ex Yugoslavia and felt their pain like we witnessed the suffering of many Syrian refugees. Do you know that ex Yugoslavia was bombed in the NATO operation called the “Merciful Angel”? What kind of mercy is that? Those children in ex Yugoslavia till this day suffer because of depleted uranium in those bombs. Our reality is Slovenia and in the South neighborhood countries is a direct …

Interview with Dr. Marcus Papadopoulos on Macedonia’s Future

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 21/02/2018 - 10:10pm in

by Vesnik-Ilinden Newspaper “Ilinden”: Dr Marcus Papadopoulos, please provide a short biography to introduce yourself to the readers. Marcus Papadopoulos: Since my childhood, I have had a fascination and passion for the former Yugoslavia; so much so that it is, today, one of my two fields of expertise, the other being Russia.  I have been researching the history of the Balkans, including its people and cultures, for well over 20 years now and am a frequent visitor to the region.  I was 12 years old when the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia disintegrated, or, to be more precise, was undermined and destroyed by America, Germany and certain other European countries. The killing of Yugoslavia pained me a great deal and has continue to pain me ever since. I feel great sadness for Macedonians, Serbs, Muslims, Croats, Montenegrins and Slovenes because of how they continue to suffer, especially economically, as a result of the destruction of Yugoslavia. Tito, who was a visionary and an extraordinary leader, often warned, in speeches to the Yugoslav people, that there …

North Korea War Plan: Chrystia Freeland is more dangerous than Tony Blair

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 29/01/2018 - 3:00am in

by Cameron Pike The day before the Foreign Ministers’ meeting on Security and Stability in Vancouver on January 16, 2018, a forum was held at the University of British Columbia’s Institute of Asian Research entitled “Getting North Korea Right:  Canadian Options and Roles”.  This was a publicly held event with the “expert” “talking heads” of think-tanks. The moderator was an Asian International Relations expert, Dr. Paul Evans, who is now the head of the Institute of Asian Research.  The five speakers were Eric Walsh: Canadian Ambassador to the Republic of South Korea, Scott Snyder: Senior Fellow and Director of the Program on U.S.-Korea Policy, and New York Council of Foreign Relations, Kyung-Ae Park: Korea Foundation Chair, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs Director, and Canada-DPRK Knowledge Partnership Program, Brian Job:  Professor of Political Science, UBC, Brian Gold: Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta. All panel participants were to attend the following days’ Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on North Korea. The events’ speakers discussed Canada’s role in mediating the “International Community’s” response to North …

Vox Political on Boris Johnson’s Clownish Incompetence over Russia

Mike yesterday, 23rd December 2017, posted a piece criticising Boris Johnson for his completely inept handling of the talks in Moscow to improve relations with Russia. Boris has already proved to be massively and embarrassingly stupid in the way he has handled Myanmar, Libya and Iran.

Later on in the article, Mike discusses how Boris’ absolutely ignorant statement about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the Anglo-Iranian lady, who was imprisoned in Iran for allegedly teaching journalism. She was guilty of no such activity, but had simply gone there to visit relatives for a holiday. As so many Brits of Iranian descent do. Nevertheless, Boris opened his trap, confirmed the lies put out by the Iranian government, who then decided to increase her sentence. Well done, Boris! In fact, the Iranians have decided to cut the sentence back to six months, but this is the decision of their independent judiciary, and nothing to do with the government.

In his meeting with Sergei Lavrov, Johnson’s opposite number in the Russian Foreign Ministry, Johnson got it into his thick, old-Etonian head to make matters worse by criticising Russia for the war in Ukraine, the annexation of the Crimea, hacking and electoral interference over here, and Syria. All while ostensibly deploring the depths to which Anglo-Russian relations had fallen, and claiming to be a ‘Russophile’. I put up a piece the other day about an interview Ken Livingstone did on RT’s ‘Going Underground’ with Afshin Rattansi. Livingstone said that he knows Boris very well, having fought against him in four elections, and doesn’t trust a word he says. He makes the point that Boris doesn’t want to be a politician, but a celebrity, and stated that he doesn’t always read the briefing documents his aides have prepared for him. All of which strikes me as very true. As for being a Russophile, Livingstone said that Johnson would probably immediately start mouthing off about them once more the moment he set foot back in London.

Mike warns that instead of decreasing tension, Johnson’s tactless comments will have served to increase it, possibly leading to armed conflict. Well, it’s what some in NATO seem to want. Think of the way Killary was ramping up military tensions with Russia and China, and the former NATO general, who published a book in 2016 arguing that by May this year 2017, we and the Russians would be at war.

Mike concludes

I would say the UK will need to be prepared for an escalation of hostilities – at least on a covert level.

But Mr Johnson’s public outburst makes it seem abundantly clear that, when it comes to our defence, his government has nothing.

We had better hope that I am mistaken.

As for Mr Johnson himself: He has critically compromised the UK’s relationship with a major foreign power.

When he arrives back in the UK, Mrs May should give him the same treatment she offered Priti Patel – another Cabinet minister who thought she could do whatever she pleased without consequence.

But we all know Theresa May is far, far too weak for that. It’s why she needs to offer her resignation as well.

I’ve heard from many people with expertise in foreign relations that despite the Fall of Communism, Russia still needs very careful handling. This was known as far back as the 1990s. I’m starting to wonder if Johnson really ever intended to smooth things over with our Russian friends. I don’t think he did, and that this has all been for show. Britain is tied to American foreign policy through the Special Relationship, which means we ride on the American’s coat-tails trying to maintain our status as a world power. In return for this, we do whatever they want. Which our leaders, like Tony Blair, do extremely enthusiastically. Hence Blair’s very willing participation in the bloody and illegal invasion of Iraq.

The Americans seem to want some kind of confrontation with Russia. This is partly about Killary trying to distract attention away from how massively unpopular and corrupt she was by falsely claiming that she would have won the election, if it weren’t for those pesky Russky hackers. It also seems to be about the fury of American multinational industry over their failure to control the Russian economy since the accession of Putin, after so much was sold to them at a knock-down price by another walking alcoholic disaster area, Boris Yeltsin. To whom the Americans corruptly funnelled hundreds of millions into his election campaign. And, according to Red Ken, Obama and the Democrats hate Russia, because they wouldn’t join their anti-Chinese alliance to stop China becoming the world’s greatest economy, instead of America.

So I think that Boris’ mission to Russia was deliberately doomed from the start. It was for show only, so that people would think the Tories sincerely cared about peace and security, while they manifestly don’t. Well, the grunts and squaddies, who are going to die in the frontline will be mostly working class anyway, so from their toff viewpoint, who cares?

So if there are any Russian readers of this blog, I have this to say in my very limited, schoolboy Russian.

Boris Johnson durak. On ne dorozhili k Britanskuyu ludei, kotoraya khotet mir i druzhbu mezhdu Britannuyu i Rossii.

Which I hope means ‘Boris Johnson is a fool. He is not valued highly by the British people, who want peace and friendship between Britain and Russia’.

And very best season’s greetings to all our readers, in whatever country they live, and whatever religious or philosophical beliefs they hold. My you all enjoy a peaceful and prosperous holiday season and New Year.

NATO – the tool of European neo-fascism and Pope’s “blessed silence”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 19/12/2017 - 3:37am in

by Prof. Arthur Noble, via InSerbia March 24, 1999 was a day of gross shame and ignominy in the historical annals of Britain and America. It was the day when the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation became the North American Terrorist Organisation. NATO, for the first time since its founding in 1949, launched a vicious, unprovoked and illegal attack against the sovereign nation of Yugoslavia, in a pre-planned act of aggression sponsored by US President Bill Clinton. The 78 days of NATO air strikes took place without the necessary UN Security Council authorisation. It is equally loathsome that Clinton’s violence against the Serbs, who were our gallant allies in the battle against Hitler and the Nazis in World War II, was aided and abetted by his subservient poodle, the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Photo: At one stroke NATO overturned the fundamental purpose of its founding charter, which committed it to assuring the freedom of its constituent members by means of a purely defensive system of collective security against the threat of the then …

Newly Declassified Documents show Gorbachev WAS Told NATO Wouldn’t expand eastward

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 15/12/2017 - 9:00pm in

by Dave Majumdar at the National Interest Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was given a host of assurances that the NATO alliance would not expand past what was then the East German border in 1990 according to new declassified documents. Russian leaders often complain that the NATO extended an invitation to Hungary, Poland and what was then Czechoslovakia to joint the alliance in 1997 at the Madrid Summit in contravention of assurances offered to the Soviet Union before its 1991 collapse. The alliance has dismissed the notion that such assurances were offered, however, scholars have continued to debate the issue for years. Now, however, newly declassified documents show that Gorbachev did in fact receive assurances that NATO would not expand past East Germany. “The documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991,” George Washington University National Security Archives researchers Svetlana Savranskaya and Tom Blanton wrote. “That discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not …

How the West Could Destabilize Russia

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:37am in


eu, Russia, USA, NATO, Syria

by Denis Churilov Russian March 2018 Presidential Elections are approaching. Putin has recently announced that he will run as a candidate. The global players who don’t want Putin to stay in power will likely do everything possible to get rid of him. Let’s explore some possible pressure points and try to predict the most unpleasant developments. The measures to destabilize Russia amid the elections are most likely to be complex and could potentially include: 1. Exacerbating situation in Eastern Ukraine/Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic. A coordinated, big scale assault on break-away regions by the Kiev government and ultra-nationalist battalions, if successful, could be exploited informationally by evoking a public discourse inside Russia about Putin betraying the people of Donbass/Novorossia, or being incapable of helping them, which could potentially decrease his approval ratings domestically. There are reports of soldiers from the US National Guard, namely the New York’s 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), being moved to Ukraine in late October 2017, so we might expect some dangerous provocations early next year. Also, as …

RT Interview with John Pilger ahead of British Library Exhibition

In this edition of RT’s Going Underground, main man Afshin Rattansi talks to the veteran, prize-winning investigative journalist, John Pilger, about his work. The topics covered include NATO wars, Nelson Mandela and mainstream journalism. Pilger is best known for his work uncovering and documenting the horrors of the Vietnam War and the horrific genocide in Cambodia by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. There’s going to be an exhibition of his work at the British Library on the 8th and 9th (of December, 2017), and this interview clearly looks forward to that. Pilger states that he’s delighted that the British Library are hosting the exhibition. He’s a fan of the building, and also notes with satisfaction that this was the place where Marx sat down to write his works, that would eventually bring down the Russian Empire a few short decades later.

The interview consists of a series of clips from documentaries Pilger has made over the years, and his comments about them. And they’re very revealing, not least in the reaction of the establishment to some of his work after it was aired, and the abuse he also got for not treating Nelson Mandela as the saint he became after he was released from prison. And after hearing Pilger’s explanation why he asked Mandela difficult questions, you’ll realise that Pilger was right to do so.

The first clip is of an American squaddie in the Vietnam War describing how he doesn’t understand what he and the other American soldiers are doing in the country. The soldier also doesn’t seem to know why the Vietnamese are firing at them. He only knows that they do, and they have to fight them back. Pilger states that he filmed this at the time there was a massive rebellion throughout the American armed forces, because very many other troopers also couldn’t see why they were in the country being shot and killed either.

And the reaction to that piece by the independent television regulator is revealing. The man was furious, and denounced it as treason or subversion, or some such similar betrayal of the western side. However, the head of Granada, who screened the documentary – it was made for ITV’s World In Action – Lord Bernstein, stood up to the regulator, and told him that this was the kind of journalism he wanted more of. Well done! I wish we had more of that attitude now. Unfortunately, the attitude amongst our broadcasters today seems to be to cave in whenever the government or someone in authority takes offence. So we now have a cowed, craven media that just seems to go along with whatever the elite – and very often that means the clique surrounding Rupert Murdoch and other multinational capitalists and media moguls – decide is news and the approved, neoliberal, capitalist viewpoint.

He then goes on to another clip showing the horrors of Year Zero in Cambodia. Pilger here describes some of the most striking incidents and images that came to him when he was filming there. Like the scores of bank notes floating about, because the Khmer Rouge had blown up the banks. There was all this money, and it was absolutely worthless. He describes a scene in which an old lady was using bundles of notes to light a fire.

Pilger points out that by the CIA’s own admission, it was American carpet-bombing that brought the Khmer Rouge to power. The CIA came to that conclusion in a report that it published. If Nixon and Killary’s best buddy, Kissinger, hadn’t tried to bomb the country back into the Stone Age, the Khmer Rouge would have remained a marginal political sect with no power. In doing so, Tricky Dicky and Kissinger created the conditions which saw Pol Pot and his butchers come to power, and then proceed to murder something like a fifth or more of the country’s people. Pilger also notes that the western condemnation of the Khmer Rouge was blunted by the fact that after they treated into the forest, the West still had an alliance with them and supported them against the Chinese.

However, his coverage of the Cambodia atrocities also brought out British people’s generosity. He describes how the documentary resulted in £50 million being raised for Cambodia and its people. And this was unsolicited. He describes how Blue Peter organised children’s bring and buy sales. He tells how the money raised was used to build factories to make the goods people needed, including clothes. One of the weird orders of the regime was that Cambodians could only wear black, and so there was a demand for normal coloured clothes.

Then on to Nelson Mandela. Pilger points out that Mandela wasn’t a saint, as he himself admitted. ‘It wasn’t the job I applied for’, said the first democratically elected president of South Africa. Pilger got in trouble because he asked Mandela an awkward question about nationalisation. The ANC’s ‘Charter for Freedom’ stated that they were going to nationalise industry, or at least the major sectors, such as mining. Pilger, however, got Mandela to admit that they were going to keep everything in private hands, which directly contradicted the Charter.

Pilger goes on to link this with the continuation of apartheid, albeit in a different form. While race-based apartheid had fallen and been dismantled, a class-based apartheid continued, in which the masses still lived in grinding poverty. Pilger states that, while the ANC had previously been respected, it has now become the subject of hatred and contempt. He also makes the point that Mandela’s accession to power allowed many White liberals to cling on to their power and position.

The next clip is from a piece of domestic reporting Pilger did here in the UK. It’s from a programme he made, following the life and work of Jack, a worker in a dye factory, in which the documentary makers met his family, and recorded his opinions. Pilger states that, while there are more diverse voices heard in the media now, the lives of ordinary, working people are generally ignored and the media is very much dominated by the middle classes. He describes how interesting and revealing it was just to follow the man around, listening to him talk about his life and work.

The last clip is of him taking a female spokesperson from the Beeb to task for its apparent bias against the Palestinians. He asks her why the BBC is content to interview the Israeli spokesman, Mark Regev, armed with the whole battery of Israeli functionaries ready to give the official Israeli view, but haven’t found someone of a similar level, who is able to articulate the Palestinian position with the same clarity and authority. The Beeb spokeswoman replies that the Corporation has tried to find someone to speak for the Palestinians, but they can’t be responsible for choosing their spokespeople for them. Pilger uses this clip to point out how the mainstream media acts as propaganda outlet for the establishment, in a way which RT doesn’t. He also makes the point that Regev is now the Israeli ambassador.

Book Review: Humiliation in International Relations: A Pathology of Contemporary International Systems by Bertrand Badie

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 05/12/2017 - 10:46pm in

In Humilitation in International Relations: A Pathology of Contemporary International Systems, Bertrand Badie addresses the longstanding use of humiliation as a systemic practice wielded by dominant powers within the international state system. While Badie’s optimism regarding the capacity of greater social integration to quell the consequences of humiliation may not convince all readers, this important book and its fascinating historical examples are more relevant than ever, writes Caroline Varin

Humiliation in International Relations: A Pathology of Contemporary International Systems. Bertrand Badie. Hart Publishing. 2017.

Find this book: amazon-logo

Humiliation in International Relations: A Pathology of Contemporary International Systems was originally published in French in 2014. The book combines International Relations theory, political psychology and sociology to address the enduring theme of humiliation among nations. While the structure is clearly set out, with a historical/theoretical overview and a thorough analysis of the contemporary social and political consequences of this systemic practice of humiliation, the style remains densely academic, thereby reaching a limited audience. This is a pity as the author, Bertrand Badie, makes an important contribution to International Relations theory here, and his many historical examples of political humiliation are fascinating.

Humiliation, Badie argues, has become a norm in International Relations. It is systematised, legalised and applied liberally by the dominant powers in the international system. Entrenched in a realist Westphalian world where ‘the strong do what they will and the weak suffer what they must’ (Thucydides), states have been deliberately humiliating one another throughout history: China was brought to its knees after its defeat in the Opium Wars, first by the British and Europeans and later by the Japanese. Germany was humiliated after World War I in the Treaty of Versailles, precipitating the rise of Hitler and the outbreak of World War II. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian leaders were marginalised and even derided, a behaviour that Western countries often try to perpetuate today.

The use of humiliation in statecraft has been a weapon wielded by diplomats representing the most powerful nations of the time. This strategy is far from over, however, as international organisations continue to impose a hierarchy of powers in a world that is supposed to be, at least in rhetoric, horizontal. The exclusion of states from ‘clubs’ — such as the G7, UNSC and NATO, for example — serves to relegate them to secondary status. The United Nations system of sovereign states is therefore undermined by its decision-making structure, by the ongoing labelling of states as ‘rogue’ or ‘immoral’ and by the non-proliferation treaties that allow for some states to become nuclear powers while forbidding others from reaching equal status.

Image Credit: Blame (周小逸 Ian CC BY 2.0)

The problem is that while humiliation might be a political instrument for those in power, it has severe social consequences on entire nations. Badie explains that ‘humiliation is memory; it is collective narrative, and even more crucially, it is a founding narrative’ (3). It has become part of the identity of states, from China’s rhetoric of losing face to France’s re-interpretation of its collaboration/resistance with the Germans. The practices of colonialism and the processes of decolonisation did not end the humiliation of populations in Africa, Asia and Latin America who continue to be marked as secondary citizens, suffering from stigma that is repeated in the existing systems surrounding passports and migration.

Growing inequality, not just between states but also between citizens, has dangerous repercussions, as evidenced in the rise of extreme nationalism, fundamentalism and terrorism in many countries today. Badie explains this phenomenon in terms of the ‘failure of imitation, and imitation that was too strong’ (129), leading populations to rebuild an identity in opposition to the ‘other’. The Arab Spring is described as a ‘postmodern response to humiliation’ (135), highlighting the deep social impact of a history of direct and indirect foreign rule. Such social movements are further facilitated in the age of globalisation where comparisons and communications easily cross borders, emphasising the differences and severe inequalities between people, and where non-state actors emerge with unprecedented ease, capitalising on humiliation as a form of popular mobilisation.

While history cannot be changed, Bertrand Badie ends his book on a positive note, arguing that the international system can implement social integration on a global scale that would ease the symptoms of humiliation. Taking a sociological approach, he argues that the increasing inequalities created by globalisation are compounded by a political system that denies equal status to all actors while utilising a rhetoric of multilateralism and cooperation that simply does not fulfil promises or expectations. By coating the political in misleading messages, politicians have lost the plot. And yet, Badie argues that the international system can change: ‘whatever may be the costs of adjustments that must be paid’ (168). The West must yield to the rest of the world by employing foreign policy based on the three following principles: it must establish a policy of diversity; it must be social, taking into account social security as a means to integrate people; and it must truly be multilateral, celebrating an interdependent world that benefits from legitimacy in the eyes of all players.

Badie’s optimism will not appeal to all readers as global politics today appears increasingly polarised, with regionalism and nationalism on the increase. The United States is pushing forward a more isolationist policy and international organisations are struggling to survive, let alone make profound and necessary changes. The world order has changed since Badie first published this book in 2014. His analysis on humiliation and statecraft may be more relevant than ever.

Caroline Varin is a lecturer at Regent’s University where she specialises in global conflict and international security. She received her PhD from the London School of Economics and holds an LLM from the Universita di Bologna. Caroline is the author of Mercenaries, Hybrid Armies and National Security (Routledge), and Boko Haram and the War on Terror (Praeger).

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics. 

The Mladic Case: A Stain On Civilization

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 03/12/2017 - 1:30am in

"All that is a lie. This is a NATO-style trial....” - the defiant words of General Mladic to the judges of the NATO controlled ad hoc war crimes tribunal for Yugoslavia rang out loud and clear the day they pretended to convict him. He could have added ‘but history will absolve me” and a lot more but he was thrown out of the room by the chief judge, Orie, in his condescending style, as if he was dealing to a truant schoolboy, instead of a man falsely accused of crimes he did not commit.