More Russia Sanctions From The US = Deteriorating Relations With…

Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
June 19, 2017

A few days ago I blogged (finally!) about my long-held suspicions that the USA was waging some sort of quiet economic warfare against Germany. It’s a suspicion I’ve had for some time, and even on occasion discussed it in private with various colleagues. Certainly there is something going on, given the strange “German” presence on the fringes of some well-known and tragic events. Consider only the presence of Andreas Strassmeir in the Oklahoma City Bombing, or the strange German connections in the 9/11 event(notice I’m carefully avoiding JFK). Since then, we’ve seen various fines levied against Germany’s, and Europe’s, largest bank, Deutsche Bank, in an almost steady stream, to the point one almost begins to ask “How much will Deutsche Bank be fined by the USA this week?” Then, of course, we’ve also seen various fines imposed against German automakers, and so on.

Then came the Ukrainian mess, the US-sponsored-and-led coup, the Russian reaction, and a strange set of behavior from Chancellorin Merkel, who seemed initially to be all for the Ukrainian adventure of the USA, until it became apparent that Germany wasn’t going to profit very much from the results. Then she “took charge” and attempted to negotiate directly with Mr. Putin, taking her vice-chancellor, Monsieur Hollande, in two to make it look all “trans-European” and “international”.

While all that was going on, Frau Merkel was publicly all aboard with the sanctions against Russia, notwithstanding it hurt Germany’s economy, and in the meantime, she continued to press ahead with energy pipelines with Russia, while German Laender politicians made their way to Moscow, defying Berlin, to reassure the Russians that they wanted to return to “normal”(meaning, no sanctions), and this was followed by similar assurances from German big business.

But more recently, things seem to be breaking out into the open in a much more blatant fashion, for Germany at least, seems unwilling to soft-peddle the matter anymore: Frau Merkel has come out recently and stated that the UK and USA are no longer “reliable allies” and, never one to let slip an opportunity to call for more “Europeanism”, has called for more effort on defense, not only from EU members (like her own country) but from the EU itself.

The US Senate last week passed a new bill, imposing more sanctions on Russia and hand-tying the Trump administration from relaxing any sanction without Senate approval; only senators Rand Paul(R-Kentucky) and Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) voted against the measure.

But sanctions against Russia are also impositions on Germany, and something tells me that Germany will not act to impose similar measures as the U.S. Senate. The following article from Zero Hedge, shared by Mr. H.B., says why:

Germany, Austria Slam US Sanctions Against Russia, Warn Of Collapse In Relations

The first four paragraphs are worth pondering carefully:

Less than a day after the Senate overwhelmingly voted to impose new sanctions against the Kremlin, on Thursday Germany and Austria – two of Russia’s biggest energy clients in Europe – slammed the latest U.S. sanctions against Moscow, saying they could affect European businesses involved in piping in Russian natural gas.

Shortly after the Senate voted Wednesday to slap new sanctions on key sectors of Russia’s economy over “interference in the 2016 U.S. elections” and aggression in Syria and Ukraine, in a joint statement Austria’s Chancellor Christian Kern and Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said it appeared that the Senate bill was aimed at securing US energy jobs and pushing out Russian gas deliveries to Europe.

Gabriel and Kern also accused the U.S. of having ulterior motives in seeking to enforce the energy blockade, which they said is trying to help American natural gas suppliers at the expense of their Russian rivals. And they warned the threat of fining European companies participating in the Nord Stream 2 project “introduces a completely new, very negative dimension into European-American relations.”

In their forceful appeal, the two officials urged the United States to back off from linking the situation in Ukraine to the question of who can sell gas to Europe. “Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Europe, and not for the United States of America,” Kern and Gabriel said. The reason why Europe is angry Some Eastern European countries, including Poland and Ukraine, fear the loss of transit revenue if Russian gas supplies don’t pass through their territory anymore once the new pipeline is built.

While the diplomats said that it was important for Europe and the US to form a united front on the issue of Ukraine, “we can’t accept the threat of illegal and extraterritorial sanctions against European companies,” the two officials warned citing a section of the bill that calls for the United States to continue to oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would pump Russian gas to Germany beneath the Baltic Sea.

Looked at from the context of my hypothesis that some sort of covert war has been taking place between the USA and Germany, the Senate measure is as much as a levying on sanctions on Germany as it is on Russia, and can be viewed – from a much longer historical perspective – as the continuation of British policy, first enunciated by Halford MacKinder, to prevent any alliance of German industry with Russian resources, the “nightmare scenario” of the late nineteenth early-twentieth century geopoliticians. Indeed, I am not the only one thinking and seeing things this way, for the Austrian Chancellor and German Foreign Minister have said as much when they stated “We can’t accept the threat of illegal and extraterritorial sanctions against European companies.”

In other words, Europe may have just signaled that the days of Washington imposing economic policies on everyone else are over.

Washington’s heavy-handedness with Russia, coupling the sanctions to the Ukraine, is having diametrically the opposite geopolitical effect than what is needed: it is driving Germany, and hence Europe, away, and this is geopolitical folly of a very high order: if the current BRICSA Bloc – India, China, Russia in particular – is a bloc we need to be cautious about, adding Germany and Europe to that mix is geopolitical and economic suicide, for it’s the creation of a unipolar bloc that the USA simply cannot oppose. Then, for good measure, add Japan to that mix, and one sees that current American foreign policy is living in a world of Brezinskian folly, which we may define as geopolitical make believe.  We are driving our most powerful allies away, and replacing them with…

…well, no one.

On this one, the Trump Administration’s stance makes much more long term geopolitical sense; it’s time to quit demonizing Russia, because whether we like it or not, Russia is a key pivot point in the current geopolitical situation. We may never be friends, but to keep slamming the door in Russia’s face serves no one, and the Germans are well aware of it

See you on the flip side…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
________________________________________________

About Dr. Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

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Thierry Meyssan On The Revolution Against Political Islam

Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
June 17, 2017

Regular readers here know two things about my  attitude toward Islam: (1) I am definitely not friendly to its doctrine, and (2) I definitely do not believe every last Muslim of the world’s billion-plus Muslims are out to “get” everyone else. From my viewpoint, the history of that ideology, especially in the twentieth century, has been one long frustration – usually by the imperial powers of the West, and particularly by Great Britain and Imperial (and later, Nazi) Germany – of the indigenous attempts of those within Islam to reform the religion and the culture. Indeed, for the German contribution to this sad story, one can read my The Third Way.

Which makes the following article by Thierry Meyssan, notwithstanding its glaring inaccuracies concerning early Christian history, all the more important, for as I mentioned in the previous week’s News and Views, Meyssan’s hypothesis is that Mr. Trump’s recent visit and arms deal with Saudi Arabia is about more than just continuing the same old pattern of support of a royal-clerical state. The deal, Meyssan contends, could not have been made without commitments from the Middle Eastern nations involved, and particularly Saudi Arabia, to move away from “political Islam” and support of radical groups like the Brotherhood:

A wind of secularism blows over the Muslim world

Behind the hypothesis, however, Meyssan is also implying that there is a fundamental break between London – which in his view continues to support “political Islam” – and the Trump Administration, which he contends is trying to lead an initiative to break from prior policy of tacit support and funding of such groups and the states that support them:

We know today that the « Arab Springs » were a British initiative aimed at putting the Muslim Brotherhood in power and thus reinforcing Anglo-Saxon domination over the « Greater Middle East ».

For 16 years, the Western powers have been rightfully accusing the Muslims of not cleaning up their own house, and of tolerating terrorists. However, it is clear today that these terrorists are supported by the same Western powers in order to enslave Muslims by means of « political Islam ». London, Washington and Paris have no problems with terrorism until it spills over from the « Greater Middle East », and they never criticise « political Islam », at least as far as the Sunnis are concerned.

By giving his speech in Riyadhh, on 21 May 2017, President Trump intended to put an end to the terrorism which is consuming the region, and is now spreading to the West. The words he spoke did indeed act as an electroshock. His speech was interpreted as an authorisation to finish with the system.

What resulted, according to Meyssan, was something akin to uncorking a bottle that had been living under pressure for centuries, and now, with the bottle uncorked, the result cannot be undone:

What had seemed unthinkable over the last few centuries suddenly took shape. Saudi Arabia agreed to cut off all contact with the Muslim Brotherhood, and raged against those who continue to pursue their collaboration with the British, and particularly against Qatar. Riyadh gave the signal for a cleansing which will sweep much frustration along with it. In a spirit of Bedouin vengeance, diplomatic relations have been interrupted, and an economic blockade was organised against the Qatari population – while in the Emirates, a sentence of 15 years of imprisonment was established by law for any individual who showed as much as a little compassion for the inhabitants of accursed Qatar.

A gigantic displacement of forces and alliances has begun. If this movement is to continue, the region will organise itself around a new fissure. The question of the struggle against imperialism will wither and give way to the struggle against clericalism.

And this has led to a corrresponding “outburst” of editorials:

In two weeks, the Arab Press, which until now had viewed the Muslim Brotherhood in a favourable light, as a powerful secret organisation, and jihadism as a legitimate engagement, has suddenly made an about-turn. Everywhere, everyone is publishing denunciations of the pretension of the Muslim Brotherhood who want to regulate people’s lives, and the cruel folly of jihadism.

This flood of commentaries, the centuries of frustration that they express, coupled with their violence, makes any back-pedalling impossible – which does not, however, mean that the alliance Iran-Qatar-Turkey-Hamas will go all the way. This revolutionary tsunami is happening in the middle of the month of Ramadan. Meetings between friends and families, which should be consensual celebrations, sometimes turn into arguments about what until now had been perceived as the basic truths of Islam.

As Meyssan goes on to observe, even Iran’s Revolutionary Guard harbors simmering resentments against the ayatollahs governing the country.

We then get a bit of complete nonsense regarding Christian history, which Meyssan assumes – like so many – was completely “clergy-less” in its early years:

Like original Christianity, which had no ministers (these only arrived in the 3rd century), original Islam and current Sunnism have none. Only Chiism has been structured like Catholicism and Orthodoxy. As a result, political Islam today is incarnated by the Muslim Brotherhood and the government of Sheikh Rohani (the title of Shiekh indicates that President Rohani is a member of the Chiite clergy).

If so, Christianity would be almost unique among world religions, especially from that part of the world, in not having any clergy; after all, it was an offspring of Judaism, and Judaism certainly had a clergy, and the rabbinate could be taken to be a kind of ministry in lieu of the ancient Hebrew priesthood. In any case, the Epistles of St. Ignatius of Antioch would certainly stand as a pre-third century witness to the fact that early Christianity was not the  clergy-less paradise that so many think it was; it was, on the contrary, very hierarchical and very sacramental.  Additionally, Meyssan makes more of Pope Paul VI’s dropping the use of the papal tiara – symbol of papal claims and authority – than should be: for while the symbol was dropped, the claims were not. Indeed, when one reads the documents of the Second Vatican Council, amid all the modern-sounding verbiage, those sections dealing with the papacy itself read very much like the “old fashioned” language of Innocent III, of Pius IX and Vatican One: there was no diminution of claims whatsoever. In short: the tiara could return tomorrow, because what it symbolizes – the claims themselves – are still there.

But enough of that, for beyond this, Meyssan’s view is worth pondering, for it carries some implications, some of which, Meyssan contends, are already happening:

Meanwhile, the whole region is buzzing – in Libya, the Muslim Brotherhood have left Tripoli, leaving a militia to liberate Saif el-Islam Kadhafi, and General Haftar to expand his influence. In Egypt, the General-President al-Sissi has asked his opposite numbers in the Gulf to draw up a list of terrorists. In Palestine, the political directors of Hamas have fled to Iran. In Syria, the jihadists have stopped fighting against the Republic and are awaiting orders. In Iraq, the army has redoubled its efforts against the Muslim Brotherhood and the Order of the Naqshbandis. In Saudi Arabia, the Muslim World League has excluded from its administrative council the Brotherhood’s star preacher, Sheikh Qaradawi. And Turkey and Pakistan have begun the transfer of tens of thousands of soldiers towards Qatar -which can now only feed itself with the help of Iran.

A new dawn seems to be rising over the region.

But assuming he is correct in his diagnosis, there are also some implications for the west, not the least is the cleavage between Washington and London, and this is where it could get interesting, for one implication of his analysis is that the Trump Administration has broken with prior British and American policy in a major way, and in so breaking, has broken with those factions within the American deep state that have been cooperating and to a certain extent leading and orchestrating the prior policy, including the tacit and very covert financial support of the same radical groups. We call them “neo-cons” or “neo-libs”, and they have been running American foreign policy since at least the Clinton Administration, with roots in that of the G.H.W. Bush administration. On this view, Mr. Trump has set the fox loose in the henhouse, and if it portends major changes in the Middle East, and a renewed commitment to American allies there such as Saudi Arabia, it also portends a major shuffling in the “deep state”. Time will tell if this effort will bear fruit.

And that means a long term effort will have to be sustained, for the nature of the change Mr. Meyssan is suggesting will be long term in nature, with bumps and fits along the way. What to look for? I suggest that if Mr. Meyssan’s analysis is correct, then the response of such nations like Indonesia, a predominantly secular Muslim state, will be crucial to watch, for that nation is undergoing its own internal struggles against “political Islam”. How such nations respond to this, how the Saudis respond to this, will be crucial in order for Mr. Trump’s initiative to work.

See you on the flip side…
Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
________________________________________________

About Dr. Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

What’s Up With Qatar?


Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
June 14, 2017

Last week one of the most significant stories was the sudden break, or rather, apparently sudden break, of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, on the one hand, and Qatar on the other. In fact, Mr. J.D. and H.B. began what became a trend of people sharing the following articles with me:

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, & Bahrain Cut Diplomatic Ties, Shut All Borders With Qatar

Gulf plunged into diplomatic crisis as countries cut ties with Qatar

If one looks at the Guardian article for a moment, it would appear that at one level, Saudi Arabia is in fact trying to take steps to minimize and distance itself from its hitherto traditional support for Islamic terrorist groups, in this case, the usual cast of characters, the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, the Islamic state:

The small but very wealthy nation, the richest in the world per capita, was also expelled from a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

The coordinated move dramatically escalates a dispute over Qatar’s support of Islamist movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood, and its perceived tolerance of Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival, Iran. The dispute is the worst to hit the Gulf since the formation of the Gulf Co-operation Council in 1981.

Qatar’s foreign affairs ministry said the measures were unjustified and based on false claims and assumptions. As the Qatari stock market tumbled and oil prices rose, it accused its fellow Gulf states of violating its sovereignty.

“The state of Qatar has been subjected to a campaign of lies that have reached the point of complete fabrication,” a statement said. “It reveals a hidden plan to undermine the state of Qatar.”

Saudi Arabia said it took the decision to cut diplomatic ties owing to Qatar’s “embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilising the region”, including the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, Islamic State and groups supported by Iran in Saudi Arabia’s restive eastern province of Qatif.

Of course, behind this, there is the usual and to-be-expected reference to Iran and Iranian state-supported terrorism and groups. Qatar, though a Suni state, has been more “tolerant” of Shia Iran than Saudi Arabia would like.

If one were to stop there, one would have the impression that this is the usual Suni-Shia split manifesting itself once again, which of course, in a way, it is. But there are deeper players and stories lurking behind the scenes, and many people, when this story broke, were kind enough to to go digging and share their results. For example, Ms. K.M. found this story in Russia’s Sputnik, and its implications, if one reads between the lines a bit, are stunning:

The Dead Sea to Strengthen China’s Geopolitical Presence in the Middle East

Note the following statement; the implications will immediately be apparent:

China is a footstep away from winning the tender for Phase 1 of the Middle Eastern ‘Red-Dead’ water project, launched by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. Israeli and Chinese experts have commented to Sputnik on how it could help Beijing to strengthen its presence in the region.

China National Technical Import and Export Corp. has been shortlisted for Phase 1 of the “Red-Dead” water project launched by Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The other four finalists are Hong Kong’s Hutchison Water International Holdings, South Korean Korea Water Resources Corp., Japan-based Mitsubishi Corp. and France’s Suez International SAS. The results of the tender are to be announced by the end of June. (Emphasis in the original)

Some time ago I blogged about the fact that Middle Eastern stability was a necessary component for China’s various Silk Road Projects to work. Of course, China is not so stupid as to place all of its chips in the perpetually risky Middle East. It is pursuing other silk road projects through central Asia and, of course, through its ally, Russia, much further to the north.

What’s notable here is that China is dealing directly with two of the more stable nations in the region, Israel, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, as well as the Palestinian Authority, for developing water resources. I am not, frankly, surprised that Jordan would court the Chinese. I am much more intrigued by Israel also apparently putting a Chinese firm on its short list for development, for a very simple reason: in the wake of the Paris summit, and last year’s Brexit vote, German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced what may be the quiet whispers in other corridors of power: the USA and UK have become “unrealiable” allies, and hence, Germany and Europe must assume a much more independent course. Now it appears that Tel Aviv is voicing similar concerns, though not so much in words as in deeds.

So how does this relate to the recent diplomatic developments with Qatar?

For one thing, I have no doubts the initiative originated in Riyadh. The real question is why?

Answer: it seems that, beyond Qatar’s more open attitude toward Iran, there is something else in play, according to this article spooted by Mr. B:

Note, Mr. G. informed me in the accompanying email, the following:

Russia says 386 agreements for around 2 trillion rubles ($35.32 billion) were signed at a recent economic forum.

Representatives of business, international organizations and experts from more than 143 countries attended the gathering, Presidential adviser Anton Kobyakov said at a press conference on the results of the SPIEF-2017.

SPIEF is an annual Kremlin-run, high-profile gathering of business and political figures.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the event this year with India being the “guest country” of SPIEF-2017. Qatar announced its intention to be the guest country next year.
(Emphasis added)

In other words, Qatar was making moves to become associated with the BRICSA bloc, and therefore, a participant at some stage in the Silk Road Project, and this, of course, would have expanded Iran’s influence in the region.

What might come of this? The Saudis, again, may have stepped into a bear trap from which they cannot disentangle themselves, for all it will take, at this juncture, to compound their difficulties, is for China and/or Russia to extend humanitarian aide to that tiny country, and perhaps some “military advisors”, in return for a seat at the table.  That, of course, would be a risky venture, but seemingly no less risky than the new Riyadh unipolarism that seems to be emerging. And in this light, one has to wonder whether or not the whole Qatar venture was even floated – much less green-lighted – in Washington or London. There are of course many reasons to assume and argue that it was, for the action gives a context for the recent Trump-Saudi arms deal. Time will tell, of course, whether that supposition is true. But I cannot help but entertain the notion or hypothesis that it might not have been. London’s and Washington’s foreknowledge of such a break is not the same thing as green-lighting or even discussing it. And if indeed the Saudis initiated the action on their own, then they might have just been sucker-punched.  I cannot, even while entertaining that high octane speculation, imagine that either London or Washington view the alternative – growing Chinese and Iranian influence in the region – with anything but a jaundiced eye.

But note, for the record, that the really odd man out in all these goings on, is Tel Aviv, and they, not Riyadh, will ultimately set the tone.

And notably, they’re talking to, rather than confronting, the Chinese.

See you on the flip side…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
________________________________________________

About Dr. Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

10 Sinister State Moves, Including Killing Protesters, Prove 1st Amendment Is Dying


via: ActivistPost.com
Source: FreeThoughtProject.com
Claire Bernish
January 28, 2017

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

President Donald Trump’s first week in office has seen a tumultuous mix of sweeping executive actions peppered with a few pleasant surprises; but if one thing proves true — as with the first term of any new president — there will be cause for someone to protest something.

Indeed, before Trump even took the oath of office, protesters descended on Washington, D.C. — marching en masse down the middle of typically congested roadways, chanting, screaming, and generally causing the sort of disruptions demonstrators seek in order to draw attention to a cause.

But that most basic right — to air one’s grievances to elected leaders in a public forum, often through disruption — might soon be a risky endeavor in at least ten states, as protest is gradually being criminalized in rather astonishing ways.

Lawmakers from North Dakota and Minnesota, to Virginia and the state of Washington, have proposed or passed legislation levying hefty penalties against anyone who dares to exercise the basic right to protest against — ironically enough — legislation and policy found to be untenable.

At the rate such laws have rapidly come to fruition, even if legislators in your state have yet to propose obstacles to protesting, the following list should serve as a guide for potential future strictures regarding your right to speak out.

1. NORTH DAKOTA

North Dakota lawmakers have proposed arguably the most crushing measures against protesters — seemingly specifically targeting water protectors opposing construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Under House Bill 1203, drivers would be permitted to run down protesters — literally — so long as they claim they didn’t intend to do so. As the proposed bill states,

“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a driver of a motor vehicle who unintentionally causes injury or death to an individual obstructing vehicular traffic on a public road, street, or highway, is not guilty of an offense.”

In other words, if a protester in a roadway were to be struck by a vehicle and killed, the driver would not be charged with a crime if they claimed, for example, accidentally hitting the accelerator instead of the brakes.

House Majority Leader Al Carlson proffered a second bill criminalizing wearing masks to protests; and, though the legislation would allow exceptions for harsh weather conditions and holidays wear face coverings are traditional, it’s an open question how police might interpret those exemptions.

“I would be the first to defend your right of free speech and freedom of assembly,” Carlson told a state legislative committee hearing on Tuesday of House Bill 1304, according to the Billings Gazette. “I’m always concerned when there’s a reason that, I believe, may be used to hide your identity when you’re creating some kind of disturbance.”

Should the legislation pass, masks would not be permitted at demonstrations on public property or roadways — nor on private property, unless the owner gives explicit, written consent.

2. MISSOURI

Missouri legislators are also hoping to criminalize mask-wearing at protests in a bill that would make intentional concealment of one’s “identity by the means of a robe, mask, or other disguise” at any gathering deemed an “unlawful assembly” punishable as a Class A misdemeanor — with a penalty of up to one full year behind bars.

3. MINNESOTA

As alarming as it might be that a mask could land you in jail in Missouri or that North Dakota drivers can run down protesters without facing charges, Minnesota lawmakers took the criminalization of demonstrations in an equally shocking but wholly different direction — the wallet.

Minnesotans whose protests force police to intervene would be financially liable for the cost of the intervention should Rep. Nick Zerwas’ legislation by written into law.

As the Star Tribune reports, a committee meeting on Tuesday “ended abruptly after a House panel passed Zerwas’ proposed legislation that would give cities authority to charge protesters for police services if the demonstrators are convicted of illegal assembly or public nuisance. The measure would also give cities the option of suing convicted protesters to recoup expenses from policing the demonstration.”

Furious residents disrupted that meeting, rightly questioning the measure’s constitutionality and what the bill would mean for future ability to demonstrate against acts of police violence, as in the shooting death of Philando Castile in 2016 — or in any instance where complaint falls on deaf ears and public assembly stands as the only option.

Zerwas and the bill’s supporters, however, side with Minnesotans who resent large demonstrations, and say the financial onus of policing protests should fall on those participating.

“I have an entire constituency that feels as though protesters believe that their rights are more important than everyone else’s,” Zerwas explained in an interview cited by the Guardian. “Well, there is a cost to that. Rosa Parks sat in the front of the bus. She didn’t get out and lay down in front of the bus.”

He added, “The meters are running and the taxpayers are holding the bag.”

And as the Intercept reports, “In addition to the highway-protesting bill, Minnesota lawmakers also proposed a separate piece of legislation that greatly increases penalties for nonviolent cases involving ‘obstructing the legal process.’ Under the bill’s language, nonviolent obstruction of authorities would carry ‘imprisonment of not less than 12 months’ and a fine of up to $10,000.”

4. IOWA

Where North Dakota legislators want to permit, in essence, vehicular homicide to curb the blockage of roadways, and Minnesota lawmakers seek to make such protests too costly, politicians in Iowa would rather throw demonstrators who block highways in jail for five years.

Senator Jake Chapman proposed Senate File 111 in response to an incident in November in which some 100 protesters blocked Interstate Highway 80 and brought eastbound traffic to a standstill for around 30 minutes — much to the consternation of drivers caught in the unexpected jam.

“Look, we have the right to protest. No one disputes that,” the lawmaker explained in defense of his controversial bill, which, incidentally, isn’t without opposition. “We encourage that. But there is an appropriate time and an appropriate place to do so. Interstates are not one of those places. That is what this bill does. It aims to stop that.”

As COO of Midwest Ambulance Service, Chapman claims to be concerned such spontaneous highway blockages obstruct access for emergency services, as well as free commerce and travel.

If passed, Chapman’s law “would apply to people blocking the travel portion of Iowa highways with speeds posted at 55 mph or higher. Violators could be charged with a Class D felony, which includes a sentence of prison time and a fine of at least $750 and up to $7,500,” the Des Moines Register reports.

5. INDIANA

In line with aforementioned proposals, Indiana State Senator Jim Tomes introduced the “Block Traffic and You Die” bill — or, at least, that’s how opponents are characterizing the Hoosier State’s anti-protest legislation.

Senate Bill 285 would require public officials to dispatch all available law enforcement to clear roadways — using “any means necessary” — if at least 10 protesters have attempted to obstruct traffic without first obtaining a permit.

Although indeed vague, it is the ‘any means necessary’ portion of Tomes’ proposed law that worries activists who have traditionally worked with police. Often officers will escort marchers in roadways, blocking cross traffic for them to pass, ensuring both protesters and drivers remain safe. Thus, opponents of the legislation find it frivolous and curiously worded — and far too open to interpretation.

And there are still more proposed laws restricting the constitutional right to protest.

6. COLORADO

“In Colorado,” the Intercept reports, “Republican state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg has introduced a bill that would greatly increase penalties for environmental protesters. Under the proposed law, obstructing or tampering with oil and gas equipment would be reclassified from a misdemeanor to a ‘class 6’ felony, a category of crime that reportedly can be punished by up to 18 months behind bars and a fine of up to $100,000.”

7. WASHINGTON

Washington State Senator Doug Ericksen proposed creating a new crime to facilitate charging protesters with a felonies for blocking roads and other assorted activities — he hopes to deem them “economic terrorists.”

Ericksen seeks to allow felony prosecution “of those who intentionally break the law in an attempt to intimidate or coerce private citizens or the government by obstructing economic activity.” However, the broad brush language in his proposed legislation deeply concerns civil and constitutional rights advocates, like Doug Honig of the Washington ACLU, who noted in a statement quoted by Q13 FOX,

The statement throws out a lot of broad rhetoric, and we’ll need to see an actual bill.  But we’re already concerned that some of its loose terms  appear to be targeting  civil disobedience as ‘terrorism.’  That’s the kind of excessive approach to peaceful protest that our country and state do not need.

Let’s keep in mind that civil rights protesters who sat down at lunch counters could be seen as ‘disrupting business’ and ‘obstructing economic activity,’ and their courageous actions were opposed by segregationists as trying to ‘coerce business and government.’

Lawmakers in two states have taken a more unusual route to combat protests.

8. NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina Senator Dan Bishop wants to provide controversial Governor Pat McCrory — and incidentally any politician — an official safe space away from hecklers who might approach to, well, scream unpleasant words.

Bishop, reports the News & Observer, decided verbal criticism of politicians was worthy of legal protection after witnessing McCrory being followed and yelled at over inaugural weekend in Washington, D.C. Should the proposed legislation pass, it would thus be “a crime to threaten, intimidate, or retaliate against a present or former North Carolina official in the course of, or on account of, the performance of his or her duties.”

9. MICHIGAN

Rather than worrying about political or environmental protesters, Michigan lawmakers turned their attention to union workers with two proposed pieces of legislation aimed to sharply curtail the right to picket for grievances such as pay or safety conditions.

“One bill would increase fines against picketers to $1,000 per person per day of a picket and $10,000 per day for an organization or union involved in the picket that is deemed to be an illegal mass picket,” the Detroit Free Press reported last month.

“The other would repeal a law that requires employers to include information about an ongoing strike when they advertise to hire employees who will replace existing, but striking employees at a company.”

10. VIRGINIA

Only in Virginia did a lone lawmaker stand in opposition to their party’s proposed legislative crackdown on protest, as the Daily Press reports

Senate Bill 1055 would have increased penalties for failing to disperse when police declare an unlawful assembly, upping a misdemeanor that brings only a fine now to one with potential jail time. It was one of four bills on protest punishments filed this session by state Sen. Richard Stuart, R-Montross, and the last of the four to die.

* * *

All told, this collection of anti-protest legislation constitutes an overarching attempt to quash the right of the people to demonstrate when the government errs against them — and the result will only increase near unbearable police state conditions already choking out First Amendment protections in the United States.

With division at unprecedented levels over politics, police violence, and, really, any nameable issue, such extraneous laws can only be attempting one thing.

As Lee Rowland, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, warned in a statement to the Intercept,

This trend of anti-protest legislation dressed up as ‘obstruction’ bills is deeply troubling. A law that would allow the state to charge a protester $10,000 for stepping in the wrong place, or encourage a driver to get away with manslaughter because the victim was protesting, is about one thing: chilling protest.

Read More at: ActivistPost.com

Claire Bernish writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared.

In The Hot Seat: North Korea

Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell
January 10, 2017

Readers of this website will have noticed that during the past week I’ve been blogging about Mr. Trump’s infrastructure development plans, the Chinese silk road project, and the rumblings of sweeping geopolitical and economic changes that appear to be on the horizon. This has been, admittedly, our usual exercise in high octane speculation and attempting to read all sorts of tea leaves. Much of this speculation has a sub-text, and that is, stabilizing the Pacific rim, for if China’s gigantic economic project is to have any chance of succeeding, the region must be stable in order for trade to occur.

And the odd man out here is, of course, North Korea and its always psychophantic and pathological “leadership”.  In a world where Japan and Russia are inking deals, and Russia and China are inking deals, and possibly, the USA and Japan are inking deals, none of these powers can be terribly happy with the idiot in Pyongyang. In short, it’s one of those countries – like the (out)house of Saud – that might be “on the menu.”

And it’s looking increasingly like that might be the case, if this article which appeared in Russia’s Sputnik site is accurate:

China Plots ‘Decapitation’ Strike on Kim Jong-Un Regime in North Korea – Reports

The opening paragraphs here are nothing less than eye-openers, and in spite of the low-key “academic” style of the reportage, surely have to fall into the “wow” category:

A leading Chinese professor Zhe Sun said at a security forum in Washington that Beijing has already begun contemplating ‘decapitation’ strikes against the dictatorship in North Korea after Kim Jong-Un’s regime conducted two nuclear tests in less than a month.

According to a report by the Korea Times, Professor Zhe Sun told a security forum in Washington that Chinese leaders are debating the best way to deal with an increasingly unhinged North Korean regime that has escalated its march towards fielding a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the mainland United States. This combination image of two photographs taken on September 5, 2016 shows, at left, US President Barack Obama speaking during a press conference following the conclusion of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, and at right, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaking during a press conference in Davao City, the Philippines, prior to his departure for Laos to attend the ASEAN summit.

“Some Chinese scholars and policy makers began to talk about supporting ‘surgical strikes’ and decapitation’ by the US and South Korea as one policy option,” said the esteemed professor. “More radical proposals indicate that China should change the leader, send troops across borders and station in DPRK, force DPRK into giving up nuclear and beginning opening up and reforming.”
The statements that China may be considering regime change in North Korea are unprecedented with Beijing long serving as the vital lifeline to Pyongyang dating back to the Korean War in the 1950s and with accusations even being leveled against China that they are aiding Kim Jong-Un’s march towards fielding a destructive nuclear weapon by side stepping sanctions.
The fact that this would be reported in Sputnik, one of the Russian government’s numerous media outlets, and that the remarks came from a Chinese professor attending a “security forum in Washington” means that…

Continue Reading At: GizaDeathStar.com
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About Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

A Pivotal Year For Mankind

A Pivotal Year For Mankind
Source: WilliamEngdahl.com
F. William Engdahl
December 28, 2016

The year 2016 has been pivotal one for mankind. The foreign and economic policies of the USA are in shambles as the Obama era ends. A new President, one with no political experience, takes office in some days having promised to “make America great again.” He has promised to “drain the swamp” of special interest corporate influence in Washington yet has chosen his cabinet from the banks of those special Wall Street interests, has chosen his national security and Pentagon figures from US military generals, and has chosen no fewer than five cabinet members who are billionaires, and seeks counsel of geopolitical architects of war such as Henry Kissinger

The European Union is nearing a dissolution of the Brussels construct that is so anti-democratic. Not only Brexit, but now also likely in coming months Italy, Hungary, Greece, even France are possible candidates to leave the dysfunctional European Union. The Euro project has created deeply divided EU. The refugee crisis that has been created by Brussels, and by the German government, is causing social unrest and conflict unprecedented in peacetime.

To the east of the EU, despite continuing economic sanctions, Russia has decisively turned to the east and cooperation with China has deepened on all levels, a geopolitical nightmare for Washington. China for its part is engaged in the largest infrastructure construction in history, its One Bridge, One Road, new high-speed rail and deep-water port shipping infrastructure linking for the first time undeveloped resources and potential markets across Eurasia. The Washington policy of war by proxy to destroy Syria’s regime has decisively failed. Russia is emerging as a major power after a quarter century of abject humiliation by the Western NATO powers after 1991.

And Russia has taken decisions that will benefit all mankind by its law banning all planting of Genetically Modified seeds or GMO. Russia is, as a result, emerging as one of the most healthy natural food producers on the planet, in direct opposition to the USA which has allowed GMO to completely takeover American food.

It’s becoming increasingly clear to more people that the agenda of GMO, of Monsanto, which soon will vanish into the bowels of Bayer AG of Germany, is one of harm, not of feeding the hungry world. Its special agrichemicals like Roundup are labelled “probable carcinogens” by the WHO, yet governments ignore independent tests showing the harm. While Russia has just taken a courageous decision to ban all GMOs, China’s government looks set, despite the domestic opposition, to promote GMO as “biotechnology,” a huge error.

As we begin a new year we find our world beset with problems, with hate, murder, power addiction, and at the same time we find more pockets of hope, of life, of optimism that our world is weary of the endless wars and genuinely wanting peace. May peace, not war, be the hallmark of the coming year!

Read More At: WilliamEngdahl.com

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

 

More Bang for the Buck

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Source: Journal-Neo.org
F. William Engdahl
October 30, 2016

More bang for the buck is the most apt description when we compare spending of the United States Government with that of the Government of the Russian Federation on its defense sector and military technology development. A closer look at the two budgets reveals the huge fault line that cuts across the entire US economy today. It also mirrors the true collapse of the American hegemon as a world power. It need not have been.

In the official Fiscal Year 2017 the US Department of Defense officially requested $523.9 billion in what they call “discretionary funding,” as in, “we use it as we please, no independent audit allowed.” Another $58.8 billion was requested for so-called Overseas Contingency Operations, typical Pentagon-speak for wars everywhere from Afghanistan to Syria to military operations around the South China sea. That made an official total of $583 billion requested and granted by a docile Congress.

On October 13, the Russian wire-service Tass.ru reported that the Russian government is set to spend 948.59 billion rubles on national defense in 2017, according to the draft federal budget posted. It sounds like a lot, almost one trillion rubles. If we convert at the current dollar exchange rate, this translates into a mere $15 billion. Of that 793.79 billion rubles or $12.7 billion is planned to be spent on the Russian Armed Forces. In 2015 the Russian Federation spent $26 billion on the state military-industrial complex development program will reach 1.67 trillion rubles.

That total for military industry investment and maintaining Russia’s armed forces, some $49 billion, equals 8.4 % of the dollar amount the United States Defense Department plays with annually. To that must be added the separate amount of $400 billion for modernization of Russian armed forces military capabilities by 2020. That’s roughly another $80 billion a year.

Now the relevant question at a time when Washington-led NATO forces are aggressively moving to the borders of the Russian Federation, when US Pentagon Special Forces and mercenaries like Blackwater aka Academi are mucking around Ukraine causing mischief, destruction and murder, is which country is getting better defense or military capacities for every dollar spent.

Astonishing performance

The answer came following the September 30, 2015 Russian announcement that it had agreed to respond with military support to the call of the legitimate government of Syria. What Russian military efforts have accomplished with meager resources, has astonished most western military experts.

Far from being the dilapidated, technologically obsolescent Soviet-era military that many US planners reckon, Russia’s armed forces have undergone a quiet and impressive modernization ever since it became clear around 2007 that Washington was intent on pushing NATO to Moscow’s front door in Ukraine and Georgia as well as threatening with US missile “defense” in Poland, Czech Republic and now also in Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shiogu is a remarkable organizer who is known for reorganizing large Russian government departments. Before becoming Defense Minister he was head of the large Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations, responsible for emergency situations, such as floods, earthquakes and acts of terrorism.

The result of Russia’s military modernization, partly demonstrated in the military intervention in Syria, has been a strategic shift in the global military balance of power that Washington’s neo-conservatives, none of whom have served in active duty military theatres, did not reckon with. Russian science and engineering have accomplished astonishing results with minimum investment. Just a select glance at what is being developed is instructive.

Hypersonic nuclear missile

On October 25 the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau published the first image of the newest heavy intercontinental ballistic missile, the RS-28 Sarmat known under NATO’s reporting name SS-X-30. It will replace its predecessor, the R36M2 Voyevoda or NATO reporting name SS-18 Satan. It is now in test phase and will enter service at the end of 2018. The SS-X-30 will replace the world’s most powerful strategic missile, the SS-18 Satan. One reason Washington pursued the Start-1 strategic arms reduction treaty with Moscow was because the Pentagon estimated that the SS-18 with its multiple warhead consisting of ten independently targetable re-entry vehicles each having a yield of 750 kilotons was a serious threat. Now, the new successor, SS-X-30 according to Tass military analyst, Viktor Litovkin, is far more threatening.

While specific details are top secret, according to Litovkin, the new ICBM will evade any missile defense arrays Washington can install. It has far smaller liftoff mass and a greater range of flight up to 17,000 kilometers, able to reach virtually any target in the Continental USA. It is designed to go on flight paths crossing the South Pole, from where they are least-expected and where no missile shields are being created. Each missile will carry between 10-15 independently targetable nuclear warheads, in a “grape cluster” able to separate from the cluster one by one when a pre-loaded program issues the order to attack the selected target, Litovkin adds.

He says that the SS-X-30 re-entry vehicle, called by Russian media Yu-71, and by its developer ‘object 4202′, or Aero-ballistic Hypersonic Warhead, will fly at hypersonic speeds of Mach 17, roughly 4.3 miles (7km) per second, with flight path’s altitude and direction constantly changing all the time making it immune to any missile defenses the Pentagon has deployed in Poland or South Korea, even those relying on space-based elements. “For the SS-X-30 it makes no difference if there is a missile defense or if there is none. It will slip through unnoticed,” says Litovkin.

The new missile is capable of wiping out a country the size of France with nuclear explosions 2,000 times more powerful than the bomb used at Hiroshima in 1945 by Washington.

Pentagon bucks go to waste

The SS-X-30 development is but one of numerous game-changing weapons technologies Russia has been combat testing in Syria. Another is the cutting-edge Russian T-14 Armata tank that has no western competitor. Russian fighter jets have demonstrated their value in Syria and Russian anti-missile Contrast this with the colossal waste of US defense budget spending. Washington is used to fight wars, like the school classroom bully, only against tiny unequipped enemies like Saddam Hussein or Gaddafi in Libya.

Granted US defense giants like Boeing or Lockheed Martin are working on hypersonic jets and other classified new weapons. However, the efficiency of every dollar spent on US military hardware is overshadowed by the effective of Russian defense spending.

A recent US Defense Department report stated that the budget controls of the pentagon are non-existent. Alone the US Department of the Army cannot provide an audit trail for a cumulative $6.5 trillion of expenses.

There are deep cultural and historical reasons why Russia has responded to the actions of Washington and NATO since 2007 as they have. They are deadly serious about defending the Russian Motherland as they term it. Washington politicians, regardless who is President, would do well to take this into their calculations when they egg on European NATO partners to provoke Russia in every way imaginable. Europeans would also do well to reconsider whether being Washington’s front line in NATO is worth the price of possible nuclear pulverization. I think not personally.

Read More At: Journal-Neo.org

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”