Saturday 25 September 2021

A Tale Of Two Speeches: Presidents Xi & Biden At UNGA 2021

 24 SEPTEMBER 2021

By Andrew Korybko


A Tale Of Two Speeches: Presidents Xi & Biden At UNGA 2021

UNGA 2021 allowed the whole world to see the differences between China and the US.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden both spoke at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Tuesday. The first-mentioned addressed his audience via video while the second spoke in person. These two world leaders’ speeches couldn’t have been more different, though. President Xi presented a pragmatic and inclusive way for the world to move forward from the pandemic while Biden focused mostly on a hegemonic view of the future. It’s important to elaborate more on their differences.

President Xi’s speech was much shorter than his American counterpart’s. He got straight to the point by drawing attention to four topics: beating COVID-19; revitalizing the global economy; promoting win-win policies in international relations; and improving global governance so that it truly embraces the trend of multilateralism. The Chinese leader’s speech rehashed some of the points that he made last year, but they took on a renewed importance since the pandemic continues to rage and international relations remain uncertain.

Nevertheless, President Xi expressed confidence that the peaceful development of humanity is irreversible. He’s optimistic that a new form of international relations is emerging whereby countries treat one another with mutual respect and prioritize the central role of the United Nations (UN). Furthermore, he’s sure that developing nations will continue to grow and pledged his country’s support for them to this end, including through the sharing of green technologies. President Xi also has no doubt that COVID-19 will be defeated.

By contrast, Biden’s speech was much longer than his Chinese counterparts after clocking in at roughly forty minutes. Like President Xi, he too talked about beating COVID-19 and countering climate change, but only for a minimal portion of his speech. Most of it was about how America intends to shape what he described as this decisive decade by continuing to promote democracy and its conception of human rights, supporting anti-corruption protesters across the world, and ensuring compliance with its envisioned world order.

The aforesaid foresees NATO and the Quad playing larger roles, and Biden promised that the US will call out alleged human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Republic, Russia’s Chechen Republic, and other parts of the world. These information warfare attacks as well as his implied criticisms of China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) as corrupt and low-quality infrastructure projects expose his claim of not wanting a new cold war to have been nothing more than a bald-faced lie.

Upon comparing the Chinese and American Presidents’ speeches, it’s clear which one sincerely cares about the world and which cares only for his own country’s interests at everyone else’s expense. President Xi is truly committed to restoring predictability and stability to international relations through China’s promotion of legitimate multilateralism unlike the American model of relying on small cliques of countries obsessed with zero-sum games. Biden, by contrast, is only interested in worsening new cold war tensions on various pretexts.

This tale of two speeches shows just how divergent their respective visions are. Quite naturally, the vast majority of the world will stand in solidarity with President Xi’s views. There’s a genuine desire to move beyond the outdated and counterproductive models of the past in jointly charting a community of shared future for mankind where people rightly become the center of all policymaking. Only those countries that are either terribly misled or under American control will support Biden’s dangerous and selfish games.

UNGA 2021 allowed the whole world to see the differences between China and the US. Only the UN can provide leadership during these uncertain times in accordance with international law, not any individual country or clique thereof. The world must come closer together in pursuit of shared interests connected to their people’s development, not move further apart as a result of self-interested geopolitical games. President Xi’s vision is thus expected to resonate with the global masses while Biden’s will mostly be ignored or ridiculed.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

China in Action – Carbon Neutral by 2050

 September 24, 2021

China in Action – Carbon Neutral by 2050

By Peter Koenig for the Saker Blog

The Glasgow Conference will focus at implementation of the Paris Agreement in a comprehensive, balanced and effective manner, building a fair global climate governance system, equitable and centered on win-win cooperation – with focus on renewable energy, the phase-out of fossil fuels, zero-emissions vehicles, resilience-building, carbon-pricing, green finance, nature-based climate solutions such as afforestation and reforestation, biodiversity conservation, and waste management.

Transcript of a presentation at a Webinar sponsored by the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University, Beijing
23 September 2021

An early priority for China – at least two to three decades back – was to reduce Carbon Dioxide (CO2) output, as well as that of other greenhouse gases, such as methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and some artificial chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), to eventually reach carbon neutrality, meaning, eliminating as much CO2 as is produced, by 2050.

With industrialization and excessive consumption, the output of CO2 and other greenhouse gases has increased rapidly and especially in later years. And this despite repeated pledges during numerous UN-sponsored Environmental Conferences, to reduce the world’s carbon footprint.

Global Carbon dioxide levels reached 419 parts per million (ppm) in May 2021, the highest since CO2 output has been measured 63 years ago. Compare this to China’s CO2 output of 409 ppm by 2018.

China is often blamed as being the world’s largest polluter which may be the case in absolute terms, as China also has the world’s largest population. However, putting China’s CO2 output in perspective, on a per capita basis, China ranks only 5rd, after Australia, the US, Russia and Germany:
– Australia: 17.27 tons per capita
– USA: 15.52 tons p/c
– Russia: 11.33 tons p/c
– Germany: 8.52 tons p/c
– China: 7.38 tons p/c (less than half the US level)
– India: 1.91 tons p/c
These are 2019 figures.


China’s 14th Five Year Plan (14th FYP), published in March 2021, included 2025 energy and carbon intensity reduction targets, as well as a mid-point non-fossil share target to achieve her nationally determined contributions, or NDC.

At China’s Leaders Climate Summit in April 2021, President Xi Jinping announced that China will strictly control coal generation until 2025 when she will start to gradually phase out of coal.

President Xi just announced at the UN General Assembly in NYC of 2021, that China seizes using coal powered plants as of now.
To understand the concept and the lingo of the different terms and terminologies, lets back track a bit.

It all began decades ago – with the First United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the ‘Earth Summit’, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 3-14 June 1992. It set the stage for the reduction of greenhouse gases, the most important of which is Carbon Dioxide.

CO2 emissions are toxic and harmful for the environment and life, when produced in excess.

However, lets also keep in mind – CO2 is one of the most important gases on earth, because the plants use it to produce carbohydrates in a process called photosynthesis. Since humans and animals depend on plants for food, thus, CO2 is necessary for the survival of life on earth.

In the meantime, there have been numerous climate change conferences around the world, most of them UN-sponsored, the latest one – if I’m not wrong, was the Santiago Climate Change Conference, the 25th so-called Conference of the Parties (COP25) of December 2019, meaning the 25th conference to the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The names of these conferences and their results are often confusing, at times also controversial, especially between the industrialized countries and the so-called developing countries, or the Global South.

A chief reason for potential conflicts is rapid industrialization – excessive consumption, particularly in the West, or the Global North. The output of CO2 and other greenhouse gases has increased rapidly and unequally between the Global North and the Global South. Yet, developing countries are often asked to take similar measure to reduce greenhouse gases, in particular, CO2.

A safe level of CO2 in the air, according to one of the first 21st Century UN Conferences – it may have been the 2009 Copenhagen Conference, was suggested to be 350 ppm. This figure was already exceeded in 1987, reaching, as mentioned before, 419 ppm in May 2021.

Despite covid, the concentration has not been significantly changed for the better. In some cases, to the contrary.

Despite pledges to the contrary, the main source of energy has changed little in the last 20 years. Hydrocarbons are still king. Today’s world economy still depends on some 84% of hydrocarbons (petrol, gas, coal) of all energy used, as compared to 86% at the turn of the century.
What does Carbon Neutral mean?

Carbon neutral – the amount of CO₂ emissions put into the atmosphere is the same as the amount of CO2 removed from the atmosphere. The impact is neutral. This is not making it actively worse, but it doesn’t make it better either, especially when the average output is above 400 ppm, meaning above the considered “safe” target of 350 ppm.

Carbon negative, or carbon net zero might be a step in the right direction. It means the amount of CO₂ removed from the atmosphere, is bigger than the CO₂ output. The impact is positive; something is actively done to reduce the harm to the atmosphere – and to improve the air for every breathing life.

We have the historical responsibility to urgently cleaning up the atmosphere to eventually get back to the civilized level of 275 ppm.

Since the beginning of human civilization, our atmosphere contained about 275 ppm of carbon dioxide. According to renowned climatologist Dr. James Hansen, these are the conditions under which civilization developed and to which life on earth adapted. Going beyond this indicator, risks disrupting our global climate system’s 1,000,000+ years of relative stability. Beginning in the 18th century, with the age of industrialization, humans began to burn coal, gas, and oil to produce energy and goods. The carbon in the atmosphere began to rise, at first slowly and, then ever more rapidly.

Many of the activities we do every day, rely on energy sources that emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. We’re redistributing millions and millions of years’ worth of carbon, once stored beneath the earth as fossil fuels, and releasing it into the atmosphere.

Just a thought.

Apologies for this long background. The environmental agenda is very complex.

As to China – China’s Ministry of Environment and Ecology publishes regularly CO2 concentration levels. China’s greenhouse gas emission in 2018 reached 409.4 ppm with an estimated annual growth of 1.3%.

While in full action towards Carbon neutrality, China was hosting the 5th Ministerial meeting on Climate Action in April 2021. A virtual event attended by the European Union and Canada, plus ministers and representatives from 35 governments and international organizations, from all the world’s regions.

The meeting aimed at drastically reducing the carbon level in the air, through significant shifts from fossil fuel energy to alternative sources for the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), hosted by the UK, from 31 October to 12 November 2021 in Glasgow.

China is already pushing ahead with this agenda.

The Ministers asked for an equitable transition throughout the implementation process. This may include financial, technological and capacity building support to developing countries, especially the poorest and most vulnerable ones. Implementation of the Paris Agreement should also reflect the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances.

China’s ambitious agenda to reach carbon neutrality or better, by 2050, includes …

  • Investing in projects of liquid hydrogen which can be used, for instance, in hydrogen fuel cell automobiles, and Hydrogen metallurgy, a technology that applies hydrogen instead of carbon.
  • Third generation photovoltaic energy with efficiency above 40%, is another sector where China’s world-class development and vast demands may attract global investors.
  • In addition, China has ambitious research projects into generating energy from photosynthesis, the process plants use to transform carbon dioxide and sunlight into energy. It’s an ecosystem’s way of producing fuel at a high level of efficiency (>90%) without polluting residues.
  • Green parks in urban areas and reforestation as well as improved water management, so as to reduce areas of frequent droughts and convert them into green agricultural crop lands.
  • At the same time, China is seeking new alternative energy investments abroad, such as an automotive lithium-ion battery production in Germany – a planned investment of 1.8 billion euros.

And much more….

China is not only on the right track to seek environment-friendly renewable sources of energy, thus, reducing her carbon footprint – but to exceed the 2050 net zero emissions target into a carbon negative project.

China, as in other matters of importance to the world’s societies, just to mention one – poverty alleviation – may be again an example on environmental progress. Towards a human society with shared benefits for all.


Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he has worked for over 30 years on water and environment around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020)

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He is also is a non-resident Sr. Fellow of the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University, Beijing.

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Political Declaration adopted during the first ministerial meeting of the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, New York, September 23, 2021

 SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

Political Declaration adopted during the first ministerial meeting of the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, New York, September 23, 2021

1. We, representatives of Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Cuba, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Nicaragua, the State of Palestine, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Syria, and Venezuela, met at the ministerial level, in New York, on the sidelines of the High-Level Week of the 76th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, in order to undertake an assessment of recent developments in the international arena, including of challenges and threats to the Charter of the United Nations, which underpins multilateralism, and to exchange views on existing, new, and emerging issues of collective concern and common interest.

2. We recall the declaration adopted on 06 July 2021, in New York, at the ambassadorial level, and reaffirm that the Charter of the United Nations and its purposes and principles remain timeless, universal, and that they are all indispensable not only for preserving and promoting international peace and security, the rule of law, economic development and social progress, as well as all human rights for all, but also for achieving a more peaceful, prosperous, just and equitable world, and a system based, precisely, on the rules contained in that universal and legally binding instrument that constitutes an exceptional achievement for humankind and a true act of faith on the best of humanity.

3. We vow to spare no effort in preserving, promoting and defending the prevalence and validity of the Charter of the United Nations, which, in the current international juncture, has a renewed and even more important value and relevance. In this regard, we express our resolve to expand the work of our Group of Friends beyond the United Nations Headquarters, in New York, particularly at the Offices of the United Nations in Geneva, Nairobi and Vienna, as well as at the Headquarters of other UN Specialized Agencies, in order to advance our joint efforts for ensuring the respect and adherence to the Charter of the United Nations, in both its letter and spirit.

4. We express our serious concern at the growing resort to unilateralism, in detriment not only of multilateralism, but also of international cooperation and solidarity, which must be deepened now more than ever, including in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to forge collective, inclusive and effective solutions to the common challenges and threats of a 21st century of interconnectedness. Hence, while renewing our firm commitment with a reinvigorated multilateralism that shall have the United Nations at its centre, we convey our support to nations and peoples subjected to unilateral and arbitrary approaches that violate both the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the basic norms of international law, and renew our call for the full respect to the inalienable right of peoples to self-determination, as well as the territorial integrity and political independence of all nations.

5. We invite those members of the international community that are committed with the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, with the prevalence of legality over force, with the values of dialogue, tolerance and solidarity, as well as with an effective and inclusive multilateralism, in which all regions and all size of States are equal and engaged alike, to consider joining our Group of Friends and/or endorsing this Declaration at their earliest convenience, as part of our common efforts to advance our common agenda and to ultimately keep delivering on the promise of the Charter of the United Nations and ensuring that no one is left behind.

New York, 23 September 2021

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Australian submarines: an immature and potentially devastating move

 September 23, 2021

Australian submarines: an immature and potentially devastating move

by Jean-Luc BASLE  for the Saker Blog

In a September 20th interview with French newspaper Ouest France, France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian explains that the Australian submarine contract was part of France’s Indo-Pacific strategy – a strategy which included India* and whose objective was to ensure stability in a region critically important to world peace and prosperity and, incidentally, where two million French people live. This tripartite de Gaulle-type initiative on the part of France in an area the United States regard as its private reserve since the late 19th century, could not be tolerated. Washington DC had to put an end to it. It did it in a rather abrupt and inimical way, considering France is its oldest ally.

In practical terms, what will come out of this new AUKUS alliance? Nothing, if we believe Scott Ritter, former US Marine Corps intelligence officer which views it as a “dangerous joke”. Why a joke? Because Australia has neither the industrial nor the financial wherewithal not to mention the personnel necessary to build (partially) and fully manage a fleet of nuclear submarines. Why dangerous? Because Chinese leaders see AUKUS as a threat directed at China, and also because other countries may follow suit Australia’s example.

Noting that “a US ally could be armed with nuclear weapons anytime” and that the international community has reason to question Joe Biden’s sincerity when he states that the Australian submarines will not be equipped with nuclear weapons, Yang Sheng observes that: “a nuclear submarine is one tasked to launch a second-round nuclear strike in a nuclear war”. Furthermore, Chinese leaders consider the submarine contract as a violation of the non-proliferation treaty and a de facto legalization of “the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines by all countries”. In a rather corrosive article, the Bulletin of American Scientists stigmatize the members of the AUKUS Alliance, especially the United States, for facilitating “the proliferation of very sensitive military nuclear technology in the coming years”. It further notes that there is little the International Atomic Energy Agency can do to stop Iran from acquiring “enriching uranium to HEU levels** to pursue a submarine program”.

 Will this lead to a new arms race between the United States and China, as some people fear? Hopefully not. China knows it is winning its competition with the United States. Why waste useful resources in such a race? Chinese are patient people – a virtue Westerners lack.

 In his bi-weekly foreign policy video, geopolitical analyst Alexander Mercouris sees AUKUS as further proof of U.S. amateurish foreign policy. Amateurish, indeed, but potentially devastating for world peace coming after George W. Bush’s cancelation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. In its January 2020 bulletin, the board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists move the Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds to midnight – the closest to midnight it has ever been in 75 years. In their January 2021 bulletin, the board left it there. Where will it be in January 2022? The French initiative, for all its shortcomings and challenges, had the advantage of not upsetting the global apple cart. Brutally left in the cold by its Anglo-Saxon friends, the French should waste no time in offering its nuclear-powered Barracuda submarines to India in replacement of the nuclear-powered submarines the Indian Navy leases from Russia. What a sweet victory this would be.

*India is a long-time client of France’s armament industry.

** Highly Enriched Uranium

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Putin the Poisoner? More Doubts Over Attempts to Delegitimize Russia’s Leader

 September 23, 2021

See the source image

By Philip Giraldi


Attempts to delegitimize President Putin by making him an international poisoner is tragedy elevated by its absurdity to the level of farce.

It seems that ever since Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election of 2016 the western media and numerous politicians have been working especially hard to convince the world that the Russian government is little better than a modern version of Josef Stalin’s USSR. Part of the effort can be attributed to the Democratic Party’s desire to blame someone other than the unattractive candidate Hillary for the defeat, but there is also something more primitive operating behind the scenes, something like a desire to return to a bipolar world in which one knew one’s enemies and one’s friends.

The anti-Russian bias has manifested itself in a number of ways, to include the fabricated libel referred to as Russiagate, but it also featured personal denigration of the Russian leadership as a rogue regime inclined to employ assassination by poisoning against its critics and political opponents.

The first widely publicized assassination of a Russian dissident took place in London in 2006. Alexander Litvinenko, a former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer and critic of the government who had sought asylum in England, died after met two Russian acquaintances in a hotel bar and was reportedly poisoned by a dose of radioactive polonium inserted into his cup of tea. The Russians whom he had met with were named by the British police but the Russian government refused extradition requests. Without any evidence, the British media claimed that Litvinenko had been killed under orders from Putin personally.

More recently, the poisoning of former Russian intelligence agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4th, 2018 made headlines around the world. Sergei was living near Salisbury England and his daughter was visiting from Moscow when they were found unconscious on a park bench. A policeman later investigating the incident also suffered from the effects of what appeared to be a nerve agent, which investigative sources claimed had been sprayed on to the front door handle of the Skripal residence. Both Sergei and Yulia survived the incident.

There was quite a bit that was odd about the Skripal case, which came at a time when there was considerable tension between Russia and the NATO allies over issues like Syria and Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin was regularly demonized, seen in the western media as a malevolent presence stalking the world stage.

Observers noted that the British investigation of the poisoning relied from the start “…on circumstantial evidence and secret intelligence.” And there was inevitably a rush to judgment. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson blamed Russia before any chemical analysis of the alleged poisoning could have taken place. British Prime Minister Theresa May told Parliament shortly thereafter to blame the Kremlin and demand a Russian official response to the event in 36 hours, declaring that the apparent poisoning was “very likely” caused by a made-in-Russia nerve agent referred to by its generic name novichok. The British media was soon on board, spreading the government line that such a highly sensitive operation would require the approval of President Putin himself. Repeated requests by Russia to obtain a sample of the alleged nerve agent for testing were rejected by the British government in spite of the fact that a military grade nerve agent would have surely killed both the Skripals as well as anyone else within 100 yards.

The expulsion of scores of Russian diplomats and imposition of sanctions soon followed with the United States and other countries following suit. The report of the new sanctions was particularly surprising as Yulia Skripal had subsequently announced that she intends to return to her home in Russia, leading to the conclusion that even one of the alleged victims did not believe the narrative being promoted by the British and American governments.

The response within the United States was also immediate and threatening. A New York Times editorial on March 12th entitled Vladimir Putin’s Toxic Reach thundered: “The attack on the former spy, Sergei Skripal, who worked for British intelligence, and his daughter Yulia, in which a police officer who responded was also poisoned, was no simple hit job. Like the 2006 murder of Alexander Litvinenko, another British informant, who was poisoned with radioactive polonium 210, the attack on Mr. Skripal was intended to be as horrific, frightening and public as possible. It clearly had the blessing of President Vladimir Putin, who had faced little pushback from Britain in the Litvinenko case. The blame has been made clearer this time and this attack on a NATO ally needs a powerful response both from that organization and, perhaps more important, by the United States.”

But the story of the poisoning of the Skripals begun to come apart very quickly. Former UK Ambassador Craig Murray detailed how the narrative was cooked by “liars” in the government to make it look as if the poisoning had a uniquely Russian fingerprint. Meanwhile prize winning U.S. investigative reporter Gareth Porter summed up the actual evidence or lack thereof, for Russian involvement, suggesting that the entire affair was “based on politically-motivated speculation rather than actual intelligence.”

The head of Britain’s own top secret chemical weapons facility Porton Down even contradicted claims made by May and Johnson, saying that he did not know if the nerve agent was actually produced in Russia as the chemical formula was revealed to the public in a scientific paper in 1992 and there were an estimated twenty countries capable of producing it. Some speculated that a false flag operation by the British themselves, the CIA or Mossad, was not unthinkable. Development of novichok type poisons is known to have taken place at both Porton Down and at the U.S. chemical weapon facility Fort Dietrich Maryland.

But the most damning evidence opposing a Russian role in the alleged poisonings was that Moscow had no motive to kill a former British double agent who had been released from a Kremlin prison in a spy swap after ten years in prison and who was no longer capable of doing any damage. If Moscow had wanted him dead, they could have killed him while he was still in Russian custody. Putin had an election coming up and Russia was to be the host of the World Cup in the summer, an event that would be an absolute top priority to have go smoothly without any complications from a major spy case.

There is now new evidence that the claims of Russian involvement in the alleged assassination attempt was fraudulent, engineered by the British government, possibly in collusion with American intelligence, to smear Vladimir Putin in particular. Bulgarian investigative journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva has written an article entitled “UK Defense Ministry Document Reveals Skripals’ Blood Samples Could have been Manipulated.”

Relying on a series of British-version Freedom of Information Act queries, Gaytandzhieva determined that there was a considerable gap between the time when it was claimed the Skirpals’ blood was drawn and the time when it was actually tested for possible poisons at Porton Down. The gap is inexplicable and means in legal terms that the chain of custody was broken. It further suggests that the samples could have been deliberately diverted and tampered with.

Gaytandzhieva, who provides copies of the relevant government documents in her article, sums up her case as “New evidence has emerged of gross violations during the UK investigation into the alleged poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury on 4th March 2018.” The Ministry of Defense, which is in charge of the British military laboratory DSTL Porton Down which analyzed the Skripals blood samples responded to a request that “Our searches have failed to locate any information that provides the exact time that the samples were collected.” The samples “were collected at some point between 16:15 on 4 March 2018 and 18:45 on 5 March 2018. Even the time of arrival at Porton Down is indicated as “approximate.”

She also cites some expert testimony, “A British toxicologist [commented] that ‘It is inconceivable that with such a visibility case, and the obvious significance of any and all biological samples, normal and expected sample logging and documentation did not take place. The person drawing the sample, in any clinical or forensic setting knows that the date and time must be recorded, and the donor positively identified. In a criminal case, evidence gleaned from these samples would be thrown out as inadmissible… This lack of protocol is either very sloppy or clandestine.”

If the Skripals case sounds very similar to the recent alleged poisoning of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny it should, as the same rush to judgement by many of the same players took place. Navalny became ill while on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow on August 20th, 2020 and was taken to a hospital in Omsk after an emergency landing. The Russian hospital could not find any poison in his blood and attributed his condition to metabolic disorder. Two days later, the Russian government allowed Navalny to be transported to a hospital in Germany which then announced that the Putin government had poisoned Navalny with novichok, which became the story that was read and televised worldwide. Interestingly, there is now evidence that the air medevac team was standing by and ready even before anyone knew Navalny was ill, suggesting that it was planned in advance. Once in Germany, as in the case of the Skripal poisoning, the evidence of the crime mysteriously disappeared for a while. Blood samples and water bottles allegedly containing the novichok were sent to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons offices for verification. They took five days to arrive.

The doubts regarding both the Skripals and Navalny poisonings might suggest that the Cold War never really ended, at least from the Anglo-American perspective. Whatever Vladimir Putin has been doing for the past three years hardly touches on genuine U.S. or British interests, unless one considers the governance of places like Ukraine and Syria to be potentially threatening. That someone, somewhere, somehow seems to be making an effort to isolate and delegitimize President Putin by making him an international poisoner is tragedy elevated by its absurdity to the level of farce. It serves no purpose and, in the end, can only lead to mistrust on all sides that can in turn become very, very ugly.

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Translation of Ramzan Kadyrov’s reaction to Biden’s UNGA lecturing

Translation of Ramzan Kadyrov’s reaction to Biden’s UNGA lecturing 🤣🤣

This is a translation of Ramzan Kadyrov’s reaction on this telegram channel to this clip of Biden’s lecturing in his speech to the General Assembly of the UN.Video Player

The leader of the most problematic, aggressive country in the world, embittered by all Muslim states and plowing the Arab world with aerial bombs, Biden, who shamefully returned troops from Afghanistan, all of a sudden began to mention the Chechen Republic.
We have not yet recovered from a number of his absurd statements and actions as President of the United States, and he is already making us happy with his new strange and contentious statements.
Biden made such an absurd statement, in response to which I can only invite him to our republic so that he can see with his own eyes that there are no roosters in the Chechen Republic, and there is not even such a word. Instead of that, we have chicken husbands

Thank you!

Andrei (The Saker)

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WATCH: Ramzy Baroud & Ghada Karmi on ‘One Democratic State’

 September 23, 2021

Ghada Karmi and Ramzy Baroud speak about the One Democratic State with Blake Alcott. (Photo: Video Grab)

Palestinian authors and activists Ghada Karmi and Ramzy Baroud tell about their support for One Democratic State (ODS) in Palestine.

Also, the video gives the ABCs of what exactly ODS is. Posted by One Democratic State in Palestine (UK), a non-profit founded in 2013 in England. Its purpose is to make the idea of one democratic state, or ODS, better-known, mainly in Western Europe, as part of an effort to get European governments to change course.

Ghada Karmi was born in Jerusalem and fled with her family, via Damascus, to London, where her father worked with the BBC Arabic Service. She received her degree as a medical doctor from the University of Bristol and became increasingly active in working for Palestinian liberation. In 1997, she wrote a seminal article on one democratic state for Chatham House, and in 2007 she published her book explicitly on the ODS solution – titled ‘Married to Another Man’. In 2009, she and Ilan Pappe founded the European Centre for Palestine Studies at Exeter University. Her two autobiographical books are the 2002 ‘In Search of Fatima’ and the 2015 ‘Return’. She writes for The Guardian, Middle East Eye, the London Review of Books, and other media.

Ramzy Baroud was born in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, where his family landed after being expelled from Beit Daras, a town about 30 kilometers from Gaza, in 1948. He started at a young age working as a journalist, in 1999 founding the Palestine Chronicle, now going strong in its 22nd year. He has often worked for the Middle East Eye and Al-Jazeera and has written 5 books. One appeared in 2010, the semi-autobiographical ‘My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story’. Another is ‘The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story ‘which came out in 2018. His latest is ‘These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons’. He is now editing with Ilan Pappe a collection of essays with the title ‘Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak Out’. Baroud received his Ph.D. from Exeter University in 2015.

(ODS, Palestine Chronicle)

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Palestinian Detainees Mohammad and Mahmoud Al-Arda: This Is Why We Dug the ‘Road to Al-Quds’

 September 24, 2021

Palestinian Detainees Mohammad and Mahmoud Al-Arda: This Is Why We Dug the ‘Road to Al-Quds’

By Staff

The Commission of Palestinian Detainees published Friday new letters from Mohammad and Mahmoud Al-Arda from behind the bars of “Israeli” prisons. The letters included new details about the “Tunnel of Freedom” under Gilboa Prison and their current situation behind bars.

Detainee Mahmoud Al-Arda revealed new details about the tunnel through which six detainees broke free from prison, saying that the main reason behind digging the tunnel is “snatching freedom.”

“Digging the tunnel was in retaliation for the martyrdom of detainee Mohamad Al-Ashkar in 2007, and for this same reason the tunnel in Shatta Prison was dug in 2012,” he added.

“The Tunnel of Freedom came in protest to the martyrdom of the detainee Kamal Abo Waer, the miserable situation of the women in detention, the awful isolation circumstances, the non-implementation of the quests of the mass hunger strike of detainees in 2017, the current tragic conditions and preserving achievements.”

In parallel, Al-Arda dedicated “this victory to martyrs Mohamad Al-Ashkar, Kamal Abo Waer, as well as to the martyrs of The Palestinian Detainees Movement, The Resistance, to our Arabic and Muslim peoples, to the free souls everywhere, and to Gaza in gratitude to what it had offered to the detainees.”

He announced that the tunnel has got the name “The Road to Al-Quds.”

“We have won and “knocked the empty water tank of the lorry” as the great writer Ghassan Kanafani once said. We have delivered our message to the world, that we are seekers of freedom and rights, that we are oppressed, and the world should be by our side in order to free our land,” he added.

For his part, detainee Mohamad Al-Arda, stated that he has been isolated from the outside world since the last nine days, and he paid tribute to his Palestinian people.

Recaptured Palestinian Prisoner Arda Writes Letter to His Mother (FULL TEXT)

September 18, 2021

Fathia, the mother of Palestinian prisoner Mahmoud Arda. (Photo: via Social Media)

Palestinian prisoners Mahmoud Arda, 46, sent a letter to his mother through his lawyer, Quds News Network reported on Friday.

The letter read as follows:

“I’d like to extend my greetings to you, mom, and tell you that I tried very hard to come and hug you before you leave this world, but I couldn’t.

“You are in my heart and head. The good news is that I have eaten figs from many places across our homeland. I also ate prickly pears, pomegranates, sumac, and wild thyme. I even ate guava for the first time in 25 years. I had a jar of honey as a gift for you. Extend my greetings to my dead sisters Basima, Ruba, Khitam, and Saeda, and to my brothers as well, as I miss them a lot.

“I smelled freedom and we saw that the world has changed. I climbed the mountains of Palestine for long hours and we walked across broad plains. I saw how the plain of Arraba, my hometown, is a small part of Bisan and Nazareth.

“My greetings to all family members and friends. My greetings to my niece, Sinat, who I wore her socks all across the mountains. My greetings to Abdullah, Hadeel, Yousef, the wife of Raddad, and all family, to Sarah, Rahaf, Ghada, Muhammad, and everyone. A special greeting to Huda. I miss her so much and I will send the whole story to her.”

Arda, 46, spent over 28 years of his life in Israeli jails, 25 of which are continuous. He is serving a life sentence.

On September 6, along with other five prisoners, he managed to carry out a daring escape from the highly fortified Gilboa prison. However, he was recaptured by the Israeli Police on the outskirts of Nazareth, north of occupied Palestine.

(QNN, PC, Social Media)

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Friday 24 September 2021

Eurasia takes shape: How the SCO just flipped the world order
With Iran’s arrival, the SCO member-states now number nine, and they’re focused on fixing Afghanistan and consolidating Eurasia.Photo Credit: The Cradle

SEPTEMBER 22, 2021

By Pepe Escobar posted with permission and cross-posted with The Cradle

Part 1 of 2 on Eurasia

With Iran’s arrival, the SCO member-states now number nine, and they’re focused on fixing Afghanistan and consolidating Eurasia.

As a rudderless West watched on, the 20th anniversary meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was laser-focused on two key deliverables: shaping up Afghanistan and kicking off a full-spectrum Eurasian integration.

The two defining moments of the historic 20th anniversary Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan had to come from the keynote speeches of – who else – the leaders of the Russia-China strategic partnership.

Xi Jinping: “Today we will launch procedures to admit Iran as a full member of the SCO.”

Vladimir Putin: “I would like to highlight the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed today between the SCO Secretariat and the Eurasian Economic Commission. It is clearly designed to further Russia’s idea of establishing a Greater Eurasia Partnership covering the SCO, the EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union), ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI).”

In short, over the weekend, Iran was enshrined in its rightful, prime Eurasian role, and all Eurasian integration paths converged toward a new global geopolitical – and geoeconomic – paradigm, with a sonic boom bound to echo for the rest of the century.

That was the killer one-two punch immediately following the Atlantic alliance’s ignominious imperial retreat from Afghanistan. Right as the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15, the redoubtable Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s Security Council, told his Iranian colleague Admiral Ali Shamkhani that “the Islamic Republic will become a full member of the SCO.”

Dushanbe revealed itself as the ultimate diplomatic crossover. President Xi firmly rejected any “condescending lecturing” and emphasized development paths and governance models compatible with national conditions. Just like Putin, he stressed the complementary focus of BRI and the EAEU, and in fact summarized a true multilateralist Manifesto for the Global South.

Right on point, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan noted that the SCO should advance “the development of a regional macro-economy.” This is reflected in the SCO’s drive to start using local currencies for trade, bypassing the US dollar.

Watch that quadrilateral

Dushanbe was not just a bed of roses. Tajikistan’s Emomali Rahmon, a staunch, secular Muslim and former member of the Communist Party of the USSR – in power for no less than 29 years, reelected for the 5th time in 2020 with 90 percent of the vote – right off the bat denounced the “medieval sharia” of Taliban 2.0 and said they had already “abandoned their previous promise to form an inclusive  government.”

Rahmon, who has never been caught smiling on camera, was already in power when the Taliban conquered Kabul in 1996. He was bound to publicly support his Tajik cousins against the “expansion of extremist ideology” in Afghanistan – which in fact worries all SCO member-states when it comes to smashing dodgy jihadi outfits of the ISIS-K mold .

The meat of the matter in Dushanbe was in the bilaterals – and one quadrilateral.

Take the bilateral between Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Chinese FM Wang Yi. Jaishankar said that China should not view “its relations with India through the lens of a third country,” and took pains to stress that India “does not subscribe to any clash of civilizations theory.”

That was quite a tough sell considering that the first in-person Quad summit takes place this week in Washington, DC, hosted by that “third country” which is now knee deep in clash-of-civilizations mode against China.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was on a bilateral roll, meeting the presidents of Iran, Belarus, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The official Pakistani diplomatic position is that Afghanistan should not be abandoned, but engaged.

That position added nuance to what Russian Special Presidential Envoy for SCO Affairs Bakhtiyer Khakimov had explained about Kabul’s absence at the SCO table: “At this stage, all member states have an understanding that there are no reasons for an invitation until there is a legitimate, generally recognized government in Afghanistan.”

And that, arguably, leads us to the key SCO meeting: a quadrilateral with the Foreign Ministers of Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi affirmed: “We are monitoring whether all the groups are included in the government or not.” The heart of the matter is that, from now on, Islamabad coordinates the SCO strategy on Afghanistan, and will broker Taliban negotiations with senior Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara leaders. This will eventually lead the way towards an inclusive government regionally recognized by SCO member-nations.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was warmly received by all – especially after his forceful keynote speech, an Axis of Resistance classic. His bilateral with Belarus president Aleksandr Lukashenko revolved around a discussion on “sanctions confrontation.” According to Lukashenko: “If the sanctions did any harm to Belarus, Iran, other countries, it was only because we ourselves are to blame for this. We were not always negotiable, we did not always find the path we had to take under the pressure of sanctions.”

Considering Tehran is fully briefed on Islamabad’s SCO role in terms of Afghanistan, there will be no need to deploy the Fatemiyoun brigade – informally known as the Afghan Hezbollah – to defend the Hazaras. Fatemiyoun was formed in 2012 and was instrumental in Syria in the fight against Daesh, especially in Palmyra. But if ISIS-K does not go away, that’s a completely different story.

Particular important for SCO members Iran and India will be the future of Chabahar port. That remains India’s crypto-Silk Road gambit to connect it to Afghanistan and Central Asia. The geoeconomic success of Chabahar more than ever depends on a stable Afghanistan – and this is where Tehran’s interests fully converge with Russia-China’s SCO drive.

What the 2021 SCO Dushanbe Declaration spelled out about Afghanistan is quite revealing:

1. Afghanistan should be an independent, neutral, united, democratic and peaceful state, free of terrorism, war and drugs.

2. It is critical to have an inclusive government in Afghanistan, with representatives from all ethnic, religious and political groups of Afghan society.

3. SCO member states, emphasizing the significance of the many years of hospitality and effective assistance provided by regional and neighboring countries to Afghan refugees, consider it important for the international community to make active efforts to facilitate their dignified, safe and sustainable return to their homeland.

As much as it may sound like an impossible dream, this is the unified message of Russia, China, Iran, India, Pakistan and the Central Asian “stans.” One hopes that Pakistani PM Imran Khan is up to the task and ready for his SCO close-up.

That troubled Western peninsula

The New Silk Roads were officially launched eight years ago by Xi Jinping, first in Astana – now Nur-Sultan – and then in Jakarta.

This is how I reported it at the time.

The announcement came close to a SCO summit – then in Bishkek. The SCO, widely dismissed in Washington and Brussels as a mere talk shop, was already surpassing its original mandate of fighting the “three evil forces” – terrorism, separatism and extremism – and encompassing politics and geoeconomics.

In 2013, there was a Xi-Putin-Rouhani trilateral. Beijing expressed full support for Iran’s peaceful nuclear program (remember, this was two years before the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the JCPOA).

Despite many experts dismissing it at the time, there was indeed a common China-Russia-Iran front on Syria (Axis of Resistance in action). Xinjiang was being promoted as the key hub for the Eurasian Land Bridge. Pipelineistan was at the heart of the Chinese strategy – from Kazakhstan oil to Turkmenistan gas. Some people may even remember when Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, was waxing lyrical about an American-propelled New Silk Road.

Now compare it to Xi’s Multilateralism Manifesto in Dushanbe eight years later, reminiscing on how the SCO “has proved to be an excellent example of multilateralism in the 21stcentury,” and “has played an important role in enhancing the voice of developing countries.”

The strategic importance of this SCO summit taking place right after the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok cannot be overstated enough. The EEF focuses of course on the Russian Far East – and essentially advances interconnectivity between Russia and Asia. It is an absolutely key hub of Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership.

A cornucopia of deals is on the horizon – expanding from the Far East to the Arctic and the development of the Northern Sea Route, and involving everything from precious metals and green energy to digital sovereignty flowing through logistics corridors between Asia and Europe via Russia.

As Putin hinted in his keynote speech, this is what the Greater Eurasia Partnership is all about: the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), BRI, India’s initiative, ASEAN, and now the SCO, developing in a harmonized network, crucially operated by “sovereign decision-making centers.”

So if the BRI proposes a very Taoist “community of shared future for human kind,” the Russian project, conceptually, proposes a dialogue of civilizations (already evoked by the Khatami years in Iran) and sovereign economic-political projects. They are, indeed, complementary.

Glenn Diesen, Professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway and an editor at the Russia in Global Affairs journal, is among the very few top scholars who are analyzing this process in depth. His latest book remarkably tells the whole story in its title:  Europe as the Western Peninsula of Greater Eurasia: Geoeconomic Regions in a Multipolar World. It’s not clear whether Eurocrats in Brussels – slaves of Atlanticism and incapable of grasping the potential of Greater Eurasia – will end up exercising real strategic autonomy.

Diesen evokes in detail the parallels between the Russian and the Chinese strategies. He notes how China “is pursuing a three-pillared geoeconomic initiative by developing technological leadership via its China 2025 plan, new transportation corridors via its trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, and establishing new financial instruments such as banks, payment systems and the internationalization of the yuan. Russia is similarly pursuing technological sovereignty, both in the digital sphere and beyond, as well as new transportation corridors such as the Northern Sea Route through the Arctic, and, primarily, new financial instruments.”

The whole Global South, stunned by the accelerated collapse of the western Empire and its unilateral “rules-based order, now seems to be ready to embrace the new groove, fully displayed in Dushanbe: a multipolar Greater Eurasia of sovereign equals.

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