Korea Solution Needs US to Sign a Peace Treaty

I couldn’t have put it better myself.  With Russia and China saying that the US needs to stop its provocative “exercises”, and Germany saying that a P5+1 deal is the way to go, it is clear that there is a lot of diplomacy as yet unexplored.  There is no rush needed about this.


Korea Solution Needs US to Sign a Peace Treaty

By Finian Cunninham

September 19, 2017

Germany and France have backed the stance of Russia and China for negotiations to avert the Korea crisis. South Korea and Japan also seem to be amenable to recent calls by Russian President Vladimir Putin for exclusively diplomatic efforts. Any other option in the alarming standoff with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program portends disaster.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has endorsed the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran as a model for possible negotiations.

That puts the United States on the margin of international consensus, with its repeated threats to use military force as an option against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).

Last week, following another North Korean ballistic missile test that overflew Japan, US President Donald Trump’s top national security adviser reiterated Washington’s self-declared right to use pre-emptive military force, tacitly including the deployment of nuclear weapons.

«For those who have been commenting on a lack of a military option, there is a military option», said General HR McMaster to reporters in Washington.

While McMaster and President Trump, as well as Pentagon chief James Mattis, have said on other occasions that the US would prefer to seek a diplomatic solution to the Korea crisis, such purported preferences do not inspire confidence.

For a start, the whole doctrine of «pre-emptive» or «preventive» war is a violation of international law, if not outrightly criminal. The concept was earlier formulated by Nazi Germany as a pretext for aggression, and was duly criminalized at the Nuremberg Trials. Today, the United States stands alone as the only nation to invoke the self-declared prerogative to use military violence in «self-defense».

Also, when Washington talks about a «diplomatic solution» what it is referring to is a unilateral «denuclearization» by North Korea. There is absolutely no indication from the US that it reciprocates a responsibility to stand down its «overwhelming» military power aimed at the Korean Peninsula. Thus, what Washington means by «peace» is a one-sided surrender by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

For this reason, international calls for diplomacy and negotiations have to be underpinned by a proper foundational premise.

The proper starting point is for the US to finally sign a full peace treaty with North Korea to mark the definitive end of the Korean War. It seems almost bizarre that 64 years after the end of that war (1950-53), the US refuses to commit to a peace treaty. The matter is hardly permitted into public discourse by the US government and Western news media. Even though the issue is key to finding a peaceful solution.

The absence of a binding peace settlement means that, technically, the US and North Korea still view each other at being in a state of war. This gives profound substance to North Korea’s existential fears over the US continually conducting «war games» around the peninsula.

Former US President Jimmy Carter and former US ambassador to South Korea James Laney have both recognized the fundamental onus on Washington of now, at last, having to abide by international norms towards Korea.

The US-based Campaign to End the Korean War quotes ambassador Laney as saying: «One of the things that have bedeviled all talks until now is the unresolved status of the Korean War. A peace treaty would provide a baseline for relationships, eliminating the question of the other’s legitimacy and its right to exist. Absent such a peace treaty, every dispute presents afresh the question of the other side’s legitimacy. Only with a treaty in place will both sides be relieved of the political demand to see each move as conferring approval or not.»

Nevertheless, despite these reasonable voices from within the US, the dominant position of Washington is one of strong-arming North Korea  to capitulate to American demands – or face the threat of catastrophic military force.

Such an American position is totally unacceptable to international norms. Russia, China and Europe must take a firm stand and let Washington know in no uncertain terms that its unilateralism is unacceptable, and at worst, a reckless collision course for a nuclear war.

Diplomats from Russia and China last week both condemned US threats of violence against North Korea, as well as censuring Pyongyang for its missile tests.

Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, pointed out that the latest UN resolution 2375 voted on September 11 explicitly calls on all parties, including the United States, to re-engage in multilateral talks. Those talks involving North Korea were abandoned during the GW Bush administration more than a decade ago. How is that dereliction of diplomacy by Washington even remotely acceptable?

But, again, the push for diplomacy and negotiations must be founded on a proper and viable premise.

This is where German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s proposal to pursue a P5+1 formula comes unstuck. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed in July 2015 between the US, Russia, China, Europe and Iran has been continually undermined by the Trump administration.

Iran committed to stringent limits on its nuclear energy program in return for sanctions relief. The UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has filed seven reports since January 2016 confirming Iran’s full compliance with the JCPOA.

Yet, the Trump administration is threatening to scrap its participation in the internationally binding nuclear accord with Iran. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has made the wholly irrational claim that Iran’s «technical compliance» with the JCPOA is not enough. He and US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, have said that Iran «is not living up to the spirit of the deal». Absurdly, Washington is claiming that Iran’s support for the Syrian state in its war to defeat US-backed terror groups is grounds for resiling from the JCPOA.

President Trump has called it the «worst deal ever». He said that a White House review due next month may finally signal the US walking away from it. If that happens, Washington will be able to reimpose sanctions on Iran, and extend those sanctions to Europe, Russia and China for doing legitimate business with the Islamic Republic.

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Clearly, the US rulers cannot be trusted. If they cannot comply with obligations under an international legal agreement, which has been ratified by the UN Security Council, then any residual trust in US diplomacy is completely shattered.

North Korea has no doubt taken note of the US bad faith over Iran. Pyongyang has already pointed to the grim fate of Iraq and Libya which were invaded and destroyed by the US when it became evident neither possessed chemical or nuclear weapons.

Western corporate news media tend to portray North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as «crazy». The reality is that Kim would be crazy if he were to somehow surrender the country’s nuclear weapons under prevailing conditions.

Washington’s hints at diplomacy are threadbare and have no credibility. Any proposed negotiations to genuinely resolve the Korean crisis must start with the US signing a peace treaty with North Korea and foreswearing the use of any military force. Any other format is bereft of confidence building, as the Iranian nuclear deal is unfortunately showing.

A declaration by the US that the Korean War is over is a bare minimum requirement in order to begin peace and security talks. Even then it still not failsafe given Washington’s perfidy.

However, anything less than a peace treaty signed by the US is not feasible to end the spiral of conflict over Korea.

Incredible as it seems, the demand on the US is to simply abide by international law and to stop using aggression as a foreign policy. How damning is that.


Russia’s Mass Surveillance System

This is very likely a tool to combat Russia’s own jihadists and US hacking, but nevertheless is antithetical to users internet privacy in Russia.  It all depends on how widely the data is used and for what reason.

It can be circumvented in the same way as in the west, by using a VPN service so that ISPs only see an encrypted traffic stream.  End-to-end encryption of messages using something like GPG4USB would still be possible, but using it might cause red flags to be raised.

Ultimately, if you want to the infrastructure of the internet, you are going to have to put up with this.  Is it possible to create another internet where this doesn’t happen? Yes, but … Smartphones are quite capable of running software to create a wireless mesh network, where any phone can be used to relay from one IP address to another, so in an area where there are lots of smartphones (like a city) the mesh would allow messaging between any 2 users.  Assuming enough phones are also paying for internet access, they could relay for everyone else.  There is no obvious software solution at the moment.


Wikileaks Publishes “Spy Files Russia” Detailing Russia’s Mass Surveillance System

Perhaps in an attempt to refute recurring allegations that it has traditionally focused on exposing only US state secrets, if not being an outright covert and subversive Moscow front, today Wikileaks released a new cache of documents which it claims detail surveillance apparatus used by the Russian state to spy on Internet and mobile users. It’s the first time the organization has leaked material directly pertaining to the Russian state.

The full datadump can be found here.

In its summary of the cache of mostly Russian-language documents, Wikileaks claims they show how a long-established Russian company which supplies software to telcos is also installing infrastructure – with the government’s blessing – that enables Russian state agencies to tap into, search and spy on citizens’ digital activity, suggesting a similar state-funded mass surveillance program to the one utilized by the U.S.’s NSA or by GCHQ in the U.K. (both of which were detailed in the 2013 Snowden disclosures).

And speaking of, shortly following the publication, another famous whistleblower, one also exiled and currently residing in Russia, Edward Snowden tweeted “Plot twist: @Wikileaks publishes details on Russia’s increasingly oppressive internet surveillance industry.”

To be sure, arguments have already broken out on Twitter suggesting that Wikileaks/Assange is trying to deflect from charges that it is a front for the Kremlin by finally dumping “something” on Russia. (see this tweet comment thread as one example). Making matters more complicated, it’s not possible at this point to verify the value or veracity of the latest Wikileaks document release.

The documents published today by Wikileaks (there are just 34 “base documents” in this leak) relate to a St. Petersburg-based company, called Peter-Service, which it claims is a contractor for Russian state surveillance. According to Tech Crunch, the company was set up in 1992 to provide billing solutions before going on to become a major supplier of software to the mobile telecoms industry.

Wikileaks writes:

The technologies developed and deployed by PETER-SERVICE today go far beyond the classical billing process and extend into the realms of surveillance and control. Although compliance to the strict surveillance laws is mandatory in Russia, rather than being forced to comply PETER-SERVICE appears to be quite actively pursuing partnership and commercial opportunities with the state intelligence apparatus.

As a matter of fact PETER-SERVICE is uniquely placed as a surveillance partner due to the remarkable visibility their products provide into the data of Russian subscribers of mobile operators, which expose to PETER-SERVICE valuable metadata, including phone and message records, device identifiers (IMEI, MAC addresses), network identifiers (IP addresses), cell tower information and much more. This enriched and aggregated metadata is of course of interest to Russian authorities, whose access became a core component of the system architecture.

One of Wikileaks’ media partners for the release, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica reports that the documents cover “an extended timespan from 2007 to June 2015”, and describes the contents as “extremely technical”. It also caveats that the documents do not mention Russia’s spy agency, the FSB, but rather “speak only of state agencies”, a formula it asserts “certainly includes law enforcement, who use metadata for legal interception”. It also says the documents do “not clarify what other state apparatus accesses those data through the solution of the St. Petersburg company”.

Wikileaks says that under Russia law operators must maintain a Data Retention System (DRS), which can store data for up to three years. La Repubblica reports that Peter-Service’s DRS stores telephone traffic data and “allows Russian state agencies to query the database of all stored data in search of information” — which it specifies can include calls made by a certain telephone company’s customer; payment systems used; the cell phone number to which a user is calling.

“The manuals published by WikiLeaks contain the images of interfaces that allow you to search within these huge data fields, so access is simple and intuitive,” it adds.

Some technical details:

  • According to Wikileaks, Peter-Service’s DRS solution can handle 500,000,000 connections per day in one cluster. While the claimed average search time for subscriber related-records from a single day is ten seconds. “State intelligence authorities use the Protocol 538 adapter built into the DRS to access stored information,” it adds.
  • Peter-Service has also apparently developed a tool called TDM (Traffic Data Mart) — which allows the database to be queried to determine “where users’ data traffic is stored in order to understand visited sites, forums, social media”, as well as how much time is spent on a certain site and the electronic device used to access it.
  • Wikileaks describes TDM as “a system that records and monitors IP traffic for all mobile devices registered with the operator”,  and says it maintains a list of categorized domain names — “which cover all areas of interest for the state. These categories include blacklisted sites, criminal sites, blogs, webmail, weapons, botnet, narcotics, betting, aggression, racism, terrorism and many more”.
  • “Based on the collected information the system allows the creation of reports for subscriber devices (identified by IMEI/TAC, brand, model) for a specified time range: Top categories by volume, top sites by volume, top sites by time spent, protocol usage (browsing, mail, telephony, bittorrent) and traffic/time distribution,” it adds.

Wikileaks points to a 2013 Peter-Service slideshow presentation (it says this also appears to be publicly available on the company’s website), which it claims is targeted not at telco customers but at state entities such as Russia’s FSB and Interior Ministry (despite this document apparently being in the public domain) — in which the company focuses on a new product, called DPI*GRID; which it says is a hardware device for Deep Packet Inspection that takes the form of “black boxes” apparently able to handle 10Gb/s traffic per unit.

Wikileaks adds that “the national providers are aggregating Internet traffic in their infrastructure and are redirecting/duplicating the full stream to DPI*GRID units. The units inspect and analyse traffic (the presentation does not describe that process in much detail); the resulting metadata and extracted information are collected in a database for further investigation. A similar, yet smaller solution called MDH/DRS is available for regional providers who send aggregated IP traffic via a 10Gb/s connection to MDH for processing.”

Wikileaks also makes a point of noting that the presentation was written “just a few months after Edward Snowden disclosed the NSA mass surveillance program and its cooperation with private U.S. IT-corporations such as Google and Facebook”.

“Drawing specifically on the NSA Prism program, the presentation offers law enforcement, intelligence and other interested parties, to join an alliance in order to establish equivalent data-mining operations in Russia,” it adds — sticking its boot firmly back into U.S. government mass surveillance programs.

The World Is Creeping Toward De-Dollarization


The World Is Creeping Toward De-Dollarization

19 Sept 2017

The issue of when a global reserve currency begins or ends is not an exact science. There are no press releases announcing it, and neither are there big international conferences that end with the signing of treaties and a photo shoot. Nevertheless we can say with confidence that the reign of every world reserve currency has to come to and end at some point in time. During a changeover from one global currency to another, gold (and to a lesser extent silver) has always played a decisive role. Central banks and governments have long been aware that the dollar has a sell-by date as a reserve currency. But it has taken until now for the subject to be discussed openly. The fact that the issue has been on the radar of a powerful bank like JP Morgan for at least five years, should give one pause. Questions regarding the global reserve currency are not exactly discussed on CNBC every day. Most mainstream economists avoid the topic like the plague. The issue is too politically charged. However, that doesn’t make it any less important for investors to look for answers. On the contrary. The following questions need to be asked: What indications are there that the world is turning its back on the US dollar? And what are the clues that gold’s role could be strengthened in a new system?

The mechanism underlying today’s “dollar standard” is widely known and the term “petrodollar” describes it well. This system is based on an informal agreement the US and Saudi Arabia arrived at in the mid-1970s. The result of this deal: Oil, and consequently all other important commodities, is traded in US dollars — and only in US dollars. Oil producers then “recycle” these “petrodollars” into US treasuries. This circular flow of dollars has enabled the US to pile up a towering mountain of debt of nearly $20 trillion — without having to worry about its own financial stability. At least, until now.

For a long time the basis on which this global currency system rests was poorly documented. Finally, Bloomberg published a comprehensive article in May 2016, which provided detailed confirmation of the agreement that was hitherto only known as a rumor. The fact that this article is published now also represents a subtle clue that there are simmering shifts in the global currency system.

The trend becomes ever more tangible and can be described by the following term: de-dollarization. The world is looking for alternatives to the dollar — and finds them more and more often. At the same time the big oil producers and the largest exporters have stopped accumulating US debt securities. In one sentence: Since 1973 the dollar standard has been based on “usage demand” for dollars — they were needed. But when China and Russia find alternatives for their bilateral trading activity, they need fewer dollars. The same applies to European countries which have adopted the euro since 1999.

There have been many attempts by various nations to undermine the dollar’s preeminence in recent decades. Some were nipped in the bud by US interventions — such as the plan of Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein to sell oil for euros. Or the rumored plan of Libya’s eccentric ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi to issue a pan-African gold currency.

Others are less well known, but are indeed continuing to “bubble” below the surface: For example, since 2008, an agreement exists between Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar which provides for the creation of a monetary union. The planned new currency is nicknamed — rather unimaginatively — the “gulfo.” “The project is inspired by the European currency union, which is seen as a great success in the Arab world,” according to an article by Telegraph journalist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. He inter alia quotes Nahed Taher, the CEO of Bahrain Gulf One Investment Bank: “The US dollar has failed. We need to delink from it.” However, it appears the plan has been put on hold in recent years. As recently as mid-2013 a statement was issued according to which the common currency was going to be put in place “by 2015 at the latest.” Today it is no longer even talked about. Moreover, other potential members such as the United Arab Emirates or Oman have so far failed to join the club. One should nevertheless keep an eye on developments in the Gulf.

A clear signal that something is afoot would be the abolition of the Saudi riyal’s peg to the US dollar. As recently as April of this year economist Nasser Saeedi advised Middle Eastern countries to prepare for a “new normal” — and specifically to review the dollar pegs of their currencies: “By 2025 it is clear that the center of global economic geography is very much in Asia. What we’ve been living in over the past two decades is a very big shift in the political, economic, and financial geography.”

While the role of oil-producing countries (and particularly Saudi Arabia) shouldn’t be underestimated, at present the driving forces with regard to de-dollarization are primarily Moscow and Beijing. We want to take a closer look at this process.

There exist numerous political statements in this context which leave no room for doubt. The Russians and Chinese are quite open about their views regarding the role of gold in the current phase of the transition. Thus, Russian prime minister Dimitri Medvedev, at the time president of Russia, held a gold coin up to a camera on occasion of the 2008 G8 meeting in Aquila in Italy. Medvedev said that debates over the reserve currency question had become a permanent fixture of the meetings of government leaders.

Almost ten years later, the topic of currencies and gold is on the Sino-Russian agenda again. In March, Russia’s central bank opened its first office in Beijing. Russia is preparing to place its first renminbi-denominated government bond. Both sides have intensified efforts in recent years to settle bilateral trade not in US dollars, but in rubles and yuan. Gold is considered important by both countries.

The gradual move away from the USD to a multi-polar monetary order has several important effects, which only make sense when viewed through this lens. Contrary to what is asserted in most mainstream reports, oil-producing countries are not so much interested in a much higher oil price in USD terms, but rather in competition for market share. They are increasingly able to choose in which currencies they want to trade. The most important effect has become evident since 2014: two of the largest holders of US treasuries (China and Saudi Arabia) have abandoned their support of Washington. On the other hand, oil producers have no interest in recycling their revenues as “petrodollars.”

The process of moving away from the dollar — prepared by Europe and triggered by China and Russia — can no longer be stopped. And as a “supra-national” reserve asset, gold plays an important role in it.

US Navy sacks more commanders

Whatever else transpires, the Captains of ships at sea must always keep a good watch, or face the sack. Over-worked and no time to practice keeping watch – signs of an over-stretched empire struggling to stay on top of things. These warships were probably nuclear-armed, and were certainly linked in by AEGIS with those that are, and yet couldn’t keep a watch going in busy international waters.

US Navy sacks more commanders after deadly warship collisions
18 Sep, 2017

The US Navy has dismissed an admiral and a captain in connection with two deadly accidents where US warships collided with commercial vessels in the Pacific. This comes less than a month after the Navy fired the commander of the Seventh Fleet.

Rear Admiral Charles Williams, commander of Task Force 70, and Captain Jeffrey Bennett, commander of Destroyer Squadron 15, were fired by Seventh Fleet commander Vice Admiral Phil Sawyer, the Navy said Monday. “Both reliefs were due to a loss of confidence in their ability to command.”

The previous Seventh Fleet Commander, Joseph Aucoin, was dismissed on August 23, with Navy citing the same “loss of confidence” reasoning. Aucoin was scheduled to retire in September.

Collisions involving USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain this summer in Asia Pacific killed a total of 17 US sailors. Even though investigations into both incidents are still ongoing, the Navy has already fired the Fitzgerald’s captain and other sailors after poor seamanship and flaws in keeping watch were found to have contributed to its collision.

“Clearly at some point, the bridge team lost situational awareness,” Admiral William F. Moran, the vice chief of naval operations, told reporters in August.

The Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off the coast of Japan in June, killing seven American sailors. Two months later, the McCain, another guided-missile destroyer, collided with a commercial oil tanker east of Singapore. Ten sailors were killed in the incident. The collision tore a gaping hole in the McCain’s left rear hull and flooded adjacent compartments, including crew berths, machinery and communication rooms.

“To put that in perspective, these heartbreaking casualties are more than the number of [American] service members that we have lost in the Afghanistan war zone in the 2017,” Representative Joe Courtney (D-Connecticut) said at a House Armed Services subcommittee hearing on September 8, as lawmakers demanded answers as to why US warships were involved in more accidents this year than in any year over the past two decades.

At the hearing, Admiral Moran acknowledged that the US Navy compromised its standards in order to meet high operational demands.

Navy commanders have approved numerous waivers to expiring certifications of standards, such as seamanship, Moran told the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.

“We have allowed standards to drop as the number of certifications has grown,” Moran said, although he refused to specifically address the Fitzgerald and McCain incidents, citing ongoing investigations.

The Navy is “shocked” by the collisions, and is carrying out a comprehensive review to fix the disturbing trend, the vice chief of naval operations told lawmakers.

This year, there were two other accidents involving US warships in the Asia Pacific, but no injuries were reported.

Citing the incidents, the Navy briefly suspended operations of all US fleets in late August.

“While each of these four incidents is unique, they cannot be viewed in isolation,” Admiral Scott Swift said.

The latest dismissals in the Navy also come days before another scheduled Congressional hearing – this time at the Senate Armed Services Committee. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson and Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer are expected to testify alongside the director of Defense Capabilities and Management at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) John H. Pendleton, who also testified with Admiral Moran earlier this month on shortcomings in the training of Navy crews.

“The high operational tempo of ships homeported overseas had resulted in what Navy personnel called a ‘train on the margins’ approach, a shorthand way to say there was no dedicated training time set aside for the ships so crews trained while underway or in the limited time between underway periods,” Pendleton told lawmakers.

S. Korea threatens to ‘destroy North beyond recovery’ if provoked

Even I don’t think the South will “destroy North beyond recovery”, so I don’t suppose Kim will.


S. Korea threatens to ‘destroy North beyond recovery’ if provoked

South Korea has been angered by Pyongyang’s latest missile launch, with president Moon Jae-in warning that further provocations could result in complete destruction. He also ruled out the possibility of opening a dialogue with the belligerent North.

“In case North Korea undertakes provocations against us or our ally, we have the power to destroy (the North) beyond recovery,”the South Korean leader said on Friday as cited by Yonhap news agency.

READ MORE: Pyongyang fires missile through Japan’s airspace into Pacific Ocean

Moon was speaking after North Korea launched a missile earlier in the day that flew through Japanese airspace and landed in the Pacific Ocean some 2,000 km east of Japan. Seoul immediately convened a National Security Council (NSC) meeting, where Moon condemned the launch, saying the North had once again breached United Nations Security Council resolutions and “poses a grave challenge to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the global community,” according to RT’s Ruptly news agency.

READ MORE: N. Korean IRBM put millions of Japanese into ‘duck and cover’ – Mattis

“I sternly condemn and express anger at this series of provocations by the North,” Moon is quoted as saying by Yonhap.

The South Korean president also said that dialogue between the South and the North is currently impossible and called for greater pressure on the North.

“Dialogue is impossible in a situation like this,” Moon said.

“International sanctions and pressure will further tighten to force North Korea to choose no other option but to step forward on the path to genuine dialogue.”

Collapse of the Petrodollar looming

This will be a recurring theme in the geopolitical future, so it deserves getting a full understanding of it.  Wider use of currencies other than the Dollar avoids oil-buyers holding a stash of Dollars (usually parked temporarily in US Treasury bonds) to buy oil and a whole host of other commodities, and trading on US-controlled FX markets to get them (with the inevitable fees for the transaction), and the SWIFT system for handling the paperwork for moving the money around the international banking world.

This will considerably reduce the demand for Dollars and hence its FX conversion rate.  A weaker Dollar will in turn make US imports more expensive and exports less valuable.  Since the US already has a trade deficit with the rest of the world, this will make it harder to trade their way out of trouble.  At some point everyone will see that the US can never repay its debts and their bonds will become worthless.

Of course since the world is past the Peak Oil point (it probably happened in 2010), a future world without oil is not going to be viable long term, but the resulting collapse is not going to be evenly spread.  The US will collapse first, and then the world will switch to trading in Yuan (backed by Gold).  As the US struggles to hold its Empire together, the world economy will break into two currency blocs, and the potential for WW3 to break out will get even stronger.


Suddenly, “De-Dollarization” Is A Thing

For what seems like decades, other countries have been tiptoeing away from their dependence on the US dollar. China, Russia, and India have cut deals in which they agree to accept each others’ currencies for bi-lateral trade while Europe, obviously, designed the euro to be a reserve asset and international medium of exchange.

These were challenges to the dollar’s dominance, but they weren’t mortal threats.

What’s happening lately, however, is a lot more serious. It even has an ominous-sounding name: de-dollarization. Here’s an excerpt from a much longer article by “strategic risk consultant” F. William Engdahl:

Gold, Oil and De-Dollarization? Russia and China’s Extensive Gold Reserves, China Yuan Oil Market

(Global Research) – China, increasingly backed by Russia—the two great Eurasian nations—are taking decisive steps to create a very viable alternative to the tyranny of the US dollar over world trade and finance. Wall Street and Washington are not amused, but they are powerless to stop it.  So long as Washington dirty tricks and Wall Street machinations were able to create a crisis such as they did in the Eurozone in 2010 through Greece, world trading surplus countries like China, Japan and then Russia, had no practical alternative but to buy more US Government debt—Treasury securities—with the bulk of their surplus trade dollars. Washington and Wall Street could print endless volumes of dollars backed by nothing more valuable than F-16s and Abrams tanks. China, Russia and other dollar bond holders in truth financed the US wars that were aimed at them, by buying US debt. Then they had few viable alternative options.

Viable Alternative Emerges

Now, ironically, two of the foreign economies that allowed the dollar an artificial life extension beyond 1989—Russia and China—are carefully unveiling that most feared alternative, a viable, gold-backed international currency and potentially, several similar currencies that can displace the unjust hegemonic role of the dollar today.

For several years both the Russian Federation and the Peoples’ Republic of China have been buying huge volumes of gold, largely to add to their central bank currency reserves which otherwise are typically in dollars or euro currencies. Until recently it was not clear quite why.

For several years it’s been known in gold markets that the largest buyers of physical gold were the central banks of China and of Russia. What was not so clear was how deep a strategy they had beyond simply creating trust in the currencies amid increasing economic sanctions and bellicose words of trade war out of Washington.

Now it’s clear why.

China and Russia, joined most likely by their major trading partner countries in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), as well as by their Eurasian partner countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) are about to complete the working architecture of a new monetary alternative to a dollar world.

Currently, in addition to founding members China and Russia, the SCO full members include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and most recently India and Pakistan. This is a population of well over 3 billion people, some 42% of the entire world population, coming together in a coherent, planned, peaceful economic and political cooperation.

Gold-Backed Silk Road

It’s clear that the economic diplomacy of China, as of Russia and her Eurasian Economic Union group of countries, is very much about realization of advanced high-speed rail, ports, energy infrastructure weaving together a vast new market that, within less than a decade at present pace, will overshadow any economic potentials in the debt-bloated economically stagnant OECD countries of the EU and North America.

What until now was vitally needed, but not clear, was a strategy to get the nations of Eurasia free from the dollar and from their vulnerability to further US Treasury sanctions and financial warfare based on their dollar dependence. This is now about to happen.

At the September 5 annual BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China, Russian President Putin made a simple and very clear statement of the Russian view of the present economic world. He stated,

“Russia shares the BRICS countries’ concerns over the unfairness of the global financial and economic architecture, which does not give due regard to the growing weight of the emerging economies. We are ready to work together with our partners to promote international financial regulation reforms and to overcome the excessive domination of the limited number of reserve currencies.”

To my knowledge he has never been so explicit about currencies. Put this in context of the latest financial architecture unveiled by Beijing, and it becomes clear the world is about to enjoy new degrees of economic freedom.

China Yuan Oil Futures

According to a report in the Japan Nikkei Asian Review, China is about to launch a crude oil futures contract denominated in Chinese yuan that will be convertible into gold. This, when coupled with other moves over the past two years by China to become a viable alternative to London and New York to Shanghai, becomes really interesting.

China is the world’s largest importer of oil, the vast majority of it still paid in US dollars. If the new Yuan oil futures contract gains wide acceptance, it could become the most important Asia-based crude oil benchmark, given that China is the world’s biggest oil importer. That would challenge the two Wall Street-dominated oil benchmark contracts in North Sea Brent and West Texas Intermediate oil futures that until now has given Wall Street huge hidden advantages.

That would be one more huge manipulation lever eliminated by China and its oil partners, including very specially Russia. Introduction of an oil futures contract traded in Shanghai in Yuan, which recently gained membership in the select IMF SDR group of currencies, oil futures especially when convertible into gold, could change the geopolitical balance of power dramatically away from the Atlantic world to Eurasia.

In April 2016 China made a major move to become the new center for gold exchange and the world center of gold trade, physical gold. China today is the world’s largest gold producer, far ahead of fellow BRICS member South Africa, with Russia number two.

Now to add the new oil futures contract traded in China in Yuan with the gold backing will lead to a dramatic shift by key OPEC members, even in the Middle East, to prefer gold-backed Yuan for their oil over inflated US dollars that carry a geopolitical risk as Qatar experienced following the Trump visit to Riyadh some months ago. Notably, Russian state oil giant, Rosneft just announced that Chinese state oil company, CEFC China Energy Company Ltd. Just bought a 14% share of Rosneft from Qatar. It’s all beginning to fit together into a very coherent strategy.

Meanwhile, in Latin America:

De-Dollarization Spikes – Venezuela Stops Accepting Dollars For Oil Payments

(Zero Hedge) – Did the doomsday clock on the petrodollar (and implicitly US hegemony) just tick one more minute closer to midnight?Apparently confirming what President Maduro had warned following the recent US sanctions, The Wall Street Journal reports that Venezuela has officially stopped accepting US Dollars as payment for its crude oil exports.

As we previously noted, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said last Thursday that Venezuela will be looking to “free” itself from the U.S. dollar next week. According to Reuters,

“Venezuela is going to implement a new system of international payments and will create a basket of currencies to free us from the dollar,” Maduro said in a multi-hour address to a new legislative “superbody.” He reportedly did not provide details of this new proposal.

Maduro hinted further that the South American country would look to using the yuan instead, among other currencies.

“If they pursue us with the dollar, we’ll use the Russian ruble, the yuan, yen, the Indian rupee, the euro,” Maduro also said.

The state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA, known as PdVSA, has told its private joint venture partners to open accounts in euros and to convert existing cash holdings into Europe’s main currency, said one project partner.

This first step towards one or more gold-backed Eurasian currencies certainly looks like a viable and — for a lot of big players out there — welcome addition to the global money stock.

Venezuela, meanwhile illustrates the growing perception of US weakness. It used to be that a small country refusing to take dollars could expect regime change in short order. Now, maybe not so much.

Combine the above with the emergence of bitcoin and its kin as the preferred monetary asset of techies and libertarians, and the monetary world suddenly looks downright multi-polar.

Another missile launch

This launch seems to be more or less a repeat of the last one, passing over Japan at an altitude of 770 Km (well into “space”) so no threat to Japan.

The range chosen is precisely enough  to reach Guam, which cannot be a coincidence.  The next step will be to fire four missiles at Guam’s general area, missing Guam by 30 -40 Km. so outside Guam’s international waters.  The US would then be forced to try and shoot them down.


Pyongyang fires missile through Japan’s airspace into Pacific Ocean

missile range.jpg
North Korea has fired a ballistic missile, which reportedly passed through Japan’s airspace near Hokkaido, triggering a public alert. It’s believed to have fallen in the Pacific Ocean some 2,000 km east of the island.

“North Korea fired an unidentified missile eastward from the vicinity of Pyongyang this morning,” the JCS said. The missile reached an altitude of 770 km and covered a distance of 3,700 km before falling into the ocean, according to South Korea’s military.

The South Korean and US militaries are analyzing details of the launch, Reuters reports.

NHK Television urged residents in Hokkaido and Tohoku regions to take shelter as the projectile passed over Japanese airspace near Hokkaido at around 7.06am local time.

The Japanese government will hold an emergency national security council session in response to Pyongyang’s latest launch.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary told reporters the missile was likely “the same as before,” referring to the August 29 launch over Japan. Yoshihide Suga condemned Pyongyang’s missile test “in the strongest words,” saying the missile passed over Hokkaido and fell into the Pacific Ocean, roughly 2,000 kilometers east of Arimori Cape.

The Japanese government did not try to destroy the missile, according to reports. There’s been no news of damage to aircraft and sailing vessels, or falling objects onto Japanese territory.

Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, however, issued instructions to prepare for unforeseen circumstances by communicating prompt and accurate information to citizens.

The North Korean launch comes shortly after South Korea staged a ballistic missile training drill in the Sea of Japan. The South Korean president has been notified and has immediately convened a National Security Council meeting.

Just prior to the launch, Pyongyang warned that it was time to “annihilate” the US, to “sink” Japan and to “wipe out” South Korea following the adoption of a new UN Security Council sanctions resolution this week, in response to the regime’s recent nuclear test.

The 15-member United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously approved a new round of sanctions Monday, targeting North Korea’s textile exports and its oil imports.

On August 29, North Korea launched a ballistic missile over Northern Japan. The Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile is believed to have flown about 1,700 miles (2,735km) and reached a height of 341 miles (548km) before falling into the Pacific Ocean.

After a number of last minute compromises, China and Russia supported the latest round of sanctions against Pyongyang Monday. While strongly condemning North Korea’s actions, Moscow and Beijing continue to insist on the implementation of the so-called “double-freeze” proposal, which calls for Pyongyang to suspend its nuclear and ballistic missile tests in exchange for a halt to joint US-South Korea military drills.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are rapidly mounting with North Korea defiantly continuing its missile and nuclear tests and the US, South Korean and Japanese militaries regularly holding drills in the region, accompanied by strong rhetoric by Washington. Pyongyang says the boosting of its missile and nuclear program is justified as its only means of defense should these military maneuvers escalate into a direct confrontation.

China and Russia Warn the U.S.

Russia and China make it quite clear: No regime change, regime collapse, accelerated reunification or military deployment north of the 38th parallel dividing the Korean Peninsula.


China and Russia Warn the U.S.

By Ting Shi and David Tweed

Beijing, Moscow worked to weaken sanctions on North Korea
China says it will never allow war on Korean peninsula.

September 13, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – In supporting a watered-down version of North Korea sanctions, China and Russia had a stern warning for the U.S.: Don’t try to overthrow Kim Jong Un’s regime.

The measures passed on Monday at the United Nations Security Council included reducing imports of refined petroleum products, banning textile exports and strengthening inspections of cargo ships suspected of having illegal materials. U.S. envoy Nikki Haley called them the “strongest measures ever imposed on North Korea” even though they ended up dropping demands for an oil embargo and freeze on Kim’s assets.

More worrisome for China and Russia was Haley’s remark that the U.S. would act alone if Kim’s regime didn’t stop testing missiles and bombs. The UN representatives of both countries on Monday reiterated what they called “the four nos“: No regime change, regime collapse, accelerated reunification or military deployment north of the 38th parallel dividing the Korean Peninsula.

“The Chinese side will never allow conflict or war on the peninsula,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement on Tuesday.

The comments in the wake of the sanctions signaled that both China and Russia are only willing to go so far in pressuring Kim to abandon his attempts to secure the ability to strike the U.S. with a nuclear weapon. Both nations have called for dialogue, something President Donald Trump has resisted.

China and Russia realize their combined effort “works better than individual action,” said Wang Xinsheng, a history professor at Peking University. “Both oppose North Korea to become a full-fledged nuclear state, and both think parallel action from the U.S. is needed to affect any change in the situation.”

China and Russia — the biggest economic patrons of North Korea — both share the view that North Korea won’t give up its nuclear weapons without security guarantees, and they don’t see the point in fomenting a crisis on their borders that will benefit American strategic goals. At the same time, they don’t want Kim provoking the U.S. into any action that could destabilize the region.

“Sanctions of any kind are useless and ineffective,” Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters earlier this month at a summit in Xiamen, China. “They’ll eat grass, but they won’t abandon their program unless they feel secure.”

Russia and China were singled out at a U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing Tuesday on financing for North Korea’s nuclear program. Republican Chairman Ed Royce said the U.S. should target Chinese banks, including Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. and China Merchants Bank Co., for aiding Kim’s regime. Assistant Treasury Secretary Marshall Billingslea said in prepared remarks to the committee that North Korean bank representatives “operate in Russia in flagrant disregard of the very resolutions adopted by Russia at the UN.”

U.S. officials said the new UN sanctions — combined with earlier measures — would cut North Korean exports by 90 percent, pinching the regime’s ability to get hard currency. The textile export ban alone would cost North Korea about $726 million a year, the U.S. said.

Still, analysts saw the efforts to dilute the original proposal as successful.

“The stiffer sanctions won’t change anything in the near-term,” said Stuart Culverhouse, head of macro and fixed income research at specialist frontier markets investment bank Exotix Capital. “The new embargoes are incrementally tougher, but diplomacy meant they had to be compromised to an extent that they are very unlikely to change minds in Pyongyang.”

Tactical Nukes

North Korea has said it will never give up its nuclear weapons unless the U.S. drops its “hostile” policies toward the regime. Kim has claimed the ability to fit a hydrogen bomb onto an intercontinental ballistic missile, but the U.S. military says he has yet to master re-entry and guidance systems that would allow him to target an American city.

Many analysts think Kim will wait until he’s mastered his weapons before negotiating, as it would strengthen his hand. It might take tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea — something President Moon Jae-in has opposed — to bring Kim to the negotiating table earlier, according to Lee Ho-ryung, chief of North Korean studies at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses.

“If South Korea, Japan, or both could have the U.S. deploy tactical nuclear weapons, that’ll put pressure on Kim to come to dialogue,” Lee said. “When competition to have better weapons escalates, it’s always the poorer one who gives up.”

George Lopez, a former member of the UN Security Council panel of experts for sanctions on North Korea, said that the U.S. should seek unity of message with China and Russia in addition to a unanimous vote on sanctions. The U.S. should look to engage diplomatically to find a level of security that North Korea and its neighbors will be happy with, he said.

“We did it against powers that have thousands of nuclear weapons,” Lopez said. “We certainly should be able to do this against a power that has less than two dozen.”

Venezuela Stops Accepting Dollars For Oil Payments

Another oil supplier implies it will de-petrodollarise.  As mentioned in the article, Iran is a prime candidate to go this way too, although shouting about it like Maduro is doing is perhaps not wise.  And when Libya gets itself sorted out, it would too.  And Sudan.  Then you’ve got the oil buyers currently on the US disapproval list – North Korea, Myanmar, Zimbabwe.


De-Dollarization Spikes – Venezuela Stops Accepting Dollars For Oil Payments

Did the doomsday clock on the petrodollar (and implicitly US hegemony) just tick one more minute closer to midnight?

Source: The Burning Platform

Apparently confirming what President Maduro had warned following the recent US sanctions, The Wall Street Journal reports that Venezuela has officially stopped accepting US Dollars as payment for its crude oil exports.

As we previously noted, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said last Thursday that Venezuela will be looking to “free” itself from the U.S. dollar next week. According to Reuters,

“Venezuela is going to implement a new system of international payments and will create a basket of currencies to free us from the dollar,” Maduro said in a multi-hour address to a new legislative “superbody.” He reportedly did not provide details of this new proposal.

Maduro hinted further that the South American country would look to using the yuan instead, among other currencies.

 “If they pursue us with the dollar, we’ll use the Russian ruble, the yuan, yen, the Indian rupee, the euro,” Maduro also said.

*  *  *

And today, as The Wall Street Journal reports, in an effort to circumvent U.S. sanctions, Venezuela is telling oil traders that it will no longer receive or send payments in dollars, people familiar with the new policy said.

Oil traders who export Venezuelan crude or import oil products into the country have begun converting their invoices to euros.

The state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA, known as PdVSA, has told its private joint venture partners to open accounts in euros and to convert existing cash holdings into Europe’s main currency, said one project partner.

The new payment policy hasn’t been publicly announced, but Vice President Tareck El Aissami, who has been blacklisted by the U.S., said Friday, “To fight against the economic blockade there will be a basket of currencies to liberate us from the dollar.

There is no major market reaction for now – a modest bid to Bitcoin and some weakness in EUR and Gold (seems someone wants this to look like nothing).

However, as Nomura debt analyst Siobhan Morden warns:

“You can say whatever you want for your domestic propaganda and make it look like you’re retaliating against the U.S…. This political posturing will only be to their detriment.”

So what happens if Europe also sanctions Venezuela? Will Rubles or Yuan… or Gold be the only way to buy Venezuela’s oil?

*  *  *

This decision by the nation with the world’s largest proven oil reserves comes just days after China and Russia unveiled the latest Oil/Yuan/Gold triad at the latest BRICS conference.

It’s when President Putin starts talking that the BRICS reveal their true bombshell. Geopolitically and geo-economically, Putin’s emphasis is on a “fair multipolar world”, and “against protectionism and new barriers in global trade.” The message is straight to the point.

“Russia shares the BRICS countries’ concerns over the unfairness of the global financial and economic architecture, which does not give due regard to the growing weight of the emerging economies. We are ready to work together with our partners to promote international financial regulation reforms and to overcome the excessive domination of the limited number of reserve currencies.”

“To overcome the excessive domination of the limited number of reserve currencies” is the politest way of stating what the BRICS have been discussing for years now; how to bypass the US dollar, as well as the petrodollar.

Beijing is ready to step up the game. Soon China will launch a crude oil futures contract priced in yuan and convertible into gold.

This means that Russia – as well as Iran, the other key node of Eurasia integration – may bypass US sanctions by trading energy in their own currencies, or in yuan.

Inbuilt in the move is a true Chinese win-win; the yuan will be fully convertible into gold on both the Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges.

The new triad of oil, yuan and gold is actually a win-win-win. No problem at all if energy providers prefer to be paid in physical gold instead of yuan. The key message is the US dollar being bypassed.

RC – via the Russian Central Bank and the People’s Bank of China – have been developing ruble-yuan swaps for quite a while now.

Once that moves beyond the BRICS to aspiring “BRICS Plus” members and then all across the Global South, Washington’s reaction is bound to be nuclear (hopefully, not literally).

Washington’s strategic doctrine rules RC should not be allowed by any means to be preponderant along the Eurasian landmass. Yet what the BRICS have in store geo-economically does not concern only Eurasia – but the whole Global South.

Sections of the War Party in Washington bent on instrumentalizing  India against China – or against RC – may be in for a rude awakening. As much as the BRICS may be currently facing varied waves of economic turmoil, the daring long-term road map, way beyond the Xiamen Declaration, is very much in place.

*  *  *

Having threatened China today with exclusion from SWIFT, we suspect Washington is rapidly running out of any great ally to sustain the petrodollar-driven hegemony (and implicitly its war machine). Cue the calls for a Venezuelan invasion in 3…2..1…!

Myanmar’s Muslims: Unpicking The False Narrative

This history of the Rohingya is a MUST READ.


Myanmar’s Muslims: Unpicking The False Narrative

The mainstream media has recently begun engaging in a massive propaganda campaign to incite the world’s sympathy for the plight of the so-called “most persecuted minority in the world”, the Rohingya Muslims. The Rohingya are an ethno-religious minority residing in Myanmar, with the vast majority of them living in the western coastal state of Rakhine close to the Bangladeshi border. Recent tensions in the region have led to a mass exodus of Muslims; as many as 146,000 have crossed the border into Bangladesh since 25th August. This is, or so the media would have us believe, the result of an ethnic cleansing operation, whereby radicalised nationalist elements of the Myanmar army are racing out of the genocidal starting blocks to rid their country of a minority, whose only crime is to be different from the majority culture.

Unfortunately – or rather, fortunately – not every citizen of the western world is a mindless, historically illiterate consumer of fake news. The narrative that the media has built around the situation in Myanmar is based upon anecdotal evidence, politically motivated half-truths, historical revisionism and outright lies. A great many of the untruths about the situation are being propagated by the Muslim world, with Turkey’s deputy Prime Minister tweeting an image of the supposedly genocidal scenes in Myanmar which turned out to be a 2-decade old picture from Rwanda – of course, this did not prevent the liberal European media establishment from taking this as irrefutable evidence of horrors taking place in the far-east.

But to truly unpick the fake narrative being spread by the media establishment, we must look deeper into the histories of both Myanmar as a nation state and the Rohingya people. Whilst there are of course many topical examples of Heads of States pushing false information, and media organisations presenting a one-sided image of the situation, the crux of the lie has its foundations in historical revisionism of the region. Whilst such falsehoods are frustrating, the internet age makes them remarkable simple to dissect and refute, which is of course why the vast majority of sane individuals place very little credence in any cause pushed by the mainstream media.

History: 1824-1948

What many people fail to realise about Myanmar is that its a relatively new country. Up until 1948, it was a British overseas territory called Burma or British Burma, a part of the wider British Indian Empire or the “British Raj”. The Arakan region that now goes by the name of Rakhine State, which is the home of the majority of Rohingya Muslims, was historically a part of British India after it was ceded to the empire by the Burmese at the Treaty of Yandabo in conclusion of the Anglo-Burmese War (1824-26). The region was extremely sparsely populated; there was certainly not a thriving Rohingya Muslim culture, despite the claims of many that the minority are native to Myanmar itself.

The British colonialists recognised that the Arakan region was fertile and, in true colonial fashion, looked at how best they could exploit the territory’s natural resources. This led to the mass importation of Benghal workers from British India, who would work for very little and therefore would undercut and depress the wages of the native Buddhist Bamar (Myanmar’s majority ethnic group) population. A British census showed that by 1872 as many as 58,255 Muslims had been brought to the capital of Arakan alone and by 1911 this had increased to 178,647. It was reported that the vast majority of these imports came from the Chittagong region of Bangladesh, who were “moved en masse into western townships of Arakan”.

Naturally, this bred resentment between the native Burmese people and the British colonialists with their foreign pawns. This is not surprising when one considers the sheer scale of this migration. Historian Thant Myint-U wrote that “At the beginning of the 20th century, Indians were arriving in Burma at the rate of no less than a quarter million per year. The numbers rose steadily until the peak year of 1927, immigration reached 480,000 people, with Rangoon exceeding New York City as the greatest immigration port in the world. This was out of a total population of only 13 million; it was equivalent to the United Kingdom today taking 2 million people a year.”

As the onset of the Second World War loomed, the British in typical colonial style simply retreated from the Arakan area without consideration for the security of the region. Instead of maintaining a presence in the territory, they armed the Muslim migrants in anticipation that they would help defend the territory from a likely Japanese invasion. In typical western-backed-rebel style, the newly armed Muslims proceeded to forget about the Japanese and instead burn down the villages of native Burmese Buddhists. At this point, it’s no mystery as to why the Burmese were more sympathetic to the Japanese than to the British who had armed a hostile migrant community.

The Rohingya force armed by the British, also known as “V Force”, never mounted any serious defence of British imperial interests. Instead, as the secretary to the British Governor remarked at the time, they “destroyed Buddhist monasteries, pagodas, and houses, and committed atrocities in northern Arakan”. Amongst these atrocities was a particularly disturbing incident in March of 1942, whereby the “V Force” Rohingyas murdered in cold blood 20,000 native Burmese. Notably, when studying this period in Burmese history, it becomes apparent that no violence was instigated by the Buddhist population who only took up arms as a defensive response to the hostile Muslim migrants.

During the Japanese occupation of the territory, many Muslim settlers fled back home to the Benghal region. The conquerors, as was reported in Indo-China, did commit isolated atrocities against the local population which drove many across the border to Bangladesh, but there is still some debate about the extent to which the Rohingya vacated the area. A study conducted by Standford University in 1955 would suggest that the re-migration occurred almost comprehensively, which is evidenced by the sheer numbers of illegal immigrants who re-settled in the Arakan region in the aftermath of the war. It is also noteworthy that the authors of the study, Virginia Thompson and Richard Adloff, wrote “the newcomers were called Mujahids (crusaders), in contrast to the Rwangya or settled Chittagonian population”.

This suggests that the term Rohingya itself is relatively new, and that prior to this period in Burmese history they were always known as Benghal settlers as opposed to a native group of Myanmar. The term “Mujahids” also suggests that the Muslim migrants saw Arakan as territory to be conquered as opposed to a place to be shared in peace with the native inhabitants, much the same as what we’ve seen in more modern history with the “Mujahideen” (plural Arabic word for those engaged in jihad or, holy war of conquest).

Thus far in our journey through history, a very different picture than the one the media is attempting to portray of the Muslims in Myanmar is emerging. What we can see is oppressors, not oppressed; Jihadist conquerors, not natives; violent agitators, not assimilated, peace-loving citizens.

Post-Burmese Independence, 1948 Onward

As the “British Raj” disintegrated in the aftermath of the Second World War, various ethno-religious groups and factions attempted to piece together their peoples to create some semblance of nationhood. The only established national groups at the time that required little to no persuasion to do this were the Indians and Burmese, from whom India and Burma (Myanmar) were created. The more problematic elements of the post-colonial period in the region were mostly the Muslim populations, particularly in India where the “Muslim League” political party agitated and advocated Jihad in their quest to create a separate Islamic state. This resulted in mass riots in India, in which Muslim radicals participated in the mass murder of up to 200,000 Sikh and Hindu Indians.

The result was the creation of the Islamic State of Pakistan and subsequently the largest population transfers in recorded history. Up to 4.6 million Sikh and Hindu Indians were compelled to move from west Pakistan to India, leaving behind their livelihoods and ancestral roots in the process. Arakan, being a largely Muslim area thanks to the illegal immigration of Benghals, became a disputed territory. The “Rohingya” Muslims of the Arakan chapter of the Muslim League aspired to have their territory annexed into a greater Pakistani state, although this never materialised.

In 1947, the Arakan Muslims created the “Mujahid” Party, a political organisation dedicated to establishing the territory as an autonomous Islamic state. As the name suggests, this was not a group who sought to achieve their aims through peaceful or democratic means. They saw Jihad in the name of Allah as their primary method to realising their aims and behaved as such. Between 1947 and 1962, the group were very active and, not only did they commit acts of terrorism against the Burmese, they also encouraged yet more Islamic immigrants to cross the border and bolster their demographic stake in the region. There was a spike in the movement of people into Myanmar’s westerly-most region between 1971-78, causing Buddhist Monks and other activists to go on hunger strike in protest at their demographic displacement.

Interestingly, the term “Rohingya” only came into popular usage during the 1950’s when the Muslim population of Arakan, led by the Mujahids, were attempting to create a separate Muslim identity and distinguish themselves from the rest of the Burmese population. This, coupled with the acceptance of a further 200,000 Muslim immigrants in 1978 following international pressure, goes some way to contradicting the popular media claim that the Rakhine State Muslims are somehow an indigenous ethno-cultural group of the country.

In 1982, the Myanmar government enacted the Burmese Citizenship Law which specifically excluded Bengali immigrants of the variety imported by the British under the colonial era, as well as those who illegally migrated from Bangladesh in the aftermath of the Second World War. This is often seen by so-called humanitarian observers as effectively making the Rohingya stateless, but refusing permanent residency rights to a hostile group from a foreign land is hardly a genocidal move.

Current Tensions, 2012-2017

The current tensions that have gripped Myanmar and, specifically, Rakhine State, began in 2012 with a series of sectarian riots. Feelings spilled over after the gang rape of a native Rakhine Buddhist woman by a gang of Rohingya Muslims, resulting in a series of incidents including retaliatory acts by the Buddhist natives. This is compounded by the fact that the Buddhist natives to the region have a very real fear of being replaced in their own land by the hordes of Islamic migrants and established settlers, the size of which continues to grow and grow. The Burmese are already an ethnic minority in their own land in the northern part of Rakhine State.

The violence, which amounted to a radical insurgency by the Rohingya Muslims, left 78 dead and 87 injured. Martial law was declared, permitting the military to intervene in the administration of the state. “International observers” (leftist activists) were quoted at the time as saying this amounted to a genocide attempt, but the International Crisis Group explained after researching the situation that both the Muslims and the Buddhists were grateful of the military intervention to stop the violence.

The latest outbreak of violence has resulted in almost 150,000 Muslims leaving the country, but this is not as a result of “ethnic cleansing” as many sectors of the media like to claim. In reality, the crackdown on the illegal immigrant population came as a result of a terrorist insurgency by the “Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army” (ARSA), a group many media elements present as an humanitarian organisation looking after the welfare of the oppressed Muslim minority, but who are in reality a Jihadist organisation. On 25th August they coordinated attacks against Burmese police stations and attempted to raid an army barracks, the final tipping point that resulted in the clearance operation by the Burmese military in recent weeks.

The recent violence has come as a result of an upsurge in activity within the ARSA, who have been recruiting heavily amongst the Bengali villages close to the Bangladeshi border. This has coincided with an increase in terrorist Jihadist activity; in October 2016, the group attacked Burmese border patrol posts resulting in the deaths of 9 border guards and 4 soldiers; 15th November 2016, the group was involved in heavy fighting with the Burmese military; in December 2016 it was revealed the group have links with extreme Islamist organisations in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

The summer months of 2017 have seen another step up in the terrorist activities of the group and other affiliated Islamist organisations. On 26th August, a day after the attacks on Burmese police, 4,000 native Rakhines were forced the flee their homes thanks to ARSA Jihad. The following day, 27th August, the group claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack that resulted in the deaths of 6 Hindus, including a woman and 3 children. These actions by the subversive foreign group have prompted the Burmese military to act in order to prevent the slaughter, yet the media accuses them of being the aggressors.

Media Motives

The reasoning for this biased hysteria on the part of western media outlets is rather curious. There is every chance that this could just be the bleeding hearts of white liberals, whose priorities and principles shift based on who they believe is the most oppressed group in the current year. The irony is that Burmese Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi was the western media’s favourite underdog when she spent many a year under house arrest, campaigning for democracy in her country. The transparency of their motivations is clear to see now that the Nobel Prize winner is no longer the underdog, as the white liberals who once saw her as the next Nelson Mandela are queuing up to denounce her response to the escalating violence in her country.

But moronic liberal tendencies aside, there may be more complex motivations for the current faux outrage over the Myanmar situation. One theory is that this is an attempt to soften the mood in order to facilitate the importation of Rohingya refugees to Europe. Considering the Bangladeshi government is reluctant to take them, this is a very real possibility. Logistically it is not beyond the criminal NGOs either, for they have displayed their ability to bring migrants to Europe from the deepest deserts of central Africa – a coastal region of East Asia is a stroll in the park for these experienced campaigners.

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that the powers that be in the western world are seeking to incite their populations to another foreign interventionist war, “the next Vietnam” if you like. Without wishing to delve too far into the depths of conspiracy, it could be argued that after failing to get their war in Syria the military-industrial complex is looking for new battlegrounds on which to flex its muscle – and of course create the demand for the mass production of fuel and munitions. This would also tie into the theme of recent years, of western powers supporting terrorist Islamic groups against traditionalist governments in the east who are otherwise immune to western influence.

Whatever their motives, the duty is incumbent on those who see through the contemptible Fake News propagated by western media outlets to counter it in the strongest possible terms. We are, as many of you are aware, in the midst of the greatest information war the world has ever seen, the micro-battles of which – such as the Myanmar issue – are equally as important as the illegal people smuggling operation being conducted in the Mediterranean. Every lie allowed to spread unhindered is a victory for the establishment, therefore every false narrative must be dissected and destroyed on whatever battleground it spreads.