You might not agree with everything John Pilger says – but he is always up front and clear in what he does say.
Some very relevant comments from Pilger in this recent Going Underground Special interview.
You might not agree with everything John Pilger says – but he is always up front and clear in what he does say.
Some very relevant comments from Pilger in this recent Going Underground Special interview.
This photo of Presidents Obama and Putin in serious and intense discussion at the current G20 meeting symbolises what could be a positive change in international politics. Perhaps the Friday 13th acts of terror in Paris precipitated this particular meeting – or perhaps it is a culmination of geopolitical changes since the 2014 G20 conference in Brisbane.
Or perhaps I am just being far too optimistic. After all, the problems facing the world today are pretty intractable.
It seems to me that a key moment was September UN General Assembly meeting where President Putin warned about the consequences of geopolitical trends. His question to world leaders – “Do you realise what you’ve done?” – proved tragically prophetic (see the full text of his speech at Putin’s UN address: “Do you realise what you’ve done?”). France is just the most recent country to suffer extreme acts of terrorism and we should not ignore the other recent acts most probably carried out by Islamic State in Turkey, Lebanon and the Sinai Peninsula.
However, Putin’s question was primarily directed at political leaders in France and Turkey, as well as Europe, NATO, the USA, UK and the Middle East. These leaders have pursued policies of regime change which have, at best, downplayed the problems of terrorism, or at worst actually used terrorist groups like Islamic State and its affiliates to carry out regime change.
Now, perhaps, they are starting to realise the consequences of those policies and are becoming a little more willing to support the concept of an international alliance to counter terrorism.
But only a “little more willing,” and that is not enough.
French president Francois Hollande said during the emergency meeting of the French parliament:
“In Syria, we’re looking for the political solution to the problem, which is not Bashar Assad. Our enemy in Syria is ISIL,”
Good – France now supports a political solution to the Syrian civil war – but surely that is a solution which must be put into effect by the Syrian people. What right does the leader of a foreign country have to demand that any particular Syrian politicians must or must not be part of that process?
Western and Middle Western political leaders need to realise that an imposed “regime change’ of the sort that took place in Iraq and Libya will only promote more terrorism – in fact, is the source of the current terrorism. Regime change should be in the hands of the Syrian people – not external countries.
But there is a glimmer of hope. Maybe recent changes were precipitated by the intervention of Russian forces in Syria to prevent an armed overthrow of the government. But the Syrian peace talks in Vienna seem to be making some progress. There is now more talk of a political settlement, a ceasefire negotiated between the Syrian government and selected opposition forces and a timetable for parliamentary and presidential elections. The Syrian leadership is open to this process and hopefully the more genuine opposition forces can be encouraged to take part.
And, isn’t that a better way to change a political regime?
External political leaders should stop their talk of “Assad must go” – it is arrogant and disrespectful to the Syrian people. What the hell are these western and Middle Eastern leaders going to do if a political settlement leads to democratic and constitutional changes and Assad is re-elected? Are they going to refuse to accept the will of the Syrian people?
Meanwhile, reports from the G20 meeting show that president Putin has provided leaders with evidence of the support helping to maintain ISIS and similar terrorist groups. He told reporters:
“”I provided examples related to our data on the financing of Islamic State units by natural persons in various countries. The financing comes from 40 countries, as we established, including some G20 members.”
He also presented satellite images and aerial photos showing the true scale of the Islamic State oil trade:
“I’ve demonstrated the pictures from space to our colleagues, which clearly show the true size of the illegal trade of oil and petroleum products market. Car convoys stretching for dozens of kilometers, going beyond the horizon when seen from a height of four-five thousand meters.”
Now, it seems to me that NATO and the US have demonstrated great skills in targeting sanctions at individual business and political leaders in the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Crimea. Surely it is not beyond them to destroy the financial and economic support current shoring up Islamic State. They must know who these business leaders are – and they must surely know who is trading the oil Islamic State transports into Turkey.
Surely, all they need is the political will.
Wouldn’t armed attacks on Islamic State be far more effective if they were coordinated. If participants shared intelligence and identified agreed targets? Again, that is surely realistic – if an anti-Nazi coalition was possible during the last world war surely an anti-terror coalition would be a lot easier now. The current US excuses for refusing cooperation seem petty and inappropriate given the seriousness of the situation.
But that requires abandoning a failed policy of “regime change.” That requires a fundamental change in international power – or at least the recognition that a single superpower should no longer be allowed to dictate the political and social arrangements of other countries.
Still, I look at that photo above and it does give me hope.
Can’t help being provocative here.
Surely if the Russian authorities want a clear answer to what caused the crash of the Airbus A-321 in the Sinai Peninsula they have only to call on some renowned “experts” like Tony Abbott (ex Australian PM), US President Barack Obama, UK PM David Cameron or a few of the newspapers who are fond of pronouncing judgment. These “experts’ were able to confidently assign guilt within hours for the crash of the Malaysian MH17 in eastern Ukraine last year! They were very confident in their attributing blame, very loud – and, what’s more, imposed economic and political sanctions pretty well straight away.
Why are the Russian authorities so backward? Why is their Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova so reluctant to apportion blame by saying:
“How can we talk about any version, when our experts have only just begun to work on the site of the crash?”
Why did the Russian Foreign Ministry say on Monday that debating the reasons for the crash of the Russian Airbus A-321 in Egypt is “premature?”
Do these Russian authorities not have the same love for these civilian victims (mostly citizens of the Russian Federation) that Tony Abbott, President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron had for the innocent victims of the MH17 crash?
Abbott had no doubt from the very beginning that Vladimir Putin was directly responsible for the MH17 tragedy and threatened to “shirtfront” Putin at the Brisbane G20 leaders meeting.
Now, our media keep telling us what a rude and brazen person Putin is. Why isn’t he threatening to “shirtfront” someone? Why hasn’t Putin already apportioned blame and expressed the same supreme confidence in a scenario that we were exposed to last year over MH17.
Is Putin a weak leader who couldn’t care less about the plight of his people?
Or were Tony Abbott, Barack Obama, David Cameron, etc., simply attempting to make political capital out of a tragedy?
Is, in fact, Putin illustrating what a real responsible leader should do? Is he just being true to his request over MH17 that political leaders stop using the tragedy for political purposes and wait to see the findings of the investigation instead of launching a lynching party without any evidence.
The final technical report from the Dutch safety Board on the crash of Malaysian flight MH17 in Eastern Ukraine has just been released. You can download your copy here or go to the Final report page which also provides links to the appendices. (Warning – I don’t think this URL is permanent).
Having discussed the previous preliminary report here, and got into a debate on responsibility for the crash, I feel the need to make at least some comment on the final report. My comments will be brief – I have so far not read the complete document. The report is 280 pages long, and there are extra, important, appendices (I think about 26 in total) which are also quite lengthy. Very few people will invest the time to get their head around all these.
So, my observations:
Well – it could be worse. The report itself does leave the details to appendices – and doesn’t give even appendices for some of the evidence. This video of a recent press conference by the Russian Arms manufacturer gives an idea if the complexity of the issue (made worse in this case by having to rely on an oral English translation). Skip through to the middle if you want to avoid the formal introductions.
This technical investigation did not have the task of apportioning blame – that is the subject of a later report (probably next year) from the criminal investigation group. However, the Ukrainian Government does get the obvious blame for allowing commercial flights over a war zone – moreover a zone where planes were regularly being shot down. The lessons about this are probably the most important, and of most interest to potential airline passengers. The report makes some recommendations on this
While the report is definitive about this it effectively relies on two assumptions:
So, I don’t think the air-air missile scenario is definitely excluded but the surface-to-air missile scenario seems most likely and that is what was tested in computer simulations.
This was based on the recovery of “preformed elements” from bodies of the crew and the aircraft debris. Bow-tie, and square elements were found. The 9N314M warhead contains such elements.
Interestingly the missiles on the Buk-1 system (used by the Ukrainian armed forces use this warhead, but not the missiles on the Buk-2 system (used by the Russian federation armed forces).
The manufacture of the Buk systems, Almaz-Antey, claim the preformed elements found show an even earlier warhead was used, rather than the 9N314M. These warheads are no longer used in the Russian Federation as they are past their use-by date. But the manufacturer had reported servicing the older Buk systems own by Ukraine in the last 10 years.
Simulation modelling was used to find the likely missile trajectory and launch region. The modelling was done by two Dutch groups (NLR & TNO), a forensic group in the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice and the Almaz-Antey company (the manufacturer). While all groups produced similar results using the NLR/TNO data the Almaz-Antey group found a different missile orientation and locality on detonation using their own collected data.
This difference is immaterial for the purposes of this report but will be important for the criminal investigation.
Incidentally, Almaz-Antey have tested their computer simulations using field experiments involving detonation of a missile near typical material used in construction of the plane and, more recently, the front section of a decommissioned plane very similar to the Boeing. They reported in the press conference in the above video that the experiments vindicated their simulation results. However, the last experiment came too late to influence the Dutch safety Board Report.
No one expected identification of the forces responsible for shooting down flight MH17 in this report – and this is not the task of the Dutch Safety Board. More information apportioning blame should appear in the report from the Criminal investigation Team next year.
The report drew some conclusions about how authorities and airlines should handle the problem of flights over areas of conflict. Hopefully, this will make airline travel safer in future.
In my mind, a scenario involving an air-to-air missile was not completely ruled out (and perhaps the report should have been more qualified about this). However, a surface-to-air missile appears most likely.
So, two of the scenarios (involving attack aircraft) I suggested in my article on the preliminary report, MH17 – Preliminary report leaves most conspiracy theories intact, are most likely ruled out. The remaining scenario I mentioned was that the plane was downed by a surface-to-air missile launched by armed forces of the Kiev government, the Russian Federation or the opposition pro-autonomy militias.
The old warhead suggests that armed forces of the Russian federation were not involved and most probably rules out the social media story of a Russian Buk system being brought in specifically for the attack and then quickly removed.
I think this leaves either the armed forces of the Kiev government (Ukrainian army) or the Donetsk and Luhansk regions fighting for autonomy. The Ukrainian army is known to have weapons of this sort while both Kiev and the rebels claimed the rebels did not.
However, there is evidence that the rebels had either captured one or more Buk systems, or had obtained them via defection of military from the Ukrainian army (on the other hand reports from both the rebels and the Ukrainian side have claimed that at least one captured system was not operational).
So, still too early to claim we know who shot down MH17.
But, of course, that won’t stop the politically motivated blame game that has been going on in the international media (and promoted by some governments) ever since the plane hit the ground.
Image credit: All World Wars
In a few days, the Dutch Safety Board releases its final report on the shooting down of Malaysian airliner MH17.
Hopefully, it will contain something conclusive – at least about the nature of the weapon used. This should enable a decision between the two scenarios – an air-to-air missile or a ground-air-missile.
But I don’t hold out hope for much else. After all, the preliminary report was very disappointing (see MH17 – Preliminary report leaves most conspiracy theories intact. Since then there have been so many conflicting stories, leaks of information and vague statements followed by denials. Many people, and some governments, have lost confidence in the objectivity of the investigators.
Still, there should be at least some facts revealed in the final report. And if easily available material – such as the radar, satellite and air-traffic-control data – are not presented, there will be pressure for a more thorough investigation.
Meanwhile, there are reports a Russian arms manufacturer has carried out the ultimate experiment to determine if any of their missiles was involved in the MH17 incident. In my article MH17 tragedy: 1 year on I presented this video report of their investigation to that date.
The company, Almaz-Antey, offered to carry out a controlled explosion of a missile below a decommissioned Boeing plane to test their theoretical analyses. Now they seem to have gone ahead at their own expense.
This is a very expensive experiment – but I guess that have strong commercial motives as they are challenging sanctions taken against them in a European court. So it is probably a sensible investment from their point of view. And there is big profits in arms sales.
“Preliminary analysis of the results of the field experiment confirmed the version of event announced at a press conference in Moscow on June 2, 2015.”
This version was presented in the above video and suggests that if a Buk missile was used it was of the type used by the Ukrainian armed forces, not by the Russian Federation.
This report indicates that the “full results of field experiment will be announced at a press conference in Moscow” on Tuesday 13th, October – the same day the final report of the Dutch Safety Committee is released.
So, an interesting week ahead for those interested in international politics, the geopolitical struggle and aircraft crashes. There should be plenty of new, or at least more substantial, information to debate.
One gets the impression from our news media that those horrible Russians (or perhaps just the demon Putin) are unjustly bombing Syria, killing its citizens and causing all those refugees to flee to Europe.
Of course, that is “too bad to be true” (or “too good to be true” from the point of view of the US and NATO soldiers in the “information war). Sometimes a bit of objectively peeps through as in this article from the Guardian – In Assad’s heartland, villagers see Russians as saviours.
Although even there we can see the pressure to conform to the approved party line.
The Russians are the heroes of the hour. People greet the few foreigners who visit with a cheerful Russian “Dobry den!” and shout out their enthusiasm for President Putin, who they believe will deliver them from terrorism. Many think the west is supporting Isis, which they call by its Arabic acronym, Daesh. “We can see that the Russians are determined to defeat Daesh and the terrorists, whereas by contrast the Americans and their coalition don’t seem to have the same determination,” said Safwan al-Saada, the governor of Tartus. “In the last year they said they were fighting terrorism, but Daesh grew stronger, not weaker, so we can say their coalition is not serious.”
Read the rest at In Assad’s heartland, villagers see Russians as saviours.
What do you think?
These two posts of speeches from the current UN General Assembly might provoke some discussion ( and I sincerely hope they do). They are the major speeches presented by US President Barak Obama and Russian federation President Vladimir Putin.
I have posted them in the alphabetic order of their names – and, in fact, the order in which they were presented on Monday.
My motive in making these full texts available, together with videos of the presentations, is to encourage people to find out what these leaders are actually saying. Particularly to encourage readers not to rely on soundbites and scraps of news filtered and garbled through the inevitable ideologies of the current geopolitical struggles. I think this is extremely important at this time of heightened international conflict.
Source: The Washington Post
PUTIN (THROUGH INTERPRETER): Your excellency Mr. President, your excellency Mr. Secretary General, distinguished heads of state and government, ladies and gentlemen, the 70th anniversary of the United Nations is a good occasion to both take stock of history and talk about our common future.
In 1945, the countries that defeated Nazism joined their efforts to lay solid foundations for the postwar world order.
But I remind you that the key decisions on the principles guiding the cooperation among states, as well as on the establishment of the United Nations, were made in our country, in Yalta, at the meeting of the anti-Hitler coalition leaders.
The Yalta system was actually born in travail. It was won at the cost of tens of millions of lives and two world wars.
This swept through the planet in the 20th century.
Let us be fair. It helped humanity through turbulent, at times dramatic, events of the last seven decades. It saved the world from large-scale upheavals.
The United Nations is unique in its legitimacy, representation and universality. It is true that lately the U.N. has been widely criticized for supposedly not being efficient enough, and for the fact that the decision-making on fundamental issues stalls due to insurmountable differences, first of all, among the members of the Security Council.
However, I’d like to point out there have always been differences in the U.N. throughout all these 70 years of existence. The veto right has always been exercised by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, the Soviet Union and Russia later, alike. It is absolutely natural for so diverse and representative an organization.
When the U.N. was established, its founders did not in the least think that there would always be unanimity. The mission of the organization is to seek and reach compromises, and its strength comes from taking different views and opinions into consideration. Decisions debated within the U.N. are either taken as resolutions or not. As diplomats say, they either pass or do not pass.
Whatever actions any state might take bypassing this procedure are illegitimate. They run counter to the charter and defy international law. We all know that after the end of the Cold War — everyone is aware of that — a single center of domination emerged in the world, and then those who found themselves at the top of the pyramid were tempted to think that if they were strong and exceptional, they knew better and they did not have to reckon with the U.N., which, instead of [acting to] automatically authorize and legitimize the necessary decisions, often creates obstacles or, in other words, stands in the way.
It has now become commonplace to see that in its original form, it has become obsolete and completed its historical mission. Of course, the world is changing and the U.N. must be consistent with this natural transformation. Russia stands ready to work together with its partners on the basis of full consensus, but we consider the attempts to undermine the legitimacy of the United Nations as extremely dangerous. They could lead to a collapse of the entire architecture of international organizations, and then indeed there would be no other rules left but the rule of force.
We would get a world dominated by selfishness rather than collective work, a world increasingly characterized by dictate rather than equality. There would be less of a chain of democracy and freedom, and that would be a world where true independent states would be replaced by an ever-growing number of de facto protectorates and externally controlled territories.
What is the state sovereignty, after all, that has been mentioned by our colleagues here? It is basically about freedom and the right to choose freely one’s own future for every person, nation and state. By the way, dear colleagues, the same holds true of the question of the so-called legitimacy of state authority. One should not play with or manipulate words.
Every term in international law and international affairs should be clear, transparent and have uniformly understood criteria. We are all different, and we should respect that. No one has to conform to a single development model that someone has once and for all recognized as the only right one. We should all remember what our past has taught us.
We also remember certain episodes from the history of the Soviet Union. Social experiments for export, attempts to push for changes within other countries based on ideological preferences, often led to tragic consequences and to degradation rather than progress.
It seemed, however, that far from learning from others’ mistakes, everyone just keeps repeating them, and so the export of revolutions, this time of so-called democratic ones, continues. It would suffice to look at the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, as has been mentioned by previous speakers. Certainly political and social problems in this region have been piling up for a long time, and people there wish for changes naturally.
But how did it actually turn out? Rather than bringing about reforms, an aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a brazen destruction of national institutions and the lifestyle itself. Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster. Nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life.
I cannot help asking those who have caused the situation, do you realize now what you’ve done? But I am afraid no one is going to answer that. Indeed, policies based on self-conceit and belief in one’s exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned.
It is now obvious that the power vacuum created in some countries of the Middle East and North Africa through the emergence of anarchy areas, which immediately started to be filled with extremists and terrorists.
Tens of thousands of militants are fighting under the banners of the so-called Islamic State. Its ranks include former Iraqi servicemen who were thrown out into the street after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Many recruits also come from Libya, a country whose statehood was destroyed as a result of a gross violation of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. And now, the ranks of radicals are being joined by the members of the so-called moderate Syrian opposition supported by the Western countries.
First, they are armed and trained and then they defect to the so-called Islamic State. Besides, the Islamic State itself did not just come from nowhere. It was also initially forged as a tool against undesirable secular regimes.
Having established a foothold in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State has begun actively expanding to other regions. It is seeking dominance in the Islamic world. And not only there, and its plans go further than that. The situation is more than dangerous.
In these circumstances, it is hypocritical and irresponsible to make loud declarations about the threat of international terrorism while turning a blind eye to the channels of financing and supporting terrorists, including the process of trafficking and illicit trade in oil and arms. It would be equally irresponsible to try to manipulate extremist groups and place them at one’s service in order to achieve one’s own political goals in the hope of later dealing with them or, in other words, liquidating them.
To those who do so, I would like to say — dear sirs, no doubt you are dealing with rough and cruel people, but they’re in no way primitive or silly. They are just as clever as you are, and you never know who is manipulating whom. And the recent data on arms transferred to this most moderate opposition is the best proof of it.
We believe that any attempts to play games with terrorists, let alone to arm them, are not just short-sighted, but fire hazardous (ph). This may result in the global terrorist threat increasing dramatically and engulfing new regions, especially given that Islamic State camps train militants from many countries, including the European countries.
Unfortunately, dear colleagues, I have to put it frankly: Russia is not an exception. We cannot allow these criminals who already tasted blood to return back home and continue their evil doings. No one wants this to happen, does he?
Russia has always been consistently fighting against terrorism in all its forms. Today, we provide military and technical assistance both to Iraq and Syria and many other countries of the region who are fighting terrorist groups.
We think it is an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces, who are valiantly fighting terrorism face to face. We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad’s armed forces and Kurds (ph) militias are truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in Syria.
We know about all the problems and contradictions in the region, but which were (ph) based on the reality.
Dear colleagues, I must note that such an honest and frank approach of Russia has been recently used as a pretext to accuse it of its growing ambitions, as if those who say it have no ambitions at all.
However, it’s not about Russia’s ambitions, dear colleagues, but about the recognition of the fact that we can no longer tolerate the current state of affairs in the world. What we actually propose is to be guided by common values and common interests, rather than ambitions.
On the basis of international law, we must join efforts to address the problems that all of us are facing and create a genuinely broad international coalition against terrorism.
Similar to the anti-Hitler coalition, it could unite a broad range of forces that are resolutely resisting those who, just like the Nazis, sow evil and hatred of humankind. And, naturally, the Muslim countries are to play a key role in the coalition, even more so because the Islamic State does not only pose a direct threat to them, but also desecrates one of the greatest world religions by its bloody crimes.
The ideologists (ph) of militants make a mockery of Islam and pervert its true humanistic (ph) values. I would like to address Muslim spiritual leaders, as well. Your authority and your guidance are of great importance right now.
It is essential to prevent people recruited by militants from making hasty decisions and those who have already been deceived, and who, due to various circumstances found themselves among terrorists, need help in finding a way back to normal life, laying down arms, and putting an end to fratricide.
Russia will shortly convene, as the (ph) current president of the Security Council, a ministerial meeting to carry out a comprehensive analysis of threats in the Middle East.
First of all, we propose discussing whether it is possible to agree on a resolution aimed at coordinating the actions of all the forces that confront the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations. Once again, this coordination should be based on the principles of the U.N. Charter.
We hope that the international community will be able to develop a comprehensive strategy of political stabilization, as well as social and economic recovery, of the Middle East.
Then, dear friends, there would be no need for new refugee camps. Today, the flow of people who were forced to leave their homeland has literally engulfed first neighboring countries and then Europe itself. There were hundreds of thousands of them now, and there might be millions before long. In fact, it is a new great and tragic migration of peoples, and it is a harsh lesson for all of us, including Europe.
I would like to stress refugees undoubtedly need our compassion and support. However, the — on the way to solve this problem at a fundamental level is to restore their statehood where it has been destroyed, to strengthen the government institutions where they still exist or are being reestablished, to provide comprehensive assistance of military, economic and material nature to countries in a difficult situation. And certainly, to those people who, despite all the ordeals, will not abandon their homes. Literally, any assistance to sovereign states can and must be offered rather than imposed exclusively and solely in accordance with the U.N. Charter.
In other words, everything in this field that has been done or will be done pursuant to the norms of international law must be supported by our organization. Everything that contravenes the U.N. Charter must be rejected. Above all, I believe it is of the utmost importance to help restore government’s institutions in Libya, support the new government of Iraq and provide comprehensive assistance to the legitimate government of Syria.
Dear colleagues, ensuring peace and regional and global stability remains the key objective of the international community with the U.N. at its helm. We believe this means creating a space of equal and indivisible security, which is not for the select few but for everyone. Yet, it is a challenge and complicated and time-consuming task, but there is simply no other alternative. However, the bloc thinking of the times of the Cold War and the desire to explore new geopolitical areas is still present among some of our colleagues.
First, they continue their policy of expanding NATO. What for? If the Warsaw Bloc stopped its existence, the Soviet Union have collapsed (ph) and, nevertheless, the NATO continues expanding as well as its military infrastructure. Then they offered the poor Soviet countries a false choice: either to be with the West or with the East. Sooner or later, this logic of confrontation was bound to spark off a grave geopolitical crisis. This is exactly what happened in Ukraine, where the discontent of population with the current authorities was used and the military coup was orchestrated from outside — that triggered a civil war as a result.
We’re confident that only through full and faithful implementation of the Minsk agreements of February 12th, 2015, can we put an end to the bloodshed and find a way out of the deadlock. Ukraine’s territorial integrity cannot be ensured by threat of force and force of arms. What is needed is a genuine consideration for the interests and rights of the people in the Donbas region and respect for their choice. There is a need to coordinate with them as provided for by the Minsk agreements, the key elements of the country’s political structure. These steps will guarantee that Ukraine will develop as a civilized society, as an essential link and building a common space of security and economic cooperation, both in Europe and in Eurasia.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have mentioned these common space of economic cooperation on purpose. Not long ago, it seemed that in the economic sphere, with its objective market loss, we would launch a leaf (ph) without dividing lines. We would build on transparent and jointly formulated rules, including the WTO principles, stipulating the freedom of trade, and investment and open competition.
Nevertheless, today, unilateral sanctions circumventing the U.N. Charter have become commonplace, in addition to pursuing political objectives. The sanctions serve as a means of eliminating competitors.
I would like to point out another sign of a growing economic selfishness. Some countries [have] chosen to create closed economic associations, with the establishment being negotiated behind the scenes, in secret from those countries’ own citizens, the general public, business community and from other countries.
Other states whose interests may be affected are not informed of anything, either. It seems that we are about to be faced with an accomplished fact that the rules of the game have been changed in favor of a narrow group of the privileged, with the WTO having no say. This could unbalance the trade system completely and disintegrate the global economic space.
These issues affect the interest of all states and influence the future of the world economy as a whole. That is why we propose discussing them within the U.N. WTO NGO (ph) ’20.
Contrary to the policy of exclusiveness, Russia proposes harmonizing original economic projects. I refer to the so-called integration of integrations based on universal and transparent rules of international trade. As an example, I would like to cite our plans to interconnect the Eurasian economic union, and China’s initiative of the Silk Road economic belt.
We still believe that harmonizing the integration processes within the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union is highly promising.
Ladies and gentlemen, the issues that affect the future of all people include the challenge of global climate change. It is in our interest to make the U.N. Climate Change Conference to be held in December in Paris a success.
As part of our national contribution, we plan to reduce by 2030 the greenhouse emissions to 70, 75 percent of the 1990 level.
I suggest, however, we should take a wider view on this issue. Yes, we might defuse the problem for a while, by setting quotas on harmful emissions or by taking other measures that are nothing but tactical. But we will not solve it that way. We need a completely different approach.
We have to focus on introducing fundamental and new technologies inspired by nature, which would not damage the environment, but would be in harmony with it. Also, that would allow us to restore the balance upset by biosphere and technosphere (ph) upset by human activities.
It is indeed a challenge of planetary scope, but I’m confident that humankind has intellectual potential to address it. We need to join our efforts. I refer, first of all, to the states that have a solid research basis and have made significant advances in fundamental science.
We propose convening a special forum under the U.N. auspices for a comprehensive consideration of the issues related to the depletion of natural resources, destruction of habitat and climate change.
Russia would be ready to co-sponsor such a forum.
Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues, it was on the 10th of January, 1946, in London that the U.N. General Assembly gathered for its first session.
Mr. Suleta (ph) (inaudible), a Colombian diplomat and the chairman of the Preparatory Commission, opened the session by giving, I believe, a concise definition of the basic principles that the U.N. should follow in its activities, which are free will, defiance of scheming and trickery and spirit of cooperation.
Today, his words sound as a guidance for all of us. Russia believes in the huge potential of the United Nations, which should help us avoid a new global confrontation and engage in strategic cooperation. Together with other countries, we will consistently work towards strengthening the central coordinating role of the U.N. I’m confident that by working together, we will make the world stable and safe, as well as provide conditions for the development of all states and nations.
Just imagine teaching chemistry this way.
I guess you would have to lay off the juice, though. Otherwise, there could be some impossible bonding – and student recall would be low.
Image credit: The Human Survival Project
Today is the 70th anniversary of the first ever use of an atomic weapon against humans – civilians at that. The US dropped the bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Two days later they dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki.
There will be a lot of information circulating about this incident and its military and political significance. However, the Russian Historical Society has published an historical document which could be of interest. It is the just declassified report from Soviet ambassador to Japan on the aftermath of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is from the Archive of Foreign Policy of Russia. The report was recorded a month after the attacks.
The original report is available on-line at Report of the Soviet ambassador to Japan about the state of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb. For those who do not read Russian here are the highlights (thanks to Fort Russ – Russia declassifies the report on the aftermath of the US nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki):
The train terminal and the city of Hiroshima were destroyed so much that there was no shelter to hide from the rain.
The city was a scorched plain with 15-20 cement buildings left standing.
Several dozen thousand people huddled in the dugouts on the outskirts of the city.
People who came to help the victims during the first 5-10 days died.
A month after the bombing grass began to grow and new leaves appeared on the burned trees.
Glass windows in the cement building of police department, which was left standing, blew out inward. The ceiling was bulging upwards.
The zone of impact was 6-8 kilometers, where all the buildings were damaged.
At 5-6 kilometers mostly roofs were damaged.
Some areas were not affected by the rays, suggesting that the energy was expelled unequally by bursts. Some people who were close to the injured did not receive any burns. This pertains to sections significantly removed from the impact.
Everything alive was destroyed in the radius of one kilometer.
The sound and the flash were heard and seen 50 kilometers away.
On person reported seeing a flash and feeling a touch of a warm stream on his cheek and a needle pinch.
Many people only had injuries from shattered glass.
Burns were mainly on the face, arms and legs.
A doctor reported seeing three bombs dropped on parachutes, two of which did not explode and were collected by the military. The doctor experienced diarrhea after drinking the water. Other rescuers got sick after 36 hours. The doctor said that in those affected the white blood cell count reduced from 8000 per cubic centimeter to 3,000, 1,000 and even 300, which causes bleeding from nose, throat, eyes, and from the uterus in females. The injured die after 3-4 days.
The injured, who are evacuated heal faster. Those who drank or rinsed with water in the impact area died thereafter.
After a month it was considered safe to stay in the impact zone, however it was still not conclusive.
According to the doctor, rubber clothing offered protection against uranium, as well as any material which is a conductor of electricity.
A girl who visited the area a few days after the blast got sick in 1-2 weeks and died 3 days after.
Nagasaki is divided into two sections by a mountain. The section sheltered from the blast by a mountain had much less destruction.
Japanese driver in Nagasaki said no rescue work was done on the day of the bombing, because the city was engulfed in fire.
Nagasaki bomb was dropped over a university hospital in Urakami district (near a Mitsubishi plant), all the patients and the staff of the hospital died.
The driver said, some children who were up on the trees [playing?] survived, but those on the ground died.Most people in Hiroshima said the bomb was dropped on a parachute and detonated 500-600 feet above the ground.
The head of the sanitary service of the 5th American fleet, commander Willkatts said that no parachutes were used in the dropping of the bombs. He also said no bomb could fall without detonating.
He said after the bombing the zone of impact is safe and the Japanese are exaggerating the effects of a nuclear bomb.
At the first anniversary of the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines MH17 the international community is none the wiser about who shot it down and the weapon used. But the one thing we do know is the blame game continues.
The only official report we have from investigators to date was released last September (see MH17 – Preliminary report leaves most conspiracy theories intact). The final report will probably be released in October (see Investigations into MH17 crash expected to go on until year-end, says Najib).
But a draft of this final report is now in the hands of interested governments. This has resulted in speculation about its contents and stories which claim to be based on leaks. However, the Dutch investigators, have denied – or at least refused to confirm – the circulating stories.
As expected in the current geopolitical climate, the “blame Putin” propagandists are very active, although the stories seem to blame the “separatists” in eastern Ukraine, rather than the Russian Federation itself. For example, this from CNN:
“Dutch accident investigators say that evidence points to pro-Russian rebels as being responsible for shooting down MH-17, according to a source who has seen the report.
“According to the source”, the report says it was a Buk missile — a Russian surface-to-air missile — that was used, launched from a village in Russian rebel controlled territory.”
I am always suspicious of “according to a source” stories – they have so often proved to be no more than the reporter’s imagination.
Other reports do not point the finger but say the investigators now have a clear idea of what missile was used. A recent presentation from technical experts in the firm Almaz-Antey which manufactures missiles of the sort which may have been used shows what can be gleaned from the shrapnel fragments in the wreckage and the pattern of damage on the fuselage. Both in identifying the specific missile used (and, therefore, its possible owners) and its trajectory and launch site. This presentation is very technical and quite long but very interesting.
Although this presentation was aimed mainly at getting European sanctions on the company lifted by legal action, the material was also supplied to the Dutch Safety Board which is the official investigator of the causes of this tragedy.
Almaz-Antey’s conclusion is that, if a BUK missile was used, it was an older model no longer manufactured in the Russian Federation. The Ukrainian armed forces does have these missile systems (see MH17 crash: ‘Old Buk missile used’ – Russian firm). Mind you, that does not prove who fired the missile because the armed forces in the Donbass region may have possessed one or more such systems captured from the Ukrainian armed forces. And may have trained Ukrainian operators who had defected to the rebels.
So, at this stage the real causes of this tragedy are still unknown. It looks like we will know something more definite in October. But the geopolitical propaganda struggle continues.
I suspect the rumours and unconfirmed stories attributing blame to the eastern Ukrainian rebels are nothing more than propaganda – precipitated by the fact of the anniversary of the tragedy.