Risk of increasing confrontation between states with nuclear weapons

Two articles highlight the risk of increasing confrontation between states with nuclear weapons, which could become a nuclear holocaust:

David L. Phillips recently wrote: “Forget talk about ‘re-sets’ in relations; the US is on collision course with two implacable adversaries”. These adversaries are Russia and China. Note that he is currently director of the program on “Peacebuilding and Human Rights” at Columbia University and he served as a senior adviser and foreign affairs expert during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations.

Earlier this year, US admiral Charles Richard warned of a real possibility of nuclear war with Russia and China. He heads the US Strategic Command.

How to destroy a nation in 10 years

Read about Burkina Faso in the article on Consortium News by the retired US Army officer Danny Sjursen. The article and many of the comments to the article are striking examples of the disillusion, which is apparently spreading. One commenter writes:

There is no possible way that these outcomes are complete mistakes, made over and over again. When the US military goes in to “stabilize” a region, it always becomes more destabilized. So I have come to the conclusion they aren’t that incompetent. They know exactly what they are doing. They are arming bad guys in the region to attack other people in the region, and that causes extreme instability and protracted fighting. It has to be their intended goal.

The commenter’s bottom line is:

It also just happens to fatten up the weapons and war contractors.

Corruption also in environmental protection

Whistleblowers reveal that the US Environmental Protection Agency tampered with assessments of chemicals to make them appear safer, writes The Intercept. Among other things, scientists wrote in a statement:

The entire New Chemicals program operates under an atmosphere of fear — scientists are afraid of retaliation

One group of chemicals mentioned in the article is PFAS, which is for example used by the military in many parts of the world.

Website seizures

The Intercept reports about a new step in censorship:

One of the websites that was seized, LuaLua TV, is a Bahraini opposition channel founded by exiles in London fleeing their country’s post-2011 crackdown. Bahrain’s government — which is engaged in a campaign of torture and repression against peaceful dissidents — has long attempted to censor LuaLua TV for its critical coverage.

The station said in a statement that the censorship “represents a confiscation of press freedom, a prosecution of opinion, and an assassination of free speech.”

However, at least some of these websites are still available on other domain names.

Remembering Falcone and Borsellino

About thirty years ago, the Italian judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino were active in their work against the mafia. In 1992, they were both murdered with hidden bombs, which also killed several others including Falcone’s wife Francesca Morvillo. Now we are reminded of this, because an involved former leader of a Sicilian Mafia group was released from prison.

Less know are the suspicions that members of the Italian secret services were involved with the mafia in the murders of Falcone and Borsellino or were even the true culprits of all. There have actually been many connections between mafia and government, not only in Italy. For example, during World War II, the United States made a secret pact with the Italian mafia. After the war, the CIA is reported to have continued the relation with mafia. Thus, there could be many, who don’t want the whole truth to be revealed.

The legal battle against the Italian mafia, with links to white-collar accountants, politicians and government employees, is still ongoing.

One of the famous quotes by Falcone is:

He who is silent and bows his head dies every time he does so. He who speaks aloud and walks with his head held high dies only once.

The last interview of Paolo Borsellino, on May 21, 1992, two days before Giovanni Falcone’s killing and two months before Borsellino’s death. Source: Jeanne Pierre Moscardo and Fabrizio Calvi (Canal+) / Wikimedia Commons

European countries’ role as a vassal states exposed again

Lately, some European countries’ role as vassal states have been exposed to the public again, in particular by two events:

1. The withdrawal of military from Afghanistan (?)

The failure of the war in Afghanistan has been known for a long time, but it was only after the United States decided to withdraw their military that countries like Sweden could decide to also do so. But will these countries really end their destructive interventions? Lars-Gunnar Liljestrand writes in Dagens Nyheter (most links in this post are to content in Swedish):

After 20 years of war, the Swedish flag is being lowered in silence in Afghanistan. Sweden must now stand outside NATO’s new war adventures in the region

For those who don’t know, Sweden has been at war in Afghanistan under NATO command. Five Swedes were killed during their military service there and an unknown number of Afghans. Liljestrand continues:

Sweden’s minister of defense Peter Hultqvist (S) has for the longest time resisted ending the participation. In November 2020, when the then US President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw, Hultqvist warned against “leaving a vacuum for other actors”. It is the same as saying continued war without end.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg also claimed in the end that the troops would remain. The Taliban must show that the threat posed by terrorists such as IS and al-Qaeda has been eliminated. For NATO, it was important to be able to point to some result after 20 years.

When the current US President Joe Biden decided that the last American soldier should leave Afghanistan by 11 September this year, without making it a condition of the Taliban’s action, Stoltenberg’s policy collapsed. He can now show no lasting success after the biggest and longest war in the alliance’s history. The US administration has signaled that it will continue its military intervention in other ways. Air and drone bases in neighboring countries should be able to be used to enter Afghanistan with bombings to support the Afghan army when needed.

NATO has stated that training of Afghan special forces will be able to continue from bases in the region. It is thus paved for continued foreign intervention. 

2. Some of Edward Snowden’s revelations confirmed

Revelations made by Edward Snowden many years ago about how European countries are used to spy on each other (which we have written about before), have been confirmed in Denmark. First, Danish Radio reported that Swedish industry had been a target. At that time, also Swedish reporters who had talked to a whistleblower were treated threateningly. Now it has also been confirmed that politicians in several European countries were targets, among others. A funny thing about the interview with Hultqvist last evening is that he seems to pretend that this comes as a surprise. Note that he gets the relevant question, from the journalist Camilla Kvartoft, if also FRA spied on Danish politicians? In any case, Hultqvist makes it clear that the cooperation with the US will continue. Snowden also revealed that the NSA has been pressuring EU member states to change their laws to enable mass surveillance.

It is a shame to see that so many Europeans obviously accept to to be exploited and humiliated by participating in this. But as a vassal state, that is your role. Will someone now be able to break this absurd pattern?