zaterdag 7 mei 2022

DOES THE WEST DESIRE NUCLEAR WAR?

 

DOES THE WEST DESIRE NUCLEAR WAR?

Does The West Desire Nuclear War?

Illustrative Image

In a nuclear war scenario there would be no true winners.

Written by Uriel Araujo, researcher with a focus on international and ethnic conflicts.

On May 1 US lawmaker Adam Kinziger in an interview at CBS, talked about his proposed bill which would authorize the American President to use the Armed Forces against Russia to protect its “national security interests” and to “restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine” upon confirmation Moscow has used any weapons of mass destruction. This bill is part of a larger trend. It appears part of the North-American political and military elite desires direct war with the Russian Federation – even risking nuclear conflict.

Last month, US Senator Chris Coons said Washington should “not merely send arms to Ukraine” but rather should consider sending US “troops to the aid in defense” of that country. These American authorities are basically stating that a regional conflict should turn into a NATO-Russia war (thus making it an existential issue for Moscow) and potentially escalating into global and nuclear warfare.

This is the worrisome culmination of a kind of rhetoric that has been going on since the beginning of the current conflict. On February 23 French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said during a news conference that Russian President Vladimir Putin should understand that “NATO is a nuclear alliance”.

One month before Moscow started its current military operations in Ukraine, Evelyn N. Farkas (who is a former senior advisor to the Supreme Allied Commander, NATO, and who served as a deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia in the Obama administration) argued that Washington should issue the Kremlin an ultimatum (demanding it not attack Kiev). She urged the US to organize “coalition forces” to take action to “enforce” such an ultimatum and even use the American military “to roll back Russians – even at risk of direct combat.” She could not have been more clear. But she does not seem to be an isolated voice.

Shortly after the current crisis began, three retired US generals, George Joulwan, Wesley Clark, and Philip Breedlove (all of them being former NATO commanders) proposed the establishment of a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which would have the effect of bringing Russian and American military closer into lethal conflict and war.

Robert C. O’Brien, chairman of American Global Strategies LLC and a former White House national security adviser (2019-2021), in his April 19 opinion piece, proposed a series of responses aimed at “deterring nuclear war”. They include “sending a message” to the Kremlin about the consequences of employing nuclear weapons.

Basically, American strategists are worried – so they claim – that the Kremlin could use the nuclear option and thus they are advocating Washington do it first – or at least prepare itself for that – in a dangerous kind of reasoning that only fuels further escalation.

Seth Cropsey, who is a maritime defense strategy expert and a former Secretary of Defense assistant (under Reagan) and is also an influential lobbyist and political figure in Washington today goes beyond O’Brien proposal, arguing that the United States needs to be prepared to actually “win a nuclear war”. This seems to make sense even, from an American perspective, but the very concept of “winning” a nuclear conflict is problematic – and it is problematic not only from the US point of view, but from humanity’s perspective really.

Nuclear weapons today are way more powerful than the atomic bombs of 1945 – the only time any such arms have been ever employed so far. Today, the two bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be considered “low-yield”. Some of the current thermonuclear weapons which Russia and the United States possess are over 3,000 times as powerful as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. The largest nuclear weapon ever tested so far was the so-called Tsar Bomba, detonated over the Novaya Zemlya island (north of the Arctic Circle) in 1961 by the Soviet Union – it produced a 50 megaton blast and a mushroom cloud about 4.5 times the height of Mount Everest. People were able to see its flash from up to 630 miles (1013 kilometers) away.

One 100-kiloton nuclear bomb dropped on New York City, for example, could kill over 580 thousand people, according to Nukemap, a Stevens Institute of Technology-sponsored website. Therefore, a nuclear war today would be destructive beyond imagination.

A 2019 scientific study involving experts from the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Rutgers University’s Department of Environmental Sciences, and other institutions analyzed a scenario in which India, a nuclear power, employs strategic weapons to attack the urban centers of its nuclear power rival, Pakistan. The study concluded that in this scenario there would be up to 125 million deaths. Moreover, besides spreading dangerous levels of radioactivity, the nuclear-ignited fires would release up to 36 Tg of black carbon smoke which would reach the upper atmosphere, thus blocking out the sun and thereby dropping temperatures globally to unprecedented levels and also reducing precipitation up to 30%. Amid this darkness and drought, food production would surely collapse, causing global famine and further collateral fatalities. Recovery would take at least 10 years and the political, economic, social, and psychological impacts worldwide could simply destroy modern civilization. It is merely logical to assume a similar scenario would ensue if a nuclear conflict involving Russia and NATO took place.

The dangerous times we are living require good diplomacy and lots of table talks. Instead of discussing “nuclear primacy” scenarios, responsible Western leaders should work to reopen diplomatic communication channels with Moscow. The hard truth is that in a nuclear warfare scenario there would be no true winners.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:



Because of Ukraine US Needs More Weapons

Many systems the Ukrainians have utilized against the Russians, like Javelin anti-armor and Stinger air defense systems, came from Army and Marine Corps war stocks. These stocks need to be replenished, and LaPlante said the goal is to ultimately replace the systems on a one-for-one basis where possible. 

https://www.eurasiareview.com/07052022-pentagon-says-intensity-of-conflict-creates-unprecedented-need-for-weapons-munitions/



De Luchthandel Ontploft

 

De meest epische en gevaarlijke 

economische 

STORM in de geschiedenis staat nu voor de 

deur

DDe meest epische en gevaarlijke economische storm uit de geschiedenis is nu aangebroken… en er is geen uitweg. De centrale banken en de kleptocraten van de overheid hebben de val voor zichzelf gezet, en nu zitten ze gevangen zonder uitweg, meldt Mike Adams.

Gisteren heeft de Fed de rente met 50 basispunten (0,5%) verhoogd in een poging om het tij van de exploderende inflatie te keren. Maar met een reële inflatie van 15% tot 25% zal het kleine gebaar van 0,5% weinig effect hebben op het stoppen van de inflatie.

Het zal echter een enorm effect hebben op de vastgoedmarkten die, zoals ik drie weken geleden publiekelijk heb voorspeld, hun top al hebben bereikt. (Ik noemde de “top” van de vastgoedmarkt rond 18 april.) Hogere rentetarieven betekenen hogere kosten om hypotheekleningen af te lossen, en dat maakt het moeilijker voor potentiële kopers om in aanmerking te komen voor bankleningen voor te dure huizen en grond. Het resultaat zal snel zijn: Een snelle afbouw van de huizenbubbel die in gang is gezet door absurd lage rentetarieven en het schijnbaar eindeloos drukken van geld.

Maar dat is nog maar het begin van het nieuws over de economische storm die nu op ons afkomt.

Het tekort op de handelsbalans van de VS is nu opgelopen tot een tekort van bijna 110 miljard dollar in één maand (maart), wat betekent dat de VS gewoon niet veel exporteert, vergeleken met alles wat ze importeert. Dit is een beangstigende indicator voor de toestand van de Amerikaanse economie op lange termijn.

Bovendien, zo meldt CNBC, blijkt uit een schokkend nieuw economisch rapport dat de productiviteit van Amerikaanse werknemers in het eerste kwartaal van 2022 met 7,5% is gedaald. Dat is bijna een duikeling van een klif. Maar terwijl de productie daalt, rijzen de kosten de pan uit. Amerikaanse bedrijven en fabrikanten betalen dus meer geld voor minder productiviteit. Prijzen stijgen, productie daalt. Geen goede zaak voor de economie.

CNBC rapporteert ook dat de e-commerce activiteit sterk afneemt, en e-commerce platforms worden gehamerd in de 1.000+ punten duik in de DOW van vandaag, met sommige aandelenkoersen voor e-commerce giganten die in één dag maar liefst 17% lager noteerden.

Met het waanzinnig geld printen dat in een paniek tempo doorgaat, is het slechts een kwestie van tijd voordat de hele op schuld gebaseerde fiat valuta misleidingsmachine implodeert, wat leidt tot wat financieel analist Gregory Mannarino voorspelt, tot 80% verliezen in aandelen, obligaties en andere in dollar luidende activa. Bekijk het Mannarino interview hier:

Datzelfde kanaal op Brighteon, “Liberty and Finance,” interviewde ook Andy Schectman, CEO van Miles Franklin, een grote detailhandelaar in edelmetalen. In dat interview onthult Schectman zijn verbluffende analyse (die naar mijn mening accuraat is) over hoe BRICS naties klaar staan om hun eigen door goud ondersteunde digitale valuta te ontketenen, die de dollar onmiddellijk zal verdringen als de wereldreservemunt.

Belangrijk is dat Schectman uitlegt dat dit in één dag zal gebeuren, zonder waarschuwing, zonder uitwegen voor diegenen die dollars overhouden. Dit is een zeer belangrijk interview om aandacht aan te besteden (ik ga Schectman over een paar weken interviewen om nog meer details over zijn analyse te krijgen):

Waar het op neerkomt? Andy slaat de spijker op z’n kop. Hij ziet het grote plaatje, en u zou zijn waarschuwing moeten opvolgen of de prijs moeten betalen van het verlies van letterlijk al uw dollaractiva wanneer de muziek stopt. De dagen van dominantie van de dollar lopen snel ten einde. En dat betekent dat de dagen van gemakkelijk geld, betaalbare consumptiegoederen, goedkope leningen en gemakkelijk krediet ook bijna voorbij zijn.

De regeringen van Zwitserland en Duitsland sporen hun burgers plotseling aan voorraden aan te leggen en zich voor te bereiden op de ineenstorting van het elektriciteitsnet

De schokkende wending in de wereldwijde gebeurtenissen wordt nog versterkt door het feit dat de regeringen van Duitsland en Zwitserland hun burgers en bedrijven nu publiekelijk aansporen om essentiële voorraden aan te leggen en zich voor te bereiden op scenario’s zoals de ineenstorting van het elektriciteitsnet of een nucleaire oorlog.


vrijdag 6 mei 2022

Berichten uit Donbass

 


Mariupol, evacuation from the Azovstal plant.  The woman in the video says: (subtitles Chris Incognito)

U.S. Pushes Fake Stories To Goad Russia Into Escalation

 May 06, 2022

U.S. Pushes Fake Stories To Goad Russia Into Escalation

The geniuses (not) at the National Security Council want to goad Russia into direct attacks on U.S. forces or interests. That would give the U.S. an excuse to further escalate the war in Ukraine into an open confrontation. It would also diverts the attention away from domestic problems.

To achieve this the NSC has pushed a number of stories to the media which claim that alleged Ukrainian successes are based on U.S. intelligence.

U.S. Intelligence Is Helping Ukraine Kill Russian Generals, Officials Say, May 4, NYT

WASHINGTON — The United States has provided intelligence about Russian units that has allowed Ukrainians to target and kill many of the Russian generals who have died in action in the Ukraine war, according to senior American officials.

Ukrainian officials said they have killed approximately 12 generals on the front lines, a number that has astonished military analysts.

The targeting help is part of a classified effort by the Biden administration to provide real-time battlefield intelligence to Ukraine. That intelligence also includes anticipated Russian troop movements gleaned from recent American assessments of Moscow’s secret battle plan for the fighting in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, the officials said. Officials declined to specify how many generals had been killed as a result of U.S. assistance.

The United States has focused on providing the location and other details about the Russian military’s mobile headquarters, which relocate frequently. Ukrainian officials have combined that geographic information with their own intelligence — including intercepted communications that alert the Ukrainian military to the presence of senior Russian officers — to conduct artillery strikes and other attacks that have killed Russian officers.

The story is obvious bullshit because there are only two Russian generals who have died so far during the Russian campaign in Ukraine.

Major General Andrey Sukhovetsky was killed on February 28 and Major General Vladimir Frolov was killed in early April. Both deaths were immediately officially acknowledged and reported in Russian media. Both men were buried with military honors.

All other 'killed Russian generals' are victims of the 'ghost of Kiev'.  The Ukrainian propaganda apparatus likes such stories because it knows that 'western' media will pick up on them.

Russia does not hide the death of high officers. It is impossible to do so over longer periods as such men are known by many others. It would be bad for any government to get caught in such a scheme. There is also no reason to do so.

Some U.S. sources claim that a general's death will demoralize the troops he led. The opposite is the case. Generals getting killed on or near the frontline demonstrate to frontline soldiers that they are not alone in their fighting and that their officers are doing the job while carrying the same high risk than they do.

The Pentagon denied any involvement:

The Pentagon denied Thursday that the U.S. has shared intelligence with Ukraine with the intent of targeting and killing senior Russian military leaders, stressing that the goal of U.S. intelligence is simply to allow Ukrainian forces to defend themselves against Russia's invasion.

The generals in the Pentagon are keen to not become targets for Russian reprisals.

Here is another such story:

U.S. intel helped Ukraine sink Russian flagship Moskva, officials say, May 5, NBCnews

Intelligence shared by the U.S. helped Ukraine sink the Russian cruiser Moskva, U.S. officials told NBC News, confirming an American role in perhaps the most embarrassing blow to Vladimir Putin’s troubled invasion of Ukraine.

A guided missile cruiser carrying a crew of 510, the Moskva was the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. It sank on April 14 after being struck by two Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles.

It is in fact still not clear what has happened to the Moskva. Russia only said that the ship had an explosion on board that ripped the hull below the waterline and caused a fire. There are other possibilities but hits by two Ukrainian anti-ship missiles seem unlikely.

The Pentagon again denied any direct involvement:

In a statement released after this story was published, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the U.S. did not provide Ukraine with "specific targeting information for the Moskva."

"We were not involved in the Ukrainians’ decision to strike the ship or in the operation they carried out," Kirby added. "We had no prior knowledge of Ukraine’s intent to target the ship. The Ukrainians have their own intelligence capabilities to track and target Russian naval vessels, as they did in this case."

The last sentence is incorrect as Russia destroyed all Ukrainian naval radars that were stupid enough to radiate.

Russia will not react to such stupid stories. It knows that the U.S. is pushing all kinds of battlefield information as well as weapons to the Ukrainians. It is also assumed that foreign generals are 'consulting' the general staff of the Ukrainian forces. Neither will help the Ukraine to win the war.

Over the longer term Russia may well seek revenge for the U.S. proxy war against it. But President Putin is a patient man and revenge is a dish best served cold.

Posted by b on May 6, 2022 at 15:29 UTC | Permalink

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2022/05/us-pushes-fake-stories-to-goad-russia-into-escalation.html




HOW THIRD WORLD WAR CAN START

US Intel Assisted In Sinking Russian Flagship Vessel: Officials Claim Bombshell Escalation

Tyler Durden's Photo
BY TYLER DURDEN
FRIDAY, MAY 06, 2022 - 12:11 PM

Less than 24 hours after The New York Times issued a provocative report citing unnamed US officials who are celebrating that American intelligence-sharing with Ukraine's military has helped take out multiple Russian generals since the Feb.24 invasion, NBC News is out with yet another bombshell claim sourced to the deep state US intel officials. 

Amid what seems escalation after escalation, and new revelations of Washington's deepening and perhaps increasingly direct role in fighting Russia in Ukraine, NBC brings us this doozy... "Intelligence shared by the U.S. helped Ukraine sink the Russian cruiser Moskva, U.S. officials told NBC News, confirming an American role in perhaps the most embarrassing blow to Vladimir Putin’s troubled invasion of Ukraine."

Image later leaked of the April 15 sinking of the Moskva

As a reminder of just how hugely significant the claim is - and just how dangerous in terms of representing a massive escalation - the Moskva was considered the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, had 510 crewmen on board before Neptune anti-cruise ship missiles scored a direct hit in mid-April, and was the most embarrassing single blow to President Putin's war effort of the whole conflict thus far.'

"The attack happened after Ukrainian forces asked the Americans about a ship sailing in the Black Sea south of Odesa, U.S. officials told NBC News," the report continues. "The U.S. identified it as the Moskva, officials said, and helped confirm its location, after which the Ukrainians targeted the ship." This comes after the NY Times revealed in a report the night prior that much of the intel-sharing is focused on Russian troop and equipment movements.

According to further details based on anonymous US senior officials:

The U.S. did not know in advance that Ukraine was going to target the Moskva, officials said, and was not involved in the decision to strike. Maritime intelligence is shared with Ukraine to help it defend against attack from Russian ships, officials added.

The U.S. role in the sinking has not been previously reported.

Biden admin officials in the days after the Moskva sinking had been relatively silent, possibly suggesting that they knew more about the details than what their quiet public stance let on.

The April 15 event had initially also been met with lack of answers from Moscow as it attempted to deal with the crisis of its flagship missile cruiser sinking to the bottom of the Black Sea after it was hit off Odessa, and as it later said all the crew were evacuated. However some Ukrainian and Western officials said the ship suffered casualties.

It goes without saying that this fresh NBC report will be viewed by Moscow as an outrageous acknowledged escalation by Washington, though so far Russian leadership's public response has been rather muted...

The Kremlin had previously warned it would hold external countries supplying arms and other forms of assistance "responsible" - and that "decision-making" centers including Kiev would come under increased attack. Meanwhile, cruise missile strikes even as far west as Lviv do appear to be expanding this week.

Indeed it seems that these intentional "leaks" to the media, likely as part of a deliberate strategy of seeking to intimidate Russia in hopes it will more quickly back off its military operations, will instead only serve to ratchet things further as broader great power tensions hit boiling point.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/us-intel-assisted-sinking-russian-flagship-vessel-officials-say-bombshell-revelation?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=645



NAVO BRENGT DERDE WERELDOORLOG DICHTERBIJ

 

De angstaanjagende 

massavernietigingswapens 

die het Russische leger op dit 

moment ontwikkelt

Vladimir Poetin zei dat Rusland de wereld op de hoogte bracht toen het deze maand zijn internationale continentale ballistische raket van de volgende generatie testte, meldt Metro.

De Sarmat – door de NAVO ‘Satan II’ genoemd – is een geavanceerd wapenleveringssysteem dat overal in Europa of de VS kan toeslaan met een verwoestende nucleaire lading.

Het kan naar verluidt meer dan 11.000 mijl afleggen, 10 ton explosieven afleveren en snelheden bereiken van Mach 20.

Om dat in de juiste context te plaatsen: de snelheid van geluiden is Mach 1 en Washington DC ligt 4.800 mijl van Moskou.

Het markeert een belangrijke upgrade van het Russische kernwapenarsenaal uit de Koude Oorlog en het Westen houdt de ontwikkeling ervan nauwlettend in de gaten.

Maar de Sarmat is zeker niet het enige wapen waaraan wordt gewerkt door het netwerk van militaire wetenschappers en industriëlen van het Kremlin.

In maart 2018 hield Poetin een van de meest agressieve toespraken van zijn ambtsperiode tot dan toe.

Hij onthulde dat zijn ministerie van Defensie werkte aan tal van uiterst geheime wapenprojecten waarvan hij zei dat ze het Kremlin een voorsprong op de NAVO zouden geven.

Het is moeilijk om feiten en fictie te scheiden over de wapens die Rusland sindsdien heeft ontwikkeld, maar sommige details zijn uitgelekt – misschien opzettelijk – terwijl onafhankelijke experts er meer uit hebben kunnen halen.

Naast de Sarmat kennen we nog vijf andere angstaanjagende plannen die de heer Poetin tot leven probeert te brengen om zijn leger op één lijn te brengen met de NAVO.

Dit zijn de wapens waarvan hij zegt dat ze ervoor zullen zorgen dat Rusland een supermacht van de 21e eeuw wordt, of het Westen het nu leuk vindt of niet.


Glide-raketten zijn een nieuwe klasse wapens die worden ontwikkeld door ’s werelds militaire grootmachten.

Net als ballistische raketten verlaten ze de baan van de aarde voordat ze weer terugkeren, maar zweefvliegtuigen zijn ontworpen om wendbaarder te zijn als ze hun doel naderen, waardoor ze moeilijker te onderscheppen zijn.

Ze vliegen op een lagere hoogte, waardoor ze de snelheid van een ICBM hebben, maar het vermogen om onder het gezichtsveld van verdedigingssystemen te vliegen, zoals een kruisraket.

Vladimir Poetin heeft beweerd dat de koers van de Avangard in de lucht kan worden aangepast en dat hij tussen Mach 20 en 27 zal reizen, waardoor het een van de snelste wapens ooit ontwikkeld zou zijn.

Eenheden die verantwoordelijk zijn voor het onderhoud van het wapen zijn al in gevechtsdienst.

Glide-raketten zijn een wapen van de volgende generatie dat kenmerken van de ballistische en kruisraketten combineert.

Poseidon autonoom onderwatervoertuig 

Het Westen is sinds 2015 op de hoogte van de ontwikkeling van een onbemande onderzeeër-drone, een nieuw type wapensysteem dat een kernbom kan dragen.

Het is naar verluidt ontworpen om een ​​diepte van 1.000 meter te bereiken en – als de rapporten die door kernenergie worden aangedreven correct zijn – een theoretisch onbeperkt bereik heeft.

Volgens een Amerikaanse analyse zou het worden vervoerd aan boord van een conventionele onderzeeër en bewapend met twee-megaton kernkoppen die onder het oppervlak tot ontploffing kunnen worden gebracht.

Men denkt dat het bedoeld is als reactiewapen als Rusland als eerste wordt geraakt met een nucleaire lading.

Het kan niet alleen marinedoelen raken met conventionele kernkoppen, maar het kan ook worden gebruikt om kuststeden aan te vallen door het activeren van wat volgens rapporten een ‘radioactieve tsunami’ wordt genoemd wanneer het dicht bij de kust tot ontploffing komt.

Vladimir Poetin heeft ze beschreven als ‘stil, zeer wendbaar en [ze] hebben nauwelijks kwetsbaarheden die de vijand kan uitbuiten’.

Nucleair aangedreven kruisraket van Burevestnik 

Rusland heeft geprobeerd een kruisraket te ontwikkelen met een theoretisch onbeperkt bereik omdat het zou worden aangedreven door een kernreactor.

Kruisraketten zijn ontworpen om op lage hoogte te vliegen om detectie te voorkomen en zeer nauwkeurige doelen te raken.

De Buresevestnik heeft een moeizame ontwikkeling doorgemaakt: een testvlucht met behulp van de kernmotor eindigde in een ramp toen deze explodeerde en ten minste vijf nucleaire wetenschappers omkwamen die waren gestuurd om hem te herstellen van de zee waar hij was neergestort.

Een Amerikaans rapport zei dat het een ‘uniek’ wapen zou zijn als de technische problemen konden worden overwonnen, maar het wapen lijkt nog in ontwikkeling te zijn.

Tijdens een ceremonie ter ere van de specialisten die bij de ontploffing van augustus 2019 zijn omgekomen, zei Poetin dat Rusland ‘dit wapen zeker zal perfectioneren, ongeacht wat dan ook’.

Kinzhal lucht gelanceerde ballistische raket 

Het Kremlin heeft een ballistische raket ontwikkeld die een kernkop kan dragen die vanuit een vliegtuig kan worden gelanceerd.

Volgens de VS is het wapen een aangepaste versie van het Iskander-raketsysteem, een grondlanceerinrichting die al meer dan tien jaar in gebruik is en ontworpen is om te worden gemonteerd op een supersonische straaljager.

Het kortere bereik betekent dat het mogelijk is ontwikkeld om marinedoelen aan te vallen, maar, in tegenstelling tot andere wapens op de lijst, mogelijk al in Oekraïne is gebruikt.

Als het wordt bevestigd, zou het de eerste keer zijn dat een hypersonische raket – een raket die met vijf keer de snelheid van het geluid kan reizen – in oorlogsvoering wordt gebruikt.

De Khinzal kan worden uitgerust met een kernkop, maar droeg een conventionele bom toen Rusland zegt dat deze in Oekraïne werd gebruikt.

Vladimir Poetin heeft beweerd dat het in de lucht kan worden verplaatst en dat het tempo waarmee het wordt gelanceerd en reist is ontworpen om het te helpen bij het ontwijken van raketafweersystemen.

Tsirkon hypersonische kruisraket 

De Tsirkon is een anti-schip hypersonische kruisraket die kan vliegen met negen keer de snelheid van het geluid en kan worden afgevuurd vanaf oppervlakteschepen of onderzeeërs.

Vladimir Poetin beweerde dat het een doel op 1000 km afstand kan raken en dat het ministerie van Defensie een landgebaseerde versie ontwikkelt.

Na te zijn gelanceerd door een boostermotor, bereikt het hoge snelheden door de lucht eromheen via een ‘scramjet’ aan te zuigen en vliegt zo snel door de atmosfeer dat de lucht ervoor in plasma verandert.

Dit is belangrijk omdat plasma radiogolven absorbeert, waardoor het moeilijk is voor raketdetectiesystemen om het te detecteren.

https://dissident.one/2022/05/02/31710/

UN Torture Expert: the UK and US have colluded to publicly destroy the WikiLeaks founder

According to the UN torture expert, the UK and US have colluded to publicly destroy the WikiLeaks founder – and deter others from exposing their crimes

The British home secretary, Priti Patel, will decide this month whether Julian Assange is to be extradited to the United States, where he faces a sentence of up to 175 years – served most likely in strict, 24-hour isolation in a US super-max jail.

He has already spent three years in similarly harsh conditions in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison. 

The 18 charges laid against Assange in the US relate to the publication by WikiLeaks in 2010 of leaked official documents, many of them showing that the US and UK were responsible for war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. No one has been brought to justice for those crimes. 

Instead, the US has defined Assange’s journalism as espionage - and by implication asserted a right to seize any journalist in the world who takes on the US national security state - and in a series of extradition hearings, the British courts have given their blessing. 

trial​   ​

The lengthy proceedings against Assange have been carried out in courtrooms with tightly restricted access and in circumstances that have repeatedly denied journalists the ability to cover the case properly.

Despite the grave implications for a free press and democratic accountability, however, Assange’s plight has provoked little more than a flicker of concern from much of the western media.

Few observers appear to be in any doubt that Patel will sign off on the US extradition order – least of all Nils Melzer, a law professor, and a United Nations’ special rapporteur. 

In his role as the UN’s expert on torture, Melzer has made it his job since 2019 to scrutinise not only Assange’s treatment during his 12 years of increasing confinement – overseen by the UK courts – but also the extent to which due process and the rule of law have been followed in pursuing the WikiLeaks founder. 

Melzer has distilled his detailed research into a new book, The Trial of Julian Assange, that provides a shocking account of rampant lawlessness by the main states involved – Britain, Sweden, the US, and Ecuador. It also documents a sophisticated campaign of misinformation and character assassination to obscure those misdeeds. 

The result, Melzer concludes, has been a relentless assault not only on Assange’s fundamental rights but his physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing that Melzer classifies as psychological torture. 

The UN rapporteur argues that the UK has invested far too much money and muscle in securing Assange’s prosecution on behalf of the US, and has too pressing a need itself to deter others from following Assange’s path in exposing western crimes, to risk letting Assange walk free. 

It has instead participated in a wide-ranging legal charade to obscure the political nature of Assange’s incarceration. And in doing so, it has systematically ridden roughshod over the rule of law. 

Melzer believes Assange’s case is so important because it sets a precedent to erode the most basic liberties the rest of us take for granted. He opens the book with a quote from Otto Gritschneder, a German lawyer who observed up close the rise of the Nazis, “those who sleep in a democracy will wake up in a dictatorship".

Back to the wall

Melzer has raised his voice because he believes that in the Assange case any residual institutional checks and balances on state power, especially those of the US, have been subdued.

He points out that even the prominent human rights group Amnesty International has avoided characterising Assange as a “prisoner of conscience”, despite his meeting all the criteria, with the group apparently fearful of a backlash from funders (p81).

He notes too that, aside from the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, comprising expert law professors, the UN itself has largely ignored the abuses of Assange’s rights (p3). In large part, that is because even states like Russia and China are reluctant to turn Assange’s political persecution into a stick with which to beat the West – as might otherwise have been expected. 

His 330-page book is so packed with examples of abuses of due process that it is impossible to summarise even a tiny fraction of them

The reason, Melzer observes, is that WikiLeaks’ model of journalism demands greater accountability and transparency from all states. With Ecuador’s belated abandonment of Assange, he appears to be utterly at the mercy of the world’s main superpower. 

Instead, Melzer argues, Britain and the US have cleared the way to vilify Assange and incrementally disappear him under the pretence of a series of legal proceedings. That has been made possible only because of complicity from prosecutors and the judiciary, who are pursuing the path of least resistance in silencing Assange and the cause he represents.

It is what Melzer terms an official “policy of small compromises” – with dramatic consequences (p250-1).

His 330-page book is so packed with examples of abuses of due process – at the legal, prosecutorial, and judicial levels – that it is impossible to summarise even a tiny fraction of them. 

However, the UN rapporteur refuses to label this as a conspiracy – if only because to do so would be to indict himself as part of it. He admits that when Assange’s lawyers first contacted him for help in 2018, arguing that the conditions of Assange’s incarceration amounted to torture, he ignored their pleas. 

As he now recognises, he too had been influenced by the demonisation of Assange, despite his long professional and academic training to recognise techniques of perception management and political persecution.

“To me, like most people around the world, he was just a rapist, hacker, spy, and narcissist,” he says (p10).

It was only later when Melzer finally agreed to examine the effects of Assange’s long-term confinement on his health – and found the British authorities obstructing his investigation at every turn and openly deceiving him – that he probed deeper. When he started to pick at the legal narratives around Assange, the threads quickly unravelled. 

He points to the risks of speaking up – a price he has experienced firsthand – that have kept others silent.

“With my uncompromising stance, I put not only my credibility at risk, but also my career and, potentially, even my personal safety… Now, I suddenly found myself with my back to the wall, defending human rights and the rule of law against the very democracies which I had always considered to be my closest allies in the fight against torture. It was a steep and painful learning curve” (p97).

He adds regretfully: “I had inadvertently become a dissident within the system itself" (p269).

Subversion of law

The web of complex cases that have ensnared the WikiLeaks founder – and kept him incarcerated – have included an entirely unproductive, decade-long sexual assault investigation by Sweden; an extended detention over a bail infraction that occurred after Assange was granted asylum by Ecuador from political extradition to the US; and the secret convening of a grand jury in the US, followed by endless hearings and appeals in the UK to extradite him as part of the very political persecution he warned of. 

The goal throughout, says Melzer, has not been to expedite Assange’s prosecution – that would have risked exposing the absence of evidence against him in both the Swedish and US cases. Rather it has been to trap Assange in an interminable process of non-prosecution while he is imprisoned in ever-more draconian conditions and the public turned against him.

Protesters hold up placards as they gather outside Australia House to take part in a march in support of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in London on February 22, 2020,
A protest outside Australia House, London in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, on 22 February 2020 (AFP)

What appeared – at least to onlookers – to be the upholding of the law in Sweden, Britain and the US was the exact reverse: its repeated subversion. The failure to follow basic legal procedures was so consistent, argues Melzer, that it cannot be viewed as simply a series of unfortunate mistakes.

It aims at the “systematic persecution, silencing and destruction of an inconvenient political dissident”. (p93)

Assange, in Melzer’s view, is not just a political prisoner. He is one whose life is being put in severe danger from relentless abuses that accord with the definition of psychological torture.

Such torture depends on its victim being intimidated, isolated, humiliated, and subjected to arbitrary decisions (p74). Melzer clarifies that the consequences of such torture not only break down the mental and emotional coping mechanisms of victims but over time have very tangible physical consequences too.

Melzer explains the so-called “Mandela Rules” – named after the long-jailed black resistance leader Nelson Mandela, who helped bring down South African apartheid – that limit the use of extreme forms of solitary confinement. 

In Assange’s case, however, “this form of ill-treatment very quickly became the status quo” in Belmarsh, even though Assange was a “non-violent inmate posing no threat to anyone”. As his health deteriorated, prison authorities isolated him further, professedly for his own safety. As a result, Melzer concludes, Assange’s “silencing and abuse could be perpetuated indefinitely, all under the guise of concern for his health”. (p88-9)

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The rapporteur observes that he would not be fulfilling his UN mandate if he failed to protest not only Assange’s torture but the fact that he is being tortured to protect those who committed torture and other war crimes exposed in the Iraq and Afghanistan logs published by WikiLeaks. They continue to escape justice with the active connivance of the same state authorities seeking to destroy Assange (p95).

With his long experience of handling torture cases around the world, Melzer suggests that Assange has great reserves of inner strength that have kept him alive, if increasingly frail and physically ill. Assange has lost a great deal of weight, is regularly confused and disorientated, and has suffered a minor stroke in Belmarsh. 

Many of the rest of us, the reader is left to infer, might well have succumbed by now to a lethal heart attack or stroke, or have committed suicide. 

A further troubling implication hangs over the book: that this is the ultimate ambition of those persecuting him. The current extradition hearings can be spun out indefinitely, with appeals right up to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, keeping Assange out of view all that time, further damaging his health, and providing a stronger deterrent effect on whistleblowers and other journalists. 

This is a win-win, notes Melzer. If Assange’s mental health breaks down entirely, he can be locked away in a psychiatric institution. And if he dies, that would finally solve the inconvenience of sustaining the legal charade that has been needed to keep him silenced and out of view for so long (p322).  

Sweden’s charade

Melzer spends much of the book reconstructing the 2010 accusations of sexual assault against Assange in Sweden. He does this not to discredit the two women involved – in fact, he argues that the Swedish legal system failed them as much as it did Assange – but because that case set the stage for the campaign to paint Assange as a rapist, narcissist, and fugitive from justice. 

The US might never have been able to launch its overtly political persecution of Assange had he not already been turned into a popular hate figure over the Sweden case. His demonisation was needed – as well as his disappearance from view – to smooth the path to redefining national security journalism as espionage.

Melzer’s meticulous examination of the case – assisted by his fluency in Swedish – reveals something that the mainstream media coverage has ignored: Swedish prosecutors never had the semblance of a case against Assange, and apparently never the slightest intention to move the investigation beyond the initial taking of witness statements.

The allegations against Assange were so clearly unsustainable that the Swedish authorities never sought to seriously investigate them. To do so would have instantly exposed their futility 

Nonetheless, as Melzer observes, it became “the longest ‘preliminary investigation’ in Swedish history” (p103).

The first prosecutor to examine the case, in 2010, immediately dropped the investigation, saying, “there is no suspicion of a crime" (p133).

When the case was finally wrapped up in 2019, many months before the statute of limitations was reached, a third prosecutor observed simply that “it cannot be assumed that further inquiries will change the evidential situation in any significant manner" (p261).

Couched in lawyerly language, that was an admission that interviewing Assange would not lead to any charges. The preceding nine years had been a legal charade.

But in those intervening years, the illusion of a credible case was so well sustained that major newspapers, including Britain’s The Guardian newspaper, repeatedly referred to “rape charges” against Assange, even though he had never been charged with anything.

More significantly, as Melzer keeps pointing out, the allegations against Assange were so clearly unsustainable that the Swedish authorities never sought to seriously investigate them. To do so would have instantly exposed their futility. 

Instead, Assange was trapped. For the seven years that he was given asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy, Swedish prosecutors refused to follow normal procedures and interview him where he was, in person or via computer, to resolve the case. But the same prosecutors also refused to issue standard reassurances that he would not be extradited onwards to the US, which would have made his asylum in the embassy unnecessary.

In this way, Melzer argues “the rape suspect narrative could be perpetuated indefinitely without ever coming before a court. Publicly, this deliberately manufactured outcome could conveniently be blamed on Assange, by accusing him of having evaded justice” (p254).

Neutrality dropped

Ultimately, the success of the Swedish case in vilifying Assange derived from the fact that it was driven by a narrative almost impossible to question without appearing to belittle the two women at its centre.

But the rape narrative was not the women’s. It was effectively imposed on the case – and on them – by elements within the Swedish establishment, echoed by the Swedish media. Melzer hazards a guess as to why the chance to discredit Assange was seized on so aggressively. 

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Swedish leaders dropped the country’s historic position of neutrality and threw their hand in with the US and the global “war on terror”. Stockholm was quickly integrated into the western security and intelligence community (p102).

All of that was put in jeopardy as Assange began eyeing Sweden as a new base for WikiLeaks, attracted by its constitutional protections for publishers.

In fact, he was in Sweden for precisely that reason in the run-up to WikiLeaks’ publication of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs. It must have been only too obvious to the Swedish establishment that any move to headquarter WikiLeaks there risked setting Stockholm on a collision course with Washington (p159).

A news ticker headline about the release of 400,000 secret US documents about the war in Iraq on the WikiLeaks website October 22, 2010 seen in New York's Times Square. AFP PHOTO/Stan Honda
A news ticker headline about the release of 400,000 secret US documents about the war in Iraq on the WikiLeaks website on 22 October 2010, seen in New York's Times Square (AFP/Stan Honda)

This, Melzer argues, is the context that helps to explain an astonishingly hasty decision by the police to notify the public prosecutor of a rape investigation against Assange minutes after a woman referred to only as "S" first spoke to a police officer in a central Stockholm station. 

In fact, S and another woman, "A", had not intended to make any allegation against Assange. After learning he had had sex with them in quick succession, they wanted him to take an HIV test. They thought approaching the police would force his hand (p115). The police had other ideas. 

The irregularities in the handling of the case are so numerous, Melzer spends the best part of 100 pages documenting them. The women’s testimonies were not recorded, transcribed verbatim, or witnessed by a second officer. They were summarised. 

The same, deeply flawed procedure – one that made it impossible to tell whether leading questions influenced their testimony or whether significant information was excluded – was employed during the interviews of witnesses friendly to the women. Assange’s interview and those of his allies, by contrast, were recorded and transcribed verbatim (p132).

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The reason for the women making their statements – the desire to get an HIV test from Assange – was not mentioned in the police summaries.

In the case of S, her testimony was later altered without her knowledge, in highly dubious circumstances that have never been explained (p139-41). The original text is redacted so it is impossible to know what was altered.

Stranger still, a criminal report of rape was logged against Assange on the police computer system at 4.11pm, 11 minutes after the initial meeting with S and 10 minutes before a senior officer had begun interviewing S – and two and half hours before that interview would finish (p119-20).

In another sign of the astounding speed of developments, Sweden’s public prosecutor had received two criminal reports against Assange from the police by 5pm, long before the interview with S had been completed. The prosecutor then immediately issued an arrest warrant against Assange before the police summary was written and without taking into account that S did not agree to sign it (p121).

Almost immediately, the information was leaked to the Swedish media, and within an hour of receiving the criminal reports the public prosecutor had broken protocol by confirming the details to the Swedish media (p126).

Secret amendments

The constant lack of transparency in the treatment of Assange by Swedish, British, US, and Ecuadorian authorities becomes a theme in Melzer’s book. Evidence is not made available under freedom of information laws, or, if it is, it is heavily redacted or only some parts are released – presumably those that do not risk undermining the official narrative. 

For four years, Assange’s lawyers were denied any copies of the text messages the two Swedish women sent – on the grounds they were “classified”. The messages were also denied to the Swedish courts, even when they were deliberating on whether to extend an arrest warrant for Assange (p124).

It was not until nine years later those messages were made public, though Melzer notes that the index numbers show many continue to be withheld. Most notably, 12 messages sent by S from the police station – when she is known to have been unhappy at the police narrative being imposed on her – are missing. They would likely have been crucial to Assange’s defence (p125).

The text messages from the women that have been released suggest strongly that they felt they were being railroaded into a version of events they had not agreed to

Similarly, much of the later correspondence between British and Swedish prosecutors that kept Assange trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy for years was destroyed – even while the Swedish preliminary investigation was supposedly still being pursued (p106).

The text messages from the women that have been released, however, suggest strongly that they felt they were being railroaded into a version of events they had not agreed to.

Slowly they relented, the texts suggest, as the juggernaut of the official narrative bore down on them, with the implied threat that if they disputed it they risked prosecution themselves for providing false testimony (p130).

Moments after S entered the police station, she texted a friend to say that “the police officer appears to like the idea of getting him [Assange]" (p117).

In a later message, she writes that it was “the police who made up the charges” (p129). And when the state assigns her a high-profile lawyer, she observes only that she hopes he will get her “out of this shit” (p136).

In a further text, she says: “I didn’t want to be part of it [the case against Assange], but now I have no choice" (p137).

It was on the basis of the secret amendments made to S’s testimony by the police that the first prosecutor’s decision to drop the case against Assange was overturned, and the investigation reopened (p141). As Melzer notes, the faint hope of launching a prosecution of Assange essentially rested on one word: whether S was “asleep”, “half-asleep” or “sleepy” when they had sex. 

Melzer write that “as long as the Swedish authorities are allowed to hide behind the convenient veil of secrecy, the truth about this dubious episode may never come to light” (p141).

‘No ordinary extradition’

These and many, many other glaring irregularities in the Swedish preliminary investigation documented by Melzer are vital to decoding what comes next. Or as Melzer concludes “the authorities were not pursuing justice in this case but a completely different, purely political agenda" (p147).

With the investigation hanging over his head, Assange struggled to build on the momentum of the Iraq and Afghanistan logs revealing systematic war crimes committed by the US and UK.

“The involved governments had successfully snatched the spotlight directed at them by WikiLeaks, turned it around, and pointed it at Assange,” Melzer observes. 

They have been doing the same ever since.

Assange was given permission to leave Sweden after the new prosecutor assigned to the case repeatedly declined to interview him a second time (p153-4).

But as soon as Assange departed for London, an Interpol Red Notice was issued, another extraordinary development given its use for serious international crimes, setting the stage for the fugitive-from-justice narrative (p167).

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A European Arrest Warrant was approved by the UK courts soon afterwards – but, again exceptionally, after the judges had reversed the express will of the British parliament that such warrants could only be issued by a “judicial authority” in the country seeking extradition, not the police or a prosecutor (p177-9).

A law was passed shortly after the ruling to close that loophole and make sure no one else would suffer Assange’s fate (p180).

As the noose tightened around the neck not only of Assange but WikiLeaks too – the group was denied server capacity, its bank accounts were blocked, credit companies refused to process payments (p172) – Assange had little choice but to accept that the US was the moving force behind the scenes.

He hurried into the Ecuadorean embassy after being offered political asylum. A new chapter of the same story was about to begin. 

British officials in the Crown Prosecution Service, as the few surviving emails show, were the ones bullying their Swedish counterparts to keep going with the case as Swedish interest flagged. The UK, supposedly a disinterested party, insisted behind the scenes that Assange must be required to leave the embassy – and his asylum – to be interviewed in Stockholm (p174).

A CPS lawyer told Swedish counterparts “don’t you dare get cold feet!” (p186).

As Christmas neared, the Swedish prosecutor joked about Assange being a present, “I am OK without… In fact, it would be a shock to get that one!” (p187).

When she discussed with the CPS Swedish doubts about continuing the case, she apologised for “ruining your weekend” (p188).

In yet another email, a British CPS lawyer advised “please do not think that the case is being dealt with as just another extradition request” (p176).

Embassy spying operation

That may explain why William Hague, the UK’s foreign secretary at the time, risked a major diplomatic incident by threatening to violate Ecuadorean sovereignty and invade the embassy to arrest Assange (p184).

And why Sir Alan Duncan, a UK government minister, made regular entries in his diary, later published as a book, on how he was working aggressively behind the scenes to get Assange out of the embassy (p200, 209, 273, 313).

And why the British police were ready to spend £16 million of public money besieging the embassy for seven years to enforce an extradition Swedish prosecutors seemed entirely uninterested in advancing (p188).

Ecuador, the only country ready to offer Assange sanctuary, rapidly changed course once its popular left-wing president Rafael Correa stepped down in 2017. His successor, Lenin Moreno, came under enormous diplomatic pressure from Washington and was offered significant financial incentives to give up Assange (p212).

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At first, this appears to have chiefly involved depriving Assange of almost all contact with the outside world, including access to the internet, and telephone and launching a media demonisation campaign that portrayed him as abusing his cat and smearing faeces on the wall (p207-9).

At the same time, the CIA worked with the embassy’s security firm to launch a sophisticated, covert spying operation of Assange and all his visitors, including his doctors and lawyers (p200). We now know that the CIA was also considering plans to kidnap or assassinate Assange (p218).

Finally in April 2019, having stripped Assange of his citizenship and asylum – in flagrant violation of international and Ecuadorean law – Quito let the British police seize him (p213).

He was dragged into the daylight, his first public appearance in many months, looking unshaven and unkempt – a “demented looking gnome”, as a long-time Guardian columnist called him. 

In fact, Assange’s image had been carefully managed to alienate the watching world. Embassy staff had confiscated his shaving and grooming kit months earlier.

Meanwhile, Assange’s personal belongings, his computer, and documents were seized and transferred not to his family or lawyers, or even the British authorities, but to the US – the real author of this drama (p214).

That move, and the fact that the CIA had spied on Assange’s conversations with his lawyers inside the embassy, should have sufficiently polluted any legal proceedings against Assange to require that he walk free.

But the rule of law, as Melzer keeps noting, has never seemed to matter in Assange’s case.

Quite the reverse, in fact. Assange was immediately taken to a London police station where a new arrest warrant was issued for his extradition to the US.

The same afternoon Assange appeared before a court for half an hour, with no time to prepare a defence, to be tried for a seven-year-old bail violation over his being granted asylum in the embassy (p48).

He was sentenced to 50 weeks – almost the maximum possible – in Belmarsh high-security prison, where he has been ever since. 

Apparently, it occurred neither to the British courts nor to the media that the reason Assange had violated his bail conditions was precisely to avoid the political extradition to the US he was faced with as soon as he was forced out of the embassy.

‘Living in a tyranny’

Much of the rest of Melzer’s book documents in disturbing detail what he calls the current “Anglo-American show trial”: the endless procedural abuses Assange has faced over the past three years as British judges have failed to prevent what Melzer argues should be seen as not just one but a raft of glaring miscarriages of justice.

Not least, extradition on political grounds is expressly forbidden under Britain’s extradition treaty with the US (p178-80, 294-5). But yet again the law counts for nothing when it applies to Assange. 

The decision on extradition now rests with Patel, the hawkish home secretary who previously had to resign from the government for secret dealings with a foreign power, Israel, and is behind the government’s current draconian plan to ship asylum seekers to Rwanda, almost certainly in violation of the UN Refugee Convention.

Melzer has repeatedly complained to the UK, the US, Sweden, and Ecuador about the many procedural abuses in Assange’s case, as well as the psychological torture he has been subjected to. All four, the UN rapporteur points out, have either stonewalled or treated his inquiries with open contempt (p235-44).

'Once telling the truth has become a crime, we will all be living in a tyranny'

- Nils Melzer

Assange can never hope to get a fair trial in the US, Melzer notes. First, politicians from across the spectrum, including the last two US presidents, have publicly damned Assange as a spy, terrorist, or traitor and many have suggested he deserves death (p216-7).

And second, because he would be tried in the notorious “espionage court” in Alexandria, Virginia, located in the heart of the US intelligence and security establishment, without public or press access (p220-2).  

No jury there would be sympathetic to what Assange did in exposing their community’s crimes. Or as Melzer observes: “Assange would get a secret state-security trial very similar to those conducted in dictatorships” (p223).

And once in the US, Assange would likely never be seen again, under “special administrative measures” (SAMs) that would keep him in total isolation 24-hours-a-day (p227-9). Melzer calls SAMs “another fraudulent label for torture”. 

Melzer’s book is not just a documentation of the persecution of one dissident. He notes that Washington has been meting out abuses on all dissidents, including most famously the whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. 

Assange’s case is so important, Melzer argues, because it marks the moment when western states not only target those working within the system who blow the whistle that breaks their confidentiality contracts, but those outside it too – those like journalists and publishers whose very role in a democratic society is to act as a watchdog on power. 

If we do nothing, Melzer’s book warns, we will wake up to find the world transformed. Or as he concludes: “Once telling the truth has become a crime, we will all be living in a tyranny” (p331).

The Trial of Julian Assange by Nils Melzer is published by Penguin Random House

https://www.middleeasteye.net/big-story/show-trial-julian-assange-book


 

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