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Thread: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

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    Default Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    I’ve been gone for a while with some health issues (body falling apart with a hypermobility disorder).

    I am hoping to post here tidbits that I find useful and interesting to know that explain and explore various threads in geopolitics, culture and history.

    /

    To start, some posts from Moon of Alabama commenters about Russia, the Russian Central Bank, and Money....

    ========
    Russian Central Bank by law receives and must carry out instructions from abroad

    Quote I don't think you understand how the global banking system works. The Russian Central Bank is a member of the Bank of International Settlements. It is not independent and follows the policies the City of London (or whichever cabal is in power).

    This is what happens when you have a drunk President allow the United States write the Russian constitution:

    USA instructs Russian Central Bank how to strangle Russian economy
    http://www.pravdareport.com/russia/e...entral_bank-0/

    Quote There is no other central bank in the world that would not be allowed to support the national economy. The Russian Central Bank is the only exception. This is a specific peculiarity of the Russian Central Bank. The law even says that the bank is a branch of foreign companies in Russia. For example, the Russian Central Bank is a depositary of the IMF. The law of the Central Bank does not have a word about the Russian economy. Yet, it contains detailed instructions on how to follow and execute instructions from abroad. The law was made during the 1990s. Putin tried to amend it in the 2000s, but it did not work out. As a result, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation works for a foreign country under the Russian Constitution. This state imposes sanctions on Russia. The Russian Central Bank is obliged to execute instructions from the USA - the Americans set an official task to weaken the Russian economy
    Things are changing though. Russia just announced that they are ready stop using the SWIFT interbank cash transfer services:

    Russian banks ready to switch off SWIFT – official
    https://www.rt.com/business/418665-r...dy-shut-swift/

    Quote The potential disconnection of Russia from SWIFT has been under discussion since 2014, when the EU and the US introduced the first round of international penalties against Moscow over alleged involvement in the Ukraine crisis and the reunification with Crimea.
    From here: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02...bb09f351a3970d


    ===============
    Financial hegemony backed by military dominance:

    Quote i think the financial world is more complicated then many might want to entertain... you might find this pdf link on rouble nationalization (http://lit.md/files/nstarikov/rouble_nationalization-the_way_to_russia's_freedom.pdf) educational... it is a pdf of the book which has been out for a few years.. i have read parts of it, but not all of it..

    here is page 19, which addresses some of your comment

    "The financial world is not a group of geeks in front of computers, it is not
    polite clerks in banks and not even traders at stock exchanges. The financial
    world is aircraft carriers, nuclear-powered submarines, tanks, fighters and
    helicopters. It is infiltrators and assassins, snipers and spies, politicians
    and public figures. And all of that is only needed to preserve the existing
    financial order of the planet, to retain their dominance and even assert
    it. The most interesting thing is that despite clear physical signs of such
    world order, most people do not even have a slightest idea how everything
    functions. And those who dominate, those who created this theatre of the
    absurd, need exactly that.

    In order to understand what is happening around you today, you have to
    realize three things, and they should be understood in combination.

    1. The keystone of the modern financial world is the dominant part of
    the dollar. That means that all prices in world economy are only defined in
    dollars. Oil, gas, gold, aluminium etc. are only sold for dollars. All natural
    resources, all metals and all their derivatives. That means that it is in dollars
    that prices for production are defined. To put it short, everything, nearly
    everything that is sold at the global market, is only sold for dollars. This
    is how world economy works. If you want to buy gas or nickel — get your
    dollars out. It is impossible to buy them for euros or Norwegian Kroner.
    You have to exchange your currency for dollars. And that means creating
    extra demand for them."
    From here: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02...b8d2da799b970c


    ===========

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    The Dollar hegemony seems to under increasing threat with Russia and China developing a parallel and separate system similar to SWIFT and agreements to accept each other's currencies for commercial transactions.

    Ghadaffi and Hussein were interested in accepting Euros for oil. They're both dead. the BRICS were purported to be interested in moving away from the US Dollar.
    I agree that is not only the threat of force but the USE of force that keeps most of the world in line with Dollar only denominated transactions...I'm not convinced this system will change but it may be a new Fiat currency will replace the US Dollar as the USA loses dominance and the ability to effect control through force.

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    Thanks @CurEus.


    /

    Different track today: Weimar Republic and its orchestration by third parties....


    =============
    First, speculations from a Moon of Alabama commentor on the present day set up of the US as a “Weimar republic”

    Quote Like many of you, I have been frequenting sites like this one and using various techniques to filter the obvious **** from what I thought might be the truth. At various times, I’ve thought that I had finally grasped some small part of truth, only to find that my “truth” was only another layer in the deception.

    My current working hypothesis is that we are witnessing a multi-decade long national kabuki theater that is intended to distract us from the fact that the USofA is being set up for a Weimar Republic-style looting.

    This hypothesis provides a credible explanation for the self-defeating behavior of the US in terms of both foreign and domestic policy. Lets look at a few obvious examples.

    Why have we been waging continuous senseless wars for nearly two decades with no end in sight? Why have our leaders opened the national coffers to privately-owned banks, not just in the US, but overseas as well? Why is the President pushing tax cuts in conjunction with increased government spending given our $20T+ deficit?

    Once you realize that the objective of our leaders is to put the country in bankruptcy, the bizarre behavior starts to make sense. At the same time, it makes mof the “who shot John” analysis that goes on here somewhat irrelevant.
    From here: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02...b8d2d9f217970c


    ===========
    Now some history on the German Weimar Republic. This longish piece from a written interview with Guido Preparata, whose research into the finance and economics of Nazi Germany leads him to conclude orchestration by the British and US:

    Quote Mohsen Abdelmoumen: Your book « Conjuring Hitler » received a laudatory criticism of our friend Peter Dale Scott. Moreover, I share the view of this great intellectual on the fact that this book is essential in the work of historical research. How did you arrive at conclusions against the flow of the historians of the establishment, namely that Hitler was made by the United States and Great Britain and that World War II was inevitable?

    Dr. Guido G. Preparata: I started out like most westerners, whose childhood was steeped in the typical propagandistic “currents” of the Cold War: by watching, endlessly and enthusiastically, epic pro-Allies and anti-German war movies. My parents —postwar Italians— were solidly in the pro-US, pro-Israel, pro-capitalist camp, and my father, an academic physicist, was then militantly anti-Communist. That is what I grew up with. We were enthusiastic “Americanists,” and were awed by British “class.” Though superficially proud of our “classical,” “Greco-Latin” heritage, we, deep down, suffered from the typical inferiority complex exhibited by nationals of spiritually defeated, irrelevant countries.

    Then the Berlin Wall came down and most of us slowly began to unravel from some kind of stupor. When I began working at the central bank of Italy in the mid-90s, I chose in my free time to tap the Bank’s library in order to study Nazi Finance, which I saw as an esoteric and exotic theme. And from there, I started digging. What I remembered from those war movies I saw as I child was the narrative, always the same, and the point of attack: the action begins when these monsters (e.g., the SS) are already fully formed and extraordinarily truculent, vicious. That makes for great cinema, of course, but it begs far bigger questions: how did that happen? How did this phenomenon emerge? How did the world allow that to happen? How could this be?

    I spent 10 years of my life reading and thinking about this. I collected material and archival documents in Germany and at the Bank of England, talked to people, experts, politicians, etc. The result of all this is Conjuring Hitler.

    And what I found is that, although the phenomenon of Nazism itself —its deep, esoteric roots—is indubitably German, in ways we have yet to understand fully, the (political and economic) conditions in which it was allowed to breed, to incubate had been, in my view, unquestionably favored, predisposed by Britain, and to a less extent by the USA, though later in game, and always under the strategic, unchallenged leadership of Britain.


    Why Britain? Because she was and, in a way, still is, the mistress of world. This is her time. She rules, and, apparently, she will do anything in her might to keep that power. Today, the US, as we all know, is simply continuing in the geopolitical tracks of the British Empire.

    Was the war inevitable? Yes it was: when in 1900 Germany thought she could challenge Britain’s mastery, the latter, clearly, had to act. If you add to this that Germany’s eventual supremacy, through clever strategizing, could have entailed a harnessing of Russia to “Teuton” martial and technological initiative, then you could envision what was for British circles the ultimate geopolitical nightmare: a “Eurasian Alliance,” which would have been, de facto, invincible. And the carnage that ensued in the first half of the 20th century is the chronicle of the pre-emptive move the British were “forced” to set in motion in order to avoid the materialization of this scenario.

    “They” say: when she started rocking the boat in 1890-1900 or so, Germany was belligerent, militaristic, aggressive, and imperialist. Absolutely. And Britain, I may add, a thousand times more so. In 1914, Germany wanted a “fast war” to consolidate what appeared like a middle-European kingdom with colonial annexes. She got Britain’s war instead: the Great War.

    You demonstrate with pertinence Hitler’s ties with the ruling classes in Great Britain and the United States. However, you are focusing on the role of Great Britain. Can you explain us why?

    For the reasons just explained. For the past 200 years we are playing England’s game, none other’s, really.

    How do you explain that these two powers, the United States and Great Britain, who financed and supported Nazism, developed a propaganda machine via Hollywood that gives them the best role by showing them anti-Nazi?

    Well, when in 1916-1917 the Eastern front fell with the defection of Russia, England brought in the US. Eventually Germany, feeling overwhelmed —for WWI was essentially a siege, a siege around Germany— surrendered. Which implied that she had not been defeated on her own soil. In other terms, the German/Eurasian menace had not been annihilated once and for all. To that end, a scheme began, which lasted essentially 20 years; and the scheme was 1) to revamp Germany (“set her up,” truly) and 2) destroy her, again, in a two-front war.

    That this was indeed planned is testified by Thorstein Veblen’s extraordinary 1920 prediction, according to which the true design of the Treaty of Versailles was to incubate a reactionary regime in Germany through a radicalization of the middle-class, and finally unleash this new force against Soviet Russia, which prediction came to pass in June 1941. This is sensational. To my knowledge, I am the only one who has had the decency to cite this unique, genial testimony.

    But things evolved more wildly than even a genius like Veblen could have foreseen. The movement whose ascent he prophesied was not just “reactionary”: it was something altogether new, different, more sinister and fiendish. The Nazis swallowed up the old monarchist guard, which, by 1932 had come to attract less than 10 percent of the popular vote.

    And, as for demonizing the vanquished enemy, the Germans could not have made Anglo-America a more glorious gift: it is as if they gratuitously and catastrophically cast themselves as the Anti-Christ, really. Which, conversely, implied that Anglo-America’s troops and commanders had to be the legions of God. The latter were also the Techno-knights of Hiroshima, as I like to call them, and I am not sure what God has to do with any of this. I rather see the Devil’s footprints everywhere.

    Be that as it may, at this point, the victors had the most powerful narrative, the most powerful militant myth one could think of: i.e., the crushing of the demoniacal Nazis as a God-given, manifest acknowledgement of their (the Allies’) spiritual superiority, of their deserved triumph. In the mythological name of which, in fact, they are still waging wars around the world, to this day, with impunity. For human rights, democracy, and peace-keeping, “they” say.

    This narrative is the most wonderful piece of propagandistic capital one could possess: it has yielded, and still yields phenomenal rents.

    Any attempt to “revise” it will be met with the most violent and categorical castigation. And any historical evidence running against it will be suppressed or “interpreted” in ways congruent with the official version, naturally.
    From here: https://mohsenabdelmoumen.wordpress....y-of-termites/

    ============

    A fuller outline of this interpretation of history is this interview with Guido Preparata on Our Interesting Times podcast:


    Here is a link to the full book on Internet Archive: https://ia902508.us.archive.org/13/i...ringHitler.pdf

    ===========

    Finally, tangential to this might be the reality of Churchill. This from a commentor at The Saker blog:

    Quote If one does a detailed search of Winston Churchill we find that, far from being the Hero of WWII, his career included the Boer War, where there were concentration camps. Invasion of Russia post Revolution and using poison gas. Using poison gas on Iraqis who, you know, were expecting freedom and democracy after the Ottoman Empire fell. When they rebelled against British rule, Churchill gassed them in the early 1920’s. The there was his deliberate starvation of 3 million Bengalis. I have seen two sources that say he poisoned Roosevelt. And his deliberate plan to attack Russia after WWII (“Operation Unthinkable”) and his initiation of the Cold War. All these based on his view of other people as subhuman. He could easily give some of the other ‘famous monsters’ a run for their money, but for the fact that he wrote the history.
    From here: http://thesaker.is/moveable-feast-ca...comment-487825

    I have not done research into this last piece; will post additional as I find it.

    /

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    So some things about the Indian Ocean, China and India

    /

    Moves and counter-moves in the Maldives and around the Arabian Sea. This from a commentor at The Saker blog:
    Quote India wont intervene because the problem in Maldives is an internal judicial-political one. An intervention would look like a foreign nation meddling in other nations’ internal affairs. Last time when India intervened, it was because the legitimate government asked India for help because of a coup with the help of foreign mercenaries from sri lanka against the Maldivian government.

    The current Indian intervention news was blown out of proportion because the ex-president sitting in sri lanka expressed that India should intervene militarily otherwise china would gain influence (Surprisingly he was the one who welcomed chinese investments and gave the chinese access to Maldives during his term). This was picked by the Indian media as a sign of India gaining power and world recognition that a foreign nation is asking for intervention, thought it was just an ex-president who asked for it. China in turn expressed that intervention was not the right thing to do for an internal conflict within a nation.

    Indian policy is to keep the indian ocean island nations into its sphere of influence, which is getting eroded rather too quickly, to counter China’s growing influence. The chinese need the Maldives to implement its grand project of silk road v2.0 and insure the safety of the maritime as well as land silk route for which it also needs to build navy and military bases on foreign territories. Since the Chinese bases will be built on the territories through which the silk route passes and these territories surround India (Indian could have been included has it not rejected the OBOR), the Indians see it as China strategically encircling India. China is gaining an upper hand with its big reserves and capabilities to invest with win-win deals and will continue to build its influence because the west and india dont have the ability to compete with china in terms of investments.

    India cannot partner with China because of the land disputes and a war between the two nations. India also rejected OBOR and CPEC because of the same. The election of the right wing government added to the cracks in relationship of india with its neighbors. The rightwing government needs a boogeyman to mask its inefficiency and they can do it by blaming all problems on China and muslims.

    As for Oman giving access to its port to india, india already had a presence in oman due to its navy’s anti-piracy operations. The port has heavy chinese investments plus there is a project by the Chinese to transform the port city into the next Dubai. So Oman cannot afford to anger china. This news is again being played out heavily by the Indian media by labeling it as an indian answer to gadwar port.

    Indian will be going into election in 2019 and the ruling party which won the last election has not fulfilled any of its promises so it needs some face saving. The Indian media has to run pro-government propaganda to survive so it is glorifying anything that it can get hold of.
    From here: http://thesaker.is/moveable-feast-ca...comment-487698

    ==========
    Here some news (from RT) about Chinese naval bases in Pakistan. This is spun as anti-Trump response from Pakistan but it is interesting to see China’s growing influence and relationship with Pakistan:

    Quote China may build second foreign naval base in Pakistan amid Trump’s row with Islamabad
    Published time: 6 Jan, 2018 16:43
    China may build second foreign naval base in Pakistan amid Trump’s row with Islamabad

    China is reportedly planning to boost its military presence overseas with its second foreign naval base in Pakistan. The news comes amid a row between the US and Pakistan, with Washington freezing security funding for Islamabad.

    After setting up its first foreign naval facility in Djibouti in August of last year, right next to the Pentagon’s base, Beijing may now seek to gain a foothold in Pakistan. China plans to build a second overseas base near Gwadar – a strategically important Pakistani port on the Arabian Sea, according to sources close to the Chinese Army, as cited by the South China Morning Post.

    An anonymous source told the outlet that the navy would set up a base near Gwadar as military vessels need “specific services” which cannot be provided by the existing commercial facility.

    “Gwadar port can’t provide specific services for warships… Public order there is in a mess. It is not a good place to carry out military logistical support,” the source said.

    China needs to set up another base in Gwadar for its warships because Gwadar is now a civilian port,” Beijing-based military analyst Zhou Chenming told the newspaper. Zhou said that a separate naval facility near Gwadar Port is necessary to maintain warships and provide them with logistical support.

    Earlier this week, US Army Reserve Colonel Lawrence Sellin spoke of Beijing’s intention to build the new overseas naval base in Pakistan in an op-ed published by the Daily Caller website. Sellin said that recent meetings between high-ranking Chinese and Pakistani military officers indicate that the facility “will be built on the Jiwani peninsula between Gwadar and the Iranian border.”

    In June, the Pentagon suggested in an annual report on China’s military developments that China may launch military bases in Pakistan. The report was subsequently slammed by Beijing, with its foreign ministry calling it “speculation” and accusing Washington of disregarding the facts.

    Gwadar is a deep-sea port located less than 50 miles east of the Pakistan-Iran border in Balochistan province. It was developed by Chinese investors as part of the ambitious US$62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and has been handling commercial cargoes from China since November 2017.

    The multibillion-dollar project is aimed at creating a network of roads, railways, and pipelines, to expand its trade and transport links and boost economic influence across central and south Asia. The CPEC is also at the heart of China’s larger Belt and Road initiative, which envisages connecting China to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

    The report on China planning to build a naval base in Pakistan comes as US President Donald Trump started the year by slamming Islamabad for allegedly harboring terrorists, threatening to cut security aid to the country, which amounts to around $1 billion annually. While the US has already frozen last year’s $255 million assistance to Pakistan, the suspension can also affect at least $900 million in coalition support funds (CSF) authorized for Pakistan for the 2017 fiscal year. The move triggered harsh criticism in Islamabad. Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan vowed a “cold-blooded response” to the intention to withhold aid to Pakistan.
    From here: https://www.rt.com/news/415172-china...base-pakistan/

    ==========

    And China has a 99 year lease on Sri Lanka’s 2nd largest port:

    Quote Sri Lanka in China Port Deal
    By Aiswarya Lakshmi
    Sri Lanka’s government on Saturday signed a long-delayed agreement to sell a 70% stake in a USD 1.5-billion port to China in a bid to recover from the heavy burden of repaying a Chinese loan obtained to build the facility, report local media.

    After 10 years of negotiations, China Merchants Port Holdings has signed the agreement with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority to develop the Hambantota Port in southern Sri Lanka.

    According to the agreement, which is described as "a win-win situation for both countries". the Chinese firm will run the workings of the newly constructed port over a 99-year lease.

    The Port of Hambantota is located on the Southern coast of Sri Lanka occupying a prime location within 10 nautical miles to the main shipping route from Asia to Europe and is also in a strategic position along the “Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road”.
    From here: https://www.marinelink.com/news/lanka-china-port427811

    ==========

    So consider this in terms of pipelines and transport routes and hubs:


    And another, more marine focused:


    ==========

    Military protects trade, which is how money flows..... which links back to post number 1.
    Last edited by Searcher; 18th February 2018 at 07:31.

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    @Searcher

    many thanks for this posting-

    your links contain many, many truths- and many thanks for your links- but all of this is just so much more complicated than your provided info; do read Joseph P. Farrell's "Nazi International" just for starters (+ all of his other books on this subject), Peter Levenda's "Ratline" and "The Hitler Legacy" + (dare I state it it?) Jewish historian Edwin Black's incredibly researched book (not that Farrell and Levenda are less) "The Transfer Agreement" in which he impeccably documents how Jews were being given financial help by Nazi Germany to immigrate to Palestine (read the book) but no mention of gas chambers;

    obviously Jews (+ many others) were being misused in hideous ways; no doubt about it; but that's another topic-

    I don't yet have the time to listen to the Preparata interv. (but will take time tomorrow) but I've known for a long time the Anglo-American establishment primarily funded the Nazi mov't + both World Wars (what haven't they funded?- duuh-UUH!) for purposes of divide and rule; it's an old trick that always works- and the Anglo-American establishment has the most experience in this tactic-

    I could go on forever on this subject but enough for now-

    please stay well Searcher and all readers-

    Larry

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    @CurEus

    "Ghadaffi and Hussein were interested in accepting Euros for oil. They're both dead"

    yes they're both dead now but S. Hussein preceded Kaddaffi because S. Hussein wanted Euros, not dollars; the reason for his demise-

    Ghadaffi's demise was because he wanted African Gold Dinars (yes, he wanted gold) for payment for the sweet oli in Libya- in the meantime the proposed African gold Dinar seems to be off the table for now (gosh!)-

    Larry

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    Thank you @Cardillac, I agree, there is a most complicated context to all of this. I am a member of Dr Farrell’s website and have most of his books, so I am aware of his discoveries and research. I recommend them too.

    These items I am posting are additional details - some corroborating and others are those that add more context. The purpose is not to “find the answer” but to explore the broad geopolitical terrain.

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    Today, some information on the Arctic, trade and resources.

    /
    Recent article from Asia-Times on the Arctic Sea route and resource attractiveness:

    Quote Arctic sea routes could ease Malacca Strait security issue
    Oil and gas imports via Northern Sea Route would bypass the strategic choke point between Indonesia and Malaysia – but environmental threat looms

    By Doug Tsuruoka Editor at Large
    February 10, 2018 12:19 PM (UTC+8)

    One of Asia’s biggest security headaches since the end of World War II has been a potential choke point on crude oil shipments that sail through the Strait of Malacca.

    China receives more than half its oil imports via the strait from the Middle East. Japan gets 90%; South Korea about 80%. A hostile navy could block the narrow waterway between Malaysia and Indonesia, paralyzing a foe’s economy.


    The 890 km strait that divides Indonesia and Malaysia is only 2.7 km wide (1.7 miles) at its narrowest near Singapore, forming a natural bottleneck. It is the second-largest oil trade choke point in the world after the Strait of Hormuz.

    Beijing has long recognized this maritime Achilles heel, as do Tokyo and Seoul. It’s one reason why China is building bases in the South China Sea and sending submarines into the Indian Ocean. The idea is to position military assets closer to the strait to deter potential foes like the US and India from closing the channel to oil shipments.

    However, some analysts say this long-standing security threat to Asia may moderate as the melting ice in Russia’s Northern Sea Route and North America’s Northwest Passage offers a shorter and less costly way to ship oil to Asia from Russia, Norway, Greenland and Canada. Global warming also makes it easier to ship oil from Alaska to China.

    ...

    The Northern Sea Route runs along the Russian Arctic coast from the Kara Sea, along Siberia, to the Bering Sea.

    The shift will occur gradually over the next 10-15 years, according to Weitz, with increasing amounts of Arctic oil and gas reaching China and other Asia nations via the polar route. Another choke point could form at the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska. But in this case, Washington would risk angering Moscow if it tried to interfere with navigation.

    Does the Arctic have more oil?

    Scientists say the Arctic holds the world’s largest remaining untapped gas reserves and its last undeveloped oil reserves. The US Geological Survey estimates the Arctic holds up to 90 billion barrels of untapped oil. They also reckon the region holds as much as 1.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 44 billion barrels of liquid natural gas.

    But Weitz notes the energy reserves, especially in areas like Greenland, could exceed existing estimates. If true, this means the Arctic might start to overtake the Malacca Strait-reliant Middle East as a leading supplier of crude to Asia.

    ...


    Russia calculates that the Arctic territory it claims may hold up to 586 billion barrels of oil, though this is unproven.

    Shorter than Suez

    The capacity to ship oil and gas from ports along the Northern Sea Route also reduces the need to build costly pipelines across the tundra for land-based energy transport. The fact that rivers in Russian Siberia flow north to the Arctic Ocean also allows these waterways to be used to ship oil and other resources to coastal ports.

    Analysts say there will be a 40% reduction in sailing distance, and a 20% cut in fuel, if the Northern Sea Route is used to connect Northern Europe with China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan versus the Suez Canal route via the Middle East. There are smaller but comparable cuts in distance and fuel versus the Persian Gulf.

    Data from Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute shows the country’s entire Northern Sea Route was virtually ice-free between June and September of 2017. Analysts say this suggests the transit will be increasingly easy to navigate for bulk carriers – even during winter months when ice levels are highest.

    “Ice-class” oil tankers with strengthened hulls that can negotiate Arctic waters are already being built. Weitz says more advanced bulk carriers of this type will be needed, along with new ice-breaking vessels.

    China’s state oil firms and banks have underscored their interest in Russia’s Arctic energy assets and the new shipping route by investing in the huge US$27 billion Yamal LNG facility in Siberia. Asian buyers account for 54% of Yamal’s contracted output. More Chinese cash is flowing into a newer Arctic LNG2 project that may be bigger than Yamal.

    A Chinese state policy paper issued in late January further confirms Beijing’s interest in tapping Arctic oil and gas.
    .... article continues here: http://www.atimes.com/article/arctic...ecurity-issue/

    =============

    A useful map from Le Monde Diplomatique of the arctic with resources and territorial claims:


    This map is from 2011, there were also versions made in 2009 and 2007. From here:
    https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/cartes/banquiseguerre

    (Apologies for the large size, I do not know how to scale it to fit the window size)

    =============

    And Russia seems to be taking advantage of this (not that other countries are not; this is media narrative after all). Here from the Telegraph, UK:

    Quote Russian tanker passes through Arctic Ocean from Norway to South Korea without an icebreaker for the first time

    By David Millward
    25 AUGUST 2017 • 7:58AM

    Climate change has enabled a Russian tanker to travel through the Arctic without icebreaker escort for the first time. The Christophe de Margerie completed the journey from Hammerfest in Norway to Boryeong in South Korea in only 19 days, the Guardian reported.

    In doing so it was able to complete the journey 30 per cent faster than travelling via the Suez Canal, the alternative route.

    Even though the £234 million tanker does have its own inbuilt icebreaker, in the past it has been impossible for tankers to undertake the journey without a separate escort.

    The integral icebreaker enabled the tanker to get through the northern sea section of the Russian Arctic in only six and a half days, setting a new record.

    “It’s very quick, particularly as there was no icebreaker escort which previously there had been in journeys,” said Bill Spears, spokesman for the shipping company which owns the tanker, Sovcomflot.

    “It’s very exciting that a ship can go along this route all year round.”

    While the rapid journey time is in part due to the innovative technology, it also illustrates the extent to which climate change has melted some of the ice.

    Earlier this year it was reported that "polar heatwaves" had shrunk the icecaps down to an all-time low.

    Environmentalists have argued that declining levels of polar ice have heightened the need to cut carbon emissions by switching from fossil fuel to renewable energy.
    From here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017...escort-global/

    ===========

    And here is a link to a detailed article on The Saker blog that reviews Russian activities in the Arctic:
    http://thesaker.is/part-4-the-arctic-dimension/

    The article includes some helpful images, including this one:


    Seems to have been first published by Russia Beyond in 2012 (https://www.rbth.com/articles/2012/1..._ca_20959.html)

    /
    Last edited by Searcher; 19th February 2018 at 07:14.

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    So today, another view of history from WW1 onwards....


    /

    First, from a commentator on The Saker blog:
    Quote
    Comment by Auslander

    Our world is slowly, actually in the last month not so slowly, approaching the active continuation of the war that started in 1914. While there have been interludes of relative ‘peace’, read the main antagonists were not bayoneting each other by the tens of thousands daily, reality is there has been no peace since that fateful day in 1914.

    The fall of the Russian Empire, to a more or less great extent by it’s own hand, was one of the main events of that war and this destruction effectively negated any Russian influence in world events for a generation during which time all the protagonists managed to grow another generation of fighting age men. Looking back from the relatively clear vision of a century, one can see that the second part of this war was inflicted on themselves by the supposed victors of the first active phase of the war with their draconian sanctions and reparations pushed on Germany and Austria. The ‘victors’ certainly harvested what they had sown and in spades, as did most of the northern hemisphere of this rock we are on.

    Through the three decades after the second active phase of the 1914 war, massive rebuilding was done in all the continental areas of the fighting and in China and Japan. Entire cultures had been flattened and some completely wiped out, never to return, in the first two active phases of the war. Such is war which saw England die on Flanders fields, France had died on the retreat from Moskau in 1812, bayoneted yet again in the 1870’s and effectively destroyed at Verdun. Russia was prostrate after 1918, rebuilt herself by the 1930’s and attacked again in 1941, being almost totally destroyed from Moskau west to the borders of ‘olde Europe’ by 1945. Reality is USA was the only one standing in 1945, Europe, North Afrika, Japan and China were destroyed.

    In the ensuing ‘peace’, aka Pax Rossiya, of 1954 to 1990, Europe, Russia and Japan rebuilt themselves from the ground up. Both Russia and US occupied Europe and US occupied Japan, US still occupying these areas, Russia having withdrawn when SSSR disintegrated around 1990. In the ensuing 25 years since SSSR ceased to exist, Russia has pulled herself up by her boot straps and to a fair extent stopped the wholesale looting and plundering of former SSSR riches and resources.

    In the meantime, US has, against all guaranties given to SSSR and Russia, expanded nato to the very borders of Russia and has actively engaged Russia in several fronts, most recent in Gruzya and Syria. The Gruzya war was short and a lesson to both us/nato and Russia. Now, at the request of the legal government of Syria, Russia has stepped in to stop the ‘civil’ war, read attempt to destroy and fragment Syria, and to a large extent defeated ISIL (or whatever name they go by on this day) and pushed us/nato away from the main population centers of Syria. The cost has been horrendous but there is a glimmer of victory, and peace, on the horizon.

    ...
    Comment continues to analyse current situation in Ukraine and Syria: http://thesaker.is/lessons-from-history/

    ==========

    And here, an audio interview of The Saker with Catherine Austin Fitts on “The Emerging Multipolar World - Neocons & the War Lobby”. Covers the prospects of war, provocation etc.

    https://solari.com/audio/sr20180208_Saker_Free.mp3

    I recommend this.

    ==========

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    For those who haven’t looked into the history of Korea, the Korean War, and DPRK, some history and info.


    /
    Sad and depressing documentary on some US military activities in the Korean War:


    ============

    A two part article on history of Korea and how we got to where we are....
    Part 1 is very lengthy and I will post only some here. It is very thorough and I think worthwhile reading in full.

    Quote Throughout most of its history, Korea regarded China as its teacher. It borrowed from China Confucianism, its concepts of law, its canons of art and its method of writing. For these, it usually paid tribute to the Chinese emperor.

    With Japan, relations were different. Armed with the then weapon of mass destruction, the musket, Japan invaded Korea in 1592 and occupied it with more than a quarter of a million soldiers. The Koreans, armed only with bows and arrows, were beaten into submission. But, because of events in Japan, and particularly the decision to give up the gun, the Japanese withdrew in less than a decade and left Korea on its own.

    Nominally unified under one kingdom, Korean society was already divided between the Puk-in or “people of the North” and the Nam-in or “people of the South.” How significant this division was in practical politics is unclear, but apparently it played a role in thwarting attempts at reform and in keeping the country isolated from outside influences. It also weakened the country and facilitated the second intrusion of the Japanese. In search of iron ore for their nascent industry, they “opened” the country in 1876. Hot on the Japanese trail came the Americans who established diplomatic relations with the Korean court in 1882.

    American missionaries, most of whom doubled as merchants, followed the flag. Christianity often came in the guise of commerce. Missionary-merchants lived apart from Koreans in segregated American-style towns, much as the British had done in India earlier in the century. They seldom met with the natives except to trade. Unlike their counterparts in the Middle East, the Americans were not noted for “good works.” They spent more time selling goods than teaching English, repairing bodies or proselytizing; so while Koreans admired their wares all but a few clung to Confucian ways.

    It was to China rather than to America that Koreans turned for protection against the Japanese “rising sun.” As they grew more powerful and began their outward thrust, the Japanese moved to end the Korean relationship to China. In 1894, they invaded Korea, captured its king and installed a “friendly” government. Then, as a sort of byproduct of their 1904-1905 war with Russia, they seized control, and, in accord with the policies of all Western governments, they took up “the White Man’s burden.” American politicians and statesmen, led by Theodore Roosevelt, found it both inevitable and beneficial that Japan turned Korea into a colony. For the next 35 years, the Japanese ruled Korea much as the British ruled India and the French ruled Algeria.

    If the Japanese were brutal, as they certainly were, and exploitive, as they also were, so were the other colonial powers. And, like other colonial peoples, as they gradually became politically sensitive, the Koreans began to react. Over time, they saw the Japanese intruders not as the carriers of the “white man’s burden” but as themselves the burden. Some reacted by fleeing. Best known among them was Syngman Rhee. Converted to Christianity by American missionaries, he went West. After a torturous career as an exile, he was allowed by the American military authorities at the end of the Second World War to become (South) Korea’s first president. But most of those who fled the Japanese found havens in Russian-influenced Manchuria. The best known of these “Eastern” exiles, Kim Il-sung, became an anti-Japanese guerrilla and joined the Communist Party. At the same time Syngman Rhee arrived in the American-controlled South, Kim Il-sung became the leader of the Soviet-supported North. There he founded the ruling “dynasty” of which his grandson Kim Jong-un is the current leader.

    During the 35 years of Japanese occupation, no one in the West paid much attention to Syngman Rhee or his hopes for the future of Korea, but the Soviet government was more attentive to Kim Il-Sung. While distant Britain, France and America played no active role, the near-by Soviet Union, with a long frontier with Japanese-held territory, had to concern itself with Korea.

    It was not so much from strategy or the perception of danger that Western policy (and Soviet acquiescence to it) evolved. Driven in part by sentiment, America forced a change in the tone of relations with the colonial world during the Second World War and, driven by the need to appease America, Britain and France acquiesced. It was the tide of war, rather than any preconceived plan, that swept Korea into the widely scattered and ill-defined group of “emerging” nations.

    As heir to the dreams of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed that colonial peoples deserved to be free. Korea was to benefit from the great liberation of the Second World War. So it was that on December 1, 1943, the United States, Britain and (then Nationalist) China agreed at the Cairo Conference to apply the revolutionary words of the 1941 Atlantic Charter: “Mindful of the enslavement of the people of Korea,” Roosevelt and a reluctant Churchill proclaimed, they “are determined that in due course Korea shall become free and independent.” At the April-June 1945 San Francisco conference, where the United Nations was founded, Korea got little attention, but a vague arrangement was envisaged in which Korea would be put under a four-power (American, British, Chinese and Soviet) trusteeship. This policy was later affirmed at the Potsdam Conference on July 26, 1945 and was agreed to by the Soviet Union on August 8 when it declared war on Japan. Two days later Russian troops fanned out over the northern area. It was not until almost a month later, on September 8, that the first contingents of the US Army arrived.

    ...
    Continues here:http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_s...am-r-polk.html

    And part 2 here: http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_s...lk-part-2.html

    ============

    And now some of the reasons those with money and power might be wanting a cooperative or destabilized DPRK (or puppet dictator).... Rare Earth Minerals might be one reason.

    This from 2011:

    Quote Largest known rare earth deposit discovered in North Korea

    Privately-held SRE Minerals on Wednesday announced the discovery in North Korea of what is believed to be the largest deposit of rare earth elements anywhere in the world.

    SRE also signed a joint venture agreement with the Korea Natural Resources Trading Corporation for rights to develop REE deposits at Jongju in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for the next 25 years with a further renewal period of 25 years.

    The joint venture company known as Pacific Century Rare Earth Mineral Limited, based in the British Virgin Islands, has also been granted permission for a processing plant on site at Jongju, situated approximately 150 km north-northwest of the capital of Pyongyang.

    The initial assessment of the Jongju target indicates a total mineralisation potential of 6 billion tonnes with total 216.2 million tonnes rare-earth-oxides including light REEs such as lanthanum, cerium and praseodymium; mainly britholite and associated rare earth minerals. Approximately 2.66% of the 216.2 million tonnes consists of more valuable heavy rare-earth-elements.

    According Dr Louis Schurmann, Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and lead scientist on the project, the Jongju deposit is the world's largest known REE occurrence.

    The 216 million tonne Jongju deposit, theoretically worth trillions of dollars, would more than double the current global known resource of REE oxides which according to the US Geological Survey is pegged at 110 million tonnes.

    Minerals like fluorite, apatite, zircon, nepheline, feldspar, and ilmenite are seen as potential by-products to the mining and recovery of REE at Jongju.

    Further exploration is planned for March 2014, which will includes 96,000m (Phase 1) and 120,000m (Phase 2) of core drilling, with results reported according to the Australia's JORC Code, a standard for mineral disclosure similar to Canada's widely used National Instrument 43-101.

    An industry in turmoil

    The majority of the 17 rare earth elements – used in a variety of industries including green technology, defence systems and consumer electronics – were sourced from placer deposits in India and Brazil in the late 1940s.

    During the 1950s, South Africa mined the majority of the world's REEs from large veins of rare earth-bearing monazite.

    From the 1960s to 1980s, rare earths were supplied mainly from the US, mostly from the massive Mountain Pass mine in California, which was eventually mothballed in 2002.

    China then took over the industry completely, producing more than 95% of the world's REEs centred in Inner Mongolia and also becoming the top consumer ahead of Japan and South Korea.

    Worries about China's monopoly of production sent prices for all rare earths into the stratosphere from 2008 onwards with some REEs going up in price twenty-fold or more.

    That reignited interest in the sector with dozens of explorers active around the globe making major discoveries from Canada and Greenland to Madagascar and Malawi.

    Molycorp's (NYSE:MCP) Mountain Pass is almost back to full production, Lynas Corp's (ASX:LYC) Mount Weld mine in Australia and plant in Malaysia opened last year, while Saskatoon-based Great Western Minerals (CVE:GWG) is recommissioning the Steenkampskraal mine in South Africa with Chinese backing.
    ...
    Continues and from here: http://www.mining.com/largest-known-...h-korea-86139/

    ==========

    Mining is quite a significant portion of DPRK’s economy and seems to be done on a smaller, less technological scale.

    Quote Mining makes up roughly 14 percent of the North Korean economy, which, although in a parlous state and under heavy financial sanctions, appears to have been growing modestly in recent years...
    From here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...=.5b093bf991fc

    Here is a map of mine sites in DPRK:

    This from a blog post which has many more interesting pictures and comments:
    http://mynorthkorea.blogspot.ae/2013...an-mining.html

    /

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    Intermission for a view from Herman Göring:

    Quote Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

    Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

    Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    So here is an excellent documentary on the global arms trade. It is recent (2016). This is includes interviews with arms dealers and footage from news media. Very informative.



    Quote Based on the book of The Shadow World, this feature length documentary is an investigation into the multi-billion dollar international arms trade.
    Last edited by Searcher; 24th February 2018 at 04:55.

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    Here is something specific about the arms trade and biological weapons. A detailed interview with the Bulgarian journalist who uncovered the arms shipment routes from Bulgaria (and other Eastern European countries) to Syria.

    Quote The Truth Perspective: Interview with Dilyana Gaytandzhieva: ‌Pentagon Biological Warfare And Arms Trafficking to Terrorists
    https://www.sott.net/article/376355-...-to-Terrorists

    This week on The Truth Perspective we will be interviewing Bulgarian investigative journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva. Dilyana broke the story of a CIA-run international arms smuggling ring that was using diplomatic protection to deliver weapons to ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria. Though Dilyana's research was printed by Bulgaria's Trud newspaper - complete with corroborating documentation - she was fired from her job soon after being interrogated by the Bulgarian national security apparatus.

    Ms. Gaytandzhieva is a seasoned journalist and war correspondent who has reported from Aleppo, Syria and from other hotspots around the world. Through her years of experience in the field she has gained first-hand knowledge of how weapons are shipped, who they were used by, and who the victims of terrorist atrocity have been.

    Join us on The Truth Perspective this Sunday, 4 February 2018, from 12-2pm EST / 5-7pm UTC / 6-8pm CET as Dilyana shares the results of her in-depth investigations and her most recent work on the Pentagon's Bio-warfare labs.

    You can read about Dilyana's investigative journalism here:

    * Leaked Documents Expose How US and Gulf Allies Send Weapons to Terrorists Under Diplomatic Cover
    https://www.sott.net/article/361083-...plomatic-Cover
    * Pentagon Biological Weapons Program Never Ended: US Bio-labs Around The World
    https://www.sott.net/article/375723-...ound-The-World
    * International investigation reveals US government cover-up of weapons shipments to Syrian terrorists
    https://www.sott.net/article/361966-...ian-terrorists
    * Journalist reporting links between CIA and weapons sent to terror groups in Syria interrogated, then fired
    https://www.sott.net/article/360550-...ted-then-fired

    Running Time: 01:36:18

    Download: OGG, MP3

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    A few little snippets about Venice, the Venetians,....

    /
    Quote Before the Vandals took Imperial Rome in 476, the Roman elite fled to Venice.
    From here: http://thesaker.is/globally-top-resp...comment-490602

    Quote Yes, Venice rose. I always wondered who payed for those magnificent buildings. I presume the Roman elite brought what was left of the Roman treasury. Some writers have pointed out to the Black Nobility of Venice, being ostensibly descendants of the original Roman elite, who, ostensibly, have great power in Europe.
    From here: http://thesaker.is/globally-top-resp...comment-490926

    From here: http://thesaker.is/globally-top-resp...comment-490938

    And a little about the “start” of the Rennaissance in Florence:
    Quote before the Turks took Imperial Constantinople the Greek intellectual elite fled to Florence and started the Renaissance of Western Europe; which rapidly rose to become a world power
    From here: http://thesaker.is/globally-top-resp...comment-490795

    ==========

    Joseph Farrell discusses Venice in his book: The Financial Vipers of Venice

    Quote In this sequel to Joseph P. Farrell’s Babylon’s Banksters, the banksters have moved from Mesopotamia via Rome to Venice. There they manipulated popes and bullion prices, clipped coins, sacked Constantinople, destroyed rival Florence, waged war, burned “heretics,” and suppressed hidden secrets threatening their financial supremacy . . . until Giordano Bruno and Christopher Columbus broke the banking cartel’s control of information and bullion.
    From the publisher, Feral House, here: http://feralhouse.com/financial-vipers-of-venice/

    And here are his interviews with George Ann Hughes on this book:

    Part 1


    Part 2


    ==========

    And some more detailed history of the relationship between Venice and Byzantium:

    Quote The intricate story, which extends over the thousand years from the birth of the Venetian republic to the fall of Byzantium and involves the history of much of western Europe and the Near East, is told with impressive mastery of primary and secondary sources. We are made aware, throughout, of the changing pattern of the two powers' relationship: 'From being a province of Byzantium, Venice had graduated to being a protectorate, an ally and a partner'. Finally, in the last decades of the empire's existence, desperately looking to the West for military support against the Ottoman Turks, Byzantium became 'the suppliant of Venice'.

    Three events in the story stand out for their long-term effects: the Frankish threat to Venetia in the early ninth century; the charter of commercial privileges granted to Venice by the Emperor Alexios Komnenos, probably in 1082; and the sack of Constantinople in 1204 by the armies of the Fourth Crusade.

    To counter the Frankish threat the Emperor Nicephorus sent a fleet up the Adriatic. Several events followed this show of Byzantine strength: the Rialto group of islands, a land of refuge from the Franks, became the political and ecclesiastical centre of the Venetian people; Venice was reconstituted as a province of the Byzantine Empire, under its own dux or Doge; and by the treaty of Aachen (812) Charlemagne handed back to Byzantium the province of Venetia (together with Istria and the towns of northern Dalmatia) in exchange for recognition of his title of imperator (or basileus). During the next three centuries Venice was of great value to Byzantium: as a trade emporium, where luxury goods from Constantinople were bartered for timber, slaves, metals, salt and fish; as a military ally, whose ships fought alongside the imperial fleet in the Adriatic, most notably against the Normans in the late eleventh and early twelfth century; and as an early warning station, reporting to Constantinople any dangerous movement stemming from the interior of the land (a role, Nicol acutely observes, similar to that of another diplomatic outpost on the fringes of the Byzantine world – the city of Cherson in the Crimea).

    The chrysobull granted to Venice by Alexios I was intended in part as a reward for services rendered. Its effects were far-reaching: Venetian merchants were now exempted from all customs dues throughout the empire, including Constantinople (but excepting Crete and Cyprus). In addition, a colony of resident Venetian traders was established in the capital, on both shores of the Golden Horn. The charter, Nicol observes, 'gave the Venetians a foot in the door that led to the wealth of Byzantium'.

    Venetian prosperity vastly increased after the capture of Constantinople by the armies of the Fourth Crusade. The diversion of the Crusade was the result of Venetian greed and ambition; the true instigator, and principal beneficiary, of these events, which led to the establishment, for the next fifty-seven years, of a Latin Empire in Constantinople and to the permanent crippling of the Byzantine state, was the Doge of Venice, Enrico Dandolo.

    Dandolo styled himself 'lord of one-quarter and one-eighth of the whole Empire of Romania'. He and his compatriots had carved for themselves a colonial empire, whose ports and islands became as many stepping-stones on the commercial sea-routes leading to Constantinople, the Black Sea and the Levant. Its main strongholds were Dyrrachium (Durazzo), Corfu and the other Ionian islands, the twin harbours of Modon and Coron ('the chief eyes of the Republic'), Euboia (Negroponte) and Crete.

    Annexation was accompanied by loot. Much of Constantinople's moveable property was carried off to Venice in or soon after 1204. Christian relics of Byzantium, redirected to 'the profit and honour of Venice', made the city a flourishing centre of pilgrimage. There they joined Venice's most renowned relic – the body of St Mark, stolen from Alexandria in 828 by Venetian sailors. The apostle, whose symbol was the lion, now winged, became the patron saint of city and state. One of Byzantium's most hallowed relics, the Crown of Thorns, pawned after sordid transactions, on its way to Paris where Louis IX later built the Sainte Chapelle to house it, rested for a while in the treasury of St Mark's in Venice.

    Secular monuments of Byzantium were part of the loot. Two famous spoils of war, the four gilded bronze horses, carried off by Dandolo himself, and the porphyry monument of the Roman tetrarchs, clasping shoulders in solidarity, still adorn the façade of St Mark's. 'One forgets', Nicol rightly observes, 'that so much of the beauty of Venice was fashioned at the expense of Byzantium'.
    From a book review of Byzantium and Venice - A Study in Diplomatic and Cultural Relations by Donald M. Nicol, here:https://www.historytoday.com/dimitri...ural-relations

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    I'm still laughing!!! What a treat to listen to a giggly Joseph P. Farrell! Part I of the George Ann Hughes radio interview on "Financial Vipers of Venice"! I'm sure we've all been there.....so tired that everything is funny!! I'll have to watch Part II tomorrow!

    Thank you, Searcher, for posting all this great information....it is MUCH appreciated!!

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    Thanks @Foxie Loxie for the reminder about the giggling.... I listened to those interviews some time ago and had forgotten that :-).

    Pretty much all of Dr Farrell’s interviews with George Anne Hughes are great. Here is the home page:
    http://www.thebyteshow.com/JosephPFarrell.html

    Thanks also for the acknowledgements. I will keep on with it as I find things.

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    Why are we “going to war”?

    /
    From commentor Jen at Moon of Alabama:
    Quote There doesn't necessarily need to be One Major Reason for going to war. There may be several reasons all feeding and reinforcing one another and creating a psychological climate in which Going To War is seen as the only solution and is inevitable. The reasons are not just economic and political but cultural and historical.

    In some countries allied with the US, the politicians in power are the ideological descendants of those who collaborated with Nazi Germany - so in a sense they are committed to "correcting" what they see as wrong. In the case of current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, he is the grandson of a former prime minister who once served in General Tojo's World War II cabinet.
    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/20.../#.WoyZCG9uaUk

    That's why pinning down the reason for wanting a war against Russia is so difficult.
    From here: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02...b7c951abed970b

    And commenter Mike Maloney:
    Quote This is about conditioning voters in Europe and the United States for a long war with Russia and China. In other words, a return to the 1950s. It is not working and becoming increasingly hysterical because societies are not nearly as cohesive as they once were, and the mainstream political parties, while better funded and more top-down organized, are basically hollow. The collapse is coming. Four years or ten, take your pick.
    From here: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02...bb09f50fec970d

    ==========

    So one of the more prevalent “alternative” narrative explanations for war is a desire for resources.

    Here’s an example related to Israeli plans gas extraction in the Golan Heights (Golan Heights are Syrian territory and are occupied by Israel):

    Quote You may be aware that Rupert Murdoch, head of News Corporation which owns the Wall Street Journal, FOX News and 20th Century Fox studios, is also on the Board of Directors of Genie Energy which owns a subsidiary firm that was granted a licence by an Israeli court to explore and drill for oil and natural gas in Syria's (and Israeli-occupied) Golan Heights.
    From here: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02...bb09f51704970d

    Also, there are suggestions that the ongoing US occupation of Afghanistan is related to resources:
    Quote Despite being one of the poorest nations in the world, Afghanistan may be sitting on one of the richest troves of minerals in the world, valued at nearly $1 trillion, scientists say.

    Afghanistan, a country nearly the size of Texas, is loaded with minerals deposited by the violent collision of the Indian subcontinent with Asia. The U.S. Geological Survey began inspecting what mineral resources Afghanistan had after U.S.-led forces drove the Taliban from power in the country in 2004.

    In 2006, U.S. researchers flew airborne missions to conduct magnetic, gravity and hyperspectral surveys over Afghanistan.
    More here: https://www.nbcnews.com/science/scie...nerals-n196861

    And also that the threats to North Korea are to get access to their rare earth minerals:
    Quote A recent geological study indicates North Korea could hold some 216 million tons of rare earths, minerals used in electronics such as smartphones and high definition televisions.

    If verified, the discovery would more than double global known sources and be six times the reserves in China, the market leader.

    British Islands-based private equity firm SRE Minerals Limited announced the study results in December, along with a 25-year deal to develop the deposits in Jongju, northwest of the capital, Pyongyang.

    The joint venture, called Pacific Century Rare Earth Mineral Limited, is with state-owned Korea Natural Resources Trading Corporation.
    From here: https://www.voanews.com/a/north-kore...r/1832018.html

    And the decades long war in the Congo is linked to resources:
    Quote Greed is the reason for the violence in the Congo. The violence is funded by the mining companies and all those, in many countries, who benefit from minerals and resource wealth extracted from the Congo. As a result of this violence, 1500 people die per day, 45000 die per month, 5.4 million have died in the last 10 years.

    From the documentary Culture of Resistance two people who know the Congo tell us:

    Maurice Carney –
    “The Congo is the deadliest conflict in the world since World War II. Congo is a geological scandal because of the mineral wealth within its soil. The conflict is based on who is going to control the resources of the Congo.”

    ...

    “The [Democratic Republic of the Congo’s] significant mineral reserves coupled with corrupt management of the mining sector helped fuel the 1998-2003 civil war leading to the death of some 4 million people. Conflict and massive displacement continues in the eastern part of the country.” (UN 2007)
    From here: https://crossedcrocodiles.wordpress....s-coltan-gold/

    Many of these minerals are required for the consumer electronic devices we are all so addicted to.....
    Quote Technology has created new demand verticals for many of the rare earth metals which are composed of the lanthanide series of elements that tend to occur together in nature and are difficult to separate from each other. Many rare earth metals have properties that make them perfect for the manufacture of strong magnets. Others are useful in the production of fuel cells, mercury vapor lights, electronics, glass strengthening techniques, computer applications, hybrid cars, advanced smart weaponry, nuclear power plant and weapons, medical technology as well as a myriad of other applications.

    The world depends on these metals and applications will continue to grow in the years to come.
    From here: https://seekingalpha.com/article/403...ls-opportunity

    More details on rare earth minerals here from the British Geological Survey: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/125...ts_profile.pdf

    So, if you want the wars to stop.... one helpful actions would be to stop buying new electronic devices.

    ==========

    Another reason given for war is geostrategic location. This is a cited reason for the ongoing US occupation of Korea and Afghanistan, the logic being that this “fouls up” China’s plan for One Belt One Road and other development programmes in Asia.

    More on that in another post. The post above on the Arctic touches on this.

    ==========

    And here a different reason is given for War / War Propaganda is as a DISTRACTION:

    Quote War or the threat of war is needed to distract attention from rapidly devolving societal bonds and immense economic inequality.
    From here: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02...b8d2dc35a3970c

    In support of this idea, take a look at this:

    From an article by Peter Turchin who studies cycles in history, here: http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica...disappearance/

    /

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    Some loosely related things about diamonds, resources, mercenaries and war....

    /Excerpt from the book “Eye on the Diamonds” by Terry Crawford-Browne

    Quote De Beers, Chevron, Rio Tinto and Texaco were among the international corporations to hire Executive Outcomes (EO), which became the first of the world’s privatised armies in the post-Cold War era. The Angolan and Sierra Leonean governments followed.

    EO’s connections to the British government through Sandline International and Aegis Defence remain contentious.


    The links include highly placed individuals among the British elite such as Tony Buckingham, Tony Spicer, Simon Mann and Mark Thatcher. Mann and Thatcher, both living in Cape Town, most notoriously were the drivers of the attempted coup in Equatorial Guinea in March 2004. Their plan was to topple the long-time dictator, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, and take control of the country’s massive oilfields.

    Mann’s erstwhile assistant turned state witness and revealed in 2007 at the “Wonga trial” in Pretoria that the United States, British, Spanish, South African and Zimbabwean governments had all been part of the conspiracy to overthrow Nguema. South African government spokesmen angrily rejected on British television Mann’s claims that he had official encouragement.

    The plot came ludicrously unglued when Zimbabwe’s generals and arms industry executives blew the whistle. The weapons for the adventure were being bought in Zimbabwe, where Mann himself confessed to a Harare court that he had planned to dupe Zimbabwe Defence Industries through a side plot to seize diamond mines in the Congo. The story given to his mercenary force was that they were being employed by Sandline as guards for those mines.

    After operating in Namibia and Angola, Buckingham and Spicer turned their attention to Sierra Leonean diamond concessions as payment for mercenary services. Diamonds had been discovered in Sierra Leone in 1930, and five years later British colonial authorities granted De Beers exclusive mining and prospecting rights over the entire country for 99 years.

    By the mid-1950s there were an estimated 75 000 illicit miners in the Kono area alone. De Beers employed the recently retired head of the British MI5, Sir Percy Sillitoe, to counter smuggling.

    Given the tighter security, Lebanese traders began smuggling diamonds to Monrovia in neighbouring Liberia. By 1970 Sierra Leone was mining over two million carats of high-quality stones when the newly independent government nationalised the industry. De Beers took revenge. “Legal” diamond exports dropped to under 600 000 carats by 1980, to under 50 000 carats by 1984 and to only 8 500 carats by 1998.

    There are about 250 000 people of Lebanese origin in West Africa, who have lived there for generations. They dominate commerce, and as the Lebanese civil war of the 1980s gathered momentum, the diamond trade funded the parties in the conflict. That, in turn, prompted Israeli intervention.

    In the 1980s, Israel and South Africa were collaborating to develop nuclear weapons and were using Sierra Leonean diamonds to circumvent the UN arms embargo.

    The Israeli-based Liat Construction and Finance Company was controlled by a Russian-born Israeli, Shabtai Kalmanovich, who, in partnership with Marc Rich, also brought in American money launderers, drug traffickers and arms dealers. Having become a prominent millionaire and philanthropist – on top of being the “ambassador” to Israel from the apartheid bantustan of Bophuthatswana – Kalmanovich was eventually arrested in London in 1987.

    He was exposed as a Soviet KGB agent and jailed for six years. On release, he returned to Russia but was gunned down in Moscow in 2009 in a gangster killing.

    Rich was the infamous oil sanctions-buster during the apartheid era and fugitive from US authorities, based in Zug, Switzerland. He became one of the largest shareholders in De Beers. Despite his notoriety, Rich was controversially pardoned by President Bill Clinton in 2001 after a financial donation of $500 000 to the Democratic Party. Until 1994, like most people, I had been bedazzled by the mystique and glamour around diamonds promoted by De Beers and its marketing strategists.

    Then-Archbishop Desmond Tutu appointed me to represent the Anglican Church at the Cameron Commission of Inquiry into Armscor. The inquiry, just months after the UN lifted the arms embargo, was prompted by international revelations that a shipment from South Africa of AK47s and other weapons had been seized in Yemen. When I met him, Armscor’s general manager Andre Buys initially insisted that the shipment was destined for the Lebanese army that, unusually, had standardised its equipment on AK47s.

    The Lebanese Consul in South Africa angrily and publicly denied that his office had authorised the shipment. Armscor then insisted that it had the full support of the Israeli government, with which SAwas co-operating in the war against international terrorism.

    Even more extraordinarily, Buys declared that South Africa, as a Christian country, had a Christian obligation to help in the defence of other Christian countries such as Lebanon. The fact that most Lebanese were Muslims, and not Christians, had evidently not dawned on Armscor.

    So how, I asked, could weapons sold to Christian militias in Lebanon end up in a Muslim country such as Yemen? Buys’s explanation was that Armscor could not be blamed for the criminal actions of third parties.

    Given the new political dispensation in SA, Armscor was trying to get rid of its remaining stocks of 35 000 Chinese-supplied AK47s. The weapons had originally been imported as part of the apartheid government’s destabilisation programme in Angola. Armscor was prepared to sell to any crooks or terrorists.

    The shipment was impounded in Yemen en route to Croatia, which was then engaged in a secessionist war from Yugoslavia and was itself the subject of a UN arms embargo. The revelations became a major embarrassment for South Africa’s new democratic government. Our Anglican stance at the Cameron Commission was to call for a total prohibition of arms exports, and for the armaments industry to be converted to peaceful purposes.

    Purchases of diamonds by De Beers to finance Unita’s war effort facilitated the apartheid government’s destabilisation policies in Angola. We also urged the commission to take measures to block SA’s further involvement in the weapons-for-diamonds trade which we then estimated at about $500 million a year.

    Unita had developed a diamond smuggling organisation, and between 1993 and 1997 these operations earned about $3.7 billion. De Beers sanctimoniously pleaded that its purchases were solely intended to prevent Unita from dumping diamonds on the market, and not to finance a war.

    The proceeds paid for weapons supplied from South Africa, Bulgaria and other countries by the Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout. Government ministers insisted that they could not be blamed when corrupt policemen and customs officials “closed their eyes” at South Africa’s porous airports.

    ....


    The wars in Angola and Sierra Leone shattered the glamorous image that De Beers had so carefully cultivated over decades. Perceptions are all-important in the diamond trade. Carefully constructed marketing myths were fast unravelling. De Beers stopped buying Angolan diamonds in October 1999, and in May 2000 made an unctuous, written submission to the US congressional committee on Africa that:
    “De Beers knows all too well the deleterious effects that conflict and political instability often have on potential large-scale investors. Having spent hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising its product, De Beers is deeply concerned about anything that could damage the image of diamonds as a symbol of love, beauty and rarity.”
    From here: http://www.thisissierraleone.com/arm...d-mercenaries/

    ==========

    A shortish summary of the gist of the Angolan civil war:

    Quote For Angolans, the decades of war devastated their nation’s capital amidst the hopes and promise of liberty from the rule of the crown and provided in that destruction a chance to rebuild. Their lives were sacrificed in the tens of thousands for the interests of the Soviets and Americans who were fighting a proxy conflict with Angolan pawns. Hundreds of thousands were made refugee in a country (Anyadike 2013) that was rich in natural resources and gave rise to the concept of ‘blood’ or ‘conflict’ diamonds (“The Angolan Civil War: The Concept of ‘Blood Diamonds’ Explained” 2014). An entire generation remained captivated by political violence and at the end of it all, like their oppressors, the people’s liberators through cronyism and favors, invited the multi-nationals, took money from big banks, mostly lead by the Americans, back into their backyard to draw upon their rich natural resources of oil and diamonds. Corruption became rampant in Angola with billions missing from the National Treasury. After fueling the colonial enterprise of slavery as a world leader of such decadent subservience at the behest of their Portuguese, Dutch and English traders for hundreds of years, the Angolans found themselves serving the corporation. The Civil War ended with the death of Jonas Savimbi in February of 2002 in a land where a white ex-patriots from Portugal continued to draw upon Angola’s natural resources working for multi-national corporations (“Texaco – A Follow Up” 1997).
    From here: https://howardlsalter.wordpress.com/...ation-feature/

    ============

    Some of the spiraling tentacles of this century long programme:

    Quote The mining magnate Cecil Rhodes and the British High Commissioner, Lord Alfred Milner instigated the Anglo-Boer War (South African War) of 1899-1902. Their purpose was to secure gold and other natural resources in South Africa with cheap indigenous labour in circumstances akin to slavery, and to extend British domination over the entire African continent “from Cape to Cairo.”

    British imperial power had developed the strategy of “divide and rule.” Milner was the main drafter of the 1917 Balfour Declaration offering “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”[6]

    With the support of De Beers, the Israeli diamond cutting and polishing industry was established during the Second World War, and by 1975 accounted for almost 40 percent of Israel’s non-agricultural exports.

    The diamond industry then became the foundation of Israel’s armaments industry. In turn, arms export sales in 2012 were US$7.5 billion which placed Israel in fourth place, surpassed only by the United States, Russia and France. Thus, Israeli arms exports exceed even those of Britain, Germany and China. An estimated 150 000 Israeli households depend economically on the arms industry.[7]

    Yotam Feldman’s award-winning documentary film, The Lab, chillingly focuses upon how the armaments industry markets export sales on Israel’s tried and proven success in dealing with Palestinians. One particularly arrogant character describes the industry as “turning blood into money.”[8]

    Prime Minister John Vorster visited Israel in 1976. In defiance of the 1977 UN arms embargo against apartheid South Africa, he and his successor PW Botha (1978-1989) established close Israeli-South African collaboration in developing nuclear and other weapons.[9]

    ...

    Uranium ore used by the US Manhattan Project to produce the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 was mined at the Shinkobwe mine in the Belgian Congo. The mine was owned by Union Minière du Haut Katanga (UMHK), which was notorious for the brutal economic exploitation that pertained during Belgium’s colonial administration.

    After the Congo became independent in 1960, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in collusion with American and South African diamond interests, orchestrated the assassination of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba plus the subsequent coup d’etat in 1965 which placed Joseph Mobutu in power until 1997.

    The Congo was plundered during Mobutu’s kleptomaniac regime, but the tragic circumstances have deteriorated even further since the Kabilas (father and son) took over. The Congo is the world’s largest producer of cobalt, and a major producer of copper and diamonds. It also produces 70 percent of the world’s coltan.

    A three-year investigation convened by the UN Security Council in 2000 found that sophisticated networks of high-level political, military and business persons in collaboration with various rebel groups were intentionally fuelling the conflict in order to retain control over the country’s natural resources. In a series of controversial reports, the investigation exposed the vicious cycle of resource-driven conflict and war.

    There is a worldwide profit interest that the present plundering mechanism stays in place. There are an enormous number of people siphoning off Congo’s resources. It is all laid out in reports every one can read on the Internet. There are the Congolese government elite, all kinds of European and North American firms, a huge number of African firms, and especially the elites from neighbouring countries. It is a very vast and complex network profiting from the war and its exploitation.[16]

    ...
    This is a long article and only small parts pasted here. The full article is at: https://www.globalresearch.ca/israel...-trail/5358347

    ==========

    What are all these oligarchs and their paid mercenaries fighting over?

    Here, a superficial view of the resources at stake:


    ===========

    Where do the mercenaries come from.... turning up “like bad pennies” over and over again in the world’s conflicts? One example:

    Quote British Prime Minister Tony Blair has with much fanfare recently announced, that part of the British army will be withdrawn from Iraq. What he did not mention was, that mercenaries will fill the gap.

    And he is busy to secure the flow of them to Iraq. On 29th August 2006 the South African Parliament has approved a new anti-mercenary law with a vote of 211 to 28. The bill called "Prohibition of Mercenary Activities and Prohibition and Regulation of Certain Activities" compels South Africans to get authorization to enlist in foreign armies or mercenary companies. The bill seeks to close loopholes in the existing anti-mercenary law.

    The British High Commissioner to South Africa, Paul Boateng, did his level best to stop the bill or at least to get it watered down, unsuccessfully up to now, however South African president Thabo Mbeki has not signed the bill as yet.. The British Government continues with it's efforts.



    Proven in Terror-Combat
    Many of South Africans are former members of the apartheid terror- and destruction gangs like Reconnaissance commandos (Recce), 44 Parachute Brigade, the 32 Buffalo Battalion, Koevoet and the death squad Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB)

    They came for murderous excursions into neighbouring countries like Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho Angola , Swaziland and even Tanzania.


    Botswana had tasted as well the brutality of these gangs. They came on 14 June 1985 and 20th May 1986 to Gaborone, killing at least 14 people, wounding several others and blowing up a number of houses afterwards.

    Some of these units used to eliminate captured freedom fighters with the help of poison, delivered allegedly by South Africa's Dr. Mengele by the name of Dr. Wouter Basson, and the bodies were thrown out of a plane over the Atlantic Ocean. The Geneva Convention was an unheard foreign entity.

    What has the British Government to do with a South African anti-mercenary law?

    The answer is simple. The British Government wants a continuous flow of mercenaries and regular soldiers from South Africa not only into it's own army, where already 800 South Africans are enlisted, but more so in all areas of conflict, where these mercenaries are most welcome to do outsourced duties of the British army, like in Iraq.


    Mercenaries have been hired by so called Private Military Companies, like Aegis, MPRI, Erinys, Blackwater and others for mercenary- jobs in Iraq. They outnumber the British Army contingent there by far.The South African contingent is estimated to be around 10.000.

    ...
    From here:
    http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/t...mmandos.12449/

    ============

    Here is an interesting list of mercenaries from ancient times to modern:
    http://vikimy.com/l-en/List_of_mercenaries?ref=related

    /

    Is the export of previously colonized nations mercenaries? A different kind of slavery.



    ============

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    Synchronicity? This was posted on SOTT today:

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    Whoa!! That diagram REALLY puts the whole thing into a correct perspective!! Exactly WHY do we need to be selling such an amount of arms?!!

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