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Thu, 15 Nov 2018
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Niall Bradley on Sputnik: 'Kerry Shadow Diplomacy Exposes US-Israeli Urgency to Contain Iran Before it Acquires Strategic Deterrence'

john kerry mohammad zarif
Fmr. US Sec. of State John Kerry recently admitted to carrying out 'shadow diplomacy' in order to 'save' the Iran Deal, for which he was lambasted by the Trump administration for undermining its hard-line anti-Iran policy. Kerry is almost certainly in violation of the Logan Act prohibiting civilians from conducting diplomacy on any issue that is contrary to the government's position. The Logan Act, which dates from 1799, is unlikely to be used against Kerry, but a more recent precedent saw Trump's initial National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, punished for a far less serious diplomatic transgression (namely, speaking on the phone with the Russian ambassador in Washington, DC).

Sott.net editor Niall Bradley joined Andrew Korybko on his Sputnik 'Trendstorm' show this week to discuss what Kerry's game-plan might be here, concluding that, whichever Iran policy 'wins' in Washington, the race is on between US 'good cops' and 'bad cops' to prevent Iran from achieving strategic military deterrence, thereby 'containing' its economic and military development, and thus its influence in the wider southwest Asian region.

Originally published as an .mp3 Trendstorm podcast on Sputnik

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The Truth Perspective: How Postmodernism Usurped the Western Mind

Intersectionality postmodern liberal leftist
Today on the Truth Perspective we tackle the Gordian Knot that is Postmodernism. From degrading art to bizarre philosophy, Postmodernism has relied primarily on confusion and a mask of 'mystique' to secure its rise to prominence. Today we dispel much of that confusion by discussing it historically and philosophically while putting it back into the context of that thing called "reality" which its adherents have so vehemently denied.

Charting its course from the Enlightenment through the conflict between Capitalism and Communism and on to the rise of the SJW, we examine how, where, and why it came to such prominence in Western thought and society. In the process we find that Postmodernism, far from being the confusing mess it portends to be, is indeed a rational movement, yet one that has at its core an old and malevolent spirit.

Running Time: 01:18:21

Download: OGG, MP3


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Question

Is Vladimir Putin Evil? (1/3)

putin stern
© Alexey Druzhinin/Ria Novosti/Agence France-Presse
Western corporate media has cast Vladimir Putin as the main villain of today's geopolitics. If their coverage of Russia's president were truthful and objective, we'd have to conclude that Putin has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, that he is the greediest, most ruthless tyrant since Genghis Khan and that he had turned his government into a lawless mafia state. Indeed, unflattering, negative coverage of Vladimir Putin is pervasive, but where concrete evidence should be presented, ceaseless repetition of allegations is taken as sufficient proof.

Joseph Goebbels' technique of the big lie entails deceiving people with big, brazen lies and repeating them unrelentingly. If truth is to set us free, we must spread it with boldness and determination. We must push back and expose the lies. They who desire wars are few, and we who desire peace are many. Even if they can silence some of us, they can not silence us all. Do your part, reject fear and the lies, and together we can put an end to today's dystopian state of permanent war.

USA

Clear Evidence of Syrian 'Rebels' Preparing Fake 'Chemical Attack'

Idlib staged chemical attack
In recent months, the Russian and Syrian governments have repeatedly claimed that Western-backed 'rebels' in Syria have been planning to stage a chemical weapons attack in the area of Idlib to provide justification to the US, UK and French governments to launch a military attack on Syrian government and military infrastructure.

In this video we see clear evidence of just such a staged provocation being prepared/rehearsed.

Remember this next time you hear Western governments claim that the Syrian (or any other) government has 'gassed its own people'.

Light Saber

If Ending Syria's War Means Accepting Assad and Russia Have Won, So Be It

civilians Idlib
© Omar Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images
‘Two million or more civilians [are] now huddled in Idlib.’ The ‘Hope’ camp in Kafaldin on the Syrian-Turkish border.
Just when it seems the Syrian war cannot get more complex, it does. In the skies above the Mediterranean, Syrian missiles shoot down an allied Russian surveillance plane after mistaking it for an Israeli bomber. In the Black Sea resort of Sochi, the Russian and Turkish presidents produce a plan for Turkey to use its control of part of Idlib province to disarm the worst jihadi extremists, including Chechens, Uighurs and other foreigners, as well as homegrown Syrian fanatics.

Two points stand out. One is the proliferation of outside interference in what began in 2011 as a purely Syrian campaign for reform. The other is the central and indispensable role that Russia now plays. On Syria's south-western flank, it deploys military police near the Israeli-occupied Golan so as to prevent pro-Iranian militias from moving up and provoking Israeli forces. It turns a blind eye to Israeli air attacks on Iranian advisers in Syria. Only now with Monday's loss of a Russian plane does it give the Israelis a public dressing-down for creating the confusion that led to the missile mistake.

Russia's relationship with Turkey is equally multifaceted. It condemns Turkey's occupation of northern Syrian territory, including parts of Idlib, but uses Turkey's presence to demand that Turkey disarm the jihadis it once supported there. Whether Monday's Sochi agreement will be implemented remains to be seen. Turkey has made earlier promises to tackle the extremists that have come to nothing.

Comment: Every now and then the mainstream news will get it right, or at least report in a more balanced way. However, one thing that is clear from the conflict in Syria is that Western governments bear FULL responsibility for the carnage, as the attempt to overthrow the Syrian government was planned by them years ago with the intention to further their control of the region. Thanks to Russia's intervention in the conflict however, Syria has escaped the disastrous fate of Libya and Iraq.


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The Health & Wellness Show: Where is Your Awareness?

sherlock
Awareness is the ability to directly know and perceive, to feel, or to be cognizant of events. More broadly, it is the state of being conscious of something. It's ephemeral, however; something that we seem to take for granted. Only rarely are we actually aware of our awareness.

Awareness seems to be a spectrum, rather than an on-off switch. Situational awareness is important for knowing what's going on in your immediate environment, where lapses in awareness can be extremely dangerous in some situations. But then there are higher forms of awareness, like self awareness, being aware of oneself, including one's traits, character, feelings, and behaviors. It's the distinction between having an experience (experiential consciousness) and knowing that you are having an experience (meta-awareness). Theoretically, awareness can expand even higher than this.

How much of our time is spent lost in thought, daydreaming or projecting? How aware are we of how we actually come across to others? Is there anything we can do to make ourselves more aware? Join us for this episode of the Health and Wellness Show, where we talk about the many facets of awareness.

Running Time: 01:01:14

Download: OGG, MP3


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Beaker

Russian 'Agents' Accused of Salisbury Poisonings: Just Tourists, or Framed?

british media russophobia putin
England vs Russia on Russian soil in the football World Cup this summer would have been more entertaining than the dreary, farcical charade the two countries have been playing out since March. The Skripal Saga - The Salisbury Poisonings - Putin's personal chemical warfare attack on the UK... The only thing really worth saying about it is that it's just more sound and fury, signifying nothing. Be that as it may, the mainstream anglophone media has capitalized on this mendacity because it's a useful distraction from the major geopolitical changes underway, as well as the socio-economic and planetary upheaval resulting from, or mirroring, the chaotic world system transition we're undergoing.

Flush with paranoid conspiracy theories and lewd speculation, what the media's narratives about this nonsense lack - as usual - is all-important context. In 2003, the US and UK launched a reckless invasion and occupation of Iraq under the pretext that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction (which, specifically, included chemical weapons) aimed at London. Russia demanded evidence of such before that war, warning that chaos would result from such a flagrant breach of international law, and was ignored.

The US and UK later launched a proxy war against neighbouring Syria by funding, arming and training an 'internationalist brigade' of 'Muslim liberators', and, once that 'softened up' the country, the anglo-American establishment were 'weapons-hot' to swoop in and 'decapitate the regime' in August 2013 under the pretext that Bashar Al-Assad had 'used chemical weapons against his own people'. Russia again intervened, but this time was listened to (likely because Russia already had a military foothold in the country via its long-term air defence contracts, not because the US Congress and UK Parliament suddenly 'saw the light' and agreed to adhere to international law). The OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) certified that the Syrian state was chemical weapon-free, and the matter was apparently dropped.

Chess

Russia Brings Turkey to the Right Side of History - Terrorists and Israel React Badly to Sochi Agreement on Idlib

Putin erdogan netanyahu
© Fort Russ News
With Turkey's military presence in northern Syria and its support of militant groups in Idlib, it was to be expected that the Syrian Army offensive in the region would be postponed until a compromise was reached between Erdogan and Assad's allies, as I explained earlier. Russian president Vladimir Putin held talks with his Turkish counterpart Erdogan, for the third time in less than a month, in Sochi on September 17th. They agreed to establish a demilitarized zone in Idlib; later, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu confirmed to journalists there would not be a large military operation in the province.

According to Russian diplomatic sources who spoke with Al-Watan newspaper, the Russian-Turkish agreement will be implemented in three stages:
  1. The first stage will go into effect by mid October to create a 15 to 20 km weapons-free zone along the contact line between militant groups and government forces. All radical groups, including ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra/Al Qaeda will have to leave this zone, which will be patrolled jointly by Russian and Turkish military units.
  2. In the second stage the heavy weapons will be collected from the region until November 10 and the militants will leave civilian areas.
  3. In the third stage, lasting to the end of this year, state institutions will resume activities in Idlib.
Notice that for the completion of all three stages, the cooperation of militant groups is necessary. This is the point that may result in the partial or complete collapse of the demilitarization efforts - but that is not necessarily a failure.

Cow

A Tale of Two Studies: Looking Beyond Headlines to Decode What the Science Really Says About Diet

steak no steak

Oh, I understand. Eat steak, but don't eat steak. Thanks again, science.
In my last article I ranted against a recent study from The Lancet that claimed low-carb diets would take years off your life, despite having poor methodology and none of the study participants actually doing a low-carb diet. In a video linked in that piece, Dr. Aseem Malhotra of the NHS in the UK mentions another study put out recently, also by The Lancet, that had the exact opposite findings. Called the PURE study (Prospective Urban and Rural Epedemiological study), the study made headlines (although fewer than the low-carb bashing one) stating that meat and cheese are back on the menu, claiming they actually help heart health.

Many low-carbers were quick to jump on this as a confirmation of what they've been saying all along, using this study as counter-evidence to the latest study which had opposite results. To be fair, the PURE study is, overall, a better conducted study: PURE had ten times the number participants and better design overall. But it's still an epidemiological study with all the limitations inherent to this type of science. It still relied on Food Frequency Questionnaires (FFQs) and can still only make claims about correlation, not causation.

It's the height of confirmation bias to reject one study on the grounds of its execution but accept one that uses essentially the same methodology but gets the results one likes (note that Malhotra was not doing this, but was simply pointing out that contradictory evidence, of the same type, exists). Ironically, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a statement about PURE, warning of the limitations of FFQs. Perhaps they should apply that standard to the studies that justify their own dietary recommendations.

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Alex Krainer: Why I Wrote Grand Deception - The Truth About Bill Browder

russia vs nato
In the past year, quite a few people have asked me why I wrote Grand Deception, my twice banned book about Bill Browder, the Magnitsky Act and the historical relations between Russia and the West. Some of them have asked me to write down the answer I gave them in a way that could be shared, since the story seems very relevant to today's circumstances and risk of a major military conflagration we are facing. So here goes... Writing a book is not easy. Even if you think you know exactly what you want to say, you can't just rant off whatever's on your mind. You have to think through the book's structure, formulate an outline and decide where each part of the story fits so that you may produce a coherent and readable whole, which is a laborious and at times frustrating process.

So why go through all the trouble? There's some background to my urge to write Grand Deception. As a young man I've lived through the breakout of war in the former Yugoslavia and I served in the Croatian army during the war. The remarkable thing about the build-up to that war was that only days before its full outbreak, most people believed that war would never happen. It seemed unthinkable. I certainly did not think it would happen.