Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

What happens now?

by IdiotSavant Tue Jan 15th, 2019 at 09:29:39 PM EST

This morning the UK parliament voted on Theresa may's Brexit deal - and as expected voted it down in the biggest defeat for a UK government in the democratic era. So what happens now? The problem is that no-one can tell. The UK has passed into political singularity, and no-one knows what might come out the other side.

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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EU Survey anti-Semitism: Corbyn-Orban Paradox

by Oui Tue Jan 15th, 2019 at 11:11:40 AM EST

Once again I was alarmed by another poll and extensive coverage in some media: CNN: A Shadow Over Europe Ö

CNN poll reveals depth of anti-Semitism in Europe

Anti-Semitic stereotypes are alive and well in Europe, while the memory of the Holocaust is starting to fade, a sweeping new survey by CNN reveals. More than a quarter of Europeans polled believe Jews have too much influence in business and finance. Nearly one in four said Jews have too much influence in conflict and wars across the world.

One in five said they have too much influence in the media and the same number believe they have too much influence in politics.

Meanwhile, a third of Europeans in the poll said they knew just a little or nothing at all about the Holocaust, the mass murder of some six million Jews in lands controlled by Adolf Hitlerís Nazi regime in the 1930s and 1940s.

See also my earlier analysis:

Israel Lobby is Leading in Attack on Corbyn
War On BDS, Progressive Left Under Attack

Just wondering what role is played by the Institute for Statecraft, funded by the UK Government.

More below the fold ...

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Too little, too late

by Frank Schnittger Sat Jan 12th, 2019 at 12:12:10 AM EST

Over two and a half years after the referendum Theresa May has finally decided to reach across the aisle and try to build a national consensus around her Brexit deal. She has begun talking to Labour MPs who have been saying for months they might support her deal provided they receive assurances on workers rights and permanent access to a customs union. She has even spoken to a couple of leading trade unionists she has never bothered to meet in all of her political career. Downing Street had to call the Union call centre to get the General Secretary's contact details...

It is a last desperate maneuver, undertaken only because the DUP has rejected her latest attempts to get them on board. With the DUP it is always a case of "what part of NO do you not understand?" It is the end-game of her strategy, first announced in her Lancaster house "red lines" speech, to secure a parliamentary majority by appeasing her the hard core right wing Tory Brexiteers and the DUP - all the while claiming to be uniting the nation around her.

She is also beginning to lose control of the whole Brexit process with an increasingly assertive parliament demanding that she announce her Plan B within three days of losing the vote on her Brexit deal next week. Tories are incensed that Speaker John Bercow allowed amendments tying the hands of the government. But what do you expect when you don't have a written constitution and precedents are there to be set? His job is to assert parliamentary sovereignty, not protect the government.

So what are her options for a Plan B?

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Journey From CIA's Keyhole to Google Earth

by Oui Wed Jan 9th, 2019 at 01:04:51 PM EST

Developing Big Brother in the 21st Century ... interesting!

Google's Earth: how the tech giant is helping the state spy on us  | The Guardian | by Yasha Levine - author

In 2003, a San Francisco company called Keyhole Inc. was on the ropes. With a name recalling the CIA's secret 1960s "Keyhole" spy satellite programme [Corona],  the company had been launched two years earlier as a spinoff from a videogame outfit.

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DEA/CIA - A Trail of Blood

by Oui Tue Jan 8th, 2019 at 07:57:12 PM EST

David Coleman Headley is an American citizen serving both DEA/CIA and the Pakistan ISI since his arrest in 1998 for smuggling heroin. Headley had a handler from the DEA and was protected by this US Agency. Whenever foreign intelligence service signaled an alarm to have Headley watched or arrested, his master from the DEA intervened: "He is our man." While working intelligence in Pakistan, Afghanistan and in India, Headley was send as a scout for the terror group LeT. What followed was the 26/11 Mumbai massacre, attack [NYT] on Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper and a bomb attack in Germany. Only recently has the US taken this man off the streets at the direction of president Obama.

Today I watched a documentary on DW that was quite revealing. I couldn't find a link yet, the title was "A Trail of Terror". The term terror can be exchanged for "Blood". [See update below] After the fists of "Shock and Awe" released by the Bush/Cheney administration in 2001, the world has seen an sharp rise in terror attacks across the globe and tens of thousands victims each year. The global intelligence communities bear a great responsibility because they operate outside international law and beyond control of democratic nations. The IC has become a joint venture with the MIC and has been on a war footing ever since. This has got to be reversed. Political leaders need to take on this responsibility.

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US State Downgrades Diplomatic Status EU

by Oui Tue Jan 8th, 2019 at 08:51:03 AM EST

In secret of course, without notice. Manifesting the yellow streak down Donald Trump's backbone. For the diplomacy experts witnessing the formal invitations to G.W. Bush last salute, the EU diplomat came in last in the long line of nations.

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A TITANIC success

by Frank Schnittger Mon Jan 7th, 2019 at 02:20:34 PM EST

Yours truly and Luis de Sousa have been using the Charge of the Light Brigade as a metaphor for the UK's brainless charge for Brexit. But perhaps it is Boris Johnson himself who came up with the more appropriate metaphor when he said that the UK was going to make "a Titanic Success of Brexit". The metaphor is all the more apt as the Titanic had been built in the famous Harland and Wolff shipyard - a fact that is now commemorated in the Titanic centre in Belfast. The DUP has also been leading the charge towards a Brexit which could well jeopardize the very union between N. Ireland and Great Britain they so claim to cherish.

It is now almost two months since Theresa May agreed her deal with the EU Council and very little has changed or moved on in the meantime as the great ship of state sails inexorably on towards a hard Brexit on 29th. March. If the 117 Tory MPs who voted no-confidence in Theresa May's leadership combine with the DUP, May's deal could well go down by over 200 votes in the House of Commons vote on January 15th.

No prime minister in history would have been subjected to such an emphatic defeat on such a major issue and survived, and yet Theresa May might fight on. Brexiteer Tory MPs effectively handed May a 12 month stay of execution when they precipitated an ill-judged no confidence motion in December and the DUP have said they will continue to vote Confidence in the Government (while threatening to vote down almost all else) for fear of precipitating a general election which Jeremy Corbyn might well win.

So we have a lame duck prime minister at the helm set on a course headed for a hard Brexit and no mechanism to change course, or have we?

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Perils of a No Deal BrExit

by Oui Mon Jan 7th, 2019 at 10:15:30 AM EST

An Open Thread to discuss and present the many articles and interviews discussing the imminence of PM May's loss of the EU Deal vote in the Commons and the risk of crashing out of the European Union end of March 2019.

No-deal Brexit rehearsal in Kent 'a waste of time' | The Guardian |

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Goal for Next Decade: How to Harness Capitalism

by Oui Sat Jan 5th, 2019 at 12:59:38 PM EST

Persons need to step up to the pate and take on their responsibility. Just as the New Democrats in de USA have done in de Congressional Election of 2016 ... and with success!

I have plenty of thought for a diary, but today I read the letter from a mayor send to the city council of Purmerend where he renounces his party membership of the VVD, the liberal party of Dutch PM Mark Rutte. What more needs to be said? The same position to the right of a progressive center has been taken by the Christian Democrats (CDA) under "leadership" of Sybrand Buma. Hiding under the cover of "Dutch" culture or "family" values. A farcical view which is as fake as most news read on social media in recent years. Populism is the trend to woe voters in the next election because when not in power you don't have a voice. The allmight of democracy and elections in the "Free World".

The Western world needs to go through another social revolution starting from the bottom up with support of students, teachers and professional leaders in education and the business community. The business leaders must realize their profits thrive in the future by a solid footing in the community they serve.

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Obama Lost Syria - British FM Hunt Admits Defeat

by Oui Thu Jan 3rd, 2019 at 03:13:01 PM EST

The World watching the mad man in the White House ...

Trump hates to lose or even a notion he is not in control of all matters on his desk.

Europe hates Trump, he is fine with that: "Means I'm doing my job right."

Donald Trump pleased Europeans are unhappy with him | DW |

In his first Cabinet meeting of 2019, US President Donald Trump reflected on his lack of popularity in Europe. The president told reporters on Wednesday that he was unfazed by low approval ratings among Europeans, saying it was his job to demand that Europe treat the US more fairly.

"That's why I got elected," Trump said, reiterating that European countries must be pushed to increase their share of defense spending, a point he has made repeatedly when talking about NATO funding and defense and security in Europe.

"I shouldn't be popular in Europe. If I was popular in Europe, I wouldn't be doing my job," he added.

US losing its stepping stone Great Britain. The separation between mainland Europe and the States is getting BIGGER, thanks to Trump and his backers in U.S. Congress.

Twittered for the outside world to get ready for a BIG announcement ...


More to come below the fold ...

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Perils of the Enlightenment - 250 Years Later

by Oui Thu Jan 3rd, 2019 at 10:28:40 AM EST

From a brief comment by Cat on New Year's Day ...

culture (none / 0)

Reversing the Descent of Man

##Sociopaths teaching sociopaths manners

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Jan 1st, 2019 at 09:42:06 PM PDT  

As I started to read article, I realized a lot of potential on content. As I read further it became contentious and in the end I had many disagreements. Human life and social patterns are a continuous experiment, there are no laws. Every generation is confronted with the puzzle of life and how to bond with fellow human beings. Even at a "wise" age, the New Year presents many challenges. To stay young at heart, stay true to your ideals, I do. A hard core optimist. ;)

To blame the Enlightenment for the perils in today's society ... is a bit beyond my comprehension.

A wish to return to chivalry and the Holy Roman Empire? Go East young man, go East: for starters Saudi Arabia, Emirates and Iran and most nations in between.

More below the fold ...

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USA and the New Era: Destruct of Society

by Oui Wed Jan 2nd, 2019 at 07:49:39 PM EST

Positioned in the Trump Administration on the post of "civil rights" ... tearing down basic laws of humanity and civility in a New Era of distortion of facts, selling snake oil New Style and pure rightwing propaganda for political goals.

The U.S. Senate approved bigot Kenneth Marcus as Trump's Civil Rights Czar for Education in the reign of Betsy DeVos.

Ken Marcus Confirmed to Lead U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights
Senate approves controversial Jewish rights activist for top civil rights post | Times of Israel |

"No Democrats voted for Kenneth Marcus, who backs a definition of anti-Semitism that includes some forms of Israel criticism."

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Our Empire and Future Trade Deals

by Oui Wed Jan 2nd, 2019 at 12:53:05 PM EST

After Brexit the United Kingdom will be open for global trade deals. Their favorite partnership will be with the nations united in the Five Eyes as security is imperative. The UK will exert its forces across the globe to protect [?] trade routes and alliances. PM Theresa May would love to reach a deal with the New World, especially with Trump's America. World's number One leader in economic strength, digital technology, financials, banking, stock markets and ownership of the Internet.

As the 21th Century Empire, one needs to own its very exceptional wall. The Chinese in ancient times had theirs. It still exists and is one of few man-built structures seen from outer space on planet Earth.

The Soviets had their Iron Curtain which fell in 1989.

Trump is hastily looking for funds, let's say $5bn, for a lasting achievement along the border with Mexico. Is Donald worried the Mexicans want the stolen lands returned from the Gringos? Looking for an adequate new name for Trump's fence or wall. The Bamboo Curtain was not available, perhaps the Cactus Curtain as tribute to the locals suffering from the migrants moving North across the Rio Grande river.

The protected areas on the border harbor an incredible array of wildlife and plants

Trump's America is quite eager to make a deal with great ally, the British conservatives to differentiate with Labour's Corbyn. Heaven forbid.

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Barcelona Process, EU Partnership and Syria

by Oui Mon Dec 31st, 2018 at 12:14:49 PM EST


Pax Americana - the years of the Bush/Cheney wrecking ball in the Middle East completed under the Obama administration. What has the 21st century wrought with the War on Terror after the 9/11 attacks by Saudi led Al Qaeda jihadists. Hundreds of thousands died, the majority innocent civilians and hardship for most in decades to come. The world has NOT become a safer place, when will Western politicians realize cause and effect of their policy and deeds. The United Kingdom and France have played a key role in the development around the Arab Spring in North Africa and the Middle East (MENA). The military aggression to solve conflicts must be broken down. Europe should respect the promises made and goals set with he founding of the EEC in 1957.

The financial crisis of the banking mafia has brought hardship and was a stimulant for a populist revolt in European countries. The crisis of inequality should be tackled and the basic needs of all should be met: income, healthcare and a pension. Priorities should be set and there should be a focus on the real issues and avoid bureaucracy and over-regulation that hits business and citizens. Hopefully Brussels will reform with the exit of Jean-Claude Juncker.

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Russian Oil Wealth, Kremlin and Oligarchs

by Oui Fri Dec 28th, 2018 at 11:08:22 PM EST

Music's Mystery Mogul: Len Blavatnik, Trump and Their Russian Friends | Hollywood Reporter - Oct. 2018 |

In May 2013, Martin Scorsese went to the Cannes Film Festival -- not to be feted but to pitch a project: Silence, his not-exactly-commercial saga of two priests in 17th century Japan. The director had dinner aboard billionaire Len Blavatnik's 164-foot yacht, Odessa, named for his birthplace in Ukraine. Scorsese and Blavatnik then headed to a lavish party hosted by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, owner of the English Premier League's Chelsea F.C., who, like Blavatnik, had made his fortune following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Abramovich was hosting director Baz Luhrmann, whose The Great Gatsby was having its premiere at the festival. One observer was struck by the scene: "Len got to arrive with his prestigious guest and Abramovich was there with his, so it was oligarchs showing their connections." Now, sources say, Blavatnik is negotiating a major multiplatform deal with Luhrmann, and Warner Bros. plans to make a long-gestating Elvis Presley film with the Australian director, presumably with Blavatnik's backing.

The use of the O-word would annoy Blavatnik, 61. The press-shy billionaire has long maintained that he's not an oligarch but a naturalized American citizen who emigrated from the Soviet Union [Ukraine] as a young man of 21 in 1978. Nonetheless, he has found himself on the radar of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, according to ABC News. Amid the drumbeat of the probe of Russian interference with the 2016 U.S. election, Blavatnik is on a quest to achieve his stated goal of building a "media platform for the 21st century."

Continued below the fold ...

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A Blatant Violation of Iraq's Sovereignty

by Oui Thu Dec 27th, 2018 at 10:32:40 AM EST

Parliamentarians call emergency session "to discuss blatant violation of Iraq's sovereignty and to stop these aggressive actions by Trump"

Iraqi politicians criticise Donald Trump's visit to country | The National UAE |

President Donald Trump's surprise visit to American troops in Iraq was criticised by political and militia leaders as a violation of the country's sovereignty.

Iraqi parliamentarians also revealed that a meeting between the US president and Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi had to be cancelled due to a disagreement over venue.

Sabah al Saadi, the leader of the Islah parliamentary bloc, called for an emergency session of parliament "to discuss this blatant violation of Iraq's sovereignty and to stop these aggressive actions by Trump who should know his limits: the US occupation of Iraq is over."

Continued below the fold ...

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Review of 2018

by Frank Schnittger Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 10:13:34 PM EST

We've come to that time of year when we reflect on the year that has just passed and look forward to what 2019 might bring. For most, I suspect, 2018 has not been a very positive year, with Trump, Brexit, Syria, Yemen, the Ukraine, the refugee crisis, terrorist attacks and natural disasters putting a damper on feelings.

The global economy has continued to grow, but most of the benefits still go to the already rich. Employment and wages growth has been anemic and the gilet jaune protests have highlighted the difficulties which people in even relatively rich countries like France are having in maintaining a reasonable standard of living.

Brexit has highlighted the effectiveness of divide and conquer political tactics in scapegoating immigrants, refugees, and the already marginalised for the problems which ordinary people are experiencing. Hungary and Poland have managed to compromise a free media and judicial independence and Greece is left to suffer enormous deprivation with little EU solidarity and support.

Great uncertainty leading to market volatility and political instability has been reducing investment, growth, consumer confidence, and political ambition. Most people seem to be expecting things to get worse before they can get better, and some doubt whether they will get better at all, with climate warming worsening and threatening to accelerate out of control.

So I would ask readers here take some time out from the end of year festivities to share their experiences of 2018 and hopes for 2019. Is it as bad as I have painted above, or am I missing some green shoots of a more healthy model of politics and economics taking hold? Will DiEM25 usher in a new era of transnational politics in 2019 or will hard right nationalist parties continue to make gains? Will governments start addressing economic, regional, and inter-generational inequality more effectively or are our children destined to be much worse off than we were?

Your thoughts, please.

Comments >> (43 comments)

Hybrid Warfare: Statecraft Integrity Initiative

by Oui Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 08:30:44 AM EST

Put the first comments in the December thread together in a diary ...

Re: December Open Thread (none / 1)

I have somewhat been following the fall-out of the Integrity Initiative documents.

The short version is that somebody put up their documents - hacked or leaked - and the picture have emerged of a US/UK/NATO funded organisation with ties to intelligence services that under the cloak of a charity has been "countering Russian propaganda" by propaganda of their own.

So far their accomplishments appear to be getting a volunteer into the Sanders campaign, stopping an appointment in Spain, writing all kinds of "Russians are coming" articles and dissing Corbyn on Twitter.

The most comprehensive write-up I have found is this: http://syriapropagandamedia.org/working-papers/briefing-note-on-the-integrity-initiative

Anyone noticed any traditional media coverage of it yet?

by fjallstrom on Tue Dec 25th, 2018 at 03:10:57 PM PDT

Worthwhile to put contents in a diary for some visibility as this is not the end of debate ...

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UAE Hired US Mercenaries for Assassinations in Yemen

by Oui Tue Dec 25th, 2018 at 10:48:31 PM EST

The Israeli assassin who teamed up with Mohammad Dahlan | Ynet News - Oct. 2018 |

Israeli-American Abraham Golan was hired by the UAE and Mohammed Dahlan, former head of Palestinian Preventive Security, to head a team of mercenaries tasked with killing a Yemeni Islamist leader, according to a Buzzfeed report.

The popular American news and entertainment website Buzzfeed published an investigative report of a mercenary operation in Yemen that entailed an unusual collaboration between an Israeli-American assassin, the United Arab Emirates and the former head of the Palestinian preventive security forces Mohammad Dahlan.

Former head of security for the Palestinian Authority Mohammed Dahlan (left) and Spear Operations Group founder Abraham Golan

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Star Over Bethlehem

by Oui Tue Dec 25th, 2018 at 09:49:34 AM EST


In the media some attention given to Apollo 8 travel to the moon and the spectacular Earthrise photo taken by man ...

Christmas 1968 - A Reflection On Fragility

Planet Earth's sliver of sustainability - the fragile atmosphere measuring infinitesimally small in size.

The Apollo 8 voyage 50 years on: reflecting on our common humanity and fragility

Despite everything in 1968, the Earth was good, and the astronauts closed by wishing everyone: "good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas and God bless all of you -- all of you on the good Earth". Good, and fragile, and it required keeping, far better than had been done with war or racial discrimination or environmental pollution. A small planet, insignificant in size compared to the galaxy, but still our home and one perfectly suited for life, with water and air and soil and a sun nearby to give warmth.

(Credit NASA)

More below the fold ....

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News and Views

 14 - 20 January 2019

by Bjinse - Jan 14, 46 comments

Your take on this week's news

 7 - 13 January 2019

by Bjinse - Jan 9, 113 comments

Your take on this week's news

 2019 New Year Thread

by Bjinse - Dec 30, 30 comments

Threads from the threshold of the year to come,

Whispering 'it will be happier'

 December Open Thread

by Bjinse - Dec 3, 97 comments

The main reason December is so jolly is because Santa knows where all the bad threads live

Occasional Series
Click for full list

Top Diaries

What happens now?

by IdiotSavant - Jan 15

Too little, too late

by Frank Schnittger - Jan 12

A TITANIC success

by Frank Schnittger - Jan 7

Perils of a No Deal BrExit

by Oui - Jan 7

Review of 2018

by Frank Schnittger - Dec 26

Star Over Bethlehem

by Oui - Dec 25
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