Maria Zakharova: West Launching Anti-Russia Campaign.

By Jerry Alatalo

tilizing a chart of nations with their corresponding numbers of Russian diplomats scheduled for expulsion, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova spoke on national television about unfortunate developments following the increasingly controversial Skripal affair in the United Kingdom.

Here is a portion of Ms. Zakharova’s comments.

“If it weren’t for these numbers, we’d be guessing where all this crazy, scary performance by London had come from, and who the real beneficiary of this situation is. At this time, after these numbers have been published today, there’s no doubt that behind this provocation that took place in the U.K. are strong, powerful forces that are located in the U.S. and in the U.K.”.

“Here’s your motive to continue attacking our country in informational, propagandist, political and other ways. There are no other theories to conclude from this situation … I think everyone knows who’s behind all this, behind this Russophobic campaign”.

“… This whole situation with these numbers and the expulsion of the diplomats has its roots in the Skripals’ situation. I personally state that during the E.U. Summit the U.K. didn’t give the countries any facts about what had happened there. There were exclusively political statements and slogans, along with demands to side with this position. Thus, besides giving their political support, these E.U. countries have no idea whatsoever about what had happened in the U.K.”.

“… Demonization of Russia is the main goal. Obviously, what we see right now is the continuance of this elaborate, long-term program for this – I hate this word – rabid Russophobia in action. This is not just an issue for Russia as a country; it’s definitely an issue for all the Russian people, because statements made by the West always say, ‘ehtnic Russian’, ‘Russian citizen’, or ‘Russia’. This is all about the total Russophobia campaign that isn’t even concealed anymore”.

(Thank you to Vesti News at YouTube)

***

Here is the May 6, 2004 article by Rob Evans referenced by Maria Zakharova, cross-posted from The Guardian archives.

The past Porton Down can’t hide

As an inquest reopens into the death of a young airman 51 years ago, Rob Evans reveals the secrets of Britain’s nerve gas tests

Tucked away in 7,000 acres of beautiful Wiltshire countryside lies one of Britain’s most infamous scientific establishments. Porton Down, founded in 1916, is the oldest chemical warfare research installation in the world. The tight secrecy which has surrounded the establishment for decades has fed the growth of all sorts of myths and rumours about its experiments. One Whitehall official once remarked that Porton had an image of “a sinister and nefarious establishment”.

The Porton experiments on humans have attracted a good deal of criticism. It is, for example, alleged that the human “guinea pigs’ – drawn from the armed forces and supposedly all volunteers – were duped into taking part in the tests. There are still concerns that the tests have damaged the long-term health of the human subjects.

This week, its work has been thrown into the spotlight once again: an inquest was reopened into the death, in May 1953, of a young airman, Ronald Maddison. He died after liquid nerve gas was dripped on to his arm by Porton scientists in an experiment. The original inquest decided that his death was accidental, but this new inquest will examine fresh evidence and decide if the verdict should stand.

But what were the scientists at Porton doing? Years after the experiments ended, did they achieve anything of scientific value? The Guardian has pieced together a comprehensive and surprising picture of the nerve gas experiments, drawn from reports of the tests uncovered at the Public Record Office and new documents obtained under the “open government” code.

From a purely scientific point of view, they produced a huge amount of data about the effects of nerve gas on the human body. This data in turn has enabled Porton to develop some of the most sophisticated defences in the world to protect Britain’s armed forces from chemical attack. Porton acknowledges that the human experiments have made a “vital contribution” to this protection. The data also helped Britain to develop its own arsenal of nerve gas before such plans were finally shelved in the late 1960s.

From 1945 to 1989, Porton exposed more than 3,400 human “guinea pigs” to nerve gas. It seems probable that Porton has tested more human subjects with nerve gas, for the longest period of time, than any other scientific establishment in the world. Two other nations have admitted testing nerve gas on humans: the American military exposed about 1,100 soldiers between 1945 and 1975, and Canada tested a small number before 1968. Other countries, including France, the old Soviet Union and Iraq, are also likely to have exposed humans to nerve gas, but very little is known about their tests.

The group of chemicals known as nerve gases were first developed as weapons by the Nazis before and during the second world war. German scientists discovered the potency of these organophosphorous compounds which, in tiny quantities, disrupt a key element of the nervous system.

Human muscles contract when a chemical, acetylcholine, is released from the nerve endings. Muscles do not exist in a permanent form of contraction because acetylecholine is destroyed in a split second by an enzyme (acetylcholinesterase), thus allowing the muscle to relax again. Nerve gases inactivate this important enzyme, and since it is prevented from working, the muscle goes into a state of spasm from which it cannot be relaxed. Victims die because the most important muscles in the body – those of the heart and the rib cage, which control the emptying and filling of the lungs – are paralysed. They suffocate swiftly in a horrifying death.

The nerve gases are more deadly than any other chemical weapon, but during the second world war, only the Germans had spotted their full potential and produced an arsenal of the munitions. As one Porton official has commented, the British and their allies were “caught with our pants down”.

As the Third Reich was collapsing in April 1945, the British discovered stocks of the gas in Germany. Within two weeks, Porton had tested the new gas on batches of human subjects, even though they did not know what the unknown compound was or how it harmed the body.

The discovery of the new weapons instantly transformed Porton, as all its previous work on other chemicals, such as mustard gas, was downgraded. Porton scientists quickly had to find out how nerve gases attacked the human body.

One of the early tests established just how little one of the nerve gases, sarin, was needed to trigger a reaction in humans. Fifty-six men were sent into gas chambers and exposed to “low concentrations” of gas. The scientists watching recorded that after 20 minutes, the men started to suffer miosis (constriction of the pupil), one of the first symptoms of nerve gas poisoning. Their vision was blurred and darkened, in some cases for up to five days.

Fourteen men were exposed to repeated doses of sarin, some when they were still experiencing the effects of the previous poisoning. Porton scientists observed: “Repeated exposures produced, after the third or fourth occasion, an aggravation of effects …”

By 1950, Porton had begun to test “considerable higher doses” of sarin on 133 men, and catalogued the severity of symptoms, such as runny noses, headaches, vomiting and eye pain.

Within two years, Porton had moved on to look at other aspects. In one study, in 1952, it wanted to see how sarin would impair the mental performance and intellectual ability of humans.

Twenty airmen were exposed to sarin and then measured to see how they performed in intelligence and aptitude tests. From this experiment, Porton inferred that after exposure, the men’s visual co-ordination was worse, but their reasoning and intellectual capability had not deteriorated. Another 12 men were exposed to stronger doses of sarin – Porton found that the men appeared “behaviourally much less disturbed than the increased concentration (of sarin) would lead one to expect”.

Maddison died during what is probably Porton’s most controversial experiment. It will be at the heart of the inquest over the coming weeks. He was one of 396 men who took part in a large experiment whose aim was to “determine the dosage of [three nerve gases] which when applied to the clothed or bare skin of men would cause incapacitation or death”.

The scientists were aiming to expose the men to sub-lethal quantities of the nerve gases and then measure how much each of the quantities was reducing the amount of cholinesterase enzymes in the body. They were trying to establish a ratio between the two figures and then extrapolate them to arrive at the lethal dose for humans. But they discovered that this theory was flawed, as there is no direct correlation.

After Maddison’s death, Porton was limited in the amount of nerve gas it could test on humans, but the trials continued.

About 300 soldiers in the mid-1950s were used to see how well they could conduct military operations after they had been attacked with nerve gas. They were gassed with relatively low levels and then sent on a mock exercise. The men performed well in daylight, but less so at night. The biggest hindrance was that they could not see very well, but the scientists believed that a “determined infantryman” could still fight on after being exposed to low amounts of nerve gas.

They speculated that during the day, “a unit of intact morale” could cope, but at night, the men would have been vulnerable because they would have been prone to panic, especially since their sight was being hampered.

The psychological effects of nerve gas were a continuing focus of experiments in the 1950s. In one set of trials, the men underwent a series of intelligence and aptitude tests after being gassed. Porton found that the men were distinctly unhappy and depressed afterwards, emotions that were combined with a “feeling of reduced mental alertness and a tendency to social withdrawal”.

In the late 1950s, Porton studied the effect of nerve gas on particular parts of the body. One study concluded that nerve gas did not impair hearing; this might have been a problem if troops could not, for instance, hear instructions or orders in the heat of the battle after a gas attack. Another looked at whether nerve gas hindered the circulation of blood through the veins in the leg; it didn’t. Another examined the impact of nerve gas on the heart, as the scientists wanted to see if particular muscles between the ribs were responsible for one of the usual nerve gas symptoms – a “tightness in the chest”.

In the later years of the programme, Porton seems to have focused on assessing the effects of nerve gas on the eyes, a crucial question because, for instance, pilots faced with reading complicated rows of instruments could be put out of action with a slightest amount of exposure to the gas.

The nerve gas programme was substantial at Porton because human testing has been an integral part of the establishment since it was founded. During the past 80 years, some 25,000 humans have been subjected to Porton’s experiments, many in trials with other chemical weapons such as mustard gas and tear gas. Others were used simply to test defensive equipment without being exposed to chemicals.

Today, Porton is devoted totally to devising defensive measures against gas attacks. But the conduct and ethical standards of tests in the past will be under unprecedented scrutiny in the inquest over the coming weeks.

Books
Chemical and Biological Defence at Porton Down 1916-2000, G B Carter, Stationery Office, £16.99

Rob Evans is the author of Gassed: British chemical warfare experiments on humans at Porton Down (House of Stratus, 2000, £20)

***

 

Advertisements

European Parliament Considers Global Nuclear Weapons Ban.

n February 7, 2018 in Strasbourg, France, Ms. Beatrice Fihn addressed the European Parliament. Beatrice Fihn is Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN – the driving force behind a historic legal accomplishment in July 2017: adoption of an international agreement to ban nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth. For its efforts, ICAN became recognized and honored as recipients of the 2017 Nobel Prize for Peace.

***

(Transcript)

“Distinguished members of the European Parliament: Thank you so much for this invitation to address you here today. The Nobel Committee has seen fit on a few occasions to recognize not just one extraordinary person but a valuable body with awarding them the Nobel Peace Prize, and they did so last year in awarding the coalition of almost 500 organizations that I represent – the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.”

“And they did so in 2012, in recognizing the European Union for your efforts to advance peace and reconciliation, democracy, and human rights. And it is an honor to stand here with the other another Nobel Peace Prize recipient, not as one individual, but a part of a body, a large coalition working to safeguard our planet and our future. And I come to you … before you today, at a time when the need to do so is dire. I come to address one huge challenge before all of us to make every other debate in this chamber irrelevant.”

“I come to talk about the urgent danger of nuclear weapons, and the very real threat they pose to life in Europe. This is a dangerous time. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has just moved the Doomsday Clock to two minutes to midnight, meaning we are closer to Armageddon than at any point in the last 65 years. The war of words between North Korea and the United States threatens to boil over to a war of nuclear weapons, and Russia, China, and all the other nuclear-armed states are embarking on what essentially is a new nuclear arms race.”

“If we keep these weapons forever they will be used by intent, by accident, miscalculation or through a cyber or terrorist attack. If we continue to rely on nuclear weapons their use is a matter of when, not if. If we don’t act our luck will eventually run out. And the immediate effects of a nuclear blast would be devastating : the initial blasts that could level an entire city, the following fires will burn and suck out the oxygen of the remains of that city, and many survivors will die in agony in the days to years to come, through radiation poisoning or cancers.”

“No adequate humanitarian response will be possible, and the effects of radiation on human beings would cause suffering and death decades after the initial explosion. And Europe is not immune to these threats. It could very well be here that the next nuclear weapon will be used. And Europe has a great responsibility to address them through rational coöperation, the very principle or what this chamber was founded on. A start in fact exists within today’s dangerous mix of instability, decreased coöperation and violent rhetoric.”

“And the fact is that the majority of the world’s nuclear weapons are right here in Europe. Four out of the nine nuclear-armed States have littered this continent with the most dangerous weapons ever invented, either on their own soil, that of their allies, and of course patrolling the seas around us. And the world’s attention may currently be turned to the east to the Korean Peninsula, but we are all standing on a ticking bomb right here. The risk of nuclear weapons use is even greater today than at the end of the Cold War, but unlike the Cold War today we face many more nuclear-armed states, terrorists, cyber warfare … ”

“All of this makes us less safe. Along with the many moral and strategic reasons for Europe to pursue peace globally, reduce the nuclear threat beyond the shores, you have a responsibility to lead on this issue, because it affects all your citizens. You must decide whether weapons of mass destruction and luck will remain at the heart of the framework in Europe or if you will lead the way to something new – a security framework worthy of the 21st century. The only nuclear policy that increases security is the only rational and responsible one: the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.”

“And last week the United States released its new Nuclear Posture Review. It is a violent lurch in the wrong direction, and it outlines a new Trump nuclear doctrine that abandons the work for nuclear disarmament. The settlement, if European allies and others under the nuclear umbrella have long understood it, shows a deliberate strategy to make nuclear weapons easier and more likely to be used. Even as a response to a non-nuclear conflict, it is an all-out attempt to take nuclear weapons out of the silos and on to the battlefields.”

“And the problem does not stop there. Similar threat-filled rhetoric in nuclear doctrines are seen from Russia and China and other nuclear-armed States. We are seeing a very dangerous new nuclear arms race that attempts to blur the lines between nuclear and conventional weapons, and today we are just counting down the days until nuclear weapons will be used again. This is not peace through strength. This is instability through terror. It is a luck-based security policy, and that is simply not good enough. Are you going to support the new Trump nuclear doctrine, join the thinking of Russia and North Korea, cheer on a new nuclear arms race … or are you going to support the [uncertain word … “warm”?] work for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons?”

“You cannot do both. This is the choice before each member of this European Union: the rapid escalation of a new nuclear security framework, one that lowers the threshold for nuclear weapons use and raises the likelihood of that happening, – or a rejection of the threats of nuclear war in favor of a new security framework predicated on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, just like we have prohibited other weapons of mass destruction. And we are looking to the EU for leadership in this. The world is looking to the EU for leadership on this. Who else on the global stage today will be the responsible actor ? Who else can we look to, to uphold human rights humanitarian law and the protection of civilians?”

“And the EU together with a high representative Federica Mogherini has been extremely effective in brokering an agreement with Iran, and this very body overwhelmingly in 2016 voted to support our collective work towards the nuclear bomb treaty. All over the objections of powerful interests, one hundred and twenty-two (122) nations adopted the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons last July, and EU member states like Austria, Ireland, Sweden showed great leadership throughout the negotiations. And we need all European states to show that leadership now.”

“There is a clear pathway for you to do so. The treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons is a political means to a nuclear weapons-free world, and now we need political leadership. All EU member states should join the UN treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. And this is entirely consistent with those obligations some EU members have through their collective defense in NATO. And nothing in the North Atlantic treaty signed EU states up to a nuclear instability doctrine based on luck and high risk. Nothing in our collective defense should force us to participate in using nuclear weapons on civilians; that is the opposite of collective security.”

“The security interest of Europe is not served by a new nuclear arms race, one that takes nuclear weapons onto the battlefield and threatens to end us all. We must move towards disarmament, not destruction. Threatening to use weapons of mass destruction to indiscriminately slaughter hundreds of thousands of civilian runs counter to the humanitarian values and moral leadership of this body and all of Europe. As the hands of the Doomsday Clock are being wound in the wrong direction, Europe must urgently take a stand. Show the world that Europe leads on standing up for the principles of democracy, human rights and collective security.”

“And that first step can happen today. Go back to your governments and urge them to join the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, to join the community of nations who uphold the rule of law and laws of war, and in doing so reject the outdated 20th century security framework that sits on an unhealthy obsession with Cold War death relics. And this body, the European Parliament, is more important than ever. At such a critical moment it is vital that this body speak forcefully that it has done in the past in support of disarmament and non-proliferation, and in particular for the nuclear ban treaty.”

“And I urge you to turn those words into action by using the unique power of the European Parliament to promote policy in line with the EU values. Where there is uncertainty we should work towards understanding and consensus. And this is the process parliamentarians in countries like Italy and Norway are undergoing, investigating what the nuclear ban treaty will mean for their wider policy and security. And this body should follow suit. The EU non-proliferation consortium has provided invaluable guidance on implementation of, for example, the prohibition on biological weapons.”

“And members of the European Parliament should request the non-proliferation consortium to examine how member states can join the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. And the European Parliament can back up your support for a policy with funding. This body should use its budgetary discretion to support civil society efforts for a nuclear weapons free world – an implementation of the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.”

“A highlight of this treaty was a close working relationship between political leaders and civil society. So the European Parliament should step up and be firm and strengthen its union with civil society. And the members in this room can, and should swiftly, take these steps, rejecting the trend to increase the discord and dangerous nuclear posturing, and supporting disarmament through the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.”

“It is time for Europe to stand against this move towards nuclear disaster, stand against the Trump doctrine, stand against developments of more usable nuclear weapons, stand against the nuclear saber-rattling from all sides, and stand against the threatening to use weapons of mass destruction on civilians as an acceptable foreign policy.”

“It is your responsibility to protect your people against the use of nuclear weapons. So stand up for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.”

“Thank you.”

***

(Thank you to Frederick Moulin at YouTube)

Jeremy Corbyn: “A Better Way To Live Together On This Planet.”

By Jerry Alatalo

eople in the United Kingdom will vote on June 8 for either Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn as their next Prime Minister. Labour Party leader Corbyn spoke recently on his vision of foreign policy for the nation, and international relations for the world, were he to become elected.

***

(Transcript and Video)

On Monday we commemorated Victory in Europe day, the anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in Europe. VE Day marked the defeat of fascism and the beginning of the end of a global war that had claimed 70 million lives. Just think of that figure… 70 million lives were lost in the Second World War.

General Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in 1944, who was based right here in this square preparing the plan for that invasion of Operation Overlord. later went on to become Republican President of the United States, during some of the most dangerous years of the Cold War in the 1950s. His final televised address the American people as president was fascinating, and he gave a very stark warning of what he describes as the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the military-industrial complex.

And he went on to say only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machine of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Sadly it’s more than 70 years since he made that speech. Sadly in more than half a century I think it’s clear that Eisenhower’s warning has not been heeded. Too much of our debate about defense and security is one-dimensional – you’re either for or against what is presented as strong defense, regardless of the actual record of what it has meant in practice.

Alert citizens or political leaders who advocate other routes to security are often dismissed or treated as unreliable.

My own political views were shaped by my parent’s description of the horrors of war and the threat of nuclear holocaust. Indeed my parents met whilst organizing solidarity with the elected government of Spain against Franco’s fascists during the Spanish Civil War, which were of course supported by Hitler and the Nazis. My generation grew up under the shadow of the Cold War – our black and white televisions throughout the 50s and 60s and into the 70s was dominated by Vietnam.

As a young person I was haunted by images of civilians fleeing chemical weapons used by the United States. I didn’t imagine that nearly fifty years later we would still see chemical weapons being used against innocent civilians. What an abject failure. Indeed, I met recently a Vietnam War veteran who had been involved in using Agent Orange, and is still traumatized by that experience. How does the history keep repeating itself?

At the end of the Cold War, when the Berlin Wall came down, we were told it was the end of history. Global leaders promised a more peaceful, stable world – it didn’t quite work out like that. Today the world is more unstable than even at the height of the Cold War. The approach to international security we’ve been using since the 1990s simply has not worked.

Regime change wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Western interventions in Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen haven’t always succeeded in their own terms. Sometimes they’ve made the world a more dangerous place. This is the fourth general election in a row to be held while Britain is at war, and our armed forces are acting in the Middle East and beyond.

The fact is that the war on terror has which has driven these interventions has not succeeded. It has not increased our security at home, in fact many would say just the opposite. It’s caused destabilization and devastation abroad. And last September the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee published a report on the Libyan war which David Cameron as Prime Minister promoted to intervention.

They concluded the intervention led to political and economic collapse, humanitarian and migrant crises, and fueled the rise of ISIS in Africa and across the Middle East.

Is that really the way that builds the security for our people, the people in Britain? Who seriously believes that’s what real strength looks like? We need to step back and have, I think, some fresh thinking. The world faces huge problems. As well as the legacy of regime change wars, there is a dangerous cocktail of ethnic conflicts, food insecurity, water scarcity and fast-emerging effects of climate change.

And to that mix add a grotesque and growing level of inequality in which just eight billionaires – eight billionaires – owned the same wealth as 3.6 billion of the poorest people on our planet, and you end up with a refugee crisis of epic proportions affecting every continent in the world, with more displaced people in the world than since the Second World War. Indeed, there are some estimates that think there are more displaced people now than at any time in recorded history.

These problems are getting worse, and they are fueling threats and instability. The global situation is becoming more dangerous and the new United States president seems, sadly, determined to add to the dangers by recklessly escalating the confrontation with North Korea, unilaterally launching missile strikes on Syria, and opposing what was a great achievement as President Obama’s nuclear arms deal with Iran.

And the suggestion is backing a new nuclear arms race.

A Labour government will want a strong and friendly relationship with the United States, but we will not be afraid to speak our mind. The United States is the strongest military power on the planet by a very long way; it has a special responsibility to use its power with care, and to support international efforts to resolve conflicts collectively and peacefully.

Waiting to see which way the wind blows in Washington isn’t strong leadership, and pandering to an erratic administration will not deliver stability. So when Theresa May addressed the Republican Party conference in Philadelphia in January she spoke in alarmist terms about the rise of China and India, and the danger of the West being eclipsed. She said America and Britain had to stand together and use their military might to protect their interests.

That’s the sort of language that led us into the calamities in Iraq and Libya and other disastrous wars that stole the post-cold war promise of a new and peaceful world order. I do not see India and China in those terms, nor do I think the vast majority of Americans or British people want the boots of their young men and women on the ground in Syria fighting a war that could escalate the suffering and slaughter even further.

Britain deserves better than simply outsourcing our country’s security and prosperity to the whims of the Trump White House.

So no more hand-holding for Donald Trump. A Labour government will conduct a robust and independent foreign policy made in Britain. A Labour government would seek to work for peace and security with all the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, China, Russia and France – and with other countries to play a major role, such as India, South Africa, Brazil and Germany. We have to reach out and work with others.

The philosophy “bomb first, talk later” approach to security has failed. To persist with it as the conservative governors make clear its determined to do is a recipe for increasing, not reducing, threats and insecurity. I’m often asked if as Prime Minister I would order the use of nuclear weapons. It’s an extraordinary question when you think about it. Would you order the indiscriminate killing of millions of people? Would you risk such contamination of the planet that no life could exist across large parts of the world?

If circumstances arose where there was a real option it would represent a complete and cataclysmic failure. It would mean world leaders had already triggered a spiral of catastrophe for humankind. Labour is committed to actively pursue disarmament under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and we’re committed to no first use of nuclear weapons. But let me make this absolutely clear.

If elected Prime Minister I would do everything to protect the security and safety of our people and  our country. That is our first duty. And to achieve it I know we would have to work with other countries to solve problems, defuse tensions and build collective security. The best defense, best defense for Britain, is a government actively engaged in seeking political solutions to the world’s problems. It doesn’t make me a pacifist. I accept that military action under international law as a genuine last resort is in some circumstances necessary.

That is very far from the kind of unilateral wars and interventions that have become almost routine in recent times. I’ll not take lectures on security or humanitarian action from a Conservative Party that stood by in the 1980s, refusing even to impose sanctions while children in the streets of Soweto were being shot down – or which has backed every move of our armed forces put in harm’s way regardless of the impact on our people’s security.

Once again, in this election it’s become clear that a vote for the Conservatives is a vote to escalate the war in Syria, risking military confrontation with Russia, adding to the suffering of the Syrian people, and increasing global insecurity. When you see children suffering in war it’s only natural to want to do something, but the last thing we need is more of the same failed recipe that served us so badly, and the people of the region so calamitously.

Labour will stand up for the people of Syria; we will press the war crimes to be properly investigated, and work tirelessly to make the Geneva talks work. Every action that is taken over Syria must be judged by whether it helps to bring an end to the tragedy, the appalling tragedy of the Syrian war – or does the opposite. Even if ISIS is defeated militarily, the conflict will not end until there is a negotiated settlement involving all the main parties, including the regional and international powers, and an inclusive government in Iraq.

All wars and conflicts eventually are brought to an end by political means. So Labour would adopt a new approach, we’ll not step back from our responsibilities, but our focus will be on strengthening international coöperation and supporting the efforts of the United Nations to resolve conflicts. A Labour government will respect international law and oppose lawlessness and unilateralism in international relations.

We believe passionately human rights and justice should drive our foreign policy. In the 1960s Harold Wilson’s Labour government worked for and signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. As Prime Minister I hope to build on that achievement. Labour supports the renewal of the Trident system, but doesn’t preclude from working for meaningful multilateral steps to achieve reductions in nuclear arsenals.

A Labour government will pursue a triple commitment to the interlocking foreign policy instruments of defense, development and diplomacy. For all their bluster, the Tory record on defense and security has been one, frankly, of incompetence and failure. They balance the books on the backs of servicemen and women. Deep cuts have been made in the army, reduced to the smallest size since the Napoleonic Wars, stagnant pay, worsening conditions. poor housing… The morale of our service personnel and veterans is at rock-bottom.

It’s vital that as Britain leaves the European Union we will maintain a close relationship with our European partners alongside NATO, to keep spending at 2%, but that means working with our allies to ensure peace and security in Europe. We will work to halt the drift towards confrontation with Russia and the escalation of military deployments across the continent. There’s no need whatsoever to weaken our very strong opposition to Russia’s human rights abuses at home or abroad, but to understand the necessity of winding down tensions on the Russia-NATO border, and supporting dialogue to reduce the risk of international conflict.

We’ll back a new conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and seek to defuse the crisis in the Ukraine through implementation of the Minsk agreements. We’ll continue to work with the European Union on operational missions to promote and support global and regional security. This means our armed forces will have the necessary capabilities to fulfill the full range of obligations, ensuring they’re versatile and able to participate in rapid stabilization, disaster relief, UN peacekeeping, and conflict resolution activities.

Because security is not only about direct military defence. It’s about conflict resolution and prevention underpinned by strong diplomacy. So, the next day the government will invest in our diplomatic network and consular services. We will seek to rebuild some of the key capabilities and services lost as a result of conservative cuts in recent years, such as the loss of human rights advisors in so many of our embassies around the world.

And finally, while Theresa May seeks to build a coalition of risk and insecurity with Donald Trump, a Labour government will refocus Britain’s influence towards coöperation and peaceful settlements, and social justice. The life chances, security and prosperity of our citizens are dependent on a stable international environment.

We will strengthen our commitment to the United Nations, but are well aware of its shortcomings, particularly in the light of repeated abuses of the veto power in the UN Security Council. So we’ll work with allies and partners from around the world to build support for United Nations reform in order to make its institutions more effective and more responsive. And as a permanent member of the Security Council we’ll provide a lead by respecting the authority of international law.

To lead this work Labour has created a Minister for Peace who will work across the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. We’ll reclaim Britain’s leading role in tackling climate change, working hard to preserve the Paris agreement and deliver on international commitments to reduce carbon emissions.

We’ll re-examine the arms export licensing regulations to ensure that all British arms exports are consistent with our legal and our moral obligations.

This means refusing to grant export licenses for arms where there’s a clear risk they’ll be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law. Weapon supplies to Saudi Arabia, when the evidence of grave breaches of humanitarian law in Yemen is overwhelming, must be halted immediately – as Emily has made very clear many times in Parliament.

I see it as the next Labour government’s task, my task, to make the case for Britain to advance a security and foreign policy with integrity and human rights at its core.

So it is a clear choice in this election. Between continuing with a failed policy of continual and devastating interventions that have intensified conflicts and increased the terrorist threat, or being willing to step back, learn the lessons of the past, and find new ways to solve and prevent conflicts.

Dwight Eisenhower said on another occasion if people can develop weapons that are so terrifying as to make the thought of global war almost a sentence for suicide, you would think that man’s intelligence would include also his ability to find a peaceful solution.

And in the words of another American, Martin Luther King, the chain reaction of evil, hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars, must be broken – or we shall be plunged into the dark days of annihilation.

I believe we can find those solutions. We can walk the hard yards to a better way to live together on this planet.

A Labour government will give leadership in a new and constructive way. And that is the leadership we’re ready to provide both at home and abroad.

Thank you very much.

***

(Thank you to Labour Party at YouTube)

Global Monetary Reform Benefits Humanity.

By Jerry Alatalo

FedAlphabet For Joe Bongiovanni monetary reform is something in his blood, passed down to him from his money activist father. To illustrate how little people know about what his father termed “the money power”, Joe’s father told him that 90% of bankers don’t know, 95% of economists lack awareness, and 99% of members of the U.S. Congress have no real grasp of monetary science. Those grim statistics are unfortunately accurate, and sad, given that monetary reform is likely the most important issue for people around the Earth to understand.

On the extremely important issue of monetary reform, Joe’s father told him, “I’m not going to be able to fix the money system, but maybe you can.” To Joe’s credit, he’s attempted to “fix” the money system for decades, trying to share with as many people as possible the knowledge he gained from his father and from years of further research. While hundreds and thousands of men and women have done admirable work researching and analyzing the problems experienced by humanity historically and presently in 2016, the severe lack of awareness about monetary reform just suggested has resulted in an unfortunate condition related to that same collective, admirable work: the exclusion to a great extent of monetary reform as both a major factor and promising solution for the world’s most pressing social and economic challenges.

Mr. Bongiovanni describes in the following presentation at the 11th Annual American Monetary Institute Reform Conference in September 2015 a personal experience proving the widespread misunderstanding about how money gets created. While fishing in Vermont with his friend Pete, a fellow monetary reform activist, he learned Pete’s father was president of bank, and that Pete’s cousin was an attorney working at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Pete first asked his father if “banks create money when they make loans”, to which his bank president father responded “No. …You’re hanging out with communists.”

Pete then asked his attorney cousin Patrick working at the Fed in New York the same question: “do banks create money when they make loans?” – and was given the opposite response indicating “yes, banks create money with loans.” While close to 100% of Americans would tell you the government creates all the nation’s money supply, the truth is the government creates only the 3% represented by coins, while 97% of America’s money becomes created as debt in the form of loans transacted by privately owned banks.

Such a high level of erroneous perception about money reveals the long distance necessary to travel in fully educating people on the important issue of monetary reform; the level of education efforts required becomes clearer when considering the near-universal absence of even the most basic understanding of money among people of wide-ranging backgrounds, status, academic accomplishments, and/or concentrated knowledge in the many fields of human study and career.

The basic goal of monetary reformers is transference of the “money power” from a very small number of people on Earth – a long-standing, multi-generational condition resulting in the current record level of wealth inequality worldwide – to, as nearly as possible, ownership of the money power by all the people, distributed on a much more equal, fair manner. Such reform or transference of power will, for monetary reformers, result in improving the human condition and greater levels of personal happiness for the world’s people.

During his presentation, Joe Bongiovanni notes: “We’ve reached the point where none of the fixes that central banks have in their toolbox, if you will – that’s the terminology they like to use, can do anything about the situation that we’re in.” He also points out that for “…the bankers that do understand the money power – secrecy is their currency”, producing no small amount of surprise when he found an interview of former Bank for International Settlements (the “central bank of central banks”) official Dr. William White, whose candor in the interview came in contradiction to higher secrecy the higher up in world monetary affairs one goes.

Mr. White’s comments during the interview and their secrecy-defying nature gave Joe Bongiovanni the idea to make the interview the focus of his presentation, and Joe does a good job of emphasizing statements making the case for monetary reform that much more reasonable and stronger. Included in Mr. White’s responses to interviewers’ questions, and opening up the global monetary debate for reform activists to enter, are the following:

  • Asked if Quantitative Easing would work for Europe and Greece, he responded, “The fundamental problem here, as I see it anyway, is that the European banking system is still broken. …(The) European Union economy is reliant on small and medium-sized enterprises. Unfortunately, it is those firms that are not getting the financing they need. Until that gets fixed, we will continue to have a huge problem in Europe.”
  • “I sense from talking to many of the (G30) members, many of whom are previous central bankers, that they are very concerned about the direction this has taken, in particular the continued over reliance on stimulative monetary policy to get us out of the predicament we’re in.”
  •  “They (central bankers) are starting to ask whether they have somehow been backed into a place where they don’t really want to be.”
  • “There is a possibility at least that this whole exercise (private central bank, debt-based money exercise) could end very badly. …But I rather sense that an increasingly large number of central banks are looking at what is going on and saying, ‘We are being asked to do something that is effectively impossible’.”
  • (Confirming lack of awareness on money science) “I find it extraordinary that some economists still do not recognize that we have a fiat money system. Banks do not lend money that has been saved. They create money by making loans and simply writing up both sides of their balance sheet.”

Joe Bongiovanni suggests now in 2016 as the time lining up perfectly with the idea that any worthwhile, successful human revolutionary achievement forms its basis on 90% opportunity. He and his men and women money activist friends around the world believe the opportunity for major, historic, unprecedented monetary reform is present, and only awaits wise and determined action. Mr. Bongiovanni suggests the formation of Monetary Commissions in the United States and all nations as the strongest, #1 action step moving forward.

For more information on monetary reform, visit – and share widely with family, friends and associates – the website: http://www.monetary.org

(Thank you to AmericanMonetaryInst (American Monetary Institute) at YouTube)