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CCD Integration into NATO “Counter-Disinformation” Ops Is Stepping Up

CCD Integration into NATO “Counter-Disinformation” Ops Is Stepping Up–

Sept. 21, 2022 (EIRNS)–Ukraine’s notorious Center for Countering Disinformation (CCD) announced proudly on Sept. 20 that its specialists had participated in the Sept. 13-15 “Counter Disinformation Wargames” organized by the European Center of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (“Hybrid COE”) with the support of the NATO Center of Excellence for Strategic Communications in Latvia.

Hybrid COE reported on Sept. 20 also that seven national teams had “practiced countering malicious disinformation disseminated by a red cell simulating Russia, China and their proxies in a closed information environment” during the games, held in Riga, Latvia. For its part, the CCD reported that their team had “learned about the experience of the Czech Republic, Turkey, Slovakia, Finland, Moldova, the Netherlands, as well as other NATO and EU countries in countering Russian and Chinese disinformation,” and “discussed ways of cooperation and joint action algorithms in the context of implementation of joint measures to counter current and projected threats to national security and national interests.” No mention was made as to whether producing joint “blacklists” of foreign figures opposing NATO’s war policies was discussed.

Hybrid COE is another so-called “autonomous institution” created as an extension of NATO.


Amb. Chrysanthopoulos Will Be in First Greek Political Delegation to Russia

Amb. Chrysanthopoulos Will Be in First Greek Political Delegation to Russia–

Sept. 21, 2022 (EIRNS)–Ambassador (Ad Hon) Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos, well known to the Schiller Institute as a frequent speaker and supporter, will be a member of the first Greek political delegation to visit Russia since the beginning of the Russia Special Military Operation in the Ukraine. Invited by Municipal Authorities of St. Petersburg for a conference on the fight against Fascism, the delegation will also include Panagiotis Lafazanis, former minister and head of the “Democratic Movement of National Liberation,” and Kostas Karaiskos, head of the “Spartakos” faction and municipal councilor of Komotini district in Greece. It is needless to say all three individuals strongly oppose Greece’s, NATO’s and the European Union’s anti-Russian policy.

The delegation will speak at an event that will be held at the School of International Relations of the historical State University of Saint Petersburg on the fight against Fascism during World War Two. They will speak about Manolis Glezos, the first Greek partisan of the anti-Nazi-anti-fascist front in World War II. In that context they will discuss the modern struggle against a unipolar totalitarian world of the neoliberal globalization of the multinationals and against neo-Nazism and neo-fascism that are rearing their heads again in Europe according to an article in the Greek website, Iskra.gr.

They will also have the opportunity to hold high-level meetings with officials of the St. Petersburg region as well as interviews with Russian media such as TASS. In a statement released by the delegation they declare, “Our presence in Russia should be seen as a bridge for a just peace in Europe and a bridge of friendship to the Russian people, cooperation with Russia and a positive turn in Greek-Russian relations with our country abandoning the anti-Russian sanctions, the shipments of Greek arms to Ukraine and the use of American bases in Greece, for equipping the “junta” and the neo-Nazis of Kiev and the encirclement of Russia.”


Pope Francis Is the Latest Target of Ukraine’s Myrotvorets Hit Squad

Aug. 31, 2022 (EIRNS)–On August 28, the website of the fascist Myrotvorets (“Peacemaker”) hit squad in Ukraine attacked Pope Francis for his recent comments about the assassinated Russian journalist Darya Dugina. Although they did not place His Holiness on their official hit list (at least not yet), the Myrotvorets site warned: “The Myrotvorets Center is closely following statements by the Pope. We note with astonishment that Francis of Rome is voicing Kremlin talking points and belittling the blood-letting of the fascist Russian invaders of Ukraine.”

The remarks by Pope Francis that were considered offensive were made while addressing a congregation in the Vatican on Aug. 24: “Whether they are Ukrainians or Russians … I think of so much cruelty, of the many innocents who are paying for the madness, the madness of all sides because war is madness… I think of the poor girl (Darya Dugina) who was blown up by a bomb under her car seat in Moscow. The innocent pay for the war.”

That quickly led to a protest by Ukraine’s envoy to the Vatican, Andrey Yurash, who called the remarks “disappointing,” because it is a mistake to speak about the “aggressor” and the “victim” in “the same categories.” Then Kiev summoned the Vatican envoy, Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas, to lodge a formal complaint, which Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba told the media about on Aug. 25. Kuleba also said “Ukraine’s heart was torn by the Pope’s words,” calling them “unjust.”

The Pope has been considering a trip to Ukraine, but has made it clear that he will only go if he can also travel to Russia. This is a standard Vatican diplomatic effort to maintain neutrality in such conflicts. The Zelensky government in Kiev has made it clear they are totally opposed to such a Russia trip by the Pope.


Russian-African Network University Established at V.I. Vernadsky Crimean Federal University

Russian-African Network University Established at V.I. Vernadsky Crimean Federal University

Aug. 27, 2022 (EIRNS)–The V.I. Vernadsky Crimean Federal University, which was established on the basis of the Tauride University, set up in Simferopol, Crimea by Vladimir Vernadsky in 1920, will host the Russia-African Network University (RAFU), holding classes from Aug. 29-Sept. 9. Crimean Federal University was one of the initiators in the creation of this network, so they were given the opportunity to coordinate the summer university project with the participation of African students. 

RAFU Summer University is implemented on the platforms of 10 universities located in Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Republic of Crimea, Rostov-on-Don, and Astrakhan. In total, the international educational project will bring together more than a hundred African students.

According to the press service of the university, students of the RAFU Summer University project will be trained in two additional educational programs of medical direction: reproductive medicine and laparoscopic surgery. “The endoscopic surgery program will include training on the equipment of our simulation center. The work on special simulators—endoscopic workstations—fully simulates the course of laparoscopic surgery.” They will also visit leading clinics in Crimea and will have the opportunity to visit Crimea’s sights as part of a cultural leisure program.


Successful Flight of Chinese Sub-orbital Space Rocket

Aug. 28, 2022 (EIRNS)–China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC) announced on August 26 that China’s reusable sub-orbital space carrier made its first successful repeated-use experiment flight on Friday.

The suborbital vehicle launched vertically from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert on Friday, Aug. 26 Beijing time (Aug. 25 Eastern), according to CASC, China’s main space contractor. It landed stably at an airport in Alxa Right Banner in North China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region after finishing a flight in the sub-orbit as planned, according to the announcement. The short statement provided neither images of the craft nor information such as time, duration or apogee of the launch.

CASC’s statement declared the complete success of the flight test, and represents a leap in the development of China’s space transportation technology from single-use to reusable.

Song Zhongping, a space analyst and TV commentator, told the Global Times that sub-orbital carriers, which are used for sending payloads to about 100 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, could serve a variety of purposes such as ferrying satellites. The lifting-body and sub-orbital characteristics mean that the carrier has aerodynamic design and can conduct operations in sub-orbit. Such craft have more lifting power, Song explained.

Technologies required for reusable sub-orbital flights are very demanding, as the craft had experienced both the environment in space and that under the Earth’s atmospheric influence, experts said.

The latest successful repeated-use flight means that both materials and engine system of China’s domestic reusable sub-orbital vehicle can be reused, which is a great technical breakthrough and remarks a technical milestone, Song said. In a statement the CASC provided to the Global Times, the CASC said that it was working on a series of reusable space launch and transport systems, which will greatly boost the country’s space shuttle capability, lowering costs and empowering future development in this domain.


A Group of 9/11 Families Tells Biden Afghan Central Bank Funds “are Theirs, Not Ours”

A Group of 9/11 Families Tells Biden Afghan Central Bank Funds “are Theirs, Not Ours”

Aug. 18, 2022 (EIRNS)—In a letter to President Joe Biden dated Aug. 16, 77 members of the 9/11 families called on him to affirm that the $7 billion in Afghan Central Bank funds currently being held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York belong to the Afghan people and should be returned to them. To use those funds to pay off 9/11 family members in court judgments “is legally suspect and morally wrong,” the letter argues, and urges Biden to modify his Feb. 11, 2022, Executive Order and “affirm that the Afghanistan Central Bank funds belong to the Afghan people and the Afghan people alone.”

In previous court cases, some 9/11 families were awarded $3.5 billion from the confiscated funds, while the Biden administration began negotiations with the Taliban to create a mechanism by which to distribute the remaining $3.5 billion to the Afghan people, stipulating that the Taliban could not access it, and offering the spurious argument that the Afghan Central Bank lacked the appropriate regulatory and other means to handle the funds responsibly. Following the recent killing of Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri, the administration halted negotiations on creating this alternative mechanism on the pretext that the Taliban hadn’t broken with Al Qaeda.

The letter from the families notes that earlier legal suits brought by a small group of 9/11 family members, “and the legal claims involved, are complex. But these arguments are founded on a false premise. This money does not belong to the Taliban,” as the lawsuits claimed. “This money comes from Afghanistan’s Central Bank, and as such, it belongs to the Afghan people. Victims of terrorism, including 9/11 victims, are entitled to their day in court. But they are not entitled to money that lawfully belongs to the Afghan people,” the letter charges.

The letter goes on to describe the impoverishment of the Afghan people, with nearly nine million at risk of starvation. While affirming that these funds belong to the Afghan people won’t solve Afghanistan’s problems, and figuring out how to transfer the funds is a formidable task, it underscores, the simple reality is that the money “is theirs, not ours.”


China To Increase Its Humanitarian Assistance, Engagement with Afghanistan

China To Increase Its Humanitarian Assistance, Engagement with Afghanistan

Aug. 18, 2022 (EIRNS)—China’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Wang Yu, has announced that China intends to step up its engagement with Afghanistan, “as Afghans are good neighbors, brothers and partners.” China he said, “will stand firm on the concept of community with the shared future for mankind,” ToloNEWS reported him saying today. He underscored that he was not speaking about diplomatic recognition, because there are still certain criteria Kabul must meet for that, including becoming “stable, peaceful, pursue a moderate policy and meet expectations.”

However, the ambassador said, China will “substantially enhance bilateral cooperation in all areas” guided by Xi Jinping’s Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative. One priority will be to assist with the grave humanitarian crisis, adding to China’s already substantial contributions of food and other vital necessities. China has provided $8 million in assistance to families affected by the recent earthquake in Afghanistan, in addition to 6,000 tons of rice worth $8 million, with aid provided to 34 provinces.

Ambassador Wang spared no words in addressing the devastation wrought in Afghanistan by 20 years of U.S. occupation and war. “The U.S. pursued its own interests only,” he said. The U.S.’s 20-year occupation “did not help the country realize its social development…war has destroyed its infrastructure, leading to more difficulties in its economic development and people’s livelihoods.” The U.S. military intervention has produced a “deep disaster” for the Afghan people, he added. The U.S.’s irresponsible withdrawal a year ago “has created more problems for Afghanistan,” he elaborated. And, he continued, not only did the U.S. ignore the disaster facing the Afghan people, but it also refused to return the assets belonging to them, which were illegally seized. Those funds should be returned, he said.


China’s Overview of the Program of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation

China’s Overview of the Program of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation

Aug. 18, 2022 (EIRNS)–The FOCAC (Forum on China-Africa Cooperation) Coordinators’ meeting to follow up on FOCAC program implementation, took place Aug. 18. In anticipation of the meeting, Li Zhigang, Chargé d’ Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, wrote an overview of these programs, which appeared in the Independent Online (IOL) Aug. 17.

One project of especial interest: “The two sides have set up a China-Africa RMB [renminbi] center to explore RMB settlement for China-Africa trade, logistics, and industrial cooperation.”

The nine broad points are presented here in brief:

The medical and health program: China has provided more than 250 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Africa, covering almost all African countries, and launched joint production of COVID-19 vaccine in Egypt, Algeria and Morocco. China has made constant efforts to pair up Chinese and African hospitals for cooperation, and the African CDC headquarters project (Phase I) is expected to be completed in early 2023. China has also been helping with control of malaria, schistosomiasis and AIDS.

Poverty reduction and agricultural development program: China has provided emergency food aid and other humanitarian assistance to the Horn of Africa and other regions. China has offered locust control insecticides, irrigation equipment, and technical assistance. The first four “China-Africa joint centers for modern agrotechnology exchange, demonstration and training” have been set up to train professionals in the fields of tropical crops, aquaculture, biomass energy and dry farming.

Trade promotion: From January to June this year, China-Africa trade volume registered U.S. $137.38 billion, up by 16.6% year-on-year, of which China’s exports to and imports from Africa increased by 14.7% and 19.1% respectively. China has opened “green lanes” for faster export of African agricultural products to China. As a result, products such as Rwandan stevia, South African fresh pears and soybeans, and Zimbabwean citrus have gained access to the Chinese market. China has signed agreements with Togo, Eritrea, Djibouti, Guinea, Rwanda, Mozambique, Sudan, Chad and Central Africa, among other LDCs, on expanding the scope of zero-tariff treatment to 98% for products exported to China, covering 350 kinds of African products.

Investment promotion program: From January to June this year, China’s industry-wide direct investment in Africa amounted to U.S. $1.74 billion, growing by 1.5% against all the odds. The turnover of Chinese enterprises’ contracted projects in Africa amounted to U.S. $18.32 billion, an increase of 8.4% year-on-year. The two sides have set up a China-Africa RMB center to explore RMB settlement for China-Africa trade, logistics and industrial cooperation. China has continued to provide aid in the form of grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans to help African countries achieve independent and sustainable development.

Digital innovation program: To expand Silk Road e-commerce cooperation, China and Africa have jointly made a success out of the “Quality African Products Online Shopping Festival” to market African products in China. Fifteen China-Africa science and technology cooperation projects have been initiated.

Green development program: China has completed the construction of hydroelectric power stations, photo-voltaic power stations, and water supply projects. China participates in the “Great Green Wall of Africa” initiative, and strengthens cooperation with Africa in desertification control.

Capacity-building program: China provides vocational skills training for local youths where there are Chinese enterprises in Africa, and give the graduates jobs in these enterprises. China helps African students who have completed study courses in China to find jobs in Chinese enterprises in Africa.

People-to-people exchange program: The first Conference on Dialogue Between Chinese and African Civilizations and the 11th Meeting of the China-Africa Think Tanks Forum were successfully held, contributing to the building of a China-Africa community with a shared future.

The African Film Festival project: It has introduced well-made African films and TV shows to the Chinese audience. The “2022 China Culture and Tourism Month” has served as a window for African friends to learn and understand more about China.

The peace and security program: At the second China-Africa Peace and Security Forum, the two sides agreed to maintain strategic communication, strengthen cooperation in equipment and technology, expand maritime exercises and training, and enhance exchanges in professional fields. Chinese peacekeeping troops to Africa have performed to satisfaction, and the 25th batch of Chinese peacekeeping troops sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo was awarded the United Nations “Peace Medal.”

The full text of Li Zhigang’s article is here.


Putin Discusses Primacy of International Law and UN Charter at St. Petersburg Legal Forum

June 30, 2022 (EIRNS)—In a pre-recorded video message, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the Tenth St. Petersburg International Legal Forum today, contrasting the “generally accepted principles of international law and the UN Charter,” which underlie an emerging multipolar system of international relations, with the “unjust unipolar model” based on an “order based on rules and other questionable concepts which try to control and direct global processes at their own discretion.” The U.S. is guilty of such conduct, Putin asserted, unable to accept that it is losing its supremacy on the world stage, even while advocating its own exceptionalism.

Rejecting the notion put forward by some radicals, that international law is being dismantled, Putin admits that undoubtedly “the system of international law needs to be further developed, but we should not confuse cause and effect. Crises happen not because the law is faulty, but because of attempts to replace law with dictate,” or when certain states or groups of states try to replace international standards with their own national jurisdiction. This, he stated, “is a deliberate refusal to follow essential legal principles—justice, conscientiousness, equality and humanity. These are not just legal ideals, but values that reflect the diversity of our civilization.”

The Russian President warned that the multipolar world of the 21st Century “is an irreversible process; it is happening before our eyes…this democratic, more just world order should be built on the basis of mutual respect and trust, and, of course, on the generally accepted principles of international law and the UN Charter.” In this new, multipolar world, there is no room for discrimination against states or people. Russia, therefore, “speaks for the practical realization of the pivotal international legal principle of the sovereign equality of states and the right of each state to pursue its own development model. I am confident that by consistently following international law and joining our efforts, it is possible to resolve the most difficult problems that the world is facing and to provide for the stable, sustainable and progressive development of all states.”  Access to President Putin’s speech is here.


Germany: New Appeal for Ceasefire in Ukraine Published in Die Zeit

Germany: New Appeal for Ceasefire in Ukraine Published in Die Zeit

June 30, 2022 (EIRNS)–A list of 21 prominent Germans and two international signers (Richard Falk and Jeffrey Sachs) published in today’s Die Zeit a new appeal to Western governments for an all-out and immediate effort to achieve a quick, negotiated solution to the Ukraine conflict. Among the German signers is Gen. (ret.) Erich Vad, former military advisor to Angela Merkel. An immediate reaction from Andrej Melnik, Ukrainian Ambassador to Berlin followed.

The signers call for a “diplomatic full-scale offensive” as the only way to get out of “the present dead-end,” referring to military experts, who consider victory for Ukraine—with a return of all occupied territories including Donetsk, Lugansk, and Crimea—unrealistic. They question continuing weapons deliveries and demand, “An immediate cease-fire,” the title of their call. “Continuing the war to achieve full victory of Ukraine over Russia leads to thousands of further victims of war, who die for a goal that does not seem realistic.”

In an immediate reaction to this, Ukrainian Ambassador and attack-dog in Berlin, Andrej Melnik, had a fit on twitter: “Not again, what a bunch of pseudo-intellectual losers you all Varwicks, Vads, Kluges, Prechts, Yogeshwars, Zehs & Co. [names of some signers] should finally go to hell with your defeatist ‘advise’. Bye.” Andrij Melnyk zu Augstein, Precht und Co.: Schert Euch zum Teufel! [Go to hell!]

The letter was signed by Jakob Augstein (publicist), Richard A. Falk (professor of international law), Svenja Flaßpöhler (philosopher), Thomas Glauben (professor of agricultural economics), Josef Haslinger (writer), Elisa Hoven (professor of criminal law), Alexander Kluge (filmmaker and author), Christoph Menke (professor of philosophy), Wolfgang Merkel (professor of political science), Julian Nida-Rümelin (philosopher), Robert Pfaller (philosopher), Richard D. Precht (philosopher), Jeffrey Sachs (professor of economics), Michael von der Schulenburg (former UN diplomat), Edgar Selge (actor), Ilija Trojanow (writer), Erich Vad (retired Gen, former military advisor to Angela Merkel), Johannes Varwick (professor of international politics), Harald Welzer (social psychologist), Ranga Yogeshwar (science journalist), and Juli Zeh (writer).


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