Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

The owners own you......

 


 

From HBO Life Is Worth Losing.

They're coming for all the gold.....

 

 

Gold is king
 
It's the gold,
the original sin.
 
The lust for power, 
the greed. 
 
  • The Golden Rule
  • Gold Rush
  • Golden Triangle
  • Golden Moment
  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • Golden Gem
  • Golden Palace
  • Golden Age
  • Golden Nugget
  • Golden Girls
  • Golden Calf
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Golden Goose
 
There must be something more though?

The control
of everything.
 
Where did it begin?
The epic struggle,
the darkness against
the light?
 
Human slavery,
Feudalism,
Corporate globalization.
 
Is it the
Atlantis story,
in a modern big-screen re-run?

Do we surrender
to the bully
and his club?

Do we bow
our heads
and stay in line?

Do we raise our hand,
dare open our mouths,
perk our ears up 
and pass on the story?
 
It's our
moment in time.
 
Bruce 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Ukraine - knowing before acting

 

 

1) Igor gives overview of the background of the war,
2) Vladimir gives perspective from Russian/military,
3) Bruce gives US/NATO perspective.

Then Q&A

Please register in advance for the meeting: https://bit.ly/3LdGb3F  

~ Facilitated by Tamara Lorincz (Canadian Voice of Women for Peace and board member of Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space) 

Macron: Not liked by the French people


 



Economist Richard Wolff talks about the U.S. media's "grotesque misrepresentation of not on the French election but French and European politics in general.

Washington's true face....

 


 

Former President of Turkish Denizli Journalists Association Ahmet Deda shared his thoughts on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

He said in an exclusive interview with China Media Group that "This is a pre-arranged war game. The ultimate beneficiaries of this war are neither the Ukrainian nor the Russian people....The world has seen the true face of America."

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Latest from Mariupol

 


 

British journalist Graham Phillips reports.....he has also been reporting from the Donbass war zone for the past eight years. 

The US-NATO installed Ukranian government has put a price tag on his head. 

Keeping the Public’s Eye on U.S. Crimes in Afghanistan

 


 

 In Afghanistan, the Biden administration continues to use sanctions as political leverage against the Taliban, compounding nation-wide and regional instability, and making food and fuel much costlier for tens of millions of Afghans. As a result, the United Nations estimates 97 percent of Afghans could be living below the poverty line by the middle of this year.

The Black Alliance for Peace Solidarity Network’s Afghanistan Committee continues its efforts to raise the public’s awareness on the role the United States and its coalition partners continue to play, despite mostly evacuating the country in September.  

The United States continues to support what the UN has called a “downward humanitarian spiral” in the country by:

  •     Refusing to return $7 billion in Afghan funds, preventing the country from resolving its crises and meeting the needs of the Afghan people.
  •     Leveraging sanctions and using aid as a political tool to destroy the Afghan economy, forcing tens of millions of Afghans into dependence on Western “humanitarian” funding for their well-being.
  •     Decades of interference and occupation, which led to reactionary violence, both inside and outside the country, thus paving the way to recent deadly confrontations with regional neighbors Pakistan and Iran.


If the ruling class in the United States continues down this road, more Afghans will die over the next year than the number who died amid two decades of U.S. military occupation. Washington’s hegemonic grip over Afghanistan has been the status-quo for decades, but it may be faltering in the face of constructive diplomatic actions China and Russia have taken.

What does Mr. Big really want?

 

 

The West has essentially declared an all-out war on Russia. Instead of calling for a negotiated end to the conflict, Washington, London and Brussels are looking to sustain the Ukrainian war effort. 

So, we need to ask: What is the West’s policy goal in all of this? 

CrossTalking, with Michael Maloof, Ray McGovern, and Bruce Gagnon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

The fog of war

 


 

 Alex Christoforou reports from Greece on the latest. 

 Assange last chance. Boris Party-gate apology blame Putin. Wimbledon bans Russia.

U.S. bluffs on space weapons 'rules of the road'

 


ASAT Ban Aimed at Presenting US as Defender of Sanctity of Space Which It Surely is Not

 

By Ekaterina Blinova

Vice President Kamala Harris announced on 19 April Washington's commitment to a ban on anti-satellite missile testing (ASAT) while visiting Vandenberg Space Force Base and called upon others to jump on the US bandwagon. What's behind the Biden administration's space initiative?

"I would say that the US is insincere when it suggests a ban on ASAT testing," says Bruce Gagnon, director of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. "If Washington was serious about banning offensive military operations in space then why has the US government for at least the last 25 years refused to negotiate at the UN a binding treaty to ban all weapons in space? Each year Russia and China have introduced such a global ban treaty on any and all kinds of weapons in space. The official statement by the US has long been - 'There is no need for a new treaty to ban all weapons in space because there are none in orbit now. There is no problem.'"

The scholar notes that while Vice President Harris denounced Russian and Chinese ASAT tests as "reckless and irresponsible," she apparently forgot that "in early 2008 the Pentagon launched Operation Burnt Frost that used a Navy guided missile cruiser to launch an SM-3 missile into space which knocked down a non-functioning National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) satellite".

The US destroyed the NRO [sat] on 20 February 2008 under the pretext of "safeguarding human lives" by preventing uncontrolled reentry into Earth's atmosphere by the defunct satellite. Remarkably, eight days earlier, China and Russia introduced a draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (PPWT) to the Conference on Disarmament (CD), the world's permanent multilateral disarmament treaty negotiating body. On 29 February 2008, the CD discussed the draft. However, the US dismissed the proposal, dubbing it "a diplomatic ploy by the two nations to gain a military advantage".

"[The US' 2008 ASAT] test proved that Navy warships could use the SM-3 missile as an anti-satellite weapon," says Gagnon. "Once again the US shows the world its 'do as I say' exceptional attitude, while Washington does as it wishes and lectures other nations about what they should do."

US' Space Dominance & Lucrative Aerospace Industry

The US has long been seeking "dominance" in space and developing various space weapons technologies, highlights Gagnon. The US created fully capable direct ascent anti-satellite weapons as early as 1963, several short years after the USSR's launch of Sputnik on 4 October 1957. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US found itself as the sole military force in space.

In 1997 the US Space Command (USSPACECOM) outlined the "Vision for 2020" strategy, which sought the nation's continued preeminence in space. Decades later, on 17 January 2022 the US-led NATO released its "overarching" space policy saying that any space-based attack on an ally could trigger the alliance's collective defence policy under the bloc's Article 5.

"The recent creation of the Space Force by the US was soon thereafter followed by an announcement by the Pentagon that the first offensive Space Force programme had been created - a satellite jamming device aimed from the ground that would shut down an adversary's space satellite during times of war using a beam of directed energy," Gagnon stresses.

 


According to the scholar, the non-binding 'norms of conduct' or space 'rules of the road' proposed by the US are "window dressing to divert attention away from its own blatant refusal to hammer out an internationally recognised treaty at the UN to make it illegal for any nation to develop, test and deploy weapons in space."

Gagnon argues that Washington "has no intention to honour any binding treaties that would limit these offensive space weapons programmes."

"The aerospace industry has long boasted that the arms race in space will be 'the largest industrial project in human history'," the think tank director says. "Thus the industry views serious proposals for space ban treaties as key obstacles that must be defeated. It is my belief that the 'norms of conduct' for space are merely strategic diversions by the US to get others to sign such 'non-binding' agreements in order to create the image of Washington as a defender of the sanctity of space which it surely is not."

GOP & Dems as Bad and Good Cops

The Biden administration's move to ban ASAT was most likely triggered by the fact that the US is losing its continued preeminence in space, according to the scholar.

"While the US had 'dominance' in space technology it was satisfied to be the one and only nation with ASAT capabilities," he says. "But once Russia, China and India had developed similar capabilities to knock a competitor's satellite out of space, the Pentagon began to worry."

Gagnon suggests that the US Department of Defence does not rule out that in times of hostilities other countries could put US 'space assets' in jeopardy. "Thus Washington is attempting to take the public relations 'high ground' by announcing non-binding rules of the road for space," the scholar notes.

However, the White House's move has already prompted a great deal of criticism from the right side of the US political aisle. The Republicans argue that "this decision creates more opportunities for China and Russia to hold our assets in space at risk".

"The Democrats and Republicans like to play 'good cop-bad cop' for the entertainment of American voters," says Gagnon. "But in the end they always find consensus when it comes to developing military programmes that give the US the ability to claim dominance on the land, the sea, the air above our heads, or in outer space."  

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The dark or the light?

 


 

Azov Nazi death squads (2-3 thousand of them) are holding civilian hostages in their last-ditch stronghold - the huge steelworks which has underground tunnels 6-8 stories deep in Mariupol.

They are the killers that US-NATO have been training, arming and directing since 2014. Their job was go to eastern Ukraine and kill Russian-ethnics. The US-NATO has been trying to draw Russia into a fight.  See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxeZFS9hTUg&t=63s

Since 2014 more than 14,000 have been killed Kiev's Nazi-led army.

Russia eventually reacted.

Where have the voices of concern been across the west for the 14,000 who had already died? Most across the west, even 'liberals', have been mind-washed on the real story about Ukraine.

Now we hear Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) calling for US troops to be sent to Ukraine.

All according to CIA plans I am sure.....

Which were the groups that wanted to get rid of nuclear weapons? You'd think they'd all be calling out Washington's hugely aggressive campaign for WW III... The neo-cons are running the show and they want war.

This just might be our last chance. What are people waiting for? 

Bruce

Pentagon’s Bioweapon Threat to Russia and China Is Serious

 


Despite U.S. Bluff and Bluster, Pentagon’s Bioweapon Threat to Russia and China Is Serious


By Finian Cunningham

We must take into account the Pentagon’s threat to Russia from its undeniable bioweapons program in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said this week that his country had “no choice” but to intervene militarily in Ukraine to halt a genocide against the Russian-speaking people of the Donbass and neutralize the growing national security threat to Russia stemming from Ukrainian territory.

Eight years of military assaults on the breakaway Donbass region by the NATO-backed Kiev regime – causing 14,000 deaths – are exhibit A. The documented Nazi ideology of the Kiev military regiments and their explicit aspiration to kill Russian people is exhibit B. The NATO training and weaponizing of the regime despite its Nazi affiliation is exhibit C.

And fourthly, exhibit D, we must take into account the Pentagon’s threat to Russia from its undeniable bio-weapons program in Ukraine. That threat also extends to China which is faced with expanding Pentagon laboratories near its borders.

When Russia launched its intervention in Ukraine on February 24, the Kiev regime promptly ordered a network of 30 laboratories funded and managed by the Pentagon to destroy samples of pathogens. That these laboratories were engaged in biological weapons development was later admitted on March 8 by U.S. State Department official Victoria Nuland during hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Nuland’s admission has been corroborated by documents published by the Russians which were obtained during operations in Ukraine.




Those documents show and name U.S. officials who were working for the Pentagon and private American firms involved in the development of the laboratories. It is also clear from the documents that the programs were purposed for the development of biological weapons using pathogens such as anthrax and coronaviruses.

The head of the Pentagon’s Orwellian-sounding Defense Threat Reduction Agency is named as Joanna Wintrol whose work in Ukraine was coordinated with the U.S. embassy in Kiev.

Historically, the Pentagon took over laboratories in Ukraine and other post-Soviet republics in the name of decommissioning bio-weapons facilities. But what happened instead was that the Pentagon upgraded and expanded the pathogen programs. This is consistent with the history of the U.S. co-opting the biological warfare techniques and personnel of former enemies. Following the Second World War, the Americans redeployed Japanese and Nazi bio-weapon programs at its then newly established Fort Detrick facility in Maryland.

The trove of documents discovered by the Russians in Ukraine also shows that the Pentagon programs were looking at ways to weaponize the pathogens through aerial delivery from drones. It was also being assessed how deadly diseases could be spread by using bird migration from Ukraine to Russia.

Russia claims that the Pentagon’s work in Ukraine coincides with outbreaks of deadly diseases in Donbass going back several years. For example in 2018, there was a fatal outbreak of tuberculosis in the Russian-speaking region that was resistant to multiple standard drug treatments.

All attempts so far by Russia and China for the topic of bio-weapons in Ukraine to be debated at the UN Security Council have been rebuffed by the United States. The U.S. asserts that Russian and Chinese concerns are “disinformation”. At a hearing called for by Russia and China on April 6, the U.S. and Britain did not even attend the Security Council meeting.

But it’s not just Moscow and Beijing that have expressed concerns. Professor Francis Boyle is a world-renowned author and legal expert on biological warfare. He says there is no doubt that the U.S. was involved in conducting a biological warfare program in Ukraine even though such activity puts the United States in direct violation of the Biological Warfare Convention.

Boyle points out that the involvement of Fort Detrick personnel in the laboratories in Ukraine and the close coordination by the Pentagon demonstrates that the research was for creating weapons of mass destruction.

“The Pentagon funded these bio-warfare labs in Ukraine, and Fort Detrick is an adjunct of the Pentagon. I suspect the right hand of the Pentagon knew what the left hand of the Pentagon was doing,” said Boyle who authored Bio-warfare and Terrorism (2005).

Last year, in June 2021, Fort Detrick had several military professionals assigned to Ukraine to train with Ukrainian troops in “laboratory and field environments” for “understanding capabilities and support each other within a theater,” reported the Military Times.

 


Fort Detrick has a storied and nefarious history of bio-warfare development going back to the early Cold War. It has been clandestinely working on “gain of function” pathogens such as anthrax for decades. It is even known to have conducted experiments on unwitting U.S. populations to study the epidemiology of diseases.

China in particular has complained that the American bio-warfare center based in Frederick, Maryland, should be opened up to independent inspectors to find out what its laboratories are up to. China points out that Fort Detrick was temporarily shut down following a massive outbreak of an unknown flu-like infection in the U.S. in 2019. This was months before the outbreak of the Covid-19 disease in the Chinese city of Wuhan was detected at the end of 2019. Adding to China’s suspicions is that the Wuhan outbreak followed the Military World Games which were held in the city in October 2019. A team from the U.S. participated.

The SARS coronavirus which caused the Covid-19 global pandemic is also believed to have been experimented on in the Pentagon laboratories in Ukraine.

The United States has arrogantly demanded that China be more open to international inspectors over its virology institute in Wuhan with the implication that the institute may have leaked the coronavirus. China has already permitted two scientific teams from the World Health Organization to investigate the Wuhan outbreak. The WHO concluded the infection spread from animals to humans in nature.

By contrast, however, the U.S. has stonewalled all demands by Russia and China for UN discussion about what its Pentagon-sponsored laboratories were doing in Ukraine. Chinese demands for an independent investigation into Fort Detrick’s biological experiments have also been rebuffed.

It’s a measure of arrogance that Washington feels entitled to accuse and impose demands on Moscow and Beijing yet the evidence of American culpability is stacked much higher.

China points out that over the past 30 years since the supposed end of the Cold War, the Pentagon has expanded over 300 biological laboratories in over 30 countries, most of which are neighboring Russia and China.

Fort Detrick’s sinister record of harnessing biological weapons of mass destruction and its growing presence in Ukraine for specific offensive objectives makes the case for Russia’s military intervention. China is also right to take a critical stance and demand answers and accountability from the Americans.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Several thousand Ukraine army troops surrender



 
Ukraine army surrenders growing - interview with one Ukraine officer about why they gave up - English subtitles
 
Click here for the video 

Biden ally floats idea of US troops in Ukraine

 

             The words by Sen. Coons about sending US troops to Ukraine begin at 5:15 mark in the video.
                                                                        

Senator suggests Ukraine may ‘turn into Syria’ unless the US and NATO ‘stop Putin’

 

RT

US Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), a politician described by media outlets as President Joe Biden’s closest Senate ally, has raised the idea of deploying American troops to fight Russians in Ukraine, saying he fears the former Soviet republic will “become the Syria of Eastern Europe.”

“The American people cannot turn away from this tragedy in Ukraine,” Coons said on Sunday in a CBS News interview. “I think the history of the 21st century turns on how fiercely we defend freedom in Ukraine and that Putin will only stop when we stop him.”

Asked by host Margaret Brennan about his recent comments calling for US leaders to discuss troop deployments to Ukraine, Coons said policy makers must consider the “level of brutality” exhibited by Russian forces. He credited Biden with pulling Western allies together to impose “crushing sanctions” on Russia, but suggested that more direct action may be needed as Russian President Vladimir Putin raises the stakes.

“If Vladimir Putin, who has shown us how brutal he can be, is allowed to just continue to massacre civilians, to commit war crimes throughout Ukraine without NATO, without the West coming more forcefully to his aid, I deeply worry that what's going to happen next is that we will see Ukraine turn into Syria,” Coons said. Presumably, he meant to say that the US and NATO need to come more forcefully to Ukraine’s aid, not Putin’s.

Coons worked as an intern in Biden’s Senate office in the 1990s and was elected to fill his former Senate seat in 2010. He was described by the New York Times as “Biden’s eyes and ears in the Senate,” while Politico called him “the Biden whisperer.” Media outlets called him a “shadow secretary of state” after the White House sent him on a diplomatic mission to Ethiopia last year.

Like Biden, Coons has previously spoken out against sending American forces to Ukraine. He seldom, if ever, contradicts Biden’s views, so his change of rhetoric raised concerns over what the commander-in-chief might be considering.

The senator’s latest comments come three days after he said the Biden administration and US lawmakers need to discuss parameters for troop deployments to Ukraine. Speaking at an event at the University of Michigan, he argued that if direct military involvement is ruled out, “we are inviting another level of escalation in brutality by Putin.”

We are coming right up against a Cuban missile crisis moment in terms of a direct confrontation between NATO, the United States, the West and Russia.

Coons added that “autocrats around the world” – from North Korea to Iran to China – are closely watching the US and NATO response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. He also called the crisis a “1939 moment,” apparently alluding to Nazi Germany’s early conquests in Europe.

“At some point, we are going to have to confront the reality that Putin may be willing to escalate beyond our willingness to take risks,” Coons said. “And if we allow Ukraine to become the Syria of Eastern Europe, I think we will have failed both the Ukrainian people and this moment in history.”

The Target is China


The Pentagon’s current strategy document clearly identifies Enemy No. 1


By Caitlin Johnstone


The Pentagon has produced its latest National Defense Strategy (NDS), a report made every four years to provide the public and the government with a broad overview of the U.S. war machine’s planning, posturing, developments and areas of focus.

You might assume with all the aggressive brinkmanship between Moscow and the U.S. power alliance this year that Russia would feature as Enemy No. 1 in the 2022 NDS, but you would be assuming incorrectly. The U.S. “Defense” Department reserves that slot for the same nation that’s occupied it for many years now: China.

Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp writes the following:

    “The full NDS is still classified, but the Pentagon released a fact sheet on the document that says it “will act urgently to sustain and strengthen deterrence, with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as our most consequential strategic competitor and the pacing challenge for the Department.”

    The fact sheet outlines four priorities for the Pentagon:

    -Defending the homeland, paced to the growing multi-domain threat posed by the PRC

    -Deterring strategic attacks against the United States, Allies, and partners

    -Deterring aggression, while being prepared to prevail in conflict when necessary, prioritizing the PRC challenge in the Indo-Pacific, then the Russia challenge in Europe

    -Building a resilient Joint Force and defense ecosystem”


“The Pentagon says that while China is the focus, Russia poses ‘acute threats’ because of its invasion of Ukraine,” DeCamp writes, showing the empire’s view of Moscow as a second-tier enemy.

Ahead of a meeting with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has made some comments which clearly illustrate the U.S.-centralized empire’s actual problem with Moscow.

“We, together with you, and with our sympathisers will move towards a multipolar, just, democratic world order,” Lavrov said to the Chinese government on Wednesday.

And that right there, ladies and gentlemen, is the real reason we’ve been hearing so much hysterical shrieking about Russia these last five or six years. It’s never been about Russian hackers. Nor about a Kremlin pee tape. Nor about Trump Tower. Nor about GRU bounties in Afghanistan. Nor about Manafort, Flynn, Bannon, Papadopoulos or any other Russiagate Surname of the Week. It’s not even actually about Ukraine. Those have all been narrative-shaping constructs manipulated by the U.S. intelligence cartel to manufacture support for a final showdown against Russia and China to prevent the emergence of a multipolar world.

The U.S. government has had a policy in place since the fall of the Soviet Union to prevent the rise of any powers which could challenge its imperial agendas for the world. During the (first) Cold War the strategy promoted by empire managers like Henry Kissinger was to court China out of necessity to pull it away from the U.S.S.R., which was when we saw business ties between China and the U.S. lead to immense profits for certain individuals in both nations and the influx of wealth which now has China on track to surpass the U.S. as an economic superpower.

Once the U.S.S.R. ended, so too did the need to remain on friendly terms with China, and subsequent decades saw a sharp pivot into a much more adversarial relationship with Beijing.

In what history may one day view as the U.S. empire’s greatest strategic blunder, empire managers forecasted the acquisition of post-soviet Russia as an imperial lackey state which could be weaponized against the new Enemy No. 1 in China. Instead, the exact opposite happened.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Bloomberg New Economy Forum last year that she’d “heard for years that Russia would become more willing to move toward the west, more willing to engage in a positive way with Europe, the U.K., the U.S., because of problems on its border, because of the rise of China.” But that’s not what occurred.

“We haven’t seen that,” Clinton said. “Instead what we’ve seen is a concerted effort by Putin maybe to hug China more.” 

 

 

The empire’s expectation that Moscow would come groveling to the imperial throne on its own meant that no real effort was expended trying to establish goodwill and win over its friendship. NATO just kept on expanding and the empire got increasingly aggressive and belligerent in its games of global conquest.

This error has led to the strategist’s ultimate nightmare of having to fight for global domination against two separate powers at once. Because empire architects incorrectly predicted that Moscow would end up fearing Beijing more than it fears Washington, the tandem between China’s economic power and Russia’s military power that experts have been pointing to for years has only gotten more and more intimate.

And now here we are with Russian and Chinese officials openly discussing their plans to create a multipolar world while Chinese pundits crack jokes about the U.S. empire’s transparent ploys to turn Beijing against Moscow over the Ukraine invasion:

On the empire’s grand chessboard, Russia is the queen piece, but China is the king. Just as with chess it helps to take out your opponent’s strongest piece to more easily pursue checkmate, the U.S. empire would be well advised to try and topple China’s nuclear superpower friend and, as Consortium News Editor-in-Chief Joe Lauria recently put it, “ultimately restore a Yeltsin-like puppet to Moscow.”

Basically, all we’re looking at in the major international news stories of our time is the rise of a multipolar world crashing headlong into an empire which has espoused the belief that unipolar domination must be retained at all cost, even if it means flirting with the possibility of a very fast and radioactive third world war.

This is the Hail Mary pass of the U.S. hegemon; its last-ditch effort to secure control before forever losing any chance at it. Many anti-imperialist pundits I read regularly seem quite confident that this effort will fail, while I personally think those forecasts may be a bit premature. The way the chess pieces are moving it definitely does look like there’s a plan in place, and I don’t think they’d be orchestrating that plan if they didn’t believe it had a chance to succeed.

One thing that does seem clear is that the only way the empire has any chance of stopping the rise of China is by maneuvers that will be both highly disruptive and existentially dangerous for the entire world. If you think things are crazy now, just you wait until the imperial crosshairs move to Beijing.

~ Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium. 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Mass rallies across Pakistan support Iman Khan

 


 

Imran Khan Kicks Off Nation-Wide Rallies for Early Elections While US Congratulates Shehbaz Sharif


By Ekaterina Blinova
 

Tensions are continuing to simmer after the ouster of former Prime Minister Imran Khan. Earlier this week, over 100 lawmakers from Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party resigned from the National Assembly before the scheduled voting for the new PM, according to Dawn, the oldest English-language newspaper in Pakistan.

"Imran Khan is a very strong leader, popular and can ignite agitation," says Dr Rasul Bakhsh Rais, professor of political science at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, LUMS, Lahore. "He called for a protest [last] Sunday evening on Twitter and we saw really big demonstrations in every city of Pakistan. He and his party members have resigned from the National Assembly and that means he will be doing politics in the streets."

Last Sunday, large demonstrations were held in Karachi, Peshawar, Malakand, Multan, Khanewal, Khyber, Jhang, Quetta, Okara, Islamabad, Lahore and Abbottabad, according to Dawn. The newspaper adds that protests also took place in Bajaur, Lower Dir, Shangla, Kohistan, Mansehra, Swat, Gujrat, Faisalabad, Nowshera, Dera Ghazi Khan and Mandi Bahauddin.

On 13 April, Imran Khan, the PTI chairman, held a massive gathering at Peshawar’s Ring Road marking the start of the PTI's rallies aimed at holding early elections.

"We will continue to hold rallies and protests across Pakistan until the new elections are announced," stated Khan, as quoted by Pakistan's Samaa TV broadcaster. "Today, our nation is at a decisive point and we have to decide whether we want slavery or freedom from it."

 


 

Imran Khan has dubbed the cabinet of new Pakistani PM Shehbaz Sharif an "imported government," insisting that his ouster from power through a no-confidence vote was orchestrated by the US. The former prime minister has repeatedly cited a "foreign threat letter" allegedly blackmailing Islamabad into removing Khan from power. According to the PTI chairman, the US and its NATO allies were up in arms about his independent foreign policy and unwillingness to join anti-Russian sanctions over Moscow's special operation in Ukraine.

During the Peshawar rally, Khan accused Sharif of cracking down on Pakistani social media volunteers who oppose the National Assembly no-confidence vote. The PTI leader also said that the incumbent premier is "facing Rs40 billion ($220 million) in corruption charges."

According to Daily Pakistan, the next PTI rally will take place at Jinnah’s Mausoleum in Karachi on 16 April. On 24 April, Khan's party is due to hold a massive gathering in the country’s second-largest metropolis, Lahore.

Khan and his party have shown their strength through nation-wide rallies, according to Zafar Iqbal Yousafzai, author of The Troubled Triangle: US-Pakistan Relations under the Taliban’s Shadow. According to him, Khan and his fellow party members' resignations were largely aimed at forcing the new authorities to hold early general elections. "Indeed Imran Khan is a strong political figure who enjoys popular support," Yousafzai stresses. 

Sunday song