Right and Wrong in the South China Sea 177

The Chinese are in the wrong in seizing an American hydrographic survey drone. It is worth noting that whether it was genuinely engaged in scientific research or whether it was engaged in some sort of defence surveillance activity is irrelevant. It was operating entirely lawfully on the high seas and the Chinese had no right to seize it.

John Pilger’s tremendous new documentary The Coming War With China explains Chinese motivations. China is ringed by 200 US military bases and installations, far from any State of the USA, in an unabashed display of American Imperial power. China by contrast has very few military outposts outside China at all and shows remarkably little interest in territorial ambition, given China’s current economic power. The stories of US exploitation and duplicity recounted in the Pilger documentary are overwhelming, and of course the entire venture is a massive transfer of money from struggling US taxpayers to the arms industry. One is left with a feeling of surprise that the Chinese reaction to naked US threat is so calm and not paranoid.

But while this may make Chinese behaviour understandable, it is none the less wrong in law. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea makes absolutely clear that artificial islands cannot make a maritime claim – articles 60 and 80 refer. This law is both right and necessary. If we accept that artificial islands can generate a maritime claim, then the great powers will be racing all over the globe to build them and claim the oceans, to the detriment of the rest of the world, and especially developing countries.

US behaviour is aggressive on a global scale. The Chinese reaction represents blowback. But that does not make it either right or legal.

Allowed HTML - you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

177 thoughts on “Right and Wrong in the South China Sea

1 2
  • Haward

    China shows remarkably little territorial ambition? You’ve heard of Tibet? And Xingjian; “liberated” in the 1950s?

    • bevin

      “China shows remarkably little territorial ambition? You’ve heard of Tibet? And Xingjian; “liberated” in the 1950s?”

      History is an open book. The story of how China conquered Tibet and Xingjian has to be understood in the light of the series of wars waged by the inhabitants of both against China. After a succession of bloody and costly wars the Chinese government determined to mount an expedition to incorporate both within the Chinese Empire.
      But that was not in the 1950s but the 1750s. Was yours a typo, Haward?

  • Kief

    Unintended consequences of Trump support make predictions of a warring China self-prophetic.

    But if it’s inevitable for a hot war versus the jockeying for position, it’s better to just get it over with rather than die of diplomatic carbon-monoxide.

    Get those strategic tweets going Saint Donaldus. At least you stopped war with Russia.

  • Republicofscotland

    I agree that China cannot just build artificial islands and then claim the surrounding seas as sovereign. It will be interesting to note the outcome of the hotly contested Spratly Islands in the region, or will that particular case only be resolved through war like actions?

    As for China seizing a US Navy unmanned underwater drone, in international waters, it’s just a tit-for- tat action in my opinion. Though I doubt the US are used to being told you can’t have your ball back, so to speak.

    The US claims it was in the proces of recovering two unmanned gliders 50 miles North of Subic bay near the Philippines, one wonders what purpose or activities, the gliders were performing in the region?

    If there is a coming war between the US and China, I hope Europe remain neutral, Europe has danced to the Great Satan’s (consecutive US governments) tune long enough.

    Is there a link to Pilger’s film by chance?

    • Jim Scott

      Just on your comment –
      “I agree that China cannot just build artificial islands and then claim the surrounding seas as sovereign. It will be interesting to note the outcome of the hotly contested Spratly Islands in the region, or will that particular case only be resolved through war like actions?”

      Living in Australia I am very aware that the building of these islands in the Spratly’s (nice European name for Asian islands) that their commencement followed the building of a USA air base near Darwin. Clearly the islands will provide a defence buffer against missile and aircraft attacks from the South. I would do the same if I was Chinese. This airbase was talked down as just a few planes rotating through there to refuel and have a cup of tea. Having seen the infrastructure going in I think they have the capacity for a five course meal and a suburb to go with it.
      My second thought was that while the Chinese has built two little islands to use for a anti missile shield, the USA has used its “persuasive” techniques to put missiles and warplanes on about 200 islands including mine.

  • Sharp Ears

    Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 1h1 hour ago
    “China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unpresidented act”.

    Later corrected to unprecedented. LOL

    H/T Margo TLN

    • Sharp Ears

      Followed by this one yesterday

      Donald J Trump
      @realDonald Trump

      “We should tell China that we don’t want the drone they stole back.- let them keep it!”

  • RobG

    Trump’s misspelled Tweet about this incident is now all over the front pages.

    Likewise with the ‘fake news’ and ‘Russia interfered in the US presidential election’ bullshit.

    I don’t suppose that all of this has any connection to the electoral college vote on Monday?

    And for the record, anyone familiar with me will know that I’m not a Trump supporter; and neither am I a Hillary supporter.

    • Shatnersrug


      Seeing as they’re unlikely to sway the Electoral college vote on Monday, especially as this daft liberal media message is (in true guardian/WaPo/NYT style) having precisely the reverse effect than the one intended. I find myself wondering what the hell its all really about. I’m guessing that all thosing wall street donors that were lead to believe that the election was in the bag as long as they gave Hils all that lucre have to be given an excuse, but it’s the worst “dog ate my homework” excuse ever.

      • Hieroglyph

        Alex Jones argues that the fake news, Russian interference meme is all about allowing the CIA to activate certain ‘protocols’. Or, at least, certain factions in the CIA. And by ‘protocols’ I of course refer to the kind of accident that seems to often befall people in US politics who talk too much, and\or displease the Clinton’s.

        I readily concede I’m not quite sure what to make of Info Wars. It’s hugely Trump partisan, of course, and the presenter is known for going over the top. On the other hand, they’ve been right about the fake polls, and are currently doing rather good work on the absurd fake news stuff. The Guardian prints bullshit, every day. The contrast is somewhat interesting.

    • RobG

      Shatnersrug, this Atlantic piece dates from 20th November:


      Since then things have really been notched-up with all this ‘Russia fixed the election’ stuff, and the quite unprecedented things that Obama has said (in modern times, I cannot recall any president who has publicly accused a foreign power of interfering in a US election).

      Who knows what is going to happen on Monday.

      • Shatnersrug

        I’ve actually been avoiding liberal media beyond a cursorary glance because it’s become quite clear that they are suffering from a type of group psychosis that I have never witnessed before. As I (painfully) read more right wing publication I discover that this liberal lunacy is the laughing stock on the right. In fact republicans are wetting their pants over it. Trump had a meeting with all the silicone valley tech people no mention of that in the NYT – he’s going to be president and you can see all the captains of industry moving toward him.

        The Dems are behaving like John McTerran-max – having a public breakdown – hardly surprising as Mandelson studied propaganda in Washington before including it in new labour.

        Whilst I can’t right off the nobbling of the electoral college, I actually believe trump will get his votes and democrats will crash and burn.

        I am in no way a trump supporter btw. I’m so beyond partisanship – they are both a gaggle of shit heads, and we have a deep state and Wall Street that have become so emboldened that the public are only allowed a say on whether sexism is acceptable or not.

  • Richard Tye

    Well said, Craig. Whereever wrong is committed it must be exposed and condemned.

    I would like to pick you up on one point, however:

    “…the entire venture is a massive transfer of money from struggling US taxpayers to the arms industry.”

    Analysis of the consolidated balance sheet (Treasury and Central Bank combined) of a currency issuing government shows that when a government makes purchases, new money is credited to the economy-money creation. When tax payments are made money is debited from the economy-money destruction. Taxpayers do not and cannot fund the spending capacity of a monetarily sovereign government, as that would break the accounting rules of double-entry book keeping.

    Logically, there is no transfer of money from taxpayers to wealthy arms dealers. However, it would be correct to say that the government preferentially directs its spending or purchases to the arms industry and not to purchases or spending that benefit a majority of citizens.

    I would very much like to know who first coined the phrase ‘taxpayers money’. It is a powerful idea that weds everybody to the seemingly plausible logic that the government is financially constrained, is used to justify austerity, cuts to public spending and privatisation. It is akin to saying the Government’s finances are analogous to a household or a business. Such analysis shows that they cannot be.

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      Good to see that the President of the Philippines will play no part in Washington’s use of Western-sponsored international law to get its way in the South China Sea and beyond.

      Of cours, he is just a loon for really getting serious about its drug problems.

    • Courtenay Barnett


      In saying this:-

      “… it would be correct to say that the government preferentially directs its spending or purchases to the arms industry and not to purchases or spending that benefit a majority of citizens.”

      aren’t you there agreeing with Craig? And, in being technical on the accounting points aren’t these nevertheless the points:-

      i) There is an ‘opportunity cost’ for spending on defence rather than domestic infrastructure, education, health.

      ii) The national budget has line items and reduced to the basics ‘defence’ is one versus others.

      iii) The proportionate allocation of items in the national budget implies that when one area gets more there is likely reduction in other areas – or to compensate an increase in the deficit will occur to maintain or increase budgetary allocations.

      At least that is how I see it.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      “when a government makes purchases, new money is credited to the economy-money creation. When tax payments are made money is debited from the economy-money destruction. Taxpayers do not and cannot fund the spending capacity of a monetarily sovereign government, as that would break the accounting rules of double-entry book keeping.”

      Please could you detail the double entry involved. Thanks.

  • K Crosby

    ~~~~~This has been an emotionally difficult trip down memory lane for me. I do think it is a fascinating glimpse inside policy making. It is astonishing to me that the question of whether we should oppose the evil of apartheid was tackled in such a shifty fashion, not as history, but in my own working lifetime.~~~~~

    You worked for these fuckers and took the money for years, Craig.

      • K Crosby

        I’m unemployed, I live of my National Insurance repayments. What do you do?

        I admire Craig’s fortitude in refusing to collaborate with the British proxy torturers but from what he wrote, he knew that the British state was as fascist and rotten as all the rest decades before. I’ve sacked three careers on moral grounds and am paying the price but at least the piddling amount of money I get to live on is clean now.

    • Clark

      But Craig did what he could. As the records show, he used his creative intelligence to move policy in a better direction.

      Would you rather there were no good influences within the system? Surely, that would make matters worse.

      • K Crosby

        We all say that to excuse our moral cowardice, just as the doctors, nurses and bureaucrats who collaborated with T4 did. Craig found his moral backbone but he took a long time. None of us who eventually do that should get too sanctimonious.

        • nevermind

          could that be a human trait to try your best at the time in hand?
          That the future will always add other opinions and influences as the realities behind an issue emerge is normal, an evolving history.

          • Phil the ex-frog

            “That the future will always add other opinions and influences as the realities behind an issue emerge is normal,”

            But none of that is on show. In his post yesterday there was zero understanding that his efforts were worse than useless. Quite the opposite.

          • K Crosby

            Trying our best when compromised by money isn’t trying very hard. If he knew what scum Thatchler was that early he was deluding himself at best or hoping that the IRA would do the gig for him at worst. Notice that I object to sanctimony not delusion? I didn’t open my eyes about Thatchler and the inherent fascism of the state until 1981 (much humiliation).

        • Sharp Ears

          K Crosby Could you explain what your reference to T4 means. I am sure you were not referring to T3 and T4, thyroid hormones, which are artificially replaced by Levothyroxine. I take that following a total thyroidectomy for thyroid cancer in 2014. The ENT surgeon who operated on me told me that he is dealing with an epidemic of the disease including treating 4 local GPs with the same disease.

          I was interested to read Bevin’s comment on Japanese government compensation following Fukishima.

          Let us not forget Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the massive number of nuclear tests, the fire at Windscale, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl aside from other leaks and accidents.

          • michael norton

            Currently more than one third of the FRENCH Nuclear Reactors are off-line.
            This is y the price of electricity is shooting up in Europe and in the U.K.

            Care to make a guess why they have been turned off?

      • Nick

        Wish the system was 100% full of people like craig! Can’t believe you can criticise someone taking a wage trying to improve things….nature and belly of the beast and all that

        • Phil the ex-frog

          “Wish the system was 100% full of people like craig!”

          Your wish for a few nicer people fails to take into account that the system itself corrupts. May I recommend you instead wish for a better system.

          • K Crosby

            Systems have come and gone and like the song says, “Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss….” Anarchism is the only fundamentally different way to organise society.

          • lysias

            Why isn’t the Athenian system of choosing representatives and officials by lot fundamentally different?

          • Phil the ex-frog

            “Why isn’t the Athenian system of choosing representatives and officials by lot fundamentally different?”

            An anarchist might argue that sortition retains the concentration of power and thus the accompanying corruption. The selected would need long periods in office and advisors to manage complexity, adding to the inevitability of corruption.

            A commie anarchist might also suggest that sortition does nothing to help most people, still wage slaves and letting others make their decisions, realise the full potential of their lives.

            So an anarchist might suggest that sortition is little different to representative democracy is some really fundamental respects.

          • Phil the ex-frog


            Ha! I had no idea. Ta.

            I have enjoyed limited dipping my toes into mythology and recently saw a fascinating TV history of Greek theatre (the rise of the actor star coinciding with the decline of democracy particularly appealed to me) but basically know zilch about the classics. I wish I was more disciplined to read more.

          • Nick

            Well unfortuneately until the system changes you operate the best you can within it. Pray tell what you have done to change the system? Wishing doesn’t work. You seem to have beef with craig. What would you have done in his shoes in this situation?

      • Phil the ex-frog

        “But Craig did what he could. As the records show, he used his creative intelligence to move policy in a better direction.”

        Assuming you refer to the SA post yesterday the exact opposite of what you claim is true. The record shows his ‘creative intelligence’ failed to provide an outcome anything like he wanted.

        In this article a well meaning man of empire tells us he did what he could, pushed the boundaries as far as he could whilst retaining his career. And what came of it? He innovated a process, international capital retaining control of resources, a sell out of the hopes of the SA people, that guaranteed the continuation of the misery he opposed. His silent good intentions came to nothing, his actions counter productive. He merely voiced the interests of the few and the few won out. The exploitation, poverty and murder continue exactly as before.

        This exemplifies the uselessness of a well intended individual in the bureaucracy of empire.

        Again, Pilger on this, 20 years of apartheid by another name:

        • Nick

          Remember when you were a frog….before becoming an ex frog? Bet you saw the world differently too. I know 30 years ago i was more naive. What i have learned is people like yourself tend to be all mouth and no trousers. Easy to criticise yet you offer no real solutions. C’mon phil this blog is a multinationally read arena….instead of digging out the offer enlighten us all with the new system i should be wishing for.

  • Kief

    The Philippino Trump….

    “President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines confirmed on Friday that he had personally pulled the trigger and killed three people as mayor of Davao City, doubling down on boastful comments he made this week, which loyalists had tried to deny.

    “I killed about three of them because there were three of them,” Mr. Duterte told reporters at a news conference in Manila, the capital. “I don’t really know how many bullets from my gun went inside their bodies.”

    • bevin

      Obama’s stepfather boasted to young Barack that it was alright to kill ‘weak people.’ And that he had done so. He was part of the Indonesian Army that organised the killing of hundreds of thousands-some estimates run as high as a million- supporters of the Indonesian Communist Party. He was also involved in the massacres in Papua New Guinea and Timor. That was the world-not unlike Duterte’s Mindanao- that Obama grew up in.

      • lysias

        Don’t forget the connections between the employers of Obama’s mother while she was ostensibly conducting anthropological research in Indonesia – USAID and the Ford Foundation – and the CIA.

        The U.S. is known to have given the Indonesian military lists of suspicious people at the time of the coup. One wonders if one of the sources of those lists was anthropological research.

      • lysias

        A good many of those million killed were not even Communists, but were killed because they were ethnic Chinese. Genocide, in other words.

      • Phil the ex-frog

        If you’ve not seen it. There is a film about these Indonesian massacres, “The act of killing”, which is like no other documentary I have seen. The film makers persuade a few old former death squad goons, still feared in their community, to re-enact scenes from their murders. The layers of fantasy, erupting in lavish dancing girls with surreal giant fish, peel back as self understanding intrudes. A truly remarkable and unique film.


  • mauisurfer

    Interesting that you are so categoric that seizure of unmanned drone is wrong. How is one to know that it is in fact a peaceful survey drone without seizing it and examining it? I had thought the question was unsettled in international law. Perhaps you could cite some treaty or court decision on this subject. It is one thing to say that it should be returned, after examination. It is quite another to say that the seizure is wrong. Cheers

    • craig Post author

      It was not in the territorial sea. It could be bristling with weapons and there is still no legal right to impound it on the high seas. If it was weaponised and moving about somebody’s territorial waters, that’s different.

      • Nick

        It must have shown as having some interesting tech on board….otherwise would’ve been unmolested????

        • Shatnersrug

          You know the Chinese- they’ll probably have exact copies of it in all the shops by Christmas, and have offered the pentagon a ridiculous production deal at 50c a unit!0

      • mauisurfer

        thanks for your reply
        so it is illegal to retrieve/examine a bottle with a message in it, but only if it is on the high seas?
        likewise a bomb or a torpedo sitting in an unmanned raft? interesting . . .
        we are supposed to wait for it to enter OUR territorial waters before retrieval/examination?
        i doubt the US Coast Guard would accept your view
        note: i asked for a citation but you did not provide one

        • Shatnersrug


          I don’t think you have thought your comment through properly. Keep rolling the doobies 😉

  • lysias

    Germany was so quick to resort to war in 1914 in large part because she felt threatened by the encirclement (Einkreisung) by the triple Entente of Britain, France, and Russia. Britain joined the Entente in large part because she felt threatened by the rising economic power of Germany. The U.S., with its allies, is now doing its best to encircle Russia and the economic challenger, China.

    • bevin

      One of the predictable accompaniments to this picayune incident is that instead of dealing with it quietly, under the assumption that the Chinese vessel made an error, as grown-ups would do the US wound itself up into an instant macho rage.
      This put the PRC in the position of risking a loss of ‘face’ by being anything other than awkward. I can’t help thinking that one of the reasons why Americans are so insouciant in their view of war is that they have never been in one. Not in the way that Germans, Russians, the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans or the British have been.
      In any case the huffing and puffing is always traceable to the American intellectual clerisy who invariably spend wars, as Clinton, Cheney, Bush and Trump did, far away from the whine of bullets and the sound of high explosive.
      As to encirclement it is a very silly idea: the US and Britain are forcing Eurasia into a bloc. It won’t be long, given peace, before the Silk Roads start detaching EU members, Italy and Germany to the fore I suspect, into the earth island’s trading web. The US doesn’t have much-outside of the BDSM repertoire- to offer Europe’s people. Hell, it doesn’t have much to offer its own people these days.

      • Loony

        I was not aware that Marxist doctrine had demanded the rewriting of US history to such an extent.

        In the event that anyone is interested in facts: The American Civil War resulted in about 625,000 combatant deaths equivalent to about 2% of the population – or about 6 million normalized to current population,

        The 625,000 death toll exceeds in absolute terms the combined US losses in both world wars, Korea and Vietnam,

        Maybe if they did not die for ideologically pure reasons then they did not die at all.

        • bevin

          The nonsense that you write seems no limits. The US Civil War was indeed a bloody conflict but it did not involve invasion by foreign armies which is the important point.
          You make the additional point that loses in both World Wars were less than a million- compare this with German, French or Russian losses in those conflicts and you will realise that they are of a different order of magnitude.
          Your remarks about ‘Marxism’ are inexplicable except as weak attempts to distract attention from the irrelevance of the factoids that you parade.

        • Shatnersrug


          You should read Capital some time, you’d be able to communicate rather than launching brainfarts.

  • Republicofscotland

    Just a few words on Pilger’s documentary, after watching it.

    It would appear that some countries (not enough though) have had enough of US war bases being based there, and are actively protesting to have them removed.

    At present the US has a noose of bases around China, in a what is described as the Asian Pivot. A US tactic to deploy large amounts of military hardware in the Pacific, with the possible goal of blockading Chinese choke points on trade and oil, thus damaging China’s economy.

    Recently the US deployed a destroyer to the contested Spratly Islands, and in return China scrambled it fighter jets. It seems as though it’s just a matter of time, before a more serious (and conflict inducing) incident flares up.

    Trump has publicly castigated China, claiming its raping US businesses and its workforce, however China is just playing the same capitalist game as America, only it’s doing it much better job, something Trump and the US industrial military complex machine does not like.

    So yes, do prepare for war, America needs a enemy to justify its ever increasing military budget, and China fits the bill perfectly, just don’t expect many of us to be here after the smoke clears, and the nuclear winters take hold.

    I wonder what the American public would think if the shoe was on the other foot, and China had dozens of military bases armed with nuclear weapons, off the coast of California, or Florida, or Virgina or North Carolina, would they tolerate such an aggressive stance?

    Finally in my opinion, America seems to be provoking China into action, a action that will threaten us all, if it becomes full scale, bear that in mind, the next time you hear or see Trump deride China.

    • mauisurfer

      > Losing its economic prowess, Washington has turned almost obsessively to its military might; and the prospect of nuclear war is no longer unthinkable. What I found in Asia, the Pacific and the US, was not only evidence of great risk and folly, but extraordinary resistance to a coming war among island people on the frontline: the Marshalls, Okinawa, Jeju: faraway places of which we may know little but which offer an inspiring example as they face the most powerful military machine. This NI is both a tribute to them and a warning, and will, I hope, raise an issue we all need to understand and act upon.”
      > Handed millions of dollars in arms and military equipment, the then government of President Benigno Aquino broke off bilateral talks with China and signed a secretive Enhanced Defense Co-operation Agreement with the US. This established five rotating US bases and restored a hated colonial provision that American forces and contractors were immune from Philippine law.
      > Under the rubric of ‘information dominance’ – the jargon for media manipulation on which the Pentagon spends more than $4 billion – the Obama administration launched a propaganda campaign that cast China, the world’s greatest trading nation, as a threat to ‘freedom of navigation’.
      > CNN led the way, its ‘national security reporter’ reporting excitedly from on board a US Navy surveillance flight over the Spratlys. The BBC persuaded frightened Filipino pilots to fly a single-engine Cessna over the disputed islands ‘to see how the Chinese would react’. None of the news reports questioned why the Chinese were building airstrips off their own coastline, or why American military forces were massing on China’s doorstep.
      > Across the East China Sea lies the Korean island of Jeju, a semi-tropical sanctuary and World Heritage Site declared ‘an island of world peace’. On this island of world peace has been built one of the most provocative military bases in the world, less than 400 miles (650 kilometres) from Shanghai. The fishing village of Gangjeong is dominated by a South Korean naval base purpose-built for US aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and destroyers equipped with the Aegis missile system, aimed at China.
      > Mao offered to meet Franklin Roosevelt in the White House, and his successor Harry Truman, and his successor Dwight Eisenhower. He was rebuffed, or wilfully ignored. The opportunity that might have changed contemporary history, prevented wars in Asia and saved countless lives was lost because the truth of these overtures was denied in 1950s Washington ‘when the catatonic Cold War trance,’ wrote the critic James Naremore, ‘held our country in its rigid grip’.
      > In the past five years, the US has shipped deadly weapons to 96 countries, most of them poor. Dividing societies in order to control them is US policy, as the tragedies in Iraq and Syria demonstrate.


      • Republicofscotland


        Thank you for that comment.

        Yes what the Americans did to the Marshall Islands and its population was terrible. They were used as nuclear guinea pigs, and by allowing them to return home to the islands American scientists could study the devastating affects of nuclear radiation on the human body – the results were disturbing multiple cases of thyroid cancer, young children dying of cancer, and the births of the now infamous jelly fish babies.

        Indeed the American’s removed the islanders from the inhabited islands of the Kwajalein atoll, and placed them on the mile long strip island called Ebeye. Such is the deprivation on Ebeye, (no electricity, clean water is scare, overcrowding is the norm, and no doctor resides on the strip) that it’s known as the “Slum of the Pacific.” Their plight is as difficult if not more so that that of the Chagossian people.

        Across the bay the US military base has a bounty of food and doctors, a up to date medical centre, in reality, it’s a little piece of American in the Pacific, and the wives of the serving men when asked, replied “It’s paradise, with, beach front property.”

      • Republicofscotland

        Speaking of Japan, Okinawa, to be precise, there are daily protests outside the US base their, which like a ribbon cuts across the island, the people don’t want the base there anymore.

        Incidently Snowden, claims that Japan has been hacked thoroughly by the US whilst he was stationed there, so much so that the US could remotely derail its infrastructure, if Japan became unfriendly or unsympathetic to the Great Satan’s goals.

      • Sharp Ears

        The figure in your link is at 16.11.16 showing a difference of $0.01 trillion.

        The figure I quoted was as at the end of September. Hardly much difference.

        Will the US drop any more nuclear bombs on Japan? Don’t think so as Japan is now the 52nd state with US made GE reactor cores sinking into the earth at Fukushima. The effect of their pollution on our environment and food and water chains will be felt worldwide

        ‘First commissioned in 1971, the plant consists of six boiling water reactors (BWR). These light water reactors drove electrical generators with a combined power of 4.7 GWe, making Fukushima Daiichi one of the 15 largest nuclear power stations in the world. Fukushima was the first nuclear plant to be designed, constructed and run in conjunction with General Electric, Boise, and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).’

        • Sharp Ears

          ‘The figure in your link is at 16.11.16 showing a difference of $0.01 trillion’

          s/be ‘The figure in your link is at the end of October 2016 showing a difference of $0.01 trillion’.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Personally, I have never been East of Thailand, but buy nearly all my tech stuff direct from China…hardly anything from the USA – they are just too slow….and partly that is the fault of the UK Postal Service… unless its a book.

    Craig – You Make a completely Brilliant Diplomat. I might argue with you about some political things (well most actually)…but I think your Diplomacy Skills are So Good – that You should Apply For (I was going to say – your old job back) but you should aim much higher (once you get back in). You are so good they will promote you back to the Top

    Of The

    Foreign & Commonwealth Office – GOV.UK

    I mean who else have we got in The UK who can talk at least a bit of sense to both The Americans and The Russians…without upsetting them? Boris is trying his best – but he ain’t quite in your class.

    You Craig Murray – are The Man for The Job…

    You have just got to apply.

    Surely you know these Interview techniques by now.

    You are a Master of It.



    • Muscleguy

      Craig lives in Edinburgh and is a campaigner for Scottish Independence. It is much more likely that after the coming Yes vote that ScotGov will ask Craig for his experience, possibly behind the scenes as his unfortunate notoriety does not become a liability. Don’t get me wrong I think a lot of Craig, I’ve met him and slapped him on the back telling him to look after himself. But the history around his sacking has been so spun that in some people’s minds he is seen as unreliable.

      But go back to the UK FO? I think pigs would fly first. The Scottish Diplomatic service will be in need of experienced people committed to Scotland. Some FO diplomats will doubtless choose to transfer but we cannot know how many, some will doubtless look to their pensions and stay with Little Brexit Britain. Into that opportunity will be Craig’s contribution, if he chooses to take it and if Scotgov has any sense.

      This blog would doubtless have to go though, be careful what you wish for 😉

  • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

    Very well stated , Craig . There is a tendency to gloss over the Chinese government and party’s wrongdoings from a sense of guilt and feeling that the enemy of the Great Satan is necessarily our friend.Interesting to see Henry Kissinger being wheeled out on CCTV to defend Realpolitik and counter President -elect Trump’s openness to Taiwan.

  • bevin

    Try this link for the Fukushima story http://apjjf.org/2016/24/Fackler.html

    “In Japan’s public disillusionment following the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the Asahi Shimbun, the nation’s second-largest daily and the “quality paper” favored by intellectuals, launched a bold experiment to regain readers’ trust……………..
    …This made it seem all the more jarring when, just two years later, the Asahi abruptly retreated from this foray into watchdog reporting. In September 2014, the newspaper retracted a major investigative story that it had published in May about workers fleeing the Fukushima plant against orders. A newspaper-appointed committee of outside experts later declared that the article, which the Asahi had initially trumpeted as a historic scoop, was flawed because journalists had demonstrated “an excessive sense of mission that they ‘must monitor authority.’”2 The newspaper punished reporters and editors responsible for the story, while slashing the size of the new section’s staff and forcing the resignation of President Kimura himself, who had supported the investigative push.”

    And this for Okinawa: http://apjjf.org/2016/24/Yoshikawa.html

    The Asia Pacific Journal in online and free-you just have to ignore the occasional request for funds.

    • RobG

      The Asia Pacific Journal used to be excellent, but alas it’s now just as compromised as the likes of the Guardian (one dead give away of these CIA outfits is that they always ask readers to give them money; like it’s not enough that the CIA make zillions from running drugs and arms).

      I’m not sure where this is all going to end, but I would hazard that it ain’t going to be pleasant.

        • bevin

          The days when the CIA funded half decent journalism-perfectly potable with a salt cellar to hand- are well in the past. Which is why I would find it very difficult to believe that the APJ is funded by them. Still Rob does us all a service by maintaining vigilance and warning us of dangers.
          Which reminds me of a story that used to be a favourite amongst Trotskyists….

        • RobG

          The pizzagate scandal (which is totally ignored on this board – hello psycho security service bods, who are all going to be put in jail) has really highlighted the total illusion that we are all under.

          The MSM are beneath contempt, but as I’ve always said, with regard to the so-called ‘alternate media’, most of them are captured as well. That’s the kind of wacko society we now live in.

          I’m reluctant to name names, but since it’s a Christmas Saturday night, and it’s fun, here’s some of them:

          Infowars, Russell Brand, We Are Change, Young Turks, David Icke/Richie Allen, and many, many others.

          It’s just about all completely controlled.

          If you think I’m being paranoid, what you have to look for is sites that are not easily accessible.


        • bevin

          The apology for the Kuenssberg smears will have to come from the lady herself, who parlayed her misuse of a publicly funded pulpit into an award from some idiotic organisation.

          • Jim

            The ‘evidence’ was posted months ago by one of your fellow travellers, and I went through it point by point, as if you didn’t know. When will you see reality?

          • bevin

            I read your analysis of the evidence when you produced it. I am surprised that you are still unashamed of it.
            There is not the slightest doubt that Kuenssberg is engaged in the promotion of anti-socialist, imperialist propaganda. Whether she does this of her own volition or simply does what she is told and reads out scripts, I cannot tell. But the size of her salary would suggest that she bears much responsibility for what comes out of her mouth.

          • Jim

            It wasn’t ‘analysis’, it was a point by point refutation of every single purported example of her bias that the poster described. It’s all there for anyone to see.
            Have you anything to say about Craig’s claims that the ‘mainstream media’ ( the Guardian for example, and his vicious condemnation of Jonathan Freedland) have been ignoring the human rights abuses in Bahrain?
            Any criticism of Craig’s toleration of vicious anti-Semites like ‘Giyane’?.
            Anything to say about transparent phonies like Max Keiser, who claims to be anti-corporate but celebrates Trumps ascendancy?

          • bevin

            “It wasn’t ‘analysis’,…”
            I was being kind: it was a series of assertions as biassed as the performances which they mimicked.

            “Have you anything to say about Craig’s claims that the ‘mainstream media’ ( the Guardian for example, and his vicious condemnation of Jonathan Freedland) have been ignoring the human rights abuses in Bahrain?”
            He is right. The IUK government share responsibility for the disgusting behaviour of the puppets it put into power. It exploited its complicity in their crimes by extorting permission to re-establish a military base there.

            “Any criticism of Craig’s toleration of vicious anti-Semites like ‘Giyane’?”
            Giyane, whom I know only from his posts, may be a anti–semite but there is no evidence of it in anything that I have read. A political debate without the contributions of any whom you arbitrarily designate as unfit to take part may excite you but it doesn’t interest me. Or serve any good purpose.

            “Anything to say about transparent phonies like Max Keiser, who claims to be anti-corporate but celebrates Trumps ascendancy?” I have no idea who Keiser is or what he says. But if he celebrates Clinton’s defeat I’m in agreement with him.

            You make a specialty out of smearing by association. The first time I ran across you, you were performing intellectual contortions ‘proving’ that Paul C Roberts was a supporter of Pol Pot and that as someone who recommended a piece Roberts had written I was clearly responsible for the killing of a million or more Cambodians.
            It is not a very convincing style of argument but it does enable you to put together strings of falsehoods which, like accumulator bets on horses, end up by multiplying half truths into the sort of lies that Munchausen was famous for.

          • Jim

            Feeble as ever. You didn’t address the point about Craig’s patently false assertion that the mainstream media, for example the Guardian, which Craig reserves particular loathing for, have been ignoring the human rights abuse issue in Bahrain. I posted several links for Craig to peruse in order to disabuse him of his false ideas. No reply. The man is a bald faced liar, without an ounce of shame.
            He still hasn’t apologised for the David Babbs and Joe smear, which he had the nerve to repeat even when I pointed out the feeble nature and total lack of logic involved in his claims.
            Paul Craig Roberts wrote an insane opinion piece in favour of mass murder as a means to ‘secure’ revolutions. You took the time to post it here, evidently supporting his ideas. You’ve brought the delightful Pot up this time, don’t try blaming me for reminding you now of your little slip of the mask back then.

  • witters

    So it is neither right nor legal to respond to what you yourself say is ‘exploitation and duplicity and ‘aggressive’. Isn’t this a Bullies Charter?

    • bevin

      A very harrowing sight: the US being bullied by China. Hearts bleed everywhere, the Season is ruined. Boo Hoo.

  • James O'Neill

    Craig, you are with respect conflating two separate issues. The status of the artificial islands created by China is one thing in international law. The status of an unmanned drone moving through the sea is less clear in international law. The Chinese could quite legitimately claim that it represented a potential hazard to shipping, and as it refused to respond to Chinese communications they could seize it. They will undoubtedly give it back (after reverse engineering) and payment of the appropriate salvage fee. The UK would be equally justified if an unmanned maritime drone passed through the English Channel.

  • bevin

    There are reports, at Voltaire Net and OffGuardian, that the UN Security council met secretly on Friday night to discuss the fate of what are described as NATO military officers found in an Al Qaeda bunker in Aleppo. In addition to French, British and US personnel, Turkish and Israeli officers, among others, were discovered.

  • harrylaw

    The Neocons work on the principle that because we have a superiority of nuclear weapons [not forgetting the mine shaft gap] that we can destroy Russia and China ten times over, whereas they can only destroy us twice, and that they are such good odds.Go for it.

    • nevermind

      Yes Harrylaw, as long as they fight their nuclear war over the Bering sea and ensure that they hit each others territory, but it never pans out that way.
      I really don’t know what Frau Merkel is on about pledging support to NATO and her fav. President Obama, she must have overheated somewhere short cutting some synapses.
      meanwhile Europeans debate their actions as to what to do when Trump cuts his nuclear deterrence here in Europe. I don’t think that they will support/pay for the update on a Trident museums piece, just to have something ready. That they are only now talking about it tells me that there is something in the drawer.


      • Fredi

        Donald Trump says China should keep the seized US Navy drone
        His comment came after US military announced understanding with China for return of underwater glider

        In his second tweet about the controversy on Saturday, the President-elect said: “We should tell China that we don’t want the drone they stole back – let them keep it!”


      • Republicofscotland


        It doesn’t matter if China and America, only attack each other with nuclear weapons, we’ll all suffer and most people on planet Earth will die, along with its flora and fauna.

        A scientist described the scenario on Pilger’s documentary. The super heated carbon dust kicked up by the multiple nuclear blasts in China and America, will block out the sun’s heat for a minimum of 10 years.

        It would be winter and below zero all year round – those who don’t die from the blasts or radiation, would die eventualky from starvation or pollution, or at the hands of other humans, who’d kill to retain vital resources.

        This is not some war thats we can sit by and spectate, this war will affect every man, woman and child on the planet – it must NEVER happen, for the sake of us all.

        • bevin

          You might have noticed that the government of Japan has paid its first compensation for thyroid cancers resulting from Fukushima. In a sense the nuclear war has already begun.

          • Republicofscotland


            Yes I read that story of man in his forties claiming for a work related illness.

            But, there’s a significant difference between the meltdown of a nuclear power plant, and a nuclear war between China and America, a war in which we’d all suffer the consequences of.

            I however must refer you to Snowden, who claims that the US put forward the idea to the Japanese big wigs, of spying and hacking its own people, the Japanese found this very distasteful and declined the offer allegedly.

            Snowden claimed that the US went ahead anyway, and hacked Japan’s communications and infrastructure installing “sleeper codes” which if activated could shut down vital services, such as electricity, transport etc.

            It’s not beyond the realms of possibility, that the Fukishima nuclear power plant, incident was a product of US actions.

          • Clark

            Campaigners have been warning for decades that water-cooled power reactors (PWR and BWR) would blow up and melt down if coolant circulation were interrupted. The tsunami interrupted coolant circulation. Unsubstantiated rumours of enemy action help to let the nuclear industry off the hook, among a minority.

          • michael norton

            FRANCE Nuclear Storm: Many Power Plants Down Due to Quality Concerns

            12/01/2016 | Gail Reitenbach

            he discovery of widespread carbon segregation problems in critical nuclear plant components has crippled the French power industry—20 of the country’s 58 reactors are currently offline and under heavy scrutiny. France’s nuclear safety chairman said more anomalies “will likely be found,” as the extent of the contagion is still being uncovered.

            With over half of France’s 58 reactors possibly affected by “carbon segregation,” the nation’s nuclear watchdog, the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) has ordered that preventative measures be taken immediately to ensure public safety. As this story goes into production in late October, ASN has confirmed that 20 reactors are currently offline and potentially more will shut down in coming weeks.

            The massive outages are draining power from all over Europe. Worse, new questions continue to swirl about both the safety and integrity of Électricité de France SA’s (EDF’s) nuclear fleet, as well as the quality of some French- and Japanese-made components that EDF is using in various high-profile nuclear projects around the world.

          • michael norton

            ASN publishes the list of irregularities of which it has been notified to date, affecting certain items manufactured by Areva NP’s Creusot Forge plant for French civil nuclear activities. These irregularities concern EDF reactor pressure equipment (vessels, steam generators and main primary system piping) and transport packagings for radioactive substances.

            Following the detection of an anomaly in the Flamanville EPR reactor vessel at the end of 2014, ASN asked Areva NP to carry out a quality review on the manufacturing work carried out in its Creusot Forge plant. During the course of this review, Areva NP brought to light a number of irregularities (see information notice of 3rd May 2016).
            AREVA Creusot Forge

            AREVA Creusot Forge

            To date, Areva NP has identified 87 irregularities concerning EDF reactors in operation, 20 affecting equipment intended for the Flamanville EPR reactor, one affecting a steam generator intended for but not yet installed in the reactor 5 of Gravelines NPP and 4 affecting transport packagings for radioactive substances.

            EDF informed ASN that it has completed the characterisation of the irregularities affecting its reactors in service. EDF concludes that these irregularities have no consequences for the safety of the reactors concerned.

            ASN is conducting its own analysis of each of the irregularities, jointly with IRSN. Its analysis gave priority to the 23 cases which in principle have the most significant safety implications


            Funny how this is barely mentioned in the media of France or of the United Kingdom, is it what is known as
            “an inconvenient truth”

            We are going to let the FRENCH build a fleet of their reactors on our soil?

        • nevermind

          Thanks RoS, you see this is what I’m trying to avoid, predicting Armageddon. Nuclear winter after a heated exchange will last a minimu8m of two years, according to some scientist6s, but I agree it does not matter, whoever starts lobbing the first nuke definitely will prepare for it now and they are responsible.

          So are those in the MSM who keep this scenario off our news screens, who promote this fake news propaganda.

          I regularly have a mardle with some scientists and they are worried that the amount of methane in the upper atmosphere has never been accounted for in a nuclear scenario.

          Further, multiple nuclear explosions are adding to the already challenged global warming scenario which is currently shifting massive weights from landmasses into our oceans and hence changing the equilibrium below our land and water masses, the earth crust is unbalanced, hence the earthquakes and Vulcanoes that are active or about to blow their lids, i.e. Mount St. Helens.

          If the Yellowstone caldera is going off we will not see the sun for at least 7 years and even the best prepared doomsday planners won’t be able to outlive the blight on all harvests, curtains as they say.

          • Republicofscotland


            Yip the Yellowstone “supervolcano” is late – The three most recent eruptions, which occurred 2 million, 1.3 million, and 640,000 years ago, resulted in a series of nested calderas forming what we know as Yellowstone National Park and its immediate vicinity.

            However in my opinion, the Yellowstone caldera, is the least of our worries when it comes to natural or in this case man made catastrophes.

            I’m of course referring to, the billions if not trillions of tons of methane (potent chlorofluorocarbons) trapped in the frozen tundras of Siberia and other cold regions. Combine them with similar amounts trapped just under the seabeds, kept there by pressure and the extreme cold, and Yellowstone pales into insignificance.

            If indeed global warming plays a part in heating the up of the planet, and if it takes as they say years to change things back. Then I wonder how much more, the earth needs to heat up to release those deadly (CFC’s). I’d hazard a guess and say 2 or 3 degrees of a rise would be disastrous for mankind.

          • Republicofscotland

            Thank you Clark for the correction, I should’ve, given it, it’s correct title methane hydrate or methane clathrate.

            It is thought that a huge methane hydrate bubble released from under the seabed, during the Permian era, tipped the balance that saw 95% of life on earth become extinct.

            Although back then other factors did play their part including the Siberian Traps, and the Indian Traps.

            Nevertheless, the release of a huge methane hydrate bubble from under the seabed, in this day and age would have disastrous consequences for humanity, and Earths flora and fauna.

            Depressingly, I doubt humanity will curb its Co2 emission enough, to avert a drastic change in Earths climate in the not to distant future.

            Our generation will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

          • michael norton

            If the world is getting warmer, it will make almost NO DIFFERENCE to the deep Methane under the sea bed.
            The temperature down there is very low and constant.
            The Methane is produced by Archaea, all the time, it is a natural process of life.

          • nevermind

            Thanks Clark, what many do not understand is that the runaway process is well into its course, the methane is not frozen anymore, the Tundra is releasing it by the millions of tons. Yhe releases are massive as the winters/frosts get less widespread each year allowing the permafrost to melt and release methane that has been kept there for hundreds of thousands of years.
            It is an interesting Phd study for anybody interested in nuclear energy. How would nuclear explosions in the northern/ southern/ equatorial hemispheres interact with rising methane layers and or plumes. Most methane deposits are still trapped, but even under water, as claimed by MN, these are not safe from releasing into the water column, increasing weight differences on the ocean floor, by billions of tons of melt water can have just that effect.
            Do we want to burn up the rest of the oxygen with large thermonuclear explosions? shall we ignore what keeps us alive?
            What would happen to us if we are surprised by the explosion of the upper caldera at Yellowstone before some idiots can push their buttons from the safety of a substantial hideout?

            What would happen to all that penned up hatred, Angst and aggression in the face of a fundamental struggle for just about everything and the subsequent end to all of our life’s?
            Survival would not last long however much provisions you keep. Seven years without a harvest or sun is a killer.
            Unless you run your very own reactor underground and grow food under lights you’ ll be frozen toast.
            Would this put an end to empirical dreams and hundreds of years of mutual dislike, re the UK vs. Russia’s ambitions throughout the ages? questionable, dinosaurs had to die out…

    • philw

      I assumed Harry was being facetious, but I guess you cant assume anything on here.

      Come to that I’m not wholly convinced there aren’t a few US generals who take that argument seriously.

    • lysias

      I have been unable to find out anything on the Web about David Scott Viner, the American officer allegedly captured. I wondier if that is a nom de guerre.

      • Republicofscotland


        You may not find anything because a deal could’ve been done already. The captured personnel may have already been released.

        If that were the case, and it probably is, no party on either side will want information available to the likes of you and I in the public domain.

        The Security Council sat in private on Friday, December 16, 2016, at 17:00 GMT, while NATO officers were arrested this morning by the Syrian Special Forces, in a bunker in East Aleppo – were they formalising a secret deal?

        • Phil the ex-frog

          “no party on either side will want information available to the likes of you and I in the public domain”

          What makes you say that? I would have thought the Syrians, Russians and Iranians would all love to parade these troops in front of the world. What am I missing?

          • Republicofscotland

            When you have a tiger by the tail, you don’t anger it more by pulling it, it’s likely to turn and bite you.

            What I mean by that is, the US and its minions, along with its proxy fighters, have suffered a somewhat humiliating defeat.

            They won’t want their personnel paraded for the whole world to see, better to cut a deal with Syria, who itsef has just won a Pyrrhic victory of sorts, and buy some time to regroup and plan, before the sanctions and proxy sorties begin covertly again.

            I’m pretty sure Russia, who has billions worth of deals with America, won’t want to humiliate Trump, especially with the POTUS elect, appearing to warm slightly to Russia.

  • anti-hypocrite

    “and shows remarkably little interest in territorial ambition, given China’s current economic power.”

    Were you drunk when you wrote that?

    Or are you that ignorant?

    Have you ever heard about Tibet?

    China has massive territorial claims on all its neighbours.

    • bevin

      See my comment above: Tibet has been part of the Chinese empire since the C18th.
      The reason why? For millenia China had been subject to attacks from the west and north, dynasty after dynasty had been overthrown by invading Mongols, Manchus and Zanghars. It was in putting an end to the Zanghar invasions, more than 200 years ago, that China took over Tibet.
      There is a very good case to be made for Tibetan autonomy if not independence but it would be suicidal of China to allow it to become, what the US tried, with the Lamas’ help, to make it, a base for constant attacks and probes into China proper. And a launch site for US missiles and bombers.
      As to the nature of the Lamas government it reduced most Tibetans to serfdom if not slavery.

  • michael norton

    BBC Ministry of Truth

    Yippeee SCOTLAND to be Independent says Salmond

    Salmond confident on post-Brexit indyref2

    • michael norton

      He said: “The last time, I was first minister of SCOTLAND and embarked on this process, support for independence was 28% and after two years in 2012 we ended up at 45%. So I don’t think Frau Nicola Sturgeon would have any compunction about calling an
      independence referendum with support in the mid 40s.

      Bring it on.

    • Kempe

      Once upon a time he was confident that Fred Goodwin and RBS were doing a good job and that the greater probity of Scottish banks meant they could be freed from Westminster’s “gold plated” regulations.

      That turned out well.

  • fwl

    An insightful work on Chinese philosophy is The Propensity of Things: Towards a History of Efficacy in China by Francois Julian. Dafal donc a dyr y garreg. Little steps, taps or drops of water dripping on a stone, eventually bring around change. Behave according to where one is in the dark inward / light outward cycle ( with unexpected variations along the way). Cycles move slowly without effort, but by taking small steps in the shade and then finally when propensity is with one being bold out in the light. Wonder if those Koch brothers have been reading Chinese philosophy.

    One wonderful Chinese principle is that knowing how to behave according to essential standards is superior to black letter law and that too much black letter law simply indicates that people have forgotten how to behave in accordance with very basic principles.

    It is difficult to translate to and from Chinese. English translations of Chinese texts differ so much that the original text is often something of a roche ink blot to the Western mind. Similarly some Chinese learn English fluently, but wonder what the native speaker is really trying to say.

    Anyway, since the early C19 we have built up a relationship and understanding with China, slowly and through much understanding and wrongdoing, but nonetheless the relationship has developed. Let it not fail because of a possible reversal of American foreign policy. I am not suggesting passive acquiescence as have some Sinologists, but being positively British, a gambling, piratical, trading nation with history, rituals, form and culture, which is known and not unappreciated by China. You only have to visit a old country church to see how we have ancestor worship in common. We should do well to reflect on nature, history, patterns, culture, ethics, standards and remember our parents and ancestors without whom we would not exist.

    • Phil the ex-frog

      “You only have to visit a old country church to see how we have ancestor worship in common.”

      With one or two arguable exceptions hasn’t “ancestor worship” been a central tenet of every nation state ever?

      • fwl

        Perhaps to some degree, but I’ve had limited chances to investigate this world and all its variations.

1 2

Comments are closed.