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UK to America: We’ll Hand Over Prince Andrew When You Hand Over Anne Sacoolas

by John Brian Shannon

Reports today indicate that US investigators want to interview the UK’s Prince Andrew in the hope he may have information that will help them prosecute Jeffrey Epstein for numerous charges in the United States, as if Mr. Epstein were still alive. But apparently he isn’t, having died while incarcerated in New York City on August 10, 2019.

After all, Prince Andrew did associate with New York City’s high and mighty, and no doubt had crossed paths with the now infamous Jeffrey Epstein, and Andrew the Duke of York visited Jeffrey the American financier on at least one occasion.

How much assistance the Duke of York might be able to give to US investigators is open to debate as it’s highly unlikely that Prince Andrew was involved in any illegal or unethical activities having been schooled his entire life to avoid those kinds of situations lest it bring disrepute upon the British Royal Family.

Were I one of Elizabeth’s children, I’d rather face Grendel, Arimaspians, or Smaug the dragon from J.R.R. Tolkien’s middle earth than cross their mother. You know how mothers get when you disappoint them. It just isn’t done, dear boy. Now mind your mother’s words. Hehe.

And that lifetime of living a highly controlled life is why I don’t believe that Andrew has done anything wrong in this, or any other legal case on the planet.

Nor do I believe that the Prince is guilty of anything more than naivety when crossing paths with certain of New York’s elite. In other words, Andrew knows nothing that would be of use to US investigators, so why ask to drag him across the ocean to answer questions of which he has no knowledge?

Seems a bit of smear campaign, actually. Or, maybe it’s their way of generating more publicity for their case against the (now) infamous (and dead) Mr. Jeffrey Epstein. One wonders what that’s all about.


Maybe It’s About Politics

One thing is sure in politics; If you’re in trouble — blame the other guy! Because that works. Every time.

But only because the media love a scandal and can’t wait to beat the police at their own game, their lurid headlines practically screaming, ‘We Beat the Police at Their Own Game! Now, Read This.’ Hehe.

I should say that most media outlets these days operate at a high professional standard, but they still take great pride in finding out important things that police investigators have missed or disregarded. Nature of the ‘biz, as they say. ‘Nothing personal, police persons. We know you’re trying your best, but we’re smarter and have a bigger budget.’

Yes, it’s a bit like that. But a little competition never hurt anyone, and if it does, you’re in the wrong business because being an investigator (whether employed by the police or by the media) is not for the thin-skinned.

So, if you’re a politician and you’re in some kind of trouble, you’re best bet is to always blame the other guy, proffer some scandalous tidbits to media and police investigators, and be prepared to stand back and watch them do your work for you. And besides, it’s rather fun watching the sharks circling your enemy, getting closer with each pass.

In the end, it’s a short term reprieve and you better have an escape plan that holds water — because once the sharks get bored with your political enemy they’ll be circling you with resolve. ‘Toot a loo, old boy. Should’ve taken the high road.’

Anyway, someone in New York is in trouble, and dragging a Prince of the Realm into the maelstrom might just take the pressure off him or her by distracting everyone for the next six months. So, I hope whomever it is has a plan to save themselves beginning December 2020.


Diplomatic Immunity From Prosecution

Whether we like it or not, all Heads of State and their senior staff, PM’s, Ministers of the Crown and registered diplomats of any country have 100% diplomatic immunity from prosecution except immunity from war crimes prosecution, as do Royal Family Members hailing from any country.

Whether that immunity extends to Anne Sacoolas (a US diplomat’s wife) is uncertain. But what is certain is that Prince Andrew is 100% protected from prosecution from any government. It must be that way, or every royal person and Head of State would face hundreds of frivolous court cases against them each year — due to jealousies, due to the games played by enemy or competitor nations, and due to the powerful forces of anarchy that hide in plain sight.

For example: Whether you agree with all of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s policies or not; Would it be fair that he spends his entire premiership in courtrooms defending himself from scurrilous allegations and frivolous cases, and would that be fair to British taxpayers? Of course not.

The same can be said about the important work done by the country’s diplomats, spies, senior military commanders and royal family members, almost all of whom have been tapped at various times for covert or sensitive missions abroad to protect the UK and enhance its security.

Therefore, Prince Andrew is 100% protected from prosecution so what do investigators hope to gain by inviting the Prince to New York City for questioning if they can’t charge him (let alone convict him) due to his diplomatic immunity, and what information do they hope to gain? Don’t they already have it? And if not, why not?

Something seems off.

Maybe telephone the good Prince, investigators. But his knowledge of Jeffrey Epstein is likely to be minimal as they were raised from birth as differently as it is possible to conceive and Andrew probably spent relatively little time with him.


Reciprocity Or Not?

In any event, the request for Prince Andrew to travel to New York to give evidence against the deceased Jeffrey Epstein should receive the same consideration that the UK government and Royal Family received from American authorities in regards to America’s Anne Sacoolas who allegedly killed young Harry Dunn in a motorway incident on August 27, 2019.

As I always say, ‘Every day we teach others how to treat us.’ And American authorities have certainly taught the UK government how to treat a polite request for an American citizen to be returned to the UK to have her case heard before the courts.

You said you wanted a reciprocal relationship America!

So do we. And it has (weirdly) turned out that not sending either person is also reciprocal. Although not in the way both sides had intended.

And that’s why the UK government shouldn’t allow Prince Andrew to travel to the United States (ever) until Anne Sacoolas is returned to the UK for the purposes of determining her guilt or innocence in the matter of the death of young Harry Dunn from Northamptonshire.

If the UK government bows to the Americans on this matter — then maybe it’s time for a Labour government, one that will stand up for the rights of Britons everywhere — whether it stands up for a son of wealth like Prince Andrew, or a son of utterly decent and working class parents.

Should Anne Sacoolas never return to the UK that’s no skin off my nose as the UK can live without her. On balance, that means that Prince Andrew should never appear in the USA, for any reason, including personal vacations.

But to my mind, every day that Mrs. Sacoolas refuses to return to the UK seems to incrementally prove her guilt in the matter of Harry Dunn’s death and the cost to America of that refusal should be Prince Andrew’s refusal to appear in the USA to give his testimony in the Jeffrey Epstein affair. Juste est juste!

Is Growth Possible in a Brexit Economy?

by John Brian Shannon

“KPMG predicts economic growth of 1.4 per cent next year, but cuts this to 0.6 per cent if Britain leaves the EU without a deal.”The Times

While some firms predict slower than normal growth for the UK economy in the post-Brexit timeframe, it’s always good to reflect on the assumptions that forecasters employ in creating their reports and why such forecasts can cause more harm than good.

  1. If you tell your employees that, ‘the chips are down, the economy is sinking, and corporate belt-tightening isn’t far off’ they are likely to respond in a negative way. Some may look for other employment, some will opt for early retirement, while others spend more time in the staff room talking with their coworkers about their employment concerns than getting their work done. Which means such reports can actually cause the negative outcome they’re warning about. It’s human nature to perform to a predicted level instead of trying to exceed expectations. There are few exceptions to this behavior and they are called names like; Olympic athlete, Pulitzer Prize Winner, President, or Astronaut who have the innate ability to ‘power through’ the negative times without losing momentum.
  2. Such reports deal with known inputs only. For example, a zero-tariff trade deal with the Americans may seem far off today, but by 2020 it may already be signed. And not only the U.S., other political and trade blocs are likely to sign trade deals with the UK following Brexit. The AU (Africa), MERCOSUR (the South American trade bloc), the Pacific Alliance (several Pacific nations), the CPTPP (the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) nations, ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), The Commonwealth (Commonwealth of Nations), and China, are likely to expand their trade links with the UK after it departs the European Union. America and those seven trading areas will have a combined total of 7.0 billion people by 2020. That’s a lot of potential consumers, and the massive opportunities presented by signing zero-tariff trade deals post-Brexit are absent in most economic projections by design. Even if the UK were to sign only one free trade deal (with the U.S., for example) it could improve UK growth by a full 2 per cent or more. Presto! A shiny new UK economy!
  3. “Now we’ve got them!” While economic forecasting provides vital information for policymakers, Brexit negotiators aren’t helped by the news that growth will slow even in the face of a ‘good Brexit deal’ and will slow moreso in a ‘no Brexit deal’ scenario. It’s the kind of report that makes Michel Barnier’s day! KPMG is certainly one of the most respected firms around, but if you’re a Brexiteer and a report like this has been released to the public instead of it remaining in the hands of policymakers it plays with your mind; “Are they working for the UK’s best interests or are they working for the EU’s best interests?” (and) “Who commissioned (who paid for) this report and what parameters were used?”

So, while the good people of KPMG do their best to provide policymakers with the best near-term assessment of the UK economy, making such reports public can actually cause the negative things to occur about which the report warns.

That’s why policymakers everywhere must be ahead of the curve and treat all such documents as ‘the worst-case scenario’ without exception.

Now that UK Prime Minister Theresa May has been reliably informed that the worst the UK can do is 0.6 per cent growth between now and 2020, it should be an easy matter to arrange a number of free trade deals and blow the doors off that projection by 3 or 4 per cent by 2020.

Looking at this in the proper context means accepting that exiting the European Union is merely a necessary stepping stone to get the UK to 4 per cent growth by 2020 — which should result in Theresa May keeping the PM’s chair for at least one more term and with all past ‘political sins’ forgiven.

Not a bad deal Theresa, if you’re up for it! 🙂

Western Powers Attack Syria

by John Brian Shannon

The International Order is Broken

We know this because the world’s politicians are using military means to solve what are essentially political problems they don’t know how to solve.

As the Syrian crisis rolls into its 8th year no clear winner has emerged, other than ISIS has been degraded by Western and Russian forces operating throughout Syria.

Not that Russia and the West are working together to destroy ISIS, rather, Western countries are working to destroy the evil entity to prevent it from spreading across the Middle East and the Western world, while the Russians are tearing ISIS apart because it represents an internal threat to Syria, its longtime ally.

Which are reasonable and noble goals.

But at any time since the Syrian conflict began in 2010, Western, Russian and Syrian diplomats could’ve worked out a plan to solve the terrorist problem inside Syria and could’ve wrapped up the whole mess within 24 months with relatively few civilian casualties. But they didn’t. Or they couldn’t.

The very definition of broken-ness, right there.


“No problem can be solved by the same level of consciousness that created it.”
Albert Einstein


Why Are We Broken?

When the interests of several countries align — and they still can’t put together a unified coalition — it’s a textbook case of a broken international order.

Which is how we stumbled into WWI, WWII, the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the Iraq War, the Afghan War, and several other conflicts, such as the Rwanda genocide that killed 800,000 people in a matter of days. And we know how those wars turned out, and we know how many people were killed in total in those 20th-century conflicts.

The failure of politicians and their diplomats to find better solutions and thereby prevent those wars is appalling beyond any scale that humans can understand.


“All war represents a failure of diplomacy.”
Tony Benn


 Sometimes, very complicated problems can stem from a very simple problem.

FOR EXAMPLE: The neighbourhood’s troubled teen filling your car’s fuel tank with water overnight — although a simple act in itself — can cause serious problems after the car is driven the following morning. Such a simple act can cost a vehicle owner hundreds of dollars to repair and cause major inconvenience.

And likewise, every war fought in the 20th-century was caused by an astonishingly simple misunderstanding of human psychology by the world’s politicians and diplomats.

We are broken because those politicians believed that employing ‘Win-Lose’ thinking to solve problems was the preferred path, instead of realizing that ‘Win-Win’ thinking is a higher form of thinking that only humans can employ to solve problems.

Every war since 1900 is the direct result of employing ‘Win-Lose’ thinking to solve political problems. Another way to say it, is that every single death and injury caused by war in the 20th-century is 100% on the heads of the people who practiced politics and diplomacy in that century — because their thinking wasn’t up to the task.

Never in human history had anyone seen bungling on the scale of 20th-century world leaders.

Therefore, as the ‘default mode’ for politicians in the 20th-century was to employ ‘Win-Lose’ thinking, every serious disagreement inexorably turned into war and mega-millions died as a result.

Because the politicians of the day resorted to their animal instincts, over 250 million people were killed in war and in famines caused by war in the 20th-century. Some might call that number a conservative estimate of the total death toll.

Sobering, isn’t it?


Aren’t We Better Than That?

Apparently not. Because even today we’re still using bombs to solve the problems we’re not smart enough to solve. Problems that humans created aren’t being solved, because we’re not using the right methods to solve our problems.

So we bomb our way out of problems.


Using ‘Win-Win’ Thinking to Solve Our Problems

There are few examples of the world’s politicians using ‘Win-Win’ thinking to solve our very human psychological problems.

Ending the Cold War is the stellar achievement for diplomats in the 20th-century. And just in time, because the civilization that humans built over thousands of years came dangerously close to annihilation many times during the Cold War.

Another example of ‘Win-Win’ thinking occurred when the world’s politicians and scientists came together to sign the Montreal Protocol to eliminate chlorofluorocarbons from our supply chains; chemical compounds that were rapidly destroying the Earth’s ozone layer. The Montreal Protocol has been called ‘the most successful accord in history’.

Yet another example of ‘Win-Win’ thinking occurred when the Allied Powers joined forces after World War II to rebuild Europe using the Marshall Plan to fund food aid, reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, and to help establish a fairer world order based on peaceful relations. In postwar Japan, the Allied Powers facilitated the country’s rebuilding by purchasing billions of dollars of Japanese goods which benefited the Allied Powers as much as it benefited the former Axis Power.

Without the assistance of these, the most brilliant minds that ever lived, humanity may have become extinct long before the year 2000.

The ‘Win-Win’ thinkers who ended the Cold War, the ‘Win-Win’ thinkers who ended the use of chlorofluorocarbons, and the ‘Win-Win’ thinkers who invested in the former Axis Power economies during the postwar era, changed our world for the better (at the very least) and may be responsible for saving all life on the planet (at best).

Those examples prove ‘Win-Win’ thinking can work to solve our problems and that we don’t need to retain ‘Win-Lose’ thinking as our default problem-solving method.


Regardless of the Method we Choose, we Must Stand Up for Our Principles

President Donald Trump today authorized 3 military strikes inside Syria to hit suspected chemical weapon sites and chemical research and development facilities ostensibly used by the Syrian military.

The president cited Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution in his justification for the attack saying that Syria represented an area of strategic importance to the United States. However, there almost isn’t a place on Earth that is of less strategic importance to the U.S. and its allies, as Syria.

It may be the president misread his teleprompter — because Syria isn’t a strategic place from the U.S. viewpoint — and if he sticks to that view he will spend days or weeks defending this military action to members of the Congress and Senate.

What is of strategic importance to the United States (and what would work for members of Congress charged with upholding the U.S. Constitution) is that preventing the proliferation and use of chemical weapons is of strategic importance to the United States, and therefore, President Trump’s authorization of use of force is justified and necessary, and in the best interest of the United States.

In that way the president’s use of force is legal and justified under the U.S. Constitution, and may also serve as a deterrent to a Syrian regime that seems bent on destroying significant numbers of its population and has refused any chance to allow them escape to another country.


Choosing Humanity vs. Hubris: Why We Fight

Exterminating your own citizens because they have a different political view isn’t acceptable and no doubt President Trump is privy to images and videos from Syria that are marked classified because they’re too horrific for U.S. television viewers to see.

And let’s be honest, seeing those images hastened his decision to veer hard towards military action rather than continuing to employ so-called ‘Soft Power’ to bring about a diplomatic solution to the Syrian debacle.

It may be that punishing Syria each time it uses chemical weapons against civilians or terrorist entities will serve as an effective deterrent. However, Syrian forces may become more adept at hiding such attacks from Western eyes and ears.


“We cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalized.”
Theresa May


Syria’s plan seems to be to kill every terrorist, every non-combatant family member of terrorists, or anyone stuck in areas known to contain terrorist entities.

While this may seem normal to dictators, it is highly offensive to civilized people. Even Syria’s ally Russia, abhors attacks on civilians and non-combatants — and Russian citizens seem extremely offended when chemical attacks are used to solve what are, in the final analysis, human problems for which the diplomats haven’t yet found solutions.


Short-term Deterrence or Long-term Mutual Success?

Whether Tomahawk missile attacks act as a deterrent to Syrian chemical weapons attacks inside Syria, or not — at least President Trump can say that America and its allies didn’t stand idly by and let it happen without challenging it.

Yet, the long-term way to solve this crisis is to show these heinous acts on every television in the world, to explain what is actually occurring there, to make chemical weapons use anywhere unacceptable to everyone, and to use ‘Win-Win’ thinking to save our broken, but still human, civilization.

When we finally adopt ‘Win-Win’ thinking as our default option to deal with human-caused problems, that will be the day that human beings finally surpass the animal kingdom in every way on this planet. And if we don’t, our short break from the threat of Cold War-style Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) will soon be over.