Aletho News


Hamas denounces Abbas’s accusations regarding Gaza explosion

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum
Palestine Information Center – March 13, 2018

GAZA – The Hamas movement on Tuesday slammed the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas’s statements in which he held Hamas responsible for the explosion that targeted the Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Gaza.

The Movement stressed that what happened was a crime and an attempt to harm the reconciliation.

Hamas’s spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a press statement that his Movement strongly condemns the attack on Hamdallah’s convoy in Gaza, affirming that this crime is a thinly veiled attempt to undermine the reconciliation efforts and harm Gaza’s security.

Barhoum slammed the “ready accusations” made by Abbas and called on Gaza’s Ministry of Interior to open an urgent investigation into the crime to hold its perpetrators accountable.

Hamdallah’s convoy was targeted by a blast shortly after it arrived in the Gaza Strip through Beit Hanoun (Erez) checkpoint. No injuries were reported.

Gaza’s Ministry of Interior said that Hamdallah resumed his mission scheduled for Tuesday and affirmed that security services are investigating the incident.

March 13, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | 1 Comment

‘Bomb Iran & execute Snowden’: Brief history of Pompeo’s foreign policy rhetoric

RT | March 13, 2018

Newly-installed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo doesn’t have a huge amount of experience as a diplomat so what can we expect from the former Kansas congressman now that he is heading US foreign policy?

Pompeo landed the top job in the State Department on Tuesday after US President Donald Trump ousted Rex Tillerson. Here’s a flavor of his previous comments on the most pressing foreign policy issues.


Pompeo was appointed CIA director in November 2016. He began his tenure by talking tough on Russia, describing it as a major threat to US interests. “[Russia] has reasserted itself aggressively, invading and occupying Ukraine, threatening Europe, and doing nearly nothing to aid in the destruction and defeat of ISIS.”

He continued with the hawkish rhetoric throughout his time in the CIA. On Sunday he said that Americans are safe from Russia because it has weapons to counter any Russian threat.

“Americans should rest assured that we have a very good understanding of the Russian program and how to make sure that Americans continue to be kept safe from threats from Vladimir Putin,” the then-CIA chief said.


However Russia isn’t the only ‘bad guy’ out there, according to Pompeo. In a revealing interview with the BBC the then-US spy chief attacked alleged Chinese efforts to exert covert influence in the West. He claimed China attempts to post spies in schools and hospitals, as well as trying to steal information from US companies.

“We can watch very focused efforts to steal American information, to infiltrate the United States with spies – with people who are going to work on behalf of the Chinese government against America,” according to Pompeo. “We see it in our schools. We see it in our hospitals and medicals systems. We see it throughout corporate America. It’s also true in other parts of the world… including Europe and the UK.”

North Korea

After becoming CIA director Pompeo spoke of a desire to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula because of the danger of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un possessing weapons of mass destruction. In recent days he reaffirmed this position, asserting that the Trump administration has “its eyes wide open” on North Korea as Kim agreed to pause nuclear testing ahead of forthcoming negotiations between the two nations.

“The pressure will continue to mount on North Korea,” he told CBS. “There is no relief in sight until the president gets the objective that he has set forth consistently during his entire time in office.”


Pompeo, who, like Trump, had a career as a businessman before turning to politics, has reserved his strongest rhetoric for Iran and the nuclear deal signed by former US President Barack Obama.

His opposition dates back to his time as a congressman when he said that the deal “won’t stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb and places Israel at more risk.” Pompeo also criticized the Obama administration for not demanding that Iran cease calling for Israel’s destruction as part of the deal.

Before becoming CIA director Pompeo broached the possibility of using force to destroy Iran’s nuclear capacity. “In an unclassified setting, it is under 2,000 sorties to destroy the Iranian nuclear capacity,” he said in 2014. “This is not an insurmountable task for the coalition forces.”

Edward Snowden

Pompeo’s dramatic comments on Iran pale in comparison to the fate he thinks National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden deserves. The new secretary of state said that Snowden, who leaked classified NSA information, should be brought back to the US and sentenced to death.

“[He] should brought back from Russia and given due process, and I think the proper outcome would be that he would be given a death sentence,” Pompeo said in February 2016. He also lashed out at Snowden’s appearance via video link at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, in 2014, fearing it would cause “lawless behavior” in the crowd. The talk went ahead without incident.

Pompeo also had harsh words about WikiLeaks, referring to the whistleblowing organization as a “hostile intelligence service” in April 2017.

March 13, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

US Commander: ‘US Troops Prepared to Die for Israel’ in War against Syria, Hezbollah

Operation Juniper Cobra is not a routine exercise; it is a portent of a potentially devastating war against Syria, Hezbollah and Gaza for which Israel is actively preparing — a war likely to erupt within the coming months.

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press | March 12, 2018

Last Sunday, the largest joint military exercise between the United States and Israel began with little fanfare. The war game, dubbed “Operation Juniper Cobra,” has been a regular occurrence for years, though it has consistently grown in size and scope. Now, however, this year’s 12-day exercise brings a portent of conflict unlike those of its predecessors.

Previous reports on the operation suggested that, like prior incarnations of the same exercise, the focus would be on improving Israeli defenses. “Juniper Cobra 2018 is another step in improving the readiness of the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] and the IAF [Israeli Air Force] in particular to enhance their operational capabilities in facing the threat posed by high-trajectory missiles,” Brig. Gen. Zvika Haimovitch, the IDF’s Aerial Defense Division head, told the Jerusalem Post.

However, this year’s “Juniper Cobra” is unique for several reasons. The Post reported on Thursday that the drill, set to end on March 15, was not only the largest joint U.S.-Israeli air defense exercise to ever happen but it was also simulating a battle “on three fronts.” In other words, Israel and the U.S. are jointly simulating a war with Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine – namely, the Gaza strip – simultaneously.

What makes this last part so concerning are Israel’s recent statements and other preparations for war with all three nations, making “Juniper Cobra” anything but a “routine” drill. It is instead yet another preparation for a massive regional conflict, suggesting that such a conflict could be only a matter of months away.

As MintPress recently reported, Israeli officials recently told a bipartisan pair of U.S. Senators that it needed “ammunition, ammunition, ammunition” for a war against Hezbollah in Lebanon — a war that will expressly target Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools, and apartment buildings. The alleged motive for the invasion is the presence of Iranian rocket factories. However, this allegation is based solely on the claims of an anonymous deputy serving in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and was first reported on by a Kuwaiti newspaper known to publish stories planted by the Israeli government.

In addition, Israel has been laying the groundwork for an invasion of Syria since last year and is largely responsible for the current conflict in Syria that has raged on for seven years. Israel’s current push to invade Syria is also based on flimsy evidence suggesting that Iran is establishing bases in Syria to target Israel.

Israel has also been preparing for a conflict on the embattled Gaza strip, which – owing to the effects of Israel’s illegal blockade and the devastation wrought by past wars – is set to be entirely uninhabitable by 2020. Reports have quoted officials of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, which governs the Gaza strip, as saying that they place the chances of a new war with Israel in 2018 “at 95 percent” and that war games, like Operation Juniper Cobra, were likely to be used to plan or even initiate such a conflict. This concern was echoed by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, who stated that another Israeli invasion of Gaza, home to 1.8 million people, was “likely” to occur this year. Eizenkot ironically framed the imminent invasion as a way to “prevent a humanitarian collapse” in Gaza.

U.S. lights match, prepares troops

Such a war is likely to be ignited by the unrest destined to follow the U.S.’ imminent move of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The move, set to take place in May, led Hamas to call for a third intifada, or uprising, in response to the U.S.’ unilateral decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in defiance of the international consensus.

Beyond the fact that Israel is preparing to go to war with several countries simultaneously is the fact that U.S. ground troops are now “prepared to die for the Jewish state,” according to U.S. Third Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Richard Clark. “We are ready to commit to the defense of Israel and anytime we get involved in a kinetic fight there is always the risk that there will be casualties. But we accept that, as in every conflict we train for and enter, there is always that possibility,” Clark told the Post.

However, more troubling than the fact that U.S. troops stand ready to die at Israel’s behest was Clark’s assertion that Haimovitch would “probably” have the last word as to whether U.S. forces would join the IDF during war time. In other words, the IDF will decide whether or not U.S. troops become embroiled in the regional war for which Israel is preparing, not the United States. Indeed, Haimovitch buoyed Clark’s words, stating that: “I am sure once the order comes we will find here U.S. troops on the ground to be part of our deployment and team to defend the state of Israel.”

Operation Juniper Cobra is not a routine exercise; it is a portent of a potentially devastating war for which Israel is actively preparing, a war likely to erupt within the coming months. In addition to overtly targeting civilians, these preparations for war — as Juniper Cobra shows — directly involve the United States military and give the war-bent Israeli government the power to decide whether or not American troops will be involved and to what extent. This is a devastating giveaway of national sovereignty by U.S. President Donald Trump.

While the potential involvement of the U.S. forces in such a war is being framed as limited in scope, there is no indication that such a war will be so in practice. Indeed, the U.S. is currently occupying 25 percent of Syria and the Trump administration has economically attacked Palestinians living in Gaza by withdrawing crucial aid, as well as Hezbollah by enforcing new sanctions against the group. Furthermore, Israel’s nuclear arsenal and the fact that Iran — and even Russia — could become involved in such a conflict means that it could quickly spiral out of control.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News who has written for several news organizations in both English and Spanish; her stories have been featured on ZeroHedge, the Anti-Media, and 21st Century Wire among others. She currently lives in Southern Chile.

March 13, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trump’s New CIA Director Oversaw Torture in ‘Black Sites’

Gina Haspel © The OSS Society / YouTube
teleSUR | March 13, 2018

Gina Haspel, who is accused of overseeing torture interrogation cases in a “black site” in Thailand, is now the head of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, after President Donald Trump appointed Mike Pompeo as the new secretary of state following the sacking of Rex Tillerson.

Haspel became the CIA’s deputy chief in 2017 despite multiple accusations linking her to torture cases as an undercover official.

She was responsible for the CIA’s first overseas detention center in Thailand, known as Cat’s Eye base or Detention Site Green, where suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim Nashiri were brutally interrogated in 2002 for their alleged involvement in the al-Qaida network.

According to the Intelligence Committee’s investigation, Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times and slammed into walls between Aug. 4 and 23, 2002. He was beaten so brutally he lost consciousness with water bubbling up from his lungs that doctors had to revive him. He also lost sight in his left eye before interrogators decided he didn’t have any valuable information.

Zubaydah’s torture was videotaped and stored in Thailand until 2005, when Haspel and Jose Rodriguez, then director of operations and head of the National Clandestine Service, ordered the footage be destroyed without previous consultation or authorization by the U.S. Congress. Al-Nashiri’s torture tape was also destroyed.

In June 2017, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights filed a lawsuit to German federal prosecutors against Haspel for her involvement in the Thailand torture cases. The complaint states that psychologist James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen were the only two people authorized to contact Zubaydah, and that they were under Haspel’s supervision.

But during the first years of the new “war on terror” that started after the Sept. 11, 2001 events, the George Bush administration considered waterboarding and other torture interrogation techniques to be legal.

Haspel became Rodriguez’ chief of staff in 2003, who back then was the director of the Counterterrorism Center. As chief of staff, Haspel ran programs that commonly used torture methods on suspects, including sleep deprivation, coffins and waterboarding to conduct brutal interrogations.

According to John Sifton from Human Rights Watch, Haspel was also one of the senior officials running the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) CIA program, which had the aim of kidnapping suspects all around the world and handing them to other countries for interrogation, which more than often also included torture.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said multiple times he thinks that torture works and has vowed to bring waterboarding back. Trump’s policy is reflected in the decision to make Haspel first Deputy Director and then Director of the U.S. intelligence agency.

“If Ms. Haspel seeks to serve at the highest levels of U.S. intelligence, the government can no longer cover up disturbing facts from her past,” said Senator Ron Wyden, a Democratic member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

And Mike Pompeo as the new Secretary of State doesn’t inspire much hope either. The former CIA director supports waterboarding and other intense interrogation techniques, saying they “don’t even constitute torture” and praising “patriots” who have used such methods to counter terrorism.

Other advocates of waterboarding deny the method is a kind of torture, and even call it “enhanced interrogation.”

Haspel’s position has yet to be ratified by the Senate.

March 13, 2018 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 2 Comments

US Political Meddling is Very Real, Spans the Globe

By Ulson Gunnar – New Eastern Outlook – 13.03.2018

The United States has spent over a year now leveling accusations against the Russian Federation regarding alleged political meddling during the 2016 US elections. While accusations range from everything including “fake news” spread across the Internet to direct ties to the administration of US President Donald Trump used to assist him into power, no evidence has yet to surface to prove Russia has meddled at all in America’s internal political affairs.

And while Russia certainly possesses a large and growing presence across the international media, concerted attacks against this presence stems more from the fact that decades of uncontested control over global public opinion by the US and Europe is now shifting toward a multipolar balance of power in information space.

In stark contrast to the whispers of shadows cited by the US and Europe regarding Russia, to begin understanding the scope of US political meddling abroad, one needs only to visit the US State Department and corporate-funded National Endowment for Democracy’s (NED) own website.

Industrial-Scale Meddling 

US meddling is so extensive that NED is broken into multiple subsidiaries (National Democratic Institute (NDI), International Republican Institute (IRI) and Freedom House) which in turn, are joined by parallel organizations such as George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, USAID, the UK’s DFID and many more.

The NED website is broken into several regions including:

Central and Eastern Europe;
Latin America and Caribbean and;
Middle East and Northern Africa.

Within each region, NED lists its extensive funding for organizations and fronts in over 100 different nations around the globe.

Within each nation, NED funds between a handful to several dozen organizations posing as legal firms, media platforms, environmental groups and human rights advocates. They collectively create the components of a political machine used to pressure incumbent governments to heed US interests, or overthrow them if they fail to.

Because the NED and recipients of its funding are increasingly exposed as a form of political subversion, NED has opted to list its funding in some nations in very general terms, never revealing the actual organizations or individuals receiving US money. Many organizations in targeted nations refuse to disclose their funding to the public. Many even possess the gall to solicit public donations despite receiving (and concealing) extensive funding from the US government.


Entire opposition parties have been created by NED. One example is that of the current government in Myanmar headed by State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD). From the party’s senior leadership, down to its rank and file, many NLD members are the direct recipients of indoctrination and training provided by programs funded by the US NED.

Current Minister of Information Pe Myint, was trained in a US NED-funded program hosted by the Bangkok-based Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT), which the FCCT would later deny despite evidence appearing on their own website confirming otherwise.

Elsewhere in Asia, the current anti-government opposition in Thailand consists of a small network of NED-funded organizations which dovetail into the US and European media organizations operating out of Bangkok. Small protests consisting of only 5-10 individuals are transformed into international headlines by NED’s army of media fronts including Prachatai, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, the Cross-Cultural Foundation and their partners in the US and European press as well as Western diplomats who all openly collaborate and coordinate daily across social media.

When agents of foreign interests are arrested, they are often accompanied by US, British, Canadian and European Union diplomatic staff to police stations.

In next door Cambodia, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) is led by Kem Sokha who previously and repeatedly traveled to Washington to openly conspire against the government in Phnom Penh before being arrested by Cambodian authorities. Ironically, while the US punishes Russia for mere allegations of political interference, it demands Cambodia release opposition members caught openly discussing their plans with opposition media to overthrow their own nation with America’s assistance.

Hong Kong, since returning to China after an extended period of occupation by the British, is also home to a large network of US NED-funded opposition aimed at Beijing. A similar hypocrisy is demonstrated by Washington as it protests the exposure and disruption of these foreign-funded networks of subversion Washington itself would never tolerate upon its own shores.

The Middle East 

It is a fact, admitted by prominent US media platforms such as the New York Times, that the entire 2011 Arab Spring was a result of extensive preparations directed by the NED, its partners and subsidiaries.

After helping create the conflicts currently consuming the Middle East, NED now funds a variety of activities in nations like Syria to help prolong the conflicts. This is done by aiding and abetting militants fighting Damascus under the guise of providing humanitarian aid. It also includes assisting in the administration of territory seized by militants from Damascus’ control.

The nation of Iran, yet to be consumed by the violence sweeping across Syria, Yemen, Libya and Iraq, is host to networks of both NED-funded and CIA-backed groups ranging from supposed activists, to militant groups aimed at the violent overthrow of the government in Tehran.

Eastern Europe 

It was in Eastern Europe that NED perfected what is now called the “color revolution.” It is now admitted that the US NED and other US agencies played a pivotal role in overthrowing the governments of Georgia, Ukraine and Serbia. It was in fact the US-backed overthrow of the Serbian government in 2000 that Cambodia’s Kem Sokha cited as a model to replicate in Southeast Asia with US assistance.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the NED’s color revolutions swept through Eastern Europe like a plague, consuming national sovereignty and bending the former Soviet territories to new masters in Washington, London and Brussels.

More recently, as Russia has begun to reassert itself and court nations in both Eastern and Western Europe, NED has stepped in once again to oust leaders who refuse to reduce or eliminate economic, military and diplomatic ties with Russia at Washington’s behest. A prime example of this includes the 2013-2014 Euromaiden protests in Ukraine. During 2013-2014, US senators including John McCain would literally take to the protest stages in Kiev to offer direct political support for the unrest which was spearheaded by Neo-Nazi political circles.


Remarkably, as Washington accuses Russia of political meddling within the United States, the NED openly lists nearly 100 subversive activities or organizations they are funding inside of Russia itself. Beyond what is listed on NED’s website is support the US and Europe is providing unpopular opposition figures like Alexei Navalny, the now deceased Boris Nemtsov, Yevgeniya Chirikova (NED-funded Strategy 31), Lev Ponomarev (NED-funded Moscow Helsinki Group), Liliya Shibanova (NED-funded GOLOS) and many others who have been repeatedly caught conspiring with American diplomats and financiers backing their subversive activities.

Were evidence to surface that Russia did any of the above forms of meddling, including maintaining entire stables of opposition figures who regularly filter in and out of the Russian Embassy in a targeted nation, it would be categorically condemned by Washington. Yet Washington flagrantly engages in overt political subversion, not just in Russia, but in (at least) 100 other nations around the globe, including nations the US is currently, outright occupying militarily.

For empire, what it fears the most is competition. It seeks to be the sole hegemon with all else beneath it. The US does not oppose political meddling in a sovereign nation’s affairs, it opposes the obstruction of its own meddling worldwide and seeks to eliminate others offering better alternatives to coercive subjugation by Washington, thus why it has singled out nations like Russia, China and others who are increasingly successful in doing just that.

For those tempted to join the bandwagon in condemning nations like Russia and China of political meddling, first they must recognize and account for the industrial scale meddling the US and its European partners are engaged in.

For those who are taking NED money worldwide in the belief that they are somehow advancing a liberal progressive agenda, particularly democracy, they must ask themselves what about a foreign nation meddling in their nation’s political affairs is “democratic” or conducive to the principles of self-determination democracy is built upon? One cannot honestly conclude that NED money is meant to support a nation’s capacity to determine its own destiny when clearly Washington is spending these vast amounts of money in order to determine it for that nation.

March 13, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

UK intelligence may be complicit in Skripal’s poisoning – ex-FSB head

RT | March 13, 2018

A former FSB director suggested British intelligence agencies may be complicit in the attempt on the life of former double agent Sergei Skripal, adding the incident has actually caused “enormous harm” to Russia.

Nikolay Kovalev, former director of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), told RIA Novosti on Tuesday it is mainly the UK and its ally the US who benefit from Skripal’s poisoning. The former military intelligence officer was exposed as a British spy back in the early 2000s.

“It looks like British secret services are complicit in it,” Kovalev went on. “[Defectors] are fully under surveillance … the secret services are monitoring them, they know their whereabouts and schedules. And then you have such strange events happen in a row.”

Kovalev, who led the FSB from 1996 until 1998, said he believes that a series of assassination attempts targeting defectors in the UK makes him think that the British “scapegoat this or that traitor after having utilized him to the maximum extent, and then say the Russians did it.”

Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping center in Salisbury last week, prompting London to pin the blame on Moscow.

On Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May said the poisoning was either “a direct act by the Russian state on Britain,” or the Russian government had allowed the alleged nerve agent, ‘Novichok’, to get into the wrong hands.

“The government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible,” she said.

Kovalev dismissed the claim, saying the nerve agents could have been stored in any post-Soviet country, including Ukraine.

“Given that [such substances] were stockpiled in former Soviet Union republics – sorry, but Ukrainian involvement can’t be ruled out,” he said.

His assessment has been echoed by another former security official who suggested the nerve agent allegedly used in the attempt on Skripal’s life was produced in the UK. General Vladimir Mikhailov, a former high-ranking FSB officer, told RIA Novosti that if Vil Mirzayanov, a Russian chemical weapons expert who defected to the West in the early 1990s, had disclosed the formula, MI6 “could have synthesized the agent and used it for political purposes.”

March 13, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

UK TV regulator writes to RT, says it may consider whether channel’s license is ‘fit and proper’

RT | March 13, 2018

Britain’s media regulator Ofcom says it will “consider the implications for RT’s broadcast licenses” if it’s determined there was “an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the UK” in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal.

In a statement, Ofcom said: “As the independent UK broadcasting regulator, Ofcom has an ongoing duty to be satisfied that broadcast licensees remain fit and proper to hold their licences.

“We have today written to ANO TV Novosti, holder of RT’s UK broadcast licences, which is financed from the budget of the Russian Federation. This letter explained that, should the UK investigating authorities determine that there was an unlawful use of force by the Russian State against the UK, we would consider this relevant to our ongoing duty to be satisfied that RT is fit and proper.”

“The letter to RT said that we would carry out our independent fit and proper assessment on an expedited basis, and we would write to RT again shortly setting out details of our process.”

RT said in a statement that it disagreed with the position taken by Ofcom. “Our broadcasting has in no way changed this week from any other week, and continues to adhere to all standards.

“By linking RT to unrelated matters, Ofcom is conflating its role as a broadcasting regulator with matters of state. RT remains a valuable voice in the UK news landscape, covering vital yet neglected stories and voices, including those of the many MPs and other UK public figures who have been shut out of public discourse by the mainstream media.”

When the threat of having its license revoked first came to light, RT said the banning of the channel would do “away with any concept of press freedom in the UK.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May gave Moscow one day on Monday to explain the alleged use of a military-grade nerve agent, which the UK claims came from Russia to poison ex-double agent Skripal and his daughter Yulia. May says it’s “highly likely” Moscow was responsible.

She alleges the attack was either a direct act by the Russian state on Britain, or the Russian government allowed its nerve agent ‘Novichok’ to get into the wrong hands. “The government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible,” she said.

READ MORE: ‘What about freedom of speech?’ Twitter fury over MPs’ calls to ban RT

After the statement in the House of Commons, Labour MP Chris Bryan asked May: “Can we just stop Russia Today [RT] broadcasting its propaganda in this country?” The PM responded by saying she would update MPs on “further measures” later this week.

The threat of banning RT led to a backlash from some on Twitter. RT contributors, viewers and members of the public speaking out against the proposal with some calling it an attack on “freedom of speech.”

March 13, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Gaslighting about the realities of “state-sponsored murder”

OffGuardian | March 12, 2018

Theresa May has just semi-officially pronounced the Skripal case a Russian state-sponsored hit. No evidence was presented for this conclusion of course, but we are getting used to that now. Belief is the new evidence. And in this case we do seem to have belief in large quantities.

Russia now effectively is being called upon to prove its innocence by tomorrow (Tuesday) or face Theresa’s wrath.

We’ll see how that goes over.

Of course there’s the immensely handy fact the “nerve agent” allegedly used is “Russian” too. Novichok no less, a Soviet-era toxin from the 1980s, described on Wikipedia as “the most deadly nerve toxin ever made.”

Though it wasn’t only produced in Russia, but in Uzbekistan.

And by the way the US has been “helping” Uzbekistan clean up its chemical weapons sites since 1991.

And of course Russia had destroyed all its chemical weapon stockpiles by 2017.

But the US still hasn’t (see MoA link above).

Still, so, as far as the state machine is concerned the alleged use of Novichok about clinches it for Putin. He dunnit. Verdict pronounced, let’s hurry on to the sentencing. What will it be? More sanctions? A Skripal Act to rival Magnitsky’s? Moving UK troops closer to Russia’s borders? Driving Russian money out of London? Messing with the World Cup?

While the UK establishment shoots its wad fantasising about all these glorious possibilities, let’s take a quick reality check.

Russia has absolutely nothing to gain from initiating the poisoning of Skripal, and even less to gain from leaving a calling card made of Novichok.

This is so obviously true even spokespeople for the UK establishment admit it openly, for example Andrew Wood, former UK ambassador to Moscow, is quoted in the Guardian saying

it’s very hard to see what profit they can get from this

Though of course this hasn’t stopped the same people who admit this to be true also claiming to be absolutely sure Russia did it.

Absent sane motives they have had to invent insane ones instead. Russia are just crazy, bent on vengeance, spoiling for a fight. Their blatant and self-destructive action, says Wood:

advertises the fact that they are vindictive and dedicated to pursuing revenge.

Reliably deluded and fact-defying Luke Harding adds his own pulp spy-thriller spin:

You see? Russia must have done it (even though they had no motive), so they must be driven by crazy notions of revenge or wanting a “row” that defy self-interest.

That’s logic.

The obvious consideration – if they had no motive maybe they didn’t do it has no place in this mad little universe.

This is simply gaslighting.

Motive is a first consideration in solving any crime. Absence of motive is also a primary argument for innocence. Cui bono? is a legal as well as a rational question. But it’s one the Western powers do not want anyone asking in this case.

Because the answer is obvious.

The timing of the alleged poisoning – the day before a prime mover in promoting UK Russophobia, Bill Browder, was due to testify at the Parliamentary Inquiry into alleged Russian “fake news”, and two weeks before the Russian election – is enough of itself to make the UK and its security agencies prime suspects.

And who can deny this tragic event is being fully exploited by the state machine? In just the last three days the poisoning of these two people in still murky circumstances has been used to

  • add fresh weight to the push to have RT blocked in the UK
  • justify moves against Russian holdings in the UK
  • reinforce calls for implementation of new sanctions
  • increase UK defence spending

In contrast, what has Russia or Russia’s narrative gained from this?

Absolutely nothing.

To bring a small amount of balance and sanity to the current situation we’re going to be reminding readers of some of the mysterious and possibly politically motivated deaths that have occurred in the UK. Unlike the Skripal and Litvinenko cases the media never claimed any of them were “state-sponsored murder”, because the only state they could possibly have been pinned on was our own.

March 13, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Skripal case: Theresa May now demands Russia prove itself innocent

British government lacking evidence of Russian guilt reverses the burden of proof

By Alexander Mercouris | The Duran | March 12, 2018

After a week of speculation and allegations British Prime Minister Theresa May has finally spoken about the murder attempt on the former British spy Sergey Skripal, which has left both him and his daughter critically ill.

This how the Guardian reports her statement:

Based on the positive identification of this chemical agent by world-leading experts at Porton Down, our knowledge that Russia has previously produced this agent and would still be capable of doing so, Russia’s record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations, and our assessment that Russia views some defectors as legitimate targets for assassinations, the government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal….

Either this was a direct act by the Russian state against our country. Or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others…

Should there be no credible response, we will conclude that this action amounts to an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom……

This attempted murder using a weapons-grade nerve agent in a British town was not just a crime against the Skripals.

“It was an indiscriminate and reckless act against the United Kingdom, putting the lives of innocent civilians at risk. And we will not tolerate such a brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil. I commend this statement to the House….

The first thing to say about this statement is that it is essentially an admission that the British authorities have not been able to identify any suspects who might have carried out the attack on Skripal.

No person or persons have been identified as suspects in the case, and the only conclusion one can draw from Theresa May’s statement is that the British authorities either do not have the names of any suspects, or are uncertain about any names they do have..

I say this because if the British authorities did suspect any person or persons of carrying out the attack, Theresa May would presumably not be publicly speculating about whether this person or these persons might or might not have acted on the Russian government’s instructions.

The second thing to say about this statement is that the Russian attribution the British government is making is entirely based upon a scientific assessment that the nerve agent used in the attack was one of the agents developed by the USSR in the 1970s and 1980s as part of the so-called Novichok programme.

On the face of it this seems an uncertain basis upon which to attribute responsibility.

Details of the Novichok programme were disclosed by the Russians to the West decades ago, and the properties of the nerve agents developed as part of this programme are well known.  That presumably is why it was possible to assess that the nerve agent used in the attack on Skripal was one of the nerve agents developed as part of this programme.

Given that this is so, it is not obvious how it is possible to say that because the nerve agent used was of a type which was originally developed in Russia as part of the Novichok programme, that must mean that the Russian government or Russians were definitely responsible for the attack.

That seems to me a little like saying that because sarin was originally developed decades ago in Germany, that means that any chemical weapons attack which uses sarin is attributable to Germany.

The danger involved in using the supposed origin of a poison to identify the perpetrator is in fact shown by what happened in the Litvinenko case.

At the time of the murder in 2006 of Alexander Litvinenko Britain was awash with claims that the polonium with which he was poisoned was extremely expensive, was only made in Russia, and had been positively traced back to Russia.  These claims were widely treated as providing the proof that the Russian authorities were responsible for Litvinenko’s murder.

In the event, the public inquiry into Litvinenko’s murder, after hearing from a range of scientific witnesses, concluded that all the claims which had for a decade been made about polonium were untrue: it is not expensive, it is not produced only in Russia, and it is scientifically impossible to trace the point of origin of any polonium sample, whether to Russia or to anywhere else.

The Judge who headed the inquiry could not conceal his disappointment, making the extraordinary statement in his inquiry report that though it could not be proved that the polonium had come from Russia, it nonetheless might have done so.

The result was that with the polonium evidence – the evidence which supposedly “proved” Russian state involvement – having collapsed, the Judge could only say that the Russian authorities were “probably” involved, and could only do so by speculating at length about possible but in fact unlikely connections between the Russian authorities and the two men who were Litvinenko’s likely murderers spiced up with further speculations about the possible motives the Russians might have had for wanting Litvinenko dead (see my detailed discussion of the Litvinenko inquiry here).

It is therefore alarming to see Theresa May in the Skripal case in effect doing the same thing as the Judge did in the Litvinenko inquiry: gingering up a case against the Russian authorities which is nowhere near proved by making general assertions about Russian conduct which have no direct bearing on the case itself.

How else to explain such comments as her comment about “Russia’s record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations, and our assessment that Russia views some defectors as legitimate targets for assassinations” and her utterly gratuitous reference to Crimea in another part of her statement?

That the British authorities actually know very little about the attack on Skripal, and are perfectly aware that the case they are making against Russia is nowhere near proved, is shown by the bizarre way they are now approaching Russia.

Instead of sharing with the Russians their conclusions about the nerve agent that was used to poison Skripal, and asking the Russians for their cooperation in a case where the victim was a former Russian citizen and where the nerve agent used is of a type that was developed in Russia, the British government has instead given the Russian authorities an ultimatum, saying that they must prove their innocence by tomorrow or the British government will assume they are guilty.

I say that because that is what these words in Theresa May’s statement amount to:

Either this was a direct act by the Russian state against our country. Or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others…

Should there be no credible response, we will conclude that this action amounts to an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom……

That this is a way of proving guilt by reversing the burden of the proof – something which is both wrong and absurd in a criminal investigation in a modern European country – ought to be obvious.

What this ultimatum in fact actually shows is that the British government is determined to declare the Russian government guilty, but cannot prove its case, so it has to use an ultimatum to provide proof of guilt which ‘proof’ is however actually a sham.

The Russians have in fact previously offered their cooperation to solve the case.

Perhaps that offer is also a sham.  However if the British authorities really were serious about finding out the truth of what happened or – better still – were really intent on making a case that could stand up in a court of law, they would accept this offer.

If it turned out that the Russian offer was a sham then in that case – but not before – the British government would be entitled to make public inferences from it.

Where does all this leave the case?

I do not know how Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia came to be poisoned.  I have a completely open mind about that and about who may have been responsible.  At this very early stage in the investigation when few facts are known so should everyone else.

The fact that the nerve agent used to poison Skripal apparently has a Russian origin – which is not the same as saying that it was made in Russia – is suggestive and important, but without much more knowledge about the other facts of the case it is impossible to say what weight should be placed on it.

I would refer again to the mistaken way the polonium evidence was initially assessed in the Litvinenko case (see above) and the way that mistaken assessment came to distort the whole conduct of that case.

Which brings me directly to the problem.

Now that the British government right at the beginning of the investigation has publicly declared that the attack on Skripal originated in Russia, with all the indications being that the British government will say tomorrow that the Russian authorities were directly responsible, the future conduct of the investigation has been irredeemably prejudiced.

It is now all but impossible for the British courts and the British police – who are ultimately officials of the British state – to come to any conclusion other than the one the British government has now publicly made for them.

The result is that what might be other promising lines of enquiry in the case will not now be followed up.

Again the lesson of the Litvinenko case is instructive.  Having predetermined Russian guilt on the strength of an assessment of the polonium evidence which turned out to be wrong, it became impossible for the British authorities to draw back, so that the Judge who headed the inquiry into Litvinenko’s death came to the inquiry with his mind made up.

The result was that when the polonium evidence collapsed it was impossible for him to change his mind, so that instead of doing so he hunted around for other ‘evidence’ in order to find a way to make a verdict of Russian guilt, which he came to the inquiry already believing in.

Once upon a time the dangers of rushing prematurely to conclusions about guilt or innocence in a case were well understood in Britain.

Prior to a change in the law in 1981, which effectively abolished the sub judice rule, the sort of speculations that were made in 2006 in the Litvinenko case, and which are being made in the Skripal case today, would have been impossible.

Certainly it is inconceivable that the British government before 1981 would have publicly interfered in a case in the way that Theresa May has just done.

The fact that the British government is now doing so is in some respects even more concerning than the fact and manner of the attack on Skripal.

March 13, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Russia won’t respond to UK ultimatum until samples of alleged chemical weapon received – Lavrov

RT | March 13, 2018

Moscow will not respond to the British request about a clandestine Soviet chemical weapon allegedly used in an ex-double agent’s poisoning until a sample of the agent is provided, the Russian foreign minister said.

On Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May said a chemical weapon developed under a secret Soviet program dubbed Novichok was used in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal. May demanded that Russia provide details of the program, saying otherwise London would consider the poisoning an attack directed by the Russian government.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that it had summoned British Ambassador to Moscow Laurie Bristow. No further details were provided.

“We have certainly heard the ultimatum voiced in London,” Lavrov said on Tuesday. “The spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry has commented on our attitude to this,” he added referring to Maria Zakharova branding of May’s appearance in Parliament as a “circus.”

He added that a case of alleged use of chemical weapons should be handled through the proper channel, being the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) – of which both Russia and Britain are members.

“As soon as the rumors came up that the poisoning of Skripal involved a Russia-produced agent, which almost the entire English leadership has been fanning up, we sent an official request for access to this compound so that our experts could test it in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention [CWC],” Lavrov said. So far the request has been ignored by the British side, he added.

The minister affirmed that Russia has nothing to do with the poisoning of Skripal and would assist Britain in the investigation, provided that London meets its own obligations as to how such probes are to be handled.

The OPCW rules allow Britain in this case to send a request to Russia on the suspected Russian-made chemical weapon and expect a response within 10 days, Lavrov explained. If the response is not satisfactory, Britain would have to file a complaint with the organization’s executive council and the conference of CWC member-states, he said.

For its part, Russia expects Britain to share evidence on the Skripal case, Lavrov stated. The former double agent and his daughter Yulia, who was also poisoned, hold Russian citizenship, so Russia has a right to know how the apparent attempt on their lives is being investigated, the foreign minister said.

The British theory is that Russia was either directly responsible for the poisoning, or had lost possession of the chemical weapon that was used. London gave Moscow until Tuesday to explain what had happened.

March 13, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , , | Leave a comment

We’ll respond if lives of our military, incl. from strikes on Damascus, are endangered – Russian MoD

RT | March 13, 2018

Moscow is ready to respond if lives of the Russian servicemen are endangered, including by strikes on Damascus, head of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov said.

“There are many Russian advisers, representatives of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides and [Russian] servicemen in Damascus and at Syrian defense facilities,” Gerasimov stated.

In case lives of Russian military personnel are put in danger, the Russian Armed Forces will respond with certain measure to both “missiles” and “lauchers” which are delivering these projectiles.

Russian MoD also says it has information that militants in Syria are planning to stage chemical attacks against civilians under the guise of the Syrian government. According to Gerasimov, they have already sent ‘civilians’ in Eastern Ghouta who will ‘play victims’ of chemical attacks. Members of the White Helmets and film crews are already there, he pointed out.

“Following the provocation, the United States are planning to accuse Syrian government forces of using chemical weapons,” according to Gerasimov. In the aftermath it would “present the international community the so-called ‘evidence’ of the apparent mass deaths of civilians at the hands of the Syrian government and “supporting it, the Russian leadership.”

In response, Washington will strike the government quarters of Damascus, the general has alleged.

On Monday, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley warned that Washington will take action in Syria on its own if the UN Security Council fails to do so. When the UNSC “failed to act” after the Khan Sheikhoun chemical incident in 2017, the US “successfully struck the airbase from which Assad had launched his chemical attack,” Haley stated.

The US diplomat once again claimed that Russia and Damascus continue to bomb “innocent civilians” under a pretext of fighting terrorism. However, Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia dismissed the allegations, saying that Western countries use the situation in Eastern Ghouta only as a pretext to put pressure on Russia and blindly put the blame on Damascus for any incidents in the country.

Also on Monday, Nebenzia accused militant groups in the city of using chlorine gas. He added that the Syrian operation in the Damascus suburbs does not violate resolution 2401, as it exempts terrorists.

“They [militants] are constantly striking humanitarian corridors and checkpoints, including during the humanitarian pauses,” Nebenzia stated. “They intensified the use of tunnels in order to provoke the Syrian military and the exits of those tunnels are in the areas of public buildings, first and foremost mosques, hospitals and markets.”

March 13, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Illegal Occupation | , , | 1 Comment